Category Archives: Parenting

Busy Mom? Find Peace In Your Day– Guest Post from Jill Kemerer

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Maybe you’ve survived the infant years, the sticky fingers, the markers on walls, potty training, and basic disciplining. Maybe you’ve even cleared the hurdles of teaching your kids to read and honing their multiplication tables. No matter what stage you’re in, as long as you have kids under your roof, you’re guaranteed to be busy!

Moms need time to just breathe. Every morning I grab my coffee, read the Bible, and spend time in prayer. But I’ve worked another peace-inducer into my life, and it’s possible to do no matter what stage of motherhood you’re in.

I take a walk.

Simple, right?

Wait. I walk alone.

Sure, you can take your kids with you, but that isn’t peace inducing. When you bring them, they chatter, fight, race ahead, and generally interrupt your thoughts.

You need to relax, get a clear head. You need silence.

Suck in the fresh air. Lift your face to the sky. See those clouds? The leaves wiggling on branches? Birds sailing from tree to tree? Snowflakes drifting down? All of this requires you to slow down. To be silent. It opens a space in your heart. Gives you a break from the noise and bustle, even if it’s for three minutes.

When you take the time to find peace in your day, you get an extra sliver of patience. Your hugs last a little longer. Your meals become a little tastier. You feel better. You are better.

Give it a try!

Share with me: How do you find peace in your day?

JillKemererCgroupJill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels. Coffee fuels her mornings; chocolate, her afternoons. A former electrical engineer, she now enjoys a healthy addiction to magazines, fluffy animals, and her hilarious family. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and MVRWA. Jill is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

To learn more about Jill, check out her website, stop by her blog, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Heaven knows I’m in a place in the joy of motherhood where I could use a little peace from time to time. Thank you for sharing this wisdom, Jill! You speak truth!

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The Hallow of Halloween– Should Christians Be Involved?

The Hallow of Halloween

Of all the holidays, Halloween definitely provides the most instigation for controversy among the Christian community.

In some circles, it’s the “no-no” holiday.

Should it be celebrated by Christians?
Should Christians even hand out candy?
Should churches condone the idea of children dressing in costume? What’s more, should churches host Halloween or Fall events?
Are Christians going to hell for celebrating on “the devil’s day”?

Here’s my view–

The day of Halloween holds no power of evil for me, for I am filled by the One who overcomes all evil.

The devil doesn’t have any more power on Halloween than he does any other day of the year. The evil and sin that plague the world are just as bad on October 30 and November 1. But here’s the good news– we know what happens at the end of The Book. Evil is destroyed and Goodness wins.

So what should Christians do on October 31? What we should be doing every other day of the year– being a bold, blazing bright light for Jesus Christ in a dark, dark world. Whether that means we let our kids dress up and collect candy door-to-door or simply smile at a stranger we pass on the street, our mission is the same on Halloween as it is every day.

I read a post the other day from a Christian Mommy-blogger that said that because Halloween was evil, she and her family locked themselves behind closed doors every year and avoided people at all cost.

The post made me sad. An opportunity missed for the message of Christ to be spread on Halloween, even if by handing out invitations to church or a simple “God loves you” to go along with a piece of candy.

Now I’m going to go all history nerd on you.

When speaking to Believers who do not celebrate Halloween, the number one reason given is: “Christian’s shouldn’t celebrate Halloween because it’s pagan.”

Not so much. As a historian and born again believer, I’m ready to de-bunk the myths of the “pagan” Americanized Halloween.

Many of the American Halloween traditions are relatively new. In the grand scheme of history, dressing in costume and going door-to-door asking for candy have only become popular in the last century.

Before that, Halloween was an unorganized compilation of various religious beliefs and traditions from many European cultures. 

And many of these religious beliefs and traditions were started by the Church. (Big “C” church refers to the Roman Catholic Church–the earliest form of organized Christianity.)

Back in the day, the Celtic people of Europe (the UK and northern France) had beliefs tied to this time of year. They celebrated a holiday called Samhain (sow-in) that recognized the changes in the seasons–from light to dark, warm to cold, and from life to death. October 31 began the new year, and they believed that at Samhain, the land of the living and the land of the dead could overlap.

From these ancient traditions, the Catholic church attempted to reach converts. To take the emphasis off of the paganism of Samhain, the Catholic church made November 1 All Saints Day, or the day to remember and honor the saints. They then added November 2 as All Souls Day, or the day to remember and honor all of the dead who had gone on before.

These two “holy days” fell into the Catholic church’s method of conversion for pagans in the early church days--Keep doing what you’re doing, just do it in the name of Jesus. Remember that in those days, it wasn’t about converting hearts as much as it was about numbers.  So the idea of the living and dead overlapping fell under these days–Church sanctioned days of commemoration for the dead.

The night before All Saints Day became known as All Hallow’s Eve, and then was shortened to Hallowe’en.

One of the traditions during All Souls Day was for children or youngsters to go house to house asking for small cakes. In return, they would offer prayers for the family members who had died. Some believe that our tradition of trick-or-treating might have come from this early practice.

The idea of wearing costumes has no real “pagan” tie. In general, it can be traced back to the idea that many who instigated “trickery” or pranks during this time of year really wanted to mask their identities.

In the early 20th century, communities looked for a way to stop the pranks and keep kids safe on Halloween. They decided to organize community wide parties and parades for kids to show off their costumes, and later on the idea of subduing “tricksters” by offering them sweets turned into modern day trick-or-treating.

The Jack-O-lantern might be the most “evil” of all Halloween traditions. According to old Irish folklore, a man named Jack O’Lantern was so bad that he was kicked out of hell with only a burning ember to light his way. He wanders the earth at night with his ember in a hollowed out turnip. When the legend came to America, children began hollowing out pumpkins to create their own “Jack O’Lanterns.”

Okay, so there’s the history of our Americanized traditions.

We know what the Bible says about evil. We know what it says about what happens to a soul at death and where it goes. There’s no need to argue whether or not some people emphasize the negatives of the holiday–they do. It’s the non-Christians who’ve darkened the holiday; for well over a thousand years, Christendom has attempted to refocus it.

And if one still wants to cling to the pagan argument, then we must also point out all of the pagan influences in other parts of Christianity. Celebrating Christmas on December 25th, for example. That was not Jesus’ actual birthday. No, no. It was a Roman pagan holiday that the Church usurped, once again taking emphasis off the pagan rituals and putting them on Christianity. So can we ignore one holiday for “paganism” but not another?

If you and your family choose not to celebrate Halloween, there is nothing wrong with that. I respect your decision completely.

No matter your views on Halloween, it is important to remember that evil has no power over us when we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit.

Emphasize the positive: happy costumes, candy, and communities coming together. Remember The Great Commission– we are to make disciples on all days, and not avoid any opportunity to shine His great light.

Everyday is hallowed when we walk in the light of the Lord. Nothing can change that. Glorify the Lord in all you do, even on Halloween.

For more info, check out this video from The History Channel.

Share with me: What are your family traditions on Halloween?

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One Word for 2013– The 6 Months Check-Up

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Commit.

That’s my word for 2013.

The year is going by quickly– over half gone already. If you’re like me, you find that hard to believe. Something about becoming a parent, or perhaps just growing older, causes time to fly.

So it’s time to evaluate how the word commit has influenced me so far.

I chose the word with the intention of using it to force me to change certain behaviors, adapt to new behaviors, and make me stronger both physically and mentally.

Some of the commitments I made for 2013–

I’ve committed to seeking God with every part of my life. Not that I wasn’t doing this before, but I will thread Jesus into every fiber of my being so tightly that when others look at me, especially my children, they see that my life is nothing without Christ. I am nothing without Him. I’m only held together by Him.

  • My children are eager to learn scripture and read Bible stories. They love talking to, and about, Jesus. This is not of my doing, but I hope it’s partly because we’ve set that example in our home.

I’ve committed to  exercise and health. I will lose all this baby weight, and I will be healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.

  • Because I’m eating healthier, my entire family is eating healthier. We’re not perfect (I refuse to give up chocolate), but I’m thankful that my family appreciates some healthy foods. My boys watch me exercise and I encourage them to join in. Their little bodies being a temple and all– I want them to establish healthy routines early.

I’ve committed to service and teaching. I will serve when God asks.

  • God has opened several doors for me in this area. Not only am I now teaching Sunday school, I will soon be leading a Bible study and re-launching the Women’s Ministry at my church. Big things are happening.

I’ve committed to writing. I will carve out time to write new material. I will be more active in the writing community than I’ve been in the past year.

  • Because I’ve spent the first half of this year either being pregnant or caring for a newborn (he’s three months old already!), I haven’t gotten very far on this one. I have story ideas popping in my head all the time, but I haven’t been able to establish a routine that allows me good writing time– yet. School starts back soon so my oldest 2 will get back to their normal routine and the baby will adapt to our routine. I’m looking forward to carving some writing time in there somewhere. I’m committed to it.

What has inspired me most about this word for 2013 is that along with it comes determination. I can’t “commit” to this word without directing that I will do certain things. It has forced me to do exactly what I’d hoped– change behaviors, make new behaviors routine, and seek out opportunities.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings.

Share with me: What is your word for 2013? How has it affected your life so far this year? (It’s not too late to choose a word if you don’t already have one!)

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