September 18, 2014

At the end of the day...

I have found, as I get older, that an evening routine is pretty necessary.  The difficulty is finding a HEALTHY routine that gets me ready for great sleep and effective rest.

If the truth be known, the bedtime routine really starts for me first thing in the morning.  If I get up earlier and take a walk for exercise I am more tired when it is time for bed and sleep better.

The first thing I try to do is have dinner a little earlier... later dinner seems to keep us all up a little longer. We have a homework time before and after dinner during the week and then a family prayer before everyone heads to bed.  Even the teenagers are in bed by about 9:00 pm most nights.  We have kept this bedtime ritual since they were born.

I have to usually have some decompression time after they are in bed.  I need the house quiet and some time to let go of the day.

Dan likes television... I am grateful that we don't have cable, though.  He watches things after the kids go to bed and I join him if it is something I like.  If he is late getting home some nights I will find other things to do and often wind up in bed earlier on those nights.

I crochet sometimes in the evenings and that helps wash away the tension of the day.

I drink herbal tea in the evening...especially when it gets colder outside.  Chamomile often does the trick.  It is very relaxing!  Absolutely no coffee... I stop the coffee around noon each day because it makes me wakeful if I drink it too late in the day.

Some things I am trying to start changing is putting my phone away on the charger earlier in the evening.  I have also moved the charger to another room but still within range to hear it if a certain recruit were to call.

I am working on turning my computer off earlier and just winding down from the drama that is called Facebook or from e-mail that can start my brain going.  I don't tweet or instagram or have any other social media outlets other than Facebook or e-mail but often that is far too much for me anyway.  I find that just being online in any form makes my brain race and brings less focus.  I also try to leave my computer outside of the bedroom and not use it much there.  The best place for it is the dining room table when I am working on it.  It is also, often, plugged into the kitchen outlet on a crate full of cookbooks next to the sink area so I can watch stuff while I work on big kitchen work days.  Either way... it does not belong in my bedroom when I am trying to wind down and sleep.

If my brain is still wired after an episode of a favorite show I will take some time to read a little to focus the brain.  I have also found that Scrabble on my Nook puts me out faster than anything. Hahahaha.  I find that anything that focuses the brain seems to settle me and let me drift off quickly. Reading, electronic Scrabble, prayer... all of those things focus my brain.  Not to say prayer puts me to sleep but there is definitely a calming effect when talking to God for me.  I call it peace...

On a really hard night (because of the Lupus sometimes) I will take a Valerian Root dose and that does the trick.

The key is to find what settles you.

What do you do for an "end of the day routine" to get you ready to sleep?

Any tricks?  Any suggestions?




September 17, 2014

Write Your Mother!

Sometimes you just start writing a post with no direction.  You have a bazillion things running around in your head and you cannot focus it anywhere.

Your mind is on your recruit 750 miles away and on your high schoolers and husband just 2 to 5 miles away.  It is fixed on what needs to be done around the house and still wandering off to what is for dinner tonight.

You do dishes and laundry and home school the youngest while you hope there is mail from your recruit.  You check the calendar and realize it has been two weeks since he has written you last.  The focus is gone... the thoughts just wander too much to really accomplish anything of substance.

Then you go online... which is the WORST thing you could do when your brain is so unhinged.  You close Facebook and try to move on to other things that need to be done.

Today...

I will make yogurt

I will make laundry detergent

I will start a batch of Kombucha

I will make a list in hopes of giving some other direction.
The weather is beautiful, overcast and cooler.
The kind of weather that makes one reflective and thoughtful.

I walked... I read my Bible... I worked in the garden a bit...

tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapenos and serano chilis...

Puttering... seems to be my agenda lately.

To all the mamas who have sent a child off into the world... please tell me the focus returns.  
Please tell me it won't feel like limbo forever.

Filling my days seems to help some... with cooking and baking for others.
otherwise I am sitting and waiting for mail that does not come.  
No news is good news... at least that is what everyone tells me.  The Marine Corps says, "Semper Fidelis"(always faithful)... I say, "Semper Gumby" (always flexible).  

And there you have it... what I really think and feel today.  A post... of no earth shattering importance other than to say...   I miss my boy... and yet, I am so very proud of who he is becoming.  Now, if he would just write me a letter...  

September 11, 2014

My Garden... Myself...

Today's post is brought to you by Grow Write Guild prompt #30.

  

Our gardens reflect who we are, what we need, and what we like. 
What does my garden say about me?

This time of year the garden is in huge transition and is often overgrown.  It is a symbol of neglect on my part these days.  This year it is a little worse due to our August that exploded with change.  As I stood outside looking at things this morning I determined a plan to get it back under control.  My garden is screaming that I am undisciplined, unorganized, and overwhelmed right now.  I suspect it is due to our recent release of our oldest into his new life and the return of school schedules.  I still don't have a handle on it all and am slow to get there this year due to the distractions of change.  I have not even taken much time to sit in my Adirondack chair lately and it is in desperate need of repair and new paint, too.

As a gardener I take the "eating the Elephant on bite at a time" approach.  I cannot just clear it all in one day.  With arthritis I have to take small sections each day until it is under control again.

I have been slack in planting for the fall this year.  I am grateful that we have a longer growing season and that I can still get a few things in the ground between now and the end of September and enjoy the bounty into the holiday season.  Our first freeze usually happens around November 15th so there are about two more months of real growing left and some of the crops I will plant will survive mild freezes.

We are hoping to get some work done this weekend and then I can dig and plant next week.  I have been waiting on the tomatillos to get ripe and will be pulling the rest of the carrots up.  I am pulling yellow squash plants out and leaving one zucchini plant that is still beautiful and some tomato and pepper plants that will continue to give us fruit.  The tomato plants have finally decided it is cool enough to give us fruit again.  

To be really honest we just had no huge success this year due to the high temps in May, June and July.  When it sits just around 100 every day for 8-10 weeks things just don't thrive.  My herbs that have been in the shade have really flourished but not much else.  We got one cantaloupe and one cucumber all summer and maybe a handful of yellow squash and zucchini.  I spent the whole summer fighting off bugs and kept them at bay very well and still... nothing.

I think seasons of life are that way.  I think we spend a lot of time fighting the bugs and then just hang on with hope to see any harvest.  Sometimes reaping is not possible immediately... sometimes we just keep it alive and hope to see fruit at some point.  Some years are much more productive than others.  In the meantime, I mend things around the yard, clear the rubble and debris and plan and prepare for the next season.  I take time to learn what I can about what went wrong... what needs to be different... what needs to go away and what needs to stay.  See any spiritual principles here?  LOL  I do!

And so it is with the season I am in.... some days are hard... they are cluttered and disorganized and in utter disarray.
The truth of gardening is like the truth of faith and sharing that faith... you plant... you water... and you wait.  God brings the increase in both literal and spiritual gardening.  In 1 Corinthians 3 we see Paul use a garden illustration with farmers to show how faith is shared and grows.  Paul said that he planted and Apollo came along and watered and then the results were completely God's doing... He brings the increase!
This requires trust, obedience and hope from us.
Faith is built on hope and so is planting a garden. 
(which is why the illustration was used to teach them)
If I did not have hope I would never plant anything again... 
(nor would I share Christ with others)

but I do... 

and I plant... 

and I water... 

and I watch the little tender plants begin and then one day... 

there is fruit.  

It is as God intended.  
I obey and He makes the miracle happen.
I have learned great lessons of faith from gardening.

It is all a miracle and as I watch and wait I get to see amazing things... little flowers emerge... and vines and leaves and stalks... butterflies and hummingbirds and bees show up and fulfill their role.  
Rain falls and green things grow.  

It is all amazing.  

It slows me and focuses me to garden.  The process of cleaning and clearing the mess that is living in my garden right now will be healing and there will be a sense of great accomplishment when I stand back and see the tended garden.  It will bring a blank slate that can be painted upon again to give us a new picture... a new work of art that is never like the one before it.

So, in a very literal way the biggest thing my garden says about me is that I have hope.... I have faith... I believe if I plant and water and tend to the garden... God will bring the increase and He always does in some way whether it be food, flowers, trees, or grass (or in a spiritual garden through the eventual salvation of a fellow human as we plant spiritual seeds).  It always changes me through the process of both literal and spiritual gardening.  The miracle comes and I marvel like a little child each time it does.

What does your garden say about you?







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