Hi dear ladies, congrats on making it to January. We can all take a deep breath and also take a minute to realize what we’ve accomplished. We’ve navigated another holiday season. Although it was done imperfectly, the fact remains that we served our families to the best of our abilities, did all the shopping, choosing, planning, decorating, cooking, wrapping, sizing, baking… and all the other things. God is gracious to give us such a reason to celebrate and the strength to make it special for our dear ones.
You can read our family Christmas Update 2021, here.
Just two things have been on my heart for the year ahead.
So much to share! I’m popping in with some various links, ideas, and news!
Rise and Worship Album
We’ve listened to this album countless times since Joshua brought it to our attention early this year. Refreshing, convicting, artfully done, worshipful, Christ-honoring. I want to fill our home with this kind of soul food.
An idea for children’s artwork
Children go through (sometimes lengthy) stages of wanting to create various types of art. What to do with all the masterpieces? You hate to throw them away, but can’t line all your walls with coloring pages held up by painter’s tape, either. (Side note: Painter’s tape does work well for temporarily hanging art work.)
I have ended up stashing the artwork papers in a “file” (using that term very loosely) and then going back to the collection on various occasions. Does someone need a letter sent to them in the mail? Or a birthday card? Do big brothers need a care package? We pull out the stash and look through. Such cries of delight as my young ones find treasures they had forgotten about. They select the perfect one, we write some words on it, and voila! Ready to go! Now to gather up the artwork spread out all over the floor…
History Recommendation In my February Patchwork Post, I recommended a history book. Unfortunately, I will have to retract that recommendation, since the denominational and doctrinal ideas ended up being just too distracting from the history we were setting out to learn.
Now THAT’S a fish! Sammy has been fishing as much as he possibly can, lately. Here’s a 4 pound bass he caught while out with his Uncle Tim. (Uncle Tims are just the best. Everybody needs one– and we are blessed with one on each side of the family!)
Q: I am taking a look and considering our schedules at home in light of promoting the gospel to our children. I was wondering what a typical day/schedule/routine looks like for you in summer and school year. 🙂 I know it sounds like a strange request, but I was curious seeing what you do…also especially curious on how you approach devotions with the kids.
A: Promoting the gospel to our children takes so many forms as it interweaves itself into our family life. All of Christ for all of life… a phrase that says so much (not original with me). But specifically for this post– family devotions! (I will try to answer the daily schedule question in another post… my answer to the devotions part is long enough for one post!)
Anything created by God will flourish best wherever it is placed by God. Remove that created thing from where God placed it, and it will die (at worst) or not reach it’s full potential (at best).
“…the wise tried to see where God placed individuals in the natural order of things, the assumption being that since God is good, the environments that He puts things in naturally help them to flourish.” – C.R. Wiley
As we seek to raise a child so that he will thrive, not just survive, in this harsh world, we should remember where God placed the child to start with. The child is placed within the mother’s body first, and then in her arms, and then by her side– and all within a home and in a family. This placement has everything to do with allowing the child to flourish.
The Household and the War for the Cosmos This is an excellent series with deep and relevant content. We have watched the short videos and are soon going to be reading the book. I wish every Christian parent today could hear, understand, and emulate these concepts. From the book description: Because people saw themselves as part of an ordered whole, they also believed that they had obligations to the people around them. They were not just autonomous individuals, but members of households with unique duties to past and future generations. Words like “piety” and “religion” did not refer to what you did in your quiet time, but were more like the seemingly obsolete values of “duty” and “honor.”
Ring-a-Majigs I found these little toys at a consignment shop while we were deep in the winter doldrums about a month ago. I was instantly taken back to my childhood! I had these toys as a child, in the same container. Anyone else remember these? Turns out they are as much fun today as they were back then.
K’nex Also during the winter doldrums, this classic toy provided hours (literally hour upon hour) of constructive entertainment. Toby and Sammy especially enjoyed making some very complicated creations, including some with moving parts connected to a little motor. We have some books of designs with detailed instructions which helped them with ideas and specifics. Did I mind having K’nex all over the living room floor, 24/7, for weeks on end….? Yes, but not really, if that makes sense.
Before this month completely gets away from us, here we are with the second edition of our product share feature!
We use this rice cooker all the time. We eat quite a bit of rice and it used to be that the rice would so easily burn when being cooked on the stove. Now it never burns, which is the best part of using a rice cooker. It also has some convenient settings such as a delay start option. I have made different types of rice in it, and all has turned out well. Read the instructions carefully, because the measurement for the rice is a little different than you might expect. The only thing I don’t like is that, when cooking the rice, it doesn’t tell you how much time is left until it gets down to 10 minutes, and then it gives you a countdown. It usually takes about 40 minutes to make a batch. It will keep the rice warm and ready to eat for hours, if you need to cook the rice ahead of time.
I absolutely love the milk frother whisk I got recently. I use it to blend anything in a cup, like hot chocolate or my daily greens powder. What’s amazing about this little tool is that it works wonders for mixing things that tend to be lumpy. I made homemade hot chocolate earlier, and getting the cocoa to incorporate is usually quite a challenge. I took this quick video to show you.
As a woman, there is an undeniable pull to my home, to my nest. This is what I call a “grounding force,” placed into the heart of a woman by Creator God. We must stay deeply rooted and grounded during such turbulent times.
We need to make a deliberate effort to step out of our paralysis of fear and all that we cannot control, and step into some positive action right here in our homes. Even a small amount of energy will begin to build upon itself, and you will find yourself looking around at things you can control, a place where you can make a difference and create a peaceful haven, a place where you can have real and lasting influence (the kind unknown to Twitter) in the lives of others, and thereby have real influence in the real world.
Question: Have you found it more enjoyable to be home with your children the more you have had and the older they have gotten, or did you really enjoy staying home and mothering right from the start with one baby? I love staying home and I love my baby, but sometimes I wake up in the morning and think, “what do I do all day long with a 1 year old!?”
Sometimes I prefer the days when I am also babysitting other people’s kids and there is more going on, or when we go help at someone else’s house, but I also want to take good care of and enjoy what God has given me. I want to make the most of my time but do not always feel very productive or fit to the task of staying home with my baby.
Maybe that’s more than one question!
My long and rambling answer: Thanks for the good question; it has been helpful for me to think through my answer over the past few days.
What I hear you saying is that you are somewhat underwhelmed with your job right now, you feel lonely some days and you sometimes feel inadequate for the task at hand. I hope I have understood the heart of your question correctly.
As I have thought this over, my answer has turned out to be longer than I thought it would. 🙂 I don’t ever mean to sound “preachy”; truly these are all lessons that God has taught me along the way, little by little. He is so gracious and He leads us along gently.
I wanted to create a “collage” post of ideas and thoughts about this quarantine period. So, a few weeks ago I asked– What has God been teaching you? What activities have you been doing with your family that are a little bit different from your normal routine? What recipes have you tried? Has something funny happened that you’d like to share? Has your family found a unique way to encourage others? Please send me anything you’d like to share, and I will put it all together into one post.
I have been so blessed and encouraged by the various contributions that were sent in. Keep it up ladies, building your homes during this time! It’s what we do best! God has uniquely gifted you to provide a haven and a place of comfort for your dear ones.
Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute to this post.
♥From Connie (my sister in law, mother of four boys, ages 11 and under):
Here are five classic toys that have been well loved and well played with at our house. Maybe this will give you some gift ideas for your younger kiddos, during this portion of the holiday season also known as mom-wracking-her-brain-for-gift-ideas.