Nine years ago today was the day my oldest son was born. But before I share a recipe for black bean and quinoa tacos, one of his favorite dinners, will you let me share what’s been bouncing around in this busy mind of mine? If you’ve ever had children, you know how much my life changed that day.
Suddenly I was responsible for someone besides myself. And I felt very ill-equipped for the task. I remember realizing that we only had about 18 years to teach him everything he needs to know. Now we’re half way there…but I don’t feel half way done.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the details and responsibilities of life. The things that seem like they have to be done. The social functions that seem like they can’t be missed. The academic subjects they have to master. But often making the choice to focus on the things that don’t have to be done (e.g., reading another story, listening to another big tale of make believe adventure, pretending to be a mama tiger again, staying home so we can talk and laugh and play…you get the idea…) brings the greatest joy and fulfillment.
In nine years I’ve spent a larger balance of my time on the “have-tos” than I would like to admit. Something I read a while back really made me think about my priorities and has served as a good reminder for me in the midst of the daily drudgery to pull myself out of the “have-tos” and spend some therapeutic time on the “need-tos.” In “Numbering My Days,” Pam Forster of the Doorposts company reflects on turning 60, noting how important it is to make each day count. She made a simple checklist showing a check box for each day of a year for the next 20 years. They all fit on 5 pages. That seems overwhelmingly insignificant, doesn’t it?
Now of course sitting around checking off every day would be a bit obsessive, but it provides a very clear picture of the brevity of a lifetime (specifically the period of a lifetime spent with a child) and of the importance of each day. How much time did I spend listening to him today? How much time did I spend hugging him today? How much time did I spend laughing with him today? How much time did I spend teaching him what is eternally important today?
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
~ Psalm 90:12.
Some days it feels impossible to accomplish the “have-tos” while tending to the “need-tos.” But as with most things in this life, we are given the choice. And the thing is…the “have-tos” always seem to get done, sometimes more easily, even when tending to the “need-tos.” So how will I use each day? The following words hang in our schoolroom as a constant reminder for us to live each day well.
If you’re the type of person who likes visual reminders, consider this free printable a little gift for you in honor of my little guy’s big day. Print it. Share it. Pin it. Live each day with a purpose to leave something good behind you!
And now…before you get tired of reading and move on…here’s that recipe I promised you. It’s perfect for those days you need something on the table quickly because you’ve spent too much time outside playing :). If you haven’t planned ahead and don’t have cooked beans, take the day off from being on top of everything and use 3-4 cans of black beans instead. I serve these with fresh tomatillo sauce, pico de gallo, and guacamole (recipes coming soon…).
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 Anaheim chili pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups quinoa, prepared
- 6-8 cups black beans, prepared and drained
- 1½ tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- juice of ½ lime
- ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
- Prepare quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water + ½ tsp salt; cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes).
- Water saute onions, peppers, and garlic.
- Add remaining ingredients and warm through.
- Serve with corn tortillas and toppings of your choice (we like fresh tomatillo sauce, pico de gallo, and guacamole!).