Cooking and calendars, babies and baptism

Remember my project mentality as I tell you that I've cycled back into cooking experiments. I tend to rotate through cooking, house projects, and school projects. I never know what will inspire me to switch. It's always a surprise. Jon loves this about me. ;) This week my switch was inspired by Jamie Oliver and his facebook video on butternut squash smoothies. Yeah, I know. It sounds gross, but it reminded me of a pumpkin spice smoothie which is NOT gross. In any case, I bought a butternut squash the next day, roasted it the way Jamie (we're compadres now) told me to, and then put it in the refrigerator. I still hadn't made the original smoothie by yesterday morning, but I did sub the butternut squash for sweet potatoes in the Tupelo Honey sweet potato pancake recipe. See? Project. I went from a facebook cooking video to changing up a brand new-to-me recipe with an ingredient I don't use regularly. Why go small when I can go big? And what was the verdict? I haven't decided yet. They tasted good, but they were not light, fluffy pancakes. They were more like thick crepes which was not the goal. Also, I made the smoothie yesterday, and it does, in fact, taste like pumpkin spice.

My other new recipe went much better. I tried making meatloaf and mashed potatoes in my Instant Pot at the same time. It was resounding success. Turning a family favorite meal that I rarely make because it's kind of a hassle into an easy meal done in less time with fewer dishes to wash? Yes. I say yes. So much yes. Oh, and I made individual turkey pot pies for lunch the other day too. Why? I told myself it was to make it cook faster, but really, it was because I was feeling extra. 

What else? Well, my calendar is in full holiday mode. I'm categorizing things into 3 groups: must do, should do, want to do. If I must do something, then I'm stuck. I have to do it. If I should do something, and I don't have a must or a want to block it, then I do it. If I have a should do but I also have a want to do, then I do the want to do. For example, on Thursday night, I should have taken Tommy to basketball practice, but I wanted to decorate the church for Christmas, so Tommy found a ride to practice. It's how I have to live at the moment. For the most part, I've only had a few things actually overlap, and I have decided I will be shameless in asking people to help me get kids where they need to be. Like this Thursday evening. Tommy has a basketball game. Charlotte has a Christmas program she's singing and dancing in at the same time. Because of course. Someone will be getting a call or a facebook message in the next few days from me on their plans for Thursday evening. 

And now, babies! I got to babysit a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old this weekend! When my kids were babies, I couldn't imagine how I'd ever forget all the little details that come with taking care of littles. Fast forward 8 years later and I couldn't unlock a stroller.  And trying to put it in the back of my van was a wrestling match in the parking lot yesterday that I almost lost. I was called Mimi and Mary which is close enough to Mindy to be completely adorable. Matthew was called Mikey. We watched a lot of Mickey Mouse. We ate Goldfish crackers and chocolate Teddy Grahams. It was a lot of fun. I'd watch these babies again any day. 

And finally, today was baptism day. Charlotte was baptized years ago based on her own profession of faith, but earlier this year, she came to me with a desire to be baptized again. After talking and praying through it A LOT, we finally agreed that she needed to follow the path that she felt the Lord had put her on. So many times we focus on this moment in time when we know that we know that we know that the Holy Spirit has changed us, we seek forgiveness for our sins, and begin a relationship with Jesus. And there is a moment. But it's also a journey. I read this book once that described a person's life as a thread. The character could look at the thread of a person's life and see the bright spots where something momentous happened. I kind of picture it like that. I have this bright spot on the thread of my life where God changed me, but it's still a spot on a thread that continues for years. That moment isn't the end or even the beginning really. Before God reached into my heart and woke me up to who He is, I was still on that journey to find God whether I knew it or not. And since then I have continued my journey to discover who God is more and more while trying so hard to become more like Jesus. 

And so this week, I was preparing myself for this moment where I would baptize my daughter. At our church, the person being baptized chooses who he or she wants to do this with them, and Charlotte chose me. I spent all week trying to think of the words I've heard people say and the words I'd like to say. The thing that kept coming back to me is that this is God's work, not mine. Not really. I can do all the Jesus things with my kids. I can pray with and for them. I can read them the Bible. I can show them my heart, but I cannot change my child's heart. It is immutable to my hands. I can change their behavior by sheer force of will...while they're small at least. But I cannot change their hearts. And really, thank God that I can't because I would turn them into little versions of myself. A version that is not even close to perfection. So where I wanted to say "I'm proud of you", I instead realized that humble is a better word for me. I am humbled by the privilege to get to watch GOD work in my daughter's life. My daughter that struggles with making decisions because she wants everyone to be happy. He helped her choose this path. When I pushed back on her desire to be baptized again, He made her push back even harder. He made her persistent. And so today, I got to baptize my daughter as a public demonstration of what God is doing in her heart and welcome her into a family deeper than genetics. 

And then when I made it back to my seat, my youngest leaned over and said he wants to be baptized too. I don't know what he really means by it. He's only 7 so we'll be doing a lot of talking and praying in the next year, but that's okay. My son sees something that he wants. He's hearing testimony after testimony, and he sees something in this Jesus thing that he wants too. What more can I possibly ask for as he continues on his own little journey?

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