A Mom’s Motto: “Semper Gumby,” Always Flexible!

As a mother, I’ve learned over the years to be prepared for just about anything, at any time. It’s not unusual for my husband to say, “Hey, let’s go to Taco Bell. Can we leave now?” Rather than responding with a wail, “I can’t leave right now, my hair’s not done!” I enjoy being able to say, “Oh, yes, that sounds like a great idea! I’ll be ready in just a minute!” This often requires being ready for the day as soon as humanly possible, so as not to miss anything. (Besides, being in the ministry means that anyone can come over at any time and for any reason, so it’s a good idea to be ready!)

The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fi,” meaning “Always Faithful.” Well, I think the Mom Corps motto is, “Semper Gumby,” Always Flexible!” Be ready for anything, because anything can – and often does – happen!

I remember the time we were meeting a famous preacher in a southern state. Right after the formal introductions, one of my children decided it was a great time to get sick, and threw up right then and there! (So much for good impressions!)

Kid puking in a formal situation? Been there. Take someone to the ER in the middle of the night? Yeah, been there too. In fact, any mom has had ample opportunity to experience upheaval and disarray!

Here are some thoughts to help us mothers be Semper Gumby!

1. Plan, but expect some plans to change. Rarely do things go as planned. But does that mean we should throw planning under the bus? Oh, no! We should always have a plan, but be flexible enough to know that if  (maybe I should say “when”) our plans get changed, we don’t go into spastic caniptions and cause a small nuclear explosion in our home!

2. Let Go! Let go of perfectionism. Until we get to Heaven, nothing will ever be truly PERFECT. We will always have acne (even in your 40’s?? Oh, yes!) spots, cellulite, or scars, and someone will spill milk on your nice new carpet. If we let go of our perfectionism, we can slow down enough to enjoy the ride of Life.

3. It’s OK! Remember that God hasn’t gone on vacation, leaving His throne empty! Or worse yet, leaving it to be inhabited by a slew of sadistic and sour Algebra teachers! (Wouldn’t that be horrible??!!??) God is still on His Throne, and He knows what He’s doing. Yes, bad things do happen, but the Lord will eventually turn it to good.

4. Slow Down! Your schedule has just been deleted and completely over written. Take a deep breath and realize that some things will just need to change today.

I did that just the other day, in fact. I had my day all planned out to get everything done, but something came up in the middle of the day that required about 4 hours of my time. Zip! Out the window goes all those plans! So, I did a  little rearranging, and rescheduled some of those activities to be done at a later time, and, although it wasn’t ideal, it did work out ok.

If I would have stressed over the change, it would’ve made everyone in the house grumpy, and you know what that means: If I kick the dog, the dog bites the cat, and the cat swipes the baby. The baby cries and irritates mother….again!

So next time you’re faced with deletion of your schedule, hold up your spatula and shout with pride, “Semper Gumby!” and know you’re in the fellowship of millions of other Flexible Moms who face the very same thing every day!

 

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

 

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!

In this book, there is:

    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

My Husband Socks Me in the Eye Every Night

Sneak Peek: Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT!! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED! “Friends, come praise the Lord with me!” 

Lord willing, I’ll be uploading the Kindle version within the next few days!

 

 

OK. The dirty secret is out. My husband socks me in the eye every night.

You see, I hate sleeping with any sort of light in the room, so I put something over my eyes to keep any light out. I discovered that the very best thing to put on my eyes at night is one of my husband’s dress socks…the thick ones, of course (the thin ones are too light, and just don’t feel right!)

So every night he “socks me in the eye…” or rather, he lets me use one of his beloved dress socks to cover up my eyes at night. In fact, I’ve been using his socks for about 25 years…so long that he just automatically knows what socks I like and gave me a whole bag of his old “singles.”

So what does that have to do with marriage? Everything! You see, we all have our odd little idiosyncrasies – our little preferences for a thick sock rather than a thin one, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the end rather than at the middle, or pulling the toilet paper off the top of the roll rather than the bottom .

My husband learned long ago to just accept my little oddities as a part of me, and to not try to change me, but to let me learn and grow on my own. So he smiles at me, shakes his head, and gives up some of his own dress socks for my whims, letting me use them every night.

Just as we have our own little preferences (and we want our husbands to indulge us) so our men have their own preferences. Ladies, it’s to our advantage to bless him by allowing him to have his own little idiosyncrasies and not trying to change him.

How to Learn to Live with Idiosyncrasies:

1.       Don’t try to change your spouse. It’s very common for newly married couples, or even those that have been married for a while, to have it stuck in their head that it’s their responsibility to change their spouse. This is all despite the fact that often it was those very differences that drew them to their spouse in the first place. However, somewhere along the line, they concluded that their own way is the “right” way (though in reality it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether the toilet paper comes off the top of the roll or the bottom!)

 

 First, let me say that those differences have been there longer than you have been part of his life, and they’re not likely to go away just because you don’t like them. One of the very best things you can do for your marriage is to stop trying to change your spouse.

2.       Show them that you love them, not just despite their idiosyncrasies, but also FOR them! Forgo all nagging, huffing and puffing at their oddities, but even accept or learn to laugh at them. They can be “inside jokes” in your relationship. Remember that the thing that is so weird about the other person actually has some very special merits to it. Though it will never mean as much to you as to the other person, it does help you to pick up on some of those things, and espouse them as your own.

For example, I often pick up on some of My Beloved’s unique humor, phrases he goes around saying, or songs he so cavalierly mangles. They say that imitation is one of the finest forms of flattery. It sends a signal to the other person that they are very valuable to you and cannot be replaced. It gives a feeling of security in the relationship.

3.       Remember that you have your own idiosyncrasies that your husband puts up with. The other day I walked into the bathroom, saw the lid up, and thought to myself in a huff, Why does he always leave the lid up?? Instantly, the Lord brought another thought to my mind, He could just as easily say to me, Why do you always leave the lid down?? I had to smile at myself, knowing that some of the things I do probably seem quite odd to him, I just don’t think of them that way, because I think my way is not only the right way, I often think of it as the ONLY way!

Harping at him will never change him. Loving him in spite of his oddities will. Or maybe they won’t – but I’d rather be happy in an enjoyable marriage than miserable in a horrible one.

What does your husband put up with? What are some of your oddities? Rather than concentrating on what we have to put up with, let’s look to ourselves and think about what HE has to put up with, and thank him for his patience.

For me, when I snuggle into bed with one of my hubby’s socks (clean, mind you!) I enjoy knowing that my husband loves me in spite of my oddities. And do you know what? I know he has some too, and I love him anyway. That’s cozy enough to sleep on.

So what are some idiosyncrasies you’re willing to tell about? Don’t embarrass your husband, but it’s ok to tell about your own. Also, is there some other tidbit of helpful advice you have for younger ladies who have difficulties dealing with their husband’s oddities?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • If you missed my announcement at the top of the page, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!
  •  In this book, there is:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Why Attending a Bible Preaching Church Really Does Matter to Your Kids

I’m doing a Parenting Series which is based on dozens of interviews I’ve conducted among 2nd Generation Christians which I’ve outlined in my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil (soon to be released!) For more on this series, click here.

I was a young 25-year old with 3 children 3 and under. It was Sunday morning, and of course, my hubby was the pastor. (For those of you who don’t understand what that means, I’ll spell it out for you: I – had – to- get – the – kids – ready – for – church – all – by – myself! Yikes!) First off, I laid out Kathy’s clothes and got her started in the “getting-ready-for-church” process. Then I got Stephen, the baby, and fed him and got him all dressed. Last of all, I got my oldest son, all of 20 months, ready for church. By the time I got him ready, the baby messed himself and Kathy had put her shoes on the wrong feet!

It’s easy when you have small children to want to stay home from church. After all, it’s a real challenge to get the little ones ready, and by the time you’re dressing the baby, the oldest one has already begun undressing herself! And timing the feedings so that you can sit in on the services is also tricky.

Is staying home easier? Oh, yeah. But is it best? Absolutely not!

Statistics show that it is very important to have a solid basis of faith instilled in our children.

1. The habit of attending church is important– It’s easy to think, “Oh, I don’t care if we attend church or not. After all, I can be just as good a Christian in church as out of it.” Well, let’s just think about this for a while.

First, remember that the habits you instill in your children will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Habits like taking a regular shower, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, etc. are all good habits to instill. Attending church is another good habit to instill. Now, they may one day get out of church, but I can tell you as someone who does street ministry on occasion, that church never gets out of them.

I’ll never forget the time my family and I were singing some gospel songs on the street corner in Oceanside, California. Many folks laughed or jeered, but some slowed down to listen, and I could see a hint of recognition in their eyes. In fact, there was one time that a Marine stopped and began to weep. “Those songs brought back so many good memories of my childhood,” he told us with tears. “I’m so far away from God! I need to get back into church.” Those blessed memories never left him.

The Commission on Children at Risk sponsored by the Dartmouth Medical School Institute for American Values states that the recent study on young people in America showed that Religiosity and spirituality significantly influence well-being.” (see the abstract of the study here)

Also, to the parents who think they shouldn’t make their child go to church with them, I ask, do you make your children brush their teeth? Then it is perfectly plausible to make them go to church – with you, of course! (I know there are sometimes abusers at some churches – I’m not saying to keep attending those!  But that’s relatively rare, and I know some folks use that for an excuse.)

Lastly, if you don’t instill good habits in your children’s lives, what other habits will they develop? ‘Nuff said!

2. The teaching we receive at church is important– Although it’s useless to attend a church while doesn’t teach the Bible, it’s necessary to attending a Bible-preaching church, as it helps to instill the Word of God into our children. That’s one of the most important things we can do as Christian parents. In fact, God’s Word says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.will not return void, it will accomplish that which it was sent out to do.” (Isaiah 55:11)

3. The community of like-minded believers we enjoy at church is important – life is not lived in isolation!

The church community provides encouragement

It provides accountability

It sharpens our thinking spiritually

The community will bind together in prayer for us when we need it.

The Lord can use others to point out error or apathy in our lives.

The Lord can also help us to be a blessing to others!

Here and here are some excellent articles about Why We Attend Church with Our Children.

When I was a young mother struggling to get my little ones ready for church, I didn’t think a lot about the future of my children, except that I knew that I was obeying God and that He would bless my efforts. Now, 24 years later, I think about my children: Kathy is a pastor’s wife, Jonathan is a faithful husband and father helping us start our church, and Stephen faithfully attends and sings at his church. And I’m so thrilled with their decisions they’ve made as they’ve grown to adulthood.

Attending a Bible-preaching church regularly does take a lot of commitment and effort, especially when you have small children – but it’s so worth it! It’s part of the whole package that the Lord has given us to pass on our values to our children.

Question: Why do you take your children with you to church? What are some difficulties you’ve had to surmount in order to be faithful to God’s House? What are some blessings you’ve had because of your faithfulness?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

How NOT to Let Our Children Go

I’ve learned a lot from many 2nd Generation Christians I’ve interviewed over the years, trying to discover some common threads in the parenting practices of their childhoods. I’ve documented these common threads of successful parenting in my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming out in October.

 

If you’re new to this series, you can find the rest of it here.

 


 

Letting go of our children is one of the hardest parts of parenting.  After all, when they are under our roof, we know what’s going on in their lives and can provide guidance when they need it.  But to let go is to allow our children to take over the control of their own lives and make their own decisions.  It is a nerve-wracking time; we realize that soon it will be apparent whether or not we parents have done our job.

 

Some of the most significant advice I heard on Letting Go was while talking to the younger second-generation Christians.  Their experiences, and those of their friends, are still new and fresh in their minds, unclouded by the whirl of activity surrounding growing families.    They remember clearly the process they went through as they were launched from their homes, and the experiences of their friends as well.

 

THE DEATH GRIP

 

Some parents hold their young people back with a Death Grip. Oddly enough, the young person is gripped almost to a strangle-hold, and then suddenly released to live on his own with little or no preparation. This is not only unwise; it is dangerous.

 

Shaunna was a homeschooled kid who was sheltered from worldly influences, but also well prepared for life outside the home.  She told me, “Many of the young people I went to school with were totally unprepared for their newly found freedom and the worldly influences they were suddenly surrounded by.  They were the ones that went into a tailspin.  Strangely enough, it seemed that those who had some contact with the world growing up did better with their freedoms.”

 

HANDS OFF!

 

The Hands Off method of Letting Go is the way your average American is launched.  It is also the way your average young person in a Christian home is raised.  There is a philosophy pervading in America, and in the world, that we should just let young people go their own way, and they’ll find their useful place in society.  Once again, it’s a dangerous and difficult way to live.

 

THE GUIDING HAND

 

On the other hand (pun intended!), the vast majority of our respondents were sheltered and received guidance from their parents as they were growing up.

 

Jennifer told me about how her mother maintained a good relationship with her, even while she was away at college. “Because I have a disability,” she said, “I have a very hard time finding clothes that fit me just right.  I was really busy at college, and had a low time when I was desperate for some clothes and had zero time to sew.  My physical troubles were also a constant challenge, and I had a difficult time battling with depression.  One day a package arrived in my mailbox, and it was a special package from Mom.  Inside, there was a carefully sewn skirt which fit me beautifully, and a precious note which I still have to this day.  She wrote, ‘I just wanted you to know, that every stitch was sewn with love and prayer.  I love you!’  That little gesture of love and concern got me through the rest of my college days.  I knew Mom was there for me.

 

How NOT to let our children go? Neither the Death Grip nor the Hands Off method are good ideas. In my experience with the many 2nd Generation Christians I’ve interviewed over the years, those that have experienced the Guiding Hand are by far the most likely to continue to serve God when they are out on their own.

 

May we as parents learn from the experience of others and give our children the Guiding Hand they need as they approach adulthood.

 

Question: How was your relationship with your parents when you were a teen? Rocky? Violent? Or peaceful? Why do you think this was so?

 

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips to Successfully Navigate the Teen Years

If you’ve been following along with our little series here, you’ll know that I’m writing about the things I’ve learned while interviewing many 2nd generation Christians on their childhoods. Many young people are leaving our churches, but I wonder…why do those that stay remain? Perhaps there is something we can learn from their childhoods.

So I began asking them many questions, and the results are in my upcoming book, Lionproof, due out in October. But I wanted to share the things I’ve learned with you all here first!

Today we wrestle with the age-old ponderous question: “Why is the little Chihuahua so eager to get out of the fence to the huge Rottweiler?” In parenting teens, is seems as though they are so eager to get out on their own, and yet they know so little about the hardships they’ll face. Join me today as we learn again from our 2nd Generation Christians!

For the rest of the series, click here.

 

“In my opinion, Dianne told me, “I think my parents were not strict enough on us as teenagers especially with the boyfriend/girlfriend issue.  Of course, now that I’m married, I see how God protected me, but I don’t think my parents quite knew what to do with us when we were teens.”

While Dianne spoke (and I typed!) I wondered if any of us really know what we’re doing. Yet I was struck by the thought that ignorance is nothing we can afford when our children approach their teens.

 

How do successful parents handle the teen years?  Do they, as I’ve often heard, put the young person in a barrel when they turn thirteen and take them out again when they turn twenty-one?  It may not be a bad idea, but somehow I don’t think it will go over very well.  There must be some better way to deal with young people.

 

I believe it is possible to know what we’re doing.  Successful parents, and their children, know the answer.  I learned the principles through these interviews, and now you will know, too.

 

Successful Parents Expect Questions

 

One young lady, Shaunna, told how her father understood the spirit of questioning things. She said, “In his mind, our questions were not challenges, they were simply questions wanting to know how or why.  If he didn’t know the answer, he was honest and told us so.” 

 

Questioning helps kids understand what they believe and why.

 

We cannot afford to ignore their questions!  Rather, expect them.  Successful parents did, and now that you know how important it is, you will anticipate them too.

 

Successful Parents Respond Rationally

In addition to expecting questions, our response to questions is vastly important, as well.  How should we answer when our young people ask questions?  Certainly, we should try to prepare in advance for their questions.  But even if we’re unable to prepare in advance, we can rationally respond, and then search for the answers. It would be foolish to respond roughly and not give them any answer other than, “Because I said so!” In addition to answering rationally:

Successful Parents Taught Their Young People the Reasons Behind the Rules!

Remember how the people I spoke to understood why they were sheltered?  They not only understood why, but eventually embraced the values their parents taught them, and now they themselves are sheltering their own children.  The parents took the time to explain the rules, and the reasons behind them, in a rational, casual manner, and in a happy, relaxed atmosphere.

 

Successful parents understand that some lines will be crossed. 

 

Several of the young people I talked to told me what their parents did when they crossed a line. But the most important event took place BEFORE the young person did something they weren’t supposed to.

 

Before the line is crossed, parents need to decide in advance what their response would be.  Without having clear lines and definite responses, things are up for grabs.  Like we said before, children do not need an “anything goes” atmosphere in the home.

 

Remember that a life lived straining against authority can never be happy.  Let’s not doom our children to a wasted life; don’t let Satan catch them in his claws.  Let’s do whatever is necessary to make them LIONPROOF.
Successful Parents Take Swift and Decisive Action.

 

Some parents will deal strenuously when their young person crosses a line, while others respond calmly and deliberately.  One example of the effectiveness of the latter response was given to me by Steve, who remarked how he backslid from God for a short time. His mother was very frank with him, and told him, “Steve, I didn’t raise you to serve the Devil.”  The strength of her relationship with him is what enabled her to be so bold.

 

 

The teen years need not be turbulent ones, though they may be difficult.  With God’s help, we can expect questions, respond rationally, teach the reasons behind the rules, understand that some lines will be crossed, and take swift and decisive action.  We can make the right decisions and set our lines carefully.  The Lord will help us stick to the decisions we’ve prayed about . . . the ones He Himself has given us.  God is not willing for Satan to catch any of our young people in his claws!  It is not only possible, but necessary, to make them LIONPROOF!

Question: What do you think are some good ways to handle the teen years? What can parents do to make the transition to adulthood easier?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum