How Can I Keep From Singing?

December 18th, 2015

I love the beautiful old hymns, and this one which I stumbled across recently is a real treasure. Enjoy.  -Kristin

Hymn by Robert Lowry

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Refrain:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth. [Refrain]

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am His!
How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

Christmas Newsletter 2015

December 9th, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Time flies when you’re having fun. God has been very good to us again this year. Some of the highlights of 2015 include:

Spending the holidays with family.

Camping and cottaging with family.

Two family weddings (Kristin’s cousins).

Lots of weekends spent enjoying and improving our new property up north.

Assembling tandem bikes with the kids for Ryan’s hobby business.

Having a 10′ inflatable pool in the backyard and teaching the kids to be comfortable in the water.

Enjoying our new little daughter and sister, Melinda Joy, who arrived late in December of 2014.

Homeschooling the boys; learning about ancient and medieval time periods together.

Birthday parties for the kids.

Reading lots of exciting books as a family.

And the list could go on….

The kids are growing fast.

Justin is six years old now, outgoing, enthusiastic, a little precocious and a little scattered. He has a caring heart, a bright mind, a boundless imagination, and a restless energy about him. He loves Lego, play-acting, dress-up (soldiers, knights, etc.), and drawing.

Patrick is five years old, sensitive, thoughtful, and a little headstrong at times. He’s a real homebody, and tends to be quiet and shy when around other people. Like Justin, he too loves Lego, play-acting and dress-up, but Patrick gets especially excited about working with Daddy, and talking about tools, machinery, and heavy equipment.

Oliver is two and a half years old. He is funny, energetic, enthusiastic, and into everything like a dirty shirt! If his older brothers can do it, so can he, whether it be drawing, play-acting, building Lego, doing school, building forts, climbing dirt piles and boulders, etc., etc. There’s no holding this little guy back. He smiles almost all the time, and he’s like a ray of sunshine in the family.

Melinda is the new girl on the block. She’s learning how to survive with three older brothers, and how to fend for herself. She is beginning to cruise the furniture, and can wiggle across the floor like a fish in water. Melinda loves oranges, her toy cat, and playtime with her brothers, mommy, and daddy. She likes to listen to us sing hymns and read stories. The boys are pretty thrilled to have a little sister, and it’s clear that she loves them all too.

A very Merry Christmas from our family to yours. May God bless you richly in the coming year.

 

What Do You Read?

November 17th, 2015

by Kristin

Are you a reader? You should be. My life and thought has been vastly shaped by books I have read. Here follows a list of different books I would recommend to others, and I hope you will take the time to read them too if you can.

 

For Homeschoolers

Educating the WholeHearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson

On Secular Education, R. L. Dabney, edited by Douglas Wilson

Repairing the Ruins, Douglas Wilson

A Charlotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola

Teaching the Trivium, Harvey Bluedorn

The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer

 

For Moms/Parents

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, Rachel Jankovic

Fit to Burst, Rachel Jankovic

Queen of the Home, Jennifer McBride

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, Sally Clarkson

Large Family Logistics, Kim Brenneman

The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer

Raising Real Men, Hal and Melanie Young

Future Men, Douglas Wilson

 

For Wives

For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn

The Fruit of Her Hands, Nancy Wilson

 

Other

Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman

The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom

New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell

Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2, Jonathan Sarfati

 

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

Cloth Diapering: My Experience

November 16th, 2015

Given my interest in old fashioned skills and natural living, when my baby daughter arrived, I thought I would give cloth diapering a try.

I had attempted cloth diapering once before, with my first baby, when he was about seven months old or so, but due to circumstances that arose, misconceptions I had, and mistakes I made, I quit after only a month.

But I was determined even then that it wasn’t going to be my last attempt.

So in 2015, with my fourth baby, I decided to give it a better trial. Here follows my experience with cloth diapering!

 

USING CLOTH DIAPERS

Capacity

When I was researching the subject, one of the biggest uncertainties I had was how long you could reasonably go between diaper changes. Some blogs I read suggested three to four hours, while others insisted on religiously changing cloth diapers every two hours. The latter just about scared me off of cloth diapering entirely! As a busy homeschooling mom, the thought of changing diapers every two hours religiously was overwhelming and impractical. What if I’m busy teaching for two hours, and then when I manage to slip away for a diaper change, I find the baby has fallen asleep? Do I then have to wake the baby for a diaper change? What if I don’t, and the baby sleeps for two hours? Would the cloth diaper have the capacity to last the four hours?

When I got the diapers, I experimented for the first week to determine the capacity. Happily, I found that the diapers I had purchased could manage up to six hours between changes if needed. I did do changes more often than that, but it was a welcome relief to discover that the diapers had the capacity in a pinch!

Fit

I used the Bummis Cotton Prefolds coupled with Thirsties diaper covers. The extra leg gusset on the Thirsties’ covers was a real improvement over the Bummis covers I used with my first baby.

I bought both kinds of Thirsties covers, velcro and snaps, and found that I much preferred the snaps. They were quick and easy enough for me, and didn’t require the guesswork I had with velcro in determining whether I had put the cover on too tight or loose.  (I also found that the velcro had a bit of a rough edge which would rub against the baby’s abdomen when she was sitting/bending over.)

The diaper’s good fit meant few leaks, and as an added bonus, I discovered that I had almost no blowouts with cloth, as opposed to the numerous blowouts I experienced with disposables. Score!

The one complication that arose was that the cloth diaper’s added bulk over slim disposables meant that it didn’t fit under some of the outfits I had. Carter’s brand was especially a problem, a brand which I otherwise love because of the good fit on my (relatively) slim babies.

Time Commitment

Another concern of mine that arose when I was toying with the idea of using cloth was whether individual diaper changes would take more time then a typical disposable diaper change. I couldn’t afford to spend an extra 5+ minutes for every diaper change.

This concern was quickly abated. I would fold the prefolds in advance (quick and easy job), and have them sitting ready in a basket on my diaper change table. The covers were close at hand in a dresser drawer. The cloth diaper pail with washable liner was right next to the change table.

When it came time for a change, the soiled prefold was removed and dropped straight into the diaper pail. The cover went there too if it was dirty; if only damp, it was hung to dry on a hook above the diaper change table. The clean prefold was placed on the clean cover, tucked under and over baby like a normal diaper, snapped in place, and we were good to go.

All in all, it was a matter of additional seconds per change, not additional minutes.

Other Notes

One additional aspect of using cloth diapers which I’ll mention is the issue of diaper rashes. Many cloth diaper sites will warn you not to use common diaper rash creams or ointments because the ingredients will coat your cloth diapers, causing issues with urine repelling, loss of capacity, etc., which in turn will lead to leaks or other problems for you and your baby. They recommend buying rash creams made specifically for use with cloth diapers. However, these tend to be hard to find, and rather expensive compared to commercial creams.

I then stumbled across this chart on pinstripesandpolkadots.com, which was super helpful. It listed a lot of diaper creams and their ingredients, then rated them for use with cloth diapers. Since I already had a few of the natural creams on the chart, I was able to just use what I had instead of buying some new cream. Also, I discovered that coconut oil by itself can make a decent barrier cream, with some added benefits for the skin, and it doesn’t cause problems with cloth diapers, as far as I know.

 

LAUNDERING CLOTH DIAPERS

Now for the tricky part. It’s easy enough to toss a soiled cotton prefold in a pail, but how do you clean it?

Brace yourselves….

I used my washing machine.

Yes, that’s what I said. No scraping, no dunking in the toilet, nothing. For a breastfed/bottle fed baby, the poop is water-soluble, and will wash away in your machine without leaving residue. Once the baby starts solids, then it’s a different story, but up until that point, your washing machine will do all the work for you.

Here’s what I did:

Every two days or so, I would dump the prefolds out of the pail liner into my top-loading machine, and if I needed to distribute them around more evenly, I would just grab a (relatively) clean corner of a prefold and toss it to the other side of the machine. The washable pail liner was thrown in too.

Typically it was a small load. I would let the diapers soak in cold water for about 30 minutes, then run a cold pre-wash (if I was in a hurry, I would skip the soak and just run a pre-wash). After that I would add Nature Clean laundry detergent (which I found recommended online as an economical, easy to obtain, and cloth diaper friendly laundry soap option), and run a hot wash with two rinses. The diapers would come out clean and fresh. I would hang them to dry. If I could, I would line dry them outside. The sun performed marvels in bleaching out the stains, and the diapers would typically be dry by the end of the afternoon.

 

CONCLUSION

So what’s the conclusion of the whole story? Well, I rather enjoyed the experience. The prints on the diaper covers were really cute, and I felt I had accomplished something good for my baby by putting her in cloth instead of wrapping her in some paper contraption with strange chemicals of some unknown toxicity.

However, the summer was really busy, and cloth diapering eventually fell by the wayside. I hadn’t purchased as many prefolds as I should have, and so laundering the diapers became a bit of a burden as I had to rush to wash them so I could have clean diapers for the next day.

Would I do it again? Yes. My hope is that with the next baby I’ll purchase a few more cloth diapers to make the laundry burden easier, and I’ll use cloth from the time I’m fully recovered from the birth (about 6 weeks) to about 6 months, Lord willing. I’m not quite feeling brave enough to continue cloth diapering past the point of introducing solids, as dealing with the “output” at that point will require a few more steps which would cost more time than I have to devote to the project. But you never know. We’ll have to see what the future holds and cross those hurdles once we get to them.

Best,

Kristin

 

The Best Job Ever

January 30th, 2015

You know what?

I love having children. I love being able to stay at home to raise them. I love homeschooling them.

To look with awe at the tiny hands and the delicate features of my newborn’s face…

To playfully chase my toddler around the room and hear him giggle uncontrollably…

To watch my preschooler working enthusiastically alongside his daddy building a snowman…

To see my five-year-old’s face light up as he reads a little book all on his own…

Yes, being a homeschool mom of four has its challenges. Sleep deprivation, laundry piling up, clutter stacked here and there, and toys and socks scattered everywhere. Dirt and grime building up on floors and walls. Making meals while juggling a crying baby and correcting a disobedient toddler. Breaking up fights and settling disputes. Dealing with a student who’s struggling with a subject or growing disinterested in schoolwork.

It’s certainly not all glorious.

But I wouldn’t trade it for any other job.

God made me for this. He gave me, as a woman, the ability to conceive and bear children. He uniquely wired me, as a woman, with the nurturing spirit to meet the needs of these children. Everyday, He grants me a certain measure of strength and wisdom for the job of raising these precious souls.

And I love it.

-Kristin

Melinda Joy Kidd

January 2nd, 2015

Update Jan 17, 2015: Baptism Day Photos (picasa)

———-

With deepest joy and gratitude to God for the safe arrival

of our precious baby, we would like to announce

the birth of our fourth child (and first daughter),

Melinda Joy Kidd

born at 6:40pm on Monday, December 29, 2014

weighing 6 lbs 9 oz.

_________________________________________________

Baptism

Melinda will be baptized at

2:30pm, on Sunday, January 11, 2015

at the New Horizon Church in Scarborough.

See www.newhorizonchurch.ca/wp/map for directions.

All are welcome to attend.

_________________________

Melinda with brother Justin, 5 days old

_________________________

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the baby’s birth specifications? A: weight: 6 lb. 9 oz. (2.7kg);  length: 20.5inches (51.5cm), dark hair, blue eyes.
  2. How long was Kristin’s labour? A: 2 hours from start of established labour to birth.
  3. Were there any complications? A: due to a pregnancy-induced liver function disorder, the OB considered it best to induce labour 2 weeks early.  Apart from breaking the waters to induce labour, we’re thankful that the birth was all natural without complications.
  4. Where was the birth? A: The baby was born at Scarborough Grace Hospital due to having to be induced on account of Kristin’s liver function problem.
  5. How is breastfeeding? A: Melinda is feeding very well and is thriving.
  6. Why did you name the baby Melinda Joy?  A:  The name Melinda means “Gentle” or “Sweet.” The name Joy means, well, “Joy.” [You could say she's our "Sweet little bundle of joy." :) ]  The proximity of her birth to Christmas had an influence on the choice of names. Christmas is a time of joy, of rejoicing, a season to celebrate the coming of our Saviour. Hence the middle name Joy. Furthermore, it is our prayer that our daughter, as she grows and matures, will aspire after the mother of Christ, Mary, a young woman who found favour with God, who humbly trusted His word, and who offered herself as a willing servant to the Lord (Luke 1:30, 38).
  7. What is the baby’s theme verse? A: The theme verse is taken from Mary’s song, the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:46-50).  
  8. Why are you choosing to baptize your baby? A: We do not believe baptism will make the baby go to heaven automatically.  But just as male babies received the covenant sign of circumcision in the Old Testament, we believe that God requires us to put His mark of ownership on our children, and in baptism He promises to save our children as they grow up to receive the covenant promises, repenting of their sins personally and learning to love and obey the Lord Jesus.
  9. Do you need meals or anything for the baby? A:  We are fairly well supplied with meals at the moment, thanks to family and friends. However, we would gladly accept donations of hand-me-down baby and toddler girl clothes, so Melinda doesn’t have to wear her brothers’ baby clothes. :)
  10. Donations in honour of? If you want to give a gift in honour of Melinda, we might suggest sending a donation to the Christian Blind Mission.   CBM provides eye operations and life impacting treatments to children in the third world who are truly in need.   International Justice Mission also does good work and it accepts international donations.

Thank you all for your love and prayers for us at this precious time!

Christmas Newsletter 2014

November 13th, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all our friends and family!

The year went so fast. It’s hard to believe it’s the Christmas season again already.

It was a long, cold winter. The ice storm that hit the GTA a few days before Christmas in 2013 knocked out our power for two days. Thankfully, between a large kerosine heater and some generators we borrowed from Ryan’s brother Joel on the second day, we were able to manage the inconveniences of no electricity with little discomfort.

Come the new year, the weather was bitterly cold at times and the winter seemed to last forever. Needless to say, we stayed indoors a lot. Ryan and I tried to keep the boys busy with some preschool and woodworking activities.

In March and April, we celebrated Justin’s 5th birthday and Oliver’s 1st. During those early spring months, Ryan and I made some plans and began transforming two small rooms in our basement into one large playroom for the boys. Ryan took out the partition wall, added some new drywall and pot lights, and painted the room a beautiful sky blue. Together with my sister Danielle, I painted some big fluffy white clouds on the walls and painted the doors and trim white. Over the course of the year, I added a toy organizer and a small table and chairs. Later in the year, Ryan built a jungle gym for the playroom with two towers and monkey bars for the boys to climb and swing on. If another harsh winter strikes, we are well prepared!

In May, we were thankful and joyful to discover that we were expecting another child. Baby Kidd #4 is due to arrive in January 2015!

Summer brought a buzz of activity. I was gardening again this year, as well as spending hours preparing for homeschooling Justin in the fall. On top of that, I volunteered to help my sister Danielle prepare for her wedding, as she had only a few months to get ready. Many hours of planning and crafting went into making it a beautiful event. I also took the kids and their cousins to the Reptile Zoo in Vaughn for a field trip in June.

Over July and August we attended three weddings and a wedding shower and went camping/cottaging with both sides of the family. What an exciting summer!

In September, we celebrated Patrick’s 4th birthday. We also acquired a 50 acre parcel near the Beaver Valley in Grey County, about a 20 minute drive from Ryan’s parents’ house. Over the next few months, we spent many weekends there, camping out in the cabin and, with the help of family and friends, doing a lot of work in the fields and bush, cutting back the growth at the edges in preparation for a neighbouring farmer to come and cultivate the land for us.

The boys and I have been enjoying homeschooling for the most part. Some days they are excited for school and other days, well, they are not-so-excited about their work.

Justin is my star math student. He loves math, and really has a head for numbers, surprising me at times with his understanding. He is obsessed with Legos, and can disappear for hours at a time behind those little blocks and minifigures in the playroom. He is also becoming quite a help with little tasks around the house, such as washing dishes, caring for Oliver, fetching things for me, and cleaning up toys. He is a bright and happy boy, whose smile and giggle can really light up a room. He likes to ask a lot of questions, and can really test the extent of my knowledge with his insatiable curiousity.

Patrick is more quiet and sensitive than his older brother, but nonetheless a sweet little boy who loves time and attention from Daddy and Mommy. He has faithfully remembered the new little baby in his prayers during the course of the pregnancy. One of Patrick’s favourite things to do is spend time with Daddy working on some project or machine. He also loves tigers, and likes to dress up in a tiger costume whenever he has the opportunity at Grandma’s house.

Oliver is our resident cutie-pie. Now 18 months old, he is energetic and enthusiastic to be involved in what everyone else is doing. Whether it’s washing dishes or sweeping the floor with Mommy, playing Legos or colouring pictures with his big brothers, or hitting keys on Daddy’s laptop while Ryan is typing, Oliver is an irresistible companion — in more than one sense! His infectious giggle would cause anyone to break out in a smile. He loves his teddy bears and stuffed animals, and can’t go to bed without them.

Between three lively boys, a pregnant wife, volunteer positions, and hobbies, Ryan has been keeping very busy once again this year. He had the boys helping him with the tandem bike business again this summer. Though he did not participate in any long distance bike rides this year, he took all of us on a number of rides down the Don Valley trail. We attracted a lot of attention from passerby with our bike for five (kangaroo baby seat + tandem bike + tandem bike trailer = 5 riders). The conundrum he has yet to solve, however, is where to add on a seat for a sixth passenger once the baby graduates from riding inside Mommy!

We are thankful to God for all His many blessings, and for the strength He gives us to face the trials and challenges of each day. We rest in peace, knowing that God guides and governs the future,  and that even in the midst of troubles and distress, we can trust Him to see us through dark days and over a difficult path. Not in our time, but in His time. Not by our plans, but by His wisdom.

A Blessed Christmas to all of you,

Ryan & Kristin, Justin, Patrick, Oliver, and Baby

A Work in Progress

February 26th, 2014

I was fresh into married life and housewife-ry, and, I must confess, I was almost a hopeless case.

I knew how to make a few simple pasta dishes, had some experience in house cleaning, and I could compose a 50 page thesis on the philosophical justification of Christian beliefs — although admittedly, the latter wasn’t helping me very much with getting my homemaking together.

I would be up at 10:30pm, washing a sinkful of dishes due to a shameful amount of procrastination. Cleaning the bathroom happened…when I remembered to do it. I was tripping over baskets of dirty laundry and clean laundry which had been sitting around for half a week. Houseplants were dying for lack of water (I have since then accepted my inability to keep a houseplant alive). My office desk was a disaster. In my defense though, I did have dinner ready on time….Sort of….Okay, maybe once in a while.

I’ve come a long way since then. I’m more confident now about my abilities as a keeper of the home. Laundry, dishes, and cleaning are completed in a much more timely and orderly manner. And I always have dinner ready right on schedule…(Okay, okay. Most of the time).

And I’m still improving. Slowly but surely, everything is finding a place of its own, clutter is being cleared away, new tasks are being added as old ones become habits, and routines are falling into place.

As I look back and remember the chaos of yesterday, there are a few little tidbits of advice and words of encouragement I would like to offer to young women embarking on married life and motherhood. This is for young women who, like myself, have struggled with “not having it all together.”

#1.  Don’t Compare Your Homemaking Skills to Others’

Especially not those of an older or more experienced woman. Remember, she probably started out much like you, and over the years was able to build up her home to the standard it is at.

That said, it is helpful to gain ideas and inspiration from how other women keep their home. The issue comes when you view another woman’s house and, instead of rejoicing in your friend or neighbour’s successes and learning from her, you compare her strengths to your weaknesses and put yourself down, or worse, resent her.

#2. Form Reasonable Expectations for What You Can Accomplish in a Day

This is especially important once you have young children. Between feeding them, clothing them, cleaning them, and otherwise caring for them, some significant hours of your day are spent. There’s only so much time, and everything seems to take longer than you would expect. Allot only a few “big” tasks to yourself each day, and leave yourself plenty of additional time for each one. At the end of the day, you will feel encouraged that you were able to accomplish what you set out to do — however small — as opposed to feeling defeated by the long list of chores that remain undone.

#3. One Step at a Time

More than once I resolved to get my homemaking act together by making a long list of the tasks I wanted to accomplish. My determination to implement those changes would typically last about a week and then fizzle. It was just too much. I could only get about a quarter of it done, and then I would think of the mountain of tasks remaining and give up.

Having gone through it, this is the advice I would offer to someone in the same shoes:

When you want to add some additional tasks to your schedule, go ahead and write down a list of five, and then select one or two, preferably something with a reasonable time commitment. Choose a day of the week on which to do this task, and then for a month or two make a determined effort to get it done every week on that day.

Say, for example, you want to get into the habit of cleaning the floors regularly. Tuesday is one day of your week that you typically don’t have many other commitments on. So make a note, mark your calendar — whatever you need to do to remind yourself — and on the day, make cleaning the floor one of your first tasks. Over the course of that month or the next few, if you keep at it diligently, that task will start to become routine. Once you are confident of this, you can move on to adding another task, always keeping in mind to make it reasonable. (Adding two hours of daily workout to your schedule is just not going to happen. Trust me on this one.) Each small success will serve as an encouragement to you and will help you to move forward with the confidence that you can get it done.

#4. Establish Routines and Schedules

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t do well with schedules. They’re too restrictive.”

I once thought the same. Schedules didn’t seem to make sense. I thought I could accomplish so much more, and have so much more freedom, if I didn’t lock myself into boxes of time. Since then I have discovered that schedules are actually more freeing.

Before having a schedule and routine, I found that the “basics” didn’t get accomplished on a reliable basis. Sure, there were some random tasks and projects which saw completion during the week. But dinner time was random. Laundry was piling up. The kids’ baths were being neglected. And on and on it went.

Furthermore, once I had finished a task, I couldn’t think of what to do next, and so much time was squandered on non-productive activities (read: “Youtube”, “Facebook”, etc.) because I thought my work was done. And at the end of the day, I would be kicking myself for the lost time when I remembered all the things I should have done but didn’t because I had forgotten.

What helped me in organizing my day/week was establishing a routine one task at a time, as I mentioned above. After I had been able to keep up some routine for over a year or two, I eventually became convinced that I should try a schedule too. So I divided my waking hours into 4 or 5 blocks of time, and allotted myself a few tasks or activities in each. In practice, you would probably say it works more like a flow chart, but regardless, it has been an immense help in organizing my day: chores are being completed more reliably, I’m spending time with the kids every morning — which has led to a significant improvement in their behaviour, by the way! — and I’m finding that some days I even have a spare hour in the afternoon to tackle some projects. I keep one printed copy of my schedule in the kitchen and one at my office desk, so if ever I need a reminder as to what to do next, my schedule is never far away!

#5. Never Call Yourself a Failure

Recognize that this is truly a work in progress. Like any other skill, good homemaking takes discipline and practice. You will have hard days and setbacks, and seasons when routines and schedules are lost (e.g. a difficult pregnancy, health problems, moving house, etc.). This is life, and one day the cloud will pass. You can start over again, and/or adjust your routine as needed. The important thing is to see improvement over the years.

May God bless you as you seek to be an excellent keeper of the home for His glory!

-Kristin

 

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

February 10th, 2014
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
   The breath goes now, and some say, No:

 

So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.

 

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,
   Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
   Though greater far, is innocent.

 

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
   Those things which elemented it.

 

But we by a love so much refined,
   That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

 

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
   Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
   Like gold to airy thinness beat.

 

If they be two, they are two so
   As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the other do.

 

And though it in the center sit,
   Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
   And grows erect, as that comes home.

 

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
   Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
   And makes me end where I begun.

Making the Most of the Little Things

February 3rd, 2014

by Kristin

Sometimes I find myself wondering whether I’m doing the right thing.

When you are a mother with multiple young children, you don’t have a lot of free time. Your days are taken up with the essentials — clean ‘em, clothe ‘em, feed ‘em — and all the other myriad tasks that naturally fall to you as a homemaker. You are caught up in a monotonous repetition of little chores — dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. — and are at the beck and call of little people who seem to need your attention every 2 minutes and 47 seconds…at least, some mornings it seems that way.

You ask yourself every once in a while: Shouldn’t I be doing something bigger and more important? Volunteer opportunities come up, and you are eager to jump on board and help, but your husband reminds you that you don’t have the time. So with a sigh, you settle back in your chair and think of the basket of laundry that needs to be sorted and the dishes piled in the sink.

It’s easy to forget what lies in the little things. It’s easy to forget just how important the little things are.

Think of that sinkful of dishes: There are dirty bowls and plates, dirty cutlery and cups, dirty pots and pans. This big job has to be broken down into several little tasks: clean this plate, then that plate, and then the next one; this cup, that cup, and each piece of cutlery; this pot, that pan, and so on. Each of those little, individual tasks adds up until — voila! — you can step back and survey with satisfaction the stacks of clean, shiny dishes in the cupboards and drawers.

Life is made up of the little things. Little tasks adding up into big accomplishments. Little moments adding up into years. Little decisions steering life’s course.

Oftentimes when we look back on our lives as a whole, it’s the accumulation of the little things which largely determines whether we view our life experience as mostly positive or negative: a smile, a hug, a small word of praise, a fun game, a good laugh, versus a scowl, a critical remark, a slammed door, and a promise unkept.

So what does that mean for me as a mother, wife, and homemaker? Simply this: That by doing my best in the little things, I am laying the foundations for life. A little sweep here, a little scrub there, a picture frame hung on the wall — I am creating a home and a haven. A smile here, a hug there, and time together — I am nurturing the souls of my family and endowing a treasure chest of memories to share and enjoy for a lifetime. A Bible story here, a prayer there, and grace extended — I am planting the seeds to grow a faith which will move mountains.

Making the most of the little things is no easy task. Such an undertaking requires, among other things, cheerfulness, patience, graciousness, willingness, diligence, wisdom, self-control, a servant heart, faithfulness, understanding, humility, and unconditional love.

Making the most of the little things means choosing patience over frustration, hope over despair, forgiveness over resentment, hard work over laziness, humility over pride, and selflessness over selfishness. Consistently. Faithfully. Minute by minute. Day in and day out.

Let us not despise the little things. God grant us wisdom to recognize the eternal value of our work as mothers, and give us grace and strength to meet our calling.