Thursday, December 30, 2010

Conflicted Heart

So my night started out nice and relaxing, with a mostly clean house, lots of time reading with the children and early bed for all of them. Then the work began. I had to run to the grocery store to buy more cake mix & other things for our party tomorrow night. Then I baked the cake. I got an itch to make my new friend a birthday present so I started on that. Got to a point in both projects that I had nothing to do for an hour, so I watched random girlie TV before getting back to work.

I almost finished a really awesome Wonder Woman cake (photos to come later just in case my friend happens to read this blog before tomorrow night). And I'm almost done with her present. My night turned into a practice run for staying up past midnight for the New Year. I was successful but really started feeling it by 12:30am. So I left everything as is and headed for bed. Now an hour later I'm lying awake with my head swimming... I loose so much sleep when my head swims.

A week from today I will be preparing my house for my mother & step-father to be here. They will sleep in our bed, and be responsible for our children for the better part of 6 days all by themselves. Jason and I will be going on a cruise. Sounds like a really awesome deal but I'll be incapable of getting on a plane or hoping in a car and being home within a few hours in case of an emergency. Different from our usual trips. Add that to flashbacks of Titantic and well... Let the swimming begin!

So I was lying in bed praying before sleep overcame me, and I was in a particularly thankful mood for my husband. And that lead to being thankful for our children and that led me to panic about leaving them for the cruise next week. I'm not exactly anti-cruise, but it's not one of my 'I have to do that before I die' things. Jason has expressed great desire to do a cruise and he likes it when we take little trips together so I thought it'd be perfect. Of course I thought that when the cruise was 4 months away... now? Not so much.

Is this the normal jitters? Probably. I can't remember how exactly I managed to leave my babies for nearly 6 days to go to New York or London or Austin. But I did. Each time panicking a little. Each time preparing some sort of token for the children to remember us by. A new toy with a special note, a fresh journal entry, a photo album, whatever I could think of to sort of freeze that moment in time for them. Just in case we didn't come back I wanted them to know that we loved them and give them something tangible to hold a memory of us. I know it's silly since they are so young, but Alexander has always appreciated these gifts and held them dear each time, almost confirming he understood his responsibility while we were gone was to take care of his siblings.

And now I'm reliving these fears again, and new ones with this particular boat scenerio. Those supper sad and creepy thoughts that I won't be coming back are haunting me. Maybe I won't get the privelage of raising our babies. I'll abandon them despite all my efforts to do exactly the opposite. I won't be there to watch the people they will become. Of course they'd be different people without use raising them. They'd have very different obstacles than we will give them to overcome. I'm sure God will speak to them, I pray they find comfort in Him and love Him with all their being. One of our greatest desires for them. But not being there to take the others to Kindergarten, to tuck them in each night, to pick them up when they fall down. To comfort them after their first heartbreak, to cheer them on in their sporting efforts, to help them build a clubhouse. To teach them how to drive, to watch them walk across the stage at graduation, to move them into their college dorm room, to walk them down the isle, to hold our grandbabies... all things that I dream of will become impossible.

As I sit here in tears thinking about all that I MIGHT miss I realize something. These are all my selfish desires. These things are the fondant that makes the cake of life look so pretty and put together. And I so desperately want these things, I love pretty cake, I think it actually makes it taste just a little bit better. But if we don't make choices to add eggs to the flour and put the cake batter in the oven there won't be a cake for the fondant to cover. So I have to continue to trust God. Trust Him that my mother & step father will do a wonderful job caring for our children, that they will all have fun while we are gone, that we will be safe on our trip, carried by the hand of God and returned safely, rested, refreshed and reconnected, ready to continue raising these beautiful babies He's given us and accomplish the mission of loving those around us.

Wow, not sure if it's writing it out loud or all the tears letting the water out but my head has stopped swimming for now. And oddly enough the cruise and sleep are starting to sound like a good idea again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm a Real Blogger Now

So got this SUPER rad gift from Jason. My new dSLR camera. That means that from this point forward I'll have some hot photos to go with my rock star lyrics! I hope you are as excited about this as I am;-)

Unfortunately you'll have to wait a few days for me to post something. It'll take me that long to figure out how to download them, edit them, upload them and hopefully have something real to write with them.

Thanks so much readers! Happy Christmas Eve!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sudden Desire for Minimalism

So throughout this entire process of changing our lives, creating a life more centered around Christ and His desire for our lives we've found ourselves doing everything possible to simplify in so many ways. The biggest is that we've downsized our home. We had our dream home and it turns out, that dreams when envisioned don't give you all the details and it was actually more of a nightmare. Jason was stuck in his job with no way out, our budget although loser than it ever was in California was still really tight, we couldn't keep the house full enough or clean enough and we felt major guilt every time some one made the comment about how well we must be doing to have such a plush home.

I have always found myself liking things simple. The less detail there is about things the more you are capable of noticing, enjoying, loving, learning and enduring the main focus (sometimes good, sometimes bad). This may have to do a lot with my upbringing and not having a lot of things. You know children identify their life based on the things they have, they are very tangible beings in some ways. However, I find myself now, many blessed years out of my bare childhood with so much stuff that even when we cut our belongings in half you can't hardly notice a difference.

Despite our smaller home and less belongings I still find it difficult to keep the house clean, not everything in our home has a place to go and so we have clutter. I think we had that problem before in our dream home but with so much space it was easier to stick things in this closet or that cupboard without noticing how much crap we really had. I should have noticed that when we moved and it required 1.5 loads of the biggest U-haul truck they have!!!!

And please don't think I'm a pack rat because I really do give things away all the time. We've had 1 donation truck come to our new house to pick up things, 1 yard sale that made us a nice wad of cash, and now 3 full van load trips to the salvation army. We've gotten rid of so much and here I sit still with toys strewn everywhere, piles of stuff on my kitchen counter tops, our art center spilling over and our desks piled inches high with stuff (both important & unimportant) and our closets full to capacity. I secretly dream of figuring out how to create future projects of utilizing the closet spaces more efficiently and of remodeling the kitchen to add more useful storage. But I think it's time to be realistic.

Today I have the desire to go through and get rid of it all!! I have several large empty boxes that we just received full of wonderful surprises that we have yet to open and will need to find a home for in just a few days and ALL of our cabinets and closets are full. There is no where for anything else to go. I have plans and want to get on with updating this house so it can feel like our new dream home as we continue to live intentionally. I think I will not allow this project to overshadow Christmas and the season and our opportunities to spend intentional time with others over the next two weeks, but I would like to start the new year fresh & ready.

My e-mails will be something that I purge also as I've signed up for a few too many junk notifications but one came across my screen this morning that I find very helpful for this current desire.

You might want to be a Minimalist if...

1. you spend too much time cleaning?

2. you are trying to get out of debt?

3. there is too much stress in your life?

4. you would like more time in your day?

5. you are environmentally conscious?

6. you are frugal?

7. you enjoy financially supporting other causes?

8. there are things you value more than material possessions?

9. you are not afraid of change?

10. your life is too valuable to live like everyone else?

Well, I'm pleased to report that we aren't in debt other than our house and we are planning to pay that off before the scheduled 15 year note. But I'm disappointed to say I'm not nearly as frugal as I should be. I've allowed my whims and desires to take over me this Christmas. I've again gone overboard and bought too much, planned too much, crafted too much, even baked too much. All to enjoy the season. I dream right now about what a minimalist Christmas would look like and how if I had stuck to the plan of getting each child 3-4 small things (allowing their grandparents to spoil them) they'd still have more than most children could ever dream of. I worry a little this Christmas that even though they understand we are celebrating our King's entry into the world that they only associate that with lavish gifts that unintentionally overshadow Christ.

After I say that I think about how much I really wanted to go to Disney for Christmas next year. I think, or hope rather, a minimalist would say that's ok, but then no presents. Can I do that? I will have to take that challenge seriously and not sneakily purchase gifts while grocery shopping or justify it with they have to have something under the tree. They will have something under the tree, there are many people that love my children with gifts. Will it allow them to focus on the meaning of Christmas building a great memory in the process? Maybe as a family we will have people we can focus some of that energy and resources on to satisfy our desire to give and love this time of year. The options do seem endless.

Ultimately, in living a minimalist life I think we will begin to remove the unneeded things (something we are already trying to do with our activities and interactions). As a result, we should hope to find space to intentionally promote the things we most value and remove anything that distracts us from it. I guess it's time to start filling those big empty boxes now=D And who knows, maybe this will even convince Jason to clean off his desk (/laugh!).

Monday, December 13, 2010

There is a Time for Everything

So yesterday I had a bit more turmoil in myself going on than I ever prefer to experience. I responded negatively to negativity and that always turns out to be a recipe for disaster. This time was no different.

Like one would expect showing kindness can get more difficult when kindness is not received. The response should continue to be kindness and I admit I failed horribly at continuing to offer my kindness. I acted out in the flesh and in the end, feel no better off. For now our troubles have passed but I'm sure we'll revisit them again in due time.

Oddly enough as I was preparing for bed last night I was thinking, is this ok to have such an issue? Is it normal or healthy to have turmoil like this? How am I, a child of Christ supposed to behave, (action, reaction or non-action)? Well wouldn't you know, even in our most frustrated times God has something to say, if only we make sure we take the time to listen.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Now that I know there is a time for all of it, I must realize that there is also a time for the opposite. I get the feeling we should try and ensure it's equal time for both actions as it's very easy to accomplish the negative/destructive ones quickly but the positive/repairing ones require more work, energy and commitment.

Let's just hope that I can rely on God fully enough for the seemingly impossible to happen here=D

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Harvest is Plenty...

So everyday at 10:02 AM my cell phone chimes with a very generic alarm that reminds me it's 10:02 AM. My family decided a little over a year ago to join many others around the world in praying Luke 10:2 every morning at 10:02.

For a reference Luke 10:2 says:
"And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

Well, since I'm not very much into long, elaborate prayers and most days I am with my children at 10:02, I invented a simple child's prayer that we could all pray together. It took them a few days to memorize it & I continue to quiz them on it to ensure they understand what they are praying and why. But without fail, we join together and pray this every day.

Our Prayer:
The harvest is plenty, the workers are few, Jesus please help us, be just like you.

So that said, I will admit that on many occasions throughout the process I repeat the prayer with the children in a very non-challont manor. In recent months when I've felt overwhelmed I've even had a different conversation with God in letting him know that I don't really want to work the harvest right now. But today as I was out walking in the harvest field we have recently relocated to, with my beautiful little girl enjoying the season of Christmas and the gorgeous fall weather I realized that I'm not fully aware of all my harvest fields.

In my brain I know that every place is a harvest field, but in my heart I'm not connected to all of those harvest fields so they aren't actually mine to harvest in right? I mean, we work when we have the opportunities but if we do not have the connections then the opportunities don't seem to be there.

So now I pose the question, what about the harvest field you were born or adopted or married into? Is our family our harvest field to work in?? I know each of us Christ followers have a family member that either doesn't know Jesus, denies Jesus as Saviour or has strayed from His following at some point in our life. As a family member, it would seem we are primed to be the best worker for that particular harvest field. But why then do we continue to have so many believers with non-believing family members??

Is there a separation that is natural from the ones following Christ? Does Satan have such a hold on our beloved ones that he just tightens that grip ever so forcefully when Christ has won us over?

In the bible it talks about large numbers of people being converted to Christianity in terms regarding friends and family. So why is there a separation amongst friends and family today? Why did my uncles and father not all accept Christ when my Grandmother did? Why did they choose to not raise their children in Christ? Why do these said family members still not follow when their children find Him? ...and their Grandchildren?

Where does the disconnect of loving, following and serving Jesus come between sharing Him with the ones we love most? Even parents are not giving the greatest gift to their children! What is the deal?!

I'm sure we can find a way to blame it on our American culture, our rich country, our believed rights to freedom and selfishness, but the peace of Christ is supposed to transcend ALL understanding and if it does then we have no excuse... something this good MUST be shared. With anyone and everyone around us.

So then I find myself, the smallest fish in the largest ocean, trying to rescue all these other fish. Most of which are completely unaware that they need rescuing in the first place. So not knowing exactly the right place to start, I chase after the 'coolest' fish I can find. When that doesn't work out I move on to the 'hottest' fish in the ocean. Then to the 'athletic' ones. The 'smart' ones. The 'beautiful' ones. You get the idea right? The ones worth saving... ... ... ...

So where does that leave us?

Well, it leaves me in a heap on the ocean floor, engulfed by seaweed, incapable of seeing the light from the surface any longer. Still surrounded by the ones that I am obligated to be around and no closer to sharing my secret with any one.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Well, once again it has been confirmed that I am different. I see the world differently, I look at people differently and often times I feel that I am mostly alone in my views. I think if I were to be defined most wold say I'm 'old fashioned'.

So big shocker here, I'm not a feminist. At least not what feminism is today. I know this might break my mom's heart but I'm not. I do not believe that men and women are the same. This seems to be upsetting to many individuals out there because they assume my saying they are not the same means that they are not "equal" which leads them to assume I mean that men are more important than women. So this is where we trick ourselves. Not Equal in 3rd grade math means that one number is greater and one number is lesser. However, later in school you learn that apples and oranges are not the same so you cannot compare them as equals because their qualities are different, thus making them different fruits and not the same fruit; they are Not Equal.

So the apples vs. oranges is the example I'm pushing for here when I talk about men and women being equal. I believe that men serve a certain role in the family and I believe that women serve an equally valid and important complimentary role in the family. I want to say this is true in society but women have fought so long for equality in society that we've actually lost gender roles in society. Woman's right to vote lead not only to a right to work out of the home, but an expectation to work out of the home while maintaining a perfectly manicured home and beautiful, well behaved, well educated children.

Not that this is impossible for everyone, but it certainly is for me. It stretches me too thin. As a wife and mother, regardless of my other responsibilities, paid or not, I am made to take care of my husband and children first. It is true that we've been blessed so I do not have to work outside of the home to make our ends meet. But it has cost us greatly to do so. We've moved far away from our upbringing and our family support to a much more affordable part of the country. We also make other financial decisions that help with this. For example, I cook, almost every meal our family eats. Eating out costs ALOT!

On occasion when I am feeling insecure about not being able to handle all my responsibilities I wonder how do other women do it? How do they hold a job, maintain a workout routine, have happy healthy children, a wonderful marriage, clean house, fun hobbies & a well fed family?

I guess I just have to believe one of two things. God made them differently so they can do all of those things and still be a rock star or they are sacrificing in unseen areas to maintain an image of perfection, success, completeness and/or superiority. Either way, it's tough to be different, maybe more tough than it is to be unequal.