I hope everyone enjoyed the Advent Reflections. In case you missed any, you can always check them out under the “Advent Reflections 2015” tab or the Archive. I enjoyed writing them. I hope they inspired you to have a peaceful and thoughtful Advent.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a more traditional post. Recently, I’ve started subscribing to a styling service. It seems rather silly, to have a complete stranger “style” you – I’ve never been “styled” before and am still uncomfortable with the term. Don’t know why, just am. Anyway, in one of the shipments I received a new purse. I didn’t need a new purse, but it was such a good color and I was drawn to it. It was something I

The new purse

would have seen in a store, went, wow, what a great purse, but never would have actually picked it for myself. (One of the reasons I’m doing this is to push myself outside of just jeans and simple t-shirts. Nothing crazy, just a bit more put together).

I’m so glad I made that decision. My current purse has become the diaper bag plus purse. There are goldfish and crumbs in every corner, it is full of clothes and diapers, toys and books, my wallet is in there somewhere and I can never find my sunglasses except, ironically, on cloudy days. When we load up with waters and snacks, I’m pretty sure it weighs as much as my 15 month old daughter. It’s just a lot.

I’m fine with that. It’s my choice not to keep my purse and diaper bag in two separate spaces. It’s easier to load up one bag rather than two. But, when I’m on my own (which isn’t often but does happen), it’s a rather ridiculous scene. I have two choices – unload all the diaper bag items, since I won’t need them when I’m at the commissary by myself or on a date with my husband. Or, I can carry them unnecessarily with me, being weighed down by my diaper bag child instead of my actual children.

Enter the new purse. I never thought of option three until it arrived and I needed to come up with a reasonable excuse to be OK the expense. Right now it is sitting empty on its hook. That’s right, completely empty, there isn’t a single thing in it. It is waiting for my next solo trip out of the house, even if it’s just to choir practice. When Sunday rolls around, I will get this beautifully empty purse down and put in it my wallet, some chapstick, and car keys. That’s it. Well, if it’s sunny then sunglasses too but the likelihood of that is slim, even in California right now.

Separate spaces. It’s a novel idea, at least for me. I’m not trying to divide my roles in life, mother – wife – woman. But it is nice to have some breathing room between them sometimes. Yes, I am always a mother even if my children aren’t present around me. But I don’t need to carry all of my “mother” stuff to every place I go. Sometimes it’s nice to focus more on the wife/woman side of things, like when I’m on a date with my husband. Now, when we go out, I can get my wallet out without asking him to hold a can of puffs or a couple board books.

I think that this separation is important, especially in marriages. Ben has deployed now a number of times and when he is gone we skype as often as we can. We have learned the hard way that if we only talk to each other when the kids are around, our marriage suffers. We aren’t able to communicate in a deep enough way when we are being interrupted by stories of the day’s activities, imaginings and sweet but distracting musings of a 3 and 4 year old. We need time to ourselves. It is a healthy thing and one that marriage counselors and experts all agree on (as far as I am aware).

I’m grateful for this purse. It’s helping me identify my desire for and the importance of me-time, marriage-time and family-time. I had no idea when I embarked on a “styling” adventure I’d find this wealth of grace at the bottom of a purse.