how I get projects done. (kind of)

I am in major project mode right now. Like MAJOR. I am pinning things left and right and starting things. Finishing though? Well…uh. Anyone else out there both a procrastinator and a perfectionist? Let me invite you into my project cycle (that absolutely without a doubt does not drive my husband crazy at all):

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oh hey, coffee table that has been sanded down, stained on top, and left to collect dust for three weeks. We will finish you!

1. Find project

2.Contemplate for a long while whether or not I can accomplish the project and have it look professionally done (ahem. perfectionist)

3. Ask my husband 6 million times and show him 6 million pictures of the idea I have in my head. Talk about said project for at least 1-3 weeks.

4. Finally start project (usually prompted by my husband getting the ball rolling by either a. buying supplies or b. letting me know that our date night will be spent doing said project)

5. Get to a stopping point with the project because the children have either woken up from a nap or we need to pick up said children. You know who finishes hour long projects in an hour? People without kids. Alternatively – this is also the point at which I decide that it isn’t to my liking and I have to start completely over.

6. Let project sit untouched for weeks on end because the fun part (starting) is already over and then finally get back to it because my husband makes me.

7. Finally finish. After a 10 minute or more discussion about whether or not we should call it done or if we can tweak it to make it better. Discussion is usually ended by husband convincing me that it is fine. no one will notice the 10 thousand “flaws” that I see. (the alternate ending to this is that we don’t ever finish and my husband convinces me to let the project go because it’s taking up space).

 

 

Moral of the story? Without my husband I would probably accomplish nothing.

 

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Throwback (Wednesday?)

What I’m sharing with you today is actually something I wrote back in November but never got around to posting (because as you’ll read in the post – 2.5 year old and 6 month old waking us up every hour). I reread it this afternoon and it was such a great reminder to me. I hope you find it helpful as well.

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Our life sometimes feels like one busy season after another, split apart only by a week or two of semi calm. My to do list feels like it is constantly growing yet we are still saying no to a lot of things and in a constant state of “purging” both our commitments and possessions in an attempt to simplify our life. The reality is that our life is not simple. Raising two children is far from simple, especially when those children are 2 years old and 6 months old and rob you of sleep on a daily basis. Teaming together and working in ministry isn’t simple. And our dreams are certainly not simple. Dreams of creating community, of being a part of lives changing, and being generous in ways we couldn’t imagine – none of those are very simple. On paper, yes, it may seem to be, but our hearts are so invested and so involved in all of the things we are doing and I think it is safe to say that of all things – our hearts are especially not so simple.

My sister in law recently asked me to do join her in a 12 day devotional series on Thanksgiving. Boy, did my heart need it. Because in our chaotic and crazy and currently very much challenging life I’ve stopped recognizing the gifts and only focused on the hard. My heart was building resentment towards God, and I know that in the grand scheme of things my problems were small and there are people who have much bigger issues. Still though, the thoughts flooded my heart and my mind, How could a God who cares and loves me and wants me to be a sane and good mom let me go another night on so little sleep? How could a God who cares not give an answer to my begging and pleas for help? For a break?

This is the life that God has given us. He gave us these dreams, these gifts, these children, this job and all of the responsibilities that come with each of those things.

He also gave us other things, though.

Like a window that overlooks beautiful trees and a river.

How beautiful is it that God would place my husband in a place where every single day we get to look at things we both have loved since we were young?

He gave us this two year old boy who is so unbelievably stubborn and so incredibly talented and who gives us an amount of joy we could have never thought possible – even though the responsibility we have in raising him up to be a man of integrity weighs on our hearts every single day.

He gave us a 6 month old whose smile could make even the hardest of hearts soften and who forces us to stop and just sit and be with her. Those moments where we are forced to stop what we are doing and stop being productive and just sit and rock with her those moments are gifts.

The reality is, my heart is not always thankful and as we finished this study I have realized that thanksgiving is a choice and a discipline that I need to practice more. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) My initial reaction to the chaos of our life is rarely thanksgiving. But if giving thanks in all circumstances is his will for me then I really don’t think that practicing giving thanks on a daily (and sometimes multiple times a day) basis is something that I can ignore. This means that I give thanks even when after praying for a full night of sleep I am woken every hour by my 6 month old. It means giving thanks even when God doesn’t give me what I want. That’s hard, you guys. When I am sobbing to my husband and asking him why God isn’t answering and why he doesn’t care, he gently reminds me of this truth: God is good. And with that truth in hand I have a choice. I can choose to resent God for all of the things I don’t have or I can thank him for all of the things that he has given me. You know, the things that matter (like salvation). And I can thank Him for providing me with moments in my life that magnify the weaknesses of my heart (like not truly trusting in Him).

Thanksgiving is not easy. It isn’t always fun. But it has always provided me with joy. I am very thankful that I am given an entire month to remind me to give thanks to my Creator and to give Him praise for who He is, not just for what He has given to me.

Friday Favorites

In honor of Earth Day today I thought it would be fun to share a few things we do or want to do in our home to be a little friendlier to our planet and I’d love to hear things that you guys do too!

eco friendly collage

1. “UN-Paper Towels” – I didn’t grow up in a house that used paper towels and this actually isn’t something that we do yet but I definitely want to. I love the ones in the link and haven’t decided yet if I will make my own or buy them. I know they would be a simple project but with two kiddos hanging around sometimes it’s worth it to support someone else so I have more time to play with them 😉

2. Shaklee Get Clean cleaners -Oh,  All the wonderful things I could say about these cleaners. I love that they are cost effective, I love that they work, I love that they are safe enough for my 3 year old to use, and I LOVE that my house doesn’t smell like vinegar while I’m cleaning. The cleaning kit is $99 (member price) and comes with a free Shaklee membership. You would have to spend over $3000 dollars on ready to use cleaners to get the same amount of cleaners in the kit and the big Earth friendly cherry on top: when you purchase this in place of your other cleaners you are saving 108 lbs of packaging waste from sitting in landfills and eliminating 248 lbs of greenhouse gas.

3. Reusable Grocery Bags – Most stores sell their own version of these and there are lots of tutorials out there on how to make your own market bags.  I’m not super great at always remembering to stick all of my bags in the car (I’m getting better, though!) so I especially love this one from Emily McDowell’s shop (along with her other hilarious prints, cards, and . It’s like a “Good Job!” sticker every time you shop ;). There are also some awesome looking reusable produce bags that I want to get!

4. Switch to LED. It’s definitely an investment up front and I actually hadn’t even considered doing this but my husband was determined to switch our lights to LEDs. Even though the cost is higher up front they last so much longer so you aren’t replacing them as often. They don’t contain mercury which is a huge plus in my book and they use a lot less energy!

 

There are of course lots of other ways to be eco-friendly. Cloth diapering, shopping consignment stores for clothes, composting, driving environmentally friendly vehicles, driving less and walking more, and too many others I don’t have time to list. These are just a few of the things that we do and we definitely hope to do more and more things.

a note to my daughter

Recently I was rocking my daughter to sleep, a task that’s usually rushed because I have to race back to make sure her brother isn’t tearing apart the house (or running out of the house…because he does that sometimes too) or it’s done by my husband. It was a rare moment. So I savored it. I was watching her as she began to drift off to sleep and my heart was so filled.

I can hardly believe that next week she will be turning one. Her first year has gone by so much faster than her brothers did. I was warned that it would happen but I wasn’t expecting it to go quite as quickly as it has. As the date approaches I find myself thinking more and more about my relationship with her and who she will become.

Growing up I was always very close to my mom – and I still am. She is one of my closest and dearest friends and I know how lucky I am to have that type of relationship with her. And so as I sit and hold my little girl I am terrified and so blessed by the opportunity I have to be to her what my own mother was to me. There are so many things I want her (and her brother) to grow up knowing. If I could tell her some of those things now, this is what I would say:

You are loved. You are loved by me, your dad, your brother, and so many other people. But more importantly – you are loved and cherished by your Maker.

You are stronger than you think, but sometimes strength looks like vulnerability. Sometimes strength looks like admitting that you’re weak. And asking for help is never something to be ashamed of.

Your identity is not in what you are able to accomplish or in how many people favor you. Know that if you chase those things to finally feel successful that you will always come up short. Your worth is not in what you can do but rather in who you are.

God has created you in His image and with gifts and a plan for your life that is more incredible than you can imagine. But Satan wants nothing more than to take what God has given you and make it look less than. Fight the urge to compare yourself to others. It will almost always lead to wishing that the life you had was different and it will steal your contentment and joy faster than you can blink.

Someday you may be a mother and a wife. You will question whether or not you are capable. You will cry more tears than you thought possible. You will love with a love that you have never felt and it will drive you even more to want to not screw things up. Know that you aren’t alone in those feelings. Know that your mother has thought those same thoughts and cried those same tears. It is hard and it’s ok to admit that it is hard.

And lastly, your Dad and I will fail you, as much as we hate to, time and time again.. We are imperfect people trying to raise imperfect people. God is working in our hearts just like He is working in yours. So when you feel like you have no one, know that God is there. He is there to listen and guide and shape you into the woman that He has created you to be.