For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to finish the ezine this week. I have worked on it and when I go to save it, I get an error and then it reverts back to adding crazy characters and not saving at all. So, I’ve decided to do the ezine right here on the site for this week.
From Grumbling to Gratitude
by Lindy Nelson-Paryag
It was one of those Sundays when the to-do list in my mind was growing by the minute. The more I tried to do, the more there was to do. Finally, at about 4:00 I called “uncle” and took a creativity break. I was participating in an amazing online class called Mondo Beyondo – an opportunity to dream big. Our assignment for the week was to create a mantra or a personal theme for ourselves and then to creatively express it. I had already chosen my mantra: “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough. “In the spirit of living out my mantra, I quietly carved out a little spot in our dining/craft room and gathered my supplies. Oh, I forgot to mention was that I was hoping for solo creative time. Growing up as an only child, time by myself to putter, clean, organize, create, whatever, has always been important to me. I didn’t even realize how much so until my husband Ryan and I were dating. He would notice me starting to get snippy with him and he’d say, “I think you need some time by yourself, Hon.” And he was always right.
Well, fast forward 20 years. In a life with kids who are 6 and 12, a husband, and an aging but adorable Westie, alone time doesn’t happen very often. I had hoped to begin working on my project undetected. But similar to the way the dog just knows when you are making lunches and waits patiently for the bread crusts you will trim off and feed to him, my kids have radar for when mom is doing crafts. I had just started working when my 6 year old daughter Chloe came in and started gathering up some materials for her project. “So much for alone time,” I muttered to myself. In case you might think my kids are deprived in the craft department, let me assure you that they have plenty of craft supplies, for any possible project – feathers, googly-eyes, craft sticks, clay, glue, markers, paper – all of it. And I have my stuff for scrapbooking in a separate area. Why is it they always want to use my stuff?
So Chloe and I began working on our projects, coming to consensus on which stickers and paper we would share. I shared some sticker letters and she shared a sparkly pink curlicue sticker from her stash that was the finishing touch on my project. As we worked side-by-side, a beautiful thing happened. My tension started lifting. The creative energy flowing between us shifted my resentment into joy. My grumbling turned to gratitude as I observed her creation taking shape. In the end, her project turned out way cooler than mine. She made a sticker collage for her friend Rheagan, with all these cute little “stories” embedded in the stickers: “See the snake? That is because Rheagan likes snakes.” As we admired our work, I felt guilt and then grace wash over me. Yes, I felt a little guilty that I really didn’t want her to be there at the beginning. But I was thankful that I kept my grumbling and my solo agenda to myself. I felt happy that my daughter felt comfortable enough to just gather up what she needed to work and plop down beside me. I felt honored that she wanted to be with me, doing something creative. It was a great reminder that when we create space, beauty and grace will flow. If I hadn’t been open to a change in my mental plans, look at the opportunity I would have missed! God’s grace shows me that perfection isn’t the goal or even a requirement to experience joy. What a relief! That God could be patient enough to show this grumbling mom something beautiful – the gift of creativity – that is grace!
After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. Ecclesiastes 5:18 (MSG)
Lindy Nelson-Paryag is a former teacher-turned business women who has always loved writing. A wife and mother of two kids, six and twelve, she works hard at living in the moment. She enjoys scrapbooking and faithbooking as a creative outlet. She teaches women’s Bible studies at her church and has started a blog. www.alwaysgrace-lindynelson.bl ogspot.com
There are some great posts since the last ezine issue. Be sure to go to the home page and check them out.
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