Summer calls for late nights, long days in the sun, less structure and lots of playtime. We do have reading time and chores each day but I am a lot more lax on schedules, bedtimes, and daily tasks. I can tell as summer is coming to a close because the bickering begins and the kids get antsy as they have had too much " together " time and less routine. It reminds me it is time to get back on track.
This year, we have decided to incorporate a family theme into our back to school traditions. Inspired by a good friend who does this with her family, I liked the idea of focusing on a family goal. Even something I can chidingly spout out at my kids at morning drop off or remind them as they rush off to their activities. I wanted something meaningful, yet not too serious. Something they would be able to grasp and remember and recite as our family motto. So, the past few days it has been on my mind, "What type of Miller family do we need to become?"
Every family has room for growth, things to learn and attitudes to adopt. After a summer of fun and honestly a little entitlement on my kiddos' part, I really have been on the hunt for a good motto.
Here in our community and in my social media world a lot of families are going through significant trials. Several Aicardi children have been lost over the past year, a dear friend and mother of 4 has stage 3 cancer, another close friend is having significant issues in her marital life ( sadly more than one friend is in this situation), a child of a friend died suddenly and tragically, a 2 year old in our community was recently diagnosed with leukemia and has been in the hospital for weeks.. the list goes on. All of us, everywhere we turn can find others in tough situations. It is the reality of being human and when our lives seem tough too bear, there is ALWAYS someone out there suffering more. It has been a humble lesson I have had to learn as Brooke's mother and I am glad I have. It has made me grateful for the trials I have been given.
With all of this going on, I feel my children and Ryan and I need to be reminded of the wonderful life and blessings we do have. Here are just a few of the countless blessings-
We have each other! Thank goodness for a loving God who put us together in this family to learn and love.
We have a home to live in and food to eat. No real suffering for basic needs around here.
We have family, friends, a loving community, a very real support system helping us as we raise our 3 daughters.
We have a bright faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, making life full of hope and meaning.
Ryan has a good job, with good benefits, and retirement and it is stable and steady.
We live in America and all of the freedoms and blessings it affords.
Life has adapted, even when a special needs child with very serious issues is part of the deal, we have found happiness and joy.
We are all pretty healthy, even little Brookie. Crossing my fingers, everyone is stable, healthy, happy and living a good life.
This list of recognizing our blessings could take up our entire blog, but you get the idea. We are blessed. Yet sometimes it is hard to recognize these blessings when we are busy, when we feel stressed, when some have it easier, when it seems some seem people have all the luck, when we are sleep deprived (which is all too often) , when we are focusing on things that may not be the most important priorities to focus on; our world is full of voices and distractions that detract from family life.
So this year, with all of the trials around us and issues we are facing I feel like GRATITUDE is a value I want to instill in us and our girls.
President Thomas S. Monson said it perfectly when he said,
Done, AMEN, what more can I say? The Miller Family 2014 theme is born. First on the books, and hoping this a tradition we can keep. More on Pres. Monson's tender message can be found here- https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/an-attitude-of-gratitude?lang=eng
Gratitude, it seems like a no brainer! All of us need reminders to be more grateful, to give service, to recognize that we are very blessed. Always. So as we go about our lives this year I hope I can remind my girls to whine less, say thank you more, serve others, be happy with where we are now.
One goal we have is to do a monthly family service project. It may be in a bigger scale such as going to a soup kitchen or collecting toys to donate for underprivileged families, or it may be making cards for Grandma or doing a kind deed without having to be asked. I want my girls to become good, kind people. Starting now when they are little ladies seems like the best way. We are reading several books together on being a good friend, and treating others kindly. We are also focusing more on daily prayer and personal scripture study. Even Juliette and Audrey are doing daily scripture reading out of children's adapted scripture stories as part of their chores. Afterwards, we are talking about it and what they can take from each story. We may miss a day or two or 3 but having a renewed goal of becoming a better Miller person is a goal we can strive for. It can't hurt to be more focused, right?
So as I send my children off to school, even little Brooke, I am hoping they can remember to have gratitude in their hearts. It is a tough job being a mother, worrying about the little people you are helping to mold into great adults. Hopefully as we take time to have gratitude... I am one step closer of accomplishing the job.
With this I must state, I am SO grateful to be their mom!