The busy, no-wiggle-room weekend started before the sun pushed back the dark skies. Both boys had to be up and out of the house a little after dawn. As they sleepily pushed themselves out of bed, I asked what I could make them for breakfast. They requested french toast. So I swirled together a little eggs, milk, and vanilla and dunked several bread slices in the cold liquid before placing them in the sizzly skillet.
The boys eventually slid into their seats at the black kitchen table and ate several pieces. Faith woke up early and meandered down for her own share. After all three kids had their fill, I saw one piece left over. I bagged it up to stick in the fridge when my growly stomach suggested the wildest idea, “Hey, I love french toast, so maybe you could give the last piece to me.”
As I gobbled up the last piece, I thought how this pretty much sums up these last few weeks for me–at least on the soul front. I’ve been pouring out and getting things done in such large amounts that anything I take in amounts to leftovers of cold french toast. And because of it, I’m tired. I’m cranky. I’m dropping balls left and right. From my daughter’s 5th grade teacher to my best friend, I’ve sent several emails lately with the words I’m sorry in them.
I felt the hunger pains of a much needed, real deal soul meal.
So a few days later, my husband and I both took a day off. While the kids were at school, we wound our way through twisty mountain roads. We stopped at a cute little restaurant, and I ate Swiss onion soup and a green chili Philly. After hopping back into the minivan, we went from paved roads to gravel roads and finally to roads made of dirt. The dirt road spilled onto the most beautiful grove of golden aspens all lit up like lamp posts in broad daylight. David hears my breath catch and parks the car. We step outside and walk inside the grove, aspen boughs arching overhead.
If nature is a meal, autumn brings Thanksgiving every day to every table. I sit down and eat my fill in the tall grass under those trees. I drink the scent of pine in gulps. Under the aspens, the leaves are more lemon yellow, and I think the trees look like tall, proud lollypops. The breeze is gentle but strong enough to move my hair over my shoulder, and it feels good brushing my bare neck. I breathe deeper, rest while wide awake. David and I talk and listen (and make out a little too).
My love for God feels so vibrant outdoors under the roof he made. Touching parts of his creation–his invisible made visible–heals as it fills.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen. ~ Romans 1:20
Pine needles and grass become church pews, and I can’t help but hum How Great Thou Art under a cathedral of burnished boughs with leaves that quiver like wind chimes.
Eventually, our home in suburbia woos us back (as well as the 3pm school bell). The kids walked home and just beat us through the front door, and I take in the sight of them–a feast for my heart. We sit in the living room and talk about their day, and as I look out at our skinny maples burning slowly from bright green to scarlet red, I hum How Great Thou Art once again.
When I slow down enough to pay attention, autumn never fails to make me full. The only thing left to do is give life a big bear hug . . . and give God an exuberant thank you.
Where do you go to dine on a good soul meal?
As a mama, I need to be doubly intentional about letting my heart and soul dine on more than leftovers. Another resource for a good soul meal that feeds mamas of littles *and* mamas of big kids like me? Lisa Jo Baker’s Surprised By Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I’ve no doubt it will be a lifetime favorite. Right now, Lisa-Jo is hosting a most refreshing book club featuring Surprised by Motherhood. This week, she invited Alia Joy and myself to discuss a couple chapters from it, including the easy work of always loving our kids but the more challenging work of always liking them. Share your parenting wisdom at Lisa-Jo’s, too?