As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Friday, March 23, 2012


As I was cleaning the house a few days ago, I had a bit of a moment.  We are experiencing record-breaking temperatures this week, and the kids (and I) are loving every minute of it.  The first few nice days after winter are always a glorious time, when the yard (and the kids) are full of mud, and you're just so darn happy it's nice enough to go outside you don't even care about the extra mess it makes.

And so it was that I was vacuuming the upstairs, which is part of my daily routine.  On this lovely springy day, and as the kids had just trampled through the upstairs with their muddy boots, the mess was threefold what it would normally be.  And I was joyful it the midst of it all - why?  Because the sun was streaming through the windows, the air was whistling through the screens, and the advent of spring was lifting my soul.

We are also in the season of Lent, which for me has been a particularly difficult one.  I have been struggling with things I thought were long past, feeling like I had taken big steps backwards, and just generally feeling like I was doing a poor job of making any kind of spiritual progress in this season the Church sets aside for just that.  Cleaning this mess in my house, I couldn't help but parallel it with my own life and all the ways I have been feeling like maybe I've allowed things to clutter up there as well.  And the beauty of the message of spring flooded my being - that the Lord shines light into the darkness, breathes new life, and makes you see the mess in a whole new way.  He allows you to be joyful in doing the work you need to do to get it all cleaned up.

With Lent more that half over, I am grateful for this beautiful weather and the new perspective God has given me on my sin.  I pray that for everyone (myself included) the rest of this beautiful season will be a time of hope, of conquering, and of joyfully doing the work that needs to be done - illuminated as always by the light of Christ, who is always busting in through the windows of our hearts and begging us to let Him in.  Welcome, spring!

Katie, ready to enjoy a beautiful spring day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All Work, No Play? No Way!

It is a beautiful, spring day.  Sun is streaming in through the windows.  Days like this seem to encourage a good learning environment, and today is no exception.  The kids have been beautifully motivated, and after a particularly difficult day yesterday it is a welcomed blessing.

People always assume homeschooling is a TON of work.  And while it is work, to me it's so much more than that.  It is an opportunity for me to learn with my kids, which I find to be a special blessing with the bigger kids.  It's a time set aside for them each morning, where I say to the babies, "you guys play over here for a bit - this time is for your big brothers."  It is far too easy, especially when the kids are old enough to look after themselves, to just leave them to their playing and be consumed with babyhood.  But, as I'm coming to realize, everyone benefits from putting the big kids first every now and then.  The babies learn to occupy themselves for a bit and grow in independence, and the big kids get nurtured in a way that, I am sad to say, would not be so intuitive to me otherwise.  I know there are parents who are excellent at setting aside time for each of their kids, no matter how many they have.  I, unfortunately, am not one.  I need a reason to not get swept away in the day-to-day.  And homeschooling provides just such an occasion.  It is a real blessing.

A friend described it best when she spoke about what quality time looks like for her husband and for her.  She talked about how her husband plays games with the kids, rough-houses, takes them outside, and generally has fun.  Of course, she has fun too.  But as moms we can tend to feel guilty about not getting all the housework done, cooking a perfect supper, and playing a game of touch-football all afternoon with the kids.  For her, quality time is sitting around the kitchen table with the kids in the morning, teaching.  And who says that can't be fun?

When you learn to see school not just as something to "get done", but something that is a joy and a blessing to be a part of, you learn to cherish this precious time.  This is not all work and no play - it is a unique opportunity for me to walk with my children, and be amazed at how they learn and discover, develop and grow into little people.  What a joy!

Homeschooling is not a burden of extra work.  In fact, in many ways I think it has saved my relationship with my older kids.  It sets everything into perfect balance, and helps me to be the best mother I can be.

My little learner