Thoughts on Family + Home

My head and heart have been full lately. One of the biggest things I’ve been pondering, studying, and praying about is FAMILY/HOME LIFE.

The photo above, by the way, was taken a few summers back, in the days when we were all-except Carson- still traveling together, and none of us kids were married. Times have changed, but only for the better as our family has expanded and grown, and new homes are being established as new limbs grow on the family tree.

This morning I pulled out a book that I have been slowly reading through. It’s one I have mentioned on here before- The Family by JR Miller (affiliate disclosure here).

I am currently reading the chapter, “The Children’s Part”. Here are a few truths that struck me deep (all words in italics are direct quotes from the book):

“You know what a true Christian home ought to be. It ought to be a place where LOVE RULES.  It ought to be bright, joyous, full of tenderness and affection, a place in which all are growing happier and holier each day. There should never be any discord, any wrangling, any angry words or bitter feelings.”

I ask you, sisters (gentlemen, if there are brothers/sons reading): Are you contributing all you could to this joyous home life?

Do you take an active part in making your family life filled with tenderness, affection, kindness?

Is your contribution to the home tending towards making it happier, holier, and brighter or do you add discordant notes, thoughtless words, and selfish feelings?

Consider this:

“The home, no matter how humble it is, how plain, how small- should be the dearest spot on earth to each member of the family. It should be made so happy a place, and so full of life…..”

Surely there is much, much more we could do to make it so.

May we each examine our hearts and go to the greatest lengths to grow in grace and love in the family life. Every sister, every brother plays a vital part. It is not the parents only who are responsible for the atmosphere of the home and the culture of the family.

“With the years of consciousness comes responsibility, and then every child helps either to make or to mar the home blessedness and the home joy.”

May we each do our utmost to contribute to the peaceful, joyous home atmosphere. May our hearts cultivate the tender thoughtfulness, the sweet loving attitudes that will nourish the tender tree of family life.

With love,

Allison

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Announcing………..

I am so excited to be announcing the 2018 Young Womens Retreat!!!

If you are a young woman, and would like a refreshing time of input + fellowship, this is for you!!!

Retreats are an unforgettable time, and this one- held at a beautiful camp nestled in the countryside of Southeast Iowa- will be epic.

You can see a recap post here from the last Iowa Retreat.

There is a whole page of testimonials from past retreat attendees here.

To find out more about what a Retreat is like, see pictures, get answers to frequently asked questions, contact me, or register, visit the website, www.youngwomensretreat.com!

Don’t know anyone else coming? Come anyways- you’ll make new friends!

Need to fly cause you’re so far? Guess what? We have an airport in the Iowa cornfields (ha!) and I’ll even pick you up! Out of state and out of country gals are WELCOME!

Want to drive but not by yourself? Perfect- bring some friends or sisters! Or ask your mother to come with; she can stay at a local hotel for her own personal getaway. If those options don’t work, email me to see if anyone from your state is driving that you could carpool with.

COME! You won’t regret it! Here’s what to expect: encouraging sessions, sweet fellowship, deliciously scrumptiously gourmet food, incredible coffee (we always have a coffee bar of EPIC proportions!), worship time (you will love singing + praising the Lord with a big group of ladies!), alone time (if that’s what you need), rest, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

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And now I would love to hear from ya’ll!

If you’ve attended a Retreat, please leave a comment to tell the other gals about your experience.

If you’ve never been to a Retreat, comment to tell me why you might like to come!

You can also email me at allison@youngwomensretreat.com with questions. 

I look forward to hearing from you, and would love to meet some of you for the first time at the Retreat in April!

love,

Allison

PS: While this event is primarily for single gals, married young women are welcome to attend as well. Cassidy (obviously married:) will be there, and we would love to have some of you young married ladies join us, too!
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My Absolute Favorite Skirt (and where you can buy it!)

Like I said in my Christmas Shopping Guide post, I have absolute favorite skirt that is pretty great. I love this skirt so much that I own several, so that I am never without one! I wear it multiple times every week, and it is the most comfortable, versatile skirt I have ever owned.

Today I am sharing some ideas for ways to style the Tranquility Skirt, and links for where to purchase the different styles and sizes.

About sizing: This skirt runs true to size, or maybe even a little big. I am usually a size 6 or 8 in skirts, and I have the small (it fits perfectly). I would recommend ordering your usual size, unless you want it a little longer or roomier, in which case you could try sizing up. Also, these are super stretchy, so if you are pregnant or not sure on your size, take a guess and it will probably fit great!

About caring for your tranquility skirt: I wash mine on delicates and and don’t put them in the dryer. You don’t have to do this, as the skirts are VERY good quality, but I want mine to last as long as possible, so I try to take really good care of them! I also feel like air drying makes them “stick” less to leggings.

The black style is fantastic for so many different occasions, but it definitely does the job for a classic, dressy look. Above, my beautiful sister Cassidy styled it with all black and an accent scarf.

Buy it in size small or large here.

Buy it in size medium here.

I love to wear it tucked in with my work polo. To change up the look or add a little extra warmth, I add a cardigan or chambray shirt. It’s easy, and extremely comfortable for whatever I need to do!

This skirt is so easy to throw on with a simple top and sandals for a summer day. I wear these skirts year round, from 90 degree summer days to subzero winter temps. For those super cold days I would just wear really warm socks, boots, leggings, a warm sweater, and a chunky scarf with my black skirt.

The grey/black stripe style is fantastic, as well, and can go from casual (as Chels is wearing it above for a house reno day) to dressy with ease.

Buy it in size small here.

Buy it in size medium here.

Buy it in size x-large here (I wasn’t able to locate the size large).

Here’s another casual look with the striped style.

There are also several patterned options, including the lovely blue print that Liz is wearing above.

Buy it in size small here.

Buy it in size medium here.

Buy the light blue stripe or solid pink here.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I love and think will be valuable to my readers! When you purchase through my links, I receive a small commission (which does not change your price), that offsets the costs of this site. Thanks for your support! Read my full disclosure policy here.

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Living as an Adult at Home| Part 2: How to Honor Your Parents

Today I am bringing Part 2 in the “Living As an Adult at Home” series. For all you ladies blessed to live in your parents’ home as an adult, I want to share some thoughts on How to Honor Your Parents in this special season.

If you missed my first post, go here to read my post on 5 Reasons to Live at Home.

And now, if you are blessed with the opportunity to live in your parents home, you know that there are both blessings and challenges to living in your parents’ home as an adult.

It’s a huge transition to go from a child who does schoolwork, chores, and whatever else mom and dad say, to an adult with a job, schedule, and independent goals and plans.

Honoring your parents within this new stage can be confusing and difficult. On the other hand, this can be the most fun, rewarding stage of your life so far! It has been for me.

You don’t have to have constant friction and unmet expectations. There can be a beautiful relationship between you and your parents, and you can both be blessed and be a blessing in your home.

There are, however, some principles that will bless and build the relationship you have with your parents as an adult daughter living in their home.

To start with, here are some simple, practical things you can do that will enable you to be a blessing instead of a burden:

Pick up After Yourself

This should be basic, but I know that in the busyness of life and coming and going, it’s easy to dump things or not be as neat as one should. I have had to make an extremely conscious effort in this area, as I am not a naturally neat person. When I get home from work, I try to immediately put away empty food containers, my boots and purse and laptop bag, and other items.

A little story from my family- with our various schedules, some of us eat early in the morning or late at night on occasion, as the day requires. We started having this problem: my mother (or whoever was on Kitchen Privileges) would leave a clean kitchen in the evening and wake up to various dirty dishes and messes in the morning. The same thing happened late at night! The problem was that various adults (that would be me and my siblings:) were coming and going at odd hours, grabbing/making random things to eat or packing/unpacking lunches, and not cleaning up after ourselves! After realizing what a problem this had become, we sorta made a mutual pact to clean up after ourselves. I am happy to report that the mysteriously messy kitchen problem has improved considerably, although we’re still a work in progress!:)

Be a Fountain not a Drain

As I talked about in my post last week, living at home is a great opportunity to contribute and be a blessing to your parents who have sacrificed so much for you. There are a million ways to serve, and you will find the ones that are most helpful to your parents and siblings.

Let Your Parents Know Your Schedule

This is huge. I repeat, this is HUGE!!!!!

When I started to have more responsibilities outside the home and be gone multiple days some weeks, with additional things on my schedule some evenings, my mother started to get frustrated. And rightly so! She didn’t know when I was coming or going, when I was available to help around the house, or if I would or wouldn’t show up for various meals or family activities.

It wasn’t completely terrible, and I tried to let her know on a daily basis if I would be gone and such, but it just wasn’t working. For both my parents to plan family things, and for my mother running the household, it was just too chaotic for me to come and go at random. We had a number of double bookings; for example, they scheduled a family music practice for the same time frame when I had a work meeting. Because neither of us communicated about those plans, the double bookings caused some frustration.

This is the solution we reached, which has been a game changer for us:

We communicate about our schedules!

Revolutionary, I know.:) But in our family, this has been the #1 source of contention and frustration with adults living at home.

We have used several different methods for scheduling, from a shared family Cozi account (a free, easy to use app for scheduling), to a calendar hung in the kitchen. If you have a lot of adults in the house,  I would highly recommend having some kind of shared calendar. We used that when we were all still living at home (before the weddings:) and it helped tremendously. Everyone can put their outside activities (we used it particularly for evenings, trips, hosting company, and events) on the calendar so everyone knows what times are available for family activities, etc. Now that we have considerably fewer adults at home, it usually works to just communicate verbally or by text on a weekly basis regarding plans/schedules.

Something I started doing with my mother that might be helpful for you gals that work both at home and away: I try to give her a breakdown at the beginning of the week of what days I will be home and what days I will be gone and any evenings I have non-family commitments. This way, she knows when I will be around for meals and what days I will be available to help around the house. If something unexpected comes up that I didn’t communicate about (for example, I will be working till 6 instead of 3), I try to let her know right away.

Don’t be a Free Loader

Every family is different. If you haven’t yet, sit down with your parents and ask what they expect from your as an adult living in their home. Do they want you to pay rent? What part of the house can you clean? Will you do your own laundry or take a turn with the family’s? Would they like you to contribute to the grocery budget? Ask them what specific things you can do to help, such as keeping vehicles clean, doing the grocery shopping, planning/making a certain number of meals each week, mowing the lawn, etc.

Next, let’s get relational. It must be a conscious choice you make to honor your parents as their daughter. You can be simply an inmate of their house, or so much more- one of their dearest friends, a tremendous blessing in their life, and a teammate. Here are some ideas how:

Give Your Best to Your Family

Your home should be where you give your best and sweetest to those you love most. How hypocritical is it to have love and kindness for coworkers and ministry partners and Sunday school children but snap at our family and be selfish at home?

Our home and family is where we should bestow our most extravagant service, our kindest words, our gentlest touch.

They should know our brightest smiles, our sweetest affection, our most attentive concern.

Would your friends, coworkers, or pastor recognize the person you are at home? If not, what a terrible shame!

God didn’t create polor-personality gals. He made us to be whole, consistently lovely women. If you have been giving your best elsewhere and being a selfish, unloving daughter and sister, then repent and let God do a work in your heart.

I Corinthians 1:3 says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and thought I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

Charity, in the Greek, literally means “a love feast”. Does your family know a constant love feast from the way you treat them?

Look for Opportunities to Serve

Don’t view the house as a landing place. Even if you are coming and going, keep your eyes and ears open for needs around you. If your mother is overwhelmed, offer to make dinner. If you don’t have time, tell her you’re picking up pizza on your way home from work.

Spend an afternoon off deep cleaning the house or doing baking projects with your siblings. Don’t vegetate in your room! Times to rest are wonderful, but look for ways to bless your family while doing so- like going on a walk with your mother, baking cookies with little Johnny, setting the table pretty for supper, etc.

As much as possible, say “Yes!” when your parents ask you to help with things.

Find ways to go above and beyond in blessings and serving. Wash your father’s car, or leave his favorite treat on his desk. Buy your mother’s favorite food, or leave her an encouraging note.

If you aren’t able to do all the household chores you used to due to a fuller schedule, be willing to teach your younger siblings how. This has been huge for me- my mother is very gracious as I have not been able to do as much house work due to increased responsibilities in other areas; however, she really appreciates when I train a younger sibling to fill my shoes. This is actually a great chance to invest in younger siblings!

Build a Friendship with Your Parents

Your parents should be your friends. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood while in their home means that you need to intentionally seek to build a different kind of relationship with them.

My parents are my dear friends and trusted counselors. My mother is my walking buddy, and we have probably walked hundreds of miles together, sharing our hearts all the while. I ask my father to help me navigate through the messiest parts of my life, and in addition to his listening ear and wisdom on a myriad of topics, I love to talk with him about business especially (this is so fun!).

Your parents are not exactly like mine, but they are the ones God gave you. Find things you can do with them to build your relationship.

Invest in the Family Culture

What does your family like to do together? Help make those things happen!  Plan an outing for your younger siblings. Go to dinner with some siblings and another sibling group. Make a special candlelight meal for the whole family, or offer to plan a camping trip if your family likes camping.

Offer to watch the kids (if you’re one of the older ones at home) so your parents can go on an overnight getaway.

Make Time at Home a Priority

You can’t invest in the family culture, build close relationships with your family, and serve your family if you’re gone all the time.

I don’t know what your schedule is, but do what you can to make it a priority to spend some time at home. Your family will love it, and you’ll be blessed. It may mean saying no to some social activities or extra work hours, but that’s ok. You will never regret time spent in your home, with your family.

Alright, girls, I wanna hear from you! Was there something that stuck out to you in this post? What area do you want to work on to be a blessing to your parents?

love,

Allison

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Living at Home as an Adult|| Part 1: 5 Reasons To Live at Home

Recently I have received feedback from girls saying they want to hear more about Living at Home as an Adult. Today I am sharing Part 1, “5 Reasons To Live at Home”. Part 2 will be “How to Honor Your Parents”.

I am here to tell you that it is totally possible to live as an adult at home and LOVE IT!

But if you’re on the fence about whether you should continue living at home or move out, here are some reasons you might not have considered.

1. God created families.

There are many reasons why young adults may not live with their family. But Psalm 86:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families”. There is obviously value in living within a family unit, and if you have the opportunity to do so, you shouldn’t throw it away without a specific reason. There are so many benefits of living within the context of a family- accountability, fellowship, camaraderie, sharing housekeeping responsibilities, etc.

2. It’s cost effective.

Have you every really considered how much it will cost to move out? Like I said earlier, there are reasons why you might still choose to do that, but make sure you count the cost! If you are just wanting to “get your own place” for the fun of it, I would strongly encourage you to first sit down and write out what you actual cost of living will be with renting your own place vs. continuing to live at home.

The economic benefits add up when you consider sharing costs, working together, and having multiple people under one roof. In dollars and cents, it makes a lot of sense!(get the pun?!:)

3. It builds character.

It’s just harder to be selfish when you are living in a household with your family. There will invariably be some who are neater and some who are messier, different food preferences, different schedules, and the list goes on. It is definitely possibly to be others-focused and selfless when you live on your own (I’ve seen it done!) but it is harder. If you have the opportunity to live with your family and there’s no good reason not to, why not? Those sharp edges we all have that need to be smoothed off? Living with family is a fantastic way to experience some much-needed refining!

4. You get to spend more time with your family.

God placed each of us in our families for a specific reason. I am so grateful for the years of living at home as an adult. These days are incredibly precious, and I know that they won’t last forever. I count it a privilege to learn from my parents, be involved in my siblings lives, and be able to serve my family and others in our home. I lived on my own for a small portion of the past year, and I missed the family meal times, late night chats, and a million other little things. As soon as I was able, I was thrilled to move back home. I didn’t realize before how much I love baking for my brothers, making coffee for my dad, coming home from work to help Mother make dinner, listening to my little siblings’ stories, discussing life with my dear brothers, lighting candles and cleaning bathrooms.

I plan to do a whole other post on what I learned from living on my own, but the biggest thing I learned is how much I LOVE living with my family, and how incredibly valuable it is. If you don’t have this privilege, then I encourage you to find families you can be a part of, and invite others into your home. If you have the opportunity to live at home as an adult, then be grateful and be a blessing in your home!

5. You get to help pour back into your parents.

This is one of the most amazing things about living at home! I love getting to serve my parents. They spent so many years pouring into and sacrificing for me; I view this season of life as a tiny little opportunity to pay it back.

If you live at home, look for any little way to be a blessing to your parents.

Which of the 5 reasons resonated with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Have a blessed day!

Allison

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