Reflection{5th Grade Graduation)

There are moments in life that lead to reflection.  Weddings.  Funerals.  We had one of those happen yesterday for our oldest daughter.  Fifth grade graduation ends a chapter in her life and she has no idea how much her life is about to change.  Elementary school is a safe place.  It’s welcoming and cozy.  All the teachers are sweet, loving, compassionate people that actually WANT to spend every day with a room full of young children.  (Some might call them crazy.  I call them super heroes.)

She walked out of that safe, comfortable school yesterday and will walk into a much scarier, intimidating place in August.  It will be filled with new responsibilities like locker combinations and class schedules.  But it will also be filled with new friends and opportunities.  She will find herself in those halls with those friends and those teachers.  She will shape herself into a woman and make decisions that will last a lifetime in that building.  As her parent, it terrifies me.  My middle school years were not my favorite and I hate to think of her walking through all that, but I have to reference the advice I give her all the time.  Think about what is TRUE.  She has proved herself to be very responsible.  When faced with tough decisions, she makes good choices.  She is committed to following Jesus Christ.  When I think about those things, it’s not so scary.  It’s exciting.  So I am choosing to celebrate her today….the preteen she is today, the baby she was yesterday (well it seems like yesterday) and the woman she will be tomorrow.

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God, thank you for blessing my life with such a precious, amazing, charismatic, jokester.  For giving me a daughter that has made me a better person.  That has made me look at life in a completely different way.  Thank you for making her the person she is today and be with her as she enters this new stage in her life.  May she always turn to you for everything first and feel your grace and compassion when she makes mistakes.  Be with Jeremiah and I as we alter our parenting to meet her much different needs.  It is through you that every good thing in our lives has come to be.  And we thank you!  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Summer Idea Jar

Some old posts are worth looking back on. Summer starts this week around here so I am pulling out and dusting off my Summer Idea Jar so we are ready. Check it out and get yourself ready too!

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I am also planning a summer brainstorming session with the girls this year. That way they can have some more input on what they want to have on their “Summer Bucket List”. As they get older I want to give them more of an opportunity to voice how they want to spend their summer. My hope is that if they choose it there will be less whining and more fun! We will see. I feel a little pressure this year to make summer great because it is our first “real” summer as we now have a grade schooler. I want her summers to be memorable and awesome. With that in mind, I also know that some of the most memorable things will be simply slowing down and playing together. It doesn’t always need to be big and fancy to be memorable and fun!

Yay for summer! I am so ready!

What are your plans this summer? How do you prepare?

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Cell Phone Contract

We have one really happy girl at our house.  She has been waiting for a cell phone for years.  I’m not kidding years!  Many of her friends have had them for a long time.  I’m sure she has thought “I have the lambest parents ever” more than once in those years.  And the time finally arrived for her to get one.  While she is jumping up and down with excitement, her dad and I are scared out of our minds.

There is so much responsibility that comes with having that one little piece of technology.  How can we teach her how to handle all of it?  We can’t be with her all the time.  Here is what we came up with.  Some rules and expectations that come along with having a phone in contract form so she can read it now and reference it later.  Okay.  I doubt she will be the one referencing it, but at least we will have it in case there is ever a question about what the expectations are.

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She doesn’t have Facebook or Instragram yet and I am guessing that we will be adding more rules when that time comes.  More apps, more responsibilities, and more rules.  Somehow I don’t think we are making any headway on the “lamb parents” debate.  I guess that will have to wait until….

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Modeling

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I’ve used this photo before, but am refocusing on it again today. We finished “The Story” study in our Sunday School class so now we are on to a new study. We had the first lesson on Sunday and it was great. It is a parenting study about creating “sticky faith” in our kids. That is, faith that they take ownership of. Faith that they don’t turn away from. Faith that sticks. One of the best things about our class is that we are all parents of young children, so we are all in the same phase of life. That leads to a lot of camaraderie and great discussions. Sunday was no different. We all talked through our ideas on why statistically so many children turn away from their faith after graduating high school. It is terrifying to me. If there is one thing I hope for my children more than any other it is for them to have a deep relationship with the Lord. So how can I ensure that? The truth is, I can’t. I can’t because it is their acceptance of the Lord and the Holy Spirit within them that will make their faith stick. Of course, I believe that I have a huge responsibility in allowing the Lord to use me in accomplishing that. It is my job as their parent to raise them in an environment that encourages them in their faith and models what a relationship with God looks like. Parenting is huge! What I do or don’t do can have eternal consequences for my children. No pressure. In class we talked a lot about modeling the behaviors of faith. It made me think a lot about what that looks like and how I am doing. Then in the sermon that day our Pastor talked about the “cultural captivity of the church” and if we are living in a way that looks different than the rest of the world. He gave a whole list of ways in which Christian’s lifestyles look no different than non-Christian’s lifestyles. The one that hit home the most with with me was busyness. Put these two messages together and I left feeling convicted about schedules. What are we modeling to our children with our busyness? Are we showing them that our priorities are in our activities and such rather than family time and time with God? Do we let our kids see us reading our Bible and/or doing our quiet times? I know that life is only going to get busier as our kids get older and more involved in activities and I don’t want to hold them back from that. I just want to be sure that our kids see our focus and priority being God first and protecting family time amongst the busyness. They need to see that no matter how busy we are there is always time for God and each other. I want to be modeling that in my everyday life. That is what is going to stick.

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Community

After growing up in a small town I thought I would never want to live in one as an adult. Then we moved to our small town. We have now been here for over 6 years and I can honestly say there is no where else I would rather be. Turns out I am just a small town girl after all. There is something special about small towns that I have grown to appreciate more and more as I get older. I love knowing people almost everywhere I go. I love that so many people are looking out for my children. I love having a community of wonderful people that support me and my family and are more than willing to help out when needed. I love that my kids’ sports teams are filled with children that I know. This is an added bonus to me as it means I have friends to sit and chat with during practices and games. The list could go on and on about the beauty of a small town.DadEllasynRFL

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Friday during the day Ellasyn’s school participated in a Relay for Life event. The event started with a survivor walk for people who have survived cancer and/or for those who are currently battling it. Ellasyn invited my dad to come up to walk in it with her. It was such a sweet moment to see them together. Many of my friends were there with their own children and came to talk to my dad and I and express their support and prayers. Then sweet Sami showed up too. She hugged me and my dad when she knew we needed it and even had a card for my parents. I was overwhelmed at the love we have found in this little town of ours.

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Then, Friday night our older two girls had their end of the year dance recital. The stage was filled with adorable little girls dancing their hearts out and many of them were children of my friends. After the recital we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream. It turned out that many other dancers and their families had the same idea. With it being the only real ice cream place in town it is often a hot spot. As we sat and enjoyed our treats several people we know came up to tell my girls that they had done a great job at their recital and I got to return the compliment to their sweet girls. Just an example of a small town at its finest.

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A group of friends and I have been working for weeks on organizing and putting together an all church picnic. Sunday afternoon and evening it happened. About 100 people from our church body, young and old, gathered at a local park for music, food, games, and fellowship. The weather was beautiful and it was a wonderful time. The adults socialized while children ran wild with laughter playing. We were all worn out by the end of the night just as we should be after a good day of fun. As I laid in bed that night I thought of these two events of our weekend and all of the things I am so thankful for about our awesome community. When it comes down to it, this is the goodness of life. Having relationships with people all around you that are precious and life enriching. I am so glad God put us here and has blessed us with so many great people in this sweet town that we now call home.

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