4 Reasons for Taking Family Vacations

Believe it or not, the family is often attacked in our world. Instead of it becoming a priority, it becomes a burden. Everyone gets so busy making a living that they forget to actually live.

If you’re anything like me, you love Family Vacations. (I mean who doesn’t?!?)

I remember my first-ever “family vacation” was my honeymoon at Disneyworld (if that even counts).

The following year when we had our first girl, we went to Disneyland (LG was 3 months).

Next, we did a staycation and cleaned up our home and just went around  San Diego and the Zoo.

Last year, we went to Sea World because we had some free passes.

This year, we are still debating on whether we should go to Disneyland again or not. Our oldest is old enough to understand this place, which makes us pretty excited! And then we would like to explore around our hometown, San Diego (places we’ve never been to)  & go around Los Angeles.

If you can’t tell already, my husband and I don’t have extravagant lives or jobs. We are both in full-time Christian Ministry and we have been ever since we graduated college 5 years ago.

No doubt, our vacations are not “all-that” compared to others but the most important thing to us about this time is just getting away from the routine and mundane schedule of our lives.

Here are the top reasons why I believe Family Vacations are a MUST:

1. TO REST & RELAX

When was the last time you actually, truly relaxed?  Sleeping does not count! Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines relaxation as 1. The act of slackening or remitting tension; as a relaxation of the muscles, fibers or nerves; a relaxation of the whole system.

I don’t know about you but I am way overdue for a good, long massage! I don’t know how many times my husband has cracked my back or massaged my feet but definitely more than I can remember! (He’s pretty awesome!)

We all have busy lives, whether you’re a WAHM, SAHM, or Working Mom (Outside of home). If we’re honest, life does take a toll on us physically, mentally, and spiritually, which is why we need some time dedicated to just relaxing. This means that we shouldn’t even think about work, chores around the house, or future projects. We should focus on relaxing our bodies and minds so that we may recover from the past year’s or years’ worth of work.

2. TO RECUPERATE

To recuperate means to recover or regain. Believe it or not, working makes you lose some things. You lose time (time-wasted and time-used), which could mean time you could’ve had with your spouse or your children. You have probably lost hair and maybe some brain cells from all the stress you’ve had to deal with. 😬😂

Getting away with your family might not get that time that was wasted or used, back, but you can definitely make it up by doing fun, memorable things. No matter how long your vacation may be, it should always be a time that the whole family looks forward to.

3. TO RE-ENERGIZE

To Energize means 1) To give strength or force to; to give active vigor to.

We all have been energized throughout the year. We could’ve taken naps, slept in on some days, or slept early. Doing these things give us energy to go on for the next day or few days.

To Re-energize means more than just taking naps, sleeping in, or sleeping early. It means to fully devote yourself to a certain amount of time or days to just get your strength back & many times, all it takes is a few days of doing absolutely nothing related to your occupation.

In order to properly function, we need enough rest and strength. When we have these, we will be ready for the next round of work, chores, and responsibilities.

4.  TO REFRESH

Refresh is defined as the following: To give new strength to; to invigorate; to relieve after fatigue; as, to refresh the body. (Exodus 23:12)

Being around the same people all the time and doing the same things all the time can sometimes cause us to be complacent. Have you ever gone out with your family and thought or even prayed that you wouldn’t see anyone you knew?!? Yeah, I’m totally guilty!

I never used to be like this but as my family grew, I’ve learned to cherish every moment with them and sometimes, that means sacrificing time with my & my husband’s friends. We’ve had to say, “NO” on multiple occasions whenever we were asked to go out, mainly because we wanted to just have family time. There’s just something awesome about spending time with family.

Would you believe it that even Jesus rested; not because he was tired but so he could show forth an example for us to follow.

He rested after 6 days of creating the beautiful world we live in. (Genesis 2)

He napped after He boarded a ship with His disciples, but was woken up after a raging storm came their way and frightened the disciples. (Luke 8)

Rest is needed in order to have new strength or be refreshed for what lies ahead of you.

“RESTING is not the same as LAZINESS.” J.Cabal

Although Jesus rested, you’ll find that even right after a nap, he went straight into doing miracles and healing people; in other words, He was working!

If you haven’t taken family vacations, I urge you to do so! They aren’t just for memory-making moments, but also for your health.

It is difficult to function with little or no sleep; imagine trying to take on a whole year without a designated time for just rest? WE WOULD LOSE OUR MINDS!

So, take a family vacation, whether it’s with just your spouse or with your spouse and children!

Your mind, body, and soul need to be refreshed!

Believe me, you need it & you deserve it!

 

 

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Mom, You Matter!

Has anyone ever told you that you were unworthy, not enough, or that you didn’t matter?

I’m sure more often than not, you have been told either one of these; whether it be from a family member, a friend, or even a teacher. However, there is one person who whispers in our ears and if we aren’t careful, we listen to what he says and that is none other than the devil.

The devil would like nothing more for mothers than to see them fail at what they’ve been given. 

Moms have such a great influence whether they believe it to or not and whether they admit it or not. I mean, can you imagine a world without moms? I can’t, because that is impossible!

Mothers have a role that play a big part in the puzzle that we call Life. Without them, life would definitely be incomplete and be missing that one vital piece.

Now, there may be a few men reading this who play the role as both mother and father in the lives of their children. Please don’t shut me out.

From someone like me who was raised by a Father the majority of my life, I can honestly tell you that YOU MATTER! If you ever feel like you’re alone, remember that you are not. God is there to help you and guide you!

Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Sure, you may not be able to meet the same needs as a Mother would, but if single-parenting is what God has put your way, all you can do is make the best with what you have.

Being raised by my dad for almost 20 years before my Mom came into the picture physically, did not result in the worst life ever for me. In fact, I am the person I am today because of the trials that God allowed me to face and the choices I made.

I admit that there were times when I questioned God because all my friends had a mom they could confide in, talk to whenever they were going through a girl-problem, or walk them down the aisle, Was it right for me to do that? NO. Was it human? YES.

And that is exactly what we are, Moms. 

WE ARE HUMAN. We make mistakes. We fail everyday and a lot of times, we become discontent with how we look. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you can better yourself, I’m all for you. But what I mean is, we tend to compare ourselves with other moms. We see how they seem to “have-it-all” together and here we are, barely “having it!”

“Although the pictures we see on Social Media can be worth a thousand words, many times, they don’t show ALL THE WORDS.” J.Cabal

A mom can have a smile on and the world can think she’s the happiest person but in reality, she can be struggling with something.

A mom can seem like she has the best job ever when in reality she’s barely making ends meet.

A mom can look like she has the “perfect life” with the “perfect family” but who are we kidding? There is no such thing!

We all have been given different lives but one thing we have in common is motherhood or parenthood.

The Bible says in Luke 12:48b, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:” 

We can all agree that being a mom is a great blessing if not the greatest, which means that it is considered “MUCH.” And according to that verse, when much is given, much is required.

I don’t mean to put a lot of pressure but I’m just quoting the Bible.

GOD REQUIRES A LOT FROM US. You can take that as something to encourage you to be a better mom or you can ignore it and reap the results of YOUR PARENTING, without Biblical wisdom or guidance.

If God has given us such an important role, then that must mean one thing: WE MATTER!

MOMS, WE MATTER! We are more important than we sometimes believe. Your words matter and your actions matter! How you say something and when you say something matters! How you treat your spouse and how you talk to your spouse matters!

Your love, care, support, prayers, advice, and time matter! So…

Love unconditionally! 

Care Sincerely! 

Support Consistently! 

Pray Fervently! 

Advise when Necessary! 

And Give of your Time Willingly! 

I’ll end with this. God can easily do anything. He doesn’t NEED us but He wants to USE us for the sole purpose of bringing glory to His name! To be used of God is a privilege, not an obligation, which is why we have a choice. We can choose to let Him lead us or we can choose to be led by something or someone else. Whatever we choose, don’t forget, our choice will affect our children because WE MATTER and WHAT WE DO MATTERS!

“I Don’t Love You.”

I don’t love you. The words that I never thought I would hear from any of my children, especially at a young age.  Words have a way to lift you up or bring you down.

Unfortunately, today, these four simple words pierced a hole in my heart when they came out of my 3-year old daughter’s mouth and were directed towards me.

Lately, my husband and I have limited what she is allowed to watch due to the negative influence some videos or shows have had on her. Bad parenting? Some say “yes”, others say “no.” But you, as your child’s parent know what is best for YOUR CHILD.

She was whining about something and I tried explaining to her that when she whines, the more I will NOT be able to help her. It’s difficult to understand what someone is saying or wants when they are crying and the same goes for children; in fact, the more difficult it is with children .

She cried for a good 5 minutes. I let her cry because sometimes, that’s what you have to do as a parent – let them cry and wait until they are ready to talk. I took her to a separate room while she continued crying and just waited for her to finish. Then, she said those hurtful words – I DON’T LOVE YOU.

At that moment, I didn’t know if I heard her correctly so I kindly asked her, “What did you say?” and surely enough, she said, “I don’t love you.”

CRAZY, RIGHT?!?

I sat there just staring at her and finally, I told her how mean and hurtful those words were. I could’ve blown up at my daughter but the Lord reminded me how many times I “said” those words to Him; maybe not verbally, but with my actions.

She did eventually cry again, but this time to tell me she was sorry and that she “LOVED ME!” After a few minutes, I got up to brew some coffee and make myself a sandwich. I figured my daughter would want one so I asked her and she replied, “Yes, please.”

As I was making those peanut butter sandwiches, God reminded me, “But I still love you” and that’s exactly how I felt towards my daughter and I had an opportunity to display God’s love towards her by serving her in spite of what she said or how she hurt me. 

As children of God, we can be guilty of hurting our Heavenly Father and sometimes even saying those four words, “I don’t love you.”

But it’s in God’s nature to still love us, no matter what we do or say against Him. 

“When we realize how UNCONDITIONAL God’s love is towards us, we will remember how UNDESERVING we are of His Love.” – JudyLynn Cabal

I finished making the sandwiches and handed my daughter, hers, which she was grateful for. And just to make sure, I asked her if she loved me or didn’t love me.

She replied, “I love you, Mommy.” 

So the next time you hurt the Lord by saying or showing “You don’t love Him,” just remember, He’s saying, “But I still love you.” It is then we will quickly realize that an apology is the least we can do but is a great start to repairing the relationship.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:7-8 –  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

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“It’s not fair & neither is God.”

 

“It’s not fair!” That phrase is what has been coming out of my toddler’s mouth for the past few weeks. Both my husband and I have no clue who or where she learned it from.

She sometimes says it during the wrong times and I have concluded that she doesn’t really understand what she is saying.

She must have heard it from something she watched and is saying it just to say it… and sometimes with attitude.

Don’t we sometimes feel like that? Like life isn’t fair and specifically our lives? Maybe you’ve thought about what your life could’ve been like if you had just taken that certain job promotion or opportunity, married this person, or lived here or there.

It’s easy to listen to lies that the devil brings our way but it is much harder NOT to believe those lies. The devil wants us to doubt the place where we are in our lives. He wants us to believe that we deserve more. Many times, we expect to be treated better or held in high regard but the Bible says in James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”1 Peter 5:6 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

It is God who will lift you up or exalt you, not people. It is on God’s timing, not man’s.

James 4:6 says, “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

Those that are proud or think they “know-it-all” are the ones that usually “fall.” They get so caught up in their own knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that they neglect to ask God for His wisdom, His Knowledge, or His Understanding.

You see, it is when we live our lives for ourselves that we will see that “Life isn’t fair” simply because we want “LIFE” to revolve around us and our agendas.

On the contrary, when we live our lives for something and Someone higher than us, we will realize that God isn’t fair, either. (I don’t say that in a bad way)

Friends, if God did what was fair, He would have given us what we deserve and that’s hell. In fact, I’ll be honest, with all the stuff that I’ve done in my life or the sins that I have committed, I am so grateful for a God who isn’t fair. He provided a way for all of us to not go to hell by sending His Son, Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world. BUT He didn’t stay dead, He rose the 3rd day! (Hallelujah!)

So let’s stop having pity-parties about how life isn’t treating us fairly… let’s rejoice in the fact that God isn’t fair and He proved that when he demonstrated His love for us, while we were yet sinners.

 

Moms & Dads, This is Your MOST IMPORTANT REMINDER

My first daughter, who will be three in April recently started calling me “MOM.”

When she was still a baby, my husband and I would compete and try to get her to say, “Mama” or “Dada” first. (I mean which first-time parents don’t do that, right?)

We have two daughters now and none of them had “Mama” as their first word. LG’s first word was “Dada” and AJ’s first word was “juice.” How, you may ask? I HAVE NO IDEA! Lol!

After the “Mama” stage, you anticipate when they’ll say, “Mommy” and get excited about it, but when LG started calling me, “MOM” (consistently) a few days ago, it was a different kind of feeling. I felt “sad” to witness my first-born growing up so fast right before my eyes. It wasn’t like an “unhappy-sad,” it was more like a “happy-sad/don’t-leave-me-ever” kind of feeling.

A quote I came up with last year was:

judylynn

As a mom or dad, we need to keep in mind that our children don’t belong to us.

YES, you might have given birth to them;

YES, you provide for them financially;

YES, you send them to school and help them with homework or projects;

YES, you provide shelter for them;

YES, you feed them multiple times a day;

YES, you teach them how to drive and maybe even buy their first car;

YES, you might have helped a little financially for their wedding;

YES, you are the one that is there during their sad times and happy times, during their victories and losses, during their special moments…and not-so-special moments.

YES, you are their MOM OR DAD…

YES, you do the “work” of raising them…

But before you even became their mom or dad, your child(ren) were already on God’s mind.

HE is the Giver of Life.

HE is the Giver of Strength.

HE is the Giver of Finances.

HE is the Giver of Wisdom.

HE is the Giver of Children… yes, YOUR CHILDREN!

So why do we as parents hold on to our children as if they are ours?

If we just remember that we are only BORROWING them from the LORD, we might be BETTER STEWARDS OF PARENTING THEM.

Generally, parents think that they have 18 years, at least, to be with their children. After that, it’s college life and possibly meeting their future spouse and spending the rest of their lives with that spouse.

18 years. You have: 

216 Months or

939 Weeks or

6570 Days or

157680 Hours or

9,460,800 Minutes or

567,648,000 Seconds

Possibly left with your child(ren).

“The days are long but the years are short!”

So why not spend those years…

INVESTING on,

IMPACTING, and

INFLUENCING

your child(ren);

rather than

DISCOURAGING and

 DESIGNING THEM?

10-ways-to-be-a

As parents, we only desire the best for our children; but which best? “Our” best or “God’s” Best? Because God’s Best is so much more and better than ours. So let’s stop thinking that it is our job, duty, or responsibility to MAKE  our children what they need to be.

You see, we make that mistake. We think that God gave our children to us so we can make them into the “masterpiece” that maybe, we failed to be or our parents failed to raise us in becoming.

God gave us our children so that we can “train” and “teach” them the way that they should go…(Proverbs 22:6) not the way that we want them to go.

So remember,

  • Children are a gift FROM GOD. (Psalm 127:3)
  • We are only borrowing our children; They are not ours for keeps. (Psalm 127:4)
  • We have a limited time with them. Make the most of it! (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19)

I love what Jack Wellman says about this verse here.

  • Raise the children God has given you in the nurture and admonition of the LORD. (Ephesians 6:4b)
  • Our job is not to MAKE our children what we want them to be but what God has already planned for them to be. (Joshua 24:15; Genesis 18:19; Malachi 2:15; Romans 12:2; Matthew 6:33)

Consistency

Have you ever wondered why REMINDERS are vital? I sure have. I constantly need to be reminded of almost everything. I think I have short-term memory, which is why when I am asked to do something, I either need to write it down or get it done right then and there… If I don’t, I will forget about it.

Am I the only one like that? Please tell me I am not alone…

A while back, I wrote my first post for my Building Blocks of Better Parenting SeriesLiking, Loving, & Laboring. Well, today will be about Consistency.

I have an almost 3-year old toddler (LG) and a 1-year old (AJ). My LG has been growing up way too fast…She’s so imaginative and girly. She loves to pretend she is EVERY PRINCESS and that she is having tea with her friends… A few weeks ago, I was face timing my Mom who lives in Michigan and my LG comes up to me with her backpack on and says, “Bye!” I asked her where she was going and she said, “To the airport…”

I respond, “Aww…are you going to visit ‘Grandma G’ in Michigan?

She replies, “Yes, Mommy… Bye!”

I respond, “Bye, Baby. I love you!”

WOW!!!  I mean where did this girl even learn the word, “airport” from? It’s pretty awesome though!

I can’t even remember when my husband and I started teaching her to pray… but we pray before we eat and before we go to sleep and if LG & AJ are watching something on YOUTUBE Kids, we tell them to PAUSE it.

WHY? Simply, because we want them to understand the importance and seriousness of praying. 

Maybe a year ago or so, my MIL was surprised when she was babysitting LG. They were about to eat and LG already knew that she was supposed to PAUSE if she was watching or doing something… and she did. When I was told this, I knew that my husband and I were doing at least ONE THING right in this parenting journey. (Can I get an ‘AMEN’?!?)

Now, does that mean that she doesn’t need to be reminded? Of course not. Right now, we are CONSTANTLY REMINDING her to say, “Please & Thank you.” I mean, if you haven’t experienced it yet, children can be very demanding! My LG will sometimes say, “Mommy, get it!”and being the “Firm Mommy” that I’ve always wanted to be (haha), I reply, “I’m sorry, LG… what did you say?” She repeats it and I respond with, “Mommy, may you please help me get it?”

The first time she TOLD me to do something, I was like… “Uhh… I’m sorry, you don’t TELL Mommy what to do. You can ASK Mommy something…but you don’t DEMAND.”

WHY? Because as the parent, YOU are the one that should have the AUTHORITY. Of course, you don’t abuse that authority… but you use it to eventually train them to know and understand that there is a Higher Authority – God.

So for all those parents who may be wondering if you’re doing things right, if there’s anything I can say, it’s BE CONSISTENT & be consistent in teaching and training the right way. Many parents are consistent but if they’re not careful, the have the wrong consistency. Think about it like cooking… there are different foods that require certain types of consistency. Have you ever had a milkshake that had the wrong consistency – that was watery and wasn’t thick enough? I might have… and it wasn’t very desirable! (But the ones pictured below look delicious!)

three-milkshakes

“Failure to have the right consistency results in the incorrect desired product.”

As Christians, my husband and I use the Bible as our guide…and we use it to help us raise our children the right way. Does that mean that my girls are going to be perfect or “holy-holy?” Not necessarily. But the Bible does say in Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I know we have a while until our kids are old enough to think for themselves and make their own decisions but the time may be here sooner than we know and it’s our duty (and privilege) to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

QUOTES FOR REINFORCEMENT:

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”  Anthony Robbins
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn
“It’s not what we do once—it’s what we do once a day…day in and day out…every day that brings lasting change into our lives.” Toni Sorenson
“Consistency, constancy, and undeviating diligence to maintain Christian character are a must if the older generation is to command respect, or even a hearing, from the young.” Billy Graham

So, whether you’re the “role-model” parent, the parent that’s struggling to train your children the right way, a new parent, an “honorary” (foster) parent, or one that’s always desired to be parent but can’t have children, please remember that PARENTING is not an overnight thing. It takes work and many times, results don’t appear until years later.

It’s a continuous process and one that requires doing the same things, day in and day out.

So, Mom, Dad, STICK WITH IT and know that what you’re doing matters and is worth it.

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 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58