You’re Still Happy with Me, Right?

You're still happy with me, right?

I exited the room, arms full of folded towels. The goal was to put them in the linen closet and come back for the rest of the clothes. I couldn’t have been gone more than ten seconds.

Sometimes ten seconds is all it takes.

When I entered the living room, every piece of freshly folded laundry was strewn across the room. Shirts were on the hearth, pants were dangling off the sewing machine, and underwear littered the floor and couch.

I spun toward my two primary suspects and asked in an eerily calm voice, “Who. Did. This?”

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What Do Scary Things Do?

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“I’m afraid of spiders.”

My almost four-year-old eyed me and then quickly redirected his gaze to his toys. His tone was apologetic.

Benjamin’s fear of spiders wasn’t new to me. For a while, he had recurring nightmares involving spiders—the kind of nightmares that would terrify the most fearless adult.

“I don’t blame you, B,” I said. “I think spiders are creepy, too. And you know, everyone is afraid of something. Except for a special Someone. Did you know there is Someone who’s not afraid of anything?”

Benjamin smiled at the familiar question. “God!”

And then his eyes narrowed in concentration. “So what do scary things do when they see God?”

I blinked. When is this kid going to start asking me easier questions?

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Throw Off Laziness

Throw off laziness

“NO, I will NEVER do what you want me to do. Never. NEVEEEEEERRR!!!” His footsteps pounded down the hall, followed by the sharp slam of his bedroom door.

Ah, you’re probably thinking, the teenage years. Those are tough.

Nope. He’s three. THREE.

I stared down the hall after my Drama King. Wow. So many little rebellion issues to address. Probably a great opportunity for a teachable moment. Grace. The gospel. All that.

But in that moment, I had zero desire to deal with any of it.

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When My Children Shake Me

when my children shake me

“Are you sorry for snapping at me?”

I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. Shame washed over me as I replayed the outburst in my head. How was it possible that one three-year-old could make my blood boil so easily? I looked at my son, staring at me with his impossibly blue eyes. Waiting for an answer.

Inner-Mary readied her list of reasons why her harsh reaction was justified: You’ve been pushing me all day. You’ve screamed and cried and made unreasonable demands. You’ve disobeyed me, ignored me, and taken me for granted. Can you really blame me for lashing out??

My son is quite the expert at shaking me up. How easy it is for me to point my finger at him when anger, selfishness, impatience, and laziness come spilling out of me. But he’s never made me react in the wrong way. The reality is this: Every reaction that spills out of me reveals what was already there.

Click here to read the rest of this article at Just18Summers.com.

3 Weeks of God-Focused Fall Activities for Young Children

god-focused fall activities

If you’re like me, you might get a little overwhelmed with the 3,643 events that happen in the fall. It kind of seems like there’s a tad bit of pressure to do ALL the things. After all, if you don’t enjoy a pumpkin-spiced-something while wearing cute wedge boots and carving a pumpkin…did fall even happen?

I’m guilty of trying to do all the events and activities with my kids. Like if I don’t do enough, they’ll be in therapy someday, lamenting the woes of their lost fall childhood to their therapist. “If only I’d gone apple picking, I might have gotten a real job and made something of myself,” they’d say.

I can be a bit dramatic.

So this fall, my goal is to just calm down and be intentional with my children by making each task, event, or activity an opportunity to point them to Jesus. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but I’m learning that children are so receptive to the truth that even the simplest task, when connected to Jesus, can make a lasting impression.

So as I’m putting this into practice for our family, I wanted to share this resource with you, too: 3 Weeks of God-Focused Fall Activities for Young Children.

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Every Heart Wants the Story

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He had to use both arms and tilt his body sideways to support its weight, but you could spot the puffed out chest and unfettered pride from a mile away.

A certain three-year-old had a brand new Bible.

“This is God’s true Word, Ryleigh,” he told his baby sister. “Be gentle with it.” Ryleigh stuffed a handful of Cheerios into her mouth in agreement.

My son’s previous storybook Bible was—ahem—well-loved. So much so that the binding was barely holding the pages together and several stories had been ripped out by an overly enthusiastic baby sister.

Benjamin began asking if he could take his Bible to church, but I wasn’t sure it would make it there in one piece. Yeah, this kid needed a new Bible.

I took the kids to the bookstore and began looking over the selections. The options were a bit sparse—only about 493 choices of kids’ Bibles. Being the ever-practical person that I am, I was drawn first to the most economical Bibles. (Read: The easiest-on-my-wallet Bibles.)

Makes sense, right? I mean, three-year-olds aren’t known for their gentleness. Why spend a ton of money on a fancy Bible that would just get dropped, crinkled, or ripped?

(Read the rest of this article at Just18Summers.com by clicking here!)

3 Surefire Ways to Suck the Fun from Time with Your Kids

3 ways to suck the fun out of your time with your kids

I’ve only been a mom for 3.5 years now. Not long enough for me to master much of anything, but plenty long enough for me to learn that I’m capable of sucking the fun out of everything.

Seriously. Everything.

Being Type A and all, I tend to approach life with an I-will-conquer-you-and-be-productive-or-die-trying kind of attitude. And yet, when I try to apply this attitude to motherhood–or, more specifically, to my children–I fall flat on my face.

Every. Time.

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