The Millennial Homemaker

The musings of a Stay at Home Mom

Simple Wonder

“Wonder is the fundamental condition of education.” ~Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

The freshly mowed grass gleams brightly across the desert landscape. The sun shines down on the earth like a warm, incandescent light-bulb, blurred out by a few cirrus clouds and cooled by the occasional breeze. In the distance a large fence separates two fields of grass. One field beckons the patrons to relax while the other field frames the scene for two teams of players. Spring Training is here. And in full swing.

I feel like a child again. I am so giddy.

The All-American pastime game, Baseball, brings about wonder to most people who attend on any given day. The smell of crackling popcorn, the large pitchers of soft drinks or beer, the fresh hot dogs boiling in the water, and the shaved ice represent the familiar food frenzy that must be consumed during the game.

What is so special about that?

I come back to my childhood memories. Although I did not attend many baseball games during my youth, the games that I did attend were well remembered. Seared into my long-term memory, these games helped me establish the WHY of Wonder.

Sometimes I believe that adults would give anything to return to the innocent days of wonder. To wallow in a pond, run through the sprinklers, chase fireflies at twilight, or even sit behind a wired fence to listen to the crack of a bat and an umpire yell, “Foul!”

Young children may not realize that wonder is a form of education. The young brain is constantly stimulated through real life events and experiences. It begs for more stimuli until the call of mother’s voice begs said child home for dinner. Once a new day begins, the wonder continues again to search for and absorb new memories and delights.

The Simplicity of Wonderment

To Wonder is to embrace the simple joys of life. To chase a butterfly, to sit still and listen to the birds singing on the branches, to lie on a blanket at dusk and wish upon the first star that winks in the night sky.

One of my goals in my mid-life is to slow down and enjoy the wonder of life. Otherwise, the spinning wheel of the daily grind continues to distract, to beg for its own attention, or to discourage the availability of what is always around… the simple wonder of nature.

I slow down. I stop to wonder. I unplug from society and look heavenward. Why?

So I can feel like a child again.

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Live now. Dream for the future.

I am currently reading through a little book called Beautiful Now by Stasi Eldredge. It is a 90 day devotional that leads a reader through the journey of discovering God’s dreams for you!

Dreaming for the future

As healing as this book has already been for me since I began reading, I still have so many questions about the future. I am sure you have been asked this one:

“Where do you see yourself in five years? What goals do you hope to achieve by then?”

Sometimes those questions can be so obscure. How am I supposed to know where I will be in five years? How do I even know what goals I will attain? Well, I am learning that the answer to these other questions are simply this: look back at the past five years and see where you have come from. Did you reach any new goals in the past five years, whether you set them intentionally or not?

I believe that looking back (don’t overdo it!) can help you set some foundation for what you would like to accomplish in the next five years. IT IS OKAY to dream about the future. It brings hope to a weary spirit. But, it can also bring fear. How so?

Living in the Present

Fear can reside in worrying too much about the future. I believe there is a fine line between dreaming about the future and worrying about the future. Tip the scales either way and you may be way off balanced. It is imperative to find your center.

That’s why it’s so important (I am talking to the choir here) to keep the focus on the present moment. As my pastor at my church says, “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks at the future.” Being positive in the present moment, free from worry, helps me to look to my future with faith… with hope. Teaching my mind to continually find peace in the present moment assures me to have hope and faith in my dreams for the future.

Ready or not… Here it comes!

Yes, just like the game of Hide and Seek, the future is coming whether I am ready or not. It can be daunting to look at from a distance. Just like looking at the bottom of a valley from the top of a mountain, the sheer drop can cause even the strongest person to faint. But, one step at a time… one breath at a time… one heartbeat at a time… the bottom of that impossible mountain is attainable.

How do I wrap this up? How do I live in the present while dreaming of the future? Just as I walk and breathe on a regular basis. Keep my mind focused on the things right in front of me. WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE!! For if not, all  I see are dirty dishes that need to be cleaned; floors that need to be swept. I see a partially empty refrigerator that needs to be filled again. Yes the mundane tasks seem like Groundhog day and can get overwhelming. So, the daily grind must be faced with the right attitude. Then, and only then, does the positive attitude help propel me into the proper frame of mind for dreaming.

Create a list and write it down.

I love how Stasi encourages the reader in Chapter 8 to write down a wish list. Who cares if it is silly or long or seems unattainable? For with God, all things are possible, right??? According to her own experience when she wrote down her Wish List and glanced at it a few years later, ALL of her wishes and dreams had come true! That’s pretty incredible to me. Why? Because it means that she believed in her dreams and made them a reality. She poured faith and hope into her list.

So, whoever is reading this post, would you join me in dreaming for the future? Would you consider writing a list of things you’d like to achieve or experience? If so, please reply. I’d love to hear your story.

With love,

Jeanne20130724-191445.jpg

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Time is running. Stop to catch it.

A sweet friend of mine posted a link to an article that I thought was intriguing. Basically, it talks about not wanting to have more children, per se, but to have more TIME with the children you already created. I couldn’t agree more.

Here was my reply to her post:

“As a mom of 4, I look back and remember feeling that way a lot. Wanting to have more quality time. But, the real gift is just TIME. Enjoy each moment, even if they have diarrhea and are puking all over your floor. For one day soon, it will all be over. They will be driving and going to work or college. And then you wont see them for days. All you will see are the remnants of where they have been… the laundry, the dirty dishes, the bathrooms. And then you’ll wish that you could just read them a bedtime story again. Or take them to the park again. Its so surreal but so true.”

The thought of time passing so quickly has such bittersweet emotions.

It reminds me of that song, “It Might Be You,” which was played in the movie, Tootsie. Watching that movie as a young child in the 1980s I never thought how quickly time would pass into adulthood. Having children has somehow catapulted me into a fast-forward dimension of wishing that I could put the brakes on the concept of time.

Back to the original thought: having more babies does not give the ultimate satisfaction of spending time in babyhood. Babies grow up into little people. Then those little people grow into big people. What mothers crave is the ability to maximize the time that they have with the children already created.

Oh, how I’d love to find a time machine to go back a decade (or two) and tell my younger self to ENJOY IT MORE. Enjoy the diapers and the breastfeeding (or bottles). Enjoy the smell of baby lotion and rubber duckies floating in the tub. Enjoy the endless hours of playing at the park (mostly to wear them out for bed!) and pushing the children endlessly on the swings. Enjoy the snuggles and stories at bedtime. Enjoy the little breakfasts with “EEEAAALL” as my son used to say for cereal.

JUST ENJOY IT.

For one day really soon, those precious babies will be all grown up. They will graduate high school. They will get their driver’s license (Lord help us moms with all that adrenaline) and drive off in YOUR car for the first time. They will find a job,  develop a relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or move away to college (or stay home during college and eat all your food).

In every circumstance of growth and change, TIME makes it hurt. It’s joyful to watch them grow, BUT IT HURTS LIKE HELL, too.

So as you snuggle your little ones, remember that those moments are so brief in time.

ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN 🙂

 

 

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When the $h17 hits the fan…

The revamping of my brain

A lot has happened in my life in the past 6 months. I have two choices to peak your curiousity… (1) I can elaborate on the boring details; or (2) I can just apologize for the crickets over here.

Yes, literally, I’ve heard crickets in my brain these past 6 months. I am not sure if it’s because I am in a whirlwind of mid-life madness, or if it’s because my path is about to change. Anywho… it’s nobody’s fault but mine, but I’m not choosing to blame.

I’m choosing to move forward

Life has a funny way of throwing $h17 in your face. I don’t want to say the actual curse word, but if you can read Klingon, then I’m sure you can understand what I am saying.

Here’s a recap of what I’ve been through (bucket list, anyone?)…

  • I became a mom at 23 (so young)
  • I became a wife at 23 (again, too young)
  • I moved away from everyone and everything at the age of 26
  • I bought my first home at 27
  • I kept having more kids (age 25, 28, and finally 34)
  • I finally got my Bachelors degree at 39
  • I lost my dad at age 21, then my sweet mom at age 41
  • I lost my home, my two cars, and my financial credibility at age 36
  • And, the icing on all the cake… I lost the trust in marriage at age 42

I could be so bitter about all of these changes. And yes, there are times when the bitterness superceded the joy. “Consider all JOY my brethren when you encounter various trials… said James in the New Testament.” Maybe James never had to file bankruptcy, or hold his dying mother’s hand, or listen to the horror of his spouse’s affair.

But, when it’s ALL said and done, when I draw upon my final breath on this planet of green and blue, will I be satisfied with my life?

I have to say YES.

I have to say that no matter how much $h17 has been thrown in my path, that the dash between my birth year and death year on my gravestone will represent a life well lived.

And WELL LOVED.

I love people I know more than I should. That’s the codependent side of me. But, I also love humanity. I love that people are the only creatures on this planet that can truly change the trajectory of this planet for good or evil. I hope that it’s for good.

My intentions for living are for good.

I want my four children to know that I did the best damn job I could in raising them.

Model citizens? Maybe. Great humanitarians? I HOPE SO.

Love God and love others…. that is my motto. It may not be yours, and that’s okay. But I hope that you DO love something… or someone.

For even when the $h17 hits the fan and rains poop emojis on you, you can still smile. Just like the yellow t-shirt in Forrest Gump… Have a nice day!

 

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A Generation of Parenting

What, How, Why: My 20+ Years of Parenting

Its officially been over 20 years that I have been called a mother. I have four children that range in age from 21 (almost 21) down to 10. A lot has happened in these 20+ years.

As I look back on the past generation (yes, one generation equals 20 years) of this monumental calling, I realize that my experience deserves a wink. A glimpse. A shot at fifteen minutes of fame. Or, maybe nothing at all. But, here it goes.

If you are a young mom drowning in the mundane duties of side order chef, laundry loader, calm down singer, carpooler, floor scrubber, or heck…. a mammary milk supplier… rest assured THIS PHASE goes by so fast. Trust me.

In 20 years time I have traded the following life-altering experiences as a young mom for the replacement alternatives as a now “seasoned” mom:

  • Sleepless nights —> sleep-all-the-time teenagers
  • Diapers and formula/nursing —> unending trips to the grocery store to fill the always empty refrigerator and pantry
  • Baby and toddler car seats —>borrowed car keys to teen drivers that come home way too late
  • Preschool tuition —> college tuition
  • Book fair purchases —> yearbooks, college textbooks, laptops, cell phones
  • Christmas outfits —> Homecoming and/or Prom attire
  • Family outings and vacays —> “I don’t have time or want to go on a trip with you”
  • Baby wipes —> acne wipes

And the list goes on and on.

So, begs the question: Would I do it all over again?
YES. IN A HEARTBEAT.

IF only  I could turn back time.

Instead, the beating of my heart keeps me going from one moment to the next. Each beat reminds me to cherish each moment with my grown children.

Knowing I only get a limited number of heartbeats helps me stay grounded in the reality of the speed of life passing by. And, so far… it feels as fast at 186,000 miles per hour.

2016 is SOOO different from 1996

In one generation I have seen the superfluous changes in parenting. From strollers to cell phones, from scrapbooks (real photos from film) to snap chat, from email to texting…. SOOO much has changed.

I almost feel sorry for the young moms in this decade. They have so much more at their disposal, yet they are so overwhelmed by the effects of instant everything.

  • Play dates are arranged on social media, rather than by picking up the phone and CALLING a friend for a get together.
  • Fast food and COFFEE shops on every corner are shaping the expanding waistlines and the need to buy more yoga pants.
  • Home parties (for mom’s night out) have been replaced by facebook parties.
  • Cooking at home is even more rare than the nightly meals once gracing the dining room table.
  • Speaking of the dining room table, this piece of household furniture resembles more of a desk, a craft area, or a museum piece.
  • Children now want (and usually receive) more gifts than ever from classmates that may move away… tomorrow. That $25 price tag for a gift? Nobody blinks at it.

Please know I am not raining on your parade.

My hat is off to you, young mom. I get the pressure you feel to just lie down and rest for 15 minutes. I understand the need to go to the bathroom without an audience. I have been there with the baby strapped in the carseat, sitting in the stroller, crying his eyes out while you are crying because of shampoo in your eyes.

What my mission is in writing this blurb is: I want to encourage you. Keep swimming with the current. Keep getting up every day and trying to squeeze in that workout. Keep learning how to make one new meal that your babies will someday brag to a friend and sing your praises. Keep picking up those socks and finding their homes or strayed partners. Keep singing those lullabies. Keep on mommying on.

For in 20 years, you’ll be trading your young mommy hat for a seasoned hat. And hair dye.

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