Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nashville Fountain

This fountain was very tempting.
There is only one way for this to go.
Completely free to play!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Colossians Three

This Summer our church was charged to memorize the entire chapter of Colossians three. I had wanted to do something like that with the girls but the whole church setting about to do it added a little fire to the effort.

If I had just told my family, "We're going to memorize a large chunk of Scripture in the month of July." They would have attempted half-heartedly and stopped after I got tired of pushing. So with some very cute picture prompts from another mom we got busy.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Our friend worked really hard to create cute images like this for the entire chapter of Colossians three. For those of us who are visual, it was a great help! And for the children who don't yet read, it became their very own book. There were also some fun nights of games and review to keep everyone going, but because of my ridiculous schedule this summer, we didn't get to any of them.

Memorizing Scripture with others is a great incentive to keep it up. I told the ladies at our Bible study that I'm sure that I have more pride than love for God. Knowing that I would be reciting it with the entire church was one reason why I was able to memorize it so quickly.

To continue the Colossians theme, the ladies of our church are studying the Bible study book Colossians and Philemon: Continue to Live in Him by Kathleen Buswell Nielson and our family is memorizing Colossians four during this year of school.

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Question Was...

How do you get your children to come to tell you things that they had done that they know they shouldn't have done?

For example - We knew our mom wouldn't have wanted us to skateboard at this particular place without a helmet. She had never actually said, "You must wear a helmet when you skateboard there." But we knew it was something she would have wanted us to do. We just didn't tell her so that she wouldn't actually say what she wanted us to do. We weren't actually disobeying, but it was something she would have wanted to know.

My first reaction was to deal with the deception. If a child knows there is information that a parent wants to know, it seems like deception, which is lying, which is a sin. I'm not thinking of juicy gossip about another person, just information, that as a parent, you should know about your child.

For another example - My daughter's friend did something that as a family we have forbid as long as our children are under our authority. It wasn't necessarily a sin, but my daughter knew that I would want to know about. (In my opinion, the way this activity was carried out probably was a sin, but that's not the point.) The point was that my daughter didn't tell me quickly. She was waiting until an opportune time. I felt like she deceived me by not telling me right away. It worked out in the end and we had a good discussion on deception.

Back to the real question though. How do you get your children to tell you things that you as a parent need/want to know?

I think it comes back to scripture -
Colossians 3:21   Fathers do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged. 

Parents who exasperate their children, provoke them to anger, cause them to be discouraged...may loose touch with them. What child wants to come in and confess a blunder to a mom who is going to fall apart? Why would anyone want to talk to their dad about an issue if he is going to blow up?

What is your response to a two year old who breaks a dish? Is it a huge sigh, crying and moaning about their childishness, stomping the foot, yelling, silent treatment, hitting uncontrollably, slamming things? That is probably how you will respond when they skateboard without a helmet, break the neighbor's window or get a speeding ticket...or worse.

We have to have enough self control to prevent the knee jerk reactions when our children make a mistake, mess up or flat out... sin. There must be consequences to sin, of course, but children learn how you will respond.  I think that if they know you are willing to listen and respond to them lovingly, they will come to you more often than not. Reasonable thinking children and young adults will come and confess and take their punishment if it's dealt with love and justice.

I am a great big sinner that fails often. This very week, a few days after pointing out someone else's sin, I committed the same sin! My children need to see my repentance and turning away from that sin. We had a discussion about that, but I think I need to repent to them properly. They will not come to me with problems or issues unless they see kindness and humility.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Summer Stash!

Going to Mama's in the summer means "putting' up vegetables. We didn't get to Dublin until late this summer so we were only able to get peaches and field peas (my favorite) but what we got is delicious and will hold us for a while. It's important for children to have a hand in food preparation. These girls know that a lot of hard work goes into fresh food and they really appreciate it.

My mother knows how to "put up" anything. Somewhere, I have a picture of my grandmother that looks almost like this.
Abigail's favorite job was tasting every peach!
She did get in on the bagging. She picked up the peas one at a time and put them in, she refused the help of a spoon.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

All I Really Want to Do snuggle with this sweet baby boy. Josiah is growing at an alarming rate and I can't slow down the time enough. He is in the 90 percentile height and weight range and seems to be trying to tower over the rest of his family.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Homeschool Changes

For about six or so years, I haven't done a lot of homeschool prep. It took little time to clean out the old books and replace with the next thing we would do. In comparison to now, it had been easy. We had been on auto-pilot for so long, that when I thought we needed to make a change I didn't realized the implications.

I've never had an unlimited homeschool budget, and have pretty much used what I was able to get my hands on at a good price. I would figure out how to make it work for my family. God has been so gracious to us to allow so many people to basically give us their left overs. We have used lots of textbooks, workbooks, whole book curriculum, the internet and the library.

For many reasons, I thought we needed to make some changes this year. So change came... and all that comes with it.

I have felt like a first time homeschool mom again, one night even reduced to tears. Moms have a lot of responsibilities, all moms. My situation is not that unique, but it is still MY situation and I must deal with it in a godly manner.

Recently, I was embarrassed at the condition of my house while I sat in the dining room with the two other homeschool moms to discuss our plans for the upcoming year. I was overwhelmed at the pile of dishes, the stacks of laundry, toys scattered everywhere, lack of food cooked. One of the girls came in grieved over something on her heart and I got even more overwhelmed. Allowing self-pity to creep in, I sinned.

I have felt like a failure, like I was alone in this mess, and that it was a bad idea to make the changes that I was making. I have been stretched. I want things to stay the same, I don't want to change any more.

Too late. I've spent more money than I thought I would need to and have spent too many hours planning.

I'm sure everything will turn out great. The whole school year will be harder, but over all, the girls will get a better education.  With more structure, my free style girl will learn a little more discipline...hopefully. With a better schedule, my structured girl will know what to expect and not freak out when she doesn't know what's coming...hopefully. And everyone will still have the "love of learning" that I pray for so often...hopefully.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Go Play!

I really appreciated this article on putting on your swimsuit and playing with your children. My blog post is more about playing with your children as it is about putting on your swimsuit. I have often let other things crowd out the need for me to play with my children. (How I look in a swimsuit is only one of those things.)

You aren't getting a picture of me playing with them in my swimsuit. I'm not usually the one who goes up high into the playground with them either.
A while back, we went to my sister's-in-law pool. Usually, I am in a big hurry, have other things to do so I don't want to mess up my hair and makeup. But that day, I actually planned to get in. I was the first to run and jump straight into the water and the kids loved it! We played hard and were sad to leave when it was time to go. Lydia said that it was the "funnest day at the pool in forever".  When we decided not to take a vacation this year, I really purposed to do some fun things with the girls. We even bought water guns for the whole family and ambushed some unsuspecting folks. I had more fun than the girls and I'm the one to keep asking if we can do it again.

Playing with my children is important. They can learn valuable lessons. Among many things, they can learn 
  • how to have fun without electronics
  • not to take themselves too seriously
  • rejoice when others win
  • that laughter does a heart good
We live in an age where many children have a lot of access to electronics or are over scheduled with activities that take them away from home. They need us to be involved in their play. (They also need time to be bored and learn to play by themselves, but that's another post.)

I often feel my age and give in to the temptation to let the older girls play with Abigail rather than do it myself. They get to enjoy her, but I miss out. I'm sure that I can come up with as many excuses as anyone else (besides just the age factor), but the truth is I still need to play.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We Aren't Going On a Vacation This Year

For many reasons we aren't going to the beach this year.  I came up with a list of fun, free or cheap things to do close by to us. As it turns out, I've not gotten a lot of those things done yet, but we have had some fun days. The next four weeks is shaping up to have some exciting things built in though.

After a wedding in Chattanooga, we went to the Children's Discovery Museum and you can tell that children of all ages love it! It is definitely worth the small amount it costs to get in.

"A piece a cake, piece a pie"
She couldn't decide so we all shared.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fourth of July with FriendsThe

Some friends came over and our girls made dessert - two completely different cakes but looked the same.
Lydia and two of her sweet friends.
Mary with two of her closest friends and Abigail squeezing in the picture.

And Abigail... that girl thinks everyone is her "best fwiend" and Lucas is so sweet to play with her.

They never stopped!
Glow in the dark headbands were a hit!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Who's the Favorite?

Most of my days as a parent seem to be a choice between one of the children. Two, three, four.. (all?) may need me at the same time. One daughter will want me to do something at the same time as another. How do I choose?  What do I do? These are the times I feel most guilty. Guilty for choosing one's needs over the other's. Guilty that I can't physically meet all the needs at once or even in the amount of time that I think she needs me.

There have been times that I have thought that if all of my children were closer to the same age, it would be easier to meet their needs. Everyone needs naps in the afternoon, everyone drinks from sippy cups, everyone plays outside together. Everyone has the same bedtime...early! I'm sure those days are exhausting too, but I haven't experienced them. Isn't it easy to think that something looks easier when we aren't actually experiencing it ourselves?

But my experience has been that having children twenty-two years apart is hard too. It means that dating and diapers are part of the same moments. Driving cars and strollers are happening together, teething and braces, onesies and formal dresses, baby booties and high heels, board books and novels in the library bag, preschool and college, first haircuts and fancy up-dos... My youngest daughter and my grand daughter can ride in the same car seat!

And bedtimes? They start at 8:30 and go until 10:30 for the school aged and younger during the school year. But those older girls... Well, let's just say I can't stay awake that long.

Please make sure you know that I am not complaining, at all, not a bit, well, maybe a tiny 
bit, but not really. Well, okay a little. But I don't want to.

Sometimes I will let physical exhaustion mixed with the mental exhaustion cause me to sin. Feelings of guilt and self pity would be easy to give in to. It is hard to be alert all the time and I want to do what I want to do for me? Hear that? I, I, I, me, me, me...

I appreciated this article on the guilty feelings of mothers. It's directed to mothers of very small children, but it certainly resonated with me. 

I have to ask myself if I am feeling guilty because of my own sin. Do I want to do that which is most fun for me or helpful to the child that needs me or the family as a whole? 

(That opens a whole can of worms doesn't it? If it's best for the one child or the children as a group. I'll save that conversation.)

Am I tired and just want to go to sleep or am I being lazy? Is it my pride that insists on certain behavior and not others?

There are days when I have to say to any one of the girls, "I can't talk about that right now, I will do that later, you need to ask me again." Just this week I have said, "No," more times than I want to admit. I have fought the temptation to run away from home. Then one night, Ray actually helped me run away for a few hours.

The girls are growing tremendously in this area with me. The one night that all I wanted to do was run away this week, one of them had a crisis. I couldn't do anything about it but she needed someone to talk to. She didn't say anything to me until a full day later because she knew my plate was over flowing. She said that she knew that I didn't need anything else at the moment to have to deal with. 

Another of the girls asked if she could get a certain app on her kindle for herself. When I started questioning, she patiently explained the whole thing to me like I had never heard about  it. One of her sisters came in and said, "Mama, you have already approved for her to have this account (she just wanted the app for the account). She explained it all then." I apologized and she said, "That's okay, I know you have a lot to do."

There will be many more days when I don't hear what they say, approve of something that I shouldn't have, not approve something that I should, go to bed without listening, not speak to them as kindly as I should, forget something important, even tell them to stop talking and dancing for a while. I hope they know that I am trying. We are all learning to be patient, wait, deal with disappointments, rejoice for others when we don't feel like it, and many other things.

As I pray for my daughters as a whole, I hope that they understand that I want to do what's right to raise them in the way they should go. I want to meet every need, but I have to remember that I can't and I shouldn't. They have to learn to rely on Christ and His work through them. While I pray every day for their souls, I am also praying that they will forgive my mistakes and understand that I truly want to see Christ in them. And I really do not have a favorite child!