Tuesday, August 17, 2010

4:20 Redeemed

I recently wrote a post about time in which I said that something has got to give, and it's not the baby. It also shouldn't be reading the Bible. A couple weeks ago, I confessed to Thom that I had only read the Bible on my own (as in apart from reading in church) about three times since Beatrix was born. I am not proud of this.

I've never been particularly disciplined about reading the Bible, partly because I have never been, nor ever will be (from what I can tell), a morning person and somewhere in my Baptist-under-the-name-of-Evangelical-Free-Church upbringing I was made to think that mornings are when you are supposed to read the Bible. Also, it's partly because I'm just lazy. And partly because I don't believe in making "devotional" time into a chore by being legalistic about it. And because I don't like the term "devotional". And also partly because I have a wandering spirit that sometimes doesn't like to hear the truth.

I managed to shake off the morning preconception long ago and in my most habitual times of independent Bible study (which have been lengths of months, even years, but always followed by extended lapses), I read at nighttime. This works out well when you have a regular job and a regular bedtime and you are a night person. It makes having to go to bed earlier than you'd like a little easier because you have in-bed activities to do. (Consequently, some might argue that that's a good transitional activity for morning, but they don't know how much of a morning person I am not.) Right now, however, I'm just home all day and, while I do have a somewhat regular schedule, I'm usually so greedy for sleep by the end of the day (knowing that it will be stolen from me at midnight and again at four by one seemingly innocent little cuddly baby) that I've just let the Bible reading fall by the wayside.

Thom offered to help out. He said that each afternoon, he'd take a break from work and watch Bea for a little while so that I could read the Bible. The next day, right at 4:20pm, he snapped his laptop shut and announced, "Go read your Bible!" I looked at the clock and laughed.

Well, we haven't been quite consistent with it since then, but we're making an effort...and if I could just get it into my groggy head, I am going to try to jump at the chance whenever I see those numbers glowing on one of our many digital clocks. If pot smokers can remember to light up even with significant brain cell loss, I suppose it shouldn't be too difficult for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"A Confession on Thank Yous" Undo

So...(insert blushing emoticon here)...I got this thank you note in the mail today. It was from one of the weddings I previously included here. I must come clean once again: I have unfairly judged my friend. She had clearly written the note months ago and only just now mailed it to me because she asked me for my address more than once and I kept forgetting to send it to her until last week.

I am such a schmuck. (Insert burying head in the ground emoticon here.)

On Money & Marriage

Last night Thom said to me, after I bungled an online transaction which cost us $60 in return check fees and was becoming hysterical, "Maybe you are supposed to learn that we don't have money because we're careful." He meant that as in we do have money (at least as much as we need) because of another reason, namely God's provision.

That's not something an accountant likes to hear, especially one who prides herself on thoroughness and who doesn't easily let go of her mistakes...but that doesn't make it untrue. I like it when Thom is right about things and says just the exact thing needed to snap me out of one of my moods.

This is why I know marriage is good for me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Time is Not on My Side

I've been thinking a lot about time lately, about how I never have enough of it, it seems. If there's one thing to having a kid, it's that all of a sudden prioritizing tasks becomes absolutely necessary. You might even say it's a priority to prioritize. Now that Beatrix is on a pretty regular schedule, I know exactly how much time I get per day. My to-do list requires about five times that amount of time.

I'm not just complaining here. This isn't just a new parent's rant on "oh, poor me. I have to take care of an adorable little baby all day long and I just don't get the time for video games I deserve." I do feel that way on occasion, but it's silly and I try not to indulge it. Yes, a baby takes up a lot of time and a lot of energy and, on the nights she wakes up every few hours, a lot of the time one normally expect to recover one's energy. But it's also no surprise. This is exactly what I knew I was getting: the whole baby package, as it were.

But even though it's not breaking news (This just in! Babies take up time and make it so you can't get as much done as you'd like!), it is still a challenge. Some days - when my head is clear - I am able to pull it off masterfully: Bea takes a nap and I whisk into uber-productive-mode or else Bea's especially compliant and cheerful and lets me do whatever I want with her. But other days, I feel like I am sleep-walking for the first half and then panicking for the second half (when I realize how little I've been able to get done while sleep-walking). I'll admit it: there are some days when I wish Beatrix would take a twelve hour nap in addition to sleeping twelve hours at nighttime, but only if a twelve hour nap was somehow healthy for her.

The problem is that, while my time is limited, my brain is not and it's running constantly, reminding me of things in life to be done. It's not really the day-to-day stuff that gets me down. I have the privilege of being home all day, so I can pretty well manage household chores and personal hygiene. Not every day, but generally speaking I can. It's more the never-ending list of edifying, life-enriching, holistic leisure activities that I constantly wish I could do, such as cooking, reading, writing (including this blog), corresponding, sewing, paper-crafting, starting my own business, decorating the apartment, playing games, exercising, watching movies, spending time with Thom, listening to music, staying up on new music, looking cute, organizing, spending time with family, reading the Bible, remembering people's birthdays, visiting friends, brushing up on current events, taking an interest in politics, studying French, getting more involved with church, helping the less fortunate, spending time in nature, taking in cultural events around the Northwest, dressing well, photographing, napping, continuing my education, accessorizing, using items from List It and Forget It appropriately, engaging my imagination, and flossing, to name a few. I just never seem to get to them all.

[Please note: You may think this list is exhaustive, but I have managed to cross off a few things in the course of my life, such as painting my nails, getting a tan, and becoming a rockstar.]

The point is that something has got to give. And I know it's not the baby. I've got to let go of some of my own plans, at least for now...but which ones? I keep going back and forth between whether I should let it all go and do whatever I feel like as long as the baby is well-cared for, which I am fairly certain would be to stare at screens and eat fast food most days (but is that really caring well for the baby? oh! the inter-connectivity of it all!), or if I should keep the hope of "the good life" in my mind knowing that I will fail on some points and just agree to not fault myself too harshly for that. Is it better to try the impossible? Or will I necessarily wear myself out? Do I have to just narrow myself down?

My mother-in-law once told me that she loved this time of life that I'm in (having small children) because she knew exactly what was expected of her. I appreciate that. In some sense, it's true for me too. If I give myself up for a whole day just to make Beatrix happy, I've done well. I guess the problem is that I can't help wondering if we'd all be happier if I could do more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Relief, If Only Brief(ly)

A tiny piece of reconciliation happened last week. It was barely anything at all: a hello from out of the blue, when hope of a hello had long past. But it made my heart drop its burden (at least this particular one) and soar!

I have hope. And maybe a second chance. I want to do good with it. I am determined to approach with caution, and without presumption, but with openness, and mostly with kindness.

Relationships from the past need room to change. We change and grow and we don't like it when other people expect us not to have done so. I want to let people change and grow. Because if, after several years of reflection, I long so much for peace and reconciliation in my life, I should allow that others might as well.

We'll see. It may never go beyond this one hello, but even so, I'll take it. And relax just a little.