Tag Archive | children

Quiet Time

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s quiet time.  Sometimes with a houseful of small children, or even just one youngster, quiet time can be as beneficial to Mom as it is to the kids.

As my children outgrew their afternoon naps, they graduated to quiet time. This time was usually for a half hour to an hour and books were quietly looked at. Each child had a blanket and pillow, and then laid down on the living room floor. I got comfy in the recliner with my own reading material, which was often times my Bible, or journal. Sometimes the kids and/or I would would even doze for a bit. It was amazing how as short as half an hour of quiet could re-energize me, and spread peace and companionship among the children. The children got up ready to play together again. Quiet time was welcome and refreshing.

Our quiet time with God can and should be the same, welcome and refreshing. I especially enjoy spending this time outside, and have several niches in my yard landscape to invite a quiet sit. Out there I am not distracted with electronics or other man-made niceties, but I can easily reflect on God’s abundant grace and love. It is a place I can pray, listen, ponder, spend quiet time with God.

Recently, at a women’s meeting, the speaker addressed the fact that so often we get so busy DOING things, we don’t take time to rest quietly. This does not mean you have to lay down for a nap, but think about it. If we are constantly on the go and our time of prayer is only petitions and telling God what He should do, how are we ever going to hear his quiet gentle voice?

In the Bible, Mark 6, The apostles gathered around Jesus and were reporting all they had been doing. In fact, they were ministering to so many people, they hadn’t even had time to take a lunch break. They were tired and hungry, and Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) I believe Jesus would like to extend that same invitation to you and me.

My speaker friend thought so too. She made each woman in attendance a special invitation as if it were from Jesus, himself. I’d like to pass that invitation along to you.

ImageFind a time and place for some much needed quiet time today. You’ll be glad you did.

Read and Stay Warm

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! It’s been rather frigid lately, and I really am not a fan of cold weather unless I can stay in by the fire. Unfortunately, my children were not blessed with a snow queen for a mom. No, I am the type who enjoys snow and winter weather from inside the house, not the one who is as giddy as the kids ready to bundle in snowsuits and boots. However, I was usually waiting with hot chocolate and a book when they came in to warm up. It seemed that about every other year in December or January we were ready to read (re-read) the same book. Can you guess what it was?

I do not recall reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books as a child, but when my oldest son was in Kindergarten I began reading them aloud. This became a family tradition, each year that there was a kindergartener in the house I read the series one book after another. I would usually read some during the day as well as a chapter or so before bedtime. It was not unusual for the older kids to check out the book from the school library so they didn’t miss the adventures that were read during the day.

The timing seemed perfect that we were often reading The Long Winter, when the north winds blew arctic air across our plains. I would often sit right in front of the woodstove as I read. Some how reading about the blizzards, ice on the water bucket, nearly running out of food, and knowing how poorly the houses were built, made me cold. Oh, the sweet memories. 

My kids are grown and gone; Little House books sit idly on the shelf, and my sweet pooch gives me a pleading look as if to say, “Pleeeeeeeeeeeease come romp in the snow with me?”

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Have you ever wondered what the weather was like while Joseph and Mary Great-with-Child were traveling to Bethlehem? What about the stable, was it warm and cozy with sweet barn smells, or was it drafty, dusty and musty waking up sinuses producing multiple sneezes? If it was cold, did they have a warm fire to sit, sleep, and give birth next to? Some questions of the very first Christmas, may not be known, but there is plenty of detail we can read. Whether you have children at home, or think you have the Christmas story learned inside and out from yearly repetition, take time to read it again. Read it with awe and wonder as if it is the first time. Read it slowly absorbing the message of love throughout the events surrounding the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The next few days are supposed to remain cold through much of our country, so pull up a chair, snuggle in a blanket, or sit next to the fire with a Bible and read this wonderful story. Probably the most familiar account is found in Luke 2, but you can also read it in Matthew 1.

Armed with Hearts

It’s that time of year again, and I am armed and on a mission! In case you missed it, last February I wrote about “I Love You” Hearts. Now that Hubby is home from Haiti and Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, it is time for the fun to begin.

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To get started, I made “I Love You” hearts. The first one is staying cold with Hubby’s favorite beverage, which I restocked in the pop frig without him knowing.

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Next, I started an “I Love You Because…” message board on the mud room mirror. I’ll write a new reason why I love him every day.  Dry erase makers work wonderful with little-to-no mess. Just simply wipe off; you don’t even need window cleaner. However, by the end of the week it will be time to use cleaner on the mirror again any way.

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Our mornings begin with coffee, and Hubby is the one who usually gets it brewing. I just finished grinding some coffee beans, loaded them into the coffee maker and left a heart. He’ll be surprised when he lifts the lid.

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Hubby’s old childhood chalkboard has been a fun addition to our office/family room. I often write Bible verses we want to memorize. Today, I wrote a little poem on it expressing my love. He has been in that room most of the afternoon, and has not noticed. Hahaha! 🙂

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Homemade cookies are usually what you’ll find in my kitchen, but once in awhile we get a craving for Oreos. When grocery shopping, I picked up a package of Double Stuffed, and then hand delivered my last “I Love You” heart with this sweet treat.

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This really got me into the Valentine mood to show love. I got creative and put together some packages to send my kids.  I’ll share pictures of the surprises after I know the they have been delivered.

Though February is the shortest month, it can feel really long in the midst of cold and flu season and the unpredictable weather. What better way to bring some excitement into the days than with random acts of kindness and love.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 NLT

Heaven Ponderings and a Sneak Peek

Pastor has been leading us through a study on heaven, and yesterday our text was Revelation 21. This chapter is chalk full of specific descriptions down to the measurements. Though I tried to picture heaven in my mind, I simply could not wrap my mind around it. All I can say is that heaven is going to be AwEsOmE, and I am not using that loosely. Before we got to the structure we read of things that will affect us more personally. The first verses to really grab my attention were Rev. 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:3-4 ESV

I believe these spoke to me because of some of the trials and heartache I’ve seen and felt in my  family.  To begin with, God “will wipe away every tear from our eyes!” My tears often come from frustration and hurt, usually emotional rather than physical.

“Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning.” Hubby’s parents both died in a span of two years. For each, our mourning began before their last day. Dad S was not well for many years, and we mourned throughout that time as we lost him little by little. We also mourned the fact that the younger grandchildren never knew the grandpa the older ones knew. They did not get to tag along to milk the cows, feed the baby calves, ride the tractor, or go fishing in the farm pond. They did not get the pony rides upon his back, hear him recite poetry that always had a moral lesson, or hear his prayers of blessing. Yes, we have mourned for many years.

Mom S was a fighter, but cancer got the best of her. She always enjoyed the beach, and would have enjoyed the ocean scene at her granddaughter’s beach wedding. Grandchildren brought her much joy; I can only imagine the twinkle in her eyes and her laughter if only she would have been able to meet her great grandson. The younger grandchildren will never experience Scrabble with Grandma. She usually beat us all, soundly! When she canned peaches that September, we did not think she would be gone in a few short weeks. Cancer – it can be so cruel. As long as she was able, Mom S enjoyed the sunrise view out her kitchen window. This was the view the morning God called her home.

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Heaven -there will be  no more pain. Mom B has suffered pain – intense, burning pain. Nearly ten years of it which doctors seem to have no cure. Pain – more than an ache or discomfort; pain – agony and torment. What a glorious place heaven will be, no more pain!

In heaven, these things will all pass away.  They will not be there!!

“He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:4 ESV

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P.S. Here’s a sneak peek of my closet transformation. I’m putting on the finishing touches! Full review coming soon.

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On the Horizon

Sunrise
Beautiful array of colors melting into one another.
Muted purples- amethyst, magenta, periwinkle
Pastel pinks- roseate, blush, coral
Creamy yellows- canary, blond, primrose
Spilling into radiant oranges- tangerine, apricot, bittersweet
Vibrant starburst pierces pallet sending rays through the sky
Causing thousands of tiny sparkly sunbeams to happy dance in my car.

And my heart begins to sing the old hymn “For The Beauty of the Earth” by Folliott S. Pierpoint.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.

As my horizons broaden throughout the day the canvas takes knew form.

Boys and girls, little tykes
Wiggles, Squiggles, Restlessness
Ready to be up from desk
Brown hair, curled hair, newly buzzed hair too
Brown eyes, green eyes,  and baby blues
Ornery twinkle, mischievous smile, angelic faces
Laughter and unexpected hugs
Rays of sunshine warm my soul.

And my heart continues to sing the old hymn.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.

As my day draws to close, the horizon is transformed yet again.

Sunset
Beauteous coloration wash the boundary where land meets sky
And darkness prepares to engulf
Silhouettes- windmill, cows and gnarly tree
And night becomes alive
Dashing coyote, scampering bunny, swooping great horned owl
Midnight blue, deep smokey purple and a wisp of orange
The sinking, setting sun

And I continue to sing.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful  praise.

10 Things…

Isn’t God amazing! He blesses us over and over even when we don’t deserve it or take time to notice. Ten things I recognize as gifts of blessing to begin this month are:
Apple Picking is one of my favorite things about Fall. Picking on Monday took me down memory lane as I thought of all the times My Children and I picked at the local orchard. I couldn’t help smiling as I heard Laughter from excited youngsters hidden behind a row of trees laden with gorgeous, juicy apples.
A Dear Friend is a grandma again. This New Life is a handsome little boy.
God has allowed me to hang out with and minister to several Young Ladies. I love watching how they grow and mature in life and in their relationship with God. It also helps keep me young. 🙂
A Garden that is still producing! Will it get zapped by frost by weeks end?
This morning my phone chimed with a new text message…a LOVE Note from my hubby. ❤
It took a 30 year reunion to Rekindle Friendships~ Sally and Shelly, I am so excited that we have reconnected!
The Desire to learn and grow. Sometimes it is easier to simply let life happen, and I have spent too many years of my life doing that. Yes, the desire to learn and grow is a blessing from the Lord, and I have so much yet to learn.

I continue on this journey of intentionally counting 1000 Gifts in 2012- The Joy Dare. If you are not in the practice of intentionally looking for God’s blessings I’d encourage you to begin today. If you would like to follow the list I’m using for October click HERE. A few gifts we’ll look for are: 3 gifts prayed for, a gift baked/stirred/eaten, 3 gifts on time, a gift surrendered.

How is God blessing you this week? I’d love for you to leave a comment and share your joy!

Finish the Race

Fine sandy beach, waves slapping, light breeze, an abundance of sunshine, dolphins passing by, ship on the horizon…this was our sanctuary for Sunday morning worship. Part of Hubby’s family joined us in this beautiful setting to worship God and to be challenged. Hubby began by giving some examples of starting off strong, but then just cruising to the finish.  He then challenged us to finish our life’s race strong, to avoid coasting. I’ve been pondering this topic these past few days.

Reflecting on the past, I can think of times I was tempted to simply cruise until that particular race (or phase) was over. Would you like to take a walk along memory lane with me?

Let’s start when I was a young mom with 4 children 5 years old and younger. Most days I loved this stage, but other days… I felt I would always be tired. Tired of changing diapers, cleaning up messes, squelching squabbles and tired of being tired. On those days, I couldn’t wait until they were all in school. However, it was important to finish this race strong, because they would all be in school sooner than it seemed. I had a mental list of “things to know & do before going to Kindergarten”, and my kids weren’t going to learn them on their own. I had to finish this race strong so they were ready to meet the world of school.

As the children got older the race had different dynamics. While feeling like a failure with one of my strong-willed children, I wanted to through up my hands and say I quit! Other times, I wanted to stick my head in the sand and not acknowledge the current problem. I knew those really were not choices. I believed God blessed me with these children to not only help guide them, but for my own growth as well. My dependence on God grew as I sought Him and His word for guidance and as my children’s shenanigans kept this Momma humble.

Now that my children are grown, there are knew and different obstacles along the course. However, the goal is still the same; finish the race strong.

 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT