Attitude expectations

Have you ever received a compliment or word of encouragement that you really don’t feel like you deserve? I have.

“You are so good at…..”  Eeek!

Or “You really knows how to …..” Do I??!!

But I have noticed something very interesting about these kind of comments. They make me try to live up to their expectations. Think about it. If someone praises the way you solve problems peacefully, even if you honestly don’t think you are so good at it, you’ll more than likely make an extra effort to be peaceful next time a problem crops up. You see, you want to live up to that good expectation.

Having someone expect good things of you is nice. Sometimes a little daunting, but nice. Someone else’s confidence in your ability somehow bolsters your own confidence, and in turn this inspires you to try; you aim to do your best to deserve the praise already given. And I think this is a principle we need to apply to parenting.

Moment by moment we are shaping the attitudes our children will hold for years to come.

Moment by moment we are shaping the attitudes our children will hold for years to come.

I want to make clear that I am not talking about setting the kind of expectations which put negative pressure and stress onto a child. I don’t think we should say, “I expect you to win that race.” This can result in a fear-based effort. Not only that, but it is unfair – your child simply may not be the fastest runner in the race. We should not set expectations based on our children’s performance; we should set expectations about their attitude and character choices. Verbalizing your anticipation of your child’s best effort to win the race will spur them on with joy rather than fear.  And your praise at the end, no matter where they finish, will bring about positive results.

"We are raising the next generation"

“We are raising the next generation of this world”

Children are perceptive little people. They observe and absorb much more than we realise. And I’ve noticed that as adults we are almost constantly giving off impressions of the expectations we have of our children, perhaps unaware that they are soaking up and internalising these messages.

You can see it in all kinds of places. In the t-shirts we buy our toddlers: “I’m the boss”, “I’m a little monster”, “Mischief maker”. In the TV shows which model “normal” teenage behavior: arrogant, more concerned about appearance than character, self-absorbed. In the tone of voice and choice of words with which we communicate to them: “You’re so naughty! You never listen to me.” Or the way we talk to others about them, “He’s such a nightmare. He really knows how to wind me up.” All of these set negative expectations, and they tend to result in one of two scenarios: a child who lives up to these poor expectations and becomes the “nightmare” he is called; or a child who strives to please but deep down is broken and depressed.

We need to think more carefully. We are raising the next generation of this world. If we want them to be kind, compassionate, healthy, competent and respectful adults then we need to set those expectations now, while they are children. Why do we think we can call them “a little monster” yet expect them to behave well? We need to set them good standards which they delight in reaching, by highlighting the good they are capable of achieving. We need to find things to praise them for – not to build pride, but to remind them that everyone is valuable no matter what. I can tell you from first-hand experience: commenting on the good your child has done – no matter how small – inspires them to achieve more.

In the book of James chapter 3 we are told that the tongue has the power to set the course of a life – for good or for bad. Let us use that power to set our children on the course for greatness. In Titus 2:7 Paul says “In everything set them an example by doing what is good.Let us use every moment to model high standards. And when we talk to or about our children, let us keep every conversation “full of grace” (Col. 4:6), that they may be inspired to become the best version of themselves they can possibly be.

And above all, let our unconditional love flow through our words and actions.

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Comparison vs. Inspiration

One of the biggest killers of joy in parenthood is the feeling of failure. And one of the biggest causes of this feeling comes from that deadly enemy – comparison.

You know how it is. You go to Jenny’s house for a play date, and get talking. She tells you about how she gets her five children dressed by 7:30 am every day, then they all sit down and have an hour-long Bible study looking up original texts and reading the Greek together. By the time you leave, you are feeling like a complete failure – and you’re not too sure you want to visit Jenny again any time soon.

Looking for inspiration

Search for the inspiration in every situation.

But here is what I want to tell you: God doesn’t want you to take a guilt trip. I’m convinced that people like Jenny are placed in your life to inspire you, not drive you to unhealthy comparisons that leave you helpless and dejected.

In Proverbs 31 we read about that amazing woman – the wife of noble character. Note how it opens by saying “who can find” such a woman. She is rare. It’s quite likely that you, the reader, are not such a model of Godliness as she is – but read on anyway. Why? Not to make you feel like a failure, but so that you can be inspired by what is good, noble and right.

Here are some definitions of being inspired:

  • To be filled with enlivening or exalting emotion
  • To be stimulated to action; motivated
  • To be affected or touched
  • To have something drawn forth; to have something elicited or aroused
  • To have energies or ideals stimulated

Imagine if you left Jenny’s house feeling this way, instead of allowing yourself to feel beaten up by comparison. What a blessing that visit would have been to you – and Jenny too.

Being inspired does not mean that you then have to go home and start your own Greek studies – though this might be just what you want to do. Rather, it means that you see how great it is that Jenny has found a way to bring God into her home that works for her, and you are eager to find something that works for your family, too.

It took me a long time to realise that Bible study with my children did not have to be the same format every day. Now, that might sound obvious to you, but to me it was a revelation!  If you’ve read my post on the phase-eeze you’ll know that I have trouble sticking with something very long-term, but prefer to go through phases of intense focus on one topic at  a time. Whilst I think this tendency needs to be balanced with dedication, I also know that in some way it is a deep part of me, and I must learn to work with it. So the realisation that we could do a different type of Bible study each day was a dream come to true to me! We now have a rota of different study types for each day of the week, and for the first time I’ve found it easy – and JOYFUL – to stick to!

For you, this might look quite different. Maybe you’re an art buff – bring drawing into your Bible time. Maybe you’re a history nut – excite your children with the historical accuracy of the Bible. Maybe you just can’t get up in the morning, but manage to get everyone in one place at bed time – read then! What it looks like in my family is not what it has to look like in yours. It’s okay to “do it your way”! So long as you are seeking the Lord in every choice, you really can’t go wrong.

So next time you are tempted to compare your efforts with someone else, decide instead to look for inspiration.

Possibly the best cookies in the world ever

Today the kids and I baked a new recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Three cookie monsters!

Three cookie monsters!

They. Were. Amazing.

I found the recipe over at Ambitious Kitchen. They are easy to make, and the ingredients are actually pretty healthy. We used half molasses sugar and half demerara sugar, both unrefined (and therefore healthy… right?) The recipe calls for regular peanut butter, which I happened to have in my cupboard. We used it this time, but next time I will be using my usual wholenut version, which again is healthy. From the comments I read below the recipe this might require extra oats, but that is never a problem!

The baking process didn’t quite turn out as I had expected, but then I’m used to that. Happens every time I try to bake without my Mom. (On a side note, can we start an online petition for her to move back to the UK to help me bake?) The batter was really soft, and despite adding extra oats to try and firm it up, I still couldn’t really make the “dough balls” the recipe called for – ours were more like melting blobs.

Our cookie dough blobs - pre-cooking.

What the looked like before they went in the oven.

Also, when cooked they looked more like failed bread rolls than choc-chip cookies.

What they looked like after they came out the oven.

BUT. They tasted amazing, so who cares what they look like. And now that I’ve got your mouth watering, you can find the recipe (along with pictures of what they are supposed to look like) here. Go and enjoy!

Learning fun: a useful tool

Some of the fun ways we use the white (green) boards in our house.

Some of the fun ways we use the white (green) boards in our house.

One of my favourite homeschooling tools is the whiteboard. I love how versatile it is! We currently have three in our house, and each of them has a different purpose. We have our “Verse of the Week” board, which we currently use to write one verse from our Friday morning Bible study on each week, and try to memorise it. Then we have our regular notice board, which is topped with an encouraging Bible verse and used to just write reminders and notes on, such as “put the bins out tonight”. Lastly we have our activity board. This is the one we use for ALL kinds of things – from maths to geography to language to just plain silly fun.

There are so many ways to make learning fun at home, and the white board is an invaluable part of this process in our family. Below is a chart of some of the things we have done with our whiteboard (which is sometimes green… just semantics, y’know…) over the years, separated into categories. And colour-coded. Because it makes me feel more organised than I really am.

Please feel free to download this chart and use it for your own family. And if you have any other great whiteboard ideas please share them – I’m always looking for more 🙂

Fun and educational ideas for your whiteboard.

Fun and educational ideas for your whiteboard.

Encouraging, spiritual and character-building ideas for your whiteboard.

Encouraging, spiritual and character-building ideas for your whiteboard.

Favourite bean recipes

After writing yesterday about the wonderful use of beans instead of meat, I have had some requests to share my favourite bean recipes with you. Since I very rarely work from a recipe, the measurements below are all approximated guesses rather than an exact science! If something looks too much or too little as you’re putting it in, go ahead and adjust it. My cooking is usually a trial and error process 😉

I heard once on Masterchef that beans take a long time to soak up flavour, so I tend to cook them gently and slowly making sure to add flavouring into the cooking water. I also find allowing them to sit a while even after cooking helps them to take on more flavour, and as they don’t lose heat quickly this is not a problem. However, the ultimate key to making tasty food, in my opinion, is to TASTE it. I usually do a taste test close to the end when I think it’s about ready. I then add extra flavouring or ingredients depending on what my palate says is needed.  My favourite ingredients for adding flavour to a dull dish are extra herbs, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, molasses and ketchup.

So here are three of my favourite bean dishes: hummus, curry and chilli.  Enjoy!

Tasty Garlic Lemon Hummus

Chickpeas are so versatile. I’ve used them in everything from curries to cookies! Probably my favourite thing to do with them, though, is make a lovely strong garlic and lemon hummus. I’ve shared this recipe with you before, so I won’t repeat it here. However, as a note I have omitted the peanut butter from this recipe.  It makes it slightly thinner, but I think gives it an even nicer flavour. It does reduce the protein content, though, so you might want to keep it in for that reason.

Here is my delicious garlic lemon hummus recipe.

Easy Chickpea & Lentil Curry

Serves about 8 (could be doubled by cooking and serving with some wholegrain rice or quinoa)

  • 4 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 – 2 bulbs garlic (about 10-15 cloves), chopped
  • 4 potatoes, cut into fairly small cubes
  • 1 apple, diced OR 1 cup raisins
  • 200g dried lentils
  • 200g dried chickpeas
  • 200g frozen peas
  • Small chunk of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • Dash of lime/lemon juice
  • Curry powder to taste (my favourite is Sainsbury’s own mild curry powder)
  • Salt & pepper to taste (Himalayan pink salt or organic sea salt are my favourite healthy salt options)
  • Stock cube (optional)
  • Water
  • Desiccated coconut to top

Soak chickpeas overnight. Next day, add more water and stock cube or salt to chickpeas, then boil and simmer for about 30 mins. In another large pot fry onions & curry powder (I like to fry in coconut oil, as it has a high heat resistance and adds a lovely flavour to curries). Add tomatoes, potatoes, apple/raisins, lentils, peas, lime/lemon juice, ginger, coriander, salt, pepper and half the garlic. Add chickpeas in their water, and enough extra water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer just long enough for lentils and potatoes to cook through. If there is too much excess water at the end, take the lid off and simmer for longer to reduce. Add the rest of the garlic and serve sprinkled with coconut!

Mild Mixed Bean Chilli

Serves about 6 (could be doubled by cooking and serving with some wholegrain rice, cornbread or wrapped in tortilla wraps).

  • 1 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 – 2 bulbs garlic (about 10-15 cloves), chopped
  • 500 kg mixed dried beans (I always include at a good portion of kidney bean in this. Other bean I tend to use are aduki, cannelini and mung.)
  • 100g frozen veg (sweetcorn is nicest, but I use whatever I have in the freezer)
  • Mild chilli powder to taste (if you are a spice lover you can, of course, substitute this for hot chilli powder)
  • 1/4 cup your favourite relish (tomato and chilli works very well)
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tbsp molasses (unrefined blackstrap is the best)
  • Dash of lemon/lime juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight. Next day, add more water, salt and some chilli powder, then bring to boil and simmer for about 30 mins. Separately, fry onions in more chilli powder.  Drain about half the water out of the bean pot, then add onions and all the other ingredients.  Simmer for about another 30 mins, then serve!

Have you got any good bean recipes? I’d love to hear them!

Ten ways to save money around the home

As a single-income family, frugal living is essential for us.

Here are ten ways I have learnt to keep costs down:

  • Dump the dryer!  It is widely known that tumble dryers eat up energy, and thus, money. I’ve been tumble dryer-free for about two years now, and it really is easy.  In good weather I hang the clothes outside, and in bad weather I make use of radiators, clothes drying racks, backs of chairs, stair banisters, and just about anything else I find to ‘hang’ on.  [EDIT: Please note that drying clothes indoors can contribute to damp and mold. We usually keep our windows open at least a crack all year round and this has not been a problem for us. However, mold is very damaging to health so use this tip at your own discretion.]
  • Learn to love white vinegar!  At just 9p/100 ml this wonder-product is a real bargain, and is much used in our house.  It’s a mould-killer, fabric softener, dishwasher rinse-aid, pesticide remover, and general all-purpose cleaner.

    My mother-in-law taught me the delight of a washing line full of clothes, blowing in the sunshiny breeze!

    My mother-in-law taught me the delight of a washing line full of clothes, blowing in the sunshiny breeze!

  • Drink water!  I’ve mentioned this in a previous budget post, but it really is a big one. Drinking water is cheap, healthy, and mess-free. It is very rare I spend money on any other drink (milk excepted), which frees up my grocery budget for more organic fruit and veg – yum! I also try to stick to a ‘drink water if you feel hungry between snack & meal times’ policy. Some days I’m better at this than others, but when we do it saves money on grazing our way through snacks, as well as being another healthy choice.
  • Eat your beans!  Organic beans are about half the price of organic beef. This is one of the reasons I rarely buy meat.  Instead I stock up on dried organic beans and lentils at our local ‘Taj the Grocerer’.  It has taken me years to get into the swing of remembering to soak the beans in advance, but I’m finally getting there.
  • Turn off lights!  My children know this is a bit of an obsession with me. I did some research on the idea that leaving a light on is more energy efficient than turning it off and on again, and found it is not really the case. Lights these days take only a small amount extra energy to switch on, so unless you are planning to return to the room in less than five minutes, then the best thing to do is turn it off. So we do.

    My little stash of beans - yum scrum!

    My little stash of beans – yum scrum!

  • Go eco!  This is not as simple as I would wish it to be, but overall we do find it saves money. When we returned to the UK from Canada we decided to invest in a hybrid car. The initial cost of this was more than other options, but we worked out the long-term costs and with reduced fuel bills and no car tax it works out better in the end. We are also blessed to have bought a house with solar panels and a solar water heater, so we carefully wait for the sun to come  out before putting on the dishwasher or washing machine, making the most of free electricity when it’s available. Even if you don’t have solar panels you might be able to switch to an energy tariff which gives you cheaper rates at night, and run your big appliances while you sleep! Buying eco-rated appliances and setting them on their most economical cycles is also helpful.
  • Don’t overcook!  This is not something I’ve measured in terms of savings, but is rather a common sense idea I had. Basically, the more I cook, the more gas/electricity I’m using. So I try to make quick-cooking meal choices. This is not always easy, and does not always happen. But I do try to be aware of the energy cost of the food we’re eating. Practically this means choices such as sandwiches more often that toast, pre-heating the oven for the bare minimum time, not over-cooking food (e.g. soups, curries, pasta), but turning them off as soon as they’re done.
  • Dress warm and keep moving! I really don’t like being cold. But instead of simply cranking up the heating we dress up in layers each day, and keep a chest full of snuggly blankets within easy reach. We also keep a basket of fresh slippers and socks to offer guests, so they don’t feel cold either. I also find that if I’m feeling cold, a little housework usually gets me warmed up rather efficiently 😉  For the kids, a quick game of ‘Simon Says’ involving lots of jumping, getting up and down and running on the spot warms them up fast, too.

    Blanket are so snuggly - and so are Princesses!

    Blanket are so snuggly – and so are Princesses!

  • Freecycle!  We are Freecycle lovers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to do a quick bit of Googling to find out what it is, where your closest groups are, and how to sign up. We’ve been blessed with such a variety of Freecycle offering, from shower units to our lovely new bunny rabbits!
  • Say “no” to TV!  Saving money is just one of the reasons we choose not having a TV package at our house. Apart from saving money on the package itself, we also save on the TV licence. With online access to BBC iPlayer via the Wii (and ITV and Channel 4 via the laptop when we want to), we still get to watch many great programs on our TV screen, with the FANTASTIC added benefit of no adverts. Do you need any more convincing?! [Note: if you watch TV via the internet please check the laws regarding licences in your own area. In our case we never watch live programs as these require a licence, so we stick to catch-up only.]

Loving discipline

I recently wrote about the necessity of both grace and discipline in effective parenting. As a follow up on this I thought I’d share ways we have implemented this in our own family, in the hopes that what works for us might be helpful to you too.

Showers of love

I am a great believer in showering children with love. Obviously this takes many different forms, but some of the things you would see everyday in our house are:

  • Lots and lots and LOTS of hugs, kisses, snuggles, high-fives, lap-time, and other positive physical contact.
  • Praying for each other, thanking God for the gift of family and asking God to help each child when they are struggling.
  • Random exclamations of “I love you SO much!”, “I love spending my days with you.”, “You are so precious.” etc.
  • Praise and encouragement, for little and big things.
  • Speaking gently and gracefully.
  • Doing things together – especially if this is a child’s love language.
  • Listening to children.
  • Laughing and joking together.

There are many more ways to express love to our children, but the important thing is that it IS expressed. This constant outpouring of love develops security in the parent-child relationship which is essential for discipline to have the right effect (heart-changing rather than simply behaviour-changing).

Firm boundaries

I love the journey of parenthood with these two blessings.

I love the journey of parenthood with these two blessings.

In my experience it is vital to set the expectation of obedience early on. Children need to know that the parent is in charge, and that they must respect that authority. In our house we often talk about the chain of command: children must submit to parents and parents must submit to God. This has two implications: Firstly, children should obey parents because God said so. Secondly, parents are responsible to God for parenting in obedience to His will. Some of the ways we set firm boundaries in our house are:

  • Zero tolerance for disrespect. Lack of respect for others – especially authority – is one of the biggest problems I see in children and youth today. It is also a heart issue, which is why we place such importance on it. In my experience dealing with this effectively makes every other discipline issue easier to resolve.
  • No time for ‘one, two, three’. I know parents who believe the counting technique is a good and helpful way to help a child obey. To my mind, however, this teaches children two problematic ideas: One, that obedience should only be done at the last possible moment, rather than as a response of a heart which delights to obey. Two, that obedience is only required to avoid punishment. This second idea is the most damaging, as it subtly undermines the principle of saving grace. However, I do think there is a difference between “We’re going. Get off that swing now!  One, two, three..” and “We need to leave, darling – I’ll give you five more seconds on the swing and then we’ll go. One, two, three, four, five.” The first teaches that ‘now’ doesn’t mean ‘now’.  The second shows consideration for the child’s feelings and gives time for them to move from one task to the next whilst still requiring obedience at the time it is required.
  • Careful use of ‘no’. Sometimes it’s easy to say ‘no’ without thinking. Sometimes it’s hard to say no when it’s necessary. A carefully considered balance is what is required. If a child hears ‘no’ too frequently they can become frustrated, so we try to say ‘yes’ often. However, it is also vital that children learn to deal with ‘no’ appropriately, so on issues of importance we must be brave to say ‘no’ even if it means tears in the middle of the store. A child’s character development is more important than our own embarrassment.

As with everything, the grace-discipline balance is something we are constantly fine-tuning. And in our turn we are shown both grace and discipline from God. I find myself frequently praying for wisdom to teach Prince and Princess how to live in His ways whilst dependent on His grace. But as they are growing we have begun to see the fruit of firm discipline blended with grace-filled love, and I can tell you – it is SO sweet. I am humbled and delighted by the joyful obedience my children show every day, and I thank God for the love which fills our home.

I will leave you with this encouragement from the book of Proverbs, and pray you will all be filled with delight in the children God has blessed you with.

“Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.

My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad indeed;
my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:
Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy the truth and do not sell it—
wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
The father of a righteous child has great joy;
a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
May your father and mother rejoice;
may she who gave you birth be joyful!”

Proverbs 23:12-25

A smorgasbord of educational philosophies

During my seven years as a homeschooling Mama I have learnt about many different educational philosophies – Montessauri, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Leadership Education, Waldorf, Unschooling and more. What I love about this plethora of styles and approaches is that they are like a delicious buffet of ideas which homeschool parents get to pick and choose from, and delight in! As I read and learn about this variety of educational philosophies, I take out the bits I like, drop the bits I don’t, and create a personalised approach to education which fits our unique family dynamics.

Prince doing some interest-lead artwork...

Prince doing some interest-lead artwork…

Recently I have been studying the Leadership Education approach, which I am super excited about! We’re in the process of working out how best to incorporate this new style into our learning at home, but so far it’s been an inspirational journey. Today, though, I want to focus on the process of evolving a personalised educational philosophy. One of my favourite homeschooling writers, Jamie Martin from Simple Homeschool, has already written very eloquently on this topic, so I will leave you with a link to her post on The Evolution of an Educational Philosophy: My Journey of Baby Steps.

I pray that those of you considering or just starting out on your own homeschool journey will be encouraged to seek out educational philosophies which inspire you and your own family.

Blogiversary: a little reminiscing

Wordpress kindly shows me where all my readers have come from over the past two years.

WordPress kindly shows me where all my readers have come from over the past two years.

This month marks my second anniversary of blogging here at Writing on the Doorposts. Over these 24 months I’ve been so blessed to be able to share what’s on my heart with people worldwide – from here in the UK to Zimbabwe, Canada, Nepal and more! I want to thank my ‘followers’ and those who have ‘shared’ my blog for their support. I also want to thank those who have written comments, for their encouragement, helpful suggestions and ideas.

Today I want to share with you some of the old posts which have been enjoyed by readers over my short blogging life. If you’re a new reader I hope you also enjoy them. If you’ve read them before feel free to yawn and pass them over! In any case I pray you will be blessed today by the awesome God of all the earth.

Now without further ado, ten popular past posts (yes, I’m feeling a little poetic today 😉

  • Random things I’ve learnt as a mom-of-two:  10 things I’ve learned as a mother
  • A summary of the main reasons our family has chosen home education:  Why we homeschool
  • How we eat a veggie-focused diet on a small income: Five a day: part two, on a budget
  • Why and how I prioritise being a stay-at-home mother: The beauty of homemaking
    [
    note: I am no longer doing Usborne as I found it did not generate a proper income.  However, we are still blessed by God to be able to manage very well on one salary – something I thank God for daily.]
  • A look at 1 Corinthians 4:5-7, and my mother’s yummy cooking: Seasoned with salt – lessons from my Mom’s roast dinners
  • We can always find the blessings of parenthood if we try: Taking joy
  • A reminder that parenthood is about placing our children before ourselves:  Selfless mothering
  • Ideas to incorporate prayer into family life:  Ten ways to pray with your children
    [note: in the 1 1/2 years that has passed since I wrote this post, my children’s prayer life has grown beyond what I had ever dreamed it could. I am continually humbled and blessed to hear how they pray from their hearts, and focus on things of eternal importance. Praise God!]
  • A look at what we can learn from Gary Chapman’s ‘love languages’: Speaking of love
  • Encouragement that we all get it wrong, but we have grace and we can persevere:  Pressing on

Moments to hold close

There is such beauty to be found in the everyday-ness of life. It’s easy to get distracted by the big picture, sometimes. You know, the ‘what have we got to get done today’ mindset. We go through our day focussed on the ‘next’ thing we need to do, then the next, then the next. Then all of a sudden it’s the end of the day, so we sleep and wake up ready to continue the endless list of tasks, and forgetting the joy and love of life.  As good as it is to be diligent and busy, it is just as good to pause to notice how many little joys are sprinkled in and between our daily jobs and routines. In fact, I think that with ‘stress’ so familiar to the modern adult, taking time to simply notice and give recognition to the joys of each day are vital combat strategies that we should all employ.

Love every moment of life with this family of mine!

Love every moment of life with this family of mine!

Whenever I share cute or funny moments with my Dad, he is always telling me to “write it down!” He tells me I’ll forget – and regret – if I don’t. And he’s right! So here are some of the beautiful moments in my family this past weekend. Moments I want to remember and treasure for years to come, and which make the normality of life sparkle and shine.

  • As we drove home from church the journey was filled with worship. The CD player was loud, but the voices of my husband, son and daughter were louder. Prince held my hand, his sweet, strong voice finding the words as they came and he raised our hands up high. Princess danced, played air guitar, danced, played air drums, danced and danced some more.
  • Saturday night Hubby & I stayed up late, just watching our cute new bunnies explore the lounge. They bounded around, and we laughed together.
  • Sunday morning Hubby sat down on the couch with his Bible. One by one, without being asked, the kids and I picked up our own Bibles and sat quietly down to read, too.
  • Hubby put country music on the CD player one morning. Some songs played that I hadn’t heard for ages. We delayed our jobs to dance together in the middle of the lounge.
  • As I brushed Princess’s hair before church, we all sat on the couch together looking at old family photos on the TV slideshow, chatting about memories we share.
  • Sunday night we all snuggled up close with popcorn, fruit and veggies, and laughed together as we watch ‘The Cosby Show’ before bed.
  • My Prince so often tells me he loves me. This weekend he also reminded me that I am his best friend.
  • Bed time = prayer time. Each night we pray together, and I am always moved by the deep heart-felt prayers of my kids. Sunday night Prince prayed he would be a ‘faithful warrior’ for God, and Princess thanked her ‘Dear Father in heaven’ for friends.

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