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Enjoying Special Days With Your Family

Enjoying Special Days With Your Family

Author Becky Kiser offers practical guidance for making special days – including holidays, birthdays, and summer vacation – more meaningful and enjoyable for your family. Jim Daly's wife, Jean, joins the conversation to share her suggestions.
Original Air Date: April 1, 2021

(Cheery Music & Surprise Party Sound Effect)

Group of Voices: Surprise – Happy Birthday!!!  Woo!!!)

John Fuller: Well, birthdays can be really fun days to celebrate with your friends and family, especially a surprise party as we heard, but on today’s Focus on the Family, we’re gonna be sharing how you can use every holiday throughout the year to draw yourself closer to God, your spouse, and your kids as well. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, this is a great day of celebration-

John: It is.

Jim: I’m looking forward to.

John: Yeah.

Jim: We’re gonna have fun, that’s the key thing today-

John: Yay.

Jim: Fun, fun, fun. So, let me ask you, has anyone ever thrown a, uh, surprise birthday party for you?

John: I… it wasn’t a big, big surprise, but I did-

Jim: (laughs)

John: Come into the office one time and they had decked it all out with the, uh, decorations. They had food, they had a gift, a very special gift, and I was really blown away. How about you?

Jim: Yeah, Jean threw me a 40th surprise party. It was a surprise and we had friends. We were in Southern California at that time, that weekend. And yeah, it totally came out of nowhere. So, my old buddies showed up, Jeff Eves, John Showsda and others.

John: Oh your 40-year old buddies.

Jim: I was shocked. you know the thing about it, you never feel worthy of something like that.

John: Yes!

Jim: It’s like why would people do this? (laughs)

John: Well yeah, I feel a little awkward when the spotlight is on me.

Jim: I do too, it’s really hard.

John: But there are great ways to celebrate birthdays, and other events as well.

Jim: Absolutely and it’s important to celebrate those events and we’re gonna talk about that today. Birthdays, holidays, Christmas, Easter, all of it, and what, uh, kind of thoughtfulness should go into that. And I think it’s a great reminder of be thoughtful about how we celebrate these events. I love how the writer in Ecclesiastes says it, um, “So I commend you, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful. For this will go with him in his toil, through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.” And that’s kinda the theme today.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We want to rejoice. We want to be joyful.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Especially, uh, throughout the calendar year and we can celebrate these things.

John: We can. And to help us do that, we have holiday expert, wife, and mom, Becky Kiser with us and, uh, she’s married to Chris. They have three daughters. And Becky has written a book, Sacred Holidays: Less Chaos, More Jesus. And of course, we have that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And in addition to having Becky with us, Jim, it’s always a delight to have Jean, your wife, here with us too.

Jim: Absolutely. And this area of celebration and, and parties, is Jean’s forte. So, I thought, “Wow, this is the perfect time to have Jean come on.” And it’s not about being organized and (laughs) some of the shows we’ve had you on, Jean. So, this is great to have you, welcome.

Jean Daly: Well, thank you, it’s always great being here.

Jim: Yeah, Becky, welcome to you as well-

Becky Kiser: Thank you, I’m excited to be here.

Jim: Of course! So, let me ask you this question out the gate, why is this important?

Becky: Why are we celebrating holidays anyway?

Jim: Yeah, why is celebration, why is it important?

Becky: Well, I mean, the verse you just read shows that it’s a part of God’s intent for our life. But also, I feel like in this year, in 2020, and 2021-

Jim: Amen.

Becky: That seems to be just the actual movie of the trailer of 2020. I feel like we need this more than ever. We need to know how to intentionally and joyfully celebrate Easter, and birthdays, and all the holidays that happen. Because there are things, even in the midst of so much sorrow and chaos, there are things to still celebrate.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: And so, that’s… I’m hopeful that this book will help bring some joy and light to people’s lives in the midst of life.

Jim: Yeah, well let’s start with Easter. You mentioned it. It’s the one right around the corner for us. And you say this is the event that Christians should be celebrating most of all.

Becky: Right.

Jim: It’s kind of fallen to Christmas, and that’s a good one to celebrate too-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: But, but actually the early church celebrated Easter in far bigger ways than they did Christmas.

Becky: Right. You know I think we know it’s an important holiday. That’s why more people go to church than any other day outside of Christmas. That’s why you dress up extra special. But for us as Christians, I think we don’t know how to celebrate it beyond going to the Easter service. And so, that’s one of my biggest hopes because Easter is the foundation of our faith. Easter… Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus’ coming, but Easter is where we lean into the fact that Jesus came. And He lived a perfect, sinless life. And then He died on the cross for our sins. And if it stopped there, we have nothing. There is not a story. It’s all a lie. But the beauty of it, the greatness of this gospel message is that Jesus rose from the dead. That we all have new life. That, even in the midst of crazy times, we are called to new things and new life and have grace to move forward so-

Jim: Yeah, now let me, uh, for Easter-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: You describe in the book an Easter that came that really ended up being disappointing to you because of the celebration of that. I think most moms, wives, just leaned in ’cause they’ve had that experience. What happened for you? Why did it fall apart?

Becky: It’s… it’s really every Easter. (laughs)

Jim: It wasn’t one particular Easter.

Becky: It wasn’t just one Easter… of just not knowing like how do you make it special? And it’s become about the baskets and the eggs and the… for young families especially like the perfectly coordinated outfit that you can then post on Instagram. And we’ve missed it. And when you’re at this awesome service where you’re celebrating that Jesus has risen from the dead, you’re really just focused on what time is the ham supposed to go out of the oven? Or what time are people coming over?

Jean: Right.

Jim: That is so bizarre. That’s true the way you just said it. We’re celebrating Jesus being raised from the dead, and we’re worried about what time the ham is coming out of the oven. (laughs)

Becky: What we’re wearing and what we’re eating, and how long are the kids gonna maintain this sugar craze (laughs). You know? So, we missed it.

Jim: No, that’s a great point. Jean, uh, you have experienced a few chaotic Easters. I happened to be there when they occurred.

Jean: (laughs) Yes.

Jim: Um, how do you feel about those celebrations, Easter particularly? And then what was that catastrophic one that comes to mind?

Jean: Well, and I share Becky’s passion for trying to integrate, you know, both the traditional, kind of, secular traditions with the celebration of Christ, or, and of God. And I’ve always tried to do that. And we have had… um, our, our first set of foster children had just moved in the day before.

Jim: Our boys were how old at that time?

Jean: Some young boys, they were…

Jim: Like nine and 11?

Jean: Eight and 10.

Jim: Yeah. 10. So I was close.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: This is what we call chaos.

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jean: Oh my.

Becky: I like that.

Jean: And our, our adorable little young grandniece celebrates with us so in… We had several children there and some friends, uh, popped in. And as they walked into our kitchen, it immediately helped me to see what they were seeing. And I’m on the floor with all these kids. They’re screaming… with delight… but still screaming. There was probably 200 plastic Easter eggs opened up, st- and the contents strewn all over the kitchen floor. There was Easter grass. I had these giant plastic Easter eggs and they had that… they had the halves on their heads.

Becky: Wow.

Jean: And it was, it was chaos. There was no celebrating the resurrection of Christ in that moment.

Jim: Right.

John: How do you feel… what do you think God feels in that moment? When you are feeling like, “I just let… I blew it. I flubbed it. This was Easter and I missed it.”

Jim: Hey.

John: ‘Cause we’ve had… we’ve had moments like that. What’s he thinking?

Becky: I think everyone has had moments like that.

John: Yeah.

Becky: And so, if you ask how does God feel, I think, at least for women, we would probably, our first gut reaction thought would be, “God must be so disappointed in me.”

John: Hm.

Becky: But the truth is, that’s not the gospel message. Right? What God says is, “I just want you to lock your eyes on me and follow me.” That… repent from that moment. You probably are thinking bad thoughts in your head when sit- situations like that happen.

Jean: Right?

Becky: Which has happened for every person listening and everyone at this table. But instead, let’s turn to Him. Let’s find new ways of doing things. And that’s where we’re all at now of how do we pivot from, maybe traditions that we’ve just carried on that have nothing to do with Jesus, and find new ways of implementing new things?

Jim: Right, and so there’s practical ideas out of your book. What do you do for Easter specifically? Again, because it’s right around the corner.

Becky: Right.

Jim: Um, what are some things that the party perfection person can, can do?

Becky: Can do instead.

Jim: To, to do a good job balancing this?

Becky: Yeah, right. You don’t have to do it instead. Do it additionally.

Jim: Okay, good.

Becky: Um, but the number one thing I think all of us need to do, is use this opportunity of celebrating Jesus, to lean into the gospel.

Jean: That’s great.

Becky: Or whatever you can do, you can just grab your own copy of the Bible. Make it a goal to read through the book of John before Easter Sunday. We have to be leaning into Jesus, remind… let’s remind ourselves that after the craziness of this past year, we serve a powerful God, who heals the sick, who raises the dead, who feeds thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread. And when you do that, your whole perspective on Easter Sunday will truly be celebratory because you’ll remember what you’re celebrating. So, number one, get in God’s word yourself. And number two I’d say, make the most of whatever is your situation. So, last year, all of our churches in Texas were shut down. I don’t know if they are here as well. COVID shut everything down. And were like, “Oh no, what’s spiritual on Easter if we don’t have our churches anymore? (laughs)

Jim: What do we do?

Becky: And so, we threw a big party like it was a birthday. We did streamers. We did streamers on our stairs, so the girls had to break through the streamers, and we had balloons everywhere. And we tried to make it a day of celebration to tell our girls, this is worth celebrating.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: This is such a big deal.

Jean: That’s good.

Becky: And they get it a fraction.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: But my hope is each year of their life that they’ll realize, mom celebrated the biggest, mom and dad celebrated the biggest on this day.

John: Hm.

Becky: And that ms- makes this day important.

Jim: Yeah, okay let’s move… and that is good… let’s move to the next one. Summer vacation-

Becky: Yeah, yes.

Jim: Is the next thing around the corner.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: Um…

Becky: Which is wild.

Jim: Okay, this could be really…

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: I- it’s wild, but this can be also… it requires some planning.

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: If you’re gonna be thoughtful about it.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: We used to do a lot of camping during summer. And, you know, typically I’d rent the camp sites. And you gotta do that like-

Becky: Right.

Jim: January 1st in most cases and all that kind of thing. What do you do with summer vacation? You’ve had… You have a, quite a few good ideas in the book.

Becky: Yeah, you know, summer vacation is something… I know none of you have young young kids at home anymore… but for those of us who have young kids-

Jim: How old are your kids?

Becky: They are 10, 8, and 5-and-a-half.

Jim: Right.

Becky: So, kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grade.

Jim: Perfect! What a great time.

Becky: So fun, except for after the craziness of this past year, there’s been a lot of togetherness. (laughs) [crosstalk] Yes! And so like, after spring break, they were just home all the time. We do love, love our children, but that’s a lot. So, in the summer, traditionally, we do a big bucket list of all these things that you can do. And I gave you every idea in the Sacred Holidays book so when you order that, you have a list to get you going. And that’s been something fun for us where I’m not always the activity planner. But we can keep it fun. Choose from the list of something to do. But I will also say, going back to give yourself grace, is last year, after the… we had spent a lot of time together by the time summer hit. And it was like, “I can’t do a list, like, I can’t do anything.”

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: And so, I would just encourage everyone listening, whatever your year has been like, is to look at your summer and ask yourself, “What’s the best way our family can stay connected and loving one another?”

Jim: I’m gonna pry a little bit more because in the book-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: You talked about a summer coming that you felt out of control. I don’t know if this was last summer-

Becky: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But a summer and, uh, you weren’t really ready for it.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: That’s where most people are gonna be.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: So, what happened? And what was the out of control nature of that, and how did you get it under control, mom?

Becky: Well I don’t know if any mom would say that I got it under control. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) That’s always their wish. I mean, playing along with the façade.

Becky: Yeah, it was definitely last summer because we had been together since March, the first week of March. We went on spring break and they stayed home forever after that.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: Um, so that was last summer, and I felt like I didn’t get a hold on, of it till the end of summer. We started doing… it’s something my girls still ask for where we did mornings with mom. And so, we got like the storybook Bible and they each had a clipboard. And we would go through a book of the Bible, or a story in the storybook Bible and they could have coffee or hot chocolate or tea. And it was this sweet… We’ve never done family devotional time.

Jim: Seriously those are the choices? Who didn’t get chocolate? (laughs) “Would you like hot chocolate or tea?” “I’ll take tea, Mommy.”

Becky: Right? My girls like love tea parties.

Jim: Oh, that’s awesome, sorry. I don’t have girls.

Becky: You have all boys.

Jim: Boys are gonna want chocolate all the time. “Give me the chocolate, Dad. Really, tea?”

Becky: You don’t have lavender tea with your boys?

John: It’s not a binary thing.

Jim: No.

John: You can do tea and chocolate.

Becky: It’s true. So, the point is though, always go back to how can you intentionally connect with your kiddos? And give yourself grace in that process because it’s not easy but doing that is very very helpful.

Jim: Yeah, okay let’s go to birthday celebrations.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: Now, I don’t know about the moms in your circle, Becky, but Jean is like birthday mom. I mean, it’s a big deal. I used to say, “Can’t we just like give ’em a sandwich?”

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: “Put a candle in the sandwich and sing happy birthday and we’ll be done!”

Becky: Right.

Jim: But no, this was extraordinary lengths. Uh, Jean, do you remember a birthday party that sticks out that you really, uh, had a little stress maybe?

Becky: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs) Oh, I’m sure there was only one.

Jim: Only one.

Becky: Yeah, that one party.

Jean: I loved, I loved throwing birthday parties. And, but I don’t even know what I was getting stressed about. I didn’t even have to clean my whole house!

Becky: Right.

Jean: You know, people just saw the kitchen. It was outdoors.

Becky: Yeah.

Jean: And it was boys, eight-year-old boys

Becky: Right.

Jim: I would just say this is where friendship shows up. We had… Mike and Angie-

Jean: Oh.

Jim: Would come over.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: And they, I think they knew the rhythm-

Jean: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: Of our birthday celebrations. So, Angie would come over early enough to give Jean a hand.

Jean: Oh and stayed late.

Jim: And really it would really help ’cause it freed me up a little bit.

Jean: Yes.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: Way to go, Mike and Angie!

Jean: Yes.

Jim: But it’s good to have good friends-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: To help you in that way. And Becky, you emphasized, uh, that you can make someone feel special for less than 10 dollars. Now, all the guys just leaned in.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: Is that… does that work in dating as well?

Becky: If my husband was just listening, he’d probably be like, “What?”

Jim: 10 bucks, That’s great! How do we do that?

Becky: I wouldn’t say it’s always under 10 dollars, but the thought is, no matter what your budget is, you can make birthdays really really special. And the number one way we do it in our family is we don’t over-celebrate the kids at Christmas. We don’t over celebrate them at Easter because those holidays aren’t about them. We’ve made it about them, but it’s not about them. But in our house, when it’s your birthday, we go all out. So, when I say under 10 dollars, if you’re on a tight budget, you can get streamers and balloons for under 10 dollars. And we do those just like tacky paper streamers all over our living room and kitchen and blow up a whole bunch of balloons, which my husband does have to help in

Jim: Way to go, guys!

Becky: Yeah, um, so Chris is amazing. Shout out to Chris for all the streamers he has taped to our ceiling. But that little thing makes the girls so excited. They know, they get-

Jim: It’s about them.

Becky: Yes!

Jean: It does.

Becky: And because they just all day and they… it turns into a whole week of like, “Leave the streamers, please.”

Jim: And you do half birthdays. You mentioned that.

Becky: We do half birthdays.

Jim: How far do you go with half birthdays?

Becky: Smaller.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Like five dollars.

Becky: Yes because-

Jim: Five bucks.

Becky: Yeah, yeah, when you are a little kid, that, five and a half is a big deal. Six and half is a big deal.

Jean: Yes.

Becky: And so, we’ve always celebrated half birthdays. Now there’s definitely been times I’ve forgotten about it, and I have never been let off the hook for that.

Jean: (laughs)

Becky: (laughs) Um, but smaller, we don’t do like big presents. We try to do a fun meal and just like talk about them.

Jim: Oh, good, that’s the, uh, sandwich with the candle type.

Jean: I love that.

Becky: Yes, yes, yes.

Jim: Becky, also with birthdays, you do a word of affirmation. Uh, what is that?

Becky: Yes, this is my favorite tradition we do. And so, speaking of things under the 10… under 10 dollars, this is free!

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: So, you can, anyone can do this.

Jim: Bargain!

Becky: Yes, but every birthday we make sure that we spend some time, either before or after we’ve sung the big song, that where we spend time telling that person something we really love about them.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Becky: And so, we do this at our family dinners. We do this if we have friends over. We do this at birthday parties. Which is super cute when the kids are young and like, their friend’s like, “I like it when you go down the slide with me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: Um, and we share what’s something that… Words of affirmation is power for us, in a society where words are just dividing us constantly. So, you get to just speak love and life into another person. So, hands down, my favorite thing we do.

Jim: That’s a good thing to do.

Jean: I love that.

Jim: Yeah, we should do that year-round.

Becky: And you can do it. People do it with staff sometimes. You can do it at your office. You can do it any place that you’re at where you just intentionally celebrate who that person is, who God created them to be, and what he’s done in their life.

Jim: John, I just wanna say you have an awesome voice.

John: Oh, well thank you, I appreciate that. (laughs)

Becky: (laughs)

John: I feel affirmed.

Jim: And we’re just gonna wait another year and you’ll hear another affirmation.

John: (laughs) Well Becky Kiser is our guest today on Focus on the Family. And all of these ideas and many many more, are in her book, Sacred Holidays: Less Chaos, More Jesus. And to get your copy, just give us a call 800-A-FAMILY uh or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Becky one thing, I certainly see this with Jean, is it’s hard I think, for women to celebrate their birthday. I mean, it sounds odd to even say that. But I think a lot of women are saying “Man, nobody’s really recognizing my birthday–

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: The way I would like my-

Becky: Right.

Jim: Birthday to be recognized”

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: But, uh, but speak to that self-guilt, really, that so many wives and moms have about celebrating their birthday.

Becky: Right, I think we kinda touched on that a little bit that women, we love going all out for our people. We love celebrating them. But we genuinely struggle to receive any form of love, whether you give us a compliment, we brush it off. And then to be celebrated, it feels uncomfortable, ’cause we’re typically the ones celebrating others and putting that all together. So, for women, I would encourage two things. One, I would say, set you expectations realistically. So, if you don’t have a husband who thinks of things, I would just have that expectation. Or let him know, if you are wanting something special, “Hey, my birthday’s coming up. Let’s do something fun together.” And that’s at least an egg. Or you could tell your best friend, “Please make sure my husband does something for me.”

Jim: It’s something, and that does… yeah it could tend to detract from it, but it’s wise to do it.

Becky: It, it’s training.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: And then he’ll catch on.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: And yeah. The other thing is you can celebrate yourself. Which I know sounds super lame maybe at first.

Jean: (laughs)

Becky: And I, by celebrating yourself, I mean, I always try on or around my birthday to pull away for a little bit of time. Reflect on the past year. What was a win? What was a fail? What do I want to improve on? And then look to this coming year. Like, what’s a big goal I have for this next year of my life? What’s something I want to achieve? What are some habits that I want to put into place? And so, just that alone makes the day significant, even if you don’t have family or friends who can celebrate with you.

Jim: Yeah, those are some good thoughts.

Jean: That’s good.

Jim: Okay, after summer, we have Thanksgiving and Christmas. We did a previous broadcast on that. So, if the listeners would like to check that out a little more-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: In depth

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: On Thanksgiving and Christmas-

John: Yeah, we- we’ll link over there, yeah.

Jim: Okay good, and uh, what I’d like to get to be how can we find the balance between the sacred part of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then the fun part? This is always the trick. Right?

Becky: It’s with every like.

Jim: Especially with kids. Right?

Becky: That’s where we’re working from this… with kids, with extended family. So, for Thanksgiving my number one tip with that is to focus your heart on gratitude as much as possible. So we do like a gratitude wall on our home where kids, our kids would write on a note card something they’re thankful for every day and we tape it to the wall and fill up a whole wall, um…

Jim: For the month of November?

Becky: For the month of November.

Jean: I’m loving this.

Jim: That’s great.

Jean: That’s good.

Becky: Um, and Thanksgiving Day, while you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with family, go around the circle, or the table and share. What are you most thankful for? Like spend some time actually being thankful.

Jim: We do that.

Becky: Not just for the awesome food.

Jim: I’m laughing because we start every time… Jean sometimes gets a little upset with me ’cause I say, “Okay, let’s do Jean’s tradition.”

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: “What are you thankful for?” And we all giggle a little bit. But we do it.

Jean: We do it. It gets a little silly sometimes.

Becky: Yes.

Jean: But we do it, yes.

Becky: Silly is good.

Jean: Yes.

Becky: Silly is good. And just spending some time reflecting is so important. It helps bring it back.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: To what it’s supposed to be about.

Jim: Okay, New Year’s Day, we’re rattling through these pretty quick. But New Year’s Day could be difficult to celebrate as a family because a lot of it happens late at night, at the t- turn of midnight.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: Um, you do something that Jean and I both caught that I, I wish we would’ve thought about.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: And that is the noon celebration.

Becky: You can do noon.

Jim: Explain that.

Becky: You’ve got… It was noon when my kids were younger. Now, 10 o’clock is what they think is midnight.

Jean: (laughs)

Becky: Um, my best friend Kelly is actually here with me now. We typically do New Years, our families together. And sometimes other friends as well. And at 10 o’clock is when we’re like, “All right, it’s New Year!”

Jean: That’s right.

Becky: They don’t know any different ’cause they can’t read a regular clock.

Jean: Huh, right.

Becky: So-

Jim: And let me tell you. The older you get, the earlier you can do that.

Becky: (laughs)

Jean: Yes.

Jim: Like 7:00 p.m.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: It’s time to celebrate!

Jean: It’s midnight somewhere.

Becky: It’s midnight in Paris.

Jim: In Nova Scotia. (laughs)

Becky: Yes. So, we’ll take all the poppers and the sparklers outside and we’ll be like, “10, nine…” at a random… It could be 9:47.

Jean: (laughs)

Becky: And we’re doing out countdown.

Jean: I love that.

Becky: And then they go down and we can choose to stay up or not stay up til midnight. So-

Jim: I like that. Yeah, it’s a good idea. All right, this is the one that most men have fear and trembling over.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: Valentine’s Day.

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I am guilty. I mean, it’s like, “What day is today, John?” And John will say, “Today is Valentine’s Day!”

John: Yes. (laughs)

Jim: Today is Valentine’s Day? And I’ve got to run to the store and get the flowers and find something that Jean will think is very meaningful.

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And first of all, just the pressure that we could have for that.

Becky: Right.

Jim: Address that.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: And then, what are some things we can do?

Becky: You know, I, we, uh, me and my husband don’t actually like Valentine’s Day (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Becky: For that reason. It just feels like there’s so much pressure on this one day to creatively express to the person you love how much you love them. And, then everything’s like 10 times the price. So why-

Jim: And it’s a report card, too.

Becky: Yes, it’s terrible.

Jim: How do you get a B?

Becky: Right.

Jim: Why is it a B? You get an F.

Becky: But then we have all… We have three girls who like lavender tea and Valentine’s Day.

Jim: (laughs) And chocolate.

Becky: Yes, and chocolate. So, they have actually taught us it’s okay to like Valentine’s Day. It can be significant and special to them. So, we are more focused on them and going all out for the kids. Uh, an all red meal or so you could do like spaghetti and salsa and different things that are red to make it fun. And then sending each other notes. A couple of years we’ve done like the mailboxes. And you leave each other-

Jim: Oh, that’s great.

Jean: Oh, that’s sweet.

Becky: Notes of encouragement throughout the time. So, thinking creatively, you could write on a note card and tape a message to their door every morning, or whenever you think of it. And just trying to be intentional. Like, do… What do you love about that person?

Jean: Yeah.

Becky: I think we go through life so fast that we forgot to tell people-

Jean: I like that.

Becky: “I love that you just did that right now.” And-

Jim: Yeah, it… I just want to say to Jean, I thought the other day, you were having lunch nearby Focus here. And I knew you were going to be there with your girlfriends. And I was going to go over and put a note on your window. But I was also in my car and I had no pen or paper.

Jean: Aww.

Jim: So just know I gave that something great thought.

Jean: Thank you.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: I appreciate that thought.

Becky: That impossible note was sweet.

Jim: I need some stickies in my car just for that.

John: And we have a husband…

Jean: (laughs) I might buy those.

John: And we have a husband note writing emergency kits for sale.

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: (laughs)

John: And available on our website.

Becky: Why not talk like she is?

Jim: That can be pretty good, actually.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Pre-printed.

John: Well I… It was hard for me this year. Dena was going to be out of town until like two days before, and then she wasn’t. And so, I’m thinking, “Uh-oh.”

Becky: And you didn’t have anything prepared.

John: And she was ahead of the curve. She had something ready for me.

Becky: Of course.

John: And it was… She showed me up, for once.

Jim: (laughs)

John: That was really good. (laughs)

Jim: Competition in the Fuller home.

John: Yeah.

Becky: (laughs)

Jean: Yes.

Jim: Uh, Becky, at the end here, one thing we haven’t covered. It’s been fun talking with you.

Becky: Thanks.

Jim: And you have some great ideas in your book.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Obviously. Uh, but some people are going through tough times.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, this year maybe more than ever, and the next set of holidays-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: That we go through, with Easter and summer and Thanksgiving and Christmas, and-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: So on, they’re going to be a little different.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: They’re… Maybe they are separated. Maybe they ended up divorcing.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: Maybe they lost a spouse.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: Um, maybe through COVID, who knows?

Becky: Right.

Jim: Um, uh, speak to that person’s challenge of finding joy in a time when it’s hard to find joy.

Becky: Yeah. I have a whole chapter in the book. Because I realized there was a lot of common obstacles that kept happening for each holiday. And one of the chapters is a grief chapter. Because I think, as Christians, we do a really poor job of allowing ourselves to feel sad or to feel disappointment or to feel like an expectation we had didn’t get met. And so, I would just tell anyone listening, what the book says of it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not feel okay on a certain day. It’s okay to feel lonely because so many still are. Like my mom, severe chronic asthma, and so she has been isolated for almost a year now.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jean: Hm.

Becky: And every holiday it’s just a FaceTime is all she gets. And, um, so I would be honest and okay with where you’re at. If you need counseling, get counseling. Because that’s so important and vital.

John: Mm-hmm.

Becky: And then through the book and through this show, implement some things that you can do to still make it feel special to yourself. And know that every emotion is safe with the Lord. We saw a love that Jesus shows us constantly, that he cried when Lazarus died. He cried in the garden. That he experienced those emotions. And it gives us freedom to not be okay with certain things not being okay.

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: And, and I think, lastly, the, the key here… And I hope people have heard this through our laughter… Uh, but it’s really to put the right emphasis on each of the holidays you experience, or birthdays.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: You know, when it’s the Lord, let’s focus on the Lord.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: Let’s teach our kids-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: To focus on the Lord. And I think that, just that, uh, recognition is really important.

Becky: Mm-hmm, Yeah.

Jim: If you’re trying to achieve one thing throughout the year-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: In the different holidays.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: You’d agree with that?

Becky: Yes, yes.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: It’s so important that… We get so caught up in all the things we’re supposed to do. The things that we, either Pinterest tells us to do, which is why parties have gone next level, or what we want to post on Instagram. And instead, it’s so important that we say, “I’m a follower of Jesus.” And before you do anything else, that you’re getting into God’s word daily. That you’re talking to him, all throughout the day. And when your mind is fixed on what’s most important, when your mind is fixed on the one who rose from the dead, that changes your perspective. So, you can handle the highs and lows all between throughout the holidays. Plus, the creator of all good things will give you creativity to make each of these ideas that we give you in the book, to help make it your own.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: And to think of new ways and new traditions for your family.

Jim: Fantastic. Becky, thanks for being with us.

Becky: Thank you for having me back.

Jim: It’s so good.

Becky: I loved it.

Jim: Jean, it’s great to have you here. (laughs)

Jean: Oh, thank you.

Jim: It’s so good to have you here. I appreciate it.

Jean: Well, it’s wonderful being here. Thank you. And, Becky, thank you for your book, Sacred Holidays.

Becky: Thank you.

Jim: Yeah, it’s a wonderful resource. Let me, uh, turn to the listener. Focus is here. We are a resource rich organization. And we’re grateful to the donors that have helped underwrite all of the development of resources, etc. And get in touch with us. We have actually some great things for Easter, particularly: the Easter Story Scramble, uh t-shirt activities for older kids in your home. There’s lots of ideas and of course, Becky’s book is a wonderful way to get, uh, a lot of great ideas for the holidays, Sacred Holidays: Less Chaos, More Jesus. And how many of us said, “Amen” to that?

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: And, uh, get in touch with us. If you can make a gift of any amount, we’ll send you Becky’s book as our way of saying thank you for becoming a partner in the ministry that we do here at Focus.

John: Yeah, contact us today and get the, get ahold of those resources and let us know how we can help. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And next time on this broadcast, we’ll commemorate Good Friday as Lee Strobel shares his personal testimony, along with evidence that supports the Easter account.

Teaser:

Lee Strobel: So I said, “Okay, if there is no God, if there is no heaven, if there is no hell, if there is no judgment, if there is no ultimate accountability then the most logical way for me to live my life would be as a hedonist. Someone who just pursues pleasure.” And that’s what I did.

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