I just don’t.
I know. I know. That is blasphemy to some, including some in my extended family.
But that is my real life.
I love the holidays. I love that my kids’ favorite meals of the year are turkey and prime rib. I love a warm and decorated house and pounds of butter melted over everything. Several years ago I
forced encouraged everyone to play games when we gathered. We’ve laughed through countless rounds of Apples to Apples, Cranium, Scattergories and poker.
However, real life and really great ideas can’t always occupy the same space.
In my little world, over the last decade, we have dealt with a daughter with special needs, a son at war in the desert a million miles away, two parents with Alzheimer’s, other family drama, the financial crash of 2008 and the daily mutiny of life. There is a lot.
And because we want to do this life we have with as much joy as possible, I had to let some things go.
Pie crust is one of those things.
Making it from scratch makes a big mess. Perhaps not for everyone, but for me there is flour everywhere. I rarely get to it in time to refrigerate it properly, so there is excessive ice water involved. It works, but it is not ideal.
Ironically I used apple pies to get my hubby to fall in love with me. I would go to church with him on Sundays, then stop at the store and get pie making ingredients. We’d have dinner and pie for dessert…with homemade crust.
As I have matured I realized that doesn’t illustrate my failure as a current-day pie maker, but the necessity of embracing seasons. This is not the season for homemade crust.
Letting go of such things truly allows this to be a season of gratitude. In that spirit, I am again linking up with Kelley at Mrs. Disciple.
I am grateful for prayer. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. My house was clean. I had all the shopping done early. The night before as I went to bed the pies were baked, the turkey stuffed, the mashed potatoes finished, the table set and the kitchen cleaned.
That is astounding for me…completely out of character.
But I have been praying for God to work on my laziness…to fashion and mold my character. I have asked dear friends to pray for me.
This Thanksgiving was a victory.
I want to keep in mind overcoming my laziness is not so that I can add more to my world; it is so I can do the things already in my world with greater excellence.
I am grateful for breathing room. We had a different gathering last night. A few faces who are always welcome, but rarely show filled in for others who are usually here, but not this year.
It provided breathing room.
Life is messy. Relationships are hard. Sometimes breathing room is valuable; restorative; invigorating.
I discovered that relational breathing room allowed for more energy to get things done. It shocked me…what an effect that had. It is causing me to look around and reevaluate.
I am grateful I am a terrible housekeeper. Obviously not always, because chaos depletes life. And, of course, I can’t and don’t let myself off the hook because God won’t let me.
But there are times when a family game of poker is more important than an empty sink.
When people have a long drive ahead of them after we gather, how will I choose to spend time with them? Doing dishes and sweeping floors or laughing and talking?
I don’t even struggle with this.
As our guests were leaving one said, “I feel so bad leaving you with all those dishes.”
“I am the kind of person who can totally sleep with a dirty kitchen,” I confessed.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Here’s the reality I often remind myself of: “There are benefits and drawbacks to all things.” All things. Clean people often miss out on moments. Messy people have to deal with the piles in the morning. I am trying to find a balance for the everyday, but yesterday I was glad to be able to easily let it go.
I am grateful for the ability to cook. I love when the smell of turkey and stuffing fills my home. I love watching my youngest devour mashed potatoes. I love how much my middle daughter looks forward to pumpkin chiffon pie.
Why don’t I gather more people around my table more often?
I am figuring that out.
But when I do, I really enjoy the smells and sights and flavors of good food.
It is not too much work for me, as it can be for others. I enjoy it.
Part of the reason I enjoy it is I am comfortable with store bought pie crust.
I am grateful for my family. Aching, stretching, beautiful gratitude fills me. I am happy to be married, and to have the marriage work for us. We are flawed. In many ways we have low expectations which leaves room for wonder.
We know the areas of our lives that need work…we are working on those places. We are so much less likely to get rattled today than we were years ago. In many corners the hard edges have been knocked off, not by the battles and disappointments but by surviving them.
I am so happy to be a mom. Sometimes I wish I were a better one, but mostly I realize that there is no such thing as perfection in parenting. Each of my three kids, different as they are from one another, is a precious gift from a God who loves me.
Back when I gathered on Tuesday nights to study the Bible with friends, we would begin by making gratitude lists. Gratitude is imperative in my life…Yesterday and everyday.