Category Archives: me & mine

The present I almost got but didn’t (but might still)

Sometimes, you have no idea what you’d like for Christmas except things that aren’t really in the “Christmas gift” category:

  • a new car (ours is bursting at the seems)
  • a new microwave (we’re on the edge of our seat waiting for our current one to blow up)
  • new chair covers (we have toddlers)
  • a new phone (that doesn’t randomly turn off multiple times every day)
  • or, uh, LASIK eye surgery (so I never have to worry about putting my contacts in the wrong eyes ever again)

But you know those things won’t fit in your stocking (or the budget) and so you say something along the lines of, I don’t want or need anything. Just surprise me.

And then you’re out running an errand for something completely unrelated and you see it – the perfect gift at the perfect sale price andyouhavetohaveit.

So you snap a phone pic and you tell your husband about it, and make sure he knows to hurry because they only have three left….

Only to hear a few days later that he did hurry, but it was too good a gift at too great a price and so now there’s three other happy ladies this Christmas. (And just maybe he didn’t hurry quite enough.)

And he sends you a photo of another one that’s currently in stock, but even though it’s more expensive it’s not as pretty and you say, no thank you… I just liked that other one.

Of course by this time you’re wishing you would have just bought the too-good-to-be-true present yourself when you found it and had given it to your husband for him to give back to you. (But you know that takes some of the fun out of it for him and it’s not really the point of gift-giving and the whole spirit-of-Christmas thing, so… There’s that.)

And yet by now you’re borderline obsessed with the present you’re not going to get and so you google it and come up empty.

Until you find something similar on ebay, which leads you to something even more similar, which leads you to it.

And it’s nearly the same price so you do a happy dance and forward your husband the link and say things like, you’ll never believe what I just found and yeah, I still really want this thing if it’s okay and want me to just go ahead buy it for you for me?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you put in requests for Christmas (or birthdays)? Why or why not?

 

Love,
A


The “perfect” holiday season

Thanksgiving is in a few days and I’m officially excited for Christmas.

Around here that means higher electricity bills (hello, AC!) and less clothes. It means more sweat and more swimming. It means uglier hair and more beautiful evening walks.

Every year we long for our holidays to be “the best ever” and it’s easy to make ourselves crazy with wanting our homes and tables and gifts and trees to look like something out of Martha Stewart. (And don’t get me wrong, I love prettiness all around.)

But I refuse to pursue “pretty” at the expense of “perfect”.

Because perfect holidays don’t come looking like a magazine spread.

Perfect holidays come when there is enough time and space and energy to enjoy the ones we love.

Sometimes that comes with a gorgeous party spread laid out around a pinterest-worthy centerpiece and other times that comes with a backyard BBQ and impromptu game of cricket while dining on picnic wear.

Either way, perfect is achievable. As long as we have the right idea of perfect. 

 

Q for you: Do you stress about having the “perfect” holidays?

 

Love,
A

 


Clarification

…and by “the next several weeks” what I apparently meant was the next several months.

Do you know how hard it is to reform a habit once it’s lost?

And do you know how easy it is to drop a habit?

I faithfully wrote on this little blog for five minutes a day for more than half a year… and yet it took next to nothing for me to kick it to the curb.

Why isn’t kicking a bad habit as easy as kicking a good one?

Seriously. This is a real question.

Why???

There was a good chunk of time that life got a little crazy, but now it’s back to normal – the normal crazy.

So I should be back right?

I suppose it’s just a matter of decision.

Ok then, I’m deciding to be back.

Can’t even describe how I’ve missed this little place, but even more – how I’ve missed my discipline of daily free writing. It’s good for my soul.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What do you think? Why is it so easy to break good habits, but so hard to break bad ones?

 

Love,
A

 


On getting derailed from a healthy habit

It’s amazing how easy it is to get out of a well-established habit. (Kind of depressing, actually.)

There was a point in my life where I got up at 5:00am every day. By choice.

This now seems like my worst nightmare.

But at the time I lived with twelve girls and I reeeeaaalllly liked to get my shower in first and have some quiet space to myself. (What’s a half-introverted girl to do?!)

When I started this blog it was for many reasons. One of them – the main one – was to help establish a healthy discipline of regular, free writing.

I happily did this every day for six months. (It was very, very rare for me to miss a day.)

Not only did I do it every day, I LOVED IT.

Then the force that was our July hit and I just couldn’t do it. (Fine, there’s grace for that.)

But now life is back to normal and I’m finding it sooo hard to get back to the every day.

I want to – I love and enjoy writing! I have time to – who can’t find 5 minutes in “normal” circumstances?!

So….. what’s the problem here?

I’m not sure.

But it’s a little frightening for me to see just how quickly and easily a well-cultivated habit (discipline) can be derailed if we’re not careful.

What’s a goal-oriented girl to do?

Well, keep on trying to get back on track I suppose.

 

Q for you: Surely you’ve had a good habit fall to the wayside at one point or another. What helped you to get back on track?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Stuff – what would you put in your box?

In light of the Colorado wildfires I was thinking tonight about what I would put in THE BOX if I had enough time to gather up precious, sentimental valuables.

Actually, I know full well what I’d put in there because I had to do it not that long ago when a cyclone was headed straight for our city.

I put in our passports, a few other important documents, some photos, journals, a box of love notes, and our hard-drives which contain several years worth of photos.

Really, when you boil it right down, most things we have are replaceable.

But then I started thinking about some of the things I have stored up in my parents attic – sentimental things from my childhood.

What if they were to evacuate their home suddenly, with only a short window of time to “rescue” a box or a car load of stuff? They would have no idea the things that I hold dear from my childhood. (Or if they did, there’d be no way they could locate them in time.)

What remains of my childhood in “stuff” form would be gone forever. (Not the end of the world, but sad for a sentimental sap like me.)

One of the things I’ve wanted to do during this time home in Oregon was rumage that attic and see what treasures I left behind 12 years ago when I left and never came back. That was on my list far before I left Australia.

But the fires in Colorado have given me extra incentive.

Now as I go through those few old boxes (there aren’t many – maybe 3 or 4) I will know to sort the fun-sentimental stuff from the important-sentimental stuff (as well as the non-sentimental-just-move-on stuff as well).

My heart and my prayers go to those caught in tragedy in Colorado, all the while my mind goes here:

what’s really important?

STOP.

 

Q for you: What would you put in your box?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I’ve been sick. And absent. BOO. 😦 But I’m on the mend now. YAY. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 


Jitters

I have the pre-first-day-of-school jitters.

The kind where you’re so excited that it’s hard to even imagine going to sleep.

Except that I’m not going to school tomorrow… I’m going to America.

Well, technically I’m not going to America. I’m going to Sydney so we can leave for America the next morning.

But whatever.

Tomorrow’s the day we pack our toothbrushes and board the plane.

Tomorrow’s the day we switch into holiday mode.

Tomorrow’s the day we go on a family adventure.

Tomorrow’s the day we head from winter into summer. (Oh please God, give us summer-ish weather in Oregon. Please?)

Between the excitement of the Voice finale and the trip beginning tomorrow, who knows if I will ever fall asleep tonight. But for everyone’s sake, I’d better go and try.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When’s the last time you got those excited jitters I’m talking about?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Pack your bags, baby

I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m packing well in advance of my trip.

And by “well in advance”, I mean four days.

I’m normally a have-all-the-lists-made-in-advance-but-pack-the-day-before sort of person.

But this time, I thought I’d experiment and do it on the weekend since we leave on a Tuesday.

So far, so good.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it’s taking me way longer. Way.

I have too much time to deliberate about what to wear. (And wonder what people are wearing “over there” these days. And what the weather will be like. And if I will have enough pairs of undies.)

Maybe it’s a little less stressful to pack a few days in advance, but I think I like the just-get-it-done pressure of doing it the day before. (It’s just that I’m learning with kids, the less pressure the better. You never know when melt-downs might strike!)

There will still be plenty of “last minute” things to put in – electronics, toiletries, snacks – but I can say that I already have three of the four of us packed. I’ve impressed myself. (And the fourth one can do his own packing.)

The biggest dilema is the shoes. I hate packing shoes.

(How many pairs of shoes do you take when you travel??)

Good thing I still have three more days to change my mind.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you enjoy packing or hate it?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Groaning in the cold, dark

I lay in bed and the world around me is silent except for the sounds of life, resting.

A few feet away I hear tiny baby breaths and sighs. Next to me I hear heavy and rythmic husband breaths and sighs. And through the open internal door to the next room I hear toddler breaths and sighs.

We share rooms and a heater between the four of us.

Everyone sleeps but me.

Moments later baby stirs. I lay still, barely breathing, hoping he will not wake.

He rolls over. Back asleep.

I sigh with relief just as he stirs again, this time waking with an abrupt cry.

It sounds angry.

After eight months I wonder when he will ever sleep through the night. Except for a few nights he regularly wakes up all throughout the night. Sometimes every two hours, leaving me with four or five or sometimes six hours of sleep, usually broken into several chunks.

I groan and move, not wanting to face the cold night air.

No one said parenting would be easy.

I pull him into bed with me and nurse, nurse, nurse. Wondering how long I can continue on interrupted sleep (and insomnia in between).

I remember that mothers all over the world and all throughout time have done as I’m doing.

Strength.

The days are long but the years are short so I don’t want to waste this time being anxious about the dark hours.

And yet I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I remind myself that this time last year I was about to find out that his life might not be what we thought or expected. And now him being here with us, just like he is – healthy, perfect – is a miracle. Surely I can find the grace for one more night.

And perhaps tomorrow night too.

But my goodness, I’m so tired.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you cope with less-than-ideal seasons of sleep?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Mentioned with an eye roll

I’ve always been a little on the dramatic side.

Unfortunately, that often has negative connotations when people mention it.

Instead of being recognized as creative and spirited, it’s often mentioned with an eye roll.

It’s too early to tell if Judah will be dramatic. But Levi? Oh, he’s dramatic!

Even now as a two-year-old the way he tells stories is absolutely hilarious. (And mind-boggling.) He acts them out using different voices and fake cries, fake laughter, hand and body motions. The whole bit.

In junior high I hurt myself playing crack the whip with some friends at a slumber party. I cried, and they teased me for “being dramatic”. I spent the next several hours on the couch until my friend’s mom noticed that I was burning up with a fever. Only then did they call my dad to come and take me to the emergency room.

I had fractured my arm. Go figure.

From that point on I tried to never cry when I was (physically) hurt. I wanted to make sure I never gave anyone a reason to think I might be “crying wolf”, so I tried not to cry at all.

“I’d show them,” I thought. “I may be skinny but I’m tougher than they think.”

Years later I was told that I probably couldn’t handle natural childbirth. I just “didn’t have the pain tolerance.”

Um, excuse me??

It’s a shame how we think we can judge and measure and set limitations on other people, based on what we perceive about their personality.

It’s an even bigger shame that we take on and internalize those judgements and measurements.

Now as an adult I’ve suffered many types of pain. Often I’ve not even shared my pain with anyone, for fear of appearing dramatic or weak or even just ungrateful.

Sad really.

But now as a grown-up with my own littles I’m trying to be very deliberate about how I speak around them.

Yes, Levi is dramatic and strong-willed and determined and independent (he’s so much like his mama), but I never want him to sense a negativity in my tone when I comment on those aspects of his personality.

Even though he’s decisive, he’s also very sensitive and very, very creative.

Believe me, it’s tempting to roll my eyes at his dramatics sometimes. But I hope – I really hope – that I’ll be able to nurture his creative and sensitive side (while also helping him to hone his strength and decisiveness) and help him feel comfortable being himself. Even when it does seem  a little over-the-top to the rest of us.

After all, who are we to know what another person is really feeling inside? And who are we to know what they are really capable of?

People are much stronger, and much more fragile, than we often think.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been rolling your eyes at someone lately? If so, perhaps you need to rethink that.

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 


Life, unedited.

The clock ticks rudely and I never realized how loud the fridge really is.

Muffled laughter seeps in from the neighbors and I can hear a train several blocks away.

It’s noisy here in the quiet.

My house is a little messy, but it’s clean under those toys, thanks to Rose.

On the shelves sits a plant starting to droop, asking for a drink. I forgot again today. Even looking at it now, I think – she’ll be ok until tomorrow.

There’s a printed out calendar sheet on the fridge at waist level with big green numbers counting down the sleeps until we “take suitcase on pane to ‘merica”.

Several boxes of ziplock bags are stacked in the corner containing blades and gloves and soap and things that one might see as “stuff” and another might see as a chance at life.

A small pile of baby clothes outgrown, folded neatly on the chair. Ready to fly to an island to be traded for fish so they can clothe Jesus there.

My eyes blur, my jaws clenched (again), and my shoulders raised too close to my ears.

I think about the bathtub I hope to one day have.

Relax. Breathe. Sleep. Those things have been hard lately.

But there’s a strange sweetness in the struggle. Prayers in the form of one and two and three-word pleas.

He answers, you know.

I wait for it.

But sometimes the wait is hard.

And sometimes cookies really do make things better. (I never understood comfort food before. But now I want some cookies.)

He answers, you know.

 

STOP.

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five| Five minutes a day, unedited