FREE Printable Advent Calendar that Reminds us the Reason for the Season

 

I didn’t grow up in a home that made Jesus part of our Christmas. Don’t get me wrong we had a great time every year. Now, as I am the mom and my faith in God has grown exponentially, I feel compelled to make Jesus a big part of our Christmas season. So I decided to learn why we celebrate the advent season.

 

Where Advent Comes From


Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means coming. Originally there was little connection between advent and Christmas. It wasn’t until the 6th century that the Romans tied Advent to the coming of Christ. Then in the Middle Ages Advent was linked to the Christmas Season. Today, Advent last for the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. The first two Sundays are to look forward to His second coming. The second two Sundays are to look back at His first coming.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

 

Printable Advent


I looked at all the advent calendars at local stores and online. None of them seemed to be just what I wanted. So I decided to create my own advent calendar. The kids and I went to the Hobby Lobby and picked out some cute envelopes, stickers and clothes pins that had numbers on them. Then we spent a night creating our own advent calendar. I printed out our daily scripture and activity cards and placed them inside each envelope, along with a little treat in some of then. Then we strung our cards up on a string. And just like that, we had our own, fun, hands-on advent calendar that would remind us of the reason for the season while also having quality family time. Please print and enjoy.

Advent cards

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.

Where Has All the Thankfulness Gone?

 

I was talking with my husband last night about how many moms that I know, that want to quit homeschooling. It broke my heart to look into their eyes and see their pain as they discussed the idea of giving up and sending their kids back to public school, (or to some sort of institution for the first time). Each time I hear their stories, I pray that God will give me the wisdom to talk them out of their decision, but more times than not I do not know what to say. But last night as I was talking to my husband, God helped me to realize that sometimes our calamities are from a perspective of unthankfulness. Now I do not mean that in an unrespectful way to any mom who is struggling in their lives, but when God spoke to me about our lack of thankfulness, he was even talking to me.

 

Our Perspective Needs to Change


“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in

Christ Jesus.”  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

“And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  ~ Colossians 3:17

 

The word thank, in various forms, is in the Bible over 130 times. Asking us to be thankful, to give thanks, to have thanksgiving and more. Even Jesus himself prayed to God 5 times in the Bible, thanking God his Father. How much more thankful should we be then!?

I know as a homeschooling mom it is so easy to complain about having to do the dishes for the 100th time that week. Or you look at the laundry that is a mountain on your couch and wonder when you are going to have time to get that done. Maybe it’s Monday and you dread doing school work with the kids for the whole week. Whatever your circumstances are they could always be worse.

Most of us live in a house that has running water. A house that keeps us warm and dry when the weather is horrible. We have a bed to sleep in at night. We have food in our bellies. And many other amenities that people around the world would love to have. Since we have had these priveleges in our life since we were born, we tend to take them for granted. I know when I go to brush my teeth, I am not in awe that I can just turn a handle and water comes out. I have become desensitized to the wonderful blessings that God has given me.

 

How to Change Your Perspective


1. Spend Time in God’s Word

So how do we change our perspective, it all starts with spending time in God’s Word. God reminds us that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. He died a horrible death for us sinners. Sinners that are still sinners today. How God’s grace has covered us, through our whole lives. Yet we tend to take that for granted too.

Being able to read my Bible, has felt like a chore some days or a  something to check off for the day, instead of something that I need, like air. I live in a country, where for now, I can freely read my Bible. I can write this blog post without worrying someone will come in my home and arrest me. I get to read God’s Word and the delight that wells up in my heart reminds me of the awesome powers of our God.

Reading the Bible also helps to me to renew my mind.

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing

you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

 

It is harder than it seems to not want to live like the rest of the world does. To want, to demand, to be selfish and have things done the way that you want them done. However, this is not how God wants us to live. Trust me, if you wake up everyday and spend time in the Bible, it will help you to reset your mommy meter for the day, which is what God wants us to do. Rely on Him to help us to be the parents that we cannot be on our own.

 

2. Living Your Life For Others

I do not know how many days that I wake up with a check list in my head. I need to get out of bed, work on my website, take a shower, get the kids out of bed, eat breakfast, feed the animals and all before 8:30. My day starts with the mentality that everything is about ME. All I think about is what I need to do for the day. Then, there are days that I get out of bed and spend time in God’s Word allowing my heart and eyes to open up to what He wants from me for the day.

It is so easy to live a life of checklists, not even paying attention to the world around us, including our kids. Those days when I do not pay attention to my kids and wonder why they are upset easily and stressed out. It’s because mom is too busy completing her checklist to take time out for them, leaving them feeling less than loved. I know that if my husband treated me like that, when I needed to really talk to him about something that was bothering me, I would feel angry and unloved. All of this could be avoided if we woke up each day, spent time with God and then asked Him what He needed us to do that day.

But what about all the things that I need to do? How am I suppose to get all the things done that I need to get done, if I am spending time with God or asking Him what He wants me to do for the day?? Easily, with patience, love and grace. God covers our whole day for us with grace if we allow Him. Grace that allows us to rely on Him for our strength. Grace that loves us even when we do not deserve it. Grace that opens our eyes to see the world through God’s eyes. A world that is in need of being loved.

So lets start living our lives each day for God.

 

3. JOY

This is a word that we use all the time in our house. “What does JOY mean?” “It stands for Jesus, others then yourself.” Even as my kids tell me what the word means, it reminds me of my own selfish nature. The ME, ME, ME merry-go-round that I can live on, if I am not careful.

 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first greatest 

commandment. And the second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets

hang on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40

 

Living your life for Jesus (God), then others and yourself last can change your whole perspective on life.

 

Carrying This into our Homeschooling Life


So our first move needs to be that God is put first into our lives, so that we can be the best mom that we can be. The mom that has patience when her kids have been fighting all day. The mom that takes time to listen to her kids, when all she wants to do is hide. The mom that has those beautiful words of wisdom in times of need. The mom that holds it all together at home and still makes time to help others. I don’t know about you but I need God to do all of this.

And when those thoughts about quitting homeschooling arise, we will face them with the certainty of prayer.

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ~ Philippians 4:6

 

When we come to those crossroads, not knowing which way to go, just give it to God. He sees the bigger picture when we cannot. And knowing what form of education our children should have is a plan only God knows.

 

How do you cope with homeschooling when things get rough??

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.

You Can Not Know the Intent of Their Heart

 

 

The kids are fighting again. I instantly yell for them to come into the kitchen where I am washing the dishes. I am tired, annoyed and frustrated by this point in the day. I am not interested in listening to my kids for “Why,” they are fighting. All I want to do is to finish the dishes and take a break. So when they get into the kitchen, (both are screaming and still fighting,) I explode. “I am tired of all the fighting. Jenna, you are 9 years old, cut it out, grow-up and stop teasing your brother. How could you hit him? You are suppose to protect him!! I have had it with you!! GO TO YOUR ROOM!!” Then I look at my 6 year old son, who is still crying and say, “I can’t take you crying anymore. You need to toughen up and quite acting like a baby. You can GO TO YOUR ROOM TOO!!!”

As they walk away, I justify why I had every right to use those words with my kids. How dare they keep interrupting my day. I have so many things to get done. I do not have time to keep listening to them tell me how the other one is being mean, why they hit each other, why they are yelling. I need to get my checklist done, like yesterday!!

Sitting In a Pew of Reality


The following Sunday, I sat in the pew at church and listen to the pastor tell me we were going to be reading Matthew 7: 1-6 and talking about how, opinions can be a dangerous thing, I thought that sounded like a good topic. Little did I know that God was aiming right for my heart.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For God will judge you as you judge

others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 

And why worry about a speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own?

How can you think of saying to your brother, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in 

your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the 

log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your brother’s eye.”

(Matthew 7:1-5)

My heart just sank. If you go back and replace the word brother with children you will see why. Here I was trying to get my kids to follow God. To have a right heart with God and I was being the worst role model ever. I was yelling at them and then telling them not to yell at each other. I was calling them names and putting them down, but, I expected them to be nice. I wasn’t taking the time to listen to them, but they better be listening to me. How could I raise Godly children, when I wasn’t taking time to right my heart in front of them first.

 

You Can Not Know the Intent of Their Heart


I have a child that likes to tease her brother all the time. So when a fight breaks out, more times than not, I automatically get on her case. I do not take the time to even ask her what is going on. I just punish her. I get so frustrated with her. Why does she have to get him going? Why does she have to be so mean? Why can’t she just stop all this nonsense?

After listening to my pastor’s sermon the other day, I started to take the time to watch my children more. To try to understand what was going on and why. I found out that my younger son would tease her just as much as she teased him. So they were both trying to get each other mad. They were being brother and sister in a fallen world.

I stopped to watch how much they loved each other also. They were spending so much time laughing with each other that it made me laugh. They were listening to each other (most of the time), and playing in a way that would make even God smile.

So why hadn’t I taken the time before to do this. Easy. I was too busy thinking about all the things that I needed to get done. Thinking about myself and my list. The list that if I didn’t keep up, would slowly swallow me. And to this day I still struggle with this mentality. But beginning breaking this cycle has shown me how much I am missing.

Be Still and Know That They are God’s Children


There are so many days that I go to bed and wake up with my list in my head of all the things that need to be done. I have the hardest time sitting still, because there is always more that can be done. In this process, I have forgotten how to enjoy my kids. I have lost my intrigue with getting to know my kids. To take the time to see all the beautiful gifts God has bestowed them with.

So I realize that I need to go to bed with peace. With knowing that God has got this. That my list needs to be more flexible. That no one is going to die if I don’t get my whole list done. Waking up with listening to God and asking Him what He wants from my family that day. That is harder said than done.

 

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels

always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10

 

If you dive into this verse it talks about not refusing to receive them or not refusing to give pastoral care when needed. Being pastoral to your kids means to  give spiritual guidance at the appropriate time. How are we to do this if we are so busy in our own lives, with our own list? The problem is we can not do what God has called us to do, if we do not slow down to realize that parenting our kids is one of the most important jobs that we have.

I know that I am so guilty of this. I am constantly doing chores, working on the website, coaching, running sports programs, teaching at my homeschool co-op, teaching at my church, and more. I like to help, but at what cost. At the cost of listening to my kids’ hearts. At the cost of getting to know who they truly are. At the cost of helping them to realize their spiritual gift that God has given them and then helping them to develop their gift.

The cost of those gifts are way to high. So as I start to pray to God about what needs to come off my list, I pray for God to help me to live my life, each day the way that He wants me too.

 

Dear Lord, hear our prayer to slow down. To take the time to listen to our kids. To get to know their hearts and to see them through your eyes. Help us to wake up everyday and live our lives the way you would want us to. To be a spiritual guidance to our kids, at just the right time. Show us how to be the best parents that we can be. To love when it gets hard, to pray when we want to fall apart and to breathe in the midst of this crazy world. Give us the strength to do all of this in your name.

Amen

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See!!

 

 I don’t know about you, but as I mom, I seem to notice more inappropriate images every where that I go with my kids. I get so frustrated that they see images (usually of women) dressed inappropriately all the time. I currently have a 9 year old daughter that is such a girly girl. She loves fashion and just girly things in general.  Dressing modestly is something that is very dear to me, and I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.

How, What the Eyes See Affect Our Thoughts


Think of the time that you were driving down the road and saw a sign with a juicy hamburger and thought, wow, I could really go for a hamburger right now. You start to crave that hamburger and your thoughts are nothing but, how hungry you are all of sudden. The same thing is true when it comes to sexual images portrayed around us.

Younger Kids


Early exposure to sexual content in the media may have a profound impact on children’s values, attitudes and behaviors toward sex and relationships. Unfortunately, media portrayals do not always reflect the message parents want to send. (more…)

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.

Letting Go and Letting God Be The Parent

Letting Go and Letting Go Be The Parent

One of the hardest things to do in life is to be a parent. I have read plenty of books on the idea of parenting. But, nothing can prepare you for when a child struggles with something that you can not help them with.

Teenage Years

This past week I have watched my teenage daughter struggle in ways that has brought me to tears. Between boyfriend issues, a lot of tests at school and other obstacles, she has been a mess. I have tried to talk to her, hold her, just let her know that I am there for her. I have talked with grandparents, aunts and uncles about just showering her with love and attention. I don’t want her to feel alone, nothing has seemed to help.

So what do you do when you are out of your element, ask for help. I do not feel that I am capable of helping her with some of the emotional issues that are arising. She says that her emotions get so BIG that thoughts of suicide have crossed her mind. That feelings of just ending it all to make the pain go away, keep coming. This is no joke. I have gone from scared to sad to angry in the past few days. Now I am just exhausted.

Dealing With More Than You Can Handle

This past Monday I took her to a medical center for a mental evaluation. We were there for a little over 7 hours. They did a lot of medical examinations, including, chest x-rays, EKG, blood tests, and more. They didn’t find anything wrong, so they sent her to the psychologist, for a mental evaluation. She looked so upset and embarrassed. She kept saying that everyone was going to think that she was crazy now. I just kept explaining that we all need help sometimes and that getting help is better than bottling it all up inside and pretending that you are okay when your not.

The look on her face was heart breaking. I wanted to just grab her arm and run out the door with her. To take her somewhere where she could feel safe and loved again. Some place where I felt like I had more control in her life again. But, what would that solve. NOTHING!!! So I made myself calm down, put on a smile and started talking about anything in life that might make her smile.

After about an hour in the mental evaluation room, the psychologist came out to talk to me. She asked me if I had any concerns and I told her about how she said that her emotions would get so big that she thought about suicide. That it scared her. I told her about what was going on in her life that was causing stress. I then asked her straight up, if there were any red flags that she noticed. You see, my daughter is the child that gets good grades, helps others, is loved by her teachers, is honest, and wants to do well in life. I hadn’t seen her grades drop, her friends hadn’t changed, and nothing else in her life warranted a red flag to pop up. I was confused as to how to help her or what was going on.

The psychologist proceeded to tell me that she didn’t see any red flags either. That sometimes between hormones and other stressors, that their emotions just change. That’s great, but it still didn’t help me figure out what to do to help her. So I told the psychologist that what was going on with my daughter was out of my element and that I didn’t know how to help her anymore. She said, all that I could to was be there for her. To really listen to her. And to seek the help of a counselor.

So that is what we are doing. The hard part is that I think she forgot the most important part of all, the powerful element of GOD!!

God’s Role in All of This!!

God already knows what is going to happen way before we do. We can choose to obey and follow His plan, or we can try to make a path of our own. The second idea usually ends up with something bad happening, trust me I know.

So as I left the medical center this week and headed home, I just kept praying. Praying to God that He would have to be in charge of this situation. That He is the best parent for what is going on and that I would follow His lead.

I don’t want to go through this alone. I don’t want to fell helpless and afraid as her parent. And with God I do not have to.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14)

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5)

“”For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'” (Isaiah 41:13)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

In the midst of a parenting storm, rely on Him. Know that our God is stronger than we will ever be. That He cares for us and loves our children more than we can ever imagine. That in Him we find peace and strength to keep moving on, trying to be the best parents that we can be.

If you are struggling with how to help your child, STOP right now and pray to God. Tell Him that you can no longer do this alone. That you need Him to step in and take control. That you are waiting on Him. That you trust Him and will follow Him in this situation.

Then, just sit back, be still and know that our God WILL provide a solution, if we just wait, listen and obey. Even though this is one of the hardest things to do in life, it is essential to our sanity, to our children turning out to be a Godly person, to our whole relationship with our kids.

Please comment below, how God has helped you as a parent. Or, how we may pray for you in your struggles as a parent.

May peace and strength be with you today and the days to come. God bless.

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.