How to Get a Mommy-Break Without the Help of the Television

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We’ve all done it.

It’s too noisy.  It’s too wild.  It’s too stressful.  We need a mommy break, so we turn on the television and plop those crazy little people in front of the screen so they will be contained and occupied.

Let the big black box babysit for a while – Mommy needs to catch her breath.

How to Get a Mommy-Break Without the Help of the Television | RaisingArrows.net

We don’t like to admit it, but when the going gets tough, the television (or computer) saves the day.

Sort of…

The problem that comes from using the television as a regular babysitter is that we and our children become dependent on the feeling of being entertained.  It is a fine line between a healthy use of screen time and an unhealthy use of screen time.

Certainly, there are seasons when we don’t even realize the television watching is getting out of control.  We often “wake up” from those seasons, only to realize we have a lot of work to do weaning our children from the screen.  However, there are many times when we want to do better with not using the television as a babysitter, but we can’t think of anything that will occupy the children and offer us the break we feel we need.  So, we default to our old habits, and let them watch “one more show”.

Today, I want to offer you a few alternatives to television when Mommy needs to catch her breath.  Not that I’m asking you to stop letting your kids watch television altogether, but because I know you feel guilty putting them in front of the screen as often as you do, yet you can’t think of anything quite as effective.

Alternatives to plopping the kids in front of the television when you need a Mommy Break | RaisingArrows.net

First of all, here’s a short YouTube video from my channel discussing how we handle television in our home. I want you to start here before we talk more in depth about ideas for keeping the children occupied without it.

The second thing I want you to do is ask yourself WHY you need a break.  Make sure you aren’t running after that elusive Me Time.  If you have a habit of running away from your real life, then alternatives to television aren’t what you really need.  What you really need is a heart to heart with yourself and God.  That’s not the focus of this post, but it had to be said before moving on.

OK, so now let’s talk about alternatives to television and screen time…

Audios
There are tons of great audios out there that require your children to use their imaginations.  Some of our favorites are the Jonathan Park series and the Brinkman Adventures.  Put the kids in a room with a CD player and give yourself a few moments to breathe while they enjoy some quality, brain-engaging entertainment.

Crafts
Some of you are probably thinking I’m out of my mind for suggesting crafts as something that would give mommy a break, but if you keep a craft bag with things in it that aren’t super messy (i.e. anything but glitter), then you can pull that bag out every now and then and keep the children occupied for hours on end.

Outside
Even if you have to go outside with the children, taking some time in the out-of-doors, is a great way for everyone to change up their routine and get reenergized.  Have things like bubbles and chalk available for an added bonus!

Room Time
This is a concept I learned from Tricia at Hodgepodge.  Not only does Room Time help to keep children occupied when you need a break, but it is a great way to teach your children to sit quietly while you do school with older kids.  You can read more about this concept HERE.

Have older kids babysit
Way better than television is an older child spending time with their siblings.  Specify how much time you need and give them some activity ideas.

Bathtub
This can’t be an unsupervised break, but I have found just sitting and reading while the kids play in the bathtub is quite relaxing.  You can also use the bathtub as their own private play place.  Dry out the tub, fill with toys and kids, and let them have a ball!  (You can also let them stand at the kitchen sink pretending to “wash dishes” with plastic dishes – I remember doing this as a kid!)

Take a ride
There have been times when I needed a moment to think, and I’ve loaded up the children and we’ve gone for a ride!  Roll down the windows, play some relaxing music, get the kids a drink or snack, and just drive a bit.

Isolate yourself for a moment
This has to be very purposeful because you do not want to zone out for too long, but taking yourself outside or isolating yourself in your bedroom for a time can do wonders for getting back to the top of your game.  It doesn’t take long if you tell yourself you don’t need long.

Give your children a task
By giving your children a focused task, you give yourself a moment to breathe.  This needs to be something simple like picking up sticks in the yard or wiping down walls with a rag.  While they do the task, you take a breather elsewhere.  This will give you about 10-15 minutes.

Have them read a book
Even if they are too young to read, give them a picture book and have them take some down time.  This is something you should start young and do often!  Not only are you getting a break, you are fostering a love of reading!

Be creative
Sometimes all it takes is a cardboard box to keep them entertained for hours!  Look around you for things that are out of their norm that would give them a creative outlet and give you a little bit of a brain break.

And lastly…

Teach your children to be quiet
Play the quiet game.  Offer rewards for the quietest child.  Whatever it takes to help your children learn that when Mommy needs it quiet, she NEEDS IT QUIET.  This is a process, but a very good lesson for your children to learn.  You will be able to afford them many opportunities if they have been taught the importance of being quiet on demand.  This serves a much higher purpose than just giving you a break, so be diligent!

While this is not an exhaustive list of ideas, I hope it gives you a place to start.  The television truly does have a mesmerizing effect on children (and most adults!), but it isn’t much for getting creative juices flowing or offering quality engagement of the brain.  It should be used rarely and with caution.

Feel free to share how you take a break without plopping the kids in front of the television!

My New At-A-Glance Schedule {2015}

Make your day run smoother by using an At-A-Glance Schedule! | RaisingArrows.net

For those of you new to Raising Arrows, let me quickly explain what an At-A-Glance schedule is…

An At-A-Glance Schedule is a rough sketch of your day.  It is not a schedule for the entire family.  It is Mom’s Master List.  It isn’t super structured or binding.  It is a bare-bones approach that keeps you on track without making you feel guilty.

I was looking back at my old At-A-Glance schedule and realized how very outdated it was.  We haven’t had piano lessons on Wednesdays in well over a year!  Ideally, an At-A-Glance schedule would be re-assessed as circumstances change, or at the very least, every year.  It may not need to be changed every year because remember, it isn’t a tight schedule, so you won’t have things like “Baby’s Nap” on there or other things that change often.

This past weekend, I quickly worked through my old schedule to create one I believe will be a good fit for this year.  By the way, when I say “year”, I mean “school year.”  About this time of year, I am going through all of my homeschool materials and resources to see what I need for the upcoming school year, and figure out what that school year should look like.  (I like to be able to share with my readers what the intricacies of our homeschool looks like, so expect upcoming posts that highlight the changes for the 2015-16 year!)

It really is very easy to revamp an old At-A-Glance Schedule once you have the template of your day, so if you can find the time to put together your first one, any that follow will be very simple to make!

{affiliate links included}

Here is a quick guide to creating your first AAG:

1.  Write down the natural rhythm of your day.  If you get up at 8 am, don’t write down a wake up time of 7 am.  If you start school at 10 am, don’t write down 9 am.  This is the REAL routine you follow.  There will be time later to decide if you need to change your routine.

2.  Make a list of the things you would like to do in a day that are not on your “natural rhythm schedule”.  Don’t get crazy, but do get it all out.  This is a good exercise in realizing what things you THINK you should be doing, and the actuality of what can be FIT in to your schedule.  This list is there to help you work through what’s in your brain and start releasing the guilt you have for not doing EVERYTHING.

3.  Prioritize, Plug In, and Cull.  Sometimes all it takes is being purposeful and plugging it in.  Sometimes you have to have the sense to just let it go.  By writing out the things you WISH you had time for and comparing them to the natural rhythm schedule you wrote down in #1, you can see if you really do have the time for those things.  For instance, I would love to get back to sewing, but this isn’t the season for that because there are other things that NEED to be in the schedule.  I can let go of the guilt of not sewing because I know the things I have plugged in are PRIORITIES.

When you have a list of things that truly NEED to be on the schedule, then you can think about where they go.  Again, your AAG is NOT a full-blown schedule, so you are not looking for a place to plug in every single thing, but rather you are making sure there is enough MARGIN in your day to accommodate the things that are truly important.

Margin by Richard Swenson is a good book to help you understand the WHY and HOW of margin in your day.

4.  Write it out, type it out, post it.  I always write a rough sketch, go over it in my head, go over it with my older children and my husband, and make sure it is doable and everyone who has a choice is on board with it.  Then, I type it out, laminate it (with this laminator) and post it.

I always make more than one copy.  One copy is near my “office”, one is on the refrigerator, and one is with my homeschool materials.  (In the new house, my “office” is separate of my homeschool materials.  You’ll notice in this post, my office and homeschool area are the same.)  The reason for this is so that you truly can see the schedule AT A GLANCE!  It’s everywhere you are when you might need a little EXTRA focus.

5.  Tweak as needed.  I know, I know – I ALWAYS say this, but it’s true.  I was an English major – every paper was a rough draft!  Every SCHEDULE is a rough draft!  This gives you permission to change something.  HOWEVER, just because your AAG didn’t work the first or second, or even third time you tried it, does NOT mean it isn’t the “right” schedule for you.  It simply means it is NEW.  If after a week or two of really trying, it still doesn’t work, THEN tweak.

You will find that your day RARELY goes the way you plan, but having an At-A-Glance Schedule will help keep you on a track that moves forward and makes sense.  It is never meant to tie you down or stress you out!

Would you like to take a peek at my new AAG?  You will notice a couple of things:

1.  We are late risers.

2.  I sometimes (not always) rely on audio and video to keep the younger crowd occupied during a section of school that requires me to stay focused on the older crowd (I just put it on the schedule as an option).

I’m also including some links at the bottom of this post that I’ve written about specific items mentioned in the At A Glance Schedule.   These will help you understand more about how our day runs and what I mean by certain sections on the schedule.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY AAG!

Helpful Links:
Morning Chores
Quiet Time with Small Children
Another Take on Quiet Time
Christian Mom’s Guide to Blogging
Table Chores
Schooling the Little First
Easy Homeschool Lunches
Laundry Ideas
Special School
Art & Artist Time
Special Night

What We Are Reading – May 2015

I’m terrible at staying updated with the “What We are Reading” posts.  I was reading while nursing yesterday afternoon, and decided it was high time I just sat down and wrote out a quick post to tell you about the books we are currently reading…

What We are Reading - May 2015 Edition | RaisingArrows.net

(affiliate links included)

I’m currently reading Understanding the Times by David Noebel and I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.


I highly recommend your older kids read these two books before they leave high school!  These are also great books to take you deeper in your own faith.

My 17 year old son just finished Assumptions That Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman and How Should We Then Live by Francis Shaeffer.

(You’ll find my wholehearted endorsement on the inside cover of this book!)

I’d encourage you to have your older kids read both of these books as well, and then watch the How Should We Then Live videos hosted by Dr. Shaeffer himself.  You can watch them for FREE on YouTube HERE.  The reason I recommend reading AND watching is because it will help to cement in your child’s mind the TRUTH.

Blake is now reading Paul Little’s Know What You Believe as he goes through the Starting Points curriculum from Cornerstone Curriculum.  (This is an excellent worldview curriculum that will teach your children to think for themselves and analyze the worldview of everything they encounter.  I had a fantastic discussion with Dr. Quine recently that solidified in my mind his genuine desire to help young people to learn not just WHAT to think but HOW to think.)

Megan, age 14, is also going through this course.  Additionally, she is reading The Victorian Internet and Les Miserables.

She balked at the size of Les Miserables (and who wouldn’t?!), so I asked her to read the first section, and then decide from there if she wanted to continue.  Since she already knows the storyline, reading the first section (about 300 pages), will give her a feel for the language of the book – something I feel is very important when reading classic literature.

My 10 year old daughter just finished The Pioneer Sampler, and has decided to read through the Elsie Dinsmore books.

Our landlady told her that the first two books are rather miserable, but once you move through those, you are hooked.  We own the first 12 books in the set, but I could never get through the first book.  Elsie is in a constant state of distress, and I grew weary of everyone always treating her horribly.  But, Melia assures me they DO get better, so I’m letting her go with it!

My 9 year old son is reading a short Thomas Jefferson biography for school and Misty of Chincoteague (we picked this up at a library sale).

Micah, our newest reader, is working through his Phonics Museum books and starting to try to sound out words in other books and magazines!  He’s our 3rd child to learn to reading using Phonics Museum.  So fun!

So, that’s what we are reading!  What are you reading?

This is Supposed to Be Hard Work

You’ve seen them…the advertisements touting how this diet will make the pounds melt off of you, or this product will make your housework feel like a walk in the park, or this method will be the answer to all your problems.  The prospect of this sort of thing is exciting, tempting, and…destructive.

SELF-destructive, to be exact.

You see, we all want easy street.  We all want the most efficient, fastest, easiest way from Point A to Point B.  If our map app can do it, surely we can do it in our every day lives.  But, when there is a detour, a roadblock, or even a stop sign in the middle of it all, we get irritated.  We get discontent.  We get depressed.

And we are pretty certain WE are the ones who failed because after all…

It was supposed to be EASY!

What would happen if we embraced the fact that some things are hard? | RaisingArrows.net

I homeschool.  I have a large family.  I have a 2 year old.  I have a newborn.  I have a lot of laundry.  I have 20 extra pounds.  I…

Good grief!  The list could go on and on and on. “I” this and “I” that.  Can’t “I” get a break?

But, what if “I” embraced the fact that this stuff is hard?

Homeschooling?  It’s hard.

Raising a lot of kids?  Yep, it’s hard too.

My 2 year old?  Oh my yes!  Hard!

My newborn?  Naw, she’s an easy keeper.

Aspen 4 months

The laundry?  Hard.

Losing the extra 20 pounds?  HARD!

When you accept that some things are hard, some things you have to WORK at, some things aren’t going to be easy, your outlook on life completely changes.  You don’t see the roadblocks and stop signs, twists and turns in the road, detours and potholes as obstacles designed to undermine your perfect life.  You don’t see homeschooling as the problem, the toddler as the problem, or even the 20 pounds as the problem.  You see things for what they are…WORK.  And yes, sometimes HARD WORK.

When homeschooling my large family becomes difficult – and it does – that doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong or I should throw in the towel.  It may mean I need to slow down, try something new, or simply PERSEVERE.

When raising my large family feels overwhelming, especially cooking for them and putting out all the fires my 2 year old creates, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have had all these kids.  It may mean I’m in a difficult season, and prayer is the only thing that is going to get me through.

When the laundry is piled to the ceiling or piled on the couch, it doesn’t mean I have too many clothes (Mom 😉 ).  It may mean I need to revamp my laundry system, put away the seasonal clothes, or keep a better eye on the kids and how often they are changing clothes (ahem…you know who you are…).  And when that’s all done, just make peace with the fact that there are 10 of us wearing clothes, using towels, and sleeping on sheets every single day.  The laundry will NEVER be caught up.

And that 20 pounds?  It isn’t going to melt off of me.  I will have to WORK at it.  I will have to have self control.  I will have to say no to dessert and yes to exercise.  I will have to accept that there is no gimmick or pill or super awesome diet that will rid me of my gluttony.  That’s between me and the Lord.

Folks, this life is supposed to be hard work.  Always looking for easy street will only lead to dead ends.  You will never be joyful or content.  You will miss the beauty of the journey, the lessons to be learned, the freedom of surrender.  Work hard, my friends.  Stay strong.  Be diligent.

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:12b-13

Read the entire chapter…so, so good!  I’m praying for all of you this week!

Teens and Money – Transitioning from Childhood to Adulthood Finances

Several years ago, I wrote a post about how we handle money with our children.  I spelled out our philosophy on allowances, paying for chores, and what jobs our children could do for extra pay.  At the time, our oldest was 13, and while the principles have stayed the same, the practice has change a bit now that he is advancing quickly toward adulthood.  I thought it might be a good time to offer a new perspective on money as it concerns the teenagers in our home.

(You can read that original post HERE.)

Learn how to make the transition from childhood finances to adulthood with your teen | RaisingArrows.net

Teens and Allowances

I mentioned in my Children and Chores post that we do not pay for chores and we do not give our children an allowance.  This continues into their teens.  The principle behind this is the fact that in adulthood, there are responsibilities a person has toward the upkeep and running of a household that is not a paid job.  Our goal is to teach our children to take care of those responsibilities without needing to be paid or praised for them.  It is simply something that is expected.  Our society no longer places value on a job well done for the sake of doing a job well done.  Too many people expect accolades for their effort, and too many people feel a responsibility that lacks excitement and financial gain isn’t worth their time.  I do not want my children to follow this tide.

I also want to add that I do understand the reasoning behind giving teens an allowance in order to teach money management; however, I do not believe unearned money is the best way to do this.  When the money is simply handed to you, you have no real connection to that money, so the concept of money management doesn’t have the impact it has when it is money earned by the teen.  But, how do they earn money if not by allowance?

Teens and Income Within the Family

Way teens can earn money, as well as money management tips as they move into adulthood | RaisingArrows.net

As I mentioned in the previous post on this topic, we pay for jobs that are “above and beyond” the expected.  For instance, we do not pay for babysitting when one of us needs to run to the store, but we will pay for babysitting if we need to be gone for several hours.  This is something we would have to pay someone else to do if it weren’t done by our teenagers.  Same goes for detailing the vehicle or major handyman jobs.

We also allow grandparents to pay a fair wage when the children go to help with a big project.  We encourage our children to serve their extended family, but we also know that the grandparents would rather pay our children than have to hire the work done outside the family.

Because this money is earned, it is more useful for teaching money management.  More on that in a moment…

Teens & Jobs Outside the Home

Many teenagers like to get jobs outside the home to have some spending money of their own.  There area two sides to this coin that need to be considered carefully before diving headlong into an outside job.

On one side, a job teaches responsibility to someone other than a parent, as well as teaching time management.  Both of these are very valuable lessons.

On the flip side, is the fact that an outside job (unless it is very flexible) has the tendency to separate the family and create a lot of scheduling chaos.  In the last city we lived in, our son had a very flexible job as a trapper at a sporting clays lodge.  This allowed us to take family vacations, work around his schooling, and not be beholden to his job.  Since the move, we have encouraged him to wait on taking a job, and not take just any job.  While we do not want to teach him that certain jobs are “beneath him” or that it is better to do nothing than take a job that isn’t “perfect”, we also know he has the rest of his life to work, and only another year or so to be fully a part of all family activities.  Because of this, we have been praying for another flexible job that would give him some outside money while allowing him to participate in family activities.  (He already has something in the works, but I don’t want to jump the gun telling you about it until we see how it pans out. 😉 )

Another thing we encourage when it comes to working an outside job, is looking for a job that will teach or further a skill.  While flipping hamburgers is definitely a job that will make your teen some spending cash, it is not always a job that will teach him or her a needed skill or hone a skill they already possess.  A good example of this is the sporting clays job.  While Blake has no desire to spend his life throwing skeet, he would like to own his own business some day.  The lodge he worked at was owned by a family who were more than willing to teach him the ins and outs of owning a business.  He was also exposed to all the people with varying careers who came to shoot.  In between stands, he was able to chit chat with them, exchange business cards (we highly recommend your teen considers having business cards made up for networking purposes), and learn more about their vocation and businesses.  He always came home from work with great information and stories.

Teens & Money Management

How you choose to teach money management is a matter of personal preference.  My son decided to use the 80-10-10 method (80% spending, 10% savings, 10% tithe) for his finances, but more often than not, he ends up putting even more into savings.

When I was a teen, I used mason jars to separate out my money.  I had 4 jars:

  • 1 – Savings
  • 2 – Miscellaneous Spending
  • 3 – Tithe
  • 4 – Specific Savings (This is how I saved up money to have my pickup windows tinted.)

You can use the envelope method.  You can actually open checking and savings accounts in your teen’s name.  You can even do some investing if you so choose.

Speaking of investing – if your son or daughter has a talent or skill that has the potential to be an income generator, consider investing in their “business” the way you would invest in a college fund.  For instance, our daughter is a budding photographer.  She’s good at what she does and she’s serious about it.  Because of this, we’ve chosen to help purchase photography supplies and lenses, and helped her start up a more professional website.  (We usually offer half the money she needs for something.)

We also invest in our children by sometimes “paying” them in other ways.  For instance, our daughter chose several years ago to sponsor a Compassion Child.  The photography work she does on this blog and for our family pays for that sponsorship.  Likewise, we have compensated our son for major jobs by paying his way to an event he’s really wanting to participate in that would be money out of his pocket otherwise (like TeenPact National Convention or pheasant hunting in South Dakota).

Compensate your teens for major jobs by paying their way to events and outings they are interested in, but would have to pay out of pocket for. | RaisingArrows.net

Items we regularly require our teenagers to pay include, but are not limited to, the following:

Travel expenses to events they want to go to – this teaches them not to take transportation and food for granted, and not to order the steak when the hamburger will do.

Extra tools and clothing for their job –  A pair of gloves, a pair of jeans, a pair of boots – these are things we are willing to fund fully, or at least half, but extra items that are wants and not needs are paid for by our teen.  For instance, when he worked at the shooting lodge, he decided he’d like to have a pick stick to pick up shotgun shells several at a time.  He found the one he wanted and purchased it with his own money.

This would also be our policy if our children played sports.  We will pay for the basics, they are in charge of anything extra – including an upgrade on shoes from the very basic of models.

“Toys” & Entertainment – Even big kids have toys, and those toys (unless they are gifts for birthdays or Christmas) are not funded by mom and dad.  My son airsofts.  Your child may like video games or sports or certain collectibles.  As adults, we are expected to fund our own entertainment.  The sooner a teenager learns that, the better off they will be.  They won’t grow to expect others to carry the responsibility of paying for their unnecessary items.

This brings me to the final point of this post.  Our teens are expected to be responsible with their money and their time.  As they age, they are given more and more privileges, leeway, and choices.  About 6 months ago, we gave our son nearly total control of his finances.  This past week, we gave him nearly total control of his schedule.  He is a man.  He’s proven this time and again, so it was time for us to let go.  As long as he lives under our roof, we have some control over his finances and time, but that control is nominal.  We are here to lend advice and ideas as needed, but we are transitioning away from planning every aspect of his life and into a new season where he plans his present and prepares for his future.

How do you handle money with your children – especially your teens?  Have you found the transition to be difficult?  What are your goals when it comes to teaching your children money management?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section!

The Mission Field in Your Home

One thing I often hear from stay at home moms is that they feel they aren’t reaching out with the Gospel of Christ.  They are so busy running a household, they have time for little else.  (Remember my post on What You Need to Know About Being a Mom Many Littles?)  These woman want to be spreading God’s Word, but they can’t find the time, the energy, or the babysitter.  I’ve even known some women who gave up homemaking and homeschooling in order to make a greater impact on their community for Christ.

What these mamas are missing is the mission field right in their very homes!

The Mission Field In Your Home - "Living and Ordinary Life in the Name of an Extraordinary Savior" | RaisingArrows.net

Before you hang up on me because I’m being trite, please listen to these words written to me in an email by a Saladmaster Cookware representative who visited our home last week:

“Your family is truly amazing and I felt I was on very sacred ground being in your home.  I am in homes all the time and see interaction in all sorts of wonderful families but have to say, yours is a real stand-out!  I consider it a privilege to have been among you.”

That blew me away.  Sure we get comments as we are walking down the aisles of the grocery store or in restaurants, but to have someone who had been around us for more than 10 minutes give such an amazing testimony to the Light of Christ IN OUR HOME blessed my busy homemaking/homeschooling mama heart!

My children as a mission field.

The Mission Field in your Own Home - don't miss it! | RaisingArrows.net

My mission field has always been my home.  I care for children all day long, doing my very imperfect best to instill the Gospel of Christ in them.  My intent is to raise them as arrows for the Lord to one day be shot out from our home and carry the Gospel with them.  Thus, the name of this blog – Raising Arrows.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”
~Psalm 127:3-4

Often, a mother of young children won’t see the fruit of her labor until much later, giving her the impression she’s not really reaching anyone.  However, a funeral we recently attended gave me insight into what a faithful following looks like at the end of the race…

The gentleman who was being remembered died at 93.  Although he was raised in the church, he did not become a true Christ follower until he was 40.  By that point, he had been married quite some time and had 4 children, but it changed his outlook and attitude dramatically.  However, he lived his life as an ordinary man, doing ordinary things; the difference was that he now did it for and in the name of Jesus.  Because of this, his impact on his world was EXTRAORDINARY.

All 4 of his children are believers, as well as most of their family and extended family.  All of them spoke highly of him and how he ministered to them as a family.  His work in the community was done in the capacity of his various jobs, and he was well-loved by those who knew him.

Once, he counseled Ty not to worry about taking the “right” job, but to do something he enjoyed and work for the Lord there.  He did a lot of work in the church, but again, it was done in the capacity of the gifts and realm of influence the Lord had already placed in his life.

Visitors as my mission field.

The day the Saladmaster representative came to cook us dinner, we all pitched in and cleaned the house.  That was the only thing I did to prepare.  In fact, I’m pretty sure half of my boys had on jeans with holes in the knees.  I had to leave the kitchen several times to change diapers, my 4 year old kept playing with one of the pans, and my 2 year old took off with the 1 pound fat glob the guy brought as a visual to explain how to cook healthy meals.  Perfect it was not.

But, it didn’t need to be perfect.  It just needed to be authentic.

Being a missionary is easier than you thought.

The Mission Field is your own Home - RaisingArrows.netBeing a missionary is a calling all Christians have and it has very little to do with your training or your location.  As a mama, it is about being authentic with everyone you come in contact with from your husband to your children to the mailman to the Saladmaster representative. It isn’t about saying the right thing or looking a certain way.  It isn’t about being the perfect hostess or reaching the most people.  It is about living an ordinary life, doing ordinary things in the name of an extraordinary Savior!

Your life, your home, your testimony - it doesn't have to be extraordinary to reach others with the Gospel! | RaisingArrows.net

So, next time you are tempted to believe you aren’t really doing the Lord’s work, or what you are doing is much too insignificant, remember WHO is doing the work.  It isn’t you.  This isn’t about you.  Be faithful where you are.  The Lord didn’t accidentally give you these children or this life.  It was planned with a purpose.  Work where you are FOR HIM, and let Him do the rest.