Thursday, July 24, 2014

the mess

This has been my everyday all summer long. It has been messy. It has been chaotic at times. It has been non-stop cups & clutter and cleaning up a mess just so that it can get messy again.

It has been good. It has been late nights watching movies. It has been days on the couch reading books. It has been all-day out and about. It has been less stressful in some ways with no homework and relaxed bedtimes. It had been more stressful in other ways. Like when everyone wants to play on the computer at the same time, or when I need to go to the grocery store.

I'm starting to look forward to school starting next week and having some imposed structure in our lives, but Ain the meantime I'm enjoying these lazy long mornings. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Just in the nick of time, this book came in at the Library. I read some of it on the drive to the beach the other day and I poured the delicious words into my brain and let them soak. 

Anne Morrow Lindburgh says that the practice of simplicity begins with simplifying the outside - so I'm thinking about that right now, trying to focus on one thing at a time. I'm thinking about simplicity in my home, simplicity in my possessions. 

Simplicity doesn't necessarily mean scarcity nor is it intrinsically minimalistic, but simplicity does say "less is more". Simplicity, I think, doesn't mean saying no to everything but the bare essentials, I think it just means that it doesn't say "yes" to everything. 

I'm thinking of the little house in the movie Neverland. They said "no" to perfection and extreme tidiness and "yes" to beauty and creativity. 

I've always thought I wanted my home to be a little like that one.

Simplicity also isn't about perfection.

In an Instagram recently Ruth Simons of Gracelaced wrote "There's always a cost to keeping up an image of perfection... and while perfect may sell a house, it's nobody's real life... let's all just agree to love our messy, real, smudgy lives. I kinda appreciate it more than I usually would these days."

Every day we are saying "no" to one thing in order to say "yes" to something else. We don't always think about all of our nos and yeses, we don't always take into account what this "yes" will cost in a "no" later on or vice versa.

That is what simplicity is about - picking our nos and yeses so that our inside selves and our outside lives are in harmony. So that we are living our values and not just doing what is convenient.

So I'm thinking about this and cleaning out my garage, finally. I'm stacking up and clearing out. I'm sorting through my kids toys and clothes and paring down what clutters up our little house... trying to find some beauty and simplicity in my small space we call home.

I also read this blog post from Maggie Whitley that encouraged me to keep working on this!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Today I am tired

This picture is sort of unrelated to the rest of this post - but it's from yesterday and it is just the sweetest thing ever!! Daniel let Josiah push the lawnmower with him to cut the whole yard. Major heart explosion!!!

Today I am tired. I couldn't sleep last night so eventually I gave up and finished the book I was reading. I stayed up pretty late, I slept on the couch so I wouldn't wake the hubs. So today I am crazy, deliriously tired. That "I feel like my whole life is a disaster" tired.

I try to separate the feelings from reality, I remind myself that everything feels wildly out of control when you're tired and that everything feels a lot farther away from total melt-down after a nap, which I intend to take very very soon. However, I did have this one thought that made sense, and I wanted to write it down. 

Whenever I've talked about really tough periods of my life I've often said "it felt like the dump-truck of life just ran over me, then backed over me and ran over me again for good measure." I felt like I had visible tire-tracks on my forehead that spelled out the words road kill. 

Today I'm wondering if maybe I tend to live my life laying down, maybe not all of the time, but sometimes it feels like maybe I do. Afraid that the dump truck is going to whip around the corner and run me over again. Maybe it's just easier to let go of expectations so I won't have to go through the agony of disappointment (something I've mentioned before - I try to avoid almost to a neurotic level) I tend to not be the kind of person to say "maybe that will be fun let's try!" Instead I'm all like "that will probably not be as fun as we think it will be, let's just save ourselves the expense and inconvenience and just stay home." So we stay home and watch TV. Which is depressing. And I ask myself "how did we get this way?! When did I become so physically & emotionally exhausted that I simply had no more fight left in me?" Or at least all of that fight seems to have gone to not eating all of the ice cream in the freezer and not screaming when I have to say the same thing for the thousand-millionth time. 

I have been saying, if only to myself, for the longest time that I want to be more intentional with my life. But sitting here, just the thought of it makes me want to cry. I don't even know what that would look like. It feels too hard. It seems too risky. I don't even know where to start. 

You know, I love my life. At the core of it. There are huge chunks of my life that I wouldn't trade for the world, but the details - they need some tweaking. I just don't want to live my life laying down.

I wrote the above on Thursday. On Saturday we went for a day trip to the beach, which gave me a little time to read in the car, and think. I've got so much to write about! I definitely left for the beach depressed and came home refreshed. I am so thankful God had the answers to this heart-cry right around the corner.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


This week has been crazy, in a super boring exhausting kind of craziness.

The kids have been sick with this random 24 hour virus. 

In between kids getting sick, when I thought maybe my bigs weren't going to get sick after all, we did a little back to school shopping (groan) and a quick trip to the library.

I've been reading "What Alice Forgot" it's heartbreaking. It is about a woman who has forgotten the last ten years of her life, during which time  she has given birth to three children, her marriage has fallen apart and she has become estranged from her older sister who is struggling with infertility. I just want to sob. But I also want to find out what happens. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

we survived

I meant to write about this last month on the anniversary of this happening - but I was overwhelmed with VBS, and not really blogging at the time. Yesterday Katie-Abigail and I were driving around and she was talking about this and I thought I'd go ahead and write about it now...

So - remember that time a tree fell on our house?

Yeah, so that was probably one of the scariest nights of our life. To be sitting on the couch watching TV one minute and the next to have a huge piece of ceiling come crashing down, yeah - for our kids especially - it was a really really scary night. Then to be 37 weeks pregnant and have to pack up our 100+ degree house. It was no fun.

Here we are, three years later. Looking back I see all of these good things that came out of that one night. We moved to the other side of town, into the nicest house we have ever lived in, where I started going to a family small group, where I met one of my best friends and pretty much all of my current close friends. My kids sometimes worry about this happening again. I tell them a variety of things. One is "it's highly unlikely that the same bad thing is going to happen to us twice" that goes against the law of averages, I think. Mostly I tell them "God provided for us that time that it happened, and if it happens again He will provide for us again." I also tell them "It was scary and it wasn't something that we wanted to happen to us, but everything turned out good. Really good. So don't be afraid."

For most of our married life Daniel has worked in the Pest Control industry, and this has caused me some low-level, always in the background anxiety. I've been afraid he'll fall off a ladder while he is doing a bat exclusion. I've worried he would get electrocuted inspecting a crawlspace. I've worried he would get in a wreck going from stop to stop. I have worried he'd have some dramatic reaction to pesticide exposure, but most of all, more than anything else I've worried he'd get bit by something poisonous.

Well, last summer that happened. He was bit by a brown recluse spider. My biggest fear. We waited and watched and I prayed and hoped, and everything turned out fine. My biggest fear - it happened, and everything turned out okay. We survived.

Some of the hard things that have happened I can already see how it has worked out for good. Some of the things that have happened I don't understand and I struggle to see any good in them, they just seem like huge ugly black holes in my heart - until I see how God has worked to heal and restore the broken places in my heart.

That's what I've been thinking about lately. There are things I tend to be anxious about - what if this happens, what if that happens. Well, for one thing - it probably won't. But you know what, if it does - God will carry me. God will provide for me. Even if that big scary thing happens, we'll be okay.

Monday, July 14, 2014


On Friday night I texted Daniel "I think Josiah might be getting sick" he went to bed freakishly early, he was way more mellow that evening than my usual literally-climbing-the-walls kid. 

I sent Josiah back to bed at least three times over the course of the night. I hoped he'd sleep well and we could go on with our weekend as planned.

No such luck. Josiah was down for the count on Saturday. Lethargic, taking random naps on the floor in the living room. 

Sunday I woke up with pain in my joints and spent most of the day on the couch, and reading "Jane Eyre" for the first time. I've watched two different versions of the movie this month, and two different versions of Jane Austen's "Persuasion". I felt better by bedtime but because I'd spent most of the day resting I couldn't sleep.

Today Eli is feeling warm and acting sickly. I am feeling miserable from lack of sleep last night and am trying to read more of Jane Eyre. It's been very good, though it is rather long and rather slow going, and has a lot of words that I have not read in a very long time, but it's a first person narrative - my favorite. So I'm trying to finish it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fish for dinner

Lately I've been struggling with the monotony of motherhood. The grind of day after day of trying hard, maybe some days more than others, but always wanting to be a good mom to my kids. At the same time motherhood feels like a 24/7 job with no pay... Most days it's hard to remember to be patient. I struggle to remember that what I sow I'll one day reap - for better and for worse. 

It's summer. It's non-stop squabbling, struggling, stress. With these brief and brilliant bursts of... I don't even know what to call it. Joy? It's a hundred eye rolls, it's a thousand small decisions, like who can play on the computer and if they can watch a movie or not, it's a dozen stale-mate struggles and in between it's laughter sometimes and hugs every now and then, especially from Eli.

The other day I was making mac & cheese for dinner, Daniel had requested it so that was easy enough and so I tell the kids look, I'm making fish for dinner (is it common knowledge that everyone hates to eat fish? I mention fish for dinner and Daniel jokes that he'll have to work late, I hear a lot of complaining on a fish-night) but I'm also making mac & cheese, so I'll make fish for anyone who wants to eat fish with me but if you don't want to eat it, that's fine, just let me know if you want some and I'll make enough for however many of us want to eat fish.

I think maybe Beth will consider fish a lesser of two evils, I don't know really what to expect. I'm making fish because it's what I want to eat for dinner. Because lately it has seemed like despite the fact that  mac & cheese was one of my favorite meals as a child it invariably makes me sick now. I'm making fish because this bag of frozen talapia fillets has been sitting in my freezer for too long.

To my surprise all three of my girls request fish for dinner. They ask for it enthusiastically, like it's the best thing I've offered to cook all summer. They eat it all like I'm the best chef in the city. The boys eat thir mac. The girls discuss vegetarianism and what a pescetarian is, because they heard that in a Gordon Ramsey show the other week. I sit back in surprise. 

The only reason why this little episode is significant at all to me is because in this moment I saw a little glimmer, a small sweet glance at how what I do day in and day out, all these moments of nothing - they mean something. The way I like or dislike something like fish for dinner - it matters.
I have a saying that all of these little nothings add up to a beautiful something. Motherhood often feels dull and dreary, sometimes it feels like this season boxes me in, keeping me from doing all of the things I'd really like to do one day. Some days I get lost in the nothingness and loose sight of the significance in these moments. So while right now what I'm hearing is "please turn off your Christian radio station" and "please leave me alone" they are also saying "please pass the fish". 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday at my house

I was thinking today about trying to blog regularly again. I was thinking about finding a place to start that is small. Maybe just micro-blogging for now.

Today we started a game of Monopoly City. It's going to be an looooong game, I can already tell. I feel like we are just getting going and we played for maybe two hours today!! I loved playing with my girls. We shared a lot of laughs. 

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