Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to School Shopping

     It’s back to school shopping time!!  As sad as it is to kiss the summer days good-bye, shopping for school supplies makes it exciting (and financially draining.)
         Over the years we have learned a few things that work for our home.  First, we give our children the money we plan to spend on their supplies.  Giving them the money puts them in control.  They can choose the name brand products for their crayons and glue or buy the store brand and use the money toward other more treasured supplies.  They have the option of choosing the coolest book bag or realizing they can use the backpack from the previous year and save the money for something else.
         Another lesson we have learned is: within a few weeks max after school starts, all the supplies go on sale.  I usually stock up on the 5 cent sales on school supplies and have them in a big tub they can use any time during the year.
         I have a memory of my childhood that was also a lesson I have learned in parenting.  My mother would always buy me five dresses before school started and put them on layaway.  My mother’s reasoning was I could have a different dress for each day of the week.
         I loved getting ready for school that first week with my new school dresses, knee socks (to hide my self-consciously hairy legs) and saddle oxford shoes.  Mom would curl my hair with foam curlers, which were difficult to sleep on, but worth the morning’s surprise of delightful curls for my ponytails.  My ensemble was completed with yarn hair bows.  I assumed my position as the fashion goddess of first grade.
         As I grew throughout the school year my mother would purge my closet of clothes I outgrew.  I presume most of this purging took place when I was not around.  However, I remember when my mom chose to remove the heavy brown knit dress with white Peter Pan collar and paisley tie.
         I was adamant my mom could not give this dress away.  Even to my best friend, Michelle.  While my mom failed at attempts to coerce me to share the beautiful dress with my best friend, she also recognized its value to me.
         You see this beautiful school dress had become a date dress with my dad.  I had worn this brown frock on dates with my daddy, so this dress now held a special attachment to time alone with my dad.
         For many years this little dress hung by itself in our laundry room.  It even “moved” to our new home and stayed hanging longer than its original life expectancy.
         The point of my sharing this memory is a thank you to my mommy.  In her keeping of this little brown dress, I learned a lesson for back to school shopping.  My mom recognized the value of the dress was not in what it cost, but the value in the dress was my memory associated with it.
         Moms, I learned to apply this lesson to my life.  What may seem unimportant to me may be very important to our children.  Rather than; dumbing down, arguing, guilting or forcing my children to do or say or be a certain way, I could respect their wishes.
         Not always choosing to force my agenda, but rather to listen and embrace what is important to them.
         Ladies, as you school shop for supplies and clothes for your children, really listen to them.  Let them talk and hear what they say.  Care for and about what is precious to them.
         I want to be a mom who has respect and esteem for all people but even more so to those who live under my roof.

         Happy School Shopping Moms!
Romans 12: 10
"Honor one another above yourself."


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Family Vacations REVEAL A lot

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

-Psalm 139:23-24-

I love trips. Long trips. Short trips. Day trips. They are eye-opening, give an opportunity to have fun, and refreshing for all. My family just returned from a 10 day trip, our summer vacation, and we had a blast. 

The first leg of our trip entailed 14 hours of driving with a pitstop half way. With a movie on for the kids, iPads charged, and a full tank of gas we headed off. Most dread driving the distance but not me. It seems as though when I get away on any family trip...God does some revealing in my life. Slipping away from our normal routine, being with my spouse non-stop 24/7, and being in a small confined min-van leads itself to some layers being pulled back. 

God revealed a few areas of my life that need working on. I found the Lord highlighting how I worry a whole lot in small increments throughout my day. If asked about anxiety in my life, I would definitely have said no. But once back home, I realize that things that are out of my control I must hand over to God and let it go. Really let it go. Let it fly out of my mind, and when it wants to consume my thoughts - bring myself to the Word and find relief in His peace. 

I also realized that my kids are really great. Sure they have struggles just like yours, but they have amazing qualities that sometimes the perfectionist momma in me overlooks. We can get into ruts where we completely overlook the character God is chiseling out in our kids. 

Lastly, I found myself praising God for the ability to retreat with my family and make memories we will tuck away in our hearts. I am grateful for our annual trips to Tennessee and our tent, very cheap, campsites at Disney. It gives an opportunity to see life with new eyes. A heart away from the hustle and bustle of normalcy, allows room for the Father to speak Truth into our hearts, giving us new eyes to see the life HE has entrusted us with.

Yeah I like trips. They bring me to a place of seeing life for what it is. Trips are a must. Something we must schedule, save for, and do annually. Can't afford one now? Plan for one in the future. Set a date, a budget, and begin to plan. It is well worth the investment.

What has the Lord been teaching you lately about parenting? life? Truth?

When was the last family vacation you took? What memories did you make?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mend the Nets!

       With my glorified degree of Home Economics, I know how to sew.  In fact, I like to sew.  I am smart enough to recognize I wouldn’t be considered a seamstress, but I can take a pattern and produce a garment or home accessory.  However, I do not like repair work.
       I don’t like to hem pants or to repair a seam.  I don’t like to take a piece of clothing and make it look like it originally did. 
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I don’t know why, it just seems to lack creativity and it’s predictable.
       As I was reading this week in the Bible, I began watching the Lord stitch by stitch put together in my heart what has always been there. 
       I saw where the Lord Jesus called His first disciples. These disciples are recorded repairing (or mending) their nets. (Matthew 4: 21 and Mark 1:19.)  They were taking what they had and repairing what needed work.
       I considered the last week of parenting. As most of our children are out of the home, it is so much easier to sweep differences under the rug.  To turn our heads away from what we don’t want to see. To disengage from their lives, saying they are old enough to figure it out themselves.
       Mending the nets, took time.  It may have been easier for the disciples to just toss the nets and buy new ones. 

Maybe the disciples could have asked for outside help to mend the nets.
       I believe God had me examine His fishermen friends to remind me of what I needed to do as a mom.  I must help in the necessary repairs in my life as they affect our children.  I can’t turn my face away from the obvious, whether it is my personal offense or the help they may need with decisions.  I cannot excuse or ignore my bad behavior or theirs.  I must mend the nets of our relationships.  I must mend the nets of being available to help them face their professions.
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       I must take what is right in front of me, and work on it.  As I would much prefer to make a garment from the pattern to the runway, I must hem the skirt, repair the button that is missing or replace the seam.

       My preferences are trumped by the need to mend, the need to repair.  God is good to let me see myself in those disciples who needed to take care of the condition right in front of them.  I too, need to mend the nets, what about you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Applying God’s Word

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."  1 John 2:15

Each night my husband reads the Bible to our kids before they go to bed.  One night they were in 1 John chapter two and when they got to verse 15, Matthew must have “hidden God’s word in his heart.”  Throughout the next couple of days he kept reciting this verse to us, REBUKING us for the things we were doing – like being on our phones (texting), and other things that would come up in conversation that would set our minds to think…hey, he’s right!  He would simply say, “Don’t love the things of this world.”  Why don’t we receive and apply the Word as a child would?

 (I even had to ask him where the verse was so I could write this!)

Lord, thank You for child-like faith.  May we come into Your presence today and receive what You have to say to us and apply it to our walk in life.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Fruit of Our Words

As parents we find ourselves at times rolling on the floor laughing at the funny things our kids say!  However, there are other times when we hear the awful things kids say that leave us with a different taste in our mouths.

"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Matthew 12:36-37

I was working in our kitchen listening to the playful conversation between brother and sister in the playroom when all of a sudden Jordan said something that sounded so condescending to her big brother.  And then I realize it sounded a lot like how I talk to her at times. God tugged on your heart and said, “It doesn’t sound good coming out of your mouth either, My daughter.” It left me humbled, feeling so ugly with my words to my sweet daughter!  When this happened I found myself like the mom on the movie “A Christmas Story”, putting the bar of soap in her own mouth.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, July 17, 2015

Safety Principle

            The safety instructions on a plane, “First put the oxygen mask over your own mouth and nose before you begin to help others” is a wonderful metaphor for parenting our children in their spiritual lives.

            This is a crucial principle we need to adhere to in our parenting. Just as we would protect our children by caring for ourselves in the case of the loss of cabin pressure in the plane,
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we must diligently seek to care for our spiritual lives before attempting to spiritually care for the lives of our children.
            As young moms, it is more often hard to impossible to have consistent times for your Bible study and prayer time.  If you are a stickler for structure, you will soon loose your mind in your attempt to have consistent quiet time.  My suggestion is you become creative.
            As your child is sitting in her highchair, read from her Bible board books.  Don’t consider the “story” is just for her.  Truths from God’s Word can penetrate to the core of our being.  Consider the Bible verse discussed in the story and make application of it.
            Keep a duplicate basket of books, devotionals and Bibles in your car. 
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Once your children are in their car seats and you have the air condition on (hey we live in Florida where air condition is used year round) you can begin your Bible reading or prayer time. 
            Just as the oxygen mask doesn’t have to stay on long before you help someone else, you don’t have a time allotment you are trying to meet or exceed.  You are simply looking for the power of God’s Word to penetrate your heart and give you what you need to follow the Lord that day.
            Keep in mind that the Israelites were instructed to only pick up enough manna for the day; otherwise it would be filled with maggots and rot.   We should gather enough of God’s Word to be able to share it and/or apply it.  Your children will be blessed by the short phrases you gather to repeat with them throughout the day.
            After being in God’s Word (whether in your home or in your car or at the park or in the library) you will provide the spiritual safety boundary for your children.  You can help your children best when you yourself have heard from the Lord in His Word and through prayer.

Challenge:   Today see how many creative places you can find to read God’s Word and pray.  Repeat the verse or concept to your child throughout the day and watch as God’s Word begins to make a profound difference in your lives.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"True Riches are From Heaven" By Fran Maynard

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.  Isaiah 55:2

I just love how the Lord is always working on us.  In this season of my life He is woking on one of my least favorite areas, finances!  Ugh, I shutter to even go there.  It is an area I struggle with and the Lord knows it...  

How does this relate to a mom’s blog you might ask?  Well, we are our children’s teachers.  We are to create in them a heart that resembles the character of our Lord Jesus and how we spend His resources is a big part of that.  

So lately I have been thinking about where my treasures are and what I spend my time purchasing, chasing, and ultimately filling my days and time with?  Am I raising my children with a healthy understanding of money?  Am I reminding them that we are so very blessed with plenty while most of the world lives without?  And am I being a good stewart with what He has entrusted to me?  And for us stay at home moms, I must go a step further and ask myself, am I honoring my husband by not overspending based on his income...  I ask you moms to join me on this journey of spending wisely and  delighting our souls in the abundance that comes from the joy of the Lord and not the world.      

Lets pray...  Lord Jesus we humbly come to you asking for your guidance in this journey of financial freedom.  Please help us to be satisfied by You and You alone.  Lord please help us keep perspective throughout our days and help us teach your heart of wise spending to our children 

   For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  1 Timothy 6:10

Friday, July 10, 2015

Collecting or Sharing

The family road trip adventure has proven to be even better than expected!  We have traveled just under 2,000 miles and have visited with our families and friends. We have hiked, played at the beach, seen movies, gone to a museum, and a civil war cemetery and eaten some amazing foods.  Truly this family road trip will be remembered as one of our favorites.
         One of our beach days we spent more time looking for shark teeth than laying in the sun or throwing the football. We were followed by a group of siblings and cousins.  Actually, our youngest was the pied piper.  The children stayed within arms reach of our rising high school junior.
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         The children billowed their questions.  “Is this a sharks teeth?”  “What color is a shark’s tooth?”  “Where do they come from?”  “Where did you find your shark’s teeth?”  Always culminating with, “Is this a shark’s tooth?’
         If you are unfamiliar with a shark’s tooth, it is typically black.  They actually look a lot more like a puppy or kitten’s tooth than a man-eating menace.  You can find bigger teeth but predominately you will find a black tooth with a very sharp point and a flat edge, that would lie in the shark’s gum.
         Our daughter was so kind to the group of children following her.  She explained that she enjoys the challenge of finding and collecting sharks teeth.  However, she made the absolute incriminating comment that she had a “bag full of shark’s teeth at home.”
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After a very discouraging 30 minutes of hunting for shark’s teeth, one of the little ones asked our daughter if they could have one of hers.  At that time we had found only four teeth.  The child’s grandmother quickly piped up and told her that she couldn’t ask our daughter for one of her shark’s teeth.  The little girls response was, “Well, she said she had a bag of shark’s teeth at home.”
         Our daughter did give each of the girls a shark tooth. 
Hebrews 13: 16,
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

         It is truly a blessing to watch our children grow and live out their faith.  I encourage you to teach Hebrews 13: 16 to your children and give them opportunity to practice it.  Practicing giving, teaches our children what the Lord taught us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20: 35