Disclaimer:  this post is NOT directed at anyone and is not intended to upset anyone or make anyone feel like they have to counter any of my thoughts.  :)  Just thinking aloud here to offer where I'm coming from. 

Over the years, I've heard that word..."perspective" come out of my mouth many times.  What I've come to realize is that almost everything is a matter of perspective and not everyone has the same ones (perspectives).  It is so easy to compare oneself to others...for me anyway.  Am I doing things right?  Am I doing to much?  Not enough??  Is my house clean enough?  Do I discipline my children the right way?  The questions themselves are pretty simple questions.  The answers become really tough when I have to answer them through someone else's eyes...opinions...perspectives.  (and not just one person mind you, but several people, which makes the answers even more complex!)

Tim is really good about doing things for himself rather than for someone else.  Let me explain, because I'm not trying to make him sound selfish.  I mean that he is good about doing what is right for himself according to himself, his family and of course God.  To him, it doesn't matter if someone doesn't agree with him...he doesn't get too riled up about it, because he's confident in his decisions and doesn't need someone else to approve them--or disapprove them. 

We all have opinions, and often it is difficult to always understand someone else's lives...their decisions, their lifestyle, their joys and pains, because, well...those things are theirs, not ours.  I try really hard to keep that in mind when I have an opinion about someone else's decisions.  I feel like I'm a pretty busy person, juggling a family of nine, school activities, personal interests, spiritual formation, nurturing relationships, being a homemaker, etc, etc.  I get the question all the time:  "How do you do it??"  My answer is usually always the same:  "the same way you do".  "How do you manage seven kids?"  "The same way you manage two--they didn't all come at the same time.  We modify and learn each time.  Some days are harder than others."  Isn't that probably true of someone with 1 child or 12?  "When do you find the time to_____  ______?"  "The same way you find time to do something you want to do."  My structure may look different that someone elses because my life is different.  My busy is different than someone elses busy. 

Before Jakob was born, we were busy.  After he was born, we wondered what in the world we thought we were busy with...and we've gone through the same thought process each and every time something changes here.  At this point, we're not in denial--we know things won't slow down any time soon, so our perspective is that it goes with the territory of having a family, but also that we make different decisions than someone who has one child.  Sometimes I'm not sure how I would manage one?  I think our lives would be so different.  I think I may be working full time, so we'd have two incomes, probably much nicer things.  Our one child would probably be involved in twelve different activities, and my life would be full of carpools and scheduling things, and finding time for exercise and friends and hobbies...oh, wait...that's what I do now!  I guess the difference is the perspective.  :)  My "down time" is hanging out with the kids, or sewing or writing.  My exercise and nurturing friendships and volunteering in classrooms and spiritual growth and hobbies often go hand-in-hand--you know, the "killing-two-birs-with-one-stone" theory.

I think it is hardest to understand someone else's choices when you've decided that because it isn't for you, it isn't for anyone...or vice-versa...if it IS for you, then it should be for everyone.  Not all things make different people equally happy or sad, or relaxed or stressed.  My mom gets anxious when I'm in the her it is stressful, to me, relaxing.  She's come to understand that, and now she (we both) just knows that we don't feel the same way about it.  No big deal!  :)

This is on my brain because of a comment--several comments lately about something I posted.  Good comments, not bad, so I'm not venting here.  A couple of times in my posts, I've had a picture or a phrase that led someone to believe that maybe I was announcing a pregnancy, and I've been on the receiving end recently of comments expressing that it is a relief that we haven't had any announcements.  I know people are waiting for it...I mean we have had that announcement regularly for the last 14 years.  My instant thought is that I wish I was cleverly announcing a new addition!  Don't get me wrong...we're not NOT pregnant because we're worried about what someone might say, but, what someone who doesn't understand the pure joy another child brings, even with the extra work, time and expense involved certainly causes me a little anxiety about even expressing that we've not ruled out having another.  Some people can't understand the idea that we are open to God's will when it comes to our family, and the idea of not "taking care" of the possiblity of having another seems crazy.  "Why would we want another one when our lives are so busy and the economy is so bleak and the culture is so warped?"  My sarcastic reply always wants to be "we have good genes and we need to try to populate the earth with smart, beautiful, responsible people".  I'm not quite that egotistical, but the reply has crossed my mind! 

I've heard people talk about others...about how they are lazy or irresponsible or just don't do something right.  It is hard for me to hear because I tend to then wonder what they would be saying about me or about people that I care about.  Am I lazy because I would rather hold a sleeping baby than do a load of laundry.  Am I irresponsible because I would rather read a book to a toddler than get dinner going?  Perspective!

Before I get too far away from the direction that I intended to go with this, I should jump back on track.  We are not trying to plan a pregnancy right now.  (NOTE:  We are ALWAYS COMPLETELY open to the idea of being pregnant, whether we "plan" it or not!)  In fact, I took a pregnancy test recently, and while we can say that we're not trying to achieve a pregnancy deliberately, I was so disappointed when that second little line did not appear!  I have friends that totally understand that same feeling, and others that can't relate because they would be relieved by the absence of a positive indicator.  I AM NOT SAYING THAT THEY WOULD NOT WANT THE BABY...only that their response to an "unplanned" pregnancy is different. AND...I say planned and unplanned very loosely, because ultimately, it is not OUR plan, but God's.  AND...I know that perspective isn't shared by everyone too.  NOW...really back on track:   It hit me that those people who would be excited-anxious at the thought of an announcement of another baby share the same perspective that we do, but that there are others who would be nervous-anxious, and relieved when the said reference is in regard to something else.  They simply don't share the same perspective that we do.

What's my point?  I guess I'm working on convincing myself that it is important to make decisions based on what is best for me and my family about EVERYTHING, from what food they eat, to what schedule we maintain, to how I decorate, to the size of our family.  I'm not trying to say something to anyone but myself.  It just made me smile when I recognized that something that brings me joy, brings someone else joy too.  That's all.  Everyone has a different perspective.

Now, I'm going to go eat chocolate cookies for breakfast...protien, anti-oxidants, whole grains, washed down with Alzheimer's-reducing coffee with all I need is a fruit or vegetable to round it out.  Just kidding!  In my perspective, the cookie shouldn't be eaten until AFTER breakfast, because it isn't truly healthy.  :)