God Creating a Perfect Mess in Our Lives

God Creating a Perfect Mess in Our Lives

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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God Creating a Perfect Mess in Our Lives

God’s a God of order, He doesn’t create messes…or does He? When we allow God to take up full residence in our hearts He just might make a perfect mess in our lives!

“A place for everything and everything in it’s place.” This cliche is true for many things except for God.

A better motto in regards to God’s place in our lives should be more along the lines of:

God’s has a place and his place is in everything we do.  

Wait a sec…doesn’t the Bible have a similar motto?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’…
Luke 10:27

But how often do we find ourselves living a 24/7 Worshipful life?

Do we hold up our hearts to God on Sunday and then bench Him in our lives the rest of the week, living a life that won’t honor him? (Think Judas) Or do we truly want to walk with Him all week but just mess up and deny him entrance into part of our lives sometimes? (Think Peter before the rooster crowed.)

The 24/7 Christian Question to Ask Your Kids

“The 24/7 Christian” activity of the month by Family Time Training  poses an interesting question.  It’s one we might not want to hear the answer to but one that we must ask.

“Is our family a Sunday Only Family?”

Do you see what I mean when I say the answer to this question may be painful?  But then again it may make your heart sing!  Either way the answers will give us insight into how we can better worship Christ throughout our daily lives and help our children learn to do the same.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Family Time Training’s 24/7 Christian Activity

With this “24/7 Christian” activity, your kids will start to see how God can create a perfect mess of their lives.  It all starts by helping them figure out how to prioritize our lives.  What’s most important?  Who should we put first?

First I wrote out God, Family, Others and You on note cards and had each child put them in order of most importance.

24-7-christian-family-time-training-activity

Then we grabbed some watercolors and a canvas and head outside for the activity.  You can use plain paper for this activity but I had an extra canvas in my art closet and decided this would be great to keep hanging in our school room.

Each child had an opportunity to paint one of the areas of our lives.

24%2f7-christian-bible-activity-family-time-training

It’s a wonderful visual of how we can choose to keep God separate from other areas of our lives OR we let Him into each section. The “you” section starts to fade away and God becomes prominent in every part of our lives. When we become a “24/7 Christian” we are giving Him the opportunity of creating a perfect mess in our lives!

24-7-christian-family-time-activity-perfect-mess-quote

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1

Dig into this month’s “24/7 Christian” Bible study and activity by printing it off now.  It contains all the Bible verses and a script of how to guide your children through the short devotional thought and activity.

 

Be Still: Self-Control in God’s Presence

Be Still: Self-Control in God’s Presence

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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My son has just recently made the transition to his big boy bed. You know, the one without any constraints, the one where he must use self-control, where there are no crib railings to enforce his staying in one spot.

And it is hard–so very, very hard–to have self-control. He has fallen asleep on the floor, behind his door, under the bed. He has over-enthusiastically piled so many books on his bed that there was no longer any room for him. (After all, I had said he could take a book to look at quietly. Surely, thirty books are better than one?) He has wandered out into the kitchen in the middle of the night (looking for a midnight snack?). And he has quietly come out to his living room bucket of toys to begin playing in the morning.

But I remember the first time he successfully fell asleep in his bed and actually slept. All it took was being still for a few moments. A little modicum of self-control and then something bigger and more powerful (his sleepiness) took over, and he was fast asleep.

Of course, you and I both know that one success does not a habit build. But it is a start! And over the course of days and weeks, he has begun to make that habit and I no longer search for his little sleeping form draped uncomfortably over toys in his room.

In this one area at least, he has learned self-control.

psalm-46-10-1

I think of a passage in Psalm 46:10:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Our own need for God is a little like my little boy. We need just that start of self-control. Just an ounce. Enough to come before the great God of the universe. To be still before Him and to let something–Someone–bigger and more powerful than I take over.

And it’s at that point we can see ourselves as we truly are. We can see the beautiful, magnificent, and glorious God for who He truly is.

All we have to do is be still.

we-need-just-that-start-of-self-control-just-an-ounce

My Kids, My Sword, and My Story

My Kids, My Sword, and My Story

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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My children were bickering a lot last week so I told them a story and I thought I’d share it with you…

The Tale of the Brave Villager and his Sword

Once upon a time, there lived a brave young man. He lived in a kingdom ruled by a kind, wise, and loving king. For the most part, the people were happy and lived good lives except for one thing…there was a dragon!

The king’s heart grieved deeply for his people under the tyranny of the dragon. However, being a good king, he did not leave his people defenseless. He gave each of them a sword.

No Ordinary Sword

These swords were no ordinary swords; they had in them the power of the king: the ability to defeat the dragon.

Villagers could choose what to do with their swords. Some kept their swords on the shelf, collecting dust. Some would get their swords out occasionally practicing one or two swings. This gave them some comfort for the moment, or gave them something to do with their friends, but they quickly became busy with other things and put their swords back on the shelf. However, some villagers chose differently. The brave young man was one of these people.

He loved his sword, because he knew it was a present to him directly from the king. He cherished it and studied every move against the dragon he could find. His sword did not collect dust or become dull because he sharpened it daily.

The Dragon’s Terror and Destruction

One day, the dragon came roaring from his cave and sat on the roof of a villager whose sword was covered in dust. The dragon breathed fire on the home and the villagers inside ran to their neighbor’s house as theirs was destroyed.

The dragon moved to another house where the sword inside was only used occasionally for comfort. When the dragon breathed fire on their home, the villagers ran for their sword. But they did not know how to use it effectively against the dragon and so their home was also destroyed.

Finally, the dragon came to the home of the brave young man. The young man did not need to search for his sword because he carried it with him always. However, his fright at seeing the dragon made him forget all about the sword and his home began to burn.

But because the sword had the power of the king in it, the young man could, in a way, feel it tugging at his hand. Sensing this, he remembered his sword. Skillfully he unsheathed the sword, pointing it directly at the dragon on his roof.

The dragon, seeing the sword with the power of the king in it pointed directly at him, fled in terror and the young man’s house was saved.

The End

The Moral of the Story

My oldest son, knowing by now that most of my stories have a moral, asked, “All right, Mom…so what’s that about?”

I told them the story describes me at different points in my Christian life.

I then asked, “Do we have a sword?”

They replied, “Yes, the Bible.”

Hebrews 4:12

I asked, “Do we have an enemy like the dragon in the story?”

They answered, “Yes.”

1 Peter 5:8

Do I Use My Sword?

In the past, I’ve been like the villagers whose swords became dusty. I rarely read my Bible. While I owned one, I didn’t see the point in reading it and I had some unsettling times because of it.

Sometimes, I confessed, I have been like the villagers who only occasionally used their sword. I have used the Bible only for comfort, reading a Psalm or two here or there. Or I have read my Bible because it was “the thing to do” in some circles and church and Bible study was merely a social event and what “should be done.”

Then I told them at some point, I became like the young man. I recognized the power God has put in His Word, the Bible, and I read it often. The more I read it, the more I came to love it and the more I wanted to memorize it so that I could always have it with me.

However, I again confessed that sometimes in the heat of the moment, when I struggle within myself or against the enemy, I forget about my sword and do not use it.  I told my children that I am asking God to help me learn in increasing ways to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit, reminding me to pull out my sword and point it directly at whatever situation I am in. (For another time I learned about using the Word from my son, read here.)

Sharpening the Sword

I then brought the lesson back to them and their bickering. I reminded them of the verse we had been “sharpening our swords” with by memorizing.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

 

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

I asked them if any of them had used that verse to combat the bickering going on in the house. They got my point and half-smiled, half gave me the “good grief, mom” look I usually get with these stories.

Which villager are you in the story right now?

How is your life affected by which villager you are?

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yay!  Back to school!  Some consider the kids’ return to school the most wonderful time of the year. If you are a homeschooling mom, you may not feel that way.  I am by no means a homeschooling expert, but I have completed over thirteen years of home educating my children.  My oldest child graduated and is off to college so I guess I am what is considered a home school veteran.  So here are some of my survival tips to get through the school year.

1.  Put God first.

I know this should go without saying, but sometimes we forget.  Start each morning by having a quiet time with the Lord.  I know it can be hard. After a sleep-deprived night, all I want to do is send my husband off to work and then crawl back into bed.  I cannot tell you how many times I have fallen asleep reading my Bible or praying in the morning.  At some point in the morning, have some time with God.  It will set the mood for the entire day.

2.  Pray without ceasing.

I do this a lot.  There are those times when one child just is not getting it and the baby is screaming and another child is literally climbing the walls (Yes, my children climbed the hallway walls).  All you want to do is run away.  That is when you need to pray.  God gives us what we need if we ask.  All we have to do is take a deep breath and give it over to Him.

3.  Get organized.

I’m not talking about daily routines.  I’m talking about taking time away from everything and spending that time planning the upcoming school year.  You can go over material and familiarize yourself with it.  I have previously done this with a group of friends for a weekend.  We shared ideas and discussed materials.  I also have friends who have gone to a hotel for the weekend. If you do not feel that you can do this, home school conventions are great for getting away just for a little while.  This is also a great way to recharge.

4.  Don’t get bogged down by schedules.

This does not mean throw everything that you planned out the window.  Life happens.  Many of us are in the “sandwich generation” where we take care of children and parents.  This can be the cause of many unexpected events.  If something happens or one of the children get behind, remember, we home school.  We can always “catch up” later.  Be flexible.

5.  Start the year off with something fun.

We always start the year off with baking cookies.  I know this may sound strange but I think I got the idea from a home school convention.  What we do is I pick out a recipe.  I do not help with making the cookies, but I sit in the kitchen and tell each child what to get and what to do.  They must follow directions and work together.  If anyone fails to follow directions or do their part, they do not get to eat the cookies.  This really encourages and helps with listening skills and cooperation.  This helps set the tone for the year.  If you need to do it later in the year to get them refocused (or you just want the kids to make you some cookies), then do it again.  Oh, I almost forgot the most important part–they have to clean up, too!

6.  Make time for your husband.

Sometimes we spend so much time being a mom and teacher that we forget to be a wife.  Our husbands are just that: husbands, not children.  Be there for them and support them.  Make them their favorite meal.  Listen, really listen, to what they say.  Be supportive.

7.  Take care of yourself.

As moms, we put everyone else ahead of ourselves.  It is hard for us to not take care of everything and everyone and take a moment for ourselves.  Take a bubble bath; go shopping; have lunch with a friend; read a book.  If we do not take care of ourselves, we will not be able to take care of our children.

8.  Have fun.

Spend time playing games, singing together, dancing silly, taking nature walks.  These can be fun and educational.  Education is not just working through books; it is also experience.  Anything can be educational.  Homeschooling is not school at home.  It is educating the entire child.

We must remember that we only have 18-19 years with our children and it will be gone before you know it.  Spend that time having fun.

Do you have any other tips to make back to school the most wonderful time of the year? 

school-year-survival-tips-1

Kindness Cookies

Kindness Cookies

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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We know that every good gift comes from God and the gift of kindness is no exception.

Kindness makes our heart smile. It gives us warm fuzzies. Receiving kindness makes us want to give kindness too!

Kindness Cookies

That’s where these fantastic kindness cookies come into play.  You see, this month’s Family Time Training Activity, “Kindness”, is not just a one day activity. It’s about intentionally creating the attribute of kindness in kids and adults of all ages. (Truly, even we as adults need this reminder in our lives…like during rush hour traffic.)

This Kindness Activity includes:

  • The Kindness Activity Script, which has all the Bible verse references and important thoughts to share during the activity.
  • Act of Kindness Worksheet, which include great acts of kindness ideas.
  • Act of Kindness Calendar, which is used to show which acts of kindness you’ve completed.

Click here to download this month’s FREE activity!

 The idea is to write the Acts of Kindness ideas provided in the worksheet on slips of paper and even brainstorm your own, then choose one of these each day to fulfill.  An extra fun way to choose your Act of Kindness for the day is by turning it into a Kindness Cookie, which of course looks like a fortune cookie.

Don’t miss the end of this post, where we share how else we used these Kindness Cookies.

Making Kindness Cookies

I found this easy to follow video tutorial by Red Ted Art that shows you how to make paper fortune cookies. I used these fortune cookies and put our Random Acts of Kindness inside each one.  This way the kids will take turns each day choosing a brightly colored Kindness Cookie that will reveal one way our family can focus on being kind.

Our next to youngest got to choose the first Kindness Cookie, because without prodding, he helped his sister clean up water that was accidentally spilled on the floor.

opening-their-1st-act-of-kindness

Going Beyond the Activity

There are so many ways that we can implement the ideas given in this “Kindness” Activity.  One idea that popped to mind was to fill these Kindness Cookies with what we love and appreciate about somebody else. Giving the gift of recognition is sweet!  

Our girls, along with one of their friends, filled out the slips of paper that go inside the cookies, ran to their fort, and gifted them to each other. The anticipation grew as they picked up each cookie, gently pulled out the slips and read the kind words written about each of them.  Of course, their mile-wide smiles expressed what the kind words meant to them.

kindness-cookies-make-others-smile

There are so many people in our lives who do not know how much we value them.  We will one day speak of how wonderful they were at their funerals but why not take a few moments while it still matters, to share with them the jewel of a person they are? Make a batch of Kindness Cookies that they can enjoy and be encouraged by over the next several days or month.

However you choose to use the Kindness Cookies, we know that you will not only make someone else’s day a little brighter but you will delight God with your kindness.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
– Proverbs 12:25

Prayer over Your Heart

Part of the prayerencouraged in the script is to…

“pray that God would give you a kind heart like His.”

How beautiful is that?

Lord, we humbly come before you now.  We want to serve you with all our hearts and want to serve others too. Help us open our hearts to you and see the opportunities you put before us, so that we can cheer others up with our kind words and actions. May we lay down our hearts so that you can pluck out the selfish nature that lies within it and allow you to mold our hearts to express your attributes including the attribute of kindness.  In the One who displayed your kindness and love by stretching out his arms on the cross for us – Amen!

kindness-cookies-pinterest-2

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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Stopping to Smell the Roses

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Jessica D

Jessica D

Born and raised in sunny San Diego, where I reside with my amazing husband, two spunky kids and our two rambunctious dogs. I am a part time occupational therapist and a full time wife and mommy. I love anything and everything outdoors and love my coffee! I enjoy decorating my home through pinterest and am learning to sew.
Jessica D

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It was a work day for me, and of course, we were running late. My daughter Addison woke up grumpy and didn’t want to put her shoes on. Chase, my son, was wandering around the house, finding every little piece of anything that he could put into his mouth. I was trying to prepare lunches, pack papers for work, and load the diaper bag. I carried what seemed like a dozen different bags to the car, loaded up the kids, and ran back into the house for the third time to grab the correct pair of shoes for my daughter. Thinking back, I probably mistakenly grabbed matching shoes.  She is going through a phase where she likes to wear mismatched shoes.

I raced to my parents’ house to drop off the kids before going to work. First, I let my daughter out of the car. As she walked up the path to the door, I unloaded my son. As I carried the “dozen” bags inside the house, I noticed that Addison was lagging behind. I looked at her and asked her to come quickly inside the house because we were running late. She desperately wanted me to come over to her, but I didn’t have the time, so I hurried her inside the house and rushed off to work.

Later that day I began to reflect on my morning. I was not in a very good mood and I was rather snippy with my kids. Why? Well, of course it was because we were late. If you have never been to Southern California, you probably do not realize that everyone around here is in a hurry. And by hurry, I mean it can feel like a bumper car race or speedway to get anywhere during rush hour.

Again, I had to rethink what I was telling myself. Were we late, or was I late? My kids were not late; they rely completely on me because they are only one and three years old. I was running late. Not only had I not prepared the night before for work, packed lunches, etc., I woke up late.  I had created a difficult start to my morning routine.Stopping

Then, I remembered back to when I was at my parents’ house. It was early spring and a few flowers were beginning to bloom. Addison has a great love for God’s creation. She loves learning about all the different animals and especially enjoys smelling all kinds of flowers.  On this morning, there were some small purple (her favorite color) flowers that had bloomed. She was so excited to show me and have me smell them. Instead of enjoying the special fleeting moment with my sweet girl, I instead rushed her away because I was running late. I missed an opportunity to bond with my baby, an opportunity to let her enjoy God’s beauty and to teach her about changing seasons.

My new perspective is that I am in control of my own thinking.  I make the choice to “create a great day.” I have the ability to show my children patience, love, and joy in each day we are blessed with. Next time, I will choose to stop and smell the flowers with my daughter and take in each special moment with her.

How have your children reminded you of God’s beauty?

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