4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

Do you believe that you are not good with money? Did you learn how to spend and save money at school?  Did you ever have a class in high school that talked about debt, interest, investments, and practical money tips?  

Well, I didn’t and most of us aren’t taught or exposed to how to deal with money in a positive way.  Most schools completely neglect to teach personal finances, how to balance a checkbook and basic money-management skills.

If children aren’t taught about finances and how to manage money wisely by their parents, they are going to have to learn the hard way. It’s not a surprise that most people make financial mistakes, especially when they are young, because they just don’t know any better.

 

I remember during my first week of college there were tables set out by a few locals banks.  They were trying to reel in all the incoming freshman and any other college students with credit cards by using some cheap bait.  They tried to woo all of the broke college students with a free 6″ Subway sandwich and I almost fell for it.  A $3 sandwich was the entry point into a heap of financial mess.  

Banks and credit unions know that college students are an ideal target audience.  College students are young and finally have some independence.  Plus, they have no money and are paying for expensive tuition, books, food, and living expenses for the first time.  Of course, they’ll draw these newbies in with an offer they can’t resist even if it’s a frisbee or a crappy T-shirt they’ll never wear.

Now, I know laws have changed and banks and credit card companies can’t go onto campuses like they once did offering frisbees and subs for new sign-ups.  The CARD act is good first step. But how often do we get sucked into some ‘amazing offer’ that really isn’t that amazing?  If we don’t know any better, we’ll probably make a lot of poor financial decisions just like a typical college student.

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

ONE

Lack of Financial Knowledge

Knowledge is power if acted upon.  If children, teenagers, and even adults for that matter learned the in’s and out’s of how money works and principles for building wealth, our society would change. 

Could you imagine if people were educated on the power of compound interest in terms of investments and debt? The amount of debt and financial blunders would most likely decrease or be completely avoided.

People would literally run away from every cash advance store in the country.  Maybe people would fully understand how much interest their student loans will accumulate over time.  Fewer people would run themselves into debt.

So, if you don’t know much about money management, immerse yourself in research.  You can find most answers online.  Check out my posts and other resources that will help you understand these concepts more.  And if you know someone who is good with their finances, ask them what they are doing.  I’m sure they would love to share and be a support to you.

 

TWO

 Schools Don’t Require Financial Literacy

Schools aren’t equipping students to understand and manage finances either. There are only five states in the U.S. that require all high schoolers to take a personal finance class.  Those five states are Utah, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. Clearly, this is a problem. It’s no surprise that most people are not good with money, because they weren’t taught about finances.

We can’t rely on schools to teach children everything they need to know in life.  As a parent myself, I want to educate my kids on finances because it’s important.  I want to equip my children to be able to excel in life and in the real-world.  So, I need to help prepare them by teaching them about personal finance. If they know better, they’ll more likely do better.

In an ideal world, all states would require personal finance classes and parents would also teach their children money-management skills at home.  But we all know that the likelihood of that happening is as like winning the lotto.

So if you’re a parent, make it YOUR job to teach your children how to manage money wisely, because you can’t expect them to learn these skills at school.  And the best way to teach these skills is by modeling them to your children and explaining to them what you are doing.

Let your kids watch you create a budget, calculate a tip at a restaurant, write a tithe check, pay bills, and the list goes on.  The more we equip our kids to be competent adults, the better.

 

THREE

The Majority of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Financial Literacy test

In fact, more than two-thirds of adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. That means that the majority of Americans don’t understand the math behind interest and other financial principles. It’s no wonder that people are drowning in debt and the weight of their financial choices. If you don’t understand financial principles, of course, your going to make some bad financial decisions.

Most people start making poor financial decisions when they leave their parents home. What would our world look like if high school students understood how taking out student loans will affect their lives?

I know so many people who regret taking out student loans on a degree they’ve never used. It’s downright tragic. The US has $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and 45% of those millennials wish they would’ve never taken out student loans in the first place.

Take some time to look at the interest rate you’re paying (debt) and earning (investments).  Look at the math and see if you need to make changes.  You might want to check into a financial advisor that will help you look at your finances and help you get to where you want to go.  This is a financial advisor I’d recommend, Liftoff Financial Planning.

FOUR

We Are Taught That We Shouldn’t Talk About Money

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with money is because we don’t talk about it.  We need to quit making money a taboo subject and start talking about how to manage our finances wisely. 

People put money in the same category as politics and religion as a big no-no to bring up. This is yet another reason why most Americans have little to no financial knowledge base.

If people felt comfortable talking about money, they would be more likely to ask for help and ask questions.  It’s just assumed that you just figure out money on your own, but it really doesn’t work that way.  Finances are complicated.  There are many different facets like investing, saving money, retirement, real estate and so much more.

So don’t shy away from talking about money.  Ask questions.  Talk with people who know more than you.  Read and research what has you stumped.  And if you’re married, TALK to your spouse about money.  Look at your finances together, because you don’t want money to be the divide between you and your spouse.

Needless to say, we shouldn’t be silent when it comes to finances. The way we spend and save money must be addressed because money impacts every area of our lives. I wish this wasn’t the case, but finances make a daily impact on us and it’s our job to manage our finances well.  

It’s time to stop saying that we are not good with money. You can have a different future. You can stop generational poverty in your family.
Talk to your kids about money, ask people who are making wise financial decisions what they do, research on your own the topic.  Because if you want to see a better financial future for you and your children, you have to start being proactive.  

What is something you can start doing today to help your financial situation?  I’d love to hear your comment below!

 

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt.  I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.

This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there.  Every word is noteworthy.  “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:

ONE

Shame versus Guilt:

Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.

Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.

Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.

What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.

Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame.  She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.”  This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.

TWO

Developmental Milestones to Look for:

 

Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.

 

From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.

 

Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage.  What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.  

 

Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits.  Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them.  My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.

 

THREE

The Power of Play

Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.

This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.

FOUR

Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:

We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children.  Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner.  They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.

She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique.  Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed.  I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.

  

Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas.  This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.  

I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.  

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

I’m calling all you perfect parents out there, those with Ph.D.’s and parenting expert titles. If you have children that listen the first time you ask, who eat all the food on their plate, and who never have a tantrum, please do share your insights with us.

But for the rest of us out there, parenting can be a struggle of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And once you think you’ve got your parenting methods down, your child changes. And let’s not forget about adding more children into the mix with different temperaments and personalities. Our kids are constantly changing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can struggle parenting a moving target.

I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do try to be the best parent I can be. I think most parents would admit that they are trying to raise their kids to the best of their abilities. (I’m not referring to parents who are neglecting and abusing their children.) Yet, why do so many parents (including myself) feel like the way we are raising our kids isn’t good enough?  Most of us are feeling judged as a parent.

Parenting is challenging as is, and then the way we parent is often judged by othersThere are so many labels out there making parenting even tougher waters to navigate. Am I too much of a helicopter mom? Or am I a tiger mom? Maybe I’m just a #badmom and the list goes on and on. Labeling just divides us and creates parenting shame.  

Brene Brown says, “Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.” Isn’t that so true!  My mother-in-law always says parenting isn’t for wimps, and I can wholeheartedly agree with her.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling opposition in the way I raise my own kids. As parents, we have so many decisions to make for our children. Should we vaccinate? Circumcise or not? Breastfeed or formula feed? Sleep-train or not? Spank? Do time outs? What about sleepovers? Give screen-time or not? Eat organic food? Y’all this list is endless.

As parents we make decisions on behalf of our children all of the time- it’s our job. And that makes this parenting gig tricky. Often times our parenting decisions are different than the decisions our family and friends would choose. It’s easy to feel personally attacked when we see others parenting different than us, especially if they comment on the subject.

I’m not immune to those unpleasant comments that stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you’re a #badmom. I’ve had people confront me on hard issues like vaccinating my kids, circumcision, and so much more. Yes, I didn’t enjoy those conversations. At times, I second guessed our decisions that we were so adamant about.

But most of those conversations came from people who care about my kids. I doubt that they wanted to make me feel like a #badmom, they said what they said because they care. That being said, it’s hard to not take those comments personally. It feels like you’re being told you’re doing a bad job at parenting, and no one wants to hear that.

I don’t want to neglect the fact that sometimes we do need to change our parenting approach. If someone says something about how you parent that you don’t agree with, try not to take offense. There may be validity to what is being said.  If that’s the case, change what you’re doing.

We all should be teachable in every area of our lives. So, if someone has a helpful comment, use it. Our kids change so quickly, so we need to be open to changing our tactics. But if their comments aren’t valid or line up with what you and your spouse believe is best for your child, keep doing what you are doing and try not to get offended by it.

So How Do We Stop Feeling Judged as a Parent?

The sad reality is that I’m guilty of fueling this judgment fire myself. I used to have such strong convictions about sleep training to the point that I thought every parent should sleep-train. Hands down, the book “Babywise” helped me navigate the early years of my children’s lives. I thrived on the routine of the plan. Instead of feeling completely clueless when it came to parenting and what my infant needed, I felt confident in what to do. If you haven’t guessed, I love routines and schedules. Knowing when my kids napped gave me the freedom to plan my day.

Needless to say, my love of sleep training got out of hand. Because the Babywise method helped me so much, I thought I should start preaching about it as if it were gospel. I earnestly wanted others to reap the benefits I experienced, yet I’m pretty sure it didn’t come across that way. Looking back in my own life, I’m guessing that most people who push their philosophy or parenting techniques on others is doing it out of helpfulness, even if it doesn’t come across like it.

I began to notice that I started to look down on parents who didn’t have their kids on a schedule. My mind couldn’t fathom that kind of existence. Honestly, just thinking about the lack of routine stresses me out. Then I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t in the majority. Most parents don’t set eight timers on their phone to remind them when their child should be awake and go to bed. Many parents would probably cringe at the rigidness in sleep training. Nonetheless, I would tell every expectant mom all about how amazing Babywise was as I touted its praise.

Then my thinking shifted. I started having real conversations with moms who didn’t parent like me, and guess what? They are doing a fabulous job and they are trying their best. Just because the sleep-scheduling method I used worked well for me and my children, doesn’t mean that every child birthed into this world should be practicing the Babywise method.

It was a reality check for me. My narrow view shouldn’t be the only way, and could you imagine every parent parenting the same way? Goodness, our society would be so boring and predictable! I’ve started to recognize and correct myself when I start going down judgment ally. It’s a nasty journey that harms others and myself.

 

I love this quote by Brene Brown about parenting judgment. She says, “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene’s conclusion to the whole mom-shaming debacle is that we cast judgments on others because we aren’t comfortable or confident in the way we are parenting.

If you are feeling judged by the way you parent or feeling like you’re not good enough for the job, I want you to cling onto this. The truth in the matter is that God chose you, yes YOU to be the parent of your children. There is a reason your children are yours. God has equipped you to make those decisions for your children. Instead of playing the comparison game with all the other parents you see, lean into the fact that you are your child’s parent for a reason.

I truly believe that we need to stop viewing other parenting techniques and methods as the enemy that needs to be battled or debated to death. Instead of feeling like we have to have impenetrable armor and our parenting methods as our weapons, what if we became vulnerable and walked alongside other parents? What if we talked openly about our struggles without fear of feeling like a failing parent? Could you imagine having that kind of support even from parents who parent differently than you?

 

There is no Holy Grail parenting book or method that has all of the answers. Let’s stop viewing the way we parent as a competition. All parents struggle. We have good moments, and we have ones that we aren’t proud of. The thing is, we all are trying to raise our kids well, yet we see so many different ways to parent. It’s so easy to judge others who parent differently than we do and often times we feel like we are on the receiving end of judgment from other moms.  Check out my post all about mommy judgment here

So let’s quit labeling our parenting and feeling guilty for being a bad parent. What if instead of viewing other parenting ideas as competition, we gained insight from other perspectives? We need to focus on raising little humans that will be a positive influence on the world. We are the example our children see. So let’s stop the name-calling, judgments, and rude comments.  Let’s come alongside other parents as we are raising the next generation.

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

Santa is kinda controversial. We all know that most Christmas traditions include Santa, but every parent has to make that decision for their own family. We all want our kids to have a magical Christmas, but should Santa be in the mix?

I grew up without having Santa because my parents felt like they would be lying to me and my siblings. They wanted us to focus on the true reason for Christmas- Jesus. When I was growing up, I never felt like I was missing out without having Santa. 

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with Santa and enjoyed the whimsy of it all. He even sports a red t-shirt with Santa on it that says, “I Believe.” Ah yes, this is a recipe for a disagreement in the making. We had quite a few discussions before we landed on some middle ground, and honestly, I love how we ‘do’ Santa in our house.

So how did we reconcile our polar views (no pun intended)?  

My husband, who grew up with Santa, views him as a fun make-believe tradition that helps children exercise creativity. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I go along pretending that Santa is real, I’d be setting my kids up for disappointment.  What will happen when our kids eventually find out the truth? Will they start doubting other things we say that are real, like Jesus? 

So instead of the classic Santa approach of focusing on being good so you get presents, we are teaching our kids to BE Santa.

In reality, Santa is a modern-day parable of Jesus (if you tweak it right). Jesus is so generous to us and doesn’t expect or need anything in return. He meets our wants and desires even if we don’t say them out loud.  

We want our kids to practice BEING Santa to others. When our kids give to others, without expecting anything in return, they BECOME Santa. So instead of our kids getting tons of toys from Santa on Christmas morning, they are given the opportunity to give.

Let me put it plain and simple, this is how we DO Santa:

ONE

The Gift

Our kids get a little stocking from Santa with a few pieces of fruit in them, plus a card with a $5 bill. We didn’t do this with our son last year since he was only one, but we did it with our three-year-old daughter. The card tells our kids that they get to BECOME Santa.

The money they were given can’t be spent on themselves. They need to buy something for someone else (preferably someone in need) with that money.

TWO

Be Santa

Last year, we talked to our daughter about who she would like to BE Santa to.

At the time, one of the ladies in my weekly Bible Study had just passed away from breast cancer. My daughter would play every week with her children, while all the moms met up and shared life with each other.

My sweet girl wanted to be Santa to her four children and her husband. Let me tell you, it was a proud mom moment, and it was totally her idea.

THREE

Buy the Gifts

As you can guess, five dollars doesn’t go very far to help a family of five (you could use any amount), so we pretty much had two choices: The Dollar Store or Goodwill on their Monday $1 day. She chose Goodwill.

My daughter took her $5 and went up and down the aisles looking for the right color tags and what our wonderful friends’ kids would love.

She found a Little People princess castle, a big dump truck toy, a pretty dress, and BSU football shirts for the oldest boy and dad, all for a whopping grand total of $5. Our girl was so proud when she handed over her $5 bill (I paid the tax) to the Goodwill clerk.

FOUR

Preparing the Gifts

We came home and washed everything up and my sweet daughter chose to add some of her own Little People to go with the princess castle.

She ended up wrapping the presents as best she could on her own. Martha Stewart would cringe at the masking tape she used, but it’s the thought and effort that counts.

She colored them a card and everything. We made a meal and brought that over with the gifts ‘Santa’ (our daughter) wanted to give them.

FIVE

Giving the Gifts

Let me tell you, tears flowed by pretty much every adult there. My husband and I told the family the whole backstory. My sweet daughter was able to see their kids open the presents she worked so hard on. The kids loved their gifts. It was such a blessing to see the pure generosity from the heart of a child, even a three-year-old.

 

My kids will remember BEING Santa, and my hope is that this kind of generosity becomes their DNA. In our family mission statement, one of the Rich family traits is generosity, and BEING Santa gives our children the opportunity to practice giving.

For children, the classic way of doing Santa isn’t focused on generosity. Santa detracts from the real reason we celebrate Christmas, but BEING Santa aligns with the character of our Savior, and I’m all for that!!

We still read the occasional book about Santa, but our kids know that Rudolf and the whole gang is pretend. Our kids sat on Santa’s lap for pictures with our kids’ cousins, and we’re totally fine with that. But on our way to see Santa, I overheard my daughter telling her grandma that she IS Santa. Yes, my sweet child, you ARE Santa, and all of us should be.

Does your family do Santa? What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Let me know in the comments below…

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

I struggled with reading my Bible and praying for my kids consistently until I started prayer journaling.

The excuses kept piling up in my mind.  I was too busy with all the motherhood duties and if I’m honest, I didn’t want to wake up early to do it either. I wasn’t making devotion time and prayer a priority even though, I wanted it to be.  

My intention was to pray specifics for my children, for their future spouses, for their future and so much more, but I struggled with making it happen. My prayer life for my children drastically changed after I read the book “Praying Circles around Your Children” by Mark Batterson.

Batterson talks about how specific prayers prayed for us by our parents, grandparents, relatives, etc. has brought us to where we are today. This book convicted me to become more intentional in my prayer life and gave me practical ideas to pray consistently for my kids.

My biggest takeaway from “Praying Circles around Your Children” was to journal prayers in a Bible specifically for each child. This Bible will eventually be a graduation gift or a wedding gift for my children. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I had no idea that this could literally change my personal walk with God and help me be a better parent.

When I start my mornings reading the Bible and praying for my kids, I find that I treat them better. I am kinder and more understanding.

Grounding myself in God’s Word and praying through the Bible changes my mindset. My day goes so much better. I can’t recommend prayer journaling enough.

This is how I journal for my kids. You can adapt this to fit your lifestyle.

Prayer Journaling in 5 Easy Steps

ONE

Buy a Journaling Bible

I bought a journaling Bible for each of my kids. If you have several kids, don’t be overwhelmed by needing to fill multiple Bibles. You will get to it and it will give you more of an incentive to be consistently reading and writing in the Bible.

There are so many different journaling Bibles to choose from. I prefer the single-column journaling Bibles instead of the lines being on the bottom of the page. I like that my prayers line up with the chapter I am reading.

Choose a durable Bible cover like leather or a hardcover so it will last. If you have multiple kids, choose different designed Bibles to make it more personal for them and less confusing for you.

Don’t forget to choose a translation that you will want to be reading for years. I chose the ESV (English Standard Version) because I really enjoy it.

TWO

Ask God What Book(s) of the Bible to Read

Once you have the Bible, it is time to start. Choose which child’s Bible you would like to start with. I pray and ask God what book of the Bible I should read for that particular child.

I usually read and journal in my child’s Bible for about a month or two and then switch.  I read at least one book of the Bible or multiple shorter books and then I switch to my other child’s Bible.  My goal is to read the entirety of each of my kid’s Bibles before they graduate or get married.

THREE

Date Each Prayer Entry

I start by writing the date in the Bible. By simply adding the date, I have become more accountable and consistent in reading my Bible.  I don’t want my kids to see that I read a chapter and then read the next chapter a few weeks later.

This is a keepsake, so I like to add important events like a birthdays, deaths, etc. I normally write something about that before I start reading the passage.

FOUR

Underline What Jumps out at You

After I date the journal entry in my Bible, I then read one to two chapters a day. You could read whatever amount you would like.

I underline anything that stands out to me as I go. What you underline will be referred to when writing out the prayer. 

FIVE

Write out the Prayer 

I then write a prayer praying out the Bible verses I read for my child. I refer back to what I underlined. By doing this, I am praying specifics I would have never prayed normally for my kids.

To give you an example, when I was reading Ruth I was praying that my daughter would have a great relationship with her future mother-in-law. I would have never thought to pray for my 3-year-old daughter’s future mother-in-law. That is what is so amazing about this journaling process.

I can’t tell you enough how beneficial this prayer journaling has been for me spiritually and as a mother. I want to be a woman of prayer and I want my kids to see me reading my Bible. I want to lead them by example. This process accomplishes both of those desires.

Each of the Bible’s I have for my kids is truly precious. They are some of my most valued belongings. I love this prayer journaling concept. I would like to eventually have a journaling Bible for my husband. How different would a marriage be if you prayed every morning for your husband!! I also want to continue this tradition with my future grandchildren.

If you are struggling with being consistent in your prayer life and reading the Bible, try this. Prayer journaling can be transformational for your kids and you.

How to Create a Family Conversational Hub

How to Create a Family Conversational Hub

How to Create a Family Conversational Hub

Did you know that according to new research, American families get only 37 minutes of quality time together each day? This statistic is staggering. How can we create intentional routines to get back more quality time with our families?
Look back to how you are spending your family time right now. Where does your family usually congregate? Do you all come together at the dinner table, the T.V., or somewhere else? It doesn’t just have to be one place. All families have at least one place or activity they do that brings everyone together.
Most of the time, we don’t put much thought into where our family comes together. But what if we started being deliberate and choose activities and places that would make our families thrive. What would that look like?
Creating a family conversational hub will encourage a deeper connection with our kids and give more opportunities for meaningful discussions. Learn how to create your own family conversational hub that fits your families DNA.

How to Create a Family Conversational Hub

ONE

What do You Want Your Family to Look Like?

Dream with your spouse (and kids if you would like) about what you want your family time to look like. Look back at the times where you felt most connected with your family. What did those times look like? What were you doing? In my family, my husband and I decided that we want to make conversations and memory-making a priority in our family and not screen time.

TWO

How Can I Turn my Vision for my Family into a Reality?

Look back to what you want your family to look like. What are some doable steps to get there? Each family is different and our priorities are different. From my family’s decision, we needed to figure out how to make screen time not our go-to and find activities that would foster conversations and lasting memories for our family.

We brainstormed places and activities where we have had great conversations without a screen distracting us. We came up with three ideas: sitting in a hot tub talking, sitting around a campfire, and taking hikes in nature.

THREE

Making Your New Family Reality Happen

Once you have tangible ideas on how to make your vision your reality, how do you get started? If you need to buy something and/or take something away to make some positive change in your family, DO it!

Our ultimate goal was to get a hot tub, but it wasn’t in the budget. So we started out buying an inexpensive gas firepit from Costco. We called it our poor-man’s hot tub. We chose a gas fire pit because we knew that if we had to go through the process of starting a fire, collecting and splitting logs, it just wasn’t going to happen. The convenience factor of just flipping a switch to get an instant fire is lovely, plus we don’t smell of smoke afterward- win-win!

Since our fire pit is portable, we have had a fire in our front lawn and invite neighbors and of course, we have used it in our backyard. Our fire pit is a conversation hub and gives us the rustic camping feel without the effort and planning. Plus, I’m not ready to go all-out camping with my little ones yet.

To our great surprise, we landed a crazy deal and bought a hot tub. We weren’t planning on buying a hot tub anytime soon (our plan was to buy one in 5-7 years). But, I found one while I was on the NextDoor App for $200 and it was in great condition. So, we bought it and LOVE it. We have the temperature down low enough that my family goes in the evenings or I take the kids in with me in the morning. My husband and I will go in when the kids go to bed. We talk about our day and everything without distractions. Quality time is my number one love language, and by having the hot tub, we are able to spend more quality time as a family and with my husband.

We also started going on more walks and hikes as a family. Exploring nature is so much fun and we want our kids to experience the outdoors. We live near many paved trails that are ideal for strollers and biking. Our goal this summer is to take our family biking.

What or where is your new conversation hub going to be? It’s time to turn your vision for your family into a reality. Don’t expect a quick-fix or that your family is going to be perfect. We aren’t perfect, and no one is. Keep working on creating your new families normal, and soon enough it will become your families way of life.

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