Thirteen for ’13

I decided to limit my goals to 13.  I could list 100 and still not address all that needs overhauling in my life.  Little by little, I feel that I’ve let things get sloppy.  There is only one way to fix it.  Fix it.

GOALS

1) Silence.  No computer.  No people.  No kidding.  I’ve always had a value for silence.  Maybe because I am an only child, I “got it” from a very early age.  I don’t know.  Whatever’s the case, I haven’t been alone systematically for months.

Looks like: setting an alarm, no matter what time I go to bed.

Start: now.

Finish: none.  Death is the ultimate meditative silence.

2) Move in my strengths.  I actually know a thing or two, and in one or two areas, I am an expert.  A couple of months ago, I had a bit of a wake up call when my brain screamed,”You haven’t accomplished [thing I want] because you have no self-confidence to try.

Looks like: *sigh* making a list of my strengths and deciding in what ways to use those resources to encourage others.

Start: today.

Finish: the list, Feb 1.

3) Rock the kitchen.  The fact is, I avoid cooking food and feeding people.  It’s unloving.  It’s irresponsible.  It’s wasteful.

Looks like:  Keeping enough food in the house for people to eat. I am bad for getting home without enough snacks.  This drives my children to eat all the chips, pretzels, carrots, celery, crackers, cheese, lunch meat, green beans. Then, when meal time comes, there is no li’l side or something.  Planning dinners but also, *sigh* lunches.

Start: Today.

Finish: I can shop today.  Menu planning needs a longer finish date.  The best idea I’ve heard is to create a number of menus and rotate them.  Gimme….two weeks.

4) Get a choke hold on the family finances.  Choke. Hold.  I hope that’s not too harsh of imagery for my more delicate blog guest.  I checked us out on Global Rich List.  I have no excuse.

Looks like: Giving systematically to God’s Work (not always strictly to the local church). Saving like a mad woman.  Possibly refinancing.  Executing a will. Aggressive debt re-payment. It might be a service like Manilla.  I don’t love being here, but I know I am not alone in the world and this is my blog and I’m collecting on the accountability, real or imagined.

Start: Today

Finish: I need to set individual times on each one.  So, today’s action is that.  By night fall tonight, I will have estimated finish dates on these.

5) Get serious about writing. I could post a “knock-knock” joke a day on the blog for the rest of my life.  I could continue to analyze my navel lint for the next five years.  Am I writing or not?  Am I any good or not?

Looks like: submitting something for publication to a legitimate source like a magazine or newspaper or a nice website.

Start: yesterday, I bought The Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Yearbook 2013*.   It has a number of websites for writers.

Finish: Submit something by the end of February.

6) Love my blog.  It seems that when the adoption was final I lost my niche. I still believe in my blog’s name.  What-We-Can’t-Explain is a part of God’s Perfect Design for our lives.  That’s the best description of my life so far.  The greatest things that ever happened were because of what looked like a slip on a banana peel or a cosmic clothesline.

Looks like: a design, a blogging calendar, guest posting, and monetizing.  Creating my own or using others daily blog checklists.

Start: Dec 28–The design is underway. January 3 or something. I’ve been invited to guest post I have to accept.  I’m shy, see.

Finish: The design stuff I have no control over…could be in a week or two.  I will accept on the guest post today.

7) Hold out for quality.  My children have developed a general expectation of life that’s mediocre. I commented to someone the other day that kids will appreciate quality if that’s what they’re exposed to.  It was like I slapped my own face.

Looks like: Resisting the “I can do that later.”

Start: When I Dress for work this morning.

Finish: When they are educated and have found a husband or wife.

8) School. I am burnt out, but I’m not giving up. At least, public school kids are impelled. This is my gig. Only the ISP headmaster gets to tell me what to do.

Looks like: Getting all my paperwork prepared so when it’s due, there is less stress.  Planning the rest of the curriculum until graduation.  Looking at college degree plans so I know what they need.

Start: today.

Finish: Feb 1.

9) Take better care of myself.  (See #1)  I am a big girl.  No one is going to take care of my body and mind and spirit.  End of discussion.  Sure, I’d like to call this one exercise and eat right, but there might be one or two things I need before that.

Looks like: List of needs.  Plan to execute.

Start: When I started writing this post.

Deadline: one week.

10) Make a house that I’m not ashamed to have in the background of my photos.

Looks like: Fill the space in the attic that I gained access to when I was in there.  Give away junk.  Throw away trash.  Plan for Renovation work.

Start: this isn’t rocket science.  Tomorrow’s Saturday.

Finish:

11)  Stop waste in the house.  I think this is redundant, but, it is a mindset.  Instead of seeing my goals in terms of their worth in sacrifice, I get in the habit of medicating my feelings with a “pass”.  Well, $#!@’s out of hand.   Money, Time, Food, Utilities, Late Fees, Brain cells (we have watched some really stupid stuff).

Looks like: setting the example myself.  Shut up.  I hate my life.

Start: with shorter showers and not using the fixture with six bulbs unless I am putting on make-up.  List other areas and work on them.

Finish: When kids can run their own homes.

12)  The organization thing– create systems that make the obnoxious work easy.  Then USE THEM.  Even if it is a to-do list.  Making the list isn’t the objective.  It’s coming under the authority of the list that counts. Looks like: starting that list.

Start: in a minute.

Finish: when I no longer rely on a pile of paper to know what I need to do next.

13) Trust God– I’ve been mad at him over some things that happened really close together that we didn’t get a good outcome on.  But even before that, I was going on the feeling that He wasn’t really showing up for me.  I was having to do this all myself.  I know better.  I wouldn’t be even so much as alive without Him.  If He doesn’t have me now,  none of this really matters.

Looks like: Being joyful when I feel down and discouraged.  Not in a fake way, but acknowledging my feelings and listing what is still good or given in the midst.  There’s a blog challenge, but I think I might do it privately.

Start: ASAP

Finish: Every moment and start again.

 

*It’s a magazine… not Writer’s Market.  I couldn’t find a link.

 

 

 

Lust: A Christmas Tutorial

The youth group has a question box.  You can put a question in and the leaders will take a little time on Wednesday evening to answer it.  Several weeks ago, someone asked if the word lust had only to do with sex.  Pretty good question.

Did I forget to mention that only men are allowed to teach mixed groups of people at our church?

Yeah.

So the person, who answered this, answered in the negative; that there is also a lust for power.  His example, people who run for public office.  Regardless of political party.

That was all.

It has troubled me for the entire time, that he didn’t talk about all the other drives of the flesh that we indulge.

I tried to bring the example of the desire to drive the “then-new-to-me” car on the road between Target and an adjoining suburb.  It features tight curves and ever-so-slight banking in a spot or two.  This vehicle is made to handle well and this little spot of perhaps a half mile is a delightful opportunity to sample that.  Really delightful.

Apparently, that was interpreted as me wanting to brag about the car.

I was interrupted and ignored.

There are a number of kinds of lust.  I avoided blogging it because, they’ll all find out soon enough and it was just me taking it personally.

So, in the spirit of taking it personally, I’m blogging it now.  Because I have a bad case.

You see, I have a cookbook collection.  Not like I am trying to build a library that will be donated for public use when I die.  But to use. Each one has a story and a reason.  I have hard and fast rules for selection, that even I don’t know.  I know when I see them.  I experience a kind of feeling of awe sometimes when I find a certain one.

I digress.

For Christmas, I started a little project.  I bought cookbooks for some kids (5) I love.  They are like nieces and nephews. Sort of.  Thing.

There’s the great used book store here, and I got in the cookbook section and found six (6) treasures.  I can’t decide which book to give which kid.  Because I want two (2) of them for myself.

Two.

Two.

 

Want them.

Both.

Want.

A lot.

So I’m sitting here trying to wrap gifts and looking through the books, especially the ones I want, but then I glanced through the one that was most expensive.  Now, I want it, too.

That’s what made me remember.

Lust.

Desire.

Well-engineered cars,

Cookbooks that take my breath away,

Fine leather goods, like handbags, wallets, belts and…

Yesterday, I was doing a little shopping.

I wanted to buy something for someone who reads this blog.  Who I’m responsible for dressing.  The cost was a little ambitious.  I got a little angry.

Because I wanted what I wanted.  And felt it was out of reach.

Non-essential.

There may have been some pouting.  I’m not scared, though.  Santa and I are on shaky terms right now (it’s another post).

Desire.

I’m not as tired as I was and I think I’m going back.

To be excessive in the essentials.

Lavish.

Soliciting for real connection through some other means.

Please.

Any self-respecting first-world woman, knows I’m talking about boots.

Two pair of size ten black leather riding boots.

Mm.

Mm.

Mm.

And I might buy a hot drink (with some kind of froth or something) while I’m out.

What do you say?  Is lust just a sexual term?  What do you hope Santa will slather all over you this Christmas?

 

 

 

For Once It’s About Me{me}!

Lady Jennie @ A Lady in France was so gracious as to invite readers to join her in answering the questions she wanted the answers to.    Because I worship her from afar, literally  am the laziest stalker ever like her so much, I am joining up.

1. What’s your guilty pleasure? You know what I mean? What do you do that you know is probably not the wisest thing for you but you can’t seem to help yourself?

It’s coffee, I could almost cut and paste Lady Jennie’s answer to this question.  Though, her cup is prettier than mine.  I have cut back so seriously, since August, that my kids have noticed I’m nicer.  And commented.  Dang.

less attractive vessel for drinking

2. Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? If so, how?

No. {See number one}.

The habits that I’ve broken don’t seem that bad.  And the bad ones won’t break.  Or I don’t care enough, yet. (I hate blogging.  It’s like a freaking mirror on my heart and motives.) [I really love it.  I just say a lot of mean things.]

3. What’s your first memory?

Looking out the window of the farmhouse to the dirt road.  I don’t know how young I was, but just tall enough to look out the window.  Probably could place my chin on the sill.  It was late fall or winter.  The sky was gray.  The road was red.  The wind was blowing.  It was in Oklahoma, of course, the wind was blowing.  It was beautiful to me.

4. Have you ever had an experience with a ghost?

I’d like to think so.  We’ve had a few poltergeist type things happen in this house.  They’ve always preceded emotional cataclysm with the twins.  Which is what poltergeists love.  Remove the emotional charge, remove the activity.

One time, my husband, son, and I were in the back of the house, and we heard a knock on the door at about 7:00 a.m. I went to the door because I was dressed and the others were still bedhead.  There was no one there.  No one in the street.  No one along the sidewalk.  It had been an assertive and unmistakable knock.

Another time, the family was moving around the house doing their own chores.  At one point, one of my daughters and I stopped in the living room at the same time.  Movement caught our eye and we looked up.  The living room fixture was spinning lazily.  Back and forth.  This fixture has been hanging since 1920.  It doesn’t move when both powerfully strong girls are dancing in the very room.

During a really horrible time…before I knew what was going on, our house was surrounded by cats.  Wailing, howling, spraying, screeching.  Day and night.  Nights were especially horrible.  Neighbors speculated that a feral colony was migrating.  Whatever.  They were aggressively inhabiting our porch and storage area and it was nearly impossible to sleep.  This lasted a couple of weeks.  Animal control would bring me a trap when they had one free– in about six weeks.  One night, tucking my daughter in bed, I looked at her face and for a flash thought, “She’s dying.”  My baby was transfigured into a macabre visage.  In two more days, a dark secret was exposed to the light.  The cats were gone that day and never returned.

5. Have you ever had a significant dream? One that came true, or one that meant something to you?

No, my husband has the significant dreams.  I interpret.

My grandmother often dreamed of a house– large and empty, not a home.  I’ve had a house dream a couple of times.

Mostly, my perception stuff happens in waking.  I frequently awake at exactly 5:22.  It started when the girls were 3 years-old.  In the last few years, I note the time in the evening at that time, as well.  I’m hoping one day to know why.  I have a friend who has the same thing at a different time.

6. What’s your most embarrassingly funny memory, and if you dare, your embarrassingly embarrassing memory?

Weird…I have a fart story, too.  I was standing in the store that sells baseball caps.  Paying for a cap for my husband.  The clerk and his buddy, who was “hanging-out-in-the-cap-store-at-the-mall-because-he-was-a-winner-that’s-why”, were standing there, and while the guy prcoessed my check there rose around me a stink such as the world had not known.  If evil has a funk, this was it.  Grease and Sin.  I gagged.  I made eye contact.  They froze.  Perhaps they didn’t yet know whether their buddy had served it up.  Never ever in my life before or since have I delivered one that bad.

That’s copying, though.  When I was a junior in high school, I fell asleep in U.S. History.  I drooled on my desk.  When I awoke, I was lying in a puddle the size of the desktop.  My hair was wet and my arms and body were keeping it from DRIPPING OFF THE DESK.  I couldn’t move until class ended, in order to keep others from seeing it.  I have no memory of how it was resolved.  I vaguely remember telling the teacher.

7. Alright moving on to more distinguished topics. Favorite book. Why is it your favorite?

I hate this question.  I am like the little boy who was an optimist…when he there was only a heap of manure under the tree on Christmas morning, he leaped upon it and started digging.  When someone asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Pile of shit poopie this big?  Gotta be a pony in here somewhere!!!”

I can never remember the book that held me by the heart in shock that I was finished and it was over.  Because I didn’t just dig through…I closely examined a lot of individual… [lightheaded; head between knees] turds.

Books that have made me sob:  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls;  Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Eliot;

8. Last question – most romantic. At what precise moment did you know your spouse/partner was “the one?”

Looking back, I think the first moment I saw him was a sign.  I’m not saying a shaft of light came out of heaven and the angels sang, but there was definitely a jolt. I didn’t believe in that kind of nonsense and didn’t see him for some time, but he called me once just to see how I was doing. Another six months passed before I saw him on my way out of town and he asked me out.

I’m sure Lady Jennie would be delighted for you to stop by and participate as well.

 

To Edify

To edify means to build up.

We can edify by means of words or actions.

The activities of the last week have made a tremendous impact on me.

I have made a conscious choice to be aware of what comes out of my mouth and to really listen to other people’s meaning.

Not only in my house, but out-of-the-house, and online.

Why do I mention online?

It’s funny you should ask.  As it turns out, I, having spent most of this election season writing about Fall and Pinterest and Dogs with Low Self-Esteem, found myself at a blog which attacked the political party I belong to and lumped all members of the party with racist bigotry, ignorance, hatred, and evil.

The post wasn’t characteristic of the quality of writing the blogger is FAMOUS for.  She received a lot of positive encouragement.

I was hurt and that was her intention.

I am became convinced at that point that I would never be found behaving in such a way, and that I would study to be a voice for honor, if I have failed to be one up until now. In the three years I have been blogging, I have not been so disappointed in someone whose work I had admired so much.  I now understand better (okay, I am hungry and I wrote the word butter three times before I finally wrote better) a disappointment I experienced early on.  And may seek to mend a fence the other blogger doesn’t know or care was broken.

I wrote a much needed email to a blogger who inspires me.

I called to communicate by spoken word with someone I was getting more and more frustrated with by email.  We parted excited to meet and with a much better understanding of each other as persons.

I lost my temper, and had to take responsibility for why I did that.  Unmet expectations drove my little tantrum.  And the the realization that that causes almost all conflict and it’s a very human trap.  Because we don’t keep a list of our expectations that have been met or exceeded.

Should I begin such a list?

Suddenly I began to notice all sorts of ways we build each other up and make our preferences known and fail to give all the information necessary.  I’ve begun to realize the ways we evade understanding to avoid responsibility.  Not necessarily me, but by observation of what’s going on around me. Then I begin to wonder if I do it too.  Usually, I do, just in a different way.

It’s as easy to learn from someone else’s mistakes, as it is to learn from their good example.

This combination of experiences is making a huge impact on everything.  It glows like inspiration from my heart, and as if by magic, my daughter is aware and testing my resolve.

Words can hurt, but words can heal.

They can build a bridge or just throw the bricks and slide around in the mortar.

If I am going to build something, that’s a luxury I can’t afford.

 

 

 

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