Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Still Not Listening!

I shared before that I am doing a Bible study by Mary A. Kassian called, "Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech". I kind of went into it thinking that I could use a tune up. How cocky of me! The Lord is slapping me silly with this study! Apparently I have a problem with my listening skills.

This is sort of embarrassing, because I've taught other women these skills many times. I'm typing this out, so that in a way I'm accountable, to you (my bloggy friends and family who read this).

These are the areas that I need to work on when it comes to ineffective listening habits:

Do you recognize any of these listening patterns in your own life? Tell me I'm not alone, People!!!

1. Assuming Alice-assumes that she knows what you think and feel. Alice could finish all your sentences. She does not hear when you offer new or different information.

2.Self-Centered Samantha-Manages to turn any conversation into an opportunity to showcase her own perspectives and opinions. All that matters to Sam is that you know what she thinks.

3.Solution Sally-knows how to fix everything. Before she has even hears you out, she knows what you ought to do.

In short, I need to Limit my Lip! By talking less, I give the other person the opportunity to express his or her COMPLETE thoughts. A philosopher once said, "We have been given two ears and but a single mouth, in order that we may hear more and talk less."

Identify Key Issues: Effective listeners use their "spare thinking time" to extract the main thought from the speaker's words and behavior. They ask themselves questions such as: "How does she feel?" "What does this mean to him?" You are thinking about you and what brilliant quip you are going to offer to the conversation! You are thinking about them!

I've examined my heart and been as brutally honest with the Lord, as I have you. Part of why I am an Assuming Alice is that I fear my memory is so bad that I'm going to forget what I want to say. Another part of Assuming Alice is that I think I know what you are about to say. I want you to know that I can relate so much with what you are saying that I can finish your sentences for you! I got in this bad habit with my twin, Jackie. We thought it was cool that we could finish each other's sentences from the time we were 10 years old. This bad habit has poured into our grown up relationships and probably drives people batty (right Diana?LOL!). If I've done this to you in person, accept my apology. I'm going to work harder on this, I promise!

Now, how am I a Self-Centered Samantha? Again, I always want to "relate" to people, so if they mention something, I'm searching the back of my mind to tell them my perspective. This isn't necessarily wrong to do all the time. It would be a pretty dry conversation without any kind of interaction. I need to listen more and really see if they want my input, instead of interjecting it constantly.

Ahhh, Solution Sally. That's me! I've got a solution for everything, even before the conversation is done, I've got a solution for you. I need to listen completely, then perhaps tell the person (who is asking for a solution) that I will think on it and pray about it. After those things are done, I will then get back to them.

So there you have it! If you ever thought this girl was a Saint, you were sadly mistaken. Don't you dare put me on that pedestal! I'm a work in progress.

At first I was so discouraged when I read this stuff in my Bible study. I couldn't believe that I had that much to work on. I was overwhelmed with grief for my actions, thinking how prideful I must be. On the other hand, I'm so thankful God is scraping this stuff out of my heart, so that my speech can be transformed.

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks"-Matthew 12:34

I want my heart to be pure, so that my speech can become pure!

Have I touched a nerve? If so, please bow your head and ask God to show you if you have a heart problem. He is listening and waiting for you to go to Him and show you exactly what you need to work on.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Catching Up and a Few Questions


I was wondering if anyone had a child who had trouble sleeping as they went through growth spurts? I always thought it would be the opposite, that they would sleep harder and longer, but I think we are having the opposite problem. Just wondering if anyone can give me some insight into what they have experienced with their 9-12 year old boys.
Lily has a snotty nose, so I'm going to have to skip church again. She is still teething and is very fussy. She is our resident "screech owl". When she doesn't get what she wants the second she wants it, she has this high-pitched screech, that makes us want to climb the walls! Love her, but I need to figure out how to break her of that. Any suggestions?
I have started a new Bible study. I am always doing a Beth Moore, but she doesn't write Bible Studies fast enough for me, so I got desperate and bought some new ones! I found one by Mary Kassium called, "Conversation Peace". It is all about how we should be using our tongues. I have been very convicted so far (and this is the same stuff I've taught on). It seems God wants me to have another refresher course on the subject. I have come a long way when it comes to my anger, but it still sneaks up on me, when I'm tired, hormonal or frustrated, and just plain being selfish. I'm hoping this study will bring some more impurities out into the light so that I can deal with them.
This study has challenged me to memorize scripture. This is something I have always struggled with. Memorizing is not my thing! I have been lazy about it. But I've stepped up to the challenge and am going to memorize a verse a week.
I am also reading "For Parents Only" by Shaunti Feildman. It is so good and is helping me with my older boys. I am understanding some of the outbursts and anger. I'm not allowing it, but I am not taking it personally. Yesterday, both of the boys had a meltdown and after I started to get angry, I stopped, went to my room and breathed! Josh eventually turned it around and came to me and apologized. We had a long talk about how we BOTH should use our tongues. Not long after that Marcus didn't like a decision I made and let me know about it. Round 2!!! I started to get frustrated and angry, but I could see the kid was really tired. I delivered the codes (consequences) and then told him I loved him. That took the wind out of his sails! He came to me, crying and asking me to forgive him. I ended up praying with them both and talking through it. God was there and helped me give grace when I needed to. I still stuck with the consequences, but they understood that they were disrespectful. They took responsibility for their behavior, which is half the battle. Whew!!! Parenting is tough! Parenting is not for the faint-hearted! I thank God that I have the Bible as a guidebook, or I would be a jibberingidiot by now!
(This post would not be possible, without my sweet friend, Jen over at "Wanting What I Have", who took the time to email my post out of her Google Reader after my computer went blitzo! Thanks, Jen!)

Friends

Ann and Jessica are so cute, they wanted to dress up like sisters! They kept singing the "Sisters" song in "White Christmas".

We celebrated Hannah turning three with rice crispy cupcakes!
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I just typed up a huge post on everything that was going on, and the computer went blitzo on me. I guess I better split it up. This is all I have time for for now.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some New Furniture!

God has blessed us once again! We were able to purchase some new couches yesterday. I've never had matching furniture, so this is a huge thing for me.
We found these matching sofas/hide-a-beds at a clearance store. They are microfiber (which I'm not sure if I'm crazy about). The static electricity is unbelievable! You should see Jessica's hair (not a good combo!). We were looking at sectionals, but the sale's lady talked me out of it. Good thing, because they are twice as expensive.
One is kind of a sage color and the other is mocha.
This is a picture of the free couch (left) that we received at the beginning of the summer. Snickers chewed part of the bottom of it. The other is a couch we've had for years and years. We bought it for $35 and it sure got it's use.

It feels so good to get something a little nicer and hopefully will be more durable. Now, I'm trying not to freak when the kids spill or wipe their greasy hands on it! I need to just accept that it is going to happen and teach them to clean it themselves. All part of working on my anger, I guess. Also, since our furniture was always old, we always let the kids crawl all over and stand on it. We are in the process of teaching them how to sit on furniture properly. I know it's late, but better late than never!
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Friday, January 22, 2010

A Few Milestones For Jaker's Man

Our little Jacob will be three in one month! He has shown no signs of potty training and has been VERY resistant to trying to pee or poop in the toilet. With our first child, Steve and I did everything wrong with potty training. We ended up not only stressing ourselves out, but stressing Josh out so much that he would hide everytime he needed to go to the bathroom. It probably set him back another year. He was almost four when he finally had it down. The thing that finally worked was when my friend, Rhonda suggested that I buy a toy that I knew he would LOVE. Put it where he can see it and whenever he pooped or peed in the toilet he could play with it. When he chose to go in his diaper the toy would get put up (where he could see it) until he went in the toilet again. The kid was potty trained within a week!

We have used this method with all of our children and it has worked great! Diana (my stepmom) came by with a Buzz Lightyear last night. Jacob was thrilled and we watched him pee in the toilet for the first time!!!!!! We were wild with excitement! When it was bedtime, we put it back up on the TV. He fussed a little, but once he knew no one else was going to get to play with it, he went to bed. This morning he raced out of his room wanting to play with Buzz. I promptly took him to the toilet, where after a few minutes (and a glass of milk) he peed again in the toilet! Correlation!!! He is getting it. Right now he is happily playing with his Buzz. It's a start!
Potty training does not have to be stressful! I refuse to stress about it after all of these kids and all of these years. I can't wait till he finally poops in the toilet. We have a "poop party" for each child when they poop in the toilet for the first time. This is another one of our crazy traditions that everyone looks forward to. It is so cool to see the other children celebrating and cheering for their younger sibling.
Another milestone is that I noticed the other day that Jacob and Lily were actually playing together. I snapped a picture because it was just so darn cute. Lily loves Jacob! Jacob is really rough with her, so I have to watch him like a hawk. He is a big, beefy, boy, and he doesn't realize his strength! I hope they get to be good friends.
If you know my husband, he has this thing about drawing on our children! It drives me crazy, but at least this time he used a dry-erase marker! I come home often to mustaches and tattoos drawn all over their body. While I was homeschooling the older children (distracted), Steve drew mustaches on the younger ones. Jacob is pretty proud of his "daddy" mustache.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turning Financial Stress Into Financial Peace


It seems like I am sensing a reoccurring theme in the blog world. People are longing for financial peace. They are beyond stressed as they are lying helpless under a pile of debt. It is breaking my heart, because I know what it is like to have been there. Granted, the most debt we ever had was about $20,000, but it was enough to put a real stress on our marriage.

To see our financial testimony click on this link, "Are You Content?" I pray that God would give you some inspiration and that you would trust Him to help you in your situation.

Your journey will look differently than mine. He will perform miracles that will astound you, because it is NOT His Will for you to be in debt. He enabled us to pay off $20,000 of debt in ONE year! It wasn't easy, but it was so worth it, and the way He did it was amazing!

Here is our Tithing Testimony . You want to read about the miracles that God has done? Then read this!

We have started the Zero Balance Budget by Dave Ramsey. It is seriously saving us over $1,000 a month in expenses. We are learning for the first time to live within our means and to save. It is exciting and it has united us as a couple! We are finally not living paycheck to paycheck. It has brought financial peace, which is where God wanted us in the first place.

I hope this is helpful. If any of you have any questions that are too personal to add to the comment section, please feel free to email me at sbfirefighter@centurylink.net .

Blessings!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Puff Pancake with Blueberry Sauce



Here is the link for Puff Pancake with Blueberry Sauce.


My kiddos loved it! If you don't want to make the sauce, you can buy a can of blueberry filling at the store and just warm it up. I also add whipped cream. Makes it look pretty and even more fun for the kids.

Overpopulation



When you have a large family, sometimes you just plain get rude comments. The comment that I dislike the least is when people imply that we are doing our best to destroy the earth by overpopulating it. This is so unfounded and if you actually open your eyes and look at the trouble that nations are in from underpopulation, I think you would change your mind. This excerp was taken from Mark Chanski's book, "Womanly Dominon". (Forgive any typeos, please! I'm just plain tired.)


"In 1987, Ben Wattenberg wrote a perceptive book called the 'The Birth Dearth', in which he warned about the coming crisis due to the dangerously low birth rates in industrialized nations. He predicted that many of the most highly developed countries would suffer because of a lack of people. Everyone laughed. But now, thirty years later, the laughter has stopped.

In recent years, my wife and I have traveled a number of times to Europe, and each time we’ve turned to each other and asked, 'Where are the children?' It seems we were on to something.

Consider these excerpts from Michael Meyers’ Newsweek International article (September 27, 2004) entitled 'Birth Dearth: Remember the
Population Bomb?: The New Threat to the Planet is Not Too Many People, But Too Few.'

“Fertility rates have dropped by half since 1972, from six children per woman to 2.9. And demographers say they’re still falling, faster than ever. The world’s population will continue to grow-from today’s 6.4 billion to around 9 billion in 2050. But after that, it will go sharply into decline. Indeed, a phenomenon that we’re destined to learn much more about-depopulation-has already begun in a number of countries…

To reproduce itself, a society’s women must each bear 2.1 children. Europe’s’ fertility rates fall far short of that, according to the 2002 U.N. population report. France and Ireland, at 1.8, top Europe’s childbearing charts. Italy and Spain, at 1.2, bring up the rear. In between are countries such as German, whose fertility rate of 1.4 is exactly Europe’s average….

And so it is across the Continent. Bulgaria will shrink by 8 percent, Romania by 27 percent, Estonia by 25 percent. “Parts of Eastern Europe, already sparsely populated, will just empty out,” predicts Reiner Klinghoz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. Russia is already losing close to 750,000 people yearly. (Former President Putin calls it a “national crisis,”) So is Western Europe, and that figure could grow to as much as 3 million a year by mid-century, if not more.

The potential consequences of the population implosion are enormous. Consider the global economy, as Phillip Longman describes it in another recent book, 'The Empty Cradle; How falling Birthrates Threaten Word Prosperity and What to Do About it', A population expert at the New America Foundation in Washington, he sees danger for global prosperity. Whether it’s real estate or consumer spending, economic growth and population have always been closely linked. “There are people who cling to the hope that you can have a vibrant economy without a growing population, but mainstream economists are pessimistic,” says Longman. You have only to look at Japan or Europe for a whiff of what the future might bring, he adds. In Italy, demographers forecast a 40 percent decline in the working-age population over the next four decades-accompanied by a commensurate drop in growth across the Continent, according to the European Commission. What happens when Europe’s cohort of baby boomers begins to retire around 2020? Recent strikes and demonstrations in German, Italy, France, and Austria over the most modest pension reforms are only the beginning of what promises to become a major sociological battle between Europe’s older and younger generations.

That will be only a skirmish compared with the conflict brewing in China. There market reforms have removed the cradle-to-grave benefits of the planned economy, while the Communist Part hasn’t constructed an adequate social safety net to take their place. Less than one quarter of the population is covered by retirement pensions, according to CSIS. That puts the burden of elder care almost entirely on what is now a generation of only children.
The one-child policy has led to the so-called 4-2-1 problem, in which each child will be potentially responsible for caring for two parents and four grandparents.

Wattenberg’s ominous predictions are coming true. Consider the Russian mathematical momentum. It is already losing 750,000 people yearly. That’s a city the size of Baltimore wiped out every year. This trend will result in a 50% drop in the population of Russia by the mid-century. Jeremy Page entitled his article in the The Times (UK) on Sept. 24, 2005: 'Mother Russia Now Sees More Abortions Than Babies Born.' Christian Lowe entitled his article in The Scotsman on May 11, 2006: 'Putin offers Russians cash to have more babies.' He documents Putin’s proposal to provide monthly stipends to women willing to bear children."


I think there are some valid points here to consider. I will no longer feel guilty for having my six children, thank you very much! LOL!


Kuddos to you if you actually got through that!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Listening To Our Children (Part 2)

Listening To Your Children (Part 2)
By Jay Younts


Before you can answer your children, before you can say things that are helpful, you must first listen. It is hard to be a good listener. But Proverbs 18:13 says parentspeak is a shame to you. Parentspeak is the opposite of good listening and, therefore, the enemy of good, productive, everyday talk. But be encouraged! Proverbs 18:15 has the cure for parentspeak.

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seeks it out.”

God wants you to have active ears. That is why listening is hard. We aren’t accustomed to listening aggressively. We tend to have active mouths, but not active ears. If your ears seek out knowledge about your children, they can provide you with the knowledge you need for productive, everyday talk with your kids. This is what Proverbs 18:15 is teaching you. As you and your children walk, run, drive and sometimes stumble along the road of life that Deuteronomy 6 talks about, your ears should be on “seek mode.” It is difficult to listen and talk at the same time. If you want better communication with your children you must have ears that seek out knowledge about them. Are you actively listening to your children? Do you ever take time just to sit in the next room and listen to them when they are not aware you are listening?

You can do this! It is called “active listening.” If you are in a room full of people and they say your name, you automatically tune everything else out and strain your ears to hear what is being said about you. Active listening is a choice. You must choose to listen to what your children are saying. Listen for the things that they don’t say as well as what they do say.

For now, take a moment to evaluate how much parentspeak you actually do. How much genuine listening do you actually do? As you care for your children they will want you to know their thoughts and they will tell you.

Application Questions

1. Do you recognize any ways in which you practice parent-speak?

2. Building on your answer to the first question, what would you say instead of parentspeak at your next opportunity? Write out actual responses.

3. In your conversations with your children, what is the percentage of time you listen? What is the percentage of time you talk?

4. Do you know of any issues your child wants to discuss with you-but you haven’t had time yet?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Listening To Our Children (Part 1)

Listening to Your Children

By Jay Younts

It is hard to be a good listener.

It is much easier to speak first, thinking you will listen later. But often, speaking first means losing the opportunity to listen at all.

The pressing issues of everyday life are obstacles to good, everyday listening. You can become so focused on your own problems that you fail to be a good listener. This sort of preoccupations leads to what I call parentspeak.

Moms can be guilty of parentspeak. Parentspeak is talking without listening. Anytime you speak without listening-really listening-you engage in parentspeak. You may think you have good reasons for not listening. You are tired. You have important business decisions to consider. There may be a problem in your marriage relationship. You are trying to think how you will get all the yard work, housework or homeschooling done. You might be worried about the bills that are piling up. You desperately need to relax. Or maybe you are just preoccupied with the computer or the telephone. You don’t mean to ignore your children-you are just thinking about other things. However, if your words are going to please God and benefit your children, you must first be a good listener.

Did I say that good listening is hard? It is. It requires sacrificial love and self-denial to give your child the time and attention to listen closely.

Consider parentspeak for a moment. Do you use it? Does it creep into your everyday talk? Does it, perhaps, dominate your everyday talk? As you reflect on your own speech patterns, don’t look only for the absentminded mumbling of the previous example. Parentspeak can take other forms as well. It can be clear and direct language. Parentspeak may also sound like this: “Sarah, tonight before you go to bed, I want you to finish cleaning your room, do the dishes, finish your homework, write your grandmother and don’t listen to any music until all that is finished. Is that clear?”

You may be protesting, “What is wrong with this? Clear, directive speech is necessary for running a good household!”

I agree, but still it may qualify as parentspeak. If this type of speaking forms the majority of your communication with your children, then it is parentspeak. Recall our working definition for parentspeak. Parentspeak is talking without listening. What does the Bible say about this type of speaking?

“He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13)

To be continued...


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Solving the Interrupting Problem

I have found that when I am homeschooling three children, they all seem to need me at once. Then they get frustrated because I'm not answering THEIR question when they want me to. They have a nasty habit of interrupting and I just plain got tired of it. So, the other day, I developed this simple method. I made four pipe cleaner "balloons" and put them in them in the middle of table. I went by the color of the rainbows. Red (1), yellow (2), green (3), and blue (4). The idea is to grab them in order. First kid has a question, take the red and hold it up. Now, the second kid has a question right after that, they take the yellow, and then the third takes the next color. Now Mom knows what order to help and they realize that they are going to get help so they don't get so frustrated.

This has revolutionized our homeschool! We are all getting along better and they are learning that interrupting is not OK. When they are done with their question they put their "balloon" back into the pile for the next person.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winter Facelift

This winter has become a bit depressing, so with the gift certificate Steve got me for Christmas I decided to get me a new shower curtain. I've had this one for at least 5 years. So here are so before pictures. Note the sagging towel rack that the kids use to stand on.

Here is the new look! After buying the shower curtain and bath mat and realized these colors did not go with seafoam green walls. What do I do though? I hated the thought of painting. I think I'd rather pull my nails out one by one. I got the idea to call my friend, Margaret who loves to paint and is really good at it. I offered to pay her to do, but she wouldn't hear of it. The sweetie came and painted for me last Friday and I just love it! I bought a few towels to go with the bathroom, too. But the greatest find were these two lined baskets. You will never guess how much I got them for. $9.99 a piece at Grocery Outlet! One are for towels and one for dirty laundry. Love it!
This one shows my colors better. This whole process kind of perked me up and cost less than $100. Also, with these new baskets, I don't have to look at towels that are sloppily folded. I liked these baskets so much, that I bought one extra one for our closet to put Steve's T-shirts in.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy New Year's

Hubby had to work on New Year's Eve, so we laid low and had our own celebration. The kids and I sipped on sparkling apple cider and toasted (over and over and over again). As you can see they were really getting into it.
Here we are clinking the glasses for the third time!
Jacob was so excited! We watched movies until 10:00 p.m. and I let them have a slumber party in the living room.
They all thanked me over and over because they knew Mama doesn't do this kind of thing often. I hope next year we might be able to play games instead of watching movies. As they get older, I know it will change.

The weather has been sort of getting to me. The lack of sunshine is affecting my mood quite a bit this year. I saw a bit of sunshine today and I ran outside. It lasted two minutes, but it was so beautiful and it lifted my spirits. Thank you, Lord!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Look Who's Standing!

Lily has been standing and taking one or two steps. The kids are so excited for her and have her "practice" several times a day.
She is cruising all around the furniture now. She is also getting into things more (like the dog's food and water bowls).
Ta Da! I just love her chubby little thighs!
Whoa! And down we go! She is now nine and a half months old. She is starting to do some really cute things and she is now saying "Mama" and "Bye-Bye". So sweet...I'm so blessed to have our little Lily Pie!
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Legalism Uncovered



I find myself wondering if I am a legalistic person. I do not wish to be, but I think sometimes we can fall into this kind of thinking. Who doesn't want to be righteous, devout, and pleasing to the Lord? I just think we can get carried away and in turn try to win God's favor. The wonderful thing is this, His favor is already won! We are covered by His blood. Thank You, Lord!


These two articles helped me very much with some of the issues that I have had on this very subject. They are so good, I wanted to share them with you.


The first is at "A Sacred Calling".


I hope you can "settle back" and enjoy these two articles. They are very well-written and can help you examine your heart to see if you have some legalistic tendencies. They will help you "love the weaker brother" even more, as these ladies point out Scripture after Scripture that address these very issues.
I would love to know your thoughts. I know I am not the only person that struggles with this kind of thing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Habit of Rushing



The Habit of Rushing

Dear Mothers,


Lately, I’ve noticed that no matter where I’m going and what I am doing, I always seem to be in a rush. I’m not relaxed at all. I hurry the kids into the car, and then I hurry them into their activities. While they are at their activities I rush to get my errands done. I rush through homeschooling so that I can do my Bible study. I rush through my Bible study so that I can do my housework. I have found that I am in such a hurry now that I am skimming almost everything I read! I don’t just sit down and read a whole article or book. This can’t be good for me!

When I am rushing around, I am not savoring the moments that I have with my children. These moments are fleeting! They will not last forever. God has a better plan than going from event to event, skimming pages (only getting half of what I am reading), and hurrying my prayer and Bible study time with Him.

God told the Israelites to rest, “Yet they would not”. Hmmm, doesn’t He do the same for us mothers? Are we not to worry and yet that’s what we are doing when we are rushing. Are we worried that we are going to be late for everything? Maybe we are even worried of what people will think of our mothering if we don’t get “such and such done”.

I have this obsession that I need to be five minutes early to any event, whether it be church, Tae Kwon Do, or a party. I have stressed everyone out trying to meet this goal. I have to be O.K. with the fact that if a mother of six isn’t early to each event, it’s not the end of the world. I am learning to put things into perspective. I am starting to ask myself questions like, “Is this going to be the end of the world if I don’t make it there on time?” “Is this worth getting a speeding ticket over, or even worse getting into a wreck?” I’ve seen many a mother speeding down the road racing to the next event. I know I am not alone in this!

Let’s try to relax, ladies! God wants us to rest and enjoy life. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get our stuff done, but let’s work on managing our time better. Do we need to be saying “No” to certain things that don’t need to be in our schedule? Do we need to start the process of loading up kids earlier, so we don’t end up screaming at them when they can’t find their other shoe? Do we need to stop cramming so many activities down their throats that they themselves are stressed out? Should we leave earlier, so that we don’t have to speed? Do we need to start making a menus so that we know what to thaw out ahead of time? We should be prayerfully considering all of these matters. God will lead and guide us into a state of relaxed mothering.

A stressed out mom is no fun to be around. My husband and children can attest to that! When I start trimming things off my schedule that don’t need to be there, everyone benefits from it! Some other ways to relax is to listen to soothing worship music. I just bought a wonderful CD that plays piano music. When things start to get crazy and I start feeling stressed, I pop it in and listen to it. I often take a bath at night instead of staying up to watch a movie or be on the computer. I find myself able to think through the day and pray for my family and friends without being rushed. It helps me sleep better, too.

Let’s give God our worries and cares and get out of this habit of rushing!

From One Mother to Another,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Kenyan Family

Ilam is giving out socks to the widows and orphans. His son, Rock Peter holds up a piece of candy that we sent him. This is the first picture that I have ever seen that shows inside their church. They have less than I even imagined them to have.
I have posted once before on my Kenyan friends. Our family has a ministry to this family. We pray for them most importantly, but God has enabled us to pack boxes and send them things that they need. We first started sending Christian books and Bibles. It has progressed to clothing, shoes, and small amounts of food and Christmas packages.

Ilam is a pastor of a small church in Webuye City. His wife reached out to me asking for resources to help her women's ministries after seeing an article written by me in an "Above Rubies" magazine. I send my monthly devotions and pray for these women. I have asked her recently to send me pictures of the women. I would like their names and their needs so that we can pray even more specifically for them. This pictures shows the Sunday school children. They are eating the candy that my sister, Jackie sent them for Christmas.




This is Ilam's wife, Franciscah and their children, Leah Baroness (wearing the dress we gave her for Christmas), Neema (don't' you love her beautiful hair?) and Rock Peter. Marcus and Rock Peter correspond the most. I pray that one day they will be able to meet. They have become quite the pen pals!


This family has blessed me so much. They have taught my children what it means to give to the poor. They have also taught me that we have way too much stuff. I am always thinking of the next box I can send to them. These pictures thrill me when I see them actually using the things that we give them!
Please join me in pray for this precious pastor and his family! Pray that God would meet their physical and spiritual needs so that they can continue to minister the Gospel to others in Africa.




Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back to Blogging!

Here is a picture Steve took of the boys opening an Ecard from their Grandma. I'm helping Jacob with the mouse.

I feel like I am so behind on some things, but it has been nice to really play and have fun with my kiddos. We had a nice Christmas break. I loved not having to do school during this time. We just played and did things that we normally don't have time to do. Unfortunately, we did watch lots of movies. I am detoxing my children from movies right now. The past two days have been especially hard on the two year old, who is now used to watching two movies a day. I told them we are going to do one a day. The problem I find is that they are at such different age levels! Also, the past few days has been tough because I normally let the two year old and four year old watch a movie while I homeschool the older children. I have chosen to not do this so that we can all watch a movie together as a family later in the afternoon or evening. Jacob was ticked that he couldn't watch one while the kids were doing their school work. I took out the train set and car garage and after much bickering between Jacob and Andrew finally settled them into playing. It was exhausting, but hopefully it will pay off if we can make this a habit. I can't wait till they can go outside. It has been cold and rainy, so they are all stuck in the house and are fighting more than usual.
I gave four hair cuts the other day. Andrew is just the happiest kid. He is so cute when he gets a hair cut! He is all smiles, as you can see.
That is one nice thing about having lots of boys. Hair cuts are cheap!
And here is Lily Pie eating her pizza with her Papa Russ. I am trying to not torture myself with my thoughts of her growing up so fast. She is starting to stand up on her own now and has even taken a step towards her father and I. It is precious to watch. I don't take one moment with her for granted. They just grow so fast and the tinyness goes away so quickly. I am looking forward to the knowledge that when spring comes she will be following me all over the yard as I work on my flower beds. I will be able to do more gardening this year, because of it. I look forward to spending more time outside with my children this year. I want to take more walks, I want to get out more, and I would love to be able to go on more adventure type things, like surprising the kids and taking them up to the forest for a hike, while Dad is at work.

Getting back to the grind has been pleasant this week. I love my routine. I love making my own bread, there is something so satisfying about it. I love getting through another day of homeschooling and knowing my kids are better equipped to handle this ol' world. I love the discussions that come up throughout the day. Life is good and I should be so grateful to Father God for helping me, loving me and giving me so many blessings. Thank you, Lord!
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