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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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All around the town…

Hello, Friends!

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.  

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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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How to Make Chore Passports for Kids

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!

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Prepare to be Spontaneous! (How to Go Park Hopping)

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.

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How to Throw Down a Toy Challenge

I have a love/hate relationship with toys.  You know the feeling.  Of course we want our kids to have toys, but they can clutter our spirits just as much our family rooms.  Every once in a while it hits us: some of these toys have got to go!  But how should we decide which toys to keep and which to give away?

It can be so hard to let go of toys!  Over there’s a perfectly good toy they never even played with.  Here’s a toy they haven’t touched in months, but claim to absolutely love.  And here’s a toy you love and wish they were still playing with (they’re growing up too quickly!).

We all struggle with this! When you’re on the fence about getting rid of a toy, or when your kids are giving you the I’m bored-and-I-have-nothing-to-play-with moan,

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More Jesus at Christmas!

Christmastime can give any mom spiritual clutter. 

All of the extra holiday to-dos and events—and the feeling of panic that hits us when we realize it’s already December [fill in the date]—can push the Christmas joy right out of our hearts.  We hate to admit it, but even wonderful Christian moms like us need to be intentional about keeping our hearts centered on Christ at Christmas!

So this December, clear out some of that spiritual clutter.  Plan and prepare ahead as much as possible.  Skip “traditions” you don’t even like.  Simplify where you can and just do less…but, I also want to challenge you to do more in order to keep the joy of our Savior front and center in your heart.

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3 Ways to Journal Joyfully

Today’s moms are taking tons of pictures with their phones and digital cameras, which is fantastic—as long as we remember what our pictures are about.  Years from now, we don’t want to look at our pictures and think, Where were we? or worse, How old were the kids in this picture? or worst of all, Is that my oldest or my youngest?

And then there are the intangible things we want to remember but can’t really photograph…like the way my oldest used to say “strawbabies” instead of “strawberries,” or how my preschool-aged daughter’s favorite color was brown(!), or how thankful I am for my youngest’s joyful disposition.  We think we’ll always remember those kinds of things—but what if we don’t?

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