Category Archives for Family Life

20 Years Later! Marriage Anniversary

 

I make non toxic skin and hair products, and he would have been just as content using Vaseline.

I take the scenic route when telling a story. He hits the highlights and keeps it moving.

I hear I can be impulsive. Most of his moves are calculated.

I live for adventure; he thrives on stability and predictability.

I color outside the line with the brightest color in the box. He thinks of how we can keep the crayons more organized and how to draw neat lines.

I am often a tad bit late. He prefers to show up a few minutes early.

I like to make announcements and process out loud. He moves silently and has to be encouraged to share his thoughts.

I look for ways to hang out after an event and connect with people; he looks for ways we can politely excuse ourselves and go home to solitude.

If we were emojis, I would be 🤗 🙃 , he would be 🤔 👀 .

I love poetry and working with words, he’s a math teacher.

I journal, he makes to do list.

I like to stop and smell the roses, he’s thinking of ways to grow future roses.

There were many times over the last twenty years where we allowed our differences to create conflict in our marriage. Times where we were more concerned about the other conforming to what we wanted instead of conforming into the image of God. The other day, we were talking and reflecting about these last twenty years and he told me he appreciates that we have reached a place in our marriage where we embrace our differences instead of making it a source of contention. We are learning to agree to disagree on the minor things, but making sure we agree on what’s most important, and that would be to keep Jesus at the center of our marriage. We are similar in that we are keeping our eyes fixed on eternity, realizing that our marriage is bigger than us. It is about the Kingdom; it is about the King and how our union can bring Him glory! Embracing this perspective has brought sweetness and contentment to our covenant.

So yes, we are different in many ways BUT our common love for Jesus has kept us together these 20 years! It’s been a journey, one that has not always been easy but absolutely worth it! This man loves me well AND as a bonus, he still can make my head turn when he walks in the room! He covers his family well and is one of the hardest working, focused and dependable man I know. He has earned not only my love but my respect! I am honored to be his wife!

The Mercy, Discipline & Love Connection

February 28, 2020

I’ve been gulping down mercy in overwhelming doses because I have desperately needed it. As I press into God, I see my great need for His mercy and I understand that His discipline is an act of mercy and love. His holiness exposes my brokenness. But this God I serve calls me higher to a place of wholeness.  I don’t say this from a desolate state, but more from a place of great hope and gratitude.

As I see His mercy on display toward me, it has forced me to look inward and ask the hard question. Have I been merciful to others, or am I apt to give them what they deserve? As of late, God has been using my parenting to give me the answer to this question. There are some days where my children excel at messing up instead of lining up with my commands.

While discipline is very much for the godly, I realize that love must drive my discipline and not revenge-there is a difference. Being merciful does not mean that there is an absence of discipline. However, being merciful means when I discipline, it is with the intention to facilitate restoration and to bring out the good and not dwell on the bad (i.e. constantly repeating your offense because I am disappointed in your behavior).

God is a good parent and a great example for me to follow because if I am honest, there are some days where like my children, I excel at not lining up with His commands. I see His mercy demonstrated in His discipline because He could cut me off altogether, which is what I deserve. He could constantly keep my sins on repeat, reminding me of how I have disappointed Him. But because I am His and I am loved, He disciplines me, not intending to shame me but so I can share in his holiness. Hebrews 11:11 reminds me that,  “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I am so grateful for a God who is merciful and intentional in His discipline and provides a great example for me to follow.

Be Blessed

Anika

10 Things To Do Instead Of Getting On Your Phone

I will be the first to admit that I love the convenience of having a smartphone BUT there is a dark side to this device. The phone can be a time thief! Mindless scrolling on our phone rob us of time and hinder our productivity. If we allow, it can also have a negative impact on our ability to have real connections with those we love. Below I have compiled a list of 10 things you can do instead of getting on your phone.

  1. Read the hardcopy of a book. Yes, we can read a lot of things online, but there is something to be said about having the physical book in front of you. Did you know that studies have shown that when you read offline you comprehend and retain more of the material? Looking for book recommendations? Of course, at the top of my list is the Bible. I recently read this great Christian fiction and I’m currently reading, Servant Leader. I also recommend my recently published book, Lessons Learned Along The Way: A 40 Day Devotional. If you would prefer not to buy books, your local library is a great resource.

 

  1. Exercise. Get out and move, you will be happy you did. If you have a gym membership, great…use it! However, if you don’t have one, don’t use that as an excuse not to exercise. My main means of exercise is walking, and it has proven to be very effective.
  2. Have a real conversation with those around you. It is so easy to be in a room filled with people and hide on your phone-how tragic! We miss out on opportunities to connect with others because we are consumed with watching other people’s fake realities on our phone. We long for what we THINK they have and miss out on what is right in front of us. Challenge yourself to be intentional about putting your phone away at different times in the day and connect with those around you.

  1. Clean a specific area in your home that you have avoided. We all have that one area in our home we would prefer not to clean. At some point and time, we should stop looking up different cleaning schedules and strategies on Pinterest and implement what we have been researching for months. I’m just saying! It is so fulfilling when you can complete a task you have been avoiding, so put the phone down and start cleaning!

 

  1. Sit and brainstorm your goals. It is so easy to sit and waste time on our phones watching other people live out their goals and we forget to set our own. Ask yourself, “What are my short- and long-term goals?” Have I met the goals that I have set at the beginning of the year, am I taking steps toward meeting those goals? What are some things that distract me? How can I get back on track? Reflection is a great form of personal accountability.

 

  1. Pray & Meditate. It is so calming when I sit in God’s presence meditating on His word and speaking to Him. While I enjoy listening to different things on YouTube and various podcast, this should not consume my day. I need to spend more time talking and listening to God, the one who knows it all, rather than human “experts.” When I spend too much time on my phone in the name of relaxation, I feel drained and exhausted. However, time spent with the Lord brings peace and focus to my day.

 

  1. Cook. Get in the kitchen and cook a healthy meal. We may find ourselves in the drive through and eating a lot of process foods because we waste time on our phone and lament that we didn’t have time to cook dinner. I am not anti-eating out, but this should be an exception, not the rule.  Get in the kitchen and have some fun. Work with your hands and don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

  1. Play A game. Believe in or not, there are many games to play that are not on your phone! Have fun with those around you. Break out the old board and card games and have a good time laughing and playing together…well, that is if you are not playing with super competitive people.

 

  1. Do Nothing. We are often overstimulated and are always ON. If we have a free second, we grab our phones and start scrolling as if there is something wrong with being still. I once heard someone say that we should give ourselves the gift of boredom. Be still, clear your mind and relax!

 

  1. Go to bed. We stay up longer than we should because we carry our phones with us to bed. This is a bad idea! Scrolling on our phone unsettles us instead of calming us down. The research is there to prove it. The artificial light on the phone has a negative impact on our ability to have sound sleep. Let us also consider how the constant influx of information on the screen keeps our mind swirling right before bed. We live in a generation where many suffer from anxiety, and constant phone usage is a huge contributor to this dilemma. Do yourself and favor,  get off the phone before you get in the bed and give yourself the gift of rest!

I would love to hear from you. What do you do instead of getting on your phone?

Be Blessed

Anika

Looking For A Good Photographer?

September 8, 2018

A good photographer not only knows how to work his camera and have a good eye, he also needs to be personable.  The personality of the photographer makes a huge difference in the outcome of the shot.  If I am not comfortable with the person taking the pictures, it shows in the final product.  It is for this reason why I am here to recommend an excellent photographer, Ronald Coulter.  Over the years, he has captured many special moments for our family and he is great with kids and adults alike.  He does it with such love and care. It warms my heart to look back on some of the shots he captured.  He is kind and one of the most patient people I know. If you are looking a for a great photographer, I highly recommend him.  Please visit his site for more details.

Be Blessed,

Anika

What you need to do Vs. What you want to do

Yesterday, I took my super tired 4-year-old to bed for a much-needed nap. As we headed up the stairs to her bedroom, she started crying real tears. She protested repeatedly, “I don’t want to go to bed!” I kissed her on the cheek before putting her in the bed and told her, “I know you don’t WANT TO but you NEED a Nap.”

Then I had another one of those moments when God shows me myself through my children. I have had many “I don’t want to” moments with God after He tells me what I NEED to do for my own good. He doesn’t force me to do it, the choice is always mine. However, I continue to learn that God is a lot smarter than me so it is ALWAYS in my best interest to submit to Him. My current NEED TO list from God includes; a drastic reduction of my sugar intake, forgiving others and not replaying the offense, and being confident in who I am in Him and not obsess about what others think of me. By the grace of God, I have made huge strides in these areas. However, there are days when what I need to do gets hard, REAL HARD and I just want to cry and scream, “I DON’T WANT TO GOD!”

There is a similar tension in 2 Kings 5. In this story, we have Naaman the leper who was given a message from Elisha the prophet to go and dip seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman, a respected leader was appalled that Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. He had different expectations on how his healing would take place. However, after some wise counsel from his servants, Naaman went and dipped 7 times in the Jordan as instructed and was instantly healed of his leprosy. The very thing he did not want to do was the thing that he needed to do to receive healing.

How about you? What is God saying you need to do? Have you been doing it or have you been disobedient because it is not what you want to do? I want to encourage you to respond in obedience because God ALWAYS KNOWS what is best!
Be Blessed
Anika

Tips For Creating A Schedule

Each day I have a God given purpose and I must be intentional about fulfilling it. Having a schedule helps me to effectively manage my time, be more focused and provides direction for my day. It brings a sense of order and discourages me from being lazy and idle.  “Winging” it every day leads to unproductivity and lots of frustration.   With all that said, below are some important tips to consider to help you create a schedule that works for you.

  1. Have I asked God what my schedule should look like?

We are good at bringing God only the “big” things.  However God has specific tasks for us to accomplish each day, which is part of the bigger picture for His purpose for our life.  Take the time and ask the Lord what your schedule should look like.  This means that you will have to spend time in prayer.  Trust me when I say this is not a small matter, seeking the Lord’s face on what you should do and when you should do it makes for a more productive day.

 

  1. Ask yourself, “What part of the day am I most energetic and focused?”

Knowing the answer to this question helps you to prioritize doing the most difficult task when you have the most energy.   For example I am totally a morning person so I do most of my cooking and cleaning in the morning.  If I wait until the evening, I am absolutely drained and the quality of the completed task is greatly compromised because I am tired.  I reserve the evening for doing homework with the children, giving them face time and less demanding household task.  So often we get annoyed with our children because we see them as distracting us from our work.  However when we are careful with our planning, some of this frustrations can be eliminated.  I have six children so I realize that even with careful planning, some children are needier than others but a schedule is a great start

  1. Which tasks do I need to do every day and which ones should be done once a week?  

Having established routines is important and it helps to take away a lot of the guess work out the day.  I not only answer this question for myself but I also include the children in the process.  They also have things that they must do on a daily and weekly basis. Established routines helps to set clear expectations for everyone in the home and minimizes a lot of frustration and repeating of oneself.  Note:  notice how I said a lot of the frustration and not all….children and adults alike know how to get you to repeat yourself…amen.  When you are trying to establish a routine, be prepared to hit repeat over and over again.  PRAYEFULLY everyone will eventually catch on to the routines.  Be patient and BREATHE!

 

  1. Schedule in some me time.  

This is so important to do.  My me time may just be 30 minutes on some days and 1 hour another. However as a stay at home mom I can become resentful about doing for everyone else and not for myself.  I had to get over feeling like this was selfish, it is needed. I typically have my me time while the younger ones are napping. During this time I pick something that will refresh me in some way.  It may be browsing Pinterest and admiring all the projects that I can’t fit in my schedule (just keeping it real here folks)…nothing wrong with a little dreaming.  I may take a nap, give myself a pedicure or call a friend.  But again, this is something just for me.

  1. Ask yourself, “What are some things that can take me off schedule? In other words, what things distract me throughout the day?  What parameters can I put in place to hold me accountable?

Let us be real with ourselves when answering this question. I know that surfing the internet can be a huge distraction for me and totally take me off schedule.  To combat this issue, I put certain parameters in place.  I may set a timer to remind me that it is time to get off or I may deliberately wait until I know I have only a limited time because I have to go somewhere.   This restricts my time and I have no option but to get off.

During the school year, I try not to turn on my cell phone until I have completed most of my necessary tasks.  Having the phone on first thing in the morning can be a HUGE distraction because there is someone or something that is demanding your attention. There are times when I do have to turn it on in the morning when I leave the house.   However, I turn it off once I get home because if anyone really needs to get in touch with me, they can call the house phone.  I also don’t have Facebook or other social media notifications coming to my phone because it is so easy to get drawn in.  Since I am a blogger, I get on Facebook most days to see if I need to respond to any comments from my posts.  I try to restrict my time and may only visit my page on some days.

There are times when the unexpected happens and I have to forgo my schedule and deal with the issue at hand.  There are also days in which the Holy Spirit takes me off schedule and leads me in a different direction.  I try to yield to His voice. So while I promote a schedule, I also encourage you to not hold too tightly to it and miss the voice of the Holy Spirit.  I would love to hear from you.  Do you have a schedule?  What are some of the things you consider when creating one?  Do you think that having a schedule is helpful?

Psalm 37:5 (NLT)

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

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