Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ordinary Days.

Homeschooling is filled with ever so many uneventful days. This is often a great blessing, but can also cause some of us moms to daydream about grand days, bustling with success and fulfillment. With this in mind, I'll give you the rundown of a "normal" day for me. This is not a day filled with impossible obstacles, nor a day filled with numerous monotonous chores. This day is like many others; ordinary.


My husband usually gets up a little before me, and does a large part of the breakfast routine, depending on which kids got up first. He makes coffee while helping the kids get cereal, toast, juice and yogurt. I usually help a little too, making smoothies for any who is in the mood, but mostly for myself.

After breakfast, the kids are supposed to go get dressed and brush teeth. This usually involves lots of thumping, laughing, arguing, and several demands from the littlest one. On this morning, we decide to hit up the library and coffee shop before we go to the store. The boys each take 15 minutes to do some Khan Academy while I read my bible and try to down my smoothie.

Once we've gotten dressed, gathered books, tied shoes and packed a snack, we pile into the car and try to find a parking space near the library. Our favorite coffee shop is only a block from the Library and on a Tuesday morning, parking is not usually the stressful endeavor parking in Portland tends to be. We walk down to the library to discover they aren't open! Why do I always forget they open so late? Off to the coffee shop to kill 20 minutes. The kids find a deck of cards and "play poker" while I order drinks. Lots of white chocolate and whipped cream went on, which all but one child thoroughly enjoyed :)

Back down to the library. The kids race down the block & shout back "It's closed!". What? That's weird, it's 10:03am. I look at the door, realize it's only Tuesday, and the library doesn't actually open until noon today. Oh well. Plot twist. Off we go to Target!

Dollar section, paper section, kitchen section, and groceries. Despite me saying no a few times about looking at toys, the kids do fairly well. Whew! Back in the parking lot, I finally make my six-year-old hang onto the cart because he is consistently, completely unable to stay within 15 feet of me while walking to the car, or really anywhere we go. I can't say I really enjoy saying "Cole, come closer to me please!", and I can't say it has actually changed his behavior. Oh well, no energy to deal with that for the moment.

We use the 20 min drive home to torture ourselves. The two-year-old has a new wand, which makes magical sounds. The six-year-old has a new balloon thing, shaped like a Ninja Turtle head, which he blows up and enters his world of pretend. His imagination is all narrated at a lovely volume, with lots of karate type of sounds. The seven-year-old wants to blast Owl City. After letting all of this be, and convincing people to keep to themselves, I just drive, wide-eyed, and do my best to not think about the chaos.


Unload groceries, make lunch, read while I diffuse arguments and discontentments at the table. Soon, I put Jovi down for a nap. Despite being a terrible sleeper for most of her life, she actually goes down for naps and bedtime pretty easily; the problem is staying asleep.
We hop right into reading for Cole, spelling for Asher and then some read aloud time reading from our History book. The goal is always to get in some schooling and some down-time for me before Jovi wakes up. Today's workload is pretty light, and thanks to Khan Academy, I can work on reading with one child while the other does math mostly independently. Yesterday we had almost three hours to do all this! Such a blessing. Today, a little more than one hour will have to do. And, as usual, Thumbelina is requested right when I ask my girl how she slept. I don't feel like dealing with tears, yelling, two-year-old despair, and the like, so we concede and laugh at the high level of cheesy-love involved in this movie.

Honestly, I have no idea what happens between 4pm-5pm most days. I think I typically either catch up on emails, scroll Instagram, read articles, or stare off into space and wonder if life will always feel so ordinary but so difficult. The kids go outside for a bit, get muddy, then find ways to get into arguments around the house every 15 minutes.


Around 5-ish, I start making dinner. Usually I can get the kids to read (while earning stars for TV time), color or entertain Jovi in her room. My husband, Mark, is usually home just before 6pm and we try to enjoy this time together. We talk with the kids, catch up on each other's days, talk about future plans, manage the chaos level at the table (again) and just generally try to keep our spirits and energy high for a few more hours.

After dinner, the boys often get to play soccer on the Play Station 3 with Mark, or some nights, they play together while Mark manages the kitchen for me. Jovi will often go downstairs to visit and read books or play games with Mark's parents (they have their own living space in the basement level). I either do dishes, sneak off to read a book, or contemplate the purpose of my existence on a couch. Most the time, I ignore the children and read a book, like every mom needs to do every once in a while. I just do this a little too often. I mean, I aspire to be a "real" writer someday, so it's more like homework, right?

Once the kiddos are in bed around 8pm, my husband and I chit chat, watch a movie, or do work-related things. Tonight, he works on an app for a company he's involved with on the side, and I work on fulfilling a small jewelry order. I decide to put on an audio training or two from Compel and listen while I work (and my husband endures or ignores this all rather well while he works). It's easy to get distracted or inspired, so I make a few other necklaces too. I want to go to the gym early tomorrow, so I finish up and turn in at about 10pm.

I'm learning to dread these simple days less. There is still room to impact the world on these uneventful days, inexplicably filled with chaos. We are made up of a million experiences, and the impact my joy will have on my children is more than I can ever fathom. From all of this, what I really want you to know is you are not alone. Millions of people are living life, enduring boring days, then doing it again tomorrow. Our days can be mind-numbing, exhausting, boring, enlightening, filled with grief, or filled with joy, and God uses them all. It's impossible to know what they are all for or how they can possibly be used to produce holy fruit, but each one gives you the opportunity to see something beautiful. If you can find that beauty, pass it onto your kids, and show them who has made it beautiful, this is something to be treasured! Don't pass it up.

When you feel like your life is too boring, too uneventful, or too normal to really impact God's kingdom, turn to God for peace and assurance. Our place before Him is not determined by how lively or important our days seem. There is an entire realm of activity we cannot see, a universe of spiritual warfare we cannot understand, and Satan would love for us to feel meaningless, useless, or too simple to be important. But those are all lies. Your persistent faith in service will do more good in that war than a one-time, awe-inducing, flash-in-the-pan type of adventure. Keep going, keep pursuing Him, and show your children you will never stop trusting God's faithfulness in your beautiful, but possibly monotonous, life

Romans 8 always gives me confidence in God. Read it, and let this give you courage and joy. He desires to give joy and hope in what He has already provided, and what He will provide for us in eternity. It will be worth it!

Romans 8:31-39 says:

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His won Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

'For your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

All the events going on in these verses seem grand, powerful, and important, but they apply to us "regular moms" too. Don't let anyone tell you a simple, boring, ordinary life is less worthwhile, less impactful, or less important. Keeping your hope in God's love for you while living in constant exhaustion-inducing monotony is a challenge worth rising up to. Be willing to do anything, to go anywhere, to sacrifice anything, or pursue anything in the name of Christ, but don't be ashamed if that calling is serving the smallest member of your household. As Jesus says in Matthew 35, "Assuredly, I say unto you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me." This will have a reward you will not want to miss! Chin up.

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