Stopping Production


I’m a producer, not the hollywood kind with boatloads of money but the sort who hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until she’s half asleep but not yet in bed.

About a month ago I got a much needed massage and the therapist asked me about my relaxation techniques.  “What do you do to relax?” 

“Oh well every afternoon while the kids are resting I watch TV and crochet or catch up on blogs and writing.”

“Right but when do you still yourself and release your tension and just “be?”

“Uh… never, yeah my hands are constantly in motion all day long, I don’t know how to sit still.  I read sometimes.”

“But you’re still doing something?”

“Yeah, always… always doing something.”

I’m a goer, a doer, a producer.  I like to make and create with food, yarn, paint, fabric or words and I feel that a moment that passes without production is a moment wasted, squandered.

Yet lately I’m coming to realize (yes somehow it took me 31 years) that this rhythm of constant production is draining me on a deep, aching level.

I always plan for double duty; driving and making a phone call, sewing and catching up on TV, cooking and texting.  Even when I play with my kids I make plans to do something else simultaneously, which is crappy of me. I rarely feel like I’m fully where I am, rather always living some sort of half life here and there.

I need only turn to the first book of the bible to remind myself that I’m completely ignoring my operating manual.  The world was created with a rhythm of dark and light, work and rest, a time to produce and a time to stop production, to recharge that which has been drained in the busying and creating.

Even those who create must renew their resources, God did…. so where exactly do I think I’m getting off? Hmmm….

I know better, I’ve always known better, sabbath is a command that God takes pretty seriously but as a ministry family we do a terrible job at taking a non-Sunday day of rest.  Everything always seems like an opportunity to get ahead in life but these days I’m pretty sure that all of this “getting ahead” is putting us way behind, robbing us of depth and beauty and … peace probably.

I’m pretty sure it will make me twitch at first but sometime tomorrow I’m just going to sit on my deck and… nothing.  I’ll invariably start to imagine shapes in the clouds and hear at least two of my neighbors mowing their lawn but this stilling is going to take practice and I want to start in.

And I have a feeling that in the stillness, in the rustling of trees and the buzzing of the mowers… that God just might Show. Up.

The Story of Two Parades

ADHD pic

We sat together on the curb, denim buns snuggled against each other on cold the cold concrete as we watched the parade go by.  As it passed we chatted about every detail that struck her four-year-old fancy from the white walls on an antique tractor to the rows of flutes and clarinets in the middle school marching band.

As she took in the parade with wonder I reflected on a parade we shared not so long ago, just this past Christmas in fact.  As my mind wandered my eyes filled up with grateful tears that trickled down my cheeks and screwed up the last minute mascara job I’d done in the rear-view mirror of our mini van.

Kel was working the night of that first parade so I found myself wrangling two preschoolers on my own.  Caedmon wouldn’t sit in the stroller and my hips ached for the weight of holding him.  Noelle was running, always evading my grasp. At one point we lost her for five minutes only to find her a half block away sitting with an unknown family.  I felt completely undone by my inability to keep my two children content and safe.

All my friend’s children were staying close by, content to gather candy and wait as Santa made his way down Main street.  But my daughter?  She was like a whirlwind I couldn’t control, a danger to herself and source heartache, anger frustration for me.

Just a few weeks earlier we’d received the diagnosis which simultaneously shed light on her behavior and broke my heart.  Just a few days before Thanksgiving, while the turkey was defrosting in the fridge, I found myself sitting across from our pediatric psychologist as she went over my 3 year old daughter’s test results.

She told me that Noelle’s inability to focus and her delay in fine motor skills, as well as the test results from us and her teachers indicated a solid ADHD diagnosis as well as some likely Sensory Processing Issues.

As our session came to a close we knelt together to pick up the toys that my daughter had scattered across the office floor and she attempted to reassure me:

“It’ll be okay, cut yourself some slack…. raising Noelle is more taxing and exhausting than raising a typical three year old.  Oh and don’t be too afraid to put her on medications someday, or even sooner.  I know you don’t want to, but it may make things so much easier.” Continue reading

What I’m Into (May 2013 Edition)

Month in (super) Brief Review: Well this month should be fun to review, eh?  It started off in Oklahoma with an enormous moving truck which we promptly filled like the packing ninjas that we are.  Then we closed on our house and said a hundred teary goodbyes to our Oklahoma friends and family.

Our drive up was blessedly uneventful and we were met at our new home by a dozen friends and family who helped us unload and unpack in a flurry of cardboard and bubble wrap.

May Collage 1

Then we began the process of organization and settling in, which involved rotations of working on the house and leaving it to take in the pure Michigan awesome we now find ourselves in.

We bought a membership to the John Ball zoo and I created an epic playroom in the basement.

Kel did a stint on a construction crew and I went back to my former job at Century Driving school (one day a week.)

Noelle turned 4 and we filled our house, (twice!) with friends and family to celebrate four years of our beautiful Noers.

Then Kel accepted two (TWO!) jobs with the Michigan Methodist Conference and we planted some Kale and Zucchini in the side yard.

So…. yeah?  Wow.  Bring on the JUNE and with it hopefully some much needed routine and rhythm because I don’t think two of our May days were quite alike and to be honest I could use some same-ness.

May NAture

Great Reads & Word Discoveries:  This has been a terrible month for reading.  From blogs to books I have been absolutely MIA and it’s been a struggle to even keep up with email and messaging.  There is too much to do all around me and I’m cracking out on nesting and cozying into our new digs.

But I pick my way through Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.  This was my first novel by Kingsolver and I found it… okay.  I had to force my way through it and the endings were not shocking, I could have predicted them from the first page.  All that to be said I didn’t hate it so… there ya go.

May Collage 2

On the TV Screen:

So we are nearly caught up on Dr Who and I have to say that I’m now a self proclaimed Whovian.  Not only that… but Matt Smith is “My Doctor” (Every Whovian has one) and I am now comfortable coming out of the closet with that confession.  I held a torch for David Tennant for so so long but Matt and I?  We “get” each other, I even love his chin… and that’s true love.

Also… we met Ted’s Wife on HIMYM, we met THE MOTHER!  How did we feel about this? Are we excited, disappointed?  As for me, I need to know more. But one evening Kel pointed out… Check out how much we already know.

Also over the last week I started Parenthood and I’m already both addicted and smitten.  The Asbergers diagnosis alone had my heart strings pulled to tear inducing tautness.

Favorite Bites:

This past weekend I attended the Renew and Refine Retreat for Writers (which was awesome and I absolutely recommend) and Jason Berg prepared the most fantastic fare you could imagine.  Every meal had a fresh farmer’s market feel to it and it re-centered my culinary aspirations.

Overall I am loving the start of summer food and the weekly trips to the farmers market.  I stopped at a farm stand this past week for some freshly snapped asparagus and rhubarb which I turned into the best rhubarb crisp I’ve ever had.

Oh and I made 10 lbs of potato salad and I even shared with you my (not) super secret recipe.  

May Collage Food

Non Verbal Creativity (craft-crack): If I had to be honest with you, which I do, this is where most of my time has been going lately.  I’ve spent the month of may in serious nesting mode trying to get our new place to feel like home.  I’ve made valances, a play tent, curtains and some wall art.

I started painting a dresser for Noelle and I also learned how to make a granny square afghan.

I’m awash with half-completed projects and disorganized closets.  This is all to be expected, but that doesn’t mean that it’s my favorite.

Oh but look!  I made an orange floral skirt out of some sale fabric and one of Kel’s stained white T-shirts.  Total cost on this was under $10 and it has an elastic free yoga band at the waist which means it’s comfortable and fancy all at the same time.  #winning !

May what I love

Miscellaneous Love: 

Le Creuset 8-Quart Covered Stockpot (I’ve joined the Le Cruset owners club!)
The phrase “craft beer” which can be found all over West Michigan
The Holland Farmer’s Market and the abundance of farm stands.
Ghirardelli Sea Salt Soiree –  I always have it in the house so I can nibble at will.
Biggby Coffee, especially the Holland one at Chicago Drive and Waverly.
Constant hang out and play date invitations
Laying on the couch with the widows open, snuggled up to Kel at the end of a busy day
Our neighbor girl Summer, who stops over to play with Noelle.

May Collage 3

On The Blog: 

Most Popular Post: Crap, I’m a Sexist “Outside I portray equality, share-care and few gender stereotypes.  Yet my mindset is stuck on June Cleaver when it comes to personal expectations.” 

Runner up: What Oklahoma Gave Me: A Beginning ” I’m so thankful for these walls, this start, and I can’t help but grieve the end of this chapter. It was grace beyond grace in these walls and right now I’m finding it hard to walk out that leaded glass door for the last time.

But hope is on the journey. This is one beginning giving life to another, I know this full well.”

So that’s my May… I think… it’s been a weird month so I’m probably missing something.

So now it’s your turn, what have you been into, up to… all about? 

This post contains amazon affiliates links, clicking through will result in your supporting this blog and all the work that goes into it.