31 March 2013

The Anything Prayer

Sometimes? Sometimes it is all I can do to keep from breaking down into a million little pieces. And sometimes, I fail. Miserably. For instance, this week. This week I have been one breakdown failure after the next. And it's easy to look for external reasons why. I can list off one hundred and one reasons I've been a hot mess, none of which have anything to do with me and all of which are valid.

Let's begin.

For the last three weeks, our tiny 500ft flat is currently housing an extra sofa, random wood working projects, two sinks and countertops full of dishes. Our work schedules? Crazy. Rory has come to work with me more than once or twice in the last two weeks. Easter, a Capital Campaign, and various other church shenanigans for myself PLUS a doctors appointment (4 shots), two top teeth, upset schedules due to a busy mama and mastering the art of "cruising" for Rory PLUS bunches of signs, local events, bees, and aforementioned wood working projects for Marko (I would explain his business better if I understood it...). The floors need mopping, the bathroom needs bleaching, the laundry needs doing, and our bed could use a serious shake out.

Needless to say, I am exhausted. Each day has begun too early with too many wake ups in the night and too much screaming creating too short tempers. There is not enough time and not enough coffee and not enough happy noises. There is not enough Bible or writing or journaling or running or anything that resembles rejuvenation. There is not enough sex, not enough room, not enough sleep, not enough communication, not enough self-love. There just isn't enough. Of anything.

There is, however, a lot of prayer. Perhaps not enough, but a lot.

You don't need to be a parent or a spouse or (honestly) even to believe in God to know the "anything" prayer. You just need to be human and know stress. Odds are, you've said this prayer. Regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your temperament, you've spoken these words aloud or in the quiet recesses of your mind. It goes something like this:

"God - I can't - I just - please - anything." 

I probably make this exact plea one hundred times before the end of a day. Eyes closed, tears streaming down my face, bottom lip turned down just like the 4 year old I am at heart, I whisper these words. Out loud, to myself, in the car, while Rory is screaming, when I'm frustrated with Marko, as I am trying desperately to not be upset about one more damned thing. Because more than being exhausted by all of those very reasonable outer variable, I am exhausting myself.

BULLET ONE: Being a doormat. "Oh sure, I'll do those eight more things." My workload is something fierce. And all I want is to do everything that people need. It isn't just a work thing though, it's a life thing. And I need to learn to take a step back and say "Hey, I just can't right now." Those words are my unattainable goal. But, I'm... trying?

BULLET TWO: Friends. I'm no good at having friends. I put in these huge efforts and very often get nothing in return - or walked all over. It's pleasant. So, my knee-jerk reaction is to withdraw entirely. And making friends? Oh buddy, if you don't initiate? Probably never gonna happen. I'm socially inept and awkward. And not in a "Hey, she's awkward and that's cute" kind of way - purely in a "Why isn't she talking - what's wrong with that girl?" kind of way. I hide behind my cute baby. Literally. Also, no one gets my sense of humor with the exception of Mark, which is why I married him.

BULLET THREE: My self esteem. Or lack thereof. Which seems to be the norm as of late. I can't even look at a picture of an actress I deem attractive without my own self worth plummeting into the ground at full speed, God forbid an actual film. And if Mark finds them attractive? I may as well curl up into the fetal position preemptively. Which is honestly, really unfair to Mark. One, he has to deal with my neurotic mess of self and two, he feels bad for objectively commenting on the very true fact that Jessica Biel is pretty.

So I pray a lot. A lot a lot. And I ask for anything. Anything at all that will get me through this absolute horrible awful wreck of an emotional state that I am in. And today. Today is Easter. A day for new beginnings. So I think I'll start here. And by this time next week, I will probably have said the "anything prayer" one million times over and had about as many new beginnings. But if the new beginnings don't start with me, they won't start at all.

08 March 2013

This Week

“The philosophers [and theologians] have only interpreted the world, in various ways;
the point is to change it.” Marx


And this...
T-Rex Love, haha :)

Just purchased this beauty for something like dirt cheap on hsn.

 And with it? I shall do so many things! Like sew the cushions for the couch we're building, start making my own clothes again (+Mark & Rory's), crafts, cloth diaper covers, anddd...
 ... create this beautiful little swing! Or one like it... I already have all the materials and everything.
(click the photo to find out how you can build yours)

Mostly, I'm excited about my sewing machine this week. Oh! And we paid off Emily (our car) with our tax return, so she is officially ours! We gave her a ceremonial cleaning - which was honestly wayyy overdue - and got Rory a new cars seat to christen the whole ordeal (he's too tall for the baby one now *tears*).

Other than that? Rory's been sick all week so I've had less than enough sleep and had a pretty fussy little boy on my hands - plus side though? He only wants to sleep in my arms so I get a lot of blogging done!

05 March 2013

Parent, Not Grown Up

Mark and I watched Cheaper By The Dozen last night - the one with Steve Martin. Yes, you read correctly, so stop with the judgey eyes. In case you aren't aware, Cheaper By The Dozen is a family comedy about a family with (you guessed it) twelve children and the hilarity that ensues. It is loosely based on a novel by Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth, and by "loosely" I mean the title and premise of twelve children are the same. Mark was the one who suggested it, but I quickly jumped on the band wagon due to the fact that Steve Martin is easily one of the greatest comedians of all time and I love Bonnie Hunt.

Also, unbeknownst to me, the film features Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hillary Duff, Alyson Stoner, Alan Ruck, Ashton Kutcher, and a plethora of other actors and actresses your jaw drops for as you realize how young everyone is - with the exception of Steve Martin who hasn't aged since The Jerk in 1979. It was crazy to see the 2003 versions of everyone, but mostly? It was crazy to see how my ability to identify with characters has changed. In 2003? I was one Sarah Baker; tomboy, prankster, and general leader of mischief. Now? I am Kate. When did I become Bonnie Hunt?


I'm not complaining, it's just kind of a wonder... to watch a movie years later and feel more like the parent than one of the kids. Am I a grown up now? Because I certainly don't feel like a grown up. I still have a toe ring and prefer black nail polish. I swear regularly and forget to brush my teeth sometimes. I mean, I'm married and we have a bank account. But some times we forget to budget and Mark and I have misunderstanding all the time. I shop at Goodwill and do Bountiful Baskets, but I also buy pleather bomber jackets and make pie plate cookies (which is one big cookie baked in a pie plate or cast iron pan). I couldn't be grown up - could I?

Life with Rory is often hard. There are nights when we haven't slept and spend hours rocking a very tearful little boy and tears run down our own faces. There are days when we just want two minutes alone. There are weeks when a shower is a blessed thing we see maybe twice. And there are months where the sink is never empty and the floors are never clean.

Marriage is often hard. Mark and I aren't fighters so we pull away when we are hurt which just leads to more hurt and more pulling away. Sometimes we don't really see one another all week due to conflicting work schedules. And money is always a strain even on the most affluent of people.

I may or may not be grown up, but I am certainly a parent now. And not just because I have a child. I watch Cheaper By The Dozen and see a beautiful marriage with ups and downs, parenting realities in love, and a house full of children I covet. Yes. I covet a messy, full household with twelve children. I like that they talk about always having to wear hand-me-downs and that twelve is the number of times they max out their bank account in a year to make ends meet. They don't portray life with twelve kids as easy and neat, they showcase it as incredibly hectic. But I want it.

Mark thinks twelve is probably too many - at least to have all at once. And he's probably right, he is certainly the more realistic of the two of us. But I find myself looking forward to this. I like being exhausted in the way that children exhaust. I like the growth it forces from me. I like the laughter and the head shaking. I like the honesty that being a mom has given me. So, maybe not twelve, but who knows? A Dullanty Dozen has a nice ring to it...

04 March 2013

Passover Me

I have been trying (see: failing) to post about Lent since before Ash Wednesday. Reason being? Lent makes me angry. Christians treat Lent like some secondary opportunity for a New Year's resolution. You know the social media status I'm talking about:
"I'm giving up chocolate."
"I'm giving up Facebook."
"I'm giving up carbs."

To what point and purpose?!

Lent is meant to be a time of meditation and focus on the cross and the sacrifice that was made there - when we give up (chocolate, social media, carbs, etc.), are we giving it up to better concentrate on the things that matter? Or are we giving it up selfishly?

... deep breath.

I've decided that while I am irked (see: furious), I don't want to (see: can't properly) discuss how Lent has been bastardized into something of a fad diet. Instead, I am going to talk about myself and how this Lenten season has affected me this year.

"For we have this hope as an anchor for the soul..."

If I am being perfectly honest, my biblical studies have fallen by the wayside since having Rory. My prayer life has never been fiercer, but there just haven't been enough hours in the day to really dive into scripture. Reading novels is easy enough while I'm nursing or before bed, because I don't really need to or want to carefully consider the words on the page. I don't want to write in the margins (most of the time), underline, or pick up three other versions to reference back and forth and look up original meanings.

Now that Rory is a little older? It is a little easier. He can play with his copious amount of toys while I really dig my heels into several chapters before he crawls into my lap expecting to be snuggled. But still, I don't often get that opportunity - or, rather, I don't really allow myself that opportunity. I'm constantly doing dishes, making bread, folding laundry, and a variety of other chores instead of picking up my Bible. Bad, Malia.

But Lent has left me with some excellent resources. The first was seemingly obvious: The ECC has partnered with World Vision to create Covenant Kids Congo, which you can read more about through the link, and has provided congregations like ours with free prayer materials for Lent. Once I read about it, I decided that I wanted to read the print out and be in prayer for the multitude of children with food, water, medicine, education, etc.

Secondly, I found myself really loving the concept behind World Vision's Lenten materials - that Lent could transform itself week by week as I spent these 40 days falling back in love with (and making time for) my bible.

Lastly, the blogosphere. I'm not what one would call an "avid" blogger, nor do I avidly follow many blogs. I am more of a lackadaisical reader of blogs and author-when-motivated. But a friend of mine turned me on to an interesting concept that I hope you'll check out: Atheism For Lent. The idea of giving up perceptions of God to make room for who God actually is; The study follows common arguments against God as well as the works of Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, and Žižek. It is vastly interesting. I have had several people question me in my pursuit of this avenue, but if my faith cannot stand the examination of nonbelievers - what kind of faith is it? I would argue that if I never allow my beliefs to be questioned, that they are not beliefs at all, merely wishing projected.

I have also taken time to really read through several blogs on sexual purity within Christianity and the idol we create there, sexuality in general, adoption, physical abuse, suffering as a whole, and other various topics that I have fully submersed myself in. I've read opposing view points, gentle leadings, kind words, harsh words, angry rants... and I must say, my heart feels lifted already. I find myself clicking on link after link after link, eager to pour more over my never quenched cup soul. I also find myself examining my own Bible for 3 minutes here, 10 minutes there, and writing so much in my freedom rediscovered.

It has been, and I hope will continue to be, a beautiful season of growth for me spiritually. I am filled up, yet never satisfied and yearning for more. I am lost in a maze of glorious sacrifice and I couldn't be more contented.

Now if I could only apply that to other aspects of my life...