Eating in Fear No More

We recently moved.

And, by recently, I mean last summer.

What I really mean is, we bought some new furniture pieces and rugs to go with the new house style.

What I more honestly mean is that my children eat like wild hogs after a 10 day fast.

These days, I eat most meals in fear. Mostly, that macaroni and cheese will end up strewn across my newish rug. It’s not my fault that a cream based color scheme worked best. Nor is it my fault that even Annie’s Mac-n-cheese still uses a yellow bordering-on-neon-orange in their cheese sauce.

And if it’s a dinner with any sort of red sauce involved?

(((shudders)))

Dinnertime now consists of a steady stream of reminders to use a napkin, wipe something up, or not hold your pizza cheese-side-down. Not to mention the constant refrain of “Lean in. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL CLEANLINESS, lean in!”

These offspring of mine are probably the messiest eaters I know. And I know lots of messy eaters. I’m eyeing you, Ahab.

Please tell me that I am not the only one for whom dinnertime is a major source of frustration? Clean up often consists of locating apple sauce from far corners of the house, deciphering the cause of the red Florida-shaped stain, or determining the original source of the stick.

Once I found a splattered patch of applesauce on a piece of furniture that wasn’t even in the same room as where we eat most of our meals, though, that was it! At that point, I knew it was time to enforce some rules. Applesauce on the TV? Unacceptable!

There’s nothing like new furniture to force my parenting hand.

In an effort to get through these dinner times with as little whining (or wine) as possible, I instituted a new dining policy. This sounds fancy. And fun. Like something you’d see posted above the entrance to a restaurant at Disney World. Right? (It was a hard sell for the sweetkids, too.)

No matter, I was forging ahead with my dining dictums, anyway. Yes indeedy.

Once we covered the new “no eating on the couches until you’re 21” rule (and, who are we kidding? By then, hopefully, they will have moved out. And they can ruin their own dang couches!) we moved on to the Big Three. Unlike This Is Us, these did not refer to sibling characters that I long to see develop and grow. They do, however, refer to the top three eating offenses.

 

  1. If you spill it, you clean it. I’m the only one allowed to cry about it.
  2. When you finish it, you clear it. Bonus points for clearing everyone else’s, too.
  3. If you break it, you buy it. Making a mental note to check piggy banks to make sure they can actually afford to “buy” anything.

As you can imagine, there were many cries of, “But, they are just accidents” and, “What if it’s just a mistake spill”?

No matter. Hope wells inside of me that someday soon, I will eat in fear no more.

With my children.

Without spinach being found anywhere other than between my teeth.

Or, you know…they’ll move out.

Whichever.

 

In the Pits

Around the time I was eight or nine years old (I’m sure I’ve blocked the exact date out in my memory), I did something incredibly stupid. Wet socks snugly encasing my feet, I shimmied along the edge of the electric stove to get to the cupboard above it that held the Oreos. That same stove top had a pot of The Nana’s homemade spaghetti sauce boiling on it.

Yes.

Exactly what you are imagining could have happened, did.

And, in case you weren’t envisioning anything, I’ll give you the short version.

Girl wants cookies. Mother says she can’t have them before dinner. Girl’s mother goes next door to borrow more oregano. Girl, dripping in still-wet socks from playing out in the rain, lets desire for chocolate override all intelligence. Girl shimmies along, gets a shock and jumps up. On her descent literally and figuratively, girl’s foot catches handle of pot. Girl lands on kitchen floor bum-side-up and boiling sauce lands bum-side-down.

The next days are a blur, in my mind. I do, however, vividly remember ice baths and laying on a bed, bum-side-up, while there were daily “dressing” changes.

There was one silver lining to this incident.

Yes.

I got to sleep in the guest bedroom at the back of our ranch-style house, because it had a bathroom, en suite. This allowed me to shuffle the shortest amount of painful steps to the facilities each time I needed them.

But also? The guest bedroom is where the bookshelves were.

The bookshelves that housed all of my mother’s favorite books, books to be read, and cast-offs.

I got a glimpse into my mama’s mind.

And it started with being in the pits.

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If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries – What Am I Doing in the Pits? by Erma Bombeck was my first taste of humor writing.

And it was delicious.

From there, I picked up anything I could find by this funny female. It wasn’t until college that I learned of her struggle to get published. It wasn’t until I hit the big 4-0 that I became brave enough to enter her writing competitions.

And, while I could choose about 30 quotes from Erma Bombeck, alone, the following is still the one that gets me every time.

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.”

Clearly, Erma got me.

Yes indeedy.

This post is part of my series, 31 Best Books Ever. I’ve joined in the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to visit over there and see all of the topics people are writing about. Click the button below, or here, to see my previous posts. Happy reading!

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Thanksgiving Is Most Certainly NOT for the Birds

You know who has nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day?

The turkey.

It’s kinda a rough day for that dude.

Unless we’re talking about a martyr turkey.

And somehow, I highly doubt that once a turkey gets wind of what gets cut off and where it all gets stuffed and cooked… Well, I don’t much think we’re going to see many turkey’s yelling “Pick me!” for that experience.

All turkey business aside, I know full well how very much I have to be thankful for. And, although I’ve been practicing thankfulness with more regularity since first reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp a couple of years ago, it does me good to purposely set aside time each year for an extra helping of thankfulness.

So, in the spirit of reflection and thanksgiving, this morning I am so very thankful for:

  • You.  Yes, you. I come here and use words to work through things and you come and share right back. I’m so grateful. Flannery O’Connor said that “I write to discover what I know.”  You help me discover that. Thank you.
  • Sweetman and my sweetkids. They drive me batty. But for every new bat-like symptom I acquire, for every new twitch they inspire, I am grateful that they are mine. And I am theirs. I wouldn’t trade anything (You know what I would trade? A cast. I would trade that, actually.)
  • Italians. Si`. My “fache` booka`” loving sister-in-law, who thinks nothing of stopping an 11:00 pm card game of Rumino to call her sister (or one of 4 brothers) in another state to make sure no one is cheating, and my mother-in-law, who will cook up a storm and bake love into every single delicious bite.
  • Freedom. I’m not talking about the freedom that living in The United States provides, although I have no doubt that I don’t even understand how blessed being an American really is. I’m talking about the freedom to write what I want. Post when I want. Think how I want. It’s a gift, tenfold. I am thankful.

I’m going to end my thoughts right there. An Italian is calling from the kitchen telling me that breakfast is served. “Andiamo!”

“I’m coming!!!”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

What Do You Crave? An Invitation

Do not say chocolate. For The Love, please do not say chocolate!

“Life is not made better because we overindulge in an unhealthy choice.” -Made To Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst.

Well, isn’t that the truth?

Maybe food isn’t the craving you need to overcome.  Maybe it’s that desire to spend even when there is no money to spend with.  Or you long to win at a game you have no business playing.  Perhaps you crave a drink to soothe, or a touch to heal broken places, or a feeling of excitement that’s long since gone.  I get it.  I do.  My own path to greater dependence on God is littered not only with devil dog wrappers, but also with the remnants of desires fulfilled in altogether unholy ways.

And I am aware that the people God has placed in my life, whether lovers of Him or not, are watching me.  They are watching to see what this faith in Him provides that will be of some comfort to them.  Or if My God will bring them some measure of contentment that they do not yet have.

Am I living a life that exudes a dependence on and fulfillment by this God I claim to fiercely love? Does my satisfaction of those cravings demonstrate a dependence on Him at all?

This is not a journey with a definite ending of “Now, I’m finally walking in truth and light and will never need another lesson again.”. It is, however,  one that will need constant reevaluating and course-correcting. I recognize that I’m going to need others with me as I go about attempting to do just that. Deeper dependence on God and less dependence on Other Things will require a strength I know I don’t often possess. It will ask me to mine places I don’t often want to go.

So, consider this an invitation.  I’m inviting you into this place of need.  This place where our need meets His desire to fill it. I need friends to hold me accountable, during. I need encouragement, throughout. I need to know I’m not alone on this journey.

So… what do you crave?

Would you join me? For the next six weeks, you’ll find me over here at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study as we work through “Made To Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst.  I’ll be joining approximately 34,000 others determined to understand that life is only made better when we see the bounty that already exists in our daily lives.  I’ll be tracking my progress by writing about it, here, each Thursday.

There is safety in numbers.

We are better together.

I need lots of wise counsel.  God said so.

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If this post spoke to your heart about cravings you long to wage war against, or even if you’re just curious what online Bible study is all about, click the button below.  You’ll find encouragement and lots of other invitations there.

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