He Sets the Lonely in Families

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My family moved to Richmond, Virginia, when I was 8 years old – quite far away from where my parents grew up and where all of our extended family lived. Dayton, Ohio, was a LONG trek now, and with two little kids my parents decided we’d go for Thanksgiving OR Christmas.

One of those first Christmases we were in Virginia alone, I remember a strange guest around our Christmas tree: my dad’s work friend, who had recently had a broken engagement and was suffering heartbreak. We loved having him among us, and he gifted me with my very first (and only) Paula Abdul cassette tape, for which I will be forever grateful to him.

Fast forward a good deal of years, and I am 22. It is my first married Christmas, and I live in Nashville, Tennessee, far away from my own parents and even my husband’s. I started a job in customer service on November 1, leaving me with no vacation time and the inability to take any even if I had it, due to the nature of service jobs.

I cried in my office one day over the injustice of it all. Christmas had always been steeped in tradition for my little family unit and the thought of those traditions continuing without me was enough to make me physically ill. I wanted my mommy.

Lo and behold, one of my motherly co-workers invited me and my new husband into her home for Christmas Day. They made us feel like family, let us hold the new babies and pet the dogs and call Miss Sheila’s elderly mama “Grandmother” like they did. It wasn’t my family … but it was enough. And it was a blessing.

So here is my holiday advice: don’t get so wrapped up in your own family unit that you don’t see the hurting, lonely people around you during the holidays. What’s one more mouth to feed at your  buffet? Bless others by taking them into your family and loving them. It will set a wonderful example for your children and who knows … you might be entertaining angels (Hebrews 13:2).

When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three little ones (ages 5, almost 3, and 8 months). 

 

This post originally published December 13, 2011. 

Ahh, Summertime!

Summer fun

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I have loved summer since I was a kid. Back then, summer was for playing outside, attending special church camps and events, vacationing, working in our garden, staying up late, laboring on our farm, and playing baseball.

My kids don’t have quite the same agenda, but there is still lots of playing, staying up late, church events, vacation, and baseball.

Pick up our July issue of ParentLife this Sunday and see all the great content about summer for families.

  • Moving or preparing a child to enter school for the first time? Check out Kristen White’s “Smooth Moves” (pp. 36-37).
  • Planning to spend lots of time outdoors? Then don’t forget these summer safety tips in “Super Summer Outdoor Safety” (pp. 24-25).
  • Looking for great summer activities? Dig in to “Create and Play” (pp. 30-31) and “Fast, Fun, and Free!” (pp. 32-33) for some great summer fun ideas.
  • Wanting a new twist on celebrating Independence Day? See “A Celebration of Heritage” (pp. 42-43) and find ways to celebrate Independence Day and explore history with your kids.
  • Make studying the Bible fun this summer. Check out “The Rizers” (pp. 20-23) to find out how they make Scripture memorization rock for kids (and adults — their catchy tunes will have you jamming to Scripture when you least expect it).

We offer lots of activities to help fill your schedule but let me recommend something often overlooked to supplement your summer fun: nothing. A day full of planned activities doesn’t give kids the opportunity to be bored and use their imaginations. Take some time to do nothing together. In fact, mark it on your schedule so you’re sure to keep your appointment with your kids for a day filled with kid-directed play.
Let us know what fun you are planning this summer!

Photo Source: vastateparksstaff

 

Summer Reading Fun

This summer our boys had summer reading to do for school. To help them stay motivated, we enrolled them in the summer reading program at our county library. Christy and I decided it was only fair that we join the adult summer reading program too! And what a great time we have had reading!

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Jonathan really enjoyed reading one of my personal childhood favorites The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.

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We have read a bit of everything under the sun to Christopher but now that the start of kindergarten is only about a month away, our reading will turn to some books to get him ready. I can’t wait to hear Christopher’s reaction at the end of First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.

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Christy has enjoyed reading Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption series.

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I finally finished some books that I have had on the shelf a long time, including The Shack and 90 Minutes in Heaven.

What are some of your favorite books that you have read this summer?

Fireworks Safety

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Each Independence Day, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks — devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Consider the following facts.

  • The risk of fireworks injury was two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 5-9 or 10-14 as for the general population.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
  • In 2006, fireworks caused an estimated 32,600 reported fires, including 1,700 total structure fires, 600 vehicle fires, and 30,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 6 civilian deaths, 70 civilian injuries and $34 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2007, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 56 percent of 2007 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 36 percent were to the head.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a member of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by National Fire Protection Association, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.

Do you see fireworks displays each year as part of your Independence Day festivities?