Relationships

How to Have a Happy Marriage

I saw this video on Dr. Laura’s YouTube channel and thought it would be a fun, and cute, segway to a recap post for the 10-day Love Dare “workshop” I hosted this past week.


(By the way, NEVER stop flirting. Seriously. It’s fun and puts a creative and exciting spark in your marriage).

In case you’re just tuning in, the 10-day Love Dare challenge was all about DARING YOU to make your marriage stronger. I personally believe that too many people (mainly women) have been brainwashed into believing that marriage is all about THEM and about what THEY want and need from a relationship when in fact, it’s not.

At all.

It’s about co-existing with another human being and learning to adapt and change to various circumstances over the years. It’s about training yourself to LIVE love, not just FEEL love.

Can you honestly say you’re the same person you were when you got married? Can you honestly say your spouse is?

I’m betting – no.

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading more about the challenge, and my experiences with the challenge, you can click on the links below.

Beginning
Love is patient: Day One
Love is kind: Day Two
Love is not selfish: Day Three
Love is thoughtful: Day Four
Love is not rude: Day Five
Love believes the best: Day Six
Love is not jealous: Day Seven
Love fights fair: Day Eight
Love takes delight: Day Nine
Love vs. lust: Day Ten

It was a lot of work writing all of that, and it’s even more work LIVING it. Having a perfect marriage is not realistic, but a happy marriage is certainly possible – and it all starts with YOU.

Good luck and thanks for reading.

Abundant Life

Teaching: What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Original article can be found here.

The institution of marriage between a man and a woman goes back to the beginning of Creation and has been recognized by every culture as the foundation of both family and civilization itself. God created two sexes, “male and female” (Gen. 1:27, 5:2), and He did so for the mutual benefit of both genders. The man and the woman bring different strengths into the relationship, and by doing so strengthen both the relationship and the family. When the two sexes come together, God says they become one flesh (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Eph. 5:31; 1 Cor. 6:16). The book of Malachi points out that another reason God made the man and woman one flesh in the covenant of marriage was so that the children would be godly: “Has not the LORD made them [husband and wife] one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring” (Mal. 2:14 and 15).

Sadly, it sometimes happens in a marriage that the differences between a man and woman, instead of being appreciated and capitalized upon by the couple, are the cause of friction, division and even divorce. Marriage goes back to Genesis, but so do reasons for divorce. God understands that sometimes the relationship between a man and a woman becomes so hurtful that divorce is the only practical solution, and so He allowed for it in the Mosaic Law (Exod. 21:11; Deut. 24:1). Jesus Christ correctly stated that the foundational reason for divorce was people’s hardness of heart, but pointed out that God did not design marriage to end in divorce. Jesus said, “…Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matt. 19:8).

Christians have discussed and debated the subject of divorce for hundreds of years, and different groups have different beliefs about it. One of the more hurtful doctrines held by some groups is that God never allows divorce. These groups do not allow the same freedom that God allowed in the Law of Moses, and Jesus allowed for in his teachings; that there are times when divorce may be necessary for the health and safety of one of the partners or the children. Another false doctrine about divorce is that God allows for divorce only if one of the spouses has committed adultery. That belief comes from reading the words of Jesus without understanding the culture of his time or the entire scope of the Word of God, i.e., what else the Bible says about the subject.

To understand what Jesus said about divorce, we must read what he said in light of the context, the culture, and the Mosaic Law. We must never think that the Bible is like one of those books of unconnected wise sayings that some people have on their coffee tables. No verse stands on its own, but is interconnected with every other verse and with the general theme of the Bible. That means to really understand what the truth is on any subject we have to pay attention to how all the verses on the subject relate to each other, and that means we have to study the entire Bible. Jesus’ statements about divorce are recorded in Matthew 5:31 and 32, 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; and Luke 16:18, but there is also material in the Old Testament and other places in the New Testament that must be considered. As for the culture in Jesus’ time, the rabbinic school of the great Jewish teacher, Rabbi Hillel (ca. 60 B.C. – 20 A.D.), was teaching that a man could divorce his wife for anything she did that displeased him. It was a “no fault” system of divorce, and divorce was becoming a major social problem. We get a glimpse of the cultural problem of easy divorce in Jesus’ time by the question the Pharisees asked Jesus: “…Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matt. 19:3). Jesus answered them in a way that promoted marriage and the family (Matt. 19:4-9).

It is important to notice that Jesus is never recorded giving a complete teaching on marriage and divorce. Instead, he addressed the question he was asked and the cultural problem of his time, and tried to get people to look at the posture of their hearts and see the purpose of marriage from God’s perspective. Jesus never meant his teaching about marriage and divorce to be pulled from its cultural context and separated from the Law of Moses, which completed it. If Jesus had given a complete teaching on divorce, then he would have mentioned the rights granted to women under the Mosaic Law. Jesus did not mention women in his answer because he did not need to in order to emphasize God’s heart for marriage and relationship, or to reply to the question he had been asked. Jesus did not come to abolish the Mosaic Law, but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17).

To understand God’s heart about marriage, we need Scripture and logic. It is clear from the Bible and history that the intent of marriage is to benefit both partners and to raise godly children. Nevertheless, there are times when the marriage becomes harmful to one or both of the partners, or the children. At that point the marriage may need to be dissolved, and in certain circumstances God allowed for the dissolution of the marriage. The book of Exodus contains important information about divorce. To fully understand the verses, however, we must be aware that the Law of Moses allowed for a man to have more than one wife (Exod. 21:10; Lev. 18:18; Deut. 21:15).

Exodus 21:10 and 11
(10) If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.
(11) If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

What we see clearly revealed in Exodus 21 is that when a man and a woman enter into a marriage covenant, each is responsible to provide for the other. What the woman would provide in the marriage is not specifically spelled out in Exodus because it was so well understood in the culture and because the woman did not usually have the power to divorce a man unless that privilege was specifically granted to her by local or current law or custom. In contrast to the assumed responsibilities of the woman, Exodus 21:11 specifically states that a man must provide food, clothing, and “marital rights,” or the woman is free to leave the relationship.

We must understand the three things listed in Exodus 21:11 in light of the Old Testament culture, not our modern culture. The “food” was the woman’s daily food that sustained her. Her “clothing” meant clothing, and also by extension, a place to stay, her shelter. Some poor people did not have enough money to own a house or tent, and slept under their heavy outer robes at night (Exod. 22:27), so “clothing” often meant both clothing and shelter. A man was responsible, as much as he was able, to provide clothing and shelter for his wife.

The third thing in the list, “marital rights,” refers to sexual intercourse. Although this hopefully included loving affection, in the context of the Old Testament culture, the most important thing it meant was that the woman would have the chance to have children. In an age when bank accounts, Social Security, hospitals, and retirement homes were non-existent, it was a woman’s children who provided her protection and care throughout her life and especially in her old age. A man who would not have sexual intercourse with his wife because he had another wife or wives thus subjected her to the danger of getting sick, hurt, or becoming elderly without any means of help and support. This was very cruel indeed, and God would not tolerate it. If a man treated his wife this poorly, the Law said she was free to leave.

Read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, or their YouTube Channel.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off because I’ve been receiving some really odd, and incoherent comments lately. These teaching posts are meant to bless and educate you. The information is here, it’s up to you to accept, or deny, it).

Blogger's Best

Blogger’s Best Carnival – May 2009

bloggersbest

bloggersforeword


Welcome! Take a load off. It’s Saturday and you have my permission (as if you need it!) to be lazy. Here are some apple turnovers and some dark rich coffee to help you get your day started. Are you ready to click on some really great articles? Thanks for dropping by and Happy Reading!

bloggerschildren


ø J. Cullen presents So Much More Than A Hoop posted at Life’s dewlaps.

ø brit67chick presents Reactive Hypoglycemia in Highly Gifted Children posted at Reactive Hypoglycemia Info, saying, “This is an article about how I discovered what was causing my son’s awful mood swings!”

ø Adam Erickson presents Everyone Knows This posted at Münchner Munchkin, saying, “I’m a stay-at-home dad, living in Munich with my wife and daughter. This is an essay about the trials we encountered during our first weeks in the city, the transcendent power of children, and the kindness of strangers.”

ø Emma presents 7 things new dads do better than moms posted at Baby-Log.

ø Annie Everett presents I wish you had some friends Mummy posted at Lilly Lou Says, saying, “A short insight into life from a 4 year old who acts as a mirror for those around her.”

bloggerslove


ø Shannon presents My love story posted at The Daily Balance, saying, “Scroll down to my love story ;)”

bloggerslife1


ø Kevin presents The Marionette posted at Textual Intercourse.

ø Elizabeth Alexander presents LESSON EIGHT: Play Ball posted at How to be a weekend Dad: A Guide for Single Mothers.

ø Rick Schiano presents The Benefits of the Worst Days of My Life posted at Ricks Victory Blog.

ø Greg Laden presents When Your Field School Goes Into the Toilet posted at Quiche Moraine.

ø Beatriz presents Death 1-5 posted at Beatriz Kim’s Memoir, saying, “This is part five of my memoir series.”

bloggersfamily


ø Kimberly Foley presents Did You Ever Know You Were My Hero? posted at Kimberly Foley, saying, “This is a story of my grandmother’s life I posted on my blog shortly after her death on April 1, 2009”

ø Brooke Allen presents Lost in Translation posted at Rambling Brooke.

ø Dana presents A game of catch, a game of life posted at Simple Pleasures.

ø Fortuitous Observer presents Sibling Rivalry – Going Cain and Abel posted at Soul Thumping, saying, “Sibling rivalry can be hysterically brutal!”

ø Geetanjali Kaur presents When the cook in me was born 😀 posted at NeeD i SaY MorE??

bloggersgreatwriting


ø Gary Saucedo presents My Private Emida posted at Fbird Rising, saying, “I wanted to submit this to a carnival because it is my most personal writing to date. I will be rolling out some intense stuff soon and I wanted to get more exposure and comments.”
(Essay)

ø Jessica Sarnaik presents Tiffany Lane posted at Tree Top Confessions, saying, “Collections of stories from my life. This one is from growing up in a small town in Georgia.”
(Essay)

ø Rachael Levy presents In which a heart hurts posted at The Slow-Cooked Sentence.
(Essay)

ø Dark Angel presents Dark Dreams posted at Inner Dreams.
(Poetry)

editorschoice


Suburban Turmoil: Christian

Ordinary Art: Division Does Not Make Us Radical

Thursday Drive: How to Land

Is it 5 o’clock Yet?: A Hundred Years From Now, Humans Won’t Have Voice Boxes

Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder: I Feel You Judging Me, Facebook

To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Let’s Bring “Judgment” Back

Anti-Racist Parent: The Princess Problem: “There’s more than one way of being pretty.”

Antique Mommy: Guilt v. Remorse


Motherscribe: It’s about the power of a community rising up and saying, we’re not going to buy into it any more.

Black N’ Right’s Weblog: Dolly Parton and the Gay Elite

Bad Mommy Moments: Circle of Life: The Mall

Miss Britt: When Families Collide

Swistle: The Facts (For Some People)

A Smeddling Kiss: Heartsick

Queen of the Shake Shake: Nooner

Dooce: A Word or Two About Vaccinations

Sandcastle Mama: Cobia Fishing and a Rescue

Chefdruck Musings: Fear of the Road

Chasing Contentment: If I Tell, It Isn’t a Secret Anymore, Is It?

Life with a Little One and More: Goldilocks and the Three Bloggers

Sunshine on My Shoulders: There’s a Problem Here

bloggersconclusion


This concludes the May 2009 edition of the Blogger’s Best Carnival. THANK YOU for submitting your links! If you would like to see your work showcased in the June 2009 edition, please submit your links here. (Please, one link per blog. If you submit more than one link per blog, I will only use the first link submitted.)

If you submitted your link and don’t see it here, that probably means I received it after the deadline or you didn’t follow the guidelines.

If you’ve read an outstanding article on another blog and would like to add it to the “Reader’s Choice” section of the next carnival, please let me know by using my contact form.

Thanks for visiting the carnival participants and don’t forget to check back June 30th for the next Blogger’s Best Carnival! (The June carnival will post a little later than usual due to a scheduling conflict.)

Blogger's Best

Last Chance to Submit to the May Blogger’s Best Carnival!

LAST CHANCE to submit a blog post (new or from archives) to the Blogger’s Best Carnival for May!

What is the Blogger’s Best Carnival? It’s a chance to showcase the posts that you’re most proud of, to share the best of YOU with the rest of the blog-o-sphere.

It’s also a chance to find, and keep track of, some really GREAT bloggers.

Have you read a blog post that touched your heart? Tell me and I’ll include it in the “Reader’s Choice” section of the carnival!

Friday Fun

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 9)

7_quick_takes_sm Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary.

Let’s get started …

—1—

Kevin just emailed me – he is filling out our dental insurance form for this next year.

We currently don’t have dental insurance. *gasp*

When he canceled our insurance this time last year, I was a bit upset with him. One, he didn’t consult with me first and Two, we didn’t have dental insurance!

What if something catastrophic happened, like one of us would need a root canal, or a crown, or a filling …

Oh wait. We did. All three of those things happened to Kevin this past year (karma baby, karma) and hey! We’re still here! And even though we ended up paying for all of that, out of pocket, we still didn’t spend as much money as we would have on our premiums.

Hhmm …

I was beginning to see why Kevin canceled our insurance.

Nevertheless, it’s really not a good idea to not have insurance, so, we’ve decided to cover just him and me. If the kids need anything done, like a cleaning or (God forbid) a filling, then we’ll pay for it. And our insurance never did pay for Dude’s braces (which have been paid off for nearly a year now) and when I take Jazz in to get his teeth worked on later this summer (if the kid will stop being so stubborn and pull those last two loose teeth), our insurance won’t cover that orthodontist visit either.

So why have insurance on the kids? It seems like a waste of money.

Now us, on the other hand, we have bad teeth and we’re constantly having to have our teeth worked on, but the kids – well, let’s hope their teeth stay in good shape.

—2—

T-minus three weeks before we catch our boat out of Miami. Holy freaking COW, I can not wait. It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately (which might explain my lack of productivity …………. okay, so it doesn’t, I’m just freaking lazy).

I’m feeling pretty good about fitting into my form-fitting t-shirts (I can’t say “tight” that image freaks me out for some reason) and shorts. Of course, I always say that before a vacation and I’m always disappointed when we get back and we’re looking through vacation pictures and I’m all like, “MOO.”

I still have some things to buy before we can go. I need a pair of white shorts (that I can actually breathe in), but I’m having trouble finding a pair that doesn’t advertise my underwear to the world.

I need to buy one (two?) party dresses for formal nights. (The only semi-formal dresses I have now are the crushed velvet kind and come on, they might be back in fashion someday, but that day ain’t now). I should have bought these dresses before now, but I was waiting to lose a little weight and knock my fat rolls down from ten to about three-ish and now that I’m (somewhat) there, I can begin looking.

Nothing squashes a body image QUITE like trying on party dresses.

The boys need new dress slacks. Well, Dude never had them to begin with and Jazz’s pants are now too short for him. (He was complaining of his legs hurting last night. When that happened to Dude, he shot up about two inches and a whole pants size overnight. I’m thinking this is going to be a big growth-spurt summer for Jazz).

Dude also need a dress shirt. And both boys need ties.

I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to more – stepping onto the boat and drinking margaritas flavored tea, or seeing my teenage boys all dressed up.

It’s a serious toss-up.

And speaking of vacations – one of the biggest reasons we are able to afford vacations like this is because we use one credit card and one credit card only – American Airlines’ AAdvantage Mastercard. (No, I didn’t get paid to say that – simmer down). We use this card because we earn award points with our purchases and we are able to cash those points in every other year and fly all four of us to fun places … for like $40 bucks. (Seriously, it cost all four of $40 bucks to fly to D.C. last summer).

But now, I’m reading articles like this stating that due to new regulations, that are set to implement in about nine months, credit card companies may not have a CHOICE but to recoup losses from these new regulations and take reward programs from people who, you know, actually PAY THEIR FREAKING BILLS.

Oh. My. Gosh. This makes me angry. JUST how many times will the responsible, hard-working, successful, law-abiding, “sterling” citizens have to pay for the people who CHOOSE to live a life below their potential?

When?

I swear, if we lose these reward points, the points we earned by PAYING OUR FREAKING BILL, DOING WITHOUT AND WORKING HARD, I’m going to be seriously pissed off.

Irresponsible people seriously piss me off, especially when WE have to pay for their irresponsibility and their poor life choices.

Tell me, how the hell is that fair?! Why would ANYONE be motivated to live within their means if the government just swoops in and penalizes them for being responsible each and every time?

End rant.

—3—

I totally need to do this:

But I totally won’t.

—4—

Do you know what I’m looking forward to this summer?

NOT having to stand in Dude’s bedroom doorway every week day morning to wait for him to sit up in bed and start waking up for the day. Now I can let the boy sleep in as long as he wants …

As long as it’s not past 9:00 a.m.

There HAS to be a boundary in there somewhere!

If I let him sleep whenever he wanted to, his schedule would look like this:

Awake until 4:00 in the morning.
Sleep until 2:00 in the afternoon.

I can’t even tell you the level of hell I would have to go through to get him back on a normal schedule once school started back up in August if I allowed him to set that sort of schedule.

Real life sucks, Dude. Get over it.

—5—

And speaking of schedules …

This is likely the last summer the boys will have total freedom.

Next summer, Dude will get a job (yes, we’re making him get a job next summer because he needs to grow up and it’s TIME to start doing something with his life. More on that issue later)

and Jazz will be required to take a summer class. I actually had to sign a form stating that I would enroll Jazz in summer school next year.

Why?

Because my youngest son wants to take a jazz class next year and because it’s an elective class and taking a time period from one of his required courses, he’ll have to make that course up during summer so he doesn’t fall behind his peers.

So, between working around Jazz’s summer school schedule and Dude’s job schedule, who knows what sort of family vacation we’ll be able to plan next summer.

I’m all about the summer vacations, folks. Why? Because my boys? Are growing up and life will REALLY change when Dude graduates in two years. I’m taking advantage of them being home now, before I lose them to reality and their own independence.

—6—

I noticed that Jazz’s hair was pretty greasy the other day. So, I asked him about it.

“Jazz. Why is your hair so greasy? In fact, why does it ALWAYS look so greasy? Are you not scrubbing your scalp when you wash your hair?”

“Yeah,” he said and then lowered his eyes to his dinner plate, a slight blush staining his cheeks.

“So, why the greasy look?”

“The girls won’t stop touching it,” he said.

*blink*

“Oh. Okay.”

Because really, what ELSE can you say?

This kid has girls falling at his feet NOW? Before high school?

I see some serious romantic trouble on our horizon with this kid.

Help.

—7—

I just wrote out some bitchy snarky mean thoughts about some blogger issues just now …

But then promptly deleted them.

Why?

Because I refuse to contribute to the craziness, that’s why. And besides, who cares what I think.

But I will say this – just because a popular blogger gives his/her opinion about an issue doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the RIGHT solution or the CORRECT interpretation of the issue.

The end.

Summer Fun

Summer Fun Activities: May 29th

Are you ready for some fun ideas of things you can do with your child this next week?

Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):

One – Make a trip to the craft store and buy a fun memory book to keep all of your summer photos and crafts in. If you can afford it, buy your child(ren) disposable cameras (or give them a camera they can “use” all by themselves) to use this summer. Allow them to take pictures of anything they wish. (You’ll put some of those pictures into the album at the end of summer).

Two – Share family history, photos with your child.

Three – Watch an educational television show with your child and discuss it.

Four – Pick up a library reading list appropriate for your child’s age and help your child get a library card.

Five – Read a newspaper article about the environment with your child.


Crafts for the Kids (by age)

Featured Craft of the Week:
Toddlers
Glueless Collages

4 to 5 year olds
Mailing Tube Rain Sticks

6 to 8 year olds
Backseat Box

9 to 12 year olds
Aboriginal Clap Sticks


Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:

groovy-face2 Author, Author

Kids are constantly making up stories, whether it’s about a trip to the beach or a favorite stuff animal’s fantastic adventures. And when two people alternate telling one story, with multiple doses of creativity at work, you never know quite how the story will end. Collaborative stories, part creative endeavor, part keepsake, can be kept on the bookshelf with the other books you read at bedtime.

arrow-right-side What to do:

Write an ongoing story with an adult or another child. You can wrok on the book side-by-side or mail it back and forth — especially fun to do with grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. Start with a blank book — a small scrapbook or a blank journal. (Or bind the book together, if you prefer).

This project is all about collaboration. Each author takes turns adding to the story, following up on what has already been written. The work can be split sentence by sentence or page by page. It’s more fun not to plan out or discuss the plot in advance. Instead, be as random and freewheeling as you want.

The book can be about anything. Dream up an imaginary character or cast of characters, or base them on friends, pets, or toys. More ambitious writers might choose to write several chapters, each one a different adventure. Create a sequel or a prequel to a children’s book you love. Or tell a real-life adventure that you have had together. Then again, it can be an ongoing daily log, like a two-sisters-reporting-from-the-front-lines-of-camp journal.

Experiment with embellishing the format of the text. Different emotions can be about in different colors, and perhaps different characters talk in different fonts. You’ll probably want to illustrate what you write. You can also create a comic book together, complete with frames and speech bubbles, telling a story more with pictures than with words.

Summer Fun

How to Handle Whining Children During the Summer Months

Three …

Two …

ONE!

It’s official!

Summer is HERE!

Yay! …. er …. maybe?

The sun hasn’t even set on the first day of summer yet and you already hear the two most dreaded words you can hear from your child in the summer time:

I’M BORED.

Swell. What now?

I was listening to a radio show this morning and today’s guest was a clinical psychologist who was advising parents to take control of the summer-time blahs right off the bat.

She suggested that parents sit down with their children and give them options when they hear the dreaded “I’m bored” singsong.

“Katie, would you like to clean the bathrooms, or sweep the kitchen floor?”

Yes. She suggested giving the kids chores to do. Not only are they learning responsibility and household duties, they are keeping busy AND learning a valuable lesson:

They can either find something to DO, or DO household chores.

She said she wasn’t suggesting this as a form of punishment for the children, children should be asked to do chores to begin with, but she was betting that after doing so many chores, children were going to learn that it was better, and more fun, to figure out something to do on their own because …

News Flash!

Parents aren’t cruise directors. They are not responsible for entertaining their kids. They should not be asked to spend their time making sure their kids are not bored every waking moment.

Being bored is PART of being a kid. When children are bored, they start using their imaginations. They discover new and different things to do and they become just a bit more self-sufficient.

She also suggested that children who AREN’T motivated to DO anything outside video games and/or computers (like my kids), be forced to do something else. They can help CHOOSE an activity, but they will be required to do something.

For example: Boy Scouts. A sport. Practice a musical instrument. Go bike riding. Go swimming. Etc, etc.

But instead of telling them, again, give them a choice, “Would you like to go swimming or bike riding?” and allow the child to pick an activity.

I thought this was all sound advice. I told my children a long time ago I wasn’t going to entertain them – they needed to find something to do or I would find something to do for them.

They quickly learned to stop asking me.

Now that’s not to say we didn’t go DO stuff, but it eliminated the whining when our activities were over and it was time for ME to do other things – sans children.

When I was little, my mom made out a summer schedule for us. Every day, she would plan one activity for us to do. One day, we went to the movies (back when they had a summer movie program for kids – do they still have those?), another day, we went swimming, another day, we hung out with my cousins, another day, the park, another day, the zoo, another day, make a craft … etc, etc.

These activities took several hours and afterward, we were usually too tired to do anything else, let alone whine about how bored we were. But having that schedule was comforting – we KNEW what we were going to do, we PLANNED for that activity and we DID it – together.

I’ll never forget those summers. They were always so much fun.

So, if you’re having trouble keeping the kids busy this summer, make a schedule. And ask for your children’s input. Ask them what THEY want to do and then schedule it on a big summer calendar that you can later hang up for everyone to see.

If money is an issue (and isn’t it always?), let the kids know that you only have so much money to spend on summer activities and then work out how much certain activities will cost and subtract that from your budget (do this in front of your children). Children can add and subtract, they will soon realize what is doable and what is not.

And it might cut down on the whining if they know there’s simply not enough money to do something.

But there are so many FREE, and cheap ways to keep your kids entertained, you just have to keep an open mind and take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves. In fact, I plan on posting quite a few ideas to help you have fun with the kids this summer.

(Notice I didn’t say “keep them entertained this summer?” 🙂 )

In fact, here are some ideas you can implement now, or at any time during the summer months that will be sure to be a hit with the kids AND provide you with some awesome memories of them.

If you can swing it:

Buy them their own disposable camera, or allow them access to an old camera, and don’t restrict what they take pictures of. Allow them to be artistic in their own way. OR, teach them photography tips and schedule picture time on your summer calendar to take a trip to the park and take pictures of birds, or flowers, or anything that catches your eye.

Allow them to use an old video camera, or the video function on your phone, and tape themselves putting on a play, imitating a news broadcaster, interviewing family members, or playing detective. Then you could schedule a family movie night, pop some popcorn and watch their movies.

Buy a digital voice recorder (if you can swing it, or just use an old tape recorder) and allow them to act silly just recording themselves.

And what ever you do, keep track of these pictures, videos and recordings because they are SO FUN to look at, watch and listen to later, and for many years later.

We did this with our boys when my nephews came over to stay the night. They used my digital voice recorder and made up all sorts of silly games and took our old video camera to the park and acted out some sort of story which absolutely cracked us up. In fact, Kevin edited the video and you can watch it here, if you like.

The point is, allow them to just have some unstructured fun with the technology and tools that are available and BE kids. You’ll be amazed at their imaginations.

Trust me. 🙂

And how about encouraging their writing skills? (Always a personal favorite of mine – but I have yet to interest my boys in this). Help them start a blog! Then they could chronicle their summer activities in their journal. Help them set it up, customize it and show them the blog ropes. This would teach them a bit about the computer (if they don’t already know more than you do!), AND it would give you an opportunity to teach them about online safety.

Don’t want to do the online thing? How about taking them shopping for a funky new diary? What pre-teen girl wouldn’t want a pretty little pink diary to write her innermost thoughts in?

Oh, I just thought of one more thing the psychologist from the radio show suggested to do:

Take the kids to garage sales and thrift stores. You could teach them to be smart shoppers AND the old adage is true, “one person’s junk is another man’s treasure.” You could also pick up some cheap clothing to make costumes out of – which is part of a suggestion I’ll be posting in the Summer Fun articles coming up. 😉

And speaking of the Summer Fun articles – I’ll be posting suggestions for things to do with the kids every Friday (beginning tomorrow!). You can keep track of the posts on this page. AND, there could be a give away some where in all this fun, too, so stay tuned!

Whew! And just think, we’re just getting started!

Stick around! Together, we’ll get through the summer months. 🙂

(By the way, if you would like to put the above button in your sidebar, please feel free to copy and paste the code below).

<a href="https://writefromkaren.com/summer-fun-activities/"><img
src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3660/3557997088_e53abbd53c_o.jpg&quot; alt="Summer Fun at writefromkaren.com" /></a>
Wordless Wednesday

Wordful Wednesday – Handy Men

This is my utility room. You know, where we keep the washer and dryer:

Messy Utility Room

And yes, it IS that small.

And no, it’s not usually that messy. (USUALLY).

But that’s okay, I really don’t mind. I never spend any time in there anyway (*cough*) so what do I care?

(Okay, that makes it sound like I never do laundry and that’s simply not true. I do laundry ……… occasionally).

Anyway, our dryer started making popping noises the other day – seriously, it sounded like someone put a bag of popcorn into the drum – when finally, one day, it simply stopped drying and I started smelling smoke, as in electrical smoke.

Kevin finally figured out how to get into it opened it and once he figured out what he was looking at determined that some sort of, um, round thingie with teeth (I’m so mechanically inclined) was stripped.

Or some such. I sort of tuned him out whenever I discovered it was fixable. I mean, I SAW his lips moving but all I heard was “wah wah wah … part … wah wah … should be able to fix it”

Yay!

So, my wonderful man went to one of those mysterious parts warehouse places (I’ve yet to step into one of those stores – they scare me), picked up the EXACT part (because he had the foresight to have the model number AND the part in hand when he went) for only $35 dollars and fixed it.

Now it purrs.

And it’s drying once again.

And I can do laundry once again.

Yay.

(Did you hear the sarcasm?)

Life-condensed

Welcome to Our Home, Make Yourself Comfortable

Can you guess what’s behind this closed shade?

What lies behind this shade?

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

Give up?

It’s a robin’s nest tucked into the crook of our rain gutter.

Mama's Nest

We keep the shade closed because every time we walk by the window we give the momma bird a tiny heart attack and she flies off leaving the eggs exposed and vulnerable.

We usually have a new bird family move in this time every year. They love our rain gutter because it’s a perfect place to build a nest. It’s up against the house so they have protection from predators, and it’s under the eaves so they have protection from the elements.

After the eggs hatch, the daddy bird usually makes an appearance, bringing worms and other goodies for his young-uns.

We check the progress of the birds every day until one day, they’re gone.

That’s when we remove the nest to make room for the next tenant.

It’s sort of fun hosting our bird families every year.

Relationships

Nineteen Years Ago Today …

… I married the love of my life.

Wedding Rings

Kevin and I got married in a small, pretty church in Nixa, Missouri. Even though we were not members of the church, we picked the church because a coworker of mine suggested it; I found it attractive, easily accessible and fell in love with the lovely stained-glass windows behind the pulpit.

Our wedding day arrived and though we were nervous, we weren’t OVERLY nervous. We had lived together for two years prior to our wedding so we were comfortable enough with each other that it really never occurred to us to BE that nervous.

We were more concerned with getting the ceremony over with and traveling to Cozumel, Mexico for our honeymoon. 🙂

After the Wedding Ceremony
(Hence the hurry-up-and-take-the-picture smiles on our faces).

Our wedding was small – there were only about 75 people there – and it certainly wasn’t fancy; we used my student loan money to pay for it. We cut a lot of corners – my mom made my wedding dress (thank you mom!) and we toasted each other with peach paper cups, but we didn’t care. We had agreed that it was more important to us to use what money we had to pay for our honeymoon and even though our wedding was important to us, it was really only a formality at that point – we had already made a commitment to each other long before THE day.

Wedding Cake

We did splurge on the cake though. I went to a cake lady a friend recommended and I had so much fun talking to her about what I wanted. My colors were peach and white, which is really odd considering I had never liked peach up until that point and in fact, have not really liked peach from that point on, but everything was peach for my wedding.

I used to be REALLY big into Precious Moments figurines so it seemed natural to have the wedding figurine for my cake topper.

Cutting the Wedding Cake

The entire reception is still only a blur to me. I remember the ceremony quite clearly (probably because Kevin and I made funny faces at each other the entire ceremony and silently wondered if the music we had selected would EVER end so we could continue the ceremony), but the reception, not so much.

I do remember being extremely nervous though. There was my family, his family and some of our co-workers so I felt like I had to be three different people all at the same time.

Feeding Wedding Cake to Husband

And I wasp pretty nervous when it came time to cut the cake and toast each other. I had given Kevin specific instructions NOT to smash cake into my face and of course, I resisted the urge to smash cake into his face.

But only just barely. 😀

In fact, now that I think about it, the bite that Kevin fed me is the ONLY piece of my wedding cake that I ate that day. (I was too nervous to eat).

We did end up saving the top layer of our cake to eat on our first anniversary. We have a video of us trying it and then promptly gagging and laughing our heads off because it was so dry it was like eating sawdust.

This is one of my favorite pictures from that day:

Wedding Conversation

This picture was not posed, the photographer just had the presence of mind to capture it. This is my oldest niece (she’s married now). I was very nervous about trying to fit in with my new family and I just adored this little girl so much that I had to tease her and make her smile.

It’s been a long, bumpy 19 years … but it’s also been the best 19 years of my life.

Thank you for being so patient with me, Kevin. Thank you for being stubborn and not giving up, even when I was ready to. Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for being in my life.

I love you.