Friday, January 21, 2011

service with a smile

Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name

Well, considering I had the name decided long before I had the guts to take the plunge into blogdom I guess the name must have a lot of meaning. Spinning My Plates is, to be short, sweet and to the point...a Polaroid snapshot of my life. It's all those pieces and parts that make up this wonderous, amusing and yes, I'll say it...sometimes a pain in the rump life. But it's my life. Mine, mine, all mine. I am not unhappy doing what I do although the look of concentration on my face may be deceiving. I am sometimes so caught up in the mechanics of keeping it all together that I miss the beauty of the fact that all the elements of my life are whirling together in a collective ballet of insertia.

I was, for a long time in my life, alone. I was 28 when I married my husband. Until then my life consisted of pretty much just taking care of myself. Oh, sure I was still a daughter and sister but I had always been those things. It just came naturally to fulfill those roles. But being on my own made me somewhat...what's the word? Oh, yeah. Selfish. I learned a lot about myself before I got married or had kids. For this I am glad. I learned that I like to be alone sometimes...that hanging out in a clean living room with a candle burning, book in one hand and good coffee in the other holds much more pleasure for me than going to a bar or other public place. This is the ME plate. Think of this as a divided dish; comprised of 4 sections that are rarely equal: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Mr. Bug and I waited a long while to get married. It took us four years to find out how to live for another person, to put our own desires on hold sometimes for the sake of being a couple. Then we got married and we did this strange dance of holding things together. Giving a little, taking a lot. Suddenly it was not just me. I had to consider how my decisions affected someone else. This is the US plate.

Five years later, after a lot of frustration and even more prayer, along came He-Bug and She-Bug, two little things that have changed my life more profoundly than I could ever imagine. I became responsible for keeping two additional human beings alive...yikes! I had to be wise, judged, coached, strong, selfLESS and so many other things. And I still have to do all those things. But I love it. This is the MOM plate.

Where do we go from here?

After those 3 rather large dinner plates, I have some salad plates spinning out there. There's the FAMILY plate that is really important to me but that I sometimes pay less attention to in order to achieve all the things in my care. I adore the time I have with my 61-year-old mom, my almost-still-a-newlywed sister and the other assorted nuts that fill out the extended family tree.

There's the CAREER plate that seems way less important than it did when I was single and had nothing else to live for.

There's my HOBBY plate that consists of scrapbooking and outlet for creativity and a chance to get away and spend time with the gals in my circle.

There's the CHURCH plate. This is a bit of a confusing one. It is a plate all unto itself because I have commitments that I have stepped up to fulfill. I like serving and love being a part of church family. But this is not my JESUS plate. More on that later.

There's the SCHOOL plate that is directly related to the MOM plate. It includes school activities and extra curriculars. Of course I have this plate because I am a mom but being a mom is a much bigger job than just volunteering for the PTO.

There's the FRIEND plate teetering on the brink of being smashed to bits. I have really let my close women friendships go to pot. And the funny thing is I didn't even know it until I started thinking about some of the questions in this blog challenge. Who am I closest to? I hereby publically apologize to all my favorite gal pals for dropping the ball. What can I got in the way. I think I'll see if I can get that plate spinning at a better pace.

There's the VOLUNTEER plate. This one is sometimes whirling at break neck speed and others it's a laxidasical rotation in danger of coming to rest. I put time into causes that I believe in and where my gifts can best be used. I'm a bossy know-it-all, I admit it. But that's not a bad thing if you're organizing a fundraiser or trying to round up volunteers.

Let's that all?

Well, that's all I have to keep spinning. I mean I pretend to have it all together but really that credit goes to Jesus. Once I learned to turn it all over to Him (and yes, I do steal it back from time to time) I realized I am not really the one in charge here. I am not the commanding officer. I am not the manager on duty. I am quite simply... a servant. Think of me as a waitress at God's Diner. He's back there slinging the hash, creating the best delights for the people. All I do is carry my plates and give service with a smile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

too late to turn back now

Taking a cue from Ang over at Random Ramblings, I have decided to try a 30-day Blog Challenge. Let me say for the record that this will not be 30 consecutive just ain't gonna happen. I have plenty on my plate (get that? plate. hah!) without the added pressure of blogging everyday.

So without further ado, here is my first topic:

Day 01 - A picture of you and 10 interesting facts about yourself

1. My grandfather won the lottery when I was in second grade....$250,000. Big bucks back then.

2. I am the oldest of 3. I have a sister who is 4 years younger and a brother that is 8 years younger.

3. I met my husband through a personal ad...his not mine. I answered his ad by letter and the rest, as they say, is history.

4. I have always wanted to learn to play the cello.

5. I used to be a vegatarian and would be happy to do it again (except for cooking separate meals and all that jazz.)

6. I have been diagnosed with several congenital bone deformities including Madalung's Deformity in my wrists (my ulna's too short...yeah, that's what she said), Parr's Defect (missing a portion of my L5 vertebra) and most recently Coxa Profunda (my hip sockets are too deep...which apparently is an open invitation for severe osteo arthritis to take up residence in my pelvis.)

7. I love Japanese food and British television but not necessarily at the same time.

8. I am a slave to procrastination...but I'll tell you more about that later.

9. I wish I could go back in time to January 16, 1985 and change the course of history. (Shattered my right knee cap that day and things have never been the same.)

10. Tomorrow is my birthday and I intend to treat it like any other day: being grateful for all that I have, all that I am and all that I hope to achieve by the grace of God.

Wow! 10 already? I could do this all night! There are so many other things I want you to know. Well, not just you but you know, the world. I want there to be something left behind when I leave this world...something that says I cared about people, loved life (for the most part) and tried to teach my kids as much as possible about not repeating my mistakes. I spend way too much time second guessing myself...worried that I forgot to do the right thing or failed to avoid the wrong thing or that maybe my slip is showing...that maybe my soft, vulnerable emotions are hanging out for everyone to see.

oh, well...too late to turn back now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the best of servants

“A habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” — Nathaniel Emmons

Thanks to simple mom (over at, I've been thinking about my habits. Can we ever put the notion of a habit to good use? You know, the act of doing something so mindlessly that we don't even realize we are doing it. Can we really learn new habits? Simple Mom posed this same sort of question on her blog post. She writes:

"Kaizen is a Japanese word that basically means continuous but very small change. This idea can really increase the momentum needed for habit change, because it works up to change gradually - kinda like baby steps.

I’m not into zen at all, but I don’t think this is necessarily a spiritual concept. The truth found in the Bible - “you reap what you sow” - can actually be applied here as well. If you choose to continually cultivate soil and plant good seeds, your reward is a good crop.

And how this Japanese word applies to the analogy is this - a farmer doesn’t fertilize the soil, prepare the land for planting, plant the seeds, water the soil, and continue nursing his crop until it’s ready for harvest all in one day. He does these things a bit at a time, and after patience, work, and forbearance, he is rewarded with a bountiful crop."

I've been mulling over this little thing called kaizen because I have been thinking about making some changes in my eating habits. A few years ago I stopped eating sugar and using kaizen is how I did it. I didn't give everything up overnight but little by little I made changes...changes that lead to a 25 lb. weight loss over several weeks. I have always battled with my weight (really, always, since my earliest memory) and I cannot be sure how many times I have lost 25, 40 or even more lbs. only to gain it back again.

In addition to eliminating sugar, I also began to plan my food everyday. It is a simple concept but one that never occurred to me before I started doing it. I have kept food journals several times in my life and they always felt like a burden…a big ball and chain to carry around. It was like someone was lurking over my shoulder watching every bite because I knew if I ate it I had to write it down. I would even resort to lying and cheating on my own journal! I always felt so guilty when I ate something I shouldn't have. This dysfunctional relationship never lasted long and sooner rather than later, I would give up the journal and the diet.

When I was writing a food plan everyday, I always wrote the plan BEFORE I ever ate a single thing. Usually I wrote the plan before I went to bed so I was ready for the next day. I tried to choose things that I knew I had on hand. Finally there was no more guilt for eating things I shouldn't and after doing it for 6 months, writing my daily food plan became a habit. Or so I thought.

Somehow, some way I fell off the perverbial wagon. And it happened in the same way it started...little by little. I let in a little sugar here and a little sugar there. I got too busy and didn't write my food plan for a day or two and then it was over. My success was replaced by that slow moving tortoise called failure. It didn't happen overnight but at some point it was wasn't a habit anymore and the old behaviors were back in my life.

I'm not sure why I have had this same pattern of failure in all periods of my life but I sure would like to break the cycle. To find freedom in doing something that works and then making it a habit. A habit that sticks around longer than six months and proves to be the best of servants rather than the worst of masters.

Friday, January 7, 2011

are we there yet?

I have been giving my friend B. a hard time about counting down the days until Spring. His fervor for longer days, budding trees and warmth from that glowing orb in the sky is quite extraordinary. Personally, I found his attitude a little too anti-Christmas for my taste. However, now that the holidays have passed...I'm thinking he just might be onto something.

Our house has been plagued by one illness after another for the last several weeks. It started way back in December the day before Christmas break for the kids. He-bug got up in the middle of the night with the upset stomach. He made it to the trash can in the hallway but missed on his second try and christened the wall in our bedroom. Five days later I lost my voice and had the worst throbbing-below-my-eyes headache ever. A quick trip to the doc, 5 days of antibiotics and some nasal spray later I was pretty much back to normal. Then on Jan. 1 She-bug started vomiting in the middle of the night and continued for a good 4-5 hours. We spent the next day in bed sleeping it off and then Jan. 5 He-bug started the v-word (again) at 5 in the morning. He spent the better part of the day with his head in a by his side doing what I could...which amounted to nothing. I could only watch and feel sorry for him.

In addition to all this, Mr. Bug had a fever, intestinal difficulties and some tooth trouble. We all have suffered in way or another. Finally on Thursday I thought we were past it all. Mr. Bug had his rosy cheeks back, She-bug was full of spirit and He-bug was eating solid food again. Then, later in the evening I started to lose my voice...again! I am now froggy throated and quite tired of being sick and tired.

I have decided I need to invent an anti-germ know, similar to the flea bomb. Set a big can of Lysol down in the middle of each story of the house, set it off and leave for a few hours. Maybe then we would be free of all these germs.

So to that end, I draw this conclusion: winter stinks. Cold, wet and germy is not my idea of fun. To my pal B. I say, please forgive me for giving you such grief. You are on the right track. Counting down the days 'til Spring is a great idea. All I have to say is...are we there yet?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

great expectations

So my first foray into the blogoshere wasn't so bad. Unlike some of my friends who are doing Project 365 photo blogs...I actually have to come up with words to fill my space...a tall order, I expect, on some days. The new year has brought with it a big batch of expectations. For instance: I expect it to be a better year financially, I expect the kids will behave better, I expect the house will be cleaner, I expect the laundry will finally be caught up. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I expect that so many things in my life will just magically get better after midnight on Jan. 1?

The back to school routine started yesterday and the morning was a total fail. We did not pack lunches, I did not send lunch money, He-bug (that's blogger code for my son) did not get his daily medication, She-bug (yes, you guessed it...code for daughter) was personally wounded that we left the house 15 minutes late and Mr. Bug (the hubster) was a bit behind on scraping the windows of the vehicles. All in all I was ready to walk back in the house and flop down...clothes, briefcase, coat and all...right in the middle of the bed and forget the day had ever begun.

So, being the industrious person I am, I only went to bed last night after making every effort to be prepared for a better morning. I expected it would be a better day. So when the clock went off this morning the first thing I did was spend a few minutes praying...asking for peace, wisdom, strength and the super human ability to smile while getting the slow poke He-bug & She-bug to get a move on! I am delighted to say that for the most part there was major improvement. We had our lunches already packed (no need for milk money since we packed juice pouches with lunch-yay us!), She-bug, the timekeeper, was very pleased when we headed to the van at exactly 7:10 and He-bug actually took his pill.

I expected the pill would work...only better this time. It's a new (bigger) dose of meds that help him concentrate and exhibit some form of impulse control. So far, second grade has been a bit of a challenge for him. At the doctor's direction we decided to start this new dose in the new year. From the beginning (which began near the end of first grade) we have been cautiously optimistic. The meds helped immensely in first grade...not so much in second. In addition to the meds we have had the healing prayers of wise people poured out on the He-bug. And, finally we see improvement.

Remember Monday's failed morning routine? He-bug missing his meds meant he struggled all day...thanks to this mama-bug's hurried post-holidaze. He didn't complain but when it came time for homework later than evening...there was a major melt down. Whining, crying and nashing of teeth ensued. This is not unusual. He-bug's meds wear out in the late afternoon leaving evening wide open for all sorts of issues...I am used to this struggle. Ok, maybe I had been used to it...but two weeks off makes a mama very forgetful.

So tonight when it was time for the dreaded H word, I expected there would be a similar experience to yesterday. I was plesantly surprised. He-bug brought his back pack to the table, took out his folder, separated the homework from the 3,000 other papers he brings home everyday and proceded to get a pencil. Then he informed me he would need a ruler to complete this assignment and promptly found one. The he sat down and completed the first four questions without any assistance from me. [insert amazed, glazed look from Junebug here!]

I expected the worst and got, well...nearly the best homework experience we have had in almost three years of doing homework. I presume the stronger meds are lasting longer and I have faith that He-bug is being healed...even if in little bits and pieces. I praised him 'til his little face turned red and planted as many kisses as a mother can on a squirmy eight-year old boy. I expect tomorrow will bring an equal if not better experience. Now that's a great expectation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

comparing myself

am I the only person on the planet that doesn't have a blog? well, okay I know what you're saying...junebug you are writing on a blog this very moment. ah, yes. so true. but this is the first post that will ever make it to be least I think I will publish it.

who knew 20 years ago that we would have the ability to publish at will? to live in our own little worlds, talking about whatever we want to feed our need to be the center of the universe and then make it public for the entire universe to read? I mean I still remember rubber cement and tool line tape. That's how we published in the old days.

I read several blogs on a semi-irregular basis. They have a variety of topics but most have the same thing in common...they are very personal. They are sometimes written from the author's deepest, darkest nooks and crannies. I sometimes feel like I'm intruding. Other times they read like a highly creative and intensely descriptive resume. I find myself comparing my life with their life and coming up short. I wonder how do they have the time to do this (blog entries) everyday? I can barely manage to keep my family fed and (clean) clothed on a daily basis. I go to bed thinking about tomorrow and I wake up worried about the day and it's always the same worry: there is not enough time.

so I treacherously enter this new world. should I start a blog I cannot keep up (like so many I visit that haven't been updated for weeks or months)? should I bump something from my life to make room for me to spend time writing about myself and my family (you know like give up doing laundry or cooking)? whatever I decide I fear I will still feel left out...I will not be "one" of them whose lives appear to be always smooth-sailing, filled with hours of creative thinking and spectacularly organized and clean houses. oh, wait there I go comparing myself again.