Have You Been Nice for Christmas?

Nice

With all the threats of Elf on the self watching and you better be cleaning your room or else you will not be getting any toys for Christmas.  Or stop fighting with your brother and sister.  Don’t throw that book across the room or else there will be nothing good for Christmas.

We parents focus so much on kids being good for Christmas.  If you are not good you get nothing.

I really think is a horrible message the more I think about it.  I mean in June I don’t threaten them with no gift if they don’t clean up.  In January all that is forgot because we parents are so tired we just want to crash.

But it is we parents I want to talk about.

Have you been nice for Christmas this year?  I believe I have to answer no.  I found the the more I was trying to get my kids to be “nice” the meaner I was getting.  And I didn’t realized it.   I was yelling more.  Frustrated more. I needed perfect children!!!!!   I mean I don’t want Santa to forget my children.

 

HELLO!!??

 

Yes I had the wake call.  I was the one not being nice.  I was the one on my naughty list.  If I was another parent looking in at my behavior I would have been horrified.  Oh and speaking of Santa-ummm who am I woking for?  Geesh.

Less than two weeks till Christmas.

Under our tree lies the focus of our Christmas.  A simple manger scene.  Yes my children fought over it as they set up.   And yes I yelled at them for fighting over it while setting it up.  But then it hit me like a brick again (cause I know this).  This is why Jesus came into our world.  He came into our yelling, fighting, trying to be perfect world to say be still.

I am here.

I know you are not nice.  Sin is not nice.  It is ugly and gross.  It oozes with deceit and stench.  This is why I had to come.

Because of sin.  Because we are not nice.  He came as a baby with a mission.A mission from a promise.  A promise that God would separate people from their sin.  To show them Grace and Mercy.  At the cost of His Son.

On my mantle this year holds my christmas decoration.  The stockings are hung and there is the manger scene.  But this year I put up a little frame with a verse in it.  It was not a Christmas decoration.  But it was the verse that spoke to me this year of what Christmas was about.

“For God so Loved the World He sent His one and only Son….” John 3:16.

That was a very nice parent.

 

 

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How I Survived Yellow Paint on The Floor: Creative Discipline

Yesterday was one of those days.

You know those days.

When the kids seem three times as loud and they get into everything! Where they torn apart the homeschool room I had just got done putting together! Or sneaked into my closet and took my stash of gum.  Or scatter little beads to a craft project all over the floor. Or got into my homeschool closet in the office and took yellow paint and put in on the floor in the sun room..

Yes I was done yesterday.  The thought of yellow school buses crossed my mind.

The paint was the last straw, and I yelled-loud-you all are getting spankings.  Their heads popped up like uh oh.  I walked away, I was just mad.  Then the idea came to me.

Forget the spankings.  They don’t work, it is only the anticipation of the spanking that gets them.  So I let them simmer for a while and walked in with two BIG garage bags.

Me: I am not going to spank you.

Again little heads popped up.

Me: Instead you will fill these bags with weeds.  (ok so our garden had gotten a little weedy this year-I didn’t plant anything.)

They looked at me thinking mom had lost it.

Isaiah: So no spanking, just pulling weeds?

Me: Yep

Isaiah: I’ll take it.

20 minutes later I had two big bags of weeds and two children who have been listening better.

It is a good thing I have a LOT of weeds.

What creative discipline has worked for you?

 


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Initiative Taken by Children

I am so impressed with my two younger kids. Considering that they have messes in other areas that they need to be cleaned, they saw the dishes had filled up.

One day of no dishes in our house and they are all dirty. My thought is every child dirties them-every one can help. I should not have to ask. Right. Wrong.

I am looking for initiative with my children. Taking the first step. When they see that the dishes are dirty-or the dish washer is clean (even if it is someones chore) they do them.

Today it happened! I am so happy! And proud of them! The two of them working together, even though there is a lot of nick picking and bossing around. But it shows me they are thinking of more than themselves.  AND they are not looking for anything in return!

Now I do have to say, it is a mess, them loading the dish washer, and I have to bite my tongue cause it is ALL wrong.  But they are learning!

And they took initiative!


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Living with Explosive Children-20 Tips to Help

Living with Explosive Children

I love my children.  I would not trade a moment with them in for the world!  BUT our daily lives are not quiet and at any moment of any day my children can explode!

Now I don’t mean like in a cartoon, where you will see “BOOM” all around.  And I am not talking about every day tempers or melt downs.  I am talking from 0 to 10 in seconds.  I am talking one thing can set them off.  I am talking about having to parent with another voice inside guiding me when these out burst occur.  Even this does not fully describe them.

When I read about other homeschooler families-I see order and every now and then I see things go crazy.  In my school day, ever day my children have explosive behavior.  Screaming comes with our territory, and objects being thrown are not uncommon. Now before I go on, let me make this clear.  This does not make my kids bad!  My kids are amazing kids, sweet, servant like, love God, willing to help, gentle hearted. But there are moments-I hold on for the ride.

For example:  AnnieQ (7) was playing with Play dough.  Her plastic knife broke and I told her to just keep using the broken side because we would be cleaning up soon.  That was a trigger-just like that she threw the knife, threw the play dough, her attitude change, she started screaming.  I could have given in-Yes.  But even then she had hit a point of no return.   So at this point I put her in time-out, on the way to time out she destroyed stuff as she went along-not to mention the  high pitch scream.  Mind you this is all from a broken knife.

She started screaming louder now she was horribly  hungry and has not eaten anything all day.  Now she has, they got Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch, as been snacking all day-even had fresh pineapple.  The screaming is beyond what I can handle right now.  So I make a PBJ sandwich and warn her that she will also be going to bed early.  When she saw the sandwich she started crying I want real dinner.  Not this.  And other note: my husband was at a church meeting and I wasn’t planning on making dinner-sandwiches worked well.  She screamed for about 20 minutes how she wanted real dinner.  I finally walked away.

She finally ate the sandwich, apologized and got dressed for bed.  And just like that she was fine again.  I deal with about 2-3 explosions like this daily from her.  Triggers can be simply asking her to find her shoes, cleaning, doing school work, to many unknown things.

Another example is Isaiah (5-almost 6).  Isaiah, Isaiah, Isaiah.  (Yeah many days are like that!)  I know little boys are active and active and well active.  But there is something else about him!  One day we can get math done, no big deal, but if my breath smells to much like coffee-it will be a struggle. (And he likes my coffee-even drinks it!) Like today, they were outside playing and Robby got some mud on him.  Isaiah came in all mad.  I told him to shake it off and go back outside till he was done playing.  He then went, and got undressed, had other clothes and was getting ready to take a shower.  I stopped him cause I told him if he took a shower he wasn’t going to go back outside, that he was done for the day.  And there it was-the ugly explosion -screaming and words.

The other day I had to carry   drag him out of Home Depot, because he wanted to show me something and could not wait till I was done.  This turned into a whole scene, which now everyone knows we were in the store.  I just calmly go pay for my items I had already picked out, respond fine when the cashier still ask “how are you today?” As I am dealing with a screaming child.  How do you think I am? “Fine.”

These explosion are daily in our lives.  Mostly from the two younger ones.  I have worked with a lot of kids.  I have learned to deal with it, and I am working HARD not to respond with screaming.  But that is hard.  Frustrating.  Some days I feel like all I do is scream-other days I bite my tongue to be better.

So our days with our children-are not always perfect but precious.  Our plans get changed and one thing shifts everything.  Many people see my kids as active and bad.   I see small children being raised to be adults who love and serve the Lord.  That that they do, love and serve the Lord.

A Note: None of my younger children are diagnosed with Explosive Disorder.  While there are things we are watching, my younger adopted children are still young-and many different issues could be causes this.  I am not in anyway a Dr. qualified to give out medical help-but more of a parent giving out ways to live with this help.  If you find you have a child that displays this-get help.  I have been told about a great book to read-it is on my list.

 


Here are 20 tips to help deal with explosive children.  Maybe you use another term.  Some are basic parenting.  If you have more, share them in the comments below!

Tips to Help

  • Keep track of Triggers
  • Use the same discipline where ever you go
  • Have a schedule, but be flexible
  • Remember it is not you
  • Love them
  • Tickle them.  (I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes attacking the screaming with tickles work-you just need to know when)
  • You take a breather when they get to much
  • Just know people will not understand you kids
  • Do not get mad at the people who don’t understand-educate them
  • Reward your kids every time you can!
  • Know what battles to pick
  • Teach breathing exercises
  • Train children it is ok to be mad, but not ok to hurt people or things.
  • Give them ways to be mad and express it
  • Know people will stare.  Smile back
  • Starbucks-for you.
  • Make sure your husband and you are working as a team.
  • Get outside help when you need it.
  • Allow children to be children-they need lots of outside time
  • It is OK to use iPhones or iPads to get peace-but use it wisely.

 


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How do you say Good Bye to a Baby you Never Held?

This month marks 5 years since I lost my baby through a miscarriage.

It is a silent time in my life.

How do you say goodbye?

I never got to hold my baby.

I never got to feel my baby kick me.

I just know I have a life inside, and then it was taken from me.

That was 5 years ago.

Most of the time life goes on, but a picture or a child would make me think “is that what my child would look like?”

He or she would be four years old now.

And my heart would ache a little. And sadness would creep in.

How do you just say good bye?

Some feel that it wasn’t a little life , that it didn’t count.  If it didn’t count, then why does my heart still hurt today?

Life continues.  I know my baby is being held in heaven.  It is a comforting thing.  But every year, at this time it is still hard.  And it is hard to explain to others just why -and I don’t always don’t know why I am even sad.  But something will make me remember.  Like Lent makes me remember.  I have taken care of  over 20 children.   I have said goodbye to many of them.  Each one I think about-each one special.  But I got to say goodbye to them.  I got to hug them.

And as February fades into March, life continues.  I suppose that every year will bring a moment of sadness.  And that every year will bring moments of healing.  Keeping God as the center of my focus, His love and care-will overshadow me in my sadness and bring me the healing I need for the years to come.


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When Christmas Joy is Shattered by a Pop

The new of todays shooting seems all to familiar.  It doesn’t seem that too long ago we were hearing reports of a shooting of a young man at Discovery Middle School, Madison AL not too far from here- a young boy, whom my son had gone to school with earlier.  And shootings at the University of Alabama Huntsville .  These are places I drive by every day.  These are events you never think will happen but they do.

The other day 800 students did not goto school at our local high school in fear of a fight or something worse.  While we are still not sure what the threat was or if there was one it has many concerned-enough that just under 800 student stayed home in fear.

The news of todays event has shattered every moms heart.  It has made mom’s questions whether our schools safe enough for our kids?  I have heard more today about homeschooling being the safest route for our kids to keep them safe.  I had many parents inquire about homeschooling today.

I don’t know why this young boy went into the room and did what he did.  It saddens my heart that this happened.  The terror that took place in that room is something that one only imagines to be in a movie.  But the event will be added to the list of horrible things that have happened in our country.  And the town of Newtown will never be the same. All those children in the school will remember those pop’s sounded like.

Are our schools safe?  Is keeping your kids home the only way to keep them safe?  Is homeschooling the only option?  Those  are questions you and your family need to answer.  I was thinking about this earlier, we don’t know when bad stuff is going to happen?  We don’t know when young children are going to get sick and die.  Or when there are car accidents and teens die?  We try our hardest to keep our kids safe.

For many families this Christmas their joy will be focused on funerals and grieving.  Trying to figure out how one person could take their Christmas joy and shatter it with pops.   How one person could take our Christmas joy and shattered our security of feeling our kids are safe in school.  How can one person effect so many people in such a short time.

Christmas is about one person-a baby.  It is about one baby that came into this world because it was already shattered and broken.  Christmas is about one little baby who came down to this world to bring love and hope and peace.  He came down to bring grace and forgiveness.  He came down to forgive sins.

  • Prayers go out to those families whose child died today.  I have a 5 and 6-year-old.   Heartbreaking
  • Prayers go out to the families had a love one die.
  • Prayers go out to the shooter’s family.  I don’t understand the connection to the teacher (his mom?) But their family must be confused and heartbroken.
  • Prayers for healing for all those injured.
  • Prayers for all the children who go to school there.
  • Prayers for the teachers, and other leaders and volunteers in the schools.
  • Prayers for the community leaders-
  • Prayers for the medical community
  • Prayers for the community.

 

Prayer of my Pastor Bernie on Facebook today

What a terrible tragedy is unfolding on Newtown. Pray for children and parents, pray for teachers and all officials, pray for Pastor Greg Wismar, a longtime Lutheran pastor in Newtown, and for all who stand by from near and far, that God will comfort and heal all of us. It’s Advent when we are reading the biblical message that God has come both as a refining fire AND as a Savior. His name is Immanuel = God is with us.

Dear God, You are the Creator and Giver of Life. We, whom You have created, are all guilty of this: we love death more than life. How so? We are all absorbed with and fixated on ourselves. We are hypocrites who say we love You, when it is obvious that we do not love our neighbors as ourselves. Maybe we will never fire a weapon and take someone else’s life, but we are all complicit, inasmuch as we turn away in indifference from so many. Teach us to love each other. Fill us with your Spirit. Forgive us our sin. Help us cherish everyone’s life and bless us all with safety on our journey to Life Eternal. In the name of Jesus Christ, Immanuel. Amen!

 

 


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Can You Just be Quiet Please!

 

You know we have all been there.  When our kids are just talking.

And talking.

And then they are talking when they should not be talking.

And you are are the store and the word Penis is heard.

And you say “Can you just be quiet please!” and they look at you like why?

And they continue talking.

And sometimes the conversations are sweet and adorable.

And soon then are meaning and ugly .

And you are screaming “Can you just be quiet PLEASE!”

And they pause for a moment to look at you.

And they CONTINUE to talk.

And talk.

And ask questions.

And more questions.

And your head is spinning

And you plead in the car “Can you PLEASE be quiet.”

And it is only 1p.m.

I remember when AnnieQ came to us, she didn’t talk.  Now she doesn’t know when to be quiet.  She and Isaiah in the stores have no boundaries with their mouths.  I am sure when we walk into Target the get on the walkie talkies and warn everyone we are in the store.  But after tonight I don’t feel so bad, a little girl said to her mom, pretty loud “Mom, so boys have penis right?  How big are they?’  The mom “Honey can you just be quiet please?”  I walked away cause I was laughing.

I was on over load of the kids today.  From their talking, and asking questions.  It was constant today.  All day.  It just didn’t stop!  When I asked for 15 minutes to get some other work done, they came in and talked.  And talked.

By the time my husband got home I just had to go for some time by myself, to regain my sanity.  Talking is good, but now my kids need to learn how to be quiet.  Today, not even our quiet games worked.  Nothing worked.  Some days  are like that!

So as an encouragement when you have days when they will not stop talking.

  • Remove yourself for a moment.
  • Put in a movie.
  • Get the paints out.
  • But them in the bath tub
  • Get a babysitter
  • Listen to them to see what they are talking about.
  • Go out alone if you can.  Take that break.
  • Tomorrow maybe better.

We baked cookies today and  went to the mall.  They talked non stopped the WHOLE time, but we did have a good time.


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Is Mom Healthy or Not?

Is mom healthy or not

I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about how parents-moms could not wait till their kids went back to school.  Then the conversation went on to say something about stay at home moms and working moms.  I heard what was said and then I said to my husband driving “What did I just hear?”

My husband replied “I think they just said a mom is healthier if they work and spend time away from their kids.”

“Huh” I said.

It seems that ever study always says that women are happier if they go to work to bring a pay check home.  And if you stay at home you will sit in front of the TV and eat bon bons and get fat.  And feel worthless.  Oh yeah don’t forget the kids and where ever they fit into happy healthy mom-lazy fat unhealthy mom equation.

Is mom healthier if they work and spend time away from their kids verse moms who stay at home with their kids all summer long and can’t wait for their kids to go back to school?

Here is the deal.  It totally disagree.  While I could get into the whole “what is better for the child” argument, and many will throw different views and opinions at me, I am not.    Working or not working, being with your kids all day or not being with your kids all day isn’t what makes a mom healthy or unhealthy.

 I homeschool.

I don’t “look forward to sending my kids away to school” every year.  I look forward to activities starting.  I look forward to finding a few hours through out the week for myself.  I look forward to time spend with just my husband. I look forward to time alone at Target and Starbucks.   I look forward to bedtime.  But most of all I look forward to spending time with my kids.

Am I unhealthy for homeschooling and being home with all my kids?  If I don’t take care of myself I could be.  But that is the same truth for any mom in any situation.  You have to take care of yourself.  A working mom can be unhealthy for working to many hours and not spending enough time with her family.

As a mom, regardless of whether you homeschool, stay at home or work being healthy is important.  One vs the other does not make a mom any healthier or unhealthy.  Being with my kids full-time does not me unhealthy.  I am healthy because I take care of myself and balance my time.  I am not perfect at this.  Some weeks are worse than others.  But that is not the fault of being with my kids full-time.

It is the old tired out debate of should moms work or not.  It is tired.  If we stopped focusing on this and focused our attention on other pressing issues like children who don’t have a mom  at all, wouldn’t that be a better way to use our time than always worrying about which mom is happy or should a mom work or not?

What do you think.  Does working or being away from your kids full-time make you healthier?


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5 Words of Hope to Ease a Mother’s Broken Heart

Motherhood is something special. It brings great pleasure to your life, an unexplainable joy.  But there are times when sorrow seeps in.  A baby is lost through a miscarriage or still birth.  A death of a child through an accident or illness. A child is kidnapped or murdered.  A teenager runs away and is lost.  A young adult is killed while serving in the military.

The unexplainable empty feeling and sorrow.  The angry and frustrating.  The confusion  and uncertainty.  A mother’s mind goes through a million miles of emotion while trying to balance the rest of her family.

Doing those times of sorrow here are 5 words of hope and bible verses I want to offer to help ease a mother’s broken heart while it mends. These are words and bible verses that have helped my heart.

  •  Refuge:  “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18: 2 (GWT).  The first place I go in time of trouble is to God.  I want to scream it out in other places, and sometimes I do, but I always find myself back in His Word.  I find myself back in His refuge.
  •  Find: “My child, find your source of strength in the kindness of Christ Jesus.” 2:Timothy 2 :1 (GWT)   Find your source of strength….sometimes in our darkest hour we do have to seek God.  We do have to call to Him….and while we are calling to him in the darkness…He is already carrying us.  He was already there.
  •  Restore:  “God, Who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as suffer for a little while.”  1 Peter 5:10 (GWT)  Restore me, I hold on to that, God will restore me to what it is I need.
  •  Love: “Continue to love each other” Hebrews 13:1 (GWT)  Love each other.  Love through family and friends.  Love through worship and church.  Even in the darkest hour, love seems to shine through….make sure you are looking for it!
  •  Grace:  “Through the blood of his Son, we are et free from our sins.  God forgives our failures because of overflowing kindness.” Ephesians 1:7  God Grace.  His forgiveness.  Sometimes in the darkest hour when we are mad at the world it is the hardest thing to give ourselves-His forgiveness.  It is the death of Jesus that gives us His forgiveness.  God’s Grace is what we need. God’s grace is what gets me through every day, through the good and through the bad.  Hold on tight to God’s Grace.

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Parenting is a lot like Ancient Map Making

Been thinking about being a parenting lately.  It is hard not to think about it when you have 4 kids and have parented over 20 kids.  I am not sure where the notion came into play that just because we have done that we have become better that those who parent 1 or 2 kids?

Parenting has been around since Adam and Eve.  It hasn’t gotten any easier or harder.  The situation different for each family.  It isn’t anything new.  No book came with parenting.  While 1000’s haven been written, it is not a one size fits all approach.  I have always said that.

Working as a DCE for the last 15 years or so I have helped many parents.  I have counseled, given resources.  I have listen to teens complain about their parents, listen to parents concerned about their teens.  I have taught countless parenting classes, and have read countless parenting books.

When I was pregnant, I thought I had it figured out.  Day one.  I was wrong.  I was a failure as a parent.  I couldn’t even give birth to my child, they had to do a c-section.  He didn’t want to breastfeed right.  Didn’t want to sleep.  But as the weeks went on, as the years went on, I started figuring it out.

Different things change.  He grows.  We make adjustments.

When you adopt, sometimes you don’t start with a baby.  I started with a 3 month old, a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old.  You just jump in and figure out your way.  It is like having a newborn.  Except some of them can talk back to you.  No need for diaper changes.  But you are learning rhythms and as they grow you have to adjust.  Sometimes quicker than you are ready to.

There is no right way to parent.  Sure there is 1000’s a books out there to help you.  My husband and I were watching Pawn Star on History Channel.  They where looking at an old map.  The comment was made that back then map makers just had to go out there and do it.  It was a hard job and took a while, but they typical did a good job in the end, all with out GPS’s.  I laughed and said that parenting.  We just have to go out there and do it.

We are still figuring out our territory, surveying it.  Each of our children’s map will be slightly different.  But what is going to be true is when we are done, our map is a picture of a beautiful young adult.  No, I guess parenting doesn’t really stop there.  There are different stages.  Just like making a map each part comes with a painful process of getting as right as you can.

As parents we trust in the One who gives us the peace that with Him by our side we can and will handle anything.  It isn’t easy.  Talking as easy as it seems isn’t easy.  You have to unravel things that were heard or assumed or told.  You have to back track to the point where something got off track, and stick it back on track.  That is what parenting is about.  Just like mapping, if something didn’t work right, they would back up and figuring it out.

 


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