Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids

13
Jun
2016

Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids

I admit it. I am not really a fun mom. I can easily get caught up in the tasks of motherhood and forget to enjoy the journey. I will often think having fun and being silly is a big waste of time.

This summer I am trying to let my silly side out a bit more. I want to laugh more, to relax more, and find joy in the simple things. An area I need to be more intentional in is activities with my family, especially my six year old. I do love the activities planned in the Summer Survival Calendar, but some days I just need a bit more fun. Do you agree?

So I sat down and gathered up some ideas of how I can be the FUN mom rather than the boring mom this summer. Maybe something in this list will resonate with you too.

Do a Messy Craft

I actually did this a few weeks back. I found a pottery wheel on our local Buy Nothing group and was given it. I had no idea how messy of a project this would be, however my six year old had a blast with it. He got dirty, molded different figurines, and ended up in the bathtub at the end. We still have those clay figures and it’s a reminder to me to relax and do the messy stuff too!

Look Through Old Photos or Videos

I think everyone enjoys taking time to remember past experiences from our life or even just how we looked. When I grab the iPad and we go “reminiscing” through photos, we all laugh, sometimes we cry, and best of all we get connected together in a new way.  

Washing the Car

This could almost fit into my “messy craft” idea. It’s not a craft, but you can certainly get messy! On a hot summer day, why not let everyone get wet while doing a job that needs to get done? Who cares if there are streaks on the car and it doesn’t get completely clean. It’s all about the experience together.

Choose Different Names

We’ve had fun with this activity several different times, but it’s been awhile. We choose different ethnicities and have our names changed for a day. It is really interesting what everyone picks for their name and then we all have to remember each other’s names. Seems really silly, and it is – but sometimes it can be these little things that break up the boredom and make things fun!

Build a Fort

Simple and imaginative takes first place here! All you need are some blankets or sheets and some chairs or other furniture to hold it all up. Then you can plan to have fun inside – read, eat meals, take a nap, watch a movie. It just makes all those things more fun.

Escape with No Destination

I am excited to try this one during the summer. Just hop in the car and go. Maybe choose a direction to go, but stop when you see an interesting site or place to walk around. Maybe pack a lunch to have on the way and just experience some new sights. This will be totally out of my comfort zone, but I know it will provide some great experiences.

Cook a New Recipe Together

Cooking together builds unity, connection, and creates unique experiences, unlike many other activities. You end up going through instructions (the recipe) and then working together and end with a great outcome – a meal or snack to share. During our summer vacation I plan to do a few more recipes with my six year old to help him gain some cooking skills, but also to enjoy time together in a new way.

What are some ways you enjoy having fun with your kids?

Steps to Implementing a Sabbath

9
May
2016

Steps to Implementing a Sabbath

Back at the end of February I attended a personal growth event – First Steps to Success in San Antonio. To say it was life changing seems rather cliche, but it is true. I am planning to attend this event again in the next few months when it comes to Cleveland to stay focused, inspired, and connected.

One of the key components that came out of attending this event, as well as by viewing Time Secrets from Dani Johnson, was the concept of observing a Sabbath and my lack of intentional time management.

Now, for me (who did not grow up in a Christian home), I really had no idea what a Sabbath was and had not taken the time to discover what the Bible truly said about it and how it impacts my daily life now. I am not here to debate Scripture and how you may interpret the Sabbath. I am here, however, to share my thoughts on taking a day of rest for you, your family, and from your work.

The Sabbath is referred to in the Ten Commandments. It is number four:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8-11

Until I had some discussion on this topic, I felt it really wasn’t relevant to me in this day and age and especially with all the things I had to do. How on earth could I take a day of rest?

Well, after praying, seeking wise counsel, hearing how others implemented this into their weekly schedule – even those that not only run a household but have home businesses – I soon discovered that in fact by NOT observing the Sabbath I could be acting in disobedience and not allowing God to truly be glorified in my life.

“We simply do not value rest. Busyness is lauded, and idleness is of the Devil.” – Andrew Gilmore in Do No Work: Beat Burnout, Find Inner Peace, and Strengthen Your Faith by Studying the Most Overlooked of the Ten Commandments

I read Andrew Gilmore’s book to get more perspective and it was dead on. We are a burned out generation and if we do not take intentional actions to counter the burnout, it will only get worse. Much worse.

So how do you implement a Sabbath with a house to run, people to feed, activities to do? Let me share with you how I’ve put this into action in my own life over the past two months.

Plan Ahead

So, at our house, a day of rest means I do no housework, I do not cook meals, I do not check email, I am not on Facebook for business, and I don’t grocery shop. So this means I must plan ahead for these. I manage to take care of home tasks ahead of the day 0r they just don’t get done.

I will often plan ahead for dinner and have plenty of leftovers so my family can help themselves through the day. Or we may decide to eat take-out or grab a pizza, whatever fits in our budget. I spend no time checking email – which initially was a huge battle and temptation for me, but as the weeks went by, it gets easier. As a mom who runs two businesses mainly online, this was a leap to trust what the Lord has in His plan and that everything will still be there when I return!

Find Fun

I mentioned how our family has started hiking more. This is an activity I love to do, however I was in a pattern where I felt we really didn’t have the time to get away and enjoy the outdoors like this. I was dead wrong. When you are intentional with your time and you decide how you will spend it, amazing things can happen. We’ve had some excellent hikes as a family and I look forward to more! Maybe your family loves games, or road trips – it doesn’t matter – just do something as a family and build that time together.

Pick a Day that Works

For us, we will look at the calendar a month out and determine whether we will observe our Sabbath as a family on Saturday or Sunday. It changes between those days because we have different commitments and ideas on what our Sabbath looks like. So again, planning ahead is key. We block it out on the calendar – being intentional with that time.

Find Rest

Be careful to dedicate time to prayer, Scripture reading, and allowing God to speak to you and refresh your heart. Having a Sabbath doesn’t mean you just fill another day to the brim with activities and stuff – it means you are being intentional with giving that time over to the Lord and allowing Him to be a huge part of your day.

I encourage you –  set the tone for your family. Bring this idea up if you are not already setting aside a day for the Lord each week. I have found it so good for our family, my soul, and my businesses. I come back refreshed and renewed to tackle my daily tasks.

Do you take a Sabbath each week? What does that look like and how do you manage your family?

Five Favorite Devotions for Moms

2
May
2016

Five Favorite Devotions for Moms

The favorite part of my day is morning. I get up before everyone else, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down with God – reading my Bible, jotting down notes, journaling, and reading some awesome devotional material.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to share five of my favorite devotionals for moms. I am sure there will be a few little people in your life, wondering what you might like to receive on Mother’s Day. So why not share this post and give them a few heart-centered ideas. 🙂

The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMossThe Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings

This is one of my all-time favorite devotionals. I will cycle through it every other year. Picking it up and hearing some familiar phrases and stories is a comfort. Do you ever read a devotional more than once? I enjoy Nancy’s writing, her style of vulnerability, and bringing her heart to the pages. I have it on my Kindle, so I can easily access it from my iPad or my phone too. But the imitation leather edition is really a nice gift idea. This is a full year devotion, which I love! Grab it HERE.

5 Minutes with Jesus by Sheila Walsh

5 Minutes with JesusLooking for a devotion that has several verses to get your journaling jump-started? This is the one. I enjoy that at the end of each day’s section, there is a “Five Minutes in the Word” section listing at least 4-5 verses that relate to Sheila’s writing. I enjoy simple and things that relate to my life. This one fits that perfectly. She gives a real strategy, even when we are so busy that we can and are blessed when we stop to take a few minutes to spend time in His word. Grab it HERE.

Devotions for the Beach and Days You Wish You Were There by Thomas Nelson

Devotions for the Beach and Days You Wish You Were ThereYes, I am a little beach crazed, so it should be no surprise that I enjoyed this devotion as well. Even in the Kindle version you have some images that are so nice and often overlooked in these versions.  

You have a verse, a writing, and a short prayer you can end with. If you are looking for something to change up your routine, this one is great, only 90 days long, and perfect for spring!  Grab it HERE.

Quieting Your Heart: 6-Month Bible-Study Journal by Darlene Schacht

Quieting Your Heart: 6-Month Bible-Study JournalThis is not necessarily a devotion – however, it will help you focus and begin journaling your prayers and observations during your quiet time. I often find it difficult to focus and really dig in a bit deeper, so this book has been a great resource and guide for me. I love that I can doodle and color on the pages, yet it has some points which help me clarify what I am reading: 3 things I am thankful for, finishing the sentence “God is…”, and more. If you struggle with what to journal, this one is great. It’s a 6-month book and the price is very reasonable! Grab it HERE.

First 5 AppFirst 5 App

If you have not discovered this App full of incredible devotions and teaching – hang on – it is going to ROCK YOUR WORLD! It is created by the folks at Proverbs 31 Ministries and it is incredible. They are covering complete chapters of the Bible with teaching, some memorization, and on the weekends you get a video wrap-up, which is my favorite part of all! It’s like you are sitting in the living room with these ladies. GO NOW to grab it, and it’s FREE!

Do you have a favorite devotional you would add to this list?

Making Space For a New Season

15
Feb
2016

Making Space For a New Season

My spirit has been unsettled for a few months.

It’s all good, but when God is calling us into a new season, one with change and the unknown…it is often ourselves that fight against that change.

We want the comfortable, the known, and the guaranteed. We want what we can control (or at least perceive to control) and what we can logically plan out.

I share many things here on this blog for moms that hopefully help you get through your day a little easier; encouragement in the form of blog posts or short eBooks that will give your spirit a life, troubleshooting products (like the Weekly Household Planner or the Summer Survival Calendar), and often I share personal parts of my own story. You see, that is where being vulnerable and authentic has the power to truly make a difference for someone else and for His Kingdom.

My eyes are watery as I type my words onto the screen. I am emotional, I am scared, I am nervous, and I need my GOD now more than ever. When I do not know what the future holds, this is where He can act boldly.

Before you think that I have some devastating news, please be assured our family is well. There is no bad news coming – rather, just the opposite.

You see, after dragging our feet for several years, waiting on the perfect timing to proceed into the process of fostering children in need, we are getting ready to jump back in. But here is the kicker – it makes no logical sense at all. I have a busy schedule managing two home businesses, my husband travels four days a week, we are involved in hosting a small group in our home, and we’re managing a home of three other kids still at home. We are busy! I am tired and there is no space for more. Yet, I have heard clearly that I am to cut out some things in my life and create the space for God to move in our life and use us as He sees fit.  

“It’s possible that the perfect season of life you are waiting on before fostering or adopting will never come. When will the crazy busy of life really slow down enough for you to then make it crazy and busy all over again by fostering or adopting? Have you considered that perhaps the parameters you have set to define when you’re ‘ready’ may be too narrow? What if they leave no space for you to actually ever feel ‘ready’? What if you’re more ready now than you realize?” – Jason Johnson

What if I leave NO space for me to actually ever feel “ready”? – OUCH!

As I sat down to share this with you all, this came across my Facebook feed. It was the perfect timing!

Are you willing?

So, I am in the process of cleaning some things off my plate so I can make some room to do God’s work…to be “willing” to be used.

I have been reading an incredible blog written by Jason Johnson about the churches role in foster and adoption care. This post especially kicked me in the gut. We often times look at things only from our perspective, but when you look at it from the other direction…wow.

For those who are newer here, you may not know our story. We became licensed foster parents about six years ago and were on a path to adopt through the system. We were incredibly blessed to have a little boy join our family. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t perfect, and it certainly was not my plan at all…however, we did it. I know it was what we were supposed to do. To be honest, on those days I am tired and can hardly think straight, I wonder why I was chosen. Why me?  

I am almost 49 – on the side of parenting where I should be enjoying those later years with more freedom and time to do what I want to do. However, that is not the plan and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is what my husband and I are being called to do. Put aside my selfish desires and serve Him, the one who designed me to serve, who gave me gifts and talents just for this time.

So, as I enter this new season, I would love for you to think of my family and say a prayer. I will share our process and perhaps it might spark a desire in you to see what you can do – YES, YOU! I have written before about foster care and adoption, that not everyone is meant to take a child into their home, but we are all called to serve in this process.

Jason Johnson wrote a powerful blog post on how you can support another family who has taken in a child. It’s all about community and coming together.

What Foster Care and Adoption Is About

Be prepared – I will be challenging you in this area while I venture on this journey! You have something to give and I would ask God to show you what that is.  ðŸ™‚

Celebrating Motherhood Milestones

1
Feb
2016

Celebrating Motherhood Milestones

Motherhood is a jungle of ups and downs, wondering if we are making the right decisions with our kids and hoping we don’t screw it up.

My journey as a mom has certainly been like that. As a single mom I did the best I could and now looking back I wish I had done some things different, but isn’t that how we all are? Questioning ourselves and not allowing grace to fill our spirit? I have learned and can share my experience with others – hoping they can take something from my mistakes to avoid their own. Authentic community is like that.

We bombard ourselves with more than we deserve and don’t savor the good. Because there is always good to see.

Today, this post is a bit different. I get to share a personal moment that happened in my family – and one I think is important to share. I try to be genuine and give you at least the bigger picture of motherhood so you don’t feel it’s all rosy – because it’s not – but there are days that come where a motherhood milestone is celebrated and you can hardly take it all in because it’s so glorious.

  • The day your child is born.
  • Their first words.
  • When they learn to ride a bike.
  • Their first day of school.

But as your child gets older, it seems those celebrations get a bit further apart, so when one comes along it comes with a big bang.

And for me, I am celebrating almost the best thing ever – my 19 year old son chose on his own timing and in his own journey with Christ to get baptized yesterday at our new church home.

My Son Being Baptized

This picture is powerful. It may not be the greatest quality, but it speaks volumes as the men who have spoken life into my son are praying for him after he arose from the water.

I don’t think I have enough words to describe it. My gut swelled with emotion and tears flowed. To hear his voice proclaim Jesus as His Savior and to see his body go below the water and come up fresh, new, and filled with the Spirit – there are no words, but I will try.

Glorious. Incredible. Grace Beyond Imaginable. Mercy. Hope. New Life.

So in the midst of the dirty laundry piled high, the dishes left unwashed, toys scattered from one end of the house to the other, and take out pizza for dinner – remember that you are a caretaker of these littles, but God is so much bigger. He steps in when we ask and when we’ve lost our big girl pants. (You know those days when you want to crawl back in bed!).  He can draw our kids in a way that even we cannot and that is just so AMAZING!

Pray for them. Pray that He would grab hold of their hearts on HIS timing, not yours. You see, His timing is perfect – even when it may not be what we would like. But you can only see that on the other side. But it’s beautiful.

My Son's Baptism

So here’s to my motherhood milestone where I can rejoice today and celebrate.

I would love for you to share one of your recent milestones too. This is where we get to encourage each other and spur each other on for HIS Glory!

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match