Bits of Sweetness

Dear Friend Who Let Me Bless Her in My Chaos...

Dear friend,

Thank you so much for letting me bless you today despite my chaos.  It is such a joy to me.  I am always glad to help others when I can. After all, I know how hard it is to nail down things like last-minute childcare or help with things when you're a parent. There's something about asking for help that is so very humbling. Sometimes the world makes it seem like needing a village is a crime. Even the best parents have times of need though and it's beautiful to come together and help meet needs.

Today though, friend, you blessed me. You looked past my crumbly floor with toys everywhere, clothing strewn on chairs, and piles of dishes stacked on the table and you said nothing.

I feel torn between the desire to offer hospitality in our home and the chaos I live in. I know I hold back from blessing others merely because my chaos is embarrassing. It's embarrassing to no longer be able to hide my lack of ability to keep up with both the kids and the house and life. That is very humbling. It also makes me want to hide under a rock and never answer my door. (To the person who visited us two weeks ago unexpectedly to my unclothed toddler and preschooler, I apologize! Potty training is in full force, and we just love baths a lot here. Plus having a drawer of actually clean clothes, well, it's  a work in progress!) I longingly look back at photos from my "remember this day" feed at how clean my house once was. It's like a different planet replaced the one I knew.

I am so often caught in a struggle- I want to bless others, but I know so much of my own life is stress-inducing. I don't want to invite people into what is utter chaos. There are multiple piles of laundry, a table covered in dishes, toys everywhere, pieces of random things shoved along every corner and edge. My doors are now several shades of gray and the best magical eraser doesn't even make a dent. I feel like I am stuck in a huge season of need without an ability to bless until this chaos goes somewhere (say in about 18 years when the kids leave and I can catch my breath!) The thing is, I don't want to wait that long. It hurts my heart to think about. I want to bless my friends right now. But the mess. The crazy mess I can spend 3 hours a day on and it still isn't enough. It falls apart in about 30 seconds from engineer-minded kids who we have trained really well to play creatively and whose high distraction bouncy-brain level make it so that all day long, we have a confetti bomb of pieces of random stuff dropped and forgotten.

Friend, you let me bless you today. You let me provide a place for your child to play with ours, and your only comment about everything was, "Oh you have kids too!!" It touched my heart greatly. You inspired me, without even knowing it.

I want to bless others. I want to stop looking at the craziness around me and just stop waiting until life reaches this level of perfection to invite them over. The thing is, people are just thrilled to be invited over. They are thrilled that hospitality is being offered, even crazy chaotic messy hospitality. (After all, I'm not inviting them over for a home tour or inspection. This, I must remember!)

Our reading at MOPS this past week was a big encouragement to my heart. Find a way to be hospitable that speaks of you. The writer shared that she challenged herself to bring back the dinner party. Her first and best meal ever was a reheated three-day-old lasagna. What a thought! It really got me thinking. I have a dream of having people but I let silly things stop me. Our kitchen and dining area are tiny. Logistically, only a few people would fit. Our place has not been clean for years. It's not looking hopeful right now either! My shades-of-gray doors might cause people stress (or, perhaps joy at how well they are doing!) None of that has to be a hurdle though. My word for next year is going to be two words- "embrace" and "invite." I want to embrace the season of life I am in, and the person God made me to be. Through that I want to invite others to be blessed, specifically by coming over. This is not an easy thing. It's not easy to invite people to see us with our most raw, vulnerable parts hanging out wide open. (I'm out of closets to stuff things into, y'all!) But, I am realizing that the blessing is even more immense the more we do this. We open ourselves to valuable, true relationships that have so much blessing to be gleaned because they aren't based upon a home tour or Pinterest-worthy photos.

In talking to a friend about my disorganization weakness, she pointed out something that I don't think I'll ever forget. She said, "You are organized in the way that works for you." How true that is. There are many ways I do a good job- it just doesn't show up in a house that looks spectacular for inviting people over. I keep waiting for the skillsets my friends posess to suddenly inhabit my brain. It just is not happening, and hence, the frustration level rises, but why should it? I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew what he was doing when he made me. I know I'm giving our kids an incredible childhood full of rich memories. We still teach them important life skills- how to do the dishes, laundry, and developing a hard work ethic working as a team. I can't endlessly wait for the perfect life to show up in order to enjoy the beautiful one I have been blessed by right now.

Friend, thank you for embracing me in my chaos. You made my week.

2016 Holiday Gift Exchange

It's here!  The annual Holiday Gift Exchange is back because it's fun to give and it's just as fun to get special mail!

Those gift and book exchanges seem to be making the rounds on Facebook a lot lately. Anyone else try them? I've done a few. From stickers to books- they all end up being a flop. In theory they sound great, but between bad memory (hi!) and just not finding enough participants, it usually falls short at some point. This is a guaranteed swap meaning- if you sign up, you get a box full of wonderful holiday things!

The theme this year is holiday favorites, and I'm going to simplify it a little bit to make the anticipation all the more fun!

Here are the details:

* The exchange limit is $20-$25 (not counting shipping. Highly recommend boxes that cost one price for whatever fits!)
* This year we are including a favorite holiday book (either for kids or adults), a favorite holiday memory (treat, game, tradition, etc), and 2-3 other surprises you would like to include.
* The deadline for signing up is December 2nd (my birthday!)
* Boxes go out by December 16th
* And tada! Receive a neat box filled with fun holiday treasures in time for Christmas!

Your info is secure. It's a lot of fun. Everyone who participates is always really sweet, and to be honest, it's a lot better than hoping you'll get something- you know you will!

For more info, email me here.

To sign up, fill out the form here!