February 5, 2013
This winter I've really been thinking about my days. The hours I spend at home with Hadley. What do I have to show for them? How should they look with just me, a 20-month old, and no car? There's nothing grand on my to-do list today. It's just an ordinary day. Then I was reminded of this tidbit from Elisabeth Elliot's The Shaping of a Christian Family and it won't leave my head. 

This is hugely encouraging, and for me, a commission of sorts. By saying "quality time," Elisabeth is referring to the idea in our society of reserving a chunk of time to do something entertaining with your kids. Although not a bad thing in any way- quality time is fantastic- it is not the same as being together, participating together in the daily routine. In the daily routine is where our kids are learning This is what we do, This is how we do it, This is where things go. They learn by watching. The power of influence is extraordinary.

My thoughts as I encountered this quote:

1. It's so encouraging to know something important is going on just by having a routine and letting my daughter be a part of it. I'm re-excited about spending typical days with her, letting her watch me do a thing 50 times, so that she'll know how to do it for herself. That's important! It's my job to start showing her that she's a necessary and appreciated member of the family.
2. I'm motivated! Let's do these ordinary days! Hardly anyone but me sees how the hours are spent at home on an ordinary day, but big things are established in these little known hours. I want her to see that we put our heart into the work God has given us to do today and draw her into the acceptance of responsibility as early as possible.  (Read E. Elliot's Serious Play, Careless Work for more notes on this)
3. I'm humbled. My influence on her is so concentrated. How I clean up a spill or a broken bowl is being watched oh. so. carefully.
4. I need help. She will need thousands of reminders and repeated orders and corrections. I will need wisdom, and I will need to stop whatever I am doing to help/discipline her. I will mess up and miss out on opportunities to teach something. I will get worn out and will wonder whether the way she puts that thing away or climbs on this piece of furniture really matters. But I'm praying for faithfulness and patience.
5. At this point, still being under 2 years old, we are limited in height and motor skills as to how much Hadley can help me. But I can let her watch. If there's one thing I've learned about my toddler, it's that she is interested in whatever I am doing. So, I'm giving myself a challenge. Even though it's harder to do things efficiently with her underfoot, let her watch. Let her see a thing being done thoroughly. daily. faithfully. carefully. orderly. That will mean a sacrifice of time and attention from me, but it's the sort of attention that she can't have too much of, and it will repay me later.
6. I have a dream. It's after dinner time and my family is in the kitchen with me, putting away leftovers (depending on how many mouths there are, maybe there won't be any), washing dishes, talking about stuff, and we like getting a job done together.

I hope this post will be an encouragement for you guys in your plain old ordinary days, too! Writing it out helps me so much. I'm excited about the days ahead. This post kinda goes hand in hand with this song from last Friday. :)

If you have been reading this blog long at all, you probably know that I love this lady Elisabeth Elliot. Wife of missionary Jim Elliot and a superb author. She often gives me something to think on that lasts years and years. I'm surprised how many of the things rolling around in my mind are from reading just a few of her books. Here are a few favorites... Keep A Quiet Heart, Let Me Be A Woman, Passion & Purity, The Shaping of A Christian Family, Discipline: The Glad Surrender.


nataliep. said...

this was just what my heart needed to read. thank you, summer!

A Wife and her Carpenter said...

Great post Summer...definitely what I needed today!

Also, as I was reading, I thought about this tutorial: http://ana-white.com/2010/12/helping-tower.html

Thought it might be something you could use, with being in the kitchen so often. Plus, I'm sure Grant could whip it right up!

becca said...

yes, yes. such great thoughts.

children are a while off for me, but I think that having these solid thoughts in my mind is such a great thing.
I LOVE e. elliot.

thanks for sharing!

Melanie Anne said...

Hi sweet Summer--I do not leave comments enough--but I wanted you to know that I love your darling blog. I think you are a breath of fresh air. I love you strong faith and devotion to family --and your yummy healthy recipes too:) I am the mother of 5 boys--from 5-15, but I swear it was just yesterday that I had one little two year old like you toddling around with me:) Time flies, I tell you:) Anyway--thanks for your inspiring blog!
Love from Tennessee

Josie said...

ordinary everyday moments are what i crave - i truly believe thats what makes the comfort of home - "home" - my mom stayed home with us and i just remember all those days as magical and special - its the one thing i wish i could do is stay home with my little one

Hannah said...

Love this! Our life is made up of so many more ordinary days than extraordinary days- but so many memories and relationships are built in the beautiful ordinary. :) Thanks, Summer!

Natalia K said...

Back when I used to read blogs regularly (i.e. had more time--not much if that now with a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter :)), yours was one of the ones at the top of the list. Then today I stumbled on your Instagram account--so glad I did--will be ordering the memory verse cards for myself and as gifts! Also was going to ask you for E Elliott book recommendations as I haven't read any of hers yet (although i used to hear her on the radio as a child) and remember you mentioning her multiple times--then I read this post and voila--there's my answer! Anyway, great post, and thank you for your awesome blog--it has been a blessing to me.



about this blog

Hello, I'm Summer. A people-loving introvert whose hope and life is in Jesus. His promises are my passion and my ministry is homelife. This blog is a place for me to write about everyday things. Especially food. My favorite thing to do is sit around a table, lingering over a long meal with good conversation. I live with my husband and our 2 littles. We like blizzards, thrifting, grammar, guacamole, cheerful hearts, nice manners, good movies, and making simple, real, nutrient-dense food.

"If Christ be anything, He must be everything."
-C.H. Spurgeon

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