Finding Joy in the Everyday
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Maybe it was from watching Candace Payne’s viral Chewbacca video last week that got my mind focused on the joy in life, but I absolutely love finding joy in the little things of life. This week has reminded me of this fact. The little things are what life is made of.
I can’t help to see how much God has taught me through this big family and through the trials and triumphs of homeschooling. I believe God brings us to the end of ourselves so that we may cling to Him, and to grow up spiritually.
I’m not naturally joyous. I have to admit that my own human nature makes me somewhat of a pessimist. I can get grumpy. I can get annoyed. I can get all doom and gloom. Sometimes for no good reason, I can be in a bad mood and suddenly seeing the word through grey-tinted glasses, inspecting my life for all the wrongs, the hurts, the bad things that have or are about to go wrong. That is probably my natural state. Maybe this is what Paul felt when he said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15
Something happened this week that I believe was from God. I started to see the good, the blessing, feeling hope rising up in me … I started to find joy in the unexpected.
It all started last week, when our brand new washing machine broke out of the blue. One minute I was doing laundry, and then the next minute it sounded like a freight train was roaring through our living room. Days later we found out part of the clutch had broken in half. I truly hope that isn’t indicative of how Samsung machines work – because other than this incident, I really have enjoyed this machine. We found out on Monday that they would be back out on Friday with the extra part. So needless to say, we’ve been trying to conserve clothes and live without doing our typical load of laundry this week, and part of last, that we would have done. I have found joy in the fact that I have a very good excuse to not do laundry. I’m enjoying my lack of homemaking this week in the form of this rest. 🙂
Earlier this week, after we did the kids’ routine dental appointments on Monday, my 9 and 11-year-old worked together to create a cupcake – cake in the shape of a Scotty Dog. They wanted to try it out and my 11-year-old designed it with his own original sketch and template of where each cupcake should be placed. I love that they worked together and accomplished this goal. This is totally not healthy, but so much fun for all.
Then we kept the joy coming as we decided to get an early start to our school day on Tuesday morning. The kids and I made a list of everything we needed to get done and we actually followed the list! We got done by lunch time with everything that was planned and had a wonderful time playing the game Carcassonne with the three older kids in the afternoon.
Wednesday morning, I awoke to my 11-year-old son teaching my 5-year-old how to play the same game. I truly wondered if we would be able to learn it (it is listed as ages 8 and up on the box) but delightfully he learned it and he loves it! We decided to make another list for Wednesday and got all our work done, plus finished a new book we had been reading called “The Glass Castle” (look for my review of this awesome book next week).
Today, after our work got done, I told the kids we needed to drop some books off at the library. Once we got there, my son spotted one of his friends also there. It turns out his family was hanging out at a nearby park and he had run in quickly to pick up something at the library. We ended up swinging by the park for a quick playdate and to catch some sun. This was quite the serendipity – the Lord knew I needed some time with other moms and my kids enjoyed playing with the other young children.
There were other small joys that I got to witness and just breathe in this week. Like my 1-year-old taking some of her first steps with the help of her little big brother and sister. They encouraged her, they came beside her, they helped her along. It made me so happy to see how they love her and how they cheered her on.
My older kids stepped in and helped me after I wore myself out a few afternoons this week. I’m so thankful for their acts of service to our family.
I get asked all the time how I handle so many kids and many people ask how difficult it is to be home with your kids all day every day. My answer to that is – it is whatever you make it. I absolutely love spending time with my children. I love having the opportunity to teach them and to form relationships with them – every day of the week. Although, I do love being at home most days, sometimes even I have days where I need to get out of the house and see some other adults. What is great about that is, we live in a time where there are so many places we can go! When the kids and you get stir crazy, head to a museum or the zoo, to the park, to the library… there is no need to stay cooped up all day, unless that is what you want! I’m so thankful for the time that I get to spend with all my kids in the moments of life. I don’t at all consider it a burden – it is 100% a blessing for our whole family. Sometimes, however, I need to remind myself of this fact because it is easy to listen to the nay-sayers of the world and to start seeing my own life through their tunnel vision.
This week was full of unexpected joy in the mundane, the trivial, and even in the obstacles that life throws our way. I’m thankful today for love, for relationships, for smiling faces, laughter, good talks, and unexpected gratitude. I’m realizing something else too, maybe joy is contagious … maybe it is catching. I’ve already started to see it spread throughout my children in their bedtime prayer and praise. Though I didn’t plan for this, I’m thankful for these small surprises and big blessings.