Saturday, 30 August 2014

Paperbag scrapbook concept books

This is a simple project that you can do with your children that can not only teach them simple concepts, but make memories at the same time. I made this book with my oldest daughter when she was young. It was fun to go through family pictures and remember good times. It was also a fun project to work on together.

You can make any kind of scrapbook you want with this method. We chose to make it a family number book. Each page has a picture with a different number of people in it. As you can see here, it starts with one person. My daughter, Jessica, who helped make the book gets that spot. The next page has two people. And so on. There are only five people in our immediate family so, as we progressed from 6-10, we expanded it to include grandparents, cousins and so on and widened the circle of relations. You could do it to include friends as well.

To make a number book to include 10 numbers you will need:

3 small paper lunch bags
hole punch
scrapbooking paper
scrapbooking glue or adhesive stickers
pictures with groups from 1-10
number stickers
letter stickers (optional)

Fold the bags in half and punch holes in the "spine".
Stack the bags together to make a book and tie with small pieces of ribbon.
After you have chosen your pictures, find coordinating scraps of scrapbooking paper to add a colorful back ground for your pictures.
Glue your paper and pictures to each page.
We used whimsical number stickers to number each page, but you could just write them if you want.
We also used some fun letter stickers to add a title to the front cover and "The End" on the back. You could write it if you want.

We just happened to have a fun picture from a children's museum that had the numbers 123 in it to make a fun picture for the cover.

You can use the same method to make other concept books such as ABC, opposites, etc. We used pictures that we already had, but it would be fun to take pictures with your child just for the book. That way the concept is being learned both in the taking of the pictures, making the book and reading it afterwards.

Have fun!


Friday, 29 August 2014

Laying a good foundation

In Matthew we are told to build our house on a rock so that when the storms come we have a good foundation. Proverbs teaches us to train up our children in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it. An important part of raising our children is to help them lay that strong foundation, train them to know, love and serve the Lord Jesus at an early age so that when they are older and on their own they have that strong foundation already built and can lean on it. There are no guarantees in this life. God has no grandchildren. And there are no magic formulas. But with out good faith education as a child, it is harder for our children to navigate through the stormy times of living in this world. Our children have a better chance of accepting Christ and loving and serving Him if they are introduced to Him at an early age.

We have used many different methods to give our children this good foundation, church, family Bible Studies, Biblically centered curriculum, etc. It is good to model and live this faith at home. It's also good for them to have positive role models outside the home.

One tool we have used to help us build this foundation in our children is Awana Clubs. Our children started when they were 3 years old, learning simple truths and scripture and now as teens they are digging deeper and serving right along side the adults, training up the younger kids. Awana is an international organization whose goal is to train children to know, love and serve Jesus. They model their age 2-18 clubs on the life of Joseph and teach children the principles of respect, wisdom, and grace. At the youth age, their focus is on teaching the young people that their destiny is in following the call and will of God  and to trust God's sovereignty in all things. They make club nights fun and exciting to come to so that it draws kids in, but scripture memory and service are also very key.

Awana may not be for every family. But for ours it has been a huge blessing. My kids have grown up, since they were very little, learning and loving the Word, getting good strong Biblical teaching, learning to serve and having a lot of fun and meeting kids who are being raised with the same principles. My children love to serve and I enjoy getting to serve with them each week. They enjoy working with the younger clubbers and they have a lot of fun with their friends. I love that they have a place that they look forward to going to that is a positive place with good friends. I pray that this foundation will last through out their lives and help them to grow into strong adults ready to weather any storm.

Awana also has many resources to help families to train their children at home, including books, games and Awana at Home curriculum. Just last year they even started offering their materials through Awana Homeschool so that families can do the same books that church clubs offer in their homeschools.

If you are interested in learning more about Awana, visit

My kids with their Grand Prix cars. 
Alex as a Student Leader
with one of her Cubbies.

Awards night. Awards won for all their hard work learning the Word. 
Alex as a Cubbie.      

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Teaching Your Babies to Cook

     After many years of little ones, I have been shown, by them, that they can do far more than we ever expect of them. So, what can a little one of 18 months to 3 years do in the kitchen? Start off by letting them watch. Have a special chair that they can climb up on and see what you are doing. I like to have the chair so that the back is on one side, so they can use it to hold on to. If it is a little chair, then we keep the back to the cabinets so that they can't knock it over by accident.

Charlotte making dinner-age 2
 Explain to them what you are doing. Use words that they can understand. Talk, talk, talk! Name everything that you use. Let them feel it and taste it if it's not bad for them. Ask them questions! Ask them where the egg is or can he/she hand you the vanilla? Make sure that they understand safety. Most babies can be taught the word HOT. Anything dangerous should be called hot at this age. Knives are hot, stoves are hot. Say it like you mean it, too. They need to understand that hot means move away and don't touch. I usually say it quite dramatically until they instinctively move away when they hear the word.

Lining up those fish sticks. :)
     Let them hold things that you are going to use or have already used. Begin to let them help, always supervise and never leave them unattended. I usually start with stirring. Whenever I need stirring, I make sure that I ask if anyone would like to before I do it. I use a long handled spoon that I can hold the top of, if needed, to help control the speed and intensity. lol Once they are good at stirring, (That means that I don't have to hold the spoon while they do it.) I move on to allowing them to add ingredients. I measure out spices, salt, herbs, flour, etc...and allow them to add it to the bowl. Then stir. :) Once they are good at that, we work on the liquids. I'll add all liquids to a measuring cup with a spout and allow them to practice pouring. If you have an eager child, then add one liquid at a time to the cup so they can practice more than once. :) Add milk, then oil, then egg, then vanilla, etc...until they have added everything. Then stir. :)

Look at her concentration!
     Easy things that little people can do with minimal help: line fish sticks or nuggets onto a pan to be baked, wash strawberries, pick grapes off the stem, put toast in the toaster (only if it's not hot), pour frozen veggies into a bowl to be microwaved or into a pot to be steamed, line baby carrots and precut celery onto a tray, spoon dip into a small bowl and add chips or crackers to a plate, etc... anything that just means open and go, is a great way to make them feel like they are really helping in the kitchen!

Charlotte working on a salad.
     Next up, knife work! Yes, I said knife! There are some really great knives called Curious Chef that allow anyone the ability to cut things up without hurting themselves. Teach them how to hold the knife with both hands. One hand on the handle and one on the top of the blade. It will keep little fingers from getting squashed. Have them practice on cucumber slices or ones that have been cut into fourths. Bananas are great to start with too. Allow them to peel, then cut the banana into rounds. They can learn to cut the tops off strawberries, cut peppers (shiny side down), lettuce, tomatoes, snap broccoli florets off the "trees", shell peas, etc... What is important is to start with those veggies and fruits that only need a downward push to cut, then to move slowly into the veggies and fruits that need a sawing motion to cut. Once they have mastered these, they can prepare their own salads with just supervision from Mom!

Charlotte working hard. :)
     Don't forget scooping, pouring, and measuring, too. Buying a few small creamers and having them in the fridge filled with their favorite drink and milk will give them confidence to get their own drink and to serve others whenever someone is thirsty. I keep cups in a small drawer on the bottom rack of my kitchen shelves, down where anyone can reach them. They are welcome to get a cup and serve themselves anytime they are thirsty. My littlest one, is taught how to get a small cafeteria tray with a napkin in it, put it on the table, then to get a cup and finally to get her pitcher with what she'd like to drink. She is to pour over the tray to catch any spills and leave her cup on the tray to keep messes from getting out of hand. For practice, I have practical skills set up after the older kids' schooling is done for the day. One tray will be set up with beans in a creamer and a little bowl, one with a small amount of water in a creamer, a tea cup, and a sponge to wipe up the mess, and one with a small snack, a bowl, and a topping for her to pour on top. :)

Charlotte with her pouring tray.

     What to do *when* things go wrong? lol Dear, children were made to make messes! Realize that they are learning and exploring their world. Make a Plan *B* for that. I keep a supply of little spice jars filled with oats, beans, a little salt, and maybe a dried herb and keep them in my little one's kitchen for times when she just wants to dump things and make a mess. She has her space to create, make messes, and also learn to clean up afterwards. :) Make sure to buy her a broom and dustpan just her size and help her learn to clean up her messes. It won't look cleaned up after she's worked on it, but she's learning and in a few years, she'll be a wiz at the broom too. :)

Big sister was watching her, making sure she was safe.

    Finally, make it fun. Cooking is a part of life for any family. If you invest in your little ones now, they will become confident chefs in the future. Are you overwhelmed with the idea of having them in the kitchen with you? Then plan for it! When you make your grocery list for next week, plan a meal that anyone could do. Fish sticks or chicken nuggets, frozen French fries and frozen peas and corn. Then, let them do the work. Show them what to do and stand back. You'll be surprised what your little ones can do, too.

Big sister, Genevieve-age 11
A dinner that Genevieve made us all by herself! :)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Respect and Love

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Men and women are wired very differently. I think we can all agree to that statement with a very hearty, "Amen!" However, did you know that some of the most fundamental differences can affect your entire relationship and how you interact with each other? 

Respect and Love

Emerson Eggerichs has actually written a book on this subject called Love & Respect. He shares these statistics on his website. Seven thousand people were asked "When you are in conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?" The answer? Men almost always answered "disrespected" (83%) and women typically answered "unloved" (72%). 

So how does that information pertain to how we interact with our spouses? I will often hear wives say, "well, he needs to earn my respect." Quite frankly, no, he does not. Ladies, we are called to respect our husband according to God's word. Our men are called to love us as well. These two things are not mutually dependent, however. We must respect them no matter what. They must love us no matter what. No one ever said that it would be easy to do either.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to 
love his own wife even as himself, 
and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. 
~Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)

Now I know it is not always easy to respect your husband, but if we are being completely honest, I'm sure it's not always easy for them to love us either. Marriage takes a huge investment on our part. Sometimes that investment is easy and sometimes that investment is downright hard. 

One of the biggest hurdles I've found in my own marriage is expectations. It seems innocuous enough doesn't it. However, if I have these great expectations for how I want my husband to act and he falls short, then what? I can become moody or angry. After all, most men know that when he asks his wife how she is and the answer is, "Fine!" things are so not okay.

Don't look to television, books, or movies to define what love should look like. Remember that is not reality, they are characters created from someone's imagination, and they have multiple chances to get it just right. If you look to these unrealistic characters to tell you how your spouse should act, your spouse will always fall short. 

I'm not saying you can't have expectations for your husband. But does he even know what they are? Have you told him outright what you'd like or need? Do not make him guess. He is not a mind-reader. Men are very black and white. Tell him point blank what it is and why you need it. It could be something as simply as, "When you are home, I need you to interact more with the kids. I know you are tired after a long day of work, but I'm tired as well. I could use some help getting supper ready and the kids bathed. If I cook, can you clean up and read bedtime stories?" One other helpful word of advice, do not come across as angry or annoyed while asking. Tone of voice and body language can sometimes say way more than our words.

Let me say this very clearly. If you are in an abusive relationship, I am not telling you that you must stay and respect your husband. Make sure you are safe. I don't want anyone to think I am advocating for staying with a man who does not know how to truly love his wife. Abuse is not love.

Image courtesy of niamwhan at

However, for those of us in a safe relationship, respect your husband. Always. What does that look like? 
  • Don't complain about him either to his face, to your friends, or anyone else for that matter.
  • Find out what his love language is and use it to show him how much you love him. You can take an online quiz to figure this out if it's not something you've heard of before.
  • Tell him how much you appreciate him. Does he work hard to provide? Thank him. Does he spend time with the kids? Thank him. Let him know you appreciate his efforts.
  • Let him "overhear" you tell someone else something you like and appreciate about him. Praise him in public.
  • Tell your children how much you appreciate all the things their father does for the family.
  • Here's a link to a great blog with 25 more ways to show respect

Marriage is never easy - even if you know someone who seems to make it look so. It is a serious commitment to each other to make it work. But at the heart of it are the two words I mentioned at the beginning - respect and love. Without one or the other, marriage will simply fail. So wives, I'm calling you to respect your husbands, even when it's hard. And husbands, I'm calling you to love your wives, even when it's hard. We were never promised an easy marriage when we said "I do" and the best things are the ones we work the hardest for.

Lisa is a wife to Bob. They just began their 21st year of marriage. She is also a mom to three boys (ironic, no?). Her oldest will soon be 18 but still has one more year at home. Her middle son is 13 and her youngest is 10. She also stays busy by homeschooling her children and watching a two-year old (a boy of course) full-time as well as other assorted children as the need arises for family and friends. She is very active in her local and state homeschooling community. She is also a very avid reader, enjoys writing, loves dancing at Zumba class, and checking Facebook a little too often. Lisa strives daily to become more Christ-like. She is reminded often of the Lord's mercy and grace and is thankful that He is so gracious to extend to her on a much needed basis. She lives in Maine on her own piece of "no-where land" with her family.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Let Them Be Boys

My husband and two younger boys, ages 10 and 13, just returned from a week long canoe/kayak trip in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This is a very remote part of Maine near the Canadian border. No towns. No paved roads. No cell service. Just lots and lots of moose and other wildlife. It's the perfect place to just be a boy.

I have to admit that I was very nervous about my family going off to the wild wilderness with no way to contact them. I have every confidence in my "Eagle-Scout-always-be-prepared" hubby and knew that he would make sure the kids were safe. However, I knew it would be "dad-safe" which is vastly different from "mom-safe."

We moms tend to want to be sure our kiddos are safe from everything we can possibly prevent. However, I have learned over the last 18 years of being a mom to boys that sometimes I have to look the other way and simply trust. I have to trust that they will be okay. I have to trust that my husband, who was once a boy himself, knows what boys need to do to grow up to be confident men. I also have to trust that God will keep them safe. After all, He loves them far more than I ever could.

My crew arrived home on Saturday evening and the stories began to fly. I knew that this would be a lasting memory for my boys. I knew that they would have "remember when" stories to tell for a long time. I also knew it was a very good thing I learned of all the stories after it was all said and done.

That moose above? He showed up on the beach one morning, bright and early, while my middle son was fishing. He was sitting on the beach trying to get his lure on just right when he looked up and saw the huge beast a mere 15 feet away. If you've never seen a moose in person, they are big with a capital B! This one was roughly 900+ pounds. A very big moose!

Thankfully it was before "the rut" or mating season and he was pretty docile. Had it been a few weeks later, things might have turned out very different. Moose get very aggressive when they are searching for a mate. He checked my boy over and then headed in to the water to eat some tasty grass. My poor kiddo was shaking with the adrenaline rush. All the adults were ready to come to his rescue as soon as they realized what was happening.

James, which is what they named the moose, stuck around most of that day and the next and even kindly posed for some photo ops.

My youngest and his best friend with "James" in the background. 

The boy fun didn't stop there though. They came across a swimming area with ledges on one of the last days they were there. Maine has a lot of bedrock so swimming areas like this are fairly common. The adults made sure the water was deep (more than 20 feet I was told) and that the kids would be fine. They all started to jump off. 

My youngest son jumping for all he is worth.

I know that as a Mom, I would have been second guessing this decision the whole time. I sometimes get in the way of my boys exploring and experiencing life in such a way that they will grow in to the men they need to be - adventurous, brave, and self-confident.

Some of the best advice I ever received as a new mom was this -

"Do not ask your husband to help with the baby 
and then criticize his efforts." 

This doesn't just count for infants. It pertains no matter how old the child may be. Unless your child is in immediate danger from whatever is being done, bite your tongue. Let your husband figure it out. Yes, there will be days when they have cereal for supper or even ice-cream (we actually did that last night!). There will be days when they will have mismatched clothes that are also dirty. There will even be days when they stay up too late, eat too much sugar, and are still bouncing off the walls at midnight. You need to trust your husband though. If you are constantly second guessing him or telling him how to do things, he will stop helping all together.

My youngest son in blue. His friend is in orange. 

Boys love to climb on things. When they came across these abandoned train engines in the woods they did what all boys must do. Climb. As my hubby told me, "they were all over them." Again, this is a time when, as boys, they need to explore. They need to test their abilities. They need to see what their limits are. As moms, we sometimes hinder this exploration. Even now I sometimes struggle with it. I keep learning, though, that they need this. It is what boys are made of and we simply need to let them be boys. 

Lisa is a wife to Bob. They just began their 21st year of marriage. She is also a mom to three boys (ironic, no?). Her oldest will soon be 18 but still has one more year at home. Her middle son is 13 and her youngest is 10. She also stays busy by homeschooling her children and watching a two-year old (a boy of course) full-time as well as other assorted children as the need arises for family and friends. She is very active in her local and state homeschooling community. She is also a very avid reader, enjoys writing, loves dancing at Zumba class, and checking Facebook a little too often. Lisa strives daily to become more Christ-like. She is reminded often of the Lord's mercy and grace and is thankful that He is so gracious to extend to her on a much needed basis. She lives in Maine on her own piece of "no-where land" with her family.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Loving Your Children When They Are The Least Lovable

‘Loving’ our children is what is meant to come naturally for mothers. It's up there with 'protecting' and 'guiding'. And for most of us, most of the time, it does come naturally. We rarely need reminding to love our children. The love relationship usually establishes itself in the first few hours of birth, if not before, and, with few exceptions, it develops and continues throughout our children’s lives.

This is not to say that there aren’t times for every mother when our children seem practically unlovable. I can think of many occasions when I didn’t really like my children very much. These occasions didn’t last too long, but they could be quite upsetting when they happened.

Once, late one evening when my husband Jamie was out working, my colicky baby was screaming and inconsolable and I was exhausted, leaky and frustrated, I remember feeling terrified that perhaps I didn’t really love my baby. The truth was just that my baby wasn’t being particularly lovable at the time! Another time, when one of my children deliberately lied to me for the first time, their sin was ugly and made them unlovable and I was shocked at my negative feelings towards them.

Miserable, tantrummy toddlers; angry, authority-shrugging teenagers - yes - I admit to having all those experiences. It would have been easy to have stopped loving my children during those episodes (and some were longer than momentary, sadly) had I not realised, early on in my mothering career, a couple of important truths.

The first was a well-known aphorism:
‘When your child is at their most unlovable is when they need your love the most.’

If you’ve not read it before, and I take no credit for it, re-read it. When your 3 year old is screaming in the back of the car to get out and play and you need to pick up your sick husband from work, you may not feel much love for them, but that's when they need your love the most.

To actively love them as a choice can be difficult. It may mean breathing calmly and gently repeating, why you can’t do what they want. It may mean enfolding an angry selfish child in a loving embrace and praying quietly for them. It may mean walking away from a disobedient teenager until you can speak respectfully to them again. It WILL mean active love, by choice.

By the way, I am NOT a perfect mother, and so I frequently failed to respond perfectly but, after a brief time, I drew from my well of love for these children and forced myself to respond in as loving a manner as I could.

The second idea which helped me immensely was that of remembering how God parents us. God doesn’t expect ‘first-time obedience’ or  joyful, grateful, sinless behaviour from us. He expects us to sin. He knows we will do what’s wrong, often, but, because He’s our Father, He chooses to love us in our ugly unlovability. He is ready to forgive, compassionate and gracious, long-suffering, patient and kind.

That has to be our pattern for parenthood, doesn’t it?

I would always ask myself, when my child became 'unlovable', 
'Am I perfect yet?'
'Have I stopped sinning?'
'Have I learned not to do wrong yet?'
'Has my Father stopped forgiving me?'
If these things are not true of me, an adult, then why would I expect such an unreasonable standard from my children?

These thoughts helped me to keep loving my children through the tough times. I hope, Dear Daughter, that they might seep into your consciousness, the next time you feel giving in to a loveless response, and help you to love them more.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Relationships: Forsaking is Protecting

Courtesy of Leland Francisco

Do you recall your wedding vows?  Close your eyes and think of your beloved's face as you promised:

"I,______________, do solemnly promise to take, _________________, in holy matrimony.  I promise to love, comfort, honor and keep him for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do we part.  I will forsake all others, being faithful to him as long as we both shall live, so help me God."

When I made my promise, I remember vowing to forsake all others and thinking that it referred to sexual fidelity.  As I grew in my marriage, I realized that while sexual fidelity is of great importance, general fidelity is equally essential.

Let's look at a couple of definitions:

FIDEL'ITY, n. [L. fidelitas, from fides, faith, fido, to trust. See Faith.]
1. Faithfulness; careful and exact observance of duty, or performance of obligations. We expect fidelity in a public minister, in an agent or trustee, in a domestic servant, in a friend.
The best security for the fidelity of men, is to make interest coincide with duty.
2. Firm adherence to a person or party with which one is united, or to which one is bound; loyalty; as the fidelity of subjects to their king or government; the fidelity of a tenant or liege to his lord.
3. Observance of the marriage covenant; as the fidelity of a husband or wife.
4. Honesty; veracity; adherence to truth; as the fidelity of a witness.~Websters 1828 Dictionary
The enemy is rather cunning.  You will find, dear daughter, that potential intruders in a marriage can be a best friend, a volunteer opportunity, a job offer, a church event, or another man.  It is anything or anyone, that requires you to place your marriage in a lower priority than it deserves. Most of these things, all by themselves are good things, but we must ask ourselves:

How does this interest, event, opportunity or person coincide with my duty as a wife?
How might these things challenge my marriage?
Am I being loyal to my husband in this decision, in this friendship, in this opportunity?
Do I believe this is God's best for us? 
What is my motivation in this situation?
What does my husband think?
Am I being honest with myself and my husband?

Synonyms for infidelity include disloyalty, faithlessness, falseness, inconstancy, and unbelief.  

Antonyms for infidelity include loyalty, faithfulness, truth, constancy, allegiance and belief.

So what does it mean to forsake all others?

FORSA'KE, verb transitive preterit tense forsook; participle passive forsaken.
1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.
Forsake the foolish, and live. Proverbs 9:6.
2. To abandon; to renounce; to reject.
If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments - Psalms 89:30.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalms 37:8.
3. To leave; to withdraw from; to fail. In anger, the color forsakes the cheeks. In severe trials, let not fortitude forsake you.
4. In scripture, God forsakes his people, when he withdraws his aid, or the light of his countenance. ~Websters 1828 Dictionary
Synonyms for forsake include renounce, relinquish, leave, disown.

Antonyms for forsake include allow, approve, continue, keep, hold, revert.

To forsake those that may intrude in your marriage is to say, "no."  It is a boundary that helps you protect your union - your oneness.  The act of forsaking is difficult.  It is hard work to say, "no." It requires self-discipline and most certainly self-sacrifice.  Like Christ, we must be willing to lay down our lives for the good of another. 

Marital love requires a high degree of commitment, time, and emotional safety in order to grow and thrive as God designed. Daughter, are you building and maintaining that high degree of safety in your marriage by observing boundaries?  Are you asking yourself the hard questions?  Are you forsaking all others?   

Young friend, start today.  It is never too late.  Look to the Lord Jesus to show you the road to faithfulness.

“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." ~Hosea 2:17-20


Yvonne Ferlita has been married for nearly twenty-five years and is mother to four children ages 22, 20, 16 and 11 years old. She is a follower of Jesus and gratefully relies on His grace. Having overcome perfectionism, she has embraced the imperfect excellence found in the ordinary life God has given her. Yvonne has homeschooled her children since 1998 and has helped them enjoy their unique gifts, while overcoming various learning and life challenges. Her therapy is writing, crocheting, swimming and laughing. She and her family reside in Brandon, Florida surrounded by four orphaned cats and a lovely, but bossy, labrador retriever. She blogs to encourage at Not Perfect - Just Ordinary.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Be Jesus

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman /

Many times as young moms we feel like we are doing all we can just to keep our own children fed and well cared for. I remember the days when I would fall in to bed and couldn’t remember a single thing I had accomplished that day. However, my children were well cared for, happy, and apparently had run me ragged – something three young boys are very good at!

One thing I wish I had learned to do better when I was a younger mom was to do all things as if doing them for the Lord. 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the
Lord rather than for people.
~Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

Oftentimes I would be so tired and so caught up in the day-to-day aspects of raising three little ones that I would forget to go to the one source of strength I needed on a daily, if not a minute, basis - Jesus. I understand how it feels to be so focused on simply raising our children that we forget to go to God for help.

I just finished reading the book Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. If you’ve not heard of the book, it chronicles the journey of Katie who heads to Uganda on a three week mission trip while still a senior in high school. The country captures her heart. After graduation she goes back for what was supposed to be a year-long adventure teaching kindergarten in the village. Her class ended up with over 100 students! During that year the Lord shared what it was He had in store for her. Katie is now 26 years old and lives full-time in Uganda. She has adopted 13 orphaned girls. If that wasn’t enough, she also started an international organization called Amazima that helps women in the village earn money to help feed their families as well as helps the children by providing school supplies and funding to attend school. Those are just some of the things this amazing young women does on a daily basis. 

So why am I sharing about this book? What does this all have to do with “doing everything until the Lord?” I was struck by one very important lesson that I felt applied not only to my own life, but to the lives of everyone…

Be Jesus. Even if it’s to just one person. Build on that. That can mean so many things. I’m certainly not telling everyone reading this post that they must leave all they know and move to a Third World Country! However, Jesus calls us to help the least of these in His name.

 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
~Matthew 25:31-41 (NLT)

How would helping the “least of these” look in your life? As I mentioned, I’m not suggesting you move to Uganda, but there are ways to help in your own community. Here are some suggestions and examples of things I’ve done with my children in tow. 

  • Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen
  • Carry “blessing bags” with you so when you see someone in need, you are ready to give them something to eat and drink
  • Volunteer at your church
  • Grow extra veggies and give them away
  • Pass your children’s outgrown clothing on to another family who would find that a blessing
  • Bake a meal for someone who has just suffered a loss or a medical incident or just because
  • Practice random acts of kindness

Many of these things cost little to no extra money. For about a year, until policy changes prohibited us from helping, my boys and I drove to a food bank about an hour away and helped sort and fill the shelves. Their favorite part though was helping to fill the orders of the folks who came. Even my oldest son who was 16 at the time enjoyed this!

I typically have a “snack box” in my car for road trips. It’s saved me quite a few times! Once while in the big city (we live in the backwoods of Maine), I saw a gentleman standing with a cardboard sign while we were stopped at a red light. I admit to being pretty cynical about panhandlers and oftentimes will turn my head. However, he was slowly walking up past the line of cars and his sign caught my attention. It said, “Homeless but not hopeless!” I quickly grabbed some granola bars and a few packages of peanut butter crackers from the snack box, rolled down the window and asked him if he would like some food. He was gracious and kind and parted by saying, “God bless you!”

It doesn’t take a lot of time, but we need to model to our children how to be like Jesus. Discuss with them why you did what you did. Use it to help them see that helping the least of these is really helping Jesus.

It’s simple. Be Jesus. Show your kids how to be Jesus. Live by example.

Disclaimer: I purchased Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis with my own money. I am sharing about it because I loved the book. No other reason. 

Lisa is a wife to Bob. They just began their 21st year of marriage. She is also a mom to three boys (ironic, no?). Her oldest will soon be 18 but still has one more year at home. Her middle son is 13 and her youngest is 10. She also stays busy by homeschooling her children and watching a two-year old (a boy of course) full-time as well as other assorted children as the need arises for family and friends. She is very active in her local and state homeschooling community. She is also a very avid reader, enjoys writing, loves dancing at Zumba class, and checking Facebook a little too often. Lisa strives daily to become more Christ-like. She is reminded often of the Lord's mercy and grace and is thankful that He is so gracious to extend to her on a much needed basis. She lives in Maine on her own piece of "no-where land" with her family.