#1: Make a List

A few months ago, I was writing daily to-do lists with my four-year-old daughter. (#1 on my list: Make list with Evelyn.) “Okay, Mommy. One, play with play dough. Two, make a fairy house outside. Three, call Nonny. Four, watch Curious George. Five, read Angelina. Six, walk to Steve Park. Seven, wash my bike.”

I reminded her that she would also take a nap, put the silverware away, match the socks, and play with her brother, Judah. Was everything ever crossed off her list? Not my daughter.
After all, I’m her role model. My daily lists often look like they’re weekly, even though I intentionally leave things off. So many ideas, millions of joys, countless ways to join in the work of God’s kingdom . . . and only 24 hours.

Usually I can manage these tensions on my own, but then I get to reading (#4 on my list and, probably, one of the more dangerous activities in which I participate).

One day, picking up a book about children’s literature, I read: “The housework can wait. The dishes can wait. Read to your children.” I wanted to ask the person who wrote that little quip, “For what, exactly, can the dishes wait?” Could they wait for the maid to start her shift? For my kids to grow up so they can do the dishes? For me to do them at 10 p.m. after the children are in bed, the time I normally enjoy devoting to #5, R&R (watching Call the Midwife on Netflix), all the while resenting my precious gifts of God while I scrub rubbery mac and cheese from a saucepan? (Mental list additions: #5: Read more to Evelyn and Judah; #6: Scour saucepan.)

#2: Feel Guilty

I was so frustrated—and, yes, guilted—by this “dangerous” reading I’d been up to ...

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