Thursday, July 26, 2012

Protecting a life of structure and order

Allow me to ramble a bit?  I don't really have a point I'm trying to make with this post ~ I just want to set my thoughts to words.  We have had a very trying week.  Stress has been the word of the week.  I have a close friend and I'm having to put some distance between us.  When this type of thing happens, it's never fun.  But something happened in her home while my daughter was there...and truly my daughter should have either been taken right home or they should have called me to come get her.  But instead they carried my daughter right along in the midst of their drama. Ugh.  

Honestly, people want to look at me and tell me that I should know that I'm "lucky" for having teenagers that are calm and well behaved and don't give me and my husband grief.  Well, no.  It's not luck.  A lot of hard work and thought and prayer went into raising them.  

Good kids don't just happen people.  
Ok, stepping down from my soapbox now...

This incident goes right along with other things that have been heavily on my mind for a while now.  The things that so many believe are now "normal" are things that just a few years ago would have made people aghast.  Where has the sense of dignity of lifestyle gone?  We are told we can't live the way we once could with those same standards.  Well.  Yes we can.


I know I've said it before but I'll say it again ~ even though I was raised between the mid 1970s through the early to mid 1990s, my childhood truly was like that of the "stereotypical" 1950s family.  My parents were born in the 1930s and had me in their 40s.  So the music we listened to, the food we ate, the customs and traditions we held to and the lifestyle we lived was very old fashioned ~~ and in a very good way.   

There are certain attributes of my childhood that I try to bring into my home and my parenting to pass on to the next generation.  They might seem like silly little details to some...but I truly feel they are important things. 

  I remember there always being music in my home.  My parents had a radio next to their bed that played softly 24/7.  They could still manage during those years of the 70s-90s to find a local station that played the "oldies" of the 30s-60s music.  I remember when I turned 6 years old one of my birthday gifts was a clock radio for my own room.  I was so proud of that large, clunky thing, lol.  I remember my dad setting it up in my room for me and tuning it to the same station he and mother listened to.  Truthfully, I never changed the station to a different one until I was about 14 years old, lol.  But even then, in the rest of the house you could hear those old tunes quietly playing in the background.  That is one of my favorite memories of my childhood ~ always being surrounded by that old music.  I still love it and still know all the words to almost all those songs.  The song in the video above was always one of my favorites.  For years since becoming an adult I had tried in vain to find a radio station that played the old songs I remember from my childhood.  I couldn't do it.  Then I tried online radio venues. Still nothing that consistently played what I was used to growing up.  But I recently found a station on SiriusXM radio that was exactly what I've spend years looking for!  It's called, "Escape" and it's perfect.  The exact style of music and singers I remember.  Oh, I have been having quite a fun time turning that on and playing it in my home ~ quietly in the background, just like I remember.  
My mother always cooked good meals and we ate at the table and at the same time every day.  It was not a question of if we would have dinner together or when.  We knew.  Everyday like clockwork, my mom would start cooking supper at 4:00 sharp.  It was so regular that even our little pet dog we had at the time would start to dance and get excited a few minutes before 4pm.  She knew she would get her own little serving.  My mom used to tell her, "Now don't rush me, it won't be 4:00 for another ten minutes."   I'll admit that at times over the years I haven't been as faithful to that structured dinner routine as I would like.  But it is something that I decided to remedy and did become faithful to it.  And on the very nights that I don't feel like doing it, are the very nights I forge ahead and make a good sit down meal anyway and I always feel better for it.  Not to mention it's better for my family as well!     This past Monday night was the end of such a difficult day for us.  I was trying to gently draw my daughter out about what had happened the night before without pushing too hard.  I wanted her to talk but knew if I barged into her space and demanded she talk, she would clam up.  So something told me that holding to our evening routine of a solid supper at the table together was more important than ever.  I suspected that the comfort of that regularity would help her open up.  And it did!  I made dinner and as we sat together and talked about the day, I could see her starting to relax.  By the time we were done and her brother excused himself from the table, she was ready to share her worries and what was on her heart.  It was a very good thing.  If I had given into my physical fatigue that night and plopped a pizza in the oven for everyone to graze on, my husband and I would have had a much harder time connecting with our daughter and giving her the comfort she needed.   Growing up, there was just such a security from a structured routine.  We got up and went to bed at set times.  When it was time to go to church, we went to church.  When it was time to do chores, we did chores.  When it was time to relax, we would relax.  And it didn't matter what kind of chaos might have been going on outside in the world ~ in our home, under our roof, we knew what to expect and life was calm.  
I think that is (a part, among other things of course) of the problem with so many now days.  They let all the chaos out in the world into their home.  They open the door right up and say to come right in.  People have lost the art of making their homes what they should be regardless of all the drama going on out in the world.  They scoff at structure and order.  People don't value calmness and dignity and right behavior anymore.  And families are falling apart because of it.  It's so sad and, well, infuriating because it does not have to be that way!!  There is a better way.  I don't buy the argument that those times have past and we can't live like that again.  Well yes we can if we choose to.  It takes thought and effort and a willingness to go against the "norm" but honestly...why would we want what the masses have to offer now?   I think we would do well to calm down, step back, and center our lives around the things that God would have us concentrate on.  Keep our minds and hearts open to the opportunities he places before us to be an encouragement and help to others.  Be quiet and mind our own business.  Work with our own hands. And fiercely, fiercely protect the sanctity and peace of our homes and lifestyle!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Being present in your home

As homemakers, it is our God-given job and place to take care of our home and family.
If we allow it, we can be pulled in so many different directions.  And when that happens, without even realizing it, our brains go into survival mode.  --  Just get through the day.  Make sure everyone else just gets through the day.  Sleep.  Repeat.

I don't know about you, but I want more than that.  I want time to relax and enjoy working on hobbies.  I want to be able to cook while not feeling rushed.  Feeling rushed ruins the fun of it.  I want to be able to have the time and energy to do little "extras" around my house for my family.  I want to have time and energy to have meaningful conversations and laughs with my family members.

I ***do not*** want to live my life in survival mode!  When we're in that mode, days slip by so fast.  Days turn into weeks which turn into years and before we know it, so much time has slipped by without us truly investing ourselves in our family.

Our home should be the one place in the world where we can and should place very carefully constructed hedges to keep out the negative and evil.  Our time spent in our homes should be productive and sacred.

Let's not allow ourselves to be pushed and pulled into too many directions.   I'm not saying we should never have an outside activity or diversion.  But I am saying we should choose the ones we participate in very carefully and limit the number of them ~ both for ourselves and our children.  It seems that so many people think that the road to happiness is paved with extra curricular activities.  I'm sorry, but I shake my head at that and do not understand it.  The road to happiness is paved with God's word, prayer, and a rich and full family life.

This post links to the Titus 2sday Link Up Party.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Single Tasking vs. Multi Tasking

I read a very interesting article today.  It was about a study done on the effectiveness of multi tasking.  The described exactly what happens in your brain when you are multi tasking.  The researchers were expecting to find that people who regularly muti task would be very good at:
1. Filtering information
2. Be able to switch between tasks easily
3. Have a high working memory

However, they found none of the three to be true!  Much the opposite to be exact.  The article then goes on to give tips about how to switch your office habits to a single task mindset instead of a multi task one.  

But that doesn't do much for those of us who are homemakers.  :)  So I thought I would share some of my ideas about how we can keep our brains off of the hamster wheel of multi tasking and enjoy one pursuit at at time.  

 Slow down.  If we rush through everything, we will not do any one thing well.  If you are trying to do three things at one time, it might feel good in the moment because you can fool yourself into thinking you are accomplishing so much with your time.  But more often than not, that can end with your being over tired and frazzled by the day's end.  How many times as wives and mothers have we given into being snappy at the end of the day simply because we are so exhausted and worn thin?  I don't know about you, but I don't think that is a very good feeling at all and I would truly like to avoid it.  If slowing down a bit throughout my day and concentrating on one task at a time can help me get to the end of the day with a proper attitude, then I'm all for it!

 Be diligent.  I think being diligent with whatever our task at hand is will do more to help us slow down and concentrate than almost anything else.  After all, it's fairly obvious to see how it would be very difficult to rush through something or do several things at once and be diligent about all of it at once.  That type of approach goes against the very definition of the word diligent. 
Diligent - a constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

I don't think I can give a constant, earnest and persistent effort to several things at one time!  Giving pointed attention, even to the small things, makes my day more enjoyable.

I suppose, all in all, what we should strive to do is to not let our life take over and drive away our peace of mind.  After all, we have our Creator's blessing to live a quiet life!  (I Thes. 4:11)  

~ May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home ~

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's like trying to nail jello to the wall...

We have had a bit of excitement (along with laughter and a good amount of cuddles) added to our household.  I must say first though, that ours is and always has been a very animal friendly home.  If there is a stray out there with a sob story, somehow it will find it's way to my door and it will almost never be turned away.  I've had everything from dogs and cats to chickens laid upon my doorstep.  ~ I'm not kidding about the chickens.  Four of the seven chickens I own right now were dumped at my home because people knew I had chickens and knew how to take care of them.  They had purchased them without knowing what they were getting into and decided that when they were sick and dying, my house would be the place to drop them off.  I joke with my friends that I should put a sign out front that says, 
"Home for wayward and misused Chickens." 

So, you get the picture.  :)

About four weeks ago I went outside early one morning to take my dogs on their morning "constitutional."  I didn't get very far out my back door at all before I came upon two of the saddest looking little kittens I had ever seen.  A teeny little grey female whose eyes were sealed shut with all manner of goop and a little male who was trying his hardest to be big brother and hiss at me to keep me away from him and his sister.  They were both sick and obviously in need of some motherly intervention.


So, my husband was at work and by now I had my two teenagers begging me to pleeeeeeeease take the kittens and help them and love them forever.  But I wasn't about to add two more kittens to my brood without my husband's approval.  So I called him at work to ask if we could keep them.  He said it would be fine but for the time being, they had to stay outside.  So we quickly set up a carrier on our covered side porch and set to feeding them with a dropper and wiping little eyes with warm wash cloths.  Eventually we had the carrier ready with towels and a litter pan and the little kittens were ready for a nap.  So we left them to sleep and went inside.

I went back out a couple of hours later to check on them only to see another little orange kitten scitter across my porch!  I thought that the carrier had somehow opened and they had escaped.  But no, the carrier was safe and sound with two sleeping kittens inside.  Oh my.  So this was number three.  I quickly caught it only to find it had the same eye/nose infection that the others had.  We cleaned her up and put her in with brother and sister.

So ~ long story short ~ we did decide to commit to raising them.  They have all seen the vet more than once at this point, got all the needed medications and flea treatments and are happy and healthy.  When our assumptions were found correct by the vet in that the little grey kitten is almost completely blind, my husband decided to relent and allow them to come into the house.  (Don't tell him I told you so, but I think he's almost more in love with them than the rest of us are, lol.)  Because of all the animal rescuing and fostering we've done over the years, we have a good selection of crates, carriers and cages available to us.  So we now have the little brood of three in a large dog cage in our kitchen.  They have an enclosed litter box, soft blankets, several toys and food and water at their disposal.  Several times a day we shoo all the other critters out of the room (with the exception being the two "grandma dogs" who fancy themselves the kitten caretakers) and let them have time to play and romp around until it is time for the next round of naps.

But let me tell you...trying to wrangle three little wiggly kittens at once is like trying to nail jello to the wall, lol!  I've had cats before but never any this young and sometimes trying to maneuver the fuzzy mass of mewling wiggle is quite an undertaking.   But they are so sweet.  Many days I wear long house dresses with a ruffle at the bottom and while I'm standing washing dishes one or another of them will find their way under my skirt and roll around on their back batting at the ruffle.  They have certainly been keeping us entertained.  It seems that laughter and tiny kittens go hand in hand.  

So a trio has been added to my little clan here.  They will be loved.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Some of you may remember me having said a time or two on this blog that there are times that this world makes me feel like Alice on the wrong side of the looking glass.  What I mean by that is, our average/normal/every day culture has become something that I just don't quite recognize at times...and don't really care to either.

One thing that really makes me heave a sigh is finding myself in a room full of people and no one is speaking to anyone who is there in the room with them.  But everyone has their eyes plastered to one type of small screen of another.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I use the Internet and I have a cell phone.  I do have friends that I text.  However, shouldn't it have a time and a place instead of every moment and every place?

Two things recently really brought this to the forefront for me.  I was at the birth of a child and after the child was born, the mother hardly held her baby or looked at her at all...because she was so busy texting everyone and their brother and posting on facebook.  I mean, I literally held that baby more on the day she was born than the mother did because she would not put down that cell phone for anything.  This was not even a young woman but someone in their 40s!

I can't wrap my mind around that.

The next thing happened while I was with my daughter in a hair salon.  She was getting her hair done and I was sitting and waiting.  There were other women there as well but not one person in the waiting area ever even looked up because they all had their eyes plastered to their phones.  Even the women working at the salon would grab their phones as soon as they were in between patrons in order to hop online or text.  

Really?  I mean....really? 

I can't be the only one who finds this odd enough to be troubling.   I am not at all saying we should not use cell phones or text or get online.  These are all good things and can be very useful and even needful in their place.  But to allow them to take over our time and thoughts as much as they have...that is just wrong.

I honestly want no part of it, so I have been thinking about how to approach these situations in public when I find myself surrounded by people who are not doing anything but interacting with a screen of one type or another.  Communication and conversation is not much of an option because everyone else seems very occupied and if you do happen to say something to them it seems they listen with one ear and can't wait until you stop talking.  So I think my best option will be to always make sure I have some good reading material with me.  I'll simply start taking my current book with me and maybe even a magazine or two.  If someone wants to strike up a conversation, believe me, I will be more than happy to join in!  But if I find myself surrounded by people who don't care anything at all except about what is going on in their technological world....I'll be content to read my real books and magazines.

My current read:  
Some favorite magazines:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Hello God"

I love this song.  I think it's especially timely in our world right now.  Especially the line, "...the free that you have given, we have made a mockery of..."