{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} – When I’m Not My Best Self

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life, as inspired by the women at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{Pretty}

If you’ve hung around this corner of the web for any amount of time, you’ll know that I love autumn. I love the soups and the stews, the ciders and the hot teas, the sweaters and the scarves. I love snuggling under a blanket on the couch, a book in my hand and a fire in the wood stove, as the rain drums on the roof overhead. I love the idea of a fresh start, which I have always associated more with fall than with spring.

After last week’s glorious rain, the next two mornings decided to strut their stuff, demonstrating just how lovely a cool, misty morning can be.

Is there anything prettier than home-prepared food? I made apple butter in my slow cooker this week – besides eliminating the need for constant stirring, this method has my house smelling heavenly for a full day as it cooks – and I’m excited to have jars to share with others come Christmas (which is what? Six weeks away? Eep!). The tomatoes may end up being our last harvest this year; we still have green fruit on the vine, but I don’t know that it’ll ripen before a freeze. Jonathan roasted these beauties, and then combined them with some hot peppers (also from the garden) for a delicious salsa.

{Happy}

Katie has long surprised me with her ability (and desire) to sit and listen to books for extended periods of time – even lengthy stories with few (or no) pictures. She loves the original Winnie the Pooh and The Jesus Storybook Bible and has for at least a year now. The most recent go-to choice at bed time: Hank the Cowdog, which just happens to be a favorite of her dad’s dad.

   Grandma didn’t bring Grandpa with her this week (alas), but she did bring something that was nearly – nearly, but not quite! – as much fun: a bag of dress-up clothes! She had clothing picked up from various places Grandpa visited when he was establishing his business – China, and the Netherlands (I didn’t capture a good photo of Katie in the wooden shoes, unfortunately), and elsewhere – as well as necklaces and a hat and a scarf. Great fun was had by all.

{Funny}

There are many “right” ways to tie a scarf; I’m not sure that a simple knot around your neck is one of them. (Though I’m quite confident that the glazed look in her eyes is because she’s busy watching the rain fall outside, and is not due to lack of oxygen.)

Abby, when she wants to say hello or to get your attention, will crane her head toward you and look at you with wide eyes until you acknowledge her. She’ll then break out into a grin that takes no prisoners; if you aren’t a parent trying to instill good things in your child, trying to avoid giving in to her just because she’s cute, you’re prone to give her anything and everything she wants. This shot is the tail-end of that progression. I didn’t quite capture it in its fullness; if you want to experience it for yourself, you really must come visit her, and soon.

{Real}

Much as I love autumn, there’s one thing about it I don’t love: cold and flu season. I don’t remember past years as being particularly painful, but for whatever reason, we’ve been hit hard this year, and it seems as though we’ve been continuously sick for the past six weeks. Poor Katie wrestled a stomach bug from Saturday morning until Monday evening, and then transitioned straight into a head cold, with sniffles and a cough and a raspy voice.

None of the rest of us caught the stomach bug (for which I am ever so grateful), but the cold has been a common theme around here the past few days. Abby started it – the rivers flowing from her nose since Saturday morning are finally starting to dry up – and I had it on Monday, waking with a throat on fire and a head full of cotton.

I am not my best self when I’m sick. (Or when I’m tired. Or when I’m uncomfortable. Or when I’m hungry. What do you know? Apparently, as Jonathan noted when I made this observation to him, I’m human after all.)

The cold begin to settle in late Sunday evening. When Katie (who rarely gets up at night anymore) was out of bed at midnight for the second time in half an hour and Jonathan asked, blearily, if I could take a turn, I did so grudgingly, and I gave a pointed, “Are you getting sick?” as I crawled back into bed. Throughout Monday, while I held one girl’s hair as she threw up and tried to keep the other girl from wiping snot on anything and everything (oh, isn’t motherhood so glamorous at times!), a whiny voice whispered in my ear about how unfair it was that I didn’t get to take a sick day, didn’t get to rest.

Of course, I’m quick to extend grace to myself, to say such thoughts and actions are understandable, perhaps even justifiable, given the circumstances. But these less-than-desirable moments have the tendency of showing me how far short I fall, how much small interruptions to my day, to my plans, to my expectations can upset my equilibrium, how much growth there is between who I am now and who I want to be.

My point here is not to beat myself up – we’re studying Romans in BSF this year, and if there’s anything that’s been hammered home in the first five chapters, it’s that we’re all sinners, covered by the boundless and amazing grace of God. No, I bring this up because it sparked this question in me: I’m quick to extend grace to myself, to look at my motivations and my situation, to find all the reasons that my less-than-exemplary behavior is really rather understandable after all, but how quick am I to extend that same grace to others? If a little head cold and a slight lack of sleep can spark in me resentment toward the one I love most on this earth, how much more can the burdens others carry fuel sharp words or unfriendly glances or unkind actions toward me? And how quick am I to judge them, to write them off?

Those are some of the {pretty, happy, funny and real} moments around here this week. How about you? Capture any contentment lately?

Family and Parenting, Loving Others, This Thing Called Life

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} – When I’m Not My Best Self

  1. Alison G says:

    I love the bible story book, but there is no way I could sit through much of that Pooh book! I’ll have to read her the cowdog book next time I’m over… For some reason I think I’ll like that one :). I hope your whole house gets to feeling 100% soon.

    • Shannon says:

      Really?!! Kimberleigh is LOVING the classic Pooh tales these days!! Isn’t wonderful how we’re all so different?!! Love it!!