All posts by Audra

Building Bubble Tubs

HAPPY SUMMER!!!

pinwheel

 

 

We love bubbles! To my knowledge, no one has ever become sad from blowing bubbles. They are happiness and fun on a family friendly budget. They scream “SUMMER TIME!” to our family.

Bubbles come with a large dose of stickiness though, if you have young children in the mix. Our bubble wands were getting spilled by toddlers on many occasions. Here is our solution to all the sudsy muck that comes with the bubbles…

 

SUPER EASY

SUPER CHEAP

SUPER FUN

AND NOW THEY ARE SUPER TRANSPORTABLE!

You will need: 1 plastic tub, a pack of bubble wands and a roll of duct tape

bubble tub

This is a great gift for a young child, easy to take on a picnic or to the park, a nice filler-of-time at sibling sporting events…you get the idea!

Enjoy!               

bubbles

Hope you make one!   

Go blow some bubbles!!   

A Priceless Stick

Soccer Season is upon us. I checked off a new accomplishment on Saturday by getting all four sons to their games in one day, and I found joy in the process! My organizing paid off from the day before as I gathered socks, cleats, shin guards, water bottles and snacks. I even went so far as to bag a few toys and “busy” fidgets for bored brothers on the sidelines.sprung

As our day unfolded, God showed me a glimpse of simplicity from a son. No amount of preparation was as sweet to my day as this example played out in front of me. My son and his friend were between games, and had wandered to a small grouping of trees to play. I glanced periodically at them and saw them all of a sudden swinging large sticks upward at nothing in particular…high in the air, up toward the trees; imagination taking flight, and all else quiet around them. They were each totally in the moment, and I was captivated watching it play out.

 

Fighting foes                                                                big walking stick

 Saving the captive

 Confidence and Skill ignited

 Sweet Victory!

Through the eyes of a child.

So simple. Pure Joy, stress free, unplanned.

I want to soak that up.

May God show us His details in the simple things.

 

 

 

seek

A Box of Sunshine!

sunshineHappy March! Warm weather is flirting with us, and budding trees and daffodils are trying to spring forth! As we anticipate the Spring Season, look for ways to spread some cheer. One of our favorites is a Box of Sunshine. We have assembled a few of these as a family and dropped them at friends homes, and even mailed “Oklahoma Sunshine” across the country to loved ones. It is such an easy and fun way to reach out. All items must be yellow, but that is the only stipulation, the “sky’s the limit” on your imagination!

tulips

 

Yay for all things blooming! Enjoy that walk with your child on the warm windy day, and linger over that coffee cup as conversation flows with a loved one. Rejoice at new friendships that pop up unexpectantly, and soak in the sunshine as the Lord renews your spirit with the Spring.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8

My Most Treasured Layer: Prayer

bear and kite

A Prayer for My Family: Dear Lord, thank you for making us family. Please ingrain in me Your Love Language and Fruits on a daily basis. Fill me with Patience, Kindness, Purity and so on.  I commit my husband’s work to You, Lord,  and may Your plans be established throughout his life. (Proverbs 16:3) May we both trust You with our whole hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. Make our paths straight, Lord Jesus. And Lord, I pray that our greatest joy be to hear that all of our children walk in Your Truth!! (3 John 4)

 

winter carnation

When I’ve had a full-plate day complete with joy, laughter, accomplishment, but also disgusting tasks, disappointments and weariness, I realize these are the normal days of life. I’m thankful for full days that keep coming. I find triumph and failure daily. I walk with the Lord, but can easily go skipping down side-trails before returning to the path. At night, when it all finally calms down and the pace halts, I quiet myself and finish the day with prayer. I reflect on the day with all its ups and downs. I am never perfect in a day, but its okay; I don’t climb that pedestal anymore. I just try to please my Heavenly Father’s heart. He tells me, “You will never fail.” Oh, but I feel so inadequate so often! So I pray…

This is what Prayer is for me:

A safe harbor, an instant hot-line, a lasting legacy, a quiet to the restless.                                        

This is my Prayer layer:

I start my day with a “hello” to the Lord and His Holy Spirit. Sometimes that’s called Quiet Time. I relish those moments, but they are hard in a busy household. They most often are a quick glance at a scripture off of my phone, but that is an opening prayer-layer to my day.

After watching the movie, War Room, I wrote out some “prayer strategies” that I taped in my closet to remind me to pray. They are simple in nature, but have turned out to be very powerful tools for my days.

I add another layer on the drive to school with my boys, we pray the Armor of God over our family before we separate for the day. We rotate and all take turns praying this prayer out loud over our family as we drive down the road.

armor

–Do not let a day pass that you don’t put on the custom-designed armor the Lord has fashioned just for you.

I send up snippets of prayer interwoven throughout my day for whoever the Lord places on my heart. Nothing is happenstance; if a person comes to mind, then pray for them. God loves detailing. And the layers continue…

On days that open to it, I pray for future events in my children’s lives; like new friendships formed, pressures and stressors that may arise; prayers of future layers of God-infused living. I pray for eternal things for my family.

So at the end of this crazy-busy day, even if I feel depleted, exhausted, stressed or strained, my heart can find peace in the reminder that God sweetly keeps all prayers  close to His heart. Keep praying, never ceasing, when you feel like it or when you don’t, do it anyway. He listens and He moves through our lives. These prayers, layer our very lives. They affect our family; they impact future things, and it is a gift to us to be able to pray.

Prayer: A most precious and treasured layer.

 Be still and know that I Am God.” Psalm 46:10

Card-Making Station

 

 

bday card

A hand-written note is considered “old school” to most of this generation. Our children are not writing nearly as much as we did in our youth. But I am not that old yet, and I was brought up to write a thank you note when someone gifted me something. So I think we, as adults, have fallen into the ease of our new-found social media tools. Of course it’s easier to click a button and not have to write, address, stamp and mail something. This freedom is quite useful for a whole host of things… and when I had 3 children under the age of 4, and was completely sleep-deprived, I must now apologize for never writing anything. For those who love me, please forgive my season of exhaustion.

As summer was in full swing this past year, two of my boys were at camp, and I was puzzled at receiving their letters that were addressed as such:

letter

Oh, how I had gone wrong in giving up the art of a handwritten letter!! I had not passed this skill on to my children. Furthermore, they believed it was unnecessary to send a note of thanks to someone.

IN FACT: IT NEVER CROSSED THEIR MINDS! (Because I had never modeled it in their lifetime).

I, then and there,  purposed to right/write(!) my wrong; and so began our mobile Card-Making Station My sis-in-law has had this nifty set-up for years now in a desk, and I have watched and learned. I took mine from stationary to travel speed; so here they both are:

folders

stickers

 

 

 

 

simple really.

 

 

calendar

card station

 

 

A desk with a file drawer.

Categorized and filled with paper, stickers, envelopes, and more…

A calendar of special days.

A place to write, in a tucked in corner of the living room.

 

And here’s the traveling version:

card basket

A basket with a handle, file folders, a pouch of stickers, handful of envelopes, scrap papers and blank notes, stamps, scissors and tape, and some colorful pens.

After a birthday, holiday, etc… it is now easy for any of us to grab the card basket and find a cozy nook to stop and write thanks to someone. This practiced art slows us down, it grounds us, and we dwell on the thankfulness of our blessings. I sometimes have a child seek out this basket so that he can make a card for someone, (this warms my heart every time).

folders in basket

I relish the skill of penmanship instilled in my kids. I delight in keeping their handwriting triumphs tucked in my memory box; to see how they spell things makes me smile. And I love seeing the desire to seek out another and thank them by giving back with a grateful heart.

Whether you put together a basket, or set up a desk area, find someone special in your life today and write them a note. We all have something to be thankful for in our lives.

 

I thank my God always when I remember you…”

Philemon 1:4

Love Silent and Strong

The two words,  Silent and Strong, are not normally paired with one another. Take a look at what can happen when they are…

life heart

There are many ways to love silent and strong.  A parent standing at arm’s length watching a child spread their wings in youth, loves in this way. Silence gives the child room to grow and problem-solve; but silent prayers lay strong foundations for paths explored.

Loving silent and strong is also when a parent stands at their child’s bedside as they sleep, and their heart spills over with a love that cannot be described with words, and you thank the Lord in prayer for the gift of this magnitude. The strong prayers for their future and all that you both dream of are laid in those silent moments.

family heart

heart

 

In many ways, all parents love silent and strong throughout their children’s lives; there are always prayers for safety, health, happiness…

 

 

In my lifetime, I have watched a few remarkable people who love silent and strong for others outside their family.  They are mostly quiet by nature; very unassuming and not your attention-seekers. They are intentional in all that they do, and they do not shy away from solitude.

These are some powerful prayer warriors that love from a distance.

Unfailing and constant in their love.

They are watchful and ever anticipating.

They agonize, and other times rejoice for us; all in solitude and silence.

Mighty battles are fought for others on their knees; they are strong, and their prayers strengthen us.

I am in awe of such devotion and love for others. To have someone love silent and strong for you and me, is a true treasure worth eternal value. And to love silent and strong for another is a journey of love that I believe the Lord intended for every one of us.

love post it

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The love of God provides a safe harbor for those whose lives are anchored in Him. Joshua 24:15