Tag Archives: Family Life

Hey Math Teacher…when will I use this stuff?

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Yes, that is often the thought of many a math student sitting in the desk of math classes around the world. Well, let me tell you when you will use “this stuff”. Currently my life seems to be one big story problem; and the answers are not written at the back of the book!

We are excitedly looking to move back to Texas in the next few weeks. God has generously answered the prayers of many people and opened the doors for us to move back close to family. Right now, though, we constantly have to figure out all kinds of things:

  • If we have to be in Texas by x-date yet our belongings will be picked up on y-date and it takes so many hours to get to Texas, how many hours do we need to travel each day? (Make consideration for traveling with two cats)
  • If our insurance ended on June 30 and the COBRA information arrives on July 11 and is RIDICULOUSLY high, which short-term insurance plan should we go with taking into consideration the maintenance medications we are using and that our family will be traveling in two different directions in three different vehicles across the nation in just two weeks?
  • How many jobs do I apply for in the short amount of time I have to sit at the computer and give to that task?

I could go on and on. I am getting many opportunities to quote Philippians 4:6 to myself…I’ve paraphrased it a bit to fit my situations though:

Be anxious for nothing, not even finding the right job,

Be anxious for nothing, not even how you will get all of this done,

but with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

 So the recipe for life is to start each day with Thanksgiving.

Thank you Lord for this move!

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to watch you work.

Thank you Lord for guiding each step of the way.

Thank you for the amazing friends and relatives that are all helping out in their own ways.

Thank you for being so amazing and loving me even when I don’t deserve it.

 

The answers are in the book…His book….the Bible.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

So when in doubt, go to the best book around, The Bible and seek his help with the story problems of life.   The answers are not at the back of the book but all throughout, from start to finish!  Then, as Philippians 4:7 goes on to say “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Answers throughout the book!

 

Back to packing!

 

 

I Heard That

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Recently I’ve suffered several losses—-various types, all with different pain and grief.  When working through grief it can feel very lonely.  I have felt isolated.  I have great friends and family yet I get the sense that if I talk about everything as much as I desire or as often as it is on my mind that people will say “Get over it and get on with living.”

While I was having coffee with God this last week, I was reading in Psalms.  God directed me to this passage:

Psalm 38:9

Lord my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from you.

What wonderful words of assurance!  God knows every single desire.  He knows my desires for my family, my spiritual life, my finances—He knows it all!

He even hears my sighs.  When I feel all alone and think “no one remembers….does anyone care?”

Psalm 38:9 reminds me that God does— he heard that.  He hears every sigh and knows every thought.

So if you are experiencing thoughts of—no one cares and heave big sighs of “oh man this is tough”, God knows what is happening and what you are longing for.  He hears those sighs and the best part is that He has a plan and it is a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.  A plan to give you hope and a future.  How do I know this?  Because it says it in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah in chapter 29 verse 11.

After the most recent loss, let’s call it the loss of possibility, I got back into my car and I was a wreck.  I had been in a meeting and I was caught off guard by a friend.  The words said had been so unexpected. I was hurting and a big puddle of tears.  As I turned my car on, the stereo speakers sang out the words from the Jamie Grace song “Come to Me

...Come to me when you are weary and I’ll give you hope when you’re hurting.

I’ll give you rest from your burden….

God heard my sighing.  He knew exactly what I was going through.  He was right there.  He saw me hurting and sent the words in the song to me to remind me that He will give me hope and a future.

 

Have you found yourself sighing lately?

Are you dealing with loss of some sort?

 

Take some time today to talk with God about those things that you are grieving about.  Tell him how you feel.  He cares.  He will listen.

Then remind yourself of the promises He has given about your future and trust him to fulfill those very promises.

He will.

He always does—-in His time.

beckinpa.wordpress.com

Must Haves! A Book No Parent Should be Without

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Have you ever found yourself saying the same things over and over to your kids?

Do you stand stupefied by something you see or hear in your kids and realize you need a change of direction….quick!

I have.

In the last few years, I have found some resources from an excellent team that are all home runs!  Each time I read something written by this dynamic duo, I am empowered with easy to read and quickly applicable discipline to raise my children.

Guess what! This duo has just finished their most recent book and I want you to know it is a “must have” .  The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller will give you 50 heart-based discipline strategies that you can use for kids from ages 2 to 18.  It is what I call a “nightstand book” as it will be one that you will want to keep close by to refer to over and over again as different things come up with your kids.  They give you practical strategies to use with your children rather than just telling you how your kids should behave—-love that!  They emphasize the relational aspect of parenting and how to separate firmness from harshness.  You will read solutions for sibling conflict and how to teach kids to be solvers rather than whiners.

Turansky and Miller are founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.  They have written several books and this one pulls many of the strategies discussed in various books all into one excellent resource.

If you purchase the book this week, April 29th -May 5th, you can also get $400 worth of parenting resources FREE…yep….you read that right—Free.  Too good to be true?  Check it out for yourself!

CPH Banner of 400 dollar resources copy

I read an advance copy of the book and couldn’t stop highlighting, underlining and placing stars…it has so much you will want to place in your parenting toolbox.

I encourage you to get a hard copy of the book from a major book distributor this week so you can also get the $400 worth of Free resources which includes an electronic copy of the book and many other excellent items.

My only regret about getting this book now is that it wasn’t available 10 years ago when I was beginning this discipline process with my toddler.  But I have it now and it is never too late to make changes for the good.  Don’t wait- add this book to your parenting resources today!

As a member of The Christian Parenting Handbook Launch Team, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and the opportunity to promote related giveaways and activities to my readers.

All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

Must Haves!

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Each family has to find their own rhythm and beat but there are some tools that every family should have as a part of that process. As I discover a “must have” item, I’m going to share it with you because this blog is about Recipes for the Table and for Life.  So when I find an ingredient to help the recipe for family life, I want to share it with you as a good family life is even more important than a good meal on the table!

This first tool I want to share with you is perfect for teaching the Bible in a creative and innovative new way.  Phil Vischer and his team at Jellyfish Labs created the What’s in the Bible? DVD series and it is exceptional!  My girls enjoy the storytelling, the songs and the characters that explain all kinds of Bible history, explain what different words mean, and just do an all around top-notch job of explaining God’s story.

The series now includes all of the Old Testament and two DVDs in the New Testament (as of April 23, 2013).  Each DVD has two 25-minute episodes.  The focus audience is Kindergarten through 5th grade but I can guarantee that if you watch with your kids you are going to learn some new things too!  We don’t have every single volume yet in our family library but I’m sure we will one day.  The volumes we do own we have watched over and over again.  We even purchased a CD of the songs to take with us on our long drive last summer from Pennsylvania to Texas.

You will not be disappointed in this series.  It is fun, engaging and educational.  I’ve included a video from the creator, Phil Vischer, from the very beginning of the project.  He shares why he created this series.

Pondering Christmas

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“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19

My Mom has always loved that verse that comes from the book of Luke in the Bible in the passages that share about the birth of Christ.  The verse has become a favorite of mine too.  I think any mother can relate to Mary here.  I think it is important that we see that Mary didn’t worry that her house wasn’t perfect for company (heck, she wasn’t even in a house but a stinky stable!…well I’m inferring it was stinky but ya get the idea).  Mary wasn’t obsessed over the fact she didn’t have anything to serve her guests.  Nor does she seem bothered that her son is lying in a manger rather than on a soft bed over at the inn.

She simply takes in the scene and ponders on it.  Actually she doesn’t just take it in but she “treasures up” everything going on.

She lived the life God had placed before her, embracing every step of the way.

What an example for us.  I’m pretty sure God allowed that verse to be a part of the Luke passage on Christ’s birth story to help Moms.  Sometimes we get so busy doing, creating, entertaining, etc that we don’t simply enjoy the life God has given us.

Was Mary’s life easy?  I don’t think so.  She was pregnant, not married, traveling right at the time she was due.  She had no real place to rest and strangers were coming to visit the same night she gave birth.

This Christmas I have determined to enjoy—to not get rushed and hurried and not to think something had to be done.  Rather I want to focus on the real reason for the season.  I want to help my family enjoy the holiday and not get caught in the Christmas-Crazies.

The last few years have brought unexpected change to our household; but one of the pleasant impacts of the change was it allowing me to realize the need to treasure and ponder.

I pray that you will take the time this holiday to stop, reflect and treasure up all that God has given you….even in the stinky stables of life He has blessed us with so much.

The Stable_mary ponders

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Thanksgiving

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Wow!  Thanksgiving is next week.  I can’t believe it.  Recently I had the privilege to guest post on the fun and informative blog Play! Eat! Grow!.  There I shared in one post several of the things I have blogged over the years here regarding how I prepare for the actual meal on Thanksgiving.  But as anyone knows that has hosted the big day AND hosted guests in her home leading up to that big day….there is a LOT more to plan than one meal.

My meal planning is coming along thanks to the tips I shared at Play! Eat! Grow! on November 14.  See…I’ve already been shopping:

Here are many of the shelf items that I purchased this week.

Then there is the refrigerator…..

Remember don’t worry about how much butter or sour cream….just enjoy!

One thing that I do is mark the special Thanksgiving items with a “T”.  This reminds me not to use it and also lets my family know that it has a higher purpose at a later time. 🙂

I don’t just think about food as I prepare for the week but also all the other little things you need to have when hosting the meal and having house guests.

Paper Goods:

  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • paper plates for leftovers on Thursday and those spur-of-the-moment dessert needs
  • napkins (of course one must have cute napkins to go along with the paper plates!)
  • good “to go” containers for those that live close enough to take some of the bountiful meal home with them at the end of the day

Cleaning Items:

  • Dishwasher detergent- it is my nightmare to run out of this and be forced to wash everything by hand after standing all day to prepare the meal.
  • Clorox wipes- quick swipes of the bathrooms

Food things that are not a part of the Big Meal:

  • Easy Breakfast for Thursday morning—This year Entenmann‘s won sometimes it is Pillsbury.
  • Snacks- chips, dips, veggies to munch
  • Amoroso’s rolls for leftovers  (Like I’ve said before…If God ever takes us from PA, I will miss Amoroso’s rolls.)
  • Sandwich items for lunches leading up to Thanksgiving
  • Easy meals for the evenings leading up to Thursday (I’ve been known to freeze a meal or two and pull it out during this week.)
  • Coffee from my favorite place—a treat to myself!

I know the list above is not an exhaustive list but it is a great start and should prime the pump for other things you need to prepare in advance so that you can enjoy the holiday.  It is a time to be thankful not to be ticked off.  So take some time to think through the entire week and see what you may need to do (or give up on) in order to make this a holiday to smile about.

Snacks–our afterschool treats!

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This year I have tried to have a snack out for my girls when they come home from school.  It is funny how quickly they adapted to this as one day I did not have anything out and my youngest said “Mom, where is our snack?” just as soon as we walked in the door.  (Of course I replied “In the pantry!”.)

The snacks are mainly just a way of letting my kids know that I’ve been thinking about then and anticipating their arrival.  It is fun to hear their reaction on days when it is something a little special.

Below I’ve shared some pictures I’ve taken of a few of our snacks this fall.

First Day of School Snack- cookies!

This snack included three kinds of cookies….two were Joe Corbis’ “throw down” cookies as I call them (frozen dough) and then I made chocolate chip cookies that afternoon as I know they are a family favorite.  The flip flop notepads I purchased back in June to give the girls when school ended but forgot about them.  I found them right at the end of summer and decided to give them to them as a summer-ending kind of thing.

 

Ah, Rice Krispie treats….who doesn’t love these?

I can’t make Rice Krsipie treats without thinking of those commercials with the mom throwing flour on her face to make it look like she has slaved and labored over the preparation of these treats.  They really are easy to make…not sure why I don’t do it more often.

 

A little bit of everything: Store-bought cookies, Grapes, and Homemade Gingerbread

We love those Lofthouse cookies from the grocery store but  no one needs to eat a ton of them in one sitting.  So we matched them up with some other treats for this after school snack.

 

Strawberry Jam and Saltines

My Mom used to have this snack ready for us.  It is a little sweet and a little salty—perfect!

 

Apple Spice Drop Cookies and Pear Slices

My Daughter #1 loves these cookies.  I was making dinner for a friend and needed a dessert so I was able to kill two birds with one stone this day—snack and dessert.  The pears were just as popular though with the daughter #1 and #2.  They can’t get enough pears this fall.

 

A quick Halloween treat!

It was fun to hear the girls react to this snack when they came into the dining room.  They were so excited and impressed.  The best news is that it takes absolutely no baking and hardly any time to make these seasonal treats.  I saw them last year in a Food Network magazine and pulled the page out to keep.  You simply need Nutter Butter cookies, marshmallow fluff and black decorating gel.  So easy and so fun.  And yes, they did eat the pears that were on the tray too!

Now, I didn’t photo the box of cheez-its (cheddar jack), the bowls of goldfish, nor the snack mix….those are some of our go-to snacks around here.  The main thing is just having something ready for them when they come in the door.  It is my non-verbal way of saying “Hey, I’ve been looking forward to you being home…let’s catch up over a snack.”