Thursday, June 18, 2015

Getting Junk Done

I have had a couple things change my life lately.  For real.  And by "lately" I mean within the past couple of weeks.  

So I'm going to share with you, because maybe they will change your life too.  Or not.  Whatever.  

The first is an app that my Genius-Friend-Heather told me about over iced coffees.  Good things come over iced coffees.  It's called 

Chore Monster.

So I linked to the website, but I actually got it in the app store (free) and use it from my phone.  The kids use it from their kindle/ipad/etc.  It's super easy to set up, and seriously...the 10 year old and even the 12 year old are ASKING TO DO MORE CHORES.  I'm not even kidding.  



You can set up rewards, short term and/or long term.  When they do a chore, it sends you a message and you can approve the chore if they actually did it.  The amazing thing is, it has taken out all the nagging that was previously involved in our chore life.  I don't know if it's because it's easy to use, or fun, or motivating because they can see the numbers, but dude.  It works.  Also, our house is clean.  And the van is clean.  And the yard and garage are pretty decent too because my kids are apparently highly motivated by sugary treats and REWARDS.  

Lucy is 5, and I help her navigate it on my phone.  I made one of her chores "Staying in Bed when you are tucked in so that Mommy doesn't lose her mind."  And this week:  stayed in bed.  *hallelujah*   

This little app has made us all like each other better.  And things are clean.  Happily Ever After.

The other thing that has changed my life is Clean Mama.  

I first found her on Instagram as cleanmama.  She has chores broken down into the simplest of routines.  And on Instagram she puts a cute little reminder out each day about what she's doing.  I followed her all winter and spring, without ever actually joining in on her process.  Because sometimes (mostly all the time) I like the idea of being really organized, while actually just being a procrastinator.   

But a month or so ago I printed off one of her free lists, and then after staring at it for a couple weeks, I actually started it.  

It's the best thing ever for me.  

I'm kind of a cleaner.  Junk all over makes me feel claustrophobic and so I'm constantly picking up.  But my brain is squirrel-ish and I get distracted easily, so no one task ever felt completely done, even though I was working on stuff allll the live long day.  Clean Mama's simple system and easy list keeps me on track and my squirrel-brain has decided it's totally do-able.  

Here's a simple breakdown, but check out her website because she explains it better and in more detail.  And it works, I swear.

Mondays- bathrooms (but not floors, because that's on Thursdays)
Tuesday - Dust
Wednesday - vacuum all floors, top to bottom
Thursday - Wash hard floors
Friday- Catch up on stuff
Saturday - Towels and Sheets 

It's kept me on task, and helped me do some of the stuff that I usually put off for so long that when I do have to do it, it's super disgusting and makes me want to scream.  (the boys bathroom, for instance)  This week when I did the bathroom, it wasn't so bad.  I mean still gross...but whatever.

With the kids doing chores, and Clean Mama's system, I feel like things are manageable.  Not perfect, but good enough.  And that helps. A ton.

And for the record, I don't work outside the home.  Kudos to the Mom's who do.  You're amazing.  And deserve a cleaning lady.  So my recommendation for you, is Chore Monster and a cleaning lady.  Because that's what I would do. ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lame-Awesomeness

My Sophomore-in-high school-self was pretty sure she was going to be one of the cool parents someday.  You know the ones.  The parents that didn't ask a bazillion questions about where you were going and what you were doing or what you might do or who might be there.  The cool ones who just trusted you. Just let you do your thing.  

I was going to be one of those parents that didn't need their kid to check-in all the time, and I certainly wasn't going to be nosy about all the details of every situation they encountered.  

Because I would be cool. And fun.  Obviously.

But the thing about Sophomores, and teenagers in general, is that they're sort of *morons*.  Even the smart ones.  They're all operating at varying degrees of the moronic-condition.  It's not even their fault.  Their brains are not done growing, and they don't have the life experience or maturity to make fully rational choices all of the time.  They think they do.  But they don't.  And then hormones.

Me (sophomore) and Ben (senior).  Good kids...but technically morons yet at that stage in life.

Twenty one years later...





Don't let the nose-ring fool you.  I am neither cool nor fun (by teenager standards).  Sophomore-Sarah turned into the "lame mom."  And not just the default lame mom, but the proud-of-it, no-denying-it lame mom.  Watching, stalking, listening, guarding, questioning.  Because wisdom comes with age.  And wiser-me knows that I have great kids.  I do.  But given the right circumstances, even great kids can end up making stupid choices.  So it's my job, as the lame-mom, to help walk them through their moronic-journey.  

Not to shelter them completely.  And not to keep them from making mistakes.  But to guard them, and teach them, and protect them...so they can grow out of their moronic condition.  

My kids are only at the Jr. High teen stage.  But I can already spot the cool parents.  The fun ones.  The ones that get to say yes to the things that I'm saying "no way in..." to.  And that's when it dawned on me.  A little part of me still wants to be the cool kid, the one who just says yes.  But the bigger part of me, is totally at peace being the fun-hater.  Especially when girls are involved. Where my boys are concerned, all girls should just assume I said no.  ;)

Sophomore-Sarah would think she's totally lame.  But 37-year-old-Sarah understands that lame means awesome.  So to all the lame-awesome mama's out there, telling your young teenagers NO to stuff that 14 year old's don't need to be doing:  High Five.  Let's unite in our lame-awesomeness.






Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's Just a Nose

Let's catch up.  A little, anyways.  And by a *little* I mean the longest post on a nose piercing EVAH.  It's for documentation.  *preserving memories for the next generation*   

In January our Ladies Bible Study did What Love Is by Kelly Minter.  I've been a part of a lot of Bible studies, and this one ranks at the top for me.  Deep and practical and just plain amazing.  I learned so much.  

That's sort of a side note for you.  Ha.  Anyways.  This was one of our larger groups of ladies.  14 in all.  So at the beginning of each night of study, we would open with a little "get to know you" kind of question.  Totally random.  I think one of the questions was "What is something we'd be surprised to know about you."  It was interesting, let me tell you.  

I had trouble coming up with something to tell the group because frankly, I tell them a lot about me...because I talk too much (about myself) when I feel awkward in a group that I'm leading.  Super annoying.  I think I eventually blurted out that I had always wanted to get my nose pierced but that I probably couldn't because of church-y stuff and church-y people.  *whatever that means*

I think that I thought they would all agree with me.  But they didn't.  They totally encouraged me to do it.  They are wild and crazy:  Obviously.*cough*

And that's where it took root.  The truth is, that many times before I had thought about getting it pierced,  and prayed about it and just never got the "go-ahead" from God.  Because timing.  

This time when I began to pray about it again, and talk to Ben about it (because if I did it, it was his problem too ;)  And this time, it was a total go-for-it.  And I panicked a little.  Doubted that it realllly was OK to do it.  Had visions of church members firing Ben because of his heathen wife. *exaggerate much?*   After about a month of this on-going debate in my head, it was as if God said to me, "I gave you the OK, STOP ASKING IF IT'S REALLY OK!"  He's always loving and firm with me.

By this time it was the end of February, and on a Saturday night our Ladies Bible Study all went out for dinner.  Two of the ladies, who already had their nose's pierced decided we should get mine done after dinner.  Of course they did.  So after dinner, most of the ladies went down to a local coffee shop and we headed to the piercer and told them we'd meet them for coffee when we finished.  

Because this is the stuff you do with your Ladies Bible Study, right?!?  

The first place we got to was already booked-full for the night.  It's in a college town, apparently all the college kids get pierced on weekends.  They talked me into trying the tattoo parlor, because obviously they were skilled with needles.  

OK.

As we walked up to the door, a man (with a completely tattooed FACE) locked us out.  It wasn't meant to be.

We settled for coffee.

But Monday morning, (Ben's day off), he drove me to the Piercer and a few minutes later...it was done.  

Side note:  The gal who pierced it, had several piercings.  I tried to make small-talk because *hello, I do that when I'm nervous and I'm awkward* but she was not amused.  At one point I said something about how it really shouldn't hurt me so much, I mean I'd birthed four kids.  She replied with, "You'd think."  I probably told her I was a pastor's wife too.  I'm sure she cared.

Afterwards we went out for burgers and then went grocery shopping, like we do every Monday.  I tried to act all normal, but dude.  I had a little fake-diamond IN MY NOSE!  I felt awesome.  Not gonna lie.

First Day



By the time Sunday rolled around, I was getting pretty used to having it.  I psyched myself up as I walked the 27 steps over to church.  This would be the first time all the non-facebooker's would see it.  

And none of them noticed it.  Or at least they didn't act like they noticed it.  All my fretting and worry and...nothing. 

The one outspoken older fella finally noticed it a couple weeks later.  He just laughed and gave me a thumbs-up.  He also suggested I not put anything "huge" in it, and requested I not get a tattoo.  Heh.  No problem.

Life with a nose piercing was good.  Until I accidentally pulled it out with a cotton ball while applying toner to my face.  I tried shoving it back through to no avail.  *owie owie owie*  I ended up driving straight to the piercer and they put in a new one like it was easy peasy.  It turns out, it's easier when you know what you're doing.

After that trauma, I developed the cursed nose-bump.  A tiny little wretched red bump next to the piercing.  You can google it.  Ha.  I did...and tried every remedy under the heavens to get rid of it.  Soak it with sea salt, crushed aspirin, saline, leaving it alone, blah blah blah.  None of it worked.  Ben and my friends kept reassuring me that they didn't even notice it.  I am surrounded by liars.  *smile*

And then finally, on IG, I saw someone that had to switch to a 18k gold one because their body was reacting to the metal.  So I caved and ordered a $45 teeny tiny gold stud for my nose.  Because: Desperate.  And also: More money than I've ever spent on earrings.

It came, I put it in myself, and within a week the bump healed.  HEALED.  

And now I love it.  It's part of me.  My friends told me it gives me some street cred.  So I guess I'm sorta legit now.  Or something.



My brother, who's 11 years younger than me, jokingly called me a rebel.  I laughed, because of the story I just wrote above.  Piercing my nose may be one of the least rebellious things I've done.  He was pretty happy about it though, because he had gotten a tattoo about a year before and had been dreading telling my mom.  He figured if she could handle my nose, then she could handle his tattoo.  He was right.  

But at least mine is not permanent - Said The Responsible Older Sister.

The End.

*Also, you can go to the Life in the Parsonage facebook page and "like" it to get blog updates too.*










Tuesday, June 9, 2015

That Close



Just a refresher for you on how close the parsonage is to the church.  Parsonage on the left, church in the back.  

And I got my nose pierced in March.  More on that tomorrow.  And updates from the past 8 months.   

I spent all my self-imposed computer time today trying to figure out how to get my iphone photos onto the blog in the least complicated manner.  Success.  

*It's an exciting life I lead.*

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Season

It's sort of an understatement to say that it's been awhile.  

Ha.  

But seriously.  It's been awhile.

I started this book, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through.


It was just what I needed.  I am entering a new season of life.  I have a 14, 12, 10, and 5 year old now.  I'm not exactly new to ministry anymore.  We've lived in this parsonage for 9 years 9 months.  I am not the same girl I was when I started blogging.  Or even since my last post in October.  But I am still me.  Ever changing and ever the same.  

In the book, she talks about how we are better wives, mothers, and friends, when we make some time (that we think we don't have) to do the things we love.  And over and over again, blogging kept making it's way to the top of the list for me.  

And so it's going to become a priority for me again.  Not because anyone needs to hear what I have to say, or what non-exciting thing I'm doing today (I made a FB page for our church, and painted our dining table) but for me.  Because I like to write (with improper grammar) and really, doesn't the internet need more of that?  And God likes to change my heart...through the writing and the sharing and the living.  

I'm in.  I'm allll in.




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Two Sparrows

Someday, I will actually get around to showing you pictures of the office in all its gray glory.  It's so happy not to be that shameful green anymore.

And someday I will blog everyday like I said I would.  Just kidding.  I would totally do it if  these people (my children) could just stop needing me (to locate their stuff).  And needing food.  And so on.  Also, if I wasn't so easily distracted. that would be helpful too.

Back to the office:  We found our old CD collection.  90's and early 2000's CD's.  It's hilarious and awesome and aweful all at the same time.  I've been listening to Garth Brooks non-stop in the mini van (because it's the only place we have a functional CD player thanks to my love of the ipod.)  When I moved on to Tanya Tucker's Love Songs I thought *maybe* I might need some sort of intervention with the CD's.  Today it was the Dixie Chicks.  I think I've finally forgiven them for speaking ill of my favorite president.  The destruction of their careers was probably enough punishment.  I am, of course kidding.  Not about George W though.  I heart him.

Also.  I'm not quite sure why I like American Honkey Tonk Bar Association so much.  But I do.  I feel like Weird Al could totally remake it for church.

This is how my mind works.

I will leave you with a Tanya Tucker love song that I used to listen to as a teenager.  Turns out, IT WAS ABOUT ME.




Monday, October 20, 2014

I Remembered Today!

Oops.  I missed blogging this weekend.  Like, I didn't even remember. At all.

The office is painted.  YAY!  And I will post pictures as soon as I put the finishing touches on.  

We've been dragging anyone who stops by through the office so we can show them.  I may be the only person so excited about gray.*jazz hands*

So.  Yesterday I SHOULD have posted that one year ago I was doing THIS.

It was such an amazing experience.  It deserves a One Year Anniversary Post.  

I hope to do it again. Sometime.  But for now, my priority list is full of other people and stuff.  So running will just be for fun...not for training.  And by "fun" I mean I haven't ran in 3 weeks...or so.