Monday, October 6, 2014

Laughter and tears

Mondays are my days to be on my own for a bit while I wait for #3 to finish up in school.  I've learned to run errands and also relax during this time.

Today I had the luxury of reading a wonderful new book in a coffee shop.  It was great--I had a great cup of coffee, a pastry and a book.  The pastry was so so (anyone else think they like pumpkin stuff more than they actually do?) but the coffee was good.  The book was fantastic!

I love Hank the Cowdog.  My husband grew up reading the series and my boys and I have listened to many of them on CD in the car.  I'm at the point where I read them on my own so I can quickly read them and fully enjoy them.

There's a sweet love story between the cowboy Slim and Viola, the sweet gal down the road.  He proposed in the last book and I just had to know if they were actually going to get married.

I won't ruin the story for you, but there I sat, by myself in a coffee shop, laughing out loud and shedding a number of tears and loving every minute of it.

There's nothing like a great book.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Still waters

Being at a place of rest is tricky.  In the search of it, I've bought CDs that have water sounds, instrumental versions of fave hymns and books on yoga.  I'm still not very good at it.

I will say I'm getting better.  As I read The Cure for the Perfect Life, there were little quizes at the beginning of each chapter so you could tell if the chapter's topic was something that kept you from finding peace.  The chapter on people pleasing was written for me.  One of the quiz questions was something I had never thought of.  I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist was that when something goes wrong for someone, I feel bad and look to blame myself as opposed to simply acknowledging that bad things happen every day and this was what happened to them today.  This would be how my husband views life.  He takes responsibility when it's his to take, but he doesn't borrow it like I do.

Wow.  What clarity this brought me.  Somewhere along the line I decided I was personally responsible for making everyone around me happy.  That's fine if you're the hostess at a baby shower and for that 2 hours you attend to the needs of others or if I enjoy offering encouragement to those around me to brighten their day.  But it's not OK if I allow outside circumstances to dictate how I feel.  It's not fair to my family or to me.

So today I'm in a bit of a funk.  I won't go into it (you're welcome) but I said no to going to something that my mom really wanted me to go to.  It upset her.  The easy thing to do would have been to say yes, but it would have been a huge hardship for my family.  I'm at a point in my life that I would prefer to upset someone now and deal with that than be the one upset later because I said yes when I should have said no.  That said, it still stings a bit.

This week I felt like I had my new "normal" down and it felt good.  And then something I hadn't planned on in my new job was added to me.  Not something huge and something that I can't do, but still more is more.  I know I can adjust my routine to accomodate this new thing and it will be fine, but I can't rest until I've done that.  Silly.

Still waters can't just wait until I have all my work done.  God wants me to rest by them regularly.  He tells me so in Psalm 23.  In the mornings during my quiet time the house is still and I love the peace of that time.  I wish I could figure out how to shut off the expectations, the noise and the outside stuff that keeps me from finding those still waters at other times, too.

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. 


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!