My husband said to me the other day, “I want to read your next blog.”
“I haven’t written a new one yet,” I said.
So, here I am, avoiding my Monday chores to write. I was thinking this morning about how much more I like myself lately. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no, here comes the narcissism.” Wait. Don’t leave yet. I’m not talking about how much I love the way I look or behave, or about how smart I think I am, because believe me I don’t like to dilly-dally down that path. It’s way too uncertain, unsettled and undone at best, (nightmare!), but I have come to the place in my life where I'm really starting to enjoy Jenny.
For example, I have some flowers planted in front of my house in planter boxes. I was trying to figure out how to best arrange them so they’d look best to visitors when I said, “I like them here because I can see them. I like to look at them.” In true Jenny fashion, I ignored how I felt, and continued my futile attempt at landscape design. Puke. It's so overwhelming. I love my land, but, oh the money it would take to whip her into shape.
Anyway, Josh was out there with me, moving things according to my whims when he said, “Why don’t you just leave them here? You just said you like them here because you like to see them through the window.”
Now, let’s be clear here. He wasn’t trying to help me add value to our house, he was trying to get out of work. I mean, I can’t blame him. It was boring, aimless work, with no guarantee of an end in sight. But, he was right. (Sometimes a husband’s ploy to get out of work is him being used by the Lord to bring freedom to his wife, even if he's just trying to get out of work.) So, with that said, I conceded. I had him leave my flowers, and my most favorite baby tree, right outside my window where they teeter on uneven patches of grass and red North Carolina dirt. And you know what? I love them there. And you know what else? They make me happy there. I can see them. They bring me joy by living there. They look like a line of yardsale plants, but they make me happy.
When we get serious about landscaping I’ll become more strategic about placement, but I’ve made up my mind. I will landscape around my heart. I’ll put my flowers where I can see them. They’re here because they caught my eye. I don’t want them to be hidden from my view.
Something else. I often wear these shoes with socks. These aren’t meant to be worn with socks.
I mostly do it because there's a no-shoe policy in our house so when it’s time to go, these are easy. It's not right, but when I look down, it doesn't seem so wrong. I like that. It's me. When I was a teacher I purposely wore socks that didn't match my outfit. I did it to be quirky. I thought, teachers should be quirky, so mismatched socks were my attempt at being odd. And it was easy. It seems that socks being mismatched makes me happy. They either don't match my outfit, or the shoes I wear. I'm okay with it. I think it's funny. And side note, I don't like stinky shoes from sweaty feet. Socks with these shoes, problem solved. :)
Okay, let's pause here. There are many things I DO care about getting right. (I'm not totally free yet.) My house. I'm particular, especially where cleanliness is concerned. It's a deep issue of control. I get that. But, it also makes me happy. I like when things are tidy. I can better relax when things are together. I grew up in an uncertain environment. My parents are my heroes, but I've lived my fair share of rough times. Having things in order is a sense of security for me. It's predictable and safe. It's not for everyone, but it works for me. I could stand to let loose a little, and if you ask Josh, he'd say I have, but maybe a little more would be good. Maybe soon. Maybe not. We'll see. The trick is finding balance between keeping a clean house, and enjoying my life. I'm working on it. I mostly clean while my kids are at school, Noelle is napping, and Josh is at work. But, I'll be honest, I've missed many fun times with my kids so I could tidy up one more thing. Bad. Shameful. Regretful. I purpose to miss no more. I like that about me. I like that I've given myself permission to let go; permission to make a conscious decision to let go; and permission to hold myself accountable when I choose chores over babies. I like where I'm headed in this.
I also like that I have a no-shoe policy in my house. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Now, it's getting crazy in here. Hahaha! I know. It is! But it's me. And I like me. We are surrounded by red dirt/mud, as previously mentioned. It's my house. I like clean inside, mud outside. Period. I used to feel terribly guilty about asking people to take their shoes off when they come in. Now I don't. I learned that it's one of my boundaries, and boundaries are good. I cherish, honor and value my friends. I don't ask them to remove their shoes to be bothersome. I do it because it's my house. It makes me happy.
I suppose my point in all of this is that I've come to a place in my life where I actually like seeing the real Jenny come out more and more. I watch how carefree my girls are, and how their personalities come out in unique, creative, uninhibited, shapeless ways. That's them in their purest pursuit of joy. That's what I'd like to bottle up and keep for their whole lives. That's what this tired old world needs. It seems we grow out of that, and into a person that the world, (Christians and non-Christians), find acceptable, and better yet, appropriate. Listen, I'm all about honor, integrity, good character, and living a life pleasing to the Lord. But I will do it in a way that is expressly, uniquely me. I will live a life of quirky righteousness. I will teach my girls to be themselves. What I overcome, I overcome for generations. I will be free in the true sense of the word. I will not be reckless, nor will I be unaccountable or rebellious in my freedom, but I will make an effort to let myself be me. I will live close to my God and family, and operate honestly from my heart. I pray my girls will do the same.
I like being 32, but I like the Grandma-feeling I'm starting to have. Not the, I'm ready for grandkids, Grandma-feeling, but the, I like who I am and it's starting to show, Grandma-feeling. The gentle peace in who I am; the strength and security I get from living honestly; and the pure, raw joy that comes from letting myself and my family be who we are, trusting God in everything, and letting Him come out in ways that can only be expressed uniquely through us. I like this point in my life. I like this new Jenny. I like her a lot.