Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dad's Tools : Intentional Parenting

This has been the year of intentional parenting. Time in the car, bath time, walking to the playground is all precious time that I can either waist away or be intentional with by talking to Jacob about what really matters in life - Jesus.

We are 5 days away from thanksgiving and as I think about what I am thankful for this year I can't help but think about all of the mentors, scholars, authors, bloggers, friends and family members who have helped me to be a better mom, wife and Christian leader.

I want to be an intentional parent who spends my time wisely...but to be honest, sometimes I really struggle with this. I am so thankful for the people who give their time and energy providing resources to struggling parents like my husband and I!

MOPS has been such a blessing to myself. I am surrounded by mentor moms and other moms who are full of advice, support and prayer. My husband, on the other hand, is alone in his parenting. He does not have a support group for dads. He doesn't have anyone handing him tools for how to talk to his kids about Jesus.

My husband could, and has, sat down in front of groups of men and shared the gospel; however, sit in him in front of a toddler with no attention span and its a completely different ballgame.

What my husbands needs is a tool, a guide, for how to engage his kids in intentional activities that will build their relationships with both their earthly and heavenly father.

When I learned about this new tool by Nobel Warriors called Dad's Tools for Spiritual Leadership Let's Build A Manger! I of course had to get my hands on it!

This is the perfect activity and spiritual tool for dads to do with their children. Not only does it provide you with the tools and materials to build an actual wooden manger with your kids but it also provides them with 6 devotionals and lessons on how to talk about the birth of Jesus with your children.

I highly recommend purchasing this build a manger kit at the beginning of the advent season and using the tools through out December to teach your kids about Jesus. This is something that our husbands can own. This can be their special project to do with the kids. Its written to dads, and for dads.

My husband loved doing this project with Jacob and the activities from the six tools to build your family have made lasting imprints on both of them.  The 6 lessons provided in the devotional book not only encourage dads to be intentional with their time but it gives them the tools they need to be intentional.

When my husband and Jacob got back from a long walk to the play ground and Jacob looked at me and said "I'm tired, we walked a long ways mom. Mary and Joseph walked a long ways too!" I knew that walk to the play ground had been intentional.

My husband felt good because he knew that time he spent with Jacob was time well spent and Jacob has continued to mention that walk and his time spent building the manger with me.

The manger that they built together is something that we will have forever. They built it together and they learned so much along the way. This one activity is providing my husband with all of the resources he needs to make this year the year when Jacob connects with him and with God.

Today at church I watched children a few years older than Jacob being baptized. These 5 and 6 year olds were on their own professing their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and wanted the whole world to know about it!

Tears streamed down my face thinking about Jacob, one day deciding on his own to be baptized, and watching my husband baptize him.

This is what matters. Not the grades on the report card, the team he makes, or the number of friends he/she has.

At the end of the day all I really want for my children is for them to know and love Jesus. If I spend my time and money on anything I want it to be on encouraging my children to know Jesus better.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy ,and where thieves do not break in and steal.. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:19.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the tools and relathipships God has given to me to help me to be a better parent.

This Christmas, I am hoping to plant the seed of Jesus in Jacobs heart so that it will grow and grow and grow until the one day when Jacob accepts Jesus Christ as his savior and that seed will burst for the whole world to see.

**If you are looking for a tool for spiritual development that is perfect for the Christmas season please visit and order your Let's Build A Manger! Set today!**

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to Embrace Life: Too Much To Do in Too Little Time

Its naptime! What should I do first? Stare at the frig and decide what to eat? Pee? Make coffee? Make the bed? Return phone calls? Quiet time with God? Check Instagram? Work, work and more work? Clean the kitchen? Meal plan? Read? So many choices, so many things to do.  I decide on making the bed, responding to texts, brushing my teeth and then getting my workout over with.

"Embrace this moment right now, focus on the breath and enjoy where you are at in this pose". This is what I hear from my TV.  All I can think about is hearing the "Mommy I am AWAKE" coming from the monitor and I have only gotten 5% of my to do list done. If I had no kids and was doing yoga by the ocean like the lady on TV it would be one thing...but I am not. I have people counting on me to give them their basic needs. Embracing the moment is really hard for me right now. There is always so much to do, to think about and plan for.  Someone always needs me.

I don't want to hang out in this yoga pose for 10 minutes. It is slightly uncomfortable, my feet are slipping from sweat and I don't see my abs getting any tighter. My toddler could be awake any moment now and is holding warrior pose for 10 minutes really how I want to spend the last few precious minutes of nap time?

I use to LOVE yoga. I did it all the time for fun. Now, its something I check off my list. What has changed?

Then it occurred to me. Have I once ever regretted practicing yoga? Have I ever regretted spending my morning quiet time with God? Have I ever regretted staying up late to talk to a friend, a parent or my husband? The answer is no.

The hardest part about living in the moment and embracing the here and now is making the choice to do so and letting everything else slip away. 

We will always have things to do, lots of things. That will never change. Some seasons of our lives will be more hectic than others but there will always be something to do. I once heard someone say that it is better to do one job well than many jobs mediocre. One job? Who has one job? Most women feel like they have 10 jobs. 

We have to eat, we have to sleep, we have to have relationships, we have to have community, we have to love, care, teach and discipline our kids, we serve others, we have to make money and provide for our families and we have to put our marriages before all.

What if we really did only have one job? What if our one job as a woman was to seek and follow Jesus, and everything else was secondary? How would this change how we live and overcome the business syndrome. 

When I became a mom I dropped everything and my child became my life.  My sons needs were all that matted. Now, I see things a little differently. If we put our child before our spouse we are not helping our child. If we put our work before our relationship with God we are doomed for failure. If we put a clean house before play time with the kids we are going to miss a lot of memories and opportunities to teach our children. The to do list will always be there. We have to prioritize and do what God wants us to do with the time that we have.

When we do what God wants us to do its so much easier to embrace it. In order to embrace each task we face with a God given purpose we need to check our attitude. Check our soul. Check our minds and clear out any bitterness, hate or stress. Sometimes it is the littlest changes that help us live in the here and now and embrace a God centered life.

I have learned to give my self structure even during playtime with my child. I may give my son my full attention for 45 minutes and then step away for 15 minutes to respond to an email/text, unload the dishwasher or return a phone call. I have learned to look at my child in the eyes and say "mommy needs to talk to a friend right now" because friendship is important and I want my son to know that.

I have learned to stop what I am doing and talk, really talk with my spouse and put his needs before my own. I have learned to pray before speaking and I have learned to invite God into every outing, coffee date, play date and family dinner that I am present for.

Choosing to embrace what ever experience you are in is a whole new way of living.

If we live each day with the anticipation that God can use us in any and all situations then cooking dinner, exercising, calling a friend and working can take on a whole new meaning. You never know what God has up his sleeve. Each day the possibilities are endless.

I don't want to miss anything during my life here on earth, but that doesn't mean that I have to do more, or multitask better, it means I need to give each task, moment, and experience my full focus and attention. I have to block out the outside chatter from the world.  I need to invite God to speak into my heart and fill my body and soul with wisdom and truth. Who can I bless today? How can God use me? Who can I serve? What does God want to tell me today? What can I do today to love and teach my children about God, teach a stranger about God?

Is this hard for you?

If so think about this....
How is my attitude? Am I feeling angry, bitter, frustrated or jealous? These types of emotions can take over our minds and prevent us from living in the moment and allowing God to speak truth into our mind. Don't push these emotions to the through them now. Having a bad attitude can prevent us from hearing God. If we don't expect to hear from God, if we don't expect to be used by God, if we don't feel we are worthy of being loved then we are forming a wall around us that shuts out light and embraces nothing but darkness.

Invite God's light into each moment. Each phone call, each email, each diaper change, each toddler melt down, and slam of the door, each misunderstanding, each load of laundry, each time walking the dog.

We don't need to do more, we just need to do what we are doing better. Better marriages, friendships, more fulfilling jobs, healthier children, healthier bodies and healthier minds. God is the answer. Invite Him in and Embrace...

"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" Psalm 46:10

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Life & Love: A Prayer for the Sunny Days and Rainy Days

Life can give you giggles that fill your soul with joy and life can be confusing and sometimes difficult to swallow. The only rock to keep you steady through life's uncertain paths is the one who knows you best and created you out of love. If your day is sunny and full of belly aching laughter this prayer is for you. If your heart is aching and you have no more tears to shed...this prayer is for you...

 The only safety net we really have is God's unfailing love.
We have no control over this crazy world or the people we encounter each day.
We do, however, have control over our thoughts, our prayers, and our love.
Do you choose to love? Every Day? To those you like and dislike?
People can be taken away from us faster than a second. 
People can change their entire lives in the matter of one decision.
But God is bigger than bad decisions and catastrophes.
God can turn mistakes in to miracles and destruction into paradise.

Every Day is a day to give thanks, a day to praise the Lord.
Where disaster strikes and hunger growls we still praise your name.
When peace overflows and love grows deep we still praise your name.
Even though we don't always know why, where, when or how
 we know you are there, with your hand and your staff giving us all we need.
Words can heal and words can steal but only You can permanently save.

Slow me down and help me notice Your goodness & overflowing grace.
Fill me up and pour me out as a blessing to those big and small.
May not a second go by that I myself cause anyone to do harm.
Keep me from evil and show me the path that You have paved directly for me.
May I be a haven and source of joy to those You have entrusted to me today.
May I notice Your love and joy where I am sitting right this minute.
I give my heart, my life, my mind to You today and everyday.
I may be a wife, a daughter, and mom, a sister and a friend,
but first I am a child of God who has a purpose and a plan.


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