Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

We hope that you all have a Christmas filled with the hope of Christ!

(I promise my 4th oldest is not a bully, he just refuses to take a picture like a normal human being.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas-Jesus' Adoption Story

News of his birth casts a sacred shadow across Mary's eyes. When Joseph looks back, the gaze is heavy with perplexities. The words of fatherhood filled Joseph's mind while his heart began pouring empty in shame. His righteousness kept legal papers unsigned. The village gossip would suffocate his name for generations.

Could hard work and bending his life to the Law fill in the crevices made by Mary's conceiving outside of the marriage union? A cracked vessel isn't worth much.

He worshipped the same God that Mary is claiming spoke to her through stories of hidden manna and now through words that promised a son.

The angels stopped the rising fog of Joseph's fear by whispering to his mind so that his heart could dare believe.

"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

With those words, he awoke. His hands, rough from hours of hammering, carving years into his hands. Wringing, they dissolved into one another as he wrestled with his own humanity. God was asking him to adopt the Son of God as his own. Take Jesus by the temple to be blessed and circumcised. Teach him about Moses' walking his people through the weary waters of the Red Sea. Explain God's promise to Abraham of blessing the tribes Joseph couldn't even bring up in a dream.

The shame of having a young, pregnant wife seemed to melt into a heavy yolk of acceptance. Joseph would adopt Jesus. As a father, to remain a rock of righteousness for Jesus as he grew in wisdom and stature. The whispers of his neighbors would remain an unceasing chorus in Joseph's waking hours. Adoption was reserved for the children orphaned by war or famine, but bloodlines were what kings were made of. Bloodlines reminded one that you belong to something bigger that yourelf-a genealogy. Joseph's 'yes' was a decree of prophecy fulfilled. Jesus would now be counted in King David's family line.

His 'yes' was allowing history to be redeemed.

Joseph had to realize that his own obedience in adopting Jesus would complete a creation that had begun spinning the second the world was called into order. He was living through the birth of a child that would flip reality on its side. A reality that would use adoption to express the abundance of love the Father felt for His children. No longer did people have to rely on their hometown or priestly connections to become members of the fold. Bloodlines became references in history books, relationships became the new chapters written.

The Christmas story is the narrative of a marked young girl accepting the words spoken softly by the company of angels. The lines in the story continue because the adoptive father said 'yes.' Without Joseph's arms reaching into grace and pulling out beauty, the manger scene becomes a tragic historical event. We have all been pulled through our own tragedy by a heart that blurs the lines of worldly connection. Jesus understands adoption not only because of Joseph, but because his Father decided to use it to bring us back home to Him.

This blog asks the question, "If Joseph were Chinese, would he have adopted Jesus." Good, thought provoking words.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sometimes it's Lonely

There is a deepness in loneliness that differs from sadness. Loneliness is the shadow that brushes around the corner, shifting our heads. The hope of community catches our breath, only to be exhaled in slow-measured disappointment. Most days are filled with things that allow my mind to get satisfied by the small morsels of task. But after a sustained diet of small bites, the emptiness starts to eat away at joy first. I find myself thankful for the technology that allows me to see people that I love. 

Fractured and flat communication gets old. 

I'm not one for self-pity. I knew when I signed up for life overseas that loneliness was part of the deal. Most of the time my mind remains healthily attached to the Lord who promises to sustain. But there are days. Oh, there are days where I want to sit across from friends and tell them there is spinach in their teeth while we eat Greek salads at a swanky outdoor cafe. 

You can't see spinach in a Skype picture. 

This season is so busy that sometimes I want to put everything down on a table and start walking. To walk until I hit a mountain where nobody is going to ask me to practice their English. Where nobody is going to ask me where I'm from or why I'm here. I want to pretend I can play the banjo and write folk music where nobody can tell me to put on more clothes because it's cold outside. 

I should stop listening to folk music. 

I look around at the women that are near me and they seem to be swimming smoothly through this season. I'm the fat kid out way too deep, thrashing and spitting up salt water that has blown its way through my sinus cavity at like a nuclear torpedo. My swimsuit has lodged itself into every nook and cranny and a jellyfish just stung my collar bone. Yet others seem to be swimming without their hair getting wet. They are all smiling and wondering what the fat kid is doing out so far from shore. 

Thanks for listening. Or reading. Or having this blog up while you procrastinate from Christmas prep.

Friday, December 14, 2012

When God Turns Your Head-Sometimes Whiplash is Involved-Guest blogger, Carrie.

 If you've ever had God throw a huge detour sign in your path that caused a bit of whiplash and confusion, please take the time to read this. Carrie and her family lived in China for 6 years when their world seemed to come crashing down before them. Journey with her as she agreed to open her closet and let us take a peek inside. Some of the clothes are strewn across the floor, others folded neatly, and yet a few are tattered and torn beyond recognition. 

1.      Give us a brief description of how you ended up back in the States.
Wow, where do I begin and how do I make it brief!?  The simple answer is that we knew God was leading us back to the states.  We were shocked by it, especially my husband, who later told me that he thought he would be buried in Asia.  We spent a total of 6 years and 2 months in Asia in the same city, and saw some amazing things while there.  But, the last 2 years we were in Asia were incredibly tense and stressful on many different levels.   By the end, we could see that, as painful as it was, God was shutting the door to that chapter of our lives and that the work we had done was at a point where it was okay to leave.  This was definitely the hardest choice that we have ever made.  It terrified us because we knew that it would completely change our lives from that point on, and we wanted to make sure it was the right choice.  But, when it came down to it, my daughter and I were not handling living there well, my son’s health was struggling, and a change needed to happen for other reasons as well.  

My daughter had two different personalities—one for inside the house where she felt safe and one for outside where she was in an almost constant state of debilitating fear.  I was still grieving a baby we lost through miscarriage and many other hurts that I had not dealt with over the last few years, so I was not in a good place to help her overcome the immense difficulty she was having living there.  Although we (me and Eliana) were not the only deciding factors in our choice to come home, we knew as we were preparing to leave the last two months there that Eliana was one of the main reasons God had led us to come home.  Titus has also been able to get the healthcare that he needed, which has been a huge blessing.  We knew that God wanted us to be in a healthy place, and unfortunately, we weren’t getting there in the isolated location we were living in.  We needed a support system around us.

2.      What was the most difficult part of the transition?
The thing about this transition that we are finding the most difficult is that it is not over yet.  When you make this type of big move at this stage of your life, you find yourself in a very unique situation, which isolates you from most peers around you.  We are not the same people we were when we left, and even though we are in our thirties with three kids, we often feel like we are in our twenties and just starting out.  We moved overseas 3 years after we were married, so we mostly learned all about being “adults” while living in Asia.  Since our return, we bought our first car, delivered our first baby in America, started to keep a tighter budget (third world living is much cheaper!), and have begun the search for our first house.  When we explain this to others, we often get puzzled looks.  We’ve also found that there are different times where it hits us that we are not going back.  Around the 1 month mark, which is usually when we would be heading back after a vacation, and then again around the 6 month mark, which is when we moved back after the last time we lived in the states.  When I wasn’t packing up our bags to travel to another country to deliver Moriah, it hit me too, since my other two were both delivered in Thailand away from our Asian home.  So, I guess we are finding that the transition is a unique process that is apparently very long and we aren’t finished with yet! Maybe I should answer these questions again in 6 months to see if any of the answers have changed! 

3.      How have you seen fingerprints of God in all of this?
He’s been all over the place, which has been amazing and so comforting.  He really has been our anchor through this stormy journey.  The first fingerprint we saw was not long after we made the decision to move back home.  We did not have any job possibilities for Vip and didn’t know what he would do exactly.  We had been praying about it and continued to do so, and soon after the decision was made he was offered a job.  A home was provided for us to rent at a greatly reduced rate for the first year.  We were able to find 2 cars under the budget we had set.  (it was easy to stay under budget when one of them was given to us!)  We have also seen God move in the life of our oldest daughter specifically.  The first few months were really difficult for Eliana.  A friend even remarked to me that she almost seemed to be traumatized. 

 This momma definitely spent a lot of time in prayer for her little girl!  I wondered if we would ever be able to leave her in childcare or put her in school when the time came, but we are now at the point that she looks forward to going to church and playing with other children at the playground, even when it is crowded.  We still have some progress to make, but this is such a huge answer to prayer.  We have also felt God’s presence as we have been able to worship with other believers in our own heart language again. 

4.      What has been the most difficult part?
We miss our friends, local and foreign, who are still over there.  You form pretty close bonds with those you are around when you live overseas.  They were our other family for the 6 years we lived in Asia, and leaving that fellowship, even though most of us lived in different cities, was the hardest part.  We are still working on meeting people and making friends here, so there is a void.  The long transition is a weary process as well.          

5.      What would you tell others as they watch their world get turned upside down?
Hold on.  Don’t be afraid to let God do what He needs to do to heal you.  Hebrews 12:12-13 was the passage God gave me that released me to come home.  “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”  Somewhere along the way, Vip and I had believed the lie that it was holier to stay where we were than to actually do what God was telling us to do.  We had to open ourselves up to the idea that He might have only led us to Asia for a season, not our whole lives.  We learned that performing righteous acts that we choose does not make it okay to ignore what God is asking you to do.  

I think I began to see that the story God was writing for us didn’t have a period at the end but rather a comma.  We came to embrace the truth we found in Hebrews 12 that God wants us healthy and able bodied so that He can use us.  If we are hurt, He wants us to come to a place where we can heal.  This will look different for different people and situations.  It might be that they need to just start praying and reading their Bibles again.  It might mean that they need to seek out a friend or mentor they can talk to.  Or, it might mean making a big change like we did.  But, the bottom line is that you have to seek God, the ultimate source for all healing, comfort, peace, direction, and blessing.  Do not rush yourself either.  As I said earlier, this transition has been a long process that we aren’t even out of completely even though we are 7 months into it.  I find myself just getting depressed and frustrated when I look at how much farther I have to go and think about how I thought I would be farther along by now.  

God has the timetable, so don’t worry about setting one for yourself.  Your life’s story won’t be punctuated with a period until you are with God in Heaven.  One other thing that I would share is that if you are married, the struggle of one belongs to both of you.  I have no shame (now!) in saying that the struggles were mainly mine, but my husband took these struggles on himself too.  He did not tell me to suck it up and deal with it so he could stay and do what he wanted to do.  He took on my burdens and his children’s burdens, sought Father as to how they needed to be dealt with, and then lead us through it all.  I am so thankful for His support and compassion for us.  If he hadn’t done that, I don’t know where we would be, but I know it would not be a pretty place.   

And, because I like practical advice, here are few tangible things that helped us as we were going through the beginning stages of this journey.   
·        Whenever possible, I have praise music playing.  I made playlists that reminded me of God’s nearness, sovereignty, peace, and love, and we listened to them A LOT.  This just served as a tangible and constant reminder that God was still there and at work.    
·        Keep a thankful list.  We actually began this when we moved to Asia and were in the throes of culture shock.  When I get lazy and don’t keep it up, I can tell the habit of complaining and giving in to depression and self pity is so much easier!  Look for the blessings all around you and record them.  Do it with your children and your husband too.  It’s been a huge blessing to us.  We even had a list hanging on the wall in our apartment and I have a small notebook I often carry around with me. 
·        Don’t be ashamed.  I didn’t pour out my heart to everyone around me, but I did have two sweet friends as well as my husband that I was able to share with.  They were safe to talk to, prayed with me and for me, cried with me, and are still a tremendous blessing in my life. 
·        It will be tempting to numb yourself to the pain (my two standard techniques are too much entertainment or food, but it could be a host of other things as well).  Don’t give in to that temptation.  Do the hard work of working through whatever is going on and don’t ignore it.  The problems will just get worse if you ignore them.       

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time with family and Selah's 11th birthday

It's always so hard to summarize time with visitors, but here we go. 

My sister accompanied my mom and aunt to our city. Their fist stop was to south western China to visit my sister's family. Yes, all 8 of my mom's grandchildren live in China. If you see her this Christmas, buy her a Chai latte and give her a hug. 

We went straight from the airport to our house where 30 or so friends awaited us to celebrate Thanksgiving. We ate and introduced until everyone was full and tired of smiling. 

We played pin the tail on the turkey and spent the evening being incredibly grateful to the Lord. Man, He is sure good to His children. 

We spent the next day touring a local Buddhist temple and feeding fish crackers and gum. Everyone commented on how young these ladies look. I have a lot to look forward to as I get older. They are in great shape and are just really lovely people. 

It rained most of the week, but that didn't stop us from getting out and about. 

I took them out one morning to get a massage. I don't have pictures, but let's just say there was laughing and commenting, "Did she do THIS to you too?" It was hilarious and felt awesome. 

We walked through campuses and met with some of friends. My favorite part of having visitors is that it gives them memories to hang on the stories they hear from our part of the world. The news reports turn into family stories, the articles turn into struggles from real people. 

We spent our Turn Off Your Phone Day at a local orphanage. We try to hang out there once a month and love on the kids there. Our kids blow bubbles, ride scooters, and hug all ages of children. We made Christmas cookies that morning to bring to this orphanage and then later on that afternoon to the orphanage that our the little boy, Steven, stays at. He is the boy in foster care with a family at the orphanage who comes over to play at our house all the time. The kids had a blast making dozens of cookies and laughing with other kids their same age. 

I'm pretty sure we consumed 25 cups of tea in this one sitting. A sweet couple owns this tea shop and gave us each a tea set as a gift. 

One night, we celebrated Selah's 11th birthday with Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and chocolate cake. We all went around the table and said these things about my first born:

eager learner
quick to serve
has a loving burden for the people around her
wrestles and plays with younger siblings
a joyful disposition
We love you sweet girl!

It stopped raining for 18 minutes, so we headed out to pelt our children with balls and wear everyone out a bit. 

They got to meet some of our kids friends. I love this because now when my kids tells stories about their friends, there are giggles and smiles that give their names substance. 

We dug out some Christmas decorations and made our house look like this

We made tons of sugar cookies and brought them to lots of different friends. 

We spent a couple of hours having coffee, playing war, and getting our pictures taken by strangers. Tis the life of a foreigner here. 

Halfway through our hang out session, we were approached by a local newspaper. They were doing a piece on the love of families. Hitting the journalist's jackpot with a large family of foreigners, we were asked to pose for this:

It ended up being an add for a cell phone company and posted on the Chinese version of Twitter within the hour. We had friends texting us telling us they were seeing our picture all over the web. Lovely.

This little courtyard was beautiful and for a few captivating moments we didn't feel like we were in a city of 6.5 million. 

My mom and aunt had several nights where the kids divided up and spent the night at their hotel. They took longs baths, curled up in hotel robes, and incurred fainting spells upon seeing the breakfast buffet each morning. 

On one of the last days in town, we stumbled upon this restaurant called, "Modern Toilet." I'm not sure my boys could get any happier. To be allowed to mention potty talk at the table and us not get angry was beyond delightful for all of our kids. And maybe even me too. 

We had an incredible time and hope they can hop the pond again soon!

Friday, December 07, 2012

My China Pinterest-Christmas Edition

I've started this little series called My China Pinterest. 

We have tackled lighting and housewares. Today we are doing the Christmas edition. My Christmas Pinterest will not involve the color white nor nomadic elves that make arbitrary messes around your house.

We will start with the 83 oranges that loving guests leave during the winter time. To prevent your boys from playing soccer with the "furry oranges" after they have rotted out, you can cut slices into them. Grab your 4-year old while you are desperately trying to eek out adjectives with your 2nd grader and tell her to stick cloves in the slits. The lovely oranges are already tinted a soft shade of brown from dropping out of trees on your friend's farm. The combination of shading orange skin and sticky broken cloves will transport you back to a Norman Rockwell Christmas. 

While trying not to feel like a Jesse Tree failure while looking at your friend April's homemade ornaments and button hanger perfection, you knock out a construction paper version that reminds you of the simplicity of the stable. It has nothing to do at all with the fact that you remembered three days late that your family does this tradition. The tree's natural lean will bring back memories of the wispy Christmas nights you spent growing up in Texas. 

After pulling the foldable Christmas tree out of its dilapadated box, you realize that there is nothing to put on the top. It's the Urban Chinese version of "put a bird on it."The beautiful North Star that dawns most normal people's tree reminds them that the wise men navigated to Jesus using the stars. It reminded the wise men of where they were going. I saw a star once in was in 2005. I see many more birdies in the sky than stars. This type of tree topper will remind you of where you are. Blooming where you're planted. 

The stockings are hung underneath the tv and on a second hand bookshelf with care. You simply find matching pin-stripped yarn to give the stockings a real old-school London feel. Tape the yarn to the inside of the door to remind you of the frailty of this life and the frugalness of your decor. 

This my friends is how to keep stress out of decorating. You simply look around and gather bits and pieces. It will bring you back to the pioneering days of gathering kindling for the fire and axing the pig for Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Giving, Not Getting, for Christmas

For the last few years, we have done this and this for Christmas. Advent Conspiracy always has some great suggestions about spending your money during Christmas. They have lots of resources that include statistics that will make your intestines knot. Such as "Americans spend $450 billion on Christmas EVERY YEAR."

Instead of me throwing out some of my favorite places to give money to, I need to hear from you guys. I want to know who is in need, what places are most desperate, who has never heard that a Rescuer has already come to save them from their shame? Either put them here or over at the Carrie Anne Husdon Facebook page.

As a community, let's get the word out for some of these organizations that are doing fantastic work around the world.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

"Hungry For More"-Guest author, Kandy Persall

This wonderful lady has written a devo type book called "Hungry for More." It was birthed from her experience living overseas and processing with the Lord. I asked Kandy to answer a few questions for me. It took all manner of self-control to not ask her questions like, "In your tenure overseas, how many grandma's did you lay out cold while trying to board the bus?" I kept it mature and lovely. 

Give us a little background into who you are and why you decided to pick up a pen and start writing? 
I fit Paul's description in 1 Corinthians 1:26 to a tee. I'm not really wise, not very mighty and surely not noble. But He has given me my task as His transmitter - called to transmit what I hear from God to those around me.  
Living overseas for twenty years showed me my worst and His best. I've found that being squeezed is the very best way to find out what is really inside of you. Having His favor is more than sufficient because weakness truly is the way that His energy gets completed in me.
At some point early on, I began journaling my discussions with God, so my book is merely a condensed version of years of journals. Kinda like the "best of" series. Once the girls were grown, Father wouldn't let me alone about getting it out to others and I began knocking on the doors of publication.

As we lead up to Christmas what are ways we can remind ourselves that we need fed things that satisfy and not just what tastes good at the time?
Talk to someone older than you. They've seen the buffet, probably nibbled at most of it, and can guide you toward the most savory morsels. Ask them, "What do you wish someone had told you when you were my age?" and "Tell me a scripture that has become real to you and why." You'll probably get lots of food for thought.

When you were in the trenches of motherhood, when you found yourself at the end of your rope, what verse or verses did you cling to? Why?
When you have children living with you, almost every verse that catches your heart seems to pertain to parenting. The Word is moves within you, breathing, speaking and changing you moment by moment. Yet, my true "ah-ha" moment came through the story of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13). I had never really understood that story, but the Father revealed that authority is given to the submissive. If I was to have authority of speech and action to my girls, then I had to be under the authority of Christ in those same areas of my life. If my daughter lied to me, I realized that I had no authority to change her behavior until I allowed the Father to clean up any deceit in my own life. If I was concerned about how she was spending her time, then I had to allow the Father authority to direct how I spent mine. Once I began to submit to Him in these tiny areas of my own life, I found that my girls began to submit to me as I my prayers and words now had power. ( Chapter 9 is devoted to this idea in Hungry For More: Feasting through the Word).

How did the Lord most stretch you as an overseas worker? 
It would be easier to say how He didn't stretch me. Wow….in my patience (can Chinese queues be any more frustrating?), in my tendency to speak before I think (kinda helps when you don't know the language), in my tendency to thnk that my way is the right way (living cross culturally changes all your preconceived ideas), in my extroversion (living among a million people gives you an appreciation to be alone), in my responsibility as a mentor (just because you don't have one doesn't mean you can't be one), in my ability to hear and obey (there are a lot of voices in a animistic society - you learn to listen intently for the One that's True)…..and the list continues.

What food did you crave the most while living outside of America?
At first, it was Mexican food. Cheese wasn't readily available and we had to make our own tortillas. All that sauciness reminded me of Tex-Mex and home. As the years progressed, my tastes literally changed and I discovered how much easier it was to explore foods with readily available ingredients. My cooking broadened to include lots more tastes and ethnicities. Kinda like my life, I guess. I am learning to be content in whatever grocery store I find myself. I know how to get along with a wet market; and I also know how to live near a Whole Foods Supermarket; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of a shopping cart or a simple hand basket; both of having ready made pie crusts and having to make your own. Yup, I can do all things through Him who shops with me.

If you could summarize your vision in your ministry with women, what would it be?
To simply move women from hearing about the Word to breathing Him. If doing stuff for God doesn't get kudos with Him anyway (Galatians 2:16), then let's discover together how to let Him do the life, instead of doing it ourselves. 

What have you found to be the most common ways women entangle themselves, finding it hard to breathe and live in freedom?
We always get bogged down somewhere in your soul. If you are a thinker - then you are going to get entangled with rationalizing it all out. If you are a feeler, then you are going to get wigged out through your emotions. We've got to live an inside out life - one where our spirits are in charge. After all, that's the place where, as a Christian, our spirits are already plugged into Christ (Romans 8:15-16). When we source our lives out of the existing connection we have with His Spirit, the overflow is amazing (1 Corinthians 2:12; John 7:38). 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Turn Off Your Phone Day

This is the last post in my Turn Off Your Phone Day series. I hope this has helped. I pray that you have a renewed interest in the people around you. My desire has been that we would appreciate the colors and textures of the lives that are being lived right in front of us. That we would not find satisfaction in one line texts, but trudge through the beauty of actual conversation. 

What are your plans?

If you have learned something about yourself or someone else in the process, I would love to hear about it. 

Happy Turn Off Your Phone Day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Links that will challenge our hearts

As we round the corner of our Turn Off Your Phone Day, I wanted to share a few links that will help us all get our minds off of ourselves and into the lives of others. 

This is a great post to get women thinking about how to better love their husbands. Hubs and I had an entire argument through email this week. While we were in the same house. It was actually better than it sounds because it allowed me to step back and think before spouting things off.

*Appeal to his values and his sense of what’s right, rather than his feelings. (Incidentally, this same advice holds true when raising boys. I get farther when I explain to my son about right and wrong than I do when I try to get him to understand how his behaviors affect other’s feelings.)

What's the Difference Between Living for the Kingdom and Living for the American Dream?

If you've ever heard of John Piper you know where he stands on aiming your cupid arrows at the American Dream.

I want to put that central because if we don't ask the question day by day–What am I going to make much of today?–then we will gravitate towards making much of the same things that everybody around us is making much of, like sports teams, food, or a new computer program. None of these things are sin unless they become the thing that we're driven by.

This is a fabulous post titled, "What to get more done? Stop doing so much." He also has a great follow-up on post about Burn Out. 

*In the same way, it’s critical that we (both individuals and companies) get really good at “pruning” – learning to say “no” to opportunities and projects – that don’t align with the important work that we’re doing. This means passing on opportunities – even really good ones – in order to preserve the energy needed to bring our best effort to the work that weknow we need to excel at.

This blog tries to find Jesus somewhere in the murky waters between poverty and wealth. 

*I've often written about the struggle we engage in while we live between two worlds, two realities, two countries. The struggle to rectify: rich vs. poor, feasting vs.fasting, such abundance and such shocking scarcity; and determining how we are to graciously live within the tension - is ongoing. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turn Off Your Phone Day-Things to do

You tired of my Turn off your phone day posts? Well, today I'm brainstorming some ideas of activities to do together. Now, I'm in China and we are limited in the things we can do for recreation. I'll try and think of general things that can be done in most countries. Ours will just likely involve rice. The goal is that on Dec. 1st, you sit across for someone and talk to them. That does not include watching a movie together, checking Pinterest recipes, or editing photos. We are talking old fashioned question asking. 

1. Grab coffee or tea. 

2. Invite them over to your home for lunch, dinner, desert. 

3. Bake a pie or cookies together.

4. Take a long walk and turn down a street you've never been down before. Get lost for awhile. 

5. Take the afternoon off and go ice skating or bowling or something that makes you feel like you are in junior high again. 

6. Play a board game or cards. 

7. Sit on the floor and make a lego castle or do a puzzle. 

8. Go to Target and buy toys to pack up for a Christmas charity. 

9. Go to the lake, a pond, the ocean, a large ditch, and skip rocks while you chat. 

10. Grab dinner at a restaurant you've never been to before. Try a different culture food than you are used to having. 

If you've got littles, make this the day that you play that game of Dora Candy Land or you dress up like a pirate and sword fight. Make this the day that you don't say, "Not right now." Or "I'm busy, how about later?"

This is the day that you will look at your child and say, "Yes, I'd love to!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turn Off Your Phone Day-Questions to ask a friend

In order to celebrate Turn Off Your Phone Day, the past few days I've linked up hundreds of questions you can use to get conversation started with your kids and your spouse. Today we are talking about questions we can ask our friends. Each link has dozens of questions, I've only given one as an example. 

Here we go:

1. Here are some fun ones to ask guys or girls.

*What was your favorite sitcom growing up?

2. 100 questions to ask friends here at this blog.

*If you could learn one random skill, what would it be?

3. I'm adding a few more of my own too:

a. If you could eavesdrop on a celebrity, who would it be?

b. What fruit of the spirit is most difficult for you to experience?

c. What's the most ridiculous thing you've seen at a talent show or concert?

d. How can I pray for you today?

e. Who are you jealous of? Why?

f. What brought you joy today?

g. What do you love about your church?

h. What are you afraid to do?

g. If you could start your own small business, what would it be?

4. Another fun thing to do is go through a list of opposites, asking each other at rapid fire things like:

chocolate or vanilla?
mountains or beach?
coffee or tea?
Barney or Fred?
live in the city or the country?
live in Europe or Asia?
mexican or italian?
save or spend?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turn off your Phone Day-Questions to ask your Spouse

Today we are going to talk about questions we can ask our spouses that don't involve paying the bills or packing lunches. These questions are going to help us to get to know this partner we have decided to life with. According to our new holiday called Turn Off Your Phones, we have committed to talking face to face with the people around us. We are vowing to turn off our phones, ipads, notebooks, computers, and maybe even your beepers if you are old school. Just you and the person across the table. I threw out some questions for us to ask our children here

Lets do this.

1. Desiring God has some great questions here

*Would we consider adoption?

2. Zach Terry has 50 Questions to ask your spouse here

*What things can I do that show I appreciate you?

3. Lauren   has 50 questions to ask your spouse annually here

*What achievement in my life would bring you the most joy?

3. I'm adding a few here of my own. The websites above have some wonderful questions. Some of them are pretty intense, so I also wanted to add some that are just fun conversation starters:

a. If you could start a non-profit, what would it be and whom would it serve?

b. If you could go back to school to study something else, what would it be? Why?

c. If we had 2 days to do anything and money weren't an issue, what would you want to do?

d. Is there a dream or desire you have that you've never told me?

e. What would you like to do to celebrate our next big anniversary?

f. If you could compete in the Olympics, what sport would it be? Why?

g. If you could create an alter-ego on Facebook or Twitter, what kinds of things would you want to talk about?

h. If we could redo our wedding, what would you change?

i. Would you want to be a famous movie star or rock star? Why or why not?

j. If you could invest $1 million in a start up company, what kind of company would it be?

k. Would you rather be rich or healthy?

These are just a few. Take time to sit with your spouse and enjoy an evening together. Skip the questions that are going to start an argument. Save that for Dec. 2nd. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Turn off your Phone Day-Questions to ask our Children

To kick of my self-proclaimed National Holiday, I want to throw out some links to make things seem less awkward when you are sitting across the table from someone on Dec. 1st. My goal for Turn Off Your Phones Day is to help all of us to get away from our technology, stare people in the face, and ask them questions.

To ask a friend out for coffee and not once look down to answer a text that just buzzed in.

To sit with your son at Dairy Queen and talk about dinosaurs and how Spider Man will never die. Ever. And do all that without the "help" of an app.

To light a candle or two at dinner and ask your kids what they think would happen if we could only use our toes to eat dinner.

Today I am going to post a few websites that will give us questions and suggested conversation topics. It might seemed canned and superficial, but it helps to have an outsider feed us ideas that we might not think of.

1. Family Education has a post with some great questions to ask younger kids here.  For example,

*Can you think of any clothes that I should never put on again? Why?

2. Revive Our Hearts has some good ones for kids a little older here

*If everyone followed the Golden Rule, think of all the things we wouldn't need. What are a few of them?

3. IMom has 20 questions here for your elementary-jr. high aged kids.

*What's the scariest thing that's happened to you this year?

4. Lela Davidson has questions for both younger and older children here

*What's the grossest thing you can think of?

5. Minds in Bloom has 20 questions for slightly younger kids here

*How would the world be different if animals could talk?

You don't have to print out the sheet and make this a formal thing. Or you could. These questions are just to get us in the practice of asking questions other than, "Why do you hate folding your clothes?" Or, "Do you think saying the word 'crotch' everyday in homeschool reading is appropriate?" Just hypothetically thinking of course.

Have a blast with your kids on Dec. 1st! I'd love to hear any other questions that have gotten your kids talking lately.
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