Hey! It's Laura and I am so excited to have Amberly on the blog today. She is actually our first Friend Friday Vlog (that means video, in case you're technologically challenged like me)! Amberly and I met over ten years ago through our husbands and we were actually pregnant with our daughters at the same time too! I have watched as the Lord has totally turned their world upside down for His glory! Today she shares about how the Lord has called them into foster care.
You only get a six minute video today, but you MUST go follow their family at Growing Up Houser because you will want to know more about them! The Houser's let you into their crazy life with laughter, tears and complete transparency...that's what I love about them the most!
I am a mother, wife, and self-proclaimed hot mess. My husband Matt and I began our journey as foster parents in 2017. We currently parent 6 kids: 3 biological, and 3 foster siblings that we love dearly. By day, I am an elementary school teacher. By night, I drive kids to and from practices in my big blue bus while blaring Jesus music. Donuts are the way to my heart, followed closely by witty t-shirts and Bible journaling. I constantly pray that God will show me the front of the puzzle box but He just keeps handing me one piece at a time. Someday's I am thankful for that and other days I'm bitter. Jesus loves me anyway. I believe I can accomplish anything in a day with a cup of coffee, dry shampoo and fake lashes. This is the story of my life and what it's like to Grow Up Houser.
I remember when my first baby was about two weeks old. I had been thrust into this terrifying world of trying desperately to keep a tiny human being alive. I fell into bed at night, exhausted, but I woke up at every slight noise coming from my fragile little charge. I constantly worried that she couldn’t breathe or that she was in some kind of distress that I was too ignorant to recognize. Night and day were all one big blur of feedings and diaper changes and rocking and swaying and bouncing, with no real clue what I was doing.
Yet, even in those days of my body and mind being completely invaded by this pint-sized little soul, I remember I turned to my mother one day, my eyes half closed, my shirt covered in spit up, and said, Being a mother suits me to a T. I honestly felt like I had been wandering through life up until that point, just waiting for God’s big purpose for my life to fall into my lap. I decided it was motherhood.
It’s easy to see how I could think so. After all, the soul-deep love that God puts in a mother’s heart is powerful. It is consuming in a way that we didn’t understand was possible before we were already eaten up with it. It can overshadow a lot of things in life, especially in the early years. Motherhood is hard. It’s all at once beautiful and devastating in a million different ways. It brings things out in us that we didn’t know were there, both good and bad. And, it teaches us so much about God’s love for us.
A few days ago, I was in the dollar store, searching for cool prizes for our Wednesday night program at church. I was alone, as I often am these days, getting lots of things accomplished while all three of my kids were at school. It’s a new phase for me, and I’m still learning how to deal with the quiet. Suddenly, from across the store I heard the happy voice of a baby. He had obviously just learned his first word or two, and his mother was playing peek-a-boo with him. I could hear the sheer delight in his mother’s voice as she said again and again, Where’s mama? Every time she dropped her hands and revealed the sweet face that her baby knows and loves, he squealed, Mama! as if he had just won the world’s greatest prize. And right there in the middle of the toy aisle, surrounded by plastic snakes and miniature harmonicas, I felt my heart bust wide open at those sweet sounds that felt so familiar. I understood the absolute thrill that the young mother was getting in the dollar store on an ordinary Tuesday, when her baby showed in the way that only babies can, that he adores her to no end. And it broke my heart into a million pieces.
That’s not my life anymore.
Those days are gone. I don’t have babies. Adelade has traded in sippy cups for lip gloss. Sawyer, pacifiers for braces. Emerald gave up her blankie for a backpack. If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s how quickly phases of life come and go.
The thing about hindsight is that it tends to gloss over the realities of past experiences. It doesn’t remind you about the long nights sitting up with a sick baby, frantic over a too-high temperature. It doesn’t recall how much time it took you to accomplish anything at all while a little one was clinging to you all day and night. It doesn’t bring up the fact that you felt frustrated over your lack of social life, your lack of sleep, your lack of time with your husband, your lack of personal space. No, that precious hindsight only brings to mind the sweetest moments, the epiphanies about how wonderful motherhood is, the secret, sweet times that only you remember, like peek-a-boo in the dollar store on an otherwise hectic, unproductive weekday. This rosy memory-vision is one reason that grandmothers are so quick to approach a frazzled young mother in the grocery store to tell her to appreciate every moment.
I wanted to go over to speak to the young mother, too. I wanted to say to her, somehow, that I understand the soul-crushing love that she feels for her child. I wanted her to know that the moment she was having there was as familiar to me as the little country road that leads to my childhood home. I wanted to tell her that the thrill of hearing that tiny voice holler Mama will feel just a fresh and real to her twenty years from now. I wanted her to know that she doesn’t have to dread and fear the growing up of her precious little boy because motherhood is NOT the purpose of her life. It is an indescribable blessing. It is the source of endless joy. It is one way that God shows us how much we need Him, and it is one way that we learn to lay our lives down for someone else.
But, what we call motherhood–training and raising and caring for children–is fleeting, just like everything else. It doesn’t last forever, this phase of life. Children grow and they change and you grow and you change, and then they begin a new life out in this great big world. If, as I once believed, motherhood is the reason God made me, then what use am I when this phase of life is over?
It doesn’t mean that our hearts won’t still creak and crack and melt just a little when we remember what we once had. It doesn’t mean that what we’re doing here, in the wilds of motherhood, doesn’t have eternal significance. But, God’s purposes are big. Much bigger than we can imagine. The purpose of our lives is to glorify Him in all that we do, whether we are mothers or not. Whether we are in the thick of chasing toddlers everywhere or simply remembering those days, a little misty-eyed. God’s purposes don’t have dates of expiration. They don’t apply to only one section of our lives. And they certainly aren’t wrapped up solely in the too-short phases of mothering children.
I wanted to tell her all of these things, but I knew it was too much. Instead, I just walked past and smiled at her baby. The sweet young mother watched me, and when our eyes met, I nodded. She nodded back, and then I walked out the door, my hands empty, heart filled with the truth of God’s goodness in all the phases of life.
"No, I don't want children!" I declared to my shocked newlywed husband. Even though I had played with dolls and pretended to be a mommy as a young child, time had drastically changed my wanting a quiver full of children to wanting zilch, zero, none.
Time and counseling (ha) were followed by one, then two babies. Yet, as a new mommy, the days and many nights were painfully long. I lived for nap-time and bedtime just trying to sanely make it thru each day with little ones needing my. every. waking. second.
I loved the title of “Mommy” but I didn’t love being a mommy.
Looking back, I discerned that I had bought into the lies the evil one had whispered into my heart. These lies, while different from Eve’s, were just as deadly:
- children are a hindrance,
- they’ll keep me from climbing the job ladder,
- they’ll steal my life, etc. etc. etc.
These lies were sucking the joy out of my mommying.
I came to a crossroads during my third (surprise!) pregnancy. God showed me I was just surviving rather than thriving as a Momma. I realized it was essential to flush out the lies, and fill myself with the truth. I would have to reinvent myself and there was no better place, then in God’s life-giving Word.
“He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.” Psalm 113:9
“A joyful mother.” Webster’s dictionary defines joyful as: merry, glad, and showing joy. Ha! That didn’t describe me except at bedtime!
I was sleep-walking through one of the most amazing blessings God grants women: motherhood. This sleeper was tired of pushing the snooze button. It was time to wake up!
1. Choose Joyful Motherhood
“Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Even on the hard days, I chose to rejoice (be glad, be well, thrive) in the blessings of motherhood. My children needed me
2. Mimic Joyful Motherhood
Secondly, I looked around at those who were joyfully mothering. Proverbs 31:26 was my criteria, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Countless women were mommying well. So, I intentionally:
Takeaway: To thrive as a joyful mother, I changed my perception by watching, listening, and mimicking other joyful mothers.
3. Exemplify Joyful Motherhood.
I had to train my brain to fully immerse myself into each season my kiddos walked through.
- Thoroughly Enjoy - I found myself longing for different seasons, therefore I made myself choose to revel in my kiddos current season of life. I reminded myself on the hard days, “The days may be long but the years are truly short. Choose joy, Tammy!”
- Be Thankful - “In everything give thanks” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I remember crossing the floor from my bedroom to theirs for the tenth time one night, schooling myself, “Be thankful, Tammy. You are blessed to be their momma and to have to walk across this floor for the tenth time to tend to their needs.”
- Be Intentional - “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 This is my appointed time to be a momma. Therefore I told myself, “Be intentional, Tammy. Pour into them while there’s time. Put down your phone, look into their eyes, and just listen. The day is coming when they won’t be under your roof.”
Takeaway: To thrive as a joyful mother, I needed to “pay attention to my thoughts and purposefully focus my mind to lead to a great transformation!” (SOYB p. 67)
4. Champion Joyful Motherhood
Lastly, I now feel the call to champion joyful motherhood. Society bullies us to believe that the best mommies dress their kiddos in the latest trends, put them in the most activities, and take them on the best trips. But that’s just not true!
The world’s mommying standard is always changing, thoroughly exhausting, and a completely unattainable pursuit for mothering.
Rather, our hearts should allow the life-giving beauty of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs 31:10-31, & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 be our mommying standard.
We need to believe:
My 180 = Joyful Motherhood
God, in all His kindness, has transformed me into a joyful mother. Are there hard days? Absolutely! But I now see those hard days as bumps, rather than roadblocks.
I now strive to laugh with and enjoy the little and the big with my kiddos. In a blink of an eye, they will be driving off to the new adventure of adulthood, and all I’ll be left with are fading memories. By faith, may those memories be warm and full of contentment, because I chose to believe that I was given one of the greatest titles this side of glory, Momma, and I lived out that title joyfully.
How about you? If you're blessed with physical children (or grandchildren, or nieces/nephews), would they describe you as joyful? If not, what changes can you make to become more joy filled during this season of life? Who around you exemplifies joyful mothering? If you are joyfully living out this season of life, who can you come alongside and mentor? A sweet momma is out there longing for you to reach out to her and breath life into her. Do it, my friend! You both will be blessed.
Part 2: Rites of Passage
Last week was the eve of our daughter's tenth birthday and I talked about things that we do to help point her to Christ. If you missed it, you can read it here.
Teaching our kids how to manage life starts in our homes. We want to teach our kids the Biblical view, so when the world begins throwing it’s view at them, they will have a firm foundation to stand on. It’s scary raising kids in the world today. We want to encourage you to be intentional with your kids and point them to Christ. It's a scary world out there and our kids should find comfort, safety and direction in their homes.
My husband has a friend that began a ministry called Parent Ministry. It's a resource for Student Pastors to help engage parents in the Youth Ministry. Through him, we were introduced to the “Rites of Passage," and we knew we wanted to implement it with our own kids when the time was right. We feel ten years old is a big deal, so we decided to start this year! My husband and I feel it’s very important for our daughter to know that she is loved and supported by her entire family and there is NOTHING she can do that would ever make the Lord or us love her any less. Here is what the Rites of Passage looked like for our daughter's tenth birthday:
Rites of Passage
This year on our daughter's tenth birthday, she requested a “fancy” dinner. The planning began; She was most excited to choose the cake that her Maw would make, then dinner reservations were made, family invitations were sent, and all of the intricate details were chosen. She picked the fanciest dress out of her closet, proudly pulled out her gold heels, her hair adorned with curls, and we added a touch of makeup...because, well, she can be a girly girl and it’s her tenth birthday!
Ahead of time, I asked our family to choose a characteristic about her and a prayer/scripture to speak over her. It’s neat how all of this played out. As we were planning to make this a special night for her, she was planning as well. She wrote a speech and picked ten Scriptures to recite, one for each year. It was a beautiful night of our family encouraging her that she is loved, she is supported and she is prayed for.
We are creating a book with each family member's picture, prayer and scripture so our daughter can always go back and remember what was prayed over her on this day. We will continue the Rites of Passage at age thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, and marriage. Every year will look different since the season of life will be different.
There is not a textbook way to incorporate the Rites of Passage. It can be very simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. Every child is different and it needs to be suited to their personality. For instance, our daughter is a major extrovert and wanted a fancy dinner with lots of people present. Another child may not like big crowds, so you may do something for them completely different. Whatever it may be, being intentional on speaking truth to their heart, and making the big milestones important and memorable, that's the ultimate goal!
I want to leave you with Scriptures that we can pray over our children. There are so many, but I am just listing a few here. Include your child's name into the Scripture:
3 John 1:4 - "I have no greater joy than to hear that ________is walking in the truth."
Luke 2:52 - May _______increase in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 - "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to _________, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
By Faith She has written other blogs pertaining to raising kids to love the Lord. Be watching for more By Faith Kids Bible Studies coming soon too!
Raising Little Girls with Big Faith
By Faith Kids
May we walk well in the calling the Lord has placed upon our lives. To bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
Part 1: Creating a Biblical Foundation for our Kids
They say, “time flies when you are having fun,” but we really need it to slow down! Tomorrow, our girl, our first born turns ten years old...two handfuls!
From the day she was born, we prayed that she would come to know the Lord at a young age, that she would love Him with all of her heart, and that she would serve Him all her days. She gave her heart to Jesus when she was seven years old and she continues to grow in her knowledge of His Word, which allows her to know Him better in an intimate relationship.
We are living in an evil world that is doing all it can to capture our kids, we as parents must create a battle plan to fight back. On the eve of her tenth birthday, I want to share with you what we are doing in our home to intentionally point our daughter to Christ:
1. Hide His Word in Her Heart: Psalm 119:11 tells us to hide His Word in our hearts so that we may not sin against Him. We put a big emphasis on memorizing Scripture. Her daddy started this with her when she started Kindergarten. They memorize a verse a week as they are going to school in the mornings. She is always so proud at the end of the week to tell me what Scripture she has learned. There is no doubt that she knows more Scripture from memory than I do, so the Lord is using her now to challenge me to learn more.
2. Bible Study: We have always shown her the importance of getting in God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. With a daddy as a pastor and a mom that’s involved in Bible studies, she has seen us in the Word. It’s so important that your kids see you reading the Bible. Just this year, she started a Bible study during recess at her school! They meet every Wednesday and anyone is welcome to attend. Mommas, know that our kids are watching and observing our actions!
3. Missions/Giving Back: Missions and helping others is very important in our home. Here are a few ways that we teach our kids about giving back:
4. Sharing Christ: I have never seen a ten year old who is so bold in her faith and so burdened for her friends that don’t know Christ. I have watched with my own eyes as she has walked two of her friends through the plan of salvation and watched as they prayed to receive Christ as their Savior! She is so proud to invite her friends, teachers and even strangers to church. Just this week, one of her teachers visited our church and they said, “Your daughter invited me!” Y’all...she makes me want to be a better person! I want the boldness that she has!
We have prayed and sought direction from the Lord in our parenting. We sure do not always get it right and there are many times we are having to ask for forgiveness because our parenting choices are just not the best. We have not hit the teen years yet, so give it a few more years and I may be blogging asking for advice and wisdom on how to handle it! Ha! I love that we can learn from each other.
Seek out those that are steps ahead of you and that you respect their parenting and ask for their wisdom! Our kids are surrounded by amazing people that have poured into their lives, so next week I will be sharing with you about the "Rites of Passage" that we started on this milestone birthday.
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
This is my story of how I came to know Jesus as a child and then again as a woman. I would LOVE to hear yours! If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
You know those iconic small stain-glass windowed churches nestled in rolling hills? I was blessed to grow up in such a church in upstate New York. A myriad of memories flood my mind as I think back to my growing years in that church. Such memories as being baptized in a nearby very cold creek and yearly Easter sunrise services held in the back field followed by a yummy breakfast.
The most important memory, however, involves summer camp. Every summer the church members made sure we kids went off to church camp for a week. Amidst the greased pig contest and polar bear swimming club, my heart softened and permanently declared an eternal relationship with the Lover of my soul, Jesus.
I remember stepping outside that night after my decision to trust Jesus as my Savior. I looked up at the starry expanse spread like a canopy above me. I was overcome that the Creator of the starry realm loved me. Little ole me. I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music just singing and spinning with a soaring spirit. I was so filled with joy I could burst! I felt sure Jesus and I could conquer anything that came my way.
Years slowly slipped away and that night at camp became a definite but distant memory. My adult faith roller-coastered from joy-filled to joyless. Soon, my cup of joy was depleted. While I was active in my local church and wearing my joyful Jesus girl mask so skillfully, deep down I was miserable.
Miserable looks different for each of us but for me, it was as if a toddler had taken paint and splattered it over a beautiful masterpiece. There was splattered paint of anger, depression, and abusive and erratic behavior. I staggered from the high of Sunday morning worship to the deep valley of despair by Sunday afternoon. I was on and off anti-depressants and sleeping pills. My marriage was rocky, and my children trembled in fear at my sudden rage.
Something needed to change.
The joy I experienced that night years ago seemed so elusive now, possible for others but not for me. When I looked at much of what was wrong with my life - my marriage, my parenting, my friendships - I realized I was the common denominator. I had lost the joy of my salvation. I was the Titanic headed for the iceberg.
I needed to change.
I was in the midst of a Beth Moore study. I had always been in awe of her vibrant, radical faith and wanted it, but thought she was blessed with something special, something that was not obtainable for the average follower of Christ. But during one session, it finally clicked! Christ’s abundant life is a promise for all believers, including me!
The smoldering ember of my faith caught a flicker of air and started to burn!
Like a marathon runner, I began to train my flabby spiritual self hardcore. Instead of just a Sunday morning accessory, my Bible became my constant companion and lifeline. I asked the Lord, “Change me. I am willing to do whatever it takes to have the abundant life You promised in John 10:10.”
The Four Steps I Took to Turn My Titanic Self from Destruction:
1. Developed a Personal Bible Study Time
I was as inconsistent as an unreliable car with my quiet time. So, I determined to get up each morning before my family and spend time with the Lord. When my rebellious flesh wanted to stay in bed a little bit longer; I would pray Psalm 42:1-2,
“As the deer pants for the water, help me long for You.”
2. Studied and Applied God's Word
I dug deep into James 3:13-18 and into the Proverbs, like Proverbs 29:11, longing to be counted among the wise instead of the fool who is controlled by anger. My constant prayer was:
“Make me wise, Lord. Help my tongue speak words of life, not death. Allow my hands to be hands of healing, not hurting.”
3. Really Fell in Love with Jesus
I asked the Lord to help me fall deeply in love with and trust Jesus. With a renewed hunger, I studied the four gospels and every account of Jesus’s interaction with everyday people. With new eyes, I saw His love and compassion and miraculous healing of EVERY kind of sickness and disease. I prayed,
“Help my unbelief! Help me know you love me as deeply as those You walked with all those years ago."
4. Claimed Resurrection Power
I understood Christ's power to overcome death was available to me as a believer, yet I let that power lie dormant. I knew the only way to overcome my angry, depressed, abusive self was to pray Christ's death-defeating power over myself and my weaknesses. My steady prayer was:
"I'm weak and helpless to change myself. Lord, please help me believe Your resurrection power can save me from myself!”
And slowly, unlike the Titanic, I veered around the iceberg and started to feel a change in me.
- I started having joy which lasted longer than a worship service.
- I was experiencing peace that no pill or brownie or latest purchase could bring.
- I began to love being a wife and a momma and a friend.
I. Am. Changed! (Happy dance!)
Finally, I am experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10! All because the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is still available to us today! I just needed to receive it and believe it! Life has not become a bed of roses since my radical transformation. But now the joy of the Lord is my strength! His strength makes me strong where I am weak!
Just like that night long ago, the Creator of the starry host still loves little ole me. Just as important, Jesus and I CAN conquer anything that comes my way. When given the chance, I tell all who will listen,
"Jesus saves, not only from the literal hell, but also from the hell inside of ourselves!"
That is the victory of the empty tomb, my friend. That is the victory guaranteed to each person who humbles themselves, confesses their sin, and accepts Jesus as Lord.
Oh my friend, it's NOT too late! You are NOT too far gone! The victory of the empty tomb is possible for you, also. If He can save me from a Titanic-like existence, He can do the same for you!
May you believe it and walk and flourish in the power of Christ's empty tomb this Easter and beyond!
More hype. Less calm. More glitter. Less reflection. More decor. Less enjoyment. Round and round and round the hamster wheel goes. It seems to turn a little faster each Christmas, drawing us a little further from the true reason for the season, Jesus.
Yet, in the midst of the crazy haze of the holidays, a gentle example whispers life to us from the Christmas story. When she considered all that had unfolded surrounding the birth of Jesus, "Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." Luke 2:19
I've been on the hamster wheel. I get it. More was never enough. New quickly faded to old. Colors became "Oh, so last year." More time was spent trying to keep up with the world, while less time was spent pondering the miracles of the season.
Finally, I chose to jump off the wheel and adopt the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart) mentality. So I could breathe. So I could enjoy. So I could ponder. I’m glad I did. The older my Terrific Three become, the more I realize they crave tradition and a peaceful home more than the hustle and bustle the world portrays as happiness.
Few things picture Christmas joy more than a relaxed and joyful woman. Here are 7 calm, reflective, and peaceful traditions I employ to K.I.S.S. each Christmas:
1. The Reflection - On December 1st, I put aside the bible study I am working thru and pull out an advent book for my quiet time. I light a candle, snuggle under a warm blanket, and reach for the book and my Bible to reflect on the wonder of this season. Such a peaceful way to start my day before crazy kicks in. During the day, I enjoy listening to Christmas podcasts from Revive Our Hearts as I clean or bake or sit in the carpool line.
2. The Tree - To me, white Christmas lights radiated pureness and serenity. My children loved colored lights and pleaded for “pretty” lights. Sigh. I told myself “It is just a tree. "Pretty" lights are an “easy yes” in the parenting department, Tammy.” So, we compromised. I would wrap multiple white strands of bliss and add a few strands of color. They were delighted. I chose to delight in their delight. After all, they are just lights.
3. The Decorating - I used to change my Christmas decor each year. Crazy and costly! Now, I choose to reuse my decorations each year and tweak one area. 2 years ago, I let the kiddos pick the tree theme and color. Last year, we freshened the mantle. This year, the top of the piano received a new look. But everything else is the same just arranged a little differently. We crank the Christmas music and whip up some hot cocoa. We then decorate together, meaning I pretty much leave it the way they choose to decorate their given area. Beautiful memories are built with low stress.
4. The Gifts - For some reason, I felt the need to give my children a flurry of gifts each year. I realized this was filling something broken inside of me, rather than benefiting my children. Somewhere I heard the idea of 3 presents under the tree representing the three gifts the wise men blessed Jesus with whenever they arrived. I like it. It works. They’re satisfied. They still have stockings filled with little trinkets like Doritos and root beer. But the 3 gifts limit is one of the best ways I K.I.S.S. I'm more intentional in my gift giving, and my credit card bill is much lower!
5. The Focus - Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation, begins the first Sunday of December. I love the idea of daily Christmas readings with the family to focus on the Christ child. It's the perfect time to gently till the soil of their hearts. I tried several, but it seemed more of a hassle and a "check off the list" activity. That is until I discovered Focus on the Family’s advent readings. They offer low key, kid-driven, and last-minute momma friendly advent ideas. The kiddos choose the one they want to do each season. They then rotate each night who gathers the needed materials and leads the discussion. I.Love.It. We usually try to do it right after dinner or 30 minutes before bedtime. Rebecca posted about another sweet family advent idea which works for her family.
6. The Baking - Christmas always represented a flurry of baking, a mound of dishes, and added stress. A couple of years ago, I let go of the "from scratch" idea and purchased boxed cookie mixes, cake mixes, and refrigerated slice and bake cookies. And the angel choir sang, “Hallelujah!” SUCH a time saver, and I believe it’s cheaper in the long run. There are so many cute ideas out there to turn purchased mixes into Christmas confectionary wonders. Here and here are two sites to get your whisk stirring!
7. The Wisemen - When Elf on the Shelf became all the rage, my kiddos wanted in. I had already started my K.I.S.S. mentality, and it meant one more thing to plan and implement. Some people love the challenge, but it's not my strong suit. See #5. Also, one of my kiddos was struggling with anxiety and the idea of an elf watching their every move…nope. I have looked for alternatives and really like Laura’s idea involving the wisemen. After all, she’s created a download giving us 25 cards with a plan for each day! Just what this momma needs. I can’t wait to give it our own twist and start a new tradition.
Too soon, my kiddos will be out on their own, and I’ll be sitting in a too quiet house looking at my tree of only white lights. But maybe, just maybe, there will be a string of “pretty” lights entwined with those white lights. And I’ll have visions of joyful and serene Christmas memories dancing in my head. All because I chose to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart!) each Christmas.
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:2-3
How about you? How do you K.I.S.S each Christmas? I'd love to hear! Or are you overwhelmed with crazy chaos? Jump off the hamster wheel and join me on the comfy K.I.S.S. couch. You and your kiddos will be so glad you did!
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.