Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen


Top 10 things I don’t do well…

1 – Plan Parties/Celebrations – So, I have to start out with this at the top of the list because the whole reason I thought to do this post is because of a blog entry I wrote nearly 2 years ago that I never published but happened to re-discover in my drafts folder this week. In the post, I mentioned that ‘planning kid birthday parties is probably in my list of Top 10 things I don’t do well’. That got me thinking about what things would really be on that list if I made one, so here you go: a slightly silly, but partly serious look at my weaknesses. I can make a kid party happen, but it is never a thing of beauty or Pinterest-worthy details. I can do all the purely practical things. I can make food for dozens, put dates on the calendar and communicate to the invited, but I am not a decorator, I loathe kid-party games, and even though my kids are so grateful for whatever fun we cook up, I spend the entire party feeling stressed out. I have been seeking to do better in this area and enjoy the process, but it is still not one of my strengths. We have a certain pal turning 6 years old in our house this week, and this year, to cope with my party-execution disability, I have outsourced the lego-madness/party activities to daddy. Bless the man.

2 – Follow Rules – The very presence of a rule makes me want to challenge it. Now, to be fair, I am a fairly straight-laced girl and I follow plenty of rules if I understand the benefit of them, but telling me I have to (or can’t) do something without giving me a reasonable explanation of why or why not will only make me push back and investigate a little deeper. I think this can be both a strength and a weakness because some ‘rules’ deserve to be challenged, and I think it is important to understand why we do or don’t do (or should/shouldn’t do) certain things as we navigate life, but that does sometimes get me into trouble.

3 – Follow Recipes – This goes right along with the following rules thing. I love recipes. I consult them and glean what I want from them, but I do not execute them. I really dislike step-by-step instructions for most things. I like figuring out stuff, and charting my own path to a destination. When I’m in the kitchen, I like to experiment and combine and detour from recipes and make my own creations (re: messes). This results in many failed attempts at (mostly baking) endeavors, but I have to say, I learn something new every time I flop.

4 – Rest – I’m convinced I don’t really know how to do this well. Now, I have a love for simplicity and have put a lot of energy in simplifying my life in all areas over the past few years, so I don’t feel like I’m in desperate need of rest from running ragged–but give me some open time and no responsibility, and I promise you I will find something productive (i.e., not restful) to do. I read books, but most often do so while walking on the treadmill. I write to pour out my soul, but it most often happens between unloading dishes, running toddler-terrorism interference, and cooking another meal. I study the bible, and fit in my lessons while I’m managing lights-out with 5 kids, which is no sedentary job. I usually only really rest once I’ve crashed after a long week and have no other choice because my body shuts down. Although, I do sleep awesomely for about 7 hours each night, which is a total gift because I might not otherwise make it through the daytimes.

5 – Let Things Go – I stew and think and mull and wrestle with literally everything that goes through my mind. There is not much that slips through without a good mull-over. I am always seeking to grow in wisdom and love, and I feel everything I experience right down deep into my bones. Good things. But when its time to let go of a season or a friend or a situation, the whole process of those things feels like tearing/stretching/torture to me. It’s because I care a lot, and because saying goodbye to things feels like a deep loss, every time, even if it is a good thing at the right time. I am learning to accept that about myself, but I’d love to be more (immediately) resilient when it’s possible.

6 – Clean House – It’s a deep shame, if I’m honest. It’s also the area I work harder at than any other thing in my life. The combo of my creative, always-turning brain, and my giant load of ‘helpers’ (re: also creative brains that make lots of messes) make it a losing recipe for me. I strive for peace, health, simplicity, and organization in our collective space, but truthfully, it is an area that causes me a lot of grief. People who keep minimal, tidy spaces are fascinating to me and I honestly cannot figure out how they do it. I can only hope and pray they will love me anyway, and not judge me in my weakness. I am learning, and I’m attempting to pass on some sense of orderliness to my children, but every bit of success in this area is hard-won.

7 – Have Fun – I’m a serious soul. I’m not a fun friend. I totally know it, and I’m mostly ok with it. I’ve made some truly awesome friends over the years who draw me out and make me have some fun, but its not what I’m good at all by myself, I admit. However, if you have an emergency, a problem to work through, a broken heart, or a need to blubber out your worries, I am totally your girl. As weird as it sounds, I actually love being that girl.

8 – Say No To Sugar – It’s a thing, I admit. Sugar is my thing. Makes sense. It’s in everything, everywhere, and every bite is so gratifying. I have come a long way, learning about what will really nourish my body, and choosing those things over the other things. I find it a little easier during pregnancy to make healthful choices, since it is for the baby’s benefit as well, but sugar remains a total weakness. For the record, ice cream, donuts, and other forms of dessert are currently banned at my house. We’re going for the fruit-for-dessert these days! Still sugar, but the kind that is straight from nature. MMMmm.

9 – Take Vitamins/Swallow Pills – I’m just not good at this. I try my best during early pregnancy to take prenatal vitamins, but I am not always successful. I avoid taking pills for any other reason whenever possible. Honestly, if its between taking tylenol and any other option to fix a temporary condition, I will choose the other option. Not to mention that sometimes I actually can’t get a pill down without a rather comical production.

10 – Watch Movies – If it’s not a kid-flick, or its not 10+ years old, chances are, I haven’t seen it. I don’t have time (or take time) to watch many movies these days. I’ve found that it is a rare movie that really captures my attention, and given a 2-3 hour window of time with nothing else to do, seeing a movie is not high on my list. That said, I do have some die-hard favorites that have enriched my life in many ways, so I am not against movies, I am just a bit out of touch. My watch again-and-again favorites include: Life is Beautiful (Italian version), Dan in Real Life, Anne of Green Gables, The Man from Snowy River, What About Bob…like I said. Old ones…old ones I haven’t watched in several years! If you have some recommendations for entertaining, heart-warming, or thought-provoking flicks, I’m open to suggestions!

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62: 1-2

1051. lavender soap, 1052. long, comfy dress, 1053. baby turns, 1054. new math-plan, 1055. made-ahead dinner, 1056. new thrifted costumes for all, 1057. tv-free days, 1058. the girl making paper feathers, 1059. “ominic” 1060. grace