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For Truth with a Texas Twang, join Fireside Talk Radio, the show where women ponder the things we store in our hearts. Host Cathy Krafve invites experts to share their personal stories and talk openly about all the things women care about. You name it, we talk about it.

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Author and thought-leader SharRon Jamison joins Cathy Krafve on Fireside Talk Radio.

Business woman, author, speaker, blogger, minister, and a Friend Maker. Of course, that last one reveals my personal title for SharRon Jamison, not hers! Today, based near Atlanta, SharRon shares wisdom vulnerably as she travels the world spreading great ideas about how to create loving relationships.

Every day, women tackle lots of gut-wrenching responsibilities; we need to support each other. Clearly, even the most successful women commonly feel isolated, insecure, and anxious. Frequently, we hear these refrains as women share their stories with us at Camp Krafve.Fortunately, healthy friendships provide the security and encouragement we all need as we courageously take risks, seeking to reach our God-given potential.

Friend Maker Extraordinaire

Because SharRon epitomizes what it means to be a Friend Maker,  a perfect antidote to the Mean Girl Syndrome, I asked her to expound on some of the great teaching I get via her blog.

“Relationships are so important to me. It took years for me to learn how to be a friend,” she says tenderly. Along the way, she noticed other women struggled, too.

“In fact, some women even shared they felt lonely and felt starved for companionship. They wanted and yearned for confidants; they missed connecting on a deep level. But, they also shared that they feel scared, overwhelmed and isolated because building friendships was so draining or filled with drama,” she shares on her website.

The Secret to Disagreeing Without Disconnecting

Naturally, true friendships require authenticity and honesty, right? But how? Surprisingly, one secret to true friendship includes learning to disagree without disconnecting.

All people hold a God-given purpose, according to SharRon. Contrary to our natural reactions, even the most seemingly disagreeable person may simply be extra-focused on their purpose. Therefore, keeping their purpose in mind can help us extend compassion and patience to all. Okay, to me patience seems like a big chore, especially when I’m having trouble imagining the other person’s purpose!

However, she reveals a powerful secret to becoming a Friend Maker: extending compassion and patience to ourselves, too. Especially when the world tells us to reject ourselves, we should embrace our own unique design, according to SharRon. Why? Because we’re one of a kind! I love what else she says about being unique!

Why Don’t We Trust Our Awesome Uniqueness?

“My father used to highlight the way that people are different. He always used to say you come into the world fully loaded with goodness, grace, and genius,” she remembers tenderly, adding specific details. Her dad believed God designed all people “with ideas to generate income and to have influence. You’re fully loaded with creativity that makes cash. He used to tell us we were a treasure chest of riches.” How encouraging!

In spite of her encouraging, wonderful parents, SharRon knows exactly what she’s talking about when it comes to underestimating her own worth. The child of a Methodist minister, her father cut a wide swath when it came to pushing against injustice. (For how you can make a difference for social justice in your community, click on our articles about Trauma Informed Care.) Yet, even he could not protect her from the racial prejudices she experienced in a newly desegregated school.

Bullying in School

“I started school when integration was still new in Missouri. Even though integration may have been the law of the land it was not necessarily the love of the people,” she says now with gentle integrity. 

As early as kindergarten, she suffered bullying, unintentionally from uninformed teachers and intentionally from kids. For instance, one teacher assumed SharRon was about to attack her, claiming SharRon moved too fast and scared her. In kindergarten! In another example, fellow students jumped her on the playground in second grade and gave her a concussion. (If your child is experiencing bullying, please listen to our podcasts with Tina Meier for great ideas.)Unfortunately, the threat of constant rejection at school, instilled in SharRon a deep need for companionship, even at a high cost.

“It (moving around a lot) made me yearn for being included,” she shares. “I started making friends the wrong way.” She describes her neediness and the pain of self-betrayal. “I started giving parts of my soul away to anyone who gave affirmation and attention.” (Find our entire conversation here.)    

“It took awhile to get over bullying as a child because I started to bully myself as an adult,” she adds. Eventually, the solution was to embrace the truth of her father’s good wisdom; “to understand I was worthy.”

Freedom From the Inner Bully

Now she offers amazing training in easy to remember acronyms, like Relationship GPS (for training on how to build lasting relationships) and CIA (how to create healthy connections). Just to give you a taste for the kind of transferable, excellent material SharRon is creating, GPS stands for Goals, Passion, Struggles and CIA stands for Consistency, Intimacy, and Awareness. (May I encourage you to click here for more from this deep-thinking friend?)

“I was never part of the in crowd,”she says, “As an adult I see that my life was a perfect training ground to do what I do today.”

With enthusiasm, let me share a few of my favorite blogs from SharRon: Should We Be Friends? (This one has a long list of questions and you know how I love questions!), What type of love is that? Expensive or Valuable?, and Break Some Rules and Fix Your Life! Obviously, I could write tons more from our interview. Instead, let me close with a few more of her thoughts. (Find the entire interviews here.)

Unseen, Unknown, and Unheard

“In my coaching practice I always hear people say that they feel unseen, unknown, or unheard,” SharRon shares tenderly. Lovingly, she offers this freeing truth: “Our God-sized gifts never belong behind man-made gates. We were not made to fit because we’re one of a kind anyway!”

Wonderfully, when it comes to our individual differences – our own unique quirkiness – SharRon says, “We are wired to win if we just embrace all those things that the world tells us not to embrace. God made us to be this way.”

The world offers lots of foolish ways to judge ourselves and others; labels, stereotypes, norms, what’s considered pretty, and other societal standards, according to SharRon. So, when people see weird or quirky, she understands their dilemma. Obviously, our uniqueness means people have never seen somebody like us.

“Of course, they’ve never seen such a wonderful masterpiece!” she laughs.

Encouraged and Empowered

“We can love people to healing, we really can,” she assures us. “I believe when people feel they can be vulnerable, they can be honest even if they don’t know how to say something.” By creating room for authenticity in our relationships, we prove the worth of others. 

“They can feel confident and courageous enough to say what they need to say. Even if they have to say it in a messy way,” she laughs. Of course, momentary messiness can be progress when authenticity results!

Happily, a few minutes with SharRon and I feel empowered to reach my own potential. Of course, I couldn’t wait to share her insight with you! Now, I hope you, too, feel encouraged and empowered by this remarkable lady’s wisdom.

Upcoming Adventures: Just Pinch Me!

Also, I’m truly excited to announce Cynthia Tobias will be a guest soon! (Click here for one of  the videos she sends out regularly.) Since the 90s when my kids were little, this amazing thought leader’s training taught us to appreciate learning differences. (What an awesome example of claiming God-given potential early in life!) As a frequent guest on Focus on the Family over the years, inspiration and encouragement follow her around like cute puppies!

Then, Prayer Walking Guru Janet McHenry promised to show up for no telling what kind of inspiration, not to mention her trade-mark humor and down-to-earth attitude. Please, click here to get excited with me about this highly anticipated treat! I’m absolutely giddy about these two amazing and inspiring women!!

May we pray together?

Dear Father, at times, we all struggle, wondering if we fit the description of a worthy friend. Yet, You prove our worthiness because You love each one of us. May we live up to Your friendship by extending Your grace and compassion to others in bucket fulls! Teach us to love ourselves unconditionally. We want to live out proof of Your knack for creating unique Masterpieces! Let our hearts know our incredible worth to You, the Our Truest Friend. You love us unconditionally, with uninhibited delight. Through us, may Your joy extend to everyone we meet today. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What do you love about your best friend? How do your friends encourage you for today’s challenges? What one change did you make in your life to become a better friend?

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts!

If you, too, want to spark companionship in our world, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we interview experts. Please catch their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: Judge Carole Clark, Sarah Cumming, Ben Sciacca and Tina Meier. Also, Anna returns soon for summer fun with kiddos. Or, you can sign up for our blog by clicking here (and we sure hope you do!!!)

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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What We Really Want: Mother’s Day Marvelous with Anna Krafve Pierce

Mothers Day Marvelous: that's the kind of mom you are every day of the year! Anna's kids cut and glued this collage with creative vigor.

Mothers all over the world: We know how powerful you are! What we want is Mother’s Day marvelous every day of the year, right?

Every day, we pray constantly for our children, wanting what is best for them. Steadfastly, we influence our children, willingly making sacrifices for their success. It’s NOT easy to be mom.

As Anna says, “We understand your agony!” Happy Mother’s Day Marvelous from the bottom of our hearts! Yep, we think you’re pretty dang marvelous!

What is Mother’s Day Marvelous?

Marvel means to be in awe, to wonder. For instance, at a well in Samaria, the disciples marveled that Jesus talked to a woman! How hilarious is that? To marvel is be to be astonished and bewildered. In another example, when Jesus stumped the Pharisees in the face of their scholarly testing, they marveled. Perhaps, because He handled their philosophical traps with panache and compassion. Or, maybe because He understood their hearts better than they did.

Soldiers marveled at Jesus’s power. There’s a little edge of disbelief: Is what He just did even possible? Is it okay to do that? Moms, we recognize your good deeds day in and day out and we marvel, too!

Worst Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Okay, but let’s get real. Some gifts are better than others. My worst Mother’s Day involved crunchy scrambled eggs. My young daughters had a microwave cook book. Crack two eggs in a tea cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and nuke 15-30 more seconds. Genius! Just remember to help your kids crack the eggs without any shell pieces getting in there. Otherwise, like me, you’ll have to fake lovin’ those eggs. A perfect example of being Mother’s Day marvelous, by the way! (To hear all the juicy details, tune in to our podcast, here.)

Anyway, we still enjoy the story that went with the eggs! In case your day is shaping up to be more story than you’d like, keep reading!

Easy Crafts In Honor of Your Marvelousness

In your honor, Anna shared a couple of easy crafts. (For more creative ideas and ways to build community, especially in your family, subscribe to our weekly blog here.)

“My children beg to paint right now. So I get out the washable markers because, yes, they’re washable,” she laughs. “I tell them if they cover the paper with markers, then I’ll let them paint.”

When they’re ready, she gives them a tiny bit of water in a sturdy cup and turns them loose with a paintbrush. The water changes the marker color to look like a watercolor painting.

“And it’s easy to wipe up with a baby wipe.”

“If daddy or grandma help the kids, then they can say, ‘Tell me about your picture,’” laughs Anna, “Then, you can write down all the goofy things they say.” Dave and I just received two gorgeous pictures from our grands. My favorite part was all the hilarious ideas they shared, written on the back of their painting. 

Inspired by another mommy friend, Anna gives her kids a pile of their recent creations and a pair of safety scissors. With delight, the children cut away happily. Then, she lets them glue to their heart’s content.

“I let him (her son) reconfigure it all into one bigger piece with glue or tape, whatever he’s in the mood for,” Anna adds.

Best Mother’s Day Gift

In honor of teachers, I’m sharing one of the best Mother’s Days gifts I ever received. When our son was in fifth grade, his teacher helped him create a silhouette of his head. When I opened it, I cried. 

I went by the school to thank her and explain it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’d ever received. (Because, yeah, past Mother’s Days included things like crunchy scrambled eggs.)

Standing in the hall, talking to his teacher, I started crying again!

What If No One Remembers Your Day?

If you suspect your Mother’s Day may be awful, you are just not alone. Even with a great family and a great life and crunchy scrambled eggs still happen.

The trick is to ask for what you really want. For instance, if it’s a day loaded with tension due to past fails, you may need to gently communicate ahead of time. Or, if you’re a single mom, you may need to bring in reinforcements. Either way, knowing what makes you happy and asking for it is key!

Why not plan a Mother’s Day lunch with your girlfriends? Near the holiday, give yourself and a few friends a little treat of togetherness in this marvelous mom journey!

Special Marvelous Connections

For instance, Anna enjoys a special connection with one Mother’s Day Marvelous friend who happened to get married on the exact same day Anna gave birth. On that special day they share, her friend never fails to call and say, ”Happy Day you became a mom!” Together, they’ve developed a habit of honoring each other’s special moments.

“She shows up at my house in significant moments with chocolate and wine,” laughs Anna. Chocolate and wine? Now that’s a friend that gets life’s priorities! Marvelous!

Asking for What You Want

Of course, it can get awkward training your hubby to choose the right gifts. Like when he thinks because you’re short you wear a size small. (Okay, that’s kinda cute.) In fact, the tension can build until it’s just not worth the trouble.

After years of watching me sabotage myself in this area, Anna invented a marvelous game. The Jewelry Game makes gift choosing a fun adventure for your husband instead of a dreaded obligation. Yep, it’s jewelry gift training!

As newlyweds, with her new wedding ring still sparkling on her finger, she stopped at every jewelry counter with a question for him. Which piece of jewelry would you pick?

“It didn’t matter what it was, I would tell him what I liked about it,” she explains, “Then, I would tell him what I would have picked.” She always complimented his choice, letting him know which of his instincts were on track. “It’s such a fun game. He’s gotten really good at it,” she laughs.

Best Jewelry Gift Ever

Some gifts increase in value over time because of the sentiment we attach to them. Anna’s first Mother’s Day Marvelous illustrates how life’s little moments can become especially dear later.

“After our son was born, he (her hubby) picked me out earrings,” says Anna. “It was Mother’s Day, but I was kinda overwhelmed. So, it didn’t register.”

But, soon her little son was old enough to notice her appearance. The first time he noticed her earrings, her heart spoke truth with precision.

“Son, those are the earrings your daddy gave me because he thinks I’m a good mommy,” she heard herself say. “In that moment, the present he (her hubby) gave me two years before suddenly was very valuable to me!” (For more of our conversation about how you can ask for what you want, find our podcast here.)

We Think You’re Marvelous!

Moms, we respect and love you! We’re grateful for you! Together, we’re raising children for the next generation to be a blessing to each others’ kids. We applaud the tender work you do as you mother your children.

As grandmothers, many of us desire to come alongside our adult children and support their parenting in any way we can.

As grandmothers, many of us desire to come alongside our adult children and support their parenting in any way we can.

“And don’t forget mothers-in-law,” Anna adds from personal experience, calling attention to the blessing a great mother-in-law can be, “I’m so grateful she raised my husband. I have a fabulous mother-in-law!” Raising children who become great spouses in our culture is a major achievement!

If You Have a Child in Heaven

For those moms who may grieve for a child, please know we care about your sorrow. Because we hear so many stories from courageous women, we know it’s very common to grieve for a child.

You are not alone, although it can sure feel that way. If that’s your experience, please accept our tenderest condolences. In your honor, we’re scheduled some amazing woman soon to talk about the grief of losing a child. (You can sign up for our blog here to stay tuned for our upcoming adventures!)

Hope for the Future

No matter your family background or present circumstances, you can create blessings for your children. For instance, I truly believe both my daughters are better moms than I ever was. There’s hope in knowing you can give your kids the best you have, then they can turn around and exceed your wildest dreams!

Being Mother’s Day Marvelous is not for wimps. We hope you courageously ask for what you want in life. And, as always, asking for what you want starts by asking the One who hears every prayer and tenderly cares for every heart. May He surround you with those who marvel about your own dear heart!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, we thank You for Your example of parenting. You see our value, even when others don’t remember to honor us. Lord, You even paid the most sacrificial price ever paid for our well-being. Your Son died on the cross for us and for our sin. This is the best gift we’ll ever receive. For this amazing blessing, we thank You from the bottom of our hearts. We marvel. Could such a thing possibly be true? You answer our heart’s longing with unconditional love and companionship. We thank You and rejoice! In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What’s your worst Mother’s Day story? What’s your favorite Mother’s Day Marvelous Moment? Who in your life epitomizes Marvelous Motherhood and why?

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts!

If parenting, grandparenting, and family are your passion, as with us, you may want to check out the podcasts we’ve done with Dawn Franks, Sarah Cumming, and Neida Fran Ward. Don’t forget, Anna is returning soon for more creative fun with kiddos. Or, you can sign up for our blog by clicking here (and we sure hope you do!!!)

If you, too, are committed to sparking companionship in our world, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we’ve interviewed experts. Don’t miss their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: Tina Meier, James Kemp, Charlotte Canion, Alise Cortez, Chris Legg, Henda Salmeron, and Tony Johnson, to name just a few more people we find heroic.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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CPS Worker to Judge, Trauma Informed Care with Carole Clark

Judge Carole Clark learned early in her life to appreciate what the courts could do. Her first job out of college? Child Protective Services. From CPS Worker to judge, she’s seen it all. Now, she shares her story in order to call attention to Trauma Informed Care.

(Above photo: Sweet memories mixed with serious business: Judge Carole Clark took a quick break from serious court concerns to celebrate pet adoption with a friend.)


“I was 22 years old at the time. I had no idea that children were ever removed from their home by the government,” she says now. After presiding over Smith County’s designated family court for 20 years, she’s developed a passion for Trauma Informed Care. 

Through Trauma Informed Care all those involved in our justice system create dramatic and lasting change in families. In the past, family courts tended to see the same families over and over, according to Judge Carole. Obviously, the justice system is groaning under the weight of providing justice to families in crisis.

CPS Worker: Time in Court

Trained in education, she took the CPS worker job almost accidentally. Her husband was an attorney. They moved to Tyler, Texas together in October, with the school year well underway. With no jobs as a teacher open, she opted for another way to help children, CPS worker.

“That job requires you to spend a lot of time in court,” she says. After awhile, she caught on to the problems. There seemed to be a pattern, with the same families showing up in court, endangering the same children, generation after generation. Sadly, nothing seemed to help. No one had solutions. 

Trauma Informed Care

From the beginning, Judge Carole’s passion for helping children inspired her commitment to family well-being. As a young CPS worker, her natural assumptions got a dramatic wake-up call.

“I was stunned that some people were such abusive parents or neglectful parents that they endangered their children so much that the state had to step in and take them away. So I spent six months walking around with my mouth open in sheer shock.” She began to note patterns and seek solutions. Eventually, as a judge, she discovered Trauma Informed Care.

Ultimately, with Trauma Informed care, breaking the cycle of recidivism in our court system means kids get relief. Over the years, cases in her court prove the data.

In example after example, parents who habitually make poor decisions may experience an underlying issue with generational trauma. Fortunately, Trauma Informed Care provides a tool to break the destructive cycle popping up in multiple generations of the same families. (Stay tuned as we learn more about how to bring  Trauma Informed Care to your community in next week’s blog. Or,click here to find podcasts of our interviews with Judge Carole.)

The Lena Pope Home

Growing up in Fort Worth, she attended high school was across the street from the Lena Pope Home. Lena Pope, a nonprofit committed to serving children and families, is still well-known in Fort Worth and throughout Texas. Cultural ways of helping have evolved; we don’t use the word orphanage anymore, it seems. But, back then the term was common. (For more interviews on how to create companionship in families, click here.)

“I can remember asking my mom why they lived there. She told me their parents were dead,” explains Judge Carole. At the time, few people understood that some children could be abandoned due to neglect. Most people assumed that children in group homes were truly orphaned. “Back in those days a lot of things were not real public knowledge,” she adds. 

Soon she was attending Texas Christian University and preparing to be a school teacher. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college,” she adds.

A Heart for the Law

That’s when mutual friends introduced her to the love of her life, a young law student attending Baylor. Instantly in love, they were married, bringing her to Tyler. Her husband’s family viewed law as the family business, with several family members practicing in the courtrooms of Smith County.

While it was agonizing at times, her job as a CPS worker opened her eyes and heart to the challenges in the justice system. (For our interview with Lorie Boruff, Cell 121: How to Respond When Your Child Goes to Jailclick here.) Gradually, she began to have a vision for how the law could help families. After several years, she decided to attend Baylor Law School.

“It was my first time to live by myself,” she laughs, adding, “I lived in a camping trailer they put in a mobile home park.” On weekends, she made the drive from Waco to Tyler, spending time with her hubby at home and studying for the next round of tests in law school. After graduation, “I came home and practiced with my husband and his dad.”

Clear the Court for Caring Solutions

In 1999, she became a judge, presiding over Smith County’s designated Family Court.

“I was very familiar with the court, different aspects of the court,” says Judge Carole, who recently retired. “Over the first five years, I became very frustrated with the child protective service system because I felt like we were seeing the same people over and over. We were not providing services to families that really made a difference.” She grew more and more disenchanted with procedures and laws that exacerbated problems, rather than solving them.

“I thought these children need to be with their families, but their families need to learn to be good parents,” she says. How in the world could THAT be accomplished? It seemed hopeless.

In what Judge Carole views as a series of miracles, long term solutions began to unfold, step by step. Now called Trauma Informed Care, no human could have anticipated the success of the unexpected and effective solutions they developed for courtrooms. Stay tuned because next week’s blog is all about Trauma Informed Care. (Sign up here so you don’t miss it!)

Fostering Justice

After serving twenty years as a Family Court Judge, Carole is taking on the system with an insider’s viewpoint. When she retired recently, folks throughout east Texas made donations to the Judge Carole Clark Trauma-Informed Care Fund at East Texas Communities Foundation. The new fund provides for training so that those serving in courts throughout the United States create lasting change in families. (To make a donation to the Judge Carole Clark Trauma-Informed Training Fund at the ETCF, click here.)

Offering hope and healing is the best way to help families, according to Judge Carole. Of course, healthy families foster justice throughout our land!

In our next interview, Judge Carole explains why traumatic events in families affect several generations. In it, Judge Carole offers hope and effective tools, along with how to contact experts to bring the training to your community. Please click here to be sure you receive our next bog on Trauma Informed Care.

May I pray with you?

Dear Father, You are the Righteous Judge. You alone know every detail of every case before every court today. Please intervene on behalf of families across America who are suffering. Especially for children who are affected, we ask Your mercy. Oh Lord, have mercy! We pray now for all the officials in our justice system who struggle under the weight of traumatized families. Give them wisdom and insight with each individual You bring across their path today, O Lord, so that our justice system can reflect Your glory.

We ask for healing and restoration for those who have been hurt. Help court officials provide tools to those who are willing to recover from old wounds. Help us break the cycle of repeated trauma in generations of the same families. May Your goodness and unfailing love pierce through, with firm guidance and hope. Have mercy, O Lord! We pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What has the justice system in your location taught you about the nature of God? How is your church encouraging those who have experienced incarceration? In your community, what seems to be helping families who struggle with trauma? (It means so much to us when you leave comments below in our comment box! Thank you!!) 

More Ways to Create Healthy Companionship

At Camp Krafve, we strongly support all efforts to create companionship in our families and communities. Just for you, Anna Krafve Pierce offers lots more easy ideas about spending time with creative kids, here. Also, if you’ve ever struggled to write a stack of thank you notes, watch for our “Foolproof Thank You Notes” cheatsheet, which will be available soon! Sign up for our weekly blog, here. In an upcoming bog, we’ll discover why thankfulness frees our children’s hearts

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts

If you, too, embrace justice and compassion in our communities, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we’ve interviewed experts. Don’t miss their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: Doug McSwane, Marcie McSwane, Lori Boruff, Ben Sciacca, Tina Meier, and Colleen Long, to name a just a few of our favorite heroic people! Don’t forget, Anna is returning soon to Fireside Talk Radio for more creative fun with kiddos. Or, you can sign up for our blog by clicking here (and we sure hope you do!!!)

Cathy Krafve, host of Fireside Talk Radio, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Communicator, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang spoken here!

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Creativity and Redemption: the Art of Messing Up with Anna Krafve Pierce

Easter, Creativity and Redemption are three words that go together well. With a few uncharted moments, we can give our kids memories to treasure, especially at Easter. Still, family gatherings can feel a little daunting.

How can we use free time to foster creativity and redemption in our kids’ hearts? My daughter, artist Anna Krafve Pierce co-hosted Fireside Talk Radio recently to brainstorm ideas for making the most of holiday moments.

Two soft, little lambs lean into their mom for comfort. From Easter, Creativity, and Redemption: Surviving Spring Break with Anna Krafve

Happy Easter!

First, Happy Easter! In honor of the resurrection, we made you a little gift. Please click here to download the printable templates we created just for you. Hopefully, these will keep your kids happily coloring, cutting, and pasting. (Feel free to email me directly, if you’re already getting our weekly blog. We really love to hear from you!)

By the way, our free design creates a darling gift box for a candy bar. Pretty genius way to pass along a Bible verse to any of your neighbors, combining creativity and redemption and your kids’ crayons! More good news: according to Anna, any parent can foster creativity in their kids in 3 simple ways.

Three Ways Parents Successfully Foster Creativity in Their Kids

#1 Greet all art work like a valuable gift.

“Most children at some point will bring you art work that’s on a piece of paper. If they’re really little you might not even realize it’s art work until they tell you,” she laughs. “So, it’s always convenient when they can talk.” In this classic approach, Anna suggests letting them describe it to you. If. instead, you try to guess what in the world it is, you’ll miss all that’s in their beautiful imaginations!

“It’s discouraging when people don’t realize you’ve drawn a dragon,” she laughs, offering a common mistake, “when they (mom or dad) think you’ve drawn a dinosaur.” Naturally, the best way to encourage future artists is to receive their art work like it’s a treasured gift. Then, if you’re enthusiastic, they may go make another one.

“That’s instantly practice. Practice is always good for any artistic skill,” says Anna. Plus, parents get a minute more of down time! Win-win! For anyone who wants to excel at art or anything else, Anna emphasizes practice as an essential habit “If you do it over and over again, you will get good at it.”

#2 Complement specific details. 

Surprisingly, you don’t have to focus on the most skilled part of your child’s project, according to Anna. Just by noting the things that interest you, you engage your child’s heart and imagination. Also, calling attention to interesting details conveys a wealth of information.

For instance, praising specific parts of their art teaches them how to focus in on details. Plus, it lets them know what they created matters to you. (Listen in on our conversation for more cool stuff Anna said about combining creativity and redemption for your kiddos.)

#3 Teach your children to observe. 

“The skill of observing makes you a good artist, combined with practice,” says Anna. “You have to notice how things are put together, how different shapes, lines, and color relate to each other.” Certainly, anyone, even parents who don’t think of themselves as artists, can help their child learn to observe.

Practically speaking, she suggests focusing on things that intrigue you. For example, a scientist can point out the way nature interacts. When an adult points out the relationship between animals and their environment, for instance, a creative child learns to pay attention to how things relate. Happily, an artistically gifted child might even note visual relationships the parent never noticed.

We’re ALL Creative

Fortunately for all of us, God gifted all His kiddos with creativity. However, people express their creativity in a myriad of ways. That’s good news for parents raising a bunch of extremely creative kids. (For the signals to watch for that indicate a natural gift for art in your child, find our podcasts here. Or, sign up for our weekly blog, here.)

Naturally, every family contains a unique variety of creative kiddos and adults. Since God made us all in His image, it’s good to keep in mind that ALL creativity reflects His nature. Individual creativity makes parenting a rewarding challenge. Yet, wondering how to keep the kids’ natural creative bent occupied in a healthy way seems to be a common challenge for all parents!

More Creative Ideas for Outdoors

On our podcast, Anna reminded me that any holiday with kids includes extremes in energy levels. Of course, energy levels spike as kids anticipate no school or visiting guests. Plus, imagine all the sweet treats they’ll consume! For high energy moments, she suggests creating extreme sports out of all your favorite games.

For instance, Badminton, Croquet, even Spoons, can all morph into safe, full-body, back yard experiences, with parental direction. Obviously, enforce kid-friendly, consistent rules so no one gets hurt. Then, prepare to laugh; belly laughter can be a full-body sport, too! After a little fresh air and a romp with the family, kids often respond well to offers of quieter activities.

The Quieter Side of Creativity and Redemption

Creativity and redemption is all around us! Especially at Easter, don’t miss the opportunity to teach your children to observe. While you’re outside together, point out all the beautiful things God made. With good observation skills, they’ll be better equipped for life, no matter how their creativity expresses itself.

Finally, since Easter is all about God’s plan for creativity and redemption, why not give yourself a little weekly boost by getting our blog filled with ideas to spark creativity and redemption in all our relationships?

Creativity and Redemption: The Art of Messing Up

Finally, want another way to bless your family when it comes to creativity and redemption? Anna claims one of the best things gracing your child’s Easter is not the stuff in the basket. With fresh insight, she explores the connection between messing up and creativity and redemption.

Lovingly, she offers an example of how to teach your child to master the art of messing up. For example, as a parent or teacher, no matter how much you encourage, there’s always that moment when a kid melts down over their art work.

“Instead of bringing you a present with their artwork, they bring you something that’s a little bit wonky,” laughs Anna. “It has a big mark in the wrong place according to their little hearts and minds.” Sure enough, distress and frustration follow. Dramatically, your child may even rip or wad up his latest creation.

As you try to comfort the inconsolable kid, what do you say? Anna likes to think of those moments as opportunities for everyone! Wonderfully, how you respond to mistakes actually illustrates creativity and redemption to young hearts!

Mistakes: an Opportunity for Creativity and Redemption

“(Redemption requires that) we take what we thought was a mistake and make it be a part of the whole,” she says, “To make it right. That idea was so freeing.” Sometimes, a simple solution like tearing up their mistake and letting them paste it into a new collage illustrates redemption. Their new collage can represent how God rearranges our lives, turning past mistakes into present wisdom.

“Mistakes are an opportunity to be creative. Essentially, we got to be inspired, we got to think of something we never would have thought of before,” explains Anna. With tender compassion, we encourage our children to understand that God takes what we view as tragedy or crisis, and remakes it into something beautiful, according to Anna.

“Isn’t it humbling that God would let us be the picture of redemption for our children,” adds Anna. Tenderly, Anna likes to share a story about her own dear little daughter who is so happy to be forgiven for her minor infractions.

The Creative Process of Forgiveness

“I need to be more delighted when God forgives me, rather than stuck in my mistake,” begins Anna. Thoughtfully, Anna describes how her daughter’s joy at forgiveness holds her own mommy’s heart accountable.

“As a mom, the whole ‘mistakes are an opportunity to be creative’ applies to motherhood, too,” Anna expanding her thoughts to include her own mess-ups as a mom, “Like with my kids, I regularly mess up where I snap at them a little too fast because I’m tired, because we’ve been together a lot.” With two toddlers, she practices what she preaches, often translating her deep, abstract faith into bite-sized portions for her children.

“Those moments are some of the best moments because I get to apologize,” Anna says, “There’s a certain creativity in identifying the mistake as a parent, figuring out how you’re going to make it right, and how you are changing the pattern.” (Right. I caught the way Anna said, “get to apologize.” Believe me, she figured that out without my help.)

Creativity and redemption, mixed with the art of messing up: beautiful themes for celebrating Easter with family. May your joy be complete as you celebrate the creative and redemptive love of Christ!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, as we plan for more time with family, may we honor Your Son. Help us demonstrate what it means to live in creative redemption each day. Inspire our hearts with Your loving sacrifice, as we love those around us. Let all our creativity bring glory to You, O Lord, and spread redemption to others. Thank You for making us in Your image, full of creative energy. May our hearts embrace with delight the free gift of forgiveness made possible by Your beloved Son’s death on the cross. Allow His resurrection to fill our hearts with gratitude and awe. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What are your plans to make Easter special? How has art helped you understand God’s creativity along the way? In what ways have you experienced the gift of redemption?

Get Your Free Easter Templates Here!

Printable Easter Templates

Yep, just in time for Easter! These darling templets are perfect for a Sunday school craft or to enliven creativity at home. Each one has inspiring messages and can be cut out to create a gift box for a candy bar. They are the perfect little treat to let friends know they are loved. Sign up for our blog and get your free templets here!

Or, if you’re already getting our blog, email me, here,for templates or to share stories! Find podcasts with lots more easy ideas about spending time with creative kids from Anna Krafve Pierce, here.

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts

If you, too, are committed to building healthy families with creative kiddos, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we’ve interviewed experts. Don’t miss their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: James Kemp, Chris Legg, Sarah Cummings, Neita Fran Ward, Benjamin A. Simpson, Dawn Franks, and Tony Johnson.

Cathy Krafve, host of Fireside Talk Radio, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Communicator, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang spoken here!

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Staycations on the Cheap: Family Holidays with Anna Krafve Pierce

Anna dressed as Yoda and her brother dressed as Popeye.FTR Co-host Anna Krafve Pierce and her brother still having fun in costume. 
(Can you guess who Anna is?)

Spring Break and Easter are two family moments that used to have me biting my fingernails. In fact, we accidentally innovated dozens of staycations on the cheap. Really, it wasn’t the holiday as much as the Monday after. Invariably, the teacher asked the kids to write about their vacation.

What Did You Do Over the Holiday?

Naturally, other kids wrote about snow skiing and cross-country travel to visit grandparents. Sadly, my kids struggled to fill a page about why their parents think down time is good for children. Thus, the dreaded question: What did you do over the holiday?

Being entrepreneurs, we still don’t take days off easily, not if we want to pay the bills. But, we’ve learned along the way to work in some fun. Especially when our kids were growing up, staycations were a godsend! Maybe, like me, it’s up to you to figure out how to use the extra holiday time with family. Of course, we all want our children proud of their rockin’ family.

More Dates, More Romantic Adventures

Perhaps, you, too, look for creative and innovative ways to bless the socks off your own kids. Just for you, I interviewed Anna Krafve Pierce on this very topic on Fireside Talk Radio. An artist, Anna is one of the most creative people I know. Plus, she’s in the midst of creating second generation staycations on the cheap for her own kiddos.

“I need more dates, stay at-home-style dates,” Anna says. Not an easy assignment for parents of toddlers. “Child care is expensive, but I don’t want to miss out being in love with my husband.” Her creative juices flowed in all directions on the show: how to engage the children, have fun, cultivate cultural blessings, and still make time for romance? Wow! That’s a bunch of multitasking, even for Anna! So, what’s she got up her sleeve?

“We plan to take our family on a vacation to the Mexican market and do all the things we can that are hispanic in our area,” laughs Anna. Maybe at first, the market doesn’t sound like much of a holiday, but wait until Anna adds all the fun fluff she thought up as bonus excitement.

The Blessing of Cross Cultural Holidays

In Texas, where we live, hispanic culture adds all kinds of spice to our lives. In big cities, there’s often a China Town, which we make a point of visiting whenever we travel. Whatever cultural backgrounds are prominent in your area, remember experiencing different cultures expands your child’s horizons.

Cultural Vacations on the Cheap

Anna recommends taking the whole family to specialty markets. There, look for inexpensive splurges, like fancy salsa, unusual beer, or regional chocolate. Let the kids explore and savor the new sights and sounds specific to the market’s cultural specialty.

“Let them pick out treats and tell them this is from another country and explain what that means,” Anna says. In doing so, you can teach your kids the great advantage we have in America to “travel” without leaving home. Savoring foods and music from all cultures are ways to value our cross-cultural American heritage.

Movies, Music, Costumes, Oh, the Fun!

Like discovering new foods and music, finding movies that tie into the theme, especially if they’re bilingual, can make for more culturally-themed, family-friendly fun. We also like picking out simple children’s books in Spanish at the local library to expand our vocabulary. 

When my kids were in their teens, I often begged them to attend a local church with me that held services in Spanish, with Mariachi music no less! What fun! Surprisingly, the vocabulary is easier when they’re quoting familiar verses from the Bible in Spanish. Along with music and language adventures, don’t forget to round up some costumes for family fun over the holiday.

“The idea of blending it with a date night makes it fun for everybody,” Anna says, “My husband will be so much more game to wear a sombrero to the Mexican market if he thinks he’s going to get all my attention once the kids are asleep!” She’s planning to download a Tango lesson video from You Tube, too. Por supuesto!

Friends With Cultural Skills

The benefits of cross-cultural friendships are too numerous to name, but she especially likes exposing her children to language opportunities. As a grandmother, who raised kids to be unafraid of second and third languages, she’s right about giving kids the advantage of exposure to languages.

“They’ve started greeting my children in Spanish for me,” Anna says about some friends who know her desire to help her kids embrace language learning. Such friends are a fabulous resource. Like my hubby’s grandmother who sang Jesus Loves Me in Swedish, you never know what beautiful surprises cross-cultural friends have in store!

Freedom from Guilt

Consistent, not perfect, is every parent’s goal, according to Anna. The whole purpose of fun is to be free, not to put more guilt trips on mom. Doing something consistently, does not have to take its toll on your sanity. Fitting fun into your family’s priorities can stay relaxed. Thankfully, kids often give parents  more credit than we deserve because special moments resonate so much with them, according to Anna.

“I could have told everybody Dad made pancakes every Saturday,” laughs Anna. Truly, her dad made pancakes often, but there’s no way he could do it every Saturday. It’s simply not possible to be that perfect. So, Anna recommends cutting yourself some slack. “You can feel like you’re failing when you’re really knocking it out of the ballpark.”

While we’re on the subject of holiday fun and giving yourself a break, we’ve got you covered for a fun family craft. To get your free printable templates, click here. You’ll get our blog each week, filled with all kinds of ideas to foster companionship and fellowship in our lives. Plus, as a special little treat just for you, we’ve created boxes to color, cut, glue, and wrap around a candy bar. Your kids will love them!

More Ideas for Staycations on the Cheap

Cooking Camp Adventures

Older kids can claim the adventure of creating their own kitchen on a porch, like our son did when he was young. For a staycation that includes cooking adventures, turn all the meals over to the kids. Let them choose and budget for the groceries. Let them search for recipes they want to experience.

“Coleman stoves are almost indestructible,” Anna says, adding “two or three days of that is probably enough, but the kids will never forget.” Also, for the truly adventurous, they can set up their own tent in the back yard.

The Picnic Challenge

To test your kids’ imagination, challenge them to think of unusual places to enjoy a picnic. Help them pack new foods that intrigue their taste buds. Different places each day can include your own patio, nearby lakes and rivers, a friend’s boat or camper, a relative’s back porch, the top of a tall building, an office on Saturday, a tree fort, a nearby church foyer or grounds, a local zoo, local attractions. Heck, we’ve even picnicked in a really beautiful, small cemetery.

Family Holiday Reality Show: Hollywood Week

Get the kids engaged for an upcoming Family Holiday Reality Show. As they think ahead about all the fun, they’ll be ready for lights, camera, action at your house. With phones, youngsters easily record video. You’ll create staycations and they’ll document the occasions for lifelong memories. What a perfect way to delegate! Enlist their help in planning the pre-show promos before your holiday. They can create costumes, topics, even scripts.

“Have everybody get excited about what they’re going to wear and what their personas are going to be,” says Anna. “Let everyone go around interviewing each other.”

Additionally, Hollywood Week is a great time to co-star the grandparents, telling family stories. Obviously, you cannot record enough family stories. Also, here’s the list of questions Anna gave us on the show for your kids to ask anyone who happens to drop by over the holiday.

“How do you Mom and Dad? Well, do you know how my parents met? Do you know my grandparents? What stories do you have about them?”

Vaya Con Dios!

Finally, we suggest you give your culturally themed staycations on the cheap a special name, like, How to Rock a Central American Adventure Without Ever Getting on a Plane. Or, Vaya Con Dios a la CentroAmerica! Certainly, Our Family’s National Lampoon Holiday is a sure hit. Armed with hilarious memories, your kiddos return to school with a title for their post-holiday writing assignment. With so much fun on the agenda, it wouldn’t be surprising if you have your family serenading soon, maybe in a new language!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, we love the way You spend time with us, always available, always present. Sometimes, as parents, we feel we’re letting everyone down around us; there’s just not enough hours in a day! We need You to help us choose priorities that honor You. Help us use creativity and innovation to create memories for our kids that don’t break the bank. O Lord, supply our needs, please. Let us create fellowship with our children just as You create fellowship with us. Give us what we need for today. We are Your grateful people. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

How are your Spring plans shaping up to include easy-on-the-budget staycations? Which family staycations on the cheap secured a special place in your memories? How is your family savoring the spice of other cultures? (Please leave us messages in the Comment Box below.)

We have Winners!

Winners were contacted via email and will be receiving Open With Your Broken from author Dana Goodrum!! If you missed the contest, it’s not too late to get in on the action because I created a fun little freebie just for you, printable templates!

Yep, just in time for Easter! These darling templets are perfect for a Sunday school craft or entertaining kids over spring break. Heck, adults love these! (I tested them on my friends!) Each one has inspiring messages and can be cut out to wrap up a candy bar. They are the perfect little treat to let friends know they are loved. Sign up for our blog and get your free templets here!

Or, find lots more easy ideas about spending time with creative kids from Anna Krafve Pierce, here.

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts

If you, too, are committed to building companionship in your own families, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we’ve interviewed experts. Don’t miss their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: James Kemp, Sarah Cummings, Tina Meier, Neita Fran Ward, Benjamin A. Simpson, Chris Legg, Katie Butts, and Tony Johnson.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

Return to the Fireside Talk Radio Show Page
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