Clean my plate

Growing up one of the things we always had to do was clean our plates.  We had a very long bar in the kitchen that the 4 kids and mom and dad sat at.  And, we literally had to sit there until everything was eaten on our plates – even if we didn’t like it.  There were things each of us didn’t particularly care for — mine would have been liver and onions (double yuck) and cherries.  I remember one of my brothers having to sit there literally most of a day because he wouldn’t eat something.  I can still remember the meals around that table and swapping of food with each other when we could.  I can still smell the roast with gravy and shoe string fries that we made into hot roast beef sandwiches on Sundays.  My mothers very sweet tea (I think she sent her recipe down from Heaven to McDonalds).  Texas sheet cake, her homemade peanut butter candy mixed by hand, chili, mashed potato soup, grilled cheese with Cellone’s bread and longhorn cheese, homemade mac-n-cheese always served with baked beans, tuna noodle casserole.  I remember when visitors came for meals, she expected them to try everything and also clean their plates – Jim got initiated in early with this rule and her tuna noodle casserole.  My desk is my Grandma Frazee’s kitchen table and oh the memories of doing crafts and having tea with lots of sugar in milk that run over into a little green bowl (that I have since found and bought on ebay).  We cleaned our plate there too  – I even remember cow tongue being on the menu on occasion… I never did have to eat her raw oysters though (guess she was a little more forgiving on eating foods I didn’t like – thank goodness!)

As I have grown older and have a family of our own.  Many things are different, but some are the same….

Few meals happen around our kitchen table (sad but true), but love when we sit around the table (like tonight) and just laugh and enjoy each others company.  Granted, the conversation topic has really decreased with home/cyber schooling because our contacts with the outside world ihas shrunk.

The meals together have become a phone free zone – except if we are in a restaurant and Sam needs distractions to prevent melt downs he has my Kindle.   It is easy to physically there together, but more important to be emotionally there.

I do fix most meals from scratch except for the occasional box of mac-n-cheese which may be once a month with hamburgers.  But, many meals don’t happen at home, they happen on the run. So what kind of memories am I leaving with my children.

I can’t really use the excuse of having games and practices to get too – although Mary’s dance would have once been an excuse.  I do work 4 out of 3 evenings a week – but that could leave 3 sacred days that we gather.  We just always seem to be busy, but really it is about not making it a priority…

About priorities and cleaning my plate.  I can learn a lot and apply to life. My time should truly reflect my priorities… If I say..

  • My spiritual walk with Christ is a priority, then I should spend time with him.
  • My husband is a priority then I should be making time to invest in our marriage
  • My children are a priority then I should be making memories with them
  • My family (parents and grandparents) then I should make time for them

But here is what has happened… my PLATE has become too full!

Work, Saying yes to more commitments, Lack of organization costing me time, Computer time that I could spend with family.  Instead of cleaning my plate, I just try to make the daily plate of 24-hours get bigger so I can fit more stuff.  My to-do list would cover it in just one serving…


1. Don’t put things on it that I don’t like – unless I have to (like doing taxes) –  now that I am grown up, I don’t have to “eat” the things I don’t like, but find myself often enduring those things for a variety of reasons – not wanting to say no, feeling I need to be the one always adjusting things for others.

2. Remember portion control – I can put things on my plate but they need to be in portion of priority… I need to have big servings of God, family, and less of social media

3. Make room for dessert – the special time with the special people in my life

4. Keep my plate clean by keeping things off of it that are not necessary – say no to more and yes to only the things that matter.

5. Second helpings are permissible only of the things that matter to me.

I get so envious of people who figure out ways to have “ME” time or seem to have their life schedule in perfect harmony (although if I looked behind closed doors they may suffer to) – but it is just about portion sizes of my priorities, second helpings of only the things I love, and always room for dessert (making memories).

Unfortunately, it is often only through trials or troubles that I really pause to examine what is on my plate.  My prayer is that this does not have to keep happening.  Instead, I want to clean my plate and fill it with the things/people that truly feed my soul, so when I go through a trial / trouble, I am nourished and not full of regret of the things I wish I would have placed on my plate!

 And I figured out that the reason I couldn’t get through the day as well as I can now is because I had too many things on my mind, on my plate, you know, for one person to have. So I started to eliminate some of the things that were too heavy to carry and unnecessary.Erykah Badu


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