Chore Boot Camp Phase 3

Things have been crazy with VBS all the end of June, but we DID complete Phase 3 of Chore Boot Camp! I just now have the time to write about it with the craziness of summer winding down. Did it go 100% like I hoped? Of course not, but I DO feel more confident in their cleaning abilities.

What I learned is each child has a chore they are better at, and not necessarily the one I thought they would be. Kenzie and Callie are good at the bathroom, Kenzie at Sweeping and mopping and vacuuming, Levi is awesome at dusting and windexing, and Callie and Levi were a lot better at their laundry than I thought they would be. Lincoln actually folds washcloths really well and he and Levi can wash simple dishes.

I figured out I loved each of these chores getting done every single day, but staying on them to make sure it got done was very exhausting, I’m hoping that now that they can do it without me it won’t be as bad. I am still considering the lanyards so I know if they have done the chore before they get to play. They are great at waiting till I’m on the phone or busy to come ask if they can do something and know I don’t have time to check their chore and will say go ahead. I think having a set chore time would help too. Figuring out when will be the difficult part. While I like the idea of before school so I know it is done and we start the day with a clean house, I also do not want to have to wait for them to get their chore done before I can start school. I am considering right after lunch and if it isn’t done by 3 then no afternoon snack. I may try a week of each and see which works better.

I also learned that monetary incentives for extra chores work for some of the kids, but not all.

The last thing I learned was the accountability on here really helped me finish this. With this crazy past week, I will admit it was very tempting not to!

How about you? Did any of you try something similar this summer?

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God’s Fingerprints

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The other day while sitting in the van with the windows down and a cool breeze blowing across me I couldn’t help but stop and worship. As I sat there, I began to ponder about how every time I feel a breeze I can’t help but think of God. Maybe it is because, just like God, I can’t see it but I can feel it … see its effects … know it’s there. It can be gentle, but it can also be powerful. It can be oh, so, refreshing. Every time I feel a breeze I can’t help but lift my face up, embrace it, enjoy it, and thank God. I love the way it feels, the way it makes the nature around me “sing.” It brings storms and also refreshes. I love the fact that the wind obeys my God. “…even the winds and the sea obey him…Matthew 8:27

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As I continued to sit with the breeze rustling my hair and I started thinking about how the wind is not the only “God fingerprint” for me. Every time I’m out in my garden I think of him. When you hoe and weed, you can’t help but think of the many parables Christ taught about seeds. Nothing shows you just how much you rely on God and his provision as putting seeds in the ground, watering them, and knowing that there is nothing else you can do but wait for God to make them grow. You are at the mercy of the weather and pray for a bountiful crop. You can’t make it rain. You can’t keep the hail away. Whereas when gardening you are utterly dependent on God, it also reminds you of how dependent on Him you are in the rest of your life as well.

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Other fingerprints for me are my children. Just like seeds, I couldn’t make something from nothing… but God did.  To quote one of my favorite songs, “That’s what Amazes Me” by Go Fish,

“Little fingers curled ’round mine
A perfect heart beats right in time
Brand new eyes look all around
As tiny ears hear every sound
And like the artist creates his masterpiece from nothing
So this child came to be
From the love of two came a whole new entity
And that’s what amazes me.”

Having our first child was not an overnight experience for us. No matter how badly you want a baby, you can’t create one without God allowing it to happen.

However, I’m not just talking about the miracle of conception, but the whole birth process. I once watched a movie on how each little thing must happen at exactly the right time in the womb, and when it doesn’t that is when birth defects occur. Which happened with our second born. There is one special moment in the womb when the diaphragm is formed. If it does not occur then all the lower body parts are not kept out of the chest cavity allowing the lungs to form fully. I learned how precious a fully formed, healthy baby is and how miraculous they are. Before I had her, I took it for granted and just expected it. After our miscarriage, I learned even more just how precious the miracle of life is; I cannot look at my children and not see God.

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Lastly, for me, is the mountains. They have always done something to my soul. They calm me, they speak to me and remind me that God is awesome. They speak the truth to me that God is bigger than all my problems. I have lived many places, but my heart always has remained in the mountains no matter where I lived. Every time I am near them, it feels like God made them like a hug just for me.

I believe there are things that remind everyone of God. Not the same thing, mind you, but something very personal that every time you experience it, you can’t help but worship and know there is a God. I know for some of you the ocean is your “fingerprint,” and maybe for some of you, it is animals. I’m sure for the scientist tiny cells in all their micro-glory testify that there is a creator who loves details. I know for my husband it would be music. I love watching Him experience music. Again, to quote “That’s What Amazes Me”:

A musical blanket
Woven together with a melody and rhyme
The songs we live our lives to
Take us to another place and time
And like the snowflakes that fall from heaven
Each one different crafted carefully
From only eighty-eight keys come endless possibilities
And that’s what amazes me

(Want to hear the song?: click here)
Everything created points us back to God. The Bible says,

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:20

There is no excuse for failing to recognize God. Granted, different things speak to each of us; He is just waiting for us to stand in awe of His creation and notice how miraculous it is. Yes, I know the devil has twisted many wonderful things in creation to his use, but I know it didn’t start that way. I can only imagine how it must delight God when we take the time to appreciate Him and His creation. Any artist’s goal is for the audience to appreciate his masterpiece.

How about you? What are the things that “sing” there is a God to you?

This is my Father’s world,
And to my list’ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Signs

What if people had signs hanging around their necks that said what was going on in their lives or saying what had happened in their past?

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am wrapped up in my little world … okay, a lot of the time. I focus on how people treat me or make me feel, and treat them accordingly. However, that isn’t how Christ interacted with the public. He focused on the people who surrounded him instead of himself. Lately, I’ve noticed just how far a small act of kindness can go when dealing with others. In February, every year, our church has “Kindness Month.” We are encouraged to do acts of kindness all throughout the month and write the deeds (with no name) on little hearts and stick them up on the church wall. The goal is to focus on others; however, what is amazing is how much people respond to even the smallest acts of kindness.

People remember kindness. If you do something kind for someone, they are more apt to remember you and respond positively the next time they see you. People want to be noticed, in fact, they long for it. That is what made me ponder this thought at the beginning of this post. What if people wore signs around their necks that said what was going on in their lives, or saying what had happened in their past? Would I treat them with more respect and compassion? Sometimes after I get to know someone and find out stuff about them it makes it much easier to interact with them – it makes me more understanding… and kind.

For instance, think of the cashier who seemed sullen and wouldn’t converse with you. What if her sign said:
“Waiting on test results to see if my Mom has cancer.”

Maybe your waiter didn’t meet your scale of attentiveness. What if she had a sign that said:
“Working two jobs.
Single Mom.
My kid has the flu.
The person who was supposed to relieve me is an hour late.”

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What if the nurse who was gruff and unkind had a sign saying:
“My Husband served me with divorce papers today.
My kids are moving away.”

What about the coworkers we are around each day that irritates us? What if one of them had a sign saying:
“I was repeatedly molested as a child.”
Or another maybe:
“My Dad was a mean drunk who used me for his punching bag.”
I know people with signs that would say:
“My child has Autism.”
“My spouse has cancer.”
“My Parents did drugs. I was raised by a family member.”
“My husband cheated on me.”
“Nothing I ever did was good enough for my Dad.”
“My baby is teething and won’t sleep or quit crying.”
“My husband is a soldier stationed overseas, and we haven’t seen him in 5 months.”

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If we saw signs like this, would we be more understanding? Would it make a difference in the amount of grace we give them?

Instead of leaving a small tip, would we leave a larger one? Maybe instead of complaining we might smile at them, say their name, look them in the eyes, and ask how their day is going. Furthermore, would we ask questions to show we care about them? Maybe even give them a candy bar with a smile and say, “Everyone can use a bit of chocolate in their lives!” (Isn’t that the truth?!)

Kindness, it truly shows God’s love to people. Jesus really saw people … their past, their struggles, their burdens, their trials. Some signs we would condemn, but Christ saw them all and still loved these people. He also spent a massive amount of time in prayer so he could stay attuned to the Father and needs of others. Oh, to have eyes of compassion like Jesus: He listened… He cared… He helped… He was kind. The people could tell, and it drew them like moths to a flame. Everyone is drawn to kindness. Possibly, the element missing today in spreading the gospel is the added touch of kindness.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

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How about you? Have you ever wondered the same thing? How do you show compassion to others?

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2: Day 3 & 4

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2: Day 3 & 4

Due to Thursday being our “Errand/Town” day we did 2 days worth of chores in one day today. Callie Swept and Swiffered the Livingroom and Kitchen and she also cleaned the Bathroom. Kenzie Dusted, Windexed, and Vacuumed. They also both put away their laundry and cleaned their room. Lincoln folded washcloths and helped Callie clean their bathroom and me clean mine. Attitudes were just so-so, but For me just watching they did pretty well. The lists I made of each step per chore really helped. I have allowed the kids to answer the phone a lot more with me standing there making sure they do it correctly this week. I plan on trying to do all the chores in one day with Levi to get him caught up and on the same phase next week since he was gone camping during the day.

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2: Day 2

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2/ Day 2.
I am ashamed to admit that the kids and I did very little chores. I took them to the summer reading program, taught piano, and then went to church. To be totally honest, I did have about 2 hours I could have done it, but chose to read my book instead while they were playing so well. (Totally why I don’t read fiction as much anymore…nothing gets done around here) I am hoping to make up for it tomorrow.

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2: Day 1

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 2: Day 1
Kenzie did the bathroom and swept and mopped. Callie did Windex and Vacuuming. Lincoln helped Windex. Levi was at camp and is a little grumpy tonight from being so tired so I don’t know if I’ll fight that battle till next week. We had more issues with attitudes today so no one earned tablet time. I’m not sure if it was because we missed yesterday and our vibe for the week got thrown off, if it’s because their brother was having fun at camp and we were not, or if it was because I made them do 2 chores each since we missed yesterday. It also may be because I made step by step instructions and they wanted to do things their way. I digress. Anyhow, a blog post I found on Pinterest (see below) inspired me to make my own step by step chore lists and to put them where they do the chore. The lady on the post bought lanyards to hang around the child’s neck with the chore they were supposed to complete. Her children couldn’t take it off till the chore was complete. I am pondering doing this. I don’t know if I would actually do it, or if it’s just a cool thought and I’d waste the $8 buying lanyards on Amazon. However, I DID like her step by step approach. She has some you can print off, but our chores were different since we have different rooms. It only took me about 30 minutes to make these. If you’re interested in being able to print them off I can share my Word document with you. Just let me know.
Link: http://www.fivelittlechefs.com/craft/easy-crafts/free-printable-chore-charts.html

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Chore Boot Camp: Phase 1: Day 4

Chore Boot Camp: Phase 1: Day 4 Phase 1: Successful

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We didn’t make eggs this morning since we had omelets for supper last night. Lincoln did a great job folding washcloths and with a great attitude. Levi learned to clean the sink and toilet. Callie learned to sweep and Swiffer the living room and kitchen. She had a little bit of trouble not taking forever and getting all the spots, but otherwise she did well. Kenzie for some reason had an attitude about dusting and her younger siblings did a better job than her, but Windexing went fine. I also showed the girls how to clean my bathroom in case they ever want to clean mine to make some money. The boys washed dishes and the girls put them all away. Lunch was leftovers. Overall I count this week as a success and have allowed them to pass Phase 1. Next week Levi is going to go to camp so I’m going to have to figure out how to complete Phase 2 with him next week.

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