I don’t know about you, but I am nearly overwhelmed with all of the negativity, dissension, conflicting viewpoints, and division that seems to be threatening to overtake my heart and mind. This has been mounting for a while. With the current political climate AND the fact that 2017 promises to present our family with some major transitions, I decided that I would commit myself to DAILY gratitude for all of the good in my life.
In 2017, I’m hunting the good stuff. I am setting aside the turmoil I see all around me and instead recording snapshots that will tell a story of fun, adventure, joy, and thankfulness. This is the story of my life and I’ll choose the tone and how I want to tell it; I do that daily with my attitude, my outlook, and the lens through which I choose to see life.
In fact, I’ve started a public Instagram profile called @love_your_precious_life where I am not only documenting, but also seeking to encourage others to look for the things that make life worthy of fullness, joy, and contentment. That feed is less personal photos and anecdotes and more general inspiration.
Here on my blog, I’m keeping a running camera roll of each month’s highlights and adventures. Has life been perfect? Nope. Have we had our share of hard days and tough moments? You bet. But that’s not what I’m choosing to focus on. I’m taking a day at the end of each month to go back and look at the snapshots of goodness and joy we have been given. Here’s our January adventure:
We started the year off winding down our post-Christmas visit to Tennessee. We had a chance to take my grandmother out to dinner and go visit with her (and her pup Molly) at her house afterwards. I love this lady a lot; she shaped many of my childhood memories and values about family.
We got back home and all the kids wanted to do was dig into their Christmas loot from grandparents and their aunts and uncles. Kate really enjoyed her chemistry set from Chad and Julie.
In the few days before our school semester started back, Mae and Kate got on a Play-doh kick. They love playing Chopped and Kids’ Baking Championship.
Ryan and I started weekly dance classes. This was a gift to me from Ryan for Christmas. I’ll probably write an entire post about what this class has taught us (and its not just dance steps). Oh my word. We are really having a blast and have discovered a budding hobby as a couple.
Kate started a homeschool gymnastics class that she has been eager to try for some time. Now that I’m no longer working outside of the home, we are able to do things like this during the week. She is LOVING her class. All of her many cartwheels, back bends, splits, and general flexibility has paid off in her class.
As part of our school day, we do what is called a Morning Basket. One of the subjects or activities is to have some sort of devotional time. We are loving this study and it is providing a lot of good discussion and examination in our hearts. You think you are the one teaching the kids, but sometimes the kids teach you! (I met Kim at Teach Them Diligently last year and she has many, many other great resources too!)
This past Christmas was the Christmas for drones. Thomas got one as a gift and the girls soon wanted their own. They used some of their money and gift cards to get themselves their own drones. If you ask me, they are a huge waste of money because of their unreliability and ease of breaking but alas, no one asked me. =)
We have had extremely warm weather this January and the kids have literally lived outside every afternoon and weekend day. Mae has been using these warm days to do some soccer conditioning. She’s ready for the spring season and can hardly wait.
We made a few changes in our school room and everyone seems to be working with more focus and intention.
We started our science labs back after the semester break and are enjoying our time with the Rippo family. Emma is also Thomas’s Social dance partner.
Over the MLK, Jr. weekend, my brother Ryan and his family came for a visit. Again the weather was great so we had some fun outdoors.
On the actual Monday of the MLK, Jr. observance, the public school neighbors were around during the day, so we called an audible and cancelled the Wood Academy for Christian Kids too. Ryan gave a “survival” lesson on building fires. I supplied the hot dogs, buns, chips, and smores goodies. Our kids are going to miss these friends when we move in a few months. I’m so grateful we have had such a wonderful neighborhood and yard for many, many hours of fun for our three.
This month, we have also restarted our evening Bible study. This is something we have tried to always do but the way it has looked has varied over the years. In this season, we are skipping a devotional book and going straight to God’s word. Ryan is walking us through the book of Luke and we plan to take it really slowly. We are doing short passages most nights and the kids are thinking, writing, and responding.
Ryan also completed a HUGE honey-do project for me. We had the pieces of an old headboard and footboard from a family heirloom piece. He transformed that into a cool hallway/entry bench for me and I LOVE IT.
Thomas and Mae competed in the Nat Geo Geography Bee with our local homeschoolers and did very well.
The following day, we attended the practice spelling bee that will formally take place in February. Mae stayed in the longest and was in the final three.
The girls and I drove over to Athens to watch the UGA Gymnastics team for a second time. It’s a short drive and an AWESOME venue.
That same weekend, Thomas and his Trail Life troop had a campout at the location of their summer camp a few hours away. I know Ryan hated to miss it but he had the Fort Gordon installation duty phone. =(
Kate, Mae, and I went to see Hidden Figures and LOVED it. What an inspirational story!
That weekend wasn’t all bad: the Falcons won the NFC championship game and are Super Bowl bound. As a lifelong Atlanta fan, Ryan was so happy. I had to get him a shirt to document history in the making!
Kroger had their tulips on sale for $0.88 a stem. That’s a lot of happy for not a lot of dough. If you want to brighten up your day, I dare you to get you some happy grocery store flowers.
We had some routine (but major) maintenance done on my vehicle and we had to get a loaner car for the day. While all of that was getting handled, our kids went nuts in the hospitality/customer area of the dealership. It blew their minds that there were some many luxuries in this room. Thomas made himself a mocha. =)
We’ve spent several days at one of our favorite places: THE LIBRARY. We are trying to soak up these last few months in the area. And I am already praying that the next place we move will have an amazing library like the one we’ve had access to here in Evans.
We have continued to discover some cool concepts in our science class. Not only has partnering with another family been a fun way to stay accountable in our science curriculum, but also it has given my girls an outlet to be leaders for some younger kids.
And finally, to round out our month, we made the (sometimes) annual trek to the Great Smoky Mountains for my extended family Gatlinburg trip. Life doesn’t always allow for our family to make this trip, but this year it worked out and we are so thankful.
This weekend is meant to be a get-away and a time for soaking up family time, visiting with one another, talking, sharing, and generally getting our family love tank full.
Ryan was asked to do the Saturday morning devotion this year and he did a great job!
Neither of my siblings (nor their families) could make it this year and we missed them terribly. Hopefully next year we will all make it.
Thank you January. While you are normally a drab and dull month where I eek my way through what feels like a dark and heavy time, this month felt different. This month felt full of family time, full of bright days, full of focus on the most important things.
Other highlights not pictured:
The presidential inauguration. Watching Speechless with the family. Meeting my friend Jonelle for an impromptu coffee date. Having a great hair appointment with a new girl. Ryan having his last turn with the duty phone while at Fort Gordon. Sticking to my spending freeze on clothes for myself. Drinking my coffee black. Having my friend Meredith over for lunch. Listing another product on Teachers Pay Teachers. Writing a devotional submission for my friend Brenda that will be used by the ABS. Booking a trip in May for Ryan and I to attend a conference. Decluttering Mae and Kate’s toys and *hopefully* having them organized for the move. Having a strong month with our school routine and rhythm. The kids knocking out some major chores for me. Selling a few items on our neighborhood classifieds page (decluttering). The dealership detailing my car before returning it to me. Starting a new candle that smells great. Re-doing my bedding after three years. Sticking to our monthly meal plan for the whole month. Making appointments for well-visits and dental cleanings and getting those on the calendar. Trying to single task. Sleeping better than I have in the past year.