To break her crust with bare fingers
the warming earth
this loaf of bread
one must tear through, thumbs pressed in
encounter root, rock, worm
the soft centre of things
one dark, one light
hidden then exposed by the work of hands.
One must prepare
for dark circles under nails
the definition of finger creases
a crumb confetti on the lap,
and with hands raised to open face
the smell of history; this land
broken for you ~
Nothing prepares you
in the beginning when he wails into night’s quiet hours
and maybe it’s not about him needing you that much
more about him being mad
to be pushed from warm nest into cold world.
Still you do what you can, breast to soft mouth, arms wrapped
tight against everything. You let go in small ways
like a bandage being torn slowly from scab over wound
you feel how he forgets to look back
that first time at the playground, how he smiles wider
with his friends. It’s what you do. Nobody tells you exactly how.
You order each memory in a scrapbook, smooth down his life captured
in a thousand framed stories
and wonder how seventeen years can lay out so well on the page
you are ragged edged, coming unglued.
Considering the upcoming High School Graduation of my son, Malcolm James Evans, whom I am especially fond of.
I’m sitting on my couch and the sounds of dishwasher and kids playing ping pong and dog snoozing are all I hear. I didn’t go to the church with walls and ceiling today. Instead, I stayed home and made banana pancakes for my two sons. We talked at the table. It was very good. Why not celebrate God is Love right here and now.
I’m reminded of Mies Van Der Rohe, of his “less is more” approach, and how I’ve got to be reminded of that over and over again when Spring hits and soccer and must do’s overwhelm my preferred life of simplicity. Personal time, family time, down time, meal time, is all affected. I have to seize each opportunity as it comes. Rather than live by obligation or should do’s, do what my heart says. See the beauty in the moment, like the inside of a cabbage I cut open and discovered the beauty above.
I also found this… a reflection I wrote a while ago on an old blog… but think I needed to read again today. For permission. For confirmation. For grace. For the reminder that;
I’m also a simple woman with a sphere of influence that starts at my own kitchen table.
Some days I just need to hear myself repeat out loud and in ink the things that are good, so that I can actually believe it. And maybe the more I speak the truth, the more it is absorbed into my heart, mind and soul, to take the place of the sadness, the weight of living. Today is such a day.
422. His ankle is sprained, not broken.
423. He is almost home… hang on just a few more hours.
424. The game was cancelled. I don’t have to drive in the dark and the snow tonight.
425. The man with the crutch who was there early and offered him the crutch… divine appointment.
426. They care so much for our kids at the school. So, so much.
427. He made us lunch. He made chicken noodle soup. It was so good.
428. There is blue out there… enough to make a shirt.
429. Hugs… nothing like them.
430. A gift under her tree for me.
431. Looking in your eyes. Seeing you looking back.
432. Christmas choral music… Messiah… sigh…
433. Twinkle lights.
434. I love you to infinity and beyond!
435. He tells me he is thankful for my baking and my cooking.
436. The apples clinging to the orchard trees in the dead of winter.
437. Silly movies… very silly movies. Laughter…
438. Realizing it’s about me listening, obeying, not the outcome.
439. Sharing the crosswalk with a sweet older lady… a brief conversation.
440. Saying sorry… getting nothing in return. Being OK with that.
441. Rest. Allowing myself rest.
442. Everything matters.
443. Everything is grace.
444. Thank you, Anne Voskamp, for getting me started. For lifting up my chin, whispering into my heart, affirming the need to speak thanks into being, for the miracles that happen. Thank you, dear Anne. Perhaps one day we will cross paths this side of heaven?
445. A cup of tea as darkness falls…
Soli Deo Gloria,
It’s been a long time since I’ve rambled here… ranted, yes, but not rambled. So here goes, with seasonal thoughts of Christmas and snow and cold and inside warmth and preparing and stressing and singing and holiness and awe and wonder and sweet and varied moments withand friends, all on my mind:
1. overheard in the front hallway, “Well mom, are you trying to be in style, or to have your own individual style? hmmm… was there a commentary in there somewhere?
2. overheard in the car, “That’s just my old man strength.”
3. overheard on the airwaves through out the house, 24/7 Christmas tunes coming at us on the net… have you ever checked out the abundant free music available online?
4. so the local soccer supply store burned down the other night. We have had such great service from the manager there who always finds us the right fit and a good deal. I sure hope they find a way to open up again before too long. We’re so sorry Soccer X-Press!
5. sent out my first Christmas package by mail to family back east… but I still feel slightly disorganized and lacking in ideas… perhaps a little pinterest coupled with a good google search might inspire and help me with some new and creative gift ideas? After all, no stress, it’s still November right?
6. trying to increase the amount of veggies and fruits and reduce the amount of meat and carbs isn’t easy in a family where teens are hungry every 2 hours… just what do I feed them to fill them up?
7. loving the way Okanagan College offers personal attention to it’s students.
8. mandarin oranges, japanese varieties, miniature varieties, chinese varieties… many varieties are in stores now. Yummm!!!
9. Advent, meaning “arrival’ is something we have adopted into our family tradition. Four Sundays leading up to Christmas are rich with potential for celebrating the Advent… the pending arrival of baby Jesus, the promise of the returning Christ, and the incarnation (the God with us) in our lives. Did you know that Advent historically involved fasting, doing without in varying degrees leading up to the 25th, so when the big Christmas feast came at last, there was a renewed appreciation of the abundant favour and blessing of God. I like that. The tasting and seeing that God is good.
10. seeking ways to inject my life/our lives with meaning is something I am always on the lookout for… so do you have any ideas for meaning-filled Christmas activities, any stories to share?
11. planning and anticipating carolling with family and friends… and the faint possibility that it just might snow while we are walking around the neighbourhood from door to door. Yep, I’m sentimental.
Peace, abundant peace,
- How Advent Can Be Much More Than “The Christmas Season” (glennpackiam.typepad.com)
208. church spire above urban sprawl
209. old brick houses that someone still loves
210. hugging Dad
211. hugging Mom
212. playing silly hand clapping games with my neice
213. phone calls home
214. realizing home and the place you grew up are two different things
215. split rail fences
216. patina, erosion, moss, and all things that measure time passing
217. finding the one trophy I ever won for being a ‘good citizen’ in grade school
218. new and old things to photograph
219. preparing a meal for my parents
220. Hummingbird at Mom’s feeder
221. the kindness of the Go bus driver who let me ride with no cash to pay for my fare
222. moon shining on my bed
223. internet access after a few days without it
224. playing childhood piano in the livingroom
225. good food, wine and conversation in local cafe
I first wrote this piece in 2006, but it came to my mind this morning as I was facing yet another kitchen full of the aftermath of getting the family up and out the door to school. There were so many things I would rather do than clean up. Yet, as I reflected on the fact that putting my house in order is my ‘job’, well, I just did it. And I stood back and admired the tidy kitchen before I sat down at my computer to work on some other needful things. Better than facing the dirty kitchen later in my morning, when feelings of resentment would probably accompany my tidying efforts.
In any case, here’s what I wrote, which still rings true in my life today.
I had to apologize to my children yesterday after school. I have been home ‘sick’ for the past few days, and after my energy level began to pick up I found myself cleaning and tidying like I haven’t done in some time. And the only reason I can think of for the renewed interest in cleaning, is that I’m actually AT HOME.
My life as a homemaker is usually quite busy, and I don’t enjoy all of the chores that come with my job description. Many of my tasks are outside the home too, and most of those are more enjoyable. So, my days usually include a variety of things, from walking my dog, to helping in the classroom, to grocery shopping, to errands, and even the occasional coffee with friends. I have tried a number of different ways to accomplish my tasks in the home, both scheduled and non-scheduled. The scheduled approach is best for me, so that on Monday I know it’s laundry day. There isn’t any doubt that its laundry day, it just is. I don’t have to justify, rationalize or wonder, It’s just laundry on Monday.
Problem is, on Mondays I’m not always home for the day. And our laundry piles are pretty prolific. So, making it laundry day doesn’t get it done. Only being at home and working through it systematically gets it done.
So, this week, being at home and sick, reminded me that I haven’t been home enough. As my husband kindly reminds me from time to time, it’s all about balance. And when the scales are full of dirty clothes on one side and no clean ones on the other side, then that’s definitely not balance.
When I was home I saw other indications of unbalance in the form of cobwebs, burnt out light bulbs, grubby bathroom taps etc. And I felt badly for two reasons. One, that the job that I’ve been entrusted with isn’t being done to the best of my abilities, and two, that I’m setting a less than excellent example to my kids. How can I, with good conscience, tell them off for not making their beds, when I haven’t made mine.
So, my apology to my kids was for both of these reasons. I want them to know that I blow it some times, and that I’m human. But I also want them to know that our family values include doing our best, keeping our commitments, and meeting our responsibilities, even when it’s not fun stuff. Would I rather be out grocery shopping than scrubbing toilets – absolutely! Does the thought of 10 loads of laundry fill me with joy? Not really, but I do feel joy when the job is complete. Even if the hamper stays empty for only a few hours, I feel a certain sense of accomplishment at a job well done, at having given my best to the task, and at having been true to my commitment to care for my family.
Because I love words and the impact they have on me – they stick – I thought of a little line of words that I could think about when the lure of e-mail is greater than the messy kitchen. It’s simply this, “The discipline of first things first”.
The word discipline might not sit well with you. It’s received a bad rap, I think, as we immediately consider the negative connotations of disciplining our children, or the stern teacher disciplining students. But discipline has another side to it. It’s about choosing to do what you have already committed to. It’s about meeting priorities, even when they are not pleasant. It’s about choosing the important things over the needful things of the moment. It’s about lining up my behaviour with my values.
My spiritual life requires discipline. It’s so much easier to call up a friend for emotional support than to pray to my heavenly father. It’s easier to keep on doing chores and running errands than stop for a quiet time of reading, meditation, and praise. It’s so tempting to sleep in on Sunday morning rather than joining together with God’s people for worship and teaching. You may think that choosing the latter in each case sounds like legalism, but for me anyway, the discipline combined with the desire allows me to make better choices. Better choices for me anyway. You will have to decide what’s ‘first’ in your own life.
Today was a good day. I chose to read my devotional before I started my day’s work. I chose to clean the kitchen before I answered personal e-mails. I chose to finish what I had started, before beginning a new project. Not martyrdom, simply honouring my priorities. Everyone’s will be different. But everyone has them. It’s a matter of sticking to them, and that does take discipline.
Trying to be faithful in the little things,