I’m A Christian…Does That Mean I Have To Be A Doormat?

03-11 Lizzy
To be walked on, or stepped over… that is the question…

In the month since my last post, life has continued to keep me busy.  My younger son ended up getting steroid shots in his TMJ (jaw) joints last week after his MRI showed active inflammation.  He’s still on a soft diet, and I’m still experimenting (sometimes successfully) with new meals that are easy to eat.  Funny thing is, he doesn’t complain about all the doctor’s appointments, he just accepts it as “what is.”

I could learn a lot from him.

This last month, I became a member of the church I’ve been going to for the last 3 and 1/2 years.  This was big for me, because I’ve never taken that step.  I’ve always stayed on the fringes, so I could come or go unnoticed.  I still don’t feel like I belong anywhere and keep to myself, but I’m praying that God will encourage me to be more outgoing.  I’ve sang with the church band on two Sundays and it was amazing.  I don’t feel self-conscious when I’m singing because it’s all about praise.  Now, standing there during the announcements, that’s a different story.  Awkward!

This last month has also been about me trying to show love as Jesus would, but I have to admit, I’ve fallen short.  If this were a marathon, I’d say I ran backwards!  I’m struggling with setting aside resentment and anger, and getting past the stubbornness that is surfacing because I’m tired of being a “doormat.”

Event 1:  My ex asked if my dad could get him discount tickets for a theme park in case he wanted to take the kids (this was after I got tickets so I could take them over spring break).  I was annoyed, but decided I would ask anyway.  My dad (reluctantly) agreed and I was encouraged that I did the “right” thing.  That feel-good moment was short-lived, and keeled over the instant the kids told me what happened last weekend: their dad’s girlfriend said (in front of them) that it was kind of weird he was inviting them (my kids) because the trip was supposed to be for them (and her 5-year-old son.)  I’m livid that 1) he didn’t say anything to reject that idea so now my kids feel a distant second, and 2) he apparently tricked  me into getting discount tickets when they weren’t intended for the kids.

Event 2: I have this friend who talks to me only when it is convenient.  If there are other things going on, or other stuff to to be done, I don’t hear anything.  I’ve always lent an ear, but resentment is creeping in, so I may not be listening much longer.

Event 3: My ex shifted schedules at the last minute on several occasions (most recently, backing out of taking my older son to the dentist and picking him up from school when I was in Phoenix for my younger son’s TMJ injections.)  He skipped out on the dentist appointment because he was too busy at work (I’m busy too!) and I was baffled by the picking him up at school because he said he would get him at my house – 5 minutes after school was out (so I’m not sure why I had to go pick him up after driving 170 miles that day). It almost seems like a control thing or a power play, but it irks me that he feels I’m at his beckon call.

Event 4: My son asked me to make 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a Boy Scout hike on Saturday.  I asked him if he was really hungry and he told me it was one sandwich for him, one for his brother and one for his dad.

Um, no.

I told him I wasn’t making a sandwich for his dad, he could make his own.  Then he said his dad told him to have a lunch for him (figures.)  Then my older son said I could just make 2 sandwiches and he’d give dad his sandwich.

No, again.

I made my younger son a lunch with roast beef (because it has additives that give his dad headaches so I knew it was safe.) My older son made a sorry-looking pb&j for his dad and packed different snack-type items for himself.

Event 5: On Friday, my ex lied to me (twice) in an attempt to manipulate a situation involving my older son.  I called him out on both lies, which he refused to acknowledge as lies and continued to be obstinate (nothing short of his way would be acceptable).  Of course, things weren’t resolved and I was left angry and frustrated- and disappointed that I ignored my therapist’s advice to not engage in his “baits” because “you can’t change stupid.”

These (and many more encounters) have left me wondering if being a Christian means I have to be a doormat.  Because honestly, I feel like I’m often taken advantage of, and I get resentful.

So I turned to scriptures.

Matthew 5:38-42- You have heard that it was aid, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Luke 6:27-29– But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Proverbs 25:21-22– If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

I think the fact I smiled at the “heap burning coals on his head” and imagined literally doing just that is a sign I have a loooong way to go 🙂

So, it seems the simple answer to my question posed in the title of this post is “yes” – unless I can change my perspective.

Some time ago, my younger son complained that life wasn’t fair.  I agreed and told him it wasn’t… when we look at it from an earthly point of view.  I added that I thought God sees things differently; that we are given certain struggles, afflictions and experiences so we can be greater testimonies for God’s grace and goodness.

My resentment and anger won’t change the “takers” in my life one bit.  My prayer today is that God will continue working in me so I can overcome my tendency to weigh the “fairness” of interactions.  I pray that He will soften my heart so I can not only accept these circumstances, but continue to show love as Jesus did, unrestrained and undeterred by perceived unfairness.

03-11 Roxy
May God give me the strength to love even if it means I could get stepped on

Have a beautiful Sunday!

 

Life Has a Way

02-12-mailbox
I saw a cool mailbox… my dad saw car parts arranged in a unique way and was able to name them all…

I find it ironic that I have a blog entitled “Finding Me Daily” and I barely manage to write twice a month.  Although I do discover things about myself almost daily, finding the sweet spot of inspiration and opportunity is something I haven’t mastered.  Lots has happened since I last posted.  I’ll get the “list” out of the way and then get to the thoughts that have been occupying my brain today.

  • I ended up telling the homeless lady I helped out before Christmas that I did all I could and please don’t ask me anymore.  This was after two voicemails and two texts that she wanted to talk to me.  She was at a hotel and had to be out by 11 and had nowhere to go…. well, I couldn’t afford to pay for her to stay in hotel and I wouldn’t bring her to my house so I had no choice but to be blunt.  So far, she hasn’t contacted me again.  I am praying that she is able to get to a better place though.  I found that I can be firm while still having compassion.
  • My older son had sinus surgery and he’s recovering nicely.  The forced “conversation” in the waiting room during the surgery as his dad and I… well, waited… showed me that I can listen to stupidity and remain silent.  As he complained about his job situation, I “listened” and responded with, ‘I guess you have some things to think about and decisions to make’.
  • My younger son has been having inflammation issues with his jaw and is scheduled for an MRI next week.  For the past 4 weeks, he’s been on a ‘soft’ diet which has revealed that I enjoy trying new recipes that are easy to eat, yet still nutritious.
  • Last weekend, I found out that I’m still not good at finding words in difficult times.  It is painful when you encounter someone who has lost hope; it’s heart-breaking when it’s your mom.  My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year.  My grandma, and great-grandma have traveled that path as well.  My mom, being the primary care-giver for the last years of my grandma’s life, is well-aware of what’s in store.  Even knowing that, I was still stunned when she matter-of-factly told me her plan because she has no future.  I told her she has a present and she said “not for long.”

I cried most of my drive home and I have a song idea and some words (but no music) but I feel that if it’s something that needs to heard, God will help me with all that.  The chorus is alternating between my mom’s thoughts (some are actually her words), followed by what I feel like God’s response would be.  The song how I have it in my mind would be a duet.

I feel like I don’t matter

(Your life is not an accident)

There’s no hope for “better”

(Trust, lay down your burden)

My time, my life, is limited

(It’s mankind’s shared fate)

I don’t want to see that end

(It’s not your choice to make)

The final thoughts I have going through my head started during my hour-long run/walk this morning.  Near the sidewalk in a yard I passed by, someone had an interesting carved-out log with their last name inserted in iron letters.  Seeing that, it made me think how we seem to spend our lives looking to make an impression, to leave a mark, or simply stand out among the millions of other people on this earth.  I used to be this way- I wanted be recognized for my writing.  I wanted to be famous.  But it was all for me- not to glorify God.  There’s some freedom in admitting that now, because I am okay with being a name or a face that isn’t remembered.  The message today at church talked about how we should treat others how Jesus would (makes me think of a Colton Dixon song, “Let Them See You”).  I think it’s an amazing song and included a link if you haven’t heard it before.

This kind of ties into something that happened with the kids on Saturday.  I brought home a game and game pieces from the grocery store (when you shop, you get more game pieces and you win stuff if you get all the pieces for the prize.)  My younger son thought I was crazy because I didn’t want the vacation home, $100,000 vehicle or the million dollars.  The vacation home is useless – I would have to insure it, maintain it and it would be a pain to sell it;  the $100,000 vehicle would have to be insured and maintenance costs are often ridiculous on those expensive cars.  And, let’s be honest, no matter what you do to avoid it, someone is going to door-ding it or bump their shopping cart into it.  But the worst part to me is that having this stuff makes people think I have money- and I got out of a marriage to someone who was into that kind of show (I bought into it, to some extent, too)… I want nothing to do with it now.  Just a few years ago, I thought having more money would make things better – I would’ve hoped for the million dollars.  Life has taught me that it wouldn’t have made a lasting difference.  I understand that brokenness can’t be patched with money and things can’t make me “happy”.

Life has a way of making me, but it had to break me down first (mostly because I chose to do things the hard way.)  See… I’m learning 🙂

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Silence Isn’t Golden; It’s Yellow

2016-01-16-frozen-water6
Partially frozen rainwater… looks almost like a frosty mug of beer, haha

This post title is borrowed, but as soon as I heard the words, I embraced them as my own.  They are appropriate here because I see my last post was January 4 (good thing I don’t make New Years resolutions, because if writing were one of them I’d be a failure at this point!)

It’s not that I haven’t thought of writing- I have.  I may actually get around to doing some of those posts, if they feel right.  The point of this blog was for me to put conscious effort into finding “me.”  In a vacuum, that might be easy, but let’s face it, life isn’t easy.  Even though some days have been a blur, I am lucky to have a quiet evening to reflect on the last few weeks and that does tell me a little about who I am.

A couple weeks ago, my younger son turned 11.  I had taken him to dinner before then because his actual birthday fell during his time with his dad.  I was okay, I thought, until my ex’s girlfriend texted me pictures of her youngest son and my kids on the outing.  I didn’t realize his girlfriend and her son were going so it caught me off-guard.  The pictures kept coming – 23 in all and I ended up pausing my run to sit down on a curb and cry.

It wasn’t a delicate cry.  It was the ugly I-wish-I-had-a-tissue-but-I-don’t-so-my-shirt-sleeve-will-have-to-do kind of cry.  When I got home, I called my best friend (who doesn’t have children) but she put words to my pain.  It wasn’t that I was upset my ex is with someone else, it’s that she gets to experience memories of a milestone that I won’t have. So I was going to write a post about it titled “Learning to be okay with not being okay” but obviously, that didn’t happen.

Instead of writing a blog post, other words flowed in melodic form.  As I jotted them down and recorded them on my phone so I wouldn’t forget, a song emerged.  Over the next few days, the words kept coming and not only spoke to my deepest pain, but also offered hope, as it became a prayer to God, straight from my heart.  (I do have to also give credit to the pastor at the church I go to – a message in December about how we are prone to think we would be better if our situations were different stayed with me and I remember it when I’m discouraged by my circumstances.)

God.

The message the pastor delivered today included the words I used for this blog post title.  He said when it comes to the Good News, silence isn’t golden; it’s yellow.  That made me think of old westerns where cowards were ‘yellow bellied’.  I’ve been different shades of yellow my entire life.  Fear has had more power than faith.

That needs to change.  Fear isn’t a good reason for silence.  So, I’m taking the ultimate stand against silence by providing a link to listen to the “song” I wrote (and I’m going to publish this post immediately and sign off before I change my mind!)

I’ll end this post with the words to the chorus and look forward to writing again real soon!

Lord, help me remember your blessings;

not distracted and longing for things I do not need.

Lord, ease my fear and help me let go;

to be satisfied now, and trust the future you know.

If You’re Sensing a “Leave Me Alone” Vibe… It’s Not Me- It’s You

01-03-roxy
Head tucked, eyes covered = Do Not Disturb

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an uplifting experience as I began to carry out my younger son’s vision of helping the homeless.

As usually happens with my life, the “awwww, that was great moment” has turned into “awwww, what the &%$* happened??!”  Just like with my marriage, hindsight reveals exactly where I went wrong.  Yep, I know precisely why that feel-good train jumped the track and now I’m left pinned beneath a mountain of guilt, picking off the shards of good intentions stinging my skin.

Here’s what went down…

Nine days after meeting Lynn, I got a call.  They were cold, broke and needed to heat the tent I bought them.  Her husband had started work, but hadn’t gotten paid yet.  I went to them, my younger son came along since he was on winter break.  She said they had contacted churches in the area looking for a sleeping bag, but there weren’t any (I know, that was a hint… I sidestepped several along the way.)

Anyway, after buying enough propane to heat their tent for a few days, we ended up at Wal-Mart to get her a hat to keep her ears warm.  That turned into getting some hand warmers… then a sleeping bag… then a no-contract phone and a $45 one-month plan…vodka… a pack of cigarettes… and I don’t remember what else.  Afterwards, I drove them to their campsite and they showed us their tent.  I had already decided I wasn’t comfortable with how freely she asked for stuff.  As we left, she pulled me aside and asked if I would check pawn stores for an acoustic guitar she could give her husband for Christmas.

Yeah, that was it.  In that moment, the doors of the Bank of Me officially closed.

But wait, there’s more!  (My life is like a ridiculous late-night infomercial.)

Two days later, she left three “urgent” voice messages asking me to come get her.  They had stayed in a hotel the night before at $70 a night, they had to be out by 11am, they had no money and no one else to call. I didn’t call back, but did send her a text later in the day to let her know my aunt had passed away and I was dealing with family stuff so I couldn’t help her.  

A couple days later, another message.  This one, just asking about Christmas.   I sent a text back (with the photo I’d taken of her and her husband) and wished her a merry Christmas and joy in 2017.  I thought that was closure and the end of it because that picture was the only thing I promised her.

I was wrong.  I’m getting used to being wrong.

On New Year’s Eve, she sent a text asking how I was.  Again, I wished her a much better year in 2017.  She thanked me, said she was praying for me, and mentioned she was cold.  (Another hint).  She left three voice mail messages on Monday, which I did not respond to. The last one, at almost 11pm.  Then, she sent a text at 2am.  Then around lunchtime on Tuesday, she send a text asking how I was.  I finally responded several hours later that I was fine, but had a cold so I rested when I wasn’t working. I ended it with, “take care”.  She replied that she was praying for me and trying to stay warm (ah, yes, yet another hint.)

I know you’re probably wondering why I don’t just tell her to leave me alone (my best friend sure is!)  Simple… I don’t want to be mean.  I have compassion for her because her life is difficult at the moment.  I don’t wish anything bad to happen to her and truly hope things turn around in her life. It makes me sad if a stranger really is her only “go to”. My older son asked why I don’t just block her number.  Smart boy.  I’ve thought of that, but I won’t because I find human behavior fascinating, and I need to know how this plays out.

I can imagine what you must be thinking…. So you endure the harassment so you can “study” human nature?  That’s like dropping a brick on your foot to see what happens.  That’s twisted!

Yeah, it’s kind of messed up.  But, in my defense, I don’t hide the fact I’m not normal.  Not only do I find the not-so-subtle hints interesting (it’s less presumptuous to hint until someone offers rather than straight-out asking for something), I am curious about my own reactions and responses as well.

After 43 years, I know a few things about myself. Like, I will give up something so someone else doesn’t have to. Although life isn’t fair, I do my best to be fair.  I will befriend someone that no one else will, because everyone should have a friend (that has bitten me in the behind more than once.)  Often I do things I don’t want to because I’d rather take on something rather than burden someone else.

Do you see a trend here?

I do.  And I know what happens…eventually: my toilet gets full and I have to flush it. (Ironically enough, that statement came from my ex, when talking about his mother… that’s another story for another time!)

I’m realizing that like flowers attract bees, giving invites takers.  I need to know that I can be be assertive enough to communicate “I’m done” if I feel used and my hints continue to be ignored.  I must find out if I can abide by my gut feeling that she’s trying to take advantage of my kindness and not cave to guilt (because I have a roof over my head).

Most of all, I have to know that I can deliver a kind but firm “no” and not apologize for it instead of allowing myself to be a dumping ground. 

This experience has changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate, but that seems to be how God teaches.  I will continue to keep my heart and eyes open to help those in need.  However, in the future, my name will be fictitious.  And, under no circumstances, will I provide my phone number (or that of any former friends).

I may not be normal, but I’m not completely stupid, either!

Outrunning The Storm (Semi-Fiction)

12-27-storm

“You know we don’t have to do it.  It’ll wait.”  Vee’s forehead creased with concern.

I shook my head as I stared at my cell phone, the screen still lit from the ended call.  “No, I will feel better if we get it done.”  I glanced at my phone:  8:39pm.  “I would like to wait until morning to start, though.”  I thought it strange that I didn’t cry.  I knew the heart was a muscle, and it seemed mine had become taught like the limbs of a champion body-builder- if not a chunk of stone.

We spent the next two hours watching videos on You Tube.  Immaturity took over as we doubled over with laughter several times during the Squatty Potty Infomercial.   Something about a unicorn pooping rainbow-colored ice cream cones is just wrong… I may never think the same about unicorns or soft-serve ice cream cones.  When the conversation lulled into stretches of silence, Vee said goodnight and prepared for bed.

Sleep didn’t beckon me.  It hardly ever did.  To distract my mind, I played word games on my phone until I began nodding off during finger swipes.  Like many nights, I don’t remember exactly when sleep took over.

***          ***          ***

I woke before the sun, as usual.  I picked up my cell phone and played the same word game.  It passed the time.  For a split-second, I wondered why I tried so hard to pass time even after the stark reminder that eventually all the grains of sand have settled and there’s nothing left to pass.  A person in touch with their emotions might have devoted time to pondering it.  I, on the other hand, shifted focus to getting to the next level in my game.

After a couple hours, Vee sat down on the couch beside me.  “I heard you get up this morning.”

“I’m sorry.  I tried to be quiet.”

“What time was it?”

I shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I woke up several times.  I just get up when I get tired of chasing sleep.”

“Would you like breakfast?  We have sausage, eggs, potatoes- -“

“No thank you.  I’m not really hungry.”  I omitted the fact I’d already eaten half a bag of potato chips and chased it down with some iced green tea.  Oh, and chocolate covered blackberries made a fine breakfast dessert.

“Are you sure we have time to put it together?  Really, it can wait.”

“Nope.  We’re doing it. You’ve wanted that dresser for a while and I promised I’d help you.”

“But that was before…”  Vee looked away.  “I’m sorry I keep bringing it up.  I still can’t believe it.”

“Neither can I.”  After a couple seconds of quiet, I stood.  “I’ll get the box so we can get started.”

“It can wait.”

“But it won’t have to.”  I left before she could protest again.  She wanted the 9-drawer dresser from IKEA put together so she could finish organizing her closet.  I needed to assemble it because busy hands meant a busy mind.  Everyone has at least one coping mechanism; something they fall back on when life knocks you on your back.  I didn’t smoke, drink alcohol or gorge on Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.  Instead, I ate copious amounts of dark chocolate and stayed busy.

“Are you sure we have time to do this so you can go home before the storm?”

I checked the time: 9:34am.  “Yep.  Snow isn’t forecast til around 4, so if I leave by noon, I’ll have plenty of time.”

We sorted the drawer pieces and  the contents of the big bag o’ hardware included in the flat box.  I found satisfaction in the orderly stacks surrounding us.  The more chaotic my mind, the more I sought order outside of me.  I shoved that nugget of self-revelation to the side as I turned the instruction diagram so the picture matched the angle of the pieces spread out in front of us.

For the next two hours, we kept our focus on the dresser (named “Alex” by IKEA).  I was a little sad when the last of the screws were tightened and we placed Alex in the new home inside their walk-in closet.  My mind searched for my next project- my next fix.

“I love it!”  Vee smiled as she slid the drawers open then closed.  “And you’ll be able to get home before the storm, too.”

It was almost noon.  I didn’t want to go, but I couldn’t stay.  I would have my kids the next day so we could spend Christmas together.  Five cats needed me to feed them.  And while my Civic might handle snow just fine, I had no confidence in my winter storm driving abilities.  I blamed that on living in the Valley of the Sun for twenty-five years.

I hugged Vee outside my mud-caked car; the remnants of an off-road excursion the day before.  I noticed the brownish hue to the sky. A dust storm loomed to the south.

“I need to stop at Walmart, but I think I can make it out ahead of the storm,” I said as I jerked my head to the south.  Even with my glasses on, I could feel grit under my eyelids.

“Let me know when you get home.”

“Yes, mom,” I teased.

This was our usual goodbye routine whenever we visited each other.

***          ***          ***

Twenty-three miles outside of town, my solitude betrayed me.  On Christmas Eve, many people would be together, unwrapping presents, but I struggled to keep dusty memories packed in their forgotten places.  Against my will, I saw my chubby toddler self, rested on her hip with my cheek pressed against hers.  Her right arm hugged my brother, who stood in front.  His thick white belt and my plaid pants screamed 1970s, but we all smiled big in spite of that.  I didn’t know back then that happiness had a shelf life and withered with age, just like the ones we love.

A chill ran through me even as the heater blasted hot air at my face.  I shivered as deeply as the last night our family camped near the lake.  She invited me to climb in her sleeping bag and wrapped her arms around me tight, absorbing my shivers into the warmth of her body.

I squinted to see through the blurriness and turned the windshield wipers faster.

My stomach quivered as I took a curve faster than I realized.  I remembered myself at five years old in the backseat of their car.  My angry stomach had lurched and I heaved in the backseat of their car for the umpteenth time.  Ever-patient, she soothed me as my uncle pulled over and ranted in utter frustration over my habit of getting sick on road trips.  His threat to leave me there seemed very real.

I swiped the back of my hand across my cheek and wiped the wetness on my jeans.  I craned my neck to see if mascara darkened the circles under my eyes.  Instead, my gaze traveled outward to the wisps of curls unrestrained by my hair clip.  As a child, she had added highlights to strands of hair surrounding my face.  I smiled, thinking of her horror when she realized she left the solution on too long and I had nearly blond highlights in my chestnut colored hair.  She worried my mom would be furious, but I liked it…. It was 1987 and this was as close to “cool” as my nerdy self had ever been.

Just like that, the storm engulfed me.  Unable to see or focus on the yellow lane lines, the torrent forced me to pull onto the shoulder and wait it out.  It’s weird how denial, distraction and distance eventually all fail me.

I should’ve known better; I could never outrun the storm.

———————————————————

I was finally able to channel emotions into writing a story.  I have been in a writing drought for many months now, so I know there’s room for improvement, but it’s a start. 

My aunt passed away on December 23 at age 63.  It was unexpected (death usually is) and I am sad because we had planned to visit when I came to town on December 30.  My uncle informed me there will be no funeral service- just a graveside service for him and my cousin.  So, this is my goodbye of sorts. 

In little revelations, I’m realizing there is no writing because I’ve become adept at not feeling.  When something emotional happens, rather than deal with it, I tend to throw myself into “doing” something to avoid feeling.  I think I’m so afraid of plunging into the darkness again, I avoid feeling altogether.  This is a problem.  I pray that God will see me through this; that I give up control, allowing myself to experience highs and lows, while trusting He will extract me before I’m swallowed completely again.

Merry Mischief, I Mean, Christmas

I love Christmas.  The strings of colorful lights… the tree decked out with 20 years of keepsake ornaments… the food (especially chocolate!)  What I don’t love is the commercialized nature of Christmas.  I don’t “buy” into the need for the latest expensive gadget or the need to rack up a credit card balance that I will be paying on through Independence Day (oh, the irony!)

I decided to have some fun (my 14-year-old said that couldn’t be done!) and share my cats-view of Christmas through more photos of some of my kitties.  So, if you don’t like cats… or Christmas… or humor, then this isn’t the post for you 🙂

This time of year, just a few shopping days til Christmas, stores perpetuate the need to shop by opening their doors 24-hours a day.  I imagine at this point, if you’re still convinced that the joy of Christmas can be put on a credit card, things might get a little “strained.” <groan>

12-22-lily
Lesson learned… don’t wash strainer and leave on counter to dry… Lily thought it was the perfect lounge spot

Sometimes we’re too focused on the next “to-do” that we don’t realize the “purr-fect” gift is right under our noses… perhaps our time is more valuable than anything we can buy?

12-22-lucy
Lucy thinks, “If I don’t see you… you don’t see me!”

I’m guilty of looking for some sense of control in a world that feels so out of control, but it gets to the point I give up, and accept that all the pieces may  not come together as I planned.

12-22-lucy_lily
I had “help” assembling a dual monitor stand for my work space

Now, by give up, I don’t mean that I cease to care about anything.  It’s more about weighing the best use of my time.  So, instead of joining the masses spending money, I stay in and organize something, write something,  or go for a hike.  I could also choose to enjoy the kitties,  or load the dishwasher… or in this case, both!

12-22-lucy-dishwasher
What is the proper way to load a cat?! I have to be sneaky when I load dishes because Lucy is fascinated by the dishwasher. If only I could say the same for my kids….

Whatever your views of the holiday season, I think we can all agree that when it gets too much, it’s nice to take a break… to stay in bed late and seek out our inner cat.

12-22-lizzy
I like the way Lizzy thinks… sleep, eat, sleep some more and repeat!

Women’s Work

Early Saturday morning, I arrived to pick up my sons from an overnight scout “lock in”.  The assistant scout master exited the doors as I started up the steps.

“They’ll be a bit longer.  They’re doing women’s work,” he said.

“Oh, so they’re inside fixing stuff?” I responded.

“No, they’re cleaning.”

I bit my tongue and continued walking, but his comment irked me.   Mostly because I don’t believe he was joking.  When we first moved to town and joined the group three years ago, he dropped an armful of towels and washcloths in front of me and made a comment about me doing women’s work while I waited.

The thing is, even when I was married, I either took care of things myself or paid someone to do it.  My ex wasn’t at all interested in that kind of thing, and I can’t see paying someone to do something I can do myself.  I know my limitations, though.  I hired a professional to trim a 30-foot tall tree with limbs hanging over my roof.  I paid someone to clean out all of the gutters.  I have a plumber in my address book; I don’t do plumbing!

Here are some of my more recent projects:

12-20-deck-re-stain
I paid a handyman to replace a rotted board, then I scrubbed and re-painted the deck on the house sold last December
12-20-cabinet-removal
When my fridge died after 4th of July, I had to remove a cabinet because the new fridge was several inches taller
12-20-ceiling-texture-paint
I didn’t do the wiring, but I did sand, re-texture and paint where the old rectangular fluorescent lights had left marks on the ceiling
12-20-coach-lights
I removed all the brass outside light fixtures and replaced them with with black ones. I also repainted the house numbers and changed out the doorbell to match
12-20-heavy-duty-shelves
Over the weekend, I put together a heavy duty shelving unit for my son to store his rocks
12-20-wall-art
I had canvas prints of some of my photos made and added some branches from my parents’ tree to make an empty wall more interesting
12-20-pillows
My best friend wanted a pillow made out of fabric she had on hand. We had extra poly fill, so we made her hubby a football pillow… just because we could!

If the assistant scout master possessed a kernel of intelligence, I would’ve explained that women are capable of much more than folding towels and sweeping floors. To me, “women’s work” is whatever needs to be done, whether it requires a screwdriver, drill, sewing machine or paint.

And I’m willing to bet my “skills” are much more varied than Mr. Macho Man 🙂