Humility, the Little Way

As Christian parents we esteem character and train our children that they may acquire it. But what is the most important character trait? I have come to believe that the ultimate goal in character—both my children’s and mine—is cultivating humility motivated by love.

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The Real Me

Sometimes I wonder if I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  I wonder if I’m making a difference.  I have even wondered who I am.  I mean who I really am. These are identity questions. 

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Worldview: Our Launching Place and Destination

I once got lost in Paris – true story. I was serving in Amsterdam with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) and our team had traveled to Paris for a long weekend. On the last day of the visit our team separated to various must-see destinations and agreed to meet at a specific train station at 1:00pm. When my small group of 3 stepped out of the subway system at 12:30pm, we were at the wrong station. In a panic we re-entered the subway maze and arrived at the right station just minutes after the train left. I learned that if the train schedule says departure at 1:18pm there is no changing that. 

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When Fa-la-la Turns into Wah, wah, wah...

One of our most enduring family traditions is closing Christmas Eve with candlelight worship. When it’s time for bed, we turn off all the lights in the house except for the Christmas tree. Then we light a single white candle and place it in the center of the family room to symbolize Jesus, Light to the World. Each family member receives a Bible verse to read aloud. (Click here for a copy of my list.) Seated in a circle, each excited face illuminated by flickering light, we read the Scriptures round and round.

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Kids’ Kitchen Table Painting Lesson for the Art Deficit Mom - Part 1

Kids love to paint, but most moms hate the thought of letting them. It’s too messy and too expensive and too hard to teach. If you are not a fan of letting your kids loose with an art project that involves paint and brushes, may I share a pretty simple idea that could have some pretty dazzling results? It’s based on the simplicity of color books and crayons, and the common skill of coloring within the lines. But your kids get to choose.

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Mommy I'm Bored! Part 1

We have longed for these relaxing summer days, but from a child’s perspective, they can seem to lag. When we hear “Mommy, I’m bored!” or better yet, before we hear it, it’s wise to prepare some activities that direct our children toward wholesome play.

The purpose of play is to laugh, learn, build relationships, strengthen growing bodies, and make memories. So wholesome play is key to a child’s health and happiness.

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Reading Aloud: Troubleshooting Family Reading by Susan Ekhoff, Part 3 of 3

I know some are wondering – almost shouting by this time, “What if my children don’t want to read aloud? What about bad attitudes? What if the whole thing becomes a power struggle?” In these cases it may be good to evaluate why family reading is not going well.

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Family Identity with Impact

My husband and I began to emphasize family identity many years ago with fledgling attempts toward a little understood goal; we just didn’t know what would have the most long-term impact. Glancing back over our shoulders at twenty years of effort toward that end, a simple craft project made the most lasting impression.

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Using the Pure Word to Speak Life

The Word of God is filled with enough truth to last us a lifetime and through eternity. As parents we can tap into the rich wisdom that is so beautifully articulated by the Holy Spirit allowing it to strengthen and change us. Three ways to bring the Word into the lives of our children are through declaring its truth over them, making our requests directly from it, and invoking blessings from its promises.

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Reading Aloud: A Family Oasis, Part 1

One of the most worthwhile activities of my parenting years has been and continues to be reading aloud to my children.  Since our family homeschools,  just after lunch on most school days, we gather, take up our book where we left off, and enjoy the perspective of an author/mentor. It has now been over twenty years since we established this family habit.

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Special Needs - Special Grace

About half way though my fifth pregnancy, my obstetrician began sharing some concerns about our unborn son. His arms and legs measured a little short, his movements were not as vigorous as desired, and there were concerns about the formation of his heart. How relieved we were when we held Samuel in our arms just after birth. He was a beautiful baby with a little round face and a shock of straight black hair.

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Beyond “God, bless Mommy; God, bless Daddy”

“God, bless Mommy, and Daddy, and Grandma, and Grandpa and . . .”

This precious prayer marked the beginning of my children’s relationship with God and their concern for family and friends. But as they grew in their relationship with the Lord, I wanted to introduce them to the huge, throbbing heart of the Father for people all over the earth. I wanted them to empathize with the plight of the lost and poor and be willing to lift those needs back to Him.

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Kids’ Kitchen Table Painting Lesson for the Art Deficit Mom - Part 2

Now it’s time to paint!

Choose an appropriate size brush for the first area to be painted. Dip the brush into the paint, and then carefully fill the space designated for that color. Re-dip often.

Blow-dry each section before continuing on to a different color –this prevents colors from bleeding into their neighbors or smearing with an elbow.

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Mommy I’m Bored! Part 2

The best playtimes are delightfully relational and often educational! Children are naturals at playing, but sometimes mom and dad are wise to prompt their play in constructive directions by pre-gathering ideas and supplies and creating a time and space.

As a mom, I have found that it helps me to start my summer with brainstorming.

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The Family Comparison Game, Part 1

There was a time when I lived the Family Comparison Game. Here’s how I played: There was an imaginary line between families who were successful and those who needed some work. My goal was to keep our family bobbing above that line so we were admired and respected. I believed that if my family looked better than other families, I would be happy.

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The One Degree of Change

I’ve been experimenting with the simplicity and power of a one–degree change.

Here’s how it works in principle: When I see a major family issue that needs my attention, instead of defaulting to frozen inaction, I hold the whole thing before the Lord: “Father, I feel helpless to change this. It’s too big for me. What’s the one-degree thing I can do to change it?” In the next weeks He faithfully shows me the one thing that I can do to launch the change.  He is very faithful to guide me and so gentle! I find that I am able to shift that single degree amidst my rigorous routine and limited strength. 

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Reading Aloud: Ideas to Facilitate Family Reading by Susan Ekhoff, Part 2 of 3

If you are sold on the idea, but feel that the negative aspects of starting and persevering are prohibitive, read on. Any important discipline takes time and patience to cultivate. Here’s what I have discovered about the practicalities of long-term family reading:

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The Family Comparison Game, Part 2

In part 1 of the “The Family Comparison Game,” I shared about my taxing and toxic family comparisons. I’ve been guilty of comparing myself and my parenting, my children’s character and education – even our spiritual gifts – with others. My goal was for our family to look good and excel. I placed my confidence in my accomplishments. It made me feel successful.

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It had been an aggravating day. My children’s attitudes were draining my patience. In my frustration I was only making matters worse. Then I remembered! I would be meeting with my accountability friends on Monday evening. Hope rising, I made a mental list of the behaviors I would lay before them for prayer and insight. From past experience, I knew they would not judge or criticize me – or my children.

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