Friday, March 22, 2013

Ten Commandment Tea Party #1

Every week the family has a tea party. I started this as a means to create a tradition that my children would cherish. We learn Bible verses (and table manners). Sometimes we play games or tell riddles. The whole family looks forward to it

We're starting to memorize the Ten Commandments. Every week we'll memorize one and talk about it's meaning. This is week one of our 10 week series. The Bible says, "These commandments that I give today are to be on you hearts. Impress them on your children...bind them on your foreheads" (Deut 6:6-8, NIV)

So, this week, we "binded" the First Commandment to our foreheads.

The kids had a blast with this. And, yes, even mom and dad were wearing ours too!

Stay tuned to see how we get creative with the other nine commandments!

What are some ways you share the Word?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Breast Isn't Always Best

There has been a lot of controversy lately about bottle vs. breast due to the ban on formula in hospitals in some parts of the country. I have breastfed all of my children and loved it...until recently.

I nursed my twins until they were 10-months-old. I nursed my daughter until she was 10-months-old. They all weaned themselves and it was a very natural process. I nursed #4 until, well, today. He's 9 1/2-months-old. Truth be told, I should have weaned him a long time ago. See, he's a biter. Where my others may have bit once or twice. He bites all the time. I'm talking every nursing session. I'm in pain doing something that is supposed to be natural and beautiful, but it has become a thing of blood and tears. Not cool.

I've held off weaning him because I know how precious nursing can be. He's my last baby and I knew I'd never experience that special time again. But lately it just wasn't worth it. I was dealing with the guilt of giving him something other than my milk; tonight, I just couldn't handle it anymore.

As we snuggled together before his bedtime with a bottle contentedly hanging from his lips. I felt such a calm and peace that I knew I'd made the right decision. Feeding time isn't going to be laced with fear anymore. I looked into his gorgeous little faced, touched by the hand of God Himself and knew I'd made the right choice.

I hate that it had to go down like this. I wish it could have been like his big brothers where one day I truly forgot to nurse them and we never looked back. I wish that I didn't have to make this decision amongst tears. But it is what it is. Right now, for me and my son, breast isn't best.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cleaning up a Sticky Situation

"There's jelly in my hair!"

This is something I'd expect to hear from my three-year-old, so hearing it come out of MY mouth was a little surreal. In fact, I'm not even sure how the jelly got in my hair. I mean, I did make my hubs a PB&J that morning, but our jelly is the squeeze type; not something I'd even get near my locks. But there it was. A sticky, gooey, mess of strawberry jelly tangling up my hair.

For ease, I'm going to pretend this happened to my daughter. 'Cause, you know, it's kind of embarrassing for a 33-year-old-woman to walk around with head full of jelly. Any way...So if my daughter comes to me with a tangled mess of stickiness in her golden tresses, the first thing we do is try to brush it out. She screams and fights and wiggles until we realize we need help.

Out comes the handy dandy detangler I spray the affected area and attempt to brush some more. It doesn't take the jelly out, but it makes it presentable enough to rush her off to pre-school. (because we're late...since someone got jelly in her hair.)

By the time she gets home, the hair is a rat's nest again and the only recourse is to wash it out. Slowly I can see the shampoo doing it's job and cleansing her hair of the offending sticky stuff. Once she's washed clean, her hair is like new.

A shower is the ONLY way
to get jelly out of these locks
Sometimes our life is like jelly in the hair. We have sticky situations we're not proud of, but there they are, tangling things up and making a big ole' mess. We try to take care of it ourselves and spot treat it with a little help (alcohol, shopping, food. Whatever makes the pain go away and whatever makes us look presentable)

My sticky situation was the decision to exercise the "right to choose" when I was 18. I cleaned myself up and looked presentable to the outside world, but on the inside I was still all messy. After fighting and attempting to do it on my own, I finally accepted help through my local crisis pregnancy center. I went through a program called HEART (Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma). But it was only when I was showered by the blood of Jesus and accepted God's forgiveness for what I had done did I become truly clean. He washed me clean of my sin and has made me like new. I can't change what's been done but I don't have to go back to the rat's nest in which I'd been.

Are you in need of a good shower? Is there any "jelly" that you've been hiding for too long? Take it to your Father for a good scrub down.

When I rush my daughter to school with sticky stuff in her hair, I, as her parent, know it's there. I know she's a little less than clean, and I love her anyway. But I know she has to have a bath. In his book Just Like Jesus,  Max Lucado writes, "God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way..." God knows what mess you're hiding. He's always known, but He refuses to leave you a mess. It doesn't mean He loves you any less or judges you any more. He wants to cleanse you of the stickiness and gooeyness. He wants to make you shining and new.

Will you let Him?

(Are you in need of post-abortion counseling? The Rachel Project is a good place to start)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Art of Parenting

Parenting, like art,
requires patience
Parenting is hard. REALLY hard. Most days I  don’t know what I’m doing and feel like I’m floundering. I feel pretty screwed up a lot of the time, so how am I supposed to mold this little being into a productive vessel of the Lord when I’m broken myself? I guess that’s where the Lord comes in. He can fill in my chinks and be the potter's hands that spin the wheel of my parenting days. As with any work of art, patience is the key. Michelangelo's “David” was not created overnight. It took years and years of diligent, faithful work. I’m sure he felt discouraged and had set backs, but little by little marble was chipped away to reveal a masterpiece.
Lord, that you would guide my hand in chipping away the blocks of stone around my children. Little by little they will become the people you envision them to be. I can’t give up even when it’s hard. Give me your artistic vision for my little masterpieces. In Jesus name, Amen.

A Little (or not so little) Intro

    "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me."

I couldn't have said it better myself. My life has been dotted with so many ups and downs that it draws a map like the Appalachian Mountains. The lowest valley was having an abortion at 18. At first it was a relief, but then the burden of what I'd done overwhelmed me and became an all consuming secret. Who could love me after that? Through years of soul searching  I found God has ALWAYS loved me and proved it through his Son, Jesus. My husband loves me, my friends love me, and God's precious gift of redemption, FOUR precious children, love me.

Those little flawed yet angelic creatures remind me daily of God's love for me. I see His grace when I am tempted to fly off the handle when my kids make a mistake. Yet I make mistakes all the time! God responds with discipline and love and mercy. Aren't I to do the same?

People complain all the time about there not being a parenting manual. Oh, my friends, there is!! It is the Bible. Whether or not you share my faith it is hard not to see the wisdom in the Ten Commandments. If your children live true to those, they are pretty much on the path to a productive adulthood.

The Bible is the most engaging and informative
parenting manual out there!
Last night I went to a revival at a local church. And, honey, did that preacher step on my toes. They are still hurting this morning. He talked about the command (not suggestion, mind you) that Christ gave in Matthew 28. Some know it as the "Great Commission." It implores all believers to go to ALL nations and share the good news of the Gospel. He used the 23 Psalm to illustrate how the church (regardless of denomination) is the flock of the Great Shepherd, but in order for a flock to grow and be productive and grow, baby sheep must be born.

As parents we have the glorious opportunity to be missionaries in our own homes. But I wanted to go a step further. I want to share my love of Christ and what he's done for me and my family with other parents. After all we are sojourners on the same path. Our children are our legacy, and if mine grow up to be decent, hardworking, God fearing, loving, patient individuals then I've done all right. But I can't do it alone. I need my God, my community of other imperfect parents, and Faith.

With the Love of Jesus,