DIY Fresh Greenery Arrangement

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I love decorating with fresh greens for Christmas. Adorning the house with fragrant sprigs of rosemary, eucalyptus, and evergreen branches *almost* even makes up for the fact that I will never buy another live Christmas tree!
Here is a simple formula for how to create an arrangement of greens, and my one sneaky trick to make it last all season.

 

1. GATHER A SELECTION OF FRESH STEMS OF GREENERY AND BERRIES

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Most grocery stores sell bunches of seasonal branches at this time of year. You can also ask your local florist for some greens, or forage in the yard. Pine branches, eucalyptus (look for regular, silver dollar and seeded varieties- all are lovely!) and herbs like rosemary and even oregano will round out a bouquet of pine branches. Grab a sprig of red berries for a colorful accent if you wish.

2. GATHER YOUR CONTAINER & SUPPLIES

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For my arrangement, I used an old candle jar. Let’s be honest...I loved how it smelled but I would have bought it for the jar no matter what the scent was! Sometimes these jars are so pretty it’s just a shame to toss them when the candle is gone. Those are the times I love to convert them into vases. You can put the jar in the freezer for a while to make scraping the candle remnants out a little easier.

I also find it handy—though not absolutely necessary—to place a flower frog in the bottom of the vase. This is a heavy piece that you can buy at craft supply stores. Any stems that have a hard time staying upright or staying where you want them can be poked onto the prongs of the frog and they will stay in place.

Go ahead and fill the vase no more than half full with water and place your frog at the bottom.

3. START WITH THE HEAVIEST GREENS

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Place the hardy greens, such as pine tree branches in the arrangement first to create a well rounded base. Try to make your arrangement balanced, but not overly symmetrical. As you go along, mentally leave space for a floral bloom toward the front of the vase.

4. LAYER IN THE MORE DELICATE GREENS

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Once your shape is established by the heavier foliage, add in rosemary, then eucalyptus and so on, dotting the most delicate greens throughout your arrangement.

5. AND NOW, THE SNEAKY TRICK

These greens, especially in water, will truly last all month. Unlike with fresh flowers at other times of the year, it’s wonderful to be able to create this mess only once and be done! However, nothing adds a wow factor like a beautiful bloom. So, my trick is to add ONE (very high quality) faux flower to the vase. I know, I know, faux flowers are a faux pas! But I really believe that if you buy a super convincing one, and surround it with everything else that is fresh, no one will know. So go ahead and bite the bullet and place your single beautiful rose or gardenia or whatever large bloom you choose right there front and center. (And of course, if you can’t bring yourself to do it, then you can just use a fresh rose and swap that one element weekly when you freshen the water).

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6. LASTLY, ADD BERRIES FOR COLOR

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This is optional, but I like to tuck a sprig of berries behind the flower for a pop of color. And you’re done!

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This is especially pretty in a powder room to add a luxurious feel for your guests. Freshen the water every week or two, and this will be something you can enjoy all season!

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Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 7, 2017 and filed under Building Your Home.

Entrusted Recipes: Grammie's Caramel Corn

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My mom made caramel corn every Christmas season and I have to say it was by far one of my favorite holiday treats. I remember making it with her for several years. It was so addictive that we would end up devouring it before Christmas even arrived. She got smart and started hiding it and it would make its grand re-appearance closer to Christmas.

 

As we got older we realized what she was doing and I must confess, I started searching the house for it. (Did I mention it was addictive??) Well, I ended up finding her hiding spots and enjoyed every bite.

I wanted to share the recipe with you all—it’s super easy and sooooo delicious.

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1. You will need 6 quarts of freshly air popped popcorn. Set the popcorn aside in a roasting pan.

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2. In a medium saucepan melt 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, ½ cup of light corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

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3. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.

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4. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. As you stir it in, it will puff up.

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5. Pour this over the popcorn. Stir it throughout the popcorn as much as possible.

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6. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

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Remove from oven and cool. Break apart and store in a tightly covered container. Hide if necessary. Enjoy!
 

Baked Caramel Corn

6 quarts popped corn
1 cup butter
2 cups of light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter; add sugar, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn in a large roasting pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.

Posted on November 22, 2017 and filed under Building Your Home.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Thankfulness

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I’ve written for this blog for several years now, which means I’ve created multiple Thanksgiving blog posts. This year I didn’t want to do the typical “have your kids list off everything they are thankful for” post. Yet my kids are still pretty young, and getting them to stretch past that is often beyond their capabilities. Then I remembered part of a sermon I heard a few months ago about gratitude.

The pastor was challenging believers to move beyond the “elementary level” gratitude of thanking God for our blessings, and towards 1 Thessalonians 5:18 thankfulness: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I was truly convicted by this challenge. Do I really praise God for my difficulties, or do I just try to focus on the good that happened and move forward? The second half of the verse assures me this is worth meditating upon… and worthy of teaching to my children.

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So after a few weeks of praying about how to teach this concept to kids, I don’t have a lot of ideas. What I do know is that it starts with us. We need to model authentic gratitude for God’s sovereignty. It can’t just be at the Thanksgiving dinner table. When we are stuck in traffic, we need to thank God that we are perhaps being spared from a situation or being taught patience. When we are sick, we need to praise God for the reminder that we are healthy most of our days, and to appreciate them. When our dishwasher breaks, we need to be thankful we have one at all! The list of opportunities goes on and on. I truly believe that when our kids see us model this in a genuine fashion, they will be inclined to follow.

I think it is fantastic to provide intentional opportunities for us to show gratitude, I just don’t think true thankfulness can be forced. Bear that in mind should you incorporate the following ideas:

  1. Play Highs/Lows. This is a typical game for the dinner table, but consider adding a twist. Perhaps when a family member shares their low for the day, challenge them to see a blessing in the disappointment. I believe it is still important to show empathy for the hurt feelings or sadness your child experienced; we aren’t asking them to be robots, we are asking them to model seeking God’s perspective.

  2. Play “The Gratitude Game”. I saw this https://teachbesideme.com/gratitude-game-pick-sticks/ idea recently. Basically, you have a group of colored straws or popsicle sticks. When someone picks up a red straw, they can thank God for a person in their life, for orange a place, for green a food, for blue a thing, and for purple they get to pick. My suggestion is that if your child picks purple, encourage them to find a blessing in a hard situation. When your turn comes, you do the same.

  3. Incorporate 1 Thessalonians 5:18 thankfulness into your prayers. “Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to see your hand at work.” “Jesus, thank you that you are our provider and that we know you will provide even when we don’t understand how.” “God, thank you for the testimony we will have when you work in this situation. Thank you that our character is being refined in this trial.” When our kids hear these prayers repeatedly, they will be more likely to speak to their Savior in kind.

  4. Pray honestly. Sometimes you may not be able to see God’s goodness. I think it’s okay to let your kids hear you ask for it. “Lord, we want to trust you in all things. We know you are good, but we are hurting right now. Please show us how you are working in this.” Kids don’t need a mother who is in denial of her true feelings. They need a mother that trusts her feelings to her maker.

  5. Teach Scripture on the topic. The Bible shows us that thankfulness is the appropriate response in all situations. Let your children see how frequently God requests this of His children. Here are just a few verses on the topic:

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly

I will show the salvation of God!” ~Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! ~Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name! ~Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. ~Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,

and your faithfulness by night… ~Psalm 92:1-2 (ESV)

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. ~Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

Hang on a second—two of my boys just destroyed an entire banana cake I made for company and the evidence is all over the floor. Where was I? Thankfulness, right?!

Okay, thank you, Lord that I have more ingredients to make something else!

I’d like to share two personal, recent examples that I will be sharing with my kids this Thanksgiving season. These two situations are ones my sons have walked through (at least partially) with me, so I want them to see my gratitude.

First of all, I am thanking God for how He has shown up in my three-year-old’s allergies. At one-and-a-half, he was diagnosed with 21 food allergies; thankfully he has outgrown all but 8 of them. We are about to undergo testing to see if 3 more can be incorporated into his diet. It has been challenging for our entire family, but so cool to celebrate together each time he is healed of an allergy! We’ve had cashew and coconut celebrations, gluten fests, and a pistachio party. We are facing this challenge together as a family, and Everett knows how we love him and want him healed of every last one. What I praise God the most for however, is the character my little boy is growing in the midst of this. He has incredible self-control and a sense of responsibility; he knows to ask before he eats anything, and he has a FANTASTIC attitude when we tell him no. In fact, 99% of the time he responds with, “That’s okay! God is healing me! Maybe I can have that next year!” This young man knows the power of God at work in his own body! Could a mom be any more proud? Also, his brothers are learning thoughtfulness and conscientiousness. They can’t just eat a nut and leave the table. They know they need to wash their hands immediately and clean off their spot. They have also become great prayer warriors! They regularly ask God to heal their brother. Here Everett is with a watermelon cake. He had absolute joy and wasn’t focusing on how he was missing out… boy, can I learn from him!

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Another situation we are praising God for is the recent birth of our healthy baby girl. There were so many challenges during my pregnancy with her. Upon finding out I was pregnant with her, I bled heavily for a full month. All the while, I was vomiting repeatedly, sometimes up to 20 times a day. This lasted for ⅔ or the pregnancy. Next, I had a hernia, which made me look huge for most of the pregnancy. Then my whole family and I got the flu. Then I got food poisoning. Then I hurt my back. Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to take my blood sugar 4 times a day, eat a specific diet, and write down everything I ate (all things a mom of 3 has time for, right?). Then we found out the baby was breech. I was so over being pregnant at this point! (I am someone who puts an enormous amount of energy into being a healthy environment for my baby, so to have all of these challenges, it was humbling and frustrating.) Anyway, upon finding out the news, I came home, and my three little boys, and my husband put their hands on my big belly. They each prayed for God to turn our baby girl. They talked to her as they had throughout the pregnancy. “Baby, we are so excited to meet you! We need you to turn your head so you are upside down. Then put your feet up here so you can come out. Can you hear me? Okay do it now!” While I was doing crazy upside-down exercises to help her move, my son would crawl under my tummy and talk to her some more. What a blessing to see the faithfulness of children in prayer! Well, the time came for me to go for an ultrasound and see what the baby’s position was…. And she turned!!! It was highly unlikely that it would happen, but God moved on our behalf. We were so incredibly thankful, and the best part was that we were able to share the depth of joy with our sons! I pray that the seeds of seeing God at work are planted in their hearts through this testimony. Next came the birth… and I am thrilled to say it was my easiest birth. Blessing after blessing ushered in the arrival of Adeline Eden. She is healthy and beautiful and a wonderful addition to our family. I truly believe that the frustrations during the pregnancy have made the blessings so much sweeter. And so I can honestly say, thank you God for it all. And now I get to see my sons embrace their baby sister. Perhaps God was already cultivating a protective love in their hearts for their sister the whole time.

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I know my trials are small right now. For this I am thankful. And sometimes if I am honest, I have an easier time giving thanks through great challenges than through small disappointments. Like why is it so hard to give thanks for the baseboards and carpet I was hoping were replaced? Or for the trim that isn’t painted yet? I still have lots in which to be sanctified. But I will keep pursuing “the will of God in Christ Jesus” for me (1 Thess 5:18).

I hope you have much to be thankful for this season. Yet I know there are many going through trials right now. Maybe you were expecting to embrace a child by this time… maybe this is your first holiday without a loved one… maybe you or someone you love has received a difficult diagnosis… Whatever it may be, I pray that God reveals His goodness to you through it and that your heart will be able to praise Him.

Posted on November 15, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.

The Decluttered Holiday

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Last Christmas was probably the most chaotic of my life. I remember sitting on my couch in my pajamas on December 26th, and finally feeling like I could relax for the first time in two months. That week post-Christmas was amazing. All the lead-up, the work, the hustle was over and I could just breathe.

But it immediately begged the question, where did I go so wrong? How did Christmas morph into some kind of crazy parade? I absolutely know it was my own fault...of that I’m sure. I’m just not sure exactly HOW I had gotten to that point. Or rather, how I can avoid the same mistakes this year. I’ve been asking myself that question for the last 10 months.

At the end of the day, I think it is the “do it all” mentality that women can suffer from year round, but that hits a fever pitch at the holidays. Between Pinterest, and Instagram, and school parties, and Facebook, and idyllic holiday movies, and all the perfect store displays, the good ideas (and the comparisons to what others are doing) are boundless. And with them, the guilt and FOMO of not being able to do it all, or have it all, can hit hard. I usually wait until January to go on a decluttering spree, but the truth is I need to declutter my to-do list starting now!

We strive and we yearn and we work toward “balance.” We want to create meaningful memories for our kids, without making Christmas about commercialism. We want to have fun and festivity, while still enjoying the moment. We want to sit down to a gorgeous dinner, and actually stop to taste it. We want to linger at the table and enjoy the candlelight while the dishes magically do themselves!

I’m learning that we’re all chasing balance like a horse chasing a dangling carrot. It simply does not exist. The sad reality is that most of the memory-making we do today costs money. And that it takes a lot of work to have fun. (If you don’t believe me just remember how much laundry, packing, unpacking, and laundry your last vacation required.) And that the gorgeous family dinner, while worth the effort, did require a real human to plan it, shop for it, cook it, serve it, and clean it up.

Behind every idyllic holiday memory, there’s usually a woman working really darn hard to make it happen. She’s just never actually in the picture on Pinterest, and she definitely hasn’t figured out the key to “balance” it all.

If we can all agree that balance is a pipe dream, then I’ll tell you what does exist (or at least what can): Priorities.

This lesson may apply in every area of life, and we might have to broach that subject in another blog post sometime soon, but for today let’s just talk about prioritizing at the holidays. Taking the time to think through and write out your priorities, to discuss them with your husband and family, is a delightfully helpful exercise. It brings clarity to difficult decisions, and can help you budget your time and resources so that you don’t have to constantly feel guilty for your choices. It’s freeing!

It can also help you set realistic expectations for the time you have and your capacity to work within it.

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We all have a list of the season’s to-do’s. Some of them we love-to-do and have-to-do. Win! We check them off the list, it’s great, and life is good. A tiny handful of others fall into the don’t-have-to-do and don’t-love-to-do category. We’re usually smart enough to bow out of those without needing to make a fuss. But the vast majority of to-do’s fall somewhere in the nebulous matrix of have-to-do and don’t-love-to-do, or don’t-have-to-do but love-to-do. This is where we need to choose our priorities, and that’s not always easy!

I made a simple table for myself (and I’ve fancied it up for you as this free printable!) so that I could write down all of the things that creep onto my own list at the holidays, and assign them a category. Once they were categorized, it was time to take a hard look at my to-do’s and see what—if anything—could be eliminated to declutter and prioritize my list.

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Here’s what I learned:

  1. Everything in the “don’t-love-to-do / don’t-have-to-do” category should be eliminated.
  2. Turns out, I couldn’t bring myself to do that, so “have to” must be a subjective term.
  3. There are several things—school Christmas concert, piano recital—that I put in the “don’t-have-to-do and don’t-love-to-do” category. (Yes, I am dead inside.) But truthfully, they needed to be moved over to the “have to do” side. Just because you’re not legally obligated to do some of the mom stuff, doesn’t mean you don’t still have to do it.
  4. There’s a LOT in the “have-to-do and don’t-love-to-do” category. And I can’t really prioritize it, because I have to do it all.
  5. Moving on, I found confirmation that holiday insanity is my own fault. There are infinitely more “love-to-do but don’t-have-to-do” tasks than in any other category.
  6. This is truly the only category where I can choose my priorities and cut a few out. I don’t want to strip my Christmas of enjoyment, but if I try to take on all of it, I’m going to be so busy doing that I won’t be enjoying anyway.
  7. Some cuts were easy, and some were hard, but I was able to make cuts I feel good about, knowing now what things are most important to my family.
  8. I’m going to need a strategy to accomplish everything that’s left.
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It felt really good to put my swirling thoughts on paper and see everything written out clearly. Right off the bat, that made it feel more manageable. As for strategy to tackle what’s left, my plan is two-fold: 1) Start early and 2) schedule tasks.

Everything in me wants to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up our tree. But that happens to be on the list of things I can do early, (and that’s super high on my priority list), so I’m going to put it up sooner rather than later. Same for Christmas cards. There’s no reason for me to wait to order them and address them. I can have those ready and waiting to go in the mailbox the first week of December. There’s also no reason to wait to start shopping (other than me hating it...which is just called procrastination, so that’s going to have to be a no-no).

As for some of those other things that don’t usually end up on the calendar (making sugar cookies for example), I’m going to assign them a day. That’s not to say it can’t get moved around, but I think that doing so will help me avoid the “Oh my goodness, the holidays just snuck up on me!” speech I give every year. And as I’m mapping out my calendar, I’m going to plan on weaving those not-so-fun tasks in between the ones I truly love. Hopefully that will help spread the joy and temper the crazy.

So what do you think? Is balance possible? Or do we just need to take a hard look at how we spend our time and prioritize it? Here’s a copy of the holiday to-do list organizer you can download and use if you’d like to give it a try. I hope you find it useful, and that everything you choose to do (or have to do) is merry this Christmas!

Posted on November 8, 2017 and filed under Building Your Home.

Scripture Memory and Prayer: Cultivating Faith in Your Child's Heart

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I had the blessing of growing up in a Christian home. My dad was a pastor, which made me a PK (pastor’s kid). I was continually surrounded by prayer, Scripture and biblical teaching. I remember as a little girl praying to receive Jesus as my Savior, and yet I also remember struggling to feel like I was really saved for many years. I feared if I would die, I would go to hell and suffer for eternity. I would ask Jesus into my heart several times over the years and then feel guilty because I had already asked and would wrestle over my lack of faith and belief.

The Lord ended up leading me to college at Moody Bible Institute and I will forever be thankful for listening to His prompting to go there. My foundation for understanding Scripture was strengthened, my love for God increased, my faith deepened and I met Mark, my husband there: a major bonus!

My faith began to grow as I learned more of Who God was and is.

Mark 9:23-24 says, “Jesus said, ...‘All things are possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief.'"

I am sure I heard this verse many times growing up but it wasn’t until I was a bit older that this specific cry of the father to Jesus penetrated my heart. As this prayer began to settle in my heart, the Lord used this to breathe life into my prayer and deepen my faith.

My faith journey continues and now that I have children, one of my biggest prayers has been for them to have a big, strong faith! I am continually trying to love, grow, teach, nurture, discipline, strengthen, encourage and ready my girls for each day of life they are given. My heart longs for my girls to continue and develop their own faith and grow mightily in the Lord. What does it look like to cultivate and grow their faith in the everyday routine of life?

I wish there was a cookie cutter answer, but the reality is, each child, each parent, each home, each circumstance, each life that we live, is different. Therefore we interact and teach them according to our present life environment and culture. Although we are all different, thankfully God is not; He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.

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Here are three ways to help cultivate and develop a deeper faith for our children:

  1. Pray with them. Your children have such a sensitivity to the heart of the Lord. Matthew 18:2 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What profound truth this Scripture reveals for our kids’ hearts: they are ready to hear from the Lord. Pray over them, pray for them and have them pray out loud. Let them hear you pray for them in a deep way. Pray for things that are going on in your lives that are difficult and they will learn to pray in these situations as well. We are teaching them what prayer looks like by how we pray with them and for them.

  2. Be willing to discuss prayer requests and answered prayers. If we are willing to pray through deeper, real life issues and needs with our children, then we need to be willing to discuss when we are waiting to hear from God and when He answers those prayers. God always answers prayers, maybe not in the way we desire, or even in our timing, but He does answer. So, it’s important for our children and their growing faith to talk about how God is at work in it all. We need to have daily reminders of God’s character and how He doesn’t change even if we are in the “waiting period” of a prayer request. I remember countless times talking with the girls after we prayed for God to provide a specific job we were all wanting for Mark. While we were waiting, we all prayed and cried out for the Lord’s provision every morning for this job. The Lord gave me wisdom to talk with them after every single time, explaining if God didn’t decide to provide this job we all wanted, He was still good and faithful and would provide something even better. It ended up not being the job God provided and yet because of the continual open dialogue with the girls, their faith was not shaken. Of course there was great disappointment and pain, but their faith grew through this.

  3. Scripture memory. Have your children memorize God’s Word! My father is a first generation believer and as early as I can remember he taught us Bible verses that we recited every night. He was teaching us to hide God’s Word in our hearts. I can’t even tell you how many verses I have memorized from this practice with my dad, and what a blessing it is when God brings them to mind. I will always have those Scripture verses resonating within my heart. I was deeply convicted that I wanted to continue the legacy my father started when we had our own children, and teach them Bible verses to hide in their hearts. My girls were about 2 when they memorized their first verse. I still have them recite 3 verses every night and we continue to learn new ones. When we were going through a hard time as a family in transition, we even had a family memory verse that we would talk about with them. Scripture memory is powerful and helps solidify our faith.

There are many different ways to help cultivate faith in the heart of a child. I hope and pray as you wrestle through how God wants you to nurture your own child’s faith, that this is a springboard to further explore what God has for you as a parent. Blessings to you!  

Posted on October 18, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.

1 Peter 2:9 Printable Jar Label

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A while back, a blog friend of mine created her own candle labels, and that has always stuck with me as such a clever idea! For our “Entrusted Freebie” this time around, I decided to do something similar, and create a label with a beloved verse that you can use on a vase, jar, or candle. It looks like an old fashioned apothecary label, but it’s Scripture!

1 Peter 2:9 is my daughter’s school memory verse this week and I cannot get it out of my head. It is such a beautiful truth about our identity in Christ, what he has done for us, and as I meditate on it, the excellencies of God just ring through my mind. He is so wonderful!

So, to use this printable, you can download the PDF and print out onto a full sheet of sticker paper in your printer. The sheets I use are Avery 8165 shipping labels. I formatted the label in several sizes to fit most jars Once you print it, just cut out the size that fits your vessel best. You can use it on an antique apothecary bottle or something similar, as I did, for a flower vase. Or, you could put it on the side of a colored glass vase and pour a candle into it (or even replace an ugly candle label in a pre-poured jar). Really, it can be used on any kind of jar or vase that you would like. I’m also attaching a large 8 x 10 version if you just want to print it on regular cardstock and hang it up on the wall.

Enjoy!

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Posted on October 6, 2017 and filed under Building Your Home.

Raising the same but different: the same godly principles and methods along with freedom in the approach

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When I was a younger mama and my sweet Kate turned two, my life was thrown upside down for a time. I was awakened to the reality that she did not respond to discipline the same way that Addy, my firstborn did. I was in a bit of a quandary because Addy was turning 5 at this point and I had just “figured out” this whole parenting, discipline thing (or so I thought...insert laughter here).

My first line of defense when I realized this in disciplining Kate, was to just press in harder with the same discipline style I had with Addy. I theorized that since she was a harder baby than Addy and reacted and responded differently to discipline, it would naturally take more work on my end. As I continued down this path, it did not bode well for Kate or me. It took me some time to understand that parenting Kate was going to require a different approach in methods and principles of discipline because she did not fit the same mold as Addy. In essence, I was going to need to relearn how to parent.

I wish I could say I had an instant epiphany and I relearned and changed my parenting patterns quickly. But alas, that was not the case. I, as a parent, had developed habits and patterns in the way that Addy responded to discipline and carried that over into parenting Kate. It took me a long time to break those habits.

Please don’t misunderstand me, the godly principles and methods I had learned in Entrusted were my anchor through it all. However, I began to grasp that my approach in these principles and methods had to be different with Kate because she was different than Addy.

When I finally did concede and understood it was okay to parent differently with Kate, I was able to experience so much more freedom as a mother. Our home began to balance out a bit more and we started down a new path. God has created each child differently and every family will have somewhat different examples of what it looks like with their children. For example, one of our girls would nearly melt if we even gave her a stern look and she would do anything we ask because she had a high need to please us; she was very compliant. Our other daughter was a little more strong willed and we found the stern look did nothing. We needed to use a different approach for training her in obedience.

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Parenting for me is a continual journey. Just when I think I have it figured out, I turn the corner and a new challenge awaits me and I have to adapt and relearn. Unfortunately, I don’t always view the challenge in a positive way. The Lord is so patient with me though and is continually pressing in and showing me how to be a better mom and follower of Him. I am thankful for His promise to us in Lamentations 3:21-23:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Every morning, we have a fresh start! How gracious is our God! We can start over and with His strength, press into what He has for us each day.

The women that God placed in my life as a young mother will always hold a piece of my heart. They were, and many still are, speaking into my life as a mom and that to me, is priceless. God has created us to be in community. In that community we experience and live life together.

If I can encourage you in any way sweet mamas let it be this: Don’t lose heart in the journey of parenting. God has given you the incredible responsibility and joy of being a mother. He has prepared each one of you for the task. Each child you have is different, so give yourself permission to approach parenting and discipline according to your child’s need. Stay grounded by those who have gone before you and hold those godly principles and parenting methods close.

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Blessings to you on this journey; you are not alone.

Posted on September 20, 2017 and filed under Building Your Family.