Wednesday, January 19, 2011
My eldest, who turns nine this Friday, is wanting to cook more. She's wanting to try out new recipes and learn to spice and cut and on and on. "You know, do the whole thing myself," she says.
I wondered when this day would come. It's a little bittersweet I have to say. I am remembering this little one perched on a stool, grinding grain and tasting all of Papa's great creations. Now, she wants a repertoire of her own. A collection of recipes she can make.
Of course I want her to enjoy cooking and being creative in the kitchen. But what I really hope is for her to love being there. I want her to find joy in serving others-particularly her family. I want her to see the beauty of being a mother and see the salvific role this may well play in her life.
I have found that so much of my life, my salvation, is worked out here in my kitchen. My girls around me, talking, playing, helping, (not helping). I see so much of my sinful self when I'm tired and needing to make dinner while being followed around by a book toting toddler saying "Wead!, Mommy, Wead!" over and over. I have had my patience tried time and time again. I see my desire to hurry them along and just get it done. I must fold laundry. I must do the dishes. I must sweep. I must... I have seen opportunities for selfless love fly right out the window.
I had wise words burned into my heart by our much loved Vladyka JONAH, several years ago. He sat at my dinner table and listened attentively as I wailed on and on about my prayer life with children. How when I was single I had energy to pray and read my Bible. On and on were my shameful words...
And with his loving smile, all he said was: "No monastery, no elder will make you die to yourself quicker than children."
And in that instant I knew exactly what he meant. (Which mother wouldn't.) I'm not sure why I had to hear those words before I knew them to be true.
I wish I could say that I was instantly transformed into a better mother. Not so. I do, however, feel that those words pointed me in a new direction. I find it impossible to hear the truth and ignore it.
And so they grow, as do we. LIttle by little.
"If Nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that-warm things, kind things, sweet things-help and comfort and laughter -and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all."
A little Princess ~Frances Hodgson Burnett
Oh this is a lovely book...
Speaking of gifts...one of the greatest gifts I have received is the ability to read to my girls. We follow the Charlotte Mason style of learning, so there is much reading that is required. We've always read to the girls. Since they were born we've read to them-and those days were precious. But the books the girls and I are reading these days are so wonderful. So full of beauty and wisdom and just good storytelling, that I feel I've started school all over again.
The books speak to me as well. How could they not? Many of the books we read I've read before in my youth. But somehow they stay with me now. I chew on them for hours after we've finished reading. The girls and I talk and talk about the books, mostly the characters. Each of them having their own thoughts and feelings. They too are chewing.
I could never have imagined a better life for myself.
Image: Jungle Tales by James Shannon
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Joyous feast of Theophany!
When Thou, O Lord wast baptized in the Jordan
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest
For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee,
Naming Thee His beloved Son.
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove,
Confirmed the certainty of that word.
O Christ, our God, Who has manifested Thyself and enlightened the world
Glory to Thee.