Saturday, January 3, 2015


What do you find beautiful?  Are you one to admire pure physical beauty?  Do you seek inner beauty first?  Do you find beauty in inanimate objects before that of people?  How do you describe beauty to your child?

Beauty can be so many things.  I think it changes as we age.  I love seeing beauty from the eyes of a child.  Little children see the world so differently than we adults.  It is easy to pass up the beauty they see.  We are in a hurry and just don't slow down and look for beauty. Try taking a walk outdoors with a young child.  Don't plan on being in a hurry.  Just let the child roam from spot to spot as they discovery the beauty of nature.  Did you notice all the beautiful things they found?  Did you really marvel at the beauty of the rock or leaf?  If you didn't, try looking again. 

As I reflect upon the home schooling journey we are taking, I have begun to ask myself if my formal schooling caused me to lose sight of the beauty I saw in early childhood. I notice in my children how differently they reflect upon the world around us.  Egee spent four years in school and Little Man none.  Little Man still sees small things that we overlook.  Egee is starting to regain this.  I am having to force myself to refocus on it.

The nature walk, like I stated above really gets us to focus on the beauty that God created.  The clouds in the sky, the lightening of a thunderstorm, the silhouette of tree in the winter, a robin hunting for a worm, dolphins playing in the surf,  sunrise or sunset at the beach, etc.  It is the simplest of things that are breath taking. 

What about beauty in people?  Isn't that what we usually conjure up when we here the word beauty? I try to teach my children that it is the inner beauty of a person that truly matters.  Some very beautiful people may be very ugly on the inside.  Some unattractive people may be extremely beautiful on the inside.  I ask them which would they want as a friend.

We talk about what makes a person beautiful.  We discuss how our attitudes reflect our beauty or lack of it.  A skinny person is no more beautiful than an overweight person.  A white collar worker is no more beautiful than a blue collar worker.  It is the person's attitude that shows their beauty, not their physical appearance or job they hold. 

My children understand this.  They do not shun the exterior beauty or lack of it when they meet people.  They see a person and strike a conversation with the person.  They can tell the character of that person in a few minutes.  They know if the true beauty is within the person or not. 

I use the television shows my children watch to emphasize this lesson.  Why does character X not like character Y?  Do you like character Y?  Why or why not?  Did character X influence you liking or not liking character Y?   These conversations sometimes impact whether or not they may continue to watch the show.

I tell the children that they need to work on their own inner beauty at times.  When the grumpiness and woe is me attitudes rise and want to stick around for the day.  How you treat your brother or sister plays a role in how others see your beauty.  It is a process that takes a very conscious effort at times.  Of course, even as adults, we need to work on our inner beauty at times.

So, what do you find beautiful?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 has arrived and everyone has posted Happy New Year on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, ect.  So, what makes you happy? 

We all want to feel happy.  Happy is different for each of us.  Although, happiness in each of us has some commonality.  However, what makes me truly happy and content, many not make you feel the same way. 

What provides me with happiness?  Hmm....The first thoughts that come to mind are my family and friends.  I suppose it is innate that this should conjure up in my mind first and foremost.  For most of us, that first feeling of intimacy we experienced was our mothers holding us and loving us as infants.  The protection within the family unit as we grew.  The friendships that we forged, nurtured, matured, and shared.  Even those of us that are more introverted (guilty) than extroverted still had these relationships.  We still search these relationships out and are developing those relationships with our own children. 

My husband provides me with much happiness.  He chose me and I chose him.  We are doing life together and loving it.  We love our quiet time.  We love working side by side on a project.  We love spending time as a family. 

Its the little moments that bring the most happiness.  Of course, we plan the big moments.  (trips, family vacations, perfect holidays and birthdays, etc.)  But, it ultimately comes down to the day to day moments that provide the most happiness.  Watching my baby roll over for the first time.  The first smile, that was not a gas bubble.  The first crawl, first walk, first word, first day of preschool, etc. were all unplanned, but equally enjoyable and happy. 

There are many happy moments that aren't the first.  As my children get older and the firsts for things are farther apart, I find the little things they do that bring me happiness.  Sitting on the sofa and having them sit beside me and just want to snuggle up for no reason.  Holding a door open for me without me asking.  Feeding the dog or cat without being prodded.  Listening to them enjoying each other's company without fussing and fighting. 

Friendships are also a source of happiness.  Over the years, friends have been made and lost.  True friendships have endured.  But, as I age, I have noticed it isn't the quantity of friends.  It is the quality of friends.  There are work friends, and some childhood friends, neighbor friends, etc.  However, to connect to a group of women that are supportive and bring out your best is a true find.  I have been fortunate to connect to a couple of these women.  Our friendship is growing and maturing more and more and it feels so right.  2015 is going to be a year that we are holding each other accountable and growing stronger in our bond.  It's going to be awesome!

My children's friendship are also blossoming.  They have made so many friends over the last few years.  These friendships are on their way to become lasting and mature relationships.  Yes, they have had a few disappointing outcomes with friendships.  Friendships that started off great, but because of circumstance they have fizzled or become fair weathered.  I think the fair weathered friendships are the hardest, as a parent to watch.  Those friendships have enabled us to have many a conversation about how true, sustaining friendships should be.

After family and friends, I think of my pets.  I have had many dogs and a couple of cats.  I am more of a dog person, but the cats I have had I fondly recall.  Pets provide that unconditional love that we all crave.  They are loyal and don't care how we look or what others think.  They cheer us up when we are down and provide us with much entertainment.  Each one of my dogs have had a distinct personality.  I can't imagine life without having  a dog by my side.

My happiness ultimately comes down to me and my relationship with God.  Without Him, happiness would have no meaning for me.  He provides all these things for me to enjoy and make me happy.  I made the choice to look to the Lord for my salvation and happiness and he has provided it.  He has given me the ability to be self-confident and self-assured. 

So, what makes you happy?

Happy New Year!