Friday, 19 January 2018

Tea Time Theology // Establishing Family Traditions

It was around 18 months ago that I first heard Sally Clarkson talk about the value of creating a special "teatime" opportunity for teaching truth to her children. The suggestion immediately grabbed me. The simple idea of gathering together around teacups and treats for the intentional purpose of talking through the big questions of the universe, discipling and sharing, was something I knew the children would love. It would be the creation of a family ritual, a precious tradition that would help us all to root faith in daily reality.

For a long time I had wanted to start to teach some simple Bible doctrine to the children... but with school schedules, after school activities and (at the time) three children underfoot, it seemed victory enough to carve out time to daily read the bible with them. Another opportunity, with the specific purpose of earthing biblical truth, seemed a luxury that was only for the homeschoolers or those mothers who were better at time management than I was.

But with her simple little idea, the impossible suddenly seemed possible. And with the discovery of Marty Machowski's wonderful  book "The Ology" our Thursday afternoon ritual was born.

When I picked up the children from school yesterday, and reminded them it was Thursday, Heidi's response spoke volumes...

"YAAAAAAYYYY!" she shrieked at the top of her lungs... "Ava!!!! It's Ology!!"

Their love for this little half hour is genuine... and that's because when you're talking rich and beautiful truth, you have to lay a rich and beautiful table, right?

Teacups and saucers, a little teapot they can pour themselves... sweet treats and fruit tea. It's the same every single week, and so requires very little effort on my part, but its those little things that create an atmosphere and environment that is ready and eager to learn, to share, to speak honestly. It's around these little cups of tea that we've had some of our best deep and meaningfuls, and the children have understood concepts and truths for the first time, and as a teacher, watching that penny drop moment is one of the most rewarding things you can do...

Especially when that penny is so full of life-giving truth!

I share this because its another reminder to me of the beauty of gleaning from older and wiser christians than ourselves. Though I had always longed for a weekly input that didn't feel "teachery" or overly formal, I had no concept of how to make that happen until Sally shared her own experience. There are so many things in my parenting that I have magpied over the years. Some of our favourite family traditions have been gleaned from those who have gone before, and I am a true believer in sharing ideas...

For our family, this little gathering has become one of the most enjoyable and rich times of our week.

And I hope that whenever we gather over a cup of tea, our children will always be ready to share what's on their hearts... and look to the Saviour.

 "As I placed the big (tea)pot back on the shelf, all those warm remembrances and many more warmed my heart--conversations shared, tears shed, books read, birthdays celebrated, Scripture discussed and friendships deepened. It might be an old, cracked teapot, but it held so many precious, irreplaceable memories. And through the years it had been an invaluable tool in our home for nurturing the intimate relationships that are the heart of our mission as a family."
(Sally Clarkson, Mission of Motherhood)

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Brothers // A Whole New World...

When I was expecting Elias, we had the inevitable onslaught of baby gender comments. It seems that, aside from your first child, everyone always has an opinion on what you must be "hoping" for... if you've got a girl, you must be hoping for the boy... if you have TWO girls, you're definitely going for the boy, if you have two girls and one boy, it would be such a shame to have another girl, wouldn't it?

I've always had to seriously bite my tongue on that one!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Vulnerability // Keeping it real

My little helper 💙 This morning I felt I failed as a mother... there was far too much shouting and nagging and frustrated groans on my part... the school run always feels like a disruption, no matter how prepared we are. I sent one teary little girl into school and came home feeling dreadful. Teaching and training these little ones is a tough gig... and it's the biggest means of sanctification in my life right now. Because as they show their selfishness, mine is revealed too... and seeing your two-year-old angrily shouting words at his sister that you have just uttered yourself is a painful glimpse in the mirror. So thankful for the cross. So thankful for grace. So thankful for new mercies every morning. Every. Single. Day.

I posted this on my Instagram account yesterday. Within moments the comments started rolling in. Clearly I'd hit a nerve. After a rough start to my morning, and an all too vivid reflection of my parenting, I wasn't the only one feeling like a failure as a mother sometimes.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Our Little Football Fan // What's matter Juan Mata?

Learning sight words is a big aspect of Heidi's homework at the moment, and, after a slow-ish start, she is now on an absolute roll with it! So much so, that one little brother looking on, decided he wanted to get in on the action.

Key words, it was not to be... instead, Jonas has started memorising his Match Attax cards!

These are the little things I want to treasure and remember. Their little personalities and interests developing, and this little guy is so full of fun at the moment!

I think "What's matter" Juan Mata is my favourite!


Monday, 15 January 2018

Nine Months Old // Our Darling Elias

I have felt particularly emotional this week! I'm not entirely sure why... I walked home on the school run last week and chatted to a Mum for the first time in ages about Heidi's illness. All those old emotions flooding back... I've been reminiscing too, throwing on those dangerous rose-tinted glasses and realising all the lovely things I used to do with my girls, and feeling guilty that I haven't perhaps been as creative with my boys. And then there's this little one, who has hit another milestone... nine months.

Nine months with our darling teeny tiny Elias, who is now a chubby, chirpy sitting little man.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Siblings in January // Finding their places

The Christmas period wasn't the easiest for our little sibling tribe... with Elias still being small, and not yet really able to join the pack, the dynamic of three can be tricky. Any combination of two of them, and peace reigns, but the minute three of them are in the mix, it seems to get complicated. The first week and a half of the holidays was lovely - they played to their hearts content and enjoyed being in each others pockets again. But the last week was tough - housebound with no car and bad weather, the bickering drove me slightly insane at times.

I don't want to paint the picture that life is always rosy round here!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Back To Basics // A New Year's change on the blog...

I've missed my blog... I've been missing it for a long time I think. I've been here, yes, updating and posting - pretty pictures and sporadic thoughts... but yesterday a post popped up on my feed from when the girls were small and I realised, somewhere along the track my blogging has changed. I think I've succumbed to the pressure to only post when I have something really important to say, or beautiful pictures to post, when what I've always really just loved about blogging is recording the funny things, the precious memories, the day to day normality of life as a stay-at-home mum.

This is such a short season.