6 Small Habits That Have a Big Impact on Marriage

I’ve often said that it’s the little things that couples do for each other that counts towards keeping a happy marriage. Of course the big things count too, I wouldn’t refuse to count a weekend getaway to NYC!

Doing small things with or for your spouse lets them know that you are thinking about them. Not only that but it makes your relationship stronger.

Here are 6 habits that my husband and I do every day that have a big impact on our relationship.

1. Goodbye and Hello – Sending my husband off to work with hugs, kisses, smiles, and maybe a wink starts our day off on a more positive note. Welcoming him home after work by meeting him at the door with a smile shows him that he is very important.

2. Talk about the day – Even though my husband and I are apart during the day, it helps me to understand and connect with him about the things he’s experienced. He also asks about how my day went. We really listen to each other and pay close attention to what the other is saying. (This is possible with 3 young and loud children!)

3. Communicate – Sending an quick email, text, or just leaving a voice mail on my husband’s phone lets him know that I am thinking about him during the course of the day. If I have fun/exciting plans for us later that evening this could be a great way to let him know about it.

4. Say “I Love You.” – I don’t know exactly how many times my husband and I say these words in one day but we say it often. This is not really a routine but more of a chance to verbally express our love. It is not only about saying the words but knowing what actions/specific thing “speaks” love to a spouse that can make a difference.

5. At Day’s End – Going to bed at the same time allows us to enjoy the quiet. Just knowing my husband is with me allows me to rest and sleep so much better. Couples who have the same bedtime can have a much easier time being intimate since they are both in the same place at the same time. We also make our bedroom a sanctuary; we leave all problems and situations at the door and focus only on each other.

6. Pray Together – Last but certainly not the least! We start our day and end it in prayer. Prayer brings us closer together because our hearts are open. There are no secrets or nothing too personal that my husband can’t hear about. We are united. We are man and wife.


Submitted by: Lois Robinson

As a Christian, wife, mother of 3, blogger, and student, I write short inspirational articles that are easy and convenient to read with the intent of empowering couples to take their marriage to new heights.


Hundreds of Victories and Thousands of Defeats

Until that point, we had not promised forever. We had not created that official triune of me and him and God that was to be fused together by a lifetime of joy and warmth and trouble and pain.

There I stood before God and everyone, dressed in white and obscured by a veil, vowing things like "for better or for worse," and I meant every word, I honestly did, but how could I have possibly known what "for worse" had in store?

Until that point, I had only loved him with love songs and Hallmark cards and romantic dinners and changing my last name and picking out dishes.

I had no way of knowing “for worse” would find us battling soul-crushing disappointments, heartbreaking loneliness, and humiliating defeats in this journey called life. How could I have known as I stood there beaming from ear to ear that some of our most painful “for worse” would be the stuff we inflicted on each other?

I was clueless.

I stood there looking into his eyes, vowing to love him "in sickness and in health," and it was easy to repeat those words boldly because sickness was for other people or older people, but certainly not for me in my white dress and him in his rented tux with our whole lives stretched out before us as far as we could see like the horizon over the ocean that never gets any closer, no matter how far you go.

After all, I had loved him when he had a headache and when he threw up and when his allergies acted up, and I thought I was prepared to keep my vows with the best of them.

Little did I know "in sickness" would mean weeks spent lying in bed, job changes that would redefine normal and change the course of our lives, and an introduction to fear so gritty and profound it could not be chased away, no matter how hard we tried.

I was so very young.

I promised "for poorer," but I could not comprehend the gravity of medical bills I couldn't pay and car repairs I couldn't afford and wearing pants with holes that weren't there when I bought them.

Knowing those things as I stood there in my white dress would have terrified me. But God was gentle, and he led me tenderly by the hand through hundreds of victories and thousands of defeats, through layers upon layers of two lives being forged into one.

But when I stood there holding his hands and repeating these vows last Sunday, it felt completely different from that sunny September day almost three decades ago.

At that point, I completely understood what I couldn't begin to fathom back then.

I held his hands, and I felt the struggles and joys of so many years come together in one single moment that separated that day from this day by almost three decades, and I realized that one great truth those sweet young kids couldn't imagine and would never have believed.

You have to walk through "for worse" to reach "for better."

You have to wade through "in sickness" to enjoy "in health."

You have to weave through "for poorer" to experience "for richer."

Then, and only then, will you feel the full weight of the promises you made. Because those promises weren't for that day, or the next year, or even the next decade. They were an investment for years down the road when life has knocked you down but you have gotten back up and you are still here and still fighting and still hanging on

as long as you both shall live.



Submitted by: Beth Cullett

Beth is the imperfect wife of a Marine-turned-minister and mother to six beautifully imperfect children. She lives with her family and pets in the Midwest. She spends her days going to work when necessary, avoiding housework when possible, and writing when she is free from the former and successful at the latter.


Hustle for the Muscle

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come…I Timothy 4:8
Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. And no one is better than me at resting before they get tired. I always see the buff athletes on tv and think, I can look like that if I wanted to, but it wouldn’t be fair if I looked like that and was so handsome at the same time. (At least this is what I tell myself, please don’t judge me).
Seriously, most of us need improvement, which takes getting up and getting regular exercise to build up our muscles. But what about our spiritual muscles? Why do we neglect those? Just like with working out it takes repetitions and consistency. And when we do work out the good muscles, we don’t do it often enough, or with enough intensity and eventually they go back to being weak. The more you work out a muscle the stronger it gets.
If you are like me you want to work smart, not hard. You must choose which muscle you want to work out. Do you have a problem with lying, and can’t figure out why it’s so hard? It is because you don’t spend much time working out your telling the truth muscle. Do you spend money indiscriminately and can’t figure out how to stop? It is because you don’t work out your saving muscle. You can’t stop thinking lustful thoughts. It is because you don’t work out your purity muscle.
The best part is we have a God-given coach. The Holy Spirit is the best trainer to help you pump up those spiritual muscles.
Heavenly Father please remove anything out of me that is not of you and replace it with everything you hold dear. Help me to work out the good muscles in my spiritual life so that I can be stronger in your Word. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Go Deeper: Have you hit a plateau in your spiritual workout? Lift something heavier. Give more. Serve in a new area. Spend more time with your spouse or your kids. Work out new areas to get stronger.


Submitted by: Prescott Williamson

Prescott Williamson is a Bible believing Christian. He is a husband, a father, and someone who believes that there is a little humor to be found in whatever situation God sends your way. He was born in the small islands of the Bahamas but now lives in the Suburbs of Fort Worth Texas, which is basically the same thing. He enjoys TV, reading, blogging and serving in his church (especially on the days they serve donuts). You can see what I have been thinking about lately on my blog.


You Can Do It! We Did! Family Living and Disabilities

Are you living in a storm? Especially one of physical challenges? Wondering if you and your family can survive? We did: you can, too.
My husband, Joe, and I recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. Of those fifty years, only in the first 12 short years was our family able to live normally. Then came my first totally disabling “injury” which turned out not to be an injury at all. Rather, it was a neuro-muscular condition that healed then turned into a slow downhill slide. That slow slide picked up speed these last few years until now the limitations, all together, are quite disabling.
We worked hard to maintain a healthy family life for our boys who were ten and seven at the time. Both are now professional men with successful families of their own. Even with my limitations, we participate in our grandkids’ lives, adapting activities as necessary. Too many times, though, I’ve had to sit by and watch the fun. Our family has been great about altering plans so I can be included. Yes, our life has been difficult, but we have enjoyed it anyway.
“My” disabilities are not just my problem: they

are OUR problem. We have both had to grieve the losses; it certainly hasn’t been the life we planned.
We have both had to give-and-take a lot. Maybe Joe more than me, since much of the housework has fallen to him - not his favorite activity!
I love to read and do computer stuff to occupy my time, but I very much miss carrying out what I perceive as “my” responsibilities.
Joe misses me joining him in the outdoor activities we love. We still camp, compensating as necessary, but hiking together is no longer possible. My husband pushed my wheelchair for years, and we went some wild places. I now have a scooter, so we do still “hike” together - the accessible trails. Then Joe hikes while I stay in camp.  
There has been much compromising and cooperating through the years. We have survived - even thrived - and now have great memories of fifty plus years together!
So, it is possible to live a happy, fulfilled life in spite of life-altering physical challenges. Be proactive. Stay flexible. Be imaginative as you adapt and compensate activities. Keep spiritual lines open.
God is our bedrock, our encourager, our strengthener. He has enabled us to navigate the pain and grief. He has allowed us to see our sons succeed despite a dysfunctional family. He has brought joy in our lives. May God bless you in your stormy journey.


Submitted by: Carole Griffitts

Carole Griffitts and her husband live in eastern Washington. They love outdoor activities and seeing family. They have successfully lived with the limitations from her invisible disabilities for nearly forty years. Carole writes her website, Navigating the Storms, for those living with invisible disabilities and for those who care about them. She lists tips and helps for both groups. She includes links for further information. She seeks to provide encouragement and community for those who struggle. Her goal is to see interaction between visitors.



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When Mom Gets Angry

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."

~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)

Recently, I was reading a memoir written by highly successful woman. She was also a mother, and the descriptions of motherhood sounded like this: “I love spending time with my kids . . . For me,  motherhood is the highest calling . . .  just looking at my children makes me so happy.” It sounded as if the majority of her moments with her children were blissful, fulfilling, and warm - with kisses and hugs all around. The more I read these rosy descriptions of motherhood, the more guilty I felt: lately, my interactions with my two teenagers have been a far cry from loving! Instead, they know how to “push my buttons,” and I find myself getting angry with them quickly and easily.

At first, I panicked, wondering, “Is this normal? Does anyone else get angry with their kids?” In other words, I was looking for some other moms who could commiserate, since misery loves company! But the more I thought about it, the more I came to the realization that - normal or not - being angry with my children feels wrong. The more often we argue or fight, the more tense our household becomes - and this is not the type of relationship I want my children to remember when they think back to their teenage years.

So, I set off to my Bible to see what God has to say about  anger.  Here is what I found, along with some ideas and takeaways:

  • “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love” (Psalm 145:8). As human beings, we do and say the wrong things so often, it would be easy for God to get angry with us, wouldn’t it? And when I think about the types of things my own children do that result in maternal wrath, it just doesn’t compare. For example, my daughter has a maddening habit of remembering to ask me to wash her gymsuit  . . . at about 10 PM at night - long after I’ve folded the other laundry and cleaned up for the night. In the grand scheme of things, I can think of a lot worse that I’ve personally done. If God isn’t going to hold my transgressions against me, what makes me think I should treat my daughter differently?

Fortunately, God has infinite patience and is filled with love. As a parent, I can focus more on loving thoughts and words, in an effort to “crowd out” the negative. If I spend more time talking to my daughter in a positive way, I won’t have room for the criticism. That’s not to say she never needs to be admonished, and there are certainly times that she needs to experience consequences for her actions. However, when I find the dynamic tipping to a point where I’m upset with her more often than not, it is probably time to check myself and ask if I’m being “slow to anger” or not - and most times, the answer is probably no.

  • “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1). This goes right along with the verse in Psalms. One way I can crowd out anger with love is by using gentle words. The next time I want to react to something my son or daughter says or does with a sharp tongue, I can choose a gentle response rather than a bitter one. I've seen firsthand that when I overreact with harsh words, their "tempers flare,” and they start yelling or reacting defensively right back at me.
  • “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs” (Proverbs 19:11)In the words of the song from Disney’s movie, Frozen, I need to "Let it go!" I am not earning anyone's respect - including my children’s - by becoming angry; rather, I need to take that moment to pause so that I can better learn to control an angry reaction.
  • “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quickly hold it back” (Proverbs 29:11). The older I get, the more wise I have gotten in many areas of life. I find that when I don’t feel the need to be right or have the final word, I am becoming more wise in this area, too.
  • “An angry person starts fights; a hot tempered person commits all kinds of sin” (Proverbs 29:22). Ouch! How true this is. Whenever I react in the heat of the moment and get angry, I find myself saying things I later regret. Making a mean comment or just having to have the last word definitely falls into the "sin"category! Thinking of it in these terms makes me more committed to avoiding this type of transgression.


All of this sounds good in theory. The real question is, can I put this to practice in my life? My plan is to re-read what I've written here each day, and act on my own suggestions when I'm tempted to lose my cool.

Now, what about you? How do you react when you get angry with your children? Are there ways that you have positively dealt with these negative emotions? I'd love to hear from you!

Written By: Julie Lyons

Julie Lyons is a married, working mother of two teenage children - and first-time pet parent to a very spoiled five-year old Maltese. Last year, she decided to blend her part time freelance writing with her faith, resulting in her new book, The Inspired Woman. For more encouragement and inspiration, visit Julie’s website at http://www.mydailywalkwithgod.com.

Mothers You are the Backbone of the Family

There's an old saying, "God couldn't be everywhere at once, so he made moms."


That statement has horrible theology in it. But it attempts to convey the importance motherhood plays in our lives. Mothers hold a special place and role that no one else can fill.

This post is the fourth in a series on the Christian family. Our focus turns to the importance of motherhood. The foundation text is the famous account of the Wedding at Cana.

On the third day, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. John 2:1-2

The Background

Weddings in Palestine were a cause for great celebration. These events would last for several days. A crucial part of the celebration was the lavishness of the wine. Wine aplenty wasn't because everyone attending the wedding wanted to get drunk. To clarify drunkenness was a social disgrace. The Jewish social custom required that there be plenty of wine for everyone. Hospitality was sacred in Jewish culture. And running out of wine would have been a humiliating experience for the wedding host. In a culture of honor and shame that would be devastating.

Mary understanding the situation came to Jesus and said, "They have run out of wine." Jesus' answer may seem abrupt—almost rude—if we don't read it in context.

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:4

Being from the South, I would never address my mom that way. The term "Woman" is not disrespectful. Jesus didn't speak to his mom in English; he was talking to her in Aramaic. The term Jesus used was one of honor. It should be translated,"Dear Woman" or "Gracious Lady." The phrase "What have I to do with thee" is a Hebrew idiom. Accurately, translated that means "Leave things to me, and I will settle them my way." Mary said to the servants...

(v. 6) Do whatever he tells you.

There were six 20-30 gallon stone water jars nearby that were used for ceremonial washing. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. They did, and then he told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. The master of the banquet was not the bridegroom; he was more like a head-waiter. His job was to make sure the feast ran smoothly. The servants drew water from the stone jars and took some to the banquet master, and he said...

(v. 10) Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now.

As we look at how Jesus and his mother related to one another, there are three faith lessons that both parents and children can learn from this story. The lessons that this miracle is teaching are about a mother's faith and how that faith can impact our lives. The first lesson we can learn is:

Remain A Part of Your Child's Life. Parents often make jokes about how much they're looking forward to getting the kids out of the house. And that day the kids are out of their hair forever. Kids often make jokes about getting out from under their parents control as soon as possible.

The fact is, however, the closer we remain to our parents or our children, even in adult years, the better off we'll all be.

Mothers, the second lesson in this story is:

Believe in Your Child's Capacity This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11

I ran across this story to illustrate. The need to be aware of your child’s potential.

Wendell Burton is an actor and musician. In the early 70's he was in "The Sterile Cuckoo," and he played in some television dramas. Sometime in the mid-seventies he became a Christian, and he recorded a couple of albums of contemporary Christian music. We met when he performed at my church.

Wendell's mother is a Christian, too. She was in a Home Bible Study at her church in Los Angeles, and a member of her Bible Study group was Bob Dylan. When she met him, she said, "Oh, Mr. Dylan, you should meet my son. He's a songwriter, too. I'll bring you one of his albums." When she told Wendell about it, he was embarrassed. He said, "Mom, please don't bother Bob Dylan. He's not interested in my music." Wendell's mom said, "Sure he is! [How could anyone not like your music?]" So, at the next Bible study, she gave Bob one of her son's records.

A couple of weeks later, Wendell got a call from Bob Dylan. He said, "I listened to your album, and I think it's good. In fact, I'm working on a song right now, and I would like your input. Can you stop by my house and listen to it?"

Wendell said, "Only a mother would assume that Bob Dylan and I are on the same level as songwriters."

When Mary was at the wedding in Cana, and the wine suddenly ran out, immediately she went to Jesus, because she knew he could do something about it.

Mary was the one who recognized his potential.

That's the kind of mother every son and daughter needs—one that realizes her child's potential, even before everyone else has a chance to. Look for the strengths in your children; remind them of the good they can do.

The third lesson in this story is:

Give Your Child the Space To Grow. Mary told Jesus about the situation regarding the wine; she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do; then she stepped out of the picture. Then Jesus solved the problem his way, using his method.

Mary said to the servants:

(v. 5) Do whatever he tells you.

Mary didn't try to tell Jesus how to perform miracles or how to be the Messiah. She let him make those decisions on his own.Every parent must learn when to step back and allow their child to make his or her decisions. Sometimes they'll make decisions you don't agree with--decisions that you don't understand--but you have to be willing to allow them to handle the details of their lives themselves.

When your child was little, you were the only one who could offer the kind of love, nurture, encouragement, and support that he or she needed. Now that they're full grown, you still can do it. They may no longer live in your house, but they still need you. They need you to be involved in their lives. They need you to recognize possibilities that they may not be able to recognize in themselves. And they need you to stand by them in support as they make their way in life.

Other Articles in this series on the Christian Family:


Written By: B. Keith Haney

I am Keith Haney, Husband for 25 years, Father, blogger, hopefully soon a published author and Mission catalyst. All the while serving an Awesome God. You can find me on the web here revheadpin.org

God As Our Father...for Fathers

I am a father. As a father, I want certain things for my children. I want them to be safe. I want them to be loved.  I want them to be healthy.  I want them to be obedient. I want them to discover and live out their identity in Christ. I want them to feel empowered to share their faith and walk through life with confidence.


God is also a Father. He is our heavenly Father. He is the Creator of the human race. He also wants many of the same things for us that we want for our children.  What is one key thing God want for us?  He wants for us to experience His joy and peace, which surpass all human understanding and experience.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   



This peace is born out of love. In God's love, we know we are accepted, forgiven, empowered, called and chosen.  We all like to feel accepted, forgiven, and loved, don't we?  Your kids feel the same way!

God wants that for us too, as our parent. Along the way, He will provide the things we need, but we must respond to Him if we are to experience everything He has in store for us!

We have a part to play and a choice to make every day.  How do you like your kids to respond to you?  How will you respond to your heavenly Father who wants the best for you in His perfect love?  I encourage you to consider responding with love, prayer, and submitting to His Fatherly guidance.


Written By: Brian Goslee

Brian Goslee is the Executive Director of Changed Through Faith Ministries.  He is an a father, teacher, author, and blogger.  You can read more about him at his About Me page.

For more free information and inspiration, go to http://changedthroughfaith.com

You will find true stories of real men whose lives have been changed through faith. You will also find encouraging and helpful articles and recommended resources that will help you live a more fulfilling life!

Blessings, Brian

(Un)Apologetic Parenting

Recently I went to judge at a speech and debate tournament, and much to my surprise I found out that a little book that I made for the junior speakers when I directed a tournament several years before was still being used.  This was really my first attempt at writing and it was a little booklet of apologetic questions and answers that I made for the children aged 6-11 who were competing in the NCFCA-National Christian Forensics and Communications Association.

The NCFCA is a speech and debate league for homeschool students. They offer a speech category for apologetics, which is a fancy word for defending your faith. When my eldest son was in junior high and high school he spent all 6 years seeking answers to the 150 questions of the faith that were the questions that made up that event of the competition. Participating in this activity was really helpful in forming his world view, and seeking things out on his own. It gave him an opportunity to answer questions like explain the meaning and significance of sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Which are some really big words, and even bigger concepts for a 12 year old.

When I wrote this booklet my youngest son was in junior speech, and would be competing in Apologetics the following year. I really wanted him to start working on some of those difficult theological concepts, and I remembered how daunting tackling 150 questions of the faith were to a lot of the kids in the leauge. If you have ever heard the expression, how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. Well, I don't know anyone who has ever eaten an elephant, but I thought it was a pretty good analogy for my youngest son, and the other kids his age, to begin exploring these questions of the faith. One bite or one concept at a time. And if they could start with 10 questions, then they could do 10 more, and another 10 and so on.

So I took 10 of the 150 questions, with at least one question from each of the five categories. So they could have exposure to each of the five categories.


Armed with my ESV study bible in hand, I set out to explain concepts like the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God in simple basic terms, along with some key memory verses.

I believe it is important that my kids know what they believe, and why they believe it, because as old adage says, "If they don't stand for something, they will fall for anything." Also, as we learn from the warning in Collisions 2:8, "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."

Why is this important? Because according to the Barna group, "Parents and leaders have long been concerned about the faith development of the generation born between 1984 and 2002—and for good reason. First, Barna research shows nearly six in ten (59%) of these young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away from either their faith or from the institutional church at some point in their first decade of adult life." That means that more then half of the kids that currently go to church are leaving the faith!

I think our kids have a better chance of staying in church and following Christ, if they know what they believe and why they believe it.It is our job and responsibility as parents to teach our children in the way they should go, but it is up to them to own their faith and walk it out.

My belief on this subject has been recently challenged, as my eldest son has decided to leave the church we attend as a family in search of his own church home. At first, I was a little hurt by this, because I love having my family all together digging into God's word, and worshipping with them. But then I realized this is exactly what I taught him to do. He is firmly grounded in what he believes and why he believes it, so he will not get swept away by empty deceit or human tradition. As a man, my son does have to make his own way, and he is the one who is responsible for his faith.

There is no fool proof plan or formula that parents can follow that will assure that their kids stay in the church or that they will follow Christ for that matter. However, the bible does give us a promise to cling to, in Proverbs 22:6, that if we teach our kids in the way they should go, that when they our old, they will not depart. It is however, our responsibility to teach our children to love God, to share our faith with them, to lead them by example by spending time in the word, and praying with them.


Written By: Misty Phillip

Misty Phillip and her husband Peter live in the suburbs just north of Houston, Texas with their three boys, Jacob, Connor, and Ian, where they are active members of Champion Forest Baptist Church. Misty left the corporate world over 15 years ago to homeschool her children, and thus began an adventure of a lifetime. Misty loves studying her bible, cooking healthy meals for her family, and creating a warm inviting home for friends and family. Misty is excited to share her years of experience as a Christian wife, mother, daughter, homeschooler, and friend. You can find Misty on the web at http://www.MistyPhillip.com

“Life’s a Beach,” says this empty nest mother.

Sun, sand, ocean. The perfect emotional cocktail for stressed out moms. Whether on the rocks, straight up, neat or dirty, any busy, exhausted, mentally drained mom would love to consume this healing toddy in a glass. Like for real. God bottling up His sand, surf, and rays creation would revolutionize the Zen market and be ama-za-zing.

Let’s face it, as moms we rarely experience the actual beach. We typically have to settle for daydreaming about a day spent basking in golden sunshine with our un-pedicured feet nestled in the shore. The imagining is enough to pulse peacefulness through our varicose veins.

When God blesses us with priceless opportunities to leave our minds eye at the door and venture off to the real deal seashore; we best leave the idea of relaxation inside our dreamy heads. As a mom with small kids in tow, our seaside fantasies are usually missing a large dose of reality when it comes to down time.

The Good, the Bad & the Beautiful of Beaching It With Kiddos

The Good: Hours of Natural Entertainment


God created the largest sandbox on earth including a super cool swimming pool right next to the grainy stuff. When you add sea shells, sea life, sea weed, and seagull feathers to the mix, there’s no stopping a sea of creativity from crashing on the shores of Funville.

Sand captivates and waves fascinate. Tiny tots marvel as water disappears into the strand and then spend hours digging to try to find it. Jellyfish, sand dollars, and horseshoe crabs ignite a sense of wonder in little minds.

This ultimate playground for kids is replete with built-in toys and equipment. So, why do all of us parents insist on lugging to the shore boatloads of additional accessories for our kids? Especially when they can’t help shoulder the load?

Anyone? Bueller?

The Bad: Beach Day Pre-Gaming


If we are left dumbstruck by the previous question, perhaps this scenario which we are all too familiar with will prompt us to  do some soul-searching when it comes to sun surfing.

A typical pre-beach morning includes the following energy-sapping tasks for many ocean loving families with small children:

Feed kids breakfast, find and put on swimsuits and sandals. Instruct them to use the bathroom which includes five minutes of arguing with preschooler on why he does actually have to go to the bathroom even though he insists he doesn’t while bobbing up and down and holding himself during argument. Pack cooler, snack bag, toy bag, diaper bag, beach bag. Load car with all things beach, i.e. chairs, tent, buckets, shovels, sports equipment, beach buggy, wagon, fishing rods, plus all the various packed bags. Spend a few minutes praying only minor items break upon slamming trunk to force everything to fit. Time elapsed: 2 hours.

Drive to beach which includes a stop to buy more sunblock which we realized we needed when packing the beach bag. Time elapsed: 30 minutes.

Unpack car and lug giant caravan of beachy stuff 200 yards to the sand. Detours include stubbed toes, potty breaks (we lost the argument at home or our kid only pretended to go), fascination stops to look at bugs on boardwalk, dropped items, shifting of items hanging on shoulder to other shoulder after losing feeling in first shoulder. Time elapsed: 20 minutes.

When finally at the beach,

Unpack toys, set up tent which will be used for all of ten minutes, and apply sunscreen to wiggling arms and legs itching to get down to business. Time elapsed: 20 minutes.

Plop down in a beach chair, inhale a giant breath of salty ocean breeze, and embrace the blazing sun. Ah. Bliss. Carefree timelessness.

Feel stress slowly seep out of bones and tune ears to the ambient sound of surf lapping against the shore. Sip the emotional cocktail which goes down smooth and warms from head to toe.


Then hear a tiny voice say, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” Time elapsed: 2 minutes.

Feel stress seep back into bones while looking at watch and realizing three and a half hours have already passed since breakfast. Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Search all the bags because we forgot where food was packed. Feed hungry child and plop down in our beach chair a second time.

Dig our toes in the sand, take a deep breath, reach into beach bag and pull out


a book. Read two sentences and then hear this from another child, “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” Time elapsed: 5 minutes.

For half a lunatic second consider telling junior to make his way to the sea and gulp down some Alka-Seltzer and bring back a bucket for our acid stomachs. Instead, talk ourselves down and get juice box out of cooler. Press little straw in tiny hole, and give drink to our zinc nosed angel.

Forget the book and appreciate God’s wonder. Allow our mind to escape into the magnificent landscape. Then hear crying child say, “Mommy, I dopped da straw in da sand an now it’s yucky.” Time elapsed: 1 minute.

The Beautiful: Priceless Memories & Exhausted Kids

As realist mothers, we have no choice but to give in to our reality. A day at the beach with youngsters equals beautiful chaos. We merely transfer our busyness from the confines of our home to the refreshing open air of the sea.

Not one of us would trade sand covered fingers, crushed dreams from crushed castles, beach tool bickering, and burning salt-water eyes for a day of endless laundry, cleaning dishes, and stepping on Legos.

And although bringing a thousand unnecessary items to the beach is asinine, we do it anyway. Whether hereditary or caving to the social norm, we can’t help ourselves from joining the Parents Do Ridiculous Things out of Pure Love Club.

Experiencing the coast with our kids exposes the natural paradox that life’s a beach, which seems ridiculous. How can a place which offers rest, relaxation, warmth, fun, soothing water, shoreline walks, and beautiful views be analogous to long days, sleepless nights, exhausting chores, endless activities, and unpredictability?

Simple, really. The ocean never rests but rather constantly changes tide, much like the highs and lows of mothering. Sudden storms can whip up; causing large waves to crash onto shore and alter the shoreline, akin to sudden illnesses and accidents which redirect our best laid plans.

The beach is brimming with the hustle and bustle of daily visitors boogie boarding, digging in the sand, frolicking on the shoreline, riding bikes, running around playing paddle ball and Frisbee. God’s playground endures long days indeed.

Life’s a beach because beach time creates priceless memories with every visit. And if we view every day we are able to wake up healthy and mother our children as a gift from God, then each moment, good and bad, transcends valuation as well.


Last week I spent four days visiting my brother and his beautiful family with four kids under seven years old (plus baby on the way!). We spent two days at the beach which unlocked a flood of memories around trips to the beach when my kids were the same age. I even rummaged around to find pics of my family to share alongside my brother’s kids.

Now an empty nester, my perspective on life has changed drastically. When motherhood was choking the life out of me in the early years of having three kids in three and a half years I thought I’d never survive the exhaustion.  But I did.

When my little ones became teenagers I thought I’d never survive the heartburn, ulcers, and panic attacks. But I did.

Then my teenagers became young adults. I’m currently debating with God on whether I will survive the worry, fears, and anxieties surrounding my kids embarking on a life of independence. But I’m doing my best. And with God’s grace, I know I will.

What I’d like to say to all young moms out there sleepwalking through minefields and wondering if the mania ever ends is this:

Yes, the days of being on call 24/7 subside eventually. But the greatest wisdom I’ve gleaned over twenty-two years? Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big problems.


Be thankful even in your frustration for the small stresses now because some day you will look back and laugh at how ridiculous you were in coming uncorked over mostly inconsequential matters. Trust me.

And keep taking those kiddos of yours to the beach even if you spend four hours getting ready and only two hours in the sandbox. Because we all know the fresh air, crashing waves, perpetual digging, and sunshine is a perfect recipe for cooking up exhausted kids.

Exhausted kiddos means early bedtime. Early bedtime means mom time. And mom time means sanity repletion. When you think about it, I guess God really does bottle up His sand, surf, and rays creation. And when it comes to this cocktail, no moderation necessary.

Drink up, crazy Mommas!

Written By: Shelby Spear

Shelby is a Christian mom who is currently living life as an empty nester with her soulmate of twenty-three years. Her three children are in college and although the landscape of parenting has changed, the blessings of this new season of being a mom still fill the nest in countless ways. Shelby's loyal dog, Charlie, has a knack of filling the gaps with his unconditional love and goofy antics. Read her candid writings about motherhood at http://shelbyspear.com