*** We're having a clearance sale to make room for some new inventory! All items on THIS PAGE are 30% off through the end of February. I only have a few of each left in stock, though, so act fast! The Christmas Calendars and a few Lent/Easter decorations are among those discounted :) ***
If I had to guess, (and I do, because my short term memory is completely shot), I would say someone in my immediate family was ill from sometime in the Mesozoic era until last week. While that might be a slight exaggeration, the fact is that between sickness, extreme weather, and mechanical failures, we have been in a state of mild crisis for at least six weeks. The holidays were a blur of barf bowls, empty Kleenex boxes, and droning generators, with a few blessed days of respite around Christmas. Now that we're all--knock on wood--relatively healthy, I've had a moment to reflect on the experience.
I am, by nurture or nature, the type of person who enjoys the satisfaction of Getting Things Done. And this is not a bad thing! Heaven knows there's a LOT to do around here. Our full-to-bursting, abundantly blessed family life moves at such a fast pace during the school year that getting behind on daily chores, or missing one deadline can trigger a panicked fear of never being able to catch up again. When you have six young children, an average Tuesday is one minor flesh wound or lost pair of keys away from chaos. So normally, I feel somewhat strained around the holidays as my task list swells with the extra preparations, extra services, extra baking, and extra gatherings.
Nothing confounds devotion to productivity like a sick child, though. Those flushed cheeks and glassy eyes rearrange priorities more effectively than any examination of conscience could. Early January felt like an almost comically slow wrestling match with God: Him, patiently and deliberately prying the precious to-do list from my tightly clenched fist while I resisted with all my puny might. But, one virus at a time, we were forced to concede. We cancelled plans. We stayed in. We took it slow. We did the disgusting laundry that God, in His wisdom, ordained for us to do. We rested, too, playing board games together, reading aloud, and gathering around the fireside, being very thankful that we don't rely solely on what proved to be a very unreliable furnace.
As I relaxed my grip on my plans for my time, and eased into God's plan for the season, I rediscovered the profound relief of trusting in Providence. The dust gathered, the emails piled up unanswered, the holiday parties were left un-re-scheduled and....it was okay. The sky never fell. It was humbling to be reminded that my efforts don't matter as much as I assumed they did. But it was freeing, too.
During this time--indeed, since Thanksgiving--we have experienced the mixture of frustration and freedom that comes with having our hands tied in The Woodshop At Avalon, as well. Our CNC machine (the computerized cutting and engraving contraption that allows us to customize our work with such precision) has been out of order for two months. Dad spared no efforts in getting it repaired, but the process was an exercise in patience (perhaps it would be better characterized as "long-suffering"). We missed the entire holiday shopping season. It's almost as if God knew that I would be sick or caring for sick kiddos for the majority of that time....and I was grateful, in the end, that my attention wasn't divided.
Now that we're back in business literally and figuratively, I want to keep these lessons close to my heart and fresh in my mind. As we start to imagine what the Woodshop can bring to our community in the new year, I am recommitting to products and practices centered around a slow, sustainable, humane pace of life. So here's to unhurried growth, lessons learned, and fresh starts: look for more from The Woodshop at Avalon soon!
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