Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Life & Faith


I push through a mealtime, rally to prepare foods and portions for a small army, and do my best to clean as I go so I don’t come back to a disaster zone the next time I come through the kitchen. I find myself eyeballing both the cookies and the apples on the counter. I like both fine, and I surely need a bite here in a minute. There is a strong temptation to go for the cookie. It is, after all, made of the most delicious combination of ingredients on earth (butter and sugar). And it is something I can devour without any additional work (on the front end, I mean). Lift, bite, savor. Gone in five seconds, for sure. But the apple, that requires I take an extra 30 seconds to wash and slice it. Such an agonizing choice. One a little more tantalizing than the other. One a decidedly better choice for my body.

Totally like a million tiny decisions we run into every day. There is a tantalizing choice that offers very momentary pleasure or reprieve…and a choice that may take a little extra effort but may pay us dividends beyond what we can recognize at that moment.

What do you do with your time that falls in the former category? Not saying you can’t have a cookie on occasion (I’m the poster-child for cookie-eating)…but what if in all the little ways, you made choices to do what most nourishes your soul/relationships/family? Like, for instance, what if you said no to things in the schedule that are not life-giving for you, no matter how much you feel you ‘should’ do them? What if you had a list of creative projects you want to start or a stack of books you want to read, all at the ready to jump into when a free hour presents itself instead of flipping on the TV? What if you marked time on the calendar to workout with a friend you’ve been missing, instead of sitting at home refreshing Facebook for the millionth time that day, hoping that by some wild miracle, you might connect with another individual in a meaningful way there, even though it hasn’t happened in quite some time? What if you sliced a bunch of apples ahead of time so when you got hungry, you could have a bowl of slices ready to fill your tastebuds and nourish your body from the inside out?

All I mean to say, is we each have to make the choices that will nourish our lives. Our physical bodies, and our inner-hearts. A million little choices, a million little opportunities to fill ourselves with good things instead of so-so things. I know I often fall into the trap of choosing the easiest, most immediately-gratifying things…but honestly, after years of life like that, I just want wholeness. Whole-heartedness. The only way there is to change the habits that keep me from getting there. To me, this is what self-care really boils down to. I see myself as worthy of the time it takes, the intention in requires, the sacrifice that may be necessary – to nourish myself so that I can put my whole heart into giving my best to those around me. Nearly every mama-of-littles that I know struggles with this, because we have on our plates the physical, emotional, spiritual needs of every one of our children in addition to our own…but this is the time we need to be most on our game! We have to be filled so we can pour out the good things to our babes.

What are the things you can plan ahead of time to help you make the most nourishing choices?

For starters, I’m off to slice a bowl of apples and put those cookies away.

“The steps of a man are established by the LordAnd He delights in his way.  When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

1211. sara groves album “floodplain”, so many good lines, 1212. a brisk walk to the library, 1213. great well-kid checkups for 3 of the kids, 1214. quiet reading hour, 1215. little one cleaning the house with baby wipes, the best kind of copycat, 1216. early to bed and a good night’s sleep, 1217. #4’s giggles when she feels the baby bump move, 1218. back to cbs after a long break, 1219. all the kids pretend-playing “public” school, complete with a principal, 1220. quiet