Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Fun

Well, mamas of school-aged kiddos, that time is upon us…summer…in some households, I think it could be considered a curse word! 🙂

For our house, this is the first time since I’ve been a mama I’m not working full-time this summer. The work that I will be doing is part-time (and I can take the kids with me), and of course improving my writing craft.

In case you don’t know, I have a 10 year old daughter, a 9 year old step-daughter, and a 9 year old son.

summer fun

Here are a few things that we will be doing for activities this summer:

  • Free bowling. Yep, I said FREE! If you go to this website: www.kidsbowlfree.com, you can see if this is available in your area. The kids get to bowl two free games every day, and for a small one-time fee (I mean SMALL, like $20 or something) you can add 2 adults to bowl with the kids. So, we are basically getting two games of bowling every day of the summer for less than the price of a movie!
  • Speaking of movies, I know in the past, our local theatre has done free or reduced price movies during the summer. While it may not be the latest blockbuster, it’s sure to kill some time and entertain the littles!
  • Of course, there’s always the park and the pool. Our local pools offer discounted rates for swimming after 4:00 pm. You could see if your pool does the same.
  • There are also crafts to be done during summer. Especially on those gloomy days. Here is one I really like: Heart Wreath Craft.
  • One thing we did over spring break was go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we purchased a membership. Economically, it just made sense. For the five of us to go one time, it was over $100. For a full year membership for the five of us, it was just over $150. Plus, we get free carousel rides!
  • Other things that we will likely do to fill the days are: visits to the library, bike rides, walking some local, easy trails, and fishing (my son tells me that McDonald’s french fries make the best bait — which is good for me, since I don’t like slimy worms!).

The kids have some sports and church summer camps they’re planning to attend, so that will also use some time.

I know that, with a little planning, and some whitespace for down time in our schedule, we can make this the best summer ever!

I’m really anxious to see what kind of mischief we get into, since this is the first summer we’ve been able to do this. Don’t worry…I’ll report back as the summer progresses!

What about you? I would love to hear what your summer activities will be.

His Word, Link-Ups

Feeling Forgotten by God?

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon 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 wholeheartedly, you will find 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 will bring you home again to your own land.”  Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT

Ever had a time in your life in which you felt forgotten by God? Who hasn’t, right?

A few seasons ago, I went through a dark, grey, gloomy season of my life.  As the weather went from the warm summer air to the crisp, colorful autumn leaves, to the colorless winter, I was facing my own monochrome world. The color of my life had disappeared right before my eyes. Some things were happening that I didn’t understand and I was just clinging for dear life to the hem of His garment.

I was hunting for hope. Hope that would only come from one place. I knew that God was in control, and I knew that He is good. All the time.

The only thing I could do during this time was focus on the many ways God had never let me down before. I had to turn my attention outward. Because the more I focused inward, the more I felt barren and bleak…

Continue reading over at Deliberate Women
His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

Hard Lessons Learned

Happy Wednesday dear friends.

After driving for 22 years (you can do the math on my age), I can proudly say that I’ve never locked my keys in my car.

Until this morning.

I went into the kids’ school to talk party stuff. Tomorrow is the big Valentine’s Day class party. I chatted with a few other teachers and was headed out the door.

Until I heard my daughter crying out to me from the front door of the school. I was *almost* to my van. She informed me that she needed money for the book fair today.

So, I did what every good parent does. I grumbled under my breath the rest of the way to my van, got my wallet, and grumbled the whole way into the school. Once there, I discovered that I had a five-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill. No way this could be split equitably between two kids.

I stopped in the office, knowing they must be tired of seeing me already this morning, to ask if they had change. No such luck. My next stop was the book fair. I mean, after all, wasn’t the blasted book fair the whole reason I had to make a second trip into the school this morning? The least it could do for me is give me change for a ten-dollar bill, so I could split it evenly.

The volunteer working the book fair so kindly gave me 2 five-dollar bills and as I was leaving, two mothers from my daughter’s class asked what they could send in for the party tomorrow. Being so grateful for their donations, I shared with them what we still needed and continued on my way.

I made what I thought was my final stop in the school office, so they could deliver money to my children for the book fair. YAY!

As I’m just getting ready to walk out the door, I realize I don’t have my keys. Trying to play it cool to the ladies in the office, I’m all like, ‘oh gosh, I’m sure they’re in the van.’

I leave the office and walk out to my van. The walk, which normally takes 2 minutes tops, felt like an eternity. I was thinking to myself the whole way that I NEVER leave my keys in my van. Nor do I ever leave my van unlocked.

You’re a smart bunch of people, you’re my friends, after all. You know where this is going, right?

I get to my van, look in the window, and see that sure enough, my keys are in the van. In a split second, I look down and notice that the door is locked.

mistake

AWESOMESAUCE! I’m so loving my luck right now! I only had about a gazillion things on my mind for what I needed to accomplish the rest of this week.

See, my husband and I have been having some *ahem* difficulties with one of our children. I will NOT name names, but suffice to say, said child has had a little bit of an attitude lately. So, I’ve been thinking about ways we could improve things with said child.

We also have a legal situation with another child that is looming over us. I know that God already has that situation worked out for His glory, but hey, I’m human, right? And I can freak out and worry and stress with the best of them.

Also on my ‘list of worries’ is previously mentioned Valentine’s Day class party that I promised and swore to myself that I wouldn’t wait until the last. minute. to plan…but, well you know how that turned out.

Then of course, are everyone’s every day worries and concerns.

Money.

Relationships.

Faith.

Weight. (I’m a woman, remember?)

Lifestyle.

All of these concerns and issues came together in a perfect storm to cause me to lock my keys (and my phone) in my van today.

When I realized what I had done, I called my husband from the school. I knew the odds of him answering the phone call were slim, for two reasons. First, it was an unrecognized number. Second, he was at work and I rarely catch him the first time I try to call. Typically, he sees my call and calls me back. I had to get my daughter’s iPod from her class to text him and ask him to answer my call.

He called a local tow company and they said they would be out as soon as they can. Y’all know what that means…

After waiting for over two hours, and many more trips to the office (I’m CERTAIN the lovely ladies in the office were really ready for me to go), they finally showed up to unlock my van. During this two hours, I endured multiple well-meaning individuals sharing with me how I might be able to avoid this fate in the future.

Also while waiting, not so patiently, for my rescuer to come, I did some thinking. I thought about how, when we are in the waiting rooms of life, we typically don’t wait patiently. Most of the time, we are trying to figure out how we can get out of our current situation as soon as possible, with the least amount of pain.

As I was waiting, it occurred to me that God might just want us to chill for a while…or two hours…

We might need to learn something in that waiting room.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something worse.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something better, simply because we’re not ready.

Perhaps He has us there because we are going to encounter someone else in that same waiting room and we can positively impact their life. Or vice versa. Maybe we need someone to be a positive influence in our life.

My point here is that, if I had my books or my laptop (or even my phone) with me when I locked myself out of my van, it wouldn’t have accomplished the same mission.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading or, in my case, writing, to pass the time, it would have distracted me from the lesson God wanted me to learn. The hard lesson learned.

That patience is a virtue. And one that doesn’t come easily or without cost. (To the tune of $68, as a matter of fact.)

One further point I would like to make is from a book I recently started reading called Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. The subtitle to her book is ‘Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy.’ You can assume that this book was written to help free us from saying YES to everything that comes our way. Instead, we should select only those activities that He has called us to.

In her introduction, she says this, “Life is a gift. Time is a treasured commodity. When we open our hands and give what we have to Jesus–be it our moments, our gifts, our time, or simply room and space for Him to show up–we find life to be a sacred journey.”

This spoke volumes to me. When was the last time you had whitespace in your schedule? Whether it was for a lesson learned the hard way or whether it was to sit with your grandmother helping her figure out her phone–without having to rush to the next thing?

Either way, we all need to determine what our sacred YES is, so that we can truly be open to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Series

Fatherlessness – An Epidemic

This was originally published on March 19, 2014 because of an article that came to me via email. And yet, it is still true today…

An article came through my email and I wanted to share it with my readers. The link is below.

What struck me were these thoughts:

     “The assumption that the father is of little use in the home and lives of children is costly. This mindset is especially unfortunate because the church has adopted it, at the very least, in practice, even in Reformed circles. We reveal this when we show little care for those without fathers. If we can agree that the fatherless should be considered orphans, and even the children with absentee dads, does the church have a responsibility?”

     “If the church wants to bring up young male and female leaders in their congregations and effectively evangelize their city, they must address the issue of fatherlessness”

      “It takes men and families building relationships with kids and young adults intentionally looking for spiritual sons and daughters to adopt “unofficially.” To our surprise, I think we’d find most kids and young adults with absent fathers would be open to older godly men acting as a spiritual father in their lives. These relationships need to be developed patiently, with the local church encouraging and supporting this initiative in the context of discipleship.”

The entire article is worth the read. Because I grew up without my father as a constant presence, I know what a difference a dad makes! Fortunately, he and I have established a relationship in my adult years. However, I know that I would have made some very different choices if I had someone in my youth, who was instructing me on how to value myself. It has made me stronger, for sure,but, it’s not anything I want my daughter to go through, if avoidable.

Fortunately, I’m not naive to the difference a Godly man makes in the life of children and have made every real effort to find a ‘substitute’ father, or someone to fill in the gaps in their lives. (Notice I saidGodly. I could find and use just any Joe Schmo to spend time with my kids, but the real value and reward comes in finding someone who fears God.)

Unfortunately, I had to look outside of my church home. Not due to lack of effort on my part. The real treasure in this is that I know who has stepped up to “unofficially” adopt my children. They are the true heroes here.

As a side note, my father has become a devoted believer, so, if it took my childhood experiences to produce the grandpa that my kids have, well, then so be it. It was worth every tear shed.

As promised, here is the link: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/finding-the-fatherless-a-call-to-fill-the-gap

Have a wonderfully blessed Wednesday!

Link-Ups, Random

Likes

Have you ever stopped to think of why you like the things you do?

Like, why you like the movies you do? I love a lot of different types of movies – action, romance, comedy, suspense. I think that I like them because of the feelings they elicit within me.

If I’m feeling particularly sappy, I’ll pull out something like ‘The Notebook’ to watch.

If I’m feeling like I want to take on {and overcome} the world, I may pull out Iron Man 2. I’ve developed quite an affinity for this movie, as it’s one of Emma’s favorites ~ weird, I know.

But what about the people in your lives? Has it ever occurred to you the reason why you like them? Why you spend time with them versus others? What about them causes you to gravitate toward them?

This is something that I’ve been pondering lately. Why I choose to spend time with those I do.

Do you spend time with certain people because of how you feel when you’re with them? Or because of how they treat you, and how that causes them to make you feel?

Do you spend time with them because you share common interests? Or common disinterests?

Do you spend time with those who challenge you? Who push you to be better? To be more?

Those who see your potential and help you strive to achieve it?

Or, do you elect to play it safe? And not interact with those who might help you evolve into something more.

When you choose who you invest in, is it someone who also invests in you? Is it someone who you know would be there for you no matter what?

Or do you take more of the servant perspective? That you’re there to serve and not expect anything in return?

These questions, and the many answers, are all things that have been burning deep within my soul and my mind.

I know the answer to most of these questions for me, but the true test is to ask myself if I’m surrounding myself with the right people. Those who would match my answers to these questions.

Furthermore, if the people in my life don’t align with my responses, then am I brave enough to do something about it?

Are you?