Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a few hours with my dear friend Cynthi. We have been friends since our freshman year in high school. This June we celebrated 20 years since our graduation day. So, we’ve been friends a long time!
Cynthi lives in Tennessee with her darling family, so the chance to see Cynthi, let alone spend nearly an entire day with her, could not be passed up. It was well worth my time, energy, and comfort (it was HOT & I forgot to bring my bathing suit!) to visit with Cynthi. If you don’t know me personally or haven’t guessed by now, I love investing my time in people more than anything else. For me, it is the second easiest and most fruitful way to know God. The first being prayer.
During our conversation, I brought up the topic of photos. Cynthi and her husband Rob have 3 children. I am all ears to anyone with 1 child, let alone 3, when it comes to hearing what in the world they do with their photos. What works for them, what doesn’t, what do they wish they had done when the older ones were younger, what did they feel they wasted their time on, etc.
Cynthi’s first response was, “I know my limits!” And then she proceeded to tell us that since she knows her limits so well, she has printed out her photos over the years, stuck them in old-fashioned photo albums and called it good. And that’s just fine with her. In fact it’s more than fine because she’s spent the last month or so scanning every single one of those photos. Cynthi and her family are in the process of becoming missionaries. By next summer, they hope to have relocated to Brussels where they hope to plant churches and reach the Belgian people with Christ’s love for them. So all the scanning is for her to keep her precious photos on CD’s and hand over her photos albums to any family member who wants them since they will be taking the bare minimum with them once they move overseas.
Know your limits.
It’s like it all clicked for me right then and there. This “random” feeling I’ve been having, scattered thoughts, seeking to find balance in my days.
I need to discover my limit and rather than pushing that limit to fit what I wish it could be or think it should be because of “this” mom’s life over here or “that” gal’s life over there, and be content with where the limit is.
For example, any given time I sit down at my computer during the day I have maybe 5 minutes at most that is uninterrupted. And in those 5 random minutes I actually start to try and conquer:
– thank you notes for D’s birthday gifts
– put together a photo collage and letter for the distant relatives that only communicate with us through cards and letters
– update each boy’s baby book
– organize my photos from the last month
– catch up on the 30+ emails that consistently sit in my in-box…
– research the best laptop to get in hopes that I can start to do some digital scrapbooking in the future (and still needing to talk to Hubbs about getting a laptop in the first place…)
– make sure I’m on top of things with MOMS Club members since I’m the “membership vice president” and need to be on top of that kind of stuff
– take a glance at my blog and start to write something!!
– of my 30+ emails, I should really be sure to be up to date with what’s going on with the women’s Bible Study on Friday mornings since I’m on the vision team and am investing my time and energy with those women
– update our family Shutterfly page since the most recent photos on there are from October of 2009
– start the meal planning for the next month
That’s just a small slice of what goes through my brain pretty much anytime I sit down at the computer. That on top of keeping my 2 little ones healthy and relatively happy, needing to do something in the kitchen, trim the bushes out in front of the house, clean the bathrooms, get the carpets cleaned, wash the car, and the list goes on…
So I have all of that going on in my head at rapid speed throughout the day.
BUT, if someone wants to make a coffee date with me, if I get a phone call from a friend, if I get a letter in the mail (yes, it really does still happen sometimes!), if an email sounds urgent and a friend need encouragement, if there’s an opportunity to spend time with my family (extended or otherwise) – I’m there. All of what goes on in my head can so easily be put aside when there’s a chance for me to spend some time with someone.
Friendship is a treasure to me. Getting to know others, learning how each one of us “ticks”, having to say “no” to something so I can say “yes” to someone – these are life-long pursuits of mine that will not die. So I have to set a limit when it comes to anything else but people. And yes, I realize that with people, there should still be a healthy boundary. But I am blessed with a husband who also loves people. He also understands the value of friendship. His support and understanding can not be expressed in words. I wouldn’t be able to be the kind of friend I like to be without his support and encouragement.
So, as much as I enjoy my hobbies, reading a book, watching a movie, exercising, working in the outdoors…all of that is far below the “limit” when it comes to people.
If you don’t see me around on the blogosphere anytime soon, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m probably spending time outside with my boys, or chatting with the neighbors, or enjoying a glass of wine with my hubby and a good conversation, or out for coffee with a friend.
And if you miss hearing from me, you know where to find me!
P.S. Since I was able to spend a wonderful week on the Oregon coast with my extended family this month, I had the opportunity to ask about the saloon doors. My brother and my parents both confirmed it…Wouldn’t you know it – we did in fact have saloon doors in the house I grew up in!! They separated the kitchen from the dining room.