Thursday, December 06, 2007


I am feeling like things are just too good and that there is too much. You know? Look at all of these advent calenders. I made the small matchbox one from Martha Stewart instructions in an old magazine years ago. Then there are two that were given to Gillen and Jesse by their grandmother, that are filled with chocolate (as will be the matchbox one when I find Andes mints) and the Victorian one that just has pictures and is similar to the ones I grew up with. My brother and I always had one like this and we had to take turns opening the numbered windows. It was wonderful. Or did my brother and I just resent sharing and I don't remember that part?

Yesterday, I got to craft for hours with friends at Claudia's house and with an abundance of cool stamps. Our kids were all happy. At one point, I got to hear Charlie Brown's Christmas Special in the background. All good.

We've been cold these last few mornings so we've gone upstairs, where the heat has accumulated. They play with legos or do puzzles while I read "The Children of Noisy Village" - about farm kids from another era, in Sweden, who are joyous over every small tradition.

It's not that mine are not appreciative but abundance can be a tricky thing. At the same time, scarcity creates all kinds of unhealthy cravings and obsessions.

I also feel a bit nervous when all is as good as it is right now. Undeserving? Ready for the other shoe to drop? Most moments, I am just glad - when I am not distracted by frustration over a child suddenly hating the strawberry jelly and preferring honey on his toast that I just smothered in jelly and did he ask me for honey(?) and I didn't listen(?) and yes, I was really impatient and out of line about it all.... But in all the other moments, it's good.

I am turning 44 tomorrow and am healthy. My friend Danielle is visiting for a few days (she arrives with her fabulous children this afternoon), and this weekend we get to go see Amy Steinberg with other unschoolers, in South Carolina.

I'm just trying to say I'm grateful, is all.


Anonymous said...

Love the Advent calendars. I still haven't dug mine out yet.

Deanne said...

Happy Birthday! I know you'll have a wonderful time with Danielle and the Lovejoys, and AMY!!! Please give all a hello and hug from me.

Kimba said...

Happy Birthday!!! Another Sag eh? I love being surrounded by so many passionate people.

I love the picture of everyone crafting...Le Sigh. Maybe I should get some of the Mamas round these parts together.

kelli said...

I didn't know it was your birthday!! And you get to celebrate with all your friends/family and Amy too! yay!! Have a great time!

We're so glad you were born :)

Madeline said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes! I have asked Gillen to make the gluten free chocolate cake and Nicolas to buy shrimp in town today. I am excited! And I've only heard Amy Steinberg once on Diana's site. So I'm very green. I'll pass along your hugs Deanne.

Kimba, you have to come next time! How about the Wed. after next, here? We're all making cookies. Make about 40 and come on over.

Rachel said...

Madeline, it sounds like you are going to have a wonderful birthday! And your abundant life is indeed something to be grateful for.

I have been feeling the same lately, like there's just so much in our lives, that we are so lucky, that sometimes (most times) the kids don't realize what a wonderful life they're living, but I guess that's the point, that their lives are simply full and fabulous and they don't know any other way. Some day they'll probably look back and realize it (or maybe they won't, and I guess that's okay too).

Regarding the Advent calendar...we made the mistake of putting in little books and toys instead of candy in last year's calendar (candy, what's the big deal, we get that whenever we want?), and this year, even the little toys seem to be disappointing to them (at the start of the season, Max specifically said he didn't want any books, only toys, LOL, and now when he gets the toy, it's the wrong one, they wish they had gotten to pick them out themselves, they really want that big Star Wars Lego set, etc, so it's sort of defeating the purpose of the calendar).

But I have to keep reminding myself that they are just speaking their true feelings, that they feel safe to tell me them, and I have to be careful not to say something like "you're lucky to be getting a toy at all, some kids don't even have anything to eat!" Gasp! I can't even blame my mother for that thought coming into my head, because she never even said those kinds of things, but the thought still crosses my mind, and I have to take a breath and get down to their level and look at the toy through their eyes, see why they are disappointed, ask what it is that they were thinking of and just be there with them in the moment. It's tempting to abandon the calendar altogether, it has been so frustrating for everyone, but that would be some sort of punishment, I think, and I don't mean to do anything like that. Anyway, I'm just saying...your "abundance" looks pretty good to me. ;)

Well, that was a long comment! :)

Have a wonderful birthday! I hope you are feeling "exactly where you need to be" on your special day.

Tamar Orvell said...

I relate too easily to that other-shoe-to-drop feeling. Ugh. At least we claim the feeling and can be on the lookout for this spoiler. Happy birthday, dear sista, less than a week... and some years... my junior;-)

Kaat said...

Happy Birthday, Madeline!

I know those doubts about abundance. It's so hard to find a balance that keeps us healthy both spiritually, socially and ecologically. How to deal with it?
I wish I knew the answer. I guess it has to do with family and gratitude and consciousness...

So when tomorrow they shower you with birthday love (even more more more), don't feel down!

When are you off to Australia? Our jetlag is still with us: getting up at 5 am. I'm beginning to like it, though.

Katrien at MamaStories

Angie said...

I just played 'catch up' and read your last 3 posts. Every time I read your posts it reminds me how easy it is to be happy about the small things that get overlooked.

Thank you for your inspiration to appreciate the small stuff.

LOVE the pictures of the jalapenos! We still have a bucket of them too.

Have a great Christmas

Cami said...

Great post Madeline. I can appreciate taking stock of your life when your birthday rolls around. I just had mine and did the same thing. I REALLY identify with "the other shoe dropping" feeling and I tend to be a worrier by nature, but I've gotten much, much better at just appreciating the here and now. Just because things are good now, *doesn't* mean something bad is going to happen. It's all just a matter of perspective. The moments that may seem *bad* are sometimes just times of change. It's how I think about it anyway. Happy happy birthday to a lovely person!

Blogging Molly said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your abundance and don't even think about that other shoe.

Jessica said...

Happy Birthday, Madeline!! It sounds as you are in a wonderful settling season. You know, the shoes don't have to be "good and bad". Maybe having all those guest was the first shoe shoe and now the other one is dropping ~ not that you didn't love the energy of fall and guests and busy-ness, but there must be a different feel now. A peaceful home-y feel.

How wonderful that *that* energy gives you a feeling of abundance.

Love, and best birthday wishes!
~Jessica (give those girls coming for a visit a hug for me! Ella's mom misses them :))

littlepurplecow said...

Happy Birthday!

Madeline said...

Thankyou for the wonderful wishes and understanding. I am mostly a "La VIe en Rose" optimist and am back to being one. I just had a moment of wondering why I should be so lucky. I have Mindy here now with her family so the abundance continues. Happy Birthday Tamar!

whimsigal said...

Belated Birthday Greetings to you!

Hope you enjoyed it!

When we were little we had some friends who got advent calendars from their dad every year. Their parents were divorced. For some reason, my parents never got us one, in spite of how much we wanted it so we used to wish that our parents would get divorced, LOL. Then we'd get our calendar! Now I get them for the boys and I told them that it was something I'd always wished for when I was their age. They really seem to enjoy them.

Yours look really neat! I can't believe how many folks I know that make their own!! Something I'd never considered before.

Sara said...

Happy late birthday!