Category Archives: home

My Husband is The World’s Most Ridiculous Dad

flashback friday

In 2005, we had the privilege of having four, yes  four, count them, teenagers in our house at one time. We thought it would be cool having  six kids close in age so they’d  be friends.  Even if we’d done the math and calculated we’d have teenagers for almost 20 years in a row, two or more teens the majority of those years, we wouldn’t have changed anything. We just might have prepared ourselves a little more for the changes ahead.

When the girls outgrew wearing  Mommy-chosen clothes and wanted to express their own personalities with clothes that were actually in style, it was painful for both sides of the generation gap. Those years of adorable matching outfits sewn by Mommy were definitely over. They had to  wean Mommy from her expectation that her daughters would love her 80’s high-waisted, put-your-socks-on-first jeans.

Daddy, who loved his lovely daughters, but didn’t want the boys to notice how lovely they were,  squawked like a good Daddy about their clothes.  He would have preferred black garbage bags or burlap sacks, because his daughters were his treasures – treasures he wanted to keep buried.

After several discussions, we came to a family understanding.  We didn’t want set rules, because rules stir up theRomans 7 desire to break the rules. We didn’t demand  denim skirts and tennis shoes, but we didn’t want them to dress like Hollywood starlets.   We came up with guidelines. Their clothes had to pass a few inspectors along the way.

1.  The Lord – were they God-honoring?  We tried to instill in our daughters that as Christians they  belong to Him and their life decisions should reflect that. We gave them to opportunity to make wise decisions based on their own faith and conscience.

2. The parents – could we stand their choices?  We didn’t have to like their clothes, but we couldn’t hate them. We gave them leeway  to choose and relieved them from the expectation of looking like us. However, if their conscience didn’t guide them enough, we had veto power.

Daddy’s wisdom in discussing  until we came up with guidelines that pleased everyone paved the way for an easier transition into those years of raising  teenagers. We were encouraged to see the tasteful, stylish clothes the girls chose in their freedom.  They were so good, they started picking out my clothes and providing guidelines for clothes that are flattering  and appropriate for my age. I dressed them when they were young, now they return the favor. 

In 2005, several years after the monumental Introduction of Modern Styles into our household,  Daddy still wasn’t convinced about  low-rider jeans. Usually a seriously minded Office kinda’ guy, the hubbster is known for having occasional outlandish moments that the kids talk about for years and years.

The kids laugh themselves breathless then exclaim, “Oh, Dad, you’re SO ridiculous!”

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This was one of those moments.

He decided to prove how ridiculous low-riders were by trying on our oldest daughter’s jeans.

In front of the whole family.

On Thanksgiving Day.

Not knowing someday I’d be a blogger and reveal all.

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After tugging and pulling and giggling, he got them up this far. (Maybe hubby was  the style inspiration for  teenage boys?)

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Like today’s teenage boys, he found they had to be peeled off.

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But, he wasn’t young and agile, he was an old man losing his balance.  He  humbly begged for help so he wouldn’t fall and break a hip.

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My early digital camera was poor quality, but the blur proves we were busting a gut.

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Toddler Baby can’t figure out why Daddy needs help.  She doesn’t need help.   She dresses and undresses all. by. herself.

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Maybe Toddler Baby is wondering if she should hide her clothes from daddy.  Maybe she’s wondering if he’s going to try on her clothes when she’s a teenager.
Maybe she’s wondering if she even wants to become a teenager.

This episode only proved one thing  – it wasn’t the jeans that were ridiculous.

My children have always declared they have The World’s Most Ridiculous Dad. 

As they mature,  they peel off the memories of their Dad’s ridiculousness and see his wisdom underneath. It’s then they finally understand how treasured they are.

Making your home sing Mondays

My New Breakfast of Champions

 

Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A healthy breakfast starts the day out right and prevents that mid-morning slump. Since 1933, General Mills has promised that eating a healthy  breakfast can make you a Champion.  Their slogan inspires and sells.

As parents, we’ve repeated this expert opinion and bought those cereals. We’ve given the breakfast lecture repeatedly and freely advise how to make this a lifestyle commitment.

 

    • Get up early enough to allow time to eat.
    • Keep breakfast food on hand so you’re prepared.
    • Choose simple breakfast options so you’ll follow through.

 

We need to set a good example.  We need to fill up in the morning so we have the energy and ability to carry on until noon. A hungry mommy can be a crabby mommy.  Along with traditional healthy breakfast options, I keep my pantry stocked with dried fruits and nuts. I’ve tried a variety of breakfast casseroles, quick breads and instant options. There’s always a quest to make a healthy breakfast faster.

 

 

After friends visited Colombia and brought me a present, I have my new favorite ethnic breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast of Champions

 

This is MY favorite Breakfast of Champions, what’s yours?

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration is a movement of soul, a force that brings change, strength, creativity, or peace.

Inspiration wakens the tired mom  for the third time during the night with love.

Inspiration strengthens and encourages the cancer patient through treatment.

Inspiration  commutes with the desk jockey to impact business day, after day, after day,  with tenacity and integrity.

Inspiration  discovers, conquers, creates, and invents.

Inspiration survives, endures, embraces, and forgives.

Inspiration  keeps us going

No

     Matter

           What.

Inspiration doesn’t merely breathe, it inhales and savors. It embraces and creates moments, it doesn’t only endure them.

Inspiration draws from the spiritual, mental and physical sources to cope with life’s joys and sorrows. It isn’t only for artists, it fills a simple, ordinary life with artistry.

When inspiration fails, we drudge along life’s obligatory path without passion for the work of our heart and hands.

Life without inspiration is a dark, dreary world, with a colorless rainbow and songless birds. They’re vague images and sounds, instead of touch points to the soul that press you on toward an abundant life.

You don’t live without inspiration, you exist.

Where does inspiration come from?

Family   Nobody loves you like family. It goes without saying that nobody drives you crazy like family, but underneath family drama is often a deep-rooted, comfortable love. Sitting and sipping coffee with my parents and siblings is a ritual that calms my heart and strengthens me anew.

Friends   One of our greatest needs is a secret-keeping friend. You can always find someone to shop with, but rare is a heart and soul friendship where trust allows you to hold nothing back.

Inspiration with person

Fresh Air    More than filling your lungs with scientifically needed oxygen, we need the source, whether you climb a mountain or watch leaves fall.  Stop and smell the roses isn’t just a cool line from a country song. Creation stirs up creativity and hope, even in a small dose.

Fun    I didn’t think being a grown-up would be so hard.  I pictured staying up late and eating my desert first, not paying bills, worrying and working.   Kids have fun, grown-ups remind themselves to have fun.  Play a game.  Swing. Declare a Nerf gun war.  Ride your grocery cart to the car.  (It’s fun!  Just don’t crash.) When laughter loosens your tightly wound rubber bands, the  doors to creativity and hope fly open.

Faith   What’s more inspiring than measuring the Savior’s love by the distance between His nail pierced hands?  He understands family stress, His abandoned Him while He was on the cross.  He understands physical suffering, He was scourged and then crucified.  He understands poverty, He had no place to lay His head. His endurance is more than our inspiration, it’s our strength and salvation.

Are you feeling burdened and overwhelmed by circumstances you can’t change? Are grown-up responsibilities stealing your joy and creativity?

Mindy on beach get inspired

Renew your body, soul and spirit with whatever brings you inspiration. Make your own list.  Set your own goals. Put yourself on your calendar.  Bring little bursts of inspiration into your life daily.  Start embracing, stop enduring.  Life shouldn’t be drudgery.

And while you’re at it, you might as well eat your desert first.

 

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Preparing Your Heart and Home for Thanksgiving

Do the holidays sneak up on you?  My daughter said, “Mom! Only six weeks until Christmas!”

Six weeks?  Last time I checked, I had six months and was feeling the hopeful thrill of actually accomplishing  Martha Stewart type holidays.

But, I don’t like to let rush into Christmas and let Thanksgiving go by unnoticed, since it’s a holiday of spirit and remembrance.  It’s a time to relax and be together as a family.  We lived in farmland and hubby worked as a farmhand for many summers,  so fall is also a time to think of harvest and abundance.

In September, the kids and I begin decorating with leaves, moss, pinecones, seed pods and any gift of nature we find on our nature walks.  When we have the energy, we climb into the attic and dig out a few of our favorite Thanksgiving decorations.

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I blogged through using these wonderful vintage postcards Thanksgiving in My Heart and Home. These  are a free printable download from Hub Pages.

 

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One year I had a bug to decorate My Chairs Are Ready For Thanksgiving. I know, way over the top, who decorates their chairs,  but I’ve used them for several years now so the effort was worth it.

 

Thanksgiving crafts 034You either think I’m ridiculous, or you thought of a way to improve them.

 

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On the way to my house for Thanksgiving,  my in-laws experienced a horrible blizzard.  Their train got stuck on the tracks in Spokane, WA, and I had one extra day on my hands.  So, I Just Had to Make One More Thing, this Thankful Garland that’s tacked to my fireplace.  I have left it up and changed the season décor for several years now.

2010 Thanksgiving Buffet

Even though I enjoy decorating for the holiday season, I know what is The True Measure of Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving 090I love decorating with what I have, especially old books.


Give Thanks

Boggle cubes spell out a heart  reminder. Some years I spell out messages with Scrabble tiles.

Because I need the reminder.  I feel grief and sorrow so deeply, I have to remind myself there is always joy somewhere amidst the sufferings in my life.  The joy comes from the fact that there is always something to be thankful for.

Joy isn’t the rah-rah kinda’ false cheerfulness people wrongly expect out of Christians who are sick, lost their jobs, lost a loved one to death, or have been crippled by unfaithfulness of others.  People expect that reaction, until it’s their turn to be tested. Then they understand. We aren’t to be running around yelling, “Yea, I have cancer!  Praise the Lord!”  It is more of a calm delight, trusting  in His presence and His plans for our life.

In James 1:2-3 we’re told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Count it joy.  That seems a tough expectation until you understand  the definitions according to the Strong’s definition of the Greek words.

COUNT -  to go before, to be a leader

JOY – rejoice exceedingly, in salutations, hail!

FALL – descend from higher position to lower, fall prostrate

TRIALS – trials of a man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, temptations, as the devil used to keep the Lord Jesus from His divine mission.

Loosely paraphrased with these ideas in mind, “Go into your trials as a leader, hail them with joy and fall prostrate in worship, because these trials prove you have a divine mission and the devil doesn’t want you to succeed.

This is how we can count it joy and “give thanks always for all things,” because this was the same attitude the Lord Jesus had when He went to the cross for our sins.  He was willing to suffer for us, so we always have a reason to wrap joy and thanksgiving around our weak bodies when we’re besieged by life.

We also have a divine mission, gifts and ministries the Lord has given us to accomplish.  Thankfulness keeps your heart on your mission when you are suffering.

Being joyful and thankful is a choice, not a circumstance. A choice I remind myself to take.

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A free Thanksgiving printable from Naomi at Delight Creative Home.

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Another beautiful creation from Naomi.  Check out her blog, she generously provides many free printables.

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Laurie and Emily at the Glo Girl Blog provided this download created with words from the Psalms.

Now you have beautiful reasons and ways to remind yourself to choose joy and thankfulness during the entire year, not just the holiday.

Making your home sing Mondays WHWButton#2

The Hardest Thing About Being a Mother is…

I’ve been a mother for approximately 26 years, 151 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes.

I decided very early in life I wanted to have six kids.  My husband and I have raised four kids to adulthood, and have one older teenager and one “I’m almost a teenager” 11-year-old at home.  The Lord blessed me with the desires of my heart, something I don’t take for granted.

But, parenting has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. Psalm 56:8 tells us the Lord saves our tears in bottles; my husband and I might have our own personal storage room in Heaven for our bottles.  But, we also have an immeasurable amount of love, laughs, kisses, hugs and precious memories stored up. In my immaturity, this was the only part of parenting I imagined.  Even after I gave birth to my first precious daughter, I never thought it would be so hard.

Parents ask us advice, especially when they think they’re alone in their struggles.  They want to be assured and encouraged that every day won’t be so hard. I was recently asked, “What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?”

10.  …being a sinner who gave birth to sinners.  Parenting would be easier if I were perfect.  If I had ultimate wisdom, patience and understanding, success would be guaranteed. It’s not.  As my children grow up, I’m growing in my faith.  I fall as often as they do.

9. …when children don’t listen. There can be two people in the room less than three feet apart.  If one is a momma and one a child, the words can get lost in space between momma’s lips and child’s ears. For every year of a child’s growth, this vortex exponentially increases.

8. …when they ignore good advice. I’ve earned my gray hair and would like my wisdom count for something. Not only have I been-there-done-that, I would love my kids to learn from my mistakes and experiences, not theirs.  That’s why I say, “When I was your age…”  But, when a parent says “I understand”, children interpret, “You don’t understand.” They can’t or won’t understand that you do understand.

7.  …when they lie.  Parents can deal with the truth, but can’t help if a child lies.  When a child tells the truth, there’s one issue to deal with. When they lie, there’s two.

6. …when they disobey.  You  give a simple command, explain the consequences, the reasons (concerning their safety and best interests) and they may do exactly the opposite. Then you have to follow-through with the consequences that were chosen to deter disobedience, not punish it. We don’t want to give the consequences, we have to! The goal is to teach blessing comes through obedience, whether it’s your mommy, teacher, the law or your boss.

5.  …when they make a bad decision.  The best parenting might be no parenting.  Instead of intervening, allow them to reap the consequences. It takes wisdom from above to discern when to step in and when to step back.

4. …keeping them safe. We  can’t be with our kids 24/7, but they’re always our responsibility. Stand your ground concerning their physical, spiritual, emotional and sexual safety, especially when they don’t agree or understand.

3.  …letting them grow.  Give  them space to closely examine the beliefs, convictions, values and family norms they were raised with.  They hear and experience new ideas and sometimes want to try them on for size.  The calmer you are, the clearer the conversation can be.   If they copy without conviction, they may fall harder or be fruitless.

2. …letting them go.  When they’re out of your home, they’re not out of your concern. In their eyes and the world’s eyes, they’re an adult. Older parents know this is the hardest stage of parenting. Commit them to the Heavenly Father, who loves them and  longs for their holiness and well-being more than you.  The Holy Spirit is their parent, and  will go where you cannot go and be who you cannot be.

 

1. …being a mom.  At every stage, mothering is the hardest job, because we’re dealing with eternal souls.

 We have an enemy
who wants our children
in his trophy case. 

Never rest in peace at any stage assuming your job is done, because the enemy never rests. If your child is saved and their salvation cannot be stolen, the enemy will war against their testimony, their peace, their fruit. He wants everything and anything he can have. Do not give in, do not give up, do not become complacent.  Your job will not be over until you hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

being a mom dark edges

We were entrusted with precious souls, blessed with talents and personalities, to nurture, train, instruct, and love them into their place in the world.

Because the best thing about being a mom, is being a mom.

 Making your home sing MondaysWHWButton#2

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

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Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

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Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

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Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

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When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

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These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

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We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

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A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

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We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

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A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

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Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

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Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

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A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

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Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

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A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

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These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

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Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

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The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

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Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

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After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

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Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

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Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

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At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

Kids’ Imagination Spurs on Creative Service

My ten year old daughter, Rebekah, started our summer off right by making a commitment to serve others.

She accepted this challenge from Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family’s Christian kids’ radio program, and signed up for their program called A.C.T.S. I previously blogged that “Kids Who Serve are Winners Not Whiners.” No parent wants  “Mom, I’m bored!” ricocheting off their eardrums all summer.

 

 

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                                  A – A

                           C – Call

                           T – To

                           S – Service

 

We downloaded theimage progress chart, watched this video image about the program, and started brainstorming. (click graphics to download)

Personal inspiration needs no prodding, so follow-through would be increased if she was doing things she wanted to do, not things her mom wanted her to do.

Her own enthusiasm and imagination took off; she owned it from the beginning. When parents let go of the reins, they can be surprised by the direction their kids take.

 

I was thrilled to watch the creative ways she served the family, the neighborhood, and the local needy. In the first few weeks she had already completed the 12 hours of service, and hadn’t finished crossing things off her list. At first, she was thinking about winning the grand prize, a mission  trip to Costa Rica with one parent, (what ten year wouldn’t think of the prize?),  but then she began concentrating more on others.

Adventures in Odyssey radio programs teach kids to use their imagination to learn about history and faith, it was fun to see her imagination to come up with ways to serve.

conference decorations 002She started by volunteering to help paint the lime green walls with two coats of primer. I liked this idea, especially since it took two coats of primer and two coats of pain to turn the lime green to a soothing gray.

 

conference decorations 018When a neighbor had surgery, Rebekah enlisted the nieces and nephew to make homemade cards and cookies. I was humbled.  It hadn’t even occurred to me to reach out.  Brayden made some tiny cookies in the Easy Bake Oven and some big cookies in the real oven.

 

conference decorations 023 Brookelyn enjoyed making cards so much, she made a few for her parents.

 

conference decorations 027Maddelyn enjoyed coloring her card, her fingernails and the table. She stayed on task so long, she almost colored a hole in her paper. 

 

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When they were done, Beka rallied her troop to walk to the neighbor’s house.  It isn’t raining, but doesn’t every little kid love an umbrella?

conference decorations 042The finished product looked so beautiful, they told me later they were trying to sneak the first cookies out without marring the package so the whole family could see Rebekah’s handiwork.

 

Other projects Rebekah has accomplished so far:

  • weeded the trees for a single neighbor who works full-time and has a hard time keeping up on her garden
  • babysat several times for another neighbor
  • baked muffins for her older sister who had a baby
  • started collecting toys, shoes and clothing for the women and children at the Gospel Mission shelter

It was hard for her to understand that serving family “counted.” But, I shared her Gramma Mary’s wisdom, “Charity begins at home” to convince her serving family teaches you to serve others.

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Her big summer project is to make 30 drawstring bags for the kids at the homeless shelter.  Most of the time they arrive with little or nothing.  Beka plans to fill the bags with small trial size personal care items, snacks, toys, and Christian reading material.  It’s a challenge coming up with items that are not gender or age specific, but it’s been a good stretch to imagine yourself in their position.

We hope to have these finished and delivered at the end of July.  Then we’ll make our video about Rebekah’s summer of service and enter the competition.  Who knows?  Maybe a future blog post will show Rebekah and I working with the orphans in Costa Rica! 

Even if she doesn’t the grand prize, we both feel like winners.  She’s had fun using her imagination to come up with amazing ways to see and meet needs.  I’ve been blessed to watch her take the lead and follow-through.  Thank you, Adventures in Odyssey, for challenging us to  A.C.T.S.!

 

 

It’s not too late to sign-up for A.C.T.S.!

 

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Click on the image to download your service kit.

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Visit the website to learn more about Adventures in Odyssey’s
summer challenge to serve.

 

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(Click on image to download this free e-book)

Just for reading this blog post today, you get a free gift,
an e-book called “Voyage with the Vikings.”

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There’s still a lot of summer days left to encourage your family to accept the summer challenge to serve. You can either join the Adventures in Odyssey program or serve in your own way.

I’d love to hear the things your family is doing to serve this summer. Many of you work at Bible camps, Vacation Bible School, or do short-term mission projects. 

Those that comment will qualify to win the special package of The Imagination Station books #1-3 pictured above. I will choose a winner Wednesday, July 3rd and announce the winner in a blog post that day.

Encourage us by leaving a comment about the way your family serves!

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