The older I become the less time I want to waste on trivial pursuits and the more I want to spend my days getting lost reading books with both my babies snuggled around me. The more I want to focus my energy on nourishing my body. The more I want to fiercely protect my family and our home and our time. The harder I want to work for my family’s freedom. The less I want to speak and instead choose to listen to the hurt and needs of others and have the margin to open my hands instead of resisting the urge to help and place myself first.
The older I become the less I want to curate the perfect home and instead feel peace when dirty dishes are in the sink when guests walk in my door. I want less post-worthy days and more real and relatable days. I want my babies, in the decades to come, to sift through photos of me in the garden digging in the dirt, in the kitchen dancing to my favorite song or see a photo of our wedding, the smiles and way we lit each other’s eyes up, and know we still have the same deep lust and playfulness in our marriage. I want my babies to remember me inviting them to help me cook dinner instead of shooing them away. The greatest, most gentle man did indeed say, “let the children come.” I want my babies to remember me rolling on the ground with them, laughing and tickling, and not looking at the clock ticking. Because it is ticking, ever so rhythmically.
And not only do I want my babies to remember me with them, I, too, want to remember the days of them falling asleep holding my hand, rocking them in the same rocking chair that Alexander’s mom rocked her own babies in. I want to remember the way Liliana mispronounces her name and how Finley went straight from scooting to running within a week. We always *always* think we’ll remember everything and then, just like that, someone reminds us of something our kids did and we’re brought back to the joy and moments that seem far off and faded.
As I’m typing all this out the words that keep ringing in my mind and heart are: Be present.
My word for 2022 is Pilgrimage. Throughout this past year, I *surprisingly* continued to relearn how I can be on a journey, a pilgrimage, while at the same time be present where I’m currently standing. I can be expectant and eager for what is to come while at the same time become more rooted in the here and the now. Have vision AND be content in the same breath. And I’ve learned how both of these help the other to exist.
Both the future and present moment exist when I dream with Alexander. We have BIG dreams, both Alexander and I. Dreams for our family, our home, investments of our time and resources, our businesses. But where we’re standing currently is just as grand — this year we’ve become more rooted in our home, our businesses, as a family of four, in our neighborhood, groups of friends, the roles we play in marriage, the wisdom we bring to conversation, and our ownership we have in our lives.
Living in the paradox of the future and the now is something we all experience. And the dreams Alexander and I have for our future will always be there, maybe changing along the way, but I sense the fleetingness of the now – the sweet ages of our littles, the weekly dates we go on, every time we host a new or old guest. The clock keeps ticking.
And unless we take radical ownership of our time the rhythms of life will eventually roll us over. In my pursuit of chasing dreams while actively seeking God’s favor and direction, I’ve learned that being the woman I want to become doesn’t just happen. Family traditions don’t just happen. Living the life I desire doesn’t just simply come to be. All of it takes wisdom, grit, intention and grace. It’s often not flashy or post-worthy. But it’s a worthy pursuit in light of the joy and peace and other good fruits that grow from a life lived with intention. A life knowing that what is to come is far better than the momentary troubles we face. While at the same time resting and finding contentment wherever your feet stand.
Alexander once said that you can tell when someone ages with joy. And if we will be known by the fruit we create, or lack thereof, my greatest pursuit must be a life that is marked by serving, by humility, by hard work and always having willing hands. And I know enough to say that those things will produce great, everlasting joy.
My word for 2023 is VIBRANT. And when I think of my most vibrant, vivacious self I imagine a woman who is well-rested but doesn’t complain when her toddlers wake up numerous times throughout the night. I imagine a woman who is rooted in the LORD and rests in being fully known by him, not needing to prove herself in the eyes of man. I imagine a woman who compliments and cheers on other women instead of manifesting praise into bitterness because she’s worried that complimenting someone else will steal the gifts she has. I imagine a woman who is the same on social media as she is in person. I imagine a woman saying “there you are!” instead of “here I am” as soon she walks into a room. I imagine she opens her mouth with wisdom and speaks words of kindness and for gentleness to always be on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26). I imagine a woman not having it all together but still declares she is thriving. I imagine a woman, a wife, mother, neighbor and friend who radiates love, joy, and peace. And I imagine the grit, the humility, the sacrifices, and the choices she will have to make to become that woman.
I’ve had a lingering conviction and craving to say bye-bye to social media for a bit as I close out this year and enter into a new one. So this is my goodbye, my little sign off of this space, so I can have and create space to snuggle my babies, enjoy more time with Alexander, create traditions as a family, to rest and simply be. This is me fiercely protecting my sweet little family, our home, our traditions and time together. This is me choosing to take a step towards the woman I want to be in the future by standing firm in the here and now, being present with my family.
As Liliana says, I’ll say “good-hi” to you when the new year rolls around. Have a lovely Christmas!