Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Defense of the Pinterest "Super"-moms

It seems that one of the latest trends is to beat up what I'm going to call "Pinterest SuperMoms" -- I've heard preachers, teachers, friends, and even, strangely enough, bloggers gripe about women not feeling good enough about their motherly/wifely/crafty skills because they don't measure up to what they see on Pinterest or Facebook or on their favorite blog.  Now, let me start out by admitting that I am not by nature a crafty person. This is MY version of a Cars-themed birthday cake:

Comparing it to the original inspiration from Pinterest...

...you can see that I could easily choose to feel a bit down about my cake decorating skills. Instead I am grateful for the good idea, and happy that my son loved his cake.

Even more, I am thankful for the existence and success of Pinterest, Blogging, Facebook, and all their various cousins, because they provide a means for extraordinarily talented women to share their clever ideas, their daily triumphs, their awkward and awesome moments. 

I'm grateful for the chance to discover that my old high school friend Kelly has such a gift for cooking (and posting recipes in a beautiful and easy-to-follow format); and that another old friend, her sister Jody, has a remarkable talent for thrifting clothes into awesome outfits.

And while I've always known my best friend Molly has an eye for finding beauty in the smallest of details and not only seeing the potential in a discarded item but also bringing it to life, I wouldn't get to enjoy that gift from halfway across the country without her blog. Thanks to her etsy shop, I can also wear some of the loveliness she creates.

You know how you can really see a Bible verse for the first time after the hundredth reading? While I was pondering the Pinterest SuperMom envy, I happened across the following encounter in a group Bible study: 

Genesis 4:6–7 (NASB95)
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
If something you run across online makes your "countenance fall", I challenge you to take the path suggested to Cain, and find out why you are intimidated instead of inspired by the "perfect" Pinterest/blogging/facebooking mom. Find a way to share your talent, whatever it is, instead of allowing jealousy or bitterness to take root.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dressed for Work

I had a bit of an epiphany this morning, after another night of oft-interrupted sleep due to a sick toddler, a baby simultaneously squeezing out my bladder and my stomach, and the Nyquil-and-congestion-induced snoring of my husband. After taking care of the essentials of my morning hygiene, I was debating contacts/glasses and eyeliner/just a lazy dash of boring brown shadow. I knew I wouldn't be taking the kids anywhere today, and even the odds of seeing my husband for more than five minutes before he hits the bed with another dose of cold meds were slimmer than a model at Paris Fashion Week. And if I wore glasses, I wouldn't feel bad about wasting a pair of disposable contacts if the stars should align for me to take a nap.

Then out of nowhere I realized that, for me, choosing to forgo the mascara and contacts means that I'm not really getting dressed for "work". I've given up on the day before the red tail-lights of my neighbor's Subaru light up my bathroom and warn me that "Arnold the Owl" will be releasing my eldest from her bedroom in the very near future. Not that I don't expect it can be a good day -- just that I am giving myself a pass on giving my all to my work. That wouldn't be okay if I had a boss to report to, and it is even worse when it is my family counting on me. 

So my new policy is that unless I am too sick to get out of bed, I'm putting on that full "face" and ramping up my ambition to go for the contacts. Now if only I can come up with a justifiable reason to need that sleek and chic blue dress from Shabby Apple in order to be "dressed for work"...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Year of Change

If you had told me a year ago that 2011 would bring as much (or more) change than 2010, I would have laid down and died of exhaustion. Or laughed maniacally until the gentlemen in the white coats came along. Possibly both, in one order or the other.

And yet, the last few months were super-saturated with change. Jon and I are still slowly absorbing everything that has happened, because there is only so much your brain can take in and really appreciate at one time. Another baby on the way. A new job. A new state. A new house. A choice to bike instead of having a second car. 

And of course, the corollary endings and farewells. The sale of a house, the goodbyes to friendships that had only just taken firm root, leaving another beloved church family.

Those are just the Big Things, in the midst of which are the smaller but just as meaningful everyday shiftings that come with life, especially life with preschoolers. My toddler becoming a little girl, my baby boy starting to figure out the world. Another new soul growing a body and preparing to join us and change everything again.

I think it's nap time.

After that, we'll see what 2012 brings.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter thoughts

I'm staying home today due to a resurgence in my dastardly cold, and I'm sad to miss the joy of celebrating Easter with my church family. For that matter, I'm sad to miss the cousins Easter egg hunt with family on the other coast, and dinner with our friends down the street. Even if I was well, we couldn't participate in all of those events, but I'm still blaming it on the cold. I did mention it is dastardly?

Anyway, as I stumbled out of bed for the DayQuil and ibuprofen, resigning myself to the fact that I would have to stay home in bed, I thought about why Easter is so special. It is even more joyful than Christmas to me (and I love Christmas!), but I don't know that I've ever considered why until today. Isn't the day God became Man equally as momentous?

Emphatically, yes! But here's my thought: the birth of Jesus is a miraculous event that changed the world forever...but he could have done anything after he was born. He was (is) God made flesh, a vessel of divine power and sovereignty on Earth. He could have chosen to destroy the world, rule over the world, turn the world over to the chosen nation of Israel, or, after realizing what it meant from a human perspective, chosen simply not to have taken our sins upon himself. He chose to die for all.

The hero of the story, hanging from nails on a cross while his life's blood pours out and soaks into the dry ground.

Those who trusted him, gave up everything for him, heartbroken and confused.

A tragedy, while the Enemy looks on in triumph.

Until Easter.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"We're Almost Adults!"

Those were the words (half-jokingly) uttered by my husband when I finished filling out our wills this morning. And you know what? It took me about twenty minutes, and that was with a headache, a baby pulling at my pant leg, and a preschooler whining to watch "Dora Snow Princess" on the laptop. But despite having to pause for a time-out (not for me!), I got it done.

Monday morning I'll call to make an appointment with a notary at our bank and it'll be all legal and official, and I can forget about it until we move or have an addition to the family.

I don't like to think about wills, because it's almost like I feel like I'm putting a sign on my back saying, "I'm all squared away, I can die now." As if that is somehow going to make it more likely for me to die early.

But even worse than that (irrational) thought is the (much more likely) possibility that Jon or I might leave behind a mess that could tear our families apart. We've both seen it happen to other families, even when there weren't young children involved. I hate even contemplating someone else raising my children, but without a will, a court of law will decide for me and that is completely unacceptable.

Now we have the peace of having a plan in place should the worst happen. It doesn't make the worst any more likely to happen, but it sure prevents a tangled mess of relationships and stress in the midst of grief.

If you don't have one in place, please, for the sake of everyone you love and care about, make a deadline for yourself NOW to remedy that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bee in my bonnet

So why did I suddenly get a bee in my bonnet to get this "responsibility stuff" taken care of? No, I'm not ill and don't expect to be ill...I haven't received any death threats over having the cutest children in the world...and I'm not headed to Libya to become a freedom fighter. The fact is, everything I'm planning on doing this month falls in the category of "very important but never urgent until it is too late". And that kind of stuff tends to get superseded by "not important but urgent" needs like laundry and dishes and watching the season premiere of America's Next Top Model to find out what the weird bubble-walking scene is all about.

Hence the arbitrary deadline.

I think the bee, however, is actually an offshoot of teaching/coordinating Financial Peace University at our church. We've been working our "Total Money Makeover" for three years, but there's a new energy to our efforts. We have our starter emergency fund in place (yet again) and this month we're completely paying off four debts. Instead of just running in place to keep it from going backwards, our "snowball" is finally gaining momentum and rolling down the other side of the hill. So now I'm looking at the other areas of our lives that have been neglected and I finally have the energy to deal with them -- and I'm making the time to do so.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Act Like an Adult: Week 1 Goals

It's here. March 1. Time to "Act Like an Adult".

Fortunately that doesn't mean that I can't spend the morning drawing castles and troll bridges on our chalkboard table with Aurelia. Or make funny faces at Baby Blaise until his belly jiggles to rival the likes of Ol' Saint Nick.

It does mean that I have three Big Girl goals this week:

1) Buy a waterproof fire safe for our important documents, a small cash emergency fund, and our back-up external hard drive.

2) Make a hard-copy list of ALL of our accounts, including account number, username, and password (if applicable). Place in said safe.

3) Sit down with Jon and actually fill out the will we purchased over three months ago from USLegalForms.com.

*Phew*...now my goals are out there and you can hold me accountable. :)

I'll update with progress later this week, and discuss why I think these steps are so important.