written by our amazing guest blogger, Wendy Brimhall
I was asked a few months ago if I would put together some thoughts on personal renewal. Honestly, I love to write. I love to read what others write. So I was thrilled at the prospect and immediately responded yes! What followed has been most insightful.
I started a couple of times. In my first attempt, I felt that I would begin with the recent birth of my sixth child as inspiration. But after a few paragraphs, that just seemed like a train of thought on its way to nowhere. Another morning in the shower, I found myself mentally writing another version, taking the tack of that Christmas my brother learned to juggle. That one didn’t even make it to paper.
And as time has passed and I have felt a bit guilty for not being able to get anything in word form sent, I have spent a fair amount of time wondering how DO I renew myself? What does self-renewal even mean? DO I even renew myself?
I can guarantee it’s not via a trip to the spa or some long vacation or day at the beach. Those were my very first thoughts as I pondered, “How can I inspire someone in the realm of personal renewal?” And I have finally come to the conclusion that “personal renewal” implies that, well… renewal is personal. Individual. Unique. I have close friends, for example, who absolutely LOVE bubble baths. Soaking in the sweet scented suds and then sending those cares down the drain, feeling refreshed and ready to renew their endeavors in life…Myself–not so much. I do not enjoy baths. I find myself bored and don’t particularly care for the pruny look. But why on earth would I want to convince myself to relax in the same way my friends do?
It would seem a monumental task to find someone who doesn’t feel burned out by life at some point, overwhelmed with their to-do list and the repetition of mundane tasks of everyday life. With six kids, the youngest now only eight months old, four in school, one only half-day (requiring at least three trips to the school daily), piano lessons, soccer, Scouts, a church job, birthdays and holidays on top of the normal laundry, dishes,sweeping, mopping (yeah, right!) —I get it! And there are so many days I feel like I just keep running into the proverbial wall, like I am making no progress at all.
And that, my friends, is where I begin my renewal process. I literally make something new of myself or around myself. I have discovered that what thrills my heart and brings joy to my soul is newness! Not shopping-spree newness, but a newness of a learned skill, progress on a project, particularly something I have procrastinated for a while, taking stock of my relationships with my family and actually making a plan for improvement.
Here’s one example—My husband has been learning the art of beekeeping. It is truly fascinating, to say the least. However, I’ve found myself more obsessed with the art of child-keeping and house-running, and haven’t been very involved in the venture. So when he brought in his first two frames of honey last year, I was very happy for him and excited at the prospect of free honey. Until, that is, those frames sat on my counter for a week or two, leaving nothing but a sticky mess. I could see the honey in the comb. I could even taste it if I just touched it with my finger. But–I had no idea what I was supposed to do with two frames of honeycomb! The day I connected with someone locally, who instructed me on how to remove the honey , strain it through a paint strainer, and put it in jars was such a happy day! I was giddy to show my husband those amber jars of honey sitting on our kitchen shelf. And as exhausting as the project was —I felt completely renewed!
(Stay tuned for Part 2—coming soon!)