47 Things I did by Myself or With My Sister as a Latchkey Kid Growing Up

Some of you don’t know what it’s like to grow up without a bunch of neighbor kids to play with.

Some of you don’t remember having days on end without a mom or dad at home telling you what to do or entertaining you.

Considering all those parents who suddenly find themselves working from home and are looking for ways to keep their kids busy without devices and without friends and without your constant input, I thought these ideas might help you.

So … here’s 47 ways I occupied my time growing up as a latchkey kid in an urban area without electronic devices. Looking at this list makes me extra thankful for my sister. Even though we fought, I’m so thankful I had her.

Read books – lots of books – to my stuffed animals, to myself, outside, inside, in the attic, in the basement, in my bedroom, in the living room, picture books, chapter books, old books, new books, fiction, non-fiction, short, long … lots and lots of books.

Built forts with chairs and sheets

Made zoos with stuffed animals

Climbed trees

Jumped rope

Hula-hooped

Swung on our swing set

Made kites out of all kinds of stuff

Made paper airplanes 

Made paper snowflakes

Made signs and cards for my mom and dad

Played croquet 

Played badminton 

Played tennis at the high school a few blocks away

Played Connect Four

Played Guess Who

Played Pay Day

Played cards

Played school 

Played house

Played dress-up

Played with an old doll house

Played with my cat

Looked at old photo albums

Made a newspaper to sell to my neighbors for 20 cents each

Used an encyclopedia to write articles about animals I liked

Made up jokes and wrote them down

Recorded nonsense of all kinds on a tape recorder

Drew pictures with pencil

Drew pictures with chalk

Painted with watercolors 

Colored coloring books

Put together puzzles

Made stuff with wood scraps, a hammer, some nails and glue, and sometimes even my dad’s drill press and handsaw

Made-up crazy recipes in the kitchen

Made real recipes in the kitchen

Napped all over the house – on floors, in closets, behind doors, on couches – but rarely in my bed

Played piano

Fought with my sister

Made up with my sister

Blasted music and sang along, while acting out the lyrics, with my sister

Took care of whatever extra pets I had at the moment – hermit crabs, fish, turtles, frogs, mice, hamsters, gerbils, or stray kittens

Took a walk around my neighborhood 

Picked flowers 

Rolled down the hill next door

Played in the sprinkler in the summer or in the snow in the winter

Day dreamed on my front porch

As we have this time on pause, let’s give our kids some time to return to the simpler things, things that don’t have to be plugged in, things you don’t have to have a crowd to do, things that use your creativity and (dare I say) things that invite you to be a little “bored.” 
Being bored isn’t always bad.

Humility or Pride? Two types of people.

In reading Luke 23, the account of the crucifixion of Jesus, I see two reactions: pride or humility.

Pilate finds no guilt in Jesus, yet sentences Him to death to appease demands of the crowd. Pride.

Herod treats Jesus with contempt and mockery, dressing Him in splendid clothing, sending Him back to Pilate. Pride.

Jesus cries out to His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Humility.

The soldiers mocked Jesus, offering him sour wine, saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Pride.

One of the criminals crucified with Jesus, mocks him, saying “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Pride.

The other criminal recognizes his own guilt and Jesus’s righteousness and asks for Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. Humility.

A Roman centurion praises God saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Humility.

The crowds return to their homes beating their breasts in grief over what they’ve just witnessed. Humility.

Which type of person are you? Be honest with yourself.

Are you seeking the truth with humility or pride? Do you want to know the truth, no matter what it costs?

We can either humble ourselves and seek God’s face, asking for His grace and forgiveness, or we can harden our hearts in pride, scoffing and mocking at the message of the gospel.

I have been both.

I will be forever thankful for the grace of God that forgives even the blasphemous who turn to Him in faith.

God is giving the people of the world time right now to consider their own mortality. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. Be thankful that God has given us this opportunity to wake up, so that we can be born again TODAY to begin our new lives with Him TODAY.

If you want to make this choice, let today be the day. I would love to read through the Bible with you or talk about it more.

If you want to surrender your life to Christ, ask Him. He will not turn you away. And then find someone to help you in your new life with Christ. I’d love to walk with you on your faith-journey.

God is real, friends. He wants you to know Him and trust Him.

Nothing Wasted

Are your kids wasters? Mine are, and in this time of conserving paper products and groceries and cleaning supplies, I am noticing their wastefulness even more!

Quit using so much barbecue sauce.

Did you need that many paper towels?

Don’t waste that cleaning spray!

Today, when I was talking to my kids about being good stewards of the things that God has given us by not wasting them, I was reminded of how important it is to be good stewards of the other precious gifts that God has given to us: our time, our talents, and our testimonies.

Which is worse: wasting barbecue sauce or wasting your life?

Which is worse: wasting paper towels or wasting your spiritual gifts and God-given abilities?

Which is worse: wasting Windex or wasting the life-changing message of the gospel?

How can you make the best use of your time, talents, and treasure today?

But, just know that God never wastes a thing. He always has purpose for everything He does. You can trust Him.

Scripture Memory with all Ages

I started memorizing scripture with my kids when they were toddlers. I was amazed at how much my children could memorize when they were barely speaking in sentences!

My kids are all creative – some so more than others – but I’ve encouraged all of them to draw at some level. So, one common way we worked on memorizing a scripture verse was to illustrate it with pictures.

Here’s what Proverbs 12:1 looks like from my wide range of ages — many years ago. I’d love to see your kids project!

Easter Isn’t … Some thoughts for this year’s Covid-19 Easter celebration

Easter isn’t about bunnies and baskets and eggs.

Easter isn’t about marshmallow¬†chicks and jelly beans and chocolate candies.

Easter isn’t about floral dresses and white hats and black patent leather shoes.

Easter isn’t about freshly baked ham, and cheesy potato casserole and jello salad.

Easter isn’t about seeing our grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and babies.

Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is about giving thanks for His sacrifice on our behalf.

Easter is about reflecting on the new life offered to us through Jesus’s power over death.

Easter is about reminding ourselves that our days are numbered and that God holds every one in His hand.

This year, Easter is going to look different than Easters past, but maybe that’s good.

We might not gather together for egg hunts, but we can gather together in our hearts to celebrate the resurrection power that is STILL available today through faith in Jesus Christ.

No power of hell or scheme of man, certainly no virus here on earth, can have victory over the One True Almighty God.

Thirsty?

This morning I picked these pretty yellow flowers and put them in this little vase. Within a few hours, they had drank up every drop of the water and wilted. I refilled the vase and within an hour they had perked right back up again.

It got me to thinking about how quickly I can feel wilted … and how I easily I can be refreshed when I take the time to go to the fountain of living water.

In John 4, we read the story of a Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at a well. Jesus invites her to drink of the living water that He can give her, promising that she will never be thirsty again. Does this mean that the woman will never need to drink water again? No, I’m quite sure that’s not the case.

But, does Jesus mean that this woman will never need to pray or read the scriptures or fellowship with other believers again, if she drinks of the spring of living water that He is offering to her? No, it doesn’t mean that either. This spring of living water is the spring of eternal life, but she would still need, the daily living water that is offered to us through communion with God.

Let me share with you SEVEN ways I’ve found to refresh my soul when I am feeling wilted

  1. Read the Bible – I know, I know … Duh … But, seriously, friends, get out your Bible and read it. Take five minutes or ten or sixty. Read a Psalm. Read John. Read 1 Timothy or 1 Peter or 1 Thessalonians. Read it.
  2. Write out a verse – Pick a verse that you just read, or a verse you saw on your coffee mug this morning, or a verse that God stuck in your head out of nowhere, or a verse that you saw on Facebook, and write it down. Write it with a dry erase marker on your window or patio door or mirror. Write it in fancy script on a note card and mail it to someone. Write it down on the back of an envelope. Write it.
  3. Sing a worship song – I have an ongoing playlist on my YouTube channel called “Worship Songs” where I add worship songs that I love. (I’ve got over 150 there at the moment.) I can just click “shuffle” and I’m drawn into the throne room of God. Or I pop open “Pandora” to the Shane & Shane Hymns channel. Or I just start singing whatever song is in my head that moment. Sing it.
  4. Pray from the heart – God is always ready to hear us, whether we’re praying aloud or silently in the secret place of our hearts. You can pour out whatever is going on. Praise Him for who He is in the midst of a trial; Thank Him for His blessings past, present and future; Confess to Him all those ways you mess up, no matter how big or small; Ask Him for whatever you need. Pray it.
  5. Get outside – As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” There’s something incredible about getting outside – even if it’s cold, even if it’s hot, even if it’s snowy or rainy or sunny. Grab a chair outside on your deck or balcony or porch or whatever you’ve got right now. Or take a walk if the street’s empty. Outside it.
  6. Connect with someone else – I like being alone, but there’s something really special about letting someone else in when I’m down. Call or text your husband or a sister in Christ. Let someone else know you’re struggling and ask them to pray for you. Don’t let this time of “social distancing” keep you from your family in Christ. Connect it.
  7. Journal – I don’t do this as often as I wish, but sometimes writing down how I’m feeling, or even voice-texting a note, really helps give me a new perspective. Sometimes I can hear God’s still, small voice in my heart as I put my thoughts down, plus it’s such a blessing to look back on things I’ve written down months or years ago and see how God has been working. Journal it.

Just one final thought, sometimes we get so used to feeling thirsty and run-down, that we don’t even notice anymore. We’re wilted and we don’t even know it. If it’s been more than 24 hours since you prayed or read the Bible, trust me here, you need a drink. He’s ready right now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you reconnect with God when you’re feeling wilted?