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MaryBeth Eberhard shared how she teaches gratitude through time away with her family.

There are moments in family life where memories become etched firmly in our hearts. These moments provide a glimpse into the beauty of the Father’s provision in creating the family. Yesterday was one of those moments. It took a push from my husband and a nudge from the kids, but we paused the business of our weekend. Kids from ages 20 to 10 loaded in the car and headed to the pumpkin farm. It is easy with a big family to have strong traditions that you created with the first few children but by the fifth, sixth, and now eighth have allowed the everyday responsibilities to overshadow the gift of memories created and time together just being together. 

Pope Francis reminds families of the importance of “wasting time together.” This wasting time is so necessary as the very pause that wasting time together mandates becomes a gift of time. This gift of time becomes a gift to not just others but to yourself as well! The first gift at the pumpkin farm was the hayride. No pumpkin farm is complete without the Hallmark picturesque hayride and apple picking! As we gathered on that wagon, my face looked like a child on Christmas eve, and everyone laughed at my excitement.




After the hayride, we divided up and the younger children did the corn maze with Dad, while the rest of us enjoyed hot dogs and cider, funnel cakes and caramel apples. My two children who use power wheelchairs stayed back by the campfire while my teenage daughter and I attempted the corn maze. Knowing this was a lost venture as neither of us is particularly map oriented, we laughed and took selfies, took many wrong turns, and eventually congratulated ourselves with finding the yellow ribbon that leads to the exit! We met the family back at the table where they were all laughing and sharing stories. 

We stayed late until the moon was up and the play area was lit with stringed lights and kids playing. I stood incredulously on top of a hill, the scents of straw, cider, hay, and kettle corn filling the air and gazed out at the living that was truly happening here. There were families playing tetherball and kids playing basketball. There were apple cannons, and barrel rolls, ziplines and the radio softly played in the night breeze. My husband came up beside me, wrapped his arms around me and we breathed in the wonder of this moment with truly grateful hearts.

As we walked down that little hill and danced under the stars to whatever music was playing, our children looked over from the picnic table where they had gathered to eat and chat. We saw them roll their eyes, take out their phones, and snap pictures of their crazy parents who dance under the stars at a pumpkin farm. They groaned in mock patience as we shared how amazing it is to have a love like this. But they know! They see it and these memories remind them that a love like this, a family like this, is worthy of much gratitude.


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These memories remind them that a love like this, a family like this, is worthy of much gratitude. #catholicmom


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We needed this pause. Not just because it’s fall and we should go get a pumpkin, but because we had let the wonder and awe of this family we have been given take a back seat to the pace of modern life.

But God is so good. He is a giver always and he reaches into our hearts and nudges until our eyes are opened. For me it was as if he had spit into the mud as he did for the blind man and allowed me to truly see. And when the Father gives you vision, the clarity He gives is almost too wondrous to fathom. You see everything on every level. Your heart cannot help but be grateful as you see how HIs love and faithfulness has affected your own family but stand watching it affect others. You see, hear, feel the simple and pure abundance and like King David’s psalms, you cannot help but speak praise.

The car ride home was one of wonder as well. Songs were song, stories shared, and even old memories reminisced. As I lay my head upon my husband’s chest and drifted off to sleep, words of praise just kept overflowing. I felt a child cuddle up next to me and shook my head at the wonder of a teenager who comes down to bless and embrace her mother. Oh! That my children will always love me like this, that these moments water seeds planted over the years of time paused and wasted, time slowed and gifted. Thank you, Father, for the blessing of simple family memories created that remind us of your abundance. Wherever we lay our head at night, may we always see your handiwork woven throughout our days.



Copyright 2022 MaryBeth Eberhard
Image: Canva