Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions and choices can be difficult but is a gift we as their parents can give them.

How many times now do we turn on the news, listen to the radio, or overhear someone express how someone else’s actions forced a certain reaction from them.

I hear it all the time in our house of 5 kids. “But s/he made me do it!”

Anytime that phrase “he made me do it” gets thrown out, I can’t help but chuckle. (Not only because my first instinct is always to laugh, but because I remember trying to place blame on someone else too.)

I mean really, who wants to get in trouble for their actions?  No one!  It’s so much easier to try and pass the buck than to accept responsibility…or is it?

This is another lie that Satan tires to thrown our way.

Taking Responsibility Provides Relief

It may be difficult to accept responsibility, especially when we royally goof up, but it provides a relief too. It forces us to confess and repent, and it takes the weight off our shoulders of hiding what we have done.

Yes, we still have to face the consequences but we can beg and plead for grace. Grace is often extended when we readily admit that we have done wrong and are actually remorseful over it.

It’s when we try to cover up our guilt to save ourselves that we pile on the consequences. We see this as adults and we see this when dealing with children.

I didn’t do it…

As an only child, I often tried to blame spills and messes on my cat.  Blaming the cat became a habit that was difficult to break.

One day I accidentally, ran into a potted plant and instead of taking the time to rectify the situation, I just went on with my day and when my mom asked about it, I blamed the cat.

I was quickly caught in the lie because the cat had died a few weeks earlier. So not only did I get in more trouble, but I gave my mother a reason to question my truthfulness.

Losing her trust was more difficult to deal with than picking up the dirt would have been.

Taking Responsibility is Empowering

Teaching responsibility is a lesson we must teach through our examples more so than our words. We know that kids always focus more on what we do than what we say. Gifting the example of putting our pride down and choosing to act right no matter what anyone else does, will bless them throughout their life.

I tell our kids all the time:

No matter how the other person reacts, you get to choose your reaction. 

So whenever anyone acts in a horrific way towards us, instead of sinking to that level, we can choose to be kind and remind our kids that Jesus calls us to love everyone no matter how they react towards us.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
– Jesus, Luke 6:27-28

Isn’t that empowering! It’s exciting to think that our moods and actions are not dictated by someone else. When we teach our kids this, they then can stop thinking they are a marionette puppet in someone else’s puppet show. They can know the truth that their choices have the power to do good in a world full of evil and they do not have to be overcome by it. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who through his Spirit can gift us the ability to love those who hate us and try to mistreat us!

Let’s take that stance with our children. It’s our responsibility to teach them to take responsibility for their actions. It takes time, patience, and consistency, but our families and our society will benefit greatly from it. More importantly, our Lord will be glorified because of it!

 

Praying Secret Agent Prayers

Praying Secret Agent Prayers

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Playing Hide and Seek is one of the funnest games for kids. But what if we added a twist and created a game with prayers? A game where others get blessed, but don’t know by whom?  This is the Secret Agent Prayer Game!

Praying Like Secret Agents

To explain how to be a prayer secret agent, grab this month’s free Family Time Training Activity called Secret Agent Prayers.

It’s perfectly explains how there is a time and a place for everything and that includes prayer.

Sometimes, we pray publicly where others can hear and sometimes we pray secret agent style!

The Blessing of a Secret Agent Prayer

Knowing that someone has taken the time to pray specifically for you is one of the biggest blessings in life. But keeping that prayer anonymous can be difficult and a LOT of FUN!

First we start with praying about for whom we should pray?

God knows who needs extra blessings and prayers today. So let’s ask Him.

God, you know you needs extra prayers today. Who can I send a prayer to today?

Whomever comes to mind, write a prayer for them.

You can also write a prayer for someone you might see that day or someone who has blessed you!

Here are some ideas:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Other Family Members (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc)
  • Teachers
  • Neighbors
  • Workers from businesses you frequent
  • The person who is on the street corner
  • Missionaries

I had each of our four older kids whisper into my ear who they chose to pray for so that the others wouldn’t know.

Now, write out the secret agent prayers!

Writing out prayers is a wonderful gift both for the writer and the recipient.

Sometimes, asking a child to write out a prayer might make them freeze. If you need, prompt them with your own words or let them copy these words onto their own paper.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

It’s fantastic if your kids will write it in their own handwriting. It shows an extra level of care that one took the time to personally write the note. But if they can’t write yet, let them color and add their own flair to the written prayer.

This should be something fun and enjoyable, so if writing is a sore spot for kids, then find a way to allow them to personalize it. Maybe, clip out letters out of a magazine and allow them to glue the letters onto a page.

One of our kids, jumped up and down excitedly asking if s/he could include a picture drawing with the prayer. Whatever gets them excited to pray for someone else is great!  Let is be as simple or intricate as they are willing to create.

Most importantly, include who it is for BUT do not sign the prayer with your name!

Remember, it’s a secret agent prayer, so they will be blessed without knowing who did it.

Time to Deliver our Secret Agent Prayers

Now, it’s time to put on your secret agent hats and deliver the prayers. This might take some extra thought.

You want to deliver the prayer without the recipient knowing who it’s from. It’s ok if they find out but then it’s not a real secret agent prayer.

How to deliver your secret agent prayers?
  • Tape a secret agent prayer to a neighbors door or car window.
  • Send the prayer in the mail.
  • Slide it inside your friend’s locker at school.
  • Place it on your teacher’s desk.
  • Slip it into a book that the person is reading.
  • Write a prayer on the mirror so others will see it with the shower steam.
  • Hide it in a lunch box or a cereal box.

What other ways can they think of?

Interestingly enough, a couple of our kids chose to pray for people who we cannot deliver a letter to at the moment. For example, one wanted to pray for a homeless lady s/he gifted something to a couple of years ago. Another wanted to pray for their great-grandmother who has already passed. We talked about how even though we can’t deliver a physical prayer to them, we can still pray to God who will use that prayer for his glory.

Teaching our kids to pray anytime about anything is the most important lesson to gift them!

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:18

Become a Total Access Member Now from August 23 – 28, 2018!

Family Time Training activities help us teach our kids and grandkids how to live out what the Bible teaches. Get access to all their activities that can be done in 20 minutes or less by becoming a Family Time Total Access member. 

The opportunity to become a Total Access member only happens a few times a year and now through August 28 is one of those moments. Since you are a Creating a Great Day reader, you can get an extra 10% off the annual membership just by using this discount code – CGDFAM818

Don’t miss the opportunity to unlimited access of 100s of fun Bible activities for your family! Check out the details here: members.famtime.com.

I love to use these activities when my kids have a question and I’m not quit sure how to explain it in a way that will stick. These activities help biblical concepts stick in their minds for years!

Be encouraged by these Family Time Training Activities as well!

Delayed Gratification Knocking Sin Out of Our Lives Kindness Cookies Prayer Wall

Overwhelmed?  Look to God!

Overwhelmed? Look to God!

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
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I am going to be perfectly frank.  I did not want to write this post.  Motivation eluded me and I just could not write it.  But because writing helps me process my feelings and issues, I knew I had to write it.

Feeling Overwhelmed!

You see, I have this problem.  When I get overwhelmed, I get anxious and I procrastinate.  I only do the things required of me.  I withdraw.  It makes sense in my mind to not do things when I have too much to do!  I focus on one thing and let everything else go.  Right now, I have so much going on that if I do not schedule things, I get nothing done (even then, it is questionable).

Finally, I decided to get started.  While I had some ideas for some topics, I did not have an inspirational verse to build on.  I needed some inspiration so I opened my Bible app on my phone and the “Verse of the Day” popped up.  I usually do not pay much attention to it, but this one caught my eye:

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 
Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

This was the verse I needed!

Not just for this post, I needed this verse for me!

God knew what I needed!  Had I gone to the Bible earlier today, I might have had a calmer day.  All I did was see this verse and I knew that God had meant that for me today.  I did not even have to finish reading it before it changed my mood.  Now, I just have to remember this and remember that God is always there for me and to turn to Him first.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed?

Do you go to God first?

 

From Groovy to Middle-Aged (and Back Again!)

From Groovy to Middle-Aged (and Back Again!)

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Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
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At the age of nine, all it took was a pair of orange stirrup pants to make me feel groovy. Purple and pink paper flowers decorated my room. Peace signs adorned my notebooks. Some might say I was too young to be a true flower child, but I felt hip.

In junior high, all it took to feel special was a pair of white go-go boots, castoffs of my much cooler aunt. So what if I had to rub white polish on them daily so the worn places wouldn’t show? My boots were made for walking! My room smelled of incense, and posters of Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmond hung on the wall.  Okay, not quite a rock rebel, but I felt cool.

In high school, the piece of clothing that made me “with it” was a lime green peasant blouse, another hand-me-down from my aunt.  My friend and I giggled when we heard her mother moan to a friend, “You can’t tell the difference between these and maternity tops.”  What a shame to grow old and be so “out of it.”

Then, one day years later, I stood in the auto department of Walmart, waiting patiently while my husband studied each and every type of windshield wiper the store carried. Bored, I gazed around until my eyes spotted a grouping of mirrors.

That’s when I had it…my middle-aged moment.

I could see myself in the mirrors. In fact, I could see myself several times over. It wasn’t my dress or even my shoes that made me stare. It was my purse, a no-nonsense affair attached to my arm by two sturdy straps. It was a middle-aged woman’s purse.

I was middle aged.

I know how it happened. Those birthdays I’d joyfully celebrated had turned on me. But still, going from the bloom of youth to the top of the downhill slide–well, that was hard. It required a whole change in attitude…namely depression.

While I didn’t pull a black scarf over my head and take up residence in my rocking chair, I did, in a sense, give up. After all, I wasn’t young anymore, certainly wasn’t “with it,” and I hadn’t been cool for a long time. This depression could have gone on forever if I hadn’t realized I was looking in the wrong direction along my timeline.

While thumbing through a magazine one day, I came across an article about an artist. She was proudly in her sixties, making no apologies for her age. Her clothes weren’t the latest style. She’d even allowed her hair to go gray. And she looked wonderfully graceful, tailored, and confident.

I wanted to be her.

But how?  I have the grace of a gazelle without night vision. If I wear anything remotely tailored, I guarantee I will spill soup on it or pop at least two buttons. Confidence?  If I had that, I wouldn’t be eyeing the black scarf and rocking chair! After rifling through my wardrobe and contemplating a bonfire, I almost slipped back into my depression. I couldn’t be her.

psalm-139-14

Then I recalled the wise words of Psalms 139:14.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I couldn’t be her, but I could be me. Ah yes, that was the lesson. Her grace and confidence came not from imitating others, but from living happy as herself.

Could I be happy as myself? Yes, but first I had to change my thinking. I needed to start acting like I believed the verse.

I am not pale, but fair (or on a good day, gossamer).

I am not chubby, but curvy.

I am not average, but fabulous and unique, the best (and only) me that exists.

God created me and he didn’t do it as a joke.

He made me wonderful! And He loves me. We all need to remind ourselves of that very true fact.

Seriously, try singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of your voice (preferably in the privacy of your own home). Treat it not like a children’s song, but as an affirmation that yes, Jesus loves YOU. Not because you’re graceful. Not because you always say the right thing, and certainly not because you wear the latest styles. He loves you because you are worth loving. Of course you are–He made you.

Have I suddenly developed grace? No, I’m still bumping my way through life just like that night vision-impaired gazelle.

I’ll never be twenty again. Anything dewy about my skin comes from a bottle. Perky has never described my personality and now it doesn’t come near to describing my body.

But now, my timeline faces forward. So what if I’m middle-aged? That simply means I’m in the middle of life’s adventure, still looking forward to where it’s going to take me. God’s got plans.

As for that middle-aged purse? It’s gone, baby, it’s gone!

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The Mission Field in Your Church Building

The Mission Field in Your Church Building

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24

I love going to church. Growing up as a minister’s kid, church was my life. This joy has stayed with me into adulthood. That being said, I realize this is not the case for everyone. Some people have been so turned off by an experience they have had with a church that they’ve completely turned away from the Lord. Some people are just on the fringe–perhaps they wonder why they even bother coming.

Can you think of anyone you know who might not enjoy church?

It truly breaks my heart to see this, and perhaps it hurts me the most because I know that I’ve been a part of the problem.

Do you view your church as a mission field?

Think about it…we can do all the outreach and evangelism outside the church walls that we want (and should!), but if our church is not welcoming every person who steps through our doors with warm love then we are failing. What good is it to get someone through the door if they never experience Christ’s love within his church? Our church building is a mission field in so many ways, but I’m going to try to stick with one very important way: relationships.

Hebrews 10:24

It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves when we go to church services or activities. Our desire to fellowship with our friends can sometimes cause an unintended, but detrimental effect. Nothing sends the message “You’re not welcome here” like a church full of cliques. Yet this happens, maybe without us even noticing.

Missing the Mission Field

Sometimes, during the distractions of entertaining our personal friendships, we miss those around us, and we miss opportunities to show Christ’s love.

We miss

  • the visitors, the elderly, or the handicapped.
  • the ones who are hurting or who need help.
  • the new members who haven’t made any connections yet or the new Christians who need support and someone to study with.
  • the children and the teens who need to know they are important.

I don’t put this blame on others, as I’m very guilty. I’ve been on BOTH sides of this and it’s very likely that you have too. So what can we do about this?

fellowship

Mission Field, Not Social Club

Let’s change our mentality when we are within the walls of our church building. Let’s view our church as a mission field rather than a social club. “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)

We love visiting with our friends, and we should because Christian friendships are important. Fellowship time is a huge blessing, but we’ve got to open our eyes to those around us and realize that some have no one to fellowship with. Our moments of fellowship at church can’t just be about those with whom we are comfortable; we must reach out so that every person in our church building or at our church activities experience what the body of Christ is all about: love.

I get it, there isn’t much time to talk to our friends, much less other people. Have church friends over on a Tuesday night for dinner. You can even invite someone you don’t know very well! Get together with another church family on Saturday and go to the zoo. Find time to build relationships and enjoy the company of your Christian family! But how about during church gatherings we make it a goal to see the mission field? Maybe we can even get our friends on board with us! 🙂

 

During Visiting Time:

  • Here is what often happens: We say “hi” or smile to those we don’t know and we have conversation with our friends. Let’s reverse that! Start conversations with those you don’t know and give a wave to your friends, or even better, introduce your friends to this person. The moment we walk through our church’s doors we should be on the look out for those who might need our encouragement or friendship.
  • Be a greeter! I’m sure your congregation likes for people to stand by the door and greet people as they come inside. This is so important!

 

During Class:

  • MEET THE VISITORS! This seems like a no-brainer, but in my experience it’s more normal to be ignored when you’re visiting. Would you want to come back to class if it felt like you weren’t even noticed? Seriously–we can visit with our friends later. But if we don’t make the effort to walk across the room and meet a visitor, we might never have an opportunity again. What’s more important?
  • Volunteer to teach or help in a class. The functionality of a church should be a community effort. We should never go to church expecting everything to be done for us. There is always a way to pitch in and help. Talk to the ministry leaders at your church if you don’t know where to start. By doing so you will have the opportunity to see others and show them Christ’s love.

 

During Worship Service:

  • It’s tempting to go straight to our usual spot by our usual people, and it’s OK to do that sometimes! It’s also fun to change it up though. You will get to know new people and you can hear new voices praising Jesus.
  • Help in the nursery or children’s worship. Who doesn’t want to snuggle with a baby? By doing this you have the opportunity to help out and encourage young families. You might even be the first friendly face for visitors, and giving their children loving care shows Christ love so beautifully!
  • Sit with someone who has no one to sit with. Sit by a family or a single parent with young children who might need an extra hand. Sit by a mom who just watched her last child go off to college. Sit with an elderly couple who lives away from all of their family. Sit with a visitor. Sit with someone hurting. Sit with someone who might need your help. Realize that the pew you choose to sit on might very well be a mission opportunity from the Lord!

 

meet someone

 

Find a Way to Show God’s Love

Life is hard…sometimes we don’t feel like we have anything to give. We might feel empty and broken and needing to be filled. Pray that someone will find you, my friend. Reach out to someone. Draw close to Jesus every day of the week.

Is your church family one that radiates God’s love to all who walk through your church building’s doors? I certainly need to work on this more. It’s easy to fall into what’s comfortable. You might be more of an introvert, so this concept might have your knees shaking in anxiety. There are also quiet ways to serve and encourage, like sending cards to those on the prayer list. You don’t have to meet everyone, but try to find someone to invest in and love on. Let’s hold each other accountable and look for opportunities to serve God and bring him glory during our church gatherings. Let’s have Hebrews 10:24 on our hearts always!

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

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The Gift of an Open Door and an Outstretched Hand

The Gift of an Open Door and an Outstretched Hand

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Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of four. After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home mom. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W
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Social media has once again broadened my horizons. It only took one post mentioning the result of a person’s Enneagram number to pique my curiosity. I love taking all the various self-assessments whether it be – personality type, mood type, or color personality. Most of them, I don’t pay much attention to past the first 15 minutes of the initial results reveal. There is one, however, that ranks high on my list of self-assessments. This one, hones in on something a little more. It is the survey of spiritual gifts. I remember taking this survey and quickly tallying up its results. I also remember adding up the different sections knowing which gift I hoped not to be higher than the others.

A Place of Prestige

A moment of sifting took place when I decidedly sought out gifts that were to be seen as most prestigious. My eyes took in those sections labeled “service” or “hospitality” and I ashamedly placed those particular gifts at the bottom. These, I deemed, were the least exciting, the most common, and certainly the least effective forms of ministry. Little did I know that it is often in the unseen moments of serving and in the common acts of hospitality that Christ is most magnified.

Without Complaint

Be hospitable to one another without complaining. – 1 Peter 4:9 (CSB)

I will be the first to admit it, I struggle with the whole “without complaining” piece. A certain dismissive attitude occurs when given the opportunity to serve in the messy or droll places of life. I am prone to grumble when given the opportunity to open my home to those who are outside my level of comfort or if they are encroaching on my time. It is not a gift I am inclined to embrace.

Do you find yourself feeling the same way? Is it easier to send a Facebook message telling someone you are thinking of them rather than inviting them to the table, your table?

Friend, if you are like me, the first place we start – is confession. We come before the Lord and confess our pride and selfish ways. If we were to examine every “no”, there we would likely find a root of sin in it deeply buried. The Lord is faithful not to leave us in our sin. In the place of confession, repentance begins in our heart and it is there that forgiveness happens. Sanctifying. A gift that blesses is also being used to work out my salvation. The believer’s life anthem – to live for His glory and to proclaim Christ to the world. This means we need to start living and proclaiming in the places of the world where we are at now with joy and without a grumbling heart.

For His Glory

Where we can live out self-sacrifice for the glory of God is where He will meet us and refine us.

God’s glory happened when there was an open door to the woman who was infringing upon my Netflix time. He was glorified in the making of a meal for a family in need when I could barely find time to throw together dinner in my own home. The glory was all to God when my germ-conscious self desperately tried not to cringe at the snotty nose child running amuck in my home while his mother was being discipled. Christ was meeting me and being shone through me in all these moments. Something bigger and better than my own plans and expectations transpired when I surrendered and embraced this gift. He was working in and through me.

God was brought glory by people in my own life who extended gifts of service to me and my family. His provision was feIt when meals were delivered after coming home with a new baby from the hospital. He showed Himself near when the one who brought a plate of cookies took my hands in hers and together we offer up tear-stained words of praise and petition. None of these things were convenient and nothing with young children around is easy, but people poured into and continue to pour into my life – each time bringing God glory. These moments built and grew my faith.

Leaning into Undeserved Grace

Believers, leaning into hospitality means that we are leaning into the undeserved grace of Christ. An undeserved grace that has met us and continues to meet us. This place of grace becomes the well where our hospitality drinks from and it is the platter from where all we have to offer is served. It is really a reflection of our gift of grace when we serve others and strengthen their faith through something as beautiful as hospitality. In all the God-glorifying gifts we are given – may we be good stewards of such a wondrous gift as that one which seeks to serve.

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