12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 5: Patience

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Today kicks off week 5 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan.

Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy),

Second virtue was Love (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love)

Third virtue was Forgiveness (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 3: Forgiveness),

Fourth virtue was Faith (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 4: Faith).

You and your family can start at anytime from the beginning or in any order you choose according to your family’s desire. Our fifth value that is our focus of this weeks devotions is Patience…..

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Like so much of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the other sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I love the statement above, but I feel an overwhelming panic deep inside over having to teach this virtue to my children because I have VERY POOR PATIENCE!!! Yes, this virtue is something that we need to thrive to teach our children early and well but how do you teach them something you struggle with yourself so terribly. That’s like asking me to teach my children Calculus when I can barely tackle basic math day-to-day.… I know that I have said that I struggle with some of the other virtues in previous weeks, but none compare to my struggle with PATIENCE. I actually stopped praying for patience, because I realized God only put me in more situations to demonstrate patience when I did pray for it! All joking aside though I really do struggle with this virtue more than probably any of the others. So let’s get into it…

What is Patience? 

The Kids Definition of Patience is:

Waiting with a happy heart.

Part One: Waiting…

My biggest difficulty when it comes to patience is the WAITING! I have a very hard time waiting. Depending on what I am waiting on, sadly affects the happy heart part, but I am working on that actively in my faith walk and I am passionate about figuring out how to instill that virtue in my children. As a child I remember my mother telling me regularly, “Patience is a virtue, be patient” but despite my mothers frequent prompts and virtually seamless demonstration of patience, it is the one area of my faith walk that really challenges me.

Part Two: With a Happy Heart…

This, as I mentioned earlier, for me is based on circumstance more often than not. I am humbled in this virtue knowing that my trust in the Lord and His promises should make the happy heart part easier. Sadly I fall to flesh desires more often than I am proud to say when it comes to waiting with a happy heart. I like to be in control, I like to know the plan, the steps & the process and when I don’t I all too easily become unhinged. I will keep working on this personal flaw. I am thankful for God’s grace every day and every time I fail in this area.

This chapter in the book is incredible for not just explaining patience and what it means to have patience, but it also gives you some tools to be intentional daily when trying to create an environment that encourages our kiddos to demonstrate patience. Once again there are some great “Catch Phrases” for talking TO your children about patience as well. This chapter also reminds us why Patience is so important in the first place….

If we trust in the Lord, we need to trust in His timing. If we can teach our kids to trust in God’s timing with the little things in their days then we will enable them early to trust in God’s timing in the much bigger things later in life. My first years of adult decisions were not always made patiently waiting in His timing and the lessons I have learned are priceless but the road has been far more of a struggle than God ever intended for me, all because I didn’t embrace Patience and trust in God’s timing. A mistake I pray for my kids to avoid.

It’s because this area in my faith walk is an area that has been the most constant struggle for me in my years of knowing Jesus that I was further confirmed about this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. This blog series is quite literally an act of me following Him and in doing so I must also be disciplined in patience for Him to use this blog how He plans in His time, NOT MY TIMING! This blog is for Him and I will actively work patiently to prevent myself from sabotaging His will for it. Like so many other things in my life, I feel God leading me in a direction and asking me to follow certain steps, except all to often then I lose my patience and hurry ahead ill prepared or I just throw the towel in all together impatient for the process. I also tend to not just lose my patience but also my temper and my words unfortunately sometimes. My mission with my blog is an active challenge for my patience. I will keep using it for His will and I must stop questioning His plan for it or His timing for that plan.

This chapter has acted as a very humbling reminder to myself that I MUST be better in this area. I MUST be a better example to my children and it is because I need the visual reminder this week more than absolutely any other week, that I have again included printable decorative PDF. For each virtue I look for a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and will actively convict me through the week as I begin my battle with my patience and inherently my temper also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & of course regularly. Inspirational Quote – Patience

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce PATIENCE Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book). For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Taste the Sweet Rewards of Patience and it may be a perfect opportunity to test my Patience as well, because though this weeks Activity Idea is a fun and very creative way to teach your children (and potential grandchildren and so on and so on) patience I can see it not working out the way at least one of my girls will like so I may have a bonus teaching lesson! Once again I recommend you pick up the book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo to get the full two page Family Activity Instructions & explanation! A quick general explanation is that you will be creating a now or later choice option with your children incorporating a smaller immediate treat they know or a mystery treat that is better but not until the next day.

Memory Verse: But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.   Romans 8:28

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Psalm 27:14; 37:7-9 and introduce Taste the Sweet Rewards of Patience

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Proverbs 16:32 and discuss first 5 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 12:12 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read 1Corinthians 13:4-8 and discuss the remaining 5 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Ephesians 4:2 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, this weeks we will be drawing pictures of patience and giving them to the most patient people we know!

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read The son of laughter in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day, for this I will be introducing a Family Fun Night while they enjoy the wait a day treat from Tuesday reminding them how they need to practice self-control & patience while they wait for today to come. The anticipation of this Family Fun Night will test their patience well.

Virtue five-Patience Overview of the week

Virtue Five Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Patience

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Patience. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared. Even though I provide these each week I still encourage you pull your bibles out & be in the pages of His word looking them up in the translation most comfortable for you. I bookmark them for quick reference but encourage my 3 oldest girls to take time to look them up in their own bibles. With all 3 of my older girls reading it helps get them familiar with their bibles and gives them ownership over the task.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 7 weeks. My week will be busy as my husband and I are preparing to head out-of-town a Family Fourth of July Camping Trip but I do still intend to have a few new pieces to release throughout the week. Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will though and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE and GRACE filled week, remember the best way to teach FAITH is to live faithfully and be sure to exercise a little PATIENCE as you head into a busy holiday full of summer fun! Check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer! Go Forth & Dazzle your summer away making memories with your kiddo’s everyday!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 4: Faith

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Today kicks off week 4 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy), the second virtue was Love (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love) and the third virtue was Forgiveness (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 3: Forgiveness). You and your family can start at anytime from the beginning or in any order you choose according to your family’s desire. Our third virtue that is our focus of this weeks devotions is Faith…..

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Like most of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I love the statement. Faith is something that we need to thrive to teach our children early and well and doing so with our words is far less effective than showing them with our actions.…

What is Faith? 

The Kids Definition of Faith is:

Knowing, loving, and following Jesus.

This chapter in the book is incredible for not just explaining faith and what it means to have faith, but it also gives you the means to be intentional daily when trying to create an environment that encourages their faith to thrive (without adding to your never-ending to do list). Once again there are some great “Catch Phrases” for talking TO your children about faith. It ‘s simple when you break it down into the 3 parts from the kids definition

Knowing Jesus

Knowing Jesus, for our children, begins with US introducing Jesus to our children, assuming you yourself know Him and have a relationship with Him (It’s now that I must pause for a second, if you have a personal relationship with Christ you know what I am going to say, feel free to skip ahead, this isn’t for you. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I AM SPEAKING RIGHT TO YOU. It is never too late to spark a fresh new relationship with Jesus Christ. You are not too blemished, too broken, or too full of sin for Him to welcome you with open arms. Jesus longs to be your source of comfort and peace, He calls to you and if you wish to hear Him I would love to have coffee and talk about it with you if you are near to me. I encourage you to find a Christ centered church in your area and connect, because it is in my personal experience that if you can, your understanding of His word and Will for your life will become far more apparent through the ability to connect & communicate with experienced Christian men & woman.)  

Loving Jesus

Loving Jesus, will likely come easy for your children after you introduce Him. Christ tells us to have “child like faith” for a reason, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14–15).  My personal understanding of these verses is that because children don’t have a natural tendency to over think and over analyze every last part of their faith walk or life-like adults do they have a more joyful, humble understanding of loving Jesus. Children don’t natural base love on condition like adults can so easily do. It will come far more naturally to them when they also see the example. For us parents though, watching our children loving Jesus will likely be something that grows us more in our faith while we watch them learn to love Him. I know that for me, watching my oldest (15 yr. old) daughter learn to know and love Jesus has brought countless opportunities for my own personal faith to grow as a result of her obedient faith walk. Watching my younger girls will surely bring me more of those opportunities. Now this brings us to the last part…

Following Jesus

Following Jesus is something that in my more than 2 decades of knowing Jesus, and Loving Jesus has always been the hardest part for me to continue to do as a Christian. I am a stubborn, opinionated, busy brained person, that is who my flesh makes me. I can follow Jesus well in the easy things most of the time, but in a few different seasons of my life I have struggled more than others with following Jesus in the big or hard things. Now at least in my case, this hasn’t been because I don’t trust His direction, rather the case is typically that I haven’t taken the time to consult Him at all. I have not always been good at spending time in prayer regularly to hear The Holy Spirit and His direction and sadly I have let my personal fear or doubt keep me from acting when I do know the way He wants me to go.

It’s because this area in my faith walk is an area that has been the most constant struggle for me in my years of knowing Jesus that I was further confirmed about this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. This blog series is quite literally an act of me following Him. I too often chicken out when I feel my faith being tested through acts of certain obedience. I must be better in this area and it is because I need the visual reminder this week maybe more that any other, that I have again included printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and is in this weeks title image also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & regularly. Faith Quote for Inspiration

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce FAITH Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book). For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Our Heritage of Faith and it may be my favorite of all the activities. A beautiful idea, a very creative way to teach your children (and potential grandchildren and so on and so on) faith and once again I recommend you pick up the book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo to get the full two page Family Activity Instructions & explanation! A quick general explanation is that you will be creating a “family journal” of sorts where you and your spouse and even children can take time out to record stories and experiences of you trusting God and how He answered those prayers so you can reference back.

Memory Verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 5:1 and introduce Our Heritage of Faith.

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 10:17 and discuss first 4 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Galatians 3:26 and discuss the remaining 4 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Hebrews 11:1 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, this weeks we will be writing letters to people in our family to thank them for making positive decisions that have impacted our family .

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read The beginning, a perfect home in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day, for this I will be introducing a Family Journal for our family to begin using to document those moments of faith testimonies, however since this weeks Family Activity is a onging activity, I will likely encourage everyone to take some time to write their first entry.

Virtue four-Faith Overview of the week

Virtue Four Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Faith

 

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Faith. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared. Even though I provide these each week I still encourage you pull your bibles out & be in the pages of His word looking them up in the translation most comfortable for you. I bookmark them for quick reference but encourage my 3 oldest girls to take time to look them up in their own bibles. With all 3 of my older girls reading it helps get them familiar with their bibles and gives them ownership over the task.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 8 weeks. My week will be busy as my husband and I are preparing to head out-of-town for our 10 year wedding anniversary but I do intend to still have some new reading material to release throughout the week. Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will though and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE and GRACE filled week and remember the best way to teach faith is to live faithfully. Check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer! Go Forth & Dazzle your summer away making memories with your kiddo’s everyday!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 3: Forgiveness

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Today kicks off week 3 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy) and the second virtue was Love (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love) and you can start at anytime from the beginning or in any order you choose according to your family’s desire. Our third virtue that is our focus of this weeks devotions is Forgiveness…..

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Like most of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I agree with the sentiment of this picture wholeheartedly and I feel like it is one of the most valuable virtue’s to not just teach but demonstrate to our children. Forgiveness is something that I feel like until you have learned it, understand its real meaning and can actually feel it in action you will live a life in bondage, and that my friend is what the devil wants! Being a Christian mother doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for me to let go of my flesh desires for anger & revenge or some form of retaliation but it does mean that I know forgiveness on a Christ like level and that is what we need to thrive to teach our children so that those negative reactions don’t fill their heart instead of forgiveness. The earlier we equip our children with the tools to break the bondage of un-forgiveness the more freedom they will live with in their heart. Now before we can equip them with the tools we need to be able to explain to them what forgiveness means, so…

What is forgiveness? 

 

The Kids Definition of Forgiveness is:

Erasing a wrong with love.

This chapter in the book is incredible for not just explaining forgiveness, but also giving you great information and advice about how to not talk AT your children about this incredibly important virtue but instead tips about how to practice forgiveness daily and “Catch Phrases” for talking TO your children about forgiveness. I feel like sometime when I try to have family talks or heart to hearts with my kids, I get started and the next thing I know I am talking TO them and they are looking at me with a glazed over look. This virtue can be talked about and talked about but honestly the absolute best way to teach your kids is to demonstrate and Practice forgiveness daily. Below I have listed some of the recommendations Courtney gives, but check out pages 58-62 for more details on each recommendation.

  • Help Them Own Their Responsibility
  • Try A Delayed Response
  • Choose Less Dictating, More Questions (this tip really brings the “Catch Phrases” into play)
  • Let It Be Between Them  and God
  • Focus on Restoring Relationships
  • Celebrate Progress

It’s because this area took such a long time for me to come to a true understanding of in my own faith walk and that I still find myself struggling with unfortunately on the regular (especially in regards to the demonstrating daily to my children) with this virtue that I knew this was another area in this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. I must be better in this area and it is because I need the visual reminder this week maybe more that any other, that I have again included printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and is in this weeks title image also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & regularly. Forgiveness-quote for inspiration

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce FORGIVENESS Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book). For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Our Family Cross and it’s a very creative way to illustrate Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and once again I recommend you pick up the book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo to get the full two page Activity Instructions & explanation!

Memory Verse: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in  Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Psalm 103:12 and introduce Our Family Cross Activity.

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Proverbs 15:1 and discuss first 3 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Isaiah 1:18 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Matthew 28:6-10 and discuss the remaining 4 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read 1Corinthians 15:57 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, for this I will be reintroducing their “Joy Field Journals” and encouraging them to begin to use these to start journaling. This can be a place they can “talk” through their really hard stuff and times they have felt wronged by others with God.

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read The sun stops shining… in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day! This week I hope to make a family craft afternoon out of it. My plan is to purchase some various different materials to decorate some wooden crosses that I will purchase from a craft store for each of my girls, my husband & myself too. We can each decorate a cross with materials to best represent our personal peace time with God and display them somewhere we will regularly see them.

Virtue three-Forgiveness Overview of the week

Virtue Three Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Forgiveness

 

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Forgiveness. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared. Even though I provide these each week I still encourage you pull your bibles out & be in the pages of His word looking them up in the translation most comfortable for you. I bookmark them for quick reference butencourage my 3 oldest girls to take time to look them up in thier own bibles. With all 3 of my older girls reading it helps get them familiar with their bibles and gives them ownership over the task.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 9 weeks. My weekend was exceptionally busy as we were in full Summer Swing, recovering from celebrating my youngests 2nd birthday and our local parade and city festival and I just couldn’t pull myself away from my family and making summer memories this last week so the finishing touches on this post came late, my apologies! I hope you can FORGIVE me lol! Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE and GRACE filled week and check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer! Go Forth & Dazzle your summer away making memories with your kiddo’s everyday!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love

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Today kicks off week 2 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy) and you can start at anytime from the beginning according to your family’s desire . Our second virtue that is our focus of this weeks devotions is love…..

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Like most of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I agree with the sentiment of this picture wholeheartedly and I feel like this is genuinely the most important yet overlooked way to LOVE, by doing so on those you see most & spend the most time with. These are the people most consistently chipping away at your patience, happiness and at least for me, productivity. These are the people, in my opinion, that will benefit you the most from practicing love on. It will take work, and once fully aware of and focused on your actions and choices it may even begin to feel difficult, but practicing real love on the ones you spend the most time with is THE BEST way to learn love.

What is love? 

It can seem easy to demonstrate love for a short amount of time, because in all reality demonstrating love and actually feeling love are two different things. Demonstrating love could encompass acting like you love, and acting doesn’t require emotional entanglement, or even genuine good intentions. You can act like you love briefly for your own benefit if you wanted, because acting is like a hat you put on, so you can seem to others however good you want to be perceived as based on your level of commitment to the “love cause” in that moment… and that may appear to be love but in fact it is self-serving and in reality the total opposite of practicing real love.

“Love is a complex topic and extremely hard to define, but you sure do know it when you bump into it.”              -“In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo

Showing love, practicing real love, is not the same as actually feeling the heart pounding, soul shivering love that makes two people commit their lives to each other as husband and wife either though. I would call that romantic love. Romantic love is a whole different thing as well and typically far more complicated than just plain old LOVE. For the purpose of this chapter in her book, Courtney focused on biblical love and so for the purpose of this week in our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Study, we will focus on biblical love too. Practicing real love, biblical love requires the willingness to completely sacrifice for the benefit of another. Like Jesus Christ sacrificed for us on the cross.

The act of biblical love doesn’t need feelings involved at the start to be done, it essentially is the act of choosing to show someone love just because, with no gain of your own, simply for the purpose of benefitting that of which you  are practicing real love on. Biblical Love is an act of obedience, and though biblical love doesn’t require feelings in the start, it is sure to create some feelings in the act. You can show love once to the person walking into the coffee shop behind you briefly, by simply making a conscious decision to hold the door for them, and that would be showing a small example of love and create a small moment of joy in your insides.  But would you do it every single day, allowing them to beat you to the line, delaying the purchase of your own coffee, every, single, day? If you did so, it would likely create immense feelings of kindness and gratitude inside of that person for whom you keep holding the door. similarly, you can show love once to an elderly person at the grocery store struggling to reach an item on the top shelf by assisting in getting the item down for them……..but would you be willing to stop your own shopping to follow alongside them helping them retrieve every item they couldn’t reach? If you did I am sure you would stir up feelings in that elderly person. I also find that in looking for ways to practice real love in your day-to-day can create positive, impressionable moments and feelings in yourself as well.

I often tell my children that the easiest way to find JOY in their lives is by following this model:

Value in your priorities should be

J- Jesus 1st, Put Him above all other…when you actively seek Him and His will you will not be steered wrong and will be less likely to be distracted or discouraged by Satan.

O- Others 2nd, look for opportunities to bless others, big acts or small within your means and in keeping with Gods will, in the name of Jesus. You never know when the smallest act of kindness and love from you could completely transform their mood, their moment, or their life. We should bless others in return through the blessings God has given us.

Y- Yourself last, not to be forgotten, bless yourself with the building blocks of your own personal JOY recipe because we MUST include ourselves as a priority in order to be Mentally Happy and Healthy. However allowing ourselves to be our last priority leaves room for us to bless others as a priority, and in turn allows those in our lives to have the opening & opportunities to bless us in return without us beating them to the punch. (No act of giving should be done with reciprocation as an expectation though, rather of a pure and genuinely loving heart. Don’t worry, God knows the difference)

I have never officially learned my “Love Language” but I don’t need to learn it officially to know that my personal “Love Language” is Acts of Service. I feel strongly that because of the GRACE of Jesus Christ my Savior alone I have the ability to serve others for His good. He brings my thoughts back down when I let them get the best of me. He reminds me to focus on Him because He has it all figured out anyways! He provides in all areas of need and it’s because of this that I feel confident in this virtue of love, when it comes to strangers and those in my extended social circle. I look for all opportunities to serve others, sometimes to my own detriment if I am completely honest. I do however feel that I lack in remembering to demonstrate Love in all the little ways at home, with those I love the most but whom also pick at me and strip down to “me-centered responses” the fastest. It’s because of this area lacking in my own walk that I knew this was another area in this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. I have again included printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and is in this weeks title image also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & regularly. Love – Quote for inspiration

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce LOVE Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book. For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Love ‘Em Up Idea’s and it’s basically a series of pages in the book with different “Love ‘Em Up Ideas” for siblings to siblings, children to parents, parents to children and some miscellaneous ways that Courtney DeFeo encourages you to look for ways to serve those in your home this week, filling your home with LOVE!

Memory Verse “We love because first He loved us”  1John 4:19

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read 1Corinthians 13:4-8 and introduce Love “Em Up Idea’s”. I may add a printable version of this list through a post amendment but for now I just encourage you to explain this concept in a way that makes it easy for your kiddo’s or go pick up the book!

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Galatians 5:6, 14 and discuss first 3 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Colossians 2:2 & 3:14 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read 1John 4:7-8 and discuss the remaining 3 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Luke 6:27-36 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, to write a letter or make a card for someone in your life who LOVES well!

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Ephesians 3:17-18 as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day! This week I am planning a love themed night of fun for our family activity.

Virtue two-Love Overview of the week

Virtue Two Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Love

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Love. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 10 weeks. My weekend was exceptionally busy and I just couldn’t find the time to put the finishing touches on this post until today, my apologies! Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE filled week and check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy

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Today kicks off my 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to this 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge This blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue is joy…..

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I agree with the sentiment of this picture wholeheartedly and I feel like the first step we can take to “Prepare their hearts to persevere, no matter what” is to teach them at an early age the difference between “Happy” and “Joy-filled”. We can’t always control our circumstances but we can control our reaction to those circumstances and knowing and understanding that Joy is a choice is pivitol to helping them choose Joy in even the scariest or most uncertain situations as an adult. I truly believe that like most things, the sooner we are taught this difference the easier it is to demonstrate and live out when we face trials so it’s a pretty important virtue to instill at our children while they are still little.

I want my girls to know how to choose Joy when they think it’s miserable that the other sisters are having sleepovers at their friends houses and they don’t have one scheduled. Rather than jumping straight to a temper tantrum because “..It’s not fair!!!!” I want them to learn how to pause and look for a reason to choose Joy, maybe it’s realizing they can have full control of the tv controller or appreciating that they will have one on one time with mom & dad because of the sleepovers. This leaves them in a better place emotionally and behavioraly and begins creating a pattern in their thinking. Just because we have feelings that arise inside of us doesn’t mean we need to act on those feelings, or let them control our thinking.

I personally probably struggle with this virtue more than any other. I have a lot of the feels a lot of the time and I was not necessarily taught the difference between happy & joy filled as a young child. I don’t qualify my thoughts as well as I should before turning them into words MOST of the time when I speak. I am great at letting something that I can’t control have control over my mind and my thoughts and this virtue alone is what sold me on this process when I was reading Courtney’s book. I am not a good example of this virtue at all (I am embarrassed to admit it but when creating this blog I promised myself that I will admit my flaws because I am not a perfect mother and I live in that knowledge daily so I would never want to imply I think anything else.)

I am a good mother with the teachings, influence and GRACE of Jesus Christ my Savior alone. He brings my thoughts back down when I let them get the best of me. He reminds me to focus on Him because He has it all figured out anyways! It’s because this isn’t an area that I feel good about in my own walk that I knew this was a journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and this blog series was born. I will be including printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me when I read it so I will be printing it for my office so I can reference it easily & regularly. JOY-quote for inspiration

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce JOY Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book. For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is to be on the lookout for joyful people and to use your  Joy Field Journals to document & track those people and experiences.

Memory Verse “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”-Proverbs 15:13

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans v. 15:13 and introduce “10 ways to break a bad-mood cycle” that I pulled straight from the book “In This House We Will Giggle” and included a printable version that I found online.

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Galatians 5:22-23 and discuss first 6 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read James 1:2-3 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Peter 1:8-9 and discuss the remaining 6 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Psalm 5:11 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, to write a letter of encouragement to someone in your life that embodies Joy!

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read from “The Jesus Storybook Bible” Nememiah 8-10 as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day! This week I would use this time to show off the progress made in our Joy Field Journals and share our favorite example that we documented.

Virtue One-Joy Overview of the week

Virtue One Memory Week 1 Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Joy

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be posting the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 11 weeks. My weekend was exceptionally busy and I just couldn’t find the time to put the finishing touches on this post until this evening, my apologies! Have a blessed and Joy filled week and check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge

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For the last 8 years I have had the pleasure of attending a woman’s book study group ministry through the church we have called home for those same years. The group is comically named “Mastering Motherhood Plus” (MM for short) and I stumbled into the group right after we had ventured into the church as a family. I am so thankful God put it there when He did so that I could benefit so greatly and in so many areas of my life from the Ministry it offers. I am sure I will have a future testimony to write here at some point on God’s request about that ministry, but back to the topic at hand. I took a brief hiatus from MM to explore working outside of my home again for a short season this past fall & winter. I wasn’t able to attend at all during those weeks due to life’s other demands and oh did I miss it. After prayer & careful consideration my work situation changed making it accommodating once again to attend, but I rejoined in the middle of a session.

The way this ministry works, {as a quick explanation as to why beginning “in the middle of a session” is relevant} is that it meets almost every Thursday morning in a large space at the church from September (after the kids are back in school) through May (when they break for summer) except for the few weeks that holidays occur. We get together, a large group of woman, from all walks of life at all ages and places in their journey (being a mother is not a requirement though the title may imply) and we share a light morning brunch and time of fellowship with a short devotion. We then break down into small groups based on specific books and have a small book study time. The books change every season and we typically have between 6-8 book choices each session. During a full year cycle of attending MM you will choose 2 different books thus likely changing groups and going where God leads you.

It’s a beautiful dynamic for building relationships and meeting new woman who may need encouraging or may be able to encourage or Mentor you. The group offers free childcare for kids that are not school age and it is a wonderful break from our responsibilities to take time to encourage and interact with other woman. Each small group has 3 leaders, one being a designated “Titus” woman for her experience in her walk with God and another 2 ladies who volunteer to “Steer ” the groups week to week discussion & interaction with the book. These woman give selflessly so that those of us in the throes of life can have a sanctuary one brief morning a week. It truly is bliss. Anyways, back on topic.

I joined in the middle of a session, thus they were more than halfway through reading and discussing a book I had not yet begun to read. I hadn’t even purchased the book yet but hey, that’s what Amazon Prime is for! Now typically this type of thing would be the exact reason I would find to excuse my absence until the start of the next session but I was that desperate for a break that my natural introvert got out-of-the-way). It didn’t matter that I was 7 weeks behind, after an incredibly difficult start to our year (er…..Heartbroken…. and When heartbreak strikes again…too soon) my soul needed nourished and I needed to give my littlest girl the same fun weekly play opportunity I had afforded 2 of her older sisters. I made a plan, and I walked back in like I was coming home. After attending the first small break out group on the book title that I felt God lead me to the most I was hooked and had immediately decided this blog series was happening. The book is titled “In This House We Will Giggle”  and it is beautifully written by Courtney DeFeo.

As I said earlier, when I began reading it I immediately knew I was turning it into a blog series because I immediately envisioned how I was going to implement this with my kids this summer and I knew I would want to share it! I started the group with no book and zero understanding of the topics previously covered. While I had missed the first 8 weeks of that session my group had already discussed the first 7 chapters and subsequent virtues. The book is designed to be executed across 12 months and I can see myself going back through with my kids again at some point in the future when they are all a little older, at that time we will likely take the 12 month approach but for now 12 weeks seems attainable. Even more attainable during the summer when I have the responsibility of keeping them entertained and mentally stimulated all summer long! It was decided immediately in my head and in my heart that I was going to plow through reading this book and use it as the literal guide and inspiration for a summer virtue challenge I was going to put together to do with my girls. Below I have included the outline I designed in PDF form for the basic plan of attack for the summer! I would love for you and your kiddos to join us on this journey! If you decide to please share stories from your experiences as we go from week to week in the comments!

12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan

My kids break for summer on the 25th of May this year but I have decided to officially kick off this challenge during their last week of school instead. The first Weekly Virtue we are tackling is Joy and I have a plan for my kids to show Joy in action that week with thank you surprises for their teachers (my girls don’t consider the end of the school year a Joyous time because they actually enjoy school and “will miss everything about the class and teacher” they had every single year.) Therefore I am kicking this challenge off on Sunday May 21st. Each Weekly Virtue will run from Sunday – Saturday and I will post each new weeks outline and any accessory printables that I have created for the entire week on Sunday mornings. This way hopefully you can plan your week around it and at that time you can have all my provided tools accessible for the whole week up front to implement at your desire through each week. I am introducing this with just enough time for you to order a copy of the book through Amazon Prime and get it before we kick-off if you so wish, that way you can support this author and have it hands on to personalize to your family. If you do want to follow along, you can always look for it at your nearest Barnes & Noble to pick a copy up as another alternative to Prime. Here is the weekly overview that I will be adapting to each Weekly Virtue. 

Weekly Implementation To Use As Your Family Chooses:

 

Sunday- Introduce New Weekly Virtue for the Week & Assign Weekly Activity

* I recommend you print or write out the weekly verse so it can be posted somewhere regularly viewed by your children (even if they are too young to read, seeing it may prompt them to remind you)

* By “Assign” I really mean discuss. Not every Weekly Activity will span the entire week though some may, but either way I encourage you to reference the Weekly Activity at this time to plant the seed.

Monday- Daily Devotion Verse & include some time to focus on the Weekly Activity

* I encourage that you try to do your Devotion Verse in the morning to get it into your children’s heads early in the day for it to be mentally referenced by them all day.

* Encourage a small amount of time devoted to the Weekly Activity as a family in the evening and also discuss tips/tools to include the Virtue daily.

Tuesday-  Daily Devotion Verse & Family Discussion Questions

* Each chapter & Weekly Virtue includes a series of Family Discussion Questions and I plan to utilize these during dinner discussion across two week nights. The amount of questions may vary a bit from week to week.

* I recommend you consider the age of your children when considering the length and depth of discussion time.

Wednesday- Daily Devotion Verse & “Bring Out The Giggles” Fun

* Throughout the book there are “60 Ways to Bring Out the Giggles” and I included in my schedule a day devoted specifically to these fun ideas In my 12 week challenge I have chosen a few of my favorites to implement in my home but this is another bonus reason to buy the book so that you can follow along. With the book you will have all 60 ways at your disposal so you can choose the right ones for your family or even choose more than one!

* I have consciously chosen hump day for this to boost the mid-week slump in my home. Again if you want to see the other 48 of the “60 Ways to Bring Out the Giggles” I encourage you get the book (in case I haven’t managed to sneak it in enough times already) to follow along with our family’s challenge and personalize it to your own family but I’ve taken the prep work out of it for you when it comes to scheduling it across 12 weeks if you do.

Thursday- Daily Devotion Verse & Family Discussion Questions

* This is the second day I had set aside for the remaining Family Discussion Questions each week.

* Again I recommend evaluating the age of your children & their attention span when setting a time frame for this discussion time. One question or all of the questions, it doesn’t matter as long as you spend time to discuss as a family unit!

Friday- Daily Devotion Verse and Encourage Activity Day

* At the end of each chapter the author has provided additional Optional Activities one of which is an Encourage Activity so I utilized some of these provided ideas to make Fridays Devoted to Encouraging!

Saturday-    Daily Devotion Verse & Family Activity Day

* This was the perfect way to end the week with a Family Activity focused on the Weekly Virtue!

 

Now that I have shared with you my personal goal for instilling 12 very important Virtues in my girls this summer based off of this awesome book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo and I truly do hope you will choose to try to follow along. Whether you follow it to the letter, whether you just do one day a week, whether you choose to lag a week behind it doesn’t matter at all. If you try to implement this in any way you are doing your family a service for sure! And don’t forget, if you give it a try share with me your experience!

As always thanks for reading!

~Rebecca