SummarySpring is the natural season to adopt a spirit of renewal and time for five simple steps to refresh your family’s blessings beyond your wildest imaginings.
Most people choose January as their time for resolutions.
They envision a new year, new you ideal just as the winter months kick into full gear. However, timing health and production changes during the period when hibernation seems most enticing is kind of like swimming against a fierce current.
So, it’s little wonder that most of those resolutions are abandoned long before the frost melts.
Does that mean that there’s no hope for making changes? Does it mean that we’re all doomed to perpetual sameness, if we’re not strong enough to swim against that current? Not at all! As sensible as it might be to time resolutions to coincide with the turn of the year, as Catholics, we have a better calendar to follow.
Spirit of Renewal
The quiet, penitential season of Lent offers us the perfect time for taking inventory of ourselves, our habits and our environment. Then, once we’ve had time to ponder what is (and what isn’t) working, and spent the season detaching from worldly things, we have the renewed vigor of spring to encourage us.
As we’re throwing open the windows and spying the first signs of blossoms in the yard, our hearts are naturally more inclined to follow suit. Spring is the ideal season to adopt a spirit of renewal.
1. Refresh Your Style
Sometimes there is a temptation for mothers to view self-care as vain or frivolous. Some mothers boast about how long it has been since they styled their hair. And while too much attention to self could become vanity, conversely, too little attention to self can become neglect. True beauty is a reflection of God, so mothers needn’t shy away from shining that beauty in the world.
To this end, refresh your style by getting a haircut, changing your hair style, wearing a new shade of lipstick, or donning a new dress or piece of jewelry. You don’t have to break the budget by paying top dollar at a high-end salon or shopping for a whole new wardrobe (though you could if your budget allows it).
Get your hair trimmed at a discount salon and save a little money by skipping the pre-wash and after-styling. Or patronize a local beauty school and allow the budding beauticians to practice their skills on you. Buy something new off the rack at your favorite thrift store or pick up a colorful necklace for less than $10.
2. Refresh Your Environment
Reading through the Little House on the Prairie books with my children, I’ve always delighted in the myriad small ways that Ma had to make their house a welcoming home. Though they owned very few things, she still saw the value in using what she had to brighten up their tiny log cabin.
Create a warm and welcoming living space in your home by setting some pretty, artificial flower arrangements on the tables and in the bathrooms. Spruce up your old couch with a few new (or new-to-you if you buy them at the thrift store) throw pillows. Change the bedroom curtains and recover your tired bedspread with a new duvet cover. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, re-paint your kitchen or dining room.
3. Refresh Your Menu
It’s the age-old question: what’s for dinner? And if your household is anything like mine, you’ve probably given the same old answers week in and week out. Yet, between the countless cookbook titles lining library and bookstore shelves and the even-more numerous recipes available online, there’s no excuse for not trying something new.
Additionally, if your children aren’t already serving as your sous chefs in the kitchen, now is the time to hand them a mixing spoon. Get your children involved in making a new recipe for dinner or allow them to experiment by adding some fresh ingredients into the salad (try cran-raisins, nuts, cheese, fruit).
4. Renew Your Home School
Evaluate what is working and what isn’t in your current school schedule and curriculum. Then, make the necessary changes. As home schoolers, we aren’t constrained by outside forces when it comes to addressing problems and implementing solutions. So, take up the reins and confidently set the course for your home schoolers.
If your children would be better served by starting half an hour earlier or later, make the change. If your son is struggling in algebra, go back to lesson one and work through all of the lessons together. If your daughter is no longer interested in attending dance classes, bow out of the class and reclaim the hour in your week.
5. Renew Your Spirit
Most important of all, take the time to renew your spirit this spring season by adopting a new prayer routine. Praying always has merit, but occasionally it can become so routine that we end up murmuring through the words without meditating on the meaning. Making small changes for a time can reignite our love for our faith and refresh our spirits.
Commit to an hour in adoration as a family or include at least one daily Mass in your family’s schedule each week. Keep the First Friday or First Saturday devotion. Just remember to make doable changes, rather than set yourself up for failure by over-extending your time or energy. Promise to add in one daily Mass per week and then stick with it, rather than over-commit to Mass every day and then quit when you can’t make it happen.
Blessings Beyond Our Wildest Imaginings
Our perspective affects our outlook. When we see our situation as hopeless or overwhelming (which can happen in the midst of the doldrums and tediousness of the home school year) we want to quit. The Apostles could have fallen into this trap on Good Friday or during the silence of Holy Saturday, but we know that Easter Sunday held blessings beyond their wildest imaginings.
Likewise, there is often a temptation to jump to a conclusion as to the outcome, rushing our assessment of the future before it unfolds. But God’s timing is not ours. The long winter always leads to the spring just as Good Friday always leads to Easter Sunday.
Similarly, the long, hard days of managing personalities and learning styles in the home school household will lead to the formation of God’s people (moms and dads included).