Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Because You Love Me

I love Valentine's Day. Anytime the color pink and chocolate are found in the same place I'm really very happy. We had a sweet time this year. Incorporating what has become a tradition for us of a spaghetti dinner followed by a cake frosted in pink. The girls love it and Dirk loves that a meal is actually served at well...meal time.

Menu planning completely alludes me. I've seen the calendars, notebooks, Post-it pads, and every manner of meal time helper out there and none of them call my name. It's like dinner takes me by surprise every single day. I want to say to my family: You want to eat again? Didn't you just eat yesterday? I admire those who plan their meals out a week in advance and buy all of the ingredients ahead of time. I live closer to the edge where it's 4:45pm and I am trying to figure out a way to make a meal for a family of four ;out of a few pieces of lunch meat, bread crumbs, and an apple. I do want to improve in this area and suppose breaking down and making a plan is all that I can do. Yesterday was a better day. I made this and it was both simple and enjoyed by the entire family.

This is not a picture I took of course nor is the actual meal I prepared. Dinner a la Pinterest post. Mine looked nothing like this as none of the recipes I try from Pinterest ever do, but it was really tasty. Light soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice combined and poured over chicken breasts in a slow cooker. I even made my own veggies and multi-grain rice to serve alongside. Look how fancy I can be when I only cook one day a month!

Please note that I am cooking today too before you pick up the phone to call Protective Services. I really do want to do better in this area and realize that when kids ask for a family meal to enjoy together around a common table it's actually a good thing.

Anyway, back to Valentine's Day...I know you were on pins and needles. I often ask both of my girls something their Auntie Mary has asked them for years: "Why are you so beautiful?" It's been fun to hear their varied responses as the years go by. For quite a while now Ainsley has answered with this profound response: "Because you love me." Isn't that just the whole truth? The reason she is so beautiful to me is because I love her. We see beauty in those we love. May we see it in everyone else as well.

Here's a Valentine's Day picture of the little lovie who indeed is so very much loved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Nightstick in Your Own Eye

We went to church on Saturday night on an uncharacteristically rainy night in San Antonio.

I noticed an orange vest draped across the back of the chair in front of me. I quickly concluded that the gentleman seated there was one of the church's many parking attendant volunteers. I'm Macgyver-like in this way. Anyway, we settled into our seats and it was quiet, time for the service to begin when a cell phone in the purse of the woman sitting behind me started to ring. She simply forgot to silence it. But before she had a chance to shut it off Mr. Parking Attendant Volunteer turned all the way around in his seat and gave her the look. I felt for her. An innocent mistake and she was being shamed for it. But as she was attempting to silence it, it rang another time and Mr. Parking gave her yet another look that didn't say anything close to sorry about that.

So the phone silenced and the service carried on and it was time for communion. People were quieting as we prepared to receive the bread and the wine. When all of a sudden out of nowhere Mr. Parking turns all the way around in his seat and starts waving his orange baton in the air over his head. Because nothing says reverence and respect like waving a giant nightstick over your head during the Lord's supper. We quickly noted that he was flagging down a friend for whom he'd saved a seat. She came to the seat and the two immediately began chit-chatting away like they were at Starbucks. Hmm.

The whole thing just struck me as ironic. He didn't have any problem displaying his obvious distaste and judgement toward someone else who'd simply forgotten to take care of something that might be a disruption to others. Yet there he was waving a ginormous orange glow stick in front of my face when I'm pondering the night on which Jesus was betrayed. I know there's a lesson to be learned here. Pretty sure there's a Bible verse about taking the nightstick out of your own eye before plucking out someone else's ringing cell phone. Hope I learned it. We all mess up sometimes. May we lavish grace onto others just as it was lavished onto us.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Right on Time. Early Even.

I just found a library book (in the first place I looked) that is due today. There's just no question that with this kind of good fortune today is going to be an amazing day. Hope the Happiness Fairy will be returned before the fines start to accrue. Much as I strive to get all of the girls' books back before the due date I fall short as a mother right there. But today is different. Look out world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Learning to Follow

So it turns out that battling bugs the size of sesame seeds is wildly exhausting. Who knew? But it is. And this past weekend I was ready to rest. But 'twas not to be. Dirk was working like mad to meet a writing deadline for work and he really needed me to take the lovies out for a bit so he could have some quiet.

Well it just so happened it was Home Depot workshop day. A day I have grown to love only because it was a kiddie event that I am not typically required to attend. Somehow being in a warehouse sized home improvement store crammed with kids pounding hammers non-stop doesn't conjure up images of rest and peace for me.

But there I was with my orange-aproned lovies right in the thick of it. Peeps, it was stressful. I mean it kind of was. I'm pretty handy as far as projects go but don't expect me to pound nails with any sort of accuracy. Or follow plans for a woodworking project. No, please don't expect that. But there the girls were, eager to make their wooden valentine wall hangings with a mother without one clue how to take the first step.

I read the instructions but all I saw (over the incessant pounding of hammers around us) was "Wa wa wa wa wa" in the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher. Except there weren't any words of instruction. Only pictures with little arrows by the nails pointing in the direction they should go. Seemed simple enough. But all of the pieces of wood were angled in such away that one false move and the wall hanging became a doorstop. DIY disaster to be sure. But I stepped up to the plate and gave it my best shot. As I began to place the nails where I thought they should go a woman from Germany (wild guess here) said, "These is so complex for za children. So very deeficult. Do not follow directions on za paper. Pound zee nails in zee back first." Her little wall hanging was all finished. She seemed a trustworthy source from whom to take instruction.

So I listened to my sauerbraten loving friend. I pounded zee nails in zee back. But it didn't work. And I was growing increasingly nervy and wanted to go home and or to the airport to board a plane to Maui. But it was Emerson who won the day. "Mama, it's okay. It goes this way," she instructed. And in a matter of minutes it was my precious little zeven seven year old lovie who was putting the wooden hanger together for both herself and her baby sister.

I wonder how many lessons I've learned from my kids. How many times I've done better to let them take the lead. Oh, I hope I remember to follow more and more often. Their ways are often so much sweeter. And sometimes full of crazy as they'd like nothing more than to ride in the trunk of the car or jump off of the balcony. So, moderation in the following of the littles. Moderation in all things. I do know that much. But, oh, they do know a thing or two about a thing or two.

This morning Ainsley love was looking for her little dolly. It's a plastic doll on which you can snap little changes of clothes. She's a little bit in love with her. She was sad in thinking she had been misplaced when all of a sudden her face lit up like the sun. She remembered where she had put her. She pulled back her curtain to reveal the dolly standing, facing out the window. "I put her here last night so she could look at the stars," she beamed. Of course. Shouldn't we all point one another so that we can see the stars. May it always be.