Friday, January 27, 2012

Washing dishes....

 "Simple living is about living deliberately. Simple living is not about austerity, or frugality, or income level. It's about being fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and knowing that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully. Simple living is about designing our lives to coincide with our ideals."
- Janet Luhrs -

I stood at the sink tonight with all the dinner dishes around me and Little Miss sitting amid it all and I wondered why it is that suddenly we stopped doing things like washing dishes by hand, rinsing, drying, talking and bonding, and just plain sharing life together.

 Several months ago my dishwasher decided it had lived a long life and washed quite enough dishes. Without warning it went out with a bang and nearly scared me to death.
In a trice my man was beside me, sure that he had just heard the report of a gun right there in our little kitchen. 
Ever since that night, I've been washing dishes, or more accurately, "we" have been washing dishes.
I don't always do them myself and I almost never do them alone.  The boys help and naturally, Lex always wants to be right in the middle of it.

Do you remember doing dishes two people at a time? Standing at the sink shoulder to shoulder, one washing, one drying and all the time talking about the day or your interests?  Aren't times like this the times when bonding takes place?

Maybe family ties and home relationships were stronger before we had all these lovely time saving devices.  We hurry through our “chores” so that we can rush on and “relax” in front of the computer (or maybe the tv) and stay there for hours on end, everyone engrossed in their own thing, no one talking, just simply glued to the screen.

It is not that I think dishwashers (or any other time saving appliance or invention) is inherently wrong.  Not at all.  In fact I am very grateful for many of them, but I do think maybe….
just maybe, they aren't all that we think they are.  Maybe the time we are saving is simply being wasted and doing dishes with a child might actually be worth far more than the minutes the dishwasher saves us.

Next time you go into the kitchen, instead of popping the dishes in the dishwasher, try it. 
Stop and fill up your sink with warm water and soapy bubbles, turn on some quiet music, and use the time you are washing dishes to talk with your kids or if you are are alone to simply think and pray, and relax.

It isn't so very quite here when I do dishes. There isn’t a lot of relaxing happening.  But there is plenty of splashing and giggles and conversation, sometimes interspersed with short little prayers.  I am trying to learn this, trying to make prayer a fiber woven through my days and moments.  Prayers like the ones Ann Voskamp wrote about so beautifully.
 Someday there will be more quiet moments in my life, and I am told that then I will miss these loud and often chaotic times.  
I think that's true, and yet somedays I still find myself dreaming of quietness and tidy floors.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012 - Year of Hope

The idea to give a word, or a name to the year did not originate with me.  I borrowed it after reading Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.  This resonated with me, and I knew immediately that My word for this year needed to be "HOPE".

I walked outdoors and heard the bean pods rustle and rattle in the wind. They are shriveled and dried and apparently lifeless.  In hope, I gathered up the pods and tore out the vines tiding up this bed for the winter and covering it with spent hay.
 Later inside the boys joined me in breaking the pods open and collecting the beauty from within. What appears dead is actually a dormant life of bounty that waits for the warm breath of spring.

This is a reminder to hope, to believe even when the marks of death are written everywhere and the cold wind bites and stings bringing tears to my eyes. I am startled with the realization that this is a parable of life.  Simple and profound, and I whisper thank you, because I needed this moment of realization.

    " Hope abides; therefore I abide.
Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
I am still alive, vibrant with life.
The black cloud will disappear,
The morning sun will appear once again
In all its supernal glory.
- Sri Chinmoy
A quick search in BlueLetterBible and hope shows up 130 times.  I am reading these verses, reminding myself again and again.  It is, after all, the only reason we have for hope.  He is Hope, our only hope.

Psa 31:24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Psa 33:18Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

And so I trust.............. and I hope in Him ..............and through Him.
I am choosing not to give up, choosing to believe in new life and restoration.  Choosing to hope........this is my year of hope.

Definition of HOPE

intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2archaic : trust
transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust
: to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment

Have you ever named a year?  Did you name this year?  Would you share your story with me?