Friday, May 20, 2011

Things I like.

I'm interested in some things. Amazing, isn't it?? I'm a mom...but I have outside interests!

I am trying to be more content with my family as my God-given job and hobby right now, rather than looking outside of myself and my house for something to make me feel fulfilled. But these aren't things that would be taking my focus...just the things that I truly enjoy reading about, researching, looking at, thinking about, and being surrounded by. And I want to write them down, because every so often...I happen to forget what they were...

In no particular order:

- Amish / Shaker / colonial living. I love the ideas of living more simply in my kitchen. Not organically, although I think that would happen by default. Moreso the economy of space; minimalist furniture; the use of stone, wood, and glass; etc. I love farmhouse kitchens, I have open shelves for my dishes, and I have my pots, rolling pin, and Foley food mill on the wall. Not just in the kitchen, either. I don't like clutter (anymore), I'd love to be able to see under whatever furniture I own (except maybe the couch), and I often make references to hanging my chairs on the walls. It would certainly be easier to sweep.

- Tudor England. I can't explain this one, except that I read The Other Boleyn Girl waaaaaay before it was a movie and then became popular. I don't have the fairy tale myth-view of the castles, kings, and princesses, but I do love the realistic life and times of royalty and castle life.

I used to love ballroom dancing... I can't describe the thrill I had watching really good ballroom dancers, and how my feet would move on their own as I watched. I itched to be on the floor and move that way. I even took one ballroom dance lesson, and I ended up pairing with the instructor, who said I was a natural. It was a BLAST twirling around out there with someone who really knew what they were doing and knew how to lead. I don't know that I'm as psyched about it as I once was, though.

I do, however, still want the body of an Olympc volleyball player. I discovered that during the Beijing Olympics in 2008: I want to look like Kerri Walsh. When I watch people exercising, straining really hard, making progress, accomplishing their goals, becoming healthy, crafting their bodies into the image that they feel like in their minds...I yearn for that. Unfortunately, it's all VERY hard work, and it takes time...which I don't have. I'd also be doing it relatively solo, except for my husband's well-meaning support...but I think both of us know he's no Olympic coach.

That's all I can think of for now. I'll add stuff as I come up with it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The parable of the clean spoon.

This morning I saw a life lesson reflected in a clean spoon I was washing. It was icky...not four-days-old icky, but covered with some food of some kind, something that I expected to scrub for a bit, but with just a few passes with the scrub brush, it was gone and looked like new. It struck me how simple that simple, that something I'd thought would take a few minutes and some effort to make right again was taken care of so quickly, and to better results than I'd thought. There's definitely a washed-in-the-blood reference to be made there, but in the moment it was more a call to...contentment? Hard to figure out how I got there, but in one silly clean spoon, I found joy. It was one of those moments where things just slid easily into all the right grooves, and me doing these things -- being a mom, trying to live clutter-free, keeping things simple, putting a value on hard work and a little bit of effort before to save giant issues later -- felt worth it. And beyond that, made me feel a lot closer to these my goals than I usually do!! Hooray!!! Thank you, Jesus.

Then this afternoon I found this blog/website called Homestead Happenings. It's a Christian homeschooling mom of 8 who gardens, grinds her own flour, makes her own soap/shampoo/laundry detergent (and sells it on her little Crystal's Country Store website, no less), and finds time for website maintenance and a monthly newsletter. And I think......are you kidding me??? I have four kids and I often feel like I'm losing my mind! How does she get 8 kids AND the organic living AND the writing career?!?! It's not fair. [insert pouting lip and stomp of foot] However, in my defense, she doesn't have two sets of parents living with her...and I think some of her kids may not live at home anymore...she did mention a grandson.

But. Lately I've been thinking about turning my desires to be an expert at something...inward. I need to be an expert at my own family, raising my own kids, keeping my home (not my house) in order. And I've been thinking about paying more attention to my days...making sure I'm not getting so in the habit of trying to clean and organize that I totally miss something that's finally been organized successfully! When I walk into my kitchen, I see a clean kitchen table! That's no smnall feat, and nothing to be overlooked. Sometimes I even see bare counters and I think, "whoa...step back..." Things ARE getting accomplished, and I don't want to miss them. And I REALLY have to stop being in the mindset of "well, when I finally get the house clean I'll have all this time to spend with them..." because you and I both know that day never comes, but the day WILL come when they won't be in my house to enjoy it being clean OR messy.

Wake up, Carrie. Enjoy cleaning and organizing and let yourself thrive on order when possible, but don't let it blind you to your children asking to play with you, which they won't do for much longer.