Making Clay Pots

My dearest husband and I are subscribed Datebox (follow the link for $10 off your first box! We get $10 off a box if you buy one, too.) We’ve enjoyed the dates we’ve done, but in all honesty, we’ve been subscribed for a year and we set our boxes aside far too often.

A couple of nights ago, we decided to break one out late one evening. It was an older one, from when we first subscribed – a kit to make clay pots for a herb garden, and a tasty snack to enjoy while creating.

If you know me, this is right up my alley. The excitement I felt at first glance bubbled out and I was giddy. And if you know my husband, then you know he will do anything to make me happy. (But clay pot making might not have been the first on this list of his things to try.)

We spread everything out on the table, and since it was an older box, we didn’t even try to find the Spotify playlist. We just listened to basketball in the background. We busted out the clay and it was….crumbling. It was too dry to make in to clay pots.20180104_234000.jpg

Well, I’ve brought various modeling compounds back to life with a little water, so I got the water bowl and we set to trying to revive the clay. And, with some persistence, we were able to soften it and mush it together and start attempting to shape it.

Knowing we had never made clay pots before, we started slowly, tentatively. Trying to turn round balls of revived clay in to pots. No matter what we did, the sides kept caving in. Thick sides, thin sides, round pots, square-ish pots, it didn’t matter. The sides caved, over and over again. We worked at it for an hour, laughing, smashing collapsing pots and starting over, staring at each other wondering what we got ourselves in to.20180104_234020.jpg

I got the clay too wet, I think. We got out the flour, and spread it over our surface and let our lumps of clay soak in a little flour, and then tried some more. Still, we couldn’t keep the sides from falling. We talked about using thread around them, but then we figured they would fall in. What about toothpicks? We continued trying with our hands while discussing the possibilities.

I was finally able to form a small, square-ish, short pot. It wasn’t pretty, but it was holding steady. My hubs was giving up, so I took his lump and worked it into a thick, round, shallow dish. And I proceeded to bake them both.

I’ve thought a lot about those poor pots since then. I’ve thought a lot about how the bible 20180104_234345.jpgrefers to us as being clay in the Potter’s hands. You know, often, I think I am difficult clay. Too dry, too wet, too stiff, too soft. Our good Father keeps at it, keeps working on getting those sides up, keeps working on shaping me into a proper dish. Yet, I resist, I ignore, I flop, I fold, I try to anticipate His next move and get it all wrong.

I can’t help but think that I need to stop being an insolent lump of clay and give the reins of my life more fully over to my Creator. Creator God is the facet of our Father in Heaven that I love most to read of. To think of His tender care, and maybe even deep frustrations, as He works with each us.

I had the best time with my precious husband trying to form these pots. I cannot wait to try another Datebox with him. Our shenanigans together, while they are obviously a huge part of relationship care, I think they are also deeply connected to the fine art of self-care – because I can’t be my best self without my partner in life and my other half.

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The Fine Art of Self Care

Self care came in a commercial package for me not so long ago – massages, chiropractic appointments, a hair cut, new essential oils, and more. And for a while, it felt like I was becoming a master of self-care. I enjoyed each of these things and was looking less and less at how they affected the checkbook. Good golly, I worked enough long, hard hours to justify the expense, didn’t I?

Self care looks different right now, today. We closed our business just a couple of weeks ago, and the hours have only been more grueling. I’d give my right arm to be able to afford a massage or the chiropractor right now. Suddenly every red cent in the checkbook matters, and I can’t spend money on these things I thought were the only way to self-care.

Turns out, though, that self-care is so much more than just these things. (And please know, I’m not taking away from chiropractic care or massage – both, I believe, are essential to health and wellness.)

Right now, self-care looks like these things:

Going to bed on time.

Getting up before the kids, so I can gather my thoughts for the day.

Putting my phone down.

In fact, I’m just going to park here for a minute, and say it again, sometimes taking care of myself means putting my phone down. No more scrolling, no more articles, no more messages. Because I’ve learned that my phone is the #1 reason that I begin feeling frenetic, like I can’t keep up. In the season we are in, I am juggling guilt, change, regret. Every article I read points me to all the things I could have, would have, should have. Then I can’t focus on the good things in my life, the goodness of God in my life, or how He is moving.

Sometimes self-care is a mental break from all that my phone bombards me with.

Sometimes self-care is a shower – nothing fancy, no aromatherapy, no relaxation shower gel, just a shower. Hot water, wash my hair, and conquer the day.

Sometimes self-care is reading a book, or more importantly, sometimes self-care is reading my bible.

Self care comes in the form of prayer – laying all of my worries at the feet of my Father and letting Him carry me.

Sometimes self-care isn’t alone, so much as it nestling into the crook of my husband’s arm and crying because this is hard. Or staying up late trying to make clay pots together. (I’ll share more about this adventure in a day or two.)

Sometimes self-care is doing hard tasks, draining ones, so that they are on the done side of the list, instead of the do side. Sometimes shortening the do list makes it easier to fall asleep at night.

Sometimes self-care is closing my bedroom door for some quiet to talk to my mom, because I need to hear her voice. Sometimes it’s not closing my door to talk to my sister, because she has just as much noise and chaos on her end and it’s how we do life together.

Sometimes self-care is writing – whether journaling, blogging, working on a novel. Writing is part of who I am.

I’d like to be able to make a trip to the chiropractor (and my tingling nerves would like it too) but in this season where I can’t, I don’t have to neglect myself. I don’t have to give in to this notion that self-care costs money that I don’t have.

How can you take care of yourself without spending any money, today? Share with me in the comments below.

 

Until next time,

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Things I Don’t Regret from 2017

I found this writing prompt, and I thought…whoa! I need to document some things I don’t regret from 2017, because our year is ended rough.

I don’t regret my word – steadfast. In fact, 2017 demanded just that from me – that I be steadfast, on a nearly daily basis. And I’m better for it today, on Dec. 31, 2017.

I don’t regret the way I can see the faithful hand of God working through my life, through the good and bad, in 2017. He revealed Himself to me profoundly, and His grace is evident. Even now, as I write this, in the midst of chaos and even fear, I can clearly see His hand at work in our lives.

My sweet husband and I are closer now than I think we’ve ever been, and I don’t regret that. I haven’t always liked the obstacles, the trials, or the hurts, but the treasure is worth it. He is my best friend, and I know him a little better on Dec. 31st than I did on Jan. 1st.

I do not regret seeing Yellowstone National Park, or making it to our family reunion (finally) this year! What a great time we had spending time with everyone. And sweet Mr. A got to spend the majority of his summer in Wyoming.

I don’t regret rerouting my trip to pick Mr. A up and going to Colorado instead of South Dakota. It was a beautiful trip and it reminded me that I work well in a pickle…and that my sister and I are a great team.

I don’t regret moving to the country. I don’t regret having my horse in my backyard, getting goats and chickens, and starting fodder. In fact, I quite love it here. This home is a haven for me, a place to weather a few storms, and I am grateful that God allowed us to move out here.

I don’t regret joining a fall bowling league with Mr. W again – even though I said I wouldn’t. Truth is, I kind of like bowling with him.

I don’t regret all of the birthdays we celebrated, or how much my kids have grown. I don’t regret the time spent together as a family, or the time spent with extended family. I don’t regret waking up the same man every morning, with the same rotten toddlers wedged between us. (Although I do regret buying a bigger bed!)

Writing this was good for my soul. I needed to be reminded of the things I don’t regret from 2017 before I start 2018.

Tell me, dear readers, what don’t you regret from 2017?

 

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