Yesterday, I was busy as usual. I was making my cream cheese shortbread cookies which I have been making for most of my adult life. I put the butter and cream cheese without looking at the recipe. My mind was busy thinking of my to-do list. Starting at the next step, I got the recipe out and continued to finish the cookie. When I was prepping the dough for chilling, I noticed that it seemed like there was not usual amount. I checked the recipe and realized that I only put in half the amount of butter. So I added the butter to dough and finished the cookies. Cookie recipes are designed to be made a certain way or they don’t come out. The cookies did not come out like usual. They were thin and crispy, not thick and buttery.
Why do I tell you this story? As soon as I realized my mistake, I knew that this would be a blog post, but my mind reeled with ideas.
- Do I use this as a year-end reflection of my one word for this year? I could discuss how I am more present now than I was at the beginning of the year. Also how much more aware I am when my mind wanders. I would have also talked about how I am not there yet, but I am not worried because I am always growing.
- Do I write about the sometimes monotony of teaching in periods? I could write about how some of us teach the same lesson up to 6 times a day. As the day goes on, we become so comfortable the lesson that we might forget that we need to follow all of the steps or the learning may not occur as expected. I could draw an analogy to how making cookies very similar to the direct instruction model.
- Do I write about how a small mistake can have a large impact? I would talk about how I thought I was doing it right until the end and then realized my mistake. I added the butter at the end and results were different. Just like when you think you are doing right by others, but realize towards the end and try to fix it at the last minute. Things become different. I would describe a personal incident about a choice I thought was right, but realized later it was not. I had to go back and rectify it. The relationship now is different because of the mistake I made.
I am excited about how many ideas that I came quickly to my mind. In the past, I would have been frustrated and thought nothing of it. Thanks to blogging, I have learned how to be reflective. I see daily events as a chance to reflect and grow. I encourage you to create a habit of reflection. Your life will be richer for it.
Stomach bug overtook my house this week. Loads and loads of laundry were done. Sleep did not happen all of the time. As every parent of small children know this can be some of the hardest days. This post will not be about the challenges of illness. Instead, I want to talk about a particular moment.
My sweet L and I were sitting on the couch after a bout of puking. I knew I couldn’t go far. Slowly, L climbed into my lap. Then she whispered, “Lay down.” She climbed on top of my chest and promptly fell asleep. My head spun thinking about all of the things I needed to do. After what felt like an eternity, I finally slowed my mind down and I just focused on the sensation this experience. We stayed like this for a couple of hours. I knew that she was tired and would wake if I moved.
Why do I tell this story?
First, it explains how I tend to function. I am guilty of getting upset with the Martha and Mary story in Bible. I tend to think that Mary should have been helping in the kitchen instead of visiting. I tend to stay focused on the task at hand and instead of spending time with others. I like a clean kitchen and an empty e-mail box. Since I know this is my tendency, I make a conscious effort of being present. I also know just like Mary and Martha’s time was limited with Jesus, my time with others is finite and I will not get those moments back. Also, I need to take the time to nurture relationships.
Second, as I settled in, I had some calm moments to think about my own growth. What I need to do next. I also reflected on previous work and the moves we were making. I felt much better about the next steps. I also thought about how it will not be much longer until my little L will not need me in the same way. I won’t be able to make everything better. It’s amazing how much reflection can occur when a small child is sleeping on you.
So friends, enjoy your time with others and focus on the relationship. Also, create the space needed for reflection.
Last week was my birthday and I gave it away. You can find my 40 acts of kindness here. I learned many things as I did it. In no particular order:
- It made my day. I was particularly chipper. I felt like I was light on my feet. I didn’t get meloncholy. I need create moments like daily.
- Label who they are for. Both the mailman and my family did not take the item for them. My husband says that did not eat their treat because he thought it was for someone else
- Not everyone accepts. The change on soda machine sat for several days at one of the schools. I wonder if they thought someone else might need it more or if they thought that it was a joke. I really hope it is the latter.
- Accepting kindness requires knowledge. A couple of panicked e-mails bounced around the school. Someone was worried where did it come from and assumed the worse. Next time I will have the person who did some of my work send out an e-mail with assurance that she know who sent it.
Will I do this again? Of course. I think it forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me be more intentional with my acts of kindness.