Thursday, May 30, 2013

Donation Bags

For a week now, I’ve been playing around with this idea of what if.  What if I made some small changes that could help me focus on what is important, help me feel more awake.

I have been limiting my time on the internet while the girls are around.  I might do a quick check of email or facebook, but I have been exploring what it would be like to not be consumed (not wasting time on Pinterest) before they go to bed.  And let’s face facts, once they go to bed, I’m less likely to get on the computer because I’m tired….because I turned into my dad and go to bed by nine….or 8:30….don’t judge.

In this past week, I have completed three projects that I have been putting off forever.  I organized my craft table, our kitchen pantry and a hallway closet.  Three projects that I have been putting off for months.  Do you have an area of your house that you are embarrassed for others to see?  Well, that was my craft table.  Of course, the girls found reasons to take guests down to the room in which my craft table lives.  Come look at my bike, they would say.  Ignore the huge mess, I would add.

It occurred to me that this idea of spring cleaning doesn’t work for me in the spring.  There is too much going on.  Or maybe I was spending too much time on the internet….  Either way, these recent days of school winding down and no homework has given me some extra time for these projects.

Of course, if you clean/organize anything, you probably end up with bags of trash/donations.  Last night I was cleaning out the hallway closet that holds linens and other crap (so glad we kept that ripped mattress pad for years).  I was filling up quite a large donation bag.  I found the curtains that we bought for the girls’ room a few years ago that we haven’t had on their window since the year we bought them.  I remembered when we purchased them, which is strange because I don’t normally have such a good memory of purchasing random household items.  What is memorable is that when we bought them, finances were pretty tight.  And those curtains seemed like such a big purchase…and such a necessity.  Such a necessity that they have been sitting in a closet for years….

I started to think about all of this stuff that was going in the donation bag.  And there were similar memories for a few of these other items.  It was such a sacrifice to buy these items, but years later, they are nothing more than items going in a donation bag.  Hopefully they will actually get used in their next life and not sit in someone’s closet for years.

Isn’t that the way of stuff?  It seems so important at the time.  Wants always disguise themselves as needs. 

And then they end up in a donation bag.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Incredibles

Billy likes to call Memorial Day weekend, Anniversary Weekend, even though our wedding anniversary sometimes doesn’t always fall on the holiday weekend.  We aren’t those people who make big plans for our anniversary.  We are pretty low key, in general.

We spent the weekend just hanging out with each other, the four of us.  To be honest, that’s pretty rare.  Billy isn’t a guy who likes to “hang out.”  He gets fidgety. 

But this weekend, he was still.  Maybe it was the full moon.

On our actual anniversary, after the kids went to bed, we stayed up late and talked.  Also something that we never do.  I wouldn’t really call it talking as much as laughing.  Hysterical laughing.

And something occurred to me.  This marriage better work out because we are just too weird for anyone else.

It reminded me of this.  Which I originally posted about my sister and her husband after he hacked her Pinterest account in what I call the funniest hack ever.

Isn’t this what life is about?  Finding people (friends, family) who you can be real with.  That’s the good stuff, after all. 

Work can be so emotionally draining that I often lose sight of that good stuff.  This weekend was all about celebrating this little family that Billy and I created.

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What if?

You know how I’ve mentioned that I’m like a small child and need my routine?  Well, I have seriously been off my routine for a few weeks.  Here I am, back at it, and starting to feel a bit normal again.

This weekend, I received one of my books on hold from the library.  Isn’t that an exciting feeling when you’ve had a book on hold for so long that you can’t remember why you wanted to read it?!

This book has been pretty amazing.  I read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  You can click on the link to read more about it.  The gist is that Jen goes on a fast of sorts, giving up something new each month, and takes a look at what is really important.  I finished it in two days.  I couldn’t wait to see what the next chapter (the next month) would bring.  I was laughing out loud while reading it.  Billy kept asking, “What’s so funny?”  He doesn’t get reading.  Her reflections were so honest about these sacrifices.  She was genuine about her discomfort (even hatred at times) for these sacrifices.

She is also really honest about how these were not forever sacrifices.  This was meant to take a hard look at those things that were coming in between her and the life she wanted.  At times, she would reflect about how her family could sustain some of the changes.  For example, one month, her family gave up media.  No tv.  For a month.  This created a lot of great opportunities for everyone in her family to find other things to do.    

It’s one of those books that has me thinking, what if?  The internet is one of my biggest time wasters.  I get sucked in and then time is forever lost.  Outside of my early morning alone coffee time, what if I didn’t get on the internet until after the kids were in bed?  What would that look like?  Would I spend more time with my kids?  Would I have more time for crafting?  Would that unfolded laundry with the permanent wrinkles actually get put away?

There are some other ideas that I’ve been tossing around in my head, rolling around with all of those movie quotes.  I love it when a book or thought stays with you like that, challenges you to be a better version of yourself.  I’m excited to see how I can use this with my goals for this year and my focus to be awake.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Special Gifts

This business of motherhood, well, it’s hard stuff.  The good news is that among the tough moments, the second guessing, we were all given gifts to make this journey a bit easier.  The trick is finding your gift.  Because you actually have to come out of the second guessing to find it.

I was chatting with one of my sisters the other day about our mom.  She’s pretty amazing (our mom sister too).  We were talking about our mom's gift of making everything special.  Birthday cakes decorated (by mom) to match current interests, holiday decorations, etc.  She always sends cards and doesn’t forget to send them for birthdays or special occasions…like Mother’s Day.  She is incredibly thoughtful when choosing gifts.  Plainly spoken, she just makes things special.

I was given different gifts as a mother, which I suppose is a nice way of saying that I will never be on the ball about sending cards.  I will be thinking about you on your special day, such as your birthday, anniversary….or Mother’s Day…even though I can’t get it together to send a card.

During this phone call, my sister was feeling a little guilty about not having our mother’s gift.  But the truth is that we are already the mother that our children need us to be.  Sometimes we need to reconnect with ourselves and our kids to discover our gifts.  In this world of comparisons though, that can be a challenge.  We can look at other mothers and find ourselves lacking.

As I think about this particular gift of my mom’s, the gift of making things special, it makes sense.  We (her children) needed that.  There are six children in my family, and in any large family, there are moments when you feel a bit lost among the chaos.  We needed our mom to make things special, to help us stand out in the crowd and be appreciated for the individuals that we were.  I think we still need that.

On this Mother’s Day, maybe we can all take a breather from the comparisons.  Maybe we can look at other mothers and appreciate their gifts, instead of feeling not enough.  Maybe we can look at ourselves and our own special gifts that we give our children.

Today on this Mother’s Day, I am thankful for the mother who makes life special.

And I am thankful for getting to be the mother of these special ladies.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Feeling the Sunshine

May Day in Colorado was full of snow.

All that I could think of was the song Santa Monica by Everclear.

I just want to see some palm trees

I will try and shake away this disease

And later in the song:

I just want to feel some sunshine

I just want to find some place to be alone

All is well, folks.  I can already see the run rising today.