Category Archives: Christianity

Parenting, Christianity and Natural Deodorant – Sunday Surf

homemade deodorant

Image by Liz (perspicacious.org) via Flickr

I’m sharing what I’ve read and enjoyed this week. I hope you find something you enjoy below as well!

Recipe: DIY All-Natural Deodorant - “Along my journey towards a simpler, healthier lifestyle, I started coming across articles about health and beauty products that weren’t so healthy for you! So many of them have added chemicals, like aluminum in deodorants, for example.”

Cosmetic Alterations and Children - “When a person consciously chooses to have something done to their body for whatever reason, they are exercising their power over their appearance and that is their right. When someone else makes that decision for them, especially with the absence of medical need, it suddenly becomes questionable.”

AAP Surprises - “Here are a couple things that are not considered mainstream (but should be!) that the AAP, who is supposed to be the mainstream ‘go-to’ (especially for pediatricians) recommends.”

Washing Feet - ” I’m learning, daily, to look for the small and the humble – the quiet and the meek.  The foot-washing moments that point me toward the blessings of laying down self and striving to serve.  In lowering me, He elevates.”

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food - “Although we call them ‘food’, processed foods are not readily recognized by the body.  They are seen as alien matter and our white blood cells will be on attack mode as soon as they enter our system.”

An Answered Prayer - “To not only witness but to be part of such an extraordinary group of families coming together to feed human milk to human babies (MY baby, at that!) makes my heart feel bigger. It has given me a joy I never knew existed.”

How I Stopped Saying No - “When I started researching different parenting methods and started being more mindful about what I say and do to and with my children, I realized that there are many ways to say “No” that are more effective and serve to strengthen the parent/child relationship, not weaken it.”

Facebook: The Scourge of Modern Parenting? - “So you’ll all have to excuse me if I fail to feel phenomenally guilty for my Facebook use. I have enough guilt on my plate already, and I refuse to accept any more.”

Just Not On The Same Page - “If I’m going to truly co-parent and live with the principles of gentle family living, then I’ve got to learn to trust him and let go.”

Reflections on our first year - “While hard to explain – or even justify – to the uninitiated, the steps we’ve taken to build a deep and secure bond with our daughter have transformed us as just much as they’ve helped to ground her. “

Read the Bible Every Day! - “Without daily focused time with the Lord, we will never see the victory and experience the joy in the Christian life that we have been born again to know.”

 

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


April: Reader Spotlight

I’m happy to bring you another Reader Spotlight so we can all get to know each other better! Reader Spotlight is where I tell you all about an A Little Bit of All of It reader. I choose someone that is either a commenter, subscriber or Facebook fan to highlight.

Today I’m going to introduce you to April who blogs at Wishful Thinking. April comments here on the blog. Her first comment was on my Fun With Etsy post. She doesn’t have just one favorite post but enjoys the Product Reviews on baby items the most. She says, “When I’m a mom, you are someone I will look to for advice because I know you’ve put a lot of love and thought into choosing what you will use for your daughter.” Ah, thanks April!

April started a blog because she enjoys “reading other people’s blogs, so I thought it would be a fun way to connect with other people. And I enjoy writing and getting my thoughts down.” She blogs about her place in life right now which is not where she expected to be. “I never expected to be nearly 32 years old and be so unsettled. I always assumed I’d have a couple of kids by now. And I never thought I’d go back to school!” Specifically, she has plans to attend law school in the near future. Moving to Nashville was the catalyst that brought this decision about in her life, along with many other changes. She is “scared and excited about law school, but I think it will be good for me.” It’s a decision she is proud of.

She also has been struggling with infertility for the last 2 1/2 years. She says, “I’ve come to terms with it, more or less, and now I’m just waiting until we can afford either treatment or adoption. She is “inspired by people who overcome difficulties in their life and maintain a positive attitude while going through hard times. Everyone faces problems, but I think how you handle them is the most important thing.

Her family is very important to her, and her parents and husband are her biggest influences. She is happy to have “a great example of a good marriage in my parents”, and enjoyed her childhood. “We didn’t have much extra money, but we had a lot of love. And I had a lot of fun with my younger brother, making up games and playing outside.” But the most important thing to her is her Christianity. “It affects everything about me and everything about how I view the world and live in it.” She also credits Christianity with keeping her balanced along with trying to “find the time to rest and relax amid all the busyness of life.”

Some of her favorite things:

  • Favorite meal: “Fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread, pinto beans and chicken fried chicken. And maybe some fried green tomatoes, too!” She loves to eat “good southern food”.
  • Her miniature Dachshunds
  • Reading: “I almost always have a book I’m working through.”

April’s wish for the world is that everyone would “treat other people the way they want to be treated; it would make things so much better!” You can find her at her blog, Wishful Thinking.


Caring for the Poor

11,000 hits is here! Let me introduce the newest guest writer at A Little Bit of All of It. Keri is a wife and mother of two boys. In her free time she likes to write articles for her blog, The Grace Post, and plan events for her non-profit organization Women of Acts. (You may remember that I blogged about Women of Acts not too long ago, great organization!) Today Keri is sharing her heart with us and I know it will be beneficial to all of us to read this.

via chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com

“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

This is a verse that is short but says so much. Throughout Scripture we are admonished to care for those who are less fortunate. There is no underlying motivation other than to show the love of God for people by caring for the physical needs of others. Generosity is not limited to donating cash to a person in need, although that is a wonderful thing to do. Generosity is a state of the heart. It is a mindset that truly what we have is God’s. He has given us stewardship over it, and we are to use it in a way that pleases Him. A person with a generous heart toward the poor will be blessed for that spirit. They don’t have to question whether the financial decision to help the poor will please the Lord. They know it to be so.

You do not have to have large wealth to have a generous spirit. The widow with two mites who gave her all is seen as the biggest gift even though monetarily it was the smallest. A person of great wealth who gives their required tithe but does so without generosity and love has missed the mark of what God asks of us.

As I’ve studied what the Bible says about our responsibility to care for those in need this verse is the most forceful in my mind:

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 48:9

The people of Sodom had everything they could want. When the Bible lists their sins it doesn’t just mention their pride and gluttony, it mentions that they ignored the poor around them. So self absorbed that they just turned a blind eye to those who were hurting and needy in their community. It tells me that God cares deeply about those who are poor and needy around us. Intentional giving to the poor in our community is expected of us. It is not just a mark of a virtuous woman. By not caring for those around us we are actually committing sin.

I feel like just saying that is radical. Maybe it is our American mindset that tells us that we just need to work harder to achieve greatness. Truly the ability to work hard and achieve success is a great thing. It is something we relish in the United States. The reality though is that this work ethic often leaves us feeling entitled to our wealth. Like we have somehow earned it through our hard work and now our money is ours. Arrogance that the wealth is ours and not from the blessing of a good God who cares for us.

Now, I know most of you already know the truth of what I just said. What matters more than my explaining a Biblical truth is how we apply to our lives. Maybe you don’t have much. That is ok. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Use coupons and fill a bag with your deals for a family who really needs it
  • Give your nice used clothes to a family who needs it instead of consigning them.
  • Get a group of friends together and collect coats and blankets for a homeless shelter
  • Donate coupons to a shelter
  • Keep $5 gift cards for fast food in your purse and give them to someone who is homeless

These are just a few ideas I’ve come up with. I’m sure there are hundreds more, so be creative! Involve your kids in a project like these this summer. That way instead of simply telling them to be generous, you show them how to live generously.

We need to open our hands to them in generous and abundant ways. The poor in our church. The poor in our community. The poor in our world.  The care of the poor and needy should not be left to others. God has called Christians to this work. Do it with an loving and generous spirit, and you will be blessed!


Sunday Surf

I haven’t done a Sunday Surf in a little while so a lot of those links are older and actually not from this past week but they are all great posts I’ve read since my last Sunday Surf. Hope you enjoy!

What Does it Mean to Really be Pro-Life?“As pro-lifers, let’s remember that saying “yes” to life brings new love, new potential, a new human being who can beat the odds to make his mark on the world.”

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best“I may not be saving lives or creating masterpieces but I’m touching hearts and funny bones and to me that’s the greatest thing in the world.”

Three Easy Tips for Natural Living“I know the thought of transitioning a lifestyle that you have lived for many years to that of a natural one can seem overwhelming, but…you don’t have to make lots of big changes all at once.”

Why Am I Still Nursing My Toddler? – “Is there anything more natural than a child nursing? No preservatives, no fakes, no add-ons, nothing artificial. Just a mom, a baby, and pure milk. It’s how babies have been fed for thousands of years. Throw us both on a deserted island with just a beach and a palm tree and we’ll still be nursing.”

Closet Clothes Makeover - “The goal when finished is for my closet to represent pieces I am truly wearing and not taking up space just to ‘look’ at.”

5 Doula Myths Debunked“I’ve noticed some common misconceptions about doulas and their role in birth.”

Food: Bad, Better, Best – “Since it is not always ideal or possible to make the most optimal food choice here’s my take on some of the options…”

Natural Cleaning…Without Vinegar“In transitioning to natural cleaners, many people are unsure of where to start, so I’ll share what has worked for me in the last couple years.”

What is Natural Parenting?“The best and most educational book we can read ON THIS EARTH is the Bible. In there you will find all your answers to parenting and the like. When you read it and put the Word in your heart, you will open yourself up for the Lord’s instruction… if you ask him about parenting decisions, he will guide you! “

10 Best Tricks for Fooling Yourself to Work“You may not follow all of its tips, but one or two will almost certainly motivate you to get back to work.”

Parenting to Sleep: A Spiritual Discipline“From the first day I met my precious daughter, God gave me a mama heart that told me to respond to her cries and soothe her to sleep rather than leave her to cry alone and give up when she realizes no one is coming to help her.”

Looking at That Time of the Month in a Whole New Way – Guest Post - “In many cultures around the world, the idea of menstrual seclusion was an acceptable practice, surrounded by elaborate rituals. But rather than a punishment, it was often considered a celebration of the power of women, as well as a chance for women to gather in quiet and rest – a rare opportunity in many cases.”

Why Tea Gives You a Sense of Well Being - “When we are sick our immune systems need a bit of a boost, especially at the onset of a cold. Tea is packed with antioxidants that help our immune systems fight off different viruses that love to make us feel terrible.”

Resisting Rewards: When Treats Turn Sour“Worse, plenty of studies have shown that kids who are rewarded actually lose interest in the activity they’re being rewarded for, from preschoolers making art to older kids reading. Yikes!”

Five Reasons to Consider Keeping Chickens – “Before I became a chicken owner, I would have never guessed that a flock of chickens can be some of the best entertainment around! It is amazing how quickly they develop personalities and preferences.”

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


Epidurals, Fruit Juice and Household Toxins – Sunday Surf

Babies and Birth

And This is What It’s Like… - “I think it’s really important for those who have loved ones struggling with infertility to understand, at least on the surface, what it’s like.”

Ask Me About E’s Birth When You Have a Few Hours…. - “It is about the hours upon hours I sat with my midwives preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for his birth.  It is the almost 2 days I labored with him.  And yes, it is also the cesarean delivery.  And the triumph I felt afterwards. “

My (Birth) Partner: How I Know That Some Men DO Belong in a Primary Support Role - “…he was a fantastic doula. Top-notch. And we feel infinitely closer now, having shared that experience, having been together with my body in that way.”

Epidurals: A Feminist Issue - “At the risk of sounding outrageous, it is my belief that the way that we approach birth in our society–uninformed, relying on the experts, medicated, numbed, unable to walk, unable to feel our body’s urges and power, fearful, unsupported, and ultimately perhaps cut open–is a major contributor to the oppression of women today, and a powerful force in silencing our voices.”

Christianity

Where Were You, Jesus? - “And another voice whispered, ‘I understand. I too watched a Son suffer‘.”

Food

The Juicy Details About Fruit Juice - “Did you know that one glass of apple juice can contain as much sugar as fourteen Pixy Stix?!”

Cleaning

Nontoxic, Homemade Oven Cleaner – Will It Work? - “I’m 36 years old. Would you like to know how many times I’ve cleaned an oven? Never.”

Moving Away From Household Toxins – an Update - “As we’ve made these changes in the kitchen, I have been getting a little shocked at how much fake food we’ve consumed without question…it’s becoming quite disturbing to me.”

Parenting

Your Children are Listening - “Don’t be surprised if a child acts upon what they are exposed to. Because these ‘cool’ songs, make it seem like the ‘cool’ thing to do.”

Being Baby Led – Twin Style - “It can be very easy to lump them together as ‘the twins’. But they aren’t a pair. They are 2 seperate beings that just happened to inhabit my womb at the same time with their own needs and body clock.”

I Never Wanted to be “THAT” Mom - “The thing is, the mom I thought was so cooky actually has a few things going for her!  She is informed.  She doesn’t just blindly follow the pack doing what everyone else does because, well, that’s what everyone else does.”

Thank God For All I’ve Missed - “My time will come. It will, because I’m determined to reach my dreams. I have a fire in my soul and I have no doubt that I’ll one day share that with the world. But that time is not now. Now is my time to give to my family.”

Check out Adventures in MommyhoodAuthentic ParentingBaby Dust DiariesChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering MamaFabulous Mama ChroniclesHobo MamaI Thought I Knew MamaMama and Baby LoveMama EveMaman A DroitMomma JorjeMonkey Butt JunctionMotherhood MomentsMy Inspired BabyNavelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


A Miscarriage Poem – Thoughts on Four

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a poem I wrote for the PAD challenge.

Mockingbird in the cherry tree

Image by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

You started out smaller than I could see.

God knit you perfectly.

We saw your tiny heartbeat, white on the screen.

Perfect.

Then the day came. The doctor wanted to take you from me.

But she coudn’t.

Only God could.

We saw you. Almost smaller than we could see.

But we saw.

Your eyes. Your hands. Your feet.

I’m sure I saw your smile.

Perfect.

We buried you under your tree.

It’s blooming now for you to see.

If you were here, you’d be past 3.

Four years.

We celebrate you on earth, but one day we will celebrate you there,

perfectly.

 


Easter, Babies, and Sleep – Sunday Surf

Babies and Birth

My Beautiful, Peaceful Birth Space -“It’s hard to explain in words what it means to walk into this space to give birth instead of into a hospital room.”

Is Fear in Pregnancy (and Birthing) Inevitable?“…it seems pretty unhealthy to be so scared of such a normal and natural process, doesn’t it?”

Getting a Baby on a Schedule“The problem can come in when someone tells us that we HAVE TO get our babies on a schedule from the get-go or the entire world will crumble apart.”

The Power of Women…The Power of Community“...I think I got so into it because I was just so impressed with seeing all those women in person who really knew and felt the importance of supporting women in birth.”

Really, My Breastmilk is Turning to Water!?“The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to full use of family foods is a very vulnerable period.”

The Curious Case of the Crying Baby“Just as I would never outright ignore someone who was speaking to me, especially someone I care about, I will never ignore Annabelle’s cries, but I am starting to view them differently.

Bedsharing Rewards“The morning begins with a babble rather than cries, and my baby lays next to me babbling and smiling until I decide I am ready to face the day.”

When You Have Tried for a Year“Not only are you now in a the new category of ‘infertile’, you have to deal with people telling you that you are doing something wrong and need to try their method.”

Four Lies Sleep Trainers Tell You (and One Truth They Won’t!)“How many adults fall asleep being rocked? How many still co-sleep with their parents? Not everyone was sleep trained, so obviously the child does decide to sleep on his/her own eventually.”

Parenting

Verses to Parent By: Part 2 - “When I was yelling at my kids, constantly criticizing, withholding love because of my disapproval of their actions or spanking my children, those actions were not showing them my love.  They were showing them my authority, my ego and conditional love.”

As Easy as Falling Off a Log: Advertising to Children (Part Two) - “A half hour spent on Nickolodeon was a half hour of “I want that!” “I need that!” as commercial after commercial advertised directly to my daughter…”

Proceed with Caution“Each child is unique and develops at a different pace, focusing on different aspects of growth.”

Laughing All the Way to the Breastmilk Bank“I boo the toy industry for including a bottle with every baby doll. It’s one way bottle feeding is normalized when it should be the exception.”

You Let Your Daughter Play with THAT?“I find it so ironic that in a society that’s so entrenched with sex and sexuality that parents choose to get their blood boiling over a doll that mimics natural feeding.”

Easter

Healthy and Homemade Easter and Ostara Basket Ideas (with Tutorial Links)“For families who would like to avoid Easter and Ostara baskets full of sugary, processed foods (think Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs) and cheap plastic toys…”

Get Your Egg On: Eco-Eggs Coloring Kit“The dyes are made from plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts (rather than arsenic and unicorn tears or whatever is usually in that stuff).”

Easter Basket Gift Ideas“But if you eschew all that plastic crap and you don’t particularly want your kids to have all that processed sugar what do you?”

Food

Food Schizophrenia: Living in the “Real World”“I kept my thoughts of ‘Would you like Blue Dye Number 1 for Attention Deficit Disorder, or Red #40 for anaphylactic shock?’ to myself. Instead I said, ‘Blue Gatorade or Purple?’”

Check out Adventures in MommyhoodAuthentic ParentingBaby Dust DiariesChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering MamaFabulous Mama ChroniclesHobo MamaI Thought I Knew MamaMama and Baby LoveMama EveMaman A DroitMomma JorjeMonkey Butt JunctionMotherhood MomentsMy Inspired BabyNavelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


When Pigs Move In: Book Review

8,000 hits are here and I have 2 guest writers this time! Today’s guest writer is Amy Phoenix. Amy is a gentle, yet direct parenting guide and healing facilitator dedicated to sharing insights and practices to transform frustration and anger, heal the past and nurture conscious relationships. You can visit her at Innate Wholeness. I hope you enjoy her book review below.

A few years ago I had a spiritually transforming experience when faced with death and cultivating an inner relationship with Christ has been a moment-to-moment journey ever since. In many ways it is about undoing negative influences in my consciousness to let God lead. I admit I was intrigued when a friend told me about the book When Pigs Move In written by Don Dickerman, who was spiritually anointed to help people become free of demonic influences.  The title of the book comes from Matthew 8:28-34, when Jesus drove devils out of a man and they asked to go into the pigs rather than the abyss.

via cdn.arsenalbooks.com

Although I have a broad view of Christianity and When Pigs Move In challenges how I would usually discuss spirituality, I have never been given a book that was not beneficial for my life. Dickerman, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, highlights the many ways Satan’s army robs, steals and deceives. Instead of this being some weird account of demonic possession and exorcism, it is a very straight forward book outlining how dark forces are responsible for many, if not all, of our ills. This ranges from negative thinking to depression to diseases of the body. He discusses how these demonic influences find ways to attach to us, what purposes they serve and how to remove them.

I appreciate passion and Dickerman employs it throughout the book. He was led to this type of ministry when he was preaching to people in prison. One evening after he spoke with a group he went to his hotel room feeling like he was not doing enough. He would lead people to Jesus only to see them still suffering. He fell on his knees asking God to show him how to really help these people. In the following weeks he had visions of God healing people through him. He was told that he may not know what to do, but that healing would take place. The book outlines situations where people who were previously tormented in various ways were freed through deliverance.

When Pigs Move In may bring up some core fears for Christians and it can also put those fears to rest. If you question how much influence dark forces can or are having in your life, this book can help you make that determination. Dickerman bases his work on Biblical scripture and gives clear directions for delivering one’s self from the traps of sin and evil through Jesus. Readers who do not have a stomach for strong Christian language or the evangelical approach may want to set judgment aside and ask God to lead them as they read.

View Dickerman’s video explaining his reason for writing When Pigs Move In.


Sunday Surf for week of March 20

I got carried away again this week so we have another mega links Sunday Surf.

Food and Recipes

Celebrating 20,000 Hits: Interview with Christine Ortiz of “Milk & Honey Organics” – For those in the upstate SC area, check out this interview. I have tried out this service yet but really want to and found the interview interesting.

Bacon Irish Soda Bread – Unusual bread recipe

Making Lunchtime Fun: Muffin Tin Meals! – I’ve heard of this idea before and love it but still have yet to implement it. Guess I’m just lazy?? I even have a nibble tray so I’m set. Maybe this week will be THE week.

Seriously Eating II: 94 Recipes from Serious Eats’ Healthy and Delicious Column – The title says it all

Dehydrating the Days Away – Funny post about dehydrating food. I have good memories of my parents doing this when I was a kid, especially my dad’s beef jerky.

Finding Better Health Through a Traditional Diet – Another great post from Natural Parents Network about what a traditional, real food diet is

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins – A friend brought me muffins like these after I had my daughter and they were fantastic!

Easy Breakfast and Lunch Ideas – Loved all these ideas!

Healthier Nachos and Green Brown Rice - I have never heard of green rice before. I totally want to try this.

Miscarriage

The Other Side – Sad story, recounting mourning with a friend through her miscarriage

Sound Bites from a Miscarriage Journey – Having been through miscarriage myself, I can truly relate to and appreciate this post

Moms Supporting Other Moms

Please Think Before You Comment – A mom of a nursing toddler gives some thoughtful advice

Let’s All Try Not to Be Jerks – Great post about how moms need to support each other

Lactivism, Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula And Mothers At War - This one goes hand-in-hand with the “Please Think Before you Comment” post above

Childbirth

Birth Without Fear Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Scared – Although I can honestly say that birth did not scare me, I really, really liked this post a lot.

An Alternative To Perineal Massage For Childbirth Prep – Good info to keep in mind for my next pregnancy

One Response to ‘Eww! Birth is Icky!’ Squeamishness – I really appreciated this post about birth, sex and breastfeeding.

Parenting

Feeding to Sleep - My sentiments exactly!

Attachment Parenting Series: Beware of Baby Trainers – Some solid information that explains this “Baby B” of the AP style

Carseats – Lots of great links and info about the recommendations for rear-facing and booster seats

Shepherding a Child’s Heart: a review by Anne Sokol - Great review on the reasons this book is concerning

Eco-friendly Stuff

Sarah’s Stitches Wet Bags - I hadn’t heard of Sarah’s Stitches before and enjoyed learning about them in this review

Homemade Cleaning Spray – Good stuff and piggybacks nicely with my green spring cleaning tips!

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries, ChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering Mama, Fabulous Mama Chronicles, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama and Baby Love, Mama Eve, Maman A Droit, Momma Jorje, Monkey Butt Junction, Motherhood Moments, My Inspired Baby, Navelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


What Makes You So Special?

7,000 hits is here! As is customary here at A Little Bit of All of It, we have a guest writer since we have hit another 1,000 hits. I think you are really going to enjoy our guest writer this time! Let me introduce you to Cindy Winter-Hartley. She is a proud wife of nearly 24 years and the mother of three sons. Nathan is almost 21 and attends the United States Military Academy, Aaron is 16 and has a servant’s heart for the Lord. Isaac is an athletic eighth grader and the family “ginger.” She blogs at My Awesome Olive Shoots. Be sure to check out her blog for some inspirational stuff!

Before you do one more thing today, I want to encourage you to ponder this question. What makes your family unique?

Throughout the day, whether you are changing a diaper, emptying the dishwasher, (yuck!); whether you are in a carpool or gathering a few moments of quiet in a bubble bath (wouldn’t that be nice?), devote this day to searching the qualities which make your family special.

To get you started, here are a few ideas. Are there physical features common to your family? Do you have a special ethnic heritage? What are some special skills or weird talents you share? How about foods you all like or hate? Notice things you do together, the overall personality of your family – once you begin to do this, soon you will see a family identity. This is the beginning of cultivating a rich sense of oneness in your family.

We began to create a family identity when our children were young. When our boys had high-pitched voices and no facial hair, nearly every day, we gathered around the table and sang a silly song about our family. We even had a family cheer which they all loved to do together. Sometimes we would place a globe on the table and say to them, “Do you realize that there are only five Winter-Hartley’s in the world???” Their chests would puff with pride as we would remind them how special it was to be a member of our family.

Think of your own family. Doesn’t it just humble you to pieces when you think that God, in all His wisdom, divinely choose YOU to be the parent of your child? I could still cry when I attempt to take in the privilege the Lord has given me to be the mother of my three sons. Despite all my flaws and issues which the Lord is perfectly aware of, despite my husband’s imperfections which pale in comparison to mine, the two of us were chosen to be our sons’ parents! Wow! He could have placed those babies anywhere in the world and the Lord decided to grace us with the honor of being called Mom and Dad to three splendid yet very human children! We truly have a reason to celebrate being a family and so do you.

Lest you think we encouraged our sons to be conceited, let me explain what we consistently told and remind them. Our family is no better than anyone else’s. We don’t act stuck up but we do stick together. We call our family a five-piece puzzle. The puzzle isn’t complete without each of us because we can depend on each other. Now our sons are young men. They have matured, they shave, they have big muscles and they are all taller than me. But guess what? When our oldest son comes home from college, I can still hear him tell his 14 year old brother “good night, I love you!” as Isaac drifts off to sleep. Our 16 year old middle son Aaron will be talking on his cell phone with a friend and without a hint of embarrassment tell Isaac the same thing each night. That’s the power of family identity.

One day our boys will forge out and make families of their own, I can’t wait to hear their family cheers and see their families blossom. Though our children are older, still the concept of family identity holds a prominent place in our lives.

It’s all too common to hear about the dissolution of family and personally, I want nothing to do with that notion. Neither should you. Your family is unique and wonderful, today is the day to embrace that.


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