Shoes & Seeds

Last September we did something we had never done before as a family.  We went into a shoe store and all walked out with new shoes.  We have mostly bought secondhand for the kids shoes in the past because there have been plenty of really good gently used shoes available.  Now, we have walked into a new season when finding those good used shoes have been more difficult.  So, we did what we had to, and bought new.  My daughter had been wearing these bright pink running shoes everyday for what felt like a year.  Even in the summer I tried to persuade her to wear her sandals.  Nope, it was those pink shoes everyday.  Or bare feet.  Those pink shoes were size 8.  What size boots did we walk out of the store with?  Size 11!  My son was the same way.  He never wore a size 12 but went right from 11 to 13.  Today, as I was thinking about buying some shoes for spring, I checked their toes in those not even five month shoes, and yes, my daughters toes were right to the edge!  My children are really growing and they are really changing.

I see it in the too tight shoes and the pants that are all of a sudden two inches too short.

I see it in understanding they did not have before.

I see it in their questions or comments as we go about our day.

I see it in how they can talk to adults when before they would cling to my side.

As mamas we observe time not in minutes or hours, although we of course take note of those, but in the changes in our children.  In the first steps, the first word, and then in the first time they write their name.  We witness these firsts, these tiny miracles to parents, and then notice other changes in them, and these mark the passing of time.  Was it not just yesterday we were doing everything for them?

My first born will be seven tomorrow!  His birthday is first and then his sister’s will be in a few months.  It is in these months I notice how much they have grown more than any other time.  I of course get all sappy and sentimental.  My husband and I get older and I barely feel like I have turned thirty or that time has really passed.  This week in my children, I see change physically, socially and mentally.  I layed in bed during our rest time last week and recalled a conversation from a year ago. A lady was telling me how there are bigger princess dresses for five year old girls.  My daughter was three at the time, so five felt far away.  After all, her brother was five!  Addie will now be five in May.

Times passes.  As we go from day to day, we can think that not much is changing.  We can question if our children are really listening to us?  Are they learning anything?  Then, you see a picture or watch a old video from years ago (Yes, I have done that.  Nothing beats my daughter’s slow walking chubby legs. ) and then you look at your right now child and the change is so obvious.

Our kids are really gaining understanding.


Our kids are really listening to us…sometimes.


Our child will move past that really annoying character trait or learn how to have more self-control.

They will grow up.

It will happen. We can really rest in today, the present and enjoy our children as they are.  I pray for great grace for all who read this to do just that.  As we plant seeds daily, that we don’t see right then, we can know they will flourish.

And that goes for us too.

Living like you.

I have always been slow.  Slow in the way that I naturally take my time, especially when I begin something.  When morning comes, I slowly make my way out of bed.  When night comes, I slowly get ready for bed.  My husband says he is going to bed, and his body is actually in bed within minutes.  I say the same thing and it could be twenty minutes later and then I am REALLY in bed.  I wash my face, brush my teeth and perhaps read a little something.   What about the rest of the day in between?  When, I can, I prefer the slow, lingering and pondering kind of life.


When I was a kid I am not sure I would have known that I was slow except that I remember my stepmom giving me exercises that were aimed at helping me to increase my my speed.  I don’t think they worked.  I also strongly remember greatly disliking timed multiplication tests.  Now, this makes sense, because I was not able to go slow.  I had to go as fast as I could, and this felt against how I do things naturally. It was against how I was created.  As a child in second grade I couldn’t have processed that, but I knew it felt horrible to me.


Since becoming an adult I have learned how to speed up my natural slow tendency.  Now, I am a mother, so sometimes my little people are ready for food NOW or I have to get my kids moving so I can switch my speed to fast when I need to.  Sometimes I have to go fast for their sake.


My son.  We arrive home and park our car in our driveway.  We all get out, and my son is still thinking of getting out.  Actually, he might not even be thinking about getting out.  Today, I was explaining the longer it takes us to get into the car, the less time we will have at the Lego building time at the library.  I know he had this in mind, but he still was in his carseat a minute or so until he thought, “Oh!  I should buckle up because we cannot go until I do and I want to go build with Legos.”  I know this, because I was watching him, and I saw when the “aha” went on in his head and he began to buckle up.


When I am rushed I forget things.  When I go fast I drop things or I do stupid things I would never do if I went slow and thoughtfully.  For example,I have been known to leave the exact thing I went to a store for, in the bag next to the checkout counter, for the sake of rushing to the next place.  This hasn’t only happened once.  I am not at my best when I go fast.


What I have discovered , is that I am better when I mother slow.  When I am rushed, I say and do things I wish I had not.  I am impatient with my kids…and myself.  I live better when I move slow.  When I am not rushing to one place and then another.  When I am intentional about what I choose for myself or my family and what I choose not to do.  When I am able to limit what I do, then I CAN do it slower.  This is a work in progress my friends.


The way YOU have been made is important and worthy of practice.  You may not be slow.  You may live better when you are in community.  Surround yourself with people.  Invite people into your home.  Live, what feels natural to you.  I am sharing my slow example that it may be a highlighter to highlight something in you, something you may have forgotten has been you ever since you were a child.  You do not have to grow out of it but rather to see how to grow into it.


When I live slow, I am able to see, I mean really see my children, my husband or the person that is in front of me.  Living slow to me means not rushing from activity to activity or thought to thought but lingering where you are.


When I live slow, I am able to listen, I mean really listen to the words of my children or to the words of my Heavenly Father.  Yesterday, as I was putting my daughter to bed for the second time, I was ready to be off parenting duty for the evening.  As her arms and body were wrapped around mine, she exclaimed, “You’re the best mommy in the WHOLE world!”  I heard it physically with my ears, but it did not register in my mind or heart.  As my head was laying on my pillow a while later, that is when the words my daughter spoke finally entered my heart.  I want to hear the words of the ones I love and to look them straight into their eyes.  It may not happen every time, but most of the time, may I be living slowly enough to hear them.


May this be your permission slip to live slow or according to how you have been made.

The wonder of childhood, for parents too

As I am typing this, the sun is setting on this summer day and my children just gave me hugs goodnight.  My husband is tucking them in as I write.  It is a wonder to see gentleness and love in their hugs and voices as they good night.  It is a wonder to see what they learn through us.  Perhaps I will next write, the wonder of being a mother, because it is a wonder to see our children grow,learn and become who they were made to be.


I spent the spring of this year questioning.  I was questioning our first homeschool year.  Doesn’t every mother question herself at some point during the journey?  Add to “job title”, teacher, and the questions have doubled.  Are my children getting what they need?  We had counted, started beginning phonics and worked on memorization.  I had check off many boxes that I so like checking off.  But I could feel myself being led to a new way of living and learning, being a mother and a teacher.


I have always been a planner.  A planner in the sense  I love writing things, ideas and plans in a clean white space in a journal or planner, but living it all out, that felt more overwhelming than fun.  I am slowly learning through mistakes and exhaustion what I can actually can do during a given time.


One of the many reasons why I decided to homeschool was to allow our children to be children as long as they can.  I want to give them ample free time to explore, pretend and build.  I believe they learn such valuable lessons through play.  I adore watching my children lost in play,for that is indeed the wonder of childhood.


Here’s the thing, as much as we may TRY, we cannot plan wonder.  Wonder just happens.  It’s the reaction to discovering a frog hopping along the cement or the taste of freshly picked fruit off of the tree.  Wonder often happens outside, in discovery and exploration of nature.  The wonder of childhood is experiencing something for the first time.


So, I began searching for more ways to be outside and to bring school outside.  At the same time,the house we’ve been renting was sold, and we again found ourselves looking for a new place to live.


We came up empty with options in the town we had just moved to.  But then, a unique opportunity we had considered in the Fall, “wound up” being our only option in our minds.  We could house-sit a house in the country, a half an hour away.  We said yes, although we weren’t fully convinced about it.


When I woke up the first day in the country and saw my kids playing outside I knew this was the right place.  My kids eyes were glowing and radiating with joy.  What mama cannot help but rejoice in that?  I began to breathe easier after the business of moving as I sat and stared at nature.  Nature itself is therapy.  My husband, a teacher, joined us during our days, and we all have been able to experience wonder.

The wonder of watching a mama bird feed her young.

The wonder of chicks hatching and Mama hens protecting them under their wings.  The wonder of them growing up.

The wonder of jumping on a trampoline most nights while the sun sets.

The wonder of taking care of dogs and how they want to be your best friend.

The joy of seeing something new or experiencing something for the first time.

The wonder of playing outside until it is too dark to see.

The wonder of having a bonfire and roasting s-mores.

The wonder of having a long driveway to have races on.

To wonder, is to really live, and its not only for children, but for their parents too.