franticity, franticosity, the art of being frantic


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I have been feeling a little frantic lately. I’m not sure if this is a component of my personality, a bad behavioral habit I’ve recently gotten into, a product of our culture, or if it’s somehow part of the gig of staying home full-time with children. Like most things, it’s probably a combination of those things.

Frantic, for me, is when I become exceptionally scattered. It’s when I will drop one thing, mid-task, in order to do something else. I will usually drop that, too. It’s when I can’t sleep for the mental gymnastics of worry and doubt and when, at the end of the day, my To Do List has hardly anything crossed off all the way– only lots of things crossed off half-the-way. Tangible signs I’m becoming a little too frantic:

1. I found a cup of coffee in the microwave that I’d left there, oh, two days ago. It was no longer warm.

2. I made orange juice last night. I asked Scott to stir it before pouring some for Miles. He asked, “Is there a reason there is a sponge in the orange juice?” This may be one of the stupider questions Scott has asked me in his life, but it’s also pretty ridiculous that I had stopped cleaning out the pitcher mid-swipe in order to do something else, then forgotten to FINISH cleaning the pitcher and remove the disgusting sponge before adding the frozen orange juice and water.

3. My kitchen pantry has remained half-primed for probably a month now. (In my defense, no one should redo their kitchen while, at the same time, possessing babies. I suppose that’s not really in my defense, though, because not only did I choose to redo the kitchen, I also stupidly said “No, thank you” when the cabinet guy gave me the price for him to paint the cabinets with his Amazing Spray Gun of Fastness.)

4. My suitcase is still only halfway unpacked from our trip last week. But this is pretty normal for me.

These are only a few examples. I should also admit that I left the computer after writing “These are only” in the previous sentence to go help Genevieve nap, to get half-ready for the day (literally: I’m wearing my “awake” shirt and my “night-night” pants), and to file some bills. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?!?

It’s the season of Advent again. Last night, when we were lighting the candle in our Advent wreath, I remembered that this week’s candle symbolizes peace. Now, this has a lot to do with God’s large-scale plan for humanity, but I think it can also apply to the small scale. And I know I should be paying more attention to peacefulness in a season of such restlessness—both in my heart and in our culture. These weeks before Christmas can become so frantic, so fast-paced, so crazed.

I thought I’d share a brief little article I read at an online magazine my sister just introduced me to called Darling Magazine. It’s about putting your dishes away, which is just the sort of baby step I need. Especially since I’m finding my dishes in the microwave so often.

Peace to you this week. May your sponges never be found in your orange juice.


10 thoughts on “franticity, franticosity, the art of being frantic

  1. I receive that benediction with a hearty “Amen!”. I, too, turn frantic quite easily, rushing around, stressing about doing things that really don’t have to be done right this second. Rusty calls it my Martha Mode, in honor of the PLNU Bookstore director who, every few weeks, would freak out, declare the place filthy, and have us all doing ridiculous tasks. Thank you for the reminder that God’s peace is for me and my home too!

    P.S. Send Evie over some Thursday and get that painting done!

  2. I’ve started looking for the peace in the midst of the tasks. I realized that the tasks were not going to go away. A weekend retreat, maybe… once every couple of years? A sabbatical from my life is not an option. I once read an essay about Ghandi that said that he used a pencil until it was reduced to an “ungrippable stub” out of respect for the human being who made the pencil. I have started to try this on as I go about my day, especially in the menial tasks of my job, and it has created more space for peace. Respect for the person who made the pencil translates. It has also helped me to begin to identify the tasks that are not respectable (spending a day cleaning up an accumulation of acquired “stuff”) and begin to unload some of the projects I waste my time on. Thanks for this post Katie. It helped to order the rest of my day today. Peace.

    • Received this in my inbox this am.

      Prayer as Mystery
      Kathleen Norris

      Prayer is not doing, but being. It is not words but the beyond-words experience of coming into the presence of something much greater than oneself. It is an invitation to recognize holiness, and to utter simple words–“Holy, Holy, Holy”–in response. Attentiveness is all; I sometimes think of prayer as a certain quality of attention that comes upon me when I’m busy doing something else.

      Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

    • Oh, I love that pencil image. You’re right about not being able to take a sabbatical from life. Peace in the tasks is really the goal.

  3. As usual, I love your posts. The sponge in the orange juice. Too much.
    What are you using to do Advent with Miles? Have you found anything that you like or recommend? We’re doing a Jesse tree advent that is family friendly, but we need the Cliff’s Notes version for our audience.

    • We are doing an Advent wreath. Every Sunday, we light the appropriate # of candles, then do a really short reading, some Scripture, and a prayer. Scott actually put it together. I will send it to you. But I’m not sure if I have an old email address, so tell me if you don’t get it.

  4. Katie, I can’t help but chuckle a bit. All day I feel like im in Martha Mode. I’ve learned that if I see something and in my head I say, “oh i need to do that,” that I do It right away. It doesn’t matter if my arms are full of toys and laundry… such as… lock the back door when I see it unlocked instead of coming home to an unlocked back door at night (lee was with me and I checked all the closets and the TV was still there). Or move that loaf of bread away from the burner. (I luckily did that one right away!) One I regret most though is leaving the $700 camcorder outside on the BBQ over night when it rained. Two days later… where is that camcorder. UGGGGGG mommy brain!!!!!! To my defense I set it down because one of the kids fell. I just managed to forget I ever set it down! Seems like I just get try to do too much at once. But if I don’t live that way then how does anything get done!?!

  5. Pingback: on being idle | [writing] between friends

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