Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Storybook Bible.

I just saw this BB Bible video today on the Focus on the Family website (Speaking of, if you have a chance to listen to Luis Palau, The Power of Faith to Change Your Life broadcast, DO IT.  You will NOT be sorry.  It has some extremely powerful messages.).

We adore The Berenstain Bears around here and I am extremely careful about what I "feed" my children's mind, I've talked about that here, and "ranted" a little here.  PS-My mom ended up buying us DVDs of Flipper after the show was cancelled.  Yay!  Thanks Amazon!

I just called Family Christian to hold me a copy so I can pick it up for Betsy for her birthday tomorrow.  I'll let you know how we like it.  (I'm confident we will!)

Speaking of the Bible, tomorrow:  A post on priorities and a reminder to tape this!  Watch trailer here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A lesson in contentment from my children...

For the past six summers we have vacationed at the same spot, our "summer house".

This past summer, as Justin and I people-watched on the beach, 8 months pregnant and him still sweating from our "set-up"...we got a case of what the Berenstain Bears call the "green-eyed gimmies".  What if our house was ON the beach?  What if we didn't have to LUG all of this STUFF out here?  What if we didn't have to pack a lunch and plan for the whole day out here?  What if we were at a beach with a lot LESS people and a lot more SPACE? (Although I do love me some people watching and where else would I have found my dream tattoo, a scripted "Forever Young".)  HOW are we going to do this with a 1 year old?! 

We said right then...Next year we are going to look for a new "summer house".

So, like Mr. and Mrs. Bird in The Best Nest, we started shopping rates.  The houses were on the beach...they were spacious...they would be much less crowded.  We would pay a little big deal, it's our yearly family vacation and we have room in our budget...We found the perfect one!  The kids will be SO excited! 

The next day, Justin tells Jay and I tell Betsy.  

That night Justin and I have a conversation about how surprised we were the kids reactions.  They were almost exactly the same.
"WHY are we going to a new place?"
"I like our old beach house better."
"Do we get to ride the golf cart to the beach?"
"Does it have a golf cart?"
"Does it have a pond?"
"What about the ducks and the turtles?!"

"I don't want to go to a new place.  I want to go to the one we ALWAYS go to."

And, as so often happens, our kids really spoke to us through their reactions.  They didn't NEED bigger...better...closer, and neither did we.

Our summer vacations with our family in our double wide "summer house" on a pond with a short golf cart ride to the big blue ocean are always the best week of our year.  They wanted those fabulous summer memories together EXACTLY like they remember them from the past six years.

Why do we feel the need for more?

Why aren't we content with what we have already?

Which brings me to another point.  Just because we COULD afford go to a different place doesn't mean we NEEDED to and it REALLY doesn't mean that the kids needed to.

Kids are SO good with contentment.  Then we, almost unintentionally, teach them to want MORE. 

-Currently, our kids talk regularly about how much they love our house and how they hope we live there forever.  They talk about how when they grow up they are going to buy a house down the street and come eat with us on Sundays (fingers crossed!). 

-The first thing Betsy said when she heard about the Father/Daughter Dance this year was "Oh yay!  I get to wear my rainbow dress again!  I HOPE it still fits!"  I virtually had to clasp my hand over my own mouth when the words "Oh, we will buy you a NEW dress for this year." almost busted out.

-They ask for just a FEW items at Christmas and Birthdays and we give them more than they could have ever imagined getting.

Just because we CAN buy something or do something for our children/families/selves, doesn't mean we SHOULD.

So we've booked, and this year will be our 7th year at our "summer house" and we are looking at it in a whole new light. 

-The kids will have fun meeting new friends like they always do on the crowded beach (You are so close, it is inevitable).

-They will get to remember their Daddy working really hard to get his family to the beach and they will see some real life lessons of conflict resolution :) .  Work before play!

-We will laugh, as we always do, about our incredible tent fort that we set up and take extreme pride in.  This year complete with a plastic baby pool for little Lu.

-JB and I will get lots of people watching opportunities where we will have lengthy, deep, conversations about tattoos and other things like, "How cool of a person do you have to be to get the right to name your child 'Maverick'?"

And instead of focusing on what we COULD have, we will focus on what we DO have.  A wonderful family beach vacation where every year our family gets a little bit bigger.  And we get new/old comforting memories of ducks, turtles, ice cream, golf cart rides, skee ball, the photo booth (a tight squeeze this year!), sandwiches on the beach, boogie boards, shells, etc. 

And we will be content.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." Philippians 4:11

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's okay.

So if the five people that read my blog are still with me after my dirty little secret I want to tell you that JB read that post this weekend in horror and wanted me to clarify that there are not poo piles and rotten apples littered through our house on a daily basis.  He wants to share that he knows I clean up after Stonie on a regular basis because he gets an extremely angry text from me as I'm cleaning it up and he wants the record to state that he throws away brown apples on a daily basis, so they aren't technically "rotten".  Whatever.

So Betsy turns 5 Friday.  Five is a biggie.  No more cute little concentration faces when she tries to hold up the right number of fingers.  It is a whole hand.  It means Kindergarten.  So that being said, I've been whining about her turning five a lot.  I keep saying to JB, "Can you BELIEVE she is FIVE?!"

I was talking to my mom the other day about it.  She is turning the big 6-0 this year and she is in shock.  She said she barely slept a wink a few nights ago because she was lying in bed racking her brain about WHERE the time went.  She said she was thinking of 50 and what she was doing at 50, how old we were and what my brother and I were up to...then at 40, then at 30.  You get the picture.  She was dazed about how fuzzy it all was and how FAST it had all happened.

So she's lamenting about a 30+ year period and here I am saying the same thing about FIVE...over and over.  It doesn't matter HOW much time is passing.  Time. Is. Passing.

I guess Bet has been listening to me whine because last night I was tucked in bed with her, my head on her pillow right beside hers.  We had just finished reading a book.  I hugged her and said, "Well, Bet.  Only a few more days til you are five."  She hugged me back and rubbed my back with her little hand.  "You are SO sad aren't you mommy.  It's going to be okay."  She keeps rubbing my back and kisses me on the forehead, just like I've comforted her so many times.

Oh, I want to remember this sweet moment with my 4-year-old, but I also remember feeling that EXACT same way back here about my 3 year-old.

The thing about it is, I'm going to not want to let go of ANY age, but it IS going to be okay.  I pray that God blesses me with MANY more milestones so that when I'm 60 I can stay up all night trying to remember them.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My DIRTY little secret.

Yesterday I was out and texted a friend that I was going to stop by to drop something off for her, "Was she home?".  She responded, "My house is nasty and I'm coloring when I should be cleaning."  This made me laugh.

So after I popped in and chatted with her for 10 minutes or so, then I was on my way.

Then I started thinking, dwelling, like I always do.  I thought back and whatever "nasty" is...I didn't see it. 

If someone offered me 1 million dollars I would not be able to tell you if I smelled any weird odors, if there were crumbs on her counters, if there were dishes by her sink, if her toilets were clean, if there were toys everywhere.  I'm serious.  I have absolutely no idea.

I saw her.  I saw her cute children.  I left knowing that she listened to me, because I was on a rant when I got there.  I left knowing that she was kind because she thought of me and gave me a few things for me and my kids as I left.

That got me thinking, dwelling, even more.  What kind of impression do I give?  If my house is clean when I have people over, do others think that it is always like that, and I'm judging them?

If someone "popped in" on me, would I be obsessing about what they don't even see? 

Here is my DIRTY little secret...and this may or may not make you want to "pop in" on me.  My house is RARELY clean.  If someone "popped in" on me most days:

-crumbs are all over the floor, tables, counters

-at LEAST 5 pairs of shoes are at the bottom of the stairs and scattered around other areas of the house where you are highly likely to trip on them (even though we have a designated shoe closet.  GOSH shoes are a BATTLE around here...)

-not a SINGLE throw pillow is on the couch (because my children have a strange obsession with throwing them on the floor)

-the art table is a disaster of cut paper, glue and several rotten apples (they don't show you the rotten apples in PB catalogs) (these rotten apples may not only be at the art table, but in other very odd places around the house where only a child would lay down an apple...and they may not be found for days...)

-there is a VERY large mountain of mail on the counter

-at LEAST 15 items are by the sink, including no less than 5 dirty baby bottles

-EVERYTHING has tiny-children-hand-and-finger-smudges...the walls, the light switches, the windows, the mirrors, the sinks, the doorknobs, the counters...

-PILES everywhere.  Clothes piles, mail piles, shoe piles, pillow piles... You get the picture.

-my stove top has globs of black stuff on it.  (I starting cooking something the other day and smoke was coming off of it and I seriously thought it was going to catch on fire.)

-a faint (or strong) smell of urine or poop because our dog is old and has at least one accident per day (or Jay has missed the toilet target...again...even though he has had 3.5 years of practice)

-my bathrooms are as dirty as a truck stop (not a nice truck stop...the kind that you stop at when you are in the middle of nowhere, one with no posted cleaning schedule, one you leave thinking you may have contracted a disease)

And that is JUST downstairs.

You don't believe me, just ask my husband...or my college roommate...

He teases me when I'm in the middle of a "people are coming to my house" psycho clean that, "Wow, we REALLY need to have people over more often."

Yesterday taught me that they are not seeing what I see in my own home.  They are not judging me.

When I have people over, I get crazy.  If I have a 30 minute warning I can do A LOT, and it is unbelievable what BEFORE and AFTER can happen in 2 hours. (I should be on a reality TV show.)  When the pressure is on I'm a bit "Martha".  I FREAK.  If some one popped by and saw what I mentioned above I would apologize over and over and make excuses and point out things that they didn't even notice, when I should be listening, when I should be being a friend, when I should be being "Mary". 

That's the truth, there I said it.  So friends, if I go in your home and it is not up to your expectations.  Don't worry about me judging, or even noticing.  Just hand me a crayon,  I'm feeling right at home.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Focus App...

I've shared about this app before, but I feel compelled to share again.

The Focus on the Family Broadcast app enriches my day SO much and these last couple weeks, the broadcasts have been SO good.  I listen when I'm out driving to an inspection...or driving to pick up the kids...or doing chores around the house.  They make me think.  They make me better.  A better wife.  A better mother.  I find myself jotting down SO many great quotes, notes and thoughts.

Today and tomorrow are Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 ministries.  A few months ago I participated in a small group and we read/discussed her book Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl.  I LOVED this book.  It made me laugh out loud SO many times.  It was so relate-able!  In her broadcast today (Handling Your Emotions) she shares an exact "explosion moment" that I shared back here.

Yesterday was Ann Kiemel.  She has an incredible story about the loss and pain she experienced when trying to have children.  Miscarriage after miscarriage until finally God sent her children to her through the gift of adoption.  I SOBBED for her and her empty nursery (I don't recommend listening to this one in your I did...).  I thanked God that my children came to me so easily.  Her story makes me think of my own sweet Betsy and how much she talks now about wanting to be a Mommy.  She LOVES babies SO much.  I think of how sad it would be if she was unable to have children.  It doesn't seem creepy anymore to me when I hear of a mother carrying a baby for her daughter, because if it came to that, I would do that for her.

Last Thursday and Friday was a Zig Ziglar segment that talked about Keeping Romance in Your Marriage.  I loved his analogy about not letting the devil "get a toe in".

Last Monday was Dr. Kevin Leman.  I REALLY like him.  He and John Rosemond have very similar no-nonsense parenting views.  One thing I took away from his recent broadcast was "If your children think they are the center of the universe, then where does that leave room for Almighty God?"  Wow.  Isn't that the truth!

Do you listen to these pod casts too?  If so, what has been the one that has impacted you?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lil' scoot is scootin'...

 She's busy like her sister, but looks a TAD like her brother.


The Captain's Daughter (A Poem.)

July 2011
We were crowded in the cabin,
Not a soul would dare to sleep,
It was midnight on the waters,
And a storm was on the deep.

"Tis a fearful thing in winter
To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,
For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring
And the breakers talked with Death.

As thus we sat in darkness,
Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted
As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God, upon the ocean,
Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden.
And we spoke in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbour
When the morn was shining clear.

James T. Fields
(From the book: Poems Every Child Should Know)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rub 'n Buff (Take 2).

Sidebar:  After spending less than $500 Cammie is back up and running!  Yay!  Turns out she just wanted a little attention. we come!  One of my many nicknames from JB is "hotrod" and I thought I'd really done a number on her due to my "hot" foot, but the mechanic actually said that she was looking REALLY good for a car with 175k miles (Gold Star!).  When I told my parents this, they were shocked and we had to explain that he meant under the hood, NOT the interior.  #immessy #mythreekidsaremessy #nofoodinthecarrulesneverlast #myparentsarenotmessy (I know that hashtags don't have a point here, but I just love 'em.)  

So after figuring out that Rub 'n Buff was really easy, I found this HUGE mirror at a yard sale for $20 and saw BIG possibility.

Before. (You can see where I have started a little bit on the left.)

Before.  She's lookin' rough.

After reading reviews online I used my fingers to do the rubbin'.  Proof that you can do this project a few weeks postpartum, in your bedroom floor, in a skirt, barefoot.

Side-by-Side Before and After

After.  What?!  Is this the same mirror?!

The reveal. Our dresser is BIG (and rarely this clean).  She's a perfect fit!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blog colored glasses (Part 2)

So a tasty Valentine's dinner with these two ruffians (in "comfy" attire)...

and "heart" cookies that turned out like big blobs:

What was my one "blog moment" of the day?  Well, let's slip these "glasses" back on...

On our way back home Thursday, Cammie's dry-heaves turned into straight up convulsions.  There was a bad wreck earlier in the day and traffic was terrible all over town.  In the stop and go traffic, I really was concerned we were not going to make it home.  

I told the kids, "Okay, we have GOT to pray right now.  Dear God, PLEASE help us make it home safe.  Please help Cammie make it to our house without wrecking or breaking down on the side of the road.  Amen."

We make it home and I hop out of the car and start gathering all of our stuff up and Jay is sitting still.  Head down. 

"Jay, come on, let's get out...What are you doing?" 

"Mommy, we asked God to help us home and He did.  I'm thanking Him."

Wow.  ROCK my world little man.

That got me often I fall short here.  I'll start my morning in prayer for God to help me make it through the day.  I'll pray throughout the day for pretty much every one of the Fruits of the Spirit in no particular order, but a LOT of love, patience and the biggie SELF CONTROL...but when, by His help, He comes through for me and I make it through the day without physically, mentally or verbally harming anyone...Do I remember to THANK him?

Etsy: Prints by Christine

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blog colored glasses.

The danger in posting PRIOR to an event is that then you really notice that things aren't going the way that you pictured...and let's be honest...things don't EVER go as smoothly as you envision in your head.

So yesterday didn' t go quite as planned.  Betsy was home sick (Day 2, cold has morphed into pink eye) and she was driving me bonkers talking too much and touching EVERYTHING and EVERYONE with her infected fingers.  Of course I'm thinking, "I am so glad she's at school for half a day...because if didn't have my morning "breaks" (working!) then I would be an AWFUL mother."  Then I think how, "Maybe I AM an AWFUL mother just for thinking that?"...but it is true.  Guilt!

Justin texts me that we got our tax refund back and we will be able to pay off his truck.  YAY!  LITERALLY an hour later I'm headed out with a headache and three littles in the back doing something loud and Cammie (my Camry) is doing something that resembles a dry-heave.  Haven't heard back from the shop yet, but I have a feeling that it's not good.  It's like she was waiting for the truck to be paid off before she thoughtful of her, but we were planning on not having a payment for a couple years...This does not make us happy.

Get home and the kids are STARVING (they say), yet jacked up on Valentine candy...seems an oxymoron.  JB gets home and he's not feeling well now too.  The table is set special.  He says it nicely, but states that he doesn't feel like dressing up for a dinner in his own follow suit.  So that's that. 

My mom sent the kids an "open the card and a LOUD song plays".  It is "Lollipop, Lollipop, oh la la Lollipop".  Which they LOVE, but JB and I are obviously not in the mood for.  At one point JB says, "Betsy, if that card opens ONE more time you are eating in your room alone."  I back him up emphatically.

When the kids open their Valentine's treats I hear Betsy quietly say, "Is this ALL we get?".  I ignore it because I know that if I REALLY just heard that then I would have to march her to the children's shelter and have her hand over her loot (kicking and screaming) and I just don't have the energy for it.  You feeling the LOVE?

When I am looking at my world through "blog colored glasses" I've decided that I'm pretty much picking the ONE thing during a certain day that I pulled off.  My house may look like a bomb went kids are eating take-out chicken sibling just slapped another...and Lucy just had a near death experience because (you fill in the blank) but dang-it we did a "Heart Attack" and it was FUN!  You get the picture.

But that is just it.  That is our life as moms.  We get through the muck of our day and at the end we can sleep a little better if we just have ONE moment that makes us feel validated.

My ONE moment from yesterday's train wreck to follow...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Family LOVE Month.

**I get SO much encouragement from other mom-blogs!  I'm thrilled when I get ideas from them and they work in our home.  I hope that when I share ideas from our home, you feel the same way!**

When I saw this post on Family LOVE at POM I loved it!  I figured that with our Family Motto, February should be one of our favorite months!

Since I'm on a budget (more on that later) we have gotten creative.  

With nothing more than construction paper, painters tape, Dollar Tree items (including our class Valentines...Can I just say that I LOVE the Dollar Tree?!) and $1 Whitman Samplers from Target, we have really been spreading some love.

An English Muffin and a cookie cutter:  Instant "Love Muffin"!

A sharpie and a napkin:  Instant lunchbox love note!

We shopped our closet today for red and "heart" items to wear.  Jay picked a red collared shirt, Bet picked heart tights and Lucy had this adorable hand-me-down sweater (Thanks April!).

We did a Heart Attack one night:  Write one thing you love about everyone in the family (including Stoney and yourself).

Jay's compliment to himself.

Sweet message from Bet for me.  This one is definitely a keeper for me to look at when we are butting heads!
Love Messages (on our wall, in the mail, to our classmates):


 A few LOVE movies (Tonight we are watching Charlotte's Web.) and LOVE books off our bookshelves (Giving Tree, Love You Forever, etc.).  ...Pretty much any movie/book that makes you cry/FEEL something...

Snoopy Whitman's and suckers for pretty much everyone we see today.  My grandpa used to always give us Snoopy Whitman's...they always make me think of him.  Jay insisted that I go back and get more when I didn't have enough for all his related arts teachers and the bus driver...I did because I was SO thankful he was thinking of others.  After just a month and a half of "Be Kind" I feel like I'm getting somewhere with him...he can be SO selfish.

Father/Daughter Date.

LOVE verses.

Tonight we are going to have a special Love Feast and get all dressed up for a dinner of our favorite foods.  It's a meal we have often (minus the cookies), but now that I've talked it up, it has really become special.

JB-Bacon wrapped sirloins
Jay-Balsalmic asparagus
Betsy-Noodles with Parmesan Cheese and sprinkles
Mommy-Iced sugar cookies with Red Hot icing (I'm using icing from a jar.)

Why stop with Valentines Day when we can keep this lovin' going on all lunch dates, random acts of kindness, etc.  I showed the kids this video from LBB and they loved it!  Thought I'd pass it on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rub 'n Buff Reveal

Part 1 HERE.

So I just realized that I gave a little Rub 'n Buff tease, but never showed the finished product. (Pretty typical since I have a zillion unfinished things going on around here...but since I DID finish it, I thought I might as well share!)

I love how she turned out.  With WAY more patience than me to do it right with a zillion mom is my go-to for paint projects.  She painted this with a spackle paint.  The intention was for the wood to show through, but I initially picked a color way too light, so the light color is coming through the final color.

I had the hardest time getting the green just right (I used samples and went through three samples...three trips to HD. Ugh!)

I am ALL about a paint color name.  My house has LOTS of color and I can go room by room and remember my paint color names.  My friend Tara will appreciate this one since she shares our LOVE for a good pickle...when I picked up "Dill Pickle" I KNEW I'd finally gotten it right. 

Another finished Rub 'n Buff reveal post soon!  A thrifted mirror!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


You could buy a fancy teether


give her a cake topper from a past birthday to chew on.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost

Your mom is coming to pick you up from school/preschool/bus-stop.  You have been apart all morning and you missed her terribly.  All the other kids moms have been showing up and you are so excited for YOURS to get there...You have so MUCH to tell her about your day!  When you see her, she is:

A.  On her phone, texting or chatting with another parent.
B.  NOT on her phone, texting or chatting with other parent.

A.  Your mom doesn't even meet your eyes.  Doesn't she miss you like you have missed her?  You are hugging her leg and trying to talk to her about your day and she is just giving you one word answers and telling you to be quiet.  It makes you feel sad.  You want her to just LOOK at you and you want it BAD.  You start to do something REALLY loud and annoying so she will notice you.  Now you are in trouble and she is scolding you.  You feel MAD.  You decide you will spend the afternoon trying to get her to NOTICE you, whether it gets you into trouble or not!

B.  Your mom meets your eyes and she smiles like she hasn't seen you in a MONTH.  She bends down to your level with her arms WIDE open.  She says "Hey!  I MISSED you today!"  You run into her arms and she gives you a BIG bear hug and kisses you on your cheeks.  You feel so loved.  You hold her hand on the way home and you tell her ALL about your day.  Your afternoon continues to run smoothly because it got off to a GREAT start!

Choose to Love.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Violet...

Etsy: Sue Davis Studio

Down in a green and shady bed, 
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colour bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.
Yet thus it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let Me Hold You Longer...

Etsy:  Sarah Jane Studios
This past weekend I went to a baby shower where the host read "Let Me Hold You Longer", a sweet book about encouraging parents to savor not only their children's "firsts", but the "lasts" as well.  It was incredibly moving.  With Lucy I feel like I'm gripping to her "lasts" like a mad-woman;  Her last feeding in the middle of the night, her last 1 diaper, her last bottle I hold (before her tiny hands pry it away from me), etc.

In my attention to Lucy, I realized a "last" for Jay had happened right under my nose.  

My friend Shannon had warned me about it.  Like Jay, her boys love to read and she was telling me one day months ago how strange and bittersweet it is when they start reading in their heads...another step closer to their world and yours separating.  Since then I have asked him several times..."Can you read in your head?"...His reply, "No.  I can't do that."

Jay had early release on Wednesday.  He and I LOVE these is just the two of us for a few precious hours before we have to get the girls.  Sweet one-on-one time with my little.  Before we ate lunch together, I was finishing up some work while he did his homework and the house was SO quiet.  Without all the other distractions, I noticed that I was missing a little voice coming from Jay's room.

I spun eyes open wide.  I burst in his room.  "Are you reading in your head?!"...He replies like it is no big it has been happening for quite some time..."Yes.  I can do that now."

In a house with loads of commotion a "last" happened for my first born...and, as it is so easy to do with the "lasts", I missed it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be Ye Kind.

**I get SO much encouragement from other mom-blogs!  I'm thrilled when I get ideas from them and they work in our home.  I hope that when I share ideas from our home, you feel the same way!**

Many of the blogs I read take a "word" or a "phrase" for the year.  I love the simplicity of it, so for 2013 our "phrase" is "BE KIND".  It goes along well with our "Family Motto".  During Christmas I had gotten SO fed up with the "Green-eyed Gimmies" I was completely disgusted and felt like I was failing to teach my children to think of others.

As I have written before, kids just love things when you get all fancy-pants and make a big deal about them.  A jacket with butterflies on it is transformed when a certain little girl is called "Our Lady of the Butterflies" when she wears it.  A double-wide where we spend a week each summer is a bit more magical when called "Our Summer Home".  So in the spirit of it all, I have really taken "Be Kind" and run with it.

I had a big "Family Meeting" about the phrase and

The Wheatfield

...ordered this print for the living room.

I know the Bible says that if you tell others about kind deeds then they don't really "count", but I like to think that he gives us a little wiggle room when we are teaching children.  Children are NOT born kind...they need lots of help!  They need examples of what it means to be kind.  They need confessions from us about times when we have not been kind and we are sorry. 

We are ALL born so selfish and we have to suppress selfishness our whole lives.  Sharing out loud is teaching them so much about what kind "looks like".  We have had some great discussions about what kindness is.  Basically something that you don't HAVE to do, and something you have not been ASKED to do, but you do because you know it would make someone feel loved.

So in the month of January we began sharing each night at supper one kind thing we did each day...Outside The Home.  We talked about how we do our best recognize and practice kind acts within our home so we can take kindness out into the world!  The incentive was candy (A Hershey Kiss...and now two Skittles), of course - I always find candy to be a fabulous incentive.

I want to share with y'all how amazing this "phrase" business has been after just one month!  What I love is that once I got the ball rolling, they have run with it.

-The second we are all at the table, after the blessing, they are SO excited to share what they have done kind that day...and hear our examples.  It has really changed our whole dinner focus.

-Betsy suggested a couple weeks in.  "How about we do two things kind for a Kiss?...Sure!

-Jay suggested that we write our kindness acts down and see if we can get to 100 and when we get to 100 we can do a fun family activity...Sure!

So already our goals have grown and right before my eyes my children...actually all of us...are changing our "mirrors" to "windows" and seeing the world differently.