Category Archives: Musings on Life and Beauty

Free at last!

Some mothers dread having their children out of school for the summer.

Not this one.
I didn’t want to send them back after spring break.

Yesterday was our last day of school, and let me just tell you how good it feels to be done.

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I realize that it means lots of noise all day long and nonstop trips to the kitchen for something to eat.
(But, you see, with 3 preschoolers and a kindergartener, I already have that every day.)

What makes me jump for joy is that now I am free to do what is best for US, not what is best for someone else’s schedule, priorities, and so forth.

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Sure, summer brings its own brand of busyness, but it’s the kind that allows us to do what meets our needs, and let everything else go.  It means my little ones can nap until they wake up, not until it’s time to get in the car and pick someone up from somewhere.

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It means I can quit accumulating hundreds of new freckles on the left side of my face simply by not being in the car for several hours every afternoon!

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It means we can read until the book ends, play until it’s dark outside, work until the job is done, and generally experience good, old-fashioned childhood for a while.

Worth celebrating?   YES!!!!

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And let me tell you, as happy as the kids are, THE MOM IS EVEN HAPPIER!

(P.S. My daughter is wearing a skort, so any questionable views are of the shorts underneath, nothing more.  Just so ya know.)

Gratitude: good for the soul

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  -G.K. Chesterton

I love that quote.  It’s one of my favorites.
Earlier this week I was feeling a little bit tired, frustrated, and to be very honest, sorry for myself.
I realized that I needed to move to a higher plane of thought, to remind myself that it’s not about me.

So I sat down and wrote some letters of gratitude to people who have blessed my life lately.

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It felt good.   In fact, it was a great cure for the way I was feeling.
It reminded me once again that the choice to be grateful is a powerful one.
It changes our lives because it changes us.
And that’s really all that we can control.

So today, find something or someone to be grateful for and no matter how busy you are, do something about it.  Enjoy the lift that will follow your efforts.

Happy day to you!

Decisions

If there’s one thing I didn’t anticipate about parenting, it is all the decisions that need to be made.
I didn’t foresee how difficult it would be to choose which activities to involve my children in,
how much to push them, how to maintain a balanced life for each of them individually and somehow find a balanced lifestyle for the family as a whole.

This week would be the week of decisions.
It doesn’t help that most of the year is decided in May, when you’re most exhausted and least able to really perceive how things will work out.

Gymnastics.  Soccer.  Piano lessons.
Scouts.  Church activities.  Swimming lessons.

What about time with friends?  Time to ride your bike?  Time to read a book?
What about time to work around the house?  Homework?  Time to go on an outing with Dad?
What about time for good, old-fashioned childhood?

You want them to develop their talents, to give them opportunities to stretch and find new strength deep inside them.  But you don’t want it to come with a price tag that ends up being too high.  You don’t want to burn them out or have them gone so much that you lose your opportunities to just be a family.

I have an old friend whose least favorite words are “missed opportunity”.  She makes many decisions with the assistance of these words.  As a mother, though, I’ve learned that every thing we choose to do means there are many other things we’re choosing NOT to do.  It’s important to grab opportunities when they come, but if we grab too many of them, we miss the opportunity to live a balanced life, or we miss the opportunity to gather at the kitchen table for family dinner (the studies regarding the importance of family dinner are amazing!).  So I guess my own question isn’t so much about whether this choice will turn out to be a missed opportunity as much as whether it is the RIGHT opportunity at the RIGHT time.  And you hope so much it will be a positive experience.

This is what you want to see.

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My husband took this picture on his phone at my daughter’s last gymnastics meet of the season.
She looks so happy, and so at home.  My eyes tear up a little because I’m so grateful it turned out to be such a great experience for her.

You hope your decisions feed them, make them happy in the true sense of the word.  You hope they will feel a sense of accomplishment because they’ve invested so much.

So with a deep breath and a prayer in my heart, we push forward with our choices for next year.
And oh, how I hope it will all work out!  Through the grace of God, I know it can.

Jennifer

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