slowing down

It’s so essential for us to be mindful of the humble and deep

rather than the flashy and the superficial.  ~Fred Rogers

 

So often I get caught up in the daily rush rush that seems to be my life right now.  There have been three afternoons this week of not knowing exactly when my older children were ready to be picked up after school–none of them have phones–it’s not easy to reach them or find them, the schools are always locked and after hours it is difficult to find someone inside to open the door for me.  Meanwhile, there are little ones that need me, too.  The hours fly by and I realize I haven’t spent much time with Caleb, or David, or Grace, or…..

We live in a time of so much distraction.  With the Internet, it is now possible to be connected with people around the world but not at school (ha ha) at all times.  With phones, there is always a feeling of being available, or wanting to immediately text someone the latest update in our lives (something I enjoy doing!).  At times, I can feel my mind becoming unsettled, unfocused on what is right in front of me.  Even within the home, there is so much to be done.  I love to have a clean home and spend so much time picking up, doing laundry, adding little touches here and there.

But yesterday our neighbors stopped by to see the new kitchen and the new kitchen was a mess.  The dog went wild, and Seth kept jumping around begging for attention.  The company left and I was almost in tears.  I had become the “frazzled mom of seven with the wild look in her eyes” that I so didn’t want to be! 

I must be intentional about slowing down and savoring this wonderful life of mine. 

My heart is filled with gratitude to think of all the hard work that has been put into house, home, and family.

I’ve been blessed to be a stay at home mom for 16 years and my husband has never given me any indication that he would want it any other way.

My goal is to give him the best life possible…..at times it is not easy, there is almost always friction in a marriage, ups and downs, but with maturity comes contentment and deeper desire to show just how much I appreciate the life he has provided for me and the children.

 

 

 

That deep down, spiritual place within me sees and knows what is truly essential for my family.  Basic requirements that every family needs; love, sacrifice, time, touch, fun, good food.

 

It costs something to spend an extra 15 minutes on making the meals just a little more special; healthy, filling, and beautiful.  But, for my heart and soul,  it’s worth it all. 

It costs something to say yes to pushing the little ones on the swing over and over and over, to slow down and realize the wind in their face and the smiles are so very worth it.

To sincerely enjoy a sunny day outside.

To make the car-times fun, instead of sighing and complaining.

It’s a choice to embrace challenges, instead of giving up.

It’s a choice to keep their little faces clean and hair combed.  To make them change a shirt to one without stains, for school.  Because I care.

It’s important,to spend time in my husband’s arms at the end of the day, showing the deep love that we feel for one another.  Talking, teasing, laughing together.

Making pretty flower gardens MEANS SOMETHING. 

 

The other day we were in Lowe’s getting vegetable plants for the garden.  I pushed the cart past an outdoor carpet display and Seth noticed them and told me he wanted a rug.  I said no, but then on the way home I stopped at a favorite thrift store and found two little rugs.  A Princess one for Sarah, and a Cars one for Seth.  Total: less than five dollars.  I don’t believe this was a coincidence, but a way to show Seth that God cares even in the smallest of details.

 

Also on that thrifting day, to my joy, I found some nice kitchen things; a Tupperware cake carrier, a big lasagna pan, a jumbo muffin tin, and six wooden spoons.  I scrubbed everything in hot soapy water and added a splash of bleach to soak.  After a good rinsing, I took everything outside to air in the sunshine.

 

Baby kitties add so much joy to family life.  The children love holding them and petting their soft fur.  We laugh to watch them run and play together.

 

Neglecting the housework to spend an afternoon outside is a very wise decision at times!

Reading lovely stories out loud to the family is an investment in the memory-banks for all time.

 

Some favorites:

The 3 Little Dassies, by Jan Brett.  This is an African retelling of the 3 Little Pigs and my kids love it.

Chloe, by Peter McCarty.  Chloe has 10 older siblings and 10 younger.  It’s a cute book about family fun time and what happens when Dad brings home a television.

Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell is a meaningful book about Jane Goodall.

You can never go wrong with Mother Goose and there are many out there to choose from.  Tasha Tudor’s illustrations are precious and lovely.

 

It’s important to have a safe place to play.  Big brother Ethan got rid of the hornet’s nest that was beginning to appear in the playset.

 

 

 

While they played, I got a little wet…….the water was cold and the rocks were slippery.  It was fun!

 

 

 

There is so much to explore, to see and appreciate in this beautiful word of ours.

 

 

 

Ethan with his dog.

 

 

I find that usually life contains all the things needed for a meaningful life, but what is lacking at times are the eyes to see and notice.  Slowing down now and then gets the gratitude a flowin’, life is good.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”  E. Tolle

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”  A.A. Milne

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”   M. Angelou

 

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”    Thomas Merton

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “slowing down

  1. Really enjoyed this! I live alone and am the only one who sees the prepared meals; but I take a little time doing it right and not in a hurry – even in the eating. My wife always stressed making a meal look “pretty.” I think it makes the food taste even better!

  2. It blesses me so to read how you work to keep your priorities in order! I guess it is something every wife and mom has to learn, but sadly, some never seem to. I wish you could teach a class for young mothers! You have such a heart for your home and family, and it is so wonderful to see.

  3. Excellent post and great pictures. I’m stealing a quote you made. It’s the first line under your orange cup picture, “life contains all the things needed. . . .” AND, I am adding your name after the quote. Since I rest in bed a lot, I have a board that takes dry erase markers. I like to put it near my bed and let Bible verses, or comments (like yours), inspire me. You’ve just reached the status of inspirational speaking/writer!!! xo

  4. Oh, how I needed this post..slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww down! In this fast paced world, how refreshing this post is! Thank you..a reminder to slow down and take in God’s beauty!!

  5. Been thinking along the same lines! And also this pretense…. The certain pride that wants to make it all appear like I can do everything perfectly and because of that one can end up missing out on so much life!! We busy moms can’t do it all at once… Each day there are priorities … So do what we do with joy and put a good dose of care into it! Everyone will feel it… Even if that day the floor remains sticky.Loved this post!

  6. Great post. Such a good reminder. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom, and even though I am home most of the time, I still need to stop the everyday business and take notice of all we have.I LOVE the quote by E.Tolle. I am going to write that on my chalkboard.Love your blog. 🙂

  7. You do such a great job at all things mom! And yes, slowing down is so important but it is so easy to get swept away. These days I’m working on that, too. Esp now that I feel I can breathe easier knowing my house is at least decent and we are, for the most part, ready for this second child. I think it has been my nesting kicking in full swing lately that has had me in over-drive. Today, aside from a craft I’ve been meaning to do, when my son asked me to sit and watch a movie with him, I simply sat down and got comfy. Too stormy to go anywhere or play outside so we just cuddled up on the couch with Hercules! I loved that so much. I need to take more time to just sit/play and enjoy this little guy while he’s alllll mine!

  8. Hello Dear Shanda,What a lovely post about life, living and loving your sweet family. The frazzled mama syndrome. Oh yes, I still get it from time to time. But you are right on track with knowing that the best cure for it is to slow down and enjoy. Mamas need to be at home and enjoy what is racing by them. To grab and 2 yo and cuddle, read, sit and explore. To play cards with the 4 yo and visit with the teens over tea. Such a lovely life you have and even better that you can enjoy it ♥As always, it’s been delightful to stop by and visit here.~Cinnamon

  9. You show love, care and value in inspiring, excellent ways!! Your attitude of gratitude ;, contentment and appreciation for life, your husband children shines bright and I’m sure is a fantastic example to those watching and following behind. Loved all the quotes here!

  10. @Elizabethmarie_1 –  Still intending on visiting your new blog place, Liz! Well, I did visit, just haven’t commented yet. How are you liking BlogSpot? Glad you liked that quote, it’s a good one for sure. Enjoy your weekend, friend!@ABAHM –  (((love you much)))@bamsniko22407 –  You are doing such a great job w/motherhood! Thinking of you as you get ready to welcome your new little one! @Cinnamon –  It’s always such a treat to hear from you. I think of you so often! Hugs.

  11. That is so wonderful. Makes for a busy household. I grew up with just me and my brother so small family indeed. My husband and I are hoping for two children soon. Your children all appear to be HS age on down to . . . perhaps preschool? You have a lovely family and seem to live on a large piece of land. I love that creek too.

  12. Great post Shanda! I was reminded recently how our perspective/attitude on things has a lot to do with our contentment. We can choose to make the best of situations or choose to complain about life. But it’s so hard to remember, and unfortunately, complaining seems to come easier! So thanks for this beautiful post and reminder to slow down and be grateful!

  13. Thanks for the reminder to savor the moments. I read a book once that was all about doing just that. When I actually stop to savor each and every moment, I’m critically aware of how many I’ve let slip by! …but life is so much better for me with gratitude for each and every thing. I fall so short so often….and I forget. That’s why I love reading your blog. It often points to these things.Though I know your life is hectic at times, you go so far above and beyond Moms I know who only have one or two children. Though I know your life is not always happy and bubbly, and the children fight at times, and you yell and get impatient sometimes, and maybe your house is not always perfectly clean, and that often that part doesn’t make it into your blog much, what you have is a good foundation. You can’t hide the fact that your family is healthy and happy, in spite of the family storms. The pictures can’t be faked. Your job as a Mom is such an important one, and I think you are awesome! As one whose childhood was spent in the midst of an emotional ‘war zone’, reading about your family is a healing balm for me.

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