Saturday, February 9, 2013
Balance, and other things
The thing with running my shop and continuing on with every day life is that it all requires balance. A couple days after the grand opening, my husband gently approached me (in such a casual way), and stated that he didn't want me to get so wrapped up in my work that other things in the house suffered. I admit, I had let the laundry pile up, and the house was a bit messy (although the definition of "messy" now is far less than that of when we first married). As I admitted in the beginning, I know I will have to watch myself as to not become obsessed with my art, which is basically my side job, and neglect my number one job (that of being a homemaker).
Of course the first few days were busy because I was setting up my shop, listing things, creating more things to list. I had a plan for those first few days, and I knew I needed to put more focus than normal into my work on those days in order to get everything up and running. It was no accident that some things were neglected. I intentionally neglected them in arranging my priorities for those days because I knew I could easily catch up on those things. Of course, I could see my husband's worries, and I, myself, hoped that this drive would not take over my life and be a source of frustration that would leave me feeling torn between my hobby and my homemaking.
I'm glad to say it hasn't been that way, and if anything is an indicator of how it's going to play out, the first week usually is such. Those first few days were a bit crazy, but this last week settled into an even balance. When I found five, ten or twenty minutes, I sat down to work on a piece- either to start a new one or continue one I had already begun. So each day I was able to finish at least one piece (maybe two or three, depending on how much time and what all I have left to do one each), which didn't take a ton of my time. (Basically replaced the time I spent reading books from the massive stack beside my bed.) Once Brandon gets home, I put everything away. Usually he calls when he's on his way, so, if I'm in the middle of a project, I can wrap it up, and that way he doesn't feel like my hobby is taking away from his time with me.
I know he's thankful that I'm selling my work- he's always encouraged me to do that. He knows that the money I make helps us financially, and so he no longer has to tell me, "Ehh, we can't really afford for you to go pick up Emily and take her to lunch this week." I don't ask for a lot, and so he hates to tell me no, especially when it's concerning ministering to others or meeting up with friends for my own encouragement.
Tuesday night Becky and I exchanged children after our morning women's meeting. Merikalyn spent the night at her house (with Analisa), and Becky's twins came home with me. I don't think that was a fair exchange- a sweet, calm, helpful girl for two rambunctious, messy boys. Ha! It probably was not the smartest day to do a sleepover (and have my house filled with two babies and four crazy boys) since I was on the heaviest day of my period. (Oh joy, right? It's like a massacre, really. Sorry, TMI.) I always struggle with my emotions on that day, which rarely line up with reality. Becky asked how it went, and I told her, "Let's just say I spend a good deal of time crying out to the Lord." Really, the boys were good. They played with water guns and totally soaked themselves, and pretty much spent the whole afternoon outside, so that was a plus. Of course, I had to keep track of them once they came inside, making sure they didn't leave a trail of water behind them or a pile of wet clothes that would warp the floors, but really, they were well behaved.
I knew it was just my hormones that were whacked out, so I just kept laying them at the Lord's feet. I had a couple times where I just wanted to crumple into tears over the sink, but I did that low and slow labor breathing- innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, ooooooooooooooouuuuuut, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, ooooooooooo- and thanked the Lord for showing me how weak and fragile I am and for giving me His patience and His strength.
Seriously though, Becky's boys behaved themselves very well. I was putting finishing touches on a painting, and one of the twins tip toed in and slowly plucked a pen out from the bucket beside me, and then slowly tip toed to the other side of me (one of those really exaggerated, very slow-mo sort of tiptoes) and slipped a piece of paper out from the stack, and said, "I'm being very quiet because I don't want to make you mess up." It was so funny, and more distracting just watching how funny he was! (A welcome distraction, for sure.)
What's really funny about Becky's boys is that they announce (at the top of their lungs) whenever something has fluoride, MSG, or high fructose corn syrup in it. We were in the grocery store (yes, with six children.. imagine all the looks we got), and all of the boys were pointing out everything that had "icky stuff" in it. What makes me crack up is when they pointed out that Poptarts were full of nastiness, and then asked if we could buy some! Ha!
I did spend some time outside with Evangeline while MJJ was napping and the boys were having their water war. We rocked back and forth on the hammock, went for a walk to the mailbox, played in the water for a bit, and then went inside for a nap (for Evie, not me, of course).
Meanwhile, the girls were at Becky's making dinner (and breakfast the next morning), and being so wonderfully self-sufficient. And eating sorbet.
Evangeline had a sleepover in our room so the boys could take over the back bedroom. She was hyped up, though, and kept talking to MJJ or jostling MJJ's bed with her feet. But, eventually we all fell asleep (Brandon, of course, conked out long before the rest of us).
The next day I did some cleaning with MJJ strapped to my back. Probably wasn't the smartest time to do cleaning (remember, four messy boys in the house? And this particular day it was raining, and they insisted upon playing outside), but it was one of those things I felt driven to do, so I worked on Mount Washmore and did little things around the place. I've spent the last few days doing some deep cleaning. Let me tell you of the frustrations of cleaning with children in the home. Specifically, cleaning with children who are always home, never away. My mom, well, she cleaned in the morning and got to enjoy the fruits of her labor until about 4pm, when we came running in the door after school. And, since we didn't spend a lot of time inside, our house usually stayed fairly clean. When we got home, we were back out the door to play with friends or climb trees or adventuring in the woods. I'm not saying Mom didn't have a lot of cleaning to deal with because I know we weren't super clean and organized children, I'm just saying, it must have been nice to revel in the beauty of a clean home once we were both tucked behind our school desks.
Cleaning a home while the children are home (and constantly in and out and in and out and around it) is like nailing jello to the wall. It's like bathing a cat. It's like emptying the ocean with a dropper. It's insanity.
Now I don't think of it so much as "cleaning" but more like "scraping the first layer off". You can be sure that, as soon as I mop, one of these little children is going to come skipping in with dirt flying off their shoes and acorns spilling out of the pockets while they fling leaves in the air or leave a trail of flower petals behind them. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.
But anyway, my partner in grime (MJJ) and I worked on the laundry, swept the floors, and organized stuff. When Brandon got home, I was like, "I cleaned, so take my word for it." Which is usually how it goes around here.
Evangeline and I made chocolate cupcakes for everyone after lunch. She loves to help me cook and bake just as much as she likes to lick the spoon afterward, so she was mighty proud of her accomplishment.
Becky and Chance came over later that day, and we all had supper together, then returned children to their families (ahhhh, yay, my helper was back!). I was sufficiently weary and ready for my bed that night!
The next day (Thursday) was a really good one. I mean, most days are really good. It's not that this day was spectacular in that we had amazing plans or anything. It was a normal, average day with laundry, grocery shopping, and all the regular to-dos. It was just that I was hyper-aware of my weakness, and God's strength, and depending on Him moment by moment to just guide me through each and every second. I woke up feeling like I didn't want to get out of bed, and just told the Lord, "I want to stay here, but I trust that You have plans for me, and so I'm going to get of bed, shower, and do whatever You tell me to do. And He very clearly told me to make Malt-o-Meal. I kid you not. I spent about five minutes wondering, "Did He really just tell me to make Malt-o-Meal for breakfast? Do I even have Malt-o-Meal? Was that God or was that just me. Does God care about what I make for breakfast?"
So I washed my hair, brushed it, and then flung open the pantry to find that, yes indeed, I did have Malt-o-Meal. I made it. I served it. And the whole day (and all of Friday as well), I kept thinking, "Wow, God told me what to make for breakfast. How crazy is that?" And then this morning I realized how much time He saved me because it takes about 15 minutes some mornings for me to figure out what to do for breakfast, and some days it can cause me a little anxiety if the hormones are being funky (which, you know, they were that particular day). But really, it's just amazing that God really IS in the details, and He really does care about the things I care about, even the littlest details of my life. He really does want to ease my burdens, even if it's about what to make for dinner. (Seriously, I have had such an issue with getting dinner to the table lately. My mind just isn't working properly, so I've actually been asking the Lord what I should make!)
Anyway, Praise the Lord, we moved on with our day, and Evangeline helped me check out the grocery circulars to see what was on sale.
We managed to get in and out of the grocery store in record time, and then home again, home again jiggety jig, where scarfed down lunch and then went about doing some deep cleaning.
The kids and I managed to get rid of a couple bags of stuff from the homeschool/reading/play room, and now it looks significantly more organized. I also moved the desk (that no one used) out of that room and into the livingroom so I'd have another place to work on my art. It's in the perfect spot (behind the couch), where plenty of natural light filters in. My other desk is in the corner of the livingroom where there is not a sufficient amount of light.
So, yesterday, I was able to put the finishing touches on a bunch of paintings before heading out to a playdate in Tomball.
Anyway, now I'm off to help Merikalyn work on a piece she's been wanting to do with a little kitten having a tea party! Have a happy weekend, y'all!