Archives For Personal

I am grateful for my husband for many (many) reasons, but even more so as the kids grow and our calendar fills. Our lives are loud and full, but Jonathan is really good about championing simple routines in our lives that help bring some calm.
DINNER: We eat dinner together,  around the table, nearly every night. So many studies show this is a significant factor in strong, healthy families. Grateful that from the time Ryan was a wee little one in an infant bouncer,  Jonathan made it a priority to sit him in that bouncer at the table with us. Dinner time around the table feels like a mini-Sabbath each day.
FAMILY READING TIME: I’m just gonna be honest. This is not something I could ever make happen; and sometimes when Jonathan calls us all in to read together I am internally grumbling about all the other things I could be doing. But about 5 minutes into him reading Prince Caspian outloud as all five of us cram onto our bed to listen,  I’m grateful and humbled. It’s such a sweet time.
BedroomFeet
KIDS’ BEDTIME: There are secret handshakes,  the setting of the alarms,  the prayers,  the discussing of the day, the hugs and kisses… But never just a “Goodnight and see ya in the morning” as the kids take themselves upstairs and put themselves to bed. They are walked upstairs and put to bed by their Dad and Mom. There are days when this feels hard,  and I really don’t wanna haul myself off the couch (someone please tell me I’m not the only one that lazy…),  but Jonathan values the time and knows how quickly it’s passing,  and so following his example I get to be a part of that sweet routine each night.
Here’s hoping that the rest of you Mamas in your tired 30′s* are finding times of rest and calm as well!
*I heard this season that we’re living in called “the tired 30′s” in a sermon by Shauna Niequist and was like YEP. My friend Tara recommended I listen to that amazing message, and I’m so glad I did.  You can find it by clicking here and scrolling down to February 16th “Stronger in Marriage”.

Our Angry Friends

Jonathan Cliff  —  February 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

AngryHearts

Answer: Angry people are so much fun. Angry people are exactly the sort of people I love to spend time around. Angry people are great to share a cup of coffee with. Angry people make everything that much brighter. Angry people set a great standard for how I want to live.

Question: What are things nobody ever says?

Unfortunately, while we never aspire to surround ourselves with angry people, we are ensured of being confronted with them from time to time. Whether it’s an overzealous driver, an easily offended mother in your neighborhood, or a frustrated coworker. I’ve worked in churches for years and I’ve talked to my share of angry people. Not because churches are full of angry people, but because churches are full of normal people. Here are some things I’ve learned to help me in my interactions with the angry friends in my life:

I’m very rarely the reason they are angry…even if they tell me I am. There is always another thing behind the thing. Want to test my theory? When was the last time you talked with an angry person that sincerely was angry about a righteous problem? Our angry counterparts are usually frustrated with something meaningless to most people. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sincerely angry, it just means there are always underlying issues.

Everyone seems angrier from a distance. The foolproof method to put out the fire inside an angry email, is to pick up the phone and call them. Take it one step further and go for face-to-face interaction. That simmers down the fire even more. When angry people get your full undivided attention, they usually are willing to listen and calm themselves down quickly.

Angry people want you to respond with anger. This is their way of justifying their own actions. What’s the learning here? Don’t let them win by returning angry words with angry words. Which leads us to the next point.

Angry people need love. Let me be clear, do not attempt to hug an angry person. What I’m advocating here is the love that speaks through your patient words and following up with acts of kindness. They need healing, and being on the receiving end of their anger, makes you the prime candidate to respond in the way most people won’t.

 

Change-Your-Life.jpg

Those that know me, know that I passionately pursue simplicity in my life. It’s not that I don’t want anything, instead I’ve developed a heightened awareness towards those things I really need in my life. This has led me to sell things I own at a rapid pace, clear out closets and basements with abandon, and learn to live with perfectly dependable “old” things in my life.

In the spirit of a new year, and as we approach the end of our “setting goals” month of January, here are some totally foolproof ways to improve your life. I’m serious friends, these are game changers!

  • Buy new socks and underwear. Trust me, it’ll change your life.
  • Kiss your wife everyday. (After brushing your teeth of course.)
  • Buy a new razor. If you’ve got an electric razor, go ahead and order new blades every 6 months. It’s worth the effort.
  • Only drink one cup of coffee a day. Like real coffee, not those sugary chocolate drinks from Starbucks. Those are great, but save them for special occasions…and breakfast isn’t a special occasion.
  • Train for a 5k with your 10 year old. On a personal note, my 10 year old is kicking my tail.
  • When you first feel hungry, instead go drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry, then go for it.
  • Eat an apple a day.
  • Hug your middle schooler. You’re still bigger than them, force it on them. They’ll thank you for it later.
  • Read out loud to your kids as often as you can. And yes, even the middle schooler.
  • Turn the TV off after 9pm.
  • Take the 2 minutes necessary to tuck your kids into bed every night.

 

Look at this family, Wow!

Family Night Ideas

Starr Cliff  —  October 21, 2013 — Leave a comment
Below are links to “Family Night” themes we did a few years back when my kids were itty-bitties. My hope is that if you’re a parent of littles, you find some easy ideas for making memories and spending time with those precious wee ones. I had so much fun looking through these posts – would you look at those little sweet faces?!?

Roughing It  - Indoor Camping

Ye Olde Family Night  - Pirate Theme

Family Fall Festival  

No One Eats Moon Pies Anymore  - Outer Space Theme

Early Edition  - Morning at Night Theme

Robots

Water  - A night around Living Water International

All Aboard!  - Train theme around Polar Express

Puzzle Night

Create Your Own Boardgame  

Popcorn Night

Meet the President

St. Patrick’s Day  - all things green

One Seriously Funny Hamster  - a night around the movie Bolt

Springtime

Super Heroes and Princesses

Choose Your Own Fast Food Night

India  - a night themed around Compassion International

Nocturnal Creatures  - all about critters that come out at night!

Pizza Night

Strawberry Night  

Sledding and Snowballs in Summertime

When I Grow Up

Pumpkins