Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Mise en place..."

Pronounced [miz on plas]. A French term coined by the Culinary Institute of America meaning "everything in its place." I worked at a fine dining restaurant throughout college and saw first hand the necessity of this in a professional kitchen.

I think about it every time I purge and organize our toys and books. Of course I'm not naive to think that it will stay that way for more than a few hours, but boy is it cleansing!

Mise en place in the kitchen yields efficiency so chefs can focus on the real priority: making delicious food. Mise en place in the home with young children yields more time and space to actually use the books and toys.

This rainy day is lending itself to a perfect "mise en place" kind of day. Rain cleaning the outside, Mommy and James cleaning the inside!

Can you find my helper? :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

I've been hired!

Jim says that as a believer in the new life that we have in Christ, we will never have another job, only another mission field. This is so freeing. Gone are the shackles of "... is this what I'm supposed to be doing?" or even feeling generally stuck in a job. In Christ, no position is more or less spiritual - only different avenues of serving and loving others - whether in a McDonald's flipping burgers or a swanky investment firm.

All that to say, we each have specific gifts, temperaments, and preferences. Personally, at the root of myself, I love to create, nurture, and maintain. That doesn't mean I'm good at it, but I keep returning to it. Practically, this has manifested itself in the education world: teaching children, loving them, and nurturing their endeavors in learning. I've always known, though, that I would one day want to focus this energy in my own home. My own domain. My own workspace. And I'm thrilled to say that, in this season at least, I'm able to be 100% at home.

I was thinking today about some different titles:

Stay-at-home-mom, Wife and Mother, Homemaker, Family Manager, Home Economist...

... and some funny ones:

Lady of Leisure, Domestic Goddess, or Professional Wiper of All Things.

After some thought, I think the term 'homemaker' is my choice. I know it's old-fashioned... and I promise I have no "all women should be Stepford wives and mothers at home" hill to die on. But the thought of making a home is so attractive to me. I'm not great at cooking or baking. I lack interior design skill. Cleaning is actually one of my favorite tasks, but I don't do it consistently.

But those are all surface ways to keep a home. I want to seek out the ways to help cultivate the family bonds that create stability and reassurance. Normalcy and balance. To make a home.

This is a much less tangible thing, I know. It's the vague, fuzzy feeling that you get when you smell your own house. You know what I mean - every family has their smell. Not necessarily stinky, just not your home. Even though my parents have moved twice since I left home, I can still capture the Craft family smell in their Florida home. And for those who have enjoyed a stable, loving, and caring home life, that smell can invoke peace and calm and even specific memories.

I can work on improving the surface maintenance of a home - not worried about that. And I enjoy it. It's the people in the house that I must daily (and then throughout the day) give over to our much more wise and capable God. Jim, James, and soon little Anna - that I can love them and serve them and encourage them... and discipline for the little ones.

And the other people in the house: the visitors, the stay-as-long-as-you-need-to-people... aaaand the don't-you-have-somewhere-else-to-go-people.

That's the hard part. That's the course that I will never fully master in my new field. Hospitality to the permanent and non-permanent people in our home. Jesus did it perfectly. I think I'll look to him.

I'm so excited about my new job and I have lots of ideas rolling around in my head. Physical house projects (kitchen, bathrooms, etc. remodel), the possibility of homeschooling, learning and mastering new and healthier recipes for my family, yard projects. It's my dream job and I'm ever so grateful to be hired.
Grace Laced Mondays

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our morning discovery

Here I sit in the napping house. No more quiet singing or narrating emits from James' room. He's asleep. Wooden blocks are strewn on the rug, waiting for their next architectural destiny. His little size 8 shoes rest next to the front door; the morning wet and grass bits are dry now. We found a bright green cicada this morning, having just emerged from his exoskeleton. James' eyes were the size of saucers and he squatted, oh so slowly, to have a closer look.

"He's alive, Mommy?"

"Yea, he just climbed out of his old shell and now he has wings. Do you want to hold the shell?"

Backing up quickly, "No, no, no. I don't want to hold the shell."

"It's okay, buddy. It's not alive. The cicada bug is, but his shell won't move. Here, I'll hold it first."

He craned his neck closer but kept the rest of his little body away, ready to flee if that alien beetle shell moved even the tiniest bit. Then he reached out. Stroked the back of the shell. At the crunchy, papery sound he recoiled. But then looked at me, grinned, and stood straighter with confidence.

"I can hold it?"

"Of course - here, hold it very gently in your hand."

And then, after a long inspection, he said, "Yet's put it in the grass and go inside. Buh-skeetos are biting me."

Those darn buh-skeetos, ending our sweet moment. But I'm thankful for the gift of watching and discovering him, discovering something amazing for the first time. That doesn't get old.

So cool, right?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So here we are again!

My last post was almost exactly two whole years ago. Wow.

I tried blogging a little over here, but that didn't last too long. Although I did get a little creative writing done and that was fun.

So let's see. I'm almost 30 weeks pregnant with our baby girl (Anna Jubilee), James just turned 3, Jim started a new job as one of the pastors at our church, and I'm learning how to make a home. The latter is a dream recognized - to be home with my babies, full-time. I'm grateful to God who has allowed it!

Come hang out with me as I share the funnies, the sadness, and hopefully boast in my weaknesses, giving credit to the only Strength I have.

Here we are in Hollywood, a sweet babymoon indeed.