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Nope, I’m not pregnant, but it would be hard to tell by my blog reading.

25 Oct

(No, I am not pregnant. Just to reiterate.)

I have this sort of weird addiction to mommy-blogs. After going on five years of a mostly-hiatus (though I was sure it was more like the Arrested Development kind of permanent hiatus, not the Parks and Recreation kind, just waiting to come back, because weren’t blogs on the way out anyway?), I now am a regular visitor on a dozen or more blogs.

It didn’t really start with all the mommy stuff, (though some of that is interesting for reasons you can read below,) but honest-to-goodness, those blogs have all sorts of good information about general life-organization and planning. And I seriously don’t know what’s happened to me. I used to be pretty disorganized and carefree about it (much to the annoyance, I’m sure, of roommates, friends and family), but somewhere along the line I got all systematic. I realized that systems and organization can save you some time and energy (though not always, but most of the time), and when I’m running around like crazy-pants from morning til night, it would be impossible to function as an adult without some sort of systems in place.

And so I read said blogs (not all “mommy-blogs”, it’s just that most of them are moms), and I envy them greatly. I know the grass is always greener and such, but fact is, I long to be at home with my (currently-non-existent) kiddos, making a home. Some of you probably think this sounds very unlike me. Sometimes I think it does sound very unlike me. But it’s not. I’m turning 29 in a few weeks. I remember my mom when she was 29: I was 7 years old. And while I’m infinitely thankful that I didn’t have kids at 22, I’m a little sad that my kids won’t really know me as a younger adult. And we haven’t even started on our first. What about the last of the kids (assuming we have a few)? Gracious, I’ll be that old mom that begs the “is that your grandma?” questions. Eek.

Fact is, we aren’t at that place yet. Ben is still working on school, and we’re waiting – which we realize is only kinda partially up to us, God can do what he wants –  til he’s done with his degree, and can better support a family.  I am in a job I really enjoy.  I get to be a mom to 50+ kids who need some extra mom in their life. We have a new house, and heaven knows the house still needs some love! And no kids means that we are able to have friends over like James today, who just spent the day hanging out with us while I cooked for tomorrow night’s Soup Swap (which I’m excited about!). Not that kids mean that can’t happen anymore, but it allows us to minister in ways we won’t always be able to. I realize that.

So in the mean time, I read blogs. I file them generally under “homemaking” in my bookmarks. Most of them are about that. And I can do that without kids. I can make my house a home for the people we love now, and for the husband who I dearly love being a helper to. I can cook up a storm, repaint stuff, remodel stuff, organize and plan. I don’t need kids for this. And maybe I will be thankful for having read the words of those who have gone before me.

I did think….Why are so many of these blogs (Simple Mom, Small Notebook, Inspired to Action, Passionate Homemaking, Fly Through Our Window, Life…Your Way….and so many more of my favorite blogs and meta-blogs) ONLY by moms? There are several DIY/home blogs by single/kid-less women, but it’s hard to find homemaking blogs (that aren’t just cooking or something specific) that aren’t partially mommy blogs.

And then I realized – It’s because we have jobs. At least, I think this is the culprit. Which isn’t to say moms don’t – they have much harder jobs. But, speaking only for myself, having a job (one that I go to, one I get a paycheck from), means that I often feel like I do my “homemaking” job…poorly. Or at least…less professionally. I don’t have time to bake bread from scratch when I get home at 7pm, need to cook dinner and then go to bed, squeezing in time to prep for weekend women’s ministry planning or thank you notes that I owe people from August, and oh-please-gross-ew-what-happened-to-the-bathroom-I-JUST-cleaned!? Lots of the best homemaking blogs (I have no better term for them…if you have one, let me know), are great because their writers confess their lack of perfection. But what if you feel like you can’t really speak with any authority because you literally don’t have the time to invest in your work? And what kind of readership can you get if you readership is all hard at work at their own jobs (assuming they aren’t reading blogs at work!), and feeling they aren’t exactly adequate at their “home job” either? Why feel worse about it?

I don’t know the answers. I know that it can easily become an idol, and I have to keep it in check. There will always be things that will try to pull at my heart that are disguised as good things (and some are), but they compete in my heart for the space only Jesus was meant for.

For now, I wake up each morning, grab my coffee, Bible, Jesus Calling app (thanks, Darby!), and comfy robe, do my best to complete my Hello Mornings challenge for the day, and do my best to say prayers of thankfulness that I have no crying babies yet to interrupt that gift of solitude and joy and time for growth. Nothing is wasted, especially not times like these.

And please stop asking when we’re planning to “start a family”.

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Excuses, Excuses

21 Aug

"Well, this is awkward."

Here’s the thing. If there’s nothing really going on in my life, I’m all like: “Hey, I have nothing to blog about. I’m just going to work and doing my thing, you know?” And then, if there’s something really big and really personal going on in my life, I think: “Well, that’s too personal to blog about. I mean, why put your whole dirty laundry out there for everyone? Nobody wants that, and they’ll just feel awkward. Or sorry for you. Or they’ll feel like they have to pretend to “pray for you”. (There are some folks out there who really do that, I know, but I’ve been guilty of saying “I’ll pray for you”, when I really just don’t know what else to say.) Then, if there’s stuff going on that is great but not too personal, then I’m all: “I’m too busy to blog right now!” or “Nobody really cares about that anyway….you already screwed your blog by not writing in forEVZ, so you should probably play some more Froggy Jump.

So. I’m not going to do that today. Why, you ask? Because I’m procrastinating! That’s right, I have far too much to do (as you will soon see) and I’d rather sit at my new (to me)  pretty black MacBook, drink coffee and wait til my husband gets home from work to get crankin on the stuff we need to do.
Such as?

OK, so we’re moving in a week. Which reminds me, I should start a Facebook Event because that’s the only thing that seems to work these days. Thanks to Ben, we have a good start on the packing, though he tends to pack a little too much too soon. (“I’m leaving two plates and two forks for us for the next week.” “Um, no.”) But there’s plenty more to pack. Super huge thanks to the Ryans, because it’s really nice to not have to drive all over Indy, sneaking into the fenced-off trash bins of big box stores (there’s a reason they call them that, I guess) to gather boxes. They came over a couple of months ago with a truck full of boxes from their latest move. AWESOME. SO yeah, there’s that.

There’s also the actual house. We’d planned on getting FAR more done this summer (we closed on the house in May), but a lot of stuff was put on hold as we tried to get the previous owners to fulfill their contract (which included some basement work, electrical, etc), which was a tough job. Finally, all that got done (mostly) and then the aircon went out. And then our home warranty company decided to reject our claim for it. Thanks, HWA, you were really helpful!

No, no you were not.

Anyway, we’re still working on that. But it’s been pretty miserable (for us and for some friends who were gracious enough to help us!) trying to get everything painted in the house. I think we might actually be able to get it done, though we probably won’t be done with the trim (there’s a LOT OF TRIM). Eh, whatever. But we WILL have working air conditioning by when we move in (it’s consistently been over 90 degrees here….but isn’t that true everywhere?), even if I have to hire the local garden gnomes to bring ice cubes into our vents and blow on them. That’ll work, right?

So then there’s this one little thing.

I got a new job.

Last week was my last week at Outreach. Next week is my first week as Program Manager (or Program Director, or Program Managing Director, depending on who you ask when) at LifeBridge Community. Yes, the week we’re moving. Great idea, eh?

So THAT has been happening.

Yeah, I’ll be glad when we get through all this.

But it’s exciting, no?

Maybe I’ll post some photos for you. Eventually.

(The Beginning.)

21 May

Hi again.

Welcome to the third installment of my blogging adventures.

I began blogging back in January of 2003, over seven years ago, during my first year in college in Scotland. It seemed like the thing to do, given that a) it was what everyone was doing and b) it allowed me to keep people up to date with my life in Scotland. In truth, I’m afraid to go back and read what I had to say back in my college years, but if you’re interested, you can find it here from the awful beginning: http://www.forbieland.blogspot.com . (As a side note, my friend Paul from Wiseacre Design designed my first blog from scratch. It was lovely, though the design aspects are gone, so you’ll just have to trust me. Nearly six years later, Paul would be the photographer at my wedding.)

A few years later, I got bored with that one, and Paul set me up with another one, and my own domain: http://www.michaelaforbes.com, which would later become http://www.michaelaflack.com, which would later get hijacked by internet terrorists. And by “internet terrorists” I mean “spammers”. So, sorry if that confused some of you. That was then, this is now.

I’ve floundered in the last few years, with the blog issue, because it’s hard to know what to write about. I felt like living in an apartment in Indiana was far less exciting to the general public than living in a flat in Edinburgh. I wasn’t  the crazy American-in-Scotland anymore, I was just another midwestern girl. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t loved my life after Edinburgh, but simply that I didn’t know how to write about it anymore. (Additionally, I took on a job that was-is-incredibly exciting and original, but is also bound by confidentiality issues that do not allow me to blog much about it. Given that it’s such a huge part of my life, it seems it’s made it even more difficult to know what to say to you all.)

And sometimes, I just don’t know what to say. I’ve complained before that the times in which it probably would have been the most fruitful to blog proved to be the most difficult to blog through. Like anyone else with a Facebook page these days, it’s hard to know what should be fair game for the wider world. In that sense, Facebook and Twitter have made it far easier to not blog about anything of importance.  I’ll tell you about what I’m eating for lunch, but don’t you dare ask me about how my marriage is going or what I’m truly fearful of, or where I think I may have failed.  Is much as we talk about privacy, it feels to me that Facebook and Twitter make us more likely to be less like ourselves online.

But no matter.

In truth, here on this blog, I still decide what you know and what you don’t know. I feel like I’m gaining some sense of my writing voice back. I don’t feel the pressure that I did to blog anymore, mostly because the majority of my former “hardcore” readers have vanished. (Though some of you are still around, and have been waiting patiently. You know who you are, and I thank you.) I will try again here, but I can’t lie and pretend my ultimate daily goal is to blog anymore. If I look back to when I blogged nearly daily, I think my intentions lay mostly in my loneliness. It was hard to find deep soul friends in Scotland (though, in the end, I found a few), and so my thoughts were puked out onto the world instead. For better or for worse, there it was.

Since then, I moved to Indiana, and found a family of friends at my church that have taught me how to love and mature and grow. And so, I find less need to get my thoughts out to “the world” in order to be heard (and, sadly, I probably thought  my college years were about being heard, rather than listening well).  I am not who I was 7.5 years ago, thank God, but anyone who writes (or creates anything at all), knows that that desire to write and create and string words together never really goes away. And I’d like to reclaim that little part of me that I feel like I lost.

So let’s try again, shall we?

M

P.S. This week, we bought a house. So that should be fun, too:

(Thanks for coming back. And welcome. And leave a comment to let me know who is out there!)