Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hiding Things

No, this is not some lurid post about the things hidden in my proverbial 'closet', it is a practical admittance to the things I physically hide in my married and mothering life. Just something that I had been pondering on today and wondering if I should feel more guilty for the things I hide. At the end of the pondering, I decided that I am completely not ashamed of the things I hide and then thought it might be fun to share the list I came up with. I've even provided you with a little scale of guilt level associated with each item on the list, 1 being low, and 10 being high.
Here we go.

1. Scissors:  Not only is this a practical idea for having small toddlers in the house who are enamored with the idea of getting hair cuts and doing craft projects, it is also a necessity when it comes to loving my high quality sewing scissors that I use only for quilting.
Guilt level: 0
not me, fyi

2. Cookies:   Or any sweet for that matter. Again, with two toddlers in the house, the less they actually see of the sweets that I keep hidden for special occasions and treats, the better. I hate begging and whining, so I just buy the sweets incognito and then bury them in the pantry behind some pasta...for example.
It doesn't stop at hiding them from just my kids though. With a husband in the house, it causes me to even get a bit more creative, and so I have taken to hiding them in the freezer, on the housemates shelf (because that food is off limits), or even in my own closet.
Am I selfish, no!....that is not the point. I love to share, but if they were out where he could find them all the time then they seem to disappear before I even get a taste, so I save them for later, for special moments and I control the supply that is offered so that at the end of the week there are still cookies in the house.
Guilt level: 1

3. Glue: Another no brainer with toddlers, I keep it high out of reach. Even daddy has trouble locating it sometimes because I change up my hiding spots to keep the kids guessing. Guilt level: 0

4. Diapers: This is more of a mind trick for myself. If I hide enough in and around my house/car, then when I run out at the most inopportune moment, I know/hope that I have one last one hidden somewhere within reach. I probably have at least a half dozen diapers stashed around my house....keeps me from ever being truly without. Have I ever run out of stashed diapers in a pinch....maybe once, but it was so long ago I can't remember. Guilt Level: -1

5. Favorite Pens: My husband and children are both fond of pens, and so am I. For me, what sums up a good pen is one that has a retractable tip, no cap, and writes in a thin fine line. I don't like gel, I don't like the kind I get from the bank, I don't like fancy. My most recent aquisition was the complimentary pen I used to sign a check at a local pizza place. Loved it so much I shamelessly asked the waiter if I could keep it. When she said yes, I put it in my stash. My stash has a small collection of my favorite ball point pens from a variety of local business or companies I have worked for in the past. Love me a good ball point pen, but they don't last forever, so I hoard my favorites so I always can find them. Ken likes gel pens best so....Guilt Level: 0

6. Kinsey's Artwork: The stuff that she creates in five minutes of color time during worship on Sunday morning, or the self portraits she does that look like the million other self portraits I already have. This girl is an artwork creating machine. She can sketch up a whole notebook of paper in a matter of hours. At the age of four though, the thought of keeping only her best and tossing the rest is not yet feasible.
So about once a month, when I can no longer shut the 'artwork' drawer in our credenza, I shuffle through it all, pick out the best, the ones that I will still love and know what they are in five years, and the rest I discreetly chop up into confetti, shred to use in packing boxes, or just plain throw away.
Yet I can't just throw it away, I have to hide my work. So I sometimes dig down a little ways, under a big juice bottle or a junk newspaper and hide what I am discarding there. When she wakes up from nap she is usually none the wiser, and never even misses it, unless on the off chance she spies something in the trash made from pink or purple construction paper, and then I just casually reply, "oh, weren't you done with that" and when she digs it out, I allow her to put it back in the 'artwork' drawer, to be dealt with another day.
Guilt Level: 1

7. Old or Noisy Toys: For sanity reasons, this one never bothers me, but I have to be stealthy. If they spot something they recognize as theirs previously on its way out the door, it is nearly impossible to convince them to let me get rid of it. Something that has been stashed in my closet for months, that hasn't been missed for months. As soon as it is discovered, it is suddenly their most prized possession again, and must be allowed to stay.
It isn't worth my time to negotiate and try to win in the moment. Toddler girls are a mess of raging emotions that can be stirred up at the drop of a hat. There is very little evidence yet that reasoning works with them at all. So, to save time and energy, if my plot to declutter the toy bin is discovered, I return the desired toy, they play with it like it was new for a whole......five minutes, and then I discreetly removed it again to the closet when they are done. To be discarded another day, in another way. Guilt Level: 1

8. Toothbrushes: My own of course, because I have a horrid problem with forgetting to brush my teeth. It use to be because I didn't like to brush until after I had had my morning coffee. Toothpaste messes up the wonderful flavor of coffee for me, but now I don't drink coffee. Still, I don't like to brush and then eat, because then I can still end up with stuff in my teeth. So I wait, usually too long and don't think of it until I am running out the door.
So....I have toothbrushes stashed all over, sometimes with toothpaste, sometimes not. I use to have one in my diaper bag, I also usually have one in my purse. I have one in the downstairs bathroom and one in the upstairs master bath. I think I might even have a few of those little disposable 'whisp' toothbrushes lying around for emergencies. Probably another no brainer that I will invest in soon is one in the car....just in case.
Along this same line of thought....deodorant. I got a lot of those stashed around too. I got toddlers, I forget things people....so Guilt Level: 0
In fact, I don't even feel guilty giving out such information....I'm just a real person who has trouble remember these things until after I have run out the door in the morning. Instead of learning to remember, I just plan for the when I forget. :-)

Hope you have enjoyed my little 'hidden' confession. I had fun thinking of all the silly things I hide as a mother and wife. There are probably some things I should be more diligent about hiding in my life...like my bras when company comes over, or my dirty dishes when company comes over, or my hairy legs when I forget to shave. Yet those things for some reason don't really matter as much to me.....strangely enough.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On the Verge

I've been on the verge of my third trimester these last few weeks, so rather than waste a moment of my energy sitting at the computer trying to speak about the things which inspire me daily, challenge me daily, or have been occupying my time, I've been do, do, doing what I got to get done before my life changes....again.
This is how I feel some days...
Three babies will be different than two I have a feeling (and plenty of other moms have confirmed this by personal testimony), but I am not looking at the change with a sense of hopelessness toward being able to accomplish simple tasks. Oh no, I plan to meet this new challenge, I mean baby, head on with a whole set of tools in my arsenal to help keep sanity and peace in my home as much as possible. Transition is hard, but doing what I can now to help off set the effects I think will be key. I did it with my last one and it was super helpful.
First thing to help that be possible, get all big projects out of the way so that I am not thinking or stressing over them when new baby boy arrives. These are projects apart from nesting, although I suspect I have been doing some nesting as well.
Guess what the first project on the list is though.....if you follow me on facebook you know it involves custom making roman shades for a friend. We bartered months ago, me making roman shades for her oddly sized kitchen windows in exchange for some fabulous silk pillows she was getting rid of but I couldn't afford to buy off of her.
That was about 6 months ago....if you do the math you will realize that the same month I agreed to make her roman shades was the same month I found out I was pregnant. Therefore shortly after making the agreement I started to be very sick, and did not regain my composure to sew/crochet/anything for 4+ months. At that point I still lacked energy...until now.
So I have been sewing roman shades like a mad woman. I am going to get this done before I have this baby, and before my friend decides that she never wants to barter with me again. No tutorial will be offered. Frankly I don't feel like bothering with all the pictures it would take me to explain the process, but if you want to see the tutorial I have been using, you can go here or for another good version, here.
I have also been getting in a new groove called the 'homeschooling' groove. This takes time and planning to some extent, but not as much as I would have first guessed. Teaching a toddler to read is time consuming, but I am using this book here. It has simplified the whole thing and helps me go into this new territory in confidence. The crafts I plan take longer than the actual reading lessons. :-)
Last thing that has been taking up my time has been outings, lots of outings. The weather has been fabulous here on the home front, so going outside is a must most afternoons. Since afternoons is when I usually accomplish other things, it has caused a shift in my whole schedule, and I haven't yet made time for blogging in the midst of this new schedule. Can I also just say.....daylight savings time has not saved me any time. There I said it. Whew.
Even still, had I been blogging these last few weeks, it would probably have been a lot of the same. Ideas and revelation on the importance of having vision, my recent successes in pursing intimacy with Christ, random craft ideas I have picked up from other blogs, and/or books I have recently read or bought that inspire me.
For that last one, I suppose I could give you a brief idea of what I have been reading/buying.
Susanna Wesley- the mother of John and Charles Wesley by Sandy Dengler I finished last week. I have also finished Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, and on the way by mail is my copy of Wild Mary - the life of Mary Wesley by Patrick Marnham. Oh, and just purchased today....The Overcoming Life - by Rick Joyner, which included a study guide as a special offer. This one will hopefully be my next bible study that I try to do with some other mom friends....maybe. We'll see how I feel after baby number 3 arrives.
Now I am at the end though, and I don't really know what the point of this blog is except to say that a lot more has been going on than has been apparent on my blog. I do plan to resume blogging as soon as some of these bigger projects/ideas/inspirations reach completion. So I guess you could say I'm on the verge of writing regularly again....I hope.
Pray for me....that my energy will not wane!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Life Vision

For those of you who don't know, I am currently working on the Song of Songs Study by Mike Bickle and my posse of hardcore Jesus loving mom friends and I are on session 10 of 24.
However, in session 8, Mike challenges people to take a hard look at their life vision, and make long and short term goals that fall in line with that overall life vision.
I thankfully had done this part of the study before and lived in a community that lived and breathed Song of Songs on a regular basis.  So to say the least, I had a lot of people pour into me helpful hints into how to go about figuring out my life vision.
It looks a bit different for a stay a home mom than compared to say.....someone starting a business, someone single, or even a man with a career outside the home. So it was some other very wise mom friends of mine who shared a project that helped me to think of a new way to come by a life vision of sorts, since people and resources around me were not in the same sort of season I was in. This project took a sort of backward approach that worked to show me what is truly important to me in the long run.
They called it the "Mothering Mission Statement" - and the way I was to come up with it was to think about what I wanted  "fill in the blank" to say about me at the end of my life, when I was dead and could do nothing to change the outcome.
Dramatic, perhaps, but it sure put a cool perspective on it to sift through those things that really aren't that important to me.
Here is my list of people who I care what they think; Jesus, my husband, my children, and fellow believers (listed in priority of opinion).
For Jesus there are some obvious ones. Same for my husband and children, and then to the fellow believers. My mission statement is written like a letter rather than a list, and I keep it in my Bible so that I see it often. I allow myself to revise it about once a year to add or subtract things, but in the last two plus years it has changed very little.
When I think about what is important to remember about me after I am dead, the list is rather short I'm afraid. Not too many frills, just simple things that require a lifetime to cultivate.
Now onto how to pull long term and short term goals from that mission statement. I put things that I can do in my present season (motherhood with small children) into my short term goal category (1-3 year period). Anything that I feel can't be feasible with small children are put in the long term goal category (3-7 year period).
Overall, my short term goals, if you looked at them, don't directly correlate with my mission statement, at least not at first glance, but they are all leading in that direction. I have a whole life to cultivate the things that I want to shine at the end of my life. I just make sure that my short term goals are at least taking me in the right direction.
To have my life vision in writing though, helps to keep me from becoming overly short sighted. The things that I have to care about in my current season ....like worry about making sure my children eat enough vegetables, is really not going to matter in the long run. I still have to consider those things in my present appointment as mom to toddlers, but it is not what I want to define me.
So I have a broader vision for myself in the midst of the mundane and routine, and can even use this season to grow in my heart things that I want to accomplish and establish more fully later in life.
As an example, a woman I admire - Julie Meyers. She shared once at a mom's gathering I attended, and told how while she was the mother of her three boys, the younger two were twins, she cultivated a prophetic singing anointing. She would sing around her house and children. No one else was around to listen as she poured out to the Lord, but she was faithful to cultivate that gifting in the secret place of her home.  Now that her boys are all grown, the Lord has given her an increased prophetic anointing in her music and her ministry is touching people all around her. It was started though, in the secret place of being a stay at home mom and I find that really provoking.
I am not forgotten in this season of motherhood, my callings have not changed, and I have a proactive part to play if I want to be who the Lord has called me to be, even in this hidden place. Almost no one knows me, or knows what I am doing as a mom, but He sees me and my faithfulness in this season will determine my impact in the next.
It is tempting some days to just sit back and say...I'm a mom to small children, my life is busy enough, this is my calling, end of story. Yet I know Jesus has more for me than just motherhood. There are lessons to be learned in this place for sure, but my children will one day leave me to live lives of their own. I can not let the title of mother be my full definition.
That is why I have goals that go beyond this season. They show me what could be on the other side, and help me to keep perspective as I battle the small things day to day. In twenty years it is not going to matter to me that my children were always dressed in clothes that matched or that they potty trained by age two, or that my house was always clean. Even though I battle these things day to day, I do not let worry or anxiety in these areas overwhelm me. Those things just don't matter that much in the grand scheme.
So there you have it, my perspective on setting a life vision, and short/long term goals. I know I have written on goals before, but I really wanted to emphasize the Life Vision today as a basis for subsequent goals. I also wanted to show how it is possible to have big goals even as a wife and mother. Our calling doesn't end when we have children, and it is not limited to the raising of our children. As I see it, raising children is just a tool that the Lord uses to expedite the removal of all selfishness and pride. So I guess I should be thankful to be in such a humble season, and I think I am, most days. It is the tool the Lord is using in my life to cultivate the greatness I hope for in the seasons to come!
Moms be encouraged!

Side note: I want to emphasize that I am not taking my calling as a mother lightly. I strive to do all things the Lord has put my hand to well, but it is just not the only thing that I want to define me after twenty years. I love my children and am so thankful for them, but when I signed up to be a mom, I did not throw my old identity out the window. It is still there, under all the finger paints and poopy diapers. It is marinading in this season of being a mom, and will hopefully be a fine wine by the time my babies are ready to fly.

2012 Reading List

Now that I am out of the 'sickly' trimester, I have rediscovered my love for reading. So when I saw my post from last summer on what I had planned to read, I gave it a quick peek and decided to make a new one for this year. Not only a list for summer reading, but goals for the whole year.

Here is what I've come up with so far.

Already Consumed (done reading):
The Fall of Lucifer - Wendy Alek
The First Judgement - Wendy Alek
Son of Perdition - Wendy Alek

Currently Consuming (in the middle of):
Hind's Feet on High Places - Hannah Hurnard 
The Home Start in Reading - Ruth Beechick (homeschool stuff)

To be Consumed (wanting to read):
Wild Mary - the Life of Mary Wesley - Patrick Marnham
Appointment in Jerusalem - Lydia & Derek Prince
The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven - Kevin Malarkey
The Story of the World - Volume 1 - Susan Wise Bauer (homeschool stuff)

Not as long as my previous list, but hey, I have a newborn due to arrive around the end of June. Who knows how much more reading I will get done after that. It could be a season of ease, but I don't want to make for myself impossible goals on the front end with the unknown looming in June.
So when I have a clearer picture of what my little boy's temperament will be like, perhaps I will add to my reading list.