Saturday, May 21, 2016

Toilets, Trans-genders and Hot Topics....Learning How to Navigate through Cultural Issues

Like the swirling of flushed water in a commode, your mind and emotions may have zoomed with the the onslaught of debates regarding transgender rights and the choice of public restrooms. It’s enough banter to make one want to shut the door and have some privacy. But before you lock it, take a minute to look in the mirror. Stop. Think. Regroup. And after that, go out and influence those in the world around you.

As you are leading yourself and others, there are the “3 Easy T’s” that you can remember on how to navigate through the transgender issues and any other controversial topic that will surface. These three steps can act as a filter for all you are processing. When you are looking at yourself and deciding how to respond, simply apply these three steps:

1. Think Biblically. Since the Bible is true, you can read and study it to find answers when faced with pressing issues. You don’t have to second-guess where to stand. Simply trust and obey what the Lord says about it. (And if you aren’t sure that the Bible is reliable, that’s okay. Take some time to learn more about it. Here is a starting point to study up on it: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/the-study-of-god/how-do-we-know-the-bible-is-true/how-do-we-know-bible-is-true)

Does this mean you can’t hear other opinions? Or take time to sift through your own thoughts and emotions? Certainly not! Go for it. But when it’s all said and done, you can rest and be 100% confident when you follow God’s way and His Word. 

The Bible has been completely accurate on what will happen in the world as time goes on. There is a plan and its all unfolding exactly the way the Bible said it would be.  The main direction of the world, including arguments over gender issues, is becoming further away from God and given over to unnatural desires because people do not acknowledge or accept Jesus. (Romans 1:24-25)

It seems unimaginable to even consider some of the issues we are debating over today. But again, this is no surprise as people who are living without a relationship with Jesus are left to their own sin, which is darkness. Anyone who is living in darkness and is considered “blind” truly can’t see or understand the light. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) People are going off their own whims if they have no clear vision of what they are doing. But if you have been given sight, by coming out of darkness through the Light of Jesus, then you don’t need to second-guess your decision when you settle on a cultural/political issue. You can see clearly and can know the path to take.

Think Biblically. Study and stand by it. But do it the way Jesus would, in love.

2. Treat people with love. Period. As you know where you stand and what you believe, communicate it in love. (I Cor. 16:13-14) Treat people as Jesus treated them. If they reject it, then pray for them and leave them but do it in love. Any form of disgust or hate will only make them more hurt, angry or unaccepting. But who can argue with love? (John 13:35)

Work hard to bring others into light. Don’t give up on people. Some of the sayings such as “Hate the game not the player”, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”, and “Don’t judge the book by the chapter you just walked in on” have some valuable principles to remember. Whether its people who are choosing to become the opposite of their God-given gender or any other choice, sin is wrong. But the person is God’s creation and God doesn’t want anyone to die in their sin. (2 Peter 3:9) The whole reason Jesus came to earth is to save people from their sins. Everyone is capable of doing bizarre and incomprehensible things without the Savior.

Odds are, if you are walking in truth and light, someone showed you love in the midst of your sin.

3. Take action. As you are thinking Biblically and treating people with love, there are other actions you can do. 

Talk openly about it at work and in the market or neighborhood. Silence doesn’t help others work through their own questions and concerns. Talking about it can bring light to situations.

Lead your children.  This is a prime time for children to learn to think Biblically and process how to handle cultural controversies. Help them know what the Bible says and how to think. Show them how to be firm and stand strong when they share convictions on issues. Keep in mind their age and level but don’t shy away from teaching them how to navigate through it. They will need to know how to make this journey on their own in just a few years.

Pray about it. Seriously, pray. Don’t just think about praying or sit in silence when others are praying, but connect with God and get His heart on the issue at hand. Invite the Holy Spirit in to give you compassion, supernatural wisdom to see with discernment, and guidance on how to handle certain people. Prayer changes us. And prayer changes others as God hears you and works on your behalf.

Vote! In your stance to take action, cast your vote! Speak up in your  community, write your state representatives, or sign a National Petition. Encourage and act positively, don't invoke opinionated anger. Your voice matters even if the nation seems too large to hear it. Remember, its individuals that make the whole world go ‘round! Do your part (in love!).

So before you shut and lock the door in an attempt to maintain your quiet privacy, look in the mirror and take ownership for what is in your power to control. You can have wise, loving, and active responses when it comes to navigating through cultural issues.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Liking the Daughter You Love

     


     Raising a girl can be a blessing and a challenge all at once. Girls can be enjoyable and yet so difficult at times. As I think about raising daughters, lines from the song “Maria” in the classic movie The Sound of Music come to mind. “…She is gentle! She is wild! She's a riddle! She's a child! She's a headache! She's an angel! She's a GIRL!” Girls are so lovable and yet not always likable. 

     As a mother of five daughters, I certainly love them all deeply and unconditionally. But it didn’t take long to realize I didn’t necessarily always like them. For instance, one of my girls talks excessively. This little one reminds me of the continued “Maria” lyrics, “When I'm with her I'm confused, out of focus and bemused and I never know exactly where I am…” while another daughter is highly emotional and “Unpredictable as weather, she's as flighty as a feather…” The other three deal with everything from hyperactivity, “how do you make her stay, and listen to all you say…” to overly opinionated, “many a thing you know you ought to tell her…” to stubbornness “…many a think she ought to understand.
    So, assuming there may be another mother out there that has admitted she doesn’t always like her daughter, here are a couple of things that are helping me on this journey of liking my lovables. First off, choose to like her. The story of old “Mr. Jones” comes to mind. After his wife passed away, Mr. Jones needed to move into a nursing facility. Upon arrival, the nurse walked him down the hall on his way to his room. She said, “Mr. Jones, we have prepared the room for you and we will see how things are when you get there.” He answered, “I already like it!” “But you haven’t seen it.” “No, but I have decided that I will like it!” And we can do the same as mothers. We can decide to have the attitude of accepting our children no matter what. This resolve can drive us steadily forward through the challenges that may lie ahead. I am determined to like my girls.
     Secondly, remind yourself how undesirable you have been. I can think of dozens of my behaviors that weren’t what they should have been. I don’t even know how my dear mother made it through all my questions in elementary school, my emotions in junior high, and my dominating attitude in high school. Furthermore, as an adult, I still have moments of less-than-admirable actions. None of us are completely likeable at all times. This very thought causes me to give grace to my daughters. And just as most of us know when we are being unacceptable, our children may be in tune with their own awareness of their behaviors yet may not be mature enough to know how to handle it or stop.     This leads to a third step of taking time to communicate in order to work through issues. While it is necessary to decide to like our girls and beneficial to remind our self of our own shortcomings, this doesn’t mean we just move on and let things go as they are. In fact, this is a prime time to face the issues at hand in order to gain understanding. Listen. Ask questions. Engage with her emotions. Then, share your feelings and thoughts so that she can see how her actions are affecting others and how she can improve. Sometimes we need to confront the unlikeable as we lead our girls. It may take time and several attempts but they are listening and most girls do want to know how they can be the best they can be.
  In fact, my mom and I had a talk like this just a few years. She and I were frustrated with each other. So, we talked it out. It took three hours and many tears to work through how she thought I was controlling and I thought she was careless but it worked. We both ended it feeling understood. And we also knew we both had things to work to improve.
     Finally, when all has been done, think outside your own personality. Sometimes we just don’t like our daughter because she has a different personality. There are some things about girls that are a part of who they are! I am amazed at how my five girls can all be born within seven years and each can be so unique! I have had to accept that while some things need to be changed, there are other things that are just personality.
    For example, one night I burned the rice at dinner but served it anyway to see if anyone noticed. Well, they did. And each one had a comment. My oldest said logically, “Mom, the rice is burnt because you got distracted with laundry.” My second girl responded, “Yes, but its okay because we all make mistakes, mom, and I still love you.” The next one wasted no time and spit out the food while saying, “Yuck! That is terrible!” Her younger sister took note and said, “Thanks for making it mom but I am NOT even going to taste it!” And of course, my toddler just played with the rice happily. It was just a matter of their personalities. Sometimes, it’s just easy and fun celebrating who they are and how they see life!
     Overall, learning to like the daughter you love may feel like the ending words of the “Maria” song that ask, “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” but I believe we can. We can like them as we do all we know to do then simply embrace the fact that, like us, “She’s a GIRL!”


Published in Paradise Valley Lifestyle Magazine. Picture of girls from 2011. 






Monday, May 9, 2016

Trust and Obey!


Today I am reminded that God gives certain opportunities for specific seasons. My responsibility is to simply obey Him and what He asked of me. As I go into these two surgeries, an opportunity  that God once gave me for a season will end. But I trust Him. 

I can remember when God spoke to me as I laid flat on the ground with my face in my open Bible as I wept. I had a 3 month old and had just found out I was pregnant again. In the midst of being a first-time mom, I was dealing with strong side-effects from medications because of a fracture that occurred in labor, I had been through a follow-up surgery and was experiencing post-partum depression.  Finding out I was pregnant was not good news. But God spoke to me.

The Lord asked me in that moment if I trusted Him. He said, “If you will give me your womb, I will give you the grace you need to have every baby I call you to have.” In gut-wrenching searching of the heart, I surrendered to the Lord His plans for our family. I wholeheartedly, tearfully answered Him, “I trust You and I give you my womb.” And He has given undeniable grace.

I went from not wanting more than one baby to being open to all God had for me. After six births and two miscarriages, today with this surgery, I will once again trust Him with my womb. In the next hour, I will be having a hysterectomy to remove a grapefruit-sized fibroid tumor that is inside my uterus. Then, I will have an additional internal repair surgery from some complications that were caused to the surrounding organs. 

I trust the Lord that my time to give birth is over. I am reminded of Job in the Bible and his trust of God. He says, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” My window of opportunity to obey a specific call of God was only for a season. I am so thankful I obeyed Him without delay. My life is more blessed than I could have planned on          my own.


How about you? Is there any area of your life that God has called you to obey, right now, for this time? If so, don’t miss it. His call to have you obey in a specific area is something He has given you. He will give you this time and there will be a time He will take it away. 

If you follow Him, right now, with full surrender then you will experience more blessings than you can imagine. If you are living in obedience, you will experience His gifts for you at this time in your life before that season changes. More than anything, you can trust Him!  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Goals for Ages 3-5 yrs old.


          
When we had the first four children in four years, my mind was always racing to remember which child needed to learn what thing. It was mindboggling to keep track only to realize one had not learned something they should have by a certain point. With all the training and teaching going on, I was just happy they were fed and clean by the end of most days. But there is more that needs to be learned in those first five years.


      So as some of you have asked, we are sharing the list of important things we wanted our girls to know and do between the ages of 3-5. This list allowed me to keep track of where each girl was and who needed to learn other things. 


     They are divided into 5 Categories that we implement every day for some through guided life learning and other days when we do "school time" which is approximately 3-4 days a week. 

 All these goals can be taught through basic simple teaching, games, books, dvds, car rides, Cds, and lots of talking. Plus, depending on when you start kindergarten, you have two to three years to teach it all so that takes the stress off of cramming it in their little heads in a year.

      On that noteconsider starting kindergarten as close to age 6 as possible. I say this for a couple of crucial reasons. First, when they enter kindergarten closer to age 6 they have had more time to develop emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

     When they are on the "older side" of kids in the class they can have the experience of leadership to the classmates because they are ahead. Just think of the joy of being one of the first kindergarten kids to lose a tooth, or to be a fifth grader with cool braces, a junior high sports boy with a year ahead in height and strength, a mature freshman girl that is out of the awkward stage, or being one of the first friends to drive and have a job. In addition, their hearts have had time to grow in the Lord and they are able to make solid decisions with wisdom and knowledge that time gives.

     Secondly, when you start later, the child is home longer on the back end of high school before leaving for work, college, or marriage. A year can make a difference when entering the adult world. And by those years we want every second we can get with our kids before they are grown and gone!

     Although a child may be ready for kindergarten schoolwork that doesn't mean you have to send them. Go ahead and have them do some older work at home but consider waiting to place them in kindergarten at church class or school class until closer to age 6. This is a precious time to bond and enjoy a stage with your child as much as possible. Honestly, I would rather have my toddlers go to preschool a few times a week than my 5-6 year olds leave. They are easier and so much fun to do everyday life with by the time they are out of the "I walk around and get into stuff in dangerous ways" stage!

     And if you have already started your little one and this info is too late, perhaps the Lord will lead you to make the courageous decision to hold your child back a year to repeat or to just take a year off. My mom had to make this choice with my brother when he was in the second grade. He turned 7 in September and started second grade but she felt it was best to hold him back. He thrived socially and academically far better than the year before which kept on through his high school years.

     For us, our Allison turned 6 in June and we started her in Kindergarten then. She will be 7 in June and starting first grade more mature than those younger students entering that are perhaps just turning 6.

     Just something to think about but God will lead you for what your child needs and it may be different.

     So, back to some ideas to follow as you guide your 3-5 year olds. Here is what we have researched and used in our children: 


1. God -
His love for us, He does good, and He is good. You can learn these through Bible stories (read from Story Bible book, Dan and Louie Cds), prayer (for anything, anytime, anywhere) and scripture memory. (Steve Green's Hide 'Em in My Heart Cds or otherwise)

2. Others - Receiving love, showing love, manners such as personal hygeine, phone skills, doorbell responses, key phrases (thank you, bless you, you're welcome, please), how to behave in quiet settings (such as weddings, meetings, church). 

3. Play -
Lots of open imagination time, some directed time, playing with others


4. Work -
Why we work (to carry out God's purposes on earth) and how we work (with excellence unto the Lord)



5. Education - Safety Skills (calling 911, what to do when lost, water safety, strangers), 7 Keys to Health (Water, Rest, Exercise, Vitamins, Healthy food, Massage, and Clean Hands away from the face), Personal Information (names of family members, phone numbers, address), Colors, Shapes, Letters  Counting to 100, Parts of the Body, Handwriting (letter formation, name, upper and lower case, keeping it in a straight line, and spacing), Calendars (days, months, seasons), Workbook Pages (fun books from local store with some cognitive work pages).

          This is a list to plan for and give guidance but don't stress when its not all done perfectly. If you do a bit by bit over the 3,4,5 years it will all come together! I hope that this list is a help to you as you lead your little ones in the way and timing the Lord tells you is best for your family!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

How to Lead a Cousins (or Friends) Camp!


     
It's Spring time but I wanted to share this with so you have time to think and plan if this is something you decide to do this summer! This is an at-home camp for kids from any connections you may have in life. It could be for neighbors, friends, church kids or cousins! You can divide up ages or do everyone together depending on the amount and the ages. And all you Pinterest savvy people can spruce it up even more. We even threw in a bday party during one of the lunch times since we had everyone there anyway. We added cake, did presents and set out a theme on the table then went back into the camp schedule...it saved time and money on the bday party and the bday girl loved it! Make it whatever works for you and have a blast impacting young hearts! Enjoy...

(2014 re-post) Woo-hoo! We just recently completed our 5th Annual Cousin's Camp! Hard to believe its been going for FIVE YEARS! SO WORTH IT! I gathered all first cousins who are 4 and older to make some major life-time memories. From the first-class greetings, to opening ceremonies, games and prizes, mini-group, and water fun we lived it up for yet another successful year of bonding. Here is a highlight video from this past month at Cousins Camp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WOSnGRN6fg


     After some thought, I decided that anything to lead and love children is worth sharing. Perhaps this will offer you some creative ideas to build relationships with the children in your world whether biological, extended, adopted, friends, neighbors, little ones you mentor etc. The main reasons we get together is to make an extra effort beyond birthdays and holidays (those are so busy) to grow in God, to have both sides of the family making memories, and for them to know their Aunt Casey loves them! Here is the schedule we use but adapt for your own interest and needs:


We keep the activities to two days and each day goes from 10-3:00. This is just enough time to do everything and yet not too much when things would get a little crazy.


10:00 WELCOME Greet outside with lots of energy and random instruments while cheering their name and making a tunnel. We do this until all arrive. Then we let the kids choose if they want to get their face painted which is done by a big kid or one of the helpers. Helpers are someone like an adult friend, relative, or teen. This year I had three helpers bc I am pregnant and also had 14 kids at the house…in addition, I decided I better have two camps next time bc the age gaps between the 4 yr olds and the 10-11 yr olds as well as the amount of kids! But it was fun!


10:15 OPENING CEREMONIES We gather around for the pledge to the American flag, then we circle up for a Cousins Camp Cheer (“We’re cousins! We’re cousins! We always stick together! I am with you, you are with me, its Cousins Camp Forever!”) then we put on some dance music and do a dance together (Electric Slide or something similar that is fun and easy).


10:30 BIBLE CHAT TIME There is a theme each year and we talk about a concept such as trusting the Lord, prayer, living a pure life, and learning what truth is in life. I lead the lesson and pass a balla round for each child to hold when it’s their turn to talk. We act out the lesson or use props to prove the point. It is the most valuable time of the whole camp as the children share their hearts and insights. Then we close with prayer requests and I remind them about being wise and choosing God no matter what life brings their way.


11:00 CRAFT TIME Anything from decorating t-shirts to stuffing panty hose with cotton and drawing faces to make long snakes, this is just a fun activity.


11:30 GAMES These games are easy and fun. We have two teams with equal ages on each if possible so older can help the younger. These games have included through the years tossing balls into buckets, throwing popcorn into mouths, playing Pictionary, guessing what items are missing from a tray or wrapping up in toilet paper races etc. The final game leads up one big game on day two such as a scavenger hunt for a treasure box with real coins or an obstacle course.


12:00 LUNCH BREAK


12:30 FREE TIME outdoors with sprinklers or set up pools, bikes, chalk, swingset etc.


2:00 SNACK TIME and AWARDS and sometimes we combine one of our girls bday celebrations during this part if the camp falls during a bday. We eat and open presents on Day 1. For Day 2, we do snack then give out awards for each child with a certificate or medal or trophy to acknowledge something special about each one. This year, due to rain, we had to move Freetime and snack to an indoor community swim area so I sent a picture with awards on it in the mail later.


2:45 PACK UP All kids gather their items and do a cleanup so the house isn’t too messy and moms don’t have to wait at pickup.


These years of effort have been worth every minute and I hope it inspires you to connect with the children in your life before they grow up and go their own ways. It truly is a gift to have influence and time with the heart of a child. ENJOY!





Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Like Other People's Children

    
Have you ever felt thought that you like your own children but not other people's children? I am sure you have at some point unless you are one of those people that naturally see ALL children as a gift. If so, I completely respect you. We should all be that way. But for those who just simply don't like other people's children or connect with them, I have been there. Thankfully I didn't stay there, but I do remember being there.

      You know how it is. Other people's children just don't seem the same as your own. They aren't as smart. They aren't as funny. And they certainly aren't as cute. There have been times a child that isn't mine can do the same thing my child would do but because it was someone else's child it bothered me! I didn't enjoy or tolerate those "other children".

      Then, God changed my heart when I read a book called Too Small To Ignore...Why Children are the Next Big Thing by Dr. Wes Stafford, CEO of Compassion International. Specifically, I learned that "every encounter with a child is divine." This was a radical shift for me that I believe was a divine encounter with this child of God. (Me).

      When I heard Wes talk about how the Lord allows us the privilege of time with His children to lead and influence either for good or bad, I began to see those encounters as an opportunity. When my heart was open to see that my time with other children is a chance to shape the heart and life of God's people, I changed dramatically. I embraced the Lord's heart for ALL children, I began to actually like other people's children.

      The Lord says firmly in Mark 10:14, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them." If that is how the Lord sees them then that is how I want to see them. 


The transformation has taken time for me to be more like Christ, but since my perspective has changed, I have been completely blessed by other people's children. They are smart. They are funny. And they are actually cute...most of the time. Ha! And since I don't want you to miss out on this amazing experience, I have written three thoughts that have helped me through this journey.

1. Insight - Children are extremely valuable. They are not only made by God but they are who God uses to carry out His purposes now and in the future. The Lord makes people so His kingdom will be built! Our view of these little people and teens has to have the insight to see where they came from and why they are here.

     Moreover, our moments with them are impressionable. Highly impressionable. Every moment and encounter we have with a child should count towards the making of this person. Whether it is acknowlegding other children when they are standing beside their mother when I am talking to a friend, or coming into my home to play, or passing as a neighbor, or needing something at church, we must have the insight to see that the time and love invested in a child is divine and therefore, eternal.

2. Ownership - We are all responsible for the children in our circle of life. We must allow our hearts to have ownership of them. We have been given leadership over them because of age and position. All authority comes from God, meaning that He decided the layout of how things trickle down in headship, so the children in my life are for me to care for with ownership. We are appointed leaders to children. They are all ours. And when something is our own we care for it as such.

      A practical look at this view is to think to how we feel when riding in someone else's car. We don't really care as much about the details or needs. We don't appreciate the car because we don't have personal ownership in it. We have no investment in it. We don't think about it or care. The car is simply there and doing what it does. This is a natural response to something that isn't our own. But we must own the leadership God has given to us with children. Otherwise, we just see them as being there doing what they do. But this should not be. For children, we must own them. We must care about their details and their needs.

3. Understanding - I can recall telling someone that because we were youth pastors I wasn't sure how to relate to children. I was used to talking to teens about parental respect, boyfriends, temptations etc. but to talk to a 4 yr old was foreign to me. I may have well spoken Japanese when I came across a little one. Yes, I made the worst babysitter growing up. It was rough. I did not know what I was doing even though I took a babysitting class. I just didn't understand children. Which is bizarre to me because I used to be a child.

      Anyway, understanding how children think and act whether it be by age or personlity, makes a tremendous difference in our interaction with them. If we know how they think, feel, and do then we can get into their world. When we know where they have come from and what experiences they have had, we can relate to them. All of this and more can be learned by taking time with them. Ask questions. Listen well. Do life with them. When we know them, it is easier to embrace them.

     So those are my three main thoughts on how I have learned to like, even love, other people's children. They make the acronym "IOU" if you want to remember this post when the next little darling crosses your path and you start to slip into annoyance. 


As we have the insight to value them, we truly do owe it to children to lead with the authority God has given to us in understanding their world. Blessings to you as you start to enjoy some of the most amazing people on earth!
(Photo credit to my fun nephew Weston!)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

No Summer Blues! A Guide to At-Home Days with Kids


     Do you have the summer motherhood "How will I handle my children home all day" blues? Having a plan is imperative! I don’t know about your family but when we are home without our typical school schedule or a plan, our family turn into lazy, mindless, visionless, whiny, messy, bored, complaining, tv-overloaded people who ask for food all day. It isn't pretty.
    The summer can be overwhelming if you aren't in a routine of children being home more.  But the summer doesn't have to be a bummer! I bring you good news! Happiness can be found! All you have to do is think through how you want the summer to look then make a plan.  I guarantee that everyone enjoys the day more when it isn’t aimless.
    The below schedule is what our days look like when we are home. If we are out part of the day then we just pick right back up when we get home. This is simply our personal example. Adjust for what you need in your situation since some of you may have to go work or have other circumstances.  
8:00(ish) Get Ready: Wake Up, cartoons (or workout for older kids), breakfast, vitamins, clean kitchen, brush teeth, make beds, get dressed, do hair etc. Having the basics covered allows everyone to be ready for whatever may come for the day! And I feel relief knowing everyone is fed, kitchen is clean, beds are made, and everyone is presentable and yet the kids enjoyed seeing a show when they woke up. Since it’s more relaxed in the summer the thought would be that everyone is ready for the day by 9:30.
9:30ish This is a perfect time to do something fun, productive and perhaps new! Do the things children may not have time for during the school year. Gardening, shopping, working out, cleaning, baking, gift-making, visiting friends or running errands are some ideas to use during these couple of hours. Toddlers can do different activities such as art table, room toys, sibling play, video, snack or join you if it works.
 12:00 Lunch, Clean Kitchen, Free time. We eat then everyone does a kitchen job such as sweep floors, clean off and wipe counters, pull out chairs, and help mom with dishes. A little tip during meal time is to play a tape (or CD/IPOD/Phone)and listen to stories. We use older story tapes like GT and the Halo Express, Adventures in Odessy, Dan and Louie etc. with a tape player from Wal-Mart which is a novelty to them. Once eating and cleaning is finished, everyone can do whatever they like for a bit.
1:30 Read together (Little ones nap) We choose a book that is one of those “every kid should read books but they don’t unless I read it with them” books. We are currently on Pilgrims Progress kid version. Reading together makes my mama heart happy since I can’t seem to find time for as much reading together during the school year.  May also play more or have computer/electronics time for everyone.)
2:00 Chic Chat Chocolate This time is our Bible time with a theme every month. We sit on a comfy blanket and eat chocolate while talking about scripture and life. It’s my favorite time with the children because it’s all about their heart and walk with the Lord. Summer is a fabulous time to instill values and character while the kids aren’t distracted by school and extra-curricular activities. (Angel naps)
2:30 Rest Time This is my quiet time to do whatever I need to do! Woohoo. And yes, I do sometimes take naps…even when I am not pregnant. Bria and Allison quiet time on beds, Candice and Kelly have personal reading (little ones nap).This time gives everyone a breather from the playing and being together all day.
 3:30 Snack and Clean Bedrooms We get a food boost while watching a PBS show then clean bedrooms. This is a daily job to keep rooms from being overwhelming.
 4:30 Afternoon Work These jobs come from a house list such as clean out car, vacuum, dust, and bath rooms, depending on house needs and day of the week. And it’s a perfect time to teach how to clean if a child needs some training.
5:00 Free Time Because there has been some order to the day, this play time is fresh and they play better together when free time comes.
6:00 Dinner and Kitchen Cleanup
6:45 Free Time This is more time to play with neighbors, watch a family movie, play board games, go out for ice cream, or be outside as a family
8:30 Baths and Showers
9:00 Family Snuggle on our bed all together to pray and chat
9:30 Bedtime This time is later than normal but works great for summer.
     This basic system has caused our summers to be enjoyable on the days we are home because the kids are ready for the day, learning new things, keeping the house clean and yet we still have plenty of time for rest and playing. 

My hope is that you would feel the same as your family is productive while being refreshed without any summer motherhood blues!