If you've never taught a 3 year old what "double dipping" is, I highly recommend it. Especially if you are a germ-a-phobe, or trying to acquire more skills in patience. Today, while I was trying to enjoy my hard earned bowl of chips and salsa out on the front porch, Little Sass felt entitled to join me, as I was using one of her special purple bowls for the salsa. (My first mistake) (The second mistake was eating the snack anywhere that wasn't my closet) She sidled on up next to me and took a chip as if I wanted to share. She dipped. She took a bite. With the left over portion of chip in her chunky little hand, she went for dip #2.
Calmly, or at least in my dreams I was calm, I tried to explain. "Hey honey, we don't dip the chip a second time once you've bitten some of it off. Just eat the rest and you can dip the next chip again."
I went on to repeat my previous explanation about 78 times. Every time she looked at me as if I was speaking some native dialect that is only known in the deepest part of the Amazon rainforest. And then she would try and dip the chip after one bite.
I've had several other "food fails" in the last couple of days and I have to admit, I am feeling a little inept when it comes to feeding my family. I have certain friends who are ridiculously fantastic chefs, and their families are blessed to have them as chefs/mothers. Alicia develops a weekly menu for her family of exotic dishes you might see at a fancy schmancy place down on Larimer Square. Grace cooks like a real Mexican adding a little of this and a little of that, and before you know it, you are eating something that tastes like a fiesta in your mouth. And Beth, she can cook for 100 people without even breaking a sweat. And it always tastes like your mom made it with love.
This past week I attempted a homemade apple pie. Billy loves pie almost more than me, and I figured it was time I learn how to make a simple pie for my man. I don't really want to talk about it, but I will say it turned out looking like someone without opposable thumbs baked that sucker. While wearing a blindfold. And drinking a pitcher of mojitos. In the end, Will—also a pie lover, gave it an 8.5 for taste, and a -2 for looks.
Tonight's dinner turned out to be popcorn, after a highly anticipated attempt at a PF Chang frozen knock-off entrée from Supertarget. Faith and I thought they looked so good at the store this morning. Unfortunately the orange chicken tasted like a dirty sponge that had been soaking in moldy lemon water. After two bites I told everyone to throw it out and fire up the old microwave for some butter popcorn. Please don't judge me. At least popcorn has roots in being a vegetable.
Some days are fails. Some days are full of thrills. Just this morning I read this quote by Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest".
"We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God's way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don't always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of drudgery of life by the power of God."
How perfect and fitting for me to read today. Just yesterday our church voted unanimously on a new pastor and many of us celebrated all weekend. There was a Friday night dessert bar, Saturday morning breakfast, followed by a Sunday lunch—and at each event there was something special moving in the midst of our people. The weekend was thrilling because God's hand is visibly active and moving in the lives of our little church. And then came Monday. The drudgery of grocery shopping, cooking fails, laundry, and parenting kids who don't want to do anything but sit around all summer. I was tempted to get down about the day but instead I was reminded to live in my "common time" and let God use me in spite of the fact that I am flawed, unkind, impatient, often unlovely, yet covered completely by the power and grace of God. I know even on days when I tire of explaining the same thing over and over to my toddler, or feel like a failure in a million other ways, God's grace is still present in my life. I can choose to let that grace overflow on to my family, or I can ignore it and let my thoughts be captivated by anger, negativity, or simple distractions.
Tonight I sleep in peace, knowing a new day inevitably brings another set of trials and tests. I will claim God's promises as I face the challenge to live my routine and walk out the ordinary. I will thank God for the thrills, for the faces of my children and the health of my loved ones. I will appreciate my husband who doesn't care what the pie looks like, but cares that I tried to make one. I will close my eyes with a simple prayer of thanks on my lips for the joy of knowing God never lets me walk alone. Even in the ordinary, He is so good.