Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catching Up & Moving Forward

I have a confession to make: I'm having a "Catch-up Day" today. Earlier this week I wasn't feeling up to par and didn't get much done, and then yesterday I essentially had a "day off" as much as a mom with two little ones can—I loaded my kids into the car (yes, in the horrible weather that we had, for those of you who live around here) and drove out to my parents' house for a much-needed day of playing with my kids and talking to other grownups. And playing Wii while the kids were sleeping. J

So today I woke up, looked around the house, and thought, "Who fired the maid?" Unfolded laundry was blasphemously trying to reach the heavens. My children were apparently trying to help me improve my fitness and coordination by creating an obstacle course of toys strewn throughout the first floor. And the dishes—well, let's not talk about the dishes. You get the picture.

And so this is my catch-up day. It's time to buckle down and get things back in order. And you know what? I kind of like catch-up days. Yes, it can be overwhelming to see the things that need to be done. But it's encouraging to me to know that it IS noticeable when I don't do the things that I usually do on a daily basis. And I like that I can accomplish just a few small things and notice a big difference. I also like that I have plenty to do, but that the tasks are not complicated. I can let my mind wander or talk to my kids while I work—and I can enlist their help, too. J

So as my mind has been wandering, I've realized that I need a spiritual catch-up day, too. Have you ever felt that way? You let it go for a day… or two… or more… and suddenly the dirty laundry is piling up and it is just too overwhelming to think about, so you just close the door. It happens so easily. But you know what? It just takes a few small steps to notice a big difference. God has got one heck of a washing machine, and it takes Him no time at all to wash us white as snow. It just takes a few minutes—while you're driving, when you first get up in the morning, even while you're straightening up the house and letting your mind wander—to spend time with Him, and before you know it, you feel like your spiritual house is back in order.

There is a downside to catch-up days, though, both the physical and the spiritual kind. They don't really let you make progress. At the end of the day today, my laundry will be folded, my dishes will be clean, and the toys will be put away, just like they are on most nights when I go to bed. (OK, I use the term "most" loosely… but I'm making a point here, so just go with it.) But I'm not accomplishing anything beyond the basics. I'm not cleaning out my fridge or reorganizing my pantry. (You laugh, but you have NO IDEA how badly this needs to be done!) I'm not making crafts with Grace or playing trains with Matt. If all I ever do is let things go and then hectically try to catch up, I'm never getting ahead.

That's true spiritually, too. If I've missed my time with the Lord for a week, and then one morning I get up early and spend 45 minutes reading and praying, I feel great! Just like I'll feel great tonight when I go to bed and my house is nice and clean. But you know what? Tomorrow my kids are going to get their toys back out; I'm going to cook, creating dirty dishes and counter tops; we're going to play and do crafts and create all sorts of mess, and I'm going to have to do all of this same stuff again—although hopefully it won't take as much time as it does on a "catch-up day"—to have a clean house before I go to bed. And tomorrow I'm going to have frustrations, concerns, sins, and all sorts of things that I need to present to the Lord if I want to continue to feel close to Him. That's just daily maintenance. If I only do it when I really start to feel bogged down by the mess inside of me, that's all the further I ever get. But if I do maintain my relationship with Him daily, then I can also spend time getting ahead. I can take a few minutes to read a Bible study. I can talk to Him about some deeper concerns than I may come up with on a "catch-up day." I can get more out of my Bible reading, sermons that I hear, even conversations that I have with others.

So yay for catch-up days! I hope that you can get your house—both physical and spiritual—straightened today! And I hope that tomorrow, you and I can both make some progress. J

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Katy’s Family Forest, part 21

You have all been waiting very patiently for this next installment—thank you. We're really starting to get to recent events here, and even though these are what inspired me to start writing my adoption story, they're still a little awkward for me to actually put down "on paper", so to speak.

So. I sent the e-mail to Janet oh-so-smugly. Frank had turned his back on Jan when she was pregnant with me, then turned his back on me 20 years later when I tried to make contact. He was a military man who had left a trail of ex-wives and girlfriends and a few children behind. I had no doubt that he had been, and would always be, a hard-hearted jerk and a master manipulator. Why on earth would she leave her husband and children for him? (Keep in mind that I was thinking this—it's not what I wrote.)

It didn't take her long to e-mail me back. She had talked to Frank, and they wanted to meet me. I hadn't been certain that this e-mail would come, but it was far from a surprise. Honestly, Janet had talked about coming to meet me before—back when we were talking regularly—and it had never materialized, so I thought that she would make the offer again. I appreciated it, but didn't take it too seriously. So I answered in the one way that I knew would completely take the responsibility off of me…

I told her that I wanted to hear it from Frank.

I hit "send" and I waited. I waited the rest of the day. The rest of the week. The rest of the month. And then I wrote it off. I knew he hadn't changed. I marked that off the list and moved on. The story, as far as I was concerned, was done.

(Incidentally, it's not done… so keep reading! There will be more! J)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Because I said so!

I did it. I didn't know what else to say, and it just popped out. Grace was trying to run over Matt with her baby doll stroller (You know, just another day...!), and he was trying to go down the stairs. I gave her the look, and she just pushed the stroller into the back of his legs and stared right back at me. I finally told her to put the stroller away and leave it upstairs. (We were heading downstairs to watch a movie--it's a bundle-up-under-the-covers-and-drink-hot-chocolate kinda day.) "But I don't want to," she reasoned.

"I didn't ask if you wanted to," I explained. "I told you to put it away."

She pulled it back and then shoved it into the back of Matt's legs again for effect. "But why?" she asked innocently.

Are you kidding? Is there really any chance on earth that she didn't know WHY? I tried to give her a full explanation, but I just couldn't bring myself to explain what she already knew. "Because... because I said so!"

Darn it. I have tried so hard not to use this phrase. Actually, I have to say that I am pretty proud of myself for making it 3 1/2 years before it slipped out. I'll try not to make a habit out of it, but I have to say... It worked! She left the stroller upstairs and came down without incident.

By the way, my kids have been an absolute riot lately. Here are a couple of highlights...
  • A few mornings ago, I was getting dressed, doing my hair, etc. Gracie decided to play in our tub, which is a corner tub with a little shelf area on the back (it was dry, she was dressed--she just wanted to sit in there and play). She was playing with some toys on the shelf, where we have a big 4-wick candle. I went into the next room, and Grace called me back, "Mommy! Come here--I want to show you something!" So I walked back into the room and she said, "Look! Oh. Wait a minute. If I tell you I broke the black things on the candle, will you be angry or not angry?" (The wicks.) I burst out laughing, since I could GUESS what she had done, and I said, "It's no big deal, honey." To which she replies, "OK. I broke the black things on the candle." :-)
  • Yesterday I told Grace that she needed to appreciate something (I don't remember what). She said, "Mommy, 'appreciate' means when Mommy tells you what to think." :-)
  • Matt has taken to calling his poop "boogers." It cracks me up every single time he runs up to me with his hand on his backside saying, "Boogers! Boogers!"

OK, just wanted to share a few smiles with you all this morning. I need to get back to watching "Cars" now because it has been a full 24 hours since the last time I saw it! I hope you're all keeping warm, and I'll be talking to you again soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Post-Vacation Randomness

Greetings! We are officially home from vacation and ready to start 2009. :-) I have a few hours of free time, which I plan to spend e-mailing, reading (more on that later), and blogging, so you should have more to read in the near future. But for today I just wanted to give you all a few updates on the things that are spinning around in my head.
  • First, "spinning" was not a random word choice--my head is quite literally spinning these days. I just started on a new perscription, and it is making me VERY dizzy. My doctor assures me that it will only last a few days. For now, though, it's kinda like being tipsy and sober at the same time--not entirely without merit. ;-)
  • Our trip was wonderful! The four of us went, along with my mother-in-law and her best friend, and two other of our employees. We actually went on a cruise that left out of Miami and then made 3 stops in the Bahamas. The weather was wonderful, the ship was very nice, and we had a great time all around. I was thankful to have a port of call every day, because the time that we were trying to keep the kids occupied on the ship was a little bit stressful. This was mainly because it was an older ship (The newer ones have all kinds of cool stuff for kids, even little ones like ours), so it wouldn't prevent me from taking them in the future.
  • The absolute highlight of the trip for me (and for Jon) was taking Grace dancing. Our room and his mom's room were adjoining, so at night we would put the kids to bed and then go to her room (with a monitor)--and most nights she came back for the night before 9PM and stayed there with the kids while we went out. (It was awesome!) Anyway, one night we decided to put Matt to bed and then let Grace stay up with us. We took her to see a live band, and she had a BLAST dancing the night away. It was without a doubt one of the cutest things I have ever seen.
  • I would love to be able to share more of our trip with you all... but I have no photographic evidence of our vacation. No, I did not suddenly lost interest in photos and scrapbooking--I actually took TONS of photos. But they did not make it home with me. My camera disappeared on our last day of the trip. I have shed many tears over my lost photos. I am not totally giving up--I plan to call the cruise line today to see if it happened to turn up.
  • We came home from our trip to the news that my uncle--my dad's brother--had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He and my aunt live in California, but they had just been home to visit shortly before Christmas, and we had them over for brunch one morning. This was completely out of the blue for everyone. Please keep his wife and family (two grown children and two grandchildren) in your prayers.
  • I have a new guilty pleasure: the Twilight series. Jon got me the first book for Christmas, and I read it in 2 days on our trip! I thought I was going to lose my mind when I couldn't get the next book on the ship or in port--in fact, I just picked it up at Target today. And I'm already over 50 pages into it.
  • If you are one of the many people I have been neglecting for the past several weeks or months... I'm sorry. Please bear with me. In addition to the actual crazy schedule/circumstances that we've had, my emotions have also been overloaded. This has actually been going on for about 2 years now (since Matt was born), but it had started to get worse again in the past few months. I am finally getting help, so I promise to be a better friend and person now. :-)
  • I have resolved that 2009 will not be as crazy busy as 2008, but so far that's not working out so well for me. I think that every weekend in January and February are already jammed!
  • I am taking some steps to actually make some money this year. I am writing this here not so much because you all care if I am making money or not, but because writing it down makes me accountable--more likely to actually follow through!

OK, I am starting to bore myself here, so if you are still with me, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate! :-) I look forward to sharing more with you soon!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

100 Things

I wanted to post at least one more time before we left for vacation (tomorrow), so when Wendy tagged me with this, it seemed like the perfect packing break.

RULES: There are 100 statements and you bold / change the colors of the ones you have done. Grab it and play for yourself!! When you post this on your own blog, come back and link me to your post! and tag four friends while you're at it :o)

*Hint* If you are using Blogger, before you paste the text, click over to the "edit html" tab instead of "compose", and when you paste, it will keep the vertical formatting!

I'm tagging:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (orchestra)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten cavier.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day