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Category Archives: Musings

Reminder

Reminder

I often find myself angry and resentful while doing outdoor gardening chores. In the summer heat, I find myself angry at my husband. I think, “What has he done for me lately? (Cue Janet.) When is he ever going to help?” He’s inside on his computer or watching TV while I pull weeds, edge beds, or combat that aggressive vine I planted five or six years ago. He mows the lawn, and that is the extent of his outdoor activity. I have neglected my health and become depressed in the last few years. This summer every time I go outside to do some work, I hurt myself. I’ve had the kind of injuries that take a couple of weeks of lying flat on my back to heal. Needless to say, it’s frustrated me to no end.

To motivate (or placate) myself, I remind myself that I am living the dream. Since I was seventeen, I dreamed of owning a home on some land with room for a vegetable garden. A home where I could grow my own cut flowers. My mother subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine for me. I consumed that magazine; often reading the gardening articles over and over.

We lived in a condominium on the third floor. My mother gardened on the balcony. She loved caring for her plants, her children, and any critters her children brought home. She sometimes longed for a garden plot.

Fast forward almost 20 years and here I am. A city dweller on a bit of land I can call my own. My head is filled with gardening theories. I never stopped reading about growing things. I thought the transition would be easy. I would finally have the garden of my dreams. Of course, when we rented that three level townhouse in Virginia–with a teeny tiny back yard–anything I decided to plunk in the ground would grow like mad! Here in South Carolina the pesky rye grass and centipede grass grow faster than anything, although the weeds give them good competition.

My resentment has taken the form of neglecting our home, and saddling my teenage daughter with all the responsibility of making meals. Anyone with any housewife experience will know that the mess just gets worse, and the joke is really on you because you’re the one who will have to set things to right again. And, yes, everything outside JUST KEEPS GROWING.

Another form of my resentment is complaining…about my husband. My sweet girlfriends listen to me and give well meaning advice such as:  you have to ask your husband to help you. One friend went so far as to tell me that our husbands are our helpmates:  it’s their job to help us. 😛 (Wrong, but well meaning.) The thing is:  he bought this house for me. He knew I wanted to garden. He knew I wanted the extra room for a craft room. I knew that he hates being outdoors except for his daily run.

On a day when I had a million chores awaiting my attention, I decided to make my husband’s lunch like I used to do. I took care preparing his customary salad, washed some raspberries for his dessert, and added a little bar of sea salted dark chocolate. I set it all on a tray, so it would be ready when he took his break for lunch. And you know what? It made ME feel better. I went outside that day with peace in my heart. I remembered the joy that working outside gives me. I recalled the pride I feel when my garden and home is well kept BY ME. I made a startling discovery:  even though I don’t FEEL like blessing my husband, something happens in my heart when I do it anyway. 🙂

Sure, one day I will truly need help, but that day is far in the future. Today I thank God for my health and my wealth and the energy to set things right in and around my home. I also thank God for the reminder that it truly is better to give than to receive.

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This Mother’s Heart

A very close friend of mine has just lost her 18 year old son to a tragic car accident. I received a text saying “Luke car accident airlifted to hospital pray”. Upon receiving that text, my mind kicked into gear as my body froze. I wanted to text back and get details:  what happened, where did it happen, who was with him, exactly how bad is it.

We live in a small town in a very closely knit homeschool community. I know this boy. I know most of his seven siblings. I directed his graduation ceremony just last spring. His mother is one of my daughter’s teachers. His sister one of my daughter’s dear friends. Facebook was abuzz with pleas for prayer. I wanted to be at the hospital with my friend. I wanted to be able to comfort her and bring her anything she and her family needed. This was impossible.

A dear friend from out of town had just arrived to visit for the weekend. This friend came amidst a very serious situation in her marriage. I don’t think I’d be offending her if I said she was a mess. She admitted it a time or two herself during her stay. My guest had some very demanding needs of her own.

I was in shock–and still am in shock–during her whole visit. Because our friends are dearly loved here, I was sure they were being well looked after; so I settled in for a weekend catching up with my out of town friend.

She and I feared that she was nearing a nervous breakdown. She certainly acted like it. I was very stretched to be as loving toward her as I would my grieving friend. She was fruitlessly doing everything in her power to control her situation. She was acting like a crazy person. My husband stated that he thought she sounded like she had lost her mind.

I’m not going to lie. I wanted to shake her many times during her stay, and shout, “My friend just lost her CHILD!” Many times. So many times it makes me ashamed. On the last day of her stay, she spoke with her husband and decided to return h0me. She came downstairs and told me with a smile on her face that she was going to go on a trip with her husband, so she needed to leave a day early because their flight was on Monday. Just like that she was gone.

Now that she’s gone, I can’t help but worry about her. Did she really reconcile with her husband or did she sense the impending shaking?

As the dust has settled, I’ve come to realize that when faced with trauma, adversity, or whatever you’d like to call it, we (not just women, but maybe mostly women) feel tremendous pressure to DO. Do something.

In addition to doing something for my grieving friend, what I wanted to do was to speak to my own son who is in Japan at the moment. I wanted to hear his voice. He’s too cheap to buy a phone with an international calling plan, so we’re relegated to communication over Facebook. I wanted to gather my loved ones near and not let them out of my sight for awhile–or ever. I wanted to run around like my other friend and do, do, do stuff even if it didn’t make any sense or make anything better. Instead, I did as I advised my friend to do:

Be still, and know that I am God…Psalm 46:10

I am so thankful today that I know Him, and that I know He cares for me.

Lesson Learned

I cannot tell you how much money I’ve spent on boxes, baskets, and containers to corral the video game mess in the craft room.  I have organized and reorganized that area hundreds of times.  Each time by myself. Every year or so, I go out and buy a new container that I think everything will fit into–and then the container itself doesn’t fit on the shelf under the television. IF it happens to fit, the kids don’t put everything back into it the correct way–my way.

I know. Please no suggestions about how I should get them into the habit of cleaning up after themselves. They do. It lasts a day, and then we go through the whole process over again.

This morning I went to the local craft store and bought some nice baskets that I thought would do the trick. They were half-off the regular price. Score! I brought them home and called my daughter to me. I handed the baskets to her and assigned her the job of reorganizing the video game area. The only thing I told her was to let me know if the baskets wouldn’t fit on the shelf.

Twenty minutes later, I have a beautifully organized space. AND I didn’t have to spend hours trying to make sense of it all.  She even took a few minutes to label some games, so she could find them at a glance.

Now to get her to organize our school area.

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Mornings in My World

Mornings in My World

4:00 *Bling!* My eyes open of their own accord

Check Facebook.

Check email.

Take my turn in Words with Friends.

Use 8 lives in Candy Crush. (Yes, I have awesome friends who send me extra lives. AND this is only on one device. Technically, I have 15 lives whenever I want to play! One for each device. I tried talking my hubs into letting me play CC on his Facebook account. He said no.)

Use 6 lives in Candy Crush Soda something or other. (Yes, I got suckered into playing this one, too!) All the while listening to my poor hubby sniffle/snore next to me. He and my daughter both have some sort of cold that won’t end. Oh, look! 5:50 already!

(Can you believe I just spent an hour and fifty minutes online? UGH.)

5:50 Get out of bed and take the puppy out.

Feed sweet, little puppy.

6:00 Impromptu dance session with puppy while singing the Stuff Mart song from Veggie Tales. (Why, no, I have no toddlers. Why do you ask?)

6:10 Realize I’m twerking because, apparently, that’s the way I dance when no one is watching. Shoot me now.

6:15 Change, grab my iPad and get on the treadmill. Goal today: 30 minutes.

6:28 Get off the treadmill and clean up the mess the puppy left on the floor right next to the treadmill. (If she feels at all neglected, she will cop a squat and leave a hot mess anywhere, anytime. Neat trick, huh?) Get back on the machine.

6:33 Set my level at 5 and feel like a champion.

6:40 Get off the treadmill because my shins are really hurting. Justify the ten less minutes by saying I ran at level 5 today. Hey, still 20 minutes more than yesterday AND at level 5!

6:42 Go upstairs to my computer, so I can blog about what an amazing morning I had.

****This will be what happens next.******

7:05 Breakfast

7:45 Shower

8:15 Print off quizzes and tests for my Japanese 1 and 2 classes today. Grab my bucket of rocks and my lava lava (for hula classes) and throw everything into the backseat of the truck.

8:20 Stand in bedroom and stare at my bed.

Sit on the bed and run my hand over the fuzzy bedspread. Yawn.

Lie down for just a minute.

8:45 Yell across the house to teenaged daughter, “Nat! Are you ready? Did you get us water? Did you pack a snack? Do you have everything?”

Run around the house frantically trying to grab all the things she hasn’t gotten yet.

9:03 Arrive at Club Tuesday. (The one day a week we meet with other homeschoolers to hold classes and do fun stuff.) Yes, I will be late; even though I woke up at 4 am.

Enjoy your day!

The Fog

This morning I read a short article I found on Pinterest on budget decorating. I am a sucka for decorating, organizing, and gardening articles. Preface those topics with the word “budget” and I’m all yours…well, almost.

I am still living in a Netflix haze. Once I start a new TV series, I let it play all day on one device or another while I do things (not really accomplish things) around the house until the series finale. Except for 24–I got stuck in season five and have never returned to that series.

BUT after reading that article this morning, I felt a tiny, little tickle stirring in my breast. I recognize it as the need to create something pretty, something wonderful, something beautiful just for me. If I keep this up, I’ll be back on track by March…2016. Prayers are appreciated.

Renovating Me

After reading this article (http://www.countryliving.com/homes/house-tours/natural-mommie-tiny-farmhouse?ha=1&src=spr_FBPAGE&spr_id=1453_128880338#slide-1) this morning, I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with me. I live in a four bedroom, three bathroom home with a bonus room above the three car garage and I still cannot find space for all my stuff. Three of us live here with two dogs. We don’t even have a guest bedroom.

Every year at this time you see all the information that people have on reorganizing, updating, down-sizing, renovating, dieting, and the list goes on. The message is clear: you are not good enough. Where you are living, and the way in which you do so, is just not good enough.

I love our home and surrounding property; I really do. I have just been having problems with pockets of clutter mysteriously growing (like those mushrooms in the yard) in different parts of the house. I have also been struggling with keeping the house clean. It’s no mystery as to why. I know the reason. I just don’t want to. I want the clean, sparkly house in the magazines; the beautifully organized closets; the tastefully appointed living rooms; and the tricked out kitchens. Let’s not forget the uber organized garage! BUT I just don’t want to have to do the WORK to get there.

I’ve been watching way too much television lately. I’ve become like the vast majority of Americans, who are content to sit and be entertained by Hollywood. Heaven, help me! I should just ask for a LazyBoy for my upcoming birthday, and kiss my dreams of the perfect living room goodbye.

As you can see, I am in a bind. I can’t decide which life I’d like to live: functioning, organized, responsible woman in a pretty home OR pajama clad sloth too attached to the television to care. Too many of my thoughts start with “I used to…” Or “I wish…” My closest friends are fictitious. I suppose I go through this every winter (without TV, of course, this is the first in ten years that we’ve actually had access) and come out of it come spring. At least that’s the hope I’m holding onto this year (read: this is the current lie I tell myself).

This sedentary lifestyle has wreaked havoc on my health. Since getting Netflix and Amazon Prime, my thyroid has conked out and I’ve had a host of other health issues including arthritis and and shingles. But I understand more pop culture references than I did this time last year. Ha! I realize that I CAN change. I just need to decide to do so. Of course, for now, I’ll go see what’s on Netflix. It is Saturday, after all.

New Years Resolutions Coming Up

New Years Resolutions Coming Up

First resolution on my list:  buy a new keyboard because the apostrophe and delete keys on this one do not work.  I suppose I risk losing readership because of the resulting poor grammar, but Ive been around the internet and Ive seen worse.

This morning, I decided today would be the day to start shedding a few of these extra pounds Ive carried around since my girl was born. She is twelve. Years. I figure I have a few days to iron out all the kinks before it becomes an official New Years Resolution on the first of January. You know, when you make a resolution or ten and break half of them by lunch. I went ahead and broke my diet by lunch time today when I ate a gingerbread cookie that was bigger than my head–and, yes, my head is preeeeetty large. It snowballed after that.

I borrowed a pressure washer from a friend. With dreams of a sparkly driveway and walkway, and a clean, moss free north facing wall, I decided to tackle this task today. After three hours of starting and restarting, I cleaned exactly five rectangular sections of the front walkway (this is probably one-sixteenth of the concrete on my property). The machine starting leaking gas and oil (oops!), so I put it away. Feeling like a failure, I returned indoors to comfort myself with some Cranberry Noel cookies. After eating two cookies, I remembered that I was supposed to be changing my lifestyle today. Shoot! So I did what any feeling woman would do:  I made it an even half-dozen.

I have many chores that need to be completed today, but I cant seem to get over this mornings pressure washer failure or my broken promise to start eating healthfully. SO I thought Id hop on here to inspire a few of you! If you are anything like me, and I pray youre not, start practicing your resolutions now! I think I should probably get rid of all the baked goods in the house before I expect any kind of success. See, now I can say I accomplished a post today. I am off to get stuff done.

Enjoy your day!