upkeep

I cannot say that I have ever seen order come out of chaos without a whole lot of work.

My house never seems to stay clean. Even if we weren’t making messes, there would still be dust. The cabin at the end of the season is never as clean as we left it come spring.

With my kids going back to school, it is hard to keep up a great GPA. In fact it is even harder if you let your grades slip just a little. I recently heard that it is easier to turn a 3.0 into a 2.0 than it is to to turn a 2.0 into a 3.0.

Chaos just doesn’t turn to order. It is unnatural.

It is hard to blog. It is hard to come up with fresh new ideas day after day year after year once the initial excitement wears off. Bloggers come and go just like friends tend to.

It’s hard to stay happily married after the honeymoon is over.

It’s hard to raise children when the cute bubbly baby turns into a surly teen.

Something always needs fixing in the house. The lawn needs mowing. The laundry needs to be done.

It’s hard to go to work every day even if you love your job.

It’s hard to maintain a fast running pace. My husband always tells me to just compare myself to me. But, frankly, I would rather compare myself to people my own age that chain smoke and never get off of the couch. I could never compete with my 17 year old self. I probably couldn’t compete with my 35 year old self either.

Order takes constant work. There comes a point in your life when you really have to judge whether it is worth all of the upkeep.

That’s when you become experienced enough to put your time and effort into the things that really matter.

 

 

 

Personality strengths

A couple of months back, my daughter Angel was reading a book about personality strengths. I hinted that the book would make a wonderful Christmas gift idea for you know who. I was happy when I saw the CliftonStrengths book wrapped up under the tree for me.

My daughter has some amazing strengths…Woo, Communication, and Positivity to name a few of her top strengths..Compared to her, my top strengths probably make me seem like I am serial killer material.

I took the test online. It asked questions like..Do you focus more on your strengths or your weaknesses? Do you calm or excite people? Hmmm, interesting. It took a lot of thought, but you weren’t given a lot of time to answer the questions.

Here are my top 5 strengths:

  1. Restorative
  2. Achiever
  3. Deliberative
  4. Analytical
  5. Intellection

Restorative is the desire to take things apart, find the problems, and fix them. Problem solving…I am a fixer. I love giving advice. It drives my family insane. I am not a big listener. If someone comes up to me with a problem, I immediately start to work on solving it for them. Sometimes I help people, sometimes I annoy them.

I am very deliberative. It usually takes a long time to make a decision. I look at everything from all angles and can see forward into the if and then of the decision making process. I am very analytical in recognizing when patterns change or are off in any way. I can see all of the minute little details.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a counselor. It was big on my heart to fix broken people. I learned over time that I couldn’t fix people. The problems with people were glaring to me. I felt critical…if only you would change your path…if only you would stop hurting yourself. I just wanted to fix all of the broken people and take away their problems. It is probably a good thing that I didn’t end up being a counselor.

I am a big time achiever. I have to feel like I accomplished something every single day. I am not calm. I cannot relax. I cannot sleep in. I can’t take a day off to do nothing. I want to be a calm person. I fantasize about living a carefree life. But the drum of the taskmaster beats steadily in my head and I live with it. I get shit done. I am happy that way.

I am an intellectual. This strength for me also includes a lot of time spent in introspection. I think, think, think all of the time. The gears in my head always keep grinding.

I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. People don’t flock to me like I am the next best thing to whatever their best thing is. I am okay with that. I don’t need to be liked or even to feel popular for my well being. I don’t give a hoot about what people think of me. I would rather have deep conversations than talk to you about superficial fluff any day.

Let’s be honest…I am happy to be me.

30. What I hope to be remembered for

Day 30: List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Do you ever wonder what will happen to Facebook or WP 100 years from now? Do you ever wonder what will happen to all of our old posts, comments, and pictures?

A few months back someone shared a post entitled ‘a picture of grandma’. It showed two pictures side by side. The first picture was a black and white from the early 1900’s showing a women dressed very modestly with her hair up in a bun..then the picture on the other side showed a woman from our modern time..she was taking a selfie in nothing but short shorts and a push up bra with an unmade bed in the background.

At first I laughed, but then I wondered what it would be like to have my great-great grandchildren literally see every part of my documented life.

Generations beyond ours will be able to know everything about us. We are the new pioneers for creating future genealogy records. (Hey, I just found my grandma’s blog). Facebook and WP will probably charge tons of money to grant our descendants access. Have you ever wondered why both are free now?? Ha ha ha. JK!

What will it be like to know what grandma ate for breakfast 75 years ago? I wish I knew more about my ancestors..Maybe not that much info, but still!

My grandma passed away after delivering her eigth child when she was around the age that I am now. I know nothing about her. I don’t even know her birthday. I know nothing about her personality. My mom said that her parents were very happy together and that I would’ve loved her mother. That’s about all.

When I was a little girl, I had 2 great-grandmothers that were still alive. I sure heard a lot of stories about them. I wonder if it was because they were unusual women for their day or if people talk more about the living. Both of my great-grandmas had strong personalities and just happened to outlive the rest of my great-grandparents that I know nothing about.

A decade ago, I got into genealogy to learn everything I could about my family history. I took a class at the local library. I went to several archives. I scoured old records. I found a couple of old newspaper articles. I went to cemetaries. I got a computer program and a membership to Ancestry. I scribbled all my findings onto a family tree.

Even though I got back as far as I could, I could only find birth, marriage, and death dates. Just the facts. What I really wanted to find out was who they really were.

I want to be remembered by my writings. I want my great-great-grandchildren to read my blog and understand me. That is what I want to be remembered for. I am hoping to give what I wanted to receive. I want to be more than my dates on a faded piece of paper.

25. Dinner with anyone in history…

Day 25: If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be & what would you eat?

If I could dine with anyone in history, it would be Jesus. We wouldn’t have real food, just food for thought. I would be like a child and ask many questions… Why??

I would start at the beginning with the age old question that I asked my Sunday school teachers as a kid. If God created the world, then who created God?? Just have faith is not a good enough answer. You really don’t know either.

How did it all begin? I do believe in the creation story. No other theory makes any more sense to me. How could people evolve over millions of years accidentally from cells? Seriously, how? If that happened by accident, how come people can’t replicate that today with all of the advances in modern science? How could all of the different races and varieties of animals and trees evolve? If that is the case, why isn’t evolution still happening today?

How old is the world anyway?  If not evolution, then how did all the different cultures and races start from Adam and Eve? Is the Garden of Eden an actual place? Or are we just blocked from the knowledge that they had before they sinned? Help me understand the continuum of time. I can barely grasp tomorrow’s time change.

Does everything happen for a reason? Or just certain things? Or do we live in a world of sheer coincidence? Did Judas have a choice when he betrayed You? Or was he given no choice because it was meant to happen? Or did you just know what he was going to choose before he chose it? How much control do you allow us to have over our lives? Can our prayers change our circumstances or the circumstances of others in any way?

Is all life sacred? I believe so…but if given the option to go back in time, would I try to convince Hitler’s mother to have an abortion? Why did you allow the Holocaust to happen to your chosen people anyway? If all life is sacred, then how about the life of the prisoner on death row?? Should we kill others who have murdered? I believe in justice, but should we be the ones to administer it?

How could David be a man after your own heart? He was a man who had it all…good looks, riches, and hundreds of beautiful women to sleep with whenever he wanted to. Yet he had to kill off a man to take his wife and broke almost every commandment that you gave us. Why him? Why not the Pharisee who tried to be pious?

Why is the Old Testament focused so much on rules and rituals and the New Testament on love and grace? It seems so extremely black and white to me. I don’t understand. What happened to your miracles? Why do bad things happen to good people? What happens to the souls of the people who never had the opportunity to believe?

Why? Why? Why? I just want to understand.

 

17. What I wish I was great at…

Day 17: What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I was a great painter, but instead I enjoy painting beautiful pictures with my camera.

I wish I was a great at drawing. If I could draw, I could use a pencil to create something magnificent. Instead, I loop and swirl my pencil to create insightful words.

I wish I was good at gardening. I could plant the soil, water it, pluck out the weeds, and watch it grow. Then I would harvest the fruits of my labor. Instead, I work at fostering the growth of my relationships with those around me in a similar way.

I wish I was a great dancer. I could be flexible and graceful. But then I probably wouldn’t be a runner, something I love but probably wouldn’t have tried if I could dance.

I wish I was great at remodeling old houses. I could take what is broken and fix it. Although, I am enough of a fixer upper to last myself a lifetime of improvements. 

These are just a few things I wish I was great at…But there isn’t enough time in the day to be good at everything…So I’ll be happy with the gifts I have been given.

1. List 20 random facts about yourself

Ok, not only will these be random facts, some of them are downright weird…

1. I am left handed.

2. My blood type is AB. Not only do I have the rarest blood type, but I am the universal receiver baby! That means I don’t have to feel guilty about my fear of needles.

3. My personality type is ISTJ. Everyone in my house has a different personality, however we are all ‘T’s’ meaning that we are all thinkers versus feelers. Which also means that our house is full of debate versus drama. Lol.

4. I have incredibly good hearing. This has given me a natural ear for music. It also means that I wake up when a pin drops at my neighbor’s house.

5. I have the rare ability to voluntarily control my tensor tympani muscle. This means that with concentration I can close my ears off to sound without covering them. This has been a great gift when I can’t handle the sound of people loudly chewing.

6. I am a texture person, not a taste person, when it comes to food. I can’t stand eating onions, mushrooms, cooked green beans, shrimp, or chewy meat because of the texture. But, maybe, if you put these items in a blender I would like them.

7. I am a first born.

8. I ran in two marathons.

9. I have a Bachelor’s degree in something totally unrelated to what I’m doing now.

10. I have been with the same person exactly half of my life.

11. I have been married for 19 years. We have also been business partners for half that amount of time.

12. I found my first gray hair at 27.

13. I have 3 teenage children.

14. I love doing laundry, but hate dusting.

15. I read the whole Bible cover to cover.

16. I am double jointed and can touch my thumb to my arm.

17. I have 3 brothers, but no nephews.

18. I have 2 nieces, but no sisters.

19. I have a black thumb.

20. I like to clean.

Wow, that was a little harder than I thought it would be! 

Please comment if we have anything in common…..

 I’m thinking if we have zero in common, you have already moved on to another post…

1 to 5, casual reader…

5 to 10, follower maybe getting emails every time I post…

10 to 15, new best friend….

15 to 20, when can you move in??…..

20 or more….Wait, is that humanly possible?? Twins separated at birth?? Nope, that negates number 7 then…Lol..

Thanks for reading (putting up with me)! 

Pondering purpose and moving mountains

image

Do you know what your purpose is in life? How hard would it be to move mountains?

These are my deep thoughts as I sit on the hotel balcony enjoying the lovely view in California.

I started pondering my purpose on the plane ride over. I am an anxious flyer, but I knew I was safe because I was with Paul. Not that he necessarily makes me feel safe, but because I know that God has a greater plan for his life.

But why don’t I feel like that about myself?? That there isn’t a great plan for me? 

What if the purpose of my life is to bear a child that would bear a child that would make a huge positive impact on the world? What if that is my sole purpose? Would I be okay with that? 

What if I was meant to support someone else that would make a difference in the world but never have a huge positive impact myself?

Do all lives have meaning?? What about the quadriplegic? Someone who is declining into dementia?? What about someone with autism? There are some who would say that they are not a valuable member of society if they are not a productive member of society.

But I don’t think that that is true. Carrying for a disabled family member, although burdensome at times, has positively impacted my life. Let me repeat that. Someone deemed by society as not having purpose has changed my life. 

While I sit at the conference, I listen to the keynote speaker talk about leadership and being a positive change in the world. There are a few people here that I think will do it. Then I walk down the hotel corridor and a cleaning lady smiles at me. Maybe changing the world doesn’t always mean moving mountains. Maybe it’s just a smile or kind word when someone needs it. Helping others..

Even though I am middle aged, sometimes I still ponder the purpose of my life. Am I doing what I am supposed to do? Am I on the right path? Does my life line follow the right projectory for positive growth?

There are a few people, like Paul, that are capable of moving mountains…that seem to have a special purpose. Then there are others, like me, still trying to figure things out.

Do you know your purpose in life? Does it change over time? Or are you still trying to figure things out?

Enjoying the present

I decided to not audition for the next community theater musical. 

Oh, I am not afraid of being on stage. I have many fears, but that is not one of them. I find public speaking and performing fascinating. 

I decided to give it up to watch Angel perform in her first college concert. She told me that she was going to be given solos that are only typically given to seniors. Watching your child perform is as exciting as performing yourself with a lot less work. 

I wish my grandma was alive to see her perform. Angel and I got my grandma’s voice. I feel very sad that I don’t have a recording of my grandma singing. With an 8th grade education, my grandma never had the opportunity to use her gift. She never sang in a choir or sang a solo in public, but she could’ve been an opera singer. She just sang to soothe her tired or crying grandchildren or in church with everyone else. The only thing she was able to do was to pass it on to future generations.

This past weekend, I was looking through old pictures with Arabella. She wanted to know who was holding her in a photo. She didn’t recognize my grandma. My children don’t know much about some of the most influential people in my life. My grandparents, Uncle Harold, and Aunt Grace shaped me into the person that I am today. 

This weekend we took the dock out of water up north. It is sad to say good-bye to the cabin until next May. My great-grandparents built the cabin in the 1950’s. What a gift! But after reflection I found that I didn’t know a lot about the giver.

I know small tidbits about my great-grandparents. Little facts, but nothing about who they really were. I know for a fact that I couldn’t pick out the pictures of all of my greats if they were in a lineup with other photos. I might have their nose, but not know them..

How soon we are forgotten. Time moves so fast. When I was a child, a day seemed long. Now a day is nothing. 

These have been my thoughts lately. 

I am so thankful for the gifts passed on to me, but so sad that I know nothing of the gift giver. It is a strange type of nostalgia. I don’t want their memory to fade like an old picture in an album. But I can’t seem to grasp onto them anymore.

Instead, I will enjoy the present…the gifts we have been given. 

There will always be another play. 

What if??

Last night I watched Paul perform as the lead at the local community theater. He did an awesome job. I have heard people say that he missed his calling. But is it ever too late to go after your dreams?

I have been thinking about that a lot this week. 

When I met Paul, he started out with nothing. He was in his late 20’s living with a roommate in the bad part of town. He spent most of his childhood in the inner city of Chicago born to a single teen mom. He didn’t have a dad. His mom dropped out of high school. She tried to get her GED, but just wasn’t smart enough. You wouldn’t expect a man from such humble upbringings to start a successful business from nothing. But that is what he did. 

If he can do that, why can’t he do so much more??

Paul asked me this week if I was happy living in his shadow. What if after working together for ten years we decided to part ways? What would I do? Maybe I would go back to school to learn how to be a better writer? Or take singing lessons? Or push my fitness goals to a whole new level? Try a new career?

I never once embraced the idea of change. But what if?? What if we moved away from this town? Or out of the state? I never lived over 40 minutes from my parents house. 

I have started to grow restless with my old friends. I thought that they all changed. But maybe it wasn’t them that changed, maybe it was me.

Everything is changing all around me. People are coming and going from my life at record speeds. 

In less than a week, my daughter will be leaving home for the first time. Change! 

My MIL only has a few months left to live. Weeks? Days?? Change! 

None of it is of my choosing or within my control. 

I never really liked or wanted things to change, even when it is for the better. Now I seem to long for it. I can’t even explain it.

Sometimes I have to wonder…..what if??  

Pick your poison- 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

Today we are going to talk a little about potential poisons a.k.a. reasons I had poison control on speed dial.

Maybe I should be happy that my kids were never picky eaters. Until recently, that is. Alex seems to have an aversion to anything green and particularly vegetable looking. He has an affinity towards junk food. Ah, teenagers…

My kids were always into trying new foods. Maybe it has something to do with Paul being a good cook. What worried me was that they were also into trying non food items as well.

When Angel was a little girl, I caught her nibbling on a house plant at my grandma’s house. It didn’t look all that appetizing to me. Maybe it was because I was lacking foliage. You see, I have a black thumb. Houseplants were taboo which might have made them alluring. I called poison control. What kind of plant did she eat? Well, how do I know? My house was the scene of many houseplant homicides. Thankfully, grandma left the identifier tag in the plant. Not poisonous! Phew.

Then there was the silica, the bag of little white beads in a shoe box. Why do they put that in a shoe box anyway? I’ve always wondered. Why would you need to preserve the freshness of shoes? They should make them so they stay fresh and don’t wear out after buying them not before. I can see how silica could look like a little bag of candy. Yum! Not poisonous, I called.

Then Alex ate a big handful of anti-bacterial foam soap. I admit, it does look a little bit like whip cream. I know that kids in history got their mouths washed out with soap. That was not a worry. What I didn’t like was that it was anti-bacterial soap which previously gave Angel a fierce rash. I called poison control. Not poisonous.

Arabella ate an Asian Beetle. It bit her tongue which swelled up a little. Not poisonous!

The kids broke out in hives from their antibiotics. Not poisonous!

I thought the dog got into a bag of dishwasher detergent. Phew, turns out that he didn’t. He did eat ant poison. He also ate a candy bar. Despite my fears, it didn’t poison him either.

Then the kids got older. They no longer were tempted by non food items. Then I started worrying about other things. I worried for a long time that they would choke on food when they were home alone. My mom told us of the time that she almost died choking on a grape when she was a kid. Worry.

Then I started to worry about them using the stove to cook meals. Would they leave the burner on and burn down the house??

It seems like children (and pets) bring on worries. They aren’t the same ones as when they were younger though. Are the kids eating enough? Too much? Enough good foods? Too much junk food? Can they afford to take their significant other out to eat? Hmm, that was a little pricey don’t you think? Maybe they should cook at home. Will they clean up the kitchen after themselves?? Will the dog get into their garbage?? And when am I going to stop spending so much money on food??