All posts tagged: #family

Long Days of Small Things – World Changer Wednesday

“Long Days of Small Things is a book that looks at the real life work we do in our everyday lives, and finds God right there in the midst of it. We think of spirituality as something that happens in our minds, in silence. We are taught that our bodies, our mess and complications and noise hold us back from being with God. That doesn’t leave a lot of hope for moms, whose pregnant or post-partum bodies, newborns, toddlers, and van-full of carpool kids have no end of loud, messy, physical, chaotic needs.” – Catherine McNiel

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Heroes or Neighbors?

(featured on Evangelicals for Social Action September 13, 2016) “So what does this have to do with refugees?” I asked my kids at breakfast. “I don’t know. Maybe the naked part?” my son offered. “He’s naked? That’s what ‘stripped him of his clothes’ means? He’s lying naked on the road all beat up?!” my youngest daughter asked, shocked. “Yeah, it makes me think of those people washed up on the beach. The ones trying to get away from ISIS,” my oldest daughter thought aloud. I swallowed hard. We were reading the Good Samaritan story for clues about how God might want us to treat refugees for our Family Compassion Focus this year. This graphic imagery wasn’t on a webpage or TV news; it was in the Bible. That day we weren’t going to rush past the hard parts of the Jesus’ teaching. We were going to stop and stay there all summer, copying and memorizing every word, reciting them to each other in silly voices to make it stick, and asking each other what it really means. “Why do you think …

The Pruett Family – World Changer Wednesday

Julie is a new friend in Georgia. We were introduced by a visiting mutual friend on a hot summer day, then finally connected on a gray, rainy fall day at Starbucks. We talked about the mysteries of perfectionism, middle school boys, and life in our unique town. But then we started talking about compassion. And it was like we shared our true hearts. We both are trying to raise un-entitled, generous, compassionate World Changers.  I am really excited to learn from Julie and her family. Be warned – her story below is a such a tease!  I want to know 50 more details about each idea she shares.  I hope we will do compassion experiments together in 2016. Introducing the Pruett Family! My husband Paul and I have two children Tyler (age 13) and Avery (age 9). We have been homeschooling for 3 years and feel so blessed to be able to teach our children from a Christian perspective about the world. Tyler is a born leader and perfectionist. He is training for triathlons, plays …

Our 2016 Family Compassion Focus – World Changer Wednesday

It’s always nice to start the New Year off with hope. In 2016 we did this with the help of bacon, our best friends, and a new Family Compassion Focus. As I’ve mentioned so many times before, last year was tough. Moving, grieving, re-starting. We have a lot more reflecting to do, but I think we learned more about compassion by needing it instead of giving it. We were hurting and needy, and felt love from old and new friends, God, and each other. I think that’s going to shape things for a long time. This was our fifth time officially choosing a Family Compassion Focus. The first time we decided to intentionally pursue compassion as a family we voted to love and serve Orphans (you can read about that choice here). Last year we voted to love and serve Haiti (you can read about that vote here). We put our blank pages on the fridge early in the week and all added ideas at random times (you can read about the whole process here). I think this is the …

Update – World Changer Wednesday – The Powells

Last month we met the Powells (that post here). In just a few years their family has grown from casual, convenient compassion to radical, intentional compassion. They sought out new ways to love those hurting around them, and surrendered their free time, family time, money and relationships to do it. I asked Amy if she could share how their most recent World Changing, Heart Changing, Family Changing trip went. I begged for scoop from her and each of her 3 kids. I couldn’t wait to see pictures. When I downloaded them I was captivated. The Powells radiate joy in Kenya. It’s that gift that comes with surrender. When you give what you have to God, he gives you joy. And you can’t help but share that joy with everyone around you. Summary of the Powell’s Trip to Kenya October 2015 by Amy, Allie, Jack, and Cooper This was the third trip to Kenya for me (Amy) and my daughter, Allie, and the second for my sons, Jackson & Cooper. My husband, Corey, has been before, but he was unable …

World Changers We Know – The Severson Family

We have a special affection for the Severson Family.  They seem unintimidated by life.  “Hey! Let’s get married young! Let’s have a baby!  How about another one!  And another!  Now twins!”  They’ve had some hard times, and weathered them with honesty and courage.  My husband and Lane mock each other with abandon online.  Laura runs her zany house of 5 children with patience and humor.   She and I were probably separated at birth because she is also passionate about binders. The Seversons hit the ground running with their Family Compassion Focus in January.  I asked if I could feature them here, so we could learn from them.  They were generous and honest with their answers.  Here are a few things that stand out to me: They are paying attention to the leaning and gifts in their young kids.  They know what delights their kids and breaks their hearts. They modified the process to make it work for them.  They kept it very short, involved just the older kids, and made an executive decision on date night. They set …

Grace and Effort on MLK Weekend

Last week I cheerily encouraged all of us to move forward with our Asking, Listening, and Researching for the Family Compassion Focus we’ve chosen.  I admitted my family needed a January Checkpoint, too, because we hadn’t started either.  And then I shared my sunny, hopeful plan for a cozy family time of learning, something like Little House on the Prairie, but with the internet. Wow.  That did not happen.  You guys, it didn’t happen at all. On Friday my kids didn’t have school.  I don’t remember a lot of that day except for many loud children running around constantly asking for snacks and more screen time.  I struggled to show Compassion to the people I call my own.  It would have been ridiculous to suggest that my kids use the laptop for researching Haiti instead of playing another hour of Plants vs. Zombies. On Saturday I had a mini nervous breakdown from the nonstop noise, entropy, and expectations ricocheting all over my house.  So much Effort required.  So little Grace to be found.  There was a lot of misdirected anger …

January Checkpoint

Hello Everyone! We’re midway through January already.  Have you been researching, listening, and asking questions?  Are you moving forward with your Family Compassion Focus? So far this month my family has dealt with sickness, snow days, traveling Dad, first swim meet, and general elementary school drama, but >we have not done anything< to intentionally learn more about the people we have chosen to love and serve this year. It’s never too late.  Grace abounds. We have a four day weekend coming up in honor of World Changer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Here’s my plan to help my family get started in a fun way: 1.  Review the recommendations and tools for researching found in the Now What post from 1/15.  They are just tips.  Modify it to best fit your family. 2.  Write down a list of all the tips I received on facebook.  My request for ideas about Haiti yielded more than 30 comments.  It’s so encouraging to know so much good is already happening there. 3.  Write out 3 research tasks for the …

Called to Compassion – Since the Earthquake in Haiti

[Part Three of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided we should “Help Haiti” in 2010.]  Recap of the previous two posts about Compassion and the Earthquake in Haiti:   Five years ago a catastrophic 7.0 quake struck Haiti.  My five year old twins heard about it and wanted to help.  This was new.  We tried to listen and equip them to try something.  We did a little bake and craft sale with a $500 goal.  Our friends, neighbors, school, church, and facebook community responded with lavish generosity.  We became a bridge for sending $33,000 to Haiti that year.  It was completely unexpected.  [For the full scoop read “Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti” and “Contagious Compassion – The Earthquake in Haiti.”]   Whenever people hear this crazy story they have lots of great questions: Why do you think this happened? Why did your kids want to do something? Why did the school want to help?  Why did you keep saying Yes? Why was it so contagious? Why did it get so big? I have the same questions. I think these are deep Soul questions.  Based in …

Contagious Compassion – The Earthquake in Haiti

[Part Two of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided we should “Help Haiti.”  Catch up on Part One, “Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti“]   Five years ago Haiti was leveled by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.  Thousands upon thousands of people died, went missing, became orphans, lost their homes, and lost everything.  When my five year old twins heard about it, they declared that we were going to help.  We had never done anything like it before. Our family was catapulted into a new way of thinking with their declaration .  We spent our free time making cookies, bread, and Valentine ornaments to try to help a family in Haiti rebuild their home. Our lives looked really different for three weeks – all our playdates, evenings, and weekends were about making and delivering things with our own hands to help people we didn’t know.  In the end, friends donated $7678.31  – more than 15x our original goal of $500.  Amazing, humbling, and exciting. But somehow not enough. The week of the earthquake I happened to be walking …

Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti

[Part One of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided our family was going to help people in Haiti.] Five years ago, on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I heard about it on NPR on the way home from picking up my kindergartners.  The breathless reporter on the ground described the crumbled buildings with people trapped inside, the dazed children alone in the streets, and the catastrophic injuries (read a summary of the devastation here).  In typical NPR fashion you could hear her boots crunching on broken cement, people crying, and sirens in the background. When she said something about the children there being so vulnerable, and I looked at my bundled up kids singing in the back row of my deluxe minivan and teared up. The kids asked what was wrong. I told them there was an earthquake in Haiti, where Daddy had been two years ago, and that lots of people were hurt, and lots of little kids needed help. We …

Now What?

How to Focus on Compassion as a Family in the Month of January I hope you had a great time voting for a Compassion Focus.  I hope there was easy laughter and secret sweetness as you watched you family’s hearts grow toward something new.  Let’s review what you’ve already done to start a Family Compassion Focus: 1.  Brainstormed ideas for a Family Compassion Focus (tips here) 2.  Voted for a Family Compassion Focus (tips here) 3.  Celebrated your family’s choice (pictures of my family celebrating here) Now you are ready for the next step.  In January you and your family can: 4.  Begin asking questions and researching Asking Questions  Continue making your home a safe place to ask lots of questions.  No shushing or shaming.   Write your family’s Compassion Focus on the top of a blank piece of paper.  Stick it up somewhere (ours is on the cabinet above the fridge, easy to view from the counter where we eat breakfast).  Tell your family, “If you hear anything about Haiti/Hunger/Cancer put it on here.  If …

My Family’s 2015 Family Compassion Focus

How Team Fritz kicked off 2015: 1.  Bacon and chocolate cake for breakfast.  Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints in the background.  Chris’s coffee in his new mug.       2.  Asked a delightful list of questions including: what food do you want to try? what dragon do you want to slay? what famous person would you like to meet?  how far should we bike?  *Note: less questions next year.  I did too many questions.  Chris at one point said, “we’re losin’ ’em.”        3.  Chose and illustrated our Word of Year.  Greta is going to spend the day coloring her mandala, because she’s grateful for mandalas.    The words chosen were Peace, Danger, Persistence, Accomplishment, and Grateful.   4.  Reviewed, discussed, and summarized our brainstormed list of Family Compassion Focus ideas.  Chris is great at leading meetings.  Caleb is great at hopping around while almost breaking things.  I will someday be great at letting my kids be really loud and happy even when it feels so early. 5.  Voted for our …

Vote Today!

Happy New Year! Today is the day our family chooses our Family Compassion Focus.  We brainstormed a week ago.  Had the list up on the fridge since then.  And today we will vote. There is no exact science to this.  It should be fun.  I hope it feels special.  Here is how Team Fritz does it. 1.  We order Chinese Food for dinner.  Long ago my parents took authentic Chinese cooking classes and organized elaborate progressive dinners for a big neighborhood Chinese New Year’s Parties (some time between mid-January and February).  Since then I always crave Chinese food on any day celebrating a “New Year.”  Take out is great because we’re normally pretty tired after being up so late.  And asian food is ideal for my sad gluten-free requirements. The goal is to have a fun meal that everyone will enjoy.  A private, special dinner party for the people in your home.  What food will cause the least amount of fussing?  Is it better to go out to eat?  Would you prefer to cook a …

Now is the Time

Real Life Tips for Your 1st Family Compassion Focus Chat Christmas is over.  You did it!   Gifts were given.  Kids have new stuff.  Sweets were eaten. Family drama is (hopefully) over for now.   School and extra-curiculars are not for another week.   Christmas Vacation for real. More joy +  Less commitments = Softer heart.  When my heart is softer my perspective is better.  I’m more grateful and hopeful.  Things seems less impossible.  Compassion comes more easily. I hope you are thinking about having a Family Compassion Focus in 2015.  Here are some ideas to get started **this week.**

Getting Started – Two-Page Plan for your own Family Compassion Focus

You might like the sound of “Being More Compassionate” and your kids becoming “World Changers.”  But maybe it just seems like big fuzzy happy talk, not practical or helpful.   That’s not my scene.  I hate sunny, hollow promises.  I love implementing big ideas, giving lots of tips, and using lots of metaphors.  That is why this little blog is here, to be practical and encouraging as you and your family journey toward Compassion together.   After our first year of having a Family Compassion Focus, I didn’t have anything tangible for people who said, “I want to do this, but I don’t know how.”  So I made this very simple 2 page table (below) with suggestions for what you and your whole family can think about and do each month to love and serve others intentionally. I’d love to hear how you plan to use this, and learn from your family’s Compassion Experiments. Let me know in the comments if you have questions or ideas.  And please, let me tell your worried heart — if my family, with …

Our Story – How the Family Compassion Focus was Born

[This story was first published on the Reconciled World blog on 12/11/14.] Christmas wasn’t supposed to be terrible. My husband, Chris, slipped his hand around my waist and we smiled, looking at our kids playing with their new toys on top of all the strewn wrapping.   We exhaled and congratulated each other on giving our kids another Christmas to Remember. And then: “You got more presents than me! That’s not fair!” “Your present cost more than mine! That’s not fair!” “I think you should give one of your presents to me! This Is Not Fair!” Our faces went slack. What happened? They knew Jesus was the Reason for the Season. We read the Bible story an hour ago. We had more Nativities than Santas. Where did this ugly entitlement come from? How did our kids miss the point of Christmas? He muttered to me, “This is awful. It can’t be like this next year.” We broke up the fights, assembled some toys and rallied our way toward Christmas cheer. I then remembered seeing a book …