Wednesday, March 25, 2015

God Author of Forgiveness

   I don't know about y'all (forgive the Texas affectation), but it is easy for me to go down that familiar rabbit trail of holding on to all the wrongs that have ever been done to me. We all have past hurts. For me it's a mother's on going addiction, betrayal by friends, men that used me, and most recently, leaving a ministry that was spiritually abusive. Life can be HARD. But God has a way of gently reminding us that He is in control. This time HE used the lovely Julie Westfall to remind me of that truth.

( me holding onto bitterness)

           If you missed our MOPs meeting Tuesday we had a video before Julie shared with us. The video featured a couple who struggled with forgiveness, stemming from past infidelities and how they were able to overcome those issues. What struck me most was when the woman featured in the video, Trisha Davis, shared this: "True forgiveness you offer to a person regardless of their response. You win! You let go of bitterness. Every time you choose forgiveness, you choose healing. I'm not going to let this control my life anymore." After hearing this, the Lord showed me that not forgiving is a control issue. I think if I just hold on to this righteous anger I can control the situation so that this person can't hurt me anymore. But forgiveness is letting go and letting God take control. So freeing.

           After the video, Julie spoke and it was so encouraging! I just had to--embarrassment be darned--shout out 'Amen' at one point. My favorite part was when Julie shared from Matthew 18. We are called to limitless forgiveness. 7 x 70 times. This is not a mathematical equation, it's a call to ALWAYS forgive. God has it under control! She shared a K-LOVE quote, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die". Wow! It is so true how bitterness and anger only hurts ourselves. As people we want justice and we want fairness, but we have to remember to trust Him. Our God is a god of righteousness.

            Let's face it, forgiveness can be hard, but when we start to focus on the things above instead of the things below it gets easier. The Bible states 'the wages of sin is death'. The wages of MY sin is MY eternal death. I do not deserve forgiveness. If Christ died so that I may live eternally with Him in heaven, can't I forgive another for smaller offenses?
"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5.10,11
          This Easter let's daily ask the Holy Spirit to help us keep our hearts focused on Him and not ourselves, remembering the price Christ paid for us. He is Risen!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It Works for ME! -- From the Hot Pink (Soma) & Light Pink (Dana) Table

Connie C - When you have an evening out at a friend's house, bring your kiddos' toothbrushes! They can brush their teeth before you leave, and then you don't have to worry about it when they fall asleep on the car ride home! 

Courtney V - Star charts for attitude checks, chores, and counting practice! She loves the chart by Melissa and Doug! Tip: Michael's carries many Melissa & Doug products & always has a weekly couple of 40-50% off a regular priced item. You can get your chart at a discounted rate! 

Soma D - Always carries a zip-up blanket in the trunk of her car. This works great for park play dates, Concert-in-the-Park, ect. Use a Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon that always comes in the paper or mail to save $ on your purchase. 

Laura P - She keeps her kid's pajamas in a drawer in the bathroom, so they are ready to go after bath time!

Jessica D - She gives her kids cod liver oil (lemon flavored), vitamin D & C, & probiotics to stay healthy during the winter. She's a mom of 4, and she likes to steer clear of the doctor's office! 

Melissa B - Makes her bed every single day! This brings a sense of calm to her day, it inspires the kids to make their bed too, and if the rest of the house is a least the bed is made! 

Della B - When your kids go to school, carpool! In 5 years of carpool, her kids have never been late to school because each carpool mom is accountable to each other! Also, if you run into a car emergency, one of the other moms can help you out! 

Katie - She keeps a journal on hand in her family room to write the funny things her kids say! 

Diane - She uses a sweater shelf to lay out a weeks worth of clothing for her kids!

Zelda - She uses a portable potty called the "Potette Plus!" It comes with disposable baggies liners, and it's great for road trips. It cost around $13 at Babies R Us! 


Caryn L - She wants to instill a love of reading into her daughter, so she found that the best time to reads books to her is after nap time while she's still waking up!

Christine C - She loves a clean house! She's found that an irobot vacuum cleaner and a Hurricane Spin Mop works for her! 

Megan O - She suggests making your own Moby wrap by purchasing 5 yards of fabric & cutting it lengthwise down the middle! Moby wraps = great bonding time.

DeAndra T -  Changed her attitude from serving her family to serving the Lord. 

Dana D - While she makes dinner, her boys each get a special activity! The older brother gets to play with kinetic self-sticking sand (from Brookstone), while the younger brother plays with an empty/clean Parmesan cheese container & q-tips! This keeps them entertained for a bit while she makes dinner. The sand isn't messy, and the youngest enjoys putting the q-tips in the container over...and over again! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Being Brave To... Raise Responsible Kids

Yesterday we were joined by speaker, author and educator, Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, and her talk was on "Responsibilities for Young Children."

I know a lot of moms couldn't make this meeting; there are so many sick kids right now, and that, along with the time change, sure makes it hard to leave the house.

Literally, the only reason I was able to come to MOPS was because my husband was home and offered to stay with all 4 of my kids. Mine have spring break this week, so it was pretty heroic of him.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand.

Dr. Fritzemeier joined my table for breakfast. She's a smart, educated woman, with a lot of ideas. I mentioned that I was probably late to the game, as I'm only just starting to give my 7 year old more household chores. And she agreed, I was a little late; but better late than never.

The whole premise behind her talk (dare I say, lecture?), was that if you start giving your young children responsibilities in the form of chores around the age of 2, they will learn that this is just what you do in a family, and that taking care of ourselves and contributing to the work load is part of life.

Waiting until school age can become a bit more challenging, as by the time they are maybe 7, they understand that chores are work, and aren't so eager to join in on the "fun."

But it's more than just chores and chore-charts, said our speaker. It's about raising self-sufficient and responsible people. Chores tend to be a path toward helping our kids to problem-solve, think creatively, and think critically.

They also can help our children become more independent, and increase their self-esteem.

Here's the conundrum for a lot of us moms of preschoolers: We are low on time, low on energy, and low on patience. Is it just me? Because my life doesn't allow for a lot of direction and instruction for my toddlers.

I'm literally struggling to get them to eat their dinner and get to bed on time.

But here are some things I have been able to initiate in my home, as far as chores and responsibilities are concerned:

My 7, 6 and 5 year olds must keep their rooms basically clean, especially before leaving the house or doing something "fun" (i.e. watching tv, playing games, going on play dates, etc.).

I do not make them clean up or make their beds in the morning before school in the morning. And that's ok with me. It works for our family this way, because the room-cleaning takes place usually at night before bed, or when they are home on the weekend. I've had to evaluate when I as the mother and supervisor have the most time and energy to devote to the process of that whole room-cleaning deal. And this is with my school age kids. It might look differently with a 2 and 3 year old, but it really depends on your life, activities and family structure.

Some other tasks my kids are responsible for are: cleaning their place when done with a meal, cleaning up a spill when they are at fault (usually a drink at dinner), and putting their laundry away.

According to Dr. Fritzemeier, I'm probably giving my school-age kids the responsibilities of a 2-4 year old.

Here's why: I'm a perfectionist. I take over a lot of the time, and have difficulty allowing my kids to do things when I know it won't get done the when or how I want it. (I'm a work in progress)

But you know what? I feel like I'm far from failing. I know my kids, and I know myself, and believe me when I say, what chores I give them stretches all of us.

And it should. Learning to be responsible (for a kid) or to give responsibly (for a parent) is no easy task. When one task is mastered, we move on to another. We are consistently challenging ourselves, even if the tasks we're doing aren't at a certain level or place on a list.

Another big part of the discussion yesterday was giving young children choices, or limited choices. This helps to foster decision-making ability, and may make your everyday tasks a little less chaotic.

For example, instead of asking your child "Do you want to get dressed?" We say, "What do you want to wear, your blue shirt or your green shirt?" Therefore, taking the element of "no" or a battle out of the equation.

But for those of you (me) with "threenagers" this may not apply, or you must break out your creative thinking skills because those kids will always find a third option.

Preschoolers. Amiright? Seriously.

So, I will leave you with a statement for thought and reflection in light of this whole topic: "Rarely do things for your children that they can do for themselves."

However this may look in your home, with your kids, and the stage you are at (in your perfectionism recovery, maybe), I hope you are able to continue or begin or whatever in helping your kids to grow into confident, thoughtful, and responsible adults.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March Mom of the Month (M.O.M.)!

March Mom of the Month:

Lisa L!!!!

1.) Who's in your family?
Me, my loving husband, and my 2&1/2 year old daughter!

2.) What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
The yummy breakfast from the moms!

3.) What is your favorite activity to do with your daughter?
Dancing with her and watching her dance to music!

4.) If you had a day all to yourself, what would you do?

5.) What is your favorite sweet treat?
Almond marzipan cake or moist chocolate cake!

6.) Describe a fun childhood memory?
Going to the beach and swimming with my family!

7.) What is one piece of advice that you can offer to the moms in our group?
Have patience with your spouse, kid(s), and yourself!