Good Stuff

Two weeks into this Coronavirus stuff, and I’m finally taking a day to catch up on all my emails. I found a blog I nearly forgot about, downloaded bank statements, and listened to voicemail my kids left me while I was working.

A lot of folks have extra time on their hands right now, and I’m both sad and glad for us all. Extra time is a gift. Too much extra time, not so much. Double-edged sword.

My favorite part of this staying home business is that the kids and I have a new evening routine. “It’s art time, Mom!” rings out shortly before it’s time for bed. We gather in the classroom and color, work on latch hook rug, or whatever art project we’ve got going on. It turns out, it’s my kids’ favorite too. I had to work late yesterday, and I got a phone call:

Kid: “Mom, you’re missing art time!”
Me: “I’m sorry kiddo. Maybe we can do art time in the morning?”
Kid: “No, we’ll wait for you. Art time can’t actually start until you get here.”

Stalling bedtime? Maybe. Do I care? Not even a little bit.

Courage

I read this article once, and then again. The second time, I shared it out on Twitter. My IFTTT routines kick my tweets to my Evernote journal. I saw that note this morning, and read it again. This article by Ken Chitwood really resonates with me – perhaps because it takes deep courage to raise kids, especially children with special needs.

A few excerpts:

“When most people think of courage, they think of bravery, fearlessness, or feats of super-heroic valor. And yet, despite what we think or imagine, courage is not about being impervious to fear, pain, or struggle. Instead, courage is something that emerges out of fear, pain, and struggle.

In fact, courage cannot exist without adversity.”

“What we see in these moments is courage. True courage. Courage forged in fear, built after burnout, and worked out in the wilderness of anxiety, pain, and loss…

All of these difficult life experiences and tragedies threaten the very integrity of ourselves, our beings, our souls. At critical crossroads in our lives, we feel the weight of the world crushing in on us and we face a choice: to pick ourselves up and carry on in courage, or turn in on ourselves and shrivel up into the dust, disappointment, and despair.

Instead of trying to avoid anxiety or sidestep struggle, we should embrace these moments in our lives as opportunities for courage to be developed, practiced, and put to use.

Reflecting on the idea of courage, Paul Tillich wrote that true courage is not something that removes or rejects anxiety, but engages it and takes it into itself. Basically, Tillich argued, courage is embracing fear — not avoiding it, ignoring it, or pretending it doesn’t exist.”

“When faced with the great challenges of life, we will need to pull on reservoirs of courage, miracles of audacity that emerge from our past experiences where fear has been transformed into faith, loathing into love, and hardship into hope.”

The entire article is published on THRED and excerpted on Ken’s blog

42

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams has the answer, and it’s 42. This is a great and fun book. I’ve never read the rest in the series, but I want to!

There are a number of theories why the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” is 42. My favorite is that’s it’s ASCII for “anything you want it to be.”

The number 42 also happens to be the ASCII code for the asterisk ‘*’ which is a wildcard character indicating any number of characters or even an empty string in programming. This could be interpreted as the answer ‘anything you want it to be’.

Wikipedia

The real answer is far more mundane.

Douglas Adams was asked many times why he chose the number 42. Many theories were proposed… Adams rejected them all. On 3 November 1993, he gave this answer:

The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and… I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought ’42 will do’ I typed it out. End of story.

*

Calendar, Journal, and Puzzle Books oh my!

The collection that sits on my night table struck me funny. My logic puzzles book, my bullet journal for tasks and homeschooling stuff, my calendar for the usual scheduling needs, and my prayer journal.

I sometimes wonder if I should combine all of those journals into one, but I’m not sure that I want to. I like the compartmentalization.

Decisions

I’ve been trying to narrow my blog’s focus to one topic. That’s hard! Maybe my corner is meant to be more of a journal. A simple place for me to practice my writing and remembering what I learn along the way.

In that vein, I want to define the boxes into which my writing will fall into. I’ll use categories to hold these boxes of thought. I’ll try to stick to those boxes.

In pondering tags,  I found this article on WordPress helpful. I think I’ll take the tact of treating tags as a unifying set of subcategories based loosely on the topic being covered.

Category and Tag Ideas:

  1. Bible Study
    1. books of the Bible
    2. fruits of the Spirit
  2. Crafting
    1. crochet
    2. sewing
    3. cross-stitch
  3. Humor
    1. topics (ie. animals, homeschooling, etc.)
  4. Organized
    1. GTD (getting things done)
    2. services
  5. Opinions
    1. books
    2. movies
    3. games
    4. services
    5. products
  6. Ramblings
    1. topics (blogging, web admin, shower thoughts, etc.)

I didn’t order these ideas for any particular priority or preference. I’m simply brainstorming. Although I will try to stick to these 6 categories, I did not make an exhaustive list of tags. That list will build over time organically.

I’ve built many websites over the years, and I’ve dabbled in blogging for only a little bit longer. I’m considerably more experienced and skilled at building websites, than blogging. I look forward to learning more as I go along.

Making Your Loudest Voice Calmer & Your Truest Voice Stronger (excerpt)

This is an exceptional article. Here is the portion that spoke the loudest to me.

At my loudest, I was heard the least.

At my loudest, I felt the most pain.

At my loudest, I caused the most hurt.

At my loudest, my voice was most voiceless.

In those agonizing moments after my tearful, over-the-top meltdown, I’d frantically rummage through the junk drawer looking for my car keys. I needed to get away—far, far away.

One night I made it all the way out to the car. I was in my pajamas and my skin felt cold against the leather seats. I was shivering as my barefoot stepped on the gas pedal.

But I could not leave.

I went back inside to get my children. I gathered them up, one in each arm. I remember how they cried in confusion and fear. I made it to the door and realized I could not leave without my husband either. And I could not leave without my beloved calico cat, Callie. I could not leave my people.

Something needed to change.

I needed to find my voice—my truest voice—the one that could be heard … felt … and understood.

Source: Making Your Loudest Voice Calmer & Your Truest Voice Stronger by Rachel Stafford, the Hands Free Mama.

The author speaks of writing in journals, which is something I do myself. It really is incredibly helpful! If writing is not for you, and you’re curious about other ways to help you stop yelling, then check out The Orange Rhino – it’s another great resource.

Focus on One

A friend shared with me an article from this e-book*, and it really struck me.

Focusing on one task means that you simply choose one. Forget thirty. Forget ten. Choose one thing that you can do and do it…
One is a powerful number.

She goes on to describe a few scenes that could have come straight from my home. Scary and reassuring, actually.

One idea I never really fully considered though is in how I  choose the one thing I focus on doing next.

When you are able, choose the one thing that makes the biggest impact. I know you can’t always do this…

However, when you have the opportunity to start with that, do it.

Take housecleaning for example. The one task in house keeping that makes the biggest impact for me is picking up all the clutter in the main living spaces. Long time ago, I gave up on the picture-perfect (and even slightly attempted) organized play room. I have a bin in the living room to throw everything into that doesn’t belong in the living room. I take that to the kids room when it is full, dump it on the floor, and charge the kids with the task of putting their things away. It takes many days, and I often step in to help here and there. The point is that my main living spaces are not cluttered.

Even knowing this, I often choose to start the laundry or tackle the dishes first. Then, I look around exhausted and feel overwhelmed by all the clutter. For me, I need to start with the clutter.

The author, Jenny Herman, had a pretty cool blog which also had a nifty “The Power of One”** compilation. Fantastic stuff.

One final thought that keeps resonating with me is when Jenny Herman wrote:

Focusing on one does us no good if we are going it in our own strength. We need to look to God for our strength.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I can do ONE thing through Christ who strengthens me.

And then…

I can do ONE MORE thing through Christ who strengthens me.

Just keep going.

One thing at a time.

* The e-book was linked, but that link is no longer available. I believe it was called “Well Planned Homeschool Avoiding Common Back to School Mistakes.”

** The blog post is no longer in existence, but she now has a book on Amazon for $3. I haven’t purchased it, and this is not an affiliate link.