I'm breaking down the peppers in a skillet and slicing up an onion, turning to let a few tears from cutting them burn my eyes a bit while no one in particular notices.
No one's noticing that my heart is ringing with words from a very late lunch listening to one answer some of his Dad and I's questions.
I'm interrupted for a moment with this one telling me that she got an "80" on an English quiz, though she "only missed four questions out of twenty," and I am trying to explain gently for the eightieth time that the questions are worth more when there are fewer of them.
They sure are.
I have been married long enough, in the ministry long enough, a parent long enough to know when baked fish lunch takes a turn to start turning things on-their-head to change the course of everything that feels safe.
"Older brother suggested, huh?" I ask nonchalantly and see a whole world of possibilities widen in his eyes.
I've travelled this road long enough to know that I don't know very much.
What I do know is that I want to give an answer but I cannot.
This is the crossroads where Parenting and Praying merge.
My heart is warmed by older brother showing the way to something new. Goodness it makes my heart swell to tears to think of him calling back to grab a hand and hold it as this world keeps on spinning.
That's as it should be.
In a recent post of a family snapshot a friend commented about us all being wrapped up in each other with arms and hands hugging and holding us together- "As it should be," she said.
And that is the "rightest" feeling I know.
A closeness I dreamt of in college.
A love overflowing and reaching each child, and each child now reaching the other.
I stop the dishwasher to grab the whisk to continue dinner prep and think to myself, "I should've known I would need this."
And I laugh to myself.
Always trying to anticipate something.
Like I should know what's around every corner.
I remember my walk this morning.
How good and needful it was to feel small again in the middle of trees and stretches of clear blue sky.
Hadn't I JUST said to someone today, "His ways are beyond our ways?" anyhow?
Littlest keeps interrupting my dinner prep and pondering by trying on clothes she found in the garage given to us and begins a parade of all of the things she is excited to grow into.
"Slow down. Slow down" I think, but smile and keep stirring the pot and why on earth does change always come and smack us in the face when we are happily enjoying the mundane anyway?
I've sweat the onions and am trying desperately on a Monday NOT to sweat the small stuff but my attempts are in vain.
I'm just your average Mom after all.
I'm a bit late in grabbing the apron mid-dinnering, but slip it on and see it as a hug from Mom's everywhere balancing Math and mid-life changes while simultaneously trying not to burn the sauce.
Here I am scraping the bottom of the pot with many of you who just try to do their part in keeping their family going.
Some days it's a Pinterest fail and some days it's a powerful reminder that our influence is felt and incredibly necessary.
I catch myself biting my lip now that it has had time to heal from the last string of stressful situations.
I'm nothing if not predictable.
I dump in the salt from the shaker and love that there always seems to be enough pepper caught in the grooves of the cap to season whatever I am making, so just the unscrewing of the top is enough for a meal.
It almost loosens me a little to loosen it.
Open the steaming dishwasher again this time for the spatula.
This is the exact time of day when I tell myself I WILL buy another spatula.
"Why did I ever think one would be enough?"
And the dishwasher begins to hum again as if to prod, "OKAY, are we FINALLY done now?" And the weary brain tells us that we DID thaw too much chicken and will have to put some back.
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
It's a bit of chicken to return to the freezer.
So the Rice Krispie treats got a bit hard overnight.
So the dog is STILL muddy.
How effortless it is to Marco Polo that friend to tell them they are lovely inside and out, that God is using them and that they are killing it as a Parent, but chide ourselves for thawing a bit too much poultry?
"Keep the main thing the main thing," I tell myself.
Dinners will come and go.
Hardened Krispie treats are easier to stomach than hardened spirits.
You know it, but you just need to hear it rattle between your ears a few times.
Pause here to ask your almost-grown-before-your-eyes daughter to please return what was meant to be a table centerpiece as she tries to shimmy it to her "Boho cave-room" and promise to tell her where she can steal another fake shrubbery from a corner of the house if she complies.
These are conversations that you never dreamed of having in the middle of the day.
"Goodness what are you stealing now? If I catch you with anything else you'e going to go from "Boho" to "Hobo!" You hear me?"
She laughs up the stairs and you are glad you have her to get your dumb jokes.
You know these are the best days.
You can see change rearing it's ugly head on the horizon and it seems a fine time to finally become friends?
The best days are filled-to-the-brim with giving up and giving-in to give God an opportunity to be glorified.
And there it is.
Colossians 3:15, a Yield sign, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
And you repeat the sermon to yourself from the night before, "Allow the peace of God to referee your heart."
Having your husband as your Pastor can be weird at times, but most times it's grand.
I knew his illustration of being a Jr High Girls basketball referee.
I knew how disgruntled the crowd and players could be with him as he made calls, and also how peace-filled a game ran when he was respected and heeded.
"Let peace referee."
Let it have the full authority and final call.
"Mom, I REALLY want to STEAL that pillow over there!"
One look was all she needed this round.
"LET peace referee."
I will not allow her to steal every decoration she desires, but I WILL let peace sink into the cracks that only the Spirit knows are in this heart of mine.
One begins to play on the piano, "But I KNOW whom I have believed, and am PERSUADED that HE IS ABLE to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."
Thank you Lord.
One day my feeble faith will be made plain sight.
But for today I will practice giving way to peace.
I will let it tell me what's what and I will be thankful.
I don't know about tomorrow, I just know what we are having for dinner today.
And for today that's plenty good enough for me.