All posts tagged family

Establishing Back To School Rhythms and Routines

Whoop Whoop! It’s a new school year! For the first time in 14 years, we have all of the StewKids in school.

Can you hear the angels singing or is that just me?

Having four kids in school, with four different pick up times, four different homework assignments, four different reading logs and four different agendas to be signed means I have to have my ducks in a row.  Over the next few days, I am going to share some tips that help our family stay on track.

First, we have to know what our goals are for our family and then look at if our life is actually living those goals out! How are we actually spending our time???

Creating Margin

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

While this verse is referring to worship, I think the principle is the same for life, especially in our homes. As Moms, we have the incredible opportunity to create an atmosphere of peace or one of confusion. Our goal is not to create systems that are not maintainable, but rather to establish rhythms and predictable patters that will help us accomplish the vision and values we have for our family.

Why do we want to create predictable patterns in our home?

  1. Significance: This establishes what is important in our family
  2. Security: creates a sense of security in our children and gives us the space to speak identity into them. Space for family breakfasts, to read to them before bedtime, and to have time that they can rely upon.
  3. Success: for our families and for your children.

To do this, we first have to start by

  1. Looking at how we currently spend our time and energy.
  2. Determine what is a good use of our time and what is not.
  3. Then by faith, declare what rhythms and patterns we want to establish.

Your home will not be magically organized overnight, but there are some simple, 15 minute tasks that you can do to make Back to School easier!

I would not consider myself an organization expert, but I do know that we have spent many hours in our home, determining our family goals, setting values and vision and then looking at how to best accomplish those things that we were seeking to live out. I learned that for many of those things to happen, we had to streamline some tasks in our home. As we added children, we had to reassess what works. I have made too lofty of goals, only to be left in frustration for myself and my family and I have tweaked a few routines to fit each child.

I am praying that your home will be a well-oiled machine that will leave time for more important things in life. I learned that our schedule was not something I was a slave to, but rather was something that serves us.

God gave us time to protect us. We have the joy of choosing to live for him each day, with an attitude of service to our families and those in our community.

When we adopted Judson three and a half years ago, I realized how I had been so focused on controlling our schedule, our routine, our label maker, that I had forgotten the basics of what our life was to be about. Over the last three years, we have spent a lot of hours refocusing our life around the commands that Jesus gave to go and make disciples of all nations. We looked at how Jesus lived and decided we wanted to imitate Him. In all areas. Jesus spent time with His Father, time with his boys, the Disciples and time with those in the World.

When we looked at how He lived and measured our life against those standards, we saw some areas in need of improvement! So we started creating these rhythms, these predictable patterns by looking at our calendar.

So for two weeks, I tracked all of my activities and determined that I was spending time doing some things well and was watching too much HGTV.

Next, we looked at what could be and became intentional with each day. We made sure we had the predictable rhythm of time with the Father in place. Times of prayer, bible study, worship. We also put predictable patterns of  time as a family on the calendar with family breakfasts, dates with each other, and family dinners. Lastly we put predicable patterns of living out in the world on our calendar that involved having people in our home every week, play dates and sports teams. We also put in time for rest and for play! We have watched our children become used to these rhythms, which have created security in them, that has allowed us to speak into their identity and help us aim at our target which is to live like Jesus and do what HE did.

Our end goal is not Pinterest or a Facebook post that points to how organized we are. Our target is to live out the values and vision we have for our families, which for our family is to live like Jesus did and do what He did. So before we move forward discuss at your table:

  1. What is your goal for gaining time through being a bit more organized?
  2. What are some predictable rhythms you have in your home?

The fact of the matter is that we all have to get our children dressed, pack lunches, get homework done, and teach them proper hygiene. I want to encourage you to look at the time it takes to do all those things in a fresh way so you can then create margin in your home that leads to less stress and more peace!


Africa or Bust

We are sitting in Dulles about to take off for Africa. I am so amazed to be at this pont and so incredibly blessed to have Parker and Emery with us for the journey! I wanted to put on here a few specific ways you can pray for our family.

Bradley is manning the fort: please pray for him as his family is gone and for our parents who get to love on him.

Court: Pray all documents are in order and we pass our first time.

Health: Pray we all stay healthy, Parker will eat, and Emery does not catch pnuemonia!

Our new boy: Pray that he knows we are his family and quickly adjusts to these strange new people that just want to love on him. If not, pray he is easily bribed with candy!

We are excited and ready….remember the Stewarts this week!

Happy Birthday Emery!!

I can not believe she is 6 today.

Emery was the blessing that shocked us to our core, but we are forever changed by being her parents. The blessing of Emery revealed anew God’s sovreignty, His mercy, and His delight in giving us an abundant life!

I thought I would share a little of who Emery Kate is and what she like to do!

She loves to dance and make up songs.
She loves to take care of her brother.
She wants to be like her sister.
Her smile changes her entire face and reveals her personality.
She can be shy.
She is a great reader.
She loves to listen to music in her room.
She loves to play teacher to her babies.
She still loves her babies.
She is not that impressed with dogs. Even our own dog.
She likes to think she is older than she is.
She does not take criticism well, no matter how gentle or constructive it is.
She does not like to sleep in her room by herself.
She is lap kid- she loves to be held!
She is fairly easy going.
She has a “chronic cough” aka , we are not calling it asthma.
Don’t laugh at anything she does, no matter how funny, because she thinks you are laughing “at her” not “with her.”
Her dimples are about the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Emery Kate- Your daddy and I are so proud of you. We love the mix of sassy and shy that is you. You bring us joy and make us smile. You are such a precious gift and I love seeing your love for Jesus grow each year. I pray that God continues to draw you to Himself. I pray that you will bold in your choices to put Him first. I pray you will grow in confidence that comes from being a child of the King and not from what others think of you. I pray that you will be a lion chaser, passionate about the things of God, even when it is hard. I pray that you will hold unswervingly to your faith and live out an obedient, adventurous life for the Lord. I pray you will share His loves with all around you. I pray you will be a woman who fears the Lord.

I am so excited to watch your journey……