Catholics believe there are seven sacraments. These are the capital-S sacraments: baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, and holy orders.
But there are plenty of small-s sacraments shot through our everyday, too. Moments of grace where we encounter God. And the stuff of daily life – water and oil, bread and wine, forgiveness and healing, relationships and work – glistens with the fingerprints of the divine.
This is what my book is all about. Grace in the mess. Extraordinary in the ordinary. God in the Everyday Sacrament.
Since my siblings convinced me to try Instagram this summer, I have been captivated by finding small, sacred moments to capture. I love that this outlet of social media, more than any other I’ve tried, seems to be about sharing glimpses of joy and beauty.
And if you’ve been following me (@thismessygrace) and you’ve wondered why on earth I keep hash-tagging photos with #baptism, #marriage, #reconciliation or #anointing?
It’s because this Instagram lens on my ordinary world provides a perfect way to start seeing sacraments.
Where do you see sacraments in your everyday? A quick kiss from your spouse before work. A cold drink of water on a warm day. A to-do list packed with good work for those you love. A cupboard full of food.
Sacraments are all around us, if we have eyes to see.
(Yeah, I went there. You can only stare at so many bumper stickers about motorcycles without getting inspired.)
If we start to limit where we see God, our vision of the whole world narrows. But if we open our eyes wider, then we might marvel at what we find.
Baptism at bath time. Eucharist round the dinner table. Reconciliation after sibling squabbles.
What we celebrate in church is reflected at home. What we live at home is honored in church. And God is present, everywhere and always.
“Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration.
You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see.
Only, who could have the courage to see it?”
Let’s have the courage to see it. Let’s start seeing sacraments together.
Follow me on Instagram at @thismessygrace or tag your photos with #everydaysacrament.
Every week until my book is published, I’ll share a few favorite Instagram images here around one sacrament. Starting today with baptism, of course. Where our Christian story begins:
I am holding half an acre
Torn from a map of Michigan
And folded in this scrap of paper
Is the land I grew in.
- “Half An Acre” by Hem –
Right now I am home.
Sitting in the house that we own. Where we are raising our children. Where mail arrives daily bearing my name. Where we welcome family and entertain friends. Where I pull weeds and paint walls. Where my car pulls into the driveway and my shoes slip off in the doorway.
And I am writing about going home. Which is not here.
The gate agent accepts my folded slip of paper and scans it with a beep.
“Heading home?” she asks, smiling down at the baby in my arms and the two boys running ahead down the jetway. I look at her and wonder how to answer.
What makes a home? The people in it? The relationships they share?
The permanency of an address? The bigger sense of time and place wrapped around four walls and a roof?
Home is here and home is there.
Right now I am home.
Where the school bus picked me up every morning by the tall elm tree out front. Where we dragged sleds through the backyard to the sledding hill. Where I curled up on the sunlit carpet to pour through books. Where we sang grace for dinner. Where my brother died and every childhood dream I had was born.
Where I am writing about going home. Which is not here.
For the longest time I had my parents’ number listed as home in my cell phone.
The first number I’d memorized, the digits dialed by grade school friends and high school boyfriends, the number I called from college and abroad, the 10-digit combo where I always knew I would find a voice happy to hear mine, even if just a familiar answering machine.
After I was married, I punched in our newlywed number as Our House. Another house was still Home. Whenever I noticed and thought of changing the obvious, I changed my mind. Did I fear I would lose home forever if I claimed another?
One afternoon I made the switch. Idling in some parking lot, killing time, playing on my phone. That oldest familiar number became Mom and Dad. Ours became Home.
After all, if I wanted to list every place that felt like mine, the list would be blessedly long: Michigan houses and Indiana dorm rooms and French apartment buildings and Minnesota backyards.
I began to see how home was a more expansive concept – more accepting and embracing and growing and shifting.
Maybe this was the moment I understood home theologically. Maybe, as with Sabbath, we are made for home.
“Is this home?”
Thomas’ dark brown eyes blink up at me through the dusky light settling in the bedroom, the last slants of summer sunset stretching through the shutters.
“This is Gramma and Papa’s home,” I tell him. “It used to be my home, too. This is where I was little.”
“I’m little,” he declares firmly, soft jaw jutting out his resolve. “So this is my home, too.”
“But our home is in Minnesota,” I remind him. “We go home on the plane tomorrow.”
“No,” he insists with a shake of his head. “We stay home here. And then we go home, too.”
Somewhere I read that every great story is about leaving home or trying to come home. Scripture is full of this. Eden exiles and Exodus wanderings and exhortations to shake the dust from your sandals if the place does not welcome your message.
We are always coming and going. Departures and arrivals. Trying to find where we belong.
There is something ultimate in this longing, I know. Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee. But maybe what Augustine missed was that it’s not only our hearts that are restless. It’s our legs and our feet and our ears and our arms. Our whole self.
Toes that tire of work-day heels and ache to slide into slippers at the end of the night. Ears that once buzzed with children’s babble and now hope to hear grandkids’ feet clamoring up the front steps. Arms that wrap round the beloved waist and itch to slip into bed together again.
Longing for home is a whole body restlessness. Yearning to settle in where we are known and loved.
What Christ meant when he dreamed up rooms in my father’s house and what Eliot knew when he wrote to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
What we all know in our bones. From home and to home.
But I am holding half an acre
Torn from a map of Michigan
I am carrying this scrap of paper
That can crack the darkest sky wide open
Every burden taken from me
Every night my heart unfolding
This door marker greeted me on retreat last weekend. A small but important sign that I was in a place of hospitality, a hallmark of the Benedictines and their spirituality.
I thought about hospitality often while I was on retreat. When I saw the generous plates of snacks set out at every break. When one of the sisters helped me navigate their breviary books for evening prayer. When I noticed the basket of toiletries at the bathroom sink with a note to help yourself if you’d forgotten anything at home.
Small gestures that convey a deeper embrace of the stranger as guest.
. . .
In his Rule for monastic orders, Saint Benedict writes that all guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ. I remember seeing these words engraved in stone near the Abbey Church at Saint John’s when I first started graduate studies at the School of Theology.
During the next three years of studying and then five years of working within a Benedictine community, I’ve learned plenty about hospitality from the brothers and sisters within the monasteries.
But whenever I think of how to welcome guests as Christ, I still think first of two mothers I’ve been blessed to know.
My mom. She turns down the sheets and blankets at night, inviting her guests to slip into bed. She arranges bouquets in bedrooms and tiny bud vases in bathrooms. She chooses favorite books and stuffed animals to line each grandchild’s bed. She sets Martha-Stewart-worthy centerpieces on the kitchen table and pulls out homemade soup and sandwich fixings to greet late-night travelers who drag in from the airport.
And if you arrive so late that you’re sure no one could possibly be waiting up for you (she still is), she’ll leave a candle glowing in the dark kitchen, just enough light to let you see the “WELCOME!!!” sign scrawled and circled on the refrigerator white board, exclamation points barely enough to contain her joy.
My mother-in-law. She fills the table with family, friends, neighbors and strangers. She invites anyone who doesn’t have a place to go for a holiday – seminary students from Nigeria, new neighbors from Egypt, families from Colombia, shirt-tail relatives from Canada – to join any gathering she’s throwing. She rearranges the dining room to make one long table so that everyone has a place. She makes sure every elderly relative goes home with a heaping Chinet plate of leftovers to reheat the next day.
Every time I’ve brought a friend home who’s received their welcome, I hear my own thoughts echoed in their comments as we pull out of the driveway – Your mom is honestly the nicest, most thoughtful person I’ve ever met. Does your mother-in-law seriously make a spread like that for every Sunday supper?
Clearly they each have the gift.
. . .
Sometimes I feel intimidated by their hospitality. Both these women have the charism for welcome: a gift given for the good of the community. If I don’t share the same instinct, should I just give up? My welcome of guests tends more towards worry – is our home too messy? is the guest room a disaster? will they be bored by our current life with littles that sets our family’s days?
But then I remind myself that both these women are expert homemakers. The honor of their life’s work has been deeply tied to the warm center of the home they created as a place of welcome, not just for their families but for any who cross their doorstep. Whether their hospitality first came by instinct or desire, they’ve honed the habits that became a practice that formed a way of life.
I imagine it’s the same for any Benedictine.
So perhaps here’s hope for me yet, and hopefully many more years in which to grow in learning what it means to embody a gracious reception of those who show up at my door. Christ in the face of friend or stranger.
Knowing each of these women well, I’m sure they’d scoff at any compliment of themselves as Christ-welcomers. But I suspect the secret they’ve learned is something like this: when you welcome a guest as Christ, you become like Christ yourself. Generous, compassionate, and loving.
The wider your welcome, the wider your heart.
. . .
Today is a Benedictine feast, the anniversary of Benedict’s death in 543. They’ll celebrate in true welcoming fashion at Saint John’s and Saint Benedict’s.
If it weren’t for the fact that I’ll be posting this today and my mom will surely blush when she reads it, I’d doubt that she or my husband’s mom would ever know this is a day that celebrates their life’s work as well.
But isn’t that the gift of those who open wide their door for guest or stranger? Teaching the rest of us how humility goes hand-in-hand with hospitality.
My kids have already picked up on this ancient Benedictine truth. They’re constantly asking when they get to visit their grandparents next. Because even if they can’t yet name it, they know how it feels to be welcomed as Christ.
Like your arrival is the long-awaited gift that everyone’s been looking for.
Have you ever noticed that young children’s timing is absolutely perfect – for them and only them?
Case in point: they only want to put on their own shoes/coat/mittens when we’re already running 10 minutes late.
See also: they realize they are, in fact, capable of recognizing their own need for the potty when we’re in the middle of driving/dinner/Target/bedtime/church.
Otherwise known as: their internal clocks continue to rouse them right on time, regardless of what daylight savings says.
Case in point: my toddler now makes a pitiful plea for his bedtime prayer routine to PLEASE be repeated at naptime (when I used to get away with only a quick story-and-song before skipping out the door for blessed quiet to myself).
See also: the mornings we’re rushing to get out the door to school are the ONLY days that my boys ever insist on saying grace, rather than having me instigate the burdening of their every mealtime with my unbearable requests for them to give God thanks.
Otherwise known as: my preschooler inevitably makes his charming request for “meditation AND a Psalm AND OurFatherandHailMary” on the nights when their shrieking bathtime splash-fest soaks up every last precious ounce of energy and all I want to do is rush through bedtime to collapse on the couch.
Every time, the tired/selfish/cop-out words almost trip tempting off my tongue: no, we don’t do prayer at naptime! no, we don’t have time for grace this morning! no, I am too tired to do meditation!
But inevitably, something stops me – whether that stubborn MDiv, or the years I’ve spent trying to develop my own prayer life, or plain old-fashioned nagging Catholic guilt. Whatever it is, I catch the words and cough them back down my throat and try to ignore the clock/exhaustion/aggravation. Deep breath, refocus, slow down.
Of course we can pray. Even now.
I won’t saintly sugarcoat it to say I’m always glad we do. Sometimes I would still rather have gotten out the door 2 minutes earlier or collapsed on the couch 10 minutes sooner. But beyond any momentary annoyance, I’m always reminded where I want the long arc of our family life to bend: towards prayer, towards peaceful rhythms, towards the God who pulls us back together.
Tonight I’m posting about our bedtime psalm-praying at Practicing Families. My oldest and I started praying this way a long time ago, and I have come to love how meaningful this simple, slowing, centering line of Scripture becomes for both of us.
(Even on the evenings I’m fairly itching to close the bedroom door behind me and be done for the day.)
Every night as we go, no matter how antsy I am for bedtime to be done and my few precious hours sans-kids to begin, I always find that one phrase will inevitably catch me and do just what the psalmist says: slow me down and remind me that God is God.
Make no mistake about it: he wiggles and giggles the whole way through. Months and months of reciting the ancient centering prayer has not magically transformer my preschooler into a patient monk.
But he knows the words by heart, forward and back, inside and out. The Sunday we sang the same psalm at church and his eyes shot up, astonished that everyone else knew his prayer, too? That was one of the rare moments I tucked away to remember for always.
These words have become so close to him, already in his mouth and in his heart. Now all he has to do is learn how to live them.
All I can tell him is that it takes a lifetime.
Read the rest at Practicing Families…
When and how do you love to pray with the kids in your life? (Even if it sometimes drives you crazy, too?)
How will you celebrate your work today?
Look at laundry in new light to see how every day is a labor day.
Remember the ordinary, extraordinary labor that brought each of us into this world.
Take a page from my pastor on making room for kids in the midst of our work:
It’s adorable, of course, to watch a tall man in flowing robes lean over to talk to a tiny toddler. But sometimes I wonder if we let these interactions change us, if we who are parents let ourselves learn from our pastor.
I admit that I don’t always make such gracious space in my work for my children.
They pull over chairs to the counter in the middle of my dinner prep, and I sigh because little hands will now make a mess in the flour and steal veggies off the cutting board.
They show up at my elbow while I’m writing and ask to sit on my lap, and I grumble because I’m in the middle of finishing an important project with a pressing deadline.
They appear in the middle of folding laundry or sweeping floors or washing dishes, and I mistake the real work for the chore at my hands, not the moment unfolding in front of my eyes…
Read the rest at CatholicMom.com…
Check out our suggestions of hymns and blessings for Labor Day from the Collegeville Institute Seminars.
And these awesome Labor Day prayers written by my friend Genevieve at the USCCB.
Finally, treat yourself to this beautiful song by Carrie Newcomer on the holiness of everyday work. I’ve loved her music for a long time, but the beauty of her voice and words have become healing for me this past month:
Holy is the dish and drain
The soap and sink, and the cup and plate
And the warm wool socks, and the cold white tile
Shower heads and good dry towels
And frying eggs sound like psalms
With bits of salt measured in my palm
It’s all a part of a sacrament
As holy as a day is spent
The easier way, of course, is not to let my work be prayer.
It’s far simpler to zone out while doing the laundry or the dishes than to move through the motions mindfully.
It’s more satisfying to grumble about paying bills or cutting kids’ hair than to approach it as a loving act of service.
It’s even easier to jump into the email inbox and the day’s to-do list than to honor the professional work I do as sacred.
But the stubborn truth is that it’s all holy, this everyday mix of action and reflection, creation and repetition. God already blesses work as good; it’s up to us to see the same.
Maybe we miss it when we call it “work,” when we file it under obligation or drudgery. Maybe if we called it all “prayer” – making breakfast or giving baths or compiling spreadsheets or sitting through meetings or running errands or mowing the lawn – maybe then we would begin to understand how God’s eyes see us.
. . .
I noticed a few weeks ago – while stuffing the day’s umpteenth load of laundry in the washer, then scrubbing all the pots from last night’s dinner, then hustling upstairs to help the potty-trainer in the bathroom – that I had marked each of these spaces with a gentle reminder. A small shimmer of beauty next to each place of dirty work.
Maybe I needed to remember that each one was holy.
In the laundry room, two postcards from the L’Arche community where I worked in France.
I remember cutting carrots with Daniel, washing dishes with Monique, bathing Claude and dressing Bernard. And I’m overwhelmed at the memory of how holy that hard work was, how I knew God was there, too. I re-member myself back into the way of small things with great love.
In the kitchen, a print of Saint Therese lifting high the plates of the monastery as an offering to God, letting the steam rise like incense.
Washing dishes is a dreaded household chore for me, so I need a nudge to see the prayer in this necessary work. I remember all the plates that have been washed so that I could eat – in restaurants or cafeterias or homes that welcomed me as a guest. And I load the dishwasher with a lighter heart, grateful for a kitchen full of food to eat and hungry children around my table. I re-member myself back into the faith that breaks bread and shares with the hungry.
In the bathroom, a picture of Saint Joseph cradling his newborn son, a father immersed in his late night work.
Whenever I’m pulled from warm bed and soft sleep by a boy with soaked sheets or a hacking cough, our trip to the bathroom is bathed in more than the nightlight’s glow if I glance at the kindred spirit on the counter. I remember all the nights that my parents sat up with me when I was sick and surely rocked me back to sleep a thousand times before my memory sealed it to heart. And I wipe my boy’s nose or bottom or feverish forehead with more compassion and less impatience at my own rest lost.
I re-member myself back into the love that washes feet and touches the sick.
Because maybe all this work is prayer, too.
Today I’m delighted to welcome Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana to the How We Spend Our Time series!
MaryAnn is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church, VA, and the author of Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time.
If you’ve ever wondered how to reclaim space for rest and relaxation into the chaos of your calendar, MaryAnn’s book is the perfect place to start. She tells the story of how her family of five decided to spend a year practicing Sabbath every week, and her writing is so honest and hopeful (and even hilarious) that it made me think this radical experiment might actually be possible.
MaryAnn’s book got me thinking about the place of Sabbath in our lives – not just whether we choose to go to church on Sunday, but how we set the rhythm of our family life to focus on what’s most important. I keep feeling this nudge towards a simpler, slower way of life, so I love the idea that the choices we make to spend our time well include time for resting.
Enjoy MaryAnn’s insights on parenting and practicing time for rest!
. . .
1) What is one truth about time you have learned since becoming a parent?
That there is not enough time.
I’ve often heard (and preached) a theology of abundance, of radical “enough-ness”: the idea that God provides sufficient resources for what we truly need. I know that works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me, especially when it comes to time. It sets an impossible bar for me to reach. If there is enough time, and I didn’t get important things done (a daily occurrence), then I must have done it “wrong.” I find it much more faithful to say that there is not enough time, but there is enough grace. I call this “holy scarcity.”
But! you may argue back. God does provide! And maybe that thing you left undone, didn’t need doing. Perhaps…but often not. What parent hasn’t had the experience of letting someone down, of dropping a huge ball? It happens. But grace abounds.
I am drawn to the image of parkour, the combined sport/art form that involves running and tumbling through an urban area. (Google it if you’re not familiar!) Practitioners of parkour will encounter obstacles (a wall, a stairwell), and the trick is to move creatively and fluidly through these obstacles. There is great beauty in that process. I strive to be a practitioner of spiritual parkour.
Well, my book is about Sabbath so I suppose I should say that! There’s something very freeing about knowing that each week, you will have a time to rest, play, relax and recharge. It gives the busyness of our days a much more grounded perspective.
But here’s something else that’s really tactical: I am a huge believer in the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is very simple: spend a short, fixed amount of time on whatever task needs doing, take a short break of a specific length, and repeat as long as necessary. I like to work for 12 minutes and take a 3-minute break, then restart the process. I wrote the whole book this way! It gave me a way to tend to the distractions and monkey mind (Facebook, ahem) but not let them take over my life.
This is a good technique for anyone, but I find it especially helpful when I only have a short amount of time and a lot of stuff to get through. I get paralyzed by the choice of what to focus on—Pomodoro helps me get started somewhere, anywhere.
3) What new insight about faith did you gain from writing this book?
That children can be wonderful teachers for us.
As adults, we help them learn the language of faith, but they are not empty containers for us to fill. They already come to us with a sense of the spirit, of eternity, of the Holy. In our case, our children understood both the need for Sabbath and the joy of it.
Children are great Sabbath-keepers. Now that the year-long Sabbath experiment is over, we are still committed to the practice, although we’re not as regular as we were. But our kids will let us know if it’s been too long since we’ve had a Sabbath. They call it a lot of different names in addition to Sabbath: a pajama day, a stay-at-home day, etc. Sabbath is a day to remember that we are not God, that the world goes on without us. That’s a vulnerable but ultimately freeing realization. Children inherently get this since that’s their default state of being!
4) What is your favorite way to spend time with your family?
We have a state park about 20 minutes from our home called Mason Neck. In fact, if you watch the PBS segment about the book, you can catch a glimpse of it! We love going there every few months to walk around the woods and visit the small beach. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles there–a playground, an occasional program about eagles or other wildlife–but mostly we walk the trail along Belmont Bay, listen for bullfrogs, and draw designs in the sand using shells and old pieces of driftwood.
Having a regular place where we go often means it’s become a great “growth chart” for our kids’ development. Children who used to get tiiiiiiiiired halfway through the trail can make it all the way easily. We can go farther on our bikes as they get older. They are starting to prefer to the woods to the playground. But no matter how old they get, they all still love to play in the sand.
. . .
Your chance to read! MaryAnn and Chalice Press have generously offered a copy of Sabbath in the Suburbs to one lucky reader of Mothering Spirit. Leave a comment below before midnight CST on Saturday, June 8th, to enter the giveaway.
And be sure to connect with MaryAnn at her blog, The Blue Room!
The second half of this new series. Following each author’s insight on How We Spend Our Time, I’ll offer another perspective on the same theme. Meg Cox got us thinking about celebrating. Here’s my take.
We pulled into the driveway – our new driveway! – grinning ear to ear, grimy hands on the steering wheel, the same hands that had held the pens to sign the deed on our new house an hour before.
And here we were: home.
It was a gorgeous spring day, end of April, full of sun and budding green. We spread out a blanket on our front lawn – our new lawn! – and made a picnic for dinner. No furniture was moved inside yet, so the soft grass was our table and chairs. And the meal was simple – sandwiches for a quick dinner. But it tasted delicious: a family milestone, a sacred moment of starting a new home.
So when it came time to celebrate one year in our new house, we knew exactly what we had to do. Swing by Jimmy John’s, spread the blanket on the grass, recreate our first meal. As we chewed our sandwiches while the sun set, I smiled at my husband. “We should do this every year,” I said. “To celebrate the anniversary of being here. Being home.”
This is how family traditions start: small and silly. Fast-food on the front lawn – nothing fancy. But if we do it every April, if we repeat the ritual and retell the story of the first day this house became our home, then it becomes a real celebration.
It says something about who we are and what we love. It tells a chapter in our family story.
So many celebrations are daunting prospects for parents: find the perfect presents for Christmas; create the elaborate birthday of their dreams. But I’m noticing that my favorite celebrations with my kids are the small, simple ones. The ones that spring up organically and help us mark the seasons in a special way, unique to our family.
What small celebrations do you celebrate in your family? What unique traditions did you love growing up?
. . .
We’re off to celebrate a big moment in our extended family, so I won’t be posting here for the next week while we’re celebrating together. But I’ll be back soon with the next installment in this series – a wonderful author you won’t want to miss!
And I want to wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day, whether you are celebrated for the work you do as a mom or whether you celebrate the women who have mothered you along the way.
Today I’m thrilled to welcome Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How To Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day. Her book is an irresistible treasure trove of ideas for celebrating big and small moments with kids of all ages.
Meg has gathered ideas from families of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, so no matter what your cultural or spiritual tradition, there are heaps of creative, easy, inspiring ways to celebrate and ritualize the moments that matter.
I had long eyed Meg’s book in Chinaberry’s catalog, and when I saw that the book was now revised and updated for its ten-year anniversary, I had to grab it. As soon as I finished devouring the book – dog-earing so many ideas I want to try with my kids – I knew she would be a perfect addition for this series on How We Spend Our Time.
Whether we’re planning a birthday party or wondering how to brighten up a long winter with a new family tradition, this is an important way we spend our time as parents: celebrating. Enjoy Meg’s insights on how families of all kinds celebrate life’s small and monumental moments with creativity and love:
1) What is one truth about time you have learned since becoming a parent?
Ritual time is intense time, and it doesn’t have to take a long time to mean a lot. You may spend only a half hour together at dinner, but eating together often, keeping the conversation flowing and having at least one good laugh together creates a very strong bond. I used to pack an enormous amount into 20 minutes at bedtime, including one or two stories, a prayer, and a special good night to everyone in the extended family.
2) What is one practice of using time well that you have developed as a mother-writer?
I’ve tried very hard to work intensely while my son is at school, so I won’t be closed off, in the middle of interviews or deadline writing, when he comes home. I also try to model keeping all tech devices away from meals and family time: when we are together, we truly are, together.
3) What new insight about faith did you gain from writing this book?
For this and my other books about family traditions, I’ve interviewed families from many different faith backgrounds, and I think it’s extremely powerful to have one’s religious faith threaded through all sorts of daily and weekly rituals.
I interviewed a family once that tithed even when they played Monopoly: when you pass Go, you set $20 aside for charity. Now that paper money doesn’t feed a homeless person, but it sure sends a message about making sharing a constant habit.
4) What is your favorite way to spend time with your family?
There are many ways I love to spend time with my family, including summer vacations that usually include some time at the Jersey shore. We are all book-lovers, and enjoy a vacation where we can do a lot of reading.
But as my son got older, into his teens, I really learned to love spending time with him in the car, just the two of us, because it’s easier for teenagers to talk without looking a parent in the eye! This also works if you are fixing dinner together, or dyeing Easter eggs or frosting Christmas cookies, because there is a shared focus and not a parent-clamping-down-on-kid atmosphere.
. . .
Your chance to win! Meg has generously offered a signed copy of her book for one reader of Mothering Spirit. Leave a comment below about a special tradition your family celebrates.
Entries must be received by midnight CST on Friday, May 3rd.
I once wrote that childhood is full of tears. And it is.
But while I watch my two boys grow and see their sense of humor stretch each day like little spring seedlings sprouting out of the earth, I remember how childhood is full of laughter, too.
We laugh every day in this house. At funny faces and silly words. At goofy games of peek-a-boo and chase-to-tickle. At jumping on the bed and running down the hall and hiding in the curtains and banging on the table and singing in the bathtub.
My favorite moments as a mother are when the deep belly chuckles of boys still too young to hold back squeals of glee bounce off the walls and echo in my ears.
What a gift to have all this time and space to laugh. Childhood’s magic reminds us – we who live in the grown-up world of deadlines and to-do lists, of death and taxes – what it means to delight in life’s simple joys.
Today I’m posting over at Lydia’s lovely blog, Small Town Simplicity. Her beautiful, wise writing on motherhood is some of my favorite stuff on the Interwebs. As she and her family “babymoon” with their latest addition, I’m delighted to share a few thoughts on humility and humor at home:
Watching them take their first steps towards the art of humor not only makes me burst out laughing every day, but also teaches me about the important place of humor in our relationships.
Often it is when we relate to each other on this most delightful level that we learn what humility really means: that we are all grounded in the same “humus,” the same earthy joys and basic desires to be in right relationship with each other.
Read the rest at Small Town Simplicity, and be sure to check out the rest of Lydia’s blog while you’re there!