Friday, October 24, 2014

Home.....It's Where My Heart Is

stay at home don't hate me

I haven’t had nearly enough time at home this week. As a wife and mom who has the honor of being a household engineer, I love my career. I love being home with my kids. I love creating healthy, delicious, nutritious meals, reading to my kids and overseeing their education. I love it when the laundry is all caught up and everything is in order. I love how rested and refreshed I feel when the majority of the week is spent at home, staying on top of my home responsibilities.

When I am gone too much, I feel uneasy inside. It feels like my responsibilities are neglected and life is just undone. Some weeks spending time away from home is inevitable, though and this has been one of those weeks. Every outside activity we were involved in was good and we are all glad we have plenty of opportunity for socializing, ministry and educational experiences outside of the house. What a blessing it is to have so many options. When I started home schooling our older girls twenty-five years ago the options were not nearly as plentiful. Cabin fever was our biggest problem then.

Yesterday we had the morning together and we lit our woodstove for the first time this season. As a result we discovered that we have a very large crack in the glass on one door. Fortunately we were able to order new glass for that door which should arrive within seven to ten days and that means our wood stove should be good to go before the really cold weather arrives. Anyway, that being said, it was wonderful to snuggle up to the warmth and coziness of a beautiful fire on a chilly fall day and just stay home. The kids and I enjoyed some time reconnecting without feeling rushed.

This morning we were reading in the book of James together. The passage was James 1:19-25 which says

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.


After we read the passage we broke it down and talked about what it means and ideas of application to our daily lives. I love hearing how our kids think and today our youngest little man who will be eight next week said that “it’s easy to think we are doing okay and everyone around us is being mean or ugly, but just like when Eve took the fruit and ate it in the garden and she passed it to Adam who decided to eat it, so sin has been passed down to all of us and we get angry easily because we jump to conclusions when we think other people are being angry and mean so we get angry and mean to them just like they were to us and that is how sin gets passed along from person to person.” I thought his comprehension was pretty good. After he thought about the meaning behind being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry in the context it is written (in relation to our reaction to God and His law), he drew the connection to how quickly we can respond in sinfulness because we don’t take the time to find out the truth about whatever we are reacting to. We only gather a little bit of information and we make assumptions, then react accordingly. How contrary that is to what the passage tells us we should do and how amazingly different our relationships would be if we were to put those words into practice daily.  As a mom I see these crazy reactions often when our sinfulness bumps into someone else’s sinfulness and there is an explosion. An argument erupts and ugly words are exchanged.  Usually this happens simply as a result of misunderstandings, miscommunications, agendas getting ruined, personal space is invaded and the list goes on. Just this morning when one of my boys stepped out of the shower he realized that he had forgotten a clothing item, so he wrapped a towel around himself and ran into his room to attain that item. His brother seized the opportunity to run into the now vacant bathroom, where he grabbed the rest of his brother’s remaining clothing items and hucked them out the door into the hall before locking himself inside. My freshly showered, son experienced instant anger towards his brother and reacted accordingly, so after he was fully dressed we sat down and had a little chat. For all appearances, it sure looked like his brother was being a pill, but after asking my squeaky clean son several questions and presenting a possible scenario that his brother may have simply needed to use that bathroom and had no time to spare before he had an accident, and could it be possible that he was trying to be kind by hurling his brother’s clothes into the hall so he would have them available to him to finish dressing? Maybe he couldn’t kindly communicate his need and neatly hand the clothing items off to his brother because nature was calling him RIGHT NOW and there was no time to spare. In that scenario, I asked him if he would still be angry and he said that he wouldn’t be angry. He hadn’t thought about a physical need as a possibility for his brother’s seemingly rude behavior.  Jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst in each other is very common and as my son and I chatted, I shared with him that I struggle with that too and I have learned some hard lessons by my instant assumptions. The damage this can cause to relationships is not good and when we get behind the behavior and discover the reason for our own reactions it’s almost always sparked by fear and/or personal preservation. All we can see is our own self. Our own needs. Our own desires and that someone blocked the fulfillment of our plan. If we would take the time to re-train our thinking through prayer and scripture reading daily and if we were to ask God to help us see others through His eyes, and if we were to apply what we read today to our relationships as well,  by being quick to listen (ask them what their perspective was and seek to understand their actions instead of assuming we know why they behaved the way they did), slow to speak (or lash out) and slow to become angry (by believing the conclusions we have jumped to), we could probably save ourselves and our loved ones a lot of pain. Learning to see things from another’s perspective is a good quality to begin teaching our kids while they are young. Teaching them to consider possibilities outside their own perspectives could save them and their friends/family/co-workers a lot of turmoil as they grow older and help them to be more sensitive to other’s needs and desires.

I heard my son apologize to his brother for his angry reaction after he emerged from the bathroom and I also heard my other son ask forgiveness for the way he treated his brother’s clothes and took over the bathroom. “I had to go to the bathroom and I didn’t have time to explain,” he confessed.

I honestly didn’t know that was why he behaved the way he did, and I was prepared to have a little chat with him as soon as he came out, so it was one of those sweet/funny moments for me as I quietly observed their conversation from the adjoining room.  One of my sons chose humility by admitting his behavior was wrong and seeking forgiveness for his actions. As a result, his brother also sought his forgiveness and later on in the afternoon they were having Nerf Gun wars and laughing together.

This is just one of the many reasons time spent at home is so important to me. How else can I connect with my kids in this way? How else can we grow together and encourage one another? How else can we see character issues that need loving, firm and kind attention? We need to spend time together at home. I’m so grateful that God has given me the gift of being their mom and the ability to teach them at home. Today all the kids have completed their school for the day, laundry is almost all the way caught up, the house is clean, I have managed to take care of some computer business I needed to attend to, I had the pleasure of creating a delicious, nutritious lunch that we all sat around the table and enjoyed with their Dad. It’s been a good day at home today and now it’s time to make dinner. but before I do, I'll leave you with a few pictures from our week.


natty cooper

The boys tend to have a lot more energy than our girls do, so periodically they need to get some wiggles out. Sometimes we just stop everything and get a little P.E. in and they enjoy building big muscles through push ups and they love a good jumping jack competition too.

noah push ups


Levi jumping jacks

I caught my daughter taking a selfie with my cell phone, so being the mature mom that I am, I kind of photo bombed it. Yes....I'm "that" mom.

nat, mom photobomb

We had some of our grandkiddos and our little grandpuppy over yesterday. Nama's camera came out and started shooting pictures of Auntie Christine with Hailee and her new little puppy, Rory.

hailee, chrissie


Chrissie and Haille

And.....Auntie Natalie with Cooper!

natty cooper

The two younger boys and I are reading "Little House on the Prairie" and the other day we all snuggled up on our king size bed to read. It was a cozy, rainy day and we all enjoyed some tea while we read.....and of course we had to take an "usie!"

And.....that's a wrap!

Mom and boys