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Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’

Clearing the Queue

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
~Psalm 90:12

We subscribe to Netflix. (I know. Who cares, right? Stick with me.) For a “low, low fee” we receive a DVD in the mail. We watch it, send it back and receive another one. Good movie. Good popcorn. Good company. Not quite enough room on the couch. No movies to stock at home. Good times.

We also can instantly watch thousands of other programs, simply by adding them to our instant queue and clicking “play.” It’s really, really simple.

For a long time, I liked adding things to our queue. When everyone else was in bed at night, I would sit at my computer and add “things” (carefully selected “things,” of course) to the queue. I’d rate what we’d seen so the automated powers that be at the Netflix headquarters could, in their ultimate techno-wisdom, suggest more things that I’d love! I’d look through their suggestions and add those to my queue. Never mind that they were often wrong. I kept doing it! My queue was up to 386 shows–wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting shows. Yup…386 of ‘em.

Why? Because I didn’t want to miss anything. I didn’t want to miss the great special on Roman architecture when we study the Ancient Romans…in six months. I didn’t want to miss the eye-opening documentary on the children of World War II when we study the twentieth century…in two years. I didn’t want to miss that great chick flick that I would never watch because I never watched chick flicks. In fact, I never watched any flicks in my queue.

On the rare occasion I sat down to watch something, I spent the entire time sifting through the 386 shows in my queue and never, ever, ever watched any of them.

Put on your listening ears. It’s life application time.

My life queue, much like my Netflix queue, had gotten too long. I spent all my time researching what we would do, organizing what we would do, planning what we would do, dreaming about all the things we would someday do, getting other people’s opinions on what we should do. They were all wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things. I didn’t want to miss any of them. I spent whatever time I had left over sifting through my life queue for something to fit into that precious bit of remaining time. I was busy, I was exhausted, but I wasn’t actually accomplishing anything.

I was so afraid I would miss something, that I was missing out on my own life.

Did you catch that?

I was missing out on my own life.

I don’t remember a time in my adult life when I had not struggled with the heavy chain that my life queue had become. Projects were started and not finished, children were disappointed by one more “we ran out of time,” friends were neglected, my husband had a cookie drought. I was involved in everything, but truly involved in nothing. Even when I completely cut out my out-of-house activities, my want-to-dos took over.

It was my husband who finally helped me understand this debilitating obsession with not wanting to miss anything, thereby missing everything. Yes, it hurt. Yes, I cried. Yes, I did something about it.

I lugged six enormous bags of magazines to the library, magazines full of wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things that I would never do. I filled two garbage bags with catalogs full of wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things I would never buy. (Don’t nag me about recycling. Being nagged is not currently in my life queue.) I emptied filing cabinets, boxes and binders–all highly organized, all full of wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things that I had not looked at since the time I organized them. (I didn’t recycle those either!) I threw away countless notebooks full of wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things I need to know to be healthy and productive, and it was the most empowering and productive thing I ever did with those notebooks.

I purged wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things from the stack of piano music that we would never play, and left the music we love. I ceased my ongoing search for wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things to add to our homeschooling queue, because what we’re doing already is good enough. I took the grocery savings book I’m writing, which, by the way, is full of wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things about feeding your family for less, and I filed it away for a day when my queue has room. I closed my email account so I did not have to deal with the 15,000 emails that poured in while we were traveling through the States this summer, emails that may or may not be filled with wonderful, interesting, educational, quality, uplifting things. And I purged my Netflix queue.

Then I sat down and watched a show. The whole thing.

The purge continues.

The GirlsI’m giving the boot to lonely socks, because, let’s face it, they ain’t never (and I mean AIN’T and NEVER) going to be anything but lonely socks. I’m bidding a joyful adieu to those horrible based-on-the-movie Disney books I can barely tolerate reading. I’m getting rid of every self-help book I can lay my hands on, and finishing my read through the Bible. I’m saying farewell to the curtains that never got put up, the art supplies that never got used, the curriculum nobody likes, and the patterns and material that remind me how much I did not get done when my bigger girls were small.

But it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the mindset. Most importantly, I am purging my mind of the things in the world that tell me I’m not good enough because I feed my children macaroni and cheese from a box on Tuesdays, because they’re not studying Latin in third grade, because I’m not involved in a single organization, because I haven’t sent Christmas cards in four years, because I don’t know what herbs will cure the croup, because I’ve made only $500 over the past five years, because my thighs jiggle, and because, by golly, I still wear my favorite cardigan from the 90s…the early 90s. I’m purging unrealistic expectations, negative opinions about our family and our God-directed choices, legalistic (but not Biblically supported) mandates, and unhealthy comparisons.

FamilyI am standing taller, smiling more, and getting things finished. My family is having fresh smoothies every morning because I don’t spend an hour sifting through the daily 250 emails. I am more patient. I have time to kiss my babies, kiss my husband, pet the dog, and kiss my husband again. I can see my desk, find my dictionary, and my phone is always charged…and that’s a really big deal for me.

Best of all, whenever a new idea, a new plan, a new curriculum, or a new “thing” pops into my life, I just pop it right back out with no regrets. There’s nothing out there worth missing what God has given me right here.

And I will restore to you the years the locust hath eaten.
~Joel 2:25

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Piccalilli Patchwork and Itty-Bitty Bookworms

Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms

I clicked on a cute little box like the one you see here. In fact, it was the one you see here.

Guess what.

I won something.


Mum’s the word.

I won a contest at Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms. Only silent applause please, as there was no skill involved on my part, and we are keeping this whole thing rather hush-hush.

I won something wonderful, something adorable, something beautiful…but I can’t tell you what it is.

I can hear you groaning. Shhh.

I can’t tell you because my children read my blog and this particular something is a special gift for one of my sweet girls. She will love it!

I can, however, send you to Piccalilli Patchwork (a charming shop on Etsy) and Piccalilli Days where you can meet the darling Natalie Jo who made my daughter’s treasure.

I must admit, it is very tempting to keep this for myself…but it won’t fit. And that’s the only hint you’re getting!

If you ever consider ordering from Piccalilli Patchwork, you will not be disappointed. The craftsmanship is wonderful and the packaging, why, it’s as delightful as the product itself! (I am sighing whimsically.) I have only shown it to two people so far, and all have thought it truly charming. (Don’t worry about them letting the secret slip. One is blissfully oblivious, and the other lives across the country.)

What’s that? You want to win something, too? Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms is calling your name! Visit sweet Tara and you too might win.  Real people really do win real prizes.  Really!

Thank you Tara and Natalie Jo!

Log Cabin Table Top Quilt
Yo-Yo Flower Pincushion - Starry Night
Patriotic Little Quilt
Piccalilli Patchwork Apron
Pincushion Pinnacle - Purple Parade
A May Belle Sweetie in Periwinkle Rose
Buy Handmade


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Sharing Words on Mother’s Day

Flowers for Mama

Flowers for Mama

Some days between hugs, food for the body, food for the soul, lessons of life, lessons from books, lessons even for Mother, there is no time for written words. This is one of those days. It seems, at times, this is one of those lives.

Since I have many words to share, but cannot get any on paper (or screen) in these busy days, please take a peak at a mother’s heart with a brief visit to Ann.

To all you mothers out there who have ever hurt, struggled, cried, laughed, and loved, remember…

…His grace.

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Let them be girls!

Let them be beautiful!

Let them be beautiful!

Let them be girls!

Let them be beautiful.

Let them kiss babies and pick flowers.

Let them wear flowing skirts and frilly dresses that twirl.

Let them wear braids and ribbons and pretty bows in their long hair.

Let them love horses and kittens and soft fluffy puppies.

Let them skip and sing.

Girls are beautiful.

Girls are precious.

Girls are not boys.


Let them be gentle and loving.

Let them be gentle and loving.

Don’t make them dress like boys.

Don’t suppress their need to mother.

Don’t undervalue their efforts at making a lovely and peaceful home.

There will always be wars and battles, smog and ugliness, greed and unrest.

What the world needs is modest beauty and gentle strength.

Let the girls learn to make home a beautiful haven.

Let them learn to be pleasant wives and loving mothers.

Let them learn to be soft and gentle in a harsh world.

Let them be who God designed them to be.

Let them be girls!

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Motherhood is Messy

072Covered in honey, how I do not know, he comes to me with his hands up, his hair stuck in impossible directions.

“I’m sticky, Mommy.”

“Tub, now!” I revert to my mono-syllabic mom-speak.

I carry Mr. Sticky to the tub, peel off the outer layer of goo which still remotely resembles a shirt and jeans, and run the water.

My smallest children have always been water magnets. They hear the water, they come running. This time is no different. With a baby on my lap and two children in the tub, I start the scrub routine, until…

“Mommy, I haffa go pottyyyyyy!”

106“Ah, ah, ah, ah! Don’t go in here!” shrieks the child who all too often has been whisked prematurely out of a tub when her brother adds a little magic of his own to the mix.

I set the slippery, wet boy on the toilet against the opposite wall and return to my scrubbing.

Flying solo on the potty behind me, my in-training son shoots me in the back with…well, the only ammunition he has at the moment.

His look of shock matches mine. This child has wet on me a lot, but usually I see it coming. Being shot in the back is a new twist. The little fellow doesn’t know whether to laugh or…run! He watches my face carefully before determining his next move. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Mama Ain’t Happy…

<i>Contagious joy</i>!

Contagious joy!

It has been gloomy here in our desert. The sky has been grey and cheerless, the mountains obscured by listless clouds seemingly reaching to the earth. Living almost constantly under the cheering influence of the sun, we desert-dwellers suffer a bit of enviro-shock when its warming rays are missing. With the darkening of the skies comes the darkening of the mood.  We grow tense, morose, and dilatory. It’s pathetic, I know, this micro-version of seasonal anxiety disorder, but, hey, nobody ever said you had to be tough to live in the desert with air-conditioning!

I liken the gloomy effects of an overcast day to the contagious results of a mother’s countenance.  Like most overused sayings, the expression “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is grounded in the basic truths of a mother’s influence. Mother’s smile, kind word, or loving caress spreads peace over her brood, but equally as potent is Mother’s frown, sharp rebuke, or impatient gesture. Read the rest of this entry »

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