Monthly Archives: February 2011

3 O’Clock Slump

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Every afternoon between 1 and 2 pm I put Austin down (and now Justus), then I have a decision to make. I have about 2 hours (usually) of time to get something accomplished with (hopefully) uninterrupted time. But, no matter what, when 3 pm rolls around, I’m in a funk.

I kept analyzing what I was doing during the boys’ naptime to see what the problem was. Some days I start into a mad flurry around the house cleaning. Some days I’ve scheduled to log on and start doing my actual “paid” job during that time. Sometimes, I just crash especially if I’ve just been run into the ground by two pint sized little men. I either sit outside in the sunshine or scan facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. I realized that I’m super lazy on days that I stop moving or zone out reading facebook, blogs, etc. I need a plan for my 1-2 hours of time or I will just spiral into lethargic motion and possibly stay in that mode the rest of the day.  I do agree that I need a little break; but I need a productive way to rest up and gear up for the rest of the my day.

Then it hit me, once I again, I keep forgetting that I’m not 25 years old. Nope, I don’t go to work, go to the gym, go to dinner with Travis and then watch TV and go to bed. I keep forgetting that we are adults and parents now. I am not serious that I really forget; but I really think I act like I forgot. Yes, I have a 4 year old, I’m still just getting the hang of this parenthood deal!

The other day, I tried to help myself out a little bit. I decided to try to focus on the 2 Part Day. I’ve sort of got two days going on. Part 1:  6 ish to 3:30 or 4ish. Part 2 3:30 or 4:00-10:30 pm. I’m still acting like my day should end at 5 pm. I’m walking around a bit in shock each day that Austin and Justus wake up from their naps and need fed, need snacks, and want to do something. I am really still in shock that I have to make dinner every night. (I told you, I’m slow!) And that there is a bed time routine and then the house will still need cleaned up and that I need to get some actual “real job” work done!

So, my first step was to try to the Part 1 and Part 2 Day.

Then, I decided that I really need to have a plan (which can be tossed if the boys aren’t cooperating) for my 2 hours. Maybe I need to set a timer. Maybe I just need a rough list. I have to be sure to include some actual rest time or I’ll end needing a lot of rest time. I realize that most people don’t need as much actual physical rest as I do (but I need a lot or I won’t make it).

So, there is Step 2. Babies go down, rally myself with a pad and paper and sketch a quick plan based on how the day was going.

Then I got super excited because I realized I can apply an old “Southwestern Book Kid” tricks. (And if y’all don’t know I sold kids books for SW in college, you’re probably lucky that I’ve spared telling you all those fabulous stories). But, when we sold books, we worked 12+ hour days. So, at 3 pm, there was a natural slump. So, every day, we had this little trick. We wore stopwatches with an alarm set to go off at 3 pm. No matter where we were when our watch went off, we had to do something crazy. Usually we were hoping we’d be in the middle of a demo in someone’s house. So, we’d get up and turn in a circle and sit back down. If we were driving. We’d pull our car over (usually were not on an interstate) and get out and run around the car. If we were walking, we’d do a summersault or cartwheel.

So, I have no idea exactly what that will look like for me. Maybe y’all don’t have a 3 pm slump. Maybe it’s an 11 am slump or 1 pm slump. But, I think I need a little “3 o’clock slump” activity in my life. I’m not sure the summersault is a good idea anymore; but I’m thinking I might come up with something to do on days when I’m home at 3pm for 10 minutes to help me refocus my day. Cup of tea and and a note pad. Ice cold glass of water and 10 minutes on my balcony. Anything, something.

Anybody else have a little ritual to help you shake your daily slump? Oh, wait…y’all are probably super productive without gimmicks. Hee hee!

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Crashing Tea Party

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Some of you know that when I went through all of my “oh my goodness, I’m never having a baby girl” drama, there was one thing I kept saying over and over.  “I just want to have a tea party..” Honestly, who am I?  I don’t know why; but I couldn’t get over this little dream of mine. Maybe because I love tea pots so much. I bought my first adult china tea set in England when I was there for a month. I have made my sister promise to let me buy tea sets for Hadley, my niece. And my sister is a minimalist, so I know if I get Hadley too many sets, she will just throw them a way. But, I honestly don’t care. I’ve bought plastic tea sets for almost all of Austin’s little girl friends here. I know. It’s sort of pathetic. We have one more in a box in the “gift” bin and we have one set here to play with when little girls come over. But, even though I still love the tea sets. I have actually let the entire “what will I do if I never have a girl” issue go. So, along with that, I’ve pretty much stopped talking about the tea parties, too. I have never thought to ask Austin to have a tea party with me.

A few months ago, Austin came home from my mom’s house with a few pieces from one of the mini tea sets I had as a kid. I thought it was cute; but I didn’t get too excited. We laid out all the pieces and pretended to pour drinks in them. That was it. I didn’t think much of it. He is sure to get the pink and purple plastic set out any time little girls come over or when Hadley was here. I think it’s just a defense so they won’t play with his toys. But, whatever, he gets it out.  I still really wasn’t thinking about actually trying to have a tea party with him.

Until today….We’ve been fighting these nasty sinus colds, and since I had some amazing tea at a Thai restaurant last night, I thought I’d make some tea today. So, next thing I know, Austin is going crazy: “Mom! Let’s have a tea party!” I sort of laugh, and think he doesn’t really want a girly tea party. But, he’s getting into it.

I’m boiling water. He’s picking out tea bags. He’s saying things like “we are having a tea party”. He’s jumping all over the place. He says, “I want the dark blue tea pot”. Now mind you, I did refrain from getting out the real fancy china. But, in my heart, I was thinking: Really, God! This is it! Thank you! My four year old little BOY wants to have a tea party with me! Don’t make it too girly. Just get the tea out. He’s only four, you aren’t gonna teach him to be too feminine with one little party….What?! A tea party! Oh, Jesus, thank you so much! You know I just want to have a tea party! I will refrain from running upstairs and putting on a sundress…Oh, but thank you, Jesus: ‘Desire of my heart’- Yes, Lord! Oh, this is so great! I can’t believe it. Okay, stay calm, Jess. He might change his mind.

I’m not kidding this was my inner dialogue.

So, of course, I start grabbing the camera. And just so you men don’t freak out, yes there is a Bob the Builder pliers set on my table during our tea party. I did move it out of the pictures; but it was right there.  I snapped a few shots of our tea brewing.

Then the real fun came. He was excited about each step.

Getting out the milk.

Getting out the sugar bowl.

He kept asking if the tea was ready. Doing his little impatient hop on the kitchen floor.

Oh, and I wish I’d be able to capture the look on his face when the tea was finally ready. I asked him if he wanted a plastic cup or real cup. He chose a “real” cup. So, I scurried to the china cabinet and brought him back this Noah’s Ark china mug that Travis’ parents bought when they lived in England.I thought the mug was a bit more manly than a delicate tea cup, anyhow.

Everything was lined up.

He had chosen a cranberry tea.
I poured the tea.
He poured the milk.

He scooped the sugar.

He stirred it up. He slowly lifted it to his mouth and took a long slow sip. As he pulled the cup away from his lips, he was glowing. I mean it. The boy was so excited. He set the cup down. And waited for me to pour my tea. (The next photo wasn’t the real look; but it was a “Please take another picture, Austin because I missed it – look).

Then he asked if he could add some more sugar and cream. I said, sure just a little more. So, he did.

I was leaning in, about to rest my elbows on the table. I know it’s not proper; but I love the Over the Rhine song that says: “put your elbows on the table…” and the entire meaning of relaxing into amazing conversation with your head propped in your hands or your hands cradling a fabulous beverage. So, that’s where I was going in my own little world.  Long deep conversation with my four year old…

My dreams were coming true. This was amazing.

I slowly sipped my own tea. My eyes met my sons eyes as he lifted the spoon from it’s stirring posture in his tea to his lips.

Then it happened. His brow furrowed. His eyes glazed over.

“Yuck! I don’t like this tea! This is YUCK!” And before I could even respond he had pushed his chair back and disappeared into the other room yelling “No! I don’t like it!”

And then I just laughed and laughed and laughed. Shook my head at myself. I did finally convince him to come back to the table and just sit with me. I asked him if we could just have some time to talk while I drank my tea. And once he returned and found his pliers and found two crayons that could act as levers that required a lot of cranking and chugging sounds, life returned to normal.

But, for a moment…I had my tea party.

And I loved every minute of it.

I think this little boy is very good at perceiving who his very “pink” momma is because he has also asked if he can share my cake and decided that I need a princess cake. Smart boy! Very smart!

Preschool Activity #2

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Here is another tip on how to incorporate the Truth Cards into school/activity time:  Help them find the reference on the Truth Card in the Bible. If you missed my first post, you can find it here.

Here is how this idea evolved: The other day, we reviewed all the Truth Card verses that Austin has already memorized. When we looked at each picture, he said the verse. While I was doing this, he was trying to play with his Guideon-style New Testament/Psalm/Proverbs Bible that had become his must-have-carry-with-me-everywhere-object-of-the- day. I was happy he was carrying around his Bible; but was having a hard time getting him to focus and not just play with it. Read the rest of this entry

Essays on EDS: How to Complain Well

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Here is what I’m thinking: If you are going to complain. Do it well. Do it right. Make it good…

Okay, now that I have your attention, here’s the background of what I’m thinking:

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the doctor’s office lately. Lots of check ups and appointments to squeeze in before our deductible starts over again on April 1, and lots of appointments that were held off last year due to pregnancy.

Here is my list of appointments for the last two months:

1. Urlogosit- recurring kidney stones- OBGYN says I should have these tested because they keep coming back
2. Rhuematologist- Check up for Ehlers-Danlos talk about all the crazy things that aren’t “normal” on me.
3. Cardiologist- Gotta have another Echocardiogram – grrr- pre-cautionary because EDS patients often develop MVP
4. Dermatologist- 4 Visits for 5 moles that were all crazy looking (and so far are fine) but have to come off with crazy big cuts & stitches
5. Optometrist- new contacts, same script – legally blind: -8.00 for anyone keeping track

No, I am not a hypochondriac. And honestly, in the grand scheme of things, these are not that startling.

But, when you are cramming all these appointments into an eight week time frame, it takes a toll.  And it really gets hard not to complain and feel a bit frustrated. I was reading something that talked about facing illnesses. It might have been C.S. Lewis, I honestly can not remember. (It’s such a gorgeous day outside that I’m trying to cram in my last 15 minutes of peace and quiet on the back deck. So I’m not going to go look for the book.) Anyhow, they were talking about one of the reasons that illness is so unsettling to us is because it’s a reminder that we are not perfect. Of course, in theory, we know this. But, in practice most of us do not. Even though I’ve battled all kinds of crazy pain over the last dozen years or so, it’s almost shocking every time a new flare up starts. I’m just trucking a long in my life and knocked off my feet (sometimes literally) for a few days. It’s very annoying. It’s not something a Type-A, go-getter, getter-done type person likes to face. Well, it’s not anything anyone likes to face. But, the psychological battle of constantly talking about something that is imperfect. That’s draining. It’s good for us because it teaches about grace and God and all that good stuff we learn from illness; but at the end of the day, it still stinks. It’s not fun.

So, yes it’s draining. It’s legitimate. My feelings about this are real. They aren’t completely out of whack. Yet, I’ve been more conscious lately of how I’m reacting to these flare ups and all this EDS stuff. My family and friends are kind enough to tell me that I’m not too whiney about it. But, I know that they probably tire of my random comments like this: “Seriously, I can not feel my left leg” or “My shoulder just popped out”.  Yet, trying to pretend I’m not broken physically, and a bit more than most people, is also very fake. And since I am catching myself everyday in my little acrylic nail metaphor- reaching for the glue and trying to press on those plastic shaped tips hoping y’all will think I have perfectly pretty nails, I’m trying to be real about where I am in my life. Not where I want to be. Not who I want you to think I am. But, where I am today. I can’t land on either position of being fake or being too whiny and be content. Further, I don’t want to be a clanging banging cymbal of noise about the pain level I have each day (which is usually at least an 8 out of 10 in some area of my body) but I don’t want to be walking around pretending I’m not in pain. Again, paradox. Seems to be my word for the year.

And since I am an advocate of admitting our problems and challenges in other areas of life, I better practice what I preach in this area. So, yep, I support admitting that I’m in pain. But, what’s the difference between admitting problems and down right whining and complaining. Doesn’t the Bible say to do everything without grumbling and complaining?  Isn’t it good to vent a little?

Yes. So, what do I do on the days when I’m really done. D.O.N.E. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of talking to doctors about what hurts and where. I’m tired of sitting in doctors offices with people 40 years older than me because my insides sort of act 40 years older. I feel like crying because I can’t do something for my 4 year old and my 4 month old is starting to get really heavy to carry around already. I get a bit tired of crazy looks from friends, coworkers and family when I say “I can’t do that”. I get tired of not having the energy of most of my other friends at my age. I get tired of asking my husband to carry the vacuum down the stairs for me. I get tired of loathing meetings and new restaurants because the chairs usually are so uncomfortable for me that I can barely focus. So, that’s when I’m complaining. Now is anyone else thinking: Hasn’t this girl met, Jesus? Doesn’t she know enough scripture to keep herself from whining? At least she doesn’t have cancer!? A little pain, I mean come on. Don’t her parents work with people who don’t even have clean water? Yes to all of that. And you are all right and you are all wrong. (Wink!)

But, here’s what Jesus showed me this week. He reminded me that there is almost an entire book and chapters sprinkled all over the Bible that about complaining. There are stories and stories about it. And God loved those little complainers! However, as my Bible teacher, Jolie, pointed out this week, there are different ways to complain.

So, here is what I’m committing to. Here is what I challenge anyone who is reading this to: (Hi, Mom, Aunt Betty and Joy! Thanks for reading!) Lets’ complain well and with a purpose! Seriously.

Look at Psalm 13 and Psalm 142.  Go read them. I’ll be right here. Go ahead. Click the links.

See what he did there. Poured it all out. I mean seriously, I bet you think he’s being dramatic. Well, he sort of is. But, I feel like that sometimes. I feel like every single tissue in my body is about to fall off my bones. I have pounded my hands on the steering wheel of my car in pain. I feel this dramatic. I feel like I’m going to die, just like David did. Sometimes, I feel like his face is hidden. I feel overwhelmed. I seriously know what it feels like to have no idea how to get through a day physically.

So, I love all this drama in both passages. Real. Raw. Bleeding on the fancy white tablecloth kind of emotion. That’s real! That’s not pretty!

But, then, look at this Psalm 13:5,6…. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. He gets it all out, and then he focuses on God’s love, salvation, and praises God knowing that God will deal with us and take care of us in ways we can’t fathom.

Psalm 142 is more back and forth. Here is what he says about how he is feeling:  I pour out my complaint..I declare my troubles…my spirit is overwhelmed….No one cares for my soul…I am brought very low…my soul is in prison…but here is what he says in the middle of all of that: God knows my path and the way where I am going. He is my refuge. He is my portion in the land of the living. I will give thanks and know that you will deal bountifully with me.

So, if you are going to complain with me this year, let’s complain well. Let’s get it all out. Let’s take it to the only One who is going to get and really get it anyhow. Let’s let our friends and family off the hook. Let’s not stuff all that emotion back inside and pretend we aren’t hurting. Let’s admit the yuck, and then let’s be sure we pile our hearts and lives full of the Truth of Jesus Christ. Let’s remember our salvation. Let’s remember that God has this under control! And once we dump it all over the place, let’s thank him for being God.

Let’s complain well….

Don’t Be Freaky

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I love that Pastor Greg often says: “Don’t be freaky”. Usually he’s referencing activity at First Wednesday Praise & Worship service. And before everyone starts screaming “what will people think when they here I’m a Jesus freak…” and waving DC Talk banners at me, hear me out. Pastor Greg is saying that we don’t need to go around being obnoxiously freaky on purpose. One of the most delicate paradox of Christian faith is being sure to know the Christianese but not always spouting off like a crazy person that people would have to have seminary degree to understand. Jesus is not that complicated. As Mike Breen said: “Shallow enough for a baby to bathe  in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in.”

Well, here is my “don’t be freaky” moment…err some of the moments. The last few weeks have held a few out of skin experiences. I really committed to digging in during Awaken 21 to revive what was being dumped into my mind, heart and soul. I also decided to fight for every second of quiet time to listen or read or pray. So, for a few days during this time, I drove between my house and my parents twice a day to feed their dog. As I was driving, I was praying or wrestling some thought, concept, prayer, etc. As I waited on Sundance to do her doggy-business, I scanned the shelves of my parent’s bookcases to find a book on the exact topic or concept that I was praying about. And these were books that I’ve never noticed before. They were randomly stuck in between other books. For example, I was wrestling around the concepts of paradox, grace, and truth one night. I look up and see Paradox of Grace and Truth by Randy Alcorn. The following day through some other really random connections, I started pulling some thoughts on what everyone is trying to say when they say “look to the Cross” or “just preach Christ crucified”, jumping off the shelves two days later was C. J. Mahaney’s book on this topic.

Then, I walked into my Bible study class last Thursday and two very random topics of discussion came up, that I had just been pondering the night before in prayer and reading. I do not ever remember a time that I felt so specifically led from one passage of scripture, book, verse, message, song, or conversation to another. Almost as if he was saying, “Do you see it? Don’t miss. I’m trying to tell you something.” Or maybe, I’m just really listening this time…

Words aren’t adequate. But, the list could go on and those are the less freaky of the kind of freaky experiences going on.

Reading in Breen’s Discipleship Culture today at the doctor’s office, he was talking about praying through and studying the Lord’s Prayer. Tonight, I finally got around to a cd that was handed to me last week to listen to for a wedding that I’m coordinating this weekend. The Song “Your Love is Strong” by Switchfoot’s lead singer starts with the Lord’s Prayer. Amazing reinforcement.

Yes, Jesus. I’m listening. Please, keep leading!