Tag Archive | parenting

Camp Attitude

camp attitude

We live on a Christian Conference ground where hundreds of folks visit each week to camp. Lots of people love to camp during the summer. So, this week, I’d like to share with you a personal story of time we camped in 2009.

Blessings, Rebecca

On a crisp winter evening, I sat down with my family at our dinner table and posed the question to my six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, “Kids, where would you like to go this year for our mission trip?”

Our youngest thought about it and suggested we help the disabled children at Camp Attitude.

“Great idea Alicia! What are your thoughts Austin?”

“Okay, Mom.”

Our church trip the prior year to Tecate, Mexico building homes for the community was rewarding. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store this summer. I’d heard some amazing stories from other families who helped at Camp Attitude in the past.

Two weeks prior, all the volunteers met at our pastor’s house along to discuss plans. “Randy and Rebecca, your family will help the OI children next week. Don’t worry,  there will be a full time nurse and physician on site.” What’s OI?

I learned OI is the acronym for Osteogenesis Imperfecta a.k.a. Brittle Bones Disease. These children’s have extremely fragile bones. Evidently, the year before, a young boy was rushed to the emergency room for a broken arm from falling off a picnic bench. Fortunately, the doctors placed a cast on his shattered bones and he returned to camp the same day ready to play. Intense!

The best part of camp is the campers attended for free. Also, most medical foundations paid for their travel expenses. For many parents and siblings, it is the only free to participate in extracurricular activities all year long. Otherwise, they are caring for their special needs child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each family is a “Buddy” assigned to shadow their special needs child. This allows Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters freedom to raft, hike, fish, swim or simply rest.

The time arrived to head north. We scheduled two weeks to travel from our home in central California to Oregon which allowed for a visit with extended family before camp.

After six hours on the road, we settled in Medford to see my mother-in-law Dianna. We enjoyed chatting with Grandma poolside on a sweltering summer’s day while the kids splashed.

Two days later, we drove to West Linn to visit my brother-in-law and his young family. The cousins had a blast playing together. Their uncle from Woodinville, Washington joined us as well and a good time was had by all.

Three days later, we headed south to Foster. I didn’t know what to expect at camp, because we’d never been around children with disabilities before. We had open minds and willing hands.

Upon our arrival, we set up a ten person tent we borrowed from our friends. We left our twenty-six-foot trailer, complete with kitchenette and bathroom, behind this time. Sleeping in bags on the ground  posed another a new experience for us. The kitchen chef discovered our rocky circumstance and offered her air mattresses. Ah, much better!

As we walked to the meeting barn, we noticed a chartered bus arriving with families. They came from the United States, Canada and Europe. The counselors welcomed them with shouts of cheer.

We joined the camp Director and she assigned our team’s daily chores which included cleaning the mess hall tables before and after meals, scraping plates, washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms. Austin jumped up, “I’ll scrape the plates, Mom.”

“I’ll help you wash the dishes, Mommy,” chimed Alicia.

The Director then asked if anyone would be willing to haul the trash using their four wheel drive quad runner.

I sheepishly raised my hand, “I have a motorcycle license.”

“The job is yours,” she smiled.

I grabbed the keys, stepped outside and found a heap of waste and recycle.

We pitched the trash in the modified trailer. I fired it up and revved the engine. “Jump in family. We’re going for a ride.”

With Austin on my right fender, Alicia on my left and Randy sharing my seat, we made our rounds. Who knew collecting garbage could be so much fun!

The next day, while clearing tables, I saw Alicia pushing a little girl in a wheel chair on a special swing. She ran up to me, “Mom, I helped Rachel. She needed a push.”

“That’s awesome. Good job honey.”

On the last night of camp, we watched the children’s talent show. Tears filled my eyes as I delighted in watching the children perform and seeing my kids cheer on their new found friends.

When camp ended, the campers were bused to the nearest airport. Our team of eight volunteers was assigned one final task; to clean all the cabins and restrooms which had just accommodated 120 campers.

Five hours later, I emerged from the last cabin exhausted. It was painful, but well worth it.

I’m grateful my family and I were able to serve together at Camp Attitude. We met a lot nice people, learned about various disabilities and gave family members respite.

By serving as a family, I hope it will instill a core values to help others and they will continue the family tradition with their kids.

Does your family enjoy camping or serving? I’d love to hear about your adventures! Please share with us.

 

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Our Daily Bread

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This week, I wanted to share with you a personal story about hardship in parenting and God’s miraculous provision.

Blessings, Rebecca

On a warm summer Sunday, Randy and I strolled outside of church. I hummed my favorite hymn under my breath I Surrender All. I inhaled fresh salt air from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

My mind wandered as we walked to pick up our children from Sunday school. Dread overtook me, because I remembered we were down to only $2.35 in our bank account ensuing my job loss.

After 15 years of working at a high-tech equipment manufacturer, my Director called me into his office, and opened a manila folder on his desk,“Rebecca, I am sorry, but we are moving your managerial position and department to Israel.”

What do you mean move my job and department to Israel? I expected to retire with the same company like my father did from the grocery industry and step-mother did from the copy business.

How am I going to tell Randy? After all, we decided one of us would be our stay-at-home parent, and now we have no income. I arrived home early that day, “Hun, I was laid-off today.”

Randy was crushed by the news, but encouraged me that everything would be fine. We decided to surrender everything to the Lord; our occupations, finances, health, material possessions, children, etc. We knelt and prayed for God to guide our paths, because we  believed when He closes one door He opens another.

During this difficult season, I leaned on the following bible verse:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

Our kids jumped off the play structure, ran and gave me a big hug, “Hi Mom!” We turned and headed for our car. I ran my hands through Austin’s thick hair. “How was your class today?” He reached for my hand, “Good, we learned about Jesus.”

The two of them then scampered off to climb a close-by tree.

Along the way, our friends, Barry and Rina, greeted us,  “Good morning guys! How’s it going?”

Rina wrapped her arms around me, and kissed me on both cheeks as is customary in her country of Chile. Barry told us they planned to walk their dog, Snoopy, at the beach.

Our discussion wound down, we said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.

Later that evening, I received an unexpected phone call from Barry, “Can we bring you dinner tomorrow night?”

I accepted his gracious offer. Hmmm, they’ve never spontaneously brought us a meal before. We’ve always gone out for dinner.

The next evening, Barry and Rina pulled into our driveway with their minivan. He jumped out, and popped open the rear hatch, “Hey, Randy, I need some help out here!”

Rina sauntered in carrying a rack of BBQ pork spare ribs accompanied by homemade corn bread and a crisp green salad. The feast permeated our home with a rich aroma.

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I turned around and my jaw dropped. They carried in milk, eggs, cheese, bread, butter, meat, coffee, fruit and vegetables. The bounty kept coming. I chuckled to myself. Earlier, I’d recited the O’l Mother Hubbard poem, because our cupboards were empty. How did they know?

I looked at my countertops once bare now brimming with delicacies. I felt like I held a dual-edge sword in my hands; one edge for immeasurable blessings, and the other humility. I’d always been financially independent, and now found myself in a position of need.

During our meal together, we shared with them our hardship of lack of food, the possibility of losing our home and health insurance.

Barry looked me in the eyes, “We wanted to stock your refrigerator and cupboards with essentials.”

Wow, talk about perfect timing! I was amazed at how God stirred Barry and Rina’s hearts to deliver a miraculous provision that day. I was reminded of the following bible verse:

 “So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing…But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.” – Matthew 6:31-33)

Most, if not all, of us at some time will experience hardship. Is there a time in your life where God blessed you? I’d love to hear about it! Please share with us…

Guest Blog by Amy Lu

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This week’s guest blogger is Amy Lu.She is  a Midwest girl from Michigan who enjoys writing children’s picture books,blogging about motherhood, and sharing reading inspiration. You can check out her adventures as a mother of two little cuties and former first grade teacher who loves reading, drinking coffee, and doing yoga. She’d love to connect with you on Facebookor Instagram. Please welcome Amy!

Blessings, Rebecca

Amy Lu

7 Parenting Tips from the Book Loving Our Kids on Purpose

When I first saw the title of this book, Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-To-Heart Connection, I almost decided not to read it. I figured, I already know how to love my child, that’s the easy part. It’s all the other stuff that is hard. However, I am so glad that I didn’t stop there. This has been one of the best parenting books I have read. It challenged me to think about how I was raised, and the kind of parent I want to be. I picked 7 highlights, but there is really so much more to this book. I highly recommend it and only wish I would have read it sooner.

  1. You can’t control your child.

This was kind of shocking for me to realize, but I think Danny Silk is on to something. The bottom line is that you can’t actually control anyone except yourself. You may try to control your child, but ultimately it is up to him or her, on whether or not to listen to you. For example, if you ask your child to please eat his carrots, it is up to the child to determine how fast or slow he will do this, and if he will actually obey. This is especially evident as the child grows older.

  1. Nurture a loving relationship between you and your child.

Silk believes that establishing a loving relationship, in which both the parent and child love and trust one another is the key to good parenting. This is the ultimate goal for the parent.

  1. Empower your child by providing choices.

Everyone wants to feel like they are in control of their lives, and that they have the power to make decisions. Silk believes children are no different. One way we, as parents, can work with and not against this is to provide choices. For example, even a toddler can have choices. Let’s say you want the child to go upstairs to get dressed. You could offer the choice of walking or being carried upstairs. This is simple, but it can be applied to the most complex situations. As the parent, it is up to you to provide the child with two choices that you can be content with.

  1. De-escalate arguments with simple responses.

Using phrases such as “I know,” “Probably so,” “That could be,” “I don’t know, and “Nice try”  can help to deescalate arguments with your child. These are phrases Silk references as his favorite from theParenting with Love and Logic book, written by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. This strategy can enable your child to start thinking about how he or she can solve the problem at hand. Parents should maintain a genuinely loving demeanor toward the child to encourage him or her to solve the problem.

  1. Allow your child to experience the consequences of their choices.

As tempting as it may be to rescue your child from the pain or difficulty of consequences, resist. (Note: This is not talking about neglecting a child’s safety.) Parents can create a safe environment for children to make mistakes and learn from them. As parents, we can’t be afraid to let our children mess up. We can build trust with them by letting them know we are there for them in all situations and allowing them to grow from these difficult times.

  1. Choose discipline over punishment.

Discipline allows a child the power to decide how to fix or solve a problem. Punishment is decided solely by the parent.

  1. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Many times parents want to believe that they have the power in the relationship. However, Silk believes that is simply not the case. In fact, he believes that parents should communicate to their children in a way that shows that they too, can be vulnerable. This is why having a loving relationship is so imperative.

How do you love your kids on purpose?  Please share with.us in the comments. 

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Guest Blog by Sherry Kyle, Book Review & Giveaway

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Review

When Sherry approached me to review her new book, The Girl’s Guide to Life, I was excited, because I wrote along side her for our church women’s blog. She’s amazing lady! Earlier, she’d given me her book, The Girls’ Guide to Your Dream Room which was a good read. In it, she shares with her readers fun ideas to jazz up your daughter’s bedroom.

The Girl’s Guide to Life is chaulked full of biblical advice for girls (ages 10-12 years-old) on life lessons such as how to find and keep friends, make good grades at school, and stand firm when temptation appears. It’s sprinkled with bible passages to encourage our young women. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me personally as my daughter, Alicia, entered junior high this year and struggles with most, if not all, of the issues. I especially enjoy at the end of each chapter Sherry poses relfective questions for the our girls which help them work through life challenges. In addtion, there are simple DIY craft ideas such as a faric prayer journal and fun facts to review.

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this book review; just passing on a Good Read.

Sherry Kyle is the author of books for tween girls, including a Gold Mom’s Choice Award winner, and new and upcoming releases The Girl’s Guide to Life and Love, Lexi: Letters to God. She also writes novels for women set along the coast of California where she makes her home with her college sweetheart and their four children. When she’s not writing, Sherry spends her time reading, having coffee with friends, and decorating her beach home. You can visit her at www.sherrykyle.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Please welcome Sherry!

Blessings, Rebecca

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5 Benefits of Sharing a Meal with your Family

What is your favorite time of the day?

For me, it’s dinnertime. I enjoy gathering my family around the table to enjoy a good meal. We chat, eat, laugh, and many times have important discussions about life.

There are many benefits of sharing a meal with your family, but these five stick out in my mind:

  • A time to reconnect. We live such busy lives. Taking the time to share a meal lowers stress and bonds the family together.
  • Healthier eating. Let’s face it, a well-thought out meal is good for the health. Studies show kids eat more fruits and vegies when they eat at home.
  • Overall health. Studies show sharing a meal with our kids results in less obesity, leads to less behavior issues, and helps kids achieve higher grades in school.
  • Sense of community. Cooking, setting the table, and cleaning up are all things kids can participate in to help the family work together.
  • A time to share God’s Word. Reading the Bible or having a family devotion after a meal teaches kids that God is the center of your lives and builds faith.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers.”

Acts 2:42

Table Re-do

Dining room table Before

Our dining table received a makeover this past weekend. The top of the table had tons of wear, and I wanted the table to match the chairs. So I dove into the world of chalk paint and purchased Annie Sloan Graphite and Dark Wax.

Usually you don’t have to sand the furniture before painting using Annie Sloan’s products, but the woman who sold me the dark wax suggested I sand the top of the table and only use the dark wax on the top to give it a rich, mahogany color.

Noah, my seventeen-year-old son, sanding the table

Next, I painted the base Graphite, an almost-but-not-quite-black. More like a matted dark gray. By the next morning, I noticed the table needed a second coat for that more solid-instead-of-rustic look I was going for.

After that dried completely, I put on a coat of dark wax over the graphite to darken it even more.

The following day, I added one more coat of dark wax to the table’s surface since it will get a lot of wear and tear from my big family.

Here’s the final look. The wax will take 30 days to cure, but we can enjoy the table as long as we use placemats and coasters.

Dining room table After

How often do you eat a meal with your family?

Giveaway!

Now it’s your turn to read The Girl’s Guide to Life as we’re giving away one FREE copy. We need at least 10 people commenting in order to ship a complimentary book. So, please encourage your friends to comment below as we’d love to hear from other Moms and Dads seeking to raise their tween daughters with godly character. Simply tell us about a life lesson you’ve shared with her growing up. Your name will then be placed in our drawing.

On Feburary 22, 2016, we will randomly select a winner. The winner must supply his/her mailing address to us no later than February 29, 2016. One Free copy will then be shipped directly to the winner’s address provided.

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Life’s Setbacks

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My heart was heavy this week, because we discovered our teenage son developed Osgood-Schlatter disease which benched him from physical activities. Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in growing adolescents. It is an inflammation of the area just below the knee where the tendon from the kneecap attaches to the shinbone. It often occurs during growth spurts, when bones, muscles, tendons, and other structures are changing rapidly. Phycal activity puts additional stress on bones and muscles, children who participate in athletics, especially running and jumping sports, are at an increased risk for this condition.

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This news came on the heels of our son, Austin, joining a local community basketball team. Prior to that, he’d shoot hoops at the park or school on lunch break. A few weeks ago, he decided he’d like to play on a team. An instructor suggested he join SLV Hoops, short for San Lorenzo Valley Hoops, to learn the basics of basketball and team dynamics. He attended a try-out session and they placed him with a team of 7th and 8th grade boys. His fellow team welcomed him, and are a great group of athletes. Also, he has an amazing coach who is patient explaining the art of the game as well as honing his skills during their weekly pracitces and games.

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After his first game, Austin told me his knee hurt. So, we gave him some ibuprophen and ice. We asked his coach if he had any suggestions for knee pain, and he said his daughter used a knee jump band. We drove to our local pharmacy and purchased one. Austin wore it during the next game without any relief. In fact, he was limping afterwards. So, we saw his doctor and discovered it was more than sore muscles from exercising.

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This episode in my son’s life is more than an injury, it’s a life’s setback. Unbeknowst to me, it became a teachable moment. I explained  to him sometimes in life you may experinece setbacks. It’s how you deal with them that will help you through. You can choose to get bitter and angry about the situation, but it won’t change your circumstances. Or, we could we pray about it, ask God to heal your knee, follow your doctor’s regiment, and go from there. Although he was extremely dissappointed, he agreed.

During the week, his coach announced to his team that Austin would step down, but that he was still a member and could join them on the bench. His teammates were gracious. Now, Austin puts on his jersey and cheers for his teammates from the sidelines. I’m very proud of him for chosing to have a postive attitude!

Have you had any setbacks in life? If so, how did you overcome them? Please share with us below.

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.

A New Year

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

It’s a New Year! May it be a happy one! It’s a time of reflection of 2015 and to plan for 2016.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions; never have. Is that weird? Altough, this year, I’ve decided to give it a try. I am resolved to explore and play more with my family.

During our holiday break, we took the kids to visit some local attractions for which I’ve shared some photos today. For instance, the staircase at Manresa Beach (above) is only 30 minutes from our home, but I haven’t walked them since I was a little girl. It was fun to visit with my now thirteen-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter, and share some of my childhood experiences with them.

Just a few miles down the road, the topography changes rocky cliffs to sandy dunes at Sunset Beach (below) where we walked one mile + to gather sand dollars and seashells. Simple pleasures!

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

The stairs are a visual reminder that life is like a path; sometimes steep, sometimes leading upwards and sometimes down. Although, we don’t always see where it may lead, our walk is filled with adventures along the way.

Through it all, the journey is worth every step when you get a glimpse of God’s gifts in your life such as the approaching sunset (below).

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I love the Bible verse in Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

My hope is that our family’s exploration and yours this year will create lasting memories…

Blessings, Rebecca

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions you’d like to share with us? If so, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to 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 Shannon Upton/Book Review

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I was approached by fellow Blogs by Christian Women Author Shannon Upton to review her new book, Building Your House.

In it, Shannon incorporates organization with faith. She shares great practical advice to build your Christ-centered home and de-clutter physically and spiritually.

My favorite chapter is #10 where Shannon gently reminds us to walk in faithfulness. She sprinkles helpful suggestions throughout such as playing inspirational music, lighting a candle or hanging encouraging scripture on the wall.

As a result of reading Building Your House, I believe my home will look and feel more inviting, peaceful and less cluttered.

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this book review; just passing on a Good Read.

Shannon Upton is a Christian author, blogger, and speaker.  Her goal is to help women use a little organization to clear out  their spiritual clutter so they can make room for peace and joy! She’d love to serve you (and by extension, your children) through her two books; the second being Organizing You. Feel free to stop by Organizingjesusmoms.com  to discover great resources she has for you there. organizing

Please welcome Shannon!

Blessings, Rebecca

 

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Intentional Influence

“Shannon, did you just call yourself ‘homely’? Don’t you ever say that again!”

When I was in seventh grade, my Sunday School teacher gave us lists of adjectives and asked us to circle the ones we thought applied to us. I knew that the lesson was on self-esteem, so I circled things like “smart,” “friendly,”…and “homely.”  At the time, I thought that “homely” simply meant “plain.”  It was the choice after “beautiful” and “pretty,” but before “ugly.”

What I remember about that moment isn’t how my teacher said that I was a very pretty girl (she had to say that, didn’t she?), but how shocked she was that I’d circled “homely” in the first place. She was downright offended on my behalf!

When I looked at her, I saw a woman who was very well-dressed and put-together. She obviously knew what it meant to be attractive… yet there she was saying that I was beautiful.  I was startled into a realization: I was a child of God and He would never want me to think of myself as “homely.”  Ever.

Today, I’m still under her influence. I have the habit of complimenting the appearance of others, admiring a pretty blouse, cool shoes, or a warm smile.  I even give a scripturally-based talk about how to organize your wardrobe!  It’s not that I think outward appearance is all that important, far from it.  But my Sunday School teacher taught me that God sees us as beautiful, and that’s how we should see ourselves.

How are you influencing your children through your outward example? We can tell our children wonderful things, but they see what they see. When your kids look at you, do they see…

Someone who’s tired and worn out, or someone who’s taking care of their body?

Someone who avoids time with God, or someone who loves to go to church and spend time in prayer?

Someone who’s overwhelmed and stressed, or someone who’s choosing to trust in God?

Our influence doesn’t come through our words, but how we’re intentionally living our lives. When our kids see that we know what it means to be a child of God, they’ll be able to hear our encouragement to follow Him.

This is the heart of my ministry! I help women use home and family organization, not to pursue perfection, but to live in Christ’s abundance.  When we intentionally live all in for Jesus, we’re building our homes and raising our families for God’s glory.  That influence will last for generations to come.

 

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If you’d like to follow her, you can Like her Facebook page.

Now it’s your turn to own Building Your House as we’re giving away a FREE copy. I’d love to hear from you on how you build your home with your children. Simply share a family routine that has solved a clutter or spiritual issue in your home with us below. Your name will then be placed in a random drawing.

On December 26, 2015, we will select a winner. The winner must supply his/her mailing address to us no later than December 31, 2015. One Free copy will then be shipped directly to the winner’s address provided. Best wishes!

 

Tumbleweeds

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Christmas 1978 (Me, Mom and my brother Greg)

As Christmas approaches, I’m so excited to participate in the  Christmas Blog Tour hosted by Blogs by Christian Women (BCW). If you’d like to follow along, the next stop on our tour is at Niki Roberts blog on 12/7.

Blessings, Rebecca

Tumbleweeds

Family traditions were important to my Mother. She was one of nine children who grew up in a family steeped in rituals. She hoped to create her own family traditions which she did despite my parents divorce when I was six-years-old.

At times, she held two jobs or sold catalog products to make ends meet. We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs. For that  I am forever grateful.

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My Mom, Georgia

The first year was especially tough. I remember going to the grocery store to purchase groceries with food stamps. I pondered in my heart why we didn’t use cash like other families.

Next to Easter, my Mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas. She loved the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus and wrapping presents.

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We lived in an apartment complex. One day, while walking past my neighbor’s door, their tree lights shimmered and the scent of fresh pine filled the air. I ran home, “When can we get a tree, Mom?”

“Next weekend,” she said.

I was so excited that I could barely contain myself.

That Saturday, we jumped in our Plymouth Belvedere and drove to nearby railroad tracks. We hopped out and started walking, “Where are we going?”

“We’re hunting for a Christmas tree sweetheart.” She grabbed a scraggly bush, “Here’s one. Help me find two more Becky.”

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I asked her, “What’s that in your hand?”

“It’s a tumbleweed,” she replied.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew several more past me and I ran as fast as I could to catch them.

When we arrived home, she stacked one on top of the other and spray painted them gold. Sparkly!

“There, all done,” she said.

Afterwards, we popped some corn and carefully placed each kernel on a string. Before long, we had our first handmade decoration.

That night, as I laid in bed , I heard her sobbing. I crept into her room, “What’s the matter Mama?”

“Nothing Honey. I’m just a little sad; that’s all. You see, I want to get you and your brother some Christmas gifts this year, but I don’t have a lot of money.”

“It’s okay Mom. We don’t need anything. Please don’t cry.”

Two weeks later, Christmas arrived. To my surprise, there were beautifully wrapped boxes under our tree. “Eeee! Did Santa bring us all these presents,” I squealed.

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“Yes, he did,” she beamed.

I gingerly opened the first one, savoring each tare of the pretty paper,  “I’ve always wanted this record!” Next, came a Shirley Temple color book and sharp new crayons. Then, a pair of rainbow colored socks. Finally, a tin of delicious Almond Roca candy.

I later discovered she worked overtime to purchase our gifts. That Christmas, my Mom taught me a valuable lesson of sacraficial love.

A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a similar situation unable to buy a Christmas tree for our two young children.

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Randy, Rebecca, Austin and Alicia Christmas 2010

Two weeks before Christmas a friend from church, asked, “Did you get your Christmas tree yet?”

Sheepishly, I said, “Not yet. We can’t afford one.”

The following day, Lynda showed up at our home with a brand new six foot artificial tree. “Now, you’ll always have a tree for your kids.”

My voice cracked, “I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much.”

Christmas arrived and our children ran to see our tree just like I did when I was a child. They looked at their presents and were astonished,  “Wow! Did Santa give us all these gifts?”

“Yes, he did,” I said beaming.

Christmas is a very special holiday season. I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions. Feel free to comment below.