About the Author

Lauren is the author of It’s Okay About It: Lessons from a Remarkable Five-Year-Old About Living Life Wide Open. She makes her home in Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and one fluffy dog. Lauren shares her thoughts on life, parenting, and faith on her blog laurencasper.com.

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  1. Smiling because our boys are getting older, and it’s SO enlightening to hear THEIR version of how life was a decade or so ago here in the Morin compound. Shared experiences are like glue — which sometimes squishes out and makes a mess, but, hey! We press on and clean it up together, right?

    • Absolutely, Michele! thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! I can’t wait to hear what my kids think about our “forced family fun” someday. 😉

  2. Ours wasn’t strenuous, my parent’s forced family fun consisted more of museum jaunts, operas, plays, reenactments, and historical places. And we often, very reluctantly, had to admit that we enjoyed the experiences (after complaining mightily about having to go). In my opinion there’s not enough forced family fun. Our annual Chautauqua series is poorly attended and mostly by people in their 40’s or older but I often think about how my mom would have dragged us there and we grudgingly would have had to admit how much we enjoyed it. These experiences not only provide memories but also enhance children’s lives by exposing them to new ideas, cultures, history, and other people (which can be examples of both good and bad behavior). I am somewhat concerned when I see some parents supporting only their children’s interests, intent on making them happy, instead of exposing them to a wide variety of experiences and teaching them resilience in the face of adversity.

    • Thanks for sharing, Kathy! I agree – I think it’s important to expose our kids to a wide variety of experiences. My parents also included plenty of museums and reenactments, plays and such as we were growing up, too. We had the benefit of growing up in some really cool places (San Diego, Monterrey, D.C, etc…) My mom worked at the Monterrey Aquarium and when we were in D.C we got to go to all the museums. In San Diego I even met Sally Ride and got her autograph! These are priceless memories and experiences that I know shaped how I view the world… and probably part of what led me to get my degree in History. 😉

  3. Fantastic devotional this morning!! I can’t wait to see more from you. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Touching, tender, and funny – I’m hoping our three will look back on their childhood as you do, Lauren, Thanks for the lift to my day.

  5. Thank you for a great devotional! I smiled as I remembered our family trips growing up. They are precious memories- the good and the bad. I shed a tear as I recalled our battles with infertility, loss of children, and our journey through adoption. What a beautiful analogy and expression of thanksgiving for all things to our wonderful God.

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Christina. I so agree – even the “bad” memories are special and precious. And I always feel so tender toward my fellow sisters who have walked a similar journey to building a family. Wish I could hug you in person. Thank you so much for reading. <3

  6. “Life is hard but God is good”…..I need this embroidered on a pillow, matted in a frame, emblazoned on all my T-shirts and monogrammed on my towels. I believe that this true, one-phrase lesson should be taught to all, young and old. Too often our thoughts change the phrase to “Life is hard therefore God must not be good” or saved for the times when things are going well and we think “Life is good again, so now God is good.” Let us remember this one consistent truth; that in the good times and the hard times, God’s character and love toward us remains constant and unchanging, and on this we must base our daily lives! Thank you for this post……

    • If you make those pillows, t-shirts, and towels will you send one to me?? 😉 I actually said a hearty “YES!” out loud as a read your comment… thank you so much for taking the time to read!

  7. Very enlightening to know that the Motley Girls are not different after all.

  8. This is sweet to hear. We’ve tried to make memories in our family, but not coming from strong families ourselves, it’s hard to know if everything we’re doing will matter one day. Good to hear how the memories shaped you, Lauren. My oldest two are adults now and the youngest is in high school. Time spent making memories is time well spent.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Brenda. I know my children are young and I am relatively inexperienced. But, I tend to believe that the parents who care and WANT to make memories are doing a better job than they think they are. I think it’s wonderful that you have put in the effort and I truly believe it all matters whether we see it or not. 🙂

  9. Thank you for the encouraging devotion. My kids constantly complain. There are times I feel like I am failing and not a very good mother but it’s nice to know that I am doing things right.

    Thanks again.

    • If your kids never complained I would be wondering if they were human! 😉 But in all seriousness – I feel like a bad mother constantly and have to remind myself that God’s grace covers all of us (me included.) Thanks so much for reading!!

  10. I wish I could have forced my family to have some fun. We never really took vacations and the ones we did or even weekend outings seem so so. It is good to have those memories.

    • I don’t think I ever realized at the time what a gift these family outings were – that didn’t come until adulthood. And comments like yours really help me see that. I hope you get to create some “forced family fun” of your own now and know that regardless, our greatest adventure awaits us in eternity. <3

  11. Lauren,
    I had to chuckle because I actually found napkins that had the “fFf” monogram and under it it read “Forced Family Fun”. I would actually get them out when we were going to do an all family activity and everyone would groan in unison. But you are so right….even though it sounds like some of your family adventures has a kind of Grizwoldian aura about them, you learned a valuable lesson that when the going gets tough, you don’t quit, you press on. Not only do you press on, but you offer God praise and thanks in the process (not for what you’re enduring, but thanks for who He is). Only through perseverance can character be built, and only through character can we attain the jewel of hope. Praise that you see God’s goodness even through the trials you’ve endured. Thank you for this uplifting post and your testimony. May your folks legacy live on….
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Oh my goodness I want those napkins!! What an amazing find!! haha To be fair to my parents, for every “Griswoldian” adventure we had there were ten that were simply magical (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, beaches of Monterrey and California come to mind.) 😉 But I think those tougher experiences (and watching how my parents reacted to them) shaped my heart the most. I loved reading your comment – thanks so much for taking the time to leave it!

  12. I didn’t grow up with fun family vacations, but I think my husband and I and our daughters had your basic good vacations, Disney World, Grand Canyon, Colorado, Canada, and now when we share those memories I am amazed at how much more they recall than I do. It is fun to hear their version of events, including camping in the rain and wet sleeping bags and stops to see historic cemeteries, husband’s idea, not mine.

    I also now enjoy the empty nest years with vacations for two, it is fun to travel with just my husband!

  13. God’s timing is perfect! We are scheduled to leave on a trip tomorrow, but my teenagers are whining. Now I know we should persevere in order to make some memories!

  14. Lauren,

    We didn’t have family vacations. We would go & visit some of my sisters now & then. That was it. It is very important to make memories with your children. They may not like it now, but later on will appreciate them. I say take plenty of pictures. You will have those memories to share later on. My mom always took plenty of pictures & so did her family. I am glad. Over the past few years I was able to share those old pics with my aging dad. He enjoyed looking at them often. Life is so about perseverance. Children need to learn it early on. Press on work hard enjoy the good things in life that a loving God has bestowed upon you. Life is hard…ut God is always good!

    Blessings 🙂

  15. I smirked my way through this! Having been one of those children who was dragged to funerals, viewings, every family gathering, retirement homes to visit old relatives. . . I could totally relate. We always took a yearly ‘family trip’. Even if it was only a day trip, this was a Highly Anticipated Event, and we have soooo many good memories. My friends wanted to ‘do fun things like the Horsts do!’; but really, being together and being ‘forced to have fun’ and do uncomfortable things was what we did! Being intentional about family time . . . it’s only looking back that I realize this is what my parents were doing. Richly blessed!