Since I can remember (and I am sure before that) I have struggled with an addiction of self-fulfillment. That is, an addiction to having what I want and as soon as possible. As a baby, this is natural and understandable. then as you grow, there should be some form of denial. Denial is a part of life...every child is denied in some way, we can always think of something more to want. And even the most spoiled child is denied something. But as we grow, our standards also become ingrained. I am used to getting my way when it comes to what I do with the time after my daughters go to bed, but lately that freedom has been taken away from me. It doesn't really matter that the reason the freedom has been taken away (I have an attentive husband that wants to spend time with me) is a good and pleasant reason. I still feel like I should have both. Even though I can rationally see that both are not possible at this point in my life (that is the only time I have to spend with just my husband).

Recently I have seen this addition to self-fulfillment creep up in an unexpected and all-consuming way. It has been the most difficult struggle of my life. As I combat my desire to fulfill self at any cost, I feel deep emptiness. The high of this addiction has been very high, but the low has been depressingly low. In an effort to combat the low I try and fulfill myself in other ways, with other addictions.

One more piece of chocolate will make me feel a little better. It is funny how you never actually get to the piece that makes you feel better. And chocolate is not bad in itself, but there is no fulfillment in it.

If I run a little more, I will look better and lose a few more pounds...again,it is not necessarily bad to exercise, but I am not running for the right reason.

I received a gift card as a present a few days back, and spent it the following day on clothes. I got some really cute stuff...and I was really excited to look cute in it (I know, I am conceited), but the rush of being able to look a little better was definitely the driving force.

I spent a day neglecting the house, unpacking and everything else to plan for homeschooling this year. I needed to do some planning, but I knew I was doing this to escape the present situation. I have been known to spend a large amount of time researching and planning school only to avoid the chores of the day and sometimes the lessons of the day.

There are a few more sources of fulfillment that I can remember trying to fill myself with in the past, but just to name a few, gardening, playing the piano, scrapbooking, blogging (did I just type that) and I am sure more. None of these things bad in themselves, but when used for fulfillment very bad.

As I was running tonight, I thought of the following verse:

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."
Luke 11:24-26

I am probably taking this verse out of context, and I could possibly hear about it tomorrow from my Bible Scholar husband, but I connected with this verse in a big way.

What good will it be to fight this one addiction so vengefully if I only have 7 more addictions crop up in its place. I can barely deal with the low I am experiencing now, let alone 7 more. I have no choice. I must replace the hole with God. I have to pour myself out to Him and ask for strength instead of trying to distract myself with other vices.

Not the normal ramblings, but from my heart.

A Day at Powell Gardens

Grandma Bateman took us for a visit to Powell Gardens yesterday.
The current exhibit was "Jurassic Park." Statues of dinosaurs were amongst the gardens.
The gardens were absolutely beautiful, but they had a feeling to them that was different. Native plants made up a good portion of the landscape, so it looked more natural than other gardens I have been to.

Sarah was dumbfounded by this statue. It is held up by its tail, and she continued to say that it was too heavy to be held by its tail. At least she had a beginning understanding of Physics.

The water gardens.

Some of the succulents next to the water garden.

The biggest Elephant Ears I have ever seen.

What a beautiful girl.

Some of my Favorite Things

A Random list of some of my Favorite Things

  • The smells and colors of Autumn. This season doesn't seem to exist in Texas, or maybe by the time December rolls around snow seems more in order than changing leaves. Even so, it seems like leaves go from green to dead in Texas. I miss Fall! This is the first fall I will get to experience in 6 years and I can't wait! I can't wait to go apple picking, and have the house smell of apple pie, apple crisp, and homemade applesauce. I want to go to a pumpkin patch and be able to wear a jacket, or even better a sweater. I can't wait to go for a run first thing in the morning and be able to see my breath! I am so excited to see all the mums in bloom in August! I think I could probably fill a couple books with my anticipation...
  • Craig's List. That is I absolutely love this ebay, but local, and best of all, FREE! It costs nothing to list items for sale, that is. Just for fun, here are some things I have gotten off the "free stuff" from this awesome online garage sale: bricks from an old building that eventually became my patio and landscape edging in my back yard, sand to set the patio on, several other gardening supplies, some really nice vintage fabric that I have some big plans for, etc. This is a website everyone should know about!
  • The color blue...okay, maybe that was obvious from the blog layout, but I love blue, especially blue stripes. It is kind of ironic that I had 4 girls. My bedroom is decorated in all different shades of blue and white, and at one point in my life I had almost nothing in my closet that wasn't blue (my sister, who we affectionately call the "fashion police" helped me out of that stage). Maybe I was given girls so that my whole house wouldn't be monotone.

Sarah's Latest Endeavors

Sarah started asking for a pet walking stick about the time Spring sprung this year. She read several books on walking sticks and how to take care of them. We went on a few nature walks looking for a walking stick, but never found one. As I was leaving the townhouse for the last time, I saw one on my neighbor's tree. With her help we made it a temporary home to take to Sarah. Sarah was ecstatic when I showed her what I found. She named him Alex, and as soon as we got home we made him a shoe box home. He has been dieting on lettuce, and so far has made a very good (clean) pet.

Here is Sarah's baseball stadium, she made with the help of Grandma Bateman.

And after watching the movie The Indian In the Cupboard, Sarah made her own Indian Longhouse. Ouma and Papa helped her with it. Daddy has been reading the oldest three the book, and they are really enjoying it. Here is a link to the book.

A Place for Everything

A place for everything
And everything in its place.
I always put my things away,
That I might find them another day.

I was reading this verse today in my Charlotte Mason Companion. How simple, yet brilliant. I must have been 25 years old before I realized that my life would be much easier if everything had a place, and I am still hoping for the day to come when everything is consistently in its place. Not that everything needs to be in its place all day long, but at least at night when I go to sleep, I have this feeling that I could rest quite a bit easier knowing that I could start tomorrow fresh without always playing catch up. I might be a little unrealistic in my expectation, but at least I have a goal.

I was counting yesterday, and I have moved 9 times in my 7 1/2 years of marriage. I am pretty good at packing, but I must tell you that this unpacking is not nearly as exciting (as you can see I am neglecting it right now). I am way behind in this game of catch up. So I guess that means that I need to go unpack 2 more boxes before I can spend anymore time on the computer. Thanks for that accountability session. A confession always does the heart some good!

A Couple of Cuties

You don't have to ask them twice to say cheese...these are my two hams.

More Backyard Pics

The backyard was my favorite part of the townhouse, and probably where most of my time and effort has been spent for the last 6 months...I realized how much I LOVE gardening from having a small yard that was managable to maintain. Hopefully I can find a spot at our new house to do some more gardening.
My beautiful Hannah posing next to the tomatoes.
Unfortunately most of the flowers that were in bloom were cut, but you can use your imagination.
Sarah always wants to be first to get her pjs on...she jumped the gun a little that night.

Fun in the Sandbox

Annie getting dirty!
Yes, Stephanie is filling her dress with sand. She is always scheming, so I am sure she had big plans for that sand. Mom probably wasn't as thrilled about those plans, though...

No, this wasn't staged. Annie is in front of where the sand is going to land so she didn't actually get sand poured on her. But, it is a pretty funny picture.

My Stephanie

Annie got booted from her floaty, so Stephanie could play bumper boats with it.

Stephanie "wasn't tired", so she skipped her nap only to fall asleep on the only corner of the couch available...the rest is covered by junk to pack. Notice her finger, not her thumb is in her mouth, and the beloved barbie in her lap.

Some Texas Friends

We spent some time fixing up the Texas house in July, but we also got to spend a lot of time visiting with friends that we will miss dearly.

Annie and her friend are getting reacquainted, Annie was about 4 months old last time they saw each other.
We had so much fun playing and visiting with some of our Seminary friends as well.

I omitted names on purpose, as I want to be sensitive of others privacy.

Becoming Jane

We went to see this movie this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't believe that anyone could make a happy ending out of her life story...not that Jane Austen wasn't happy, but as far as Hollywood goes, I didn't think that there could be an acceptable happy ending to the story. The ending was of course heart wrenching, but you also left with a peaceful feeling. It was a different happy ending, knowing that she did the right thing, yet seeing that love for someone can consist of more than having that person for yourself. The beauty of this movie was that the greater good was served, and that was not what pleased them temporally, but deep love was shown through sacrifice. How Beautiful.