When I launched Esther & Friends, I wanted one of the main areas of focus to be hospitality. How to connect with people, how to invite people into your home, make people feel welcome, perhaps even start a small group. WITHOUT FREAKING OUT. Which is my initial reflex when it comes to inviting Others into my teetering-on-the-edge-of-frat-house ambience. Because our God is awesome, He has connected me with some ridiculously talented women who can impart their domestic dark arts and trickery with wisdom, humour and competence. Because I’m your friend and I love you, I’m going to introduce you to them. Starting with the totally amazing Emma Crauford. Emma blogs at cookfasteatslow.com, which I know many of you already read. Because you’ve got the smarts. For those of you who haven’t met Emma yet….please allow me to introduce you:
I’m Emma and the 4 great F’s in my life are my Faith, Family, Friends and FOOD. I started cooking as a young girl standing on a stool in my mums kitchen and haven’t stopped since. A degree in Food and Nutrition and years of cooking for family and friends make me a passionate cook who is still learning. Like all parents, I have the daily quandary of what to feed my family . I want it to be quick, simple and as fresh and nutritious as possible. I want to teach my kids to eat well, cook well and the importance of gathering around the table as a family. I would love you to join me on this journey.
I know. We’re blessed to have her on our team. Thank you, Jesus. There will be lots of recipes and domestic goddess-ery to follow, but I thought this following post of Emma’s was a terrific introduction into her heart. Welcome aboard the good ship Esther & Friends, Emma!
Live brave, sister,
BY EMMA CRAUFORD
It’s time for an honesty session.
I love to plan.
I love to plan EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. From the big stuff like 5 YEAR PLANS and holidays right down to my weekly meal plan, to what I will wear to that dinner next week and then right down to ‘after lunch and those 2 phone calls I will clean Child Number 1’s bedroom.’
Some of you will be nodding in agreement. Some of you will probably think this is bordering on an illness and I should get some help.
It is who I am and always have been, but then I became a mother.
The best role of my life by far, has been the one that has really messed with my obsession with planning. I somehow wish, as I birthed each child, a new found ability to just GO WITH THE FLOW would have washed over me and I could have become one of those carefree, take each day as it comes, skipping through the meadows, spontaneous kind of mums.
But no, that didn’t happen.
My family often joke with me that the reason I have a bad memory of things that happened in the past, is that I am always living in the future in my next plan. I think there may be some truth in that statement.
This brings me to today.
Our holiday plan lies discarded amongst the tissue boxes and Nurofen bottles.
This sinister flu season has gripped our family and today, we end our second week and move into our third week at home.
On one hand, it’s just the flu. It will pass and we will be well again. This I know to be true. We also shouldn’t be surprised, this is quite normal for our family, and not just in winter. In the last 6 months alone, all 3 boys have been quarantined at home for weeks with Whooping Cough, multiple chest infections, pnemonia and now the real flu. When I look back over the last 12 years, the picture is the same, so we really should be used to it by now. But when your boys look up at you and say “Why is it always us and always the holidays?” that it catches in your throat and you can’t seem to find an answer other than “It’s just the way it is my son.”
I know many families walking much more difficult and permanent paths with their families health, that I almost didn’t write this. Really the flu shouldn’t even warrant a mention.
But, then I think maybe it’s good to write about the very real, not so nice and disappointing stuff. That maybe others will be encouraged to hear that 95% of my life is not worthy of a Facebook status update, but is indeed just every day, normal home life.
As a parent I have to help my kids learn how to process disappointment and also teach them from a young age that Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. One of the challenges of parenting is trying to teach important life lessons to your kids that you are still struggling to learn as an adult.
When you strip away friends, outings, adventures, work, study, excitement and say NO to whatever the rest of the world seems to be doing, you are left with REAL LIFE.
The every day cycle of rise, wash, eat, drink, sleep and repeat life that is so very normal and yet so very monotonous.
In busy seasons I crave that simple domestic scene. But usually I only need a couple of days of it to refill my tank and this extrovert is ready to be OUT LIVING AMONGST IT again.
Doing it for weeks at a time and being the one responsible for keeping the family spirit high and coming up with new ways to fill each day in our home does not always come easy to me.
I go from cheerily saying ‘Boys, let’s all sit by this window and look at the rainbow the sun is making on the windowsill’ moments to the ‘it’s every man for himself’ moments where I can cheer and cajole us no more. I go from ‘I am so lucky to be able to SIT ALL DAY by the fire’ thoughts to ‘If I don’t leave this house soon I think I am GOING TO SCREAM’ darker thoughts.
So, the sun rises and sets, and every few days we’ve changed our PJ’s, just to keep things interesting.
And because I HAVE SO MUCH TIME TO THINK, I find myself reflecting on what may be one of the lessons my very faithful and patient Heavenly Father keeps trying to teach me, over and over and over and over again.
Be Faithful in the Small Stuff.
It’s not glamorous, world changing, dynamic, exciting, popular or even all that interesting some times.
Stay at it anyway.
The every day, very small, often insignificant, sometimes boring, repetitive stuff of no frills every day home life.
Keep on keeping on.
I’m not sure if this is eye-rolling or encouraging stuff to you reading this.
But even just typing the words has helped me to remember that in our not so exciting seasons of life, we are called to remain faithful and diligent with the task at hand, even if it’s not how we would choose it to be.
This bare tree at my front door will soon start budding again.
A beautiful reminder that Winter does not last forever.
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