Archive for April, 2009

Fickle, Flaky Me

I’m back on Facebook. As hard as I try not to care if people are mad at me, I care.

I just care.

Oh, I care.

My brother-in-law wrote a great post about why he wished I (and others) wouldn’t quit Facebook, which sorta made me wish I hadn’t quit. And then SOMEBODY got mad at me. Which made me think probably other people are mad at me too. Which made me sad. Especially when I really love and miss those mad people. And the new dilemma I now find myself in is that all the people who were so proud of me for quitting are now going to be mad at me for unquitting. I don’t like when people are mad at me. But the bottom line is, I really do want to keep in touch with people and that seems to be the best way to do it. I just want to be better this time around at not letting it depress me. Maybe my technical genius of a brother-in-law could show me how to institute all those settings that he says are so easy to institute to make what shows up on my home page less depressing. Because as good of a webpagemaker as I truly am, I get on Facebook and all webpagemaking abilities fly out the window and I can’t even think where to start because I’m so depressed. Information overload tends to depress me. Can I just only see flowers and hearts and sunsets on my home page, Matt?

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The Heart of the Storm

I’m eating an English muffin with apple butter oozing into its deep nooks and crannies and it’s storming outside. I’ve got a green tarp as big as our first apartment spread out over my living room/dining room area, trying to dry after the kids used it as a slip-n-slide on Saturday. It’s supposed to storm all week. In my attempt to become a runner, I went out at six this morning as I’ve been doing for the last week or so and did my first “running” in the rain. The thunder was rumbling, the sky was lighting up at irregular and eerie intervals and my lungs were about to explode. I can’t ever figure out whether to breathe in and out every three steps or every two steps on my block on/block off run/walk thing that I do. My lungs don’t like either of those options. And neither does my head, come to think of it. It throbs with every pound of the feet on the street. There is something really cool about running bleary-eyed though, first thing after getting out of bed. My eyes aren’t fully focused yet and all the street lamps are soft and starry. I like the word bleary.

It’s storming outside.

Our church just started this thing where we’re all reading through the Bible in 90 days together. I did my first reading last night. Genesis is interesting. There is so much that I’d kind of like to have some more info on. You know, the usual questions like how did Eve know how to cut the umbilical cord on her first baby and how did she know how to feed him and where did Cain get his wife and was it excruciatingly depressing to live so long or were the years really as long back then as they are today and how exactly did Noah get a hold of all those animals and did any of them try to attack him? But I don’t know. I know there must be an answer to all of those things and although I’m curious, it really doesn’t affect my faith one way or the other not knowing. I kind of even don’t really want to know. Just like I don’t really want to know how a nuclear reactor works. I know somebody knows and I’m glad it’s not me because I don’t think I can handle it. I can’t even handle knowing that there’s a swine flu going around and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I don’t like knowing too much.

But I do have one thing I want to know. I even wrote it down to ask in Sunday School next week if I can work up the nerve. I can’t ever seem to keep my face from turning purple when I speak out loud, which inspires me to internalize most things. Also, I think I have a hard time asking questions that I don’t think there’s an answer to. And I think most of the questions I have don’t have answers. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t trust the answers. Is it possible to have faith, but not trust? I really want to know why Cain’s sacrifice wasn’t pleasing to God. It doesn’t say why, it just says it wasn’t. And beyond why, because I think I know the answer to that… did Cain KNOW as he was going into it that it wasn’t going to be good enough? That question terrifies me.

That’s where I am on this stormy Monday. I want my kids to be happy, I want this tarp to be dry, I want my hips and my debt and my pile of laundry to be smaller, I want to love God more and I want to know if my sacrifice is good enough.

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Moving On With My Life

I just finished my root canal. I’ve had an unfinished root canal for two months now. Suffice it to say that my mouth is dumb. Particularly one tooth in my mouth. Particularly the roots of the one tooth in my mouth. But it’s done now, which makes me feel like I can finally get on with my life. Of course, my mouth is still totally numb as I type this. Who knows what I’ll feel like when the numbness wears off? It’s been hurting for months now. Why stop now just because there’s burnt rubber packed in the holes where the roots used to be?

I’ve been doing a couple things to get my life in order as I’ve been in a holding pattern with this tooth and I’m just going to go ahead and share them with you now…

First and foremost, I permanently deleted my Facebook account. I hated the pressure. I hated the unwanted information that assaulted my senses every time I logged in. I hated the exposure and the feeling of being on display in a worldwide human zoo. I didn’t at all hate the games I played with friends, however, and if anyone knows of a way to continue Word Twist without having to go through Facebook, I’m all ears. I may end up creating a new account under a fake name just so I can play. That’s dumb, I know. As dumb as my mouth.

Another thing I’ve done to move myself onward and upward is to subscribe to this service:
SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH E-MEALZ MEAL PLANS
I haven’t been so excited about something in a long time. For just five dollars a month, you get weekly menus, complete with the grocery shopping list and recipes. And the best part is, you choose the plan according to how big your family is and what store you shop at. Then you get a menu that corresponds with the weekly specials at your grocery store! And it even tells you what brands to buy, with the items totaled up at the bottom of the shopping list so that you know how much you’re spending before you even go into the store. I have been so bad at planning lately (see my last post) that I feel like this just might save my life. Or at least my bank account. Saving money without having to think about it AND eating good meals with the family while doing it. Nice. Not dumb at all.

And now I’m going to get off my computer and move on to the next thing: filling out the application to move one child to the same private school that we just moved her sister to. In fact, I just can’t shake the feeling that we should just maybe go ahead and put all three of them there next year. I don’t know. But I’ve got to keep moving, that’s for sure. And so I pray. And I wait. And I think and I wonder. And then I talk with my husband some more. Sometimes I wonder why we work so hard to do what we think is the best thing for these children of ours that we love more than life itself. I was informed this week by my eldest that she has only one goal in life to accomplish before she dies: to have a staring contest with Johnny Depp. I really don’t think this school is going to help her accomplish that goal. But it has other good qualities. And I think I feel content with that.

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Holidays, Holy Days, Facebook and Fasting

easter-eggsI just realized this morning that I have not done a very good job at all at keeping this year’s New Year’s Resolution. Yes, one singular resolution and I can’t even keep it. I think it might be impossible for me to keep, which is why I’m considering chucking it along with those 33 Facebook Friends I exed out over a month ago.

The thing I’m having a hard time figuring out these days is how all those other people out there in the world seem to be able to do everything. And specifically to right now, how do all those moms out there do all those special little holiday traditions with their kids? Like, for instance, dyeing Easter eggs (or carving pumpkins or making Christmas cookies or making little red, white and blue cupcakes to take to the Fourth of July picnic by the lake to watch the fireworks…) I mean, how do they DO all that? It’s not that I don’t want to do all those things. They all seem like beautiful little bits of seasonal bliss to help our kids ebb and flow with the seasons of life as they grow. But I just can’t seem to manage it. I feel like an insane, asthmatic, eyes-half-open, backwards-walking duck (Duck? Yes, duck.), running from event to event from Advent through Easter. It’s all I can do to make dinner three nights a week, let alone breathe in and out while doing it.

I already know that I just don’t have any craft genes but I’m beginning to think there must be a holiday gene as well that is just missing from my entire family line (well, on one side of the family anyway). My kids are lucky if they get a birthday party every five years. I think they actually did get Easter baskets once three years ago or so. And I just flat-out stink at stocking stuffers. Will they grow up feeling deprived, I wonder? I mean, we do TALK about the holy days and special days and their significance in the Church and in our lives.

Anyway, Lent is finally over and I’m still trying to sort out my feelings on the whole thing. Not that my feelings matter in the long run, but I have them nonetheless and I’d like to sort them out. This year we decided to give up dessert as a family and I personally gave up Facebook on top of dessert. It was kind of interesting the way it all affected me. I hated not being on Facebook for the first two weeks. Hated it. I thought about going to it ten times a day and had to remember that I was fasting it. But the funny thing about fasting things other than food is that it can always be filled up with something else. After the initial withdrawal symptoms wore off, I felt very free being off it and began to consider never going back on it again. So yes, it kind of helped simplify my life and I felt some freedom, but isn’t the purpose of fasting to cause you to realize your dependence on God and pray every time you have an urge to do whatever it is you’re not doing due to fasting? I can’t honestly say that fasting Facebook, or even dessert for that matter, caused me to focus on God more, or my need for God. Maybe I’m not doing something right. But I did notice that when I fasted the good old-fashioned way on Good Friday, I noticed a huge difference. When you cut food out – all food – there is no substitute. You can’t fill the hunger longing with ANYTHING else. It makes a huge difference, spiritually. You can’t help but recognize your frailty and dependence when you’re hungry. And I’m not just talking about craving chocolate either. The dessert fast was kind of silly, in my opinion. I just ended up putting sugar in my coffee again. There are all kinds of loopholes. Nope, I think there’s no substitute for pure hunger and that’s the only real way to fast, I’ve decided. What that means for forty days of Lent, I can’t quite figure out. I guess I’ll think about it next year.

Oh, and while I was off Facebook, I noticed a couple of my “friends” did some chucking of their own. My friend count is less than it was forty days ago. I wonder if I’m relieved or hurt? I can’t tell yet.

In the meantime, I really do wonder if anyone can help me out on the “doing special things with your kids” categories. If you are one of those people that I stand in awe of that pulls it off regularly can you tell me if you’re happy about it or if you hate it? Does it bring an atmosphere of joy to your household or do you lose patience with your kids? Are you able to do all the daily tasks on top of it all or does the whole thing just go to pot? Or maybe I’m asking the wrong questions.

Maybe what I really just want to know is how do you DO all that?

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Happy Birthday, Geesie Pie

For Grace's ninth birthday today, we took a trip to the American Girl Place. It was very girly and very cute.

For Grace's ninth birthday today, we took a trip to the American Girl Place. It was very girly and very cute.

No, she didn't get the tree house for her birthday. But it was really cute.

No, she didn't get the tree house for her birthday. But it was really cute.

The tent was pretty cute too.

The tent was pretty cute too.

Speaking of cute...the grandpa was really, really cute.

Speaking of cute...the grandpa was really, really cute.

Each cute little toilet stall even had cute little doll holders for the dolls.

Each cute little toilet stall even had cute little doll holders for the dolls.

We sat at a little pink table on little pink chairs where each doll got its own seat after she got her hair done at the doll salon.

We sat at a little pink table on little pink chairs where each doll got its own seat after she got her hair done at the doll salon.

There were all kinds of cute people at our table...

There were all kinds of cute people at our table...

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And as someone at our table so wisely pointed out…it sure beat Chuck E. Cheese.

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Life in Red

I’ve been thinking a lot about blood lately.

It’s in all of us and we can’t live without it. It flows with a regular rhythm in life and it gushes and dries up in death. We use it to describe things coming together: bleeding colors. We use it to describe things venturing into places they don’t belong: bleeding lipstick. We use it to describe things that spill over with emotion: bleeding heart. It is actually the reason that our heart exists. The heart pumps the blood through the body, which makes us alive. So in reality, our hearts are always bleeding. And when I think about my bleeding heart, I think about the pouring out of life that cannot be contained.

Here are some verbs I like that can all be used when talking about blood:

Pour
Gush
Spill
Spurt
Flow
Ooze
Cover

Sometimes I like to try to hear my heart and the hearts of those around me as the gentle rhythm drums the life through us. I think the drums might actually be my favorite instrument because they remind me of my heart. Which reminds me of the blood that gives me life.

Blood’s kind of a weird thing to think about. It makes some people physically sick to look at, talk about or even just think about. But I’ve been thinking about it, just the same. I’ve been thinking about blood and rhythm and the rhythm of life and the bleeding, beating, flowing of this bloody, rhythmic life.

My baby will be nine next week. That means I have exactly one year left before I can no longer get out of jury duty by checking the box that says I have a child under the age of ten who will be left without adequate supervision. I guess ten year olds no longer need adequate supervision. And I’ve been such an adequate supervisor, too. But the beat goes on.

Pa pum. Pa pum. Pa pum…

And there’s life in the blood.

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