Mission HOME

Every July our church does what we call “Mission Hartsville”.  It’s a week-long, church-wide mission trip, in our home town. There are approximately 21 ministry areas that are carried out during this set week in July.  It’s a sweet time of service to our community and a great time of fellowship with other church members.  For some, we are stretched out of our comfort zone. For some, a passion for a particular ministry area is ignited and then carried out continuously throughout the year. For many, it’s the only mission “trip” that is feasible for them.  No matter the outcome, it truely is a beautiful time in our city. Matter of fact, there are some that have come to expect, or I should say anticipate our mission efforts.  It’s a really good thing.

The down side to our mission week is that although we are at home, we are not at home.  We are in and out.  Breakfast is on the fly, lunch is at odd times, dinner….well, 8 or 9 p.m. seems a good time to eat.  Laundry doesn’t get done.  The kids rooms become a mess and the hubby and I are piling clothes on the floor because the laundry basket is full.  We run out of milk, the trash doesn’t get put out for weekly pick-up…….

You get the idea!

This year, the week after I admit I was in a bit of a tizzy.  I wanted the house clean.  The laundry done. The groceries bought.  My poor kids!!  They just wanted to rest a little.  Read a little.  Watch a little TV.  Have friends over.  I confess that I was frustrated with them!

That’s when it hit me.

I spent a week pouring my heart and soul into ministry after ministry.  I participated in random acts of kindness. I loved on people that I don’t know and, honestly, weren’t very lovable.  I gave grace to people that I may never see again. (Actually in our small town that’s unlikely, but you know what I mean).  I prayed for those I came in contact with.

But my kids….my husband?

When was the last time I loved on them in their unlovable moments? Showed them grace whether they needed it or not? Really prayed over them?

OR….did a random act of kindness for my kids?  My husband?  I mean why shouldn’t I put their laundry away instead of piling it on their bed? Or do their chores instead of nagging for the chores to be done?  Not all the time, mind you, but randomly.

I’m convinced that missions should take place in the four walls of our home.  I’m not living out the example of being the Christian wife and mom I claim to be if I am not serving those that the Lord so graciously gave me to be my family.mission_home

What about you?  Does your heart for missions come to fruition in your own home?  With your extended family? In your circle of friends?

I am praying about how I can serve my family more.  Knowing that they may read this, I’m held accountable {smile}. Knowing that the Lord knows my heart is accountability enough!!

I pray that you will be on “mission” in your own home.

Joy to You!

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Taking A Look

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It’s 2015!

I am still processing how quickly 2014 seemed to pass by.  What a year it was.  We began the year visiting with our precious friends in Louisville.  What a way to ring in the New Year.  We missed their party this year but they were in my heart!

I decided to take a look back at the 2014 calendar to remind myself of how the year was spent.   It went something like this:

our kids hit ages 10 & 15…..we celebrated with good friends as their son was married…..my hubby and I went on a marriage retreat…..snow in our little SC town….our niece got married…..stanford testing and the PSAT on the homeschool front….teach them diligently home school conference…..both kids participated in TeenPact for the      first time and loved it…..ladies prayer retreat at church…..ballet recital…..annual family beach trip…..camp for      my daughter…..vbs…..youth mission trip to NY for my son…..trip to charleston….mother/daughter trip to NY/NJ with my mom and sister…..long weekend at the beach…..both nephews got engaged…..extended family medical        issues….drama camp with our home school co-op…..first voice and piano recital…..met new friends…..spent time with long time friends…..trusted the Lord to direct our steps and sought to honor Him in all

As I look ahead, our kids are about to be 11 & 16.  This happens in the next 10 days.  It seems like yesterday that we were beginning our journey as parents.  It’s really overwhelming.   I will continue to home school my kids and will soak in every moment that I am blessed to have with them.   My hubby and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage.  We will celebrate weddings and births with friends and family.  Some of the events of 2014 are traditions that will happen in 2015 and more years to come.  I am thankful for those.

God’s Word tells me that He has plans for me.  I am glad and I look forward to following Him into this year.  I pray that your 2015 is full of joy and peace.  And that you trust the Lord in all He has for you!

Happy New Year!

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The Family Toolbox ~ A Review

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I am excited to be able to review a new tool made available by the National Center for Biblical Parenting.  The Family Toolbox is a resource for parents and teens, ages 10-18, encouraging conversation that leads to family discipleship.  
The “toolbox” contains 8 lessons consisting of 16 videos and a workbook.  There are eight videos for parents to view where a scene is portrayed followed by authors of the Toolbox, Dr. Scott Turansky and Mrs. Joanne Miller,  discuss the life lesson being taught in the particular session.  After viewing this, parents will then sit down with their teens and watch a longer clip of the same scene and then use discussion questions and prompts in the workbook.  Each lesson has two “life success principles” that Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller explain in the video for parents.  What I love most about this tool is how practical these principles are and how scripture is intertwined throughout to back up the principle being discussed. 
Topics covered in the Family Toolbox are:
  • Lesson 1 ~ It Starts with the Heart
  • Lesson 2 ~ Follow Instructions Well
  • Lesson 3 ~ Handle Pressure without Losing Your Cool
  • Lesson 4 ~ The Value of Correction
  • Lesson 5 ~ The Importance of Responsibility
  • Lesson 6 ~ Accept No as an Answer
  • Lesson 7 ~ Deal with Your Own Anger
  • Lesson 8 ~ Consider the Needs of Others
 As mentioned above, the advice and direction given by Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller in these lessons is practical with an intertwining of biblical principles that are so important and life changing.  As I listened to them discuss the topics, I was both encouraged and convicted.  My goal as a parent is to raise my children to love and serve Jesus; to raise them to honor Him in their lives every day.  I was encouraged to discover that my husband and I do some of the things suggested in The Family Toolbox lessons.
Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller share with us that seeing our children change in effective ways comes from focusing on the heart.  Mrs. Miller says, “The heart is where the lasting change will take place.”  The concept of a “heart issue” is not new to me.  When we found out we were to be parents, I began to read parenting books.  I’ve been to parenting seminars that encourage dealing with the heart.  Working on and dealing with heart issues are for all of life not just the toddler or teen or all those in between years.
The practical tips are things like making a chart of negative behavior, then thinking and praying through to address the heart issue that the behavior is a result of.  They also suggest having an “action point”.  This is when you stop talking and start acting as a parent.   Involve your kids in setting new patterns and habits for the way you give them instructions and the way that they obey. Weave scripture into any discussion you have about behavior.    God made us and our children; He has a lot to say about who we are, and should be, as His creation. 
Another really practical piece of advice is to be sure to have some margin, i.e. extra time, in our schedule for unplanned things.  If we are so rigid in our daily schedule, there is no room for the unexpected joys that might come our way.  We might just miss them.  Setting checkpoints in our daily routine to be sure that kids are staying on task is another great way to keep behavior and attitudes where they need to be.  They help keep us to our “plan” and can have the positive benefit of building teamwork in the family.
The conviction I felt came around Lesson 3.  After 15+ years of parenting, I am still learning to handle pressure and not losing control.  I have a temper.  It’s sin on my part and I know it.  I am learning, with the grace of God, to not lose it when I do get upset.  This is where perhaps the most practical advice from Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller really hit home for me.  They said to expect problems, expect delays, and expect interruptions.  Be ready for them and then our reaction is not emotional.  AND our reaction is honoring to your children and to the Lord.  These three things are just part of life, family life.
Correction was discussed in Lesson 4.  There is value in correction.  When we, as parents, have a plan for the way that we correct our children it really benefits the entire. Having a plan for how we correct shows unity between parents.  It also give opportunity for the correction to be done right, teaching the kids in the process and then the child and the family are able to move forward.  I really like that Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller encourage discussion with our kids when correction is taking place.  They suggest three questions:
  • What did you do wrong? (this helps the kids take personal responsibility)
  • Why was that wrong? (this question deals with the heart)
  • What are you going to do different next time? (this helps our kids learn from experience)
These questions could also benefit us as parents and adults in our everyday lives as well.
Something that I think is very important in their discussion on correction is that once we, as parents, have discussed these questions with our kids, we should encourage them to go ahead and try again.  This gives them encouragement and can teach them forgiveness.
Throughout all eight lessons, Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller emphasize how these principles are beneficial for a life time.  Things like looking for and encouraging positive qualities in our kids that we can link to life goals, following directions, accepting no for an answer.  All of these are skills that can be used in the workplace and in their own family when the children leave our homes for their own.
I am so grateful to have been able to review this product.  For the purpose of this review, I watched this on my own, however, I hope to go through the “toolbox” as a family activity with my husband and kids very soon.  I am sure that we will benefit from it. 
The Family Toolbox is available for download on the National Center for Biblical Parenting‘s website for a suggested donation of $79.95 or you can purchase a home kit which features a DVD and hard copy literature for $99.95.  
Joy to You!
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