You're probably wondering about the daughter Isabella loves to clean-she comes by it honestly. I am a shameless clean freak. One morning I was working away in the kitchen while she had the mop I'd left out overnight to dry. And I look over to check on her and my then-7-month-old son, and say the five words I never thought I'd say as a parent, "Isabella, don't mop your brother!" He didn't mind, and she just wanted to make sure he was sparkly. So welcome to my world!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Preserving Fruit

Fall is coming. Yay! It is, by far, my favorite time of year. One of the blogs I follow, Our Best Bites, just recently featured a post about making your own apple pie filling. Yum! However, this post isn’t about canning, per se.

This is the time of the month when I post progress on my goals. I pretty much barrel through and list a “did it” or “working on it” sort of update.

Not this month.

I have been reading through the Proverbs in my daily devotional time and I was really hit by several things this morning in chapter 14:

· I can build my house, or I can tear it down. Elizabeth George, in her amazing book A Woman After God’s Own Heart, fleshes this out. Tearing down can be an active thing: out of control anger with slamming, ripping, and yelling, or it can be a passive thing: spending my time in pursuits other than my children and home. Not that I can’t have a life outside my children, but if I’m on *ahem* Pinterest while my children are off entertaining themselves, my priorities are not correct.

· Verse 4 humorously shares the advice that, (allow me to paraphrase and pardon the language) if you want a harvest, you have to deal with some crap. It talks about clean stables where there are no oxen, but you need the oxen to harvest! So, in life, there will be challenges to overcome.

· And then there’s a plethora of verses about considering my ways, being prudent, discern what’s going on, being wise and cautious.

· Verse 14 was the real kicker: “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” Either way, I’m getting the fruit that I have preserved. (See the connection? Good.)

While reading through all these verses this morning, and going back to George’s book, God spoke to me. Many times I’m too busy going through it all to sit still long enough to allow Him to speak! So sometimes He’s blindsides me while I’m reading to make sure I get it. I love that God knows my personality and how I’m wired! J Anywho, He gave me the idea to spend the end of every month in “retreat” so to speak. Yeah, I’d love to be able to slip away for the day, check into a hotel, do a spa treatment (or two or several) and sit around talking to God while eating healthy, cleansing foods (and a bit of chocolate, of course). Not gonna happen. But He did help me realize that, at the end of my month, I can spend the children’s quiet time in personal retreat. That’s right-no to-do list tasks, no cleaning, no organizing-just being in retreat. Being quiet. Looking through the past month and asking for His input (sadly, a novel concept at this time). Then look at the month ahead-literally open my calendar and lay it out before God-and ask for those things talked about in Proverbs: discernment, caution, wisdom, prudence. And THEN making goals for myself and my home.

I’m not gonna lie, this will be a major challenge for me. The minute I get the kids down for naps and play time, I grab my to-do list and am a swirling dervish for the next two hours. Or, I konk out on the couch. But still, I’m not one to be still. Or quiet. And I’ve never been one to be very introspective. So God will definitely be growing me during this exercise. But I need it. I need to follow God’s word and learn to be still. Learn to wait on God. Learn to follow His goals, and not just make my own and hope for the best.

Because in the end, I will open the “jar” of fruits I have preserved, of actions I have put into place, of attitudes I have established, and I’d really love for it to be sweet.

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