Stay on Track this Summer
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, June 2023)

Shepherd them with integrity of heart;
and lead them with skillful hands.
(Psalm 78:72)

With Summer approaching and the emphasis being on giving the children a good vacation, don't neglect yourself. Add the children's activities to yours. Have them help with a garden that will allow you to keep your budget and feed your family healthier meals. (Note: when they help with growing the vegetables, children are more likely to eat them without complaints!)

It's not too late to plant! If you don't have a garden space, make a container garden on your porch or patio. Small bowls often used for flowers can be used to plant greens for salad. Plant several types of lettuce. Tomatoes will grow in a pot, too. Make sure it is large enough for a round wire to help support it as it grows. Basil is also good in pots. Another idea is to give each child their own seeds to grow, vegetable or flowers.

Other ways to incorporate the children into your self care is in physical exercise. Take a walk around one of the refuges, or visit the zoo and explore the animals. Both of these activities can benefit you and the children.

When you take a trip with the children, you can bring some learning work for them. Give each child their own plastic container to hold items they will play with. If there is room under the seat (as in a van) have them keep it under the seat where they are sitting so it is accessible. Have them include paper so they can write or draw, stuffed animals, small toys, etc. This will help keep the vehicle in order. If you limit the amount of stuff they bring to being able to fit in the container, you won't be overloaded with lots of extra items to keep track of.

Get a summer workbook or make your own with fun summer graphics, worksheet pages, mix in a few puzzles, mazes, and activities. Include some pages for them to write about things they do during the summer. Make a fun cover to color (or print it in color if your child's not into coloring) or have them design the cover on card stock or construction paper. Place in a folder or 3-ring binder or staple between card stock or construction paper for stability.

Have the children keep a log of what you do each day. Take some pictures and have them write down a sentence or two about what they did, what they liked most, etc. When you get home, print it out. Make a book of your summer adventures.

Get an audio book to listen to while traveling, or Adventures in Odyssey episodes, or have one person reading a story aloud to everyone.

If you are planning a camping trip, bring learning activities or make a book (mentioned above) about the trip. At the end of each day, talk about their favorite activities and have them write it down (or wait until morning) so they don't forget. These will be good topics for writing when you start schooling again.

Have the children help plan the meals for the trip. Wrap potatoes in foil and "bake" in the fire, try some new menus and solicit their ideas. Are you going to be grilling? If so, add the meat to a marinade and then freeze. You can keep your budget by purchasing the meats when they are on sale. IF you are not grilling, precook your meat and then freeze it. This can be added to simple rice, pasta or bean dishes with less mess, stress, and clean-up!

If you are using boxed meals (pasta roni, hamberger helper......) take them out of the box and put them into a plastic bag that you have labeled. Cut out the directions and keep them handy. This helps save space and gives you a (pre-labeled) place to put any leftovers.

While camping, use the time to take walks, bike rides, and relax. Read a book, watch for birds, practice using nature guides, make your own nature notebook.

Turn the stress of summer into a time of restful self care while caring for others.

May is National Recommitment Month
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, May 2023)

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap
a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9)

Now is a good time to recommit to spending time with our Lord, recommitting to your spouse, and recommitting to the care and education of the children in your life. Last, but not least, is recommitting to your own self care and meeting your own goals. You can't care for others as well if you have not taken care of yourself. (You can't pour from an empty pot.)

If you have not been working as hard as you wanted to toward your goals for the year, now is the time to recommit, buckle down, and work on them.

You are not behind!

You are just restarting!

Pull out your goal sheets, look them over. Decide which goals you still want to work on this year. Post your goal and the steps you need to reach it where you will see it regularly. For some, this could be a post it on the bathroom mirror. For others, a page taped (or held up with a magnet) on the refrigerator or cupboard.

Remember that you need to break your big goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily levels. Hold yourself accountable for accomplishing what you need to do. If you do all you need to for a day, week, or month (you set your limits), give yourself some extra self care pampering. Regular

Self Care - Necessity not Indulgence
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, April 2023)

And let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds,
not giving up meeting together but
encouraging one another.
(Hebrews 10:24-25a)

Self care can be as simple as taking a bath while someone else watches the children or talking with friends after church or attending a meeting by yourself to learn and meet new people. Whatever you do for self care, remember to do it. Schedule it in. Don't forget to eat!

If you don't take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others as well as you should. If you notice a friend or acquaintance who is neglecting themselves, speak up. Offer to watch their kids while they get a bath, go the the doctor, or whatever they need.

Another type of self care that can enable you to help others is batch cooking. If you cook up a HUGE batch of spaghetti sauce, you can freeze the extra in bags for use with pasta later or as a lasagna (or 2 or 3 or 5) that you can pop in the oven or give to someone who needs a break from cooking.

Something that came up at a prayer and self denial meeting was how we can blend self denial with self care. EASILY. If your self care is to have chocolate after the kids are in bed, self indulgence would be having a whole bag of chocolates, self denial would be having just one piece of chocolate, self care is having as little or as much as you choose. Just remember that indulging in the whole bag can set you back on your self care of weight control, your goal to stick to a strict budget and not waste money, ........

Self-Care Habits Asessment

Remain Optimistic
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, March 2023)

Do justly, love mercy and
walk humbly with God.
(Micah 6:8b)

Some tips to help you stay optimistic as you work towards your goals and face the trials that life throws at us. This is a technique that my mother used and taught to me. IT WORKS!

If possible do this BEFORE the situation arises. Many times, you must do it as the situation is starting (or when you are thrown into the middle of it).

First off, figure out what the worst possible thing is that could happen. Write down what you would do in this case. Set your plans down on paper so that you are ready in case it does happen. (Family member going in for surgery could die, Your first child is learning to drive and might crash, etc...)

Next step, is to write down what the BEST possible outcome could be. Hope and pray for that outcome. Remember to trust in God to help things come out the best they can.

Remember: As long as things fall somewhere in the spectrum between the worst and the best (even one of them coming true), you can be focusing on the best outcome because you know what you will do in the worst case and anything in between can be handled as well.

Focus on the BEST possible outcome, stay optimistic!

Add your goals to your schedule
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, February 2023)

And let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds,
not giving up meeting together but
encouraging one another.
(Hebrews 10:24-25a)

After you have your goals set (last month's article), you need to set milestones. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds in the year, celebrate every 5 or 10 pounds lost. Also, you need to decide what you are going to do to achieve that loss. Are you going to exercise more, eat more nutritious meals, ...?

You need to schedule those activities into your regular day. You may need to first break down your goals into monthly, weekly, daily level tasks that you can easily complete to successfully achieve your goal.

For exercising more, will someone watch the kids while you go to the gym, will you take the kids to the park and walk the playgrounds perimeter as the kids play, will you actively lead calisthenics for PE class, etc... That needs to be scheduled in.

For eating more nutritious meals, you need to have extra time to look up recipes, adding special ingredients to your grocery list, trying the new recipes (note: The first time you try a recipe it usually takes LONGER that the time listed on the recipe. Also, many instant pot recipes show the cooking time only, not including the time it takes to build up and release pressure.)

If your goal was to learn a new skill, can you do that at home or do you need to take a class? That time needs to be scheduled in.

Taking time for yourself can be tough. You need to pray about it and set yourself as a priority for this. Remember that you cannot take care of others if you have not first taken care of yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup!

Grand Resolutions v.s. Realistic Goals
(First Published in Lyn's Bookbasket Newsletter, January 2023)

She is clothed with dignity & strength
and laughs without fear of the future.
(Proverbs 31:25)

Resolutions are usually, large encompassing dreams without any specifics that hold you accountable. The list of the top 10 New Year's Resolutions include exercise more, lose weight, get organized, learn a new skill or hobby, live life to the fullest, save more money, spend less money, quit smoking, spend more time with family and friends, travel more and read more.

Goals are what you get when you are more specific. A good goal for "spend less money" would be "I am going to spend less money by setting up a budget that reduces by $10 a month and sticking to it." By the end of the year, you would have spent $680 less ($10 in January, $20 in February.....). That money could be put in a savings account to help towards a special project or it could be used to pay off a debt sooner.

Most successful goals have the following attributes:


Take those goals and break them down by how much needs to be accomplished each month, week, day. Then it can be accomplished. When you do the same thing for 90 days or more it usually becomes a habit and is easier to keep going for the long haul of a year long goal.