Living with intentionality and an update on my goals.

This last weekend, we completed our second successful road trip! We’ve taken others with the littles, but the travel time was not so ….”successful”. Our magic button this time was the DVD player gifted to us by friends, that kept them calm for our 6 hours in the car Saturday. My husband and I actually got to…..(gasp) talk! This gives hope for future road trips. 🙂

One of the things we discussed is how our baby will soon be too big for her bassinet, and need to move in with her siblings. How can my baby be this big already? I wish the house would just clean itself so I could snuggle the littles all day everyday as they grow way too fast!

The problem with her growing so fast is we currently don’t have room for another bed. We have two small rooms for the two kiddos which also function as the office and nursery. So some creative arranging and downsizing must happen within a month or two. Eeek! This is definitely my area to grow in! I’m not good at letting go of things. It also means I must be focused with how I spend time, as daily life must be juggled with preparing for this next stage.

I love this verse from our Bible study this week 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind refers to a secure, sound, disciplined, calm, self-controlled, prioritized mind. Definitely what I need with these littles and preparing for each stage of their development! Did you also notice that it says “God has not given us a spirit of fear”? Remember, my word this year is courage, courage to act or speak what is right without fear of approval. I ‘waded into the waters’ with speaking at our last mom’s group, and next week I’ll take another step as I share the devotional to start our meeting. I’m excited and nervous this group is still new to me. God is so faithful to bless those steps when we obey. Last week at our co-op, I got to pray with a mama who was doing some medical testing the next day. Life is too short to live quietly, without making deep connections with those around us.

Here’s an update on my goals this year:

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist Home and Peter Pan.

I’m currently reading Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser. It definitely makes you think about holiday expectations, and living intentionally and with grace. I need to read faster though! There’s three books in route to me that I couldn’t resist!

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books.

Update: We’ve been working through our letters with practice sheets, videos and games. Today we were working on letter I.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Update: Now, the trick to being able to identify things is… I have to read the books. (sigh, there’s never enough time to read all the books I want) Hopefully this summer I can practice identifying plants/animal prints.

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: I have a box in my closet where I stick things to donate. It has a couple items in there.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update: So far I’m learned to make yogurt, bread in the dutch oven, homemade cream of chicken soup, and my husband has made pretzels. I’ll have to share those photos in another post.

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: I’ve been using up containers from the freezer, and tossed some things out today. My husband has been watching YouTube videos of a British chef which has inspired us to be more creative with our meal plans.

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: We haven’t done anything big yet, besides our ‘school time”, nature journals, and birthday/Valentines day cards.

How about you? Where have you used courage lately? Have you made progress on a goal? I’d love to hear! Please comment below!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

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2nd book of the year and breath your own oxygen first.

I’m feeling hopeful for completing my reading goal this year. Especially, since I just downloaded our library’s reading apps which give you access to tons of e books and audio-books that you can “check out” without even leaving your house! I just finished reading/listening to Peter Pan, the original version. It is sooooo not like the Disney version!

I was surprised by the violence in the book, and honestly read parts of it very fast hoping my preschooler would miss those details. We are doing a book study for our co-op, and have some fun activities planned to celebrate reading the book as a group.  (ideas for character costumes anyone?)  But us moms learned a lesson: Review the book before choosing it for our group book. I ended up listening to the rest of it, then telling my kiddo a summery of each chapter. I think we’ll watch the movie before the party to gain a better picture of the whole story, without the violence and extensive details. The original version is very, very, very detailed and can get kind of long to read especially in the first couple chapters. That being said, it was interesting to note some things about human nature: most all of the characters longed for a mother to care for them (even if they were tough), we long to be needed, our pride gets in the way of good decisions, and we love adventures.

I’ve been trying to be more disciplined with reading my own books.  Otherwise, I get to the end of a week and realize I’m still on the same page I was last week! 🙂 Life….it has a way of sneaking past us!  One of the many habits I need to develop is taking a few moments each day for something life giving. In the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy world, it’s called ‘mother culture’.   It’s the idea of reading books, participating in hobbies, etc to feed your mind/heart.

On an airplane, the emergency instructions remind us to put on our own oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs. If we don’t have that supply going, we won’t last long to help others.  Admittedly, I have not done well in this area. It’s so easy to run around busy, caring for everyone’s needs while neglecting my own. Then I get to the end of the day, and feel wiped out and cranky. I have nothing left for them, because I spent it all without receiving any input. It’s been so cold here, that I went outside to run my van for 10 minutes so the battery wouldn’t die. When I came in, I commented to my husband that those 10 minutes were the most alone time I had experienced all day. 🙂

Here’s some life giving habits I’m trying to develop:

1. Read Bible/prayer time in morning: this habit has been my daily routine for years.  But as my oldest likes to start the day between 6:30 and 7:15, I’m reminded that this must be FIRST in my day if I hope to have it be a quiet time (without preschool chatter in the background).

2. Drink more water: I’m not good at this. Do you have any tips for me? Today I’m trying out my new fruit infuser water bottle and hoping it’s more motivating.

3. SIT DOWN to eat lunch with my kiddos, instead of snacking while I continue house projects. This calms my mind (pausing for a moment) and feeds my belly.

4. Choose something ‘life-giving’ as soon as the 3rd kiddo goes to sleep. The margin of time between getting the last kiddo to lay down for a nap, and when the 1st kiddo wakes up from their nap (also known as the ‘magic hour’), can be short. So if I want to do anything ‘life-giving’ (write, read, organizational project, etc), I must be intentional with that time.

How about you?  What personal habits or boundaries do you have to make sure you are not running on empty? Please share!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

The way to big things is little steps

The way to big things is little steps….but oh, how those steps are tiresome!  I’m sure I’ve written about it before, but it’s been on my mind again. I want big things!  No, I don’t have dreams of climbing mountains (though the view would be amazing) or founding my own corporation.  My goals are a little more…..plain.

Honestly, the biggest goal each day is to survive with all the littles and pets in a healthy condition, and to not have the house torn apart when my husband gets home. And then if I have time for something extra, I’ll attempt something from the goal list for the week. But survival…that is the basic goal. 🙂

This last week, it was so cold in our house due to below zero weather, that we were baking, cooking, pressure cooking etc to warm things up.  My kiddos love “helping” me bake, so I had a step stool and kid seat situated so they could be up at the counter. Dumping in ingredients and mixing it up are their favorite parts. This time I let them put muffin batter “into” the muffin pans. Notice that I said “into”…because when you give a two year old a spoon and tell him to put the batter “into” the pan….it will go everywhere on  the pan in his attempt to get it into the pan! All the while he’ll keep telling you in his sweet little voice…”Make! Make!”

Honestly, my husband questioned (and the thought crossed my mind) if it was worth it to let the kids help make the muffins due to all the mess that ensued. But the way to big things is little steps. If I want my kiddos to be capable helpers in the kitchen as they get older, then it starts with learning basic steps now. Stir gently, put the batter in the pan, pour slowly, and lots of waiting.

We all want to be the big ones, the ones people write stories about. But do we ever stop to think about how much little is in the big?  How many stones had David practiced throwing since he was a little boybefore his famous stone hit the big giant?  How much time did Mozart or Bach practice before anyone knew who they were? How many normal, everyday people impacted the lives of George Washington, Martin  Luther King Jr., and Billy Graham over the course of their lives to help them achieve great things?

The way to big things is through little steps.

 

If I want my little ones to be able to care for their own homes someday, then I let my toddler drag the kid size broom around “sweeping”.  I have them help put away the kid dishes, set the table, put away laundry, etc. Clearly, it’s much faster, neater, quieter, and less stressful if I do it myself. But if I don’t allow for the time consuming little steps to happen, the big goals will never be achieved.
If I want to finish 10-12 books this year, I need to read this page today. If I want to lose the postpartum weight, then today I’ll eat some vegetables. If I want to grow in knowing God more, then today I’ll read my Bible. If I want follow Jesus’ path for my life, then today I’ll ask Him what He wants me to do.
When I taught school, we celebrated each small bit of growth as a big accomplishment. There’s a lot of little steps between counting to ten, and double-digit division. We had to break it down into small steps, that built on each other until you reached the big goal. Each small accomplishment meant you were further down the track to where you needed to be.
Life’s greatest achievements are broken into a series of little steps and small acts combined with perseverance. So often I feel overwhelmed looking at the big picture and wondering how I’ll ever get there. But the secret isn’t some magical program you can buy off the shopping channel.  It’s in small steps combined with great perseverance.  It’s in faithfully doing the mundane.

PS. Those muffins turned out great!  So I’m hoping that the kids’ character will turn out just as wonderful with time. 😉  Little steps, guys….little steps.

Goals

I love this quote from my new planner!

I have so many ‘wishes’, bucket lists, ‘some days’….(whatever you’d like to call them) that I can’t make plans for all of them because there just isn’t physically enough time for them. There’s also the danger of wanting to do all the things, so I don’t actually do anything well. Goals are tricky things.  You have to make it high enough to have something to aim for while making it attainable. We have to “know our limits“.

This year, I’m trying something different. I’m trying to do a list of specific goals and keep track of my progress. But my view of goals is very grace filled. 🙂  I’m going to set a goal and if I get anywhere in range, I’ll count that as a success.  See???  Lot’s of grace!  With all the littles and the pets around here, you have to have breathing room on your goals.   I’m also going to try reporting back on progress, so I’m accountable for it.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.

Les Brown

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

This month I read  Cozy Minimalist Home  by Myquillyn Smith.  Loved it! You can read my review of it here. I’m currently reading Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser.  It definitely makes you think about holiday expectations, and living intentionally and with grace. 

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books and maxed out the reserve limit at the library multiple times. (When they have over 300 Christmas books for little ones, you have to check out a lot to narrow down your list of favorites for next year) 🙂 Her new favorite thing is books with CD’s so she can follow along with the story instead of waiting around for me to read.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts

 

And these ones Winter Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts,

 Flower Finder by May Theilgaard Watts,

Track Finder by Dorcas Miller.

Now, the trick to being able to identify things is… I have to read the books. (sigh, there’s never enough time to read all the books I want) Hopefully this summer I can practice identifying plants/animal prints.

4. Get rid of 50 things

Update: I passed on 1 cookbook in a book swap.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update: So far I’m learned to make yogurt, bread in the dutch oven, homemade cream of chicken soup, and my husband has made pretzels.  I’ll have to share those photos in another post.

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

I’ll be posting some progress updates on Instagram so be sure to check out that page. How about you?  What are your goals or dreams for this year?  Comment below so we can cheer each other on.  Remember….grace filled. Make it something that is attainable and life giving. And if there is any way I can help, please let me know.

Sojourning together,

Felicia

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1st book of the year and my word for the year

The last couple years, I set the goal of completing twelve books (not including the million children’s books I read). Last year was a busy year with being sick a lot and having a baby, and I didn’t meet my goal. But I’m hopeful this year I’ll be much closer to the goal!  I just finished Cozy Minimalist Home  by Myquillyn Smith and loved it! It’s a home decor book, so way out of my usual genre. I skimmed her first book (The Nesting Place) last year, and appreciated her practical approach to decorating. Let me tell you, this second book was even more spot on. I posted a number of quotes on Instagram (follow me @sojourner_by_his_grace)  that hit the spot. I looooved the section on being a home cultivator and not a stuff organizer.

“A curator always keeps in mind the overall goal and purpose of a space. She knows there are many good and beautiful things that can be included in a space, but she always keeps the interests of her people at the forefront when making her choices. That’s all design is-making rational, informed decisions about the best things to use in your home based on your needs and personal preferences. We need homes that truly serve us and our families..” Our homes serving us, not us serving our homes.

We often collect more and more things in an effort to create the beauty we long for. Or we are ashamed of our space, because it’s “not ready”.  In this book, she encourages us to find the balance between the cozy and the minimal.  Both require courage. The courage to purge unnecessary items to allow your space to breath and the courage to finish a room (good enough counts as done).

Speaking of courage, do you ever pick a ‘Word for the Year’?  I’ve never joined that group until this year and so far I’m doing great with my words…..in January. We’ll see how long I follow through with this. 🙂  The idea is to pick a word or phrase  that sums up how you want to develop as a person that year. People may choose  words like rest, trust, excellence, faith, grace, basic, yes (to more adventures) etc. At first I thought my word was balance, because I’m constantly trying to find the balance between kids/spouse, chores/rest, healthy eating/easy meals, etc. But somehow I don’t think I’m ever going to find the perfect balance. Life is like a teeter-totter where you stand with one foot on each side of the middle bar and keep adjusting your feet to keep it “balanced”. It requires constant movement to be perfectly balanced.

Through some events and personal reflection, it became clear that ‘courage’ was actually my goal. Far too often I live with a fear of missing out or a fear of what others think. As a mom, there’s also the constant fear that I’m not doing a good enough job. These hinder my ability to create a healthy balance in my life and for my family. Instead of choosing what is ‘best’, I may choose something out of need for approval. Or I may make a choice out of fear I won’t have enough later.

This year as I keep that word ‘courage’ in mind, I want to develop courage to do what is best for my family despite fears that it won’t measure up in other people’s eyes. This courage will also place my/our needs above my fear of missing out on all the cool stuff everyone else does (I’m super sure everyone else is always doing super cool stuff all the time) :-).  I also need courage to speak up or share out of my comfort zone. This year, I joined a local mom’s group which gives my kiddos the opportunity to get to know other kids, and I get some adult time. Two different meetings I felt the urge to speak up, but didn’t because this group is new to me. Afterwards, I felt so frustrated with myself! I need courage to be obedient to share what’s on my heart.

How about you? What lesson are you wanting to learn this year? Have you ever picked a word for the year?

Blessings,

Felicia

Know your limits

I wish I was a super hero….. young and with unlimited time and energy.  I have such big dreams for what I want to accomplish each week, but I fall short of those goals every time. This last week I’ve been especially mindful of my new personal limits.  From Sunday through Wednesday, I had pretty rough headaches which were (I think) still part of my recovery from having this cute little baby . Then Tuesday, I invited a friend over to bake cookies and bread with us. I was such a mess with a bad headache, trying to care for the baby, help the crying toddler, bake/decorate cookies, bake bread, and entertain my guest. It all turned out fine and everyone had fun, but I was exhausted! At the end of the day, I told my husband “I’m realizing my limits are lower than they used to be.”

In order to say “yes” to the best things, you have to say “no” to other things. And because I’ve said ‘yes’ to three beautiful children, I have to say ‘no’ to other good things.  I don’t have the mental capacity or time to do it all. With each little one I have, and family activity we commit to, my limits for other activities decrease.

We each have limits that fluctuate through the seasons and years.  Sickness, moves, having a baby, being exhausted from toddlers, caring for aging family members, time sensitive projects, emotionally rough seasons…..all of this affects our limits on what we can say ‘yes’ to.

This doesn’t make me a bad mom. Though I often feel like it because I can’t keep up with all the books to read, learning activities I should be doing, etc.  (If I can just keep up with the dishes, I’ll be happy!) I recently compared myself with someone else who started a project similar to mine, and felt like a loser because of her success rate.  Until I realized that it wasn’t our ability, but rather what we had chosen to say ‘yes’ to. My strongest ‘yes’s’ will always be to my family and keeping my littles at home.  Because of this, I can’t say ‘yes’ to as much, nor be able to give as much time to my personal projects. This makes me a better mom, better friend, better person to know my limits and not allow myself to needlessly run to the point of exhaustion (though there will still be moments).

This Christmas, and really….all year round, instead of comparing our holiday or our regular days with some invented standard and feeling frustrated with not measuring up. Let’s rejoice in our ‘yes’s’, and do our best to fulfill them.

For some who have recently lost someone, that may mean taking a break from holiday festivities this year. For me, it means less cards sent, less baking, less pretty packages (that will get ripped open by toddlers if left unsupervised), and more time spent creating memories.

Let’s choose the best yes’s, know our limits, and be ok with the no’s.  Let’s do our best at what is most important, and let the rest go.

Merry Christmas!  May your weekend be peaceful and full of the wonder of His birth and time with dear ones.

Savor

This last weekend we celebrated “Thanksmas”, our Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday joined together since not everyone will be able to travel back for Christmas.  The kids are enjoying their new toys and we are thankful for the new memories made as our family grows. Our holidays used to be quieter without the younger 5 grandchildren, but we are so thankful for them. Holidays are now spent differently, with kids constantly interrupting conversations, and diapers needing to be changed. Meals are a lot more “active” with five little ones around the table. Thankfully, we were able to simultaneously nap at least 3 of the 5 younger kiddos so the guys could squeeze a board game into our magical “quiet hour”. 🙂

As we are still cleaning up from Thanksgiving and preparing to take down the fall decor and make way for Advent starting this weekend, the word that comes to mind is ‘savor’. Too easily, I get busy with all that needs to be done and I forget to simply savor that moment. This last weekend, I was thankful to have many moments with my sister in-law while our children played together. We only see them twice a year, so I ‘savored’ those conversations.

(my mom’s beautiful pantry)

I also savored the moments with my mom and sister spent in the kitchen preparing food for all of us, or cleaning up the never ending pile of dishes. Those moments are what make the depth of relationship.  My brother, in commenting on some changes we’ve made since adding in more kiddos, said something worth remembering. He said it’s not the place we meet, but the people that are the main thing. It’s easy to focus on the activities or space around us and miss the people.

Everyday, I read bedtime stories at least once or twice, but today I noted the soft hand of my toddler resting on mine while I read. Everyday, I feed my baby multiple times, but today I worked on making her smile afterwards. This weekend is the beginning of Advent, and I’m super excited to start reading our huge pile of Christmas books from the library, read our “Names of Jesus” countdown chain each day, put up our Jesse Tree ornaments, and our try out our DIY Shepherd on the Search.  My goal is to ‘savor’ this season with the excitement of a three year old.  Which, if you know a three year old, is pretty intense.

How do you plan to ‘savor’ this season or the time spent with people around you?

Longing for another home….

I have a list of characteristics on my “In my next home” list. Do you make those lists too? In my next home, I want room for a play room, space for chickens, space so the geckos don’t have to live in our room, room for a second dog to keep ours company, etc. The secret is in finding a balance between having goals, and being content in your place in life.

The dream gives you motivation to make the most of your season. But I have to remember that I still live in the present, that the dream is ‘not yet’.

When my dog goes crazy because of all the foot traffic on our street, or the neighbor kids ring the doorbell and leave, or I have to downsize the garden because I can’t keep hauling my littles to the community garden surrounded by busy roads, or I keep throwing away produce clippings instead of feeding my dream chickens, or I run out of space to keep the preschool materials organized, or I have to explain to my toddler that the people in the parked car right out side our front gate are making bad decisions, or our firewood is stolen……..then my dream calls me with a fierceness.

But I live in the now…..and how I live now will determine if I will be ready for the dream when it comes to pass. Or if I will look back with regrets at how I wished away the time.

It’s like waiting for this baby to come.   It takes forever!  The sickness, tiredness, emotions, and back pain make me feel like I will finish this marathon crawling the last 100 feet to cross the finish line.  I told my husband that I just wanted to be left alone so I could binge watch shows and eat ice cream for the next couple weeks…because I’m so weary.   That dream of holding our little one calls me with a fierceness.

But I live in the now……where toddlers still need to be raised, dishes washed, people invested in, and social events coordinated. And how I live now affects my life when that dream comes to pass. I don’t want to wish this time away nor have regrets.

Jesus is coming back! Each night I pray with earnestness for that to happen soon. As I see footage remembering 9/11, or hear weather reports for the hurricane hitting the coast line, or even just read the news…I long with a fierceness for Him to return. But I live in the now…where people still need to eat, be loved, encouraged, healed and given the good news of His return. He offers victory over bondage and sin today, and the promise of eternity with Him.

How I live now has an eternal impact. I don’t want to wish this time away.

Let your dream fuel your motivation to make the most of your current season. Do all you can to be faithful in the present moment, here and now….so when that moment comes you’ll have no regrets.  You can embrace that moment knowing you were faithful to complete all you were called to do in your present season.

The Better Mom: A book review

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered a copy of “The Better Mom: Growing in Grace between Perfection and the Mess” by Ruth Schwenk.  The title intrigued me and I respected many of the ladies who wrote endorsements in the book. Honestly, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! 🙂

(Proof of all the pages I loved!)

This book isn’t a ‘how-to’ manual for being a mom or tricks on how to perfect our motherhood. Rather, it deals with our hearts and points us to the One who has power to make us a “better mom”.  The chapter titles were rather fitting!  They included “I miss my friends!”, “No one appreciates all that I do!”, “I need some alone time”, and “I have no idea what I’m doing!”.  I totally understand those feelings! 🙂

One of the sections I love in the book talked about what we feel we are missing out on when we focus on our kids.

“I need the reminder, so well stated by Andy Stanley (cited in book), ‘Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.’  At different times and in different ways, God has reminded me of what kind of ambition matters most. Our greatest ambition is not getting the next promotion, the next sale, or another paycheck. Our greatest ambition is raising up another generation of children to live for God’s glory and the good of the world. As moms, we are not just getting by. We are fulfilling God’s mission and purpose by shaping kids today for the sake of the world tomorrow. ……..What we are doing counts both outside the home and inside the home, but who we are becoming is just as important.” ~ Ruth Schwenk

It’s not just being a mom, it’s about contributing to society’s future by investing in it’s future members. It’s the calling given each of us personally by God.

I also loved the chapter I finished yesterday called “I want to make a difference”. We each have gifting/talents that it feels like we are wasting when we are busy with the mundane everyday details of life. I have many dreams including writing books or courses, that simply don’t fit into my dishes, diapers and toddler season. In this chapter, Ruth emphasized that there are seasons to life. The key phrase is “not yet”.  Dreams that don’t fit in this season, simply are “not yet”. God has missions for us to complete today…but they aren’t the only missions God will give us. He has future plans for us as we move into different seasons.

I’m thankful to Zondervan and Booklook Bloggers for letting me receive a complementary copy of “The Better Mom” for review purposes. As you can tell by my folded corners, there were many loved pages! This book will definitively go on my recommended list, and in my collection to loan out to others!

936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting (a book review)

When you start a new book, it’s a risky relationship. I hesitantly turn the first couple pages as I decide if this is my new best friend or if I’m going to hurry through it just to mark it off my list.  Well 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting is my new best, best, best friend!

Look at that!  See all the dog-eared pages?  (PS. why is it called dog-eared?) There were literally tons of quotes and thoughts I wanted to remember and be able to come back to.  As I read through the pages, I got so excited about this vision of intentional parenting and really…intentional living. Parts of it I read aloud to my husband or simply gave him my summary of it.

Eryn Lynum writes 42 mini chapters revolving around a life event that showed her an eternal principle. She discusses topics such as spending time in nature, dealing with anger, having a house filled with laughter, helping kiddos learn to entertain themselves, setting boundaries between work time and play time, being mindful of what our kids observe us holding the most (our phone, a book or their hand), investing in a child’s dreams/interests, building memories, and many other topics.

The premise of the book is that with each child we are (ideally) given 936 weeks from birth to age 18, and our question is: “How will we spend them?”  I say ‘ideally’ as time is never guaranteed to us.  Some may only have one penny or 237 with which to invest. The author was given a jar of 936 pennies at her son’s dedication, which started her journey of being intentional as she transferred a penny each week from the future jar to the ‘time spent’ jar.

I love her perspective at the beginning of the book.

“As I counted them out, I placed them into the new jar, and this is when it hit me-we had not lost those weeks. We had used them We were using them for the creation of something beautiful. These pennies, and the weeks they represent, were not being cast to the wind. They were being invested. And we wanted to invest them wisely.” (Counting Time, pg. 18)

I haven’t been on this parenting journey very long, so I have much to learn. I’m thankful for books like this one that give me vision for how it could be. This book gives me goals and dreams for how I want to intentionally invest each one of my pennies. Things like listening carefully to my children’s dreams and taking steps to help them pursue them, recognizing the beauty in the simple moments such as our “Poetry Tea Times”, setting down my adult tasks or goals to enter into their world, and being careful what I communicate through actions, what’s constantly in my hands, and through my words so they hear my love for them loud and clear.

How will you invest your 936 pennies?

I was given this book by Bethany House Publishing for review purposes as part of their blogger program. However, all of the opinions were completely mine.