The beauty of the slow brew…

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I will never forget the way our house used to smell each morning after I brewed a pot of coffee. It wasn’t just any old brand of coffee, either. This was coffee made of rich Ethiopian beans that we would get through a company supporting fair trade and small business opportunities in developing countries. And, as an extra bonus, five dollars of every bag bought went to help fund our pending adoption.

B never really enjoyed coffee until I got him hooked on it –  mainly because of the smell, I think. I was always a bit envious that he didn’t seem to need the coffee to function that day.  He just wanted some because of the experience of drinking its rich goodness. He’d drink some coffee when I’d make it, but not be reliant on it for morning survival. On the weekends, he’d even put some in a mug in the fridge, to cool and drink later in the day. I had built a habit of loading the coffee grounds into the pot the night before, using the fun timer function, so the smell would wake us the next morning with new vigor for the day ahead.

Now it’s all fast brew and K-cups around here, because I’m the only one drinking it. I don’t have much time in the morning, so much like many other facets of my life, it’s often all about function and productivity around here. I want my coffee with my morning quiet time first thing in the morning, and I don’t really want to take the time afterward to clean out the coffee pot. Furthermore, I guess I would feel wasteful if I threw any brewed coffee away.  So for now anyway, K-cups will have to remain.

But K-cups are seriously so very boring. As much as I love my Keurig’s functionality, I’m really not a big fan of it deep down. My coffee isn’t as fresh and there is no real aroma that permeates the room.   There’s nothing really all that great that brews into my mug, showing me that the fastest way isn’t necessarily the best way to brew coffee.  And it’s certainly not the most fragrant.

In the same way, a life thrown together, busily moving to and fro, isn’t always the most beautiful either. Some would stress that productivity is more important than beauty. That the completion of the “to do list” each day is what matters. Quantity over quality. But I would disagree. Because I’ve experienced the sweet smelling aroma of days that are fully lived – senses open and alert to the beauty around me. Fully alive to the smells and sounds and sights of creation that draw me closer to my beautiful Creator.  And other days, more often than I’d like to admit, I’ve taken the fast road and focused only on function and checklists. The difference is quite noticeable.

In this fast moving culture we live in, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and constantly live in the mindset of pursuing the fastest way to accomplish things. But is the quickest way really the best way? And does it truly bring us joy?

Maybe a lot of the joy we say we’re missing in our lives can simply be found by just slowing down a little. By breathing. By taking in all that’s around us and letting it slowly brew in our hearts and minds – this slow savoring  of thoughts, prayers, and ultimately – of beauty.

So today, I choose the slower, more savory way to live. I choose to slow down and see what’s around me. I choose to take the longer road when I can, instead of rushing through  the fastest route.   I choose to soak up this one life, and this one day, well. And hey, maybe I’ll even choose to get the coffee pot back out soon just so I can soak up that rich smell again.

Or maybe… just maybe… I’ll even challenge myself to learn to use a French press.  After all, I’ve heard that it’s even slower but more exquisite?  🙂

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When birthdays become life lessons…

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Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day at the beach.  Anyone with me?

And yet, I know it’s so important, not only for the child… but for me.  Through parenting, and in those hard disciplining moments, I continue to learn so much about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  Awhile back, I had a child – who will remain nameless, of course – whose birthday was coming up.  I was so excited to celebrate with my sweet child, and in typical mom form, was eager to give my child some really fun gifts I had purchased and knew he/she was longing for.  I get so much more excited about giving gifts these days than getting them.

As the time grew closer, however, I started to struggle with whether I should be giving more “stuff” to this child who had so much already and wasn’t acting so appreciative of what they already had.   I was tripping over toys, giving out way too many reminders to clean up, and just feeling really frustrated with the way he/she was taking care of their current belongings.  Is it really in my child’s best interests, I wondered, to be given more right now?  Perhaps some stewardship needed to be learned first.  And definitely some gratitude.

And then it hit me that sometimes, God may think the same thoughts about me as well.   Here I am praying for more, asking for more, and longing for God to do more in my life – when He just wants me to be content right now with what He’s already given me.  It doesn’t mean that I should stop longing or asking when He’s put desires in my heart.  But it does mean that I need to learn to be grateful for what I have now and steward what I have well,  so that I will appreciate and better handle the bigger gifts and responsibilities to come.  I have no idea what He’s got planned for me, or the timing of when those plans may come to fruition.

But I do know all that He’s called me to today.

The gifts He’s given me to cherish.

The responsibilities that I need to take ownership of.

And I have to believe, based on so many life stories of the people in Scripture,  that faithfulness to today’s responsibilities and gifts will result in greater fruitfulness tomorrow.

As for my child – well, we are still learning around here.  But I’m happy to report that the situation did improve before the birthday came around.  The birthday celebration was a happy time, and the birthday child ended up receiving way more than he/she deserved.  Because isn’t that how God is with us too?  So many gifts of grace.  Unmerited.  Undeserved.  Freely given in love.  But definitely delegated in His sovereign timing with the responsibility to steward them well.

My children will keep working on their gratitude and stewardship around here, and through it all, I’ll be reminded too.  Be grateful for today. Be hopeful for tomorrow.

But most of all, be content with His timing – convinced that Father really does know best.

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Why honesty {to ourselves} is the best policy…

I think sometimes, the hardest person to be honest with is myself.  Anyone with me? I would consider myself a pretty honest person.   I guess you could say I’ve been blessed with a pretty strong conscience that sends flares off to the rest of me if something’s not right.  I desire peace with the people around me at almost any cost, which isn’t always a good thing for my own well being.  But it does … {…Read More}

When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way. For us, it was … {…Read More}

A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}

When it’s the heart of the matter…

Parenting sure can humble us sometimes, can’t it?  These little people that need so much direction and guidance, yet love so freely with such patience and forgiveness… well, they sure know how to bring out some truths I need to learn without their even realizing it.  If you are a parent, I’m sure you can relate. We had one of those moments yesterday when I took my kiddos to a local fun place filled with … {…Read More}

Dear Single Mom…

Dear Sweet Beloved Single Mom, I know it feels sometimes like you are the only one out there in your current situation, but you aren’t. There are many women in similar situations as yours right now, whatever and wherever that is. They are women with similar hopes and shattered dreams, similar fears, and similar hurts. Yes, the reason for those hurts may be different, but hurt is hurt… and pain is pain. You are definitely not … {…Read More}

When grief changes your “yes”

It’s amazing how much grief changes a perspective on life.  Yes, a greater focus on eternity and Kingdom living is a given, but other things are also affected – like the way I choose to parent my children.  B and I always kind of had it in our heads that we would let H get her ears pierced when she turned 10.  Yes, I know we were a bit “old school” and that even baby … {…Read More}

I am not enough.

I am sure you’ve heard the saying that “it takes a village.” I’d be the first one to raise my hand in agreement. But I’d also be quick to go a step further and assure you that it also takes an Almighty God directing that village. At least that is how it’s looked pretty clearly in my life lately. And I don’t know if I could function a full day without that truth. I am … {…Read More}

Happy Mother’s Day…

My kids are my heroes. Yes, you read that right. This year, while the world is busy celebrating Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate Kids’ Day. Sure, part of that is probably because I have no one quite old enough to organize a breakfast in bed or the ability to take the day off to relax as my form of celebration. 🙂  But it’s much more because I am honestly just that proud of them. … {…Read More}