We all love a good story. It doesn’t matter your age. It’s even better if there are hidden gems of laughter, harrowing moments and happy endings. We just love getting lost in the detailed threads that tug at our hearts.
Our children love to hear “their stories”. They ask to hear them over and over. We laugh and gasp at all the same parts every time. And I realize that we add chapters to their stories with each day, each vacation, each experience, family event, tradition, hug and “I love you”. It’s in every ordinary and extraordinary day that we have.
Pictures and albums help with that too. The time spent in conversation is a layer of warmth for the soul that is something extra special. Face-to-face conversation is becoming less and less in our society; everyone wants the short and condensed version of events. But when you give some time to sharing, you will hear:
When you have many children, this helps in giving that individual their unique identity. In a group setting, you can easily speak each child’s love language by reminiscing of a fond time together. It’s so easy to add this layer to your home, but it is becoming lost in our digital agendas. Fill your child up with words that champion them; show their hearts how spectacular they are. Hand them their legacy as your family shares past generations stories too. All of these conversations combined are a treasure, not bought. The value is priceless for our hearts.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. -Philippians 1:3
Hello! Every day we use things that make our lives easier or bring a smile to our face. I encourage you to take a look at your daily routines and see what those things are. It was fun for me to dig a bit and see a few of my “favorites” all together! Check out Loved One’s Favorites too… you’ll get great gift ideas. Here we go!!
KITCHEN TONGS: I am seriously addicted to these little gems. I have a bunch of them because they only cost a couple dollars. They are so handy to pick up anything and everything! I even have some spares in our chip containers so that I don’t get “cheeto fingers.”.
MINI CROCKPOT : My favorite scent is ANYTHING Christmas. I used to put a pot on the stove with simmering spices and fruit so that the whole house smelled yummy…but then I found mini crockpots! They are fabulous!! This is a wonderful gift during the holiday season to give with a recipe and ingredients for simmering. Lemons, cinnamon sticks, clove,and oranges are a good place to begin.
FELT TIP PENS: These beauties are a little pricey, but there are sales and coupons out there to get them a bit lower. I love how bold the ink is. I love that it doesn’t smear and drys quickly. I love to use these on to-do lists to perk up the mundane chores, and I love to journal and write pretty much everything with them.
RAINBOW INSULATED CUPS WITH STRAWS: Oh happiness! It’s simple I know, but I get more water drank in my day with a different colored cup each morning! I have the whole rainbow at my fingertips, and since they come with lids…they travel from home to car easily.
FLAMELESS CANDLES: With a house full of boys, it is in our Homes best interest to not light many actual candles with real flames. This set is lovely and it comes with a remote and timers! I have some in our kitchen, and I have some programmed in the living and bedrooms. As bedtime routines begin, it is nice to enter those dark spaces with the glow of a flickering candle. I love my flameless candles!
POM POM COASTERS: Are these not the cutest little splashes of fuzzy color?!
The kids made these with cork and glue and pom poms one Christmas for family gifts, and I snagged a set for our Drink Station. Each morning this cheerfulness greets me at the coffee maker. (I had just as much fun making these as the kids.)
NERF WALL: This saved my sanity with all the Nerf wars that happen daily in our home.
If you have darts and kids in your life, I recommend that you review our Nerf Wars post on how to make one of these stations. The kids helped design and paint the walls; and hanging it all up in the garage was fun for all of us! Now the tag has been moved outside. When it’s over, I have yet to ask a boy to put their Nerf stuff away. They rush to the Nerf Wall to get the best hangers!! (Such a Win for us all.)
TAILGATE TABLES: These medium-sized rectangle, collapsible tables will rock your world! I have never actually used them for their intended purpose…but I have used them for pretty much everything else. They fold and are lightweight. I have these tucked all over the house. The make a quick puzzle, Lego, you-name-it project off the floor. They wipe down and have two adjustable heights. And the bonus feature is that if you find them during football season, then you have local color options depending on nearby teams! If you want a certain color, look at the teams.
CANDY CATCHERS: When you are between 2 candy-laced holidays, the thought occurs of what to do with the abundance of sweets (?)… Since there are multiple boys in our home, and boys are a tad competitive in everything, we had to find a solution to storing any excess of overflow. The number of kids you have, is the number of compartments needed for the Candy Catcher. Personalize it so there is no confusion. No Sharing is an unspoken for this little kitchen tool. This container usually stays out of reach, so that a parent monitors consumption. I pull from its resources for school lunches and snacks mixed with healthier choices. This has gone with us on road trips with each persons snacks divided so they can eat them at differing paces. This is a fun Favorite for me!
PORTABLE HAMMOCKS: My most recent Favorite! I love these soooooooo much. Each child received one for a gift. We learned how to “stack” them in trees from college students. It looked as if there were a herd of nomads in my back yard the first 3 days!! The kids stayed outside for hours trying out different trees. They took books, water bottles, snacks, journals, DS’s, and even a Ukulele!! I confess that I also enjoy gently swinging and cloud-gazing; especially snuggled with one of my Cuties’.
Well there you go! Hope you got an idea or two to add to your Favorites. Take a mental break from this week’s mundane and enjoy mulling over some of your own Favorites; you have more than you realize!
You, Lord God, have done many wonderful things, and You have planned marvelous things for us. Psalm 40:5
There are so many we appreciate and are thankful for. Our ears are receiving them daily. When you pause and make a list of your personal love notes, the sounds become even richer.
Here are a few of mine…
Prayers out of my children’s mouths.
Praise songs on the radio.
Gentle guidance in my husbands voice.
My boys’ giggles over pure silliness.
Picking up the phone to hear a loved one’s voice on the other end.
The family dinner bell.
A chat with a friend over coffee.
“Please, thank you” and an endless surplus of “I love you” from my children.
All of these are God’s Love Notes to us throughout our day. Look for Sounds of Love; they are a melody written for you and me. These sounds are all a reflection of Christ’s love. Each day we contribute to the sound. Is it a sweet or aggravated noise?
I can Love Loud: by being a cheerleader or advocate for someone. My words can build-up a self-esteem. I can use my mouth to pour out encouragement. I can share Christ’s Love by demonstrating actions that result in life-changing Love.
I can Love Silent: from a distance, with unfailing stamina my voice can quietly lift up prayer for someone going through a painful trial. I can be watchful as I use Love Notes of Hope to form a prayer. I can rejoice quietly when I watch the Lord conquer the plan meant for harm.
I can Love Deep and Wide: by emotionally investing, pursuing and pouring out for a loved one. With a no-going-back mindset I can plant Love Notes that I water and fertilize by using words of hope, peace, love.
I can Love Sideways: by partnering with someone that needs an arms-length approach. A peripheral friend to scatter a Love Note when needed for someone to get their bearings on a situation.
And sometimes Love Just Happens: in an unexpected moment, I can see a need and” rise to the call”. Acting in a moments notice without much thought or preparation I can add encouragement with a Love Note because I have been tuned into listening to the Lord’s Love Notes over me.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. Psalm 63:3
When I cook, I think of the women in my family. My grandmother never measured anything and rarely had a recipe in front of her. She was a phenominal cook and I listened as my mom called her frequently throughout my childhood asking “cooking questions”. My mom is also a great cook; her gift of combining herbs and spices has excelled restaurant meals. As a girl, I was a baker. My sweet tooth ruled and I made cookies and cakes for everyone in my path.
During the holidays, my mom and aunts made candy together. The cousins would play and bid time till we were called to taste-test! My other grandmother would have a feast laid out each time we visited Texas. She made EVERYONES favorites!!
As I cook for my family now, I think about my menu. I find myself cooking as each of these treasured women before me. My heart loves cooking. One of my most cherished gifts given to me is a family cookbook with recipes from all my family, and also my husband’s family. They are intertwined with pictures scattered through them. Such a gift of time and love; priceless to me. When I was first learning to cook as a young wife, I used those recipes from our youth. When I am missing my grandmothers and mother-in-law, I cling to their recipes; their handwritten script of bundt cakes and stews. I bake their dishes during the holidays and weave in some of our new favorites.
In my family cookbook, I have added my part of the story too. I have pages of my children’s favorite dishes. I have birthday pages for each family member with all their individual favorites to celebrate them. When my kids come in and help prepare a meal, they see this book with pictures, recipes, and such a rich heritage for us. We cook and talk together. Stories are told, GOOD food is made and this legacy is passed on.
If you are looking for a gift to give that is from your heart, this one is hands-down a keeper. Collect your cherished recipes and pictures and share the stories attached to them. Bless and add to someones meal.