Friday, September 23, 2011

The Heart of the Home

I spend a vast majority of my time in the kitchen. The kitchen is where I prepare meals not only for my family but also for my daycare family. Three meals plus two snacks, at least five days a week. This is also where we home school and it is the first room that the children enter when they arrive each morning. Needless to say it's hard to keep this room clean. The table (opposite of the sink), which also gets used as the school "desk",  gets piled with books, mail, canning jars, groceries, and daycare coloring/painting projects.  The other day as I had many kitchen tasks going at one time, I stepped back and looked at the mess. My first reaction was to be overwhelmed by the mess that I had created. But then I looked closer..or I should say, I stepped back, saw the big picture and the many "blessings" in the midst of the chaos.

This is how I LIKE my kitchen to look:
 I LOVE clear counter tops. When the kitchen is as I like it, the counter is essentially bare. On my counter is the coffee pot which is a necessity for the 2 pots of coffee made each day. My cooking utensils are used daily and the beautiful ceramic utensil holder was a gift from my daughter that she purchased a trip to Mexico. I love my colorful container but even more I love that my daughter was thoughtful enough to find something that she knew I'd love. The red canisters in the far right corner were Christmas gifts from hubby. One contains coffee so that's important to keep handy. I prefer to have my kitchen sink empty and shiny (inspired by Fly Lady) but this is far from reality in my world. I just noticed that I forgot my big stock pot on the radiator (bottom left) and that the towels aren't perfectly folded/positioned on the stove but this is just a friendly reminder that clean doesn't have to be perfect....and that I'm far from perfect.

So 10 hours before the above picture, I took the following picture. This is the scene that made me gasp until I realized that even such a disaster can be a good thing.
From left to right:
  • containers prepared to be filled with apricot pureed baby food
  • stock pot is sterilizing jars for apricot butter
  • orange pot is cooking the apricot puree (after it cooked down a bit, I filled my "baby containers" and added a little sugar to the remaining puree to make apricot butter)
  • cookie sheet drying behind the stove top was used to make cookies...the day before
  • 2 half gallon jars and sugar container for making kombucha
  • crock pot full of leftover chicken and a handful of vegetable scraps simmering into a wonderful chicken broth
  • sink completely full of dishes, dishwasher full of clean dishes (hint: empty the dishwasher BEFORE food prep so that dirty dishes have a place to go other than the sink....someday I may take my own advice.)
  • Tomatoes ripening in the window.
  • blender which was first used to puree the apricots and then used to make my apricot, avocado, and banana smoothie (I know, weird combo but it was actually very good!)
  • another bucha container
  • toaster which made toast for the kiddos snack
  • another crock pot which later housed dinner (it was only a couple of days ago yet I have no clue what we had for dinner that night. It all tends to blur together.)
  • coffee can for collecting scraps for my chickens.
Look at that beautiful sunshine coming in through the window! I love sunny fall days. The two HUGE tomatoes riping in the window provided us with a delicious spaghetti sauce for dinner last night.

I learned that sometimes I need to change my perspective which will in turn change my attitude. In the midst of my mess the other day, I become completely overwhelmed. I was mad that I was tackling too many projects (as I'm known to do), I was grumbling that my kitchen was too small and grumbling that my family expected too much from me (couldn't they make me dinner just once??).  I was whining, "How am I ever going to clean up this mess?" And then God tapped me on the shoulder. Amazingly I heeded his summoning and I took a step back so that I could look at my work in a different light. When I changed my perspective, I could see the beauty in this messy kitchen. I am thankful that I have a kitchen in which to work. I am thankful that I have a family and an extended family (my daycare kiddos) in which to feed. I am thankful that I have food in which to feed my family with. I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful that I have a God that loves me enough to give me a gentle reminder that sometimes perceived burdens are truly blessings.

God, open my eyes so that I can see the blessings everyday, in the everyday tasks, that you have so graciously bestowed upon me.

Shared on Homestead Revival's Barn Hop


  1. Thanks for sharing. My mom used to have a little poem over the sink.

    "Thank God for dirty dishes,
    They have a tale to tell.
    While other folks are hungry,
    We're eating very well.
    With home, and health, and happiness,
    I shouldn't even fuss;
    'cause by this stack of evidence,
    God's been very good to us."

    Not sure if that's exactly how it went, but I remember reading it as I faced and LOT of dirty dishes to wash.

    I don't think the author was on the poem, but very insightful.

    I sometimes am overwhelmed by the messes at my house, I too need to be reminded how good God is in providing a home... no matter how messy it gets... and all the loved ones who live here.

  2. I LOVE the poem, Mrs. Doug! So true. God is good.