Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Devil Wears Dirty Laundry

I take vacation days to hermit. I choose to not talk to anyone. I watch at least two hours of YouTube videos. I verify all camera and phone photos have been backed up to Google Drive. I sit on my comfy deck furniture and drink chai, or wine, or both. And I do chores: wash windows, dust, iron. But this time, I struggled on my vacation day because I thought I’d choose to be selfless by choosing people. I chose relational time. I chose to “Mary” instead of “Martha.”

And these relational appointments didn’t align. First, I went to Owen’s daycare to help with a project at 10am. Drive home. Then, I went on a lunch date with my husband. But we argued most of the way to the restaurant. Drive home. Go to see the chiropractor because I tweaked my back loading concrete blocks (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, y’all). I took three separate trips in and around town at three very different times, which I hate. I was feeling really frustrated and exhausted by all this, so much so that I came home from lunch and went straight to bed. Naptime on my day off. That’ll improve my mood.

But my phone rang 15 minutes in. Deal with it, go back to sleep. 15 minutes later, another call. Seriously?! Deal with it, go back to sleep. No joke – 15 minutes later, that sucker is buzzing again. You have got to be kidding me?! No one ever calls me!! I know you’re thinking: just put your phone on silent. But all my mamas hear me when I say, I don’t love doing that when my kid is at daycare because I want to be available should something happen.

I just want to be alone and do my chores! I don’t want to be relational! So I went to do a load of laundry.

But God took advantage of my day off to remind me of his presence – or rather, the Devil’s presence.

devil-laundry

I went to pull the clothes out of the washing machine and began hanging them up to dry. One of Jim’s sweatshirts came out with sleeves inside-out. And I was automatically furious. I think, “Why can’t he take 5 seconds to pull his sleeves out? Doesn’t he know it will save me time doing the laundry? I wash his dirty underwear! Can’t he be considerate?!”

As I’m starting to dig deeper into this angry pit, something stops me from falling in. I remembered the grace God gives me is something I know he wants me to extend to my husband.

Uh…left field thought? Yeah, I call that a “GDB”: God-Dropped Bomb. You know, a thought that just comes to your mind and the only way you can explain it as God’s presence and way to get your attention. I firmly believe God speaks to me via thought.

Jim doesn’t have any vices (wait…does hunting count?). He’s a good dad and husband. He just puts his laundry in the clothes basket with the sleeves inside-out. So I told myself to shut up. The devil is always after your positive thoughts. Let God’s Spirit be stronger.

I took some deep breaths (literally; it was intense, y’all) as I gave myself an invisible pat on the back for coming back to the land of sanity. I’m choosing to rise above. I’m choosing to extend grace in my relationship with my husband. I’m choosing to be Mary-like.

Then, I found tiny shredded up pieces of paper. You know, like when a kleenex goes through the wash? What the…? “Why can’t that man just clean out his pockets? First the inside-out sleeves, and now this?! What am I, his maid?!”

My rage grew as I continued to find piece after piece on every article of now clean clothing. And I started looking for a large piece. You know, the kind that would incriminate and prove he was the guilty party of this piece of paper. But they were all so damn tiny!

Then I remembered: I’ve done this before. Not the rage…well, yes, the rage. But I mean…leaving a paper in a pocket, which means I could do it again. This could be my piece of paper. And I’m preparing to go all crazy town on a potentially innocent man.

It’s the Martha in me. So I gathered what very little dignity I had left of myself in that laundry room and chose to move on. And I sat on the deck with a cup of chai.

In sum, what did I learn on my vacation day?

Being relational while trying to be selfless sucks. Especially when you really suck at being relational and make it difficult for all involved parties. And if you’re going to whine about being selfless (like through a blog), then you’re not really being selfless.

Being relational – period – is hard for this Martha, so I think I need to only do it in small doses. If I try to plan relational time during a vacation day or break I’m looking forward to, I need to either let stuff go, or plan less of the relational time.

The devil loves dirt. The dirtier the better! And I think dirty laundry is causing me to connect with the devil. I should probably stop doing it. Except for the fact that I don’t trust Jim to do it (hmm…I may be my own worst enemy and not the devil…). He mostly does it right, but there is always one clothing item that never gets hung correctly and dries with a nightmare crease – usually at a bottom hem. (I’m clearly in a very dark Martha-like place after this vacation day gone awry.)

Which means the devil and I will continue to have a laundry date every couple days. He’s gonna want to take advantage of my Martha-ness. Well, bring on your dirty laundry, devil. Because while I’m obviously not a strong relational Mary, I’ll keep working toward that end. And Mary has chosen what is better (Luke 10:38-42).

3 Ways to Live Less High-Strung

I’m a sucker for click bait. So when I saw the article, “7 ways to make life simpler,” I knew I was a goner. The timing is especially fitting considering the overly busy last two weeks I’ve had.

There has been too much on my plate and the to-do list is truly not getting any better. I mean, the work to-do list is going fine because I am at work eight hours every day. But the home/personal list? I can usually knock off a few things every week, but J and I are in such a hole of daily survival that nothing else is getting done. So I’ve nearly entered “Throw your hands up and screw it. Screw it all!” mode. But I’m a Martha, chained to the never-ending to-do list, so you know that’s only a realistic reaction for exactly 4 hours at which point reality sinks back in and the person God created me to be HAS to get back to finding supplies for the school auction project.

So of course I suckered for the article about making life simpler. Here’s what I learned:

I’ve already eliminated a crap ton of stuff by choosing to not feel guilty over saying “no.” Easier said than done, right? But I’ve hit such an extreme wall of overcommitment, that it’s been fairly easily to respond: “Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t add this to my plate right now,” to several recent requests. And I’m eliminating a couple more responsibilities in the next two months.

My house is freakin’ clean. We have little clutter. It’s the downside and bonus of being a Martha. And OCD (not really, but close).

“Schedule one distraction-free time block every day.”

Alright, touche, blogger. I am so not doing this right now. I try to start yoga by 8:30 or 9:00pm, otherwise it probably won’t happen. I get up 2 hours before our family has to leave for the day, but apparently I should get up earlier. (Which won’t happen. I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night. 8 is ideal. I read somewhere that the most successful people in the world get a good night’s sleep. I need mine and a shower so I feel like a human again.)

“Accept. Appreciate. Be grateful.”

I know people who are like this. I am not necessarily bad at this, but I definitely am not good at this. I’m a whiner. And I’m judgy. Saying you don’t judge others is like saying you don’t sin. We’re human. We do it. It’s just about curbing the amount of it you do. And obviously, I need to have a judgment check-in. Daily. Well…maybe at every meal. That’s a bit more…honest.

 

So if I’m implementing half of these strategies, how do I really make life simpler? How do I relax?

Rather than living simpler, here are my tips to living life less high-strung:

  1. Wine.

Alright, I know, that’s not a very productive answer.

Or is it?

At any rate, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. Ok, I’ll be less naughty…let’s start over…

Number 1: Breathe deeply.

When I am feeling like too much is coming at me, taking a few deep breaths does help a lot. It not only helps get oxygen to my brain, but it also provides me a few seconds of perspective to recognize I’m alive – and this project is not so terrible. Fresh oxygen to the brain always helps. Am I right?

Number 2: Dance and be silly.

Nothing gives me perspective better than my two-year-old diving into a home dance party with me. We work out our wiggles, throw in some giggles, and I recognize his total innocence in his perspective of this world. Being reminded of the simplicity of life gives me a break from the pressure I put on myself. And that’s good for me – physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Number 3: Connect with God.

I struggle to pray – either formal or via conversation. But I do find that when I sit with my thoughts, I sometimes get ANSWERS that I know don’t come from my own mind. They are God talking to me via thoughts. And that’s pretty cool. It’s my way of praying.

Living life high-strung is not a place I enjoy being. So here’s to more praying, dancing, breathing, and drinking. (Lord…am I a country song, or what?) And likely more instances of feeling high strung. But you’ve gotta start somewhere, and today I’m choosing to make life simpler. Wish me luck for tomorrow.

Reasons Why I Won’t Murder My Husband

You ever get the…urge? You know, to take the axe to him?

Yeah, me neither.

But sometimes I worry about him getting in a car accident or falling out of a tree stand or losing a fight with a burglar, and that’s it. I’d be a widow. I know that sounds morbid and horrible, but it really is my greatest fear. And I think we all can get to that dark place every now and again. I tend to let my mind wander there when J is away from home.

But most of the time I think about how much this man drives me nuts. I love him to pieces. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. But sometimes I just want the whole bed to myself and I’m like, “Why did I get married? Do you remember what it was like to sleep by yourself? O.M.G. That was so, so good.” And I have this deep, twisted thought about how glorious it would be to have some freaking personal space.

But let’s be clear: I don’t plan to murder J. First suspects are always the spouse. And I am not writing this post as a cover-up. Or trying to twist and confuse the detectives into thinking this post isn’t a cover-up when it really is.

If something happens to J, I think first suspects should be the parents of the high school soccer team he coaches. Those adults can be straight up cray-cray. If his murder goes down in spring season, it’s practically a guarantee an angry mom or dad lost it because their kid didn’t get enough playing time. Just sayin’.

So let’s focus on the positive: reasons why I need this man in my life. Reasons why I won’t murder my husband.

 

Reason #1: I’ve done the math (I mean, not like to the penny, but in general numbers), and the income he can make in his full time teaching position is worth way more than that life insurance policy. Yes, honey, I am a very practical woman in my finances. And I need you to stay alive and keep working for that cash.

Reason #2: He is a damn good cook. And I don’t have to cook often as a result, which is straight up amazing and convenient for me. I like to eat well. And if I don’t have J around, I’ll have to start feeding myself for a change. That sounds…no bueno.

Reason #3: He makes me snort laugh. When we start laughing, we just can’t stop. We typically laugh at the expense of ourselves or lil O (not when he’s in the room, of course). Or when we’re not stressed, or taking care of a kid, or <insert all the other things that happen during my 24 hour day here>.

Reason #4: I need him to reach tall things.

Ok, that is a total joke just for J because he always says I only keep him around for a couple things, like reaching high things and lifting heavy objects. And I always laugh. But it’s true. I’m a short 5’3” and he’s a tall 6’2”. It’s a nice perk of having a tall, dark and handsome in my life.

Reason #5: I’m so incredibly in love with this sexy man who loves me unconditionally.

I struggle to like him all the time (because I’m a crazy perfectionist with issues – and no one matches my unrealistic standards), but I always come back to how much I need him. I look at him and am reminded of the man who selflessly helped me with Calculus and Biology in college. The man who, junior year, got his four music major roommates to sing a Valentine’s Day tune to my seven roommates.

He has always gone above and beyond to bring me happiness. What an incredible feeling to be delighted in so deeply.

You’ve given me many reasons to be thankful for our life together, J. Consider yourself “safe” from any foul play, honey. And here’s to many more years together.

 

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