This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Balancing Acts ain't for Ninnies

I don't know why it never occurred to me that I would still be a full time mother, with full time mother needs, dealings, responsibilities, handlings, and beeswax once I became a full time worker. I don't mind working and earning my keep. And really, I LOVE teaching. So much. My husband and I both remark regularly how blessed we are to be in careers we love.

The problem is that if I am fully devoted to teaching, something at home tends to slip. Usually that is my husband, but only because he doesn't get in my face and whine or act out irrationally when he isn't cuddled enough. I appreciate this about him. Apparently some husbands are this way. Weird but true.

Anyway, tonight I interviewed for a position as a part time professor teaching English as a second language. It's totally my bag. But as God typically does with my mouth, our conversation ended up sounding a lot less like her interviewing ME for this position of teaching and more like her interviewing me asking for parenting help.

I told her I would LOVE to teach four nights a week, alas, my priority is my family. She agreed that this is as it should be, and added, "How do you keep them priority with so many kids!?"

We discussed teenagers and compared her one to my nearly three. She clutched her chest in mock freak out at the though of more than one child. It wouldn't make a difference in my house if we had one or five, or seven for that matter. God covers what we can't as long as we are making the choices we need to in order to make family a priority.
I explained that this looks different in every house, but in ours it's family dinners and being around to talk about nonsense when our kids have saved those purely nonsensical stories all day just to share them with me. "You are priority" looks like little notes to my family members, showing an interest in their accomplishments, and reenacting scenes from Mulan on video (only I sing off camera while Samuel moves his mouth in perfect timing) while we wait for dinner to cook.
"You are priority" reeks of balance. Everybody must have it. Every BODY must have it. Don't let your teeter totter too far to the top while you chase after career goals and your perfect tan. Teach your children balance. Use your time to love others. Really. And pray for wisdom about balance. It's no longer just an act in a circus.
Because I am baby stepping my way toward balance, I am fully prepared to celebrate my boy's birthday tomorrow.

He's 12. Or he will be in about 20 hours.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sometimes I confuse even myself

Do you ever look around after you buy something great and ask yourself "why didn't we do this sooner?!"

We were given a bed by some friends years and years ago. We planned to get side tables. Those are important. Instead we didn't. We were given a set. Not as pretty as our bed, but we don't complain at free furniture.

Then. The day came when we sold those bad boys and we used cheap shelving from target. It looked cute. Did the job. But we passed them on when we moved. Again.

Since July, we have had no side tables. Cardboard boxes, but no tables. HUGE boxes. But cardboard is cardboard people. It's dusty in a way that cannot be cleaned. It's dented down the center and it caves in creating a hole from which I cannot retrieve my most favorite possessions. Chapstick. Pens. My arm. Cardboard doesn't discriminate.

The day came when The Man said we could buy some. "Be wise with our funds woman!" He said. Well. He didn't. But I wish he spoke with me like this.

We shopped. We price checked. We made a face like we were smelling a glass of milk that came from a cow who got into the onion pasture. (Thanks Napoleon). And then we left. Because guess what. Side tables are dumb expensive. It's a level of silliness I want no part of. Except that I really want side tables.

Many stores and thrift store diving passed and no good.
The cheapest we found was $50 for used and $79 for new. And we didn't remotely like those.
Then we went to ikea and my room is amazing. For reals. So pretty. And organized and helpful and efficient and grown up. No longer am I a bachelor drowning in cardboard. I'm an adult! With adult furniture. Amen.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dear Reader

Today my husband recapped a conversation he had with himself recently. (I can't explain this). He figured out we spend about 1/3 of our day sleeping, 1/3 of our time working at a paid job, and much of the last 1/3 of our time on caring for our children, our crap, and responsibilities we don't even really care about. This leaves about 20 minutes a day for something meaningful. Really? How about some extra sleep, because that makes me a little tired to even think about.

Here is what I have been spending my 1/3+1/3+(1/3-20 minutes) on:

The private school at which I work has foreign exchange students who want to learn English, so they can stay here for a decade and attend university. For some, it happens at a slower pace. So, three days a week, I tutor after school.

My eldest kid transferred from said private school to an amazingly intense program at a local high school. It's an International Baccalaureate program which translates to really smart, really hard, and two years of college credits when she graduates. Win win. I drive her some days. Pick her up others.

My husband has been picking up every shift he possibly can. We have debt that is weighing us down. Suffocating actually. We are done with it. We are taking the long road and paying off debt before we get into a new house. We are saving a deposit and funneling money into our savings account. Unfortunately it's a very small funnel with more of a leak than a flow. Baby steps. This translates to full time parent. Of course The man is still around to pick me up with sweet conversation via the telephone.

In the next three months, over half of us have birthdays. And our anniversary. And Easter. And spring break. It's usually a bit hectic, but this year is a little different because I work full time. Oh. And by different I meant worse. We are throwing them a surprise Harry Potter themed birthday dinner where the entrance to our party is through a brick wall that reads Platform 9 3/4.

My book. It's not taking as much of my time as I want it to, but still. Time.

I don't know about you, but I would really like to have 1/3 of my day back. This is crazy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The book I am Reading

Sometimes I read a book, and I underline and take notes and it is exciting. Other times, I purchase a book and have it sit on the box I call bedside table. Trying it on. I don't read it. When you read it, you have to do it. If you sing it, you have to live it.

I knew I needed time to adjust and prepare for this book. It's called Anything. It's written by Jennie Allen. I think I still like her. I can't say for sure yet, because I am only about 2o pages in. If she keeps making me sigh heavily with conviction, the tides could turn. I may pull out my angry (with myself) eyebrows and blame her for her honesty. I'll call it judging, but she doesn't know me. She is just delivering the goods. It's my armpits that are all sweaty with frustration.

Here's a quote:

"I did wonder sometimes, when I closed my eyes and let it get scary quiet, if I was missing the best things, the things that mattered most, because I was afraid. "

She means she was saying no thanks to the gifts God gave her because they hurt or were scary or seemed too sad. Most have the desire to love others, share a cup of coffee, and maybe even help someone move. Hospitality. That's a light hearted spiritual gift.

Mine is words. I speak. I write. I dream, and God asks me to say something about it. The problem is what He wants me to say is usually a little intrusive. It's cut. its dry. I have to work to make it encouraging. It's uncomfortable. And not just for them.

I have caught myself thinking the words "take it away, Lord". I wanted a new gift. How about hospitality. I could make scones (no. Actually I can't). I could beautifully display some cookies (also a lie). I could enjoy having women over for breakfast (it's as if I have never met myself and watched with my own eyes as I said help yourself and watched my guests get their own cereal).

The fact is, this is my gift. God gave it. And he can take it away, but he would rather help my heart to handle it so he can be honored. In my life. And theirs. Whoever "they" are at that moment. By saying no thanks, I am Jonah. That guy, who every time I read his story, I think he is a doofus. Because he was.

I don't want to be Jonah or any other "got it wrong" from the Bible. I'm a work in progress.

But I am swimming to Ninevah if I have to. Who's goin with me?

Jesus told the little girl, who everyone thought was dead, to get up. I wrote it on my arm. I am going to keep writing it on my arm, because I think it's what I am supposed to be doing. Getting up. Go. No more staying. I am done staying.