Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas and other seasons

Well, friends. Things don't always go as planned.  You get your bags packed, cross of those lists, then BOOM, the kids get sick and your trip gets derailed. 


Three visits to the doctor in one week, five prescriptions, and at least a half a dozen breathing treatments later, I think we're on the mend.  

As sad as we were to miss our Thanksgiving with family out of town, we decided to make the most of our vacation at home.  Cleaned the house, put up the tree, made this year's ornaments, watched movies, did some gift shopping, went fishing, and managed a Thanksgiving meal here in 24-48 hours.  How's that for spontaneous?

Here are some of the highlights:
We were bummed about not going to Virginia, so we thought some Christmas cheer would help.
Thankfully, one set of grandparents were around for the holiday meal.
Zingle made a comeback.
My husband and oldest son love to make things out of sticks.

Each year we add an ornament.  This is our Charleston sweetgrass basket.

The kids put their rock, leaf, and shell collections into this year's ornaments...with glitter, of course!
As the family recovered from our shared illnesses, we enjoyed a slower pace this past week.  Laughing at each other, getting out of the house so we wouldn't slug each other, finding new places to eat with waterfront views (and no dishes) with each other. We even walked on the beach!

And now, it's my favorite, favorite time of year.  After nine years as a family, we discovered we officially had enough homemade and collected ornaments to almost fill the branches on our tree and packed away the nice, but not as special decorations.

There's nothing like Christmas music, tree lights, scented candles, and coffee to start your day.


This season meets us in a time of transition.  This is not our house. We have to seek out new traditions to begin.  A lot of Christmas cards need to be mailed with a new address.  Meanwhile, the kids are learning that the heart of Christmas is about giving and having fun doing it, and their mom is remembering that this is right where we are supposed to be, and we're all going to be just fine.  

It's also a season to shake off that serious, too busy, frustrated attitude and enjoy the witty comebacks, the messy craft projects, and random questions that kids bring- inviting them into your world and entering theirs. Everything else can wait.

By giving, not just gifts, but time, we win hearts in the process.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Having to and Wanting to

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...- Ecclesiastes 9.10

I'm going to be honest.  When I see the dirty dishes crawling out of the kitchen sink and invading the counter tops, I just turn away and walk out of the room.  I straighten the pillows on the couch, organize some toy bins, rotate a load of laundry, check my Facebook, and make grocery lists.  When I'm thirsty and can't find my glass of water, I force myself to start the cleanup process.  Ugh.  I don't WANT to do the dishes!

Sure, I feel accomplished after the task is done, but I struggle almost daily with developing a heart to serve my family.  Am I alone here?  It's not that I don't love them.  It's the mundane rituals of making messes and cleaning up after them that I avoid like the plague.  I would much rather read stories than have to wash another sippy cup.  Coloring pictures with my kids is much more fun than sweeping up the crumbs on the floor. 

I  HAVE to do the majority of the housekeeping, because five people live here and only two are grownups.  Only one of those adults is at home all day, and the three small humans don't help as much as they should.  Every room turns into a catastrophe when a family of five lives, eats, and plays here! Again, anyone else feel me?

It looks like someone (ME) is going to have to put her big girl rubber gloves on and sing a little working song, because it's never good to expect another person to do the job that's sitting right in front of you- literally...on the kitchen counter.  Bad things can happen.  Bad smells happen.  Small animals may think the place has been deserted and start making themselves at home. Yikes.

So since I can't avoid the dirty dishes any longer, how can I change my HAVE-TO attitude to a WANT-TO perspective?

I was reminded the other day that we all have a "calling."  That's a churchy word for a heart-felt passion; a reason for doing something, even when it's not always fun.  Or, as Webster defines it, "a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence ."

Being a stay-at-home mom is a calling.  As with any job, there's going to be blah tasks that are purely necessary to our end-goal.  To push through the parts of this role that I don't like (the dishes, to be exact), I may have to recite,
Do your best.  Work from the heart for your real Master, for God. -Colossians 3.23
We're not working for our family, but for God, who calls us to serve one another.

So, Dani,
It's time to get those hands soapy and wash those dishes with HEART! 
Remember, this is your calling.  You didn't have to.  You WANTED to :-)

What do you HAVE to do that you don't always enjoy?
Can you see how it contributes to the big picture?