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Thu, Nov. 14th, 2013, 01:44 pm

I doubt many people have a complicated relationship with reading. Either they love it or they don't. Either they have time for it or they don't. I kind of think you SHOULD have a complicated relationship with reading. To me, reading calls for discernment yet also an inherent vulnerability.

But ultimately I'm a practical theological kind of girl. When I had no friends, and my mind was too large for my circumstances, I read a ton. Very formative in a good way. But when I finally looked up, shyly seeking approval, I saw that noses in books weren't helpful to me. To see me, one has to see more than books.

Obviously, I still think reading is good. I think I even believe it's a coping exercise with great benefits. But my stint of copious books is being set aside once more. After reading a complete series in about two or three weeks, I need to come up for air. Not cuz I want to, but because I don't want other parts of my life to pass me by. Duty but also delight calls toward a broader life than ink on pages or a screen.

My oldest daughter has started smothering me with kisses. Literally. To be honest, it makes me feel really awkward and I must have some very distasteful looks on my face sometime! Still, I do not deserve her. I do not deserve her love. I do not deserve her unconditional attention, ready forgiveness, and frequent approval. I can't say she wants to be me, but ... I think she's teaching me what human respect looks like. (I do respect my husband, of course, but this is somehow different.) She isn't necessarily obedient, but she certainly gives me weight!

So today's a day for me to be thankful for even more of God's gifts. :) After receiving the blessings of cathartic fiction and drinking to the dregs.

Wed, Oct. 30th, 2013, 03:33 pm

It's like Christmas. Going through toys to give some away, they're all clasped with new found love and joy! My kids suddenly feel like they have a roomful of new toys! Which will inevitably be forgotten in the next few days. Sigh. Still, I've got one sackful to donate and that's a good start. I'd love to be one of those minimalist moms with clean, sparse houses, but baby steps for this former hoarder. As in, half the animals we're giving away are mine from my own childhood. :)

I wish we could purge books but Ned's not yet comfortable with that idea.

As an assessment of my goings on right now, I'm doing ok. I could use my kids maturing slightly and slightly faster, but over all I think we're ok. I have a babysitter coming Friday so I can clean up a bit more. Elizabeth is doing well in homeschool. I'm catching up on little stuff and thinking ahead to bigger stuff, like the Christmas photo album and devotions due in March. I also volunteered to organize a retreat for statewide pastors' wives. Feel free to offer suggestions. :)

Wed, Oct. 23rd, 2013, 02:37 pm

I was hoping today would be a rice pudding day: a day of catch up around the house, surprising Ned with happy kids and domesticity. Instead it's been a particularly tearful day. We're having dog troubles and I'm not the best at making decisions with limited time and information. :( But we're making efforts, neither giving up on the dog nor being insensitive to our neighbors, so that's the first step.

Fri, Oct. 18th, 2013, 03:10 pm

So, having four kids five and under isn't a piece of pie. I'm still looking for rhythm and focus. And I'm not sure to what extent hormones are still messing with me or if the world is just a bizarro place. For example, I just found out that the coyotes in our neighborhood are especially bad this year. Coyotes. Coyotes! In our neighborhood?!?! We live in a stinkin' town, people! What are coyotes doing this far in town? And why aren't there community messages, "Parents, please be aware that coyotes may eat your children on the way to school" and "Neighbors, please be aware there may be some extra barking tonight as our coyotes infestation may, in fact, irritate dogs at all hours of the night." Bizarre!

I also can't tell the difference between normal life and catching up. Is normal life catching up or are these separate?

And, any suggestions on how to actually relax? Our downtime often goes to TV, which we enjoy, but enjoyment & relaxation aren't the same thing. I fear we're forgotten how to relax (or never knew).

Sat, Oct. 5th, 2013, 02:17 pm

I can't seem to eat right. I'm skipping meals & fluids during the day and loading up at night. I don't mean to, but it's like I'm not present enough in the moment to do what's best. But I had a thought finish itself the other night, which was nice.

You know how I sometimes long for encouragement? I couldn't quite place the why; I couldn't quite wrap my head around it, but now I have. I need courage. In so many ways, I am out of my little pond and bits of expertise. It takes courage to love to its fullest extent, to pursue excellence, to clarify the best in yourself, and even to seek beauty. It takes serious amounts of courage.

Four children take courage. Marriage takes courage. Whatever life may be, it takes courage! And courage from within gets used up. Courage needs to come from the outside too. And it is ok--even good--to recognize that. Because I may burn out, I may need time to rest and recover, to hide and even fear, but there is much, much more out there than just me.

The last of our company left this morning. It will be good to find and establish a new normal. I think I want to further simplify my life. Oddly I want to write less, joking about early retirement. Maybe that's because getting published isn't easy, and maybe it means family really is my first practical priority. :) Maybe I'm getting more realistic about my limited impact anyway. Got another sales update on my book and it leaves me feeling ... abstracted. Like I myself am an old library abstract on an index card in an old-school catalog.

Still, with great joy I was thinking about our Godchildren and the two more Godchildren we gain All Saints' Day. What an amazing reality rebirth and the spread of the Kingdom brings. Different, deeper, fuller than I could have realized as a child, yet in so many ways simple, pure, both human and transcendent. Not to be a broken record, but babies are AMAZING. Not only as themselves but as a revelation of us all. The existence of people is AMAZING and the potential spectrum of positive fellowship astonishing!

Thu, Sep. 26th, 2013, 10:30 am

I hope to learn that whenever I feel something is a no-win situation that it is because life is not a game. Interacting with others is not a game. Doing your best is not a sport. And love--not uncertain itself--stirs up an assortment of feelings as love enters this uncertain, un-recognizing world.

Being at home with a newborn, while you're supposed to rest and not work, can bring up so many emotions and reactions. I don't like how oddly complicated it is for me. I feel guilt so easily then, and I'm someone whose earthly joys are often tinged with sadness, this world being so temporary.

Part of me really wants to feel like myself again. But I can be brave enough to admit this is me too. I've learned a lot but there is more to learn. I've done good but there is more to do. And looking to myself is often the worst tactic and strategy. :)

I hope to be productive today. If I'm not yet to man-handle my older kiddos, I'm gunna start doing laundry and carrying things up and down stairs. I'm going to try to finalize a menu and defrost (commit!). And though I am neurotically scared of starting thank you cards for the baby shower, I'm going to do SOMETHING off the couch.

My baby is already getting bigger. I'm usually not really sentimental about this sort of thing, but life is getting me more sentimental. He's a good baby. He needs to get baptized, but that comes Sunday.

So much is prepared but there is life as we wait. Maybe that's the lesson I'm struggling with even as its a lesson I'm to teach. “Are you the teacher yet you do not understand these things?" Thanks be to God I'm not left to my own understanding.

Mon, Sep. 16th, 2013, 08:47 pm

So, I get this strong aversion to finishing the task at hand. What's up with that? I am SO CLOSE to having cleaned the house, but I've sat here doing nothing since putting the toddler down. I just don't want to do the final few steps. It's this stubbornness in my heart that I can't seem to mentally budge. :(

Sun, Sep. 15th, 2013, 12:43 pm

I've posted before about how I get minimal feedback for most of what I do. Well, there was a rehashing meeting from my last speaking gig and they sent me the minutes. They didn't go into detail about comments received--just summarized--but next time they want more of a question/answer thing than a presentation for my part of it. (Mind you, I gave a presentation around discussion questions and pretty much no one ever participated, answering or asking questions.)

You know, you try to encourage people. You emphasize Jesus and the Gospel. You tell them that the best they can do to love and serve their neighbor--their children--is to get to know the children and serve according to that: their needs, their sensibilities, their language, the opportunities of the moment, etc. And they'd rather have a list of things to do. "Practical" things. Um, practical things or short-cuts?

So, on top of end-of-pregnancy craziness, I'm feeling guilty that I didn't give them what they want--maybe didn't give them what they need--and I'm frustrated that what discipline I've been given--keeping things Christocentric and centered on the neighbor--hasn't been ... what, recognized? appreciated? put into action?

Lord, have mercy, because parents would rather have a few sentences to say to their children about keeping it in their pants rather than spend the time to get to know them and help them with the "puberty" struggles that can last most of a lifetime. We're such a band-aid generation, wanting quick, prepackaged fixes. We want to avoid seeing the blood, when we ought to be caring for each other in body and soul. Despite everything else, people want to treat sex & gender issues as though a one or two time answer is all it takes to love an embodied soul. :(

Fri, Sep. 13th, 2013, 10:29 pm

I don't mean to be overly pragmatic, but if Gus would just come (and, come on, Friday the 13th would be a GREAT birthday!), then we'd KNOW SO MUCH MORE! We'd know how much we've over-paid the OBGYN. We'd soon know how much we'd owe the hospital. We'd know where we stand financially for the end of the year!

There are so many unknowns and uncontrollables in this life. I wish they wouldn't congregate so specifically around certain events that deserve other kinds of attention!

On a positive note, Elizabeth makes me so proud. She wants to be grown up. She insists on wearing this purple plastic ring on her wedding finger so she can pretend she's married. Her vocabulary is out of this world and she clearly learns mannerisms like a well-trained actress! :) There is so much of me in her, yet she is so determined to be herself. It is truly beautiful. Hurtful at times, yet I admire it.

Wed, Sep. 4th, 2013, 10:11 pm

Got some good news from the doctor, and my grandmother, who'd had an accident, is now recovering at home--thanks be to God!

I have been so blessed by my grandparents. In a way that reminds us our foundations are much deeper than we might have laid for ourselves.

May God continue to be my builder! But may our few remaining grandparents have a healthy spell!

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