2Dec

Crumbs in the Pantry… and a Seasonal Change

 

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 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. – 1 Corinthians 3: 7-9

It was an Every Day kind of moment.  You know the kind. We were just trying to feed our family and do all the Saturday chores. The kids were slinking around like they do on weekends – trying to avoid catching our eye and being given something to do.

After lunch, Andrew went to grab the next round of food out of the pantry. True to the everydayness of it all: he found a pile of bread crumbs and a few pieces of stray bread, on the floor. Insert parental exasperation here.

The culprit admitted that while making his sandwich (which I’m glad he can do), he dropped half the loaf of bread in the pantry and just… didn’t even see it. Stepped over it, made his sandwich, left the room. A half hour later, those crumbs and that bread still sat on the floor where he’d left them. When confronted, he had the nerve to get a little indignant that we expected him to, quelle horreur, pick it up.

The usual admonitions, talking it out, and restoration of fellowship occurred. I stood at the sink with my hands in soapy water and fought the eye roll that wanted to take over my face. I muttered to myself, “Jesus, please let that boy get a kid who leaves bread crumbs in the pantry…”

Then here’s what my mama heart cried out. “Oh, I hope that’s the biggest struggle he faces as a parent.”

Listen, I don’t read much news, but The Skimm tells me that it’s a jungle out there. I lay awake at night, fretting about the world my grown-up children will inherit.

I’m a history major, people. I am well-versed in the end of great civilizations and world calamity. So I realize that the world probably won’t look exactly like it does now when my sweet babies grow babes of their own. And it’s entirely possible that their grown-up problems will far surpass the worries and struggles that their daddy and I have wrestled down.

It suddenly felt like a very gentle wish… to wish a child with crumbs in the pantry on my son. Oh, Jesus, may he have a pantry full of food, may have be free to raise his children in Your ways, may He teach them Gospel Truth, no matter the consequences…

That kind of thinking will A – depress you and B – flat out end a discussion about crumbs. So what’s a Mama to do? How do we combat the fears and the worries we have for our children and the future that lies ahead of them?

Prayer. You betcha.

You know what else? I beg God to help me stay faithful to keep doing what we’re doing. I keep the conversation going – about Jesus and this world they live in – how the world sees Jesus and what we know Jesus is. That’s how little ol’ me combats the Great Unknown ahead.

I can’t save up enough money, give them a five step program, or leave them all with 100 acres and a mule. But I can teach them about history, I can teach them the story God has written across civilization. I can teach them about discernment, how to seek Truth from lie. I can fight the good fight ahead of them by staying faithful in the Everyday Moments right here: in our schooling, in family worship, and by the love and grace and gospel we live out at home. And I can challenge them to be brave, be bold, and be men and women of character.

I can’t do any more.

I can’t do any less.

The rest is up to Jesus. I can’t control this culture we live in, I can’t control voters or candidates, and I can’t wring my hands to world peace. I can only do the job He’s given me, make a daily deposit of grace and wisdom into my kids, and pray that God blesses it a thousand fold, not because of what I did, but because He’s a loving Father.

And maybe I’ll still roll my eyes and make the kid clean up his crumbs. But I’m gonna thank Jesus for those crumbs and that kid and this beautiful moment of everydayness I get to share with him. May he have millions of Everyday Moments ahead of him…

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With the seasons changing, both physically and metaphorically, it seems like the time has come to close this little chapter of the internet. I’m writing in different directions now and I’d like to explore those avenues while also protecting my kids who are older and deserve to tell their stories in their own voice.

So this little space will slowly change into more of a representation of the season we are in. It’s not going away. It’s just… growing up.

I didn’t know when I drafted this that it would be my last Vitafam post, but it seemed fitting once the decision was made. This Crumbs in the Pantry prayer feels like this will be my song for the decade ahead. If you ever wonder what the Vitafam is up to, it’s probably This Right Here.

Any future posting will be subject to whimsy, but if you sign up for email notifications, you’ll be sure not to miss it. I’ll leave a few of my favorite posts from the archives available and, over time, you should check back in to see what we are growing into over here.

Thank you for joining us in this delicious and wild ride. It has been an honor sharing our lives with you.

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Bullet Journal for Real Life

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I’m a technology girl. I love that Andrew and I can sync up our calendars and keep our little train on the tracks with all of our devices. I love that we can rearrange appointments with the flick of a finger and set reminders so we don’t forget to take the girls to ballet. But I’m also a “leave a thousand sticky notes around the place and never be able to find the one I need” kind of girl – someone who is ripe for a Bullet Journal.

There’s nothing like a handwritten Note-to-Self to keep my head clear. So when Bullet Journaling became a “thing” on Pinterest and the internet, I wanted to dive in, but I didn’t want to abandon the system we already had in place.

Plus, I had to approach Bullet Journaling with a realistic “this has to work for me, not just be pretty pages.” Because I’m a busy girl. And I have kids who think any piece of paper is theirs for the drawing…

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I was irritated with her for about thirty seconds and then I remembered that some day, that drawing will be my favorite part of this journal. So I had her sign and date it. Scrapbooking? Check.

Consequently, my Bullet Journal is very functional. I don’t stress about color coding, pretty drawings (stick figures are my level of drawing ability), or making a thousand lists I don’t really need. (I fail to see the point of a flowery list of books I want to read that takes me longer to draw than it would to just read the dang books.)

But I do think my Bullet Journal gives me a place to write down my week, write down my tasks, and write the things I’m thinking through in a way that provokes thoughtfulness. There’s something about scratching a pen across the paper that slows me down just enough to really soak in the words, something that a piece of technology, no matter how shiny, can never really duplicate.

I like this bullet journal with the dots for the flexibility it gives me directionally, but also because it keeps me from wobbling all over the page as I am prone to do. I also love that it comes with page numbers. Time saved!

I’m basically using my bullet journal in two sections. In the back (I started from the very last page and am working my way backwards) are my notes and special lists section. This includes things like Birthday Ideas for Kids, notes from meetings I sit through, and lists I make as I plan for school or other projects. Sometimes the pages are tidy:

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Sometimes they aren’t:

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There’s an index at the front that lets me put down page numbers so I don’t lose a specific note way back there in the back of the book. I also use something called “threading” which is essentially drawing an arrow to remind myself where I flipped to when I ran out of room on the current page. It’s the “to be continued” of the Bullet Journal world and keeps me from stressing about skipping pages.

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Then there’s the daily stuff. I started with one page per day, because I write big and sloppy and I wanted room to jot notes out to the side.

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I loved having my lists with me, I loved the discipline and closure of shutting it down for the night and making the next day’s list. Unfortunately, I was moving through my book at a good clip. I also sometimes needed to make a note to myself for a few days ahead and if that day wasn’t made yet, I had nowhere to write it.

Furthermore, while I appreciate the point of having to rewrite a task each day you don’t do it until you either git ‘er done or decide it’s probably not worth doing, but, honestly, this is a bit onerous for a busy mama. I played with a few weekly options before landing on one that lets me see the whole week in a glance but also gives me room to bleed across the page.

bullet journal weekly view

Here’s how it works day in and day out:

On Sunday, I set up the week using my electronic calendar and any unfinished items from last week:

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Sunday night

I fill in all the appointments and things that require me to leave the house. It could feel redundant copying this from my electronic calendar, but honestly, it helps me really zoom into the coming week and realize where we have scheduling conflicts. Sometimes, it’s also a wake-up call that “this week is a humdinger” and I should install my big girl panties post-haste.

Then I add in the meal plan and remind myself to thaw meat, etc.

Finally, I make Monday’s list, which can be overwhelming.

bullet journal weekly view

Monday morning

Now here’s the beauty of the weekly view: If I don’t finish everything on Monday (and I won’t), the unfinished items are still on my list. I just leave them unchecked and they are automatically included in the To-Do for the next day. No recopying. Just glancing down the page to find empty boxes.

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Monday night

As the week moves forward, my list grows and changes with it. But I can keep track of what I didn’t do in previous days and keep adding for days ahead. I’m also steadily filling in those little boxes, which feels fantastic. Anything left unfinished on Sunday gets carried over to the next week, so hopefully I don’t drop the ball on something.

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Thursday Afternoon

A few more random tips:

  • I’d love to color code with pens, but realistically, it’s all about the pen that is handy. Buy an attachable pen holder if you never want to be without.
  • I carry everything, pens and bullet journal, in one easy case. It’s easy to carry all the pieces wherever I roam. It comes in and out of my purse easily and ensures I’ve also got a few sticky notes and sticky tabs for any place-keeping emergencies.
  • I love the way the Sharpie Ultra Fine Points write and all the bright colors, but they bleed. So for daily writing, I reach for the Papermates and save the Sharpies for drawing lines each week.
  • I try to remember to fill in a few notes about special things that happened during the week. I write if we got sick, if we had company, if yet another sister got married. Some day my ancestors will dig this up and be relieved to discover I did more than ALL THE TASKS with my everyday.

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Perhaps that’s really the point. All of this journaling is so that I can do the Living. It has to work for me, the life that we lead, and the time I can invest in it. I’m grateful for every day God gives me and always so surprised at the way He fills our pages.

Do you bullet journal? How do you make it fit your Living?

 

For more details and a basic introduction for how to Bullet Journal, read this article or check out my Pinterest board.

 

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