It’s been a quieter day here. The big kids are off school for a week, not counting games and practices still going on. The boys are off for the week as well. We’d planned to have a sap boiling day with the kids, but as of this afternoon, three of us are down with a stomach bug. It started yesterday evening with one. By the time the sap was collected and brought back up to the house to start boiling, another one came inside sick.

My spring break was last week, which was nice to have. I ended up with an A in the class, which I was happy with. They don’t give academic honors for graduate students, which I was relieved to hear because it relieved me of a goal I didn’t need to reach. Basically my goal now is to pass the classes while learning what I can and continuing to grow in the areas of organization and time management. The next class, Abnormal Psychology, begins this evening. Our teacher told us this one has a lot more reading and less in-class role playing, as things can get sticky trying to act out mental illness.

I think this is something that’s been confusing for me as an adult. Growing up we were often told to reach for the stars. I don’t want to act like that was the overarching message of childhood, but the motivating messages almost certainly had to do with dreaming big. Once you get to adulthood, it’s almost the complete opposite. Often times the advice we’re given as parents and spouses is to lower our expectations. We go from reaching for the stars to suddenly needing to be realistic, which often takes years to figure out what that means. It used to drive me nuts, because what I thought what people were saying was, “You might as well accept reality now, sis. Don’t even try.”

Well, lowering our expectations, whether it be the expectations we have for ourselves or the expectations we have for others, doesn’t mean we don’t try or hold others accountable. It just means we don’t need to try too hard, particularly for things that aren’t all that important, or in the case of righteousness before God, things that are already ours as gifts. I guarantee I’m never going to fully understand this. To use a more constant and present-life example, I want my house to be clean. I simply cannot accept that this is too much to ask. My standards and expectations for what a clean house is will change and have changed depending on the season of life and motherhood I am in. As of now, clean means that there is more space that can be used and shared when guests come over than there is space that is unusable or kept behind closed doors.

I don’t know if this is realistic or not. Having just come up with this definition of clean yesterday, I realize this is something that might take months or years to achieve. But for every time it seems somebody else or some life situation is holding you back, there are at least a dozen times where that same person or life situation is the very thing in some way holding you up. God is the most obvious example of such a realness.

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