Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the debt reduction diaries: kickinthepants

Remember like 2 weeks ago that I wrote that really nice upbeat post about how great it was to get through January and to have stuck with our budget and paid all our bills on time and all that wonderfulness?

well, then the next day was February, and for some reason, things went downhill.  like, way downhill.

first of all, that last day of Jan when we did our Feb budget meeting, it felt so good to figure out we'd be able to pay our bills on time again and without waiting for the next check like we were so used to doing.  in fact, it felt so good that I guess it also felt DONE, because the thought of actually PAYING the bills didn't cross my mind until the other day.

and on the 5th of the month we had a pinkadink photo shoot.  I had busted my stinking butt for that thing for WEEKS before.  I'm not even going to go into detail about it because you probably don't care, but when you bust your buns for something and then it's finally over, there's like a wave of "I can't do ANYTHING" that comes over you.  well, ME, anyway.

So since Feb 5th I've been fighting this HUGE lack of motivation!  it's taking me forever to get my orders done for some reason.  and I'm having to practically wrangle myself into the basement in order to do anything it seems!  ugh!

Plus I'm convinced that we're going to run out of grocery money this month.  it's not looking good.  and I'm already sick of the kids complaining about being hungry.  now listen here.  I'm pretty sure there's a difference between BORED and HUNGRY, and that my kids have not yet figured it out.  I realize that they are maybe not snacking as much as they used to, but they're eating plenty of food.

here's a good example.  I watched this video I saw on facebook about first world problems being read by third world people.  so, for instance, a little kid from Haiti saying something like "I hate it when my charger doesn't reach my bed" or something equally ridiculous that is totally a first world problem.  and I've been trying to use that idea with Lillian a little bit.  So, like, when she's almost in tears after school because I only let her have ONE snack instead of TWO snacks, and supper is on the stove.  So I try to encourage her to think about if the thing she's complaining about is really a problem, and what if she was telling this problem to a child in ________ who doesn't even get supper, let alone a snack.  She usually feels embarrassed and knows she shouldn't be complaining.

These are the types of situations that the kids are struggling with.  they want 2 snacks instead of one.  they want cereal (which NEVER fills them up anyway) instead of oatmeal.  They want to eat the whole bag of tortilla chips instead of making sure we save some for Thrusday nights for our rice and beans.

But the first month it was sorta fun, like a challenge!  and this month it makes me want to scream my brains out and get a big huge piece of plastic and put all the food they eat in a day onto it at once to show them that there's no way they're still hungry after eating all this healthy food.  They might not be filled-to-the-brim-gonna-puke FULL, but they are certainly not hungry.

(just so you know, if we DO run out of grocery money, we have some in our "summer fund" that we'll just use.  The kids will never be truly hungry from not having enough food.  I'm all about debt reduction, but I'm not about to watch my kids be hungry for real.  so no need to worry about our food situation.) :)

there are a bunch of other little things too that are just piling up in my mind.  I don't have time to elaborate, but we all have those things, don't we?  the tings we try to ignore but they just slowly gnaw at us and make us feel incompetent.  (or maybe not.  is it just me???)

I knew this day would come, where I'd be too overwhelmed, and too tired of it all.  I just didn't know it would happen in FEBRUARY.   seriously??

I think that maybe my all-knowing God knew that I was pretty proud of myself last month.  I felt like I could do it, instead of feeling like I CAN'T do it and He pulls me through.

so maybe that's what February is about.  How quick am I to think 'I've got this'?  how easy is it for me to say 'we rocked it' instead of being humble and bent over in thankfulness.  Of course I KNOW that God is the provider and I felt very aware of that last month, don't get me wrong.  But the 'highs' make it so easy to wander, if just a hair, away from that awareness.  the knowledge can still be there, but it's the AWARENESS that can waver.  and that wavering can stoop really quickly, can't it.  and maybe I just need this little kickinthepants.

So here I am with over 2 weeks left in the month, feeling like I'm in a "low," and needing to be rescued from my state of mind.

and hopefully this post can be the turning point.  hopefully just getting it all out of me can clear my mind and help me gear up for then next couple weeks.  and bring me back.  back to being aware of God's provision and protection.  Back to humility.  back to reaching and stretching with all my might to be near the feet of Jesus. back to peace, which He gives, if we ask.

all of you is more than enough for all of me
for every thirst and every need
you satisfy me with your love
and all I have in you is more than enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

the other parent

In our Sunday School class we're doing a unit on marriage.  I feel ridiculously blessed to be in the marriage that I'm in, but of course there are a bazillion things I can learn on how to do this thing better.  This week there was a nugget that stuck with me big time (all the way til monday!).  We talked about loving our spouse the way that God would want us to love His child.  does that make sense?  like, seeing God as the Father-in-law.  Because Steve is God's son, I need to treat him in a way that would be acceptable to his Father.

I have so many thoughts on that topic alone, but today, as I was thinking about that, something else struck me.  hard.

My kids used to be obsessed with playing "the little kids."  Basically, it means that they would go outside, walk up to the door, ring the doorbell, and tell me that their parents died (or some other horrific story about why they don't have parents) and ask if they could stay at my house.  So I would invite them in and show them around and explain all the messes and who could stay where, and what we would be having for supper, and all sorts of things, as if they were someone else's kids.

and they LOVED this game.  we played it just about every day.  They often wanted to play it more than once a day, but ya know, I can only "play" with my kids so much.  I'm just not a play-er, I guess.

But ok, so when we're playing "the little kids" and supper is done, I kindly call to the kids and say, "ok!  everything is ready!  I'm so glad I made extra food tonight so we have enough for you!  Please come into the dining room, it's right over here!"  and if they didn't come right away, I would say, "uh oh!  I forgot to tell you the rule at our house is 'obey right away!' so you need to come right when I call!" in a super annoying, high pitched voice.  and then after supper I'd kindly show everyone what to do with their dishes and what the expectations were until bedtime, and it was all so sweet and controlled and easy.

when we're not playing "the little kids" a typical evening in the Hydeen household sounds a little more like this:
"let's EEEEEEAT!"
"why are you not coming?  turn that thing off, RIGHT NOW."
"I feel like I'm being ignored!  Wanna know a really good way to make Mommy get really crabby really fast?  make me feel like I'm being ignored!"
"I don't care if you don't like this. it's what we're having.  you don't have to eat it if you don't want to."
"no, I will NOT make you something else."
"oh, hey, I know!  how about, 'thanks Mom, for making food for us because there are so many people all over the world who don't have ANY food, so I'm really glad that this will be my THIRD meal of the day, and that YOU prepared all of them!'"

you probably get the point.

for some reason, when I'm talking to my kids, I have an impressive ability to talk like a sassy teenager.  the weirdest part is that I don't think I ever even talked like that as a teenager.  but I sure know how to.  and even though I can't STAND the sound of what's coming out of my mouth, it's so hard for me to just switch gears.

But I would never talk to someone else's kids like that!!! I have scolded someone else's child once, thinking it was MY child who said it, and as soon as I figured out what i'd done, I totally switched tones and explained to the other child why we shouldn't say whatever-they-said.

how embarrassing!!!!

and so today I'm feeling a bit convicted that maybe along with seeing Steve through the lens of "God's child," I ALSO need to remember that God is my CHILDREN'S other parent, too.  and goodness sakes, if I heard another adult speaking to my kids the way I speak to my kids, my mama bear would come out and I would have hair standing up on the back of my neck, ready to fight.

I love those three more than I can even begin to explain on a keyboard, or even with real words.  There are no analogies that could get it quite right.  It's huge, it's crazy, it's a fierce love.  and it's NOT very evident in my words.  my voice. my tone.

having an 8 year old with all sorts of new experiences and questions and such has been a RIDE, let me tell you.  but even when I'm caught off guard, I feel like I do a decent job of answering questions, or discussing situations, or whatever.  I feel like my words quite often come from God, and he allows me to explain things in ways that sometimes even surprise me.  Because I need him to step in for me. :)  So I know, if I decide to allow him to step into the daily communication with my kids, He'll do that too.  I just have to be willing to let him.

I have to use my "the little kids" voice a little more, and the sassy teenager voice a little less.  I have to put the effort into making my TONE match my LOVE, instead of my frustration.  I have to remind myself to look at the situation through someone else's eyes, just for a second.  I have to remember that God is the other parent, and not only that, but he's right here in front of me.  and if I wouldn't say it to someone else's kid, I shouldn't say it to mine.

because guess what.  they ARE Someone else's kid too.