Too Much to Gain to Lose

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A few months ago I had the brainchild of getting into couponing. Now, I know nothing about it, but have always wanted to learn, and since my daughter is a recent Ultra-Couponer, I hoped I could latch onto her and get some good ideas. So I decided to start with shopping deals at CVS.

My first week, I bought $11 worth of stuff, and got $10 worth of Extra Care Bucks back! Not bad, eh? But I had to wait until next week to use those bucks, and the next week there were no real deals. The same with the following weeks.

One day I looked at my ECB receipt and discovered that this day was the very last day to use it! No problem – even though it was a Sunday, I would go after church. So on the way home from church I stopped by the CVS only to discover that it had already closed the the day! Oh no! My ECBs were expired! All that money was wasted!

I let a wonderful opporunity slip through my hands.

It reminds me of a verse: “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have learned, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

God has been speaking to me through this verse. Sometimes it is a gentle rolling, a murmer in the background, and other times it is a shocking almost visible trumpet call.

Why? Because I struggle. I struggle with allowing precious things to slip through my hands. I struggle with maintaining a lazer focus on the true and right things, and often get distracted with the meaningless dribble of life. I struggle because my attention span is so very very short.

But God in His mercy continues to call, to pull. He gently murmers in the background, and loudly proclaims His truth right in my face. And these are the things He has been speaking to me about giving the More Earnest Heed to:

1) My God – Coming to grips with the reality of God’s constant presence is something I need to pay more earnest attention to. His presence brings a clarity to my daily routine, and draws me toward a right relationship with Him.

2) My marriage – I may have been married a long time, but there’s no time for vacation or coasting. I must always pay earnest attention to my spouse, otherwise, the parade of daily distractions will pull us apart.

3) My children – For me, I struggle with screen time. It helps to remember that every moment spent in front of the screen is one less moment I spend with my family. It’s something I must always be on guard against.

There’s too much to gain to lose.

Is there anything The Lord has been speaking to you about lately? Do you find yourself struggling with the meaningless dribble of life and not doing what you know you’re supposed to?

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On a personal note, you may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet here lately. It’s because I’m allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my daily activities and schedule. There have been plenty of evenings I thought to myself, “Well, I’m not getting on the computer tonight. I wonder what I’ll do?” and before I knew it, one or the other of the young people pulled me aside and I spent the evening talking, or taking a walk, or something fun. It’s been a good thing to keep my computer turned off.

We’ve continued on our travels, and now we’re up in the northern states. It’s blissfully cool here, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the great running weather. My 5k times were good for August! Now we’re back south, and it’s more of a challenge.

We’ve been doing a lot of singing as a family, which I love. We got our new CD, “I Have Been Blessed,” and have also been learning new songs. If The Lord allows, I’m hoping to make a recording when we come back from this trip, so we will hopefully have another CD ready to put out before the year is up.

We got to visit with the grandkids last week, too! What a blessing it was to be there while Emily had her birthday!! I can’t believe she’s turning 6 years old already!!

Time flies! …and I’m constantly reminded as I look at my grandkids, “I have too much to gain to lose.” I don’t want to let any opportunity to glorify God slip through my hands!

Choose to be Real

The choices we make in our lives impact our future happiness. One of the most important choice, the choice to be real, is by far the most far-reaching decision we can make, impacting generations to come. In a world of pretenders, let’s choose to be real.

The ancient tradition of the Olympic Flame became the longest and most popular relay in the world in the early 1900’s. Lit from a concave mirror in Olympia, Greece, the flame is carried to the host city and is used to light the Olympic Caldron. The final torchbearer, who often sumbolizes Olympic ideals, is kept a secret until the very last minute. Bt the time the flame reaches the stadium, excitement and fervor has reached a fever pitch. But in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, something very supriseing occurred.

On its way from Cairnes to Melbourne, the torch had already gone through several mishaps. Runners battled heat exheaustion, thunderous downpours, and a finicky flame. But it was in Sydney that the flame made Olympic history.

Harry Dillon, a cross-country titleholder, was suppposed to take the flame to the mayor, Pat Hills, who was prepared to make a speech before passing the torch along to its next runner. Excitement ran high in Sydney, with 30,000 people lining the streets waiting for the torch to arrive. Police escorts, reporters, and multitudes of anxious onlookers fidgeted in the tense moments.

Finally the runner emerged, carrying his flame with a proud, light step. Applause and cheers rippled through the crowd as they surged forward with cameras blazing to catch this momentous event. In an effort to protect the runner, the police surrounded him and escorted him as he lightly ran through the streets.

With the confidence of an athlete, the runner bounded up the steps and handed the flame to the waiting mayor. Mr. Hills smiled, thanked the runner and turned toward the rowd, clearning his throat to make his speech. Before he could oen his mouth, however, someonw stepped up to him and whispered something startling:

“That’s not the torch!”

The mayor looked startled and stared at the object in his hand. Suddenly it dawned on him that what he was holding was nothing but a chair leg topped with a plum-pudding can, with the “mighty Olympic flame” coming from a pair of kerosene-soaked underwear!

What everyone thought was the real thing, was NOT the real thing. As a matter of fact, the prankster was so concinceing that the police, the crowd, and even the mayor were all fooled!

Our Christian life can be a lot like that false Olympic torch. We can have lots of people convinced that we are really Christians, at least for a time. We may have cameras clicking, the applause of the crowd, and even a police escort, but someday SOMEONE will realize that we don’t have the real thing. Time reveals the truth. (excerpt from Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil)

Being a real live authentic Christian is the first and foremost way to pass down our faith to our children.

What are some of the marks of a true Christian?

1. Righteous Living (See Acts 4:34-35, Acts 5:1-10)
2. A Heart for Souls (see Mark 16:15)
3. An Abiding Walk (see John 15:1-8)
4. A Loving Spirit (see John 13:34,35, John 15:12)

One day I listened as Joanne, a 23-year old graduate from home school, told me, “My parents were REAL. Christianity was their life, and more than anything else that stood out to me.”

Herein lies perhsp one of the greatest challenges of parenting: that of really, truly, honestly believing what we say we believe as parents. If we are to change the world, it must begin at home. If we are to bring up young people who are passionate about living daily in the presence of the Almighty God, then we mst ourselves experience that same burnign passion.

It is realness, it is true transparency, and it is life.

In a world full of pretenders, let’s choose realness – let’s choose life.

What are some other marks of a Christian you can think of?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word,  Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Why Small Talk is Important

We may dislike small talk, but conversations about the weather, the garden, or dirty diapers are tremendously valuable while we build relationships.

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“Adam? A-dam! Where are you?” God’s voice called through the lush green foliage. His Creation was huddled behind a bush, wishing he could simply disappear. Doesn’t God know where I am? Adam wondered.

God knew exactly where Adam was. His question was designed for a response, not for information.

Doesn’t it astound you that God wants a relationship with us? It does me. The thought that the Almighty God wants to commune with me is incredible.

Communication is the heartbeat of a relationship, and according to my young people, one of the best ways to grow communication is through small talk.

I asked my teens the other day whether they thought small talk was important, and their answers were amazing:

“Yes – it’s not the most important, but it’s also important. it gets you away from talking about the deep stuff all the time. It’s a time to talk about the small things in life. I think it’s really important as a family to get to know each other without having to get into the deep stuff.”
Another one said, “Just like with your friends, it’s easy to get edgy with the people you love, but if you talk a lot of small talk to get to know each other. When you talk to your friends, it’s not always “how are you doing in this relationship?” or some other deep question, but when you talk small talk with them, you get to know likes and dislikes and it helps to keep the relationship alive.

Here are some thoughts I have about why small talk is important:

1. Small talk is a free-flowing discussion of whatever comes to your mind. Everyone enjoys being able to speak freely, and not feel stupid. Small talk accomplishes that, in addition to the excitement of exploring new ground.

2. Small talk is a great way to learn new things. We can learn a lot about each other’s likes and dislikes, about space, plants, and dead cockroaches. Even live ones! Small talk with others, even our young people, is a great way to expand our knowledge!

3. Small talk helps your family develop self-confidence. When they’re able to hold their own in a conversation, they’re more likely to be comfortable in almost any situation, and that’s a good thing. People tend to like people who are confident enough to engage them in a conversation.

4. Small talk helps us to “be present.” Small talk makes us put our smart phones aside and engage another person, and in the family, that’s big. It tell the person that they’re valuable to you – valuable enough for you to take some of your attention and time to talk to them and reveal some things about yourself to them.

For me, small talk doesn’t come easily. I prefer deep conversations, so swapping birth stories and discussions of dirty diapers are not things I truly enjoy. But I’ve been thinking lately of how The Lord has helped build bridges with my older children, and I remember it started with small talk.

Something that I’ve found recently that helped me with conversation with my family has been  FAMILY TALK“> a set of cards with questions I can choose to ask at any time, of any person. I found it at Hobby Lobby, but you can also get them from Amazon by clicking  FAMILY TALK“>. It has a clip, which I clipped onto my purse strap, so I’ll always have it with me. While we’re out as a family, I can pull out a few questions to get some conversation going. It’s been great!

imageMost of the questions are small-talk questions, but some of them are deeper. None of them, however, are threatening in any way, and it makes it fun for my young people to share their thoughts.

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If you’re like me,  FAMILY TALK“> can be a big help to you; after all, the best way to grow in communication is through small talk!

 

 
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Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Farmer Boy

A few days ago, we lost a beloved pet, my daughter’s gerbil who outlived practically every other living thing in this home. It was an emotional time for folks, and it was important for me to be tender and understanding of high emotions during these times.

The night after the little guy died, I was reading out loud to the Rocket Boy, and these words from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy seemed to just leap off the page…maybe it will speak to you as well.

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“Every Saturday morning he (Almanzo) spent in the barnyard, teaching Star and Bright… He knew you could never teach an animal anything if you struck it, or even shouted at it angrily. He must always be gentle, and quiet, and patient, even when they made mistakes. Star and Bright must like him and trust him and know he would never hurt them, for if they were once afraid of him they would never be good willing, hard-working oxen.”

Maybe you’re like me, and have wondered sometimes what I was missing in my relationship to my children. As a parent, there are so many roles to fill – teacher, cook, laundress, etc. But how can we gain our children’s heart and trust?

While Farmer Boy is no replacement for the child training principles found in the Scriptures (the Bible does teach the need for occasional loving correction,) there is a lot we can learn from a 10 year old boy trying to break his calves:

  • Be gentle – Gentleness is that elusive quality of speaking softly, with no rash moves or words. Having been a “self-made individual,” I can tell you that growing up I was known as very forthright and frank, and gentleness was nowhere in my vocabulary or actions. Without the Holy Spirit of God, the ideal is truly impossible, but “with God, all things are possible.”
  • Be patient – The Devil tells us, “don’t pray for patience, all you’ll end up with is troubles.” But never forget that we have troubles anyway – we might as well have patience to deal with them.
  • Be knowable – i.e, transparent. Allow our children to actually get to know us, the real us. Let’s not hide under a façade of Supermom, but let the kids see us when we spill milk, or shed a tear over our own losses, or accidently cut ourselves with a kitchen knife. Share with them your love of beautiful things, and don’t be afraid to share with them your fears and how you deal with them – it’s very likely that they will draw strength from yours.
  • Be likeable – Play games with them, tell them jokes, or be goofy with them.

Put on silly hats and having screaming contests into your pillows. Make each day a playful adventure, even if you see nothing but mounds of laundry and piles of dirty dishes.

  • Always work for their good, not your own comfort.

Every week I go to the store and get a small box of 85% chocolate, otherwise known as “bitter chocolate.” There are 5 pieces of chocolate in the box, and there are 2 other girls who are doing Trim Healthy Mama with me. How do I divide the chocolate? I give each of them 2, and I have 1. Could I use more chocolate? Sure! But I want them to know that I am willing to inconvenience myself so they can have more.

I’m not perfect by any stretch, but by God’s grace, I want to grow in these areas.

This struck home especially because of our recent loss of a beloved animal in our house – a gerbil who outlived any gerbil’s life expectancy and who was held, pampered, loved, cared for and gave in return many hours of entertainment as we watched him scamper about his cage, run in his wheel, and chew on his toilet paper tubes.

Did the girls cry? Oh yes. Some more than others, but definitely they mourned the loss of their friend. But although I didn’t personally shed a tear, I didn’t coldly tell the girls, “Oh, come on now! He’s just a gerbil! Get over it!” it would have been unkind of me to say such things. And the girls would have understandably been upset, not just about their pet’s death, but also my callousness.

Personally, it seems to me that gentleness and kindness go a long way with our children.

Perhaps you’ve been the recipient of harsh words and rough treatment. How did it make you feel? Now that you’re a parent yourself, how do you rise above the way you were raised?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

10 No-Fail Ways to Raise a Brat

These 10 No-Fail Ways to Raise a Brat will either make you laugh or cry, or a little bit of both! This post in completely tongue-in-cheek, so don’t take it seriously!

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10 no-fail ways to raise a brat! Works every time!!

The other day my 10-year old son, The Rocket Boy, went to the grocery store with me. He loves pushing the cart, and pretends he’s a race-car squealing around corners and enjoying quick stops and starts. So far, we’ve not run over any grandmas, though I must confess we’ve come close, and I’ve had to take the wheel and give him a good talking to more than once.

Now there’s a brat in almost every store, but that day there was a first rate brat! I thought his antics were just incredible, and his mother played into his hands so well. It almost looked rehearsed…maybe they’ve done this act a time or two before.

It went like this:

We heard Payne (not his real name, but it fits quite well!) coming long before we saw him, and we heard his mother right behind. Her shrill cries of “Stop it!” and “Put that down!” could be heard all across the store. The real display of action came in the fruit and vegetable aisle. Payne had been grabbing everything in sight, but apparently his mother thought he had outgrown that thievish habit, so she pushed the cart gloomily down the aisle with Payne close behind, unobserved by her.

The showdown came when he grabbed two cucumbers. Now, tell me, what 3 year-old loves cucumbers? Well, Payne apparently wanted those cucumbers so badly, he had to have them! His mother turned saw him, and yelled, “Put those back!” at which point he hid them behind his back with a defiant expression. “I SAID, PUT THOSE BACK!” mother escalated. Payne didn’t budge. Mother knew it was time for battle, and she flew in and yanked those cucumbers right out of Payne’s hands, like a bully stealing a smaller bully’s loot. At this point, whatever she said was unintelligible, because Payne set up such a howl and wail that no one could hear himself think.

The Rocket Boy and I moved on into the frozen aisle, leaving the screaming fellow and his yelling mother back in F&V, but we kept tabs on his whereabouts by listening to his regular whines and shreiks and his mother’s shouts and yells. When we left, they were going at it at the checkout.

Isn’t it amazing how much energy two people will expend to prove who’s boss?

I got thinking about this encounter, and realizing that this is a serious brat in the making, folks!

OK. I think we can all learn how to raise a brat from Payne’s exhibition:

1. Always give him everything he wants.

2. Especially give him what he wants when you and he are in public. You don’t want to look bad by saying No, do you?

3. Yelling is great, and the more the better. It keeps the tension high and is sure to provoke screams and wails from your budding brat.

4. While you’re at it, smack him, but only when you’re good and mad. I’m not talking about a real action of discipline, which is needed sometimes – just a venting of anger. Now don’t you feel tough, that you can bully a little child around?

5. Make sure he gets plenty of sugar and even some red 40 – both are great for producing hyper kids and angry mothers – a perfect recipe for a brat!

6. And also don’t let him take a nap, even when he’s really exhausted. You know how you feel when you get tired – almost sick and very irritable. Well, it works the same with kids, so they’ll be sure to whine and cry for apparently no reason whatsoever, making you embarrassed and angry.

7. Worry more about what other people think than doing what is best for your child. That way, if your child really embarrasses you in public, you can get angrier than if you were at home. In fact, some of those same things are even cute at home, but you don’t want people to think you’re a bad mom, so go ahead and yell in public.

8. Make sure you change your expectations around, so he doesn’t know what you want. It’ll really make him into a brat if he thinks he can’t please you no matter what he does.

9. If your kid gets in trouble with the teacher, preacher, or Sunday School teacher, always defend him, even if he’s bitten Susie and bloodied the neighbor boy. Your poor child is just expressing himself – how could that be wrong? And once he sees that you don’t care about authority, watch out! Your authority will be his next mountain to climb!

10. Don’t pray for or with your children, or read the Bible to them. That might give them a moral compass, and you know true brats have none.

OK, how’s that for a list? Honestly, I’m just kidding! Please don’t try this at home and blame me, because you really will produce a horrible, terrible Monster!

You don’t want to raise a Payne!

Question: What are some other ways we as parents can raise a brat?

Special Announcements:

  • Check out 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 now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

Your Kids and Technology: Why You Should Be Involved

Today I want to deal with Your Kids and Technology. It’s so much a part of our lives, and it’s so very easy to get entangled in all that’s available on our devices. While there are many benefits to technology (I use it myself!) there are also many dangers. Your kids are probably pretty good at technology. That’s one of the big reasons you should be involved.

Your Kids and Technology: What You Should Know

 

We had just begun homeschooling our first child in the early 90s when we first heard of the internet. We heard through a fellow homeschooler that there was something called Prodigy that was like a research encylopedia in the computer. We eventually learned that Prodigy had their own building and their own team of people adding content.  We found the content helpful and interesting, but not very abundant.

Fast forward about 20 years, and we are now deep into the Information Age. There is so much available in cyberspace now that my husband even used YouTube daily during our house remodel!  Don’t know how to install a tile backsplash? Easy! Youtube it and find out! Kid has a fever and a rash? Ask one of the many forums. Have something you want to buy? there’\s Amazon, Ebay, and even Craigslist.

With Googling and youtubing, etc. we have a whole world available at our fingertips.

100 hours of video are being uploaded online every minute, with 2/3 of the videos being advertised as actual pornography. And in case you thought smart phones were safe, 43.8% of all porn viewing was on mobile devices (that’s according to the porn industry executives themselves.)

In this huge deluge of sexual content available, how can we possibly protect our family from temptation? 

1. Realize that realize that we live in a pornographic society. Unfortunately, it’s not IF your child will see pornography, it’s WHEN. This may be a scary realization for you, but it needent be. If you love your children and are involved in their lives, you have a much greater impact than even peers and internet. But…we must be proactive.

2. Understand the danger of “our own seperate world.” Young people need our involvement more than ever….while the temptation to spend large amounts of time riveted to our electronics has never been greater. Here we have the opportunity to die to self and care for another enough to truly get involved in their lives, to know what they’re doing and who they’re talking to, and whose websites they’re going to.

3. Recognize the danger of secrecy. Privacy creates the perfect soil for sin to flourish. Because of this, there must be a measure of accountability. Your child should feel free to talk to you about anything he sees on the internet that’s not appropriate. As a parent, you may feel shocked that he would see something wicked, but your response is critical. I’ve told my kids that if they come to me and tell me that they’ve seen something on the internet, I will not be mad at them, but praise them for being willing to tell me. Then, I can talk to them about why such things are inappropriate for young (and old!) eyes.

4. Realize the danger of deception. It’s easy a person to create an alter personality and pretend he’s another young person just to trap our children. Without the sense that comes from years of experience of life, a young person  – especially a vulnerable gullible female – can be lured in to a heartbreaking relationship. Your involvement in your children’s social media contacts is highly important.

In this age of technology, there are a lot of benefits, and there are a lot of things we need to be careful of as well. Your kids are involved in technology, therefore you should be involved as well.

Question: What are some other dangers of technology?

Special Announcements:

  • Check out 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 now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

The BEST Way to Get Your Family to Help

This is our next-to-the-last post in a helpful series called The More Organized Me! During the month of January, I’ve been writing various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed any of our posts, you can find it here!

 

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Funny thing; I started running because my young folks attended a youth meeting and they were sent them home with a copy of the book, “Aerobics,” by Dr. Kenneth Cooper . Who read the book? Mom. Who started running? You guessed it – Mom! The kids didn’t read the book, and they didn’t get the “running bug,” and they didn’t start a running program.
Fast forward a few years. The other day a lady asked me, “I noticed running seems to be your ‘family thing.’ So how do you get your kids to run, too? Do you make them run, or do they just do it on their own?”

I thought of how almost all of my children run, and enjoy it. Lord willing, some of us are training for a half-marathon this year! I smiled and told her, “No, I don’t make them run, they do it because they want to. I guess they saw me running, and saw how much I liked it, and decided to join me!”

And that’s how it is with getting your kids to help around the house. I had spent years griping because no one cared about the house but me. No one would help me, so nothing got done. I had my lightbulb moment in 2001 when I first found Flylady, and she helped me work on my disastrified house bit by bit. I worked 15 minutes a day, all by myself, refusing to complain – and got the place in order over time. It was wonderful!

Now, after years of doing things myself, the kids can see what’s out of place and what’s not. They’ve learned how nice a room looks when the bed is made, and they enjoy living in an orderly home.

By the way, it’s the same way with spiritual things – if we live for The Lord with joy, even if no one else seems interested in living for Him, one of these days they will see how wonderful it is to live for God, and they will want that for their own lives. You won’t have to make them read their Bibles, because they will want to on their own.

The bottomline? Model the behavior you want to teach. Our actions speak a million times louder than our words…and if our actions and our words mesh together, it is a powerful lesson indeed.

Makes me want to go for a run!

Special Announcements:

  • Check out 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 now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

The Very BEST Stress Buster!

This is the final installment in my series on Stress-Free Living! This year, we’re approaching the Holidays with a different attitude – not one of worry and stress, but one of peace and gratitude! With God’s help, we can do this! If you’re new to the series, you can find the other posts here.

 

The boy had been walking for 36 hours in the cold rain and was exhausted. He tried to find a place to spend the night, only to be turned away because of his skin color. Tired, cold and hungry, he found the only refuge he could: a small hole in the wooden sidewalk. The hollow beneath the sidewalk was warmer and dry, so the boy was finally able to rest.

While he laid there under the sidewalk, he listened to the passers-by walking unknowingly on top of him. He wondered where they were going, what they were thinking. Did they have families close by? Did they have a boy his age? What were they going to have for dinner? After awhile, the boy began to pray. Although many people would have considered his shelter repulsive, Booker T. Washington had much to thank God for. He laid there and thanked God for this shelter, his opportunity to get to school and get an education, and for the strength to get there.

He didn’t know it at the time, but someday he would become one of the greatest men who ever lived. Never forgetting where he came from, Dr. Washington devoted his life to helping his fellow African Americans live successfully.

Are you approaching this Christmas tired and exhausted? Do you feel that you simply cannot go another step? Are you weary of the perpetual rush of people hurrying about to finish up their last-minute shopping? Do what Booker T. Washington did – find the nearest hole and go and pray.

In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”

One of my most favorite poem is found in the book, Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Cowman. Not surprisingly, it is for December 23, right before Christmas:

 

I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without every trying to trust and pray?

Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:

Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother’s breast,
He knows all about it—the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;

Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed—
You’ve given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.

– by Ella Conrad Cowherd, from Streams in the Desert

Oh, how many times these verses comforted me in my mother-exhaustion! How many times my overwhelmed spirit found solace in these words. So you, too, my friend, can find rest in the arms of an understanding Savior when you’re overwhelmed.

So when you find yourself tired, exhausted and stressed, find a hole and go pray. But if you’re too tired to pray, find a hole and rest in the Arms of Jesus.

Question: What are some ways you handle stress?

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!
  • Lydia my blog button designer, is available for designing blog buttons for anyone! Please contact me at lisaraub (at) rocket mail (dot) com! She will do a GREAT JOB at a tremendous price.

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and NOW it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right! Lydia did a great job in putting that on, didn’t she??

Linking up with: Monday: 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