Authentic Family Living - and Winner!

What is authentic family living? How do we attain it?

For my husband and me, becoming authentic, individual parents means we base our decisions as parents on our vision for our family. Our vision may not seem to be what everyone else is doing – but we are creating life that we see as genuine and real, on a daily basis.

It doesn’t always come easy. We do not have a perfect family. Just this week we had to restructure house rules and chores. When we work without purpose and meaning, our lives grow empty and lifeless. We become cynical and selfish (all 5 of us!), and the situation calls for “restructuring.” Yes, restructuring, as all three kids had to write up their own contracts, type, sign, and tape up on the wall, with new expectations.

This weekend we worked hard as a family. In the spring there are days where we clean up after the cold, doldrums days of winter. Rake, weed, mow, move dirt, and plant the garden. We were blessed with 70 degree weather and willing hands. And the willing hands came from our own unit of family – where authentic living is translated into real life. It’s not always fun doing chores – but it’s part of daily living.

I want our living to be authentic – to be real. And sometimes we are so hurried that I wonder what our kids will think when they look back on their lives. This weekend we said no to friends or activities. It was good and it felt right. I wonder how we can encourage more of our kids to be kids? And how we can learn to create an atmosphere of relaxation and flexibility in our families and homes.

In the warmth of the sun, our family moved through the chores and weeds and dirt. The guys planted part of the garden (celery, potatoes, strawberries, asparagus and blueberries), and I pulled out my favorite pink gardening gloves (thank you, Barb!), and we girls weeded the beds. We opened all the windows and the fresh air permeated the house. Hours in the glorious sun and freshness brought peace and tranquility to all of us.

Yes, our kids need to have modeled for them what real, authentic family living is all about. The words we teach them won’t really have tangible meaning until they see them lived out in our lives and our homes.

Our family calendar now has A, E, G marked on each individual day – meaning each child has kitchen duty for that particular day.

It’ll work for now, but down the road we’ll need “restructuring” once again, just like any family.

(Photos: All from last weekend - home from the nursery, blueberries, Elliot watering, my favorite pink gloves, and our kitty, Filly)

The Winner to my Married but Not Engaged book is: Linda T! This book if perfect for Linda because she and her husband, Randy, participate in many marriage retreats! And did you know that our MBNE & No More Christian Nice Guy interviews became one of the top "5" CD releases, which were part of Focus on the Family’s "Marriage Collection," in 2007?

Linda is going to find this book to be a great resource!

Linda and I have a lot in common, but one thing is yard-saling! These 2 pieces of furniture I found a couple of years ago, both for $30. I recently converted the smaller one for my craft items, so things are easier to find for my Balcony Girls group (read about Balcony Girls on my blog side-bar). Both pieces are on my back patio. You can see I've been doing a little bit of spring cleaning!

Linda is also a brand new Grandma - Congratulations, Linda!

If you’re just now reading this post about the giveaway, you can head over to Sue’s blog and read the article that went with this GIVEAWAY!


linda t said...

Thank you SOOO much Sandy!!
I am sooo excited for my husband and I to read the book and use it as a resource for the Marriage Retreats we teach at each year!
LOVED the interview over at Sue's blog!
Sandy, your blog continues to be such a wealth of information and inspiration to me!
Thank you!

Dawn said...

Congratulations to Linda! All the gardening pictures are so beautiful and making me wish I could stay home this weekend and do the same. I like what you said about needing to restructure the family rules once in a while.

Sheila said...


I loved what you said about having a vision for your family. Isn't that the most important thing?

Too often, I think, parents do what seems expedient at the moment without realizing how this will impact the future. We have to have a vision of the kind of people God wants our kids to be, and then be a part of getting them there.

For me the hard part is having a vision for myself--about being disciplined, for instance--so that we get the right stuff done. That all affects family life.

Your gardening photos make me jealous :). We still have so much snow.

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Pam said...

Congratulations Linda!

Sandy, this was a wonderful post. I'm going to keep it in my file to read over again.

Thanks for sharing about authenticity. So important. I really enjoyed it.

Rhonda said...

Congratulations to Linda!!! (Did I say that without jealousy??)

Great post about authentic family living. I like that you said you are basing your decisions as parents on your vision for your family. We all need to have a vision of where we are going and what we are doing. And how we are parenting our kids.

We really do have to live out what we are teaching them. Otherwise the words are meaningless.

Thanks Sandy!

Org Junkie said...

Hi Sandy, I'm so jealous of your glorious weather. Ours will still be another two months yet but I'm so longing for it now. We do a restructuring her too every couple of months and it also works well for us.

tearjerker said...

Congrats Linda! Enjoy your book!

Oh I just want to reach through the picture and pet your kitty. I miss having cats out on the farm-I'm allergic and I just can't keep them anymore. It looks like you had a lot of good bonding time with your family working in the garden. I can't wait until it warms up a little more here (i.e. no more of the s-word, which we are supposed to get more of tomarrow! ICK!) so I can get some veggies in the ground. Yummy!


Mrs. B. said...

Family life is very important to my husband and I. Quality time together is priceless. Thank you for your great thoughts and ideas.

Kirstin said...

wonderful post! I had to chuckle about the white shoes watering the garden...were they still white at the end of the day?

Tammy said...

Loved reading this post, Sandy. Chores for kids are important...and having family chores that you do together like working in the garden can bring extra closeness, I think!

Congratulations to Linda! I think I told you that this title (MBNE) caught my eye long before I ever "met" you!
But our church has an awesome library and I'm going to see if they have this book! When I start reading it, I will let you know! :)
I was scrolling down and seeing you and your hubby on the 700 club...so exciting, Sandy!
You're so "down to earth" that I sometimes almost forget you both are famous authors...:) But I love that you strive to be authentic- just as you talked about concerning your family in this post.

My husband were in the audience of 700 club when we lived in VA as newlyweds...I remember feeling excited just being there! I can't even imagine being a guest!

Oh, and every summer you can find me most Saturday mornings yard sale hopping! :) One of my favorite pastimes!

Elizabeth said...

You inspire me, as always!

I can't believe you are planting already! We still have snow here in Wisconsin!

Tara said...

This is a great post. It's so true that we need to do what's right for us and not worry about what everyone else is thinking. Sometimes it's tough, but always the best call in the end. There is still snow on the ground here but I'm looking forward to garden season.

:..Rebekah..: said...

"When we work without purpose and meaning, our lives grow empty and lifeless." This is so true! This post is such a blessing to me. Thank you.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great post, I am very much into authentic living! Speaking of authenticity, I just got back from NYC with my daughter and I need a nap...

Just popping by for a quick hello. I'll update soon!

Take care Sandy!


The Tin House said...

Sandy, perhaps you've written about it before and I just haven't read it yet...but just in case...I'm curious about these "contracts" your kids write up. What are the particulars? What is the downside of not fulfilling them? (is pocket money involved?) I'd be interested to read more. Lisa x