Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I work

The other day I was on the phone trying to make an appointment for a specific day and time.  The woman asked me if I work. With hardly a pause, I replied "Yes"

A couple minutes later a trickle of doubt came to mind.  I know what the woman meant.  Do I get up, get out of the house and go to a place that rewards me for my time and effort with a paycheck?    If she asked in that way, I would have to say no. 

But if you define work as a full schedule of responsibilities that others are depending on you for, a backlog of projects demanding time, and a detrimental effect for days if I have to take off work. . . then I work.

I am not trying to say my life is the same as a mom who works outside the home.  They are different, but they are both hard.  I am thankful for the privileges and perks that come with being a stay-at-home homeschool mom.  But I would be lying if I said there weren't days that I wished I could be in a place where toys are not perpetually strung across the floor and have lunch with adults that have other topics besides legos and star wars. 

So, lady on the phone, I may not work in the way you do.  But my time is valuable and limited, like you.  So, yes.  I work. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sun or a star?

Typical homeschool lunch conversation today- what is the difference between a sun and a star?  Despite my sons' doubts, Mother came through with the right answer.

In their essence, a sun and a star are the same thing.  In their function, they are different.  A sun has something (or many things) orbiting it.  Every sun is a star, but not every star is a sun.

As I sat here, trying to be faithful to my 5 minutes of writing, it occurred to me that this is a good metaphor for what the "selfie" craze is all about.  Obsessively tweeting our every move, seeing what all our friends are doing via instagram, etc.  Are we all trying to be suns?  Are we trying to have others orbit around our daily doings?  Do we think that the details of our lives are the most interesting thing for everyone else to hear? 

Hmm, I am starting to sound like an old person.  Obviously, by having a blog for the past 8 years, I have my part in all this technological self absorbtion.  Ahem.

BUT- what is our center?  What is the most important thing, the thing that gives us meaning and direction? 

We may think we are a sun. I have enough people dependent on me to make me think I am the center of it all.  In fact, we are not suns. 

We are stars that shine bright, but we orbit the Creator that IS the light.  He is the beginning, end and center of it all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

God revealing Himself

Today is Theophany/ Epiphany.  Whether you are talking about Christ's Baptism or the Magi, its all about God showing us who He is. 

When I think of baptism, I think of a woman's baptism I attended several years ago.  This woman had been forced into prostitution when she was just 14.  The men who took her changed her name so her family would not be able to find her.  They kept her prisoner for years and used her for their gain. 

When I met her, she was probably in her 40s.  She was a mother, she was no longer a prisoner.  She had found some people who helped her walk the road to freedom.  And most importantly, she found God. She found the Healer. 

And she took a new name.  Just a simple, common name.  But one that was of her choosing.  I don't think she knew this, but she chose the name of an ancient Christian queen.  A name that means "bright shining light". 

I don't live near her, but I happened to be visiting her church the day of her baptism.  For all the sermons I have heard that baptism is about rebirth, it never was clearer than that day.  All the shame, the torment, the darkness was left in that water and what came forth was a bright shining light.  She rose up as a new woman, made whole and covered from head to toe in grace.

So that is what I think of on Theophany.  God breaking through the cloud of death and destruction that usually surrounds us.  Our salvation revealed through a man in a river.   The goodness and mercy of Christ poured out on a woman who knew so much pain.  We too can have new life.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

why did i write that last post?

I mean I dont really believe in "jinxing" things, but man, my housekeeping has taken a nosedive since that last post.  More than jinxing, its probably "pride cometh before the fall".

I felt at my rope today, seeing toys scattered and piles of papers that appear from nowhere.  I knew it was bad when my husband wondered aloud how friends of our with 6 kids have a clean house. He wasnt comparing, he was just genuinely amazed because his home growing up was messy and my house growing up was messy and it just seemed miraculous to him that a big family kept it reasonably clean.

So, I am not making any claims today, but as I clean today,  I am listening to this podcast:  "Whose Well Done are you Working For?"   I think I need to hear that in a bad way. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

scheduling myself and finding peace

It has been quiet here.  I have thought about writing several times, but I am trying something new and I wanted to really stick to it to see if it works. It may be working. . .

You see, I am not a natural housekeeper.  I like a clean house, I have ve and ry good schedules for my children's chores, and I am even a good organizer of some things.  But the house just always seems to get away from me.  I get overwhelmed, dont know where to start, dont know how to prioritize.  And it all gets dirty again so quickly.

So I tried Fly Lady this summer.  It is a cleaning system to help you get housekeeping routines.  But her routines were too much for me, even though she breaks it down into small chunks.  Looking back, summer is probably not the time to start any kind of program because life is so topsy turvy.

So I took her ideas and made myself a schedule that fits my life.  I thought about the times when I actually have two hands free and I could do something around the house.  I thought about when I have little chunks of time and when I have bigger chunks.   And I thought about what my "zones" would be in my little house.

So here is what I have been doing for almost a month.  My house doesnt look a whole lot cleaner, but I know the piles that are gone that were there a few weeks ago. And I know how much  more peaceful I feel.  If I have a minute, I look at my schedule and see what to work on right then.  If something comes up and I cant work on anything, then I dont freak out because I know I will have time tomorrow or the next day.  Mostly it has helped me not feel overwhelmed, the schedule tells me what to do next.

For those who like details, here is a sample day:
clean kitchen table (so we can homeschool there later)
kitchen cleaning
start dinner (this is chopping veggies or something I cant do with a baby in arms)
my bathroom (cleaning my bathroom all at once is almost impossible for me to get to.  So I do one thing each day- toilet, sink, mirror, tub, floor.  Should mean I clean the whole thing once a week)
15 minutes on the zone of the week (my zones are my bedroom, babys room, kitchen, bathroom and closets, living room)
5 minutes on a hot spot (this is an area where clutter collects, like where I put bills, where my purse sits, countertops, etc)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

mother nurture

The past few days, really weeks, I have needed to be fed.  I feed children, pets, a husband, and do a lot of other activities that require something of me.  And thats OK, thats an honor. 

But Charlotte Mason was onto something when she coined the phrase "Mother Nurture".  Sometimes the mother needs to be mothered.    Our hearts and minds need something to pour into us to give us some fuel to keep pour into others.

So when I heard that one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, was speaking just an hour away, a little voice started saying "Go!" 

And I did, and I was blessed.  She spoke with such grace and wisdom and warmth, I was beaming in the first 10 minutes I was there.  I didnt even take any notes, but here are a few parts I remember:

Advice to young artists:
  - Stop Smoking!  We need artists with lifetime of wisdom and experience to share with us.  (implied meaning- we dont want you to die young!)
- Live simply.  Dont move to New York to be an artist, or your life will be defined by money.  Live somewhere with low rent and living expenses so you have more time to make art.
- To students- study many subjects, not just the field of art you are working in. 

She described the writers life as ideal for an introvert.  8 hours by yourself typing is heaven to her. (Would be hard for me!)

She described the process of writing The Bean Trees as one where she had written many stories about the people she met in Tuscon and couldn't find a way they were connected to bring them together into a novel.  Then she realized the connection was her experience of meeting these people as an outsider looking in.  So that became the basis for the main character in the book. 

There is more, but that is all this tired mama mind can retain right now. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

almost the big one

my birthday is near and this year I have realized:

1)  All the things I want for my birthday are practical.  And thats really what I want.
- a dishwasher
- a grill
- my wedding ring fixed
- a bigger, better food processor

Sounds boring, but really any of those would be great.  Not things I need, but things that would be fun.  I guess I have never been a fur and diamonds kind of person, but at least at this point in my life, practical is awesome.

2) A lunch out with the girlfriends is just not happening right now.
We all have kids, some have many many kids.  And usually one is sick. 
Some of us homeschool which means the kids come along.
Girl time at a busy restaurant with energetic children. . . not gonna happen.

3) I really am OK with getting older. 
We got family pictures taken recently and my gray hair was all over the place.  Usually this would bother me and I would notice every wrinkle and tummy roll.  But all I could do is tear up at how beautiful our family is.  Those pictures captured it all (including grey hair) but also all the glory of love in our little home.

4) I am definitely ambivalent about technology.
I need a new phone.  Mine echoes at random times.  It cuts off conversations without warning. The next logical step is a smart phone.  Even my husband has one.  But I know at some level that being disconnected is good sometimes.  Silence and Solitude are valuable commodities.  Someday, I know I will cave and get a phone.  But for my birthday?  No thanks.