Monday, July 28, 2014

Taking a VACA!

Hey Ladies!

I am taking a vacation from my blog this week. :-) I am super excited to get to spend some time with a good friend of mine. She only lives a few hours away and our kids get along great together. So I will be spending this week with her and will not be blogging. If you missed some blogs, feel free to go back and read them. You can either scroll down or look on the side bar for old blogs that I wrote over the last months and year.

Here are some others you might enjoy...

  1. 10 Kid Friendly Ideas for this Summer
  2. Breaking FREE of that Sin
  3. YUMMY Recipe -> Homemade Starbucks Mocha
  4. Lessons From the Beach
  5. Kissing 101
Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, July 25, 2014

Only I

During bed rest, I "attended" Courtney's Woman Living Well Conference on YouTube. I t was so inspirational and encouraging to me. Especially, being stuck in bed, it was GREAT to have the extra time to cuddle with "T" and watch all 7 of the sessions. In fact, if you have a laptop, I would encourage you to take it to the kitchen while your cooking or with you while you are cleaning and watch them. They really were just super-encouraging to me!

One of the sessions talked about what only I could do.  As an over-achiever (or should I just say I have Waldschmidt-Blood) :-) ...I tend to want to do everything and be apart of everything. Why? ...Cause, it's fun and because, if someone else isn't doing it, I guess I will. What I am learning is that my main ministry is my husband and children and they must be first. Yes, there needs to be a balance of reaching out to others but I must first do the ministries that only I can do.  If you don't teach that Bible study someone else can step up and do it.  When I stepped down as a office worker for our church, two other ladies stepped up.  Sometimes, it takes you walking away, to encourage someone else to step up to the plate.

*Side note, if you are not doing ANYTHING, well, then please ignore this post, because EVERY saved believer is part of the body and has a part in the ministry of God. So please go pray about what it is and begin today!

But, for those who do too much, back up. What is it that only YOU can do?  For me, only I can feed my family home-cooked meals at night, only I can give my babies the love, prayer and encouragement a mother can give.  Only, I can wake up in the middle of the night to soothe the tears. ONLY I can give wifely affection and love to my husband. Only I can cheer on my boy as he takes different steps in life. ...and if I don't, then, who will?  This is my job and when this is done, I can do the other stuff. 

What about you? What do you need to take out of your life? What can ONLY YOU do? - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bloggers on Marriage

I thought this was a shareable video clip from 5 very popular marriage bloggers.

It was interesting that most of ladies loved that they had a best friend and someone to share their life with.  If you are not married yet then I would really encourage you take that advice. The "sizzle" WILL go away, in time, in your marriage.  However, if you marry your best friend, you will always have that awesome friendship even through the rough times. For ladies that are married, make your husband your best friend.  Find or make common interests. Try to make your self a part of his life. This will really help out your marriage.

 My favorite Q&A was the last questions. What advice could you give wives out there:

1. Walk with God and incorporate what you learn with God to your marriage

2. To pray for your spouse

3. Find a HAPPILY married couple and learn from them. DON'T take all the advice of the world and especially those who aren't happy.

4. STOP over-thinking, instead enjoy your family and make memories

Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Children in Church


Thankfully, our church and many other churches have a ministry to moms, called the nursery. This is a GREAT resource, but not all churches can have them and there are times that you need to keep your child with you. I personally have been frustrated when my child has acted up in church. However, I like the outlook this author has. I hope this encourages someone today. Thanks to veritasvenator.com for writing this article. - Rejoicing

To You Who Bring Small Children to Church


There you are sitting in worship or Bible study. Your child, or toddler, is restless. Perhaps they’re even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the auditorium. All the while, you’re a little embarrassed. Maybe you’re a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s no point in coming to church. I get nothing out of it because I have to constantly care for my kid.”
I want you — you mothers and/or fathers — to know just how encouraging you are to so many. The little elderly woman who often feels alone beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before. She knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear that brings back precious memories. To see young parents and their small children brighten her day, and she may have just received bad news this week about her health, but seeing the vitality of young ones removes — if but for a moment — her fears.
The older man who always seems to be grouchy notices you too. He’s always talking about how children in this day have no respect or sense of good. But, he sees you — a young family — in church, and you don’t miss any gathering. Like clockwork, he can depend on the sight of you and your young family. You give him hope that maybe the church isn’t doomed after all, because there are still young parents who love God enough to bring their restless children to worship.
Then there’s everybody else. Some people will honestly become frustrated by noisy children in church. They have this warped idea that reverence includes absolute silence. It doesn’t. When parents brought their children to Jesus, the disciples rebuked them (Matt. 19.13-15), but Jesus rebuked His disciples. He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” The term translated “children” in Matthew and Mark is paidon. The root of the word “pedagogue” is from this word. It defined children of either an infant state, or more particularly, it was with reference to those who were half-grown and could be either males or females.
When Luke wrote his account of this narrative, he used the word brephos; which means “infants.” Luke wasn’t contradicting Matthew and Mark’s account, because Luke wrote that they brought the infants “also” (Luke 18.15-17). They would have squirmed, maybe even cried. This was likely why the disciples rebuked the parents; as well as that they might have thought that the children were too young to understand the blessing Christ pronounced over them.
Bring your children to church. If you don’t hear crying, the church is dying. As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement, and you’re starting off your children’s lives as you should.

Monday, July 21, 2014

THE PIT

The first Sunday after Baby "T" was born, I was on bed rest and so I wanted to watch some type of Sunday School lesson online. I found this devotional by Beth Moore and was encouraged by it.  I think many of us get into the pits and just sit there or even worse, start digging deeper.  God wants to pull us out and be our Deliverer.  While you are cooking or cleaning, or if you just have some extra time, watch this video. I pray it will encourage you to get out of the pit.  Jesus already paid the price. He broke the chains of sin.  Now, let the Holy Spirit clean house and get you out of that sin. - Rejoicing in the Present


Friday, July 18, 2014

Comfy's Peanut Fudge

For those of you who love fudge and especially peanut butter fudge, here is an EASY recipe from Janelle from Comfy in the Kitchen. It has only 3 ingredients. - Rejoicing in the Present


*Gluten FREE! Great to make with kiddos.
IMG_1241This is it! Just 3 ingredients…check that out.
Microwave frosting for approximately 45 seconds, then combine with other ingredients in a bowl.
Mix well, spread in an 8×8 pan, and refrigerate for 30 mins until set.
IMG_1248
Bada bing. DEEEEElish.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Nutella Fudge (SO Easy!)

WHAT YOU NEED...
1 Cup Nutella
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 16 oz Container Vanilla Frosting

WHAT YOU DO...
  1. Take the lid off of frosting and microwave for 45 seconds.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl-it will start to thicken.
  3. Spread into an 8×8 pan.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 mins until firm.
Signature

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rainy Days = Puddle Jumping

"Uggggg, its raining. There goes my hair." That was me a few years ago. Now, it starts raining and I'm like "WOOHOO"!!!  It will cool down the house AND we get to go puddle jumping! (or as my little son says "Pubbles")

It all started a few months back when we were stuck indoors because of the rain. I got this "brainy" idea to go out and splash in the water. Daddy thought we were a bit nuts but went along with it and Baby "A" thought he was in heaven.  It was so much fun. A little cold but perfect for all of us. We even found a stick where Bubby could whack the water and splash in it. Water play is one of his favorite things and the dirtier the better. So you may be looking for your rainbow after the storm, but we are looking for big dirty puddles.

A few tips that help with puddle jumping...

  1. Have a beach towel by the front door so that when you are done you can wrap your little guy up and transport him to the bathtub for a warm wash down.
  2. Swim Diapers: These are great!  "A" usually just wears the swim diaper so that he doesn't mess up his clothes and it lessens the cold because he doesn't have wet clothes sticking to him.
  3. Watch their temperature. We only stay out for 20-30 minutes depending on the temperature. I don't want him to get a cold from our fun
  4. HAVE FUN! The wetter, the dirtier you get, the better it is. I believe it will be a memory that your child retains. Enjoy them while you can. 
Rejoicing in the Present!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest Post: Daughters and Dating

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE from Jen @ thegospelcoalition.org. So many times we are reactive instead of proactive. I think EVERY parent with a girl MUST read this article - Rejoicing in the Present

I have two teen-aged daughters, so it was with some interest that I read a recent post entitled “Application to Date My Daughter”. It was pretty funny, playing on the idea of the stereotypical shotgun-toting father and the mortified daughter as they negotiate the tricky terrain of a first date.  Then Christian bloggers grabbed the concept, and for the most part, these versions were funny, too. There were some common themes: slouchy-panted unemployed suitors, dads breathing out Chuck Norris-inspired threats. I didn’t lose my well-developed sense of humor until I made the tactical error of glancing at some of the comments. And then I was just flat-out sad.

Here is the comment that made me the saddest, posted by a well-meaning young Christian father:

“Bro, this is awesome. My daughter’s only 2, but I am printing this for my fridge. Thanks for your godly example.”

Oh dear.

Okay, joke’s over. Bro. Let’s talk strategy for a second. Is that all you’ve got? You need a better plan than these low-level intimidation techniques. After all, she’s your DAUGHTER, for Pete’s sake. So let’s talk frankly about what you need to do to guard her interests when it comes to dating. Instead of brandishing a shotgun or breaking out an application, you need to build a wall.

That’s right, you heard me – build a wall. Go all “Rapunzel”. Build it so high that only the strongest of suitors can scale it. But don’t wait until your baby girl is a teenager, Bro  – start now. Start yesterday. There’s no time to waste.

build a wall

In Song of Solomon 8:8-9 we hear a family’s hope that their young sister will grow into a woman of strength and dignity. Can you guess what metaphor they use to describe that kind of woman? A wall. Their sister assures them in verse 10 that she is indeed a wall, complete with towers. Her statement indicates an assurance that she is not only strong, but able to defend herself against any unworthy suitors. That’s what you want, Bro – you want a wall.

Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention.  And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely. And that means building a wall.

Instead of intimidating all your daughter’s potential suitors, raise a daughter who intimidates them just fine on her own. Because, you know what’s intimidating? Strength and dignity. Deep faith. Self-assuredness. Wisdom. Kindness. Humility. Industriousness. Those are the bricks that build the wall that withstands the advances of old Slouchy-Pants, whether you ever show up with your Winchester locked and loaded or not. The unsuitable suitor finds nothing more terrifying than a woman who knows her worth to God and to her family.

too strong?

But here’s a hard reality: if you raise that daughter, she’ll likely intimidate her fair share of “nice Christian boys” as well. Because a decent number of those guys have some nutty ideas about what it means to be in charge. I’m amazed and saddened at how often I hear young single guys say of bright, gifted single women, “Wow, she’s so strong I don’t think I could lead her.” At which point, too many bright, gifted single women begin to consider ways to “tone themselves down” or “soften themselves a bit”.

Raise a strong daughter, even if – no, especially if it means potential suitors question whether they can “lead her”, whatever that means to them. You’ve just identified those suitors as ineligible, without so much as an application process. Leadership is not about the strong looking for weaker people to lead. It’s about the humble looking for those whose strengths offset their weaknesses and complement their strengths. Strong leaders surround themselves with strong people, not with weak ones. Rather than finding the strengths of others threatening, they celebrate them and leverage them. This is Management 101, but I fear young Christian men and well-intentioned Christian parents of daughters have gotten a little fuzzy on the concept.

put down your shotgun

I often think that if we scrutinized our parenting with the same intensity we plan to turn on our daughters’ prospective suitors, we’d stop speculating about shotguns and applications and start building that wall. So, my well-meaning father of a two-year-old, please don’t hit “print” on that application just yet. Instead of cross-examining the man your daughter brings home, cross-examine the man who brought your daughter home from the hospital. She does not need the belated braggadocio of your intentions to protect her from slouchy-pants fools when she’s a teen. She needs you to hitch up your own and invest in her character - now.

So put down your shotgun. Pick up your Indian Princess guide book, or your coach’s clipboard. Take a seat at a tea party. Teach how to change a flat and start the mower. Discuss politics and economics and theology. Compliment a new outfit or an A in math. Tell her you think she is absolutely beautiful. Kneel at a pink chenille bedside and pray your guts out. Raise a daughter with a fully loaded heart and mind so that a fully loaded shotgun isn’t necessary. She shouldn’t need you to scare off weak suitors. Let her strength and dignity do the job.  Resolve to settle for nothing less than the best protection for your daughter. Resolve to be the kind of man you want her to bring home. Resolve to build a wall.



“What shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver…” Song of Solomon 8:8-9

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Praying for Oak Ridge Baptist

As you might have seen lately, I have shared different blog posts on Facebook regarding Jeremy and my former pastor in TN. He was only our pastor for one year, but during that one year he made a big impact. I had just graduated from college and Jer was finishing his. I had visited Oak Ridge Baptist Church quite a few times over the years so it wasn't hard to figure out that that is where we wanted to attend the last year we were in TN.

My sister and her family have attended there for about 10 years and my parents for about 5. During that one year, they encouraged our excitement in the ministry and gave us many different opportunities to serve. They also personally came along side us and gave us wisdom and counsel for our future ministry. 

The thing that jumps out to you most about that pastor and staff is that they care! Whether it be through hospital visits or personal discipleship the pastoral team and their families invest in your life.They are super down-to-earth people who take a real interest in your life.  I remember the night that Pastor and his family took us out to eat, just to get to know us. Another time before I left to get married and start out my life as a pastor's wife, Pastor's Tom's wife, Kim, took me out and we talked about the duties, pressures and so on of a pastor's wife. She answered my questions and gave me some great advice! These are some really sweet people. 

Recently this pastor received the news that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. This was his powerful response: orbc4u.org. This is the response of some of his people: Cancer Has Spread Through the Whole Church and I Ride For Tom. Take the time to read these powerful posts.

As you can see, the church got shell-shocked but it's amazing to see how they have responded to him. They are praying for him, loving him and coming around to take care of him, after all the years he has taken care of everyone else. 

All that brings me to today. My husband and I had the awesome opportunity to fellowship with these believers. T was a bit fussy and I was in the cry room. The service was at the end and I was in the foyer talking to a former friend from that area. I noticed Kim (the Pastor's wife) but didn't want to bother her as she was talking to some friends that had come out of town to love on them. She was leaving when she noticed me. With her usual sweet smile she gave me a hug and asked how I was doing. We only had about  a minute as her family was leaving, but she took the time to ask how I was doing. We didn't even get to talk about her. I didn't even really get to tell her that I was praying for her  and that we loved her. No, she was concerned about how I was doing with my new baby. What a heart for the ministry, what a love for people! What a testimony!

You know God gives us two commandments in the New Testament: love God and love people. It's so encouraging to see this pastor, his wife and their church following that command. Tom and Kim are sweet Christ followers and they are such givers. They care for a lot for people and have impacted even more. Would you pray for them? They are and will be going through some major trials. 

Also please pray for this church in their journey, as well. May they grow in Christ, in love, in ministry. May God get the glory. Amen - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, July 14, 2014

Living Like There is NO Hell



You worked so hard your whole life. You put lots of energy, money, time and faith into your life goals. You helped people, you gave and gave and gave again. 
You sweated, 
you wept, 
you fought, 
you bore life pains 
...because you wanted to succeed. 
Then it was over. 
The verdict. -> It was a waste. All you did was for naught. 

"What?," you say. I worked so hard. I gave so much. I tried so hard. I thought this was the way. I didn't know any different. (or maybe you did and didn't care) 

Could you IMAGINE if this happened to you? 

FRIENDS!!!!! Please! I write this to you because WHAT WE DO WITH OUR LIFE DOES MATTER. 

There is a GOD! 
There is a heaven! -> PRAISE THE LORD
There is a hell!
There is HOPE! ...and His name is Jesus.

Do you know Jesus? Do you know that He is our ticket, our salvation, the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE? Do you realize that you are hell bound without Him? 

If you want to know more about HIM, please click on the red links.  If you already know Him, do your friends? 

If there was a hurricane coming through our town, we would be warning each other and helping each other get out of the way of danger. If there was a fire in a building, we would be the first to pull the fire alarm and we would do EVERYTHING possible to help people out of the way of danger. 
So why are we ignoring the biggest danger yet. We live like there is no hell. Our friends know we go to church but do they know what that entails. 
Beth Moore described the Revelations 20:11-15 in one of the saddest yet eye-opening ways yet. 
Revelations 20:11-15 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire
She said that when those who don't follow Christ get to Heaven they will realize three powerful things. They will realize that HE IS LORD! They will then realize that THEY ARE LOST and then they will realize that IT's TOO LATE! 

Friends, they will realize that their life is a waste. HOW SAD! Life is a vapor. You are not promised tomorrow. God does not owe you another day. 
Ps. 39:4-7 says"  Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah... my hope is in thee.

MY HOPE ->Rejoice!!!! We have a chance to escape Hell, which was created for only the devil and his angels. Rejoice, we can spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven. Rejoice and live like there is a HELL. Stop your friends from going there. Tell them. Live like there is a Jesus.

Live like your life and your friends life counts on it! DON'T waste your life! Good works won't get you to heaven BUT they could save someone's life. Someone may come to Jesus through your light. Live like there is a HELL - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dresser Makeover

When I was in 18 I refinished my first piece of furniture. It was an older dresser. I sanded it down and stained it. Later on, I refinished our dinning room table and do lots of other Do-Over Jobs.  However I don't have any pictures. When I saw this blog post, I had to share because it is really so easy Before you throw out that old piece of furniture, give it a second look. Maybe a coat of paint and a few new handles would be just what it needs. This is from livelovediy. - Rejoicing in the Present


This dresser ended up being one of my easiest makeovers ever because I've learned a few new tricks since my last makeover.
Here's what the dresser looks like today, after just a little bit of work.

But let's back up just a little bit.
To where it all began.
Remember this summer when I carted home a trailer full of old furniture?


Well, I painted the tall dresser right away and it ended up here. Then, I kinda forgot about the other one, and didn't even remember it existed until I caught Jesse sawing pieces of wood on top of it in the spider garage. Remember this?
So, this past weekend I finally had Jesse haul it upstairs so that I could paint it. This thing was coated in years of dust and grime and spiders, so it took me a good twenty minutes just to give it a sponge bath. So, this is what it looked like after I cleaned it...still not good.

Somehow one of the handles disappeared in the frenzy. It's still a mystery.
After it was clean, I removed the drawers from the frame and removed all of the hardware off the fronts of the drawers.Then, I used 3M Wood Filler to fill all of the holes and scratches so that the paint would apply evenly.I use the white paintable kind, which worked great with my light colored paint.
I applied the wood filler wherever there were holes and scratches.
After the wood filler was dry, I used some fine grit sand paper from 3M Advanced Abrasives to sand away the excess and make it even with the surface of the wood. This makes it look as good as new once it's painted.

Once I finished sanding down the wood filler, I lightly scuffed up the entire surface area with some super fine grit sandpaper and then wiped down all the surfaces again, making sure they were free from dust.
And when I say 'lightly scuff', I mean I spend less than two minutes on it.

Next, I primed the dresser. Primer makes the paint adhere without having to sand down the wood like a crazy person. Look for a primer that says 'adhesion' on it, like the one I used here.

For both primer and paint, I used an angled paintbrush and a mini foam roller, brushing the paint on with the paintbrush and smoothing it out with the roller if needed.

I applied just one coat of primer. You can apply more if the stain of your wood is bleeding through, but I rarely need to.

Once the primer was dry, it was time to paint. I've tried all sorts of paints, and painted over 10 pieces of furniture, but this time I decided to try something new.


I used a waterbased acrylic alkyd enamel (called the Pro Classic if you get it from Sherwin Williams). It's water based so it cleans up easily with water, but the enamel formula gives it a harder finish like an oil based paint. It applies so smoothly that I didn't need to use my beloved Floetrol, and barely even needed my foam roller. Plus, I used a semi-gloss finish and didn't even have to use a pesky topcoat because it dried so hard and durable. Seriously, it was crazy how great this paint was.

And it was so thick that I barely even needed a second coat.

The paint color I chose was Sedate Gray. It has green undertones, and can sometimes even look blue in the right light.

And the gray pairs so well with my gold and silver accents, like that mirror that I got at my last thrift store shopping trip (details about that adventure here).
I'm pretty sure that picture of me and Jesse is sideways, but whatev, A for effort.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to use this dresser for yet. I might use it as a buffet in our dining room (if it fits after we get a table and chairs back in there...one day). Or I might use it underneath our TV in the living room.
I'm so sick of youknowwho.
For now, it's just in the empty dining room, all dressed up with nowhere to go.
We've all been there, girl.

And since I lost that piece of hardware somewhere deep in the pits of the spider garage, I replaced ALL of the hardware with some fabulous antique restoration hardware from my favorite place. I used a little gold lion pull on the center drawer...

and some sassy Victorian bail pulls on the rest of the drawers

And it all just came together!

FOR PICTURES OF HER PROJECT GO TO livelovediy

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Marriage Life Ministries: Do We Talk Nicer to Strangers?

I definitely find myself struggling with this. It's easier to "relax" at home but as this author said "We need to give our families our best. Not our leftovers." Thanks to Alecia from  marriagelifeministries - Rejoicing in the Present

I was talking sweetly to a neighbor child the other day and my husband said “Why are you talking like that?” I said, “This is how I talk” and he said, “Uh…no its not.” It’s not that I don’t talk nice and sweet to my family but obviously my tone was so different with this child then it have previously been with my husband that he noticed the difference.
The truth is, I really don’t talk like that all the time at home. I definitely have a “mom” voice and “teacher” voice. They can be very different. And my lovely hubby called me out. But he was right.

We’ve noticed this with our daughter too who has sensory integration difficulties. We’ve been told by multiple therapists that its perfectly normal for a child to act more reserved in a social setting like school and then when at home sort of let loose and every thing that bothers them will be met with typical trigger reactions – screaming, twitching, grunting, etc. They would never do this at school for any number of reasons – embarrassment, social structure, etc. But what it comes down to is that home is where we can let all our warts show. Because we are comfortable there. Sometimes too comfortable.

Why is that? Why do we feel comfortable to talk to our family (or not talk to them) in ways that we would never talk to our co-workers, neighbors and community workers? Why do we allow ourselves to treat our families any less than we would treat anyone else?

I think the reason behind that is two fold.

One, we have the tendency to take our family for granted. We don’t extend as much grace to them as others. We don’t offer as much patience. We aren’t nearly as tolerant of our family’s weaknesses and failures as we are of other people’s.

Two, we live day in and day out with our spouse and family. We’re bound to get on each other’s nerves. When we have an annoying customer come in every once in a while to our workplace we handle them with care and treat them with the “the customer is always right” mentality, right? I’m willing to bet that if we had that customer come in on a daily basis and berate us or hound us or annoy us we would eventually not treat them as nice as the customers who only stop in occasionally.

The old saying is true: familiarity breeds contempt. We can easily allow ourselves to drift from positive and optimistic to complacent to completely negative and spiteful.

We need to give our families our best. Not our leftovers.

We need to be conscious of the way we speak with them and how we treat them.

Do we cut them off? Do we dismiss their ideas? Are we short with them? Do we ignore them? Do we put other things and people before them?

Or…
Do we make room for mistakes? Do we give multiple chances and offer up forgiveness willingly? 

Do we give kisses and smiles instead of glares and frowns? Do we support them in all their endeavors?

I have to say, I appreciate family and marriage for its ability to allow a relationship to grow to the point where you can just be YOU. You can be real. You can feel free to show all your warts. There is definitely something to be said for that. That place where you are comfortable enough to be crabby when you’re crabby and sad when you’re down and distant when you need space.
BUT…those are the little valleys that come along in the ebb and flow that comes with relationships. When we stay in those places, when ALL we show is our warts, it can really make our relationships ugly.

So make room for grace. Give more flexibility. Show more patience then you think is possible. Wake up each morning willing to give your best to your spouse and your family.
Your marriage needs it. Your family deserves it.

- See more at marriagelifeministries

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10 Kid-Friendly Summer Ideas

It's the summer! Wooooohoooo! It's time to put away those electronics and go explore the outdoors. Go make some memories!  I had the best childhood with lots of fun and creativity. You can give that to your kids as well. Here are 10 ideas for this summer for your little tykes. Thanks to apartmenttherapy - Rejoicing in the Present
Sandbox: Even if you can't get to the beach this summer, you can still have the sun and the sand. Buy one or build one to your specifications. Show here is a terrific shaded sandbox. Angela calls this her son's backyard beach. See how she made it at Better Together.
Swing: If a big playset isn't realistic for your yard, how about just a swing? It's always been my favorite part anyway. There are dozens of ways to diy a swing including this version made from an old skateboard. Get the tutorial at Little Bit Funky.
Play Kitchen: If you have a roofed outdoor area like a large porch, consider moving your play kitchen outside for the summer. Or, create a simple outdoor kitchen that they can get really messy in. There's no need for play food as nature is their kitchen. Shown above is one by Garden Mama. We also rounded up 10 more here.
Water Table: These are favorites with toddlers and preschoolers and can even work in tiny outdoor spaces. It can be as simple as filling a large plastic container and brining it outside or you can go another step and buy or build something more permanent (like this terrific one at The Inspiration Thief).
Zip Line: You need the space and an incline for a Zip Line, but it's one of those enviable features that will keep the neighborhood kids knocking at your door. See how this family at Green Change made theirs.
Outdoor movies: Taking the whole family to the movies is expensive and there are usually only a few kids' movies out every summer. Set up your own outdoor screen and pop your own popcorn. Here are 7 tips for setting up your backyard movie theater.
Sprinkler: Kids graduate from the baby pool pretty quickly and the next logical step is a sprinkler. Buy a traditional one or get creative and make something like this "kid wash".
Playhouse or Fort: This is the most ambitious project on the list but everyone I know who has built one has told me their kids played in it every day of the summer for years. If a roofed house is too much to bite off, how about a fort made from fencing posts? Find the tutorial at This Old House.
Lawn games: Lawn games are a great way to get the whole family playing together and even the whole neighborhood. Growing up, we had croquet and badminton. Others to consider are bocce, horseshoes, and lawn darts. These are great things to pick up at yard sales if you don't want to buy them new.
Hammock: Summer isn't just about playing - it's also about rest. A hammock in a shady spot will be the new family hangout for reading, napping and literally hanging out.
Originally posted May 28, 2012
(Images: 1. Better Together 2. Little Bit Funky 3. The Inspiration Thief 4. Garden Mama 5. Green Change 6. Flickr user plural licensed for use under Creative Commons 7. J. Good Photography via Instructables 8. Wendell T. Webber for This Old House 9.Shutterstock 10. Flickr user popofatticus licensed for use under Creative Commons)