Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nine Ways to Improve Your Child's Character

"You can be well-educated in the world's eyes and still be a sorry person."

"You can graduate with degrees and have no character."

Both of these quotes are by Bob Tebow parents to Tim Tebow ( a super star college football player that is an on-fire Christian). Tim was homeschooled by his loving parents. They made decisions based on the big picture, not on an immediate gratification, easy shortcuts, or personal comfort. They raised not just Tim, but all of their kids to make a lasting impact on this world.

Bob says, "If I could get my kids to the age of twenty-five knowing and serving God, and having character qualities that please God, then I knew God would be happy and I would be happy."

Traditional education took a back seat to learning God's Word and building character through their everyday lives.

These are the principles that have guided the Tebow household:

1. Start training when they are young.

2. Teach them to memorize Scripture.

3. Emphasize humility and character above immediate pleasure and self-gratification.

4. Teach them to give thanks to the Lord in everything.

5. Use small problems to teach them how to deal with the bigger ones successfully.

6. Teach them hard work in helping out around the home.

7. Teach them not to praise or talk about themselves but to let others do it (the Tebows even discourage Tim from reading his own press clippings.)

8. Encourage them to pick heroes who model good character traits, such as humility.

9. Get them outside of themselves from an early age, caring about the needs and problems of others. In short, give them an opportunity to serve.

(This list was taken from the book "One Million Arrows" by Julia Ferwerda.)

This is a tall order! I am very challenged by this list. Even though I know I should be doing all of these things, I have let some slip. I am going to change that this very day! This very hour! I will be intentional about this. I challenge you to be as well.

We need to give our kids lots of opportunities to build their character. It needs to be a lifestyle for the whole family.

We can obviously start with helping the poor. Brain storm as a family and ask your children to pray about what they could do. They can also look through the church bulletin and find ways to serve their church body.

If you are excited about serving the Lord, they will be too!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Horse Camp (Part Four)

On Sunday my Steve's folks brought our little Lily to us. It was such a blessing that they were able to watch her. It makes me nervous to have a walking baby wandering around horse camp. I am so afraid they will get kicked or fall into the fire. She was just as happy to see us as we were to see her!
Her brothers and sisters saying hello!
Lily found a comfortable spot on Nana Diana's lap.
We took Lily to the beach and was highly disappointed when she went beserk after her feet touched the sand. She was not a happy camper!
As you can tell it was pretty windy out there. She didn't know what to think of that.
Hailey and Lily playing in the grass. Lily and I having a snuggle knowing she was going back to Nana and Papa's soon. We went and got her the next day. It was a much nicer trip home. Jackie and Michael's truck was able to haul the borrowed camper home again. We were thrilled to not have to go through that again. (See Part One)

After we got to the beach it turned out being one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Everyone got alone and no one got hurt. The weather was beautiful as well. We all got very sunburned! Thank you, Lord for such a sweet family that you have given me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Horse Camp (Part Three)

My little niece, Hailey, was adorable in her beach combing outfit!
Steve found a float from the "widgeon". The kids practiced their Tae Kwon Do on it after we hung it in a tree.
Something I really enjoy doing is drawing in the sand. This has been my signature flower since I was about 16 years old. I've drawn this thing everywhere!
This is my version of sandart! I drew a horse head as well, but forgot to get a picture of it. The kids got on board and started drawing as well. We had a grand time!
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Horse Camp (Part Two)

There are few things better than riding a horse on a beach. It is one of life's simple pleasures. I love this picture of my dad, "sacking out" Lightening in the waves.
Jackie and her family were able to come this year. We had a wonderful time together. Sitting on the beach talking, watching our children play, and eating great camp food were just a few of the highlights.
Here is my hubby walking with Jacob on his shoulders and Andrew following. It was a beautiful day on the beach. For once, not too much wind.
Our cousins from Wisconsin were able to join us. This is a picture of Angie looking at the beach for the first time in 10 years. She just kept saying, "It's so beautiful!" It was magical watching her. It is something we Oregonians take for granted.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Horse Camp (Part One)

Getting to horse camp this year proved more difficult than ever. We borrowed a beautiful trailer from some dear friend at church. They insisted we take it despite my continued protests! They truly have the mindset that their stuff on earth is to share and bless others with. I love that attitude!

We left in 100 degree weather and the old Suburban just wouldn't make it. My hubby didn't shift down (he has not pulled much) and the poor Sub overheated four times on the way there. We would have to sit and wait for it to cool down. Instead of getting to the campsite at 2:00 P.M., we got there at 7:30 P.M. A bit disappointing, but we made it!

I told Steve that I appreciated his attitude in this time of crisis. Several times it would start vapor-locking and lose power going up a hill. There was no where to go! We had to cross traffic and get the only shoulder that was available until we found a pull-out to stop and park to wait for it to cool off. The kids were really hot and impatient. Steve handled it so well. He kept looking for the blessings and there were many! He is so good for me in stressful situations. I know that is what makes him a good firefighter/Lt./and Paramedic. He doesn't panic!
Here we are the next day enjoying the beautiful sunshine. The campsite was perfectly level.
My cousin, Brad, who was visiting from Wisconsin, had owned a trailer for years. He helped us set it up and answered any questions we might have had. It was very handy!
The table was great for playing games out of the wind. The camper was truly a blessing! Thanks Chris and Judy!
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pointing Our Children in the Right Direction

My bloggy friend, Sarah, gave my sister a book called, "One Million Arrows" by Julie Ferwerda. It has some great insight and has challenged me to rise above the status quo of just teaching my children about the Christian walk, to instead be DISCIPLING my children. I am going to be sharing this with you as a series, so stay tuned!

"We have a very short window of time on this earth to impact our children's lives for eternity and to make sure they don't go through their days unequipped to answer the questions they'll likely wrest with as they approach adulthood:

1. Why am I here?

2. What is my purpose?

3. Where am I going?

4. How do I get there?

5.What does the future hold?

We can no longer afford to stand by, watching them succumb to the devastating lies of the devil and the world, but instead we must be ready to give them what their hearts are deeply longing for: an authentic relationship with their Creator, living out the purpose He created them for in the big picture. I believe our kids are not looking for the easy road, they're looking for the eternal road."

Oh, Amen! Hallelujah! What a challenge for us all. We can't possibly send our children in the right direction if we are not living this ourselves. Do we have authentic relationships with our Creator? Are we living out the purposes He created for us? Our are hearts longing for Him to show us the way?

Let us examine our hearts today. A true disciple or "seeker, follower" (that is what the word means in Greek), will pray and seek Him in His Word. Ask God to transfigure your relationship with Him today. Ask Him to take it to another level, so that you can show your children who He REALLY is. We cannot teach our children something that we don't know. Press in, Dear One! He is faithful. He will give you new revelation of who He is.

If you are truly "Hungering for God" check out this post by Michelle at She Looketh Well. It will challenge you greatly!
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mid-Summer Garden and Update on Steve

I wanted to update you on my garden. I am more than pleased! This year we got about 7-8 gallons of raspberries. We eat some fresh, give some as gifts, and then freeze 4 gallons to make jam and cobblers. The rest we sell my to my sis. Andrew was watering them this year. I barely had to water them because it was such cool weather this spring.
I bought some tomato cages for my beans to climb this year. See that cyclone fence behind my garden? I'm going to get smart next year and make a bed right next to it so they can climb the fence. Duh? Then I can use my tomato cages for tomatoes!
Snickers is laying in front of my newest yard sale find! For a buck, I bought these old fire boots on a whim. I'm going to try to do something creative with them, like make them into flower pots. What would you do with them? Any suggestions?
I love this purple flower (no idea what it is called). It is spreading everywhere and is so cheerful! My day-lilies are huge this year and seem to like the weird weather. My lavender is in full bloom as well.

I have learned some lessons this year, too. I learned that you need to thin onions and that cabbages are huge! I planted them way too close together.

I love stepping outside and enjoying the fruits of my labor. God has certainly blessed this garden!


Update on Steve!

He is doing so well and has been released to go back to work today. God moved so fast on this one. I'm so thankful because it was very difficult to watch my husband not be able to escape from acute arthritic pain. The meds seem to be working and now we are trying to fight the insurance company to get his infusions from 8 weeks to every 5 weeks. Each infusion of Remicaid is  $9,000 for 600 ml of medicine. Isn't that ridiculous? Praise God for insurance! So please pray that the insurance company would be cooparative and see that this is truly a need for him. Thank you!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

4th of July at the Fire Station

Our tradition on the 4th is to meet Steve at the fire station (if he's on duty) and have a picnic, swim in the holding tanks and play softball. This year was no different. Here is Steve showing Jacob the fire engine.
Jacob loved running the length of the bay.
Lily thought Del was her daddy. She walked over to him, held her arms up, and when he scooped her up she was perfectly content for about a half an hour. I think Del loved holding a baby again. That is his youngest daughter standing in front of him. They grow up fast!
Here are the kids pigging out on all kinds of junk food. Actually, Jacob is eating a frozen, star-shaped watermelon on a stick. It was a cute idea! Steve said there were no fires this year. What a blessing!
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Adventure

I took the kids to explore an old Catholic pioneer cemetery by my parent's ranch. I was so pleased to discover the wildflowers that were everywhere! It was way up top and there was hardly any wind. I'm trying to teach Marcus how to take pictures. He is listening pretty well and took this one of Lily and I.
There was a storm rolling in and I thought this picture captured it perfectly. Normally, you would have been able to see Mt. Hood.
This picture is missing a few kids. Some kids have a lousy attitude about my adventures and some are all for it. I don't care though, we are getting out of the house and it's cheap! We also like to invite Josh and Marcus' friend, Nathan. He's always up for it.
More of the wildflowers. It was like someone had spread several wildflower seed packets over the cemetery. It was breathtaking!
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Friday, July 16, 2010

When the Pager is Off and the Overtime is No More

These past few weeks have been a roller coaster for this family. My husband has severe psoriasis. He has struggled with it since he was in middle school and has been on many medications to counteract this auto-immune disease. The past two years it went away with a new medicine called "Remicaid". It was amazing! But we found out two days ago that it is famous for the way it just stops working one day.

The past two and a half weeks, we noticed the psoriasis returning slowly. But what concerned us was his joint pain. When you have this disease as severely as Steve, you can get bad arthritis as well. It happened to him once before I met him in his early twenties. It sounded horrible. This week it came back like that. He could barely walk, couldn't drive, couldn't open a bottle, and many other things. It was very difficult to watch a vibrate man who loves to exercise every day, turn into an old man over night.

He has had to miss two shifts of work (so far) and we are now looking at short-term disability until he improves. We don't know when he will be able to go back to work, but trusting that God will heal him and that he will find the right medication to be on.

I noticed something the other day. The pager was off...Silent... Quiet...Weird. I am so used to going about my day and hearing the word, "Stacie, I'm going in." I respond with, "O.K." and go about my day. It's part of our routine. It just is.

So what do you do when you are used to a certain amount of overtime coming in every month? This is one of the biggest complaints that I receive from firewives, that their husbands are always gone due to overtime.

My advice is that it is so important to be out of debt. You just never know when something like this will happen. Being a firefighter is a very physical job. It doesn't take much for something to happen where your hubby can't work. Short term disability is good because it keeps you from wiping out all your sick time. The problem is, is when people are counting on the overtime to pay the bills. Since October of last year, we have been doing the Dave Ramsey budgeting system. My goal is to be able to pay the bills without ANY overtime. It is thin, but doable. God knew this was going to happen, so in His goodness, He has directed us to start this budget.

I would encourage anyone who is living off of the overtime, to go over to Dave Ramsey's website and check out his Zero Balance Budget. He will show you how to have financial freedom and it doesn't cost a dime.

Keep praying for us. We are also not used to spending so much time together. When someone is in acute pain, they tend to get irritable and impatient. You can't blame them, but it is a reality you have to deal with. Pray that I will be a good wife and mother and that I will serve my family with joy.

God will meet our needs, I know it. He already has. Our washing machine just went out. In faith, I bought another one using our emergency fund. I kept praying, "Lord, please let this money come from somewhere else." He answered my prayers when I got Steve's check and there was an extra $870 on it from a raise and back pay. I couldn't stop praising Him! The emergency fund remains untouched! Only the Lord!

We are praying that the new medication he is on will give him some relief from his pain. We don't even care about the psoriasis right now, it's the arthritis that is preventing him from working.


UPDATE as of July 18th, 2010

Your prayers are working! Steve is experiencing some relief from the acute pain! God moved fast on this one and I am so thankful. Thank you for being part of His plan by lifting us up in prayer. He is on his four days off right now and is hoping that he will recover enough so he can go back to work. Time will tell, but the medicine is working. He keeps telling me, "prayer made the medicine work." Love it!

Silly Siblings

I found a bunch of cute pictures on my camera of the older kids loving on their baby sister. They were too precious, so I thought I would share.
I love the look Lily is giving him, "Weirdo", I imagine she is thinking.
Josh loves to be the big brother. He is just towering over her. He's getting so tall.
I'm not sure who took this picture, but lately they have been doing silly faces on each other. I thought this one was pretty cute. She looks like a basset hound!
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

'Being Prepared'-(From the Archives)

Today I am revisiting a devotion I wrote several years ago called, "Being Prepared" (please click on this link to get to it).

I pray that you will be encouraged today as you learn to mother stress-free.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautifully Barefoot

There is just something about baby feet, isn't there? I just can't get enough of Lily's chubby toes! I thought I would take off her shoes before church and get a few pictures of her walking around my flower garden in the early summer.
Here is Miss Lily Pie and I before church.
Lily likes to sniff the pretty flowers. She is a lot like her mama!
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