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I’m putting up this page to be a summary of all of the vacation tips I’ve posted. Here they are:

1. Find A Place For Them To Run.
2. Let the kids vote.
3. Don’t expect perfect behavior.
4. Bring them to God.
5. Don’t let the lowest moment of a trip dominate your memory of it.
6. It’s the Journey AND the destination.
7. Choose the less expensive vacation.
8. Note The Notable and Get Closure.
9. End well.

Bonus Tip Lists From My Other Blog:

10. Best Minnesota State Parks

11. 26 Picnic Tips.

Disclaimer: All of these are a reminder to myself. We have yet to do any of these perfectly.

If anyone has any tip suggestions, let me know.


11 Reasons to bring your kids on a Park Clean Up Project

(Last weekend, as we have done in other springs past, JamFam spent some time picking up garbage at the beach/playground park at Lake Gervais. We recommend this for your family. Here are some reasons.)

* It’s just one more reason to go on a picnic.

* It’s like a scavenger hunt!

* It makes your family act as a team. Group project!

* It teaches kids to cherish what God has created

* It encourages kids to not litter

* If your church uses the Children’s Desiring God Program and one of your kids is using the K/1 curriculum, this will enable them to get a reward pin for their ribbon!

* Your kids can see results of their work.

* You might find some interesting stuff.

* You will see the park from a new perspective.

* If you have a child that hates the idea of touching garbage, this can show them that there is often value in doing something you hate.

* It can be a ministry from your family to an entire community.

Please Note: Photos By Carl

A few tips:

Bring lots of bags to collect the garbage.

To prevent risk of sickness, you may want to bring plastic gloves (that you can buy at any grocery store for a buck per twenty) and/or anti-bacteria cream. But our family has done these projects without either of these to no ill-effect.

And a quick unrelated question:

Do you think Foster looks cute in this hat? (Answer Yes or No)

Here is the beginning of the sobering preface:

I have two children. I used to have three. My third child didn’t grow up and leave home, she didn’t die. I relinquished her. I stood before a judge and said that I was no longer able to meet her needs. She is living with another family now and has a new last name.

For five years she called me “Mom” Now she calls someone else that. . . . I still wake up each day and go to bed at night asking myself “How did I get here? Were those five years a dream?” Aren’t adoptions stories supposed to have happy endings?

While many adoptions stories do have happy endings, this is not one of them . . .

So –

11 Reasons I’m Glad The Book Disrupting Grace Was Written

  1. It’s a well written, engaging story. It makes you want to turn the page.
  2. I wonder if this book is the first of it’s kind. If so, it was needed. People need to understand that ‘relinquishing’ a child is sometimes a needed, wise and godly choice.
  3. I know the author. We prayed for this family while they were going through this story. I’m guessing that writing out this book was helpful for Kristen. Good.
  4. This book will be an encouragement to parents who have experienced difficulty with a child because it will show them that there are other families who go through similar struggles.
  5. This book will be an encouragement to (some) parents who have experienced difficulty with a child because it will show them they don’t have it as difficult as other families. This certainly happened to us. It was a blessing.
  6. This book will encourage those who know others who are having difficulty with a child to not negatively judge.
  7. This book will take away some guilt for families who have (or who are planning to) give up a child.
  8. This book is a helpful case study of severe Attachment Disorder. I had heard about this but now I have a much more complete understanding of what is meant by this title.
  9. The Gospel is uncovered in passages like this:

“. . . Yet, I felt like the Lord was teaching me, revealing to me that the way Emma behaved with me is not unlike the way I behave with God sometimes. Like an unattached child, I am preoccupied with my needs, with what I want. I look to get my needs met with other things or relationships. . . I make choices at times that inflict self-harm. . . . Most importantly, He gives love that I cannot ever work hard enough to earn . . .”

10 .  The ending, which is surprisingly uplifting, will help people understand that it is unwise to say that adoptive parents who experience great hardship were foolish to adopt.

11. All this is done in 136 pages. My wife and I read it out loud to each other in less than a week.

I recommend you take a look.

. . . At this bittersweet time of their departure.

1. They are second row people, too.

2. Dorothy put a picture of my wife directing the kid’s choir up on her blog.

3. While it makes us sad, their departure plays right into our family’s secret plan to finally get in the top ten biggest families at Bethlehem.

4. Looking over at their family and seeing two of their daughters dancing (this past Easter Sunday – during ‘We Will Dance’) brought happy tears to my eyes.

5. And seeing these daughters regularly run over and embrace a smiling Pastor John right after he gives the benediction cheers the hearts of everyone who sees them.

6. They have given us a serious quantity of Baby Stuff that they no longer needed – including a top quality baby stroller and a leather baby Bjorn, not to mention clothes. We have appreciated it. 

7. This one takes a little background – Every Sunday our church puts a rose on the piano for every child born that week. As was pointed out from the pulpit last Sunday, at least one Sunday the Bode family, by adopting a child, has saved Bethlehem from having a bare piano.

8. More than once Dorothy has given Debbie and I no-nonsense advice when we’ve had difficulties with a child and it’s always been encouraging. Her theme: Yes, I’ve experienced that. No, you’re not crazy and/or evil and/or a failure as parents.

9. This week their son James raised his hand as I was leading the K/1 Wednesday night connection class and told us with tears in his eyes that this was going to be his last Wednesday.  I didn’t know this and I was so glad he let us all know. It gave us an opportunity to pray that he and his siblings will make new friends soon (not to mention glorify God in a new town, neighborhood and church).

10.  One indirect message everywhere they go:  Having a large family is a joyful and God-blessed enterprise.

11.  Another: Inter-racial Adoption is a joyful and God-blessed enterprise.

Both of these messages Glorify God and Edify People. Really, what more could you ask of a family?

11 Reasons I’m Glad Debbie Is A Part Of Our Family

1. So much of what she does is impressive, but she is never impressed with herself.

2. She trusts God and seeks after his will.

3. She has been willing to cook in a kitchen that is too small for nearly 4 years and is only now demanding that we make it bigger.

4. Teaching a child to read takes much patience. She has done this (or is doing this) with six children.

5. She always working towards a more perfect way of life.

6. She requires very little rest and relaxation during the day.

7. Okay, this one surprised me – when I asked 10 year old Barrett for an idea for this list he said that he appreciated that she was willing to “punish” them.

8. She has been a Fighter-verse-song-recording widow (i.e. I was away from home many nights this past fall), and she bears with it graciously.

9. (From Daniel and Adelyn) She makes good homemade pizza, oven pancakes, spaghetti, and donuts.

10. Also from Barrett: “If I grow up and get married it will be pretty hard to find a lady like Mommy.”

11. I’m in agreement with him – It was only a miraculous act of God’s grace and blessing that I managed to secure such a wise, beautiful, loving and gifted woman’s hand in marriage.

11 Questions To Ask You Before You Tattle On Your Sibling:

1. Is what I’m tattling about really a sin?
2. Am I sure he really did it?
3. Am I just trying to get her into trouble?
4. Is he in danger of hurting himself or others?
5. Is my tattling a betrayal?
6. Would you care that your sister was doing this if Dad wasn’t around?
7. Am I doing unto my sister what I’d want done for me?
8. Is Mom really, really busy right now?
9. Would it be an act of Grace for me to just point out to her that what she’s doing is wrong?
10. Am I being a hypocrite if I tattle right now?
11. Am I tattling to get revenge?

Hey, adults, this list might be helpful for you, too. At work, in church or in your family.

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