Make Time Matter

Make Time Matter

Do you ever find yourself saying “time, slow down” as you go through your week?


It seems as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete tasks or to simply enjoy my family. I can find myself rushing through the day to drop kids off and pick them up, get chores done, finish my checklist, and crash at the end of the day.

Some parents are naturally wired to schedule things. Some just aren’t. I can sometimes be so task oriented that the important relationships in my life can get scheduled out.

Regardless of how scheduled or unscheduled you are, there are a couple of things you can do to help make the most of your time with your family:

1) MARK IT UP
As a mom, I am constantly filling my days with appointments, deadlines, and tasks that always feel urgent. If I’m not intentional, that’s ALL that will get space on my calendar. So, once every month or so, I look at my calendar and schedule the things that no one is asking me to schedule.

I mark up the calendar with things like:

Take the kids to the park.

Have a date night.
Do a family night devotion.

That may sound silly, but by marking my calendar with these important things, it reserves the time and makes sure that nothing else gets in the way.

2) MEASURE IT OUT
Most days are pretty typical and can even become monotonous. But one of the best ways to make the most of every week is to create some habits.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What I love about this passage of scripture is that Moses is writing to God’s people, instructing them to make the most of the time already built into their day to pour into their families. When they wake up, when they are on the road, and when they go to bed.

For example:

What do you do every morning at breakfast?

What if part of your breakfast routine just became looking for ways to encourage your children?

When do you eat together?

You don’t have to make a home-cooked meal to have a conversation. What if one meal a day was a media-free time when you were intentional about having a conversation with your child?

What’s the last thing you do before your children go to bed at night?

Every day ends the same way. We go to bed. So what’s your bedtime routine? How do you make the most of the moments right before your son or daughter drifts off to sleep?

Making sure time doesn’t get away from us isn’t easy. But we don’t need vacations or special days to make the most of our time. Let’s use the time we’ve already been given in the very best way possible.

Don’t let life fly by and forget to make moments that count!

To The Couple That’s Been Trying

I know how you feel. Alone. Grieved. Desperate. Angry.

I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still go there. My husband and I have experienced infertility for over 10 years, and even after adopting, that same sense of loss and grief can resurface from time to time.

Maybe you’re struggling through infertility now. Maybe you have experienced a miscarriage. Maybe you have birthed children, but no longer can. Maybe you have a friend who is infertile (and if you are reading this, what a great friend you are!)

Wherever you are in the journey, it can be difficult.

Most couples experiencing infertility don’t talk about it. We think we are alone. And we think other people won’t understand, or won’t know what to say. We may struggle when someone else gets pregnant. We may have a hard time celebrating at someone else’s baby shower. We may struggle with our spouse because of the stress infertility and trying to conceive puts on our marriage. We may question what is wrong with us; if children are a blessing from the Lord, why are we cursed?

Why do I tell you these struggles?

So that you know you aren’t alone. One in eight couples experience infertility. It affects men as well as women. And while you may find tremendous heartache, suffering, and desperation in the middle of it, we have to share what we’re going through to help others.

Here are three ways I have found to cope with infertility:

  • A support system

Whether it is other couples that have or are walking through infertility or an online support resource like Hannah’s Prayer (www.hannah.org), join with others that can help you navigate the ups and downs. Talking about my journey, and asking others to hold me accountable during my struggle, have been a tremendous help.

  • Prayer

Seek God about His plan for your family. Let Him lead you, and listen to His guidance. His plan for your family may be different from His plan for another couple. In the beginning, we pursued fertility treatments, at the same time we were foster parents, at the same time we applied for an international adoption. One-by-one, through prayer and fasting, God opened and closed doors for us and led us to adopt through foster care.

  • Leaning on God’s Word
  • Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
  • 1 John 5:14-15 – “And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”
  • Philippians 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”
  • Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

We struggle. But we can’t live in the struggle. God is so faithful. We aren’t defined by what we don’t have; we are defined by what we DO have – HIM. And in Him, we have HOPE.

Be encouraged. God hasn’t forgotten about you. He knows what He’s doing.

Eternal Danger of Parenting Fantasies

I spent many years growing up thinking about my future family and what we would be like. I dreamed of perfect children, perfectly dressed, perfectly behaved, and perfectly lined up in a row. I was focused on being the perfect parent, wanting people to tell me what a good mother I was because of how well-behaved my children were. I learned very quickly into parenthood the eternal dangers of my fantasies.

Many times, parents fall into the temptation

Just Love – Children’s Minister | Candice Howard

I was sitting at the back of the room, and I hear the question being asked from the front, “How do you share Jesus with other people?” A complex web of answers comes to my mind.

The husband and wife team of missionaries from Guatemala are telling our elementary students how we can all be missionaries – by bringing the message of Jesus Christ to the world. Rolando and Erin have been sharing for the past 30 minutes their stories of traveling for days, trekking by foot up mountains, wading through infested waters, being persecuted and punished, all in the name of Jesus.

“How do you share Jesus with other people?” Rolando asks again in Spanish while his wife, Erin, translates. I’m thinking I’ve never gone through such trials and tribulations to tell others about my Lord. I’ve never even gone outside of Louisiana to tell others about my Savior.

Rolando continues, “You hug your grandmother or grandfather. You show them you love them.” That web of answers spinning in my head freezes. “You share your piece of chocolate with

Do Kids Find Comfort In Fences?

I’m a rules girl. Give me a good list of rules, expectations, boundaries, or a box, and I’m as happy as a camel on Wednesday.

My 9 year old son is a carbon copy of me. My 2 year old daughter…she would rather be a rules-maker than a rules-follower.

Despite the two opposing personalities, both of these kids need and want boundaries. Yes, you read that right, kids (and even teens) WANT boundaries.

Several studies have been conducted with children and fences around playgrounds. One school removed their chain-linked fence because they thought students would have more freedom without the visible barrier. The school stated that kids resented being “fenced in” and restricted to roam.

What do you think happened when the fence was removed? Their security was stripped away. The kids huddled in the middle of the playground. They didn’t venture out, and they didn’t roam free. Why? They didn’t know their limits, so they felt insecure and unsafe.

Many times in our home I can find myself becoming tired of “repairing the fence.” I get lazy. Holes creep up, boundaries are pushed, and the fence falls down. Sound familiar?

Hello National Adoption Awareness Month!

We’ve had a lot of exciting buzz around our church lately with some families completing certification classes for foster care and adoption, and some families beginning home studies for private adoptions. God has definitely been working among us to prepare hearts and homes to help precious children to become all He created them to be.

We’ve probably all known a family or two who have adopted children, and because each situation is so unique, I gotten lots of questions on how best to support them. So for this blog post, here are some ways we can help families in the process of adoption:

  1.     Celebrate!

For a family announcing their adoption process, get excited with them! I tend to look at this phase as their “pregnancy,” because they ARE expecting. They are excited but probably a little scared about the uncertainty of things ahead, so help the time to pass by throwing a shower, helping to decorate a

Just Give Me Jesus

The last few days I have had a kids song on my computer playing on repeat. Yes, I said a kids song, but it’s a worship song with words that consume me.

“When I take my eyes off Jesus and confusion starts to win,
When my worries overwhelm me and the battle reaches in”

The last six months for me have been for the most part “overwhelming.” When my family, without plan or notice and literally overnight, went from a family of 4 to a family of 5, life took a toll. Our newborn foster blessing is honestly the most precious baby I have ever laid eyes on, and my heart does flips when I think about the joy he has brought to our lives.

But to say the transition has been bumpy is an understatement. Having a newborn changes the dynamics of a family, no matter how much preparation has been made. Babies are expensive, time consuming, and exhausting.

Going from two kids to three means the adults are outnumbered. And living in 1000 square

4 Ways Money Has Helped Our Marriage

All marriages have something in common – they all have to deal with money. And unfortunately, over 50% of divorces are primarily over financial disputes.

Joey and I have been married almost 11 years, and to this day, the biggest blow-out fights we have had have been over money issues. Joey is what Dave Ramsey would call a “budget nerd.” He crunches numbers and plays with spreadsheets in Excel like a teenager on Xbox. I, on the other hand, am what Dave Ramsey calls

Eternal Danger of Parenting Fantasies

I spent many years growing up thinking about my future family and what we would be like. I dreamed of perfect children, perfectly dressed, perfectly behaved, and perfectly lined up in a row. I was focused on being the perfect parent, wanting people to tell me what a good mother I was because of how well-behaved my children were. I learned very quickly into parenthood the eternal dangers of my fantasies.

Many times, parents fall into the temptation

Adoption or No Shave November? Let’s Celebrate

Can you guess why November is so special to our family? While I would be excited if my husband would let me participate in No Shave November, I was thinking of something a little different. November is National Adoption Awareness Month!

This adoption awareness month is dedicated to focusing on adoption of waiting children in foster care and orphanages. It literally represents the lives of hundreds of thousands of children without families waiting to be adopted.

Two and a half years ago, God called my husband and I to take hurting children into our family. He opened our eyes to multitudes of children desperate for a safe, compassionate home to show them His love. He reminded us over and over of His heart for those children.

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God