Friday, April 23, 2010

Comparison vs. Contentedness

Maybe its just me. Maybe its my out of whack brain chemistry, a product of my childhood, a bad habit allowed to run free for too many years, I'm not sure. Do other people do it? Does she do it? Who knows? But there I go again, comparing myself to others.
I think there is a natural tendency to judge ourselves, to evaluate how we are doing in life. How are things going? Are we accomplishing our goals? How do we need to adjust to our current situation? Comparing who we are to who we want to be, to who God made us to be. How else do we grow? I think this kind of comparison is good to do. But the other kind, the kind where we compare ourselves to other people, that's where we can start to go off track.
She has a better sense of style. She is skinnier. She is more spiritual. She has nicer hair. She is a better decorator. Her kids are more well behaved. Her kids go to bed at a normal hour. She is this and that and the other thing...better than I am. Nothing can destroy the possibility of being content with what you have/who you are faster than comparing yourself to someone else in this way. And sometimes we don't even realize we are doing it. We just have this vague sense that we are inadequate. And this is definitely not taking any thought captive. This is the opposite. This is letting our thoughts drag us through the mud.
From 2Cor. chapter 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Okay, so what exactly is the knowledge of God? What does God know about me (besides everything)? Wait. I think that's the point, actually. He KNOWS everything about me and still calls me His workmanship according to Eph 2:10. Whoa. So I need to demolish the argument that I am inadequate. And how do I do that exactly? By Phil 4:8 that's how. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS." (my emphasis) How will I have time to compare my self to other people and consequently feel crappy about myself if I am thinking about such things?
So, the fact that I have bare white walls, wear my hair in a pony tail everyday, and don't own a pair of high heeled shoes IS FINE. It's not that I am okay in spite of these things. It's that I'm okay because of these things. Because He made me who I am. I am His workmanship. And if His workmanship has bare white walls and wears a pony tail everyday and flip flops instead of cutesy girlie high heels...I can be content with that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Couldn't they have given him a different name?

Several weeks ago we borrowed the movies Toy Story and Toy Story 2 from a friend. I can't even begin to guess how many times we have watched them. This was around Easter time, so instead of a traditional Easter basket with candy, we got Ryan a Buzz Lightyear toy. Apparently, however, Buzz wasn't enough. He also wanted Buzz's companion, Woody. We waited a couple weeks, enduring the asking that turned to begging, which turned to negotiation, which turned to delusion. "But Mommy! Today is my Birthday! Can we get Woody for my Birthday?" Yeah right, like that's gonna work dude. But in the end, much to my husband's dismay, I caved. It was Walmart that did me in. We were there to buy dog food, and we walked out with a Woody.
Enter me and my mind in the gutter, and the constant giggling that was the rest of the afternoon. Ryan..."Mommy, tell Daddy I got a Woody!" "Buzz, see my new Woody?" The best though was when we were on the phone with Gramma Mo. Having not seen either movie, she had no idea who Woody was. "Gramma Mo! Guess what? I got a Woody!" Stunned silence on the other end of the line. Little giggle. Me, glad I'm not the only one, "Mo, Woody is a cowboy character from the movie Toy Story. Ryan got the Woody doll today at Walmart." Mo, "Oh, okay (giggle, giggle) I was wondering..." Sheesh, couldn't they have given him a different name?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I wanna be Stephenie Meyer

I want to wake up from a dream so great, so real, so captivating, that I drop everything (except for the kids breakfast) and write it down. I want to be so consumed with it that I continue writing just so I can know what happens to the people in the story. I want to get to know them, picture what they look like, and immerse myself in their world. Then I want to publish that story and become a bu-zillionaire. Right. Like that's ever gonna happen.
Instead, what I do is find myself awake at 3:47 am coming up with blog titles in my head. I actually started writing one this morning at said unholy hour. It was brilliant. It was witty and engaging. I have absolutely no idea what it was about now. O well. Maybe I'll put one of those little journals on the nightstand so I can jot stuff down in my sleep. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll have a Stephenie Meyer dream and a cascade of brilliance will flow over from my unconsciousness.
Yeah. Maybe not. I guess I'll settle for that little journal.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is it me or...

Are the toilet paper rolls getting narrower?
Is it always rainy when I want to go outside, and sunny when I want to nap?
Are Jim and Pam like the greatest TV couple of all time?
Is having a dog like having a baby, a preschooler, and a teenager all rolled into one? Always cleaning up poop, always putting toys away, and always loading up a food bowl...
Do headaches seem to strike at the worst possible times?
Have Facebook games lost their appeal?
Is there absolutely no point to caffeine free pop?
Does my shirt actually say "Wipe your nose and/or face and/or hands on me?"
Did the movie Food Inc. make anyone else want to become a vegetarian?
Is anyone else extremely grateful for the drive through pharmacy?
Does anyone else wish they would make a drive through post office?
Does Sam always seem to bark right as I am falling into unconsciousness?
Does that giant tub of yogurt always seem to go bad before I can finish it?
Is Friends the best TV show ever?
Did my b**t get bigger, or did these pants get shorter?
Does the phrase "solitary confinement" actually sound pretty awesome sometimes?

Spring Cleaning

I don't know if it is a real phenomenon, or if it's just because I am reading about other people doing it, but the spring cleaning bug has hit me hard. Instead of doing regular things like dishes and laundry, I find myself doing things like moving furniture and scrubbing baseboards. Just the other day I used a too strong solution of Pine Sol to scrub said baseboards and burned off at least two layers of skin on my hands. No joke. I even emailed the Mrs. Meyers customer service to inquire about their Rhubarb scented Spring Cleaning Kit they sold last year and when would it be available this year? It won't by the way, just in case you were looking forward to it too. I have washed windows, bleached curtains, purged the magazine stack...I even toyed with the idea of removing every scrap of paper, finger painting pictures, and magnets off of the refrigerator. I guess this entry will serve as a warning. If you come over and see dishes spilling out of the sink and laundry in the hallway, and then notice I am missing some furniture and a few layers of skin, you'll know whats going on.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Doin' the deals

So for the last several weeks I have been following a few different blogs on frugal living and homemaking. I have really enjoyed reading how other women approach different aspects of being a homemaker. Sheesh, what an old fashioned word. It turns out the forgotten art of homemaking is alive and well and anything and everything you might want to know about the new hip homemaker is a just few clicks away. One piece of this that is of particular interest to me is the whole world of couponing.
I used to subscribe and pay for a service which would track store sales and coupons and match them up to generate a weekly "list." But thanks to,,, and I have been able to do some amazing deals the last two weeks. And these awesome ladies do all the tracking for me. And I don't have to pay them. I just follow their blogs and voila, sweet deals on groceries.
Two weeks ago I actually went to a coupon class offered by author Angela. Not only was the class super informative, but she made it fun and doing the deals like a game which helped me be not so intimidated by the information overload of it all. She had great ideas on organizing too, which as you know is right up my alley. She defined the goal of couponing to be to get brand name items either free or significantly cheaper than their generic counterparts. Also, couponing is about stockpiling up on items when they are either free or very inexpensive rather than buying them when you need them at full price.

So here's what I did last week.
I went to Walgreen's and Fred Meyer. At Walgreen's I bought a box of Post Shredded Wheat cereal, an Airwick iMotion Starter Kit, a Reeses peanut butter cup candy, and a pack of Wrigley gum. After store sales and coupons, I spent $0.81.
At Fred Meyer I bought two cans of Cambell's cream of mushroom soup, a box of envelopes, a bag of Halls cough drops, and a 5 pound bag of flour. I spent $3.08.
The grand total for last week was $3.89.

This week I was a bit more adventurous and went to three stores. First I hit up Walgreen's for a box of the new U Kotex panty liners and three 2-packs of the new Pilot Frixion gel pens. After store sales, coupons, and a rebate from Pilot I actually made $3.93. No kidding. They actually paid me to take the stuff home.
Next was Fred Meyer. Right now they are having a deal where if you buy ten of the participating items you can get a free movie ticket, 15 free mp3 downloads, or free ringtones. Knowing Jason is planning a "guys night out," I went for the movie ticket. I bought one box of fruit snacks, 4 bottles of Sobe Life water, 1 box of Snuggle dryer sheets, 2 bags of Kraft shredded cheese, and 2 tubs of Smart Balance butter spread. After store sales and coupons, I spent $11.18 and got one free movie ticket. Lets say a movie ticket is worth about $9, I figure those groceries actually cost me around $2.18.
Last was Safeway. I bought a 46 oz. V8 Frusion, two gallons of milk, a package of Johnsonville brats, one Colgate toothpaste, a bag of fish crackers, one Knorr chicken and rice side kit, and a package of crab. After store sales and coupons I spent $8.53.
The grand total this week for all the stuff in the photo above (minus the crackers and one Sobe which my boys are enjoying while fishing at the park) and the free movie ticket was $15.78.

You might say its a lot of work for not that much in return. For us though, living on one income, we are always trying to make our dollars stretch as far as we can. And for a girl who gave up her lab coat for legos and laundry baskets, this has become a super fun way I can do something to support my husband in providing for our family. So thanks ladies, I'm having a blast doin' the deals!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just like his Grandpa

When I was a little girl my dad tricked me into giving him back rubs by inventing a game called Earthquake Time. He would lay on the floor on his tummy and I would walk up and down his back waiting for the "earthquake." Suddenly, he would wiggle and yell, "Earthquake time, earthquake time!!!!" and I would try, unsuccessfully, to ride out the earthquake. I thought this was great fun of course, and we would play "the game" over and over again. Good one Dad. As an adult Earthquake time is long gone, but the deed is done. Whenever I see my dad he flops a foot in my lap. He doesn't even need to speak anymore, I am so well trained. A hand flung in my direction, a shoulder shrugged up and down and there I am, a well trained daughter.
In my dad's defense I do have to add a bit to the story here. Now that I get the game, we do swaps. Mo always laughs at us because we're so predictable. We're always sitting on the couch across from each other, feet in laps. And in reality, it's not very one sided anymore. I am just as much as a hand flinger or shoulder shrugger as my dad.
So now that Ryan's getting bigger, I decided to follow suit and teach Ryan to do the same. I figure my time has come and it's my turn to get back rubs by the slave labor of my child. But I missed a crucial point. I forgot to be tricky. I didn't make it a game. I assumed, wrongly it turns out, that if I gave Ryan back rubs, foot rubs, hand rubs, head rubs etc. that he would give them to me too. Nope. Wrong.
Instead of having this deal come full circle I find myself in the same place. Except now its a smaller foot, a smaller back, a smaller hand flung at me.
The other day I was sort of petting Ryan's hair and I stopped. He looked at me and said, "Mommy! Finish my hair rub."
At night when we are getting ready for bed he will fling a foot at me. "Give me a foot rub. No not like that, like this. Wait, you're not done. Okay, now do this one." Sheesh. He is just like his Grandpa.