Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Joyful Morphing

If you are visiting Embrace the Grace from your comfortable living room in the United States, I wish you Happy Thanksgiving!  (If you're visiting from another country, I wish you Happy Day!)  Here's a little something to give you a smile wherever you find yourself today.

My post is about this average-looking basket of laundry.  Sitting on an average dining room table.

Those who have read this blog for many years know our family started with just Frank, Sheri and three precious daughters.  Those daughters grew up (as children will do) and they went off to college and ended up marrying three wonderful men.  That took our family of five to a family of eight.

Fast forward another few years and those precious young couples decided to add children of their own.  (Oh, Happy Day!)  Our family of eight has at this point added nine grandchildren taking us to a family of (wait, let me take off my shoes to help count) . . . SEVENTEEN!

Yep, seventeen.  We have morphed from an average-sized family into a full-blown Tribe.

When we first moved to Florida, it was agreed we would all meet for dinner once a week.  Monday night was the time set aside and we all held it as a rather sacred time.  Through the adding of two new sons and five grandchildren, this schedule continued to work.

When our third son came on the scene, he already had a similar arrangement with his family who live locally. . . time to morph a bit.  We went to every other Monday night.  This gave them the opportunity to alternate with us and everyone adapted.

We used that arrangement for almost five years.  Even while adding more grandchildren, we all kept meeting twice a month for family dinner.

Then came 2019 and one daughter went back to school with classes on Monday-Thursday.

HMMMM, what to do?  The original five Hawleys met for breakfast and discussed many options.  Finally, we decided to morph again.  Family Dinner has now become Family Breakfast one Saturday per month.

Now some will wonder, "Don't you miss having the time together every Monday night?"  Well, of course we do.  But all of life is about compromise and change.  I can embrace that or fight it.  Believe me, embracing is the better choice.

The bonus has been our impromptu dinners.  Like last Sunday.

The Schrecks had planned to have left-overs for lunch after church.  They invited the Smiths because they had so much food.  The McGhees overheard their plans, so they invited them, too.  That's when I got a phone call.

"Mom, everyone is coming to our house for lunch.  It's just left-overs but would you and dad like to come, too?"

Let's think about this.  All nine of our grandchildren in one location?  All six of our adult children there as well?  I don't have to cook?  "ABSOLUTELY!  What can we bring?"

We stopped at the grocery store and picked up a couple items to add to the party.  Then headed to the joy of an impromptu family dinner.  Our weather has finally started cooling off a bit so we can be outside.

The big kids were playing basketball.  The littles were playing on the pirate ship.  Someone was on the trampoline.  Kitty (the great dane puppy) was doing laps in her pen. And the adults all sat around talking while the oven heated the food which had suddenly become secondary.  The connecting was the priority.

When you see the next two pictures, try and guess what we enjoyed for a main dish . . .

Parker Franklin McGhee (18 months)

Ava Quinn Schreck  (2 1/2)

 If you guessed SPAGHETTI, you win!  (No prizes available today, simply bragging rights.)  We also had grilled chicken, veggies, rolls and corn on our eclectic menu.  But no one was complaining.

We all knew this was a brilliant moment to be savored.  Yes, there was some loud arguing.  There were a couple of mishaps with solo cups.  Even a plate ended up flipping and needed to be refilled.

Still we chose to enjoy the morphing instead of resisting it.   What does all this have to do with a basket of laundry?  Perhaps a couple of additional pictures will help explain.  (As you know, I'm still learning how to post pictures.  I added these but couldn't figure out how to put in a closing paragraph.  Feel free to finish the post in the comment section.)

Can you see the Joy?  Look a little closer . . .

Our very own newest member of the tribe - Andrew Ryder Smith (3 months)


  1. I really appreciate how you all have learned to go with the flow and not hang on too tight. Randy and I and our son's girlfriends's (almost fiancee) parents are learning the art of letting go and letting our adult kids live their lives. It's a tough lesson but oh so worthwhile. It's good to see a family who has learned to navigate the ins and outs of family dynamics. Although it is an imperfect art!

    Loving the photos! Happy Day After Thanksgiving to you guys!

    Love, Deb M

    1. You're so right, Deb. It's a perfectly imperfect art. The wonderful part is that God offers grace when we ask for it. Blessings as you and Randy move forward with this new season of life.

  2. Oh my, that type of dinner with family sounds wonderful. We, as a family get together every Saturday for Penn State football. That only takes care of three of the months of the year. It would be nice to some how figure out how to set up a bit weekly or monthly dinner with family. We have six grandchildren and the grandchildren's parents which make us a family of twelve. All six of the grandchildren are involved in college, high school, middle school and one elementary school sports teams and one our "sons" had the nerve to become a high school coach and middle school coach. Thankfully we get together at many of these sporting events, but we usually end up eating stadium food. Not matter what it is a joy to be together. Oh by the way, I have a picture of my son looking much the same after eating spaghetti. Cathie

    1. Cathie, it sounds like you have the "joyful morph" down pat. We have the blessing of small grand children still. I'm sure there will be many changes again when everyone gets involved in sports. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  3. Oh, I did not figure out the laundry basket until enlarged the picture of it. I agree, such joy