If you have creative ideas, please share.
With all the extra precautions taking during this outbreak of the Corona Virus, we might be feeling cooped up and a little stir crazy with restless children. What are somethings we can do during this challenging time? Here are a few ideas to help with restless children and fun for the whole family.
Maybe now is a good time to let them fill plastic Easter eggs with little trinkets taking turns to hide and find.
If you have creative ideas, please share.
Hobbies can be a great way to build confidence and relieve stress. I love hearing and learning about others who have different hobbies then my own. I’ve dabbled in several different types of hobbies over the years, such as reading, building puzzles, and scrapbooking. I have even researched my family history. I have also painted wooden plaques, refinished furniture, and collected antique jars. I have had different seasons of hobbies. I think it is a great way to enjoy ourselves and try new things. The possibilities are endless. We can even learn how by taking classes, asking for help, learning from books or search how-to videos on the internet.
If you don’t have a hobby, consider exploring to find one you enjoy. It may be trial and error. You may find more than one. It is good to try new things that are a healthy solution for self-time. Let it be challenging but start out on a small scale. Find one that is interesting and brings you joy. Be careful to avoid costly hobbies. Stick with ideas that are free or inexpensive. Find the best deals and creative ways to cut costs on hobbies.
Below are some ideas to consider. I am sure there are many more to explore. Remember to work on hobbies in moderation. Don’t let it take over your life. Maybe a friend or family member can join you in starting a hobby. Make sure it is a healthy hobby for you personally. Of course, keep it safe by trying to use what is easily available at home. Many ideas can be achieved with free access and research online. Others may have to wait until after it is safe to venture out. The possibilities are endless.
There are so many benefits in keeping a journal. Journaling can help us start each day by emptying the clutter from our mind. It can even help us to organize our thoughts and motivate us to accomplishment tasks. Journaling gives us a sense of creativity. It’s a feel-good exercise for the brain.
Journaling can help us to relax and alleviate stress. It can reinforce positive affirmations or rid ourselves of negativity. We can use it as self-time to sit quietly with a cup of coffee or tea in a comfortable place in our home or office.
A journal can consist of a small simple notebook, sheets of paper fastened together or even a book filled with blank or lined pages. It can contain as little as one to three sentences. It can be a random thought to release a negative thought or conduce a positive start to our day.
Today bullet journals are popular. There are even blogs on bullet journals. They can help organize thoughts, schedules or subjects such as traveling ideas, raising a child, setting goals, etc.
I once did a project for a support group. We decorated the front and back cover of a composition book, with cut-out magazine pictures pasted as a collage. When they were completed, we shellacked the cover with a coat of Mod Podge to keep the pictures in place, leaving them with clean edges.
I also created a personal goal journal in a folder I filled with plain white paper and fasteners. I pulled pictures of things I wanted to accomplish with titled pages. I included Bible verses and quotes, typed up dreams and ideas for my future. I even checked off the goals I achieved over the years.
There are many types of Journals:
The sky is the limit when it comes to journaling. They can be made out of just about anything and consist of endless ideas.
I keep a daily journal of letters written to God as a prayer. It is my prayer journal. Sometimes they are half a page or several pages long. They include a date at the top of the page, thoughts I might have that morning, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. They usually include a request and a praise to God for an answered prayer. Sometimes I even vent out my frustrations or anger I might be struggling with. My favorite journals have soft embossed covers, some with a band that snaps the book closed. I have a collection of completed journals I keep on my bookshelf.
My daughter Emily is an avid journaler. Emily keeps several journals and uses them often. Some might be simple while others are more extravagant. They are usually very organized, written out in neat colorful pens that may have different color coordinations. She likes Moleskine journals which are usually a little more costly.
Here is what Emily has to say:
I have three notebooks I use constantly. One is my Jot Book, where I quickly throw things that I don’t want to forget. I also have my daily Bullet Journal, where I write down anything I need to do for the day. And lastly, I have my journal which is more like a Traditional Diary.
This is for quick notes and scribbles. If someone recommends a tv show I can quickly pull this out and write it down. Nothing too emotional here. Just notes.
This is the core of my existence. The bullet journal is my life saver and is a very therapeutic process for me. I use it for my work life and my home life. During the first 10 minutes of work I write down a bulleted list of everything I need to do that day. I often get overwhelmed about how much I have to do in a day, and when I don't write it down I easily forget things. Writing it down and putting it into a list, helps me to manage stress and anxiety. Every time I complete a task, I get to cross it off and I get a great sense of accomplishment even from doing just one task.
On a normal day my bullet list might contain larger tasks such as, “complete X files and send to boss for review.” But on a bad day where I feel emotionally and mentally drained, I might write down smaller tasks like “take out the trash,” “get shower,” “feed the cat,” because I need the motivation just to get out of bed and do something. On those days, being able to complete just one task makes me feel good.
In my Traditional Diary, I write about the good and the bad in life. A huge part of my anxiety involves focusing on bad situations and over analyzing. Writing them down is the only way I can get them out of my head and move on with my day. So, I’ll write all of my bad thoughts down, close the book, and try to let the conflict end in my head.
My journals are very personal, so even though I put a lot of work into them and make them pretty, I choose not to share them with others.
The Perfect Fit
While Emily has the perfect fit and style for her, everyone has different styles and preferences. The sky is the limit when it comes to choosing a book style and the way in which you write in it. It can include pictures, drawings, labels, you name it. Have fun and create your journal today. Experiment. Find what works for you.
Here is a website that discusses the general journaling methods:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT)
We live in a busy world with many responsibilities. Adults struggle with family commitments while juggling two jobs, raising children, and paying bills that never seem to end. Students carry jobs and attend classes accumulating high interests on loans. The demands are sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes we expect more from a friend or family member who is single and without children, thinking they have less obligations, when in reality, they are at their limit. Parents run ragged, working and meeting deadlines, raising little ones and running children to sporting events, with no break from work, and famished by the time they prepare a meal, only to remember they promised a commitment to a friend that evening. Some adults are exhausted, putting all their efforts caring for a sick family member. No matter where we are in life, it is demanding. At times we feel as though we can’t possibly fulfill the needs of our loved ones, our bosses, our Church family, and our daily chores; the list goes on. Sometimes our list of priorities becomes jumbled. Often, we forget to take time for ourselves along with time spent with God, until we are so exhausted we fall apart and become unraveled.
No matter what stage of life we are in, it is important to take time out for ourselves, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Caring for ourselves, both mentally and spiritually is vital to our well-being. If we go down, all those around us go down. Where are we on the list of our priorities? Are we stretching ourselves too thin?
Consider enjoying a good book an hour each night. Plan a day trip to go on that hiking trail or stop in that interesting antique shop to browse. Maybe walking or other types of exercise brings you joy and relieves stress. Contemplate on what gives you joy or peace and dedicate a few hours to yourself each week. Schedule it on the calendar.
Consider taking a few minutes each day, to reflect, meditate, or read a favorite devotional. Maybe it is during a morning cup of coffee, a reflective walk during lunch hour, or prayer before bed. Some of our burdens might be temporary, and some long term. But God is always there for us, waiting for us to come to Him. All we have to do is be still, and call His name. He wants us to have rest and peace. God has given us an open invitation to come to Him at any time, promising to provide us with rest. Make it a priority to find rest in Him.
Take time out to find joy in life and spend time with God. Both of these things are equally important to maintain peace and healthy living. At times this seems impossible, but we are no good to anyone if we are constantly on the run, exhausted, and stressed out. The benefits will spread to those around us. Stress will diminish. Make time on that to-do list. You are worth it.
A Special Bond
And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky,
and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.”
And that is what happened.
Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
Genesis 1:30-31 (NLT)
I got a call from the nurse around two o’clock in the afternoon, asking if I could pick up Jack early. He had himself so upset after waking from ACL surgery, that it wasn’t safe to wait until evening to pick him up.
When I arrived, I could hear him crying from the back room. As soon as he saw me, the crying stopped. Bringing Jack, my seven year old Cocker Spaniel home from surgery, was like witnessing one my children in pain. Jack is more than a pet to me and my family. He is a family member.
It may seem strange that I’ve slept downstairs with Jack since he came home that day. Knowing that he can’t do stairs for quite some time, worries me. If I go upstairs, Jack has always followed, no matter what time of day. He knows when it’s mom’s bedtime and has always reminded me if I’m late. I can’t bear the thought of him being alone or risking injury to himself if he were to bypass the barricade.
I am his main caregiver. I tend to his therapy each day. I hand fed him the first two weeks when his cone of shame prevented him easy access to his food bowl. Some would say this is extreme. I am not the only one who has a special connection to Jack; all four of my children have a special bond with him not to mention my husband Kevin. Each one of them has taken part in his recovery.
It is amazing what lengths we will go to for our pets. But isn’t it our responsibility to care for all the living things God has put in our lives? It is amazing what animals can do for us. Many canines have special abilities to help the sick and prevent us from danger. I believe most pet owners would agree that they somehow seem to connect emotionally. They lift us up when we are down. Sometimes they have a way of consoling us when others can’t. Even with animals, God had a plan. And He saw that even they, were good.
The godly care for their animals…
He lays contently flat,
Feet upside down,
From behind his nub,
His ten black prints,
Stand out against his fluff.
He is molded to any floor,
In this way.
His buff coat is darkest
Upon his back.
He follows his mommy
The brush between her shins
As he lays under her desk
Occasionally he gives way,
To a silent but deadly toot.
The children love to play
They share their food.
They fight over him to sleep.
He follows them,
Hoping to be rewarded
For his efforts.
The sound of his claws
Slowly trots the laminate floor.
He passes the black
Double pedestal table.
Paws click lightly,
Echoing the cathedral ceiling.
The boy claps and hums a tune,
Of course the boy
Secretly gives him a nibble
Of toasted pancake.
The boy talks to him
As if he were human.
The boy reaches down
And coddles his fluffy face
In his hands.
His sad chocolate eyes
Ask for more.
Long are his wavy buff ears,
Softer and lighter in color,
Matching his underneath.
His fluff and sadness
Half his life is tucked neatly
In family photos.
The thought of his end,
Is too painfully imagined.
Just a fleeting thought
Once in a while,
By his mommy.
It’s quickly extinguished.
Soft beige fluff and sad eyes
Fluff and sadness draws love.
His presence means everything.
"Welcome the freshness of morning
and the opportunities that await
the start of each new day.
Creator God, thank You for the works of Your hand
that cry out the awesome truth of Your care for me.
It’s been way too long, soil.
The heat warms my heart.
Enjoying one of summers last days at the pool,
with a glass of refreshing lemonade,
and a little added spirits.
The view from my balcony is Heaven.
But all seasons come to an end.
My alarm clock is very mad at me
because I hit it fifteen times today.
Need coffee...IV style. Can’t get awake today.
Bzzz, bzzz, oh hey watch out for my stinger,
bzz, bzz, oh no.
I'm hoping that my obituary will not be a paragraph,
but actually a compilation of my best Snapshots."
Lately I’m not myself. Summer is ending which always brings me down. I begin my fall semester at college, full of fear that I won’t pass the algebra class. Full of fear that if the professor calls on me, I won’t know the answer. I’m a forty-nine-year-old student and a mother of four children who range in ages ten to twenty-three. Helping my two younger children with homework will also begin next week. Let’s not forget I’ll need to get them to their outside of school activities. I’m in what I call a funk. This means I’m quiet, going through the motions topped off with a little anxiety and negative thinking.
There are several things I can do to alleviate these symptoms. But the most valuable remedy I find is turning it over to God—constantly. I have to remember that even if I can’t, He can. That kind of faith has been built in me by doing things I wasn’t capable of doing through trusting in His strength and answered prayers. He has seen me through much bigger things than a math class. Yet the fear, the negative thinking still creeps in. I constantly have to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
Sometimes I have fear of the unknown. What will the class be like? What will the professor expect of me? Do the other students struggle with algebra as much as I do? Will I find a tutor that is helpful? Once I get through the first day of school, things will subside. Until then I must occupy myself with other things to keep my mind off these questions. But what is helpful is identifying what my underlying fear is. For me it is the fear of failing. But the bottom line is that no matter what happens, I have a Father that will still love me no matter what. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). It’s okay if I make a mistake because nothing will ever separate me from the love of God.
I’m guilty of projecting the outcome with negative thoughts. I still have a little trouble with breaking this habit. I have to remember that God created me with every plan in mind. I am unique. He wouldn’t bring me this far to fail if I’m trusting in Him. If I do fail the math, maybe it’s not the degree He wanted me to have. If I continue to seek his presence and guidance in every decision that I make, I will be following His plan.
Stinkin’ thinkin’ can cause worry and anxiety. I have to stay in today and cast my worries on God. I must focus my thoughts on positive things and occupy my time with positive action. My today list helps me to stay organized. Of course if an unexpected wrench is thrown into my plans, I have to adjust. I must do my part by setting aside time to do homework and meet with a tutor. I can’t just sit back hoping God will do it all. But I can put God in the driver’s seat to steer my course. I’m determined to keep my GPA with hard work and dedication.
The bottom line is, I can do amazing things through Christ who strengthens me.
Then he said to me, “Speak to the winds and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so that they may live again.’”
Ezekiel 37:9 (NLT)
Last spring my ten year old daughter Haley planted a seed in an old clay pot. She gathered the dirt and carefully filled the pot. She planted a few cosmos seeds and sprinkled dirt on top. Proudly she watered the plant and set it up high on a small table on the deck by our pool.
To my surprise the plant grew over a foot high. A pink blossom blooms every week or so. Once in a while though, the hot sun depletes the plant of water and it goes limp and shrivels. I remind Haley to water her plant and miraculously it comes back to life.
Our spirituality is a lot like Haley’s plant. We find nourishment to grow either by meditating, reading God’s Word or by talking to Him. Sometimes God even feeds us through other's examples or encouragement. We may even find nourishment just by taking in God’s beauty all around us. But once in a while the world gets the best of us through busyness, opposition and stress. We forget to be filled with nourishment by seeking the presence of God.
We need the breath of God to fill and nurture us to live a full and healthy life. What might you need from God today? Seek His presence and be filled with life.
Take delight in the Lord
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
I’m a scrapper. I love to scrapbook and I have been doing it for about thirteen years now. I have twenty-eight books accounted for on my bookshelf and have made others for family members.
In the last few days I have gathered pictures from my Mom and Dad, to begin the “Boating Book.” Talk about memory lane! I’m approaching fifty next year, so this was many years ago.
I had the privilege of growing up in the summers on three of my Father’s boats. Mom and Dad made that possible by working hard, and commuting to Maryland from our home in Pennsylvania every weekend after their rotating shift work. We spent almost every weekend and every vacation on the boat from the time I was about six years old.
My Father charted out many trips across the Delaware Bay and even ventured into the Atlantic Ocean. We spent endless weekends tied up to other boats at Veazey’s Cove in Maryland. We made wonderful friendships. I even had my first romance at the marina in Maryland. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood.
Working on this book has sparked memories by looking through many pictures dated from 1971 to 1990. I feel so blessed to have been able to live that life style for so many years. Who knew gas prices and a husband who gets seasick would lead me into a different lifestyle in the family my husband and I are raising today. We love spending time in our backyard and floating in our pool. We have had the privilege of taking our kids on many trips to the Jersey Shore. I hope and pray that our children will grow up with wonderful memories of their childhood too. We too are very blessed. God has fulfilled my deepest desires.
It reminds me that God has a different plan for each of us—a good plan. Following His course is so much easier than following our own plan. He has charted out a plan for us that is designed very unique for each person. Yes His plan may rock our boats at times and lead us into uncharted waters, but there is adventure waiting around each corner of our lives. If we let God be our light, he will lead us to still waters each time we head out to sea. May God be your anchor?