Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sizzling Summer Fun!

It’s Here! Summer is upon us and is a wonderful time to build meaningful family memories. I want to use the Positive Moms blog to give you fun family tips to make it a tremendous time with the kids. Summer typically means a change in schedule and routine. It means hot days and more family togetherness. It also means some possible family vacations. Let’s make it great for everyone involved including you!

I like to begin summer with a bang to help the kids get excited about the possibilities as well as some of the different routine and rules that may need to be in place. After school officially lets out, plan a pancake breakfast to celebrate the new summer schedule. Allow the kids to see your excitement for the potential that summer holds for you as a family. Here are some of the topics I suggest you discuss over pancakes.

Summer Schedule – make a poster board with a general daily schedule. Include how much computer and television time is allowed. Talk about places you want to go and things you want to see during the summer. For younger kids, include a time each day to just lay low. I called it FOB (flat on back or flat on bunk) and it was a time for everyone just to stay on their bed to read, listen to music, rest and think. We all need down time, especially mom, and it helps to write it into the daily routine.

Boredom Busters – Tell the kids that the word “bored” is banned from your family. Boredom is only experienced by people who are not using their creative talents to think of something to do. And there is always something to do. Each summer we created a Boredom Buster can (a coffee can wrapped with construction paper)and inside the can we placed index cards on which we wrote ideas of things we could do when we felt the B-word (boredom) coming on. If ever anyone felt bored, they could go to the can and pick out one of the possible activities. We wrote things like shoot hoops, draw pictures, call a friend, roller blade, play in the sprinklers, make a tent fort, read, etc…

Learn and Earn - Talk about saving up money to go to an amusement park or Friday movies or to the dollar stores. Determine an age-appropriate system to help your kids earn money. Teach them how to save at least 10% and give at least 10%. Help them to learn wise ways to spend their hard-earned money. Summer can also be a good time to improve on some basic math and reading skills. Make time each day for reading to the kids. Choose some books that you will enjoy listening to together as a family. I would encourage you to consider the Chronicles of Narnia or Little House on the Prairie series depending on the age of your kids. Make or purchase math flash cards or work books and set aside a little time each week to work on them together. Learn a language together using flash cards or CDs. This is a time to enjoy learning with the kids. As they catch your love for learning, they will be inspired.

Travel Tips and Theme weeks – Next week’s blog will contain wise travel tips to make the most of your family vacations. The following week we will take a look at Theme Weeks and how they can make your summer sail by. Be sure to read my Memorial Day blog at:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still in the Midst

“Dwell deep in the hidden life of God. The cedar grows more beneath the ground than above it.” A.B. Simpson

The month of May is an exceptionally busy time for moms. School programs, class parties, school trips, graduations, field days can all make us as frazzled and fractured as the holiday season. Now is the time to take a deep breath and deliberately step aside to have some quiet moments with just you and God. You may be thinking, What? Didn’t you just say this is the busiest time of the year? How in the world can I make time to be alone with God?

It is possible, but you have to be intentional about quiet alone time. Consider your typical routine and determine when you can have 15 – 20 minutes to just be still and know that He is God. It may look differently for each one of us. For you, it may be just after everyone is put to bed, or during nap time, or waiting in carpool line or perhaps early in the morning. Instead of doing one more thing that you think needs to get done or instead of making that phone while waiting for the kids, turn your eyes upward and quietly focus on the God who loves you.

Keep a Bible or devotional with you and take a moment to turn your cares over to God. Ask Him for strength and direction to order your days and allow Him to speak to you through His Word. Listen to God’s invitation to you to be still and know that He is God. It is amazing to me that the God of all creation encourages us to dwell and abide with Him. Here are a few quotes to remind you of how precious and important our time alone with God is to our daily lives.

“The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God.” A.W. Tozer

“Live near to God and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.” Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“Oh for closest communion with God, till soul and body – hand, face and heart- shine with divine brilliancy! But oh for a holy ignorance of our shining!” Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“The nearer we come to God, the more graciously will he reveal himself to us.” C.H. Spurgeon
Next week on the Positive Mom Blog we will begin our Summer with a Smile series filled with creative ways to make it a great summer for you and the kids.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Power of Connection

This weekend we traveled down to College Station, Texas in order to watch our youngest daughter walk across the stage to receive her diploma from Texas A&M University. Although the ceremony was a bit long (thousands graduated this weekend) it was also powerful. The loyalty and connectedness between the students of A&M is a force to be reckoned with and goes far beyond obligatory school spirit. These students are fiercely loyal to each other. They not only stick up for each other, they believe it is their duty to live a life worthy of the standards and excellence of the university. Being an A&M student is a commitment to be an Aggie for life and represent the school with honor and dignity.

This same kind of loyalty and connectedness is what the apostle Paul desired to see in the lives of believers. Notice the charge he gave the believers in Philippi: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Having the same love, one in spirit and in purpose – well that describes A&M students, but sadly I’m not so sure it describes the body of Christ.

When the speaker at graduation talked about the expectations of living a life which respectfully represents the school, I couldn’t help but think about how the apostle Paul talked about walking in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Paul reminded the early believers that their citizenship was in Heaven. Now the Roman citizens of Paul’s time were expected to live up to the honors and standards of citizenship. They were supposed to promote the interests of Rome and live in a way that brought dignity to the city. Sounds like Aggies, doesn’t it? It should also sound like Christians, shouldn’t it?

Well, I suppose we could say there were a few life lessons learned from this observer of Texas A&M graduation. As fellow believers in Christ let us seek to:
· Be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose.
· Walk in a manner worthy of our high-calling as believers and citizens of Heaven.

It's time we looked like people who build each other up and not tear each other down. May our focus be on serving Christ and honoring Him with all we do and say. If Aggies can do it for their school, surely we do it in honor of our loving Heavenly Father!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Three Cheers for Mom!

Happy Mother's Day! May you rejoice in your high-calling as a mom. Here's a picture of me with my two daughters Grace and Joy. I'm so proud of both of them. I hope you enjoy the words of encouragement below.
Moms deserve a pat on the back and an enthusiastic word of encouragement, don’t you agree? Here are three cheers that come to mind when I consider the heart of a MOM:
1. Hurray for Humility – Humility is a rare and beautiful quality. Christ showed us the perfect picture of humility as He left his throne in Heaven and came to this earth in the form of a servant. Certainly a mom humbly serves in her home as she lovingly considers the interests and needs of her family often above her own needs. We are never so Christ-like as when we serve others in the beauty of loving humility.
2. Hurray for Compassion – Care and compassion seem to come naturally for a mom as she genuinely feels deeply with both the joys and the pains her children go through in life. She cries when they cry, she laughs when they laugh. Just as the Lord is compassionate and gracious with His children, so a mom pours out compassion and care to hers.
3. Hurray for Strength – A mom is resilient. She perseveres even when she is tired. She overcomes hurdles and lifts up her kids when they fall down. She keeps on going like the energizer bunny from morning until night. She’s a champion! May God continue to be her strength and joy for the journey ahead!
Celebrate one of God’s most precious gifts to this world - the heart of a mom.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Gift of Applause

Never underestimate the power of applause. This past weekend I was in Eugene, Oregon on business, but one little added extra blessing was that the Eugene Marathon was taking place during the time while I was there. The runners were going right by my hotel, so I strategically planned to eat breakfast at the outdoor café during the event in order to watch the runners and applaud them as they ran by my table. The president of Harvest House (my new publisher) was one of those runners, and I wanted to be sure and give him an enthusiastic cheer as he ran.

As most of the runners came along, some plodding, some jogging, and some pushing forward at a strong pace, I clapped and applauded for each one. My hands actually began to hurt from clapping for so long, but it was worth it! I saw the thankfulness in the eyes of the runners as they seemed to sincerely appreciate the encouragement along the way. Some even used what little energy they had to say thank you, and others looked to me and smiled. I could tell that the applause gave them a true sense of support and strength to keep on going. I was at mile 18, and I think they needed some encouragement about then.

It was a visual reminder to me that we all need a healthy dose of applause in our lives. Uplifting words are the delicious morsels that keep us going when we feel like we want to give up. I’m talking about sincere encouragement, not silly, fluffy flattery. The word encourage literally means to give strength to the heart. I saw how valued my applause was to weary runners this weekend, and certainly our good words are just as valued to weary travelers on the journey of life. Whether it is our kids or the neighbor next door or the lady working the cash register at the grocery store; everyone could all use a good word now and then.

Take some time and effort to offer applause to the people God places in your life today. More importantly remember to seek the applause of Heaven by drawing close to Him and intimately getting to know the God who loves you. If you want to read a few more life lessons learned in Eugene, go to my other blog at: