Celery Skirt, Decorated House, Falling Short and the Uniqueness of You

I have been thinking a lot lately, but really that’s nothing new.  I think I could be alone on an island for one hundred years and never stop thinking.  This may not be completely true, because I’m also a verbal processor – I probably should have come with a warning label. Sorry John, you’re stuck with me now.  When I was little, my mom used to worry incessantly about me because I would sit on the couch and stare off into space sucking my two fingers.  She really just would have liked to see me play with toys.  I really hated to make a mess and I hated picking up that mess even worse, so that was some of the reason, but what she didn’t know was that I was just thinking. and thinking. and thinking.  I was storing up words and deep thoughts to share with her when she finally sat down for some alone time to listen to my incessant talking.  She used to play this game with me during this time.  It was ‘Let’s See How Long We Can Go Without Talking.’  I always lost, but I’m not all that competitive so I didn’t really care.  I’m so sorry mom, but you will be glad to know that I have been paid back in full.  My kids are constantly asking me not to interrupt myself.  They think it’s super annoying, but I can’t help it since thoughts are constantly colliding in my head.  I may say something like, “Hey guys, guess what?!!” They wait with eager anticipation when my hair suddenly falls in my face and I say, “I need a haircut.  I wonder if I should go darker? Oh and by the way, what do you want for dinner?”  That kind of thing is usually met with “MOM, what were you GOING to say before you were distracted?!  You interrupted yourself again!” Oh, sorry guys, I forgot. Sometimes they’ll even groan with exasperation and declare that they were actually looking forward to what I was going to say before I so rudely interrupted by myself.  This blog is actually a place for my random thoughts to be strung together into a hopefully cohesive way that helps me trace what God is teaching me.  Anyway, onto my current thoughts.

I’ve seen a lot of outrage lately about the Pinterest Mom.  I’ve watched people lash out against perfectly decorated bedrooms, perfectly set tables, crafts for kids most adults can’t master, clothes that look good on some people before they had kids and most people never, amazing dinners, perfectly decorated houses, amazing hair etc etc etc.  We are lashing out because the Pinterest mom or Pinterest person is an unattainable standard that we just can’t master, and in the process we squash people in our anger who genuinely love some of those things.  Notice that I said ‘some’ not ‘all’

Let’s be ourselves and let other people be themselves.  When others are something we’re not, we feel threatened because we think it makes us less.  Here’s the thing.  Put a paintbrush in my hand and I come alive.  Ideas start flowing and my kids’ rooms get more and more elaborate.  So elaborate in fact, that our fourteen year old, Josiah, declared he wanted his walls white when he moved into his own room.  He wanted the most plain white he could find.  He is rebelling against the establishment.  Many parents bemoan the fact that their teenagers want to paint up their walls all crazy.  Not Josiah.  After years of painted castle bricks, he wants white.  I almost can’t walk into his room because my arm starts making painting motions and ideas begin flowing.  He may wake up to graffiti on his wall one morning.

Josiah's super creative, edgy, white walls
Josiah’s super creative, edgy, white walls

My creativity is an extension of who I am and it’s a way I show love for my family.  The kid’s rooms?  It was a way to give something I had to my kids.  They’ve all loved their rooms.  Josiah liked his and has fond memories of it, but decided to go crazy and paint his current room white.  Makayla goes along with me in this.  We plot and dream together and this is what we came up with. IMG_1581

Drew still cries that the new owners of our old house painted over his lifesize gigantic monkey, who I didn’t know until after we left, was his best friend.  Many tears later, he still misses his monkey, but decided that his glow in the dark city is okay.

It's kind of cluttery, but he moves the stickers around using his own creativity. It's the only thing that soothes the ache in his heart over losing his monkey friend.
It’s kind of cluttery, but he moves the stickers around using his own creativity. It’s the only thing that soothes the ache in his heart over losing his monkey friend.

I have left over glow in the dark paint if anyone wants it.  It’s really awesome stuff.  People laugh at me because I decorate our house for every season, but that keeps me sane.  Notice, I didn’t say insane.  If it makes you feel insane, don’t do it.  That’s not your thing.  I love to decorate. I make a lot of it and find a lot of it at dollar stores and my favorite thing in all of Target – the dollar bins. If I buy it, I have to do something to it so that it’s slightly different.  I can’t help it, it’s how I’m wired.  You know what?  My mom was not very crafty.  We didn’t do hours of crafts at all.  She threw crafts my way when she could see that I loved them, and I didn’t miss out.  Those things developed because those things are so me.  Don’t worry if your kids are different than you. They need you to be you and they will love you for it.

Scrapbooking?  I’d rather do about a million things than scrapbooking.  It sounds like an absolutely terrible way to spend even four minutes to me.  Sometimes, I see people with these cute memory books.  They’ll say, “Oh, do you want to see little Johnny at 3.7 months?  Here it’s in this book on shelf three of my bookcase.”  If you wanted to see a picture of my kids at around 2 to 3 years, I’d be gone for about an hour or more because I would have to sift through pictures in a massive bin downstairs or have to use the face recognition tool on the computer to bring up the kids’ pictures.  We planned on doing a digital srapbook EVERY year.  We have “Our First Ten Years.”  If we do one this year, it will be titled “The Next Five Years.”  Honestly, my palms are getting sweaty and I’m very tired even thinking about it.  Do I wish we had those cute scrapbooks?  Yep, but I know it won’t happen.  Sewing? Please don’t make me.  My kids would think I didn’t love them if I made them wear anything that I sew.  My daughter wants to sew so bad, but sewing machines are evil.  About every three stitches they eat the thread, and then there is always the part where you sew the wrong part to something, or it’s backwards.  Geometry is not my thing.  Teaching Makayla to sew is on my ‘to do’ list because I love her, but it does not sound life giving.  I haven’t completely ruled out a sewing class.

Cooking?  Do I HAVE to? I will and I can, but I would NEVER do that on a day off for fun.  I only do that because I have a family that would die if they didn’t eat.  Do I care if it looks nice?  Not one bit.  I mean, I don’t want it to look disgusting, but I don’t drizzle fancy things on the top and stick parsley on the side.  In fact, when the kids were little, I had to go to a luncheon.  I looked on the list to see what was needed and found that I could bring a vegetable tray.  I was so excited and couldn’t believe my luck!  You can’t burn it, ruin it, if you spill it you can pick it up and no one will know.  Perfect.  Or so I thought.  I got a call from the coordinator and she told me that since the luncheon was Hawaiin themed, I would need to make the vegetables look like a hula skirt.  SERIOUSLY?  I have to take TIME on this when it will be ruined by the first person in the buffet line?  She patiently told me that I needed to shred the celery to make it look like the grass in the grass skirt.  Did I mention that I don’t eat celery?  It’s gross. I thought about asking her if she would like me to bring the ingredients to her house so SHE could shred the celery to look like a hula skirt since her children were in school and I had three under four but thought better of it.  So, with kids hanging on my legs, pausing to nurse, and all of the other pausing that takes place with three under four, I shredded that nasty stuff.  I brought the tray and presented my creation.  From the look on the coordinator’s face, I could tell that the picture of a cute hula skirt vegetable tray, did not match the reality of my vegetable tray.  Oh well, you win some and you lose some.  Sorry, no picture of that one…

The table set beautifully? YES, I love that.  I have an obsession with plates and centerpieces.  Perfect hair?  NO.  I hate to do my hair. Kids’ crafts when they were little? Yes, unless it’s Play-Doh.  Glue, paint, googly eyes? Bring it on! Clean house? YES.  I LOVE to clean.  I know that’s weird, but I really do.  It’s relaxing to me.  Is it important?  Not super.  Do I care when other people have messy houses?  Nope, not at all.  Organize? no.  CAUTION: DO NOT OPEN CUPBOARDS AT MY HOUSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION.  YOU COULD GET KNOCKED OUT BY FALLING OBJECTS.  You think I’m kidding, but I am not.  Cupboards can get so disorganized that even John will clean them.  That’s saying a lot.

Do you see a theme here?  Some things I get excited about and some of it makes me want to sit in the corner in a fetal position.  It’s the same for you.  Maybe you don’t like ANY of the things I listed, but you like something else.  Maybe the stuff you like isn’t even on Pinterest at all.  You like to do sports, have super fun dance parties, singing contests and have crazy humor.  You love adventure, books, concerts and museums.  Some love the outdoors and others think that is crazy.  My family was not outdoorsy growing up.  In fact, my mom always ended up in the car during picnics because of the bugs.  My own family?  We LOVE outdoors.  I don’t feel one bit sad that my family didn’t do outdoorsy things. Actually, it makes me laugh. My family had other things that made it unique and that we did together.

Do you know what?  Your family and the people around you want you to be you.  You can love them through your own talents, abilities and the things you collectively love.  The way I love my family and people around me will be different than the way you love your family and the people around you.  That’s okay.  It took me a bit to figure this out.  I couldn’t figure out why I always felt like I was falling short.  I was comparing my weaknesses to everyone else’s strengths and then when people would talk about decorated bedrooms being bad for kids, I would feel even worse. We can be our unique selves without being threatened by the gifts and abilities of others.  We can show love with our own gifts and abilities – not other people’s.  If we’re trying to be someone we’re not, we’ll be crazy people and no one will want to be around us.  If Pinterest makes you crazy – don’t get on there.  If Facebook makes you upset – stay off it.  We can really know people only in the context of relationship.  Facebook, Pinterest and all things online, never give a complete picture.  Let’s give ourselves some wiggle room and love the people around us uniquely. Truly, God made each of us wonderfully individual.  Let’s not despise who we are and those who we aren’t, but embrace who we’re made to be and also the uniqueness of those around us.

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