Month: May 2018

Menu Plan Monday {May 28, 2018}

Menu Plan Monday {May 28, 2018}

This post contains affiliate links.

Whew… I don’t know about your family, but for us, the month of May is exhausting!   The school year is coming to a close and that means wrapping everything up and trying to finalize things.  In particular, we are switching school districts this year, so we have an added level of finality and new beginnings.  Exciting, but exhausting.

 

There are some weeks when I plan a menu that I feel like it’s just … okay.  There’s nothing too exciting.  This week, however, I’m looking forward to the meals I’ve planned.  Knowing that I’ll have a little longer to linger in the kitchen during the days allows me to plan different meals than I can on rushed, busy nights.  It’s also getting HOT here in Texas, which means we need to squeeze in a few more patio dinners and dig into some summertime dishes!

 

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week!

Join us around the table for dinner this week!

 

Monday

Mushroom Bacon Quiche

(Can Opener Gourmet)

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

(Trader Joe’s Vegetarian)

Tuesday

Teriyaki Chicken

Carrots Glazed in Ginger-Lime Butter

(Can Opener Gourmet)

Fried Rice

Wednesday

Tomatillo Sauce Over Baked Potatoes

(Forks Over Knives Family)

Black Beans & Corn

Thursday

Taco Night!

Friday

Chicken Croissants

Green Beans

Saturday

Family Dinner Out

Snacks & Extras

Fabulous French Toast ~ First Day of Summer Vacay Breakfast

(Peas and Thank You)

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas ~ munchy snack

(Peas and Thank You)

 

We’re linking up at I’m an Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday, so stop by over there to check out all of the menus!

 

Follow us on Bloglovin and never miss a post!

 

 

 

 

Our Summer Study {Breakfast with the Bible}

Our Summer Study {Breakfast with the Bible}

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Whew!  It’s the weekend!  I don’t know about you, but this week has definitely got me looking forward to summer!  I’m ready for the pause.  The months of April and May seem to stretch and pull our family in different directions.  I’m looking forward to the chance to breathe and to spend some intentional time connecting as a family.

 

While I’m looking forward to the next few months, I’ve also spent some time reflecting on the past school year.  I’ve watched my boys grow and mature over the past several months.  I’ve watched their friendships go through hills and valleys.  I’ve watched how the changes in this season of life affected them.  I’ve picked up on a few key areas where I’d like to be intentional in shepherding each of them.

 

During this season, I’m excited for the lazy mornings that allow us to spend a little more time gathered around the table.  I’m excited for the conversations that are able to flow and happen naturally… and not interrupted every few minutes with a reminder to pack a lunch, find their shoes, grab their backpacks.

 

Each summer, we spend our breakfast time in something that we call “Breakfast with the Bible.”  During the school year, we tend to find shorter devotionals or stories that are read before bed.  I enjoy those devotionals, and we’ve found a rhythm that has really been great this year.  But during the summer, we get to dig into a more detailed study.  My oldest especially will get to see the difference between a devotional and a full study.  We’ll get to spend more time with our Bibles open and pouring over passages.  I can’t wait.

 

Sit around the table with us as we chat about our summer Bible study selections ... for preschoolers all the way through adults!

 

I’m excited today to be able to share with you our final selections for this summer’s Breakfast with the Bible.  I always get asked what exactly we DO during this time.  It’s nothing super fancy, but here it is!

 

As I’m preparing breakfast, I turn on some sort of worship music.  Last year, we listened to a lot of Cedarmont Kids.  So many of these songs take me back to my childhood and the boys love the modern sound.  The music is a signal that I’m ready for them to come to the kitchen.

 

This year, because each boy will have his own study, we’ll do a bit of flip-flopping.  After we’re all at the table, I’ll start with Buddy Boy’s story.  For his particular Bible time, we’ll be using the Love & Kindness Bible Stories board book.  There are nine different devotions/stories, so we’ll focus on one each week.  We’ll read the story daily and then practice the memory verse.  I’m also planning to incorporate some object lessons and crafts into his time.  Other days, he’ll simply color from a Bible stories coloring book while Little Man and I work through his study.

 

 

Little Man and I will be working through a second Discover 4 Yourself study.  The first one we did, Lord, Teach me to Pray, was excellent.  I’m excited to work through this next one now that he’s a little older.  We’ll be doing Boy, Have I Got Problems.  I’ve noticed this year that self-control seems to be an “area of refinement” for him.  As I previewed this study, I found some excellent examples that directly related to situations I’ve seen him struggle with this year.  This particular study lines up well with the kindness stories in Buddy Boy’s devotional.  Because Little Man is older, I’ll be able to get him started, and then just sit alongside him as he works through the activities.  With both boys, I look forward to the conversations we’ll be able to have about this topic.

 

 

As for me, my Bible time will come a little later (or earlier, depending on the day).  I generally love the quiet and stillness of the early morning hours.  However, my youngest gets up pretty early, so he tends to wake up as soon as he hears movement.  This is real life.  I’m in a season that those perfect early mornings may not happen that often.  I’ll just embrace it.

 

I digress.  For my own time with the Lord, I’ve really been hearing Him ask me to just “dwell” in Him.  I have a stack of studies that I’ve started, but can’t seem to finish.  For this summer, I have said no to all of those studies.  I’ve given myself grace for not finishing them, and I know I’ll return to them when the season is right.  For the month of June, the Scripture-writing plan will be over the word “abide.”  I’ve been drawn to this idea of just resting and remaining in Him.  I’ll be doing this in two ways … well, hopefully more, but two intentional and “listable” ways.  I’ll be reading Sacred Rhythms as one of my non-fiction books in June (more on my nerdy bookish ways in another post).  It’s about practicing the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude.  My dad gave it to me a few years ago, but I have yet to read it.  God must have known that I’d need it in a season like this.

 

As I work through the Scripture-writing plan, I will be using the Inspire Journaling Bible.  I simply love the idea of creative journaling as a method of dwelling in His Word.  I am definitely NOT an artist, so this will be an exercise in relinquishing my need to have Pinterest-worthy journals.  This will also be an exercise in listening for His voice.  I’ve stepped away from my women’s groups and the pre-written studies for this season as I fully pause and let Him steer me where He needs me to go.  I’m considering it a sort of spiritual retreat.  This is new for me.  I’m generally a very Type A, love my outlines and color-coding, let me go hunt for all the correct answers kind of girl.  I feel very certain that God has asked me to stop and listen for a change.

 

So there you have it!  I cannot wait to see how God grows our faith as we step into this new season … of life and of weather!  What will you be studying this summer?

 

Follow us on Bloglovin and stay tuned for updates about these studies!

 


An Object Lesson on Joy

An Object Lesson on Joy

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Happy Wednesday, friends!  It’s a beautiful day here in Texas and I am just filled with joy!  This lesson was one of my absolute favorites! The object lesson was so super simple, but it has so much potential as our kiddos start to think more deeply about these concepts.  As we were going through this series of object lessons, we would read the page from Pups of the Spirit for the specific fruit of the day. For joy, the book related it to being happy and having a positive attitude. We took it one step further.

 

Finding true joy can only come from a cup filled with Christ.  See how one mom encouraged her children to find the meaning of true joy.

JOY ~ I will be okay with what I have.

Our verse for joy was Psalm 118:24.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

For our conversation, I just jumped right into our object lesson. For this particular lesson, you’ll need a glass, enough marbles to fill it, a water dropper (or spoon, straw, whatever you want to use), and probably a plate or towel.

 

 

I placed the empty glass on the plate and asked Little Man to start naming things that make him happy.  He said things like Minecraft, our puppies, playing Legos, pancakes, pizza, dessert, video games, etc.  Each time he said something, I poured a dropper-full of water into the glass.  “Those things can make us really happy, huh?  They’re really fun!  But look at the glass.  Is it full?”  No.  The water never reached the top.

 

 

Then I asked him to start telling me things that God gave us and things that bring us closer to Jesus.  He said things like family, the sunshine, going to church, reading our Bibles, singing songs.  Each time he said something, I dropped a marble into the water.  “Wow!  Look at how full the glass is!  What do you think is going to happen?”

 

 

We finished the lesson by reciting Galatians 5:22-23 and dropping a marble as we said each word. “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  “Look!  The water just overflowed out of the glass!  God fills us with joy just like that!  When we find our joy in Jesus, we will overflow and can spread that joy to others!”

Now, Little Man and I did not do this next part, but it could potentially be really powerful if you had a child who was old enough to comprehend it.  If you filled the glass with water with all the “happy things,” it could overflow.  Let it hang out on the counter for a week or so.  The water will evaporate.  When we fill ourselves with happiness from this world, we will never be fully satisfied.  It won’t last.  That happiness will evaporate just like the water and we’ll have to keep refilling ourselves.  The next week, fill it with marbles.  They obviously won’t evaporate.  When we fill ourselves with joy found in the Lord, it’s not easily lost.

Just as we did with our love lesson, we ended by praying over our verse using the ACTS model.

“Jesus, it’s so amazing that You can fill us with joy when things like video games and toys can’t.  I’m sorry that I don’t always choose joy.  I’m sorry that I didn’t choose joy when I got upset about _____.  Please forgive me.  Thank you for waking us up today!  Thank you for giving us the sun and the rain.  Help me to remember that I can be joyful and rejoice in You even when I am sad or upset.  Amen.”

I went off to clean up breakfast and he worked on a craft.  He would randomly think of something else that would fit into one of the two categories … happiness or joy.  He’d mention it and we’d decide which category it fit in.

So, I really loved the object lesson for joy.  I think there is so much potential for deep thinking and the teacher in me just loves that!  But it’s also so true.  Throughout the week, I found myself asking Little Man, “Are you choosing joy right now?”  In one specific moment, he reminded me that little ears are always listening and learning.  God’s really cool like that and uses our kids to humble us regularly.  I had an incident this week that just really upset me.  I was running my mouth to my husband (“I can’t believe she said that!  What kind of friend is she?”) and just being pretty ugly.  Well, Little Man overheard me and very politely reminded me that I should be choosing joy.  Yes, kid, I should.  I don’t need to seek approval from friends, coworkers, or anyone else on this earth.  I find my joy in Christ.  Thanks for the reminder, Little Man.  I think I’ll go refresh myself on some verses from the Gospel, Not Gossip plan.

Be sure to follow us on Bloglovin and don’t miss the rest of the Fruit of the Spirit object lessons!


Just Be Still ~ Reflections on Exodus 14:14

Just Be Still ~ Reflections on Exodus 14:14

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Last night, my boys did something they often do.  They were playing with their toys after dinner, and they started to bicker.  My oldest was playing with a train set, and my youngest wanted to use the blocks as roller skates… and he wanted to skate right through the trains.  I’m sure you can imagine the scene.

 

My oldest asked nicely at first, but my youngest can be a toot sometimes and didn’t exactly respond nicely.  The train tracks started to fall apart.  Bridges crumbled.  Trains were scattered.  Blocks were thrown.  Voices were raised.

 

Little Man (my oldest) tried pulling Buddy Boy (my youngest) off the trains… and then the crying started.  Tempers flared quickly and the two boys were soon in a shouting match.  It amazes me how quickly things can go from calm to chaos.

 

I tried to step in and separate the two boys.  In my head, I could easily see the problem and was ready to offer a simple solution.  But here’s where it got interesting.  They kept fighting.  I had the solution available, and I was trying to put them in place to be content.  But they kept fighting.  I tried speaking to both of them with my “mom voice.”  I even told them what the solution was.  But they kept fighting.  They were so determined to solve the problem themselves that they missed hearing the solution.  They were so focused on the problem right in front of them, that they couldn’t see the solution was right next to them.

 

I was left just shaking my head and thinking, “If you would just be still and listen, I can handle this.”

 

Is the noise of the problem keeping you from hearing God's answer? How many times is God shaking His head saying, "If you would just be still..."?

 

Y’all… as a mom, I have begun to understand the relationship with our Heavenly Father in a completely different way.  How many times does He look and us and say, “If you would just be still….”?  How many times are we so determined to solve a problem ourselves, and we miss the “God voice”?  How many times have we missed being put in a place of contentment because we’re trying to handle all the things?

 

In the book of Exodus, God was very clear in speaking to the Israelites.  Exodus 14:10 says, “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them.  Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help.”  Pharaoh had just released the Israelites from slavery, and they were on the move.  Of course, then Pharaoh then changed his mind and set all of his troops after them.  So here are all of these families, standing in front of the Red Sea.  They see Pharaoh’s men coming after them.  I can only imagine the fear they felt.  They asked the Lord for help.  They verbally attacked Moses, accusing him of bringing all of them out into the wilderness to die.  They were so busy being afraid and trying to come up with the solution, that they couldn’t even begin to see a way out.

 

The thing is, they weren’t supposed to.  They weren’t supposed to find a way out on their own.  The Lord brought them out of slavery in Egypt.  The Lord took them through the wilderness.  The Lord would provide the way out of this situation.  And He did.

 

Exodus 14:14 tells us Moses’ response to the Israelites in their moment of fear.  “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

 

Is the noise of the problem keeping you from hearing God's answer? How many times is God shaking His head saying, "If you would just be still..."?

 

The Israelites were commanded to trust.  To be still and trust that God would fight the battle.  Just like my boys were so busy fighting the battle on their own that they missed how easy the solution could be, we tend to get so caught up in trying to solve all the things that we miss the fact that God has commanded that we be still before Him.

 

Are you in a battle right now?  I encourage you to pause.  Still yourself before Him.  For me, that often means I literally stop talking mid-thought.  I retreat away from the situation at hand, and I put my face to the ground (or my prayer journal).  I give the problem to Him… and then I trust.  The Lord will fight for me.  I need only to be still.

 

Follow us on Bloglovin and never miss a post!

 

 

An Object Lesson on Love

An Object Lesson on Love

This post contains affiliate links.

Love is a funny thing.  We live in a culture that throws that word around so easily.  It intrigues me that I can use the same word to describe how I feel about my morning coffee, my comfy chair, my feelings about the weather, my affection for my kids, and my relationship with my husband.  Even more intriguing is that we use that word to describe how we feel about God, and the way He feels about us.

I use the word “love” to describe how I feel about my husband.  I know what that feels like.  I can describe what it looks like.  I know how it affects the way we treat each other.  I also use the word “love” to describe how I feel about God.  My entire life is based on what He has asked of me.  It affects my every move, my every thought, every word.  In all honesty though, I don’t think I can begin to fully process that kind of love.  Yes, it affects my behavior and I know what I feel when I talk about it.  But I can’t fully process the depth of that love.  It consumes me.

Let’s take it a step further.  God’s love for us.  I cannot even begin to come anywhere close to understanding the depth and power of that love.  Somehow it transforms my entire life.  It redeems all situations.  It makes all things beautiful in time.  It is a sacrificial, overflowing, never-ending, all-consuming Agape love.

How do we even attempt to define that kind of love in a way that our children can understand?  A few years ago, I sat down and wrote out some quick devotionals and object lessons for the Fruit of the Spirit.  In preparation for this year’s summer study, I thought I’d pull out that devotional and share it with all of you!

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

So with all that said… here’s the first lesson in our Fruit of the Spirit study!  The first fruit is love.  Honestly, this was a little tricky.  The story we read daily, Pups of the Spirit, is super cute, but it keeps love at a surface level.  Hugs and kisses and whatnot.  I wanted Little Man to know that love in the Biblical sense is deeper than that.  With every fruit, I found a short phrase that describes it in ways our little ones would understand.

LOVE ~ I will put others first.

Our verse for love was 1 John 3:18.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.

I asked some pretty basic questions.  How do you know Mommy loves you?  How do you show Mommy or Daddy how you love them?  How can you show your friends you love them?  I asked him about some specific situations we had recently dealt with… were you showing love then?  I read somewhere that whenever a certain mom saw her children arguing, she would stop them and ask, “Who are you showing love to right now?  Yourself, your brother, or God?  God first, then others, and then ourselves.  This is the primary point I wanted Little Man to leave with.

We’ve talked about how we love others because Jesus loves us and His love overflows from us into others.  When we are filled with His love, it’s much easier to put others before ourselves.  That led us to our object lesson.

For this lesson, you’ll need a paper towel, a red marker, a pen, and a bowl of water.  Draw a small heart down at the bottom with the pen.  “We all have hearts that need to be filled.  When we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, he fills them with love.”

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

We colored in the heart with the red marker.  “Jesus lives in our hearts and He loves us very, very much.  We always know that we are loved because we are His children.”

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

Draw some tiny little hearts around the top of the red heart.  “We have Jesus’ love in our hearts, but not everyone knows about His love.  Their hearts are still empty.”

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

I asked Little Man how we could show love to those people.  He gave me answers like playing with them, being kind to them, telling them that Jesus lives in us.  “When Jesus loves us, that love can overflow into the people around us!  Because He loves us soooo much, we have lots of love to share!”  Dip the paper towel into the bowl where just the red heart touches the water.

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

“Look how Jesus’ love filled all those other hearts!  He loves everyone and wants their hearts to be filled too!”

See how one mom talked with her children about the Agape love of Jesus and how it overflows into those around them!

Throughout the next several days, I focused on asking Little Man about showing love.  In the grocery store, a man knocked some stuff off the shelf…  “How can we show him some love right now?”  As Little Man had a *teensy* bit of an attitude with me… “Are you showing love right now or anger?”  Some friends were over and playing at our house and wanted to do something different than Little Man… “Can we show him love by choosing to play his game first?”  I’m sure you can think of a few (or more than a few) moments that these questions could be asked on a daily basis.

To conclude each of our devotionals, we prayed over our verse (using the “ACTS” model and the words from the verse).

“Jesus, it’s awesome that You have so much love for us!  I’m sorry that I didn’t show love when I ______.  Please forgive me.  Thank you for always loving us no matter what we do.  Please help me not to just tell my family I love them, but to show them with my actions.  Help me to know how to love people that aren’t my friends.  Help me to show them Your love.  Amen.”

Is this something you could do with your little ones?

Follow us on Bloglovin and never miss a post!