Love God. Love people.

Love God. Love people.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ridiculousness of Quarantine

This blog entry is a look into the lighter side of this 2020 Corona virus Quarantine. There is nothing spiritual or sentimental in what I am sharing.... I must document the lighter and more laughable sides of day-to-day life. 

I am remembering that while others are in the medical trenches— for which I am so grateful, my life is on “pause”, —-like most other Americans.... please know I don’t want to make light of what others are despairing or enduring right now.

And with that—— here comes my is necessary for me to write often, like singing or running comes naturally to others....this is my chosen outlet and in 20 years’ time, this time capsule of words will shed a light on my feelings and thoughts of now. Most of which are relayed with tongue-in-cheek 😜.

  • You know how music has a way of reminding of us or a certain place and time in life? The kids and I jollied our way through the drive-thru at Wendy’s for a rare lunch “outing” recently.  While snow fell around us on this MAY day...we counted the playing of Michael Buble’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” thirteen times over. This has become our theme song of quarantine.

  • Not that the trip to Wendy’s was necessary—- for me or the dozens of cars in line...mind you, I am struggling with the rolls that have rapidly grown in my middle section over the last eight weeks.  Really and truly, this teaching-from-home thing has been a catalyst in a whopping 15 pound gain!!  😬I am so used to being on my feet all day that I took for granted the favor that habit was doing for me. Rotten scale. Do not step on yours.

  • Being at home has fried my memory, it seems. Daily I have asked for a location on a number of items——- where is my nice silver ring? What happened to the hardware for the bike carrier? Where is your sippy cup?  Why can’t I find nail clippers— ever?! Most often, where are all the chargers??

  • It has been nice to see the outpouring of porch drop offs in the form of cookies, donuts, apple dumplings, but alas- the rolls of my middle.

  • We have seen enough “Beauty and the Beast” to last us the rest of my daughter’s childhood. She has been capped. We are done with that one.

  • The thought of my day, most days, is  “do something productive.”  The definition of that word has skewed since used to be cleaning windows, Swiffering floors, a few loads of laundry. Nowadays...I give a sniff to a basket of unfolded laundry to determine whether or not it has been washed....then I set it somewhere else to fold at a later date.

  • My daughter yells loudly.  My son yells loudly. My husband yells loudly. I do not yell (loudly).

  • Naps! Ooooh— these were somewhat hard to come by in recent years, but with enough cloudy and cool days in a row, I have relearned this art.

  • Can we talk about dishes? Dirty...clean... doesn’t matter— there is an abundance of dishes. And in that same vein, I have decided that granite countertops are overrated, and I set my mugs down with a bit too much gusto. I have broken 3 mugs and a bowl in the past 2 months.... having only been in this house for six months, granite is still new and way too hard to me.

  • My son loathes clothing. This, I knew before, but depending how long we are inside the house, we may not even have to buy any of his newly grown-in size.

  • In all fairness, he gets this trait honestly. I dislike wearing pants and so my latest fashion trick has been to wear my robe as far into the day as I can. Then, after I am too hot, I wrap it around my waist like a maxi skirt. Great look. 

  • I have also noted how much better I feel when my hair is done, and I have a base layer of makeup on. On the other hand, there is so. much. freedom. in not doing my makeup daily. I also enjoy seeing “real-faced” people on Facebook.

  • Everything goes better with vanilla ice cream.... our first few weeks on hunkering down consisted of several desserts a la mode- hence, again, the rolls of my middle.  We are honestly far better off spending $12 at a local ice cream joint in an evening out once weekly than getting the $4 gallon with our grocery pick- up. We simply lack self control come 7 or 8 pm....

  • Also, at 8 pm, I turn into Maleficent.

  • Teaching online school to 3rd grade has stretched me in good ways. I am proud of what our district has done and accomplished for the last quarter. It has some challenges, though....let me stop at that.

  • These two thoughts happened in succession: 

My children love each other so much, and have an extraordinary friendship.”  ❤️❤️

3 minutes later... 

Why do they have to always scream and pick at each other as soon as I walk away!!!!”😡😡

  • Some of the saviors of my pandemic have been: Jim Gaffigan (look him up!), Caribou Coffee (a lot of it), nightly walks, Lester Holt, and Disney+.

That’s all I have for now.... this has been my Ridiculousness of Quarantine.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Lull

We are in our very own time-out, America. Not the punitive kind, mind you, but the kind from the sports field sideline, where we pause to be sure our team is okay. We are being benched in a way that we have never been asked, for an unknown amount of time. 

In this lull, I know I feel all kinds of pressure to:

  1. make my kids stay on their academic game,
  2. all the while being sure they become super efficient at their chores, 
  3. as well as teaching them to love God and others....without really leaving home. 
  4. and....possibly potty train our 2 year-old.

From the looks of the self-made schedules from parents attempting homeschooling for the first time, I fall a tad below the rigor of other families.  We land somewhere between the Frozen 2 frenzy and workbooks & microscopes.   I need to mention, I am working with a six and two year-old.  

Moms, dads, caretakers, you have every right to make your child’s days enriching, fun, and entertaining, but you also have permission to have some idle time, without the apps, writing practice, and fact drilling.  Although we may not want to look at this as one LONG Saturday, it kind of is....with no end in sight.

It is a mighty difficult task to take the place of a reading teacher, math teacher, art teacher, science teacher, gym teacher, music teacher, cafeteria monitor, janitor, and principal. I have learned something new this week: I don’t have to do it all every single day....and it may only last until 11 a.m. on some days.  A few mornings ago, I was a rockstar educator with a math activity and kinetic sand.... in the next moment, I was tempering a screaming match between kids as pancake batter dripped on the floor from my spatula. 

So what if my toddler eats pickles at 10 am? So what if the two of them broke out the Halloween costumes to play “trick or treat” rather than sit on my lap to read?  We simply aren’t used to being home this much. It will take most of us time to figure out our norm. One look at social media can make you doubt your practices in this adjustment time, so just do what is right for your kiddos.

When will there be another time where we are FORCED to slow down? Isn’t it interesting that an epidemic of colossal proportions makes us reach for a board game?  Causes us to get really creative within the walls of our home? Is there any chance this home time will positively affect our futures?

Also, I realize there may never be a time again in our family where we are not pulled in a dozen directions for school, sports, and extracurricular stuff.  I *almost* relish it.  If our country wasn’t poised at the edge of panic mode, I could find something blissful in these times. Until then, I will do my best to educate from home, play at home, sing and dance and create at home, and most importantly, pray with our family about what is happening all around us. 

Just breathe.

Just be.

Once every month or two, I change the memory verse for our son, and this month’s happens to be 2 Timothy 1:7.  The verse reads, “For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”  What an anchor of a verse for these rough waters! I have toyed with the idea of writing this several times and placing it in every room in our house.... and now that I have mentioned it to you, I will.

For now, we all may be doing some things differently.  This too shall pass. But, in the lull, I hope you find your family rhythm, your faith tethered to our Maker and not the news anchor. Be safe, and stay well, friends!

(Puzzle photo courtesy of Colby ☺️)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Have You Prepared?

“Are you ready for Christmas?” 

It’s a small talk question that gets tossed around a lot this season. In light hearted fashion, it is a question of- “are your gifts bought, wrapped, and ready to give? Have you shopped til you dropped and gotten the best deal on all you purchased?”

Here is a similar but very different question to you as well...

“Have you you prepared for Christmas?” Meaning— are you excited to celebrate Jesus? Have you pondered his story— which is our story? Have you drummed up excitement with the kids for the Savior of the world? Amongst the trees, decorations, and music, are you living out the Good News of Jesus?” 

I have become much better at this in recent years.... I hope to become better at it in the years to come. I very specifically remember last December 25th around 10 pm... our living room and dining room were much too cluttered with bags and boxes, and unwrapped things from a day’s worth of journeying from gathering to gathering with our little ones. We were tired and the kids were in bed.  I shook my head in disbelief at what the day was to me. I journaled the following passage last December 27th:

In true Charlie Brown fashion, on Christmas night, I was disgusted by the amount of STUFF in our dimly lit living room. It was shameful, and I all I could think was,  “This will all be in Goodwill, a garage sale, or the garbage in a number of years.” Why the guilt? It was a lovely Christmas Day, but I could not shake the thought of this holiday is Americanism at its worst. We have big debt, big waistlines, big houses, and big vehicles. We say ‘no’ to very little and indulgence is a way of life for most. 

My own grandma’s childhood was spent during the Depression, and she and her siblings visited the local dump to get their shoes. I have heard that story recounted many times, and it makes me wonder how much the course of America’s consumerism has gradually spiraled to exponential proportions because of a majority of families struggling all those decades ago. 

Alas, I realize this will happen year after year, as gifting is what we do, what grandparents do, what aunts and uncles do.  In our home, I am trying very hard to minimize the “Santa and stuff” of the day and magnify the Savior of the day.  Although we aren’t completely minimal, we do try to be practical in the gifts we choose.  So with a little less hum-bug and guilt, I will ride the waves of gifting this year... as I will be “prepared” for what the holiday truly means.

I just finished a reading that talked about anyone who is a Christ-follower knows that Christmas doesn’t end because December 25 is done. We cannot limit the joy of God-coming-to-Earth to one day of gift giving. We hold that joy daily for the next 365 days.

Let me leave you with the author’s final thoughts, “This Christmas is different because you are different. You are a child of the Light. You are walking in the Light. Yes, you can still blast the holiday songs, binge on Hallmark movies, go crazy getting gifts, eat way too many sweets, and turn your home into Santa's Wonderland. However, this Christmas, for you, isn’t fixated on those things because you are choosing #LessChaosMoreJesus. There won't be a "so this is all?" feeling after the last gift is opened because it's not over; you are just getting started. 
God is everywhere, and He has called you to walk in the Light and shine it everywhere you go.” 

Merriest Christmas to all my friends and family. Shine on, long after the day of celebration!