Friday, 5 June 2015

7 Quick Takes: The "My Standards Are Slipping" Edition

Manticore Mantoan


1) I know my standards are slipping because this is the first Quick Takes I have posted at Kelly's rather than Jen's. Obviously I don't mean I'm slumming it at Kelly's (feel I am about to dig an even deeper hole), but that it's been SO LONG since I wrote a blog post, let alone a Quick Take, that their home has since moved. And I haven't overly worried....so there. Standards lowered!

2) I just ordered a Tankini for my 10 year old rather than a cover-your-entire-body bathing costume. And I didn't bat an eyelid.  Because it was easier just to say yes. A Tankini, people. Standards... [edited to add that she didn't like it, and wants a regular swimsuit. See, she gets taken care of with or without my help or hindrance!]

3) When I microwaved coffee that had been left in the jug yesterday, I didn't know whether it had been freshly made that day, the day before, or the time before that....

4) My daughter has 3 school dresses which have ripped pockets, well not so much ripped pockets, but the pockets have ripped off the dresses, creating holes. And I haven't had, I mean MADE time to sew them. So she went in a dress that she'd previously worn. Which, because she'd actually listened to me about shoving it in the washbasket to wash, was completely ever so slightly creased.

5) To be honest, the one above isn't about standards slipping. I have always put off sewing. Although, the day before the May dance show 2nd and 3rdSister did, was literally the only 7 hours I had to do 7 hours worth of sewing, so the girls got their own breakfast, lunch and snacks while I LITERALLY just sat and sewed.

6) As you might imagine, that was not my favourite day ever. My favourite day ever was the time I took this morning to listen to the mix CD my husband made for me. And, God forgive me, one of the tracks I had to know what the song was, so I Googled it, and found the lyrics and who the song was by. True mix tape sacrilege. Couldn't wait til he gave me the track listing after I'd listened to the CD. Standards, Standen! (ooh that sounds interesting.) Damn you, internets!

7) However, I'm happy with slipping standards, as my post here will testify. Yesterday morning I gave pastoral care in the classroom to a parent of several children. I washed towels. I put away milk (finally). I was only two minutes late to go and collect the Sisters from school. And I'm happy with that, because I can only do what I can do. With God's grace of course - dreading to think where my standards would be without it!

Feel free to tell me how your standards have slipped in the comments section, and/or find more Quick Takes at This Ain't the Lyceum !

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Shifting away from survival mode? Um, nope!

So...I note that my last post was about all the books I was going to read in 2015! (And didn't.)

To be fair, I have read a few books.

But at the moment, the things I am making sure I do is eat and sleep. And no, I'm not pregnant.

Oh yes, and sometimes I even clean.

You know that time when you have two kids under the age of two, or a newborn in a family of three, and you are smack bang in the middle of survival mode for a long time.....

And that law, I've forgotten to whom it's attributed, where as soon as you have time, you fill it up with something?

My girls are now 10 and a half, 9, 4 and a half and 2 years old. And I feel like I'm in survival mode. (I haven't even blogged in months!!!! Although I don't think anyone noticed!!!) How did this happen?

When 4thSister was in day nursery for one day, I felt it was cheating to sit and watch Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife on catch-up TV, so now I'm a volunteer ward visitor for the Chaplaincy at our local hospital one morning a week. When I say local, it takes at least 1.5 hrs door to door to get there in a morning, and by the time I get back it's almost time to pick the kids up from school, so bang goes getting else done on a Tuesday.

And the last few months of 2015 haven't disappeared, but being affirmed by the Diocesan Director of Ordinands that I likely do have a calling to the priesthood has meant a whole lot of extra study...

And I'm now leading our Junior Church once a month...

And I'm now on the leading and preaching rota....

Which means I am writing sermons, which because I have the luxury, takes more than a 5 hour day....

And the one time I sat down to read a theological book before bedtime, I ended up spending pastoral care time with my ten year old...

So novels, and even parenting manuals, can pretty much do one!

I feel I've missed out so much, like the dance show 2nd and 3rdSister did for which I ended up doing about ten hours worth of costume sewing (and I don't do sewing), and the concert I had a (extremely tiny) solo in that took a lot of rehearsal time, and the time I'm trying to spend cooking semi-wholesome food for a family of 6 and discourage a 2 year old from potty training herself RIGHT THIS MINUTE because I haven't got the time to supervise accidents.....but that would probably just transfer my anxiety to you!

But let's just say -

It feels right - or I wouldn't be doing it.

God makes time for everything, or gets someone else to do it (thanks, FabDad.)

There really is a season for everything.

Even though I feel I should be out of survival mode, I HAVE A 2 YEAR OLD and even if I only had a 2 year old and no other children, I would probably feel the same!

And finally - I read two really good science fiction books - The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle, which I thoroughly recommend. And also Playful Parenting, which is encouraging in that it helps me interact with the children rather than, erm, clean. And there's been some theological reading along the way. And nobody, nobody but me is counting.

Amen.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Books of 2015: A vague reading plan for the next year

As I mentioned in my previous post, Haley's Reading Plan at Carrots for Michaelmas inspired me. Not to want to read more, because I love reading and always want to do more of it, but to have a think about what I am reading in order to have a reading focus. I discovered that although I adore fiction reading, I don't do that much of it unless it's for a specific reason e.g. researching young adult fiction. And obviously I'm reading lots of theology because that's what I'm studying, and parenting advice because I'm a parent, but there might be other non-fiction topics out there other than autobiography I would enjoy.

So here is my vague reading plan for 2015!

January

Finish Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth and not jump so quickly into the pile of non-fiction books on my bedside table or the science fiction literature that has been delivered to our house in the last week

February onwards

Now, it's funny, FabDad & I have always been huge sci-fi fans and read classics like Dune, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Iain M Banks culture series. But I know there are classics we've missed, and new, interesting books in the genre. And 1stSister is doing Space & Moon Exploration for her topic this half term, so I've ordered some books (both from the library and second-hand purchases) which are kind of her but mainly for me. And I'm trying not to leap right into them but pace myself, if possible.

Arthur C Clarke: A Fall of Moondust February
Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle in Time April
Robert Heinlein: Have Spacesuit, will travel May
Alfred Bester: The stars my Destination June
Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow July
Alastair Reynolds: Pushing Ice August
Dan Simmons: Hyperion September 
John Barnes: Orbital Resonance October
Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game November

Similarly, I've got a pile of non-fiction books, some of which I've already dipped into such as Quiet which, as a leader and an introvert is immensely readable, and Playful Parenting which, you never know, might catch me enjoying the playing I do with the girls instead of running for the computer instead. Plus, I'm studying Leaderships and Misison & Evangelism as part of my preparation for my priesthood interview, So I've got some other books for that aspect including Mission Shaped Church which I read chapter one of today. I am going to try and pace myself but the thing with parenting books is that I think "must read that now so I can sort that aspect of my parenting out immediately and things will improve for us all" which, surprisingly, generally works, so they tend to get read first.

Lent

If you are eagle-eyed, my reader, you may have noticed there wasn't a science fiction book down for March - this is because I'm going to try and read something different for Lent. I'm not quite sure what yet, because I need to do some of that holy discernment type shizzle (= technical term). It may possibly include fictional stuff by G K Chesterton and/or similar (not C S Lewis this time I don't think), and/or a wider exploration of a different theological topic.

I hope this helps keep me on track and provides me, at least, with some inspiration!