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.


  1. Quietness and tidy floors :-) I love that. What is that even like? ha ha

    I do this with my older ones while they load the dishwasher....I will come up unexpectedly and wash right along side them. I don't do it often enough but every time, and I do mean every single time, I am blessed by it.

    You hit the nail on the head! Why do we rush through these bonding moments just to go relax? When the real blessing is right there standing next to us doing dishes :-)

    You've blessed me with this post~


    1. Thanks Cinnamon! Blessings to you and yours today!

  2. I love the little barrettes and clips I see in Lex's hair. So adorable!! The dishwasher thing, Good thoughts. I always think a dishwasher would save so much time, but you're right, a lot of our bonding time comes right in front of the sink. Thanks for the post. Always enjoy seeing what you'all are up to.:) ~Laura B

  3. I think you are so right, Leann, and there is such a balance to this kind of living. When we have to take the entire day off of school because the piglets and momma are eating your garden and a new fence is needed RIGHT NOW, there are two potential responses. One is to get very flustered at the disruption and the school that is not getting done, the other, to take a deep breath and say a quick prayer, and get all your little people outside working together as a team. One is a picture of a frazzled mother trying to live with a foot in each world, the other is an adventure lived out in freedom, knowing the Lord has THIS planned for your school day, not table work. Whew...but that deep breath and prayer are pivotal to what we teach our little people...a spirit yielded to our Lord, an attitude of Acceptance with Joy, or the same foot-stomping pout when we don't get out way that we are trying to train out of our little people. I think I will join you in trying to work all those prayers into the moments of our day.
    ps - we are trying to cut back on our dish washer usage by 2/3rds, and go with out our dryer in order to save money and at the same time recapture a slower, more meaningful time with our people. Great minds think alike!!
    Kimberly B.


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