Sleep, Sweet Babies, Sleep

It’s nearly proverbial, you know. That resistance to sleep that is wholly ingrained in the youngest of people, the ones who always need that nap the most. My gentle reminders for a short restful nap are met with shrieks, and tears, and running, and bargaining, and just about any other tactic or obstacle that my busy toddlers can create to delay the inevitable nap. A little rest. Just rest. It must be ingrained in the mind of a toddler to fend off sleep with the fury of an angry rooster. Some days it seems easier to skip the afternoon siesta, but in reality, it isn’t. Rest, naps, and sweet slumber are critical to the emotional well-being of my toddlers. And of course, to their mom.

But in all honesty, I am no better. At 10:30 pm my fitbit reminds me that it is time to unwind for bed. And yet, at 10:30 pm I am still going strong. Finishing a load of laundry, folding a few towels, setting out the outfits for the following day. Clearing the days clutter so that I can start fresh in the morning. Jotting down thoughts for one more blog, one more article, another piece of music, then scrambling to pay a bill, tuck in the baby chicks for the night, and turning off all the lights. It’s more than an hour later that I finally crash, and yet my mind keeps racing as I try to get my body to sleep. When we are too busy to rest, we are simply too busy.

There is a hush that falls across the homestead in the middle of the day. Funny how it coincides with my own wee ones nap times. The activity in the chicken yard comes to a halt, and I see little groups of hens, snuggled up beneath the goat shed, or huddled under the belly of the van. The goats cease their playful antics, and cuddle up in a mash of straw and bits of left over hay. The silkie chicks pile up in the corner where the sunlight plays across their pen, a heap of fuzz and feathers being warmed in the sun.  My elderly kitty leaves her post on the bed, only to find just the right spot where she can snooze away the afternoon, relaxed in the sun. How is it that these animals know better than I? I, who try to cram every last bit of work and hustle into the hour and a half that my little ones are tucked away in their rooms, racing to accomplish just one more task, while the rest of the world that is my little homestead peacefully rests? The soft chirping of the brand new buff orpingtons tucked beneath their Ecoglow is soothing as I struggle to finish up one more thing before my gaggle of toddlers is jumping for joy to climb out of their beds again.

We are all in dire need of rest. We are all in desperate need of a break from the busy lives of parenthood, where the chauffering of children to their activities is draining on parent and child alike. We are in need of a break from the hectic rhythms of the work day, to slow our pace, and spend time together. We are in need of a break from the onslaught of information that we constantly crave, the status updates, the tweets, and the wealth of Google’s knowledge at our fingertips. We need to let our bodies, our minds, and our souls, find their rest.

I know what it is I need.

I need to still my body from the work, close my eyes, and allow my body it’s sweet slumber so I have the strength to face another task, another day.

I need to still my mind, to shut down the tech, to breathe in the fresh air of the country and breathe out all the cares of my day, and just be, alive, and refreshed, in the sunshine of the day or the stillness of the evening.

And I need to still my soul, to place it’s care into the hands of the ever-loving Jesus, to accept His rest, and allow myself to receive His peace. But I won’t find it if I’m running, I won’t hear the quiet of His voice if I am scrolling and surfing and tuning the world out with my iPad or my phone. If I truly want to find His rest, I need to make some time to be at rest.

It’s hard to shut it down. It’s hard to disconnect from the technology that I enjoy. It’s hard to refrain from googling the answer to every question my children pose. It’s hard to cut myself off form the workload, and lay my weary body down to sleep. But I am no longer a toddler who does not understand the things his little body needs.

I know my little ones need their slumber, so I’ll do the work of calming their little bodies down for sleep, no matter what antics they throw my way in order to thwart their own rest. And if I am going to care for myself so that I can be strong, and kind, and joyful, and accomplished, I need to stop the antics, and cease thwarting my own desperately needed rest.

Turn if off and shut it down. Close it up and pull the plug. Turn off the lights. It’s time to sleep. Sleep, sweet babies. Sleep, sweet mama. Just sleep.

 

Do you need more rest in your life? Do you need to increase your energy? Get a jump start on a fresh perspective when you sign up for my newsletter and get your Five Day Fast Fix absolutely free.

Does your life need a tune up? Like you want a little bit more out of your life? Or maybe you feel great and you just want to supercharge your energy and creativity? Sign up for you the Free Five Day Fast Fix and start living and loving life again.


He calls you Loved.

 

 

God doesn’t want to be a stranger.

He doesn’t condescend our failures, He descended to our places.  He walked our dusty paths and traveled well-worn roads to meet us.

He’ll come and meet you, right where you are.

God is not unknowable.

He doesn’t stand aloft, aloof; He waits patiently for invitation.

He wants you to cry out to Him, call on Him, count on Him.

He is not mad and overbearing; You cannot sin more than He can forgive.

You cannot make more mistakes than He can use.

There is no tear He cannot comfort, no trial He will not walk you through.

He doesn’t want you to be afraid.

 

God doesn’t want to stand off at a distance, watching, waiting.

He’ll reward you if you seek.

He has plans for you, he has hope for you, he has a future and you are in it.

He has wisdom for you, if you want it. He gives it freely when you ask.

He has strength for you, when you are weak in the knees, and He has rest when you are weary. He has perfect peace when all you’ve got is turmoil.

He knows your needs before you ask, your heartaches, your sorrows, the little things that delight your heart.

He has meaning for your life, and purpose.

image

God doesn’t want to keep you at arms length; He isn’t far away.

God wants to wrap you in His loving arms.

He heals your broken heart, he bandages your wounds.

He takes away your tears, and seals them up in a bottle.

He washes away the dust and stink of your dirty feet.

He wants you to know and hear and heed the whisper of His voice.

He sings for joy because of you.

He calls you friend, He calls you child, He calls you firstborn.
He calls you Loved.

image

 

Romans 5:11, NLT So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Baby steps towards joy.

I might have a bone to pick with Thanksgiving.

I mean, I love a sleep-inducing, kitchen-trashing, dirty-every-pot-in-the-house, gain-five-pounds-in-one-day, deliciously decadent traditional Thanksgiving dinner just as much as the next person. Even when it means scrubbing mashed potatos off the radiator (courtesy of the 1 year old), sweet potatos off the fish tank (courtesy of the 3 year old with a really good arm), and fishing pie crumbs out from under the stove (that wouldn’t be my fault would it?). It’s like the ultimate in comfort food feasting shared with family and friends. And I’m not even sure I mind the added expenditures – a turkey dinner with all the trimmings adds up fast, especially for a family of 8 plus relatives. (My grocery budget is bleeding out, but that’s ok, the leftovers will sustain us for quite some time).

Thanksgiving is a great day to celebrate being together and being thankful for all that God has given us. Except that I think spending 1 day being thankful for 1 giant feast kind of defeats the purpose. Spending 1 day proclaiming our gratitude for our families, friends, jobs, food, warm homes, sports teams, toys, tech, and pets is just the tip of the iceberg. Hmm, maybe more like the size of an icecube. It just doesn’t cut the cranberry sauce, er, mustard.

Joy is born out of gratitude. Not just a one time, once a year spirit of thankfulness. Not just a once a day blessing on the dinner meal. But a life lived in constant gratittude to the Giver of all good gifts.  I can’t help but wonder if, when I’m unhappy, its because I’m not being grateful? Today, I caught myself getting cranky because – just when I wanted to show the tiny humans a video on letters and the sounds they make  – the computer decided to install 36 updates. 36! Tiny humans can’t wait that long. And apparently, grown up humans aren’t so good for 36 updates, either.  But then I realized what a ‘first world’ problem that is. I’m feeling a little bit entitled here – to a clean, warm home, with lots of food, cars that go, tech constantly at my finger tips, while some people are struggling to find a meal or to live in a home with heat and electricity. I am so routinely blessed by what we consider to be basic necessities that I fail to appreciate them.

Last night, I lay in bed, listening to the quiet crackle of the fire slowly dying in the wood stove and the gentle hum of the baby monitor reminding me that my children were cozied up peacefully in their quilts. A kitty purring happily at my feet. A house-full of filled up tummies, snuggled up and warm, resting sweetly.  The struggles of the day fading into the shadows of the night, as I try to pass them on to our God who never slumbers or sleeps.

This, I thought, is the real thanksgiving. It is beginning of contentment, the genesis of gratitude. Baby steps towards joy.