Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Give Up!

I Give Up

                Hailey never really said, “I give up.” It wasn’t her phrase. But Spencer uses that phrase constantly.  It is sometimes said with a smile because he knows it drives me crazy.  It is sometimes said half-heartedly because he isn’t completely frustrated yet.  And it is sometimes said in anger because he has reached his breaking point.  I would always respond by trying to help him or getting him to continue working on the problem.  Mostly it would work out. 

                However, Brooke has started to say the hated phrase. The thought of giving up is so frustrating to me because in my mind, there is always a way to solve the problem. I was thinking about how to respond one day, when I had the thought to tell them that they aren’t allowed to say, “I give up.” anymore.  Instead, they can say, “I am taking a break.”  Because don’t we all need a break in life?  We all get frustrated and I did want to validate their feelings but I didn’t want them to get fixated on the concept of giving up.  By saying, “I am taking a break”, they are admitting their problem and accepting that they need to start over or try again later.  I am 100% fine with that. 

                We all have times in our lives when we want to give up, throw in the towel and call it good. But giving up never did anyone good.  Giving up in motherhood can cause serious problems in the present and the future.  But taking a break for an hour or five minutes or a day or even more can be rejuvenating.  For me, taking a break is actually sitting still during quiet time and playing a game with my daughter or writing a piece that has been going through my head or baking orange muffins or reading a book.  For me, taking a break while the kids are awake could be laying on the floor and playing barbies or trains or reading a book or doing a craft or watching a show.  After these breaks, I suddenly feel like I could take on the world again!  I am not as irritable.  I have not given up on my mothering abilities or myself.  So, I say, during the hard times, those days when your heart just isn’t in it, maybe you shouldn’t force yourself to be in it.  Maybe you should just take a break and realize that moms are humans too.  That we are allowed to have a day off or however much time we need off and life will continue on.  And it will continue on in a better way.   Because after a break, our heads are clearer and the focus is there.  And suddenly the messy house or laundry or fighting children don’t matter as much.
My "giving up" culprits, picture right and left

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


5 minute Friday with Kate Matoung


Why is it so hard sometimes to share how I am really feeling?

Someone will ask, “How are things going?”

And I’ll say, “Fine. Everything is good.”

Then, I’ll really think about it and say, “Hey, it’s not fine.  My house is messy. My kids are crazy.  My future is uncertain. We live far from our families.  I need to eat healthier” 

So, is that fine?

Is that ok?

Am I ok with the fact that my “fine” is just a regular day of regular thoughts and regular actions?

Am I fine with knowing that we are stable as a family but maybe not so stable in Iowa? At least for the long term?

Am I fine with knowing that we don’t know if we will have another baby or not? 

Even as I type this, I am thinking, I can’t share this because then everyone will know how I am feeling and they will try to check in on me to make sure things are “fine”.

When really I just write what I feel better than I can think what I feel.

When I think about it, I go around in circles and end up nowhere.

When I write about it, I find an answer or at least a release and I also feel productive because

Hey, I just took 5 minutes out of my day to write.

So, write it out. Share it out.  Or maybe don’t share it out, but at least my writing it, I am sharing with someone who really needs to figure out my feelings…

And that someone is me.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Go Create something today!

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

                I believe we were born with the desire to create.  As young children, we use our imaginations to create fantastical worlds, relive the pioneer days, play army or house.  Many of us dream of the days that we will have a house of our own and a family of our own.  Many dream of our future job or college or just our next meal.  But whatever we create in this life, we will be remembered for.  We were designed to create.  We can create children, such a true miracle.  We can create peace, war, happiness, anger.  All events, good or bad, can be a result of our attempts at creating.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.”  Whatever we create will be unique to us. 

When I was a girl, I loved to create.  I would create a house made of children’s books on the floor.  Each book was assigned a room, handwritten in my girlish handwriting: kichen, dinning room, bedrom, bahtroom.  Each one served a purpose.  I loved creating an imaginary home for my Barbie dolls.  And the home was real to me. 

                When I was a girl, I loved creating art projects.  I would use all the glue and all the glitter.  I never professed to be an artist, but I did try to follow the directions and even color outside the lines.  I loved art, the paper mache, the macaroni noodles, the pencils which created “perspective”.  (I never could achieve that astistic ability.)

                When I was a girl, I loved creating writing journals.  I would write lines from school plays in my journal during church.  (A trait that was passed on to my oldest daughter.)  I would write my feelings, my thoughts and during college, I wrote in a journal every day.  Let me tell you, those journals could create a movie worth millions. 

                Now, that I am a “grown up”, I still love to create.  My pinterest boards are full of DIY projects, recipes both time consuming and five minute fixes, and sewing projects.  I have craft ideas for the kids, holiday crafts, lego crafts, paper crafts.  Anything that can be made with hands.  And when I pin something that I know I will never get to, I imagine that I will fill my days, twenty years from now, learning how to hand crochet, using pallets for projects and staining pieces of wood to look like Pottery Barn knock offs. 

                I spent time doing art projects with my kids.  I should spend more time doing art projects, because when I am finished, I am calmer.  Despite my unfinished work: the dishes, unorganized baby clothes, that laundry load undone,  I feel amazing just by creating a pretty abnormal version of a sunset with Crayola watercolors.  I feel happy helping my kids paint a paper plate frog, or a snowman or their name out of pipe cleaners.  The feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small the task, is not something you can manufacture.  It comes with the ability to create.  A pure happiness of adding more beauty to the world and teaching your kids that they have the ability to create that same beauty.

                However we decide to create, we are creating a footprint.  That needlework, that thank you card, that crocheted scarf, that secret recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars just might be passed down to generations.  Just might inspire someone to say, “I want that as a hobby.”  Might inspire your kids to follow in your ways.  Might inspire others to want to create a more peaceful, beautiful, happy world.  God gave us this ability to create because He wanted us to find happiness in our creations.  And we are His creations, His greatest accomplishments.  And I don’t want to do Him wrong by wasting any abilities He might have given me.
                 Therefore, my goal is to create more.  To stop pinning and start doing.  To feel the satisfaction that comes with completing something, from turning my pile of odds and ends fabric into that crazy quilt (or two or three) that has been waiting to be made.  Making that scarf that I watched instructions for on youtube that looked so easy.  To write more and complete all the ideas I've had swimming around my head, even with my kids up and needing things and loving me. To learn how to write amid the chaos or to write after the chaos goes to bed. To finish the story about the little brown house we lived in that my friend says would be a great children's book, to type up the writings I completed in writing group (my hard drive was ruined), to finish my A to Z about my husband. In doing so, I know I will feel more peace (my goal for the year) and fulfillment in all aspects of my life.  And maybe I'll have a new scarf to wear in a few weeks.
 I was inspired to write this by this talk.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The kids and I agree that God is the most amazing artist.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Send (5 minute friday)

Write with us over at Five Minute Friday at Kate Motaung's blog.  You won't be sad you started.
Send me the words and inspiration because I am feeling quite lacking today.
I sit here in Panera with a hot chocolate and a thought of a pastry and a list of writing ideas I have had over the months. 
But the desire is lacking.
Maybe it’s the lack of time.  Maybe it’s the sameness of ideas.  Maybe it’s the knowledge that I only have until Panera closing time.
Of course I can write at home. Of course I can carve out the time.  Get the kids busy with an activity and write through their fighting or laughing or creating. 
But the thought of knowing that I might never get through the list of ideas.
That the ideas keep coming is overwhelming and a blessing.
How do I do each idea justice?
How do I keep myself geared up to spill the words out until this screen, onto the page without restraint and second thought to what it sounds like, what will come out, what people will think.
Just jump in?  Do five minutes a day.  Which could turn into 10 or 20 or 30 and pretty soon I am on a writing streak.  I did have a writing streak a few months ago.
Then I think of the “to do’s” at home that are nice to accomplish but don’t give me the feeling of satisfaction that creating does.
So, I say, send me the words.  Send me the prose.  Send me the poems.  The ones that make my heart sing.
The ones that create a picture, an emotion, an effect that can change my life or other’s lives.
That my kids can look back and read, that my grandkids can look back and read.
That maybe they will get a glimpse into life as a mom
Or life as  writer
Or life as a wife
Or an Iowan
Or a Las Vegas girl
Or a chocolate lover.
Send me the word that will speak my soul
To their souls.
Went into the kid's room last week in the morning and was greeted by this icy sunset. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prepare (five minute prompt)

Preparing food is one of my things.  It's one of my stress relievers, take a break, feel good times.  It's not so much the eating of the food, though that is good stuff, but more the creation of the food.  It's something that I mostly won't mess up.  I will measure correctly, mix correctly and add a bit extra of this or that to add some more pizazz.  It is something I love to do alone or with my kids or with my husband. I love cooking with friends. I love cooking for friends, for family, for fun.  It

And this was a time I wasn't feeling it. Not feeling the juices or the writing or the desire to write, even.  And I have been wanting to write on the topic of food and cooking and loving old recipes.  But it wasn't in me.  And now I know I have started and hated what I started.  Or maybe it's just the beginning of a future piece.  Maybe one day I will come back and read this and separate it into individual sections and just go crazy with ideas. Or maybe I won't ever come back and read it, but it did feel good to start something.  So, don't rip up those "bad" pieces or throw them away or delete them.  Leave them, because when you try again, you will be so happy with what you finished and know you started from something.   So, maybe I'll just publish this and let any potential or wanna be writer know that who cares if you write something that doesn't rock.  Or doesn't speak to you.  It is still an attempt and that is what matters. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Why I don't mind taking the trash out...

            Sometimes taking the trash out is a reprieve.  You know those times when you are so squished in your house and your mind and the kids are fighting.  And then you step outside.  And you close the door.  And it stops.  The sounds stop.  Yes, the fighting doesn’t stop.  But the noises stop.  And you are alone.  And you look outside and you own the outside.  The sun setting, the trees swaying, the smell of Iowa.  It might be humid or 100 degrees or zero degrees, but it is yours and it is just what you need.  The walk to the garbage can, just across the grass is beautiful.  The birds are singing and maybe there is a squirrel running here or there.  I really should come out just to savor the outside, not because I am going crazy inside!

            And I look up to the sky.  It stretches forever.  The Iowa sky never quits, even with the tall trees.  The horizon just doesn’t end.  I might even find a few outdoor tasks to do: stacking chairs, thowing away stray cups from the kids, picking up toys.  It doesn’t feel like work because it is quiet and because being outside is my sanctuary.  I was not meant to stay indoors.  Winter is long. I have learned to live with it and enjoy it even, but the love of nature is embedded in me.  It shapes me and calms me.  Calms me enough to return back to the house.  It was just a few minutes, but I return and I am ready to continue on.  The kids have worked through their issues and it is like the fighting never happened.  Nature is healing to me and I hope I always have a few trees and a large sky to keep me company.

Sidenote: I also found “happiness” in doing the laundry.  I know, I couldn’t believe it either!

The view from my back yard the other night

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Theme for 2015

I am not much of a New Year’s resolution person, like so many of you out there, but I am loving the idea of a theme.  For a few months.  I have been thinking of so many things I need to slow down on.  To take a breath and to savor life and to stop, if you will, spazzing out.  I don’t know when I became a “Captain Control Freak”, as Spencer fondly referred to me once.  It’s from the movie Hotel Transylvania and once he said it, I though he was crazy.  Then I thought of the things I always feel the need to be in control of and why.  When Hailey is cooking and I am thinking she is going to mess up and I am hovering.  But why does it matter if she messes up because we learn from mistakes.  When Brooke is in a panic over being late to preschool and I think I have taught her to be rushed, although if she doesn’t get moving, preschool will be over before she gets there!  When William is playing in the water in the sink and I stress about the mess later.  When Spencer is playing video games and I think, “He’s going to have no other interests in life.”  When Blake does the dishes differently than I do or cooks differently.  When did I become this person?

Was it after the third baby?  When I stopped tutoring so much and stayed home with the kids more?  When I wasn’t “drowning in babies” as I sometimes refer to life a few years back.  I used to say, “Who cares?” when there was a mess.  I used to not mind being a little tardy.  I used to not freak so much over the small things.   So, I want to remember and resurrect that person.  I want pieces of her to come back and integrate with the current me!  So, here Is my theme of 2014, “Peace, be still.”  A few months back, I was rocking William one night and being a bit frustrated because he wouldn’t go to sleep already.  After a long day, I needed some respite.  My mind was racing over all the things I needed to do, when I started to pray.  I was having a hard time feeling any peace.  Then the thought, “Peace, be still.” came to me.  And I thought, I need to be still more. I need to slow down the pace and my life.  Even with the family’s needs and my schedule, I need to learn to stop and savor the moments.  To stop feeling like I need to constantly be on the go.  Allow myself to pause during the day to write or read or hug or laugh or have a hot chocolate.  The house will always need cleaning.  The projects will always need doing.  But someday, my kids will be grown and the house will still need cleaning and the projects will still need doing.

Therefore, my focus this year is going to be to calm down.  I am even on the hunt for a printable that says, “Peace, be still.”  Along with my favorite scripture,”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all the ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  (found on this blog I just found and LOVE!)  This year will have some changes.  Changes that will need some guidance and some clear thinking.  It is hard to be clear thinking, when my head gets full of so many other thoughts of things that just don’t matter. I hope to be more calm, more relaxed and be able to pass it on to the rest of the family. I have said before that the mom has to set the mood of the family.  And sometimes it makes me crazy, but I hope that this will be something I don't mind setting so much. So, join me, if you haven’t made a theme or take mine on, because we could all use some stillness.
Found this printable on this blog, too

I have kept this song in my head whenever I am getting a little crazy.  It has always spoken to me, but especially the lines:
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies

1. Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
2. Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
3. Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.
Text: Mary Ann Baker, ca. 1831-1921.
Music: H. R. Palmer, 1834-1907
Written By: Mary Ann Baker
Music By: H. R. Palmer


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