The New Normal is Flux

This past New Year's, in the heady rush of post-holiday organization and planning, I wrote a couple posts about intentions. Looking back on my fall intentions and looking forward to my winter intentions.

homeschool planning sheets

I also wrote about homeschool planning and finding our groove.

My plan was to follow-up later in the spring with a "how it really went" post. Maybe share spring and summer intentions. To spill the beans on if I really carried through with those winter intentions (yes & no) and to review our winter homeschool term.

These unwritten follow up posts have been nagging at me. But the truth is, those posts are not forthcoming. I simply lack the motivation and "head space" to write them.

I've been thinking about this, analyzing it. Wondering why I can't just sit down and say "here's what worked in my plans, here's what didn't." And it's not because I didn't follow through with my plans and intentions. I did, on many. And others, I didn't (and I have no problems sharing that either).

So, what's up with this? Why can't I just write a follow up?

Here's what I think has happened. My life has changed incredibly in the past twelve months and yet I'm still trying to carry over old habits and patterns. Including how I plan, process and evaluate progress. (Blogging is part of that.)

moving trailer

We've moved three times in twelve months. Big moves. Change your state, province, country you live in. Change your driver's license, your insurance, where you shop. (The whole she-bang moves).

We've shifted from Dad at work to Dad at home. We're shifting even more from Dad work for clients to Mom & Dad work together - for themselves and clients.

I don't homeschool the way I once did. Not with Dad always around taking a more active role in things. I don't manage our home the same way. Once again, there's five of us always together. The dynamic is different. And I don't even relate to my children the same way. They're growing and everything is changing.

kids using apple computer

I am a rhythm loving, routine seeking individual and I am, by nature, constantly trying to order of my life. I get joy in doing so. Both in physically organizing my space and writing a narrative, a framework, to piece the story together.

But I have grown so much in the past year. Our whole family has. And the ways I once ordered my world (our home and homeschool) aren't all that effective anymore. And now I find myself chaffing at the seams of a garment that no longer fits.

The new reality of my life is flux.

On Celine's birthday trip we listened to an On Being podcast - Krista Tippett interviewing poet Sarah Kay. This is an amazing, must listen to program. Especially if you have young adults in the house. Or even if you don't but love good poetry or want to get excited about unlocking a young person's potential (which is one of my passions and why I homeschool).

So anyway, we listened to this program and Krista referenced Sarah Kay's website, which includes a definition of the word flux.

The action or process of flowing. Continuous Change.

As much as I have resisted this in the past; flux, more than ever, is my reality.

I was hooked by the word, hooked by the way Sarah basically defined her life in these terms. I found a definition, a framework to order my life.

Ordering my life around the process of change.

kigo shoes

For a person who likes stability, routine, security and structure, let me tell you, coming to terms with this has been hard.

There have been discreet periods of time during the past twelve months where there was a groove, to be sure. I fought for that groove, constructed that groove and made. that. groove. happen. But when the groove changes each month, or each week even, I'm thinking it's no longer a groove but a state of flux.

This is my life. And I love it. Even though it's hard. Even though I naturally resist change, this is where I am growing. Growing to accept and flow with change.

Ironically (and thankfully) it seems our kids are the happiest they've ever been. And it's not like our lives are without structure.

There's rising and bedtimes and fairly set mealtimes in between. There's morning-ish activities, afternoon-ish activities and chores to be done. Damien has a daily rhythm and so do I. (Writing, billable programming hours, homeschooling, cooking, etc.) But each week (each day!) life is a new gig. New opportunities and new challenges.

Montreal alley

Normal is an ever moving target and I can't pin it down. And when I do, it slips out of my grasp before I've even had a chance to process it all. Before I get a chance to write it down.

My life is no longer predictable. And I need to stop living and writing like it is.

I'm tired of saying "my life is so complicated" (or, at least thinking it is). Firstly, it's negative self talk, a self fulfilling prophesy. It's also leaving out half the story. Complicated - yes (we currently have five addresses till the dust settles with this latest move), but also very rewarding and exciting. Each day holds new promise and opportunity, which is why I think our children are so excited and hopeful about life.

This is an exciting time of life for our family. I need to fully embrace that. Stop looking back, stop trying to fit into old patterns and go with it.

apartment kitchen

My life is still secure and predictable, just not in the measures I once used.

It's secure in relationship and love. In shared life goals, vision and passion.

And I'm growing to see this is more secure than one address or a predictable weekly routine.

So I'm not going to follow up my winter intentions post or write a homeschool term review. Except to say the following few notes.

We're making friends in our new community. Our kids keep learning, regardless of whether we do formal lessons (and I'm doing less and less of those as Damien gets more involved). We're eating healthier all the time, even though I don't drink as many green smoothies as I had hoped for.

I still spend more money on groceries than I like. I'm hoping our new buying club will help with that. And thank goodness our rent is low. Damien and I are creating and launching projects together - our dream. (I love working with my husband to build a livelihood and a mission.)

Screen door

We keep downsizing our life (most recently our paper files). We continue to teach a Christian worldview to our children through daily conversation and living our faith. I need to grow my scripture memory muscle a bit more, and model this discipline (as well as others) for my children. I don't exercise every day, but most days I do.

sunlit iris and peony

Life is good and beautiful, especially so this month (a golden month as far as I'm concerned).

I'm done looking for normal, because the reality of my new life is that there is a constant flow of learning and living and I have to swim with that flow, not against it.

It's time for a new normal. And the new normal is flux.

Where do you fit with this? Is going with the flow hard for you? Do you resist the idea of flux?
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  • Tracy

    Tracy on June 11, 2012, 11:21 a.m.

    So looking forward to hearing about how you and Damien are going to be working together on the "big project". My husband and I have been trying to craft our work life together with kids most often at home. It is a dance to be sure for all of us. But at the same time it is the exact place we want to be. I believe it is exactly how God wants it for us. I appreciate your struggle with intention and rhythm and planning ( I really like planning) and flux. I am going to hold onto the security that you mentioned in family relationship, faith, and life mission as "plan" in the midst of change. Be blessed and know that you are appreciated and the life you are crafting.


  • Karen

    Karen on June 11, 2012, 12:52 p.m.

    Our major move five years ago initiated an "inner" flux that I've struggled to identify. This post is for me. Thanks - even if nobody else reads it or comments on it, please know your efforts and expression here has hit a mark.


  • Beth

    Beth on June 11, 2012, 1:17 p.m.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! I am so going to read this post a million times!! I am at time of life with teenagers. I used to do alot of writing about daily life. I think it was so I could see the progress in the blur of life. The last 6 month I have not been able to make myself do it. Thanks for a great post about not feeling bad about it anymore.. Maybe its because we are really living in our life:)

    I have loved seeing your adventure.. Montréal looks like a great place to visit. I added it to places I am going to travel..

    Thanks, Beth in Minnesota

    PS I spend way to much money on groceries too:)


  • Jessica

    Jessica on June 11, 2012, 1:59 p.m.

    I related to much of this, Renee'. My husband and I work together also, and ours is a constantly changing job. I am a lover of all things routine. But sometimes they become ruts. I love change, but I think what I really love is the challenge that change presents (setting new routines). LOL. As my children continue to grow the way I am homeschooling is growing and changing as well - I find comfort in feeling that we are continually spiraling around and closer to our reasons for and goals within educating our children at home.


  • Nicole

    Nicole on June 11, 2012, 2:41 p.m.

    This was such a timely post, as this weekend I was in a bit of a funk about my lack of routine in my stage right now. I grabbed onto so much from this post, that I know I will reread it every day this week! The "secure in relationships and love" is such a great reminder, and I thank you so much for being gifted at putting these thoughts and feelings that so many of us have into real words (and of course always love the photos that accompany your posts!)


  • Kate Berry

    Kate Berry on June 11, 2012, 3:25 p.m.

    This post helps me identify the places of peace and sweetness in my own ever transitioning life. I too enjoy routine and strive to bring some pieces with us on our journeys. Breastfeeding and co-sleeping help at this early stage of parenthood. Morning coffee, phone calls to loved ones. Life really is about transitioning...for now I hope for continuity.


  • Amiee

    Amiee on June 11, 2012, 4:55 p.m.

    I love the word flux. "Flux" fits so I'm going to take it for myself too. :) Thank you so very much for the lovely space you have created here. I can't even begin to tell you how much you have encouraged and inspired me to follow my heart and actually live my dreams. THANK YOU!


  • Kika

    Kika on June 11, 2012, 4:56 p.m.

    I generally resist change - and have not been the most flexible person in the world. This is changing. There is something in me that is craving this growth and ability to joyfully embrace change and 'flux' - and there are various life circumstances which I am not in control of but which force this upon us. So I learn to embrace it rather than falling apart.

    When the kids were babies I'd finally get into a routine only to have them/everything shift again every six months. I kind of feel like that now too, in relation to raising older kids. Life certainly isn't stagnant. And, as my son nears graduation (still 1.5-2ys away, but it goes by quickly!), my husband and I begin to consider a previous dream of ours: to go on a one-year teaching exchange somewhere in the Francophonie. Possibly Quebec. My son may choose to join us for a while, too, which would be great. Anyways, so I don't forsee a return to "predictable, routine, perfect schedule" any time soon :)


  • Ellen

    Ellen on June 11, 2012, 6:34 p.m.

    I can relate very well to your thoughts. I'm a homebody, enjoy routine, and usually find change difficult at first...then the change becomes 'routine' until it changes too. I like the idea of flux even if it can be seemingly overwhelming at times. I know God cares for and has plans for us (even if it's not what I think should happen). Life is full of learning experiences and seasons. We are in a very busy season (not due to moving but due to signing up for college for 2 (we've homeschooled all the way through), summer jobs for older ones, feeling like a 'chauffeur', wondering how our new schedule will look, etc). I think having a glass half-full mentality is so important (easier said than done). And trusting the Lord; He knows what is best. Thanks for you insightful post.


  • Katja

    Katja on June 11, 2012, 7:13 p.m.

    Love it! It is so true. It is very funny how life flux us through different stages/ periods.It all fits at the right time, when we are prepared for accept it. Accept the flux,even though for "wanna be" organized and everything under control, even control of writing all the memories,plans and thoughts person, is very hard. But as you (lucky you!, you are already there) i am also waiting that fitting time to accept the FLUX!I already know that this is what i have to do, it is just not the time :).


  • Cari

    Cari on June 11, 2012, 8:43 p.m.

    These words are so rich Renee - thank you. While I of course don't know you I do have to be reminded that at your core you do love order and predictability; as your life can seem so other than in all the right ways...and as if it comes so naturally.

    I love the image of moving with the current rather than against it; how fabulous to also know that your kids seem to be thriving within this new pace.

    I so appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and struggles and insights with the rest of us. They are indeed a gift.



  • Aurora

    Aurora on June 11, 2012, 10:57 p.m.

    Renee, your words struck a chord with me:

    "My life is still secure and predictable, just not in the measures I once used.It's secure in relationship and love. In shared life goals, vision and passion.And I'm growing to see this is more secure than one address or a predictable weekly routine."

    We have three children (one in the first year of school, one in the final year of kindergarten before school, and one on the cusp of talking) and life is busy. My husband is in his first year of teaching, I am in a new job which gives me more responsibility but child-friendly hours. We have enough money, enough support from family, and yet I find myself obsessing about the lack of a routine, a predictability to life. And I realise now it is hurting my family, this obsessing.

    Thankyou Renee. I need to recognise the security amidst the chaos!


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on June 12, 2012, 1:54 a.m.

    I am amazed at how the path we are both walking is so similar... I wish we would have had more time to talk about it face to face today... I hope we will someday. I love this quote: My life is no longer predictable. And I need to stop living and writing like it is. I need to remind this. Again. And again. Thank you for putting words on my reality.


  • Kimberly

    Kimberly on June 12, 2012, 3:31 p.m.

    Renee...I love your writing & this post! Thank you for introducing me to Sarah Kay, what a wonderful young adult! And for so much that you shared...I'm trying to get my 3 children to embrace change as I teach them life skills in taking care of themselves. Some days are more unpredictable then others, teaching them to go with the flow is a lesson I need to learn as well! Thank you!


  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz on June 12, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

    This post speaks to me for sure :) I need to let go of trying to 'have things perfect' in my eyes. I always meant to ask, maybe I missed it in your posts, what does your husband do for work that he works remotely?


    • renee

      renee on June 12, 2012, 10:04 p.m.

      Damien is a web application developer. He does computer programming for clients all over the world. He also is my technical support (and a big part of what I'm able to accomplish here at FIMBY). 


  • Johanna

    Johanna on June 12, 2012, 11:12 p.m.

    This post was like poetry to my ears. We are in flux...constantly. In five years we've lived in 5 homes in 4 states. Our next move might possibly (hopefully) be overseas. Life is unpredictable...but it is a good thing. I life of flux that provides so many opportunities. Some people think we are young and restless and are not settling down, but we view it as seeing a different path for ourselves. At least for now.

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for living your life outside the mold. Such inspiration!


  • Heather Y

    Heather Y on June 13, 2012, 12:49 a.m.

    My challenge seems to be the opposite. I tend to crave change and fear that I will end up in a groove.

    While we have not relocated at the same rate of speed as you, we have, since our courtship began gone from Illinois to Texas to Oregon to Canada and back to Illinois. We had intended to remain in Canada longer, but the government would not grant my husband a work visa after he finished his Master's degree there. We were faced with change and I went with the flow.

    Now he has found work as a hospital chaplain and adjunct professor in the small Midwestern town of his birth. Two jobs in which he thrives in a location I do not love. Or really even like. I fiercely do not want to find a groove here. I want to know that it is temporary, and that soon things will change, but there is no clear indication of that.

    Yet, your words speak to and convict me to make my peace with my seemingly new normal of stasis. Thank you.


  • Janet

    Janet on June 13, 2012, 9:20 p.m.

    thanks for this Renee. I love the word flux - it sums my life up perfectly. I love your writing and you write such sense. Usually I'm reading your posts late at night, or in a car/walking/feeding a baby and have only one hand available. Now I have 2 I can type a response. So thank you! I've been loving the journey that you guys are going on - such an inspiration. My husband works from home as well (with a lot of travel built in) and your husband's treadmill get up totally inspired my hub to do the same. He's walking while working now and LOVES it. So thanks for that too. We're based in Ireland and not many people seem to do that here... : )


  • Lisa

    Lisa on June 14, 2012, 3:39 a.m.

    I have been reading your blog for about a year and this is my first comment. I LOVED this blog entry. I love it more than your nurturing book....which I love too. Thank you.


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