Creative Winter Fun

It has been COLD here for the past several weeks. School was cancelled for several area schools due to the extreme wind chill. (-20, if you’re the curious type. And, no, I do not live in Alaska. Or Canada.) We are a family who loves to be outside. So this mama has to get creative when we are stuck indoors. So on a recent cold evening, after a long day of being inside, we played a game that we call “Avoid the Lasers.” I had some leftover crepe paper from a birthday party. So I taped it randomly to the walls of the hallway and had an instant obstacle course for the kids. My kids had a blast. My youngest, age 2, learned that she could get through quicker than her older siblings by crawling along the floor. She had a clear path to the end. She’s small and quick. The older brothers had a response to that. The kids did this for about an hour. And they could have done it much longer! (But someone got pretty cranky and we had to end sooner than the others would have liked.) The tape came off the walls pretty easily when a kid’s foot would drag over it. Don’t get too fussy when the kids knock the paper down. It happens. A lot. Stay calm. Fix it. Try again. Grab that extra crepe paper, a roll of tape, and a few kids and have some FUN. My kids love to design their own course, so do that if everyone is in a good mood! I did this one while the...

January is Like a Restart Button

At the start of each year, everyone seems to feel a sense of freshness. Renewal. Starting over. A clean slate. Our culture has been making New Year’s Resolutions since I can remember. Then a few years ago, people started choosing a new word to focus on in the year ahead. I know this year I have had more urge to “get organized” than I have in years before. (I’m hoping my new Purposeful Planner will help with that! Read More here: Organize My Life) I enjoy the newness of January. We can form new ideas for a fresh year ahead. (More organization is a popular choice!) I can make resolutions about myself that I would like to improve.(Working out or losing weight is a popular choice for that.) We can choose words that we want to incorporate into our daily lives. Words like: serenity, joy, renewal, restore, and faith. Most people who choose words or make resolutions have one goal: improve self — or find oneself. I read something in my daily reading of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling that struck me for this new year and the desire in each of us to improve self. She wrote, “Enjoy the adventure of finding yourself through losing yourself in (God).” It really is THAT simple. The way to ”find yourself” is to actually lose yourself in God. Immerse yourself in Him on a daily basis. Know His voice. Know His Word. Be still before Him. Lose yourself in Him. The same day, I read this: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV)  “…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and...

Organize My Life

I’m kind of a nerd and like planners. And pens. And post-its. And organization tools. *Nerd Alert* With four small kids, I find it increasingly difficult to stay organized. All of the doctor’s appointments, practices, schoolwork, reading goals, and chores for a household of six are rolling around constantly in my brain, written down nowhere. It’s no wonder I forget things. Often. I forget things so much that I completely forgot to schedule a well-child doctor’s appointment for Miss Independent when she turned three in January. The doctor’s office informed me of this as I was trying to refill her inhaler in December. So, eleven months late, she got her 3-year well-child check, when she is almost four now. Sheesh! My mom heard me say I wish I could be more organized. She went on a research mission to find The Perfect Planner. She narrowed it down to a few for me to choose from. I watched videos, read blogs, and debated. It is kind of hard when you can’t physically hold the planner. (Welcome to the new age of the internet, right?) I finally decided on a new planner. It is designed by Corie Clark. She designed her own planner and decided to share it with all of us. I waited for the mail for weeks. I felt like a kid at Christmas. I was so excited for a new planner! (Remember the nerd alert at the beginning of the post!)  It was fun to see Corie Clark post updates on her twitter about how the process was going on her side. Then my planner arrived! When I...

The Snake

The days have grown cold here. We’ve had drizzle and rain, mixed with cool temperatures. The result is not good. People forget how to drive on the ice, so there have been a fair amount of car accidents. Today, I thought back to July, when it was warm and humid and all our time was spent outside. I thought of a story that I would like to tell. This is about: The Snake When I have tried to tell this story in the past, my 6 year old son interrupts me every time and says, “Wait, wait, wait. Here it is…” So, it is my turn to say, “Here it is.” This is the story of The Snake. It was a beautiful day for July. Usually in Kansas, July is just hot and humid. I don’t just mean hot and humid. I mean melt-in-the-shade, and I-feel-like-there‘s-a-wet-blanket-in-the-air-humid. This year hasn’t been nearly as hot as usual. I’ll take it. Even if it means extra cold days in the winter. I love the warm and windy days we have been enjoying lately. It was one of those beautiful, warm, slightly-windy days in July. My kids had been jumping in and out of our tiny blow-up pool. I set up a lawn chair under the only shade tree near their play area. I looked at the amazing blue sky, dotted with a few puffy white clouds. I sighed deeply. Refreshing. Relaxing. Once my kids were done with the water, we laid out beach towels, blankets, and pillows in the shade and had a snack. While they snacked, I read a chapter-book to them. They...

You Have Been Lied To

  You Have Been Lied To   A friend recently told me that God would not give her more than she could handle. I had to disagree with her. She was going through a tough time in life, and she felt overwhelmed. Her hope rested in the idea that God wouldn’t allow her to feel the full weight of her burdens. She was told, like most of us who grew up in church, that God wouldn’t allow us to feel overwhelmed to the point of drowning in a situation. She thought that “God would never give anyone more than they could handle.” We’ve all heard the popular phrase: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I heard it growing up. I believed that.  It is a lie.  I’m not sure who started the lie. Its origin doesn’t matter. What matters is that you, my friends, realize that this silly phrase is a serious untruth that will cause you to doubt the goodness of God. Listen, friends: God is absolutely, completely, in every way going to give you more than you can handle. You may have times of rest and recuperation, but God will continue to give you more than you think you can handle. He loves you, and that is without a doubt. But He will still pile more on you, until you think you can’t go further on the journey.   Taking a Look at History Let’s look at one Biblical example. Gideon. God called Gideon to fight in a battle. Gideon felt ill-equipped. He asked God for specific signs that he was indeed who...

The Broken Mug

The joy of a clean floor I had just mopped the floor. And washed the front of the cabinets. And cleaned under the cabinets Not often do I wash under the cabinets, but once in a while, I do. And it was on this day… My 2-year-old -for whatever reason- grabbed my coffee cup and accidentally dropped it on the tile floor. The cup shattered. The coffee spilled. My little girl was upset. I moved into action quickly and calmly. I moved the upset child into the other room, and she got her clothes changed. I went back to the mess that was waiting for me.   Clean and repeat I could do a whole blog post just listing reasons why cleaning with young children is pointless. But this isn’t that type of post. While I was cleaning, my brain started listing reasons why this situation stunk. This mug was my favorite coffee mug. I used it almost every day. Now, it was shattered into a million pieces. I had just mopped the floor. A clean floor is awesome, wonderful, and beautiful. I love clean floors. So, while I was cleaning the spilled coffee, I was looking over at my still-wet mop leaning against the wall, thinking of all that time wasted earlier. I also thought, “Why do I take sugar in my coffee? This wouldn’t be quite so bad if it wasn’t getting sticky already. That dumb sugar in my coffee has made this mess a sticky mess. Ugh.” These little shards are going to cut someo—OW!   Put on a mental brake! I stopped myself from diving...

The Baby of Hope

This encouraged me this week. I hope it will encourage you as well, especially if you’re going through a tough time, a nightmare week, or devastation of epic proportions. There is light, friend. An October loss October 2011. That was a tough month for me. I was challenged and sent through quite a dark valley. I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of that scenic trip as a whole woman. It has been 3 1/2 exciting years since that October. I have been through even more difficult situations since then and come out the other side healed and whole. But, that October in 2011 was hard because it held such fear. And hope. And blind faith. And loss.   What will they think? I was the mother of three young, energetic children. My oldest was four. My baby was 9 months old. And I was pregnant. It wasn’t planned. And I wasn’t sure I was ready for a fourth child while my baby was so young. I was worried (imprisoned) by what people would think of me being pregnant again already. Fear.   Heartbeat of hope New life brings such great hope. I started thinking about the life inside me and what that baby would do in life. I started dreaming for that baby, whose heart beat secretly inside of me. Hope. My pregnancies have never gone smoothly. I haven’t had an “ideal” pregnancy yet. So, when I started bleeding, there wasn‘t any immediate action or fear taking over. I’d been there before, three times. And three times had delivered healthy babies. I talked to my midwife...

The Stain

My family is a Sunday-lunch-gathering type of family. I grew up eating lunch at my grandparent’s house almost every Sunday. My grandparents are amazing hosts: polite, patient, gracious, thoughtful, and gentle. As a child, those qualities are important!   I am older now. And I have four children of my own. They start at age 6 and go to age 1. We still frequent the door of my grandparent’s home for Sunday lunch. My children stretch the limits of their patient and gentle character. Or maybe they don’t, and my grandparents are really THAT patient!   I say this because my children frequently spill things. It’s life. Usually it’s only water. (Phew!) Yet, at times I clean up the ever-sticky milk or juice. And it doesn’t just happen at home. They spill at my grandparent’s home as well. Even at Sunday lunch when Grandma has her fancy linens on the table. Grandma has never shown her annoyance or frustration with any spill. Ever. (I always wonder if she washes her linens later and rolls her eyes silently, or if she just shakes her head and smiles at the reminder of energetic life that had just bombarded her dining room.)   This time, at our family gathering around my Grandma’s beautiful table, it was my turn to cause an accident. My mom offered me red wine. I accepted, even though I rarely drink; I’m more of a coffee-drinker. So, as rare as it was, I had a glass of red wine in front of my plate at the dinner table. (You can see it coming, right? I totally didn’t.)   In...

Busy mother of four. Wife to one. Creative. Insightful. Lover of music, sunsets, and laughter.

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This week, I'm linking up with some cool friends. Check it out and connect with some really amazing bloggers out there. They have great things to say and wonderful encouragement! Linking up: purposefulfaith.com   Thought-provoking-Thursday Dance With Jesus