Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

I've been practicing thankfulness inspired by reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I am teaching, training, and practicing the art of being thankful for gifts within my own heart - the good, the bad, the big, and the small. It's all about looking at life differently with God vision, His perspective. I've starting numbering my gifts in a journal. It's amazing to look back over the past week seeing my life differently...it's refreshing and encouraging me to continue on this path of thankfulness.

I realize that while this is a life and heart change I want for myself, I want my children to experience change, too. How much angst and discontentment could be saved in their lives if they can learn these lessons early in life?! I want to live this thankfulness out loud, in front of my children's observant eyes and ears so it is natural for them to imitate. This morning afforded the perfect opportunity to tell them about how mama is practicing thankfulness.

It all began with baked oatmeal.

And complaints.

Rather than getting frustrated at the children telling them to "change their ungrateful attitudes, get eating, or there will be trouble" which is my natural response...ugh...I, only by God's grace, was able to see past the complaints, not get upset, and begin explaining how I am trying to see situations with thankfulness now. I told them how usually feel about doing laundry and dishes, making meals, picking up around the house - annoyed, frustrated, irritated, never feeling like a job is completed, etc.

But now because of how God is changing my heart and because I am learning the importance of seeing God's gifts in everything I am choosing to find ways to thank God instead of complaining or choosing a bad attitude.

While I'm folding laundry, I thank God for the scent of dryer sheets, feeling the warmth on my hands on a cold day, Elijah when I fold his sweatshirt, Luke when I fold his pants, Isaac when I fold his jammies, Sadie when I fold her dress, Daddy when I fold his tee shirts, a high efficiency washer and dryer to wash and dry more laundry at once, less water used per load saving money on water bills, the fact that I don't have to hand wash each piece, Shout and Oxiclean to take out stains, my favorite thrifted shirt...

While I'm doing the dishes, I thank God for a husband who does A LOT of dishes for me, lemony scented bubbles, warm water, a dishwasher, paper & plastic at times, lotion after washing to heal dry hands...

While I'm making meals, I thank God for the opportunity to serve my family is such a tangible way, hands capable of preparing and serving, healthy fruits and veggies, money to purchase foods whenever we want, always having enough & more than enough, take-out, grocery stores that carry more than I could ever need, safety regulations for safe food, an oven instead of a campfire or fireplace, healthy children who can eat anything, no allergies, milk and lots of it, recipes, premade & frozen & packaged things, food preservation inventions, baking sweets, sharing sweets with neighbors and friends...

While I'm picking up around the house, I thank God for a comfy house that is lived in every day & all day, a home that well-used and not a museum, a home that is busy and bustling with life and children instead of being empty as we go our separate ways, the blessing of being able to stay at home with my children, Legos that encourage creative building, dollies receiving love from a budding mommy-girl, storage bins, organization - a place for everything and everything in its place, enough space, blankets to snuggle under and for building forts, carpeting for cold toes, tile for easy clean up, pretty paint colors on the walls, a vacuum cleaner, Windex and 409, Swiffer and Shark, indoor plumbing, washable paint on bathroom walls, plungers, books scattered from siblings reading to each other...

And the list goes on...

The boys seemed to understand what I was saying, so I suggested that instead of complaining about baked oatmeal we should find things about it to be thankful for...

It was a stretch, dead-silent at first.

I named off the ingredients: oatmeal, baking powder, maple syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, eggs, and milk.

Eli spoke up first, "I'm thankful for milk!" (He is the milk lover around here...so much so that we used to call him "the milkman" all the time.)

Luke reluctantly offered, "I'm thankful for maple syrup and cinnamon."

I said, "I'm thankful that it is like cake...a little sweet and very moist."

Isaac grinned, "I'm fankful dat I actuawee do like it a little bit." (SCORE!)

We continued to talk about baked oatmeal like it was our absolute favorite edible creation which lead to being thankful for other things like a hot breakfast on a snowy morning, bites of fresh pear for every bite of oatmeal, milk to wash it all down, plates and silverware for eating politely, small servings of baked oatmeal, not too many leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast, Sadie digging in with both hands and chewing like a wild animal making us laugh really hard, sitting together at the table for breakfast, not needing to eat quickly because we had to get out of the house this morning, pouts transformed to smiles, agreeing that it wouldn't be awful to have it again, a promise that next time we could sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top, finally eating enough to be finished and have mama be satisfied...

Oh, this thankfulness journey and numbering our gifts is catching and spreading! I'm so excited to see what God will do in our lives!!!

8 comments:

Jessica said...

Beautiful, Kiley....what a refreshing way to look at everything. Sounds like a change that my heart desperately needs. Thanks so much for sharing!

Olivia said...

thankful for you! Looks like the job at the church is all done. When Ron and I went to pick up what I had bagged yesterday, it was all gone. Kitchen spic and span....classrooms picked up, too. Guess we are completely off the hook.

Katie said...

Beautiful post!! I just bought that book and can't wait to start reading it. Thanks for this reminder today. It's also a great reminder to be intentional with our children as we teach them about thankfulness!

Linda said...

I LOVE IT! You are delightful!!! So thankful for you, friend!
Linda

carole said...

So well written and such a lovely habit to cultivate in your heart and home.

Dianne said...

Such a great post. I too just finished One Thousand Gifts, and am trying to teach my children to be thankful in all things. I would love to have your baked oatmeal recipe. You have a beautiful blog and I'll be adding it to my reader. Dianne

Cheryl said...

This was so good. Seriously, thanks for sharing. I haven't started Ann's book yet, but plan to soon. I am actually going through a book titled "Loving the Little Years," by Rachel Jankovic and it has been so good for me to read.
Anyways, thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts.

P.S. I found you through the Raising Homemakers Link up

Emily S. said...

I found you through your link to my flower tutorial... I LOVED this post. Love love love loved it. Thank you for this perspective, for the serious DEPTH to which you have contemplated your blessings. I am putting that book on my wishlist ASAP, and rethinking my level of gratitude I strive for.

Thank you!!