936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Looming at the end of our day’s to-do list, dinner often evokes a slight sense of both panic and dread as the hour grows nearer and prep time grows shorter. Time originally planned for dinner’s creation is increasingly swallowed up by the tasks preceding it.
Hours grow shorter and hungry bellies hover around the kitchen, conveying by their presence alone (and maybe some grumpy words) an increasingly urgent need for nourishment. An originally hopeful idea for a creative and wholesome dinner often gets put on the back burner, so to speak, for another time; a time with more time. Convenience wins in a convenience-dependent culture and takeout boxes take the place that rightfully belonged to a meal made with love and time.
Oh, time. If only there were more time and less tasks. Then dinner would receive its proper respect. Then dinner would become a star of the day. Then it would be celebrated. Then its preparation would calm rather than frazzle. Then it would lose its sense of burdensome task.
I rarely pay attention to how long it takes to make dinner. Often its preparation builds throughout the day, growing anticipation for its (hopefully) glorious debut come dinner hour. By the time it is considered ready, laid on a plate before a husband hungry after a day’s work, I really have no idea how much time actually went into its creation.
Another (more honest) answer to this question would be this: by the time I’m done cooking a meal, including all of the interruptions for diaper changes, calming the crisis of a two-year-old, nursing the baby, picking up the crayons, letting the dog out, searching for the missing crayons, making a pot of coffee, taking photos of the ingredients, praying that the missing crayon isn’t in dog’s (or baby’s) stomach, watering the dog after I find her lapping water from the stand of the been-dead-for-days-Christmas-tree, taking photos of the toddler coloring on the baby’s head (oh good, he found the missing crayon!) …I have no idea how long it actually took to prepare a meal!
But somehow, intertwined between all other activities, tasks, moments, and lessons of a day, dinner ends up on the table. And it speaks of time.
A culture of food centered on convenience gives no respect–no esteem or honor–to real food. Convenience robs food of its history and tradition, its uniqueness and nourishment, and its ability to bring loved ones together and warm souls. Time is our greatest asset. It is at the core of life, and how it is utilized reveals what a life will be. It is at the center of all we have to give, and when it is given, it communicates love and sacrifice on the behalf of another.
On the radio this morning I heard an advertisement put out by a national fitness center. “It’s the New Year, and once again it’s time to lose that extra weight!” It struck me just how very discouraging the heart of that statement is. “once again…“ It is the tone of failure. It implies a cycle. Lose, gain, lose, gain. Once again. A New Year kicks off our new-yet-so-very-old attempt to get fit. To get thin. To lost those extra pounds…once again….
But what if getting healthy wasn’t a drudgery? What if all it took was a bit of revolution on our part to how we see and use our time? Now, at the beginning of a new Year, is the opportune time to step back and look at our 24 hours in a day to see where our priorities lie. Now is our best moment of the year to consider what, exactly, we are declaring through our time spent. What does our time spent last year say about the importance of our health? Are we happy with what we see? As Barabara Kingslover put it in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:
“It’s easy for any of us to claim no time for cooking; harder to look at what we’re doing instead, and why every bit of it is presumed more worthy.”
Reflecting on this past year, where did you spend your time? How much of it was mindlessly given away to scrolling through Facebook feeds? Pinterest? Staring at your phone even to the detriment of relationships sitting right before you? Or consider time spent in the car, commuting to too many activities which eat up more time but pay little dividend in things that really matter. Now can you say that you didn’t have enough time to invest in your health? I’m speaking to myself, too.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How do we breathe fuller life into each one of them? Ann Voskamp in her book one thousand gifts says it more elegantly than I when she writes, “Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time.”
Is our time full? Not full of activities–that would be a grave misunderstanding. But full of that which makes life more abundant? Only then does time expand, and our hours become more.
It is not a lofty goal. It is not an endless cycle of a resolution failed one too many times before. It is a decision today and again tomorrow. I will give real food time. I will give the kitchen time. I will give the farmer’s market time. I will give the dinner table time. I will watch yeast raise bread and vinegar pull nutrients from bones as stock simmers. Hours will become larger, fuller, as meat braises and vegetables roast. Time–I don’t have much of it, but I’ll redirect a worthy chunk of it to creating real food. My health and the health of my family is worth it; worth my time.
With a little intentional thought and some steps of action that really excite you, it’s not hard to wrap your mind around this.
Maybe it means one of these:
These are not mini goals. They are action steps towards a much larger vision–a vision of time well spent, invested in the health of bodies, hearts, and family.
Here we stand just over the threshold of a new year. Whether we were ready yet for its arrival or not, it is here. And time shows no mercy as the minutes tick by on the clock here and then gone forever. Time doesn’t stop. This has scared me. Only now am I beginning to see just how beautiful time is when captured, when allowed to be what it was intended to be, when used to create rather than given to all that is wind that is here and then forgotten.
This year above any goals or resolutions surrounding our health, let’s just decide with our will and our actions to devote more time to creating good food. This brings together families. This inspires the heart. This nourishes the body. This captures time and makes it larger.
Keep in mind:
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!