Making Trouble or Goodness?

Last week, I shared a poem from Sarah Dunning Park’s book “What It Is Is Beautiful”. Here is another poem that she’s written that spoke to my heart.

 Let There Be Yes

I say no to them all the time:

No, you may not eat candy bars for breakfast,2make

color pictures on the carpet,

wear your tutu to the store again.

And stop blowing bubbles in your milk,

or abandoning your warm bed

after I’ve tucked you in.

 

Perhaps it’s the wisdom of age,

or that this is not their full-time gig,

but their grandmothers have another way:

Yes, let’s make projects with plenty of glitter and paint,1make

matching costumes for you and your bear,

hot chocolate for watching movies

on a Saturday morning in June.

 

I decide to try it myself,

tentatively – Sure, I suppose

we can bring out the modeling clay today.

So we spread an old vinyl cloth on the table,

and dump the box that holds baggies of red and black,

blue, green, and yellow. From my post in the kitchen,

I watch them settle in to their work.

 

It’s quiet; no one complains

of boredom or hunger

or cunningly-orchestrated breaches of room security3make

carried out by little sisters. The only requests

are for assistance rolling up an errant sleeve

or for a toothpick to carve out fine details

and at last, the artist’s signature.

 

As she bends over her masterpiece

to scratch the letters of her name,

I understand what it is my mother must know

when she says yes to these young creators:

we are wired to make, and we can make

trouble, or we can make goodness and art

and meaning and sustenance and play.

 

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As we finish out another month, let’s remember that

“we are wired to make,

and we can make trouble,

or we can make goodness and art

and meaning and sustenance and play.”

 

Have you been hearing a lot of complaining lately? Maybe it’s time to say ‘yes’ to some creativity.

**Many thanks to the adults in the lives of our kids who’ve said ‘yes’.**

make

Failures and Frappuccinos

I have already

run the dishwasher,

put away every

squeaky-clean plate

and sparkling glass;

 frap

but I have not yet

tackled the leaning tower

of soggy cereal bowls,

or that pan,

thick with bacon fat.

 

I have already

pulled warm, snapping towels

out of the dryer and into

my arms, folded them

in neat stacks;

 frap1

but I have not yet

sorted the piles of soiled

clothes, or washed them

of their stains and

ripe smells.

 

I have already

drawn my children near,

tucked hair behind their ears,

told them how much

I love them;

 frap2

but I have not yet

made it through a day

loving perfectly,

free of discontent, guilt,

or fear.   –by Sarah Dunning Park

 

Is it possible to feel like you’re accomplishing some things and yet failing at the same time? In so much of life…

As a parent, there are several things that will always be a work in progress. Meals, dishes, laundry… and loving perfectly.

Thank God that His mercies are new every morning. Thank Him that His love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out on me.

Sometimes, a Momma needs to give herself permission to sit back, put up her feet, and sip on a cold, sweet drink. Whether it looks like it or not at this very moment, she IS accomplishing quite a bit because she is being a mother…. And there is no other job quite as important as that.

So this one’s for you- a frappuccino recipe. It makes two 16oz glasses – one for you and one for another mom-friend that could use a pick-me-up! Whip up a frothy, caffeinated beverage and spend some time encouraging one another. There’s a lot left to be done, yes. But there’s so much that you’re already doing too. Take a deep breath. Take one day at a time. And keep up the good work! No one else can do it quite like you.

Frappuccinofrap3

Combine the following ingredients in a blender.

¾ c. double-strength coffee **

3T. sugar

1 c. milk

2 c. ice

3 T. Hershey’s chocolate syrup or caramel

 

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*Double-strength coffee is made by either cutting the amount of water you normally use to brew your pot of coffee in half… or doubling the amount of coffee beans you use for the pot. Either way, it’ll turn out a bit stronger! Just the way you’ll want it for this tasty recipe.

The poem at the beginning of this post, by Sarah Dunning Park, is titled Already But Not Yet and is published in her book “What It Is Is Beautiful – honest poems for mothers of small children”.

The Frappuccino recipe was taken from the website Comfy in the Kitchen, (http://comfyinthekitchen.com/2013/03/how-to-make-homemade-frappuccinos/).

Sand Painting

Some things sound too good to be true.sand

Like that message Rico Suave left on your phone to tell you of the “free” cruise you just won.

(Yeah, right. What’s the catch?)

 

How about this one:

Craft time:

fun,

free,

and all the mess out-of-doors.

Huh? Too good to be true?

NO!!! This one CAN be a reality! (With no catch!)

 

The next time you go to the beach, bring a quart or gallon-sized ziplock bag.

Before packing up the towels and sand toys, fill the bag with some clean, soft beach sand.sand paint 2

Bring the sand home, place it in your craft cabinet and wait.

 

Wait….

Wait for it….

 

Then, on one of those days toward the end of summer when

you WISH you had something new and exciting to bring out

as a change of pace for the busy brood under your wings…

something to keep the kids happy and busy,

something that makes you look, once again, like Super Mom…

pull out that bag of sand!!!

 

It’s time to SAND PAINT!

                *Remember… this is strictly an OUTSIDE craft!

  1. Pour the sand into small jars.
  2. Add food coloring to each jar. Shake well.sand paint

(Make as many different shades of colored sand as you want.)

  1. Draw a picture (in pencil) on a sheet of cardstock or a small section of cardboard.
  2. Trace your pencil lines in Elmer’s glue. (Or spread it around for filled-in sections.)
  3. Sprinkle (with your fingers, with a spoon, or with a perforated lid on the jar) different colors of sand on your glue-artwork.
  4. Wait about 15 minutes.
  5. Gently shake off the excess sand.
  6. Enjoy another piece of glorious creativity!

 

This beautiful artwork is the perfect kind to hang on the garage wall, in the playhouse, or in a covered frame!

It’s a good idea NOT to tack this one up in Sammy’s bedroom!

However, if you have some colored sand left over, here’s another simple project.

Find a small, clear, sealable container – an empty salad-dressing bottle for example, or a jam jar –

and let the sweet young ones layer the colored sand in it.

First a little blue, then a layer of red, and then purple. Then repeat.

Little Sally can put it on her dresser for a new decoration!        

sand paint 1(Just be sure to super-glue that lid in place first!)

 

Be outdoors.

Be crafty.

Have fun!

 

Seven

7/7
Welcome to the seventh day of the seventh month of the year.
Some time ago, I read a book titled 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.

Rebelling against excess and resolving to live differently is what 7 is all about.

It is a good hard book, a book that caused me to admit that7b
as my life has zipped along unchecked and automatic,
I’ve actually lived unconsciously with greed, ungratefulness,
ruined opportunities and irresponsibility in some areas of life.
Ouch.
That, my friend, is what I call a good hard book.

With life’s excesses piling up around her, Hatmaker embarked on a self-imposed challenge to simplify her family’s life.
She spent seven months focusing on seven areas of surplus, one focus each month:
food,
clothing,
media,
spending,
possessions,
waste and
stress.

7

Her goal was to begin living a deeply reduced life that would, in turn, allow her room for being more generous. Reduction by means of a fast in each of those categories of abundance.
By focusing on a fast of sorts in the seven areas, Jen hoped to interrupt the lifestyle of privilege she’d created and instead form a “fresh platform in the empty space where indulgence resided.”
Hatmaker explains that when you fast, you become acutely-conscious.
“It’s like jeans you wear every day without thinking,
but take them off and walk outside,
and you’ll become terrible aware of their absence.
I bet you won’t be able to forget you are pantsless,
so conspicuous will this omission feel…
that is basically the result of a fast.
It makes us hyper-aware, super-sensitive…”
And which of us doesn’t need to be jerked from the ordinary, mundane of life to be made more mindful?

At the start of each chapter, Jen explains her plan for implementing the challenge of month.
She then reports every day or so how it’s going… how it’s playing out in her life, in her home, in her heart.
At the end of the month (and the chapter), she gives a review of what she’s learned.

Hatmaker is funny, raw and a bit sarcastic, in my opinion. Her conversational writing is like sitting down to coffee with an honest, humorous, contemplative friend. I laughed; I cringed. I wrinkled my eyebrows and twisted my mouth in thought.

There are several things I appreciated about this book.

I appreciated her frankness. Although she says things in a way that I would not, though she and I would handle things differently, I was glad that she acknowledged how hard it can be to hold to one’s convictions or even just our “self-imposed challenges”.

I appreciated the practical suggestions that Hatmaker gives.7a
For example, when she tells about eliminating 7 items per day from her home, she doesn’t advocate tossing them. Or selling them for a profit. Or even just dropping everything off at a thrift store. She advises giving the items you purge to a specific organization in your area that, for example, helps victims of abuse or violence. Or asking the local under-resourced school about the needs they see.

I especially appreciated her ‘fast’ from s-t-r-e-s-s. To do this, she began the practice of taking seven sacred pauses throughout the day. On another blog post, I’ll expound on this, but suffice it to say that I am working on this area also… and without those pauses, there would be times when I would continue on the downward spiral I’d started in, uninterrupted. And that doesn’t end in a good place.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker is a book about embarking on a journey. It’s a book about purging the junk, about paring down to the noble. But it’s a journey that can only be taken by the individual; there’s no pressure from the author to follow in her footsteps. And that’s another thing that I appreciated about this book. The feelings of conviction I felt came only from within.

In each area of life, I have to adopt an “as for me and my house” perspective.
I won’t answer for the way another person lives their life.
I’ll only answer for my choices.

Is that refreshing? Challenging? Frustrating?

After hearing a friend talk about the book 7, I decided to pick it up and read it. The prayer of the author is “Jesus, may there be less of me and my junk and more of You and Your kingdom.” If that resonates with you, I’d encourage you to read this book also.

*******************
I’ll only answer for my choices.

7a

The Peppery Man

You feel grumpy…. and you don’t really care who knows it.

(Ever have one of ‘those’ days?)

The disposition of the Peppery Man just might make you feel like a saint!

 

The Peppery Man           

The Peppery Man was cross and thin;

He scolded out and scolded in;

He shook his fist, his hair he tore;

He stamped his feet and slammed the door.

 

pepper1Heigh ho, the Peppery Man,

The rabid, crabbed Peppery Man!

Oh, never since the world began

Was any one like the Peppery Man.

 

His ugly temper was so sour

He often scolded for an hour;

He gnashed his teeth and stormed and scowled,

He snapped and snarled and yelled and howled.

 

He wore a fierce and savage frown;

He scolded up and scolded down;

He scolded over field and glen,

And then he scolded back again.

 

His neighbors, when they heard his roars,

Closed their blinds and locked their doors,

Shut their windows, sought their beds,

Stopped their ears and covered their heads.

 

He fretted, chafed, and boiled and fumed;

With fiery rage he was consumed,

And no one knew, when he was vexed,

What in the world would happen next.

 

Heigh ho, the Peppery Man,

The rabid, crabbed Peppery Man!pepper

Oh, never since the world began

Was any one like the Peppery Man.

 

-Arthur Macy

*******************************************

The kids and I read this poem during school last year and couldn’t help but smile!

pepper3Afterwards, when one of us would start to be in a bad temper, I would say “does the Peppery Man live here?” It would often soften the scene!

Having never read any other poems by Arthur Macy, I decided to do a little research.

Contrary to the character in this poem, Macy was “above all things cheery, and to his praise be it said, he hated a bore.”

Arthur Macy (1842-1904) was known to have a quick and keen sense of humor. After being wounded twice on the first day at Gettysburg (as part of Company B, 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry), he managed to “crawl into the town and get as far as the steps of the Court House, which was fast filling with wounded from both sides. His sense of humor was in evidence even at such a time. A Confederate officer rode up and asked, “Have those men in their got arms?” Quick as a flash Macy answered: “Some of them have and some of them haven’t.”

From my reading, Macy sounded like a jolly, honest, humble, and hard working businessman who enjoyed writing poetry but didn’t consider it worthy of attention. He felt that his was “not Poetry with a big P, and that is the only kind that should be published.” Thankfully, I easily found 50+ poems of his that are still available.

Hopefully, you enjoyed The Peppery Man but are seldom like him!pepper2

Rather may it be said of us – as it was of Arthur Macy- that we are ‘above all things cheery’!

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(Information in quotations taken from the writings of William Alfred Hovey of Boston, June 7, 1905)