Pressing on

As I pressed the “compose” button to write this, I had a thought. I know one or two people still read my blog but otherwise, why do it anymore? Why continue when there isn’t much of an audience? I suppose just because I need the outlet way more than I need the audience. An audience is nice. It’s great knowing someone is reading (like the person who has liked my posts frequently this month – thank you!) but it’s not a necessity. The truth is that I like the idea of journaling on a regular basis but I hate writing by hand. I can handle a page or two now and then but it’s just not my favourite thing to do. Anyway, that’s why I do it. This is a reminder for myself just as much as it is a statement to whatever readers I might have. Thank you for reading but if I ever get annoying and you need to stop, no sweat. I don’t even care about stats anymore – I just need to write.

So, “pressing on” isn’t even about all of that. This is back to my current gargantuan task of decluttering my entire home. I have so far finished my kitchen and have essentially finished my bedroom although there are some boxes of things that need to be relocated once I’ve organized other parts of the house a bit more. But this week I have been tired and it has been tempting to take a nice long break from the work. The fact that I’ve only been at it for a few weeks is reason enough to not allow myself a break just yet. We have had a busy week (hence the tiredness…someone please remind me not to book three morning appointments in the same week) and I do need to give myself slightly less to do when there is a lot going on outside of the house. I am also being reminded to show myself grace. If something isn’t done at the end of the day, it will just have to be moved to another day. I get a bit stuck in past perfectionism not seeing a task checked off at the end of the day so I am trying to be more intentional about giving myself a break when I don’t get it all done.

Delegating is also something I hadn’t even considered, aside from the responsibilities that the kids already have here. I had two big bags of baby girls’ clothes that I was hoping to pass on to a few people but one wanted the small things and the other wanted the bigger things. The sizes were completely mixed together so I had planned to sit down and sort them according to size. Then it occurred to me that the friend who wanted the larger sizes had only one child and does not work outside of her home. So I sent her message, asked if she wouldn’t mind sorting through them and passing what she didn’t want to the mutual friend who wanted the smaller sizes. And it worked! She didn’t mind at all and came to pick them up within hours of my original message. More proof that sometimes I just need to ask for help instead of assuming that no one will want or be able to help me.

This is not my most brilliant writing but again, it’s good for me to put it all out there to process what is happening right now. I will keep at this job and hopefully be done in six months or less at the rate I’m going now (I think four months is actually a possibility). Now to avoid burnout, show myself grace, allow myself rest throughout the week when I need it, and delegate when necessary. 🙂

Explaining the two book goal

I haven’t mentioned it here but one of my micro-goals for 2016 is to read one non-fiction book per month and one fiction. I have a lot of back reading to catch up on in the non-fiction area so if I feel like finishing two a month, I’ll let myself. But I’m determined to hold to the one novel a month rule.

On Sunday, I mentioned this to the church librarian, a woman in her fifties with grown kids and a work from home job. “Two books a month?! I could read that many in a day!”

“So could I,” I answered.

This isn’t about me not being much of a reader and forcing myself to read two books a month. This is because if I allow myself to read fiction, I use it as a form of escapism and disappear into it until it’s finished. And if there is a sequel, look out, because I’ll do the same thing with that as well. When I came back from Georgia in 2011, I decided to limit my reading to Christian fiction or classics as the amount of gratuitous sex in most modern secular fiction was totally unpredictable and seemed to show up in even unexpected places. My brain and heart don’t need that so I made the commitment to avoid it. But I also avoided fiction in general for two years or so. I went from reading stacks of books a month to nothing, mostly because I recognized my tendency to escape into fiction and how my real life suffered from it.

In December, possibly when we were sick, I read a Francine Rivers book that I had gotten for free on Kindle quite some time ago. It felt good to read for a day or two but I knew then how easy it would be to get back into old habits and watch my home and family suffer for it. But I don’t feel that reading fiction is wrong – don’t read this the wrong way, please – I just think it should be limited. Personally, I know that I can work on a non-fiction throughout the month and gain from it (non-fiction has never been a form of escapism for me..it’s just not the same) and use novels as a means of rest once a month. I’m not very good at stretching a novel out very long so it does mean that a day or two each month, I’ll be immersed in something and then not read any fiction the rest of the month.

In January, I read the sequel to December’s book and in February, I plan to read a friend’s second novel which I have already bought for my Kindle. I am using my planner/organizer daily and with Sundays being set aside for rest, I can imagine starting a book on Saturday night and finishing it on Sunday. Other Sundays I can nap, use my colouring book, play the Sims (guilty pleasure, I admit) or just hang out with my family.

I have a lot of friends that have very lofty reading goals for the year. Good for them! If they can continue to live in the real world effectively and read that many books, I’m in awe. I just know that personally, my real life is just too full and real to allow myself to escape more than once a month into a fictional world.

Reflections on work and rest

Eventually I’m sure this whole planning thing will become old news and I’ll move on to other topics but it has become a normal – if somewhat novel – part of my life so it’s on my mind a lot. As I was writing out my tasks for this week, I came to Sunday and left it blank. In the past, Sunday has often been a day when I would catch up on laundry or some other job around the house, just because Mike was home and I felt bad sitting around. I have often intended to use it for rest but when the week prior to it is full of mostly laziness and procrastination, it’s hard to feel okay about resting on Sunday.

Yesterday I had completed most of my list for the day and sat down to check Facebook. It occurred to me that I felt just fine about taking a break. I was struck by the feeling that this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my time. I know many people think I must be busy all the time, that my “hands are full” with all my kids but in reality, they do their own thing most of the day and I do mine. I make meals, sure, and I generally have been able to keep on top of laundry and dishes and workout on a regular basis but beyond that, I feel as though I had fallen into a very lazy lifestyle.

I read a quote at the beginning of the year, encouraging moms to “do hard things,” this year. I have avoided this big job of decluttering or even giving myself set daily tasks because they seemed hard. I’ve long admitted to being a hater of housework and while my work ethic in a job outside the home is great, for some reason, I have a pretty crappy work ethic here. I’ve wallowed in self-pity around the mess my home has become and seldom make any effort to get rid of the self-pity or the mess.

I know this isn’t a new thought but it genuinely is one to me. I’ve watched my husband work a long day and then come home and rest without feeling the need to do a bunch at home. He helps if I need him to but he doesn’t feel guilty about sitting down and putting his feet up. And here I’ve been, barely doing anything but feeling guilty about sitting around because most of my time has been spent doing nothing! I am excited to see what this year will look like; what a year of balanced work and rest will do for our family and our home. And I look forward to Sundays – naps and eating out and putting my feet up.

Planning update

This is not an exciting post but I felt that my commitment to more frequent blogging and my last post required an update of sorts. I’ve used my planner faithfully since I bought it just over a week ago. I realize that this is not very long but it feels like ages when you don’t consider yourself a planner to begin with. My pages are full of notes, appointments, goals, etc. I have found that other than pre-planned activities (appointments, homeschool events, etc), it is best for me to only plan two days ahead for daily at-home activities. This month, I’m working on de-cluttering my kitchen so each day I’ve been planning out which areas I want to work on. It has also helped with meal planning. Every day, I decide what we’ll have for lunch and supper and if I forget to plan it ahead, I’ll write it down after we’ve eaten so I can remember how many days in a row we’ve had sandwiches, whether we’ve eaten a specific supper recently and so on.

Another function I’ve found is not built into the organizer (I keep saying planner but it is actually called a “family organizer”) but I’ve added it for my own sake. A friend came to visit last week and so I wrote it in to remind myself of when we had company. I don’t write in a daily journal so this will help me remember things that my brain wants to forget. When we went on our short trip last week (we took Oliver with us to Seattle for a wedding and left the other kids home with Grandma and Grandpa), I kept track of what we did each day using the book. I wasn’t sure before we left who we would be seeing or where we would be each day aside from the wedding itself and the travel days so the spaces were empty anyway.

So the big question is whether this seems to be making any difference. I’m only nine days in but so far, I have definitely been more productive and less forgetful. As long as I start the day by looking over the page for the week and adding things that I have decided I want to do, I am able to stay on track. It does require me to look back over the plan for the day a few times but that has been less work than I would have expected.

The biggest downside has been that my mind seems to be in planning mode all the time. I know some people like that but I feel like it could make living in the present difficult. I will have to find a balance between accomplishing what I’ve planned and taking time for rest or fun throughout the day, as well as spontaneity where the kids are concerned.

On buying a planner

I have friends who love planners. They talk in this secret language with brand names and features and favourite page formats and it all sounds like Greek to me. I have shaken my head on more than one occasion – I would never use a planner. Not me!

I think sometimes that my brain is a bit of a hippie – a fly by the seat of its pants, spontaneous, fun-loving thing. But as I get older and have more children, my brain is a little more like a real-life Woodstock sort of hippie, forgetful and confused, wandering around without its pants.

So, last year I did something new and put up a dry erase calendar in my hallway. I wrote all our appointments and important dates on it at the beginning of each month and erased it all and started over at the end. It helped, gave me an easy place to keep track of everything and probably kept us from forgetting a few things throughout the year.

On January 1st, I sat down with my journal and wrote two pages of micro-goals for this  year. Many of them had the word “plan” in them. This seemed to be a sign. When a friend suggested that she was thinking about getting a planner, to sit down with in the morning and plan out her days, I realized that maybe – just maybe – it would help me as well. So I went shopping today, picked one that seemed to fit my needs and even got it for 50% off. Will I become a planner-nerd (no offense, planning friends)? I doubt it. Will it help me to feel more organized and less like a chicken with its head cut off? I certainly hope so.

I tried not to make my goals lofty this year but there are a lot of them. I know that spacing them out (the concrete ones at least) will help to get them done. And writing them down in an orderly fashion seems to be the smart thing to do.

One goal that I did not write down in my journal is to blog more in 2016. Here’s hoping I can accomplish it! In 2015, I had nine entries here. Years ago, I was an almost daily blogger. I know I can’t go back to that but weekly would be a great improvement.

Honesty

My sweet little boy just fell asleep. He fought for half an hour so Mike tried to get him to sleep when he went to bed but that failed, too. I tried to snuggle him and avoid nursing him to sleep but in the end, caved because sometimes you just have to do what works.

He’s rosy cheeked, a bit snotty, that blue vein between his eyes is showing through his pale skin. His long, long eyelashes, like all of his siblings’ lashes, stand out most when he is sleeping.

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My back hurts. I finally just now do not have the headache I’ve had for half the day. I don’t get headaches often but this one just hung on as long as it could. I’m tired. So very tired. Like, all the time tired.

I had almost five hours without my kids today. Five hours to come and go from my house as I needed to, to meet Mike for lunch, finish some Christmas presents, prepare a few packages for mailing. And when I picked up my children, Oliver had just woken up from a nap that Jenny got him to take in her friend’s bedroom. She just has the touch with him. He was happy all day, charming us by saying, “bye bye,” and smiling with all his teeth showing. Walking around on his knees and with a bit of encouragement, walking a bit on his feet in the evening.

Now he is in bed. I let him sleep in my arms just long enough to ensure that he was fully asleep. If I put him down too soon, he will wake up. I put him in his bed which means that I might have an hour before he wakes up and wants to come into our bed.

 

This year was hard. I went looking for an answer on a forum I have used for years now. I searched, “toddler sleep” and found a relevant post: “Toddler who won’t sleep,” from almost four years ago. It was my post. Looking for answers because then twenty month old Ben wouldn’t sleep through the night. It wasn’t the sort of “not sleeping through the night” that most people imagine, though. It was multiple wakings, crying and carrying on, thrashing around in our bed if I brought him to bed with us at all, waking up his three older siblings who shared a room with him at the time. That year was hard, too.

I read through the post and found the answer at the end – once we started putting him into bed with the other boys, he slept. He is one of my best sleepers now. He sleeps snuggled up as close as he can get to whomever he is sharing a bed with. He is five and a half and I honestly didn’t remember him having that problem for so long. I thought he slept through the night just after a year. I know now that I’m remembering him night weaning around a year and that we attempted to use cry it out to get him to sleep through. I thought it worked but I guess I was wrong, at least in the long term.

Oliver is not Ben. Ben was bright and vibrant like Oliver is but for the first year of his life, Ben was pretty miserable half the time. Oliver has never been that way but seems to store up his fussiness for night. With the year being focused on losing weight, working out, watching what I was eating and all that, I don’t even know where we went wrong with Oliver. He was doing so well in those first four months. We got sick in January and that is when I know I stopped putting him down awake. But otherwise I thought I was being consistent. I don’t mind co-sleeping but I feel as though there hasn’t been much actual sleep involved.

Now I’m up forty minutes later than Mike, who has to get up for work in less than seven hours. I need to sleep but the garbage needs to be taken out and ideally, the dishes would be taken care of before bed.

This is really just one big sigh. An opportunity for honesty. I’m not super mom. I’m exhausted. I don’t know what I’m doing all the time; in fact, the hardest part about this year has been suddenly feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing at all. I don’t know how to be a mom right now. I need to find that niche with each child, find what they need from me and how to still make time to be healthy myself. I want to fix everything but I just don’t have the answers.

Being honest this year has not come easily. I don’t feel as though I’ve been dishonest but I have certainly held back simply because I didn’t want to burden other people with my stuff.

I love my children and my husband but right now, I just don’t always know how to love them. I want to, though. I don’t want to give up. That is one very big difference between 2015 and 2011. I wanted so badly to give up so many times. I’m glad I didn’t but it is disappointing to be teetering on the brink of some of that again. I thought I was stronger than that and I’m sorry that I’m not.

Renewal

In February, I wrote a post entitled “Reshape” and explained that I was taking it on as my word of the year for 2015. My primary goal was weight loss and while I had other goals, they went by the wayside while I focused on the physical. I don’t regret doing what I did to get to where I am but I do know that I need to focus on other areas if I want total health. This year has been one of the hardest I’ve had in a long time. I have felt far away from my husband, I have felt like a failing mother on many occasions, I have felt alone and isolated and in too many ways reminded of my struggle with postpartum depression five years ago. All along I have been determined that I would not go into that again but this year has brought me closer than I wanted to be to that dark place.

I had a year of victories that those around me were able to see and I’m sure that has lead people to assume that everything is great. I’ve gotten too good at putting on a mask in the last year and so most around me probably had no idea what a hard time I’ve had. I feel the need to be transparent here at least.

Yes, I lost weight. At the end of June, I was 35 pounds down from the start of the year. I’ve gained a bit back because I like sugar and bread a little too much but I’ve kept working out regularly since then. In November, I finished my distance goal of 2,015 kilometres, split between my elliptical and a recumbent bike. I used my second hand elliptical so much that I stripped the threads on one of the connections and had to get a new one. I have definition where I didn’t have it before and I’m wearing the size of clothing that I was when I got married almost twelve years ago. But through all these victories I’ve often felt like it wasn’t enough. And in reality, it wasn’t. Not because I hadn’t lost enough weight or because I wasn’t working out enough or watching what I ate enough – it was because I forgot about the rest of my life.

The word “reshape” has been physical for me and so while my body was reshaped my mind got out of shape. My marriage suffered – not because of my exercise or diet but because I forgot to nurture it. My kids suffered, my home suffered and most of all, my heart and mind. So many people claim that losing weight and getting fit will lead you to happiness and contentment but there is only one thing that can do that and I firmly believe that it is a relationship with God. I have had fatter years with more peace. I have had lazier years with more contentment. I’m not claiming that laziness and being overweight are godly but if your priorities are out of order, being fit and thin can be very ungodly.

So my word for 2016 is “Renew” and my goal is balance. What good will it do me in eternity if my earthly body was fit and toned and thin but I never once shared the love of Christ with my neighbour or raised up my children to love God?

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

There is so much talk of physical transformation – in fact, I’ve watched a number of episodes of Extreme Weight Loss where the physical transformation is phenomenal – men and women losing over a hundred pounds after a year of exercise and diet changes. But if you still hate yourself deep down, if an unloving spirit is still at work, the obvious transformation will have done no good. The Bible encourages us to transform by renewing our minds and we can’t do that through fitness and diet changes. While I’ve read my Bible consistently this year, I don’t feel that my mind has been very renewed. I don’t know what renewing the mind looks like for a stay at home mother of six children but I do know that it is needed far more than any physical transformation that I could still go through.

So does this mean I’m going to stop working out? No. In fact, I’m looking for a new elliptical right now since the one I bought to replace the first one isn’t very comfortable to use. I’ve added some exercises with a resistance band to my routine as well. And I am facing the fact that I am a food addict and that I need to find and eliminate the roots to that before I can see more physical change. That challenge will certainly be a mind renewal as well as a physical one.

I see so many women trying hard to change their bodies through daily exercise and very restrictive eating. Most are successful and I’m certain that most feel great about the physical changes that happen with determination. But an important thing to remember is that life keeps going. Add exercise, eat less sugar, fast food, junk food, etc. but don’t forget about life. Don’t forget about your kids or your spouse. Don’t forget that you’re more than a body. I have barely written this year because my spare time has been used up in this pursuit. And when I wasn’t actually working towards these goals, my mind was consumed with when I would get in my next workout, how I would manage to make supper, get the laundry done, etc. and also get my workout done. When I was sick with pneumonia over the summer, I was more bothered by the fact that I was behind in my distance goal and I attempted to return to my routine sooner than I should have because of it.

I know I am not alone in these things but the world seems to praise this mentality right now. I don’t want to spend the next year completely out of balance so a month ahead of the new year, I’m deciding what my goal is. Not starting in a month, but starting now.

Wrestling

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Last night at our Bible study, a friend mentioned that he was awake at two in the morning with a lot going on in his head. He got up and started writing it all down. As he wrote, he identified things he needed to deal with; repenting for fear, accusation, etc. I realized recently that my mind is always going and today I pinpointed the old enemy that seems to be determined to stick around: self-conflict.

So, if I am dealing with self-conflict but the Bible tells me that I don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, than what am I really dealing with? Old thinking is one thing. My mind is programmed to think a certain way and I haven’t been doing enough to change that programming. This covers so many areas but lately there are four that have been in my mind almost all the time. Housework, homeschooling, weight loss and future pregnancies. My house is a mess, I’m not sure that we’re doing exactly what we should be in our day to day, I think maybe I shouldn’t think so much about weight loss/fitness/food anymore and while I would be ready for pregnancy and another baby anytime, I also REALLY want to do some things next summer and would rather not be nine months pregnant for them.

So I’m journaling now – by hand – but I think putting it down here may be helpful as well. If anything, to help me remember that I am not really wrestling with myself. I am looking for guidance and direction from God. That is number one. I am looking for peace in all of these situations and I am seeking to get rid of thinking that is not Godly. I will wrestle but not with myself. With the old way of thinking, with the enemy, but not myself. I am beautifully and wonderfully made and that is enough.

Meeting Mike (and other thoughts)

Last night after supper, everyone was running wild and making noise and after doing a ton of grocery shopping and then making a bare bones supper, I just needed a break. I asked Mike for ten minutes to lie down and clear my head, maybe to think about the coming week and what my priorities ought to be. He quickly agreed and started getting the kids ready for bed while I went to our room and locked the door behind me (that step is incredibly important in this house – someone will always follow you otherwise).

I left the lights off and laid down, tired and a bit overwhelmed. “Okay,” I thought, “what is the date? What’s going on this week? What needs to be done? September 7th. Tuesday is the 8th. September 8th. That feels significant for some reason. Elias just had a birthday on the 6th; I know it’s not related to any of the kids. No other family birthdays. OH! I think the 8th is the day I met Mike!”

I can’t actually guarantee that September 8th, 2002 was the day my bus drove into Westbank (now known as West Kelowna) but I know it was sometime in the first week and a half of September. Mike looked at the calendar from that year for me and it seems likely as I’m fairly certain it was a Sunday that I got there and that we started our Discipleship Training School (DTS) the following day.

I know many people remember the moment they met their significant other – in bars, church, school, coffee shops, blind dates, etc. I met Mike briefly when one of our staff members – a French speaking, dreadlock wearing Swiss man named Johann – introduced me to everyone who was already on the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base. I remember meeting James (who also had dreadlocks), Micha (also from Switzerland but German speaking and very clean cut) and Mike. I know I met other people but these three stand out in my memory – at least right now. Mike was on the third floor where our rooms were – girls on one side of the hall, boys on the other. He sat slouching on a couch with his bare feet planted widely apart on the coffee table in front of him. He had a buzz cut and huge mutton chop sideburns. It is highly likely that he was wearing a bright yellow shirt with holes in it. I said hi and moved on to my room, not giving him much thought other than, “Sideburns? Really?” He looked awfully comfy and laid back so I thought he must have been there for some time already but he only got to the base a day or two before me. He is just a very laid back person no matter the setting.

Despite the lack of fireworks, Mike and I hit it off almost immediately. We had a school of ten students and all of us got along relatively well for most of the six months we were together. A year after the school ended, six of us had married each other. Eleven and a half years later, we are all still married. Mike had a similar sense of humour, liked the same movies and music – we had multiple duplicate CDs in our collections – and was easy to hang out with. We quickly became known as “Mike and Katie” in relation to the quirky movies we would pick to watch that no one else wanted to, the music we listened to, etc. But we were just friends. I didn’t go to DTS to meet someone and neither did he.

We went away for a week in the late fall that year, all ten of us and a bunch of staff. We spent time in Vancouver and after that, a weekend in cabins on a small lake – a time of preparation for the outreach we were going on in December. It was on that trip that I started to see Mike in a different light. He was becoming my best friend. He didn’t talk about or ogle girls like other guy friends of mine had. He wasn’t superficial, was clearly very close to his family and wanted a family of his own. In fact, I remember talking about the names we individually wanted to give our kids someday (names we eventually threw out as we couldn’t agree when we got married). I will admit – I flirted. At nineteen, I had only briefly “dated” two other guys and had a weird on again, off again relationship with someone else for a few years. I didn’t know any other way to get his attention than to flirt, hint at my interest in him and spend as much time around him as possible. Mike, on the other hand, had never dated. He did not pick up on my flirting or hinting at all. I don’t know exactly when he started to reciprocate my feelings but I didn’t know for sure until we were on outreach.

It is important to note that dating – or even special close friendships with the same sex – were off limits in YWAM. We were supposed to be mission minded, focused on keeping our relationships the same with all members of the team. There were stories of other schools full of people getting involved, even getting married just after and then quickly divorced. We were warned not to even think about each other that way. The fact that six of us ended up dating or engaged just after the school ended is proof that all those warnings just didn’t work. In our defense, we felt bad about it and committed over and over to waiting until after the school was done to pursue a relationship. And the worst we ever did was hold hands. We didn’t even kiss until our wedding day.

It was Christmas Eve, here in Fort St. John on outreach, that I finally said something that woke Mike up. Up until then, he said he had been second guessing himself – figuring there was no way I was actually interested in him. I feel a bit bad now for not being direct from the beginning. I met his family in Fort St. John and his sister caught on to me liking him. She told me that he was essentially stupid when it came to things like that and that he would never pick up on all my hints. In the end, it was a look he gave me while we sat at a Christian camp, preparing for an event we were having there – I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember that I told him not to look at me like that. I said his looking at me like that might make me do all sorts of things – like moving to Fort St. John. Moving to Canada was never in my plans but I knew that if this was it, I would go anywhere. His eyebrows went up but he didn’t say anything. That night, I gave it all back to God, said that if it wasn’t what He had for me, I would lay it down. Mike gave me a note at some point that night and I held onto it until I could be alone. I thought he might tell me that he wasn’t interested in me but instead he essentially told me that he knew he could marry me someday. This was not the superficial, “I like you; I think you’re interesting,” that I had heard from the two or three guys back home. This was an “I love you; I think you’re beautiful,” although in gentle, shy words that were somewhat reserved and careful. I cried reading that heartfelt note. I carried it with me for a long time.

There is more to the story but all of this rushed through my mind last night in those ten minutes of regrouping. Instead of planning my week in that time, I thought on those early days of knowing Mike, getting to know his laugh and his smile and eventually the feeling of his hand in mine. That first meeting didn’t impress me much but it didn’t need to be love at first sight. I always wanted to marry my best friend – not marry someone and have them become my best friend. Mike was my best friend before my heart began to pull towards his. That was thirteen years ago. Eleven and a half years of marriage and six kids later and he is still my best friend.

Ten minutes isn’t long enough to relive all of it which is why I knew I had to write today. Those ten minutes were gone and I immediately had a diaper to change, pajamas to help with and goodnight kisses to give. That’s our life now but it really was so good to go back a bit before thinking about the freezers that need to be reorganized or the fact that it is September again and I still haven’t done my homeschool registration for the year. I think I ought to take more ten minute breaks to reflect on the past before I plan for the future.

scan0008scan0004   scan0006scan0009Mike in Vancouver, fall of 2002;

“Mike and Katie” throughout the fall – unknown lawn, Halloween party karaoke, Vancouver temple tour at the Sikh temple

Thoughts on a Saturday night

Sometimes I have a moment when I want to say something on Facebook but then stop myself because I don’t want to be that kind of Facebook user – the one sharing things about myself that possibly no one really cares about. So I come here – very infrequently – and say it.

Something people may not know about me: I LOVE to sing. Particularly folk, bluegrass, indie, etc. I’ve always loved to sing but I remember thinking I had this incredible voice when I was young and then I heard it recorded and changed my mind. I once told my siblings that if other people heard what I hear in my head, I would be world famous (where’s a good laugh/crying emoticon when you need one?). I sang in choirs and a did a few duets or small group performances as a teenager but since I got married eleven and a half years ago (wow, seriously), I have done two offertories in church with family (that’s the song someone does while the offering is being taken, for those of you unfamiliar with the term) and sang on my sister-in-law’s worship team once. Otherwise, my singing is kept to belting things out while listening to music in my big white van or while I’m doing housework.

At Christmas, I finally splurged and bought a ukulele ($30, yo…that’s a splurge for me). One that won’t stay tuned (insert sad face here). I had all these dreams of learning to play it and writing music and even performing and then it didn’t work. I played guitar as a teenager and even a tiny bit after I got married and then my sister-in-law asked to borrow my guitar and I long-term loaned it to her. That was probably nine years ago and I think we’ve just decided I’m not going to want it back. Except there is this little part of me that does want it back. I want to relearn it, make up songs and play for my kids. But most of all, I want to sing. And for some reason, singing with nothing but a mic in my hand just doesn’t work for me so playing an instrument seems to be the logical solution.

So I have all these thoughts in my head, basically every time I find myself singing harmony to something lovely (this one is on repeat at the moment, and this as well, from the same album). And then reality seems to creep in and remind me of how busy my life is. Even without outside activities, it is busy around here. I am not a big fan of busy but six kids will do that to you and it’s not the worst kind of busyness to tell the truth. Maybe someday I’ll have a bit of extra time lying around to pull out a guitar and strum and sing a little. Perhaps I’ll even have the time to write my own music and maybe I’ll have the guts to share that with other people. Maybe.