Memory Verse Monday!

Hi, friends!

I am so so so so SO excited to be starting this new series here on the ol’ bloggity blog. We have been working with Reese on memorizing scripture each week for about six months now and Matt and I have been blown away by how much she can soak in! But it really just makes sense…

Why do our kids have the ability to recognize and recite the theme song of every Disney channel Jr. show? Two words. Consistent. Repetition. Add in a little enthusiasm for actually wanting to know the words and voila!

But these words that we are teaching them are so much more than words. Their are hundreds of places in God’s word that talk about the power of scripture, but this is my favorite:

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire.” Isaiah 55:11

I don’t know about you but I’m all about God accomplishing what He desires in the lives of my children. So I’m sold out and on a mission to teach them to know and meditate on His word.

Since we started this venture a few months ago, I have had a few moms ask me how to do it and where to start. The Bible has lots of great stuff to say but I have been feeling the Lord leading us to very specific types of scripture to begin with.

We are focusing on verses that contain premises, promises, and premises WITH promises. That’s a tongue twister but here’s an example:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


This verse contains a premise followed by a promise.
Most of the verses will be aimed at specific behaviors that we are already trying to teach our children to walk in, but many of the verses will be about who God is and what He says about our children. 

I’m a firm believer that community support makes SO many things better. It’s my dream that this series will take the guess work out of teaching your kids the word and will give you the direction you need to begin a new chapter in the life of your family.

Here we go! Our verse for the week of 5/4/15 is

“My delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law I meditate day and night.” Psalm 1 :2

Short Devotion Guide: What does it mean to delight in something? Remember back to Christmas morning? What was your very favorite toy you got? Did it make you really happy? Delight is another word for “happy”. When we delight in something. it means we are just sooooooo excited about it. Now the next part of this verse says something about the law of the Lord. That’s just a fancy way to say our Bible! We want to know what’s in our Bible so we can get excited about it! God says so many wonderful things especially for us so that’s why all day long we want to think about His word. Being reminded of how special we are to God will help us to have the right attitude about whatever is going on around us. 
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for your words! Help me to delight in them and think about them day and night. I love you!
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Eating Soup for Lunch… and other ways I’m teaching food it’s not the boss of me

It’s not fun admitting that I’ve struggled with food choices in my life. I have a desire to be healthy and fit but I also just really love to eat. I love the whole experience that surrounds food. Not to mention, the food itself.

But the most powerful thing I learned while doing the Whole 30 is the idea that food is fuel for your body. I have always known this to be true but creating habits that reflect this mindset is a different story. It’s so important that I’m putting the best fuel in my body so I can be a good steward of this “earthly tent” I’m occupying (were you even ready for that super deep spiritual reference?).

So today as I was eating soup for lunch, all I kept thinking about was how I wished I wasn’t eating soup.

I’m ok with soup. Sometimes I love it. Especially if it’s cold and rainy outside and I’m snuggled up under a blanket drinking it from a great big mug. There I go with the experience thing again. I’m telling you, it’s no joke!

Today was sunny and beautiful outside. A little warm and SO not a soup day. But out of all the options in the fridge, it was the best one.

So now that I’m looking back and lunch has been had, I’m realizing the power of being disciplined in the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always disciplined in the moment. Last night I had an almond flour muffin at 10 pm just because it was there.

I’ve still got a ways to go.

But I’m just constantly amazed at how much little choices we make on a daily, almost hourly, basis make the difference in the long run.

So if you’re eating soup for lunch or any other food that’s not causing you to salivate and lose your mind over it’s utter deliciousness, I’m with ya!

One step at a time I’m teaching food who is in charge. So take that number five from chick fil a with a sweet tea and a side of sauce… also known as “What I kind of wish I was eating for lunch”.

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Family Date Night Ideas

I feel like Reese is just now finally to the age where she can get excited about things that we plan as a family, which is super exciting for me and Matt!

We love hanging out just the four of us and keeping this time protected, intentional, and special is what it’s all about.

I know it’s easy to go through your day to day existence and feel like you get in a rut so I thought I’d share some of our family date ideas with you!

 *Family Picnic*

This can just as easily be done in the backyard as it can at an actual picnic spot. Don’t over think it. Just take your dinner outside and eat it there. Invest in a picnic blanket (we use my quilt from my college dorm) and have it handy. Something about changing up your dinner location is just fun. Stay at home mommas, do this with your littles during the day. They will think it’s the coolest thing ever.

*Ice Cream Social*

We just got the most uhhhhhh-mazing kitchen appliance from Costco! It’s called the Yo-nanna. It basically turns any frozen fruit into soft serve ice cream. If you don’t have something like that, let your kids pick a favorite topping that they get from the store and add it to vanilla ice cream or yogurt after supper. Let them be as creative as they want to be. Make a mess. Laugh at their combo ideas. Just let it be fun.

*Family Game Night*

Our kids are too little to play board games but we do like to play other games we make up for them. I can still remember as a kid asking my dad every single night if we could play hide and seek. He was a good sport because I think we played it a lot. Find something your kids like and offer to play it with them.

These are not groundbreaking ideas. They’re just a jumping off point. But the goal in all of this is for we as the parents to get our kids hyped up and excited about the ideas we have. If we show them that we are pumped about it, more than likely they will be, too! Unless you have a teenager. I got nothin for you there. Even if it’s just one night out of the week that you plan to be fun and abnormal, that will be a huge highlight for your kids. You might even end up loving it, too!

After Reese was born, Matt and I started what we called Friday Family Fun Night. Born out of a need that we had to have something at the end of the week to look forward to, our little tradition began, and it’s still going strong! There’s nothing fancy about what we do. It’s literally just going to walk at the park, taking a quick walk thru Trader Joes to test out the samples, and then we go get Moe’s to pick up dinner. Since the girls our still little, they go down when we get home and Matt and I watch Wheel of Fortune and Shark Tank while we eat our dinner. I know, we are cool. Reese loves chomping down on chips on the way home and thinks it’s just the best thing ever.

I think sometimes because we don’t have what we would consider awesome ideas or activities to do with our families, we just let ourselves do nothing. Just start somewhere and be willing to think outside the box. These are the years that our kids will remember for the rest of their lives. I want mine to remember some serious fun!

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I See Food Differently

It’s Transformation Tuesday, yall.

In honor of everyone’s favorite instagram hashtag, second only to the Sunday Selfie (Lord, help us), I decided to share a little about my journey through the Whole 30 challenge. Complete with a horrifying before and after picture that the world of social media just wasn’t ready for.

So let’s start with WHY I decided to do this challenge. Anyone whose had a baby knows that the further away you get from the newborn stage the less opportunity one has to blame weight on the babe. Most of my weight had come off thanks to good old fashioned nursing, eating kind sorta clean-ish, and exercising whenever it was convenient. But I still had a very pesky ten lbs hanging on and I was just over it. I knew exactly what I needed to do and it didn’t include working out more so I could eat whatever. I had to clean up my eating.

Thankfully one of my sisters wanted to do the challenge with me. I would highly recommend doing this with a buddy. It’s just nice to have some support in case you need someone to talk you down from what we affectionately termed a “food cliff”. So we started at the beginning of March and it was the worst. Only eating fruit, vegetables, meat, nuts, and some seeds doesn’t sound horrible but it kind of was when we first started.

I love food. So much. But one of the things I learned through this process is that I really love the experience that goes along with the food almost as much as the food itself. And it wasn’t til about half way thru the challenge that I had a huge breakthrough…

Food is a part of the experience but it is not the experience.

I could still go out on a date with Matt, to lunch with my sister, to a Bachelor finale party, etc. without having to feel like I was missing out. Just because I was eating something different, didn’t mean I had to miss the whole experience. This was big.

Another pretty crazy breakthrough was how much I actually genuinely enjoyed eating this way. I felt like I had gotten to the point that I felt a bit of torture every time I had to make a food choice. That’s a lot of torture if you consider 21 meals a week (plus snacks and dessert) AND beverage choices. For instance, a typical look inside my mind on a date night with my husband used to sound something like this…

“Ok, I had chick fil a for lunch so I for sure need to get a salad. Yep, a sal– oh shoot they have honey bbq dipping sauce that goes with those fries? Ok I’ll get grilled chicken with the fries on the side. But I’ll definitely get water. Water is a good choiiiiiiiiiii aw dang their sweet tea comes in a mason jar? That’s so cute and southern. I love being cute and Southern. Ok I’ll get the salad and a sweet tea. Maybe Matt will get fries so I can steal his.”

So most of my choices ended up being more about the lesser of two evils than the best fuel I can get into my body. Now the goal is to get to the point where the largest percentage of my eating is taking up with what I call “utility meals”. Basically the best I can eat at the time. Then when a special occasion comes up during the week and I want to indulge a little without derailing, I call that the “meal of choice”. Bye bye guessing game.

It’s ok if you’re thinking “she’s nuts.” I do feel a little nuts but I really like it. The parameters don’t make me feel trapped, they give me freedom. It’s kind of like having a budget. Some people think budgets are restricting but they actually just keep you accountable, which gives you more freedom in the long run.

The way I break it down is this: 3 meals a day for 7 days is a total of 21 meals. If I have one meal as a “meal of choice” and the rest as “utility meals” then I’m still eating over 95% clean. Two meals of choice and I’m still around 90%.

This is the first time in a really long time that I haven’t felt burdened by the thought of making wise food choices. I’ve lived too long being afraid of missing out on fun experiences but also afraid of weight gain. I am sooooo loving being free of that. How ironic that the most disciplined I’ve ever been in my eating is also the most free I’ve ever been.

The other amazing thing about this way of eating is how full I feel after meals. I am still nursing (a lot) so I was very conscious of my milk supply and wanting to make sure it didn’t suffer. But even after cutting out the grains, dairy, and sugar I actually felt my supply was better.

I can’t report that I lost a ridiculous amount of weight (I think at this point I’m only at 7 lbs lost) but the way I feel and the way my mindset has changed has been worth it.

It sounds super duper cliche but I feel like a different person than I did when I started. It was not an easy thing to do but I’m so glad I did it!

Here’s a picture to show me on Day 1, Day 21, and day 40-ish.

Yeesh.

If you’re interested at all in learning more about the Whole 30 Challenge, check out the book “It Starts with Food”. Most of the recipes I used are on my pinterest if you need ideas!

Thanks for reading and I hope you feel encouraged about how you can enjoy food more and enjoy more food.

Laura

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Teaching your kids the word

Let’s get real.

As moms, we feel a lot of pressure when it comes to what we are intentionally teaching our kids…

They need less screen time and more outside time. Not too much outside time though. You don’t want them turning into hooligans. And they might need some screen time because in this electronic day and age, eventually they’ll have to learn how to navigate an i-pad. I don’t know much about street cred in the preschool realm (or anywhere else for that matter) but I do know that at least being able to turn on a device will give the illusion that their mom is chill and let’s them fall asleep every night watching re-runs of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Speaking of pressure, how about that pressure in the educational department?

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like as soon as I start feeling good about what my two year old knows, I have a kid in nursery at church that’s saying their ABC’s backwards and writing their name in French.

This pressure turns all of us some of us into pretty aggressive teachers. We don’t want our kid being the one that goes off to preschool not knowing how to hold a pair of scissors.

Can I be real for a minute? I do want my babies to know basics and to build and expand on those basics. But my heart for my babies above all else is not that they’d know how to recite letters and numbers…

I want them to know God’s word.

But even more than that, I want them to love God’s word.

Deuteronomy 6:6 says “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

This verse hit me like a ton of bricks.

A few very sobering changes were going to have to take place in our home if we were to apply this verse and make it a part of our daily reality.

First, before I can impress the commandments on my children, they are to be on my heart. I can’t impress what is not already impressed on me. So as parents and leaders of our home, we started getting after memorizing God’s word. Then step two started coming into play…

We started impressing them on our children. Webster’s dictionary defines “Impress” as a verb that means “to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings; influence in opinion.” God’s word has lots and lots of promises but one of my favorites is that when it goes out, it don’t come back empty. It always holds it’s value.

It is not time wasted to teach our children the precious truths that will be their guide, their hope, their peace, and their security. These are their promises– letters written to them and for them. It is our honor and our duty to be impressing them on them.

But beyond just memorizing and being able to recite, we have to talk about them consistently… “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’

If we’re memorizing a certain scripture, we talk about how we can apply it, what it means, what it means to me, and what it can mean to her. We also have certain times of day that we talk about God’s word. Night time before bed, in the morning when we’re getting ready, and in the car. When we’re in the car is one of our best times because it’s one of the only times she’s contained (moms of toddlers, can I get an amen?).

I know what you’re thinking… I can barely keep my kids fed much less teach them to be mini rabbis.

Taking the advice in the last part of this verse has probably made the biggest difference in our family. We didn’t exactly write the word on our door frames, but we did hang them on our walls, write them on our chalkboards, and play them in the songs we listen to.

I have a short attention span. Add sleep deprivation to my already lacking ability to focus and you’ve got  a cocktail of crazy. I must be reminded constantly to keep the word on my tongue. Having it in our home is the perfect way to do that.

I don’t have time to not be intentional with my babies. I know it sounds intense to say that the world is after our kids… but it’s true. The enemy is literally looking for people to devour. What could be more valuable to our children’s futures than to give them what they will need to stand firm against the enemy.

So get after it. mommas.

Start speaking the word over your littlest as they nurse in the night. Don’t think your two year old is too young to learn the word. If mine can recite every word to Shake It Off, she can for sure learn the fruits of the spirit.

I can tell you from recent experience that there is nothing more precious than hearing the word of God coming out of the mouths of your children. What an honor that we get to be the ones to place it there.

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