Remember in Pixar's Up when Russell warmly recalled times of sitting on the ice cream shop curb with his mom? He said, "That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember most." This month I've found that the kids and I made some incredible memories, but we didn't go out of town or do anything particularly special. Our mundane was just really magical. And as Paul Tripp has said, it's those 10,000 small decisions that shape our entire lives. So I'm really grateful for all the tiny moments this month...with my kids, my husband, my friends. As the young folk say, mundanity is lit! (Just kidding; saying "lit" is so 2015.)
Stephen and I used the Usborne Big Book of Things to Draw (which I bought used for $3.79 ) to try our hand at drawing some cartoon characters. I think we each experienced the same level of excitement, challenge, and self-satisfaction by the end of it! (I have a 5-year-old skill level when it comes to art, puzzles, and many other things.)
This month we started again with homeschool, and it's been good! I decided that I need to do something simple to keep me organized (I googled "homeschool planning when you're an ENFP"), so we do. I know the subjects we're doing, so I have a list of hands-on ways to tackle some of them, and some literature-oriented ways to tackle the others. We just do the next thing each day. No written schedule or lengthy prepwork, but plenty of learning and fun. It works for us at this age and I love it.
What I Learned
I was getting to a place where I was losing patience with my kids and really struggling to enjoy them like I had in times past. I finally asked my sisters in my community group to pray for me, which I really didn't want to do; in my pride I want everyone to think that I'm just so great at motherhood and I always love it so much...but you can ask my kids and, sadly, they could tell you that Mommy's patience-fuse has shrunk. Anyway, my friends prayed for me and all of a sudden I found myself loving motherhood again and enjoying my kids greatly. That's not the first time I've seen much healing come from confession and prayer; James 5:16 is the real deal!
The solar eclipse was awesome! We weren't anywhere near the path of totality but still enjoyed looking at the sun with welding helmets! Someone named Luke Walker tweeted something I haven't been able to stop thinking about: "The sun will burn your eyes out from a distance of 92 million miles and do you expect to casually stroll into the presence of its Maker?" What a sobering and important reminder of the holiness of God.
Stuff I Enjoyed:
Soap Box Races! Oh my goodness. Soap box races. My husband is an extreme-sports junkie, so we are already very familiar with the RedBull.tv, but the soap box races are the best. They're a hilarious combination of creativity, lightheartedness, and non-dangerous but spectacularly destructive crashes. Plus the announcers are British, which makes everything so much better. We are almost certainly going to try to enter the race next year. You've got to watch them. It's all free to watch, and aside from a handful of inappropriately-themed soap boxes, it's completely family-friendly.
The kids and I finally finished The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, which is a whopping 339 pages! Jennifer Trafton is an extremely creative author and she writes with whimsical originality, silliness, and depth that's a rare gem these days. Plus, there was a masterful illustration by Brett Helquist (of A Series of Unforunate Events fame) in every chapter, so though reading this novel taught my kids to sit still and listen, the pictures sure helped.
I've been listening to Audrey Assad's album Inheritance a lot---and it's absolutely beautiful---but I also really benefited from listening to this talk she gave in 2015 about her past struggle with pornography. It's really helpful if that's something you've battled or if you're raising kids or just if you're a human being, because it's truly an epidemic (not just for men) and there are a lot of unhelpful ways to address it. Her talk was filled with honesty, humor, and hope.
This month I read John and Acts (I'm trying to finish the Bible by November, the two-year mark of my attempt) and I was really struck by John 13:16-17, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." How could I ever think I'm more entitled to a comfortable and pain-free life than my Savior, who washed the feet of those who would betray and deny Him and was crucified for those who hated Him!? But this servant-King Jesus did not mope around the earth wearily; He was the happiest person to ever walk the planet. And He says "blessed [happy] are you" if we imitate His ways of love, self-sacrifice, and worship. So, even for the sake of my own happiness, I want to grow tremendously in my humility and others-centeredness.
Stuff I Made and Wrote:
How to Play Pretend with Bunk Beds (or Anywhere), Part 1
The Ugly Trend of "Bible Journaling"
Why Do Cousins Get Along? (Thoughts On My Flimsy Love for Other Christians)
Cute Kids Quote Translation Guide
My mom and aunt traveled to Europe and I wrote a devotional that attempted to correspond with what they were doing each day, so if you happen to be taking a week-long tour to Paris and London, let me know and I can send you the PDF 😃
I made a doable menu planner with popsicle sticks and Velcro. It's perfect since I don't like planning ahead, need a little bit of structure, and crave flexibility. I have popsicle sticks with my other meals in a cup nearby. That way I can remember what I actually know how to cook, ha!
Whelp, that was my month! Here are some final pics of our family! I really need to start using my real camera more, because the iPhone pics just aren't cutting it ;) I hope you have a wonderful September!
Also, here's a helpful article about The Only Spiritual Gifts Test You'll Ever Need from The Blazing Center.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today