The Together Shirt …. Raising Up Parents

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My boys would not stop arguing this morning. I’d had enough. They are normally very sweet, considerate and get along well. But alas, it was one of those mornings. Out of patience, I decided to get creative with a solution. I stuck them together … literally … by wearing a huge Together Shirt.

They balked at first. Even cried, lol. Ah, I have a winner here. I grabbed one of my big shirts, squished the boys in, and voila, Together Shirt. I went back to work, pleased with myself.

A funny thing happened. They came up to me ten minutes later, asking if they could wear the shirt all day! It was fun, they said. They were reading, doing activities, and were pretending to be one big monster!  No fussing on my part, no yelling, no additional punishments – just teaching a valuable lesson to learn to work together.

How is this raising up parents? I read an article today about the rise in Kindergarten suspensions – Kindergarteners!!! For throwing chairs, bullying other kids, drugs, even lewd conduct. Sad. Disheartening. Also angering. And preventable.

Parents – where are you? What are you doing? Raising children is not a pastime or hobby. You don’t do it when you feel like it. You don’t get to decide when to pay attention and when to ignore. It involves time, effort, diligence, energy and patience! It also involves love, caring, sacrifice, and as you can see by my example, a little creativity. What is your “together shirt”? How do you reach your children? No answer? Then that is your answer. Get busy doing it. Now. Don’t know what to do? Get help from books, resources. Put in the time and effort.

In raising up your little ones,  you’ll find yourself growing, too.

Can I Do It? Yes, I Can

I Can Do It February 2016
Doing things on his own. Becoming more independent. Continuing to capture my heart. These are the things I looked forward to as my little guy turned five.
Figuring out what to do for his Kindergarten/First Grade curriculums … eh, not so much.
See, when I decided to homeschool my oldest son last year, I felt like he came primed and ready to go – after two years of private school, he had an awesome foundation. So I had full confidence that I could take him further, and help him soar. But my little guy has never been to a formal school, and all his education has come from … me. I started doubting myself. Would I be enough? Would I ensure he had the strong foundation he needed? Would I leave gaps? Would I make enough of the right choices for his curriculum and learning to help him achieve. In short, could I do it?
Then, our free online curriculum said it was time to teach him to add. And he did it. Joyously. Not just that, math is now his favorite thing. He wants to add again and again and again. And he’s reading. I mean, like, real words! My eyes welled up with tears. Not just because he can do the schoolwork, not just because he’s advancing, but because I gained confidence in my ability to teach him. God has blessed me with this incredible responsibility. And with His help and His grace, I can do all things. So can I do this? Yes, I can.

Champion Kids Nuggets – Train them Up

 

Train up a Child February

The Bible talks about the importance of parents training kids up according to the Word of God. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old he will not depart from it.” I love the admonition of putting the Word of God into our children, so that it takes root in their hearts, and remains to guide their lives. However, I believe that this verse is talking about more than just teaching our kids scripture. I believe it is speaking of training them up in every facet of life.

We need to be training them up to be business-minded entrepreneurs. We ought to be training up our children to have a strong work ethic, not an entitlement “gimme what’s mine” attitude. We should be training up compassionate, giving children; children that care about the world around them and are willing to work to make a positive difference. We must train children who are goal-oriented and focused; children who understand the importance of education not merely for the sake of good grades and memorization, but for the sake of knowledge because knowledge is power.

Take the time to train up your children in the way they should go.

Learning to Listen

February Learning to Listen

Overwhelmed.  Yep, that best describes where I was.  Three decisions – major ones – and I was at a loss for each. While none were life or death, each could either be a blessing or a hindrance, depending on my choices.  No pressure, though. Lol.

So I did what I always do.  I prayed.  I asked God for His wisdom and revelation for each decision.  Then I waited. Now I was active in my waiting – gathering information, getting sage advice, even making my infamous pros/cons lists (yes, they really work).  I started to have some clarity, but thinking the answers couldn’t be right, I just kept praying.  Then God made it abundantly clear what I was supposed to do.  Problem is, I thought He got it wrong.

See, just because He knows my end from my beginning, loves me more than I can imagine, sees and knows things I can’t even fathom, doesn’t mean every answer He gives is correct.  Just because I can look back on countless times that I’ve heeded His wisdom and been so thankful for it, doesn’t mean He’s correct.  Just because I have faith and trust in God and His direction doesn’t mean He’s correct.  Especially if it doesn’t line up the way I think it should …. Or does it?

And there lies my answer.  I can’t name a time when I’ve truly heard from God, and honored the instructions, that He’s steered me wrong.  Not a single time.  In fact, the less sense it seems to make to my head, the more faith it requires to follow God, and it seems the better the results.  So in spite of myself and my head, I’m going to follow the One with the answers and wisdom I need and seek.

I’m listening, Father.  What’s next?

Someday

Loved this so much I had to share . . .

 

what I tell myself on those really really really long tiring motherhood days….

Someday my house will stay clean.

Someday the dishes will be done and cereal not spilled on the floor.

Someday the juice box straw wrappers won’t be stuck to the counter.

Someday there won’t be swings to push.

Continue to read at: “Someday” – Finding Joy

Marriage: It’s Beautiful, It’s Natural, It’s Incredible

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I just felt like sharing this again.  Enjoy  ….

Married love is a funny thing. Built on a foundation of respect, honesty, commitment, and genuine friendship, it has to be nurtured, protected, developed, and honored. It’s almost like a child in a way – you give birth to it when you walk down the aisle. Then in the first few years of teaching it to “walk” or “work,” there are bumps and bruises as you get a feel for it. Finally, the cruising begins and you’re on your way…to more lessons, bumps and bruises, failures, and triumphs. Yet through it all, you have each other.

And while many in today’s society view marriage as antiquated, unnecessary, or even unrealistic (despite scores of happily married couples who beg to differ), those of us who are married know how joyful, fulfilling, and secure it can be. That’s why it’s so important to work to keep your marriage happy and healthy. I want to do something a little different today. Instead of telling you ways to keep your marriage spark alive, I want to help you understand the reason it is so crucial – and what can happen if you choose to let the flame extinguish.

You can miss an opportunity to experience a beautiful, God-created institution.

Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all . . . “ (ESV). Marriage is the institution designed for us to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. However we are also meant to enjoy it! It’s good and wonderful in our sight!

You can lose valuable opportunities for personal growth and development.

How many times in my 13 years of marriage have I wanted my own way, to do exactly as I felt like, spend money as I desired, or simply do nothing at all? PLENTY. But when you’re married, it’s not just about you. You don’t get to be selfish, petty, or have a pity party. Being lazy, bossy, or manipulative doesn’t work too well either. Instead, you learn how to share, give of yourself, sacrifice for someone else’s greater good, and generally become a better person. Positive growth is a benefit of marriage.

You can miss the sheer joy of companionship and comfort.

Teddy Pendergrass sang, “it’s so good loving somebody and somebody loves you back.” And that’s a fact. It’s a wonderful feeling to be loved and cherished in a strong, healthy marriage. It’s great to enjoy activities and times of fun with your best friend. It’s an amazing thing to make memories that last a lifetime. You are afforded that privilege in marriage.

To say I’m a big proponent of Godly marriage between a man and a woman is an understatement. I believe that when done right, there’s no place else you’d rather be. And that’s a fact.

Grateful ….

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2015.  It has been an interesting year.  I’m had some incredible highs, and some seemingly unbearable lows.  Yet as I spent time praying this morning, I felt so truly thankful and grateful to God for this past year of life.  The highs have kept me encouraged, and motivated.  The lows have kept me prayerful, and focused on what really matters.  Challenges have helped me become stronger and wiser in a myriad of ways, and learn to listen more attentively to God’s voice.  It’s been a journey, and I’m sure each one of you can relate.  But I feel so blessed for this journey, for all I’m learning and for continued growth.

So excited for what 2016 has in store!

May you continue to move forward in all that God has for you!

Happy New Year.

The Reason for the Season

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I could feel it start to happen with the arrival of November. My neck stiffening, my mind racing, my pulse quickening. All from thinking about preparing for Christmas. Or more accurately, Christmas shopping. Did I have my budget ready? Did the kids give me their lists? Who do I need to buy presents for? When should the Christmas cards go out? And on and on and on… Stress! Pressure! And not at all what the Christmas season is meant to be about. While there is nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves, when pushed to the forefront, they remove the focus from the true reason for Christmas – Jesus Christ! This year, instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, and sucked into the commercial hype of the season, I am determined to stay worshipful, grateful and focused on Christ. –

See more at: Gospel Today Reason For The Season

When Your Christmas Isn’t Merry …

Christmas isn't Merry 2 December 2015

Family, friends, laughter and love are all byproducts of the Christmas holiday. The love of Christ and the warmth of His presence, mold the beauty and joy of the holiday. But for everyone, it’s not a happy time. Someone lost a loved one recently, and ache at the thought of the first Christmas without them. Another person has a tragic, painful memory associated with this time of year, and it colors their joy and happiness a paled shade of blue. You may be lonely, frightened, and unable to find rest. You might be worried about money, and unable to provide much of anything for your children.

I just want you to know that people do care.  Some of us do realize that Christmas is so much more than presents, sales, big dinners, and new toys.  It’s about truly sharing the love of Jesus. And in an effort to do just that, I’m reaching out to you now with that love to say I understand, and I care. I am praying right now for anyone struggling with any of the hurts I’ve mentioned.  While you may not feel joy or peace, that’s exactly what Jesus came to give you. Allow yourself to feel, but trust in Him to give you strength, courage and ultimately joy.  That’s something no situation can take away.  Praying for you.

Merry Christmas.

Why I Homeschool . . .

Homeschooling December 2015

When I started this journey over a year ago, it was daunting, to say the least.  I really wasn’t sure I could do it.  I mean, the thought of the responsibility for all that my children would learn, being in my hands, overwhelmed me.  Good teachers, teachers who care and love and have a passion for helping children, are amazing and deserve our respect and accolades!  I hardly thought I could measure up.

Then a funny thing happened.  I realized I didn’t have to measure up.  It’s not a competition.  Instead of trying to teach in a certain way or be like that amazing teacher, I had to put my trust in God to navigate this journey.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do my research, lesson plans, preparations, field trips, grading papers, science experiments (I’m getting tired just reading that J).  Rather, it means if God has trusted me with this noble calling, then He will equip me to do it.

So in spite of myself, my limitations, my shortcomings, I homeschool.  I homeschool because I am putting more than academics into my boys.  We are studying Godly character.  We have a lot of life lessons – we study how to prioritize time, how to make decisions on what is most important and why.  When we’re all tired and no one can focus, we can take a break and go play outside, or head out the door to a field trip.  We play together, talk together, have lunch together, think together and dream together.  We study what intrigues them, and have time to research fun activities. We take vacations when the beaches are empty, and do science experiments at night. We stay at the free university called the library for hours, or make grocery shopping a time of math and critical thinking – why should we get milk instead of chips? We have afternoon cuddles and wonderful story times of reading. It is an amazing adventure.

It’s not easy.  It’s not convenient. But I love it, and I’m so thankful for homeschool.