Our Special Snow Globe

I stepped outside to help Matt with Christmas lights only to be found minutes later by a wailing child.

The Broken Globe

This in and of itself wasn’t an abnormal occurrence but the trail of four other children behind him indicated this wasn’t a boy-called-wolf moment. Through everyone’s yelling, crying, and tattling I heard, “He broke the globe!”

Yep. I know it was coming. The Veggie Tale globe I got back in high school had made it nearly 15 years, seven of which with children around only to be shattered this year by a boy playing santa. After a week of “Don’t shake it violently like that” and “Please be gentle” and “That is GLASS, it will break if you drop it” and “No, it doesn’t need to be taken off that table” reminders, my little man decided toting it in a Christmas throw blanket taking it’s debut as santa's “sake” was TOTALLY alright.

I waited outside for awhile while Matt headed inside to assess the damage and begin the clean up. From the uproar he gave when seeing it, I knew I had made the right chose by not walking in just yet. I could hear the chaos and panic of everyone running around inside to get away from glass or grab towels and clean up tools. I could hear my sweet husband angry for me that this had happened as he lectured J the man about the “accident”.

Although frustrated that I’d managed not to break it myself thus far and now it was gone, I was more upset over the fact that dude was weeping but more over fear of consequences than remorse that he’d destroyed a special globe of his mommy’s.

I went in and sat down. I ask Jamin to come to me and I scooped him in my lap. He shook and tears streamed down his face. I told him I was glad he was okay and that I was less upset about the broken globe and more upset that he didn’t trust me enough to head my warnings about how to play with it. I snuggled him and he quickly stopped crying. I rubbed his back and shook my head in dismay joking that it was time to get new carpet because I wasn’t sure we’d get all the glass out of it. Then J sniffles and as he still clings to my shoulder asks, “Can we watch the grinch?”

~WHAT The Crap?!? You have Got to be kidding me. ~

I took a deep breath and let out a big sigh before I gently put him down and ask him to go to time out.

We finished getting ready for dinner, ate, and tried not to think about it. Next thing I know, J says “Mamma, I’ll just BUY you a new one.” Ugg. I thought this round and round was almost over. I cleared by plate and explained that even IF they still made them, buying a replacement doesn’t fix the problem.

I decided I needed to teach him how to try to “fix” things in a situation like this. Feeling as though I’d failed him. Why was he being so selfish and slow to just express remorse.

Lil man and I dug through the garage in our tub of glass recyclables hoping to find a tall baby food jar. No such luck. We did find a mason jar with a candy cain painted on it that wasn’t gonna come off easily. I ask for Jamin to put on his coat and shoes. I’m not sure if he was prompted by a defensive daddy but he looked up and me and finally said, “I’m sorry I broke your globe mamma.”

pieces to our old and new veggie tale snow globe

We ran round the corner to Fred’s and found a handled mason jar. We made it home with just enough time for him to help clean up the playroom while I finished ripping off the remaining glass from the old snow globe. I showed him my plan and after bath he sat down with me and we “fixed” the sentimentally old Christmas decoration. the way it went together so easily, you would have thought I knew what I was doing or something. LOL

working with my lil man on our special globe working on our special globe1st attempt at fixing out special globe making memories with our special globe

When we were finally finished we decided it was no longer “Mommy’s special snow globe,” now it was “Our Special Snow Globe”. And I like that a lot better! Plus, now it has a handle for easy, [hopefully] child-friendly, shakage.

Jamin and Mamma's Special Snow GlobeMommy's Special Snow Globe VS Our Special Snow Globe

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Educational Tips for Using Halloween Candy And a Fun Ways to Get Rid of It!

Hello mamma with loot of Halloween candy you desperately need to make disappear! It's not even Thanksgiving/Christmas season yet and we are all gaining poundage by the minute with all this "fun sized" candy laying around. To start with, use the candy for fun "educational" tools. This will get this kids thinking of the candy as more than just for eating as a snack. Then I've got some ideas to help you sneak out that candy or to get the kids excited with you about all the "opportunities" you have to share it in fun ways.

Examples of HARD Halloween Candy that you can get rid of by using in Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Education Uses for Halloween Candy:

  • Math Sorting: by chocolate vs fruity, by type, by size, and then you can break them down into color for things like MnMs and Skittles.
  • Math Graphing: learning about graphing by creating lines of candy next to one another can create bar graphs and you can discuss greatest, least, same, most popular, grossest, weirdest, etc.
  • Science experiments: this can run from anything like "which melts fastest" to "which one dissolved in _____ the fastest". This will be fun but the candy still won't have to be eaten.
  • Language Lessons: alphabetical order according to name of candy, mad libs, compound words, etc.

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10 Ways to Rid The House of Halloween Candy:

  1. Operation Christmas Child Boxes: our number one way to "share" our bounty is by sorting out the hard, non-melty, non-chocolate candies for kids who don't have any candy much less an entire loot
  2. Cookies for Friends and Neighbors: MnM cookies, monster cookies, better than anything cake with candy toppings,
  3. Nursing Homes: make your candy a good excuse to go make some new friends who may need a visit
  4. Stockings: we've totally done this! Put back a little bag of each child's favorite candy and scatter it into their stocking.
  5. Birthday Party Pinata: smacking a pinata is always fun but can be expensive to stuff if you don't already have the candy laying around
  6. Party Favors: if your kids birthday {or a friends kids'} are near Halloween, make up some stuffed goody bags Full of candies.
  7. Neighbor Treats: holiday themed treats like Turkey cookies
  8. Work Candy Bowl: loose the pride and hose all your work friends by placing a bowl of goodies out that they can't resist.
  9. Waitress Tips: add to your generous cash tip for your waitress with a little goody pick-me-up for the night
  10. Bribery: forget the same and call it what it is, keep a few treats as school bribes for good, on-task, fast work.

I am SURE there are lots of other educational uses for the candy stash as well as creative ways to Get. Rid. Of. Candy. Boom! #mommied

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Sickness and Sin

He cleaned her up after her second puking episode in this 2015 Puke-a-Palooza season. She looked up at him grossed out and sad to say, "Daddy, I hate that sickness is part of our world because of sin."

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I don't do puke. Chop open the back of your head and gush with blood, I'm your girl but the smell of sickness is what I can't handle. My hubs has always been sweet enough to handle that nastiness but I'm sad I missed this beautiful recognition of how literally sin affects our daily lives.

The consequences of sin are all around us if we are willing to identify it. As Christ-followers, sometimes we like to pretend our 'silent' sins don't have any reactions in our world like those that are loud in the secular world. We somehow act as though gossip and unforgiveness are less harmful than homosexuality and idol worship. All those are self-serving perversions of God's original plan.

Sin is and will always be part of our world until all the nations have heard the gospel and Christ returns for His followers. It sucks but that's the truth. So what do we do with that?

Live.

We live in community with believers and non-believers in love while chasing after the heart of Jesus and eagerly awaiting his return that will end the madness that our sin started.  God didn't ask us to hide, build walls, and protect ourselves.

I was taught growing up that you didn't hang out with "bad kids". You know, you might catch their sin. My prayer, as I surround my children with ALL those Christ died for, wither they have accepted that free gift yet or not, is that my children's lives are so overrun with the health of God's love that they don't catch too many sins. We're all gonna screw up and will never be sinless but if we are chasing hard after the heart of Jesus then we will totally sin less.

Are you scared of catching your own versions of the valley plague from doing life so closely with your local body of believers? Do you fear hanging out with non-Christians and catching their sin? What skewed view of God do we have that maybe needs to be realigned with the Bible so we can more fully love all those around us?

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Picking Up All Those “Good Intentions” Laying Around

Embarrassment Post Alert: 

If you're like me, you have lots of sweet, compassionate, Pinterest-worthy ideas for loving others.

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One day I walked through the house picking up and realized what was lying around my house.

Yep, ideas. Great plans. Good intentions.

My house had become home to beautiful intentions. Stuffed full and cluttering my life. The literal clutter was evidence of my heart and what I was trying to fill it with. Desire to serve, ministries with larger visions and great causes, moments of convictions left in a pile of inactivity.

  • Fabric- a gesture of help to make curtains for the local CALL Mall keeping me "involved" with foster care even though I was dragging my feet with what our family has been called to do
  • Bras- shallow proof that I care about those being trafficked across boarders
  • Birthday gifts- fallen attempt to show I had thought about dear friends and family at some point
  • Bagged Ponytail- tradition that has grown lukewarm from initial convictions
  • Thank You Card- supposed thankfulness for a thoughtful mailcarrier
  • Blue Jeans- desire to participate over a year ago in the zero gigers movement
  • Snack Ingredients- plans to treat neighbor-friends for fast approaching summer

This embarrasses me. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm in good company. I have a slew of friends who keep me warm at night as we all chat about our good intentions but I think as Christians we need to steer away from the 2 common extremes: shame and apathy.

SHAME

We're all aware of what we are not calling "mom guilt". Living in a state of disgrace based on society's standards is not what God has called us to. Pinterest is ruining childhood and sanity of mother's across the world. It's not just a sin the housewives of the upper east side deal with, I see us all struggle with keeping up or worrying what others think about our life chooses every community. When we feel like we've failed someone and their expectations we settle on the extreme of Shame. Satan keeps us held hostage in the bondage of guilt and renders us useless.

APATHY

Once we've worked through our "mom guilt" we often run to the other extreme. We feel so overwhelmed and guilty that we go into denial. The "I could never live up to ____" may be true for now but that that is not where God wants us to live either. He has promised to equip us completely. Just because someone else does something better than us, different than we could have even thought to do, grander than we could hope doesn't mean we through in the towel and complain that someone is accomplishing something.

To the mom who make adorable lunches complete with personal notes- more power to ya!

To the mom who barely made the cut off with proof of income to qualify your kids for free lunches- I'm proud of ya!

To the Christian mom with convictions of service and love for your community, state, country, and beyond- YOU CAN DO IT! How do we accomplish these inclines our heart is getting? We don't sit down. We chant, "NOT ON OUR WATCH!"

There are beautiful things going on all around us in this unfathomable adventure Christ has empowered us to be apart of. Get up. Do something.

Loose the shame when you fall short and applaud when you kick apathy aside. Do something.

What are the somethings I'm going to do?

  • Ask mother-in-love for help finishing the curtains
  • Collect friend's bras, add them to my own, and MAIL THEM
  • Stick the birthday gifts in the mailbox with 2 stamps when I can't drag the 4 littles out and pray it gets there
  • Make an appointment to chop my own hair and MAIL the bagged ponytails
  • Stick leftover brownies in the mailbox with the sloppy Thank You Card and breath
  • MAIL the scraps I have
  • Make some ghetto snacks and love the neighbors with a smile

What are the somethings YOU are going to do?

Good intentions laying around
Pick them up off the ground
and DO SOMETHING

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Live OUTSIDE Your Home

A major key to missional living for our homeschooling family of lots of littles is living OUTSIDE our home.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home #missionalliving True LOVE! is messy -1 Peter 48

It could be super easy for our family to isolate ourselves by only attending the valley {our church plant} surrounding ourselves with Christians and then stay within the shelter of our home for the rest of the week, schooling, taking turns grocery shopping alone, pull in the garage and shut the door behind ourselves. BUT what fun would that be? We wouldn't be participating in the amazing adventure God has called us to be a part of. For us, being a visible presence in our neighborhood is a natural part of that adventure. But lets be honest...with four littles, if I don't set myself up for success, I'll never do it. Although spontaneous fun is usually best, sometimes just a few things could make the spontaneous a little more convenient. Here are some of the simple ways we've chosen to live missionally in our neighborhood:

Living OUTSIDE You Home #missionalliving {front porch}Front Porch
We inherited a beautifully manicured lawn when we moved in 2 years ago. I immediately apologized to all the neighbor, explaining that I had a large family to feed and water and the plants wouldn't survive the neglect. As a result, I got friends to dig up nearly 1/2 of the front flowerbed and we extended our front porch for more optimal porch sitting {WITH neighbors}.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home {furniture} #missionallivingFurniture
As an addition to our amazing front porch, we've been slowly adding quality furniture as we found it wicked cheap. We would love to have optimal seating for who ever pops over.

Living OUSIDE Your Home on your driveway #missionallivingDriveway
We want to keep everyone safe while they're playing outside so we always move our vehicles onto the road {sometimes blocking the driveway entrance} and that lets the kids have the entire driveway for chalk, riding toys, or just running. We keeps keys in a bowl so they're fast to find, kids know the routine so they stay near the house while we move them, and they know the boundaries.

Living OUTSIDE You Home with toys #missionallivingToys
We keep inexpensive toys specifically for outside readily available for the kids and their friends so hanging out with friends is quick and easy. We also have have multiple sizes of riding toys so we can share with friends.

Living OUTSIDE You Home #missionalliving {walks}Walks
Although we don't have a sidewalk on our side of the road, we do have an awesome sidewalk all the way up our road! Being out and about our neighborhood allows us to get to know neighbors even as simple as waving hi, getting to see who lives where, and letting them see and get to know us.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home #missionalliving {garage}Cookouts
Having a spot set up with all the basics of a great cookout helps us be ready at the drop of the hat for a cook out with friends. We keep extra food in the deep freeze, cheap drinks in the mini fridge, picnic blanket ready, lawn chairs stacked in the corner, ice chest ready, and snacks in our hospitality desk.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home {block parties} #missionallivingBlock Parties
Block parties are coming about a lot more natural these days. It was fun to hear that so many neighbors have been dreaming of doing "something Just like this for years" and God allowed us to start that for them. There are a thousand different themes you could do but just offering a potluck type dinner and a designated space is really all you need.

I hope this helps you think through living outside your home with a #missionalliving mentality! God has called us to love our neighbors and it doesn't have to be unnaturally hard.

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