Friday, November 28, 2008

A Simpler Life

I am usually completely upfront and honest about my thought and feelings on this blog. Maybe that comes from my experience writing a journal (which is how this blog started) or my relative inexperience with writing to an audience about a particular topic (to pull that off you need to be educated about whatever you're writing about and I feel like I am only at the learning stage of these things...). So yet again, I post yet another "this is what I've been thinking about" blog. Interestingly enough, I find that is what occupies my mind these days, not the actual doing (which would be worth writing about) but the thinking about doing (which leads to overly-emotional-practically-useless posts).

The latest (and repeating) thought is that, like so many blogs that I am following, I want to lead a simple life. We are a young family of four, in more debt than my husband can reasonably make in a year (not including the two new cars we own) and we have four television sets of which at least one is running most hours of the day. My house is dirty and I am frustrated. Sounds pretty, right? Of course not!!! Maybe the problem is that I keep thinking about solving my problem instead of acting on my problems. No matter what, the time has come to sell our belongings. I have been changing slowly but surely and I really do feel the conviction to lead a simple, if slightly "abnormal" lifestyle. Things like using candles and oil lamps, making my own soap, washing laundry by hand and cooking using old-fashioned simple food seems perfect for our family. 

When I first started wearing dresses, I thought that the purpose was to wear a dress, that there wasn't much rhyme or reason behind it. Sure, I read the arguments about being modest, but I thought pants and modesty weren't mutually exclusive. Then I began to ponder feminine but again found that women can look feminine in pants. That is until I began to define feminine. I no longer think that women can look very feminine in pants. It is possible, but rare. Women these days confuse sexy with feminine and most of the time, I think that a woman will look feminine by wearing a nice blouse, but pairing it with jeans just kills it for me. What I began to discover is that the dress actually revealed the heart. It wasn't used as a cover-up or a distraction, it was the outward displaying of the heart. What I like about wearing dresses isn't their comfort but that they help me discover what is in my heart.

My household possessions do the same thing. I look around and I don't see memories of my kids building a fort or reading a story, but watching TV or a movie. My almost three year old is in love with TV, to the point that he specifically asks for it and "needs" it each day. To wean him off TV is a loud process, but better to do it at 3 than 13! I long for the days where my children and I go through the house cleaning it and rewards ourselves with time spent in a good book. That life sounds idyllic and fanciful and also unattainable. I have daily proof through the blogs that I read that this life is possible. People do exist without a TV, people do manage to spend time together as a family without stress and arguing, women are able to get their chores done during the day. I acknowledge that people rarely put their worst foot forward on their blogs (though I have no problem doing it!) so what I am reading is the best possible scenario. However, these women are committed to it and they are happier because of it.

So the material effect from all this thinking is that my husband and I are preparing to move and we will be taking an extremely hard look at what to keep. Questions like, is this good for the family? Will this build us up together as a family of God? Is this item going to steal time from my family? Is there a strong emotional attachment to this item? Is it necessary? Do I love it? From these questions I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff and (while saving money on the move!) benefit my family. This is a hard process for us and it goes against conventional wisdom. We are hoping to sell quite a few of our household possessions and not replace them at all, instead choosing to do without until we can afford to purchase them. We will use the proceeds from the sale of our belongings to pay for our move and pay off some debt, if there is anything left.

Have I mentioned the move? We are moving from Washington to Colorado in January which will put us much closer to family. We are all very excited about this move, but the logistics of it are a source of constant confusion. This next year will definitely be "unconventional" as we try to get back on our feet! If anyone has specific tips on how to go about selling our household goods, how to begin to live a simple life (ie. what should we change first and/or how to go about changing it) or anything else that is appropriate, that would be great! I have yet to delete a comment and don't have a problem posting (polite) dissenting opinions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Babysitting and Homeschooling?

I have been thinking more about homeschooling lately. Jordyn is getting close to school age and she is eager to go to school. We live across the street from a (bad) public school, but she is so excited about going. Awhile back, last spring, when it was still very cold and the dew still froze the grass every night, I was lazy in the morning. The kids were still in their "footie-style" jammies and I had (of course) turned on the TV. I was working on my computer which happened to be in the master bedroom, Jordyn came in at one point to tell me she was going to school, but I didn't understand. Imagine my dread as I realized that I didn't hear the usual whining and screaming. I quickly came around the corner and the front door was ajar. I ran out the door screaming my daughter's name, still in my PJs too. It was then that I noticed the two little figures in the jammies crossing our frozen field of grass heading toward the school. She was 3 and holding her 2 year old brother's hand sopping wet feet even in their little footies. Thankfully, they came when called and promised never to leave again without Mommy or Daddy. We installed a top bolt later that day.

This story breaks my heart twice; once, that she is so eager to go to school to learn and I am letting her and her brother watch countless hours of TV which brings me to number two, that I am just an awful, selfish parent. I didn't even hear them go!!! I have spent the last four years pushing my kids aside with movies and TVs so that I don't have to get involved with them, after all, I'm busy surfing the internet! I have a deep regret about the way I have been parenting. Today was one of those days. I kept getting up to do something, but sitting down again a minute later. I ran off on all sorts of non-productive tangents and ended up with an entire day wasted. It struck me that I wasn't a mother, instead, I was a babysitter: waiting until the real authority showed up and I could go back to what I was doing. OHHHH, I love my kids, I want to teach them, I want to nurture them, I want to see them to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. HOW? How can I even come close to doing anything like that for my children? I am so self-absorbed 80% of the time that when I finally do pull myself together, I am so busy "catching up" that I can't be bothered with my kids either! What a heartache this is... "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." -Proverbs 29:15. What a painful verse to read, but I must be made to see, I am forcing my children away.

Please pray for me, confronting this requires digging through years of personal baggage. I have been selfish from the get-go (just watch some of my childhood home-movies!) but I am a new creature in Christ and bound to sin no more, but that doesn't mean it makes it easy, it just means I have a Rock to go to for strength. Praise God for that!!!

So often I feel like my kids deserve better than me. I think that is where I come back to homeschooling. I know in my heart that it is the best method, that it is the right thing to do, but then I think about how excited Jordyn is to go to school and I think to myself, that it might just be better that she go. She would get a better education...even if it's a lousy one!!! As the pressure starts to build about what she should know or should be able to do or be doing, I begin to further doubt my abilities, despite what I know to be true.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Changing, Changing...

The battle against your flesh really is a never-ending one, isn't it?

The last several days I have been searching through my favorite blogs, reading of course, but also picking through the links that they read. This ever increasing blog roll has created hours and hours of "dish-procrastinating" reading but also a few new favorites. One of them is Team Bettendorf and the other is the Ante family's blog, and the wife, Kris has her own, here. These new blogs have just made me start to reconsider aspects of my life. Kris has posted some articles about headcovering (because she does) and I want to read them. They make me feel like I should cover, so I'm back into this debate again...I just can't seem to decide!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't Worry, It's only a Tumor!!!

My sister, Katie, has been in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals for about two years now because of frequent anemia, heavy periods, endometriosis and the fact that they were completely unable to find a reason for all the problems going on. Katie finally changed doctors to one that would be a little more proactive about finding the actual problem while still treating the symptoms. (Her previous doctor told her that (at age 25) she was a lost cause and needed a hysterectomy.) During an exam where the doctor was actually able to insert a camera she exclaimed, "Katie, I know what your problem is! You have a tumor!" Usually there would be some sorrow or upset, but there was joy in the room because this three inch long fibrous tumor that had taken up residence in Katie's uterus was operable! Not only that, but it is fibrous, and cancer.

Now, Katie is scheduled for an MRI that will determine the exact parameters and how to best remove it. Apparently there are three different ways to remove the tumor, depending on size and placement. It is extremely likely that this tumor is what has been causing the painful cycles, anemia, and is likely what doctors confused for endometriosis! Praise the Lord!!! I'll post more when I know what else is going on, but for now, I give thanks and praise to my glorious Lord!!!

***I stand corrected, my sister, Kelly (Katie's twin) informs me that it is technically NOT a tumor but a fibroid...I don't really know what the difference is, perhaps composition, but either way, I can rejoice that the doctors have a last FOUND SOMETHING!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics and Religion

I am not fond of discussing politics overly much. I always feel inadequate to carry on a conversation. I rarely have all the data, but with the information I do have, I make the best decision I can.

Though the votes are not all in, it is obvious that Obama is to be the next President of my nation. I am unhappy with this decision on a political level- I disagree (and vehemently) with many of his policies. I think he is the wrong candidate for the position but what I think doesn't matter. In what is perhaps, the first (major) time in my life, I can let go. Obama's policies are liberal at best, communist at worst. I can either wring my hands and fret or I can trust God in His ability to work all things together for good. These next four years are probably going to be extremely upsetting to Christians, especially conservative ones. I can be thankful that God is in control. Now I know to watch the sky and pray, for surely the day is coming.

I have always found it interesting that America is not in the Bible. The Book of Mormon added an entire account of the Americas and though I believe that the Book of Mormon is a false doctrine, I think its funny that Americans have always wanted to put their stamp on the map, but in the greatest Book of all time, we aren't there.

Anyway, Jess over at Making Home has a post about how we are to pray for our leaders, even ones we don't agree with. I commit to praying for our current President, be it Democrat or Republican for as long as I live. I probably won't pray everyday, but I will pray when I think of it throughout my week because a prayer is more powerful than a vote!

These are just my thoughts for today. In other, completely unrelated, news: I finished sewing a skirt today and plan on making several more over the next few weeks. I bought a new pair of boots at Wal-Mart for less than $20 and they promptly gave my blisters on my heels. Anyone know how to prevent blisters? These boots must last through this winter and quite possibly, next one too. I will take pictures when my wardrobe is complete!