What is your love language? What is it you value most? The one thing that you find speaks to your heart in a real way?
One thing that truly has been a stumbling block for me is wasted time. The definition of wasted time can change from day to day, but if I feel as though I have really used my time wisely it is pleasing. If, however, I find that my day or my time has been wasted, it is a source of disappointment. Funny as that sounds, I think about the time I have wasted and felt was spent wisely. Time that perhaps would have been better spent in prayer, creating a memory, laughing with my children.
We are at the end of our school year here. We have the next 2 months to relax and enjoy the freedom to spend our time "as we wish", yet I find myself filling our day with "to do" lists and goals to achieve by the end of summer. It makes me laugh at my own little perfectionist heart, and this continual need to fill my time with important things.
Our youngest daughter is reminding me to stop and smile. She is reminding me of the contagious nature of laughter and how easily is spills forth when like a child we view the world around us. She sees summer as days filled with bike rides, swims in the pool and mom's homemade lemonade. She awakes to the day with no burden save the amount of time it will take for her to get outside to enjoy the warmth of the season. She flits about her day with a heart so free and a spirit unhindered from the tethers of life. She reminds me of the person who heeds the Word in 2 Peter 5:7... Casting all your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you. ~
Because pondering things has always been one of my favorite past times..... :) I have been pondering the beauty of resting in His grace and being graceful to those in my life, those in my sphere of influence, and those outside of my sphere. If we are willing God will open those doors for us to walk through.
And since this is summer and it is a much needed break for a homeschool mom to make herself take, especially someone who thinks she needs to fill every minute with something meaningful, here are some of the ways I have been spending my time:
Coffee on the Patio.... so nice because it is warm and quiet
A walk/run while the kids ride their bikes. This helps me get back into those shorts that used to fit last summer.
Working with the bees.... This in and of itself, is surprisingly one of the most relaxing things I do during the spring and summer. Even when I get stung. ;)
Pulling weeds... I love to pull weeds, it is the best therapy in the world. Plus, I have a flower bed that is in serious need of "recreating" so it fills in my little creative niche that all of us have in one way or the other. It is so fun to find new plants in the midst of the chaos of the overgrown weeds. I found 2 tiny lupine plants in my ever expanding Spearmint yesterday. I love it when I find those gems. Oh.... and the best... My rose bush bloomed. I took some pictures and if I can get them to work I will get them on my blog! There is a story with the rose bush that I will share one of these days.
Working in my garden. I love to plan the garden each year. Which plant goes where, what plant would do better next to my tomatoes( for those of you who really want to know.. Carrots Love Tomatoes and Basil is always a wise choice). Just to show my anal retentive nature, I make a map of my garden each year to remind me what was successful, what was a failure, etc. Plus, I usually forget what I plant because I never put the plant stakes in my garden. I tend to run them over and break them, so I just use twigs from the fallen branches. It works for me! ;)
And I think one of the sweetest and I find for me a big help, time with friends. During the summer it is nice to just take an afternoon to visit with our friends. It is so nice to connect, to fellowship and to encourage each other. To make relationships and carve that place in our lives for those important people. To take time for each other and instill in my children's hearts the desire to bless others. As I grow older I am learning to value more the preciousness of my God-friends. :) yes.. not just good friends but my friends in Jesus, those precious women who are sharpening me with the beauty of His light inside of them.
My husband is reminding me of the joy of just being still by encouraging me to not be so busy. I need that reminder, because taking a "break" is not second nature for me. Yet, when we stop... when we slow down... when we pause and think.. Selah.... We hear that still small voice in our ear saying.. " This is the way, walk in it.". ( Isaiah 30:21)
Here is a wonderful fried chicken recipe that I made tonight. Very easy and not so "fried" that it is too greasy.
Oven Fried Chicken
Optional: Marinade your chicken in Buttermilk seasoned to your taste before you cook atleast 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish, I used a 9 x 13 pan and another small pan because it wasn't big enough.
In a shallow bowl combine:
2/3 c. graged parmesan
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 c . cornmeal
3 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Whisk 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp. melted butter together in shallwo bowl.
Dip chicken in egg and butter then coat in the cornmeal mixture. Arrange chicken, skin side up in baking pan. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. of melted butter or olive oil over chicken.
Bake 35-40 min. Serve hot or cold. :)
I served this with Buttery Garlic Green Beans, Cheddar smashed potatoes, and homemade coleslaw. Can't forget the lemonade.. a staple at my house. Here is my recipe:
1 c. sugar
1 c. lemon juice
2-3 quarts of water ( depends on my mood, sometimes I want it sweet, and other times I don't)
Mix well and serve with ice cubes and lemon slices!
** You can blend frozen berries, adding sugar and a little wather to this and make a flavored lemonade. Our favorite is Raspberry! Yummmm!
Blessings to you!