Friday, January 14, 2011

How To Live A Truly Wonder-Filled Life

I can see them from my kitchen window, looking out across the yard.  Bundled so only eyes and rosy cheeks are showing, they each have a shovel in hand and are intent on their task: clearing Grandpa's path.  Snow is blowing around, but they take little notice.  Little sister slips and falls, big brother offers a hand.

I glance at the clock, its over an hour after school should have started for the day.  But like waking a sleeping baby, I'm not intent on bringing children indoors who are happy learning and playing outside.

They come in eventually, stomping boots, blowing on ice cold fingers.  My kitchen turns into a mess of mittens, hats, snow pants, and I think for the umpteenth time this winter: whenever we buy a house, it must have a mudroom!

It is late enough that it is nearly lunchtime.  I set out mugs of steaming hot chocolate in front of my rosy cheeked littles, and think out the rest of the day.  What we need is a little creativity.

It takes mere moments for me to whip up the dough, and then they're all around kitchen table, rolling and cutting out shapes to to be slid into a hot oven.

Does this count as school?  It counts as life, and some days life is just what needs to happen.  Real life - work, play, create, grow, learn.

Sometimes we need to stop doing what we are doing.  Days fill up so quickly, and it can seem that each day looks quite like the next.  The trick is to keep the wonder alive - and this may mean stepping out of your comfort zone.

Here is my recipe for how to live a Wonder-Filled life:

~ Be spontaneous.  Families and children thrive on a life with predictable rhythms, something solid that can be relied on, its true.  Imagine, however, that you could wake up every morning and think "I wonder what will happen today!"  It may be an entirely predictable day, but then again...something wonderful might happen!  Mama might make a cake, or Daddy might take littles sledding.  Surprise!  We are going out to dinner!  Keeping life somewhat unpredictable can keep the wonder and joy alive for the entire family. 

~Get out.  Now.  It doesn't matter if your home is situated on a postage stamp, or if you have a yard at all.  Get out in the day.  Go for a walk.  Work in the garden.  Shovel a path.  Take deep breaths and notice the wonder we can all miss out on.

~Unplug. Television, computer, anything and everything.  It helps for us that I can put the TV away - that is, we can close the doors of our entertainment center.  Out of sight, largely out of mind.  Same goes for the computer.  Ours is a laptop, so I put it up when it is becoming a distraction.

~Do real life things.  Fold laundry and make time for little people to help you.  Play guessing games - who does this shirt belong to?  What color is it?  Make dinner, set tables, clean up, and incorporate little people.  Teaching small people new things helps them to discover new skills - and gives Mama the wonder of watching another person grow.  Miraculous!

~Be creative.  Kids learn so much from watching what their parents priorities are.  Make time in your life for creativity.  It does not have to be knitting or sewing or crocheting - how about baking?  Give opportunities to your children to be creative too.

~Embrace the mess of Real.  Perspective is a powerful thing - keep it in the forefront.  This mess of a family life, real people in a real space doing real things - it is beautiful.  Seek beauty and quell the inner whispers of perfection.  Life is lovely.

 ~Encourage your kids to be who they are.  Find out their passions and interests, and nurture them.  This is the time to build confidence and individuality.  They are each so unique and precious.

~Bless others.  Take cookies to a neighbor (for us it is usually Grandpa).  Invite a family for a playdate (and give their Mom the option for some alone time).  Show your children how blessing others can add to the wonder of life.

~ Never stop learning.  Yes, you, Mamas.  Show your children that the joy of learning and exploring this world of ours knows no "grades" or "levels" - it is truly our lifelong privilege.  Prioritize learning new things, even if they are self-taught and simple.  Expand your horizons.  Be amazed.

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  1. I have only recently begun following your blog...uh...about month or so ago...all I have to say is WOW! You are amazing and your gift for the written word is to be envied. I wish I had half of your ability. You are able to put into words sooooo many of the things I feel or need to hear. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The help you provide me by sharing is more then you will ever know. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for your words, Megan! Its comments like this that keep me writing. I love hearing from you <3

  3. Oh to keep the wonder alive. We are working at it. Lots of letting go, and thoughtful planning.

  4. I agree with Megan, your words are really quite inspirational!


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