Monday, October 19, 2015

How A Birthday Cake Has Become a Catalyst

It's been a long time. I moved to a galaxy far away, to a new house, and in the process of unpacking, making friends, helping the children settle - I got sick. Now we're all healthy again, hooray! 

Yes, yes - the catalyst thing. 

This last Saturday was my 41st birthday. My beloved husband and children made this cake for me: 

...and it was every bit as decadent as it looks. We actually froze 3/4 of it, as it was deliciously impossible to eat more. 
My delightful mother-in-law got my coffee machine out of lay-by prison:

and my husband also has ordered a stand mixer for me.

I have been thoroughly spoiled, and it's convinced me that I don't have to come last all the time. I've known this for ages, but when the rubber meets the road, I will throw my needs under a bus in the name of domestic devotion. It's my default mode - keep everyone happy, at all costs. 

Except, this default mode hasn't ever really served me. And it's definitely not serving me now. All it does is cause me to be dehydrated, nutritionally deficient, exhausted, extremely likely to get sick, obese, and feeling so much older than my 41 years. 

I've decided that this is over. I am redefining domestic devotion, to include a vital element. 


I am a vital part in our family. It's time for me to stop treating myself as though I'm not, and in doing so will only improve my own performance. 

My husband has been begging me to make an appointment for my hair. Not because he particularly finds my silver hair off-putting, but because it always makes me feel better, and puts a bounce in my step. I've put it off for a while, because there are a hundred other places we could use that money, and it's just my hair. It's a luxury. The fact that it helps me to feel vibrant and energetic is irrelevant.

Yesterday, I made that appointment. 

Our plan has always been that I would go back to school once the children were all in school. Our youngest starts kindy (pre-k) next year, three days a week. I am still in a state of denial over this. A decade of my life is drawing to a close, and I can't quite see what the next stages will look like. I want to enter the next stages with purpose and direction. 

So I applied to the University of New England. 

I (and here is the part of why this post is being written here on this blog) am tired of being overweight, sick, and tired. Of never feeling physically up to the task ahead of me. I want to have energy again. I want to not look tired. I know that a certain "you've got four kids" level of tired is to be expected, but I want it to be the tired that comes from being busy. Not tired because I've existed for a day.

So I am now making a habit of walking for a half hour every evening, out of the house, alone. This actually serves a couple of purposes - exercise, mental white space, and the chance to draw a deep and uninterrupted breath, to think deep and uninterrupted thoughts. Or just listen to a funny podcast, if I just need to laugh. 

In short, I'm ready to believe that I'm important, just as everyone tells me I am. 

The concept of offering myself to God as a living sacrifice - I don't think it means what I've thought it meant. I think it means caring for myself as a valuable tool in God's hands. And I'm ready to do that now. 

Love to all,