Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: Pondering the Storm of Change

I've been thinking some more about all this change, the melancholy, the pain in my life, my lack of accomplishments, what I need to let go and what I need to cling to. I hid in a book on and off yesterday and today... I can only take so much introspection right now. But I keep writing things down here and there when something becomes clear.

One particularly clear, and painful, thought is how accomplished I've become at the art being plain, average and virtually unnoticeable. For the past 30 years, it would seem that this has been where much of my effort has gone. I rejected the knowledge of my music lessons because I felt I could not be perfect - also, people would notice me if I were actually any good at it. I rejected art, poetry, and writing in much the same way. (I should note here that my mother is quite a musician and artist. How my learning those things became a competition in my mind is baffling still.) If I had put half as much energy into becoming a writer, a poet, an intellectual as I have put into disappearing, well, I dare say I might actually be fairly amazing. This is not about putting myself down either. This is about taking a clear look at the truth, the way things currently stand.

Maybe this overwhelming sense of being adrift is indicative that I really am adrift. Certainly I lack clarity of vision right now. I don't really have a new worth statement today. The past 30 days have forced me to look at the past 30 years (I don't think I started to hide until about the age of 8 or so.) and account for my choices. Many of my choices were good and very right for me, but it would be dishonest to say that some choices might not have been better made.

One thing is sure: I have the same 24 hours everyone else does each day. They need to be better spent. My husband suggested I work on being content in each moment with how I am spending that moment. If I'm not content, then I need to ask myself what to change. It sounds so simple and so impossible at the same time.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Days 28-30: I Love a Good Story

I just finished the entire Twilight series. Wow. I feel a little... empty, dazed, and wistful. (Nothing I wasn't feeling before, but it's all stronger now.) I love getting wrapped up in a story -- that was a fabulous read. Don't gasp, but I actually read all four books twice in two weeks. (Yes, my bed still got made and I still made dinners, too.) Since I've been feeling so miserable, it's been necessary to anesthetize myself; I am grateful to Stephanie Meyer for providing a story in which I could safely suspend myself.

One of the benefits of reading is being able to think about your own life more objectively. You can compare your choices, your experiences, your motivations, your longings and such with many other people's (fictional or real) and observe the possibilities. The empty, dazed, and wistful feelings I have were already there, as I said. It was nice to read about how some fictional person dealt with her life... but I do have to figure out what to do with my life.

I do so love a good story. I want my life to be a good story. This past week I've found that I wish I understood myself better. I wish I understood other people better. I wish I could think straight -- these days it's tough to string more than 7 words together into anything coherent. I see a pattern of sameness that isn't to be confused with contentment and satisfaction. I have love, though, and for that I am very grateful. How to proceed from here... how to move out of the monotonous sameness into... whatever else there is, that's the question. I am worth whatever the answer to that question is. I am worth being a good story.

Day 30: Day in the life of trust...

Struggling today in waiting on God. I mentioned earlier in the year my hubby and I are trying to conceive.

I have 4 amazing children. I am blessed beyond measure.. but God told me I would have another child. I am not very good at waiting.

Lets be honest.. when I get an idea in my head I want it now...

But God's timing is perfect. It is hard not to get discouraged. I just want to trust him. I just need to trust him... but I am late. I am 6 days late.. and no positive pregnancy test.

I have to walk away from trying to conceive. But as my friend Lucy says "knowledge can be a burden". In this case I think it is. I have been reading up on conception and charting and natural family planning. I am more confused now then I have ever been.

I am laying this at your feet Lord. Take this from me... make it yours. Your glory, Your power, YOUR timing.

I love you Lord.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28: Snowday in Oklahoma!

Today is a day at home with snow and ice covering the ground. Ran to the store first thing this morning and it was insane.. note to self.. don't wait til the last minute to go to the store when ice storm eminent!

Kids are all snuggled up with me on the couch and Daddy is getting some movies as it may be a long weekend here.

I need to really think about the next couple of days proactively. Maybe a game day is in order. I am not a big game player... I mean it is fun to play with a bunch of family, but when it is you and 4 kids who don't know the rules and it becomes this referee situation... I tend to get all worked up about it just thinking about it.

I and my kids are WORTH me trying to relax and let things be as they are and have fun with them playing games.... this is truly going to be a challenge as I can be a bit of a control freak.. ya think?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27: Baby Steps

This was the first day I used the timer. I decided that 10-3 was a little long -- I ended up having to work on laundry, getting a kid to school, lunch, and something I already forgot about during what was supposed to be my free time. For a first day, though, it went fairly well. I was able to get some chores done (yes, I admit, it was the easier stuff like vacuuming and not the overwhelming stuff like filing), still paid attention to the small people in my life, and was even able to have a nice surprise visit with my mom. In all, I was fairly pleased with how the day went.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26: Bath, Time

First off, I am worth a nice, hot soak. No hurries, no worrying about using up the hot water.

Second, it occurs to me that using a timer might be very beneficial right now. Hiding from what must be done isn't going to help anything. Attempting to pull of an 18 hour day with no breaks isn't going to work either. However, trying to tackle little pieces of the day and then rewarding myself with equal time to hide and fall to pieces just might... give me the gentle push I need to keep plodding on this path. The equal time part is important. I've tried this before by only giving myself a break equal to half of the time I've spent working - and that's probably good for times when everything is just busy but peachy. Right now is not that time! I've come to grips with the fact that I feel fragile beyond words.

As I sit here typing, I'm even going to dare to put a frame to the day. Between the hours of 10am and 3pm, I will use my timer. There's no sense in overdoing it - when someone wants to run a marathon, she doesn't just try to run a 26 mile practice run on the first day out. That's idiocy. No, I think giving myself a timeframe to work within makes it less intimidating. (I have to say that the baby steps I'm talking about are rather humiliating for me at the moment. But I am trying to think out loud here in the hopes that someone else in similar shoes who can't even think this concretely about how to start will have an idea.) I am worth the trouble of reigning in my time.
Give me a few days with this. I will report back.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Days 22-25: Weekly updates...Good for the soul

I am feeling much better! I appreciate the time to heal that my hubby gave me.. actually stayed in my bed all day Sat and Sun. Read a great book and recovered. I think that I haven't really been concentrating on my worth other then getting better. I enjoyed reading a Janet Oak book "The Courtship". It was funny, and not what I expected. I actually laughed out loud at some parts.

It is very good to take time to heal when you are sick. I watch so many women not take time to heal not just from sickness, but from any type of hurt. I know I have put my own health on the back burner to be present to my family and friends. It is vital that I am at my best to be the best for them... that is hard to accept.

I am definitely worth the down time for healing!

I may go to weekly updates as I learn more.. it may just be easier. Tomorrow I am going to a bible study at our church for the first time. I am looking forward to the fellowship and the time to learn about my Jesus!

Days 23-25: Hiding from Life

This week has been difficult in many ways, not the least of which has been dealing with my near constant melancholy. Real change is hard work sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself of this one seemingly insignificant truth. Why would I suggest it's insignificant? Well, everyone knows that change requires some sort of sacrifice, no matter how small; most of the sacrifices we make are, indeed, small. And work is something we all do - even people who are ridiculously blessed financially have to work a little to maintain that wealth... they even have to work at playing. Serious, lasting, deep-seated change, an absolutely unmistakable shift in paradigm, however, requires a stranger, bleaker sacrifice - the sacrifice of safe habits, regardless of how destructive they truly are.

Take procrastination. Don't you remember putting off writing at least one paper in high school? Maybe you liked to party, or you just didn't have a good idea to write about, or you were a slave to perfection, or you thought you'd work better under pressure, or [insert your favorite reason here], but whatever the reason you just waited until the very last minute to even start that stupid five paragraph essay. Procrastination as a once in awhile escape tactic is no big deal - most people learn a lesson and try a little harder to avoid the unnecessary pain procrastination naturally brings. Not me. No. Being the perfectionist I am, I have been working on procrastination techniques for more than half my life and am pretty darned good at it. Too good. I often find myself longing for more time, a time when I won't be interrupted, a time when I can really focus, a time when I'll feel enthused about a project (isn't paying bills fun?), a time that just isn't now. Procrastination is expensive - late fees, disappointed family and friends, a disappointed self, missed opportunities, etc. Why bring that on? (Because it's familiar, it's a habit.)

A host of other bad habits rooted in pride, vanity, and even despair make similar case studies. If you feel brave, try looking at why you do some of the destructive things in your life. Some things don't seem destructive, until you see their true motivation. It's earth shaking... and rather horrifying. The truly horrifying part, though, for me at least, is that this process is necessary to find out what I'm really worth.

I'm still struggling with the same question I had last week. It's hard to think objectively about worth because I am beginning to more clearly see just how much less than plain, average, ordinary, and extremely lost I've allowed myself to become. It hit me like a ton of bricks, the realization that I rarely listen to music anymore (and never when alone... well... except sometimes when driving when I can't bear to think), that I wasn't reading anymore (and you know I've been working on that), that the most recent few years have been spent in some form of auto-pilot just trying to survive. Wow. That sounds wretched, doesn't it? (I should clarify here: there are many good things in my life! Things that I am truly happy about. People I am truly happy to be with, most especially my husband and children - they are a physical lifeline, full of joy and energy.) I mean that I have somehow gotten so good at shoving my needs aside to serve my family that I have gone too far - rather than put a desire on the backburner where I can still see it simmering, I've put it in the deep freeze and completely ignored it. Let me assure you, this is not the kind of self-sacrifice serving one's family is supposed to be - no, it's more a form of self-torture. How does it serve my family to sacrifice who I am? What on this earth is there left for me to actually give them if I deny even a single part of what makes me me?

So these bad habits, even the ones enshrouded by good intentions, are really serving to destroy the essence of who I am and, in turn, my family. Somehow I have to find a way back to me, the real me. It's been so easy to hide in them... until now. This idea we had to find our worth has suddenly shifted into a much higher gear for me - I had no idea just how lost my worth actually is at this moment. I do know I am worth facing this recovery effort.

I am scared spitless at how this is going to shape out. Oh, I certainly do not worry about my marriage or my relationships with my children - my family is one of the most solid, intact pieces of this puzzle. I am afraid of making waves, of making life more difficult for myself and for them. I'm going to have to cut out some very painful thorns, possibly even discover that choices I've made and situations that now exist - things I didn't realize were thorns - are actually hurting me. I'm going to have to allow change to happen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Days 21 and 22: Joan is sick.. ugh

I don't remember my mother ever getting sick... She wasn't allowed. She had 10 kids and that wasn't something that fit in her schedule.

I think Lucy gave me her crud! (he he) Not really we are 1000 miles away from each other... but I did get the crud for sure.

So I am sorry if I haven't posted much as I am worth the rest I need to get better. My sweet hubby is going to stay home with me today and let me sleep. (thank you God for that) I get to take drugs and everything, so I am off to Sleepytown! I will return soon.

Be blessed in your journey of worth. Please feel free to tell us what you are doing that makes you feel worth. We would love to hear from you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22: Water, Water Everywhere

It's been raining since Monday. Let's just say that 2+ inches of rain in the Valley of the Sun all at once is reason enough to know that ark building, as a hobby, might be beneficial. The flooding has been unbelievable. And all this water everywhere reminds me of something very simple.

We need to drink enough water. Water makes up most of our bodies. Water flushes the body of salts (and salt makes us retain water and look puffy - ew!) and other toxins. Water rejuvenates our skin. In short, we need water to function.

I'm worth a nice detox, less puffiness, and a nice glow. If water can do that for me better than the latest $25 wrinkle cream, a $400 botox treatment and a nice little lipo treatment, well... I think I'll go for the water. I am worth eight 8oz glasses of water to feel a lot better inside and out.

Day Twenty: I think my plan is working... he he he

My daughter Emma was being a little difficult and I sent her to her bed. She came back to me in a few minutes I asked her what is the reason I won't allow you to act like that.. she with tears in her eyes said "because God is King and I am his daughter! Whaaaa ha ha ha!"

Well, out of the mouth of babes!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Days 17-21 It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

Truly I don't even know what to say. I gasped when I realized that I had not written this week; it's shocking to realize how overwhelming I find change. It seems that right now I am in the midst of very tumultuous change. I am still clinging to old ideas, old behaviors, old fears, old habits of thought, and so on. There really are no adequate words for this part of the process. In all honesty, I really thought this would be easier - I wanted it to be easier. Instead, something just is aching and I can't quite figure it out.

Joan said something to me the other day about the old story of the teacup in the china shop. I think the story is something like this:

The teacup tells that she wasn't always so lovely. At first she was just clay, messy, wet and lumpy. A potter began to fashion the clay; as he pinched and poked and spun her, she complained that it hurt and wished the rough handling would stop. After a while, the pinching did stop - and then she was locked up. She got warmer and warmer and wondered how it could be that she was going through something even more uncomfortable - no, painful - than all that pinching. She realized with shock that she was in a kiln - burning! She desperately wanted the burning to stop. Eventually it did, and she was sure that the hurt and discomfort was over and done with for good. The potter then started smearing paint all over her - it stung, it was wet and gross feeling, and she just wanted to be left alone. Once more she found herself burning in the kiln, disbelieving her wild misfortune. Suddenly, it was over. She was carefully polished and placed on a shelf. All who saw her admired her exquisite beauty, not to mention the skill of the potter. (Me, being a tea drinker, would dare to add that all who saw her also secretly desired the feelings of warmth and calm that being with her would bring.)

This finding my worth business is like most things worth having: it's hard work. And this week I don't know that I've been up to the challenge. I feel battered and bruised, teetering on the brink of some sort of abyss. I really don't know why - it just doesn't seem like it should be this hard. Right now I don't want a shortcut to get to the end - I just want to be left lumpy and messy. The mess and chaos are familiar, even if they are destructive in the end. (A moment of dark humor here: I blame my rekindled passion of reading. I have torn through five novels and am on the sixth right now - all of them about higher ideals, love, loss, and... change. Stupid books - they make me feel.)

Lest anyone think I'm on the brink of despair, I'm not, I assure you. Or maybe I say that to assure me? In any case, there is a part of me that realizes that this is temporary, no matter how eternal it feels. I do wish I could turn off my emotions right now, though that would prevent me from actually becoming the person the Lord wants me to become. I am worth... something. I think this week I have to just cling to the fact that I am worth something, but right now that something is elusive and undefinable. I just have to ride out whatever this storm is. It's just very difficult - and because I have read a few good books in my life, I know the standard plot: it gets worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day Nineteen: Update....

Hello Followers!
I have always wanted to say that! LOL

This is definitely different then expected. I knew that it would be difficult changing the way I see myself, but I didn't realize how I looked at myself with such hatefulness. It is like I am judging myself constantly as if to say "you are never going to finish this" or "what are you stupid!" That inner voice is really strong and difficult to listen to when you are hearing it through the ears of worth. I think that is the most difficult part of the process is changing how I view myself.

With that voice, I view everything in my life.


The pictures are of me on the first day I did hair and make up.. the one with my son is 2 weeks later.. I think I look happier :) I am pretty!

I look forward to seeing the new me in 346 days...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day Eighteen: Getting it done..

Today's Verse
In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets.

— Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

How do you associate this verse with getting it done... enter my 12 year old. Recently I have been seeing a change in my daughter and I have to begrudgingly take responsibility for that change...I know some of it is hormonal..and some is just plain testing limits... but I think had I modeled a better behavior for her in my own actions I might have been able to avoid some of the atypical tween behaviors that everyone has to deal with.

I would love to see my daughter not have to struggle because she causes herself grief through procrastination... It is amazing how all of these lessons I am learning seem to work together.

I believe as a woman of worth I can not only do as I say, but be an example of completing that which I start as to model a good behavior for my children and cause less grief for myself!

This is a real exercise of self control.. isn't that a fruit of the Spirit? Thank you God for growing me up in this process... as much as it hurts.. I know it is what is best for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day Sixteen and Seventeen: I am cranky busy!

I had a wonderful weekend full of love and friends and.. I am cranky!!!! I think all the entertainment has made me tired!

Friday during the day did laundry and detailed the master bath...I got to spend time at a friends Friday night, then Sat morning it was time to use my gift certificate from Christmas for a pedicure and nails... then thrift store shopping with sister.. (I got some awesome stuff!)... then to a bridal show with Mary Lou.. then home to my family... up for church this morning and then coupons coupons coupons and cleaning house (actually got it done for once as my hubby did our bedroom! YEAH!)...

But now I am cranky! I am tired, and cranky. Nothing wonderful to say or inspirational.. just cranky. I am okay with that. Early to bed tonight and I think I will be back to norm... right..




Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16: A Day Out

It's very difficult for me to get out and away for a few hours each week. One reason is I have so much to do all the time, I feel guilty if I'm not doing something, anything, to catch up or get done. Another reason is that my husband sometimes has to work seemingly endless hours (the joys of being self-employed will likely show up in another post someday) - it's hard to pin down just when a good time might be for me to escape. The finances don't allow for a sitter (and really, having a 14yo boy doesn't allow for a 14yo girl sitter either); though, said 14yo boy is fabulous for holding down the fort while I run to the grocery store. The biggest reason, though, is that I keep ignoring my true need for this and I fail to plan accordingly.

The plain fact of the matter is I need a break. People with paying jobs (theoretically) work 5 days and get 2 off. Teachers get days off. Hairdressers get days off. Nurses and doctors get days off. Even my priest gets a day off here and there (not easy in a parish our size). Good grief, even Jesus took time to get away from the crowds to pray! I must take some time off regularly or I am going to burn out. How in the world can I let my little light shine if my bulb is dim, dusty, covered up by responsibilities, and generally neglected?

I am worth taking some time off.

Day 15: Quality Counts

As a "recovering" perfectionist, I have been known to say that "any job worth doing is worth doing right the first time... or at least good enough." That good enough part is always an afterthought and painful to say, however, it's necessary for most endeavors. While I do not suggest that all standards and ideals be thrown out, I do suggest no person should be a slave to perfection - there are some standards and ideals that are simply unattainable or unsustainable and I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice my happiness anymore chasing after them.

Remember how I said that I'm worth some cute pajamas? Well... I'm worth the best quality clothing I can afford, too. I love to find a good deal at the thrift store, so I am certainly still not saying that looking good has to have a high price tag. It is worth the effort to find out what brands stand up to the wear and tear of my life and then be on the lookout for a good deal on them. I am not a Neimann Marcus kind of girl, but I still want to look good - looking good is a relative standard that is worth figuring out.
As I drove to an annual open house event for work yesterday, I was thinking that I'd like to do some shopping soon. I happened to be wearing a new outfit I received for Christmas - I felt attractive and up to date. I also must tell that my outfit did not break the Bank of Mom, either - we hit some very good pre-Christmas sales. After trying on a bunch of clothes, I now have a better idea of what's current and looks nice on me; I'll be watching for sales, deals, and steals.

By the way, I got some very encouraging compliments on my outfit - for those who really want to know, you'll be shocked to learn my top was not the typical navy blue, as pictured above. It was red and screamed "look at me!"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day Fifteen: Learning from your babies...

Today I must be cleaning my house. I have a lot of projects that I am starting soon and I need to make have a place for everything and everything in its place kinda day. Somehow these days make me feel I am going to show worth to myself and get it done as I do what I say I am going to do!!!!!!! :)

But that is not really what today's blog is about... it is about realizing that my children have real valuable tools and things that can educate me and make my life better if I humble myself and watch and listen.

Yesterday my sweet Caralyn had a paper that she was typing for her English class. She was feeling overwhelmed as it was taking her a long time to type it. I being of sound mind said "I will help you type it!" After all it is a writing assignment, not a typing one, and the computer is in my room.. so hence if I want to go to bed I need to get her out of there! So I begin typing... she sits with me in silence.. until I have a typo...

"Mom.. you spelled that wrong!" "oops..sorry, I will do a spell check!" "Mom, just right click on the word and then it will give you the correct option."

"huh?" right click... and there it was.. the correct spelling. I never knew that. I was so excited to learn something new. She began to tell me it helps with spelling and grammatical errors. "Really!" How did I not know that? Well she is in school where using a computer is a daily thing.. when I was in school (and yes I did walk uphill both ways in the snow.. okay no snow or hills but I walked to school!) we had a special class for computer... because they only had 10 computers in the whole school. You may remember them, the funky tanish putty colored box like TV type screens that bleeped at you and were featured in the techno movie "War Games" with Matthew Broderick (I know I just dated myself). She is getting to experience things in her early life that I only got to experience in the recent years of in my adult life. I bet she has a ton of things she can teach me. As a woman who has worth I am going to value her knowledge as young as it is.. as she is also a woman of worth! I know that traditionally it is the older woman that teach the younger women but I believe part of instilling worth in her is to value her now as she is understanding that she has worth. Thank you God for my beautiful daughter of worth!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Days 13 & 14: One Big Blur

Forget finding a pause button for my life, I just need some sleep! It occurs to me, in my slumberless stupor, that I need an action plan for these sorts of episodes of life. There needs to be a minimum-effort-with-as-much-visible-results-as-possible plan because there are just going to be stretches of time that I have to be in auto-pilot -- no thinking, no planning, no guessing, no original thought required.

This Auto Pilot Action Plan (henceforth known as the APAP) needs to have a basic, easy to make meal menu for one to two days. It needs to spell out a basic school day with activities the kids can actually do almost completely on their own (think multiplication tables, writing a paragraph, doing the next geography lesson, reading to younger siblings/self, etc.). The APAP needs to have nap times listed, bus schedule and dates to remember (like payroll taxes are due on the 15th of the month). In short, the APAP needs to be saved someplace safe in case my brain self-destructs.

In some ways, this APAP already exists in pieces. I have a contacts list with phone numbers. I often (but not always) have a weekly menu posted on the fridge. Due dates for things like taxes are listed on my computer calendar (but that only works if I remember to look at it). The schoolwork ideas exist in my head... not the safest place, but I do have a minimum standard. The kids have laminated chore lists (and yes, "play outside" is actually one of their chores). The trick is going to be finishing what I started. I like FlyLady's idea of a family notebook or a FLYing manual - all of this stuff should exist in one spot. I am so close to having this done. This is a project that must wait until my office is put back together... but it's next on my list.

The Auto Pilot Action Plan is a gift that should bring peace of mind to a disturbed, tired and overworked mind. It's not a permanent mode or state of being, but it is intended to get me through the inevitable rough patches. Sure, there will be things I miss or mess up anyway, but there will be far fewer mistakes made if I at least plan for things I know could be in my control. I am worth having a plan.

Day Fourteen: Thats why He is worthy of my praise!

Thank you to my new friend.. I have learned a new tool in the day to day grind!!!

It is amazing how God works ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR HIS GOOD!!! Let me expound...

I felt lack of worth, God spoke that to me... now I am seeking my worth in Him... and everyday he teaches me new and exciting things about our relationship!!! What I used to say is "well that is good, but I won't get it" or "wow, why didn't I get blessed like that!!"

My friend Denise said to me this phrase "That's why He is worthy of my praise!!" She instructed when there are things that are said to you that are not what God would have you receive, or if you are dealing with a situation that seems like it is doubtful...then you praise God.. you say "GOD..THAT'S WHY YOU ARE WORTHY OF MY PRAISE!" She said that if a friend says things to you like "you used to be this way.." you can respond "that's why He is worthy of my praise!" It keeps you in the presence of God and not in the presence of doubt!

Well, I am a worthy Daughter of the King, and that is why He is worthy of my praise!
Yesterday I was able to acquire a bed frame and an end table for two projects that I SOOOOO want to do and didn't have the money set aside.. That is why He is worthy of my praise!
Today I have the opportunity to be a stay at home mom.. That is why HE is worthy of my praise!
I am struggling with my worth every minute, and that is why HE is worthy of my PRAISE!
I need to speak worth into my life.. and that is why He is worthy of my praise!

Count it all joy.. for the Joy of the Lord is my strength (you will be hearing these two phrases a lot from now on!)


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 12: There Is No Pause Button On This Thing Called Life

Believe me, sisters, I have looked - there is no "pause" button for life. There are also no buttons for rewind, fast forward, skip, or stop. I have plans to discuss this oversight with our Manufacturer. (Did I say oversight? What? You think he had a reason for this? Hmmm...)

Sometimes I just get a little overwhelmed. Sometimes I get a lot overwhelmed. Yesterday, and still some today, I was just wishing I could put all of my responsibilities on pause. I was still mulling over the idea of balance in my life - anyone who knows me in real life can tell you that this has been a theme of mine for awhile - while trying to apply what I'm learning, I've still got to keep going about my days. For a long time I joked that my theme song was the Mission Impossible theme - some days it's truly the most fitting. And while that might seem self-depreciating, I insist that it is not. In Mission Impossible, the good guys do eventually win out and unravel the mysteries just in time to start a new mission. I would like to think my life is going to be that successful in the long run. BUT... most days I feel like I'm trapped in my life and need to pause for a few minutes just to catch my breath.

So yesterday was another day of practice. I am worth practice that leads to better habits.

Day Thirteen: The Law of Attraction... day 12 in real life

Yesterday I began a new relationship with a wonderful Godly woman, who came to me out of nowhere!!! Let me explain...

As a stay at home mom you are limited to your social activities with others. There are woman who have children your children's ages and they end up becoming your friends that you and your kids grow up with.

For some reason all my friends from my older children's years have moved away or gotten jobs or are in a different season of life. They are done having kids... and I am still trying for number 5 with a 22 month old at home. So as in every season of life, it is time to make some new friends.

This project has had me asking myself, what kinds of women do I want to be friends with. There are my friends that I have that are simply "hey! how are you" at school friends but I don't hang out with them.. more of acquaintances really... then there are the "Lets do lunch" friends.. that you go to McDonald's with your children while they play and you have adult stimulating conversation about YOUR KIDS! Then there are those woman who when you spend time with them they feed your soul!!! Well I have been asking God for those kinds of friends. They feed your soul, and you feed theirs, and it is mutually giving relationship that that encourages you to be closer to God.

God is quick yet again to answer! I met Denise. She is a mom of 2 after 11 years of infertility, married to a wonderful pastor/dairy man... and is home with her blessings with out a car. She called me for help as someone told her (a "Hey, How are you friend!") that I am a stay at home mom and maybe I could help her out. I was happy to help... but for the first time I prayed about starting a friendship with someone instead of just planning this life long friendship as I readily do in desperation to connect with others outside of the walls in my house.

I love ministry.. don't get me wrong.. I have had many friends that I have lead to the Lord or been effective for God with.. but I am looking for that mutually giving friend remember... so I didn't allow myself to get excited and put myself out there until I met her.

Well, yesterday I met her. Denise is a powerful woman of God, content in her surroundings, real, precious, and needed a friend too. We even prayed together in our first meeting...God is so good!!! And she can cook like no body's business!!!!!!!!! Thursday we have a play date at her home.. for me to get some soul feeding, and for some soul food!!! HE HE!

Thank you God for this wonderful new friend. Because I am treating myself with worth, I will attract worth! That is the law of attraction... or in scripture it is known as the law of multiplication. That which you think and focus on, is what you bring into your life.. it is what multiples in your life.. so if you think about being broken and worthless.. that is the life you will live. I am worth wonderful giving relationships! Thank you God for once again showing me my worth!

Day Twelve: Observations of me...

"What you think about your bring about" or "so a man thinks he is so shall he be" the latter being from scripture....

It has been 11 days since I started treating myself with worth. What I am finding is that the more I think about worth and valuing myself the less I think about the bad things. The more I am focused on what is important to me, the less I am seeing frustration and depressive behaviors that have haunted me for so long. The more I praise God for the time I have with Him in this process, the more relaxed I am becoming.

Just sayin...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 11: Whoops!

I took the reading a bit far. I finished a book... 1:30 a.m. I seem to remember something from last week about ::cough:: getting to sleep at a reasonable time ::cough:: and all I can say is - Whoops! I think I need more practice. It's not a set back, mind you, it's just practice gone haywire.

Practicing good habits and practicing our worth is not about achieving perfection - it is about cultivating a finely tuned balance to a life truly worth living. My balance is going to be different than Joan's or yours, but there is truly a balance to be found among all the many shoes I wear. Balance will differ by season (more on that another time), be it a time of year or a time of life. Thus far I find that I still over correct my habits to the point of throwing myself off multiple times a day, but the effort is there. I am worth the struggle to find balance.

Day Eleven: Is it an addiction???

Okay, this one hurts a little.... close to my heart. I think I just might be addicted to my laptop.. ughhhhhh there I said it. Isn't admitting you have a problem the first step or something...

That should be good enough right?

I spend time here when I could be doing the things that bring me and my family worth. Today I have a hectic schedule. I am going to start (trying really hard) to live as I say and say as I do today with my kids. I can feel my flesh tearing already!!! I can still be on the laptop but I need to make sure my chores/things on my list of to dos are done first!

I am a woman of worth and because of that I need to do as I say, and say as I do. I think I said that in an earlier post that one of my dislikes is people who don't keep their word. Man I got myself into a pickle with this one!

I think I am in physical pain over this... that is all I can say about it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10: You Can't Even Judge A Book By Its Cover If You Don't Read

I love to read. Oh! how I love to read. One year my husband gave me a book I'd been hoping to read as a gift for Christmas. Little did the poor man know that I would immediately begin to read it and we'd be having cold sandwiches for dinner that evening - I spent a good four or five hours pouring over the pages of my novel, barely aware of the material world. That, my friends, is what a good book should do. It should utterly overwhelm your mind to the point that you begin to exist in the pages of the tome in your hands.

Can I just say that the adventures of Little Critter and Clifford don't quite cut it? Nor do the contents of the average magazine. (I love my scrapbooking magazines, don't get me wrong. But they don't feed the soul.) While I am known for reading anything and everything, I have subsisted for far too long on the paltry print on the back of tissue boxes and the simple books on the kids' bookshelves. I need some words, people.

For Christmas this year, I received the third book in a trilogy about Robin Hood, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck. Oh, it was magnificent! I finished it by New Year's Day, and I'm proud to say that I managed to feed my family some nice meals between turning pages. I used to have a goal of reading as many books each year as years I am old - I gave that up because I had to start counting the kids' books to meet my quota. However, having a rich list to work from each year is still an idea I like.

Ideas, words you have to look up, descriptions of ages long past or parallel universes imagined are, I would argue, necessary for the soul. I just picked up the first book in The Song of Albion trilogy (same author as the Robin Hood trilogy) to read again. It's been long enough that I can't quite remember what will happen next, but familiar enough that the first few pages weren't reading like an awkward first date. Reading is fun.
I am absolutely worth a good book. I'm even worth daring to read a terrible book. The experiences that lie within a book's pages are priceless. It doesn't cost anything (unless you are me, in which case the county library can count on the fines incurred to buy next year's new releases), yet bestows so very much.

Question: Have you read a book lately? Do you even know what kind of book brings you joy? Would you consider listening to a book on CD while you clean house or drive to work?

Day 9: Make Time for Fellowship

We are made in the image and likeness of God. God is Three Divine Persons in One God - He is the very essence of community, family and relationship. So... if we are made in His image, we are made to be in community, family and relationship - it's in our genes.

Staying at home is all well and good - truly it's my calling. Why else would I knock myself out day in and day out trying to make sure my family is served good meals, has a decent dwelling place, and then attempt to home educate them on top of it all? My kids are wonderful people, even in their resistance to my efforts to civilize them. However, I long for adult relationships and community. It is not fair to require my husband to fill every social need that I have either. So to satisfy that need, I have been looking for ways to get together with friends. I'm not all that good at it most of the time. When I have small children, it feels impossible to get away - but get away I must. Never before have I felt it to be so imperative.

A group of us from a loose-knit Catholic homeschooling group have teens. Our kids need time with their friends, so we get them together once a month. I wish it were more often, but this is what works for now for the group at large. The moms who aren't hosting that particular evening end up visiting for the few hours that the kids are doing their thing. It works. It's not enough, but it's a start. A phone call here and there adds up. An impromptu Moms' Night Out is never a bad idea (any of my local mom friends reading: I'm ready!). I need to think of more ways to make this work out more regularly. Last week I mentioned that I spent over an hour chatting with my neighbor friend - it was nice, but both of us commented that we need to chat more often instead of trying to cram every thought in our heads into a brief conversation.

I am worth the time it takes to build my friendships. In the long run, those relationships are integral pieces of our growth and development as human beings. Remember last week's horror at the idea of being bitter, resentful and dying young? That, my friends, is what happens to a woman who doesn't have relationships to spur her toward ideals, to nudge her to move forward, or to challenge her to love more and grow in virtue.

Action Plan: This week I will get a letter mailed out and make at least one phone call just to shoot the breeze with a friend. What are you going to do to nurture your friendships?

Day Ten: There is nagging and then there is...

Correction. Just like I am a child of my parents, I am a child of God and I need correction every now and then. Not so much on the big things... more of the little things. I always thought of myself as someone who takes correction well...maybe.. okay maybe not... it just depends on my mood right? The hard part is WHO gives the correction.

When a friend comes to me, I am totally on it with my reaction right? Okay.. mostly right, as I am sure I don't become rude to them or throw a fit or anything...But when my husband brings me correction.. ITS ON!

Today I drove home from church. Todd usually drives when we are together, it has just always been that way. I can expect him to comment on how I use the brakes, or something to me that is trivial in comparison to all the wonderful things I bring to his daily life!!! It is so annoying to have him nag me when I is like having my father in the seat next to me! Maybe I should think of it as having my Heavenly Father next to me as I am to treat my husband as the "church loves Christ".

I don't know if I have been willing to take his correction until now. Maybe looking at this from a worth stand point... I married him because I love him, and I should value his opinion (as much as it may sound like nagging) instead of being coarse in receiving it. As a woman of worth I am going to listen to the words of my husband as a gift and take a minute before I disregard them. I know this is a hard one to swallow.. but it is what God is showing me today. I believe he is a man of worth, so I will treat him as such! (boy what have I gotten myself into with this! lol.. this is not going to be an overnight change I can tell you that!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day Nine: I just gotta trust God in all things..

Here is my heart.. open for all to inspect.

We had a miscarriage in September. I know that is a personal thing.. not something most would blog about... but it is on my heart today to share with you. We are trying to conceive. There is nothing like loosing a baby to help you know exactly where you are in your choices to have more kids or not. I new when we lost this baby that I soooo wanted one more child. So for the first time ever, Todd and I have tried to get pregnant.

Never have I had a faith walk like this one. I have been tracking my fertility signs for 4 months now. Everyday is a walk on a narrow path. I have had good days where my faith was sooooo high and then there have been days when I was so low. But you know the more I read and chart and look at other people the more I realize GOD IS TOTALLY IN THIS! I have always trusted him before...

I know that I know that I know that I am going to have another baby. So why do I stumble in faith?

Romans 9:31-33 (New International Version)

31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."[a]

So Lord, let me not be put to shame!!!
GOD I TRUST YOU, as a daughter of the King of Kings.. I trust you today!
You are the God who brings worth to me! I BELIEVE as it has said in
Luke 1:45 (New International Version)

45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

You bring me WORTH Lord... you are my worth!

Day Eight: Count it all Joy!

Being a stay at home mom is a job.. lots of us know it is hard whether you have one child or 18 children.. it is a job that can be difficult. I think it is definately more valued now that I am older then it was when I was growing up.

There are days when my blessings become a job too. I love my children.. I say that a lot (maybe I am trying to convince myself) just kidding.. I really love them. But there are definately days when being in love with my kids is in a land far far away.

How do you change that. How do you change those feelings. They are ligitamet feelings yes, but do they foster worth in your home? NO...

In an effort to bring worth and value to my children and to me I started to pray for Joy for my kids. Let me tell you, God is quick to answer prayers that are in his will for you.

Within days I was laughing with my kids... laughing at my kids.. and missing my kids when they were at school or napping.


My family has worth so I pray for Joy, as the JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!

Thank you God for this.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8: Lessons from the Laundry

So as I've been fending off whatever germ is trying to get me this week, I've been trying to keep up with the bare minimum. Overall, it's been a successful effort. Today saw several loads of laundry folded and put away. As I was putting away my own portion of the laundry, I realized something: I've been using t-shirts I would normally use for yard work and knit pants that have seen a better day. I am using old clothes that are a whisper away from the trash bin? Really?

Today I learned laundry can tell you a lot about what a person thinks they are worth. I am worth feeling neat, cute and attractive in my sleepwear. Sure, no one else is going to see me in them (I may shop accidentally in my slippers, but never in pajamas!), but I am going to see me in them, as will my husband and kids. What kind of wife and mom image am I giving them by dressing in holey pajamas? I dare say I'm sending the message that the Mrs. and Mommy aren't worth even a $12 set of yoga pants and a $5 knit shirt! Yikes! My future daughters-in-law and son-in-law will surely not thank me for that little gem. It's time to set a better example.

I have Christmas money that I've wondered how to spend. I've got returns to make to a local store - while I'm there this weekend, I think it's high time I gifted myself with some new jammies.

Day Seven: Confronting hurt with truth makes me feel worth..

There are times in relationships that you have to decide is this a relationship I want to pursue.. or is this a relationship that can stand a little disagreement. I have always been one to speak my mind. Quite spirit does not describe me.... but I would like it too.. but I know that is a work in progress like so many others I have.

I have a relationship with a girlfriend of mine that is God ordained as in God told me to be her friend. I have stuck it out with her for 20 years! I have been there through thick and thin, she has with me also. There are times though that she says things that are just rude! It is not okay for someone to be rude to you... but if the relationship is not worth the trouble I tend to walk away and not say much as to not waste my time correcting the wrongs I have no responsibility for, just not my job ya know. But in this case, I am totally invested here. I have literally at times been her only friend. I have seen her through those times you just don't talk about to anyone ever about as I am the keeper of all that is sacred with her. But this time.. it is okay to say something to her. It is not just okay, but I am worth this argument.

When you have a relationship that has stood the test of time, you know how to approach them, and you know what you have to get through to get to the other side of the argument... I knew we would go through the usual. I just needed to say my peace for my sake. It may not change her, but it is my job to change me, and I have taken a lot from her for years.

She is someone who sees things from her side only, it doesn't matter if she hurt you she had an excuse. In this case she was 1 and 1/2 hours late, and then complained that we didn't have enough time to do the task at hand because I have "kids".

I do have kids. I love my kids. But my kids were not the problem. She was late, and then she was rude. My time is valuble. My kids are valuble. I know that.. but I think it was time she knew it!

I called her and here is how it went... we will just call her Fred.

Me: Fred, I called because something you said bothered me.

Fred: Oh, what was that?

Me: You said yesterday that you were unhappy that we didn't have enough time to do the thing we were doing because I had to get back to my kids! Why did you make plans today when I needed your help!... well I made enough time.. and my having kids was not the problem. You being late was the problem and you being rude yesterday was the problem. I have to schedule time with you cause I am a mom and wife yes, but you have to schedule time too, because you have what you have going on. I is not okay for you to be late and then blame my children because you didn't get to do all you wanted to do. I love you, but that is not okay, and I think you need to know that.

Fred: yada yada yada .. basically excuses and all that jazz... then it happened as I said NOTHING to her.

I am sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings or be rude. I will work harder at not being late with you anymore.

Me: Thank you. I appreciate that. I think it will help us both if we don't let things go and become a sore spot anymore. I think the truth will set us both free.

Fred: I love you too.. and yes your right!

Whew..... That was done and friendship still intact.

I am a woman of worth.. and my friendship that I value was worth the trouble. Telling the truth is a worthy thing.. and confronting a hurt makes me feel worth.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7: This Is Harder Than It Looks

That about sums up my thoughts today. Life, in general, is harder than it looks. Grocery shopping to stretch each dollar is harder than it looks. Getting through the day despite minimal energy, tired patience, and sub-par health is harder than it looks. Today was really a continuation of yesterday, in terms of worth.

Today still had to be lived. While I'm not so sure I lived it well, I can say I lived it good enough. Thinking back over the last week, I can say that even on a sub-par day plenty happened right. The bed got made. I got dressed and did my hair and makeup (thought of you, Joan, as I powdered puffed). I made my grocery list, clipped my coupons and shopped the best I could even though I really didn't have much energy to go. I spent an hour chatting out front with my neighborhood friend while some of our kids played (not the piano, but it made me happy). I'm about give myself the gift of an early bedtime. There was plenty of time that still could have been better spent, but this worth business is not about being perfect at every moment. This is about making real change. Real changes take time to take root and truly become part of our everyday habits.

I am worth taking the time to make changes, however long that takes. A new idea might come everyday, but to convert it into my everyday life will sometimes take longer. So I consider today a day of practice.

Day Six: I am to DIE for!!!!!!!!!

"I have to say no to some of my likes, to be able to say yes to some of my LOVES!"
Cindy at Cottage Instincts said this on her blog... (check her blog out.. it is awesome, check out the ruminate entry about interior design)

Like a lightening bolt from heaven this hit me, with that one statement my life will never be the same.

I don't know what my loves are, because my life is cluttered with likes and some not so likes but doable, and even some thanks for that free thing I will make it work if it kills me not so likes.

This little statement is going to change my life. I am going to get to know myself through this process. I am excited to meet me.

Joan Curtis, this is Joan Curtis.. Nice to meet me.

Some of my absolute not likes are things like really spicy food, people who don't keep their word, disloyalty, and unnecessary drama.

What I like/love... people.. lots of people.
I love to go to events when there are a lot of people around.
I like to take pictures of people, mostly my kids. I love to take pictures of my kids.
I love good movies....I love true stories where the hero overcomes whatever the obstacle/demon to accomplish their dream/goal, to win the good fight.

I love Jesus. I know that my life has totally changed because of my relationship with God... some of my friends from younger years will agree (even Lucy).

I have been enjoying reading other peoples blogs lately to really learn about this blogging thing. Lots of people have awesome things to say!!! I love that! I love the written word.

I can't wait to learn about myself and to really know what I value, so as to treat myself and those around me with worth...

you can't really know what something is worth until you know what someone is willing to do to get it...

(thank you Jesus for saying I am to die for!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6: Perserverance

Today has been the usual kind of busy. I had a writing project due for work, schooling to do with the kids, a little housekeeping and cleanup from Christmas, and so on. For some reason I was just so tired and now, at the end of the day, I'm feeling more run down than usual and suspect I may have a cold. I'll be brief:

It's quite alright that I did not get everything done today that I had hoped to do (even playing the piano didn't happen). I can be satisfied with what I did manage to do because I just kept chipping away. A little effort here, a little attention there. It's ok to just be human. I'm not SuperWoman and certainly do not aspire to be one (that kind of super human effort is unsustainable for a mere mortal like me). However, I remembered today that admitting my imperfect humanity is exactly what I need to do. I can proudly say I stuck it out today and managed to accomplish quite a bit. I can also see that even with scaled back effort, chipping away at my tasks today paid off. I am worth being gentle to myself, especially when feeling under the weather. Instead of feeling frazzled and upset all day, I gave myself permission to just do a little bit and see how I felt as I went along.

I bid you all good night. I'm taking Joan's advice and turning in early this evening. A nice bath (because I'm worth a little pampering), a chapter of my book, and then lights out.

Question: Do you give yourself permission to be satisfied with small accomplishments? Do you recognize when those small feats are accomplished under more trying circumstances than usual?

Day Five: We have an enemy...

Well, went to bed at 10pm like I promised (okay 10:23pm) but definitely headed in the right direction with it... for sure! (note to self.. have to feed the dog before bed) Others depend on me... I need to be diligent in their care.


I was out like a light.. you know the sleep you long for.. the sleep you know you deserve and you are basking in at that very moment.. and "JOAN.. JOAN.. JOHN IS THROWING UP!" Todd wakes me in a panic. He had stayed up and thank GOD he did.. I was so out I didn't hear my son on the monitor which I always hear my kids. I was OUT.. well, poor baby he threw up all over his bed and himself. Todd did the bath, I did the bed... and I couldn't even begin to sleep after that. I hovered over my son.. just knowing the minute I go to sleep he is going to aspirate or something. I finally say to myself, "John just needs to come and sleep with me, I will feel better".

Let me tell ya, not a good idea when a child is vomiting. I was just going to doze off when I heard the cough.. then I looked.. he had that look...grabbed him up and he let it loose all over me and my blanket. (I was shooting for the blanket.. I can wash or throw away a blanket, not so with the mattress!) Todd got up and did our bed while I got into the bath with John... since I needed it too. *side note.. Thank you Todd for being home! Todd is a fireman and many nights I have been on mommy duty alone! Thank you GOD for Todd being home!

So John and I slept chest to chest in the recliner for the rest of the night. Except John was totally feeling awake! He played with his cars, He walked over to the TV at 3ish AM and put on Qubo! I got another log and tended the fire, then he crawled up on my lap and we sat, Rescue Heroes at 3am.. not fun!

Now it is 7am.. I am up with the others as John is slumbering peacefully. Today I will definitely be napping this afternoon. A woman of worth has to work through the distractions the enemy will throw at her!

Satan, I am putting you on notice... a daughter of the King of Kings will overcome one night of lost sleep!


What are some of the enemies in this process. Well for me there are some that are obvious and some that are not.

John getting sick isn't the enemy, Satan is! Being with my son when he is sick is exactly where I want to be. I want to bring comfort to my children the way my mother brought me comfort when I was sick. It is my privilege and my job and I wouldn't trade that for the world! That being said...

Procrastination.. BIG ENEMY.. so obvious... more on that one later.. maybe tomorrow.. he he.

Self Doubt.. Yep that one not so obvious. The way you talk to yourself no one else can hear. I am a great self talker. I actually have enjoyed some of my conversations with myself, but a lot of the time they take a road I would rather close for repairs.
I have worth and the hard thing with knowing that to be true is feeling it. I believe as a woman of worth today, I will say nice things to myself and believe them.. (sleep deprived and all)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5: Conquer a Fear, Gain Peace

Today I had a lot on my plate (When do I ever not have much to do?) and the most dreaded task loomed before me for the entire morning. Yesterday I mentioned that this time of year makes me want to quit being me and throw in the towel - a big part of that anxiety is rooted in my fear of talking on the phone when I need something from someone and in my skewed perception of how others think of me. Long story short: I needed to talk to my accountant.

Now I just want to say that my accountant is a wonderful man. He's British, he's nice-looking, he's kind, he knows accounting, and he has really helped our business - what's there to be afraid of? Well, that's a good question with a cloudy answer. The problem is me. I get overwhelmed if I feel I can't do something perfectly the first time and am sure that other people think I'm an idiot. (Are you thinking back to your childhood school days and oral presentations? Remember how it never occurred to you that everyone else had to do the presentation, too? Remember how you felt that you were the one and only screw up and everyone was finally going to find out just how dumb you really were? Please... please tell me you remember that. I know I do!) I'm 38 years old and I still feel like a school girl hoping the teacher won't notice me in the back of the room.

One thing led to another today: I had to go to the bank, which meant I needed to write some checks, which meant I needed a bank balance to work from, which meant I had to reconcile two statements.... And after all was said and done, I was going to need to be able to do payroll at the end of the week, but my program needed to have old books closed out and new books opened. I needed to talk to my accountant. The anxiety was there all morning long... and still there at lunch... and still there in the early afternoon.

Did I not just finish telling myself, and you, that worry is my vice of choice? And did I not just say yesterday that I don't want to be worried, bitter, anxious and end up dead? So what choice did I really have? I needed to talk to the accountant and be done already. So... I emailed him. (I know... what a chicken!) Guess what? He asked me to call instead so he could walk me through the process of year end closeout. Guess what happened next? I called, we chatted, he didn't laugh at me or fire me as a client. He walked me through it. It was so stinking easy!

Did you hear that? It was easy! It really only took about 10 minutes. For years I have worried myself into grumpy hysterics over this. How ridiculous and silly! Fear absolutely steals our peace of mind and peace of heart. Fear and worry are a total waste of time and energy. I learned today that my perceptions are indeed skewed and I need to sort that out. I learned today that I am worth a 5 minute phone call and a 10 minute program procedure. I learned today that I am absolutely worth the peace of just asking for help when I need it. I am worth a peaceful heart and mind and to have that, I must let go of my anxiety.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4: Worry Not, It Ain't Gonna Get Us Anywhere

Typically between mid-December and the end of February, I have a crisis of sorts. I begin to doubt every decision and want to throw in the towel on keeping house, teaching the kids, even making dinner. Knowing this, last night I was asking the Lord to bolster me up. I was starting to feel down and just wanted desperately to avoid the spiral I knew was coming. I opened my Bible to Sirach 30:14-25. Specifically, this is what leaped off the page at me:
Do not give in to sadness, torment not yourself with brooding;
Gladness of heart is the very life of man, cheerfulness prolongs his days.
Distract yourself, renew your courage, drive resentment far away from you; For worry has brought death to many, nor is there aught to be gained from resentment.
Envy and anger shorten one's life, worry brings on premature old age.*
*New American Bible (Catholic version) from here.

Wow! So I sat and pondered this for awhile. Brooding is my middle name, worry is my vice of choice. Do I really want to be bitter, tormented, sad, resentful and die young? No way! That is not The Plan. Then I got to thinking, what does that mean in terms of my worth? I didn't find an answer last night, but I pondered it a bit today.

Today was the big Back to the Daily Grind Day - cracking open the school books, remembering I had a few papers to grade, making sure everyone did their reading or getting read to, being diligent about bedtimes, and figuring out how to get my business work done, too. A daunting task any day... and yet, after last night's reading and prayer, I was strangely ready for it. And can you guess what I did? After we got home from the park and had lunch, I sat down and played the piano. My children can count on one hand the number of times they've heard me play - I rarely take the time to sit down and practice. But today... today I played. I pulled out my favorite Christmas song (O Holy Night, for those with enquiring minds) and played it until it sounded halfway decent. And I loved every minute. I still got the schooling done. I made a great dinner. Kids got bathed and to bed on time. I've had time to write. And I got a bank statement printed out and ready for balancing tomorrow.

I learned today that I can take 15 or 20 minutes to sit down at the piano and just play. The house will not fall down, everyone will still eat, and things that need doing will still get done... and I will be happier. I am worth 15 minutes of music and happiness. As a bonus, my kids were blessed with my example and my joy... which in turn blessed me again. I'm worth a look of astonishment on my kids' faces when I do something unexpected.

Day Four: Sleep is important part of creating worth!

Man I am beat today. I stayed up on New Years and then again the following night with my sweet hubby, and then my bestest friend came and we were up really late... I am soooo tired today.

That got me to thinking about how you treat yourself physically being an important part of this. I know that I am 40 years old and I just don't run the way I used to. It is like that old computer is running slower, more weighed down and just not able to do all the new fangled things that are out there to do.

What would a woman of worth do to physically take care of herself?

We got the get up and do your hair thing (which today in all honesty did happen partially.. I showered and washed the hair.. yet to do the hair) It is a work in progress bringing worth into your life... What else can I do that will make me feel better physically. I know I know.. EXERCISE.. not ready to go there yet.. but I will soon.. one day at a time. How bout we start with getting enough sleep. I have seen it written that a woman need around 7 hours of sleep a night. I wake up every morning at 6am to take my temperature as we are trying to conceive a baby so that would mean I need to be in bed no later then 11pm.. but I don't think that is right for me... I think I am a 8 to 9 hour woman.. so that means 10pm is my new bedtime. A woman of worth will take the time to do what she needs to do to take care of herself physically. So tonight I am in bed by 10pm!

I am looking forward to a good nights sleep tonight! Thank you God for helping me see my worth today!!!

Be blessed!

Day Three: Sad day today...

On Sunday I didn't post as it was a very sad day. My friend's son is dying. He was 20 years old. I cannot imagine loosing a child.. and this is her only child. I have 4 amazing children.. and the thought of loosing one could be so overwhelming if I allowed myself to ponder. But my grief for this family comes from the very heart of me. Jake was not just any 20 year old... he wasn't dating, or out making bad choices, or sitting at home watching South Park trying to decide what he wanted to do with his life...

Jake was going to run for a government position in his state... as one of the youngest ever to run. He was driven to change the world. He cared about his community... He cared about his family.. and He cared about the Lord. All those things drove him to do something to change the world.

I met Jake when he was around 12ish... We were on a cruise in Hawaii that I and his mother had won for our families through our job. My hubby and I sat with him and talked about politics and religion even then.. HE HAD ME.. I was like "Todd did I just loose a debate about religion to a child?" We still laugh about that. He was soooo intelligent. So full of life. So the center of his mothers world... and now he is not going to be here anymore.

The world is a sad place for today... but I think as a woman of worth it is okay to take time to grieve when it is important. I grieve for Cindy, his momma, and Mark, his daddy... Their loss is one that few can understand. But I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to know this sweet child of yours!

More to come later today...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3: Day of Reflection

Remember yesterday's post about paper clutter and not staying on top of things costing me? Well, I woke up this morning, much too early, thinking about library fines. Darn! This is a problem fairly easily remedied - we only go to the library on Mondays because we are already at the park. My rule this year is going to be "no books if there's a holiday within the 3 week loan period." I am worth so much more than a library fine.

Since I was up and worrying, I decided I ought to do something a little more pro-active... so I prayed. There was nothing in particular to focus on, I just spent some time being in the Lord's presence. I tend to procrastinate, even in my prayer life. And it was brought to my attention this morning that that needs to change. So my new plan is to pray a simple morning offering as I make my bed (because you know I'm already going to do that, and attaching a new habit to an existing one makes it much easier to keep consistent). It will be something along the line of:

Father, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my very life, my family, my home, and my responsibilities. I offer You all my thoughts, words and deeds today and pray that they will glorify You. Amen.

It's not much, but it's a start. And I am worth a new beginning every day. I'm a child of God, after all, and He is worth all of my adoration. He thinks I am worth knowing - how amazing is that? So... if He thinks that, how can I just rip through the day without a little chat here and there?

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Now, if you are not a Christian*, start your day with a few moments to center yourself. I truly don't know what would be a similar start to the day, but you can and will find something that will aid you in finding your worth.

*I make no apologies for my faith and speaking about it, but I am certainly not going to tell you "think the way I do, or you're doomed to be eternal toast." If you are reading this and truly want to find your worth, I honestly think you'll end up finding it in the Lord. How that happens, where you've been, what you've experienced isn't for me to judge or even comment on. But please know that you have my heartfelt warmest prayers in your efforts to find your worth.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2: Even Paper Needs a Home

Here I am on day two of finding my worth - my bed was made as soon as I got up. I took my time with it, too. That done, I made myself a week's worth of gluten free muffins. The day was off to a good start. My husband took all the kids to shoot model rockets with the Cub Scouts, leaving me to face... The Paper Clutter.

What does paper clutter have to do with finding my worth? Plenty. I fear paper. It breeds faster than crickets or bunnies. It piles up and threatens to engulf entire pieces of furniture. It looms in nooks and crannies. The Paper Clutter even occasionally threatens to topple over onto my children, burying them alive. The more paper left lying around, even in neat stacks labeled with what to do, the more the odds are that I will forget something important. And what happens when I forget to do something? Well, I get nasty notices from the utility company, or I forget to send snack to preschool on the right day (disappointing 15 other kids), or I miss out on a great grocery deal, and so on... and I feel guilty. It costs me time to avoid dealing with paper. It costs me money. It costs me my peace!

As a woman of worth, I need to cultivate good habits. Through those habits, God blesses me with peace - peace of mind, peace of heart. I am worth a calm household, and I am not calm if I am anxious for forgetting something or frantically looking around for it. I am worth more than my junk mail, and I do not need 99% of those offers. I am worth more than overlooked bills and late fees, and I could use the money in much better ways. I am worth more than the bad habit of paper procrastination and disorganization.

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It's now 10pm and I spent my day rather well. I am nearly caught up on my paperwork for my home finances (I have 3 statements left to balance) and for work (1 statement left). I opened all of the mail sitting on my makeshift desk in my school room (there was stuff from August!!!) and filed it appropriately. I even went out with my husband this evening and purchased some new shelving for my office. Tomorrow I hope to build it and get that office whipped into shape - added bonus, it will help declutter my school room. (That's a whole 'nother post for another day.) It feels very good to acknowledge that I am worth the effort to tame the Paper Clutter.

Bonus for my effort: My husband has been inspired to do a major declutter of our bedroom. Remember that whole "my room is my sanctuary" speech I gave yesterday? By making my bed and tackling my paper, my husband has been motivated. How awesome is that?

Day Two: "I feel like I am falling in love with you agian" is what he said...

He can't keep his hands off of me today! I don't know what the deal is... but seriously.. all I did was do my make up and hair for the day right... that was day one.. I asked him what was up and all he said was "I feel like I am falling in love with you again!"

WOW.. This really is a cool thing. Treating myself with value makes my husband fall in love with me... wow.. what will happen when I fall in love with myself! WHOO HOOOO!


This feeling worth thing is really going to change not just my life, but other lives around me. I shared this project with only a few people and of those I shared it with have already reported to me that they too have felt that they have been put on the back burner for a time.... and it is time to make themselves important again. I can't believe one day is like a "pebble in the pond" (thank you Tara).. the ripples will be endless. This is going to affect my friends, their marriages.. my children, my grandchildren, their grandchildren... the people who are behind the counter at the local grocery store... the mail man.. my neighbors.. the person on the street who needs to feel worth....This can be a movement of sorts... I have the ability to change the world, just by realizing that I am a daughter of the King! WOW.. that is exciting.. makes me even feel powerful!

Today I enjoyed my day with out feeling guilty... A woman of worth lives with purpose and today I decided that I would enjoy my day with purpose and live for the Lord and Serve the Lord with Gladness! Spent the day enjoying my house and decorating it a bit (moving things to be better suited to the space) and then went to lunch with my big sister and my kids. Tonight my best friend Christa is coming over to watch a movie.. just her and I.. kids in bed by 8pm.. and Todd is on shift. Girl time is an important part of feeling value!