Friday, May 23, 2014

Close-Five Minute Friday Writing

I'm posting for the first time over at LisaJo Bakers Five Minute Friday.


He is not close anymore. The boy who laughed his way through childhood with a spirit that could only be described as joy. The boy who couldn't say his r's. The boy who grew too slowly for him but to quickly for me into manhood. The boy who grew into an healthy reminder of my father in his younger years can still bring me to tears. Tears I don't let him see. The boy who searches for his place in the world and too quickly rushes through high school longing for it to be over. I tell him, "Don't rush into adulthood, you have a whole lifetime to be an adult!"

The boy who has musical talent like his father and still amazes me on the piano and drums. His desires to enter the world on his own outweighs his desire to keep a clean room or spend time with us. Intentionally I tell myself this is normal. For those moments of closeness come and go as quickly as the rushing of a summer sea breeze. But do they really? I think the closeness of my toddler boy who climbed into my lap oh so long ago still has a close hold on my heart as he transitions into adulthood. It will never leave. It will never fade. Much like our Heavenly Fathers love for us.

I still see glimmers of close in the wink of his smile. My heart leaps for a moment then reality reminds me that he will one day leave. I know this is normal. The longing for my child to stay close is heavy. The feelings are very real, almost choking. The questions swirl in my head, "Have we given him the tools to be successful?", "Will he make good choices?", "Will he follow God with all his heart?" The Bible tell us that we are to train up these children so they can go into the world and make a difference for the kingdom. The go part is hard. The transition is hard. But it is worth it. I place my trust back into the arms of my Savior who created this amazing boy. He gave me the great privilege of being his mom. Close is where my heart wants to be but must be satisfied with seeing my son grow into the man God has created him to be!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21 - How 2Build a Strong Marriage for You and Your Kids

Marriage. I've often said that marriage isn't spelled the way you think, it's actually spelled w-o-r-k! I've been at this marriage thing almost 18 years. I can't say we know all there is to know, but we have come pretty far considering this was marriage #2 for both of us. I don't like to admit that to too many people, so consider yourself special!

I happen to ask my teenage son the other day how many kids he knew whose parents were divorced. He said, "I know lots of kids mom, more have divorced parents than not." Whoa! That just hit me like a ton of bricks. My children are floating around other kids who have a distorted view of marriage, to say the least. These children are toted back and forth, forced to choose holidays through a pick and choose relationship with their parents, if they are engaged at all, that had nothing to do with them. No wonder second marriages are on the decrease because many people are just choosing to just cohabit-ate rather than attempt another marriage.

The average divorce rate right now in the U.S. is between 40-50%, however for second marriages the rate jumps to 60-70% and for third marriages a whopping 70-73%. Did I ever tell you that I didn't like my statistics class one bit? How can we reverse this trend and see young men and women growing into healthy, spiritual beings with a desire to have long-lasting and healthy marriages?

I choose to believe that there is something that we all can do to build strong marriage. We can build long lasting, healthy, God-centered marriages that set a the example for our tweens and teens. It won't happen overnight, but consistency is key. Whether or not you are married or raising your kids as a single parent/co-parenting, whatever it looks like, YOU have the ability to help teach your children God's view of marriage.

God created marriage! I think He is the best source for teaching our children about it.

Five Tips to Building Strong Marriages

1. Make God the center of your life. Whether you are married or not, both of you in the relationship must be committed Christ-followers. I know what you're thinking, if you are in an unequally yoked marriage, you are still responsible for yourself and your spiritual walk and for still following God's rules for marriage. Working on yourself is the best way to ensure a healthy relationship. The better your vertical relationship with the Lord the better all of your other relationship will be.

2. Meet Daily Eyeball to Eyeball - In this world of running to and fro, practices and lessons, homework and dinner, and also work/ministry find time for both of you to do a daily download. The funny thing is I remember a time when my husband and I had to lock ourselves in the bathroom for 15 minutes just to give each other some uninterrupted attention. Do what works for you, but find that TIME to connect, eyeball to eyeball no matter what. Use this time to update each other on family specifics, give each other edifying words and find one thing to be thankful for.

3. Regular Date Time/Night/Day/Lunch - Whatever works in your life, just DO IT! Make time to spend with each other. Just as we must spend time with our Savior for leadership and guidance regularly in order for us to Hear His voice we must put that same effort behind our marriages. Make your spouse a priority, not THE ONLY priority. There is a fine line here people, anything we place above God is not doing anyone any good. But you must, you have too, you will thanks me years from now when you can look over at your spouse and your heart still beats a little faster when you catch each others glance! Oh how GOD desire HIS best for our marriages.

If you are struggling in this area to truly connect, start with a couples bible study. Start making out a list of fun things to do and start crossing off the list. I'm not talking extravagant or expensive either. Some of my favorite times are just spent together with a book, a blanket and the beach. We read to each other and talk about it.

4. Serve One Another - Christ came to serve, not to be served. So, if we want to be more Christ-like in our own lives this means to serve our spouse too! It may seem like an easy thing to do, but so many people get bogged down in this area. I fall in love with my husband all over again when he picks up the slack in the kitchen by putting the dishes away, once in a while. I don't expect him to do it, we both feel we are partners in this whole life thing and want to show each other how much we care. Also, say THANK YOU! Yes, even to your spouse. Ask nicely when you need their help! I know, I know it seems like a given right? But, let's set the example for our children on how to serve one another!

I remember when I was pregnant, my hubby wanted to make sure his boys saw how he treated me, for example, opening doors, carrying the groceries, making sure he was helpful in all areas, because he wanted to make sure that these young men would learn how to be Godly husbands for their own wives. Oh, how I love this man of mine!

5. Be Humble and Say Sorry - I put these together because they kinda go hand in hand. Be ready to humble yourself before your spouse and say these words, "I'm sorry!" Oooops! Did I really just say that? I have had to really work on this one. Early on in our marriage, our arguments were more about how we argued than what we argued about. I was always ready with my retaliation rocks to pummel him with but he was always ready with an apology. Sometimes, I admit I just wanted to be mad, to be mad!

It has only been by the Grace of God and my humble obedience to want to be changed that I have learned the true definition of submission. I am so much better at saying I'm sorry and we don't even argue any more. I now understand how to be my husbands helpmate, to lift him up, to support him and to love him from the depths of my heart.

I don't know where your marriage is today, I don't know if your's just ended, and now you're a single parent. What I do know is that I serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances. He wants us to live our best life and be the best parents we can be. This only comes from everyday obedience, sacrifices, and lots of hard work. But I'm willing to go the distance, and fight the good fight if it means that my children will see a Godly marriage, with a mom and dad who want to follow Christ with all their hearts. I want them to see a mom and dad who will pray for them, and point them to Jesus at all times. I want them to grow into amazing Godly men and women so that they can change the tide of marriages in our world. I want them to teach their children to have long-lasting, healthy, and Godly marriages! How about you??

I'm excited to share with you, unless you already know about a great program Focus on the Family is launching to help families. Find out more HERE.

Thanks for hanging out with me along this 31 Day Journey, even though it's been sporadic, I'm pushing on toward the goal! I'd love to hear how you invest in your marriage and how you make it work!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 14 - Standing Firm

Have you ever tried to discipline your child and they couldn't keep a serious face? My middle son has been this way his whole life. He has been a child that didn't need harsh punishment because a stern word and the efforts of the 1, 2, 3, spank rule was all that was needed. Even when he was getting in trouble, more often than not he couldn't keep a straight face. I don't necessarily believe he was doing this intentionally, but his sweet body, just couldn't help it. What about when your child does something cute, but yet its not good behavior, or let's just say not the kind they should be exhibiting on a regular basis. We've all been there as parents. It's logical when they are younger to instill a healthy fear of consequences for inappropriate behavior. Most of the time this behavior is more social; for instance, bad manners, reacting poorly to a situation, or having an attitude when told no. As your child becomes an adolescent, all of a sudden the rules of the game change. How are we to handle our tween and teenagers poor behavior or decision making? Especially now, when they have thoughts all their own and aren't afraid to tell you all about them!

As Christ-follower we are being constantly being molded. The rough edges of our old self are being chipped away to make room for a more holy being. In the same way, we have been given a great privilege to mold and chip at our children, in order for them to realize the call on their life. We can't waiver in our calling as parents. If you struggle with implementing rules and consequences I want to encourage you from God's word.

Here are some areas we need to stand firm:

1. Social Media: Too often this is a place our children can get into EASY TROUBLE! If you put your head in the sand and say, "They're going to do it anyway!" I urge you to take a look at some startling stats:

This is a link that our church Calvary Chapel put together a few months back. Click HERE to see links to how you can protect your internet and stats on social media.

This link is to Josh McDowell ministry

Know the passwords to your tween or teens accounts, and make it a priority to check their phone, computer, and rooms regularly. Yep, you guessed it, there is no privacy when you live in my house. I hope that this mindset sticks with my children and they become proactive parents too! You are your child's best advocate!

2. Television: Stay alert and on guard. Not only for our children's sake but for ours too! I can easily catch myself watching a not-so-great program and get sucked into its storyline. Our world lets demons, zombies and a crazy amount of ungodly images, sitcoms, movies and reality shows into our homes everyday; and we allow it. These images are not healthy for our tweens and teens. Take a stand and demand better standards in your home and communicate them to your children. Pay attention to what they are watching, keep television out of their rooms. I know some parents who declared the entrance to each of their kids bedrooms as technology-free zones! I like it!!

Here are some places where you can find reviews on movies, t.v. and everything in between:

Plugged In
Plugged In is a Focus on the Family publication designed to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which they live. Through our reviews, articles and discussions, we hope to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Each month, Plugged In is visited more than 1 million times by people looking for detailed information about what's really in popular movies, videos, TV episodes, songs and games. Entertainment industry ratings only tell you so much. We go deeper, diving into specific content and the meaning behind it. Our award-winning website also offers news (Culture Clips), polls, blogs, podcasts and hands-on parenting tools (Family Room).

3. Stay ENGAGED with your tween and teen and TALK about ALL these things! Do not let the world get to them first. We need to show them God's perspective on these subjects and how to protect themselves. Parents, we must give them the tools and pray for God to pour the Holy Spirit into them so that they may have the strength to STAND FIRM!

Parents, WE WILL NOT BE MOVED! I'm praying for each of you as you are traveling this journey. Partner up with other Godly parents and seek wise counsel in all things. Stay encouraged on this 31 Day Journey of Parenting Tweens & Teens!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12 - Creating Margin

Today we are talking about margin! Not the space around that 8x11 piece of paper but creating margin in your life and your tween and teen. What does this look like? How can we do this? I often think that the one good thing I'm passing onto my children is how to be busy. I mean I've probably been the best example of being busy. Parents, we need to create margin in our lives in order to achieve balance. When our tanks are running on reserve we don't have any left over to parent successfully or be generous to others. You can't live your best life in the negative.

I share how my son and I had an opportunity to create margin and make some tough choices about his schedule. There will be times when you will have to say no to even really good opportunities. Fear not parents! God is right beside us guiding us. In addition to the scripture shared in this video, here are some others to encourage you today on your parenting journey!

Matthew 6:34
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Proverbs 11:1 The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but an accurate weight is his delight.

Isaiah 40:12
Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

Genesis 2:2-3
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Creating margin

Be Blessed sweet friends as you continue to Parent you Tween and Teen!