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This fall my kitchen windows have seen more than just leaves changing color outside; they have stood witness to exhausting and unwelcome changes happening within our walls, around our table, in our kitchen.  It’s taken me a more than a stretch of days to put my finger on it, but now that my prints can be dusted in all corners of the surface, the slow unraveling beneath that surface cannot be denied.

By God’s grace, I am not speaking of the kind of life-altering unraveling that sadly befalls many: divorce, death, depression.  Rather, mine is the arguably more insidious, nearly imperceptible slipping away of something that robs your joy while you’re stirring cookie dough or chopping vegetables for a salad.  And all the while, I stand by, examining specks on the kitchen floor as oblivious as a Parisian tourist smiling exuberantly while being pick-pocketed on the subway.

The past few months have produced, as my husband postured, “the perfect storm” at our house: he was promoted and began a new job [fantastic, but demanding], our oldest child began a ridiculously over-scheduled rocket football season, and my daughter’s violin classes were moved to an after-school time [whereas before 1st grade we went during the day].  Add to those entrees the side-dishes of grocery shopping, house cleaning, beginning BSF [which is wonderful], pre-school field trips and classroom volunteering, and WOW!!  I need an assistant.

Today, while talking with one of my “counselors,” it was pointed out to me that I have “togetherness” issues.  Meaning, I need–and value and desire–an abundance of quality time as a family unit.  That’s not a bad thing, but it means I need time.

Time to read together.  Time to teach our kids to pray.  To teach them to love and serve and give generously.  To bake together and show them how to make applesauce in autumn.  Time to go to the orchard and ArtPrize.  Time to visit our college for football games and time to just sit in the grass with neighbors.

And it positively grieves my spirit that rather than leisurely enjoying our meals, they are jammed into a fifteen minute time slot because we have to leave for football practice.  Or that homework is happening at 9:30 because the game went late.  Or that daddy can’t do bedtime tonight.  Or that my children see their teachers more than they see me.

Ten minutes with me a day is unacceptable.

In this house, ten minutes is not okay.

So this month I am praying over our calendar and over my priorities and over my time.  What can go?  What can I do differently?  What can I do better?  What are my expectations? What is fair? What can I ask of my kids…of my husband?

And I’m praying for an end to the unraveling.  I’m praying that God, in his might and in his wisdom, would knit us back up, a cord of three strands, more tightly than ever.