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Embrace the Hour Because You Never Know What Surprises Will Happen

I recently read a quote by Henry David Thoreau that said, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

Wow, that hit home with me.

I am a mom of four girls. I homeschool the kids. I work from home. I blog ( I have a husband who is out of town more than he’s in town.

Life is just busy. I’m sure everyone can relate to this in some way.

The 15-year old wants to be taken to the movies, the 13-year old has to get to the orthodontist, the 10-year old has a drama leadership meeting, and the 18-month old…well…she’s 18 months and thinks the world should revolve around her 😉

These last few weeks have been exceptionally crazy.

We’re nearing the end of the school year and as most any parent knows, every activity you do is going to have some sort of end of the year celebration that requires extra time, energy, and patience. Guess what my life is lacking?

Time, energy, and patience. (Click here for patient tricks.)

For us, spring is our crazy time. We have 4 birthdays in 4 months, our co-op has their end-of-year presentations, the middle two kids are in a production of Annie, the high schooler has finals coming up, and the baby has decided it’s time for her molars to come in.

We’re just so busy. Going back to the Thoreau quote, what are we busy about? Are we busy like ants, just following the guy in front of us, constantly going from place A to B, with very little purpose or passion? Or are we busy embracing each hour with heart, love, and dedication?

Unfortunately, sometimes I think we’re fairly ant-like. Sometimes we’re just placing checkmarks on our to-do lists instead of focusing on relationships with those around us.

This is when we need a wake-up call.

This week, my husband was that wake-up call. Literally. Monday morning, after grumbling at his alarm, he woke me up and said, “I called in for a personal day. Want to go to the theme park?”



He was there last night when I lectured the kids that we were waking up and getting our acts together. Everyone’s daily lists ( were laid out, piano lessons were scheduled, the orthodontist appointment was made, the chore lists were on the wall, and we were going to get work done! I know I strive to embrace each hour with passion and purpose on my blog…but…ummm…I have things to get done!

Why was he changing my plans?


Maybe because he knew we needed it.

He knew that he hadn’t had a day off in weeks. He knew that we had been so ant-like that our family relationships were struggling. He knew that piano lessons were cancelable and the orthodontist appointment could be rescheduled. He knew that we had season passes to a nearby theme park that we hadn’t used since December. He knew that there will always be crazy days, so if we don’t make a point to play hooky every once in a while, the crazy days will be our only memories. He knew that we hadn’t been embracing the hours ( as much as we should.

The thing he didn’t know was that he was creating an opportunity for our 10-year old to conquer a major fear. This might sound incredibly cheesy, but know that it was a HUGE deal for us.

Our sweet 10-year old has many fears. She’s a very cautious child. She has a fear of heights, she has a fear of talking to people she doesn’t know, she has a fear of animals that invade her space, she has a fear of the unknown, etc. She’s just a fairly timid child.

While visiting the theme park, these fears normally create a child who hangs out in the kiddy section with Mom and baby sister, while Dad and the big kids go off and ride the big rides. Not only do we end up in the kiddy section, but we only frequent the less-thrilling rides of the kiddy section. Yes, my sweet child is the almost five-foot tall 10-year old who is riding in the car that drives itself on the small circle track, because she’s scared to do anything faster than that.

Until today.

Something changed in her on this trip. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the crackers she ate on the drive to the theme park were laced with some sort of bravery potion? Whatever it was, this child decided she was up for a challenge.

She decided she was going to ride a roller coaster!

Okay, okay. The roller coaster was still in the kiddy section, but I don’t care! This was HUGE progress.

She slowly walked up to the roller coaster, with her dad on her arm. Very hesitant. Very nervous. I was expecting tears when she got off.

I was wrong.

She got off the ride with a huge smile on her face and asked to go again…by herself! This time, she decided to sit in the front seat AND put her hands up throughout the whole ride!

Do you see that smile on her face?

It continued onto the next ride…

AND the next one…

By the end, she rode THREE new rides…all roller coasters! The next step up is out of the kiddy section…maybe by our next trip?

This girl learned how to conquer this fear. We didn’t push her. We didn’t threaten anything.

Stepping away from our ant-like daily grind, put our daughter in the position to pull out some bravery that surprised us all.  Please know that I’m not one to normally shirk responsibilities. On the contrary. BUT, what harm was a one-day break going to cause? Nothing. Everyone needs a break. Even God took a break.

So today, I’m writing this in the car on the way home from the theme park. We learned about science by recognizing that roller coasters use kinetic and potential energy to scare the living daylights out of me. We learned about history by discovering that the first roller coasters were designed after ice-slides made in Russia in the 1700s. But most importantly, we learned about life by seeing that we never know what could happen when we take a break from our ant-like busyness.


Carla McCoy is a child of God, wife of 20-years to her amazing husband, John, and a homeschooling mom of 4 girls. Join her as she embraces life with purpose, passion, and appreciation on her blog, Embracing the Hour ( There you will find encouraging stories, homeschool helps, free printables, and so much more. You can also find Carla on Instagram at and on Facebook at


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