Thursday, 15 November 2012

Always Pick the Pretty One.




I think, as a woman, I can fall into the rut... or plunging ravine ...of just "making do", just "getting by".

OF COURSE we all have days that are pulling us in so many different directions that some making-do-ness is required and necessary and totally legit.
I can't even speak on anyone else's life. I just know - for me - it can go very very quickly from one day to an unconscious total mind-set shift...and just.like.that. I'm on auto pilot.

I'm aware of this in myself.
I am actively deciding to show up for my life.
It's a choice I've made.
There was a turning point...

I had started taking stock...taken some time to reflect.
I was trying to figure out when I had checked out. When I had stopped feeling fully. When I had shifted to "making do" for my LIFE not just a day.
Ya know what was haunting?
I couldn't remember.
I had been in a fog for so long that I couldn't even pin point a timeframe where it had been different.
I found this very very unsettling and disturbing.
So I shook myself. HARD.
I woke up.
I started making choices again...actively.
I started doing everyday things that brought joy and conscious awareness again.
I stopped "phoning in" my days and started showing up instead.
Not easy.
Actually really hard.
But beyond worth it.

Here's the thing though....
~ As with EVERYTHING in EVERY area of my life ~
It's not a one-time decision that sticks and never shifts again.
It's an always and everyday series of choices that I make.
I'm responsible for me.

I'm not perfect.
Give me a LONG week, a hard and draining day, some bad news, a sick kid, a lull in my journal and devotional life...
And auto pilot kicks in.
I DON'T want this to happen.

I got a wake up call the other week when I was hurriedly picking some clothes from my drawer, scrambling to get myself dressed after taking care of everyone else's needs before school.
We were bordering on lateness and I grabbed for the plain, non-descript, white shirt.
My 3 year old stood by and watched my frenzied actions and came and put her hand on my arm.
I stopped.
I looked at her.
She put her hand on the shirt with flowers and colours on it.
"Always pick the pretty one momma".
I laughed and thought...of course that's the way a little girl thinks.....like everyday is an occasion...and why on Earth would you leave the pretty one sitting in the drawer?

BUT

Why don't I think everyday...TODAY...is worthy of the lovely, the beauty, the effort, the choosing of the pretty...for me?

I push myself to bring creativity and variation and nutrition to my kids' lunches. Because they're worth it.
I put thought into what clothes they wear each day, picking the ones they like and feel good in. Because they're worth it.
I grab their drinks and their breakfast and pack their bags for school each morning. Because they're worth that effort.
I want them to have a great day. A great start. A great sense of home. A great outlook on life!

When the quiet moment comes in MY day and I can take time for joy and devotion and the lovely...I often choose to close the drawer and stick with the basic and the non-descript version of my life.

I need the reminders.
I  need the wake up calls.
I want the colour in life. I desire the lovely. I need the devotion. I crave the beauty.
I welcome the lesson in all of its forms and I love that God uses a 3 year old girl who believes in being a princess and a firefighter at the same time as my teacher more often than I could have imagined.
Today is extraordinary and it only comes around once. As the seconds tick...this day slips away never to return again.
I'm going to look for the lovely and choose it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tuscan Bean Soup with Spinach

Happy Friday :)

It's a day full of kids ~ no-school day here ~ and a little birthday celebration for a cousin and lots of smile-worthy stuff.
We have some mellow music playing on the ipod, we had cinnamon buns for breakfast and the play dough is getting lots of action.

Here's a soup I made yesterday.
It's simple and delicious.

Here's the back-story....
I was stuck in kid~land food for AGES.
I was sick of it. I was uninspired and I wasn't willing to make elaborate dishes with complex ingredients that my kids would look at and cry.
Not joking!

I hit a wall.
I realized once again that I'm in charge of my happiness and satisfaction in every area...even meals.
I found a solution.
Because it mattered to me.
Because I was SICK to death of grilled cheese and waffles.

I make small portions of the lovely, amazing food I enjoy.
I eat it.
I don't have left overs.
I don't suffer tears and drama.
I accept that my kids' pickiness is for a season.
I re-entered the world of YUM.
Happy.

Tuscan Bean Soup with Spinach.

 
10 1/2oz canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
10 1/2oz canned cranberry beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2c chicken or vegetable stock
1/2c small dry pasta shapes
4tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
Fresh baby spinach ~ as much as you like
salt and pepper
 
Place half the cannellini and half the cranberry beans in a food processor (*I used an immersion blender*) with half the chicken stock and blend until smooth.
(*I only had white kidney beans and it still tasted amazing*)
Pour into a large, heavy-bottom pan and add the remaining beans.
Stir in enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like, then bring to a boil.
 
Add the pasta and spinach and return to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 15ish minutes, or until just tender.
 
Meanwhile, heat 3tbsps of the oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3mins, or until golden. Stir the garlic into the soup.
 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls.
 
 
DELICIOUS!
 
"A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting."
 
 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Perfectly Imperfect


She is 3.
She is magic and passion and laughter and fire all rolled into 3 short years on this Earth.
She learns and grows...it seems everyday...always something new, different, astonishing.
I am pretty enthralled with her.

I watch her draw.
I see the big circle head and the dots for eyes and the straight line for a mouth.
Inside I think ~ there is nothing else in this world that I would rather watch right this second.
I marvel at her progress and her creativity. I drink in her imagination and listen for the story that will go with the picture.
It is life giving to my soul to be a part of her world.

She finishes the first person and goes on to the second.
The circle line doesn't match. It doesn't meet up.
Her demeanour immediately changes. Darkens.
"That's NOT the way it's supposed to look".
I tell her it's awesome and that she's doing her best.
"It's NOT right and I can't fix it. That's NOT what a head looks like. It's wrong."
And in a blink the whole page is in the garbage and she never wants to colour again....

I can't match her frustration with an opposing argument.
It doesn't matter what I offer up in that moment by way of encouragement or teaching.
She wants perfection. Her 3 year old hands and coordination don't afford her the ability to pull off her idea of perfection and so she is inconsoleably disappointed in herself.

It pains me.
I know I couldn't have handled it differently.
I know her...I know me.
Oh...what was that??

Ahh, yes.
I know me.

Her reaction.
Her unattainable perfectionism.
Her self-critical nature....
It's me.
I see me.

I want to shrink away from this scenario.
I want it to be different because I know where it leads.
I want her to be different because I want her to be happy and carefree and confident and accepting of her best efforts.
I desire that....for her.

Hmmm...but why don't I desire that for me?
A three year old comes into my life and holds up a larger than life-size mirror and a 35 year old sees her reflection.

Truth wash over me.
Revelation sink in.
Don't let this moment and its teaching and its value be fleeting.

Open my eyes to see that my everyday is my best effort.
Open my heart to acceptance...of me.
Open my mind to remember that there is Someone who marvels at His creation.
Open my soul to remember that I am counted in that creation.

Today is a great day to interrupt the cycle.
Today is ripe for modeling something new.
Today is calling for my perfect imperfection.
I'm going to bring it...and offer it...and let it shine.
Today.