Friday, October 31, 2014

Freedom

Dear Me (or You, if you need it to!),

The Internet is full of it.  Full of everything, full of nothing.  Everyone has their ideas and opinions and for some reason we thought it would be good to put all those ideas and opinions in one place where everyone can access them at all hours of the day.  Do you have an opinion about something?  Good news: you can find a number of articles and blog posts to back you up. 

There are also a number of articles and blog posts that will point out how very wrong you are, so beware when scoping out things.  I know that these are the ones that bring you down.  That make you feel like everything you've ever believed and everything you've ever researched could only be believed by a stupid person. 

But you have a brain.  You have survived this long, and were doing great before you read that article that said you were doing it wrong.  I know you didn't mean to read it.  Some well-meaning friend posted it on Facebook, and since you like your friend you felt you should read what spoke to them so clearly.  But it didn't bring life to you the way it brought life to them, and that's okay.  For some reason, God created us with different ideas and opinions and ways of doing things.  I think it's because He ultimately wants us to trust in Him and not in our great human wisdom.  Maybe.  But that's the world we live in.

So I'm here today to give you permission to not read the things that bring you down.  If you don't have any interest or desire to homeschool, then for heaven's sake, DO NOT read the articles entitled "How Much I Love Homeschooling" or "Why I Sent My Daughter to Public School And Regret That Decision Every Day."  If you don't want to eat vegan or paleo, please don't click on links written by vegans and paleo-eaters that declare how you should be dead right now because you don't eat vegan or paleo.  Only read if you are looking to change something about your life or are uncomfortable with the way things are going for you now.

Simple, right?  Just don't read it.  You do not have to.  If you understand the basic idea of something and have chosen to do something else, you do not have to be compelling to read every single reason that someone thinks they have the ultimate wisdom on the topic.  Just be obedient to the Lord, pray and ask Him what to do, read your Bible, and feel confident in your decision.

Also, don't take it personally if not everyone thinks that every word out of your mouth is solid gold.  No need to argue.  Just do what you need to do.

Sincerely,
Me

Thanks for joining me for 31 Days of Half Baked Ideas!  I'm amazed you stuck it out with me this long  Missed any?  Catch up here!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

How To Beat Me At Never Have I Ever

I'm pretty good at Never Have I Ever, mostly because I never really do anything.  The point of the game is to say things you've never done, and if someone has done that then they lose a point (or an M&M or whatever it is you are playing with.)  But here are a few ways you can beat me at this game, because I've actually done these things:

1. Given birth to three girls
2. Completed a 4-year degree at an out-of-state college
3. Lived in four different states (Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Louisiana)
4. Been to four different foreign countries (Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Italy)
5. Been to Disneyland/Sea World/Legoland
6. Been to Alaska
7. Made money selling crocheted beard hats
8. Eaten massive amounts of crawfish in one sitting
9. Gotten a speeding ticket
10. Been Christmas caroling in Italy
11. Saw Phantom of the Opera in New York City
12. Been pranked repeatedly and unmercilessly with a very large bra by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law
13. Made homemade jambalaya from scratch

When I look at this list, I don't feel quite so lame.  (But still mostly lame, because I can't think of much more beyond this list.)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things in College That I Took For Granted

Spring Break, 2002, Sophomore Year
While I've come to a few new conclusions about college, I cannot deny that there were some amazing, life changing things that happened for me there.  But it has taken me these 10 years away from it to fully realize that there were some things that I totally took for granted.  And if I could do it all over again I would purpose to cherish my time in that parenthesis of life.

The Meal Plan
Everyone loves to joke about the state of cafeteria food.  But I had three years where my meals were prepared for me.  And if I didn't like the entree, I could hit up the salad bar or the sandwich bar (or the cereal or waffle maker, but I was in an I Don't Like Breakfast Food phase in college.)  We chafed at the idea of having someone decide our meals, but boy, do I wish for it now.  I would happily eat whatever anyone planned for me, just as long as I didn't have to do it day in and day out like I do now.

The Natural Friendship Maker
Living in a dorm with a bunch of other girls, going to the some of the same classes and eating all your meals together naturally creates solid friendships.  I love my college friends deeply, but I'm not sure I truly appreciated how unique this friendship-making opportunity was.  I had no idea that it would be so much harder to make and maintain friendships out here in the real world, where each woman has their own life to manage, and can't just drop by your room at 10:00 on Thursday night for Popcorn Hour to connect. 

The Work Load
Academic schedules can be grueling, and piling on a job can be tough.  But those two things were all I had to worry about in college.  I was fed, I was housed, and I was still under the umbrella of my parents and dorm leaders.  It felt like a lot at the time, but sometimes I wish that's all I had to worry about.

I look back and cherish these things now.  I wish I had had the maturity to cherish them in the moment.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things From My Childhood I Force Upon My Children

I am fully aware that my generation is trying to hold on to our childhoods as long as possible.  And perhaps one of the ways we do that is by forcing things from our childhood on our children.  Did our parents do this?  I can't remember.  Or maybe the kids don't know, and it just becomes part of their childhood.  Maybe it's not forcing so much as passing on traditions.


The biggest thing I have done is make my kids listen to The Music Machine.  It's so fun to listen to this, not only because it's nostalgic, but because of how obviously it was recorded in the late 70s.  But I still love the message and the music, so my girls are learning the songs by heart too.

I also employ the tactic my mother used on me: forcing them to play outside.  Most of the time they love it outside, but sometimes they just don't want to go and I really need them to.  So I kick them out and set a timer and tell them they don't have to play, but they do have to sit out there until the timer goes off.

The other day I found a couple boxes of a natural cocoa rice crispy cereal on mega sale.  I loved that stuff as a kid.  The girls were not so impressed.  I still can't figure out why, but they were happy when both boxes were gone.  It must have been a texture thing, because I had a couple of bowls myself and they were delicious.

The girls will have their own memories of things that are classic 2014.  But sprinkled in will always be a part of my childhood.  I like to think that it is a privilege of parenthood.

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P.S.  Can you tell we're coming to the end of this 31 Days challenge?  Can you sense the writer's fatigue?  Sorry about that!  No promises that it will get better, but thanks for sticking with me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pins I've Pinned But Will Never Actually Do

Toilet Paper Roll Flower Wreath

I love Pinterest.  I've found and implemented many ideas, and I believe our lives are better for it.  And for the most part I've been able to avoid the whole Pinners Remorse, where you feel bad about your life because of what you see on Pinterest.  I like to think of myself as a responsible pinner, pinning things that a.) have a working link to the actual project and b.) that are completely realistic for my life.  But I have pinned a few things that I just know I will never do.

My Craft Room Board
This whole board is probably unrealistic.  Having a completely separate room dedicated to only crafting seems like such a luxury, and I cannot fathom a life in which we have that luxury.  I love the craft storage ideas, because I do have quite a collection of crafting supplies, but a full room?  Only in my dreams.

Toilet Paper Roll Art
I have so many pins pinned showing toilet paper roll art.  They look so awesome.  But will I ever actually create one?  I feel like the answer is no.  I can never remember to not just chuck the empty roll in the trash.  I'm just trying to be realistic here.

Pillow Case Dresses
I've pinned a bunch of tutorials on how to make pillow case dresses.  But I'm not sure I'll ever actually do them.  I have a hard time getting myself motivated to do any kind of clothes making/re-purposing project, mostly because I'm incredibly intimidated by it.   I'm sure my girls would love pillow case dresses, but they might have to live their whole life without wearing one.

Homemade Bread Recipes
Am I ever really going to make my own bread?

So here's my confession: I've pinned pins that I'm never going to do.  The end.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Case for Purity

When I think about all the things I need to teach my girls, the subject of purity scares me the most.  I think this is because what I want to teach them is diametrically opposed to what the world wants to teach them.  They are going to hear two very different sides and have to make a choice.  So how do I accurately portray purity in a way that shows them the truth?

The world is going to tell them that purity is old-fashioned, stupid, outdated and narrow-minded.  That not even purity is worth the pleasure they'll feel in that moment.  That consequence and possible regret won't matter because they'll do what's right for them at that very second in time.  And since purity is really an exercise in self-control and delayed gratification, how can any message possibly compete with that?

The world will tell them that in order to find the one person that they are going to spend the rest of their life with they are going to have to sleep with them.  Or with more than one, to make sure that the sexual chemistry is magic.  Because who wants to be trapped in a marriage without sexual chemistry?  But they don't understand the damage that is done through this practice.  If someone does sleep around, they are going to have to have a conversation with their final choice to let them know all the people they've already been with.  Even on TV this conversation never goes over well.  Funny, isn't it?  They assume you'll have multiple partners, but when you finally select your one and only you have to tell them they haven't been your one and only.

God designed marriage to be a place of safety and security, and the very most intimate act between a man and woman is only safe inside that relationship.  It's not even safe if it occurs between people who have promised to marry, because they don't have the security of that commitment.   It is only in marriage.

The world will tell them that how they dress should only matter to them.  That they can wear whatever they think will make them feel pretty, even if it offends someone else.  That they are not responsible for what other people think of them as long as the love themselves because of what they wear.

Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that Christians disagree on what purity is too.  Purity, ironically, is actually a gray area.  We've labelled a sliding scale, and everyone has decided for themselves what crosses the line.  Maybe this is truly how it is, but I don't like it.  It seems to me that purity should be black and white.  You either practice purity, or you don't.  You either are pure, or you're not.  But I guess even I don't live my life according to that standard.

There are so many areas that purity touches: dress, actions, physical expression.  How on earth am I going to convey what God says about it if not even believers can agree on whether or not people should kiss while dating, or how much of a girl's leg should show?

But what if modesty is really just a heart attitude? Having respect for others, understanding that while you are not responsible for controlling their thoughts, you can be aware of issues they might have and act accordingly.  Maybe you don't wear that shirt to attract attention, but I think a real sign of maturity is knowing that the shirt does attract attention and thinking of how you would want your husband to react and dress accordingly.

Maybe I shouldn't stress purity so much as love for others.  Love for someone else's future husband, love for their own future husbands.  As with most of our life, how we dress is not about pleasing ourselves, but honoring others.  Can you wear whatever you want?  Yes.  Does how you dress affect how others, especially men, think?  Yes.  Can you dress in a way that will not only protect yourself for your husband, but protect a boy from having to fight to control his thoughts so he can remain pure for his future wife?  YES.

Things like this will never be easy, but choosing to honor others is always worth it.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Superpowers for Moms

photo credit: http://www.chicagonow.com/bug-coffee/2014/04/i-am-supermom/

It's fairly obvious that mothers would be the demographic that would put superpowers to good use.  Super speed, teleportation, flight and invisibility all come to mind as something that should be bestowed on the mother at the very instant that her child shows up.  But there are a few more that might make a mothers' life better.

Zapping bugs with your eyes.  Not only would that eliminate the pesky flies in the house, or worse, the dreaded creepy spider, but how useful would it be to save your child from a stinging bee?  One blink of the eye ought to zap the creature to kingdom come, without having to come close to it. 

The Mary Poppins Clean Up Power.  You know the drill, snap and everything cleans up.  But in a fun way, like all the toys march to their toy box.  And birds come and magically chirp a little song at your window while you're doing it.

The Magic Chop Touch.  The worst part about cooking is all the prep.  So what if you could pick up the onion you need, set it on the cutting board, cover it with your hands and when you pull away your hands it was magically chopped?  This could cut cooking time in half, and you'd be able to make better dinners than the usual spaghetti or mac and cheese back up because you don't really have time to make anything else.

Stain Removal.  This one would involve your magic thumb.  Just rub your thumb over a pesky stain on your kid's favorite shirt and BOOM.  The stain is gone!

Sound Dampening.  I haven't quite figured out how, but basically this would be the ability to absorb all unwanted sounds while the babies are napping.  You know, the doorbell from the cable salesman or the jackhammer outside on the street that just HAD to be done at 1:00 in the afternoon.  They could go about their work, and you could absorb all their sounds and your baby could sleep in bliss.

Any that I missed?

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