Things that kicked us into turbo this past month:
1. a month long meal plan... this really, really helped me! No guess work at each meal, every day. I was excited to serve different and nutritious things to our kids and they seemed to enjoy eating it (most of it, anyway). Another bonus to having meals planned in advance was that it made having people into our home for dinner THAT MUCH MORE DO-ABLE. What a mutual blessing that's been for guest and host alike.
Jack, enjoying a fruit smoothie (loaded with a secret weapon: spinach!)
2. offering more educational opportunities to our kids. A 10 cent pencil has gone a loooooooong way in providing entertainment for Camille. That and a tablet and taking the time to teach her the letters of the alphabet. Puzzles, threading, creating books, play dough... their grins are tremendous when they achieve some new skill. Having these educational toys available (instead of hidden tidily away in a cupboard has (sigh, for this simplicity-loving heart) made our home more "full" (read: cluttered), but way more fun.
3. Like most of you, I want our kids to remember our home as being one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. And full of forgiveness when not! These are what the Bible call the "fruit of the Spirit" (see Galatians 5:16 and following). This is what God produces in our lives as we live by Him. Before these can be characteristic of our home, these need to be characteristic of ME! I have been enjoying going to Him - WITH MY CHILDREN - and looking at one aspect of this fruit each week.
4. We're filling our home with songs! Fun songs here and there, but also songs that are true and catchy and GOOD from scripture. Like Steve Green's Hide em in your Heart. Like Teach me while my heart is Tender by Judy Rogers (thank you, Kari, for sharing this!) Like tuning into Word of Truth radio - which plays endless instrumental and ad-free hymns! So good, so encouraging, so easy in our busy and noise-filled home!
5. We're reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible at night together as a family, praying, and singing a hymn.
6. deliberately learning new things. Days of the week. Months of the year. Verses of scripture. We take some time each morning to talk through these things. It's required some planning up front on my part, but hearing Camille say, "Mom, what are we doing after nap time?" or "Mom, can you teach me a new letter today?" or "Dad, look what we did today!!" has been fabulous.
Thanks to Aunt Memaw for these blankets... aka: cozy, comfy "school" mats.
8. God's brought a couple of encouraging women into my life through the internet! Women who love their husbands and children. Women who believe that their is MUCH to be said for the value of the home. I've visited here and here, and over here. I invite you, too.
PS- Can I be honest with you? Some days, if I read a post like this, I would likely get overwhelmed and discouraged by someone else's progress, seeing only my lag behind. If you're like me, may I encourage you in the One who is underlying and overseeing all this? He gets the praise, not a pattern or a program or any one of these 7 things I've written about today. The point of this posts is that He is the COUNSELOR. He is the one who can counsel you and me specifically for our situations with our individual children. You can go to Him and He will guide you, too, with very specific things that are important for you and your children. One thing I'm learning is that copying someone else may be the EXACT opposite of what God wants for you. There's no faith in looking to others. In copying them. (even good, godly people.) He is PLEASED by our faith in Him (Heb. 11:6). Go to Him. Seek Him. Follow His lead. He will engineer His plans and energize your day.