This super cute and fun summer craft is from our resident arts-and-crafts director: my sister-in-law, Amanda! And, of course, her sweet daughter, Lily. This tissue paper craft doubles as sensory play because what kid doesn’t love playing with tissue paper?! It’s also fantastic fine motor practice for your little one!
Supplies for Tissue Paper Watermelon Craft:
Card stock/thin cardboard or paper plate
Green, red and pink tissue paper
Black material for seeds (tissue paper, construction paper, paint, etc.)
Today I want to share with you what helps me get through extra difficult days with my chronic pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain – whether physical, mental or emotional pain that is ongoing – this should be helpful for enduring those days when you just have to survive the day.
1. Accept help.
If you’re battling with chronic pain, you need to find a tribe of supportive people to surround you. Whether that’s your physical family, your church small group, or some friends and neighbors – find your tribe. Have your go-to people that you can text or call if you’re having a bad day. People who can pray with and for you, or who can come over to help distract your kiddos if you need a break.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Of course, if you want this type of friendship, you have to be this friend to others as well. Be intentional about your relationships. It’s not realistic to have 15 super close BFFs – but you can have 2-3 friends whom you would do anything for – and who also will understand if you have to change your night-on-the-town plans to a movie night in bed because you’re in pain.
2. Communicate your pain.
“A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.”
If your friends and family members don’t know you’re in pain, it’s going to be impossible for them to know how to help you. So even if it’s hard, you have to share your pain. You don’t have to tell everyone – but be intentional with what you share. Don’t just say “I’m fine” when you know that’s not true. Be specific. Be real.
Have one or two people that you know you can shoot a text to on painful days. For me, I typically reach out to my sisters-in-law, Amanda and Andrea. Just a simple, “pray for me, I’m in a lot of pain today,” text can help take some of the burden off of me.
A note on getting help & communicating your chronic pain:
One question that I get a lot from friends or family members is: how can I help? This is a difficult one for me because I genuinely need help, but I don’t want to inconvenience people and I certainly don’t want to ask for something that’s more than they were willing to give. However, I think if someone is asking this question, they most likely really want to do something for you! My mom often reminds me that God can use my pain as an avenue for others to answer His calling to serve. I shouldn’t hinder that call by being too proud to ask for help. So, communicate specific ways that a friend can help. Perhaps they can bring a meal, watch your kids for an hour while you rest, pick up groceries or medicine for you, or just bring you a coffee.
Please don’t be hurt if people don’t “get it” when you’re in pain.
If you’ve never had a migraine before, it’s hard to grasp how debilitating one is. Oftentimes we feel like we’re falling apart on the inside, but to others we look just fine! This can make it much more difficult for them to connect with how we’re feeling. I’m always surprised after a group hangout if I mention that I was in pain and people reply, “I had no idea!” Don’t assume people know how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to explain in detail what you’re experiencing. However, make sure to offer lots of grace when a friend or family member inevitably doesn’t quite understand. That’s OK!
This is one of my favorite anti-inflammatory diet meals! This butternut squash Thai curry is so incredibly flavorful and versatile. It packs an immune-building punch with all of the inflammation-fighting foods in this recipe. This meal is one that I love to make for company or if I’m bringing a meal to someone – it’s unique and delicious.
Butternut squash is an incredible food – packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which help with immune function and are powerful antioxidants. It also happens to be relatively low in calories, which is a double win!
If you’re battling with chronic pain or any kind of inflammatory issue, exercising regularly and eating an anti-inflammatory diet could help reduce the inflammation in your body. What we eat can either speed up or slow down the inflammatory processes throughout our bodies. That’s why I try to keep an anti-inflammatory diet regimen throughout the week – which can be tricky when you’re cooking for others, including a picky husband, a toddler and a baby!
My husband (a picky eater) and my kids (not-so-picky eaters) LOVE this meal. Even my one-year-old shovels this curry into his mouth. I typically add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to cool the curry a bit for them.
This recipe is versatile. It can easily be made vegetarian/vegan if you omit the chicken. The vegetables in here (butternut squash, sweet potato) can readily be swapped out with one another. For example, you could use 4 cups of sweet potato OR 4 cups of butternut squash if you only want one over the other. You could also substitute carrots or other squash in place of one of the vegetables.
We’ve all had those days: the ones that seem to drag on endlessly, where we wonder what else could go wrong. You’re exhausted, the house is a mess, your children are whining, your husband still isn’t home from work and dinner burned. Or maybe you’re dealing with a deeper trial where you really need God to carry you through. It’s on these days when we need God’s strength the most.
God put these verses on my heart to share with you, and it seems like the more I searched for scriptures on God’s strength, the more there were! There are so many precious Bible verses about God’s strength at work within us. Download these printable memory verse cards that you can post around the house for those weary days.
Paul gives us a great example of someone who went through hardships and trials (2 Corinthians 11:24-29) yet was strengthened again and again. Here’s a powerful verse displaying God’s strength:
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:16-18
In this passage, Paul was going through one of the most challenging times: he was imprisoned, on trial, facing the end of his life, and he was alone. It seems that when he went to court to defend himself, none of his friends showed up. Despite all of this, he kept his faith. He believed that God would carry him through – and He did. None of his earthly friends may have stood beside Paul, but the Lord did. He was not truly alone, because he had Jesus beside him. The same is true for us.
This seed growing experiment is one of my favorites for so many reasons!
It teaches kids about how plants grow.
It gets them excited about vegetables (and fruit and flowers)!
It’s simple and inexpensive.
It’s genuinely incredible to watch these plants grow up close.
What you’ll need for this seed growing experiment:
Clear cups (glass or plastic)
Seeds of any kind
Paper towels (about 2-4 sheets, depending on the size of your cup)
Dry erase marker or permanent marker (to indicate the seeds on the cup)
First, pick out your seeds. We did pea, green bean, cantaloupe, radish and an assortment of wildflower seeds – but you can use any seeds you want! It was fun to take Finn to Lowe’s and have him pick out which seeds he wanted to grow.
Next, take your paper towels, wrap them around your hand so they form a tight spiral (so they can fit in the cup in an organized manner). Then, wet the paper towels so that they are moist but not soaking wet. They need to maintain some structure inside the cup. Then, place them in the cup so that they are snug against the edge of the glass. If the paper towels are falling down, just reinforce them with more damp paper towels.
Finally, stick the seeds on the outside of the paper towel so that you can see them through the glass. You can use your finger (or a pen) to create a small tunnel on the side of the paper towel so they can slide down the glass. You want to paper towel to be snug against the seed so that the seed gets the moisture from the paper towel. This will help it to germinate!
Then, mark your seeds (so you can remember what they are) and place in a sunny spot in the house! A central windowsill is a great spot so your kids can check on them every day.
If you’d like to make this into more of a formal experiment, here’s what we did:
Question: which seed will germinate (grow) the fastest?
Finn guessed that the green bean would grow the fastest because it was the largest. I “guessed” that the radish would germinate quickly because it was the smallest. (Also because I read online that it would! Ha!)
Keep track of the results and once the seeds have sprouted, you can do some more research with your little one about why they sprouted at the rate that they did. You could also have a “competition” on which seeds will grow the tallest or test different hypotheses based on how much sunlight or water your seeds are receiving.
Watching these seeds germinate was really amazing! It took a little patience at first, but once they sprouted I was amazed by how quickly they grew.
After they outgrow your cup, you can (very carefully) remove them from the glass cup and replant them. Note: the roots will grow into the paper towel so you have to be careful to gently detangle them.
Have you ever felt disappointed with your postpartum body? Today we’ll be discussing how God wants us to view our postpartum bodies.
Recently, my mom and Finn were reading a book called “My Amazing Body,” and they were on the page where it shows how mothers carry their children before they’re born. It had an image of a pregnant woman with a flap to lift so that you could see the growing child inside.
My mom told Finn, “God made our bellies to stretch and grow so that we could fit a baby inside! Isn’t that amazing?!”
From across the room, I commented, “Yeah, and those bellies never go back to normal.”
We laughed, but the interaction made me pause: I realized that my comment was actually detracting from God’s glory in the childbearing process. It is amazing that our bodies can expand to hold another living being! And by grumbling about the flaws in my own body, I was diminishing God’s incredible design.
This realization, as well as the chapter on postpartum body image in Risen Motherhood, encouraged me to dig deeper in the scriptures and in prayer to figure out how God wants me to view my postpartum body.
This is the fruit of that investigation. Here are 5 questions for us to ask ourselves about our postpartum body image:
#1: Why do I want a better-than-before-baby body?
Before we have kids, we think, “I’ll be the bounce-back mom! No one will ever know I had a kid!” But once we actually have a child, life doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Our bodies don’t cooperate the way they used to. Our schedules aren’t as neat as we thought they’d be. We find ourselves disappointed in ourselves and the bodies that just carried us through the miracle of life-giving.
Today, Tyler and I are sharing with you some conflict resolution strategies for when you and your spouse get into an argument. This article was borne out of a lot of experience with conflict with each other. When we first got married at the ripe age of 20, we fought…A LOT. We had to learn “on the job” how to fight fairly with each other.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
A few memorable instances of us fighting fairly – NOT!
After several minutes of sobbing hysterically at Tyler, he replied: “Your tears are invalid.”
Once, while expressing my frustration and anger at something that Tyler deemed benign, he laughed at me. So I threw my keys at him. And he laughed some more.
If you’ve ever thought your husband had a heart of stone you can take comfort knowing I (Tyler) had the emotional sensitivity of a gargoyle. I thought I was the great arbiter of which emotions were justifiable and which were not. Turns out you’re better off empathizing and actually caring about what your spouse cares about.
On my part (Tiffany), I had to realize that I was allowing my emotions to rule me – for me, what I felt was my truth. My feelings were reality, and whatever Tyler did or said could not convince me otherwise. I unintentionally weaponized my tears against him in arguments, and they quickly became ineffective in convincing him of anything.
The strength of your emotional response to a situation has no correlation to how true it is or isn’t. Sometimes I (Tyler) felt like held hostage by Tiffany’s emotions in any given situation. She would feel something so strongly it made it difficult to disagree without further hurting her feelings. She has since greatly grown in her emotional self-control, which has stopped more disagreements from unnecessarily escalating and makes it easier for me to be sensitive when she does feel something strongly.
Both of us have said things to each other we regret, taken small hurts too personally, thrown old failures at each other like daggers, and generally just been immature, selfish and filled with pride.
Since our first year of marriage, we have grown a lot (and, clearly, there was a lot of room to grow!) through the power of God. We wanted to share some conflict resolution strategies with you here today to hopefully help you through difficult situations with your spouse.
Are you in need of some comfort today, mama? I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning in need of encouragement. And God sent it to me, by way of a beautiful sunrise, a pack of wild pigs, and this Bible verse…
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
In case you needed the reminder: God loves you
How has God shown you His love? For me, I see His love in my family and in nature. I get little “I love you’s” from God through Tyler every day. And I constantly am in awe of God’s love for me when I think about how much I love my kids. If I love my kids this much, and I’m a sinful human being, how much more does God love me?! (Matthew 7:11)
We recently got back from a staycation with my family. When we got home, Tyler and I took the kids to his parent’s house (AKA our next door neighbors) and I came back home to set up the kids’ rooms for bedtime. I ended up unloading the whole car and putting everything away from our week-long trip.
When Tyler came back with the kids, I told him: “I unloaded the whole car and put everything away.”
“Cool,” he said, scrolling through his phone.
I paused. His response wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, so I said, “I’m going to repeat myself in case you missed it. I unloaded the ENTIRE CAR and put EVERYTHING away.”
He put down his phone and smiled at me, “Wow, babe, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for doing that.” Then he kissed me and offered me a massage.
See, sometimes it does help to repeat yourself! Ha!
But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
This morning, I noticed this verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible app. It made me think about whose praise I’m prioritizing.
I don’t think it’s unscriptural or unholy for me to seek my husband’s recognition or praise – however, I do think that I can oftentimes feel under-appreciated or like all that I do somehow doesn’t matter if no one sees it or recognizes it.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
However, there is one being who sees every single thing: God.
He sees the middle of the night feedings and the early morning risings when no one else is awake.
God sees us serving our families in all of the daily, humdrum ways that no one else ever notices.
He sees us cleaning up poop and vomit and who knows what else!
And it’s HIS praise that we should be seeking above all.
It’s summer time! And what a strange summer it’s been so far…
Look, we ALL need some fun, de-stressing dates with our spouse this summer. Talk to your spouse and pick a day of the week to be your “date day” and then make it happen! Even if you don’t have a sitter, some of these can all be done from the comfort of your home. The rest are social-distancing approved.
Also, if you want more stay-at-home date ideas, I’ve got a whole year’s worth of ideas right here.