What a month mingled with joy and difficulty!
-This month the kids have grown deeply in their tender affection towards each other. Stephen (age 5) started offering to put Piper (age 3) down for her naps and she gladly obliges. He’ll put his hands on his knees and tell her, “Okay, Princess, let’s go take your nap!” and then he carries her…this is a completely hilarious sight given that he’s only a few inches and pounds bigger than she is. But she holds on tight! Once he puts her in her bed, he reads a story to her (or tells her a story from his imagination!) and helps her go to sleep.
I see this kindness take root in Piper as well she deals with her younger sister. When Evangeline (age 1.5) is upset, a hug from Piper is often the only thing that can soothe her. And they hug for a long time. Yesterday Evey didn’t want to go to sleep, but I heard Piper whisper to her, “Mommy and Daddy love you and I love you. And you know what? Tomorrow we are going to do something really fun. But you have to go to sleep.” And then she sang her a song.
God has just been so gracious to me in giving me these little people. Watching them grow in love and obedience is one of the biggest privileges of my whole life.
-May 22nd marked six years of marriage for Peter and I! So far some anniversaries have been a joyous toast of “Here’s to a hundred more!” and some years have us say, “Whelp, that was hard, but God has held us!” and this year was definitely one of the latter, but of course we’re grateful for the past and hopeful about the future. #TDDUP (Till Death Do Us Part!)
-To celebrate our anniversary, we went to Orlando and saw Peter’s favorite band, Citizens & Saints, along with The Sing Team and King’s Kaleidoscope. We’ve been major fans for three years and we have waited ever so patiently for the Seattle-based band to come to the east coast. So I practically fell over when I saw that they were coming to Orlando and I immediately snagged VIP tickets. Peter was such a fanboy talking to the band; it was equal parts cute and embarassing. But it was a really worshipful experience and I loved screaming out lyrics such as “I’m His kid no matter what I’m feeling!” or “Our hope is Jesus and His blood never fails!”
-My whole life I have dreamed of going to the annual Florida homeschool convention, and last weekend I finally did it! (And yes, it was everything I hoped it would be!) I learned a ton from various workshops, I got sick deals on educational gear in the exhibition hall, I had some great conversations with some experienced homeschool moms I know and admire, and I enjoyed sweet times of prayer and planning for the future. Little retreats like that are so helpful, and I’m more convinced than ever that homeschooling is right for our family. Thanks, Peter, for sending me!
-Oh and I had the privilege of attending my friend’s birth! It was amazing! I wrote more about that here.
-There are some other exciting things in the works that I’ll share more about later!
What I Learned:
-It doesn’t matter what I know or what I can do…if I don’t have love, I’m wrong. (See 1 Corinthians 13:2.) That’s a really humbling lesson to learn, but I’m seeing it to be true over and over again. If I lack love, it doesn’t matter what I’ve gotten right because I’ve missed the heart of God. And there is no doubt that a loving life is the happiest way to live. John 15 tells me Jesus cares a lot about my joy: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Then in the next two verses he says “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus was the happiest person to walk on this planet, so He knows the key to joy: love God and love others. I would do well to listen to Him.
-I came to the homeschool convention hoping to choose curricula and nail down a plan to make my son learn to read…that's been such a stressful aspect of his education that we both have begun to dread homeschool. But a huge takeaway from the convention is that meeting everyone else’s standards for my kids’ academic achievements is not the point of homeschooling. My real goals in their education is that they’ll love learning, that they’ll crave adventure, that they’ll value people, that they’ll know their Maker. If forcing my kid to learn to read while he’s five years old is going to get in the way of the far more important things, I need to question why I would prioritize that expectation. So guess how much curriculum I bought? Zero. But I bought really enriching and enjoyable books, audiobooks, guides, art supplies, and games! And when I step back and look at homeschooling with that perspective, we're getting a lot of learning done.
-I discovered a free app called Moment that tracks how much time I spend on my iPhone each day. It’s startling and really helping me feel motivated to pick up my phone less. It even tells me how much of my waking life I spend on my phone…very, very humbling.
-“The Movie Date That Solidified J.R.R. Tolkien’s Dislike of Walt Disney” is a really interesting article by Eric Grundhauser that gives us a glimpse into a time when Tolkien and Lewis went to the movies together to see Snow White! #DwarfDrama
-This month I loved listening to Andrew Peterson’s older album Resurrection Letters Vol. 2, especially the song “All You’ll Ever Need,” which is full of metaphors from 1 and 2 Kings (of all places!) that show the ever-flowing wholeness and healing that comes from the blood of Jesus.
-"Car Lip Sync Battle" by Studio C just really tickled my funnybone. I might be joining the crowd of a million Mormon middle schoolers who are obsessed with Studio C, but who cares. Clean comedy is much appreciated.
-The melodic and somber “Psalm 42 (Satisfied in You)” by The Sing Team has some incredibly rich lyrics that have been so precious to me: “Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about your faithfulness//Let my pain reveal Your glory as my only real rest//Let my losses show me all I truly have is You.”
Several months ago I was in a lot of emotional pain and I didn’t know why God hadn’t relieved me from the suffering yet, but a word that I felt like He gave me was “necessary.” It’s from 1 Peter 1:6, which says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” God didn’t even spare His own Son from me, so He’s certainly not going to start withholding good from me now! So when I find my heart saying “How long, O Lord?” or even just “Why!?” I feel deeply comforted that God’s love for me has not fallen short, but because of His love for me He is weaving a better story than whatever I would contrive.
Stuff I Wrote:
When God Is Silent
A Tribute to My Mom
Our Obsession With "She"
3 Reasons Watching Friends Give Birth Shouldn't Be Weird
Here are some pictures!
Me: What are you painting?
Piper: It's a Maze of Darkness. It's the only design I know how to do.
Sigh. This girl. So much delight.
We have a really cool (but also smelly and gross) beach only twenty minutes away and Stephen goes into full-blown Explorer Mode. It's so good for him.
Peter and I went on a 9-mile kayak ride and forgot sunscreen so...even three weeks later my peeling sunburn reminds me of how much fun we had :) Seriously, check out King's Landing and Wekiwa Springs if you're in the Orlando area. We saw tons of gators, turtles, birds, and some otters...and apparently there have also been sightings of bears and monkeys! #weirdFlorida
We only got to go blueberry picking one time this season :( Since they're only $2/lb, for a few weeks in late April and early May we have a mostly-blueberry diet and as a family tend to consume 28+ pounds a week. But Evey was still quite excited for the blueberries she did get to eat!
So anyway, that's my month! I hope you had a good'n and that June is even fuller of joy and immaterial richness!
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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