Today I had a blast with Eamonn. Do you know what we were doing? We were cleaning.
We’re in week two of no channels on the TV and a lovely thing has happened — he’s started not to miss TV. This morning he asked me, “Mom — would you play music on the TV?” We don’t have a stereo and my iPod really only plays through headphones or in the car. But we have a game console that will let me stream music from my computer or play off of a CD. So we listened to worship music while he played with Legos and I put dinner into the crock pot. Later in the day when we got home from running various errands around town neither of us even paused at the TV as we came through the door. Rather, we lugged a toy cubby that I’d gotten from my sister-in-law in trade for a trike Eamonn never rode into Eamonn’s room and began sorting his toys into the various cubby holes. He loved it.
“I have a ball! This is an instrument, Mom! Here is another train piece!” We sorted through his toys which were in a big jumble in his wagon and gave them all homes. As we rifled through his things we began to find monkey from a long-forgotten barrel of monkeys and started singing the “10 Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed” song together. When Eamonn sings it, it goes, “10 widdow mon-teys, yumpin’onna bed…” My heart nearly exploded with love several times and I kept thinking, “How did I miss the nuances of how much fun all of this could be?” I’d fallen into this bad habbit of rushing through every aspect of the day and using TV to babysit while I did things quickly that, given a little more time, we could have done slowly and joyfully together while we talked and laughed and played.
I am not looking for reassurances that I’m a good mom or that everyone makes mistakes like this and gets caught up in the hurry and bustle. I do know those things are true. But here’s the other thing that’s true: My hustle and bustle was a sign of some grave sin that has needed to be dealt with for quite a while now, and the Lord has gently and graciously let me see this as He’s also gently and graciously shown me some ways I could change the pattern. I know we don’t like that word, “sin”. But let’s call it what it is in my case. Waste is a woeful category into which I so often and so easily fall.
The overall message that’s been ringing loud and clear in both my heart and my ears the last few months is that I have much to learn about stewardship of my time, my monetary and material resources, and the gift of a child. This has come in various ways: realizing how much food waste was going on in my own home at my own hands without my realizing it; the natural progression from that realization to a hard look at the rest of my money flow; struggling to find time to sort these things then causing me to realize how much time waste there is, as well. I want to learn to use my time and resources more effectively so that I am able to accommodate Eamonn’s pace rather than setting him aside in order to accommodate mine.
There are several resources I’m considering that I’d like to go through over the next few months as I work on getting some of my life in better order:
C.J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Ministries did a series on time management earlier this year and I guess I should have raised the white flag immediately when I starred all of the posts in my Google Reader for reading later and then could never find the time to go through them. However, in searching around and thinking about stewardship, I was reminded that he took the entire series and compiled it in a PDF for free download. I’ve been praying for a study to do because I’m much more consistent with my quiet times when I’m working through something and I think this may be it.
In addition, my friend Beth and I have agreed to work together on our household budgets. Amidst kicking, moaning, a few tears and some grumbling, I’m sure, we are going to be working through Budgeting for Dummies and Managing the Money Maze. I think it will really help to have a friend with whom I’m totally honest about our finances and who will ask me how I’m doing with the budgets my husband and I agree on as I do the same for her.
Last, a natural categorizing of my son’s activities and interests began to emerge as we sorted toys today. He has so many different kinds of activities that he’s interested in. Previously when they were all jumbled together I think it was hard for him to figure out what to play with or what to do with his things. But as we sorted things (I asked for his input on how he thought we should group some of his things and was delighted with some of his decisions) a post from Owlhaven that I read just yesterday on Homeschooling with Preschoolers came to mind. In it, Mary shared an idea for play stations for kiddos my son’s age (3-and-a-half-but-almost-4-thankyouverymuch) and even younger. In my jumbled mental store of notes I thought, “okay, must buy different kinds of things for him to play with…oh but the money…think about it later…” But no. We have everything we need already between puzzles, train tracks, building blocks, activity books, and art supplies. I just didn’t know it because it was all jumbled together. Already ideas for how we could play together and work together through our days at home has begun to emerge and I’m really excited at the time I’m anticipating spending with him.
This seems like a long laundry list and I think I’d easily panic if not for this thought that keeps threading itself through my mind and other considerations today, “You can’t do it. But I can make it possible.” And I trust Him, and He will. I want to honor my Lord and I know He will help me to do it.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.