...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It happens to me the last week of every year. I begin to feel closed in and smothered by "stuff" and feel an overwhelming urge to pare down, organize, and label. The decor which added such a feeling of cozy warmth just a month ago now hems me in, and begs to be put back to rest in storage. I have no issues with returning seasonal decor to storage, but organization is a huge stretch for me. It is not my talent--at all. I don't like to be wasteful, and so paring down is difficult for me. I always seem to come up with ideas for why or how something could become useful at some point. The problem with this line of thinking, is that the opportunity for a given object's use may not come along for a loooooong time. I am also not the best organizer. Few things aggravate me more than complete disorder and disarray; however, coming up with a plan to avoid this is difficult for me. My husband, who is masterful in this area, gave me a tip:

"If it is not FUNCTIONAL or FABULOUS, it has to go."

Also, I have an unusual task this year, in that I am trying to disassemble our school room. I need to find a way to fit six years' worth of books, kits, and supplies into 1/2 of the nursery closet and book shelves throughout the house. It's been such a treat having a room set aside for all of our school books and supplies, and I feel rather sad to give it up. However, it is time--time to make room for more beds for more little people! So far, I have about 1/4 of it moved and in place.

Has anyone else noticed how organizational projects turn into a series of rabbit trails? In bringing up school supplies to the nursery closet, the nursery had to be totally cleaned out and organized. The baby books that were in the closet had to move to the changing table shelf, so the blankets on the changing table shelf needed to be pared down and either boxed up or put in the sale pile. This brings me to another topic--the high mountain and sea of boxes which is the sale pile. We've been saving all our left-over items from October's adoption fund-raising sale for our planned fund-raising sale in May. I am so thankful for all this "junk" which will hopefully become someone else's treasure come May...which will bring us one step closer to bringing home that wonderful child of ours who is waiting out there--somewhere....but WOW. We have some serious STUFF around here. As I read this, I am chuckling to myself. Indeed even talking about organization has become a rabbit trail of it's own. sigh. Well anyway, I'm REALLY looking forward to sending May's left-overs away!

Here is what I struggle with. I do not want to be ruled by stuff. Stuff takes up my very most valuable resource--time. It takes energy to maintain whatever I allow to clutter up this space of ours. It takes time away from my family which could be used much more resourcefully. Things have to be cleaned. Things have to be maintained. Things have to be organized. Things have to be put away. It is lots of fun to have toys for my children to play with, for example. However, if there are certain toys that are constantly underfoot and I am constantly nagging at little people to pick up, then I am allowing things to rule me. I'm allowing things to dictate my mood and I'm even at times allowing things to affect my dearest relationships. Wow that sounds ugly. Wow that is truth. For the most part, the boys have been trained well in this area, and pick-up well according to their ages. So one of two things needs to occur: an adjustment of my attitude or the said stuff has to go good-bye. If I go into my bedroom to retire for the night, and cannot feel peaceful because there's a stack of junk all over the dresser and the closet is stuffed with I-don't-even-know-what, it has to go. Most of the things that clutter my life I don't even care to have, but just haven't taken the time to remove. (Probably because too much time has been taken up trying to move it out of my way!)

Being a middle-class family living in the USA, we are one of the very richest 10% in the entire world. Interesting how the enemy can use either lack of stuff or over-abundance of stuff to steal peace.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rest and Reflection

For the past few years, I have tried to let go of more during Christmas time. It's so easy to fill up every day, all day with fun things in celebration of this time. Funny how despite my efforts to pare-down, the season keeps rolling by seemingly faster and faster. There are several traditions that I maintain and absolutely love to do in preparation for Christmas:

Christmas crafts with the boys
Baking cookies with little helpers
Putting up the Nativity scene
Open house Christmas party
Putting up a Christmas tree
Hanging our made-by-Grandma Christmas stockings
Sending out photo cards to loved-ones with a yearly letter

There are also things that have been loved tradition that I've had to be open to letting go if necessary--hanging outdoor lights, caroling, office parties, concerts, volunteer opportunities, and plays, to name a few. It changes from year to year. This was a year, however, when lots of things had to be let go. I've found it's increasingly important to guard my personal time, as well as our family time....all the time...but especially during special holidays. Sometimes this means saying "no" to some of the so-much-fun things, in exchange for some "nothing time". We need "nothing time" to enjoy the wonder and beauty of creation in winter--a clear, starry night, and crisp, fresh air. We need time for quiet reflection of God's gift to us in a little baby over 2000 years ago...to realize afresh that He is with us...to look forward with joyful expectation that He will return! We need time to listen to age-old carols sung by a choir...to enjoy candlelight flickering...to soak up God's Word. As much as I love and enjoy our other family Christmas traditions, we sorely miss out on the entire point if I neglect to schedule "nothing time". It can also become so busy that we are all celebrated out by the time Christmas Day actually arrives! That can be a real downer, and this year, I am working toward not allowing that to happen. I want to be purposeful about what we choose to do....take the time to do those things with the proper, God-ward perspective, and celebrate the season well.

I love this painting. Look at the peace and rest...the reverence....the JOY. Two words blew me away this week: "God's son." I relate well to the concept of a son. Just think of it though--I mean really think about it--
The CREATOR of the universe's SON.
GOD'S SON was given birth that He would save me from death. That was His purpose.
GOD'S SON will return to us. Take a little "nothing time" with me this season and soak that in.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I have a sweet tooth. If there is anything sweet in the house, I sneak it when the kids aren't looking.
No shame.
No will-power.

So tonight, as I was sweeping up the kitchen near our gingerbread train creation, I noticed a lone gumball, and proceeded to pop it in my mouth. I tried to chew it, and then realized....

...it was a marble.