on wanting it all

2:12 PM

Do you ever feel like certain books come to you exactly when you need them? That's how I've felt about Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. I have one more chapter left before I finish it and I've been purposely putting it off, I just don't want this experience to end. I will miss Cindy's nurturing voice, I will miss her honest and funny stories and I will miss her guiding hand. I feel like her book filled in the gaps of my goals or hopes for this year. I feel so certain about where this year is heading for our family.
If you are a fellow homeschooling mama or are contemplating it I highly recommend reading Cindy's book. It's full of practical advice and hard earned wisdom but it's also so much more than a homeschooling book. Because I think that when you make the decision to homeschool as a family it's decision to change the entire course of your family's life. There is so much more to it than "home study." It's a decision to not conform. It's a decision to do things differently. And I have never felt more called to that way of life than I do now. And as Cindy shares so honestly it requires sacrifice and it won't always be easy.
What really struck me in her storytelling is her shocking honesty. In a day and age where it has become par for the course to not just photoshop our photos but our lives it's so incredibly refreshing to hear someone speak of shortcomings, mistakes, flaws and regrets with ease. It's the very absence of this on social media that led me to the decision to leave it altogether. She recalls times that she feels she failed as a mother, moments of envy and times when she stubbornly held on to beliefs that were hurting her family and herself. But woven into this was so much love, gratitude and joy too. And isn't that life? Messy. Complicated. Contradictory. She opened my heart the moment she said that it was her goal not to glamorize homeschooling or the lifestyle that her family lived. She wanted to share it as close to the reality of how it was as possible. And I think she did a fantastic job of that.
I've been mulling over many ideas that stood out to me in her book. But in particular the way that our current society and culture has warped our view of beauty and happiness. We've been programmed to believe that happiness comes from having all of our desires and wants satisfied as soon as we experience them. We've been led to believe that happiness is synonymous with comfort. That joy comes with a price tag and that patience is a virtue that must be discarded like a piece of plastic packaging. Because selling the fact that life is series of trade-offs just doesn't sound as alluring.
We're constantly presented with a barrage of people living lifestyles were they seemingly have it all and what one inevitably gleans from this is that "I must be doing something wrong if I can't achieve that immediately as well." But of course they never show you the trade offs, those are never aesthetically pleasing. We all give something up in order to gain something and our sacrifices are unique to us and our families. But I personally don't find it healthy to compare my messy life to someone else's filtered perfection. It's easier for me to be present right here where I have been placed. For no matter where we stand we can find something to be grateful for.
I was telling Kevin the other day that some of my beloved podcasts have had a slow start to the year and I have feel somewhat adrift without their guidance, I feel myself being pulled to the place of less. A place of complaining and pouting. When I fill my mind with words of encouragement, wisdom and new ideas I find that I am so much happier. When I am constantly reminded that the good stuff in life can never be purchased and sometimes not even captured I overflow with joy, peace and gratitude. What is a blanket, new shoe or face cream in comparison with a perfect sunny spring morning spent outside listening to the song of the wood thrush and watching the clouds climb over the bare tops of the trees? What is a warm hug from a good friend compared to a rug or chair?
There was a moment a few months ago when I was driving in the car with the kids and one of my favorite songs came on my Spotify. It was a cold gray day and I was struggling to get into the rhythm of the day. But the melody of the song was slowly warming my heart and soul. As the song moved towards the crescendo a flock of swallows took off from a telephone line and the sun broke through the clouds for an instant and I thought to myself "this is nature's way of praying." It was a perfectly choreographed explosion of gratitude that changed the course of my day. I couldn't wipe a smile off my face for the rest of the day.

"Pay attention. Be astonished." Mary Oliver

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