Winter In Minnesota

We crossed over this weekend to the “Cold Side” of life.  Depsite the fact that I am a California native, I have always faced the Minnesota winter with courage for fear of being considered weak by my fellow Minnesotans.

Over the years I have come to appreciate many of the wonderful things that come with the onset of winter.  White Christmases, icicles on the trees, snowmen, sledding and so much more.

The Beauty Of Minnesota In The Winter

However, it has been an extremely warm fall and so the fact that it is only 17 degrees this morning is a bit of a shock to the system.  But, I could handle that, except that upon waking this morning it seemed extra cold on my feet.  As my “Man Of The North” rushed around frantically getting ready for a doctors appointment in the city, he cautiously whispered to me that the furnace had decided to stop overnight and after struggling with it to the point of being late, he is not sure why.  So now it is cold and snowy outside, and not much better inside.

Thankfully, in this old farm house that was bulit in 1937, there is a fire place that is just about that old.  And in the dead of the winter we need the fire and the furnace to stay warm.  Bless his heart my “Man Of The North” started a fire, kissed me goodbye and directed me to call the furnace man.  Meanwhile, I am spending the majority of my time close to the fire reviewing all the reasons I love Minnesota.

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Under New Management

Normally, I only post when I have something significant or philosophical or funny to share. But today I want to appeal to those of you out there that have been following and are potentially interested in what I really do with my life day in and day out.

I am a loving wife and mother of four that at times feels like her life is continually driven by complete and udder chaos.  The saying management by crisis would be a complete descriptive view of my everyday life.  I have tried all kinds of solutions for eliminating the daily grind only to face it again the very next morning.

I know you are saying, “Who cares.” Point well taken, although I will say that I have begun to determine on this chaotic journey that I am not alone.  I thought it was just me and then I started opening up and talking with other women about their lives and it would seem that these feelings of being out of control and exhaustion are quite common.

So what shall we do about it?  I say this because, for those of you reading this and relating to it we now have a common bond, right.  You know I have heard a saying for years that I never took completely serious until just lately.  “The devil can’t make you sin, but he can make you busy.”  It is all coming together for me now.

For those of you out there that can relate, lets tackle this “Thing” together.  What is working for you, what doesn’t.  I would love to start a forum on this subject and toss around ideas of how to stay productive, and stay sane all at the same time.  What do you think???????

Dryland Training

So I looked at the blog this morning and was discouraged with the date of my last post.  How has it been two and a half months since I posted an entry???  At first I would look at the calendar, make some justifiable excuse and move on to one of the many crisis that have occurred in the past few weeks and feel content with my lack of dedication to writing.  Eventually I just stopped logging in so that I would no longer have to directly face my lack of accomplishment and that is when the calls and inquiries started.  Why haven’t you posted?  Is everything alright? and so on.  Now I think everyone has given up and I don’t blame them.

Ever been in the desert?  I don’t mean physically as much as figuratively.  It took me some time (obviously) to gain insight into my situation and to gracefully get my head around it so that I could resume life as well as blogging.  So here is the deal.  In the last two and half months I have been stripped of all things essential and material to conducting everyday life in the way I had become accustomed.

In the course of about 4 weeks, my two vacuum cleaners broke, had both repaired and with in five minutes of use one caught on fire (back to the shop), my carpet shampooer broke, my car air conditioner broke (twice), my washing machine broke and I fixed it only to have it break again (still broken),  been going to the laundromat, tractor repairs have been at an all time high and the grand finale……My Man Of The North backed into the hay cutter with the Suburban in broad daylight, on his birthday and tore up the back door.  $3700 worth of damage and another insurance claim.

I am still in the partial throes of materialistic mayhem, but it has taught me a great deal about myself, what I can handle and what is important.  Frankly,  I have learned how unimportant all of this “stuff” really is.  I mean we all say that but when actually faced with a family of six, no washing machine, no vacuum, no air conditioning, driving everywhere in a chewed up car, see how you really feel.  It is awful, horrible and most of all makes you question everything you are.

In swimming, during the off-season, swimmers spend time working on their physical strength out of the pool in addition to normal work outs in the pool.  It is called dryland training.  It is hard, physically uncomfortable, and requires a higher level of committment from the athlete.  In my thoughts about coming back to the blog and the need to explain where I have been it came to me that in some ways I have been in dryland training.  It is summer after all “The Off Season”  so to speak and I have definitely experienced a lack of comfort that at the very least has been HARD.

But the purpose of dryland training is to strengthen your core which ultimately will make you stronger, faster, and in better mental condition during the race.  So, I believe that this time in my life is only preparing me to perform at my greatest potential in the race of life as the new season approaches.  And as an additional bonus I have regained my blogging presence with an abundance to write about for weeks to come.

Last, in this time of reflection I have spent time with my Lord searching for greater understanding and peace.  His explanation was short, sweet and direct.

First, Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Second, James 1:2-4, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking  anything.

God always has a way of hitting you right where you live.  Enough said.  I promise I will be back.  Sooner that later.

The Climb

I was having a casual conversation with a close friend today about the ins and outs of motherhood and my role as a wife and as we laughed together about those things we hold in common I thought to myself, I bet we are not alone.

Now hopefully you all know by now that I have a family of six (including myself) that I have been blessed to care for.  And I do mean blessed.  But despite my feelings of joy over the duties I am responsible for each and every day there are brief moments in my life when I question the adequacy of my capabilities and I truly wonder if God knew what He was doing when He retained my services for this position.

Laundry is by far my biggest nemesis in the area of housework.  I could never wash another pair of underwear and it would be too soon.  I am always behind,and the mountain of clothing is so high that the air gets thin at the top.  I have tried all kinds of suggestions and “tricks” of the trade to be more efficient and yet I still feel like most times I am a complete failure in this area.  And then I did the math.

What do you mean, you might be asking……Well I decided that I needed to understand the source of my Mt Everest if I was ever going to have the chance of reaching the summit.  I have six people in my family and every one of them wears at least one outfit per day.  Well then I multiplied that number by seven and I came up with 42 outfits per week!  That doesn’t count towels or pajamas or sheets.  Things were adding up fast and I began to realize the gravity of my situation.  No wonder I am always buried.

Interestingly enough, I found a level of peace and less criticism of my performance based on the sheer numbers I have been dealing with all this time.  I have given myself permission to admire my mountain of laundry from afar on the days when I just can’t get to it with the self-assurance that it will be there tomorrow, just as tall (if not taller) and just as ominous as it was the day before.

More importantly I am choosing to view my laundry as a reflection of the productivity of my household.  My children are active, productive, and dive into all that they do with gusto. As a result, they get dirty.  This fact alone brings me joy and contentment.  I have always told my children that they can determine the quality of their day by how much dirt they have on their jeans.  My laundry pile certainly supports that theory.

All in all, when I sum it all up, I realize that laundry is and will always be a part of my life.  And as one song writer recently said, there will always be another mountain.  It’s about the climb.

What A Difference A Week Can Make

April 1, 2011

I took a picture on the 1st of April out of complete discouragement.  In all my years of living in Minnesota, I think this has been the first winter that I am truly tired of the snow and cold.  It started in November, before Thanksgiving and as you can see from photo #1 it is not willing to surrender.  But, what a difference a week can make.

April 7, 2011

I took this picture yesterday, April 7th.  Farmer Wynn and my “Man Of The North” fertilizing fields before the rain coming on Saturday.  The snow is gone, the sun is shining and in a few days the grass will be green!  Ya!

It made me think a bit yesterday, how quickly things can transform from one state to another.  I mean winter lasted for what seemed an eternity this year and yet in one week God shifts His beautiful landscape to prepare for the new season.  He does that in our lives too.  Just when we think we will never be able to get out from under the weight we are carrying, BAM! it’s Spring.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  If you are going through a tough place trust His timing.  It is perfect.

God’s Gift Of Friendship

I have always found it fascinating how people can pass in and out of your life in the blink of an eye.  I have tried to be someone that serves those around me with a genuine heart and yet I am sure there have been times when I have failed miserably.  It is human nature to think of oneself first.  Putting others first requires a conscious decision.

In the past couple of months I have been so blessed by the entrance of a woman in my life who has proven to be all the things that you hope for in a true friend.  I find myself re-evaluating my own character in her presence.  She makes me want to be a better friend, better mom and a better wife. 

I haven’t always respected the importance of friendship.  God designed us for fellowship.  How many times have we heard that.  However, I have been traveling down the road of transition for the past year, and it dawned on me this past weekend that during this transitional period, God has directed people to me in each particular stage of the transition, that have delivered all kinds of skills, wisdom and comfort all at the exact moment I needed it. 

This led me to an epiphany.  How many times have you been on your knees in prayer begging God to speak to you, to give you the answers you need or just hold your hand.  It was my new friendship, that made me realize that God has been speaking to me everyday, through His people.  Some stay and some go, but I believe He speaks through them all.