26.2.09

7 Quick Takes


1. I just realized that by nature the quick takes implies that one has a head just busting full of ideas and needs a quick way to present them. This may be why it takes me so long to write a quick takes post as my head is often busting, but not always with ideas or interesting thoughts. If I could write an itemized to do list of all things mundane and less so that I currently have looming over me it would be very easy to do. Perhaps I shall start my own blog meme. It will be very boring. I'll call it, 7 things you should really be doing right now instead of blogging. Procrastinate some more by telling us about it.

This is the essence of almost all of my phone calls with my mother. At least the last half of the call is taken up with her telling me that she really needs to run she has so much to do, and then describing to me in minute detail her to do list. I'm afraid I'm starting to do the same thing.

And then there is the Boy. Today he wrote a story. A little 5 sentence story. He figured out what he was going to write down, word for word, sentence by sentence and dictated the whole thing to me. He then proceeded to repeat it to himself over and over again, and take more than an hour to write it down. I kept looking at him, swallowing my utter frustration and reminding myself, "He has your genes, what else did you expect?"

2. I have come to the conclusion that having got the discipline of gratitude to the point where it is almost habitual, it is time for me to tackle another area of personal discipline, which involves taking care of myself. There was a time, not so long ago, when I was good at this. Really good. The past several months however I have allowed things like nutrition, exercise, and portion control to become lower and lower on my priorities list. It was okay to eat many cookies because I was pulling an allnighter to finish something IMPORTANT and I needed the 20 second energy boost that came from mainlining sugar. It was okay to forgo regular exercise in favor of staying on top of the housework and several necessary projects. The result of which is that I am more tired and lethargic than ever and can only vaguely recollect a time when I felt like I was missing something vital from my day because I hadn't exerted myself enough to sweat and get my heart pumping. Figuring out how to get back to there, how to reintroduce exercise into the delicate balance that is my day is going to be a challenge. My tentative first step is to stop eating sugar. The rest of my diet is pretty healthy already, as long as I don't keep sneaking treats into it I should start to feel better soon.

3. There is nothing like deciding not to have something to force you to realize how addicted to it you have become. So many little bits of my day have built in snack routines that I wasn't even aware of before I decided not to have sugar yesterday. What on earth will I do with the little moment when I breath a sigh of relief when all the kids are down for a nap and I walk into the kitchen to celebrate a moments peace? I suspect the answer is to not walk into the kitchen. Perhaps a celebratory push up or two is in my future. (Not nearly as exciting sounding as dark chocolate. Sigh.)

4. I've been surprised often lately to discover that I am/getting older. It's not so much the changes I observe in my face and body that show age, but more in social settings. I still consider myself a fairly novice mother, a rather young woman, someone who definitely doesn't have all her shit together yet and still has much to learn. The women I find myself mentored by are much older, more mature and experienced than myself and I consider myself a novice compared to them. And yet, in my circle of immediate acquaintance, especially mothers with small children, I'm becoming aware that in the past few years, while I've been busy with diapers and potty training, homeschooling and attempting to cram some character into toddlers, I gradually morphed into an experienced, older mom somehow. It feels a bit odd, like I'm an impostor sometimes, but gradually I am confronting the fact that a decade has passed since I was truly young. I am not any more.

At no time was this more blatant than last week. Our church arranges a mentor program where people can sign up to be a mentor, or to have a mentor if they want one, or both. I figured I would sign up in the both category. Due to a shortage of mentors I am without a mentor, but mentoring someone else. The last time I did something like this my mentoree was a very sweet, very silly, 17 year old girl. This time round my mentoree is 29 and has a PhD in Bio sciences and at work she is currently developing applications for a technology that allows DNA to be stored at room temperature.

5. I've been giving a lot of thought these days to the concept that life is the story we tell ourselves. Everyone has a meta-narrative, a story that they tell themselves they are living in that explains the way things are. We interpret what happens to us through the lens of this story we believe we are in. What interests me the most is how two people in similar circumstances can believe such different things about themselves, one believes her life is a tragedy, while the other believes it is a comedy, or an epic. Moms are a good cross section of this for example. Take 2 mothers at home with small children but with different internal stories. The first will believe she is absolutely blessed to get to stay home with her children, she will tell you she is living her dream. The second believes some of the feminist propaganda, that house work is demeaning, that wiping poopie butts is beneath her. She feels trapped and miserable by the burden of her physical ability to reproduce, by these children of hers. She is counting the hours until they are in school and she can have a life again.

Change a person's story, and you can change their life forever. I find that fascinating.

6. Number 5 is why finally trusting that God is good had such an impact on my life. Even if you don't believe in God, or believe in a different god, just imagine for a second what it would be like to live in a universe where the greatest power was good. Goodness that loves, is unselfish, benevolent, lavishly generous, and the source of all beauty and life. I don't think it really occurred to me what good news this is until I got to know a bit of how afraid the people in the villages in Thailand are. Their worldview is animist. They consider themselves at the mercy of capricious spirits that are out to get them. They make expensive sacrifices if a termite hill appears in the village, out of fear of what will happen if they don't. They crawl through spirit gates when a relative dies to keep their spirit from finding them and tormenting them. There is so much fear.

From that perspective, when Judaism and then Christianity arrived on the scene all those years ago it was very good news indeed. Here was a God who was good, just, who loved the world He made. What a change that must have been to people who routinely sacrificed their own children out of fear of the Gods, or in a attempt to control their capricious ways to gain power.

Anyway. it's something I think about.

7. I sit here trying to think of a seventh thing and all that goes through my mind is my to do list. It is very long, and has such diverse items on it as preparing pamphlets to mail to child sponsors so they are ready when the person designing our logo finishes it. (I'm trying so hard not to be impatient since they are volunteering their services, but so much is waiting on it's completion.)
And thinking about a conversation we had last night with an engineer about designing/building village models that include water purification and access. Exciting, even if it is years down the road right now. And I have to do laundry, and buy a birthday present for a two year old. Is any of it less significant than the other? I guess it's a matter of perspective.

Jennifer F. hosts 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary

1 comment:

  1. One of my adopted children has a lot of trouble seeing the good stuff in her life, and I am trying to help her learn to reframe ....see the good instead of focusing so tightly on the sad.

    I tell her two people can have the exact same life, same type of losses, etc. But if one finds a way to see the good stuff and be thankful, he/she will have a much better life than the one who always focuses on the misery.

    Same life, different attitude. It makes all the difference.

    I don't know if I am getting through to her, but I will keep trying.

    Mary, mom to many

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