She also spent a great deal of time bemoaning her boys’ many problems which ranged from stealing money to setting fires. It never crossed her mind that in tearing down their father, she contributed to their destructive behavior.   

I was a newlywed when I worked with this woman and had no children of my own, but her example was a strong one.  Because of her and her boys, I’ve made a conscious effort to praise my husband and various male friends in front of my son.  

But there are so many other ways to tear your house down.  Often we women do this by tearing ourselves down.  My own personal issue is guilt paired with reluctance to let things go.  The worst cases always involve waste – wasted money in particular. You’d think I was a child of the Depression.

I was at my worst after I bought the amazing, and amazingly expensive, apple peeler-corer-slicer- oh-my-gosh-glorious-gizmo that my sisters-in-law had raved about.  Fast.  Efficient.  It made baking pies a snap.  More than apple slices, I ended up with apple mush and, between set up and operation, it took forever.  I could just as quickly quarter, core, peel and Cuisinart the silly things.

But I had spent so much on that gizmo.  I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it.  Every time I opened the kitchen drawer and saw it, I’d experience a fresh wave of guilt.  Why couldn’t I get it to work?  

Then I realized that this situation wasn’t just affecting me, but my entire household.  Whenever I’d try to use the wretched thing, I’d end up snapping and snarling.  My son, who loves to cook with me, would get just as frustrated. If I wasn’t destroying my house, I was at least wreaking havoc. Cooking together was supposed to be fun. My guilt and frustration were destroying that.  I bundled the whole contraption up and dropped it in a box for the church rummage sale.  

Do I miss it?  Nope.  I gave its space to an immersion blender that I can actually use.  My son and I have been making soups, dreamsickle shakes, and yogurt banana smoothies.   Not that we’ve given up on apples.  We just use the tools at hand to build kitchen memories together.  

Brick by Brick

Help me be the wise woman,
the woman who builds her home
brick by brick,
memory by memory.
Help me to realize 
when I am tearing down 
these carefully constructed walls
with harsh words or
harmful habits.
With Your help,
I can love myself
as You love me.
With Your help,
I can look at my mistakes
and then work beyond them.
I can hold my head high.
I can take this self-respect 
and this strength 
and use it as You would,
brick by brick.



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