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Mitten Strings for God: Chapter One

~ Dailiness ~

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"Now I love the dailiness. I enjoy washing dishes. I enjoy cooking, I see my father's roses out the kitchen window, I like picking beans. I notice everything ~ birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain. These things I took for granted before." (Olive Ann Burns)

Late yesterday afternoon, I was working in the kitchen, preparing supper. I was eager to get to this post; sentences were already forming in my mind. But it was time to make supper - the sun was setting, the kids were getting hungry, and Bill was on his way home from work. So here I was making meatballs - which my family loves, but which I really do not enjoy making. Digging my hands through a pound of cold ground beef is not exactly pleasant to me. But I tried to focus on the fact that this was good beef - all natural, fresh and full of protein. These meatballs would make a nutritious and delicious supper for my family. The boys were running all around me - one was (loudly) telling me all about a new pirates game, one was watching a (loud) train video in the family room, and the other was playing Star Wars (loudly) with a friend.

I must admit, I was craving a little peace and quiet, a little time for myself.

But I couldn't help thinking, as I have done so often lately - especially when I'm doing some mundane, homey little thing - about my cousin's wife who passed away just a few weeks ago. Amy and I were the same age, both mothers of young children. Her life was cut short, and here I stood with - God willing - many years ahead of me. Many more years to savor life's simple little joys. Like making meatballs for my family.

The quote at the start of this post was from a note written by a friend of Katrina Kenison's, a woman who was dying of cancer. Because she knew her time was short, she wanted to enjoy all the little things in life - things that can bring us deep joy if we let them. Those daily joys would be over for her before too long, and she was determined not to overlook a single one.

How do we make the most of the time we have? (And nobody ever knows how much that will be.) How do we learn to love the dailiness?

***

From this chapter I came away with an idea of two kinds of dailiness. There's the kind that's very easy to love - the birdsong, the roses, the sunshine. Easy to love, but easy to miss.

And then there's the kind that's not so easy to love - the dirty dishes, the unfolded laundry and the pounds of cold ground beef. Hard to love, and hard to miss.

***

I've mentioned before that I've read this book a good many times. This time around I'm making a few goals for myself regarding each chapter. So before I turn this post over to my dear readers, (in comments and links posted below), here are some of my notes on dailiness:

1. Maintain balance within our family schedule. I say maintain, because I think we do a pretty good job with our schedule now, but it's always a balancing act. I'm a true homebody at heart, so I make sure we have plenty of quiet days (or at least hours) in a week. I want to set an example for my children, to show them a way to live that is not frantic or pressured. I hope they learn to set their own pace in the world, without tethering themselves to its demands.

2. Learn to appreciate the "humble household rituals." Remember that it's only for a while that I'll have little boys underfoot and five sets of socks to sort. Focus on the fact that the things I do for my family - even the smallest offerings - are all gifts. From me to them and back again. Even the meatballs. ;)

3. Make home a nurturing place to be - physically, emotionally and mentally. Help the kids cultivate hobbies. Create space that is cozy and fun to be in. Brainstorm family activities that don't require money or even a lot of fuss - things like lighting candles at dinner every night. (Thank you Mary for the idea!)

4. Take time to consider it all. Keep up my blog, because it is here that I am preserving my family's memories - our family's dailiness, if you will. When I read through my archives, I remember how "big" all the little things really were. Hopefully my boys will do the same someday. As they grow, I want them "to be able to see the sacred in the ordinary ... to know how to "love the dailiness." And I want them to want that for their own families.

Now, before I go, I would like to invite all of my readers to share their thoughts on this first chapter of Mittenstrings for God. Even if you haven't read the book, but still have thoughts on the subject, you are welcome to join us. Please leave a comment (or comments!) below and/or a link to a post you've done at your blog, and thank you for joining me! I'm home all day, and will be checking in frequently to hear what you all have to say. :)

"If my experience as a mother has taught me anything, it is to be awake for such moments, to keep life simple enough to allow them to occur, and to appreciate their fleeting beauty ... these are the moments that, woven together, constitute the unique fabric of our family life. Herein lies the deep color, the lights and shadows, of our days together." (Katrina Kenison)

*Next month's chapter (Morning) will be discussed on Friday, 3/14. :)

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