family

Taking My Daughter to College

The fateful day has arrived & this isn’t like the kindergarten transition. It’s lots harder, full stop. As I write this, I’m swallowing my tears & endeavoring to keep myself together as I suspect other parents & my daughter wouldn’t appreciate heavy water works right now.

So where is God in this day?  Well, I sense God loving me & looking after me with reconnecting with my college roommate. I sense God helping me by watching my daughter do her room & interact with a plethora of people with poise, grace & ease. I sense God helping me stay busy & distracted to keep the tears at bay. And I sense God encouraging me to trust God to help my daughter to grow, learn, adult & deepen her relationship with Trinity.

Holy buckets, this ain’t kindergarten!!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Stay-cation with Teenagers

For two years now, we’ve done a stay-cation so we could save our vacation dollars to do a strategic family vacation.  When we floated the idea to our kids last year, they agreed with our plans & definitely enjoyed the strategic family vacation we took earlier this year.

In the meantime, we are on year two of our stay-cation & it’s an interesting journey to stay-cate with teenagers, attempting to limit screen time & maximize family time.  Teenagers are wonderful people with strong opinions & developing individualities, so doing a stay-cation with them, aiming for happy campers, is challenging.

Here are some things we’ve done that are somewhat helpful:

  • get everyone’s input with at least 3 realistic ideas of things they’d like to do with the family
  • populate everyone’s ideas throughout the stay-cation, giving validation to each individual’s input
  • communicate the stay-cation schedule / events to everyone, giving them a chance to coach their own attitudes before participating in another’s suggestion that might be unappealing
  • communicate budget parameters when soliciting the ideas for activities
  • give ample space / time for individuality to balance family events with individual breathing room
  • pray alot 🙂

Vacationing with teenagers can be fun & challenging.  Most of all, it affords me the opportunity to lean into Holy Spirit to help me coach my internal narratives & attitudes 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Preparing for Mother’s Day

On Sunday, we celebrate the annual holiday, Mother’s Day. For lots of people, this is a wonderful day to remember the great care, nurture, sacrifices & relationships with their moms. And for other peeps, this holiday pokes a wound to remind them who their moms were not. So this holiday has a wide spectrum of reaction in consideration of our upbringing.
But more importantly, let’s be committed to the truth that God is our Heavenly Father, as reveled & confirmed to us by Holy Spirit, based on Romans 8:16. Let’s be certain that we honor our earthly moms but let’s live from the reality that we are the sons & daughters of our Heavenly Father. In this truth, we have our true identity, genuine love, unlimited power, eternal life, infinite resources & grace beyond the sky. Happy Mother’s Day!
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Posted by Sarah in busy, cooking, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

Getting Help

This morning, my husband told me that I could go buy some stylish clothes since I haven’t bought any for awhile. He said “stylish” as the operative word, because my idea of clothes shopping is to get what’s comfortable at Costco & downplay the style concern.  My strategy doesn’t play out so well for public speaking, media work, leadership image, etc.  And in full disclosure, shopping for “stylish” clothes almost makes me physically sick.  Why I struggle with this is fodder for a future blog.

Nevertheless, my daughter happened to hear what my husband said & she’s the style guru in our house.  She immediately hopped on the bandwagon, “Mom!!  I can help you with that!!”  She proceeded to tell me about a “painless” way to order stylish clothes online, so I gave her the green light to give it a try.  She’s helping me with this adventure & only the Lord knows how much I need help with this!!

I’m really glad that we have Holy Spirit as our continuous Help, expressed in a variety of contexts and methods.  Let’s do our best to let Holy Spirit help us with various troublesome areas in our lives 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Project, Function or Person?

I came home yesterday from some travel over the weekend and had some rough interaction with one of my kids. I had reviewed some of their grades and had some email exchanges with a teacher which weren’t pleasant. So when I got home, I was prickly with my kid. And this child pushed back on my prickly with a sizable dose of snarky such that our exchanges weren’t constructive. Short story: I was really ticked off.

Thankfully, I’ve had a mental reset this morning. I see where I was treating my child as a project and function, expecting them to change, be productive and fix their grades. Instead, it would be better had I come home and started from a place of genuine love in my heart rather than treating them like an object or project. Let’s be committed to seeing people instead of outcomes, projects or functions. We can do this because this is how our Heavenly Father sees us, from a heart of genuine love, connection and deep affection 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Frozen Turkey

Imagine my surprise at 8:30am on Thanksgiving morning, when I unwrapped our turkey, only to discover that it was still frozen, with company expecting delicious & cooked turkey at 1pm.  My son was helping me & our faces reflected mutual freaking out!!  I was even pulling ice out of the cavity & trying to troubleshoot solutions.  Long story short, we had a delicious, fully cooked turkey & no one got sick eating it 🙂

In the meantime, my son was the hero who helped me avert a Thankgsiving disaster and here are a few things he did that could be helpful when you face a possible cataclysm or fiasco:

  • Assess the situation and don’t freak out – gather as much info as possible to grasp the extent of the possible disaster:  Everything was frozen on and in the turkey
  • Start thinking of little steps to make the situation better:  We ran hot water on the outside of the turkey, as well as in the cavity
  • Keep working with the incremental improvements:  We stopped up the sink so that hot water could get around the turkey as much as possible
  • Thoroughly inspect the progress:  We frequently inspected the mobility of the legs to see if they were unthawed (greater flexibility = less frozen)
  • Be positive & encouraging:  “Mom, I think we’re making some good headway in unthawing this bird!”  That was really encouraging to me!!!
  • Teamwork:  Appreciate that we are better together than trying to do catastrophes alone

The outcome of our efforts was a delicious turkey & a delightful meal.  Possibly more important, I learned LOADS of helpful tips on cooking turkeys, I had a significantly bonding experience with my son and I now know how to cook a turkey at a fast speed 🙂

Happy belated Thanksgiving to you!!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, cooking, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

More Than Enough

“We only have two fish & five loaves of bread. It’s not enough for such a big crowd!!” These were the disciples’ words to Jesus about feeding a crowd of more than 5,000 people. And the observation is valid when we think about the provision in contrast to the need.

I see this mindset in many perspectives in my life. My needs for energy, time, resources, friendships, favor, wisdom, etc often seem to dwarf whatever provision may be available at the time. And as I read today about Jesus multiplying the fish and bread, I was challenged by this whole stark contrast between provision and need. I can belittle and grieve what is lacking or I can give Jesus whatever provision I have, let Him bless it and live in the resulting abundance.

In Jesus’ hands, little provisions can become multiplied abundance!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, listen, living, seeing Jesus, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Rest Plan

Stay-cation is this week’s plan & this far its going pretty well. We solicited input from our kids for various activities to do this week, hence the picture below 🙂

So I wonder what it would be like if we let God direct our activities. This morning I read in Matthew 11:28 that Jesus will give us rest for our weary & heavy laden souls. So when we “stay” in Jesus, maybe the abiding helps us to rest & we can live in “stay-cation” mode, letting God direct our steps. 

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Whose Clothes?

I’m not sure whose shirt I’m wearing today – I just know it kind of matches my skirt. The reason I don’t know whose shirt this is, is because almost all of my kids are now adult-size, so our clothes are easy to mixup. In some respects, it’s nice to have access to the extra clothing, but it’s challenging when I cant find my own clothes.
So I wonder if we don’t realize sometimes that we’re wearing the wrong clothes – grave clothes instead of resurrection garb. I say this because we live in a fallen world which overflows with death, despondency, darkness & futility. Sometimes, this kind of thinking can rub off on us, unknowingly, and then we walk around wearing the same mindset as the world around us.
Let’s be sure that we wear the resurrection clothing that Jesus provides & not the drab & droll grave clothes of the common thinking in the world around us!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Road Trip Lessons

For two years in a row, we’ve taken road trips for our vacations, each two weeks long. On our first trip, we went to Washington DC & our second trip is to the West Coast, ala Oregon & California. My husband, the penultimate saint, has done the bulk of the driving for both trips, so maybe I provide some comic relief & moral support. But think about it in terms of family bonding, since there’s no wifi nor DVD player in the car. Mostly, we’re doing pretty well & our three teenagers can say they’ve driven across America.
For me, I think that life is a long road trip, a journey with God with unexpected twists, ups, downs, sometimes tiring & sometimes joyful.
So here are a few thoughts about my road trip with God & maybe they’ll have some tread in your life:

  • Focusing in the car is important , but don’t neglect to look out the windows bc God has a big world around us!
  • Listen & don’t just watch – listen in the car but also listen in your heart as God has some amazing whispers & company to keep with you!
  • Traveling companions are helpful because you see & experience things in different ways than just by yourself.
  • Keep going. Life has struggles, dark times, hot seasons, smelly moments & glorious discoveries.
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments