Saturday, August 22, 2009

what a week

Yes, I'm re-using that generic post title because it is (once again) so appropriate. This was our first week of homeschooling for the 2009-2010 school year. We really didn't take a long break as we've been working on improving Noodle's reading this summer, but I was implementing a new approach so this was our first week of that. We are actually taking this week off because of a family reunion, but to stay on schedule I wanted to start this last week. It went really well. The kids enjoyed their activities and studies (for the most part...for some reason Noodle is a bit resistant to math even though it gives her no trouble) and we had some fun along the way. For those of you who just can't get enough of my life, you are welcome to check out my homeschool blog. I won't be at all hurt if you don't, but there it is. If you notice me MIA from this blog, there's a fair chance I might be over there.

Yesterday my SIL Anita was over here and she did a super awesome job organizing some of the craft/art/school stuff we keep in the kitchen. The same stuff that I've been looking at for weeks and thinking, "How should I organize that?" So I had the painful realization that I have no inherent talent for organization. Yeah, I really should have realized this before, but when I saw how nicely she'd done it, it hit me that other people do possess this talent. I think before I'd just assumed that it was hard for everyone, but organized people just worked through the difficulty. So maybe it should be a relief to realize that I don't have the talent, but instead I was kind of disappointed, as it seems like a pretty awesome talent to have. I see things how they are and think, "Hm, it would be nice if they were better organized or looked nicer," but have no clue how to do it. Every once in a while I get a bit of inspiration, like with the "thing" I put in our entry way (I don't even have a good name for it...), but they are few and far between. Oh well! A friend on facebook said I should just look at the bright side and say that I have a high tolerance for chaos!

Sprout is sitting up so well now. He loves to sit up and play with toys, and he will also lean waaaay forward or sideways to reach something else. He still topples over on occasion, but much less frequently than he was a week ago. He's also started babbling, which is really fun. A couple weird things he is doing right now is "noodle arms" when he is sitting up (waving his arms around all loosey goosey) and wheezing when he inhales sometimes. Noodle did the wheezy thing too as a baby. So weird.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

besides the usual stuff...

This is my latest project.

I know I could charge a lot more for my work. I hear that from people I work with on a regular basis. The thing is, I've never been in a position where I felt like I could drop $100+ on photos, but it seems sad that people who don't have the extra income should be left with only Wal-Mart, JCPenneys and Kiddie Kandid as options. So I like to provide opportunities for the average family to get really nice pictures. I'm hoping that making this offering to the universe will reciprocate in good ways for me and our family in the long run.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

God helps?

I experienced a crisis of faith this week. My job was only a year-long position, and the year has ended. For the past month I've been looking forward to it, as I'm planning to get our homeschool stuff finalized for this coming year and also have a little "staycation" time with the kiddos. But this week, as the end was imminent and no resolution to our financial difficulties has yet presented itself, I started to panic and become anxious. I'd been feeling okay, trusting that Heavenly Father had helped us this far along the way that surely he wouldn't drop us now. But sometimes you can tell yourself things and they don't sink all the way in, or maybe it's that we leave a window slightly ajar and Satan sends a doubt in. For me, doubts tend to multiply like rabbits, and soon they've overtaken my whole soul.

So, today was the worst of the past few days. I felt panicky and desperate and hopeless. I felt like just lying in bed and falling asleep for a few hours so I could forget about all my problems, at least for a while, even though I knew they'd still be around to greet me when I woke up. David came in and we talked for a few minutes, and I felt like I should pray, even though I didn't really want to and I didn't really feel like it would do any good. So I prayed. It was a random jumble of thoughts and tears and words, and I didn't even know what questions to ask. I just wanted help. I needed something concrete enough to grab on to in order to pull myself out of the pool of worry that was paralyzing my spirit. I was hopeful, but not confident, that I'd get some sort of answer. I don't often get anything while I'm actually on my knees, but that could be because I don't often stick around long enough to hear anything that might be said. Today, though, a line from my patriarchal blessing popped into my mind, and it was sudden enough and without forethought on my part that I feel pretty confident that it was from Him. The line was about my greatest joys and best experiences being those associated with my roles as wife and mother. The accompanying impression, though, was that I need to pour my heart and soul into these roles. David and the Lord will take care of David's roles, particularly that of provider.

The big thing with my job the past year was that it allowed me to not stress so much about David not having a steady income. Rather than worry, I poured all that energy into working 20-30 hours a week. And, lest you doubt, I assure you that I could have easily spent all those hours worrying and fretting. So at least this was "productive." Maybe if I'd not clung so tightly to the security of my job, we'd be at a different point right now. I don't know. Maybe the job was instrumental in me growing and having the paradigm shifts necessary. For the past few months, my heart really has longed to be with my kids. I've wanted to be a more engaged mother, and I no longer wanted to have a need to be so separate from them. Perhaps I never would have felt that longing without the hundreds of hours of work. Maybe the time wasn't right before for whatever David will be able to do, but maybe it's right now. I think that's what is so hard for me about this whole faith thing. The very nature of it makes it so hard to nail down the causality of anything. You can't say, "I did such and such and then the Lord did such and such, so see, Faith Works!" It's one of those things you can only see after the fact, never while you are in the middle of it. (This reality makes me think of the chain of events that resulted in David and I meeting/getting married, which I think is interesting and should blog about, but not right now....feel free to remind me.)

Anyways, to continue my ramblings. I was talking to David tonight and I realized that I don't have much faith in the "practical" (and by that I mean non-spiritual) realm of the Lord's promises. He makes all sorts of promises in the scriptures, such as Matthew 7:9, when the Lord says that what man would give his son a stone if he asked him for bread. We are asking for bread. Why do I find it so hard to believe that the Lord will give us bread and not a stone? I believe all that stuff He says about repentance and being born again and what not, but it's like I'm completely ignorant when it comes to matters of daily life. I don't often ask for help like I need it when it comes to parenting my kids, even though when I do ask, I know I often get help. My brain can't logically figure out how the Lord is going to help David provide for our family (even though this isn't my role, so I may not even have the ability to figure it out, but still I try) unless it is by "getting a job," so I worry and fret and try to find him a job. I have not been able to trust that together, David and the Lord can solve that problem. I have to have faith in this area. And I think the only way it is going to come is if I follow the promptings that I have received about fulfilling my own roles better. So this week, I've been planning to have a fun week with the kids, before we start school again next week. There are some homeschool related things I need to do, but other than that, I've been wanting to go do the fun things that I've NOT done all summer because of the constraints of working. Granted, these need to be free (or nearly so) fun things, but that's not impossible. But the way my heart felt this weekend, I was all ready to spend the week fretting and worrying, and not doing what I need to do.

I want to find the promises of the Lord for temporal blessings that are recorded in the scriptures and make a study of them. I need to bolster my faith in this area.

I don't know if I told you that Sprout's middle name is Ezra because Ezra means "God helps." I felt really strongly that Ezra should be part of his name, but it didn't fit as a first name for him. During his birth, I felt strongly an influx of strength in answer to prayer, and we received many blessings during the time I was pregnant with him. I wanted his name to remind me of those blessings and the experiences. I think it's become a bit of a mantra for me..."God helps. God helps." But obviously, even with that, I still need reminders. I'm not done learning and growing. (Apparently, you don't have everything figured out by age 30. Whodathunk?)

Anyways, this is probably about 12 times longer than any rational person would want to read, but as it's mostly for my own benefit, I don't suppose it matters much. I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have, though.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

squabble squabble

So, the benefit of the weed-pulling has waned a bit, and I found myself needing to find a better way to deal with the kids' squabbles. Part of the problem is that they don't have as many full-on brawls now (which is good, and I attribute that to the weed pulling consequence) so it is hard to "punish" them both together. Now we just have more of the pestering and annoying each other, and then the coming and crying to a not-very-sympathetic mother. I've been telling them, essentially, to get over it and try not to get so bothered by these things. That doesn't seem to work. (In retrospect, and with the insight I'm gleaning from Siblings Without Rivalry, I can't believe I expected it to work at all. I know that my feelings don't improve when they aren't at least acknowledged as valid. I think I forget that my kids are human just like me sometimes.

Anyways, on the homeschool board I frequent, there was a thread about sibling squabbles and a couple people recommended the above-mentioned book. I got it last night from the library. It's great. I didn't realize at first that it is by the authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, which I read years ago and thought was excellent (I think I'm going to reread it after I finish the Siblings one. Also, last night david and I read in Matthew 5 the verses about how the new law is not an eye for an eye, etc. So this morning during devotional I gave a lesson abut those verses and likened feeling angry to pooping. I said that both things are a normal part of life, and talked about how even babies experience those things, but they don't know what to do about it, so they just let it out. As we get older, we learn that we can't just poop wherever we are. Also as we get older, we can learn appropriate ways to deal with our angry feelings. I demonstrated expressing in appropriate words ("I am so angry/frustrated by this" but no name-calling), with appropriate actions (hitting a pillow or jumping up and down), or drawing a picture/writing out words. It seemed to sink in with the kids, and I'm sure we'll all need reminders, but David is going to make a sign that we'll hang up, so that will help too. I'm happy to feel like I have some new tools to use, though. There are a a couple other thoughts I want to share, but I'm tired of typing 1-handed.