This last week I was listening to an audio Marilyn made recently where she was encouraging moms new to Lifestyle of Learning™ in how to focus their time during this season of growing understanding.
She gave instruction for 3 things to be doing: immersing yourself in Lifestyle of Learning™ reading materials to renew your mind, creating family together times, and reading to your children.
I’ve been thinking about our family together times, and just brimming with gratitude to the Lord and for Marilyn and the Lifestyle of Learning™ message that encouraged us toward purposefully building our family relationships this way with family together times years ago. I’ve been thinking about how our family together times have changed over the years.
Of course, since my children are all still at home, we are together a lot, so I’m thinking specifically of the things we love to do all together for fun….Although, now that I’m thinking about it, we have lots of fun no matter what we’re doing together! We really like the sentiments in the song, “Where ever we go, that’s where the party’s at!”
Since we’ve recently moved, we are missing some of the places we used to go walking and hiking. We used to go to the beach, which was a 10 minute drive away. We would walk down the beach, throwing a stick in the water for our dog to retrieve over and over as we went. A favorite thing to do there was to walk on the many logs, and examine the driftwood. On one of our trips to the beach, we discovered that the large dried out root system of a beached uprooted tree makes many different sounds when beat with sticks! Some of the pieces of the roots make a low resounding thumps while others make a high pitched twang. It became somewhat of a tradition to find such a root system at the beach, and make some very tribal sounding music on it. We have lots of precious memories of walking on the beach.
We used to walk around Twin lakes about 10 minutes from home in the other direction. There we found a place that was relatively free of other people, so that we could feel alright about letting our dog off leash, and spreading out as much as we liked. The grassy path around the lake in most parts was about 15 feet wide so that the kids could walk along in a bunch, which they love because they always have so much to talk about together. Walking single file on narrower trails doesn’t allow for that as much. We were sure to wear our boots on this walk, because the lake was overflowing the trail in a couple of places, and we had to wade through the 4-6 inches of water.
We love to go Eagle watching in the winter, and go to the river in the summer. Of course with our Eagle watching, we are on the look out for eagles and we explore the rivers where they hang out. It’s always fun to play with the iced over puddles we sometimes find. At the river in the summer time, we wade and swim for as long as we can stand the coldness of the water, and then we skip rocks and throw plunkers. A plunker is a flat round rock thrown up high and spinning so that it hits the water in a forceful straight down way on the thin edge so that it makes no splash, and instead it makes a low “thunk” sound, and sometimes releases a big bubble after it goes down. I’ve loved watching the kids grown in their skill of rock skipping and throwing plunkers over the years.
At our new house, we’ve found a beautiful place to hike around about 2 minutes drive from home. I just learned from the neighbor that it was going to be a golf course, but the company who was going to build it went bankrupt. I’m looking forward to walking there more often.
Around the neighborhood
At our old house, we lived on a really steep hill with a busy road, so bike riding was not very possible without just going back and forth on our short road, but sometimes we would load up our bikes in our trailer, and take them to nearby biking trails. I’m finding that one advantage of now living in a neighborhood is that we can ride our bikes much more often. Just recently we found that there is an extensive trail system quite close to our house! We rode our bikes on it for the first time yesterday. It was a beautiful ride through the forest, and I really want to do that again! We purchased all of our bikes from garage sales and thrift stores so that we haven’t been overcome by the price of getting 7 bikes, and of getting ever increasing bigger bikes as the children grew. The kids have had opportunity to learn a lot about fixing them enough to be functional and replacing parts here and there.
We like to play foursquare together some evenings. We go down to the neighborhood park basketball court here at our new house, but we used to play in our garage at our old house. Any flat concrete place and a piece of chalk or drywall will do. Foursquare is an easy game with easy rules, and we can play while we laugh at our clumsy selves and all the silly things that seem to happen as we take turns lunging to keep the ball bouncing in just the right spots.
More family together time
We also love to go to the thrift stores together, go into downtown Seattle and visit the market and the antique stores, play card games, play airsoft battles, make music and sing together, watch and discuss movies, carve pumpkins, walk in the snow, take drives, read around a campfire, and cut paper snowflakes. Just eating dinner together is a wonderful time at our house, sitting for an hour or more after dinner is done, continuing the many conversations we love to have together.
I’m finding myself just smiling as I’m writing and thinking of all the sweet times we have together, and about each of the little traditions we form around the activities we repeatedly do. These together times and little traditions create in us all a deep sense of belonging to each other. I know that over time our family together times will change and adjust as the kids grow, and life’s circumstances change, but this deep sense of belonging is not going to go away.
How about you? Have you begun to develop ideas for your family together time?
You can listen to Marilyn’s encouraging audio for those who are just beginning to move toward a lifestyle of learning for their family. Sign up to receive a link to download the audios and transcripts here.