To become more or different somehow is an act of grace, a testimony to the power of time to heal, a resounding "Yes" to the question of whether redemption is possible. My failures shine a spotlight on my successes, not the other way around. Because I've forgotten kindness toward the kids many times, and because that is something I'm working on remembering this year, it is noticeable to all when I speak tender, gracious words from a tender, gracious place in my heart. Then the most wonderful thing might happen: I identify myself as a person who speaks kindly to my children, and I believe that about myself, and they believe that about me, and over time, I live into it.
There are many ways I hope to "live into" the future version of myself. Gretchen Rubin says, "But there is no Future-Gretchen, only Now-Gretchen." Nonetheless, the Now-Ginger gives voice to what the Future-Ginger may look like come this time next year. I give you the final third of my "18 for 2018."
13. Barefoot ski - learn
There are not many new things in life that I am keen to try, especially activities that fall in the category of adventure sports, but barefoot skiing is one of them. I actually did try once, to no avail, some years ago. But that was before I lived on a lake and had a husband-turned-boat driver. For Christmas, TJ surprised me with a boom, which is a long metal pole that attaches to the side of the boat and is made with beginner barefooters in mind. I won't expound on the techniques of the sport since I know very little at present, but I'm sure the internet will not disappoint when it's time to read tips and watch videos before trying it myself later this year.
14. Mondays - kids help in kitchen
As hard as barefoot skiing might prove, I expect this goal could be harder to keep. I live to be efficient, and kids are anything but (well, Bauer might be an exception). I need practice slowing down for a greater purpose, and to allow my kids to enter my sacred space and drop things and chop oh-so-slowly and send broken pasta pieces flying and make me actually talk while I cook - oh, dear.
Tamar Adler's book An Everlasting Meal expressed my feelings precisely with these words quoted from M.F.K. Fisher:
More and more, I must become less, and this means in the kitchen, too. My turf is a place for my emotional turf to be strengthened through sacrifice, for me to care less about how efficiently the meal comes together and care more about who comes together to make the meal. May our Mondays make memories amidst messes.
15. Memorize "A Liturgy for First Waking"
Because I like to honor copyright wishes from authors, I won't present the whole piece, but it is golden. Here are the first few lines of letting go:
We are learning this liturgy as a family (yes, even TJ this time!) over breakfast each morning. We are taking it slowly on purpose to allow each family member time to become solid before progressing. I have done my share of speedy memory work with the Veritas schedule we keep, so I am enjoying the opportunity to slow down and savor the words, allowing my mouth to tell my heart what to believe at the start of each new day. I cannot recommend highly enough the book, Every Moment Holy, from which this liturgy hails.
16. AirBnB apartment
This is something I started working toward last year for the apartment above our garage, but I stalled out when it came to understanding the tax requirements for this type of arrangement. I have a friend who runs an AirBnB out of their family's basement apartment, so this is likely a simple matter of me asking her for help. I have wondered at this possibility of saving up some income for our future kitchen remodel, while also providing our kids with additional work opportunities in the form of changing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, and the like. I know this means more work for me as well, but what doesn't?
17. Read 36 books
The answer to that last question is this: Reading books does not mean more work for me. Unless you count the fact that I have to push myself to stop, drop what I'm doing, and roll further into the story at hand. That's probably why I enjoy reading in bed at night the most. My work is done and I can finally do nothing but read.
In December, I made a list of books I wanted to read in 2018, but I surprisingly got so much reading done in December that I had already knocked a few new ones off the list by the time January arrived. Though the list gets shorter in that way, just as quickly the list gets longer as one author mentions another or Alexander McCall Smith continues his prolificity as a writer. I add to my list and look at the library and buy used books on Amazon and mark them to pieces (or note page numbers on a sticky if it's on loan) and think about them for days and copy quotes if they merit such and lend them to friends and hope to get them back, and before I know it, I'm not the same Ginger I was before I read all those books.
18. BE KIND to kids, TJ, and myself
Though this is how I feel...
this is how I must act:
I resolve to keep kindness as I keep house. I pray for kind thoughts, kind words, kind actions. I realize that kindness is not always waiting on me to claim it at surface level, so sometimes I must "dig deep," as Gretchen Rubin says. I must do the thing that I cannot do, with the help of the One who is very, very kind to me. When I feel like the kindness in my heart has gone missing, I imagine myself as an empty vessel through which the Lord's kindness can flow through me to my family and even to myself.
Anne Lamott says, Love looks like kindness, while Alice Cary wrote in her poem "Nobility" that There's nothing so kingly as kindness. Though my kitchen is like M.F.K. Fisher's "throne room," the liturgy we're learning reminds me that I am not the captain of my own destiny. I am sunk without a greater one to guide me and give me the mindfulness to be kind. It is hard to measure, but hard to miss.