Archive | July, 2010

Karis’ Preschool Plan

We are so excited to begin some more focused preschool activities with Karis this year. She loves her school time! My goals this year for my little preschooler is to read a lot of good solid literature together, memorize one Bible verse each week, learn our letters, and cultivate a love for learning and serving.

Literature

We have decided to use Sonlight for our curriculum base because I simply love the focus on a literature based education. Sonlight provided us with such a wonderful set of literature as we purchased the P 3/4 curriculum (many of the books in this set are available used through Amazon, which provided a significant savings).

This curriculum core is simply a collection of fabulous classic children’s literature that has stood the test of time. I love the literature based method of education because it focuses on just stirring up a love for reading and books, and what better way to learn about history, geography, writing, and so much more rather than just a textbook. The P 3/4 curriculum does not include any lesson plans or workbooks unlike the other Sonlight curriculum sets, but is basically just encouraging a lot of reading together, which is simple and fun, providing us with a solid base for her education. We spend 30 minutes every morning just reading these books together, over and over, and talking about the stories and concepts. The literature selection is awesome! Even if you don’t use the curriculum guide, you are getting a wealth of good stories. Both my children (2 & 4 years) absolutely love these books!

UPDATE: As of January 2011, we graduated up to the P4/5 curriculum and love it too! It is a great literature supplement to the letters curriculum that I share about below. The book titles help graduate my daughter up to reading longer stories with fewer pictures. We love the Developing the Early Learner workbooks that accompany this set, providing a lot of practice with pre-reading skills. My daughter loves any workbook practice, so they are a great addition to our collection.

Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve

The second part of our preschool plan is utilizing Laura at Heavenly Homemaker’s newly launched preschool curriculum, Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve. This 240+ kit includes thorough lesson plans, games, crafts, recipes, memory verses for each letter of the alphabet, Bible story suggestions, vocabulary stimulation and discussion, play, books to read and so much more…all while encouraging service to God!

I absolutely love Laura’s unique focus on teaching letters while creatively serving other people. As you learn each letter, you identify one person whose name begins with that letter, and you think of a creative gift to give them that also begins with that letter. Each letter you study includes suggestions for service, such as “Take a new Bible to B__________” on Bb week, “Make soup for someone who is sick on Ss week, and “Deliver flowers to F_______________” on Ff week.  Your child will make gifts or food, offer help and learn to think of others.  As a family you can delight in praying together about who you would like to serve and what form of service you would like to offer!

The lessons are not complicated but very simple and manageable, especially if you have multiple lessons, and a great option to supplement with any other activities you may have planned. I am eager to start working this in to our schedule as well and encouraging my little ones to delight in serving others in creative means! I also love how this course could be used easily for multiple age groups and is not limited to preschoolers alone. Check out a free sample lesson here!

As we learn our letters, we are utilizing The Letter Factory DVD, and Cuisenare Rods Alphabet Book with Cuisenare Rods for extra reinforcement and problem solving.

Character Building & Scripture Memory

Along with these resources, we are using Teach Them to Your Children: An Alphabet of Biblical Poems, Verses, and Stories by Sarah Wean, and My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt for further Scripture memory inspiration around the alphabet along with quality character building stories. Our goal is to memorize one verse a week and study each letter for two weeks, thus memorizing two verses for each letter of the alphabet. Thus far, Karis has actually memorized four verses for letter A. We write it out on a dry-erase board and store in a visible place in our living room/dining room. We strive to read the verse several times a day, but mainly at means times. And of course she loves listening to Songs for Saplings: ABC CD, and God’s Word from A-Z by Abe & Liza Philips for verses set to music. These little preschoolers can really store up the Scriptures! I have been pleasantly surprised by the way she so sweetly articulates each verse we learn.

That’s our preschool plan this year along with lots of trips to the library and exploring nature together!

Because I love both Sonlight and Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve, I have become an affiliate for both resources. Every purchase made through my links helps support our orphan home! Thanks!
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Karis Reads “Go, Dog Go!”

Here’s a sweet video clip of Karis reading Go, Dog Go! by Dr. Seuss. She only heard it 5-6 times before she had the whole story down and could read it aloud to herself. I thought it was so cute and had to post it for your enjoyment! This book is one of her favorites and through it she has learned important concepts such as counting, colors, shapes, under and over, going around, cold and hot, etc. all centered around these funny dogs. Love it and highly recommend adding it to your library!

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Top 10 Recycling Habits from a New Perspective

I came across these 10 recycling habits written by my friend, Ryan, and I wanted to share it with you all. He granted me permission to share it with you all. Some of the ideas may not be new, but may this challenge refresh and encourage you to keep up the work! Thanks Ryan!

You should be all about recycling. If you’re a Christian you should be especially passionate about recycling.

Consider the fact that in recycling you are taking something that is spent, used up, and old, and giving it new life, purpose, and usefulness.

As Randy Alcorn shares: “Psalms 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This is not our place to trash. It’s God’s place to treasure. To care for the world is to care for its people. To care for its people is to fulfill the second commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves. As we see it mandated in Genesis 1:28, God entrusts us with the earth as He entrusts us with our bodies, and He intends for us to take care of both.”

As a follower of Jesus, listed below are some of the ways both big and small that I think the invitation to recycle is available. It is obviously in no way an exhaustive list, and neither is it listed in any particular order. So without further adieu here are my top ten recycling habits:

1. Food

If you don’t have chickens to give your old scraps to (and thus produce eggs and great fertilizer), then get a compost pile so that your old food will turn into rich soil. Also, using old veggies (flimsy celery and carrots, onion skins, etc) and animal bones to make stock is a great way to recycle stuff that you will not eat.

2. Water

There are some pretty amazing ways you can recycle water. You can collect the water from the bathroom sink in a bucket and use that bucket to flush the toilet. Other creative ideas include collecting water from dishwashers and washing machines drained out to use for gardening, etc. Personally, I don’t do that stuff, but I do collect our rain water and use it to water the garden! I do use my kids kiddie pool water to water my plants (instead of dumping it every few days). Next time you’re about to dump out the remains of your glass of water, dump it in your houseplant instead.

3. Bags

You can buy cloth bags for grocery shopping. We do. But we also forget to use them as often as we remember. So if you have to do the unthinkable (haha) and use plastic shopping bags, they work great as your new garbage can liners. We have nor purchased garbage bags in years because we just use these from our local supermarket. Sure you have to empty the garbage a bit more often, but it’ll shave a few bucks off your grocery bill and it will put those bags back to use. These bags can also be recycled at most grocery stores.

4. Money

Buy locally. If you buy locally from local businesses and local owners and local shops and local food and…then your money stays in the community you love. The money you use to buy your kids a birthday present will go to a local family who owns the local toy shop that employs local individuals who buy things from their local supermarket who…etc. When you spend and shop locally, your money is recycled within your community to grow and develop the community you love.

5. Clothes

Buy from used clothing stores. Give your old clothes to others. Old clothes can also be quite useful for household projects! I grew up with a giant canvas tent for camping. The tent bag for our giant tent was a pair of my dads old jeans. The pockets were where the stakes were kept, the tent slid into the legs (that had been sewed together into one large space), and a drawstring was put through the belt loops. My wife has made purses out of old t-shirts, hats out of old sweaters, skirts out of old shirts, etc. Put those old clothes to work.

6. Travel

Ok, this is a bit of a stretch, but if we change our behaviors so that our travel accomplishes more than getting us from A to B then we are creating more out of something than previously existed. If you ride your bike, not only are you cutting down on emissions and traffic, but you’re also exercising at the same time. If you take the bus, you’re also being able to read or work on homework. If you carpool, your also creating community and relationship.

7. Death

Even in your death you can allow life to emerge by being an organ donor. Don’t hold out, you won’t need your heart anymore, so give it away.

8. Yard

We American’s love our grass. Our yards can be so much more than pretty grass, instead we can make them work for us by building garden plots, by growing strawberries and lettuces where grass might have been before. Get some chickens, grow some blueberries or grapes, allow your yard to do something for you, to be useful, and to bring more to your life.

9. Books

I love books. I hate borrowing them, I love owning them. But as I work to get over my ownership mentality I’m seeing that not only is borrowing books from the library a great recycling practice, but loaning your books out to others and borrowing others books is a great way to let books have a greater life than the shelf. How cool would it be if we began to loan our books out and asked people to mark them up, highlight them, and jot down notes in the margins so that when you got the book back it would carry with it some of the life of the previous reader! Check out your library’s inter-library loan program to find practically any book you may desire. If you must buy a book, buy it used through Amazon, Powell’s Books, and many more sources.

10. Paper

This one should be redundant in our culture, but don’t use paper. Read your newspaper or magazine online. Use email instead of snail mail. Cut down on your junk mail by opting out. Opt out from getting those obsolete phone books as well. Setup your bills so that you don’t receive hard copies but only electronic copies. Dare I say buy a Kindle? Ok, I’m not ready to go there yet, but it’s probably inevitable!

I’m certain there are many other creative ways to recycle. Spend a few hours on Etsy.com and let your brain cram all the amazing and creative ways to recycle old materials. Shop at recycled stores, shop less, etc. There are so many ways we can embrace the beautiful opportunity to be a part of giving old, spent, and used up things new life and purpose. I mean, isn’t this what God does with humanity? Why should we do anything different?

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The Ability To Bend Without Breaking

This post is brought to you by Passionate Homemaking’s Monthly Contributor, Vina Barham.

When I was working as a recruiter for an international mission agency, one of things we emphasize in our training is the ability to go with the flow. To accept the unfamiliar for what it is, to let go of things beyond our control and to accept, no, to embrace the sometimes messy and often chaotic situations that one will inevitably find herself in.

Some call it tolerance. I call it, flexibility: the awesome ability to bend back and forth without breaking.

Accepting the Unfamiliar
When we come across something unfamiliar, or something that goes against our own way of doing things, how do we react? Often, we insist that the unfamiliar must change and conform to something more familiar or acceptable on our own terms. Take for example our children, who often speak a different language and have a different timetable from us. They want to play more and we want them to hurry up because we have adult things to do. Crying ensues, someone loses their patience and all kinds of simple desires collide. The ability to bend without breaking is the ability to truly accept the Unfamiliar Other without disrespecting ourselves. We accept that it is most natural for children to want to play longer, allow them the most time we can generously offer, slow down and be awake to the moment that is Now.

Letting Go
The ability to bend without breaking is to let go of our need for control. To abandon the Pursuit of the Perfect. We tend to hold on tightly sometimes to our Ideals and we become Purists in that we easily get frustrated and depressed when things don’t turn out the way we expect them to. A good example is our expectations with our spouse. We want them to be a certain way, to say certain things and to treat us in certain manners. This is an exercise in futility. We can only control ourselves: our thoughts, our words and our actions. We can never control our spouse and as long as we try to do so, no matter how gentle and sweet we package it, we become unnecessarily burdened by all the stuff we try to carry on our shoulders that is not for our taking.

Embracing the Mess
Finally, the ability to bend without breaking is the ability to embrace the mess of this Life. Of Your Life. There is no need to constantly berate yourself for the blips and blunders because it’s simple part of being human. Nobody is shocked that you are not Perfectly Put Together. And yet we are, and we put so much effort in appearing to be otherwise. And we teach our kids the same thing. We have to learn to loosen up, let our hair down sometimes and learn how to get Dirty without Dying. To be dis-illusioned by our ability to be Messy people and yet still be hopeful for the Beautiful to emerge is a Rare and Lovely Thing that our world needs more of.

The ability to bend to the Mud of Life without completely losing sight of our Glory is perhaps one of the best gifts we can give to our children. Some call it Grace. The Way of The Middle. How are you practicing your ability to bend without breaking?

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Training Little Disciples – A Work of Grace & Patience

“But you, O Lord, are compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” - Psalms 86:15

I have two little disciples – one sweet boy and one sweet girl. They have been specially assigned to me. I’m training little hearts today through my every word and deed. Daily I struggle to instruct, nurture, and guide my little disciples with grace and patience. But these little eyes are watching me. How easy it is for me to erupt in frustration when I must repeat a command after multiple attempts, and my own laziness delays a prompt response. These are the moments I must stop, step back, and remember, these are my disciples. This is my assignment: train these little disciples to love and follow Jesus. Can they see Jesus in me?

Jesus is our example. His twelve disciples continually had so little faith in His power, they fought over positions of glory, before abandoning Him altogether in the garden at His deepest hour of need. And yet, Jesus patiently loved, taught, confronted, and exhorted them. He gave three years of unceasing devotion to equip them in turn to go forth and make disciples. Our little disciples are watching us – they need patient instruction even if it has to be repeated on multiple occasions and locations. The same was true of Jesus. He faithfully planted the seeds which in due time following His accession into heaven, it bore much beautiful fruit for the Kingdom.

Patience and humility go hand in hand. The reason I loose my temper is tied to pride. It is when I feel I need to be in control, or things do not go the way I plan or prefer, that my children don’t behave. Confess your weakness and be open and honest before the Lord in repenting it. Fruit is born when we stop and acknowledge our short comings and apologize before our children. That is when they are attracted to such grace and humility in Jesus.

Never cease praying for patience and grace. Pray daily! Pray at the start of each day that God would supply you with divine grace and patience in your mothering. He is faithful to answer and equip you for the task. God gives such supernatural strength to those who ask.

Stop dwelling on the “tough” portions of your day and focus on the beauty around you. Look at the sweet gifts around you and the little blessings that took place during your day. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord! It does wonders to our spirits.

I deserve the wrath of God because of my sin, and yet God extended such patience and forgiveness again and again. Likewise, can I not extend mercy and patience when such love has been lavished on me?

It is said of the Proverbs 31 woman, “When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness (Prov 31:26)”. Is kind speech flowing from my tongue today?

I’m training little hearts today, through my every word and deed.
May they see Christ in me, and by grace be understood.

I can rejoice today because training these little disciples is all apart of that greater beautiful picture of God’s divine grace, pruning, and refining in my heart – equipping me each day to be a better mother tomorrow.

Meditate further: Proverbs 14:29; Ephesians 4:26-27, 31; James 1:19-20; Galatians 5:22; Romans 15:5

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Natural Summer BBQ: How to BBQ a Whole Chicken

Do you want to learn how to BBQ a wonderfully moist chicken? The key: stuff the chicken under the skin! This simple technique imparts such a lovely moisture and flavor that is beyond delicious, especially when that stuffing is butter creamed with roasted garlic and freshly grate Parmesan cheese, seasoned with herbs. As the chicken roasts, the herb butter melts beneath the skin imparting flavor and juiciness to the meat. This chicken is an excellent main course served over mashed potatoes with gravy from the juices. This recipe can be prepared in a similar fashion in the oven or crockpot. Yum!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 4 lbs)
1 head garlic
4-5 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, including parsley, chervil, basil, rosemary, oregano, and/or chives
3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt and black pepper

Directions:

Garlic Butter:

1. Wrap the garlic head in tin foil (or in a small covered glass oven safe pan), and place in the oven/toaster oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until softened. Allow garlic to cool to room temperature.
2. Place the butter, herbs, and Parmesan in a small mixing bowl and beat with a spoon until light and fluffy. Cut the garlic head in half through the cloves and squeeze the garlic from each half into the flavored butter. Season with salt and pepper and beat to mix.

Stuffing the Chicken:

1. Remove the giblets from the body cavity. Rinse and dry the chicken.

2. To stuff the chicken, start by working one finger under the skin at the top of the neck cavity. Carefully loosen the skin from the meat, guarding against tearing the skin, if possible. Gradually widen the gap between the skin and meat until you can fit two fingers followed by your whole hand. Loosen skin from the breast, thighs, and drumsticks.
3. Spoon the garlic butter by hand under the skin. Spread the butter all over the chicken meat by gently rubbing the skin with your fingers.

4. Dash the exterior of the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper. Ideally, you will want to truss the chicken at this point, but up till now we have got away without it.

5. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a drip pan in the center. For our charcoal grill, we light the charcoal and form two heat zones by raking the coals into two piles at opposite sides of the grill. Our weber performer grill has baskets, which makes this easy to divide the coals evenly between the two, placing the drip pan between.

6. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in the center of the hot grill grate over the drip pan and away from the heat, and cover the grill. Grill until the chicken is deep golden brown and the meat is cooked through, 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after 1 hour. Internal temperature should be 180 degrees.

7. Transfer chicken to a platter to rest for 5 minutes. Carve as desired.

8. Pour the juices from the drip pan into a small pan on your stove top to prepare a gravy. I add arrowroot powder, salt and pepper to thicken and flavor as needed.

Recipe adapted from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen.

This is a continuation of our Natural Summer BBQ series. Check out our BBQ tools recommendations & our steak marinade.

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Plan a Declutter Party!

Photo Credit

Summer is a great time for visiting with friends, as well as tackling projects around your home. Combine the two, and invite your friends for a “Declutter Party!”

A “Declutter Party” is a wonderful opportunity to simplify your home by clearing out unnecessary items, as well as providing a frugal option for obtaining some needed things. (Plus having fun with friends at the same time!)

I have enjoyed participating in a few of these events over the years. In pursuit of wise stewardship, it is nice to be able to “recycle/reuse” items when possible.

In essence, a “Declutter Party” functions as a swap. You can bring/take home any number of items. Participants will “shop” through all the items for free. Any leftovers can be donated to charity.

Event Ideas-

  • Women’s Clothing Swap- Set up tables with spaces marked for the various sizes. Provide changing areas for trying on clothes. Make sure to invite women of different sizes; as guests bring too big/too small items, there will be enough for everyone. You can include shoes, purses, and accessories in this swap, too.
  • “Anything Goes”-  A “garage sale style” event; neatly set out items in “categories.”
  • Craft Supply Swap- This is a great opportunity to simplify your sewing/craft cabinet, reevaluate your hobbies, and find some new creative inspiration for the kids. (Have a project that’s been unfinished for the past 10 years? Let someone else have the joy of competing it!)

Planning Tips to Consider-

  • Guests: Is it just for women or will it be a family event?
  • Theme: You can have a specific focus for your items (such as a women’s or children’s clothing swap) or an “anything goes” garage-sale style event. Clearly communicate the swap guidelines in your invitation.
  • Focus: Do you want to highlight a charity or have a ministry emphasis? A clothing swap can feature modest wardrobe ideas or a devotional on modesty for young ladies. A crafty swap can make/sew items for local or international ministries (such as baby items).

In a swap with friends last year, I was able to pick up some wall shelves and more cute glass jars to use for my sewing storage! (I organize the supplies for my sewing business in attractive glass jars at my sewing area in our living room.)

It was so nice to put these unused items (my friends’ “clutter”) to good use in blessing my family with a tidy home. At the same time, I cleared out a large bag full of unused items from our closets!

Have you participated in a similar swap? I’d love to hear if you have, or if you’re planning one!

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Developing a Family Mission Statement

“Every decision we make is ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or principle, whether we know it or not. A Family Mission Statement is an effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that people are on the same page.” – Stephen Covey

Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he,” which has always challenged me in the importance of casting a vision and mission for our family. Without vision and direction, we could easily wander aimlessly through life and waste precious hours and moments that could be invested in the things of the Lord. We can get easily distracted in the superficial issues and lose sight of the greater purpose. I am often such a person, desiring great things in my heart, but never practically writing this out on paper and making a purposeful plan to review it regularly.

A mission statement is not something that is developed overnight, but it is invaluable frame of reference to use in making the everyday decisions in addition to the long term goals and plans. It is the inspiration that can encourage you when you have a challenging day. It can help refocus your family when you get off course. It answers the question: where are we going as a family? Where are we gifted that we could facilitate greater service to one another and the world around us? How can we purposefully accomplish that?

Where to Begin?

I encourage you to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey as an excellent source of inspiration and purpose for beginning this assignment. Here is the steps we took to develop our family mission. Make sure to make this a family affair, if possible, or if your children are young, you and your spouse. We will be far more effective if we seek to work together as co-labors in the mission God has assigned us.

1. Pray

Developing a mission statement cannot be completed without prayer. Spend as much time as necessary on this step, just seeking the Lord as to the direction he would desire for your family to take. Spend several days in preparation in this manner. We spent several weeks praying and thinking about the questions below individually before coming together to discuss it.

2. Ask Questions

Sit down together with your spouse and family and evaluate your passions and desires with these questions. Take lots of notes.

  • Where are we going as a family?
  • What are our priorities?
  • What are our strengths, gifting, talents?
  • What is the main purpose of our home?
  • What are practical ways we can serve each other?
  • What are practical ways we can serve others outside our family?
  • Name three things you think you could do better as a family.
  • What would people say today about our family as a whole?
  • What would we like people to say about our family as a whole in 30 years?
  • If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be?
  • How do you want to build relationships in your family?
  • Name three adjectives we would like people to use to describe our home environment.
  • If we could name one principle from which we want our family to operate, what would it be?
  • What characteristics do we want our children to have as they grow up? What do we want them to be skilled in?

For further questions to evaluate, check out Simple Mom & Family Cornerstone list.

Make note of any quotes or verses that stand out to you. Consider how you might incorporate these as well.

3. Narrow it Down

After evaluating the above questions, we narrowed our list down to our top ten priorities. Here is the list we compiled for our family based upon evaluating the questions above and our priorities:

God must come first (“Unless the Lord builds the house the workers labor in vain”)
Proactively seek to confess sins, love, and be quick to forgive each other
Kind and not ashamed to show affection with one another
Mission minded – joyfully serving the Lord together
Living simply in order to give generously
Love for learning
Good stewards
Hospitable (caring)
Using gifts for the kingdom (computer programming, writing, teaching, music, etc.)
Grateful

4. Write Your Statement

Then we took those priorities and goals and compiled it into a mission statement. Our statement is still in process, but this was our first draft. I seek your help and accountability in sharing this. We do this not for our own sakes for the greater purpose of God’s glory:

We will keep Christ at the center of our home.
We are committed to each other and will proactively practice humility, forgiveness, unconditional love, and share affection and encouragement with each other.
We are committed to living a missional lifestyle by living simply, giving generously, demonstrating hospitality, and cultivating gifts within each member of the family that can be used to further the Kingdom of God.
We will be good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to our care.
Our home will be a place where grateful hearts abide and where a love for learning is always nurtured and encouraged.
We are raising our children as disciples that love to learn, give, work, serve, and in turn send them out to share Gods love with the world.

Ours is more lengthy at this point than it needs to be. Our short purpose statement has always been: living simply in order to give generously (read more about this passion in my original series Our Journey to Simple Living). Yours can be as short or as long as you desire. Stephen Covey’s family statement is as follows:

To create a nurturing place of faith, order, truth, love, happiness and relaxation and to provide opportunity for every person to become responsibly independent and effectively inter-dependent in order to serve worthy purposes in society through understanding and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

5. Create Action Statements

With each priority listed, develop one or more action steps to complete over the next six months, year, or as you see fits best with your family. For us, we had to ask: how will we keep Christ the center of our home? By having regular family devotions, praying together at meals and the beginning of the day, and evaluating everything we do in our home to make sure Christ is honored. We will live missionally by reaching out in hospitality twice a month, welcoming new neighbors into our community, etc. By making action statements, you will be actively making steps towards the fulfillment of your goals in your home.

6. Set a Plan for Review and Evaluation

Mission statements will not go far without purposing to review them and evaluate your progress. Make a plan for this. Set up reminders on your computer to review it. We plan to review on a yearly basis when we do our year end evaluation, but also when we get away on vacation throughout the year.

With each and every thing we consider adopting or committing to as a family, we need to ask: what has this to do with that? Asking this in light of our mission statement and the glory of God.

7. Pray Again and Never Stop

Finally, dedicate it to the Lord. Commit your mission to Him and trust that He will guide you in the fulfillment of it. Do not trust on your own strength, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (Prov. 3:5).

Since beginning the process of developing our family mission statement, it has provided such clarity and direction to our daily lives. We know what our purpose is and we our passionately working together to accomplish it. By God’s strength, we want to be laborers in the extension of His Kingdom!

For further inspiration: The Benefits of Having A Family Mission Statement by Stephen Covey

God bless your efforts to live purposefully for His glory!

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Healthy Gingersnap Cookies

I recently discovered that my husband’s favorite cookie is gingersnaps. Why I have not figured this out prior to our fourth year of marriage is beyond me, but with this discovery began the quest to develop a delicious healthy variety. This is a very adaptable recipe depending upon your desires – bake for a shorter time for a soft, moist gingerbread style of cookie, or bake longer for a crisp gingersnap…whatever suits your fancy. Whatever your preference, this cookie is rich in flavor and nutrition, especially with the high iron and calcium content of molasses to the powerful effectiveness in ginger for preventing cancer to migraines, not to mention the many health benefits of coconut oil. Enjoy!

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, solid state
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sucanat/rapadura
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, sprouted is preferred (or replace 1 cup with unbleached white flour for a higher rise)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

2. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sucanat/rapadura.

3. Add the egg, and whisk until incorporated and somewhat light and fluffy. Pour in the molasses.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Add to the liquid mixture and stir until combined.

5. Scoop by tablespoon into small 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into additional sucanat/rapadura if desired.

6. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies have spread and tops have cracked.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

General Announcements: Last opportunity to enter the dehydrator giveaway! Ends tonight! Check it out! Also, the Naturally Knocked Up eCourse is open for registrations up till Friday, July 16th. Learn more here about preparing your body to be a healthy home for your little one.

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How To Prepare The Day For Our Children


Photo Credit

This post is written by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Kat.

Preparations

We set out their clothes, make their breakfast, and tidy the house so that our children can start the day off well.

But there is an even more important preparation we need to make before the day begins.

We need to prepare the day for them. To pave the way in prayer. To prepare our hearts and attitudes to welcome them to a day full of potential.

They take their cues from us. If we wake up late and grumpy, there’s a good chance they’ll be grumpy. If we greet them with a smile and hope for the day, there’s a good chance they’ll be hopeful and happy too.

We don’t need to wake up 2 hours early. 5 minutes will do wonders. Just a focused window of prayer, thanksgiving and a little “pep talk” from the Coach before the “game” begins.

I love to meet the day before sunrise (or kid-rise or husband-rise). In the early morning, It’s a truly blank canvas. The day laid out in all it’s vastness – full of possibility.

3 Steps For Preparing The Day For Your Family

1. Start With A Grateful Heart
I’m not always chipper in the morning. I don’t always feel like praying. It’s amazing how much my attitude changes after just a minute of thanking the Lord for all the wonderful blessings He’s given me.

2. Focused Prayer for Each Person
I use this calendar to pray for my husband and this calendar to pray for my children. In the fog of the early morning or the rush of a late morning, they give me direction and focus as I pray for my family.

3. Worship
One of my favorite songs to listen to in the morning is by Christy Nockels and it’s called Invade. I’m pretty sure Christy could sing Father Abraham 128,897,979 times in a row and I think I’d soak in every single repetitive note. She has such a gorgeous voice. Combine that voice with these amazing lyrics and that makes for a wonderful morning anthem.

Jesus, come and walk the halls of this house
Tread this place and turn it inside out
With Your mercy…
Jesus, teach us the prayers that open these doors
Until Your light floods in and illuminates these floors
And let Your truth be on our steps and in these rooms
Jesus invade…

Welcoming Our Children to Today

What an honor we have as moms to greet our children with all the hope of a fresh, brand new day.

Today could be one of the best days of our entire lives.

Today could be the day our patience overtakes our impatience – for good.

Today could be a day we make memories my children will laugh and talk about for 50 years.

Today could be a day God uses us to change someone’s life – forever.

Let’s take seriously our opportunity to prepare our children for the wonders of Today.

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