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Saturday, August 11, 2012
How are you handling the heat? I know it is tough during these last few weeks of summer to maintain sanity as the temperature and the final stretch with the kids can wear on your nerves. Here are a few simple and easy ideas for indoor adventures while you are searching for those ways to beat the heat.
Visit area museums. Most museums have a great children’s area.
Design a scrap book of memories from the summer.
Create a sculpture using junk and recycle items from around the house.
Hang out at a bookstore, let everyone find their favorite book.
Put together a drama, complete with costumes. Video it and send it to family and friends.
Go to the mall and give the kids a few dollars. Have a contest to see who can make their $ go furthest.
Make homemade ice cream.
Search Pinterest to find a recipe to cook together. Make a list of ingredients, shop & bake together.
Have a movie day at home, complete with popcorn, snacks and even tickets and fake money.
Play store, or house, or school.
Develop a puppet show using socks. Decorate with yarn, markers, felt & buttons.
Cut out pictures from magazines, glue them to card board, cut them up and make puzzles.
Skype with grandparents or distant friends or write letters to them.
What are some of your favorite ideas?
Monday, August 6, 2012
How’s the conversation around your dinner table or in the car? In a distracted culture, we sometimes have to be deliberate about building good healthy conversations as a family. Here are a few questions to get you started. I’ve added questions for little ones to the end of the list.
- If you could start a restaurant, what would it be called and what would be on the menu?
- If you could donate a million dollars to the charities of your choice, to what groups or organizations would you give it?
- If you could take one friend and go on a one week (all expenses paid) vacation, where would you go and who would you bring?
- If you were going to make a movie, who would star in it and what would it be about?
- What would be the title of your autobiography and name some of the highlights?
- Where in this world do you want to visit before you die?
- Describe your dream dinner and who you would invite.
- If you could go back in history, what era or time period would you choose and why?
- If you could be one Bible character who would you be?
- If you had to perform one talent on stage in front of an audience, what would it be?
- If you had two days to go away and relax from all responsibilities what would you do?
Questions for Little Ones:
- Who is your favorite Bible Character?
- Where is your favorite place to visit?
- What animal do you like best?
- Which book do you like to read?
- What do you like to draw?
- Which color is your favorite?
- Which room do you like best in our house?
- Where is your favorite place to play?
- Name your favorite toy.
For more tips, check out Karol Ladd’s book A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
No family should attempt an auto trip
if the kids outnumber the car windows.
When someone asks me to describe my fondest childhood memories, I always respond with the vacations we took as a family. Some of you share similar fond memories, while some of you have only horror stories as you recollect those times of family togetherness. Yes, family travels can be terrific or they can be terrifying. Although often the unforeseen can arise on a vacation, we still have the ability to take any vacation and make it a great vacation.
What makes a terrific vacation? There are three main ingredients to success. It begins with wise planning. I know that the best laid plans can (or will) go awry, so the next ingredient for terrific vacations is to remain flexible. The third ingredient for success is a good attitude. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter where you go, what you do or what happens along the way, if you have these three ingredients you will most likely have a successful trip.
What? We don’t need lots of money, first class tickets and a luxury hotel? No, in fact I know many people that can attest to the fact that extravagance won’t guarantee a good vacation. The material stuff is not essential. Even the destination is not all that important. It’s the preparation, the flexibility and the attitude that make it an enjoyable experience. Let’s explore how to make it happen.
Plan, but don’t over schedule. There is a healthy balance. Do the research ahead of time to find out what is worth doing, seeing and visiting at your destination. As much as humanly possible, keep the activities age appropriate (Don’t drag a three year old to ancient artifacts museum and avoid taking a teenager to a children’s playground). Do your homework via books, magazines, friends and internet. More importantly as your kids get older, assign the research to them. This will build their excitement about the trip and help them take ownership of the experience.
Using your research, create a list of opportunities, activities and interests that you can do on the trip. Have each family member circle one or two activities on the list that they especially want to do. Instead of scheduling every moment of each day, consider going over your list each morning during breakfast and choose one or two activities to do that day. This system helps you plan around the weather for that day and takes into account how family members are feeling physically (tired, energetic, sickly).
Plan your destination carefully. I’ve interviewed many families for this chapter and have heard the good, the bad and the ugly about family vacations. Two suggestions (or perhaps I should call them warnings) surfaced in my discussions. One was “Don’t take five kids, stuff them in a car with nothing to do and drive non-stop for six hours.” This is a prescription for misery for both parents and children whether you are traveling via car or plane. The other suggestion was, “If you have a wide variance of ages in the family, try to go to a place that has a little something for everyone.” Let’s tackle both of these warnings with a positive plan.
1. Make travel time enjoyable. Perhaps the most effective way to make travel time a success (whether you are on the road or in the air) is to prepare a Travel Goody Bag for each child. This can be a simple bag of goodies which you hand the kids right before you begin the journey. Customize the bags to your child’s interests and age. You will want to include a snack and a small drink, a simple game or book, colored pencils or markers, a journal or coloring book or puzzle book, and perhaps a small toy. For older kids you may want to give them a favorite CD for their player with earphones!
Plan to stop along the way. Do a little research to find out a good restaurant or park or place of interest along the route. When it comes to kids, your trip will be much more enjoyable if you offer a few bathroom breaks as well as a chance to stretch their legs. Certain auto clubs like AAA (aaa.com) will help you plan out a trip.
Add some entertainment. Many families now take their DVD, laptop or video in the car to watch movies the entire way. I do think movies help the trip go much faster and make the traveling much more enjoyable. You may want to also include a book on tape (or CD). I want to encourage you to leave some room for interaction or to talk about the trip itself. One fond memory that I have is of my mother reading a passage of the Bible to us during car trips. For younger kids you can have a story hour or even bring a long a puppet for entertainment.
Play a few travel games. Stimulate the brain and add some family interaction with good ole travel games. Here are a few to consider
· ABC Adventure - One family member begins by saying something like, “I’m Anne. I’m driving in an Automobile, and I’m going to
The next person says a name that starts with a B (like Alabama Brittany),
traveling in something that starts with a B (like a boat) and going to a
destination that starts with a B ( Bermuda). On so on throughout the alphabet.
· I Spy (Magazine Version) – Before the trip tear out pictures from magazines of objects you could possibly see out of the window as you travel (barns, houses, cows, people, planes). Find 3 or 4 per family member. Place the pictures face down and allow each person to take several. When the driver says go, everyone looks at their pictures. The first person to spy objects that match each of their pictures wins. You can then scramble the pictures and play again.
· 20 Questions – You start off saying, “I’m thinking of a place.” A family member responds, “Is it in
?” Each question demands only a yes or no response. If you make it through twenty questions and
no one had guessed what you are thinking of then you win. If someone guesses wrong, they are out. If someone guesses correctly before twenty
questions are asked, they become the winner and start a new round. You can begin with a person, place or thing. America
· Car Trip Sing Along - You may want to bring a sing along tape, or if you are musically talented then you can do it yourself. Start with some of the kids favorites. Add in familiar songs from church, camp and patriotic songs. My favorites are: “Do your Ears Hang Low,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “I’ve Got that Joy, Joy, Joy down in my Heart.”
For more ideas check out Karol Ladd’s book A Positive Plan for More Fun, Less Whining
Monday, June 11, 2012
Every evening I turn my worries over to God.
He’s going to be up all night anyway.
Mary C. Crowley
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
Several years ago we bought a precious puppy. She was so cute and huggable that my husband and I agreed to allow her to sleep on our bed with us at night. I probably should mention that our new lovable pooch is an English Mastiff named Abbey. Now if you know anything about English Mastiffs, you know that they can grow in size to be 150 – 200 pounds. Abbey currently weighs in at 165 lbs.
She started off as a sweet little bed mate, but as she grew so did her annoying tendencies like snoring, hogging the covers and waking us up every time she turns over. It’s not so easy to get her out of the bed anymore. She jumps up while we are asleep, and when we try to get her off she is dead weight. It’s a constant “bed battle.”
Worry, on the other hand, is a constant “head battle.” It may start out as a cuddly little care, but if we allow it to linger, it can grow into full blown worry and despair. Stay vigilant! Don’t let cares and worries make their home in your head. Instead begin the practice of casting your cares on Him because he genuinely cares for you! It’s not a one time thing but rather a continual habit. Refresh your spirit by applying the following three truths:
1. Be humble, recognizing your need for God.
2. Continually give your cares, concerns and worries to him through prayer.
3. Replace your worry with wonder by filling your mind with scripture and truth.
Psalm 30 Psalm 56:3, 4 Reading
What are some of the cares in your life right now which you tend to cuddle?
Are you willing to turn them over to God and leave them there, trusting him as your rock and protection?
Think of a scripture or truth with which you can fill your mind when those worries want to creep back into your head. Write them below.
Personal Prayer: Loving Father. I praise you for your care for me. Thank you for wanting me to bring my concerns and worries to you. You are willing and able to handle them, much better than me. I confess that so often I want to hold on to my own worries rather then giving them over to you. I humbly recognize my need for you. I give each area of my life over to you. Help me to rest in the fact that you are good and can be trusted. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
“God is not waiting to show us strong in his behalf, but himself strong in our behalf. That makes a lot or difference. He is not out to demonstrate what we can do but what he can do.” Vance Havner
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave and go home.’ Twenty-two thousand of them went home, leaving only ten thousand who were willing to fight. But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many!” Judges 7:2 - 4
The super-mom syndrome seems to run rampant in our culture. A super-mom does it all. She is the protector of her children, the coordinator of the overloaded family calendar, and the all sufficient one to meet her kid’s needs. The super-mom believes the livelihood and success of her children’s lives depends on her careful planning, preparation and follow-through. She is self-sufficient.
God calls us to be God-sufficient. Gideon started out with a super-army, yet God was not looking for the army that could “do it all.” He wanted a humble army that would look to Him and recognize the victory was found in God, not in self-sufficiency. He eventually whittled down Gideon’s army to 300 men. God granted the victory and the honor went to Him. God isn’t looking for super-moms who can do it all on their own. He is looking for moms who look to Him for guidance, wisdom, direction and strength. If super-mom’s kids turn out great, then she gets the glory. When children are raised under God’s strength and guidance, then the glory is His.
All sufficient God, I praise you for you are all power and all wisdom. I recognize that I can’t do it all. I praise you that you can. Thank you for loving and caring for my family. Lead me to be responsible, wise and strong. Help my children to grow to be well-balanced adults, so that you may be glorified. Thank you that you are the protector of our family and the guardian of our souls. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“We are not to think that, where we see no possibility, God sees none.” Marcus Dods
This is an excerpt from The Power of a Positive Mom Devotional and Journal
Monday, April 23, 2012
“Nothing whatever surprises God; all things that happen are absolutely certain from all eternity because they are all embraced in God’s eternal plan.” J. Gresham Machen
“The truth is that you will be in
for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the
good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the
plans I have for you," says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for
disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in
earnest, you will find me when you seek me.
I will be found by you, says the Lord.
I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I
sent you and bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:10 – 14 Babylon
Encouragement for MOMS
In this passage we see the Lord’s reassurance to His people. Yes, they were going to go through captivity, but God was letting them know that He would hear their prayers and that He had a great plan for their lives. We all need reassurance at times, don’t we? Whether we are going through a long term challenge or a short term frustration, there is tremendous comfort in knowing that God has a bigger plan in mind.
God’s plan is a good one. I’m sure the Israelites were thinking that seventy years in captivity was not a good plan, but God reassured them that he would give them a future and a hope. He planned to restore their fortunes and bring them back to their own land. Dear friend, are you able to trust His plan, even when it doesn’t seem so great at the time? He assures us that not only does He have a plan, but it’s a good one. He also assures us that He will listen to our prayers and as we seek Him, we will find Him. What a powerful message for us and for our families!
Powerful God, I praise you that you have a good plan for my life. Praise you that you are able to carry out that plan in your time and in your way. I trust your love for me. Thank you for hearing my prayers. Thank you for the way you work, far beyond what I can see. Help me to continue to seek your ways all the days of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand.” William Penn
This is a sample from my Positive Mom Devotional which has been given a facelift (new cover) and re-released by Simon & Schuster.