Saturday, May 29, 2010

Postal Protest

At least once every couple of weeks I get a solicitation from Capital One in the mail. I did at my old house, even though RJ never did, and now we've moved and I still get it, and he still doesn't. This has been happening for over a year. The ridiculous part is that the back of the envelope says Please Recycle. As if the people who send me unwanted mail really care about the environmental impact of wasted paper.

So my mom has been telling me that my Papa says you should tear up the inside pieces and mail them back in the postage paid envelope. Supposedly they won't want to spend money on the postage if they're not getting business so they'll stop sending you things. Has anyone else ever heard of this? Have you tried it? I gave it a try today, but I have a few questions. Do they really care that much about wasted postage if they're already sending me unwanted mail on a regular basis, when I have never showed any interest in their product? If the papers are torn up are they really going to bother to find my name on it to take me off a list?

So next time I am writing a letter to send back. I am going to tell them how hypocritical it is for them to ask me to recycle when they are wasting so much paper. Also I am going to explain how the entire credit card system is a scam and the mindset that perpetuates it (of buying things I can't afford) is destroying our culture. Maybe they'll get annoyed and leave me alone. Maybe they'll even think about their policies, but I doubt it.

Toddler Room

We don't really have any definite leads, but we have to find a place to move soon. Our friends will be selling the property we are renting by the end of June. This has got me thinking a lot about setting up a toddler room. We will be getting our first two bedroom apartment/house since Efrim is almost a year old, and Baby #2 is following shortly. Although Little Baby will share our room until Efrim grows into a big boy bed, I want to set the room up like it is for them both. I will finally make Efrim's quilt when I make the new one, and it will be on the big boy bed waiting for him.

Area #1 We have a simple platform style twin bed, which will have the gray bedding I used in my college dorm along with his starry quilt, inspired by one in the movie Little Women that I have always loved. Above his bed will hang his star light fixture, and the mobile aunt Katy ordered him from Finland on Etsy. Also he has black gray and white sheep from Bath and Body works.

Area #2 At first Efrim will still sleep in the crib with the bright yellow sheets my mom made and his cuddly gray blanket, but then Baby will move in. For little baby I want mostly cuddly off-white things, with splashes of color. The inspiration is all of the cute pennant and balloon things around lately. I will make a beige quilt with pennants, and I want to find some sort of pretty spherical lanterns in bright colors to hang like a mobile above the bed.

Area #3 I have a rocking chair, but if I am going to be spending a lot of time in this room with the kids, I would like a softer nursing chair and an ottoman with storage. I have looked online and not found anything I really like, so I may find an old chair at a garage sale or something and recover it with my mom. She knows how to make a storage ottoman to match. I love this one from Target, but it was a few years ago, and I don't think armless is going to cut it.

Area #4 I have a beautiful antiqued dresser that matches a bed and bedsife table I used growing up. Someday I want to use the set in a girl's room or guest room, but for now I don't have mattresses for the bed, and it's not very little boyish. The dresser however will be perfect for the kiddos to share and to set up a changing station on top. I haven't had a changing station because I thought I wouldn't use it, and it's true I change diapers pretty much all over the house. But I am thinking that with cloth diapers, and especially with two it might be nice to bring the baby to the diapers and wipes instead of gathering everything up from four corners and bending over them in the floor. Bending over Efrim in the floor or in his crib has been wreaking havoc on my back being pregnant again. I want a clean simple changing station like June Blair's on DesignMom. Once again I love the creamy softness with just a little color.

Domestic Doldrums

I cannot even begin to tell yuo how much I hate washing dishes. I will put them off and put them off until everything else in the house is done, and then I will run errands, or take a nap. If I can convince myself and my friends that it is bad for my health to do them because it dries out my hands and makes rashes, I will decide they are RJ's responsibility and let them pile up until everything is molding and we have nothing left to use, because he comes home from work every day too tired to do anything, and if I am annoyed because the kitchen is too dirty to cook in I will blame him.

At this point it is sin. There are no other terms, and no excuses. I have been so ashamed, and still not motivated to fix it. Only God can make me a new person in this area of my life. I have been so convicted lately of the way I use my health problems, pregnancy, and lack of experience as excuses not to do the things that God has called me to do as the caretaker of my home, and that I owe my sweet husband, who works so hard so I can stay home to take care of our children and our home.

Prayerfully overcoming this has been my top priority lately. Then right in the middle I have days like yesterday. Days where I can't find the motivation to get off the couch. Days where I cry all day for no reason. Days where Efrim catches on to my bad mood and cries all day to, which only makes it worse. I know this is hormonal because of being pregnant. I had hoped it would pass with the first trimester. I don't know what to do. I push myself to do as much as I can, and dream of a little break, a little escape.

The trick is to keep moving as much as I can, and not let a bad day keep me from getting things done on the next day. Not to fall into a rut. The key is to recognize sin as sin and hormones as hormones, and respond accordingly. Every day I start with prayer is better than it would be without.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I haven't blogged today I know. I am baking for a bake sale for our youth, which I am late to because baby is sleeping. My sister came over who just got back from Spain yesterday. I am reading a lot. I guess today my need to learn things was more than my need to share. I have learned a lot of things to share. I will post them sometime in the next few days.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Interesting things about my baby

I opened this page twenty minutes ago to write about how I have organized my clothes recently. Then Efrim crawled in my lap and we have been snuggling, being drooled on, getting whacked in the face by a ruler RJ left on the couch, playing Pat-a-Cake, copying growls and squeals, and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

So I thought I would let you know just a few cool things about my baby, Efrim.

Efrim speaks almost exclusively in growls. RJ thinks he will talk like Batman when he learns English. He has six teeth; four on top, two on bottom. The first arrived exactly on his six month birthday. He is very ticklish and always giggles when you pinch the top of his chubby thighs or walk your fingers like a spider on his chest.

Efrim has a reversible belly button. When he is chubby before a growth spurt, or right after a meal it is an inny, but when he is slimmer, or when he arches his back and sticks out his ribs it is an outy. I love to give this belly button kisses, whether it is in or out.

Since Efrim is crawling everywhere the tops of his feet are dirty instead of the bottoms. This looks very silly. His favorite song is You Are My Sunshine. He will almost always stop crying if I play pat-a-cake with his hands. We say "for Efrim and me", "for Mommy and me", "for Daddy and me", and "for Baby and Me"

Efrim's favorite activity lately is to put foam bath tub letters in his mouth and crawl around the house with them. When he is eating a biter biscuit he holds it up in the air and dances. He has discovered that he can crawl over things, but prefers to push them if they are not too heavy. He is slowly learning that I will swat his leg if he goes in the kitchen, and finally deciding that it is not worth it.

He makes more new faces every day, and wants to walk so bad. He prefers putting food in his mouth himself to being fed, and wants what we are having. He may never learn that crying does not get him picked up if I don't keep giving in.

My Little House

The irony in the previous post is that the lifestyle I often champion, and indeed am seeking, is considered by most people to be a sort of super home. Some ind of crazy high standard. It will include a lot of work, and so it is ironic that I do so much research and dreaming about this kind of living while I am not even vacuuming or washing my dishes.

I admit I'm a mess. So many contradictions, but I am working on reconciling them all. I am trying to teach myself how to care for my home. Until I find a real life teacher and role model I will have to stick with what I've got: Ma Ingalls.

Some of you may have seen me twitter about My mom and Ma Ingalls having it out as my shoulder angels as I look through a pile of stuff deciding what to give away.

It's not like Ma is even very vocal on the subject of housekeeping in the Little House books, but when I read them I dream of a home where we get up and work in the morning, we meet all of our needs, and we go to be at night tired, but with everything in order. Part of this is in the simplicity with which the Ingalls family lives. Some of my favorite parts in the books are when they move to a new house, or fill a store room for the winter, and it describes everything around.

Something deep inside of me wants a three room house where everything I own is in it's place and there are no piles of clutter and boxes in the corner. I am tired of bags of what-not around the perimeter of every room, or realizing that I haven't looked in that box of office supplies I thought was so necessary since I moved in to my house three months ago.

However, there is something else inside of me that thinks it's terrible to give away something in perfectly good condition, that doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by getting rid of something they just gave me that I didn't want at all, that is pretty sure one day I will be getting dressed and really wish I still had that necklace.

How do I reconcile these things? I don't know. Any advice is welcome. Until then I can dream. Maybe if I dream enough of the simple things I want our home to be I will want the other things less. So this is my "little house" designed on Polyvore.


I washed the dishes yesterday.

This may not seem like such big news if you don't know me very well. For two years it has been our family arrangement that RJ does the dishes, because the water dries out my hands, adn I sometimes get rashes because of my excema. I do (however poorly) all of the other chores, so when we explain to our friends that RJ is responsible for dishes, no one has questioned this, even though I stay at home and RJ works full time.

The dishes are not the only problem. Because I was often sick growing up, and chemicals and dust are irritants to allergies, I was never expected to do much cleaning, besides picking up (which I am very good at). The problem is I know very little about how to do other household cleaning tasks. My mom, with my best interests at heart and in love, has encouraged RJ to take on more than his fair share of household tasks, and I have felt entitled to his doing them. When I get sick, or experience fatigue like I have with this pregnancy, I use these things as an excuse to accomplish hardly anything. And when I tell me friends that I am exhausted and only get one chore done a day, they are understanding and don't think anything is peculiar with this arrangement.

Making this home is my job. RJ works as much as 45 hours a week to provide for our family, and I do not even make a home for him to come to. I have read Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. I read A Woman After God's Own Heart. I know that doing caring for my home is what God has commanded me to do, but I always had really good excuses.

How often do we do this with one another's pet sins? We claim to be accountable to one another, but as long as we have good reasons... I can't really tell her what she should do if I don't always do what I should... Every one has hard days and we can't really expect any better...

How long will we help each other make excuses not to do what God has commanded us to?

Dreaming Again

My husband RJ was asked to come to a church staff meeting a few weeks ago. We used to go to staff meeting every week to help plan the worship gathering, and discuss the life of the church, but since it is at nine o'clock, after Efrim goes to bed, we have not been since we moved away from the house where it is hosted.

When RJ finally got back, around eleven, he told me that our pastor is leaving our church. He and his wife, my best friend, have looked at several places to move to and continue ministry, and although they are not sure where they are going yet, God has led them to feel that their season at Nexus has come to an end.

My first thought was honestly that I didn't care that much, and I didn't know why RJ said it so seriously, since we are planning to leave too. I was pretty sleepy. Then I started to wonder what will happen to Nexus without Shane and Katy? They have been there since the beginning, Brian and us are the only ones left that have been trying to keep our church alive.

When we went to a staff meeting sans Shane and Katy later that week, I was kind of wondering why I was asked to come, and really not optimistic about the next steps for our church. To explain the first, I have tried to be involved in Nexus, and very committed, but have never been asked to be involved in any leadership decisions. To explain the second, we have very few core members. Most of our church is down and out middle aged people who have come to Brownwood after leaving prison or drug rehab, and are struggling in poverty, or college students who don't want to be involved in a "traditional" church. These people strongly rely on the figurehead of who Shane is, even though the vision he casts for our church is the dream of a larger group of us.

However, this meeting went so differently than I had expected. Almost immediately I was filled with peace as we opened with prayer, and I was filled with excitement and vision as we all discussed the gifts God has placed within our body. For a while now, and none of us has anyone but our complacent selves to blame, we have all been laying aside who we felt God calling us to be in order to be who Nexus needed right now. Although we all felt that Nexus is where God wanted us to be, we didn't feel like it was the place for the ministry we were created for, and that for whatever reason God had us here right now, we had to put that part of ourselves on hold. Many of us even go to other Churches throughout the week because we had a deep need that Nexus wasn't filling. We didn't complain, because we didn't want to be self centered church members who felt that the church was there for our benefit instead of us there for the church. Oddly none of us knew that the others felt the same.

For whatever reason God has called Shane and Katy to move on, he has opened our eyes to do what Brian is calling "Dreaming Again". We are seeing that we do not serve some abstract concept named Nexus, but that Nexus is us. We all believed that a church should be a place where we equip each other to do the ministry God has called us to do, but when Nexus wasn't that it never occurred to us that we were in control, that we could start over, or that if Nexus was not serving the purpose of a church there was no purpose in us serving it to keep it alive.

Now we are dreaming of what our church will look like when it is made up of members who are being who God called them to be. We are looking forward to having the Lord as our Shepherd, and discovering that we don't want for any good thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cutest thing ever (for today at least)

My friend is reading Radical Homemakers and referred me to their website. From there I found, a blog by the authors of Urban Homestead, another book on my wishlist. Where I saw this amazing clothesline:

FYI: Another amazing book in this genre is Backyard Homestead. My friend Siobhan got it for me for my birthday! Full of practical advice such as the best breeds of meat, egg, and dual purpose chickens.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Refined Sugars

My friend Katy is on a diet (The Perfect 10 Diet) which cuts out refined sugars and grains. I don't know all of the details, but I have another friend who has done the same thing and it has been really wonderful for her family. She said it took her a year to really cut it all out, but it was worth it.

Here are some links with food for thought:

Sugar's effect on your health

Sugars: the Bad

This is some lady selling a book, but has good info.

Replacing Refined Sugars with Natural Sugars one step at a time.
This is on the Weston A Price website. He did the research behind a book I have wanted to check out called Nourishing Traditions. It seems to have a similar idea and over 700 recipes.

We are exploring the idea of getting rid of sugar in our home. It's a big undertaking. Pray for us to be wise.