Saturday, April 16, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Okay. Maybe not ever, but still. Today was one for the remembering.

I'm sure that a huge contributing factor to today's greatness is the simple fact that tax season is so close to being over that I can seriously feel the weight lifting from my shoulders. No more staying up until the wee hours of the morning trying to figure out how the heck to get the new tax software to do what I want it to do. No more watching my hubby go to bed by himself. No more telling the boys, "No. We can't today. Mommy has to work." Aagh... It's almost over, and it feels GREAT!

I did go to work for a few hours today, but it was just to pitch in and help in the office's last-ditch-effort of preparing extensions. BUT, before that I lazed in bed with my hubby. I took a long, relaxing shower. I actually did my hair and makeup, rather than wadding my hair up into a ponytail and re-touching the "yesterday's makeup is good enough" look that I've been sporting for the last two months. (It has NOT been pretty.) I gave myself a manicure AND pedicure. I played with my little guys.

While I was at work, Zach surprised me by washing my car for me. It needed it desperately and now it looks so pretty! After work, I went to Caleb's soccer game. The weather was beautiful and it was so nice to spend an hour outside in the fresh air and sunshine. (They got slaughtered by the other team, whose star player handled the ball like a teenager, but Caleb played really well so it was still fun to watch and cheer.) Then, Nathan and I went to Sunflower Market where I got to take my time and leisurely peruse the aisles and purchase groceries for legitimate meals that I will actually get to cook in the upcoming week...falafel and taboule, chicken sausage and kale, spring rolls, salads, chicken curry with coconut rice... Aaaghhh! Zach and I have both gotten so tired of eating sandwiches and carryout that we were almost ready to give up eating altogether. (Almost.)

After I got home, I made spring rolls with Zach. After a few years of random attempts at finding a good recipe, I think I finally came up with a winner...all on my own! I took a picture of Owen, while he snuck an almost-empty carton of ice cream off the kitchen counter and drank the soupy remains. I snuggled with Caleb while he read a book to me that he wrote and illustrated all by himself. The boys are all fed and cleaned. The big two went to bed without a hitch - that's a BIG deal! I took some extra time to cuddle with Nathan before I put him to bed - although our time what still cut short when I heard Owen yelling, "MOM!!! Can you come wipe my butt?"

Now I'm about to have spring rolls and sushi with my hubby while we watch Tron and snuggle on the couch. I'm going to wash it down with a new beer that Zach thinks I'll really like - hopefully ending my quest of finding a beer that is a happy medium between syrupy sweet girly beer and icky after-taste REAL beer. I have high hopes. Then, I'm going to go to bed at a decent hour, well before the ridiculously late night/early morning bedtimes that I've been maintaining for the last few months.

It's been GLORIOUS! What an incredible, wonderful day to be alive!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Occupation: Homemaker

Tax season is in full swing and I'm up to my eyeballs in work, so I really shouldn't be posting. I just don't have time. Our house is a wreck and there is way too much laundry waiting to be done. If I am going to steal a few minutes away from the piles of files it really should be to do something other than post, but oh well. I had this thought yesterday (while preparing returns) that started simmering and I just have to get it out of my system.

You may or may not have noticed, but on the second page of Form 1040 that practically everyone has to file every year, there's a line next to where you sign that is designated for your occupation. So far this year, I've prepared returns for 100+ people and the occupations have ranged anywhere from Physician to Automotive Technician and from Teacher to Chief Operating Officer. They run the gamut. But, out of all those returns there have only been about two people who have chosen to list Homemaker as their occupation. Out of that entire handful of people, do I really think that only two were Homemakers? No way. Why? Because I'm technically a Homemaker, too. But is that what I list on my tax return? No way. After all, I have a college degree. I prepare taxes, do bookkeeping, stage houses for real estate professionals, attend births as a certified doula, etc, etc. I truly am a Jill of All Trades. (And probably a master of none, as well, but we won't go there.) The actual amount of time I spend doing all of those things as compared to the amount of time I spend doing at-home-mom things, though, is not even close to equal. The bulk of my time is spent shuttling our boys, shopping for groceries, chasing our boys, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, entertaining our boys, picking up the house, picking up the house (it was no mistake that was listed twice), doing laundry, etc, etc. So, why does my tax return say Accountant beside my name? Because Homemaker feels insignificant. It feels unaccomplished and ordinary. Anyone could be a Homemaker. When I picture a Homemaker, it's someone like June Cleaver - whose be all and end all in life is to maintain a spotless house day in and day out, have dinner on the table at 5:30 on the dot and do it all while wearing a dress, heels and lipstick. That's just not me. It's not what fulfills me.

But then, yesterday, I realized there's a difference. According to Webster, a house is a building, a residence, a place of shelter. The kinds of things that I associated with being a Homemaker have more to do with keeping-a-house. Being a Housekeeper. That is something I most definitely don't want to do.

But a home? That's different. A home is the place in which one's domestic affections are centered. A dwelling place or retreat. To me, that difference is significant. It's a big deal. And, here's the key - NOT EVERY HOUSE IS A HOME.

If I can be the driving force responsible for creating a haven and refuge for the ones I love most in this world, then there's nothing I want more. So, I think I'm going to change my return. This year, it'll read Sarah Taylor: Homemaker. (And proud of it!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

My One And Only

I was reading a blog earlier today that included an interview with a woman who had married her high school sweetheart. (I did, too.) They met as teens, dated through college and married as young adults. (I did, too.)

One of the questions posed to this woman was whether or not she felt that she had missed out on any "fundamental and valuable life experiences" by not dating lots of people.

Zach is actually the only one I ever dated, ever kissed, etc. Did I miss out?


I may have only experienced the first-kiss insanity once and the getting-to-know you butterflies once, but who cares?!? I have enjoyed the pleasure of something very few others will ever get to experience - the incredible freedom and joy that comes from being WITH and FOR only one person, ever. And that, my friends, is far better than any first kiss.

I love you, Sweet Husband, and I'm so glad to be yours.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Long Time In Coming

Dear Blog,

Yipes! It feels as if I've been away for a week or two, but here it is already more than two months since I last stopped by to chat! What can I say? I've been busy. I've been lazy. I've neglected you and I'm sorry. I'd like to be able to honestly say that the neglect won't happen again, but it probably will, so I won't make any promises I can't keep. I'll just do the best I can to keep you updated more frequently. So much time has passed since our last visit, I hardly know where to begin.

I got a new car! We traded my very tired Jeep in for a Yukon. It's the newest, nicest car I've ever had and I love it, especially the heated seats! It's pretty, runs well and the boys have more space, so I don't have to hear any more complaints of "So-and-so is breathing my air!" It's fabulous.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. Actually, TWO lovely Thanksgivings. The first was truly a first - on Thanksgiving day we hosted, for the first time, at our house. We had Zach's parents, his granddad and my brother over to join us and it was wonderful! Good food (albeit an hour late since the darn turkey decided not to cook as quickly as it was supposed to) and great company - an all around success! The second was at my parents' house with my family and, again, SO nice. I think Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday - quality time with my family and so much yummy food, two of my favorite things in the whole wide world!

In mid-December, Zach got to go to DC for a week to attend a ceremony during which the company he works for received an award. A week in DC on someone else's dime! Woo hoo! He walked about 40 miles while he was there, took hundreds of photos, saw amazing sites and had a great time! I was SO tempted to stuff myself into his suitcase, but that's an awfully long flight to be confined to the shape and size of a Samsonite. Maybe next time.

Christmas came and went with the usual blur of activity. This one was a little more memorable than most, since it was Nathan's first. He had a great time pulling on bows and trying to eat tissue paper. It was truly a blessed and joyous occasion for us all!

Zach's parents had us over for a fondue party to ring in the new year. It was fabulous! (And Owen loved it, too. I've never seen the kid eat so much!) It really was a great evening with lots of fun company. And the food? Oh, SO yummy! I ate so much that the fondue binge was just one of the many contributing factors to...

...trying the Carb Nite diet with Zach. We're in our third week and we're going strong! We've actually been eating really good food and we get to go on a carb blow-out once a week, so we're not minding too much. The extra holiday pounds are slowly but surely coming off. So far so good!

That's definitely not everything, but a good gist of our goings-on for the last little while. As usual, I've got other things that I should be doing (folding laundry, doing dishes...ugh!), so I had better hop to it. I hope to talk to you again sooner, rather than later.

Lots of love,

PS - While re-reading and editing, I couldn't help but notice how many times I mentioned food (and/or my love of food) in this brief, little note. Yikes! It's almost embarrassing. But, anywho. In keeping with the theme and giving you something to think about, here's a bit of FOOD FOR THOUGHT (Ha! That was on purpose. I just can't help myself sometimes!):

Luciano Pavarotti once said, "One of the very nicest things about life
is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing
and devote our attention to eating."

I do agree; it is one of the nicest things in life. But, what else do you (and I) take time for regularly and purposefully to do each day? What does it say about ourselves and the lives we lead? Does the time you spend say what you want it to say about who you are and what is important to you? Chew on that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Image of Longing

Mankind has an innate need to be needed. We want to be wanted. We were created in the image of our Father - so where did that longing originate? In Him. He needs to be needed and, therefore, so do we.

Wouldn't it have been infinitely less painful for everyone involved if He had just created us to adore Him, without the knowledge of there being any other options? Yes. Definitely. But is that real fellowship? Is it satisfying and does it really fill deep needs for companionship? Not really.

Fellowship is all about communion - sharing thoughts and emotions, having intimate communication. It's not something that can be done alone and it's not something that can be one-sided. It can't be forced. It involves making a choice to share yourself and give of yourself freely. What do you get in return? It depends. God made Himself vulnerable with the hope that we would choose Him. But, what if we don't? Rejection. Pain. More longing and emptiness, left to be filled.

Why in the world would He ever do that to Himself? It just doesn't make sense. He had the ability to guarantee His acceptance, and He didn't. Why? Because there's nothing better or more satisfying than the feeling of being needed. Of being wanted. Of being chosen.

Once I started considering God's feelings on a more personal and human plane, it has made me wonder how my actions have affected Him. Do my actions affect Him? Most definitely. Have I chosen Him? Absolutely. Is that enough to satiate His desire? Not even close. Is it possible to choose Him and not know Him? Yes. Being chosen is paramount, but it isn't enough.

If decisions aren't backed by action, then are they legitimate? Are they real? Possibly, but those decisions lose their power without support. To pay homage to a Christian pop song of my youth, they're like "a screen door on a submarine". They are there and they fill a void, but they aren't necessarily effective. What's more important to God? Knowing that I've made THE BIG DECISION to choose Him or my actions that show Him on a day-to-day and minute-by-minute basis what is most important in my life?

If I decide to be a Vegetarian but my actions don't consistently support my declaration of Who I Am, then am I really a Vegetarian? I imagine you see my point. In the end, I don't doubt who I am or the decisions I have made. I just wonder how much longing my actions have left my Father with. Have I satiated His desire? I'm sure I haven't. I haven't even come close. Being left wanting isn't fun. It hurts. It feels like rejection and that's not what I want my Abba, who poured out His life for me, to experience. Not on my account.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A heartening response!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sarah, Chris, Mary, Sid... Thank you guys all SO much for the encouraging response and for letting me know that I'm not alone in my "funk". Or, actually, on second thought I really don't think we're in a funk. I think we're just AWARE of the funk that's going on - and wanting to do something about it! I'm glad to be in such good company! an attempt to DO something about it, wanna come over and play? It's officially too cold to do anything outside and that's fine by me. I'd rather cuddle up to a bowl of something warm and break out the board games! It's last minute, but everyone is MORE than welcome to come over to our house tomorrow evening to hang out and have some food, fun and FELLOWSHIP! I'll make a huge pot of potato soup and some homemade bread. (Not very carb friendly. I know. I'm sorry.) If you want to bring something then do, but if not then don't! If you want to bring a favorite game, then please do! If the gas for an extra trip into ABQ is a concern, then please don't be shy - say so and come anyways! I would rather scrape together the $5 for you to get here and have your company than to go without. So, please come!

From 5ish until whenever? Sound good? (It sounds great to me!)

Lots and lots of love,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Watch out.

Here it comes. I feel a pretty major rant coming on, and it might get ugly.

I'm tired. Sick and tired, of people. It doesn't feel like a very Christ-like place to be, but it's exactly where I'm at right now.

This morning when I was dropping Caleb off at school, a woman honked and SCREAMED at me and almost hit my car with hers because, apparently, I must have parked in a spot where I wasn't supposed to be. The funny thing is, probably 3 days out of every week so far, this same woman has pulled into the school right behind me to do the very same thing in the very same spot - we stop. The kid(s) get out of the car. We go. It takes all of 30 seconds, seriously. But, for some reason, today she felt that she needed to come unhinged - at me. Maybe her panties were in a wad. I don't know, but there was no reason to be rude.

This incident wasn't the beginning of the "funk" that I'm feeling, though. A few weeks ago, the pastor at our church delivered a pretty compelling message about being discontent with God. The premise was that it is good and even healthy to want more from God. You really aren't discontent with God, who He is, or what He's done in your life, you're just wanting MORE of Him. Since He's made Himself completely available to us, it really has more to do with us focusing less on ourselves and more and more on Him.

Discontent with God. It's a pretty fascinating idea. Lately, though, I've really been experiencing some serious discontent with God's people.

Zach and I were talking about it the other day and we both felt the same thing. It's as if we're in (or entering into) an era that we just don't want to be a part. Everyone is too busy. Too consumed with their lives and themselves to even notice what they're missing - true fellowship and intimacy with others. There's a whole "army of one" and "looking out for number one" mentality that is taking over - for the worse.

People used to BE together. It's making me feel old, but I'm already spending more and more time pining for the way things were "when I was young". Everything has changed so much, just in the last 20 years, that it frightens me to think of what things might look like in another 20. For instance, when I was a kid, not celebrating Halloween really wasn't a big deal because there was such an amazing harvest party at church - Hallelujah Night! There was a different theme every year, all the families in the church were involved, the kids dressed up in homemade costumes that they'd put lots of thought and time into, there was a costume contest, cake walks, etc. It was SO much fun!

Now, it should be time for my sons to get to experience the same thing, but they can't. The children's ministers at church have continued to plan the event each year, but fewer and fewer kids come each year. The few kids that would come would wear whatever store-bought costume they wanted to, regardless of the theme. A cake walk? It wouldn't even be worth organizing, because I bet half of the people would bring whatever they could find at Smiths on their way to the church. It's gotten to the point that the church can't even have this celebration any more, because there's just no involvement. Where is everyone? What's happened?

It's not just this harvest celebration. We used to spend New Years Eve together. We would have a huge chili cook-off, play games together and spend the holiday together. Every summer, we used to haul the whole church to a picnic spot in the woods and have a huge cookout and spend the day together. We used to have amazing end-of-the-year parties with all the school kids and their families. It was fun.

You're probably thinking that it sounds like a ton of work and that we've just gotten smarter by simplifying. Smarter? No. Less connected? Yes. The truth is, if everyone was involved and took part, it'd be a breeze to do things together. But, like I said, everyone is so completely consumed with themselves and what they have going that no one can or will be a part. The only time people are willing to do things is when it fits neatly and conveniently into their schedules.

It stinks. It's wrong. It's not what we were created for. We were made to fellowship. In this age of on-my-terms communication and get-togethers, we just aren't connecting. It makes me sad. It makes me angry that my boys are missing out. They don't even realize it - that there's this entirely other family that they're supposed to have, but don't. We have been called to be the BODY of Christ, but that's awfully hard to do when you can barely manage to get people in the same place at the same time.

Anyways. I'm frustrated. Thanks for letting me vent....