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. 

parachute free

  • 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.

physical bike free

 

  • 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. 

warning free

 

  • 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.

reclining free

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.

What to do when Life interrupts your Goals and Resolutions

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Schedule Word Circled on Calendar Appointment ReminderOn January 2nd, I was so pleased with myself. I had made great plans for the new year, scheduled my calendar and time, and made a to do list to get things done. I was on task and feeling great. On Wednesday, January 4th, I’d blocked out the day to take down my tree. On Friday, January 6th, I planned to spend the whole day celebrating my anniversary and had scheduled things so I would get my to do list for the week done on Thursday.

Then Life Happened!

depositphotos_6867023_originalLife for me came in the form of the stomach flu that hit the evening of January 3rd. I don’t normally get sick, and I hadn’t had the stomach flu since I was in my teens. I was unprepared for how hard it would hit. When the worst of it was over three days later, I decided it was a momentary set back. I would get back on track. I was naive to recover so quickly. It was a full week before my fever broke, and I felt up to doing anything or going anywhere. Even now, I’m still weak and a little out of sorts.

Whatever life event happened to mess up your plans this year, I understand. These are things we can’t control no matter how great our plans. But there are lessons to learn during these times of our lives.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of GodGod is in control. I’m not. Sometimes I like to pretend I have it all together, but I don’t. Neither does the perfect Christian sitting in front of you in church. The truth is those who have it together are ripe for God humbling them. And that’s okay. Knowing we rely completely on God and can’t do anything on our own is a good place to be.

Blogging conceptDo what you can. When life interrupts your plans, it’s not the end of the world. God will get you through it. If you can’t do everything you planned, do what you can when you can. My tree isn’t down yet. Physically I’m not ready to tackle that, but it should be soon. I am up to working on my blog posts, so that’s what I doing. I’m doing what I can when I can, and not worrying about the rest.

Regroup. After life throws up on your plans and things start to get back to normal, it’s important to prayerfully regroup. If normal has been forever altered, adjust accordingly. You may have to cut some things from you list or you may have to adjust your timelines and due dates. That’s okay. What is not okay is throwing up your hands and giving up.

God is still in control. When life happened, it didn’t throw Him for a loop. It’s time to get back to work and trust God with all of your life.

How has life happened to ruin your plans this year?

A Season to Read!

by Carole Brown

Voltaire once said, “Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls.”

December is here, and Christmas is part and priority of this month. What a beautiful month to share a few favorite stories and poems with readers. Here are five for your enjoyment:

santa-free

1.  Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore Clark. Fun, lighthearted poem that thrills the hearts of both adults and children.

kings-free

2.  The Three Kings by Henry Wadsworth Longsfellow. An entertaining story of the Three Wisemen. What a gifted poet Longsfellow was!

 

grinch-free

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss  Who else? The children’s poet with imaginative characters, rhyme and trisyllabic meter. What child doesn’t delight in his books?

nativity-scene-free

4.  Away in a Manger–unknown, but attributed to Martin Luther, German reformer. Sweet, sweet children’s hymn that is sung world wide. 

 

boy-old-fashion-free

5.  ‘Jest Before Christmas by Eugene Field.  This is such a fun, old-fashion poem that I’ve always enjoyed reading. Whether modern boys or those from by-gone, this child’s reasoning give me plenty of smiles, along with fond thoughts of how they look upon life. 

Stop for a bit and take a breather. Hum a hymn or tap your feet with the rhythm of the beats. Read one or more to a child. Play with a child. Kick up your heels. Dream for awhile. Ponder life and the meaning of Christmas. Rejoice in your faith. Enjoy the month. Reflect on your blessings. Give praise. Hope in the impossible. Keep the peace. Love all. 

And wishing you a very Merry Christmas. 

My Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving_03_ai10-1113vv-vI love Thanksgiving. Aside from the historical and spiritual significance of thanking God for His many blessings, I enjoy just about everything associated with the day.

When I get up tomorrow, I’ll watch the Macy’s Day Parade while getting the capon stuffed and in the oven. We usually cook a couple of capons instead of turkey.

I love the parade. I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl. Of course, I always looked forward to seeing Santa’s sleigh, but my favorite part of the parade has always been watching the Radio City Rockettes dance. I took twenty years of dance lessons, and when I was young, I wanted to be a Rockette.

img_1017After the parade, I finish preparing a feast for my family (husband, daughter, son-in-law, sister, mom, and my daughter’s friend). Not everyone enjoys spending all the effort and time doing this, but I love it. I set the table with a cloth tablecloth and napkins, china and crystal, and a Thanksgiving centerpiece and candle. Here’s the menu for the day.

  • 2 capons
  • Homemade gizzard stuffing
  • Homemade sweet potatoes
  • Homemade mash potatoes
  • Noodles
  • Homemade gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Asparagus
  • Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pie (made from scratch by my husband who enjoys baking)

After supper and dessert, we play cards or board games and end the day with a Christmas movie. Usually we watch It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. We’re not big sports fans.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?