Friday, December 13, 2013

The Bread

Ahh, the bread-making days are the very best days. 

It's been a while now that I've been making our bread.  A kind woman who is a bit older than me allowed the girls and me to visit one hot July morning.  I remember calling her and inviting myself over so that she would teach me how she does what she does. 

My girls were one and three years old at the time.  She had the best well-behaved, well-mannered kids I'd ever met.  Teenagers at that!  They sewed their own homecoming dresses, babysat every kid in the neighborhood (families with seven children!), and bread seemed like a good excuse to use to have some chatting time. 

I did not sit idly by with a cup of lemonade while she worked.  No.  She told me to roll up my sleeves and put flour on my hands the second we rolled in the door.  I learned so much that day that I still carry with me.  Bread, yes.  Life, without a doubt.  She's an amazing woman, wife, and mother.  This one's for you, Winnie.

There are a lot of moments where I completely blow it as a mom.  Well as a wife too if I'm honest.  My patience wears thin, I expect (and demand) too much, my words are not kind, and everyone feels on edge when mama is not happy.

But the days I bake bread... well, I have different energy.  I just feel more confident as a woman/wife/mama.  I don't know why but I'm full of more grace and peace and able to fill others' cups with it as well.  I have the recipe memorized now but still need to concentrate on counting out my 10 cups of bread flour. 

Yes, I do get a little testy when someone comes into the kitchen around cup 5 or 7 and then I lose count and shew them out lest my bread zen be completely lost.  But overall, we're all a little nicer on bread day.

Maybe it's the smell

Or using my very favorite bowl

Maybe it's the satisfaction in providing a simple, delicious, staple for my family

Maybe it's the slow, steady kneading and process that bread making requires. 

Whatever it is, I love bread days.  My joy is in serving those I love, especially those right inside these walls with me everyday. 

Thank you, Winnie for teaching me so much that ridiculously hot and humid July morning.  I've added another kiddo who loves the bread you taught me to make.  I can't say enough for how much I've learned from those who are a little bit ahead of me on this journey.  Little tidbits and valuable nuggets of info scattered into conversations have molded me into the person I am today. 
Who has mentored you, formally or informally, along the way?  Can you be a Winnie to someone?  We ALL have something to offer, something to teach or pass down.  Winnie has no idea how often I think of her and how much she has taught me in just living a godly life everyday.  She is worth more than rubies! I'm so thankful for the people God has placed in my life to help me up when I fall and to hold my hand along the way.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Struggle with Christmas

Well anyone that knows me well knows that I kinda struggle this time of year.  Not a little bit, either. 

It is so easy for me to get bogged down and depressed about the whole shebang.  Yes, I get a little Charlie Brown and then take a turn at Grumpy Street.  It's so hard for me to deal with all the stuff. 

I hate clutter.  Really, my kids know that smoke will come out of my ears if things are laying around in the family living spaces.  I'm cool with the playroom looking like a playroom.  I understand that their rooms are their personal spaces and things are out and about there.  But the rest of the place is mine.  ALL MINE.  And my husbands, but you know what I mean.

So my parents want to get my kids a ton of stuff.
My inlaws want to get my kids stuff.
There are aunts and uncles who are very well meaning and very generous, but alas... more stuff.

This is not a new problem, I completely understand that.  From what I've been reading and hearing, a lot of moms are in this boat and really dislike the mountains of stuff that finds it's way in the home this time of year.

I also get a little grumpy watching my kids grow increasingly greedy.  After opening a bunch of presents they look around and wonder what's next.  Hold me.

What do we do? How do I not let the mountains of stuff steal my joy? 

Because, I'm going to be honest here, my joy is hanging on by a thread.  Obligatory gift giving which results in unwanted items laying around is a complete waste of time, money, and space.  And that totally brings me down, man!

Well, I actually don't have a solution here.  Other than praying through it that God will change my heart.  My attitude will improve, and I will be grateful and joyful.  Even after Christmas when I look around at my decimated home and put my children through detox, I still need to have joy. 

We are here, we are healthy.  We have so very much to be thankful for.  We volunteer, we hang out with friends, we go to church.  Oodles of reasons to fall down on my face and say "thank you, Lord!"

Every once in a while I will get a new perspective.  I think if this "thing" really matters in light of eternity.  Is it really worth getting all worked about when I think about the Big Picture?  My mom and I had a huge fight because she was over-buying last month.  I said "please don't buy that" when we were at a store.  She marched right up to the counter and bought two. 

Is it worth it?

I do struggle and I don't want to.  I want to not care. 

 What do you do when your joy is being stolen?  How do you change a grumpy heart and poor attitude?  Pray more, run, exercise, read the Bible, bake lots of bread...?  I need help!

Hoping your season is full of joy and togetherness and maybe some cheesecake. Cheesecake is full of joy, right?