Monday, September 15, 2014

Finding my art

Today I heard the beautiful phrase:  Your art is what makes you come alive.  What a beautiful concept.  #3's art is creating with Legos.  He makes all sort of crazy things, like tiny vacuum cleaners and cameras.  It's pretty darn cute.  His brothers, on the other hand, still enjoy using Legos as a road block to watch demolition as they run Hot Wheels into them.  Such loud little people.

My art isn't traditional;  drawing, painting and sculpting aren't strong suits.  I love music and I do well enough, but I wouldn't win American Idol.  I sang a solo last night at church and did a good job.  My aim was to share a beautiful song with my church family and I did it.  But it's not what makes me come alive.

I come alive in the beauty of Spanish.  The way the words flow, how the syntax comes together perfectly and the lovely sounds of the pure vowels.  For me, it's an art form.  I'm enjoying teaching it and sharing my passion with children.

Another art form for me is connecting with others.  #3 asked me last week why the flags were at half mast.  I told him in simple terms it was because of 9/11.  Today he brought it up again and said he didn't like 9/11.  I told him I don't either, but God is bigger than any evil in this world.  We had a neat talk about that.  Even though I wouldn't have chosen that topic, that moment was art.

Last week we began a new MOPs year.  I am a small group discussion leader.  It's been a few years since I've had that job and it's nice to see that I've grown since before.  When I did it before, I had in my mind what a perfect leader would do and I would feel so defeated that I couldn't be perfect even though I gave all I had.

Now, I realize that perfect is an illusion.  God called me to be faithful in all I do, not perfect.  As I write this, laundry needs to be folded.  A "perfect" mom would be doing that instead of this.  However, my husband will be home before long and this is my way to recharge.  Sifting through my feelings by writing is a way for me to create art and refresh my spirit.  Folding laundry will get done later.  It's not art.  Necessary, but not art.

Last weekend, I sat and watched Pride and Prejudice and loved every luxurious moment of it.  Today I had the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee and a wonderful new book.  Those moments are good.  With all the busy swirling around me, I love that I can finally be at a place where I know I deserve time for myself and I'm brave enough to take it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's enough

Today I have quite a to do list.  A good portion of it was work related.  I finished what I needed to do and then I realized I hadn't done one last thing.  Before doing it, I asked myself if it needed to be done.  Nope.  So I chose not to do it. 

Freedom!

I even marked it off my to do list, choosing to leave it not done.  Let's take a moment and laugh that I had to cross it off even though I didn't do it because looking at it not crossed off was stressing me out.

I always fold laundry on Fridays.  I have for 7 years now.  Yesterday I chose not to because there was a MOPs meeting, a grocery run and lunch with #3 to help fill up his mommy tank which has gotten very low this week.  By the time we got home, it was almost time to pick up 1st graders from school.  I could have rushed around and attended to laundry, but instead of read over my MOPs stuff, chatted with a friend about the fantasticness of MOPs and put everything away while he watched a favorite show.  I knew there would be time today for laundry, and there is.

As I'm praying for wisdom about balancing work, family, home, relationships, etc I'm finding that if I overthink what all I'm doing right now I get overwhelmed.  However, if I just do the next task and take a deep breath, it's OK.

Granted, I couldn't keep up my current pace forever but it's OK for right now.  All 3 boys have their birthday party next weekend and there's added stress from that.  I don't love party planning, but I can choose if it stresses me out or not.

Tomorrow night at church, my boys are going to sing a song for the first time.  They don't really want to practice.  Part of me wants to crack the whip and tell them they have to because they really don't sound that great, but I'm choosing to not make a huge deal out of it.  They'll do their best and we'll focus on it being worship for the Lord.  Next time we'll work on making it a bit more polished.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Listing the chores

I had a moment yesterday morning when I felt mad.  Mad that I have so many household duties.  I spoke with my husband about it and he graciously agreed that now I'm back at work part-time, it's unfair that I'm still doing the vast majority of the household tasks. 

As a way to fix this, I told him I would list everything I do to make our home and family run and then we would discuss how to split things up.  Today I started that list.  It's long.

I'm such a people pleaser that this confrontation was hard for me and afterwards I felt bad.  However, for 7 years I've been home full-time and I've done a good job with the tasks I've been responsible for.  The day has come for what I'm responsible for to shift.

I look forward to having a talk with Aaron where we discuss the tasks and discuss what he wants to do, what the boys can take more responsibility for and what will be my responsibilities.

Growing pains are a part of life.  As I grow into being a working mom, I have to let the guilt I tend to carry about not doing everything perfectly go.  A 90% is still an A.  A mom in the moment, happy with her life is even better.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chickens, snakes & lawns

I checked this book out the other day.  It's a book about enjoying chicken raising.  Checking this book out falls under the category of "Things I do so I can better enjoy the agricultural life that chose me."

I thumbed through the first chapter and enjoyed it.  Today I'll skim through more of it and see if it tickles my fancy.  Not holding my breath, but at least I'm giving it the old college try.

This afternoon per my request, our Sunday School class is coming over for a fellowship.  Just a come and go time for the families to spend some time together.  Many have games, karate meets, etc that fill up Saturdays so I'm not even sure if anyone will come out, but the house had to be cleaned regardless.

The trick with Aaron working full time while also trying to get our farm off the ground is that his time is at a premium.  Seeds had to get planted today.  So, in an effort to support him, I volunteered to mow the lawn and clean the house, freeing him up to do what he needed to do at the farm. 

I'm not opposed to mowing the lawn, but our riding lawn mower has been converted into his tractor, so this meant doing our sizable lawn with the push mower.  Not the easiest, but I like exercise so I got to work.  I did a "good enough" job, knowing it will have to be done again before too long.  At least it's good enough that I won't be embarrassed if/when friends come over.

As I was mowing, a little snake slithered out of my path.  The prissy part of me wanted to go in and quit at that point, but I'm not strong enough to restart the mower if it turns off and I don't like having to call Aaron back to help, so I kept at it.  The snake was clearly more scared of me and the mower than I was of him.

One of my sons brought me water a few times as I kept truckin'.  I'm pretty proud of the job I did.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Library bliss

My husband works in a really nice, huge library.  He's the financial director  of it, so even though he's not a librarian, he gets to be surrounded by books.  What a perfect fit for our family.

Yesterday I had time between dropping off #3 at his MDO and teaching my class at 12:30.  What to do?  I took a walk, had a late breakfast at Chick fil a and then went to the library.

The walk was fantastic.  We're studying the book of Luke at CBS, so I listened to our chapter as I walked.  Very cool.  Chick fil a is always great and even better when I'm not policing my kids in the play place.  But the best was the library.

I've decided I'm going to do a Spanish-speaking country spotlight each week for my older class.  I'm going to start with Mexico so I can tie in their Independence Day on Sept 16.  Problem is I don't know much about it, but I took the time yesterday to do a bit of research.  I had honestly forgotten how much I love learning something new that I'm passionate about.  After a bit of reading, I could easily fill a whole class period just on the historical significance of that holiday.  Of course, the challenge for me will be how to teach just a snapshot of it.  My goal is to introduce it and then make a homework assignment about it if they're really interested.

It feels so good to use my brain again!  I love that it's still there and in working order!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

92 is still an A

I finished reading The Cure to the Perfect Life by Kathi Lipp and it was a great thing to read right now.  I'm transitioning from staying home full time, which while a blessing, was a real challenge for me.  Now, I'm part-time teaching and I'm figuring out how to balance my time as I go.

Yesterday was the first day and overall, it went well.  It went better than I thought it would.  Had I been stepping into the kind of teaching I used to do, I think it would have been fantastic.  However, what I'm doing now is very new for me and I'm figuring it out as I go.

If I had to give myself a grade on how yesterday went overall, I would give myself a 92%.  There were some things that weren't perfect, but all in all a great day.  I read in the book about a woman who was told by her boss that 90% is still an A.  Wise words.

I'm bothered by the 8% that wasn't perfect yesterday.  Geesh.  I've got to let it go!  I asked my husband how he walks away from his job and leaves it there.  He said he just does.  Lucky duck.  I just don't work like that.  But it's my goal to learn.

This week is weird with having Labor Day and with my classes starting, so I'm giving myself permission to do as I need to this week.  However, next week I'm going to log how I spend my days.  The quantity of time I spend on housework tasks, son tasks, work tasks, church tasks, etc and then I want to be sure how I'm spending my time is what I really want or if I need to tweak.  I also want to be sure I'm getting some me time in there.

The irony is that work tasks feel like me time because I really do enjoy teaching.  Score!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saying no when I don't want to

This week has been crazy.  School started for my 1st graders but my little guy and I didn't have our regular schedules back up and going yet.  We normally have family dinner at the table every night except for Wednesday when we have fellowship supper at church.  This week, I cooked on Monday and that was it.  No other day, due to orientations for #3's programs.  While the break from cooking was nice, the busy pace wasn't.  I also got a filling on Tuesday.  Yuck.  Brush and floss well, friends.  Fillings aren't much fun.  The emotion from this week was so high that while the dentist was working over my cavity, tears starting falling down my cheeks.  Not from pain or even discomfort;  I just had too long to sit there and think about how sad I was that my baby is turning 5 soon and my twins are in 1st grade.  Where has the time gone?

I knew this week would take a toll on me.  It did.  Today was our MOPs Open House where new moms come and find out about MOPs while "old" moms greet them and catch up from the summer.  When I was in leadership, I LOVED the Open House day.  I made it my goal to meet every new mom that came in the door.  Beautiful relationships began those days.  Such sweet memories.

#3 is at a different place than his brothers have ever been.  Whereas they always had each other, he doesn't have a buddy and he just doesn't like playing with kids younger than him.  Yesterday he went with me to my new job and while I met with the other teachers, he played guns and swords with boys that were older and he really liked it.  Anyway.  I asked if he wanted to go to the MOPs Open House and he said no.  OK.

So, what did I do instead of something I know I would have enjoyed?  Clean my sink.  My in-laws are coming in this afternoon and they both help with dishes and cooking while here, so I thought the least I could do was clean the sink for them.  I'm glad I did.

We also had some errands, including the grocery store, so the house didn't get a thorough cleaning, but I'll do the high points later this afternoon.

#2 asked yesterday after school if I would eat lunch with him today.  Before thinking, I said yes.  After he went to bed, I realized my yes should have been no.  While all 3 of my boys love it, eating lunch with them at school wears me out.  It also makes me miss teaching.

The easy out today would have been to scurry around at the grocery to be back in time for the lunch at 11:05.  Instead, this morning I calmly told #2 my reason for not going to lunch today:  groceries and getting the house ready for company.  He was fine with it.  He knows I'll come another day.

This weekend I have to get my webpage on my school's website set up.  I need it set up before next Tuesday and I don't want to worry over it.  I'm afraid it's going to be a tar baby (meaning that it's a project that will become much more involved than you think it will be) and I'm timid to start it before Aaron is here to be my IT backup.  Dude is great with trouble shooting whereas I just get upset. 

The emotions I feel from starting a new job are surprising me and they're spilling over into my dread of setting up this webpage (and the fact I've never done anything like this before). 

I love teaching and I feel confident that this will be a blessing to me and my family, but yesterday I was hit with the reality that I'm not going to be 100% mom anymore.  Even though the rational part of me knows my boys need for me to step back and allow more independence, I'm still sad. 

I've been praying for balance and now it's time to trust that God will give me the wisdom I need for this new step.