Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes

~  ONE  ~

Dry winter air is not good for baking bread. Dry, dry bread.  I forgot my old trick of creating a steamy environment in the oven and now I'm stuck with fresh bread that tastes like week-old bread.

~  TWO  ~

I have stumbled upon the concept of unschooling swimming.  Most of my kids have taken swim lessons over the years, but the lessons never created confident swimmers.  I've discovered that letting kids just play in the water has done more to inspire confidence than anything else.  If any of them ever express the desire to be on a swim team, to become a lifeguard, or to become a triathlete, then I shall arrange lessons to help brush up on their strokes.  Until then, all I want is kids who won't drown and can actually have fun in a pool.

~  THREE  ~ 

They've been sending me garden catalogues since just after Thanksgiving.  I refuse to look at any before January.  They are a treat to read when the bitter winter winds are blowing.  In January and February.

~  FOUR  ~

The following petition was in the "prayers and intercessions" part of Morning Prayer the other day:

"Love has no ambition to seek anything for itself: strengthen our will to give up selfishness today."

I took some time with this one.  I was thinking about parental love.  I've seen (and done) where it goes wrong.  By wrong, I mean selfishness masquerading as love.  As in, "I believe in tough love/encouraging independence" that is actually an excuse to be less engaged as a parent.  Or else, there's permissiveness covering the fear of disappointing a child who needs to hear NO.  Where does my selfishness keep me seeking others instead of self? Where do I need to give up self for the good of others? Particularly, husband and children.  I'm still working on those answers.  Alas, it is a lifelong process.

~  FIVE  ~

I've been working on avoiding cabin fever in the midst of the frigid winter cold.  Swimming (see above).  Museums.  My passive nature would bemusedly ask, "Can we not just sit around and read?"  But.  In the spirit of shedding selfishness (see above), we've not been letting the cold keep active children housebound and restless.

~  SIX  ~

I am obliged to run.  Running is the only thing I've found in my adult life that will keep away recurring pains in my lower back.  Most of the time, I do enjoy it.  However, I don't always feel like running, as in super hot summer days or super dark winter morns. I feel so good afterwards, though!  Just like any discipline in life, any of those things that are good for us that require some work, the rewards pay off -- so why do I fight it?

~  SEVEN  ~

My sixth child, my youngest, turned two recently.  She's a joy.  She is smart, she has a sense of humor, she can usually be coaxed out of less-than-desirable behavior with the promise of being read to.  She's energetic in the extreme.  But that's proving hard on me.  I firmly believe that, if we could remove ourselves from the world and all its attending obligations, she would happily live without the standard sleep-wake cycle.  Power naps.  If I could let her power nap throughout the day (and night), I think she'd happily forgo sleeping the way everyone else wants to sleep, longs to sleep, needs to sleep.  So.  Her two years on earth have been a blessing beyond all measure, but they have also marked the two years neither my husband nor I have truly enjoyed good sleep.  I'm struggling with this.  Pray for me.

Thanks, Jennifer, for hosting 7 Quick Takes!

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