I love love love Valentine's Day--all the more now that I have children. I can't wait to give them their little V-Day goodies tomorrow morning! Here's an idea we tried this year that I think will become a tradition in our home: Valentine envelopes, hung up a couple of weeks ago, filled 'secretly' with cards, notes and candy from the kids to each other. They are so excited about being able to look in their envelopes tomorrow and read all the notes from their siblings. Look how full those things are! See? They do love each other. :)
Lily and Joe assembled Piggy Bricks. The name made them even more fun to eat.
Keely and I made whole wheat bread.
Row and Grandma made raspberry sauce to go on our ice cream.
Now that my Mom and Dad are here (permanently, on a trial basis....long story), Mom has been hanging out here and helping and we are all loving it. When we were thinking through the best ways that she could be involved in our homeschool--something she strongly wanted to do--we thought it would be refreshing to have 'Fun Fridays': leaving off the regular bookwork and schedule of the rest of the week, and focusing on art appreciation, cooking, crafts, music, field trips...you get the idea.
Last Friday we planned a day of cooking. I chose several kid-friendly recipes (though I think next time I'll let the kids do the choosing) and gathered the ingredients, and we had one or two children assist with each one. It was lots of fun! And, isn't it funny how children will eat things that they'd normally turn their noses up at if they made it themselves?
I know most people probably don't have a Mom as willing and available (and now close!) as mine, but wouldn't this be a fun thing to do occasionally with another homeschool mom or older woman friend? Wish I'd started it years ago.
Last night my tired hubby and I sat on the couch and tuned in to a PBS documentary about the Donner Party. We had actually seen it before, so I'm not sure why we decided to watch it again. Not exactly cheerful viewing. The story is so sad and so horrifying that I felt a little guilty watching it, honestly. Like we were taking in an episode of Jerry Springer or something. Something that shouldn't be spoken of in public.
I was thinking about it this morning, and about those people who endured that horrible winter in 1846-7. This optimistic group set out with dreams of wealth and success in California, many of them hauling loads of their possessions, which were gradually lost or abandoned on the difficult journey. The ones that survived and actually made it to California in the spring of 1947 could not have been the same people. The life and death struggle and horrors they witnessed must have distilled their priorities quite drastically.
And that, specifically, was the part I've been thinking about.
The day-to-day living of life lulls us into distraction. To be honest with you, it's been a little stressful around here as I adjust to a new baby and continuing on with homeschooling and keeping home and training children and not ignoring my husband in the process...and all the other responsibilities that exist.
This is my prayer, again and again: to not get bogged down in the daily stuff that does not last, the stuff that is shed as the years pass just like those precious possessions left by the Donner travelers in the Salt Desert of Utah. The stuff that ultimately doesn't matter.
Sometimes I wonder if reading online-specifically, blogs--is increasing my distraction from the things that really matter. Don't get me wrong: they are good things. Creative ideas for better homeschooling, crafting, cooking, and so on. But when I find myself feeling like I'm falling short for not being the most creative crafter...for not experimenting more in the kitchen...for not sewing or teaching all the 'extras' to my kids in our homeschool...and on top of it not taking fabulously beautiful pictures of it all, well, then, my focus is getting out of whack. I don't want to be extreme and swear off the computer or homemaking magazines. I want balance. I want to be able to maintain the right focus.
And I think this is only going to happen by the Lord working in me. I need to keep my eyes on Him, praying constantly that He will help me discern what really matters, and leave the rest behind. I need to remember how fast a year goes or ten and savor and use each moment for God's glory, not for my comfort or accomplishment or reputation.
I don't want it to take a tragedy to distill my priorities. I want to choose to do it right now by the grace of God.
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time."