Friday, July 29, 2011

Time Warps

I have been mulling over some oddities in my life - specifically how I always seem to be in some kind of time warp.

When I was growing up, I was pretty much always the youngest. My sister is 11 years older than I am, and so when I was in first grade she was graduating from High School and heading off to college. Most of my cousins were older as well, and the ones who were closer to my age lived away from us.

So, I spent a lot of time with my parents and their friends. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, just different. Most of their friends kids were older or grown and gone. So, when we went to their house for my parents to play cards, I had to entertain myself or watch tv. I remember falling asleep on many a strange couch.

My sister got married when I was about 10 or 11. My nephews were born when I was 14 & 15, so the weird time warp thing continued. Now one of them has kids who are older than mine. And, he just turned 40 which was terribly surreal.

 I got married at 18. That somehow cast me into the "old" group despite my young age. Something about being married just makes you old, or feel old when everyone else is still partying and dating and you are keeping house.

Since I was married and pursuing my college degree, it took me 9 years to get my 4 year degree. Lest you think I was not too bright, I spent a semester working and a semester in school. It sometimes took me a semester or two to come up with the money for classes and books.

Since I was in school for an extended period, I quickly became the older "kid" in class. Add to that being married and I felt positively ANCIENT. It makes you feel really old when your class mates are going to parties and ball games and you are going to work.

I did graduate and get a job. I attended my 10 year High School reunion that fall, and most people had been working in their chosen careers for 6 years. Even the doctors were practicing.

Life moved on, and I entered a new phase as a newly single woman. Entering the dating game again at 30 is weird, especially when you left the game at 18. At 18 pretty much everyone you know is single. At 30, pretty much everyone you know is married,

And then the time warp kicks in again. The single men all seemed to be quite a bit older, and have kids. Once again I was the young one. Or, I was the old one with men younger than me asking me out. It was all too strange.

I did end up marrying someone younger than me  - though my philosophy was that I could then raise him the way I wanted to. Lest you think I totally robbed the cradle he is 6 years younger than I am. That gap gets less significant the older we get. And with the disparity in the averages ages of death for men and women, we ought to go about the same time.

Then a new era began, and we decided to start a family. At 35 I figured no problem - women have kids at 35 all the time right? Well, it took until I was 40 for our family to begin. Katie was born when I was 40 years old and 6 months.

 God chose to bless us with Amanda when I was 44. Both girls are the light of our lives, and I would not trade anything for them or when they came along. But, this once moved me to the "older" time warp again.

When I really sit and think about it, and realize that I am old enough to be the mother to most of Amanda's friends mothers and a lot of Katie's it depresses me. I mean, how can you talk about tv shows you love when most of the moms weren't born until after I graduated from high school?

But occasionally I run into another "mature" Mom and we immediately bond and commiserate our plight. I don't FEEL old until conversations turn to popular culture and I have no idea who they are talking about!

I am just hoping I don't enter the young time warp again as the youngest person in the nursing home or something! Maybe I just need to start lying about my age...

My sister Charlotte and I

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We have been back home from our annual pilgrimage to Kentucky for a day now. Yesterday was a wash because it always takes time to recuperate from vacation.

I have always wondered why it takes a few days to get back into the swing of being home, and why I am always tired after vacation. Vacation is supposed to renew and refresh - right?

I have come to see that vacations with just my immediate family - like trips to the beach - do renew my spirit and energy. Vacations which involve visiting other family members - on either side - not so much.

I think this has to do with the stresses of family dynamics. We aren't around the other family members all the time and just don't know how to approach each situation. For me, this means constant worry that the wrong thing will get said or done, and that is just plain emotionally exhausting!

I also see, after being at a family reunion over the weekend, that times change, but people don't so much. Oh, we are all getting older. Some are no longer with us. New ones have come onto the scene. But the family hierarchy still remains.

It doesn't matter how old you are, in some situations you will always be 9 years old.

This trip also just put me into a funk. It seems that I am constantly wrestling with God. Looking back, I guess I have always done that, because I can't remember a time when I wasn't wondering if I was hearing Him correctly.

You would think that by now I would be confident in hearing His voice and knowing the promptings of the Spirit. But I still seem to be in a quagmire of confusion over what I am doing. Does this ever end? Will the path ever be clear?

Sometimes I think my Grandma and Grandpa had it easy in that respect. Their options were limited being that they lived back in a "holler" in Kentucky. Farming and raising your kids was pretty much what you did and there weren't a bunch of influences making you doubt whether or not that was God's path for you or not.

Maybe it is just that I am now 54, and I still worry that I am not doing right by the family by being at home and not working, or that I am somehow diminishing my kid's chances by homeschooling them.

Maybe it is because I see that there is technically only 11 years until "retirement" and we are no closer the financial security than we were 20 years ago.

Maybe it is because I can't see the path out that puts me in such a down mood. Am I missing God's direction? Have I misinterpreted something? Maybe I need and intervention.

I sure could use a burning bush about now...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Because You Can Wear it...

And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.  1 Timothy 2:9 (The Message)

I have been observing summer wear lately.

Now, I realize I am "old school", but seriously people, do you ever look in a mirror? Just because you CAN wear something doesn't mean you SHOULD wear it!

It amazes me what people wear out in public. I am still stunned that people actually go out to stores in their pajama bottoms. I mean, even if they have a cool design like, say, Scooby Doo, are they really appropriate for shopping at Target?

And Moms, if you wonder why your daughters dress so immodestly, maybe it is a reflection of the plunging halters in your wardrobe.

In May we took a trip to the beach. One of our expeditions was to the Battleship North Carolina. I just had to keep pushing my jaw back up at the women in mini-skirts, midriff baring tops and flip flops climbing up and down the ladders of the ship.

The one that still sticks in my mind is the woman I saw at the dentist one day. She was there with her young son, and I mean he was a preschooler.  She was a very pretty woman, and certainly in good shape. But I just thought the white short shorts, platform sandals and the t-shirt which said "Foxy" and had a sparkly fox on it was over the top for mom-wear.

Of course you know I am just living in the wrong decade (or century for that matter). But seriously, were has modesty gone? I am just stunned at the amount of cleavage I see these days, even at church!

Really, it is sad when there has to be a note in the church bulletin that we should dress to honor God and to be careful to wear modest clothing. Dressing like you are ready for the water park, or in a really low cut sundress is just not appropriate.

My girls know how I feel about this. Shorts have to be fingertip length. No halter tops. Tanks have to have 1 inch straps - camis DO NOT qualify as outer wear.

It gets harder and to find modest clothing for any of us. Why is that? Are we the only ones who think the "girls" should be covered in public? And if you have to hold down the hem of your skirt in the back when you walk don't you think that is a clue it is too short?

I also find that size doesn't preclude letting it all hand out - literally. I am a spacious woman myself, but I cannot fathom someone my size is comfortable in lo-rise jeans and a skin tight cami! Aren't you self conscious about those rolls? I sure would be!

There are times when I wish we would go back to dressing for events. Do they even sell men's suits anymore - I mean who wears them? Business casual seems to be the rule of the day.

And you can never find nice dresses - for any age. They only have dresses for the girls at Christmas maybe Easter. Oh, and prom time, and those are made to show a lot of decollete.

I just should have been born a couple of decades earlier. June...I miss you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings

Today is just a day for putting down thoughts.

I am struggling with many things right now, and so many seem to need an answer I cannot find. Even in prayer the voice is silent. Maybe writing a few things out will help.

One thing that is a struggle right now is balancing the desire to homeschool my awesome girls with the feeling that I should get a full time job and ease the burden of provision that rests on John's shoulders.

Some people would think this is an easy one. You've got schools available, put the girls there and get a job. Make some money, ease the financial situation, and avail yourself of some of the fun things there are to have and do. Disney World comes to mind. I think we are never going to be able to take the girls to Disney.

A lot of people we know can't fathom that the second income is not completely a necessity. They often view the things we see as luxuries as necessities. I am really tired of hearing, "I wish I could afford to stay home."

I know in my heart that homeschooling is what God wants for our family. This is a full time job. Even fitting in a part time job seems impossible. And it all just makes me tired.

I also struggle with the fact that my support system for homeschooling seems to be a person of one - John. My family is supportive, but I don't think they quite understand it, and that makes it difficult.

Friends just pretty much say nothing. Some other parents seem to encourage a desire in my girls to go back to public school instead of standing behind our decision when talking with our kids. Comments made when a word gets misspelled or one child doesn't know a particular thing taught in public school - "Well, she's homeschooled", undermine our efforts.

Being an older Mom gets wearing as well. I can't relate to a lot of the kids' moms. I am not as cool as most of them, and I just don't have the energy they do. I am a lot more old-fashioned, and draw the line in a different place on many things like movies and tv shows.

The struggles add up, and are small in comparison of things other people have to deal with on a daily basis. But, they are my struggles, and right now they are huge.

Prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Bit of this and a Little Bit of That

I have been struggling with many things lately. One is trying to define my identity beyond the wife/mom/teacher/maid roles. Especially the maid, which seems to be the biggest one.

I declared Saturday and Sunday days when I have some time to do things that I enjoy. Saturday has been set aside for sewing. I enjoy sewing - clothes mostly - and Amanda is still at the age where she will wear what I make for her.

I had this frog fabric in my stash, and a pattern for the dress, which I bought at Hancock for .99. So, I decided to make it for her. The doll dress I did without a pattern. I had to adjust it so it was easier to get on and off the doll, so Amanda ended up with her dress and one for each of her American Girl dolls.

I also made a dress for myself. It, is a simple shift out of some summery flamingo fabric. It is okay, but pretty much shapeless, so I guess it is a house dress for now.

Sundays have been declared scrapbooking days. I had to go out and get some new markers since mine were used and abused by two children who will remain nameless. I hate it because I loved my calligraphy markers the best, and they are all dried out. Can't afford to replace those right now.

I did manage to get a basic set of dual tip markers at A.C. Moore. They were 9.99 for 12 and I used my 50% off coupon so I scored a deal. Maybe I will pick up a couple of calligraphy markers each payday and replenish my stock.

On another note, our church, Grace Covenant Church , is having a month of service for July. It has been titled Servolution with the intention of deliberately impacting our community through acts of service during the month of July.

Service is an ongoing theme of course. We as Christians serve others because Jesus modeled service, and we want to put hands and feet to His words.

But for the month of July, there are many planned out reach programs. VBS is one. Rehabbing some Habitat Houses is another.

This past Sunday the four of us participated in making sandwiches to be given to the homeless on Monday, July 4. The goal for the 100 participants was to make 1,000 to be delivered to Urban Outreach.

We had a blast! We were at the tables making Ham & Cheese sandwiches, and we were baggers. The people at the head of the table assembled the sandwiches, and passed them to us. We bagged them individually, and passed them on the be packed.

It did not take long to make our 250 ham & cheese. (Other tables were making turkey sandwiches & peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to make the total of 1000). It was a fun and easy way to serve some one else.

Here is a picture of John & Amanda waiting for the sandwiches to come down the line.
We are also looking forward to Winning Edge VBS which starts next Monday. Amanda is attending, and Katie and I are working as volunteers. It will be our first time working VBS at Grace and it should be fun. I really like the opportunity it gives the teens to help out.

So, for now I continue on my quest to recapture part of myself. We'll see how it goes.