Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Things

You know there are times when I go all out and rearrange a room and drastically change its layout. Sometimes that can take hours or even days...or ever reach completion.

Then there are times that I do something little...something that takes just a few minutes, but makes a big difference in the room or just in my attitude about the room.

This project is a little of both. I found these picture frames at IKEA (oh, how I love and miss IKEA) and had a fun idea to put pictures of my family eating in the frames and hang it in my kitchen. I gathered pictures, but fell short of the nine pictures needed to fill the frames. I don't remember what happened, but after Meredith was born, I quickly gathered pictures of our family - really any pictures and filled the rest of the spots. That is how the frames stayed for the next FIVE years!!!

Here's the killer part, even after we moved I still hung them in my kitchen knowing that one day they would contain food pictures. But every time I walked past them (a million times a day) they would just whisper to me, "still haven't finished this project." or "see just another project you started but haven't finished" or "so you have pictures of four children - six children are too many for you to handle". Silly how a picture frame can breed such guilt!!!

Well, I am here to say that last week I took 10 minutes of an afternoon and finished my project. I know, ten minutes. Seriously, all that grief for just ten minutes.

The difference? I had to give up. Give up my original idea and allow God to give me a new idea. How many times do we hold on to an original idea when God has something better for us to experience? Too many in my life!

The end result...

...those are my six beautiful children that God gave me and intended for me to be the mother of, all eating their first birthday cake. The spots in between are some of our families favorite recipes or recipes written in someone special's handwriting.

There is my dad's mother's meatloaf recipe; my aunt's Sweet Potato Souffle; my mother's mother's Scotch Shortbread; my mother's BBQ sauce; my Texas chili; and my friend Elaine's banana bread. Not to play favorites, but my favorite is my grandmother's shortbread. As far as shortbread goes, it really isn't very good. In fact it resembles my play dough recipe. But she would make them into balls and press them down and put a red or green m&m in the middle. I would eat around the m&m and save it for the last bite. And the recipe is written by her. I'm sure she is now making Christmas shortbread cookies for Jesus!

And tonight, I made my other grandmother's meatloaf. It just says comfort and homey and is perfect for this cold day with fresh snow on the ground.

A simple project, made complicated by me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Consistency...or not...but maybe...

I have thought long and hard about this long and so hard that it has taken me ten days to write. I know...crazy!

Here's the thing, I have discovered that everything I struggle with comes down to two things - pride and consistency. And since no one really wants to talk about pride, I'm focusing on consistency.

I read my Bible, but not consistently.
I clean my kitchen, but not consistently.
I discipline my kids, but not consistently.
I pay attention to my husband, but not consistently.
I care for my friends, but not consistently.
I exercise, but not consistently.
I am thankful, but not consistently.
I am generous, but not consistently.

You get the idea.

About the only thing I am consistent about is caring about me. That's the pride...we aren't talking about that right now. Well, I'm also consistent about eating chocolate.

So I have been spending time in November developing my consistency. I have been setting aside time to read my Bible. Sometimes that means I read with Jeffrey laying on my bed next to me. Sometimes that means I read with Morgan asking me questions every two seconds, "Mommy, what is your favorite color? What is your next favorite? And you like pink too?" Here's what I figure...we are supposed to meditate on His word all day. Not just carve out 30 min of utter uninterrupted silence in which to focus on just what He has to say to us. And we are supposed to pray without ceasing. I'm sorry, I am a mother of six beautiful, but very needy children and the wife to one amazing, but very busy husband. Some days I'm just happy to take a shower without correcting a child or answering questions. To find time to read and study and pray seems impossible.

So I picked a book of the Bible and am reading maybe a chapter, maybe just a few verses each morning. After I am dressed and have eaten breakfast - otherwise I fall asleep on God. For me, this is the time of day that I can focus. But it also meant that I said no to just about everything that happens first thing in the morning. I knew I needed to get this part of my life under control. Most mornings, I have read my Bible by 9am - its not like it has taken me forever.

The other thing I have done is started writing out what I am praying for. And then those things are on my mind all day, and I can pray for them throughout the day.

The funny thing is that as I have started to become consistent with these things, the other things are starting to fall into place. Not perfectly, but its a start. I am keeping up with laundry. I'm keeping the kitchen clean. I am focusing on talking with my kids not just disciplining them (harder to do with the four year old - God love him!!) I'm trying to find little ways to show my husband I love him and am so thankful for all he does for our family.

The other thing that has happened is that I am reading my Bible and seeing themes without a Bible study aide. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with devotionals - I think many of them are wonderful and really help. But I wanted it to be just me and God. Not Oswald Chambers, not Chuck Swindoll, not (gasp!) Beth Moore. Just a conversation between God and me.

This week I have been reading through Ezekiel. I have no clue why I chose to start there. Really it is quite the depressing book of the Bible. God has asked Ezekiel to lay on his side for 390 days, to eat food cooked over dung, and to not appear to be mourning after the death of his wife. Not the most encouraging. God has pronounced judgement on just about every people in existence (okay not sure that is true, but it seems like it), but here is the cool part...God's goal with all of this is so that we will know that He is the Lord! That is my goal... I want to know that He is MY Lord!