- A solitary weekend retreat to spend time in meditation and prayer.
- A fulfilling and life-changing ministry to people in spiritual, physical, and emotional need.
- An hour or so spent in intercessory prayer daily.
- That hour of "quiet" every day during which my children know mommy reads her Bible and prays.
- A fulfilling and life-changing ministry to four beautiful children with very real and very important spiritual, physical, and emotional needs.
- Teaching my children to pray for others.
- Afternoons of fun as a young, childless couple.
- Weekend trips to exciting places.
- Date night almost every night.
- Afternoons of fun parenting four adventurous children.
- Weekends of playing at parks, reading children's books, and watching G-rated movies. . . and the occasional family vacation.
- Having the oldest kid ask us to hire a babysitter and go on a date every-once-in-a-while.
- Lovely, new children's clothing.
- "Quality" wood and fabric toys that spur the imagination of young ones.
- Hours and hours of exploring nature together or reading books out loud.
- Clothes with holes and stains that show they have been put to good use.
- Sticks and bricks and other backyard finds that have been magically turned into swords, houses, food, babies. . .
- Looking at my kids nature finds and listening to them read books to eachother as I clean or tend to the baby.
- Garden beds about the house.
- Beautifully decorated rooms.
- Gourmet meals.
- A haphazard fairy garden that the children have helped design.
- Crayon drawings hanging in every room.
- Homemade pizza and wings on Friday nights.
- A new wardrobe every season.
- A body toned and in kept in shape through an hour of exercise every day.
- Manicured hands, pedicured feet, plucked brows, and styled hair.
- Every spot and stain on my shirts that shows that I have kids with messy hands or babies that spit up.
- A belly stretched out by four miraculous blessings, and the daily exercise of picking up babies and chasing kids.
- Dish-pan hands, dirty bare feet, tired eyes after a night of nursing a baby, and the pony tail that the kids like to twist around their fingers.
I want to beautify -- to minsiter, meditate, pray, make love, date, romance, explore, read, provide, garden, decorate, cook, shop, exercise, primp. . . . But right now I have to embrace the real beauty in which I find myself during this season of my life.