Category: Inspiration

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Caring For Your Soul


I prayed as I walked in nature-uninterrupted.

I just spent 5 days at a Trappist Monastery in prayer, silence and meditation.

Why? Because in 7 weeks I will have a significant birthday. This age is bringing on some changes in my body and health.

Why? Because in 7 years my last child will be leaving home and we will be empty-nesters after 30(!) years as parents with a houseful of children. This will cause a major shift in my marriage and my career!

Why? Because I have a lot going on in my life, in my household and in my HEAD!

So stepping away and moving to the other side of Silence is-was MANDATORY!

I read and journaled and COMPLETED thoughts.

I read and journaled and COMPLETED thoughts.

Caring for your Soul is what I call it. As moms, wives & leaders, we spend a lot of time taking care of everyone else. Making sure they are fed, warm, entertained, healthy, happy, sexually satisfied, learning, engaged, trained, etc., etc. Then we’ll try to pull away to have some ME time; where you take a bubble bath with candles or sleep in a bit later. But what about caring for your Soul?

You care for your family’s soul? You pray for them, get them ready for church, look for teachable moments, have spiritual discussions. How do you care for your Soul? You know, that part of you that is the middle gound between God and your Mind.

Yeah, I know you have prayer time. But that’s more DOING and although that may be satisfying it’s still not enough.

Well, let me speak for myself; after a certain amount of time that’s not enough for ME.

Before marriage and children, I would go to a hotel and lock myself in for 2-3 days at least 4-5 times a year. It was refreshing.

After marriage and children those times became less and less frequent.

The last time I got away for silence and solitude was 10yrs ago. My daughter was 4 months

old and I had just had surgery. My mother was visiting to care for me, so you can imagine the GUILT that I felt when my girlfriend said, “Come stay with me at Beauford Island.” Yet, I couldn’t resist. With my mother’s and husband’s approval for 3 days someone else fed me. I didn’t have to get up to take care of anyone. I didn’t have to wake up at a particular time. I didn’t have to oversee the clean-up. I didn’t have to have a conversation about ANYTHING! I laid around and read and prayed and did nothing. It was so beautiful I still get a feeling of relief just thinking about it. It has sustained me for these 10 yrs.

But now,

Shadows of the Cross danced on the walls in my room.

Shadows of the Cross danced on the walls in my room.

NOW there’s a shift that’s about to take place. It has already happened. I can feel it. My soul knows it and knows how to handle it. But my mind, my schedule, my family, has the current agenda in place and we cannot deviate from it. We have responsibilities and soccer practices and art classes and planes to catch and friends and jobs and groceries that must be purchased and cars that must be tended to and places to be and things to do! We must maintain the status quo. Right?

Well, someone in the family must go out and stand on the rooftop to watch the clouds for the coming rain. I know it’s coming. My Soul says so.

Don’t you think it’s rude when you have something important to say and the person is ignoring you, over-talking you, arguing with you, dismissing you and minimizing your message? So does your Soul.

How can you tell it’s time to care for your soul?

For me it looks and feels like this:

  • My Soul has told me what to do about the upcoming transitions. But I can’t hear. I have responsibilities and soccer practices and art classes and planes to catch…
  • My Soul yells the answer but it resonates in me as a mild uneasiness, an irritation, an unrest. And anyway I have responsibilities and soccer practices and art classes and planes to catch…
  • My Soul is exhausted trying to yell through the noise and get my attention but that resonates in me as a feeling of detachment, a mild melancholy and a impression of being lost.  Probably because I have all of these responsibilities and soccer practices and art classes and planes to catch….

Yeah it’s time to care for my Soul. To tend to it by shutting down EVERYTHING!

EVERYTHING!  Homeschooling, Children, Husband, Church, Business & Me.

To care for your soul means you give it attention by:

  • silencing all voices
  • ceasing all activities
  • curtailing all agendas
  • shutting down all plans and expectations
  • eliminating all stimuli

That means no tv, no cell phone, no radio, no internet, no friends. This is not the time for

I even had time to play with rocks.

I even had time to play with rocks.

business planning or goal setting. It’s not a time to catch up on blogging or writing or dieting or learning something new. You minimize all communication and human contact.

You read books that feed you spiritually.

You take walks in nature.

You sleep as needed.

You meditate when you feel led.

You pray without ceasing.

You listen always.

You allow your beloved Soul to receive the message from God and bring it directly to your conscious mind. You trust your Beloved and wait on it to speak.

Don’t you hate it when you have something important to say and the person is ignoring you, over-talking you, arguing with you, dismissing you and minimizing your message? So does your Soul.

Is it time to care for your Soul?

Planning a Stress-Free Road Trip with Kids


The Houston family on the way to FL

The Houston family on the way to FL

It’s summer and time to head out on the road (unless you are a homeschooler; then you avoid the summer travelers and go during the school).

But in either case road trips are an excellent opportunity to create memories and STRESS!


3 Road Trip Essentials: Patience, Preparation and Play!


PATIENCE: This means to be flexible and realistic

If you are traveling more than 3 hours away expect at least one good traffic accident to slow you down for 30-45mins.

If you have a child under the age of 5 in the car add an additional hour onto your GPS’s ETA. And that “Add an Hour” rule applies to EVERY child that you have in the car under the age of 5.

Don’t ask me where I got these rules- just trust me as a mom of 5 who has travelled with them since the first one was an infant. He’s now 22. I’m an optimist with EXPERIENCE! So believe me when I say stick to these rules and you’ll do well in keeping yourself calm and stress free on your road trips!

PREPARATION: This means to nip the problems in the bud.

As stated I’m an optimist. So the saying, ‘Expect the best, Prepare for the worst” grates against my life’s philosophies! But it’s sooo freaking true on a road trip. Therefore, prepare prepare prepare!

One bag, One pillow, One blanket per child rule! By initiating this rule you keep down the clutter in your vehicle. If there’s a problem with the car, late at night and it entails a tow truck coming to get you and the kiddies you don’t want to have to dig through piles of stuff on the floor to get to the toddler in the back carseat! IJS, keep it neat. Besides when you stop at the gas station and the kids get out and there’s an avalanche of toys and “stuff” tumbling after them, it just ain’t pretty.

Every child for himself and mom for all: Put snacks in each child’s individual book bag. And you keep control over certain snacks and drinks with a small cooler. NOW if, like me, you are concerned because you have that one Greedy Gut Kid that will eat ALL of his snacks before you’re out of the driveway, then before the trip have the talk about consequences & self-discipline and then let the lessons begin. Of course the child has to be over the age of 8 to fully get the lesson.

Indoor Swimming pools are from the heavens! If you are going to stop at a hotel make sure it has an indoor pool. Before you leave in the morning let those little jokers swim off some of that energy!  It may be a little more expensive to stay there but it’s sooo worth it. There’s nothing like chlorine to calm down the kids.

Maps aren’t just educational tools but they shut down the, “Are We There Yet?” question! A few days before your trip print out a simple map of your destination for younger children and mark off the route with a bright crayon. For the older children get an official map and teach them how to read it. Yes GPS is part of our lives forever now but we still need to know how to read maps danggonit!

PLAY: This means to make the journey just as much fun as the destination

I want my children to remember the FUN car rides to go and have fun; not the dreaded HOURS of sitting in the car to go have fun. You would do well to map your trip out by the hour and have an activity for each hour. Already a 5 hour trips sounds more manageable.

Blow bubbles out the windows-leave the windows slightly ajar and lock them so the kids don’t get carried away. And they will get carried away.

Wrap Dollar Store toys and even old toys that they haven’t played with in a while, in Christmas wrapping paper and put them in a gift bag. When you stop for gas let everyone chose a “gift”!

Give each child 5 paperclips at the start of the trip and choose the Taboo Word of the Hour. These are words decided by the children before the trip started. If a player say sthe Taboo Word of the Hour and another hears it, they can take that players clip. They can earn clips back by listening closely and catching another player when they slip up. The word can be car, dance, OMG or my chosen  word “Mommy”!

The Alphabet Memory game keeps them laughing. Starting with the letter A, the first person says “I went to the store and bought an APPLE” (or whatever word they want to use that begins with the letter A). The next player has to repeat what was said before, adding another item on that begins with the next letter of the alphabet “I went to the store and bought an APRICOT and a BANDANA” Rotate around the car until you get to the letter Z.

Start a story and everyone in the car adds on to it. Definitely get your recording device out for this one.

Work together to spot a license plate from as many states as possible. Let someone keep score and they Family gets a special treat when all are found.

I Spy never gets old, especially with little kids. Have the person who is “it” spy something in the car, and each player takes turns guessing what they’ve spied.
Someone asks a random question (ie: Would you rather eat a worm, or squish it with your fingers?) Each person gets a chance to answer and give their reasons why if they want.This is one where you don’t even have to get involved although it’ll be so interesting it’ll be difficult to tune out.

Have a bubble gum blowing contest! This is another one where you don’t have to get involved, unless you have a bunch of competitive boys like I do! In which case, just give them gum and tell them to blow bubbles.

Play cards! Uno, Old Maids, Go Fish. If you don’t have the space in the car then save this for a rest stop visit.


Road trips can create great memories or great misery. The only way to have a stress free road trip is to plan for the one that you want most.

For even MORE tips check out my video of How to Travel with Kids video below. I recorded  while on a road trip with my children.

Feel free to add your favorite Road Trip Tip below!

license plate hunt