My Parenting Secret: Mediocrity

A lot of people ask me how I do it being a SAHM of three small children. I often reply that it is easy: I just ignore them.

People think I’m joking. I assure you. I am not.

Here’s the thing though. Lately, I feel as if even my lowly standards of parenting have been violated. Lately, I’ve really been subpar.

Don’t get me wrong. My children are fed, bathed, clothed, and put to bed at a reasonable hour – but come on. Isn’t that like a bare minimum baseline for parenting? Shouldn’t I be doing something more?

I have been consumed with reading books (not even high literature – just your run of the mill fiction and romance novels) or watching TV. Of course, Facebook and random buzzfeed “articles.” But interacting with my children? That is rare.

I play occasionally with them or cozy with them. But most of my interactions revolve around shuttling them to and from school, feeding (okok, force-feeding) them meals, making them do homework, forcing them to bathe, and the forcing them to bed. I really can’t think of a time I spend really “being” with them.

Part of the reason is I really don’t enjoy playing with children. There is a reason I birthed siblings for them; there is a reason my house is a toy store. It is so I don’t have play with my kids. I mean, I don’t even enjoy reading to them – and I LOVE reading.

I think I keep thinking that someday, when they’re older, we’ll hang out and enjoy each other. But let’s be real. Why would they want to spend time with me if they don’t expect me to in the first place?

The other thing is that I feel conflicted. I certainly don’t recall my parents playing with my brother and I (except card games when we were older). We watched hours of TV and we both turned out fine as people. We are even both avid readers. So, should I really be worried that I don’t play with my kids and give them lots of over the recommended amount of screen time? (It’s in Mandarin! That counts as educational, right?!)

And of course, since my children are creatures of habit, I have a feeling that changing the way we relate is going to be harder than I think. On top of this, I feel guilt about homeschooling. I mean, if I can’t even hang out with my kids, how am I going to teach them?

So I find myself in quite the quandary. Ideally, I would spend some quality time with each of my children. After all, I do love them. It just seems like so much effort to change course.

There are so many things I would like to do and start doing. But then, I get overwhelmed or tired or lazy or any manner of excuses. To top it all off, I feel this crushing guilt. What manner of shriveled up old witch am I that I don’t want to make the effort to have quality time with my children?

This is why I keep having babies. Babies are easy. Simple. They have basic needs and I meet them. None of this other stuff like “relating” or whatever. Too bad babies grow up.

Any ideas on how to kick myself in the ass and just do the things I should do? (I suppose the only way out is through. Thus, the only way to get things done is to just do it. Blasted Nike and their catch phrase!)

No, but seriously. How do you motivate yourself in the face of overwhelming tasks? Let me know in the comments.

Talent Is Not Enough

Today’s post is REALLY long. Sorry. Here’s the tl;dr version: Talent < hard work < Talent + hard work. 

Still with me? Alright then.  

Sometimes, when I look back upon my youth, I can only see my wasted potential. I see myself as a teenager, resentful and bitter that I was rarely recognized for my amazing singing voice, my brilliant acting, or my incredible piano playing skills. I mean, I was recognized, but not to the degree that others were – or to the degree that I desired or thought I deserved. I seethed, nursing my perceived grievances.

Until just now, it never occurred to me all the mixed messages I got from my parents. I remember being constantly told that I was the smartest, the best pianist, the best singer, the best whatever. (Never prettiest, mind you – a very Chinese omission on my parents’ parts, highlighting a big difference in what they valued versus what I valued). And yet, I also remember feeling as if I were never good enough.

I would bring home report cards, my parents would ignore all the A’s and zone in, typical Chinese style, on the B’s. When I protested that I performed better than all the people who had lesser grades, my parents would retort that they didn’t care about the people I was better than. They only cared about the people who were better than me. My parents claimed that they were only mad because they knew I could do better if I would just try.

I was lazy and fearful so I never went all out – even when I knew I could do well. My parents never seemed to be satisfied so why try? And if I was going to fail, I would rather leave myself an out, a way to save face. That if I had actually tried, I would’ve done fine. How heartbreaking if I had actually went all out and tried and also failed?

Lucky for me (or unlucky for my character, as the case may be), most subjects came easily to me. I was a quick reader, decent enough at math, an excellent sight reader in both piano and singing, and had a knack for becoming teacher’s pet. Plus, all my best friends were at the top of the class so I could always get their help if I didn’t want to think for myself. It was very handy. And if I felt jealous of their academic success, I told myself it was because they were smarter than me – something I had no control over. It couldn’t possibly be because they also studied and worked hard. I would mock their hard work in private. After all, if they were really smart, why would they have to study?

I rarely worked hard. I coasted through high school and into the hallowed halls of UCLA, where everyone was just as smart (if not smarter) than me. And then, I started failing. It never occurred to me that the reason why UCLA was a good school was because everyone was smart and that if I didn’t study or go to class, I would fail. And instead of realizing that perhaps I should, oh, I don’t know, study and attend lectures, I gave up and consigned myself to being just in the middle or bottom of the curve. I am not sure how I graduated.

I came up with all sorts of excuses.

I clung to a story my father used to tell about how when he was in college, he would make a bet with his friends to see who could get the lowest passing grade on a test. He would take the test until he was pretty sure he passed and then leave the rest of the test blank. He claimed that you actually would have to be smarter than the people who took the entire test because you had to know the material so well (and be entirely confident on that matter) in order to know exactly how many you got correct in order to get a passing grade. He used to brag about this, proof of his immense cleverness.

It only just occurred to me right this instant that my father was full of shit.

I prayed a lot of desperate prayers to help me pass tests or finish papers. I copied a lot of labs. (Oh yeah, I totally cheated and didn’t blink.) I pulled all-nighters skimming text books, other people’s notes (remember, I never attended class), and BS’ing my way through term papers. I scrambled hard and was always disappointed (and also relieved) when I barely passed a class. Each new quarter determined to do better.

I never learned. I never got better. I was never willing to put in the work.

I’m not sure when I started to realize that there were plenty of smart and talented people out there, that I was not the only one. I’m sure working in the real world helped a lot.

When I was working at an internet marketing company, my mentor, Mark Joyner, would often repeat that ideas were a dime a dozen and that often, the ideas weren’t even that original. What mattered was the execution. Mark would say constantly, “A mediocre plan brilliantly executed will always trump a brilliant plan mediocrely executed.”

It didn’t matter how great an idea was if you didn’t do anything about it. The people who succeeded were the people who took an idea and put it to work. Hard work.

This was completely refreshing to me because all my life, I heard my father rant about how Microsoft stole his brilliant ideas or that he originated popular sayings. (My father claimed he invented the Taiwanese phrase, “哇塞 (Wow)!” He said they would add, “你娘 (your mom)” after, implying it was a dirty phrase. He would forbid me from saying it.)

When I started working as a financial advisor, I remember one of the top producers telling me that he was an idiot. That he wasn’t really very smart and that there were plenty of financial advisors out there who were smarter than he was, but not as successful. He told me the reason he was successful was because 1) he relied on other experts to do the investing (eg: mutual funds) and 2) he worked harder than everyone else.

Like all my failures, I know I didn’t succeed at being a financial advisor because I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I wasn’t willing to put in the time to learn about the financial markets, about stocks and bonds and financial instruments, about the laws and rules and regulations. I wasn’t willing to put myself on the line and meet people for the express purpose of getting new clients and making appointments and doing proposals. I wanted all the perks but none of the work.

When American Idol first came out in 2002, I remember being astonished at how many people could sing – and not only that, sing well. Until then, I had always thought that I was someone special, a rare butterfly that was so unique in my amazing voice. Even in college, I was resentful that my voice was overlooked in favor of other people with less deserving voices. (The irony being that likely, other people felt the same way about me.) And now, there was a show on national television, that showed me just how “common” a good singing voice was. It was confusing.

A few years later, I started up voice lessons again and paid my own hard earned money for that privilege. And yet, week after week, I never improved. I never practiced at home. I was too embarrassed to sing at home and fail as I practiced – even in front of my own mother or by myself. So week after week, I plunked down $50 and sight-read the same piece, forgetting all the notes my teacher gave me.

I remember realizing that my mother would practice singing all the time, even in the car. That she had tapes she played in the car to practice her assigned pieces and do runs and voice exercises while driving. I remember being shocked that after years of practice, her voice, which I used to consider lesser than mine, was strong, beautiful, and clear. I remember how my father used to waltz in, astound us with the clarity of his singing and then leave it at that. He rarely practiced. I could tell he also used to think he was better than my mother.

I eventually quit my lessons because I knew I never practiced. I knew I didn’t want to sing as badly as I thought I did. It was too similar to my years of piano playing. I must have practiced because there is no way I could have memorized so many pieces for recitals and whatnot if I hadn’t, but I also know that I put in the minimum effort required. I could’ve been a brilliant pianist. I was an excellent sight-reader, had a good ear for melody, had relative pitch, but all of that was meaningless because I didn’t want to put in the work.

When I watch shows like So You Think You Can DanceProject Runway, or The Voice, I am no longer envious and more and more in awe. I am in awe of how much we humans can do when we really work hard and practice and put in the necessary apprenticeship. I think what helps for me, in these situations, is to see how much coaching and thinking and dedication go into these arts. It isn’t just singing or making something or reading a line. Sure, there is talent, but the talent is meaningless without the craft.

I think the beauty of all this reality TV and the internet is the slow realization that I am not special. I gladly relinquish my burden of uniqueness. I revel in the freedom that I am not a special snowflake. Why? Because I can also let go of my resentments. My seething indignation. My constant feeling that I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That I was always being robbed of my due.

Back in August, I went to back to back concerts of Justin Timberlake and Yo-Yo Ma. I found myself marveling at how much work they each must have put in to be the success they are today. How many hours of rehearsing, of memorizing music and dance moves, and not only doing it well, but with incredible precision night after night after night.

I realized to my shame, and somewhat great relief, that I was not willing to work hard at most things. I was not willing to do the work to be an amazing singer, or actor, or whatever.

I was a dilettante.

To be honest, I was pretty bummed. But another unexpectedly freeing thing came from this realization: there were things I was willing to work hard for – and I had already been working hard on them.

Thus far, only two things, but really, how much can a person split their focus anyway? What are they? Parenting and writing.

Somewhat anticlimatic information if you’ve slogged through 1800+ words to get to this point. Sorry about that. But very useful to me. 

Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Life

A few weeks ago, I posted on how I almost spent an additional thirty years of our lives while on a routine walk to my kids’ preschool and our eventual decision to be content with our current home. (Yes, yes. No need to remind me of our first world problems. And not only that, our 1% problems.)

While I ultimately agree with our decision, there is nothing like catching a glimpse of what your life could be like (and only the good parts, of course) to make your current life seem utterly unsatisfying. More than unsatisfying. Horrible. Constraining. Bereft.

Ah… nothing like class privilege early in the morning.

I am an ungrateful ass. I know this. And yet, when I go over to people’s houses and see their awesome four car tandem garages (I didn’t even know this was possible!!!), their large square footage, or whatever else I see and want inside my greedy little heart, I cannot help but sigh and regret not getting the house.

Whenever my house is a disaster of strewn toys, pillows, crafts, junk mail, and life detritus, my heart gets all squelchy and all I can think of is that in the new house, I would have plenty of space for all our junk. In our new house, I would have the perfect life and be the perfect wife and perfect mother.

Is this how affairs start?

I feel like I’m having an affair with another house.

I mean, sure, double the square footage with all that lovely, empty space. All young, and sexy with nary a child in sight. I mean, it’s being shown to potential buyers for Pete’s sake. Of course all its best features are on display!

But once I leave my old house and actually live in a new house, it’s not like all my old problems won’t follow me there. I am sure to acquire more stuff and run out of space to put things. I will have double the square footage to vacuum and bathrooms to clean and rooms to pick up after and get lividly angry about. I will have to spend more money buying more furniture and customizing the house to my liking.

And not only that, my REAL problem isn’t with my current house. It’s with myself. And sadly, moving into a fancy new house will not fix me. It will mask the real problem for awhile (maybe years, if I’m lucky), and after the shine has worn off, the increased mortgage becoming a realer and heavier burden, I will pine after my old house, so perfect and lovely with the haze of sentimental memory.

I think there’s a good reason why Thou Shall Not Covet is one of the Ten Commandments.

I used to think it was such a stupid, bullshit commandment. The only use for it being a shout out in The Silence of the Lambs. But now, now I realize that coveting is a rotting seed of discontent, whispering lies and fantasies into our treacherous hearts.

If only I had so-and-so’s life/job/car/house/children/husband/wife. My life would be so much better.

It’s no secret that I’ve been having a rough go of it lately. My house, my kids, my very existence seem to conspire against me. I am floundering, wrapped up in a bundle of seething frustration, anger, and bitterness. In the midst of all this, I fantasize that if I remodel my house, or trade up for a bigger one, had older children, had another baby, had more free time, ate better, took better care of myself, whatever – that if only I did such things, my life would be drastically improved.

It’s not true.

The things I covet will not make me feel better. The things I covet will only paper over the gaping chasm in my heart, its breadth and width startling me as its edges yawn and sag open.

(Don’t worry, friends. I am getting help. I have the immense privilege of a supportive spouse, health insurance, time, and money so that I can do so.) 

I can only hope to respond in one of two ways to the things I covet:

1) Follow my own advice and if I want something, to shut up and go get it.

2) Use them as a canary in a coal mine and find the root cause of my discontent. And then do something about it. (Be it therapy, life changes, or better living through chemistry.)

Alright, friends. Having a hard time ending the post as usual. Be well.

Time Is The Real Killer

Walking into Peet’s Coffee, inhaling the scent of coffee and seeing all these grown ups leisurely sipping coffee and tea and chatting aimlessly, reading books and newspapers, living grown up lives, I feel a sharp pang of nostalgia. A deep yearning.

This life. I used to live this life.

It reminds me most of college and the early years post-graduation. A free and easy time. No mortgage. No kids. Nothing but time and money. Well, perhaps not a lot of money. But not many of us had a ton of money so it didn’t really matter. We had enough to be comfortable and do the small things we wanted to do. We lived in crappy apartments and ate out at cheap eats.

I miss LA, the city of my young adulthood. Home of late night cafes and Norm’s and lounging in Barnes & Nobles, pretending to do homework or write or whatever, but really using it as an excuse to hang out with friends and chatting deep into the night.

It’s true, what they say; youth is wasted on the young.

Had I realized at the time what I had? That most precious of commodities: an unlimited expanse of time ahead of me. A life unencumbered.

I’d like to think that I did but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I wasted so much of my free time angsting over love and religion and relationships and boys and just really stupid, worthless things. Well, perhaps not worthless exactly. But certainly not worth the amount of time I obsessed over these subjects.

Why did I not spend more of my time reading, writing, eating, knitting, crafting, and risking? Why did I dream such small dreams? Or worse yet, why did I dream such lofty dreams and do nothing to pursue them?

And now, it’s not so much that it’s too late so much as I am so tired.

The only reason I am writing today is because I asked Hapa Papa a week in advance so that I could ditch the kiddos and sneak away to a café and write. I’ve been slacking lately and I know if I don’t right the ship and get back on course that I’ll blink and it will be another year gone and I’ll have let my thoughts molder by the wayside and BLAM! Next thing you know the kids will be in college and I’ll STILL be just a bundle of potential, a fantastic description when you’re young, a damning epitaph when you’re old.

I have to remind myself that like all things in life, this is only a season. A season of small children with big needs. A season full of small humans whom I love.

Yes, yes. I actually have to remind myself that I love my children.

I know. I’m a terrible human being.

I mean, it’s easy to remember when they’re snuggly and cozy and cute and agreeable and funny and hilarious and doing what I want them to when I want them to in the way that I have told them to. (You know, like good little robots.)

It is terribly difficult to remember when they’re cranky and tired and demanding to play more Halo or candy or cookies or juice because they are SO HUNGRY but yet refuse to eat their oatmeal or sandwich or soup or whatever else I’ve been tricked into providing because they said they wanted that for dinner but take one bite and refuse to eat anymore.

Not that I would know anything about this, of course. Purely a hypothetical situation.

To think that someday, in the near future, I will look fondly back on these chaotic, frustratingly repetitive days and actually miss them. I will write a similar post, perhaps after visiting a new young mother, or perhaps even when being with my own grown children and their small babies.

I think of this possible future and my throat hitches, a lump already forming in my overly sentimental chest.

Someday, someday soon, my babies will be big and grown and independent, with loves and lives of their own. And while of course, every parent aspires to raise good, contributing people full of vitality and love, people who are separate and yet connected, the idea is bittersweet to me. (However tempting a clean, tidy house with nothing but time ahead of me sounds.)

Isn’t that the irony of life? Just when you get what you think you want, you would give it all back just to have a moment of the good old days.

It is the curse and blessing of temporal beings, locked unidirectionally in the forward flow of time.

Carpe that diem, friends. It will be tomorrow before you know it.

Eating Elephants and Other Unappetizing Things

One of the hardest things about being a Stay At Home Mom, for me, anyway, is that I seem to do a lot but get nowhere fast. I don’t mean that I procrastinate a lot and pass that off as working. (Although, there is that, too.) It’s just that, no matter what I do, it seems as if I have made zero progress. Or if I do make any progress, it is quickly eclipsed and things either go back to the way they were, or worse. (Also, I am sure working moms and parents can equally relate – it’s just that I feel they have a better excuse for the house being a mess or laundry not being done. After all – they’re out working. I’m at home most of the day so shouldn’t I be able to get more done?)

Even though this summer was a lot of fun with our Taiwan Trip, Disneyland, and my Atlanta trip, it threw me off my schedule (okokok, it’s not like I was amazing with keeping this schedule anyway, but it was still passable) and as a result, my house was a disaster. All the detritus from daily living, school, art projects, junk mail, medical bills, etc. would make the flow from outside to our kitchen table to a bag/box swept into the laundry room or hall closet and forgotten about.

Then there was actually cleaning the house so that the bathrooms didn’t resemble a science experiment, the floors and carpets weren’t gravelly from food and crumbs, and the kitchen was not a biohazard waste site. On top of that, apparently my children have to eat and excrete multiple times a day, bathe, and wear reasonably clean clothes. (And what the heck, man? Not only are there diapers to wash, a family of five can generate loads of laundry in a matter of minutes. And then, the laundry does naughty things and spawns babies. Totally irresponsible.)

Then, there are the things that I would like to accomplish outside of maintaining a home. You know, blog, read, be someone other than a professional caretaker to three tyrannical children. Oh, and perhaps Hapa Papa would like some time to be a human, too. (Oh, who are we kidding? We all know the poor man never gets any time to himself unless he’s “on vacation.” Which he is. Right now. Until late tomorrow night. Lucky bastard.)

Yes, yes. There are things I can do to make my life easier. For instance, I could hire help with either the house cleaning or my children. Unfortunately, I used to have a house cleaner and I realized that I hated it. I turned hyper critical and would find fault in everything. Not to the cleaners’ faces. But after they left, I would be annoyed and the smell of all their cleaning products would permeate the house. Even if I gave them organic cleaning materials, I was never sure they used it correctly or at all. Plus, just trying to work everything into my schedules with the kids’ school and classes – AGH. Perhaps it was that particular cleaner, but needless to say, I was much happier when we stopped. Now if something is not to my satisfaction, I only have myself to blame. Plus, it saves me money.

As for hiring someone to watch my children, that seems ridiculous since I’m the one staying at home. After all, that was the whole point of me no longer working. (And truthfully, I don’t want to work anyway so we can save that particular joy for Hapa Papa.) And yes, I know this is totally a first world problem but again, it is still my problem.

Anyhow, my whole point with this rambling post is that at the end of the day, even though I have cooked, cleaned, and kept three small humans alive, it feels as if I’m just treading water. Barely keeping my place and most likely, losing ground.

Last week, I spent at least three or four hours finally digging out my kitchen table from under three feet of stuff. Then I spent a few more hours clearing out my hall closet and laundry room. It has been less than a week. My kitchen table is already half buried again. My laundry room and hall closet are still holding steady, but I don’t expect it to last. Why? I have guests coming over tomorrow and a birthday party at my house Saturday. Everything that is currently on my table will make a quick escape to the laundry room. I would be more bummed, but why get sad over the inevitable?

It is times like these that I am particularly comforted by the book, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. I have mentioned this book many times in the past, but it bears repeating.

I am reminded that the daily drudgery of cooking, cleaning, and caring for people is a holy endeavor. That I am not merely Sisyphus, continually rolling a boulder up a mountain only to have it tumble back down before it reaches the peak. That I am actually performing acts of prayer, worship, and transformative love. That what seems dreary and horrible is life-giving and beautiful.

I’m having trouble ending posts lately. We’ll just leave it at that. Be blessed, friends.

A Crisis of Identity

One day last week, after walking my two older children to preschool, my youngest son and I walked past a house two doors down and saw a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. On a whim, I took a flyer from the box and when I finally got a chance to examine the specs, I immediately contacted my realtor.

Currently, we live in a home about a five minute walk from this new place. We love the area and particularly enjoy how close we are to all the fantastic schools and parks. We also love the home we are currently in (we bought it when I was pregnant with Cookie Monster) and hadn’t thought to make any changes until I saw this particular house.

The place we’re considering is almost double in size and with three growing children and perhaps one more in the near future, this home would more than comfortably accommodate our family of five (hopefully six)! Other than what my mom considers a bad feng shui front door (it leads to an outgoing street), this house would be an amazing environment in which to raise our kids. Not only would our preschool be two doors down, (I mean, I could leave Glow Worm napping at home and pick up the kids with no problem), but our kids are familiar with the neighborhood and the park down the street.

Obviously, anytime you look at a house double your current one in size and amenities, what’s not to like? With that said, I am in love with the built-in bookcases on the top floor. I love the large rooms, the extra surprise spaces like the office and the bonus room, the lovely built-ins in the kitchen and the office, and the great natural light in all the rooms. The backyard is the perfect size (ours currently has a giant, useless slope in it) and with the spa (or as Cookie Monster calls it, the “comfy comfy”), so much fun. Plus, we are big fans of the third garage space where we can stow all our crap (I mean, essential kid stuff). What a luxury!

What then, is the problem?

(Also, a little too late since we made an offer Friday afternoon.)

Well, here’s the thing. I always considered myself a simple person. I told myself when we moved into our current place that we wouldn’t ever upgrade – even if we did have four children. After all, people live in much smaller spaces all the time. I don’t believe kids have to have their own rooms (and even in the new house, they’d share) or require a ton of space. And when I just had Cookie Monster, it didn’t seem necessary. In fact, even with the three kids right now, our house seems just right. A lot of it is due to the way my house is laid out – it seems much bigger than the actual square footage. But now that the kids are getting bigger and the age range of toys is getting larger, I feel as if our house is just stuffed to the gills with stuff.

I suppose I could just get rid of more stuff (gasp), but let’s not get crazy.

But let’s cut line, here. A huge house with double the mortgage and expenses is NOT a simple lifestyle. A house this size is completely unnecessary and it seems somewhat wasteful in terms of space (oh, the glorious space!), resources, and monetary outlay. We would have to significantly alter the way we spend money (oh, ok – the way I spend money), and we most likely would not be able to have extra classes for the kids (eg: martial arts, dance, piano, etc.), at least, not for awhile. Plus, not only would our mortgage increase a LOT, it would take us thirty years to pay off the house whereas with our current house, we will likely be done by the time Cookie Monster starts college.

It seems to be a giant pain in the ass. But the HOUSE!! It’s BEAUTIFUL! And HUGE! And the built in bookshelves!! (My inner nerd longs for an actual library in my house – complete with a wheel-mounted ladder!!!)

You see my conflict? I almost want the sellers to counter with an offer we absolutely can NOT afford because then the decision is made for me. No moral and existential debate and discomfort. Just a definitive, “No.” But if it works out, then I have an internal crisis! Am I one of those people now? (I mean, we are already, but it is significantly easier to hide when your house is smaller.) Will I be flaunting wealth?

I know. I know. This is totally a 1% problem. But it is still my life and my problem!

Is it moral to have such a large house with its accompanying expenses in a world of such great need? Is this the right type of environment I want to provide for my children? What will I be teaching my children if we move to a bigger house? Is it even as big of a deal as I’m making it? I mean, plenty of people live in big houses and are good, moral, generous people. (I really don’t mean to imply that they are not. This is clearly my personal issue.)

But even more than that, is a bigger house really going to make me happier? Is it worth having to be a lot more careful about our spending habits (which we really should anyway, but right now, there is significantly more wiggle room) and sacrificing an easy lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed? Is this going to be a habit of mine where I am constantly trying to upgrade the outer trappings of our lives? Is my house going to look awesome on the outside but have no furniture on the inside?

Ultimately, I just worry that I’m being sucked into the American lie – that bigger is better at any and all cost. I worry that I am traversing a slippery slope and soon, I will become a person that my college self would find anathema. I worry that this is a step closer to being out of touch with what is the norm and that my “happiness baseline” will gradually increase until I require ever more and more. I worry that I will choose more and more to turn a blind eye to injustice and inequality because it will threaten the way I choose to live. I worry I will become the rich young ruler and that it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for me and my children to enter the Kingdom of God.

I worry that I am being unfaithful and that at the end of days, Jesus will look at me and say he never knew me. That he was hungry and I gave him nothing to eat.

Am I over-thinking things? Or worrying about that which has yet come to pass? (Especially since we don’t even have this house.) How do you resolve such dissonance in your own life? Let me know in the comments.

Counting Down

This morning I woke up and thought it was Saturday. I started to freak out until I realized that it was Friday. Whew. I have three days until my trip to Taiwan and despite my friends constantly asking, I have yet to start packing. Mostly because what is the point of packing things we use every day? That would just serve to piss me off and confuse me if I had to constantly repack stuff I already packed.

Also, I am crazy and feel the need to have all the laundry done and house cleaned before I leave. (I always have this problem before trips.) There is nothing I hate more than returning to a house full of dirty laundry and bathrooms. I think it’s because I’ll be bringing enough dirty stuff back as it is.

Hapa Papa has generously told me that he would clean the house after we leave so I don’t have to stress about it. I love this man. However, the thought of him cleaning my bathroom makes me ill. Why? Because I don’t trust him to clean it right. sigh I am an ass. I will let him vacuum and do the laundry though. 😀

What about you? Any crazy pre-trip rituals or quirks?