My One Little Word: LIFT

One PhotoI love our New Year’s Eve tradition…we play games, eat yummy treats, watch movies and relax in our pajamas. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember, and it is a wonderful way bid farewell to one year while ringing in the next.

The most meaningful  part of the night? Setting goals.

We’ve done this in lots of different ways…we’ve chosen family goals, set individual goals, adopted healthy habits. For a while, we used Luke 2:52 as a theme, and we set goals to enhance our minds, bodies, relationships, and faith. And, for the last several years, we’ve each chosen “one little word” as our “theme” for the year.

My word for this year?

LIFT.

When I told my mom, she said, “What are you going to do with THAT word?”

Hopefully, a lot.

There are several spaces in my house that really need a lift…the garage, the basement, my office…they need to be tidied up and set to rights so they can be useful and functional.

My blog needs a lift, too…some re-designing and some fresh content. Maybe some new pictures…

I have some folks in my life who could use a lift. Folks who are dealing with illness, transition, and brokenness. Friends who are facing new challenges. I want to be sure that I’m in-tune with their needs so I can give them a lift with my words and actions, and my prayers.

I plan to lift myself as well…off the couch! Much of the last year has been spent on projects that keep my mind engaged, and my body still. Time to balance that out and breathe in some fresh air.

Finally, I need to lift up more of my concerns in prayer. I am a champion, world-class, varsity-level worrier. But I don’t HAVE to be…

I love the possibility of my word…the action of elevating that which is important and special and sacred so that my tiny light might shine a little brighter to others in the house. Some of this will be a joy, and sometimes it will require some “heavy lifting…” but I’m up for the challenge. After all, I’ll have help…

I will LIFT up my eyes to the mountains;

From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He is always watching, never sleeping
God Himself is caring for you.
~Ps. 121:1-4

Hello, 2014. So glad to meet you.
Can I give you a lift?

_____________________
What’s YOUR theme for the year? Tell me!
~Katie

Photo cred: Andre Chinn (Creative Commons)

 

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When Halloween is really tricky…

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In just a few days, little goblins will be ringing my doorbell. I can’t wait…I really love seeing kids having fun, all dressed up in costume, and so excited to go home and sort out their treats!

However, for many families, Halloween is really not all that much fun. Special needs can throw a wrench into this holiday, making it a rough day for everyone. For some kids, costumes are itchy, or have unfamiliar textures that make them feel uneasy. For others, the concept of dressing up feels uncomfortable. One mom of a child with autism confided, “My daughter really doesn’t like to pretend to be someone she’s not.” Some children may have difficulty navigating wet lawns and uneven pavement in the dark, while others feel frustrated because they’re sensitive or allergic to many of the popular treats they collect. Finally, those who struggle socially are often left out of trick-or-treating groups or Halloween parties. One dad found out that every child in the neighborhood was invited to a pumpkin party…except his son. When another neighbor asked the party host about it, she simply replied. “Oh. We really don’t care for him. So he’s not invited.”

While we can’t control the hearts and minds of everyone in the neighborhood, we can easily make a few modifications to our Halloween practices that can help everyone feel welcome and included. Here are a few suggestions:

  •  Consider giving your trick-or-treaters fair warning if you enjoy a spooky Halloween. Perhaps you can post a sign that points to your front door that warns, “Those who want a fun Halloween scare, go this way…” and another sign that points to your back door that indicates, “Those who prefer a friendly face, please go this way.” Have your spouse or a teen helper take over that station, and parents can help their kids decide which choice is best.
  • If you are aware that kids in your neighborhood have food sensitivities, consider offering a choice of candy or pocket money. Tie up a couple of shiny dimes or a quarter in a Halloween bag for kids who can’t have candy.
  • Chat with your kids about their Halloween plans, and gently suggest they include someone who may not have plans. The child who is invited may refuse, but for kids who are frequently left out of such activities, the invitation alone is priceless.
  • Invite a child who can’t trick-or-treat to hang out with you for a couple of hours. For kids whose health is fragile or for those who have disabilities that make trick-or-treating impractical, a special invitation to your house could make a tremendous difference. In addition, this might allow parents to assist others in the family with Halloween activities…or just have a couple of hours of rest.
  • Go easy on kids’ manners. In the best of circumstances, Halloween is exciting and overwhelming. For kids who struggle with language, impulse control or social skills, waiting for their turn politely or saying, “thank you so much” just might not happen. Be sure to send every kid off with a warm, and heart-felt, “Thank you for coming…I was so happy to see you!”

None of these ideas is ground-breaking of course…just a few simple ways to spread a little love and “treat” your neighbors to a great Halloween. Enjoy!
~Katie

Annie and Bill getting ready for trick-or-treating...just a month before our move to Ohio

Annie and Bill getting ready for trick-or-treating…1998

Family Devotions and Fudgsicle Juice: Guest blog for Joe McGinnis

I’m so happy, because today I get to guest-blog at Joe McGinnis’ site. Joe is a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church, an author,and most importantly, a husband to Aime and a dad to their six children. Joe has developed a concept called In-Gauge Parenting that helps parents understand the unique roles they play throughout a child’s “journey to independence. Fabulous, insightful, helpful information…for all of us!

Joe asked me to write about how each family has unique strengths and struggles. I decided to share a particular struggle I’ve had (and how my son helped me through it…)

Here is part of the post:
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I have a confession to make:

I am a family devotions failure.

I had such high hopes of…you know…”training my children up in the way they should go.” In fact, I was quite certain that with my teaching background and my solid Protestant upbringing, I would be able to create family devotions that would rival dinner at the Dobson’s house. I envisioned cozy gatherings by the hearth, my children’s rapt attention shining on their little faces as I read aloud from the Bible. I’d grace them with my wisdom and insight, and lovingly encourage their attempts at memorizing whole chapters of Zechariah.

And then I actually had the children.

Click here to read more… and while you’re there, be sure to click around and read more at Joe’s site. You will be encouraged!
And now, I’m going to eat a fudgsicle.

~Katie