Cool days are right around the bend. And yes, the children are ecstatic about it. Elijah was wondering if it’s going to snow now.

Imagine a gigantic pile of coats, jackets and sweatshirts on the basement floor, with children all around and on top of the pile exclaiming over what they used to wear or declaring that the coat, which was too big for last winter, will fit perfectly this year. While we do wear a wide range of colors in dresses and shirts, we try to keep our coats to black, gray or brown.

A tote or box was set out for Daniel, myself and each child. With Julia and Austin’s help, we sorted each person’s clothes into the proper container while Hosanna heaped her container full, convinced she could wear every other sweater. I explained to her that once she’s done, we’ll go through and she can try them on as needed.

Picking up the matching gray coats Jesse and Elijah wore when they were a year old, my mother heart fluttered. Are my babies no longer babies? Tossing it onto Joshua’s pile, I knew with certainty that life is changing. Soon, Joshua was at my side, his big blue eyes looking up into mine and arms out stretched to be held.

Deciding the mountain of coats can wait, I scooped him up and spent some time with him. In the meanwhile, I answered more questions as the children kept sorting. After a bit, Joshua was running around the pile, which was now diminishing in size as Julia and Austin kept tossing them in proper containers.

After the last pieces found its way into an owner’s tote, we were ready to follow Daddy’s advice and pick out only three pieces for each person. That’s one for everyday, another for Sunday, and the remaining one for casual clothes.

This time, we only did jackets or sweaters; as colder weather sets in, I’ll go through the containers, marked with each child’s name and take out coats and more jackets. The only reason for this is, it keeps the entrance emptier for another month or two. Imagine this, only three pieces for each of us totals to 24 articles.

The project for today is going through shoes and boots. I groan, then chuckle as my mind flashes to five-year-old Hosanna, who will undoubtedly be the one who can wear “every other pair” of shoes and flip-flops and leave big sister wondering when she’ll grow up.

Finally, after making so many little decisions and answering countless questions stacked on top of each other, my mind starts spinning. Now, as I write, I wonder, “Why not just enjoy the ride? Who cares if we don’t get through sorting them all this afternoon?”

Not one of the children will grow up remembering how long it took, but about how Mom made them feel as an individual. Bring on the shoes, I’m ready. Now when we have completed the project of each family member having only three sets of shoes or boots, and a pair of flops, we’ll have a grand total of 64 pieces.

Needless to say, I’ve been racking my mind on organization. We have adopted Daniel’s family tradition of the one who has any piece of clothing or shoes out of its place, found by another family member, picks up five items from anywhere in the house. (Yes, both Mom and Dad are included.)

This system has picked up and put away scores of items throughout the house. On the occasions when the children will tell me, “But I can’t find five pieces to put away.” I’ll respond with something like, “Okay, you may put five dishes away.” The goal is, if you leave out your clothes, you’re making extra work for the family, so you also get to help the family, and develop better habits in the meantime.

Still, I reel over the entire organization thing. I wonder what I’m missing. Recently when I was explaining to one of the children what the Bible says about being content with food and clothing, I wondered if perhaps that’s a missing key. If the only things I had to really be concerned about were basic food and raiment how simple would life be?

My mind flashes to the many Haitians, in a land where I visited a number of years ago, living off of rice and beans everyday. No, I’m not quite ready for that yet, but I do stand in awe of its absolute simplicity. I told God that He knows how jam-packed my days really are and that I’ll follow as He takes the lead. I don’t know what those next steps may be, but I am eager to see; I’m always amazed how He brings things together I never imagined possible.

Our family has enjoyed chicken in various ways the past several weeks, and in my opinion, with this recipe ranking among the very top.

Honey Sesame Chicken

• 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs

• 1 cup cornstarch

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1/4 teaspoon pepper

• 3 eggs, beaten

• 1/4 cup oil

Sauce

• 3 /4 cup honey

• 1/2 cup ketchup

• 1/2 cup vinegar

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup soy sauce

• 1 teaspoon sesame oil

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

1. Dip chicken into cornstarch mixed with salt and pepper, then in beaten eggs a piece at a time.

2. Fry each piece in oil until light brown

3. Place in a 9X13 cake pan and pour sauce all over.

4. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

5. Stir several times while baking.

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