Monday, October 31, 2011

{Day 31} :: Reflection

I made it. Thirty-one days of sitting. I must admit it's nice to be on this end of the challenge. But not because the challenge itself has been arduous. It's just that the documentation of it has been so . . . so . . . daily. (Translated: I will NOT be posting tomorrow. Unless something wildly noteworthy occurs. Which is unlikely. My children have slipped into a sugar coma. Or is it sugar comas, plural? I don't know. I'm slipping myself.)

No, it was a great challenge, and I truly found myself learning a thing or two as the thirty-one days marched by. Might I share them with you?

1. No matter how busy I am, there's always time to sit with those that God has placed in my life. When I begin my day with the Lord and ask Him to order my moments, He honors my request. Above and beyond, in fact. I'm not at all surprised. Delighted? Yes. Surprised? No. My God is faithful that way.

2. A few minutes is all it takes. Of course, I would love to ignore every household responsibility, hire a maid and just play with LEGOS and Calico Critters all day. (Can I hear an Amen?) But since this wouldn't be very practical, I make an effort to take advantage of those times in which I can. (Little Miss Kate at the piano? A mere ten minutes. She's thrilled to her core. How easy is that? And so, so worth it.)

3. Free time doesn't necessarily mean me time. I've become much more aware of how I spend my free time. There isn't a whole lot of it, and yes, I am aware that it's important to take the time to quietly tend to my own needs. But. Motherhood is about joyful sacrifice, and if that means taking that ten minutes between laundry and dinner prep to paint some itty-bitty fingernails, then that's a pretty good use of that ten minutes. Don't you think?

4. Like the counting of blessings, this sitting doesn't stop. It's becoming a part of me. I'm looking for it, living in it. I've seen how it strengthens my family, bolsters my children, blesses my marriage, renews my faith. Why on earth would I give up something that powerful?

So, yes. This has been a good, good month. I thank you for following my little challenge and for your encouragement along the way. And hey -- if you're ever in the area, give me a call. I'd love to sit with you over a cuppa tea. I'm getting pretty good at it.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Sunday, October 30, 2011

{Day 30} :: What Makes Me Happy

"Does it make you happy to hear children running around having fun?
Is it one of the things you're thankful for?"
{Avery Kate}

Enjoying this peaceful Sabbath afternoon, thankful to be surrounded by little ones who are really starting to get it: That true happiness finds its roots in a spirit of gratitude. Blessings on your Sunday, my friends. May you open your eyes and hearts to the abundant gifts that have been poured out by our generous Heavenly Father.
Pin It

Saturday, October 29, 2011

{Day 29} :: Sitting and Cheering!

Just popping in briefly today! On our way to Bethie's first gymnastics competition, where I will of course be doing a fair amount of sitting (that would be thanks to the three hour drive) and a whole lot of cheering. Hooray, Bethie!

Pin It

Friday, October 28, 2011

{Day 28} :: What I See

What do I see as I sit and watch and love? Thought I'd share a little visual tour of our week with you this afternoon:

(Along with proof that I do sit.)

The gardens at Fort Vancouver . . . .

Teaching the children to sit, too. The girls are very happy about this.

(I love the way he's cradling his notebook while reaching for a cannon ball. Very realistic.)

"Let's pretend like we're running!"

Grammar with a tatted, tea-guzzling cowgirl who writes "toot" and "poop" on as many assignments as possible.

Kids with huge smiles, checking every other second to make sure Mama's watching. "Did you see that, Mom?!"

Paint is like a magnet to these children. I pull out the supplies and they come a-runnin'. They asked me to join them this afternoon. I did.

Because I know the days of Q-tip art and swim lessons and field trips are numbered. And I don't want to miss a single one.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{Day 27} :: Kids to the Rescue

I think I might be coming down with a cold. This is unfortunate. Mothers aren't supposed to get sick. I've even heard that by the time you have four children, your immune system is remarkably strong. I hope so.

I have observed, however, one good thing about slowing down as the sniffles begin: the children rise to the occasion.

So tonight when I hinted that it might be nice if someone could read Avery her bedtime story, Aidan eagerly approached the bookcase. We snuggled on Miss Kate's trundle as he read a Richard Scarry book aloud, and the little one assumed the role of nurturer. She linked her arm through mine, sighed contentedly, and rested her head on my shoulder. Bliss.

When it was time to tuck everyone in, Bethie took on The Prayer. She sweetly began with thanking the Lord for the events of the day, then proceeded to remember as much as she could from the Scripture that I pray over them at night: "I pray that You would grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit . . . and that we would be lights for You . . . that . . . we . . . will dwell in the house of the Lord forever . . . ."

Ahhh, yes. This is just the medicine a mama needs. To know that they're listening, remembering and taking it to heart. To see that they are beginning to understand the power and comfort of God's Word, and to delight in the way that they tend to one another . . . and to their mama.

You know, maybe having a cold isn't so bad, after all.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{Day 26} :: Reading on the Road

You may recall that Wednesday is my crazy day. The day that is spent, to a large degree, on the road.

You may also recall that I thoroughly enjoy a good read.

I've happily discovered that the two can coexist. I'm easily able to finish off a chapter or two on the way home from dropping Drew off at youth group. And yes, I do keep my eyes on the road. Because on Wednesday afternoons, I listen to my books.

Today it was Tom Sawyer. Drew read it last month, and in an attempt to keep up with my son, I'm plugging along at the impressive rate of one or two chapters per week. I hope to finish before he graduates. (It really is a charming story. I knew the basic plot -- was even in the play -- but this is my first time hearing Mark Twain's delightful prose.)

Listening to books is an interesting exercise. I'm a visual person, so I really have to concentrate when I'm just hearing the words. My mind too easily wanders, and I have to snap it right back to where it should be. I tell myself it's a good workout for my brain.

This afternoon I was reminded of one of my college book-listening experiences. I was required to read through the Pentateuch two or three times for one of my Multnomah classes. The second time through, I decided to listen to it on tape (yes, on tape) while I worked on some sort of cross stitch or something. My handwork seemed rather appropriate, especially when I came to the embroidery passages in Exodus. I can still hear the narrator's voice as he described the Tabernacle . . . "The screen of the gate of the court was the work of the weaver . . ." He really held out that "eeee" sound in weaver. Boy, did I weave my little threads with purpose.

I also thought over the comfort I found in listening to Emma on CD when I was down with a cold last winter. A calm British accent is a lovely thing to fall asleep to. (It is not, however, the most motivating text when trying to jog on a trampoline. Trust me.)

So while it takes a bit of mental focus, I look forward to these afternoon drives. I know that Tom's antics will come alive as I wind my way home on the quiet country roads. Before I know it, I'm back home, ready to take on the antics of my own little urchins.

How about you? Are you a book listener, or do you have to see it to believe it? What's the last book you listened to?

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

{Day 25} :: I Think It's Working

Remember yesterday? The day that I joined my Little Miss Avery Kate at the piano? Well, she noticed.

And she liked it

Guess what happened this afternoon at about 4:30? "Mom! I'm going to practice my piano! Can you sit down like you did?" My effort yesterday had felt so small. So seemingly insignificant. But to that child at that time, it was perfect. It was exactly what she needed.

I'm sure you can guess what I did at about 4:30 this afternoon. I sat. It was just as giggly as ever. Although I did notice that she avoided asking me to play the duet. I wonder why?

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Monday, October 24, 2011

{Day 24} :: At the Piano

This sitting exercise has revealed to me a number of things. One of them is my tendency to delegate. Now, delegation can be a very handy tool when multiple children exist in a home. It's great to be able to ask Bethie to help Avery with her reading lesson or to hand over Aidan's math questions to Drew. They enjoy helping each other and appreciate the grown-up responsibility.

But sometimes I delegate too much. And often when it comes to Miss Kate. Of course this is perhaps natural since she's the youngest and most needy. If I'm making dinner and she's screaming about trying to find her bike helmet, it makes perfect sense to ask big sister to help out.

Tonight as I tried (for the third time) to finish loading the dinner dishes, Miss Kate decided that she would like to practice the piano. She got three notes into her C scale and shouted, "Mom!!! Can you help me?" My first instinct was to look for Drew. But I stopped myself. The dishes could wait (again). It would be such a small sacrifice to sit beside my daughter on the piano bench.

We sat together, counting out her scale, remembering when to tuck her fingers (with me inwardly cringing and outwardly very rigid because she mostly forgot to tuck her fingers) and finally made it successfully through all eight notes. Three times. And now for the left hand!

When it was time to move on to her song, she was quite confident. She knew she had to stay on the chocolate notes and only once accidentally landed on a vanilla one.

And then we got to duet. It was rather giggly. Mostly because I cannot for the life of me play a song with six hundred flats. We tried again and again and again. I hit a multitude of wrong notes every single time. She giggled some more, hitting her chocolate notes with perfection.

It was an ideal way to not do the dishes. Again.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Sunday, October 23, 2011

{Day 23} :: Wonder

What a natural wellspring -- cooling and refreshing the years -- is the gift of wonder!
It removes the dryness from life and keeps our days fresh and expanding.

Edwin Way Teale

Seeking to keep my Sunday "fresh and expanding." Once again declaring a cyber-Sabbath, that I might focus on and sincerely dwell with the little ones who surround me. After all, children are the true experts when it comes to wonder.

Have a blessed Sunday, my friends.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Saturday, October 22, 2011

{Day 22} :: Computer Time

Lately I've been trying to make sure that my time at the computer is productive and worthwhile. This gives me more time to spend with my family and enables me to actually follow through with some of great ideas that are splashed across the web. (Cause there really are some great ideas out there!)

This means that my computer sitting time needs to be specific and purposeful. How do I do this? I'll fill you in.

1. I keep a notepad on the counter or in my apron pocket. I jot down ideas, products, crafts or school activities I'd like to look up. If I suddenly remember that I never replied to that email from the other day, I scribble myself a note. This keeps me from running to the computer where I'm likely to get distracted.

2. When I do sit down at the computer, I look at the clock or set the timer. This keeps me focused.

3. I tell Jamie when I plan to be finished. (This happens mostly during the evening.) Knowing that he's waiting to visit or watch a movie helps me keep it brief.

4. I refer to my list and try to stay there. Have you ever skipped around merrily from site to site only to realize that you can't remember why you even sat down in the first place? A list is a great way to eliminate those sneaky rabbit trails.

5. I ask myself, "Is this the best use of my time right now?" Even if I don't have any pressing commitments or tasks at hand, and even if the children are occupied and don't really need me at that moment, would I be pleased to look back on my day and see that particular chunk of time taken up at the computer?

I've benefited greatly from keeping my computer time focused and intentional. I'm able to use it as a tool that enhances my home for good, from new recipes and fun crafts to creative decor and science experiments. In fact I'm eager to share some of them with you. But I'll save that rabbit trail for another day.

Have you found a helpful way to manage your computer time?

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Friday, October 21, 2011

{Day 21} :: An Accomplished Girl

We recently read the chapter called, "An Accomplished Girl." She was all ears: An accomplished girl knows how to keep house. She can make beds, sweep, mop and dust. She can launder her own clothes and mend them when necessary. She is able to cook tasty, nourishing meals. (Yes, Cinderella comes to mind.)

My girl seemed a bit daunted at first. But she really perked up on the cooking part. "I can make cookies!" She reflected for a minute. "I bet I could make a whole dinner by myself, too."

I thought this over and realized that she probably could. I'd just never given her a chance. Yes, she's helped me. She's the best olive slicer in town. But she's never taken on the main course without my hands taking over.

Tonight I took my hands away, stepped aside and only gave verbal assistance when needed. My girl rose to the occasion and whipped up some pretty tasty tacos.

We sat around the table as she served each of us. I marveled at the young lady who had tackled a cast iron skillet with ease and kept multiple tasks going at once.

We all agree that she's well on her way to becoming quite an accomplished young lady.

Have you stepped back recently? Are you surprised by your child's ability? Give it a try!

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Thursday, October 20, 2011

{Day 20} :: The Morning Hour

It is the early morning hours that offer the most peaceful sitting.

Peace again! The exquisite hour before dawn, here at my old desk --

seldom have I realized so keenly, appreciated so fully, these still, dark hours.
{Edward Weston}

These are the hours I need. The quiet hush that embraces the slumbering house causes me to be a better listener. Yes, I listen for the patter of little feet which will eventually descend.

But before that, before that -- I listen to the quiet. I hear the stillness.

I open His Word. I am still. I sit. I listen.

I listen so that when the little feet do descend, I am able to hear more than the clatter and chaos. I hear my children. My children. And I welcome them.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{Day 19} :: Mother and Darling

It's Wednesday. This means that at some point this evening, Bethie will come to me and say, "Mother?" (Yes, she calls me Mother. It's all of those books from the 40s I was telling you about. I love it.)

So anyway, she'll say, "Mother?"

And I'll say, "Yes, Darling?" (Yes, I call her Darling. It's all of those books from the 40s I was telling you about. I love it.)

So anyway (again), she'll say Mother and I'll say Darling, and then she'll say, "Can we do Beautiful Girlhood tonight?" Because every Wednesday, as much as possible, we try to read a chapter together over a cup of tea.

Although the book is special and heartwarming and I'm glad we chose it, I believe it really could be any book. She'd still ask for it. Because it's not so much about what's done as it is about with whom it's done.

And Darling feels pretty special when she gets to spend time alone with Mother.

So what will happen tonight when she says Mother and I say Darling? Mother will say yes. Will there be dishes in the sink? Probably. Will there be laundry to fold? Most definitely. But still, she'll say it: Yes.

And she'll sit and read and share the serious and the silly over a cup of tea with this girl-becoming-young-woman. Because these are the things that matter. These are the things worth sitting for.

Read about the thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

{Day 18} :: Offering

"Mommy? My tummy hurts." My bleary eyes try to focus in the midnight darkness. I pull the sheets aside and let the little one climb in. She melts back into slumber. It's a fitful slumber, so I eventually bring her back to her own bed. A glance at the clock tells me it's almost time to get up anyway. I sigh and pad downstairs to put the kettle on.

My eyes continue to adjust to the breaking dawn. By the time my tea is ready, I'm able to focus. I open to the Old Testament. I'm in Leviticus. My mind is trying to make sense of the offerings and sacrifices and regulations, the anointing and consecration and presentation.

It seems old and foreign and strange. I don't know where it fits. What do I do with it?

And then I come to Leviticus 6:12-13.

The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering . . . . The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

One thing is clear. The fire must not go out. It must not. And how does the fire remain? Every morning, fuel must be added. It must be tended, that it may remain throughout the night and continue right on through the morning.

Throughout the long nights that bring a little one to the bedside, throughout the mornings that require extra energy to greet the sunrise.

When the fire is tended, there is warmth, there is vitality, there is life.

When the fire is tended, mama can tend.

She can sit, she can focus. She can live a life of simple beauty. She can be still.

And this is her offering.
Pin It

Monday, October 17, 2011

{Day 17} :: Date Night

A little over two years ago, Jamie and I decided it was time to get serious. Why on earth was it so hard to plan a date night? Oh, that's right. The four kids. The lack of funds.

The serious part? We determined that those factors wouldn't stop us. And they haven't. For over two years.

It's quite simple, really. Sunday night is date night. Always.

The kids know the routine by now. They eat at their normal dinner time, with Jamie and I sitting at the table and chatting with them. After they've finished and tidied up, I scoot them upstairs. Jamie makes a bee-line for Chipotle.

It is at this point in the week that I'm extremely motivated to get my children to bed. I'm hungry, for one. But most of all, I know it's almost our time. Our time alone. And the kids know it (and actually think it's pretty cool.)

Once they've been (politely) banished to their rooms, I come back down and whip out the card table and take care of the place settings. And then my favorite man walks in the front door with a bag of burrito deliciousness.

(We used to order two burritos, stuff ourselves and have leftovers which were mushy and weird by the next day. It occurred to us that perhaps it would be wise to split a burrito. So that's what we do. There's plenty of food, and it's a wonderfully frugal and healthy way to have a weekly dinner date.)

Of course dinner also comes with a movie, just like it did when we were dating in high school. Sometimes it's a Jimmy Stewart classic or a Hitchcock thriller. Other nights we're in the mood for something modern and a little crazy, like Psych.

I usually keep a little something that's sweet stashed in the freezer so we can enjoy dessert after our meal. Something that's sweet and chocolate. Something that's sweet and chocolate and bearing a strong resemblance to chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

We cherish this time together. Even if we've had a busy Sunday and don't get home until later in the evening, we still make it happen. Because we know that sitting with each other is one of the most important things we could ever do. Both for ourselves . . . and for our banished children.

* * * * * *

Have you found a way to schedule a regular date night with your spouse? If not, start with something very simple. Make it reasonable and predictable, yet special. Pretty soon you'll find that it's a commitment on your calendar that you'll never even think about giving up.
Pin It

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16: Sabbath Rest

Hello, friends! Just popping in briefly to wish you all a blessed Sabbath. My desire this afternoon is to truly sit and rest in the abundance of the Lord's goodness, to look deeply into my children's eyes, and to soak in my husband's presence. Since this is hard to do in front of a computer, I'm declaring it a cyber-Sabbath, too. Until tomorrow . . .

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26
Pin It

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 15: Speaking of Books

Bethie grabbed her Nancy Drew. I grabbed Papa's Wife. We plopped, side by side at the kitchen table, and feasted on words.

I think Bethie would bring a book to every meal if allowed. (I suppose I would, too.) Noting this tendency, I have declared that breakfast and dinner are to be book-free meals. This is family time for visiting and laughing and trying to keep Miss Kate in her seat.

Since lunch is more relaxed, it seems like a good time to have a book in one hand and a sandwich in the other.

This morning, however, I broke my breakfast rule and told the kids to bring books to the table. I do this when I know that breakfast will last a while. This is usually the case when we have Swedish pancakes, a crepe-like deliciousness filled with butter and brown sugar. I can only make two at a time, and if everyone wants three or four . . . it's time consuming. Kinda hard to wait for. But I want to train the little one to stay patiently at the table. So we bring books.

The last two pancakes are for mama. (Isn't that always how it is? This is good. Rest after service.) I add pecans to my crepes, following my mother's example. (I can still see her copy of the recipe, typed out -- as in typewriter typing -- on a thin strip of blue paper. I think it came from a church event.) By this time, the kids have finished their pancakes and have been excused. I grab my book and feast.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of books . . . I saw a great idea this week. (Thanks for the tip, Josie, Katie and Kari!) I know it's early to think about Christmas (or maybe it's not -- I tend to procrastinate), but this is a fun advent activity. Wrap 24 Christmas books you already own, and each day snuggle up with your kiddos and let them unwrap a bedtime story. Isn't that cozy?

Although I do have a box of Christmas books tucked away, I think I'll haunt Goodwill for the next few weeks to surprise my kids with some new-to-us stories.

This is the one I found today. It's snuggly. (To think! I'm already getting ready for Christmas.)

What's your favorite Christmas story?
Pin It

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 14: Family Movie Night

It's family movie night at the Lawson home! Settling in with Jamie and the kiddos to watch this . . .

A Bear Named Winnie

and munch on these . . .

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Enjoy your weekend, my friends! May you find many opportunities to sit and enjoy the blessings that surround you.
Pin It

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13: Good Reads

I can hear the rain just outside my window, splashing and dancing on the leaves. The boughs sag with the liquid weight and bounce back, creating merry little waterfalls for the fairies who, no doubt, take up residence there.

It's perfect weather. Perfect, that is, for staying indoors. Perfect for sitting near a glowing fire while the kettle whistles and a wee person or two snuggles nearby.

This is "curl up with a book" weather. Can't you feel it?

Here's a peek at the stories we've been enjoying on this soggy October afternoon.

Drew likes the carefree and relaxed quality of Twain's characters. After reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer last month, he was eager to read a bit more about the intriguing Huck Finn.

Bethie has been racing through every book within reach ever since she detected that autumn tang in the air. She's currently devouring anything by Elizabeth Enright. I'm afraid she'll go through a period of mourning when she realizes she's read them all. Then she'll probably just read them over again.

Aidan is enjoying Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. A book featuring a cast of deadly animals is definitely bound to be intriguing to this child. A carpet python? So cool. Bring it on.

After finishing Betsy-Tacy, Avery and I had to move right on to Betsy-Tacy and Tib. We are thoroughly enjoying these charming stories. I am so in love with books from the 40s. (And fashion from the 40s. And movies from the 40s. I better stop now.)

James Herriot wrote a charming collection of stories based on his experience as a vet in England. In the 40s. (Sigh.) I find myself slipping into a British accent when reading these with Miss Kate. She doesn't mind.

One of the most delightful children's books I've come across. We absolutely love Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm. Every single page makes us giggle.

So that's what we're up to over here. Have you found time to curl up with a kiddo and a book this week? If not, grab one and do it. You'll be glad that you did!

Read about my thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 12: Unexpected

Sometimes we end up sitting and waiting when we previously had absolutely no intention of doing so. Or, at least, no intention of doing so in that particular way.

Let me explain. I knew I'd be doing some sort of sitting today, since that's what I've set out to do this month. What I did not expect was to find myself sitting in a Burger King off of SR-500 at 4:00 p.m. helping a distraught Miss Kate finish off her chocolate sundae.

It started on our way home from piano lessons. That strange clunking sound. I put two and two together and figured it was most likely indicative of trouble. Though my knowledge of cars is definitely limited, I do know that they're not supposed to emit steam and make strange clunking sounds.

It was at this moment that I began to pray. I also suggested that the children do likewise. I do not do well under pressure. Thankfully, we made it to the end of the exit before the van came to a very determined halt. It was done.

The poor children were convinced that the van was about to explode. I told everyone to get out. Perhaps I was a tad dramatic. Weeping ensued. A kind gentleman was immediately at our side. He helped me push the van toward the curb and made sure the children were safe. I turned on the hazard lights (hooray for at least some presence of mind), and we walked toward the nearest business. Burger King.

Drew was the man of the hour. His presence of mind was admirable. He whipped out his iPod and sent Jamie an SOS. I assured the children that it was only a matter of time before Daddy arrived. In the mean time, why not have a sundae?

There we sat, waiting for Daddy. I thought the sundaes would be a pleasant diversion, but the younger children were still quite distraught. So I decided to try and shift our focus a bit.

Hadn't the Lord been good to us? Just think! It could have been dark and cold and rainy. But it was a pleasant afternoon. We didn't even need our coats! We weren't stranded on a freeway or stuck in traffic. We had sailed right on down that exit and just kind of stopped. If you have to stop, that's the way to do it. And a kind man was right there to help us!

The mood began to turn around as we looked at the blessings. Funny how that works.

And then Daddy walked in. Boy, did he look good. He had been at a job only a few minutes away. Another blessing. The children jumped into his arms, each one eager to tell his version of the story.

We finally got ourselves and our vehicles safely home. The littlest ones were still a bit shaken up. In those moments of fear, we reminded each other of God's goodness. We focused on the blessings.

* * * * * * * *

Tonight I slipped into bed beside a drowsy yet anxious Miss Kate. "Mommy?" she whispered. "Can you pray?"

Yes, and yes, I can, my dear, sweet child. In fact it's the very best thing I can do.

We prayed, we praised, we rested. She drifted off in thanksgiving. And I plan to do the same. Won't you?
Pin It

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 11: Twenty Minutes

There are few hours in life more agreeable
than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.


While I didn't quite have an hour, I did sneak away for a whole twenty minutes this afternoon. It's important for Mama to quiet herself in the middle of the day.

It usually hits me around 3:30 or 4:00. We've finished school and I'm aware that dinner preparations must soon be under way. If I could just sit down for a minute or two . . . .

I pop a load in the dryer, set the fluff cycle for twenty minutes. I know exactly what to do for that twenty minutes.

Tea in hand, I creep up to my room and close the door. Armed with these and this, I enjoy a bit of solitude.

Of course it isn't long before the children and the dryer are buzzing for my attention. But it's just the respite I needed. I swallow the last sweet drop, emerge from my cocoon, and drift back down, renewed and refreshed.

Sometimes twenty minutes (and some serious chocolate) is all it takes.

Read about my thirty-one day challenge over here.

Quote: Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Painting: Edmund C. Tarbell, "Afternoon Tea"

Pin It

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10: Choosing Rest

I was again faced with a decision. Rush or rest?

It seems so obvious when printed out. Who would choose to rush when they could choose to find rest? Well, to be honest, I would. It feels productive. Efficient. It means that there are more checks on the list. It looks . . . impressive.

But it's also exhausting.

This morning, as I rushed the children through their school work and prodded them to follow their checklists, I glanced at the empty boxes on Little Miss Avery Kate's "to-do" list. She still needed to do a reading lesson. I could call Drew over to sit with her. I could ask Bethie to do the job. Even Aidan would gladly set his math aside for time with Miss Kate. It would free up some time for me to get in some serious rushing. And then I'd feel really productive. Efficient. Exhausted.

I called my pixie over and set a few books out on the table. "Why don't you come sit on my lap, Sweetie?" I not only knew it would be cozy, but I also figured that having a child on my lap would keep me grounded. I'm not tempted to jump up and fold laundry when weighted down by a six-year-old. (This is perhaps a poor illustration. I'm never tempted to jump up and fold laundry.)

She gladly climbed up and snuggled in. "Which book would you like to read to me?" I questioned.

She cocked her head and said, "Read me a story."

I smiled. "Well, sweetie, I'll read to you in a minute. But right now it's your turn to read to me."

She erupted in giggles. "No! I want to read, Read Me a Story!" When I finally figured out that it was a book title, I too, joined in the belly laughing.

But we kept going for the fun of it. "No, sweetie, it's your turn to read . . . " More belly laughs. It was good, good laughter. The kind I almost missed out on in order to rush away.

We finally stopped giggling and settled in with our book. She read and read as I kept my arms wrapped 'round her waist. I kissed her head, felt her toes curl around my legs. I savored the moment. And I chose rest. It was the right decision.

It usually is.

Read about my thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 9: Dangerous

Generally, one is expected to remain somewhat composed during a church service. Especially when the pastor is speaking and all is hushed.

This becomes difficult, however, when sitting among a number of children. Now, my wee peeps are finally starting to get the hang of sitting through a service. It's a bit wiggly at first, but if they all have a Bible to thumb through and a paper to doodle on -- I mean take notes on -- then they're in pretty good shape.

I still find myself holding my breath during the sermon, though. What if one of them completely loses it? Jumps up and squirms, "I need to go potty!" Or grabs my head (messing with the do) and demands in a very loud whisper, "I need a Bible!"

Or, say, perhaps . . . begins to undress?

This is definitely cause for alarm. But some eight-year-old boys get really excited when wearing new undergarments. That new pack of seven tanks from Target? SO awesome. So awesome, in fact, that the boy just has to take a peek. During the sermon.

I look over just in time to see that five buttons from the dress shirt have mysteriously come undone. Because that tank underneath is just. that. awesome.

My eyes get as wide as possible, that I might silently yet urgently communicate the need to button. up. that. shirt. right. NOW. (Because mother loves you.)

Sometimes sitting with kids can be dangerous.

Read about the 31-day challenge over here.
Pin It

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 8: Sisters

Today is the anniversary of the day a precious little pink bundle entered the Stevens home. I was two, and very fascinated by this new creature. She was living and breathing. And her eyes! They were so bright and merry! I poked them to see what would happen. She did not care for it. Nor did my mother. I stopped poking them.

But I never stopped being fascinated by my little sister.

Although we will celebrate her birthday later this month, I did get a chance to sit with my Krista dear and her family this morning at a soccer game. Her Ethan was tearing up the field (is that how you say it?), so we pulled our chairs together and enjoyed the surprisingly warm day.

We smiled over the demure conversation of her two-year-old, Clara, whom we affectionately call, "The Pie." The other children ran amok, relishing the cousin time that seems to come too rarely during this busy time of year.

All too soon it was time to pack up and move on. I had a girl to get to the gym, and she had another boy to get to another game. I watched her walk across the field with her toddling Pie, her loving husband and her wild boys. My heart was full.

Her eyes are still bright and merry. And I know that it's because they reflect a heart that is beautiful, generous, kind and thoughtful. Qualities that make the word, "sister" one of the most precious words of all.

Read about my thirty-one day challenge over here.
Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...