Thursday, July 28, 2011

I just do.

Probably THE most frequent comment (or is it a question?) I get from people regarding either the size of our family or the fact that we homeschool our children or that my husband is retired military and now working in a job that keeps him out of the country for three weeks at a time while I remain home to "hold down the fort" is:

"I just don't know how you do it."

I'm no superwoman. Seriously. I don't claim to be. I'm no "saint" (at least not in the typical understanding of the word, but that's another post entirely!); I don't have some strange ability to do things that other people don't. Oh, and for the record, I DON'T "have the patience of Job". Well, maybe I do. He did get flustered with people telling him how he was doing everything wrong and yes, he even questioned God on a couple occasions. Hmm ... maybe I *do* have the patience of Job? Anyway ...

I actually have had a couple of people in the last few years come right out and tell me that they would NEVER put up with the life I live. That I just have too much "on my plate" and that it's not fair to any human being to "have to" do what I do as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of seven and wife to an oft-absentee husband. "Why do you put up with it??," I'm asked.

My answer to both of these questions is quite simple--I just do. I do what I do because it's my reality in life. It isn't glamorous, it's exhausting, and quite honestly, it's pretty lonely a good portion of the time. But it's my life, and I love it--warts and all. God uses my life as it is right now to mold me--to shape me into something HE wants me to be.

God has never handed me anything that He couldn't get me through. He *has*, however, allowed situations to come into my life that have rocked me sideways, upside-down, and inside-out, and in all honesty, I've wondered out loud just how much He thought I could take! The answer has always been right there in front of me in the Bible:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9.

Sure, I'd love to have a life of ease. Wouldn't we all? I'd love to have my husband home with me all the time; I'd love to have date nights, romantic getaways, and shoot, just the ability to depend on him to be there every day to do the things I just can't do! I'd love that. I'd love to have an open schedule to go do lovely things with my girlfriends that I miss so much, to go have "girls night out" and have an opportunity to interact with others. But it's not my reality. Not now. It may never be! And you know what? I'm just fine with that. In fact, I love it. WHY? Because I trust that whatever this crazy life throws at me, God can get me through. Maybe not "literally", because I know God is not going to come down here and fold my laundry and lift the heavy garbage into the trash can when I can barely get it off the ground with my one good hand, but God will make a way. He always does. I believe that with everything in me. Why?

I just do. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook 7/25/2011

FOR TODAY - July 25, 2011 
Outside My Window... It is gray and ever-so-slightly breezy. I'm hoping that we get some rain to cool things off and water my droopy plants for me.
I am thinking... about how disorder breeds discontentment and stress. I simply cannot stand having things as disorganized and messy as they have been these last few weeks, but with Pete gone and one arm out of commission, it's SLOW going trying to get everything back in order. Already this morning I have had to take a break just to rest for a minute and keep the pain at bay. I want so badly for my home to be orderly and clean, but it's just not my reality right now. 
In the learning room... I can't find the floor. I'm glad I moved the schoolroom into the back of the house where it is not in the regular flow of traffic, because I think it would drive me batty to have to look at that mess all the time. I need to get it in order, because the last of the girls' 2nd grade books will be here this week, and we need to get started as soon as possible!
I am thankful for... yet another three-week separation coming to an end. Having the hubby travel every other month with his job might be a blessing financially, but WOW is it hard on me to do the temporary single-mom thing right now.
From the kitchen... I'm trying (there's a lot of trying, but not so much getting-done) to get the menu plan together so I can have some method to the grocery shopping madness that has me so discouraged. I really want to be able to make some banana nut bread tomorrow. Not today.
I am wearing... denim shorts and my 'cleaning' tee.
I am creating... a haven for the older two girls. They have wanted a "big girl" dorm-style bedroom for a while, and it's definitely looking good in there!!!
I am going... to be doing a LOT of cleaning this week, as my shoulder allows. Pain=the great slower-downer.
I am reading... Large Family Logistics and Managers of Their Chores.
I am hoping... to be able to leave a clean, organized home behind on Friday morning when I leave for Atlanta to pick the hubby up from the airport. I really do not like coming home to a mess, and I know that, while he understands my physical limitations right now, Pete would like to just come home and enjoy being home too.
I am hearing... Disney Jamz playing on the CD player in Morgan and Jamie's room, and the girls trying to sing along to songs they have never heard before--FUNNY!!!
Around the house... there is a LOT to do. I feel horrible just sitting here typing, even if I do need the break.
One of my favorite things... seeing the sweet, smiling face of my beloved as he gets off of the plane after one of his three-week-long business trips. 
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Looking for some finger-food ideas for Jon and Meagan's wedding reception, CLEANING, getting a plan in order for our school year, grocery shopping, then on Friday we head off to Atlanta to pick Pete up and then enjoy a Braves game together (and meeting up with a high school friend!), hopefully seeing some other friends on Saturday.
Here is picture thought I am sharing... Kasey with her "boggle" (I love that!!!) hanging out on the pile of laundry that I dragged in from the bonus room (wrapped up in a comforter since I can't carry more than an armful at a time) to fold. Can you tell I've got my work cut out for me?
If you're a blogger who longs for simplicity and relishes the "little" things, join all of the Daybookers who enjoy taking part in the Simple Woman's Daybook!

Monday, July 18, 2011

One little thing

Have you ever noticed how it's always the unexpected little things that sideline even the best-laid plans? It's the eyelash in the eye of the 300-pound running back that stops the football game. It's the little O-ring that spells disaster for space travel. It's the little bird flying into the engine that brings down the jet plane.

In the garden of Eden, it was one little word. "Not". Eve was deceived with one word. Shoot, the first two people on earth only had ONE rule to follow--ONE thing they weren't allowed to do. And one little word, one thought, one DOUBT separated them from the paradise God had created for them.

Why do we think we are any stronger? Why is it we will not only allow ourselves to remain in a situation that sears our conscience and blinds us to sin, but we actually tell ourselves that "it's nothing", "it's no big deal", "it won't hurt me", or the almost-funny one--"it's not a salvation issue". Folks, when we start justifying, we're already standing ON the thin ice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't fight it!!!

I have had to learn some very difficult lessons these last few weeks since my surgery. Number 1 was that I *can* say the words, "I can't do this; can you help me please?" (would you believe I had a hard time even typing that??) without spontaneously combusting. HARD lesson there. I'm independent. At times I'm sure I look like a stubborn 2-year-old struggling with my shoelaces saying, "I do it myself!"

Sigh. I'm getting there. Having to have help just pulling up my pants that first two days was enough to break my stubbornness in that regard. Well, maybe. Almost. Eh, nevermind. I'm still stubborn. But I'm learning to ask for help when I need it. Really, I am.

Lesson number 2 was not just difficult, it was painful. See, I started occupational therapy four days after the surgery. Occupational therapy, I'm told, isn't the same as physical therapy. It's designed to get your body back to a functional level of usefulness. I had to have my shoulder re-trained to do the things it's been doing for 38 years without a single thought. And to accomplish those things started out with something I wasn't prepared for--total submission and complete surrender to the therapist.

When I found out that my first couple of weeks was simply laying still and letting the therapist move my arm while laying completely relaxed, I went weak at the knees, turned white as a sheet, and panicked. WHAAAT?? I have to let YOU move my arm??? But you don't know how much it hurts!!! How are you going to know when to stop? The screaming inside my head was barely visible behind the smirk I tried to keep up on my colorless face. That first day of therapy was agony. The second day, same deal. But then I realized that the therapist wasn't going to kill me. She wasn't going to rip my arm off, and she wasn't going to drop it and let me get hurt. I just needed to relaaaaaaaaax.

Much easier said than done. Thankfully, though, I finally learned to trust her, and now we have a really good working relationship with my poor shoulder in the middle. I like my therapist most of the time, but now that we've moved past the "passive" part to the "active" stuff, it really does feel more like torture than therapy. Thing is, though, since I trust that she's not going to break me, I can believe her when she says, "trust me, you're going to be fine."

This trust thing is not something we humans do well. We want to be in charge. We can't seem to get it through our thick heads that maybe, just MAYBE we can't do everything by ourselves. That might just be the hardest aspect of Christianity to swallow--submission and complete surrender.

Growing up in south Florida, I became very familiar with something called an undertow. Ever heard of it? Well, not far from the shoreline, there is a current flowing under the surface of the water--you can't see it, you don't even know it's there--until you are swimming along with your little pool floaties and your Coppertoned nose and you suddenly realize you aren't able to go where you want to go. Funny thing about undertows is that they can be deadly. People who don't know what's going on will struggle against the current, exhausting themselves to the point of drowning, trying to swim back to their little umbrella and beach towel on the shore. But ironically, to escape from an undertow, the only thing you can do is submit to the force that is greater than you are and swim parallel to the shore instead of toward it. Eventually the current just disappears and you can swim your happy little self onto the beach and walk back to your towel and flip-flops.

That is the kind of submission God wants from us--COMPLETE submission. If you fight a current, you may look awfully busy, but you will likely just end up exhausted and in danger. I can fight against my physical therapist when she is stretching my arm in the most unnatural of positions I could ever imagine five weeks post-op, but I will only end up hurting myself. Believe it or not, God actually does know what we are capable of, even if we think there is NO WAY we can stretch that far. And maybe, just maybe He is trying to take us further down the shoreline to show us something we would never see if we didn't get caught up in the undertow we're fighting so hard. He may not be in the business of raising the dead or turning water to wine anymore, but God can and does do some amazingly wonderful things when we just get our pride and our stubborn little selves out of the way and just let HIM stretch us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap--a tutorial

Back in February, my curiosity (and boredom, maybe?) got the best of me and I decided I was going to try my hand at making our laundry detergent. With five children at home (and two of those five CHAMPION mess-makers) plus a hubby, I do a LOT of laundry. At my cheapest, I could only find us a 144-load box of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent for $8.99, and that lasted us on average about three and a half weeks. Not good enough. I'm cheap. So off I went searching for a powdered laundry soap recipe that I could make at home relatively simply. The Duggars' liquid detergent recipe was intriguing, but the idea of keeping a bucketload of soap that resembled egg drop soup around the tiny tornado who lives in this house was ... well, frightening. I found a powdered recipe, hunted down the ingredients, whipped up my experimental batch of soap and headed off to see if I could prove it unworthy of duplication.


It worked beautifully. Not a single glitch in my laundry. I haven't found any more stains on my clothes, nor have I smelled any funky left-behind odors. I simply have clean, fragrance-free clothes! And, uh ... cost-wise, it was INCREDIBLE. I bought everything I needed to make it for less than $8. I used the last of that batch of detergent TODAY. No kidding--it lasted a family of seven for five and a half months! Wowsa! Wanna see? Well, here's what we did today to mix up our second batch.

First things first--the "easy" part. I combined a box of 20 Mule Team Borax in a big tub thing with a box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Mine has been sitting a while, so it was a little clumpy. I used a potato masher to break up the clumps.

Once the powdery stuff was combined, I pulled out my bar of Fels Naphtha soap that has been opened and drying in my laundry room for a few weeks. It needs to be grated, so the drier the better. When I made the last batch, I used two bars of Ivory soap, and it seemed a bit gummy when I used my cheese grater (I use the smaller microplane-style grater normally used for parmesan cheese because of the smaller hole--it makes for a finer consistency); I let the Fels dry longer so it didn't gum up when it was grated. My helper Morgan wanted to grate the soap, and her progress after almost five minutes was pretty minimal, she got a bit exhausted.

We chocked the hand-grater and stepped it up a bit. I decided that the Fels was just too hard to grate by hand for Mo (and with my shoulder still on the mend, I wasn't going to even attempt it), so I got out a cutting board and chopped the bar into smaller chunks to put in the food processor.

Here's the consistency I ended up with after whizzing it around for about 30 seconds--perfect! Kind of resembled grits, or coarse cornmeal.

After the bar soap was grated, it was time to combine it all. It took some doing, but I managed to get it mixed up fairly well even with limited shoulder strength. I poured it all into the Rubbermaid container that I keep in the laundry room, and here it is, all full and happy, along with the coffee scoop I use to measure out just the right amount (two heaping tablespoons) per load.
And finally, all closed up, sitting on the laundry shelf ready to tackle the next load of dirties!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I need inspiration!

I'm finally starting to get back my ability to type without pain. It's WONDERFUL. I can't write with a pen on paper yet, at least not more than just a signature. Who knew how much of your shoulder it took to write??

At any rate, I've obviously fallen ridiculously behind in my blogging. I used to view it almost as a daily vitamin (or maybe an enema? LOL), one of very few "simple" things I can do every day to keep my mind focused and functioning on all eight cylinders. But with the craziness of the new year, my desire to do some bloggy reconstruction, and having my surgery moved up from when we figured it would be, other things took precedence.

I think I'm needing this daily vitamin once again. But now I'm finding myself with a ridiculously frustrating case of writer's block. Got any good bloggy reads you've found lately that you would like to share with me to offer inspiration? Do tell!

Friday, July 1, 2011

What I've been up to ...

Hi there! Guess what I've been up to!?

On the 9th of June, I had arthroscopic surgery to repair my rotator cuff. It wasn't torn, but I had extensive calcification on the tendon, requiring it to be cut, scraped, and then reattached. Same as if I had torn the tendon completely. It is INCREDIBLY painful. I'm not even going to attempt to sugarcoat it. For those of you who have had your rotator cuff repaired, I'm sure you are cringing right now just bringing that pain back to memory. For those who haven't, my only advice is to baby that rotator cuff so you never have to have it done.

It has been really difficult for me to be totally incapacitated. I don't do "dependent" well. And I am REALLY not good with my left hand! I'm sure it's been rather humorous and entertaining to watch, but my hubby has been graciously silent about the "show" he's been getting these last three weeks.

So what have YOU been up to?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...