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Posts from the ‘Family Time’ Category

Nothing Can Be the Best Something

Mom, what are we doing tonight?

Happily, I say, “nothing.”

Frowns ensue.

But, they quickly dissolve.

I’m asking myself these days…

Since when did this become nothing?


This isn’t just something.

It’s one of the best of the somethings.


The “glorification of busy” has been at the forefront of my mind lately. The following video from Paul Tripp has been very helpful. Hope you enjoy:


Fall Break Festivities

Well, I didn’t win the family talent show last night. As a matter of fact, I “won” last place; I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong. Chris won with 626 thousand something points by singing a Blake Shelton song. Of course, the kids are full of singing, dancing, acting and athletic talent. The competition was no sweat for them.


Because it’s Fall Break, we have filled our calendar with as many family activities as possible: camping out in the backyard, riding the Greenline, movie night, game night, (of course, the talent show), a quick trip out of town, and a little fun with food.

I love to connect teaching & food.

I’ve combined these two during our break to teach a few lessons from scripture. The Halloween section from Pinterest has proven to be a big help. (See photos below, all taken from Pinterest)

The Valley of Dry Bones Ezekiel 37:1-14

“When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.” Ezekiel 37:14

Balaam’s Donkey Numbers 22:21-39

Lazarus, Come Out John 11:43

Stay tuned to see what we’re doing today with our “Tech Table.”

What are you doing for Fall Break?




What We’re Taking In

I love summer!

I love for my kids to be out of school. A slower schedule, sleeping in and choosing what we “take in” recharges life. Sometimes, the things of this world consume us, and we consume right back. Summer seems to be a good time to unplug, retreat, reflect and consume extra time with God…

Probably the most meaningful activity we’ve done together is reading. I know, sounds boring. Sarah, who turned 12 this summer, will make it sound a little better to you:

During the summer, my family and I have read “One Great Purpose.” The book is about a missionary named Jim Elliot and his four friends, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian. Together, they carried out a mission that no one had ever accomplished before. Teaching the Auka Indians about Jesus. They raised their families in Ecuador. Their goal was to share God’s Word with wild indians who speared every foreigner in their path. When the men felt like they had shown the Aukas that they were their friends, the Aukas turned on them and killed them. From this story, the most remarkable part to me was that the five men had guns with them but they refused to fire them because they didn’t want them to die without knowing God. Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” It means we cannot keep our lives, but we gain Jesus within us. The great thing is that their families didn’t just pack up their things and leave when their husbands died. They lived with the people who killed them and changed their lives forever. They taught a whole tribe that killing is not right but that Jesus is the only way to live eternally in heaven. After teaching them that, they said there were more grandfathers than there had ever been in that tribe. The man who killed Nate Saint became like a grandfather to Nate Saint’s grandchildren. The thing is, don’t let a bump in the road hold you back from something God is telling you to do.

Y’all this is the first time I’ve read what she wrote. I think I need to run to my bedroom and cry for a while. May these children never lose sight of what God had impressed on their malleable hearts this summer, and may I.

Marshmallow Frosting – Sortof

The kids and I decided to try a Pinterest recipe last night.

The family time was fun.

The taste was great! (We added different sprinkles for extra flavor – chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon)


It looked like someone let the air out of our balloon.

See what I mean…

Here’s the recipe if you want to try. Maybe you’ll have more success.



Prayer Sticks

Obviously, this idea is not my own. I rarely print pictures. They are all stored on my computer, but I have a few around that friends have printed. If you are disciplined in printing, be sure to give us a picture of your family, and we’ll cut out your face and pray for you this school year.

This is an easy craft. The kids had fun, and Chris even agreed to squirt a little glue. We will keep a jar of prayer sticks on our table this year as a reminder to pray for friends, family and others.


Just In Time For School

Saturday, my dad and Chris built organizers/cubbies for the laundry room. They made great use of a small amount of space, a small amount of money ($97.89) and a small amount of material. The kids have their new area just in time for school!

  • Materials:
  • 6 hooks
  • (2) 1x12x8 boards
  • (1) 1x10x10 board
  • (1) 1x4x10 board
  • 4×8 beadboard


Too bad I didn’t get a picture of all the hard work!

A couple of coats of paint

August 6 — First Day of School

How is your Summer?: Reflecting

How is your summer?

We keep commenting at our house that this has been our best summer yet. We haven’t been to the beach, the mountains or the lake. We haven’t been to a concert or a movie. (Tonight will be our first movie of the summer). No one has come to visit and stay in our home this summer. (We’re frowning on you Ashley). We haven’t been to an amusement park.

We are attributing our great summer to a few major highlights: reflecting, objective and profession.

Summer is great for reflection. Try as I may, I cannot stop living life in semesters. I wonder if that will ever cease. My life is still chopped into the segments of a school year. What that means is that, when July 31 hits, (registration day) my feet will hit the ground running and will not stop until summer break next year. Christmas break doesn’t really count. So, if I want down time with my children, I have to take full advantage of summer break. I’ve had one focus for time with my kids this summer:  no pressure. And, it occurred to me several weeks ago that I can learn the most from one person on this topic:  my husband. It’s great to sit under the leadership of Chris. He is a “no pressure” leader. His expectations are fair, and he leads by example. The kids trust and respect him. They look to him for advice. As I’ve reflected back over the last school year, I am aware of the amount of pressure there is on our kids. Don’t get me wrong. Kids need responsibility. We expect them to take ownership in our home, at school, of their activities and in the Body of Christ. But, we also expect them to be kids. So, in my reflection, I’m just trying to find what all of that means. It will always be a process. For now, I’m having fun learning.

So what are we doing in our “no pressure” summer? We listen to A LOT of music, swim, sleep, exercise, eat donuts and ice cream, read and make fun book reports, play with friends, take our time driving, dance, and for Cooper, basketball, basketball, basketball.

Coming later this week: objective and profession.

How is your summer?

Learning My Kiddos

In roughly 12 1/2 years of marriage, Chris and I have run across times that are “new” to us. People change. What is not characteristic of us, in marriage, is to brush off those times as unimportant, sweeping them under the rug. Marriage is hard work. We spend a lot of time learning one another. It would be irresponsible and uncaring to not give attention to our marriage, to not give attention to the changing times, doing all that we can to listen and watch.

As I’ve expressed in an earlier post, we have been in a major transition in parenting. We now have kids rather than babies. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks thinking toward summer, how I want to spend our days, what I want to put in and what I need to give up. Something major has occurred to me:  I need to learn kids. I need to learn my kids.

I just don’t “get” kids. I don’t understand what’s so funny. I don’t like lengthy, detailed stories. Answering 500 questions a day makes me nuts. I don’t understand the need to have friends around when we have already graciously provided siblings as playmates. BUT, parenting cannot be different from marriage in this regard — tough phases cannot be swept under the rug. Parenting is hard work. If I’m willing to take time to know my spouse, I must also be willing to know my kids. They need that from me, and it’s my job as their mother.

Yesterday, I was taking Cooper to school. It’s his last week, and he has loved every day. In trying to communicate his feelings about it he said, “If you could be little like I’m little, you would love my school. There is nothing unfun.” It helped put words to what I’ve been thinking. I was thinking I wish I could see through your eyes, too.

I’m not expecting anything magical to happen this summer, but I am praying God will help me to see and hear more clearly. I believe he will grant those desires. I love the time of discipline/training I have with the kids in the summer, and I look forward to a lot of that mixed with a lot of play time with their friends and our friends. I am unplugging technologically, so there will be little to no Facebook and Twitter and less blogging.

The Gift of Presence/Mother’s Day

She has these hideously old lawn chairs that are mauve and blue, and I swear I don’t know how they don’t have dry-rot. They have to be nearly as old as I am. You know the ones – the metal lawn chairs with vinyl straps. I used to be embarrassed to see her sitting out there morning and afternoon, like a permanent fixture, (and the retro chairs didn’t help the cause) but I began to realize she was onto something. Not only onto something our generation has missed entirely but onto something the Church in our day is trying to lay hold of once again, something I’ve been trying to grasp tangibly.

Love your neighbor is a command, and while I understand the implications of this command do not always literally mean neighbor, as in the people within walking distance from our front door, sometimes literal is refreshing.

We have lost the value of being available. We are too busy. It’s hard to love your neighbor from inside the house, from a closed fence, a closed garage. So, as I’ve watched my mother over the last several years in her vintage chair, doing the opposite, I’ve seen a different response from others as well. Openness breeds openness. The school kids know who she is – they yell to her from their cars on the way to school. If their parents are running late after school, they know where to stop and wait. The neighborhood dogs know who she is and stop by for crackers – no joke. The silliness of this makes me laugh, but when I hear the owner stop and share the troubles of life, I realize something more is going on. That something more is that neighbors see my mother as a safe, secure and consistent friend who will listen. Sitting with her in the afternoons, I have witnessed a neighbor grieving over a lost partner, a single mom worried over what to do with her troublesome kids, a friend struggling through divorce, among the many who are sick and just need a meal (which my mother regularly provides).

The troubles of this world are always present.

The problem is that we are not.

What I’ve noticed is that my mother gives the gift of presence.

Because she is available, people share their lives with her. They are not looking for answers. They just need someone to listen. Ultimately, she gives the gift of presence because of what Christ has done for her, and in turn, she gives Christ to her neighbors.

People often ask how it works for my parents to live down the street. I usually respond with something like Oh, it’s fine. We both mind our own business. But, if you really want to know the truth, loving my neighbor doesn’t really equate with minding my own business, and my parents are my neighbors, so…

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


Big Deal or Not a Big Deal

During Lent, we have been taking a big step back from watching television as a family. We are only watching T.V. on Saturdays and Sundays during this season, with the exception of a little March Madness. Stepping back and viewing from a distance is always healthy; we have been afforded a few new insights into our family life:

We wonder how we had time for the box before, when our nights are plenty full without its empty company.

Our kids have not asked once to turn it on during the week, and they find other things to do, happily.

Chris and I are no longer complaining that we don’t have time to “catch up” with each other because we do it after the kids go to bed instead of surfing channels.

We realize we don’t really have that many shows we care about — They can be DVRed and watched in a matter of a few hours over the weekend.

Our family activities, that we used to make more time for, have increased. Last week, our nights consisted of UNO, Abby standing in the den and reading John 14 for the family after dinner and an activity called “Big Deal” “Not a Big Deal.” We have been discussing with our kids lately that we need to take some things seriously, and we need to let some things “roll off our back.”

[Shifting Gears]

Our kids come home with new stories from school every day. Everything is a big deal to them, and we certainly need to listen and be sensitive to their hearts. But, more than the day-in-day-out issues at school, we want our children to understand the seriousness of sin. At 10, 8, and 6, their sin choices are beginning to have impact on others in a way visible to them. How appropriate during this Lenten Season to point out the seriousness of Jesus having to die for the seriousness of our sin – not just our choices, but the very make-up of who we are.

So, here are the lists they made:

Not a Big Deal
Sarah’s sweater falling in water
What we eat for dinner
Cooper’s birthday getting rained out
Teacher not giving us treats when we win
What clothes I wear
Skirt flying up at school

Big Deal
For God to die for us
My teacher in the hospital
Talking back
Peeing in your pants at school
Making fun of people

[Sidenote: Parents may or may not have had to point out the big-dealness of education.]

I hope the heart of your family is welling up with anticipation as we approach Easter, focusing on the seriousness of what our sin cost Jesus and looking forward with gratitude to the forgiveness and freedom we have in him.