family

Enjoy now

My kids are on Spring Break this week & we’ve had some really great family time together! We skied a few days & have totally enjoyed some mountain get away time. At the same time there have been a few hotspots & some things with my job that are diecy. If I’m not careful, I could let my mind get focused on the hotspots & work issues but one of my friends gave me some good advice: discipline your mind to be present with your body. For me, this is really good advice & maybe for you as well so that we can fully enjoy what God is doing where we currently are 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, 3 comments

Since my dad died . . .

My dad passed away almost 3 weeks ago & it’s been an interesting journey. I’m really blown away by how kind & generous people have been in so many different ways. Both my mom & I are deeply touched with the prayers & love that we have received. “Thank you so much” is altogether inadequate. Nevertheless, thank you!!
For my journey, these are a few observations:
*i feel more deeply & it seems like I’m more sensitive
*I’m really appreciating the various people that God brings to listen & be present – these are very tangible expressions of God’s love for me at the present
*patience to walk through each day with its various demands & surprises
*some things that have been helpful: drinking lots of water & taking walks 🙂

Again, thank you more than words can say for the kind words, love & prayers! Our celebration service for dad is this Sun, 11 Nov at 6pm at ORCC if you can join us 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

my dad passed away this weekend

My dad died on Friday evening, having struggled with Alzheimers for a few years.  Here are some great things in my life because of my dad:

  • a love and respect for the Holy Spirit:  my dad has always been super keen to be around the Holy Spirit and had tremendous respect and honor for what the Holy Spirit does and Who the Holy Spirit is
  • a love for beauty and creativity:  my dad has always been super creative & loved art and creative expressions in almost all ways.  To this day, my house is decorated with art that he passed on to me
  • respect for people:  my dad has always loved people and could chat for hours with all kinds of people – people at garage sales, people who would refinish furniture, people in restaurants, at stores, etc;  even if people were grumpy or mean, it didn’t phase my dad because he just liked people
  • hope for the future:  my dad has always been optimistic and had killer strong faith regardless of what he saw or experienced;  he confronted fear in my life when he saw that it was going to debilitate me & he challenged me to not let fear control me or my decisions

There’s TONS more to my dad – way more than a simple blog could express.  But this is a really small glimpse of a really great man.  Thanks heaps and heaps to my church family for being so supportive, gentle and kind to us through this experience.  If you’d like to join us when we celebrate his life, we’ll be having a celebration service on Nov 11 around 6pm at Orchard Road Christian Center

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

black bean puke on white carpet

Well, this has certainly been an interesting morning with a 4am wake up call from one of my kids puking up black beans 🙁

My rock star husband leapt into action while I hazily tried to figure out what was happening.  When I finally got my brain to work, he was already cleaning & had a battle plan.  After I checked to make sure my son was ok, I tried to copy what my husband was doing, figuring that he was more alert & being more effective than my foggy brain was processing.  Nevertheless, we seemed to get everything settled.  So here’s my conclusion – my husband is a thoroughly fantastic man & an amazing father.  I’m thankful to be married to him & grateful that we can be strong for each other in our  respective weak spots.  It’s a great thing when we get to genuinely brag on our mates 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling, 2 comments

balancing important priorities

  I get asked the question alot about balancing family, travel, ministry, church, work, etc. and I think its a GREAT question that I also frequently ask.  I’m comfortable to share my thoughts on the balance topic, with the foundational understanding that I don’t see myself in any way as an expert on the subject, nor would I even pretend to be all-knowing on this really important question.  With that being said, here are some of my thoughts:

  • for me, balance is often a moment by moment & decision by decision activity
  • being flexible is essential for balance
  • focusing on what is most essential helps me to keep my balance
  • balance sometimes means that I have to re-shuffle schedules, plans & activities (with this re-shuffling, its important not to get cranky about a change of plans)
  • for me, margin is essential for balance – when I fill time & energy to the maximum, I find it hard to concentrate & make good choices
  • balance requires wisdom – a gift that God gives to us when we ask Him with faith

Balance – a very good goal that requires agility, wisdom & nimble choices 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

a voice from the past ,)

Ok, right off the bat, please forgive me for not blogging since I’ve returned from Angola.  And here’s the honest truth:  when I come back from these trips where I connect with moms, infants, healthcare workers, etc who live on the frontlines of infant mortality everyday, coming home can sometimes be complicated.  This return, especially compared to last year, is less difficult emotionally for me, but is more physically difficult.  Please don’t interpret my thoughts here to be complaints because I’m deeply thankful to God for this absolutely magnificent honor of getting to love “the least of these”.  Nevertheless, my body is pretty worn down so I’ve been endeavoring to maintain my essential priorities that of course include nurturing healthy relationships with my family.

With all of that being said, let me also include that I had one of the richest times of the year with God yesterday morning – waking at 3am due to the time change.  We had some delicious fellowship meandering through Acts 3, when the beggar was healed at the temple.

I’ll get back into the blogging routine here & shortly we’ll be putting up some great pix from our Angola @savingmoses trip 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Angola, family, Holy Spirit, living, missions, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, 1 comment

its fun to encourage

 I was having coffee w a friend the other day & this lady walked into the coffee shop w some very loud shoes – her shoes were the 1st thing to catch anyone’s attention.  Right away my friend commended to this lady on her super cool shoes, encouraging her that she looked cool wearing those shoes.  I was really proud of my friend for being so encouraging & made a mental note to myself that I want to be that way, even if something isn’t my personal style or preference.

Here’s my line of thinking:  our planet needs some encouragement because it seems to me that we are living in a time when there’s a fair amount of negativity.  With this in mind, a great way to counter-act any general negativity is to be encouraging to people & even creatively encouraging.  So here are just a few ideas you might consider & please feel free to leave more suggestions so we can all help each other 🙂

  • consider telling a co-worker that you think they’re an incredible person, without the intent of trying to get something from them ,)
  • wave & smile at your neighbor when you drive by them
  • look at the cashier & ask them if they’re having a nice day, with sincere interest
  • send a kind email to someone & thank them for who they are as a person (consider telling them what characteristic you like the most about them)
  • tell your mate that you think they’re great
  • let a friend, neighbor or co-worker know that you appreciate them with a quick text message
  • drop a note in the mail (snail mail) to let someone know that they are special to you
Those are just a few ideas, but the principle of being encouraging is super powerful, even though it may seem rather small 🙂
What are some more ideas that you would suggest?
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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 2 comments

pause


 Do you ever remember going to an amusement park & getting on a ride that looked really amazing, only to wish you could get off, halfway through the ride because it was too intense?  I even remember saying, “how do you make this thing stop?”

Sometimes, life needs a pause button – it can get super intense.  For me, life has been pretty intense of late (back to school prep, work deadlines, etc) & I’m interested in finding that pause button.  So here are some things I’ve found to be helpful (feel free to add more ideas that have helped you):

  • family meals – get in a few during the week & put your phones on silent:  genuine conversations as a family can be very therapeutic
  • instead of looking at time in 1 day increments, consider looking at time in 1 week or 1 month increments – giving demands & deadlines more working space than the daily crisis mode
  • take a walk in the evening – did this a few nights ago & it was extremely helpful [minus the mosquitos ,) ]
  • God time – don’t shortchange what fuels your heart, otherwise life can go south before you know what’s happening
  • good diet & exercise routines – in crunch times, food & exercise can often be the 1st to get scraped;  keep these routines as they can provide some good anchors to weather various storms & seasons
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Posted by sarahbowling in cooking, enemies to intimacy, family, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

time

It’s easier to make money than time – indeed, one could argue that we can’t make time.  So how we use the time that we have can be a direct reflection of our values & priorities.  We all spend time doing the normal things of life:  school / work, family interactions & investments, friendships, working out, reading, etc.  Some of the things in our life are mandatory time demands & other things are discretionary time demands.

In relation to the discretionary time demands, I’ve watched many families over the years fill up their time with sports, activities, etc & every so often, they seem a little frazzled.  Now please don’t jump to the conclusion that I’m opposed to sports, activities etc.  We have our kids in several different things over the course of a given year.  But I think we have to be careful to make decisions with our time that reflect our values & priorities.  For example, my husband & I don’t see our oldest son being an NFL recruited football player.  As such, we have him in flag football over this Summer, but its primarily for the purpose of getting him some exercise & increasing his sports exposure.  My point is that its important for each of us to use our time as a reflection of our priorities & not allow it to be frittered away into oblivion.

I want to give my time to the most important priorities in my life & may God help me to make decisions with how I use my time in ways that are pleasing to Him.

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

grow charts

Over the summer, i’ve instituted “grow charts” for my kids.  Here’s the general vibe:  each child has their own weekly to-do list they’re supposed to work on everyday.  The plan has been for every box they check, they get 10cents.  At the end of the week, we count up the boxes & they get somewhere between $1-$3 / week for their grow charts.  They’re supposed to save their money every week, after tithing & at the end of each month, we deposit their money in their kids bank by my hair salon.  So far, this has worked pretty well over the summer.  The key to the success of this is consistency on my part. 

Today, i ramped it up a notch.  I circled about 3-5 “tasks” that are required everyday (brush teeth, clean room, etc).  For every circled task that is not completed for each week, i take away 10cents.  So far, i think this is working pretty well.  Its teaching my kids to importance of daily work & discipline, its giving them a constructive incentive to earn money, teaching them the importance of saving money (they compete w each other to see who has the most in the bank) & its teaching them the value of everyone pitching in to help & contribute to our family.  Personally, its helping me to work on being consistent w my kids.  With all of this planning & structure, i don’t really see a downside, especially if i stay consistent. 

Key word: consistent

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, living, 0 comments