The goats forage outside my work room window.  Leah, the very pregnant farm cat, wanders noiselessly through their pen.  In the background I hear Elise’s quiet voice as she reads to the boys.

How do I store up these quiet moments so that I can remain peaceful in the hectic ones?  How do I remain calm at heart and keep my voice gentle when the sounds I hear are children screaming at each other, and the sights I see are chores to be done?  As we prepare to began another school year, I find myself thinking through my priorities and reminding myself of what is truly important.  There is so much I could accomplish, and yet so little I actually can, that I have decided it is best to make some goals for each of us this year.  Goals that will hopefully help focus our studies and activities and responsibilities.

So, for myself my over-riding goal is to cultivate a quiet and peaceful spirit — a calmness that will bring laughter to our days and contentment to my heart (no matter what actually gets done).  I know this is a big thing to ask of myself, and I know I won’t be able to actually do it without God’s help, but it will be my prayer for this year.  Here is the prayer that I will be using to focus each of my days:

Lord, help me to see out of your eyes.  To see each day as a gift from you, full of opportunities and blessings.  To see my children as bundles of potential, each disobedience or mistake an opportunity to draw them closer to you.  To see my work and chores as a joy, but not a distraction from what truly matters.  Amen.

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