We all stayed up to see in the New Year with marzipan fruit cake, and Bailey’s Irish Cream, even Zoe and Irene.
Then today, since all of us are somewhat more introverted than extroverted, we decided everyone could be happy in their own way.
I read, prayed, blogged, wrote, and went for a solitary walk.
Roy who is now a dyed-in-the wool house-husband, finished seeing one of our books for our publishing company through press, and then tidied up the house, and assembled IKEA bookshelves for our ever-expanding library. I saw him whistling bustling around, keeping loads of laundry on the go, keeping the dishwasher running and the cabinets stacked (with Irene’s help) and generally restoring to the house to its pre-Christmas season order, and thought, “If that man isn’t happy, then what is he?” I checked, he confirmed my suspicion.
Christmas, luckily this year, hasn’t involved things. Roy and I specifically asked for no Christmas presents, as we have everything material thing we want, and so the girls made us huge lovely cards. We didn’t give any presents, except to the girls, and so Christmas was so simplified. We plan to repeat this every year. No, neither the Grinch nor Scrooge, just–at this stage of our lives– more interested in living well and in experience rather than in accumulation of stuff.
Zoe, 16, curled up with Classical Greek and Latin. I get pure happiness from learning a new language and getting good at it, and I guess she’s got that gene.
Irene, 11, who has waist length hair, spent the day with the new blow-drying and hair-style gadget Roy got her putting her long curly hair into extravagant styles, and admiring them. She wrote to her cousins and penfriends, and read some.
In the evening, Roy and I are going to a New Year’s day party with friends from St. Aldate’s. Ah, a New Year’s Day party, so much more sensible than a New Year’s eve party. At least, one can get to bed at a godly hour without the sense that you might be disrupting someone else’s party!
Leisure, free time. That’s been the most coveted commodity in our married life, and at last we have it.
Last Christmas Day, in New Zealand, I spent some time praying while the Christmas dinner was in the oven. (I have nothing to do with Christmas dinners, since Zoe and Roy love cooking). I saw a vision, maybe I should say a mental image, of our life. The direction it was flowing in which absorbed a lot of our enthusiasm, creativity, and energy and interest was our family’s publishing company (in which a bunch of our friends also work part-time).
Roy then had a Chair as Professor of Mathematics, and though he was well-paid, it put time at a premium, and increased our stress with the additional demands on him.
I saw concentrating on Math would almost be rowing against the stream, that God’s provision and blessing was flowing on the publishing, and that we should row with the stream, go in the direction in which God’s blessing was flowing.
4 months later, Roy’s University had an early retirement offer–three times the usual settlement but we had to decide by Sept 2010. He left the decision to me. I decided on early retirement–at 47!!
It was a risk, of course, but we have so enjoyed peace, leisure, time, just living, being, that we would hate to trade it for a real job. And though, of course, we were prepared for downward mobility, that has not been the case at all, thank you, God.
What will this year bring? It’s in God’s hands, and God is good!