Tag Archives: family life

all those little things… making a big difference

26 Aug

Waking early this morning, as I stepped out of our bedroom, I noticed we had failed to close the front door before we had gone to bed.  The view through the screen was breath taking… it was the “breaking of the dawn” – beautiful!

Today, what’s left of it, is Friday.  The end of our first week of school.  I don’t know if I have ever had the first week go so well.

At times I wonder: Why do I choose to get up early? Does the exercise routine really make a difference? Am I being transformed by reading God’s Word and seeking the Lord? Am I making more work than is necessary by serving a good solid breakfast early in the morning so we can all eat together?

As I considered the last few days, I knew the answer to my questions.  So many details all came together.  From menu planning,  the kid’s morning chores, to the children’s  self discipline  learned through the early years  – all played an important role in helping the days to run smoothly. It was worth the laborious process to develop these systems and habits.

Soaking in the fresh morning air, I was thankful for the week and thankful that all of those little things we have worked toward over the years have added up to so much!


work together and play together

17 Jun

When summer time comes, I am just as ready to be outside as the kids are.  I want to garden, go for walks, read a book, maybe play a little tennis or go for a swim.  If I’m not deliberate, I will let all of the work of being a wife and mom (which I love) crowd out the play.

Throughout the morning, the kids and I accomplish much. We clean bathrooms, water gardens, bake bread, move laundry, – this week we cleaned the basement… There is never, ever a lack of work to be done! Sometimes we move in teams and other times individually, but we all work.

Why do I make the kids work?  (I say make, because it is something they have to learn, it is not their natural tendency.)

1. They don’t get bored.

2. They learn how to do sooo…  many skills.

3. They learn to set a goal and accomplish it.

4. They sleep better at night.

5. They learn to work together and make it fun.

6. They build strong healthy muscles.

7. They learn to serve others.

8. They become less self focused.

9. They have a greater appreciation of their free time.

10. Many hands make light work!

Even if there isn’t anything I need done, I will look for something for them to put their hands to and conquer.

At lunch time, it all comes to an end and we take some time to shift gears. After a quiet time of reading, resting,or looking at books, it is time to play.  This is the time when the kids ask me if they can do something… or if I will do it with them…  I make a point to say, “Yes!”  “Yes, I will go swimming with you! Yes, we can go for a hike.”  I want to have fun with my kids!

Why do I make myself play?  (I say make, because it is no longer my natural tendency to take time to play.)

1. I don’t get bored.

2. I learn new skills.

3. I sleep better at night.

4. I serve my kids.

5. I learn to play together with them.

6. I become less task focused.

7. I have a better appreciation of what they like to do.

8. I want the kids to know I love to be with them.

9. I am interested in what they’re interested in.

10. I will gain strong healthy muscles.

The summer flies by quickly.  Take time to be deliberate.  Work together. Play together.

getting dirty was OK, Heidi T.

11 Jun

“My curfew was lightning bugs. Mom didn’t call my cell, she yelled my name. I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn’t eat what my mom cooked, then I didn’t eat. Sanitizer didn’t exist, but you COULD get your mouth washed out with soap. I rode a bike without a helmet, getting dirty was ok, and neighbors cared as much as your parents did. Re-post if you drank water from a garden hose and survived.”


We saw this on facebook and wanted to share it with our not without aim friends.  I love the  life philosophy portrayed in this quote – the joys of simple pleasures.

Lessons in Grace with “Great Aunt” (part 6)

23 May

life;  so precious…  so fragile…  so rich

It had started off as a typical Friday evening. As a family, we were enjoying a movie and popcorn while counting down hours until our ninth baby was officially due.  Great Aunt had settled into her own area and the house was relatively quiet.  Yet, in the stillness of the cold winter night, Mark’s breathing became labored.  I had become accustomed to his asthma and tended to him in all of the ways I had learned. Nothing worked.

The ambulance arrived and took Mark away as the children looked on.

Within minutes I gave the children instructions, made arrangements, and left.  Arriving at the emergency room, I soon learned that Mark had stopped breathing altogether in the ambulance.  Able to revive him, they were attempting to stabilize his breathing.  They gave me little hope.

I cried out to God.

Mark’s parents came. They prayed. They supported. They were a blessing to me.

Over time, … I was allowed in to see Mark.  With help, much help, he was not only breathing, but being cared for by one of my most trusted medical friends.  He had her full attention.  I was so thankful for her calm presence and her encouragement for me to stay close to Mark.  She visibly saw his breathing improve with my physical touch.

The nurses began to notice me and my tummy, although baby had hunkered down, I still was rather round.  They worried and fretted, but God gave me strength and sustained me.

The next day, Mark was moved to a regular room to be monitored.  On the third day, Sunday, he was able to come home.  Great Aunt and the children watched as we drove up.

Life; so precious, so fragile, so rich.

After 3 days of rest, contractions began again, our son was born.  He came in the quietness of the night, before the midwife arrived.  No hospitals or doctors. No medications or bright lights.  Within a couple hours, Mark had the pleasure of delivering our healthy baby boy.

God answered our prayers.

Through our ups and downs, our joys and our sorrows, Great Aunt lived.

– all without being told?

4 May

One of the benefits of spending a little time away is the fresh perspective gained upon arriving home.  The kids all looked happy and healthy, the yard was lush with new growth, and the house looked beautiful!  I love coming home!

As usual, the children had been conscientious  in achieving order before we arrived.  Yet, within minutes, the order began to dwindle.  A sweater draped over a chair, water glasses with the remains of muddy hands left in various places, tennis rackets, balls,  crayons, papers, shoes… Things were taken out, yet nothing put away.  Disorder emerged so quickly!

I suddenly realized how lackadaisical I had become in this area. Letting my expectations drop, little by little, poor habits settled in.

So, what are my expectations?

I expect –

– the children to put their things away when they are done.

– beds made in the morning and a tidy room in the evening.

– them to take responsibility completing their daily chores.

– a respectful answer when spoken to.

– all without being told [this is a high standard but worth working towards] :)

Should children be held accountable when these expectations are not met? Yes, if they are based on a prior mutual understanding and agreement! First, I need to ask myself, “What kind of an example am I setting? How am I following through?” As the children grow,  self-discipline will be required, so while still a child, it is my passion as a parent to prepare them well.  Instilling in them the joy of industriously pursuing excellence comes through working together, supporting, and challenging each other.  Trying, failing, and trying again.

Throughout a child’s life, what is expected of him will grow and change. A few key concepts to help this transition go as smoothly as possible are taken from a previous post: A Room Full of Life and Adventure.

1) Give the child a clear understanding of what is expected.

2) Walk through the process with him ahead of time. (practice, practice, practice)

3) Have a clear understanding with the child of appropriate, meaningful consequences.

4) Calmly follow through with the plan and be consistent!

Taking the risk of being an irritant, once again, I am pulling in the reigns.  The standard is being raised.  There is no need to repeat myself, or become a nag, I am determined to simply follow through and be consistent.

the grass beneath my feet…

22 Mar

Why is it, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence? It is a constant temptation to compare ourselves or our situation to another’s, feeling like we don’t measure up- or, just as wrong,  imposing our situation on another, insisting they should do as we do.

Where am I going with this…?  Yesterday, as a family we got to travel with Grandpa and Grandma into the city, have a picnic, tour an art museum, learn from Grandma’s insights on many of the artists. We enjoyed going through tunnels, watching people, seeing the variety of architecture… and simply being together! Today I asked Grandpa to read a story to us on obedience. He helped us plant a bit more of the garden. I wish they could stay forever, but they will return home tomorrow.

I love to see my kids – love to learn [In fact, it is one of our highest priorities in teaching]. It is so easy for me to get stuck in a routine – and yes, routines are good, I thrive on routine, but often when the routines are broken, some of the most creative unexpected learning happens!

Sometimes I am tempted to think our days should be more structured (like someone else I know), or I should increase the academic challenges (like a friend of mine does), or maybe I am pushing too hard…  No!!! I want to embrace the present situation, joyfully being thankful for my unique opportunities, while making the most of every moment. Contentment is much like blooming where we’ve been planted, rather than “on the other side of the fence”- where the grass is not always, after all, greener.