Let’s have a Chat!

Hey Everybody. It’s Tuesday and it is apparently time for me to write my blog. And I’m not feeling it. Sometimes this blog feels narcissistic. It’s time to write about ME again. Uggh. 

 

So, let’s make this about someone else tonight. How are you all doing? How is life out in internet world? Are you crashing at the end of the day and seeking some mindless relaxation on Facebook? Right now I am sitting in my little boys’ room, waiting for them to go to sleep. It’s Andy’s night off and I am solo parenting. 

 

How are you coping with the holidays? Are they a fun-filled nostalgic time for you or are they a non-stop hectic, stressful race to the end? I seem to seesaw back and forth on that one. I am trying to have a slow, peaceful holiday month, but life keeps interrupting. 

 

How are you feeling with the shorter days and winter weather? (If that applies to you, maybe it’s summer in your part of the world.) For me, I love winter, but the cold weather gets to me. Maybe because my kids don’t want to be out in the cold, so then they’re running around the house, shooting nerf bullets at each other, or literally, climbing the walls, trying to see if they can make it up to the ceiling. 

 

How’s your peace doing? Is all right with the world or does everything feel out of whack? Me? Well, I’m in that interesting place where everything is out of whack, but despite that, I’m at peace and can feel God’s presence in all the craziness. So, I guess it’s good. I’ll tell you what, Jesus is the only one that can do that for me! I hope that you can find peace in your craziness too. Cause, if I’m being realistic, there probably isn’t anyone of you out there that doesn’t have some level of craziness going on. 

 

How are your dreams coming along? It’s taken me years to even give myself permission to have dreams. For a while there, just taking care of little kids was so overwhelming, I did not have any time for dreams. It’s not a great place to be. Feels a bit dead. I’ve been trying to let myself dream again. One dream is to be a full-time piano teacher. I had four piano students this school semester and it was really fun. We had a little recital of sorts last night and it felt good to see how well they did. It’s a small dream, but I’m taking steps towards it and that is nourishing to the soul. I hope you can find a way to, first of all, have a dream, and second of all, pursue it in small ways tucked here and there in your busy life. 

 

Let’s see, we’ll just skip politics. And sports. Read any good books lately? I found a new author I like, recommended by a friend, Amy Harmon. Fluffy, funny, PG, but also some stuff to think about. Just what I’m looking for right now. I’ve also been reading 1,2, and 3rd John, in the Bible. I found 1 John to be very comforting for my perfectionist self. I am never sure if I’m doing enough, being enough, striving enough etc. And the main point I took away from the book was, Obey Jesus’ commands. This is his command. Love God, Love People. The End. And that doesn’t seem too burdensome. It seems like a joyful task, not a hard chore. And it also feels like a load of expectations dissolves off my shoulders every time I read it. Good stuff. 

 

Well, if you were sitting right in front of me, this is about the time I would start digging for the nitty gritty stuff, how are the relationships in your life? How are you feeling about yourself? How’s your spiritual life? What’s making you happy these days? What’s dragging you down? 

 

So, you should come on by when you can, sit at my kitchen table, where the kids will run around us, kind of like a rock sticking out of the current in a river. We’ll drink some hot tea, I’ll dig up some cookies, or carrot sticks, depending on where you are at with your diet, and we can chat (with plenty of interruptions, but it won’t matter!). 

 

Good night friends, let’s talk again soon!

 

More is Not More

I am in a constant battle against busyness. Let me define what busyness means to me. It’s any time I have to leave my house. Yep. That’s about it. If I can be home all day, working on chores, hanging out with family, cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, wiping noses, breaking up fights, reading books out loud, basically non-stop activity from the time I get up till I go to bed…as long as I didn’t have to leave the house, it was not a busy day. 

 

Then I have days like today. The kids had the day off from school. Yay! So, at 11am I had to take one daughter to the dentist. Her tooth chipped while eating a hamburger at school. A big chunk came off. The dentist is baffled, it shouldn’t have happened, it’s in an odd location, none of it makes sense. She will now have to get a crown on her tooth. Good grief. So, we finished that appointment then came home. Then at 1:30pm I had to take an older daughter to a doctor’s appointment for what turned out to be bronchitis. Fun. Then, on the way home we stopped at the store. Got home, announced I was now ready to make the library run that everyone had been pestering me about all day. Loaded up five kids into the car and ran down to the library. Came home. Then an hour later, had to to drive my daughter to her job. Then three hours later, had to go pick her up from her job. (This child needs to turn sixteen and get her license!). And then, of course, we had to stop at the pharmacy on the way home to get the prescribed medicine from the earlier appointments. 

 

It’s these kind of days that wear me out. 

 

Everyone I know is busy. And most of them don’t seem to be overly happy about it. Maybe it’s a matter of our time-saving devices actually, in the end, not saving us very much time. Just think about it, if we didn’t have cars that we could zoom all over the place with, we would no longer be zooming all over the place. I know, cars aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but there is a definite appeal to a slower lifestyle. 

 

I have found that simply raising my family is about all I can handle. I’ve been on a long journey of saying No. No, we don’t have the time to do sports. No, I can’t sign up to help in this ministry. No, I will not be able to be a key person in this project. No, I can’t volunteer this weekend. No, we aren’t going to sign our kids up for the extra curricular activities. No.

 

As my kids have gotten older, they have wanted to be involved in more things. That’s fine. Our high school is only a couple blocks away. If my kids want to stay after school to be in a club or sport or band or anything, they can simply walk home afterwards. Our middle school has a free after-school program that offers all kinds of clubs and they bus the kids home afterwards. I can handle that. It doesn’t involve me getting in my car and driving anywhere. 

 

Here’s the thing. When I’m busy, I don’t have time to think and ponder. When I’m busy I tend to operate at a much higher stress level. When I’m busy I forget to be thankful. When I’m busy, I tend to get cranky and irritable. When I’m busy, I miss out on all the little moments. Moments like sitting quietly in front of the fireplace, just watching the flames. Sitting on the edge of my daughter’s bed while she gets ready to go to sleep, hearing her excited chatter about all the things she’s going to do tomorrow. Stopping what I’m doing so I can watch my two year old show me his “trick” of rolling his toy car really really really fast! Or maybe, stepping out on my porch to get the mail, and noticing the birds flying overhead. 

 

I find that when I take life at a slower pace, it’s a lot richer. It’s kind of like the difference between skimming through a Shakespeare play in an hour, or taking a semester long class that spends the entire time analyzing the play. I can zoom through a day, crashing into bed at the end, exhausted and soul-weary. Or, I can meander my way through the day, stopping along the way to enjoy the view, discover some hidden gems, spend some quality time with loved ones…ending the day with a heart of thankfulness and peaceful sleep. I, for one, prefer the latter. 

 

Yes, life sometimes does get busy, and it’s beyond your control. Stuff happens and you have to deal with it. But, I think it’s worth it to keep on fighting for a peaceful, slower life. We can say No. When it comes to busyness, More is not More. It’s less. 

 

Esther’s Walmart Exercise Tips

How to Get Lots of Exercise on Your Next Trip to Walmart

Because, hey, we’re all about getting in shape, exercising, burning calories…right? So, here are some helpful pointers to ensure you get plenty of exercise on your next trip to Wally World!

  1. Be really consistent with where you park. Quite a while ago I decided that I would just park in the same row every single time I went to the store. Even if it meant having to park at the farthest reaches of the parking lot. Since the row I picked is right in front of the main entrance, I usually do end up parking at the farthest spot possible from the store. But hey, at least I don’t have the agony of trying to remember where I parked.
  2. Don’t bring a list. This is very important. Lists guarantee a certain orderliness to your trip which translates to minimal walking around the store. Not good. Don’t bring a list. Or, if you are like me, make a list, and then just forget to look at it.
  3. Observe the contents of other people’s carts. This proved very useful for me. While perusing the peanut butter aisle I happened to see a woman’s cart with a large bag of cat litter. CAT LITTER!! I need cat litter! This meant I could then walk all the way to the very opposite corner of the store to get the forgotten cat litter.
  4. Don’t take time to think things through. For example. I started at the back of the grocery section. Got eggs. Went all the way down the aisles till I was on the opposite end of the the store, was choosing out some hotdog buns when I remembered that I needed milk. Milk! (Right next to the eggs). Quick, rush back to the other side of the store. Then, when I was at the milk section, I suddenly remembered  that I needed peanut butter, which happens to be in the same aisle as the hotdog buns. Back to the hotdog bun aisle! Once I reached the hotdog bun aisle, I saw the previously mentioned cat litter, but also remembered I needed to get badminton birdies. Which means I now needed to walk to two more corners of the store. Yay! More exercise!
  5. Don’t ask for help. This is good advice, but on the other hand, there really aren’t any salespeople around to ask anyway. On my search for badminton birdies I discovered the tennis aisle. Tennis rackets, tennis balls, pickle ball rackets, other various rackets of many sizes…no badminton rackets, or nets, or birdies. Around the corner was all kinds of baseballs, softballs, golf, table tennis, basketballs, volleyballs, etc. No badminton sets. Walked through a bunch of aisles filled with various sporting goods. No badminton sets. Oh wait, right over there! Lawn games. Of course. Badminton is going to be with the lawn games. There was a complete badminton set which comes with net, rackets, and birdies…nope, not what I want…There was a set of two rackets with two birdies…nope, not what I want, I already have rackets…Where’s the birdies? I distinctly remembered last year buying a little tube that was full of birdies. It does not seem to exist anymore. More walking around the aisles. Maybe they’ve stuck it somewhere else? After circling the sports section four or five times, I finally gave up. Guess I’ll order it on Amazon.
  6. Look for the shortest line. The entire front of the store is filled with checkout lanes. Of course, usually only two or three lanes are open, and generally those lanes are not going to be next to each other. So, you walk all the way down to number two, but, hey, there’s at least five people ahead of you. What about number fourteen? Back down to the other side of the store. Ah, yes, only four people here! That was such a good decision to move lanes!

Couple caveats. Getting your exercise at Walmart means you will be prone to impulse buys. Like today when I happened to walk past this bin of beautiful, large, red, rubber balls. So beautiful! I remembered playing with those when I was a kid. My mind daydreamed a moment and I imagined my two and four year standing in the green grass, gently lobbing the ball back and forth. How nice! I bought the ball. I then brought it home where I faced six children who all wanted the ball. A Hunger-Games-type scenario then ensued, last man standing gets the ball. It wasn’t pretty. Impulse buys are dangerous.

So, there you go. I’ve got all kinds of advice to help you live a healthier lifestyle! Tune in next time for “Wanting to Increase Your Time in the Car? How to Become a Personal Chauffeur for Your Children”.