Friday, September 9, 2011

New beginnings.

So...this will be the last post from A Work in Progress.

That's because I'm starting over. I've started a new blog. And I'm so excited about it! - even though it completely symbolizes a new book in my life (it's bigger than a chapter)...the next third, actually. I've definitely taken out a fresh sheet of paper, sharpened a new pencil, started a new day, with new plans, and new thoughts.

It started while hubby was away for 9 days. It was me, at least. And I think to both of us. To me, because I was okay. I didn't bawl daily. I didn't think I was going to die. I survived. And more than that (although I missed hubby like crazy), I thrived.

I feel like I grew up in a lot of ways. I've always had a problem calling myself a "grown-up" or a "woman"...I just didn't feel like I was.

But now... I'm tired of simply being a product of my environment. I'm tired of being a permanent attendee at the pity party. I'm tired of being afraid to do things. I'm tired of being lazy.

And I'm tired of having so much STUFF in my life that I can't think straight, and my kids suffer from it.

Stuff in my house. (I'm tempted to say that's the bulk of the problem, but I know it's not.)
Stuff in my head.
Stuff in my body.
Stuff in my mind.

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Proverbs 15:17

This has become a mantra for me. Like it's carved on a stone in the (very cluttered) landscape of my head. THIS MUST HAPPEN. My life is too full, too cluttered, of lots of things that DON'T MATTER. There is so much in my life that doesn't matter, that it's crowding out things that matter so much.

I hope you join me in my new space.

I hope you can join me in my journey - my quest, even - to...
...reclaim the space that God has given me - keeping our surroundings clear of useless filler.
...reclaim the time that God has given me - using it wisely and not wastefully.
...reclaim the job that God has given me - being a good wife and mommy, my ultimate forms of worship.
...reclaim the temple that God has given me - turning to God instead of food.

My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

If you follow me here, please consider following me there. There will be lots of grace, which is good, because I've got lots of weakness that is still very much a work in progress.

I hope you come with me to
There's more than enough grace to go around.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Computers and ice cream.

My stepdaughter is being big-time deceptive again.

I do not say that to be derogatory or to cut her down. I say that because I'm struggling with it. We dealt with it before, during the school year, and it has reared its ugly head again. (It involves her computer usage.) The only benefit to it happening now is that I cannot pummel her fuss at her about it when she's not right here. I have the opportunity to think much more carefully about how I respond. I have dealt with it as much as I can on my end (and, I admit, it included an eensy bit of vindictive anticipation [teehee] of when she finds out I have "dealt" with it), and the rest of the dealing will be done when her father gets to it.

I was wrestling with whether to go out at 10:00 at night to buy milk and gas (hubby called me about a really good gas price), but after this, I decided the cool night air was a good idea. I saddled up the minivan, and headed out, window down.

And I prayed.

I prayed that He would help me see the good in her before instead of hunting for the bad in her. I did that too much last year, and - Parenting Tip: it does not bring about the desired effect. I set about correcting it, but this uncovering tonight was like whiplash. It felt very yucky.

I do not want to have to deal with these same issues - these issues in me - this coming school year. Last year: practice run. This year: be ready. I want to know how I'm going to handle things. I want to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually prepared. I want to have peace and grace ready in my holsters.

So I also prayed for wisdom in how to handle this attempt at being ready. I even included a very submissive "but You said!!!"
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.          (James 1:5)
So I asked.

And He gave.

"Discipline," He said. Not in a punishment way. In a loving way.

When someone doesn't have the discipline on their own to stick to a routine or rule, loved ones can step in and assist. ACCOUNTABILITY, they call it. says it's "training to act in accordance with rules." So this is training. If my stepdaughter can't yet handle the great responsibility that comes with the great power of having unsupervised computer time, then we her parents must step in and assist her in learning this discipline. We simply remove the temptation of having computer time alone, in order to remove the potential sins of disobedience and deceit. (At least in this instance.)

It's not malicious. It's not a witch hunt. It's not neener-neener. It's full of love and grace (even if she'll hate it). Check your my motivations every so often, though: the intent is to protect her heart, her soul. We are supposed to train her in the way she should go, so that when she is grown she will not depart from it.

And oh, the freedom that comes from such loving discipline, when the God we serve removes temptations from our path - things we think we can handle, but really, not so much - in order to preserve us and protect us from bigger pitfalls just up ahead!

Now...who wants to come take the Doritos and chocolate ice cream out of my kitchen to protect me from that pitfall?

(I'm kidding...please don't.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

5-Minute Friday: New

I'm linking up with Gypsy Mama for today's 5-Minute Friday. I haven't done one in forever. I usually either can't always think of something to write that fast, or I'm so involved with whomever's "5-Minute" before me, that I can't come up with something original.

The idea is that Gypsy Mama gives us a word (or two or so), and we start writing, and keep writing for 5 minutes. No pressure, no editing, no backtracking, just a 5-minute stream of consciousness. Here goes...


I'm trying to think of something "new." Honestly, I am. Gypsy Mama wrote about the new things her firstborn teaches her every year. She's good at coming up with things like that. But it was her word, so I guess she had more time to think about it than the rest of us.

I just (well, in February) got a new (to me) minivan. I have a new room in my house, empty and ripe for the decorating. I just got new sneakers yesterday (ohsocomfy). I have some new pillows on my couch, and I love them.

But that's all just STUFF. I'm trying to pare down my stuff. It's just stuff! It's starting to drive me crazy, this stuff called Stuff. I have too much stuff. It's worthless in the long run, really.

And so, I'm entering into a new phase in my life of LESS STUFF. And not just stuff-stuff, but body-stuff, house-stuff, life-stuff, brain-stuff. I want to think clearer, live more purposely, exist in sparser surroundings, and pay more attention to my kids. Can't do that surrounded by cluttery Stuff. (I shouldn't even capitalize it like that, that's how insignificant it is.)

So along with my new phase in life of living with less stuff, I'm also experimenting with a new blog. It will reflect this new venture of mine. Wait and see.


Seeing in a mirror powdery...

This morning I made a very organized to-do list for the next three weeks. Very. Three columns in Word, sorted by due date, to be completed over the next three weeks. "Clean up baby powder in living room" was not on it.

I feel the need to announce to other mothers when I have reached an event in my children's lives that is a pretty uniform, momentous, across-the-board kind of event. Well, just now I have cleaned up probably half a bottle of baby powder. [cough, cough]

I was able to vacuum most of it, wet-washcloth the rest of it out of the cracks in the floorboards, and there's a bin of cars and car tracks next to the sink waiting to be rinsed. (My airways will be another story, simply requiring water and time, I fear.) I was washing dishes in the kitchen when I started smelling it. I thought I might've picked something up that had some on it; my 2yo son likes to squeeze the bottle, even though it's closed, to see the little poof of air. I keep taking it away. But when I started smelling it, I never thought...

Then my 4yo starts calling me from the living room. I gave my standard "I'm right here" response (because I am not a beck-and-call kind of mom; if you need me, come find me). He yelled louder. "Lij!" I said. "Come find me!" He yelled louder. "Elijah!!!" I turned around from the sink to march down the hallway, but I was already seeing the cloud being blown around by the air current from the backyard door. "Oh, NOOOO, Matthew! No, no, no, no, no!!!!" as I entered the living room to see my white rugs, white cars, white tracks, white wood floor, and white-legged, white-haired son. He dutifully put his head down and, agreeing with me, shook his head no.

I got a wet washcloth and wiped down his legs, then air-lifted him out of the mess onto a clean spot of floor in the hallway. Then I collected the cars and tracks and put the bin by the sink. I retrieved my parents' vacuum (I have a new one for myself on my wish list) and vacuumed what I could (there's still some there, because - let's face it - it'll wear away eventually). I finished by wiping down everything else - desk chair, desktop (keyboard before I started typing), plastic bag of Stuff, bookshelf legs, and finally....a tropical fish magazine.

My mother-in-law left it for my kids to look at when they were cleaning out their room to move back to Nevada. And as I wiped off the cover, beautiful colors seemed to be drawn fresh as though new, gorgeous yellow and pink fish went from dull and powder-covered to bright and something only God (and a good camera) could create. (Clearly not my phone's camera.)

How often does that happen in my life! I get used to blurry, dull things. I get used to my feet hurting because I need new sneakers. (This is huge to me because I finally have new ones!) I get used to my lower back hurting because I use it more than my stomach muscles, and I have bad discipline. I get used to the smell in my car because it's hot out and I don't feel like cleaning out the trash in the heat and humidity. (Who knew that salt and vinegar chips would actually turn into a something's-rotting-in-here smell?) I get used to being overweight because my husband loves me regardless. (He really does.)

This last year has been a long one. A tough one. A growing one. One where, more than I can count, I've said "whyyyyyy?" I have not understood what the plan is, I have not understood the reasons, I have not known what the outcome will be. I have learned to trust (mostly), and have faith.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.                (1 Corinth. 13:12, NASB)
I don't know about you, but I cannot WAIT 'til I see face to face. I can't wait to know fully. I can't wait 'til I see everything with all the baby powder wiped off. How bright and beautiful it will be, as something only God can create.

(Incidentally, it's fortunate that my coffee was in the kitchen with me, and not in the powder keg.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest post!

I'm a Guest Poster! Ooh la la!!! How exciting.

My dear friend Heatherly is on a social media hiatus, and has invited several of us to guest post on her blog. Today is my day!

"In this one particular area in my current life, I have been in and out of the hopeful pool so often that recently I told my husband that I was done being positive. I had no more in me, no more oompf to try again. I was taking up permanent residence on a chaise lounge."

Hop over here and read the rest of my post! I'm so grateful and privileged to write for her!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pretty. Beautiful.

For mothers of daughters... Please go read my friend Heatherly's latest post. She said it perfectly. I'm sure we either have or will wrestle with this very same situation at some point in our daughter's life. I've dealt with it, although a whole lot more lame than Ms. Het did. Her encounter was Heaven-written.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Self inventory.

It seems every so often you have to take stock of yourself, doesn't it?

I've been thinking about my blog. Just recently, so it hasn't been a real long contemplation. My blog says that I'm writing about the learning I'm doing in life, the way God is molding me into who He wants me to be, and how faithful He is along the way. Good platform. Nothing wrong with that.

But I feel like something's changing.

I don't know what it is. I know one phase of my life is soon to end, and another is soon to begin. Both are exciting. But other parts of my life are just as static as ever, with only God's timing to wait for. I read other people's blogs that are so critically integral to where they are in life, and mine almost doesn't feel that way anymore. I don't feel attached to it. I don't feel like it's about me. Hard to figure out what to write about, though, when you don't know your purpose, your calling.

So I find myself saying, "Okay then. So who am I?" I think I'll be exploring that over the next few days. Not necessarily in the blog, but in my head. These are some of my initial thoughts:

: I know I'm a wife and mom. Those are my callings. My highest callings. Not even writing can supercede either of those. Those are what I must concentrate on. God has given me beautiful gifts, and my focus must - joyfully!!! - be on them.

: I know this last week I have gone crazy trying to accomplish things in the house before hubby gets home. Today was a HUGE leap forward in that area, and I don't feel out of motivation yet. And I haven't felt much mommy-guilt about not hanging out with the kids, so I must've been doing okay! (AND, soon I'll have another room to work with, so it'll give us a little more breathing room.)

: So based on the last one, I know decluttering is huge for me right now. (It's always been a huge desire of mine, but I've been big-time active in it this week.) Paring down, living with less, living simply, passing this lack-of-a-need-of-shtuff on to my kids.

: I know I've actually managed to exercise twice this week, and I feel like continuing it.

: I know that God continues to provide for my family, right in the nick of time, every time. And I know that it usually happens even without me asking for it (I mean that in a shame-on-me way, not a wow-cool way). I know my prayer life downright s.u.c.k.s (sorry if anyone doesn't like that word). And I know that needs to change.

These are some of my thoughts. Things may not change at all in my blog, who knows. But I think I'm starting to grow tired of being a work in progress. I want to start being the progress. I think I'm hiding behind the process. I want to start seeing some results.

Pray with me, muse with me, suggest with me, while I try to figure it out? I'd be so grateful.