The Small Blessings That Speak Truth

I wish I thought to take a picture of all the rubbish that came home in my children’s bags on the last day of school. It was epic!  Think this picture below times at least 100.  This is just the remnants; the stuff that was salvageable.

the little things that count

School is finished and I managed to get through the last couple of weeks.  I didn’t get through gracefully, but the dreaded weeks are behind me.  When there are rough patches in family life, I often feel alone. I wonder if there is something wrong with me. The kids bicker more than usual. My temper is stretched. I’m exhausted. The house becomes a dumping ground as we frantically try to do the everything that needs to be done, and be at all the places we need to be. This means things aren’t organised at home, and I don’t know where I’m at. I can’t find things and the house runs in a hickelty-pickelty fashion. I feel down, and am unable to think clearly.  I wrote about this, and was surprised, and so very encouraged by the lovely responses I received. Parenting can be quite a lonely journey at times. And yet we do share so many of the same experiences, so I have discovered once again.

I feel more like myself again.

There is a little story I want to share.  It has a little to do with the odious task of unpacking school bags, and a lot to do with listening for the stillness of truth amongst the noise.

The small blessings that speak truth…

I watched my girls walk through the gate, and under the fiery poinsettia tree that provided a carpet of red-orange on the grass.  They were walking slow, turning to each other in comfortable conversation.  I never fail to feel a sense of pride at the evidence of their relationship and what good friends they are. It was the last day of school and I was glad of it.  My two eldest girls were still 20 metres away when I wound down the window of the car.

“You DID IT! You finished school for the year! Congratulations!!” I didn’t care who overheard me.

I watched the smiles creep on their faces. As they came closer, I noticed their swollen backpacks and a sense of dread filled me at inevitable: the job of sorting through the contents. Some of my prior exuberance leaked out of me like an injured balloon fading fast. More stuff to deal with. More rubbish. More things to find a home for. I get so sick of stuff sometimes.

Later at home, I found the usual in the backpacks: broken pencils, rotten fruit, pens without lids, 6 erasers (2 from the start of the year and another 4 so called ‘replacements’ I was commissioned to buy), empty glue sticks, small containers I had been looking for all year, 4 teaspoons, 1 fork, books, paper, paper, and more paper.

As I sorted through the items, I came across a self portrait and profile written by my then 7-year-old daughter.

little things that matterYou know, it’s these little things that are like a burst of light through the storm clouds. It’s the redemption in the chaos, when I feel I’m doing everything wrong. It’s the moment in the big picture.

I looked through another bag and found a Portrait of Dad by my 5-year-old daughter (Prep). It’s encouraging to know the effort to visit my husband with the kids on many a long weekend when he is working, is important, it matters, and it impacts on the children in a positive way.

I love the details in this picture.

The surgeon’s hat. The glasses he wears when he is operating. The two pockets either side of the scrubs.

dad by my prep daughter 2011


I love the words.

My favourite thing about Dad is: “Because he takes me to the unit at his work and gives me yummy food, and he makes silly jokes.”

I flicked through some of the intact books to see snippets of our family life filter through. What I saw made me happy.

the little things

I was rather astounded by the artwork and felt grateful for the teacher’s efforts and my daughter’s obvious progress.

aboriginal painting prep daughter 2011

I watched a DVD filled with images of my 10-year-old. In it I see how much she has achieved and matured over the year.

When I’m in the valley, it feels like I’m stuck; there’s a mountain to climb at every turn.  Yet God reminds me of all these little blessings that put everything in perspective. Although the sound echoes loud in the valley as it bounces around and surrounds me, it’s often the quiet, still, and small things that speak truth.

Valleys exist. Waves happen. The rain comes.

But then…

The grass is green. The sun is bright. The flowers sing.

It’s the combination of these contrasts that make life so rich; so beautiful.

It’s the moments that make up the big picture.

It’s the small, quiet blessings that speak truth.

I’m listening.

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  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I’m listening too. Now. Thanks Kel – I so needed this reminder! Hope you all enjoy your lovely weeks of holiday!

  • Reply
    Dorothy @ Singular Insanity
    December 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    School’s not finished here in Victoria, yet. I, too, dread the full school bag filled with “stuff”. When I do bring myself to finally go through it, it is lovely to find these gems. Occasionally, me and the boys look through school notebooks from earlier years and it is so cute to find my schoolboy’s early writings and drawings.

    Next year, I’ll have two lots of school stuff to sort through… Oh, what fun!

  • Reply
    Deb @ Home life simplified
    December 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Wonderful post Kelly! I literally just sorted through all the debris, spoons, empty glue sticks (why oh why) on Saturday and have yet to sit and look through the actual books. we go through together and decide what to keep, but i think i will take a little time alone tonight and quietly read my yr 1 and yr 2 girls’ journey through this year! Thanks!!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Poetry to my ears!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

    And heart!

  • Reply
    Amz aka Nurturing Progress
    December 12, 2011 at 9:39 am


    Just beautiful. The highlight seeing the beautiful artwork by your daughter and then the uncanny resemblance to your husband – a lovely picture of him too btw. It was a melt moment.

    Of course those kisses – makes you wanna kiss them all the more doesn’t it.

    Thank you for bringing this into my life and when the time comes encouraging me to be thankful for the chaos that the life of school will bring – as underneath all of it, are moments that haven’t be spoken but have been felt. This will be treasured – thanks for sharing those moments in your home. Remarkable and truly heartwarming. Enjoy the bliss 🙂
    <3 it Kel.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 10:08 am

    beautiful post kel.what a blessed and rich family you have! Thank you for your encouragement,…. bring on the holidays!! x

  • Reply
    Rowie Hope
    December 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Beautiful reflections. This is our first year of school- my eldest has just finished Prep. What a journey. I think I cried more on the last day than the first! We have been blessed to have had an amazing prep experience. We too were inundated with all the end of year class work from “The Box” (most of which I have thrown away). There was plenty of gold in there, but even better than that my daughters beautiful teachers aid had put together a portfolio of all of the important stuff that she had done during the year with all the memorable events, first days, mothers day, fathers day, Easter chapel, Christmas chapel, swimming certificates etc. talk about making my job easy! Love love love that I have this to keep forever now!!

  • Reply
    Janice - Learning 4 kids
    December 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this lovely post Kel, I loved reading it! It is so reassuring to read your words and relate to your experience. Life has been very stretched here in our household too over the past week and the light at the end of the tunnel is close. School finishes on Wednesday here in WA and I am looking forward to having my little girl home! I miss her!
    Congratulations Kelly on your beautiful family, they are an absolute credit to you! Happy holidays! xx

  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    So sooo true. I felt all of those things in the lead up to school ending and then was reminded of how lucky I was when reading through my 7 year-olds school books. Though some of his diary entries were a little, shall we say, imaginative!

  • Reply
    Veronica @ Mixed Gems
    December 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Beautiful post, Kel. All your efforts for the family are leaving a huge imprint on your children.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    That is so gorgeous! And such a lovely record of your family over the year.

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