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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letters to My Daughters


It is July 15, 2010.  We just celebrated your 14th Birthday.  We had stir-fry, chicken crescent squares, root beer, and a green-ice cream cake you picked out at Eugene’s, all your choices!    It was a pretty simple night, ending with three episodes of 24, with Jack Bauer. 

In one week we will leave for our two-week road trip, which we are getting very excited about.  The summer has been pretty quiet, except for our volleyball trip to Reno.  I guess it is good to have time in the summer to just relax, play cards, swim, watch our favorite shows, spend time with friends, it is good.  I also know you live with a mother that enjoys accomplishing things.  A perfect day for me?  Getting things done.  Last night, I lay in bed and listened to you and Sadie right above me laughing, talking, and just making noise.  It was 11:30 and I was tired after “getting things” done all day.  I grew resentful because your “fun” was keeping me awake, and tomorrow I had more things to get done.  I lay there; hoping the fun above me would stop very soon.  Why couldn’t you and Sadie just go to sleep?  Right at the time I jumped out of my bed, where your father was fast asleep, oblivious to the the noise, I bumped into Emma standing at the foot of my bed.  She does that quite often, sneaks up on me at night.   I asked her, “Emma, what are you doing?”  She responded, “Sadie and Hannah woke me up, and they won’t let me come in their room.”  Well, that was it, I marched right upstairs, thinking to myself, “They are in BIG trouble, waking us up like this!"

I carried Emma upstairs, placed her in her bed, checked in Luke’s room-he was fast asleep, and entered the room you and Sadie are currently sharing.   As I walked in the room, you were both in bed, looking guilty; knowing you had woke me up.  I gave a short lecture, told you both to keep quiet and then went on to explain the value of going to bed early, getting up early and accomplishing your tasks for the day.  I remember saying something to the effect of how sick of this mentality I am that everyday is a party.  I said goodnight, turned out the light, and stomped back to bed.
After that, I laid in bed thinking about your party mentality.  I realized that what bothered me about it is that it interfered with my “getting things done.”  I want to get things done-you want to have fun.  Well, which is wrong-or right?  I certainly know it is an acceptable practice to want to accomplish things, but also at what price?  I fell asleep wondering about this, thinking what I had to get done the next day.

So, it is the next day.  I am sitting in my chair with my first cup of coffee for the day, reflecting on yesterday, and what needs to happen today.  I pray, I listen, I wonder. Emma is awake, we feed the dogs, the sun is up, the grass cutters are outside, and I am pounding my thoughts out on this keyboard.  Hmm.

A realization hits me. I am not moving, I am not accomplishing right now, or am I? This moment, as I reflect on last night, my mentality of “getting things done,” I see you and Sadie laughing, playing cards, sneaking into your beds when you hear me stomping up the steps, and I remember a story. Martha and Mary.  Do you remember?  That story, that truth, just how Jesus spoke to Martha.  What did he say? Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42 NIV

So, Maybe I am getting something accomplished right now.  I am learning.  I am seeing something I need to see, learning a principal I need to learn.  There is value in what you and Sadie were doing last night.  How many nights left do you have before you struggle with the “ADULT” mentality of getting things done.  Celebration and fun is biblical.  Sitting here praying, reflecting is imperative to a healthy perspective for me.  I AM accomplishing something at the moment, choosing what is better!


Anonymous said...

I love this, Terri! Keep writing and sharing. Kathy Fullerton

Dara Kinder said...

I needed to hear this myself. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...


Plays with Purpose said...

Ah! Embracing what is in front of us - work or play - and doing it all for the glory of God! That's what "doing" is all about. God made some of us doers and some of us players, and as we go through life we may have to walk away from one and embrace the other. Whatever is before us, if we are celebrating the life God has given us with all we are - we are doing what he has asked of us! Glorifying him:-) Thank you for sharing Teri - I remember moments like these when I was the most efficient of doers, and now my nickname is "Plays with purpose"! God is so good to give us so many diverse personalities, talents and seasons. Happy Birthday to Hannah! Can't believe she's 14 - she'll be a doer before you know it, or who knows, maybe God designed her to have a playful spirit throughout her entire life!God bless you guys! Have fun on your trip! Tell the Samples hello and give them all a big hug for us!

Plays with Purpose said...

One afterthought....I bet she gets that playfulness from her mom...I recall some pretty playful times when you were getting things done. Hannah is blessed to have you as a Mom to demonstrate how to work AND play heartily as unto the Lord!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow Terri I love your honesty. I am much like you! Always wanting to accomplish the tasks for the day. Getting annoyed when the kids are all about fun. God is working to help me balance this since we moved from California to St. Louis .

I am trying to be a mom that joins in the fun. I don't know why this is so hard for me other than I learned the worker mentality from my Dad. He learned it from my grandma, who grew up in the depression.

God showed me this mentality became a stronghold in our family and squeezed out the need for Him. Our family is very self made because we know how to work hard. It gives me a feeling of control and I usually feel so complete when I get lots done. However, I almost always do it in my own strength with out needing help from God.

When I play with my kids I need help from the Lord. He enjoys helping me stay in the moment with them and not think about what needs to be done!