Ordering My Thoughts

Or

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...

three kids on a porch swing and two in the yard.

They're finally free after a day of school and they're happy about it.

I am thinking...

about a post by Jen Fulwiler entitled

The Mental Neat Freak

.

It is so, so good.   If you are a frazzled mom or are just plain frazzled, go read it.  It might help you (or at least

make you

feel not so crazy, which is what it did for me).

Fulwiler revealed her profound revelation about how certain things that

seem

like they should be relaxing (like a social outing to the park or a trip to the Salon) coupled with the demands of her life (she's a homeschooling mom of 6) made her feel like she was going to implode for the rest of the day.  Initially, she thought she was simply ungrateful for her life and for the brief moments of "respite" she'd receive (like a day at the Spa), but after a deep discussion with a friend, she realized when she engaged in certain activities  (like writing, reading, and exercise) during leisure time, she actually experienced mental restoration that fostered mental order and peace in her life.  She writes about what the act of writing does for her:

It brings order to my brain. It’s like…there are all these things that happen in my days that make my mind feel — I don’t know how else to describe it — messy. Like I’m surrounded by chaos, but on the inside. And it keeps piling up and piling up, to the point where sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.”

This description of her mental state--messy and chaotic-- is how I've felt for the last six months--like I'm in a pig sty of a brain and I can't clean it up.  There's chaos everywhere and I feel like I'm going down...down...down...

In her post, Fulwiler explains the importance of cleaning up her mental place when she experiences this sense of disorder caused by a messy mind.  For her, this entails being selective about the activities in which she engages because some are going to be more restorative to her sanity than others.  Her list of what is mentally therapeutic is similar to mine--writing, reading, and exercise but I would also add prayer and listening to music.  

It's no coincidence my mental disarray has drastically increased with the onset of this pregnancy, especially because the prayer commitments fundamental to my mental peace and order have been practically abandoned.  As a result, I feel internally discombobulated and out of sync.   I'm reminded of what Jacques Philippe writes in Searching For and Maintaining Peace:

“In order to resist fear and discouragement ( or in this case mental disarray), it is necessary that through prayer - through a personal experience of God re-encountered, recognized and loved in prayer - we taste and see how good the Lord is (Psalm 34).”

Fulwiler's post helped me realize I need to rework my prayer life in a major way. 

I am thankful...

for any time I can get to create a little mental white space.  When the kids were at school yesterday, I was able to organize parts of my house in

dire

need of attention.  In order to tackle the project, though, I needed a quiet moment to think about

how

to tackle it.  Once I had the quiet, the plan fell into place.  Now John has inherited some of my to-do list.

Oops.

In the kitchen...

The last few nights, John and I have been snacking on popcorn sprinkled with candy corns.

 Sample at your own peril.

I also made this crowd pleaser on Sunday night.  I served chips and salsa with it and we had a Mexican Feast.  Everyone loved it.

Chicken Quesadillas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

2 tsp light olive oil (pantry)

1 small red onion diced

1 lb cooked and shredded chicken

1-3 jalapeños seeded and diced

2 cloves of minced garlic (pantry)

2 tsp chili powder (pantry)

1 tsp cumin powder (pantry)

Cooking spray

8 medium flour (or corn) tortillas

11/3cups shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste (pantry)

Heat the oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat before adding the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the onion, jalapeños, garlic, chili powder, and cumin powder to cook for 10 minutes.

Once onions and jalapeños have cooked through and are starting to break down slightly, heat a large skillet over medium heat, spray the skillet with cooking spray and place one or more tortillas on the skillet (depending on how big your skillet is). Top the tortilla with ¼ of chicken and ¼ of the cheese before topping with another tortilla. Allow the quesadilla to cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until they have browned and the cheese has melted.

Cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Try adding a little fresh cilantro for a brighter flavor.

I am wearing... 

(Does anyone care about this question?)

maternity jeans, one of John's t-shirts, and a maternity sweatshirt.

I just purchased the jeans.  I've had five kids since I bought a new pair (I know,

sad

), but I love the ones I've got on.   I don't know if this brand of Gap denim is the picture of style (don't get me wrong...they ain't no mom jeans) but they are comfy.  At this point, I'm choosing comfort over chic.

Every time.

(Could someone tell me how I could pull off high heels when I was in my third trimester with Patrick?  I can't for the life of me figure it out...)

I am creating...

a baby.

And some serious plans for re-organizing this house before November 26.

Yesterday, I started with this monstrosity known as our art supply closet.

Awful, isn't it?

But this is what it looks like now.

Labels, people.  Everything has labels!

I left the doors open all day long to bask in the glory of my work, which will last all of two minutes... but hey, it's beautiful in the meantime.

Inspired by my friend, Tisha, I also created a simple way to hang my children's (massive) art collection.

All you need is an empty wall, lots of art work, yarn and some clothes pins.

If Better Homes And Gardens is looking for designers, they know who to call.

I also bought some of these.  I'm creating some order all over this joint. 

I am going...

to slowly add art work to this paltry collection I hung yesterday.

Since I've started homeschooling, I've invested in some exquisite art programs which I haven't always been faithful in implementing.  But I want my kids to be surrounded by beautiful images so I decided to use inexpensive frames to hang some of the (unused) artwork.  I plan on adding more prints over time, but I love what I've got going on right now.

Also, I stumbled upon this post called

5 Easy Ways To Foster Art Appreciation With Books

(h/t to

Michaela

) from a new to me blog entitled

Art History Mom

.  Her suggestion to leave out great art books on the coffee table and casually quiz kids about the images, motivated me to find some pretty books.

I am wondering...

if

bookfinder4u.com

would have any good ones?  Or maybe the cool consignment shop up the road?

I'm gonna find out...

I am reading... 

Deitrich Bonhoffer's Biography

and

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

I am hoping...

I'm not in the hospital having a baby on Thanksgiving.

(Admittedly, this wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but I do love being with my entire family on Turkey Day.  Plus, I think I'll get out of cooking this year.  Sorry, Mom.)

I am looking forward to...

the little baby boy who will wear this.  I'm also looking forward to naming him...which we have yet to do.

I am learning...

all about

this writing program

used by the kids' school.

Whew.

It is

not

for slackers.

But I'm convicted this approach will most definitely teach Patrick and Meaghan how to write well. 

Around the house...

ummmm, see above.

I am pondering...

whether the baby will move enough to relieve my sciatic nerve and aching back. 

A favorite quote for today...

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

One of my favorite things...

My solution to, "Moooooom, I'm thirsty."

Now they can help themselves.

I'm all about the whole "teach a man to fish..." concept.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

is survival a good game plan?

Oh Okay, how about I fold the ten loads of clean laundry sitting in baskets upstairs?

A peek into my day...