I really did have my act (YouTube video) together as promised, by 11:00 this morning. But this was the day when our new internet was (supposedly) being installed and THERE WAS NO INTERNET BETWEEN 9:00 and noon! But it’s there now!
I live with kind and undemanding folks, which sounds like a very good thing, right? But it can cause me to get a bit selfish and too into my own thing, which never seems to satisfy my soul. So, in my recent adventures in doing less and going my own way more, I am reminded of what I should KNOW by by: There is satisfaction in sharing, satisfaction in sacrifice.
And I am reminded of my mantra: A smart girl like you oughtta be able to figure this out. Of what am I speaking? I am speaking of the lack of shared meals happening of late at House of Parker.
We all have differing schedules, dietary preferences, and priorities–one person gets up at 3:30 a.m and is home any time between noon and 5:00; another gets off work at 11:00 p.m. The easy thing is to just say, “Who cares?”
The voice plaguing me says they don’t know or appreciate what it takes to put healthy meals on the table; it takes too much time; we’re in a new season and it doesn’t matter that much anyway. “Reason” continues: If I cook what they want it’s too hard to stay low-carb; let them cook their own–they know how.
And yes, they can and often do “cook their own” with the attendant continually messy kitchen, use of ingredients meant for other things, formation of unhealthy habits, and a general state of culinary chaos.
But that isn’t “the thing” really. The thing is that we no longer have “Table Share”. When I read a beautiful quote, or hear an amazing tale which simply must be shared for the joy and edification of all parties, for the common bond created via the ensuing good conversation, the best opportunity for doing so–while enjoying a meal–is unavailable.
What then shall a smart girl do? Give up? Sigh? Call someone and gripe (true friends share joys, not gripes)? No, she changes things here and there. She calls a family meeting first of all, enticing everyone with milk and no-bakes (chocolate oatmeal cookies cooked stovetop with plenty of butter, vanilla, salt, maybe some peanut butter and almond flavoring, and a bit more salt than called for).
In this meeting it is discerned that everyone is fine with her having more time to “do whatever” she wants, and that she should just “make herself happy”. And so . . . the hope that they will tell her what to do, how to solve this issue about which she is apparently the only one who cares, fades into more of the voices: It doesn’t matter; no one cares; you’re the only one bothered by this.
I own it. I am bothered by this, and that’s reason enough to do something about it, and I will find a solution.
So here it is: Breakfast together will be in the form of a weekend brunch; we’ll have dinner together (sort of–when it’s possible) and I will have beautiful times alone, as well as lovely times with only one of my beloveds at a time per their schedules, and on those marvelous times we’re all available, it will be all the more beautiful and lovely for the rarity.
And I will relax, and live in the unforced rhythms of grace given by my Creator. Because it always comes down to this: As smart as I am, He is smarter. He cares about what I care about, and He cares about me.
So rather than losing my creative juices via fretting, I will stop. Rest. And make my darlings happy by making myself happy. I will live each and every day without a plan or a goal, except to receive what God has for me–peace and love and joy–and pass it on. If that happens to be over a meal, so much the better.
Life is good. Worry is bad.
Mostly. I am not even missing non-essential viewing. Not one minute has been lost to TV since I began my four adventures. To re-cap, I began a quest on June 1: Let’s see what happens when (and if it’s possible) I attempt a six-month exit from the lands of: 1) TV watching; 2) fatiguing food consumption; 3) negative words; and 4) non-essential spending.
About that non-essential spending. Well . . . I bought two new outfits yesterday, and I won’t bore you with assertions of how essential these outfits are, of how long it’s been since I bought anything new, etc. I will say that John was trying to get me to go shopping for new clothes, and wasn’t giving up. I will say that there is no buyer’s remorse. I will say that I didn’t buy these clothes because they were on sale, which can often be likened to eating a bag of cookies because they’re low sodium. The satisfaction just isn’t there.
Moving on to what’s the toughest part–negative words. Boy, is this a process. It is helpful to me to keep on keeping on reading Psalms and Proverbs. Not only do I find therein continual evidence of the importance of words of life, of faith, but the help needed to stay the course.
And I pray. There are those tricky little areas that most people, including me, wouldn’t even notice as negativity. But upon further examination . . . when I think about the power of words, and that what I just said was a pronouncement of power, but not for good, I find so much of what I say is enforcing a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. “It is what it is,” is a dumb thing to say. It’s defeat. Talking the problem simply solidifies it in our minds as unsolvable.
I’d like to say, regarding consumption of fatiguing foods, that I’m doing soooo well, good, and fantastic! I’ll simply that that I’m making a bit of progress. My coffee consumption isn’t remaining at zero, but like the purchasing of those above-mentioned new outfits, I am making it special. For instance, yesterday. I split a piece of actually and truly made-from-scratch key lime pie with my daughter at Island Grill in Fort Collins, and had a cup of coffee that almost made me swoon when the server set it down under my nose. Since this was the appetizer and followed with a simply divine burger and cole slaw, I was not at all fatigued. Interesting concept: Food that is sometimes fatiguing can, done right, be energizing . . .
I am absolutely loving not watching. Not simply sitting and watching (and munching) I get a little more excited about life every single day. Might I suggest, ever so gently, that you consider a Zero For Six adventure quest of your own?
Thanks for joining me!
It is time. For change. Now. And so, beginning June 1 I am embarking on four Zero for Six projects:
#1–Zero Non-Essential Spending for Six Months
#2–Zero TV Watching for Six Months
#3–Zero Fatiguing Foods for Six Months
#4–Zero Faithless Words for Six Months
I will be sharing process and progress in posts and podcasts, in hopes we will all change our lives–six months at a time. So, if this sounds interesting and intriguing to you, please share the good news, and thanks very much! And remember to take a “before” pic, as you and your life will look very different in six months, if you choose to join me in this adventure.
Tomorrow I will share my preliminary plans and procedures for implementation of this exciting next six months of my life!
There was lots of fun stuff happening, and I was loving every single minute of it, except when I looked at Rebekah’s tight, sad, face. I gave her hugs, I asked her if she was OK, I mentioned it to John (husband/dad), and I queried her siblings, “Do you know what’s bothering Rebekah?” I gave her more hugs (she seemed to want lots of them) and finally, I prayed.
Rebekah is a writer, and we’ve had an ongoing issue about her using up school, chore, family and personal time on the computer–not writing, but looking up and reading about the somewhat ridiculous antics of various celebrities. Recently when I asked her if she was writing she fibbed to me about it. I don’t mind lies as much as I mind a child acting like I am the village idiot. “Shut the laptop,” I instructed firmly. “Do NOT get back on there until I say so. You can write in longhand on your legal pads for now.”
And I went about the business at hand: celebrating: Hannah was born on my and John’s anniversary and this year was, as all years, a celebration of the unmerited, beyond-all-I-could-ever-ask-or-think-or-imagine LOVE of Jesus. Still, I noted and pondered and watched the expressive and beautiful face of Rebekah.
Hannah had her birthday date with John, John and I had our anniversary date, we celebrated both with a steak dinner and birthday/anniversary party, I went on my Hannah date, and finally, last night about midnight, Hannah, John and Seth were off to bed, and Rebekah found her way to a bit of quiet with me.
“Mom,” she said, “I got on YouTube today. And yesterday. And the day before.”
“Why?” I said a bit sharply, reluctantly looking up from watching Creflo Dollar teaching about what the Bible says about speaking in tongues (very interesting stuff).
She looked utterly miserable and I was filled with compassion. I scooted over on the couch and told her to come curl up next to me. I took her in my arms and kissed her head. “Rebekah, God forgives me absolutely when I make a mistake, and I forgive you absolutely.”
She began to cry, and I recognized that look, the sound of those sobs: I try and I try and I just can’t seem to do what I say I will do. I’m such a loser, blah, blah, blah.
“It’s OK, Sweetheart,” I told her. “Tomorrow we will talk and pray and make a plan about exactly what you want to be learning and doing and enjoying. I want to see you practicing your violin. Do you want that?”
She began to cry again. “I don’t know why I haven’t been doing that.” Back to the self-chastisement, the recriminations and condemnation.
I was inspired as I thought of the “roaring success” of breakfast (cooked by her and her brother, Seth, while Hannah and I were gone). “There’s no reason you and I can’t cook more together (she loves doing things with me). We’ll put that on our petition of things we want to learn and do. Now, you just don’t worry about anything at all. We’ll work everything out tomorrow.”
She was still curled up next to me, in my arms. She sat up. “I feel better now.”
I did a few things right: I paid attention to my child, amidst all kinds of diverting activities; I responded correctly to all those hug requests; I shared my concerns with other family members, so that everyone would be kind, aware that “something’s bothering Rebekah”; I made myself available; I listened and suggested solutions, and she listened to me, because of the most important thing of all: I said, GOD FORGIVES YOU ABSOLUTELY AND I FORGIVE YOU ABSOLUTELY.
The Bible tells us that it’s His kindness that leads to repentance. In receiving His kindness, we are able to extend kindness to our children and to our mates, and to ourselves. Let’s do it! Amen.