I also directed the 4th Abundant Life Conference for Women earlier this month, keeping me on my toes most recently. And that doesn't include all the family, fun, and educational stuff. Honestly though, I wouldn't have it any other way and am loving all the things I'm getting to do right now. And that's what this new series is going to be about: how I do all that I do.
I want to start out by being clear about the reasons for this endeavor. I am not writing about myself because I’m overly self-centered (as far as I can tell, I’m about averagely self-centered) or want to garner loads of accolades (although, I’ll be the first to admit that compliments feel good.) No, the main purpose of this book is to answer the question I get all-too frequently: “How do you do it all?”
A secondary purpose for diving into this venture is to open up with what I hope will be blunt honesty about the life of a busy mom who seeks to live a life worthy of the calling she’s received. And in doing so, offer encouragement to other moms out there seeking the same.
Let me start off for those of you reading this who don’t know me by explaining why I think this question gets thrown at me so frequently. Hold on, though, I have to take a deep breath first.
Okay, let’s go: I am a stay-at-home wife and mother of four. As of this writing my children are ten, eight, six, and four and I homeschool them. We are active in our church. Three of my children sing in choir and all of them attend Awana (a program focusing on developing spiritually strong children and young adults.) The older three are each allowed to participate in one activity outside of church. My husband works full time and often takes on building projects (currently a loft bed is being constructed in our garage.) I also write. I love to write! (which is a whole other story in itself.) I’ve been writing for about eight years and now have five books in print. Four of them were released in the last three months and I’ve self-published them all – another separate story. Because I’m self-publishing, I now “own” my own publishing business, making me one of those millions of small business owners in the U.S. I write fiction, nonfiction, adult, children, and young adult books. I currently have about twenty books in the works – somewhere between title and basic idea to completed and awaiting some more edits. I also speak, travelling about six times a year around my region to share my testimony with women’s groups. I just directed the fourth annual Abundant Life Conference for Women, which I launched when my baby was a baby. We’re already planning for the fifth (conference, not baby.) In my spare time I help organize and go on domestic mission trips, serve at our church’s monthly community dinner for those in need, and occasionally lead a women’s Bible study and/or prayer group. In my spare time….
Okay, now it’s your turn to take a deep breath. I hope you’re not overwhelmed at this point, although when I put it all together like that, I often get overwhelmed. However, that is only a slice of the story. There’s much, much more.
But don’t run away! Please stay just a little while longer. There is (I hope) encouragement yet to come.
Here’s the next slice: Currently, I’m staring at approximately six loads of clean clothes piled up on the pool table. One of them is folded. The washer and dryer are both full and there are at least four loads of towels waiting to be washed. (Three of which consist of towels used in summer activities like boating and swimming – it’s November.) The school table is scattered with both school and non-school items alike. I have a full-sized counter piled with mail, paperwork, school pictures, crafts, snacks, more school stuff, and other things I can’t see. The video I checked out from the library for my kids last week hasn’t been touched, and it’s due back tomorrow. I have no idea what’s for lunch and have bags to pack for this week. For me to travel for three days to speak. For the children – for homeschool group, Awana, and to stay at Gamma’s house for two nights. My bathrooms are clean though! Umm, not by me, but they’re clean. The turtle’s tank has been green for the last week. Each day for several now I’ve promised to slip that little task up the to-do list. Did I mention we’ve only had about three full school days in the last three weeks?
I say that all to say this: I DO NOT DO IT ALL.
I do a lot. Some things I do well. But I fall short in many areas and never get everything done in one day that I’d like to get done. However, my life is overflowing with love, laughter, peace, hope, and joy. I’ve learned to be fruitful in my busyness instead of frantic. I’ve learned to say no (whether you believe it or not at this point.) I’ve also learned that days of doing absolutely nothing are essential. As is pulling myself away from everything to have quantities of quality time with my family.
That’s why this series is being launched. My desire to first of all give you the assurance that not only can’t you do it all, none of us are made to do it all. Second, to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned along my journey that will hopefully encourage you. And third to offer the keys to true joy, love, peace, and fulfillment without having to strive for or wear yourself out trying to earn any of it.