If we’re to write using lists in today’s challenge, I might well start with this trusty old post card that is usually pinned to a noticeboard in my kitchen.
10 Tips to Stress Less:
- Remember to get your zzzz’s
- Talk out your troubles
- Notice something beautiful
- De-clutter your life
- Do more of what makes you feel most alive
- Practice compassion
- Learn to listen and be heard
- Plan date nights with your friends
- End the day well
Tonight, I had the unexpected delight of minding other people’s children. Not that I expected it would be awful or demanding. I just didn’t expect that it would be a delight.
I arrived to find the kids fed, dishes done and a meal kept warm for me. The kids and I played my all time favourite ‘quieten down the kids’ game – ‘Boxes’ – not putting the kids in boxes – rather that little game of dots on a page eventually joined up into boxes.
This was followed by staggered bedtimes, strictly adhered to. Some reading aloud to the youngest, some quiet companionable reading with the older siblings. Followed by tuck-ins and bedtime prayers. I asked each child for some things from their day, for which we could thank God. Here’s a collected summary:
- Fun at school
- Comfy beds
- Term being half way through
- Holidays coming soon
- Books to read
- Friends in another country
While we’re in the business of saying thank you, I could list some things from my day, for which I am thankful to God:
- An afternoon nap when I needed it
- Chocolate that my brother left in the fridge
- An easy-reading book
- Quiet companions to read with tonight
- Some final duties completed for the year
- A good-morning pat, for the Stella the cat, on the outside mat
- Work companions, including a lovely catchup with one not seen for a while
- Purple flowers everywhere
- Friends to pray with
- A roof over my head
Tonight, while reading with the youngest before he was tucked in and wished a good night, we read these words, spoken from a mountain by Jesus, to his disciples and a great crowd of people:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’ (Matthew Chapter 5)
As I left the youngest child’s bedroom, turned out the light, and said goodnight, I heard him quietly say from his bed, ‘God bless!’.
God has blessed me, indeed!