Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Say We Try This Again?

Hmm. We were contributing at a nice, steady pace up through mid-summer and then... well... not a whole lot of blogging action. Behind the scenes, however, has been a different story.

Joan and I have both had some ups and downs this year in our personal lives and we've had a lot to share. I think it's fair to say that this 365 Days of Worth project is still a great idea and one we are absolutely willing to keep trying at. The other day we had a conversation about it and both agreed that finding our worth, discovering what it is that makes us special (to ourselves, to our families, to our friends, to our Lord) is an ongoing process. Every day requires new eyes, renewed vision to see ourselves more clearly.

It's unlikely that we'll write much in the next two weeks. The year of 2010 is screaming to a finish... but 2011 is waiting just around the corner. It promises to be an interesting year. We're planning on how better to blog about this journey of worth.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a safe, happy New Year celebration. Put your thinking cap on and start considering what it is that makes you special. Examine how your year has gone and where you think you might need to go (both figuratively and literally). Spend some time examining your soul and then look at the surface things around you -- do they accurately reflect who you are? If not, why?

Be well! Our prayers are with you during these last weeks of 2010 and our hopes are with you as 2011 dawns. We also hope you'll stick with us in 2011.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Too Many Days Have Gone By


No excuses. I've been busy just generally trying to stay afloat in the USS Busy Life. (That makes my little lifeboat with perpetual leaks sound so much bigger and cooler, doesn't it?)

Before this time in my life, I would have been compelled to spell out at least 15 different valid reasons that I haven't blogged. All those excuses would sound fairly impressive (to me, at least) and act a smoke screen... kind of like the ink screen an octopus squirts to get away. The truth is never as impressive as the busyness is. The truth is boring. But the details of life are found in the boring parts. And the truth is, we all live the boring busy life... so why make excuses?

I read something the other day in a life management book called First Things First. It was a scenario of a company that had the life consultants coming in to help them create a "quadrant II culture" (which is life management lingo for dealing with important, non-urgent business most of the time and creating a purposeful and relaxed atmosphere to do it in). This company was the picture of my life -- exceptional amounts of energy spent on looking busy, but without the results to show for it. It was rather shocking to read and confront that moment of realization. I still haven't actually processed it completely.

So what does this have to do with my worth (because it would be easy to come to the conclusion that all I do is spin my wheels and undermine my own worth)? Well... exactly that. I am worth creating that non-urgent, important atmosphere in my home, in my heart, and in my family. So no excuses, just acceptance of what has been.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 250: Whoops!


I was supposed to write something yesterday, but both my idea and my day escaped yesterday. Whoops!

Today was a day of running about. It was something of a "me" day in that I had to run across town to see my naturopath. It was about affirming choices: the choice to exercise; the choice to be careful about what I eat; the choice to try to remember to do things that are fun for me; the choice to pay attention to my health; and so on. It was a day of recommitting to those choices and remembering that I am worth all this effort (and that it's much easier if I don't think about the effort part).

So this evening I ask you to think about the choices you're making. Commit to putting your needs at the top of your to-do list. Remember that you are worth the effort.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 248: Blink


How is it that time just seems to fly by, practically unnoticed, like a stealth plane on a recon mission? As a kid, I remember thinking high school would just never arrive -- I was doomed to be a fifth-grader forever. High school finally did become a reality and I thought it would never be over; I was ready for college and maybe even a job. The first job came, college life was alright, but I just wanted my real life to start. It seems that as soon as I got married, the fast-forward button got pushed and the Life Remote got lost in a couch in our first apartment.

::Blink:: We bought a house.

::Blink:: We had a kid.

::Blink:: Another house later, another kid, and a business.

::Blink:: Do I need to continue? Everytime I blink, I have another kid (maybe that's how that happens?), more work, and everyone looks older.

The scary thing is that I can't remember an awful lot between blinks. It occurs to me that the overwhelming pattern of my early years is one of hurry up so I don't have to do this anymore, not wow, this is a nice moment to visit. Though I try hard these days to be in the moment, my brain is so sieve-like at this point, I find it difficult to remember much of anything beyond how many calories are in a Ghiradelli Twilight Dark Chocolate square (25, if you must know). Even properly medicated with said chocolate, it's tough to know that precious moments keep slipping by -- moments I'm so sure I'll mentally archive, yet are sure to disintegrate in the ether of my mind.

What does this have to do with worth? I realize that my life, worthy child of God or not, will be largely unremembered by anyone, including me. I have to find a way to make peace with this notion. (More tomorrow on this idea and the web.) I am worth savoring this moment right now, be it good, bad or covered in chocolate because this is the only moment that matters. The stuff of my life's situations are quite unimportant, but the character they build (think of coral reefs and how those grow over time) will last. If I appreciate right now for what it is -- not what it will be, should be, could have been -- I find my worth.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 231: Just Keep Swimming


Just keep swimming.

Dory, the lovely blue fish from Finding Nemo, has such a great attitude. It's a big ocean, there's always something going on, and what does she think one should do when the current threatens to swoosh a poor fish away? Just keep swimming!

Sometimes it's all we can do. Just keep up what we know to do (make the bed, get a basic routine going for the day, eat right enough for the day, sleep enough, take 20 minutes to just be still, and remember that this all means something) when the ocean of our lives threatens to pull us under.

Today was one of those days: kids to get to school, other kids to teach at home, work to be done, bills to pay, laundry to do, meals to make. In short, it was an utterly normal day... with an utterly overwhelming amount of work to do. The day felt like a vast ocean with me stuck in the middle of nowhere. So I swam. I've been swimming all week, for that matter. The point being that some days, weeks, or months, all we can do is just keep on going.

Today's lesson of worth was one of endurance. I am worth enduring the seemingly endless ocean of my life, with all its currents, the darkness in its depths, the waves that threaten to drown me. That same ocean is full of life and is capped by waves that glisten in the sunrises and sunsets of my days.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 224: Get Out!


Get Out!

No, really. Get out. Get out of your house, get out of your rut. Somehow I doubt that I'm projecting my own ruts onto you. You know what I'm talking about. We all get into ruts -- we keep our hair in the same style for years without even seeing what we look like; we wear the same several outfits week in, week out without trying something new; we listen to the same music (or fail to listen to any at all); we go get the mail in our slippers and realize we haven't left the living room for any other reason since the last time we went grocery shopping... last week.

It's time to get out. Plant a garden (mine consists of two pepper plants at the moment), go swimming, take a walk, ride your bike. Just do something. If you're on the phone, step out onto your porch for the call. If your kids are going out to play, pull a chair out to the drive and read a book -- better yet, play with them. Put some highlights or lowlights in your hair. Do something different.

Over the summer, I've made a concerted effort to work out as close to daily as possible. I hate working out, just so you know. But I've been diligent about throwing in a show and working out on my exercise bike. It got me out of the rut of just sitting evening after evening. I'm worth a little sweat and some heavy breathing. I wish I could say my body looked better, but I can at least say that it feels a lot better. And my attitude is better, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 223: Creating Routines


Creating a routine for myself is not really all that difficult. I need to sleep, eat, work, play, pray. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's working the minions and my husband into the routine that trips me up. They have this nasty habit of trying to think for themselves, do their own thing, and just generally disregarding my mental projections for the day. Nervy bunch, they are. Nevertheless, a valiant effort on my part must be made to create a routine. Actual implementation of said routine is something akin to martyrdom.

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick."
-Flannery O'Connor

That's the problem for me. Every day I face a new martyrdom that has the potential to be truly ugly. Every day I have to decide to suck it up and get everyone where they need to be, prompt the use of good manners, fix boo-boos, prepare enough food to feed an army, teach, pick up the daily litter, and somehow take care of me, too. Every day I have to teach my family that proceeding through the day with some semblance of order is beneficial.

Get up and make the bed, then you don't have to remember to do it later. It's not quick, that's for sure. Get dressed before you go downstairs to eat. Eat. Clean up. Get your morning chores done. Get the schoolwork started. Get the laundry started (tomorrow you'll need something clean to wear before breakfast). Eat lunch (easier to do if you cleaned up after breakfast). And so the days go. It's a process -- a painfully slow, sometimes fun, never ending process.

The process of creating a routine is worth the effort. This process of being the master caretaker holds countless lessons for me each day. I can choose to grow, to hide, or to give up. If I look carefully at each day's lessons, I find that I am worth more at the end of that day. Sometimes it's just because I survived it. Sometimes it's because I took care of myself and found I had more to give than I ever dreamed possible. Sometimes it's because I walked in someone else's shoes and understand them better. But every day I can see that if I choose to grow through even the small, menial tasks, I will be worth more to myself, my family and my friends because I tried.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Time Has Ceased to Mean Much, Yet It Keeps Flying By!


Summer is a bit dangerous when it comes to keeping track of time. The days start early and end late, there aren't very many places one needs to be very often or regularly, and where I live, the sun cooks your brain so you don't even care what time is anymore. Alas, all good things come to an end...

... Or, a new beginning?

My 5 year old son, Wonder Boy, just started Kindergarten yesterday. Suddenly I am faced with a stack of paper an inch thick -- a combination of mommy homework (didn't I just fill these out when I registered him?) and the already breeding school projects consisting of poems, pasted puppets and little books. It's only the second day and I'm swimming in clutter. I fear the rain forests won't survive the remainder of the week at the rate the paper is flooding home. This signifies the end of my summer freedom (well, we homeschool year round, so it's not like it was free free... but it was blissfully free of other people's schedules) and the beginning of a new routine. The end of preschool, the beginning of actual homework. The end of Wonder Boy's littleness, the beginning of my big boy. The end of my lazy ways, the beginning of the new, responsible me.

Yeah, about that "responsible me" business. What day of this worth stuff are we on? Time may have lost meaning, but my worth sure didn't. During my absence I really devoted myself to a new workout routine, a new attempt at my prayer life, a trip just for me, and some other nifty things I hope to blog about at some point. For now, suffice it to say, I am back. I feel somewhat sunburned, but refreshed. My sense of time has been obliterated, not unlike the unfortunate victim of an alien abduction. I'm still distracted by my kids, my constant procrastination and my search for the perfect system, but I am back and ready to keep talking about what it means to be a woman of worth.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Time to Restart This Project

Oh, my. We sure didn't mean to drop the ball on this worth project, but life has been running wild for both of us.

For my part, I'll say: let's review:

Make the bed & pray while ya do it.
Worry accomplishes nothing, and procrastination accomplishes even less.
Treat your mind and your body right.
Get enough sleep.
Get outside every day.

Review lesson over. I'm off to the grocery store (so I can feed my family's bodies right) and then facing another busy weekend. I'll be back soon to pick up where I left off on the worth project.

Lucy

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 151: This Really Is Harder Than It Looks

Good gravy, a week and a half has passed... how did that happen? My blog posting is starting to suspiciously resemble the rest of my life -- spurts of furious, frantic ideas and long bouts of staring off into space and accomplishing little. I am nothing, if not consistent in this. Should I be asking myself why, or should I just be content to ride out this quirk of my personality?

I was thinking about how much better I've been feeling lately. My tired is a different, more appropriate tired (as in it's more directly related to my level of busyness and less related to depression), my moods are more even (heck, I have moods, which is an improvement on its own), and I'm more restless when I've caught myself wasting time that wasn't meant for leisure. These are all great improvements, but I still haven't answered the why of how I got so depressed and lost in the first place.

Is it really all that beneficial to try to figure out depression or is it more important, at least in the short run, to learn how to ride it out?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 141: Change on the Horizon


There is change looming on my horizon, big change. This is the nature of life, I do realize, but it feels rather... daunting. As ever, there is much to do.

I will say that the dietary and supplement changes I've made have begun to make a tangible difference in my energy levels. There is still brain fog to deal with and the reality that I simply have too much to do all the time, but now I can actually make it to the end of the day without falling apart. And that sit-and-do-nothing-for-20-minutes homework? I love it! It actually feels like a gift to myself to shut my door and just relax for a few moments -- it's very refreshing. Exercising consistently still remains a lofty, unreached goal.

Changes, though, still need to be made. I need to get more brutal about the minutes I keep stealing from myself. The plan is to use my kitchen timer to keep myself on task. My hope is that I will regain some control over my lost minutes and also be a good example to my children. If I plan breaks into my day, maybe I won't be so tempted to "just check my email really quick." (We all know that "really quick" means an hour will pass without so much as a blink of the eye.) It's so tempting to hide from the many responsibilities I have, but it's never worth it at the end of the day.

I need to face impending changes in my 5 year old's schooling. He has apraxia of speech and we're scrambling to figure out the best way to handle therapy and academics -- we loved his preschool, but that time has come to an end. This sort of change is big and scary and full of "what if I make the wrong choice" worries. But worry, as my friend Jenni says, won't change the outcome. I need to just face the changes and make the best choices possible in the time I have.

What do these changes mean in terms of worth? It takes courage to see changes that must be made, especially changes with the potential to hurt while we heal part of our lives. It is going to hurt a little to work when I want to play. It's going to hurt a little to exercise and put other priorities aside so I can rest for a few minutes. It's going to hurt more than a little to go through another year helping my son to "fix his words." Even though these things upset me and scare me, I know that courage is fear that prays first. So I'll pray first, remember that nothing will happen today that God and I can't handle together, and then get on with the changes. I am worth cultivating courage. These changes are going to heal part of what's broken in my life.

May 21: When did she grow to be a beauty...


Well, today is big milestone day for Miss Emma...
Preschool Graduation.

She was so pretty... and had stage frieght. Came running to her daddy to be held. How wonderful to have that security.

Caralyn... had a disapointment.... she asked to be alone. When did she get to big for Momma's kisses and hugs to be good enough to scare away any hurts. She is so amazing and beautiful as well.

It is hard to watch them grow. It is hard to let them go. It makes me depend on my God more as I understand His heart for me! He watches me grow, thru pain and fears, and disapointments. I know HE would love for me to run into His arms for comfort.

I am thinking about spending more time in the arms of my Heavenly Father. I have a feeling the older my kids get, the more I am going to need it!!

I AM WORTH GROWING!

Thank you God!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18: Well hello there!!!!!!


I am so happy to be with you again! I have been inundated with life and children...and now I have my WONDERFUL LAPTOP back thanks to my generous husband! (love you babe!) SO now I have no excuse not to get back on track!

What have I learned thus far about my worth....my observations if you will :)

My life has really changed a lot actually. I feel much more calm about things. I feel like I value my time more and my surroundings.

I have really "cleaned" up my relationships and am spending more time with people who matter to me and less with the ones who were sucking the life out of me.

I am less likely to to start new relationships with people who have no gratitude in their speech. When someone complains all the time, chances are they will complain about me eventually.

I realize that the music I listen to needs to be life giving so I am now exclusively listening to christian music.

I am seeing the fruits in my family as they are treating themselves better and I am seeing less conflict with my kids.

I have been on FB a lot less... and found I survived!

I have really been focused on my marriage a lot more and in results my hubby and I have been on 4 dates in the last 5 weeks and have one planned for this weekend!

These are just some outside observations..... inside I really am starting to feel peace. This understanding of myself that I have never had before. I am worth knowing. It is a good thing!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 130: Celebrate!

I am worth celebrating!

Friday was my birthday. I had nothing special planned and really wasn't all that excited. Then I found out my mother-in-law was coming over to look after the kids so I could go to an early dinner with my husband. Nice! Very nice. I grabbed my movie cup (our theatre has special cups that we can get refilled for a buck all year long) because Iron Man 2 just opened, just in case. It turned out that my husband thought I was worth celebrating, too. We never went to the movie; instead we went to a baseball game, complete with a fireworks show. As if this weren't fun enough, after the game my favorite band, Jars of Clay, gave a concert for an hour!

Just dinner and a movie would have been swell. It felt so wonderful to celebrate and be celebrated. What a gift! And... upon further reflection, this is a gift we can give ourselves, too. Little splurges here and there (lunch out with a magazine, painting toes, buying a new pen in a fun color, eating dinner out on the patio) can help us celebrate. We're worth celebrating.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 121: Glimmer of Hope -- It's Working


Lost as I am in the whirlwind of teaching, grading, working and keeping house, I noticed something this week. I was still really tired but it has been the right kind of tired. The fact of the matter is I am busy all the time -- I accept that. But that I've-been-hit-by-a-bus tired hasn't been in the picture this week. Even on the tired days, I managed to get dinner made, get kids to bed, get schoolwork done (even if not as much as I'd like to see happen), get groceries, etc. I even smiled through it. So something is working.

I am worth the effort to take care of myself. Taking care of myself means:
*doing nothing for 20 minutes, at least twice a week
*taking my supplements (iron, Vitamin D and a few other things)
*getting some exercise (still shooting for daily...not quite there yet)
*cutting out sugar (oh. my. goodness. this is hard)
*ditching soda... again
*read for fun
*get outside for some fresh air daily
*acknowledge daily that there is only so much a human being can accomplish and be ok with that

There's more to do and learn, but for now this is plenty. When this stuff becomes routine, I'll add more.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 118: Breathe In, Breathe Out


Apparently this is a bad, bad year for allergy sufferers. Plentiful winter rains here in the desert guarantee a bumper crop of endless greenery and all that green stuff tries to replicate itself much too quickly. The pollen counts are unbelievable. My standard antihistamine regimen has fallen short this year, leaving me gasping for breath for the past two days.

It takes a lot of work to consciously breathe all day long. The chant "breathe in... breath out... breathe in... breathe out" is almost audible in my mind. (I am fairly certain that hearing voices is still not en vogue, psychologically speaking, so we'll leave it at "almost audible.") Over and over as the hours pass I find myself straightening up in my chair and willing myself to breathe evenly. What does this have to do with my worth? What does this have to do with anything?

Basics. Breathing is basic -- we're born knowing how to do it. Even my kids who needed oxygen or visits to the NICU had an innate desire and general idea of how to breathe. We know how to breathe and we don't have to think about it. We take it completely for granted. That is, we do until we can't do it easily. As soon as a cold crops up, or allergies explode, or asthma threatens, or a rogue pillow in the middle of the night plants itself on your face, you suddenly have to think about that next breath. You see how fundamental an exercise getting oxygen into your lungs is. You achieve a sense of acute awareness at how dependent you are on a single element.

A great deal of our lives (at least my life) is spent in the "take things for granted" mode. Even our stresses are somewhat normal for us. When we cross the line, however, into extremes, we discover our utter dependence on something like oxygen. We discover that this moment, right now, is slipping past us. We don't exist in the past, we don't exist in the future. We only exist right now. Now is as basic as it gets. It occurred to me during breaths 23,535 and 23,536 that I have been focusing moment by moment for the past two days -- that's not a bad thing. I think we end up in trouble when the crisis of our extreme passes and we're not so dependent on consciously breathing in and out, consciously focusing on the now. We easily slide back into taking for granted again. The trick is to let go of the stress but not the focus.

I am worth focus. Right now. Being as centered as possible in the current moment is crucial. It's crucial for completing a task, reading a book to my kids, keeping my mood in check, and so on. It means learning to tolerate noise or utter silence or difficult emotions -- realizing that these things pass, just as the moments do. I only have to master right now.
Now... how to do that? Beats the tar out of me. But I'm working on it. Tonight's agenda, however, is breathing. Be well.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 116: Holy Rusted Metal, Batman! Kryptonite!


I blinked, I read, I lost time again. My reading suggests some sort of black hole. If I were a drinking woman, I might suspect blackouts. Unfortunately I have to admit that my time loss is not chemical, nor is it science fiction related. I just spend too much time creatively avoiding work. Scratch that. There is nothing creative about checking my email, Facebook and a host of internet fora -- those all just suck up time. Those things are my Kryptonite.

I read an interesting phrase today: show me your checkbook, I'll show you your values. A reasonable twist to that for me would involve a day planner and how I spend my time. Darn, growing is painful. It would seem that I've forgotten a basic principle in choices: to choose to do something also means to choose not to do something else. Choosing to indulge in my Kryptonite means I'm choosing to ignore other responsibilities -- responsibilities I willingly took on because I know they are good and essential for me and my family.

I'm worth better choices. It's hard to change habits -- we don't even have to think about our habits until they start to get in our way. My Kryptonic habits have to change. I'm taking a superhero approach to this. I've got to learn to listen to that Spider sense tingling in the back of my mind when I'm about to check email. I need to pay attention to the brain drain my electronic Kryptonite has on my SuperMom powers. I need humor, too (hence the wild Batman & Robin phrases), or I'll go nuts. But above all, I need to keep trying to change my wayward habits and master myself.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 110: Revisiting the 20 Minute Homework


Several weeks ago I mentioned that my doctor had given me homework: twice a week I am to sit for 20 minutes and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Some more connections I'd like to share have been made in my mind.

My routine bloodwork showed a Vitamin D deficiency. How someone who lives in the Desert Southwest can be Vitamin D deficient is beyond me, but there it is. Guess what? Sitting outside for, oh, 20 minutes a day is a way to boost Vitamin D production in the body. Sure, walking, gardening or some other activity outside works, too. But for now, sitting suits my purposes nicely. How interesting that the "sit still and don't do anything" advice dovetails with the "get outside for a few minutes and make some Vitamin D" advice.

Guess what else dovetails nicely in there? Drinking enough water. Trust me, if you sit out in the desert sun for 20 minutes, you will be thirsty and thus guarantee better water consumption. A well hydrated person is a person who can function throughout her day.

Sitting still and reconnecting the weary brain cells is... well, to be honest, it's aggravating most of the time. However, I am starting to truly see the benefits. I've done it enough to note a difference in the day when I make that time for myself. The funny thing is that I feel I'll never get everything done anyway -- and what I've noticed is that I never can get it all done, regardless of whether or not I've taken a few minutes out for me. Interesting, isn't it? I can't do it all anyway... but if I take 20 minutes out, I feel better and actually manage to get a great mountain of work done. I'm worth 20 minutes!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 109: Notebooks, Chaos, and Balance


Notebooks are my salvation... and my downfall. I've been trying to jot down my random thoughts, to-do lists, ideas, discipline issues with the kids, and a host of other mundane, but oh-so-necessary, tasks in notebooks because I forget things so easily these days. Do you see the problem already? Notebooks is plural. My notebook situation has become as bad as my mental situation -- the thoughts are now strewn around my vehicle, living room, kitchen, bedroom, school room, and a few other places that I can't remember (I bet I made a note in a notebook.). Instead of collecting my thoughts in safe place, I've scattered them to the winds of my life. In short, the only improvement is that I now usually know that I'm forgetting something, but I still have no clue what.

How does this relate to my worth? Good question. I've noticed that I am very hard on myself for not remembering things. Just yesterday I was exasperated with my nine year old for not telling me he was done with an assignment (you know what I'm going to say next, right?)... and when I huffily asked him why he was playing instead of telling me he'd finished, he and the fourteen year old both quietly said that he had told me and I had responded with, "Good. I'll be right with you." (This is the part where my head hits the desk and I begin to groan and sigh.) It's so easy to beat myself up over this -- it's hardly the first time it's happened. But before I get to far on berating myself for being inattentive, or side tracked, or whatever, I also have to take note that the boy told me while I was in the middle of teaching the teenager and the little kids were playing loudly in the next room. Multitasking anyone?

My working theory on this constant state of forgetfulness is that multitasking creates chaos. Don't get me wrong -- a certain amount of plate spinning is required in life (think of the circus act where the clown runs back and forth to spin plates on the ends of sticks... plates that he has to keep spinning lest they crash). This goes back to what I said before: I am worth my sanity. There is only so much a person can do in a day. There are only so many thoughts a person can follow in a given period of time. Motherhood is all about constant interruption and correction and somehow finding joy in between. No matter what role I'm playing, there are only so many plates I can keep spinning at once.

Maybe this means I'm worth taking myself less seriously? Oh, I'm not saying I should ditch any of my responsibilities or let them all go to pot. It just seems logical that there must be some line in the sand that I've crossed... a line between joyful living and overbearing burden. I really do think there's a way to build a fence on that line so that a balance can be struck. How to do that? That's the question of the day.

April 19: This is hard without my laptop! :(


I am trying to hard to be diligent with my blogging.. as I am not one with loads of follow thru! But without my lap top this is becoming difficult. I have a (Dino) computer that takes forever to load and then it looses things.

I am whiny today!!! SO it would be fitting for me to follow up with my last post...

CARALYN SAID...

My daughter and I have been talking thru this worth thing since I have started it. I am amazed at the insight she has at such a young age, and she challenges me as I know she is watching with "worth" vision since we have started talking.

One day recently she asked a very awesome question. "Mom, what exactly does a woman of worth do?" Mmmmmmm, this is a question that will be answered for years to come... The ACTIONS of a woman of worth, what a great question! So I asked her what she thinks are worthy actions, and who does she see them in? She said her teacher from last year Mrs. Stone. She said that she is kind but firm in her boundaries, and that she is very accepting. I said "Yes, this are worthy traits!"

We have a little contest to share with each other when we see a worthy action.

I am really thankful to God for bringing me thru this. If for no other reason than my daughter at 12 focusing on worth based actions rather then the latest trend in the teen magazine.

I AM WORTH SEEING WORTH IN OTHER PEOPLE! Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 104: Where Did April 13 th Go?


I've lost a day! For some reason I thought yesterday was the 12th and that I had plenty of time to attend to certain responsibilities. I had to finish my intake with my doctor (remember, figuring out hormonal imbalances is extremely important in the grand scheme of things) and I got to go out on a fabulous date with my husband. I worked on school planning, teaching, grading and even some of that financial stuff... but somehow the actual date just didn't register. I woke up this morning feeling panicked and stressed.

There is enough time, but it sure doesn't feel like it. This feeling is a key issue for me. The fight or flight response is great for deciding how to deal with sabre-toothed tigers or closing multi-million dollar business deals, but not really so great for juggling lunches, schooling, finances and self-care. Whether or not my checkbook is balanced shouldn't be a survival moment. Whether or not we get all the quizzes and tests for the day finished should not be one of those moments either. Even paying bills shouldn't be a big deal. But making a mistake on the date sure can make the smaller things in my life feel monumental and potentially catastrophic. Truly, I need to learn how to navigate life better.

I'm worth cultivating a sense of peace and calm. I need to learn this -- being a high-strung person is not fun (and I doubt such a person is fun to live with ::cough::). Watching my kids develop the same issues is painful. They need a better model to pattern themselves after. It worries my husband when I stress over the minutiae and go to pieces.

Today's plan involves a do-over. I started attacking teaching and bills randomly and with incredible stress. Needless to say, it's not been the most pleasant morning (though, honestly, it's far from the worst... so something must be changing for the better), but the day isn't over yet. So it's time to regroup, make a short list and tackle what I can without sacrificing my family on the Altar of Perfection.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11: Wow, it has been almost a month..oops!


I have been very introspective this last month. When I get like that, I learn a lot, but don't share much. I guess that is what introspective means right... anyway

I have been really focusing on my self rightous behaviors. The ones that make me feel superior but are in reality soooo not a superior thing to behold.

AM I better than? no... but am I my BEST? Maybe... or becoming my best is probably a better way to describe. We all have to learn thru our stuff. We all have to walk our own way. I love that I have wonderful friends to stop and talk to while I walk. They are most helpful to me as sounding boards and reality checkers! With out them, my introspection could become very lonely.

I have learned this month that I am a good mom, I love reading (this is new for me), I would love to buy a nice camera and become a photographer, and I don't like the way my family eats. I have also learned that others don't learn the way I do, and that is simply okay. I need to ease up a little on my judgements of myself and of others.... and I don't like that I have been that way. I love being married to my husband... and I am thankful more and more everyday for him. I really have it pretty good.

One of my favorite things I learned this month was from my sweet daughter... I will share that tomorrow...

Until then...
Joan

Friday, April 9, 2010

Days 98-99 Random Thoughts About Motherhood

This one is going to take quite a bit of thought to unravel. I called Joan yesterday in a panic as I was driving in ridiculous traffic. Turns out she was driving, too!

I really like driving. Specifically, I enjoy road trips. The average run to the grocery store? Not so much, but it will do in a pinch. So yesterday, once I had all my ducklings organized in their proper rows, I jumped in Big Baby, plugged in my iPod and took off for the doctor's office. I cranked up the volume (because I think I'm going deaf... really) and sang my heart out with U2. Since their career spans a large part of my life, I also ended up reminiscing about high school, hopes and dreams, the early days of my marriage, and how I got stuck in traffic on a random Thursday afternoon as a 38 year old woman.

Hopes and dreams popped through my head a lot. One thought grabbed my attention - I have a difficult time prioritizing even my daily responsibilities, let alone time for nurturing my hopes and aspirations. I have become so good at putting my wants on the back burner that I often completely forget they're even there. Do you know what happens to a pot left to simmer on the stove if you don't check on it? All the water evaporates out and you end up with a horrendous mess. Hopes and dreams are similar-- the ones put aside still need to be checked on once in awhile.

I also had some thoughts about something another friend has said to me before -- being a mother is challenging because the mom is often the constant focus of all her children's negativity. Kissing owies better and dealing with the fussing is one thing, but dealing with negative attitudes all day long is wearing. People in the workplace at least get paid to deal with immaturity and there are often human resource policies to deal with particularly difficult coworkers. Not so with mothering. No, mothering means constantly being in the line of fire, and that builds up an interesting pattern of stress.

There were more thoughts, but a lot of them are lost in the ether for the moment. It's worth figuring it all out though. I'll get back to this one.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 97: Creative Avoidance


Let's be honest, creative avoidance is an art form that some of us go to great lengths to cultivate. I am the Queen of Procrastination. Need to call the doctor? Oh, not now... I have a toilet to scrub and a floor to vacuum. Need to check the bank balance? Not now, I need to check in on Facebook. Need to make dinner? Nothing sounds good, so I'll just nibble some cookies and... did I ever check my email? Better do that first.

Creative avoidance (a term I am shamelessly stealing from Joan) is another way of distracting myself from the Straight and Boring Path of Life I'm on right now. Nothing like throwing a meaningless curve into my day -- it's not like I have anything better to do. (You may need a towel to wipe off the sarcasm there.)

The problem is I am not comfortable with discomfort. I find it difficult to feel my way through sticky situations and would almost rather let my imagination run wild with What Ifs than deal with reality. Why is that? Usually the reality is so much... easier. Not only easier, but the reality is it will happen anyway and if I What If myself into an anxious panic, I'll be that much less prepared to deal with The Way Things Really Are.

I'm worth my sanity. It's insane to toss things into my own way as I go through life -- enough stuff is going to need my attention without me making it worse.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 96: Staying the Course


Today I just have a few random thoughts on keeping on track. My first thought is one of honesty and self-disclosure -- I am not good at staying the course! Oh, I have plenty of great ideas and fabulous intentions, but when my days start to run into one another and I can't see a glimpse of accomplishment, my staying power all but evaporates. So anything I have to say on this subject today needs to be read with that in mind. Maybe someday I'll have an epiphany and really get it.

I wish my life had a soundtrack. Have you ever noticed that even the boring parts of a movie at least have a background score? That score keeps the story moving and, just as we struggle to stay interested, fabulous editing and climactic music take us by surprise as we plunge into the next scene. Oh, if only my life were like this! I've tried turning on my iPod, but it's just not the same. But there's something to be said for at least attempting to construct a soundtrack. Maybe a soundtrack for chaotic days? One for boring days? One for chore day? Music has the power to move us physically and emotionally, not to mention spiritually. Music ought to be part of mucking through the boring parts of life -- maybe those parts wouldn't be as boring?

Boredom is yet another thorn in my side when it comes to my life. How on earth can I possibly ever be bored? There is teaching to do, grading to do, reporting to do, writing to do, chores to do, people to feed, stories to read, food to eat, bills to pay, love to embrace, God to worship, and a dog to pick up after -- when is there time to be bored? Ah! But that's just it. Boredom is as much a frame of mind as it can be lack of something to do. Truly I can say that I never lack something to do; it's all mental for me. Staying on task is a real struggle for me. Goodness, getting on track in the first place is monumental. (For the record, I'm fairly certain I do not have ADD. I think I have far too many choices and too many available distractions at my disposal. My pseudo-ADD is likely a result of living in American culture.) Most days I feel like I'm driving on an endlessly straight road with no trees, mountains, curves, cars, etc. to distract me -- and then I find myself veering off course to do wheelies and donuts in the grass next to the road. The problem with veering off course, of course, is that I sacrifice getting further down the road I need to travel.

Sometimes the problem has more to do with my life feeling like it's been put on pause while the other people in the household are on fast forward. Volume control is an issue in our house, too. The noise! Oh, the noise is paralyzing at times. It's tough to keep on task and stay focused with so much energy buzzing about.

Just how to relate this to my worth is a struggle. I'm not sure what the worth or value is yet. It's tied up in having worthwhile goals and dreams... but the specific "I am worth..." statement eludes me for now. It's difficult to be at peace with that unfinished business. AH! That's it!

Staying the course during the boring parts of life is learning how to make peace with unfinished business. Life isn't a movie (even an extended director's cut, lol) with a fabulous soundtrack and a neat, tidy ending in 120 minutes. Life is full of boring, unfinished business. There are parts of our lives that we will never see finished because the endings belong in someone else's life (thinking of the kids here). I still don't have a spiffy worth statement, but I'm a little closer to understanding how to gain peace with spinning my wheels. For now it's back to the grind.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 93: A Quiet Afternoon


Sometimes, as I mentioned before, things just come together. It's been an interesting few days: lots of chaos, lots of sibling rivalry, lots of books and plans to be dealt with, lots of allergies and coughing. Today could have been a very ugly day; instead, the day has been a rather pleasant, quiet sort. I find myself sitting here after lunch with two resting children, two children and a husband out of the house, and me just... sitting.

Just sitting. Sure, there's plenty to do, but I can actually just sit and savor the quiet without any guilt. This is new for me. I'm the girl who doesn't like to be alone, who leaves a television on for white noise, who tries to fold laundry, talk on the phone and read all at the same time. But today, something fundamental is different. It would seem my naturopath's homework assignment for me, still largely undone, is having an impact.

I cannot remember a Saturday in which I did not feel self-loathing for putting off some sort of work. Am I simply being kinder to myself? Yes. Am I seeing a clearer picture of what's reasonable? Yes. Am I making better choices in the way I spend my time? Yes. Am I perfect at all of this? No way!

I am worth cultivating some true peace and quiet in the midst of chaos. Let's face it: life doesn't have a pause button, especially in a family of six. The work I've done for the past three months is starting to pay off. It is work trying to rein in the desire for instant gratification, the temptation to procrastinate, or juggle the constant demands for my attention; however, even my imperfect attempts to organize the chaos are having a positive effect. Those attempts, even the smallest ones, build on each other with the end result being precious minutes in which I am completely free to just... exist.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 92: Good Friday

All I can say is that Jesus thinks I'm worth dying for. That's got to count for something.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90: It's Never Too Late To Try, Try Again


It was almost a day of wasted effort: foggy thinking, no motivation, needy kids, and oh, so tired. The day, however, was salvaged. Somehow I managed to get my school books unpacked (I had ordered a bunch last week), checked against invoices, and stacked by my computer. They are now ready for input into my handy-dandy tracking program.

The thing is, I didn't start this project until about 3:30 this afternoon. A load of laundry did get done today, as did some baking... but on the whole the morning was not all that fulfilling. The afternoon, however, was salvaged and it feels so good. A good dinner even happened, complete with vegetables of multiple colors.

I am worth making the effort to persevere, even at the eleventh hour.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89: Did You Get To The Doctor Yet?


Public Service Announcement

You need to go see your doctor, if you haven't yet this year. Have your well-woman exam and a physical. When your doctor asks you how you're doing, do not be polite -- be honest. Are you anxious? Say so. Are you irritable all the time? Say so. Are you forgetting too many things? Say so (write it down so you don't forget!). You need to take care of you or you will have no energy or health to spend on the people who matter to you... and those same people will not thank you for letting yourself run down.

* * *

I got a call from my own doctor a week ago; she was checking that I was getting bloodwork done. It was nice (read that: I had peace in my heart!) to be able to report that I did, indeed, have an appointment to get that lab work done. She also called to give me some initial results to the first round of hormone testing we did last month. Let's just say that my issues are not all in my head, they're in my hormones (and the lack thereof)! Nothing is fixed yet... but I'm on the way to getting well.

There is no point in finding my worth if I'm going to treat myself as though I am worth nothing. It's strangely validating to discover that I am dealing with real, physical, chemical problems -- it's darned hard to try to overcome character issues, depression issues and the like when my body is actively in mutiny. I am worth the struggle to fix my body -- then I'll really be able to see (well, see more accurately) who I really am.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 88: If It All Comes Together, It Will Also Come Apart


Hello, Monday.

A fabulous weekend could only be followed by a Monday. A busy Monday with monkey wrenches in my schedule and a failed dinner (someday I'll find a great gluten free pizza crust...). Don't get me wrong, my husband got home early and a lot got accomplished today -- it's just that it's Monday.

Despite the I'm-behind-again feelings, the overwhelming list to tackle, and the kids who need a close encounter with my duct-tape-as-discipline methods, I am determined to ride this Monday wave. A little perseverance will go a long way -- I don't have to get everything done this minute or even today. I just have to get something done and chip away at the rest. I am worth being reasonable.

To that end, my to-do list has two sides today: the must-do-today side and the must-do-soon side. Both sides are still fairly unrealistic (I'm trying, really...), but it's a good start at trying to re-prioritize within reason.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87: Sometimes It All Comes Together!


Wow! Sometimes everything just comes together and you can actually sit back and relish your accomplishments. Oh, sure, I know that what we're working toward is regularly being satisfied on a deeply personal level with who we are and what we do, but occasionally and even bigger "I did it!" moment does present itself.

Friday was that day. My house looked pretty good. I got my Bible study finished. My kids and I finished cleaning up before 25 people descended upon our little domicile for the afternoon. Once they all left, we had the house in even better shape within 20 minutes! My cousin came in to town for an impromptu visit and my house was company ready for the first time in three years. (Ready, meaning towels laid out for the guest, the bathrooms spotless, food stocked in the pantry, toys away. The only thing I forgot were mints on the pillows.)

Don't get me wrong, by 9:30 a.m. the following morning, the house looked normally disheveled again and has remained that way for the weekend. But for a few brief hours, it was fabulous and witnessed by someone who doesn't live here.

Was it the house that made me feel good? No. Was it the pantry? No. Was it the cooperation of my kids? Mmm... a little. Mostly what felt so good was the validation, from myself, that what I had managed to arrange turned out so well. I was able to clean house, coordinate bus times, have 25 people over for Bible study, clean up again, keep the family fed & to bed on time, put up a surprise guest and grocery shop... and all got done with time to spare! I am so good at beating myself up and not so good at complimenting a job well done. My friends, this was a job well done. Fleeting and imperfect, yes, but oh, so worth it. I am worth validation.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just a Reminder About Procrastinating


It's a bad, bad, bad idea to procrastinate. Resigning myself to this inescapable fact means embracing the reality of tax preparation. It's time. It must be done. So being done it is. If... er... when I emerge from my office, I'll have a triumphant entry to post. Until then... keep reviewing your worth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 76: Let's Review... Again?


It occurs to me that perhaps I need to stop badgering my children as much as I do when I have to repeat directions... especially after the 451st time. Here I am on day 76 of this worth endeavor and what do I find? I am having to repeat myself, to myself, for the umpteenth time. The children come by their stubbornness honestly.

Let's review:
Make the bed.
Pray while making the bed.
Open the mail so the paper doesn't take over.
Stop worrying, listen to some music.

That's enough review for one day. I followed my own advice. I am worth taking the time to slow down and pay attention to what I'm doing... even if I only get a little bit done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13: So many great callings to compare myself to...


We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28 (NIV)

HIS PURPOSE

I love this verse. It really helps me to refocus. There are times when I feel so underdeveloped in ministry and life. Like I am capable of doing so much more then I do, but yet I have not been called to His purpose to do those things.

In the day to day though, it is hard not to compare yourself to all the greatness you see. But really is it greatness, or is it simply GOD.. God is greatness. His greatness is in my calling just as it is in all those wonderful things others do. We are not to compare our job that we see as smaller then, to anything. It is GODS PURPOSE... you do not know the heart of which you compare to. It is very special to be called of God to your own job. I know missionaries, medical professionals, teachers, and musicians... all who are going out into the world to do God's work! No one is greater then another. Sometimes when you are a stay at home mom you look out the window and think what am I missing out on... God's answer, NOTHING!

2 Corinthians 10:11-13 (New International Version)
11Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

12We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you.

The field that God has assigned us to....

I love my field. It is filled with children, and blessings, and a husband who truly loves me. I am a missionary in this place called Curtis. I am to raise my children in the admonision of Christ. God thank you for this calling. My husband loves me and appreciates me, and my kids (well not all the time) but they are truly a blessing.

I am worth appreciation. I need to appreciate my calling and my purpose.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11: I LOVE DO OVERS!!


I thought I would take some inspiration for Lucy and converse via blog...
LOVE DO OVERS!!!

The whole bible is one big DO OVER! Jesus died on the cross for us to have a DO OVER! "He who turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:20)

This is what Christ did for us... and we can do for each other....

With my kids, we call it "start overs". "Mom, can I have a start over?" "Yes son/daugher you can.." "Good morning Mom!" "Good morning my blessing"
Reset the soul.

I think as women we tend to not do do overs enough. There is a beauty that can be taught when you learn from your mistakes and not live in them.. your children and friends learn that Grace is possible for them too. Every morning is a do over. It is up to you how you want to spend your do over...

So this morning I will do my hair and make up (for the first time agian!)

I AM SO WORTH A DO OVER... cuz remember that I AM TO DIE FOR! And so are you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lost Count; Reset


Time out!

Do over!

Wait!

Someone let me off this ride... now!

That's been my life in a nutshell for the past week and some. As today fades out in a less than stellar fashion, I am reminded that, God-willing, I'll have a do over tomorrow. Lord help me, I don't really want a do over... I want a let's pretend yesterday never happened.

I've really struggled this past week to find something pertinent to say. Given the state of things in my life, I think what I need to say, at least to myself, is that it's really alright to screw up. I tell my kids all the time that mistakes are good -- we learn what doesn't work, what needs improvement, what to avoid, and how to grow. Mistakes can hurt. Growing can hurt. Improvements often look worse than what we started with, until they're finished.

I am worth my mistakes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 7th/8th: Gratitude...a good thing


Hello agian followers!

I have been gone for a time.. due to sad times for family members and sickness. I will have to tell you all those things another time if it comes to be important later... but in my absence I have been learning about gratitiude.

I have always considered myself to be thankful. I am perhaps one of the most blessed people I know. But when you see all those around you struggle, it makes you sad for them but grateful in a selfish way that you are not going thru what they are going thru.

Why is it we can see so clearly how blessed we are when we are relatively left alone by satan. I believe true gratitude is when you are grateful even in the mist of those times that shape and mold your charecter and true faith.

Colossians 4:2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

I appoligize that I have not been around much... this growing in worth thing is pretty hard. I must build on it each day, begin agian each day.. as it is new every morning what I will learn. I must be open...

I am definately grateful for the process.. for the journey I am on. I want to grow, and growth sometimes can be painful.

Philippians 4:6
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.



I am worth gratitude toward my heavenly Father who is faithful to me.... as I am to devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful... thank you God!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55: Thinking Ahead


This one is short and sweet. I've been making an effort to make large batches of foods my family likes (chili, french toast, spaghetti, etc.) and freezing a meal's worth of leftovers each time. Or if I have to brown ground beef for something, I try to brown extra to freeze. Let me tell you, tacos go together really quickly when you've already cooked everything in advance and just have to heat it all through.

No matter what, I'm going to have to feed everyone. Like it or not, there are a lot of days when I am pressed for time. So why not make it a little easier once in awhile? I am worth giving myself a little help. It's been making life a lot easier, not to mention tastier.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 54: Homework


Last week I met with a couple of doctors in the hope that they can help me figure out just what my brain and body are doing. During the consultation, Dr Enthusiastic gave me an assignment: until I meet back with her to go over my test results, I have to sit twice a week for 20 minutes and do... nothing. (I laughed when I wrote it down because it sounded absolutely impossible.) She graciously allowed me a piece of paper and a writing utensil, but only for jotting down any ideas of what I might want to do with those 20 minutes in the future. For now, I have to just... sit there. No beading. No scrapping. (Not that I ever do those things right now anyway.) No exercising. No folding clothes. No writing. No reading (you know that one is killing me). No coupon clipping. No grading. No teaching. No filing. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. That assignment was given to me a week ago today... and today was the first day I managed to do it. (And I will admit that I did it because my mother literally sent me outside before I could eat lunch.)

My nothing time was spent out in my driveway, on a lawn chair, in the sun. It felt nice. I resisted the urge to pull the half dozen little weeds I could see. While I did wish I had pruning shears handy for the shrubs, wish was all I did from my perch. The tree in the front yard has little green buds on it -- that was very exciting for me to see, as it means warmer, brighter days are coming. There's a sparkly rock on the side yard that looked interesting; I'll have to point it out to my daughter tomorrow.

The point behind the homework is not lost on me. If I can't (or is that won't?) take 20 little minutes out of a single day for myself, how can I realistically hope to accomplish anything I value? I am worth filling up my cup. If I don't fill up my own cup, how can I refresh anyone else in my life? If I don't fill up my cup, I will run dry.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53: Understanding


Sometimes we are called upon to be understanding and compassionate. If you have a friend who is struggling, what do you do? You listen. You sympathize. You are quiet, when necessary. You tell it like it is, as required. Above all, you love your friend into a better mood, a calmer outlook or just through the muck.

I have a recurring conversation with a dear friend in which we remind ourselves that we need to love ourselves as we love our friends. It is easy to love a friend -- you just overlook the rough edges, the less-than-stellar decisions and whatever you'd do differently because it just plain doesn't matter. Loving the self... oh, my. That is quite a different story. Every edge cuts, every decision screams back and everything threatens to overwhelm. We would simply never speak to a friend the way we speak to ourselves. But who better understands the self than the self?

I am still struck by how difficult this discovering worth business is turning out to be. Miss a day of blogging, and guess who starts berating herself? Spend a bit more time reading than might be considered sane, and guess who mentally limps away to hide in more words? Guess who needs to be a whole lot nicer and more understanding to her friends' friend? I am worth treating myself the way I treat (and want to be treated by) my friends. Clearly they love me. Clearly they see something that I often do not. And the same can be said about them -- my friends are so very special. It would sadden me to hear them say things to themselves that make them feel less-than, undervalued or sad.

Be nice to your friends' friend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18: With Grace and Forgiveness I go forth


Parent with Grace and Forgiveness at your side, for one day you will need them from your children.

Ponder that one for a minute.

There are days I don't feel worthy of the blessings of my kids. They are really growing up in the Lord... and I wonder how they got there for I know my mistakes are too numerous to count.

Then there are days that I want to start over from scratch... wondering how my child could have ever made a decision soooo wrong!

Today is a mixture of both. One of my kids (nameless for the sake of honoring them the best I know how) got a note from school saying "Defaced school property, stealing" My jaw hit the floor!!!!!!

Now I know that they should have major consequense... as has already begun...
but last night when I was tucking them all in "said" child said to me "Mom, I really am sorry for what I did.. and I want you to know that I did wrong and I am willing to take my punishment, but I want you to forgive me."

silence

"Of COURSE I forgive you!" Baby, we all need it... and we all get it from Jesus. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from them. We have a saying in our house "I love you forever and I forgive you for always, no matter what!"

We hugged and kissed and said I love you's...feeling restord, my child rolled over and went to sleep.

Then I went to my Lord and said "Daddy, I really am sorry for all that I do, and I want you to know that I know I have done wrong, and I am willing to take my punishment...but I want you to forgive me." Knowing full well that I am restored to my Father thru Jesus Christ.

My child is an example of humility to me. God you are so good to me to constantly remind me my need for you thru my children.

Thank you Lord!
I am worth forgiveness, cuz my Father says so!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47: Get A Physical


It has been approximately 6 years since I last got a physical. Oh, I've meant to do it each year, but something always came up. I fell pregnant... twice. I had a tougher-than-usual model baby. I moved. I had to get a haircut. I needed to... um... (This is the point where I debate yelling "Look! Something shiny!" to distract you and then totally change topics.) Suffice it to say that if I have a hard time carving out the time to play the piano or read a chapter of a book, I really have a hard time making a doctor's appointment, finding a sitter and getting my sedentary bottom over to my primary care physician.

Avoiding the doctor, except when horribly ill, is really no different than avoiding the mechanic with your car. Sure, you can drive the car for a good long while without maintenance... but the car is going to hate you and refuse, eventually, to haul you around town. To shift this into the next gear, I'll say that no one in their right mind would own a Ferrari and then never change the oil or check the filters. I wanna be a Ferrari, baby, not a trashed Pinto.

Who is getting short-changed by avoiding a simple physical? Me. My husband. My kids. My friends. Even the Lord. Neglecting to take care of the vehicle my soul is adhered to is... insane. Let's face it: this Pinto-wanting-to-be-a-Ferrari body of mine has some serious high-mileage issues these days. The big 4-0 is just around the corner. My thyroid is half the gland it used to be, my brain feels like Swiss cheese lost in a foggy marsh, and my muscles and ligaments have all gone on strike - I need an overhaul if I'm going to make it another 40 years. And darnit, my family needs me. No, you know what? I need me to be able to do all the things I haven't done yet.

So... my homework for tomorrow is to schedule a physical. I'm sure all my fluids and filters will get checked. I even have a list of tests that need to be run (I sure hope my transmission is good for a long while...). I am worth taking care of the physical me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feb 11: Time flies when you are having fun??? Is this fun?


Crazy can explain the last week for me...

This is Birthday week for John, Emma was the 1st, but with the storm had to reschedule for last weekend... next weekend is also the shower for the bride that i am the matron of honor for...
needless to say... I am crazy busy.

This brings me to my time being valuable..... . ... ....
I must be much more on top of my time.

I think I need to value myself in the way I spend my time... not wasting it, but being responsible with it.

thats all the time I have to say that.. he he

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Days 41-46: Get OUT!


This past weekend we got out of Dodge for a day. Just me and the husband. It was supposed to be an early celebration of his birthday... but we got the oil changed on his car and went to the movies. (Do I know how to celebrate or what?) I have to say, it was an outstanding day. It had been far, far too long since we had last been on a real date together. What a joy to converse in normal tones, cut and eat our own food on our own plates, watch the movie without explaining the plot, and just be together. It was even wonderful to get home to kids eating cupcakes and having them too wired for bed.

Why was it so great? Because we got out. Out of the house. Out of a rut. Out of the way of bigger responsibilities (though I must say it was very important to get the oil change done). It was such a nice change of pace that the next day, after Mass, we packed the family up and went on a two-mile hike at a preserve near our house. It was terrific fun, despite the mountain lion warnings at the park entrance.

I always bought the party line of "husbands and wives need to make time for each other and get out once a week," but our budget and family circumstances haven't always fallen in line. We thought we were doing just fine to rent a movie and have a snack at 10:30pm on whatever night worked. And while that is much, much better than not trying to have a few minutes together, it is not the same as getting out of Dodge!

To take this a step further, it isn't just married folk who need to get out and reconnect. As individuals, we each need to take purposeful time to get out. If you never listen to music, how will you know what you like? If you never take a walk, how will you know what your favorite route is? If you never go hike, how will you know what lies beyond your block of the neighborhood? If you never (fill in the blank), how will you (fill in the next blank)? If you do not get out -- get out of yourself, out of your comfort zone, out of your rut -- how will you know who you are?

I am worth a regular good date - alone, with my husband and with my family.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 39-40: Confiding Secrets


When the downward spiral of depression is left in the darkness of a heart and mind to spin out of control, it just sucks the very life out of a person. It's like being drained from the inside out -- you know something isn't right at first but can't quite figure it out. Then as the darkness increases, you can't tell how dark it's getting. By the time you realize you're in trouble, it takes so much effort to even think about how to climb out of the pit you've found yourself in... and at that point, hopelessness becomes a mantra. It's also at this point that a lot of people scoff at themselves and deny they are depressed -- depression is still a dirty word. Depression is a dirty little secret, but it's a secret that needs to be outed.

I outed my secret to my husband, my parents, a few friends and my sister-in-law recently. It's uncomfortable to admit how close I've been to heading back to anti-depressants and a counselor. This is not to say that I find counseling and anti-depressants unhelpful. It occurred to me, however, that I've been there and done that and I saved my notes (literally). Why not at least start with what I know a counselor will ask me to start with? I pulled out my notebook from the last round of counseling and started forcing myself to do things like: reading, playing the piano, making jewelry, going outside in the sunlight on purpose. (Does all of that sound familiar?) And I told my secret to people I know I can trust to be honest with me. If my initial efforts to head off the darkness don't work, I know I can trust them all to tell me that I need more help. Why I didn't anticipate help and understanding is beyond me, but each person has offered tangible help in their own way. Yes, I have to fight the urge to tell them "no" because the truth is, I do need help staying afloat for the moment. Funny thing... they love me anyway.

I am worth telling my secrets because I am worth being loved.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Days 36-38: Just Keep Swimming


I feel like... Marlin, swimming with Dory, in Finding Nemo. I keep hearing Dory singing, "just keep swimming," but it's not me singing. (Yeah, I know. It's dangerous when you hear voices in your head... and you listen.) I feel like Marlin - lost and desperate.

I am desperate to get out of this slump, if that's what it is. I am desperate to feel relief. That bright idea I had about reorganizing my filing system was a good one, but it's still going to be the death of me. Let me just say that dying unto self just... sucks. It hurts. It's tiring. And the kicker? I won't actually be dead at the end of it. No... I'll just have to be glad I got done with a tough job, give myself a pat on the back, and then meet the next huge project (that would be grading my kids' papers). It's been four weeks of torture and I'll be done just in time for Lent. (I'm giving up paper cuts for Lent, by the way.)

That's the trick -- just keep swimming. Just keep shredding. Just keep going. It's been interesting to note that if I had changed my way of doing things sooner (yes, I've had this bright idea before), I would have already dealt with this mess. I would probably be happier right now because I wouldn't be reorganizing the files, wouldn't have been stewing about it for so long, would have been doing something more enjoyable. But on the other hand, all the yesterdays really don't matter at this moment. All anyone has is right now. Yesterday is over and done with (consequences notwithstanding) and tomorrow is a definite maybe at best. This moment, and what I do with it, is the only sure thing. (Remember what my husband said about being content with how each day is spent?)

So I can say today was mostly well spent, except for the parts I spent brooding in regrets. All I can do is keep swimming.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35: Finding Joy in Small Things


I once remarked to a friend that there are days -- whole days -- that pass without so much as a smile. Not even a sad smile. I'm not sure when I lost my joy... actually I don't know that it's gone so much as much too subdued. I have a pretty good sense of humor under all the weight of the world I carry. My family is pretty funny, too. (My son's observation that the girl in King Kong was a "snackrifice" comes to mind... as does my daughter's announcement when she has "wiccups.") My kids laugh all the time. Though laughter is contagious, somehow I think I'm frozen more often than not -- it's not a pleasant way to live.

Obviously some digging needs to happen. Somehow the why behind this stunted emotional state needs to be uncovered. In the meantime, I've got to do something overt to keep from becoming a glacier in an Ice Age of my own making. I'm worth joy.

For today, I don't know what will help me laugh. I did smile at the wiccups... and the paper penguin puppet my son made... and when I popped the top of my Throwback Mountain Dew at lunch. I'm about to blast Muse songs at an obscene volume in the living room -- my children will roll their eyes at this, but I don't care. I might be the Mom, but I still get to be ME. And I like music.

Feb 4: 5 Years to get here... WHOOHOOOO


Let me just say God is good... but not just good.. GRAND... AMAZING... SOOOOOO GOOD TO ME!

I am elated today. My son Josef is a precious boy. Adorable.. Loving... scatterbrained... easily frustrated... lacks in following direction...
Sounds like a normal 10 year old boy. Except Josef struggles in school to the point that he has very poor marks and becomes very exasperated with the whole process.

We started talking to, paying for and seeking help, testing, more testing, inconclusive testing, great teachers, bad teachers, great teachers agian....all to say

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My husband and I spent 2 hours in a meeting with the powers that be and they have a plan. They have an answer. I am so excited to see my son this morning feeling vindicated that he does try hard. He has an auditory memory and processing deficit.
He can not recall information or process what he hears when you talk to him completely. Example: you say "Josef please get a pencil, paper and clipboard" he hears clipboard... and nothing else.

He has been over compensating by deciding what he thinks needs to be done and becomes ridged in his thought not allowing him to change coarse very easily.

He will be having success finally through speech therapy twice a week provided by the school.

YEARS of "I think he has ADD" or "He is just being oppositional" or "he is simply not paying attention!"

Can you imagine how frustrating it is for him... everyday to be in a place where you just don't get it! Then to come home to parents who have been told "he is being lazy". God is going to use this in his life. I thank God he has such a great attitude, or it could have been a much more frustrating process.

WHOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... I am so happy that he has a plan of action. He doesn't have to do lab or be in a LD class, simple to fix through therapy. They are even going to help us at home with retraining.

GOD IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

We are on our path to success! I know my son was worth the effort to get here. I am thankful that we never gave up on him, because God never gives up on us. We have a great example!

And THAT IS WHY GOD IS WORTHY OF MY PRAISE.

Joan

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 34: Made Good on the Jammies


Score! I found two very cute (and comfy) pajama sets, on sale. I still had a little Christmas money left (I spent the rest on beading supplies), so I wasn't out much money at all.

My next "I'm worth looking cute" shopping task is to find new everyday Keds/casual shoes. My current pair is at least four years old and looking every day of that age. It's time to replace them. I do not have to look like Raggamuffin Mom. I want to be the mom whose kids are proud to show her off, even while simultaneously embarrassed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2: I make you BIGGER!


Hello Followers!!

God is so good... He works all things together for his good for it says in His word that very thing.

Romans 8:27-29 (New International Version)

27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.


I went to the funeral of a beautiful woman the other day. I didn't know her personally as she was the mother of a fireman my hubby works with. I know her son. I respect this man.. he is such a kind hearted and wonderful man.. and I know he was taught that by this woman, his mother.

During the service the preacher of course talked about her as she was such an amazing woman of the word. He then offered this as part of the service.

"WE are to MAGNIFY HIS NAME! (yes he was yelling it as a proper black baptist preacher would..loved it!) To magnify is to make EVERYTHING ELSE smaller.. and the thing that you are focused on BIGGER, Make JESUS BIGGER, Make GOD BIGGER!"

WOW... that was it... I have been trying to conceive and making this process bigger than God. I felt convicted..not ashamed. I know now where my focus was and had to be. I want what God wants for me, there is nothing wrong in what I am doing....

except I was putting it in front of God. His will, His PERFECT will... in HIS TIME!

As it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

— 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

God told me 5 kids. He told me when I was pregnant with my first. A girl, A boy, A girl, A boy, and A girl. His promise, His gift, His time.

Caralyn Grace 12, Josef Todd 10, Emma Rosalee 5, and John Alexander is 2 on the 19th of Feb. I put the pictures of the promise on the wall in my house with words that say "FAITH IS NOT THAT BELIEVING GOD CAN - IT IS KNOWING THAT HE WILL"

He even has named her.... her name is Sarah Elizabeth. Princess Consecrated to God... He has given me scripture concerning her... Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believes what God has said would be accomplished".

Now I just serve Him while I am waiting, and yes I am still waiting as it was confirmed that I am not yet pregnant.

And that is why God is worthy of all my praise!

I am worth the wait.. for God is in the know!