Monday, May 18, 2015

These Relationships Are Ours For the Taking

One of the best "ah-ha" moments I have EVER experienced was in the confines of my home a few winters back here in sweet Juneau.

I found an "eagle" wearing a dinosaur sweater in my backyard!
The moment consisted of being completely content with things as they were in my home. I know I have written about this before, but I am coming back to it, because I see with this gargantuan move ahead (Alaska to Virginia) that I will need to pull in and take care of these people as things change around us.

I feel that this moment was a singular grace given to me by God. I see it as GIFT because when we think we come to things on our OWN accord we start believing we have control and we lose just a smidgen of humility...let's stay little and small with our hands open and wait for these gifts.

This epiphany from the past happened, surprisingly, over a text message. My dear friend Angela, who is mothering a large family with teens and young adults and fianc├ęs and grandchildren, asked if our family was interested in coming over for Sunday afternoon board games.

My whole family loves being in the Smith home, on any day. Trampoline jumping, evening piano recitals, Super Bowl, or bridal/baby shower, it is a warm generous home...with lovely books everywhere and quirky Disney nerd decorations and BEAUTIFUL UNIQUE people. I distinctly remember reading that text message, this offer to enter that wonderful home, and looking up and seeing how WONDERFUL my own home was.

He is ready for the OUTDOOR pool in Virginia!
It was Sunday afternoon in my own home. Performance Today was playing softly on the radio with an opera that we could not understand but was beautiful all the same. Justin was snoozing in his reclined chair with a little on him, I believe our son. My eldest was working on a puzzle sprawled out in the family room and I think the other littles were napping or reading or doing something quietly. It was so peaceful, it was so sacred.

And so, without even telling the other members of the home (because that would mean waking some of them up), I just told Angela that we were all at a really good place and that I didn't want to disturb it. I said THANK YOU, because I sensed the love and generosity in opening her family's Sunday up to mine.

I distinctly remember what she wrote back,

"Perfect. It so nice when we know how awesome our own people are."

I'm not sure if those are the exact words, but it is what I hear loud and clear today.

I wrote humorously in this post about my attempt to become an expert on the people in my home. Something I am TRYING to do, but I also look at these littles and my husband and I almost get a deep sense of the ESSENTIAL when I realize that...

These are my people.

These relationships are here for me.

Aasjfkdjsfkjasfhkjahdjkfhfkjh! I made a coffee cake from scratch!


I live these as a vocation and I'm realizing that, yes, we do want to do this particular vocation WELL. We don't want aloof, depressed, uncared for husbands. We don't want unloved, hurt, and neglected children.

Yes, we pray we are going to do it well, and God blesses and redeems it. Yet He presses on hearts,

this is your calling and I want you to ENJOY this.  

Wet dog!
Ha! I love it! He wants us to enjoy our people!

There is a beautiful intimacy about a family who truly enjoys each other in leisure. I find some of my fondest memories of leisure come from a tiny home in Columbus, OH, my grandparents house. There was an ease about the home. This ease must have come about through a cultivated respect for one another and an ability to laugh...and laugh often.

When a person is fully able to be themselves, their guard can come down and so laughing is easy. I long for my home to be the place where my people feel secure enough and loved that they BELIEVE that I think they are (as Angela's text had said) awesome company.

I've decided this week that I want to LISTEN WITH MY EYES.  I want to find moments where I can really make some ground on these relationships. Truth be told, I don't homeschool because I think that schools are ________ or that Common Core is _________. I homeschool because these relationships are mine for the taking and I'm greedily going to soak up as much time with them as I can.

This was a quick post but much needed. Our family is in an interesting time right now and I can get a bit down on myself when I feel that things are too hard and I'm too tired. Writing is a good way of getting to the essential. And tonight it was a good way of reminding myself that I ENJOY my people more when
 when I say yes and nag less,
when I stay off Facebook and turn off my phone,
when I purposefully raise my eyebrows when someone looks like they are about to ask something of me,
when I make four peanut butter and fluff sandwiches,
when I remain calm when mason jars shatter.
If we show our people how much we enjoy having them around when they are little think of how much fun it will be when they keep coming back to the place where they felt delighted in?!? Want to try this experiment with me?
Good night my friends. Let's love on our awesome people and cultivate these relationships with some new energy this week! xxoo

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Easter Bunnies

So thankful Easter is a season. I love hearing the Easter songs during Mass just as much as the Christmas ones. Today we heard from the Gospel of John the very familiar readings of Jesus the Good Shepherd. I don't know about you all but every time I hear the Good Shepherd readings a little burst of joy fills me up and I just get giddy and want to raise my hand and say "Oooo!! OOOOooo! I know THIS one. I KNOW Him!"

I wanted to share a sweet little reflection proclaimed during snack time after our Level 1 atrium session last week...

"Teacher, why are there bunnies for Easter?"

"I'm not sure! What do you think?"

"Ummm...I think that the bunny must be the favorite animal of Jesus."

And another little girl chimed in while eating her goldfish crackers,"Yes! And they are so happy! They are so happy that they are all hopping around because He rose from the dead!"

Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real Easter

Hello! We had our daddy home for Easter so I was so happy here in our little nest. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather to enjoy some of our favorite Juneau traditions like Stations of the Cross out at the Shrine of St Therese on Good Friday. We decided to go to Easter Vigil (no I really DID write that) and the children were SO good (my eldest said it was because they were SO tired). OHHHHH that Vigil music is just so glorious and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the Vigil Mass seems to just hug us close in Mother Church's arms.



As I mentioned, the community gathers Good Friday afternoon to pray the Stations of the Cross that are set up through the trees at the Shrine of St Therese. You can see Bishop Burns there leading us.

So after stations, we are all in the mood to be home and be fed and I like to have hot cross buns out. I also have a vase of sticks which will dramatically be bloomed flowers on Easter morning. Easter is a great time to be dramatic. Ah, but the buns did not rise this all...and the icing...well...the icing resembled more of a smear than a cross. They were quite dense. Quite. I'm not sure where it all went wrong, I think it is because I have a baby and so my brain is just jumble. And yet, all is well liturgically speaking for there will be a Good Friday next year.
Hot cross bun fail

Also funny...the boy here only wanted YELLOW eggs. This was great, mommy and daddy knew exactly which ones we could eat because you never know with the older egg artists with all the CARE and THOUGHT that goes into dyeing eggs if a poor little will be in sobs because you ate the SPECIAL one.


"What's it like having five children?" The labor and delivery nurse asked me this question two days after I had my youngest. I can now say confidently...AWESOME, it is NOT easy but it is AWESOME.

He is risen! Go here for more PHFR.