What a Thief taught me this week...

Thanks to all of your thoughts and prayers as someone stole my wallet and phone out of my purse Tuesday night.  The initial shock of seeing empty accounts was a bit horrifying, but thankfully all of the money they used on our debit/credit cards will be given back to our accounts once we fill out the fraud papers. 

Jon was able to stay home and drive me all the places we needed to go and the boys behaved BEAUTIFULLY. Isaac wants to be a police officer and Ben wants to be a police scientist, so they had fun visiting the police station. :) When I  am stressed I tend to become blonder than usual and without Jon would have forgotten my own name that day.
 I can't even imagine what we would do if we were responsible for the $3,000 plus they charged. We have big praises that because of our Dave Ramsey Cash system our credit union and credit card company immediately saw the fraud and we will have no problems proving we didn't make the purchases. Another huge praise is that our withdrawn cash was in a coupon organizer in my purse, and the thief ignored it, and went for the wallet.

My verse this situation has been Proverbs 1:5:
" Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance--"

This week in Bible Study we are learning about being teachable.   Our definition of teachable is to always seek to learn new things. With this in mind, I am trying to see what I an to learn in this situation.

The credit card money spent will be covered, but the money that is really just gone is the $150+ I just spent for my fancy new phone. We replaced it for a less fancy phone $60 phone last night, but the other is just lost money.
  In all things we are suppose to learn, so I think I am suppose to be learning to live simply & not put hope in material objects.  I had upgraded my phone two months ago, and it was my first upgrade in 3 years. I qualified for a free cheaper phone, and if I had not gone over my discount price and been a bit prideful in thinking I "deserved" a fancy touch- phone, then two months ago I would have gotten the phone I just bought for $60  last night for free.  Of course I am not trying to have false humility or shame anyone who has a nice phone, but knowing my own finances I see in hindsight my upgrade was out of our budget and I should have been thankful for the discounted upgrade.

My little wallet and a phone is nothing compared to the scams and robberies happening everyday all over out state and world. I gave new mercy for the feeling of violation you have when someone steals from you. 

 I am also trying to forgive and have mercy on the person who brazenly took the wallet and phone out of my purse.  The mercy part of me want so believe that seeing the picture of my little boys in the wallet or my many receipts from Goodwill and Aldi's would have somehow given them pause, maybe helped them see they were not stealing from the rich, but I know that isn't realistic.

I know it isn't realistic because there is a also deeper more specific empathy I am suppose to learning in this situation.  I have no right to judge a thief because before I came to really commit my life to Christ, I was also a thief.  In May, God convicted me of making retribution to a boss I stole from in high school.  I slowly took little amounts out of our money belt over 4 years to pay for lunches and dinners.  They were very small amounts but over time added up, and I violated his trust. I justified it by thinking how he was overworking me or not paying me enough  or he was a wealthy man. In truth, I was a teenager who had no idea what his wealth was, and his wealth, or lack thereof, never excuses theft. I didn't know why, but two months ago I had a fresh conviction. It is 2 months later,  I have yet to send the check and letter, even though they are ready to be mailed.

 I think I am suppose to be learning the value of retribution, and not judging those who make bad decisions. I have a deeper empathy for my boss, and as soon as our accounts are set right will sending him his money. I am reminded we have no room to judge anyone else, because you may not have been a thief, but you have sinned and have made decisions that hurt others.

Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers.  Please pray that the the thief that they may one day learn something from this situation.

Camping with Kids




When packing entertainment  items for our trip I tried to bring toys that would help my boys interact with the camping environment.  We had no video games or screens as a rule. This rule also helps Mommy and Daddy to unplug and really enjoy a true break from reality. The only screen allowed is a cell phone kept in the van for emergency purposes only or when we are hiking for safety. I put all their toys in a big tub from Sam's Club and it goes in a shady spot out of the way of foot traffic near the fire or camp kitchen. The boys were responsible for putting everything before we go to bed.

Also for kid friendly camping mennu, see my post on Family Friendly 4 Day Camping Menu, with Grocery Lists. And for more lists and organization ideas go to Family Camping Packing  Lists




Toy Tub to interact with their surroundings
Clip Board with blank paper is a true must for camping outdoors with kids. You want blank paper so they can draw or journal about they are seeing.  Encourage them to do leaf/bark  rubbings of the trees on your site, or draw the animals they saw on your hike that day.

Pencil Box for each child with markers, crayons, pencils

Maps for each kids of the park you are visiting from front gate, there are usually free at State Parks.  My kids LOVED these and took them wherever we went.  Get several and don't be afraid to let them draw all over them.  My boys found our campsite and drew on the trails we had hiked.

Kids Binoculars for each child.  We got ours for $3 each and I was so excited as they bird watched from our campsite.  We also had an unexpected deer visit 300 yards from our tent and the boys got their binoculars out to see her better!

Bubbles (and don't be afraid to join in)

Water Guns and a 5 gallon bucket, especially if it's summer.  We brought 10 varying sizes of guns that we had leftover from a party and the boys were able to share with friends we met along the way!
Play dough Get some at Dollar Tree and be prepared to throw away at end of trip because it will filled with twigs and rocks :)

Scavenger Hunt/Nature Bingo- Put these on clipboard and you don't need to bring it on a hike per say, but the scavenger hunts be a good way to process at the end of the day.  We went through our bingo and checked off after dinner each night.  when we found them all the boys were given $1 to spend at the camp store. You can make your own or find online. Camping with Gus has many free printables.

Mason jars with holes in top to catch bugs

Bikes and bike helmets. Call ahead to check skill levels and types of biking available.  I love paved curvy trails, whereas my husband loves mountain  biking, and our boys are only ready for straight, paved, and no hills.

Glow sticks for after dark.  You can get 5 glow bracelets at the dollar store and they are very worth it.  They are also a good way to keep track of you kids as they play in the dark looking for for fireflies.

Sand toys for beach 

Wooden Blocks.  These are opened ended with lots of imagination needed they can add pieces of the nature surrounding them, like a twig castle flag or leaves for windows. My husband used old pieces of non treated woods from projects as kindling, so we just let the boys play with them and their pile of blocks got a little smaller every day:)

Sports balls Be careful if you are in a high traffic site. 

Matchbox car/Animals
These can be played in a dirt track the kids make or on a fort they make out of twigs.

Chalk 

Extra bath shoes and extra pair of tennis shoes. We had to wash a pair of shoes a day almost because they were so filthy from all the fun:)

And the main tip when camping with kids is be OK with your kids getting dirty! All these toys will get them chalky, dirty, sweaty, and much more.  But they will also allow them to experience nature in their own concrete ways. Now that at the end of the day you can put their swimsuit on, suds them up in the shower, and put them to sleep because they are exhausted from all  the fun they had! :)

My dirty boy playing in the sand outside our tent....he even had dirt up his nose. 
 Nothing putting him int he shower in a swimsuit with tons of bubbles couldn't fix:)


Letting my kids experience being bored....

NO TV DAY
Before our family camping trip I decided that the boys needed a 'No Screen Day" to get ready for having no television or computer.  While we don't watch tons of TV the boys do watch one or two PBS  show each afternoon while I work or make dinner.  This day I told them no TV and THEY had to figure it out.  The hard part of this challenge was it was over 100 degrees outside and we were stuck inside. They whined a little but I told them they could do art, build something or find some toys in their room. Spiderman  asked for tape and I have him some painters tape.....15 minutes later they had built themselves Spider-man Web Slingers:)



Living Free by not seeing Magic Mike

I really want to see Magic Mike.  There, I said it.   Judge away.  But I am not going to.  And I pray this blog post keeps me accountable and faithful to my husband. Disclaimer: I am not addressing this blog to non-believers, but to my fellow sisters in Christ.  I am women who loves Jesus, and was saved from sexual sin when I became a believer.

SET FREE to LIVE FREE
 I have had friends who are christian women who have gone to see Magic Mike and read 50 Shades of Grey.  One of the reasoning I have heard is Scripture says you may have freedom in certain things as long as you don't make a weaker brother stumble (1 Cor 8:13). So the reasoning is if you don't struggle with sexual sin as a Christian women then it is fine for you to see this movie or read this book. I believe is a misrepresentation of the context of this scripture. While Scripture does give us freedom in many items such as food and drink, it does not give us ANY FLEXIBILITY with sexual sin.

While yes, we are given freedom to have discretion in some things, such as what we eat and drink (for example my husband drinks beer but not when my alcoholic father comes to visit), there is is not such freedom in sexual sin.   

"Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." 1 Cor 6:14

Scripture says RUN!  Turn your tail and RUN!  As a person who has been in the the bondage of sexual sin, please do no fall for the lie that we are "free" to enter into that bondage.  As followers of Christ we have not been set free to freely do whatever we want. We have been SET free so that we may LIVE free of bondage.

EMOTIONAL & SEXUAL FULFILLMENT
Another reason I have heard why this movie being excused is many say women are not as effected sexually the way men are, but sometimes we are tempted in deeper ways that can be just as destructive. Our sexual urges are almost directly tied to our emotions. I urge all Christian Women to read "Every Woman's Battle: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment " because we can be just as tempted as men by our enemy and desirous flesh from the angle of  relational/ emotional urges.    As a woman who committed my full life  to Christ in my late teens, I know how you can give pieces of your heart away to even fictional characters.  Every piece you give away is one your husband doesn't have.

That all I have to say about that, and I am sure many have said it better than I have.  But I hope it helps someone on the edge of seeing this movie and maybe call me or message me to make sure I don't give int and watch it!