This week, I was able to check off one of the books on my “want to read” list. It was called “Keeping Our Children’s Hearts” by Teri Maxwell. An excellent book in many ways, it caused me to have a bit of introspection. One of the points she made in the book is that we can’t expect to capture or keep our children’s hearts, unless our children first have our hearts. Easy, right? Of course my children have my heart. I am a mother, isn’t it only natural? I mean, my every day is dedicated to them…I care for them, sacrifice for them, even homeschool. Then she asked a simple question that really caused some introspection….”What do you do in your free time?” If I was honest with myself, I have to admit, I LOVE the computer. I spend almost 6 out of 7 days in my home, do the majority of my shopping online (what little I do), book tickets, take care of business, research and order homeschool materials, almost everything. I also correspond with other moms, which is something I very much enjoy. But when I thought more deeply about it, I realized that almost every free moment I had was spent on the computer. Sure, I spend plenty of my time with the kids or cleaning house, but what I realized was that, as soon as I had free time, I didn’t always DESIRE to play with kids. I DESIRED to get on the computer. Furthermore, she asked how we reacted if we were on “free time” and our children interupted for a moment. Irritated? Angry? Or understanding and loving? She wasn’t saying that we can’t have free time or that EVERY moment of a mother’s day must be with spent with our children. She was simply trying to make the point that sometimes we, as mothers, do not FULLY give our children our hearts, and that must be the first step if we are to gain theirs with the intent of leading them in the instruction of the Lord.

So the past few days, I have been challenging myself to do better. I have made more of a point to be more verbally thankful of my children during my prayer time, to be more encouraging and smile more when dealing directly with my children, to spend more time holding and interacting with A, and to do more of the “silly” (sometimes monotonous) games that so thrills JR and M. Another challenge I have decided to take on is to rise earlier in the morning. You have to understand that I am a TOTAL and complete night owl. I despise mornings, wish we could totally skip mornings and just jump straight to afternoon. I have always been this way, and the biggest struggle of my entire day happens every morning as I try to drag myself out of bed. Then it takes me a good hour to really wake up and get my brain fully functional (maybe I should learn to like coffee?) Not to make excuses, but I have truly wondered if this is related to my being a Type 1 diabetic. Although I am healthy, my body must often work twice as hard as the average “normal” person. If I happen to have a bad night with high or low blood sugars, it can take more than a day for me to fully recover. I just feel “blah” and worn out. Then again, perhaps this a totally normal thing that can be re-trained. I honestly don’t know. Nonetheless, she pointed out that if we truly want to do something we enjoy, then just try to do it before the children arise. Although my kids wake WAAYY before I do, we have taught them to stay in their room until 7 am. So, my new goal is to get up around 6, have a quiet time with the Lord, do some work on the computer, then start my day.

This morning was my first official attempt. I didn’t actually wake up until around 6:30, then spent 10 minutes arguing with myself. “You can do this! (Go back to sleep!) You will be so happy with yourself! (Just 15 more minutes!) You can get some housework done before the kids are up! (Who wants to do housework before 7!)….” Finally, I managed to drag myself out of bed around 6:40. I got dressed, picked my room up a bit, and then, about 6:50, this walked in:

I absolutely could not resist that adorable little face! I invited her to join me on my bed for some cuddle time. Which she immediately accepted. So, for 10 minutes, we sat together, just snuggling and talking, and I can honestly say we both enjoyed it immensely. In a home with 3 children (soon to be 4), things can hectic, and I do cherish the occasional individual moments with them. So although my morning wasn’t a complete success in terms of my goal, I took the first step. And I can’t think of a better reward than a private smile and hug from one of my kids!