When I was a young mom, frustrated up to my eyeballs trying to teach my kids to do their jobs (oh you young moms, that can be a thankless job, and I’m here for you!), a more seasoned mother gave me some good advice:
She told me after a job is done, to take some time to sit back and admire the work that was done.
Marvel at those spotless faucets and that sparkling toilet.
Appreciate the way that blanket is tucked in or how quickly that dishwasher got emptied.
Oo and Ah as you take a moment to step back to take in a job well done.
This wise mother told me in doing so, I could help validate that hard work. Which is a beautiful thing.
And as I took that idea to heart and put it into action, taking time to admire that clean kitchen or garage or bathroom, we were actually sanctifying our work in a way.
My children glowed as I examined all the things they did well.
I think it’s that way a lot in life. When we take time to look back and admire the good, we recognize that there actually is good. So much good! I think something like this can actually help mark progression: when we notice all the good steps that have been taken.
I’m doing the Come Follow Me devotional again this coming Sunday (I’ll link here when it becomes available), but I’ve been thinking about the verse I talked about quite a bit in conjunction with these thoughts. We’re starting into the Old Testament and this week we are reading in Genesis about the creation.
In Genesis 2:3, after all the creation business, it says:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
He looked back and “saw that it was good.”
I like to think He looked at that creation with satisfaction and maybe even marveled at its wonder.
As I have thought of all this jazz, (maybe you can’t call scriptures “jazz” but hey, I’m including all that other stuff above the scripture too!), before I get frustrated at myself for what we didn’t do in 2021, I’ve been pondering what we did do around here.
Because a lot of good stuff happened.
I mean, I had my first cello recital for one!
Sure, I scratched out those notes and I played a piece from Book One of Suzuki, but hey, I was there.
Had to get a self portrait practicing before we left, and so glad to have a picture of my wonderful teacher who is so patient with me!
And this support crew? The best ever.
Accomplishments like Lucy starting high school (that was a big maneuver for emotions and adjustment!). I look back on the highs and lows of that transition and realize “it was good.” She is surrounded by the best teachers in the whole wide world, she is working so hard, she is the manager of the basketball team for crying out loud! Sure, there are tough parts where we all want to cry, teenagerhood is hard.
But I love looking back at the “glistening whole.”
And also, Lucy is adjusted to the choir situation (it was a little bit of a rough start), and sings like bird up there on that front row:
This was her Christmas concert, it was so beautiful.
So proud of her.
Claire has gone from not being able to talk about graduation at all to clicking “send” on college applications with a smile.
She had a pretty amazing adventure in The Netherlands and knows how to count to ten in Dutch.
She’s talked to all kinds of coaches for volleyball and made tough decisions with recruiting as well as club, friends, jobs (more volleyball wrap-up soon). She has improved her communication skills drastically and I know I’m biased but that girl is a wonder.
(And also a good TikTok maker…ha!)
David graduated from Thunderbird, something he’s wanted to do for years, and continues to amaze me with his ability to manage and prepare and organize and make us all laugh.
Grace has spent the entire year in Texas learning things that she couldn’t learn any other way, and glowing with the beauty that goes with that. And now she wants to live in Texas all her life:) She also feels a deeper connection with God and her Savior than she ever imagined and I love to discuss the world with that girl.
Elle landed her first “real” job and has taken the plunge into the graphic design world, Carson is well into his second year of medical school and those two have made a good home in Miami. And those two finally were able to get sealed in the temple after all the pandemic closures.
Max found a perfect job coding, learning so much toward his computer science major, made a switch in Universities, and Abby landed two different great jobs from which she is learning so much.
And also, can’t forget the addition of twins:
Ha! I shouldn’t even joke about that…those are my sister’s twins:)
Oh gosh I adore those two couples!
Sure, this sounds like everything is butterflies and rainbows around here, but just remember I’m “sanctifying.” Looking back on some jobs well done rather than focusing on the failures, the tears, the frustrations, the sorrows. Because believe me, they were there.
And we grew from them too. Maybe that sanctification process needs to actually include all the bad as well as the good. The refiners fires are definitely part of the growth process. I actually don’t think there is growth without it. Those are the things that bring us to our knees.
But for now I want to look back on 2021 just like I looked back on a job well done with my little kids all those years ago.
Look at those shiny parts and admire the good parts, and be grateful we made it through the bad.
Hiking and boyfriends and break-ups and missionary farewells and family gatherings and Relief Society and temples in all varieties and adventures and exploring and counseling and kidney stones and basking in the beauty of the world and trying new things.
It was a good year.
Now let’s bring on 2022.
Some things not pictured but talked about in this post:
Claire’s adventure in The Netherlands
Claire’s volleyball recruiting (more to come on that!)
Europe with our married kids
Dave’s graduation from graduate school
Lucy’s basketball team manager position
Max’s school change
Elle & Carson’s temple sealing
So much more, but I’m out of time.
This is a perfect example of my favorite Mary Oliver ‘poem:
“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” This is my goal for 2022!
Thanks for the inspiration to keep going! Love you!
I love that! One of my favorite things to remember in the scriptures is a party when they “cease to be astonished” and things don’t work out as well. Astonishment is one of the most beautiful gifts! Thanks for reminding me. Love you forever Mom!
What a great year!