One Step Report #6

Ok, time for another week’s report.  61 steps.  Part of me wonders how I could write down so many things and still have such a messy house.  And then I realize how many of them involve pausing to meet a need instead of plowing forward with what I want to do.  Just today I prayed for help with finding joy in what I have NOW, which is lots of little kids who throw lots of happy curve balls my direction.

A few highlights:

1.  I made myself do some reading.  I’m 4 chapters into a good book, reading in snatches of 5 or 10 minutes here and there.

2.  Celebrated some things that are wonderful but did require extra effort on my part:  Valentines Day, President Lincoln’s birthday, my grandma’s 80th birthday, my baby’s 6 month mark.

3.  In conjunction with the above, I finished a couple of projects that brought me joy.  It’s always nice when that happens.  I also have some fun ideas for next year.

Speaking of ideas, I sometimes wonder if they’re a blessing or a curse.  I am so full of them!  Ideas for countless things!  I’m forever grabbing my notebook and sketching, listing, recording ideas.  I know that creativity is a blessing, and being creative merely fuels more creativity, but sometimes I struggle with letting ideas go while I change diapers, cook food, go through homework papers, monitor piano practices, and drive, drive, drive.  I’m learning that there is a fine line for me to walk on this issue, that I have to be careful on those days when I feel so full of creative energy that I’m ready to burst.  Inevitably those are the days when my children are the neediest, the days are the longest, and I simply cannot justify it.  What I have to be careful about is keeping the right perspective so I don’t feel annoyed or slightly frustrated at my duties as a mother.  Sometimes it’s very had to do, but I cannot wish this away.  I chose this life.  I’ve got to love what I’ve got and accept this stage in my life for what it has to offer.

Deep Breath.  Sermon to self over.

4.  Perhaps the biggest victory of my week came this afternoon as I was washing dishes.  My son somehow managed to drop a full glass of a smoothie he’d made using tons of blueberries.  Now, he was walking towards me and the jar landed a couple of feet away from my feet.  I looked down at the trail of smoothie all across the kitchen floor and simply said, “Wow.”

And then we heard a splatter.  I have NO CLUE how it happened, but somehow a large portion of the smoothie flew in the opposite direction, away from me and away from the direction the jar was pointed in.  We turned around, and I saw blueberry smoothie on my ceiling, dripping down the walls, and all over the wall in the dining room, over 15 feet away!

I did not yell.  I honestly didn’t even feel angry.  It was clearly an accident and all that was left to do was clean it up.  But I will confess that I’m still trying to figure out how that smoothie traveled backwards, across the room, around the corner, onto the ceiling, and into the next room.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

Now, from the pictures it looks a lot better than it looked in real life.  And even in real life I was pretty upbeat.  We grabbed the cleaner and a roll of paper towels and…..

discovered that the blueberry juice had stained my walls.

I cannot get it off.

There are marks all over the place.

Oh, it was so hard to stay nice.  Not because I was mad, but because I wanted to cry.  I had this mental battle going on in my head:

emotion:  “This house is only 2 1/2 years old!  How can we be trashing it like this?  What am I doing wrong?”
reason:  “A house is just a tool for raising your family.”
emotion:  “Yes, but it’s supposed to LAST!  I don’t have time to re-paint these rooms!  And they’re so open, I’ll have to re-paint half of the main floor!”
reason:  “It’s just paint.”

Around and around I went.

Many years ago my mission president’s wife said something very interesting to me.  She said, “It’s easy to love without responsibility.”  I thought of that conversation today.  I thought about how it’s easy to forgive, to love, when feeling those feelings doesn’t require anything of us.  It’s harder when it costs us something.  And although we plainly understand what we really love the most, sometimes it’s still hard to let go of little things we didn’t anticipate sacrificing.  Today I didn’t anticipate sacrificing my kitchen and dining room until whenever I get around to re-painting them.  But I’m happy to say that I was able to keep foremost in my mind how much my son means to me.  The event did put a damper on my day, but I didn’t say or do anything that damaged my relationship with my son.  I remembered that pile of beads on my desk and chose to settle for stained walls instead of stained walls and a sad boy.

And I’ll confess that while I held off the tears until everyone was in bed, I did shed a few as I stood in my messy house holding a crying baby and generally feeling like an exhausted failure.

But that’s ok.  Tomorrow is another day.  Thank goodness!


  • Emilee

    I’ve been thinking about leaving a comment for a while now about how much I love your blog, but after reading that you felt like an “exhausted failure,” I just had to comment. I can’t help but think that “exhausted” is a frequent feeling for you, but “failure”…NO WAY!!! I am always amazed as I read your entries how much you accomplish and what a kind, patient and loving mother you are. I have tried a number of your recipes and loved them. I love your decorating ideas and how creative you are. But mostly I love your perspective on being a mother and enjoying your children at each stage they are in. I’m more or less just a crazy blog stalker since I don’t really know you (I’m your sister Em’s sister-in-law), but I do want to say thank you for the hope that you inspire in me. Happy President’s Day!

  • Emily

    OH. That is a bummer. We have that in our kitchen and up the fabric blinds. Excpet that it was a jar of paint water that was really deep black. So sorry. Great job on your response. Way to go. I have not been journaling in my step journal very well. I’m starting again this week. xoxo

  • jennifer

    Emilee, of course I know who you are! Thanks for your encouraging words. I appreciate them much more than you may think. I’m glad you enjoy my blog. Thanks for reading it. Jennifer

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