Park Trails

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

In the Summer we moved across town to be closer to our church. With a scarcity of rental choices, we gave up our larger yard to move to house that suited our needs better. Though our back fence is adjacent to a cow pasture making if feel more open and country-like, the kids have missed a yard with trees and dirt.

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

I really feel bad telling them not to dig in the yard when they have been able to do that for years. They pull pathetic little sticks off the bushes to “fight” with because we have no real trees in the yard. Sometimes kids just need to run in the woods, pull sticks off the trees, roll in the leaves, and climb trees.

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Earlier this week I took them to run through some nature trails in the park. I haven’t seen them so happy in weeks. There was a playground right nearby, but not one of them was even disappointed that we didn’t play on it. They were so happy to walk on logs, fight with sticks, and throw leaves at each other that they didn’t care about the play equipment at all.

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

I took my camera to burn off some creative energy. In between taking pictures, I grabbed Charlie and ran through the woods with the kids to help him “catch up”. It was refreshing and fun to actually play with the kids. Nothing was off limits and no one was around to “bother”. We just needed some time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation without the limits of a space that doesn’t belong to us. I’m hoping a playtime at the park trails can become a weekly routine to help us cope with the lack of space in the yard!

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

Park Trail | One Radiant Home

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Around the House

Our good friend Janet just took some family pictures for us. I’ve updated my about page picture with this fun picture that really captures a lot of the personality we see from the kids. You can see a few more here.

Photo by Janet Phillips for One Radiant Home

These are just a few recent pictures from around the house.

Around the House | One Radiant Home

If you can’t read, he’s looking at a card about “orderliness” which is ironic because…

Around the House | One Radiant Home

and…

Around the House | One Radiant Home

This is the normal state of the house. Though it’s getting better, we still have more mess makers than cleaner-uppers.

Around the House | One Radiant Home

Around the House | One Radiant Home

Around the House | One Radiant Home

Around the House | One Radiant Home

Curious? They are watching the neighbor’s little barky dog.

Around the House | One Radiant Home

Around the House | One Radiant Home

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Recently…

Look at our cute cow! Ok, it’s not ours…but they live on the other side of the fence in our backyard. The little ones are curious and seem to enjoy watching the children play. Sometimes, I’m sure the cows are watching them with as much interest as we are watching them.

Recently, a Baby Cow | One Radiant Home

Recently, a Baby Cow | One Radiant Home

A few weeks ago, we had a fun family day at the zoo. This is the best we can do getting 6 kids to look at the camera when they are excited to keep moving.

Recently, at the Zoo |One Radiant Home

Recently at the Zoo | One Radiant Home

The binoculars didn’t work, but my zoom lens did! This is what they were trying to see…

Recently, at the Zoo | One Radiant Home

The kids have spent many hours outside enjoying the cooler weather. They’ve taken the opportunity to eat their lunch outside several times. This little cutie has gotten big enough to join the big kids.

My favorite is when he plays tag and racing games with them. He runs his fastest, giggling all the way, with no idea that he’s not actually playing.

Recently, We ate Outside | One Radiant Home

We are enjoying all of the crunchy leaves and acorns. I think the kids miss the acorns in our old yard. Whenever we go to a park, they start filling their pockets with acorns to take home. They like to use them for “food” when they play in the backyard.

Recently, there were Acorns | One Radiant Home

Last night, we were talking about how much the kids play outside compared to the other kids in the neighborhood. (I rarely see other kids outside, except for the immediate neighbors that are friends with the kids.) Why? Because I read this once…and took it to heart.

Children should never be within doors, when they can rightly be withoutCharlotte Mason.

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Trials, Broken Arms, and God’s Grace

A couple of months ago, Lydia fell off the neighbor’s swing and broke both wrists. It’s the kind of thing every mother dreads. But in that moment the Lord gave me peace and grace to comfort and care for her without fear.

two broken arms painting

One of the most helpful things I have ever read (outside of scripture, of course) is a quote by Elisabeth Eliot. She said, “There is no grace in your imagination.” Meaning, God gives grace in the moment we need it, and not before. As mothers, we imagine all of these terrible things happening to our children, but we cannot adequately imagine the grace of God in those circumstances. He provides in ways we don’t expect and could never think of.

While Lydia was healing, people kept saying how sorry they were and how hard it must be for me. But it wasn’t. God gave grace…to me, to Lydia, and to the other kids. I know other believers say the same thing after trials. They wouldn’t trade the suffering for the lessons learned and faith gained. I know Lydia’s broken arms were painful, but I also know she learned a lot more from that experience than from anything I could ever say to her. God had a plan and the grace to go with it.

two broken arms

On of my dearest friends lost a child several years ago. People said things like “I don’t know how they keep getting up in the morning…” I do! It was the grace of God, that they were experiencing because they needed it and we didn’t. Not for that circumstance. And they wouldn’t trade their suffering either.

I want to challenge us to think about the things we say when people are suffering. Let’s not feed the pity party, but encourage our friends to think on the ways God is pouring out his grace on them. Let’s help them to see the small mercies and God’s provision in their trials.

Broken Arms and God's Grace | One Radiant Home

Instead of “Oh Honey, this must be so hard…I don’t know how you are managing…You must be so worn out…”

What if we said, “The Lord must pouring out his grace on you in this time. Isn’t it wonderful to feel God’s comfort in suffering?” or “Tell me about how God is encouraging you in this trial.” Tell them about a time God gave grace to you during your own times of suffering. Let’s not focus on the suffering, but build hope and faith in our friends by drawing their attention to the grace of God!

Praising the Lord who heals broken arms and provides comfort in trials. 

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Use Authority to Encourage

A few days ago we read a short family devotional about authority. A couple of sentences stuck with me, and I went back to it the next day to read it again and let it sink in. Though the story and lesson were directed toward the children, the principles were applicable to all of us.

“Instead of helping people worship God the [Pharisees] put burdensome laws upon them. Almost every time the Pharisees used their power, they were trying to stop someone from doing something. Almost every time Jesus used his power, He was helping someone to do something.” (Boyhood and Beyond, Bob Schultz)

So, how do we use our authority well? How do I use my authority well?

Encourage One Another |Use Authority to Encourage | One Radiant Home

I hear myself trying to stop the children from doing things most of the day. Of course, as a parent, there are times when we do need to say “no”. The children need clear boundaries and protection from danger. We must require obedience from them, and teach them to joyfully submit to other authorities. But I had to ask myself if I could do those things in a way that is more helpful and less burdensome to the children. I’m still evaluating my own use of authority and praying about how I can use my authority in a more positive way.

The Pharisees required nothing less than perfection, but Jesus requires obedience. There is grace and forgiveness when we fall short. There is comfort and encouragement when we don’t. He disciplines those that he loves, yet he is patient and slow to anger.  My response to my children should reflect the grace, forgiveness, and patience that the the Lord freely gives to me.

In 2 Cor. 10:8, Paul says that God gave him authority for building up and not for destroying. 

That’s what I want. I want my children to feel built up, encouraged and strengthened by my words…not beat down.

So, as I continue to evaluate the way I use my own authority, I’m praying that I use my power for building up and helping the children, and not for destroying their spirits and burdening them with unnecessary laws. 

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