I have wanted everything as a writer and a woman, but most of all a world changed utterly by my revelations. -Dorothy Allison Oh, the writing process. The bad thing about deciding you’re a writer, is that you actually have to write. My blog writing process seems to be quite different from any other writing process in my life. In fact, my writing processes vary as my writing projects vary. I read, recently, a writer share that she couldn’t work on more than one writing project at a time. I get that. It’s easier to focus on wherever the flow is currently headed. But that’s not always possible. And each process or project is necessary in its own way. I write for school, I write for work, I’m working on my novel (which still is sometimes hard to actually say. I always feel like I’m in a movie scene of a dinner party and that’s a line I’m supposed to deliver, embarrassedly) and I blog. Blogging, by far, is the hardest. Because I can’t hide behind a character. Because I can’t employ the formality required in an essay. Because there’s not a deadline. Because it’s just me here, talking to you and I don’t know you or even if there really is a you. Because a lot of times, hitting post feels like publishing my journal. The flow is different, too. If I stay away too long, it’s hard to return. If I have an idea and I don’t start writing about it immediately, chances are, that idea is either going to be gone by the time I’m poised at keyboard or I will have talked myself out of it. Because it’s just pure me here and I try not to have an agenda. I don’t want to preach or teach. I have no stockpile of lessons to share. I don’t consider myself an expert on any one thing. I don’t want to convince anyone of anything. I just like to write. And sometimes, I get to believing that maybe, just maybe, God wants to use my words to touch others. So I come here to ‘practice’ and to share. And the hope is that maybe, whatever’s on my heart or mind that day, might also be on someone else’s. And if I can share the grace or the hope I’ve found, or if I can just be another voice saying, it’s okay to be human. It’s okay to not be an expert, to not be Molly Homemaker, to not be called to preaching or teaching, to say I’m just trying to make it through the day myself. Whatever. I’m just sharing me. With words. Because that’s what I do. And a lot of the time, this writing is for me. It’s honesty and healing. Where I sort and seek and find. And so in that, it is similar to my other writing. The more I do it, the more I learn about myself and the more it comes- the ideas, the inspiration, the renewing. And when I’m willing to be here, frustrated or scared to share something but I do it anyway, it’s amazing to realize that I’ve been met. And no matter what happens after I hit post, the process within me has already occurred.
I am certain I will continue to have the same boldness to speak freely that I always have. I will let God use my life to bring more honor to Christ. Philippians1:20 ERV
I think, often, about how my two younger children have not, overall, received as much attention from me as the older two. It wouldn't be too hard to blame this on the idea that the more children there are, the less of mom there is to go around. It's a valid argument. Four children vying for attention instead of two, absolutely requires more conscious effort and creativity. It's true, also, that a brood of children have a tendency to somewhat entertain each other and yet, I know that they need individual attention. I try to shoot for this. I take them out alone, in their turn, when I can but not as much as I'd like.
Sometimes it makes me sad to think back to the days when the older two were younger, when it was just them. I remember when True was in preschool and I only had Annika at home. She and I had our little routine. We read stories, worked puzzles, drew together. Further back than that, as a young mother, when it was only True, he and I spent endless quality time together. Less stress and perhaps, more motherly enthusiasm meant that I dedicated hours to teaching him, playing with him and just being silly with him. We used to sing in front of the mirror together, using hairbrushes as microphones.
I feel sad thinking about this because so much of that, the younger two have missed out on. And when I really analyze it, although amount of children plays in, the fact is- life was simpler then.
Confession: I'm not merely distracted by four kids running in four directions. I'm now way too easily distracted by technology. Blogging, Facebook, online school, texting. None of this was in my life when the older two were younger. And I might have been a better mom.
Sitting in the parking lot of True and Annika's school yesterday, waiting the fifteen minutes it takes for them to be delivered to me, Palin asleep, Verity chatted in my ear while I checked my email on my phone. As if there might be anything that important. But I opened A Holy Experience and read about the practice of relationship. And it occurred to me that right now, I could spend that time with Verity. So I did. We played hangman. And not on my phone (though I was tempted).
This is a practice. It's so easy to 'multi-task' to the point of losing sight of these brief moments when children are young. The now moments. These moments when they want to be with us. I don't want to look back and realize that this time has passed. Will I remember any one email I opened up or anyone's status update on Facebook? Probably not. But the essence of time spent listening or playing with my kids- that I want to remember. I need to practice ignoring the lure of phone notifications, these false demands, all that's far less important than just being. Just being available and present when I'm with my children. Practicing that which used to come easier. Practicing because it no longer comes easy. Practicing to get back to that place.
The kids have been in school for a mere week. And guess who doesn't like school? It's not the kids. They're enjoying it. I, on the other hand, am finding myself increasingly irritated by the system. I'm worrying that I might not be able to hang.
But there's a lesson in this, I think. I hope.
I yelled at Annika yesterday. I made her cry. I don't think I've ever done that before. And it was over something really stupid, my own issues- my crap.
On the way home from school, she told me that she had a hard day because it took her longer than all the other kids to get her work done. All the other kids were finished with their math and she was stuck. So she told the teacher that she was 'used to easy work. Not stuff like, 8+8'. Well, I sort-of freaked out when she related this to me. Because that's ridiculous. And I had no idea why she would say that. Clearly, she has bypassed simple single digit addition by second grade. So, in my not very gracious way, I think I yelled something about did she want CPS sent to our house. Not my finest moment.
I still don't know why she said that. And maybe she just felt the pressure of being in a class room setting and couldn't think. So, after I apologized, feeling like the meanest mom ever, she told me that when she looked around every one else was already done. We talked about how it wasn't a race. Sometimes, we can just draw blanks. I still feel like a jerk. Because, see how much this was about me? About me worrying that she's being a poor reflection on me? Making me look bad? And that kind of pressure is just as bad if not worse than any pressure she experiences at school.
So there's that and then there's the early waking required, the two hours spent driving per day, the teachers who may or may not be old enough to have fully formed brains and the daily lunch creations which include stressing about whether crackers are 'cool' or not This is the stuff that drives me nuts about 'the system'. The system which includes rules, stated and unstated. Someone else's rules. Whether the government creates them, the teachers or the 'popular' students, I feel the urge to rebel. And God is revealing this part of my nature to me. When my kids roll their eyes at me which is a new thing, or bicker more than usual, I want to blame the bad influences, the bratty kids that of course all other kids are (my tongue is inserted safely within cheek on this) and I really have to work to keep from saying snotty things about their teachers That's my huge confession. I am enacting self-control on that but after the third informative letter to all the parents was sent out, I had to hold back from telling True to tell his teacher that I don't want any more letters about stuff I don't care about. How about she does her job and I'll do mine. And then I remembered how teachers are always reminding us that this is a 'team effort' and that's exactly what makes me bristly. Because I don't work well in groups. If I want something done, I do it myself.
It's hard to hand my kids over to kids all day long.
I don't want to job share.
But yes, there must be a lesson in here. God must be trying to show me something. Maybe he's trying to teach me patience, or respect. Maybe.... He'd even like a little humility.
I know I've shared (maybe, a million times) that I'm not the most excellent housekeeper. Which is odd because I feel like I do spend a lot of time cleaning. I'd like to think of this as just some strange phenomenon, perplexing but having nothing to do with lack of skill.
Whatever it is, I just can't get a handle on it. I work one room while the rest are being systematically destroyed. We did a thorough spring cleaning and I swear, it wasn't two weeks before the results were undetectable.
When we moved into this house a year ago, it seemed plenty big enough. Now, not so much. And I haven't done a ton of shopping. It's weird.
When I close my eyes to picture a home that's a sanctuary, I envision white, fluffy carpet, white couches, vast space and a spot for everything - nothing left out. This is a far cry from the clutter that actually 'decorates' my home. I like the idea that organized clutter comes with creativity, although I'm not sure that my clutter is actually all that organized.
I read something this morning that suggested perhaps outward clutter is a subconscious means of isolating - keeping others away. I can see this, though I'd never thought of it. I can tend to isolate. I like my own space, time alone and definitely am not a woman who enjoys surprise visits. My mom was also this way.
She would want to cancel visits with friends, worrying the house was too messy, even though it really wasn't.
So, while I'm not a hoarder by any means, I do have my fair share of unwanted mess. That I can't quite figure out what to do with. And last week a husband's friend stopped in to drop something off for me. I met him in the driveway. He asked if I wanted our kids to play together. I told him, Sure, send yours in. Go run some errands. Well, that's not what he meant. And I kind of suspected that. So, I reluctantly let him in, warning him that the house was disastrous. He asked me why. In that blunt, male way. So, I stammered out the true excuse that I use my morning to work on homework and blog, that the kids sort of run a bit wild during that time.
But maybe, I need a better system. Maybe, I need to think a little more about keeping a home that's inviting, that can handle a surprise visit. Suggestions?
Solitude is good. Time spent quietly in prayer and worship and introspection is necessary. But if there's the chance, that without knowing it, I've settled into habits that not only allow me to keep people away but also block my mind from really, truly experiencing that emptiness required for God to enter, then I need to at least look at it.
So, so busy with this new schedule that I don't have down pat yet and I can't quite understand why so many moms get excited for school to start. I've been a little frantic with the commute, the lunches, homework, just the whole playing by someone else's rules. I've been the manager of my own time for so long that I feel like the adjustment might be a little harder on me than the kids.
I feel like I've been running around all week with hardly a minute to breathe. My house shows it.
So, I'm here. To breathe. To slow. To find that space where I can sort the jumbled, crazy thoughts and just get down in words some semblance of sense.
And, also, how can I not blog when there's wordcandy to play with
How fun is this stuff? Seriously, I wish I had come up with it.
Maybe I should be finishing dinner but I'm looking at my dominant colors on Pinterest to see what they say about me. Across the (literal) board, my colors are neutral and soft. That means I'm an introvert. No surprise, there. But my Art board contains more vivid hues than my Dream House board. Maybe, I'm bolder in my creative life than my real life. My Want board has pops of bright color throughout and my Wow board seems to calm down as I scroll up. What could that mean?
Like I really need more of an excuse to go on Pinterest. But maybe, just maybe this is brilliant. This idea that looking at our boards, could reveal more about ourselves than we might have thought.
I could probably do this for a few more hours but alas, the kids are hungry.
Well, today was the first day of school for the two older kids. Confession: I cried a little I've homeschooled for four years so dropping them off with complete strangers aka teachers was strange, to say the least.
I remember, in Jefferson, dropping True off for his first day of preschool. He was four and Annika, only one. I put Annika in the carseat, her hand outstretched toward her brother, crying, "Du!" I felt a little like that today. I walked them each to their class and noticed that I seemed to be the only parent sort-of standing around, just observing. It was hard to say good-bye. They on the other hand were pretty excited. So we shall see.
It's been interesting to note the reactions I've gotten from different people when telling them that I had decided to put the kids back in school. The homeschoolers say something like, "Ohhh...okay. Well, that will be nice." And I know they're thinking it will not be nice. The non homeschoolers, however, have all responded with elation, as though they've been waiting for the day I would come to my senses and do what 'normal' people do. That's a post, though, for another time.
So.... it's much quieter around the house today. And funny that though I long for less noise, the relative silence does seem deafening. I do miss them. But on the bright side, I've had a great day with the little ones. We did our first day of kindergarten, here. And it was a success. They are working on an art project as I write. I think they've loved soaking up so much mommy-time.
All in all, it looks like God knows what He's doing.
I was so afraid a few short months ago, anticipating this coming time. My sponsor advised that I somehow, "get okay with the worst-case scenario." Having to put my kids in school was definitely on that list of awful things to come,things I didn't feel like I could live with, let alone be okay with. But now that it's said and done, it doesn't look like it's going to be so bad. The school has a lot to offer and seems like it's going to be a great environment for them, and even the fact that my five year old won't start until next year seems to be part of the "plan". The plan where everything is just as it should be. I still get to homeschool. But teaching only kindergarten won't take up much of my day, freeing me to work. Another thing I've been afraid of.
So many life changes. So much time spent worrying and obsessing and turns out that God has it covered. Every. Single. Time.
I have not been able to blog lately. I'm not entirely sure what the problem is. I continue to start posts and then realize I'm saying nothing so I save for later. Going back, I find nothing worth revising.
I've been more tired than usual so that could have something to do with it. But really, I think I'm just dry. Spiritually dry and nothing is flowing.
I was telling my sponsor the other day how incredibly busy I was. This, my excuse for not making step work a priority. And I believed what I was saying. Until a few days ago when I was on the computer playing spider solitaire (which I think may need to be uninstalled) and I realized, Oh, well here's some extra time I'm just wasting.
So, is it procrastination? Avoidance? I don't know. But I know that the more time I spend in the Word, the more enlightened and inspired I feel. The more I allow myself to get trapped in pointless time sucks like Facebook or Words with Friends, the more blah I feel. Hungry but not satisfied.
And there's a million things I should be feeling inspired about. The kids are starting school, my own life is changing in a drastic and good way very soon and I have an opportunity I've only previously dreamed about.
Maybe I feel like I'm on hold. Or in limbo. The kids start school Friday. I start my new endeavor next week and my dream opportunity is waiting only for me to finish the hard work. And I keep thinking when all that starts, I'll get a new schedule, really get down to work. But that's a bit ridiculous. So.....I'm posting. Crap or not. Because not doing so seems to leave me in a rut.
Or maybe I can get a job playing spider solitaire.
So, after I posted, I even found myself motivated to write poetry. That's how the flow works.