The Crucible of Family

By: Shannon Popkin

DSC_2100My husband and I recently enjoyed a restful weekend away. We basked in beautiful scenery, interruption-free discussions, and the slower pace we had been craving. Before heading home, we took a walk on a golf course, which was beautifully framed with fall colors. As we drank in the orange hues, we prayed together. I asked God for help to love our precious kids well, and for discernment to discipline them wisely.

I sighed as we got in the car, and said, “Thanks, Babe. I feel ready to go be a good mom.” Ken squeezed my knee and pointed the car toward home.

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Smell my Feet?

By: Shannon Popkin

dsc_0248Halloween is the time of year my boys dress up as a Cowboy and Zorro and pose with their weapons pointed at each other, big smiles on their faces, so I can take pictures. Even my daughter, who is in high school still dresses up and goes out with her friends to collect free candy from the neighbors. Then they all come back and sort their loot in the family room. It’s tradition.

We tell our kids that it’s fine to celebrate the good parts about Halloween—the candy and the dressing up and spending time with friends and neighbors. In fact, if we chose to stay inside with the porch lights off, we feel like we’d miss out on connecting with neighbors, since Halloween is one of the only nights of the year that everyone’s outside!

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Holy30 ~ Romans 12:2

By: Shannon Popkin

cream-floral-design-powerpoint-backgrounds (1)Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

When I was in college, I was very interested in God’s input on the Biggies. Things like:

Whom should I marry?

                What major should I choose?

                What should I do after college?

 

I would pray and journal, and look for ‘signs’ from God, like when the cute football player in my chemistry class walked me to my dorm after class.

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Holy30 ~ Ephesians 5:18

By: Shannon Popkin

cream-floral-design-powerpoint-backgrounds (1)Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

It’s not hard to tell if a woman is drunk.

She’s uninhibited, and speaks her mind.

She takes uncharacteristic risks, and doesn’t fret about consequences or what others think.

She does things that she would never, otherwise, do.

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Holy30 ~ Philippians 1:6

By: Shannon Popkin

cream-floral-design-powerpoint-backgrounds (1)Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I wonder if Sarah, Abraham’s wife, experienced new devastation at that certain time each month. The new show of blood must have served as monthly evidence that once again, her body had not produced the baby she longed for. For at least one more month, the family line that was to bless the whole world was not yet a reality. And she and Abraham were just two aging people with big unfulfilled dreams.

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Holy30 ~ Romans 8:5-7

What is Holy30?

By: Shannon Popkin

cream-floral-design-powerpoint-backgrounds (1)Romans 8:5-7
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Years ago, I was out to lunch with a young girl from my church, who was telling me all about a TV show she was really into. I was surprised that this was her ‘thing’ because the show was filled with immorality, violence, and materialism—all themes that represent rebellion against, not peaceful surrender to God.

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The Happily Ever After Without an Addition (part 4)

By: Shannon Popkin

kitchen part 4Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t, you might want to read part 1part 2, and part 3 before you read the conclusion: 

The day finally came. As I welcomed the builder into my bursting-with-potential kitchen, I could hardly keep from hugging him. He followed me about the house, listening to me babble on with my ideas, and then asked if my husband would be joining us. I said, “Oh, he’s heard me talking about this for years, now.”

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Happily Ever After… the Addition?? (part 3)

By Shannon Popkin

Spoiler alert: You might want to read part 1 and part 2 before you read on…

outbakcI was a bit like Cinderella before the ball, humming little songs and dancing dreamily about my kitchen–the same kitchen that would soon be expanding by the magic wand of three big fat checks all rolled up into one!

I decided to wait and call the builder after we got home from the restaurant, just so that everything was official. But before we left the house, I did check the calendar for the following week. I was wondering if I might need to reschedule a few things, since we were probably going to have a hole in the kitchen by then.

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Happily Ever After… the Addition? (part 2)

By Shannon Popkin

ken for blogWe wives who have a way of getting what we want have this tactic called persistence. The more we bring something up, the closer we get to the tipping point–where our husbands abdicate their preferences to keep their sanity.

 This is the tactic I used on Ken as I initiating regular ‘discussions’ about the home addition I was lobbying for. (Read part 1 here.) These were rather one-sided discussions, wherein I did all of the talking and eventually, Ken did the caving. He now describes it like this: “Once that idea [of a bigger kitchen] was birthed, I knew it wasn’t dying any time soon. It moved in and made the house even smaller.”

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Happily Ever After…. The Addition? (part 1)

By Shannon Popkin

kitchen part 1Five or six years ago, I began complaining about our kitchen to my husband. I said that it was too small. You could only fit a tiny round table in the eating area, and there wasn’t nearly enough room if we wanted to have a big group of people over for dinner. Plus, the kids had to get off their stools at the island if I wanted to get the milk out of the fridge behind them.

That’s how small it was. (Shudder!) And the kids were only getting bigger.

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School Choice: Public School

At last minute Shannon decided to chime in on our school choice series!

By Shannon Popkin

DSC_0034When my daughter Lindsay was in kindergarten, we were driving home from school one day when suddenly she gasped—a horrified expression frozen on her face. I asked what was wrong, and she said, “Mommy! I just realized something. We never; I mean never remember to pray at school! Not even one time have we prayed before our lunch!”

I wasn’t sure whether to be more concerned that she had just noticed (it was October), or that she had completely forgotten to pray for so many days in a row!

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Helping a Friend in Crisis

By Shannon Popkin

supporting-a-friend“Yes, but why did you call me?”

I don’t always feel qualified to help my Christian friends when they call, engulfed by a hurtful situation. And I’m sure they don’t feel qualified to help me, either, when it’s my turn to be engulfed. But if we notice all the instances of “one another” in the Bible, we see that calling each other when we feel weak, confused, hurt, or angry is exactly what Christians are supposed to do.

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Messy Hair and Red Eyes

ID-10081590As the kids piled into the van, I noticed Lindsay’s hair, which looked like it hadn’t been brushed in a week. I said, “Lindsay! Did you even look in the mirror today? Your hair is a mess! We never see these people! They’re going to think you are a little ragamuffin… And, oh no! Are those the jeans that are too short for you?”

It was too late. My husband had already pulled out and would not be turning around for longer jeans.

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Parenting Tips From the Best Buy Guy

By Shannon Popkin

(from www.shannonpopkin.blogspot.com, 01.12.13)

ID-10049815“You’re not going to be happy,” I heard my husband say into the cell phone. He was home, checking whether we had a three-prong or four-prong electric cord for our dryer so I could buy the right replacement. Turns out we had no electric cord at all.

We have a gas dryer. With gas hookups. And a new electric dryer being delivered by Best Buy in the morning. Continue reading