I just wanted to wear lip gloss

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We’ve had it pretty rough for the last week. The kids and I have been sick with a nasty cold. We’ve been posterchildren for the nighttime sniffly, sneezing, coughing aching, “so you can rest” medicine. (Or however that goes.) I feel like any strides I’ve made in the last three weeks to get us in a routine and break a few of our bad habits have come to a screeching hault. As far as homeschooling goes, well, the teacher got sick (that’s me) and then an outbreak occured in the school (population: 2), so that kind of put things on hold for a bit as well.

Tonight I feel like things are starting to clear up for everyone. (I gauge that by noticing a reduction in nose wiping and cleaner sleeves on my children’s shirts.) But when we do start back up again, which point do we start from? Where did we even leave off? What was our foundation to begin with?

That last question hit me pretty hard today. While taking care of three sickly munches and being sick myself, I had forgotten to shower for a week couple of days. Today, the planets aligned and I was able to finally do that thanks to everyone napping at the same time. After my shower, I decided to put makeup on. Mind you, this was around 5 p.m. and I was finally “getting dressed for the day” but something made me want to wear makeup. I hardly ever wear it, as in, I think I’ve worn it less than five times this whole year. As I’m picking out eyeshadow, blush, etc. I realized I didn’t have my foundation powder. It wasn’t in the basket with all the other products. So, I start looking in the closet and in drawers and the question, “where’s my foundation?” kept rattling around in my head. I finally found it in another drawer, but the question still taunted me.

Where’s my foundation?

I started to wax spirtitual about how this relates to my relationship with God. Do I make Him the foundation of my life? Or is the stress that carries over from one day to the next my foundation? Some days it feels like the latter.

I know absolutely nothing about construction, except that I know when you mix water and concrete, you can make a foundation. So, if I want to get metaphorical, I could ask myself, what’s in that dry powder mixture of my foundation? If I were truly honest, I’d say a big part of it is stress – stress by my own hand – the one that likes to control every last detail of my life. The older I get, and the more children I have, I realize I’m a control freak. Oh the things we learn about ourselves as we seek wise counsel. There’s also the stress of being needed at every turn by three little munches. Don’t get me wrong, being needed is a GOOD thing. But sometimes it’s just really hard – especially when you’re trying to meet a need that can’t fully be communicated or verbalized yet. For example, asking my three-year-old which show he wants to watch or what he wants to eat and everything answer coming out as “that one” or “blue one” and you have no idea what that or blue is. The even harder part is that he knows exactly what he wants but is as equally frustrated with me for not knowing what he wants.

So, the concrete mixture. We’ve established that stress is a part of it. What else? There’s joy. Joy plays a pretty significant roll. Like the joy of hearing my husband’s car pull up in the evening, seeing my kids playing together or seeing all the laundry washed and put away (I have had this happen once and it is GLORIOUS!!!!), or the joy of looking back on my day and not feeling mommy guilt.

I know I also have anger and fear in my mixture for reasons I won’t go into. But there’s also happiness, contentment and gratitude. And the last three are all well and good, but the mixture in and of itself is just a mess. A powdery mess that gets all over everything. I still need to add water in order to pour that foundation.

As I thought about this, I kept hearing, “Living Water”. John 4:14 popped up when I searched for verses about it.

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

So, if partner with the Living Water of Jesus, I’ll get my foundation. Easy enough, right? Not for this control freak.

This makes me think of Matthew 28:11, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I know I don’t have to go it all alone during the day – the homeschooling, potty training, housekeeping. And I know giving it over to Him and partnering with Him is more than just “filling Him in” on my frustrations and telling Him what I want to see happen but more of me stopping and LISTENING to Him when He talks. I just have this scene in my head from any movie or show where a top executive is rushing down a hallway spouting off all these things that need to be done and the personal assistant is there trying to keep up and trying to communicate something in return. On most days, I’m probably treating God like the executive treats the assistant. But, He’s not trying to keep up with me. He’s still waiting patiently for me at the end of the hall with something important to tell me while I’m going off on a tangent about how my child won’t do XYZ when I tell him/her to.

Handing over my messy, chalky concrete mixture and partnering with Jesus and spinning together in a giant cement mixer (bare with me, I’m almost done with the metaphors) is scary and quite often times, nauseating. But in the end, the foundation is there – it’s set in place. It’s something to build on. And once it’s built, external forces may cause a crack or five, but the Holy Spirit will come in and seal those cracks and bring comfort and peace with Him to help with the healing process.

So where is my foundation? It’s still in the cement mixer, spinning around and waiting to be poured. And I realize this now all because I suddenly wanted to wear makeup at 5 p.m.

We Meet Again Mr. Blog…

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Roughly two years ago, I abandoned this blog. I’m not entirely sure why I did but I now find myself having bouts of mental clarity as well as actual things I’d like to write about. But now that I have a moment to write, I find myself staring at the blinking cursor and blank text box. This might take a while…

*five minutes have passed, I’m still staring, but it’s starting to come back to me*

For starters, the whole purpose of this blog was to help me have a place (that wasn’t Pinterest) to digitally house all the neat projects I thought I’d actually do. I eventually closed my Pinterest account as well as Facebook and other accounts that I had floating out there. I was trying to cut back on my screen time and be more intentional with my time. All that worked for a while. Around nine months later, I created a new Facebook account because I realized it was so much easier to get a hold of people via Facebook than it was email. I really enjoyed the break from the constant checking of statuses, likes, comments, etc. But I missed the quick connection with friends. I slowly got back on and then found myself checking in just as I always had.

As far as Pinterest goes, I deleted my account with ease and didn’t really miss it. I opened a new account about a year later or so because I think I was looking for something specific – I don’t remember what though. I think I also wanted to enter a contest hosted by a company I regularly use, so that was my other reasoning for opening a new account. As I used the site, I tried to be as intentional as possible and I still do today. If my boards get too full, I go back and delete anything I know I won’t use. I share things just for fun with friends and a lot of the pins on my account are actually things I’ve done.

In the past few months, I have become more aware of how much screen time I allow myself during any given day. It feels like I’m constantly checking my phone for texts or messages of any kind. As I entered my third trimester with my third child, I was less mobile than I had been with my previous two pregnancies. I had very little energy, my patience and grace levels were at all time lows and “mommy needs to sit” was my catch phrase of choice. I felt like my phone was an extension of my hand and something that kept me connected to a world that was pain-free and full of memes and pictures of cute puppies.

Now that I’m gently moving past the “mommy needs to sit…because she’s very, very pregnant” phase, I’m able to move around a lot easier. I’m also noticing just how reliant I am/was on media – whether it’s Netflix to entertain my children, my phone to send texts, etc.

I’m not going to make this huge gesture of closing down all my accounts again, but I’m just going to start small but cutting back on how much I do use these accounts and devices. Again, I don’t have a lofty goal of only getting on for five minutes a day or only once a week, but I do hope to pare it all down significantly. Mommy still needs to sit sometimes…

 

Digital Housekeeping

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Thanks to a faulty air conditioner, I find myself in a wifi zone once again. Up until we left the house, I’ve been clearing out a lot of junk popping up in all the nooks and crannies of my laptop. If I didn’t have so many pictures, I’d do a complete reset of my profile and start from scratch. It’s amazing to see that even my data storage is completely unorganized and out of whack. Reminds me of my basement.

A couple days ago I found a blog called The Minimalists and am really enjoying their posts. One of the best things I’ve read so far is in relation to their wardrobe. They talk wearing their favorite clothes every day because they don’t keep anything they don’t love. What a concept. I love it. Can you imagine getting up every morning and thinking, “I get to wear my favorite outfit today!” I’m just giddy thinking of how much less laundry I’d have to put away.

I’m also counting down the days to Large Trash Pickup Day. I’ve been tossing things in the recycle bin left and right and have pretty much put a bullseye on anything that will be curbside in a couple weeks.

And when I’m not in nesting hyper-drive, I’m reading another book called The Power of Less by the same author as Zen Habits. Of course I’m loving it. As I read about how to simplify my life by having less stuff, I can’t help but fantasize about the heaps of junk that will be removed from my home, not to mention my shrinking wardrobe. Sigh.

That Green Couch

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When my husband and I were newly married we had a one bedroom apartment packed with the typical hodgepodge of furniture. We had a futon, a dining room table that could fit about 80 guests, a big brown chair and ottoman, a nice desk, bookcases galore and an entertainment center. It was a cluttered mess. I wouldn’t recommend trying to fit the lives of two people in less than 1000 square feet.

As Dave Ramsey would say, we tried to obtain the financial lifestyle of our parents (something they typically took 30 years to accomplish) in the first 5-7 years. In our case, we tried to do it in the first 5-7 months. We got rid of the futon, chair, table and who knows what else and replaced it all with an 18-months no interest paid living room and dining room set. We now had a matching green couch and chair, a modest dining table and comfortable dining chairs complete with slip covers. Because you’re not a grown-up until you own slip covers, right?

A few months in, the couch cushions became flat and uncomfortable. About a year later, it ended up in the basement of our new house and at the end of 18 months, it doubled in price. Yes. Doubled.

The funny thing about “no interest paid” is that unless you pay off the total amount, you’re charged all the interest from the date of sale. Our back-charged interest almost equaled one mortgage payment.

Now that stupid couch sits in our cluttered basement, collecting cat hair and who knows what else while we make minimum payments until we can get our debt snowball going.

In all honesty, I just want to throw it out on Large Trash Day. But I think we’ll keep it out of spite until it’s paid off. Or maybe the couch is the spiteful one.

The more I try to simplify things digitally, the more I want to simplify other areas of my life. I’m in the process of weeding out my closet, clearing out toys that don’t get played with (and probably won’t), donating books I know I’ll never read and (most importantly) not buy things that I don’t really want or need. The latter of those is actually the easiest one right now. If it’s not in the budget…it’s not in the budget – end of story.

In the meantime, I gather inspiration from blogs like Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist. The nice thing about these is they offer e-mail subscriptions. So whenever I have our wifi-only iPhone on me, I can download the latest article.

Now what?

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I miss it. Sorta. But, not really. We’ve been disconnected since Tuesday, June 5, 2012. I woke up that morning thinking I had just one more day but in fact, the internet was cut in the middle of the night. End of service definitely means, end of service.

So far, it’s been pretty great. The house just feels calmer. I’m much more productive and when I’m resting, I’m actually resting, like sitting on the couch with my feet up and listening to music.

I even started reading. Ironically, it’s Daniel Sieberg’s book on technology addiction. Granted, I don’t think I was addicted to the internet as in, I can’t survive without a fix or else I’ll huff off of the neighbor’s wifi, addicted. But I was consumed with it, for sure. I was always checking e-mail, looking things up on Google whenever a question crossed my mind, logging into Facebook regularly, spending my evening browsing Pinterest for new ideas, etc. I treated it like another appendage and had no self-control. Well maybe that is addiction. I don’t know. Either way, I feel better without it.

I’m also glad we don’t have Netflix anymore either. It’s kept me from sitting down and watching multiple episodes of a show while my child naps rather than nap like a preggo should or get chores done.

The downside to not having internet is really felt when it’s time to pay bills or if there’s something I genuinely need to look up (like a phone number) or if I’m waiting for a response from someone – and not a “hi, how are you?” response.

Not having such easy access has forced me to obtain self-control by planning out what I need to look up. It’s also weeded out a lot of the fluff (entertainment news anyone?) that I would sometimes waste time on when I was online. Whenever I do have access whether it’s via my husband’s phone or a wifi spot, I try and keep it short and to the point.

On days like today when I have unlimited access to wifi, I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ve checked my e-mail and responded already, looked up what I needed to and played a few rounds of DrawSomething on our wifi-only iPhone. My child is asleep for the time being and I am now wishing I had my book with me, especially since I’m going to be here for a good chunk of the afternoon.

So what do I do now? In the past, I would have futzed around on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. to pass the time. I have no desire to go back to that. I guess I will just sit peacefully and enjoy the quiet for as long as it lasts. What a concept.

Oh, if only I would have remembered all those articles I printed off…

Stragglers

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I’m counting down the days until the internet is out of our house. Understand, I’m not overzealous about getting rid of it. Quite frankly, I’m a little nervous. What will I do with all that free time? *grin* Or how will I get through the day without a Netflix episode or two or five… I’m sure just as soon as we disconnect, new episodes of our favorite series will appear in the “newly added” queue. I am, however, looking forward to the extra money that will be in our bank account each month.

Right after our first child was born, we spent hours on the couch in “recovery mode” watching Lost on Netflix and eating delicious meals our friends brought over. Assuming we won’t cave within three months and get the internet back. I have a feeling, Redbox will be a frequent transaction on our debit card this fall. Or would it be gauche to add seasons of Psych, Warehouse 13 and Doctor Who to a baby registry?

As it gets down to the wire, I’m finding out I have more online accounts coming out of the woodwork. I forgot I had an account with Polyvore and ShoeDazzle. I also had a Tumblr account from before my husband and I met. I deleted all three but exported the content from Tumblr to a dormant WordPress blog. I didn’t have the heart to delete it just yet.

I set up the disconnection to occur at the end of our billing cycle, so we’ll wake up to a wifi-less home on Wednesday morning. Will I wake up in cold sweats? What if I needed to look up something real quick? Do I dash over to the library for a quick peek at my email? There’s really no telling. Fasten your seatbelts…

The big disconnect (but it’s the good kind)

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After looking at our budget to find ways to cut costs, we decided the internet gets the boot. Sadly, this also includes our Netfilx account. But I’d rather have an extra $50 in the bank each month than the ability to check my email on a whim.

I’ve been down this road before, but I’m sure it’s going to feel pretty strange when I have the urge to look something up and won’t have the answer at my fingertips. There will probably be moments where I look at my husband’s smartphone longingly, hoping for just a moment to check my email. But, being the kindhearted man he is, I know he’ll gladly hand his phone over to me so I can get my fix.

In the short amount of time that I’ve been off Pinterest, I’ve noticed that l open my laptop and think, “why am I getting on again?” More often than not, it’s just to do something with my email – I’ve set a goal of only checking it once a day. And then there’s that lull. That feeling of “is that it?” and the realization that there’s nothing else I need to do online. It’s the strangest feeling. But it’s good.