Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I Have a Secret...

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been neglecting my blog over the last year or so. There have been a few posts here and there, but nothing consistent like I used to do.

I had a good reason though, and I'm finally ready to tell you all about it!

Let's back this up to last November in 2018. I participated in NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's a writing challenge during which writers from all over the world try to write a novel in 30 days. The goal is to make it to 50,000 words by November 30th.

Much to my shock and surprise, I actually did it.

I'm what is called a NaNoRebel which means that I cheated and didn't actually write a novel. Instead I wrote a non-fiction book about being a chronically ill mom from a faith-based perspective. I had wanted to read a book on that subject, but couldn't find any available. Naturally, the logical reaction was to write one myself.

After writing, I spent so much time editing my book over and over again that I started to hate it, but all that hard work paid off.

Last week, I signed a publishing contract for my book.

I don't have a date for publishing yet, but I'll keep you all updated as progress is made on the book.

In addition to writing a book, I've also made some changes to Sunshine and Spoons. I closed my three Facebook groups and opened up just one new one instead so I can focus my energy better. The new group is called Chronically Ill Moms Together in Christ, and, if you're a mom who is living with a chronic illness and would like support from other believers, I would love to see you there! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Teaching Responsibility with Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

My kids have helped out around the house since they were old enough to wield a dishrag.  As they've gotten older, I've given them more responsibility.

Children thrive and grow on responsibility. Sure, it can be scary at first (think of how you felt when you first started a new job), but it gives them so much confidence in themselves. Responsibility gives kids a sense of pride and accomplishment. Side note: Have you seen the toy vacuum from Dyson that actually works? I wish something like that had been available when my kidlets were younger! Rather than telling my kids that they’re doing something to help me out, I emphasize teamwork and family.  We all work together to take care of our home because we’re a family. We all help each other, especially when someone’s not feeling well, because we’re a family.

The whole teamwork thing applies to more than just cleaning the house though. Giving kids a sense of teamwork strengthens their bonds with each other and teaches them to work with others towards a common goal. They learn to negotiate instead of just bossing people around. The benefits of learning teamwork as a child are life-long.
To give you an idea of chores that are appropriate for your kids’ ages, I put together a list. Keep in mind that it’s meant as a guideline, and you should decide chores based on your child’s specific abilities. Scroll to the bottom to find a printable version of the list.
2-3 years old
Pick up toys and put in a toybox
Unload the silverware tray in the dishwasher (make sure you take the knives and anything else sharp out first!)
Put dirty clothes in the hamper

4-5 years old
Vacuum chairs and couch with handheld vacuum
Set table
Clear table
Wash bathroom sink (with safe non-chemical cleaners)
Fold dish towels
Match socks
Put clean clothes away
Feed and water pets
Help put away groceries
Wash doorknobs
Plus everything in the previous category

6-8 years old
Fold laundry and put away
Clean microwave
Empty and load the dishwasher
Make bed
Wash dishes by hand
Pick up sticks in yard
Clean mirrors
Plus everything in the previous categories

9-12 years old
Rake leaves
Take out trash/recycling
Cook simple meals
Clean toilets
Plus everything in the previous categories

13 years old and up
Clean shower/bathtub
Clean out fridge
Mow the lawn
Shovel snow
Change bedsheets
Vacuum out the car
Plus everything in the previous categories

How do you handle chores at your house?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

How I Study the Bible Using the SOAK Method

For years, I struggled with how to study my Bible.  Reading a quick two-minute devotion in the morning seemed like eating a piece of candy instead of a full meal and reading through a chapter or two of the Bible didn't really seem to stick either.  I'd put it down when I was done, and that would be it for the day.  In 2015 though, I attended a women's conference and what I learned during one of the workshops changed the way I do my devotions completely.  

Courtney Joseph, founder of Women Living Well, spoke on the topic of how to study your Bible for busy moms.  Since then, I've learned a lot about the subject (and am still learning.)

  • Quality of quantity.  You don't have to power through a whole chapter of the Bible at a time.  If there are a couple of verses that stand out to you, focus on them that day.
  • Every piece of Scripture is applicable to ME.
  • Commentaries and study Bibles can be very helpful, but remember that they were written by people.  Fallible, imperfect people just like me.  Weigh everything you read and hear against the Bible.
  • Make God part of your everyday conversation.  At first it may feel forced, but the more time you spend with Him and the more you practice making Him a part of your life, the easier it will become.
  • Practice making prayer a true conversation and not just a quick "Dear God, I need this and help this person get better.  Amen."  I keep a running prayer list on my phone of praises, requests, etc.  I've also found it helpful to set my timer for five minutes and spend that time praying so I don't rush through it.

Courtney Joseph introduced me to the SOAK method of Bible study, and I've been using it ever since.  The letters in SOAK stand for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Kneel in prayer.  I've also heard it referred to as the SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer) method, but I like SOAK because it reminds me that I need to soak in God's Word. 

Let's break it down a little bit more.

  • S-Scripture.  This is the Scripture that you're reading that day.
  • O-Observation.  This is your observations from the Scripture you read.
  • A-Application.  How does this Scripture apply to you?
  • K-Kneel in prayer.  Spend some time in prayer.  I usually write a short prayer regarding what I learned in my devotions that day and then spend five minutes praying through my prayer list. 

Please ignore the fact that I have super messy handwriting...this is why I normally type instead of handwriting things, lol.
I've found that it also helps to have some accountability.  I have a secret Facebook group for me and a couple of friends to study the Bible together, learn from, encourage, and pray for each other.

How I study the Bible using the SOAK method + Free Printables

I've had a printable devotional using the SOAK method available in my shop for a while, but I just changed the price so now it's free and always will be!  I hope you enjoy it and are able to use it to grow your relationship with Christ.  You can find it here or by clicking on the graphic below.              

I'd love to hear how you study your Bible.  Share your tips in the comments or on Facebook!

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