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Archive for Family and Finance


When in Rome – Dads Celebrate Halloween

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Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerIn the world of expressions people use, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.” is one that you might hear, even in our contemporary society distanced from ancient Rome.

The expression has roots in the Bible, to the Apostle Paul expressing how to reach your community:

1 Corinthians 9:20-22

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

So, if the Romans . . . or your neighbors, celebrate Halloween, don’t let this Holiday pass without using it as an opportunity to be a witness.  This Halloween, the teaming unwashed ‘lost’ are coming to your door OR you might be taking your youngsters out to mingle with the costumed masses.  People are wandering around looking, even asking, for you to give them something.  How about a witness, a window into how God overcame the world?

How Dads can Do the Halloween thing:

First, don’t believe all the religious hype.  Legalistic religions will spout all kinds of nonsense about it being the Devil’s holiday.  I have all kinds of Scriptural arguments against this idea, but it boils down to one of my favorite verses in the Do the Dad Thing series:

Romans 12:21

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Once legalistic guilt is absolved, you can start being your authentic Christian self and celebrating Halloween with your neighbors . . . do it with the intent to be a living example for Christ.  Here are just a few thoughts on how to rock Halloween as a dad.

Watch your kids:  This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway.  The later evening can be dark and in some neighborhoods there are a mass of people walking around, all in costumes that look similar.  Make the rule that younger kids have to stay with you.  Also, I’ve noticed over the years that there might be 50 fairies or Iron Men that all look like your kids in costume – make sure you don’t lose track of them in the hustle and bustle.

Have your kids be polite:  We all hate the people that grab handfuls of candy out of the “Take One” bucket.  Don’t let your kids be those kids.  Also, teach your kids to say “thank you,” and “please” when they trick or treat the houses.

Scooters:  Trust me, if your kids are little, have them go house to house on their Razor scooters.  You might be able to hike a few blocks with your long dad-like legs, but your kids will start whining “carry me” after a few blocks.

Take extra bags:  If your kids have trick or treat bags, they can bring them back to you to dump into a bigger bag.  That way, little kids won’t start complaining that their bag is too heavy AND it won’t look like your kids are hauling away tons of candy.

Elderly person giving out candy:  “Oh little princess, your bucket is almost empty.  Here, have 50 Butterfingers.”

Talk to people:  This goes along with being a witness to your neighbors.  Meet people.  If the opportunity comes up, tell them where you live.  Share an interest.  You never know where it might lead. Read More→

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Do you look at your business activities in terms of strengths and weaknesses?

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laughinglOur natural tendency is to see our flaws – talk about them – expound on them – belittle ourselves and compare ourselves to others. We look at someone else and greatly admire their abilities but fail to see what they admire in is because we have taken out strengths for granted.

This turns to negative self talk. Mentally- internally we are constantly telling ourselves how we want to be better and to do better but we are capitalizing on the wrong thing – on our weakness rather than our strength.

We live in a culture where everyone is trying to become well rounded. In child rearing we give each kid so many opportunities to succeed and put so much before them so they have an opportunity to be whatever they want. But the truth is God didn’t create them to be whatever they want. He gifted them with particular strengths and talents which can be used for His glory.
When we have a strength in one area it is ok to not be that great in another.

Embracing our weakness with grace gives us the ability to accept who God has made us unique.

For example I have been in business for 9 years now. I had been sewing since I was a child and had been encouraged to start a sewing business so I could peruse my dream of being a stay at home mom (at such a time as God blessed us with children). When I first started the business I thought I would capitalize on making clothing. During my teen years I would make myself a dress or some kind of clothing every school holiday or summer vacation. Within the first several years of sewing professionally I had some requests for custom clothing, however at the end of each completed project I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction with the finished product. At the same time I began getting an increase in alterations – prom dresses, men’s suit jackets, new zippers. As I took each piece apart I loved carefully observing how it was put together so that I could reconstruct it back to the original state after the alteration. Often clients were bringing me pieces that they felt horrible in because the clothing was so ill fitting and it was with great satisfaction that I saw them in my finished work which fit perfectly for them!

My strength here was my analytical brain and my desire to help people. I found that I could be more helpful altering their current articles of clothing than I could be in making them new pieces.
For a while I focused on my weakness. I spoke to myself negatively saying “I just need to study clothing construction more, I just need more practice, maybe I am just in the wrong line of work.” I remember the feelings of anxiety and depression that clouded my thoughts concerning my work. Read More→

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Why Middle School is Still Annoying as a Mom

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school5My son Rick started sixth grade this year. His beginnings in middle school have given me nightmares for a couple of reasons. First, my baby is no longer a baby! Second, middle school was not a fun time for me as the adjustment from elementary school was a difficult transition in my life and now I feel as if I will be reliving the nightmare again through my son. Third, I will have to endure two other children as well as Rick going through these harrowing adolescent years in the awkward transition out of primary school into middle grades.

Let’s take a walk into the past and see why middle school were difficult years for me. We moved to a new town the summer before I started sixth grade. In my old town, sixth grade was still elementary school in the safe and cozy atmosphere I excelled in; in the new town sixth grade was the first year of three in middle school. One more year where I would have just one teacher to guide me through my learning process replaced with six teachers. Do you see how many sixes there are in this article? Sixes are bad. This grade should be avoided like taking the elevator to the thirteenth floor. Sadly in my naiveté, I was excited about moving past elementary school because I was unaware of the dreaded H word. You know what word I am talking about, I will take the risk of angering people and write out this profane word. Homework. That’s right I said it, but could you please keep your stones on your side of the school yard?

My poor baby has to endure these cumbersome years now. Despite the technological advances, chrome books do little to reduce the transition from childhood to the years of constant expectation. He will survive because my husband and I will carry him through those years with vigilant diligence. But I am not walking in his gangly pre-teen shoes. Oh no, he can keep those shoes to himself. I did my time; my prison sentence is over. I will be the prison warden, but I am very thankful not to walk those halls again with ominous teachers throwing around that profane word as if it was a treat. As warden, there are new elements of this harrowing year to fear.

Chromebook’s are the ban of my existence. First, they are windows based inferior devices which are completely inoperable by parents. Apple needs to hop on this bandwagon and create a user-friendly device that schools can afford.

School books are a thing of the past. That’s right, no math books to help this mama relearn how to do fractions which I have rarely needed to use in my twenty something years since middle school ended. I know google is my friend and ready to assist 24/7, but I don’t like math, and I don’t want to do long division. Lesson plans are now made up of several different forms of media streamed together rather in-cohesively. Call me old fashioned by I like books. E-readers are great as a digital bookcase, but I need a little help from the handy books to travel into the past to what my son is learning now. Read More→

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Building a Healthy Mind

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By Salvatore VuonoMost would agree that we need to be spiritually, physically and emotionally healthy to live our lives to the fullest extent.

How do you build health physically? You work out and watch your diet right?

Some of us have health tendencies or weaknesses that come to us through our family line so we have to be aware of those tendencies. Perhaps this is a little extra weight, high blood pressure, or a fragile heart. Whatever it is- the wise thing to do is to pay attention to these things and to work to take care of a problem before it gets worse.

In the same manner how do you build spiritual health? Reading the Word, having quiet time with the Lord, prayer, fellowship with other believers, a heart of thanksgiving. Some of us may struggle with one area more than another and that takes more work. But in order to maintain spiritual growth it has to be a conscious effort of drawing close to the Lord and seeking fellowship with Him continually.

Since it takes work to cultivate physical and spiritual health, don’t you think it also takes work to cultivate mental/emotional health. Too often we give excuses for why we worry, why we dwell in negative thought patterns, and struggle with healthy relationships. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we have trouble in these areas, the problem comes when we condone this and do nothing to change. (Which is true both physically and spiritually as well – if you are obese and continue eating the wrong things, the problem will only grow worse)

We are wired in such a way that when we are unhealthy in one area (whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually) our whole body is affected. Take worry for instance – the physical consequences could be high blood pressure and the spiritual consequences are the inability to trust God, which keeps us from enjoying fellowship with Him.

God designed us each differently with unique temperaments and family backgrounds so some of us have a greater tendency towards emotional/mental problems. Dr. Frederick Diblasio explains that just like some are born with the learning disorder of dyslexia, others have emotional and interpersonal dyslexia1. In both cases there is hope, but in both cases it takes work. Read More→

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Grocery Store etiquette

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shopping cartBrad, you gave us some great ideas for dads to teach kids good behavior in a waiting room situation.  But what about the grocery store?  My kids are unholy terrors when I take them shopping.

Ok, so in actuality no one really asked that question.  But they should have!  Because the grocery store is one of the greatest trials to kids and behavior.  The few times I was threatened with “Wait until your dad gets home . . .” were uttered by my mother at the grocery store.  I don’t remember much of how I misbehaved (especially after the beating I received from my dad for misbehaving– just kidding), but I’m sure I was fighting with my sister, asking for things, and touching everything.  My mom would probably remember more because memory is augmented by trauma.  I probably need to call my mom someday and apologize for every grocery and department store trip I ruined.  However, if Karma is a concept God allows, I am definitely getting my due share of payback.  I have a flexible schedule, so I have been harnessed with doing a lot of the shopping over the years.  It’s not so bad now, but when our kids were little my wife signed us up for some sort of shopping-rating survey system, so shopping was complicated and already felt like it took FOREVER, even without the kids.

Now my boys are almost to the age where I can tell them, “Hey, would you run up to the store and pick us up some bread for dinner?”  Almost.  So I still do the shopping and I frequently view other poor adults struggling to manage kids while they are shopping.

Since I’m a Christ follower, I need to first direct focus on the Bible and see how other people of faith managed the grocery store experience successfully:

They didn’t.

Grocery Stores and Department Stores didn’t exist in Biblical times, so it’s more difficult to get a grip on any of the great Dad-ing techniques of the Bible.  However, I think the entire book of proverbs could be retitled “How to instruct your kids to behave at Walmart.” . . .  Maybe I’ll suggest that to Zondervan.

In all seriousness though, in ‘Biblical times’ kids, even little kids, had some big responsibilities.

“You want to eat dinner tonight toddler?  Good, pull up this row of leeks.”

“You are a preteen Israelite boy, get out there and kill us a goat for dinner.”

“You’d like new socks?  Here, let me show you how to knit.”

Times have changed, but kids are still kids.  They can accept and rise to many challenges and responsibilities.  It does take more time on the front end to teach them.  The typical Israelite dad would have to show his kids the correct way to plant, harvest, thresh . . . but after a few times of instruction, the kids are helping with the ‘grocery shopping’ for the rest of their lives.  That’s worth it.

So, technique #1 to thrive at store shopping with your kids is to….

Give them Responsibilities and teach them how to succeed.  This might require some short, ‘practice,’ trips to the grocery or department store, but it will be worth it.

Speaking of training, I developed a technique to train your kids that could almost be considered sadistic torture.  Take your kids to Toys R Us (or any toy store) and park in the parking lot.  Tell your kids that you are going to go inside with them to look at cool stuff.  But also tell them that you are NOT going to buy anything today.

Then, stick to it. Read More→

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Reasons Why Children Do What They Do – Part 2

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shutterstock_231125878Question: I ask my son to go tell my daughter to come down for dinner, and he stays where he is and yells for her, why?
Answer: Your children require constant strenuous use of their vocal cords for proper maintenance and growth. Or kids are just lazy and do not want to do anything they do not need to do. Yes, you are quite capable of yelling up the stairs for your daughter, but your son does not think of this, he thinks, ‘what is the quickest way from point A to point B?’ For this situation, yelling gets him back to searching for Pokemon or battling dragons a whole lot faster than actually walking up the stairs and looking for his sister.
Solution: This might end up being an example of follow-by-example or constant not stop nagging every single time, your choice. If you need your child, try not to yell for them instead lead by example by going up the stairs or finding them through means other than your vocal cords. Children who do not yell…that is the dream, but not reality.

Question: Why do my children need to talk to me the moment I get on the phone?
Answer: In case you have forgotten, your little girl should be at the forefront of your thoughts at all times. Children view the person on the other end of the phone as an instigator ready to steal you away from them, and they must be stopped. Children are jealous creatures who need constant one-on-one attention from their parents. Cats are the same way, at least the kids rarely stick their bottom in your face.
Solution: When I know I am expecting an important phone call I tell the children if they interrupt me they will regret it, this usually thwarts the attempts to divert my attention. If a call takes me by surprise, my children know if they talk to me when I am on the phone they are going straight to time-out until my phone call is finished. After one 45 minute conversation with my brother two of the three children learned quickly I mean business, I am consistent, and I do not back down.

Question: Why does my son eat shredded cheese out of the bag in the fridge and leave a trail of evidence?
Answer: Shredded cheese spoils quickly (especially when the bag is not sealed properly by sneaky children) and should be eaten quickly to prevent waste. See, you were getting angry, and your son is just trying to be helpful! Besides, cheese is so good it should be considered a food group, and your son is a growing boy after all. The real problem might be that you are depriving him of vital nutrients necessary for his growth. More likely, though, your child is a slob just like mine and well most of the children around the world. They simply need to be taught the table is a better location for eating cheese.
Solution: My little cheese connoisseur was denied cheese for two weeks after I found a trail of cheese from the top shelf to the cabinets closest to the refrigerator. He decided to disobey me and sneak a slice of cheddar, and I added another week to the punishment. Once again consistency is important and not backing down. When we had tacos during his punishment his were sans cheese, along with a few other meals. His cheese withdrawals were so bad after three weeks I think he was physically shaking, but he never leaves cheese trails for me anymore. Read More→

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Fantastic Ways You Can Help to Maintain Your Church

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country churchWhen you are a member of a church community, there are two key things that help to hold your community together. The community would be nothing without the people in it and their shared faith and ideals. However, it’s also important that you all have a meeting place that meets your needs. You could find another place to meet if you had to. But your community is often tied to the building you use for worship. Maintaining both your church and its community are important to strengthen the congregation. If you want to help to maintain your church, here’s what you could do to help.

Volunteer Your Time
Time is a valuable thing, and it’s precious to all of us. We all have various commitments that take up our time, as well as passions we want to indulge in. One way to use your time wisely is to volunteer with your church. If you’re usually just another member of the congregation, you might consider getting more involved. There’s often a lot that you can help with to keep the community going. Some of the tasks you help with might involve maintaining the building. For example, they could be cleaning or decorating. You might help to set up the room before a sermon or to organize people at events such as weddings.


Help by Providing Resources

Another way you can help to maintain your church is by offering to provide resources. This could involve a number of things. It depends on what you’re willing and able to contribute. Perhaps you can help to replace some of the church chairs. Or you could contribute toward repairs that are required. You could also contribute in smaller ways. For example, you can help by buying candles or other useful items that the church has a need for regularly. If you’re unsure what you can buy, try asking someone in a position to know what the church needs. They can suggest how you might help. Read More→

Categories : Family and Finance
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Discipline the mind

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By Salvatore VuonoIf you are like me, sometimes you think about 10 different things at once. At the breakfast table I find myself thinking through my work projects, the kids school work, the dishwasher that isn’t unloaded yet, the laundry that needs to be carried downstairs, and then I recall the email I didn’t respond to from a client with a complicated sewing question.

I get up to grab the iPad to respond to the email but in the midst of it realize all the clean cups are in the dishwasher so one task gets interrupted for another, leaving neither complete. What frustration!

As wives, mothers and business owners we have become so good at multitasking but what does it cost us at times? Does it cost the enjoyment of the present moment? Are our minds too busy to rest in the beauty of the now?

God has been showing me that this is not an effective way to let my brain operate. When I let my thoughts skip from one task to another nothing ever has my full attention.

This isn’t productive for several reasons:

  • My energy is not 100% focused in one place
  • I’m not engaging with my kids at a time when they are available, because when I am with them often my thoughts are elsewhere.
  • I stress myself about something that I can’t even work on right that moment – meaning that in the present I am preoccupied with a problem of the future.

See sometimes my thoughts are really in the form of worry. I feel like if I don’t hold onto all of them then I have lost control of those areas for the moment. And what would happen if I let go? Maybe I would forget to do them later?

How can we discipline our minds to engage in the present? Read More→

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Unique and Fun Ways To Show Your Faith

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Image Credit: Click Image

Showing your faith is as important as it has ever been. There are hundreds of ways you can do this, from sharing passages to talking about commandments. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you should do this in a friendly, non obnoxious way. If people feel as if you are preaching to them or being overbearing, they are unlikely to listen to you. Your behavior shouldn’t have to be bizarre in order for you to make an impact! Here are some fun and unique ways you can show your faith:


Start Your Own Blog

Blogging isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for a few years now, but just about anybody can do it. You can blog about all kinds of things, from fashion to your faith. You can make it a mixed up blog, or a blog on one particular subject. It all depends on what you’re passionate about and what you’d like to talk about. If you make it about a multitude of things you’re interested in, you can put your own unique spin on it and include things from a faithful perspective. It isn’t hard to do, and it can be free!


Start A Club

Why not start a club? You could do this at your home, or even in the church if you check that you’re allowed to do so. You could sit on church chairs and discuss faith. It could even be an interest you have, such as knitting or crocheting. Bringing people together is a great way to show your faith!


Volunteer Or Give To Charity

Volunteering at a soup kitchen or in a charity shop could be a brilliant way to show your faith and set an example to others. You could even do something more extreme, like volunteering overseas. Giving to charity could be something you do when you feel prompted, or something you do every month. Make it a regular thing.


Contact A Church And Plan A Trip

Why not contact your local church and see if they need help planning a trip somewhere? Churches often plan missions to places such as underprivileged countries, and you may be able to offer your help in some way.


Pray For Others

Praying for yourself and for your family is great, but you should also pray for others where you feel appropriate. You may want to let them know that you are doing this too, if you feel it is a good time to tell them. Even if they are not religious, they might just appreciate your gesture.


Leave Nice Notes For People

Leaving nice notes for people brightens up their day and makes them feel good. You can leave notes for your family and friends, of course, but you can also leave notes for complete strangers! These notes can be anonymous, and you can leave them anywhere. You could try leaving one inside of a library book, or on the table of a coffee shop. These random acts of kindness might just make somebody’s day.


Be Extra Thoughtful

Why not be extra thoughtful to show people how much you care? Do something selflessly to help another person, just because you can. Ask yourself how you can help somebody that day.


Use Social Media

Social media is a brilliant tool for sharing things with your friends. Why not use it to show your faith? Again, make sure you don’t do this obnoxiously. You could simply share inspiring quotes and pictures! Occasionally you could share a passage you really like that you feel applies, or a song and let people know how you feel that relates to your faith.


Listen And Ask Sincere Questions

Listen to others so they know that you are there for them. Ask them sincere questions and they’ll know you are really listening to them. If you get onto the subject of faith, you could even ask sincere and interesting questions, such as what they feel heaven is like. You might open up the opportunity for a really interesting conversation that brings you closer together. Sharing ideas is a great way to show your faith!

Showing your faith is a great way to set an example for others, as well as help others to become interested if they aren’t already. For those who are, you can share ideas and bond. It’ll make you feel good each day and you’ll feel closer to God. If you have any unique and fun ways you like to show your faith, leave a comment below!

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A Note To My Young-mom Self

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I letterhave a teenager now. And another child in the double digits. (Okay, he’s 10. But still.) When I started CWAHM, I had 0 kids. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

As CWAHM grew, my kids grew. And I grew – as a person, as a business owner, as a mom.

Now I watch my months-old niece regularly and find myself reminiscing about what it was like when my kids were small. I find myself telling my (amazing) sister-in-law little things I wish I’d known. She’s most likely tired of hearing them…But I’ll keep telling her, because it’s important that we moms remind each other that it’s going to be OK someday.

Frankly, I find myself wishing I could write my young-mom self a note to encourage her and to let her know that there really IS a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s what it would say:


* This WILL end. Whatever it is. Terrible twos, terrible threes, frustrating fours (So. Many. Questions.). Temper tantrums. Potty training. Diapers.

This season will end. And you’ll move on to the next one. And it may be better. It may suck worse. But it will end,  too, and there will be a new season. And another and another.


* Breathe. It’s ok, even normal for your kid to get on your nerves sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you’re normal. Welcome to motherhood. 🙂 Thank God, every morning is a fresh start.


*  It’s ok for your child to do their own thing some of the time. You are her mom, not her playmate. You can read or clean or stare out the window for a little while and your child will survive. They may even learn to become independent. 😉


* Choose your battles. Oh, if I had figured this out sooner what a quieter home we would have had in those early years. This one applies to marriage to. Not every battle needs to be fought. Not every frustration needs to be aired.

Take a walk, have coffee with a friend, find a healthy way to manage the stresses of motherhood and marriage. Read More→