October 28, 2012

Teach Goodness and Change the World.

Want to read a great talk by an apostle of God?
"That Ye May be Able to Withstand the Evil Day" by Elder Harold B. Lee

I loved these quotes--
One wise teacher, the superintendent of California schools, has said:
"You don't train a boy to refrain from burglary by teaching him how to manipulate the tumblers of a safe in the dark; neither do you teach him to avoid immorality by teaching him all about sex in the school room."
(Dr. Max Rafferty, in The Salt Lake Tribune, 1964.)

President David O. McKay has said it better than I can.
"In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people's greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual his relationship to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only thus will mankind find peace and happiness
(President David O. McKay, The Improvement Era, Dec. 1962, p. 903)

I will add one, small postscript to this talk.  Elder Lee quotes a district judge that says, "the great need in the fight against lawlessness, against immorality, against atheism, socialism, Communism, or other related ills is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

I agree completely with this statement.  But, it is a broader statement than it might appear.  We believe that ALL goodness comes from Christ.  And, we acknowledge goodness in every religion, culture, and society.  When your principles are founded in that which is good, you are founded in the principles of Jesus Christ.  Even if you do not know it yet.  THAT is how we can proclaim with boldness that the answers to all life's problems are found in Jesus Christ.  You don't have to be American to believe in the principles of  Liberty and Freedom and Democracy and Human Rights.  Christians espousing Christian values are not saying everyone has to believe the same as we do-- but we ARE saying that the CORE principles are principles that will deliver any nation from destruction and evil.

Just this month, our church held it's semi-annual General Conference.
I LOVED this talk about "Becoming a More Christian, Christian."
Read it here.
And ask yourselves again if Mormon's are Christian.
Better yet, ask yourself- ARE YOU CHRISTIAN?
Some of my favorite people in the world are Christians who don't know Christ yet.
How can i say that?
By their works ye shall know them.
And, I know them.
"Anything that is virtuous, lovely, of good-report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
(LDS 13th Article of Faith.)

October 26, 2012

CTR Ornaments for Primary.

In Primary we always have the children make ornaments after they perform their annual Christmas party.
In years past they have done Shrinky Dinks or foam.  This year we made fabric CTR shields to go along with this year's theme--"Choose the Right".
For 75 ornaments about 5 inches high and 4 inches wide, I bought
-1.25 yards of white
-1.25 yards of green fabric
-one spool of variegated cotton yarn
-Quilt Batting or Stuffing (i used what i had)
-6 packs of thin markers (NOT fabric markers, just plain, inexpensive markers)
total cost- $13

Flat or Stuffed?
I used cotton quilt batting that i already had on hand and made them flat, like a quilt.
They were easy to color on and not complicated at all for the kids.

If I wanted to take more time I would have left a hole for them to stuff and had pre-threaded needles for them to sew their holes closed.  I would not have worried about the hole actually getting sealed because it is just an ornament.  It would be cute if they didn't sew it well.
Sewing Prep-  
I printed out a cardboard CTR logo from online and i cut it out with a piece of cardstock underneath it.
I made a mini quilt sandwich-- green fabric, batting, and white fabric. (i used spray adhesive between the layers, because i had it, but you don't need it.)
Then I traced it 75 times onto white fabric with a pencil.
I tried to keep the shields in lines- ten in a row.
Then i cut out one row.  Does this make sense?
I measured the string for the top, folded it in half and knotted the bottom.  (You want a little knot in the bottom to hold the string on better under the seam, so it isn't easy to pull out.)
As i sewed on top of my traced shield, I would stick the string underneath the top middle and just sew right over it.
It was fast and easy, and fun to do while i watched Netflix on my ipad.
I cut out each ornament with pinking shears at the end.
The only tricky part was cutting out the ornament without cutting the string off.
I would just pull the string all the way to the left and cut the right side, then pull it all the way to the right to cut the left.
Tracing and assembling took one Psyche episode.  (With help from my daughter who cut and knotted the tops.)
It took me about an hour to sew all 75 and another 30 minutes to cut them out.
I sewed on Saturday night in under one movie.  :)

Sharing Time Ideas--
Introducing this project we sang fun songs and talked about the logo-- CTR on a sheild.

I asked the kids why the symbol for Choosing the Right is a shield?
What does a shield do?
Why isn't it Choose the Right on a sword?
What does choosing the right protect us from?
What are some examples when they were protected by choosing the right?
We read Ephesians 6 and talked about the armor of God.
It was a fun, casual conversation.

Junior Primary-
I choose children to come to the board and show me how they right C, T, and R.
(I tried to pick younger kids who were not perfect at letters to show the youngest that they could do it.)
I asked how they could choose the right.  One child said, "Obey my dad."  So, I asked her to draw a picture of her father.  Explaining that it would be good to draw a picture of DAD on our CTR shield.
I had another child come write their name on the board.
I told all kids to color 3 things on their shield.
1. CTR
2. Their name and 2012.
3. A picture of choosing the right.
My six year old came home with a picture of A Bird on her shield.  She said, "I can be kind to birds."
i love it.
Logistically, i showed the kids (by acting it out for them) how they would sit so still waiting for me to put an ornament on their laps.  They would turn around and kneel down at their seat, and wait for their teacher to hand them a marker. When they wanted a different color they would ask sweetly.  When they were finished they would return their markers to their teacher and sit quietly in their seat.  I told them to hold their ornament in the air and i would show everybody.
I handed one, new box of thin-tipped markers to each teacher to distribute.

Senior Primary.
WOW!  It was SO fun to discuss this with older kids.  They completely understood the POWER that choosing the right has to protect us.
We starting with a simple-- no piano-- singing time.
I had one kid stand and hum a song.  As the other children figured out what song it was they would stand and start singing the words.
The spirit was SO strong and the kids were all wanting a turn to pick a song. Even teachers wanted a turn to hum.
Because the Spirit was so strong, I taught the kids the darling song, "Hum Your Favorite Hymn."
We sang it through a few times and it was a really great lead into talking about SHIELDS.
Humming primary songs can help shield your mind... that is a great example of how CTR protects us.
(I did not plan that lesson- it was inspired.)

After we talked about Ephesians 6 and after I testified to them that choosing the right will be a shield and a protection to us. As we choose the right we will be SAFE and HAPPY.
I told the kids it was important to CHOOSE today, standards for their life that they would commit to.
I had them think about their life 5 years from now and asked what they would NEVER do or what they would FOR SURE do.
I told them that when i was young people often wore their pants "low rider", so low that you could see their underwear.  I knew a young boy that made a deal with his father that he would NEVER wear low-rider jeans.
Other kids told stories of their parents making the choice to never smoke, or to get married in the temple and how that choice blessed their life.
As i handed out the blank ornament to each of them I had them say out loud how they would CTR.
It was sweet and powerful to hear their commitment.
I will never swear.
I will never smoke.
I will go on a mission.
I will pray daily.
I will never hit a girl.
I will wear modest clothes.
I won't have sex before i'm married.
I will be kind.
I will get married in the temple.
I will have faith.
My daughter Anna wrote,
Her ornament got wet in the car and the ink came off a little.  That is what you get when you use washable markers.

My daughter Ellie makes me smile, she wrote,
One child, who has had a harder time recently, refused to say anything that he would do to choose the right.
I tried to help him think of SOMETHING he would never do... even if it was "never hit a girl" or "never pierce his nose"... but he was in a rebellious mood.  It was sad and left me concerned.
I found his blank CTR shield on the floor when he left.
This afternoon I am bringing it to school for him with candy.  I wrote on it some things I think will make him smile.
"I will never eat dog.  I will smile once every day.  I will always remember that my primary teacher loved me."  I do love that boy and i will NEVER stop hoping the best for him.

There is POWER in teaching children right from wrong and they will be PROTECTED as they choose the right.
Teaching values to our children is essential.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

I am grateful for a religion that teaches me there is SAFETY and PEACE in choosing the right.

October 25, 2012

middle school and kindness shoes.

 i do not EVER claim to have perfect children or to be a perfect mother.  In fact, if there is one thing i'm quite aware of, it is that the only perfect person was killed and resurrected years ago.  The rest of us are just plain old folks trudging along on our individual paths.  I'm interested to see the path that my children will walk in life.

I am really enjoying my children as they grow.  As a young mother i used to roll my eyes when older women would say, "Enjoy them while they're young, it gets harder."  I doubted life could get harder than no sleep, no help, and children who were continually making messes and climbing all over me.  Today, I am one of those older women.  As children grow, it doesn't get harder.  But, they do stay needy.  I haven't reached the stage yet where people say, "Once you have two children it isn't hard to add another one."  Please.  Children are not cows that you put out to pasture.  Each individual child takes time, energy, effort and love.  I do believe, however, that you give everything you have to one child, and you give everything you have to seven.  You give everything you have to your toddlers, and you give everything you have to your older children.  It does get different.  They are easier to put to bed, but harder to stay close to and win over. Older children are more mentally exhausting and younger children are more physically exhausting, in general.  (And, if you're really lucky you can do both older and younger kids and REALLY learn how to loose yourself in service!)  But really, being a mother is just full-time, no matter how old your children are.  

For me, parenting middle school boys requires CONFIDENCE and HUMOR.

1.  Have Confidence!!
There is a great art to being a parent who teaches and a parent who listens.  We do not want to SQUASH our children into submission.  We also don't want to loose the many opportunities we have to teach CORRECT principles.  Just because our children are getting older and more persuasive does not mean our parental instinct is wrong.  TRUST your gut and TEACH correct principles.

In our family with older kids, my husband is hot and cold and i am the maybe.  I'm too much the maybe sometimes.  It has been good for me to listen to my children complain that they have too much to do to help with dishes, for example.  Part of me just wants to say, "Fine, i'll do it for you."  I do say this often to prevent a war, but NOT without teaching and testifying.

I have learned that mothers of older children MUST be confident in the principles they are teaching.  We MUST be a voice in our children's ear.  I think you can be FIRM in principle even if you are gentle in application.  I will look my children in the eye and explain, "If you do not have ten minutes to help out in your home per day, you are doing too much.  No success, not even perfect grades, can compensate for failure in the home.  When you serve, you will be blessed.  Heavenly Father will help you as He sees you putting Him and your family first."  I KNOW these are true principles-- i am teaching principles NOT fighting with my kids about dishes.  DISHES provide a beautiful opportunity to teach my children eternal principles.

When my children fight or tease each other, there is another opportunity to teach.  I am very clear and use direct language.  "Do not BULLY your sister.  If you were at school and you treated another child the same way you would be sent to the principal's office.  In our home we are KIND to imperfect people."  I am confidant that it is good for my children to take piano lessons or clean their room, even on the days they test my resolve.  Yes, we need to constantly evaluate the battles we choose with our children.  But, we also need to teach with confidence and kindness the lessons these young whippersnappers still need to learn.

There are so many gentle ways that we teach our children during the day it is hard to give examples.  I have learned that CONFIDENCE is so essential.  Your children will push you as they are learning.  When they are TESTING you, TESTIFY to them.  Find the underlying principle and teach that instead of arguing about the application.  Have confidence to teach them the principles that have taken you years to learn.  You know true principles and you should teach them.  It is not "obey me" it is "obey Him."  We are teaching eternal truths as we navigate menial tasks.  Menial tasks and daily living give us the opportunities to PRACTICE living good principles. The truly important lessons in life are NOT taught in one sitting.  We BECOME them as we practice in small things.  You can not teach a child to work hard, be respectful, be responsible, be kind, be smart or obey in one big fight.  It takes YEARS of gentle practice.  Be grateful for the daily practice times!

I often find myself pushing, pushing and then letting my children win (Like Romney did to a bullying Obama in the third debate.  Anybody who thinks Obama won points on Libya is mistaken.  Sometimes you win more by what you do NOT fight.)  I teach, teach, teach and then end up saying, "I don't feel good about this, but if you are so certain you should do it, fine.  You choose."  Surrendering myself usually gives them the chance to change on their own.  This throws them off.  Most of the time they are easy, good kids.  But if push comes to shove, i push with confidence but don't often shove.  I look them in the eye and tell them that the principle i am teaching them is right, and then i let them decide.  I remind them that THEY will be happy if they learn the principle I am teaching them.  They will NEVER be happy as they are lazy, or selfish, or rebellious, or unkind.  They know that i love them.  I let them choose, even if that means I do the dishes for them.  It is BETTER to do the dishes with a smile PROVING to them that it really could be done in 15 minutes (the time they were probably still standing near you with smoke coming out of their ears).  You WIN the fights you do not engage in.  I try to teach with confidence and serve with love.

2.  Use HUMOR!!  
I can't tell you how many lessons i have taught gently with a joke.  My best teaching moments have been times when we ended up laughing.  I need to remember humor-- especially with middle school boys. LAUGH TOGETHER!  We need to laugh more in our homes.
Drew was being a tough brother with his little sisters.  Poor guy has sisters coming out of his ears.  It is hard for me, as a mother, to be loving and kind with little girls who drag their feet and make their brothers late for school in the morning.  It is harder for Drew.  He is a natural police officer and wants to inflict deserved consequences with precision.  I understand Drew.  BUT, I believe teaching with gentleness and kindness is BETTER than teaching with harshness.  I am teaching Drew how to be a good father someday.  At the beginning of the school year we had some trouble with the older boys yelling in the morning.  They would get so mad at us for "making them late" and were just plain mean to their little sisters.  It has taken some work for me to remember this-- because they are doing so well in the mornings these days.

Drew got some new school shoes in the mail.  I opened them up right in the midst of some cranky, unkind mornings.  1. I was confidant that being kind was a good lesson for Drew to learn EVEN when he had a reason to be unkind.  2.  I taught him with humor.  I showed up at school wearing drew's new shoes.  He asked, "Mom, are those my shoes that came in the mail?"  
I laughed, "Oh, these new things?  No, they're not yours, they're mine."
He was confused so i explained.  "These are my shoes.  I might let you buy them from me if you want."
He laughed.  "With what money?"
I explained, "They don't cost money.  You buy them with kindness.  These are kindness shoes."
We laughed together and his friends thought i was funny wearing drew's shoes... but, i was serious.  I would put his new shoes on every morning to remind him that they were waiting for him to buy them with kindness.
We still lovingly refer to them as his kindness shoes.

When Jakob was being rude about the time we left to bring him to school in the morning I said a whopper of a "fine, you can ride the bus if you can't be respectful."  Problem is, the bus didn't go early enough for him to make it to Jazz Band.  So, i was in a bind.  We often say things as parents that we can't enforce.  When he got home i had some index cards laying on the counter with his name on them.  He asked me what they were, and i told them they were Bus Tickets.  If he wanted a ride to school in the morning, he would need to purchase a ticket.  On the back of each ticket were jobs like, mop the kitchen floor, or clean the windows.  He laughed at me and I told him he was so lucky to have a smart mother.  He washed the floor sweetly and got a ride to school the next morning.

Today, our mornings are peaceful.  I hear my boys saying, "Dad, please be aware of the time."  And it stops me.  I am AMAZED at their kindness and respect.  It feels natural to them, it is natural to them, but it was also taught.

Humor is also a great way to give your older boys PHYSICAL TOUCH.  I think it's easy to hold and cuddle and love on younger children.  For me, I have to make a conscious effort to remember to do the same with my bigger kids.  THEY NEED IT.  My boys hang on my husband in a rough, teasing, wrestling way.  Sometimes it drives him crazy.  I always smile and tell him to smother them with love.  When they show him, through hitting, or punching, or trying to give him a wet willy, that they need TOUCH, he usually grabs them and covers them in love.  It looks to me like a big, dumb wrestling match.  But, there is touching and loving and bodily contact.  I can initiate touch with humor... "Come here sweet boy, do you need some loving?" said in a silly voice helps them to feel comfortable in my arms while i kiss their cheeks and rub their hair like i used to do when they were little.  When they are leaving i'll make them come and kiss their sweet mother.  I'm not sure why i have to joke about it to lighten the mood, but i do.  And, it works.

When i write about these interactions with my children my tendency is to think that there are children out there who never give their parents an ounce of trouble.  The truth is- MY BOYS ARE THESE CHILDREN.  They really are super great kids.  But, even super great kids need to be taught sometime.  Sure, some of my children are rarely ever sassy, they help cheerfully, they are more kind than i am.  But, they have other issues.  EVERY child has something they need to learn.

Teach with confidence.
Teach with humor.
Enjoy these days.
PRAY!! Pray for your children and pray for wisdom to teach them.
God will hear and answer your prayers!!

I'm not telling you this from my high seat of parental accomplishment.  I'm telling you this as I run, right next to you, in the everyday effort of motherhood.  I am also not alone, my children have a wonderful father that teaches right along side of me.  We are similar and perfectly different. My kids also have great friends and teachers at church and school.  It takes a village.

i HOPE my efforts are helping and working.
i have FAITH that our best efforts are enough.
life is good.

October 24, 2012

right here. right now.

It was a normal day, filled with the dailiness of my life.  I had Pandora radio tuned into songs like Les Misrables, a sink full of dishes, and two helpers at my knees.  Life was thick with the beautiful ordinary.

In retrospect my morning takes on the foggy glow of perfection.  But, in all honesty I can't remember.  Did i wake up overwhelmed with a messy house?  Did I sigh as i began, yet again, the ever present, menial tasks of my life?  Was the loud music a result of my happy soul or was i trying to pull myself up with it's transforming power?  Whatever the beginning of my morning... i will always remember a distinct moment in the middle.

My baby is busy.  She had kitchen tools in both hands and pen down her legs.  Her hair was messy and she needed her diaper changed.  Lily was content at the kitchen counter in a mound of play-doh and cookie cutters. As i rushed to grab diapers and wipes, i laid the baby down on the floor and just looked at her.  I felt a rush of joy to be here, at this moment.  The song from Little Mermaid, "Part of Your World" was filling my home and I was singing it to my young girls with the same gusto I sang it in my middle school glory years ago.  

The words sank DEEP into my soul and i felt my angel grandmothers whispering to me--  "What would I give to be where you are?"  Arial sang- I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, I've got whozits and whatzits galore... But who cares? No big deal.  I want more.  I want to be where the people are.  I want to SEE, want to SEE them dancing...  Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun.  Wandering free, wish i could be part of YOUR world...  And I felt it.  I knew that my angel grandmothers were with me and i knew they would give ANYTHING to change one more diaper or wash one more dish.  I heard them shouting to me-  SEE them.  SEE THEM DANCING.  Enjoy YOUR world.

My eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with gratitude and a smile- for mermaids and angels.  I LOVE THIS LIFE I LIVE.  I love moments home with my children.  I love the hum drum tasks of life.  I am grateful to be right here, at this stage of life.  It is REAL, it is hard, it is exhausting and it is BEAUTIFUL.  My life is full of goodness and joy and beauty.

These days at home with my children are the BEST days I will ever live.  How I will miss them.  I will miss the laundry and dishes.  I will miss the crazy bath times.  I will miss the polly pockets everywhere.  I will miss their cute comments and the feel of their hands in mine.  I will miss them some day, BUT I AM NOT MISSING THEM TODAY.  My soul RINGS with love for these days.  THESE ARE THE DAYS!  These are MY days.  I would not trade them for the world. 
i am HERE.  I am seeing them.  I am IN my moments with GRATITUDE and JOY.   I am singing and dancing my way through dishes.  I am holding them extra tight when they let me.  I am really seeing their chubby cheeks and dimpled fingers-- because this time is short and precious.  As i BEHOLD my children I can almost see them grow.  I can feel them becoming.  It is a slow, beautiful process.  They are growing away from me, and that is as it should be.  Oh how blessed I am for these years where they are close.

My oldest son starts high school next year.  He is stepping away from me, but he is still HERE.  I LOVE HIM.  I am blessed to mother him.  My soul feels joy as he grows into all I see him to be... and I miss him already.  As we were driving back from yet another soccer practice, he was quiet beside me.  I said, "You know Jakob, someday you will live far from me and i won't be able to see your life.  You'd better learn now to tell me your details, because I already miss you."  He smiled and told me about his day.  It was adorable.  I mostly heard about what teacher had a bowl of candy on her desk and where he usually sat in each class.  I loved it.  I will miss these snippets in the car with my kids when their hair is sweaty and their feet are covered with grass and mud.  I LOVE these times.  
I had a friend with three children that would talk to me about having a fourth.  It makes me laugh when people ask my opinion on having more children.  My friend wanted another baby, but her husband was hesitant.  I just saw the most DARLING family picture ever, she is holding her precious fourth child, a beautiful little girl.  Looking at that picture I can SEE the joy she would have missed out on if she had stopped.  UNSPEAKABLE JOY!  

At my cousin's wedding she told me she was planning on having two children.  She explained that children are so expensive and said, "Two's good right?"  How am I supposed to respond to that question?  She knows I have seven!  I smiled and answered honestly, "Yes.  Children are expensive.  Two children seems ideal. I had two boys first, and I LOVED my sweet family."  And then my mind keeps going, along with my mouth.  "But, I can't imagine life without Anna.  I can't imagine never having a daughter.  How I adore my third!"  And, my mouth just keeps going... "For that matter, I can't imagine life without any of my children."  I was holding my darling seventh at the time.  Squeezing her tightly I said, "If I didn't have seven, I wouldn't have HER.  I'm not a good person to ask."  

I can NOT imagine life without seven.  I can NOT imagine ever sacrificing the JOY and GOODNESS my children bring to me, and this world, in exchange for an easier life with more financial wealth, finer clothes, fancier furniture or more exotic vacations.  I don't need a vacation-- i LIVE in paradise.  Yes, there are sacrifices but they are merely investments.  I am living the dream and I CAN SEE IT!  
How grateful I am to be- part of THIS world.
Life is GOOD!
(and yes, i know i have already published these pictures once.  but- i LOVE them.)

October 23, 2012

teach your children-- a big PS to my last post.

As i've chewed on this throughout the day, i have thought of one important thing.  Attachment theory vs behaviorist theory is sometimes viewed as permissive vs. strict.  I think this is WRONG.

If you have to choose between too permissive and too strict, PICK too permissive. Trust me.  I have seen the result of too strict and it is often children who rebel and go way off the deep end.  Children from too permissive sometimes rebel for a time, but in my observation they come home easier because they feel loved at home.

If you have to choose between kindness and teaching, pick kindness!  Teaching is something that is not done in ONE setting.  A FALSE premise of the behaviorist theory is that if you are not CONSISTENT you have been wasting your time.  That is FALSE.  Often parents abuse children and use as the excuse "this is for your own good."  Not so.  Be consistently KIND first.  You can always teach tomorrow.  A child will learn to potty train even if you put them back into a diaper when you are sick and ready to strangle them.
TEACHING is good and it takes TIME!!  Don't be afraid of time.

I do not think, however, that this is a question of permissive vs. strict.  I think it is a question of deliberate vs. casual.  I think you can be a VERY kind parent and still TEACH your child.

I am teaching Lily not to suck her thumb.  I believe that is something that can be taught.  I believe that she probably would stop on her own if i left her to it, but i FEEL that she needs some help learning to fall asleep without sucking.  She has a bad habit and can learn to fall asleep without it.  She is four.  I think four is old enough to learn this skill and i'm thankful for this year to teach it to her gently instead of waiting for her to enter school and be forced to learn it by teasing kids.  Yes, once or twice i have tried to force her into learning this skill too quickly and it wasn't good.  I held her arms down by her side while she screamed at me.  It never feels right when you are teaching wrong.

I felt wrong and i backed off.  Parents can make things WAY WORSE if they create World War III out of a normal childhood behavior.  I am NOT advocating that.  Often parents who are NOT consistently teaching feel the need for large, extreme battles with their children.  The best teaching is done with "gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned."  Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and their a little.  Mountains are moved a shovel at a time.

Most of the time, my interactions with Lily are kind and gentle reminders.  Testifying (can i say that about thumb sucking) to her that it is GOOD for her to learn not to suck her thumb.  Encouraging her.  Praising her successes.  Helping her learn new ways to fall asleep.  Showing her many examples of little kids who sleep without sucking their thumb.  Praying for her and listening to God teach me how to teach her.  THIS IS GOOD AND RIGHT AND ESSENTIAL.

How do you know when your interaction with your child is not good?
You will FEEL the fight shifting to "You will obey me!" instead of "How can i teach you this skill?".
Beware of false pride in parenting.  Catch yourself when you change from inviting to forcing.  Do not take away their power-- help them use their power to do good.  Beware of power struggles.  You are NOT trying to CHANGE their behavior, this can be done with force.  You are trying to TEACH them to CHOOSE a better behavior, this must be done with gentle teaching and invitation.

Be aware of any extreme, dramatic conclusions!  These are usually false.  Your children are not ruined.  You are not a FAILURE.  You are NOT doing everything wrong and neither are they.  You do not need to attack them or change drastically.  But, you both DO have much to learn.  Be VERY aware of consistent, gentle thoughts and feelings.  Like, "she really needs to learn to follow directions better" or "does she know her letters?" or "he is ready to potty train."  Be very aware of gentle promptings to "hug her" or "listen" or "love her" or "see her strength, it is good" or "get up and help her" or "tuck her in bed one more time".  Listen to that voice!  Most good in life can come from quiet, gentle changes.  That is how God teaches YOU and how YOU should teach your children.  Pick one thing and gently teach it.  Give it some TIME, give it some PRAYER, you will SEE change!!

Do not get into a battle with your children ME vs YOU, but don't be afraid of battles.  Just because your effort becomes too extreme does not mean you stop trying.  Try again later on.  Teaching takes time!
YOU are learning at the same time your child is!  Give up some battles-- but don't give up every battle.

You MUST battle for your child.  You must battle to TEACH and LOVE and GUIDE and KNOW your child.  BECOME loving... ACT with charity.  TAKE the TIME and put forth the EFFORT.
Battle- "Yes, you can learn this" vs "I can't."  Battle- "this is good to know" vs "he is fine".  Battle- "everybody says you should do it this way" vs "this feels right to me".  Have faith that your child CAN learn!
If you don't fight for your child who will?  If you don't teach them, who will?
Nobody else in the world can see and know what your child needs better than you will.
Keep on teaching!!

Often I am too selfish.  I don't want to take the time it takes to teach.  It takes a lot of time and effort.  Everything worthwhile in life takes time and effort.  I want them to already know all they need to know without taking the time to TEACH them.  It doesn't work that way-- parenting takes deliberate EFFORT, so does homemaking and so does maintaining a unified marriage.  it takes WORK.  Work is good.
You will be given the ENABLING POWER to accomplish all that you need to do as you turn to God in prayer and feel his Grace.  He is a perfect parent and He will help you!

Parents MUST assume their role as TEACHERS and NURTURERS.
It is an essential, sacred stewardship.

Yes, i believe that Lily would probably stop sucking her thumb someday without my effort.  BUT-- this experience has been a GOOD, bonding time.  My effort has NOT been wasted.  My effort is much more gentle than it appears as i type it down.  I am not forcing her to stop sucking... I am gently teaching her.
When i'm doing it right, it is natural and gentle and hard to explain.  I would ALMOST say that i am just letting her grow out of it-- but I am not.  I am teaching her while she grows out of it.  I am using behavioral theories to attach myself to her and to help her learn to be successful in life!  I feel ideas and inspiration whispered into my mind as i teach her.  She hugs me and glows with pride each time she wakes up knowing she didn't suck her thumb to sleep.  She prays that she will learn not to suck her thumb and she feels good as she notices her progress.

I believe the best teaching is KIND and POSITIVE and gentle. As you teach your children you are helping them feel SUCCESS!!  Confidence later in life is a direct result of these small successes early in life.  Children can feel when you dismiss them with a sigh-- no matter how hard you try to love them.
Children can also feel your JOY when they do something that you have worked really hard to teach them.   THEY feel joy when they accomplish a task that THEY have had to work hard to accomplish.  i would RATHER teach Lily this skill than let her grow out of it on her own.  BECAUSE I WANT HER TO REMEMBER IT!!  i want her to remember that she is CAPABLE.

My potty trained two or three year old children have confidence and success that many non-potty trained five year old kids don't have.  YES, it takes effort and time.  BUT IT IS WORTH IT!!

Maybe thumb sucking is NOT the best example for this concept-- because it may well be one thing that i should not be trying to teach.  I haven't done this before...  I'm still learning and i'm OK with making mistakes.  I'm currently teaching MANY things to my children, i always am.  I'm not sure what age children grow too old for a deliberate mother?

Be aware of the theory behind your mothering.  Be aware that you can LOVE and TEACH at the same time.  This concept applies to EVERYTHING.

I see an alarming trend where good mothers are giving up their power to teach their children in the name of attachment.  We are giving up because we SEE and FEEL that some ways to teach are wrong, and we're pulling back TOO FAR.

If we do not teach our children, somebody else will.
Nobody else in the world will teach your child with more love than YOU can.  I promise.

i have written a few additions in the comments.
one specifically i am copying onto this main text, because i think it's important.
i have to say one thing-- although i do believe that parents can TRAIN their children, i do NOT believe that children act a certain way because parents have RUINED them.

If you have a child that is hard to potty train it is NOT your fault. An active child is not the result of a permissive parent. CHILDREN COME UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT. This is so essential to understand.

You are NOT the cause, but you can be the AID. You MUST be the teacher. Consistent, gentle, daily persuasion, pruning and training will help your child grow into a straight oak tree. Leaving your child loved but untamed just leaves them open to being pushed around by the winds of the world. 


i firmly believe that parents are entitled to direct revelation from God how to train their individual children. I also believe it is a sacred responsibility and it requires WORK. Just because they need to be taught does NOT mean you have done something WRONG!!!!

did you catch that?
JUST BECAUSE YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO BE TAUGHT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG!!! if you are doing EVERYTHING right, you will still see the next thing you need to teach. God sends GREAT mothers children who need extra LOVE and instruction. FEEL THAT SACRED TRUST and FEEL POWERFUL TO TEACH YOUR CHILD!!!!

** One more thing that good mothers won't tell you!!!

You will see good mothers surrounded by obedient children.  
They will tell you that they are blessed with good children.  You might believe them.
You will not SEE them teaching and training, it will look like their kids just naturally obey.
They make it look easy.
Good mothers seem to not only be able to care for their own children, but have extra arms to care for other people's children.
If you ask them about letting a baby cry to sleep or potty training, they will make is sound like they did NOTHING.
THEY ARE LYING.  Not because they lie, because training is such a natural part of who they are they don't even remember doing it.
People who have already developed a skill have a hard time explaining how they do it.
Most people don't think as much as i do about every step they take.  
Most people just naturally do what they saw their mother do or what feels right.
TRUST ME.  i have spend HOURS trying to PULL the secrets out of good mothers.  
does that make sense?
My children all read young and easily.  
I would SAY i don't do anything.  But that is not true.
I spend HOURS reading and practicing letters.  I already catch myself teaching Eve her ABC's and she is just learning to talk.  
Because it is natural to me, i would tell others i do nothing, my children are just smart.
People with a clean, tidy home SAY they don't clean it all the time.
They lie.  Picking up things and putting them away is so instinctual they don't even notice it.
EVERY mother who has more than one child with a particular skill-- is TEACHING it.
A happy family is taught.  Kind siblings are taught.  Smart children are taught.  Politically savy children are taught.  Musical children are taught.  Well-behaved children are taught.  Children who eat all their vegetables have been taught.  Trust me. 
Yes, children are unique and different.  We must love them where they are.  
Mothers who LOOK casual and have well behaved children are NOT casual mothers.
They have already spent HOURS training behind the scenes and they don't need to do it in public.
Many times, the mothers who are giving GRAND teaching sermons in front of everyone in the foyer at church are doing that because at home they do not.

i want to be a more deliberate teacher of my children.
There is NO greater work.

attachment vs. behaviorist theory.

I see an alarming trend in parenting.
This is not a new trend.
I think it stems from the hippy era, honestly.

Good parents and attachment theorists  today have adopted the idea that children, if left to themselves and surrounded by love, will turn out OK.  Babies just need to be loved and nurtured.
Children just need to be exposed to things like toilets and books and they will naturally learn and become.

While i do agree with the premise of this concept, i don't agree with the APPLICATIONS.
A wise mother understands that children are individuals with their own gifts, talents, trials and personalities.
We are all unique and come with different needs.
All children need to be loved and nurtured.
Some babies need more bouncing and cuddling and loving and holding.
Some babies are more content.
Some children are more stubborn.
Some children are more compliant.
Anyone who has more than one child, or eyes to see the world around them, understands that children are unique.

i do NOT agree with the fact, however, that if you are good, ATTACHED mother, you will never teach your child.

As a student of behavioral science, i am very familiar with both the attachment and behaviorist theories.  Before i had children i was aghast at the behaviorist theory.  A theory that taught how to eliminate behavior through focusing on what you are reinforcing.  The stories i read about teaching children to sleep through the night by not rewarding their night time cries seemed harsh and robotic, not nurturing.

And so, i jumped whole heartily into attachment parenting.  I rocked my children for hours each night.  I held them every time they cried, I let them sleep in my bed if they wanted to, I nursed on demand.  I laid by them for hours at nap and bedtime.  The result-- i was EXHAUSTED and i had children who did not know how to go to sleep on their own.  I remember watching my friends baby, the same age as my own.  She would sit content in her chair while her mother taught primary at church.  She just sat their sucking her binky and watching.  Meanwhile, I was spending an hour bouncing and attending to the needs of a very demanding child.  YES, our children were different.  BUT- mothers who know how to teach their children can have SIX kids who ALL seem mild and content.  While other mothers have six children who are ALL active and demanding.  Parenting style DOES influence children's behavior-- and it is IMPORTANT to train your children.

I believe that children who are not taught how to behave, even at a young age, actually experience greater negatives.  A five year old who has not been properly potty trained experiences YEARS of parental frustration. No matter how kind, loving and understand a mother tries to be as she lets her child learn at his own time, ANY mother gets frustrated wiping poop off of a child who is old enough to do it himself.  The negatives of true "let your child develop at his own rate without parental instruction" outweighs the positive.

Not only have i been this type of parent, i have seen many families implement this laid back parenting style with potty training and homeschooling and teaching behavior to their children.  MANY mothers of large families tend towards "attachment" parenting.  We need to be careful with this approach.

Behavior theorists tend to the other extreme.  They use examples like Pavlov's dogs who were trained to salivate when they heard a bell, because they were fed every time they heard a bell.  Behaviorists teach how people learn.  They focus much on what behavior is enforced and how we can increase the likelihood of any behavior being repeated as we notice our reinforcement schedules.  Behaviorists parents are portrayed as Nazi extremists because as you explain the concepts behind the theory you are leaving out the exceptions.  If one were to completely implement this extreme parenting style they would end up with children who behave perfectly in front of their parents and rebel as soon as they are big enough to do it, hypothetically speaking. This is a dangerous parenting style, but a helpful teaching aid!!

I love the book Baby Wise.  I love it and i hate it at the same time.  Any mother who believes that a young baby should be on a strict schedule is ridiculous.  Babies will tell you what they need-- and mothers should LISTEN.  However, mothers should also GUIDE and TEACH their babies.  A baby might THINK they need to eat all night long.  It is a mother's responsibility to train a baby to sleep through the night when she knows the baby is ready.  This can be done GENTLY and softly.  When mothers understand their role is to TEACH, then they will see improvements and feel their role.  The truth behind Baby Wise is this-- babies NATURALLY find their own cycle if parents are aware.  It is NOT traumatic for most babies... it is natural and easy.  My harder babies needed me to be a little more deliberate. I had to come to a point where i decided they were old enough to sleep longer than two hours at night and when they woke up I would not feed them.  Teaching my hardest children took days and the results were amazing compared to the months that i spent "loving" them.

As i focused on training my child to sleep through the night, i was AMAZED at the results.  In a short time, even my hardest child, was sleeping for large chunks of time.  MY SOUL IS COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING-- i am not a mother that would EVER let my child feel abandoned or neglected.  BUT-- i have LEARNED the importance of smiling and saying to a child-- "Time for bed sweet girl.  I love you!"  Most children will naturally schedule themselves if you are an aware mother.  The more intense children need a more nurturing and aware mother.

A child screaming in your arms in not feeling more loved than a child screaming in her bed while you are lovingly walking away.  In my experience-- a child who learns to go to sleep on her own will cry MUCH LESS than a child who is used to being rocked to sleep each night and laid gingerly on her mattress without any shaking lest she wakes again.  A child who can sleep in her own bed, sleeps much better than a child in bed with their parents or awake and asleep all night long.  {i am referring to a ONE YEAR OLD CHILD here, not a one week old!!}  Are you struggling with a non-sleeping child?  Try reading some of the behaviorist books-- they can tell you how to teach sleep techniques.  And, they work.  Are you struggling with a child who is stubborn to potty train?  Just read some of the potty train in a day type books and see what they say.  MUCH OF WHAT THE BOOKS SAY WILL BE RIDICULOUS FOR YOUR CHILD.  BUT, something they say might ring TRUE for your child.  YOU WILL KNOW.  You must discern.  There are ways to teach children and they work.  Children can and must be loved and taught.  Don't loose the baby in the bath water!! Early lessons of sleep patterns, eating food they don't like, and potty training are great teaching opportunities.

Mothers can teach children gently.  If you have gotten to the place where everything in life is an all out battle- you are not doing things right.  I believe that you need to teach children at a very young age that Mother is in charge.  You teach this as you train them to go to sleep, lay nicely for a diaper change, and eat the green food you are feeding them.  I LOVE potty training.  It has never been difficult or contentious for me.  I have NEVER waited till my children trained themselves.  I did look for signs, and then I taught them.  Children all learn differently, and if left on their own they will learn sometime.  But, it isn't too hard to teach a child.  Someone said to me that dogs were like children, only easier to teach.  I just don't think that is true.

Don't give up.  As you start to train your children you might push too hard.  You might get to a place where you think you are being too strict.  For example, you might think that your baby doesn't know how to sleep through the night and needs to be taught.  You might try to not feed your baby one night and end up with a baby who screams for an hour.  Your soul might tell you that your baby needs to be held and nursed.  As you are sitting in your rocking chair with your sweet, tear-stained baby you might say to yourself.  That was not right.  And thus put yourself back to the place where you will feed her all night every night.  DON'T DO THAT!  Just because you didn't do it right ONCE doesn't mean it isn't a good lesson to teach.  YES, as you try to teach you will make mistakes.  Don't be so stubborn that you are afraid to trust your gut.  If your gut says hold your baby, then for heaven sakes HOLD YOUR BABY.  You might need a new plan-- but don't abandon your GOAL!!!

Keep trying to gently train you baby.  Don't give up!  Training children might take longer than you think it should.  There might be MANY nights where you end up holding and feeding your baby.  Teaching babies to sleep through the night, or eat baby food they don't like, or share their toys, or go to the bathroom on the toilet, or to say please, or to learn their letters, or to sit in time out when you tell them to, or to sit reverently at church, or to sit in their carseat without a tantrum-- takes continual effort and time.  It is a gentle process but an essential process.  You can LOVE, listen to your heart and TRAIN your children at the same time.  As they learn these essential skills they will also be learning how to LEARN, how to OBEY and how to be SAFE.  They will FEEL good about themselves and you will be MORE attached to them later on in life.

It is important to understand your child-- but it is not good to label a child and give up hope.  TEACHING means you believe a child can LEARN.  And, they CAN learn!!  We all can learn!!

There is good in both the behaviorist and attachment theories.  Be careful that you do not swing to the edges of either of these ideologies.  Both are dangerous if implemented in an extreme way.  As I see it, God commands us both to LOVE and to TRAIN our children.
When we love without teaching, we are not really loving.  When we teach without loving, we are not really teaching.  We can do both.

Mothers, don't give up your role as a teacher.
We must train up our children in the way they should go.
This is a sacred responsibility and a privilege.
Love them with all your soul-- and help them to be children that are easier for others to love.
Help them to learn behaviors that will lead to their future happiness.
Children will be happier when they are trained at a young age to be all that they can become.
i know it.

October 22, 2012

monday musings.

just popped in to share some pictures of my life.
i love these.
honestly, these past few weeks my life is flying by.
my house is messier than i like and we are busier.
but, i am learning to create stillness in the midst my movement.
the fields are harvested and waiting for the winter rains.
fall is beautiful.

i am reading two CHANGE YOUR LIFE books.
as in, i have a list of 20 people that i want to send them to.
honestly-- BUY THESE BOOKS, right now.
you will love them.
{i want to re-write them.  i want to write them from the perspective of a stay-at-home mother.  how can we apply these principles without speaking at the united nations or finding ourselves for a year in a monastery...}
1.  Living, Loving and Learning by Leo Buscaglia--
Living Loving and Learning
i'm sure THIS is good too, Love, What Life is All About.  (This man thinks like i do.  He says what i feel. i LOVE reading his book!)

i could EAT this book i love it so much.  Every page of mine is marked and starred with notes in the margin.

a couple quotes i'm chewing on this morning...
Nikos Kazantzakis says, "You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint paradise, then in you go."

"We also create models of perfection.  We spend our lives trying to make the outside world fit our notion of what is perfect.  We really do!  And what is, for example, the idea of a perfect day for us?  A day that meets all our needs, that goes just as we want it.  And what is a bummer day?  A bummer day is one that doesn't quite come out the way we wanted it.  Well, tough for us!  That's too bad if the day doesn't turn out the way we want it.  THE DAY WAS PERFECT-- IT'S WE WHO WERE TAMPERING WITH PERFECTION."

Ahh-- the JOY OF NOW!  this is the KEY to being happy at home!!
what a beautiful, beautiful book.
sunrise off my deck.  lovely.

2.  Stand for the Family by Sharon Slater--
Stand for the Family
CHANGED MY LIFE, it explained things i did not see before. (and i just got it last week-- i'm only halfway through it!)
I believe in families... and i have a compassionate soul.  Reading this book has helped me to SEE the evil in some of the legislation and popular beliefs of our day.  Anything that works to destroy families will destroy our country and hurt our children.  I want to help defend our families-- i think we have TWO main problems.  We are being attacked from outside and inside.  We need to DEFEND the family, and we need to learn to ENJOY and create functional families.
just another afternoon at our house.
1) There is an organized attack against families and values in the social front.  Those who are attacking the family have more TIME and are LOUDER than those who are at home BUILDING a strong family.  Society is blasting forth a FAKE picture-- homosexuality, abortion, addiction, promiscuity.  Society is trying to tell you that these are just different CHOICES every person has to make.  BUT, society does not SHOW you the REAL consequences of these CHOICES for you or your children.  I live in a state that will not allow you to talk on a cell phone or eat a hamburger while you drive because it is dangerous to you, your family, and other people.  I also live in a state that does not want to tell people that ABORTION is dangerous to women, their families and the nation.  Drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, promiscuity are DANGEROUS to you, your family, and our nation.  Your physical health is at risk, your mental health is at risk and YOUR CHILDREN are at risk.
leah. by leah.

[On Abortion (and, i haven't even read the chapter on abortion in my book yet.)-- i have to add something in here that i've been thinking about. i HATE controversy, so i am tempted to delete these thoughts, but i will not.  TOO MANY PEOPLE are talking about CHOICE and not enough people are helping women make WISE CHOICES.  The problem with society today is 1)people WANT to have  sex with someone without asking themselves if they would want to raise a child with that person.  2)abortion is quick, cheap and easy-- having a baby, or even carrying a baby and giving it up for adoption is HARD.  3)society has taught us that children deserve to be raised in a home with A LOT OF MONEY and MATERIAL things-- money and things are more important than FATHERS and stable homes.  This is WRONG.  4)NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE are telling women the TRUTH about abortions-- how the PAIN associated with that choice will haunt them for the rest of their lives.  {I believe in forgiveness, but i also KNOW that abortion is HARDER on a birth mother than 9 months of pregnancy and giving up a baby for adoption-- ABORTION is HARDER!!}  5)people should be more concerned about HELPING women have a real CHOICE then they are about protecting a women's choice to kill a baby.  Honestly, i believe many who are pro choice think it is BETTER for unwed, women in poverty to abort their babies than to bring them into the world destined for a hard life.  I DO NOT.  6)Unborn babies are living, moving, ALIVE human beings.  We are making abortion TOO EASY and killing too many.  It is not humane.

 i have a friend that commented outrage on facebook about paul ryan's stance on abortion.  my friend said that paul ryan was condoning RAPE as an acceptable means of conception because ryan said that a baby conceived during a rape should be given LIFE.  oh please.  i have thought about this often.  (Just FYI- Romney, similar to Mormon church doctrine, believes that in the case of rape and incest or when the life is at risk women should be given a choice.) personally, i think that abortion is very RARELY the best answer.  i also don't believe that women CHOOSE abortion because it is the choice they want.  they choose it because they THINK it is the best choice. The LOUDEST voices are telling them abortion is FINE and EASY and BEST.  a trip to planned parenthood just seems EASIER and even more responsible than dealing with a baby.  i don't hear pro choice groups REALLY talking about CHOICE or supporting mothers.  in New York you can't even get a 16 oz. soda.  The Obama administration doesn't think mothers can pack their own child's lunch, BUT they think a responsible society makes abortions quick, cheap and easy.  abortion is hardly ever the BEST answer- even if you are raped.  
as my girls head to school, i love the green peppers they added to my table decor.
we picked them from our garden and the whole time they kept saying, "aren't these  perfect peppers?  please can we decorate with them?"  ha!  the apple is not falling far from my tree!  (and, i love the spilled milk.  someone did not clear her bowl, and it was discovered by a climbing baby as i went to grab my camera.)
i have seen MANY ultrasounds.  VERY YOUNG, those babies are ALIVE and REAL.  The same people who have no problem killing MILLIONS of unborn babies each year, would freak out if we tested a new shampoo on dogs.  Would you be OK with a women killing unwanted PUPPIES that her dog gave birth to? Would you?  It is NOT merciful to kill a baby because that baby is coming at an inconvenient time.  Death is not better than an imperfect life.  Abortion in the world today is out of control and INHUMANE.

i have a friend who wants a bumper sticker that says-- "PRO CHOICE PRECONCEPTION!" 
i LOVE that.  We do have choices.  We also have consequences and should accept the RESPONSIBILITY of our consequences.  We need to take the BILLIONS of dollars we are spending on federally funding abortions-- and spend it on EDUCATION for MOTHERS.  Helping unwed mothers provide a quality life for their children or helping them give their children up for adoption.
this picture does not do justice to this time in my life... oregon rain = soggy practices, MUD and WET UNIFORMS!
My sister-in-law gave birth to a baby with hydrocephalus- baby Toby.  He had no skull.  She carried him 9 months, knowing he would not survive long after birth.  Inside her womb, he was an active, strong, happy boy.  Every ultrasound she had showed a very strong spirit flipping and kicking and enjoying HIS life in her womb.  He lived only a short time after birth, and never  was able to live after birth like he had lived before birth.  It was hard for their family to hold their sweet, angel boy.  It was hard for them to bury him.  They mourned but THEY WERE HEALED THROUGH THE PROCESS!  My sil says today, there is HEALING in this process.  

i had a friend who was date raped.  she was still in high school.  She was a beautiful, darling girl who gave birth to a perfect baby and gave him up for adoption.  she gave him to another family who had been trying for years to have a baby, but couldn't.  the process was hard, but it was healing.  she had a strong family that supported her through this trial.  if she had been encouraged to take the "easy" way out, she would have not only killed her baby, she would have added another level to her grief.  the process would not have been healing, it would have added to her victimization and left her with LIFE LONG scars.  telling someone that what they did was RIGHT will not change the intrinsic feeling that they have inside them that what they did was WRONG.  the problem with abortion is that the scars are hidden.  everybody can SEE a child born out of wedlock-- that girl looks irresponsible.  the scars from abortion are internal and mental-- the consequences are hidden, but they are still VERY REAL.
a fall creek.
CHOOSE wisely, do not get pregnant before you are ready to take responsibility for the life you are creating.  Do NOT have sex before you are married and then you will not need to worry.  Be WISE.  Bridle your passions so that you can create a stable home for the children you will bring into this world.  USE BIRTH CONTROL.  And, for those who do get pregnant when they don't think the TIME is right-- trust the process!  There is HEALING in life.  Life is always a blessing.  Adoption is beautiful.  Children can change your life for the better.  This might be a blessing in disguise.

My mother got pregnant with me when it was not convenient.  She could have aborted me, but she did not. I am so grateful to her for giving me life.  LIFE is always the best choice.]

2)  There is widespread confusion in the HOME about HOW to have a good family.  Generational dysfunction and the disintegration of foundational principles are making it so that we don't know HOW to be happy in families.  Widespread immorality and addiction are making happiness elusive to many.  Judeo-christian values are NOT just a religious preference.  When you LOOSE religion and morality and self-control, you loose the road map to a good, healthy, happy life.  We need to TEACH young people how to have happy marriages and families.  HOW to be good parents.  HOW to work hard and sacrifice and live honorable lives.  I believe that many people WANT to find joy in family life, they just don't know HOW.  AND-- those who ARE living a happy life, need to SEE THE GOODNESS that they have and FEEL THE JOY. We need to stop looking at the lies of the great and spacious building.  WORLDLY pleasure does not equal long-term happiness.

There is a difference between saying books changed MY LIFE and that they have CHANGED ME.
These books have NOT changed me.  They have just sounded loud bells of TRUTH in my ears.
They have reminded me, encouraged me, inspired me, helped me to understand WHAT I ALREADY KNEW and believed.
a fall morning- we lit the fire.

Truth is eternal.
When we hear it, it rings true to our soul.
These books are beautiful and true.  i love them.
Thanks for listening to my daily ranting.
eve vs. the red barn.

it looks worse in person.

don't you LOVE that little nose and pouty lip?  she is darling.
enjoy your day!

October 20, 2012

love this!!

i LOVE this song!!  {thanks Melody for sharing it with me!}
we are LOVED by a Father in Heaven-- we might not always SEE it, but His love is always there.
No Matter How Long, by Jessica King

and, did you see this dinner with Romney and Obama and Catholics?
it was funny and worth the watch.
in my opinion, Romney was great and Obama was a little boring...
but, i'm biased.  

feel loved... and vote!

October 19, 2012

He loves me!

love is not like picking the leaves of a daisy...
he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not.
love is a CHOICE.
Faith is acting without always seeing.
Faith is BELIEVING that He loves me, even when I can't see the end of the story.

i LOVE indiana jones' leap of faith in Indiana Jones and The Search for the Holy Grail.
He is standing at the cliff, looking over and he has to step in FAITH.
"you  must believe boy, you must believe!!"

Yes, God is real.
Yes, He tells us to PROVE Him.
But just because He is real and just because we can prove Him, doesn't mean that we should doubt Him the second His answer doesn't come on our timetable.
Sometimes, God doesn't answer because He wants us to LEARN-- to study it out-- to grow.
I love my children always, and sometimes i let them FALL because i know it is important for them to learn to get back up without me.
Truthfully, they are NEVER without me-- and truthfully, we are NEVER without Him.

i was mad at God this week.
He turned my heart and helped me to WANT something i was perfectly fine not having.
And then, we didn't get what I wanted.
what have i learned?
Having faith in God means having Faith in HIS TIMING!!
He does love me.  He does answer my prayers.
I know Him and hear His voice even if things don't always work out the way i think they should.

i have a young friend who went into the woods to pray.
He did NOT feel that his prayers were answered.
He is doubting God.
i want to tell him to HOLD ON!!
don't doubt yet.
have faith!
because, i KNOW God IS real.  I know that He does answer prayers.
And, i know that sometimes the process of finding Him is JUST AS essential to our eternal progression as our eventual knowing.
does that make sense?
"you must believe boy, you must believe!"

read the scriptures...  they are FULL of waiting periods.
they are FULL of prophecies that people interpret one way and really come to pass in a completely different way.

Jews are still waiting for their Messiah who will come and deliver them from captivity.
Christ did come, as a gentle TEACHER.
He did deliver them, even if He looked different than they thought He would.
And, he will come to rule and reign someday.
But that is His second coming, not His first.

Abraham was promised he would be the Father of Nations.
And poor Sariah didn't get pregnant till she was 90!
90 years of waiting... and then God still asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
ha!  my timing issues have to do with months-- not years.
i think i can get over it.

i've told you before of the time i doubted God most.
i was a young mother in desperate need of PATIENCE.
i was loosing my temper with my children and i knew I was wrong.
i prayed with my whole soul that God would make me patient.
i needed Him to change my heart so that i could love my children better.
it was a good thing i was desiring...
i remember standing outside the bedroom door of my boys' bedroom being filled with rage.
i remember praying that God would change my heart and fill me with love.
sometimes i felt Him near me.
sometimes i did NOT.
i began to doubt Him.
I was angry that He wasn't changing me as fast as i needed Him to change me.
i was convinced that i was ruining my kids as i was struggling to improve and also convinced that if God was a real God, He could change me miraculously into a more patient, kind mother.
you can laugh at my reasoning now, but it was not funny.
i believe that the greatest miracle God can do is changing our hearts and i couldn't FEEL Him changing mine.
i felt forsaken and my testimony was shaken.
i'm not certain what got me through that time.
hope?  faith?  the regular passage of time?
after YEARS of struggle- with very few miraculous patience-zapping moments, i noticed that MANY people would comment on how patient i was.
my natural reaction was to laugh off their compliments... but they started to sink in and i realized I AM THAT PERSON THAT I PRAYED GOD WOULD MAKE ME.
He DID answer my prayers.  He DID teach me how.  He did SAVE my children and help me to bless them.
He loved me then, and He loves me still.
But, PATIENCE takes time to develop.
Perhaps, those days of complete frustration and struggle WERE my answered prayers.
I needed those days to learn to LET GO!!
He could not turn my water into wine until i gave Him my buckets of water!!
He could not multiply my fishes and loaves if I was busily cutting them into smaller pieces trying to make them enough.
i had to learn to give my loaves to HIM, completely.
and then, He multiplied them and made them enough.
My prayers were NOT answered in my way.  But they were answered in a better way.
I may have FELT alone, but i was not.
We are NEVER alone.
And, because He let me struggle, I can relate to millions and trillions of young mothers who struggle.
i am grateful for HIS timing and HIS way.

I'm not done praying.
I may not loose my temper when my little ones don't want to take a nap...
but, i have found the next rough spot of my soul.
I am always seeking and refining and becoming...
and, He is always changing me and helping me and teaching me.
This is HIS way.
He LOVES me.

and, i have to say one more thing.
i may not always feel God's love for me (i think this has more to do with me than Him).
I am one who sees my weakness very clearly and they sometimes blind me from feeling His love.
BUT, BUT i have figured out how to FEEL His love for me, a different way.
i can ALWAYS look around and SEE all that He has blessed us with.
i KNOW i am blessed when i see the beauty of my life.
He loves me because he fills my life with beauty and goodness.

Take a moment.
Forget the thing you are wanting.  Forget your striving.
Forget to look ahead at what you want to BECOME...
and just SEE!!
really BEHOLD your life!
SEE the goodness all around you!
BE grateful for the beauty of your life.
Be grateful for YESTERDAY's answered prayers.
they are MANY.
i can always FEEL God's love when i sit and SEE.

As Auntie Mame says, "Life is a banquet and most damned fools are starving to death."
EAT all that is on your plate today, and be filled with joy and gratitude.
Don't worry if tomorrow's manna is going to show up.  IT WILL!!

I know God lives.
I know He loves me and He loves you.
Prove Him-- He is real and He answers prayers.
But, also have FAITH in His timing.
Because His ways are not our ways-- His plan is long-term!!
i know it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...