I have a soft spot in my heart for older gentlemen who wear both suspenders and a belt. Whatever else may be falling apart, they will endeavor to keep their trousers up, and I appreciate that code of honor.
This week the girls are finishing up all their school lessons. When I made their last fifteen assignments, they got a gleam in their eyes and started working like mad to finish up long before the three weeks in which they were assigned. I didn’t care at all, but found myself caught short with the customary celebrations. We have been homeschooling for fifteen years, and I have never before forgotten to order books for each child to unwrap at our end-of-school party, but this year somebody hinted and I looked foolish for a minute before I admitted that I forgot the party too.
The girls were chill about it, but a little disappointed, so I quickly opened Amazon and got on the ball. Addy wanted a detailed coloring book, and she actually got to choose her own. Olivia wanted books to read, of course. Rita was more desirous of a new hot plate for her cooking experiments in the playhouse. I worry about what this world of two-day shipping gratification will do to our children, but I also appreciate it. The ease and endless resources on the internets fuel a constant tension: help or hindrance?
I read an article this morning called “Social Media is Attention Alcohol” and it gave me lots of food for thought and a prick of conscience about wasted time. I kissed Facebook good-bye years ago, although I haven’t closed out my account because I want to be able to look back at my timeline for reference and photos. I am sure there are many who use this platform for good, but it no longer blessed me, so it wasn’t that hard.
However, I love Instagram. I unfollow any accounts that start to smell fake, although realistically we probably all put our best foot forward on this platform. I refuse filters and try hard to keep myself sternly real. And I sell my pottery mostly to my Instagram following (Black Oak Ceramics (speaking of which: I promised to let you all know when I do an Etsy shop update and I plan to do that this weekend, in time for Mother’s Day) ). So Instagram is a free and simple marketing tool for me. Not only that, but I get a lot of creative ideas from following others. For a self-taught potter, inspiration often comes from seeing what is possible if I work long and hard, but it can also plunge me into despair because of how little I know.
I ask myself if this is an attention hog in my life, and yes, it is on some days. It feels exactly the same as falling into story grip with a book, not all bad until the undisciplined ways catch up with me and interfere with healthy life and relationships.
I have hinted at the wacky hormonal issues of mid-life that nobody really wants to know about, but these issues have a way of bossing me around that was unfathomable to my young and well-regulated self. (There, was that ambiguous enough?) Anyway, I found myself at the beginning of the year with a quality of life that really cramped my style. I was lethargic, anemic, sleeping poorly, and not able to take a flight of stairs without feeling short of breath. I wasn’t sure I would be able to garden or take hikes, etc. come summertime, and I needed help! The doctor had nothing for me except, “It’s to be expected and it will probably last for years.” Cold comfort. “Maybe take iron or eat organ meats, and go on birth control to regulate your hormones.” Eww. I always hated how iron upset my stomach when I was pregnant, and so I started drinking spinach smoothies and trying to summon the strength to eat liver and onions.
About this time my sister told me about a product she saw on social media. (Imagine that!) It’s a freeze-dried beef liver supplement that is much easier on the queasy than the fried version. I was desperate, and hopeful and skeptical all at the same time. If you read reviews, you know how confusing that can be. Well, I have been taking these little liver bits in capsules daily for three months, and it seems to have been exactly what I needed. I am so very grateful to have energy and stamina again, and a normal life. I wouldn’t have heard about this or had any idea where to buy beef liver capsules without the internet. Nor could I have shared with you out of the love in my heart to spread good things. If I read the delicate references in the comments correctly, I am not alone in my quest for equilibrium in this season. 😉
Meanwhile, if you feel a bit beleaguered by the ordinary troubles that beset you despite your best efforts, consider this cardinal mother-to-be. She built her nest in the lilac bush, snugly under the awning. In the last week the leaves have opened and in the days and days of rain, they weigh down the branch enough to swing it out into the weather, just where the rain drips off the awning without relief. I feel so sorry for her, but she is steadfast, unmovable, abounding in the work the Lord has given her. The nest is tipped at an awkward angle, but her 21 days are almost up and there will be babies soon. I wish I could tell her that tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine.
I am letting nature preach to me, loud and clear. This is what she says:
Keep on with the good work. Get that party planned for your children. Pull on your suspenders or take your beef liver capsules, whatever it takes. The world won’t stop turning if you cop out, but there will be glory missing that is supposed to be there.