Making Space: Part 1

I have spent most of my life running behind, catching up, making excuses. Having kids has increased these things exponentially. 

Here are a few examples of my hurried, breathless lifestyle (all things I have thought were completely normal until I got married and someone pointed out to me that I am ridiculous). 

After months of frantic mornings, I finally started dressing my children in their clothes for the next day the night before. They eat their breakfasts in their little onesies, spilling eggs and blackberries, sausage pieces clinging to fleece. I stand them up in their highchairs, holding them with one hand and unzipping their pajama’s with the other and- voila! Underneath the onesie is their clothes for the day, stretchy pants and long sleeve shirts adding an extra layer in the night and an extra 5 minutes for mama in the morning.
We love blackberries! 

Waaaiiiit a second, what is underneath here?


Thanks to having dry, wavy hair, I only wash it once a week. I use the curling iron and lots of hairspray so on the first day I am looking a fool, running errands and attending Bible study sporting a 'do' like a contestant in a beauty pageant (one who doesn't wear enough make-up and struts around in yoga pants). By day three, I'm in my prime with my hair relaxed into a beachy wave, by day five I am rocking a bun with some dry shampoo, and by day seven I have lost all control and am all side-pony-crazy-eyed, feeling like I cannot do another single thing until I wash it.

I have never NOT put my make up on in the car while I’m on the way to go somewhere, I just keep it in there. I can’t remember the last time I left the house in the morning without bringing my breakfast with me. A muffin wrapped in a paper towel, a cookie in each pocket, some bacon in my bag- I would like to say I’m kidding or exaggerating but maybe one day I will write a post on cleaning out my purse and my coat pockets. I swear to you, I made a new friend at church one day, and as I was talking to her I reached into my pocket for something and my hand grazed some old carrots. She never would have known but it startled me and I yelled. I tried to play it off like it was Lou’s fault but things like that happen more than they should. I could tell you more, but you would discount me as a total wacko so I will let out a little information at a time and please do not ever ask to see the inside of my car without giving me 24 hour notice.  

Yes, I know I am a mama of wee ones and these days are especially crazy but I have always been this way. It is a miracle that I have friends, and even more shocking that Hubby, the keeper of all time and the lover of all normalcy, married me. People thought we were waiting to live together until we got married for spiritual reasons, but in actuality, it was because I didn't want him to know! He would have left! (He told me so later). 

When I started the spending fast, making time, making room, making space for what matters most is one of the things in my life I really wanted to address. Listen, we all have things about ourselves that bother us and at a certain point, we stop what we're doing and say, "Okay, time to deal." 

I wanted to learn to not put the things I love the most into the margins while the pages of my days are filled with nonsense. Fasting from shopping plays into this aspect of my life because sometimes when life slows down enough to catch my breath, that is where I turn, Let me fill these 15 minutes I have with running into a store to buy something, to pull up the Amazon app on the phone, to circle items of clothing in a catalog

Then I have all the things, and they are not the things I want, the things that will bring me peace or satisfy the longings of my soul so I look for more things. Then you have a house, a basement, an attic full of stuff and your life and your heart are cluttered... and your husband makes you have a garage sale... and you get in the biggest fight of your marriage after you refuse to throw out all the things at the garage sale that didn't sell and that you tried to bring back into the house. Bless our neighbors, we moved shortly after this. 

My favorite, favorite, favorite writer of all the writers and all the time is C.S. Lewis. Why do I love him so? Like every one, he is far more brilliant than I, his writing speaks, shouts really. He is not intimidating like some authors, but instead his words sink in deep, absorbed like they're running through my blood and passing through my heart and changing me inside out. This is one of my favorite passages from him:

“This is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting in that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system; because now we are letting Him work the right part of us.”

Yes, C.S. Lewis- the mornings! Let us get a grip on our mornings. Mine are so wild. For Lent, I did not give anything up but am seeking redemption in my mornings. Up until this past week, I wake when my children wake, filling coffee mugs and sippy cups simultaneously. Battling over whether the television plays Daniel Tiger or the Today Show. Me, in my pajama's, looking for peace and quiet amidst the chaos. Them, in all their bed-head preciousness, seeking my engagement at a level I cannot reach until 10am. 

This week has been good, and bad. 5:30 am people, this is a big difference (my children get up at 8 am, don't hate me). I have loved these sunrise mornings, today I showered, spent time in the Word, drank two cups of coffee, made pancakes, and picked up toys before I heard any baby cries. But by lunch I was ready to go back to bed and now it is 8 pm and I have a list of things to do that I can barely read, I am faint with exhaustion (insert dramatic sigh). All I have wanted to do all day is CHECK OUT and watch the Bachelor finale but that was not in the cards for me. Lots of needs up in here. Daddy's out of town and nobody is napping. 

Note to self and any other people seeking to become born-again-early-risers: DO NOT try this experiment the week of day-light saving's time when the nap schedules completely implode. Apparently all the other parents knew about this before 11 pm Saturday night when Hubby saw it on Facebook (where we get all our news and current events) and informed me we needed to change our clocks. The good, scheduled mothers- who have a stool in their bathroom where they put their make-up on- started shifting their children's nap-time five minutes a day, two weeks ahead of time, and the change was seamless.

But tomorrow I will wake again, me, wild with my fussings and frettings stopping to "come in out of the wind..." I love it! That is from Mere Christianity, folks. Lewis' talks that he gave on the radio while he was at Oxford during World War II compiled into a book of essay's. A great intro to his writing. 

Thanks for reading! Sorry it was so long, I just have so many thoughts about 'making space.' It has been on my mind for so long and I am so bad at it and just want to know if this is a struggle for other people... please someone say yes! And I'm not sure that there is really a Part 2 coming, I have just seen this promise of a sequel on other, better blogs and thought it fitting for today. 


  1. Oh GOSH! That quote about had me in tears. It is SO true that when I start my day by pushing back those thoughts and making space for Him. Ah. How different my day goes. Not always perfect but always with perspective. Thanks, Al. You're a wise one. Love to you!

    1. Love you too Linds, I have been reading that quote for year and have thought about getting it tatooed on my arm, it would make a sweet sleeve eh? Just read about your wall reno, "If you give a mouse a cookie"... story of our lives!

  2. I could have written this exact post about myself. Actually, just before I left my car after my lunch break, I filled a grocery bag full of wrappers and fruit peels from my breakfasts. Eeeek. THANK YOU for sharing! What a beautiful set of words you've created here.

    1. The fruit peels! Thanks for sharing that Jennifer. In college, someone found a bowl of old oatmeal in the back of my car and the game was up. Now I try to keep things in the front seat where I can keep an eye on them but things roll. The car wash/detail center is my friend! Thanks for reading and saying hi, I appreciate it.

  3. the pajamas with their actual clothes underneath had me rolling in laughter!!! love it al. and i remember that Lewis quote taped in your bathroom when you were at UNC. all of these posts are very good for me to read. i don't have the kids yet, so i think it is challenging me to TAKE ADVANTAGE of my mornings!!! love you Al

    1. Kate embrace your mornings, love them, wake up early to enjoy them! Oh how I miss you so, please let's talk soon.


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