Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Back to School Ideas Round Up

As the new school year kicks off, this is the perfect time to do a little family tune-up by breaking bad habits and starting good habits. Here’s our round up of the best practical ways to improve your family life!

1. Put Jesus First

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• Start the habit of daily time with God. This is for you and your children! Spending daily time with God is the best way we can grow in our faith, so why not start teaching your children now?

• Pray every day before school. This is also a great way to curb anxiety in young children!

• Memorize Scripture together. Pick a verse, a psalm, or a whole chapter and practice it a few times every day.

2. Make Your Love Known

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• Give each of your children a hug and tell them verbally that you love them every day.

• Use a Sharpie marker to jot a quick note on their napkin and tuck it in their lunch. (My mom did this all the way through high school!)

• If you have multiple children, pick a time to do some one-on-one bonding with each of them. Choose an activity you know they’ll love!

3. Use Car Time Intentionally

• Ask your children about how their days went. If you have children that need more prompting, try this list of fun, specific questions to get them talking.

• Pay attention to your kids’ moods. Some children conceal when something bad has happened. Taking the time to notice can help you discover if they are being bullied or have a problem at school.

• Listen to wholesome, Christian music or an audiobook.

4. Make the Most of the Time You Have

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• As often as possible, sit down together for family dinner. Try our list of 101 Dinner Table Discussion Questions to improve conversation. Make the dinner table a no-phone zone!

• If weather permits, take a family walk.

• Make the most of bedtime by reading stories and cuddling. This should be top priority for parents that work long hours and may not get to spend other quality time with the kids.

5. Prioritize Healthy Habits

• Establish, or re-commit to, a bedtime routine. Studies show these routines strengthen the parent-child bond, make children feel safe, and give them the skills to be independent.

• Limit screen time. Establish ground rules for phone, computer, and TV use and stick to them. Here are five parent-tested tips for limiting electronics use.

• Eat breakfast every day. It doesn’t have to be fancy – but breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure your kids aren’t skipping it!

• Pack healthy school lunches. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a great guide from the American Heart Association.

Homeschool Families

Hey homeschool families…we haven’t forgotten about you! Here’s a couple links with some great ideas for how to start this school year right.

Back to School Ideas for Homeschoolers

120 Ideas for Back to Homeschool

6. Remember Grace

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There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. We lose our tempers. We don’t show love. We don’t make time for our kids. We fail to put our best intentions into practice.

The good news is…God’s grace is enough! As you try to instill new habits into your family life, we hope that you embrace a grace-filled parenting mindset.

Grace-filled parenting means it’s not about doing everything right – it’s about trying to honor God with our parenting. It means that when we fail, we admit our mistakes to God and others, we ask for forgiveness, and we embrace the fresh starts God offers us.

When we model the grace and forgiveness of God to our kids, we become families that flourish.

Happy back to school!


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From My Heart to Yours – We ARE Ready

by Becky Shultz

I sat down to write a blog yesterday. Here’s how it went:

Lord, please give me the words you want me to share.

*cricket* *cricket* *cricket*

So writing a blog turned into 30 minutes of praying and thinking and crying. I thought about this past year and all the Lord had in store – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the tidy, the messy, the encouraging, the intimidating, the normal, the shocking. I’ve said this a time or two: I was not ready for this year. I was not ready for what our family would face.

Somehow, when I wrote those words, when I read those words, I realized they ARE NOT TRUE.

The Lord had been preparing me my entire life for the year we would face. He’d been preparing my husband. He’d been preparing our children. He’d been preparing Hannah.

family-1517179_1920Every illness. Every doctor’s visit. Every hospital stay. Every sermon. Every birth. Every death. Every wedding. Every funeral. Every encouraging card during times of grief. Every Scripture passage read. Every worship song sung. Every verse memorized. Every family chat about who God is. Every conversation about our Lord’s faithfulness. Every prayer answered (I believe that all prayers are answered – with a yes, no, maybe, or wait). Every chapel. Every quiet time. Every hike in His mountains. Every walk along His beaches. Every hail storm. Every spectacular sunset. Every one of these things. Every one of these moments, the Lord has been revealing more and more about Himself. He has been spending 43 years (actually, since the beginning of time) pursuing me, loving me, leading me, delighting in me. He has done the same for my husband, my children, my sick daughter.

So, we were ready for this past year. We were ready for what our family would face.

He made us ready.

Hannah’s sickness was not all that the Lord had in store for us this year. And, while it has overshadowed many most things, I was determined that this blog would be about something other than Hannah’s sickness.

I was just starting to write about the most joyous day. A day in July – less than three weeks ago. The day our oldest “baby” got married. I was remembering, smiling, thinking about all the great pictures I could attach to this post, when my phone rang. It was Hannah. She was calling me from her bathroom. I knew something wasn’t right. Her voice was barely audible, “I need you to come up here.” I bounded up the stairs, and found her sitting (barely) on her bathroom floor, leaning over the toilet. She had a rough time the day before, just felt awful. We knew she wasn’t well, but everything she feels, every virus she catches, every headache she has all seems to be tainted by her disease. It’s difficult to know what’s related and what’s not. *sigh*

When I got to her, she asked me just to help her lie down right where she was, on her bathroom floor. She stayed there while I called Brian (my husband, her daddy). I was finally able to help her get back into bed, made a phone call to her neurologist and one to her primary care doc.

My blog-writing morning turned into getting Hannah to the doctor. Again.

Long story short, she has a concussion – something ER docs missed after Hannah and her friends were rear-ended last weekend. One week after the accident, she was feeling better, playing volleyball at a family picnic, and got hit in the back of the head with a ball. That was just three days ago. Her doc says back-to-back concussions. No wonder Hannah’s been feeling sick, dizzy, weak, and not wanting to do anything.

Hannah’s doctor ordered a CT Scan for Friday, just in case she’s not feeling better. She also discovered that Hannah’s neck is messed up from the accident. That means we head back to her naturopath/chiropractor. More appointments.

I have to remind myself…we were ready for this, too.

As we drove home, I told Hannah, “I don’t really know what to say anymore. I’m just sorry that you have a concussion and you feel so bad.”

Her response kind of kicked my hiney…

“I’m just glad it’s me with the concussion. It would be awful for the boys; they’re getting ready to start school and soccer. I’m not doing anything anyway. Just resting and healing. I may as well have a concussion.”

She chuckled.

I know it has to be difficult for her, but I also know that she meant what she said.

And, in that moment, the Lord showed me that He had prepared Hannah for all that would happen this year.The Cooper Wedding-519

I’ll write another day (next time, Lord willing) about Laura’s wedding. For now, our God is good, y’all.

I don’t know what you and your family have faced this past year. I don’t know what you or we will face in the coming year. But, I do know that you…that we…are ready for whatever comes.