Bestowing Grace (sometimes)

BLOG-Frightened-ChildI always “joke” that I am taking humbleness and patience off my prayer list because when I pray for these things God gives me the opportunity to practice them….a lot. Honestly I am humbled within the first 1 minute of my Pilates class on a weekly basis.

But last week I heard this great tid-bit from a Focus on the Family pod cast about  viewing each challenging situation as an opportunity to practice grace.

I have added this to my prayer list every morning.

Needless to say an opportunity to practice this new skill presents itself within 3 minutes after I am awake. Two of my four cherubs always wake up crabby. There is grumbling and complaining daily. Every once in a while a tragedy i.e. we are out of toaster waffles, causes a complete rapid spiral. When this happens grace is not a word I would use to describe how I handle the hysteria that has taken over our house.

But with my new attitude I am praying through it. “God please allow me to practice grace in every circumstance, even this one. Thank you for this opportunity to practice bestowing your grace”

I am not saying it works every time. In fact it is currently only working about 20% of the time, but I figure that is 20% better than I was last week. And the times that it does work are actually pretty glorious. Once things have settled I am so glad to have kept my cool and more importantly my family is responding so positively to me not freaking out.

Give it a whirl mommas. I promise you will be pleased with the outcome. I don’t think anyone ever regrets not loosing their temper.

2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

What Makes a Good Mom Friend

Mothers-with-kids-playdateMy momma friends… what a blessing they have been. When  I look back over the years  I am so grateful for the friends I have gained because of my children’s friends. I think of how these relationships blossomed and I am so amazed that God gifted not only my child with a wonderful friend but me as well.

 

When I think of what makes a good mom friend these 10 things came to mind. (Disclaimer these are things I found important. They may be different for you)

They are things I have learned over the years thanks to the lovely group of mommas I have the privilege of calling my friends

  1. I love the moms that insist on manners and make my children help clean up after play time. I appreciate this because it reinforces the messaging we have at home
  2. I love the moms that  include my children in prayer time. What an awesome opportunity to see another family living out their faith.
  3. I love the moms that are happy with the really long play date. It is so sad when our cherubs are just getting in a groove and then the have to go.
  4. I love the moms that share their concerns over their child’s challenges or their parenting missteps. It is so comforting to know that we all struggle and make mistakes from time to time.
  5. I love the moms that appreciate each of our children’s unique talents. You do not compare. You celebrate each ones gifts.
  6. I am so grateful to the moms that lift our children up in times of conflict. The ones that don’t lay blame and realize it takes two to tango. I appreciate the fact that you realize these times are an opportunity to help them develop conflict resolution skills that will benefit them throughout their life
  7. I am grateful for the moms that invite me in for a drink or stay for some chit chat at pick up. That extra time is how we became such good friends.
  8. I love the moms that forgive when it is my child who has done something wrong. All of our children will blow it at some point.When you embrace them after the stumble you are such a great model to show my children what true forgiveness looks like.
  9. I love the moms that see the good things in my children. Sometimes they see things that even I do not. It is so wonderful to have another mom point out a little nugget you either take for granted or just missed entirely.
  10. I love the moms that love my children, because I love your children too.

There is nothing that makes you love someone more than when they love your cherub. The lifelong friendships I have developed have come from the mommas who genuinely share the love of our children. They see these friendships as building blocks that develop a solid foundation for both of our children.

Colossians 3:12-14  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

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PRAYER FOR YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE SPOUSE

Hey Mommas,

I know many of you are not active on Facebook so I wanted to share these prayers here too. These are taken from www.timewarpwife.com. I love her site. She is so spot on with her prayers. There is one for the girl who will marry your son and the one for the boy who will marry your daughter.

I encourage you to pray for this out loud with your child. xoxoxo

Open Letter to the Girl Who Will Marry My Son

To the Girl Who Will Marry My Son,

I prayed for you today, and as I did, I got to wondering who you are. I wondered how and when you’ll capture the heart of my son. I wondered if we’ll be good friends.

I asked God to keep you safe in His hands. I asked Him to keep your heart and mind as you’re growing in grace.

My hope is that you are well cared for. I pray for those who are raising you. May God grant them with wisdom and understanding.

You are a treasure, created with purpose, knit together in wisdom, and loved by an almighty God. Don’t underestimate that worth.

Don’t judge yourself by a number on the scale, don’t measure your self according the perfection of Hollywood.

Your purity is of great value. Fiercely protect it. Don’t be deceived by those who blur the lines between lust and love, and pressure you into believing a lie. Love waits. When a man truly loves a woman he treats her with honor. He is willing to protect her purity, until the day they are wed.

A woman of virtue is of great value. And what is virtue? It’s doing the hard things because you know they are good. It’s making the right choice, when the going get’s tough. It’s choosing God’s will in lieu of your own.

Seek Him with all of your heart. Dig into His Word, and when you’re feeling discouraged dig deeper yet. Train yourself as a mighty warrior, knowing that one day you will stand in the gap for your children. One day you will ride beside your husband in battle fighting for all that is good. Be strong.

While you’re doing your part, I’m doing mine.

I’m training a young man to love you as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.

I’m raising a boy who understands that great leaders are first and foremost servants of men.

I’m teaching my son what it means to honor and respect a young lady.

And by example, we’re leading the way.

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

To the Boy Who Will Marry My Daughter

To the boy who will marry my daughter,

I prayed for you today as I do every day. I wondered what marvelous things God has in store for your life. I wondered what you might look like, and who you might be. I wondered when and how our paths may cross one another.

As my own children have grown in my womb, so you continue to grow in my heart.

I pray that you are cared for and loved by those who are taking the time to teach you what it means to be a young man. I ask that God grants them with wisdom and strength as they lead by example.

My hope is that you are seeking God’s will in your life, for I know that a man who loves God with all of his heart will love my daughter with all of his strength.

Stand strong in the face of temptation. Guard your mind from the lure of seduction. We live in a world that offers a front seat to sexual sin. Blurring the lines between lust and love, it deceives the heart. I stand in the gap praying that God will sustain you, and give you strength until the day you have taken your bride.

Gentleness is a sign of great strength–humility a symbol of courage and stability, don’t be deceived by those who deem them as weak.

As fresh fallen snow, so is the future before you. A canvas soon to be painted by footsteps. Choose wisely. Have fun. Work hard. Don’t sweat the big stuff. Trust God with your future and allow its unfolding in His perfect time.

I pray that you hunger for the Word of God, for great leaders are those who are led by wisdom and truth.

When you experience days that bring you down to your knees, rejoice. Be exceedingly glad. Our Father is shaping and molding you into the man He designed you to be.

While you’re doing your part, I’m doing mine.

I’m raising a daughter who understands the value of purity, patience, and truth.

I’m training a girl to be a woman of virtue and strength.

I’m teaching her that inner beauty is of great value, and that outer beauty doesn’t have to conform.

We’re showing her what a committed relationship looks like as we lead by example.

And wouldn’t you know it… she’s also praying for you.

May God keep you safe in His arms as you’re growing in grace.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

 

 

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The Men We Want Our Boys to Become

Father praying with daughter

I saw an quote the other day it read, “Finding a woman to sleep with is easy but try to find one to pray with.” It was powerful and true. I sent it to my boys. But it got me thinking. What type of man do I want my boys to be? What moral code do I really want to make sure they follow? What will set them up for success in their life? Not just the standard answers… “Man of God,” “Loving Husband and Father,” but drilling down into it what are we really trying to accomplish. What is God’s will for them? Not our will.

We have a deep responsibility to lead our children down the path of a God centered life. This will be a life of contentedness, love and fulfillment. When I think of  the men I really want my boys to become I realize this is the answer.

All of the other things will fall into place if they are God focused. If their desires are the things that God desires.

So here is our list. Let us know what you think.

1) Don’t objectify women – in today’s culture, at every turn, we are slapped in the face by some type of media where women are apparently only attractive if they are showing as much of their bodies as possible. We actually saw a billboard yesterday that was advertising bathing suits. The girl on it had literally her entire butt exposed. How can we teach our boys that if a women feels that positive attention comes from the fact that her butt is showing then she is not confident in what she truly has to offer?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body

2) No earthly relationship will make you happy – Only God makes you happy and whole. Having a loving relationship with our Father in heaven is  the only thing hat can make you fulfilled No relationship can fill that empty space in you that you try to fill with a litany of relationships, work etc.

Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3) Marriage is sacred. Marriage is meant to join a man and a woman together FOREVER for the sole purpose of building a community to share the gospel and bring people you meet as a couple to God. That is it. Marriage is not meant to make you happy. A Godly marriage will be a happy marriage, but only because you are both fulfilling God’s divine purpose for your life.

Ephesians 5:31-32 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

4) Marriage is hard work. It is not meant for selfish people. It is not meant to fulfill your personal needs. If you find your person you want to dedicate your life to, you become selfless. You make concessions happily without expectations.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, …

5) Pray in all circumstances. Especially in a relationship. from the beginning and throughout your entire relationship. There is no greater way to build lasting intimacy. There is no greater gift you can give your children

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing,

6) Your children are on loan to you. Once you have children you are their steward. They do not belong to you. They are not here to fulfill your unrequited dreams. They are here to become men and women of God and spread the gospel.

Psalm 127:3  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

7) Work hard when it is time to work. God designed you to provide for your family. It is plain and simple. You do not have the option to have a poor work ethic. Work with integrity.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

8) Choose the Godly path. If you are not sure what to do choose the hardest answer. It is always the right one. The hard one is the holy spirit is leading you towards the right choice. The enemy makes the wrong answer the easy one.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

9) Be true to yourself and everyone around you. Being honest is sometimes the hardest choice but it never is a bad choice. Jesus never gave a politically correct answer only an honest one.

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Proverb 19:1  Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

10) Take the high road… every time. The immediate gratification you feel from retaliating is not worth the soul sucking  that comes from it in the future. Bite your tongue. Choose grace. Pray your way through your anger

Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

11) Be kind – Choose to be kind in every circumstance to every person. Not everyone may thank you or respond the same way, but what good comes from being unkind? You just feel cruddy about yourself. This is another one of those soul sucking things.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

12) Assume the best in people – so much of the time if you show them kindness they will come around. Even if they are cranky. Think of those stories you hear about how some driver who cuts you off is running late to pick up a child or on their way to the hospital. You never know the story. Assume the best and you will all be better off for it.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

13) Be courageous Stand up for what is right. Even if it means loosing a relationship. The only relationship that really matters is the one you have God

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

14) Fellowship and Church are imperative – you must continue to grow in your relationships. Especially your relationship with God. No greater joy in life can be found than by walking hand in hand with God. You are the spiritual leader in your household.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

15) Be aware of the gifts God gave you. Be grateful for them. Focus on those gifts and why God gave them to you. Put them to use to glorify Him. Don’t waste your energy focusing on the gifts you don’t have.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

16) Forgiveness – since we continually are receiving forgiveness we must do the same for others and especially for ourselves. We will make mistakes every day of our lives. Sometimes really big ones that hurt others. God forgives you the moment you sin. He wants you to forgive yourself too. Learn from your mistakes but don’t continue to self flog.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

If we were able ensure our boys become men who try to live and love the way Jesus did then we are leaving a legacy I would be proud of.

What is important to you mommas? Anything we missed in the list? Let us know. xooxox

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How To Be In the World Without Being Of the World

angel_devilThe world is a tricky place. Much of what society has deemed acceptable is not what God sees as acceptable. There are many facets of our society that have at best,  taken sinful behavior and turned it into something totally normal or at worse celebrate it.

 

I am as guilty of this as anyone. In fact I commit just about every sin every day, I covet, I speak ill, I complain, I curse, I could go on and on. It is so easy to justify these behaviors because they are so common, they are so accepted and worse yet excused. I say a curse word because I am frustrated, I watch Magic Mike because I love Channing Tatum,  I complain about a co-worker because they didn’t live up to their word……

They just don’t seem sinful because everyone thinks they are OK.

I know my cherubs deal with it all the time too, but as they get older the dilemmas become more difficult. We were confronted with one of these moral dilemmas last week.

I was dropping off laundry for one of my high school cherubs. I saw a giant box of condoms. So I say, “Hey what is with the big box of condoms” to which he replies “Oh, I am selling them at school for $1 each. I make .75 per condom. People are too embarrassed to buy them and I figure if they are going to have sex anyway I am protecting everyone and making a profit. It is a win/win and I do it off school property so I can’t get in trouble” He followed it up saying he has made $15 this week.

Honestly, at this point I am slightly horrified, yet impressed. It was very entrepreneurial thinking and he is right; kids are going to have sex, he is providing a service, it is not illegal, it is not unhealthy, in fact, it is pretty responsible and he obviously thought it through.

I didn’t know how to respond.

I knew it bothered me on a gut level but I couldn’t figure out why. Everything he said was correct. In fact it was hard to argue with his logic.

He asked if I was angry.

I told him I was not at all angry but I needed to think about it. (I did tell him I was impressed with his ingenuity and entrepreneurial thought process.)

So I asked around. I asked my husband what he thought, I asked some friends at work, I asked some gals from my bible study.

98% of the people I spoke with only had positive things to say..  “Wow, how clever.” “I don’t see anything wrong with it”

The 2% that felt icky about it couldn’t really put their finger on why they were uncomfortable with it either.

Now mind you, I am not at all an uptight person when it comes to sex. In fact I really like sex. We have a very open dialogue about sex with all of our cherubs.

So why was this rationale, responsible act bothering me?

I prayed on it,(which is what I should have gone to straight away.)

I was trying to figure out a moral dilemma based on a world with skewed morals. I looked to the bible for the answer. The great thing about the bible is there is no grey area. God is pretty clear on what is right and what is wrong.

In fact it is easy to know the answer. It is almost always the hardest choice. That’s because the holy spirit has your back. The holy spirit guides us towards things of God and away from things of the world. We just have to choose to listen.

I asked him to pray on it, to listen to his gut. If he felt fine after doing that I wouldn’t say anything else. I have no idea how it is going to play out, but he is getting old enough to forge his own path and learn from his mistakes.

I do know that it was an “aha” moment for me. I need to check my behavior. I need to figure out how to live in the world without falling prey to being of the world. I need to stop and take inventory of the things that I allow because they seem ok, when I know deep down they are not.

If I get confused I can just read my bible. The answer is right there.

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

 

11 Things We Did Right (by the Grace of God)

family-640x385Yesterday I posted about the things I wish we had done differently or the things we shouldn’t have freaked out over. Today I want to share the things that worked out.

Let me preface this by saying I take no credit (OK I take a little credit) but most of the credit goes to God.

These are mostly the things I was throwing darts at in hopes that they would work.

I am so grateful they did.

  1. I am glad we insisted on manners.Please & thank you.  Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Shake their hands when you meet. It matters in life and it is a lesson that stays with them.
  2. I am glad I read Love Languages for my marriage and my children – this is truly life altering information.
  3. I am glad we are the house where everyone comes over. Play dates, sleepovers, movie night, taco Tuesdays. You get to know their friends. It keeps you close with your cherubs even as they get older. It provides a safe space for them.
  4. I am glad we insisted on Family Days and Technology Free Sundays; this worked until high school This was totally worth the battle. No phones, no computers, no video games. If we watched TV it was together as a family. It is not possible now due to multiple things but it established a good foundation.
  5. I am glad we had friends who had older children. It is always good to have someone who has been there and done that to turn to for advice.
  6. I am glad we gave each of them a ditch day with mom every year. Once a year (provided they are doing what they are supposed to  in school)  We  drop off the others at school and keep one with us. We do whatever they want, lunch, pedicures, park, laser tag etc. It is special one on one time.
  7. I am glad we taught them about healthy food. How to read labels, how to gauge the nutrition of food. This helps once they are on their own making their own decisions.
  8. I am glad we trust them until they give us a reason not to trust them (this is not a comfortable thing to do but it has paid off.)
  9. I am glad we have always talked openly about sex. Our rule was we will answer any question about sex as long as it is not personal. This has kept the lines of communication open and the conversations are not uncomfortable.
  10. I am glad we gave them chores and taught them it is important to contribute to the family. Of course the price you pay for this is that it isn’t done the way you like, but it is worth it.
  11. I am glad we raised them in the church. Knowing that God is in your corner is the biggest gift you can give your cherubs. I had a friend who once told me that God loves our children so much more than we do (which is amazing since we love our children so so so much) so when we mess up God is there to hold them in His arms. God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose you to be stewards of your child. He knew that you would be the perfect person for this particular gift

 

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Learn From My Mistakes, parenting advice from a weathered momma

o-MOMS-AND-KIDS-facebookNow that I am on the back-end of parenting I look back at all the things I used to stress over and they seem silly. At the time I lay awake at night fretting over a litany of mistakes, issues and questions.

It went by so quickly. I wasted many hours second guessing and feeling guilty. Below is a list of total wasted time and energy that I hope you will take to heart.

  1. The #1 thing I wish I had done differently was play more. I was so busy doing “stuff” that I thought mattered at the time. I have said “Not now I am busy” around a million times. I have gotten better at this, but I missed many a game of hide and seek or Lego making because of a to do list. The to do list never goes away but the cherubs do.
  2. They will give up their binky, thumb or blanket without you having to make it an issue. No one goes to Jr. High with any of those things.No one becomes a bad person because they kept a security device a little longer.
  3. I wish I had let them fight it out more. This was mostly self-preservation because the arguing drives me to the brink of insanity (sometimes over the brink.) But I wish I had let them work it out with less interference from me. I have started employing this technique a few years ago and it has ironically cut down on the bickering.  I am surprised on the direct correlation of how little I care = how little they care.
  4. I wish I had taken more one on one time with my husband – I was so caught up in raising little ones he took a back back back seat. My cherubs would have thrived just as well if we had gone on more dates.
  5. I wish I had gotten more exercise. This is about getting away, getting your head on straight, taking a break. We all feel better if we go on a walk or do yoga. I always felt like I shouldn’t be away because there was homework, dinner, practice (insert any of your to do list here.)  They would have turned out the same way if I had taken a half hour to go for a walk.
  6. I wish I had prayed out loud more. I pray all the time in my head but I wish I had been more vocal in front of my children
  7. If you are running late they look fine if their clothes are wrinkled, really no one notices. In fact if they go somewhere in Spider-Man PJ’s no matter where you are going (even church) most people think it is cute. Is it really a battle worth fighting?
  8. Someone close to you will say something hurtful about your parenting. Just let it go. If they are right change your behavior, if they are wrong stand strong in your conviction and don’t let it eat at you. I have had occasions where someone tells me something that may or may not have been true.It bothered me for far longer then it should have. I lay awake at night second guessing. Don’t do that. Turn it over to God and let him handle it.
  9. No one is scarred because the house was messy. In fact having one less thing to nag about probably was a good thing.
  10. If they stink at a sport as a child it doesn’t mean they will stink at it as a teenager. All those times I fretted because my cherub was the one looking for 4 leaf clovers during the soccer game were wasted hours. They all play sports in high school just fine.
  11. The complete lack of desire to do homework works itself out. Provide the quiet space to do homework. Be available for questions. If they don’t get it done let them suffer the consequences. I used to drive myself crazy with one of my cherubs trying to engage him. Over the past couple of years I have just let the nagging go. We are all happier and he is doing fine. I am not saying to intervene is there is a problem but all the years of almost rupturing a blood vessel when it took him hours to get through first grade homework were completely wasted energy.
  12. If they are exhausted let them sleep in on occasion. It is only elementary/Jr High school. Missing an hour will literally do nothing harmful.
  13. In fact everything in elementary and Jr High ends up ok. The dioramas, school projects, book reports are all pretty irrelevant in the overall scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong they teach them great study habits, research skills and get them set up for success but how they look doesn’t matter. Just ensure your child is doing their best work. Don’t sit up all night “fixing” things or managing the project for them. We all know the projects that were done by parents. Those kids get the same grades as the kids who did it themselves. It really is about the effort not the quality.
  14. Let them go hungry. If they don’t want what you made or “forget” to eat breakfast for the tenth time they will be fine. I know the rationale “What if they can’t concentrate”? “What if they pass out from hunger”? They all make it. I promise. A little discomfort is a good thing sometimes. I bet they won’t forget breakfast an 11th time if you let them go to school hungry.
  15. We were total food Nazis. We stressed over the sugar, fat, soda, non organic whatever. Honestly it was all for naught. Now that they are mobile and have their own money they eat whatever they want. They drink Starbucks.  Go ahead and provide 3 squares a day plus healthy snacks but don’t freak if they have a soda at a birthday party.
  16. They will sleep by themselves. I know there is all kinds of advice on sleeping with parents vs. sleeping by themselves. Each child is so different. We chose to let ours get into bed with us whenever they wanted (personally we loved this snuggle time.) they all grew out of it on their own. No long term damage.

There is a country and western song called You’re Gonna Miss This. Part of the chorus goes “You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back, you’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.”

Speaking from experience I can vouch for that sentiment. What do you want to see when you look back at these years? How do you want them to remember their childhood?

You cannot look at any mom geared publication and not find an article on how hard parenting is. They all write this because it is true mommas!

Parenting is hard and you will make major mistakes – give yourself a break.

If you love and care for them your cherubs will be fine.

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5 Answers to Mommy Am I Fat? (or too skinny or too whatever)

As cherub #3 and I were driving to school last week we saw a giant red billboard that said (in giant letters) 34 A?  WE CAN FIX THAT”  Followed by another billboard that read “GUARANTEED TO MAKE AT LEAST 3 EX BOYFRIENDS SORRY”

Both were for some local institute for Plastic Surgery. Both peaked my daughters interest.

I was left to explain why you would need to “fix” the size of your boobs or rely on undergoing surgery and altering your body to make a boyfriend regret breaking up with you.

This is the culture that surrounds us. A culture that perpetuates a fictional perfection. A society that’s shoving an unattainable ideal down peoples throats. A culture that teaches it IS how you look. A society where we are set up for failure because there is no such thing as perfection.

How do we teach our children that the body image they desire is a body image that does not exist? It’s a body image that has been created by a computer. Our children are trying to live up to a drawing.

The ramifications of this assault alters your son’s perception of what a girl should look like, it warps how they should respect a woman. it diminishes your daughter’s security.  I just read an article that states that girls as young as 5 years old are concerned with body image. By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.

How do we combat virtually every image, every obvious or worse yet, insidious message that is everywhere we look? How do we teach our children they are beautiful because God says they are beautiful?

When you don’t know what to say look to God. He has the answers. He sets us up for success. We put on the full armor of God;

(from Focus on the Family) 

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

What it means: You are created in the image of God, and God doesn’t make junk! Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; and when you look in the mirror, He wants you to “know that full well.” Try this beauty tip: Every morning when you look in the mirror, say Psalm 139:14 and smile. You might even tape the verse on your mirror as a reminder!

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

What it means: The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. Do you put more time and effort into being pretty on the outside or the inside? As you get older, you will meet Christian girls who spend more time trying to find the perfect outfit, get the perfect tan, find the perfect lip gloss, and have the perfect body. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty, we need to make sure it’s in balance. God would rather see us work on becoming drop-dead gorgeous on the inside. You know, the kind of girl who talks to Him on a regular basis (prayer) and reads her Bible.

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

What it means: Beauty fades with age, so if you are more concerned with your outer appearance, you will be unhappy when the wrinkles come and the number on the scale goes up. In fact, did you know that your body may show the beginning signs of aging as early as age twenty? That is why God wants us to “fear” Him. That doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him but rather to be in awe of Him and all that He has done. Let me put it to you this way. If you stand two girls next to each other and one is Miss Teen USA whose beauty is limited to physical beauty, and the other young lady is a more average-looking girl who loves the Lord more than anything, she is the more beautiful girl in the eyes of God.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

What it means: This does not mean it’s wrong to braid your hair or wear nice clothes and jewelry. The verse was written to warn women not to follow the customs of some of the Egyptian women who, during that time period, spent hours and hours working on their hair, makeup, and finding the perfect outfit. God would rather see women work on becoming beautiful on the inside — the kind of beauty that lasts forever.

1 Timothy 4:8

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

What it means: Exercising and staying in shape is a good thing, but God expects us to stay in shape spiritually by reading our Bibles, praying, and going to church on a regular basis. In other words, there will be plenty of people who put their time and effort into staying in shape but who are out of shape spiritually. If they don’t know Jesus Christ, their perfect bodies won’t get them through the gates of heaven.

 

Sources http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/13/living/feat-body-image-kids-younger-ages/index.html

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/sexuality/preventing-the-sexualization-of-your-daughter/what-the-bible-says

6 Effective Tips for Praising Your Tween

Hi Mommas,

Last week I was featured on Meaningful Mama (I love her blog) http://meaningfulmama.com/

Anyway check out the article. Hope you enjoy oxoxox

Parenting a tween is a whole new ball of wax. It happens suddenly and without warning. You go from having a sweet little person who constantly follows you around full of love and adoration to a person who suddenly needs privacy, has much less tolerance of just about everything and likes you some of the time. These 6 effective tips for praising your tween will help build into your relationship as you navigate a whole new phase of parenting.

6 Effective Tips for Praising and Parenting Your Tween

Frankly parenting a pre-teen sometimes it is exhausting, but this is when you need to solidify your relationship. They are changing and they expect you not to change. They have become more clever. They recognize insincerity. They need to trust and value their relationship with you in order to recognize its’ importance. A strong relationship during the middle school years makes for a strong relationship during high school.

CS-LEWIS quote parenting tween

Sincere praise can build trust and appreciation. Here are 5 ways to foster your relationship with your tween.

Praise the Process Not the Result

Tweens are already overwhelmed with emotions, hormones, peer pressure and pressure from us. Instead of making them result focused, praise the process. “You studied really hard for that test you deserve that grade,” or “Wow you put so much effort into cleaning the dishes. I really appreciate your hard work and contribution to the family” are better ways to praise.

Praise the Inside not the Outside

Do you remember Jr. High? Was there a time when you had lower self-esteem? Tweens are already sooooo self conscious about their appearance, what they wear, how their hair looks, what type of backpack they have, etc. Let them know appearances are based on substance. When your daughter get’s dressed don’t tell her she looks cute. Tell her, “That is a great outfit. It really fits your fun personality,” or “You have a great sense of style, how did you come up with that outfit?” Further, praise the character qualities you see in them.

Praise your Spouse Often, in Front of your Tween 

Tweens are feeling insecure about basically everything. They need the security of knowing you are united. They need to see and hear that you respect each other. “You father is a wise man and I support his position on this,” is a great response when a child questions your spouse. Support your spouse’s decisions, even if you don’t agree. You and your spouse can always discuss the decision in private. This kind of praise will cause much eye rolling from your tween, but  they will be better for it in the long run.

Praise Your Child’s Friends – Even the Ones You are not Crazy About

Tweens need and appreciate your acceptance. They want you to like their friends. This is also a great way to let them know the type of behavior you appreciate without nagging them. Say things like, “I really appreciate how polite Jolene has been lately,” or “It must be nice to have a friend who is so kind to you.”

Praise their Opinions

This does not have to be a verbal “Great idea!”  Tweens appreciate non-verbal recognition. This is an opportunity to develop trust. Tweens crave to be heard so give them the opportunity. Ask them their opinion. ” What earrings should i wear with this shirt”? or “Did you see how that driver yelled at that person, what do you think of that?”  If you do feel compelled to praise their opinion be specific.  “I never would have thought of putting those earrings with that blouse. I like it!”

Praise God – All the Time, In Every Circumstance, Good or Bad.

Let your child know that God is your pilot, not your co-pilot and that you completely trust Him. If you  trust God then your tween will eventually completely trust God instead of trusting the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Enjoy spending time with your amazing tween. This can be a wonderful time as you watch them navigate into the person they are choosing to become. Be their rock during this time. They need you more than ever.

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When in Doubt Choose the Kids….

ChooseTheKids1I rush everywhere. You know how it is….. 15 things on your to do list just waiting to be checked off.

You dragging your cherubs along for the ride. Throwing some type of food at them in the back seat so they can suck it down while trying to cram in a few minutes of homework on your way to practice.

I am in the habit of rushing. Even when I don’t need to sprint through the grocery store at lightening speed I find that I am still going through the grocery store at lightening speed. I have that feeling of angst that I must move on to the next activity.

I think God was amused by this character trait. He knows that being busy gives me a sense of self-worth so He gave me a dawdler. A dawdler can drive a busy person to the brink of insanity.

A dawdler takes at least 5 minutes to get out of the car because they are unbuckling the seat belt ever so slowly, they are putting on shoes that they have taken off (ever so slowly), they are looking for whatever possession they have dropped under the seat on the way to the grocery store as you, the busy person, stand there urging them to come on and get out of the car. Each time you say it your voice gets a little more tense until someone walking by gives you a judgy look for being cranky at your cherub, but they have no idea how long you have been there.

You finally get them out of the car and then they meander to the store, stopping to pick up a shiny piece of something they see in the street.

Since you are now 5 minutes behind you rush even more to get through the store to make up the 5 minutes.

And this is how it goes with everything, every time you go somewhere with your dawdler. You whiz by whatever it is to check off the box and they are literally stopping to smell the roses.

You feel like you are spending time with them but if you step back and look at it are you? Is dragging them around impatiently spending time with them?

Last week I lost a friend. It was unexpected and really rotten. He was a great guy. I was always impressed at how laid back he was. It wasn’t that he had great patience. He just didn’t mind waiting. He enjoyed the process of just letting his cherubs be. He enjoyed watching them as they did whatever it was. He enjoyed the moment. Maybe it is a guy thing because my husband excels at that too.

When we have friends that pass on it always gives us a pause for reflection

When I lay there late at night and think of the ramifications of what this loss means to a family I realize that he had it right. He prioritized his family, not his list.

If something was to happen tomorrow would I have wanted to spend my days rushing from task to task just to check the box and feel accomplished? Or would I have wanted to make the grocery store trip about quality time?

Would I have wished I had taken the 10 seconds to look at whatever my cherub found so cool in aisle 6? Wouldn’t my cherub wish that?

Would my cherubs see my list and the items crossed off of it and think I was a good mom?

I know we have a tendency to go back to our old ways once enough this time has passed. Once the mourning is over the vow you made to change a behavior is forgotten because you get sucked back into the rush of life.

So I am throwing this out there is for my accountability.  I am taking the month of February to not rush when I am with my cherubs. I know there will be times when we have to fly from school to practice or a game, but rushing only when absolutely necessary.

I am going to take a slow down and relax lesson from the gift of my little dawdler that God bestowed on me.

He really does know what he is doing.