Earning My Aches and Pains

>> Monday, June 27, 2016

So... I am still contemplating what The Man said about finding satisfaction in what I do.  (I'm sure he'd be stunned to hear this!)

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, after pushing the lawn mower for over an hour, doing two loads of laundry, completing prep-work on two upcoming suppers, and going for my customary 2-mile walk, I came to a startling realization: I prefer my end-of-the-day aches and pains to be from working at home.

I like my seasonal/casual job at the accounting firm and I enjoy the people I work with and for.  Part of me is always a little sad when tax season comes to its abrupt end.  But the more I thought about it that afternoon ~ all exhausted and sweaty ~ the clearer it became that I simply never get the feeling of satisfaction after a day at the office that I do after a day of working at home.  My back/hip feels about the same after both, and I may well have trouble climbing the stairs to the girls' room to hug them goodnight and say our prayers together, but my feelings about whether or not the day was a success ~ the sense of accomplishment ~ is VERY different.

I realized that afternoon that if I'm going to have aches and pains either way, I'd rather they come from a full day at home, serving my family, meeting their needs, accommodating some of their desires, and trying to make sure our home feels like a refuge and retreat at the end of their days at work and school.

Some people might think that's a waste of my time and abilities, but these days, I think more and more people are discovering that to do what you love is far more important than being able to have all the "stuff" everyone else does.  The girls and I have talked frequently about how they want to live their lives as adults and what they'd like to be when they grow up, and I've really been trying to stress the importance of living within their means (because The Man and I are still paying the consequences of NOT doing that very well in our earlier years of marriage), and focusing on working at something they truly enjoy, not just something that will make enough money to buy the lifestyle most people around them have. Of having the kinds of jobs/careers that will accommodate their desires to create and have memorable experiences while still allowing them to be the full-time, stay-at-home wives and mothers to which they currently aspire when the time comes.

Understanding what brings that feeling of sweet satisfaction at the end of the day is key.  It bugs me a little that it's taken me till my mid-40s to see that.  I hope my girls will grasp the value much sooner.



Practicing Gratitude [06.23]

>> Thursday, June 23, 2016

Today is the last Thursday of the school year.  It is also both of the girls' last Thursdays in their current schools; they both need to relocate in the fall ~ AJ to Mack's current school, which is the only one in town that offers Grades 7 and 8, and Mack to, to...


Today is Mack's last Thursday of Middle School. (gulp)

Crazy.  Just over 9 years ago, when I started this blog, they were only 5 and 3.  Mack had just finished her year of nursery school and AJ was trying to convince me she didn't need afternoon naps anymore!  Sometimes I'm very thankful for the rapid passage of time, but in other times, NOT SO MUCH!

Nevertheless, I'm grateful the experiences they had in the last two years at their new schools were generally positive.  I'm thankful they've both come to the point where they're looking forward to beginning a new adventure in a new school in the fall.  I'm especially thankful that Mack's schedule for her first year of high school is exactly how she hoped it would be ~ all the electives she wanted, and two classes each semester with her best friend.

I'm grateful for the whirlwind trip we took down to The Big City a week and a half ago.  We packed an awful lot into five days, but it was a good time with our families.  There was an all-day soccer tournament here at home and then the 5.5 hour drive to the city on Saturday; a special church service and retirement lunch for my mom (who was the church secretary for just over 19 years and worked her last day just yesterday) and a 70th birthday party for my father-in-law with The Man's family as well as all the local aunts and uncles on Sunday; a long lazy brunch on the deck, and a trip to Chapters with mom-in-law and one sister-in-law in the afternoon for a round of new books and frappucinos kind of for AJ's 12th birthday on Monday; another sleep-in on Tuesday, followed by a trip to the mall for Mack's Grade 8 farewell sandals ($12!!), which included a heady, delicious trip to Bath & Body Works, and then a family walk down to an outdoor ice cream patio with my parents later in the afternoon; an early wake-up on Wednesday and a day at the university stadium to watch Mack compete in track & field Provincials, followed by the 5.5 hour drive home again.  WHEW.

I'm thankful for a beautiful yard.  Of course, it would be more beautiful if I was a gardener, but there have been several times over the last week that The Man and I have realized the satisfaction of just thoroughly enjoying our four acres for what they are.  Just sitting and savouring the weather, the various critters and their antics, the smells... just being.  We are still dealing with rather discouraging financial and business issues, but both of us had to concede the other day that it's tough to be upset about circumstances when you're outside on a beautiful summer day.

What are you most thankful for today?



Under the Lilacs

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Saturday morning was beautiful ~ warm, sunny, breezy, and not humid at all.  Perfect for a 2-mile walk.  Followed by another 90-minute walk behind the push-mower.

After I'd finished the mowing, and since I was all gross, I decided to cool off and relax outside before going in to shower and do some work in my kitchen.

The view from my chair, looking up and slightly to one side.
I love my little firepit sitting area with its colourful chairs.  And the lilac bushes that surround it are so big already that we're kind of cutting into the bottom half of each one to so that they loosely form walls and a canopy.

...and looking more straight ahead at "Pinky," my 1L/Q water cup, and the reading material of choice!
I paused from my "reading" and just put my head back, enjoying the heady scent of the flowers and the sight of various honey- and bumblebees, along with the odd butterfly, make their way in and around the bushes.  The leaves fluttering in the breeze, the soft buzzing of insects, and the warm, dappled sunlight made for an incredibly peaceful interlude in the day.

Zippy, my fuzzy, kissy-face photo-bomber.
It was the best way I could have spent those 30 minutes.  It's funny how sometimes you KNOW the thing you're doing to relax and unwind is really more of a time-waster than anything else.  And then the next time you do it ~ that very same thing ~ it was the perfect use of your time.  Sure, I could've read something a whole lot more cerebral or beneficial, but maybe then I wouldn't have noticed and savoured my back yard as much as I did.  There's value in both and the balance is what's important.

How do YOU unwind in between sweaty summertime tasks?

Hammock 1


Thursday at My House

>> Friday, June 10, 2016

There were all sorts of thunder storm warnings here yesterday, but other than a few rumbles and a couple of showers as several systems passed us by, nothing much happened. Just sunshine, humidity, clouds, flowers, bees, butterflies, and kids trying to coax fox kits out from under an old granary with freezer-burnt chicken fingers... 

You know, just another regular day up here in the middle of nowhere.

How was Thursday in your neck of the woods?

Butterfly watching

PS.  And then at dusk, I actually managed to snap a shot of the fox and her kits!  This is the first time we'd seen them all together.


June Daybook

>> Monday, June 6, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook, hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman's Blog

Outside my window... It's cloudy today and the forecast is for rain.  But at least the wind has died down from yesterday!

I am thinking... how overwhelming this week already feels and it's hardly even begun.  I've worked really hard over the last couple of years at NOT allowing myself to think/worry about the logistics of each week, but it's a hard habit to break.  It's not like there's much going on this week; the tendency is just stronger when there IS something big and out of the ordinary coming up.  I'm a creature of habit (a groove that gets deeper and deeper with age!) and irregularities just throw me off.

I am thankful... for the rain we finally got.  It's been a bit of a dry spring again (though nothing like last year, very thankfully!), and after a few sprinkles over the last week, we got a nice downpour on Friday.

I am going... to watch Mack compete at Provincials for track & field in The Big City next week.  There are also a few special family events happening around the same time ~ two birthdays and a retirement party ~ that we'll be able to tie into the trip.  Amazingly, The Man's work schedule fit the plan almost perfectly, so with just one holiday day thrown in, we can make it a family outing.

I am wearing... pajamas.  I rarely get dressed until the breakfast rush is over, which just concluded about 20 minutes ago when the girls raced out the door to catch the school bus.  (only 13 more of those mornings left, since we'll miss three next week!)

I am wondering... why time still seems to fly by, despite my best efforts to slow down and savour each day.

A quote that recently caught my eye...
We can logic our way through anything, but at the end of it all, if all it does is steal our praise from the God of the universe, I question our definition of the word need.
~ from Lore Ferguson's post a few days ago where she talks more about dealing with the reality of losing nearly a hundred. thousand. dollars. on the sale of their home, and feeling like everyone else around her gets to have everything they want.

I am reading... Sidney Poitier's autobiography and Rosaria Butterfield's conversion story/autobiography. And some Calvin & Hobbes.  I have the complete collection, but it's been a long time since I took time to enjoy them.  They've replaced the TV as my lunchtime companion when I'm home by myself.

I am hoping... it won't rain today.  My lawn REALLY needs mowing again and my tomato and pepper plants should get planted, too.  Normally, I would have done that on Saturday, but it was a little too wet, thanks to that aforementioned downpour.  :)

A peek into one of my days...
June 1st was The Man's first anniversary at his new job.  Since I happened to have a little bit of butter tart filling in the freezer leftover from Christmas(?!), I made him a mini-butter tart pie.  And a batch of  Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies for everyone to enjoy.
In my garden... stuff is starting to sprout!  Some green beans, spaghetti squashes, and zucchini have made appearances already.  Oh, and some weeds, too...  :P

In my kitchen... today is menu planning day; also on the to-do list is a batch of buns and a loaf of bread.

One of my favorite things...
New kitties!  We have four 2-week old kittens.
(They're only a week old here; now their eyes are open.)
How are things shaping up in your neck of the woods?

* Click the Simple Woman's Daybook graphic at the top of the post to visit our host and other daybookers.


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