Are We Toddlers?

why-my-kid-is-crying-eat-dirt

“I wouldn’t let him finish eating dirt”

Have you seen the collections of “Why my kid is crying” pics? They crack me up! A dad started the blog www.reasonsmysoniscrying.com and would post pics along with the reason his toddler was crying or throwing a fit that particular time. It was so relateable that parents were soon sending him pics with corresponding reasons their own children were crying. The reasons range from “I wouldn’t let him lick the doormat” and “I asked her if she wanted a grape” to “He couldn’t fit all the crayons in one hand” and “He doesn’t want the banana he wasn’t offered.”

I remember crying about things when I was a toddler and pre-schooler. (Yes, I really do remember a lot from those ages, mostly in impressions and emotions. I’m amazing, I know. We’ll talk about that another time.) Sometimes I would feel incensed that my mom didn’t feel the gravity of my situation and respond accordingly and immediately. Other times I had a sense deep down that my crying and the way I was feeling was not quite “right” somehow, that I could bring it in control if I really tried. Of course, even at the ripe old age of four years old the knowledge was there, but the ability to act on it was just out of reach. That’s why my mom had to teach me how.

I was thinking about all of this as I washed up for the day; how kids can be so irrational and amusing in the silly things they freak out about. As adults we know that what seems unbearable or horrendous to a child is not even something that would raise our interest. Not only can we process difficulties better, but we can recognize what is and is not a problem. Someone offers me a grape that I don’t want? I say “No, thank you, but thanks for asking.” I’m not insulted or threatened. What was reason for a crying fit in a child has become a positive reason for thanks as an adult.

Of course there are legitimate reasons for little ones to cry or be afraid, but even then it’s usually a situation in which they haven’t learned yet that it’s something Mom or Dad can easily handle. That’s why as parents we sooth and comfort as we guide them through the problem. They skinned a knee? We talk soothingly and comfort them as we clean it and bandage it. Isn’t that how God is with us?

What if God has a collection of “Why my kid is crying” pics of us? What would the captions read?

 

why-my-kid-is-crying-dolly-movie

“I wouldn’t buy her the ‘dolly’ movie for Christmas”

“She wanted help but kept pushing my hand away”

 

“I said it was time to rest quietly”

 

“Her old boots were pinching her feet so I got her new ones. She didn’t want to take the old ones off.”

 

“I told him to trust me”

 

What do we think is reasonable cause to fear or thrash about emotionally and stay in loops of destructive thinking? (Hint: the answer should be “nothing.”) Does God look at anything in our lives and think, “Oh yeah, that’s a hard one. I’d be freaking out, too!” (Hint: you don’t get a hint on this one.)

 

What my family is experiencing right now does look terrible, but God is so much bigger and more awe-inspiring than cancer and feeding tubes and trachs. He knows just how much we need to rest quietly in Him as he comforts our hearts and soothes our pain. Cancer does not scare Him. The valley of the shadow of death disappears as he casts his eye on it, because he is light. We are walking through that valley with our hands firmly in His.

 

Can you believe that in God’s eyes, even this cancer–a horrible always fatal kind–is not scary or difficult? Not that He doesn’t lovingly and gently comfort us. He does absolutely. He’s just so much bigger than any of it.

 

What would God’s “Why my kid is crying” pic of me look like?

I’d be bawling and He’d caption it, “I told her again that I was her provision. Just like I always have been. For her whole adult life.”

Or maybe, “She was exhausted so I told her to rest.”

 

I thank Him that I can feel His loving and patient look as I come back yet again to remember His promises; and they are such great promises!

 

why-my-kid-is-crying-sharing-leg-hole

“He didn’t want to share his leg hole”

What would God’s “Why my kid is crying” pic of you look like?

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Sharpening the Axe

Sharpen the Axe“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend four hours sharpening the axe” Abraham Lincoln never said these words, but they’re great words to live by.

Another step completed! The Fill the Freezer project is my tree, and this whole phase of planning every detail before we board the plane is my four hours of axe sharpening. My assistants and I took a few minutes to assign each of them their prep work per day. I thought it was going to take longer to discuss and I expected that there would be a lot more work per person per day. I was surprised when we got to the end and I was thinking, that’s it? That’s everything?

All of the mind-numbing planning that I’ve done up to this point cleared the way and this was the smoothest job yet. There is still a lot of work for each of us. We’ll be working for two solid weeks without any days off, but hard work that runs smoothly is somehow more enjoyable. It’s what allows you to whistle while you work!

This axe is getting so sharp it’s almost gleaming!

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Call Me Streamline!

Another goal met! It’s a small one, but one I don’t typically find easy to do because it throws me off my groove. Because I didn’t want to co-mingle the fundraiser money with our personal finances, I opened a new account just for Fill the Freezer. As small a step as that is, it’s still exciting to me. I actually took the time to do it! That’s a bigger victory than most people realize.

How Time appears to me: distant and in a blur

How Time appears to me: distant and in a blur

Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I have no comprehension of Time. I have no idea exactly what or who Time is. It’s a total mystery to me. Other than that, I’m just like any normal human worm baby.

Specific weaknesses that could bushwhack this project? One, I don’t know how to delegate. Two, I can’t multitask under pressure. Solution? My Master Skills at Streamlining, Organizing, and Making Lists! I discovered this superpower while battling the everyday trials of raising the most awesome kids in the world.

I’ve already shared with you my discovery that I am a project girl. My superpowered experience taught me that the secret to any major project is streamlining. There are a couple definitions for streamlining, and they both fit how I go about my life.

1. To make something more efficient, especially by simplifying or modernizing it.
2. To design or build something with a smooth shape so that it moves with minimum resistance.

How Time appears to me when someone asks me when something is going to occur: STICKS & MATH!

How Time appears to me when someone asks me when something is going to occur: STICKS & MATH!

In my world, Time is the enemy of simplification and minimum resistance. It’s like this; I’m minding my own business, throwing things together, creating delicious, nutritious magic. Then someone comes along and asks how long until dinner. The answer could be five minutes or an hour; there’s no way to tell. Suddenly everything I’m doing to present this fine 7-course meal is thrown into a tizzy and they don’t know whether to comfort me, back away slowly, or call an ambulance. See what I mean? Everything is fine until you add Time to the equation.

What it takes to bring about streamlining of a large project is a bumpy road because it’s all about tricking Time into not sabotaging your big event. I thought organizing and tallying all of the recipe ingredients was tough, but the job that is taking the most brain power is the daily planning.

How Time appears when planning a project

How Time appears when planning a project

In order to simplify this segment, I’m first plotting out each day’s prepping and cooking. The plan is to complete the prep for each recipe at least one day before it’s scheduled to be done. I’m hoping this preparation will overcome my lack of ability to delegate.

By having my assistants do the prep work before the day I complete the recipe, I can get to cooking first thing in the morning when I have the most energy. (No, Mom and Dad, I won’t be clattering around in the kitchen at 4:30 in the morning. I’ll wait until 5!) I’ll get my stuff done and the kids can begin their prep work for the next day’s recipes. At least, that’s the plan.

Which brings me to… I’m not a great multi-tasker. I mean, I can plan and organize like a fiend, but when I get into the middle of actually doing a big event like my daughter’s Sweet 16 party or our weeklong family reunion, my mind fractures and can’t seem to keep track of anything. That’s when my lists are key. If it’s not written down, I can’t delegate it and I suddenly lose all comprehension of when it’s supposed to get done. The confusion reaches epic proportions, affecting the space time continuum and distorting all reason and reality. I’m not lying. I’ve looked into the vortex and it is frightening.

How Time appears to me when in a project: The Attack Of Time!

How Time appears to me when in a project: The Attack Of Time!

Once I’m in the middle of things having to happen, there is no blur, there is no math, there is no Time for planning. There is simply, The Attack Of Time.
My name is Steamline, and Time is my kryptonite.

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The Fill the Freezer Checklist is Shrinking!

Do we ever get tired of hearing about our team’s every win or triumph? Nope! Well, I’m going to pretend that my little triumphs are as inspiring as a team win. It sure feels that way to me!

Achievement Unlocked!

Achievement Unlocked!

As I’m working on the different steps for the Fill the Freezer project, I realize that I’m doing this as I do most things; everything is intertwined and overlapping. It’s working for me so I’m not going to fight it. It takes a little longer to mark something off the list because it’s not linear, but no single job is looming over me, so that’s nice.

That being said, I got to mark off one more step in the process! In the the Excel spreadsheet I’ve designed, each recipe has its section, and within each section is recorded that recipe’s ingredients in one of five columns: produce, canned goods, refrigerator/freezer, etc. You can imagine that with twenty recipes that is a lot of recording.

The steps that overlapped this one were writing down a bunch of those recipes (I thought I had a lot more of them in the computer, but they were still in my head,) and having to tally all of the meat amounts for my mom because she’s stocking up in preparation for our cook-a-thon. On another page of the same spreadsheet I will tally all of those ingredient amounts so we have a total for each–much as you would for your own weekly grocery list…but for 200+ servings, rather than twenty or so.

Well, I finally finished recording the ingredient amounts for each recipe onto the spreadsheet. I still have to tally all of them, and I still have a few recipes to record before I can move on to the next step of planning exactly how I’m going to undertake all of these meals. I’ve done lots of bulk and freezer cooking, but I’ve never tackled anything this big before. I am loving this process!

Have you been able to check something off of your list lately? Celebrate it, no matter how big or small!

Achievement Award

UPDATE: I FINISHED TALLYING ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR ALL 20 RECIPES AND GOT IT SENT OFF TO MOM AND DAD! WOOHOOOO!

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One Smug Multi-tasker, Coming Right Up!

I’m still alive! I’m still moving forward. Sometimes it’s just about reaching the destination, and other times it’s about the experiences along the way. That’s the difference between a trip and a journey. I tend to turn everything into a journey. I think it’s because I have no concept of time so every moment is wonderfully filled to running over.

What time looks like to me

What time looks like to me

This week I’ve been practicing multitasking; something I’m not good at. I mean, I’m a homeschooling mom and I’ve had my own businesses and I entertain a lot. You’d think I’d be a master at multitasking, right? Nope. I’m great at projects, and I can have a few running at the same time, but not consistently day in and day out. However, the last couple weeks I’ve been quite smug, actually.

My current projects are Fill the Freezer planning, developing the recipes for FtF and the cookbook, designing and testing a new Excel budget spreadsheet, planting the container garden, having my niece and nephew over for a few days, and a new one that was suddenly plopped into my lap.

pea on a plate

My husband’s new diet. Bon Appetit, Honey!

Here’s how I got a new project without any warning, when I’m trying to shove things off my plate, not take more on. My husband took a day off work to go to the doctor. (He has to go to the VA an hour and a half away, and being the VA, it’s an all day event.) We were concerned he might have appendicitis. He doesn’t, and it looks like we can handle the problem with some drastic diet changes for the next couple months, then a less drastic healthy diet from that point on. So, guess who was Googling like crazy for yet another special person with a special diet. I think I’m seeing a trend here. I don’t believe in coincidences. All of this diet planning is somehow important for my future.

I mentioned I was smug, didn’t I? Well, here’s why. This girl here, this inconsistent, non-multi-tasking, time-handicapped dreamer is still consistently moving forward on all fronts and took the new diet project in stride! I’m writing recipes and tallying ingredients, planning details of the trip, completely redesigning the budget and putting the Excel spreadsheet to use(!) caring for and feeding my sister’s munchkins just for the fun of it, and successfully changing my husband’s diet immediately. The garden even got planted and is out on the deck! (I didn’t do that. My awesome 18 year old son took it on himself because he knew I couldn’t get to it.)

VICTORY EXPLOSIONS!!!

VICTORY EXPLOSIONS!!!

Woo Hoo! I’m not stopping ’til something gets done or I fall over!

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Lesson Learned… Again

Just yesterday I was saying that I would share my learning journey with you. Here I am, already keeping that promise.

Yesterday afternoon I learned the importance Continue reading

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I’ve Got A Golden Ticket!

I’ll be fifty in just a couple years and I’m finally writing my first book. Writing was always my dream, but I never thought that dream could be my reality until just a few years ago. This blog is one of the ways I started expressing that. I’m glad that as my children are becoming adults and moving out, I’m starting a new adventure.

Today, just a few minutes ago, I took the second big step in making Fill the Freezer happen.  I bought the airline tickets! I am so excited! The last three weeks of August will be full of shopping, cooking, and freezing at my parents’ home in Arizona. And of course, the occasional visit and cup of tea. Eek! I can’t wait!

I’ve been talking a lot these days about my Fill the Freezer and Freestyle Cooking Cookbook projects. I’m getting more and more excited every day. Fill the Freezer has a specific timeline which is pushing me to get the recipes written, tested, and perfected. I love it because in the end, my parents will have a freezer full of prepared meals–hopefully three-months’ worth–and I’ll have lots of photos and recipes completed for the cookbook.

I’ll post as I take this wonderful journey, sharing what I learn along the way. I’ve heard that the best way to stay young is to never stop learning, and keep your sense of humor. I fully embrace both!
Proverbs 31 Lady

How are you learning and laughing today? I’d love to hear!

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Adventures in Venturing

This new venture of writing my first cookbook has already proven to be exciting and fun. Opportunity in Every ObstacleAs with everything I do, this process is teaching me and stretching me. It’s also causing me to expand my dream and look higher.

One of the first things I learned about writing the cookbook Continue reading

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Fill the Freezer! Project

I am taking my strengths, my passion, my love language, and my decades of experience and applying it all to a major project. I am going to my parents’ home in Arizona where I will spend three weeks cooking three months’ worth of meals to fill their freezer. That’s a dinner a day for ninety days plus some extras for lunches, snacks, and special gluten free treats.

Mom and Dad with their grandkids at our family reunion a few years ago

Mom and Dad with their grandkids at our family reunion a few years ago

My mom is in her seventies and is struggling keeping up with my dad’s and her own special dietary needs. They have a lot of restrictions and requirements that would make it difficult for any of us to keep up, but she is just worn out and wrung out.

For a couple years now I’ve told Mom that I would cook up a storm and fill their freezer if I just had the money to get there and buy a few months’ worth of groceries for them. I meant it and was frustrated that I couldn’t see a way to make it happen. Until now…

A month ago I started a fundraiser on Indiegogo Life. I’m excited because we’ve raised 27% of what we need to make this project happen! I was trying to figure out how to get this idea in front of more people, and thought, why in the world have I not posted this on my blog yet? So here I am. Posting it on my blog.

I would love for tons of people to follow the link, read the full story, and help in any way they choose. Here are a few ways that you can help: give financially to this project; comment about how Mom and Dad have touched you life if you know them; share this link on your blog; and pray for all of the phases of this project.

Here’s the link to the Fill the Freezer! project, and below is the link to share on your own blog or social media of your choice!

https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/fill-the-freezer–2/x/10439711

Thank you!

P.S. This experience and these recipes will be building blocks for that cookbook I’m working on. That’s right! I’m still working on it!

 

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HERE I GO!

Here I go. This latest round of crises is about over, and I wouldn’t want to be caught with nothing to conquer, so I’m taking the dive. I’m really doing this. I’m done with looking at some future date to begin in earnest and I have arrived at the Now is the Time part of this venture. I am committed to publishing my cookbook. It will start out as separate eBooks, but it will also be published in hard copy. Being partly instructional, partly a planner, and partly inspirational, it lends itself to the kind of book you can hold in your hands and take to the kitchen or curl up with as you plan for the holidays or a barbecue, or to read a short, encouraging entry. Continue reading

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