Category Archives: Take the Challenge

Do You Really Know Your Love Language?

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Again.

I adore this book and think it’s applicable to all kinds of relationships, from marriage to friendships to family relationships. So, to help celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to read it again—this time thinking about my kids as well as my husband.

If you haven’t read it, the gist is that we all appreciate certain kinds of love more than others. Many, many of you will have read this or at least will have heard of it. You probably think you know your love language and that of your spouse (and possibly kids).

You might be wrong.

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How to Avoid Pinterest Panic

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done,

and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

— Galatians 6:4

 

I may have mentioned that I really love Pinterest.

I love recreating Pinterest activities with all three of my kids (even my very patient teenage boy—and my very, very patient husband!).  There are so many great faith-related pins… and hosting fun theme birthday parties is totally in my wheelhouse. All those ideas are just waiting to be discovered, and organized!

But Pinterest is getting a bad rap.

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Making the Most of Snowdays

…or fog days, or cold days, or ice days, or even sick days!

 

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

-James 4:14-15

 

In Building Your House, I talk a lot about organizing your home for your routines—about making those frequent daily or weekly happenings that much smoother by putting what you need right where you’ll need it.

A little preparation can clear out a lot of spiritual clutter!

This maxim also applies to less frequent happenings. We seldom think to plan for them, but there will be days when school will be canceled unexpectedly. Here in Ohio, it could be because of any kind of inclement weather. Even homeschooling is canceled when the students are home sick!

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How to Create an Atmosphere of “Yes”

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

I’m a positive gal in general, and I’d like to think that I face life with a great big “Yes!”

But I’m also a planner, and when something outside of my plan presents itself, my knee-jerk reaction is, “No.”

Just ask my poor kids. This is the worst time of year to ask me for anything—my mind is so full of things to arrange that it’s like a constantly shifting puzzle without room for one more piece.

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Escaping into True Reality

 

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

-John 4:23

 

What’s your favorite way to relax and escape? You probably watch a few favorite TV shows. Maybe you love surfing the web, or playing game aps on your phone. Perhaps you do all three at the same time!

We have loads of ways to occupy our thoughts—plenty of false realities to choose from.

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For the Joy

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

In January we tend to set goals, which I love. I already wrote about the best resolution, but another fantastic goal is to serve God with our time and talents. That’s a no-brainer, right?

It is unless we mess it up.

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The Best Resolution

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

-Luke 6:38

 

Have you ever dropped the ball on a friendship? A friend asks to spend time with you, but you forget to return their email. Their texts go unanswered. Soon they stop reaching out to you, and then it feels almost embarrassing to reach out to them…

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Why “It’s Good for You” Isn’t Enough for Me

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,

but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Ephesians 6:6

 

Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”

He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”

My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)

In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.)  I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)

But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?

 

Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.

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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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I hate running (my apologies to the Apostle Paul)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24

 

I can’t tell you much I hate running. Hence the reason this has never been my favorite Christian metaphor.

Back when I was Shannon Kelley the College Student, I had to take a gym class in order to get my math education degree. (Even after all these years, my heart cries, why?) I soon discovered that it was basically a running class led by a Drill Sergeant-type professor. During “class,” he ran and talked with the cool athletes up at the front of the pack, occasionally shouting mean things toward those of us at the back. I loathed every minute.

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