Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife: The Fridge Vs The Respect Dare

Have you ever put off doing a job because  it was just. so. daunting. that it made you exhausted just thinking about it? And then once you decided to bite the bullet and get it done you felt a huge sense of accomplishment? Yeah, that's me right now.

Next to cleaning the bathroom (which is my husband's job, simply because I'm a wimp and he adores me anyway), cleaning out the abyss  the fridge is my most dreaded task. So I put it off. For way longer than I really should. My philosophy is cram the stuff in there and shut the door quickly. Not a good path to follow, in case you're wondering. 

I do have my reasons. In my head I'm very organized. Every little thing in its place. In reality, ehh, not so much. The fridge is old and needs to be replaced. And it will be. Eventually. So I shove everything in there from fresh produce to meat to leftovers... and then cringe when there is no more room and Weird Al is in my kitchen singing to me.

Frightening, huh? 

Well, this week I read Dare 13 of the Respect Dare. You can learn more about that by visiting Unbroken Woman. I'm at least a week behind everyone else but for now, that's okay with me. Anyway, part of the dare was to ask your husband to name one thing you can do for him that would help him out. My husband just happened to be out of town but I could pretty much guess what he would say: Clean the kitchen. So for the past two days (don't judge) I've been working on that. Today I tackled the dreaded fridge. 
   Hubby is home now. While I cleaned and organized the fridge and did dishes, he sat and played a computer game. Did that irk me? You bet! At first. You probably know some of the thoughts: Why am I the only one up cleaning? (He cooked breakfast) You'd think he'd feel some compunction to get up and clean some too. (He worked all night and this is the first day of his weekend). Blah blah blah. 

But you know what? It's all okay. I'm sure an exasperated sigh (or ten, but who's counting?) came out of me today. But I didn't yell. I didn't disrespect him by berating him. I let him do his thing while I did mine. And he did help. He took care of part of the job while I sat and relaxed for a minute or two. And at the end, he thanked me and told me how much he appreciated me doing that. 

The respect dare is not easy. There will be times you feel like giving up because it's not really making a difference. But if you get the book and read on your own or follow Unbroken Woman , I encourage you to see it through to the end. I intend to. It is worth it. Whether Hubby says anything or not, I'm seeing changes in my own spirit, and changes that I'd like to see happen. Not so much because they would make my husband happy, but because I feel that my attitude and my actions would be more pleasing to God. The respect dare isn't all about fetching the paper and his slippers each evening. It's about showing your partner in life the respect and love that he needs, and also (more importantly) respecting God's wishes. 

While it helps that Hubby thanked me for cleaning the fridge,  and that does help, believe me, it's not all about what do I get out of all this. I get a sense of accomplishment, I get less frustration in preparing meals and snacks. The important part is what I put into this relationship. Love. Honor. Respect.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Morning Has Broken

Actually, morning broke about two hours or so ago --5 AM. I'm a morning person, but in my book, morning should ideally begin at 7 AM. At the earliest,  6:30. I could possibly stand 6 if I had to. In my world however, I have a son who has come to believe that anywhere between 2 AM and 5 AM is the optimum time to start the day. And the cats agree with him.

I wake up, deal with the morning ablutions and I am followed by the pitter patter of little feet. Feline feet carrying kittens and a young adult who wonder why their human would prefer they didn't follow her into that one particular room in the house. After all, it's din din time. She's up, so it must be din din time! They are on the brink of starvation after not having eaten for three years! Okay, so its only been since last night but hey, who cares. Food is of the utmost importance for a cat.

The two factions in the house, cat and child, tolerate each other at best and avoid each other completely at worst. I think that it's all a scam, that avoidance. Sometime around midnight or so I think they get together and plot. Their objective? Food. At the most unreasonable time of morning. The Bottomless Pit and the Feline Mafia work together to achieve this goal. Get her up by any means possible: Belching. Rattling around in the kitchen. Singing. A tail in the face. A furry weight on the chest. Incessant mewing.  And so the day begins. The two warring sides, sated, go back to their wary acknowledgement of the enemy and continue with their day. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why I Love Books A Million: A Lesson in Compassion , Professionalism, and Just Plain Niceness

Okay, so my secret is out. I love love looooovvvveeee Books A Million. Absolutely adore it. More specifically, I love the Statesboro, Ga branch. More importantly, I really like the staff. 

I'm a nerd, I'll freely admit. An old school nerd at that. I don't own an e-reader of any type. Yet. Eventually I'm sure one will become mine, and that's cool. But I love (there's that word again. Gracious, how many times is this woman gonna say that word??) real books. The feel, the touch, the smell, all of it. I feel that no home is complete without a wall or two of books. 

But you didn't stop here to hear me wax poetic about paper versus digital. After all, I did mention that the staff is the best part about the store. You see, whether we get to buy anything or not, we like going to BAM to browse and hang out a little sometimes. These trips to the store also include J, who does not share his parents adoration of books, magazines, and such. He is there to eat. He's there to people watch. He's there because he has no choice in the matter. 
Most of the time he does well, sitting and waiting until he's bored hopelessly out of his mind and reminds the two bibliophiles he was born to that it's time to go. Loudly. We've been to that particular branch enough times that they recognize us and know that J has autism. Bless their hearts, they are always nice and polite, and have never kicked us out. (We do that ourselves.) Even when J has an accident, it's taken care of quickly and without much fuss, by the staff or us.

 The other day we happened to be in town for a meeting I had. We were at least an hour early so we decided to go to the bookstore.  J did well at first, but he became a little uncomfortable --and loud. He wasn't screaming, just doing his belching noise now and then and moving around a lot. When I noticed the problem,  Dad took J to take care of it and I went in search of a worker. I came up to one just as an older gentleman flagged him down to advise him that "there is a man back there by the exit sign with either a mental or psychological problem." Yes, that is exactly what he said. The young man nodded and moved on. I smiled at the young man with the older gent near enough and said "Yup, it's my son. He  has autism." He assured me there was no problem (the young man, not the other gentleman). I gave him a heads up on the wet chair and he took care of it without a gripe or a fuss. Simple fix of taking out what was wet and bringing in clean chairs from the break room. That was it. He simply did his job and assured me that all was okay. 

 Sadly, in other stores I have seen workers and clients alike frown and make rude comments when J was just being J. Not being obnoxious or loud necessarily, but just flapping his hands or giggling or whatever. Never have I run into this at BAM. Ever. I've had a customer a time or two suggest that I need to "check on him" (he's never unattended because J is usually within eyesight of his Dad if not me). The hubs has had a few strike up conversations with him about autism and even vaccines. It's definitely a family friendly place.

Even in this day and age there are still people though, who believe that kids and adults like J should not be out in public. They don't understand autism, they do not wish to understand (my opinion, although I could be wrong about some), and they do not like having to see or hear anything or anyone that upsets them. J doesn't belong at home all the time, nor does he belong in a home or institution. He's a human being! Part of our teaching him (and this is ongoing) is how to handle himself in public settings. He won't learn that holed up away from others. At the same time, I believe he's teaching others compassion, understanding, and manners. Or at least he could if people would just pay attention instead of frowning and running away. 

So what does my mini rant about rude people have to do with Books A Million?  Not much really, except a lesson in compassion for others, professionalism, and common courtesy. While I think the older gentleman who warned about "the man with mental or psychological problems" handled it as best he could, it's still hurtful and maybe he could have handled it differently. Maybe next time he encounters a person like J he will not be so quick to judge. Or maybe he will choose his words a bit more wisely, especially if someone else is standing nearby. I can only hope. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catching Up and Thoughts on the Respect Dare

For those of you still following me and those just joining me, thank you. I apologize for not posting more regularly, but taking care of family trumps sitting and writing. As it is, I'm sitting here arguing with J. He wants attention and food, and not necessarily in that order. Never fear though, lunch is being heated up at this very moment. 
  Speaking of J, he's been on new medication for about a month or so now. I'm happy to report that he is doing well. One of the reasons that he's acting up a little today is he ran out of one of the meds over the weekend. It will get refilled today when he sees his doctor.  He also sees his new neurologist on August first. He has an EEG scheduled for that day. We like this new doctor, as well as the intern. Both took the time to listen to our concerns and asked many questions. The treatment plan was explained well enough and we all came out happy.
  I just completed Dare nine in the Respect Dare. I'm not going as fast as I'd like to catch up with the others, but that's okay for now. I want all of this to sink in. Dare nine was about overlooking insults. Not necessarily from your husband, but from anyone who just plain wants to be rude. I have a hard time with this, honestly. If people are rude with me, I have a tendency to get ugly right back. With strangers and casual acquaintances I can handle it better, but the barbs hurt a little worse when it comes from family or friends you know well. Let me be perfectly clear though: this is *not* a way to say my husband insults me. He doesn't. Like any human, he has his faults. That isn't one of them. But when others do get my goat, he tends to be an indirect target of my ill mood. Thankfully, he has a calming influence on me. He knows just what to say or do and he knows most of the time when to just let me blow off steam so that we can discuss it. I'm the one who needs to learn to redirect my thoughts and words and actions.
  Dare ten teaches not to judge or criticize others, or to speak too quickly, but to speak with wisdom after carefully listening. I know there are far too many times when my mouth has a hair trigger --it goes off without warning. I am my husband's helpmeet. i want him to be able to come to me without dread that I'm going to say something negative. I want my presence and speech to be welcoming to him at all times.
   I reposted a photo on facebook  that shows a cuddling couple by a fireplace and it said "Home" is in the arms of my husband. That statement is so true for me. What a friend commented is also true: she said that was very rare for most women. Ladies, I would never encourage anyone to stay in a relationship that is physically abusive. Ever. I'm not a marriage counselor, nor am I an expert by any means in marriage. I just know that in order for a marriage to work, it takes work -on both sides. What my friend continued to say makes a lot of sense (and I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her) : 
sometimes we women are all prickles and thorns rather than a purring cat. But then, there can be a reason for that - hurt feelings, verbal attacks. It can be a vicious cycle. Somebody in the relationship has to put an end to it. Like a square knot - it only tightens when both ropes pull against each other.

Whether we have a good marriage and want to make it even better, or there is a problem that needs to be fixed, I recommend two things -Prayer and the Respect Dare.   It's not about being a doormat, it's not about being weak. Will it be easy? Not really. Will it be worth it? I think so.  

Gratituesday: Family Visits

On Saturday my husband gave up a few precious hours of sleep so that we could go visit family. My sister Susan is in the area for a few days. I live the furthest out from everyone else so we went to my niece's house for the afternoon. 
  Sadly, I don't have a camera so the pictures that were taken will have to be sent to me so I can have copies. The day went all too fast for me, and I hope it's not another two years before I see my sister again.
  In today's spread out, hurry up world, especially with gas prices rising yet again, family visits seem to be fewer and farther between. Sure,we have internet, phones, and snail mail, but I long for the days of living close enough to family that we can visit often. What we've gained in technology and mobility I fear we've lost in our roots.
  Still, I'm thankful for the time we have together. I love the chance to catch up and see how the kids and grandkids are growing. It gives me pleasure to see everyone together. 
 Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Respect Dare

About ten days or so ago on Facebook a friend shared a link to a blog challenging women to work on their relationship with their husband --particularly, respect. I took a look and jumped in, feet first. I already knew that some-ahem-fine tuning was in order. 

The respect challenge is a 40 day journey that follows The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner. Unbroken Woman is the blog hosting the challenge. That link takes you directly to the post on what to expect when you embark on this journey. A word of advice: don't take this endeavor lightly. I'm a few days behind on the dares, but that's okay for me. I'll catch up soon enough.

I honestly thought that once I got the book I could catch up fairly quickly, just combine a few dares each day until I got there. Well, although I have been able to do some of that, it's not as easy as it seems. With family life alone it gets to be hard sometimes. And then there is the long hard look at yourself with each challenge. In the few days that I've been reading the book and following the posts on Unbroken Woman I've cried, been a bit more emotional, and at one time felt like there is just too much in me that needs to be "fixed".  I do have a long way to go, I admit that. But this journey is totally worth it to me. If I am disrespectful to my husband in any way, I'm being disrespectful to God. 

Being respectful does not in any way, form, or manner mean that you have to be a door mat. Quite the opposite, actually. Women of strength and honor know that there is a difference. I like the way Jennifer Unbroken Woman said it in her post about the dare:

God calls men to love their wives as Christ loved the church which if you look at Jesus’ example, He constantly gave of himself even when He was tired. His ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of love was that he literally gave his life for the church, his bride. That’s a hard command given to our husbands but we were given one as well and that’s to respect our husbands and submit to their leadership. This doesn’t mean we submit to sin but it’s trusting God enough to deal with our husbands if their leadership fails. Regardless, we are called to respect and obey them.
The world tells us that we deserve respect and if we aren’t respected or loved then we don’t have to give it in return. The problem with that is that it’s not Biblical and that attitude is wiping Godly marriages out.

Submission and respect is not about subservient living or slavery. It’s not losing our identity. Quite the opposite!

At the top of each post for the dare, we see a welcome mat.  Our husbands should feel welcomed when they come to us. At least, that's the way I feel. I encourage you to take a chance on this challenge. In fact, I dare you!  Will you want to give up at times? Oh yeah, definitely. Will it be hard? Yes! But oh, so worth it. It is not an overnight change, but a journey. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Day in the Life

Good morning, y'all. 

It's about 7:45 am and my patience, sadly, has about run out for the day. Here's the picture so you understand: The day started about 4 am, or just before. I came into the kitchen to find J eating mayonaise and red kidney beans that hadn't been put away the night before.  He scuttles off to bed and I put away the beans and throw out what's left of the mayo. At four in the morning I am nowhere near ready to start the day, so I crawl back into bed myself. Neither of us sleeps. Remember, the Hubs has night shift so he's at work, blissfully unaware that his family is doing anything other than sleeping.
   I check emails, cruise facebook (yeah, my page is mostly dead that time of morning. Everyone is asleep or going to sleep), and finally give up and watch a few episodes of Ducky Dynasty that came in this week.  Is it peaceful here during the video watching? Not even close.
   My bedroom is right next to J's bedroom and I hear the LOUD stimming he's doing in his room. It's a noise that is part teenage obnoxious belch and part explosion. He does this, thinking that's a great way to get my attention and let me know he's hungry. I'm doing my best to ignore the explosions and talk to him when I hear the normal tones. It's about a 75/25 mix these days and it depends on how things are going which way is working, if that makes sense. 
      Fast forward to about seven am. It's finally painfully obvious that sleep is out the window for either of us at this point. So here I am in the kitchen with eggs boiling, J still exploding and making lots of different noises, and eggs are boiling while I sit here typing away. And being used as a perch for two kittens. One on each arm. 
   I'm really not as cranky as I sound. Okay, I am. But not really. I like being up in the mornings, although I'd prefer my own solitary morning routine that smooths the way for the day to J's jump in with both feet and hit the ground running routine. Somehow it will work though. Eventually he will run out of steam and possibly nap. Being a Saturday, it's hard to tell whether I'll  nap at the same time (best bet for today) or guilt will win out and I'll try to prepare for the Lord's day tomorrow. Dishes to be done. Clothes to be put away. So much on the to do list, yet the main one wins out: spending time with the handsome young man who converses in his own language in a way that reminds me of how Native Americans were portrayed in the old spaghetti westerns. Somehow a balance of housework and J time is made.  And patience balances out as well, given a chance.
  Have a great day, y'all. The eggs are done.