It's been an absolutely gorgeous, sunny, crisp day today! As much of a summer-and-sunshine girl that I am, I still really enjoy fall. Probably, September is my favorite month, which is why Tony and I married in September. We recently celebrated 17 years, which quite frankly, blows my mind. Time is flying....
Life is beautiful....
and I scarcely feel there's time to catch a breath.
This is something that's been on my mind--a lot--especially since Zachy was born. I keep thinking about the passage of time...different times and seasons...including the times and seasons of a human life. We hang onto this life...cling to it with all we've got. Yet, this is just a blink of an eye compared to what lies ahead. Most of the time, things like new wrinkles and gray hair don't bother me. I must admit, however, that I've caught a glimpse of myself occasionally (like in the mirror in the stairwell) and actually caught myself thinking, "WHO is THAT?!" I felt a tinge of glum, and then remembered with a smile that the wrinkles and gray hair are TEMPORARY!! My body is going to continue to show signs of age, faster and faster all the time. I will develop more aches and pains. This too is all temporary, for there is a place being made for me by my Savior who knows me and loves me so well.
Do you, my dear reader, know this Savior? Do you know this One who ensures our futures if we just ask him to? Do you know the One who ensures that our gray hairs, wrinkles, and ailments are temporary? He is the One who knew you before He created the Earth...who made plans--good plans for your life, to prosper you and not to harm you? If you don't yet know this Jesus, I pray you will come to know Him soon; He's been waiting for a relationship with you!
Furthermore, not only does He ensure the prosperity of our futures when we choose to follow and serve Him, but He also sees every secret sacrifice we make. He sees all those little and not-so-little things you do that make you wonder, "Does it even really matter at all?" All those things DO matter if we are doing them to His glory.
The boys and I were talking about this recently. I asked them, "How do we praise God?" They had several wonderful answers, such as, "singing His praise", "reading our Bibles", "memorizing scripture", "helping Mommy and Daddy", and "being kind to others". They were surprised when I also added to their list, "running fast", "riding your bikes", "playing Playmobil together", and "working in your gardens". Whatever we do, if we do it with thanksgiving to the One who works in and through us, we praise God in so doing! He is the one who gave us the blessings we enjoy in nature, our physical bodies, and relationships. He is the one who made us to be able to run, to taste good food, appreciate an amazing sunset, and experience the invigorating fall breezes. Everything good is from Him. It all is to His glory.
"Random Monday" is the title to this post, and wow is it random! Seeing as I began writing this with the main intent of encouraging you all to teach your children how to do household chores, I see it REALLY IS aptly named.
SO...moving right along... Today I experienced a real blessing, a reward, a fruit of labor if you will. So much mothering advice I've received has been about letting your children help you, even when it would be easier to do a task yourself. I've taken this to heart. When little ones clumsily scoot the chair over to the already-crowded kitchen counter while screeching, "Can I be your kitchen helper??!!" I find something for them to do to help, or should I say, to "help". You moms all know why I put quotations around that word! When a little one excitedly asks to scrub the toilet, and I'm thinking, "GROSS! This is going to be a MESS!" I do my best to smile, hand them the brush, and say, "Sure Honey, let me give you a few pointers." (Incidentally, I stand very near the scene to be sure they wash their little paws thoroughly afterward!)
Well, this past year, I've stepped it up in chore training. We've taken time to work with boys step-by-step to accomplish different household tasks the correct way. This fall, we implemented an official "chore time", right after breakfast. This is in addition to their expected tasks like making their beds, etc. I'm talking real housework--the stuff that in the past, Tony or I do or it doesn't get done-stuff. The boys LOVE this time and race to the chore chart to see what they get to do that particular day.
My heart swelled with gratitude last Friday night, when 6-year-old Spunky Cub exclaimed with exceeding joy, "Monday is MY day to clean the upstairs bathroom...and that means I get to use the new bottle of toilet cleaner!!!!!" Tony glanced my way and said, "It really is the little things, isn't it?!" The little boy is looking 3 days in advance to his chance to use the newest bottle of toilet cleaner. Wow.
This morning during daily chore time, I was working in the laundry room (my big focus chore for Mondays.) I went to use the bathroom afterward, and it was sparkling clean (and I didn't clean it!) It's an amazing joy to use a sparkling bathroom that I didn't sparkle! I then walked up the stairs, noticing that they were fluffy and dirt-free (and I didn't vacuum!) I then went into the kitchen, and the floor was swept, the table was scrubbed, the counters were clear and clean, and the dishes were washing (and I did none of the above.)
I feel as though I've arrived, Ladies and Gentlemen!
So, Mamas...get busy! Teach those chillins to pitch in, and in a big way. They will love contributing to the family in this way, you will love how helpful they are, and their future spouses will thank you. It takes work and patience to train those kiddos well, but it is well-worth the effort to help them find enjoyment and fulfillment in the household tasks they'll be doing their whole lives. In my book, it's as important (actually probably more important) than teaching them math, spelling, science, or a multitude of other skills and subjects. Really, only learning to read and study Scripture trumps the chore training.
Let's see...what other randomness do I have going on today? Well we've had the garden harvested for awhile now, except for the carrots. We pulled up about 1/2 of what was left of them today. When we have those eaten, we'll get the rest. I've been learning so much about gardening. The most important of which, is one must have healthy soil. Most of you are shaking your heads and saying, "Well of course...". It's taken me awhile to learn this, however. We'll be doing a big amending this fall, in hopes of a greater harvest next year. We still did ok this year, poor soil and all, but I'm excited of the prospect of rich, fertile soil for next summer.
This year yielded lots of carrots, quite a few (small) potatoes, TOMATOES (thanks to my Aunt Debbie who mailed us some water walls from Kentucky,) lots of Romaine, sugar snap peas, radishes, green onions, yellow zuchinis, and a wee, pathetic, li'l pumpkin. Eaglet and I try every year to grow a nice pumpkin. Every year is pretty much a flop, BUT, we have big plans to try again next spring!
Other randomness for this crazy-long post: We've been having a fun time learning lately. Just studied the Great Fire of London. The boys created the city of London:
And then to really re-enforce learning:
..they set the thing on fire. I LOVE homeschooling!
We've spent a fair amount of time around the fire pit lately:
We had a great little bonfire supper last Friday night, which included dessert:
No shame. They're licking the left-over caramel from the caramel apples, in case you're wondering.
...and to conclude this very looooong, rambling, stream of consciousness post:
Here's a couple cute baby photos as a reward for sticking with me! Check this one out--he's been falling asleep sucking two fingers lately:
Time a-flying or not, life is pretty sweet.