Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's been a while...

and now you're singing that Staind song from 2001.  You're welcome.

But really, life is too busy!  I've had lots to say and not enough time to craft the appropriate words for it.  Forgive me (my one blog follower...hey, whatever.  I've always liked talking to myself anyway.)

I've been raising kids, wifing (yeah, that's a word), singing songs, cooking food, plunging toilets, and trying to follow God.  It's hard y'all, but it's wonderful.  I've met some of the coolest people these last few years.  THE COOLEST.  And I've pushed myself so hard in so many areas, and feel good about the results - and want to keep pushing. 

God is good.  I'm busy and stressed, but God is good.  I feel like there's no way I can reach my dreams, and God reminds me that His dreams for me are better than anything I can even come up with, and He's gonna get me there.

So here's to letting go and trusting Him.  Pushing on and working hard.  And maybe taking a little time to share my thoughts with the interwebs.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Going off the rails on a crazy train

I think I'm going off the deep end.  I don't want to feel American anymore.  Don't get me wrong - I'm patriotic.  I know I'm blessed to live in a country where I am free to worship God, send my kids to school, have easy access to healthcare, and no shortage of food to eat.  But at the same time our culture is so rushed, self-absorbed, over-indulgent, pre-occupied with meaningless things.  We have too much stuff, eat too much food, watch too much tv, create too much trash.  I'm guilty and you probably are too. 
I've been purging lately.  Going through the house, filling boxes of stuff to get rid of.  It feels good - less stuff is less work.  Less to pick up, less to clean, less to wash and put away.  It's probably true my family is not completely on board with this.  I'm trying to stretch them, and they are trying to keep me grounded.  Hopefully we will find the balance, or they will just get on the crazy train with me.  It's time to get back in touch with real life.  Our stuff is such a distraction, and I'm tired of being distracted.  I want to take it all in, not watch it go by.
I leave you with these words of wisdom from Switchfoot.
"I wonder, why would I wait til I die to come alive? I'm ready now, I'm not waiting for the afterlife."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stressful September

I recently realized I am a month overdue on blogging about my Seven fast for September: Stress. That month was special.  I felt it deep down.  A centeredness.  A focus on what really matters.

September was a CRAZY busy month for us as a family. The twins were playing 7th grade football with before school practices; they are also in band with after school practices; Carter had flag football; Paden, Fox, and Carter started soccer season; Zion was in dance class; Carter, Zion, and Titus were in the swim league; Carter and Zion are in choir (at 2 different elementary schools); Jack was putting in studio time on his upcoming EP; Leif kept making dirty diapers for me to change lol Did I mention work, school, and church? We did those, too! I even managed to find time to feed everyone every day. You're amazed, aren't you?

I don't often feel "stressed" but I do feel busy and rushed (um, read above.  duh.).  I get so focused on all the tasks that I forget about the big picture. Some might say it's counterintuitive to add more "things to do" on your daily list to help relieve stress. The only way I could even keep up with pausing 7 times a day was to set the alarm on my phone to go off every 3 hours.  I learned that by day 3, after rushing right on past the times I was supposed to stop and pray, wondering how anyone could possibly remember to do that, and then realizing how amazing technology is.  Once I got that nifty little tool on my side, it was smooth sailing.  With so much going on, I desperately needed time to quiet my mind. Resting in God gave me the mega dose of patience I needed to make it through. 

Each pause had a theme that was just right for that time of day.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  It feels so good to be in God's presence.  To stop and talk.  And listen.  And seek His guidance and wisdom and will.  To be reminded of what matters, what I should be focused on, and how I can turn all my tasks and errands and busyness into glorifying Him. Wow.  He is good. 

And what a great training exercise.  I don't have alarms set on my phone anymore, although some days I really need them.  But I find myself praying more often throughout the day, and asking God to lead me.  I'm also more eager to read scripture (probably the biggest weakness in my faith). 

I would encourage everyone to do all of the 7 fasts that I went through (errr, even the one I kinda skipped....oops)  Maybe not for a whole month each, but maybe a week, or even two days each.  I'd love to know if anyone else has tried any of them, or would like to.  And I'm more than happy to share my copy of the book :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grocery shopping. Oh, the humanity!

I have really been dreading going grocery shopping lately.  I used to love it.  It was a chance to get out of the house, see other grown-ups, look at new things.  Now it's just  unwanted time away from home, an errand that I would rather not do.  Today was one of those days.  I was supposed to go to HEB.  We needed some things from Sam's, too, but that was going to be tomorrow's errand.  A trip to HEB usually runs about one and a half hours total with drive time.  I can do Sam's in an hour.  So today I gave Paden the choice of which one to go to, and he opted for Sam's.  His reasoning - "Can I get a cookie if we go to Sam's?" 
"Yes, of course." 
"Let's go to Sam's!"
Knocking 30 minutes off my errand time was good enough for me, even though I would not enjoy Sam's any more than I enjoy HEB.  So now HEB will be for tomorrow.  Already bummed about it.

Isn't it just too much?  It's overwhelming.  It's disgusting.  It's so easy for me to drive 10 minutes and have a million food choices at my finger tips.  There are children in my town hungry today.  I don't know who they are.  I want to make casseroles for their families.  If you know them, tell me the address to drop off dinner.  How can they also live 10 minutes (or less) from so much food & not have any of it.  We are so blinded by all the excess that we fail to see the need. Hunger is evident in Africa, in South America, in those commercials of children in foreign countries who need sponsors.  Please sponsor one!  But don't forget the families here that are hungry, too.  They are harder to find.  They hide their need well.  Pride is a funny thing.  If you don't know where they are, give to your local food pantry.  Please give healthy items. 

Which brings me to the next thing I hate about grocery shopping. I see overweight people pushing carts full of junk food.  Babies strapped in eating cheetos.  Toddlers carrying a coke bottle.  Don't confuse this with judgement.  I could stand to lose a few pounds myself.  Who DOESN'T like eating cookies & drinking sodas? Where did this food come from?  Why is it sold in disturbingly large quantities in every grocery, convenient, and dollar store around?  I understand wanting to buy & eat the junk.  It's sad that it is so "convenient", tasty, readily available, and often times cheap.  I don't see commercials during Saturday morning cartoons for carrots and milk, people.  It's Lucky Charms and Doritos.  Our society is inundated from birth with this stuff.  Some families think they can only afford to eat this way, even though the empty calories leave them only wanting to consume more, which in turn makes them spend just as much on all that crap as they would spend on a decent amount of healthy food.  The products in our grocery stores are not always good for us to eat.  "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." 1 Cor. 10:23.  Our society has not grown the fruit of self-control. I have not grown the fruit of self-control.  Lord, help me do only what is beneficial.

Then I get to the checkout line.  beep.  beep.  beep. beep.  Fifty beeps later my total is $225.  Yeah, that should last the week.  Our grocery bill is second only to our mortgage.  Now I know not everyone has a family of nine to feed.  I do my best to buy organic, fresh food.  Nutritious food.  And we are blessed to not go hungry - ever.  Even when there's "nothing to eat" my pantry & fridge have plenty of stuff in them.  Maybe we eat too well.  Did I buy too much?  Did I buy only what we needed?  Probably not.  I love to buy "treats" for my family.  That's not always food, but it's extra money spent that I should be giving to help others, or pay other bills, or just letting my husband work that much less.

So, seeing that I think about all of these things every time I go to the store, is there any wonder why I dislike it?  All of the terrible temptations.  The reminder that there are so many in this world who are hungry.  It's depressing. 

I am so thankful that God has chosen to bless my family abundantly.  Undeserved.  I just want to be mindful in all things; using His blessings correctly.  Spending my money correctly.  Thinking of the less fortunate.  Giving to them, and keeping less for myself.  Providing a healthy, satisfying life for my family, so they can really live. 

This is all so disjointed.  I am not a writer.  Sorry for the rambling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

summer review

Okay, so June was the media fast & my life hasn't been the same since!  Hence 3 months with no blog...
I allowed my children 2 hours "screen time" per day.  As June was the first month of summer break, I thought the cutbacks might ruin my life.  I anticipated much groaning throughout the long summer days with limited access to electronic pleasures.  Surprisingly, there was little resistance, and fun was had by all!  Jack & I watched NO television, and spent the least amount of time possible on the computer to get our work done.  I played less on my phone, though I do admit to a couple of Facebook posts, and maybe a round or two of Words with Friends.  We had a lot of fun playing games, going for walks, swimming, and just hanging out together.  And, yes, the 2 hour rule stuck - we're still doing it!  I was worried summer break might be the worst time ever for Media month, but it was really awesome!  This month gave focus to what really matters: time with my family, doing things I enjoy instead of sitting on the couch, time with God - reading, worshiping, talking.

July was Waste month.  basically a fast on consumption - trying to make the smallest carbon footprint possible, and making the most of everything we already have, and our time.  I was pretty much a recycling freak already, so this month just gave me an extra boost to try and create less trash in general - recyclable and non-recyclable.  I became more aware of buying things in large containers instead of several smaller ones, or individual servings.  I have a ton of reusable food storage instead of baggies or buying individual servings, and I just portion out everything into those, wash & reuse.  Let me tell you, this family of 9 creates NO MORE than 2 kitchen-sized trash bags of trash per week!   That is also thanks to food month, in which I started buying almost all fresh foods & produce, which generally come with far less packaging than processed junk food.  And our recycle bin overfloweth.  I am seriously considering asking some neighbors if I could add our stuff to their recycle bins as I currently have a large trashcan full of recyclables in the garage in addition to the city bin.  My next goal is to also reduce the amount of recyclable waste - to really use less.  I wish I could say that I started a garden & a compost pile - both things I aspire to do someday.  July is not exactly the best month for starting a garden here in Texas.  I also have a black thumb, not a green one.  I wouldn't know what to do with my compost once it was made.  I guess I should've researched that, but I was really loving not being on the computer even though media month was over.  I also tried to use what we had instead of buying new stuff.  Little things like eating things before they expire, using that can of corn that's been lurking in the corner of the pantry, reusing last years' backpacks if possible, reusable grocery bags instead of plastic...I always try to do that stuff anyway, but there was still room for improvement (and still is).  I love this beautiful world God created & gave us charge over.  This month really gave focus to taking care of what He has given, and not wasting and destroying His creation.

This brings me to August - Spending month.  I was supposed to spend money in only 7 places.  Gas, groceries, home supplies, clothes, etc.  I honestly don't know what happened.  Lack of focus, summer break craziness, just not thinking it was important, i don't know.  This month can be summed up in two words - Epic Fail.  It's possible, and highly probable, that I spent money in MORE places this month than in a typical month.  Maybe we'll try again after next month, which is the final month of the 7 fasts.

Next month is Stress. Pausing 7 times a day for prayer.  Bringing focus back to what really matters.  I'm super excited & really have to learn to use my alarm on my phone! September is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month for me; I'm really gonna need this!

So here's a brief summary if you skimmed the rest of this blog post:
Media month - SUCCESS!
Waste month - Great job!
Spending month - utter failure
Stress month - looks hopeful

I have many other thoughts stirring in my head, so hopefully I'll be posting again soon :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

get out of my house!

so I'm really far behind on blogging about 7 stuff (for those who care). May was possessions month. Getting rid of the excess - 7 things a day, intentionally (not just dropping junk at Goodwill) Honestly, I only did okay. Not for lack of want, but for lack of time. May was a super busy month - soccer games & practices, dance class, end of school activities/plays/parties/concerts/teacher appreciation/etc. Going through everything you own is VERY time-consuming...which is probably only a problem for people like me who have WAY too much stuff! I was (and still am) very motivated to get rid of stuff. I HATE clutter & excess & crap I don't need, use, or want. I LOVE giving to people in need.

I am a member of an online yard sale facebook group for Buda/Kyle. At the first of the month I posted that I was giving stuff away to those in need & to contact me with what you need and if I have it I will give it. I wasn't sure if I would get any responses, but I wasn't quite sure where else to start, so I gave it a try. I actually got several replies (and a few nice comments) from people in need. A mom in need of some 4T boys clothes, a pregnant mom needing 5T boys clothes and baby items, a volunteer at the Hays Women's Shelter asking for childrens' swimming items for their summer programs, and a few other requests that I was unable to satisfy like for a window A/C unit, and little girl clothes. The recipients were so grateful - I loved delivering the items to their houses and seeing the little boys excited for new clothes, and the moms grateful for diapers/bottles/blankets/clothes for their babies on the way. It's a completely different experience than dropping off boxes at Goodwill or Salvation Army. I know those businesses do good work and help the needy, but there's such a disconnect from the beneficiaries of those donations that it usually just feels like, "I'm so glad to have this junk out of my house" instead of, "I'm so glad I could bless someone's life today."

I still have boxes of things in my house, and a ton more to go through and get rid of. I'm not stopping just because the month is over. Jesus knew how possessions can become lord over us - the more we have, the more enslaved we are to it. Having a big house comes with big maintenance bills, having computers comes with internet bills, too many clothes - more dressers and closet space needed, the list goes on. I'm not saying we're getting rid of everything, but there is absolutely no reason for every corner of my 3500 square foot home to be packed. I would LOVE to have an empty closet somewhere in the house, or nothing in the attic, or a garage with usable space for projects. I practically wear the same 10 shirts over and over, so why do I need 3 rails full of clothes in my closet. There is a woman at a shelter in need of nice work clothes for her new secretary job, or a homeless man that could get work if he just had some decent interview clothes. St. Louise house needs furniture and other home goods for their apartments for homeless single moms (they let the women take everything with them when they are able to move into housing of their own). I have cupboards full of dishes I never use.

I'm so excited about the freedom I feel in giving things away. And have you even thought about how much easier cleaning is when there's less to clean around? I'm also planning a garage sale (when I'm finally done going through everything) where I'll be giving all the money to a charity (my heart is for orphans and I'm partial to HELP, Family Legacy, and Compassion, so maybe dividing it between them). The possibilities are endless. We have so much to give. We need so much less than we think we do, and if we can just really grasp that and stop consuming and start giving we can make such a big difference.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

pity party at my house!

sometimes, as a mom, I feel like my life is on hold. It's such a funny thing to say. My children grow so quickly, time flies by, but I feel like I'm standing still. Like it's all going on around me, and I'm frozen in time in the moment I became a mother.
I don't feel this way all the time, but there are days, like today, when there is something I really want to do, but can't because I'm a mom, and this world is not always set up in such a way that allows moms to pursue their desires. I wouldn't trade my babies for anything! They are my life's work. And I know I'm pretty selfish sometimes and want to do what I want to do, and just have some fun, and then cry when I can't. I know God wants me to be a mom; I'm not sure an important part of His plan for my life is singing or crafting or going out. So when I can't do those things, I probably shouldn't be such a big baby about it. It's part of the package deal - responsibility and sacrifice for these beautiful gifts God has chosen to give me. It's really a beautiful reminder of the love and sacrifice of Jesus. He gave all he had, his life, for his children. I am happy to give up my own wants and ambitions for my children.

gosh! could you just let me have a pity party for a little while!?!