I have created an Altar of Inspiration in my kitchen. It includes some of my favorite mementos like a card with the image of Our Lady of Lavender and a prayer card with a photo of Mother Teresa, an orange slice with a heart shape in it, a little pitcher from my trip to Assisi, Italy, a rock from Luccio, orchids from my Dad, a Bamboo shoot for good luck, and a wind chime made by Vincenzo. I have also made it my personal mission for the last week to keep the sink clean so that when I wake up in the morning and see my little altar I can start my day off right.
I first got the idea for my altar when I read the book, "Soul to Soul Parenting" by Annie Burnside. The author talks about ways to inspire spirituality in your family. She explores different ways to bring faith into daily life. One of her suggestions is to get kids involved in collecting special mementos on their travels like rocks from outdoors, receipts from trips, etc. Small tokens of things you love. I liked that idea a lot and I thought I needed something inspiring especially since the winter blahs have really gotten to me. I find it difficult to spend much time cultivating my own spirituality lately. And I feel like I have been craving inspiration to get back to that place of peacefulness. So I started with the card I found at a local gift shop. I was immedialtey drawn to the image of Our Lady of Lavender. It is unique and beautiful and I love the depiction of Mary. When I turned it over to find the artists name I found a website: kenosiskards.com. I checked it out and the artist happens to be a woman who was my co-worker and Spiritual Director for many years!! Such a "God-incidence."
That inspired me to be on the lookout for more inspirational nuggets. The other day when I cut open an orange for snack and I look down, the first slice had some orange flesh still inside and it was in the shapeof a heart! God-incidence for sure!
So my Little Altar was really coming together and looking beautiful. The only problem was I had built it above my kitchen sink. A sink that is perpetually full of dirty dishes. I feel like it is always time for a meal, I barely clean up breakfast dishes and the kids are looking for snacks and then it's lunch time. So the dishes build up fast and furious and if I don't keep up with it after every meal I have a mess to deal with after the kids go to bed. If I don't get to them after bedtime, the morning is awful because waking up to dirty dishes puts me in a grumpy mood and makes everything seem like it takes longer to accomplish.
A good friend of mine understands my clutter and need to organize the chaos. She recommended a website that she found helpful so I checked it out. www.flylady.net is a wonderful resource for people like me who have many gifts and talents but find that housework is not one of them. FlyLady suggests starting with baby steps like cleaning your kitchen sink out. She said before you go to bed at night get that sink cleaned! I took her advice and cannot even believe how wonderful it felt. I cleaned out every last dish, cup, sippy cup stopper and piece of silverware and even stored away the dish drainer. That sink sparkled! I felt great! I went to sleep feeling calm and productive. I woke up feeling even better.
When I walked into my kitchen I was shocked by what a difference the empty sink made! The beautiful Altar above it was able to be seen. I was was amazed when I finished the breakfast mess and found myself immediately putting the dishes into the dishwasher. It took me just a few minutes. This may seem like a little thing to someone who is organized and loves cleaning. But, to me it seemed so profound. I had an extra 20 minutes that morning to sit and have coffee. I saved time by having a clean sink. How is this possible?? I wanted to have that feeling every morning. So each night I have been making the effort to clean out the sink. I am finding each day its easier and easier because I have been keeping up with the dishes during the day. So at night I usually just have to wipe things down. Love it!!
Now I admit it has only been 1 week AND the sink is often the only clean and sparkly thing in the house at the end of the day. But, it's a start. And it gives me more time to clean up the table and counters. Which then gives me more time to throw a load of laundry in the washer. Simple steps.
As I plug away at taming the clutter and keeping up after 3 active toddlers, I like the fact that I can glance at my kitchen sink and find inspiration. My Little Altar holds such great reminders of how much love I have in my life. When the kids are unruly I see Mother Teresa holding a little child or Mary holding Jesus and I am reminded of what a Grace motherhood is. I see the flowers from my Dad or gifts from my boys and I am reminded of Love.
"After all what was more important in the end than Love."