Stewardship, Uncategorized

Hard Resetting Life

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

School has begun for my daughter.  I start teaching on Monday and continue at my second school the following week.  Our schedules are already filling up.  I am beginning to feel a little stressed out already.  Although our house has gotten much cleaner over the past few days, it is still not where I want it to be.  Although I joined Terrafit at the beginning of the month, I have not been following it for the past two weeks.  Although I want to be eating more healthy, I am not.  Although I want to be walking the dogs each day, I am not.  There is so much in my life and although it seems like incrementally changing would be easiest, I feel like I can’t take the time to do that and even if I had the time, so much of it is related to the other that to make serious changes in one area, I need to change the other area.  So, I’ve decided my life needs a hard reset.

A hard reset, also known as a factory reset or master reset, is the restoration of a device to the state it was in when it left the factory. All settings, applications and data added by the user are removed.  –Whatis.com

So, what does that mean to me?  Well, I’ve added a lot of data as the user of my life over the past five decades.  Not all of that data is good or useful.  I need a restoration to the state I was in when I left the factory.  When God sent me to this place, He had all the settings I needed, but I wandered off the path and started getting new applications and gathering data.  And as the saying goes, Garbage In, Garbage Out.  I’ve got a bit too much Garbage to deal with at this point, so it is just easier to restore to God’s settings.

So, what does that mean moving forward?  Well, first, it means living life with a sense of stewardship.  I was listening to an episode of the podcast Woven last week about stewardship.  It is part of a series and I haven’t finished listening to the series yet, but it made total sense to me.  God has given me all these great things.  A home, plenty of food, friends, my family, a great hometown, not one but two good jobs that I enjoy, access to technology, and so much more.  And I don’t take care of those things the way that I should.  Instead, I am constantly seeking more or better or seeing the lack or the mess.  I am tired of living life that way.  Instead, I want to recognize how blessed I am and not take that for granted, but instead steward those gifts from God to the best of my ability.

So, I’m hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life keyboard and looking more deeply at what my factory settings were.  I’ll have to dig out the owner’s manual (Bible) and see what it has to say about starting over my system and keeping it healthy and happy this time.  Luckily, my factory producer is forgiving and full of grace, so I think He will make this hard reset a little easier.

What about you?  Are you keeping your system well-maintained or do you need to clean some data and applications out in order to steward a better life?  It is a question worth asking!

one word

Redefining “homemaker”

For those who have been reading the blog for the past couple of weeks, you have read that I have chosen my “one word” for 2017 as “home”.  I talk about why and what it means in this post.  So, this campaign from Pine-Sol and Take Part grabbed my attention.  As a word person, I love the idea of redefining “homemaker” (which is what I truly wanted my one word to be, but felt like it held too much baggage for me to embrace it for a whole year) and modernize it into #makersofhome.  It really captures the sentiment I want without having to bring all the baggage along with it.   I understand that homemaker is not a bad word in and of itself, but I still like the idea of redefining it from someone who cooks and cleans the house to someone who makes it a “home”.

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The campaign itself is broad and the sentiment is lovely: “From a blended family with adoptive children to a single mom to a family with a special needs child, these stories show us that even as families have changed, love has not.”   We’ve always shared love outside of the traditional family unit, but I like that we are not just recognizing it, but celebrating it with this campaign.

I do cook and clean.  But, I often do it with resentment and frustration rather than as a way to “love”.  I want to change that perspective.  I want my homemaking to become more focused on being a maker of a home.  I want my home to be welcoming and comfortable and cozy and a place where I can celebrate our family and our place in the world.  And our house may change (we will most likely be moving in the next couple of years), but our “home” will remain the same.  Right now, we don’t have a ton of space to host others or much money to invest in decorating and this is a rental, so we don’t have control or permanency to invest in renovation, etc.  But, that isn’t what it’s all about.  It’s about making this a home, in the cultural sense of the word discussed in this Smithsonian article rather than the dictionary definition, which isn’t nearly so meaningful.

A few things I have in the works to reach this goal:

  1. I asked my husband for picture frames for Christmas so I can do a gallery wall with our family photos.  I have one in our stairwell, but it isn’t all that great and certainly is not updated at all.  I think the last picture we have there is from two years ago and most are much older.
  2. I am starting to be more purposeful in my furniture choices.  We basically live in a house of hand-me-downs.  Some that I love and some not so much.  First order of business is to replace our dining room table.  I got my parents’ table when my mom passed away and although it is a beautiful antique that my dad refinished before he passed away, it is also completely out of place in our home.  It is large, formal and the chairs keep breaking (with a seven-year-old and a larger husband, they just aren’t holding up).  So, I’m going to keep my eye out for a good buy on a dining room table that is more our style.  I’m also on the hunt for a coffee table.  I like the open space in our living room without one, but we have problems finding a place to sit drinks and books and work and snacks.  Anyways, I will look for something free or cheap (I got a great office chair free today off Craig’s List that I will use with my desk that I recently moved from my DD’s room to my room to give me a place to work other than the dining room table and the couch) and be patient.
  3. I had a chance to listen to a podcast today while running some errands and the one that popped up was the most recent Abundant Mama podcast with Katrina Kenison.  I had never heard of Katrina Kenison before this, but she truly captured my imagination.  Her story of waking each morning before dawn purely for the purpose of watching the sun rise and how she found out her mom did the same thing because “she didn’t know how many more days she had on this earth and didn’t want to miss one sunrise” just brought me to tears.  The episode focused on her ability to find extraordinary in the ordinary and that, my friends, is what I truly want to make our home.  A place where the ordinary is recognized as extraordinary.  After all, with a daughter who had a heart transplant when she was 5 months old and has been through so much since then, every day really is extraordinary.  We just don’t take the time or effort to recognize that much.  I want to recognize it, not only in words, but also in actions and in our environment at home.

So, as I close this post, I am sitting in a living room with laundry baskets on our love seat and chair full of clean laundry that needs to be folded.  Piles of student papers on the floor and one of the seats of the couch next to me (grades are due in four short days, so these will soon be gone).  A dining room table piled high with a project of my husband’s and mail and papers from the past few weeks that have piled up there as we move them over when we want to eat or play games at the table.  A bar that has Christmas decorations and boxes from Christmas presents and more items from my husband’s project (which he has promised to have cleaned up by tomorrow).  The vacuum is sitting in the hallway where I used it earlier today.  A blanket is on the floor, along with some shoes.  It is by no means picture perfect, but it is a reflection of us.  It is a home that we use (for projects and reading and folding laundry) and one that we snuggle up in (with blankets to keep us warm).  The Christmas tree is blinking with memories on almost every branch.  And my bulldog is snoring next to me.  Would I rather our house be neat and tidy?  Certainly.  But, if it meant that we weren’t using it for things we cared about and loved and needed, than it wouldn’t be worth it.  So, for now, I will take it.  Tomorrow, it may get tidier, but somewhere along the way, it will get messy again.  Perhaps even messier.  But, if it gets more comfortable and it is well-loved along the way, than the mess doesn’t matter.  We are making a home in the Smithsonian sense, not the Better Homes and Gardens sense.

I hope that your home is one of love and beauty and kindness in 2017.  Please let me know in the comments what you think is the #makersofhome.

 

Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth

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Welcome to my Tuesday Truth.  Here are some things I’m putting the capital T, Truth to this morning:

I’m up early this morning (got up at 5 a.m.) because I woke up at 5 a.m. and thought to myself, later this week, this will be 8 a.m. and I will have to not only be up, but dressed, looking decent and arriving somewhere other than where I slept.  Sigh…I really think that events that involve both East and West Coast participants should start later – after all, most people don’t go to sleep at 8 p.m. but NO ONE gets up at 4 a.m. on a regular basis.  Okay, maybe not.  I’ve read about some of you out there who get up everyday at 4 a.m.  But, we can all admit that isn’t typical.  And its hard to go to bed early when you’re on the East Coast because 11 p.m. is only 8 p.m. your time.  And then, just about the time my body starts to adjust, I’m on my way home to the old time zone.

On an up note, I am feeling slightly better this morning.  Not nearly as stuffy and my throat isn’t scratching.  So, I either beat it back or it was just bad allergies.  Who knows?  I guess next time, I should just try taking some allergy meds and see if it solves the problem.  For now, I’m just happy to not feel like total @$$ before leaving on a plane tomorrow.

Another truth for today: my house is never clean.  I can clean and clean and clean and clean, do laundry on a daily basis, clean some more and the house will look clean for a moment in time and then BAM! everything is strewn all over again and we’re back to looking like we live in a dumpy toy store where some second hand clothing store dumped what they didn’t want in their store.  Sigh…I really do try to make everyone pick up their stuff, but inevitably it gets picked up and then put somewhere else that it doesn’t belong where it starts to pile up and people think that the pile is where stuff goes and it grows and grows until there is no space in that pile, so another pile has to be started.  Really.  That is they way my house works.  I admit that I sometimes contribute to the piles myself.  But, I feel like we need to get rid of all flat surfaces in order to keep the piles from building.  But, how do you get rid of floors?

To end on a positive note this week – my third and last Tuesday Truth is that thankfully, I am shown grace on a daily basis.  Both by people and God.  Because, sometimes that grace is truly needed.  This week, I want to make sure that I show others that same grace and that I am able to appreciate the grace I have been, am being and will be given.

Tying this Tuesday Truth together:

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