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.