Sometimes moms need reminders to slow down, relax, and enjoy the time we have with our youngsters. Years pass quickly, and now is the time to make memories and build relationships with the most important people in our lives.

Play on the floor.

Children will remember the time we spend engaged with them at their eye level. When we sit down and make them the focus of our attention for a little while, they know they are important in our eyes.

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Special memories are made of simple times. A sandwich served on a paper plate under a shady tree can be enough to create a lasting and treasured memory of time spent together.

Read together every night.

Whether we read the same book repeatedly, or explore a variety of titles borrowed free from the library, what matters to children are the feelings of being held and loved.

Walk and talk.

Every day is an opportunity to notice our environment and discuss what we see. Children learn by exploring the world around them; and adults have fun seeing flowers, birds, trees, and bugs from a child's perspective.

Let kids help.

The smallest children can help bake cookies or fold laundry. Letting children help with making beds or putting away toys builds their sense of initiative and capability.

Say "please," "thank you," and "I love you" often.

Children need to hear positive language too. When we use words that nurture and encourage, we teach children to behave and communicate positively.

Listen to what they say.

Adults are often surprised by the level of insight and understanding children can express. When we pay careful attention, we can be amazed at what our children share.

Pray together. 

A few words of prayer every day have a powerful impact on our well-being. It is important to express our thanks for all we have and share our concerns for whatever we need.

Be grateful.

We have so many reasons to be thankful! We are blessed with love, strength, and laughter. We need to remember to appreciate all we have and to express our gratefulness.

Remember moms are important.

Every child's favorite people are his or her parents. We are important influences on the lives of our children. Children will value the relationships we nurture with them.

How do you enjoy spending time with your children? What do your want your kids to remember about your special times together?

Remember you are blessed!

 

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At 2:36 a.m. a creepy grating noise nudged me awake. The annoying, crunching sound vibrated through my dark bedroom.

What is that?

I heard the noise again, hard as teeth grinding on metal.

It's under the bed.

I sat up and saw a dark shape streak from my bed toward the dresser. I scrambled to my knees and saw the shape slide under my bed again.

I snapped on the light and discovered my daughter's gerbil had escaped from its cage and burrowed into the box-spring of my bed. The creepy noise was the gerbil sharpening her teeth on the metal coils.animal-1238374_640[1]

I rousted my daughter awake. For a while we knelt on opposite sides of my bed and made sleepy grabs while the gerbil darted back and forth between us.

"Get out of the way."

I threw quilts and blankets onto the dresser, flipped the double-sized mattress up against the wall, then hauled the box-spring out of the frame. The gerbil continued to evade us by scurrying among the dust bunnies and the shoeboxes knocked sideways in the chaos.

I dumped dirty laundry into the corner, overturned the plastic laundry basket, and slammed it down, trapping the gerbil underneath. While I tried to figure out a way to move her from the basket to the cage, the gerbil was already chewing her way through the plastic bars. I slipped my hand under the side of the basket, but the gerbil bit my finger and dashed away.

This time the gerbil made the mistake of hiding in a shoebox that had gotten tipped on its side during our pursuit. I slapped the lid on the box, scooped up the box with the gerbil inside, and dropped her back through the open door of her cage.

I knew the gerbil belonged in her "Happy Hamster Home" with climbing tunnels, running wheel, and food and water dispensers. I knew there she was safe, comfortable, and always well-fed.

God knows where we belong and what is best.

When we stop running around in the dark and trust in him, he promises to take care of us and give us all we need.

When we try to outrun or hide from him, God pursues, until sooner or later, we get scooped up and placed exactly where we are meant to be.

How is God pursuing you today? Where is he telling you to stay and trust?

 

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At the edge of the parking lot, the women pitched rocks. The rocks arched up and over the fence, then dropped into the high grass of the empty lot on the other side.

The women threw the rocks to symbolize discarding the concerns that burdened them. I duplicated the activity at home to help get some clarity of my own.

Find two rocks and a permanent marker.

Check driveways, parks and flower beds for rocks. I found two rocks beside the sidewalk outside my front door. I found the marker in my desk drawer.

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On the first rock:

Write a word describing a trait you like about yourself. I wrote "compassion" because I care about sharing the life stories of the single moms I know.

On the second rock:

Write a word describing a trait you want to let go. I wrote "anger" because for years I have carried resentment and anger about experiences in my past.

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Keep the first rock as a reminder of the quality you want to encourage and preserve.

Take the second rock outside and throw it away. Pitch it into a field, a pond, a lake, a sewer grate.

Be careful not to hit people, windows, or passing cars.

Pray and ask God to help you release the burden you threw away with the second rock. Express your gratitude for the blessing you named on the first rock.

Walk away feeling lighter because some of the weight that was holding you back has now been left behind.

Everyone has a burden they want to throw away. Everyone has positive characteristics to be admired. Sometimes remembering the positive helps us forget the negative entirely.

Post a comment about your rock-throwing experience. What did you write on your rocks? How did you feel after throwing one away? How will you honor the quality you want to keep?

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The Lion thought he was a coward. He was frightened by spooks, winged monkeys, and the Wizard. But when called to complete a dangerous mission, the Lion found the strength to pull his friends up the mountainside, invade the castle, and rescue Dorothy.

I thought I would never finish college. I was afraid of completing financial aid paperwork, facing grade reports, and talking to other students. But I managed to pass one class, and then another, until five years later I finally finished my Bachelor's degree.

When I felt most insecure, I found my old Cowardly Lion doll and stood him on my dresser. Every time I saw him I was reminded to continue acting courageously, although I often felt fearful.

"True courage is facing danger when you are afraid." L. Frank Baum

Take One Step

The Lion traveled a yellow brick road lined with talking trees and poisonous poppies, but he kept moving forward. Continue putting one foot in front of the other despite your uncertainty, and you will be rewarded at the end of your journey.

Associate With Courageous People

The Lion had Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man to keep propelling him forward. Surround yourself with faithful friends who support and encourage you, and offer to give your help to others who need your encouragement.

Trust the Source of Your Strength

The Lion had the Wizard to award him the medal for bravery. Believe you have access to a source of power greater than yourself, and he is able to give you exceedingly, abundantly more than you ask or imagine.

Everyone can realize miraculous reserves of confidence and purpose. It takes answering the call and stepping forward in faith to truly discover how courageous we can be.

How do you find courage? Remember to comment and share your thoughts and ideas with others. You are always welcome here, and you are never alone.

Liz

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