children · Discipleship · Parenting

Family Friday – Training in Discipline

“Go to your room.  I’ll be there in a minute.”  Those words spoken to our daughters when they were growing up were serious words.  They knew that it meant one thing – a S-P-A-N-K-I-N-G was coming!  Sometimes they would hear our footsteps soon after they’d gotten to their bedroom.  Other times, we would have to go off and pray and collect ourselves first!

In our home, discipline always took place in a private place.  If we were at home, it Continue reading “Family Friday – Training in Discipline”

children · Family life · home · Parenting

Family Friday – The Happiest Place On Earth

 

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I just heard a comment from a high school senior on her senior trip to Disney World say, “This has to be the happiest place on earth!” Having been there I can understand her sentiment. With beautiful flowers everywhere, light-hearted music, Mickey and Minnie, fun food, fun rides and fun times. of course it’s a happy place!

 There is another place that should be one of the happiest places on this earth – home. Home should be the most loving, secure and fun place for a child. What will you do today to make it that way for your children? Are you homeschooling? Are you sending your children off for the day?  Dealing with adult children living at home?  What can you do to make this the BEST place to live in or return to? Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day routines that you forget to make more than a house – make it a home…a place to nurture, love, accept and have FUN!!
For your little ones – Change things around today or even on April Fools Day. Let them eat their dessert first! Have lunch under the table instead of on it. Go to the library and get new books – perhaps books about spring, baby lambs or even a child’s cookbook. Read together in a new place – build a comfy spot on the floor with pillows and cushions or make a tent using all the kitchen chairs as props.
Play uplifting music – Patch the Pirate, The Donut Man, Veggie Tales, etc. Let the atmosphere of your home be encouraging for them. It’s easy to play what we like instead of what they would enjoy.
How about some fun food? Cut their sandwich into shapes using cookie cutters. Peanut butter and jelly can take on a whole new taste when it’s cut differently!

For your older kids = 
be there for them. Sit and listen to them.  Do something fun together.  Cook.  Bake.  Shop.  Scroll through Pinterest for ideas and then rearrange her room. Stay up late with them.  Watch their movie or ball game.  Talk. Nod. Love. Pray.
Make your home the “happiest place on the earth” by taking time to be with your children, using creativity and thoughtful action to make each day one they won’t forget!
What are you doing to make your home the HAPPIEST place on earth?
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children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent

 

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The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

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children · Encouragement · Motherhood · Parenting

A Rope of Encouragement For Young Moms

Each day as a parent can be one of extreme highs and lows, can’t it?  Your child finally gets a truth you’re trying to teach him, and he obeys as a result!  You are rejoicing!  Then an hour later, he has spray painted the cat blue, dumped a liter of red soda on the carpet, and dropped your cell phone in the bath water! Since you really can’t lock yourself in the bathroom for the rest of the day (we’ve all wanted to!), what is a mother to do?
  • Gather your children around you, sit down, and pray.  Ask God to calm your heart.   Ask Him to help the children to obey. Ephesians 6:1 Ask for His help and guidance. James 1:5
  • Administer the discipline necessary for the disobedience.  Proverbs 19:18 Note, this comes after you’ve calmed down and gotten your focus right.  It’s easy to want to dismiss it due to your weariness.  (We all know how much time and energy it takes to discipline properly!)  However, if you let the disobedience or rebellion pass unnoticed, things will not get getter – they will only get worse.
  • Look for an opportunity to have a brief break.  If your children are of napping age, you rest while they’re napping.  Don’t use this time to attack your list of “to-do’s!”  Read a passage of Scripture, listen to some encouraging music.  Drink a cup of tea, read a magazine, or do some little something you enjoy (scrapbook one picture even, make a card, work on a puzzle or crossword).  You need to refresh yourself in a way that will help you to be ready to face motherhood again.
  • Keep things structured for your children.  If they have too much free time, trouble will ensue.  You don’t have to plan out every minute, but keep a close tab on your children.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from what’s going on in their world.  Stay connected so you can stay on top of any attitudes or problems, and lovingly correct them.
  • Plan for something fun to do with your children each day. Make a craft, bake something, take a walk while the children ride bikes, go to the library, take lunch to the park.  These activities will give you and the children something to look forward to.
  • Once every couple of weeks, get away from the house and the children.  If you can’t leave the children with your husband, take turns with another mom so you can both have a morning away from parenting responsibilities.  Go do something you love while you’re free!
  • Make sure you’re getting up before the children and spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer each day.  Even if it’s 15 minutes, it will prepare your heart better than a three year-old waking you by poking their finger in your eye!
  • Keep the children to a regular bedtime schedule.  If they’re in bed by 8:30, then you and your husband will have time together, they’ll get adequate rest, and you can prepare some things the night before that will make mornings unfold much easier.  Get the coffee ready, start breakfast by making muffins, or setting out the cereals and bowls.  Pick up things around the house before heading to bed.  Waking up to a clean, orderly home will help jump-start your day!

These things won’t make your days perfect, of course, but they’ll help things to run smoother.  Take it from a mom who learned from her mistakes – you have to be a step ahead to win at the motherhood woes.  The good news is, with God’s help you will make it – with a few extra wrinkles, maybe, but you will make it!

What are the most difficult times of your day as a mom?

With love,

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children · Church · Parenting

When a Bible Character Shouldn’t Be the Hero

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I love teaching children the Bible!  What a privilege!  Today we have awesome resources available to help equip us! I have access to many children’s books, curriculum and web sites.  Even Pinterest has thousands of ideas for stories and crafts so we can teach our children the Bible.  But if there’s one thing that saddens me, almost to the point of nauseousness, is when authors turn a Bible story character into the hero of the story.

For two days on my blog , I’ve shared about studying Mark 1:30,31 where Jesus heals Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law.  I’ve pondered it for many hours, wondering the best approach to teach it to the children.  I asked myself, Who is the hero in this story?

  • Is it Simon Peter, who told Jesus about the sick relative?
  • Is it the woman who was sick?
  • Is it Jesus?

I trust it’s so obvious to you that Jesus is the hero!  But one site I looked at said,

“Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is today’s hero, because she showed us the gift of health.

No!  No!  No!  This lesson isn’t about health any more than the story of Naaman is about taking a bath!  Nor should the emphasis be placed on being kind to our mothers-in-law!  The important truth in any story of the Bible is Jesus.  He is always the Hero of the story!

I encourage you as moms, grandma’s or teachers of children not to weaken the Bible lessons by giving it some kind of humanistic point, rather than allowing the child to see Christ!  To do that is to skip the reason God gave us His Word.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

Let’s point to the real message in every story, and make our children know that Jesus is the Hero of the Bible!!

What Bible lessons do you think are easiest to miss the point of Christ being the hero?

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Books · Discipleship · Encouragement · Family life · Marriage · mentoring ministry · Parenting · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role · womanhood

Books On My Tables

A wonderful book is a treasure.  I love to read, and I’m always on the search for a new author or title to check out. While there have been years when I was busy with homeschool that I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted, I pretty much always have a “book going.”

It only seems fair to share my treasures with you! So today I’m sharing three books that are sitting on my coffee tables that I’m currently reading and LOVING! They’re different enough that I can read all three at the same time.

Book 1a

Adorned – This is one of those books that every woman needs to read – and then reread at least every other year.  Titus 2 is the backdrop for all the teaching and instruction found here.  It’s practical, convicting, helpful and challenging.  She addresses both the older and younger women and ends each chapter with a list of questions for each.  My copy is covered in yellow highlights to help me remember these essential truths for my life as a woman who loves and desires to live for God.

For my girls’ birthdays this year, I gave them each two copies – one for themselves, and one to give to an older woman they could ask to go through it with them.  This book is best when shared with at least one friend.  Do your spiritual life and your female side a favor and read this!

book 3a

The Most Important Place on Earth – This book about the home was written by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s husband years before they were ever married.  His first wife died of cancer, and he and Nancy married nearly two years ago.  Robert is an excellent, compelling writer.  I have laughed out loud as he shared many tales from his own home life.  He wisely shares the ingredients needed to make our homes the most important place on the earth.

I got my copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.  There are updated versions that have a cover that’s current to today, but the message is one that will be relevant for all time.  I highly recommend this book, and am thankful that my sis recommended it to me! Thanks, Dianne!

Book 2a

The Cave, The Cabin and The Tattoo Man – This book also came from my sister, who has met the author, Tim Callahan, from Kentucky.  To read the title you might be surprised that I’m reading it, but the story is precious.  It’s a fiction book based on the author’s growing up years, which happen to be the same era in which I grew up.  Hence, the illustrations and pictures he paints take me back to my own childhood days.

This is the story of a little boy who stays with his grandparents during the summer months.  He helps them with the little grocery store they owned.  He fishes in their pond so well that he is the envy of all the grown men, and he gets himself into precarious situations during his free hours.

When I need a book to just take me away on a little vacation, this is the one I’m reading…for the second time.  This is a series, too, which is fun.  I love knowing there is one to follow!

I hope you’ll check into reading at least one of these suggestions.  They’re all worthy of your time, and in my opinion, much better value than anything television has to offer!  Autumn is nearly upon us, and aren’t fall and winter the best times to snuggle in somewhere comfy with a cup of coffee and read a compelling book?!

Do you have a treasured book you’re reading?  Please share in the comments!  I’ll need some new titles soon!

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children · Christian love · Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting · Wife's Role · Women's roles

In-Laws and Outlaws Part II

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Jokes about mothers-in-law…there are many.  I remember hearing one about a Greyhound bus going over the side of a cliff, but there was no worry, because the only passenger was the man’s MIL.  Ouch.  Where do those punches come from?  Maybe from people who have gotten fed up with that female in-law who crossed the relational boundaries.  But it’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We may reason that

  • we only want to help!
  • we’ve been where our children are and we think we need to  give them some good advice.
  • we see our kids getting ready to make the mistake of a lifetime.
  • they need help raising those grandchildren of ours.

The reasons for mother-in-laws interfering are many, but for the most part, they may be very unwelcomed  from our birth children and our in-laws.  It can do far more damage than it does help when it’s unsolicited.

What is a mother-in-law to do if she desires to have a good relationship with a son or daughter-in-law?  Here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still learning!).

  1. Only give advice when it’s asked for.  If you see your kids doing something you think is wrong, pray about it instead of speaking to them.  Trust a sovereign God to direct them just as He directs you when you’re heading down a wrong path.
    That would include little “hints” you might want to drop about your DIL’s housekeeping, lack of meal prep, or careless parenting skills.  Or your SIL’s need to turn off the television, get a job, lead his family or attend church.  Take it to God instead.
    I’ve had to ask both of my girls to forgive me for stepping over that boundary once they got married!  We’re so used to being “mom” that we scold, advise and reprimand our grown kids as quickly as we used to throw our arm across them when we came to a sudden stop in the car.  Let’s fold our hands in prayer instead and ask the Lord to give them wisdom to make right choices.
  2. Don’t demand your children’s presence for ANYTHING. would mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, your birthday, Mother’s Day – you get the idea.  They have lives of their own.  They have a family to care for.  They have burdens to carry.  They have jobs and ministries.  Let them live their lives.  Again, if you feel neglected, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Even if you don’t demand their presence, but you pout because they weren’t there…it’s just as bad.
    Also, be sure you’re building that marriage relationship with your spouse.  Have so much fun together that your kids will know that if they’re not able to come home, you both are fine just being together!
  3. Never drop in to your children’s home without calling ahead.  “Yoo-hoo!” at the front door as you walk in could make an embarrassing situation for you and your children.  It can also turn you into the lady that might be given a ticket to ride that Greyhound bus!
  4. Consider your child’s spouse.  Think to your own MIL and how you liked or disliked when she left you out or included you, as the case may be.  Love them.  Talk to them.  Send a text.  Call them occasionally just to say hi.  Pray for them.  Treat them with respect and give them those kind of words.
  5. Allow your children and their spouse to be adults.  Treat them as such, remembering that you raised them to be independent. Don’t see your son as your little boy.  He’s a man.  Let your daughter be a grown woman. Let go of those early days and let them establish a home as adults.

Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi?  Ruth was said to have been kind to her mother-in-law.  We may cry out – “My daughter-in-law needs to take a lesson from her!  My son-in-law needs to learn to be kind to me!”  But what made Ruth and Orpah want to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi?  She had been gracious to them!  Someone has said,

Maybe if we were more like Naomi,

there would be more Ruth’s.

If you’re guilty of something in this post, be humble and ask the Lord to help you.  You might even need to ask your children and in-laws to forgive you for the way you’ve treated them.  A humble spirit of repentance could be the very thing that will turn those difficult relationships around.

Let’s be more like Naomi today.

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