The Run of Your Life

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Wifery | 0 comments

I originally said all of these thoughts out loud when a friend of mine was about to get married. Is that not what you do at your bridal showers? It’s a thing we do. Someone gets up and speaks and reminds all of us in the room about how we should be living while giving the future bride a heads up. I didn’t write down what I said word for word then, but the bride asked for my thoughts, so I’m doing that now. I hope she finds it helpful and I hope you do too.

My friend is a runner and I dabble in doing the same, so I thought that would be a good illustration (albeit a frequently overused one). Here’s most of what I said, kind of. I never remember exactly. It’s the Message version.

I thought I’d pretend to know more about running that I do and use it as an analogy for marriage. I always tell people that to find a spouse you should start running toward your goals and then look around and see who’s running next to you. It’s an idea I borrowed from Tommy Nelson and I think it’s a solid one. Friend, you’ve already done that and found the person to run alongside until the race is over, so now your days of having a permanent running partner begin. It’s not a crazy idea that this is going to take some work, so here are three tips to keep running well together.

First, training helps but your attitude while you run is the most powerful determining factor in how well you run. The daily routine of life will be most influenced by how the two of you approach each day. There are so many reasons we can have bad days, but our minds don’t have to be controlled by the circumstances that come our way. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “ Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” This is your duty to each other: be merciful, show kindness, and defer to one another. You’re going to get it wrong. He’s going to get it wrong. In those moments, give each other grace. We’ve been given so much grace from God. Be a conduit of it to each other.

Second, find a sustainable joint pace. Right now, you are running hard. Your life is like a giant hill these days where you keep hoping you can see the top but are nearly too afraid to take your eyes off of the next step you need to take. Thankfully, there is an end. You’ll crest the hill and hopefully you’ll get a nice long flat stretch before you climb another one. Be careful not to keep choosing the hardest path. Colossians 3:14-15 states, “ But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Loving each other well means saying ‘no’ when he needs you to, even when you want to say ‘yes.’ It’s being thankful for the dirty dishes and the socks in the floor because those things show he lives there with you, imperfectly but at peace.

Third, get a good playlist. Since you’ve already found the perfect (for you) running partner, the two of you need to remember to keep the run fun. Colossians 3:16-17 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Dance. Enjoy this good gift the Lord has given you. Laugh. Life is going to throw you some curve balls – things you didn’t see coming, but the Lord is not surprised and He is not allowing it for nothing. Trust in Him. Lean into one another, for His glory and in His name.

And when things get too tough and you think you can’t do it, call me. Love you.

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How We Store It

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering, Uncategorized, Wifery | 1 comment

One of the scary parts of homeschooling for me was the idea that our entire house would suddenly turn into a classroom. Don’t get me wrong. The whole house already is a classroom. We’re learning everywhere, but I didn’t want it to look like we live in a public school room. We still need to live here, ya know?

So here is how we are keeping our sanity in the midst of the addition of books and math games and geography puzzles:

Each day has a slightly different set of subjects to cover. This is Wednesday. Thursday’s includes science lab, Friday has history too. Math is first thing every day so that we start with his favorite thing.

One for each day! Once he starts reading these will make more sense.

These are the bins (thanks, Target!) that hold the school stuff. Well, they hold everything except the Science experiment bag. It has some semi-dangerous stuff in there, so we’ll be storing that somewhere higher.

Math manipulatives, tiny books with stories about Dan and how he ran, dry erase markers, dry erase crayons. This is the bin that makes me feel nervous for the day I find one of the girls writing on a wall. I’m sure I’ll let you know if/when that occurs.

The school books…all ripped up and inserted into page protectors so that he can write with dry erase markers and we can use them for the next child too. They fit so nicely in the bins. My organizational heart is happy.

Part of how he’ll learn geography this year — puzzles of every world region.

The best part! When school is over, everything is packed away.

Do you have an organization project that you are loving right now? Have you solved the problem of laundry baskets (you know, the one where I put the laundry in there but it takes forever for me to put the clean stuff away)? Tell me! Tell me how you are doing it!!

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Two for Joy

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012 in Wifery | 0 comments

Last Saturday night, Jud drove me to Lincoln to see one of my favorite bands. Tonight Jud mentioned that this was the most mainstream band he’s ever seen live. Mainstream and nostalgic. Listening to them play was like listening to the soundtrack of my life. From my bedroom window in Landstuhl to just the other night while Jud and I were working, they have been singing and playing behind most of the major points of my life. I’m grateful – to them for their incredible music and to Jud for buying me tickets (and some tacos) for a fantastic evening out (and to my mother who watched our children while we stayed out very very late).

Let’s reminisce together now.

We were so young:

Outside the amphitheatre. Perfect weather. Perfect scenery. Perfect (for me) partner.

They were so good:

Lights were good. Sounds was awesome. My ears were ringing the next morning. The amphitheatre was a fantastic venue.

Wish you could’ve been there too. In the meantime, go hop on Spotify and listen to Recovering the Satellites or Hard Candy and just see what happens.

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Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Health, Mothering, Theology, Video, Wifery | 1 comment

It’s just before one o’clock and there is a sixteen pound baby nursing in my one arm. The other arm has, until this very moment, been helping me hold up a book that I’ve been reading swiftly. It’s good and it’s non-fiction but not in a self-help kind of way.

There are two children in the blue room (which is what we call it now instead of Gideon’s room because Piper sleeps there too and she takes offense) who are playing nicely with the door closed. Their muffled voices sweep through every level of the house, save the basement, where the air conditioner is working it’s magical self ragged. It’s new, in terms of air conditioners, so it doesn’t sound alarmingly loud, but still, it drowns out all else in the basement when it’s working. I am sure that the relative niceness in which the children are currently playing can end at any moment, perhaps this one, so I will tip toe about hoping to prolong their pleasantries.

I’ve just ended a phone call with my husband who usually calls at least once a day to check in and see how his people are getting on. We are getting on well. He has news of a client and we talk the details to death. Then he needs to go and we remind each other of our love and hang up.

Prior to these moments, the children and I had been watching Charity: Water videos. I’ll never get over the Time Bomb Luxury Lab one. It’s how I first learned that the solvable issue in Africa isn’t civil war and isn’t how to help age long rivalries find civility – it is water. Water changes everything and you will never convince me otherwise. Water and Living Water are the two key issues everywhere, it’s just that most of the rest of us don’t have to give one thought to either of those issues in order to wake up tomorrow. You’ll just do normal things and get normal results. It’s luxury at it’s finest to be able to loose sight of the basics.

But here is the video that drew us in today. If you are on twitter, no doubt you’ve seen it already. If not, I think you should watch it. It made me cry, but not the kids. They’re far too practical for that. “Where is she buried?” asked one of them. “Why are they so happy?” asked another. “How many cars were involved? How long will the people have the clean water? How many people don’t have to drink dirty stuff now?” Good, practical, smart questions that I bet another little girl would’ve asked too.

Rachel Beckwith’s Mom Visits Ethiopia. from charity: water on Vimeo.

I’m off to hug my babies and get a drink of water and thank the Lord for all these things.

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Things In a Pile

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in Wifery | 3 comments

I hate the postman. I suppose these days we call them mail carriers, because there are just as many women doing the job…maybe more? How would I really know? Most days I don’t see them arrive. They come late in the afternoon, during our daily pick-up-the-house-as-fast-as-we-can madness that begins precisely at 4pm. It is precise because around 3:45 the mayhem and madness of clutter and junk that has steadily been rising like the tide has reached the edge of my sanity. I watch the clock for those last fifteen minutes of utter chaos the way a woman in labor watches for her coach through the process to tell her she’s made it through the contraction. It is painful, but the lady with the coach wins in the pain department.

The point is that I dislike this person who keeps bringing me junk. Sometimes there are bills in there too. Even when we have finished paying off our house (hopefully much sooner than the thirteen years still left on our official statement) there will still be bills – for lights and trash pick up and natural gas and doctors visits from years before and lawn care and phones and some other such thing that we are required to pay in order to keep our life moving. I don’t mind paying the bills. I mind that they show up, which is why I place them on the desk and then promptly forget that they are there until the moment that BILL PAYING comes crashing into my month and I sit down and deal with all of the envelopes and piles and stacks.

I should be better at all of it. I’ve been through Financial Peace University. I understand that an orderly life, especially with the bills, is a life under control and running smoothly and, truly, it is like getting a pay raise when you keep track of all the dollars. I have less of an issue with that part. It’s the paperwork that makes my mind goopy and my eyes glassy.

Today was THAT day. The day I wade through the stacks, find all the bills, make the phone calls, go to the websites, WRITE OUT 3 CHECKS (what is this 1995?!). I’ve survived another month of sorting and stacking and now I have in front of me, more piles. Different stacks than before.

Now all of the papers in the stack just to the right of the keyboard have been processed. The bills that were just paid now sit on top of the ones from last month that were just paid and the month before that too. I suppose I do the filing quarterly. At least if I put it that way, it sounds like there’s some kind of method to my madness, but I assure you it has much more to do with how the pile leans every so slightly to one side, threatening to topple over and on to the keyboard that makes me actually take action and walk them into the basement.

There is a pile to the left of the keyboard that includes the things that I have to GIVE BACK to the mail person. I hate this pile the most. Let’s all embrace online bill pay in a very effectual way. Please. Let’s.

There’s a pile of books. Things I am going to read. Things I already have. Things we are leaning on to build lessons and sessions and things.

There is a piece of paper that Piper drew on while I paid the bills – she claims it is a thank you note to about three people, although she does not know exactly for what she is thankful.

There is another solitary piece of paper, that I almost threw away, that contains a gift card for $100. And I almost threw it away, believing it to be junk mail. This is just another reason why the mail is such a horrible thing. You don’t know what is contained in all of those white envelopes and if you think something is nothing and ignore it for quite a while, you will inevitably discover that it is the kind of thing you really should have opened immediately and now something is past due or could have been used at that restaurant you were just in on Sunday. That’s the price you pay for ignoring the arrival of what is usually garbage every day at 4pm.

And then there is another pile of love notes from my husband. Tucked into the bills and the paper and the envelopes and the stuff that keeps our lives moving, I’d placed the cards he wrote out for several occasions this summer. I reread them. I smiled and then I paid the bills. The things that tie our lives together in a small ways were taken care of while I thought about the things that have kept us together in much larger ways. I think I’ll tuck them back in the bill pile to discover and reread next month when this day rolls around again. Meanwhile, the count down to 4pm begins again.

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You Know It

Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 in Food, Mothering, Wifery | 0 comments

You know that it has been a good Independence Day when…

…the grill was properly utilized.

…the dishwasher has to be run twice in a row to clean all of the supper dishes.

…your neighbor hoses down his roof.

…an out of town friend from the east coast shows up in town in plenty of time to join in.

…your baby sports a red and white striped shirt with a butterfly on it.

…your little girl was ‘too busy’ to nap.

…your husband finally agreed that the best way to deal with Legos is to organize them by color.

…your little boy spends a lot of time running away from things that were lit in the street.

…your mother bathes your baby while you compile lists on the internet and deal with the dishes.

…you make lists about how good the day has been when it’s only 6:36 and nowhere near dark outside yet.

Here’s to everyone having all of their digits by the end of the night and to all of our homes not catching on fire!

UPDATE: add the following items to your list:

– your (still-just-barely) 4 month old baby talks herself to sleep.

– your husband sees you and comments that you ‘look summery’.

– your feet log 4 miles and your treadmill had a fan in it.

– unexpected friends from in town call mid way through your night and join you to end the evening.

– you watch your husband retrieve a parachute dude from your neighbors roof.

– your kids are so sweaty you force them to drink gallons of water and they barely pee.

– your so tired at 10:21 pm that you think about not even bothering with the necessary face washing.

– you have to add to your list of awesome things before you ignore your pores because your day was just that good.

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