Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

How Important Is It To Teach Your Kids The Books Of The Bible?




When did you learn the books of the Bible?

I am willing to bet that most adults who have the books of the Bible memorized learned them as a kid.  Kids are such sponges! It's so much easier to memorize lists of information like that as children.

I think I was probably four or five years old when I learned the books of the Old Testament.  I went to VBS at a little mountain church, and there was a teenage girl there with an acoustic guitar and long brown hair who sang the Bible books song every day.  I have no idea who she was, but I can still almost see her in my mind.  I hope wherever she is, the Lord blesses her for her service at that VBS, because it has served me well to have the books of the Bible memorized, and it all started with that song.


How To Teach Love Of Country To Our Children


 


The sky was dark, the night air was warm.  Only in the middle of the summer could you get away with no jacket at night in the mountains.  I sat with my family in the back of my dad's pickup truck and watched showers of light ranging down while I yanked a bite of Twizzlers with my teeth.  My siblings and I were all dressed in varying shades of red, white, and blue.  And even though I had never been to one of those shows where the fireworks were coordinated to patriotic music, I silently sang the national anthem in my head, proud and thankful that I was lucky enough to be an American.

Three Mothering Books Worth Re-Reading





Here is a little confession: as much as I love to read, I am not really a re-reader.

I have been listening to some book podcasts lately (most notably "What Should I Read Next?" which was introduced to me by my friend, Felicia), and it is shocking to me - shocking! - how many people re-read books.  I have only ever re-read one book in full, Anne of Green Gables.  And I actually listened to it through Librivox, so I'm not sure that counts.

How Playing With Your Kids Helps You (With Girt & Grace)



Do you play with your kids?

We recently had a speaker at our MOPS group that talked about the power of playing with our children (Cara Jakab, an author of "The Power Of A Playing Parent"*).  I don't know what I was expecting from her message, maybe just a "play-with-your-kids-all-the-time-so-you'll-have-a-super-close-relationship" theme.  That is great in theory, but not really practical.  I don't believe it's even healthy to keep your kids so constantly entertained that they are not able to entertain themselves.  So I went in not really sure if I was going to get much out of it, other than a nice dose of guilt that I don't play with my kids more often (I'm being honest here).

Why You Should Read What Your Kids Are Reading




I was excited to review The Illustrated Compendium Of Animal Facts because I used to love books like this when I was a kid. I have always been interested in learning about animals and biology, and this book looked like a fun one for my kids when they get a little older.

The Most Important Person




This last week we didn't just celebrate Christmas (we had a lovely one, by the way) - we celebrated Derek and Gwen's birthday!  Three years ago Gwen was born in an ambulance on Derek's birthday (it's a good story that you can read here).  It's so fun to celebrate two of my favorite people on the same day!  

As a birthday post for Gwen I wanted to share this little story that I wrote out a few weeks ago.  

10 Favorite Books From 2015



It has been a good reading year.

I remember the year before I had Wyatt, I read 19 books.  That is pretty low for me, and I remember thinking that it would only get worse after I had kids.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually the opposite - I actually read more books in the days after I had a baby!  For one reason - nursing.  There is not much to do while sitting there, feeding your newborn, so reading books just happened without my trying.  

Every year that I have had a baby has been a good reading year, and this year was no exception.  My original goal for 2015 was to read 52 books, about a book a week - and I'm on track to beat that goal by five books!  

For me, these books were the highlights for me in 2015.  I'm sharing my favorite five fiction books, and my favorite five non-fiction books!  In no particular order...

Managing Baby And Toddler Schedules




A few months ago I went to a party of a friend.  She used one of those e-invite systems (I'm still not sure what I think about them, because I'm old-school and still send party invites through the mail).  With e-invites you can usually see everyone else's comments about their RSVP - and I was in a curious mood, so I read through some of the responses.

One comment in particular caught my eye - someone said they couldn't come to my friend's party because the party was in the evening, and their toddler usually went to bed at 7:00 PM.  

The comment struck me, I think in part because I understand even more than most how miserable things can get when your child is cranky and tired.  I have four kids under five, three of whom still nap and also go to bed at 7:00 PM.  When one of the kids cries, at least a couple more join in.


How Do You Hold On To The Moments?

How Do You Hold On To The Moments? | Through Clouded Glass

I had an afternoon with half the kids the other day.

Maybe I should back up a bit.  Life has been busy but good.  I am slowly figuring out this four kid thing, but I'm not going to lie, our house is rarely peaceful these days!  Derek took the boys with him to process his deer last weekend (we really only eat wild game, and it saves us a ton of money in beef costs), and I was left with only Gwen and Clarice.

I forgot how quiet the house is when there are half the kids around.  On the one hand, it was nice to have a relatively peaceful afternoon.  On the other hand, I almost cried kissing those sweet little boy faces goodbye, even if it was only for a few hours.


The Hardest Thing About Being A SAHM



It had been a fairly good day, and I was almost to the end of it.  The kids were eating their macaroni in the kitchen, and I went into their rooms to find their pajamas.  That’s when I saw that at some point during the day the kids had bunched the covers all up on Wyatt’s bed.

I sighed, because it was just one more piece of work to do, and I climbed onto his bed as I tugged and pulled the covers into submission.  Before I knew it, a wave of that pregnancy fatigue crashed over me (it has just been intense this time around), and I collapsed onto the half-made bed - literally too exhausted to move.

I just laid there for a few minutes, and without even consciously letting my mind go there, the words “I can’t do this anymore” flitted across my brain.


On Busyness And Bible Time (+ Giveaway!)


Sometimes I get to the end of the day, and I feel like absolutely nothing was accomplished, even though I was literally running myself ragged all day.

I am not sure how it is physically possible to be busy all day and still feel like I didn't do anything.  I think there is a serious lack of rest in many of our lives, and I am no exception.  I just did a Bible study at my church that was all about taking time to rest each day, because often God will work in our lives if we will just take a breather and slow down!  I was definitely convicted, and I'm hoping to share more of my thoughts on rest in future posts.

Another problem with not taking time to slow down is that when I get too caught up in the busy, it is easy to let time with the Lord fall by the wayside - and that is not okay with me.  I want to make sure I am being a good example to my kids, and I also cannot adequately pour into my kids when I am not taking that time to be filled up with His Word.


When Mothering Is Hard

'When I pray and ask His forgiveness for my own misbehaviors, I feel the same message being whispered back to me as God says "I love you even when..."'   Four Ways To Keep Your Perspective When Mothering Is Hard | Through Clouded Glass


As a mom, every now and then (or sometimes more often than I want to admit), I end up having one of those days.  Every mom of young children has experienced one of "those days" at some point in their mothering journey (and if you haven't yet - you will).  The days when the kids seem to be crying or disobeying constantly, and you find yourself counting down the seconds to nap time.

Usually by the end of that kind of day I am beating myself up for not handling things better - for not being more patient, more loving, through the whole ordeal.  Because when it comes down to it, I love these little people so much.  I know that no matter what they do, I will never stop loving them.  My goal is to show that to them by how I treat them, even in the difficult moments.

It can be hard to take a pause in the middle of a frustrating moment to remember to be loving to our kids, but I think it is something we should be constantly trying to do.  There are a few strategies that are great for helping improve my patience when one of "those days" is looming.


Halfway Through Impressions | Book Babbles Vol. 2

Halfway Through Impressions | Book Babbles Vlog Vol. 2 | Through Clouded Glass


It has been a while since I did a Book Babbles Vlog!  I know I said I was going to do these more often, but the summer got away from me.

I am naming this vlog "Halfway Through Impressions", because I am notorious for reading a book halfway through, then finding another interesting book and starting that one - and then reading that one halfway through before starting another one.  I have had probably up to ten books going at once because of this bad habit.  Lucky for you, I am only reading six at the moment, and I'm giving you my initial impressions today!


Tent Camping With Toddlers

Tent Camping With Toddlers | Through Clouded Glass


Since we took our camping trip in June, I have gotten lots of comments from friends about how brave we were to attempt tent camping with three kids four and under - and one on the way!

Honestly, I'm not sure whether the comments make me feel like supermom or make me wonder if we really were a little crazy - but in the end, it wasn't too difficult.  We had a great time, and it doesn't take much to make a camping vacation a success with toddlers.  Still, I wanted to share a few tips for those of you who might feel a bit intimidated by getting out into the Great Outdoors with your munchkins!  These are the things we found made our trip go more smoothly.


First Bible


I'm on Tommy Nelson and FaithGateway today, talking about how to make your child's first Bible meaningful - and including my own story of how my parents and grandparents made my first Bible meaningful.


"My children are pre-school aged. They can’t even read simple books yet, so it will be a little while before they will be able to read the Bible by themselves. Nevertheless, I have been thinking about the day that they are ready to pick out their first Bibles, and how I want to go about it.

When I think of my first Bible growing up, the one that always comes to mind is a thick, leather-bound book, with my name embossed on the front and childlike letters written inside the front cover. When I was about nine years old, my grandma gave a challenge to all her grandkids – memorize Psalm 91 – and she would buy us our own Bibles with our names on the front, and take us to a fancy Japanese restaurant for dinner…"



Head on over to Tommy Nelson to continue reading!


When did you get your first Bible?  Did your parents (if they gave it to you) do anything to make it special?

My Favorite Verse For Separation Anxiety

Hey guys!  Well, the last couple weeks have been weird to say the least.  Just lots of unexpected things that are totally throwing my blogging schedule.  Normally I would have some nice accompanying post, but today I have nothing, so I'm just going to point you over to my post on Tommy Nelson today! 

 

I wrote about separation anxiety, which I feel is ironic, because I would not consider myself an expert at handling it - however, we have found ways to cope.  And when I say we, I am not just talking about the kids, I am including myself!  I hope I am not the only mom who gets anxious for her kids sometimes.

A verse that my mom taught us in childhood reminds me that I need to point my kids to the One who will always be with them if they put their trust in Him.  And sometimes I need that reminder too!

To read all about my separation anxiety story and verse, head on over to Tommy Nelson's blog!

Why I Don't Believe Parents Are Less Happy

Idontbelieveparentsarelesshappy


Several times over the last few months I have heard a statistic being quoted that parents are not as happy as those who don't have children.

I am not sure why I have been hearing this statistic left and right lately, especially when there is research that suggests the opposite, including a study that measured day-to-day emotions of parents and non-parents.

But the repeated quoting of the more negative statistics bugs me.  I think sometimes when it is shared, it is meant to serve as an encouragement that if you aren't happy now in the midst of new parenthood, it will get better.  Or it might be quoted to make those who choose childlessness feel good about their decision.  I don't know.

I do know that I don't trust that study.  There is a growing anti-child trend in society today, which makes me suspicious.  The fact that there is so much contradictory research makes me suspicious.  My own experience, and the experiences of all the parents I know who wouldn't change a thing about their choice to have children, makes me suspicious.

Yes, kids, especially when they are young, are a lot of work.  They interrupt your sleep.  They add 30+ minutes to the process of getting ready to go somewhere.  They cost money.  They make most tasks that we used to take for granted so much more difficult to accomplish (hence the running joke about not being able to use the bathroom alone as a SAHM).  They take up your time.

But oh, the joy.




When you are handed a squishy newborn and they peek open one little eye to peer at you as they settle into your arms - that tightness in your chest?  That is joy.

When you feed your child a jar of baby food, and it gets everywhere, and they look at you and give a two-toothed grin with mush all over their face, and your heart squeezes a little?  That is joy.

When your toddler is tucked in amidst the fluff of their covers, and they ask you to stay for a minute, and as you sit down, they snuggle in, stick a thumb in their mouth, and you watch them breathing as they drift off to sleep - that soft feeling?  That is joy.

When you chase your preschooler around the living room, snatch them up, and they collapse in a pile of giggles as you tickle their stomach - and they are so giddy that you couldn't keep from laughing if you tried?  That is joy.

There is a difference between happiness and joy.  And joy makes it easier to choose happiness even during the hard times, and it makes happiness deeper.

Yes, children bring work, but so do most of the best things in life.  If some can't see past a little work or inconvenience, I feel sorry for them.  What a superficial way to look at the world.  Yes, children have the ability to break your heart, but you give that power to anyone you let in your life and choose to love.  It doesn't make choosing love any less worth the risk for those that do.

The joy that comes with children has the ability to overflow, and then even the work and stresses of parenthood can be colored with happiness, if you let it. That is why 97-98% of parents think kids are worth the cost and work. When parents think on how life would be without these little souls, it's hard to imagine, and the joy of having them in their lives outshines everything else.

Even some questionable statistic that won't stop being quoted.

Why I Tell My Kids When They Are Good

Aug14 70blog

Earlier this year, I went to listen to a dental lecture on communicating with children.  I was expecting something that I could apply to my job as a dental hygienist - how to talk to kids to reduce their fears of the dentist, etc.

Instead the course ended up being more about a parenting philosophy that was . . . shall we say, interesting.

There are so many things that I could say about what was said in that course, but the main point that I think the speaker was trying to make is that it's important to get kid's to evaluate their own behavior (okay, I can live with that).

Where it gets interesting is when the speaker said that you shouldn't come out and say what "good" behavior actually is.  Instead you should deal with their behavior in one of two ways - either you should describe the situation or their behavior without making any "judgement" on it one way or the other and let them come to their own conclusions, or you should describe it in terms of the feelings you have about the child's behavior.


Examples:

"Oh Johnny, I feel so happy when you take out the trash!"

Child does well on a test  - "You must feel so happy, you tried so hard."

"Johnny, I get frustrated when you hit your sister."


According to the speaker, you should under no circumstances use the word "good" (or "bad").  Things like "good job", and "I am so proud of you" are off limits, because these comments either 1) make a judgement about the child's behavior (which you shouldn't do, because no one likes to feel judged), or 2) they "steal" the pride your child should feel in themselves.

I have a problem with this kind of thinking on so many levels, but the biggest issue I see with this is the inability to help your child establish the difference between what is right (i.e. "good"), and what is wrong (ie. "bad" or "not good").

Of course I want my child to be able to evaluate their own behavior to determine whether it is acceptable or not.  But with this philosophy, I'm teaching my child to base their actions on how it makes others (or themselves) feel.

So what happens when their friends want them to do something wrong?  Your child has been taught to act in a way that keeps others happy - if it will make their friends happy or proud of them, there is no reason they shouldn't go along with the shenanigans.

What happens when your child decides something that is wrong makes them feel good?  Why shouldn't they do it if it makes them feel happy, accomplished, etc?

Kids need a more solid basis for right behavior than feelings, or they will find themselves lost.

I have no problem telling my child when they do something right (i.e. "good"), or when they do something that is wrong.   I'm not teaching them these things because it will make me "happy" when they do right (even though it will), or it will make me "frustrated" when they do wrong.

I'm teaching them these things because I don't make the rules.  "Good" and "bad" behavior isn't based on emotions - it is based on what God says is right and wrong.  I want what is going to be best for my kids, not what is going to make them feel good.

I don't want their behavior based on what will make me (or them) happy or unhappy.  I want them to think of their behavior in terms of what makes God happy.

I want them to come to know Jesus as their Savior, and to desire to act in a way that is pleasing to Him. When they are young, they will need me to guide them on that - to teach them what good behavior is based on what God says in His word.  They're not going to figure that out based on their own feelings - because you know what, sometimes wrong actions feel good.  I have no problem opening my Bible and reading what it says to my kids, letting them know that this is how we know what is right and wrong.

They will still (with God's help) eventually get to the point where they can evaluate their own behavior and make good choices.  But it will be more solid, because they won't be pulled back and forth by the whims of their own or others' feelings.  They will have the Bible to stand on; they will have Jesus, their Savior, to look to as an example.

That is what I want for my kids.  That is what I pray for.

And I'm still disappointed because I never even got to learn any tips for dealing with children's dental fears!  Oh well.

Tipping Point


Paintingblog
(A watercolor painting experiment I did this summer of my older two kiddos.)

I've been having a hard time finding my balance this year.

I think each mother has her tipping point, when she goes from feeling like things are totally manageable to feeling totally overwhelmed.  For some it might be with with their first child - maybe when their baby is colicky, or when their child gives up naps.  I've heard from several friends that figuring out the balance with two kids was when they started to feel overwhelmed - maybe when they were pregnant with a toddler to run after, maybe after their second child was born.

For me - this was it.  This summer was my tipping point.

In all fairness, it wasn't just one thing.  It wasn't just adding a third baby to our family - it's been the fact that I also happened to sign up to help run our MOPS blog this year, I started writing for Tommy Nelson, Wyatt is starting preschool, and the times when all three kids are napping have been more rare.

I was trying to keep up the pace I have always kept, and in the midst of everything I repeatedly heard stories from others of times when the Lord asked them to give up something.  With every story, I felt a little nudge in my heart.  But I kept pushing it down, because I couldn't think of anything to give up, except one thing I really didn't want to give up - my blog.

When I thought about giving up my blog, I had mixed feelings.  Half of me felt like it might be time.  But the other half of me felt like the Lord was still opening doors, and I didn't think I should not blog at all.

Then one week, when deadlines were rushing up on me, and I was sleep deprived, and the house was a mess, I had a meltdown.  Like a complete, sobbing on the floor, Derek had to calm me down with a glass of water type meltdown.  When I settled down, I thought over that week and realized that I couldn't remember actually looking at the kids in a few days.  I mean really looking at them.  Noticing how the color of Clyde's eyes were changing.  Running Gwen's soft curls through my fingers. Talking to Wyatt about which Hot Wheels cars were his current favorites.

And I realized if something had to give (and something clearly did have to give), it couldn't be really looking at my kids.  I couldn't let their childhood slip by while I rushed around, keeping up this insane pace that I had set for myself.

I thought it through.  I finally saw that I needed to step back.  To just slow down.

So after that, I took the pressure off myself.  I'm keeping my commitments, but I'm not adding any new ones.  I still blog, but if a post doesn't go up one week, it's okay.

I'm giving my best, but my best goes to my kids and Derek first, because they are my only tasks that will last forever.  If I fail at everything else, but I succeed with my family, I will enter eternity satisfied.

I think that nudge I felt was the Holy Spirit - and He was trying to get me to give up something.  He was telling me to give up trying to do everything, and to focus on being the best at this one thing - being a good wife and mother to these people God has given me.  I'm still figuring out what I can and can't handle in this season of my life, but I have a better starting point now - give everything I can to serving the Lord by serving my family, and then I can split up whatever I have left among everything else.

And now I feel like the scales are back in balance.

---

Have you ever felt like you had gone over your tipping point?  How did you get everything back in balance?

Combatting Selfishness In Little Ones



I remember the first time my kids got in a real fight (my oldest is three, so it wasn’t that long ago).
We were enjoying a peaceful morning when suddenly it was disrupted by screeching. I rounded the corner and found two of my kids, each holding one end of a toy – and they were yanking it back and forth and yelling at each other.
Wow, I thought, this is like a scene out of a movie!
That was probably not the best or most mom-like first thought to have, but I was caught off guard. After I got over my initial shock, I took the toy away and we sat down and had a talk about sharing and being kind to each other. At least I recovered well, right?
The truth is, I shouldn’t have been surprised at my kids’ behavior. Selfishness is something that is ingrained into our fallen human nature. Selfishness comes naturally to kids – it is unselfishness that must be nurtured and taught…


To read the rest of my thoughts on combatting selfishness in kids, check out my post on TommyNelson.com!
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