It’s a warm, clear, light and sunny late summer afternoon.

I am sleepy.

I was stressing out this morning.  We waited for David’s bus for 45 minutes before I called the school and found out there was a 90 minute delay because of some problems with the buses.  David managed to lose his sneakers and socks within five minutes of hearing that news…..and ended up having to get on the bus later on this morning with no socks, just shoes, because I was so mad I refused to look for new ones and of course he couldn’t remember for the life of him where he took the old ones off.  Why are socks such a source of stress?  Why do we wear socks?  Why do we wear shoes?

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Yesterday Caleb and I went for a walk in the woods together.  I had come home from grocery shopping and Seth was sleeping so I left the nonperishable groceries lying about and off we went.  Barefoot, barefoot, barefoot.  The ground in the woods was soft and spongy.  I pretended I was an old-time Indian in the woods.  I only hurt my feet two times; once when I caught my pinky toe on a root, and the other time was walking down the gravel trail back out of the woods, it hurt so bad.  Then I discovered one of the reasons WHY we need shoes nowadays.  Because men invented roads.  Gravel roads hurt.  Now we have asphalt roads but it’s too late. There’s too much money at stake in the shoe industry.  Plus asphalt roads are too hot.  We have cars now but we still need to wear shoes.  Think of the germs.  Germs are another reason why we wear shoes.  To protect our bare feet from other people’s germs.

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Another reason why we need to wear shoes is because of the weather.  I would go barefoot all year around except for winter.  I’ve pressed my bare feet into the top of snow, and it’s pleasant, but only for a moment.

Shoes also support the feet.  Sometimes my feet hurt and I put on my sneakers and they feel better. 

But, I don’t think it’s important to have multiple pairs of shoes or to spend a lot of money on shoes.  If each of my walking children owned three pairs of shoes, that would make a total of 15 shoes to keep track of.  Do you know how many times I get asked, “Mom, where’s my shoes”?  Why can’t my children wear sneakers to church with their dress clothes? 

Every time I go outside, I find at least one pair of shoes on the lawn.  Ethan’s Land’s End water shoes have been under the trampoline for months.  I’ve often thought, when the children are grown and gone, I will still come across shoes when I stumble upon their favorite forts and spots in the woods and by the stream.

Let this be a lesson to us all:  simplify your life.  buy your children just one pair of shoes a piece.  We’ve been liking our crocs these days.

I canceled Jacob’s follow up visit to the eye specialist this morning.  It would have taken at least 2 hours out of my morning, to get an eye checked, which I can see for myself  is better.  Why did I feel guilty canceling the appointment?  There is a slight chance that his eye is growing fungus, that’s why.  It’s quite rare, of course, but just in case, I should drive 40 minutes through stressful traffic to get it checked.  Just in case the 25 dollar antibiotic eye drops didn’t kill the germs that my chicken might have had on it’s beak when it poked Jacob’s eye.

Seth turned seven months old today.  He’s been fussy the past few days.  I am sitting here, typing, because he is sleeping on the porch in his swing.  I tried to read a book outside earlier, but Seth woke up crying.  As I came to the house, I remembered when Jacob, Ethan, and Grace were all preschoolers.  I rarely read anything but magazines.  I had no time.  Babies take a lot of time to care of.  I would die for Seth, he’s worth every moment, but for some reason I forget that he needs lots and lots of attention and then I get discouraged because the house is so messy.  And the other children need me, too.  And so does Rich.

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I told the children this morning, “I AM SO STRESSED OUT.  I AM OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS.”  Jacob advised me to take a nap.  Grace thought I should call my friend Kathy and have her babysit them for the day. 

My mom called me and during our conversation she said, “Why do you have to have a clean house?”  She’s home for the week, on vacation from her job, and enjoying her home.  She and Dad are spending time together.  She loves to garden.  She said this is the first vacation she’s had at home with complete freedom to do what she wanted to do.  She raised five children and she knows how I feel today.  The reason why I need a clean house is because the more stressed I am, the more “perfect” I want my surroundings.  I don’t know how to explain it.  When I’m relaxed, I could care less what the house/vehicle/lawn/garage/children look like….but, when I’m stressed out every little problem makes me irritated.

Like trying to find scissors.

The children finally understood that Mama couldn’t be bothered today.  So, they paired off after school was over.  Grace and Caleb have been best buddies.  The last time I saw them they were sitting in low tree branches, pretending they were riding horses, complete with rope as reigns.

Ethan and Jacob have been setting up an intricate army man fort/village outside in the driveway, in the shade of the vehicle.  Jacob created buildings and things using cardboard and coloring things in with colored pencils.  All the art lessons I’ve been paying for seem to be helping his artistry a great deal.  His cobblestone road looked quite realistic!

Ethan just walked in with Seth, who is awake again, after his 10 minute nap.  I asked Ethan to feed him.  I can hear E talking to him in a baby voice.  I’m so thankful for the experience the children are getting here at home, life skills are being learned.  Jacob did laundry this morning.  Ethan cleaned out the kitchen sink for me until it was empty and shining, with the clean sponge left on the side. 

(this is how my sink typically looks):

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As I sit here and type, I realize how much writing is like therapy for me.  That’s what I missed most of all when I wasn’t blogging this summer.  I didn’t write anymore…I thought I would get out a journal and write by hand, but typing is so fast that handwriting seems too SLOW now.  My life is moving at such a quick pace.  Typing is perfectly suited to my life.  Handwriting a letter to a friend is a rare treat to be savored.

I made a good dinner last night.  Rich needs good dinners, my hard working husband who most of the time skips lunch.

Our neighbor plants a huge garden, and sells his extra produce.  It’s so fun to walk down, buy some veggies, and then walk home.

(these are pictures from last week.  The first one, Grace took.  We were walking to the vegetable stand, our house is behind us.  Grace was proud that both the boys smiled for the picture.)…..

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The tomatoes have been so good.  Very flavorful.  So, last night for dinner I tried a new recipe using some of those yummy fresh tomatoes.  To make rice-stuffed tomatoes you need 4 medium sized ones.  Slice off the very top and scoop out the middle, leaving 1/2 an inch around.  Salt them and turn them upside down on a paper towel to drain.  Saute 1/2 cup onion, then add the middles of the tomatoes, which you have taken the seeds out of and chopped.  After the liquid evaporates from the pan, remove from heat and add 2 T of fresh parsley,  2 T of fresh basil, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice.  Fill your tomatoes, which you have placed in a baking dish, with the rice mixture.  Put a pat of butter on each one and bake in a 350 oven until heated through.  I served them as a side dish to the pork tenderloin which I also baked in the oven, in a covered roasting dish, seasoned with salt and pepper, for 1 hour.  After the hour was up, I took it out and sliced it.  I poured our favorite BBQ sauce over the top and put it back in the oven for about 5-10 minutes.  Rich said that it was the best meal he’s had in a long time, and that includes all those fancy dinners he eats on his business trips.  So, it was tiring, because Seth was fussy, but totally worth it to get the compliments. 

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Here are a few more notes from the sermon I listened to yesterday.  Based on Titus 2, the older Christian women are to teach the younger ones BY EXAMPLE, not by formal teaching (unless a woman has a definite GIFT FOR TEACHING she should NOT teach formally, but every woman is able to “teach” by example, influence, and quiet one on one conversation, in a natural spirit led, friendly way).  The older woman are to teach the younger to be husband-lovers, children-lovers, sensible (heads screwed on right), pure, and home-workers, not home-idlers or dawdlers.

Interesting, I thought.  Especially the part about how the older women are to teach—-by EXAMPLE.  Another thing the Pastor said was that the world has you DOING in order to BE.  God has us BE in order to DO.  By BEING in Christ, God-fearing and God-loving, we DO His will and encourage and inspire other Christian woman in the process.

As home-maker I am a DESPOT, a SANCTIFIED DICTATOR, a house KEEPER, an absolute RULER of the home, in a DIVINELY ASSIGNED ROLE, which is a role of safety and usefulness.  How fun!  How fulfilling!

And now you can see how I’ve gotten myself all tired out….after hearing that sermon I got all fired up and did too much…..LOL…but, the nice chocolate cake I made last night is sure coming in handy today, as a treat for my nerves! 

I just had this conversation with Ethan:

Ethan: “Mom.  You know those stinky seeds that are in stink weed?  Well, I planted one and alls it did was get bigger.” (he presents the growth from behind back)

Me, looking, recognizing the growth:  “I found one of those before!  So, you planted it and it grew like that?”

Ethan:  “Yep!”

Me, taking it, feeling it, smelling it, handing it back:  “Go take it apart and look inside it”

Ethan leaves, then Ethan returns with growth cut in half. 

Me, taking it, and smelling it, “It stinks like a skunk!”

Jacob, running upstairs, “I can smell that thing all the way downstairs!  The odor is awful!” (lots of laughter).

Ethan wants to plant more.  He said we can use them for gas bombs.  The weird thing is, the one I found a few years ago was old and rotting, and the smell of it was SWEET like a pineapple!  How topsy turvey!

Isn’t nature fun?

I can’t get the skunk smell out of my nose now, though. 

Okay, that’s enough for this post.  Yikes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 thoughts on “

  1. Love you, Chanda-girl, and it is pleasurable to have you back.  I really identify with you when you say that writing is therapy — It is so that way with me.  When things are too personal to blog (and sometimes, out of the sheer deference to another person, they have to be) I sometimes grab the pen and paper, but usually it just sits inside until I can pray it out to my Heavenly Father — and even then, I don’t always really work through things until I get it down in black and white.  Life is so intense for you right now, and I love this post — such a combination of the ordinary and extraordinary looked at through the eyes and camera lens of a gal who looks at life through a God-filter.  Again, I love you, and I’m so glad that you are back.

  2. I really needed to hear all this today Shanda. I’m so glad you share your stressed out moments as well and not just the lovely times. I felt like you this morning…in fact I just came out of my room where I was praying and reading because I needed it so bad! Your post encouraged me and helped me see that I’m not the only one and that maybe I can do this after all!!! Thank you!!!! Have a blessed day!

  3. Love the idea of bare foot in the woods…but I know I would have to just sit or stand…my feet are getting too old. I think the house is the hardest part of being a mommy to young ones. Somehow we are happy with some prettiness and order, but those little bodies need a lot of mom, and then you get tired. I understand. You are amazing with all you do,and just know that most people do not have a perfect house, especially if you homeschool and all live in it all the time! I am glad the older kids can help, and can have fun learning things on their own. Beautiful produce and prices from your neighbor. That is great!! Caleb is funny…is that a tomato? I love that you can walk down and buy things. What a pretty walk to take with your children!Rich looks cute and happy holding his boys. I see that big smile. Have a good evening! God bless you dear Shanda!

  4. I bet those veggies are YUMMY, I have been buying the ones in Walmart that probably travelled from Ca, it looks like yours JUST came from the ground, mmm mmm mmm!My day was the exact opposite because Juls let Ally come and play with Coco Loco today and they played and played and played and I was not hearing “look at this” every two seconds.  Most days Coco is lonely and I talk to her ALL day until the boys get home and then they are full of stories from their adventures at school and then Steve gets home from work and wants to follow me around talking to me..all this I love and am grateful for, but I TOTALLY get the feeling you were describing and I only have half the amount of kids you do!!!I am sure his eye will be fine, but if it does develop into some horrible infection WE WILL ALL KNOW WHY!!! LOL! 🙂

  5. I totally understand your stressed out mom feeling! I remember growing up and us kids would all figure out mom was having a bad day and try to do something else not around her for awhile. I bet it’s so nice to have helpers now though!Wow those are some good look’n yummy tomatoes! We haven’t really gotten any off our plants this year b/c we got them in late and it’s been too hot for them to produce ever since. Hopefully when it cools off a bit in the next few weeks they’ll start producing more. I’ve made stuffed tomatoes with bread crumbs and the tomato mixture, but haven’t tried rice. They were so yummy!Stink weed…interesting. We don’t have anything like that here.

  6. I too can identify with the “need” to have organization and order when you are stressed out.  Those days when I am tired and irritable, I just can’t stand a dirty floor and chaos about me.  (so glad to hear I’m not the only crazy one out there…LOL).  I’ll have to try the stuffed tomatoes.  They sound wonderful!!

  7. RE: Cleaning when you are stressed . . . Some time ago, someone asked me why I was so picky about the silverware drawer. Why did everything have to be just so? I thought about it and decided that in my most chaotic of days, my silverware drawer was one of the few things I could control!I wish my neighbor’s toiled and grew fresh veggies! I’d be a daily customer!!!I loved this post, BTW. I agree about typing on here to relieve stress . . . Why do you think my posts are always so loooooong???!!! LOL

  8. Your toes look so pretty!  I always enjoy reading your posts.  You inspire me to get outside and enjoy the outdoors with my kiddos.  These days my energy level seem to be nonexistent.  I’m amazed how tired you feel when you’re pregnant–how could I forget .

  9. I just read mymeanderings’ comment and laughed out loud at the last sentence! HA! (btw, I’m sure Jacob’s eye will be fine. I think your canceling the doctor’s appointment was just good application of that “sensibility” Titus 2 talks about! That sermon was wonderful. Yesterday I turned it on to listen to the second half, but I had enjoyed the first half so much that I listened to it again! Your notes were good. I was also impressed by the remarks on BEING before DOING. Also, the way “older women” are supposed to teach – by example, one-on-one, etc. I am SO THANKFUL for women who have done that for me!!! Oh, those fresh summer vegetables. We also have a neighbor who sells his fresh produce, and I have been a regular customer for the tomatoes. Once you’ve had a fresh garden tomato, you’re forever spoiled to the ones in the grocery store. I agree with you that the speed of typing is better suited for your (and my) pace of life. However, my thoughts always flow much more easily when I write by hand, for some reason. That is the trouble! It is hard to find enough time to write by hand.LOVED this post and pictures. You are an inspiration to me as a wife, mother, and homemaker.

  10. loved the whole post, but just have to comment on the socks/shoes stuff!I hate folding laundry even more in the winter because there are SOO MANY SOCKS!!! so frustrating, and with kids in close sizes it is confusing to remember who’s is who’s!!!AND THE SHOES!! I only have 4 kids, but for some reason this year we had flipflops, crocs, sunday shoes, sneakers…. how did that happen!??!?!?! just having sneakers looks like a good idea, but I don’t know if I can let my girls wear them to church (I am too traditional)! 🙂

  11. I love the picture of your feet! 🙂  I’m a foot picture lover, as you know.  I hope you did indeed get that rest yesterday and also today.  I miss seeing you and talking to you…I’m glad you’re writing again.  I love stuffed tomatoes, too..yum. 🙂  I love the picture with Rich smiling with his teeth..hehe.

  12. I too would be barefoot most of the time.  My feet like to be free.  I’ve had to wear sneakers a lot lately b/c my hips don’t like barefeet.  Can’t please everyone all the time I guess.  For me, the clean thing, it’s hard to think when there is clutter around.  It kind of closes in on me and makes everything worse. 

  13. My children don’t wear shoes except to go off and then the crocs are so wonderful!!!!!!!!!Living in the country and going barefoot just go together like peas in a pod!

  14. lol…I just posted about our food for sale table, too and I promise I didn’t peek at yours. -hilarious!!!! Nothing like fresh produce. I will try that rice stuffed tomatoe recipe. How nice that you can just walk over to your neighbors, and have the freshness at your fingertips!You are so real here, Shan! This is great! -Loved visiting your house this morning. Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!

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