Ending the School Year Strong!

We did it! We made it through our first non-homeschooling year of school for the boys!

Last Day Mom Boys

It was an incredibly successful year of transition for us – not perfect by any means, but full of great learning experiences for education and life. Friends were made. Conflicts arose and were resolved. Homework was forgotten, but not much because that lesson was learned fast! They went on field trips, competed in the spelling bee, brought lunch from home (except for pizza days), celebrated birthdays, and so much more. They had wonderful teachers

We are all very pleased with how the year went and know God was with us every step of the way, as He always is. The kids loved school, but they are also equally ready for a summer break!

Whether your school year has ended yet or not, a lot about how the school year ends for our kids can be impacted by our behavior as parents. The way in which we end a school year can help our children see the big picture of how they grew over the past nine months as well as help them to actually look forward to the next school year, even if summer is all that is on their mind!

I have a few fun ideas for ending the school year strong as a family and you can use them whether your kids were out a few weeks ago or still have a few weeks left! Find three of my favorite ways to end the school year strong over on the Tommy Nelson blog!

How do you celebrate the end of the school year as a family?

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Singing the Word of God!

I received this CD to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

My love for Seeds Family Worship goes on and on and on…

From the moment I first heard a Seeds Family Worship CD five years ago, I was hooked. Seven albums later, I have almost every song memorized and every album just gets better and better. I’m kind of partial to Seeds of Courage, that first album we ever owned, but The Word of God, the newest release from Seeds, has me totally smitten.

I guess I’m assuming you know about Seeds Family Worship, but for those of you who are just hearing about them, they are a music-based ministry that creates modern, relevant word-for-word Scripture songs for families!

The Hubby and I were both music majors and, to be honest, a lot of Christian music written for kids or families is just…annoying. There. I said it. This is NOT the case with Seeds. Seeds Family Worship music is catchy, well-written and produced, enjoyable for the WHOLE family, even picky music lovers! Even the albums we’ve had for five years still get played all the time.

Word of God CD Blog

The Word of God, also known as Volume 8, may have my favorite melodies and music out of all Seeds’ albums. I’m a HUGE fan of track #1 {the title track} based on Hebrews 4:12! “Your Life is Hidden” features Matthew West, who has made an appearance on past Seeds CDs. I super duper love the music and message of track #4, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” based on Philippians 2:9-11. “Genuine” is based on one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, Romans 12. And I love everything about the song “Act Like Men,” based on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. I want to keep this one on repeat for my boys!

Whether you’re just hearing about Seeds today or you have Seeds albums already in your home, I just know you and your family will adore The Word of God!

And right now, you can get 15% off any Seeds Family Worship CDs in their store when you use the code homewiththeboys at checkout! Oh, did I mention that every CD you buy actually comes with TWO identical CDs? One for you and one for a friend! Another thing I just LOVE about Seeds!

Do you own any Seeds Family Worship albums? Favorite songs?

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I Want to Get This Family Thing Right

I feel the pull like so many of you do.

Conferences and retreats and activities and “can’t miss” opportunities are laid out in front of us daily. I’m not from the South, but I just have to say…

Y’all, the “stuff” we could be a part of is beyond tempting and overwhelming. {I felt like a y’all was necessary there. It felt right. It brings us together.}

I have done too much in the past year. True confessions for you right there. Something I haven’t wanted to say, but it needs to be said. So many great opportunities have come my way and I have said yes to too many of them.

As far as the people and companies I have said yes to, I don’t regret my association with any of them. I love every single thing I’ve said yes to, but I do regret the too-many-yeses that have been said.

In saying yes to so many good and fun and wonderful opportunities, my attention has been pulled towards getting reviews and social media and blog posts just right. I love reviewing things, I love social media, I love blogging, but I have lots of opportunities to get those things right…at another time.

I only have one chance to get this family thing right and, even though my children are young, I know that chance is slipping away before my eyes.

Family Thing

I know deep in my heart that God has a place in my life for writing and sharing with you. He also has a place for my love of connecting with others.

But when He placed each of these four handsome men in my life, He entrusted me with four precious gifts and knit us together as a family. And more than anything else I may come across in my life, I want to hear “Well done” from Him in reference to the way I loved and served and shared Jesus with my family.

I want to get this family thing right more than anything.

There is no one way to “get it right,” but I know that any path toward a family well connected to God and one another involves the key element of TIME. Time that feels like it is rushing away as each and every day and week and month fill up with “stuff” on the calendar.

In all honesty, I know pretty well how to get a lot of other things “right” in life, and when we know how to do something well, we gravitate towards doing more of it. And right there is the reason I’ve said yes to so many of those things…

Family is complex and hard and I don’t REALLY know how to do it well yet. I don’t like that feeling and sometimes my flight reflex causes me to turn towards other things to feel “successful.”

But I love my family and I trust God enough to know that He put us together for a reason. And that reason is more than enough to make me start saying no more to getting other things right and saying YES to my family.

I may or may not make it to another conference this year. I won’t post here every single day. I may bow out of a few groups that I love but just can’t keep up with without sacrificing family time.

I won’t give up using my giftings or pursuing the dreams He has given me, but they will come in their proper place. And my family will be in its proper place.

And we’ll keep working TOGETHER on getting this family thing right.

There is no formula for family, but if you could use more of one thing to help you in getting this family thing right, what would it be?

Time? Patience? Love? Grace? Something else?

 

Just a reminder that we’ll be starting the Love Dare for Parents Summer Challenge next Monday and I’d love for you to join us! Find out all the info right here!

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Balance Can’t Always Be Planned

This summer has not featured my finest moments so far.

I’m not sure what it is about summer – or just this summer – but as soon as school ended, we floundered a bit. Nothing major, but enough attitudes and yelling and not listening to one another to leave me frustrated at the end of most days.

Not exactly the carefree, fun summer days I had envisioned!

I spent a lot of time last week thinking about my own part in all of it, because let’s face it – if mama ain’t happy, everyone else is going to be at least a little miserable.

I had high expectations going into this summer. I had a plan. Lots to get done, my own selfish agenda mostly, but also well-intentioned family fun. All those things on my summer bucket list? They WILL happen, I told myself.

I firmly believe in the power of lists and schedules to get things done. I would be lost without them.

But a strong, God-centered, well-connected, happy family does not come from a checklist or a schedule.

Dr. Tim Kimmel’s book, Grace-Based Parenting {affiliate link}, has shown me so much in just the first few chapters about the source of my summer parenting frustrations and it comes down to this…

Kids can tell when we are living by a checklist rather than trusting in God to lead us.

That line hit me square between the eyes because THAT IS ME. “Today we will get this and this and this done and if you want to do something else, well, we just don’t have time in Mommy’s schedule of summer fun.”

Yikes, people. I may not have scheduled every minute of every day, but I was allowing no room at all for the ebb and flow of summer and kids’ interests and whatever may come up in the moment. I was a closet momzilla and nobody was happy because of it, including me.

Last week, as I stared at a pile of dishes and heard the dryer go off for the second…or third…time, I looked out at the bright sunshine and remembered the boys’ words from the morning as they looked at the Weather Bug app on my iPad {yes, obsessed with weather like their mother}…

It’s going to be HOT! I can’t wait to play in the pool today!

God nudged me to grab my swimsuit and sunscreen and a few towels and just head out there with them. It may not be fun, but dishes can done when they’re in bed.

Life has lots of must-dos and have-tos and need-tos, but balance includes some want-tos as well. I didn’t plan that moment into our day. I had planned on using that time for them to read and me to fold clothes, but the leading of the Spirit to have a little fun in the sun brought just the balance I needed that day.

I responded well to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The kids responded well to my invitation to swim. And even though the day didn’t look how I had planned, everything that HAD to be checked off a list that day was completed and the dishes were done before I went to bed.

Balance

I found a new summer balance, and that balance just can’t always be planned.

And I’m listening for that nudge a lot more.

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