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Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

The best Psalms for anxiety (FREE printable)

11 Psalms to bring you peace in moments of anxiety

Dealing with anxious thoughts and anxiety is tough. Having Bible verses on hand to help calm your anxious heart and rest in the peace of God can make some of our darkest moments seem lighter.

Of all the people in the Bible, I have most related to David in the Psalms for many, many years. We certainly haven’t had the exact same life experiences, but David goes from grief to joy to everything in between within a chapter. 

And that’s how life is for me. I get David. He’s real to me in that way.

Psalms for anxiety Pinterest image 3

I also feel like David’s thoughts could get carried away and overdramatic sometimes. Anxiety rears its ugly head like that in my life. 

I completely trust God, but I have also learned that anxiety and faith can co-exist. So when I think of looking in God’s Word for verses of comfort, it makes sense to start with Psalms for anxiety.

Did David struggle with anxiety? It’s quite possible! 

In 2004, History of Psychiatry researched whether David had a mental disorder and concluded that it’s highly likely he did. Major depression seems to be the most likely candidate. Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. 

So maybe that’s why I relate to David.  Whether David had a mental disorder doesn’t matter as much as knowing that God is behind all the words he wrote. 

And we can draw comfort in the book of Psalms for anxiety. Read these best Psalms for anxiety and let them minister to your heart today. 

(All Scripture is taken from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.)

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 27:1-3

Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

These verses are a powerful reminder of God’s power and faithfulness. He will protect us, so we don’t have to be afraid — whether we have fear of bad news or fear of just making it through another day. 

I’ve been afraid so many times in my life. I recently heard someone say fear is at the root of anxiety. 

While I’m not sure that’s completely true, I do find great comfort in God’s promises that He is in control and on His throne, so I don’t have to be afraid in times of trouble.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 61:1-3

Psalm 61:1-3

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

The New King James version of the Bible says instead that “my heart is overwhelmed” rather than “my heart grows faint.” I like that even more. 

Because, I get overwhelmed. Life is full of so many responsibilities and tasks. 

As a mom, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things I’m juggling mentally at any given time. But, God is there to listen to my prayer. 

He hears me and sustains me. He shelters me when I grow weak. Thank you, God!

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 51:10-12

Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Of the Psalms for anxiety, this particular Psalm makes an especially great prayer. I want God to purify my heart so that I’m not distracted by the wrong things — including the multitude of my anxieties!

There are times I desperately need a steadfast spirit and willing spirit to sustain me and keep me going through life’s challenges. I also want to always be in God’s presence and never forget the joy of His salvation. 

I will always remember going to church one Sunday in the midst of one of the most difficult situations of my life. My heart was broken and I was feeling low. 

During the sermon, I got distracted by the cross. God reminded me that in the end, what matters most is how much He loves me that He sent His Son, Christ Jesus, for me. It soothed my soul that day in a way nothing else could and helped me to find true rest when I desperately needed it.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 121:1-5a

Psalm 121:1-5a

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord watches over you.

When I was in college, a member of my Bible study group shared that she used to feel bad about falling asleep while she was praying. But then she just imagined our Heavenly Father was holding onto her like a parent does a child and letting her sleep. 

That image has stuck with me. In my hardest nights, I have prayed for God to surround me and hold me tight. 

I love knowing God never sleeps. He watches over us day and night. 

In my head, I feel like that gives me permission to let down my guard and trust that He is completely in control. That’s brings me anxiety relief and helps dispel the spirit of fear that over threatens to overtake me when I start imagining every worst-case scenario.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 32:5

Psalm 32:5

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

In the four verses before this one, David talks about how he has been consumed by tears day and night. He remembers the good times with the Lord God; however, he feels far apart from them at this moment. 

But then this verse is his pep talk. We all need pep talks sometimes. 

When we are depressed or anxious, David reminds us that we can put our hope in God. We can praise Him in the storm and trust He is there even when He feels far away.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 77:11-12

Psalm 77:11-12

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

David spends the first 10 verses of this Psalm talking about how he felt God had rejected him. He was grieving the silence of God and feeling heartbroken — and this is coming from a man who the Holy Bible tells us understood God’s heart.

But then David stops to remember the good things God has done in the past. I have learned to do this very same thing when I start getting anxious. 

I go back in my head to all the times God has been working for my good when I couldn’t see it. And I know that God won’t fail me now.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is think about my history with God’s faithfulness and focus on the blessings He’s given me in the present. 

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 116:1-7

Psalm 116:1-7

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

God hears our pleas and cries for mercy. He is there and listening, even when it feels like He is not. 

David talks about seeing that happen in his life. I’ve seen it happen in mine. 

So now I find this one of my favorite Psalms for anxiety because it brings me comfort. I am reminded that God will see me through time and again, and God’s plan is always for my best.

I also especially love verse 7: “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” 

This is a verse to memorize and hold close for the dark nights when anxiety is high and life is hard. God is good all the time.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 40:11-13

Psalm 40:11-13

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

The Bible tells us that Jacob physically wrestled with God, but David does some of his own wrestling in an emotional way. 

If you read the entirety of Psalm 40, David is at a low point but also asking God to bless those who trust in Him. 

Verses 11-13 really stuck out to me as being a sincere prayer to God for times when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances. We can call out to God: save me, come quickly and help me. 

And we can remember the times God has protected us by His love and faithfulness before to keep us going as we wait.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 62:5-8

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

This is a great Psalm for anxiety to reminds us that we can find rest and have hope in God. With God as our protector, we can withstand the storms of life. 

We weren’t made to go through life alone and God will hold us through all of it. If we allow Him, He will be our rock and firm place in whom we can trust at all times. 

I love the idea of God being our refuge. A refuge is somewhere you run to when you’re in trouble or in distress. 

And that’s exactly what God is for us. We can run to Him and know He will hold us tight through everything.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 46:1-3

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Again, David refers to God as our refuge. When we are anxious and overwhelmed, a refuge is what we need. We need a break and peace. 

There are moments when God truly gives us peace beyond understanding. He can calm our anxieties and fears, even if just for a few moments, as we fully rest in Him.

Best Psalms for anxiety: Psalms 23

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
  he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Finally, I end with this powerful Psalms that was the first passage I ever memorized from the Bible. Back then, I learned it from the King James Version of the Bible.

I think what speaks to me most in this passage is the reminder that God is with us through every single season and moment in our lives. In Him, my soul finds rest, even when life is chaotic.

His unfailing love and faithfulness are with us through times of great need in our daily lives. We can rest with a sound mind and trust fully in Him.

Get a list of all 11 of the best Psalms for anxiety here:

Free printable list with the 11 best Psalms for anxiety

Money management for kids (FREE allowance tracker)

6 Ways to set up allowance for children to teach money management

Teaching our kids life skills is important. Like all parents, we want to raise our kids to be productive and responsible adults, and that includes money management. 

My husband and I started an allowance system for our kids when they were in preschool to help them learn some money management skills. This is a great way to introduce financial responsibility our children from a young age. They get the opportunity to track their own money.

It’s now been about a decade since we’ve been paying allowance, and we have a system down that works well for them. 

Start allowance for kids young

Preschool seems young to start an allowance, but if dealing with much money is part of their lives (even in small ways) from early on, then they get comfortable with handling it.

My daughter, who is the oldest, was closer to age 5 before we started her allowance, but we started my son at age 3 since we were already in the allowance groove by then.

You don’t necessarily have to start allowance for your kids at specific ages. You can really start any time you are ready!

We pay $1 per week, per year of age. For instance, a 10-year-old gets $10 a week in allowance. 

I have their allowances budgeted into our family budget to help me remember and take the expense seriously like we do other bills. Each pay day for us is an allowance pay day for my children.

You don’t have to pay $1 a week per year of age. Find whatever works for you and your family. Maybe 50-cents is more feasible for you. That’s fine.

No matter how much allowance they’re getting, kids are still learning the principles of managing money.

Set up a money management system

I’m a HUGE fan of simple systems, so our money management system of our kids’ allowance is simple. We divide allowance for kids into three parts: spending, saving and giving.

Because kids are very visual and tactile creatures, especially when they are younger, I started out distributing allowance in cash.

To keep it organized, I used one letter-sized enveloped marked “Kids’ Allowance.” Inside that envelope were three smaller envelopes for each kiddo marked with their name and either spending, saving or giving. 

We put the biggest emphasis on savings to help them in the future. In order to remember how we distributed their money, I wrote it on an index card in the big envelope. 

Now that I have older kids (11 and 14), I have found one of the best ways to organize their finances is digitally. I keep a kids allowance tracker in my digital notebook to remember how their money is broken down as I’m paying them.

My children themselves also need a way to see their balances and learn the value of money as they decide what to spend it on. They can easily track their current balance with this free printable allowance tracker available for free download in PDF format.

The printable PDF allowance chart is a visual aid that is a great idea to help your kids see how much money they have and how it’s divided. It’s designed so that it doesn’t take much time for children to add and subtract as needed.

Link to the free allowance tracker printable

(Find other free printables in the FREE Families with Grace Printables Library!)

Spending

We pay for most of everything for our kiddos, including clothes, food and entertainment. But sometimes they have wants beyond what makes sense for us and our budget.

These are great opportunities for them to learn about money management as they decide whether to spend their money on what they want. Sometimes, that answer changes when I tell them it would have to come out of their spending money!

We also sometimes offer an option of splitting costs for something expensive. We agree to pay a certain portion and they agree to pay a certain portion. 

When we used the envelope system, I’d grab their spending envelopes before we headed out. If we were out and they wanted to make a purchase we both knew they had money for, then I’d pay for it and they’d pay me back. We did the same for online purchases.

Now, they each have a debit card designed for children and teens. It has a special app they can log into on their phones and see how much money is in their bank account at any given time. Between that and the allowance tracker, they can stay on top of their spending money.

Right now, their debit cards are mostly in my wallet, but as my daughter gets older, that’s shifting a bit.

Savings

Not too long after we started allowance, we set them up with children’s savings accounts. For the days of the envelope system, I’d deposit money into their savings account when their savings envelope started getting full.

Now, I deposit it into the savings account tied to their debit cards. When the savings balance gets above a certain threshold, then I transfer it to their original savings account that has a higher interest rate.

Sometimes, like during 2020 when our buying changed quite a bit, I add some of their spending money into their savings as well if it starts building up.

Our kids are allowed to use their savings, but it has to be for a really compelling reason of something they need and are unable to save up for otherwise. 

Withdrawing from savings also requires a discussion between the child, my husband and me. We go over options for them and talk about the pros and cons. 

We’ve only withdrawn from a savings account once or twice so far. The hardest part is teaching kids about delayed gratification! 

As they get older, they’ll need that money more for bigger expenses like cars, books and living expenses in college.

Giving

One of the neatest things we’ve seen happen through our system of allowance is how they use their giving money. We have talked with each of them about how they want to use their giving money. 

They have the option of giving it to church, using it to help others in need or donating it to a good cause. 

When we started this with my daughter, I figured she’d want to give it to church. But one of the options we shared with her was about food pantries and how some families don’t have enough to eat. She was immediately drawn to that.

As a result, our family has been quite involved in donating to local food pantries and partnering with them. Just last year my daughter did a school project about hunger and how her classmates could help. She’s organized food drives at church and at school. I love how much has grown from this allowance category!

Most recently, my kids asked to use their giving money to donate to Team Seas to help remove trash from the oceans. They have also used it to go toward building wells for areas of Africa that are without access to clean water. 

Giving has become our favorite part of allowance! It has evolved into many ways that we have been able to volunteer together as a family.

Don’t pay for regular chores

My children don’t get paid for their regular chores like cleaning their rooms, cleaning their bathroom, picking up after themselves, doing dishes, folding laundry and doing other tasks we ask them to do. From the beginning, we have assigned appropriate chores for their ages that have increased in responsibility as they get older.

Allowance tracker printable Pinterest image 5

As family members, we consider those tasks part of family life. Life is easier when we work together! This helps establish a good work ethic.

We have sometimes (but rarely) paid for extra chores. Both sets of grandparents have done this as well, and I’m OK with that. 

I have told my kids that I will withhold part or all of their allowance if they don’t do their regular chores like they’re supposed to. But, I’ve only come close to doing that twice and have never had to actually do it.

Another reason I don’t like paying for regular chores is that then my kiddos would think the chore is optional. If they’re not motivated by money (and most younger kids aren’t), then they are happy to not do the chore and not get paid. 

So, we don’t pay for chores or use printable chore charts in our family.

Talk about the importance of saving

When it comes to allowance, we have found that we need to talk most about savings. Our kids easily understand spending money and giving money, but savings is a bit more obscure. 

I have one child who is a natural saver, and one who is more impulsive. Talking about what they are saving money for and why is important so they understand.

Our kids have saved money short-term and long-term. We have short-term savings when they want to save up and purchase something specific. 

My daughter, for example, went through a phase when she was around 7 or 8 that she wanted to buy lots of furniture and accessories for her dollhouse. She’d save her spending money until she had enough to buy the next item she wanted.

But both kids have long-term savings as well and need a bit more help with understanding why. That’s the money we put in the bank for them and then they have to have a really compelling reason to withdraw right now. 

We talk about the things they can use the money for later when they are older. We want to help them them understand the important information of needing some money saved back for bigger purchases yet to come. Long-term savings doesn’t come naturally to kiddos.

Share money lessons you’ve learned

We don’t talk lots of details about our finances with our kids. But we have shared lessons we’ve learned and lessons we’ve seen others learn as well. 

Kids understand concepts better when there is a story and person involved. You don’t have to share only lessons learned the hard way. 

For example, we have explained to the kids that we budget our money to make sure we are covering our expenses for necessities first. And they also know about some times we saved money to purchase something. 

Our money lessons have also included the importance of research before making a big purchase or financial decision. We’ve talked about and shown them when research and taking our time allowed us to find a more affordable price for something we need or want. 

We don’t include our children in discussions about finances that they don’t need to be part of. I never want my children to draw inaccurate conclusions and worry about whether we have enough money to take care of them or anything else. 

But I do want them to have a concept of how money works and how to manage it responsibly. An allowance gives them a chance to put those lessons into practice in small ways now that will benefit them in the future. 

These are powerful tools to help our kids experience the real world of money management.

Helping with money management when they work

One of the additional tips I have needed to add in since first talking about money management for children is how to help them manage money they earn through working. My 14-year-old has been working babysitting jobs for nearly two years now.

These jobs are teaching her the value of hard work as she is able to purchase more things with the extra money she earns. Once she started earning more money, we sat down and talked about how she’d divide that money up.

She has a set amount she allows herself for spending each month. The extra money goes to her savings account one month and her college savings account the next month. 

Once your child starts earning his or her own money, then talking with them about how their going to manage the extra monetary gain is important.

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults and teens

Printables and worksheet activities for Bible study (12 FREE resources included!)

When the Fruit of the Spirit kept popping up in my life, I felt God prompting me to make Bible study resources about them. And for that very reason, I ended up taking a deep dive into the Fruit of the Spirit to create Bible studies, devotional journals and all sorts of other Fruit of the Spirit printables.

I especially wanted to make Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults. While a whole host of Fruit of the Spirit lesson plans, study guides and coloring pages exist for kids, I found adult resources were lacking, especially ones geared toward mothers.

Throughout the months I’ve been studying the Fruits, my family has been through a lot of hard times. We got hit with one thing after the next. 

Spending time in God’s Word and really researching the character traits given to us through the Holy Spirit encouraged me right when I needed it most. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we do!

I thought I knew about the Fruits of the Spirit previously. (I can recite them all to you as part of a song, in fact!) But God has moved through these studies in a powerful way in my life, in my small group and in the Moms with Grace private Facebook group where I’ve lead these studies.

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What are the Fruits of the Spirit?

The Fruits of the Spirit are found in Galatians:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

Those are nine positive traits of Godly character the Holy Spirit can produce in us. These traits go against our human nature, which is described in the verses before these and filled with all sorts of negative traits like anger, envy, idolatry and on the list goes.

Because those negative traits are our natural tendencies, we need the Spirit’s help to live and act differently. Living this way is an ongoing process and choice, because these fruits take time to grow and mature. 

We serve a God who wants to let us live in harmony with these traits. Every single one of them benefits not only His work in us but also His work through us. 

Asking Him for help to have these traits is important, because we can’t do it on our own. Finding powerful tools to encourage us in living lives full of good fruit is helpful.

Living out the Fruit of the Spirit in daily life

As a Christian mom, I’m more aware now than ever of the kind of fruit I’m producing in my life. I’ve learned time and again that I need God’s Spirit to help me live with moral goodness when I’m tired and stressed — both of which go hand-in-hand with motherhood.

I decided a great place to start in researching the Fruits would be to just take them in order. I led with the Fruit of love.

It was one of the traits I thought I’d be best at. Motherhood lends itself to love, after all. I quickly realized the truly living in God’s love in our daily lives is something about which we must be intentional.

And that set the stage for good things to come throughout my research and study as God opened my heart and my eyes to hear and see Him at work. I don’t want to bear bad fruit, and I want to share all the lessons I’ve learned with others as well.

Fruits of the Spirit worksheets

If you’re a Sunday School teacher, church small group leader or youth leader looking for a digital product to help you teach the Fruit of the Spirit, I’ve got some great resources for you. 

All of these resources also are also great for personal Bible study.

Bible verse matching worksheet

If you want an involved activity sheet that will have you or your group delving into the Bible, this Bible verse match worksheet is ideal. 

Each of the nine Fruits of the Spirit are listed on one side and a list of nine Scripture references is on the other side. Use your Bible to look up the verses and find the corresponding Bible verse for each of the Fruits.

And, don’t worry if you get stumped, an answer key is also included!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: A Bible verse matching activity

Weekly challenges

To help your group or yourself put the Fruits into practice in your own lives, check out these weekly challenges. The challenges work for kids in middle school through senior adults. 

The nine challenges are all simple and don’t require lots of time. They’re a great way to start living a life that produces much fruit!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Weekly challenges

FREE printable coloring pages

Another terrific — and completely free option — is this set of 10 Fruit of the Spirit coloring pages complete with corresponding Bible verses. They’re designed to work for youth and adults and work for both men and women. 

These free printable coloring pages are lots of fun as a creative way to meditate on Scripture.

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Coloring Pages

Reflection worksheets

If you’re looking for Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults, you don’t want to miss this set of nine reflection worksheets. There is one for each Fruit that includes a memory verse along with three reflection questions per fruit.

Use this for your own Bible study time or in conjunction with a Fruits of the Spirit Bible study you’re leading.

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Reflection Worksheets

Additional Fruit of the Spirit printables

Once I started working on resources and studies on the Fruits of the Spirit, I got carried away with making related printables as well. Printables are a great way to inexpensively learn and grow in different ways.

Fruit of the Spirit bookmarks

First up is a set of five Fruit of the Spirit bookmarks. Each of the colorful bookmarks lists the nine Fruits in order. Print them on cardstock, and you’re ready to go! 

The bookmarks come with a page that has all five designs on it and then each design has its own page full of only that design as well to make for easy printing. As a small group leader myself, I love options like these as gifts for my group members!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Colorful bookmarks

FREE Fruit of the Spirit bookmarks

You can grab this bookmark set of 10 designs for FREE. Each bookmark lists a Fruit of the Spirit with a 10th one that just says “Fruit of the Spirit.” 

They are black and white by design for easy printing and would work really well as coloring bookmarks for small groups, youth groups or just yourself!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Free coloring bookmarks

Fruit of the Spirit Scripture cards

Scripture cards are one of those great ideas for getting into and learning Bible verses that we can easily overlook. My mom, for example, loves Scripture cards and posts them on her bathroom mirror.

This set of 96 Fruit of the Spirit Scripture cards is color coded and labeled for each Fruit of the Spirit and is a great addition to your Bible study time.

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: 96 Color Coded Scripture Cards

FREE Fruit of the Spirit Scripture cards

If you aren’t as sure about Scripture cards, try out this free set of 10 Scripture cards first. There is one verse per Fruit along with a card of Galatians 5:22-23 that lists the Fruits of the Spirit. 

When it comes to free Fruits of the Spirit printables, I’ve got you covered!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: 10 Free black-and-white Scripture cards

Bible study devotional journals for moms

My heart lies with mamas so much right now — most likely because I’m in the midst of motherhood myself! So, I decided a devotional journal for moms had to be part of what I created.

God’s given me a passion to encourage and minister to other mamas to help them grow their homes with grace, faith and love. The Fruits of the Spirit fit right into that!

Multiple resources are available right now as instant digital downloads you can print or use on your device. 

PDF version of “The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms”

The first is a simple, black-and-white PDF of “The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms.” It’s ideal for the mama who wants to print out the devotional journal and write her answers with a pen or pencil.

This nine-week devotional is specifically designed for moms to offer moments of peace and inspiration in the midst of busy days.

Each week has a focus or memory verse related to the Fruit being covered that week. The devotional journal includes commentary, life application insights, thought-provoking reflection questions, a weekly action items and daily prayers to help you grow in your walk with God.

The devotional journal, which uses Bible verses from the NIV and ESV translations, is designed with day seven being a day to spend more time and prayer and get caught up with reading.

“The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms” is designed to take one week per topic, but don’t fret if you can’t keep that schedule. The good news is you can just catch up whenever works for you. Mom life is nothing if not unpredictable and frequently hectic!

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Printable version of "The Fruit of Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms"

Digital version of “The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms”

The second version of the devotional journal has the exact same content as the first, but it’s designed and formatted for those mamas who want to use it on their devices instead. 

The digital file is colorful color and includes tabs on each content page to help you easily navigate from one section to another. You can keep a separate notebook to write down answers to the questions or upload the PDF into your favorite note-taking app and use it that way. 

Fruit of the Spirit worksheets for adults: Digital version of "The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journal for Moms"

Individual Fruit devotional journals for moms

Each of the Fruits have individual devotional journals you can download as well. These are the same as the PDF version of “The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional Journals for Moms,” but include only one fruit at a time.

FREE Fruit of the Spirit journals

And, finally, you can also download a free Fruit of the Spirit journal for each of the nine fruits. Pair the free journals with the free YouTube playlist about the Fruit of the Spirit for moms, and you have your own Bible study ready to go!

(Be sure to check out the Moms with Grace private Facebook group where this study originally ran and continues with discussions related to the Fruit of the Spirit!)

Summer planning ideas and tips for family fun

15 Easy ideas to plan a fun and organized summer for your family 

Plus a free printable summer bucket list!

Figuring out how to spend a fun and organized summer break isn’t as hard as you think with summer planning ideas that really work!

Summer break can be such a high-pressure and stressful time. We know we have limited summers with our kids, but life doesn’t stop just because it’s summer. 

Balancing mom guilt and summer break is a very real struggle! Through the years I’ve learned a little planning for summer helps my whole family be intentional about spending time together so I don’t feel quite as guilty when I have to spend time at work.

1. Decide how many activities your kids can do for the summer.

We are intentional during the school year about how many activities our kids are allowed to participate in. We like for our children to have free time and don’t want them to be over-scheduled.

Summer is very similar. Their summer schedule isn’t quite a limited since they don’t have school in the mix, but they are limited enough so that we have plenty of quality time as the entire family to do fun things. 

Our kids have the whole rest of their lives to be busy. We do our very best to keep our summers low-key.

2. Make a list of summer family goals.

I tend to like my downtime to include a mix of relaxing and productivity. My husband and kiddos are pretty similar, so part of our summer planning is writing down summer family goals

I’m a list maker through and through, so a lot of our summer plans include using lists as a great way to keep us on track.

We make a list of goals as a family, such as organizing closets, walking the dog regularly and cleaning out the garage. The summer months really are a great time to get some things accomplished together with some family teamwork.

Our list of family summer goals

3. Make a list of summer individual goals.

Along those same lines, we also like to come up with individual goals for the summer. We each come up with things we’d like to personally accomplish over the summer and write them down. 

We use these as a perfect opportunity to get around to those things we have put off for too long during the busier school year. Sitting down as a family is the perfect time to give feedback and encouragement for the goals we each want to accomplish.

Just be sure to set goals that are reasonable and attainable. Sometimes my children have needed a bit of help paring down their ideas!

Another bonus to summer goals is that when the children get bored, we can point them to their list of goals and suggest they spend a little time working on it.

Our list of individual summer goals

4. Make a summer bucket list for your family.

But summer isn’t all about being productive. Summer planning also has to include some fun. My own family organizes fun summer activities with a summer bucket list

I love this for a couple of reasons. First, sitting down with our kids at the beginning of summer to come up with ideas of what they want to do helps my husband and I prioritize those things. 

Second, when my kids invariably start bemoaning that we haven’t done anything fun all break, we can show them the list with all the items we’ve done so far marked off!

Sometimes coming up with ideas can be a challenge, so I’ve put together a free summer bucket list printable full of ideas to get you started. They are all low or no-cost ideas that are great for making family memories together. 

Overall, the best summer bucket list is one that is simple and full of affordable, realistic ways to have some family fun!

Our summer bucket list took two pages this year!

5. Make a list of people to visit.

This goes right along with the summer bucket list and often makes it onto our list. Extra time over summer vacation means more time to spend with extended family members and friends. 

So part of the summer planning process for our family is talking about who we want to visit with, including any sleepovers with friends our kids want to plan or time with their grandparents. 

Having this listed helps me figure out our summer calendar more easily to make sure everyone is getting a chance to enjoy the time off from school.

6. Find all sorts of free activities.

With just a minimum amount of efforts, you can find all sorts of affordable ways to have some summer fun in your community and even your own backyard. 

Lots of communities offer a free outdoor concert or two during the summer. The warm weather is also a good time to visit local parks and check out the playgrounds or nature — depending on your children’s ages and interests.

Don’t forget the local library. For years, it has been a great source of free programs for my own family that’s included animal shows, magic shows and more.

Then, don’t overlook the fun at home. Buy some water balloons and spend a hot afternoon dousing each other outside. Or during cooler evening hours, plan outdoor games your whole family can enjoy like croquet or cornhole.

Rainy days are the best time to peruse your own game collection to make memories. Play board games, video games or whatever your family most likes!

7. Have an electronics plan.

Screen time is often a big debate and struggle during the summer months. I don’t mind for my kids to have some screen time, but I don’t want them to have lots of time just looking at a screen.

Figure out the best electronics plan for your own family. Some families go for detailed plans that include a daily schedule of items to do before allowing screentime.

For my family, a more laidback approach has worked best. When our children were younger, they had to always ask permission before getting on a screen.

Now, we use Google Family to monitor and limit their screentime as necessary.

8. Keep fun supplies handy.

Kids often forget about things that are out of sight, so keep fun supplies available and accessible. 

For example, make sure they can get to their bikes easily. Don’t forget other favorite summer activities like sidewalk chalk, rubber balls, outdoor games and water toys.

Having items easily accessible and even visible can help inspire your kiddos to find something to do on their own.

9. Organize your kids’ summer activities.

Summer planning ideas also include figuring out the activities your kids are going to be doing and when. I have a monthly overview I use along with printouts of calendars for June, July and August that help me organize my kids’ activities to make sure that we aren’t overscheduled. 

My in-laws like to have each of my kiddos over individually for about a week each summer. Seeing their schedule organized helps me best plan those times as well as when it would be good for us to take a family vacation, whether that’s for a week or just a weekend.

It also keeps me from overlapping activities and making our schedule too busy.

Our monthly overview for June, July and August
Our June, July and August activity calendars
Using the monthly planning page and calendars makes trip planning easier.

10. Plan for downtime.

Remember you don’t have to fill every minute of your kids’ summer break with activities. Right along with no overscheduling, you want to build in time for your kids to just have downtime. 

It’s OK to let them figure out what to do on their own (within reason, of course). We try to encourage our children to be intentional about doing an activity or two together each week during the summer.

So, we made a list of boredom busters to give them ideas of what to do together from reading a book to doing a craft to playing with the dog and so much more. 

Our page of boredom busters, including outdoor and indoor scavenger hunts

11. Have a daily routine, even if it’s a loose one.

I’m a fan of regular routines and schedules. In fact, routines really do make my family happier

Routines give kids a sense of stability. They know what to expect, and that’s less stressful for them. 

While I do loosen up a bit during the summer (bedtime usually moves later), we do stick with many routines for bedtime and mealtimes. 

Of course there are times that shifts around for special activities. However, maintaining our general daily routine helps us all.

12. Let them know what to expect each day.

Kids do best when they know what to expect. While we do maintain our routine somewhat over the summer, it is definitely more laidback and less scheduled. 

Every morning, I try to go over with the kids a brief outline of what’s happening that day. It can be as simple as, “We’re going to the grocery store this afternoon.” Their favorite tends to be: “We don’t have anywhere to go today!”

No matter what, they like knowing what the day holds and I do, too. Of course plans change sometimes, but setting their expectations for the day helps. 

That’s especially true when I do have an errand or chore that needs done. Though I also love telling them when something fun going is on that day, too, like watching a movie in the evening.

13. Think about your budget.

Part of my summer planning includes figuring out a budget for summer activities. I try to be as fair as possible between my two kiddos and how much money we spend on their activities. And sometimes we have to choose between a couple of activities not only for time constraints but also for budget reasons. 

If you want to plan a family road trip or weekly ice cream outings, make sure that you have worked those into your budget as well. Lots of “little” summer fun activities can add up to impact your budget, so you want to be aware of it.

Our activity budget helps us plan our costs for summer activities.

14. Have easy snacks ready.

Though they only eat three meals and maybe one snack during school days, summer break tends to make my kids want to graze. And since they’re usually more active in summer, I get it. 

They’re old enough now that they can usually fix their own snack if I keep things on hand for them. So, I keep things around that I can say yes to most of the time like Gogurt (frozen is super great for the summer!), boxes of raisins, 4-pack peanut butter crackers, Goldfish, pretzels, easy fruit I can prep ahead (grapes, blueberries, bananas, etc.), applesauce pouches, fruit cups and granola bars. 

I have a bin in our pantry where these mom-approved snacks reside. It’s makes life easier so the kids can know what is a snack I’ll easily agree to. 

Of course, I say yes to fun treats because it’s just fun for all of us!

15. Don’t forget to enjoy your kids.

No matter what you’re planning this summer, make sure to embrace feeling like a kid again yourself sometimes.

Last summer, for example, we had a family yes day and I felt like a kid myself during a water balloon fight we had. I squealed and giggled with the kiddos and we had a blast. 

Plan some low-key, easy, fun activities that will let you relax and enjoy spending time with your kiddos. Summer perfect for making good family memories!

I know that I will never regret the time I spent with my children but I might regret doing other things instead. So, I do my very best to carve out time over summer break that is just for fun for us. 

Make your summer planning even easier

If you’re interested in copies of the lists I’ve mentioned in this post and show in the YouTube video below, you can find my entire Summer Planner Mega Bundle in the Families with Grace Etsy store. Use the coupon code FWGFAN to get an additional 10% off your purchase! The Summer Planner Mega Bundle includes all of the following:

  • Summer family goals
  • Summer individual goals
  • 2 Summer bucket lists (one prefilled and one blank)
  • Summer trip planner
  • 2 reading trackers
  • 1 reading log
  • 3 chore charts
  • Weekly overview
  • Monthly overview
  • June calendar
  • July calendar
  • August calendar
  • Summer activity budget planner
  • Books to read list
  • Indoor scavenger hunt
  • Outdoor scavenger hunt
  • Summer boredom buster list
  • Rewards coupons for kids
  • Journal page
  • Notes page

7 Short prayers for mothers

Simple prayers to help you and other moms like you!

Finding quiet time in motherhood is challenging. Having short prayers for mothers on hand can help us stay connected to God in the midst of busy family life.

Every day, I pray for my husband and children. In fact, my usual prayer order is exactly that: husband, children and then me. Truthfully, a lot of times the prayers for myself are almost an afterthought. 

I get caught up in what my family needs. I don’t think I’m alone. We moms tend to put ourselves last, but when it comes to prayer, we need to make sure we are covered as well.

These simple and powerful prayers for mothers are ones you can pray for yourself and for the other moms in your life. From new moms to seasoned moms, we all need prayer. 

Motherhood challenges you physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I like to say motherhood is neither for the faint of heart nor the weak of composition!

But, I’m thankful for a God who understands and knows that. Our Heavenly Father is right there in the midst of motherhood with us. As much as we love our babies, He loves them – and us! – even more. We can lean on Him during the easy times and the difficult ones.

How to pray for mothers

Mothers everywhere need prayer. Simply taking a moment to say your own prayer for motherhood can make a big difference. And short prayers for mothers are easy to incorporate into your schedule on a daily basis.

In 1 John 5:14, we are reminded God hears us when we pray according to His will. Knowing that God gave you the gift of motherhood, you can trust that praying blessings for mothers is in His will.

Praying in accordance to Scripture also assures us we are asking for the right things. These seven prayers for mothers include Bible verses as well.

Print out the free pocket prayers for moms PDF and utilize these prayers for yourself, your mom friends and any other mom in your life! They are great to use for a Mother’s Day prayer at church or at home as well.

Prayer for mothers’ strength and endurance

“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”

Colossians 1:11 (NIV)

Does anybody need more patience than moms? If they do, I haven’t met them! 

Motherhood is often a test of patience, strength and endurance. It starts from the very beginning when that perfect little human won’t let you sleep or have a minute to yourself. To say you’re a tired mom is the understatement of the year!

As our kids get older, we may get to sleep more, but we still spend a significant amount of energy thinking, and perhaps worrying, about them. 

Motherhood can be draining in every way. So, prayers for mothers’ strength and endurance are important.

Dear God, I ask that you strengthen me with all power according to your glorious might so I may have great patience and endurance. Lord, hold me up when I am weak today. Give me strength beyond my own when I’m tired and ready to give up. Help me to keep going until the day is done. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Prayer for mothers’ wisdom and discernment

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5 (NIV)

Even when our babies start sleeping through the night, it’s hard for us mamas to get a good night’s sleep. Somehow we stay alert even in our sleep to hear if they need us. 

Then add in the worries of motherhood, and we really struggle to get good rest. Moms long for peace in a world of chaos and stress. 

I love this verse for its reminder that I can relax and rest knowing God is in control. I imagine myself tucked safely and snuggly in His loving arms. When I’m going through a difficult time, I pray for His rest and peace of mind. I even ask Him to help me sleep well but wake up if someone needs me.

This has been a great way for me to be able to relax and rely on God’s help.

Dear Lord, please give me wisdom as I am raising my children. Help me to discern the best choices for them and for our family. Guide me to know what your will is for me as a mom. Father, help me to be the mom my children need to raise them according to your will and plan for their lives. In Christ Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for mothers’ rest and peace

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

Even when our babies start sleeping through the night, it’s hard for us mamas to get a good night’s sleep. Somehow we stay alert even in our sleep to hear if they need us. 

Then add in the worries of motherhood, and we really struggle to get good rest. Moms long for peace in a world of chaos and stress. 

I love this verse for its reminder that I can relax and rest knowing God is in control. I imagine myself tucked safely and snuggly in His loving arms. When I’m going through a difficult time, I pray for His rest and peace of mind. I even ask Him to help me sleep well but wake up if someone needs me.

This has been a great way for me to be able to relax and rely on God’s help.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to give me peace to lie down and sleep. Lord, remind me you are always in control and keeping my family and me safe. Grant me your peace that passes all understanding. Hold me close and let me rest fully in you. Fill me with the peace of your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for mothers’ protection and safety

“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”

Job 1:10 (NIV)

This verse is actually Satan talking to God about how God is protecting Job and his family. What I love is the idea of a hedge of protection. 

It’s easy to feel unsure and unsafe in the world. When we have children, I think we become aware of the dangers even more.

A mother’s life is all about being aware of the risks to our children so we can know the best way to protect them. Praying and asking for protection is a powerful way to help keep our families safe.

Father, I ask that you place a hedge of protection around me and around my family. Protect us in every way, Lord: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Remind me of your presence when I feel afraid. Let me rest in your protection and safety. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayers for mothers’ mental health

“When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.”

Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

When you are consumed with taking care of everyone else, like we moms are, your emotional and mental health can suffer. If you already had struggles before having children that compounds even more.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for years, but I didn’t have a name for it until more recent years. I’ve learned  anxiety and faith can co-exist

And I have also learned God is with me every step of the way; He has good plans and unconditional love for me. I need His help every day.

Along with physical strength, mental strength is just as important to be the amazing mother God created us to be. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can minister to our hearts and soothe our anxieties.

Lord, when I have anxiety great within, I ask that you console me and bring me joy. Strengthen me mentally and emotionally. Give my mind rest. Help me show my children what good mental healthcare looks like. Father, give me courage to seek help when I need it. Heal me from past hurt and trauma. Remind me always of your goodness and presence in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayers for mothers’ relationships

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Moms’ lives are filled with relationships. From our husbands to our children to our co-workers to our extended family members to our friends, we are surrounded by relationships. 

Prioritizing the relationships most important to us matters. Learning how to navigate and mange those relationships is important.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the loved ones you’ve surrounded me with. Help me to encourage and build them up. Give me the right words to best communicate with my husband and with my children to strengthen and grow our relationships. Please help my relationships with other people to be healthy and good for me. If someone is hurting my walk with you, help me to realize that and give me wisdom to address it. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayers for mothers’ spiritual growth

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5 (NIV)

In order to make everything work and be the moms, wives and people God created us to be, we need to stay connected to Him. Growing spiritually is important, even when as a mom finding ways to connect with God in the midst of raising a family can be challenging.

Growing spiritually needs to remain a priority, perhaps even more so as moms. I want to have a strong relationship with God and unshakeable faith in Him for myself but also so I can pass that along to my children. 

Modeling what faith truly looks like to my children is important to me. In my daily prayers, I ask God to help me be the mom my children need to raise them according to His will and plan for their lives.

Lord, I ask that you help me to remain in you and to bear much fruit. I know apart from you I can do nothing. Open my heart and mind to hear you. Help me to know you more completely. Father, remind me to connect with you during my busiest times. I want to spend time with you. Show me ways I can make that happen. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Get these as free pocket prayers for moms:

Free pocket prayers for moms PDF

Solar eclipse party printables (plus a free activity pack)

Fun ideas to celebrate the solar eclipse with printables!

Planning fun activities for our children is one perk of parenthood. And when a rare occurrence like solar eclipse happens, celebrating as a family can be fun. Thanks to solar eclipse printables — both free and cheap — you can celebrate without breaking the bank!

The last time an eclipse came through the United States back In 2017, we only saw a partial eclipse. But this solar eclipse has us in the path of totality on April 8th here in the Midwest, so I’ve been thinking about party ideas for my family.

I’m not thinking of an elaborate, over-the-top celebration, but I do want to come up with a fun way for my family to spend this day together. My children have an e-learning day for the Great American Eclipse, so we’ll all be home together.

As a Christian mom, I also think a solar eclipse is a great way to highlight how the heavens declare the glory of God. So grab your solar eclipse glasses and use these solar eclipse activities and printables to commemorate the day with your family.

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Printable solar eclipse party decorations

I’ve found one of the best ways to get my children excited about something is to decorate. From their birthdays to Valentine’s Day to Christmas, decorations make the event come alive.

And printable party decorations are the perfect way to add some pizzazz and excitement to your celebration without spending much money.

Printable party banners

Since we moved into a house with a fireplace, I love a good banner. But I don’t want to spend a fortune on one for this total solar eclipse. I decided to make some of my own and have them in the Families with Grace Etsy store for you to enjoy as well.

Printing your own banners is easier than you might think. Simply print on cardstock, cut out the shapes and then either hole punch and connect the letters with ribbon or tape them to the wall as is. Easy peasy!

First is this banner with a cartoon sun and moon together. It would definitely be a great addition to your solar eclipse celebrating.

Eclipse 2024 party banner

Next, this banner is a bit lighter with a cool sun and moon in sunglasses. Your kiddos will enjoy it, and this is a great way to remind them to keep on their solar eclipse glasses!

A second solar eclipse 2024 party banner

Finally, this banner is a bit more elegant with stars. You can easily print it out and hang it up.

A third solar eclipse 2024 party banner

Printable posters

Another great way to decorate is with printable posters. And in this printable pack of free solar eclipse activities, you can find two coloring pages that work well as a total eclipse poster. 

One coloring sheet simply says Solar Eclipse 2024. The other highlights Psalm 19:1.

Free eclipse posters

Children love being able to participate in making the decor!

A second option is using these cake toppers that come on 8.5 x 11-inch size pages as printable posters to decorate as well.

Solar eclipse posters or cake toppers

Solar eclipse party activities to do

Watching the solar eclipse itself is not the only way to have fun at your solar eclipse party. There are a variety of eclipse worksheets and games that can make your party fun for your kids — and you!

While lots of educational activities are available, for a party, I’m a fan of fun instead!

Free printable solar eclipse worksheet pack

Start with these free printable solar eclipse worksheets. The pack comes with five pages that include two coloring pages (perfect for decor), a maze, a matching the moon activity and a list of charades topics.

From preschool to second grade to middle school to high school, your kids will find something in the printable pack to enjoy. If charades aren’t popular for your family, try drawing the words for others to guess instead.

Not only is this solar eclipse packet a great resource, it’s also completely free!

Free solar eclipse printables

Make a keepsake

If you have younger children, check out this “About Me” page for the solar eclipse 2024. It’s a printable, easy keepsake that lets you commemorate your kiddos for the 2024 eclipse.

For instance, I remember during the last eclipse I realized my preschooler and 2nd grader would be in the last year of elementary and middle school for the next eclipse. And somehow, we are already here. 

Since the next eclipse won’t happen until Aug. 23, 2044, some commemoration is a good idea! Because, this could very well be your last solar eclipse you have children at home. (I know it will be for us!)

Printable solar eclipse 2024 activity page

Eclipse story-telling

A fun, no-prep activity you can do with your family is story telling. Have one family member start a short story with one sentence. Go around to each family member and continue the story one sentence at a time.

Make the story eclipsed themed. Consider these short story prompts:

  • As a police officer, Alexa thought she’d seen everything, but the solar eclipse changed her mind because…
  • John was a professional astronomer who thought he knew everything about safe eclipse viewing until…
  • Mrs. Long’s 3rd grade class was so excited for the solar eclipse they threw a class party that got crazy when…
  • When Michael made a model of the earth for his 5th grade general science class, he never expected to receive a call from NASA asking him to…
  • The NASA website was set up to answer questions about the solar eclipse, but Patti’s question threw it off because she asked…

Solar eclipse party food

No party is complete without food! From themed snacks to sweet treats, I’ve found a few ideas to complete your solar eclipse 2024 party.

Cake or cupcakes

I’m a huge fan of cake and cupcakes in general. If we have an excuse to make them, then I’m all for it! 

An easy way to jazz up cupcakes or a cake is with toppers. Check out these cupcake toppers. There are seven unique designs you’ll love.

Solar eclipse 2024 printable cupcake toppers

If you’d rather make a cake, each of the toppers come as a full 8.5 x 11-inch page size you can easily use as cake toppers.

Eclipse sliders

Since the solar eclipse is coming across North America in the afternoon, plan to serve a themed lunch or dinner for your family. Make hamburger sliders topped with white American or Swiss cheese to represent the dark and light of the eclipse.

You could take it a step further and buy some yellow paper plates and black paper plates to serve the sliders on.

Solar system fruit

By using a star-shaped cookie cutter with fruit, you can turn this snack or side into an edible solar eclipse craft. Let your kids help you make fruit star shaped and eat it as is or stick it on a skewer for a fun, easy way to eat.

Melons works well for cutting into shapes. Then you can add in other fruits your family enjoys as well.

Moon cheese

With a melon baller and Swiss cheese, you can make a small ball that looks like a little moon. Pair the small moon cheese with shaped crackers for a nice solar eclipse party snack your kids will love.

Moon pies

Perhaps the easiest snack of all for your eclipse party is the classic moon pie. Not only are these treats tasty, they’re also perfectly themed for an eclipse party! 

Grab some chocolate and vanilla ones to best capture the light and dark of the solar eclipse.

Just have fun!

With both free and paid solar eclipse printables, you and your family can have a great time commemorating this rare event together. I’m looking forward to having the time with my family.

The best kind of family party is one in which nothing is complicated and you all just get to have fun together!

16 Volunteer ideas for families to do together

Kid-friendly volunteer opportunities for the whole family

As Christians, we are called to serve and help those who are less fortunate. Paul states it rather bluntly, in fact:

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35 (ESV)

A great way to teach children this lesson is by volunteering together as a family. Volunteer work is a change to not only spend quality time together but also make a positive difference in your community.

​From the time our children were preschoolers, my husband and I found ways to help them give back that were age appropriate. Now they are older kids in the tween and teen years, and those lessons have stuck.

Our oldest has organized a variety of food and toiletry drives at her school. Our youngest has helped serve at a local food bank.

Volunteer ideas for families Pinterest image 5

The good news is you can find lots of volunteer activities that are a good fit for kids of all ages.

Behind-the-scenes volunteer ideas for families

Some of the best ways for families with little kids to volunteer is in a behind-the-scenes capacity. These ideas are all more hands-off and would all be a great volunteer opportunity for young children.

1. Buy for a local food pantry.

This is the idea our family first started with way back when our children were little. We divided (and still do!) their weekly allowance into three categories: spending, saving and giving.

We talked with our oldest about how she wanted to use her giving money when her brother was still too little to even get an allowance. She didn’t want to use it for church but instead to help people in need.

We found food pantries were a great place to start. We took her to the grocery store with her giving money so she had a very hands-on, visual experience with how she was giving back.

While we shopped and picked items, we talked about how they would help families. Later we prayed for the people who would be receiving them.

2. Collect or buy dog toys and supplies for your local animal shelter

If you have kiddos who love animals, buying toys for a local animal shelter or animal rescue organization is a great idea. These places are always in need of supplies to take care of the furry friends in their care.

Many shelters and rescue organizations have age requirements for volunteering, so donating is a better way to involve all your family members. 

Consider donating toys, blankets, towels, cleaning supplies, pet food, pet beds and more. 

3. Make cards for senior centers.

Many young children love dong arts and crafts. Buy or print out some inexpensive cards for holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.) and donate them to a local senior center or nursing home.

Often senior citizens are lonely and long for connection with young people. This gives your children a chance to make a difference doing something they enjoy anyway.

4. Buy toys for a toy drive.

Toy drives are especially popular at Christmastime. This can be a great activity for families with younger children to get involved.

Share with your children that some kids don’t have as many toys and that you are shopping for a toy to cheer them up. Then let your kiddo help you pick out the toy. 

Depending on the age of your child, be prepared for the struggle of buying for others. Talking about it ahead of time, during and while donating the toy can be helpful.

5. Deliver treats to first responders.

A fun activity for little ones is to bake (or buy) treats and deliver them to first responders. Calling ahead is a good idea.

When my kids were a toddler and preschooler, we called the local fire station and scheduled a time to drop by. We brought some homemade cookies to give the firefighters.

The firefighters gave my kids plastic hats, a firetruck tour and some safety instructions. It was a win all around.

Hands-on volunteer ideas for families

Though behind-the-scenes volunteer ideas work really well for young families, other ideas work well for families with children who are older. 

These volunteer ideas for families work for preschool aged children through high school kids and beyond.

6. Participate in a park clean-up day.

If your local park is hosting a clean-up day, then get your family involved. Children who are preschool aged and older can help with carrying bags or picking up things.

Not only are you working for a good cause, you’re also having time together outside and making memories.

Even if your park isn’t have a clean-up day, you can still pick a day and collect trash as a family.

7. Work in a community garden.

This is great opportunity for children to learn life skills starting from a young age. Bring them along to enjoy getting their hands in the dirt while helping to grow fruits and vegetables to make a difference in the lives of others.

Check out your local community center or other nonprofit organizations for community garden opportunities.

8. Volunteer in a local soup kitchen.

You don’t have to serve the food to be helpful. Soup kitchens need all sorts of work families can undertake. Check with local organizations that serve food and see what they need.

Besides serving food, you may find volunteering experience for families such as cleaning, food prep, setting up tables, organizing ingredients and more.

9. Participate in a drive for school supplies.

While you can certainly stay behind the scenes by donating school supplies, working at the supply distribution is a volunteer project older children can especially benefit from.

Youth volunteers for these programs are great for running supplies where they need to be. It also allows your older children a chance to feel some gratitude for the blessings in their own lives.

10. Plan a car wash to raise money.

Whether you’re looking to help a nonprofit organization, one of your local churches or even a children’s hospital, hosting a car wash is a pretty easy activity youth can get behind. Find a location in a busy part of town that will let you hook up hoses. 

Bring along hoses, buckets, sponges, soap and signs. Make sure your signs are clear what organization or group is benefitting from the car wash proceeds.

11. Make care packages for your local homeless shelter.

Personal care items are always needed at homeless shelters and other organizations ministering to the underserved. Toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and feminine hygiene products are just a few examples of needs to be filled.

Food stamp programs do not cover these items either. So any organization serving those reliant on food stamps can probably utilize these essentials.

12. Coordinate with your school counselor.

Many parents are aware teachers spend some of their own money on supplies and needs for their classrooms. But school counselors and/or sometimes school nurses do as well.

For example, my daughter learned a counselor at her school was buying various toiletries to help out students in need. So, my daughter hosted a toiletry drive at school and filled the counselor’s supply closet to overflowing.

Our entire family got involved with the project by helping collect, count and sort the items.

13. Organize a canned food drive.

Organizing a canned food drive might sound intimidating, but it’s not as hard as you might think. We’ve done this a few times at the kids’ school.

Once you have permission, you basically just need collection containers and a time to pick up and transport everything to the food bank. Publicize the food drive on social media, in the school newsletter and/or with an information sheet to help get the best results.

We’ve also found some good old-fashioned bribery works, too. Promises of an ice cream party or candy to the class who brings in the most is quite a good motivator for kids.

Our family is happy to buy some cups of ice cream or bags of candy to help keep the motivation going.

14. Volunteer at your local library.

No matter where you live, your local library could use your help. Even with paid staff, there are always tasks that need to be done.

If you have a child with a love of reading, your library may have a program he or she can participate in to read to senior citizens, dogs or young children. Other library volunteer activities could include helping set up for story time or sorting through old circulation material.

15. Help your neighbors.

Sometimes you don’t need to use official volunteer programs to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life. Look around your own neighborhood and see what neighbors have needs.

You may find an elderly neighbor who needs help with lawn care or even taking the trash cans to the curb. Or maybe a family with a new baby could use a hand watching their older kids one afternoon a week.

All sorts of people are in need around us that we can reach out and help as a family.

16. Volunteer at a food distribution center.

Food pantries certainly need help, but don’t forget about the food distribution centers that supply many pantries. The local distribution center for our family has an age requirement of 12 or older for volunteer positions.

For us, this means our oldest child can volunteer right now, but our youngest cannot. So, my daughter and I have gone a few times and done a variety of tasks from sorting onions to stapling papers. There is never a lack of need.

Creating a legacy of service

With so many volunteer ideas for families, you won’t run out of activities any time soon. These are all great ways to encourage our children to love on those around them, which is the most important thing we want to encourage as Christian moms and dads.

Set an example and get your entire family involved so your family tradition of volunteering becomes a legacy of service.

5 Prayers for patience in a season of waiting

Waiting on God can feel hopeless, but it isn’t!

Waiting goes against human nature. In a world filled with instant gratification, times of waiting often feel excruciating. 

And waiting on God isn’t any different. We pray and seek Him. We call on others to pray. 

Yet, sometimes He doesn’t move in a way we can see. Waiting on God’s timing can feel hopeless. But the good news is that it isn’t.

I shared a while back about the lessons I learned during a season of waiting. It wasn’t an easy time. 

I am again in a time of waiting on God. It’s a wait that’s been going on for seven long years and has been the most heart-wrenching journey I’ve been on. 

While I have learned that God is always in control and on His throne, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had moments of doubt and frustration. Where is He in all of this? What could His plan be? Why isn’t God doing something?

I don’t have answers to what His plan is in this situation or why He hasn’t moved in the ways that really make the most sense to me. But I also know that He has been with me every step of the way. 

Where is He? Right there with me. How do I know that? Well, God and I have a history. 

I can look back throughout my entire life and see His hand in everything — even in the times when I wondered whether He’d forgotten me. (He hadn’t.) 

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Time and again, God shows up in my life and in my story. I can’t tell you the story of my life without telling you how He has impacted it. I’m so thankful for that! 

My daughter recently went to a small group meeting with us and noticed the other members talked about times they’d gotten totally away from God, but her dad and I didn’t have those same pasts. My testimony may sound a bit boring, but I only thank God for all the things He’s spared me from. 

I find hope in knowing God has never let me down or forgotten me. And I find hope in stories from God’s Word that remind me what waiting on God can look like.

Waiting on God in the Old Testament 

From childhood, I’ve known the story of Jonah getting swallowed by a whale. It’s one that comes up in children’s Bibles and Sunday School lessons. 

But it wasn’t until I taught a Sunday School lesson about Jonah a few years ago that I saw Jonah’s testimony of waiting.

What got to me in teaching this story is the three days Jonah spent inside of that whale. For three days and three nights, he sat in a dark, stinky place. He surely thought he was going to die there. 

He had to have regrets for not following God’s leading to go to Nineveh. Chapter two of Jonah includes his long and pleading prayer to God. 

“When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.”

Jonah 2:7 (NIV)

The Bible just tells us Jonah prayed this prayer to God. It doesn’t tell us when he prayed it. 

I think getting swallowed by a whale would be such a monumental and dramatic life moment that you’d pray right away. After all Jonah had been through until that point, I think getting tossed out of a boat and swallowed by a fish would have been his moment of repentance.

So if we assume Jonah immediately saw the error of his ways and asked for God’s help, then we also see that Jonah had a time of waiting on God. He stayed in that whale for three days and three nights — probably even after he prayed. Jonah was definitely in a waiting period. 

He didn’t know the whale was going to spit him out. He couldn’t have known how God was working behind the scenes. Instead, he just had to sit and wait. 

In the end, Jonah lived when the whale spit him out onto dry land. And, the people in the city of Nineveh were saved. They turned from their wicked ways and got back on track with God. 

Jonah got a bit perturbed at God’s compassion and mercy for them. Even though he should have learned a lesson while waiting on God inside of a whale, Jonah still had a ways to go. 

God was faithful to remind Jonah of how great His love is, even after all of that.

That’s how seasons of waiting can go. We can learn lessons in the waiting and think we’ve figured them out. Then, bam! A new time of waiting on God arrives, and we again have doubts creep in.

Waiting on God in the New Testament

Another example of waiting on God that I’ve looked at different in the past few years comes in the resurrection story. The story of Jesus Christ dying on the cross and coming back from death is one that I have heard so many times as a child and an adult. It is the most hopeful story of all time!

A couple of years ago, though, thinking about Saturday struck me. This day is sometimes called Silent Saturday. It’s the day God was quiet. 

On Friday, He was present as Jesus took His last breaths. God may have turned away, but He was there. 

We certainly know He was there on Sunday when the tomb was empty. But what about on Saturday? Where was God on Saturday? Why did we have to wait for Him to move? Why didn’t he immediately raise Jesus from the dead?

Obviously, I can’t answer all those questions. But I at least know where God was on Silent Saturday. He was still on His throne. He didn’t forget about humanity for one single moment. 

While I don’t know any theological reasons, the takeaway I get from Silent Saturday is to hang on and hope. Know God has a plan and perfect timing. While we are waiting on God, He is working things for our best.

On the days of waiting and pleading and wanting God to move, we can rest assured that He hasn’t forgotten us. He may be silent at the moment. Or He may send us encouragement along the way. But there is hope in the waiting, because He is always at work. 

I also think Sunday is all that much more special because we had to wait for the appointed time. We had to see if Jesus was going to come back. 

What if He didn’t? How many doubts the early believers must have had after He died! 

After the wait, the good news was even better. After times of waiting on God, we appreciate all the more His movement and blessing that comes in due time.

What it means for us

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

Though waiting isn’t listed, I have learned there is a time for waiting. Waiting on God can seem pointless, hopeless and frustrating. 

I struggle with getting discouraged. But my Heavenly Father is always faithful and always good, even when my situation isn’t. He holds me close. And even in the waiting He is working.

We can rest in that today and every day. We can remember all the times He’s been faithful and trust that He is working and moving in ways we can’t see. 

For the most difficult times, we can ask Him to strengthen our faith. When our hearts break in the waiting, we can ask for His inner peace and comfort. He will be with us every step of the way.

One day, we’ll look back and see why we had to wait, whether that’s here on earth or in heaven. But I know beyond all doubt that whatever that reason is, God is using it for good. 

He has plans to give us a future and a hope and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). Rest in that as you wait.

Learning to have patience

In times of waiting on God, we are challenged to learn the virtue of patience. Developing a patient heart is something we cannot do on our own.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit for a reason. We cannot live with patience during difficult situations on our own.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

The power of the Holy Spirit helps us learn the value of patience during hard times. He allows us to go beyond our own understanding and have patience today in the long wait.

Real-life tips for having more patience

As always, our first step toward living a life filled with patience is to pray and get into the Word of God. Along with that, some everyday life tips can help us in our need of patience as well.

1. Live in peace.

When life is peaceful, patience is easier, because it’s really not necessary.

Check out what Paul says:

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)

If we are walking in the way God has for us while being humble, gentle and loving, we are able to maintain a bond of peace that allows us to more easily have patience. It all works together.

2. Help others.

A few years ago, I knew I was going to have to deal with a person for a few days in a row who really challenges my patience. After praying about it, I determined my best strategy was to keep my hands busy, my mouth shut and my head down.

Sometimes helping and giving to others gets us out of noticing all the things that try our patience. We focus more on what we can do for others and less on what others are doing to us.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV) talks about this very thing:

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV)

3. Don’t lose hope.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Romans 8:25 (ESV)

When we have hope for the future and what God has for us, it’s easier to be patient and wait for it. Finding that hope also comes through God.

We can trust that God has better things for us, so we can have hope on the long journey. Even when we can’t see what’s happening, God is doing good work that we will see in proper time. 

If we can keep our hope in God, then we can trust Him for His goodness and have patience in the waiting.

Prayers for patience while waiting

I have often heard people admonish others to not pray to have more patience, because God gives it to us by putting us in more situations where patience is needed. And the truth is, we don’t like to wait.

Though it may sound challenging to ask for patience because you worry your patience will be greatly tested, remember that you’re going to have times like that anyway. Why not go into them with God on your side?!

These five simple prayers are ideal for times of waiting on God. Use them as daily prayers or situational prayers.

A prayer for patience while waiting during difficult times

Dear God,

Right now, life is hard. My heart is aching, and I’m not sure what is going to happen next. I know that everything is part of your plan, even when I can’t see it. I ask that you comfort me and help me as I’m waiting.

Remind me when my doubts and fears start to take over that you are in control and on your throne. I trust you and seek your will above all else. Let your Holy Spirit be my constant companion as I go through this difficult time. 

Hold me close, Father. Give me faith to believe that you do have plans for my future that are full of hope.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for waiting during difficult times

A prayer for becoming a patient person

Dear God, 

I am struggling right now. I know that your timing is always best. You understand slowness in a different way than I do because our time is not the same.

Waiting can be hard for me. I struggle to be patient. I know that persevering produces endurance especially in the waiting. But it can be hard to persevere when things go sideways.

Give me strength through the Holy Spirit to live as a patient person. Settle my mind and emotions when they get away from me.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for becoming a patient person

A prayer for being patient with others

Dear God,

I ask that you fill me with your hope, grace, mercy, strength and patience so that they overflow from me. Give me wisdom and discernment on how to best interact with everyone I come in contact with. May my heart be so full of love and you that my patience isn’t challenged. It just comes naturally.

And on the hard days when I am discouraged and tired, Lord, give me encouragement to keep going.  

Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for being such a loving Father to teach me lessons time and again.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

A prayer for being patient with others

A prayer for the testing of your faith

Dear God,

Right now, I really feel like my faith is being tested. I know that you are always at work, but I’m just not seeing anything happening right now. I ask that you help my unbelief.

Help me to see you and your goodness at work in my life as I wait on you. Give me strength to be faithful and trust you above all else. 

I ask that you give me great understanding of who you are and who I am in you.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for the testing of your faith

A prayer for waiting for blessings

Dear God,

I know that you haven’t brought me this far in life to give up on me now. Fill my heart and head with reminders of all the times you’ve been faithful in the past.

Help me to cling to those memories and trust more completely in you and the blessings you have for my life. Even when I’m in hard times, I know that you are always working all things for your good.

Open my eyes to see you at work in and through my life in everyway. Show me your goodness and blessings that I experience daily.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for waiting for blessings

45 Positive parenting quotes that are inspirational

Positive parenting quotes to encourage moms and dads

Parenthood is wearisome and wonderful. It is exhausting and exhilarating. Sometimes on the bad days just knowing that you aren’t in it alone is encouraging. 

For that reason, I’ve put together a list of 35 inspirational parenting quotes to encourage and amuse you along your parenting journey.

You’ll find a mix of inspirational quotes, funny parenting quotes about real family life and even some good advice. 

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Through my years as a mom, I’ve learned there is no such thing as perfect parenting. But, we can all work hard to be the best parent we can be.

At the end of the day, what matters most is our unconditional love for our children. The most powerful way we can raise a good kid is simply giving our kids much love and much time. 

Whether new parents or seasoned parents, we’re all in this together!

Inspirational parenting quotes

“Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” — Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States

“You’re on a long journey. You’ll have good days and bad. And sometimes they happen all in the same day. Don’t get bogged down by the bad moments. Know that it really is worth it and whatever phase you’re in really does end.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “60 Motherhood truths

“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” — Matthew Jacobson, blogger

“Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.” — Gary Smalley, family therapist

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill, author

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” — Angela Schwindt, a mom and coach

“There are many ways to measure success; not the least of which is the way your child describes you when talking to a friend.” — Anonymous

“My children aren’t a burden or annoyance; they are my greatest masterpiece.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “Back to school blues

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6 KJV

“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” — Elizabeth Stone, author

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” — Billy Graham, evangelist

“So often, children are punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves. ” — Rebecca Eanes, author and positive parenting advocate

“Great memories are often made in the small moments. The greatest gift you give your children is your time.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” — Sue Atkins, parenting coach

Ruth Bell Graham quote about parenting

“As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.” — Ruth Bell Graham, author

“We’re all wondering if we’re messing up our kids or even being good parents. Moms everywhere doubt their abilities and choices. We worry if our kids are OK and fret over whether we’re spending time doing the right things with them. We are doing the best we can in the midst of the chaos and exhaustion.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger

“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” — Bill Ayers, elementary education reformist

“The best way to make children good is to make them happy.” — Oscar Wilde, author

“We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.” — Henry Ward Beecher, minister

“Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children.” — Charles R. Swindoll, pastor

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” — C.S. Lewis, writer

“Childhood is fleeting, so let kids be kids and cherish the time you have together.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President

“A Mother’s Promise”
I will love you completely and fully no matter what you do.
I will work hard to make sure you get any help you need.
I will always be your soft place to land.
I will pray over and for you as long as there is breath in my body.
I will protect you to the very best of my ability.
I will be there to lift you up when life kicks you down.
I will be your biggest fan forever and always in everything you do.
I will fail and make mistakes, but I will always do my best.
I will forever be thankful and grateful that I get to be your mom.
— Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” — Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist 

“Our greatest national resource is the minds of our children.” — Walt Disney, cartoonist

“Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.” ― Erma Bombeck, newspaper humor columnist

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ― Peggy O’Mara, journalist and publisher

“You will lose yourself for a while after the baby is born, but you’ll come back. Slowly, over time, you become more you again, yet different in a way you’re OK with.” ― Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “60 Motherhood truths to inspire you and make you laugh

Barbara Johnson quote about parenting

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” ― Barbara Johnson, literary critic

“The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.” ― Frank A. Clark, radio broadcaster and writer

Humorous parenting quotes

“Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they’re born, and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.” — Ray Romano, actor and comedian

“I came to parenting the way most of us do — knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.” — Mayim Bialikactress and neuroscientist

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” — Franklin P. Adams, columnist

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” — Phyllis Diller, actress and comedian

“Having a child is like getting a tattoo … on your face. You better be committed.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, journalist

“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” ― Ewan McGregor, actor

Parenting quote from Robert Fulghum

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” — Robert Fulghum, author

Real family life parenting quotes

“Parenthood…It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.” ― Peter Krause, in the American T.V. series “Parenthood”

“Motherhood is a constant learning process that requires flexibility and a sense of humor. And just when you think you have it all figured out, your children like to remind you that you certainly don’t.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “Motherhood requires a sense of humor

“It is time for a return to childhood, to simplicity, to running and climbing and laughing in the sunshine, to experiencing happiness instead of being trained for a lifetime of pursuing happiness. It is time to let children be children again.” ― L.R. Knost, author and social justice activist

Family history and positive parenting quote from Maya Angelou

“No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” — Maya Angelou, author and poet

“What the world needs is not romantic lovers who are sufficient unto themselves, but husbands and wives who live in communities, relate to other people, carry on useful work and willingly give time and attention to their children.” ― Margaret Mead, anthropologist

“A broken family is a family in which any member must break herself into pieces to fit in. A whole family is one in which each member can bring her full self to the table knowing that she will always be both held and free.” ― Glennon Doyle, author

“You’ll have many moments when your husband, your children and your dog all need something from you at the exact same time. This is usually when you’re doing a frivolous activity like making dinner or washing laundry or going to the bathroom.” ― Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “60 Motherhood truths to inspire you and make you laugh

“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ― Erma Bombeck, newspaper humor columnist

Read about how positive parenting works for our family:

How to improve communication in your marriage

8 Ways to communicate better with your spouse

Marriage communication is on the list of every list of marriage advice and characteristics of a good marriage. And it’s rightly so. Effective communication is vastly important. 

In my nearly 25 years of marriage, my husband and I have learned a few things about the importance of communication. We’re not perfect and still make mistakes, but we have much better communication skills now than we did on the day we said “I do.”

Married couples have so many things they need to discuss: their relationship, finances, parenting, household chores, schedules and so much more. Inevitably, difficult conversations are also part of life for any married couple.

We’ve learned that along with being honest with each other, there are right and wrong ways to communicate well whether we’re having serious or mundane discussions.

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1. Watch your tone of voice.  

At the top of the list has to be tone of voice. My husband knows me better than anyone else. So when I say the right words but with the wrong tone of voice, he is far from fooled. 

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I’ve found this to be true even when I want to take care of him. Like if I ask whether I can make him something for lunch when I’m making food for the rest of us, I can easily say it frazzled or sincere. How I say it makes all the difference. 

Being passive aggressive or sarcastic cause communication problems. My husband and I made a deal when we were first married that we shouldn’t allow passive aggression to be part of our relationship. We’ve mostly stuck to that which has contributed to our successful relationship.

2. Be aware of your body language.

Another important communication skill has nothing to do with words. Nonverbal communication says a lot. 

I’m pretty good at taming my tongue, but sometimes I struggle to tame my facial expressions. That’s especially true with my husband because he knows me so well. He can tell by my face and actions whether I’m feeling grumpy or irritated. 

I’ve found the best way to to have a healthy communication style is to talk about issues before they go too far. Sharing my challenges or frustrations with my husband helps us have better marital communication.

We are able to work through the issue if it is a relationship one. Or he at least able to understand where I’m coming from in the challenges of the day.

Along with speaking volumes, our body language also lets our spouses know whether we’re really listening to them or if we’re distracted. Good communication skills include being a good listener.

Especially for meaningful conversations, you want to maintain eye contact and truly pay attention to what your spouse is saying.

3. Make sure it’s a good time to talk.

Early in our marriage, I learned that I can avoid strife by simply asking my husband if it’s a good time to talk. He does the same for me. 

Then we can finish a task if we need to or put down electronics or whatever we need to do to devote our attention to the other person. It’s one of the effective ways to make sure you each have the other’s undivided attention.

This has continued to serve us well in working from home. We share an office. Throughout the day, we usually need to talk to each other about something and will ask first if it’s a good time or for the other person to let us know when they have a free minute. 

It sets us up for good communication from the start — even about small things like what the kids’ schedule is that day.

4. Remember nobody is a mind reader.

Another lesson I learned about communication early on in our marriage was that I couldn’t expect my husband to know something I didn’t tell him. Instead of just assuming he knows something is important to me, I tell him.

He has a different perspective on life and situations than I do. In order to have a great marriage in the long run, you need to be able to share what’s going on inside your head.

I want to meet my partner’s needs and be a good wife. I can’t meet my spouse’s needs if I don’t know what he’s truly thinking and vice versa. At the end of the day, he’ll only know I need or want something if I tell him.

I also have learned my husband doesn’t always know what is bothering me or what I’m stressing out about unless I tell him. He can almost always tell something is up, but he can’t be there for me sometimes unless I allow him by sharing with him what’s going on in my head. 

5. Pay attention to your phrasing.

Communication ramps up into an argument pretty quickly when we pull out phrases that accuse. We all go on the defensive when we feel attacked, and communication issues run rampant.

Instead of saying something like, “Why don’t you ever make dinner? I have to do everything around here!” A great way to rephrase that next time is, “I’m overwhelmed and need help. Can you make dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays?”

You’ll end up with what you were wanting but you won’t have to have an argument in order to get there. Your spouse will understand what’s going on with you and how he can help. You’ve opened the door of communication so that you can truly share with each other.

6. Don’t use words to hurt.

I know the things that bother my husband the most, just as he knows the same about me. The best thing we can do is stop ourselves from using that in the middle of a disagreement. You don’t want to break trust that is hard to get back.

Beyond just being poor communication, using words that hurt are going to tear down your relationship and undo all the hard work you’ve put into it. Words can hurt.

The other rule that we made from the beginning of our marriage is if either of us ever brings up divorce, we’d better mean it. I mean that in we don’t want to throw around threats that we don’t mean. 

We can get upset and disagree, but we don’t want to do lasting damage to our marriage and relationship. Setting boundaries for ourselves on what we say can lead to a happy relationship and healthy marriage that will last.

7. Listen to understand, not just for your turn to talk.

While it’s important to be aware of what we are saying with our words and body language, communication can’t happen unless we listen. And that sounds much easier than it is!

When my husband is talking with me about something important, I do my best to actively listen and make sure I’m paying attention, not just waiting for my turn to talk or formulating my response inside my head. 

I’ve also learned that I usually do really enjoy hearing his point of view. He has great insights — which is one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place!

8. Know when it’s time to table a discussion for the moment.

Sometimes it’s just not a good time to have or continue a conversation. Maybe you’re too upset and know if the conversation continues you’re going to say something you’ll regret. 

Or maybe you’re too distracted to really listen. Maybe you’re just too tired to continue talking. Tell each other and agree to come back to the topic — then do so!

Often our best time to chat about things is just before bed because the kids aren’t up and interrupting us; this was especially true in our days of having young children. 

But, I’m not a night person. Some nights I’m literally just too tired to have a good conversation about a serious topic. 

When I’m tired, I get irritated and emotional much easier. (Who doesn’t?!) I opt to tell my husband that I want to have the discussion but I just can’t at the moment. And then we find a better time to talk later.

Setting aside time for conversations like a date night where you go out to dinner and just talk can be really helpful for these intense conversations.

Bonus tip: Try a shared journal

You can also build a healthy relationship by spending quality time together with a couple’s journal. It’s a great way to express appreciation for one another and grow closer in your relationship. Be sure to check out “The Christian Couple’s Journal” on Amazon now to take your relationship to the next level!

The Christian Couple's Journal

Don’t miss the latest release from Families with Grace and Stacey A. Shannon: “The Christian Couple’s Journal.” Elevate your marriage and faith with “The Christian Couple’s Journal.” 100 days of prompts, Bible verses, date ideas and reflections to strengthen your bond. Grow together in just minutes a day!