On not being Clair Huxtable

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I Peter 5:7
…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

An amazing thing happens when you release your troubles.    As I wrote on the last time, I actually felt better in just penning (or in this case, typing) at least some portion of all that has me frazzled.   In continuing to pour out my heart before the Lord, I received His peace that passes human understanding (Philippians 4: 8).   I also received renewed strength and a new sense of focus—the mating calls of productivity.

I thought later that it was too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence that, as I wrote my last post, we were watching a retrospective of the incomparable “Cosby Show” of the 80’s.   I loved revisiting some moments that, even 20 years later, I associate with the best that television had to offer.    The family lip syncing Ray Charles’ “Night and Day”?    The parents reflecting on Denise’s boyfriends (inclusive of the reggae lover—my personal favorite)?      The introduction of Dabnis, Vanessa’s fiancé?     Clair Huxtable’s  reaction to Sondra decision to open a wilderness store with hubby Elvin rather than pursue her law school dream?   Classic television, and I relish the moments in the same way that a different generation might remember, “Good night, JohnBoy,” or “One of these, Alice–POW!  Right in the kisser!”

Then I became fixed on Clair.   Phylicia Rashad’s portrayal of Clair was, I thought, so very different than much of what television had to offer in the way of working moms.     Clair was television’s “I’m every woman, it’s all in me,” you know?    She was an attorney, she birthed five children (and never looked like she birthed one), she was bilingual, she met her husband’s every need, and she did it all with much grace and class.    I thought she was something special.   Then, over time, she began to get on my last nerve.    She was too perfect.   She had the award-winning squash in the vegetable contest.   If it meant debating subject matter experts, her arguments always surpassed everyone else’s.     She was the bright spot of the book club, the diva of any dance floor, and the songbird of the college graduation ceremonies.     I can remember loathing that character and refusing to watch any of the episodes that focused on her.    It seems as silly now as it was then, but I now realize that what I didn’t like about Clair Huxtable was really what I didn’t like about myself: I couldn’t get it all done.    So fast-forwarding 20 years, at least this time when I again voiced that this life and its activities are bigger than me, I loved the fact that I had some semblance of a plan.

So, after prayer, I continued to beseech heaven, and I started to execute.

I worked on my daughter’s robe, but didn’t finish it, largely because it’s been in the 50’s each morning and she needs it.    All that remains, however, is to iron it and to hem it.   Not bad for a someone working a job and running a business, huh?

I worked out.   It’s a rare treat that my Mii is doing yoga on the screen while everyone else’s is slipping into a coma.   (Yes, my heart attitude needs work, but I’ll take my boast in the Lord, not in me).

It’s Tuesday night.   Guess what I’m doing?    Utilizing the time I have to write.

How about my non-movables?     Here are three of them enjoying a science experiment and overnight baked oatmeal.   I loved watching the younger two assemble themselves so as to witness the oldest completing her experiment with conducting electricity.    Even the dogs got interested (smile)!   Don’t you just love those “yes” answers from the Lord?

How (Not) to Do It All

It feels as if so much has gone on in the past few weeks until it’s difficult to get my head around it, much less articulate all of it on paper.   Somewhere in the last month,

1)      My husband changed jobs

2)      My job changed, forcing me out of my comfort zone and into new uncertainties

3)      Dance season began, with unexpected investments in time and money

4)       We brought home a puppy (in many ways like having a new baby, I now realize)

Another change that occurred, and I now realize that it was far more significant than I thought initially (since it had become a relatively new habit), was that my MP4 player broke.   The little electronic tool that had become the center of my morning devotional crashed and burned, just about the time that my devotional had become routine, and I had no back-up plan.


Somewhere in the midst of all of this, life has happened—school still happens, the house still has to be cleaned and maintained (enhancements are beyond me right now), kids still have to be fed, taken care of, and loved, and a business needs running.    I’m not complaining, just stating that I’m overwhelmed.       Even in the midst of realizing that it is all for my good (speaking primarily about #2 listed above), I’m just plain whipped out.   Seriously.

This week is our fall break after nine weeks of school.   Monday was a field trip for the kids and me that somehow wound up being a homeschool trip for 25 people.   Tuesday, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone during a grocery store visit that lasted 2 hours.   They rearranged the store, so now I’m relearning shelves, plus I took my girls with me, which didn’t help me focus any on the task at hand.    (I wrote that elaborate description of my errand because it is a microcosm of what is happening with my life these days).   Wednesday, I sat down to get a better handle on all the changes, and to figure out what all of this means for me.   Thankfully, the word that has continuously come my way—from a number of angles– is to prioritize.    Thank you, Lord.    So I looked at my schedule in blocks of time and embraced the ebb and flow of work that I’ve often taught to my adult students.    Here’s what I discovered:

The “non-movables” are here to stay: ministry to my family through school time, non-school family time, couple time, and home management.   Since the “non-movables” are a given (thank God), I must submit each day to the Lord’s priorities.  And guess what?   Some days the non-movables aren’t the priority! That doesn’t mean that they won’t be taken care of, but it means that if I believe the Lord has gifted my mind and hands in this way, then I must make the most of His gift.   So, with that in mind,

In the earliest portion of the week (Mondays and Tuesdays), I have time to write, and need to make good, effective use of it.

I have blocks of time later in the week to exercise—a rarity in the house now-a-days.   The running joke of the house is whose Mii is sleeping the hardest—we’ve all been really tired.

I set goals on a number of sewing projects that have hung around for far too long.    The date written down, even in pencil, gives me hope (LOL)

The time between waking up with my husband and actually getting out of bed is my quiet time with the Lord.    However, tuning every other care out in order to focus in is a task for me, and that’s where my player came in handy.    I really need another player.    My devotional time was priceless, and because of the demands of my family, I was ministered to while operating with free hands to minister to my family through breakfast preparation, last-minute school plan adjustments, etc.

 Each day, what God wants, not what I want.    Too often, I want to be Superwoman, or at least some version of it based on the images of a woman who does it all, but looks like she does nothing, that suffocate my sense of self.   I may not get done all that I want, but there is peace and prosperity in accomplishing His purposes.

Finally, I’m not a slave to social media, but as a business owner, I recognize its power to quick spread the word and disseminate information.   I just have to exercise wisdom in being a good steward of when I use these tools and what I use them for.    An angel mentioned HootSuite to me, and it’s been a life saver.   I can quickly access Twitter and Facebook (and three other networks if I had them) at once and do what I need to do without the 4-hours of time on average that I’ve read as being common to most Facebook users.   YIKES!

Okay, this simply scratches the surface of all the places that my mind has been, but just writing it down is energizing.   I promised myself that today I’d catch up on my mending (husband has buttons missing on about 4 shirts), and sure enough, I’ve let the weather change catch me regarding finishing my youngest’s bathrobe.   We had our first day of 60-degree mornings this week, and she had to stroll around in an unfinished robe.  Oh, well!   I’m off to complete it now as I listed my deadline as Sunday!   God bless!