For Lo, the Winter is Past…

It has been a long winter, friends, in more ways than one. The cold endured. Illness and injury endured, for me and several whom I love. Doctor visits endured. Time spent in the hospital with dear ones endured.

But, Spring! It comes:

Renewal

Renewal

Washington Spring 2013

Refreshment

IMG_0026

Regeneration

 

I am so thankful on so many levels and for so many things — for prayers answered, for health restored, for danger averted, and, yes, for warmth and green and blossom and growth.

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Parenting for Lazy People: The Napping House, Part I

Picture your household at 5:30 pm. What’s happening? How does everybody feel? What is each person doing? Is there chaos or contentment? If your family includes children under six or so, I bet the answer to that last question depends mostly on one thing – what they were doing three hours earlier.

Naps? Why Bother? Why should a lazy parent make the effort, and I know it is an effort, to see that her child takes regular naps? The answer is simple: good parents want their children to be truly content* as much of the time as possible, and child who naps is much, much more likely to be a content child for more hours in the day. Yes, I know that children can adapt to a wide variety of circumstances, including not having daily naps, but children who nap are consistently happier and more content.

I always feel sad when I see young children misbehaving because they are exhausted. In a way, being tired is no excuse for bad behavior (Beware if you find yourself often excusing your child’s temper or defiance with a lame, “He’s tired.”), but it is a fact that parents can make things unnecessarily tougher on their kids by not providing the sleep routines they need. That fretful, clingy, whiney late-afternoon/early evening misery does not have to be part of your days.

And don’t tell me your child will not nap, because I won’t believe you. I won’t believe you because I used to work in a large daycare facility where a couple of hundred six week to six year-old children napped every single weekday, like clockwork and without fuss. And I won’t believe you because I was a nanny at various times to several children who napped every single day, like clockwork and without fuss. And I won’t believe you because I brought up three children of my own who napped every day, like clockwork and without fuss.

You can teach your child to nap. The time you put in to train good napping and sleeping habits will pay dividends immediately and for years to come for your child and for everyone else in the family!

*True contentment is opposite to the kind of false contentment many parents settle for by providing instantly gratifying things and experiences to keep their children from complaining. That false contentment is precisely what “spoils” children. True contentment always comes from doing the right thing, the best thing, in the circumstances.

Parenting for Lazy People: The Napping House, Part I

Quote from a great-grandma friend: “The more they sleep, the more they sleep.” Photo credit: Lauren Bingham

Post-script: The next part of this article is the how-to, but I confess I am struggling to write it. Entire books are written about how to help children sleep. Most of them, while well-meaning, are not that helpful. Some of them are silly. I have my opinion, backed up by a good deal of experience, but I know some readers will disagree, perhaps strongly. So I am wondering how much to say and how firmly to express it. I want us to still be friends at the end, and most of all I want everyone who reads to approach it with as open a mind as possible. So, I’m going to stop and call this Part I and ask all of you to prepare your minds for Part II. Try to read it, when it comes, with fresh, seeking eyes. Can you do that? And I’ll try hard to write it true. Thanks in advance. If you have young children, between now and then it would be great if you spent some time observing them and their level of tiredness throughout the day. It might be enlightening.

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Five Minute Friday Link-up: What Mama Did

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker at Tales from a Gypsy Mama today to spend five minutes writing about What Mama Did. Unfortunately, I can’t get her clicky button to work, but you can still get there from here. I enjoyed doing this! You can join in if you like.

What Mama Did

She worked.

In my very earliest memory, I am two years old and it is Christmastime. I am standing in our dark living room gazing up at the lighted cedar, which our family had trooped across the farm’s fields to find and cut a few days before. We are going to open a present soon, one of those wrapped boxes arranged beneath the branches. I don’t know quite what this means, but I think I will like it. We will open a present as soon as my mother finishes cleaning the kitchen. She is in there now, putting away the food we didn’t eat and washing the dishes at the white, hard sink. She is singing.

My mother was always working during my growing up years. Out in the barn, at the sewing machine, cleaning the house, weeding the garden beds, snapping beans, folding clothes, baking a cake, taking a meal to someone. It was only as I got older that I understood what all that working really was: service. She is a helper, a servant. She served my dad’s agricultural and horticultural interests by feeding and weeding and planting and harvesting. She served her family’s interests by cooking and preserving and sewing. She served others’ interests by taking and teaching.

What mama did was serve. Always. Completely. And she was often singing.

Tell me something your mama did.

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Taking Food

Serving others by taking food to them when they cannot easily provide it for themselves is one of the most basic ways to show care and love. Some may think it unnecessary in our modern time of take-out and delivery and meals-on-wheels, but if you have ever been stranded at home for a week with two or three vomiting preschoolers while you are sick yourself, you know that a Dominoes pepperoni and sausage just is not what is called for.

Taking Food

Single servings are handy to have in the freezer. I often make several at once.

A couple of months after I married and moved away from my hometown, a family in our congregation had a new baby. The day after Mommy and Baby came home from the hospital, I showed up at their house with dinner for that evening. The mom was shocked – she said several times, “I can’t believe you did this. Thank you so much! This is so helpful! Nobody has ever brought us a meal before.” I was taken aback – this was her third baby, as I remember. It was not that the people in the congregation were unkind or uncaring, but apparently nobody ever took food to anybody. The next time there was a need, I spoke to a few of the ladies and suggested we make a little calendar of meals for a week, one night for each of us. They were delighted with the idea. One older lady said, “Oh, I remember some of us used to do this for people years ago!” I wasn’t brave enough to ask why the practice stopped, but I imagine, like many good works, the spear-headers aged and got unable to do it anymore and everybody thought somebody else would take care of it and so nobody did, and probably those old ladies who had cooked countless meals for countless families ended up making do with cheese and crackers.

Taking Food

Making three items fit into two-compartment dishes; Barbecued Meatballs recipe is here.

If you are a human being, it is part of your job description to care for those who cannot care for themselves and that nearly always involves food, so it makes sense to get comfortable preparing and taking food to those who need it.

Taking Food

Putting the green beans, the least dense food, in the center will help microwave heating to be more successful.

To whom should I be taking food?

Basically, any time a family has an incapacitated homemaker, it will be a big help to the household to have food brought in:

  • Pregnancy: Sickness/Bed-rest/Birth
  • Illness/Injury
  • Stress Overload: Bereavement, caring for ill family members, super-busy season
Taking Food

Oatmeal cookies — always a hit!

Two types of food to take:

  1. Stand-alone meal for a family, couple, or individual: For this type of meal, usually they are having what we are having. I simply make more of whatever I am cooking for our own dinner and take their part to them in the afternoon.
  2. “Buffet-type” food to be served along with other food – most often following a death when the family may have a lot of extra people and food may be eaten at odd times
Taking Food

Disposable container stash — I also use large foil “roasters” I get at Sam’s Club

Tips to make sure your food is really helpful and not something to be endured:

  • Take into consideration dietary needs/preferences and re-heat-ability.
  • Rule-of-thumb: sick and grieving people need food that is comforting rather than challenging, while others may enjoy food that is more fun or palate-expanding.
  • Be scrupulously clean! People who are down and out in some way don’t need your family’s germs or pet hair to contend with. ‘Nuff said!
  • Save their sanity! This is one time to be a little non-green. Keep a reasonable stash of obviously-do-not-need-to-be-returned containers on hand. (But you probably don’t need to keep every yogurt tub that comes into your life.) I buy some of those disposable foil pans when they are on sale for casseroles and cakes. If you do need to use regular serve-ware, make sure your name is clearly labeled so it can be returned.
  • Make it easy to serve! Label each food item with the following: what it is, when it was made, how many it serves, if it can be frozen, cooking/reheating instructions, and, optionally, if it meets special dietary needs like gluten-free or low-sodium. I often write with a Sharpie right on the foil I will use to cover the dish. For example: Shepherd’s Pie; 2/13; serves 4; can be frozen; to bake from cold, thawed state: 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or til heated through; GF
  • Keep it simple! A casserole, a vegetable, and some bread. A meat, a starch, and a salad. Chili and cornbread. Just about everybody loves a pan of brownies or a batch of chocolate chip cookies if you (or the store) have time. If you have a nice fringe dish on hand like a jar of homemade applesauce or preserves, that might be just the appetite brightener someone needs.
  • Keep it yummy! Remember: We eat with our eyes first, our noses second, and our mouths last. Try to make food that appeals to all three senses. When you take food to someone, there are two things that can work against their enjoyment of it: the “fear factor” of the unknown and the way it looks before it is warmed. You know it is good because it is one of your tried and true recipes, but to them it is unfamiliar. They may feel kind of the way many children are nervous about tasting new foods. Plus, if you have ever opened a container of cold chicken soup with bits of onion and carrot and noodles trapped in jiggly, jellied broth, you know what it means to be a little weirded out by something that will actually smell divine and look and taste delicious once it is hot. Those two things are true of most things you might take, but don’t add Strike Three by choosing something with even greater visual or olfactory challenges. Soup made with wild rice looks like congealed vomit when it is chilled. Ingredients like cooked cabbage or sauerkraut are real turn-offs to many people. What makes food more appealing? Top a casserole with cheese or breadcrumbs. Sprinkle things with a little minced fresh parsley. Dishes made with tomato products are usually good. For that ugly cold chicken soup, attach a card: “I’m not too appealing when I’m cold, but just wait until I’m heated up!”
  • Sometimes people get nearly killed with kindness if there is no coordination, so consider a roster of food-bringers.  Perhaps you can volunteer to put one together amongst your neighbors or co-workers or congregation.
Taking Food

Write directly on the cover if you can!

I am a little afraid my list of tips might scare off a food-bringing novice, so know this: the most important thing is to just do it. Just show love. Just serve. You’ll get better with practice, but even your virgin attempt, done with care and concern, is so valuable to someone who needs it.

Taking Food

As absolutely heaven-on-a-plate as southern dumplings are, I would only take them to people who already know and love them. Admit it – they ain’t pretty! Recipe here

And sometimes we choose to ignore our own tips. My mom had an accident several weeks ago and I have been cooking most of their dinners since. Today is the second time I am taking a cabbage dish. It is not beautiful, and it will be especially ugly just out of the fridge, so I would avoid fixing this for someone else, but I know my folks’ tastes and we have a huge cabbage to use up and so cabbage it is.

Taking Food

Sorry, Mom and Dad. Cabbage — it’s what’s for dinner!

Taking Food

I guess it could be worse!

Do you take food to other people? What is your favorite thing to fix?

 

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Parenting for Lazy People: Use Your Resources

As we said in the last Lazy Parenting essay, children must be ruled – they simply do not arrive equipped to fend for or make wise choices for themselves. If you are the parent, that is your job – to use your resources, wisdom, and experience to provide an environment in which they can flourish.

Whoa, you say, I don’t have much of any of those! Since I don’t know all the answers, maybe it’s best to just let my child kind of do what he likes.

Pardon me for saying so, but that’s one of the dumbest ideas around. You may not have much wisdom or experience, but you have more than your baby or toddler, at least, and happily you do have excellent resources available to you if you will look for them. (Hint: they aren’t found in most parenting magazines or talk shows.)

Resource #1: You probably already own a copy of the ultimate owner’s manual. It is the one written about how every human being’s life should be lived from start to finish, and the author is not some technical writer prodded by liability experts to include such gems as, “Microwaved foods are hot” and “Do not sleep while operating the hair dryer.” Instead, it is God, the creator of the people he writes about. He knows us inside and out. He understands the time and society in which we live, and best of all He loves us even more than we can love each other or ourselves. He even tells us He is our father, which makes Him the ultimate parent, the ultimate resource.

Parenting for Lazy People: Use Your Resources

Go here first!

Resource #2: Successful parents – You have to do a little investigative work here. Look at their “product” – their kids. If they are young, are they brats? Are they generally happy and content, and not just because they always get their way? If they are older, are they productive, polite, servers, and self-controlled? If they are grown, what is the fruit in their own lives?

When you find some good parents, use them! Ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. Ask them what they wish they’d done differently. Observe them – what they do and say and what they do not do and say. What is the tone in the home? What do they emphasize? And, yes, where do you see things that could be done better?

Parenting for Lazy People: Use Your Resources

See a great kid? Follow her home and observe her parents!

Whether you know nothing about child-rearing or think you already have everything all figured out, a wise parent utilizes good resources.

In the comments, please share some great advice or a good example you learned from a parenting resource.

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The Thing that Made Me Climb on Top of the Booth at Outback Steakhouse and Cheer

First, I must tell you that I have never climbed on top of a booth at a restaurant unless I did it as a very young child, and if I did it then I am sure my good parents commanded me to get down instantly or receive a spanking. Yesterday I broke a decades-long history of non-booth-climbing, however, and I am not a bit ashamed. What made me do it?

The Husband and I are visiting our First Adolescent Male at his college. We took him out for a nice lunch, courtesy of his grandparents. As we ate, we chatted about his courses, and he said, “Mom, I can’t believe I am going to say this, but thank you for making us learn about art and stuff.”

It took a beat to absorb that. Dawning realization. VALIDATION OF PARENTING CHOICES. This is a Moment. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before I knew it, I was on top of the booth’s bench seat with my arms in the air and a not-too-loud “Yay!” coming out of my mouth. It had to be done.

George Wesley Bellows - Both Members of This Club

George Wesley Bellows – Both Members of This Club

Here is a piece I wrote almost five years ago when we were in the throes of making them learn about art and stuff:

April, 2008; Realization

During our trip to Mt. Vernon the other day I understood something in a clearer way that I had dimly grasped before: Children become what parents both consciously and unconsciously teach them to be.

We were moving from one tour stopping point to another and happened to be walking alongside the guide when I mentioned something to the boys about when I had visited Mt. Vernon as a child. In the conversation it became apparent that in my childhood we had done this kind of thing often and now my own family does the same. The guide said, “I tried to take my children to places like this, but they never really liked it.” That made me sad.

I thought about how it was not enough that the guide loved history himself; somehow, he failed to successfully pass it on to his children. I started thinking about the why of that. I am sure I do not have all the answers, but one thing occurred to me. When I was a kid, I don’t ever remember my parents saying, “So, children, how would you like to go to __________ in a few days?” No, they said, “Hey, we’re going to go to _________!” And we did. When we got there, they never asked us what we wanted to do; instead, they showed us things and told us about them and asked questions of guides and marveled at what we were seeing and wondered aloud why things were the way they were. They ignored the gift shops, so we did, too. They brought picnic food and we laughed and talked and were together doing what they planned.

I will not say I loved all of it. Cattle auctions were bearable because I was allowed to bring a book. Flower gardens were not at the top of my list of fun places to be, but today I love to visit gardens and when Dad recently suggested the possibility of going to a cattle show, I found myself thinking of it with anticipation.

We have behaved much the same way with our own children. I took them to libraries and bookstores strapped to myself in an infant carrier, timing the visits when they were most likely to be content. Kevin took them to the fire station as a matter of course. We visited harbors, museums, art galleries, gardens, and historical sites because we love to do that and assumed they would find things to enjoy there. Most of the time they did, and if they didn’t, they knew fussing wouldn’t make us leave. Now they have grown into the most pleasant companions on these excursions, although we really had a good time all along.

We are planning a trip to Florida to attend Alyssa’s graduation in a few weeks. On the way, we expect to visit Ft. Sumter, the Okefenokee Swamp, and Cape Canaveral. Samuel said to me the other day, “I can’t WAIT to see all those places!” I have many imperfections as a parent and as a person, but I believe this is one thing that has worked well. And that makes me glad.

 

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Sometimes I Feel So Out of Step with My Culture…

…and I am perfectly fine with that.

Television

Culture: Superbowl

Me: Downton Abbey Episode 5

I mean, really, would you rather watch grown men plowing into one another or these two? Don't even get me started about Dame Smith...

I mean, really, would you rather watch grown men plowing into one another or these two? Don’t even get me started about Dame Smith…

Fashion

Culture: Matchy-matchy = No-no!

Me: Matchy-matchy = Of course!

Out-of-Step with My Culture

Personally, I call that coordinated.

Dinner Out

Culture: McDonalds or sports bar for wings and more TV

Me: High-end dining or dive-that-makes-the-best-________

Iowa Tenderloin Sandwich -- no frills, no decor in sight -- Come to Mama, Darlin'...

Iowa Tenderloin Sandwich — no frills, no decor in sight — Come to Mama, Darlin’…

Technology

Culture: Angry Birds

Me: “Is there a way I can get an 18th century poem to pop up on my screen every morning when I check my calendar? Anybody? Anybody? No?”

Out-of-Step with My Culture

“I am still learning.” Michelangelo
“But I’ll never play computer games.”
Lori Biesecker

How about you? How are you out of step with our culture and fine with that?

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Dumplings, the Chicken’s Best Friend

Mom’s dumplings — just saying that conjures up a flood of sensations and memories of Thanksgiving dinners reaching back long before my birth into my mother’s kitchen, of course, but into her mother’s and lots and lots of other mothers. My mom’s are the best — better than mine and certainly better than Cracker Barrel’s, which are just misnamed noodles. The woman’s dumplings are pure poetry on a plate.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

This is two attempts my sister and I made to document Mom’s no-recipe method of making dumplings.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

You are going to need to need a big pot half-filled with rich chicken stock, including the fat, all the fat! This is about 1 gallon in an 8 qt. pot. Bring it to a simmer while you make the dough.

(If you need to learn how to make chicken stock, read this. The stock pictured here is nothing more than the carcasses, necks, gizzards, and hearts of two roasting chickens + salt and water.)

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Make your dumpling dough, which is basically biscuit dough. See recipe below for specifics.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Set up a work station near the pot of simmering stock. I use my Corian cutting board, but the clean counter works fine, too. I also use a rolling pin and a pizza wheel, but your hands for patting out the dough and sharp knife will do the job, too.

 

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Knead the dough 6-8 times on a floured surface. (I work with 1/2 of it at a time with this feed-a-crowd amount of dough.) Roll or pat the dough into a rough rectangle just a little thinner than you would for biscuits, about 3/8″ thick. Use a little flour on top of the dough and on the pin as needed, but don’t manhandle the dough. Easy does it.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

With a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into squares or rectangles — no precision required.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Turn the heat to medium-high and let the broth begin to boil moderately. Taste the broth — it should be a little saltier than you like, because the dumplings are bland. Drop the dumpling rectangles into the boiling broth one by one.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Enjoy the process! I think it is so much fun to watch ingredients like these transform themselves before my very eyes.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

See all that yellow on the surface of the broth? That is the lovely fat, which is going to give a rich flavor to the dumplings without tasting greasy at all.

Tutorial: Mom's Southern Dumplings

Use a wooden spoon to press the dumplings in the pot away from the edge of the pan as you drop in another dumpling. Work your way around the perimeter of the pot as you add each dumpling, so that the raw pieces of dough do not stick to each other in the broth before they get a chance to cook a bit. Also, as the pot fills with dumplings, you’ll probably want to adjust the heat down to about medium-low to keep it from “spitting” too much as it simmers. Add grinds of pepper when you have added about half of the dough and then another bit when you finish adding dough. You may or may not use all of the dough rectangles. You want your pot to be pretty full, as shown, but you need a little “simmering room” to prevent boil-over. Give the dumplings one or two stirs (not too rough) before covering the pot tightly with the lid. Turn the heat to low and set the timer for 15 minutes. At the end, stir again to see if the dumplings seem to be cooked in the center of a piece of dough (not wet-looking). Your dumplings will have largely lost their individual character, however, and the broth will have thickened and whitened until it is challenging to distinguish individual dumplings. If that’s how it looks and feels, you did it right!

 

Mom’s Dumplings …the “and chicken” kind, the fattening kind, the delicious kind…

serves 12 or more

15-16 c. chicken broth, with fat

7 ½ c. self-rising flour (or 7 ½ c. all-purpose flour plus 3 slightly rounded T. baking powder and 2 scant t. salt), plus more for rolling

1 ¼ c. shortening

3 c. buttermilk

½ c. water

  1. Put the broth into a large pot so that it no more than half-fills the pot. Bring to a simmer while you mix the dumpling dough.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cut the shortening into the flour until it is in small pieces.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk and water to form a sticky dough.
  4. Turn the heat under the broth to medium-high while you roll out the dumplings. It should moderately boil.
  5. Flour the rolling surface. Dump out about half of the dough, sprinkle with flour, and knead 6 or 8 times. Pat or roll the dough 3/8” thick. Cut into rectangles about 3” x 2”.
  6. Taste the broth and add salt if needed to make it a little saltier than you would prefer to drink.
  7. Drop dough into the boiling broth one by one. As the surface becomes crowded, use a wooden spoon to push dumplings away from the side of the pan to allow a clear space to drop another strip into the broth. Continue in this manner around the perimeter of the pan, dropping in each strip in a new spot so the raw pieces of dough do not stick together. When half the dough has been added, sprinkle pepper over the surface. You may need to adjust the heat down to medium-low as the broth thickens to prevent “spitting.” Roll out, cut, and drop in the remaining dough, but stop if the pot is getting too full. (You can always bake any remaining strips as biscuits.) Pepper the top layer again. Stir the dumplings to distribute some of the pepper, but don’t be too rough.
  8. Cover the pot tightly and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for fifteen minutes. Check the center of a dumpling. It should appear dry and tender. Expect the dumplings to have lost their individual character, and the broth will have thickened and whitened until it is challenging to distinguish individual dumplings. If that’s how it looks and feels, you did it right!

The finished dumplings will hold their heat quite awhile if you leave them covered and off heat while you complete your meal, which makes them handy for Thanksgiving or other big meals. To reheat leftovers, you will want to add some water and heat them very slowly on the range or in the microwave at reduced power. It takes some time, but it is worth it to go slow. Dumplings may be frozen. Serve with chicken or turkey, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and cornbread dressing if you are a true southerner.

 

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Parenting for Lazy People: The Only Thing You Really Have to Teach Your Child

Isn’t it a relief to find out there is only one thing you really have to teach your child? What? You don’t agree? You are thinking about toilet-training and bike-riding and no-hitting and possessions-sharing and friend-choosing and all the myriad character traits and skills good parents ought to instill in their children.

Oh, I know about all of those, but you don’t have to worry about them too much, so long as you get the really important principle taught. Is your curiosity piqued? What is this one really important thing to teach your child?

Just get this into that little person’s mind: You are ruled by a benevolent dictator.

Simple. Profound. Affects everything. Gets everyone into their proper positions in the family. Instills order, security, comfort, and peace.

I hope you will teach this to your child starting when he is so young he cannot possibly understand what a benevolent dictator is. If you do, here is a simplified thing to say to him when needed: I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to take a nap because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to eat a healthy balance of foods because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to learn to share because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

No, Child, you may not tell me “no” because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

No, Child, you may not throw a fit when you don’t get your way because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

See? Magic!

More practical ways to apply this coming in future posts.

With apologies to my brother and sister-in-law: This is the only photo I could find of a little person in my files who looked like they might be in need of a little training. Their daughter was not being naughty when this was snapped -- it's just a momentary stance caught on the camera!

With apologies to my brother and sister-in-law: This is the only photo I could find in my files of a little person who looked like they might be in need of a little benevolent dictatorship. Their daughter was not being naughty when this was snapped — it’s just a momentary stance caught on the camera!

 

 

What parenting issues do you deal with in your family (or see other families dealing with) that I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!) can solve?

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Life for Lazy People – Defining the Vocabulary of Lazy Productivity

 

I'm always aiming for that hammock.

I want to achieve productivity, but I’m also always aiming for that hammock.

What Does It Mean? Lazy productivity means wanting to achieve excellence – because it is not in fact simply laziness, which would be very foolish – but wanting to get there as easily as possible. It means figuring out and doing what is vital for great results without adding in a lot of extra work that does little toward reaching the goal.

Why Should I Become Lazily Productive? If you are a lazy person at heart, you have no need to be told a reason. If you are a full-of-energy overachiever, don’t bother reading the rest of this – it isn’t for you.

What is the Most Important Skill for the Lazily Productive Person? In a word: circumspection. Circumspect is defined as “careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences: prudent.” Literally, it means to “look around” a thing. The circumspect person uses her mind before her muscles – she thinks before she sweats. She looks at a present circumstance, then “looks around” it, and is able to see where her action or lack of action will lead.

Why Circumspection Matters to Lazily Productive People That’s easy. Effective circumspection means I don’t have to go back and re-do all the time. That understanding of where my action or lack of action will lead lets me figure out the wisest course ahead of time. By following it, I don’t make extra work for myself. Which brings us to…

How Can I Develop Circumspection? Mainly, I have to use all the wisdom I can muster. Need more wisdom? God says He will give it to the one who asks in faith, but understand what entering into a faithful relationship with God entails! Then, I need to embrace the truth that lazy productivity requires some energy, particularly up front. Lazy productivity involves discipline, the kind of discipline that is not always “pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10) Righteousness and peace. That means knowing I have been doing right and being able to be at peace about it, which is the metaphorical nap in the hammock for me – a real restful rest with no nagging conscience.

In What Ways Can I Apply Circumspection to Achieve Lazy Productivity? That is the fun part. Child-rearing. Laundry. Party-planning. Gardening. Travel. Housecleaning. Paid employment. Volunteerism. Even errand-running. In fact, I can’t think of any activity in which circumspection is not a good idea. The rest of this series will spotlight some areas of life – mostly “little” things – in which some circumspection can let the lazy person succeed in spite of her nature.

What do you think of this idea of circumspection? Or just got a good “word of the day” to share?

Posted in Lazy Productivity, Life for Lazy People | Tagged , | Comments closed
  • In My Kitchen, In My Life is a place where women (and the odd male) can be encouraged, nudged, and occasionally kicked in the pants toward living their lives on a higher plane. Oh, and readers get plenty of chances to laugh at the author's foibles, which is always worth a click.

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