I really hope you guys have enjoyed the summertime bucket list blogs so far!
Today is another totally free post! I have made a point time and time again to advise you to make. Your bucket list according to what your kids are interested in! It makes it so much more for them and for you as well! So let’s get started.
_MOM TIP #1 Get a library card
Most of you with school aged kids have seen the papers that come home where you are able to log your reading time each day. In our house we aim to read at least 20 minutes a day. Getting a library card has been one of the best things I have done! It has saved us so much money because of how many books we go through. Whether it be Elijah reading books to me or the other way around. We read simple stories we get from the library, we read chapter books, and we read the bible. It really doesn’t matter to me what we read as long as we are spending some time with each other each day! It is a way for us to connect and have fun! During the school year Elijah earned SO many rewards for all of his reading and most of them came in the form of food. Whataburger coupons, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, and Braum’s to name a few! We collected them up and use them when the budget was tight! So on this day we used the free ice cream from Braum’s coupons to get a little sweet treat!
_MOM TIP #2 Find free museums
Elijah has always loved anything to do with the military. Ever since he was a toddler he has been infatuated with the little plastic army men and setting them up for battles. I truly think it began because his biological dad was in the National Guard Reserves, so naturally he thought it was really cool. I have never discouraged his interest in this but more so encouraged it.
To serve in the military is a huge responsibility and a great honor. If you have served, or are serving currently, thank you.
He still finds great joy in all things military so I thought what better place to take him to than to The 45th Infantry Museum.
Museums are a fabulous way to spend your day, which is why I said to choose things that interest your child. If your kid doesn’t enjoy things about the military I wouldn’t take them to a museum that offers nothing but military artifacts! You will get worn out and frustrated super fast and the point is to have fun not to do something just to say you did it.
We walked in and signed our names in the book and asked the man at the front which way we should start. We walked through and I have to say for someone who has grown up interested in history it was very neat. I am the kind of person who gets distracted easily but the information and all of the artillery and guns were fascinating to look at.
It was interesting to read about the different wars.
To know that the things we were looking at were legitimately used by men who served was very cool. We took our time and Elijah had fun telling me what guns were AK-47’s and which ones were used for certain battles. His knowledge about these things blew me away! He has my dad to thank for that.
_MOM TIP #3 Avoid unnecessary expenses
We finished up inside in the gift store which is the only place we spent money. I bought Elijah another collection of plastic army men for $10 which isn’t a bad price at all. This was an optional expense so you could easily avoid the gift shop if you need to! Outside they have big tanks and various forms of transportation. By the time we got out there we had just enough time to walk around and look at them before it started to rain on us! Overall it was a short afternoon and we both really enjoyed our time here!
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I was talking to my son the other night while he was taking a shower and he was telling me how I am the best mom he has ever had.
He went on to start talking to me about his dad and how much he loves him. If you know anything about our life you know that Elijah’s dad is not his biological dad. I usually don’t even have to clarify who he is talking about anymore when he says dad because he rarely talks about his biological one anymore. He went on to tell me “I would take a bullet for my dad.”
This was the same evening I sat in Elijah’s bedroom crying my eyes out watching the Budweiser commercial about stepdad’s who stepped up. If you haven’t seen it, youtube it and get ready to cry. I sat there at his window looking out watching my amazing husband spend his evening playing baseball with Elijah and felt so overwhelmed with thankfulness that God had given him to us. There was a man pouring his time and love and knowledge into my precious boy, our precious boy, all out of his own choice to do so. Zach didn’t have to choose us. He didn’t have to choose to step into a dad role and what was at the time a very complicated situation. But he did.
When Elijah was telling me how much he loved me and his dad, I suggested he let Zach know how much he loved him. When he got out of the shower he went into the living room and I heard him say, “Dad, I love you so much. You are the best dad I have ever had.” It was so sweet and I of course was just overwhelmed again.
It wasn’t until two days later
on the car ride home when Elijah said, “Mom, Can I tell you something?”. I said, “Of course, what is it?”. He continued on to tell me that it was very easy for him to tell me I am the best mom he has ever had because I am his only mom but it was a lot harder to tell dad that because he has two dads and he loves both of them. Wow. I had not even THOUGHT for a second about my simple request to let his dad know how much he loved him would make him even consider his biological dad. I immediately let him know that is completely normal and it’s great for him to love both dads. I apologized for not thinking about that before suggesting he convey that sweet message to Zach and how thankful I was that he shared it with me.
If that’s not enough to get your heart pounding…
he came in to me last night after we had celebrated Zach for Father’s Day and said, “Mom, is it okay if I tell dad what I told you the other day about it being hard for me to love two dad’s?”. I of course let him know that was okay. He walked his cute little rear back to our bedroom and I heard him explain it to Zach who answered in the best way he ever could have.
“Buddy, I understand how that would be hard. And it’s okay. It’s okay for you to love both of us. Just know that I love you so much and I am so thankful for you because you are the whole reason I even get to be a dad at all. Thank you for letting me be your dad.”
Cue the waterworks.
Our story of redemption is not over. GOD is moving in our family. This Father’s Day is Zach’s first official one to celebrate and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to call the father of my children. Everything he does is for GOD first, and then for us. I respect this man beyond what my words could ever write or speak.
Pray for Zach. Pray for. Elijah. Pray for the baby on the way. Pray for my dad, and your own dad. If you aren’t married pray for the man who will father your children and lead your family. And also, pray for Elijah’s biological dad and all of the dad’s around the world. Pray for everyone who have lost their dad. Pray for the broken father/child relationships. We serve a good GOD who will work everything for His good.
Happy Father’s Day!
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What comes to mind when you think of the word RAW?
Some minds will travel to cucumbers and carrots and uncooked meat. Some of you don’t really think of much at all, maybe it just goes in one ear and out the other. Another person who may have a little baby may be thinking of their little ones diaper rash. Maybe you think about when you have blown your nose one too many times when you have had a cold.
I’m thinking of the rawness of the heart that comes from being rubbed against over and over again for a long period of time. Maybe you read this today and your heart is raw. You feel if you rub against one more surface one more time the protective layer that is barely there is going to split wide open and everything is going to spill out.
I’ve been there more than once and I am sure I will be there again. I’ve felt the intense eroding of my heart as I waited on the LORD to come and intervene in my situations. I have wondered when will the new skin begin to cover up this pale, pink, rough, unprotected heart of mine?
The truth is
we cannot sit around and declare all of the promises of GOD expecting Him to change our hearts and heal them when we aren’t willing to lay it down before Him and say, do what you will with my open wound. Our healing is not always going to come the way we expect it to.
I cannot with the understanding I have of GOD and His word (which is the standard for truth) tell you that GOD is going to heal your cancer. I cannot tell you GOD is going to swoop into your marriage and change your spouses heart. I cannot tell you that GOD is going to get you a promotion in your career. I can however tell you that the One True GOD is CAPABLE to do anything and everything that He wants to. His purposes will be accomplished. He can take your raw heart and make it strong again. He can heal every disease.
I have said it once and I will continue to say it for the rest of my life… GOD is most concerned with you getting what will bless you the most, and that is MORE of Him. Our LORD does not cause or purpose our trials or suffering but He knows if it gives the opportunity for us to know Him deeper, there is no greater gift than to allow us to rely on Him to endure them. So what is your end goal? Is your end goal more of GOD, or is your end goal for your idea of healing to come the way you want it to?
GOD can give you a new heart. GOD can heal every disease. But the disease He is most concerned with is the disease of sin which has separated us from Him. This is the most deadly and painful disease of all.
Are you ready to be healed today?
He is ready to heal you of your sins when you are ready to accept His free gift and trust that it’s only by Jesus’ goodness that you can be redeemed. When you are ready to lay down your life and admit that no other thing will any longer be your LORD, He is ready and EXCITED to bring you in. GOD the Father will take the raw and use it to show you just how much you truly need His healing love. Surrender it all to Him now, it is the greatest thing you will ever do.
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Genesis 9:7 “And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
We hear this verse and we automatically always look at it through the eyes of sexuality. While I believe that was the context God was using when he gave this command, I want us to look at it through metaphorical eyes today.
Elijah had been saving up his reward points (we give points for chores and good behavior, etc) for almost 2 months now. He finally decided to cash them in today! He decided on bowling and pizza, so we picked up one of his friends and took off for a fun afternoon! We got there and got the boys shoes and ordered a cheese pizza. We waited and waited, and the boys bowled and bowled. We had about 5 minutes left of bowling and still our pizza had not come out.
The manager had come over to us a couple of times so I decided to let him know our pizza never did come out, and now we were already done bowling. I was not hateful or rude, and honestly I wasn’t even really that irritated. We simply moved from our lane and to a table and waited. The pizza finally came and the boys went to town.
When it was time to pay the manager came up and apologized again that our pizza had not been placed and gave us our ticket which he had given us the pizza for half the price. I was appreciative and payed and we packed up what was left into the box, which happened to be half of the pizza. It was an 8 slice pizza and we packed up 4 pieces. The boys wanted to go back outside and play a round of Jenga before we left so I said sure.
When we got outside I noticed a homeless man sitting by the riverwalk going on and on talking to himself. I asked the boys if they would want me to give him the rest of their pizza and they both agreed, yes. So I walked over to him, keeping the boys in eye sight but not having them come with me, and I asked him if he would like some pizza. He said “Oh, yes! Thank you, bless you, you are oh so pretty.” I thanked him and told him to enjoy the pizza. I made my way back over to the boys and explained to them that this man could be mentally ill or on drugs but that they showed the love of Jesus by sacrificing their pizza so he could have something warm and fresh to eat.
They continued to play their game of Jenga and we periodically glanced over at him and watched him talk away to whoever it was he was imagining sitting with him. It was so neat to see him open that box and eat that pizza, but you’ll never guess what happened next.
Two men, also obviously homeless, walked up to him and started chatting. This man opened up his pizza box and gave away two pieces of his pizza. He gave away warm food that he had been freely given. My mind was blown. I could not believe how he could be so selfless, but I guess that’s probably because he knows what it is like to have nothing.
We are so hesitant to give things away, and we have SO much. We have excess. We don’t want to give someone $5 or spend $5 to buy someone a warm meal meanwhile we have 8 different options for breakfast ALONE in our cabinet plus extra refrigerators in our garage because the one inside is already full. Our closets are overflowing and we have to store clothes under our beds depending on which season it is because it won’t all hang up or fit in our drawers. Our kids have their own iPad’s and we have our iPad, iPhone, and Macbook. And we don’t want to give someone $5 because what if they use it on alcohol or drugs? What if the point of giving to someone wasn’t about finances or moral standards or judgements or what if’s? What IF it was based on love?
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