Several years ago, I stumbled across an interesting statistic. We spend 95% of our lives anticipating the other 5%. The 5% makes up the “biggies” such as holidays, vacations and other celebrations. As homeschool moms, we often live in survival mode (or is just me?) The expectations we (and others) place on ourselves can be overwhelming. I can’t tell you how many times I have been guilty of wishing away the small moments in life for that shiny homeschool castle I have built in my head. You know the one. My shiny homeschool “castle” is pristine, my meals are gobbled up with healthy enthusiasm, and our schoolwork is fun and fruitful. The reality looks more like this. Most nights I fall into my crumpled, unmade bed. I’ve been worn down by a day spent tripping over little messes, math woes and a meltdown involving George Washington (I was the one who suffered the meltdown).
When I was much younger, I suffered a horrible car accident. It was one of those “change your life forever” moments. When I got well enough to daydream I imagined puttering about my house, my feet dressed in soft slippers. In my head, I sipped hot tea and planned a lovely dinner of my husband’s favorite Chicken Parm. Instead, I was trapped in a hospital bed. My body was broken. Puttering around my house in slippered feet was a long time coming.
Notice that when I could I didn’t dream of big events or celebrations. I thought of those precious small moments. Those things that provided comfort and beauty in my day-to-day life. When my world had crashed in (literally) those were the moments I missed the most.
Here is a bit of truth I would like to pass along. Don’t wait until you are forced to dream about those seemingly unimportant moments in your life. Those small moments we have with our children and family… They are fleeting. They are precious. Don’t wish them away waiting on the ideal.
God dealt with me through this hard time. There were to be many more lessons to learn (another day, another story). There were days when it seemed as if the sun was never going to shine again. When troubles seemed to fall on my head like huge chunks of granite. I was inspired to make a list of trifling things that I could fit into everyday that would help my life become a beautiful one. DESPITE what was going on around me.
I decided that I couldn’t focus on the things I couldn’t change. I couldn’t fix everything. What I could do was to make the small moments in my life beautiful. I could stop and enjoy the reflection of an autumn moon upon the water. I could add sweet smells and sights to my life. I could be nice (ouch!)
I would like share you a few ideas for beautiful living. I won’t be glib. I am not about to tell you can fix a major life crisis with a pedicure (though I won’t turn one down if anyone is offering). These are just a few of my observations, gathered over years of living on the edge.
Loose the ‘Tude. Nothing is uglier than carrying around bitterness. No matter happens we can’t become our obstacle.
Add beautiful touches to the day. I am very visual. My environment can go a long way in setting my “mood.” I enjoy a few fresh cut flowers here and there. I love lighting a candle while I’m in the kitchen. I love looking at pretty and interesting things. It doesn’t take much money or effort to serve simple soup in a china bowl.
Plan for the Meltdowns. For the times we need to take a chill pill. True Confession. My initial response during a crisis is to reach
for the closest food item resembling chocolate and curl up into a fetal position. Knowing my tendency for avoidance and chocolate…. I now prepare. I have a little notebook and a pretty pen that I keep handy. I vent. I plan. I doodle. I have some “go to” scripture verses that I meditate on. I make time for a soak in the tub and treat myself to a cup of tea. I might have a meltdown, but at least I’m clean.
Purposefully take note of your surroundings. How long has it been since you’ve sat outside to enjoy the sunset? Or followed the clouds? Some days I have to close my eyes and set my face towards the sun. I let the breeze mess with my hair and just breathe. And hope I don’t breathe any bugs up my nose. It’s the simple things.
Listen with your heart. Treat each relationship in your life like a treasured gift. I found that when I do something as simple holding my husband’s hand I am putting a priority on that relationship in my life. I try to greet my son with a bright smile, a kiss and a good word every morning. There are days it’s an effort. I am a woman in need of hormone therapy.
Occasionally, I wander away from my “beautiful life” refrain. I allow the cares of the world to press me down. And, my dear friends, it’s not easy to let go of those cares. I have to refocus myself. I slow my steps. I am generous with my kisses. I make time to gaze at the sky and place my teapot on standby. It is a beautiful life.
Rebekah Teague is a homeschooling Mama of one creative and highly-entertaining son. She has been married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a great guy. She resides in the Ozark Mountains and blogs at There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining.