Monday, January 28, 2013

Old Habits Don't Fit

I know, I know, the saying is supposed to go 'Old Habits Die Hard', but mine aren't dying hard- mine are hiding in the closet so I don't get rid of them- kind of like all those clothes that don't fit.

Since we've moved, I thought I could change habits easier because we have a new set-up and haven't had a regular schedule since I started packing. There was only one problem. 

I took me with me!

Spending too much time on the computer? You betcha! Getting housework done? Not so much. In fact, my habits are slowing making their way back into my life like those spandex pants I wore back in the 80's. You know you'll never wear them again, but you just can't make yourself get rid of them.

Not because they're out of style either. That particular habit won't fit if I had a shoe horn and a can of axle grease. Even Spandex has it's limits.

Unfortunately my habits are comfortable. Like pajama jeans or brand-new sweat pants. I've never owned a pair of the former, but I own a ton of the latter, and They. Feel. Good. They might not be the best thing in my closet, but who will see me anyway? Well, the same goes for my bad habits.

Oh sure, the house is clean now, but if I ignore the chores, the house will get dirty and cluttered. Not to mention my mind will be a pool of gelatinous grey goo from watching the Cat Channel online for five hours straight. Or playing Words with Friends, trying to fool myself into thinking I'm doing something creative concerning writing, since it's words. Yeah, right. And I'll get my daily dose of potassium if I keep eating potato chips too.

So why do I keep putting on these old habits anyway? Because they're safe. Because they're keeping me from trying something new. Because they're familiar- even if they are bad for me. I'm in my little box with my computer and as long as the power is on, I'm happy. Or at least I feel that way while I'm in front of the screen.

But at the end of the day I lie awake and stare into the dark, wondering what I else could have done today, because in reality I haven't done a darned thing. Oh sure, I ran a few errands, and did a few minor things to get by, but have I really put myself out there? Did I really do what God wanted me to?

And if you're like me, your answer will probably match mine. Nope. Not a ding-dang thing. Or not enough to make a difference. Either way, it stinks.

We need to get rid of those old, comfortable habits that tend to take over our lives, pull up those big-girl pants and get moving. Do something different. Do something you've been meaning to do but didn't do in forever. Call someone and ask them to help you be accountable if you're not a self-starter. Not everyone is you know- and there's no shame in asking for help- especially if you offer them cookies or chocolate beforehand.

I've decluttered my bedroom closet, but I haven't decluttered my mental closet. I've gotten rid of those Spandex pants (some kid is probably using them as a giant slingshot about now), and now I'm ready to take on the world- or at least the world of homemaking. And writing. You pick your task and get it done. As for me, I'll turn off the computer so I'm not tempted and put on some music instead. 

I'll stop thinking about it, planning it, and mentally preparing myself for it. It's just a waste of energy. I going to be like Nike and Just Do It, and it will get done. And if you do the same, you'll feel better about things too!

Monday, January 21, 2013

When Not to Bake Cookies

This weekend was a busy one! We'll be having a house-warming party next week, and wanted to have some homemade goodies to serve. What better way to do that than the bake cookies?

After all, how much of a mess can baking cookies make?

Probably not much if it was just me making them, but when the rest of the family chips in? Let's just say cleaning services hang up when I call them.

For instance, we have a mixer that likes to kick into high gear the second you start it, so it throws everything in the bowl up and out, like a mini volcano. Personally I don't use the thing for cookie dough, but Mr. Spatula decided he wanted to break up some brown sugar by using the mixer.

Sugar chunks everywhere.

Still determined (a quality I find charming most of the time), he did it again. and again. Now the floor is covered with brown sugar. Then the cats walk through it, spreading the joy all over the house.

I just knew I shouldn't have mopped that morning.

Having a brand-new kitchen gives you a sense of dread whenever you feel that shiny-new cleanliness is going to be marred by two children and their father. Especially when he breaks out the chocolate chips and a scuffle ensues, where oats go flying merrily by overenthusiastic mixing, peanut butter gets melted in the microwave, and more chips wind up in mouths than in the dough (though I admit, I took part in that particular scuffle).

Then the baking begins.

The batch we mix makes twenty dozen because we never do anything small, and every part of the counter and table is covered in cooling racks, a giant bowl of dough, and several cookie sheets. After six hours of sheer bliss, I was too tired to clean what was once a nice kitchen.

A kitchen that I'm still cleaning, by the way.

Here are a few hints and handy tips for those that decide to so something like this in their house:

1. Don't mop the floors. Clean floors attract brown sugar and anything sticky.

2. Don't clean counters or any surfaces of crumbs and specks. The new crumbs and specks will be lost without the old ones to tell them where they should go.

3. Don't do the dishes. Having all the dirty cookie sheets fall from the sink to the floor at the same time while the cats are trying to sneak cookies off the racks makes for a video worthy of winning prizes (then you can buy a new, private kitchen.) Don't forget to set up the camera ahead of time.

4. You need a damp kitchen towel in a rat-tail configuration to snap at fingers (and paws) that try to snatch cookies off the sheets and/or cooling racks.

5. Plan on doing nothing else for the rest of the day. 

6. Plan on cleaning nothing else the rest of the week.

Don't make cookies. Go buy cookies and watch a movie with the family. Or make them when no one but you is home. Open your bedroom door enough so that the cats think they are sneaking into your room for  a secret nap. Trust me, this works. And it will be the only way you will ever have hope of a clean kitchen again!

Monday, January 14, 2013

God and The Mothers Curse

I've finally found my true link with God.
Sometimes I think to myself, 'Why, oh why did you give me children Lord? Don't You know I'm not a kid person? You're talking to a woman that when pregnant for the first time, was asked what she wanted, and her reply was 'Puppies'. I'm just not one of those at-home mother types that smiles while cleaning diapers and wiping snot from noses.'
Of course I no longer have to do those particular things (amazingly enough, both kids have survived babyhood and are now 14 and 11), but the premise still exists. Why did God decide to do this to me, of all people?
It all started with Adam and Eve. God made them a perfectly good world, and those two went and screwed it up- not just for themselves, but for all of us. After the 'Fruit of the Tree' incident, God got fed up, but instead of just leaving them to their own devices, He said "When you have children, they are going to act exactly the way you two act."
He knew they were going to have kids just like them too. It's a God thing. We can hope, but He knows. God invented the Mothers Curse.
I shake my fist at nothing in particular and yell, 'Why do these people do this to me? Don't they realize I held them in my body way longer than anyone sane would do, fed and nursed them in the wee hours in the morning despite the fact I was a zombie, and offer my incredibly intelligent advice from my life experiences so they can stay out of trouble?'
God smiles because He knows, down through the ages, the Curse has been working overtime. He also reminds me of how I acted when my mother was in charge when my own children act similarly. Not only do my kids think I'm an idiot, I'm also a tyrant- asking way too much of them concerning chores, polite behavior and personal hygiene- but it was exactly how I felt when I was their age. Humph.
But wait- it gets better!
I've been informed by my son that if he has children, I will be called upon for free full-time babysitting while he and his spouse are off to work. Boy, is he in for a surprise! I'll pretend I'm not home or make sure I'm on vacation when that time comes. Then God can remind him of how he acted, and I'll add to the mix with my own wisdom- like, 'If I was such an idiot, do you really want me influencing your kids for that long?'
Of course I'm going to help my kids, but I wouldn't let them know that- it would take all the fun out of being a grandparent!
I know my children will have kids just like them. I hope they have three kids just like them! And I hope I have the wisdom to know when to offer advice, and when not to. But I'll probably do just what my mom did (and every other mom on the planet) and stick my nose into their lives despite their protests- and I hope they appreciate that nosiness later in life. Just like I did.

In the meantime, I'll be spending time with God, because He knew I could handle this parenting thing all along. I just didn't know I could!

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Once Was Blind- But Now I See!

Amazing grace is one of my favorite hymns- little did I know it would also be a great testimony!

Once upon a time, a man had an accident and had third degree burns on thirty-five percent of his body. He even burned one of his eyes, and was in the hospital for eighteen days.

Three weeks later, he was back to work. One month later, he was put on full duty. Yet his eye, though healing, was still blurry.

His wife was just thankful for him being alive, and didn't care what condition he was in, as long as he wasn't hurting anymore.

Then one day, he visited the eye doctor. The doc had him take another eye chart test. He failed. It seemed his vision was getting worse.

At least until he asked the doctor if he could try the test again, this time with his glasses off.

You see, for the past few weeks his vision was getting blurry in the burned eye, but only when he had put his glasses on. For the record, the 'good' eye was 650/20, while the burned eye was 550/20.


After the appointment was over, he came to his wife and said, "The doc said my eye has changed, and I have to get a new prescription." Being the smartypants husband he was, used a tone that implied the worst. Before his wife could have a chance to worry (as she was wont to do) he grinned and told her the rest of the news.

"Of course I could just save us a lot of money by popping out the left lens of my glasses- I took the eye test without the glasses on and he said the vision in my left eye is 40/20- that's almost normal vision."


From being 'almost' blind to 'almost' normal vision? His vision was never even close to normal his entire life! Yet the burns stripped away enough of the lens that when it healed it reshaped itself- making his vision better. Much better.

The eye doc couldn't explain it- but the man and his wife could. 


Not only did God allow him to remain on earth a little longer, He healed him in ways that were totally unexpected- inside and out. 

And all this wife has to say is...Thank You God, for all You've done for us. You gave me back my husband. You healed his vision. It doesn't matter that one eye was healed and not the other- the fact is that my husband is a living miracle! 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,
We once were lost, but now we're found, was blind, but now he sees!