Fewer Choices, Less Stress for the Holiday Season

When my youngest child, Molly, was 5 years old, an elderly friend took our family to the Dollar Store. For Christmas, she wanted to treat each of our children to five things from the store; five things of their choice.

The day we met at the store, it was crowded with people getting ready for Christmas. Everyone was trying to get in and out quickly, but we leisurely browsed up and down each aisle so the kids could see all the choices. In the first aisle, Molly saw some pretty wrapping paper and bows and picked them up. When she did, I said, “Are you sure? Maybe you will like the next aisle better.”

The second aisle was filled with toys! By the time we were two steps into the aisle, Molly had picked three more things. She was excited about the five things she had picked out.

A minute later one of her sisters found something fun on the shelf and said, “Look Molly! Look at this! You should pick this instead!” She reluctantly chose that toy instead of one of the items already in her arms.

This pattern continued up and down every aisle. Either I asked Molly if she was sure, or one of her sisters persuaded her to pick something else. Once we had finished browsing up and down every aisle, we checked out, and went home happy with our purchases –or so I thought.

Read the rest of the story at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

Rachel Schmoyer writes a regular Family Life Column for Pandora’s Box Gazette the fourth Monday of the month. Thanks for reading! 

Easy Thanksgiving Journal for the Whole Family

Packed away in my tote of fall decorations is a little brown blank book that came from the dollar store. Warmth spreads through my heart when I flip open the cover and see handprints, doodles, and scrawled words inside.

Each year for the past 11 years our family has taken some time on Thanksgiving Day to write or draw what we are thankful for. Each family member gets one page. Even the babies and toddlers participate by having their hand traced. Then either my husband or I jot down a few things the little one is really into at the moment.

 

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Let’s Eat! Giving Thanks with Jesus at Mealtimes

In an effort to get my heart ready for Thanksgiving I wanted to read about the times that Jesus had given thanks to God. I found that most of the time when the Bible says that Jesus was giving thanks it was in the context of mealtime. I can resonate with that! Our family already says a prayer out loud before our dinner time together.

I chose five of those Scripture passages to study and from that study, I put together a five-day devotional. My prayer is that the devotional helps you fine-tune your heart of thankfulness since that is something we think about in the fall as Thanksgiving Day draws near.

A FIVE-DAYDEVOTIONAL

Click here to get your copy of Let’s Eat! 

 

P.S. Receiving the devotional will also subscribe you to readthehardparts.com, a new online community of Christians who encourage each other to read the hard parts of Scripture. 

 

Review of Reading People by Anne Bogel

If you already are interested in personality tests and analyzing personality then you will love Reading People by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy fame.

I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover (yes, I do judge a book by its cover. Sorry, I can’t help it!). I was also drawn to it because it is by Anne Bogel. Although I haven’t read a lot on Modern Mrs. Darcy, the blog about all things books and reading, I have really liked what I have read. She is intelligent and treats her readers so. She has developed a book club community that is so different than any other blog out there. Her website design is so classy, too. Continue reading

Trick or Treat Gospel Tract

Halloween is coming soon! In our family, my husband, Tim, takes the kids around to Trick or Treat in the neighborhood. I gladly stay home and hand out candy. A lot of the kids know me since I stand at the school bus stop with my kids and try to be a friendly face for all the kids’ morning.

Every year, I hand out a gospel message of some kind along with a big handful of candy. I had success finding good Trick or Treat tracts the first couple years.

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How Tech-Wise is Your Family?

It’s tough to know how to parent when there are so many technological devices around. We can’t really look back to see how our parents did it or how generations before us handled iPhones and tablets and internet. In our house, my technology parenting questions are mostly a result of my son creating a YouTube channel and animating with Flash. Of course, he also wants to spend a lot of time watching and listening to things online. My girls like to watch things and play Minecraft or Prodigy or search for crafts on Pinterest.

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One: Unity in a Divided World

Right after Christmas I started to put my kids on the bus. With some short exceptions, I hadn’t done that much in their school careers. But I no longer felt that driving them to school and back again was worth my time and the best choice for them. The bus stop was in our yard so it was in a safe place. The door handles on our minivan were literally cracking and breaking from overuse. And my kids needed some opportunities to figure out how to navigate life in an unstructured environment. I figured the 10-minute bus ride would give them that chance.

So I began to bring them to the bus stop and started to chat with the other adults who come. Two were not very talkative. But one woman began to talk with me. She was cheerful and kind and it was so nice to see her smile each morning. I found out she is a believer in Jesus Christ, too. But when she told me what her church background was, I thought, “she may be believer…but she is wrong about many points of doctrine.” Continue reading