Saturday, January 30, 2016

It's Time to Enjoy the Watching

I took my son to basketball practice the other night. I needed to get out of the house so I didn't give my husband the chance to offer his services. I just declared I would take him to practice and then we left, leaving at home a sick child, one well child and my husband to be the caretaker. 

I'm so glad I went. I love watching him play basketball. He might be little and double dribble a whole lot but there's something about watching him develop into his personhood that does my heart good.

It was tempting to get other things done while he practiced. I brought my grocery list and, I admit, some cookbooks with--thought I'd get in some menu planning. But for the most part, I resisted the urge to plan ahead. 

Instead, I watched my son shoot some hoops and saw how his form was getting much better. I saw his coach give him high fives and offer advice. I watched my son listen and obey his coach (good boy) then in the next moment, pretend he was in a light saber duel with an imaginary storm trooper (well, waiting in line can be boring--at least he has a good imagination!).

I saw a lot of who he is and who he is becoming and I am so glad I didn't miss it because of some grocery list. Now, I am all about making the most of my time and I do not have any shame in using my kid's basketball practice to get things done.

But I know it is also just as important to sit and watch. Just watch. Nothing else. It's so important to let your heart grow more in love with your kids as they do their thing. Growing closer to each other can happen just by being there.

It's our job to watch them. Not helicopter style watching, more like noticing. It's important to notice them. It's important to let them know you saw them. Let them know you noticed what they did and how you enjoyed the time spent on the sidelines.

We all know time goes by fast and they'll be grown soon. But let's watch for more than that. Let's watch so we can fall in love, so we can show our love a little more.

Enjoy the watching, friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

For Just The Afternoon

Yesterday I was home with a sick kiddo. Whenever I am home with a sick kid, I feel this need to clean and disinfect the entire house. From top to bottom. Every germ I want to be gone.

But this need to clean does not leave me room to be a good caregiver. Since I have learned this about myself, I made myself a list.

Moments are so much easier to make time for when I break my day down into parts and focus on the priorities of just that slice of time. Then I  actually accomplish what I set out to accomplish! As for today's main focus--extra snuggle time with my daughter. I knew my compulsion to clean could overshadow my snuggles so I had to make the list and I had to put it in writing.

Not only did we get in snuggle time, we managed the bubble bath, the extra chapters of Charlotte's Web and I got some laundry put away. Miracle!

The afternoon felt manageable. It felt calm. It felt right. My time was spent right and my most important priority was cared for.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Each morning I stand at my kitchen window, coffee cup in hand, looking out at this view. This picture is a blurry but please notice the cross. It is in the upstairs window of my neighbor's house. They haven't taken down all their Christmas decorations--thank goodness I'm not the only one---and this cross has been part of their decorations all season long.

Everyone else up and down the street has taken their decorations down by now. Trees are sitting by the curb waiting to be trash and twinkle lights are packed away for next year.

But this cross is still there.

This cross is still shining brightly.

This cross serves as my morning reminder--when the decorations and the fancy have been stripped away, the cross still stands.

I keep my gaze outside a little bit longer in the morning now. I don't rush into the to-do's and have-to's quite as fast because I have a cross to notice. I have a cross to linger with and a cross to set my day straight.

May we linger with the cross a little bit longer today. Let it keep your day straight and let it shine on your path a little bit brighter today.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ringing in a Small New Years

I don't hold high expectations for New Year's Eve. It's never been my favorite holiday so it has never mattered much what I did. Frozen pizza and bed at nine? Sounds good! A party with family and friends? Perfect. This is the one holiday where it doesn't really matter to me what goes down.

That's one reason this New Year's Eve turned out so special.  The other reason is we changed it up this year. Instead of starting off the new year doing something for ourselves, my family and I decided to start it off by doing something for someone else.

We headed over to our local Feed My Starving Children. If you have never heard of or ever volunteered at this fabulous non-profit, please go. You won't be sorry. You will spend two hours packing food for children around the world who need the nutrition and love you send over. It's simple. It's fun. It makes a difference. And, you get to wear these stylish hair nets!

It was the simplicity that was so inviting, the smallness of it all. We didn't do much--just scoop the food, bag it, box it and send it off. Our part felt small but we knew it wasn't. 

Nothing done in small ways for the least of these is ever really small.

The time together was refreshing. It showed us that ending a year and starting a new one with service is the best way to go. 

It showed us that you don't have to go big all the time to make a difference. You can do small things. You can do small things all year and it doesn't make your service any less important or meaningful. 

It also showed us that after working hard and staring at all that food, we are one hungry family! We headed off to our favorite stir-fry place.

And rang in the new year. In a small way. Together.

© Katie Landers
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