Priorities

The Waltons

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During this time I have been recuperating from surgery, I have taken some time to look at things in my life, as I alluded to in my post yesterday.   Much of my time was spent in front of the TV, as my surgery took my right arm and hand out of commission. 

I am a serious sucker for TV shows that were popular when I was growing up.  In particular, shows that portray life as I would like it to be.  One show that I never grow tired of watching is “The Waltons”.   There are so many things about that family that I would like to include in my own family. 

First, let’s start with the things that I would like to include but will probably never happen.  The chances of me living on a mountain, surrounded by family and friends is probably not going to happen.  I would be content with about 7-10 acres that contain a small woods, a stream, a large yard where I can plant a garden, and farmhouse similar to the one the Waltons lived in, but with a few more modern amenities – a couple more bathrooms,  and a gas range/oven.  Being a SAHM to a large family with a husband that worked from home is probably not in the cards either, but I can still dream. 

Now for the things that I can incorporate into my family.  Slowing down.  Being involved in every activity at school and church is not something that our family must do.  Family dinners.  There is absolutely no reason that my family cannot sit down to dinner at the table, say grace and share our day with each other at least 5 times a week.  Turning off the TV.  A lot of people will say that watching TV is the modern version of listening to the radio.  I sincerely disagree.  The TV is something that seems to suck my children into it.  There are many other activities that we can be doing – listening to music, listening to books on CD, reading books out-loud to each other, playing games with each other.  All of those activities encourage interaction with each other.  Choosing activities that support our Christian beliefs.  There are a lot of worthwhile activities that my children can get involved in through school.  But there is an edge to all of them – fund-raising, competition, and interacting with lots of children who don’t share our value of respect.  I am not saying that I want to totally shelter my children from these things, but I think elementary school is a bit too young for it to infiltrate every part of their lives.  Talking to my children.  I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the day, bouncing from activity to activity, getting homework done, getting chores done, I realize that I have not really talked to my girls.  I am missing golden opportunities to get to know them, to help guide them to follow Christ, to become compassionate, respectful adults. 

So, things in my house need to change.  No they are going to change.  Step by step I am going to reclaim my family.  I am going to take a step back in time and enjoy the simple things.  It is not going to be easy.  It is not going to be without some withdrawal pains.  But I think my family will be the richer for it.

The arm still works

Hi everyone -
I hope I have not lost all 4 of my readers! Sorry I disappeared for such a long time. I had surgery on my shoulder for a rotator cuff tear. I had no idea who limited I would be for such a long time. Life is slowly starting to return to normal, so I can now start to repost, though I won’t be posting daily quite yet. I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and my family during my forced down time. I also found out a lot about who really lives what they preach. Those are going to be the topics that I write about over the next few days. I hope you don’t mind my deviation from my “normal” routine. In fact, I hope you all are still there!

Trashy Tuesday

I have a lot of things I could talk about today.

I could talk about how Hubby got a lot of his office organized. It looks awesome, by the way.

I could address that our Christmas tree is down and the rest of the decorations are gathered in one place, waiting to be packed neatly into boxes.  I love the way the family room gets suddenly bigger, but I miss the soft glow of the twinkle lights and the warmth of all my handmade decorations made by my parents and friends.

I could shout from the rooftops my overwhelming joy that while we were putting things back into the closet where the holiday decorations vacation, we were putting the remainder of the miscellaneous boxes in the order we want to go through them during the rest of the winter when Hubby found the discs containing all the pictures from our trip to adopt our oldest.  I thought those precious pictures were forever lost.

Instead I am going to talk about a different type of organizing and housekeeping.  The interior, emotional kind.

Ellen over at FatGirlWearingThin has started a challenge called the Hate Loss challenge.   I have joined this challenge because the only way that I am going to be able to continue to clean up and organize my physical house is to clean up my emotional/spiritual house.    I am constantly amazed at how one plays right into the other.  The more I learn to like myself, to accept who I am, and honestly look at the things that are good and the things that need to be tweaked a bit, the better I am able to cope with the stresses from the outside – I am able to let go of the unimportant stuff in my house and create a place of comfort for my family.

I find the best way to work on that interior side to be dispassionate and honest.  I do have some things that need a lot of work, but I also have some really great things about myself as well.  I am overweight – but I still have twinkling blue eyes.   I may not be able to keep up with my girls because I am so deconditioned – but I have the ability to create a plan to correct that situation and one day I will be able to participate in more of their physical activities.   My goal, my plan to defeat that little voice inside me that is quick to point out the bad about myself, is to counter each negative thought with something good about myself.    Eventually the positive WILL sound out louder than the negative.  Eventually I will be able to not cut myself to emotional shreds when I look at other people.

So here it to getting rid of the emotional trash in my life.  Is there anyone else who would like to join me?

Motivation Monday – New Year Attitude

Unknown Person
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Julie, over at Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss wrote something in  one of her first posts of the new year.  I honestly don’t remember what the rest of the post was about (click on the link to find out – poke around over there if you have a chance, she has some really neat projects and thoughts), but this line, I find -

inspiring

freeing

hopeful

Oh – I guess you want to know what that line was, huh?

BUT- there’s an exciting year ahead of us,

full of things that have never been.

Sit with that for a moment.

Does that line make shivers go up and down your spine or does it fill you with dread?

Does it open vistas that you never imagined or does it make you want to climb back in bed and hide?

Does it encourage you to charge out your front door and find those things, or do you want to lock the door in fear that what is to come is worse than what has been?

Last spring I would have answered dread, bed, and worse.  But as I have written in the last few months, there was some sort of switch that was clicked in me this past year.  I know that God had a lot to do with it.  You see, I am a slow learner when it comes to His lessons and I was trying to take charge of my life without consulting Him.  He was allowing me flounder, to learn some lessons.  When I finally looked up at Him and asked for His help, gave Him the problems to fix instead of trying to fix them on my own, allowed my heart to be fully embraced by Him.

Now I am eager to find out what is in store for me this year.  I am looking forward to identifying the blessings that I am given each day.  I am anxious to set out on the path called 2011 and see where the journey leads me and who I meet and what I see and do.  I am really interested to discover who I am going to be at the end of the year!

So how about you?

What sort of emotion does the phrase create in you?



Family Friday

I love crafts.

Between my gramma having a crochet hook in my hand from the time I was 5, and her ability to make anything fun, and her depression era frugality – well, I was destined to craft.

But I got hung up somewhere on rules, “doing it right” and all the other things that can stifle creativity.

Then along came the girls – those wonderful, fun, creative and MESSY children who did not listen to instructions.   At the time I was way too into my perfectionistic phase to even consider letting them do something that was not going turn out perfect and showcase their perfect genius.  (Do you notice a trend there)

This past year of financial chaos has really made me appreciate moments instead of things.  It has allowed me to not try to be perfect and just have fun creating with my girls.   They love the creative process.  Many times they teach me a new way of doing something because they aren’t limited by the box in which we so often place ourselves.  And you know what else – sometimes I actually come out looking like a superstar when something actually works!

We recently did a craft using crochet thread, water balloons, glue, water, salt and food coloring.  This is NOT my original idea.  I know I got the idea off the internet.  As soon as I find the link I will put it on my Favorite Links for Kids page.

The premise is that air inflated water balloons are wrapped with crochet thread.  Then a mixture of 1/2 glue and 1/2 water is brushed over the thread until saturated.   At this point glitter is sprinkled on the project.  You then hang up the project until it dries, pop the balloon and you have a really cool ball that can be used as a Christmas ornament, hung in a window (they make really neat shadows)  or whatever you want to do with them.

My only original thought to this was a glitter substitute.  I did not have any glitter on hand.  I also hate that once glitter is introduced into our house it takes up permanent residence in the carpeting, on the furniture, and on any surface that could be touched by little hands.  So I was trying to come up with something that might be a little less invasive.  I put about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of table salt in 4 small bowls (like fruit bowls), then I (or rather my oldest)  added 3 drops of food coloring to each bowl.  I sent her to spread out our craft sheet on the entryway floor while I mixed up the salt until the color was evenly distributed.  (By the way, our craft sheet is the plastic sheet we used under the high chair for both girls. Now we use it as their craft sheet – it saved it from the landfill, wipes clean, will cover my kitchen table if there are only 2 people working on the crafts, and lets me remember their baby stage!

So here they are – our decorative balls.

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I swear that I will post the link to the tutorial when I find the website.

Thoughtful Thursday – Your Tongue

My mom quit working when I was born.  One reason was because she and my father decided having her at home with me was something they were willing to sacrifice her income to achieve.  Another reason was because my dad was a street cop at the time, which required him to change shifts every few weeks – 3 weeks on days, 3 weeks on evenings, 3 weeks on nights.   My mother was very, very good at protecting our family time.  While I remember having to be quiet during the weeks that dad worked nights, I rarely remember feeling like my dad’s schedule interfered in our time as a family.  I am sure that took a lot of work by both of them.   I know that they both sacrificed a lot to ensure that I was able to benefit from their undivided attention. 

My question is how were they able to do that?  I look at my life, at that of my girls, and my husband.  Financially, there is no way to have me stay at home, given the fact that I carry the benefits for the family.  But how can I ensure that the girls benefit from undivided attention, that they don’t feel lost in the business of daily life? 

I am trying to adjust my schedule to be available for them.

I make sure that either I or Hubby is available to be at their activities (such as Girl Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, VBS, etc).

I demand an evening a week where we have either a family game night or family movie night. 

I attempt to cook meals and insist that we sit down as a family for dinner a minimum of 4 nights a week. 

But one thing that gets lost in there is time for me and time for my marriage.  How do I meet everyone’s needs?

One way is to follow my dad’s advice -

Put the tip of my tongue on the roof of my mouth and say “NO”

But that is often easier said than done. 

There are so many expectations….

I found this article very helpful.  She discusses not only what saying no means, but also what saying yes means as well. 

At this, the beginning of the new year and filling in of new calendars, I am going to commit to looking at not only what I say yes to, but also what I will be saying no to in that yes.  I commit to being much more intentional in my schedule. 

How about you? Are you going to place your tongue at the roof of your mouth and say NO?