This summer, my teen son wanted to pursue a goal. He made a great plan and decided to work on it for 15 minutes each day.
I wanted to encourage him, so I offered to help him set up some reminders. “Do you want me to print out a calendar so you can mark off each day?” I asked hopefully. “Or would you like me to buy you a little planner so you can keep track of what you’ve done? Do you want to start the process today?”
Every summer for the last several years, I’ve organized a “summer initiative” for my kids. My kids look forward to these ideas every year (mostly because they involve fun treats). This year, I want to share my idea with you.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
So, we cleared up in Part One that Martha absolutely should have put down her cleaning supplies and sat at the feet of Jesus with Mary. Mary chose the best thing, and we want to, as well—so we intentionally choose to enjoy quiet time with God every day.
But we know that even if Martha had been able to forget her chores and choose to be with Him, the chores would still be waiting. I have to wonder what would’ve happened if Martha had been able to do some of her chores and lean on the Lord at the same time.
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).
…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.”
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!
I have a huge praise to share with you—after almost five years of going it alone on the ministry front, God brought me an amazing new friend named Amy who’s almost as invested in this ministry as I am! (In fact, for all I know, it’s a tie.) I’ve enjoyed getting to know her at church, but it wasn’t until I received a nudge from a mutual friend that I reached out to see if she’d be willing to help me get the word out about Building Your House. She has been nothing short of a tremendous blessing to me since that moment.
You can read Amy’s side of this story on her wonderful blog. It’s really amazing what God has done for both of us. Plus, she wrote that I’m quiet and meek and that I seep, all things that crack me up. Now don’t you want to read it? (While you’re there, take a look around—I love all of her stories and I bet you will, too!)
Amy’s hard work has brought me several opportunities to share on the blogs of fellow sisters in Christ.
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.
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.
Every mom’s spirit gets cluttered with chores sometimes.
We love taking care of our families, but we can hit our limit. We face yet another lunch to pack, or bed to make, or pet to feed, and something inside us rebels—can’t someone else do this, just this once? After all, part of our mommy job is to teach our kids to take care of themselves and their belongings, right? Absolutely. And as Christian Moms, we want to challenge our kids to help us out before our spirits get cluttered and overwhelmed!
One summer, I challenged my “big” kids (then 5 and 9 years old) to learn some new life skills by presenting them with Chore Passports. I explained the process to the kids and they were raring to go. Suddenly, they were excited it was Laundry Day—they couldn’t wait to put away their clothes and fold the towels!
Can you prepare to be spontaneous? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Absolutely not! We moms can engineer a little fun on purpose. When we do the planning ahead of time, the activity can be even more relaxed, and exciting! (And when I have a free printable chart for you, that makes it even easier!)
We live about half a block from a little neighborhood park. It’s a fine park and we go there all the time. But it’s hot- no shade at all. And, we’ve done everything there is to do there—lots of times. Last summer, when my kids asked to go to the park, I found myself starting to resist.
So I went to our local parks and rec website to look for a new park to try—and it turned out there were a ton! I wasn’t sure which to try first, or how to remember our favorites…and so, Park Hopping was born.