Taming the feast beast

It seems to hit every Advent.

The rush of last-minute shopping, the crash of the schedule as every. single. child is in a performance right before Christmas that requires multiple, non-excused rehearsals, colds, flu, stomach bugs, laryngitis, travel, delayed travel, cancelled travel, everyone you run into is on edge, expectations aren’t met, and these are things just in your life.

If you turn on the news… never mind.  Don’t turn on the news.  They’re in the business of selling doom and gloom, and “if it bleeds, it leads,” so you know what to expect there.

You just want it over with.  “As soon as Christmas is over,” I’ve heard people say, or, “If I can just  make it to January,” and I even heard someone refer to the “impending” holidays, a word I’ve usually heard followed with “doom”.

This is what I heard a priest refer to years ago as “the feast beast.”

Bottom line, the devil is going to do everything in his power to distract us from the truth of these holy days, keeping us further from God as possible.  It doesn’t matter if these are natural occurances, other people’s sins hurting us, or our own distraction from what is true.

The devil doesn’t care.  The lies and distractions and temptations coming from him only serve to keep our eyes off Jesus.

Christmas isn’t another obligation to get through.  Its the day that God humbled Himself so as to enter the world as the most vulnerable of His beloved creatures, an infant.  Born of a virgin, teenaged girl who was betrothed to a man who could only secure an animal’s habitat as shelter and comfort for her as she continued her “fiat”.  It was the day that had been promised by God to His Chosen People for thousands of years, the long awaited fullness of time, when God every so quietly slipped into our world in a way that He hadn’t before, to redeem His people, save us from our sins, and offer us the hope that while this world is a world of suffering, sometimes tedious, sometimes heartbreaking, that we can now look forward with joyful anticipation to Heaven, with God, for all eternity, in perfect happiness.

Its tough, but try not to be distracted from this.  You don’t need to take on new devotions or practices, because doing too much can still even serve as another distraction.  But when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the “stuff” of Christmas, take a minute, and look at the manger scene, or a crucifix, and remember, that Christmas isn’t about getting the house cleaned for guests, or finding the right present for someone, even if these things are important.

Christmas is about the radical love that God has for you, that He wants us to share with each other.  Don’t let that other guy distract you from that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

7 Ideas for Overcoming Perfectionism in Blogging

Oh, the irony….. its dripping like, like… like the showerhead in our master bath.  It just keeps dripping, little by little, then stops, then starts dripping again when you least expect it….always a drip, always a little more…

Hello, my friends!  Welcome to my second installment for When Good is Good Enough, on overcoming perfectionism, and, oh, it occurred to me how ridiculously funny it was to decide to write on this.

You see, as I mentioned before, I’m the type of perfectionist who, when she doesn’t have the three hours it takes to get something done, will instead drop the whole idea, instead of working on it a little at a time.  Why?  I don’t know.*

But as you can see, its been, oh…two and a half week-ish since I last posted, and aside from the “I’ve got seven kids, and I’m homeschooling, and we drove home for Thanksgiving, and there’s always dishes to be cleaned, so something has to drop” excuse, there’s still that little buggar in my head saying, “you don’t have time for it now, so don’t even bother.”

And today, to that, I say, “Ppppfffttthhh.”

I’ve decided to get over my blogging perfectionism once and for all, and rather than just writing up a little list for myself to refer to, I’m going to wrap it up and disguise it as a brilliant post telling You, Dear Reader, about how you can overcome perfectionism in your own blogging, when in all reality, this is the sugar that is making said medicine so much more palatable for yours truly.

Still with me?  Fabulous.

1.  Open the stinking laptop.

I’ve become quite enamored with my cell phone and tablet lately, but there have been some serious drawbacks to those.  First of all, typing is a major pain in the nether regions, so I just…. don’t.  Most of the time.  Okay, okay, I’ll post a FB status or a quick response to someone.  But a well thought out, finely crafted email?  Nope.  And that’s why so many have up and gotten lost.  I’ve checked them on my tablet, but without the laptop handy, I can’t respond, put things on the calendar, etc..

Now, blogging?  Not gonna happen.  You saw my last post, right?  That was torture.  Little, itty bitty letters on a touch screen…. not even worth talking about.  Fingers flying across a keyboard at quick speed is like singing in the house when no one is home.  You hit a bunch of wrong keys, but it’s oh, so satisfying.

2.  Forget about taking pictures for posts.

Seriously.  Who do I think I am?  Yep, there are some seriously awesome blogs that have great pictures in every post with well dressed kids in natural light eating Paleo fruit bars made from organic produce that… oh, never mind.  You get the idea.  Its not going to happen.

What?  You still want pictures???

Sigh.  Fine.  Here.

IMG_20141118_142256_179

Hey, look, we went to the museum!

 IMG_20141108_115312_213

Hey, look!  We went to Target!

IMG_20141019_142552_510

Hey, look!  We went to the pumpkin patch!

None of these were taken with a DSLR, none were taken with the intention of going on the blog, and a lot of the clothes are not clean.  And NONE of the pumpkins are organic.

3.  Make a list and check it twice.

I wouldn’t say that if Christmas wasn’t coming.

What I mean by that it, make a list of all the conceivable things you can possibly blog about, then do it.  What kind of things?  Any.  Thing.

Birth stories, “how we met” stories, “how I organize my weekly meal plans and shopping” stories, “what we’re doing for Advent to make you feel better about what you’re doing for Advent,” …. you get the idea.  Have these been done before.  Yep.

Ad Nauseum.

But, when you hang out with the girls, do you have conversations where you all say something completely different, or do you relish those booze and chocolate filled evenings when more than eight times you hear the enthusiastically exclaimed words, “me too!” followed by their own story?

Me too!!!!

Time for another random photo that has nothing to do with this post, but is important because I read somewhere that posts have to have photos:

IMG_20141119_081937_805

I know, right?!?

4.  Read for advice on how to blog, take it as ADVICE and then walk away.

Like the photo thing.  Sheesh.  Some of my favorite blogs don’t do photos.  At least, not many.  If this is about writing, then darn it all, get thy fingers to the key pad, woman!

5.  The blog doesn’t have to look perfect.

I spent a ridic amount of time getting  my blog to look the way it does now.  And I seem to change themes like most people change socks.  My apologies.

Much like having a friend over when the house isn’t “company ready,” my blog isn’t exactly ready for its closeup either, Mr. DeMil.  Oh well.  It will evolve.

6.  Everything doesn’t have to be timely.

So, there was a whole NFP awareness week a couple of months ago that I wanted to add to, but… never did.  Oh, and there was a bit of a brew haha over nursing in public that I wanted to share my thoughts on, but….. yeah….and EVERYONE got their Advent posts out AGES ago, and… heck, I’m still getting ready for Advent around here!

What I’m saying is, sometimes I’ll hit the mark, and sometimes I won’t.  Either way, if its something I want to add my voice to, its okay if the ship has sailed.  Maybe I’ll be ahead of the “hey, everyone is talking about it again!” crowd.

7.  Don’t over-think your audience.

Heck, I don’t even know who my entire audience is.  So, this is me.  Take it or leave it. 🙂

So, there you have it!  Here are my ideas on overcoming perfectionism in blogging.  Do you have any suggestions to share?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

SQT Tablet edition, part Deux

Linking up with Kelly, in lieu of Jen, for the first time in a very long while.

1.  The tablet.  Ugh.  Back story :  I have had computer problems like most people have fruit fly pproblems,  where all seems fine for the longesr time and then BAM!  You find yourself screaming and flailing your arms like a drunk mupppet in the middle of the kitchen trying to adequately express your current state of consternation. I.  Can’t.   Win.  So, “the machine” is currently in the loving hands of the guys at Geek Squad, and I decided that the idea of tediously tapping out a blog post using nothing but the very tips of my fingers and the c3aziest misspellings you’ll ever have the privilege of reading is not going to stop me.

You’re welcome.

2.  Speaking of the Squad of Geeks, they’ve up and changed their uniforms!  Gone are the crisp white shirts and skinny black ties, now they’re sporting golf shirts and are like, “Look, dude, I’m  not a geek, I’m really more of a business-casual nerd.”   At this point, I don’t care if they’re sporting pink tutus with Darth Vader’s masks, as long as they fix my  stinkin’ laptop.

3.  One thing I can’t wait to share with you once I get my puter back is the “Pintrest-worthy, dramatic before and after shots of our family room,” also known as, “I paintted a few things and I’m prerty stoked with how it all turned out.”  Commence breath holding.  (Just be warned, the geeks, ahem, business-casual nerds, said it would take three to five days to get the computer back, so plan your breathing challenge accordingly. )

4.  The Tommy is 5 months old.  Wow.

5.  We’ve been installing locks with reckless abandon around here, only to find some of it to be futile.   There is the age old delemia of “how does one keep children from pilfering through the pantry all the live long day,” which I thought was solved by the installation of a couple of simple babylocks.  Ten minutes after I installed said locks and walked smugly away from the kkitchen, I  overheard the five year old instructing the 7 year old how to open it.  I think I’ll stick with my friend’s recommendation to only buy food they have no desire to sneak, so our diet will soon consist of not much more than wild rice, canned beans and liver.  Yum.

6.  The other locks I mentioned are for all outside doors as it seems we have a sleepwalker on our hands. New parenting territory, same basic idea: how to keep kids alive while they’re still under my roof.

7.  We’re watching Sherlock, true to our “18months behind in all the things” form.  For those who haven’t seen it, its the perfect mix of gasping out loud in astonishment,  laughing out loud at the clever humor and quickly asking, “what did he say?  because although you miss plenty due to the English accents, you don’t  want to miss what they say next.  Sorry Downton, Sherlock is brilliant.  I’m  just sad that I’m running out of episodes.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

When Good is Good Enough—a Series for the Recovering Perfectionist

“If you’re going to make something, use the best materials, put some real time and effort into it, and get it right.”

“If you’re going to put away your clothes, take the time to fold everything properly so that there are no wrinkles.”

“If you’re going to clean the pots, then take a steel wool and scrub the stains off the bottom while you’re at it.”

“If you’re going to do something, do your best at it.”

 

If, then; if, then; if, then….. Whether these commands come from someone else or just keep swirling in your head while you look at a project, any project, EVERY project that needs to be done, these words can be nothing short of paralyzing for a perfectionist.

“Oh,” you chuckle, looking over your shoulder the mound of laundry that hasn’t been folded and put away for a week, or the windows that are bare because you can’t seem to decide what kind of curtains you want to hang, or your out of date jeans that you really hate but don’t want to replace until you lose some weight first. “Yeah, I’m not a perfectionist. Perfectionists are… perfect! You can tell just by looking at me that I’m not—I’m a mess!”

Well, my friend, it is possible that you just may be a perfectionist. It took me years to realize it, and then a few more to admit it, but I’m willing to say it now:

I am a perfectionist.

I’m a perfectionist of the worst sort, because rather than seeing something that needs to be done and give it a good shot, I see something I feel I can’t do perfectly, so I say, “Why bother?”

That pile of laundry? It’s filled with shirts that really should be ironed, and I don’t have the time to iron, so on the couch they’ll stay.

The windows? Well, it’s tough, because I can’t decide if I prefer a warm look or a cool look, and well, I like florals, but I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t look so….. flowery….

Oh, and the jeans? Honestly, I don’t want to spend the money on clothes that I’ll only be wearing for a few weeks anyway because I’ve been meaning to start running, once I finish researching the best running shoes, and besides, should I be doing Weight Watchers, or just do Paleo on my own?

It’s enough to make me want to pull my own hair out when I think of it!

Yes, there are many things in this life that require us to give 100%. The problem is that sometimes you get mired in the idea that everything requires all or nothing. And if you can’t give it your all, you’re likely to give nothing.

Take for instance: vacuuming. At some point, early in my marriage, I heard that in order for a carpet to be truly cleaned, you have to pass over each spot eight times. That’s right, push, pull, push, pull, push, pull, push, pull—okay, that spot is clean, move over 10 inches and, repeat.

Guess how often I vacuumed? Yep. Close to never. Who vacuums like that!?

This was the point when The Hubs said something to me. Something wise beyond his years, summing up the cure for my ineffectual perfectionist living:

“Sometimes, honey, half-assed is better than no-assed.”

Just think of it: if I had but run the vacuum over the carpet every once in a while, I would have had a much cleaner townhouse, and probably a better feeling about myself.

I think that might be the worst result of having a perfectionist attitude: If I can’t do it perfectly, then I shouldn’t bother. Because I can’t do something perfectly, then I’m a failure.

Wow. Sounds pretty heavy. And while those words aren’t necessarily dancing in front of me on a regular basis, their evil twin keeps whispering from the background, a quiet drumbeat:

Don’t bother. Don’t bother. Don’t bother. Don’t bother…..

What do you accomplish then? Nothing.

And when you’re not accomplishing much, it pulls you down.

Well, guess what? It doesn’t have to be so cut and dry. Sometimes, things don’t have to be done perfectly. Sometimes, things just need to be done. As I’ve been told several times by several different people, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Sometimes, good is good enough.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to take a closer look at some of the places in my life where I’ve allowed perfectionism to take root and crowd out all the good I could have been accomplishing, if only I had not given into the temptation of perfectionism.

I’d love to hear your stories, too, of where you’ve overcome any perfectionist tendencies. Are there any places where you can see that you are going for the perfect, and letting it crowd out the good?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

In Which I prove I am Not Fit For Farm Living

This past weekend was the annual Farm Tour around these here parts.

One thing I love about living in this area is that you go from heavy politics to suburban living to farm life to the deep south in a span of about 20 minutes in any direction.  Apparently, we’re in the South now (excuse me, the “Saaaaauuuuth”) but a mere fifteen minutes gets me to civilization pretty quick, so while I might feel a bit like a fish out of water, this Yankee transplant doesn’t have to feel like a fish gasping for breath on the floor of a fishing boat as it makes its way ashore.

But!  The Farm Tour!  This thing is awesome.  This is where you can get up and personal with some of the craziest animals in the area and still have time to finish your weekly grocery shopping complete with wine and cheese tasting in produce.

I love this area.

S0, my friend and I decided to take our crew out and meet some animals, starting with a horse farm.

Before we started, we got “The Safety Talk” from one of the owners, who greeted everyone in the parking lot.  In short, horses get to know you by smelling your breath, can’t tell the difference between a human hand and a carrot until they taste blood, and think babies are swell, so have a great time!

Um, …. OKAY!

Seriously, it was great.  We met Danny, who is quite the people horse.  The kids were so good about not making any sudden movements and letting him sniff them, resulting in scenes like this:

IMG_20140927_113834_789

And true to the safety talk, he was all about the bebe, and would swing his gigantic head towards Tommy and sniff him up something fierce:

IMG_20140927_113912_920

(That would be a horse head all up in my Ergo there….)

Its actually a slight bit disconcerting having a horse head the size of a side table swing itself in your baby’s direction and sniff him so much that not only are his nostrils flaring, but he seems to be moving his mouth in a “mmmm mmm mmmmmmm……” fashion.

Yes, I know my little guy is delicious, but he’s not horse food.

So we moved on to the goats and the chickens.

It was pretty straightforward.  The rooster was noisy, the hens were running around like, well…. chickens…. and the goats feasted on cheerios straight from our hands.

IMG_20140927_115048_091

And so did Lilly.  We’d give her cheerios to feed the goats and after dropping them juuuust before they could lick them off her hand, she finally decided this was for the birds and ate a helping herself.

If she was my first I’d be convinced she’d catch mad goat disease.  Or something.

After enjoying a free lunch provided by a local Baptist church, we set off to visit the alpacas.

Folks.  I love alpacas.

You want proof that God has a sense of humor?  Visit an alpaca farm.

IMG_20140927_135945_531

These things are a panic.  They sneer at you, walk very slowly in groups, and make this, “eeeeehhhh” sound, like they’re whining.  Or zombies.

It was here that someone asked us if we were a homeschool group.   Nope.  Just two women and only twelve of their collective children, because two were elsewhere at the time.  We should have brought along a third friend and brought our number up to 20 or so.

Sometimes, I really feel for the Duggars.

So, its  Monday morning and I’ve got bunches to do today to finish up odds and ends from the old house to we can close on this thing, so I’m going to run before my minions are awake.  And by run I mean finish my coffee and shower.

You didn’t really think I mean “run” as in “Run” did you?

You did?  That was so sweet of you.

But no.

If you see me running, you should, too, because something is coming after me.

Like a baby eating horse.

 

Have you met any interesting animals lately?

Posted in Baby, funny, kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

From the Mouths of Babes, Vol. 1

*** 

(Overheard from the back of my van.  I couldn’t help laughing when I heard the serious tone in this ten-year old’s voice)

“Maybe its not meatloaf itself you don’t like, but just they way you’ve had it.  Because, really, lots of people make meatloaf different ways.  Some make it with crackers and other breadcrumbs, some use ketchup and others use barbecue sauce…”

***

Will:  If a limb is cut off, does it grow back?

Me:  No, honey, it doesn’t.

Will: WHAT?!?!  What if your foot is cut off?

Me:  Nope.

Will:  WHAT?!?!  What if your leg is cut off?

Me:  Nope.

Will:  WHAT?!?!  What if your arm is cut off?

Me:  Nope.

Will:  WHAT?!?!  What if your hand is cut off?

Me:  Nope.

Will:  WHAT?!?!

You can imagine where this conversation went for the next five minutes.

***

Katie:  What is china?  Like, the stuff you eat off of?

James:  Its made of material that’s only used by fancy people who do things like eat with their pinkies up and who know what fork is used for what food.

Posted in From the Mouths of Babes, funny, kids | Leave a comment

Getting there…..

38 hours until closing.

Not like I’m counting or anything.

I’ve wanted to blog about moving but I’ve hesitated about blogging about moving because I was quite certain that I was going to bore everyone to tears by blogging about moving.

Then, I remembered that one of the awesome things about having a blog is calling the shots about what goes on the blog.

So. Moving.

We can see the light at the end of the painting tunnel, but dang it all, there is so much more to do still. The kids’ bedrooms, the kids’ bath, all the downstairs, all the basement—all painted. I still need to finish the office and touch up the powder room, though, then we have to finish ALL the trim in the house and touch up a bunch of ceilings and paint the kitchen ceiling…

Sigh…

In the meantime, however, we’ve been planning out exactly what we want to do in the kitchen, and I’ve been dreaming about the rest of the house, so keeping an eye on the prize has been helpful.

Yes, we’re setting a lot of projects ahead of ourselves at the new place, but I don’t want to find myself ten years in one house again saying, “Huh. This room looks soooo much better now that it’s painted.”

And now I know just how doable it is.

Myquillin Smith, aka “The Nester”, wrote an awesome book earlier this year that has really helped me get my decorating perspective and I’m stoked to put these ideas into use. We’re not talking anything to revolutionary, just stop overthinking things and take a risk.

You know, like, paint the room. Pick a color and just do it. I might find myself as pleasantly surprised as I did this week.

I did tell The Hubs tonight that the absolute first project I want to do is painting the kids’ rooms. They’ve been so patient with our projects around here, especially because they all want to help, and we just need to get it done without having to clean up mistakes. Once we are in their rooms, we can give them more freedom with these projects.

They’ve all got plans, and I’m doing my best to give them carte blanche. We’re talking a blue underwater theme for one, multicolored stripes in another, and the third request was deep green, like a forest, with trees. I’m going to have to think about the third one a bit and see if I can come up with some suggestions on how to do it, other than painting the room a dark green as was requested. I’ll keep you posted.

Well, it looks like they’re all asleep, finally, and we’ve got one more full day before we move out. Lots to do, but it will get done. It always does. Then, carpets come in, we give the place a final cleaning, the realtor stages the place and takes pictures, and we go on the market on Friday.

And pray for a quick sale.

(sorry about the lack of pictures.  I got nuthin’.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment