Around New Years, everyone has grand intentions. All of a sudden we're going to be something we've never been, or something we've never done. And magically we're going to stick with it, without fail, because as of January 1st, we're now awesome.
Well, I'm not. But maybe you are.
I'm still just a Mom, trying to get through my days without loosing my mind. And some days, that's much easier than others. Somedays I'm ridiculously happy, the laundry is washed, my kids don't tattle or fight back and forth, and supper tastes amazing. Then, the other 99% of the time, it ain't like that at all.
The reality is that my reality is just like your reality. Do you have kids? Has their poop ever exploded out of their diaper, all over their sheets and blankets and crib and wall and body? And you take a picture and text it to your BFF because she's got six kids and you know she'll find the poop party funny because she's been there? That's my reality.
Is your reality the fact that despite your efforts, supper has just fallen flat the last few days? Because the impressive meat and vegetable goulash thingy that you were trying to make that was going to be awesome just came out like… bleh? And everyone politely (or not so politely) poked the food around on their plates before racing off to the kitchen and scraping their plates into the compost bucket before you could see how much they actually ate? That's my reality sometimes.
A big part of my reality is the never ending project list that continues to grow and grow, despite our working sun up to sun down. When I look around our farm and cottage, I see progress! And it's beautiful. And then I see trim that never was finished, piles of gravel that are now growing weeds because they've been there for so long, broken electric fencing, and half-shingled chicken coops.
Even though I didn't make a New Year's resolution this past year, I did give myself a word. A word to meditate on and focus on when the going-gets-tough. Read: 99% of the time. And that word is PEACE.
Peace that despite the fact that my children are often at each other for something, I know we're doing the best we can in raising them to not be total jerks to each other and the world around them. God is at work in their hearts, and in mine.
Peace that despite the weight of what needs to be done on the farm, we're giving it all we can – and that's all we can do. PS: We're also learning how to call in help because we can't do it all.
Though my posting may be a bit silent on the blog the season, the future of The Elliott Homestead is growing by leaps and bounds. I'm working feverishly behind the scenes on things you can, and cannot see yet. I'm *this close* to being able to share massively exciting and large news with you all – but until then, I have peace in knowing that good things are surely coming that will benefit you (and your kitchens). PS: Think you know what it is? Think even bigger! I still shake when I think about it!
You know what else I have peace about? My body. There, I said it. This body has now carried, birthed, and nursed four humans. The last eight years have been completely devoted to using my bodily resources for their lives. Juliette is weaned and that time has now passed and what is left in the mirror is much like a soldier's body after war. I'm a bit weaker than I was in some areas, but in others, I'm so much stronger. Sure, my boobs barely fill a training bra and nothing will quite piece together like it did before the battle, but so what. I'm 31. I'm not meant to have the body of a 20 year old. I'm a mature (sort of) mother (totally) now who's body serves her family. It's not meant to just serve me aesthetically or act as some sort of a poster for how awesome I am. It's meant to be put to use caring for others and working this farm. And it can do those things mighty well.
I'm completely at peace with my body and knowing that it's doing exactly what it should be doing. Because I care for it well, it's serving me well. And for that I am so very thankful. I think American's in general tend to have a negative attitude about aging. Life is far too short and precious for that. I refuse to age that way.
I'm also coming to peace with my time in the kitchen and what that means. Food is life, 'round these parts, and that means I simply must carve out time to get creative in the kitchen. Lest I feel like a line cook who serves up a spoon full of slop to these hood rats thrice daily. I've spent years fumbling over this recipe or that. So much of my cooking, and time in the kitchen, didn't make sense.
Once we started growing our food, I became extremely familiar with what will grow here and what we can produce ourselves or source locally. Once I became acclimated to these ingredients, I realized that our produce and products are almost exactly the same as those highlighted in French cuisine. I bought a few good French cookbooks and I got to work developing and slipping into this style. It felt natural. It felt right. I'm not ever going to make a killer curry because I simply don't know those products like I know my cream, butter, grains, beans, seafood, homegrown meats, and gardens produce. Recognizing strengths, playing to those, and allowing others to be the master of their strengths, is extremely liberating in the kitchen. What's your culinary identity? Do you have one? Isn't it a great feeling?!
Furthermore, I'm working on developing peace with time. Time is not my enemy. It's not time's fault my laundry's not done, dishes aren't washed, or bible didn't get cracked open all week. That's my fault. There is peace in recognizing that I'm not a victim of it. Intentionally moving through the motions of my day to ensure certain tasks are cared for brings with it enourmous peace, even if the rest of the world is in crumbles on the ground at the end of the day.
And lastly, peace with knowing that I can't ever, won't ever, and shouldn't ever want to be sufficient in and of myself. I need help. You do too, I'm guessing. My reality is far too precious and complex to be suspended by my fingertips alone. We're designed to operate in community and frankly, I'm thankful that I have to be shaken out of my hermit shell to offer help, accept help, and live amongst others.
There is great peace to be practiced and had as we go about our full, messy, tedious, monotonous days. And I'm ever thankful for the sanctification of it. Praying for peace for you too, my friend.
More of my posts on life: