Monday, February 27, 2012

It's the Little Things...

I have found myself feeling down that February is almost over and we still haven't completed our family outreach project for the month... between illnesses and extra work hours for my husband, we actually have not even planned one out!  (Told you we were very human!)

However, the more I thought about it...

Our plan is to be intentional... To look for opportunities...

And the Lord gently reminded me... it isn't about doing big things, well thought out things, elaborate things... It really is simply, the little things...

  • taking a restaurant gift card to the new neighbor
  • checking in regularly with friends who have had sick little ones
  • praying for friends who are looking for better jobs
  • sending a care package to my mom with blank cards and stamps (she loves to send out a ray of sunshine!)
  • a husband working an extra shift so a coworker can attend a funeral
  • giving a few dollars to the couple standing near a busy stop light who are having a tough time
  • a listening ear for a young mom trying to face the challenges of a blended family
  • a daughter who is working on a joint story with her grandmother (they are both enjoying this project so much & get so tickled when the other's installment of the story arrives in the mailbox)
  • praying for family friends (plural!) who are working through the foreign adoption process
  • a daughter who sends 'Get Well' cards out to sick friends
  • a husband giving a ride to a coworker

    Wow. I just surprised myself with how many little things we have done. 

    No, I am not patting my family on the back here... just pointing out how the little things can add up. Those little things, seen often by little eyes and heard often by little ears, will become embedded into the hearts of our children.

    THAT is our goal.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Seeds Family Worship: Purity

    My husband and I have really enjoyed the music from Seeds Family Worship.  The music is a great tool in helping our children (and ourselves!) memorize Bible scripture.

    Seeds has partnered with FamilyLife for a youth project.  Seeds has released a new digital album entitled Purity. Songs include:
    • Hope and a Future – Jeremiah 29:11
    • Do Not Awaken Love – Song of Solomon 8:4
    • Your Word – Psalm 119:105
    • Keep Your Heart – Proverbs 4:23
    • Not Your Own – I Corinthians 6:18-20
    • Bad Company – I Corinthians 15:33-34
    • He Humbled Himself – Philippians 2:3-5,8
    • Preeminent – Colossians 1:18

    The new album will be part of FamilyLife's Passport2Purity curriculum in MAY.

    This is a serious project directed toward youth... and their parents.

     Parents, you are challenged to take the Parent's Purity Pledge. When you do, you will receive a free song download from the Purity album AND a free devotional download from the Passport2Purity curriculum by FamilyLife.

    Please take a few minutes to read through the pledge and then make the commitment to walk with your children as they learn about and live out a life of purity.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    A Sweet Moment in Time...

    I awoke this morning with a foggy head.  It soon erupted into a full blown headache and the children were so full of exuberant life... and I admit... I got grumpy. Very grumpy.

    My sweet daughter brought me some medicine.  Ibuprofen and two cups of coffee later, the headache began to lift.  I quickly realized my normally loud home was rather quiet... which can only mean two things: 1) A small miracle has happened or 2) Trouble is afoot!

    A quick tour of our small home found my youngest (7 months) and oldest (11 years) playing quietly in our daughter's room.  Sweet! (She is such a great big sister to her little brothers!)

    Next I found our other three children (9 yrs, 4 yrs, & 2yrs) all gathered around the kitchen table drawing.  Sweetly helping each other as needed.  Kind words. Kind voices. Encouraging and lifting each other up... "Great job on that truck!" "Oh! That's an awesome fish!"

    Living out this week's memory verse (Ephesians 4:31-32)... right here in our home.

    Now, as a homeschooling mom with 5 children in her home almost constantly, my prayers throughout the day tend to be 'arrow prayers'. You know... "Lord, help me!" "Lord give me the words." "Lord? HOW am I supposed to handle this?"   Quick. Simple. Pleas for help.

    But today... My 'arrow prayer' was different.  "Oh Lord, how precious. What a sweet blessing, thank you, Lord!"

    I also sent a quick text to my husband telling him of this wonderful moment in my day, lifting his spirits as well. 

    A small glimmer of sunshine, letting me know, that yes, my efforts are taking hold...
    Reminding me...

    "Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest if you do not give up." ~Galatians 6:9~

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    The Family in the Mirror

    "If you want to change the World...
    Start with your own Family."
    ~Mother Teresa~

    Got that cup coffee ready? Let's chat.

    Our Mission is to teach our children to serve our Father.  We are working monthly on family outreach ideas... some simple, some more complex... but all working toward servant's hearts for our children.

    Yet, first and foremost, they must learn to love family.  It is the learning blocks to the future relationships.  But, boy, oh boy! It's tough to teach children to love each other!

    Our older children have very kind hearts toward others and often surprise us with their sensitivity.  But, at home? With each other? Some days I think they have declared war on each other! 

    Lately, attitudes and tones of voices have been... um... rocky.  I find myself sounding like a broken record!!  "Speak nicely. No yelling.  Be kind......." 

    So my dear husband has decided that since simple apologies do not work at correcting the behavior and establishing the desired behavior...
    • Mistreating a sibling (either verbally or physically... either mild offense or strong offense) = timeout (regardless of their age!)
    • An apology is required (Not just a mumbled "Sorry", but "I'm sorry I yelled at you for standing near my door")
    • For EACH undesired behavior, the child must do TWO good things for the offended child... they decide the two good things, not mom or dad (Ex: "NO! THAT'S MINE!" while jerking away a toy... "I'm sorry I yelled at you and grabbed the toy. (1)Would you like to play cars in my room? (2)Here, this red one is my favorite, but you can play with it for now.")
    The goal being:  To make them STOP and THINK before REACTING to their sibling. 

    They are also guided in the 'right' way of handling the situation should it arise in the future. (Ex: Instead of "GO AWAY!!!...  "It really bugs me when you stand over my shoulder like that while I am on the computer. Could you please find something else to do?... Mom, I've asked him/her to please find something else to do while I am doing my math lesson, but he/she will not go away. Could you help?" - without whining or bratty attitude, of course!)

    God has given us such an amazing, awesome, HUGE responsibility in raising each of these precious Blessings!  So we continue to pray and seek His guidance in this crazy, exciting, rewarding path of parenthood.  We continue to do our Monthly Family Outreach projects. And we continue to focus on the heart of each of our children, daily... teaching them to love each other, daily.

    “Thus I command you to love one another.
    John 15:17(MSNT)

    When we change our hearts at home... we CAN change the WORLD!  It will just spill over into every thing we do! So, in the words of an old song... (go ahead, sing along, I did...)

    "If you wanna make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself and then make the change
    You gotta get it right while you got the time
    ’Cause when you close your heart, then you close your mind
    With that man in the mirror , oh yeah
    I’m asking him to change his ways
    Better change, no message could have been any clearer
    If you wanna make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself and then make a change"

    Man in the Mirror / Michael Jackson

    And oh, if you have a great idea to use in training these hearts... be sure to leave a comment for me and the other readers... Thanks! :)