Monday, June 6, 2011

Avoiding Capital Letters and Exclamation Points

strawberry harvest 5-30-2011

Days like this make me realize how much I love my life. Breakfast was scrambled eggs made from eggs laid by chickens we raise. Toast was made from homemade bread and it was topped with strawberry jam I made last week from strawberries we grew in our garden. And we had sausage my mother-in-law made from rabbits she raised. The milk was from the grocery store. Kind of ruined the homemade/home grown theme but we've had many discussions about whether or not go get a milk cow. The suggestion was mine and even though I felt the money my idea would save should more than cover my contribution to the plan, I was outnumbered. I'm in good company in that I don't want to milk it twice a day on the bitter cold winter days so we're still stuck on an answer of no.

The photo above is one day's harvest. This is what we're picking every other day. This will make 7 1/2 pints of jam, a batch of strawberry shortcake for my guys and me, and make my in-laws really, really love me for a day or two. They already really love me but when I share strawberries I earn an extra really.

All the gardening I've been doing lately and the fact that I've begun my canning has made me yearn to be more domestic. I have another batch of bread rising on the counter (if you've not seen my book recommendation for riduculously easy homemade bread, be sure to check it out) and plans to make some homemade yogurt later today. Rather than looking at things as chores I'm reflecting on the fact that I GET to do these things. Don't take this wrong and think it means I always walk around the house, feather duster in hand, wearing an apron and a smile. I still yell at my boys for not raising the toilet seat and peeing on it. And I have an index card stuck to the cabinet door in my kitchen that reads, "Clean up after yourself." I was good and didn't use all capital letters or exclamation points. But they were in my head when I made the card. I complain every single day that our farm dogs stink and they're making the rugs and bedroom carpet, and thus the house, stink. And then I complain in my head that everyone complains about the smell of carpet freshener or air fresheners. The every day stuff, the vacuuming, the laundry, the wiping down of the toilet, I don't think that stuff is fun. Who honestly likes cleaning up messes other people have left behind?

Our kids have daily and weekly chores. They are required to pick up after themselves. They are required to wipe their pee off the toilet! But often times Shawn and the boys are so busy moving cattle or brushhogging a pasture that they aren't home to help when something needs to be done or to clean up a mess they've left behind. That's why I think it is so important for those of us with the responsibility of keeping the house in order to find domestic activities that we DO enjoy and work them into our routine. If we're going to be completely honest, most of us are not going to be thanked on a daily basis for vacuuming or wiping the table or scrubbing the toilet. It's just not going to happen and getting mad about it isn't going to change a thing. It only makes everyone in the house think we're contentious. But if our spouse and our kids have the blessing of putting a spoonful of strawberry jam on their biscuits, you can bet they're going to stop and take notice. No one in my family smiles and says, "Alright!" when I clean the toilet or mop the floor or do laundry. They always smile and say, "Alright!" when they see 7 1/2 pints of strawberry jam cooling on the counter. Two hours of my time gives me months of joy of serving toast and biscuits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I know they enjoy and appreciate. I know because they told me.

So I guess today I'd like to encourage you to find those special things your family appreciates and make sure you incorporate them into your routine a few times a week. Yes, you're adding to your already busy day but not only do you bless them with smiles (they understand your extra effort is an extension of your love for them and your appreciation for the monotony of their day-to-day responsibilities), you bless yourself with knowing you really ARE appreciated and it makes getting through the day-to-day stuff easier. It helps keep those capital letters and exclamation points in your head and off your lips.

Just a few things my family take notice of:

  • Fried chicken dinner once a month (they know how much I don't like to fry chicken).
  • Homemade jam.
  • Homemade cookies. Not Walmart bakery. Homemade.
  • Salad made from homegrown lettuce. This makes Caelan really smile. And lettuce is so easy to grow.
    (Are you seeing a pattern here with what gets my family's attention?)
  • Doing one of their chores for them.

    If you want to jump in and share things you do that makes your family smile, I'm always looking for things to add to my list.

    Totally unrelated but at the front of my mind, I'm in the final countdown of being in my 30s. Thursday will be my last day. I'm feeling the desire to go out and do cartwheels, just to prove I still can. But I'm afraid the aftermath will only remind me that I only have a few days left before I'm in my 40s! I hope you all have a happy, blessed week.
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    1 comment:

    Patty Gardner said...

    I love this article, Kendra. I feel the same way.

    Isn't it funny how much of what they love is based around food? It's that way at my house, too. When David's stressed, I ask him what I can do to help and he always says: "Just keep feeding me." I can do that!

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