Today I'm excited to discuss a topic I'm incredibly passionate about sharing. If you're new to our community, I'm a mom of five children ages 19-3, and I've been married to my husband, Jeff, for almost 21 years. This topic of family traditions is far dearer to me now than any other season of mothering.
When our youngest son was born, I had a very eye-opening realization that I wouldn't have all my children under one roof forever. Someday not too far, our oldest son would leave to begin his own life.
Here we are, over three years later, with children ages 19, 17, 9, 7, and 3; this is a perspective I wished I had embraced 19 years earlier when I started my journey into motherhood.
We lived the busy seasons of soccer, public school education, and church leadership roles. We hardly took time to spend quality moments together when we had our two oldest children before their three younger siblings came along. Our daughter came along when our sons were 9 and 7; she changed our world forever in more ways than I could have imagined. I'm genuinely thankful for our new direction after her birth.
During my pregnancy with our daughter, I realized that I would not be able to keep up with the speed of our lives while I was pregnant, sick, and raising two adolescent children who were very active. My entire perspective began to shift about motherhood.
I no longer wanted the hustle and bustle lifestyle. I wanted to stay home and enjoy this journey.
Before this, I was so excited for our boys to grow up so I could resume a life where they did not need me as much. I sent our oldest son to public school for two years before we embraced a homeschool lifestyle.
I had not fully embraced the true vision of motherhood the LORD had for me.
Unfortunately, I was still selfish and living for when I thought motherhood would be easier. I deeply regret wishing away those first challenging years as a mom.
When our third child arrived, we realized our focus was wrong. We were filling our time with activities that stole our time as a family. Parenting has a way of refining and sanctifying us. We were missing the mark on Deut 6:4-7:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates."
My husband and I gave most of that Biblical authority to the Sunday School teachers and youth programs at church.
See, we were too busy being leaders in the church to truly even disciple our children.
The LORD convicted me and my husband of this, and our life slowed dramatically. We had a choice; schedule something every day of the week or be home together and fellowship around the table. We chose the latter and have never looked back.
Over the next ten years, we would slowly weed out the time suckers and exchange them for family memories. It's always possible to turn the ship around no matter what season of parenting you find yourself in.
Here are some ways we've embraced a slow, simple family lifestyle over the last decade.
We eat 5-6 family dinners together every week. I have protected this with all my might for years. I have no regret. It has been challenging. We have had many opportunities to fill our evenings, but our meals around the table carry far more impact than any other activity we could place in its place.
There's laughter, stories from the day, and occasional grumpy attitudes. It's not always picture-perfect. More days than not, it feels a bit chaotic and loud. However, my favorite moments are catching my husband's glance and smiling at this brood of children around our table, creating unforgettable memories. I want to freeze time in moments like these.
Five years ago, we made a shift in the way we worship as a family. We left our large church setting and joined a small home fellowship group. We left our leadership roles, youth programs, and all the distractions.
We came face to face with the beauty of the WORD and how we can walk it out faithfully as a family in a small group of other believers.
Each Saturday, we honor and observe the Sabbath. We have created beautiful memories from long scripture and life discussions, special meals, and sweet fellowship with other believers.
In addition, we began to celebrate and observe the Biblical appointed times from Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. Walking out the entire redemption story of Messiah through His appointed times has brought clarity to the gift of salvation like never before. It has bonded our family in Biblical memorials that we will forever hold dearly.
Our goal to have a yearly vacation has taken us to the beaches of South Carolina and Florida and the mountains of Tennessee, Colorado, and Utah. We recently started camping, which adds such a unique element of slowness to our summers.
Over the last two years, we've started camping once a month for six months of the year. The state of Indiana has some beautiful camping locations within a 2-hour radius of our home. These trips are short from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. It's a time to get away from the projects and lists and enjoy our family time. Sometimes we have friends join us, and other times we get away with just our crew.
What are ways you are longing to spend more time as a family? Are you ready to slow down and stop the hustle of life quickly passing? Take a moment and journal a few goals you'd like to do as a family this year. For more inspiration, you can find my post on family vision here. I hope you are inspired to make incredible memories with your kids regardless of age.
Thanks for dropping by today! I hope you found encouragement for building a peaceful home. If you know another mom who might benefit from what you've learned here today, be sure to share this post with her!
Before you go --- I have laid out all my tips to creating calm in your home, and you can get it below:
Learn my 4 Daily Habits to Calming the Chaos at Home
Looking for more calm in your day to day life?
A calm home is possible--with the right habits.
Learn my 4 daily habits here, it's free: