Because of all of that, a day like today is especially precious. I've been working through Sally Clarkson's The Life-Giving Home and the workbook and I am loving the fact that it forces me to sit down and be intentional, even when I only want to curl up and hide. For January, my goals are to create special times with my family throughout the week to make sure the know they are loved and accepted, to spend 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time in the morning before the house gets up and to spend some time in prayer over some worries that I haven't been coping well with. Sunday has become a wonderful time with my family and it changes everything.
Today, after church, the kids and I went for a hike in the forest with the dogs. We finally had a warmer day and the sun was shining in between the trees. Yesterday, PK and I saw three deer in a field as we were driving to skating and on our hike today, we saw a fox up ahead. Foxes are IJ's favourite animal in the world and it felt like magic to have sunshine and animals appear for us! Getting into the outdoors is a major help for me at this time of year and having the kids enjoying coming along (unlike when they were younger and complained the entire way) is such wonderful therapy for me. I feel so lucky that we live in an area that gives us so many options for outdoor exploring and especially since IJ has become such a happy member of Beavers, we seem to be spending a lot more time outside.
One of the things that seems to really speak to PK at the moment is that she is loving to cook and bake. I have always tried to avoid processed foods when I can for them (not because I look down on anyone else for using them, just because I enjoy cooking and for some reason, having my kids take food for lunch that is homemade makes me feel as if I have sent them a bit of a sign of my love). We do a homemade treat each week and since the cookie jar was empty (I know, I'm silly, but I love having some cookies we have made in the jar), we thought making gingerbread cookies together would be fun. I am learning (slowly) to leave my perfectionism behind and to give them a fair bit of freedom. PK picked some favourite music of us to share, I rolled out the dough and they had a great time choosing the shapes for their cookies. Years ago, I got a set of letter cookie cutters and they were so excited to make their names. Little do they know, they each get and 'I', a heart and a 'U' tomorrow in their lunches. I hope they actually notice.
One other pleasure that we have discovered together is listening to books. We buy them from Audible and then listen together while we do things we enjoy. Over the Christmas holidays, on a long drive, Audible suggested The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood and it turned out to be one that the kids loved (having a woods and animals integral to the story definitely helped). We had finished book 1 and so this evening, we started on book 2 while I coloured, PK knit and IJ worked on Lego. It was a wonderful way to finish the weekend and I hope it will give us all some treasured time together to help carry us through the challenges of the week.