Wednesday, September 28, 2011

prayer hang-ups

Here are my prayer-related issues, in a nutshell:

1) For some reason, I feel like you have to work your way up to a real good pour-your-heart-out. My brain keeps saying, "you haven't prayed in a while...I don't think you're allowed to just dive in with some I'm really worried abouts...start faithful with a little first..." Like what, God will be more inclined to listen to me, to grant my petition, when I've shown myself to be a frequent shopper? That I've been faithful with my daily prayer responsibilities, so He can trust me when granting a really big favor? This keeps me from praying about what's really on my heart. I don't feel like I've shown myself worthy of major air-time.

2) I'm one of those people - I actually believe the crap that you have to be clean before you arrive at the Throne! Hear me - I know I'm wrong. But my little legalistic brain hears
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
it believes it. There's not a lot of room for argument. And that right there is enough to bog me down and keep me from even trying. But if I did try, if I literally found a list of sins in the Bible and thought through each one to see if I remembered committing it lately, so that I could be as blameless as possible before God, I swear - I actually get so annoyed at the time that would take, and I don't have it! Besides which, if I actually have a real good pour-my-heart-out that needs doing, all that research is only going to either put it off, or make me forget what it was entirely.

So, I end up not praying about what's really on my heart because I don't feel like I'm allowed to start with something big, and because I'm thinking, "there has got to be sin in there, so if God's not listening anyway, what's the point?"

I'm not actually despairing. I know I'm talking baloney. But anyone want to tackle either of these anyway? Encouragement is appreciated. Grace, too, of course. And if "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," I'll take any of that as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


So my friend Stacie mentioned on Facebook that she has a new goal to check off one Pinterest activity per week, and asked if anyone would like to join her.

I got giddy.

I thought of all the lovely things I've pinned, and how much I want them in my house, and how this was the perfect motivation for me to make one of them become a reality!! Eeeee!

Then I started looking through my boards. Narry one of them could I make without doing some sort of shopping first.


Oh...but save one! BEHOLD!

Wanna play????

another good reason for a list

I have to figure out a good time to be on the computer.

Does that exist?

I end up coming back to it all the time because I never get done what I want to in one sitting. The kids constantly need something. And I feel like they're getting the picture that I'm ALWAYS on the computer, when really it's just that I'm never finishing anything.

I want to find a set time, and then make it a rule that it's mommy's work time. I should probably even keep a list of the things I think of during the day that I want to do while on the computer, and then I won't get distracted but random, shiny things on the screen.

(In fact, I probably need two times. One early, to check in on things for the day, and one later - to accomplish all those things on the list that gets created.)

The rest of the time I need to be disciplined to be up. Up, busy, available, productive, and attentive to them.

THEN, when I have been attentive to them and their needs, giving the face time and full attention, I can sit down to be productive at the computer, and confidently say, "No, sweetie. You're all set. You don't need anything right now, and Mumma needs to work. Please go play with your trains, and I'll be done in a little bit."

And my children will learn that the computer is a tool, a gift of technology to be used and respected, and not a means of passing mindless time, to get lost in when there are other things to be done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

it's pinteresting

I've gone a little pin-crazy tonight. Fair warning: those who use Pinterest will understand this blog. Those who don't, won't. (But should try it out. I have invites.)

Reasons I'm pinning:

1. I admit it: I love that anticipation of finding a picture that makes you go "oooh" or "awww!" or "yep. nice."
2. I like organizing my thoughts and wishes into happy little "boards." My life isn't so organized, but the pictures that represent things I want in my life...are. (And I do not want more boards than fit on one page.)
3. I like finding people who like the same stuff as me.
4. I like getting ideas of stuff to put in my house.
5. I like getting nifty ideas for things that will make my life simpler. (Things that will actually make my life simpler, not just something that someone says will, but in practicality, will take me a while to figure out, will be too expensive, or will take more time/talent than I have.)
6. I like finding signs or pictures with words that either say what I think, or that I'd like to hang in my house sometime.

I find it "pinteresting." Haha.

This is not a very deep blog post. But looking at pictures of the things in my head brings me happiness.

Especially on a night that I CAN stay up late because finally...FINALLY!...tomorrow morning I get to sleep in.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

kermit makes any day better

This song randomly popped into my head this morning.
Happy almost-the-weekend, and enjoy singing it the rest of the day. :)

smells like wanakee

It's foggy this morning. And rainy. And it's beautiful.

Standing at the door when hubby was leaving, I was breathing deeply. Hub said, "they need to bottle this smell for cologne. That'd be a sexy smell." I said, "you'd just make all the girls wanna go camping with you." He laughed and said, "just one girl." [grin]

In some of our circles we have a saying - "smells like Wanakee" - which is the church summer camp we've all gone to growing up. It did often smell like this, especially in the morning. But I have come to learn that it is not a smell necessarily specific to camp. (Maybe it's the farther away I get from my camp years.) We just have so many trees that you breathe in and smell leaves, pine needles, wet grass, tree bark. A recipe for serenity.

(It's an allergen's paradise, really, but in the moment, we don't pay attention to that.)

Mr. 5yo is still sick. Last night, he hit 102.8, and he doesn't do fevers well. He sleeps often, but not well, and fits the delirium profile exactly. This morning he's at 101.8, which is still high but enough of a dip that he thinks he's feeling much better. There was very little sleep last night. (And the night before.)

I am so grateful for these morning-quiet moments that give me a chance to (literally) breathe in something outside my own situation, to pull me back heavenward for even 20 seconds, a memory I can pull out of the card file later for a moment of closed eyes, deep breath, and reminders of grace.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

new every morning

Provisions abound! And they may not be monetary, but they sure do restore my soul.

#1: We have more toilet paper than I thought! I knew we had about 3 rolls, but it's questionable how long that will last. This morning I found about 3 more behind those! File under "It's the Little Things."

#2: Mr. 5yo is sick. This is not the provision. However, it eases a tricky situation I would have had to field this morning, and it also means he will probably miss picture day tomorrow, such that we can catch re-take day when we will have the funds to buy them!

#3: After a night of being up every half hour from 11pm to 5am [no exaggeration] with said sick child, he slept soundly from 5-8:30. This meant:
- hubby was willing to get himself and Miss 13yo ready for work and school, and let me sleep
- when I came downstairs, I found several more dishes from last night lovingly put in the sink [heart swelling]
- Mr. 2yo, who woke up at 6:15, was very happy to let Daddy fill his bottle and turn on Blue's Clues for him, and then leave me alone until 7:30 (when he arrived in my bedroom with the jug of milk) = since Miss 7yo wasn't awake yet either, he entertained himself - happily and safely - for about an hour!

I love my kids.

And finally, #4: I had a mind-opening brainstorm about how to do the week's laundry, that - although completely different from what I've been trying to do for years, and goes against what seems to make sense - might actually ease my work load a little. I may do a trial run.

Four provisions, and it's not even 10am yet!

His mercies are new every morning. Even if we're not quite awake enough to notice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

preparing for rain

We're in a bit of a bind. One that we've been in before. And God always brings us out.

Yesterday, I had bit of a pour-out session with God. He gave hubby a lovely raise over the summer, trusting us to use it wisely, and we haven't really done that. Oh, our intentions were good, certainly, but our practices left much to be desired. God has given us enough for everything we need, but because we have not been timely in the paying of our bills, we are left with nothing. So, so wrong.

So here we are in this pickle again. Totally, completely our fault. Yet God is still gracious. He has gotten us out of these binds before (even when it doesn't make sense that He should), and I believe and am trusting that He will deliver us from this one, too.

It is in that spirit of expectation (I'm "preparing for rain," so to speak) that I am deciding to chronicle the deliverance this time. It has already begun, and in my new attitude of gratefulness and proper stewardship, I want to consciously notice and remember what He does.

"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." (Psalm 5:3)

Yesterday, we decided we have two major bills to fit into the remainder of our paycheck (the next of which is still a week and a half away). I'm still unsure of the actual amount of one of them, but if my memory serves, our bank account was really close to that total yesterday.

Enter Provision #1: my mom paid us her half of the cable bill, which should put us up to, if not a few dollars over, what we need for those two bills. (I'm choosing not to get caught up in the detail that I have yet to figure out what that second amount is, and if it's higher than I remember, we're screwed again. I'm choosing to trust it will work out.)

Another issue was that with those two bills, there would be nothing left over for any gas in my car next week, or the diapers I was sure we'd need by then. Provision #2: when I went upstairs to get a diaper for Mr. 2yo this morning, I found I had a good chunk of diapers left in his basket, and two fresh packages in the box, yet unopened! Praise God!

That realization was really when I decided to start keeping track. I went upstairs for the diaper, saw the extra diapers in the box, and continued on like nothing had happened. It was a few minutes later that I realized this was an answered prayer! And I decided I wanted to be much more intentional about noticing when God answers my prayers!

Now I write in expectation, waiting to see how else God will prove Himself worthy!

And this time, rather than simply selfishly expecting God's grace,
I am watching for it, waiting for it, with reverance and gratitude.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I am overwhelmed.

I have several things I need to do, and they all need to be done right NOW.

I am currently typing literally around several items on the desk that are making it hard to move, and should be cleaned off before something disastrous happens to hubby's desk. (Fortunately, there is no liquid present.)

Daughter wants toast.

Son is eating peanut butter crackers because I haven't had time to make him breakfast.

I have to call our cell phone company and pretty much beg them (cajole and guilt if I have to) to work with us to get our service turned back on and change our pay date, after getting so screwed up with them that we're almost always late in paying.

I have an issue with my car insurance that must be resolved just about immediately.

I'm trying to pray more money into our bank account (including adding in a trip to the bank to deposit cash) so we can accomplish all this.

The dog is stealing son's peanut butter crackers because his "hands are full" if he holds them all instead of setting them down on the couch. ("Then perhaps you should eat at the table. It is a privilege to eat in the living room.")

Hubby cleaned out his car yesterday, which means there is a LARGE pile of things on the couch, where the children cannot sit, and thus they are on ME (because, of course, there's no other logical place to go).

And, as always, dishes and laundry are waiting. (Unfortunately, they're waiting in the middle of the floor.)

And school will happen in the afternoon again. (I am thankful for homeschooling again. And because my lovely children gave me an extra fifteen minutes this morning to lie on my bed to get rid of a headache without bothering me.)

This is not a pretty picture to me, because it's just about all my fault as the keeper of the finances. It's ugly really. (How do you resist shame when it really does rest on you??) We are not the best at keeping our finances straight (and it is utterly AMAZING to me how utterly L  O  N  G it takes to even out after a pay schedule change), but we are working on it.

I need someone to take my children this morning and let them run in circles, jump up and down, do somersaults, and watch train and racecar videos with them so that I can do all this alone. But that won't happen, and somehow - with an unbelievable amount of grace from God (which I confess I have selfishly come to EXPECT instead of keep a healthy fear of) - it will all get done, and I will still love my children.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

bless the rains down in africa

My boy is in my head. Again. Still. Always, of late.

A morning of listening to the director of my sponsor-kiddo's orphanage, who was so blessedly able to visit our church this morning with almost no notice.

The kids are good. They're healthy. They're happy. They're learning about Jesus.

The price of food over there in Ethiopia has sky-rocketed, so they have to cut other things from their budget to feed the kids. Things like shoes.

On their New Year, they usually have a big feast, but the kids came to him this year and said they didn't want the feast...they needed shoes. How do you not just write over the remainder of your bank account to them?? And then I got to hear a little more of his story (including how to pronounce his name correctly!), how he got to the orphanage, how he's already advanced to a new grade, and how he has a gift for agriculture. He sometimes cares for the chickens. He knows when and where to plant. [so proud]

I wish he could come teach me.

And he's the most handsome 14/15 year old on two legs. (And, for clarification, that there is his own handprint on his shirt, with MY FAMILY'S names written under it, by M. himself. Heart melting.)

And how I (again...still...) just want to clear out so much junk from my house. I sat there in church with my icey latte, and then sat down to a lovely luncheon supplied by all the sponsor families....and my boy just needs shoes.


I'm off to go pour out my heart to the One Who is with my boy right now, and can let him know I love him...even thought it can take weeks for the letter telling him so myself to reach him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

on how i'm NOT making crazy new changes

I'm inspired to write something amazing. I've been reading a few new amazing blogs (new to me), and I'm inspired to write another post.

Problem. I don't have something amazing to say. I read a post last night of a lady I love and admire, who simply vented in a worthwhile way that she was overwhelmed and out straight and felt way too busy. I feel exactly the same way. And I thought, well, if she can post about it and not come out whiny, maybe I can, too. So I was going to...and then got interrupted, and then didn't feel so whiny anymore afterward. Guess that's a good thing...but it kinda took the wind out of my bloggy sails! [hehe]

I just started this, my second blog. I thought it would be a venue of new attempts - creating less in my house, in my world, and maybe actually daring to make goals for myself, beyond just getting the laundry and dishes done each day. (Which, really, should be more of a goal, because they don't always get done each day.)

But rather than new and exciting tryings in life...I'm trying to homeschool without curriculum. We're still cleaning up our finances from hubby's change in job and pay schedule over the summer. (It's amazing how long and far-reaching the effects of a pay time schedule change can be!) My 5yo is in afternoon kindergarten, which has made me feel like I'm living my day literally backwards. It doesn't work for me, and it's not entirely the best fit for him, and quite frankly, it bugs me that the school doesn't take that into account when placing the kids. (And YES, I want to be the one family that they make the exception for. So there.)

I'm trying to fit in school for the girl, housekeeping, errands, to-and-from school for the boy, keeping the 2yo's mind entertained (he doesn't default to tv when he's bored yet, and I'm trying to keep it that way!), keeping myself calm when fielding 13yo drama, parenting on two different childhood development levels, planning school for the girl, actually SEE my husband now and then (face to face, not just next to each other, him on the couch/computer, me on the couch/computer), and GET TO BED EARLIER!

I don't yet have amazing moments in homeschooling to write about. I haven't made a Life List. (Actually, I have about three items. Maybe.) I don't have pictures of decluttering projects, because I haven't decluttered since the yard sale we had last weekend, which you can't even really tell happened. (We got rid of LOTS of stuff! How can you not tell?!) And I don't have grand, motivational speeches about how well my exercising is going, because I haven't met with Jillian in about two weeks, and I have skipped pilates class twice (because if I went to that without having met with Jillian for two weeks, I'd be crying my way through class).

I'm wracking my brain for how to end this positively. [hehe]
1. I do have bins again for my children's stuff in the hallway! And they are immediately full, of course. But they will start taking stuff to their rooms today. And the bins are simply plastic file crates, but they were $1 at Walmart, which is just exactly my price range. Later I will attempt to find something like galvanized buckets or old hen laying crates, as bestie suggested. (Note: old hen laying crates are much easier to find where she is in Arkansas than they are here in Maine. Though I admit I haven't actually searched yet.)

2. This Saturday (tomorrow) is hubby's last busy Saturday! Last Saturday was our yard sale, so it wasn't his fault, but all in all, I have not had him home on a Saturday since before Pennsic in early August. (I am tired of assuming the dump run job. But I do it, because the alternative is unacceptable.)

3. I AM seeing the joys of homeschool, and enjoying my horizons being broadened as to just how many different ways there are to incorporate learning into life. Wonderful and amazing. And as busy as I've been, there's always some way to eeeeeek some kind of learning out of the day, even if it's just running the latest five books of the Bible in the car on our way to wherever. Gosh, I thought I'd have so much more down time when we started homeschooling...but I think it's just that now I have more time to do so many other things!

4. This one is just for Crystal - I am living sans microwave. HA! Who would've thought it possible. [hehe]

5. I have two new amazing farmhousey chairs! Already painted off-white, cane-seated, ladderback chairs. Gor. Geous. They were 2.99 a piece at Good Will. Our Good Will isn't the best, but it's finds like this that do make up for all the other frustrating, empty trips.
Ignore the mess in the background. It's not there anymore. Mostly.

6. Hubby came home from the church youth group kick-off barbecue with eldest with a brand spankin' new GIANT sweatshirt with the youth group logo. It's been so. long. since I've worn a good sweatshirt (in weather than warrants it), and I've absonded with it and worn it almost every day since. (And I like that it's not just a sweatshirt, but a sweatshirt with a message.) I might let him borrow it back...sometime.

7. And most of all - IT'S COLD TODAY. It makes me come alive, this fall weather. Earlier this week, it was still hot and muggy, but finally it rained (always a good sign of weather changing in Maine) and today it's almost frigid. YUM.

Yesterday, I bought chocolate, caramel apple, and pumpkin donuts. You should've smelled my car.

Monday, September 12, 2011

morning quiet

I got up this morning, tired per usual, but with the ability to get up and function. In the quiet kitchen, I made hubby's breakfast and coffee. I love the wood floors, and the beginnings of less, so I can see what's there, what I need to do, what I have. It even makes the overflowing weekend's worth of dishes easier to think about. And a moment of grace - eldest's glasses...assignment papers...water bottle. First thought: well, I'll tell her they're there, but if she doesn't take them, it'll be lesson learned. But if it were my own blood-born? I'd help. I'd gather. So I help. I gather. They're put into a neat pile on the corner of the table for her to see and easily put in her backpack.

Breakfast and coffee made, hubby descends to the first floor. No more self-quiet, but still we-quiet. First-light discussions of finances, lunch, later-in-the-week hobbies. Peacefully. Eldest decends - dripping hair, packback strapped way too loosely, panicking from running late, doesn't have time to move soccer stuff from backpack to soccer bag (doesn't need the soccer papers, she says), but wants to take time for me to scrounge for gum (didn't brush her teeth). If no time for soccer bag, no time for gum. Running late.

A quick ("just the facts, ma'am," the way she wants it) reminder - if you don't want big arguments, it begins in the small everyday willingness and lack of attitudinal answers - and they're out the door. Love you. Have a good day. See you tonight.

And a vacancy in the house. I stand at the front screen door, smelling the cold morning air (my favorite). Bailey comes and stands beside me. "Hi, puppy." I watch the car across the street pull out and drive off. A vacancy in that house. I think about the person in that house cleaning up from making breakfast, putting prep things away, now taking the time to make their coffee, listening to the quiet, cold morning.

Oldest boy comes down, sleepy 5 year old "hi, mommy" snuggles. Finding markers, practicing L's.

And off we go again. God, give me the grace to keep this early morning quiet in my attitude all day, even later when it's very bright and very warm and very loud.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let's get this party started.

So I had this new idea for a new blog, and here it's taking me forever to actually get it going.

We're having a yard sale on Saturday that I have made great headway on, but I'm not done. I have two days left, and at least one major area yet to sort.

I have yet to go grocery shopping this week. I was supposed to go Tuesday. Dinner's are getting interesting.

I've done two days of homeschooling, and my daughter is feeling bored and unchallenged. I'm using hand-me-down curriculum (nothing wrong with that), but I don't think it fits her.

I've lost track of my children's bins for the hallway, so I have nowhere to throw their stuff which seems to be multiplying in my living room.

And I have a Classical Conversations family meeting this morning which will chop up the day even more.

My 2yo got up at 6am this morning, instead of his usual 7ish.

My 5yo tried to feed the dog this morning and announced that there was no more dog food. Another stop to make in the day.

I had a dream last night that my hubby was being inhabited by something. The something was very nice and kind, and my hubby was still present, but it just wasn't the same, and I was tired of sharing him.

Busy much? Anyone relate??

"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

But I am not dispairing.

I have made great progress in my yard sale project. I've even bought poster boards.

I'm looking forward to looking through some new curriculum online, and I have some really good suggestions and preferences from my dear homeschooling friends. And I'm hoping really desperately praying that maybe the CC meeting this morning will give us a little more direction. And since I have no Bible curriculum whatsoever, I'm building lessons as I go around our memory verse (Psalm 119:11), and my kids are getting it. It's going well. And they have wonderful ideas and thoughts and commentary as I talk to them about it. (And they remember it for at least part of the day. "Elijah, is kicking the dog a white heart or a black x?" "A black x." "Could you figure out how to turn it into a white heart?" "Sorry, Bailey.")

My 2yo was perfectly happy to sit on the couch and watch PBS while I got hubby and eldest child out the door, instead of hanging on my nightgown, whining.

There is money in the account for dog food, and (if I can find it) I have a discount card left over from my mother-in-law when she worked at Petco.

And hubby immediately understood my dream, and said, "It's been busy." I think we might get to slow down at the end of September.

"Enough is as good as a feast."
Mary Poppins

So this here's my blog on my attempts to create a whole lot of LESS. Even in the midst of the crazy busy schedule of things that must be done, it seems a good time!!

Aside from the schedule right now, there is simply TOO MUCH. Too much stuff, too much busy-ness, too many distractions, too much worry. Not enough laughing, playing, worship, learning, prayer.

"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
than great treasure and turmoil with it."
Proverbs 15:17

I'm cleaning house, baby, in more ways than one. Will you join me? "Reality meets grace," and there's more than enough grace to go around.