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Peace Plan

Devotional Living With Intention Peace Plan Roadtrip

What Life On The Road Has Taught Me About Balance In Life. And That There Is None.

September 14, 2017

It’s a funny thing, taking off on a two-month road trip with one of your greatest goals being to find deep rest–only to discover that living in a 208-square-foot space with your husband, three young boys, and pregnant self, is not exactly restful. Imagine that.

My perspective on “rest” has shifted in monumental ways over the past few weeks. I feel as though humankind is constantly in search of the “balanced life”. I have been, anyways–on pursuit of a balanced life for years now. Can we really find a balance, when the circumstances of life tip from one side to the next so constantly? Only now do I see that rest and balance depend not so much on our circumstances, but on the state of our heart. Rather, I am coming to believe that this “balance” is more about finding a right relationship between rest, play, and work.

Issaquah, Washington

September 1 – 6

 

We parked our camper in the yard of some (very gracious) friends. Grayson knew them years ago from Bible school. It was so good to fellowship, break bread, hike, and share stories together over the week.

“Zeke, there is so much that I want to tell you about here.” Four-year-old Ellis told his big brother from the back seat. The day before, Daddy had taken just Ellis out to Seattle for the afternoon. And now Ellis played tour guide as we all ventured into the city, telling us all the details of the Space Needle, the tour cars that go into water, and the bike shop where they had discovered vegan donuts that he could eat. He sounded as if he had always lived there, just like his Daddy did for three years, two decades ago.

We watched the boys learn about combustion, what plants astronauts grow in spaceships, and what butterflies eat while exploring the Pacific Science Center. Then had lunch at Gasworks Park, where Gray took me eight years ago on our honeymoon.

We woke up on our fifth morning to ash falling from the sky. The hills of the Columbia River Gorge, where we stayed two weeks ago, are ablaze in fire.

Learning:

Rest takes time.

When you are around someone who is doing something you want to do in life, ask them all the questions. Don’t waste time or shy into small talk. Interview them. Learn from them. And in so doing, make friends.

Apple crumble needs sugar. Not honey. That’s just how it is.

 

Started Reading:

For The Children’s Sake: Foundations of education for home and school, Susan Schaeffer, Macaulay

The Dark Tower And The Gunslinger, Stephen King

 

Eating:

Gluten Free Marionberry biscuits from Issaquah Coffee Shop

Breaking bread with friends: Grilled pork with potatoes and green beans. Instant pot minestrone with ceaser salad. Apple crisp with ice cream. Chicken and rice with vegetables–so thankful for friends feeding us.

Found gluten free, vegan cookies, local strawberries, blueberries, and peaches at the Issaquah farmers market.

As I observed our friends over the week, and how they homeschool and lead their children, I was humbled–and honestly amazed. This work, rest, play thing–they seem to get it. Their home was calm–well, as calm as it could be with three extra little boys running around!

I think that this trip is giving me the crash course I wanted on rest this year. I wrote it in my journal at the beginning of the year:  “Get really good at work, rest, and play.” Of course, back then I had no thought of this trip, or the opportunity I would have to learn deep rest through two months on the road. But here I am.

It doesn’t come from our surroundings. It comes from a deep understanding of when rest is most important, and a habit of placing work on hold for more lofty things. It comes from holding fast to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 11:28, “I will give you rest.” It comes also from a never-giving-up pursuit of that rest, as the author of Hebrews instructed, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest”.

It comes from finding the most purposeful work, the kind that fills us up while serving others. It comes from knowing how to walk a trail in the woods long enough for tasks to fade from our minds, left behind with each step forward in the dirt. It comes from knowing when to untangle the mess of thoughts in our mind, and go play with our kids–Or that playing with our kids is exactly how we untangle that mess of thoughts.

It comes from time–rest does. Time practicing it, pursuing it, and never giving up on it.

 

936Pennies Motherhood Peace Plan

It’s Time To Reclaim A Peaceful Motherhood

September 2, 2016

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It would be so easy. Convenient, even, which is very rare in a house with three kids ages five and under. The toddler is napping. The older boys are contentedly constructing Lincoln Log houses together in their room. The house is quiet. I could sit and answer a few emails. My boy walks into the kitchen and asks if I can build with him. “I’d like to Buddy, but I need to finish up a little bit of work.” “Ok,” he replies, “maybe later.” 

He turns and walks out of the kitchen, and immediately my Peace Plan comes to mind, and that one line written, “No work between 8 and noon” It’s 11:00. It’s their time.

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I pour another cup of coffee and walk over to my boy. “I changed my mind,” I tell him, “Can I build a house with you?” He smiles and jumps in the air, then rushes off ahead of me to his room. For a while we sit there together, me and my boys. I find it hard; somewhat restless. But with each minute passing, I feel more at ease. This is where I’m supposed to be right now. When we finish our grand construction, I set up their beanbags against the wall, grab a stack of books, and we settle in, each boy on my side. This is where peace is. And today I’ve chosen it.

A Peace Plan is just that—a plan. It is a constant reminder to me of what my heart really desires and needs. It is a reflection of my highest values. It is a warning light when I’m slipping into distraction, or losing sight of what matters most in my life.

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I wrote of this Peace Plan a while back, and how it might just be the most important plan that we can make as parents.

It is a guide for navigating us through every single day, helping us to make the most of them. Peace has so much to do with how we spend our time. This plan is the one thing I have found successful for looking back at the end of the day, and seeing a few highlights; a few strategically chosen moments, a few intentional choices made, a few favorite parts of my day; all structured together by the blueprint of this Peace Plan.

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The plan changes from time to time. It has to, in order to be an effective defense against the ever-changing peace thieves in our lives. As our kids grow and we find ourselves in new seasons of life, we face different threats to our peace. And so this plan must be ever evolving, in tune with our heart and mind.

At the beginning of each month, I evaluate those two all important questions that are the foundation of this plan. What will bring more peace to our days right now? And, What is stealing my peace right now?

And then I begin to write, short and simple.

No work between 8 and 12.

Early morning time alone—before the kids wake.

Slow mornings at home, or at the park.

No running unnecessary last-minute errands.

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It is not a to-do list or a goals list. It’s a focus list. It’s about shining a spotlight on the things that give us peace, and reminding ourselves of them every single day. Just as important, it requires pinpointing the very things that are stealing our peace. Those things that when we succumb to them, our shoulders tense. Our mind tells us to put the phone away. Our heart tells us to stay home and sip coffee, that errand can wait. Our spirit tells us to shut down the laptop and read to our child. Our soul is very good at pointing out where peace is, if we’ll only pay attention. And that is when we can begin drafting our Peace Plan.

It’s not elaborate, but simple and raw. It shows us how we want to spend our time, and how we don’t want to spend it. It identifies weaknesses. It highlights our values.

Go hiking with my husband

Make cards with the boys for family

Write something every day

Read a novel

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I pin the Plan next to my desk, where I can glance at it every day; a regular check-in with my heart to see if I’m where I want to be.

I don’t always get it right. Some days I find myself sucked into the social media vortex, or staying up too late, leaving me too tired in the morning to grab that alone time. But when I miss it—I know right away. I see it staring straight back into my eyes—fear. Stress. Frustration. Discontent. Guilt. I feel it deep within my spirit that I missed out on something better.

But when I do get it right, when I choose Lincoln Logs and books over email because it’s still morning—which means it’s their time—I see something much better staring right back into my eyes. I see their eyes. And that is exactly where peace is found.

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I have a habit of asking my boys at bedtime what the favorite part of their day was. Sometimes their answers surprise me. They’ll mention one little thing that I hardly counted memorable, but it stood out to them. It offers me a priceless glance into their hearts. Lately, when I ask myself the same question, What was my favorite part of the day? Almost always I think back to a moment in the day that my Peace Plan brought me to.

And that is exactly what this plan is for—a guarantee that we’ll catch those moments, and make them matter. The Peace Plan is for creating those favorite moments of the day, and protecting against their extinction. If you were to sit down and do a little bit of introspection; to put a name to the things stealing your peace right now, and if you could make some simple changes to bring more peace to your heart and these days of raising your kids…wouldn’t you? Perhaps it’s time to start writing.

“Those Who Plan Peace Have Joy” Proverbs 12:20