Tuesday, February 5, 2013

candles, christmas lights, and a ribbon-wrapped mason jar

I am a home-body, that is for certain.

I like baking cookies, and then sitting down with my knitting and watching "Pride and Prejudice" for the gazillionth time.

I like making my bed (which has a very girly, "Jane Austen-ish" cross-stitched pattern) fluffing the pillows and making everything lay "just-so."

I like sitting down with a good book that I've already read several times.  It's like chatting with an old friend. You mostly know what to expect, but somehow they still manage to surprise you.

I like things to be quiet, calm, and organized.

However - if you know me at all - you know this is not actually what my life looks like most of the time.  I am an extremely busy college student whose life never seems to slow down enough to do these kinds of things very often.  Me and my life could RARELY be described as quiet, calm, and organized.  While I'm in school I am loud, short-tempered, easily frustrated, and stressed.  And my room? It looks like a tornado tore through it, with clothes and papers and books laying everywhere and a mountain of laundry piled up in the corner. (And usually my bed is NOT made.)

The inner house-wife in me dies a little bit every time I come home from school to a messy room and a very long, not-so-homey to-do list.  I long for the simple chore of sweeping the floor, or whipping up a batch of home-made biscuits.  These kinds of things are so theraputic to me. They make me feel busy, but not overwhelmed.  Purposed, but not pressed.

But - that's just not what my life looks like right now.  Right now, I'm a performance major, which means lots of demands on my energy and time in the form of rehearsals and perfomances, teaching and choreographing, sending emails, reading plays, attending the performances of others, and lots more.  Right now, God has called me to a crazy, jam-packed schedule, oodles of homework, and living in a room that is only "just so" when I'm neglecting other responsibilities to make it that way. And if this is what God has called me to - I want to be faithful in it.  It's just a season, and I need to be content in it! Contentment is a daily choice - one I need to start making. 

However - as I eagerly anticipate a different season of life -  there ARE things that I can do to make it more bearable, to make each day a little brighter, a little more beauty-filled.

What this has looked like for me lately: Whenever I can, I light a scented candle in my room, plug in the Christmas lights that my mother so lovingly strung up around my bed because she knew it would make me happy, turn on my "Peaceful" iTunes playlist, and try to do what I need to do, whether it be homework, or laundry, or to wind-down after a performance or long day.  (Though to be honest, I often just wind up relaxing instead of doing my work - I'm still working on my responsibilty!) :)

AND - there's something else that I started just today!

Today I cleaned out a mason jar that I found in a cupboard in our kitchen and tied a sparkly silver ribbon around it. (I love ribbons! It's the Jane Austen heroine in me...) I wrote "2013" on a little piece of paper and tied it to the ribbon, and placed the jar on my dresser. Why?

Well, a while ago on Facebook a friend posted a picture of an idea for thankfulness - finding a jar and writing the things that happen throughtout the year that are especially sweet and special onto little pieces of paper, and putting them in the jar throughout the year.  Then, when New Years Eve rolls around, you can open the jar and look through it, and see all that God has done for you - all the cool things He's caused to happen in your life in the past year.

I think this is a great idea - and I think it's going to help me as I seek to be contented and really SEE the blessings that God is showering on me everyday, all the time. It was so fun to write a few things down and put them in the jar today - I have 3 things in there so far, and it's only the beginning of February! I have a feeling my jar is going to be filled to the brim by December 31st.
And I think it's something I will continue to do.  Because, even when I'm a wife and mom and living the life I'm so excited to live, I'm going to get tired and frustrated and discontented.  (There will be PLENTY of new demands on my time and energy, I know!) And I'm going to need reminders that God is constantly blessing me - that there IS beauty in every season, and every day. So, I will light a candle, plug in the Christmas lights that will be lovingly strung around to brighten the life of my family, turn on the "Peaceful" playlist, and write down the many blessings I receive from the Father - and it will be very sweet, I'm sure.

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