Friday, February 28, 2014

What I learned in February...

Emily has a standing invitation to join her over at Chatting at the Sky at the end of each month to share what we learned.  Though I doubt any of these things will rock your world, sometimes it feels good to look over your time and highlight a few notes...


1.  The Gilligan's Island theme song.

My kids have discovered the classics.  By that I mean classic television which in our home means: Andy Griffith, Gilligan's Island and old Scooby Doo.  

These shows require no thought and no real parental monitoring.  Every time I walk through the room and hear that song, I can't help but smile.  Funny thing is, all five members of our family can talk about Gilligan's Island together, simply put, it's one more thing we can laugh about over dinner.

I will offer no apology but I will invite you to "just sit right down and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..."

2.  How to self-publish a book on Smashwords.

Sometimes you do things that you really can't explain.  I used to make all-natural soap and sell it at a farmers' market.  

Using my own hands to produce something so natural and useful was unexpectedly interesting.

Talking with the wonderful people that came to my table was a source of joy.  Mothers with kids, touching and smelling the bars and guessing the "flavors."  Men approaching sideways, sort of sneaking up, as if they don't use soap too.  Older people laughing about their grandmother making soap in a big, black pot.

It was just lovely.  

Here is my little ode to joy...and it cost me nothing but my time.

Making and Selling Soap: A Hacker's Guide

3.  Sometimes changing your mind is good. (Thanks, Emily)

By nature, I am a second-guesser.  I drive myself crazy.  This is hard to share but I recall a time when I agonized in an aisle at Wal-Mart for way too many minutes to admit over the color of a CD player.  "The silver one will go anywhere, but I really want the metallic green.  I should get the silver.  I like the green better."  I left the aisle at least one time only to return and switch my choice.  As a result of this tendency, I often punish myself when I change my mind, even if the reasons are valid.  Please tell me I am not alone.

Sometimes a choice is just a choice, one path among many that all lead forward.  When this is the case and you find yourself leaving one course to pursue another, just as worthy and maybe better suited to your soul, celebrate your position as a higher-thinking mammal and your calling to this new place and simply move on.

4.  Hummus is good, too.

I tried it.  I like it.

5.   So Rejoice is an awesome group.

So Rejoice successfully refocused my attention from their onstage performance to, well, God.  

I forgot to finish contemplating whether their look was more Duck Dynasty or Zac Brown band (neither, they are completely their own), and instead of getting lost in the violin played by the beautiful woman who did NOT look anything like Zac Brown, I got lost in worship.  

I forgot where I was and nearly lifted my hand in the air.  Can you imagine? 

I pray that one day my children feel God the way these people do.

grateful for February and looking forward to March,



Love Does, our story

The Truth, and I saw it right there in Sunday School

Stone Soup, a confession

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Striking Gold

I know this boy.  He's Ten.  He makes decisions with internal Scales of Justice and it seems as though he is immovable.  He cannot yet comprehend his wise Daddy's words, "what's fair is not always equal."  He's ours to raise and sometimes, for this "live and let live" woman, the work of teaching grace and love gets real hard.

How do you teach the value of social norms, traffic signals, and schedules while simultaneously teaching that people are more important than rules, that grace is when you don't get what you deserve, and that the greatest thing is love?

His temperament is a gift, it really is, this natural affinity for routines and ability to stick to what he believes in the face of pressure from other people.  I will be grateful for this one day.

For now though, we need a little softness, a little understanding and so, like a miner, I chip away at the rock that surrounds the treasure.  I search for the gold in the bedrock.  I test my own principles against his logic and his attempts to make sense of this life.

He's only Ten!  How will I have the words to make it through the next however many years?

The internet authority on everything, Wikipedia, estimates that to even bother mining gold, your location should yield one Troy ounce for every SIX TONS of rock.  You have to mine your way through six tons of rock to get an ounce.  Sigh.  That's a lot of work.

But I've got gold fever.

I've seen gold in them there hills and it only takes one glimpse.  I'm hooked.

You chip away and chip away and just when you begin to doubt...

A girl twirls and twirls, inspired by Olympic figure skaters in all their icy glitter and she holds her arms out gracefully as she spins on the carpet.  Four people are present but there isn't really an audience.  No one pays attention until she falls hard, tripping on her momma's outstretched legs.  Mom gasps, too loud and everyone sees.  The girl cries in her momma's lap.  It's just her pride but it still hurts.

He can't stand it.

That insensitive big brother who would normally throw her under the bus if she even bent a rule,
that boy who makes his decisions by weighing everyone on those scales of justice,
that boy who puts life in neatly defined boxes,
that boy who  is wildly creative and lives to play outside with stories in his mind,
that boy who chips away until we play some new game of his own invention,
that boy who draws imaginary creatures on reams and reams of paper.

He can't stand her tears.  Not today.

For no reason that I understand he brings her a book on Amelia Earhart and points out some reason she should read it, while she hides her tears in my shirt.  She takes the book and slowly opens back up to the room.  Minutes later, she slides off my lap and bounces to the front of our attention proclaiming that she was born on the same day as Amelia Earhart and isn't that something?

Life goes back to normal except for that little glow coming from that boy's eyes as it sinks in.

He knows he did right.  He knows that he, the boy who seems to be made of rock, he soothed a little girl's heart with kindness.  Maybe he adjusts his scales to measure a new kinds of treasures.


More like this?
King Robert of the Wild Hair
Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Parent
Yesterday (the post about the time we were taken over by aliens)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just Resting My Eyes

Kids tumble into the room then turn quiet, running into each other.  Shhh.  She's asleep.

It isn't true.

Just resting my eyes. 

You don't always need to sleep in order to rest.  Sometimes you just need to close your eyes.

Still there, still hearing, still aware.

Just at rest.

For me, this is a time to rest.  A time to step right off that hamster wheel of "should" and "ought" even though I thought during this last month of silence, surely something would break.  I expected to drop some ball.  I expected it to shatter.

But nothing broke, Friend, nothing broke.  The important things still got done.

Put that frazzled feeling, the one brought into being by "should" and "ought" up onto a high shelf and let it get dusty with all the stuff you can't seem to throw away.

May your frazzle get dusty, Friend.  Frazzle is good-for-nothing anyway.

Entire days can pass without the weight of a TO DO LIST crushing you, taking your breath away.

"But I have to..." you fuss.  And maybe you do.  Then again, maybe you don't.

Write down all the things you think have to be done and let a friend, spouse, or kid take a look.  Men are great at cutting your list to shreds given that their priorities are totally different than a woman's, alien even.  Get a different perspective from someone who cares.

Argue that you must do all of those things.  Argue that you must do them even at the expense of your piece, or PEACE, of mind.  Listen to the hollow sound of your arguments.

Rewrite the list with fresh eyes, with a new perspective.

Those things that fell right off your list?  They don't have to be gone forever.  Just while you rest.  Then, when you feel sane again, when you breathe easy, decide whether to let some of those "shoulds" and "oughts" back into your life.

As for me, getting on my list is pretty tough these days.  If you are a "should" or "ought" that is.  My family has no problem getting on my list.  Monopoly, popcorn, giving my entire attention to Ten when he tells one of his stories.  These things have been added to my list.  Added because I didn't have time for them before.

I like my list better now.

You don't always need sleep.  Sometimes you just need to rest.