05 October, 2013

Book 22/100 | The Forgotten Garden & Some Saturday Thoughts

The Forgotten Garden was long. Like, 549 pages long. I thought it was a good mystery for a rainy day (or twenty-five if you take forever to finish it, like I did), but probably won't read it again. Though my finishing it does seem to give it merit since I usually shut down those long books that aren't classics (or otherwise amazing literature) long before I get halfway through. Commitment problems.

It's funny because the process of reading this book was kind of a wake-up call for me. I realized about halfway through that I was guilt-tripping myself into reading it. What kind of woman-who-has-it-all-together takes almost a month to finish a book when she's trying to complete a ridiculously unreachable goal? That is a trick question because a. who has it all together and b. who cares?

source


A long time ago, I read about a man who does everything sacredly. If he is walking his dog, he puts his whole heart into it. Baking a cake? Every thought goes to the cake. Building a toothpick bridge for his kid's science class? Literally sweating with focus while discussing architecture with his son. You know what I mean? I realized that I want to be like that. And being like that, I think, means that we eliminate the distractions as much as we can.

I can do anything, but I can't do everything. At least, not well.

I can give my kids all of my attention while I'm playing with them, but I can't do that and pregnancy pilates and myfitness pal and thirty minutes of focused cardio simultaneously. In that moment I have to choose.

I can bake cookies for my sweet neighbor with the help of two little cuties who insist on running their fingers through the flour because it feels so awesome (and consequently ends up coating the counter and flour... and their heads), and I can laugh and play and not worry about the mess. Or I can try to make cookies AND call our internet provider about them upping our bill AND make my lesson plans for joy school in the same hour. Which equals nothing really getting fully accomplished, a messy kitchen and sad kids.

Everything has its season, and right now mine is to be present with my kids, to love my husband like crazy, to serve when and where I can and to do things that make my home and heart feel at peace. That's all. Everything else is secondary and on an "if I have extra time and energy" basis (confession... rarely do I have extra time and energy).

And while it seems like maybe this should be depressing - realizing limitations and accepting them - it's actually very liberating. It's like saying to the universe, "Go ahead, hurl your volunteer sheets at me and make it necessary for me to call every provider because they keep overcharging us. Put beautiful people around me so that I'm tempted to compare myself and despair when I can't look like them. Tempt me with projects that I know I shouldn't begin because I don't even know why I want to do them. Throw it all at me. I'm untouchable! I can do anything!"

But not everything.

8 comments:

  1. This makes me want to raise my glass and toast you!

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  2. Well put. Learning those same lessons :D I have been trying to, lately, be very aware of the elements in my life that are causing me stress. As soon as I start to feel stressed, I try to identify the souce and then just eliminate it, delete it. If it's something I am doing that I don't have to do, that is causing me stress, I just don't do it. And if it's something I have to do, I find a different way to do it that is less stressful, or change my attitude about how perfect it has to be. This is a new thing for me, and I am liking it.

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  3. P.S. I am actually getting more done living with this new philosophy... not sure how that works, but its just one thing at a time, and breathing, and enjoying...
    Also - recently re-discovering books on tape! (or CD / i-tunes) That way I can fold the laudry, do the dishes, etc. AND enjoy a book from my reading list at the same time! (And enjoy my chores more) But, harder, I'm sure when you want to pay attention to / listen for kids...

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    Replies
    1. Books on tape! I have GOT to get into those! Our library has a huge collection and I've been meaning to check some out.

      I love your new philosophy. I need to be more like that!

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  4. HI Brooke,
    Was wondering if I could borrow your book The Hiding Place? I cant seem to find one anywhere. I'm a really fast reader so I wont have it long. I would also pay for postage both ways. I see someone beat to the other copy...Argh

    Love your blog BTW. You're a very inspiring writer.. Thanks Ellen Overson

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    1. Hi Ellen! Sure. My mom has it now, but once she's sent it back to me I'll get it in the mail to ya.

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    2. HI Brooke,
      Okay that would be wonderful.

      Address:Ellen Overson
      218 East 38th St. Vancouver, Wa 98663

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