It was a cold weekend here, and while I don’t mind winter, I’m looking forward to Spring. This is the first time in years that I have had a place to garden to my heart’s content and I’m eager. I ordered a pile of gardening catalogs and can’t think of a better way to spend a cold evening than to flip through catalogs and dream.

Until I can actually get my fingers in the dirt outside, I decided to play in the dirt inside this weekend. Well, not dirt exactly, but stay with me. I had several boxes of flower bulbs that I got for a dollar a box because they were damaged cartons. So I gathered up the clear vases I had and decided to force some bulbs inside, just to keep the dream of Spring alive.

Forcing bulbs for Spring

I took the kids on a field trip to the local park where we collected rocks to fill the vases. (Nevermind it was about 20 degrees on Saturday. We had tissues for the cold runny noses.)

Why, yes, we are cold!

We took the rocks home and filled the vases halfway, then arranged the bulbs and added more rocks. I had enough bulbs that I turned my fruit bowl into a bulb bowl and used the compressed soil that comes with the bulbs to fill that up too. A little warm water and a sunny window, and hopefully we’ll be enjoying fresh flowers in a few weeks!

Bowl of amaryllis and paperwhite

Your grace, O Lord

Without which our own merits are worthless

And the gifts of nature without value –

Truly comes to us from heaven.

Beauty, strength, riches,

Talent, ability, eloquence –

None of these are any value to me, Lord,

Unless accompanied by your grace.

–Thomas a Kempis

Note to self – do not use a feather duster near a burning candle.

And now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go sit down for a minute.

The very favorite day of our week is Friday, because that is Beloved’s day off. I plan our school week and all my other work around Friday so that we can just revel in uninterrupted time with Daddy. It starts with the kids piling into bed with us as soon as they wake up, until someone starts crying from an elbow in the nose. We almost always do a big breakfast together and then do the minimum for schoolwork.

Making waffles

And then we play. We go to the zoo or go bowling. We hit baseballs and tromp through the park. We eat Taco Bell for lunch and Daddy doesn’t answer his phone. We cook together and take naps. We spend the entire day reveling in each other’s company and laughing.

We love Fridays. Daddy’s home!

You know the old saying about twenty one days to make a new habit, right? And I’m sure we all have habits that we have had for years – either good or bad. I’ve struggled with twisting my hair since I was a little girl, and have bitten my nails on and off. My daughter Princepesa rubs a tiny mole on my forearm for comfort or affection and has since before she could even crawl.

These things wear a groove into our brain and become easy, comfortable patterns to just continue.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes what kinds of brain grooves I have which are intangible. Behaviors such as hoarding stuff because I grew up poor and struggle to this day with “I might not be able to get this again so I’d better hold onto it.” Subconscious self-speak like telling myself “I’m not a very nurturing mother.”

I recognize that I have positive brain grooves to balance the negatives, such as an abiding faith. My life story has given me story after story of God’s provision and providence, and I have the gift of faith because of this. My Beloved calls me a pessimistic optimist because I often say, “I can’t imagine how this will work out, but I believe it will.”

Which brings me back around to making new habits. I’ve been thinking more about what kind of brain grooves I want to have. Being more conscious about giving away things I don’t need rather than stockpiling. Recognizing that no mother is SuperMom and we all just do our best and pray for our children. And thinking about what positive grooves I want to add to my life. My most important goal right now is to weave God’s word into the fabric of my life. Studying God’s word needs to be a groove that runs across everything else and I’m working on making it deeper and wider.

I am not a competitive person. My Beloved doesn’t even like to play on my team when we do team board games like Trivial Pursuit or Password, because I frequently give clues to the opposing team. This drives him bonkers because it’s totally outside of his little world view where you.must.win.

That said, I have discovered one tiny streak of competitiveness in me. It’s over solitaire scores, so it’s just against myself (or my laptop, depending on how you want to look at it). I have Windows Vista and the solitaire game that came preinstalled has very pretty cards, so I have played it more on this computer than any other that I’ve had. (Call me shallow, but I’m a visual person and the aesthetic appeals to me.)

solitaire

Anyway, my win/loss record and percentage appears after each game. To date I have played 281 games and won 98, for a win percentage of 34%. Don’t choke – this is over months of a few games here and there.

It’s not until recently that I have paid attention to my win percentage and been trying to bump it up higher. In the past I’d turn off the scorekeeper and restart a game anytime I got stuck, but now I’m watching that percentage! I just can’t get the percentage over 35%. I even wondered out loud one evening if the game was adaptive and getting harder the longer I played, to which my Beloved snorted and replied that I’d watched too many Stargate episodes.

So I guess I do have a corner of my mind that is competitive. It’s funny to learn things about yourself that you didn’t expect to find. And now, I’m off to play solitaire. I think if I win just a few more games in a row I might bump my win percentage up another point.

  1. I didn’t vote for him, but that doesn’t mean we don’t owe him respect as our elected leader (Romans 13:1-2).
  2. Hoping for the newly elected President to fail does not demonstrate the abundant grace that God has extended to us all and asks us to share with each other. As my Beloved regularly reminds us, it’s not grace if you deserve it.
  3. God is sovereign (Job 38). God sometimes allows us the blessing of participating in his plans, but he doesn’t need us to accomplish them. In times like this we need to recognize that the inverse is also true: God can use anyone to accomplish anything he wants to do (Proverbs 21:1).
  4. Prayer is still our most important tool. We should pray for our new president (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ), that God would help us to be an effective witness (Colossians 4:3-4), and above all, that God would be glorified.

And that’s all I have to say about that.