{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

“In return for our discriminating and loving observation, Nature gives us the joy of a beautiful and delightful intimacy, a thrill of pleasure in the greeting of every old friend in field or hedgerow or starry sky, of delightful excitement in making a new acquaintance.”  Charlotte Mason in Volume 4: Ourselves

When was the last time you stopped and observed Nature?  Take a few moments today to soak up that “joy of a beautiful and delightful intimacy.”  You deserve this intentional moment.

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

At first glance, this looks like I snapped a photo at the wrong time.  The truth is, I didn’t notice the Daddy Longlegs at first either.  Sometimes it takes seeing the world through our children’s eyes for us to notice the details.  And life is all about the details.

with-every-intention-glimpse-intentional life

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

A Glorious New Year Awaits

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve.  I had planned to sit down and reflect on the year that was and the year that is to come.  Instead I spent the day on the couch shielding my eyes from light and trying to block out the noise of my rambunctious children while I nursed myself back to health from an annoying virus.

I thought about the day.  It had been awful…not just because I felt miserable but because I let my misery drive my actions.  I had barked at my kids, shooed them away, and tried my best to ignore them.

Some days are like that.  There are good days and bad days and days in between.  There are days we reflect on as we lay in bed at night and wish we had done everything differently; there are days we look back upon with joy and gratitude; there are days that thankfully end when our heads hit the pillows; there are days that drag into the next.  There are wasted days and thoughtfully spent days.  Joyful days and sorrowful days.

Years can be that way, too.

Some years are amazing; some are rough.  Some start out rough and end beautifully.  Some years we claim to be our best ever while other years passed by uneventfully marked, but no less lived.

But the beauty is that just as each new day offers a new beginning, so does a new year. The new year brings us each a gift…a book with our name on the cover, followed by 365 pages.  365 blank pages just waiting to be filled by the way we choose to live.  365 opportunities.  365 pages just waiting to be written.

Some days, some years, they just seem less intentional.  Begun without a clear direction of where we’re headed.

I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions but I do love the idea of living with intention.

The root word of resolution is resolve, which, by definition, means to decide firmly on a course of action. On the other hand, intend, by definition, means to design something for a particular purpose.

I delight in that thought…to design something for a particular purpose.  It sounds poetic and lofty without the weight of a firm decision.  My mindset morphs from something to struggle beneath to something to strive for just by changing a word.

When we choose to live with intention, we open up a whole new world to ourselves.  No longer do we get to the end of our days wondering where those 24 hours went or look back at the month and rack our brains wondering what we did this month.  When we live with intention, we live in this moment, with purpose.  And living with intention, at its simplest, is being an active participant in our own lives.

It’s about this moment right now and how this moment will set the path for our future days.  While the past tends to influence us, it doesn’t dictate a path for us, so don’t waste time wallowing.  We are only promised this moment right now and when we live it with intention, that intention helps us stay the path that we so desperately want our lives to follow.   Living intentionally isn’t the same as carpe diem.  Carpe diem is a Latin phrase meaning seize the day, but the meaning is meant to apply to the present only; to not be concerned about the future, whereas living with intention is living with a purpose.  Living with a purpose implies that it isn’t just about the here and now, but it’s about purpose for all things yet to come.  All 365 days yet unlived.

It’s January 1st.  I’ve managed to do the dishes, wash the clothes and take a nap.  I still feel miserable.  This certainly isn’t how I wanted to write the first day of 2019, but there’s still something intentional about using this time wisely, both to heal and to think.  I don’t want 2019 to be the year remembered for the shows I watched or the Facebook feed I scrolled through.  I don’t want to wake up this time next year and wonder where my 365 opportunities disappeared to.  I want this year to be remembered for the intentional moments.  The moments I lived with purpose.  What are your intentions for 2019?

And Then There Were Four

Having my first kid was love at first sight.  I was in awe of that tiny little bundle.  Those ten little fingers and ten little toes made me weak in the knees.  I spent hours just staring at him, marveling at the wonder of life.  He and I, we meshed.  He moved into crawling and walking and still it felt as if this new heart of mine, this mommy heart, beat solely to the rhythm of his.

Then along came baby #2.  Less than 2 years after the arrival of #1.  And it was fun.  Now I got to introduce my first to all the amazing things that make babies so lovable.  I still had energy and patience and somehow I survived just fine on little sleep.  I adored both boys.  I marveled at every new thing they did.  I soaked up all the “Mommy watch this” and the “Mommy hold me.”  I loved being needed.  Tears and meltdowns felt like par for the course where I was able to soothe and restore.  I had this whole Mommy thing down pat.  Life was more chaotic than with just one, but I was good at it.  And I loved it.

Less than 2 years later, #3 arrived.  2 years after that, #4.  And suddenly I was knee deep in crowd control.  Being a Mommy didn’t feel nearly so fun and while I still was in love with each of my babies, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to reflect on the wonders and marvels of little life.  I hardly had time to stare at one before another needed my attention.  I was over here treading deep water just trying my best not to sink.  The first couple of years of #4’s life?  A complete blur.  When did she start walking?  What was her favorite bedtime story?  I’m ashamed to not know.  I’m sure I wrote it down somewhere but the moments aren’t carved into the essence of my heart the way they were with the first one.

Realizing I can’t remember some of those moments because I was moving through life in a daze?  That’s a sobering thought.

I don’t tend to hang myself with guilt or beat myself up with regret.  But I do tend to let my past guide me.

These relationships I have over here?  They’re not just important to me.  They’re my lifeline.  These kids might temporarily be mine before they head off into the wide world but they are my saving grace, my road to sanctification.

How will I possibly live with myself if I don’t nurture the little lives that I labored to bring into this world?

My littlest one is almost 4.  Life has slowed down considerably for me.  We can actually travel and not have to listen to screaming thirty minutes in.  No more diapers or nursing babies.  No more meltdowns eagerly awaiting naptimes.  I’ve got two boys that I can’t remember the last time they asked me to pick them up or hold them.  I only hear “Mommy watch this” occasionally these days.  My once upon a time toddlers now help around the house and ease the workload of this busy mama so life doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

But I’ve spent the past few weeks looking at them wondering how the last few years impacted our relationships.  I know I was here physically, but my goodness, mentally I was exhausted.  Some days I felt like I had nothing left in me to give.  I can’t honestly say that I paused long enough to listen to each of them.  There was always so much laundry and cooking and cleaning and the minute one began to talk, another began to cry.  I literally spent the last few years divided, not really giving fairly to any of them.

Of course it doesn’t help that on top of all my own self-induced responsibilities, I also had the distraction of an outside world.  Text messages, social calls, Facebook groups, the world of internet.  It all moves so fast today.  So very fast.

So how do I nurture the relationships that give me purpose in such a fast paced world?

I have a vision of what I want our relationship to look like twenty years from now.  And so I choose.  I choose to slow down.  To stop and savor.  To be intentional.  Intentional in my plans.  Intentional in my conversations.  Intentional in the moments I share with these darling little beings.  Intentional because that’s how a goal is met…one intention at a time.

If you want to be a pro soccer player someday, you train.  Intentionally.  You don’t spend your days eating bags of potato chips and greasy hamburgers.  You don’t take weeks off  to stay indoors reading books about soccer.  You play soccer.  It’s one training session at a time.  One intentional day at a time.

Relationships are no different.

Sometimes those intentional moments require a complete break from the fast paced beat of our everyday lives.  Sometimes it’s as simple as turning off the phone.  Other times it’s as simple as choosing them over some imagined priority.  It’s always as easy as looking into their eyes when they’re talking to me.  Listening to them when they express themselves (even when that’s done through a cascade of tears or a fit of anger).  Holding them even when they think they don’t need to be held.

Those things pressing into me from every side.   Most of those things will still be there tomorrow.  They’ll still be there twenty years from now.  But these relationships I’m building?  That’s happening now.  And I have to choose.  If I want those to look like I imagine in twenty years, then I have to choose to be intentional today.