Tips, Tidbits, and Morsels from the Slippery Hallways of Experience

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on many of life’s lessons that I have learned through the years.

I could pretend that I somehow missed the memo on preparing for adulthood when I was a teen.  But truthfully, I had my nose in a book, an instrument to my lips, spent years training my voice, and often had a pen in my hand.  Mom tried to prepare me for the life skills a young woman would need as did my Home Economics teachers.  Musical and written creativity came so naturally; threading that sewing machine needle and cooking simply did not.

Growing up, my sister and I split the chores equitably to our liking; she did the cooking and I did the cleaning.  As a newlywed, my first attempt at making Mom’s vegetable soup was a disaster.  (Using plain water instead of tomato juice as the broth base was not a good idea.)  Before the convenience of the internet, I phoned my twin sister to ask her how to cook real macaroni and cheese; not the “from a box” kind that I usually made. She told me to add milk.  (Just in case you’ve ever wondered, canned evaporated milk and milk from a jug do very different things to a pan of baked macaroni and cheese.)  Oh, how I wish I had listened to my mother!

I venture to say that there may be others who have found themselves in the same boat; feeling unprepared and/or overwhelmed by their many roles in life.  Hence, from time to time on my Tips and Tidbits page, I will be sharing little “helps” and easy recipes that have made my life a little easier.  I can assure you there have been lots of lessons learned by trial and error, research, other’s wisdom, and yes, much laughter and quite a few tears.

Tit 2:3-5  the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

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The Refining Fires of Busyness

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I am so sorry for the unplanned hiatus these past couple of months.  Sometimes the seesaw of life (relationships, roles, unplanned events, and tasks) tips unevenly to one side or the other and seems to stay there awhile.  During busy seasons and faced with a decision on where to focus my energies, I often set creative endeavors aside.

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No, don’t adjust your monitor.  These photos are indeed out of focus and a little distracting.  A couple of years ago, the pace of daily life shifted to warp speed.  There’s barely time to live in each moment; much less process it.  As I click away, my mind continually processing scenes faster than the camera, my husband often shakes his head.  (I have even requested that no blurry photos be deleted.  Someday, I just might use those!)  Sometimes I snap a shot as some writing idea races through my mind.  More often than not, I am simply trying to capture the scenes of life flying past.

The busier the schedule gets, the quieter I become. But that quietness on the outside doesn’t always mean stillness on the inside.  Internally, there is often a flurry of activity as changes come fast and furious and I find myself in a continual balancing act.  There are times that I am quite certain the flexibility joint has bent as far as it possibly can.  But God always shows me that, yes, it can bend some more … if I am willing. He uses these hectic seasons to help me prioritize between the essential and non-essential.

Today, He may use me to bring comfort through a smile or a hug; to listen and cry with a grieving friend over a devastating loss.  Tomorrow, my role may be that of a secretary, chauffeur, dishwasher, or grocery shopper.  Next week, it could be as homework checker, teacher, or all around errand runner; to name only a few.  And on most days, the roles collide and blend together.  Regardless of the task, I am called to be available; even in the words of my posts.

Yes, there is joy at warp speed … again, if I am willing.  Instead of focusing on what isn’t getting done or what’s up ahead, God reminds me of the importance of the tasks He sets before me.  He would have me live fully in His moment; not mine.   It’s not the speed of life that’s the issue; the problem surfaces when I take my eyes off of God, even for a second.

I pray that one day, even in the busiest of seasons, a peaceful spirit will reign inside as well as out.

Romans 15:32-33 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.  Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Special Reminder

This piece was written when our children were very young and posted in an e-zine no longer published. Those early stay-at-home mom years were sweet and tender. But, quite honestly, they were also full of hard work and sometimes, utter exhaustion. God always sent whatever was needed at just the right time. Be it a friend offering to help fold laundry, a family member surprising us with a cooked meal, or a kind word of encouragement from a dear sister in Christ. I pray I never forget those precious years nor the angels of mercy sent my way.

SPECIAL REMINDER

It has been one of those days that young mothers have so often. The laundry is piled high and I fear one of the babies may crawl into a pile and disappear. The unwashed dishes are stacked haphazardly. I just know that the little one, trying to help, will soon send dishes crashing to the floor.

I walk from room to room, seeing many household tasks before me. From morning to night, my feet tread the same path. At the end of the day, I often feel as if no progress has been made.

As I open the refrigerator to fill drink cups yet again, my eyes stray to a familiar newspaper clipping amidst the colorful magnets plastered all over the door. The poem’s author is unknown and I’ve read it many times before. But for some reason, today the poignant words strike a chord.

I read of a mother’s tender reflections on hands once too busy to play, now hauntingly still. My eyes fill with tears and I release a heavy sigh. It was exactly what my weary soul needed to hear on this difficult day.

Often my own hands are busy when my children ask me to play. My days are spent cleaning our home and caring for my babies. But in the busyness of daily chores, a very important part often gets left out. I rarely set aside time to just play with my little ones.

It was no accident that poem caught my eye today. God, in His gracious mercy, had answered my earlier request for encouragement.

I realize that as my children get older, they will not want to play games, find hidden treasures, or chase butterflies. Time flies and they will be grown with families of their own someday.

Much too soon, my own arms will ache with loneliness. I will no longer be able to kiss the hurts away, play with their dollies and cars, and read the same stories over and over.

God gently reminded me to cherish this gift; this special day with my children.

2 Corinthians 1:4 … [God] who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. NKJV