Monday, January 23, 2012

When dish-pan hands become grace


When we first got married, Troy and I made a deal that I would do the cooking and he would do the dishes. Although he was better at doing the dishes, he definitely got the raw end of the deal. I am a very messy cook.

For twenty years, Troy did the dishes 99.9% of the time. He washed dishes in Minnesota, in Illinois, and he washed more in Colorado. He washed them in Barcelona; where we had no dishwasher and often had 17 people for small group on Thursday nights. Then, we made it a financial priority to buy a dishwasher. (In Spain, rental apartments rarely come with appliances.) That was a happy day.

Even with the dishwasher, Troy still took charge of the dishes, and washed everything that couldn’t go in the dishwasher. The kids pitched in as well, but Troy bore the brunt of it.

At the end of June, we moved into a new apartment with beautiful light, gorgeous original 1920 wood floors, huge living room, and a dining room big enough to hold more than our behemoth of table. The kitchen was smaller than our last, and it had no dishwasher.

For 20 years, I had been using our “agreement” as law. While I did other things, my husband stood in the kitchen and did dishes. For 20 years.

When we moved, we decided that wasn’t fair. To be honest, Troy still does more dishes than anyone else. The kids often do them, but when they are asked. I hope that they soon learn to take the initiative.

And I, the messy cook, have finally started to do dishes after 20 years. My system is different than Troy’s, but I am finding grace in the hot water and the bubbles and the spider plants on the window sill.

For 20 years, my husband has had dish-pan hands, and I have not.

I consider it all grace that my hands are a lot drier than they used to be.

More grace, more joy, more gratitude:

637. Good Earth tea.
638. Beautiful snow-fall.
639. A hubby who gives up free time to do things for me.
640. Eating well and exercising better over the past 2 weeks, and resulting pounds off.
641. Purging and organizing.
642. www.commonprayer.net
643. The Message.
644. 3 Gifts found in Christ today: Joy, despite a blustery day and a sleepy me. Faith, to pray for healing, comfort and peace of mind for a friend I know and one I haven't met. Contentment and satisfaction with that I have.
645. Looking forward to more gratitude.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Encourage and Community

Around the holidays every year, I try to listen to what God is whispering to my soul about the upcoming year. Some years I pay more attention to it than others. Some years I let the words make more of a difference in my life.

We have been back in the US for a year and a half now, after living in Spain for 12 years. Although it has often been a difficult transition, we are confident and peaceful that we made the right decision. Our kids are happy and thriving in every way, and that is a true blessing. They are doing really well in school and have made some great friends.

Community has been quite a bit harder to come by for Troy and I. In our life together we have experienced deep and real community, and once you have tasted that, it's really difficult to not have it. But it's a challenge, because when you move into a new place, people already have their lives pretty well full. They have routines, schedules and commitments, which are all good things. Basically their lives are working pretty well for them.

Since we moved here to Chicago, I have joked that we need to create a "friendship resume" so that people can see what we have to offer. It's a silly thing, but it got me thinking on a deeper level. Community is a two-way street, and Jesus has been speaking to me about encouraging others, and about building community where I can.

Sometimes it's hard. After 12 years in ministry, at times I long to just "take" and not have to give anymore, at least for awhile. But that's not what it's really about, is it?

Jesus also reminded me that I have good friends who are flung all over the globe. While it can be hard not to have a bunch of bffs who live next door or down the street, He reminded me to cultivate those far-off friends too. And while I don't want the internet to be my main "friend" platform, it has allowed me to become true friends with people I have never met in real life. That's pretty cool.

To balance out the internet aspect, it's my hope this year to write a hand-written note to someone for every day of the year. I am allowing myself the slack to write several in a day if I need to, but every day has someone on it.

I also hope to blog more, but I'm not going to stress about that one. :)

Here's to encouragement, and to community, and to getting off your butt and doing what Jesus tells you to :)



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