As my first accomplishment in 2014, I completed a small home improvement project. No applause necessary. Really. I painted my coffee table to match the rest of my room and the furniture. That's right. I've lived here two years and I finally got off my butt and took care of that little project.
After spending four days in Arizona painting, cleaning and improving a house I'll never live in again, I decided to do something about the home in which I currently reside.
And it was tough! I first had to walk across the street to buy a can of paint (because I forgot I'd purchased the paint for this project two years ago). It took a good ten minutes to complete the process. And then there was the waiting for the paint to dry. Insufferable. But I made the best of it and used the time to get a pedicure.
Now both my coffee table and toes are painted (different colors) and thus begins a new era in taking small steps toward improvement.
And now to overanalyze...
I really can't help myself. How can I not spend some time reflecting on what would keep me from doing such a simple task? I saw this coffee table every day. Every day I noticed how it didn't really match. And, every day I chose to do nothing about it. Eventually I stopped thinking about it. I became numb to the discomfort of my avoidance. But the longer I avoided, the larger the task seemed.
And then I picked up a paint brush again and I remembered how easy it is and how much I love transforming something with a fresh coat of color. How the color of a room or an object can impact our emotions and the 'feel' of a space. And I remembered the joy of making something beautiful.
Some thoughts to ponder...
As I begin this new year I think some more reflection is in order. Are there areas in my life where I've grown numb to the nagging pain of avoidance? Have I grown too comfortable with ugliness in my midst? Is there more beauty to be experienced with a simple step of obedience? Where could I be experiencing the joy of creativity and fresh color in my life?
I'll have to sit with those for a bit, but first for something more practical. Time to dust the mounds of dust from my fan blades.
In my reality, today is the REAL first day of the year. Today is the day the kids go back to school, Richard goes to the office and I get the house to myself to work quietly and efficiently. Today is the day I've been waiting for. Today I'll be able to think clearly again. Today I'll string together a couple of sentences that don't make people wonder if I'm 'special'.
But, perhaps I was a bit too optimistic. Apparently you can't go from stressed-out-babbling-idiot one day to competent, wonder woman, the next. At least, not completely.
A good beginning.
I was so excited about this fresh start that it wasn't even hard to get out of bed early and begin my day with disciplines to aid my emotional and spiritual health. It caused me no irritation when Cade commented that I was up early and then noted that 'Dad doesn't seem to have a problem getting out of bed in the morning' even though Richard was still in bed and I was up being productive.
When Richard did get up he volunteered to take Madison to school so I could stay in the groove. Awesome! This day is getting better and better. With Cade off to school and Richard taking Madison, I basked in the quiet and stillness. I sipped my coffee, enjoyed the warmth of the fire and congratulated myself on a very good beginning.
A few blips I think I handled very well, thank you.
A few moments later I heard the car in the driveway as Richard arrived home. The door opened and Madison appeared. Strange. It occurred to me immediately that I had not doubled checked the first day of school for her. Oops. It's tomorrow.
Other than the disappointment of being up too early, Madison was excited to have the whole day off. I , however, was a bit disappointed. (I might just poke my eyes out if I have to hear/watch another episode of 'Chuck'.) But, since she's a much better person than I, she had already contacted her mentor to see if she needed help in her classroom today. Minutes later, I was alone again. Crisis averted.
After paying bills, planning this week's menu, creating my weekly task list and putting the roast in the crock pot (Yes. You read that right.), I sat down for a long day of productive work. And that's exactly what happened. Weird.
I did stop for a minute to make a delicious carrot-beet-strawberry-tangerine juice for lunch, but other than that I was on a roll.
Then I pushed my luck. I felt a little guilty for being so glad the kids were gone for a few hours that I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies for an after-school (or after teacher's aid) snack. I've found a plethora of parental transgressions can be overlooked when the smell of warm cookies greets a child upon entering the home.
There were two slight problems with this evil plan (besides the fact that it was a guilt offering):
I learned today the new lower element works really well and I definitely need to put cookies on a higher rack in the future to avoid burning the bottoms and, even burned, its extremely hard to resist a chocolate chip cookie after having a salad drink for lunch.
But all in all, the real first day of the new year turned out pretty well. Probably unsustainable, but truly enjoyable for however long it lasts.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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