I am enough

identity-795864_1920

It has been a little over 7 months since I’ve written my last blog post.

But no, no excuses, no need for apologies and forgiveness, just life.

My priorities are and have always been my family, but sometimes even with that, self doubt begins to creep in. My house isn’t clean. I haven’t dusted for years. I’m definitely not perfect.

And then there is…

laundry at 9 PM so my husband has clean work clothes for the next day.

doing a load of dishes so that we have pots to cook in and plates to eat on, and they were needed 30 minutes ago.

burning dinner (again).

weeds and a lawn that should have been mowed 3 weeks ago.

putting on body spray because my last shower was 2…no 3 days ago…and I need to leave the house in 15 minutes.

realizing that I never got the laundry put away and all the clean clothes are gone out of the ‘clean and needs to be folded’ basket.

balancing school for my girls and school for my husband when he’s in town.

managing everything in the house, being a strong woman taking care of everything since my husband is still traveling for work and gone 4 days some weeks and working 40-50 hrs a week when he is in town.

paying bills and pinching pennies to make our money stretch as far as possible.

setting the lawn mower on fire while my husband was picking up an extra day at work to earn a little overtime. That overtime went to a new lawn mower instead of something fun.

the day when I just cannot because my auto immune diseases won’t let me.

 

Pretending to have it all together.

 

I’m a child of God, and yes that is enough in the eternal spiritual sense, but when the weight of the world is pressing in, it often doesn’t seem so. When obligations and duties pile on, it just gets to be too much.

 

A little over a month ago my husband arrived home to find a pot full of emotion.

 

He had spent the week with men only to be thrown head first into a sea of estrogen. The poor man couldn’t understand why I was crying about taking my daughter on a school field trip. But I was and at that moment, it was all that mattered.

He did the most wonderful thing. Instead of finding solutions to my ugly cry hiccup filled ramblings, he grabbed me, held me close, and let me cry and sputter on.

I apologized for crying, he stayed silent and held me a little tighter.

I apologized for getting tears on his shirt, he put my face in his shirt so it would soak them up better.

I pulled away and said I needed a kleenex, he held me in and let his shirt soak up the snot in my nose too.

I thanked him and said I was fine. Being the wise man he is, he held me longer and the tears started again.

I had been attempting to be the strong one for too long. I was trying to keep the stress of managing it all hidden from my girls. The long nights wishing my husband’s head was on the pillow beside me had taken its toll, for my best friend was not here to vent to. And when he was I didn’t want to spend our weekends adding guilt, stress, and pressure to him. I just wanted to spend our weekends together, relishing the few moments we have.

 

You could say the dam of emotions had burst and this reservoir was well stocked.

 

I had gotten so wrapped up in my failings that I forgot some of the most simple things. I was too busy running from one task to another, doing them as quickly as possible that I forgot to breathe. stop. rest.

And once I did that suddenly life didn’t seem so overwhelming.

That list of my failings? Most of it has occurred within the last month. But they don’t seem so overwhelming anymore.

Because even when living with those failings there is something much more beautiful around me.

goodness-440313_1280

I have…

2 wonderful daughters who are well behaved and growing into beautiful women. What greater gift can I give them during this time of adolescence and self doubt than to show them confidence even during my shortcomings?

online friends who have become like sisters. They get me in a way that many don’t. Technology is awesome. It lets me connect, share, and cry with them when all I can manage is to move my fingers on a keyboard because my tears won’t allow words.

a wonderful friend who has loved me and listened to me when needed, but almost more importantly, just lets me be me. When I’m having that moment, she seems to know exactly what to say and what I need. Sometimes it is words, often it is just a hug or listening ear, or completely ignoring the issue so I can forget about the weight of the world for an hour.

the most amazing husband. He sees me at my worst and loves me anyway.

And the really cool part about it is that 13+ years ago, he chose me. There were other girls interested in them, he had ‘options’. My issues were different but I still had them. He saw the ugly side of me then too.

But he looked beyond that.

And picked me.

By watching his daily love for me, no matter what is going on in life, I can hold tight to one thing.

I am enough. Just the way I am.

When making homemade products goes too far…

clean-571679_1280

I am all about making things at home. I love it. It helps save me money and I feel good about knowing the exact ingredients. I like creating, experimenting, and coming up with that perfect custom recipe that works just right for me.

My journey started 5 years ago when we were going through one of those tight financial spots.

I needed to find ways to save every penny we could so I started experimenting. The first thing I tried was homemade laundry soap. I loved it and it was saving our family hundreds of dollars a year. Before long, I was bit with the frugal-make-it-at-home bug.

Willing to try anything, my poor husband never knew what concoction I would be cooking up on the stove next.

Over the years I’ve discovered some gems:

  • I found a simple cleaner using distilled vinegar and essential oils. I add tea tree oil to the vinegar for everywhere except my kitchen. In the kitchen I use peppermint and clove. It smells so good and I feel much better using that around my food surfaces instead of things with harsher chemicals.
  • I adore my homemade sun block You can read the story behind that here.
  • My newest discovery is homemade lip balm (see my recipe here). I will never go back to buying it at the store again.
  • And oh, my herbal cough drops are a hit in my family. They taste as good as candy and work marvelously.

But I’ve had my share of epic fails too:

  • Dish soap seemed to breed grease. I think there was more on each plate than there was before I ever took a sponge to them.
  • I don’t care who tells you that cheap hair conditioner watered down with vinegar works as well as fabric softener, it doesn’t. I got a gunked up fabric softener dispenser and clothes that smelled all kinds of fun things, but not like I imagined. And when they did smell as they should I got stares because no man wants to go to work in a “man’s profession” smelling like sweet strawberries or fields of flowers.
  • Lotion worked awesome for about 1 day until it separated and became a mass of oil & beeswax floating in a jar of lightly scented water. (still determined to figure this one out but not there yet)
  • Soaking orange peels in vinegar to create a wonderful smelling all purpose cleaner encouraged me to spray sugary sweetness all over my kitchen. 4 years later we are still trying to kill the ants who built a colony under my house during this period.
  • Speaking of ants…ant bait. Leave that to the professionals too. Mixing honey and borax definitely tempts the ants. They came running from miles around. I had a semi-permanent black stripe around my kitchen for about a month. They never died, just enjoyed the extended 4th of July feast that summer.

But nothing, nothing compares to what I tried last fall.

We were in one of those tight financial spots again. It seems to be a cycle for us, but this one is stung a little harder because there wan’t anything left to cut, yet I had to cut. So I started looking at anything and everything that I had not yet experimented on but could possibly turn into a pinterest worthy success story.

And that is when I discovered No-Poo!

I had heard whispers of it for years but never gave it a serious thought. Why would I want to mess with my wonderful shampoo? But since I was cutting the budget and we have 2 girls who are still learning what an appropriate amount of hair product is, it is a significant monthly expense. I wasn’t about to make the girls suffer, but me, I was willing to sacrifice for the bottom line.

I found a simple and good recipe comprised of everything I already had in my kitchen, whipped it up, threw in a few essential oils for scent and 10 minutes later went to take a shower with my new creation.

The first few times were not that great but I knew to expect that. All the reviews said it takes time for your hair to adjust, balance, and get used to not having oils stripped off it daily. Over time my hair seemed to balance, it was a little flatter than normal but I quickly adjusted to that too. I just always wore my hair up in a clip or a ponytail. Easy fix to save money.

Then one day I grabbed my bottle of dinner and tea tree oil to clean the bathroom.

After I got done scrubbing all the grim off my tub and toilet I decided to take a shower to clean that “cleaner smell” off me.

It started with the shampoo. After an awkward wash using baking soda and orange essential oil mixed in water I grabbed my conditioner.

The irony hit me like a deer in the headlights.

I was using the same ingredients to condition my hair as I had just used to scrub the grime and mildew off my toilet!

That’s right, my conditioner consisted of (apple cider) vinegar and tea tree oil!

And that is where I realized I had crossed the line and gone to a place nobody ever wants to find themselves. A place where you lose all kinds of common sense for the sake of saving a penny.

My hair is slowly recovering from the lack of being properly washed for months, and my husband is thankful too. I now smell fresh and good after a shower instead of like toilet cleaner.

Have you ever gone too far and had to be talked back off the ledge of the for-the-sake-of-all-things-frugal-homemade cliff?

~Crystal

As a side note: I have also quit using homemade laundry detergent. I began noticing my husband’s work clothes and our towels were not getting clean so I switched back to commercial detergent for those. I ran out of my homemade stuff and used the commercial detergent on all our laundry one week. I noticed a difference. Recently, I discovered this article  that may explain why homemade laundry detergent is the newest addition to my “homemade fails” list.

Seriously, enough with the change already

cry-429084_1920

This year is supposed to be about looking what we have and improving on it. The foundation is set, we have what we have, and now I build.

But I am already wrong.

The “life building plans” just changed.

Last Friday my husband was told he has been put on an out of town job for as long as they need an extra man or until construction is complete. It is a large project and they’ve already been working on it for 2 months. This means he is gone every Monday-Thursday.

Every.Single.Week.Until.Who.Knows.When.

Then Tuesday he was told there would be at least one weekend involved. And it could be this coming weekend. As with all construction projects, it just depends on the stage of the project, when they can get in, and what other contractors are doing. We just don’t know.

So Wednesday morning I sat down with the girls on my bed and we had a chat of sorts.

I explained the situation. I told them it isn’t anybody’s fault, but it just is the way it is. That doesn’t mean it is better, it just is.

Through tears, they started asking questions.

  • When exactly is he going?
  • What weekends does he have to work?
  • How long is the project?
  • Does he have to go every week?

All I could say was I don’t know, dad doesn’t know, the company doesn’t know, because when dealing with construction anything can go wrong. Timetables can be tossed out within a moment’s notice and sometimes it has nothing to do with your work.

As I held them, I was reminded of the families who do this often. Of long haul truck drivers, traveling business men, and those in the military who leave for months with a tangible possibility of never returning.

And I felt slightly guilty living in my selfishness. My husband gets to come home every weekend for 3 days. My husband gets to make nightly phone calls. My husband isn’t putting his life on the line.

I made myself stop.

I know some families do this often, but this isn’t what we wanted for our family. He intentionally looked for work that would give us more family time, not less. It doesn’t seem fair.

I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, the job will end, he will be back home, but it doesn’t make this any easier. I’m tired of the change, tired of the unknown, tired of being flexible for anything that may be thrown away.

I want consistency. I want to know what is coming up.

But for now, I don’t get that.

Some days he’ll be here, some days he won’t. Some weeks he’ll be out of town, some weeks he won’t. And because he is the extra man and everything is dependent on how the project is going, we may not find out he is leaving until the day before he goes.

As Miss Crafty said, “This just sucks.”

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I try to stay optimistic and find the positives in any situation.

So to help me prepare for his absence, I’ve been looking. I had to dig deep and search hard this time but I came up with a short list:

  1. He will get 3 day weekends. So we get one extra day a week with him home unless it is one of those rare work weekends.
  2. He is doing so well at school that his teacher has given him a pass from attending class while he’s out of town. As long as his assignments are in on time and he’s doing well, he doesn’t have to do any additional make up work.
  3. We’ll use less diesel in the truck. I’ll take him to work Monday morning and pick him up Thursday nights. This is in essence only 2 days of commutes instead of 5 plus school.  It will save us $40-$50 per week.
  4. There’s gotta be something I can build in this situation. I don’t have it yet, but I’m holding on to the idea that a part of me is going to be stronger when I’m looking back from the other side.

That’s all I can come up with but at least it is something. So today, through my frustrations, I’m trying to hold onto those 4 things because in reality I want to curl up in bed and just pretend this isn’t happening.

It’s not fair.

I want to plan my life, or at least next week.

I want my husband home with me.

The girls need their dad.

This.Just.Sucks.

~Crystal

Side note: I will get over this, and I do understand how fortunate we are. But in the spirit of Living in Green Grass I’m choosing to share this side of me too–the side that shows nobody’s life is perfect or rosy. Sometimes things happen and it is what you chose to in that moment that helps determine whether you are content or not.

Sometimes love is cooking breakfast at 9 PM

IMG_20150126_205456

One of the things I’ve been working on this month is building up others around me. My focus is on my family–my husband and my daughters.

And even though it takes a lot of time and deliberate effort, I’ve realized it isn’t too hard for me to find special ways to make their days better, easier, brighter.

I’ve been doing little things for my daughters:

  • Learning hobbies they love
  • Encouraging them to continue trying when we both want to quit–and succeeding
  • Miss Crafty and I went on an impromptu window shopping trip
  • The Inventor and I built a Minecraft Lego kit together
  • Having a 3 person race in the middle of the park and not caring who was watching our moment
  • Giggling like school girls, and joining in with their immaturity instead of letting the weight of adult stress take over

For them, it is about time spent. Taking every little moment and just enjoying it. Letting them know that they are perfectly loved for who they are right now.

It has been a little different with my husband.

We have an awesome marriage, and one I am thankful for. I hear stories of people who struggle to like their spouse–not love, but like. Who struggle to share the same air, let alone a room or bed. It breaks my heart.

This is not us.

And I am very grateful for that fact.

So building him up looks a little different than your average marriage self-help counseling book.

I was stuck. I couldn’t think of what to do for him. So I prayed.

It hit me like running into a brick wall.

Every day brings something new for him. Whether it be learning a new skill at work or school, or dealing with difficult customers and improving customer relations. Change is always around.

Instead of building him up, I needed to be the constant, the one he can always depending on to be there no matter what is going on or the need, the one thing that doesn’t change.

The foundation so to speak.

Instead of changing, growing, encouraging, I just am.

That shift in thinking has changed our family dynamic in a very real way these last few weeks.

I spend all day with the girls, taking breaks for myself scattered here and there, so when he is home it is about him.

  • It is cooking a hearty meal so he has the energy to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
  • It is massaging his sore arms and muscles to give him relief at the end of the day.
  • It is having a cold pitcher of water in the fridge when he walks in the door.
  • It is playing our online game together when he wants and his arms allow.
  • It is understanding when he has to take a break, and watching a movie with him during those down times.
  • It is suffering through those ‘guy movies’ because it is not about what I want to watch, but about him being able to rest and relax in his home.
  • It is sometimes sitting on the couch quietly beside him because he has no energy to talk, but being there for when he wants to.

 

It is being there as the constant, to love and support him, the one person who can give him stability in the midst of daily change and chaos.

 

So when he called me Monday night on his drive between work and school and mentioned he didn’t have time for lunch, and he had forgotten his dinner in the work fridge, there was no hesitation in my mind as to what I should do.

I asked him to call me when he left school so I had time to cook him dinner before he got home.

He just wanted boiled eggs and toast, but I knew he needed more to recover from the lack of food that day and to be ready to go to work the next morning.

I wanted to give him a surprise, a gift of love.

Instead of curling up to a movie after the girls went to bed I waited for his call. And when he called me at 8:30 I pulled everything out of the fridge and warmed up the griddle.

At 9 I started cooking him a full meal of sausage, eggs, bacon, and toasted English Muffins.

And when he walked in the door at 9:30 PM I had a huge plate of sausage, egg & bacon sandwiches waiting for him.

 

Because being a foundation built on love is about doing whatever, whenever, and giving selflessly of yourself to provide security and stability.

And sometimes that means cooking breakfast at 9 PM.

IMG_20150126_210720

 

Fulfilled Fridays 20

shell-92188_1280

Fulfilled Fridays is back!

After an extended break for the holidays and because I was sick, it is time to once again celebrate why our lives are fulfilled.

This week I am blessed because of today.

Today I get to have a girls’ shopping day with Miss Crafty and The Inventor. It is going to be so awesome seeing them spend their Christmas money. Miss Crafty is getting some hermit crabs so today she is getting things to set up her crabitat. The Inventor has fallen in love with Legos. She is looking to add to her collection.

Above all I’m excited to see my girls learn. They have a budget. It is going to be interesting watching them decide how to spend their money, and make those tough decisions. It will be a great learning experience.

And I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share it with them.

Oh, and keep your eye out for pictures on Instagram. I’m sure I’ll have some.

~Crystal

Now it is your turn!

There are very few rules.

You don’t have to follow me on social media or subscribe although I’d love it if you do. Links to where you can find me on social media are off to your right.

If you’re feeling extra generous, tell others where to find this link-up using twitter or facebook. Links are at the bottom of this post.

You don’t even have to link back but it’d be awesome if you did!

Simply share a post, recent or in the past about anything good. Perhaps it is a recipe, craft, a moment in time, something you overcame, something to inspire, or just a journal. Anything goes. If you don’t have a blog, leave a comment and share below.

Let’s celebrate why our lives are fulfilled!!!!

And if you have a few minutes after posting your link, please spread the joy. Take some time and visit some of the other bloggers.

Grab my button:

Living In Green Grass
<div align="center"><a href="https://livingingreengrass.wordpress.com/?s=Fulfilled+Fridays" title="Living In Green Grass"><img src="http://www.livingingreengrass.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Fulfilled-Fridays-Button.jpg" alt="Living In Green Grass" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

The Linkup:

NEW: Because this blog is now hosted on wordpress.com links will not appear directly on this page. Instead use the button below to find the link-up. Thank you for your understanding and I still look forward to seeing what you have been up to.

The link-up goes live every Friday at 7AM MST and closes the following Thursday at 5 PM MST. By linking up at Fulfilled Fridays you will be added to a weekly link-up reminder email. You can unsubscribe at any time and will not be re-subscribed if you link up in the future.

 

 

 

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Previous Older Entries