Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Time kind of stood still for a while and then flew. "Preparing" kind of comes to mind as the theme of the ideas in my head about which to blog. The lack of ability to prepare for sickness, preparing for the new year, preparing more for my days since this month's challenge, and preparing for the no spend month of January.

I was not prepared for the other day when my mama called to say she had gotten some very abnormal bloodwork back from the lab. In fact, I was headed to buy a van due to the accident that totaled my van and left me completely unprepared for all of the fearful, chiropractor-full, looking for vans-full days to come. I left Tim to complete the van buying process and met my mom at the doctor. After two doctor visits and a major procedure, we ended up at the hospital for a blood transfusion and a very very long evening and early morning watching TV together in a hospital room. She is feeling better and the news we received on the 23rd is that she almost definitely does not have cancer, so we all breathed a sigh of relief. NO WAY TO PREPARE for that...i tried...but truly no way to prepare for news and/or sickness. Hopefully the next couple of weeks will bring about answers and solutions to her health issues. I am ready to be on the journey with her back to good health, wherever it leads us.

I am also feeling ready for the journey that my family will continue on in 2010. Tim and I spent time in the car the other morning remembering the many many joys and adventures and the couple of tragedies we experienced this year. It's so so so good to remember. In a moment of feeling down, I had almost forgotten the deep connection Tim and I shared as we celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year (on a cruise), the concerts we went to, the joys Tim has experienced in his business and growing frienships, the mountain trip with some of my closest friends, and several other things. I am amazed that the time can move along and it is easy to forget, lose track of time, let worry or fear set in and then lose the immense joys of my life. There is no way to truly prepare for the year, but I love to spend this week each year reflecting and thinking about all that I am and who it is that I really want to be.

Besides the end of the year being near, the end of this month's challenge is close. I am ulitimately feeling so very happy about both the mental and physical rest we have gained this month. The electric bill was $50 less compared to this month last year, so that was so encouraging to see too! I believe there is truly mental rest in unplugging whether for a couple of days, a week, or several hours a day for a month, like we have done. An end to the night has brought me peace about the things left undone...permission to leave it all and start again when I am able. Less time on the computer has been healthy for me. More rest has certainly been healthy. The TV will return next month whenever Tim initiates. He has spent his Christmas money on replacing a beloved game system he has done without for quite a while since its demise. I respect his passions and his desire to have the television for his leisure. We have not discussed if we will continue to set limits for TV, computer, electricity use. We need to prepare for the end of this challenge and for our no spend month in January.

I have a feeling I am not prepared for next month. I love to eat out, treat myself with a coffee and/or snack at a drive through, and meet friends at restaurants. I rarely spend money on material items, but spend regularly on the consumables I listed above. It's actually something I do not like about myself. I want to pack food and water in the van, make coffee at home, plan meals and eat them at home, stop supporting companies for which I despise their values, and eat whole foods and feed them to my children. None of this is accomplished during my drive through trips here and there day after day. I imagine I will initially feel deprived and then eventually deeply sastisfied.

Monday, December 14, 2009


The past couple of days of our unplugged challenge have been so great. I have been HOME! You know, when I am home to use the computer for the things I need to do and bake when needed and do our laundry and even for Tim and I to watch an episode of Amazing Race and Survivor (yep...I still love those shows), I feel ready to rest and wind down with the candles blazing at 10:30 at night.

Last night, I thoroughly enjoyed reading my book until I could no longer stand reading by a flickering light that began to hurt my eyes after a long while. Tonight, Tim is baking cookies for Isaac's mother's morning out class party tomorrow before the clock strikes and there is no more electricity use, and I am ordering Christmas cards (late!) and sending emails and checking facebook. Before this month, I would be sitting here with the computer on my lap for the rest of the evening and possibly on into tomorrow. It feels wise and mature to get off of this machine and let the darkness eventually lull me to sleep, to simplify and not be so dependent on machines. To follow more closely the natural rhythms of the earth and not make my own.

I love our home. We made a decision against going to mall of georgia last night, and I am so glad. Instead, we made cookies and played games at home. I am finding peace and rest within myself at home. I do not have to be entertained and connected to everyone in the world (internet, email, facebook, etc) all night nor do I have to clean and finish projects all night. I do not have to have something to do every night. I can be home and end my day at a certain time whether there is more to do or not...and then truly rest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I felt so amazingly calm this morning after washing some clothes, ordering some Christmas gifts, and planning out a productive day of Christmas (and otherwise) errands. I think I actually may be able to live with the darkness and calm of the house at 10:30 if I have hope that there will be a day to catch up at the end of a very late night, busy week. This morning was really all I needed. Everyone got baths, even, which just the night before, felt like an overwhelming feat.

Tim and I are in the process of deciding if we will allow the television to return or do without it for this year and put the $600 ($50/month) towards our debt. My heart started to beat a little faster as I typed that, but I'm not sure whether it was because of the idea of not having TV for a year or due to thinking about our debt. Whatever the case, it does really sound like a more productive, creative, simple way to live, and I like that. When I say TV, I guess I really mean the service. We will return the big machine itself to it's rightful place as the focus of the living room, which really will be a little depressing for me. I have some sort of really strong visual/aesthetic issues that make me feel very seriously that I want to surround myself with fabrics and wood and homemade items...the warmth is so enveloping to me. The television set manages to suck something out of me and I love having it physically gone. I also love watching TV with Tim at night, so although it sounds like it would be easy for me not to miss the TV, it does make me a little sad to think about losing some of the shows Tim and I like. But then...I think we could just watch them on the computer sometimes and not end up losing anything. Tim will return the TV set at the end of the month because he has game systems he thoroughly enjoys as his wind down time when the kids are not around, and he plans to continue to play them in the next year.

So...do I really want the big crappy machine in my house for me to live with and the kids to ask to watch, but then not have any service? I'm not sure.

I am learning. Learning how much I want to appreciate stillness, and how little I value rest when there are "things to get done." Is there really a time when everything is done? No wonder I used to be up until after midnight. But then half the time, I was chatting, reading, etc on the computer, and not just doing laundry and dishes and cleaning all night. I used to feel like I was wasting time all the time, and I have not felt that way at all so far this month. I wonder what my final conclusions will be at the end of the month.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Well, I'm not enjoying the darkness at night, really. Monday night, I had a holiday party and picked up the kids from my mom while Tim had court, and came home in time to get the kids in bed in the dark. Tuesday night, Tim took the kids to Atlanta with him while he went to a concert and the kids visited with grandma and grandpa. I stayed out and got some work done and got home to the darkness of the house. Wednesday night, I took a friend out for her birthday after church and got home in time for the darkness...and PILES of dirty clothes...and tons of emails to read and write (and nelglect). Tonight, I am starting this email with 15 minutes to write, as I have just gotten home from the nursing home (work) holiday party. whew...what a week...coming home to a dark house and very little ability (ok none) to be productive has been so hard!!

I am enjoying not having the television, actually. Our mornings start with pretending and playing and snuggling on the couch with my full attention on them rather than with the kids sitting on the couch with the TV while I do other things for at LEAST an hour. Kendall still asks to "watch something" every other day. I love our living room and the way the house feels without the big machine sucking some the energy and warmth out of the house. I miss watching it at night sometimes. The kids watched a movie on the computer for the first time the other day when they were really tired and whining and needing me tons...so I let the computer pacify them a little while.

So...I think this month is actually a little harder for me than I expected. This week, I am in bed with candles blazing thinking about all that I need to get up and do and how many emails I have. I am still hoping for more peace and joy about the rest and stillness at night this month.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleeping, but Grumpy

So, all of this candlelight at night is actually making me a little grumpy. I want badly to change my attitude, and in fact, I did feel very simple and centered and rested for the first couple of days of the month, but don't any longer.

Tim and I were reading and talking by candle light the first few nights, and that was calming and nice, although the flickering of the candles while trying to read is definitely something to get used to. Friday night, I was out late for a La Leche League fundraiser at Barnes and Noble and then could not come home and clean my house for the Barefoot Books party on Saturday morning. Tim had actually done tons of cleaning, so there was really not much for me to do, but I had forgotten to stop by the store on the way home and then not using electricity forced me to go to bed by candle light and not bake anything. By morning, I knew I would not feel like baking, so I set out early for store bought snacks. Everything worked out wonderfully, but somehow that started my grumpy feelings of being sort of out of control and unhappy with my change in productive time.

Last night, we spent the evening visiting and playing cards with my family, and did not get home until a little before 11. Well, since my kids usually go to bed by 8:00, we figured they would fall asleep on the 40 minute drive home. Nope...didn't happen. We had to do our advent calendars (there are 3!), get a snack for a crying 2 year old, put pjs on...everything...while gathered around this battery powered lantern in the same room. Imagine, all the while, Kendall whining "I want to turn on the lights" continuously. LOL. Grumpiness level went up some more after that adventurous night. Oh...and after all of that...I wanted coffee, but could not use our coffee pot. :)

I am committed to regaining my former attitude. Darkness and calm and natural light in our house at 10:30 was once a neat unexpected blessing, and I hope it begins to be that way again...starting in 8 minutes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Unplugged Life

December 1st...it's our month to reduce our use of electricity. I am nervous and excited about the big hole in our living room where our TV used to sit. It now sits in the storage closet at Tim's office. Kendall cried twice this morning when reminded that her request to "watch something" would not be fulfilled. Isaac was beyond excited about the ceremonial unplugging of the TV and all that is hooked up to it and proceded to act out shows for Kendall, which truly did make her happy.

We have decided that we will have no electricity use after 10:30pm. If you know Tim and I, you will know that this will actually be so hard for us, as we usually stay up until at least midnight watching TV, shows on the computer, reading, playing games, or being on the computer. We often start a pot of coffee after 10:30! Tonight, I was at a meeting at 2 Story with friends and just got home at 10:00pm. I actually feel physically nervous as I post this and the clock is clicking away closer to our cut off time. I actually have several emmails to read/write besides finishing this post! Oddly enough, I am not able to do diddly squat on my computer due to a virus or something going terribly wrong a couple of nights ago. So...our limited time with this machine will be shared between Tim and I both for the upcoming weeks.

Well, I have gathered the candles in the house, and we are planning to read by candle light in bed tonight. This could be a fun month!!