Friday, April 22, 2011

My Battle with "Stuff"

I sometimes get so tired of stuff.

I get overwhelmed with stuff.

None of it is inherently bad, but this stuff still manages to make me feel a bit neurotic at times.

I want to get rid of some of this stuff.

I want to simplify all this stuff.

If it were just me, I like to think I wouldn't have all this stuff, but it's not just me. It's US and WE have a lot of STUFF.

Right now I'm cleaning out a lot of boy stuff because rumor has it that baby #4 is a girl. We do, however, still have a lot of baby girl stuff and some gender neutral baby stuff.

Then there are the toys, and games, and puzzles, and books and all the stuff that comes with kids. Not to mention the socks, and shoes, and clothes, and hair bows, and sports stuff.

Let's not even look at my side of the closet, because there's stuff that I can wear when I'm not pregnant, then all the stuff that I'm wearing at various stages of pregnancy, and the stuff that I'll need after the baby is born (if you've never had a baby in your house, you wouldn't believe some of it if I told you).

The love of my life might like to say that he doesn't keep stuff unless he uses it, and that is why he still occasionally wears a t-shirt that he got in 1988 (yes, he was in elementary school then).

There are days that I feel like backing a large truck in front of my house, tossing all the stuff into the back of it, and starting over with nothing.

I've been making somewhat frequent trips to Goodwill. I consign and give away stuff at regular times during the year.

Do you need some stuff? I may start selling it off by the pound in the near future.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Problem or Person?

I was listening to a lecture recently and the speaker asked a simple question, but it is one that has continued to work its way into my thoughts often.

"When your child is not doing what you want or expect him to do, do you see him as a problem or a person?"

If I'm honest, when accomplishing my agenda on my timeline is the goal, I'll most likely view anyone that interferes with or delays my plan as "the problem".

However, when I can loosen the hold on my ideas of how and when things should happen, then I typically get to enjoy the people that are involved in my plans a whole lot more.

I'm praying to change my perspective. I do want to enjoy the little girl that goes to her room after breakfast to get dressed, make her bed, and brush her teeth, but somehow "forgets" to do at least two of the three things that are part of her morning responsibilities every day. I want to treasure the little boy with a stubborn streak (we really have no idea where that came from) who sometimes decides that he doesn't want to do school or go with the rest of the family to an event or put away his clothes. I want my face to "light up" when I see the little girl with one dimple, even when she pulled out her hair bow for the fourteenth time this hour or I'm getting her out of the carseat and her shoes and socks are off...AGAIN.

I can offer my children correction and discipline while seeing them as the image-bearing individuals that they are, not an obstacle in my path or a problem to be solved.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Growing up and remaining "like a child"

I struggle.




Moment by moment.

I'm seeking the delicate balance between maturing and staying childlike.

I'm not one of those 30-somethings that's trying to relive my high school and college years, acting childish in a more mature body. That's not what I'm talking about at all.

I'm talking about my faith and spirit. I want to "grow up" and mature, but also maintain the belief, hope, and wonder of a child that hasn't known disappointment and disillusionment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"That's a project we could do."

I have a confession.

I'm often a bit unrealistic when it comes to projects.

I'm not one of those people that thinks I can re-tile the entire bathroom, because let's face it, I have no experience in laying tile.

The projects that I'm more likely to attempt are the things that professionals make "look easy".

For example, early in our marriage Rachel Ray convinced me that I could actually create a "30 minute meal" in 30 minutes. This was before I had children and there were very few distractions in our lives, but it somehow managed to take me 2.5 hours to complete this quick meal. Thanks, Ray-Ray.

Before Nicholas was born, I thought, instead of spending more than $100 for a 4.5 foot crown molding shelf to hang in his room, we could easily build one for a lot less. They did it on HGTV and it was simple. Eric says this is one of those projects that I sometimes choose to test strengthen our marriage. Needless to say, trying to cut crown at the proper angle, using a miter box and handsaw, wasn't quite as quick and easy as the guy on HGTV with his miter saw made it look. We did get a GREAT shelf out of it, but during the process I thought we may be using the money we saved on the shelf to pay for some couples' counseling.

There was also the really ugly dresser and mirror combo that I found on Craigslist and decided we could sand and refinish for an inexpensive entry table. After removing the fixtures, repairing a drawer, sanding, priming, and painting with 2 coats of paint, buying wire cable and attaching it to the back of the mirror, then finding a stud and appropriate screws to hold the crazy-heavy mirror on the wall, it was finally finished. There weren't any tears with that one, but definitely some mutterings and questions about "Why is this a good idea?" (In case you're wondering, we both agreed that it turned out really well.)

Thankfully, I've become more realistic about what we're capable of and I've also found the Rethunk Junk lady that's not too far away, for the things that I have ideas for, but can't execute on my own.

Friday, April 1, 2011 much to love

Nicholas and I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia last summer, just before he turned five. While the girls were napping we would sit together on the bed and read a chapter a day to begin his "quiet time".

At some point in the series, "The Chronicles" became bedtime reading for Nicholas and Mackenzie. Playing Narnia became a regular activity around our house, complete with costumes and weaponry.

Then, last night, when I returned from teaching English class, I walked into a dark bedroom and two little people greeted me with, "'re not going to believe this."
"Yeah, Mommy."
"It is SO exciting! We finished The Last Battle!! And you know what? Everyone is in Aslan's country!"
"Yeah! EVERYONE! From all the stories!"
"Polly and Digory and Peter and Edmund and Lucy and Eustace and Jill and even Reepicheep! Isn't that SO exciting?!"
"And Mommy, Susan isn't there because she doesn't believe about Narnia anymore, but everyone else is there."
"And they looked in a window and waved to their mom and dad 'cause they're at England, but not the old England a new England. And Aslan's country is like Narnia, but everything is BETTER than at Narnia!"
"Yeah, like food is better and the grass and sky and everything is BETTER!"
"So now we're all done and we don't have anything else to read so I guess tomorrow night we'll just have to start all over with The Magician's Nephew. Right, Mommy?"

The stories are THAT good. I must admit that when we started reading I thought it was way more than they could comprehend and without illustrations it wouldn't keep their attention.

I was wrong.

They didn't experience the books the way that their Daddy or I did as we were reading them.

They don't care about the various literary parallels and references so we didn't dream of ruining their enjoyment by "dissecting" it all.

They heard a good story.

They met characters that they can relate to.

They saw "real" examples of honesty, loyalty, and courage.

They found siblings and friends working together to overcome evil and encourage each other in goodness.

And so, together, we were able to enjoy the love of words well written. Now we all live a little better because of the lessons we learned in Narnia.