A Different Kind of Wondering

So the other day I wrote a blog post about the wonder of this life I get to live…the sweet faces of my kids and the day to day tasks that God has given for me to perform.  Sweet and lovely and precious.

There is another kind of wondering that goes on around here. Like, wondering if home schooling the kids is going to send me to an early grave. And yes, we are only two weeks in.

Or, “I wonder why I have asked Mack to take his Timothy shirt upstairs at least ten times and yet it is still downstairs?”

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Or, “I wonder how long Mack has been watching Power Rangers on my iPad in his dad’s office?”

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Or even wondering if it is too early to start a math lesson count down? Would it send the wrong message?  Gah, I despise checking math.

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“I wonder why there is a glass of water with a pencil in it in the bathroom?”

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“I wonder why there are screwdrivers in the living room? I wonder if this means Mack took something apart again?”

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“I wonder why we have a school room when they all usually end up in the living room?”

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“I wonder when we will get used to our new routine and not be overwhelmed by our checklists? I wonder when I won’t feel the need for a 2:00 nap….”

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“I am seriously wondering if Mack listens to a word I say during the timeline lesson each week. I wonder if he will always remember me slamming my hand down on the table to get his attention today while he was creating something out a belt and tape and a rubber thing while I was trying to teach about the timeline?” Let’s hope not.

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“I wonder what is the best way to keep up with these verses and many more we are to be memorizing this year?”

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I wonder how much a full-time chef costs?

I wonder if someone wants to come clean my house and keep my laundry going for free?

I wonder if fall weather will come quickly so that I can send my kids into the yard soon?

Oh, the wonder in one week of my life.

There is WONDER in today

There is wonder in the mundane.  I want all my mama friends to know that and live in that.  I know the days are long, but I don’t want us to miss the wonder of what it is that we are doing.  And I think I love when God helps me in this area because there are so many days that I do miss the wonder of it all and look around thinking surely there is something more I am supposed to be doing.

It reminds me a little bit of Eve in the Garden of Eden.  I wonder how long Eve was in the Garden of Eden before her eyes wandered and stayed on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?  The Bible doesn’t say how many days in a row they walked with God in the cool of the day before they hid in shame because of their disobedience.  I am baffled that Eve could have lost the wonder of what was The Garden of Eden…the perfect place to live, breath-takingly beautiful. She doubted God’s goodness and wanted in on something MORE, something she had yet to experience.  Or so she thought.

I remember like yesterday walking through the grocery aisle at Publix with a newborn, one year old and two year old; an older grandma-like lady stopped me and smiled and had the audacity to say, “These are some of the best days of your life, honey.”

Knowing that I couldn’t push an old lady down in the grocery store, I just smiled back at her and said, “Ok.”  I mean, what else was I supposed to say?  I was TIRED, exhausted really.  Not all the time, but most of the time.

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The kids are much older now—8,9 and 11.  I’m not nearly as tired, and we’ve been diaper-free around here for many years.  They rarely come into our room to wake us up in the middle of the night either.

Honestly, I love this stage of life.  I love watching them mature into these little people with ideas and unique personalities.

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Honestly, I would give anything to go back to re-live one of those days when they were babies.

Time is weird like that.

It’s fleeting and can’t be gained back.  No re-do’s in the sense of physically turning back the clock.  Which is why I think Satan uses his schemes to distract us and disillusion us into thinking that right here and right now is not good.

God is right here with us, the Master of Time.  He can open our eyes to see the wonder of where He has us.  Satan wants us to be discontent and distracted, wishing away our present for something MORE, something better.

Let’s not let him steal the present…right where we are.  Take a long look around at where you are in life.  Stare into the eyes of the people you call family.  Grab their little faces and tell them how you love them.  Squeeze them, hold them close and listen to their stories. Take it all in.

Frolic in the fields together, holding hands and listening to music playing softly in the background.

I’m kidding.  I am well aware that life does move quickly.  We can’t constantly sit in wonder at our sweet kids and handsome husband….first of all,the kids aren’t always sweet and Josh sometimes makes me mad.  Secondly, I am a realist.  I like to think that I just see how things how they are and can own up to whatever that is.  I joke with Josh about my funeral.  I tell him I want a closed casket because no one can do my hair right.  But also, I tell him that one day when I am in heaven, he will not be able to honestly stand in front of whoever comes and say that I was the most uplifting, positive, non-complaining wife in all the world.  He’d be lying through his teeth.  I’m not totally negative, but I am also not “Pollyanna Positive” either.

BUT, I am aware that if we don’t make ourselves look for the wonder in life, we will miss it.  We will get bogged down in the mundane and think that all of life is just a big list of things to do.  Laundry? Check!  Dinner? Check!  Sweeping? Mopping? Dusting? Check, check, check! Driving kids here and there? Check.

The mundane is what I am called to.  Those every day things that at first glance don’t seem exciting…but through God’s eyes, they are exactly what I am supposed to be doing!  I can be in wonder at my calling in life.  God can open my eyes to truly see the beauty in the everyday stuff.  He is with me.  Always.  That’s enough.  But He can also allow my routine to be precious again. He can clear up my perspective on what is truly important.  What success looks like to HIM.  He can magnify and put into focus the important and make blurry what isn’t.

I will still have subjects to teach to my kids, laundry to fold and put away, meals that need to be cooked, grocery store lists week after week, and more.  But I’m going to stop at least once a day, hopefully more, to take a picture in my mind of where I am, who I am with, and thank the Lord for using me in the ordinary, the mundane.

Let’s all ask God to help us SEE and HEAR and TOUCH as if He were walking with us each step of the way….because He is.  And we will never get this day back again…no matter what it brings our way.

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Here’s a song and it’s lyrics that I think you will enjoy.  Great words. Important message. Click on the link and listen if you would like God to help you see your day to day life as PRECIOUS again.

Sunrise, sunset with no eyes to see it
Garnets and rubies ground up in the sand
Words from my children with no ears to hear it
Where is the wonder?

New tender mercies and infinite graces
Woven like threads in the cloth of my days
Deep wells of glory behind common faces
Where is the wonder? Where is the wonder?

Oh oh, I need a song that’s never old
Oh oh, I need a story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious again

Friendship and goodwill, a sweet invitation
Kindred in spirit and eager to share
Love in familiar and long conversations
There is the wonder, there is the wonder

Oh oh, sing me the song that’s never old
Oh oh, tell me the story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious

Press mud with holy fingers, light the ineffable
Fused in the ordinary, so much to wonder
Oh, what a wonder, wonder, wonder

Oh oh, sing me the song that’s never old
Oh oh, tell me the story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious, oh, make it precious
You make it precious again

Nugget of Truth

So I know this isn’t breaking news to most parents, but I heard a little nugget of truth the other day.  Actually, I read it somewhere on some blog, and I don’t remember where exactly, but this one sentence stuck out to me.

Ready for it?……

Parenting is mostly listening.

Listening.  It sounds so simple.  Effortless even.

But it isn’t always as easy as I think it would be.

Listening means not talking.

Listening means eye contact.

Listening assumes I am approachable.

Listening often means close contact, smiles, nods and small sighs.

Listening means no tv, no phone, no screen to look at.

And when I listen to their silly stories about what just happened upstairs while they were playing or listen to them tell me about their crazy dream last night or listen to Mack tell me in detail about his lego creation or something else that may seem trivial to me, it sets the stage for them to come to me for the bigger conversations.

Hope you take advantage of some opportunities to listen to your kids today….I’m sure gonna try!

I {heart} my family!

We are wrapping up our summer and turning our heads and hearts toward a bit more of a routine.  I am still not anxiously looking forward to starting school work with the kids, but I feel certain that once we get started, we will be ready for whatever comes our way!

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First of all, THIS happened.  Ruby went to The Middle School building for Sunday School today.  Wowza! I remember like yesterday taking her to Ms. Shirley in nursery as a 6 week old baby!!!!  I could not imagine then what a joy Ruby would be to our family.  She is absolutely my favorite 11 year old girl in all the world.  I love her personality—how God has made her.  And I am so excited for her time in Middle School as she makes new friends and develops the friends she has had for so many years at church.  I pray she is a good example, a strong leader, and a compassionate friend.

We came home and listened to each of them tell all about their new classes over lunch.  Sweet times.

Then, I did some deep cleaning this afternoon, which makes me so happy.  A clean house is my love language…even if I am the one that has to do the cleaning.  The accomplished feeling I get after blinds have been cleaned and base boards have been washed is fabulous! Toilets sparkling and mirrors shining….amazing.  I did bribe the kids with a trip to Bahama Bucks after Molly started helping me.  I could see how much faster things would go if everyone pitched in, so I told the kids that after Dad woke up from his Sunday afternoon nap, he would take them all for a regular sized shaved ice!  And off to work they all went.  A little piece of heaven was happening upstairs in my bedroom and bathroom and their bedrooms.  And the bonus was that no one bothered Dad while he slept (though none of them ever bother their Dad while he sleeps).  They have no problem waking me up though, of course.  This reminds me of a story.  Mack, very assuredly, said to me the other day, “Mom, how is it that you are always wide awake when we come in during the middle of the night?”  Josh got a kick out of that.  I mean, really?  Does Mack really think I am just sitting in the bed, wide awake and ready to talk at 2:30am???  Crazy boy.

Anyway, back to whatever it was I was talking about…..

The house is clean, laundry is going strong, and we plan to soak up some sun tomorrow to put a cherry on top of our “wrap-up” of summer.

I’ve decided that we will start Tuesday with Bible, Reading, Math and Science and do that each of the following days of this week.  We will add Language Arts and History the next week.  We have to take it slow so that I don’t burn out in week 2.

Another bright spot of our weekend was time taking Family Photos!  I must say that I can see much spiritual growth in Josh’s life in how he reacts to Family Photo Day.  I schedule a family photo every two or three years.  It’s not like a quarterly endeavor, or even annually!  But Josh did not complain one single second about Family Photo Day.  He actually was quite chipper about it all.  I was so appreciative of him for not making it a laborious task.  The smiles were all genuine!

dormany family_-121Audrey Grace Photography took the pictures.  Audrey is a sweet young girl with lots of talent and a sweet personality!  Her family is very dear to us…we are so thankful God has allowed our paths to cross during this season of our lives.  From raising daughters advice and wisdom, crafts and funny stories and more, The Jones Family is very special to us.

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Love these little boogers.  

dormany family_-106Because don’t you also stand in the middle of a country road as a family?  Well, either way, I love how this one turned out!

dormany family_-139This is when Josh propped his arm on the barn wall and said, “You come here often?”

dormany family_-141I laughed at him.  I love him so much….he is such a great husband.  I seriously cannot imagine life without him.  He’s just the best for me.

We aren’t good at those longing looks while someone is snapping pictures of us….we save those for other times….but I’ll keep that information off this family blog.

So, that is what has been going on around here.  I mean, I did leave out last week when we, somehow, thought going to DollyWood in the summer was a grand idea.  While the water park was a good idea and they all enjoyed the rides there, the amusement park was beyond HOT.  I was basically melting as I walked around the park holding the bags and cups and waiting for them to ride all the crazy rides they love.  I admit, by Thursday late afternoon I was getting annoyed.  I was miserable and didn’t mind letting Molly know I would ride the Fire Chaser with her once more, but then we were going home because I said so!

Then, on the way home we were searching for a good radio station and heard the country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”  I cried. And for a second I wished I could go back and end our little adventure with a smile…..but I couldn’t.  But I mean, who writes songs like that????  It is such a sad song.  Very true, but very sad for this mama on that hot summer day!  Thankful for new mornings…..and cool mornings.

I do love my family!  Thankful for the time I have with them.

Boys and Girls…so very different

I know you don’t need me to tell you that boys are so different than girls.  Growing up with two sisters and then marrying Josh made me even more aware of the striking differences that boys and girls have.  I don’t know that I will ever get over noticing how very different my girls and Mack are; it really does make me laugh. This week Mack has been attending a Football Camp each evening from 5:30-9:00pm.  He comes home HUNGRY.  We told him not to eat much before he went to camp because he was liable to get sick out in that heat with a full belly.  Thinking he was fulfilling our wish, he ate “only two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” before the first night of practice!  I have enjoyed talking to him as he tells me all about his practice and eats some late night dinner.

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After he ate, the girls asked Josh to come in the living room because he needed to see their new dance.

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I had to sneak this picture or Ruby might be mad at me, but I had to record this.  For some reason it just struck me funny that we went from football talk to dancing in the living room in 2.3 seconds.  And Josh was very attentive and always ends their dance sessions by telling them that if they ever need help with dance moves that they should ask him for help.  Thankfully, they know he is joking.

I found this today:

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Mack has a folder he labeled “Football Plays.”  He has been adding pictures of plays he is learning.  He tried to explain them to me; I listened attentively, but still don’t quite understand. And in between football talk I was helping Molly with a sewing project. Mack was a good sport as we wandered the sewing store…I think hanging out with us girls so much will make him a good husband one day.

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It is a cute little doll pattern that I hope will turn out well.  If it does, I will share some pictures!  Molly is at her best when she has a project…something to keep her hands busy. And right now I am waiting for Mack and Josh to come home from Day Three of Football Camp.  Josh texted me a couple of times, as he was watching the end of Mack’s camp, and told me that Mack is a talker.  He does all he is supposed to do and talks to those around him the entire time.  I love that about Mack.  Usually.  He talks to me all the time about all manner of things.  I hope that continues his whole life. Josh talks to me, too, but he is very selective when it comes to texting.  I could show you a bazillion text exchanges where I say much and he says one word, maybe two. Here’s one of many examples:

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Soooo, all these words I typed just to say boys and girls are different.  I could take this topic into a political discussion, but I don’t think that would be very helpful.  There is definitely no gender-neutrality around here!  Different as night and day….and I love it.

Weather App

What a storm we endured last night!  Whew.  I was extremely glad to pull in the garage last night after driving around in that awful mess.  I picked Ruby and a friend up from a Bible Study and quickly realized that things were looking rough.  We made it to our friend’s house and decided (after ten minutes of coercing and a prayer time with the girls) to run into the friend’s house and stay there until the worst of the storm had passed.  They have a toddler and a five year old and two older girls.  The five year old said, “Raise your hand if you’re freaked out!” and the toddler raised his hand…it was a bit of comic relief amid the lightning and thunder and rain and the smell of smoke coming from their garage.

I say all of this to say that my Weather App has gotten confused. I was using it often last night in that storm as I tried to figure out when the best time was to leave their house and then used it more to show Molly that, indeed, she could sleep in her own bed and that lightning wasn’t going to strike her in the top bunk.  Back to the Weather App debacle.  I got my new phone last year before we took our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel.  Because of this timing, I put Jerusalem, Israel into my Weather App so I knew what to wear and if I needed an umbrella or not, etc.  Ever since that trip, I would pull up my Weather App and the first city to pop up would be Jerusalem.  I couldn’t bring myself to delete that amazing city, so I kept it there and always checked to see what kind of weather Jerusalem was having before moving on to the blessed city of Woodstock.  It put a smile on my face because I immediately thought of those memorable days standing in Jerusalem, Israel.

However, something happened….and I am trying not to blame it fully on my DollyWood-loving kids…..but now every time I pull up my Weather App, the city of Pigeon Forge, TN pops up on my screen.  I mean, I like a good day at DollyWood and the cinnamon apple bread is divine, but it is a FAR CRY from Zion.

I’m going to need to figure out how to save Jerusalem as my preferred city.  No offense, Mrs. Parton.images