Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Conversation with Andelise about her Future

My 4-year-old daughter, Andelise, is curling her Barbie's hair.

I ask, "Are you going to do hair when you grow up?"

"Actually, I want to be a mom when I grow up."

"That's Nice."

"When I have a baby, I'm going to name her Own-cha."


"I just need someone to be my husband."


"Brady said he will be my husband."


"Yeah. That way daddy doesn't need to pick one out."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cleanliness is next to Godliness (A Comparison Game)

(Today is the Third Thursday of the month. Time for the Hearts at Home Home Blog Hop! This month's topic: No More Perfect Homes.)

If cleanliness is truly next to godliness, our home is filled with wickedness. So begins the comparison game. I'm not so sure I even want to play.

My ministry is my home… in more ways than one. Our doors may not be clean, but they are welcoming. In those discouraging moments when other women are feeling “less than”, I invite them to come for a visit. I half-heartedly joke that one will always walk away feeling better about their own home after they leave mine.

In all seriousness, these few weeks into 2013 have attempted to pull me into a bit of depression due to the pit I live in. The calendar informs me that it is January 17th and I still have Christmas greetings on my kitchen counter to mail out… and at my computer… and on my floor. They sit because I ran out of ink and postage.

When you walk into our home, this is a picture of what you see. (If I’m honest, I would show you the mess in the closet on the other side of the hallway that prevents the door from closing. Not to mention the disaster of my kitchen counter unable to be hidden from all who knock at our front entrance. The truth is I strongly embrace authenticity. I’ve just learned not to reveal it all!) While we purchased this bench to be a coat rack for our guests, more often than I would like to admit, the only purpose it serves is to collect our family clutter.

The dining room table I sit at as I type still has remnants of powdered sugar from our dinner last night. Not willing to take the time to wipe it down, I find a “clean enough” spot to work out my thoughts. If not for writing prompts from Hearts at Home, my blog might continue to lay dormant for months. There is always some mess that needs attention in my home.

This is a moment to allow my thoughts (which resemble the bursts of popcorn as it heats, jumping and bumping and piling up) to quietly and neatly organize into a short post. It is one way I can convince myself to put the never-ending task of cleaning on hold. (Really, it doesn’t take much persuasion for me to procrastinate on housework.)

I am a TERRIBLE housekeeper. Every now and then I wonder what people think about the way we live (and no one but those who live within these walls knows the full extent of it). Then I stop myself. I simply cannot go there. The thoughts would swallow me up and consume me.

As far as I can tell, other people do not live this way. I attempt to purge items out of our home only to look around and wonder what I did all day. I want to hide away from people as I shovel out but it is impossible.

I encourage our company to leave shoes on when they come into our home although we are intentional about changing our socks before entering the homes of our friends. While our clothes are clean, they are likely not free of pet hair. We eat off of clean dishes but they may pile up on our counters until we run out. I do my best to keep things picked up and vacuumed but you could easily find a spot to write in our dust. (Just please don’t date it like my niece did once.) Our home is a work in progress. Just like me.

People will tell you I am highly competitive. While that may be true, I know when to play (because I can win, of course) and when to just let others win. The comparison game is one of those that I just choose not to play. It is impossible to win. It is one of those games that really shouldn’t even exist. Everybody is invited to play but nobody really ever wins.

If you like games but get tired of all the judgment, you are welcome in our home. Gather up your family and your board games (if you like a little competition)… just leave the judgment at home. (Oh, and for your socks’ sake, remember to keep your shoes on!)

If you struggle with thoughts of feeling “less than”, be sure to purchase up a copy of Jill Savage’s new book, No More Perfect Moms the week of February 4-9. Chapter 8 addresses this month’s Blog Hop topic. If you live in the Joliet area, you are welcome to join me on Tuesday mornings for 10 weeks starting February 18th to discuss the book. If that doesn’t work for you, meet me back here for some online discussion. Don’t forget to sign up for the Hearts at Home National Conference the weekend of March 15-16 in Normal, IL!