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Don't forget to make some memories!

The Journal

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 2 comments

Something shimmery caught my eye as I entered the room. There on my bed sat a journal with an iridescent cover. I smiled. This is no ordinary journal. It’s an ongoing conversation between my tween daughter and me. We take turns writing notes to one another and leaving the journal on the other person’s bed. It was my turn to receive the priceless gift of heartfelt words. I opened to the most recently added handwritten note. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read. Her words reached down to the depths of my soul. My mind wandered back to the day before. It had been a rough day—full of tense conversations and personality conflicts. Navigating these tween waters has been an adventure, for everyone involved. In her note, my daughter admitted her part in the previous day’s struggle,...

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Expanding our Living Spaces Outdoors

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

As the rapid descent of another school year barrels down and summer break hangs just over the horizon, the warmer temperatures and longer days turn our thoughts to spending time in the Great Outdoors. This is the prime time to spruce up our outdoor spaces before the weather gets too hot. Over the next few weeks, we will all likely be on the lookout for those things that can make our backyard patios and decks a little more comfortable. Being motivated by wanting to spend time outdoors enjoying our families, we can be excited about the trends that are happening for 2017. Perhaps the biggest trend this year is the expansion of our living space outdoors. In other words, the outside patios, decks and backyards are being treated more as an extension of our indoor dens and kitchens versus...

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Family Devotions Run Amuck

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

My husband and I gathered our brood—ages 2, 7, and 12—and did our best to focus their energies on our family devotion time. The youngest monkey refused to be still, preferring to climb on my back and stick her precious little finger in my ear. Our middle cherub took the opportunity to practice her “forward roll” while our preteen studied her fingernails. As I wrestled the youngest two into submission, my man-of-amazing-patience locked his gaze on Ms. Study-My-Nails then read the Scripture and attempted to apply it to our children’s lives. After a good 10-minute struggle, my husband and I closed with a quick prayer, sent the troops to prepare for bed, and fell against each other in exhaustion. As we listened to the girls fighting for position at the bathroom counter, we wondered, Lord, what in the world...

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Mother Bear-ness

Posted by on Apr 20, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

The sun was shining. Blue sky filled the kitchen window. My eight-year-old daughter played in front of our house with friends. I could hear voices, a mixture of laughter and children’s bossiness. Busy with laundry and cleanliness I scrubbed inside while outside wars were fought, princes and princesses declared, and games were invented. Peace reigned in the kingdom, or so I thought. The front door banged open with such angry vengeance I dropped my sponge. “MOOOOOOM!” I turned from where I knelt in a mess of sudsy water, to find Charity, hands on hips, with a mixture of fear and outrage darkening her eyes like thunderclouds. “They said they didn’t want me here. They said no one likes me. They said we should go back to where we came from,” the words rushed out like a dam had broken....

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Death, Where is Your Sting?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 2 comments

We had reached the Bible story portion of my two-year-old’s bedtime routine. An evening of freedom for me was mere minutes away, yet I sat next to Benjamin frozen, unable to put two words together, trying to will away the painful and inevitable knot that always grows in my throat whenever I attempt to hold back tears. Less than 24 hours earlier, my granddaddy had passed away. As I sat next to my son in silence, I felt overwhelmed by the unnaturalness of death. I knew, deep in my heart, that this was not how things should be. Surely death was not normal, not in the original plan or design for human life. The finality and the very real sting of it created such sorrow in my heart that I could almost taste it. And the pain it brought...

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Keeping the Easter Story Easy

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

Easter is an exciting holiday for young children, with activities that include dyeing eggs, filling baskets, munching on chocolate bunnies, and new outfits. These activities are fun, high-energy, and childlike by nature. But for the believer, Easter is about more than bunnies and baskets. It’s the celebration of the resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ—the pinnacle of the faith. Naturally, many families preface Easter Sunday with the reading of the biblical Easter story, which frankly isn’t a lot of fun. It’s a rather ugly story of the crucifixion of Jesus, with a painful crown of thorns and physical torture. In short, the story of the cross only gets fun and exciting once we get to the resurrection and celebrate wholeness and salvation. The events leading up to that moment are hard to fathom. So what’s a parent to do...

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