The Best Thing

We were out running errands this last Thursday, when my husband decided to stop by an RV dealership just to look and see what they had since we saw we were ahead of schedule.  He’s had this hint of a dream of owning an RV for a few years now, it started with the desire to be able to travel in retirement, and then grew to the dream of using it for vacations with our children camping around the country.  It is cute, and even though I really disliked the thought of RVs in general, I adore how he is so drawn to them.

We were met by a salesman who wanted to know how to help us, and were up front in saying that we weren’t ready to buy anytime soon, but just wanted to look at the prices and see what they had to get some research on what it’d be like to own an RV.  The salesman didn’t mind taking us around and even offered us the entire property to explore on our own.  As the time went on, him showing us RVs and asking us questions about our life, he started talking about his own family and offering some great advice.

He had married young, and was still a very handsome man, he had 6 children with one wife, and was honest with us in saying that he loved seeing how we acted with each other, and hearing what we were doing and planning to do with our “beautiful” family.  It was such a sweet encouragement.  He talked with me about the importance of staying home with my children while they are so young, how 4 out of his 6 children had that privilege with his wife and as a result, excelled in school and even in college – finishing in just 3 years with their degrees.  His last two children didn’t have that opportunity, as his wife had already started her career, and as a result, were in daycare from a young age and struggled the entire time with their schooling, including college.  All of kids though, were now adults and doing excellent in their own paths in life.  He showed us a picture of his family – it was so sweet, and his wife looked so impossibly beautiful that I actually thought she was his daughter!  Meeting him, hearing him talk about his family, feeling the reassurance of our own paths in life, was a blessing to me personally.

One thing that stuck with me when talking to him while expressing how much I loved being able to be home with my babies, was him agreeing and saying that having a family, enjoying your family and actually getting to be with your kids, was just “the best thing in life.”

The Best Thing.

And it really is.  There are so many times when I can’t believe how blessed we are to have each other, to have our boys, and the excitement I feel for the future paired with the pleasure I feel in just enjoying the mundane moments together.  He encouraged me about feeling so behind on my career, how it was on the back burner.  I was not a woman who didn’t know what to do with my life.  I had a profession in mind when I was only 9 years old, I loved school and especially college.  I was ambitious… I had motivation… I knew what I wanted and was going after it at lightning speed!  😀

I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, and graduated with honors mostly because genuinely enjoyed the difficult classes.  I devoured my education, and loved every last bit of it.  I had the taste of utilizing my degree by working in research and still miss it, miss learning new things everyday, and miss the excitement of scientific discovery.  The salesman reminded me that I was still so young, and that his own wife had waited until mid to late-30’s to even start her career in nursing, and still climbed her track steadily until she became a very prestigious nurse.  It was so interesting to hear him talk about how her particular type of nursing was her vocation, her calling (and very necessary one, giving chemotherapy to child cancer patients).  But he also insisted that raising their children, creating a beautiful family, was also an incredible part of her success.

It was The Best Thing.  Not her amazing job, not how she’s using her talents now, not how she’s able to help children who are dying… but how she raised her children.

Her family, her ensuring that her children grew up to become good, healthy, well-adjusted people, kids who excelled in school, who knew what they wanted in life, was “the best thing.”

Him having a family, enjoying his family while they were growing up in his household, seeing them turn into adults, was the best thing.

*

I know with our toxic environment that is aggressively hostile to the family, especially the traditional, Christian family, it’s hard to feel any encouragement that what we are doing is making any difference.

But if you are out there, trying to do the right thing for your family, if you’re a wife who is working because the income is needed right now, or a stay-at-home-mom who is lovingly teaching her children and faithfully home-schooling them so sacrificially, I just want to encourage you.  I’m thinking of you tonight.

If you’re a husband who’s keeping it together, making the best of your life, and honoring your commitment to your children, I want to encourage you.

It really is the best thing.

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Leaves, Seeds, Classroom Gardens & Gratitude this Thanksgiving

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This fall has been so wonderful… after a fun-packed October with crazy things to do each weekend, we’ve had a peaceful & pleasantly cold November.  It’s been the perfect month of baking, adventuring, and excitedly anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We are so excited and have had fun decorating for fall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I started my son on science project of having a simple “classroom garden,” where he has taken the time to plant seeds and watered and watched them grow.  In October, one of the treats he received at our beautiful Botanical Garden Halloween festival, was a zip-lock bag with wet paper towel and beans.  It was fascinating for us to watch the beans break open and become embryos with little roots.  They are now over a foot tall, and my son has pride in his little garden he’s taken care of.

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My son’s little hand holding his first pulled weed!

His first baby sunflower plant.

His first baby sunflower plant.

Bean growing science experiment for our classroom garden!

Bean growing science experiment for our classroom garden!

It’s so beautiful to watch something grow – it’s a miracle really when you watch so closely… everyday with the beans they were just so radically different.

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As Thanksgiving has drawn nearer and nearer this past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am for all the gifts in our life.  Our life is in no way, perfect, but we are so happy… so content with what we have right now.  I’m at the 35 week pregnancy mark, and so thankful it’s been an easy, low-stress pregnancy.  Every little kick, every rolling motion as he turns over inside me, has me constantly anticipating seeing him and holding him.

It rained this weekend - and our Esperanza became like a crystal gem with the water droplets.

It rained this weekend – and our Esperanza became like a crystal gem with the water droplets.

Looking back over the past three Thanksgivings and noting how different our life has been from 3 or 4 years ago, has also been a beautiful reflection in the positive changes we’ve made in our family.  I think last Thanksgiving was particularly beautiful – we were just so grateful for all the good and the bad that had happened the year before – my husband and I both felt like we were just being blessed over and over again, and were simply there holding our hands out to catch all of God’s blessings He was pouring down on us.

I remember waking up that Thanksgiving morning… we made love that morning before the sun was up – thanking God for each other – it was amazing to wake up so aware of feeling gratitude for each other & for our life.  This year I feel so much the same… the gratitude, again, has just been building up inside of me all of November.

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It rained this past weekend, and my son wanted to go out and play in the puddles & the rain.  I’m not a picky Mommy about stuff like that, I actually want him to experience the carefree mindset of playing in the rain.  It wasn’t cold at all, so I grabbed his brand new (adorable) rain coat, let him wear his crocs since his boots got packed up when we were helping friends move (haha… no good deed goes unpunished!), and got out towels for when he came back in.  He had a blast jumping in the muddy puddles and letting the rain fall on his head from the drains.

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He slugged the ball so hard the bat broke!  It was admittedly a skinny bat... lol, but he got so surprised!

He slugged the ball so hard the bat broke! It was admittedly a skinny bat… lol, but he got so surprised!

The next day was so fresh & bright – really a nice contrast to the rainy dreary grayness of the weekend.

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September Blossoming

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Learning is Awesome!!

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I love September… as I was working on our classroom September board, I was reminiscing on all the things that go with this first month of Fall….  There really isn’t a lot of exciting things or holidays to be enthusiastic about, however, to kick off this month (and put a nice end to our wonderful summer that felt like a vacation at a beach (and we got just as tan 😉 ), I took my son to a fireworks display near where we live to celebrate Labor Day.

We stayed out ridiculously late, meeting my husband when he got off work for tacos and Mexican food around 11pm… we never do this – but with the baby coming in December, I feel like we have to take advantage of every chance together we get being just a family of 3!  It was so much fun!

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And a great way to “officially” end the summer, even though we’d already had 2 weeks of school.  It felt just as official.

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So we began our September with a bang… or a few bangs 😉

September is my birthday month – I’ll be turning 28 🙂   I tend to use birthdays as a time of reflection and introspection, as I’ve posted before (last year, when I had just turned 27), aging doesn’t bother me, to me aging brings wisdom and beauty – you become more of yourself and if you’re working towards the best self you can be, you should be becoming more beautiful (the kind of beauty that comes from within and shines outward) with every year.

I read an interview in In Style magazine with Diane Kruger, who is 38 this year, where she talked of love, embracing life… of thinking of herself as “half-French” even though she’s undeniably German, (oh how I can sooo relate to that with my French music fetish and cooking obsession).  She talked of eating and drinking the wonderful food and wine in Paris (I swoon).  And just merely taking in her beauty – the beauty that she still emits and possesses well into her late 30’s.

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Looking back at this past year, its been really wonderful… I tend to view the years via the school schedule – despite being out of school for quite a while.  I guess you could say I follow the Jewish New Year schedule which begins every September with Rosh Hashana (a time of deep reflection into how you lived your past year, a time of making amends with anyone you’ve fallen out with, and a time of receiving forgiveness, and in the old Jewish days, making animal sacrifices for your sins, before the Day of Atonement which came 10 days after – Yom Kippur – which was when God would seal up the old year, and erase all sins of the past that were forgiven through a blood sacrifice.  Yom Kippur is a very special Jewish Holy day, and was fulfilled in completion through Christ dying for our sins (Easter celebration).  Messianic Jews celebrate it in a very unique way from the Jews who don’t know Christ… the last Yom Kippur I went to was so touching and deep I cried from the beauty of the scriptures so perfectly fulfilling the prophecies.

So here is to another year, another year of life lived in beauty, gracefulness, and thanksgiving for everything that has happened – the good and the bad – in order to shape us into who we are becoming.

And it is most definitely a becoming.