Tag Archives: play

Your (intimidating, awesome) Mama-job

Hey, Mom! You’re doing a great job — do you know that? It can be SOOOOOO rewarding to be a mom at times. And it can also be SOOOOOO tiring and intimidating and guilt-inducing if we try to live up to some outrageously unrealistic standard and perpetually feel like we’re failing. So let me ask you: Do you love your kids? Are you doing your best? Did you answer yes and yes? Then you’re doing great!

OK… glad to get that out of the way. I needed to hear that and to say that and I hope you took it to heart. Now on to this week’s topic . . . which can, unfortunately, actually BE a source of said frustration and sense of failure. Let’s talk about the faith we impart to our kids.

b.w. girls playing bike

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 charges us with the weightiest of responsibilities and the most amazing of opportunities: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

So, let’s be candid. Do I literally do all this? No. If we understand this as an exact literal directive, it’s impossible to achieve. (And, to be honest, it would make my kids very annoyed. We don’t want our non-stop God-talk to end up sounding like Charlie-Brown adults, bwah-bwah-bwah, bwah-bwah-bwah…) But if we understand it as casting a vision for us — making plain a principle — it’s so inviting and exciting and invigorating. It’s about weaving discussions of faith in and through everyday life. It’s pulling God-talk out of the van-on-the-way-home-from-church box and sprinkling it into all those other moments of living. It’s turning plain-moments into God-moments with a bit of intentionality. And one crucial ingredient to cultivating such moments? Adding FUN!

And so, without further ado, here are 12 ideas for you of ways you can transform fun experiences with your kids into meaningful faith-metaphors: Continue reading


Cease . . . Embrace

2 long days in the car with 2 adults and 3 kids. A few traffic jams. 78 Waffle House restaurants passed. And then we arrived here. P1040015

And it was all worth it.

A much (much, much, much, much) needed break. Family time. Laughter. Adventures. Discoveries. And, aaaaaaaaaah!, basking in tremendous beauties  — both big and soaring and those hidden, miniscule, beneath my feet. The beauties of breeze and bird and sea and sky. (Oh, and alligators, too. And did I mention manatees?)

It was a Sabbath of Sabbaths for me. No, not a Sunday nor a day of rule-keeping. But a family vacation. As the Brits call it, a holiday.

These were, indeed, holy-days for us. Days of rest, of play, and of being. And they remind me anew of the Sabbath-moments we all need, outside of scheduled retreats from reality and woven within the sometimes frayed fabric of everyday normality.

In The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan urges us to live within a Sabbath-attitude: “[D]o you play enough?” Continue reading

Meet My Friend . . . Jennifer Grant

I’m blessed to know author Jennifer Grant and am so happy to introduce you to her. Jennifer’s insights about family life and parenthood will bless you. So keep on reading!
Jennifer, can you tell my readers a bit about yourself? 
I’m a writer and the mother of four children: daughters ages 10 and 12 and sons who are 14 and 16. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write. I was the kid who read incessantly (from The Great Brain books to Beverly Cleary to Narnia), wrote stories, and created paper dolls with complicated backstories. I studied creative writing in both college and graduate school and have been a professional writer for about twenty years. Since becoming a mom, I’ve written primarily about parenting and family. For more than a decade, I wrote columns and stories for newspapers including the Chicago Tribune. I’m the author of two books: Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (published August 2011) and MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family (published May 2012).
It’s summer time! So this month we’re focusing on the theme of “family.” Quick: What’s been one of the highlights of your family’s time together this summer? 
In June, we drove from Chicago to Sanibel Island, Florida. Now that my oldest is a driver, the six of us aren’t all strapped into one car as often as we once were. Although the kids moaned a bit beforehand that we weren’t flying, we all truly enjoyed the long car trip. We sang songs, confided in each other, played silly games, and practiced our best Southern drawls as we drove down to Florida. All of that time together afforded me the chance to gain a renewed sense of who each of my kids is and the people they are growing to be. I’m also aware that my oldest chid, Theo, will be going to college in two years. That reality helps me to savor our time together in a new way. It’s been a sweet summer. 
You’ve written a book called MOMumental exploring the tough realities and delightful joys of family life. What do you most hope readers will get out of your book? 
I hope that when people finish the book, they will feel refreshed and less likely to be drawn in by inflammatory headlines and news stories that aim to make us feel “less than” as parents. I hope they’ll come away from MOMumental with the knowledge that there’s no one “right” way to raise kids. We all bring specific gifts, histories, weaknesses, and personalities to raising  our children. Most of all, I hope they’ll focus more on connecting authentically with their kids after reading MOMumental. A few readers have written to me and said that they feel like the book gave them permission to enjoy their kids. I love hearing that! 
As Christian moms, we have so many ideals and goals – and sometimes the reality of parenting can get tiring and discouraging. What encouragement can you share with moms who feel burnt out, frustrated, or stressed?