Do stuff


We are people who do stuff.  This is what we have been labeled by people who label families. At first I thought it was an odd description, but after a bit I realized it’s true.  We are not good at not doing stuff.  We enjoy doing stuff.  We are, in fact, people who do stuff.

The stuff we do is varied and almost always entertaining.  And, I’m positive our kids are learning from our example that doing stuff is actually a good thing.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to just sit around the house from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.  My mind cannot even comprehend such a situation.  (Though, I don’t mind a little relaxation…)

The thing is, I really hope our lives are about more than just the doing of stuff. I think our lives should be about the stuff we do. And, I hope that people notice when we do stuff it’s not just to fill the time with random activities. We want to be people who are doing stuff that makes a difference. We want to be people who love other people. We want to be people who care for other people. We want to be family to kids who need families. We want to be mentors to kids who need mentors. Ultimately, we want to show Jesus through the stuff we do. It’s all well & good to be busy people who do lots of stuff, but if we lose sight of our one real job – the command to go and share the gospel – well, our busyness means nothing. If people cannot look at us and notice a difference then we need to examine our busyness & re-evaluate.

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My sister is a genius photographer.  You can see tons of her work here.  Her name is Betsey Walton.

Right now two of her photos are in a contest for the cover of Enjoy Magazine.

Please vote for her photos.  The one with the cute little boy and his cardboard rocket ship has the most votes so probably voting for that one is best.  You can vote here!!

Thanks friends!!

Did you ever wish?


Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic.  My mind kept drifting to the last time I was alone with my mom while she could still sit up and talk.

Alone time with my mom has always been rare. When you have a large family you don’t expect to spend much time alone with anyone.  And, when you get to you cherish it.  You soak in those moments that are just the two of you.  A week and a half before my mom passed I was alone with her.  Just the two of us. And, we actually got to chat.  We talked about the kids, we talked about siblings, and we talked about life.  After the usual conversations sort of came to a halt she sat quietly for a moment.  She was very good at being calm and quiet without making it feel weird to be there.

After a little bit of quiet she said “Have you ever wished we didn’t adopt you?”

I was surprised to hear that question from her.  She had never asked it before.  She’d never even acted like the thought had occurred to her.  Maybe it hadn’t.  Maybe it was only occurring to her because she knew it might be the last time she had to ask it.

A thousand thoughts went through my head at once.  How can someone explain a heart to someone else who can’t see it and all the feelings mixed up in it?  I have always been a happy person.  I have always believed that no matter where I am, I am blessed, and truthfully someone else has it much worse than me.  I looked at her and said, “No, I’ve never wished that.  I have loved being your daughter and loved being in this family.”  There was more to the conversation, but it really got me thinking about all the emotions and feelings that surround adoption for me.

I’ve continued to think about this conversation for the past four months.  I am sure it’s partly because it’s such a sweet memory and partly because being adopted makes me a little more sensitive to such conversations.   I can honestly say I’ve never wished I wasn’t adopted.  That’s never even been a question.  But, sometimes I wonder just exactly how other adopted people feel and if they have the same questions I sometimes do.  Do they sometimes look at their family and wonder if they really fit in?  Does their heart get a little sad when they realize that so many things are genetic and they will never share that with their siblings and that will always separate them just a little bit?  And, I wonder if those thoughts and feelings are the same if the family has only adopted children as opposed to mixing biological and adopted children?  I don’t know.  I haven’t ever asked anyone I know who is adopted.  I’m sure each family is different and each circumstance is different.   I do know that when all the chips have fallen I don’t first think about the fact that I’m adopted.  And, I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

Home Ownership


So, I feel like I am basically an expert on owning a home now that I’ve owned one for 3 months. HAHA  But, really – owning has been so exciting for us.  I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things we’ve discovered since we moved.

We have always worked hard and we have always wanted our own home.  Now that it’s a reality it’s been so FUN to do things that would seem lame and hard before.  Yard work is not my gift (see previous post about my plant reaper status).  Yet, to see our yard looking better day by day (mostly thanks to my husband) is really exciting.  And, I’ve even ventured out to help a bit by pulling weeds, throwing down some grass seed, and watering.  I have to say I have really enjoyed the Xhose.

xhose_thumb

I know.  It seems silly, but it really is awesome.  It’s light, it doesn’t kink, and it shrinks so small when it’s not on.  Love it!  Wish I had another one for the other side of the house.  I am a firm believer that if I have things that WORK I am more willing to do things.  My husband knows this and so he splurged on the hose and it was a genius move.

House cleaning has become much easier too.  I HATED cleaning our house before.  We had so much stuff and we had zero place to store it.  Now that we have a place for everything I can easily put things away and keep everything looking nice and neat.   It’s glorious.

My favorite new cleaning product I’ve purchased is the Goo Gone oven and grill cleaner. It is amazing.  Our downstairs oven looked like someone had baked a pie without a pan or something and then add cat hair. I’m sorry was this a cat pie?  I don’t even understand!  But, the whole thing was black.  You couldn’t see through the window because of how gross it was.  And, I was scared to cook in it for fear it would catch on fire.  We tried some other oven cleaner and the disgusting black stuff did not budge despite multiple applications.  My brilliant husband bought this for his grill and decided to try it on our stove as well.  It literally melted through the gunk in less than 5 minutes.  I just wiped it out and völva!! the stove looked brand new!

stove

(Disclaimer: I did have to clean the window twice)

I had used the Magic Eraser before we moved, but I am still amazed by it and thought it should be featured here in this post of things I love. So, here’s to the magic of the Magic Eraser.  I keep them on hand for bathrooms, kitchens, walls, and pretty much everything else.  (left side – original banquette bench when we moved in the house before Magic Eraser.  right side – after a little Magic Eraser was used. A-MAZ-ING)

 

bench

I’ve been told recently I really need to start working harder at keeping my blog up to date.  I will work on it. 🙂
 

 

Logical Conversations


When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’.  She had cool clothes.  She was mouthy & disrespectful.  And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home.  Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking.  All of my friends had Christian parents.  But, it was also tantalizing.  She was from a different world.  I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week.  She shared her favorite curse words.  I said “Yes, I use those too.”  She said “I cussed my sister out.”  I said “Oh, I do that.”  She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really?  Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly.  There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed.  Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew.  I finished my made up tirade and looked at her.  She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed.  I did not hang out with her again.  The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day.  As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices.  I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*

Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on.  Everyone was saying it.  I decided I’d say it too.  A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up.  I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary.  My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’  My sisters and I looked at each other.  Um.  “It means strange”.  My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up.  You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’.  I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up.  Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.

Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary.  Other kids at school were saying it.  And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation.  I started small.  I used it in group settings of friends.  No one batted an eye.  Excellent. I’d pulled it off!  My ascension to coolness was on its way!  I continued to use it out of my parents earshot.  It became engrained in my speech.  One day my sister and my friends were at my house.  I was probably in 6th grade by then.  My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”.  My dad looked at me.  I instantly got red.  I was in for it.  I knew it.  My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?”  We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.”  He said, “no.  It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain.  My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about?  It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us.  In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing?  We were simply being cool and using the common lingo.  I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre.  I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’

Now, I’m a mother.  I have three amazing children.  And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment.  Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing.  It’s called “Make it rain”.  They asked me.  I looked at it.  It seemed harmless enough.  It’s actually pretty lame.  They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen.  Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie.  It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything.  My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’  My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’.  My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.

And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had.  From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains.  Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen.  We will see.  They just might…

Talents


Each human on this planet is born with talents that are uniquely theirs.  That’s not to say others don’t also possess the same talent.  But, more to say that each of us has our own “talent grouping”.  While many people may be good at something – not everyone has the exact same talents.

I fully believe that we are each created to do something special.  The ‘special’ doesn’t really have to be something that everyone you meet sees as special.  But, my thoughts are – God has put us all together to do something specific for His kingdom (even those who don’t know they are doing it for His kingdom are contributing and that thought makes me smile a bit).  Someone may be put here to run the government of their country.  Someone else may have been put here to sing.  And, yet another someone may have been put here to write a book.  Any and all of those are talents.

But, there are lots of talents that we overlook on a daily basis and people never really get credit for excelling at them.  Today I read a blog about running the race God has set before us.  And, not only using our talents, but also recognizing them.  It really struck me.  And, the interesting thing is that this isn’t the first time it’s come up recently.  I’ve had a few discussions with the kids over people’s talents and what it means to have a talent.  I’ve challenged them to make a game of noticing their classmates or teammates talents and seeing what they can find out about those around them.  I’ve also taken a few personality tests for work and other things that weigh in on this area too.  So, the whole ‘realize your talent’ thing is just where I am right now.

A few talents I see daily that I’ve noticed and yet haven’t made a point to praise are:

  • Friend of strangers Those people who walk up to random strangers and start conversations.  They’ve never met a true stranger, and they think nothing of making new friends any place and any time.  They start conversations with people in line in places like Target or the airport.  How many people can truly do this without concern for feeling like they are being a weirdo?  Not many.  This is a SKILL and should be recognized as a talent.  They never leave the new person to themselves and they are great at just making everyone feel like they are a part of whatever is going on.
  • Sitting quietly while listening (TRULY LISTENING – not thinking about your to-do list while someone else talks) Kudos to you!  I am not gifted in this area.  I want to be multi tasking at all times.  I am constantly impressed by those who have the ability to simply listen with interest.
  • Go with the flow These people do not need to force their will or agenda on anyone.  They are willing to help reach other people’s goals.  They are agreeable and generally the center of every team because they can be depended on to help, but not to overrun.
  • Being a friend The person who remembers to call you when your life is too busy to call them first. The girlfriend who notices you are a little down and drops you a note.  The one who takes the time to memorize all your favs and all your dislikes just because it comes natural to them.  These people are amazing.  Everyone needs at least one in their life and I am so blessed to have many!!
  • Cheerleaders Those who have no desire to rush out and change the world, but who willingly sit and cheer everyone else on.  They are outstanding ‘words of encouragement’ people and truly desire to see everyone else succeed.
  • Organizers Not just the people who keep things and events organized, but those who do it as a blessing to others.  Those who see one of the go-getters going out to get things done and steps in behind the scenes to simply organize the charge.  They don’t seek glory or praise.  They’re gift is that they can do it without needing any of that.  It’s just their natural talent.
  • Nurtures Those who simply care.  They share their heart with others because others NEED that.  They aren’t afraid to give a little tough love, but they also take the time to share some sweet, kind, and squishy love too.  They mentor others, they support dreams, and they think of ways for others to accomplish them.
  •  Decision Makers Believe it or not – not everyone is good at making decisions.  We all like to pretend we are, but the truth is that most people only want to make decisions that specifically affect them – not everyone.  Great job for sticking your neck out even when you know it won’t always be comfortable!
  • Dreamers The people who take the time to sit in a field of flowers and just enjoy thinking and dreaming.  They show us what it’s like to actually stop and smell the roses.  They think of impossible things without fear.  They don’t worry about how they will accomplish those things – they just enjoy thinking them.  That is NOT me.  I’m constantly impressed by people who dream well.
  • Positive People Those people who only see the rain for a few seconds and then come away with a positive spin.  They find the rainbow in every situation.  Not everyone can do that.  It’s inspiring!

There are so many more.  But, what I have had pointed out to me many times recently is that we need to recognize these talents (and all the other non-recognized ones) and celebrate them.  Let’s teach our kids and our friends that we KNOW they are special.  We know we are unique and we are perfectly made.  Keep up the great work of being YOU.