Thursday, December 31, 2009

She Opens Her Mouth With Wisdom

She Opens Her Mouth With Wisdom
(written a couple of years ago)

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”
-Proverbs 31:26

Dear Mothers,

I was recently convicted after reading this verse about my tongue. I felt the Lord repeating that last part over and over in my head “The law of kindness is on her tongue”. I knew He was telling me that this is an area that I certainly need to work on. One of my biggest frustrations as a mother is that I have an extremely hard time being kind when I’m disciplining. Most of the time I sound mean, angry, disappointed and frustrated. I have been asking God to help me change this, so I wasn’t surprised when He spoke to me about it again.

He has brought a wonderful word picture in my life that I have had the opportunity to use many times with my children. Recently, I was pulled over by a policeman because I did not come to a complete stop at a stop-sign. I was so embarrassed that I had failed my children by letting them see that I had broken the law (and gotten caught), but I prayed that something good would come out of it. When I would discipline them I would try to remember what the policeman did to me. Do you think he ranted and raved as he threw a ticket at me? Or did he calmly tell me what I did wrong, ask me why I did it, and then quietly hand me a ticket? I think we know that the answer to that is the latter. I am learning that yelling, screaming, ranting and raving are not the key to disciplining. It is a calm, quiet spirit. It is kindness after the disciplining is over. The hug, the kiss, the “I love you even though you messed up”. This is what produces the lasting effects of discipline that we so desire to see in our children. After all, this is how God disciplines us, isn’t it?

Oh yes, it was highly embarrassing to be caught doing something so foolish, but to be able to use this experience is invaluable. My children also got to see that adults suffer consequences too, when they mess up (although they were worried that Mommy was going to go to jail!).

Soooo, is the law of kindness on your tongue? Are you providing gentle or harsh instruction? Are you opening your mouth with wisdom? If not, pray and ask God to remind you to be kind while you are disciplining. Ask God to help you be the “police-officer” who calmly gives the consequence. He will honor your request, I guarantee it.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
–Mother Teresa

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue” –Proverbs 18:21(a)

Let’s speak life-giving words to our children, not words that bring death to their spirit!

From One Mom to Another,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Torchlighters Series

I promised that I would tell you more about these videos. You can buy them at from Voice of The Martyrs. As some of you know, God has given me a passion for the persecuted church. When you are passionate about something, you naturally want to teach your children about it as well. When I found these videos online for a special of $5 a piece! I thought what a great stocking stuffer they would make.

These cartoons of the Heroes of the Faith are well done. My children ages 11-2 (not including Lily) are fascinated! They hold just enough drama and violence to keep their attention without grossing them out. If you have Netflix, you can watch some of these instantly on your computer. This is how I previewed them and how my children fell in love with them. I highly recommend you watching these videos with your childrne because there will be LOTS of questions.

The coolest thing for me is that these videos have some awesome special features. There are some well-done documentaries about the actual martyrs. Also, there are study guides with Scripture verses that you can print out for discussion and activity sheets as well. I think I am going to incorporate this into my homeschooling. We might study one a month.

These videos open up a very good discussion between parent and child. My children's faith is being cemented even more by the examples of these persecuted Christians. They are historically accurate and told on a level they can understand. God's love shines through each story!

"The Jim Elliot Story" is the story of the five missionaries in Ecuador that were killed for their faith.

"The Gladys Aylward Story" is about the tiny single missionary named Gladys who was called to China when she was older and saved hundreds of orphans from being killed at the beginning of WWII.

"The John Bunyan Story" is about the man who wrote "Pilgrim's Progress" and was persecuted for his writings.

"The Perpetua Story" is about the oldest known woman in history that wrote down her story before she was martyred for her faith by the Romans.

"The "Eric Lindell Story" is about the man who was in the movie "Chariots of Fire". He did great things for Christ during WWII.

Last, by not least, is "William Tyndale" who experienced massive amount of persecution as he began printing the Bible so that the common folk would be able to read God's Word.

This is a wonderful way to help build your child's faith and to also introduce them to Christian martyrdom. More than likely, our children will experience persecution at a whole different level than us. We need to be equipping them, so that they will be able to stand up under it and also to stand in the gap and pray for the millions of Christians who are being persecuted everyday around the world.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

A Merry Christmas!

Jessica put several colored pictures in my stocking. I got some dark chocolate from hubby and some Bourbon Street Vanilla loose tea from the tea parlor. Marcus was so proud that he bought me something with his own money! I felt very special.
Marcus loved his army nutcracker and Torchlighter's "The Jim Elliot Story". I will post more about these amazing cartoons for kids later.
Jacob and Andrew loved their "Armor of God" outfits.
I think Marcus' face says it all! They boys were thrilled when they discovered that Mom and Dad had bought them a HUGE Revolutionary War set called "The Battle of Yorktown". I love anything that gets them excited about history! I just want them to pick the darn things up when they are done playing with them!
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

Marcus took this picture of Lily and I at 5:30 a.m. Yep, that's what I look like in the morning. I don't have any pride! I always said I'd be real with ya! She was feeling a little better by then. Her fever was on and off all day. She is trying to get her top tooth through.
Christmas was all about the dolls. Lily is in love with her dolls! She screeches at them and chews on them!
Jessica chose this really stable stroller for toddlers. She loved it!
There, you can see her two bottom teeth. Other than being sick, I think she enjoyed all the family that were there to hold her. She liked the wrapping paper, too. Nana Ethel gave her this sweet Christmas sleeper.
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"All I Want For Christmas"

The pictures on this post didn't show up, so I'm redoing it. Here are the three little ones helping wrap the Little Smokies in bacon. You cut the bacon in thirds and use a toothpick to secure them. Then you pour a cup of ketchup mixed with 2/3 cup of brown sugar. Bake at 350 until the bacon looks done. You can replace the Little Smokies with halved mushrooms or halved water chestnuts. Both of those are delicious options!
All I want for Christmas in helping hands! I got this this year. The kids are getting older and helping much more with some of our traditions. They cut down the tree, helped put up the tree (including the lights), helped with baking, and wrapping presents. Most of all, they helped clean up!
Jessica says, "All I want for Christmas" is her front tooth. She lost her tooth two days before Christmas! All of her friends are missing teeth, so she feels like she has accomplished something great.

Of course, here is the tooth. She pulled it out herself and was thrilled to discover a dollar from the Tooth Fairy!
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gotta Have The Gear!

As you firewives know, your little boys just have to have the "gear"! It was Jacob's turn this year to get a set of the coolest turnouts we have ever had the privilege of owning!
Nana spoiled Jakers and got him the outfit! That's Nana in the background. At first I think he was overwhelmed with all the new stuff. He didn't know what to do with it all. He didn't seem that interested in it, but I know once things settle down, I'll have a "rookie" running around, putting out my candles!
Steve thought they were pretty cool, too! He is going to need a new pair here, pretty soon. He is swimming in his! Maybe he needs to talk to Nana! LOL!
And here is the complete ensemble! He makes a cute "Jake" doesn't he? (Boston firefighters are called "Jakes").
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning started at 3:00 a.m. for me. Lily was fussy, so I got up to nurse her. She was blazing hot! Poor little thing. I gave her medicine and she didn't want to cool down. I held her and nursed her on and off for about 2 hours. I had just gotten back to sleep, when she started fussing again. I woke up and there was my nine-year old (Marcus) laying on the couch. It's barely 5:30! One by one they came trickling in. Jacob the two year old wanted to immediately start opening presents. Try holding off a two year old while his dad wants to sleep an extra couple hours! He seemed satisfied when I gave him a candy cane. I also popped in a Voice of the Martyr's DVD about Eric Liddell. I a different VOM cartoon DVD in each of their stockings.
There were several things I forgot to do. I am learning that I officially stink at playing Santa. I forgot to put anything in Lily's and the dog's stocking. Jessica was really upset that Santa forgot them. Ummmm, I didn't even know what to say! Then she saw the present for Josh and Marcus that I had marked from Santa under the tree. She was confused because she had seen that exact present in my closet. Oops! Again, not sure what to say...
Can't wait to have crepes with raspberry sauce and whipped cream and saucy smokies wrapped in bacon!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Babies and Christmas

I simply love having a baby during Christmas! I've had six Christmases with six different babies. It has been a joy to put myself in Mary's skin and try to get inside her head.

When I look at my baby while she is nursing, I feel connected to a woman that lived 2,000 years ago. To know that she also felt the same tug as her Savior nursed. I wonder if she really thought of Him as being her Savior, or that he was just the cutest little baby ever!

Surely, the ordinariness of the whole situation must have been confusing. Shepherds, animals, and dung must have caked the floor of the cave/stable. Not exactly what she probably had in mind when she was told that she was to give birth to the King of Kings.

Baby Jesus was like any other baby, He pooped, peed, hiccuped and cried when He was hungry. As He grew older, He probably laughed like other 10 month olds as His parents played peek-a-boo with him. He was so much like other babies, but as He grew it must have been painfully evident that this child was different and that He actually OBEYED His parents in everything.

It must have been hard to not be prideful of an "always obedient" child! As the women at the well complained about the "terrible two's", Mary would have had nothing to say. If you think Satan did not scream in her head, "Look, it's because of your mothering He is the way He is," you are mistaken. I know how the enemy tempts me when I get even one compliment on my children's behavior. I believe this was probably one of Mary's greatest temptations that she had to fight. Satan knew she would obey outwardly, so he probably played severe mind games with her, increasing her doubt, making her question Jesus' role as the Messiah.

Was she not also waiting for the Messiah, who would throw off the chains of Rome? Was she not expecting Jesus to be a Warrior-King? As every year went by , did she not ask herself at Passover, "Why does He not proclaim Himself as the Messiah?"

She would have been proven right, her reputation would have been restored and she would be made known as the "Mother to the King of Kings" a lot sooner than she was.

I cannot imagine facing the temptations that woman faced. A humble, pheasant girl, who loved God fiercely and longed to do His Will. He used her because He knew she would say "yes".

He can do the same for me. What hope I have in Him! He chose me to bear these beautiful children because He knew I would say, "yes". I have doubts, fears and longings, but God will work everything out to His glory! My job is to obey and not look to far ahead and second-guess my Father.

(This is not meant to be doctrine, just things that I have meditated on and journalled.)

Have a Merry Christmas everyone! May God richly bless you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Baby!

Oh my, my Lily Pie is 9 months today! Can you believe it? I found this beautiful red velvet dress that was Jessica's and put Lily in it. She was so adorable!
The hat barely fit her, and she absolutely hated it! It didn't last long, but I got a few pictures of her in it. I love the little booties!
Here is a picture of us before heading off to church. The picture that my mom took that had all the kids in it was HORRIBLE! I mean just plain awful! So I decided to spare you. You might get nightmares!
And this is what it looked like outside a week ago. Now it is raining and has all melted away. Even though it is not as Christmassy, it is nice to know that people will be safer traveling to us. Yes, that is one pathetic snowman. I think the WWII helmet got knocked off of it.

My neck and back continue to be very stiff, but I am thinking about using my free massage I got from some friends for my last baby shower. Thank you for all your well-wishes and prayers. It is better, just not great. I've been trying to take it easy this week.

I am enjoying doing all of our advents with the children. The little ones are really getting into it and they seem to have the Christmas story down pat. All the presents are wrapped and now we are focused on the cooking. The little ones are so stoked and it is enchanting watching their anticipation! I'm so looking forward to having Steve be off this year for Christmas Eve and Christmas. This is the sweet shift set! You wait YEARS to have both off. All of you firefighter wives know exactly what I'm talkin' about!
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Musings

Things have slowed down and I have decided that we will take a full week off of school, so that we can have a relaxing Christmas together as a family. This gives me more time to do some much needed housecleaning before our guests start arriving on Christmas Eve.

My dad and stepmom are going to take Andrew, Jacob and Jessica this evening, which means we get to have some "big kid" time! Tomorrow, Dad and Diana are going to take the Josh and Marcus, so we'll have "little kid" time the next day. I think I might get out my stamps and have the little ones make Christmas thank you cards.

I'm going to start my prep work on my Christmas menu.

Breakfast: Maple French Toast Bake (if you click on this link, scroll down to the end of the post for the recipe)

Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies

Egg Nog

Lunch/Dinner: Glazed Ham

Prime Rib

Artichoke Dip

Devilled Eggs

Green Salad

Potatoes Romanoff (Diana will make her version)
Sweet potatoes

Sparkling Apple Cider

Pumpkin Pie

Of course, we have to make cookies for Santa and a birthday cake for Jesus. The little ones will love helping me this week! I'm almost done with my shopping, I just need to get Steve a stocking stuffer. I think today, I'll run to the library and get some good Christmas movies. I have a Netflix movie coming. We are all looking forward to watching "The Nativity Story" again. I can't wait to read more, "Unafraid" by Francine Rivers, to the children. I am finding it more and more difficult to have reading time now that there is such a wide variety of ages. When they are not interested, they get loud and I end up disciplining more than I am reading.

I was able to go to church yesterday, thanks to my mom and stepdad, who volunteered to stay home with Lily Pie. She is at the tail end of a cold. It was wonderful to listen to Pastor Steve. Each time he preaches, I know that I am witnessing a miracle. He has stage 4 colon cancer. He wasn't expecting to make it to Thanksgiving, so each time I hear him preach, I just savor it, knowing it will not always be like this.

Yesterday, I savored being in the Word. I'm in the last week of my "A Heart Like His: A Study of David" by Beth Moore. It is my second time through this study and I have gleaned so much again from going through it. I need to start praying about what study God wants me to do next. I do enjoy being in the Word as much as I can. I don't know what I would do without God. I think I would be twitching! My God gives me strength for each new day. I have been crying out for wisdom on how to parent each child individually and He is supplying all my needs! It has been amazing to watch. I am falling more in love with my husband and my children each day and I ask God to show me how to love them like He loves them.

I pray that you would all have a MELLOW, UNRUSHED, CALM, and BLESSED week with your family!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Chore Method From a Busy Momma!

Every now and then I have someone send me their methods of how they manage their homes. I like to post them on my blog so that we can all benefit from their wisdom. I do not know the name of this mom, but thought some of you might be interested at how she manages getting her chores done. Here it goes....

"I have a new way of doing chores. The children think it's fun: as a matter of fact Taylor thanked me for giving her another chore yesterday. I laughed at her and told her I had to tell someone she said that. So you're the one. My house is so much cleaner now it's great! I bought a recipe box at the dollar store and I have some 4x6 cards and some yarn and a whole punch. I do school mon.-thurs. but I hate doing school with the house a mess, so I made 11 cards with chores on them. When the children wake up they have to make their bed, get dressed, feed the animals pick up the floor in their room, brush their teeth and hair, and practice piano. These are called little chores. After they've had breakfast and done their little chores they can start on their big chores. Their big chores are the 11 cards in the box. There always in a different order and they may not pick which one they want. Each has to pick the one in front. These chores are: Clean off kitchen counter, sweep up, pick up dining room (including sweeping), pick up living room, pick up upstairs sitting room, pick up upstairs school room, wipe down toilet seats (I have boys), change laundry, fold and put away laundry, empty dishwasher, and take out all trash. When they are done with their chore they have to have me check it. If it is done well they get a sticker to put under their name on a chart. They can't do more than four cards so the little ones will get a chance to pick a card. My five year old usually only gets one card done but she does a good job. My three year old always tags along with my seven year old and I give them both a sticker for a job well done. I don't know how they teamed up together it just happened to work out that way and they work great together. The motivation is that at the end of the week they get ten cents per sticker under their name. It only adds up to maybe two bucks if they wanted extra chores, but it seems to motivate them enough that we get everything done in one hour. On Fridays we don't do school we clean house, so I made separate cards for Friday like dusting and vacuuming cards and so on. They get stickers for these too. Oh, by the way, the yarn is because they wear their cards around their neck while they're doing the chore, that way I know who's doing what. There is a little competition going on to see who can get all four cards, but that only makes it more of a challenge for them. My son said to me the other day, "Mom our house stays way cleaner this way". I thought it was great that he noticed. We are able to start school by 9:00."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Happenings

Lily is so cute! She is pulling herself up on everything now. She thinks she is a big girl and gets underfoot when I'm cooking. I actually enjoy her crawling around, pulling out pots and pans (the things I used to stress about?). I don't mind the noise and it keeps her occupied when I'm cooking. I can tell when I need to clean the floor, her pants get so dirty! It's hard to keep up with the floors when it is muddy outside.
Here is a picture of Andrew at TKD.
It is "Attack Daddy" time (something that happens a lot around here). The boys love to wrestle and Steve is happy to accommodate them.
Jacob and Mommy stealing cookie dough! He is really wanting to help me in the kitchen more, which makes it tough, because there are three little Indians that want to help me now and they all like to fight about who is going to put what in the Kitchen Aid. I try to have one at a time for each meal, which reduces my stress a lot.

Today has been pretty mellow. I homeschooled the three older ones and then had my Beth Moore Bible study while the kids watched a movie. Still pretty sore from my fall, I'm just hoping I didn't do any permanent damage. I'm waiting for my mom and stepdad to show up at any moment. They are coming up for the weekend, so the kids have been wild with excitement! We will be having an early Christmas with them. Steve and I might even get to go on a date tomorrow! It's been a long, long time.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fly Guy Mania!

Diana (my stepmom), made these adorable Fly Guy and Fly Girl for the kiddos for Christmas. Aren't they just the cutest? If you have never read the Fly Guy series by Ted Arnold, I highly recommend them. Marcus started writing his own versions of the books last year and was even in the newspaper. Very cool!
The kids thought Nana was the "cat's meow"!

After decorating Nana and Papa's Christmas tree, they made Santa cookies with Nana.

On a not so good note, I slipped and fell on the ice. I banged my head, shoulders and back pretty good and knocked the wind out of myself. I now have a not so fun case of whiplash and my neck is so stinking sore, I can hardly stand it. I am just so thankful to the Lord that I didn't have a child in my arms when I fell. That would have been really bad.

I was able to go on my annual shopping date with my father last night. It is always fun to get his undivided attention (even after all these years). We look forward to this date all year. He always ends it by taking me out to dinner. Thanks, Dad! I'm so glad we live close to each other.

The kids and I wrapped some gifts today. We have been reading a great book by Francine Rivers called, "Unafraid". It is all about Mary's story. It is very good and getting "inside the skin" of Mary. The older kids are fascinated. It should take us all the way into Easter, as it goes into Jesus' earthly ministry and death from Mary's perspective.

Thank you to all of you how commented on my Christmas Waiting Tree. I don't have a pattern and I can't find one of the Internet that is even remotely close. You'll have to kind of look at mine and go from there. If you are serious about making one, I can take pictures of each ornament and send it to you by email.

Love you all and I hope you are finding JOY this Christmas season!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best Gifts

The Best Gifts
(written 2007)

Dear Mothers,

Well, it was Christmas morning and I woke up waiting in anticipation of small feet pittering and pattering up to me, accompanied by loud whispers, “Is it time to wake up yet?” As I was lying there, I started praying. God reminded me of a conversation that I had with Marcus, my seven-year-old. Marcus was telling me how he felt Christmas was all about Jesus, not gifts. I was thankful that he knew this (he oughta’, I’ve drilled it into his head enough times”, but I felt the Spirit say, “That’s not enough. Stacie, explain to him about what a Gift-Giver I am.”

I explained to Marcus, that yes, Christmas is all about Jesus, but I felt like he had the wrong impression about gifts. Like somehow they were bad. The gifts themselves aren’t bad. Being obsessed about receiving them is. I explained to him that his dad and I love to be able to give our children gifts. It makes us feel so good to be able to give our children something they have desired or maybe haven’t even asked for, but we know they could use it or that it would bless them. God is the same way!

Now there is a catch to this. I’ve known parents to stand in line for hours, fighting the masses to get their children a special video game, doll, or whatever it might be. Before you do something like this, ask yourself, “Is this gift going to benefit my child?” “Will it hinder them or help them?” “Will this gift draw my child closer to God or away from Him”? It says in the Bible that God loves to give good gifts to His children. That may not mean that we get the new car or new kitchen appliance we’ve been dreaming about. He will give us gifts that ONLY benefit us. As parents, we need to do the same to our children. But have you noticed, God gives us gifts that we haven’t even asked for? He delights to satisfy us with every good thing! How I love to do this to my children as well.

As I’m writing this, a funny thing happened. Two of the children got up. I told Andrew, my two-year-old, that he needed to go plug in the tree. As he walked into the living room (half-asleep, I might add) he looked under the tree and exclaimed in a disgusted voice, “Presents!” He really looked mad that they were there blocking his way to plugging in that Christmas tree. O.K., I don’t think that has ever happened in this family before!

May God bless you this coming year! I encourage you to only give the “best” gifts to your children. Remember, give them things that have eternal value. Your love, your legacy of faith in Jesus, and give them your example of how to be a godly Christian, it will speak volumes! Enjoy being a gift-giver!

From One Mom to Another,

Monday, December 14, 2009

Official Orange Belts!

Today, the three older kids had their belt ceremony. It was very cool, to watch them recieve their belts and listen to the positive things that their instructor had to say. Here is Josh recieving his...
And Marcus...
And Jessica, who is the youngest child that the Norton's had ever tested.
Now that is a job well done, guys! Mom and Dad are so proud of your accomplishments in Tae Kwon Do! You worked hard for it and it paid off! I pray that God will continue to help you stay focused so that you can continue to move up.
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