Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Rewind: A Look Under the Hood

Mack's parents threw him a surprise party for his seventeenth birthday. I'm not quite sure how I ended up there, as our friendship had only just begun. But nevertheless, there I was, with some other friends from church and a handful of friends from his school. I don't remember many details. I know I met his sister and her family for the first time, but I barely remember that, except for how adorable his little red-headed niece and nephew were. I'm sure there were cake and presents. We probably played some games. But one moment is crystal clear, as if it happened yesterday. A group of us ventured out to the workshop to see the car he was rebuilding with his dad. A 1966 Chevelle that he had bought at the estate sale of a great uncle when he was maybe thirteen. He paid $250 for it, with money he had earned on his paper route. Now, I know nothing about cars. But I'm a history nerd. I love antiques, interesting old finds, and I've always thought vintage cars were very cool. When I exclaimed over his dusty old car, he looked at me with what I can only describe as shock. I listened as he told me with pride how he had acquired it, what he and his dad were doing to it, and all it would be when it was finished. Looking back, I realize that those few minutes provided one of my first glimpses at who Mack is deep inside: a dreamer, a visionary, a do-er, a collector, a tinkerer, a worker, and a sentimentalist. It was a short list, but would only grow from there. In my mind, I quietly doubted that old car would ever be all he said. And right there, I should have learned something else about my Mack. He is stubborn and persistent and doesn't give up when he sets his mind to something, and I shouldn't ever doubt what he says he will accomplish. But it took a few more years for me to learn that particular lesson. He did indeed get that old car running. And he gave me the honor of giving her a name: we called her the She-Devil. Our first dates would be in that car. I could hear her pipes the moment Mack would turn down my street to pick me up, and the way an old car smells as it burns through fuel stays with me. Mack loved that car, but time went by, and growing up had to be done, and the She-Devil was sold to help provide for an ever-growing family. Though she's been gone for years, she holds a special place in both our hearts. Even now, if an old classic rolls by me on the road, and I happen to hear that distinct rumble and catch a whiff of her engine running as she cruises by, my heart skips a beat. For just a moment I'm eighteen again, with the wind in my hair, holding the hand of the boy who would hold my heart for a lifetime.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Choosing Gratitude

Some friends and I are doing a study on the book "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I was kind of skeptical going into this book- viewing gratitude as one of those "icing on the cake" kind of spiritual attributes, but certainly not as "important" as service, patience, unconditional love, etc. I actually wondered how someone was going to write a 150 page book on the concept of being thankful. Ironically, the author addresses this very mentality in the first few pages.

But what I am learning is that gratitude is so much more than a brief "thank you" or a nod towards God when things are going well. It's an all day, every day intense effort to remember and acknowledge all God is, all He has done, and all He has blessed me with. It's being able to say "thank you" for all things in life, not just the ones I appreciate at the moment.

But it's even more with than that. I am learning how God's grace cultivates gratitude. If we have a proper perspective of who God is and who we are in relation to Him, we can't help but be humbly grateful, and that gratitude pervades every aspect of our lives. We become all of those "more important" attributes: we are more patient and forbearing because we recognize how much patience the Lord shows to us; we are more easily forgiving, because we are grateful for the forgiveness that has been shown to us; we serve and give because we look to, in some small measure, actually express that thanks.

And on the other side, I am learning how many sins and struggles are borne from a heart of ingratitude. It leads to resentment, bitterness, anger, pride, selfishness, rebellion, jealousy, and so many more. It is listed among the other, seemingly more "treacherous" sins listed in 2 Timothy, and given as the root of the sins listed in Romans 1.

Early in my marriage, when circumstances weren't going so well, I developed a little phrase in my own heart, "When you sow seeds of discontentment, you will only reap the fruits of bitterness." Certainly not wanting to become a bitter person, I would repeat this little mantra over and over to myself: while I cleaned my less-than-desirable residence, while I trudged through and shoveled the snow that I hated so much, while my husband worked long hours at a job that wasn't paying enough to make ends meet, while we struggled to figure out if we had made a mistake by getting married, while our only car became less and less reliable, while I went to the grocery store with $20 in my pocket to see us through for the whole week. With the Lord's grace, it worked. We emerged on the other side, our marriage not only intact, but stronger. He provided exactly what we needed, both physically and spiritually, at every turn. The "grace" part of it all is that, while I certainly had moments of resentment and discontentment while enduring this season of life, I truly did have no lingering feelings of bitterness about the struggles. But what I am learning now is that it starts somewhere deeper. Those seeds of discontent about which I warned myself actually start with ingratitude. When we cease to be thankful for where the Lord has us at a particular moment, for what we do have, for the ways He has spared us, that's when the discontentment begins to grow. And that leads to a host of other problems.

So that's what I'm learning so far on this little journey. And I'm only on Chapter 3.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mahwwiage...Is What Brings Us Toogethah Today

My kids always have loads of questions about marriage. Here is a sampling (followed by what's going on in Mom's head):

~How old do you have to be to get married? (Umm... well... depends who you ask)
~How old were you when you got married? (Yay- that's an easy one!)
~Then why does Dad say we have to wait 'til we're 30? ('Cause he's silly)
~What does engaged mean? (Another easy one, yay!)
~Can you have kids when you're engaged or do you have to wait 'til you're married? (Oh great, a question about sex, only they don't know yet that's what they're asking about. Let's wait a little while to open that can of worms. Just a "wait 'til you're married" is good enough for now.)
~Then how did Mary have Jesus when she was just engaged? (Even better, sex and theology all wrapped up in one question. They sure don't make it easy on poor Mom, do they?)
~Can you ever decide you don't want to be married to someone anymore? (Oh boy...)
~Will you and Dad ever get a divorce? (Nope, Lord willing)
~If God doesn't like divorce, why do people do it? (Good question. Too many answers.)
~What if 2 boys ask me at the same time to marry them? (Hahahaha... one of my personal faves, courtesy of Faithie)
~Will you pick what girl I'm going to marry? (Maybe, son, maybe)
~How will I know if she's really a Christian? (Now THAT'S a good question, son)

Anyway, the kids and I were having one of our many discussions on the topic last night on the way home from church. Faithie has figured out that you are an "adult" at 18 and can legally be married then, and I said, "Yes, but 18 is really too young to be married. Most people aren't mature enough to be married at that age." Of course, she asked me what I meant, and I answered, "Well, being married can be really hard work. You have to learn how to still love someone and live with them even if you're angry at them and don't like them very much sometimes." Her response? "I don't think it would be hard work to be married to Dad. He's such a kind man. And he loves God. And he's really fun." (Yes he is, sweet Faithie, yes he is. Remember that, and don't settle for less.)

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I do not get the current hairstyles of today's male youth. We work with the teens at our church, so I see the variety of "styles" weekly at least. The bushy hair that has no shape and hasn't seen a styling product in who knows how long. Or the plastered-down-over-the-forehead-and-ears-like-a-helmet look. Or the long "bangs" swept to the side, which are possibly a worse contribution to society by Justin Bieber than his music. I understand buzz cuts, spiky crew cuts, even long hair that is washed and conditioned, but this completely unkempt, not long and not short, as bushy on the sides as it is on the top business is utter nonsense to me. I know I sound like a crotchety old woman, completely resistant to change and the fashion choices of the next generation. But that's not it at all. I just don't like it- I think it looks sloppy and lazy. I remember a kid in high school who would routinely not comb or style his hair, because "Why should I? I don't have to look at it." He was a cool and funny kid, and we all laughed with him about his choice to deviate from the norm in that little area. But his hair did look awful. My point? Almost every teen I know right now has hair that looks just like that kid's did, only it's supposedly their "style."

C-Ray was due for a haircut. His hair was looking very much like the "styles" I have just described. I had been telling him for several days that it was time, but just hadn't found the time to do it. I helped chaperone a field trip with Faithie's class yesterday. I noticed that, even in third grade, the boys were sporting this supposed "style." I have been trying to let my 3 older kids start making some small decisions about their appearances. I have hopes that if I don't dictate and over-regulate the things that really don't matter, like hairstyles, my kids won't be as likely to rebel later on in the areas that do. I'm not talking about compromising standards, just choosing the battles that will actually impact their futures, their testimonies before the Lord, their ability to become productive members of society. I had the thought that maybe C-Ray didn't want his usual short crew cut, that maybe he felt self-conscious that his hair was shorter than his peers. So I asked him, "Hey buddy, do you want me to cut your hair? Or do you want to keep it longer, like some of your friends have it?" I held my breath a little, waiting for his answer, and the thoughts raced through my mind, "Oh, how I hate those hairstyles. I hate how shaggy you look right now. I'm gonna have to do some fast talking with your father to let you keep it like this. Why did I just put that option out there?" I didn't have to hold my breath for long, as he answered, "No, I want a haircut. My head is always sweaty and my hair keeps sticking up funny." Smart kid. I know a whole bunch of teens that should take notes ;)

Monday, 28 February 2011

What If My Husband Was a Cheerleader?

A wide-spread "complaint" I've noticed among married women is that their husbands don't "just listen" to them, but instead feel like they have to "fix" things- offer solutions, point out what the woman should have done to avoid the problematic situation, etc. I too am guilty of this complaint, this way of thinking. I want to unload whatever problem I am having, or emotion I am feeling, onto my husband. Then, I want him to smile, tell me it's going to be okay, give me hug, and leave me alone. I don't want to hear how I could have fixed it more easily or avoided it all together. Yet, while I'm refusing his input and advice, I get frustrated when he disregards mine. I was mulling this over the other night while loading my dishwasher (I have my best conversations with myself while loading the dishwasher) and almost started giggling at the analogy that started rolling around in my mind.

I am anti-cheerleader. In fact, I despise the institution of cheerleading as a whole. (No offense to any of the very nice individuals out there who happen to be of a cheering persuasion. I will forgive your questionable life choices if you will forgive my unrelenting judgment of you ;) Why the intense hatred of cheerleading? Simply because it's pointless. And by pointless, I mean absurd. A troop of scantily clad girls, most of whom know very little about sports, jumping about and screaming in hopes of encouraging their assigned sports team. It's ludicrous. Those cheerleaders may, in some small measure, get the spectators enthused, but they really do absolutely nothing for the performance of the athletes. We've all been to those sporting events where our team is performing dismally, and those cheerleaders keep right on cheering, as if they are oblivious to the score and the fact that their team stinks. Those situations epitomize the foolishness of cheerleading. You want to laugh at them, feel sorry for them, and tell them to just be quiet. But you don't do any of those things, because they are simply doing what they are supposed to do, all they know how to do in the given situation. They don't possess the skills to make the situation itself any better. I have never seen an athlete trot over to the cheer squad to ask their opinion on improving his performance. The thought of it is laughable.

That's the coach's job. He is the one who has trained, challenged, and encouraged those athletes. His life is invested theirs, and their performance directly impacts his life and future, as his career is sure to be short-lived if his athletes perpetually fail. He's the one those athletes look to when they are stinking things up out on the field or court, because he's the one that has the ability to help them change the outcome. If the coach is a good one, he tells the athletes what they are doing wrong, how they could have avoided mistakes so they don't make them again, what to change to make themselves better. Imagine a coach who simply stood on the sidelines and smiled and cheered wildly when his team was down and defeated. What an awful, ineffective coach he would be! On the flip side, he's the one who is the most pleased and most positively impacted when the team performs well. A win for them is decidedly a win for him. If the coach is a good one, he gives them the encouragement and praise they deserve, and his words certainly have more impact than cheers from those who did nothing to help them gain the success they are enjoying. And if his players have an opinion or complaint, he is much more likely to listen to the ones who have respected and listened to him, and diligently heeded his instruction, than to those who thought they could do fine without him.

The thought that made me giggle was, "I'm asking my husband to be a cheerleader, when he's obviously wired to be a coach." Actually, the literal visual of my husband as a cheerleader is what made me giggle. It drove home the absurdity of what I ask him to do. He can't do it. He can't stand on the sideline and smile and cheer me on when I'm making mistakes. He can't say nothing when my own attitude, laziness, or emotions are keeping me from playing the game as effectively as I might be able to. He can't, not only because it's not the way he's designed, but because my decisions, mistakes, and unchecked emotions directly impact his life and future. If he's simply my cheerleader, it does nothing to improve me, my life, our relationship, or our relationship with our children. And that's the goal, right? For all of us. To be better, to avoid the stupid mistakes, to have stronger relationships and families. So why do I question, disregard, and even resent, the advice and opinions of the person who has the most invested in my life, the one for whom the stakes are highest if I fail? Why do I ask him to smile and say nothing when he could say something that would actually help me succeed? Why do I render him ineffective and restrict him to the sidelines, when his knowledge, wisdom, and life experiences could certainly help to enhance my own? Why do praise and recognition from him sometimes mean less to me than the approval of others? Why do I expect him to listen to my opinions when I haven't listened to his? Why did I write this and put it out on the Internet where my husband can read it? Now I might have to actually listen to myself...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

It's the Little Things

In keeping with this year's theme of "Simplicity," I've been trying to focus on simple things that I love and am thankful for. Last night, Mack came home from work, then left again to go help a friend clear the snow from his driveway. Only a few minutes after he left, my phone rang. It was Mack. "I just wanted to tell you that I love you." And that was it; no other purpose for the call. I can safely say that those calls and texts, those out of the blue, completely unsolicited and unwarranted, just-to-say-something-nice communications, are one of my absolute favorite things about being married to this husband of mine. Just knowing that he took a minute in the midst of his busyness to say "I was thinking about you and I still like you even after all this time that I've been stuck with you" can mean more than the grandest of gestures. What are some your favorite "simple things?"

Monday, 14 February 2011

Rewind: A Valentine's Day Story

I went to bed with a funny little cough last night. By 10:00 this morning, I felt pretty lousy. Cough, headache, body aches, the works. I took some meds and laid down for a bit, my mind defying my body to be sick. Finally somewhere around 2:00 this afternoon I called Mack to ask if we could celebrate Valentine's Day another day. As I dialed the phone, I remembered a Valentine's Day years ago. I hadn't thought about it in a long time, but as it is my only antecdotal Valentine's story, I think I'll share.

This guy, who I'm going to name Beattles because that's what I remember listening to when we would hang out, and I had been stuck in a cycle of teenage drama for most of our high school career. He liked me, I didn't like him, but finally decided maybe I did after awhile. Then we were on-again, off-again, he was hurt, I was confused, our peers had too much input into our "relationship," the whole nine yards. Anyway, so we had "gotten back together" again at some point in January. Valentine's Day happened to fall on a Wednesday that year, and we made plans to skip youth group at church (gasp) and go to dinner and a movie with his next door neighbor and my best friend, who were also dating. Much like today, I woke up that morning feeling pretty awful. I willed myself to go to school, because I knew there was no way that my parents would let me go out on a school night if I hadn't gone to school that day. So I went. And felt worse and worse as the day went on. I promptly fell asleep when I got home, and was awakened by Beattles calling to confirm our plans. I told him the bad news that I was sick and didn't think I could go. I could tell he was disappointed, and I asked him what he thought he would do that night. "Probably just go to church," he answered.

I wanted to ask him to stop by and see me on his way home, but I knew enough about guys, even at 16, that I didn't. I knew that would be perceived as needy, maybe even nagging, and would completely rob him of the opportunity to make the "romantic gesture" on his own initiative. So I said nothing, but waited for him to stop by. And the window in which he could have done so came and went. Later, he finally called. I asked him what he done. He had gone to dinner and a movie with the friends we had made plans with, and another girl friend of mine. Yes, that is correct. He went out on a date with another girl on Valentine's Day. I asked if they met up over by his house, almost a half hour away. No, he had come and picked up my friend, who lived about a mile from my house, and could have easily stopped by to see me. Now I was really rubbed the wrong way, but determined to play it cool and not be the jealous type, I said nothing. I asked if they had fun and we hung up the phone. He called the next day and broke up with me. And I knew it was for good. Our little cycle of teenage drama was broken once and for all. I literally looked at the phone in disbelief and laughed after he hung up.

And there it is: the only Valentine's Day on which I ever had a sort-of valentine besides Mack. And I'm so grateful. Grateful that we didn't go out on that date, that he didn't stop by in some romantic gesture, that I never got a card or chocolates or flowers on February 14th from anyone but Mack. That Mack was mine by the time that day came around again the next year, and for the 14 years since. And for as long as the Lord wills.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


That's the total number of Valentines needed by my four children for exchanges at church and school. Yes, that's right. 165. I'm not going to say that it's ridiculous, but it's ridiculous.

Dearest Mack,

Thank you so much for getting the hint when I left your hair clippings in my sink until you got home last night. You did an excellent job cleaning them up. There are not many things in this world that gross me out, but other people's hair is one of them. Even when it's yours.

Appreciatively yours,

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dear Mack,

I love it that you cut your own hair to save time and money. However, I do not love it when you leave the clippings in my bathroom sink.

Respectfully yours,

Monday, 7 February 2011

Hidden Places

I have made numerous allusions to my basement recently. Let me see if I can more aptly paint a word picture for you, since I am too prideful to post actual pictures. Our basement is unfinished (concrete floor, concrete walls) and as large as the downstairs of our house. It will someday be, Lord willing, one awesome recreational space. But right now, it looks like a tornado ripped through. Literally. There are boxes, both empty and filled, stacked everywhere. There are things that have been pulled out of boxes during searches for lost items strewn about on the floor. Children's toys and outdoor Christmas decor (think lighted trees and reindeer) enhance the mess.

In the midst of all this chaos sit two couches. Rather, a loveseat and a couch that was once cut in half with a chainsaw by its previous owner. Said owner could not fit a full sized couch down his basement stairs, so he cut it in half, moved it downstairs, and put a nice slipcover on it. You can't really tell, unless you are unfortunate enough to sit on the divide. When that owner moved across country and justifiably did not want to move a two-piece couch, we inherited it. Since we also cannot fit a full sized couch down our basement steps, it was a logical fit. In addition to those couches, there is a TV, to which is connected our Wii and X-Box. The children play their video games down there, as well as rollerskate, dribble basketballs, and play flashlight tag when Wisconsin winter won't allow those activities outdoors.

Now let me paint another word picture for you: Company's coming. I spend the day straightening up the house, cleaning the guest bathroom, mopping, vaccuuming, and generally making the house presentable for guests. I feel the mixture of self-satisfaction that my house is looking the way it should, and guilt that it didn't look that way before. I question why I put forth so much effort for guests, but not daily for my family. I quote Proverbs 31 to myself, and feel good that I am exemplifying that woman on that particular day, and deficient for all the other days where I most certainly don't. The "hidden places" such as the basement, our cluttered closets, and the piles of papers that I hid rather than filed in my rush to get things in order nag at a corner of my mind. I sweep those thoughts away, and think "Well, no one's going to see those places. I need to focus on what will be seen."

Company arrives. We eat dinner, enjoy some fellowship, and then it inevitably happens. Mack decides that he and the husband should go downstairs and play X-Box. Or that we should all play Wii together. Or the husband just happens to be a handy type of guy, and Mack decides to get his opinion on our future basement renovation. Or the children go downstairs to play, and the wife follows cries from one of her children down into my abyss. There are no words adequate to express my shame and mortification.

After such a scenario recently, I was struck by the obvious spiritual parallel. I spend so much time "cleaning up" the areas of my life that people can see. I carefully apply my "Jesus face" to go to church, use kind speech and diligent discipline with my children in front of others, measure out the right words to those that are struggling or grieving. I speak of the necessity of submission and humility to young women, serve in the Body when I am able and it suits my purposes, and behave in good testimony when I know those that don't believe are watching. But what about the rest? What about the places that no one else sees? What about my speech and actions toward my family when we are alone? What about my attitude toward serving and giving when it isn't convenient? What about the thoughts and feelings in the deepest recesses of my soul? How much time do I spend cleaning those up? How much shame and mortification would I experience if those were laid bare? How can I possibly feel satisfied with what appears on the surface when I know that what lies beneath is a chaotic mess? Where do I start? How do I get it all cleaned up? It's even more overwhelming than the basement.

1 Samuel 16:7 "...For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

Go Pack Go (Part 2)

Little One somehow became convinced that the Packers were going to be playing the big game at our house last night. Evidently the Superbowl was to be played in our backyard or something. She woke up yesterday morning, almost tearful, saying, "Mommy, why did the Packers leave in the middle of the night? Now we'll never get to see them play football!" I'm still not sure why she ever thought they were HERE in the first place, thus convincing her that they must have left in the middle of the night. Who can discern the mind of a three year old? But she was definitely convinced. She even invited her Sunday School teacher over, "...because the Packers are playing football at our house tonight."

Turns out? She wasn't completely mistaken. Clay Matthews dropped by for a little visit.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Go Pack Go

It was Packers Day at school today, in honor of their trip to the Super Bowl. C-Ray has been asking for a Packers shirt for quite some time, but I had yet to buy him one. He was set with a green shirt to wear though, and was happy and content. He commented to me this morning, "Mom, if you ever do get me a Packer shirt, don't get me the quarterback. I want one with a bigger number." I replied, "Like Clay Matthews?" C-Ray answered, "Yeah, he's number 52. That would be good."

Mack, most impressed with his son's knowledge of the Packers' roster, decided that the boy must have some Packers gear. He set out to get him something during a lull in his morning. Of course, circumstances arose, and I ended up making a "quick trip" to Target, on good authority that they had lots of Packers clothing. That "quick trip" turned into over an hour and 5 different stores, none of which had any kids' merchandise in stock. My search finally ended at Kohl's, where they had racks upon racks of kid-sized Packers gear. I spent more than I would've liked on a shirt, which does indeed sport the number 52, and stopped by school just as C-Ray was coming in from recess.

"Hey buddy, come here. I got you something."
"Really? What?"
I hold out the shirt.
"Want to put it on over your other shirt for the rest of the day?"
"No thanks. I'm good."

The Simple Life: Step Two

After a brief blogging hiatus due to travels and out of town visitors, I shall share with you the first teeny-tiny babystep in my efforts to purge and declutter. I took down my Christmas tree during the first half of January. This is an accomplishment in and of itself. The year Apple was born, on December 27, the tree didn't come down until the day before Valentine's Day. In fact, removing it from the living area of our small apartment was my Valentine's gift to Mack. Since that benchmark, I have shamefully adopted the philosophy that anything before that date must count as improvement. Anyway, I resolved to organize and downsize the Christmas "stuff" when I put it away, rather than just tossing it back in the same mismatched boxes that have travelled with us over ten years and three states. So, I updated the Christmas storage from this:

To this:

And I threw away this:

And started this box of things for donation/garage sale:
Like I said, it's a baby step. And I had to put those nicely organized and labeled bins down in my basement. Where you can't even see the floor. That's next. Really.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Car Thief

So Mack really hates it when I blog funny things about him, but this morning was so typically "us" that I just have to. I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning with grand intentions of going to the Y to work out before the rest of the family had to be up. I do this frequently, but I NEVER actually get up, so I did not mention my intentions to Mack, knowing that he would tease me if I didn't follow through. But about the time I was due to get up, Little One came crawling into bed with us, and I certainly wasn't going back to sleep with her knees pressing into the small of my back. So, I quietly slipped out of bed, got my exercise clothes on, and made it out the back door without anyone in the house awakening. I even had the presence of mind to text Mack and let him know where I was, thinking that if he woke up to find me gone, he would try to call me, and see that I had texted him. So, I raised the garage door, started the trusty mini-van, and was fumbling with my seat adjustment as Mack came busting through the back door in only his shorts. He looked at me in bewilderment and hollered, "What are you doing??" I told him where I was going, then followed him back into the house because he looked a little pale. He leaned over and rested his head on his hands on the kitchen counter, trying to collect himself. In his state of slumber, he assumed the body in bed with him was mine rather than Kendra's, and thought someone was stealing our van out of our garage! So much for not waking anybody up...

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Simple Life: Step One:

So, in my pursuit of Simplicity this year, one of the things I mentioned was downsizing our digital media diet. So, my first initiative of the year was to re-institute "No Media Thursdays." For the kids and me, this means no recreational computering, video games, or television. We did the same thing last year, for a few months, but let it slide once summer vacation came around. There was some minimal complaining from the kids yesterday about "having nothing to do." They got over their whining when they received little sympathy from me. After homework was done and rooms were neatened, they conducted races with their Zhu-Zhu pets and played a game involving imagined hot lava in the family room. We've had a lot of those games in our house since we vacationed at Mount St. Helens...

Anyway, I requested that Mack join us, and received a bit of mocking in return. He did, however, refrain from turning on the TV until after all the kids were asleep. I read while he watched, and was further mocked when I chuckled at the Office re-run he was watching. I think I need to find something recreational that we can do together besides watch TV if I'm going to get him on board. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

It's a New Day

So, I don't know if anyone reads my blog. Oh wait, there's nothing to read, because I haven't posted in almost a year. But I do enjoy writing, if blogging can actually be called that. And my husband encourages me to do it, so with new resolve, I shall blog this year.

Last year, I gave up on traditional New Year's Resolutions. I decided that I was just setting myself up for failure. We all know that I'm not really going to lose 3o pounds this year, or get my entire life completely organized, so why pretend? Rather, I adopted the "One Word" philosophy- I chose one word that I want to typify my life for the year. In 2010 I chose the word "LIVE." Simple, I know. Now, my intent was not just to continue breathing and sustain consciousness, although I was grateful at the end to have accomplished that. Rather, my intent was to LIVE life more fully. After 9 years of feeling like I was in survival mode, just trying to keep my sanity amidst toddlers, diapers, and multiple awakenings nightly, I decided it was high time I focused on THRIVING rather than SURVIVING. Some general thoughts surrounding my word choice were 1) Stop worrying about trying to be or appear perfect, and just enjoy my life for what it is, 2) Stop worrying about trying to make my children be or appear perfect, and just enjoy them for what they are, and 3) Try new things, be less uptight, take chances, go with the flow!

My word for 2011 is SIMPLIFY. I am coming to the realization that much of the chaos that I feel in my life is of my own creation. I overcomplicate, I procrastinate, and I don't delegate. I believe that a huge piece to feeling less pressure, more peace, and less chaos is to just simplify life as much as possible. I'm still thinking through exactly what that looks like with skin on, but here are some general thoughts: 1) Unplug more often- make a conscious effort to keep digital media, cell phones, etc from encroaching upon my time and stealing the childhood of my children 2) Purge and declutter- if you have ever seen my basement or garage, we are only a few years away from an appearance on "Hoarders." We have too much stuff, and it's not well organized. Changes must be made, and a more simple life must be had. 3) Simplify our food choices. This use of the word "simplify" does not denote "easier," but truly "more real, less artificial, foods that are simply food rather than chemicals." While this choice might actually complicate my life, I think it is important. 4) Learn to say "No." I don't think I need to explain that one.

One of the reasons I am trying to commit to more frequent blogging is to force myself to update about the process of simplification. What are you working on this year? What is your One Word?