Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Change has Arrived!

Hello Friends!

We're so proud to announce the brand new web site for Doing Life with the Traceys. You can find it at www.doinglifewiththetraceys.org or by going to the 91.5 WCIC site at www.wcicfm.org, clicking "on the air" and then choosing Doing Life with the Traceys in the drop-down menu. 

With the unveiling of the new site, we are transferring this blog to the brand new blog on the new site. So, you will no longer see updates on this blog.

We'll be chatting with you about about family life, show stuff like articles and interesting links, and other fun things. I really hope you'll join us on the new site. One other cool thing...on the new site you'll find out about blog-only giveaways, so be sure to subscribe to follow the blog and site updates!

Thanks for Doing Life with us on blogspot and we'll see you at www.doinglifewiththetraceys.org!

Jeremy and Jill

Friday, July 29, 2011

The winds of change are a-blowin' :)

Hey, Everyone!

I'm so excited to say that change is on the way! I know the posts have been rather infrequent lately, but some big things are in the works. Please stay tuned for more updates!

In the meantime, have a great weekend! LOVE!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom is never, EVER, free!


Are ya ready for the Fireworks? The Traceys sure are. Happy 4th of July to you!

As we gear up for the Holiday festivities, I was thinking about the old saying, "Freedom is never free!" I love that and it always comes to mind at times like this. Freedom really is never free whether we're talking about the freedoms we experience in this incredible country of ours or the eternal freedom we have because of what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.

The free gift of God's grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. ~ Romans 3:24 (NIRV)

No, the liberty we have in this country to live where we want to live, say what we want to say, do what we want to do, and worship in they way we choose did not come freely. Those freedoms have been bought and continue to be paid for by the sacrifice of the men and women of our nation's military. If you are now serving or have ever served our country in this way, THANK YOU! Your sacrifice means so much for the rest of us. And, thank you to the military families as well.

Just as our civic freedoms have been purchased by someone else's sacrifice, our eternal freedom has been paid for us. But, the good news continues...this freedom is paid in full! When Jesus gave up His life as the payment for all of our wrongs, He took care of the check for the rest of ALL TIME! Now there's something to "ooh" and "aah" about.

Is this freedom something you can enjoy? Do you have questions about all this Jesus stuff? We'd love to chat with you. Just leave a comment on today's post. And, have a great Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Caribbean Dreamin'

Our daughter, Alyssa, posing on an island in the Caribbean
I LOVE days like today and yesterday. The sky is SO blue. The breeze is JUST right. The sun is warm but gentle and the birds' songs are melodious. You would think I'd love for the weather to be like this all the time. Well of course I would, there's just one problem...I can't get anything DONE! Are ya feelin' me? Every thirty seconds I stop typing, researching, show-prepping, or whatever, and just stare out the window at this picture perfect day.

There's nothing at all to complain about, I guess I'm just wondering if it's OK to daydream off and on throughout the workday because I've been revisiting the island in the Caribbean Jeremy, Alyssa, and I got to enjoy in February on our big family vacation. This weather puts me right back there and I want to start looking for some seashells and building a sand castle. Anybody wanna join me? We'll just be gone for a few minutes and then it's back to work.

What's your favorite thing to do on a day like today?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting past "fine", "nothing", & "I don't know"

I've noticed a pattern already when it comes to asking my 5-year-old about her day. In fact, I heard it again just a few minutes ago. I had called my mom after Vacation Bible School pick-up to see how Alyssa enjoyed the second day.

"What was the best part of the morning?" I asked expectantly.

"Right now, being with Grandma!" She bounced back.

"Oh, that's great! And, what was the best part of VBS?"

"Right n-  OH! (giggles) Um...doing the verse (for her teacher)."

Did you catch it? I've been hearing it a lot lately. At dinner when I ask what was the best part of her day she'll shout out, "Right now!" We've always responded with "Aw"'s and "That's so sweet"'s. But, I'm on to her. "Right Now!" is her version of  "fine", "nothing", and/or "I don't know". Aaaack! Aren't these a parent's most dreaded responses? And, isn't she a little young to have a pat answer?

So, I need to put a little more work into getting some real answers from my little girl. Here are some questions I think might mix things up a bit:

What story did the teacher tell in class today?

Did you have broccoli and spinach for snack?

What was your favorite song during music time?

I'll be adding more to my repertoire as I go along. But, I'm determined to get the real AND the full story from my daughter. I truly want to connect with her and find out what's going on in her beautiful little head and heart.

What gets your kids talking in the car or at the dinner table?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Fun Facts for a Friday...and a Random Giveaway!

Today work started, like most days, with a post on facebook. It was a Random Fun Fact I'd found on my eNewsletter from BabyCenter.com: Did you know that butterflies have about 1,200 eyes? But they're clustered together, so they kind of look like one big eye. Just a little randomness for a Friday. Well, right away three or four friends commented with their own fun facts and that's when the lightbulb went off. How about a Random Fun Fact for Friday Random Giveaway?! Yeah, it's a long title, but it just came to me!

I'm sure you have some  Random Fun Fact stored in that incredible brain of yours. Here's you chance to let it out to shine, baby! Share your Random Fun Fact as a comment on this blog post and you could win. What's the prize? We'll draw a few winners at random and send them, well, a random prize. Could be a T-Shirt, could be a CD...could be TICKETS to Faith and Family Night with the Peoria Chiefs, Lincoln Brewster, and this year's Opening Act winner. I'm just saying...it COULD be. But, you'll never know until you win. And, you'll never win until you comment on this post with your favorite Random Fun Fact. Make sure you include an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

We'll post the Radom Winners Monday morning right here on the blog. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Best feeling in the world!

I used to think the best feelings came from the thrill of riding a roller coaster or the heart pangs of the beginning stages of infatuation. But, I had no idea what was waiting for me as a Mommy! This morning as I dropped off my five year old at Grandma's house, I experienced one of the most incredible moments of my life.

I was getting into the car to leave and Alyssa said, "Mommy, I'll help you close the door!" She pushed the door closed and pressed her little face up against my window and yelled through the closed pane, "I love you!" Her eyes twinkled, her little nose crinkled and she smiled that smile that only comes from a truly happy little heart. Then she blew me several kisses one right after the other. And then she was gone. And I was flying high!

Knowing how much my girl loves me and how happy she is tells me three things:

She knows she is loved by her Mommy and Daddy

She knows her Mommy and Daddy love each other

She knows she is loved by God

I mean, think about it, aren't these the three things it all really comes down to? Aren't these the things that make a child feel confident and secure? And then, knowing these three important things, a child can be truly happy. I know I know, it's a lot to take away from one little moment. And, yes, of course, a child can feel confident and secure in a single parent home as well. But somehow this morning that brief interaction spoke volumes to my heart and encouraged me in a way few others have!

Tell me about a favorite moment you've shared with one of your kids or a loved one recently. What did it speak to your heart?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last Day of School!

Alyssa at 2 1/2 when she started at Redeemer
They say the first day of school is so hard for the Mommies. They're lying. The first day of school is exciting, happy, new! The LAST day of school is the one that's emotional!!
Alyssa on the 1st day of Pre-K this yr
(SIGH) I just dropped off Alyssa for her very last day of preschool and childcare and I can't keep from tearing up just a little. It's amazing to ponder all of the changes she's experienced in the almost three years we've been at Redeemer Lutheran in Peoria. She's learned to use the potty all by herself (for the most part...but we won't go there). She's learned her letters, her numbers, her colors, and how to listen to the teacher. She's transformed from not-so-sure-about-this-place to completely confident and ready for anything. She no longer uses a stroller, a bib, or a booster seat at the dinner table. So many phases and stages have come and gone in this short time. It's definitely the end of a chapter for the Traceys. We no longer have a little girl in the house. She's departed forever and has been replaced by a beautiful, smart, and hilarious big girl who's all ready for Kindergarten. I just want to know why no one waits for Mommy to be ready. Yeah, yeah, it's a good thing. It's the way of life. Kids are supposed to grow. And, I do look forward to the next big adventure. But, I won't hide it, this is emotional! I'll probably shed a tear or two at graduation tonight. (I'm sure I won't be the only one!) Then, I'll squeeze my sweetie and try to hold on to this age for as long as I can. That is, until she says, "Too tight, Mommy, too tight!"

Thank you to all the teachers, aides, helpers, and staff of Redeemer Lutheran Preschool and Childcare for three wonderful years. We love you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a FREE Resource & the winner of a "Child-Like-Fun" prize

Congratulations to melissaH! Melissa, thanks for posting what brings out your inner child. We've got a Child-Like-Fun prize pack for ya including a 91.5 WCIC t-shirt, portable picnic blanket, and a CD. Just email me at jill@wcicfm.org with your shirt size (Adult S-3X) and your mailing address. And, again, congratulations!

How about something else FREE? If you're looking for some encouragement and practical advice for your family in just about every area, you're not alone! Jeremy and I are always looking for some good, solid help and guess what? I just signed up to receive a F.R.E.E. subscription (yes, FREE) to Thriving Family, a bi-monthly magazine published by Focus on the Family. I'd picked up a sample issue this year at the Hearts at Home Conference for Moms in Bloomington and was very impressed. There were articles based on your child's age and what you might be facing, marriage issues, managing money, and more. Very practical and very positive! You can get a free subscription as well. Click on this link for all the info: http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Additions/subscribe-to-thriving-family-magazine.aspx.

I called the toll free number to order my free subscription and didn't have to give anything but my name and address. It looks like if you order on-line, you will have to provide your credit card numbers, but won't be charged anything. Thanks again for all the great posts and enjoy the free mag!

So, what's your favorite parenting or marriage resource? Share it with us in a comment!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So many distractions!

Hi! First a quick reminder...make sure to post a comment on yesterday's blog entry (5.10.11) to be in the running for a fun prize. Tell us what helps you bring out your inner child!

Today I want to share a quote that's really got me thinking. Stormie Omartian, author of The Power of a Praying Parent says:

There is so much in the world to divert our children's attention away from the things of God, and the Devil will come to each child with his agenda and plan to see if they will buy into it. But when we do our part to teach, instruct, discipline, and train our children in the ways of God, then our children will develop a hunger for the things of God.

This is challenging, convicting, and a little puzzling. How do you know for sure if your child is just being a five-year-old and getting really excited about a new passion in life (Star Wars and the Stars Wars Lego game on XBox360) or if the enemy is presenting a temptation to your child to keep her away from the things of God? We don't let Alyssa play video games every day. She plays on the weekend and for a limited amount of time. And, we try to keep her changing the games so it's not always the same one. We read the Bible together as a family. We pray together. We talk about the things of God throughout the day. Still, Stars Wars and that Star Wars Lego game seem to be on Alyssa's mind A LOT! She loves talking about Star Wars, acting it out in the car, playing the game when she's allowed, and now wants to find books at the library about...you guessed it...Star Wars.

So here's the dilemma...do we again shorten the time she's allowed to play? Do we take it away altogether for fear that it's becoming an obsession? Or do we keep on as we have been; allowing her to play for a limited time on the weekends only while making sure she's getting outside to play, ride her bike, etc.? My fear, if we take the game away completely, is that we'd be setting her up to resent us in later years. I mean, we can't remove everything she seems to have a passion for in life that's outside the "Christian Bubble", can we? What if the obsession becomes gymnastics, dance, or horse riding? Am I only afraid of this particular phase because it has to do with so often demonized video game industry?

Another question that comes to mind is, can we use this current interest to draw her nearer to God? We've already talked with her about how "The Force" is a mythical thing but that we, as followers of Jesus, do have a "force" within us that is called the Holy Spirit. A force that guides us to make the right choices and allows us to know more of God. We've talked about how God talks to her through His spirit, helping her make decisions in tough situations, like choosing to stay in bed during nap time even if Mommy's sleeping in the next room and won't hear her walking around.

I feel like we're doing a decent job exposing Alyssa to the things of God every day. But, I don't want to ignore an area that could potentially draw her away from those very things. This is where the hard stuff begins, I do believe.

So, what do you think? Have you faced a similar issue? How did you handle it? And, how do you help your child(ren) develop a hunger for the things of God?