What Your Child Wants Most From You

What Your Child Wants Most of All From You

Not everyone knows this about me.

But I love making bread.

I’m not sure what it is, but for some reason I find the process incredibly relaxing and rewarding – maybe even downright therapeutic.

There’s something about grinding the wheat, mixing and kneading the dough, and baking the loaves. It reaches deep down inside me.

So right and good for my soul.

Yet there’s this one problem.

My kids love making bread too. With me.

And I hate to say it, but this changes the experience for me - significantly.

Because when I have my little helpers?  I’m no longer unwinding or getting lost in the wonder of it all.

Instead, I find myself distracted by their wiggly fingers and chattery words. The mess, the mistakes, and the mayhem. My nerves are inevitably on edge by the time the loaves are tucked safely in the oven.

No, it’s definitely not the same experience at all.

So what to do?

I’ve a difficult decision to make: Should I minister to my own soul . . . or pour into theirs?

A real dilemma.

Because I’m aware that if we do this together, our children will probably remember it forever.  They’ll remember sinking their hands into the warm, sticky dough. Kneading and forming each loaf. Trying to follow my hands and copy everything I do.

They’ll never realize that it cost me much.

They can’t understand how it changes everything.

They’ll not know that I gave up some of my own soul-feeding moments to nourish their own.

To be honest, I’m always surprised by their enthusiasm for baking bread. I’ve tried suggesting they go build with their Legos. Or go outside and play on the swing. Maybe they’d like to watch a favorite movie?

But, no, nothing seems as pleasant as making bread with mama.

Funny, huh?

It’s really quite strange when you think about it.

Why wouldn’t they rather run along and play?

Why do their small hands seek to be so close to my own?

And why won’t they stay in their own little world . . . so that I can enjoy mine?

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 3

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 2

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 1

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 4

I think as moms we can be so caught up with giving things that delight our children – toys, crafts, treats and games – that we forget what they really want from us.

They want to be part of our lives.

They want to know what it is that we love, and learn to love it too.

They simply want to be with us.

So welcome your children into your world. 

What Your Child Wants Most From You

If you have a passion for gardening…or reading…or writing…or design….then share it with them too.

Invite them to come alongside and place their young hands next to your own.

Their heart next to yours.

After all, it really is good for the soul.

Both yours and theirs.

*So what kinds of things does your child like doing with you, or alongside you? I’d love to hear it!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson
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The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Embrace Your Marriage - The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

So strange.

So strange that it would be one of the first things they told us.

Stranger still, perhaps, that this is what continues to stand out in my mind. Out of all the things that the doctors at the hospital shared with us, that this statement would be the most memorable.

“Most parents who give birth to this kind of child end up in divorce. We just thought we should prepare you for that.”

Yeah, thanks.

It was like hearing two pieces of devastating news.

As if one wasn’t enough.

The first news was that our sweet baby had suffered a massive stroke before she was even born. She would likely never walk, talk, or know us as her parents – if she lived at all.

The second was that our marriage would not likely endure the tragedy of it all.

More news than a couple should have to take in at one time, wouldn’t you say?

Basically, “This is the beginning of the end.”

I glanced over at my husband with desperate grief and fear in my eyes.

But he wasn’t having any of it.

No way, Babe. We’re not going to take the “likely” path, you and me.

We serve the God who continually surprises us with the unlikely. The God of miracles. The Restorer. The Redeemer.

And He is more than able to hold us together.

So how did we get through the years that followed? Those pressure-filled, emotionally, physically, and financially draining years?

The grace of God.

Grace from Him and grace for each other.

And you can cling to that same grace as well—in both the good times and hard times.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Heb. 4:16

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Grace that offers compassion. When the other person is weak. Sometimes I was too tired to see straight. Or even talk sweet.  He overlooked that snap because he knew I wasn’t “myself” from fatigue and worry.  And I tried to do the same for him.

Grace that doesn’t keep a grudge. He said things that hurt my feelings or made me feel like he didn’t really understand. He let me down and didn’t always hold up. And it was the same here. But we knew we needed to let it go and not let bitterness settle in.

Grace that goes the extra mile. At times each of us had to give more than we had—and certainly more than “our fair share”. We couldn’t keep records or simply take turns. We had to learn to give . . . and then give some more.

Grace that accepts the gift of others.  Grace also comes in the form of support from friends and family. We can’t do this by ourselves, but recognize that we are needy. We are part of the body of Christ for a reason and were never meant to walk alone (More here: On Why It Is So Critical To Connect With Friends).

Grace that doesn’t give up.  No matter how dark some days were – and especially the nights – we refused to give up. We believed God had us in His hands, even when the situation seemed impossible. You are in those same loving Hands.

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together - Embrace Your Marriage

So, yes, our marriage held together. By God’s grace, we will be celebrating twenty-two years this Friday!

Grace to Hold Your Marriage TogetherAnd if you’re wondering what happened to that dear little girl of ours?

She is a miracle. While it’s true she never did learn to walk, she can definitely talk…and talk. She calls me mommy and says how much she loves me.

She prays for us and for this blog. Every day.

And so in a very real sense, she prays for you too. All because of unlikely grace. Powerful grace. 

The same grace that  is available to you too.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ~ Eph. 2:4-7

CHALLENGE: Before you can extend grace to others, the best place to start is with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray, asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over see each one of them!

And here’s what you have to look forward to . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Mondays!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

Embrace Your Marriage: A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Have you been hoping to attend a marriage retreat?

But maybe you just haven’t been able to get away.

Or maybe you’ve both been way too busy.

Or perhaps you simply haven’t been able to afford it.

Well, how you would you like to come to our Virtual Marriage Retreat?

You don’t even have to leave the house (unless you want to) and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Yes, I’m totally serious. Lovely idea, isn’t it? I thought so too.

That’s why I’m so excited to share with you this new Marriage Series starting the 1st of September!

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, each of the following blogs will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. You can meet my wonderful blogger friends over at the following sites . . . .

And here’s what you have to look forward to!

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!

*If you have topics or questions that you would like covered in this series, would you let me know? Either in a comment below, or on my contact page? I’ll do my best to cover it if I can!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

Super Simple Menu-Planning That Really Works

Super Simple Menu-Planning That Really Works

What is that one thing that is going to save you both time and money?

Oh, and stress.

Let’s not forget that. Saves you stress.

You know what I’m talking about.

Menu-planning.

And you know you’re supposed to do this.

Maybe you’ve already started this good practice.

And started.

And started.

And started . . . ?

Yeah. Me too.

So since we’re being honest with each other? I’m going to come right out with it: I’m terrible about meal-planning.  Absolutely terrible.

What’s worse it that I know it would help me out and it’s not all that hard to do.

But still I don’t do it.

Why?

Maybe because it’s one more thing to do. Takes time and thought.

So then dinner keeps sneaking up on me. Every. Single. Night.

Terrible.

On most nights, I just have to wing it!

I think I’ve tried nearly every system out there and, while I don’t have anything against any of them, I haven’t found anything that works for me.

Until now.

I began using this method for meal-planning last year and I am sold on it.

I love it!

And now I’m sharing it with you . . . in case you end up loving it too.

What do I love about it?

  • It’s simple.
  • It family- friendly.
  • It’s quick and easy.

What more could you ask for?

Okay, here it goes . . . .  (complete with illustrations!)

A Super Simple Menu-Plan That Really Works

1.  Come up with 7 Categories of Meals.  I’ve noticed every family has their own kind of foods that they enjoy. Brainstorm just a bit to think what sorts of food these would be. You can also vary them according to the season.

Example: Chicken, Pizza, Soups, Pasta, Mexican, Thai, Beef, Salads, Rice Dishes, etc.

Super Simple Menu-Planning Categories

*Sorry about the coffee smudge in the middle of the page . . . but you know me :)

2.   Come up with  4 kinds of meals for each category. This is easier than it sounds. Like this:

Chicken:  Barbeque chicken, Chinese chicken, Roasted chicken, Chicken enchiladas, etc.

Pasta:  Spaghetti, Fettucini Alfredo, Macaroni & Cheese, etc.

Super Simple Menu-Planning Categories and Suggestions

3.  Designate a Category for each night. I try to think through our basic family schedule and what our needs are for each evening. For instance, on the day we’re in town for much of the day, I might designate as “easy dinner night” or “crock pot night”.

Example: Monday is Chicken Night. Tuesday is Crock Pot night. Friday is Pizza Night.

4.   Get out your calendar and start plugging it it! Bonus: If you come up with 8 dishes for each category, then you have 2 months worth. Or maybe your family is fine with the same basic meals each month. Maybe you’re adventurous and want to have a designated Try-A-New-Recipe night. That’s fun too!

Side-Dishes: Personally, I don’t worry so much about the side dishes. I can usually come up with those easily enough. If you’d like to include them in your menu-plan, however, I’d use the same approach and brainstorm your side dishes and add those in as well.

Super Simple Menu-Planning Calendar

Here’s the beauty of this super simple system: I don’t have to think.

Or, at least not too much.

I just wake up on Monday morning and already know that it is Chicken Night. That means I simply start by pulling chicken out of the freezer.

That was easy.

And when the kids ask me, “What’s for dinner tonight?” I can boldly proclaim, “Chicken!” and it increases their confidence in me.

And increases their confidence that we are actually going to have dinner that night.

Two big points right there.

Super Simple Menu-Planning in the Kitchen

Real-Life Homemaking SeriesNow if you’re thinking this just isn’t working for you, that’s okay. It won’t hurt my feelings.

I have another suggestion that you might like better. Kelly of  TheNourishingHome shares a “healthy real food meal plan” every other week on TheBetterMom and you might want to check out that option too.

And if all else fails?

Wing it! 

It’s alright, I’ve been doing it for years . . . . ;)

*What tips or methods have you found to help with menu-planning? Any questions (other than why do we keep egg cartons on top of our fridge – long story)?

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyOur books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

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