Sunday, August 27

It's like Military Maneuvers

... if your military were staffed by clowns and hippies.

We pulled into the parking lot with one minute until prayer began. The car doors were flying open before the thing was in park, and I heard from somewhere in the back, "All right, troops, move, move, MOVE!"

I clambered out, gathered my things, and was formulating a response when I heard, "Or, you know, eventually. That works, too." It was John, who was standing there, holding the door open as the little moved ever so slowly toward the door, chatting, gathering their things, putting on their shoes.

I stifled a laugh and grabbed the rest of my things.

That one little interaction pretty much summed up our Sunday mornings. We may have grand plans and ambitions, but we're only going to move as quickly as our least-focused cadet. And yet, we made it without any yelling, or making anyone cry. Sometimes there's a bit of resignation, though.

I do wish I were a more consistent photo taker. Jase was wearing shorts and big, heavy shoes, and he just exuded Christopher Robin. It was precious and wonderful and made me smile every time he scampered off somewhere. I hope he's the one who picks my clothes for me when I'm old.

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Saturday, August 26

Oh, A Day to Rest!

Folks, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to tomorrow! Sure, we'll be driving into town (or rather, Z will drive - I will sit in the passenger seat and field random observations from Jase in the third row - it's how we roll). But when we get there, we will worship, we will learn. We will be still, we will give thanks and praise. We will comfort those who are grieving and hurting, as well as rejoice with those who are rejoicing.

And then, we'll eat together - all of us in our loud, messy, loving, wonderful, sometimes-cranky, always-thankful glory. I think our regular pot luck and prayer meeting is one of the highlights of my month. And tomorrow, I am going to sink down into a chair and just appreciate that we can do that.

Absolutely none of the things that have harried my mind of late are settled. In fact, some of them have gotten worse. Ha! Didn't expect that! But you know, it's OK. It really is. It will come together, one way or another, and there will be so much good to be had, regardless. I got that this week. I mean, I'd known that in my head, and I'd have encouraged any of you to remember it if you'd asked, but it's so nice to feel it deep, deep down in my bones. It's like exhaling when you didn't realize you'd been holding your breath.

The week was insanely busy. Jacob had auditions for The Nutcracker. No clue what he'll be doing, but he doesn't care. He's just so excited to be IN the very show that brought him this love and life that he's building. They could make him one of the wee mice and he'd be content.

The rest of it? Mostly driving. Driving and working. It's all good, but it makes for very boring prose. I'm sure a good DJ could knock out a rollicking good recap of the week's mileage, but us? Not so much. We ran through our Pimselur recordings. Jacob read in the car (but he won't read aloud to me while I'm driving, so that part is very boring). He quizzed me on the specs and histories of various armament, and I failed miserably at recalling any of the information, at all. So he told me all of it, again.

Oh! I did get to see James last night! (Yes, he still lives here, but between our schedules, we're just out of phase enough that we might as well live in different time zones. It's weird.) Anyway, we crossed paths for about half an hour at a party. He had popped in to say hi and visit a bit, but when he started to go, the hostess suggested he stay for a bit and see his mom (I was on my way to drop Jacob off and retrieve the Littles). So he did! Ha! That was brilliant on her part. We do greet in passing in the hallway, and occasionally bump into each other at the washing machine, but other than that, I just don't see him much. He looks good. Happy. Enjoying work and school. He has one instructor, in particular, who he just thoroughly enjoys.

Maybe I'll get to see the rest of them sometime this week?

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Wednesday, August 23

Library School and Projects

This is such a weird year. The Littles and I are enjoying Library School while Jacob is at dance. I don't know why we didn't think of this last year, but it's a sanity saver and a half for me this year. We hoof it to the library and enjoy from one and a half to three hours of leisurely study and discussion. (So, you know, they're getting an education, which is a massive win, there.) There's a break room where you're allowed to have drinks, so that's where we do our tea and poetry. It's not as aesthetically pleasing as other cozy spots in the library (and it is bizarre to watch the rotation of people who use the pay phone in the corner to conduct "business" as the day progresses), but it is decidedly water-resistant, which I guess was the point. Anyway, it's a fair compromise.

They have an online class that takes place while he's at ballet, and although I have railed against computers in libraries for ages (mostly after a dust up at one library where the monitors faced into the children's area and adults would often use them to look at porn, but the librarian went off on me about censorship when I suggested they change the layout to protect little eyes - that set me on edge over it, to be honest), I was ever so appreciative for them this week! As with most things, it's how you use it. And whether you consider those around you when you use it. *aherm*



Meanwhile, we're trying to revamp our menu plans because we've all hit the point where we're a little burned out on eating out of a hipster snack box all day. Plus, my bag has a lot of nut dust in it, and I'm terrified I'm going to inadvertently trigger an allergic reaction on some poor stranger. So, it's time to rein it in. Time to toss the bag in the wash, pack like we mean it, and put together legit lunches for our on-the-go days. I have no idea what that's going to look like.

After I refinished the single little nightstand a couple of weeks ago, I really wanted to do the whole suit. It felt overwhelming, though, so I kept putting it off. Well, after we decluttered our room, I realized I could just lay down a drop cloth and do it in place! No need to move the dresser! WOOHOO! On Sunday, I dismantled everything, cleaned the hardware, and painted the first coat on the dresser! The drawers got moved to the dining room.



So... we've been eating in the living room and sleeping on the couch for three nights, because I started the project and then BAM, we hit the week running. So there's been a bit of lag between coats and sanding and waxing. Whoops. Thankfully, the couch is both comfortable and big enough for everyone to eat around, and for two adults to sleep on comfortably!

However, that needs to end soon. My room, with the dresser contents strewn about, looks like it's been vandalized by angry fashionistas.

I hope your week has been filled with unexpected progress and delightful interruptions!

Be encouraged!
~ Dy


Tuesday, August 15

Brilliant Plans and... Other Ones

Yesterday was a rest day. Well, it was a school day and a rest day. OK, actually, it was a school day, a few small projects, a little more cleaning, and a rest day. But when Jase talked to Z about his day, he told him it was a rest day, "so we didn't do much but hang out, eat and read". Then he gave me credit for it! So it's officially going down as a rest day that I instituted. Because I don't often get credit for the occasional cool things I do. (This incident is not a prime example, since it wasn't actually a rest day, but I don't even mind at this point.)

We replaced the worn dry erase board in the linen closet door and cleaned and repainted the air return register. We washed some more walls. We made more lists. John had Favorite Child status for several hours because he dug around in the basement to find the panel that I knew was down there but which none of us had seen in ages. Many people thought it was a myth. I had even begun to think perhaps we'd thrown it out at some point. But no, he found it! And he cut a new panel and got it switched out.

Today, we all overslept. I awoke at 7:37, immediately registered that we were behind the 8-ball for an 8 o'clock hair appointment, and bolted out of bed to wake everyone else. AND we made it! We weren't coherent, or clean, or functional, but we were there. After that, and a hair cut, I needed a full-on shower. I was still a little sleepy, however, and didn't want to do the bag-wrap-tape routine on my finger (I sliced the tip off last week - rookie mistake that's more irritating and inconvenient than damaging, thankfully). So I grabbed a mechanic's glove. It worked great until I reached down to shave and the glove immediately filled up with water! Oops! Lesson learned - tape the wrist!

Jacob got his schedule recommendations today, so we're plugging things into grids to see what's going to work. I found a lot of schedule templates online that skip weekends, or end at 5. None were quite what I needed, but then I found one from Apache, an Open Office spreadsheet that was dead handy. If you use Open Office and need a planner template, this one's quite functional. I had to tweak the margins on my page set up a titch to get it to print on one page, but it's pretty good, otherwise.

We're all about to head into a completely new world with school. I feel like we're skydiving for the first time -- no clue what to expect and vaguely surprised to find us here even though this was the plan and we very intentionally got to this place. It's so strange. If you're kindly inclined, please keep all of the young men and women who are heading off to college, to internships, to work, in your prayers. They're in for some amazing adventures, but it doesn't hurt to have people actively pulling for you.

Be encouraged!

Dy

Monday, August 14

Be That Friend

Have I mentioned lately just what a blessing a good friend is?

Well, it is. So much so.

In this case, she is. And I am both humbled and appreciative in quantities I cannot express.

You see, I've been absolutely pummeled by Things lately. Not big things. Not bad things. Just things. What's the old saying, nibbled to death by ducks? It's migratory season and I am camped out at the watering hole, people. There are ducks everywhere.

And there are days that I suspect I'm the only one who can see them, which puts me pretty firmly in the Hunter S. Thompson category for a) crazy, and b) really unable to handle the situation.

So when I got paralyzed last week and decided that refinishing furniture was probably my number one priority, that was a big red flag for me. WHOA, Nellie! Why are we painting a nighstand in the basement? (Because it's something I can do. That helps. And has an end point. Unlike every flipping thing else going on in my life. Hand me the sandpaper and stop asking questions.)

And a dear friend asked, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

And my inner idiot said, in a very tiny voice, "No, I'm fine."

And a dear friend said, "Can I come over on a specific date to help with specific things?" (Which, really, is the better question to ask, because when people are stripping hardware in the basement instead of washing walls, they don't really know what kind of help they need. Or what they need, at all. True story.)

And I started to say, in what I intended to be a Big, Strong Brave Voice, "Nah, I've got it." But then I heard the punchline to my favorite joke...

I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more help did you want?

And since the Holy Spirit seemed to realize that I need pedestrian humor to get me moving, I laughed. And then I said, in a Very Relieved Voice, "Yes, that would be lovely."

Then, she came. And I stood here, in my mess and clutter, with one sock on cockeyed, feeling very, very vulnerable while she did not freak out, grab the children and yell over her shoulder as she ran for the truck, "Who lives like this?!?!" (For which I am forever grateful.)

She made a check list. She pointed us in the right direction. Then (OH! THE GRATITUDE!) she worked with Em to box up all. her. art. All of it. Into bins. And Em didn't cry. She didn't feel stripped of her world. This friend did something that I could not have done with all the Moscow Mules in the world at my disposal: she made packing up fun for Em!

And she cracked the paralysis that had overcome me. I don't know which of the aspects I appreciate the most, but I'm going to do my part by saying, y'all, Be. That. Friend. Be willing to step up alongside your friends when they are stuck. Even if you don't know what they need, just go be present. Lob ideas. Laugh. Visit. Work if there's work to be done. Bring joy. Be encouraging. You have no idea what good it can do a soul! But they will, and it will matter.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy