8 Ways to Cultivate Peace At Home

  There seems to be a phenomenon of planting Busyness in the lives of our children. 

  From well before their crawling years on, they are being toted from activity to activity, place to place, thing to thing. Part of this may be due to older siblings activities, but a lot of this is new mommies being overwhelmed by their busy child, or bored at home with their one sleepy-head baby.

  Believe it or not, playing at home has to be taught!  So does learning to be Still and Content at Home.

IMG_5232.jpg

  When a child is raised being toted from play date to play date, from Bible Study to local gym nursery, then this story time and that, they never learn to just find peace at being home. 

Home is to be our safe place. 

Home is where we find peace and rest.

Home is where the heart is.   

Home is where we teach and instruct our children how to live for Christ.

  If we want Christ to be the center of our hearts and home, then that means we need to stay here once in a while!

  This is a safe place where we learn to be a family.  To share our toys, be soft and gentle, we learn to share our hearts, and how to do the dishwasher, make the beds, obey first time, be bored, and be creative! 

  This is where manners are taught, along with morals, values, responsibility, and life lessons.

Home is where we teach them to put on the armor of God, and instruct them how to use it, before they enter the World.

Avery dishwasher

  And bonus, teaching your kids to play happily at home un-entertained, means that on the 3rd snow day, they are still playing nicely. 

  That on the 2nd month of summer, you won’t be so fast to wish school was back in session. 

  That when you have a new baby to take care of, the big kids know how to self entertain, while you catch up on laundry, or take a mini nap in the rocking chair.

Snow day

  When we create the need to have hype and go go go, we miss the peace and still place where Jesus speaks to our hearts during the day.

What are we afraid of in the still and quiet?  What does the Bible say about these things?

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!”

The Bible tells us we should have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4)

  So how do we go about training ourselves to be still? How do we “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15) when we are so preoccupied that our hearts are never silent?

  In pre-GPS days, often the only what to get to where you were going was to ask directions. In the spiritual life we can avoid driving in circles by asking the Holy Spirit to show us how to “be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7). And we can use Scripture to map out the route to peace.

  Before we begin to plead with God to help us with our problems, we can pray with the Psalmist, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5). We can breathe deeply, inhaling the Spirit that gives us life. I sometimes take belly-expanding breaths to the rhythm of, “Come Holy Spirit…bring me peace.” It helps.
Read more here: http://www.guideposts.org/faith/bible-resources/be-still-feel-the-peace-of-jesus

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

  I have compiled a list for you that I hope can help!

8 Ways to Cultivate Peace At Home

1) Play to Teach, Teach to Play

Play to Teach:
Teaching your children to play respectfully, and kindly, with each other.  Remind them that brothers and sisters are our best friends, and friends come and go, but family is forever.

This takes some training years, asking questions. “Would you treat your friend Abby from school the way you just treated your brother?  I didn’t think so!” 

  There are many opportunities for learning within playtime with mom, from counting change at the pretend grocery store, lessons in kindness and sharing, to lessons in what God says about dishonesty and cheating to get ahead.

Teach to Play:
  Sometimes, a child needs us to first play with them, “Let’s play school today. I’ll be the teacher and you two be my students.”  Next, once we have given them some foundation and ideas,  we can get the same thing accomplished by getting them started and slipping away.  “I set up the school board and notebooks today, why don’t you go play school while I finish up supper prep?” 

  The end result is telling them to go play, knowing they 100% know what to do, and watching them successfully set up and play an imagination game alone or with siblings.

  As the years go by, you can watch that amazing imagination of theirs takes over and they will come up with super cool things to play together while you work to keep your home.  From orphanage to ninjas!

2) Keep the TV Off

  When the children’s screen time has passed, (we do 1 show or 1 hour) shut the TV off…for the rest of the day.  We can watch our adult shows after the kids are in bed at night.  I am sure our time can be better used working around our homes anyways.  Going over lists, getting chores done, praying over our spouse, or whoever’s laundry we are folding at the moment is a much better use of our time.
When I had one baby, I  had a show I watched for every nursing.  When I had 2 kids, I noticed big sis would stop playing to watch my shows with me, and they weren’t always kid material, so I shut it off.
At first it was hard, I missed the noise.  But soon, I learned to embrace the things I had been missing out on, like Destiny doing a dance show for me while I nursed baby brother, or just the peace and quiet it brought my soul to sit there quietly and watch my baby eat.

  It’s easy to have the TV on for noise, but our bodies need peace to center.  We need to teach our brains to be still, to enjoy the silence. To enjoy those daily noises of our playing kids in the background. 

 When we are home and have to have the TV on for noise, it’s another form of busy, to keep the mind occupied.  Satan works in the busyness, he uses it as a weapon to drown out the still small voice of our Savior. BUSY=Burdened Under Satan’s Yolk

3) Turn Praise Music On

  If you are someone who likes to have the TV on for noise, replace it with praise music for 1 week and see how different the tone of your home feels. Its incredible!  It invites the presence of God into our home and lives. 

  And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, peace, love, and joy……

4) Let Your Kids Get BORED.

  Boredom produces some of the BEST playtime activities!

  In fact, our kiddos rarely say the words “I’m Bored” anymore. There are too many cool things they love to do together, things they have learned over the years of having to find fun things to do at home, because I refuse to raise them to need to be entertained constantly.  The more kids I had, the more important it became to me, to stay home and work around their 2-3 time a day nap schedules.  This promoted a lot of good play time for our family, without having to leave the home to find fun.   

  If your bored children look to you for suggestions, make sure you have a craft section with pipe cleaners, glue, magazines, and construction paper, a game cabinet of choices, and some fun ideas ready to go for an easy send off.

  Even start a Pinterest Board of ideas.  That way when they come to you, you are armed with great suggestions, and if that doesn’t work, well there is always the option of assigning some extra chores to get those creative juices flowing!

  Don’t forget the classics child home imagination games of:
   House, table tent hideaways, King and Queen, school, and grocery store. If they are too young for that, it will come. Get them started on a color book, block tower to knock down, pretend you hear their baby crying in the other room and help make a little house to play in while they care for him or her, build a duplo block barn for all their animals, or a car town with a fun book ramp in the middle. 

5) Play WITH Them

   Playing with your kids can be so fun! I understand, it can fill our hearts with dread too, because we are tooooo busy.  But it’s necessary and a way to show them our love with Quality Time.  I say quality because that means no phone, or distractions, just 20-30 minutes to look in their eyes, grin and giggle, and give them mommy time with all of our attention.

  I do not chose to do this every time they ask, because again, I want them to succeed without me.  But being the silly waitress, the servant to the King & Queen, or simply curling up with them to read for a few minutes, fills their love banks, helps them get started on a fun game, and just makes me feel good as their Mom. I want to invest in them in this way. 

6) Provide Them Organized Play Space

  There is a distinct difference in how my children play when the play room is trashed, verses when it is clean. For this reason, we tidy up several times a day.  For us, before lunch and before dinner works best.
Right after dinner we do jammies, story, devotions and prayer, because bedtime routine should start by 7ish for us to achieve our goal of 7:30 lights out. We just don’t even have time for getting more toys out.
If you have later bedtimes, schedule a window of clean up time before you transition to jammies and bed, and make it part of the routine.

  Everything has a place and a place for everything. Every basket has a theme, every theme has a place in the play closet, so they can open it and choose what to get out for the activity of the moment.  This allows them to quickly move from idea to idea and find what they need to play together.
Clean closet

  They also know they HAVE to clean it up when they are done, but it doesn’t always happen.
That is still something we are working on.  Winking smile

  Beyond providing them ORGANIZED play space, let’s make sure we touch on that point, that ANY play space is better than none! Maybe an old attic room or basement storage room, turned play room? An office closet that could be used as both toy storage and a secret hideout?

  Don’t over look your outdoor space, maybe its time for a nicer swing set, a homemade balance beam, or a trampoline for a family Christmas present.

  Organize a space in the garage for easy access to bubbles, chalk, jump ropes and watering cans.  Give them a corner of the garden that is theirs to tend, or some old tools and scraps of wood daddy doesn’t need.

7) Make Your House a Home

    If you need to paint a room, or save for new to you furniture, do it.  Have a garage sale and save up.
As women, we typically want our homes to be a reflection of us, and it’s hard when it doesn’t look the way we desire it to.
I HATED when my house had plain white walls, I wasn’t happy and I wanted to move.  It was amazing what a warm tan and deep buffalo color, changed the way our living room felt.  Curtains next, then new to us furniture and suddenly I was in love and happy to be in that room.
When it doesn’t feel peaceful, or like we imagine it should look, it’s harder to find serenity within its walls. 

  That also means tidying up the places that drive you nuts, getting rid of clutter, using baskets to organize the chaos, hanging pictures or art.  Like I said, don’t be afraid to buy that gallon of paint, get rid of those dark curtains, and add some sheers to the windows to instantly brighten a room.

  Make your home a place you WANT to stay, curl up and find rest in.  There are enough DIY ideas out there now, that this can be done for very little out-of-pocket!

8) Lead By Example

  Find peace within your heart, to stay home.  Do the hard work now that it takes to teach a child to obey, rather than leave the house, so you don’t have to deal with their whining, or the dumping of the cat food one more time.  Use each time as an opportunity to train, not a time to escape.

Peace starts in your heart, and flows into the corners of your house, where it is felt and enjoyed by your family. 

  Your children pick up on your cues, so when you find peace at home, they will find it, too.

  I hope this post helps you feel empowered to stay home more often, and work on cultivating peace and contentment within its walls.

~T

Advertisements

Word of the Year 2014: Balance

   I had not ever had a “Word of the Year” before, when the Lord spoke to me RESTORATION in 2013, then followed it up with a million and one “God Moments”. 

Click on the word Restoration above, when I re read it, it gave me tears and chills. 

  Our Father in Heaven is so incredible to speak to us in such tangible ways.  I was asking Him in to Restore what the locusts had eaten at my house and in my marriage in 2012.  I was asking Him to restore my joy, to heal my heart.

He did.

He still is.

I feel my Word of the Year for 2014 is BALANCE.  As the Lord has blessed our home in various areas, we have gotten busy.

And you know what I think about busy:
Burdened
Under
Satan’s
Yoke

So my commitment to 2014 is to filter everything through Christ Jesus and His word, and His desire to be Number ONE in my life.  To stop and PRAY about each commitment before it goes on the calendar.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

My second commitment is to put my husband and his needs next, followed by my precious children.  This means that I will not always be staying up late at night to create a blog post for you all.  This is tough for me to say and do, because I am a pleaser and by nature want to do my best, both feet in.  I have worked hard to have blogs set into January, ready to go, because I worked ahead knowing the Holidays were going to be crazy.

But here is the deal….

No one made me blog 5 days a week for the past 3 1/2 years, but I have done it: driven by my need to give it my all.

I am plain burned out, and I think I need to admit that to you and to me.   So, sometimes if you come and there is no post, just know I am choosing to snuggle up with Dale on the couch, make a t-shirt scarf, play a game with the kids, or just read a book for fun.  

  I also am going to have to find BALANCE in my Photography business as it grows.  I want to limit myself to 2 appts. a week, no appointments wedding weekends, and once again put into place, a waiting list for any appointments beyond my set limit. 

  The pleaser in me wants to fit everyone in anytime they ask, but in putting my life back into its proper order, it will just not be possible. I know God will bless this commitment, even if it means some people chose another photographer.  I am ready to be ok with that.  I release it.

  I also want to be careful not to over do next October-November.  We call this the Christmas Card RUSH.  I was working all morning, all nap time, AND staying up until 2 in the morning trying to get sessions done because there were simply not enough daylight hours.

Paxton got to the point where when I was heading outside he would ask, “You leaving a long time mommy?  You got lots of photo shessions today, Mommy or just one?”

The others would ask, “Mommy, can I watch you edit so I can be with you?”

Yikes.

Time, no matter how much I beg, does NOT multiply.

For years I kept asking God to multiply my “Pie”, my time allotted each and every day.

A slice to hubby, a slice to kids, a slice to cooking, a slice to Facebook, a slice to blog, a slice to edit, a slice to a hurting friend, a slice to quiet time….wait, there are only crumbs left well before my list is done!

My family is my world, and I want to show them that by giving them my biggest, best piece of pie, not the crumbs.  They are starving for me!

I want to seek them out while they are still seeking me back.  Avery goes to school next year, these moments of me being a stay at home mom are passing quickly through the hour-glass, and I can’t help but feel jealous of the time I give other places.

 

  So, can you commit with me to find BALANCE in 2014?

Anytime you add something, it means another area must give up!
Seems simple enough, but it was news to me!!!!!

finding balance

  Can we commit to limit busyness, so we can have family time around the table each evening, curl up with our spouse on the couch after a long day, read a book, or knit a scarf?

 Commit to communing with God, no longer rushing from thing to thing, wondering where the time goes?

I want to find Balance in 2014.

My battle is not against the people who ask me for my time, but against the devil himself….

1 Peter 5:8 (AMP), it says:

“Be well-balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”

“Do you ever feel your life is out of control—out of balance? As a child of God, we must take time from our busyness to set our priorities in order. Life is a gift and should be lived well.
We all have emergencies where we burn the candle at both ends, but this should not be the norm or soon there will be no candle left to burn.
That candle is the spirit within us that inspires us and propels us into forward motion.

“For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness”(Psalm 18:28).

The darkness refers to our confusion, hesitation, frustration, or anything that would put out the light within us, as life has been known to do. Finding balance in life applies to all age groups, as the principles remain the same. It is essential to keep the most important things on the top of the list and to allow proper time for these things so one does not burn out, become frazzled or haggard.”

Source

More about Christian women finding balance here: http://christianity.about.com/od/womensresources/a/KW-Work-life-Balance.htm

May God bless you with a fresh start and a fresh perspective on your “Pie” of time each day in 2014….

Let’s keep each other accountable!

Hugs, T

So Long For Now……

  A portion of this post from the archives, the rest……

From my Heart.

  As couple after couple, call us, write us or email, pleading with us to help them put together the shattered pieces of their lives and marriage.  To merely be used as a vessel by the Lord, to pour clean water over them and help point them in the right direction, I once again realized we are in a battle…..

A CONSTANT battle to keep our eyes on Jesus.  With satan working overtime throwing things at us left, right, left, right, chucking things under our feet to make us stumble.  Shrieking with glee when he succeeds.

Because BUSY means Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke.

We MUST keep our eyes on Jesus.

We MUST not break our focus for a mere moment.

We MUST not let anything divide our families, our homes, our marriages.

  Our packed calendars rob us of family time, devotion time, prayer time, alone time….

Clear ‘em!!!!

Clear those calendars.

Make date night with your spouse a priority. Don’t just say it, make it happen.

Make family dinner a non-negotiable.

Family dinner

Nothing is more important than family.

No job more important then pointing your kids towards Jesus.

IMG_2718

  We MUST not let Social Media rob us of conversations during home time….

Leave the cell phone on the charger in the laundry room when you walk in the door; the texts can wait, Facebook can wait.  We MUST not let TV and Computer, iPhones and ipads steal precious playtime moments…leave them off until nap/bedtime if you have young children. 

  Don’t answer the phone during dinner, if its important, they’ll leave you a message and you can call them afterwards. Show your kids with your actions, just how important dinner time is.  Spend that time VISITING about the day, not staring at the TV.  Our family loves to do “Good, Bad and Blessing” going around the table and each family member shares their good, bad and blessing from the day….try it! You may just love it.

  Help your kids make good choices about how many “extra” activities they can be a part of.  What happened to the days of letting kids be KIDS?
Just playing. Imagining. Exploring. Sending them out to play and ride bikes until porch lights came on and our moms called us home for dinner.

  Remember, for EVERY activity you chose to enroll your kids in, you are taking from the “Family Pie” of time together time.  There are only so many pieces to go around before you are left with crumbs.

   Sacrifices are made each and every time we say YES to something else.  We are raising a generation of busy kids, who in turn will become adults that need to be “busy” because they’ve never learned to just relax, stay home and be still.  

    And let’s not forget the love of our life, and the time we must spend with them.  Sit with your husband or wife for at minimum of THIRTY MINUTES of face to face time each evening.  Face to face, not staring at the tv together, looking at each other.  Surely your favorite show, or email inbox can wait?! 

Who is to be our number one human priority as directed by God’s word? 

Our spouse. 

IMG_6375editSIMPLY

Show them!  Use that face to face time to learn something about them that you didn’t know 24 hours ago.  Look them in the eyes and remember all the reasons you fell in love with them.  Do this and watch your marriage blossom and grow.  Set a stinkin’ timer if you have to. 

JUST DO IT.

  Wherever you are, be ALL there.  I am not preaching to you, I am preaching to ME! We all need to evaluate how our time is being spent!!!!!!!

Cause guess what satan says?

Every time you are not talking to your kids…..

I AM.

 Every time you are not working towards growing with your spouse,

I AM MAKING SURE YOU ARE BACKSLIDING.

When you are too busy?

I AM NOT.

I seek to destroy your marriage and family. I hate it and I hate you.  It would be my pleasure to use your lack of time together for harm, for evil, as a tool to ultimately destroy your lives.

When we don’t chose God every moment of every day, we automatically default to satan.

Think about that for a moment……pretty tough to swallow, isn’t it? 

  I don’t want to default to satan ever.   I seem to spend a lot of my time fighting off his attacks on my home and marriage, while balancing a really full calendar full of photography appointments, upcoming blogs I need to write, projects I said I’d be a part of, things I need to get accomplished around my home.  It all just feels like too much.  Like I have been doing a balancing act for too long, unsuccessfully.

Friends, I need a break. 

  Somewhere along the last year of fighting for my marriage and maintaining “regular life”, I have lost my focus.  I feel as if I have missed an entire year with my family while I was hurting, healing, seeking, sharing and forgiving.  The last year can not be viewed as a loss, it’s can’t…..

For it SAVED us. Praise His name!

  I am not sure what to say except, I need to cut back somewhere, and one of the places is the blog.  It takes my last piece of the “Family Pie” and I only have crumbs to offer the ones I love most. I am also cutting back in other areas, including how many photography appointments I take every week, as the editing process takes much time from family, too.

  As an overly busy summer draws to a close, I need time to be Mommy, playing on the floor in the living room or out jumping on the trampoline. I need time to be Wife, relaxing on the couch next to her husband, unwinding after a long day. I need time to do something for me, like curl up with a Christian novel during nap time, on a couch I haven’t sat on regularly in MONTHS. 

Mostly, I just need to BE STILL.

That’s what it really all boils down to, isn’t it?

Being still. 

Tylan came up to my desk the other day during nap time:

“Mommy’s are busy, aren’t they?”

Yes buddy, Mommy’s have a lot of jobs to do!

“You’re a mommy that takes pictures now too, aren’t you?”

Yup.

“You write your blog……”

I do!  {Now, I am wondering now, where he is going with this…….}

“Mommy?”

Yes, buddy.

“I miss when you were just my mom.”

Oh honey bear, I am so so very sorry.

  I am taking 3 weeks off of blogging to think, pray, evaluate how my time can be best spent, and mostly……

To be still. 

I will miss you, friends, but I’ll be back soon, check back with me around Labor Day. 
It’s time this Momma shows her family where her priorities are…….

  ~T

 

This post shared at

MercyINK Heart & Home