15 Things To Do As A Family During Quarantine

So much time at home. Honestly I am loving it! I am a Visionary by nature and so I love coming up with ideas. Wanted to share with you some of the ideas I have come up with to do during our quarantine that don’t involve a screen.

1. Hot cocoa time. Sounds simple right? Hot cocoa time is powerful! It’s a great reset and I like to use it especially with someone who is having a bad attitude. Who doesn’t have their frown turn upside down with a cup of hot chocolate? 🙂 I like to have all the good stuff in it too! I buy whipped cream when it’s buy one get one free at Safeway and all sorts of sprinkles at Dollar Tree. Then we make the hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkle it on top and sit down and talk about our favorite things!

Hot cocoa and homework make for a great combo.

2. Get outside! It doesn’t have to be extravagant. We have a sled that we fill with water and the kids play in that for hours and we also have been doing egg hunts quite regularly. The big kids love hiding them and the littles love finding them 🙂

Big brother Ricky is a great egg hider.

3. Read! Read out loud to the kids. Have a big kid read to the little kids. Have each child go to their own space with two books and read. I love taking advantage of meal time and reading. This is the book that I am currently reading to the kids from at breakfast, lunch and dinner and we are all learning so much on how we can serve the Lord better!

4. Get artistic! Amazon has not run out of craft supplies 🙂 we love to paint in this house and do any sort of craft with the understanding that we will have a big clean-up party after 🙂

5. Music! Sing! We are working as a family on memorizing two hymns and two contemporary worship songs. All this time at home should be filled with lots of praises!

6. Legos! Fun toys. We have a rule in our house: no toys with batteries. Batteries basically take the place of your child’s brain in allowing them to be imaginative and creative! Be sure to pick out one toy at a time. This helps with mess. So you can say “Legos and duplos for now.” And then have them play with toy cars or blocks later.

Every mama needs one of these Lego bags that you can just cinch up to clean up the Lego mess so easily.

7. Work on the house! Most importantly involve your kids! There is so much to do around the house isn’t there? Involve them and help them to take ownership of the home with you.

Ricky was tackling our big weeds and involved the two Littles.

8. Play games! Dust off all those board games and get busy 🙂 we have been playing many, many many games and it’s such a great way to build character and learn and fellowship with each other.

Care Bear and Chloe love to play Othello. Especially with hot cocoa 🙂

9. Look for things you can do for others! So many lonely people out there. Draw some pictures, paint some cards, pick some pretty flowers from your yard and put them in a mason jar. Drop them off at the neighbors or a friend’s house. Make someone smile with things made by your children’s hands!

Rhea has been busy making floral arrangements!

10. Learn together! There is so much fun stuff out there to learn isn’t there? Johnny and I have been learning a lot about George Washington Carver. A neat Christian man that was also a slave and that God used tremendously!

We use a plethora of homeschool curriculum including ACE paces.

11. Cook/bake! Let your kids in the kitchen! Ricky made us all Belgian waffles this morning. I know there is a shortage of flours so we have been having to be better at planning but you can also substitute oats for half your flour in your recipes… usually. We also buy cake mixes and make cake cookies. All you do is get a box of cake mix and blend in 1/4 cup oil and two eggs.

Ricky is 11 and makes our breakfast everyday. He does a great job!

12. Spend more time in the word of God together! Write it out together. Read it out loud together. Act it out together. Listen to it together.

13. Cuddle! Children naturally love affection and their dopamine goes up in their brain when we hug them and touch them 🙂 stick close together on the couch, hold hands when you go for a walk and give random hugs and kisses.

This sweet little baby has been getting lots of cuddles.

14. Don’t forget to smile. Find a good joke site and share jokes at the dinner table. Dance around the house to Seeds Family Worship. Run around outside with your kids. Look for things that make them smile and you will smile too!

This girl makes everyone smile!

15. Relax together. In a busy, busy world this time away is a blessing. But we can even get overly busy even at home. Sit in a swing with them in your backyard. Lay on a blanket outside and look up at the clouds or stars. Sit in the living room and enjoy each other’s company. Learn to be still together.

These 3 love to relax in the swing.

More pics below from our family quarantined time.

Enjoy this time friends!

Love, Katie

P.S. Looking for some good reading material FOR YOURSELF?? Be sure to check out my husband’s Amazon best seller!

Are We Getting Too “Gospel-Centered”?

What in the world??? “Too Gospel-centered”??? How could there be such a thing???

The gospel. The good news. The power of God to salvation. Can we have too much of that?

Well…yes and no.

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, and in which you stand firm. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:1-2

How could I get too much gospel?? Ok, so that’s not really what I mean. Let me explain.

There seems to be a trend…a movement…and if you aren’t riding on it’s train you are legalistic. If you aren’t gospel-centered everything: parenting, marriage, relationships, work etc. then you are getting it all wrong.

This train in some circles requires you get on board and never talk about works or repentance. Every message, every sermon, every conversation must revolve around the gospel. Here’s the problem, the bible doesn’t do that. Jesus didn’t do that.

Take the sermon on the mount for example. The best sermon ever preached, given by the best Preacher of all time and there is no talk of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

In chapters 5-7 of Matthew we read the sermon on the mount. Christ opens with the beatitudes. Blessed are these people, blessed are those people etc. Then he talks about how we are the salt and light of the world and ending that section explaining that it’s our good works that will bring glory to our Father in heaven. Christ then explains that He came to fulfill the law for us and that our righteousness must actually exceed that of the law in that we must obey from the heart, not just outwardly. He proceeds with a bunch more practical application and exhortation on things like anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, loving our enemies, giving to the poor, how to pray, laying up treasures in heaven and not on earth, fasting, not being anxious, judging others, asking God for things, the golden rule, our salvation compared to fruit on trees, explaining the importance of knowing Him and building on the rock.

That’s it. No mention of the word gospel or his death, burial or resurrection. No mention of Him dying for our sins. Does that make him a bad preacher? Some “gospel-centered” folks nowadays would say so. They may even say He sounded legalistic and talked WAY too much about what we are supposed to do as His followers rather than what He has done for us. Way too many rules. He was too focused on works and people who don’t have them going to hell.

Another thing Christ said that is important for us to consider in the midst of this trend we are seeing in the church comes from the great commission.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” Matthew 28:18-20

Hmmmmm, um, was Jesus confused? Teaching them to OBEY everything He commanded?? Aren’t we supposed to teach them how to preach the gospel to themselves everyday? Wouldn’t that be more profitable?

No it wouldn’t. Christ was very intentional in His parting words. He did not lose sight of the gospel. He did choose to tell us: go make disciples and teach them to obey.

Of course in our disciple making process we will share the gospel but we must also be teaching them to obey and that’s what Christ chose to emphasis.

I am seeing a sort of pride come out of this movement. A sort of judgement toward pastors who just aren’t “getting this gospel-centered” thing right.

I want to be very clear. I love the gospel. I wouldn’t be saved without it. I just don’t want to be more gospel-centered than Christ. I want to focus on what He focuses on. If you need to preach the gospel to yourself daily that’s fine but don’t judge those who don’t. There is no such instruction in the bible to do so.

We are saved by grace through faith not by works. But faith without works is dead. There are lots and lots of commands and instruction for living in the bible and we cannot neglect those. We must read those in light of the gospel and read the gospel in light of all the teaching on works. Works don’t produce faith but saving faith produces works. That’s not non-gospel of me to say. That’s truth. Don’t lose sight of the sanctifying work that God wants to do in you. Don’t quit working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Don’t forget the gospel. Meditate on and live out of the entire counsel of God.

Love, Katie

P.S. here are some videos I recommend (by some of the most gospel centered authors out there).

Some Thoughts on Contentment

Contentment. Wow. Such a beautiful thing. Such a hard thing to maintain. Why?

Contentment requires rest. Intentionality. Thankfulness. All difficult things to cultivate. But with Christ’s help and by abiding in Him contentment is possible! Believe it mama! You can be content and joyful in whatever circumstances you are in if you LEARN (like Paul did). It’s a process. It is not natural. It must be learned and practiced.

I read this “prescription for contentment” this morning from the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and I just had to share it with you mamas! As a side note, anxiety and discontentment are deeply connected. Practice contentment and you will find your anxiety decrease.

A woman’s prescription for contentment:

  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything-not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
  • Never compare your lot with another’s.
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow-remember that tomorrow is God’s, not yours.

Hmmmmm, seem extreme?? NEVER??? Yep. Contentment is extreme. It’s polar opposite of what your flesh wants and what the world promotes. We have to be extreme in order to combat discontentment. So you in? One day at a time we can put into practice this prescription for contentment and watch our hearts and minds change.

Love, Katie

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 1I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

p.s. Have you checked out my new devotional book?? Would love for you to get a copy and be encouraged to keep your minds on eternity in the midst of the temporal and mundane. CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!

5 Things to do in 2019 to Help You Move Toward Getting OUT of Debt!!

Debt. Ick. A slave-driver.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

Don’t be a slave! Choose the path less traveled!
Choose the hard path and be blessed.

  1. Don’t buy it unless you NEED it. Seems simple right? But who really does this??? What do you NEED? Food. Clothes. Electricity. Hmmm, not another black shirt or another pair of flats or another toy your kid won’t play with.
  2. Talk to your spouse about every purchase that isn’t food. Seems extreme right? I’m telling you, this was our biggest game changer! It all started when I came home with 5 buckets I had purchased from Wal-Mart. I walked in and my husband reminded me we had like 10 downstairs. Oops. So often we aren’t aware of what we already have… or we are convinced we “need” something when our spouse might disagree and give us a different, helpful perspective.
  3. Keep the BIG picture in mind. There’s a bigger picture than that impulsive buy you really want. Your grandchildren for example. Did you know how you spend money impacts not only your kids but your grand kids…and possibly their kids?! Yep. Your choices never just impact you. Generations will reap what you sow. Do you want your kids and their kids to embrace debt and see it as “the only way”. No! Of course not! We don’t want our children being slaves to anyone but Christ. So live it out NOW! Choose to not be a slave to debt today and watch it change your tomorrow and your children’s children.
  4. Remember it’s not your money. Nothing you have belongs to you if you call yourself a child of God. When you chose to be His you gave Him all of you and everything that you have. Think of that next time you go to buy another coffee that you know you could make yourself at home. (Nothing wrong with buying coffee every once in a while… but everyday?? Especially when you are in debt??)
  5. Be a weirdo. Yep. You read that right. Be the weird one at the restaurant that gets ice water so you don’t have to contribute to the bill. Go to be with them for fellowship and save money while you’re at it. Be the one that skips out on going to the theater because your main goal right now is to get out of debt! Look for little and big ways all day to save money. You may be weird but that’s ok because debt is normal! And you don’t want normal! “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey

Maybe you’re thinking: “Oh yeah! What do you know?!!” Welp. I’m a spender. A big waster. But by God’s glorious grace I married a saver. A frugal man. He has influenced me to live out the 5 points above. They don’t come naturally but I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to no longer be a slave to debt! We now own two homes with no mortgages and have no other debt of any form! We have been single income for our whole marriage and not with money-making jobs either! (Ahem, Pastor and Teacher 🙂

My heart is for you!! I want you to see the value in living debt free. The value in the long-term rather than those short-term indulgences! Here’s to a debt free life! 2019 is your year to get started!

Love, Katie

Our new home we own with no mortgage! Praise God!

TOP 7 GIFTS FOR KIDS Christmas List! (No batteries!)

We have a rule in our home for gifts for our kids: no batteries. It’s been tough sometimes but I feel like I have perfected our Christmas shopping with no batteries involved!

Here is what I bought THIS year for my kiddos to help keep them off screens and using their imaginations! Oh! And we have simplified toys….AGAIN. The boys are basically down to hot wheels with non-battery tracks and legos. The girls are down to dolls and legos. Both of them have their quiet time caddies that I will discuss in this post as well! Just click on the underlined words below to go to a link to find these great gift ideas!

1. Legos. Duh.

johnnylego
Johnny created his own lego golf cart for his grandfather 🙂

Come on. I mean who doesn’t buy these? I know. But still! These are a continual go-to for my boys. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Yes. My boys like to have building competitions and my 2 year old even plays with them. It takes some training to get them to not put them in their mouths but it can be done. I often am the judge of who has the most unique lego creation!

2. LAMPLIGHTER!! Have you discovered lamplighter yet? Oh man, a new fave around here. My kids have listened to hours of these and often while using their quiet time caddies! We love Teddy’s Button the most! Right now I am reading Jack the Courageous to the kids during lunch time and they love it! I also got each of the big kids an illustrated book that I am sure they will enjoy. 

3. Hot wheels. My kids love to make up tracks and play with them and trade the cars. Lots of fun for big and little kids. Be sure to buy the tracks that don’t have batteries!

4. Water paint! My littles love to paint! And water-coloring is super safe/clean and fun…and cheap 🙂

5. SCOOTERS! We enjoy these outside and INSIDE. This one is for my 2 year old 🙂

6. QUIET TIME CADDY GOODIES!! What are these all about?? I love these with all my heart…ok, that’s an exaggeration, but they have been great in our home! When it’s chaotic and I am tempted to tell the kids to watch something I say: “Grab your caddy and pick a couch!”

quiettimecaddy
Chloe on the left is 3 and the pic on the right is my daughter Rhea who is 11 working with a book from her sister’s caddy (Charis, who is 5)

First you have to get containers like these. Mine are slightly bigger than these though because I have some big coloring books we like to add!

What’s Inside:
Fidget Spinners
Fidget Cubes
Colored Pencils (We have a new no pen rule in the home…sick of it being written all over except on paper!)
Coloring Books 
With these cool Colored Pencil holders!!
These great journals!
Riddle Books are also fun!!

7. GAMES AND PUZZLES! It is so fun to have older kids who like to play games. Here are some of our faves:
Qwirkle
Othello
Rummikub
Chess

That’s it!! What has your shopping list looked like?? What are some of your go-to toys you like to get??

*this post contains affilate links.

You Can’t Save Your Children

My husband prays EVERY night for the salvation of our children. Is there really anything more important for us to pray as parents? I think not.

But we can’t save them.

We can’t reach into their hearts and cram the gospel in there and make it grow.

We can’t homeschool them as a guarantee that they will receive Christ and follow Him faithfully. (Look at Cain and Abel. The first homeschooled children…one followed faithfully and one brutally murdered his brother.)

We can’t force them into the Kingdom of God.

We can’t coerce them or beg them to be born again.

We can’t make promises that if they say the sinner’s prayer they will never have to fear hell.

We can’t create genuine conviction and repentance in the hearts of our children.

What can we do? 

We can pray with and for them.

We can be transparent with them and authentic in our faith sharing our own failings and weaknesses.

We can share the gospel with them over and over and over.

We can faithfully open the Word of God with them every day teaching them and instructing them.

We can and should do a lot of things. But we can’t save our children. 

Love, Katie

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” John 3:3

 

Girl, Read Your Bible

Rachel Hollis wants to say, “Girl, Wash Your Face.” You should be a girl who reads her Bible.

Dig into it! Study it! Show yourself approved as a daughter of the King!

Be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you!

In a world where girls can blabber off their favorite worldly t.v. show and secular music artists be the girl that is able to encourage others with scripture you have memorized.

Be the girl that shares biblical counsel rather than worldly cliches.

Be the girl that can offer REAL hope because you know the Lord of lords and recognize that it is His ways, not the world’s, that will truly bring about lasting change in yours and others lives!

In a world where girls spend hours and hours learning how to put on their makeup and dress in a way that gets all the “wows” be the girl that seeks to have a gentle and quiet spirit because you know that that is what your God sees as true beauty.

In a world where girls are continually looking for ways to look younger be the girl that embraces signs of aging recognizing that gray hairs, according to your Maker, are a sign of wisdom.

In a world where girls are more confused and depressed than ever be the girl who recognizes where true joy comes from! Point these sad, tired, lonely girls toward the One that made them and knows their every need and desire and longs to fulfill them in a way this world never can!

In a world full of girls, be a woman. A woman after God’s own heart. A woman that seeks to be biblical, not trendy. Lovely, not sexy. Calm, not anxious. Be the woman who makes heads turn not because your clothing is so immodest revealing your body but because there is just something about you that screams: “I’m different! I am not so concerned about washing my face as I am about the things of God!”

Girl, go read your bible and while you’re at it look for people to serve. 

Love, Katie