Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"When you are not feeling particularly friendly…put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are."
~A Year with C. S. Lewis

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Mommy's Prayer

Dear Lord,

Help me to see the world as my children do. Remind me of the wonder and excitement of the small things, the importance of the insignificant, the agony of minor wounds, and the joys found in day to day events.

Forgive me for my moments of impatience and irritation. Help me find the extra burst of energy when I'm being called upon, yet again, when I'm already tired and ready for a rest. Grant me an double dose of patience when I'm on the verge of melting down myself.

Lend me a glimpse through your eyes and the understanding of your ears in seeing my kids and hearing their words.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daybook 07.15.14 - Tuesday

Outside my window...the sunshine is shining beautifully without being to miserably hot. Just the we like it best.....Since I wrote the above, we clouded over, the heavens opened up, and now it's bucketing down with rain. But I see sunshine in the horizon, so we should be dry soon.

I am thinking...about how quickly this summer is going. We still have a month before school starts, but realistically, time is slipping away quickly and it's going to be over before we now it!

I am thankful for...moments of down time...sweet, blissful silence during the day.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...Baby Z is exploding his language. In the past week, he has begun to copy all sorts of things that he hears. "Ba-Be" is a current favorite phrase (baby), but he really has taken off. So much fun to see.

From the kitchen...Roast chicken satay. I've discovered that cooking a roast chicken with satay sauce is delicious; and makes all my children very happy.

I am wearing...sandals, a skirt, a nursing top.

I am have the girls pick out new backpacks soon--Baby Z and Blueberry included. A generous couple who is a sponsor for our cottage just sent us instructions regarding ordering beautiful new bags for all the girls for school. They're all excited.

In my mailbox today.. .a letter for Blueberry from her Nana and Papa. Always full of interesting objects.

I am reading.. .Kes, by Robin McKinley. I've been not reading blogs lately, but I had to catch up on her weekly serial on her blog. So good!!

I am hearing...a very kind teenager weed-whacking around our house. Blessings on groups who come and help out at the home. Such small acts add up into freedom for us to focus on the key portion of our job--the children--rather than the house maintenance that can take up so much time.

Around the house...change has come again. We came back on duty last week. One child we thought was returning did not. And so we were down to six. And then we added another child yesterday, bringing us back up to seven. The crew we have right now is fantastic and has been so much fun the last few weeks.

One of my favorite things...Cow Appreciation Day at Chic-fil-A. So much fun! And as it fell on 7/11 this year, we all went and got icees from the nearby 7/11. Free food day. What's there to not love?

A few plans for the rest of the week: 
  • going to the Lake
  • going to a park with splash park and mini golf and animals and hunting for gems
  • board games 
  • movies
  • laughter
  • pizza

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Ballerina Blueberry

Cow Appreciation Day

How to Feed a Family of Ten for Free--Dress them like cows!

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Myers-Brigg and Other Random Topics

In the spirit of self-analysis and living ontologically, I recently took the Myers-Brigg personality test (well a shortened version of it) again, and wound up as ISFJ barely. It was really 50/50 on the N/S front. I've taken the full blown test before when I was about 18 and INFJ was my results then, and I find it interesting how true this test remains over the years

Here were my actual results from this particular version:

ISFJ  - Introvert(89%)  Sensing(1%)  Feeling(12%)  Judging(56%)
  • You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)  
  • You have marginal or no preference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
  • You have slight preference of Feeling over Thinking (12%)
  • You have moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (56%)

This first descriptor is identified as the baseline for ISFJ:
"ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed.'" 

This does not resonate properly with me. I cannot identify this "desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed'" as the foundational characteristic of my life.

However, regarding the work life of an ISFJ made me nod my head in agreement:
"...ISFJs....are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself)."  I've so been there multiple times in my work experiences!

And this part just made me chuckle:
"One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for "sulking," the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided "good manners." An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ's unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with." Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem."

 I admit, and it's sometimes gotten me in trouble over the years, that I am useless at hiding my emotional state. And then explaining what's going on--that takes so much courage on my part, I can barely express here what that step does to me. The mental and emotionally agony I can go through at times on whether or not to bare my soul to someone; it's exhausting!

It's not that I don't want to share or that I don't want to receive help or comfort. I do. And for those who know me well enough to ask or question me, I can express better--although completely expressing my thoughts rarely happens.

Fictional ISFJs:

Bianca in Taming of the Shrew
David Copperfield
Hero in Much Ado About Nothing
Melanie in Gone With The Wind
Ophelia in Hamlet

When it came to the list of fictional famous ISFJs, though, that's where I really had to shake my head simply because of the list, these are all characters who I dislike or don't understand, mainly because of the servitude attitude that goes with these characters and irritates me! Get a backbone and stop letting the world either deceive you or use you.

So despite the test results of that particular version, I tend to believe in my previously tested results of INFJ.

Here are some highlights and personal commentary on that particular description.
  • Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately. Can I be so crass as to simply say, "duh"?
  • they often possess a strong personal charisma,and are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. and houseparenting apparently! Actually, the more I read about good job choices and the characteristics of this kind of personality, the  more I realize I'm in the right kind of job for me--despite the extroverted side of it all.
  • idealists   I find myself less idealistic about other's behaviors and actions than I am of myself. I am absolutely my own worst critic.
  • preference for closure and completion - generally "doers" (who take on too much responsibility) as well as dreamers I cannot explain how much I hate leaving things left undone. But then with the "doing" part, I tend to take on to much at times to get everything undone. But the undone things niggle at my brain until I accomplish them. I play a online game with my husband where one person can concede defeat to the other when they realize they are going to die. And it irritates me so much when I cannot take those final few moves to win the game, and the other person just concedes and finishes. Oh the agony.
  • deeply concerned about relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large with deep convictions held about the weightier matters of life and if activities.  Always. I hate the idea of being on the outs with people. That gives me so much mental and emotional anguish; sometimes even years after things have changed and time has passed. BUT the following is also true "The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ."   Which is ironic because while I hold concern about the relationship; I also hate injustice in relationships or in life, and that also drives me crazy.
  • Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words. They are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few individuals.  This is so foundational to my existence. In the previous idea of being concerned about others, etc, I desperately want to have good relationships with everyone I'm around--in almost a ridiculous, idealistic way. BUT, in reality, I have a small inner sanctum of people who get to know the real me. And even of that inner sanctum, only a few truly know all of the real me. And those who are in that sanctum, I maintain friendships with for years--despite time and distance and even lack of communication at times.
  • at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." Oh yes, when I hit overload, I have to shut down. Have to. Fortunately, my husband gets this and has built in time in our lives and our crazy job that allows me time to be withdrawn and by myself. I honestly don't know if I would survive as a houseparent if he wasn't so good about providing those opportunities for me. And, fortunately, he knows me well enough that I don't always have to ask for those breaks; because if I did, I'd be in trouble. Because I'm supposed to be perfect and capable of going on and on and on like an energizer bunny, no matter how depleted I may be. Right?
  • INFJs readily grasp the hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect. Their amazing ability to clearly deduce the inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of others gives INFJs their reputation as prophets and seers. Not perfection insight, for sure, but I do see things frequently enough that prove to be true that I've learned to trust myself more in this area.
  • This empathy can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. Yes. I literally get physically ill in certain situations. I've had enough experience in this to dread that emotional state. 
  • extreme inner conflicts are also not uncommon--"tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals.  And this. See, right here, this is one of those areas that even in writing, I'm finding it difficult to "articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings." Seriously, I'm sitting here with so much to say on these two points, but completely trapped in my own brain on how to express these thoughts. So I shall end here and contemplate my inner INFJ in secluded silence.

  • To read for yourself or take your own quiz:

    This is a graph identifying how frequently different personalities show up in society. INFJ is about 1% of the population. I'm in a small crowd. How apropos.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Daybook - July 9, 2014

Outside my window...the sun is glaring down and the humidity is rising. Looks like we're due for our weekly cooldown storm--or at least it seems to go this way--build up of heat and then a storm to cool it down nicely for a day or two. I hope this pattern continues.

I am thinking...about what to do with my wedding dress which is currently residing in a box under my bed. I'm about 90% determined to donate it to Angel Gowns. I feel like it gives my dress some purpose and also honors my own angel. Now just to decide when.

I am thankful life as it is. My crazy, busy, challenging, silly, purpose-filled life.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...

  • Baby Z has distinctly mastered the word, definition, and all nuances thereof: "No!"  Also, a very clear statement of "All done."
  • Blueberry is taking her first non-Mommy taught ballet class this week. I will admit. I teared up a little.

From the kitchen...I just tried a new chicken recipe (thanks mom-in-law!): Sweet Garlic Chicken. Very tasty. Olive oil, garlic, and brown sugar over baked chicken. Yum. Thumbs up from the girls.

I am wearing...a green skirt, tan shirt, with my favorite airplane necklace--a gift from my wanderlusting baby sis.

I am creating...cow costumes. Because it's that special time of year--get a free meal from Chic-fil-a if you dress like a cow. Love it! Nothing like forcing tweens out of their comfort zones by the lure of free food. And I don't have to cook. Even better.

I am going...back and forth a lot lately. The studio is about 10 minutes drive from our house, and as we're working this week, Blueberry doing a class every morning has required some finagling. But it is well worth it.

In my mailbox today.. .a paperbackswap book. Love that program. According to their records I've saved over $211 in books over the last few years. And I'll believe it. I've compared prices with trading books in book stores, but generally this is a better deal.

I am reading.. . all my blogs I enjoy. I've been behind for awhile--slowly catching up again. Found this link via Simple Mom. Fascinating insight into travel; a perspective I've never really ever considered before.

I am buy plane tickets soon. Important plane tickets. Plane tickets that allow me to go home for the first time in depressingly too long. Just looking for the right price! Thailand--here we come!

I am hearing...Doctor Who playing. Turning our girls into nerds, one step a time, lol.

One of my favorite new kindle! My old one was beginning to give me fits, so my Christmas present has come early this year (along with a substantial amount of my allowance the next few months lol). The updates they've done are substantial compared to the original kindle I have. Loving my  new toy!

A few plans for the rest of the week: 
  • roller skating
  • free summer movie
  • farmer's market on Saturday
  • Dress like a cow day at Chic-fil-A
  • church
  • possible library trip this week--we'll see how the books are coming
  • and the usual playing in sprinklers, video games, art projects, reading, writing, teasing, laughing, cooking, board games, devotions, and living

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

 What happens when daddy goes shopping with the kidlets.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thankfullness - 1000 Gifts July I

Apparently I wasn't very thankful for May or June. Not really, just so busy, writing at all was barely happening.

1. 3 Gifts Loved -
  • A flower given in a farmer's market to brighten my little girl's day.
  • Time to walk in the cool of the morning and seek some peace in the start of my day
  • A sleep in morning and a rested day

2. 3 Gifts Read -
  • A note from far away grandparents expressing love and wishes.
  • Encouragement found in the words of praise from a gracious boss and leader.
  • "Those who know your name trust in you,
        for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10

3. A Gift in Faith, Family, Freedom -
  • Thankful for the ability to worship openly with my family, to teach my children the love of Christ with no fear for of repercussions.

4. A Gift in Red, White, and Blue

5. 3 Gifts of Persistance
  • The girl who was frightened of swimming now jumping in and refusing help in swimming.
  • A child who was losing her voice in fear and anger beginning to speak up instead of run and hide.
  • A little voice who demands attention and love and kisses--precious moments I'm glad were not lost.

6. 3 Gifts of Enthusiasm
  • The man I love who runs and jumps and plays and swims with the children in our lives.
  • The cheer of a 3 year old on accomplishing her goals
  • Arms thrown around you in a hug of joy

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"The Introverted are the people who live in the constant tension between the desire to communicate… and the desire to hide." 

Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...