Still Swimming {not so alone}

I have read some great stuff while trying to sort out this parenting thing.  First, you really need to check out Kay’s MOAT Blog Post by Joe White.  I loved what he said.

I am so much about business in my home.  I wish it were not so true, but I would “rather” fold the laundry than play chess.  Now, listen, not really, I mean I prefer chess, but if I do that who will fold the laundry?  People will tell you, play with them – you will have forever to fold the clothes.  But really?  I need them folded and put away today – not in 15 years. 

So I struggle with the “fun” part of parenting.  Therefore, I plan it.  Yes, I schedule my fun time into my day, otherwise it will not happen.  We are back to one-on-one time daily, me and a child.  Monday, J – Tuesday, P – etc.  They all want to play chess these days which I love.  But in order to make it happen I have an alarm set to go off to MAKE me make time. 

I am seeing this feeds their souls.  I am seeing them crave that time with just me.  They love to see if they can beat me yet, and not yet – but VERY soon they will all be beating me, I can see it coming!!

I mentioned the praising yesterday.  I am so bad at that.  If you do 10 things great but miss 1 I tend to focus on the 1.  Bad mom!  So I am trying to me more positive.  But at the same time I am finding that how we praise matters, we need to praise their attitude and choices “You did great focusing on the task and getting it done without distractions” rather than “great job dusting.”

I am seeing it work, I just hope I can keep it up.  I want to be the mom that encourages their hearts, but life can simply get so busy I can hardly have a coherent thought, let alone a praising one!

Another great reminder to me to keep things as slow as possible, with 4 kids, piano lessons, 4H (2 clubs), volunteering weekly at the food pantry (2 oldest), and a few classes we do with others, school, food, life…. I am tired thinking about it all.  Keep things slow.  Less.  I know this is the key to peace, but it is so hard to live out.

I sure hope my boys really get their act together soon, I am tired of cooking beans and rice twice a day!!!

Until then, I hope to stay positive and schedule my Fun Mom time!!

Shaping Influences of our Children

As I read through Shepherding A Child’s Heart, a book I have read before, I continue to learn “new” things.

This week, I read about shaping influences in our kids.  It is so easy in this “instant gratification” culture – the one where every book offers a 3-5 step plan to fix your life, it is easy to think we can fix what we want to fix.  I find myself thinking I can control my life, and the things around me.  Often God has to knock my around a bit to remind me that this is not true.

Tedd Tripp talks about how our children are influenced not only by our parenting style but by the shaping influences in their lives as well.  So I spent some time thinking about how that affects my gang.  One of the questions at the end of the chapter was What are your values?  What is more important to you?  And at 6am I was not sure what was most important – well actually, I was not sure what my life was saying was most important.  you understand?  What would my kids say is most important.  So as my oldest son came out to get  a kleenex & check our incubator, I asked him.  He told me the most important thing to me was that my children grow up to be Godly men and women.  He did not have to even think about it.  Then he had supporting evidence.  Wow. 

 

One of the things I do struggle with though is thinking that I can follow a plan, a list of steps, or read a book and figure out what I need to do to have success.  Reality is that each of my children respond differently to everything that goes on around them, and that there is no formula.  {Sally Clarkson talked about this too – that we should not parent from fear, or with a formula – but with Faith}  Instead, I need to remember (have faith) that my kids are active responders to the things around them, and I need to trust that God will give me the wisdom to teach them how to respond at times and how to deal with what goes on around them.  I also need to trust that if God has done all he has with me, he is going to be able to handle them too.

Bottom Line – No formula will solve our parenting struggles, Fear will not help us in any way to parent properly – but with Faith we can learn how our children are responding to the shaping influences in their lives and we can help to guide them through how that will affect them.

I am loving this book, again – and while it is not my favorite author, there is some great wisdom on these pages that points you to the ONLY place to really gain parenting truths – God and his Word!!

Parenting {take–#587 or so?}

I understood when I had 4 kids ages 5 and under, why I was exhausted and clueless.  I mean really, lack of sleep, feeling like a dairy cow for about 4 or so years, life was expectedly crazy!

And now, I have a house full of (mostly) elementary school kids – one pre-teen.  I did not expect it to still require so much of me.  So often I feel like I have no idea what to do next.  Whew. 

While I love to be deep in a great book, parenting books are not my favorite genre.  I prefer some great Christian Fiction above most others.  However, in this season of parenting I am turning back to some great books that I hope to gleam some great wisdom from.  So, these days you can find me reading and taking copious notes from Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Grace Based Parenting.

I have read both of these books before, but never side by side.

 

I am so enjoying how both of these have a very similar main point – and offer a few different ways to approach it.    So Kristen and I are sharing our thoughts on both books, and Kasey and I are meeting up and discussing Grace Based Parenting, but I think we may add Shepherding to our discussions as well.  It is great to be able to talk about what really spoke to us from each book, and when you know you need to talk about it, you kind of read with a bit more focus.  I even took notes!!

So here is what I have learned so far :

Pharisee : I realized between these great books and the Whole Heart Conference, I am a wonderful Pharisee!  Oh my.  I never knew before about 10 days ago.  I love to have rules, follow them, and judge others for not following.  Ugh!!  So I am working on that.  Working on letting it all go and grabbing some Grace, for me and everyone else!  Beth Moore said she is a Grace Addict – and I so want to be one too!!  I think in this case, wanting to follow is a good thing!!

Respond : Next, I want to respond to my kids and not react – I want to stop what I am doing and value their questions, comments, and time.  I think, if I do a better job at this, I may just create a home where they want to be – just be.  A place they feel loved and accepted, and they will want to be here with us, just doing life together.  (not forever mind you, I mean, I want them to grow up and want to leave eventually, but I want them to want to come back too…  I am sure you get the idea)

Advocate : I want to stop being an adversary – and start to advocate for my children.  I want to praise them all day long, not fluff – not empty “you are a great” – but remind them the truth – God has a plan – they are created in His image, they will fail and will be forgiven, but keep trying.  I want them to know I am their #1 fan in all they do.  I do not think this means to lower my expectations – but to offer grace and encouragement instead of guilt or disappointment.

Needs : Bottom line, our children need 3 things

Security = Love

Significance = Purpose

Strength = Hope

That is a quick summary of my main points from the first chapter of both books.  I am so enjoying them and the discussions with friends!  I hope to be a bit of a better mom too, extending more grace when I get impatient and frustrated. 

Pinned Image

Have I told you how great my kids are?  They make me so proud with their huge hearts for each other and others! 

What’s Working

Parenting sure has it ups and downs.  Sometimes I think we notice the downs much more than the ups.  Sometimes as moms I think we fixate on the downs, we let them define us.  We fail to see the ups.

I remember when I was in the Army.  The worse our commander was, the closer the staff was, and the more I learned.  (Did you know that we learn more from someone who does not do something well, than from someone who does it well?)   The more notice I took of all my commander did, when that person was less than good.  I never noticed the right things they did, even if they were few and far between.  Frankly, none of us did. 

Thankfully God does not operate like that.  I am so grateful that although I fail daily, He does not see me as a failure!  What a blessing.

So why do I see myself that way, sometimes too often?  I mean, I know I am a good mom.  My kids feel loved, I think.  They seem to be happy.  Yet, after a bad day, I put the blame on my shoulders.  And yet, I am raising 3 little boys who have a will of their own, and one little girl with her own will.  So why would I think this is all up to me?  Their free will is going to allow them to choose wrong, probably a LOT!!

Anyway, tonight I thought I would share what is working for us these days, as far as parenting is going.

First, we have a chore box right now.  I made a list of extra chores.  Ones that I would love to have done often, but I never have time, and well – chores that I can assign to my kids.  This has helped to detail clean my house (a lot), and it has made a difference with attitudes as well.  So if I get an attitude from one of my lovely children I tell them to grab a card, if this results in more attitude they get more cards.  They learn quickly with this!!  When they complete a chore, the card goes to the back of the case.  I am loving this!!  I do not have to argue anymore, they just get a card. {and my house is looking pretty good}

verse 9

Next, we have taken the discipline part of parenting off my shoulders and my husband has chosen to carry that load.  This is working wonders in my house!!  My son (oldest) and I have been arguing the most, and this has all but eliminated it!  If he starts to argue, which is less these days, I ask him if wants to talk with Daddy about it.    If we have a major issue, he goes to his room and waits for Robert to get home.  This started while Robert was home for 4 days, so that helped.  But it has worked so well!!  I am enjoying my kids again, and not at the end of my rope all the time. 

I have to honestly say, I was not adoring my kids much.  I was having a hard time seeing the good in my oldest, because we were battling all the time.  And this single decision : Daddy taking over discipline, has changed it all.  I am so grateful for a husband who will step up when I figure out to step back!  The boys are responding so well.  I am certain this is an age thing, and having their father lay down the law, is for some reason, more okay that mom doing it.

verse 2

Lastly, we have really cut out the wii (in fact, tonight I put it in the garage, but that is another topic for another day, if only I had taken pictures tonight of my boys – ughh).  I am realizing that if something in our house leads my children to act inappropriate – it needs to go.  The Bible says :

if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  If your eye causes you to sin – gouge it out.   Matt 5:29-30

(my wording)

Well, I am cutting off the wii.  My boys become selfish, arrogant, mean, and all around bad when that wii gets turned on.  And I have had enough.  As a result, life is so much better!  They are playing cribbage, cards, reading, or many other things that encourage team work and love!  I want them to be defined by their love for others and if the wii brings out the worst behavoirs in them, I will not allow it in my house.  I know I need to work on them, and we will, and we are.  But the first step was not allowing them to act the way they are in our home with their brothers (and sister).

So this is what is working for us.  There are still many downs in this parenting journey – but these 3 decisions/ideas have made the journey less painful for me and have made the downs a bit less frequent!

Our memory verse this week:

verse 8

Warfare {& Beautiful Girlhood}

As I read through The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood I formed a picture in my head of Warfare. 

This is what it is.  We are in a battle for our children, it is as simple as that.  We are battling for purity, femininity, and modesty in little girls who will grow (too soon) into young women.  If we want to win this battle, we need to learn how to fight.

As a former Army Officer, I know a bit about warfare, even though I was not personally engaged in it.  We still trained, we planned and we equipped.  This book will help you do just that with your young daughter.  A successful warrior knows his enemy, has the proper weapons and has trained sufficiently with those weapons.  (Our main weapon is our Bible, and this book walks along with your Bible through each page of this book.)

Image for product 9780970027306The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood : This is our 32-week Girl’s Bible Study for girls ages 9-13. Beautiful Girlhood and The Companion Guide cover many topics specific to this age group focusing on character development. A perfect tool for Mother-Daughter Bible study that strengthens the Mother-Daughter relationship! Also can be used as youth Bible study lessons, Sunday school lessons, home school, and girl’s Bible study.

This book is a weapon/tool in this battle.  There are four parts to each of the 32 chapters : Discussion, Bible Activity and Application, Journal Questions, and a section for the actual journal.  This book will help you navigate the book Beautiful Girlhood.  Instead of simply reading that book, this book will help you process through each chapter together, and really grasps each concept as you go.

I love any tool that helps us know what to say, or specifically where to turn in the Bible to support what we are teaching.  This book is an in-depth look at all the character traits we want our young ladies to possess.    The topics addressed in this book  include : friendships, dreams, home life, truthfulness, books, and many more.  I am sure this book will be a treasure to a little girl who goes through it with her mother, as they explore these principles and talk intentionally about so many vital topics, for a young girl today.

I firmly believe that after working through this book, the battle will not look the same to you or your daughter as they did before!  This is a great tool to teach our daughters all about the battles that will wage around her as she grows up, and will help equip her all the days of her life!

I highly recommend this book to all mothers of young girls!!

Note : Pumpkin Seed Press provided this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review.