Lose your find your…peace

I have been really struggling with giving up control of one very important transaction in our family day. Making the school lunch. We have tried so many different approaches in recent years, I make, they make, we make but inevitably what happens is that I go back to creating their lunches in lightening speed to hurry things along each morning. But what happens, without fail is that each one will files past the kitchen bench, grabs their box and proceeds to open each compartment, making unhappy noises about a sandwich filling, or choice of fruit.
“I don’t like ham Mum”. “Can you take the banana out?”” I don’t really like muffins unless they are hot from the oven.” ” Is that grain bread? Hhmmmm.”

By this time I am meeting each comment and query with a tense, high pitched voice on the verge of nervous breakdown. So…..I went to the supermarket and stocked up on some fillings and lunchbox staples and have handed over the responsibility to them. And today the lunch making went off ok. There was a bit more chaos, slightly more mess, but generally happy kids. Some had made soup for their thermos, most had made use of the dips – hummus.spicy pumpkin and olive dip – and their was choice of bread, wraps or crackers. There are rules though, one healthy main, a piece of fruit, a snack and one sweet treat. So let’s monitor the change and hope as I lose my control we will find peace in the morning rush.

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Refuge

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

At our table

Once upon a time I would regularly post about the food at our table.

We still eat, and prepare meals. Some weeks it is not the focus.

Finding food that is easy to prepare and accommodating to our busy after school schedule, food that is seasonal and nutritious and food that all five children enjoy is quite a challenge. The smaller mouths want soft meat and are usually too tired by the time we sit to eat as a family around 6pm. I think they could have their meal an hour earlier, but this would break the family meal tradition, which is not negotiable I think.

Our menu this week has looked like this:

Bolognese with Penne
Roasted Spicy Beef Sirloin with Roasted Vegetable Salad (Beetroot and Jerusalem artichoke from a community garden)
Chicken and Cashew Nut Stir Fry with Rice
A ‘Jamie’ Inspired Sausage Bake with Cous Cous
Roasted Lamb with Tzatziki, Salad andWraps

Of these meals I think one was cooked early in the day, the roast is best prepared and then cooked while we are out and about being busy. I realised that I cook less stir frys at the moment because it all has to be done at the last minute and family life doesn’t allow for this each day. But the rice cooker is a blessing – perfect rice every time. I had not planned this menu in advance, but it evolved as I took my cues from the weather, what we had in the fridge and pantry that needed using and what would suit the activities of the day ahead.

There has been much bread baking and soup making as well this week. Two staples that keep us sorted for school lunches and breakfast bread. What did your family eat this week?

Making time for New Friends……

 Are you comfortable with your small group, your network of friends and family? Do you ever find yourself anxious about the idea of your friendship circle being infiltrated by an outsider, a newcomer to town? I do.
If you answered no to the last question I suspect you were being less than honest with yourself. We all get comfortable and confident in what we know and who we know. There is safety in understanding, anticipating the status quo. But I would argue there is also the danger of becoming narrow minded, inward looking and perhaps unintentionally exclusive. Having lived in both rural and urban settings, both in Australia and overseas, I know only too well the sting of a cold shoulder or the silence when you have extended hospitality or an offer of friendship, however tentative. People are reluctant to get to know the new person. Why do we struggle to open our doors, our minds and out hearts to new friendships?
We fear that the goodness and blessing that comes from our friends may be hindered or compromised by new friends.  And it may. But most likely, being on mission as a group to extend a welcome to others or to intentionally expand your group or network by engaging in a community activity together may bring abundant goodness that one cannot really describe in words. We all know we get to know people best when we do something together, share a task, an event or experience.
At times we need to seek those experiences and those people who are there in the shadows, waiting to be brought into the light and into friendship.

Life Begins at 72

I often write about creativity and being inspired in daily life to make something special out of the ordinary and the mundane. This very special book, The Paper Garden : Mrs Delany Beigns her Life’s work at 72, by renowned poet Molly Peacock unveils a story of courage and inspiration. The biography of eighteenth Century woman  Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (1700–1788) is a testimony of art and life taking an unusual turn. Upon her second husband’s death, she arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form, mixed-media collage.  Mrs. Delany created an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica. 
The writer Molly Peacock parallels her own life’s journey as an artist and woman, making this an interesting read at many levels. Now don’t be fooled by the idea of paper art and craft. It is not the cutting and pasting that your kids complete in primary school. Delany’s work is simply amazing  and the skill and eye for detail is almost unbelievable for someone her age. So be prepared to read The Paper Garden like an adventure in Austen and a reflective modern perspective of female creativity. It may well make you want to start your life anew….