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New Tricks
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I will survive. I will not go crazy.

In my house, in a few short weeks, there will be three children under four years of age, a teenager, a husband and a dog (who refuses to potty-train). But I have a plan. Or at least a few plans.

After talking with several inspirational Christian friends, I’ve implemented some new ideas that help deal with specific frustrations I have been experiencing in our family. These tactics have helped smooth things out before everything is disrupted again by our new bundle of joy.

1. The Weekly Review:  I’m the planner in the family. In fact, I can’t do much of anything unless I’m staring at the calendar on my computer filled with appointments and things to do. However, the non-planner in our family (my dear husband) often has no idea what is going on with our week. On his day off, he’ll announce his intensions to X, Y or Z and I’ll say we can’t do that because we’re already scheduled to do A, B and C! As you can imagine, this has caused a good amount of stress in our lives and marriage.

Our solution has been a weekly review meeting. We sit down at the beginning of each week and walk through the schedule. I ask for things he wants to add in and tell him of the commitments we already have. It’s done wonders for helping this familial machine of ours work more smoothly.

2. Bible Stories:  I’ve been concerned over the last year that my boys aren’t learning enough about the Bible. We pray regularly, but with little ones it’s quite hard to sit and read the Bible. A friend suggested that each night when we read books before bed, that each child gets to pick one book and so do I. And I pick a Bible story. Of course, this meant doing some research into age appropriate Bible storybooks, but I’ve found some great ones. And interestingly, since starting this habit, the kids have started picking the Bible stories themselves. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve read David and Goliath about a hundred million times!

3. Date Night:  I’m convinced that the health of the family depends largely on the strength of the parents and their relationship. If we allow the connection between the two of us to suffer, the whole family will suffer. I had always believed this in theory, but recently experienced how quickly things can unravel when it’s not practiced. So my husband and I are now committed to spending time together weekly in situations where we can actually speak to each other without being interrupted by “Momma, Momma, Momma!”

4. Doggy Obedience School:  Need I say more.

These are just a few tricks I’ve added to our hectic lives. There are millions of ideas just like this. But the important thing is to recognize what isn’t working and make a plan to change things. To not leave problems until they’ve made a mess of your life and sanity!

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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