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Holding Family Meetings To Keep A Sense of Routine and Connection in the Midst of Covid19

A couple of years back, we came across a book called “The Secret of Happy Families,” which I am not necessary recommending but there were some handy ideas in the book. One of them was the idea of a weekly family meeting, and a basic layout for what that meeting could look like. So we borrowed that idea and did it consistently at first and do it off and on now, but enough that the kids know the general routine. For the basic family meeting, there’s an opportunity to talk about a) what went well last week, b) what could have gone better, and c) what are our intentions for the coming week. Everyone gets to talk for themselves, with feedback from the group. When we do this, we often do it on Sunday evenings during dinner.

Seeing as how we’re all experimenting with new routines in life because of the Coronavirus, we adapted this concept yet again.

In lieu of going to meeting for worship, because ours was cancelled as many were, we had our own family meeting this morning (we have 3 kids – 8, 10, and 12 yrs). This is something we do from time to time & in the coming weeks we will be more consistent with this practice.

Not only does having a family meeting for worship help keep some sense of routine around worship, but gives us an opportunity to discuss how we’re all feeling, share worries and gratitudes, pray for those people and thing we are concerned, and share information about how things are shifting.

Here is the format we used for a family meeting this morning:

  • Silence (about 5 mins)
    — Ask if anyone has anything they wanted to share out of the silence with the rest of us
  • Each person shares any worries or concerns
  • Each person shares their gratitudes
  • Someone offers a prayer for these concerns and gratitudes shared
  • Business items (opportunity for sharing key info out to the family) – During this part of our meeting we discussed family expectations for the coming weeks (for Heaven’s sake – don’t use all the toilet paper!), how things will likely shift with school and work and what that means for all of us, new things we’d like to try in the changes, discuss the morning checklist (a staple we use to help the kids be more self-guided), and re-read the tech guidelines we crafted last fall.
  • Closed with a blessing from J. Philip Newall

The blessings of heaven, 
The blessings of earth,
The blessings of sea and of sky
On those we love this day
On every human family
[And on all of God’s creation]
The gifts of heaven,
The gifts of earth,
The gifts of sea and of sky.

J Philip Newall

This little model of family meeting will be something we keep coming back to over the coming weeks and months to try and help keep some semblance of routine and organization in the family. I’d love to hear what others are doing as well.

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Featured Practices The Theological

Which Direction Are We Headed?

wemily I love traveling, I always have. One thing I have learned is that the type of journey and its destination determine what you’ll pack in your bags. If I am going on a backpacking trip in the Alleghenies (PA) and I’ll be out for 10 days, I will have to pack much differently than I would (and did) pack for a 3-day backpacking trip in Death Valley (NV).

I remember my parents throwing me and four of my siblings into our Oldsmobile station-wagon and heading south. We were on the road headed from Ohio to Alabama to visit our cousins. My parents were, at the time, considering whether or not to move down to Montgomery. As a kid this was an incredible adventure, we packed little, and didn’t really know what we’d find when we got there. And while even as a third-grader there wasn’t a whole lot about Alabama I found attractive, the road trip was fun. Looking back on it now, I am convinced, more than ever, my parents were insane. But, I have to assume, the destination and the purpose of the journey was what helped them stay focused and kept them on track. We never did end up moving to Alabama, but the trip was well worth it, at least if the goal was discerning whether or not to move there. Within a short period of time we knew the answer.

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Blog Entries

Our New Family “Scrapbook”

Emily and I have set up a “family scrapbook” site called Weird Fishes (the name of one of L’s favorite Radiohead songs). It’s basically going to be our site for all things Daniels family. I know there are a number of you (family and friends) who read my blog because you’re interested in getting updates about what we’re up to in life, the baby, etc. and I recognize that Gathering in Light usually fails in this area. And since I am trying to make a move to keep this site more focused on being a journal of my “work,” it seemed like a good idea to Emily and I to create Weird Fishes. That said, I’d like for all of you who are interested in reading about the family life side of things in the lives of the Daniels to hop on over to our new site (or sign up for the email updates). As a little side-note, I am going to be transitioning into stay-at-home dad for the next 3.5 months and could use your prayers (I’m pretty nervous). One fun thing I’ve decided to do is take a picture of something L and I do everyday to show Emily what we’re up to while she’s at work, I’ll be posting those pictures on our other site as well. And as always, thank you for reading this site.

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Blog Entries

Decluttering: Thoughts on a Difficult Practice

old version of deskAs of late I’ve been on this kick to declutter my life. I am sure this has a lot to do with now being a father and realizing there are a lot of inessentials in my life; and quite honestly, I can’t say I would have come to this otherwise. Actually, this has also lead to a lot of reflection on all kinds of things including my blogging: why I do it, and whether I should continue and if so in what manner? But all of that is for another post.

So I decided to make this year a year of decluttering. I say year so that it’s not too ambitious, like get rid of everything in the next month, but rather spend the entire year, not just getting rid of things, but organizing better, managing time differently, and make good choices about what to bring into my life (whether a material things, commitments, etc). One thing somewhat related that Emily and I have talked a lot about is trying to focus on buying used things instead of always feeling the need to have something new.

Anyways, I don’t have any great tips on how to become less cluttered and I’m still at the very beginning of this process, but here are some of the things I’ve been working on so far.