Archive for December 2014

My Word

December 28, 2014

A few years ago this trend started of mommy bloggers picking a theme word for the coming year.  I’ve always kind of been skeptical of the whole thing while slightly longing to embrace it.  I think I may have tried to pick words in the past, but I can’t remember clearly.  I want to say “Joy” was the word I was looking for in 2013 or 2014.

The problem was that my longing for “Joy” was really a “fake it ’til you make it” kind of goal.  I had been led to believe that the reason I was unhappy all of the time was because I was incapable of being happy, that I was unhappy because I had unrealistic expectations for life.  And sometimes in the Christian world there’s this idea out there that a lack of joy is the result of a lack of faith in the midst of adversity.  I got the idea that if I just tried to act joyful then I would learn to accent the positive and ignore/accept the negatives in my life instead of letting them depress me.

In other words, it just became another way for me to stuff my real thoughts and feelings deep inside so that I could try to be what other people wanted me to be to make them happy.

Anyway, for the past few weeks I have just felt lazy.  The best part about being a homeschooling stay-at-home mom is that you have almost total control over the rhythm of your day.  If the baby was up all night sick and you’re subsequently exhausted, you can lighten the schoolwork or completely cancel the next school day and take an extra long nap, and you don’t have to justify it to an employer or a regular school.

The worst part about being a homeschooling stay-at-home mom is that you have almost total control over the rhythm of your day.  Which means that you don’t have outside schedules of the school or a job to make you get up at the same time every day or hold you accountable if you spend three hours a day catching up on previous seasons of Castle while the house falls apart around you.  The entire structure of your life depends entirely on you’re own consistency and fortitude.

I’ve been feeling this need to set up a real schedule.  Our lives have calmed down since the divorce.  Cassidy, at almost 2 1/2, is a lot more self-entertaining.  There aren’t as many curve balls to derail us as there used to be.  I have this tendency, though, to go from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I’m either running around working my ass off, or I’m sitting on my ass staring at a screen all of the time.    I need a schedule with realistic expectations for self-care, prayer, work, and recreation.

In a word, what I need is DISCIPLINE.

behavior and order maintained by training and control

-[word origin] directly from Latin disciplina “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge,” also “object of instruction, knowledge, science, military discipline,” from discipulus

-[related to the word] disciple:any follower of Christ.  to teach; train.

I’ve come to realize, though, that discipline is not just something I need.  It’s not even just something my children need from me and for me to have, even though they do.

I’ve come to realize that God is asking me to learn discipline for Him.

Now that I’m no longer completely crippled by the weight of a terrible marriage, I’ve been jogging around in anticipation for God to sign me up for a marathon.  I’ve been chomping at the bit to follow God’s will and be an amazing instrument in God’s hands.  I’ve been waiting for God to give some big assignment that would inspire me and strengthen me and fulfill me. I’ve been the Little Engine that Discerned, puffing up the mountain trying to find and follow God’s tracks.  Yet, I’ve felt like I wasn’t really getting any closer to a destination.

I went to Holy Hour at my parish.  I was about five minutes early and knelt down to pray.  And I started thinking about how I’ve been in survival mode for so many years, just trying to make it through one 24-hour period at a time.  I started thinking about how I longed to thrive now.  And then it just kind of hit me.

The reason that I’ve been spinning my wheels the past few months is because while I’m no longer just trying to survive each day I am not yet physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to thrive.  God hasn’t given me some big assignment because right now He needs me to heal.  Every day might not be as hard as it used to be, but I still have the same bad habits that I had in survival mode.  I need to unlearn those and relearn new and better ones.

I need to find that discipline between self-care, work, prayer, and recreation.  Otherwise any grand assignment that God would give me is doomed to failure.

So, right now I’m thinking about the simplest way to balance those four things in my day in the midst of raising five children and homeschooling two of them.  I’m trying to think about those obstacles that are likely to throw off my game and those tipping points, the little actions that can have big positive ramifications.

I’m scared that I’m going to fall back into the same old bad habits, that the trial and error will wear me down until I give up.  So, please pray for me.

For 2015 I’m going to try to focus on DISCIPLINE in all of its many facets.





A Few More Songs

December 24, 2014

I was going through my unsorted bookmarks and came across another favorite song from this past year.

And my best friend Kelly recommended this song by Alex Boye, with which I totally fell in love.  It just might be my anthem for 2015.

Shake It Off

December 22, 2014

To say that 2014 has been an interesting year would be an understatement.  Going in I did not expect that I would not only be divorced but would also have spent close to $8000 in home repairs by the end of it.

Like many people, music has helped me articulate, contemplate, and just plain deal with they myriad feelings I’ve experienced in the past twelve months.  There are certain songs that held my hand through the different moments.  So, this is just a little recap of what I’ve been listening to this year and how it will be stamped in my memory.

At the beginning of 2014 I was listening to the The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12.  This album of songs inspired by the first Hunger Games movie features a variety of artists and was produced by T-Bone Burnett and reflected not only the melancholy of life in the fictional District 12 but in my life as well.  “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars is probably the biggest hit from the album, but there were several different songs to which I listened repeatedly:  “Abraham’s Daughter” (Arcade Fire), “Kingdom Come” (The Civil Wars), “Run Daddy Run” (Miranda Lambert), and the two songs by Taylor Swift.

I remember a particularly bad night, though, when I was hitting the worst part of my depression.  My marriage, well, was closer to being over than I really believed.  I was driving around in my car after dark in the cold with tears streaming down my cheeks, listening to this song by The Secret Sisters:

I would normally listen to the same five or six songs over and over again, but as winter passed to spring and then summer and I separated from my husband and started to put myself and my life back together, I gave another song on the album a chance for the first time, “Nothing to Remember” by Neko Case.  It really hit home for me.  For some weird reason, it made me feel strong.

The week that my marriage finally received it’s “kill shot” I packed up the kids and went to stay with my parents in Kentucky for a week.  The kids and I just needed some distance.  That was the week that Frozen was released on DVD.  I grabbed a copy to keep the kids occupied.

We had seen the movie in the theater, and I knew that “Let It Go” was going to be the break out song from the movie.  When the movie came out on DVD, though, is when it seemed to really be everywhere.  Now everyone is sick to death of it, but during that scary, crazy week, it was the song that resonated with me most.  It was my declaration of independence as much as it was Elsa’s.

I discovered Catholic singer/songwriter Marie Miller a few months ago, and fell in love with two of her songs.  The first is “The Shoe Song”, which Marie wrote using text messages between my favorite blogger, Jen Fulwiler, and her husband Joe.  It is a hilarious look at the perils of parenthood.

Before and during my divorce, I discovered for the first time in a long time that I had a circle of friends on whom I could depend.  And for the first time in a long time, I felt in a position where I could reciprocate their friendship.  This was my love song for the wonderful group of gals God brought into my life:

In recent months, on the long drive back from picking up the kids at their dad’s apartment, I’ve been listening to some of the stuff to which they listen.  Most of modern pop is not really my thing.  I think Ariana Grande sounds like a screeching cat half of the time.  But I’ve been finding myself drawn to songs that are just plain fun.

I’ve become a fan of Meghan Trainor.  She’s only 20, and in her own words “she can write a hook”.  I also like how her songs that I have heard so far have positive messages about body image and expecting men to treat her like a lady.  While it hasn’t been officially release yet, my favorite is “Dear Future Husband”.

I also have another guilty pleasure:  Taylor Swift.  She first caught my attention on Songs from District 12, but I’ve really been enjoying the singles off of her latest album.  “Blank Space” reminds me of a few relationships I’ve had in my time.  But “Shake It Off” is just pure fun, and it just makes me want to shake away all of the shadows that have been haunting me for so long and move forward.