Monday, July 25, 2011

10 Ways to Serve My Family with Joy

"Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins."
I Peter 4:8
This week I am trying to focus my attention on serving. For some reason it is much easier for me to serve people who aren't a part of my family than those closest to me. But that's not how it should be, I know. So, in an effort to better serve my husband and children, I have come up with 10 ways to serve my family with joy.

(1) Start my day in the Word. I have found that on days when I get up early and read my Bible and pray I am calmer, more patient, and generally more loving to my family. Most mornings, though, my children wake me up, which means no Bible time. I need to get up earlier to have that special time with the Lord to commit my day and my life to Him.

(2) Serve up a special breakfast.

During the work week, we typically eat oatmeal and fruit or yogurt and granola--something quick but filling--for breakfast. Only on the weekends do we enjoy special treats like pancakes and French toast. So, what better way to show my family love than to serve up some blueberry pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast on a Tuesday.

(3) Get off the computer! I must admit that I spend a lot of time on the internet when I could be reading to my kids or simply rolling around on the floor playing with them. I want to make a concerted effort to give my children the attention they need and deserve and to do it with every ounce of my being, not thinking constantly about the post I'm working on.

(4) Take a break from chores and venture outside.
Household tasks always seem to sidetrack me from spending quality time with my family. There will always be laundry and dirty dishes, but my kids won't always want to hang out with Mama. So, maybe we'll go to the pool, the park, or even McDonald's for a fun lunch and some playtime on the playground. Seize the day!

(5) Drop the attitude and smile. I'm pretty good at getting an attitude when I'm tired and my two-year-old is asking 3,000 questions at once. But I need to ease up a little and remember that she's a child; asking questions is how she learns about life. Instead of getting annoyed, I need to take a deep breath, smile, and give my daughter the attention she needs.

(6) Create something fun with the kids.
You might recall in an earlier post that I don't do crafts. Well, I've revised that statement: I only do crafts that a two-year-old can do. My oldest daughter loves to make things even though she usually only succeeds at two things: (1) making a mess and (2) making mama lose her temper. But there are some unbelievably simple crafts for kids that I found on Pinterest that I have lined up for us to do like pine cone bird feeders, homemade finger paints and peanut butter play dough.

(7) Enjoy story time with the kids. My daughter loves to read. The thing is, like most kids her age, she only wants to read the same ones over and over again, so when we sit down to read, say, Goldilocks & The Three Bears or Big Dog Little Dog for the umpteenth time, I find myself speeding through just to get finished. Instead of rushing through my child's favorite books, I'm going to try to slow down, try on some fun accents, and use a few sound effects to make reading more enjoyable for both of us.

Start supper early. I don't know about you, but when 5:00 rolls around at our house, everyone is cranky: that is not the ideal time for me to be cooking dinner. Lately I have been prepping for supper throughout the day: cooking the spaghetti sauce in the mornings, chopping the vegetables or making the salad during the kids' naps, and fixing a dessert in the afternoon. Then, when dinnertime approaches, I only have to assemble, pull out of the fridge, heat up, and serve. For an added bonus, I can spend more time loving on my kids instead of cooking when the dreaded witching hour beckons.

(9) Greet my husband at the door with a kiss. My husband is very good about giving me a kiss first thing when he walks in the door. It's something I very much expect and appreciate, but I usually don't give him the full attention he deserves. Wouldn't it lay him in the shade if I were to meet him at the door with a kiss? He wouldn't know what to think!

(10) Slow down and enjoy life.
My day revolves around a tiny Post-it note on which the day's agenda is listed. As I accomplish a task and cross it off my list, I enjoy a Type-A person's high only comparable to a morning's first cup of coffee. On the other hand, I am notorious for overloading my days with chores and errands so that by 3:00 in the afternoon, I'm pooped and ready for my husband to come home to relieve me. By then all the joy is gone and I'm usually pretty grouchy. Yes, my t0-do list may be all done, but I don't feel like bragging. Instead, I need to cut my to-do list in half, slow my pace, and spend more of the day enjoying my children and husband, serving them with joy.

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."
I Peter 4:9
How do you serve your family with joy?
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  1. If I were to make a list on how I can better serve my family, it would include many of these same things. Thank you for the perspective! I need to work on #3 and #10.

  2. Lovely ways to serve our families! I especially love #3, 4, 7, 9, and 10. (Okay, I like all of them!)

  3. Great list and good reminders on how to serve those closest to us.

  4. Thanks! I really need to work on all of them too! :) Serving my family is truly a challenge sometimes.

  5. what a wonderful list of ways to serve our families!!

  6. All really great way to make your family happy. Yes getting off the computer is one of them....It is something I have to work on myself!