Practice. The days of the week move with the squeaking hinges of practice. Practice -- the rusty gears that turn the dial of each day just need a little oil -- or maybe a half a can of WD40. We ask the children to practice kindness, reading, math, violin, laughter, clearing the table, good manners, cleaning up after themselves, asking with please and thank you, gymnastics, verses, eating the food that has been served to them, science terms, writing, art projects, speaking with a soft voice, not whining. . . . It is all a practice.

Then I hear my own voice rising above the noise. Molten lava expelling with great hot spurts of ingratitude, frustration, anger. Practiced kindness?

I feel my tired elbows grind into the table and I don't want to move them. I eat another handful of chocolate chips (before dinner). Voice isn't soft, whine about the dirt, forget to say please, forget to laugh, give up on projects I try.

I worked hard for six days to keep the trash to a minimum and something happened and the one bag turned into two and then another small bag. Defeated. My one bag in a week project failed. I don't want to practice anymore.

The alarm goes off. I don't want to get up and run. I sleep. The run is cut short. It won't build up my endurance.

Reading. I ask them to read and want so badly to read to them and on my own, but practicing finding the time?

I ask them to sit still, yet I've not sat all day. Sitting still -- I've never practiced this.

So tomorrow -- sun peeks over the horizon (a vocabulary word we are practicing this week) and reaches long finger rays into the day and we begin again. A practice.  We've noticed Amelia will cry through the challenging part of practice, but she doesn't give up. She won't stop until she's got it.

So, we will try again with the trash. We will try again with the run. We will try again to use soft answers and we will practice. Because when I do look at the Spanish moss hanging from the trees and the flannel moth larvae spinning, when I listen to William hum a tune and George Wilder smile as he reads and Amelia play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the violin and George play another wonderful tune on his violin before he settles into writing great work, and as I get some sewing done and manage to get some letters in the mail and squeeze in a trip to St. Marks Light House with a bunch of moms and kids to check out birds and sea creatures. I see creation practicing too and us with it living the life given to us.


And we did dress up like Egyptians and make ointment for mummification. . . .

And I can still make some delicious spaghetti for dinner and a delicious bread from old cereal! I'd love to try some new recipes, but that practice might need to wait a few years!

The wheels are not as squeaky as they seem. They are running pretty smoothly.


  1. Great post! There's hope for the trash...but I'm not putting much hope on you sitting still :)


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