Five Lessons Learned from This Summer

by Carole Brown

Seasons have a way of teaching us things we need to know, and this summer, I’ve certainly had many opportunities. Did I take heed and learn the lessons God 

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brought to my attention? I certainly hope so.

  • Pay attention to the children. They’re only little once and every minute counts when you have the opportunity to be with them. And who knows which one may be crying out for help in unspoken words? Encourage their endeavors, laugh often, criticize less, listen to the spoken and unspoken words from these “founts of wisdom, love a lot, and do what you can for them. It’s so very much worth it!

 

  • Pay attention to the world around you. My youngest grandson recently picked upgravel-rocks free a common ole gravel and gave it to me declaring it unique and lovely. Was it? In his eyes, yes. In my eyes? Yes, for two reasons. He gave it to me and the gift automatically transformed a common gravel into a thing of beauty. Remember how the sand feels on your bare feet? How long has it been since you’ve listened–really listened–to the world around you? Don’t lose these natural soothing sounds. Don’t forget to love the beauty that surrounds you–simple or magnificent. All of us can’t travel to exotic places, but beauty is found everywhere. 

 

  • Time flies.  As we grow older we realize what our youth didn’t: time certainly doesclock free fly. A few days ago, August started; now, today I’m catching glimpses of the end of the month. Sigh. We’ve had two vacations at the lake house, one vacation at the beach, one at camp, and a short trip to Gettysburg. Now, Grandsons have begun school, and we’re looking at Autumn! Don’t let any period of time pass you by without having memories to write down, share with others, pictures, or paste into scrapbooks. What were your most valuable moments? What words were spoken that will forever glow in your heart?

 

  • Some things only pass by us one time. I’m reminded often tosunrise free take advantage of playing with make believe with my grandson, to listen while my older ones still want to ask questions or tell me their observations. Do I think differently? Sometimes, but that’s not what it’s important. How can I neglect their trust now then expect their attention when they’ve grown up? Why would I want to sleep in another ten minutes when hubby wants to take that sunrise walk? Don’t lose focus that…sometimes we only get that one opportunity. 

 

  • Say less. I did one of those fun, but crazy, quizzes on Facebook the other day wherequiet free they determined (scientifically, I’m sure. Lol) what color I was. As I suspected, they described me as I already knew was my basic personality. One of the things mentioned was my desire to get along, and that’s true. I don’t like havoc and disturbance, problems and disagreements (although I’m realistic enough to know we’ll encounter them) in my life. I like making others happy. How do we do that? We can’t always, but sometimes, as I was reminded this summer, the less said, the better. We don’t always have to reply, we don’t always have to voice our opinion, and we certainly don’t always have to defend ourselves or what we believe (although I don’t believe in being a doormat either!). Sometimes we have to learn when the time is right and walk away. 

Were there more? Plenty! But if I can carry through on accepting and initiating these lessons, I will have improved my own life and possibly encouraged others to be better persons. 

How was your summer and did the season/events help you learn valuable lessons?

 

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Top 10 Tips for Starting the School Year Right

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Most children start back to school this month. Here are 10 tips to make the school year easier.

1. Start the school routine early. Most children stay up a little later during the summer. It takes at least a week or two for their bodies to get adjusted to the new sleep schedule. It will help them get a head start if you place them on that schedule at least a week before school starts.

2. Help your children decide a homework time. Children are more apt to follow through on homework assignments if they have a say in initiating it. Discuss with your child how much time he’ll need to do his homework, when’s the best time, and where he should work. Some children would rather do their homework as soon as they get home and get it out of the way, but other children need to unwind before they can concentrate on more work. Work with them instead of against their natural work habits.

3. Set up a homework station. Some children like to work out in the open where everybody is so they don’t feel isolated. Other children want privacy and quiet. Find out what’s best for your children.

4. Discuss extracurricular activities with your children. Most children are so overburdened with sports, dance, music, art, and other activities that they never have downtime just to play. Give your children limits about how many activities they can be involved in. Let them know they have decisions to make about which activities to participate in. They can’t do them all.

5. Schedule and limit TV, computer, video games, and other electronic devices. Let your children know that, during the school year, these activities will be limited. Tell them how much time they have on each device, and let them decide how to use that time.

6. Buy a number of easy and healthy breakfast items for your children. If they’re running late, they’re much more likely to eat breakfast if there’s a banana or breakfast food readily available.

7. Take your children to the grocery store and let them help you pick out items for their lunches. If your goal is for them to eat healthy, let them know that, and help them choose foods they’ll eat and not throw out.

8. Go school shopping. This is an exciting time. Make a day of it.

9. Visit the school your children will attend. If possible, try to meet the teacher.

10. Decide how your children will get to school. If they ride a bus, what time will the bus pick them up? If they walk, who will they walk with? Have they met the crossing guard? What route will they take? If you drive them, you might want to set up a car pool with other parents. Also give your children a secret password that you can use for anyone you might send to pick them up in an emergency.

Tips on Celebrating the Fourth!

by Carole Brown

A summer celebration time that combines fun and patriotism, for kids and adults, with activities and more serious contemplation. Here’s some thoughts on experiencing all this with your family.

  1. Display the American flag. Allow children to attach one to their bike or scooter. Display one from your house or garden. String a row (banner) of flags around the yard for a party.american-flag-free
  2. Obtain a copy of the constitution and read it to your children or family. Discuss it with your family. Explain details not understood. This is an important part of our country’s history. constitution free
  3. Dress up patriotically. Wear clothes that have the U.S. flag design on them, or clothing shoes freechoose to wear the red, white and blue. You can have a lot of fun trying to look as patriotic as possible using just these colors.
    • Have someone to draw the flag on your cheek or hand with washable finger paintpainted flag on hand free
    • Wear a flag pin on your clothes
    • Paint the US flag on your nails
  4. Watch a local 4th of July parade in your community or city. Get into the parade spirit by waving back at the participants or clapping as U.S. veterans pass by.parade cartoon free
  5. Enjoy a barbecue or picnic with family or friends. Get together around at least 1 pm or so to spend the afternoon together. Enjoy the foods of your choice but don’t forget the traditional fourth foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and an American flag cake.Independence day cake free
  6. Travel. Both on the fourth of July and the days around it, there will be a number of festivities, fireworks displays, and other fun you can join in depending on where you live. If you’re traveling, check on the suggestions below for a festive time with family and friends 
    • Boston has six days of celebrations: Take a hike along Boston’s Freedom Trail, watch the annual turning of the USS Constitution, attend Chowderfest, watch the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House, and enjoy the annual Boston Harborfest. And there is the holiday concert by the Boston Pops at night plus fireworks.
    • Philadelphia‘s festivities last for around a week. Visit the Liberty Bell, see the historic sites in Independence Mall, and enjoy the 4th of July parade and fireworks.
    • In Washington D.C., you can watch the National Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue and enjoy the fireworks displays above Washington Monument and the Capitol while at the grounds for the popular and nationally televised A Capitol Fourth, broadcast on PBS and AFN Television.
    • Visit Valley Forge National Park.
    • Mount Rushmore is a great place to celebrate. You can see the fireworks and mount-rushmore-freeother commemorative events. 
    • In San Diego, head for Mission and Pacific beaches and watch the fireworks after dark.
    • In New York, make sure to attend the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular event, with live music from the US Air Force Band and Orchestra, fireworks and performances by US artists. Or visit the National 9/11 Museum at the Ground Zero site to honor the victims of 9/11 and the armed forces fallen of recent conflicts. 
    • And don’t forget your smaller town celebrations. Heartfelt and interesting, you’ll find many things to do there too!

         7. Make crafts for Independence Day. If you have children, it’s an ideal time topins stars patriotic free

             make crafts together to celebrate the day. Check Pinterest or other online places                  for suggestions and ideas.

  • Make an American Flag Lapel Pin.
  • Make a Homemade Paper Weight and paint it with patriotic designs and colors.
  • Make a homemade card and use a patriotic theme and colors to design the cover and contents.
  • Make a yarn wreath using patriotic yarn colors.
  • Make glowing star lamp in patriotic colors and hang up at your celebratory party.

         8.  Enjoy the fireworks! It’s an awesome time to spend with family and friends.fireworks

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Getting Ready for Summer

by Carole Brown

There’s busy and then there’s busy.

If you’re anything like us, you already have your summer pretty well booked. but with a little planning, you can it a little less harassing and a lot more fun and relaxing. Here are a few tips I’ve learned through the years:

  • Plan ahead… 

for the trips and vacations you want to take. Decide on how muccheck-list freeh you will spend and set aside extra for emergencies or special things that crop up. Write down everything that needs to be done and cross these items off as you finish them. (Book flights, list items needed to be taken, schedule activities you want to do and buy tickets ahead of time, buy snacks and drinks when appropriate.) 

Have appropriate clothes planned and ready. Repairs needed? Don’t wait until the last minute, but have it done early. Shoes need to be purchased? Toiletries running low? Get these things off your list.  

 

  • Plan activities suitable for you, your family, your friends.

Needless to say, you should take into consideration what interests you’re planning for. Children who are totally into sports or activities may find it boring to go to five different museums. Save that trip for when you and your husband or friends can enjoy it. 

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  • Prepare yourself and your family/friends physically. 

If you’re headed to the beach, condition your skin to the sun; don’t wait till you arrive and end up with damaged skin. If  you’re headed to the mountains to scale the heights, begin early strengthening your body by running/walking. Higher altitudes can cause some problems for certain people so make sure you have a doctor checkup before leaving. You want to be ready for whatever you plan and not be caught unaware and in serious physical condition because you didn’t know.

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  • Don’t be too stringent on keeping to the “rules.” 

Allow for unplanned things. See a spot that would be perfect for a picnic, and your child is begging to stretch her legs? Do it, and eat at that fancy restaurant another time. Don’t think you have to be on the move constantly. Take time to read a book, sit on a porch and watch the birds. Stroll, take a walk, talk, don’t talk, cook out, walk barefoot in the sand early in the morning, or stroll the beach at midnight with your friends or companion while the kids (who are old enough) are sleeping. Allow time for side trips. Do something unexpected. Suggest the children (with guidance) plan a day of fun. 

sand feet

 

  • Be safe. 

Take precautions. Make sure shots are up-to-date, medicines are ready to go, and medical kits are stocked. Don’t be paranoid, but be cautious. Keep your eyes on children. Be friendly but careful around those you don’t know well. Watch for unexpected problems on side trips: slippery, downhill paths, stinging insects, broken items that can cut, unfriendly animals who are doing what they’re wired to do. In traveling, stay alert. Get plenty of rest and never push yourself beyond limits. 

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  • Stay relaxed, have fun, and come home rested. 

Sometimes this is hard to do. I know. But if you can carry through on the above suggestions, you’ll find that it’s much easier to control this last one. If you can pull it off, you’ll find yourself returning home, eager to plan another getaway.

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It’s time for vacation. Are you ready?

7 Reasons Why My Husband is a Good Dad

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Father’s Day will be here in a little over a week, so I thought I’d share why I think my husband is a great dad to our children and how young fathers can emulate his example.

My husband was a great dad to our children. We have grown son and daughter, both married, who don’t live with us. Although they’ve struggled at times, my children have grown up to become responsible adults who love the Lord.

Jonathan and Jenna

 

My son is married and has two sons of his own. He is also a terrific husband and father. He supports his family working as a real estate agent and ministers at his church.

Veronica and DariusMy daughter is married. She will be finishing her Master’s Degree in clinical mental health counseling in December. She currently is an intern at Emerge Christian Counseling Center. She and her godly husband are very involved in their church.

 

Much of the reason my children are who they are is because of their dad. Here’s some of the things he’s done while they were growing up.

He spent time with them. My son and his dad would go to airplane shows, for walks in the park, and to look at race cars together. These were interests my son had, and my husband would take the time to encourage those interests. My daughter and her father would go on dates together. He would do what she wanted to do. That usually meant going out to eat, then going to a romantic movie or shopping. My husband doesn’t like chick flics or shopping, but he loved doing these things with his daughter.

He taught them things. My son knows basic carpentry, home maintenance, and how to do minor car repairs because his father taught him whenever he was doing something around the house. It would have been easier for my husband to fix a car or patch a wall without explaining every step to my son and allowing him to do some of it, but he understood that a good father teaches his children. He also taught my daughter many things like how to change a tire and how a man should treat her on a date.

He prayed with them. Whenever my children had any concerns growing up, my husband would have the same response. “Let’s pray about this.” My children learned that whenever they have a problem, the first response is prayer. To this day, when they have a problem, they will call their dad and hear him say, “Let’s pray.”

AsherHe was a godly example. My husband didn’t get saved until we had been married sixteen years. But even before that, he was a man of integrity. He was always where he said he would be, and I never had to worry about him being unfaithful. After he was saved, he stepped it up a notch by being a godly example in everything he did. He didn’t act one way at church and another way at home. Our children saw what it means to be a Christian by watching my husband.

weddingHe’s a wonderful husband. My husband loves me and shows me respect. He listens to me and supports me. And he’s faithful to me. This is one of the best things a dad can do for his children. He showed my son how to be a good husband, and he showed my daughter what a good husband looks like.

He was a strict disciplinarian. My husband showed his children love, but he also expected certain types of behavior from them. When they failed to meet the mark, there would be consequences. This also showed his love for them because it taught them that morality is the best way and that there are consequences in life.

He taught them life isn’t fair. When my children were growing up, sometimes they would complain that some decision my husband made wasn’t fair or something that happened with their teachers or friends wasn’t fair. Sometimes they were wrong. Sometimes it was fair. But sometimes they were right. Sometimes things happened that weren’t fair.

My husband’s favorite saying during those times was “Life’s not fair.” And it’s true. Life is not fair. Dads help their children most when they teach them this principle. Children need to learn to deal with the unfairness of life without becoming bitter or pessimistic. My husband taught my children that life’s not fair, but that doesn’t give them the excuse to be unfair or unkind or to rebel against authority.

I’d enjoy hearing comments about why your husband or father is a good dad.

 

10 Things Fathers Should Tell Their Sons

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My grandsons have declared war with my husband, Rick

My grandsons have declared war with my husband, Rick

My husband was a is a good father. Because of his example, my son is a good father who is raising his two sons to be godly men. Every boy or man should hear these 10 things from his father by the time he becomes an adult.

My son Jonathan with his 2 sons

My son Jonathan with his 2 sons

1. Treat your mother with respect. She’s my wife.

2. I’m proud of the man you’ve become.

3. Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

4. Be a man. Do the hard thing because it’s right.

5. Be a man of your word.

6. Treat every woman as if she’s a lady.

7. Be a gentleman. It will never be politically incorrect no matter what they say.

My son playing with his sons at Myrtle Beach

My son playing with his sons at Myrtle Beach

8. I love you enough to find out where you’re going, who you’ll be with, and when you’ll get home.

9. Choose a woman based on her mind, personality, and values, not her looks.

10. I’ll always love you no matter what you do.

 

 

10 Things Fathers Should Tell Their Daughters

Daughter Veronica with my husband Rick and me at her college graduation

Daughter Veronica with Rick and me at her college graduation

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My husband, Rick, has a special relationship with our daughter, Veronica. When she was young, he would take her on dates to show her how a man should treat her. Every girl and woman needs to hear these 10 things coming from the lips of her father by the time she becomes an adult.

1. You are beautiful.

2. You deserve a man who will treat you like a princess.

Veronica and her dad dancing at her wedding

3. If any man hurts you, they’ll have to deal with me.

4. I love you enough to find out where you’re going, who you’ll be with, and when you’ll get home.

5. May I have this Dance?

6. You can be anything you want to be.

7. I’m proud of you.

8. I’m amazed at how smart and talented you are.

9. Would you like to go on a date with me?

10. I’ll always love you no matter what you do.