Monday, March 29, 2010

STUFF

Of the 31 days in march, I'll have only been home 11.  Three, yes, THREE back to back trips this month - retreat, Florida, and most recently, weekend jaunt to CT for a wedding shower and to visit friends.  All very nice trips.  Each time I returned home highly annoyed.  And I felt bad about that.  I constantly say that I love our home.  Its small, but cozy and meets all our needs, so I feel very bad that I'm annoyed.  And then I realized why.

 
When you stay at hotels, time share condos, B&B's, other people's homes - they all have one thing in common?  They are ALL absent of my STUFF!!  Yes, my suitcase is there with our clothes, some of Thomas' toys and books, but the table isn't strewn with all the mail of the week, library books, my keys, etc.  And the closet isn't busting at the seams with all my stuff.  Things are rather nice and neat - not just the hotels, but people's homes too. 

My stuff is starting to bug me - I mean REALLY bother me.  As part of my NOURISH plan, I was going to work on developing a sense of peace and balance about my home being in perfect order.  While I'm still working on that, I've decided a key to that achievement would be to get rid of lots of my stuff!!


So whether it is indeed due to being other places that promoted cleanliness, order and calm; or spring cleaning (if spring would ever really get here), or maybe I've just had enough, I'm on a mission to get this place organized and get rid of STUFF and this place organized once.....and.....for.....all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I like pina coladas....and getting caught in the rain

Remember that song from the late 70's?  Escape by Rupert Holmes - talk about a one-hit wonder. That summarizes our  2 weeks in Florida.  But don't you just hate it when people are lucky enough to get 2 weeks off from work, a free place to stay - with babysitting - and then come home and whine about it?

Yea, me too.  That's why I'll give you our vacation highlights in the format of "What I learned".

- I learned that the time share communities in the Orlando area have this fabulous service where a doctor makes house calls.  It is soooo convenient....which means it is sooooo expensive.  But at least we found out quickly that Thomas had a double ear infection and got him started on anti-biotics right away.  It saved the whole Disney portion of the trip.


- I learned that you REALLY should pay attention to the weather reports when you are planning which day to go to the Magic Kingdom.
 
- I learned that I'm very happy with Martin Memorial Hospital as the choice of care for my parents in their winter months in Florida.  I know this because I spent 6 hours in the ER with my dad for another severe case of Cellulitis in his foot.  The doctors took excellent care of him, admitted him quickly, and gave us a lot of information that we didn't previously have about this condition, why Dad got it again, and why he will always be pretty susceptible to it.

- I learned that two weeks might just be too long to take a 2.5yr old on vacation.  When the child tells you "You take me home now", you know he's about done.

- I learned I really do pack too much, especially when I went to the store my mom has been raving about for years and bought an entire new summer wardrobe.  I'm not exaggerating folks - I truly bought more clothes than I had actually brought.  Unpacking and repacking curbside at the airport to meet the 50lb luggage maximum was a bit crazy at 5:30am today.

- I learned that pina colodas can make things a little better.

I think the real problem was that last year we had such low expectations and our trip then was awesome, so this year we set our expectations really high. That was our fault.  I guess the most important lesson I learned is that when vacationing, especially with a child, ANYTHING can happen, so you just got to go with the flow.

I did learn some other valuable lessons too: 

Witnessing your husband and son experience Disney for the first time together is absolutely priceless

Riding on rides I don't like can be really fun with the right person
Sand really isn't that bad 
I loooooooove an evening out with my husband...especially in a tropical setting....with pina coladas. 

That no matter what the issues, the weather or the plans that go awry - two weeks away, with great help and hospitality from my parents, are bound to have lots of fun moments and many happy memories.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vacation Status

Unplanned extra night in Orlando due to rain out: $135
House call from hotel doctor for Thomas: $287
Hospital stay for Big T: $5,000
First family trip to Disney: PRICELESS

At least we can say we'll never forget this trip. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Deeply Loved and Free

That was the theme of this past weekend women's retreat.  We stayed at a very lovely B&B in Newport, RI - just a block from all the fun shops and yummy restaurants on the waterfront.  We finally had sunshine and temperatures over 45 degrees - the first time since November probably.  All the makings for a perfect weekend. 

I had a bad day on Thursday, and after months of planning, I suddenly didn't want to go away for the weekend.  I finally conceded that it was Satan trying to hold me back and so I thought maybe there was something really big for me to learn this weekend.  I was right.

I've been a Christian for 8 years now.  I do my bible studies, I serve in my church, I attend services every week and really pay attention to the sermons.  There has been no doubt in me that Jesus died for me on that cross.  That in doing so he has taken away my sins and saved me.  My salvation occurred when I accepted Christ into my life and my heart, and that salvation can never be taken away from me. 

BUT.....cause isn't there always a but?  BUT - I have never really accepted God's unconditional love.  I have been struggling with this for all these years - long before these 8 years that I've been a Christian.   Who I am, how I'm wired - I constantly struggle with pleasing people; doing things to earn love and respect; believing that somehow, someway, if I just did enough or did something really well, THEN I'd be liked, respected, loved.  Even though this thinking has been about my human relationships, I carry this pattern over to my relationship with God.  If I just did my quiet time more faithfully; if I just served well enough in my church; if I just completed the bible-in-one-year tract; if I was just the mom and wife He calls me to be....well, then I'd finally earn the love that God so freely wants to give each of us. 

I came face to face with this false thinking this weekend.  I realized that my #1 struggle is not scripture memorization, or eloquent prayer, or more meaningful quiet time.  Nope - my #1 struggle in fully accepting God's unconditional love for me...just as I am...right where I am.  He loves me high and wide, deep and long, no matter what I do or how I do.  Just like my own sweet boy who I will always love, no matter what he does or who he be, God loves me as His own child. 

Wait - what??  God loves me?  But He's seen everything I've done...and I mean EVERYTHING!!  He knows my thoughts - those of long past and even those right now - those thoughts that I would never share out loud with anyone as they are so shameful.  Surely He knows them.  And He knows every mistake, failure, misstep I've made, and continue to make.  And He loves me?  Why?

But that's just it - I need to stop asking why and start thanking Him.  Because it doesn't matter why.  And even if it did matter, I have the answer - right there in the Bible.  Anytime I want to question that love, I can just open the bible and read about it, cause its everywhere in the Bible.  But that's not my job to question Him.  My job is to accept it - I mean really, truly accept it. Accept it as unconditionally as He gives it.  And my job is to thank Him and praise Him. 

As I work on Nourishing my spirit this year, I realize this is my #1 goal - to accept God's love.  And in accepting it, that should in and of itself, change my life.  We talked a little this weekend about how it would change our personal lives if we could just live knowing that God loves us.  I made a list (of course I did) of those changes:
- I would stop living for others
- I would turn all that wasted time asking God why for just praising Him
- I would stop obsessing about all the little things throughout the day that people say or do that get to me
- I wouldn't be so afraid to try things
- I would have much more confidence

That's just a quick peek at my list.  It goes on and on. 

This weekend was very revealing to me.  I'm so glad that I didn't cave into the evil one and bail.  I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to go and that Paulo had the freedom to stay here with the boy.  I am so blessed by God.  Why?

Because....He....loves....me. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So much

So much going on here, so this post will catch up, but will also be completely random.

I am going on the women's retreat with my church this weekend.  We are going to Newport, RI, to a fabulous B&B and after a sneak peak of the curriculum today, we will be studying about some of God's amazing truths.  I'm ready for this weekend, but of course I'm sad to leave my boys.  Yea, that will last the 15 minute ride it takes to go pick up "my girls".  The sadness will be completely faded out by the time we reach Newport.  I really shouldn't say I'm sad, because I'm actually elated and relieved that it is this easy to leave for the weekend.  Paulo is such a great dad, so involved, that I just pack myself up and off I go - no instructions, no preparations.  And I know how much the boys will enjoy their weekend together.

I'm also busily packing for our family vacation which begins next week.  And of course this means mountains of laundry.  I know, I know - why in the world would anyone schedule these 2 trips back to back.  I don't know.  Seemed workable when I booked it all.  Not so much now.  Will I ever learn?  Probably not.

Thomas is great.  He comes out the funniest things all day long - he just cracks us up!  This week he has begun picking out his own clothes.  I know this can be high drama when you have girls, but so far it seems pretty easy for boys.  They wear gray, black, tan, or blue pants or jeans - all of which pretty much go any colored shirt.  So I'm all for encouraging him being in charge of wardrobe.  I'm sure once he decides to wear the same thing day in and day out (like his Thomas the train sweatshirt), I'll pull the plug on all this independence. Oh, he's also started to lay down in the bathtub - on his back!!  He's always been okay laying on his stomach, but now he's laying on his back, ears submerged in the water and all.  I think he's getting ready for swimming!

We're at a new stage that is taking me a little by surprise.  Our house is set up sort of like a split level - living, dining,  kitchen and bedrooms all upstairs, playroom/family room, office, another kitchen (don't ask) and laundry/bathroom downstairs.  Until now, Thomas has always needed/wanted us to be with him wherever he was.  So we would set up camp downstairs in the playroom pretty much all day excpet for meals and nap, then head upstairs for dinner and the evening routine.  Now, Thomas is able to be up or down without us, and he's okay with it.  Its great that he's so independent, but its weird.  After having this extended appendage for 2 years+, this gravitation apart is just....well...different.  In a good way.

I've been cooking a lot lately, which I'm really enjoying.  Cooking is very relaxing to me.  Pick a playlist on my ipod that fits my mood, make a big ole mess, get the whole house smelling good, eat delicious results.  Now, if I could just find someone to clean up the kitchen at the end of the whole evening.  I finally perfected making risotto, so I may never go out to eat again.  Okay....that's probably not true.  Okay....its not at all true.  But I'm really excited (and a bit proud) that I can make my favorite "order out" food at home now. And its not nearly as unhealthy as I had thought so I can make it whenever!

So that's about it for now.  I'm sure there's more, but I have to pack some more, and pick the kitchen, and get some rest!  Happy weekend to you all.