We strive to create balance and peace in our families. We strive
to live each day in the knowledge that our family is a gracious
gift; a gift to be treasured and celebrated in the every day.

We strive to simplify our lives, but our family's competing
demands are anything but simple.

Sometimes, simplifying means--quite simply--renewing our focus
on what's really important in our lives. Sometimes, balancing
means--quite simply--surrendering roles that aren't important
so we'll have more time to nurture the roles that are.

That's why I've created *Soul Snacks for Families.* These are
creative ways you can focus on your family and create memories
with your kids while remaining attentive to your own needs as
a parent. All in 15 minutes or less.

Here are a week's worth of Family Soul Snacks. They were
created, not with the expectation that you will do each
activity on its designated day, but, rather, to remind you
that, every day, you have 15 very special minutes to fill.
Fifteen minutes expressly to nurture your children, your
spouse, and yourself in a special way.

Day One This evening, just before the sun goes down, gather your
family to watch the sunset. The only rule: no one speaks
until the sun has completely nestled into the horizon.
Use the quiet time to meditate and reflect on the importance
of slowing down.

Day Two Make a loved one's day: Write a note, have the kids draw
pictures, copy some home videos, or tape record the kids
singing and laughing. Pack it up and mail it to your oldest

Day Three No cooking tonight! Order a pizza and enjoy it on the living
room floor, picnic style) with your kids.

Day Four Encourage your children to read their favorite comics to
you this morning.

Day Five Write three pages in your journal regarding any challenge your
family is currently facing. Write as quickly as you can without
picking up your pen or crossing anything out. This is a powerful
tool for problem-solving and for developing a sense of trust
in yourself, as you tap the wisdom of your own mind.

Day Six As you go about your day with your family, be on the lookout
for ten positive, beautiful things about each of them, your
home, or your home life that you haven't noticed before.
Challenge yourself to maintain this heightened awareness.

Day Seven Brainstorm at least five of your own family soul snacks:
brief activities that will nurture your spirit while helping
you reconnect with your family. If you need inspiration,
choose any of three Soul Snacks booklets, each featuring
100 ideas: Soul Snacks for Families, Soul Snacks for Mothers,
and Soul Snacks for Women (available here:

A meaningful and fulfilled life can be surprising simple.
Start with a few moments each day specially devoted to
renewing your spirit--and your emphasis on the gifts in
your life.

Copyright 2003 Susie Michelle Cortright

Author's Bio: 

Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of More Energy for Moms and Rekindling Your Romance After Kids, as well as the Soul Snacks booklet series, featuring creative ways to nurture yourself and your family in 15 minutes or less. Each of these publications is available through Momscape.com, a website devoted to helping women celebrate and embrace their diverse roles: http://www.momscape.com