Inspired

First, I have to start this post by telling you that I have had the best sandwich in the world:  The Marlboro Man Sandwich by Pioneer Woman.  You must eat this ASAP!  It is sooo good.  If you don’t know who The Pioneer Woman is, you just have to click on over and find out for yourself.  Oh, and try her Corn Casserole too.  Mmm mmm mmm!  Seriously, this woman is my hero!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can go on to write about what I intended to write about in the first place.  My mother-in-law.  

Bean and I spent Labor Day weekend with my mother-in-law while Hubby, the boys, and my father-in-law camped.  You hear so many of those mother-in-law jokes where the mother-in-law is portrayed as stupid or bitchy.  You hear of so many folks who complain about their mother-in-law and the way she treats them badly.  You will never won’t usually hear me complain like that about my mother-in-law.  

Why?

Because my mother-in-law (hereby called MIL because I am getting to lazy to keep typing it all out) is a wonderful lady.  She is kind to me and treats me like one of her own children.  She is almost always willing to lend me a helping hand unless it’s when I’ve called her a few times to come and watch my kids so I can go out with my husband for the evening and she won’t do it and I get really angry about it.  She has taught me so much in the eight years that I’ve been married to her son.  She taught me to sew and gave me her beloved sewing machine.  She taught me to can vegetables.  She got me interested in cross stitch and crochet.  She tried to teach me to crochet once but I wasn’t interested at the time.  Now that I’ve taught myself, she shared some of her crochet patterns with me this weekend.  She has taught me to make a number of foods that I would have never tried nor been able to cook correctly if she hadn’t shown me how.  Most of all, my MIL inspires me to be a better mother and wife and homemaker.  

When I look around her home, it is furnished quite nicely but simply.  Many of the things she has in her home have come from estate sales and yard sales and the rest have come from years of hard work to acquire them.  The thing is, she doesn’t have to have new stuff.  She is just as happy to reupholster an old sofa that she’s had for decades than if she went out and bought a new one.  She also has wonderful taste in upholstery fabrics. 

She always has a servant’s attitude toward her family.  No matter how tired she may be, if her husband asks for her to do something for him (say get him a sandwich while he sits on the porch swing), her response is always “Sure, I’d be happy to do that for you.”  Me?  I’d say “Huh?  Get up off your butt and fix your own sandwich.  You’re a big boy and you know how it’s done.  I didn’t take you to raise.”  But not her, no sir.

When she woke up on Sunday morning and Bean was standing in her bed, waiting for me to come and pick her up, MIL picked her up and changed her diaper and took her downstairs and fed her some breakfast and then took her outside to swing in the porch swing so I could sleep in until 9:36.  She was happy to do this for me because she remembers what it was like to have little children who wake up during the night even though she is almost 11 months old and should’ve outgrown this months ago.  

She just flat does not complain or grumble about having to do for her family, even after all these years.  After nearly 40 years of marriage.  After years and years of sewing clothes for her children and driving to scouts and ball games and practice.  After years of making sandwiches and lunches and dinners and cookies for bake sales.  After years of washing sheets and changing beds and dusting furniture.  After moving seventeen times for various job opportunities for her husband.  After all the years of working in the garden and canning vegetables for weeks on end each summer so they have veggies for the winter months.  After all these years, she is still happy to do it.  I just cannot imagine.  Seriously.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing…”  Philippians 2:14

She does it, folks.  And she inspires me to do the same.  I hope one day, I can be like her.  I hope that one day, I can have the servant’s heart that she portrays in everything she does.  See, I often forget that God has given me this privilege to stay at home and nurture my children and my family and my home.  I forget that what I do day in and day out is a blessing.  I forget that this is an opportunity to serve Him by serving others. But not my MIL, she remembers it always.  She is my inspiration today.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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Getting Back To It

I have to confess something.  I haven’t been “cleaning” for a week or so now.  I know.  My house is turning into a rather dusty mess.  Hubby complained last night that the dust is starting to choke him.  Truth be told, it’s choking me too.  

I’ve just been preoccupied with other stuff.  Like playing with the baby.  And video taping the baby doing cute stuff.  And planning the Back-to-School Bash at church (which was a huge success, by the way).  And feeding my internet addiction.  You know, important stuff.  

Anyway, this morning I decided that I’ve got to get back to it.  I’ve got to start using my lists again.  At least this way, I don’t have to stammer around and lie fib stretch the truth when Hubby asks if I used my list this evening.  I just hate when it gets to this point and I really have to bust my butt to get it back in shape.  I mean, really, it’s not that bad but still.  

So, in order to get my cleaning mindset going on, I’ve put on my “cleaning music”.  Granted, right now it’s my “blogging music” because I wanted to go ahead and type up this post while I’m slacking “on break”.  

What is cleaning music, you ask?  

Well, it’s music that you listen to really loudly while cleaning that also motivates you to keep right on boogying, I mean cleaning.  For me, it’s the CD that I had just bought when Hubby and I started dating.  I loved every song on it and I listened to it while cleaning up my house before he came over.  Ya know, since I was destined to be his bride, I couldn’t have him seeing what a slacker I was at house cleaning.  Anyway, back to the music, it’s not even my favorite CD anymore and the only time I listen to it is when I’m cleaning.  It brings back the feelings of pure bliss and anxious anticipation I had over 8 years ago when my sweetheart was coming over to make out on the couch visit.  *Dreamy eyed*  It makes me want to rush out and buy a pair of l.e.i. jeans and a bottle of Curve perfume (they were my staples back in the day).

But that brings me to this:  Shouldn’t I still feel that way that my sweetheart is coming home from work in a few hours?  I mean, shouldn’t I still be all happy and filled with feelings of pure bliss and anxious anticipation at the thought that I will see him in a few hours?  Listening to this CD while I’m cleaning really brings back those feelings and reminds me how much I really do love Hubby – even while I’m scrubbing the toilet.  Pure bliss, I tell ya.  Honestly, I’m a bit upset with myself because I don’t feel this way about Hubby coming home to me each day as I was 8 years ago and he was just coming over to visit for the evening.  I will make a better effort to remember not to take the fact that Hubby is coming home to me at the end of every day for granted anymore, k?

I digress….Where was I?  Oh yeah, cleaning music.  

So, the CD I’m listening to is Chelly Wright: Single White Female.  Do you have cleaning music?  What’s your favorite?  I’d love to know what you listen to while you clean.  

 

 

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Doing something nice for ME!

When I started staying home with my kids, I quit getting hair cuts.  I quit wearing make-up.  I started wearing t-shirts with holes and/or stains.  In other words, I let myself “go”.  I thought that, as a stay-at-home mom, my focus should be on my children and my home and not on myself.  

One day, I was walking into the post office in my usual state of attire (hair unwashed and pulled into a ponytail, ratty old t-shirt and shorts, and my Birkenstocks) when I bumped into my husband and a female co-worker coming out the door.  He had helped her carry some heavy packages from their office across the street.  They were laughing and talking about something as they were coming out the door and the sight of my husband laughing and smiling with another woman infuriated me!  Not that my husband was doing anything wrong or even that I thought he was doing anything wrong, but it made me so jealous.  

She was not much younger than me, only a year or two.  But she was slim.   Her hair was styled in a cute and trendy cut.  She was wearing makeup and pretty jewelry.  She had on a nice dress and heels.  And there I stood, feeling like a frumpy old housewife with a kid on each hand.  I wanted so badly to be her at that moment.  I was jealous and I hated her for looking so nice and smiling with my husband.  

I decided that I was tired of looking like a frumpy housewife so I decided to make some changes in myself. Money was tight so I couldn’t afford to go to the trendy salon on the corner for a new cut but my pastor’s wife had been cutting hair out of the parsonage for a while so I asked her to cut my hair.  She was delighted and confessed that she had been dying to get her scissors hands on my hair for quite some time.  It was all one length and halfway down my back which was not a good combination for my fine, thin hair.  She was so kind to only charge me $12 for a wash, cut, and style!  

Over the next few months, she cut more and more off of my hair until I, too, had a cute and trendy hairstyle.  I began to wear makeup and I began to wear nicer clothes whenever possible.  Remember, I said money was tight so I couldn’t afford to go out and buy a new wardrobe but I did shop the Belk clearance racks and found some great deals!  

The best thing I did was when I started walking each evening.  After we put the kids to bed, I would meet a friend (usually the pastor’s wife) and we would walk all around town for an hour.  This not only helped me to shed a few pounds but it gave me an opportunity to get out of the house and do something for myself.  I felt better, slept better, and had much more energy.  Best of all, it was free!  You don’t have to spend a ton of money to do something for yourself.

Since moving to the town we’re in now, I haven’t made close friends like I had in the last town.  I stopped walking in the evenings.  I stopped wearing makeup unless we were going out.  I started wearing ratty old clothes again.  My hair had gotten to all one length, halfway down my back and I was sporting a ponytail every single day. One day, a couple of months ago, I looked in the mirror and decided that I needed to pull myself out of the frump I was falling into again.  

I’ve started going to the salon (our move came with a substantial raise) and wearing makeup again.  I bought myself some nice clothes.  I started wearing perfume and earrings.  I even bought myself some sexy underwear!  You’d be surprised how much better you feel when you know you look good under your clothes.  Try it, seriously.  I feel so much better and my outlook on life is better, too!

So, how about you?  What do you do to feel good about yourself?  If not, I encourage you to start doing something, even if it’s something small, today!

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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Putting forth the effort

This past weekend, my husband and the boys were planning a camping trip together.  My hubby said that if I wanted to go and take the baby, they would camp at a campground instead of just out in the mountains somewhere.  I really didn’t want to go but I could tell he really wanted to include me.  I mean, I love camping but I’m not sure I love camping with a 9 month-old, ya know?  But I really wanted to spend the time with my family all together so I decided to go.  

I spent much of Friday night packing up everything we would need so that we could just get up and toss it all in the truck and head out early on Saturday morning.  Wouldn’t you know, we woke up to rain on Saturday.  We were tempted to cancel the trip but waited for the rain to stop instead.  After all, the campground we were going to is 2 hours away so we didn’t know if it would be raining there too.  

We had a great time on the trip.  Granted, it was a short trip – only 1 night – but we had a blast!  We went on hikes (I wore the baby in her sling, whew!) and cooked supper in the dutch oven and roasted marshmallows.  The campground had a special “tree program” for the kids where they learned about different trees and made a craft.  

It rained, but only a bit.  Actually, it rained most of the night, but it was while we were sleeping – or not sleeping in my case because the baby didn’t enjoy sleeping next to me in a tent!  It only rained a little on Sunday morning after breakfast.

When we got home, we had a huge mess.  Everything was either muddy or smelled like campfire.  Naturally, I had a ton of laundry to do!  All the “camping dishes” had to be washed before they could be packed away.  There was so much stuff to unpack and dry out and clean up and put away.  After a sleepless night at the campground I wanted nothing more than to sit on my butt and do nothing.  

My husband is one of those “do it now”-types.  He sees something that needs to be done and he does it.  Not me.  I see something that needs to be done and I figure I’ll get to it later ’cause I’m tired.  He came right in and started unpacking the truck and making piles in the driveway for me to bring inside.  He set up the tent so it could dry out and spread out the sleeping bags so they could air out.

I decided that I should get to work too.  I started laundry and loaded up the dishwasher with the camp dishes.  I started putting away the groceries.  I cleaned up the kitchen and mopped the floor (we had tracked in a lot of mess) and vacuumed the den.  I folded the clothes and put the majority of them away.  I gave the baby a bath.  I got the coffee pot ready for this morning.  I worked steady for most of the evening.  Since I had everything from our trip clean, my husband could pack it all away!

When I got up this morning to a mostly clean house, I was glad I had put forth the effort.  Normally it would take me days to get things back in order after a camping trip.  And the best part is that since I put forth the effort last night, I’ve been able to concentrate on my cleaning lists today!

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Journey: The Journey Begins

“Home is where the heart is.” 

How many times have you heard that?  I know I’ve heard it probably a hundred times in my life. It never meant anything to me until now.  See, home is not where my heart has been.  To be quite honest, I don’t know where my heart has been.  I just know it’s not been in taking care of my home and my family.  I don’t really know how it happened either.  

 

“Love makes a house a home.”

 

Have you heard that one too?  This one has had the most impact on me lately.  My eyes have been opened to the fact that our home is not the house in which we live.  Home is where memories are made.  Home is a refuge for my family.  Home is where my children learn and grow.  My family needs more than a house, they need (and deserve) a home.

When I first became a stay-at-home mom more than six years ago, I felt that I needed to prove myself worthy of staying home to care for my home and my children.  My boys were ages one year and three years at that time.  I kept a very clean house.  I mopped the floors three times a week and vacuumed daily.  I kept up with the laundry.  I dusted the furniture and changed the sheets each week.  I baked bread.  I got up each morning and made breakfast for my husband and I had dinner ready when he got home in the evenings.  Life was good. 

The next year, we moved to a new town and a larger, much older house.  My boys were more active, making housework harder.  The house seemed to be in a constant state of remodeling (and, therefore, a mess).  I lost interest in cleaning house.  I sometimes made breakfast for my husband in the mornings and usually had dinner ready when he got home in the evenings.  Life was getting harder.

Two and a half years after our first move, we moved to another town into a newer house.  I just knew that I was going to be able to keep this house clean.  I was determined that I wasn’t going to let it get dirty.  My boys were older and I knew it wouldn’t be as much of a hassle anymore. Besides, this house didn’t need to be repaired or remodeled – or so I thought.  The bifold doors in the laundry area broke first.  Then the shower wall caved in and had to be replaced which prompted an entire bathroom remodel to take place.  Then there were the termites.  And the grout cracking in the kitchen tile.  After a while, I lost interest in housework again.  With the boys being involved in sports and Cub Scouts, dinner was rushed and usually something quick so we could get out the door.  I gave birth to our daughter.  I was stressed out about everything.  I rarely made breakfast for my husband and usually had dinner nearly ready in the evenings.  Life was hard.

I am tired of the constant mess.  I am tired of the disorganization.  I am tired of the clutter.  I am tired, period.  Something has to change.  I need to have a heart for my home.  I need my home to be filled with love.  My family deserves a place to relax.  They deserve a nice home. They deserve the best mother and wife that I can be.  See, I’ve realized that it’s not about me anymore.  It’s all about them.  They deserve for me to be my best.  

This is my journey to being the best I can be for my family and finding a heart for home.

 

 

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 7:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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