Works For Me Wednesday - Shoeboxes

Ever wonder how other families manage to keep all the kids games stored? I do. Ours always seem to be strewn about 5 different rooms, pieces missing, or game boards ripped in two. So, now I use shoeboxes to store them. Instead of keeping the original box that the game comes in, I take out all the game pieces (sometimes using zip lock bags for little pieces) and store in a large shoebox. I'm not sure why the shoebox lid holds up better than the game box lid, but it does. So, instead of throwing out the box those new shoes came in just head to your kids' room and start sorting! You can even decorate the box to make it look cute. Works for me!


Mixed Messages

You've probably seen or read about the Maine school where 11 year-olds are receiving birth control pills. It's been all over the news. So have stories about teenagers serving jail time for having consenual sex with another teen. Anyone else confused? It's their argument (not mine)....If we give them birth control they'll use it! Ok, but why are we sending them to jail for using it? Sounds like blackmail to me. Sometimes I wish I'd finished law school.

Thanks to my friend, Jessie, for bringing this to my attention.

UPDATE: School refuses to reconsider even after threat of lawsuit. Read here.

UPDATE AGAIN: Here's an article that clearly makes my point.

The Funniest Picture EVAH!

This is what I call a PARTY! Sure wish America's Funniest Home Videos had a photo contest! Sorry, Amy - I just had to post this.


Throwing Out Birth Control (and my self-centeredness along with it)

Barbara Curtis has written a wonderful article at CrossWalk that sums up why so many Christian families have chucked popular norm and are letting God plan their family size. She says,

"As our family continued to grow, I continued to hear the same belittling banter about kids I’d heard for years – only now it was on my church steps:

“I don’t know how you do it! My two are enough to drive me crazy!”
“I’ve finally got all the kids in school. I can’t imagine having to deal with another baby!”
“I wanted more but my husband put his foot down.”
“How can you afford it?”

My heart would ache for any children in earshot. My heart would ache for the missed opportunities. And finally, my heart would ache for the misunderstanding of how it all must sound to God – who certainly never got the memo that children were a burden."

I wrote about our journey to wanting more babies here.


Happy Birthday To You!

Today Gideon is 3 years old. I told my husband last night...sometimes it seems like yesterday, but most days it feels like this has been the longest 3 years of my life. A lot has happened in our lives since Mr. Bright Eyes was born. He is the constant source of smiles in our house, and we all woke up with smiles of our own this morning just to celebrate him.

Happy Birthday Baby.

Someday I'll Stop Trying To Figure It All Out

"We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder."

Kallistos Ware


To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required

This was my motto during high school and college. I would use it conveniently during job screenings, as an election slogan and for panel interviews. At that time I really didn't understand that it was more than a good way to market myself.

Senator Brownback recently spoke at the Washington Briefing. There he emphasized two points: we need to stop abortion (therefore promoting life) and we need to reclaim American culture.

This country has a huge responsibility. Why? To whom much is given, much is required. Senator Brownback used this to explain why America is so targeted by other nations. It's like when 9/11 happened and the Mayor just went to work fixing it. When you are called to do a big job (either by appointment or by accident) then it's your opportunity to give out of the abundance of which you've been given.

God has blessed America, and we in return have much to give. Are we living up to the challenge? Are we giving what is required of us? Or are we caught up in maintaining our level of abundance that we've forgotten where it came from?

For the complete audio from Senator Brownback go here.

Go here to check out the other speakers including Chuck Colson, James Dobson, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Phylis Schlafly.


How Important Is A College Education?

I graduated from college, and even went on to do some post-graduate work. I never once considered not going to college. I have been daydreaming about the future, and what my children will become. What will they choose as a career? I am praying that they will follow the Lord all the days of their lives, and accomplish His plans for their life. Does that plan automatically include college? I'm not so sure anymore.

Some parents, however, have a different view. And they are willing to pay a hefty price for it.

Check this out from Newsweek. Parents are spending thousands of dollars to ensure their children attend top-ranked schools.


What A Sixteen Year Old Has To Say

This post is from a non-Christian 16 year old boy who attends a Christian school...

I’ve never been offended once when someone has tried to convert me. I understand Christianity enough to know that people do this out of love, out of compassion, and not the need to meet an arbitrary quota of souls or something similar. I don’t know about religion, and I don’t know why we’re here, but it just seems to me that the way this is all happening isn’t the right way to find it all out.

Read the whole article...Christian Indoctrination

Children: Are They Our Converts or Our Cash Cows?

What is the goal of parenting? Why does God bless us with children? After the honeymoon wears off and we dive into the frightening realm of becoming mothers and fathers - we each have different expectations from parenthood. For many of us, we desire to experience unconditional love. For others, we live vicariously through our children so we can experience all the things we never got to do as kids ourselves. Still others have a family because that's another hurdle to cross in order to achieve the American dream.

What does God say about raising children?

Since our 2 oldest children are in "real" school now, I am realizing how little time I have with them. I am missing all sorts of teachable moments while they are at school. Their respect has switched from me to their teacher. My biggest kids are learning all sorts of wonderful things in spelling, arthimetic and science. But, at the end of the day have I accomplished the goal that the Lord set out for me as a mother?

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Then in 6:6-8 the Lord says, "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead." Again in 11:18-19, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Then in Psalms, the Bible tells us that our children are like arrows. "Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep."
From this I understand that my job is to teach my children the Word of the Lord. I also read that children are a blessing to me. As they grow up they will be like arrows to the enemy (if they are trained correctly.)

So, if my job is to train up children who are knowledgable about Scripture who can stand firm in their faith - why are we spending all this time memorizing the multiplication tables?

I know math is important. I know the ultimate goal of education is to give my child a chance to succeed in college and work successfully in his career of choice. But, is that God's plan for our children? Yes, the Bible says we are to work for our food but nowhere do I read that our work/career/vocation is to be the ultimate goal of life.

That's what parenting has become. We are guides who help steer our children to the best possible income. But God tells us to teach them His word when we lie down and when we wake up. (That sounds like a 24/7 job to me.) How can we do that when we are preparing them for spelling tests, science quizzes and field trips to the symphony?

Some would say that we cannot tell our children what to believe. They say we should expose them to a wide array of experiences so they can choose for themselves what they believe. But, the Bible says in Joshua 24:15, "If you decide that it's a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you'd rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you're now living. As for me and my family, we'll worship God."

The children God has given us are our responsibility to train up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Lord our God blesses us with offspring and he commands us to teach them His law. This is not an option. So why do we turn our children over to non-Believers at age 5 for about 8 hours a day? Why have we shifted our parenting goals from that of training Christian soldiers to training miniature athletes?

Do you have parenting goals or are you moving about daily to the beat of your calendar's drum?


A note about church....

This from a former pastor of ours and it pretty much sums up what I've been thinking....

Hey, have a rock band for an outreach gathering, and do the drama thing in the park. But don't confuse these with worship on the Lord's Day. And don't think that by dumbing everything down and seeking to offer the best show in town that lasting churches will be planted. I'm not saying it won't draw a crowd, but I have to question whether or not it will build the Kingdom.

Go here for the whole article.


Potty Training Perks

We are potty training. Enough said. The process did elicit an interesting conversation with the potty-er in training. It went like this...

Mom: "Gideon, do you need to go potty?"
Gideon: "No. Mom, God helps me go potty."
Mom: "O--K-- yes, God helps us do the things we need to do."
Gideon: "Yep, and Jesus gives me candy."
Mom: (long pause) "Can I have some?"

Don't ask me.


Sleep! Glorious Sleep!

Woo Hoo! Our newborn is sleeping through the night. Not every night, but most nights. Wow, does that make a difference in my days. Last week I elbowed by husband at 5am and whispered with glee, "Hey! Wake up! Can you believe it? She slept 8 1/2 hours!!" He responded by saying, "Hey! I know how to sleep through the night too, watch me." Some things only a mother can appreciate.

In the blogosphere it's easy to find differing opinions about Gary Ezzo's book Baby Wise. I read this in the late 90s with the birth of our first child. Like many other parents, the book gave me such relief in learning that I could manage this child rather than having to put my entire life on hold. (After 5 children I have learned there is no greater than joy than putting my life on hold for a child, but that's another topic.)

Baby Wise gave us the tools to learn how to help our children get a full feeding, and how to help them fall asleep on their own. The book and it's author are not perfect. Before I discuss the book with anyone, I always preface it by saying that this method can easily be taken to extremes. Baby Wise has to be used with much caution. However, it has worked for us.

The best advice I can give to a mother of a newborn is to help her baby (at about 4 weeks of age) have some awake-time after her feeding, then let her fall asleep. For me, that's Baby Wise in a nutshell.

Every child is different, thank God He created them that way. My children began sleeping through the night anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months old. My methods were the same with each one. Sure, I was a little less rigid with each baby but overall I did the same thing with each child. Each one did sleep through the night, but at different ages.

Right now I am enjoying our little Rachel. She is a beautiful baby girl and such a joy to us all. I am thankful for the full nights of sleep, and even more thankful that she is healthy and therefore able to rest peacefully.


Gideon's Words

Tonight as I was getting Gideon out of the bath he did it again. He came up with another cute word. His vocabulary cracks us all up. I don't ever want to forget these, so while they are still rolling off his tongue I thought I'd make a note of them so I can always cherish this phase. He won't be a 2 year old much longer. Here are a few of our favorites.

wrinkles = sprinkles
snow cone = nose cone
thanks = fanks
I don't know = not know!
McDonald's = Mickey Don-uhls
Tahoe = Ha-hoe
WXY&Z = W wex Y & Z
robots = robops
elevator = alligator
basketball = backusball

and my all time favorite....
Mom says, "It's time to go!" Gideon says, "Five minutes!"