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because life is full of twists and turns

Month: February 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Guest Post: Lead Your Children Into ADVENTURE

Oh, friends!  You are in for a treat today!  This post is EXCELLENT.  And I can say that since I didn’t write it!

Guest posting for me today is Lara Krupicka, a writing friend and fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild.  Lara’s words are an inspiration to younger parents, like me, who are trying to figure out the balance between having children and having your own identity.  I hope you are as encouraged by this post as I was!

Lead Your Children Into Adventure


Last summer my husband and I volunteered on the ground crew of a hot air balloon for a local balloon festival. We helped unpack the basket, tethers, tanks, and envelope (the colorful fabric part of the balloon). And then we went through the slow, but exhilarating process of helping the pilot fill the envelope with first cold, then hot air. Once it was inflated, we lent our weight to keeping the basket on the ground so visitors could come up close to look. Which for a little while actually meant standing in the basket. Never mind that it never left the ground for a flight. It was still pretty awesome!

All the while, our children (ages 15, 13 and 10) slept at home. They couldn’t handle early hour (5am) and were too young yet to crew. But we didn’t let them hold us back from doing something we’d both been hoping to experience for years. And when we woke them for breakfast later, they were anxious to hear our stories.

We jumped at this experience now, while our kids are still growing, not only because it is one we have been looking forward to, but also because we believe in leading by example. And we want our children to embrace adventure. We want them to pay attention to the soul stirrings and heart cries that call them to engage with our world in ways only they can.

But our kids can’t do that if we fill every hour of their days with school, clubs, sports, and activities. And they won’t do that if we spend all of our days focused only on them and their clubs, sports and activities.

So in our household Mom and Dad sign up for classes, play in tournaments, and join clubs. And we do so without guilt or regret. Because even though those activities take us away from our kids for an hour here or a half day there, they ultimately return us to our families as fuller, more fulfilled people. We are better parents when we are with our kids because of the interests and activities we pursue apart from them. And our kids in turn are becoming explorers who aren’t afraid to strike out on their own to try an unusual sport or activity that catches their interest (like the fencing class my youngest took last fall).

When was the last time you engaged in an interest of your own apart from your kids? If you aren’t sure where to start, trying writing up a short bucket list of new things you want to do, places you want to see, and people you want to meet. Then pick one idea and give it a whirl. See what the adventure does for you and your kids.

Lara Krupicka is a parenting journalist and mother of three. She’s also the author of Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure & Camaraderie Into Every Day and the recent release, Bucket List Living For Moms: Become a More Adventurous Parent.  

Thanks, Lara, for this fantastic guest post!  Readers, you can connect with Lara on her website, on Twitter or by leaving a comment here!
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We’re Moving!


Eight days before Caleb was scheduled to deploy we had an unexpected knock on our door.  We were recovering from an illness so the house was messy and I was on the couch in pajamas.  Caleb went to the door, thinking it was a late package arriving or a neighbor dropping something off.

But the minute I heard him answer the door, I heard the surprise in his voice.

There, standing there on our doorstep, was Caleb’s commander.  My mind instantly started racing.  “Why would she drop by unannounced after duty hours?  She looks happy…but then she always looks happy.  Well, she definitely doesn’t look angry.  Also: my house is a disaster and my husband’s boss just walked in!”

Thankfully she wasted no time in telling us what was going on.  “There was a mistake!”  She told Caleb: “You were accepted to AFIT, but your name wasn’t on the list because of a clerical error!  I just got the email tonight and wanted to tell you the news in person so I drove here from work!”

Cue happy dance around our house.

Here’s the background story:

AFIT is the Air Force Institute of Technology located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.  This was the second year in a row that Caleb applied to their Masters program.  Acceptance is a two-part process.  You apply to the school so that they can verify that you’re academically qualified to attend.  Caleb was accepted to the school both years.  But the second step is that AFPC (Air Force Personnel Center) has to assign you to AFIT.  This is the step we were missing last year.

The official list came out in December, just before Christmas.  At my insistence, Caleb was checking for its release every day.  We tried to keep our expectations low.  If he wasn’t assigned to go to AFIT, we would still be moving this year – it just wouldn’t be until October or November.

The list came out.  His name wasn’t on it.

So we moved on, a tad disappointed, but also looking forward to finding out where we would be moving in the fall.

And then his commander knocked on our door and it all changed.


Since that knock on our door, the specifics of our move have changed multiple times.  At one point it sounded like Caleb was being sent home from deployment a bit.  Then he was being sent home super early.  Then they said he would be completing the full deployment.  Then they were looking at postponing our move to AFIT for a year.  And then it changed again.

The details are still being work out, but we are back on schedule to move this summer.  Crazy.

I’ll write more about our move in the coming weeks as we get more figured out!

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How To Create a Bedtime Liturgy for Your Children

When Hadden was having a hard time falling asleep at night, we crafted a bedtime routine to help settle him down each evening.  At first it was a bit more elaborate, involving a bath and a long wind-down session.  But soon we narrowed it down to a few key elements.  The routine has stuck and we still follow it now, months later.

A few months after we implemented this new rhythm I was chatting with a friend about parenting.  She mentioned having a “bedtime liturgy” – a phrase I couldn’t get out of my head.  The more I thought about it, I realized that that is exactly what we had (unintentionally) crafted in our home.

A liturgy is just the order of a religious service.  And that’s what we do each evening – we approach and worship God together.  Our bedtime liturgy is simple, but the importance looms.  I’m not going to say that something magical happens each night – it doesn’t.  But that is the point of liturgy.  It gives us a pattern to follow whether we feel like worshipping or not.  It give us a routine for the happy days, the mundane days and even the bad days.

If you’re looking to create your own bedtime liturgy, here are a few elements to consider:

How To Create a Bedtime Liturgy

1.  Bible Story/Scripture Reading

We use The Jesus Storybook Bible with our son because we appreciate the way that each story points to Jesus.  I think it helps little ones understand the overarching story of the Bible instead of seeing it as a collection of discombobulated stories.  That said, I have disagreed with the spin the author uses a few times.  However, I like it much more than I like any other children’s bible I’ve seen so we will continue to use it.

Another idea is to read a portion of Scripture directly from the Bible each night.  I like the idea of reading (or reciting) the same verses each night so that eventually you all have them memorized, but that’s up to you.  If you were looking for a portion to memorize, I would start with Psalm 1, Psalm 23, or Matthew 5:1-12.

And for the sake of complete honesty I want to add that this is the only step that does not happen consistently in our home.  It happens frequently, but not always.

2.  Prayer

We say a spontaneous prayer each night, thanking Jesus for each member of our family and praying for whatever else comes to mind.

In my coffee shop conversation with my friend about bedtime liturgy, she mentioned the idea of writing prayers ahead of time for your children since by evening you’re usually tired.  This way your prayers end up more structured.  You can incorporate Scripture into these prayers or even pray for character traits that you’re hoping your child will develop over the next year.

Or you can follow a different path and recite a prayer each night.  I like the idea of saying the Lord’s Prayer (found in Matthew 6) or the classic “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”

3.  “Truth About God”

Each night we tell our son a statement that we believe to be true about God like this: “Hadden, your truth about God is that God is a forgiver.”  These days I have complicated feelings about theology and what to teach my son about God.  But these truths about God are as much a balm for my soul as they are a lesson for him.  Simple yet concrete, I am reminding myself about the basic elements of God’s character.

4.  Song

Our last step every night is to sing The Common Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow).  I love closing out the night singing those words together, hearing my husband harmonize and our toddler try to join in.

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Caleb joining us for bedtime liturgy while deployed

Since we don’t always do the Scripture reading, our entire bedtime liturgy lasts just a few minutes.  Still, it is a way to calm and collect our family together before God as we end each day.

As you create your own bedtime liturgy my only caution would be to keep it simple.  It seems tempting to pick a new Bible lesson, a new prayer and a new song each night.  But I think that the more simple you keep it the easier it is for children to participate and the easier it is to repeat each night.  Consistency is more important than new content as long as you’re sure the original content is good.

  • What does your family’s bedtime routine look like?  Or what did it look like growing up?
  • Do you have any additional suggestions for bedtime liturgy?  I’d love to hear them!
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