The Life Giving Parent

In the 8 years that I’ve been a mama, I’ve read countless books on parenting and motherhood. Books teach, encourage, inspire and help me grow as a parent. A few of the parenting books I read, earn a place in my library and are  reread, sometimes as often as annually and are such an encouragement in this mothering journey.

Books by Sally Clarkson are among my favorite mothering books. Copies of The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, Own Your Life, The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Table adorn my shelves. Books written by Sally and/or her husband Clay can also be found on my shelves. We also own copies of Educating the Wholehearted Child, Heartfelt Discipline and Our 24 Family Ways – A Family Devotional Guide. These books have been such an encouragement in our parenting journey.

Learning that Clay and Sally had written another parenting book, titled The Life Giving Parent was exciting. I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived so I could soak up more wisdom from the Clarksons. It did not disappoint, I took several pages of notes that I will refer back to and it definitely has earned a spot on my bookshelf and I know it will be loaned out and reread over the years.

Some inspiring quotes from The Life Giving Parent:

“It’s about being the kind of life giving home culture that will stand as a testimony of God’s biblical design for family to a lost world whose sandy foundations are washing away.”

“We need to distinguish between a home that is considered Christian primarily because cultural Christianity happens there and a home that is Christian because Christ is alive and present in perceptible ways.”

“Children have appetite, just like adults, but with one big difference – they do not have the disciple and discernment at their young ages to control their appetites maturely. In the same way that parents naturally guard their children’s physical appetites so their bodies will be healthy, we as believing parents must also guard our children’s spiritual appetites so their hearts and spirits will be healthy.”

“The first priority for strengthening your children’s faith as a life giving parent is … to strengthen your own faith!”

“The way children act reveals their character. And one of the most telling character qualities is diligence – responding positively to parental influence and doing without delay what needs to be done.”

The last chapter of the book ends with, “It’s simply about choosing to invest your ‘one life to give’ into the hearts of your children. If that’s what you do, then you’ll be a life giving parent and the living God will be alive in your life – and in your children’s lives.” This is what I desire. Motherhood is a calling. I am called to mother these 4 little souls God has entrusted to me. We have yielded to that call on my life and it’s why I stay home and educate our children at home. It’s not easy – in fact there are many times I’m overwhelmed with the huge responsibility that comes with raising my children. However, I can’t think of a better way to invest my ‘one life to give’ than to invest it into the lives and hearts of my children.

The Life Giving Parent will challenge, teach, inspire and encourage you in your parenting journey to help you give your child a life worth living for Christ.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of The Life Giving Table in exchange for a review from the Tyndale Blog Network.

The Fourth is Coming

We’ll be welcoming our fourth baby this May! We’re excited and can hardly believe we just have a little over 3 months to go!

Cecilia is thrilled to become a big sister! She’s such a good little mama to her baby dolls.

This is a picture of our littlest from January 6 when we had our anatomy scan. We did not find out the gender and are looking forward to our surprise when baby arrives!

This is my 24 week belly on January 29.

I’m learning with each baby we have how little babies really need. I purchased a few new cloth diapers for this baby (we have a decent size stash of diapers from Cecilia) and we need to purchase a new car seat (planning to buy Cecilia a new one and let the baby use her current convertible seat.) I have a minimal gender neutral newborn wardrobe that was Cecilia’s and have managed to thrift a few muslin swaddles over the past few months. At this point, we pretty much need some newborn disposable diapers and a Rock N Play for the baby to sleep in for the first few weeks/months and we’ll be all ready to welcome baby number 4.

Blessing Families by Bringing Meals

Bringing Meals

Bringing meals to families after the birth of a baby, during times of sickness or loss is such a simple way to really bless a family and make them feel loved and cared for.

After the birth of our third baby, we were blessed with many meals from friends in our small group and other friends from church. Every meal that was delivered made me feel loved and cared for. And, I’m so thankful for the sweet friends who took time out of their busy days of caring for their own little ones to prepare a meal for our family.

Since I know what a blessing meals are to families, I prefer to celebrate babies by bringing a meal or two instead of giving them more stuff for baby (babies don’t need much)!

In the past, I’ve made excuses for not bringing meals to families, telling myself I was too busy taking care of my kids, preparing our own meals and that I didn’t know what to bring.

While, it does take some time out of my day, I’ve found that bringing meals can be pretty simple and involve a minimal amount of time, thanks to planning and keeping meals simple.

I have two meals that I typically bring to families:

    1. Roasted Chicken,  Baked Carrots, Potatoes and Onions, Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert
    2. Chicken Parmesan Casserole with Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert

Dessert is usually cookies or brownies.

Sometimes, I’ll bring fresh fruit (like bananas or cut up melon) or muffins so the family can have something extra to snack on and pack kid friendly foods (cheese sticks, carrot sticks) for kiddos.

Meal to Bring

These two meals are simple to prepare and are family favorites. I typically keep the ingredients to make both of these meals on hand. This makes bringing a family a meal on short notice possible without a trip to the grocery store.

I’ve found that knowing what I’m bringing allows me to volunteer to bring meals without any stress over what I’ll prepare. And, preparing the same two meals makes getting the meal packed up and ready to deliver simple since I know exactly what containers I need.

Packed Up Meal

Once everything is cooked, I package it up in disposable containers and bags. Disposable pans work best for my main dish, green beans can be transported in disposable pans or plastic containers (like Gladware) and rolls/brownies/cookies are easy to package in a plastic bag. (I hate the waste element of this but it’s easier for the family to not have to worry about returning dishes.) 

I have learned the hard way that transporting food in disposable containers can result in some leaks. I’ve had several green bean juice leaks – once all over the back of the van.

To avoid leaks in my vehicle, I line my clothes basket with a clean towel and load everything into the basket. This not only keeps any leaks contained, it’s also an easy way to deliver the meal. I am able to bring everything into the home in just one trip.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook or truly don’t have the time to prepare meals for families, you can still bless families with food.

  • Pick up a Rotisserie Chicken at your local grocery store, add a salad mix, fresh bread and fruit.
  • Pick up all the fixings for homemade sub sandwiches and add chips and fruit.
  • Bring takeout from any restaurant. (Calling ahead to see what the families favorite foods are would be a nice gesture.)
  • Bring a basket of snacks. (John David’s grandparents brought a bunch snacks and fresh fruit after Cecilia’s birth – it was much appreciated and the boys were thrilled with all the yummy snack foods!)
  • Invite the family over to join your family for a meal – you won’t have to worry about transporting food at a certain time and they won’t have to worry about any clean up.
  • If you live in a different town, you can still bless friends with meals via gift cards to restaurants in their area.

For more meal ideas, here are some of the meals we were given (and everything was delicious):

      • Baked Spaghetti, Salad and Bread
      • Quiche, Baked Oatmeal, Fruit (breakfast for dinner – yum!)
      • Pot Roast, Green Beans and Rolls
      • Chicken and Rice Soup, Salad, Bread
      • Chicken Enchiladas, Beans and Fruit
      • Stromboli, Salad, Fruit
      • Pizza
      • Chicken Casserole, Salad and Bread
      • Hamburgers, Chips and Pineapple Casserole
      • Potato and Corn Chowder and Corn Muffins
      • Smoked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Our boys really loved the nights that pizza and hamburgers were brought. In fact, they’ve asked me several times over the past year when we were going to have another baby because they liked having people bring us food!  (Our entire family was truly blessed by the gift of meals!)

Do you have specific meals you bring? I’d love to know your easy to transport meal ideas!

I’m Thankful for My Washing Machine

Washing MachineTo My Washing Machine,

Thank you so much for being such a faithful worker in our home.

You serve me well each week as I wash our clothes, towels and bedding.

I am thankful for you every other day when I start a load of cloth diapers.

You make doing laundry a simple task.

And, after a bout with a stomach bug, I am even more thankful for you.

I can toss bedding and clothes that are covered with throw up in and hit the ‘rinse’ button and you take care of the icky mess.

Once you’ve rinsed, I simply add in detergent, hit another button and 48 minutes later, clean laundry emerges.

You’ve worked hard these past few days, working nearly non-stop.

Thank you for washing our laundry.

And, thank you so much for having a rinse cycle and making cleaning up throw up just a bit easier.

Sincerely,

Rachel

We’ve been dealing with a weird stomach bug over the past few days. Cecilia has thrown up multiple times- including all over both of us while I was wearing her in the Boba at a church picnic. Ick. Even though she’s throwing up, she seems just fine and is playing like normal. I’m looking forward to whatever this is being over and I really am so thankful for my washing machine!