Nothing says "you're special" like...

...a heart-shaped pancake smothered in home-made maple syrup on the Bluebird of Happiness plate on the morning of your 4th birthday! This visual dose of daily joy begged to be shared.

The house, belying the beautiful breakfast, is a disaster. Yesterday, as a sense of normalcy began to seep back into the edges of my aching body, I looked around at the left-overs of the clean house I had possession of just two days prior. Two days in bed for Mama means lots of work for everyone else. Dishes dirty, floor covered in the baby's crumbs (and chunks), loads of laundry unattended, toys scattered, and - thanks to the warm spell - Asian beetle shells littering the window sills. In the midst of this, the baby sat laughing next to his father, reading a board book. The girls were off playing cheerfully in their messy bedroom, unpacking box after box of doll clothes in search of the right outfit for whatever occasion they were collectively imagining. Dear husband, seemingly oblivious to the chaos, sat on the edge of the couch, strumming the new strings he had placed on his guitar a day earlier.

I need to copy the page from their minds that allows rest in disarray, unlikely joy bursting through untidiness. That doesn't come easy to my female brain...or is it the cultural norms I have allowed myself to absorb? For certainly I remember the homes of those with little ones, messy, chaotic, sticky floors, dirty dishes, mounds of laundry and all. Even dirty bathrooms! Those were homes were I spent my happiest hours as a child. Why the sudden urge to bleach the entire interior shell of my dwelling place when it reaches this level of disaster?

So I am leaving the crumbs, the dishes, and the laundry. Closing the computer, and going to the couch for a much-needed nap. The mess will still be there when I wake up - and I might tend to it then!

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." (Luke 12:22-31)

And no, I don't think my house will be clean just because I am smiling as I walk away from the mess! A good friend gave me a kitchen towel that captures my attitude about the whole issue quite well: "God blesses this kitchen, He doesn't clean it!"