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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

When the Lord comes knockin, you best be ready.

Oh how the Lord speaks and makes me laugh!

Remember how earlier today I said I minister at the kitchen door?  Remember how I said I'm in a new comfort with myself and that in the summer I do not achieve anywhere near the productivity I intend and things get all out of whack?

Apparently all of these needed extra highlighting and emphasis today.  This morning I intended to take advantage of the morning by getting on the treadmill.  So I skipped the shower and intended to take one after being on the treadmill.  I intended to do the dishes after said shower so I would have enough hot water.  I also intended to make a to do list, start the bible study book I received last week, get the laundry folded and figure out how the carpet cleaner (which was purchased 2 months ago) works, as well as start getting the next few months of calendar ready for the start of school so we are organized going into it.

Here's what actually happened.

I ended my blog post by following up with a couple emails, checking facebook and dropping in on Pinterest. Found a pin on organization which lead me to this post on 52 weeks of organizing where I fell in love and printed out the form to make my own list of 52 organizing projects.  I read a bit there and then my guts told me they hadn't eaten yet, so I had elevenses (yes, that's a hobbit meal reference and I use it often and well) at 10am.....the irony is not lost.  After lunch I decided I needed to get on to figuring out the calender issue so that I could give a proper answer on whether I could babysit for a friend in August.  Putting my calendar together is time consuming with all the different things that need to be consolidated (2 different school district calendars, Mr's work/golf/etc, church, birthdays/anniversaries and WT's parental rotation schedule).  The Dude arrived home from school while I was in the center of a calendar whirlwind.  He was barely done with lunch when his buddy called to come play.  

At this point I considered that I should set things aside and just get to doing other things.....intended things.  But not wanting to leave a project unfinished ignored all to-do list means no ta-daaaa.  

So an hour or so later the buddy's mom arrives at my kitchen door.   Filling me in on a host of trials going on for their family.   I attentively listened and expressed as much encouragement and understanding as I could to someone I'm not well acquainted with and therefore was unsure of what she may need in the moment.  The homemaker in me was horrified as my unshowered self stood before the mother of my child's friend, in my SO messy kitchen with the garbage to the top and the recycling poking out (which is of course located in direct eyesight of the entry we are standing in) which was only to be topped by our very senior aged dog walking behind her to vomit in the doorway right behind her.  No, I'm not kidding.  As I dragged the old dog to the back door to let her outside, in case there was anymore to come up.....I found a present to top off the beautiful experience.  One of the little dogs had decided at just that moment to take a poo right there on the kitchen floor.   Mortified. in one fell swoop I had an opportunity to minister a new person at my kitchen door while cleaning up poo and vomit off of my kitchen floor, unshowered, hair a mess, no makeup, trying to push dirty vomity poo filled paper towels into a too full garbage can while trying to reassure an overwhelmed mother that her son can come over any time and to please let us know how we can be helpful.

Really?  I am surprised she let him stay after she left.   After she left and I had time to sit and think about it....all I could do is laugh.   Quite the reality check sent in affirmation.

Yes - you do minister at your kitchen door.
Yes - you've gotten comfortable with who you are enough to pick up poo and vomit off the floor in your too messy house and not be overly apologetic or completely insecure about your place in humanity.  You did it with grace and without panic or frustration.
Yes - you have slipped in your duties.  Yes, you have allowed your home keeping to fall out of priority.  
Here is your moment of awareness that you are indeed in a very good place but your inefficiency at your work can compromise the opportunities I give you for ministry, the ones you are very aware are spontaneous.  It is your job to just be ready. 

Father forgive my procrastination and laziness!  I have full confidence that You can turn this messy moment into a good thing.

There's my confession for the day.  I was an unprepared mess when the Lord brought someone knocking.  I have fallen down on the job and need to totally reassess how I manage my time in an effort to bring balance to keeping home and mommydom.

Blessings of preparedness for when the Lord comes knocking unexpectedly......with the laughter and smile to go with it.
the Mrs.

a new era welcomed

The winds of change are coming.  I can feel them.  Transition into a new season for our family.

No more elementary school.  No more need for babysitters. The boy has a J O B for goodness sake!

Wonderteen will be a Junior.  11th grade.  Amazing to think my tiny little pumpkin head has grown into such an amazing and beautiful young woman.

Mr and I are entering into a new era.  Older kids.  More freedom to be spontaneously social and building a new core of relationships.  Our marriage continually growing stronger....and in a way makes me laugh at how we've grown into this beautiful relationship that also mimics the intensity of young love.  We often tease our daughter and her boyfriend about that high school love where things are so intense you immediately miss each other when out of sight.  Time apart can be crushing.  Oh the days of young overwhelming love! ...and we discuss on a fairly regular basis how wonderful retirement will be when we can be together all the time or his regular comment that if only we could win the lottery so he could be home with me everyday.  The million times we say I love you, sometimes less than 5 minutes apart...yes, that is our truth.  We are silly, cavity inducing, head over heels crazy for each other.  And we don't care how many times people tell us to get a room. Our affection is not hidden, nor excessive.  We keep it G people....maybe PG sometimes. :)

In this new era the trappings of formal ministry obligations have been thrown off.  The kind that tie you to a place, time and topic.  Nothing wrong with them, I'm not being critical of formal ministry.  As I've gotten older I have become more and more aware that I am personally in a constant state of ministry.  Some refer to my maternal nature with those around me.  It brings me to minister to whomever is in front of me at the time.  It isn't conscious or is simply how He has grown me, wired me.  Formal ministry wears on me more quickly than I'd like to admit because of this.  My ministry is my family, my home and whomever may be placed in my path.  Facebook is so trivialized but I have spent more time ministering to people on there than you may believe.  I minister via email and kitchen door.  Yes, I have a young man who just shows up at my kitchen door, unannounced and just to talk.  He is 20 years old now, he calls me mom and has been showing up for several years.

Perhaps is the natural growth of being in the second half of my 30's.  Or maybe it's that I'm in a season in life more typical for one in their 40's. Maybe it's my confidence coming forward with over 30lbs shed.  Either way I feel a new settling in myself.  A disinterest to please simply for the sake of keeping others happy or not tarnishing someones view of me.  Who they think I am does not make me who I am....anymore.  Its a lovely freedom.

I will probably always be a one track person.  Whatever current focus will probably always be THE big deal until it isn't anymore.
I am not a crafty person.  I won't pick up scrap booking or stamping.  I am capable of crafts but that does not make me crafty.
My kids school work will still be mostly thrown in the trash.  Because who really looks at their spelling tests from 4th grade?  This isn't a treasure to me.  Exceptional works of art from them, yes.  Essays that depict who they are or their unique point of view at the time, those are things I will keep for them.  The funny, the deep, the personal, the beautiful.  Perhaps that's cold.  Though I take great pride in watching my 11 year old purge objects more efficiently than any adult I know because he doesn't form deep emotional connections to objects.  He loves people and that is where love should go.
I'll always have a horribly immature sense of humor.  And that is okay.
I'll always be strong and stable.
I'll always have a heart that breaks easily.
I'll always be a homebody who loves, loves, loves solitude and quiet.
I'll always be passionate about the truth but frustratingly calm and non-argumentative.
I will always care about doing what is right more than what is popular.
I will always be trying to grow and improve and learn about something.

There is unknown on the horizon but it's not scary.  The Lord always has a plan and it is always amazing.  The only plan I have is to try and walk through it with as much joy and grace as I can, no matter how things feel.  Feelings are deceiving and often not rooted in truth.  A fact that is hard to remember when we are in the middle of them but it is something good to remember.

It's been a good couple weeks here.  Lots of fun, lots of crazy and lots of me remembering how every summer I think I'm going to accomplish SO much and never do because I simply can't get it done while my kids are home.  They want attention and talk time or maybe just hanging out not talking time.  If that is what they need then that is what I try to give them, with measures of work in between.  The school year is my most productive home keeping season.  This year I hate to say even the garden has not been tended to the way it deserves.  It has been a disgustingly hot and humid summer though.....I have not wanted to even venture out there.

Time to get some work done.  This is the last week of summer school and Wonderteen is off on a trip with her mom and girl scout troop this week.  My last week of any alone time.  I want to make the most of it!

Blessings of peace and calm to welcome whatever new era comes to greet you.
the Mrs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

a sweet little monday

I have to get my license renewed today.
Tomorrow is my birthday.  I will be celebrating 36 years of living......awesome.

Humble I know.
Wonderteen and I have this running joke that I obtain awesome on many levels and the older I get the more awesome I become so one day she will inherit my awesome.  Considering our lack of biological connection....there in-lies the humor but with the whole 'nature vs nurture' thing....I say she's already got quite the touch of awesome.

A new picture to carry around of myself for the next 4 years.  It could be lame.  BUT I think I shall think of it in terms of improvements.  As in the picture of myself I'm required to carry around and show people from time to time will be an improved picture.  Less one chin no less.

I plan on trying to get the grocery shopping done today as well and maybe tomorrow I will drop on over to "the boutique" as my mother used to refer to Goodwill, and see what kind of goodies I can find.  I've been pinterest shopping like crazy lately and for all my effort my closet hasn't changed one bit.  Funny when you realize in the last 10 years you have gone shopping only with a serious plan in mind to only purchase specific items out of necessity.  Then you try to put an outfit together to do something you haven't had to think of in who knows how long and you realize you are fairly limited in your options.   Then you get there and you get a band shirt.   All that agonizing for no reason.  But ya got a new shirt! :)

The sun is shining and it isn't hot enough to melt your face off, so I'm going to enjoy this day for what it is instead of what it was.  It's a beautiful monday, and there are no complications or sick people or dead people or anything crazy.

I am loving this beautiful, normal, boring, nothing out of the norm day.

This face, is a happy face today.

Blessings for love and sunshine in all the normal mundane beauty,
the Mrs.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacation eats

For one whole week we had this glorious view.

yes, it was hard to leave!

Considering I didn't want to spend the whole week in the kitchen I cooked some things ahead and planned for simplicity.  I brought key safe foods I knew would be hard to find, like the organic beef hot dogs my son likes, whole grain tortillas and sandwich flats, lunch meat for the meat eaters etc.  I also baked several batches of breakfast cookies and froze them, along with pre-cooked peppers and onions, a batch of sweet potato/black bean/spinach enchilada filling and I also brought a jar of last summers homemade spaghetti sauce.  Here's what the fridge looked like:

Top left to right: clausen dill spears, behind that is the frozen enchilada mix and the peppers that are thawing. in front is the bag of breakfast cookies, laying on top of a bag of cooked white rice.  Behind that is a bag of cilantro and I think the bag under it is the spinach. The yellow container in front has lettuce in it. Resting on top is my fav Trader Joes Chipotle Hummus along with zip lock bags with red and yellow peppers and leftover diced tomatoes.  On the right you'll see Simply OJ, with water, corona and whats left of the jar of spaghetti sauce. (next shelf) lunch meats, cumin spiced black beans in the white container, baked potatoes (thrown on the still hot grill after a dinner so there were days worth of potatoes) big bowl of fresh Pico De Gallo. (Next Shelf) Strawberries blue berries, eggs, alfalfa sprouts (requested by wonderteen) other beer and pop.
The drawers were filled with apples, oranges, lemons, limes, peppers, cukes, onions, mushrooms and anything else we fit.  I also had a basket of bananas and tomatoes on the counter.

As a treat for the family I packed all the dry ingredients for their favorite gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Old peanut butter containers are AWESOME travel containers!  Wash and save!  We have used them for so many travel purposes.  Mr loves to take a small one and have it filled with MnM's or nuts and keep it in his golf bag.
I used two containers for the dry mix and brought a post it with the remaining wet measures that were needed. As you can see, I made due with what I had.  Some tin foil over a pizza pan and cookies were made without needing to wash the pan!  They came back from fishing to a cabin smelling of cookies!

My plant based cookbook in the back of the cupboard, surrounded by canned beans and the rice, sugar and popcorn that was transported to the cabin via old Jif jars. It was SO handy!

Food was a piece of cake. I loosely planned basic meals: 1 mexican night, 1 pasta night, 2 grilling nights, a fish fry night, and a random night of leftovers at the end to clean up and take less food home.  The kids thought mom was ultra creative by using large mugs to refrigerate leftovers.  My daughter was very pleased and loving her veggie filled sandwiches and trying new things.  We decided to try mushroom burgers together and we both very much enjoyed them!  Though we did realize that she likes hers more well done and I'd prefer mine more rare.  Our big note to self was to prepare better for the first day and the first nights meal.  Day one was a bit on the sparse side for food because we didn't realize the tiny town grocery was so limited on what it carried - even in produce.  So we went into town the next day and finished up our grocery shopping.  

We had a wonderful time and even came home lighter than when I left! Only -.8 but hey, who can say they lost weight on vacation!   ME! :)

Plant based on vacation.  It CAN be done and without stress!

Blessings for a beautiful day!
the Mrs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

that day

that day when you feel like you are totally on the wrong end of roshambo.
hard as you try to pull some goodness out, your brain just turns its back - arms folded, nose in the air, "you can't make me" hmph
the tiredness creeps in
the pity list starts going
...and then your own words come out to do battle with all of the above.

Find the lovely.
Smile at the big picture.
Don't focus on all the little things going wrong, you'll miss the good stuff.

its the 5th of july.
and on this day there is something in me that goes on autopilot.
the tears are just below the surface.
irritability flies out of my mouth faster than I can comprehend its happening.
no matter how "fine" I think I still catches me a bit off kilter.
8 years ago today.
my mom died.
the day plays back in my mind...all on its own, because I really have no desire to dwell on it

but here I am
feeling stressed, tearful and so, so tired of being the grown up.
the rock.
the stable, she'll take care of everything and us and it will all be okay because she makes it okay, person.
its not often that I don't embrace the reality of my role in life 
but today is one of those days.

my mother died on the 5th
was buried on the 9th 
my birthday is on the 10th
it was a week I will never forget.
the Lord kept me tucked tightly to His chest and I was intimately aware of how tightly He was carrying me though it.
but the evening of the 9th
when all was done and the people were gone
He gently set me down
where I stayed in a heap for 2 years

8 years later the impact of this week is less than it was.
it softens a little bit each year
but still surprises me with a strong aversion to 4th of July parties and big fireworks displays.

This year was looking to be calm and easy.  The impact was no where to be seen or felt.
Until yesterday morning when my father said he wasn't feeling well.
A trip to the ER revealed a bowel obstruction and a stay in the hospital until they deem it taken care of.
No telling how long he'll be there.  He's handling it like a trooper cracking bad jokes.
I have some serious anxiety about driving into downtown areas.
that is where the hospital is.
So this morning I wake up in a July 5th fog of funk to find that my shoulder has a knot the size of texas and as it turns out, if texas is in your shoulder it's hard to lift your arm or move your neck.

Perhaps there might be a touch of stress I'm experiencing.

So my head is a bundle of lists
things that need to be done
picking up his mail and the neighbors because they are out of town
watering his plants
cutting my daughters hair - which I was going to do yesterday, like so many other things.
my house is a mess (in my eyes)
I've not been able to teach her the things she wanted to learn this week
there are two loads of laundry that need rewashing because they were forgotten...and are now smelly
my garden needs attention

and the voice in my head starts to whisper
it's all on you though
you are in charge
you need to be the one to talk to the doctors
if any decisions need to be made, its all you lady
don't whine that you are the youngest or its not fair
life isn't fair, stop being selfish
there isn't anyone to stand in the gap, you can't check out 
you are securely on the hook
it's all on you.

And that knot gets a little tighter as texas gets a little heavier.

But when life kicks you square in the berries you need to stop, catch your breath, suck it up and move on.
This too will pass.  Texas will get lighter least for a while.

The Lord knows my strength, it's His so I will trudge through this and figure it out as I go.  Probably begging Him to help me not throw up in traffic as I try to drive to the hospital.

Filtering through the fog, nestled there in my heart is His peace.  So if you see a smile on my face today, it is only that, shining through the muck.

Blessings for lighter loads, peace beyond understanding and His smile shining on and through you.
the Mrs.

I have no idea why these highlighted blocks keep appearing over certain sections.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

but first.....about your face.....

Yes, I'm aware I have been gone for an entire week and I have bloggy things to say about my vacation and even took a few pictures and planned a post about plant based eating while away from home.

In the words of Bob the Builder...."YES YOU CAN!"......yep, I just did that.  Sorry.

So I'm back from a week of relaxation and I'm out doing my grocery shopping yesterday.  I'm smiling and casually making my way around the stores....noticing peoples expressions.

Are you aware of the expression you hold as you wander through life?  As you choose clothing or produce or just go for a walk, have you ever concentrated on the expressions that cross your face?  What do they say about you to the world you encounter?

I often find myself wondering if people are really as miserable or angry as they look.  Some of the people I saw, I smiled at....carefully, considering they appeared ready to rip the heads off of babies should they look tasty enough.  

This isn't my first foray into pondering facial expressions.  It is a recurring theme for me but most often repeated during grocery shopping.  I have often caught myself with a scowl on my face and had that conversation with myself: Dude, what is my deal?  I don't know.  Am I ticked about something? No. Sad, depressed or just not happy that I'm doing the shopping?  Uh no.  Then get your head out of your rear and let your face reflect that you actually like your life and despite any trials claim joy! SMILE!  ...and I do.  I start making a point to smile at people who pass.  Funny how the more you smile the more you actually want to.

I'm not advocating putting on a happy face to fake to the world that you are not miserable or having difficulties.  What I am saying is that if I'm going to go to the trouble to do my hair, makeup or put thought into my clothes - all of which send a message about me to the people I encounter - why not put just as much effort into the expressions we carry because they reflect more about us than any of the other things.  It also indicates our attitude......  The person who happens to be having a trial in life - whether it lasts 5 minutes or 5 years - that is focused on the trial going on and allowing the trial to color the big picture will miss every blessing that passes them by because all they can see is the big stinking wart in their life, and it will be bigger than its reality.  But the person who sees the big picture in life and chooses to give each and every blessing credit in their life will balance out the trial and put it into a realistic perspective.

It's not about the glass being half full or half empty but about noticing the beautiful glass holding the contents.

Is your face an accurate representation of who you are an what you are about?  Does it say I am loving and approachable?  Or.......gee that baby looks tasty, get out my way!  Grrrrr arg.

Don't hide who you are.  Put your real face on!

Blessings of joy that oozes out your beautiful face.
the Mrs.

PS I also do not advocate eating babies.  ya know....FYI.