Preparing for Summer Vacation: A Biblical Perspective Part 4

This is the last part of this series. I know it’s been some weeks coming and just in the nick of time too because if you have not started summer vacation already you are about to. Today is the last day of school for our kids.

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I have every intention of taking them out early from school, heading straight to the zoo, enjoying pizza for dinner and starting summer right with our Summer Fun Bucket (keep reading for details).

In Part 1 we looked at what this series was all about. What kinds of heart conditions we can face as moms and a brief look at how God would have us respond to our children.

Part 2 we looked at the priority triangle. We dove in a bit deeper into the first tier about God.

Last time we looked at the rest of the triangle. We examined the priory of placing our husband first, then us moms and lastly our children.

Today we are going to get into the practical out flushing of how I personally begin to plan and prepare for summer vacation. I understand this is one way of doing things. I hope this is just a springboard for you as you look at your own family and their needs. More so, my desire is that even with all the fun planning, we do not lose sight of Jesus. Without Him our plans are futile. If you have not seen your desperate need for Jesus and confessed Christ as Lord. I urge you, there is no life apart from him. The good news is that in our desperation, in our daily failures, in our inadequacies, in our rebellion, fist shaking, and sin against God, He sent his only son. Jesus, who is God, came to earth, he lived a perfect life, a life without sin. As the Father’s plan unfolded, Christ was obedient, knowing that he would have to die for us to have a relationship again with God. So he died on a cross. But he didn’t stay dead. Three days later he rose from the grave. Sin could not hold him, death could not defeat him. He is alive! He now sits at the right hand of his Father in heaven. His Word says that “… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:11, English Standard Version) We don’t have to live in fear, anxiety, or desperation. In Christ, we have been given his perfect life. In Christ, we can live a with of “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22) Jesus took all your sin, bearing it all on the cross and in exchange gave you his perfect life. In Christ, there is abundant and full life. What a beautiful truth and what great and astounding love God has for us. Won’t you take the time now confess that you need him and believe that Christ is who he says he is written in the Bible? If you are not sure who he is read the gospel of John and come to know and understand who he is and the great love Jesus has for you.

Now let get into planning!

I start by making a list. I love lists! Listing is my jam! Over the course of a few weeks, the kids and I make a list of all the fun, wacky and exciting things they want to do over the summer. I keep that list going, putting stars beside things that get mentioned more than once. As that list is being created I go to my husband. I ask him all the questions mentioned in part 3 of our little series. Once all his plans are added and once he has given me the go ahead with things the kids want to do. I head to my calendar. If you need a calendar or just want one for all you summer planning look at these beautiful free printable from FTD Fresh.

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I hope they make another set for next year. I am crushing hard on their design. Back to planning. I then start crossing off weeks of camp, or camping. I write down sports that happen each week and any other activities I know are firm. Here comes the fun part. Making all those plans fun and exciting for the whole family.

This year I made a countdown/clothes peg summer bucket list. I originally got the idea from the Jo-Anne Craft and Fabric Stores website. But I have merged it with this other great idea from Passionate Penny Pincher . Here is my end result.

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On the clothes pegs I have written the activities we want to do over the summer. Our list includes: build a “tree house”, eat a restaurant, have a picnic, see a movie, have a sleepover, VBS (Vacation Bible School, actually its more like a day camp then school), visit library, ice cream truck, ride a roller coaster,visit  ice cream store, set up pool, go to the park, go camping, make crafts, go to the beach, go to the museum (specifically to see dino bones), swimming lessons, roast marshmallows, baseball, plant a veggie garden, go to the zoo, ride a whale, go strawberry picking.

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The pegs are left empty because as we “check” each item off our “list” we going to going snap a picture of us going the activity and clip it to our board. At the end of the summer we are hoping it’s going to be filled with fun memories of all that we did. You could easily print your pictures off each week at Walmart, Superstore or Costco but I have this cool gadget the Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer.

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It prints mini Polaroid photos. Except it’s not from Polaroid but Fujifilm. I hope that makes sense. Any who! These are what we will be clipping to our board. Then from there they can be popped into an album, for the kids to pull out and look at whenever they want.

Another idea that I have done in previous years and will do again this year is have each day designated as a special activity. For instance for us Monday is laundry day. So there likely won’t be any day trips. We are going to dub Mondays as “Make it Monday”. We’ll likely do a craft, make a fort, maybe do some baking or maybe take an item off our bucket list that involves making something. Here are some examples from some other blogs I found.

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Image from Vagas Family Events

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Image from Kayse Pratt

If you are not super crafty or you are pressed for time and you just want to click and print. This is the printable I have used for the last two years from Classy Clutter. By the way, I love this blog too! I could spend far too much time just reading and pinning from these two  ladies.

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If you need ideas on craft ideas, activities or games to fill in your bucket list check out my Pinterest board for Summer Activites or if you are looking for more educational ideas check out my board called School Years. This summer I’m also going to be intentional to do more Bible reading with the kids and memorizing verses. I have a board called Teach Them in the Way They Should Go with resource and ideas for family worship. I’m always adding so follow me to get updates on added resources. As you plan your summer Pinterest will become your new best friend.

As previously mentioned each year I put together an end of school summer bucket for the kids to enjoy when they get home from the last day of school. It is filled with things I have collect over the last few months. Most of which are dollar store finds.

If you scroll over the images it will give you a description of what each item is. I usually fill it with things we run out of over the summer and that need to be replaced from last summer. A few things were taken out before I could snap pictures but included was velcro catching mitts and balls, water guns, freezies, bubbles and candy.

This year I’m going to try something new. I’m going to make a daily schedule and post it up for the whole family to see. I am hoping that it will keep things organized for me and give the kids the continual structure they are used to during the school year. I found this great blog post and free printable from Modern Parents Messy Kids.

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I have mentioned in part 1 and part 3  I have never been one for structure and strict order. I love flexibility and spontaneity. However, through the years I have been learning that both structure and flexibility can live together and are needed. I love to list and plan and yet when something else pops up I am all for tweaking my schedule or completely scrapping a day in order for something different or better.

Maybe mid summer I’ll post about how things are working out with our summer bucket list and schedule.

I would love to hear how you are spending your summer, if these ideas are helpful or if you have any questions about how I plan for our summer.

Thanks again for joining me through this series. This is what started my blog and it has been a joy writing. I hope you continue coming back for more of what’s going over here at The Hales Homestead.

 

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Father’s Day Reminiscing 2016

Before we dive in. I know some have you have been eagerly waiting this news. My Etsy shop, Hales Photo Studio is open for business! O.K. Go check it out but come right back to follow-up with how we celebrated Father’s Day in the Hales house.

Welcome Back.

Father’s Day was last week. There has been some interest in Instagram for me to share how our Super Hero Father’s Day celebration turned out.

I try and tailor celebrations to the individual being celebrated. I think it shows them an extra bit of love. It that says I notice and care about the things that make you happy, things you find enjoyment in, ways you best enjoy relaxing, little details that only that person would notice or find a smile in. Father’s Day is one of those celebrations that we as a family can show extra care and attention for Dad. We can show him that we have taken the time to study him. Learn what he likes and dislikes. It always fun and challenging to come up with something that individual will enjoy and like.

Daddy is a geek. I admit so am I and proud. We both love Star Wars, Marvel, DC and Si-Fi films. We speak in movie quotes often. He loves meat, potatoes, chocolate, desserts, bacon. He enjoys quirkily and interesting products. He roots for the Toronto Blue Jay. GO JAYS GO! He frequently comments that he can’t get home fast enough from work to be with us. On evenings and weekend that are free he tends to relax and putter around the house. As soon as I stumbled across the Father’s Day Superhero Gift and Free Printable from Sandy Toes and Popsicles I knew what direction to take.

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Sunday was a jam-packed day. Our second oldest had her ballet recital that morning.

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It took up the entire morning. So by the time we got home Cohen, our eldest son, shuffled Daddy off to do a walking scavenger hunt. An idea he came up with all by himself. I wish I had a video or pictures to show because by the narrative my husband shared, it was too cute.  He took a notebook and pen and came up with things they had to find. Things like: a flower, a twig, a man and a woman walking together, a dog, something green. He had the two of them out for about half and hour searching for things in, “God’s creation”. It was enough time to quickly decorate and begin preparing dinner.

Decorations were simple and easy to create with these free printable from My Delightful Designs and The Dating Divas

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I forgot to take a picture of our full kitchen table all set and ready to eat.

The gifts were a hit.

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Dinner was delicious if I do say so myself. As per the father’s request we had artisan sausages, twice baked potatoes with all the toppings and corn on the cob. Dessert was an amazing creation from Cooking with Janica.

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“Not Your Father’s Root Beer Bacon Potato Chip Pretzel Caramel Cookie Dough Bars Recipe” is as mouthwatering as it sounds. Note: it is best eaten the day its make. The chips go a bit soft the next day. But I assure you there will not be anything left by the second day.

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To end our day, there was meltdowns, short words, and early bed tuck-ins. Although the ending to Father’s Day was less than ideal, perfection is not the goal. We wanted to uplift and honor a tremendous Dad. One who shows endless care and love for our family and ceaselessly strives to pursue Christ. We are blessed beyond measure by this guy!

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Preparing for Summer Vacation: A Biblical Perspective Part 3

We chatted last time about the helpful tool decision making pyramid. If you have missed part one and part two of this series, I suggest to take a moment and go back and read. It should make what you are going to read next make a bit more sense.

The next three tiers of the pyramid is husband, mom and kids. Lets get cracking.

Discision Making Paradigm for Family Planning

Husband

I know as keepers of the home, most of us, have been given freedom in how to schedule our days. We make have been blessed to be entrusted to make many choices while our husbands are off at work providing for our families. Perhaps in the busyness of life or the tremendous freedom allotted us, or maybe out of pure selfishness, we forget our husbands while summer planning. When we include our husbands in the planning process we show a willing submission to his headship, love, preference, attention and care for him. Now, if you family is anything like mine, my husband doesn’t take off much time over the summer. He might take a week if he has it or a long weekend here or there. But for the most part, it’s just the kids and me.

I always make it a point to ask Chris how he would like to spend his summer. I ask hi if there are any outings he wants to make it to or anything special he would like planned. For instance, this summer he wants to go camping for a weekend and he would like the kids to take two weeks of swimming lessons instead of one.

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I then share what the kids and I have written down and provided him with a general idea of when things might occur over the summer. This allows him the opportunity to check his work schedule and/or book time off. I start asking early. Usually around the beginning of May. I have to be sensitive to the amount of time he must book his vacation in advance at work and give him time think how he would like his summer to look like.

I also ask whether or not we have funds for specific activities or outings. I tend to have different views on what things cost and if we can afford them. I have never been a good judge of time, distance, or how much things cost.

After asking him plans, sharing our plans, looking at finance. Chris has final say. Sometimes things have to change. Although at times it might be a bit disappointing and frustrating I know that by submitting willingly and joyfully to my husband I am honoring and glorifying God.

Mom

The next tier down is us, mamas. As much as I want to throw any and all responsibilities out the window over the summer and just enjoy the sun. I can’t. You all know what I’m talking about. Clothes need washing, toilets need scrubbing, groceries need shopping, meals need prepping and kids need correcting. I try and make things every clear up front to the kids. I inform them that there are responsibilities that mama has and just because they are on summer break does not mean these responsibilities stop for me. In fact, I let them know they get to partner with me in these things. For example, in our house, Mondays are laundry days. All day. With six people generating laundry it takes all day. On Tuesdays, we clean the house because we are a host home for Small Group. A weekly bible study from our church.IMG_6672

These are beautiful opportunities to teach and train home management and practical life skills. For instance, How DOES mom get grass stains out of my pants? What IS price matching? What can serving the local body of Christ look like? One thing, however, that does occur when you are working shoulder to shoulder with one another is that you are bound to rub each other the wrong way. Here is the added and probably ultimate reason I try and keep my kids close. It provides me with AMPLE opportunities for sanctification in my own life, as well as it allows for heart discussions, corrections, rebukes and teachable moments. It is difficult keeping your children close. There are times I would much rather make them someone else “problem” for a couple hours so I can have some down time. And sometimes I have done this. But I have been taught and seen the benefit first hand when I die to self and carefully steward the time given to me but shepherding the children God has granted me, the reward is great.

This all culminates to my last point before moving on to the last tier. Recognize your capacity. Everyone has different thresholds. When I see my attitude starting to taking a swan dive, I know it’s time to pull back and recoup. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34, English Standard Version). Your lips reveal much about the state of your heart. I have become stretched too thin when I become quick tempered and my words are harsh and unloving. Grace is found at the foot of the cross. Confess and repent and take action to slow down and rest. I have canceled plans to the disappointment of my children and myself. But I recognized that temporary disheartenment is valuable teaching opportunity for my kids to understand the world does not revolve around them and that there are times when needs of others outweigh their own desires or needs. It also gives them the opportunity to put feet to these biblical principles and commands we have taken the time to address when working so close with one another.

With prayerful wisdom, guidance from your husband and time spent in the Word of God, you can take on the summer joyfully and expectantly with your brood of children.

Kids

This takes us to the last tier. Your children.

As children in public or private school, they are only home with us for two months out of twelve. During the other ten, we as parents are competing for influence in our children’s lives. Before having my own kids I was determined, that if the Lord saw fit to grant me, children, I would make these short couple months special, memorable and intentional. I would use this time specifically for drawing my children back to my side, teaching and training them, studying who they are and just enjoying them. My desire is that they look forward to this all year. Even as they grow older, I want this time to not be a burden but a joy for them. I do not want them wandering away elsewhere because I have cultivated a home that they want to be free from. My desire is to spend as much time as the Lord wills to pour into their lives. I also, understand this can not occur just over the summer months but this must be an intentional way of parenting year in and year out. But summer allows for extra special moments as they are in our home 24/7 for a full two months.IMG_3285

I have young kids (7,5,3 and 1). Since my eldest began school, three years ago, I made it very intentional to ask their input into summer plans. When they were that young they had no idea what I was asking but it gave me the opportunity to begin listening to them and studying them. What they like, dislike, what makes them tick. Things that during the school year is a bit more difficult, not impossible, with busy schedules. It shows them they matter. It shows them you are excited to have them home. I try to accommodate even the craziest of suggestions. Like this year, my third born has asked to ride a whale. Riding a real whale is out of the question but if I take the time to look around I am sure to find a water toy she can ride on when we go to the beach. Another example is my second eldest wants desperately to visit Disneyland. Not an option but Canada’s Wonderland might be a compromise if she is looking for the rides or maybe the Disney Store (my very favourite store as a young girl) might be a solution if she wants to see characters and fun toys. Use your imagination and get creative.

I give my kids ample time to think about their summers. Just like my husband, I usually start asking in May. Ask a few times between then and when summer starts. With my young one’s, their choices change daily. I watch for repetition. Those are what really matter to them. We write it all down.

I have said it from the beginning, I love clear expectations and our summer brainstorming list is no different. Write whatever we want down. Make the list as long as we like. However, I make it clear that not all activities will be done. In our case, we have a baby in the house. That limits how long we are out and what we can do. Time is a factor. There are only eight weeks and five people with plans. Not everyone will get to do everything they ask. Money is a large factor, hence the creativeness. Also, the unforeseen, such as ministry serving opportunities, sickness, and mama’s capacity are just a couple things. However, you can make it fun by seeing how many of the things you can cross off your list.IMG_2150

Maybe you can relate that one of the challenges with having multiple kids in the house is the difference of preferences. My three eldest children are every different and currently have very different likes, dislikes. In our house, we use this opportunity to show love for each other and to think less of selves. We explain as we make our plans that “I understand sweetie that you don’t like this idea but your sister does. This is a wonderful opportunity to count yourself last and seek to place her first. Do you understand that next when we do _______ she won’t like it but she will have the opportunity to count herself as less and serve you. This is part of being a family and how we show Christ to each other”.

The last thing I tend to do leading up to the summer and throughout the summer is to be over-communicative. I don’t know if your kids are at all like mine, but they seem to have the memories of goldfish. Or at least they remember what they deem as important. Kind reminders of the expectations are necessary often.

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I have alluded throughout these posts to allow for and embrace interruptions and changes. Often in these moments of unplanned interruptions, it shows my and the kids true heart motives. What comes forth when plans and expectations are not met? Is it met with joyful hearts that praise the Father who has planned and purposed it all? Or are you met with grumbling, complaining, anger or tears? Stop. Address the heart, don’t keep plowing forward because a schedule or commitment must be kept. See them as God planned and God controlled. Bow your knee as a family to our sovereign Lord. Show unplanned hospitality to neighbors and friends. Scrap a scheduled activity for ministry or gospel opportunity. I know it’s especially hard when you have paid for something in advance but greater joy comes out of obedience and seizing opportunities to teach your kids what faithful gospel living is like.

I hope this is helpful as you are moving forward planning and preparing your summer vacation. I would love to have a conversation with you if you have questions or comments. Just shoot me a message.

Next time will be the last installment of this series. I’ll lay out some practical resources and tips for how I get my kids involved and things they are looking forward to this summer. I hope you will come back and join me.

Celebrating Father’s Day Hales Style

Father’s Day is around the corner and we be celebratin’. My four little munchkins and I live with the a super dad and we are gearing up to treat him like the hero he is, with a super hero themed Father’s Day. Are you stuck on how to show the dad in your life he is super duper? Look no further. Just click and print/purchase/make with these awesome ideas. Also, check out my Father’s Day Super Hero Pinterest board for lots more inspiration.

Let’s talk decorations. Here is what I’m planning. How fun are these free printables from the Dating Divas. Our table is going to look awesome with these food picks, pop can wraps, food tent cards and napkin rings. Also, as a side note I love these women. They have such fun and creative ideas to date your husband and make him feel special every day. You should check them out!

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Image via The Dating Divas

Ok next, I need a banner for our chicken wire frame in our kitchen. I should totally write a post on that quick and fun project. But I digress. Back to the banner. This one is perfect.FathersDayPreview.jpg

Image Via My Delightful Designs

How about putting a pair of Dad’s own “Clark Kent” kind of glasses on his dinner plate. happy-fathers-day-diy-glasses-printable-template.jpg

Image Via Mr. Printables

I love this table set up from Workman Family Blog. Super simple and clever. Primary colour paper plate and cups so smart. ‘Cause honestly if I don’t have to do dishes, I won’t. Also, I think I need to find me some Dad’s Root Beer. Love it!6a00d83451d64f69e20133f1896553970b.jpg

While we’re on the topic of tables, let’s talk food. I searched for quite some time for the perfect menu, worthy of a super hero dad and I came across this, “30 Father’s Day recipes that are better then a tie”. I literally had to wipe drool of my key board. The title didn’t disappoint. They ARE way better then a tie. By far the best round-up of recipes I came across. I want to make them all! I am giving cyber props to the authors of The Adventure Bit blog. They curated the ultimate Father’s Day menu. Fathers-Day-Recipes-Roundup.jpg

Image Via The Adventure Bite

Alright. Decorations. Check. Food. Check. Next up gifts. Let’s spoil that super man. Thin on funds. Gotcha covered. Look at this Super Dad’s Coupon Book. Dad is going to love it and it’s the gift that keeps on giving for a little while longer.Fathers-Day-Super-Dads-Coupon-Book-.jpgImage Via The Easy Green Mom

How about this super sweet poem. Add it with a picture and it’s prefect for dad’s office desk.superheroupclose.jpg

Image Via Create Craft Love

Here is a couple more ideas that takes a bit more money, talent and time but super worth it. Pun intended.

This free printable card and mason jar lid toppers are amazing! Fill jars with dad’s favourite candy. I’m planning on making this.Superhero-Fathers-Day-Gift-Idea-180x180.jpg

Image Via Sandy Toes and Popsicles 

This last one is this gem. Another blog I love to follow is Shanty 2 Chic. If you love a good DIY you need to check these ladies out. These girls will take you through this project step by step. But honestly how sweet is this with all the hand prints. Fathers-Day-Gift.jpg

Image Via Shanty 2 Chic

Do you have a bit of money spend on daddy? Here are a few ideas. This mug totally made me LOL and seriously is begging to be added to our growing mug collection. il_570xN.779586457_8sgi.jpg

Image Via Zoey Birdy Etsy Shop

Does dad need a new shirt. How about these.999999-693401534191.jpg

Image Via Walmart Canada

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Image Via Walmart Canada

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Image Via Nap Time Creations Etsy Shop

Alright, I have one last completely unrelated super hero gift idea. I think any dad might approve of it. I happened to stumbled across this razor blade subscription from Harry’s. I signed up for the free trial and I am super pumped to gift it to our super hero. If he likes it, they offer razor blade subscriptions (you sign up, they send razors in the mail automatically, as often as your man needs) and other cool shaving products. Check them out for more details.product-card-trial-1f8f50bf24ba04781f5418cadd75c16aeb58be7b0903214c850167db38884514.jpg

Image Via Harry’s

Well, I don’t know about you but I am pumped to be celebrating our hard working, ever sacrificing, tender hearted, strong, super dad. And I hope this has got your creative juice flowing to celebrate the father in your life. I’ll have a follow-up post in the coming weeks to show you how we put some of these ideas into action.

Preparing for Summer Vacation: A Biblical Perspective Part 2

Thanks for coming back and joining me again. I am eager to see and hear how the Lord is using his truths to impact your life.

Last time we looked at what this series is and what it is not. If you haven’t taken the time to read it, please do. I think it will help us to begin to form a framework as we move forward in discerning how we worship God in our planning and preparing for our summer with our kiddies.

Let’s begin by asking, what is God’s design for the family? I love how Kent and Barbra Huges, in their book, Disciplines of a Godly Family, layout what the purpose of a family is:

“Scripture’s declaration that children are a blessing emphasizes their significance to   God’s people here on earth and summarizes what the Christian’s attitude ought to be   regarding parenting. But children also have a vertical significance, which is often passed over in today’s discussion of family — namely, the glory of God.

The Westminster divines, after a long and measured look at Scripture, unanimously declared that ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.’ This principle covers every human relationship, but it begins in the scared structure of the family, where people are most profoundly shaped. God is glorified, of course, when his children’s lives radiate his character — which only the Son could perfectly do, for “he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of this nature” (Heb. 1:3). Because christ perfectly represented God, our children, if they truly come to God in faith, can by grace radiate more and more of his character. It is our joyous heavenly commission to lead them to Christ and then influence their life so they walk increasing in the way of grace.

This is our great business, as Robert Dabney wrote long ago:

‘The education of children of God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money making ought to be subordinate; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God — this is his task on earth.

How elevating it is to realize that your family is the divinely ordained and primary vehicle to bring glory to God. (15-16)”.

I don’t know about you but God’s design and purpose for the family is a high calling and a sobering one.

On the heels of the Westminster catechism, 1 Corinthians says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (English Standard Version, The Bible, 10:32). If the purpose of the family is to glorify God and scripture exhorts us to glorify God in any and all actions, then our summer planning falls into this category.

We could spend a copious amount of time studying God’s word and those works of much more biblically educated teachers to mine the depth of this calling, however for our purposes I believe scripture has firmly established our chief goal as mothers. So, how does this flush out in our goal of planning and preparing for our summer vacations?

About 6 years ago my husband and I were participating in the plant of our current church. Our pastor shared the following paradigm of structuring priorities for those of us helping establish the church:  first is your relationship with God, then with your husband/wife, then children,  your vocation, and finally your church ministry. It was a quick way to biblical assess our decision because the number of potential duties and obligations were almost endless. This structure of thinking has always stuck with me and I often use this helpful tool when making decisions.

Discision Making Paradigm for Family Planning

For our purpose, I have altered the paradigm slightly as we don’t need to use every one of the categories mentioned above. Second, we won’t be diving deep into scripture to get a full look biblically at each category but I trust it will be deep enough to help us inform our planning and preparing for our summer months. I highly encourage you to study scripture for yourself and seek biblically rooted secondary resources to augment your understanding. There is no greater joy of mining God’s Word for yourself. Lastly, the triangle is representative of importance and submission. For instance, God is at the top, the utmost of importance and all are to submit to him. This is not necessarily how my overall planning process starts and end. Most of the time, I start my planning with the kids in mind. I trust this will become clearer as we move forward, so hang in there. Let’s dive in.

Since all we do should be to the glory of God, here is where we should start, with God at the pinnacle.

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Study God’s Word

Mathew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (English Standard Version, The Bible). If we are faithful to seek to know and understand who God is, which he has revealed himself in his written Word, the scriptures, then when it comes to planning and making decisions for our family we will know what will be honoring and glorifying to Him.

Be Prayerful

I must confess I don’t think to do this often. But we are called to “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (English Standard Version, The Bible, 1 Thess. 5.16-18). Even in the midst of planning our summer vacations we should be seeking the Lord in prayer. This is how we will bring glory to God. Pray about how to use your time, money, resources. Pray with your husband about your summer. Pray and ask for wisdom how much to do and when to do it. Pray for our hearts to have right worship (see the previous post). Pray for eyes to see moments to bring the gospel to our children. Pray for the difficulty and trials that are bound to crop up over the summer. The list could go on and on. Perhaps we should make a list and at the end of the summer see his answered prayers and praise him for his faithfulness. What a wonderful way to show and model a thriving prayer life to our children. Get them involved and show him what a great and powerful God we have.

Cohen Praying

Don’t Neglect Church

Living in Canada presents some challenges come the summer months. One such challenge is the summer season is too short. In the midst of soaking up as much summer sun as we can, we often become transient church attendees. The Bible urges us to “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (English Standard Version, Heb. 10.24-25). The church is a vital part of our Christian growth. For many faithful Christians, myself included, and for one reason or another, the summer months tends to breed complacency in many spiritual disciplines, church attendance included.

My husband and I from very early in our marriage made a commitment to make attending church on Sundays our highest priority. We ensure that our summer vacation does not impede with our church attendance. If it happens we are away we make plans to attend the local church in the area we are visiting. Something to note and be mindful of is that not all churches are equal. We don’t just walk into the closest church for the sake of attending a service. We are blessed beyond measure to attend a Harvest Bible Chaple here in Canada and are connected to a large fellowship of churches who all share the same doctrinal statement. This makes finding a church in the area we are visiting very easy. But even if we weren’t part of this fellowship, we would ask our pastor, consult a wise friend and do some research on churches in the area that uphold the same biblical truths as our home church.

I say all this with the understanding that things happen. Sickness is one of those things. I have four kids, I know first hand that you can plan one thing, and the opposite happens. Those winter months are long, especially with young kids, who seem to be walking Petri Dishes. They always seem to contract and incubate some sort of virus. My husband and I have missed the occasional church service due to an unavoidable event. However, we recognize the importance and the Biblical mandate. We also understand the example we are setting forth for our children and how we are shaping their view of the church and by extension how serious we take our faith in Christ.

Friends, I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew for this post. I feel any longer and I will have you sitting where you are all day with me. So, to be mindful of your time and mine, I’ll end here, and pick up next time to touch on the next three tiers of our triangle.

Thanks again for taking the time to read. I’m praying that the Lord will work in your hearts to glorify him as your plan and prepare for your summer.