This Beautiful Inheritance

Monday, June 20, 2016

Be The Mom Who Teaches Giving

Saturday I let the girls host a lemonade stand in our front yard. It was something I had on our summer bucket list and was glad we were able to do it before Baby Brother arrives. The girls loved it. When I told them the day before I was thinking we could host one, they were ecstatic. They care nothing about the money the stand brings in but just love setting up and serving customers.

So beforehand I suggested we give the money to The Call, an Arkansas organization that supports families involved in foster care. They were all for it. No hesitation. We did something similar last time we set up a stand; we donated the money to our World Vision sponsored child. So the girls don't really know what it's like to rake in a lot of money for themselves anyway. I'm trying my best to train them to give. And that it can actually be fun to raise money for others. They were very proud to put on their sign and tell their customers they were donating the proceeds to a worthy cause.

Turns out, people are very generous when you tell them you're donating your profits. We made about $70. I plan to ask our local Call leaders what needs they have right now and then spend our money accordingly. Maybe we can buy diapers or clothes or some summer toys for families. We'll see. But I have to say, I was very proud of my girls' willingness to give the money away. They began asking questions and making suggestions and I believe were genuinely concerned about the kids the money would help. I love having the opportunity to have these conversations with them. They are not perfect girls but they have good hearts.

Our family doesn't have tons of extra money, but it's not hard to find small ways to teach kids about the importance of giving. My girls see us put a check in the offering each Sunday. They get letters from our sponsored child. We pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. And we do lemonade stands. :-) I don't say this at all to brag but hopefully to encourage you to get creative and find ways to teach your kids about giving too. The amount isn't really important. But the lesson and the motives are. So go ahead -- before this summer's over, set up your own lemonade stand for a worthy cause. Share with me when you do and hashtag #BeTheMom!

This is my third post in the "Be The Mom" series I'm doing this month with Amanda Farris. We're posting each Monday in June to encourage you to be the best mom you can this summer. Hop on over to her blog to read about being the mom who plans fun days with your family. If you've missed any of our posts so far, they were --

Be The Mom Who Plans Vacations me

Be The Mom That Eats a McDonald's Ice Cream Cone Amanda

Be The Mom Who Consecrates Downtime me

Be The Mom That Is The Right Kind of Busy Amanda

And be sure to comment! Every comment on our "Be The Mom" posts enters you to win the book "Be The Mom" by Tracey Eyster.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Be The Mom Who Consecrates Downtime

Often as moms, we pride ourselves on being busy. Our husbands call and ask what we're doing and we don't dare say, "nothing" or "just enjoying the kids." Instead we tell them how we just got done with the dishes and we're about to do the laundry and we need to run to the store but the kids are out of control. It's all a badge of honor to us.

I'm guilty of this very thing. But what if our badge of honor was being wise enough to slow down and sit on the floor and play Barbies? What if we took pride in having nothing on the agenda all day -- nowhere to go, no place to be -- so our kids could be bored and use their imaginations and just be kids?

I believe we need more of this in our modern motherhood culture. We need to reclaim downtime.

As moms, it's easy to get swept up in not just our daily household chores but in whisking our kids to every possible activity. Especially in the summertime. There are pools to be swam in, ballgames to be played, and playdates to be had. We go, go, go. And I like to go as much as the next person. (I told you last week how much I love little get-aways.) But I also love time at home with my kids, when it's just us and no one else. Because this is when they are shaped into the people they will become.

This is when they come up with games that involve Littlest Pet Shop characters and Play-doh and intricate surgeries.

This is when their meals are controlled and they're not eating fast food because we're on the go.

This is when they fight and yell and learn to make-up and say they're sorry.

This is when they ask questions and their mama is there to answer them.

And this is when their intake of media, language and environment is most appropriate because it's their house with their boundaries and safeguards.

This is the beauty of downtime.

Like I said, I love to go and do too. This week I hope to take my kids to the Splash Park with their cousin on a day other than the two I work. We moms have many obligations we can't help and others we simply enjoy. And that's fine. But if we are constantly away from home or even entertaining others in our home, our time to really shape and mold our own kids is limited. As my kids' mom, I want to be the number one influence in their lives (along with their daddy) who shapes their worldview, perceptions, and beliefs. But I can't do that if they spend more time out of my sphere of influence than within it. Are they spending more time with coaches, teachers, and teammates than their own family? Are they spending as many nights away at friends' houses as they are at home?  Are we so busy and going so much that we don't really have time to talk? If so, I believe we have a problem. We need to consecrate downtime.

I chose the word "consecrate" for this post because according to Oxford Dictionary, it means to make or declare something sacred or to dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose. And I really do believe it's that important, and sometimes that difficult. As Christian moms, we typically have no problem setting aside Sunday mornings for church (and often Sunday nights and Wednesdays too), but the idea of setting aside time to just BE at home with our kids is foreign. It almost feels lazy or like we're not giving our kids enough "fun." I challenge you to think about it differently. Think of downtime with your kids as one of the most important things you can give them because it's the time when your influence over them is the most heightened. It's a hidden gift opened slowly over time and not fully appreciated until the kids are all grown up. But what a worthwhile gift it will be.

This post is the second in my "Be The Mom" series running Mondays this month. I'm hosting the series with my pal, Amanda Farris, who today is writing about being the mom who's the right kind of busy. It's a little twist on my same topic discussed here. Be sure to hop over and read her post. If you missed last week's posts, I wrote about being the mom who plans vacations and she encouraged you to be the mom who eats a McDonald's ice cream cone. Leave a comment on any of our "Be The Mom" posts this month and you'll be entered to win the book "Be The Mom" by Tracey Eyster.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Be The Mom Who Plans Vacations

I think I get it from my mama. I like to go places. I am not kidding when I say about once a month I get the itch to go somewhere. Now of course, that doesn't always happen. But I have made a practice of regularly scheduling little get-aways for my family. Our "vacations" are typically one or two night outings (unless my mama plans and take us) and nothing fancy or extravagant. But that's not the point. The point is to go somewhere that is not our house and have new experiences and make memories as a family. It is always worth it!

I think some people avoid planning get-aways for their families because they don't have the time or money to plan something "big," like a week-long beach vacay. But that's why I've gotten quite comfortable with smaller trips. Honestly, with small children sometimes two days feels like a week! :-) Some examples of places we've gone are to Dallas (to stay with friends), camping at Heber, Buffalo River Log Cabins, Pine Cove mother/daughter retreat, and Branson multiple times. We always look for the cheapest hotel we can find (or free in a tent!) and we don't spend big money on activities. But we make memories and have flat tires and try new foods and get the four-wheeler stuck in the mud so daddy has to push it out and gets covered from head to toe. These are the experiences my kids still talk about all the time. They'll never forget the time they found a sucker in a candy store in Branson made with a real bug inside it. Or the time they tried to feed hamburgers to the cows grazing near our cabin (bless those poor cows' hearts). I might could have forgotten about these experiences, but they won't let me.

So I encourage you, Mama, plan a get-away for your family this summer! Unfortunately, we are tied down at the moment. Daddy started a new job and Mama is severely pregnant. But come fall, we'll go somewhere! Your trip can costs as much or as little as you want. You can even go camp in the woods! But the memories you create as a family become equity in your relationship with your kids. They'll remember them forever. And you can't put a price tag on that.

This post is my first in the "Be The Mom" series I'm doing with my friend, Amanda Farris, this month. Hop on over to her blog and find out why you should "Be The Mom Who Takes Her Kids to McDonald's for Ice Cream." We'll be hosting this series every Monday in June. Our hope is to encourage and challenge you to make the most of your "mom role" this summer. Leave a comment on any of our "Be The Mom" posts this month and you'll be entered to win the book "Be The Mom" by Tracey Eyster, one of the best mom books there ever was!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Moms, Don't Be Afraid to be Different

Last week I was working on a lesson for teen girls about "being comfortable with being uncomfortable." I wanted to teach them that if they're going to make right choices, they're often going to feel left out and different. That's ok.
But it occurred to me that this life lesson should start when our children are young, not teenagers.

I'm far from a perfect mama. There are so many things I don't get right. But I have already had a few instances where my girls have thrown at me: "But 'so-and-so' gets to do that!" And then I have to tell them that I am not 'so-and-so's' mama.

It would be so easy to give in and let my kids participate in whatever behavior it is. After all, at their young ages it's usually nothing horrible. And like most moms, I want my kids to be happy.
But then again, I tell myself that this is good for them. This is good for us. We all need to get comfortable, now, with being different. Until the day they leave home and hopefully after, there will be many times that I or their daddy or the Lord will require them to be different. How can I expect them to be "set apart" as teenagers if I don't set the stage now?
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think..." Romans 12:2
So mamas, don't be afraid to do that thing differently. Maybe it's not signing up for every sport or saying no to that movie or continuing naps past the expected age. I don't know! It's easy to go with the flow and parent the way everyone else does... but it's not necessarily wise. I believe we need to get our little ones comfortable with being different than their peers. May we train them well in the little things so one day they'll be bold, brave trailblazers for God's Kingdom. When that day comes, they'll thank us.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Importance of Prayer

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Prayer is something I've always struggled with. My mind often goes to the theological underpinnings of prayer... why do we do it? Do we actually change God's will? Is it more for us than Him? Honestly though, my theological questions are more excuses than anything. I don't pray as much as I should because I get lazy and distracted. Life gets in the way.

My girls are currently going through the devotional I Can Learn to Pray by Holly Hawkins Shivers. The book is divided into 52 weekly devotions that teach kids -- in language they can understand -- all the "theological underpinnings" of prayer. Why we do it, how we do it, when we should do it, and more. Needless to say, it's been as good for me as them.

And ironically enough, since starting this devotional with them, a friend of mine contacted me and a few others about reading through 31 Prayers for My Husband by Jennifer Smith. We are doing the daily prayers on our own and then meeting each week to talk and pray together.

God must be wanting to teach me something about prayer!

I don't know why I so often struggle to pray. Anytime I have fervently, consistently prayed for my husband (for example), I have seen God move. But then, like I said, I let things get in the way and I start slacking off. I am excited about friends holding me accountable to pray and excited to see what God will do in all of our marriages. And I am excited to continue learning the whats, whens and hows of prayer in my devotions with the kids. Sometimes doing kid devotions is so good for me... I, like many of you I'm sure, tend to over-analyze God and faith and scripture. Sometimes the simplicity of kids' devotions is just what I need. After all, the Word says we are to have faith like a child.

Something else I've noticed in my Bible reading lately... the apostles prayed. The writers of scripture prayed. If the disciples who walked with Jesus and Paul who was blinded and transformed by Him felt the strong need to pray, it must matter! Obviously there is purpose in it. Even if I'm never able to fully grasp whether my prayers are changing the will of God or if they're just changing me, I will pray because God's Word says to and the holy men He inspired to write scripture found it vital to their existence.

I am giving away one copy of I Can Learn to Pray to a lucky reader. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me any struggles or victories you have had in prayer. Then enter via Rafflecopter below. (Earn additional entries by following me on Twitter and visiting me on Facebook.)

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Hello Summer!

My, how I've waited for you!

I've realized recently that summer is indeed my favorite season. I used to say it was fall (and fall is GREAT), but something about being a mom in the summertime is extra special. It is sacred time for making memories with my kids, slowing down, and enjoying life. Even more so this year because my big girl has been in school all year, and now I'll finally have her home every day to enjoy!

She graduated from Kindergarten this week, and the whole thing was just so exciting. Only once does your first-born start and finish Kindergarten. I was so proud of the way she handled herself this year. She was brave and independent yet stayed kind and innocent. We were blessed with a wonderful first year and I'm so thankful. But I'm even more thankful for the arrival of summer and the more relaxed schedule it brings with it.

Suddenly I'm able to sleep in a little, read in the mornings, and make real breakfasts. This, of course, is temporary as I will be having a baby in a few short weeks! But I am enjoying it while I can. Eden lost her second tooth at breakfast Wednesday and the tooth fairy visited her that night. She and her sister came bouncing into my room about 7:15 Thursday morning excitedly showing me her two dollar bills. "That's great!" I told them. "But new rule: y'all are not allowed to wake Mommy up ever again until Ezra is born. I need to sleep while I can." They nodded in agreement (although I'll be shocked if that actually works), but it's worth a try. :-)

I already have a list of things I want the girls and I to do before baby brother gets here. My summer bucket list includes having a lemonade stand, going to the splash park, making homemade Play-doh and more. I love slow schedules and downtime, but I also want to make the most of our time before our schedule gets hijacked by baby ;-).

Also, I wanted to let y'all know that coming in June, I'll be hosting another "Be The Mom" summer series with ideas to challenge you in your "mom role" this summer. My friend Amanda Farris and I loved hosting this series together last year, and I hope it will be a blessing to you once again!

So tell me -- what's on your summer bucket list? How did your school year go? Are you as pumped as me it's over?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mom Meals {with #HummusMadeEasy}

I was hired by The Women Bloggers to participate in this #HummusMadeEasy campaign for Bush's Beans. All opinions are my own.

I love fixing and feeding healthy foods to my family. However, my girls (like many children) can be picky! There are many healthy foods they like, but there are also a lot they don't. As I've said before, I try to find a balance when preparing our meals. We usually manage by making sure I have at least one side I know they'll eat and one that may be just for me and their daddy. Still, there are some foods I know will never make it onto our table because they're not kid-friendly or hearty enough to fill up my husband. You know what I'm talking about -- they're "mom foods." They're the things we eat when at a "ladies luncheon" or a "brunch."

A few weeks ago my girls had a sleepover with two of their cousins. These four precious girls decided they wanted a tea party for supper. It sounded like an easy meal to me, so I fixed them turkey finger sandwiches, fruit, pretzels and popcorn, and tea in fancy cups. They were thrilled. Tyler was working that night which left me to realize I could fix myself whatever I wanted for supper! It would just be for me! I could eat Mom Food! :-) Of course I needed something fairly quick and easy so I could get back to monitoring the sleepover. So Hummus Made Easy it was! Hummus Made Easy from Bush's Beans is a new product available at Walmart that allows you to whip up delicious, homemade hummus in just a couple minutes. You simply empty a can of Bush beans into a food processor along with one of the Hummus Made Easy packets, blend them together, and voila! You're done.

I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was to make my own hummus. To eat with it, I made a mozzarella and pesto sandwich I found on Pinterest, with bread soaked in butter and parmesan. Yum! I thoroughly enjoyed my little Mommy meal in the kitchen while the kiddos ate and giggled in the dining room. Aren't they cute?

I have whipped up Hummus Made Easy spur-of-the-moment a couple more times since then. Pretty sure it's always been on Tuesdays when Eden was at school and Selah at Mother's Day Out! I've now tried all three varieties: Classic, Southwest Black Bean and Roasted Red Pepper. My favorite is definitely the Southwest Black Bean. I'm a sucker for anything with a little Mexican flare. Add a dollop of sour cream on top and it's especially delicious.


You can add toppings and mix-ins to any of the Hummus Made Easy flavors. I topped my classic hummus with some oregano and the roasted red pepper with paprika.

For some unknown reason my kids claim they don't like hummus. (To me this doesn't make sense because they love bean dip.) But oh well. They can keep their plain sandwiches and dry crackers and I'll keep enjoying my Mommy Meals. Maybe one day they'll figure out what they're missing.


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