23 January 2009

The Year of the Scarf?

Alright, I will confess. I have recently become quite addicted to keeping up with the lives of complete strangers for no other reason than the fact that I have little else to do (or I like to pretend I have little else to do, such as putting away the laundry that is currently resting, serenely folded - at least I got that far - on the couch) than read the blogs of other women who also happen to live completely imperfect lives and are having a great time with it!

On said blogs there has been somewhat of a recurring theme of scarf-wearing as one of these has deemed it the Year of the Scarf on the fashion zodiac (You can catch up on these intriguing threads here, here, and here). I initially read these posts (or more accurately watched these posts as those in question were introduced in the form of video blogs - would those be vlogs?) with a grain of salt because I understand that while I love to cozy up with a nice scarf when the weather calls for it, or should call for it even when it's 75 in January, I rarely wear one apart from my coat, meaning it is far from a fashion accessory for me. In fact, almost all things fall out of the category of my fashion accessory of choice - if it's not covering something vital or instrumental in keeping something that's covering something vital in place (ie, a belt), then I don't wear it. It's just one more step for me to avoid in the morning and one less thing for my money to be poured into. (Let me take this moment to clarify - I do admire the way other woman accessorize so well, I'm just not that gifted in that area, that's all.)

However . . . a thought did occur to me that I happened to have a nice black scarf gifted to me by a very generous mother-in-law, purchased in some South American country (the scarf, not the mother-in-law), that has been napping very nicely along with my sweaters which has yet to be worn because, as mentioned above, I am not the fashion maven I play on T.V. (or anywhere).

So, today was the day! In a last-ditch effort to avoid packing (as in, I was in the room, I had a stack of clothes to choose from for the weekend and then I thought of the scarf - yes! Diversion created!), I decided this was my moment. I propped my fashion consultant (ie, my 4-month-old daughter) on a couple of pillows in the middle of the bed so she could better aid me in my fashion foray. I pulled out the scarf, I tugged on a white T-shirt and I tried out the combo.

My first effort yielded a raised eyebrow from the critic that said, "Mom, what are you doing? Just put the scarf away. You know you are not that cool." But I was not to be easily deterred - I tried once more, adjusted, re-adjusted, and turned around to show the new finished product.

A big grin, arms flapping wildly. I took that to mean, "Bravo, Mom! You're on your way to being a fashion diva, yet."

PS Here is a really bad self-portrait of my efforts (and my gorgeous critic - who, as you'll notice, may have had an ulterior motive in supporting my choice - she's just excited about a new toy around mama's neck):

22 January 2009

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

A nearly $600 stroller for FREE?! Sign me up!

Too Sweet

Our church is working through the book "Signs of Life" by David Jeremiah. The other day Philip and I read about how we, as Christians, are to be the salt of the earth (we're a couple of days behind - shh . . . don't tell). Obviously the concept of Christians as the salt of the earth is hardly new - neither are most of the points Dr. Jeremiah makes - that salt is meant to preserve, or provide flavor. What was somewhat of a new train of thought for me, however, was the idea that salt promotes thirst and that we, as Christians, are to promote in others a thirst for God. The ending question was, "As the salt of the earth, what am I doing that causes others to thirst for the living water?"
As I drove Philip to work that morning he made some snide comment to a car that cut me off and I reminded him we're supposed to be salty. His response is, "Isn't salt bitter?" It was a joke, and we obviously both understand that making rude comments to other drivers is not the proper way to live out our Christian faith, but a thought occurred to me through all of that - while being the salt of the earth may not indicate carrying an attitude of bitterness, it also doesn't point toward eternal sweetness.
A rampant theology in the church today (especially among the women, especially in the southern region) is that we are called to be the sugar of the earth. We are constantly killing others with kindness - painting on our smiles, hiding our true feelings, oozing as syrup with the sweetness we portray (even if at home we wipe off all the sugar to show the garbage beneath - speaking from myself here). We even sugar-coat the truth, attempting to avoid offense.
Please don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a little sweetness. Sometimes sweet is just who you are, but even the best chocolate chip cookies need a little salt - we need honesty, reality and something that makes others long for more than a glass of milk.
Consider the fact that salt on food deters decay and, yet, sugar encourages decay (consider what the dentist has always told us). When you feed someone sugar what they desire is more sugar - they crave it, they stuff their face with it, then they get crash from it.
When we feed others sweetness, they want more of us, when we feed them salt, they look for the Water.

20 January 2009

Cleanliness is next to . . .

A little bit of cleanliness goes a long way. My first year of marriage we lived in the tiniest apartment known to man, with NO storage - as a result the majority of our belongings had no designated home. My husband can attest to days when I just broke down completely and we HAD to get out so I could think clearly. I would drive around town, just to have space. Amazingly, though, when we cleaned, cleared out the clutter, my mind suddenly felt free.

As someone who lives somewhat near the dirtier end of the scale between Neat Freak Maven and Hoarder's Haven, it is surprising to me that my mental clarity does seem to be so closely related to the state of my home - trust me, my mother would be surprised at this revelation coming from the daughter she once had to bribe with a mystery prize for cleaning her room, and then had to give her said prize as a birthday present THREE MONTHS later because the room NEVER got cleaned!

Perhaps it's society that has led me to believe I am a failure as a wife and a mother when I cannot even keep the physical being of my home in order, but whatever the reason, I find that the best solution these days is to just close the door to the offending room and pretend it doesn't exist. Thus, the living areas of our home, the rooms with no door in our open floor plan, are those that are routinely cleared (not daily, mind you, just routinely - meaning weekly or whenever someone's coming for a visit) and those with doors - we just won't talk about those.

07 January 2009

Refund, Please!

I'm a freak. I know it. That's the important part, right?

I like doing my taxes. Maybe more than like, I kind of REALLY enjoy it. To the point that I was giddy when Philip brought home his W-2 on Friday (Yes, January 2, I say way to go to his PR woman, Angie). I have had to tell myself twice that I have other priorities at the moment besides getting the taxes done (ie, homeschool students would like to have graded papers on Monday and my house needs to be clean for guests tomorrow evening - taxes don't need to be done until April - so if they don't happen until next week, I'll be ok). Seriously - I'm tempted to procrastinate by doing my taxes. Who else DOES that?!