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Month: July 2014 (page 1 of 4)

The Best of the Month: July

 

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Hadden at the parade grounds on base

Another month is gone?!  How can that be?

(Yes, you will hear that refrain from me every month.  I think it is a sign that I’m getting old.)

This seems to have been a quiet month on the blog.  I’ve been working on of couple projects that aren’t for the blog (although I’ll link to them when the time comes) and I’ve been busy with real life things.

August is birthday month around here.  My son, my sister and I were all August babies.  And one of my dear friends from church also has an August birthday!  We’re looking forward to multiple celebrations in the next couple of weeks (and probably too many sweets).

Since it is the last day of the month, I’m sharing my favorite posts from July today, along with my favorite Instagram photo.  I hope you enjoy these articles as much I did!

MILITARY

Jodi at Back on Land: My Deployment is Harder Than Your Deployment (And Other Nanny Nanny Boo Boo Nonsense)

Well, friend, my husband may be ONLY gone three months, but in those three, I never get to speak directly to him (no phones under the ocean, you see). I will never get to Skype or Facebook. I will never get to visit foreign ports with him. We hope for a mail drop or two and pray for email, but in our just three months, any communication at all is a privilege not a guarantee. Do I win? 

…Nobody wins because we’re supposed to be in this together. Supporting one another through the hard times (no matter how hard), the long nights (no matter how many), and the good times (no matter how few and far between). Nobody wins because it isn’t a competition.

PARENTING

Luisa Weiss at Cup of Jo: 20 Surprising Things about Parenting in Germany

Hugo is two, and we recently had a parent/teacher conference with his daycare. The teacher said, “I’m concerned about his coming into the group of older kids.” I asked why, and she said, “He needs to learn to stand up for himself more. When other kids come up and take toys away from him, he just lets it happen.” I was like, well, isn’t that just sharing? And she said, “He needs to either take the toy back or fight. We teachers can’t fight all his battles for him!” I was laughing inside, because it was SO different from how we were socialized as children. In the U.S., we were taught that you have to share, you have to compromise. In Germany, it’s all about self-sufficiency and standing up for your rights. 

HISTORY

Terrence McCoy at The Washington Post: The ‘perfect Aryan’ child used in Nazi propaganda was actually Jewish

The photographer told her to quiet down. “‘I will tell you the following,’” the story went. “‘I was asked to submit my 10 best pictures for a beauty contest run by the Nazis. So were 10 other outstanding photographers in Germany. So 10 photographers submitted their 10 best pictures. And I sent in your baby’s picture.’”

“‘But you knew that this is a Jewish child,’” the mother exclaimed.

“‘Yes,’” he said, explaining there had been a competition to find the “‘perfect example of the Aryan race to further Nazi philosophy…. I wanted to allow myself the pleasure of this joke. And you see, I was right. Of all the babies, they picked this baby as the perfect Aryan.’”

CHRISTIANITY

Carolyn Custis James at Whitby Forum: Dropping F-Bombs

In the end, whatever Rohr meant by “feminized” with respect to the evangelical church and Christian spirituality is as disturbing, distasteful, and costly to women as it is to men. We all need a strong, deep, caring, and outwardly mobilized Christian spirituality. Women cannot be who God created us to be as ezer-warriors if we do not cultivate strength, decisiveness, and a readiness for action. And frankly, men will be stunted if they are duped into thinking their manhood is compromised if they are loving, sensitive, and gentle, or if they cry.

FEMINISM

Rachel Held Evans: We need feminism

Because every year, complications from pregnancy and childbirth claim the lives of nearly 300,000 women worldwide and permanently disable many more. (source)

…Because over 135 million girls and women have undergone genital mutilation and 2 million more girls are at risk each year. (source)

Because legalistic gender roles, and the objectification and marginalization of women, harm both women and men. Feminism isn’t about hating men. Feminism is about restoring the dignity of women for the betterment of society. And so both men and women, both parents of little boys and parents of little girls, can and should be feminists.

MUSIC VIDEO

Colbie Caillat – Try

QUOTE

via Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy: Fresh, Solid, and Free {A Birthday Benediction}

May you be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit. May you live in safety. May you be free from anxiety and worry.  May you learn to look at yourself with the eyes of understanding and love. May you be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in yourself. May you know how to nourish the seeds of joy in yourself everyday. May you be able to live fresh, solid, and free. May you be free from aversion, but not indifferent. -Thomas Merton

MY OWN WRITING

My 5 minutes-per-day parenting goal

Each day I would try to spend at least five minutes laughing with my son.

I’m talking rip-roaring, side-splitting, uncontrollable giggles.

Because sometimes I get too busy managing him and not enough time enjoying him.

 

NEW BLOGS I’VE EXPLORED THIS MONTH

Camp Patton

Catholic All Year

All The Pretty Pandas – I haven’t followed the past few seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette, but I did pay enough attention to realize how much I liked Sharleen from last season of the Bachelor.  She started this blog and does hilarious recaps of the Bachelorette so if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll definitely want to check out her blog!

 

What is the best thing you read (or wrote) this month??  Leave me a link and I’d love to check it out!

 

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Frivolous Friday: do you check your phone notifications?

 

83 texts

 

34 texts

In keeping with my Friday tradition, I thought we’d talk about something completely frivolous today: phone notifications.

A couple months ago I posted a screenshot of a text conversation between my husband and I on Facebook.  The picture inadvertently showed that I had 12 unread text messages.

Someone commented on the twelve unread text messages, which meant my husband immediately jumped into the conversation.  He is irritated by phone notifications and, mostly, by the fact that I don’t view them quickly.

The conversation was funny to me.  I viewed it like I had only twelve unread text messages.  Usually it was more than that!  So for the last couple of months I’ve been taking a screen shot whenever I have a high number of notifications.

social media notifications

41 texts

I’m often in group messages, so if I leave my phone on the charger for awhile, it’s not surprising to come back and see a lot of text waiting.

Other times I read a text when it first comes in, but don’t actually vie
w it in Messages so that I’ll remember to respond later.  Of course, sometimes this means that I miss texts, especially if I’m catching up on a lot at the same time.

So here’s my question for you: am I crazy to leave notifications?  Do you view and dismiss them right away, like my husband?  Or you do leave them for later?

(You’re settling a marriage debate here, so be careful what you answer!)

 

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Work at Home, Stay at Home: Cara Meredith

 

If you’ve been following my blog this summer, you’ll remember that I’ve been hosting  a series called Work at Home, Stay at Home, featuring parents who do both.  This is because I’m passionate about parents (especially mothers) who are  pursuing their dreams while still being fully involved with their families.  Society sometimes acts like we choose to have a career OR choose to stay home with our children.  But this series is a reminder that it there can be overlap.

Today’s guest, Cara Meredith, shows a beautiful balance of work and family.  Cara works as a writer, musician and speaker in addition to being the primary caregiver for her son.

I loved reading Cara’s responses to these questions, in part because we’re at similar stages in life since we both currently have a toddler.  But I also loved reading her responses because she’s FUNNY and honest.  A terrific combination.   Reading how she balances things gave me ideas that we could incorporate into our family.

 

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Cara, let’s start by talking about your family and giving a quick introduction to them!

I’ve been married to James, my HBH (Hot Black Husband) for four years now; Canon, our oldest, just turned two, and we’re expecting another little boy in the latter half of August.

What is a typical day like in your household?

7:30: Cancan and Mama wake up (or so the current pregnancy schedule goes).

7:30 – 9: Diddle-dallying, wake-up, dressing and breakfast-eating time.

9-12: Activity time (mama’s group, play dates, outings, babysitters, etc.)

12-1: Lunch, usually at home, and prepare for my favorite time of the day: NAP TIME!

1-3:30: Ahem, my favorite time of the day: NAP TIME!

3:30 – 5:30: run errands, play and hang out with my son.

Dada gets home soon after, and we tag-team it with preparing dinner, taking care of our son, doing the bed-time routine and making sure each one of us gets rest.

So in the midst of these busy days, when do you get the bulk of your work done?

This, I’ve learned, is an ever-rotating beast. Currently, I get the bulk of my work done when my son is napping, in the evening right after he’s gone to bed, and on days when we hire childcare. On average, I write about twenty hours a week, which includes time between book-writing, the blog and articles for submission.

Do you schedule any down time for yourself? What do you do to relax?

Oh, believe-you-me, I believe in down time, because if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!  Most Saturdays my husband takes our son for the morning and they have “Dad-urday.”  Otherwise, we encourage each other to take time for ourselves; for me that usually looks like time away from the house with friends, a night at the movies or a Saturday morning mani/pedi with a good book in tote!

I love the term “Dad-urday” – I think we’re going to have to incorporate that into our family!  Besides you and your husband, do you have any regular childcare, like a babysitter or daycare?

We hire a sitter one day a week so I can focus on my writing, and then I do a child-swap one morning a week with another mama – I take her daughter one day, and she takes my son the next. As well, in summer months when middle school and high school “mother’s helpers” have time in their schedule, I gladly book (super cheap) additional weekly hours and just write from upstairs!

Do you have any special activities for Canon to keep him busy while you work?

Honestly, perhaps it’s my son’s age, but I’ve ruled out productivity on the computer while he’s awake. I can check and send the occasional email, but it’s like he knows that my full attention isn’t on him, so if I have the computer on, he attempts to close it. “All done! All done!” I am able to get reading done when he’s awake, both via Audible and (slightly brainless) paperback, but I otherwise don’t attempt to find my words at this time.

What is your favorite part of this work-at-home/stay-at-home arrangement?

I am truly able to follow my heart: I can still be the main caretaker for my family, and also pursue the dream of speaking and writing on the side. For me, I’ve found that continuing to work on a part-time basis makes me a better mom; it gives me time away (therefore making me more excited to return home), and it stimulates that part of my being that thrives with mere vocational motivation.

Be sure to click through to Cara’s blog or to connect with her on social media using the links below!

 

DSC04546Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco area.  She is currently writing her first book, a memoir of belief and disbeliefonly when she’s not on a hunt for the world’s greatest chips and guacamole.  She loves people, food, reading, the great outdoors and her family.  She and her husband, James, currently live in Pacifica, California, with their almost two-year old son, Canon, and a second little boy set to make his appearance in August.  You can find her on her blog  on Twitter or on her Facebook page.

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