playing in sandSlowing down isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I like to be doing at least two things at once and I am always thinking about what’s next. What’s for dinner tomorrow, what we will do when Emerson wakes up from his nap, where will our next vacation be, and what house project we’ll tackle next. Until recently, slow wasn’t in my vocabulary.

Emerson is teaching me how to slow down and be present. If you’ve spent any amount of time with a 20 month old, you know that the only thing they do fast is run away from you. Otherwise it can easily take him 20 minutes to walk to the car, stopping to pick up a ball, drop the ball, get a drink, listen for trucks and airplanes, and sing a song. Obviously there are times when we need to be at an appointment or meet someone at a certain time and I have to put him in the car without waiting for him to get there himself, but otherwise, he doesn’t have an agenda. He’ll get there when he gets there.

building with blocksEmerson has no concept of time. He doesn’t need to. I feed him, change him, and put him to bed when he needs to. Every other part of his day is playtime. Our days have a little structure (he usually gets to watch 20 minutes of Daniel Tiger in the morning while I have my coffee) and we try to take a walk in the morning, but otherwise he doesn’t know that I need to do laundry, buy groceries, vacuum, pay bills, and cook dinner.

I’m learning to enjoy his pace of life. I’ll admit, there are days when he wakes up from a nap and I realize we still have 2 or 3 hours until Adam gets home that I go a little stir crazy and wonder how in the world we will pass the time. But I don’t check my phone to see what time it is as often and I can enjoy 2 hours of just hanging out, not really doing anything but playing with him.

water boySo we fill our days blowing bubbles, finding rocks, and talking to neighbors who are out. We take multiple walks and water the plants. Anything and everything can be an adventure with a toddler! I’m learning how to be more spontaneous. I’m still a planner, and I do schedule play dates, but there’s room in our schedule for impromptu drop bys and picnics or trips to the zoo on an unseasonably cool day.

You have to build a degree of flexibility into your life when kids are involved. I know Emerson always takes an afternoon nap and it’s usually around 3 hours, but some days it’s shorter and some days it’s longer. I’m thankful that for the most part my work is flexible enough that I don’t have to wake him up and we can adjust our plans accordingly.

I’m still not always good at slowing down. There are times when I can’t help but think that I could be folding clothes or getting dinner ready, but I’m also learning that I don’t have to be “productive” every minute. Yes, this means that some days my to-do list grows instead of shrinks, but that’s OK. Playing with Emerson and giving him my undivided attention is also important.

It also helps that I’m 34 weeks pregnant and moving slower in general. I also know that these relatively quiet days, just the two of us are numbered. I want to enjoy reading him the same book 3 times in a row, and that I don’t have to stop playing with him because it’s time to feed the baby.

Is anyone else adjusting to a different pace of life? Sometimes I laugh when I say things are “slower” now, because even though there are moments that feel slow, in general life feels crazy and full of things to do, people to see, and places to go. Maybe I just have a new appreciation for a slower pace.

freedom flagimage: Josh Meek, Creative Commons

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend with family and friends, full of good food, fun, and of course, fireworks!

We are in Cedar Rapids this weekend with my whole family! I realized I don’t think we’ve all been together in over a year. My brother and his family live in St. Louis and my sister lives in New York, so getting us all under one roof doesn’t happen very often. My parents have a full house, but we’re excited to soak up every minute of our time together!

I realize the focus of today is our national freedom and recognizing and honoring all those who have made sacrifices so we can live in a country with freedom of speech, religion, press, and so much more. Does anyone else feel like they take these freedoms for granted? I’ve never had to fight for them or been without them, but I know they are things that people in other countries can only dream of.

But it’s also a good time to remember the freedom we have in Christ. Unfortunately, this is also something I take for granted. But I realize that with any kind of freedom, if I don’t recognize it and choose to accept it, it is worthless. That is why Paul writes in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

I believe freedom in Christ is a gift. It is freely mine to accept and live in. When I do that, I live in the knowledge of Christ’s love and grace for me and can live a life free from the yoke of slavery and the law. I am no longer bound by my sin and shame and can fully enjoy his love.

While living in freedom instead of slavery seems like an obvious choice, as humans sometimes it is our nature to fall back into our old ways. The Israelites are a perfect example of this. They were miraculously freed from slavery in Egypt, yet they still wandered in the desert for 40 years. They were free from slavery, but still living in bondage. I don’t want to live that way!

My prayer is that we learn from the Israelites and rather than continuing to live in bondage that we choose to embrace our freedom in Christ. Let’s choose to throw off the chains of sin and live our lives fully! Because that is why God set us free.

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