Life Lessons in the Laundry Room

The laundry room. Daily laundry loads.

Life reflections, unexpected.

That box. That one (yes, that assumes there are others) box in the laundry room, way up high atop the file cabinet (yes we still own one).

Last night I began the PROCESS of dejunking the laundry room, under the influence of my very organizational-minded daughter.

It started with that box.

I began digging, wrestling through papers and pictures. Tossed a few in the trash. Read entries from my college journal, the one I kept while dating Mike. Shared some of my thoughts with our children and then made a "keep" pile. I pulled out a binder of notes scrawled on napkins, scraps, and bulletins; a book someday. I added the binder to the "keep" pile. Another binder. This one dated in the 1990s full of notes from an encouragement column I wrote as a homeschool support group leader. I read over the columns, smiling at the names, remembering the faces and field trip moments. People I knew and walked the homeschooling journey with, twenty years ago.

Ah, my early years of home education with our oldest children five, seven, maybe ten years old. I purposed an environment of love, grace, enrichment; a place where intellect could be challenged and a love to learn modeled. I wanted learning to be digging deeper, studying the fascinating, fostering curiosity, but also master math facts and memorize the periodic table. I planned my days with the "goal" or "what I thought they would need" when they walked over our threshold.

I loved those days. Blossoming with potential, fresh with anticipation, hope and aspiration. I loved being a mom, being with my children, watching every light bulb light, pondering how their early passions—strategy, the outdoors, people, analytics — might be used in their future.

Forward to today.

The oldest are now adults, one graduated from college, earning an MBA, working full time and acting as CFO for a non-profit. The other, married, pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy. Each unique.

But here is the interesting least to me, the lesson I reflect on.

The lesson which will impact the education of the ones still at home.

Though I envisioned young men walking across my threshold, educated a certain way, prepared for certain things, I would have never dreamed my young strategist would to teach business skills to people in Haiti. Had I known that, I would have prepared him a different way!

But wait! Prepared him a different way? He WAS prepared.

That is the lesson I learned.

Though we had our vision set on something totally different, God used our faithful prayers and provided EVERY opportunity my son needed today. His learning at home PREPARED him for where he is today. And, I am glad I really didn't know exactly what he would need, as my heroic attempts to PREPARE him would have pigeon-holed him, given him too narrow a perspective, limited to what I thought "he needed".

There is no way I would have ever fathomed him teaching business skills to business owners in Haiti.

And even if I did, how would I have taught those skills?

I look over my thoughts in those notebooks. All I thought I had to do. All I thought I knew, but really didn't understand. All the books I thought we had to read. All I purposed. All great things.

Now, I see differently.

What did he learn from his days in our home.

  • The ability to communicate with others and work with individuals very different than himself.
  • The ability to take risks, to visit places that might not be safe, for the sake of something bigger than he can understand.
  • The ability to solve a problem, a problem he didn't even know he would have.
  • The ability to pour his heart into something, not give up, and walk faithfully when the future is unknown.

That box.  The one stored in the deep, dark corners of a closet or the one atop tall piles in the laundry room. That box of lessons. 

I'm glad my daughter encouraged me to purge and organize.

In the process I was able to reflect on our years and look to the future, with new anticipation.

What opportunities will our children have ten years from now? I don't really know, and I am glad. That reflection causes me to use what we have and know today, to the best of our ability, with what is provided, and allow God to plant our feet to destination I cannot possibly know or understand.

A New Year to Create, Cultivate and Celebrate

How will you be intentional to create, cultivate and celebrate in your home?


  • Organize an art corner where ingenious minds can create.
  • Refresh art supplies. Introduce a new medium.
  • Bind last year's art masterpieces creating a portfolio to celebrate progress and change. 
  • Offer new tools to cultivate life learning --protractors, microscopes, compasses, templates, 3-hole punches, staplers, balance scales
  • Use New Year savings offered by digital scrapbook companies to create a family memory book where accomplishments and memorable favorites can be celebrated...TOGETHER!
  • Provide blank books to budding authors and illustrators. Cultivate the need to create! 
  • Say "yes" to requests for household trinkets and treasures. They may just be the next patent in the making. 
  • Purchase a personal bookcase to fit bedside the contagious reader. 
  • Read to the emergent reader eager to build fluency. Celebrate the sentence read and the chapter completed!
  • Post a black-out list where newly mastered multiplication facts can be crossed off.
  • Champion ideas and celebrate milestones.