Thursday, January 31, 2008

a bit of a rant

The stomach flu hit our household last week, incubated for a week, then hit me over the last couple of days. While my husband and boys were ill, I fetched them water, made special meals, and did my best to keep them comfortable while they lay around.

Of course, I received the same treatment while I was ill.


I’m joining the feminists

Friday, January 25, 2008

Needful things

I have thought a lot about what I really NEED. Society pressures us to consider many of our ‘wants’ as bona fide NEEDS. But what is the truth? What are the physical things that I, in my time and place, really NEED? This is my list….

I NEED warm, hole-free socks. This is partly because I don’t need a thermostat set above ‘barely tolerable’ and I don’t need carpeting. However, I also don’t need frostbite. Therefore, the warm socks are necessary.

I NEED beautiful clothing. I’ve struggled with this one a lot; it seems frivolous at best, selfish at worst. But I don’t need a lot of beautiful clothes; just a few, enough that I can have some self-respect and enjoyment out of my wardrobe. After all, we are told to ‘consider the lilies, which neither toil nor spin, but Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed so well.’

I NEED to have a variety of foods, including chocolate. This is obviously something that would not be needed if I was dying of starvation. But good food is available to us here in America, reasonably priced and easily accessible. It is right for us to appreciate our bounty.

I NEED to be able to go out once in awhile, either for a whole meal or just a cup of coffee. This is part of the rest that God commanded us. Housewives don’t get vacation or sick days (in case you didn’t notice) and eating out is one of our only ways of taking time off.

I NEED things for the general maintenance and upkeep of the house. We need to take care of the things God gives us.

I NEED things that have to do with my own well-being…vitamins, eye-glasses, gloves, and so forth. Again, I need to take care of the things God gives me.

I NEED coffee. No explanation necessary.

And things I don’t need? Cable tv. Beautiful furniture. Landscaping. Knick-knacks. New appliances. More jewelry (that’s a hard one, I love jewelry. I also own a bunch already). New cd’s and books (ouch, that one is painful too.) A bigger TV set (already have a big one, which is a bit of an embarrassment anyways). A nicer car. New bookshelves (as much as I want them). More kitchen gadgets. Fancy haircuts. Weight-loss equipment. Loads of insurance. And about a million more items that are relentlessly sold to us in clever and enticing ways, all with the implied promises of eternal happiness and sexual gratification with every purchase.

Monday, January 21, 2008

winter is defeating me

I am tired, depressed, hopeless and apathetic. Winter is once again defeating me. The short days and freezing temperatures wear me to the bone (unfortunately, not literally. Actually the whole season makes me turn to food for comfort. Another depressing aspect of winter). I am unreasonably grumpy most of the time. I feel trapped inside the house but can’t stand the arctic blast that hits me every time I open the door.

But I feel the first stirrings of hope…dinnertime is not completely dark anymore. A few rays of sunshine still linger on the fringes of the western sky, and each day they last a bit longer. In just six short weeks the bulbs in our garden will begin to push their way out through the frigid soil. I have already bought a weeping pussy willow, which is currently sitting on the cabinet by my kitchen window, waiting to be planted as soon as Spring is finally here. And I am planning the rest of our backyard garden; peonies and roses and maybe even a Japanese maple…a brick path, perhaps, if I work up the courage to attempt it…

Winter may be beating me now, but I know I’ll survive it again this year. However, I think retiring on the Mediterranean is definitely in my future!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lilith, by George MacDonald

A couple quotes from the book that stand out to me:

"A long time we were together, I and the moon, walking side by side, she the dull shine, and I the live shadow."

"Ere I reached the house of death, the cold was bitter and the darkness dense; and the cold and the darkness were one, and entered into my bones together. But the candle of Eve, shining from the window, guided me, and kept both frost and murk from my heart."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

one of those days...

It’s been one of those days where I feel sorely tempted to enroll all the children in school (or preschool, in India’s case) and go out and get a job. Oh, nothing too bad has happened- nothing broken, no one injured- just the usual struggles of getting everyone to pay attention, dealing with all the small squabbles, and wrangling with a three-year old.

I guess this is where ‘commitment’ really means something. It’s easy to be committed to homeschooling when the kids all are interested and well-behaved and brilliant (those days are golden and few and far between!) But these are the days where I really have to stop myself and say, “Remember why I’m doing this.”

Hmm…why am I doing this?

Well, I love my kids. Duh, right? I’m not suggesting that only homeschooling families love their kids, but for me, I homeschool because I love my kids. I think it is the best way for them to grow up as whole people, without facing the unnecessary pressures and confusion that accompanies almost every school situation. I think homeschooling allows the children to experience a broader slice of life than if they were in a manufactured school environment (no matter how well-manufactured that environment might be.) Of course, I am biased, being a bit anti-establishment and very pro-uniqueness, if that makes sense. So I struggle through these days, with much grace from God, and remember (as Mr. Wyllie pointed out just last evening) that thankfully, I know there are better days ahead!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We bought a Brand New Car today

The stork is bringing it from Car Heaven, and it should be here in a couple/few weeks.

Buying a car is something we have been considering for almost a year now. We’ve been pretty fickle about it, and it was good to just bite the bullet and do it. My struggle has been (as always) the hatred of spending money. But we have gone four years on one vehicle, and would like to make that vehicle last a few more years, rather than continuing to pile on the mileage. So we got a little Yaris for David to scoot back and forth to work, and I’ll have the van (another Toyota product) for me to be a ‘soccer mom’. (Actually, it’s more like a ‘library, zoo, gardens, and various homeschool activities mom’.)

We love Toyotas, btw, and hardly even considered anything else. Our Sienna has almost 100,000 miles and so far we’ve had one major repair. Wow. We keep the oil changed, bought new tires, and that’s about it. We do need to take it in for new belts, since those are supposed to be changed at the 90,000 mile mark, but other than that…it’s impressive.

Anyway, we’re financing the little blue wonder, which also makes me shudder, since debt stresses me out. But, well, that’s life. Gotta pay for our pleasures.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Truly Juvenile Fiction

The boys have been reading the Harry Potter books and keep asking me questions about details I don’t remember (which would be most of the storyline and characters, actually). So I’ve spent the week re-reading the series, and just finished up Book 6. Can’t wait to finish it up; I want to move on to better reading. Yes, I make no bones about the fact that I don’t like HP; I think they’re entertaining, somewhat creative, and that’s about it. I’m picky about my fantasy and want something more engaging than a bunch of typical teenagers living out typical teenager lives in a world of wizardry, Dark Lord thrown in to give the whole thing some sort of point. Which is…love conquers all? Prejudice is bad? Good always triumphs? Alan Rickman rocks?
BTW, I always knew- from book 1 through book 7- that Snape was a good guy. And if he wasn’t, I was ready to throw in my lot with the Death Eaters, since he was my favorite character and I wanted to be on whatever side he was on.
Other Characters I Like:

Hermione and the Whole Weasley Crew
Professor McGonagell
Luna and Neville
Tonks & Lupin
Mad-Eye Moody
Peeves and Nearly-headless Nick

Main Characters I Detest:

Harry Potter (I’m sorry, I just never sympathized, etc.)

Characters who are too flat to feel anything about:

The Malfoy Clan
Crabbe and Goyle
The Dursleys

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Adios, SuperMother. Hola, SlackerMom!

I’ve always felt guilty for taking breaks during the day. I think a part of me felt that I needed to ‘prove’ to all those people out there that a stay-at-home mom worked hard. I wouldn’t allow myself one second to goof off or relax. Needless to say, I was exhausted (and cranky) by the end of the day.

I know that there are moms (and dads) who are slackers, moaning and complaining that the housework conflicts with their soap opera schedule and making their spouse support them and do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. But I think most of us parents fall on the other end of the spectrum- trying to get everything ‘done’ at the expense of our sanity.

Balance, people, balance.

My workday starts at 5:30 a.m. and usually doesn’t end until 8 p.m., and the time I take to read my bible, surf the web or play Atari is not even truly restful, as I always have to be available for the various ‘emergencies’ that inevitably occur as soon as I sit down. So I no longer feel the need to be SuperMother and vindicate housewifery across the globe- at this point, survival will be enough of an accomplishment!