Every Semester looks different. My first semester was new and exciting. I was only at Plant City campus which is quaint with interesting teachers. My second semester was cake (except for that one class…) and the summer was the same, which lulled me into thinking I could take on more which I did this past Fall. Last semester was HELL. There wasn’t enough time in the day to get it all done and by the grace of God I walked away with 2 A’s, 2 B’s and my first C. It was difficult for me personally, but also for my family.
This semester I am taking 12 credits hours. Not one online class and only one evening class (because that is my only choice). I have 9 credits hours left. YAY!! I may not finish until next Spring, but hopefully those classes are offered in the Summer. We’ll see.
Last semester I could do nothing but school. Every waking moment was consumed with my classes if I wasn’t working. This semester I won’t be working and my classes are cake again. (whew!) We have begun to take on other things like Cub Scouts for Noah and I will again be involved with choir at our church. One thing that helped us survive was designating one night a week as family night where Jason and I are both home for dinner. I had class or homework and he would often work late during the week, but Thursday evenings we were both home early to eat dinner as a family. This semester family night will be Friday night.
Each activity is weighed and grouped mentally with the rest of the week to see if we can commit to the time and emotional energy that activity will entail. Don’t forget we are also getting married in March. We will be busy, but it feels like a good kind of busy. Where there is both balance and fulfillment. Summertime the kids will be gone and life will lull again. Each semester brings its own set of trials of contentment.
If you haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love by ELizabeth Gilbert you should. It is rich with wisdom like what I was reading today:
I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will leak away your contentment.
This is something she calls “Diligent Joy”. I personally think that happiness is fleeting. Getting a perfectly precise latte at Starbucks makes me all warm and fuzzy inside with happiness, but only for as long as it takes me to drink it. Accumulating bits of happiness throughout the day like having a dependable vehicle, going to school, wearing a cute outfit, or having the time to knit keeps me happy. Joy is different. Having the kids full-time and watching them grow, raising them to be delightful and responsible adults gives me joy. It doesn’t always make me happy, but it gives me joy. Once you can find that balance of not necessarily being happy, but being grateful possibly? I think that is the road to joy. I love the verse in John 15 about “making my joy complete”. I can finally say that the highs are not so high and the lows are not so low. When there is a crisis like a broken vehicle it isn’t the end of the world. I think that’s also called stability. :o)
Make my joy stable, oh Lord.