Tag Archive | mother

Camp

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Working at Mt Hermon, I can feel the energy rise as summer camp begins. An additional couple hundred of summer staff have joined us for three months. Also, we will host thoudands of guests from near and far seeking R&R with their families.

We love camp! Over the years, we have attended many and I’d like to share some memories with you.

One memorable time was when we served at Camp Attitude. We helped families with special need children by washing dishes, cleaning cabins and taking out trash. Who knew it could be so fun?

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We’ve attended family camp as guests enjoying all the exciting activities too.

Then, there are Mother-Daughter and Father-Son camps spending quality time one on one with our kids.

Of course there are youth camps Austin and Alicia have a blast at with old and new friends.

In addition, it is a treat to have fun with girlfriends at a women’s conference.

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Randy has attended men’s conferences and Man Camp which boast of guy fun.

I went to one reflective retreat; a solemn time indeed.

So, that’s just a snapshot of some fun camp memories which I hope our children continue the tradition with their future families.

As I write this, it occurs to me that Randy and I should attend a couples retreat now that the kids are older.

What camp memories do have to share? I would love to hear them?

Blessings, Rebecca

Guest Blog by Carol Nicolet Loewen

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This week, my guest blogger is Carol Nicolet Loewen. She and I were contributors to our church women’s blog. Carol is a strong woman who has persevered through the loss of her first husband. You can find her inspiring stories at carolshope. Please welcome Carol!

Blessings, Rebecca

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MOTHERING … BY BIRTH OR OTHERWISE

As we celebrated Mother’s Dat last week, my husband Don and I were surrounded by my darling 96-year old mother, Helen; one beautiful sister-in-law, Sheila; and two lovely younger mothers, my nieces Amanda and Heather.
Earlier in the day I had listened to “Hey Mama,” a beautiful song by the Ball Brothers that talks about a mother who made home a safe place, who gave wise insights and advice, and who loved well. Sobs welled up inside me and tears rolled down my face, recognizing my mother in the words of the song, and also realizing that in a few years I may be singing this song, wishing I could hear her voice when she’s on the other side of the great divide. What a gift to have had, and to be surrounded by, loving mothers who show by their words and actions what it means to honor their husbands and raise their children in love and faith. The song is worth listening to, at the link below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAM9O76Fjls

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Carol’s beautiful mother with about half of her

great-grandchildren

But not all of us are, or can be, biological mothers. Yet in His grace, God has provided other ways of loving, teaching, guiding, encouraging that are open to all of us, whether or not we have birthed children from our own bodies.
I mentor two capable, lovely daughters-in-faith. I received loving notes from both yesterday, along with fragrant flowers. I also received a meaningful card from one of my stepsons, who is just a few years younger than I am. How thoughtful! And I realize what a gift God has given, that there are ways of loving, teaching, guiding, encouraging that any of us can pursue, whether or not we are biological mothers.
So, to each of my readers who has raised, or is raising children, God bless and guide you and give you joy and strength for the challenges of each day, each year. And to those who, like me, have not birthed children of our flesh, God love you and show you opportunities to invest in younger women, to encourage family members, to serve God in the lives of others, and to feel His love and grace through those precious God-given relationships. He is faithful. Let us be also, whether it’s to nieces and nephews, stepchildren, mentees, the weak and helpless, or children of friends who need loving adults in their lives.
And Mom, I love you and thank God for your influence and impact in my life over the years: from the time as a tiny girl that I spilled a cup of milk and, instead of scolding me, you said, “Oh well, that can be cleaned up.” Or the time you stayed up late, crying with me as I shared about a broken engagement. To the example you were when your beloved, my father, went Home to be with Jesus and you refused to pull away from others but continued to engage even as you grieved. Or the overnight trips we took together as widows; and the joy you expressed when God brought another wonderful man into my life. Thank you for loving me and teaching me through your example.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who

fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)

 

Children Speak

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This week I thought I would ask my children what are the top three things they look for in a mother. In my mind, I thought something like fun to be with or cool. However, some of what they wrote down on a sheet of paper took me by surprise.

My 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, wrote:

  1. Covering – “a thing used to cover something else, typically in order to protect or conceal it.” Alicia looks to me as her protection. Come to think of it, I see her point. Especially in middle school, there are some not so kind girls on campus pestering students. Often at the end of the day, she shares her concerns and we discuss what’s her part in avoiding the drama and how to protect herself.
  2. Loving – “feeling or showing love or great care.” This topic I expected to see, because everyone wants to be loved. My parents didn’t grow up in an era of expressive emotions. As a result, they didn’t outwardly express love to me or my brother. I purposefully tell my kids I love them, hug em’ and kiss em’ frequently to ensure they know they are loved.
  3. Faithful – ” constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.” Interestingly, she selected faithfulness as a top priority. I believe security is important to her. Perhaps it is due to her growing up in a world where terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. are ever increasing. It must be settling to be able to come home to stability.

My 14-year-old son, Austin, wrote:

  1. Loving –  “feeling or showing love or great care.” So, for him, love is number one. There is an unique bond between son and mother. I purposely love on him and pray that he will love the women in his life.
  2. Supportive – “providing encouragement or emotional help.” As a mom, I support both of my children in all their activities such as academics, sports, friendships, etc. One thing I enjoy is helping him with his homework. It’s quiet one on one time of teaching and learning.
  3. Positive – “a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.” This characteristic surprised me. It’s a good reminder about the importance of affirmation to our children. I am purposeful to congratulate my kids on accomplishments such as good grades or basketball game, etc.

So, I’ve shared three important motherly characteristics with you. I encourage you to ask your child(ren) “What top 3 things do you want in a Mother?” If you do, and would like to share with us, please do!

 

Discussion: Midlife Motherhood

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Are you a midlife Mom like myself?

I’d love to kick off a blog discussion about your parental insight/experience. As for me, I married at 35, had our son at 36 and our daughter at 39. They are 14 and 12 respectively. So, that puts me at age 51 with a high schooler and middle schooler. Most of my friends’ children are in college or have already started their careers.

I love motherhood! I waited a long time for my kiddos and they are precious to me. One thing I’ve learned is that I am not nervous Nelly as I imagine I would’ve been if I had my kids say right out of high school like my Mom did. On the other hand, when Austin and Alicia were babies and woke up for their early am feedings, I found myself bouncing off the walls. So, for me, there is a fine balance between confidence and energy level.

How about you? What have you learned as a midlife Mom?

Blessings, Rebecca

6 Ways to Grow Closer to God (and each other)

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Through our life journey, there are some things my family and I have learned along the way. This week, I’d like to share with you six ways our family draws closer to the Lord and (as a result) each other.

Blessings, Rebecca

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Worship

In addition to worshipping together at church, we carve out special time where we gather to choose favorite worship song and sing together; usually before we study God’s word or journal. I hope you do or try this with your own family.

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Pray

We pray throughout our day such as before meals, at bedtime and when we need His help. If you struggle with what to pray, you can use a simple formula PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield). For instance, you could pray something like, “Praise you God for you are worthy to be praised. I ask to forgive me for ____. I ask that you help me in this area and I submit to your will. Amen.”

Twin Lakes Church Aptos

Twin Lakes Church Aptos

Attend Church (Regularly)

We go to church together every week. It gives us an opportunity to worship corporately, learn God’s word, fellowship with Christians, and serve others. In addition, we often join small group Bible studies, family camps, mission trips, etc. I hope you attend or find a Bible based church where your family grows as well.

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Read the Bible

We read the Bible every day. It’s a great way to get to know God, gain wisdom and learn to live like Christ. One way to do it is to read one proverb each day as there are 31 of them, or one Psalm. Another way, is to get a study book on a particular topic and answer the questions together, or look up the topic in the concordance and read all the passages that pertain to it. If you find reading the Bible difficult, there are many translations available to help you understand such as the New Living Translation Study Bible, New American Standard, Amplified Bible and The Message. Also, I recommend Bible Gateway app if you prefer using your device. I hope you find one that works best for you and yours.

Krusees Serving at Camp Attitude

Krusees Serving at Camp Attitude

Serve

We enjoy serving the Lord and others. Our family traveled to Mexico to build houses for brick layers. We went to Foster, Oregon to help families with disabled children enjoy camping activies. We’ve hosted Kidz Korner clothing exchange for thirteen years which helps familes in need. We hosted Project Warmth for twleve years which helped supply homeless men and women with winter supplies such as sleeping bags, coats, tarps, socks, beanies, etc. I say all this not to brag, but share some of the things we enjoy doing to serve God and our community. I hope you find something your family can do in your neighborhood.

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Journal

We find a quiet place such as our living room or a park to journal. Each of us bring our journals and pens/pencils, and simply ask the Lord to share with us whatever He would like to. It is a great time of quality time with God, and it’s fun to share afterwards what we learned. Sometimes, it is an encouraging word. Other times, He may give us direction or answers to our questions. I hope you and your family enjoy your time spent with the Lord.

Another way we journal is to capture answered payer throughout the year, and read it together at Thanksgiving. It’s a perfect time to give thanks to God for all he has done!

These are some things we do together to grow closer to God and each other. I’d love to hear what you and your family do. Please comment below.

Guest Blog by Tracey Clayton

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As we wrap up 2015, I’d like to wish you and yours happiness in the New Year!

This week, my guest blog writer is Tracey Clayton. She is a full-time mom of three girls. Tracey loves to cook, bake, sew and spend quality time with her daughters. She’s passionate  about writing, and her motto is “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” You can follow her on Facebook. Please welcome Tracey!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Things that the kids can learn from their surroundings

The child’s environment plays an important role in his/her education. Parents should make every effort to ensure that this environment does not bring negative effects to the child, and they must make a great effort to guide their child to the right track.

Parents are the role models

As the child’s immediate environment is the family, it is inevitable that the child takes the characteristics of his/her parents. Therefore, parents should be careful about how they treat their children; it is not strange if children become mean or very aggressive if parents show identical behavior in front of them. Parents need to have a healthy attitude towards a situation that presents itself. If a problem occurs, for example, they must be able to show the resolve or at least seem to have courage to overcome it. As parents are the role models for their children, kids often simply copy the look and behavior.

Peer pressure

Apart from education provided by the parents, the children also receive education in their immediate environment, the most important thing being school. The relationship with teachers and peers has an effect on children’s education. Children often tend to follow what their friends do.

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The importance of games

Play is essential to the child especially in early years. Combining learning and entertainment is an interesting concept involving the game. Through play, the children are not subjected to any pressure and progress at their own pace. It contributes significantly to the motor development in the simplest possible way. This is also a way to develop communication between children and parents. When they play pretend, children understand the world by trying things they have learned and they have seen, and reflecting their impressions. Just looking at my girls play, I could learn a lot about what they feel and think.

Games with rules

At about time they start school, children start to play games governed by rules, which they must comply. This encourages them to use strategies, logic and their moral judgment. Board games, card games and team sports all involve rules. They help children to learn to play in turn, negotiate, solve problems and get along with others.

Useful toys

Toys are an essential part of education, proper development and education in a child’s life. Apart from getting my kids toys that are appropriate for their age and stimulate learning, I also allowed them to play with different household items such as pots and magnets, and I even got them a Zado rug, with alphabet, so that they could subconsciously learn while playing.

The influence of technology

It is certain that the development of technology significantly changed the role of parents. It was really hard for me to comprehend that something that was not part of my growing up, is now an integral part of childhood for my children. However, regardless of all the technological wonders that surround us – the kids are still kids! That is, while kids acquire certain skills through games, mobile phones and computers as they grow up, playing with a ball, riding a bike, and other small, everyday activities, precisely at the appropriate age and in an appropriate manner – will not be able to get compensation later. Your participation as a parent is of paramount importance, much to the benefit and satisfaction of both you and your child.

The positive education demands patience because the child does not adhere very quickly to change. Parents must accompany the children and encourage them, providing everything necessary for the proper development while taking care of children’s immediate surroundings.

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Guest Blog by Eileen Turay

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I’d like to introduce Eileen Turay. She has a Masters of Science in Counseling with a school specialization. She’s worked with children with Autism for a few years using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), and taught at both preschool and elementary levels. She’s married, has a three-year-old daughter, two dogs, and they live in South Florida.

She shares some great free and cheap ideas to do with children. Please welcome Eileen Turay!

Blessings, Rebecca

Our top 8 fave FREE and CHEAP things to do with Kids

Since I currently work full time, I am always looking for new fun things for Olivia and I to do on the weekends. Though going to get Bagels and Starbucks are among our top two faves, they get old quickly; so, I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite inexpensive and free things that Olivia and I like to do together.

1. Make breakfast together. Pancakes are not only pretty simple to make, they are easy for a three-year-old to help make. Liv loves nothing more than to stir up the batter. I know, it can get messy, but it is worth it. When she feels helpful, it makes us both happy. Then we sit on the couch in our jammies and yell at the dogs together for trying to eat our food.

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Eating breakfast together. parenting fun

 2. Go to a new park. HYPE IT UP! When I ask if Olivia wants to go to the park, I never know what she is going to say; but if I ask her if she wants to try a BRAND NEW AMAZING SUPER AWESOME park, she is IN! Google parks in a 30 mile radius from your house. If you see graffiti, gang signs, and broken glass you may want to try another one… but that’s the fun in the adventure right?

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Fun at the Park

3. Festivals. Greek, music, dog, school, asparagus (yep.. that’s a real one in Stockton, CA lol) Look them up and go!! You may have to argue with your child a bit about why $5 a ticket for the bounce house is not happening… but you can probably distract her with a sweet swag bag compliments of the local Bank Branch booth.

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Fun and Free Festivals

 4. FORTS. I cannot stress how amazing forts are. From ages 2-34 (my husband as proof), forts can be lots of fun. You have to be willing to just say goodbye to any chance of having decent couch cushions ever again; but honestly, if you have a three-year-old, you’ve already had the sofa funeral.

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Fort Fun. Making a Mess

5. Anything wet. If you have the space for it, a tiny pool or water table. If you live in an apartment like us, find the nearest spray ground/beach/lake/pool. This one is a given. Olivia almost always says she doesn’t want to go; then she always has a blast. Here is the trick: you need to get wet too. I don’t know why I am sharing this or why it is such a stand out memory to me: but as a child, my mom never wanted to swim with us. We swam at my grandparents’ pool all the time and she NEVER got into a bathing suit to swim with us. Dad? always down… but mom was never a fan of water/swimming. I STILL remember like yesterday when one of the other adults pushed her into the pool one time with all of us with all her clothes on. I know she was mad at first but she ended up laughing. I thought it was the MOST FUN swim day we ever had as kids. It is such a simple thing, but your kid does NOT care what you look like in a bathing suit. She just wants you to be part of the fun. So be a part of it. She will remember. I still do.

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Free and Fun Things to do, Water Fountain 

6. Picnics. Eating a PBJ in your house=lame. Eating a PBJ on a blanket or picnic table anywhere else=awesome. For some reason, doing things like eating sandwiches at novel locations always seems to be a good time.

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Fun, Free Picnic.

 

7. Crafting. We live in FL so we are not short of Coconuts to paint. If you live somewhere where pinecones or large rocks inhabit, paint those. If big leaves are all you have to work with, use those. Its innate in children to pick up/collect/borderline hoard things they find in nature every day. If I had a rock for every time Olivia collected a stick…. oh yah, I do… and there are a lot. If you don’t want to buy paint, use what you have. Glue and ripped paper is a great time 🙂

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8. READ. People are amazed at Olivia’s vocabulary everywhere we go. I can honestly say that her intelligence is highly attributed to the amount of books we read together. We have read to her at night time since she was a tiny baby. She barely sat still for the longest time. At some point, however, she began to go from “fidgety toddler who barely made it through one story” to “mommy you skipped a page” (I swear I didn’t mean to… ok I did… but now she catches me so I had to stop). If you don’t always remember to read to your child, it’s ok! If you don’t have the time to do it at night, make it. I promise you, the bonding that comes from routine reading time is immeasurable. It is one of our favorite things to do.

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Reading to your Kids

 Spend time not money.

Visit our website at www.livandleen.com for more parenting tips and tricks, and learn from my mistakes before you make your own.

A special thanks to Rebecca for letting us into your community. It’s always better when we Liv and Leen totegher J

Eileen Turay

Liv&Leen

Here are some other ideas for fun stuff to do with your kids:  Fun Stuff

PS. Benjamin Bunnie’s Big Adventure is now available in paperback!

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Guest Blog by Leilani White

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I met Leilani as a fellow Mommy blogger. I asked her to share her parental insight with us, and she writes about being a mom and stepmom.

Unfortunately, movies and television often portray Stepmothers as not so nice. Let’s turn that perception around, because there are a lot of awesome Stepparents who are loving and caring. Please welcome Leilani White!

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How many out there are stepparents? I’m a mother of 4. Trinity is 15, Leonard III is 11, Alana is 5, and LaRae is 3. They definitely keep me on my toes (especially the 5 year old), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’m a stepmother to the older two, but I’ve always worked very hard at making sure all four kids feel equally loved, nurtured, and pushed to excel in their strengths.  

The job of a stepparent is a very thankless job, and not everyone is cut out for the task. Being a stepchild myself, I believe that there are two kinds of stepparents out there: the kinds that treat the kids as if they’re their own, and the kind that don’t.

Growing up, I had a stepdad who always provided for me, but he never took any real interest in me, or anything that I took interest in. So when I met my husband and eventually met his kids, I made sure that I didn’t push myself on them. I gave them the respect they deserved, and they gave me the same in return. That was seven years ago, and now I have a total of four kids.  

I make sure that each child knows independently that I love them and why I love them. I point out little differences that set them apart from my other kids, so that they know they’re unique, and I love and admire their uniqueness. I acknowledge their strengths, and help them grow from their weaknesses. 

Whether you’re a stepparent or not, it’s important to make children know that they’re loved and that you’re always in their corner. It’s never to early to teach them what unconditional love is. Children need stability, a firm foundation to build on, and love poured into them. It takes a special person to be an awesome stepparent, and even though I’ve been one for seven years, I’m still learning new things everyday. There have been plenty of times that I’ve had to apologize for not handling something the right way, even with my own kids. But they all know that I love them to the end, and they know that they’re all an intricate tool that makes our family run smoothly. It’s definitely a full time job, but the love I have for all my kids in the end, make it all worth it. 

Leilani White

www.lyfeshowsup.com

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Guest Blog by Claire Brighten

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I met Claire a few years ago when she visited Kidz Korner, our community children’s clothing exchange. She is a gentle and sweet woman, wife, mom and awesome photographer! I asked her to share her thoughts on parenting. She writes about her ups and downs with infertility/motherhood.

Sprinkled throughout her post, you will see my family pictures she recently photographed at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park in Felton, California. We won her Rainbow Child Photography contest, because we too experienced the lost of a child between our son and daughter. I learned that our daughter Alicia is our Rainbow Child. What a blessing this gift was as we hadn’t taken a family portrait for ten years! Please welcome Claire Brighten!

Blessings, Rebecca

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My experience with motherhood was years in the making – first in biding my time while my husband finished college and searched for his first job, then we learned my body wasn’t ready. Over the course of three years, I had two miscarriages, with months of infertility between pregnancies. I spent months seeing specialists at a fertility clinic, then months going to acupuncture. After my second loss, I gave up and actively tried not to get pregnant. Then we bought a house and moved to a new city and unintentionally became pregnant, and somehow, by some miracle and some focused work on my part on my diet and stress management, I was able to carry my son to term.

So my path to motherhood was a journey indeed.

The loss of a child really helps to put any living children’s minor infractions into perspective. I remind myself often how important my son is, not as a way of letting him off the hook – we deal with his missteps and poor choices as best we are able – but as a way of remembering that these moments are fleeting. Life is fleeting. My son is already somehow 3 years old. I will blink and he will be 5, then 10, then 14, then a full-grown adult. These challenges are ultimately small and the larger picture is that I am grateful for his existence.

But that doesn’t mean I am not frustrated. Often. Motherhood is a task of self-study. Our reactions and interactions are shaping our relationships with our children and their relationships with the world. And we have to look at ourselves constantly – to be more attentive, to be calmer, to be more patient, to be sillier, to be firmer or more lax, to be, in general, the bigger person. And this is challenging – a challenge to ourselves to grow as our children are teaching us about ourselves. And a challenge to fight that internal battle to hold strong even when they are pushing every single button possible – and even some we didn’t know existed.

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My son is 3. The “terrible twos” did not exist for us, but the “threenager” stage is in full effect. He talks back. He yells “Stooooopppp!” when we are at the grocery store and I am reminding him to keep his hands in the cart and instead ask questions about what he sees. He wants to do everything himself and thinks he knows best. He does not want to be told what to do. This is by far the most I have been challenged as his mother.

I am on my journey of motherhood and I hear that little voice inside me, remembering how precious this being is to our lives, for the rest of our lives. Today is a challenge. Tomorrow will be a challenge. There will always be a challenge. But I have overcome many just to share in shaping this tiny person’s life – and he mine. He is 3. He gives kisses freely. He wants to hold my hand and run together. He loves to sit with me while I read him books. He finds wonder and excitement in so much of the world around him. At the end of the day, the joys outweigh the challenges. And I will forever be grateful and honored to hold the title of “Mom.”

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