A dear old friend whom I greatly respect recently had the honor of being published! I'm thrilled for her and admire her even more. Besides homeschooling, gardening, and turing that garden into a small biz farm, she also finds time to write?!?! Her intriguing and inspiring, if a bit bitter when swallowing, article is here at her blog, adorably named katyhadalittlefarm.com.
I read it and loved it and was pained by it and processed it and now offer these thoughts for anyone who can relate. I started to actually post on Facebook (which should explain the quirky letter-to-a-friend-like beginning of my reply to her), but as the length grew, I questioned the propriety of that. Why not blog? It was, afterall, a blog to which I was responding. I haven't in too long anyway. With no further ado, my reply:
So, I'm just going to bravely have this convo right here [on Facebook, which I didn't, so it's safe to say I'm not that brave]. First, you have a blog?! How did I miss that? And you are published? YAY!!! Will def have to check out some other posts soon! FYI: I couldn't access the article through FB - said it was restricted - but I went online to read. And I agree - real food is worth it. And I am convicted.
However, I also know this: real food isn't the single most important issue facing me as a parent, though it is at the top of my list. Showing them Jesus is first and foremost and I am heavily convicted at my failures in that area as well. (But more about that later.)
With that said, here I go...I have been where you are, at home, gardening, emphasizing good foods, making health high priority. Now I am working outside the home, along with my man, who works more-than-full-time, while also going to school full-time and building our new home. We are at our current home, on average, less than 3-4 hours a day, other than sleeping. We have been eating TERRIBLE! We still try but I now know how real the real food struggle is for two-working-parent homes. When I stayed home I was working - yes! But my work was focused on the home and my family and good foods and household order and...now we just survive. And my kids ask for, and I quote, "real food." My youngest literally asked for "fruits and veggies" when I recently offered something else - chili - which was also homemade but not the raw stuff her body was craving. And I am both grateful that I have instilled that in her and heartbroken that she actually had to ask.
I still pack their lunches - one decent meal they are guaranteed a day - because the school food is hardly food. (I think you would be surprised how many people agree with you there.) And kids often ask my girls what they are eating and mock their lunches and I have to encourage them to be strong and not stop eating almond butter or [inserted whole food] just because their friends say it looks like "poop."
I get both sides of the issue. Both struggles are real. Real food is worth it. To a point. Until you start to loose your sanity because there isn't enough time and you are down to 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night consistently - and you need 8. And you start screaming at your kids. And you wonder how you can fulfill priority #1 (Jesus with skin) if priority #2 (or 3 or 4) makes you act demon-possessed.
We try. We fail. We try again. And we come alongside each other in this REAL real food struggle and nod and say, "I know this is hard, but we do all we can and pray God will cover the rest." I am learning His love covers a multitude of mistakes. And that includes my bad food choices. Not that His grace is a reason to sin and eat poorly, but I certainly know He forgives me when I can't get a square meal on the table and He even blesses my efforts to provide the best food I can.
This season too shall pass. And someday I hope to say, "Jaimee has a little farm," and be able to share some edible gold with others who are in a crazy season, wanting better for their kids and themselves but are at the end of their rope and unable to give it.
Until then, coddle me a little and please don't slap me when I fail because, believe me, I do enough of that to myself. If I'm not hanging my head in shame over the rotten supper we ate, then it's hung because I short-circuited on my child while I was chopping those veggies to roast, while stirring the pot on the stove, while knocking over the coffee I made for myself to get through the evening but never even took a sip because I was too busy helping my oldest with her homework.
So very grateful I have a Savior who promises to be the lifter of my head. And promises it ALL works together for my good. Possibly this bumpy path to better berries is creating a little compassion within me, even if we eat a little corn protein and cellulose gel along the way.