Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Did I Do Today?

Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 3:30.
The diapers soaked a little longer,
The odor grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilled the day before
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall
Will likely be there still next fall.
The dirty streaks on those windowpanes
Will still be there next time it rains.
Shame on you, you sit and say,
Just what did you do today?

I held a baby till he slept, 
I held a toddler while he wept.
I played a game of hide and seek,
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess that's true.
Unless you think that what I've done,
Might be important to someone
With deep blue eyes and soft blonde hair,
If that is true...I've done my share.
Gavin and I at the Ranger's game tonight
This poem was found on Gramma Hugs

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 9

Lesson 9: Self-Control
Devotional Text:
James 3:2-8
2 All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.  3 By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions.  4 It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction.  5 Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.  It takes only a spark to start a forest fire!   6 The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person's entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself.  7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed.  8 But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison. (CEV)

Memory Verse::
2 Timothy 1:7b The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. (CEV)

What does it mean to be in control?

  • When you are using a controller for a video game, you make the player move by the actions that you take.
  • When you control a car, you use a small steering wheel to control a large car, or like in our devotional text, a ship’s captain uses a small rudder to control a large ship.
How can we be “self-controlled”?

  • As we learn the other aspects of good sportsmanship, like patience, fairness, honesty, and being humble, it is easier to be self-controlled, but we can’t do it all by ourselves!
  • That’s why God gave us the Holy Spirit.  He’s kind of like the cricket in Pinocchio, our conscience!  He’s always there, right by our side, even inside!  He reminds us to do the right thing, follow the rules, hold our temper and to be compassionate.  God’s word tells us that God has given us a spirit (a way to live our lives) of Power, Love and Self-Control.  We have help!
Next Lesson: Compassion & Mercy (final lesson)
Just joining us?  Start with Lesson 1

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Discounts & Freebies

Legos, Candles, Homeschool, Sonic - hmm, sounds suspiciously like the rest of my life...

I wanted to share some good deals with you!  First, my favorite scented candles, body care and natural home cleaning products: Gold Canyon!
Shop my website and save up to 20%!
I just LOVE the All Purpose Rosemary Mint Cleaner!  Also wouldn't be without my Fresh Orange Room Spray :)
 20% off your purchase of $100 or more! Use code: MEMDAY20
The Emerge body line is so nice!  I also really like the 3 layer candle in the middle with the starfish charm - only available for the summer!
15% off your purchase of $75 - $99.99! Use code: MEMDAY15
The popular Warm Welcome fragrance has been colored yellow and fittingly used in the Support Our Troops candle. 10% of the retail value from each candle sold will be donated to Operation Homefront in the U.S. and CFPFSS in Canada.

10% off your purchase of $50 - $74.99! Use Code: MEMDAY10
In addition, I will donate 5% of the purchase price (after discounts) to your choice of either Camp Sol or Wounded Warrior Project. Orders over $80 (after discount) will generate a 10% donation!

About Gold Canyon: We offer a complete line of candles, body and home products including home fragrance in the form of scented candles, Room Sprays and Sachets, eco-friendly, natural, green cleaning products, home décor with various candle holders; personal care with hand scrub, hand silk, body lather, body lotion, body polish, body crème, bath soak, body mist and candle care products such as wick dippers and trimmers.  I am an Independent Demonstrator for Gold Canyon.

CurrClick is giving away 4 FREE Patriotic resources to ALL!  This is, of course, good for homeschooling families, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about this holiday!

Now  -Tuesday, May 31st on their Facebook page, where you'll get 4 awesome Memorial Day Freebies!

Use this code: memorialdayFREE upon checkout when downloading the following FREE Memorial Day resources! &filters=0_0_0_0_0

Thanks to The Frugal Girls for the head's up on this one:
Sonic Free Kid's Meal on their birthday!

And Finally:
Get a free subscription to Lego magazine.  My boys are excited about this one!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Applied Labels

I recently had the opportunity to review Dishwasher and Laundry Safe Labels for Kids and Baby from Applied Labels.  This is their "Classic" style label.  

The ordering process was a breeze - all online and lots of fun options.  I went for maximum versatility and chose the 2 line with our family name on top and phone number on bottom.  I couldn't wait to get them in, and it didn't take long at all.  When they arrived, the first thing I did was start looking for things to label!
They work great on baby bottles
 The most impressive thing that I have found is that they do actually stay on through washing!  I used them on Aaron's baby bottles.  It doesn't matter whether they are washed in the dishwasher, hand-washed or sterilized in micro-steam bags - they don't let go.  They don't even peel at the edges.
and on the diaper changing wallet too :)
I tried to hide them from my toddler - he loves anything sticky:
"Are those panty-liners?" you ask... no!  They are disposable shoes!
The only thing that I have found that they do not survive is a 2 year-old intent on removing it from his sippy cup.  It took him a while, but he prevailed.  And, apparently I am no good at hiding:
He "decorated" the back of the box they arrived in.
(no, he didn't draw the face and sign it LOL)
Overall, I am impressed!  You can visit Applied Labels on their website, Twitter page or Facebook - tell them Noel at [ReDeemed] sent you!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product reviewgiveaway Disclosure.  I am not compensated in any other way if you purchase this product.  
If you have an item you'd like me to review, please e-mail me.

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 6

Lesson 6: Integrity

Memory Verse:
Psalm 101:2-3 I will be careful to live a blameless life … I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. (NLT)
New Word:

[in-teg-ri-tee] –noun
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

  • What does it mean to blame someone?  (You say that someone did something or caused something to happen, usually something wrong.)
  • How do you feel when you've done something wrong, and then you get “blamed” for it?  
  • How about when you've done nothing wrong and are accused of something?  
  • What do you think it means to be blameLESS?  (It means that there is no cause for blame, the charges won’t stick.)  
If you are blameless, you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve followed the rules, then you have integrity.  That’s what integrity means, to follow the rules.  In our memory verse, the Psalmist says that he will have integrity in his own home.  What do you think that could mean?  I think that it means that we should have integrity, with our families, but also when no-one is looking, when no-one would know whether we broke the rules or not.

Next Lesson: Pride & Humility
Just joining us?  Start with Lesson 1

Sunday, May 22, 2011

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 5

Lesson 5: Honesty & Cheating
Memory Verse:
Proverbs 11:1 The LORD hates cheating, but he delights in honesty. (NLT)
Watch "The Cheating Scales of Bullemanka" from 3-2-1- Penguins


2 Timothy 2:1-7 (Doing Your Best for God)  1. So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. 2. Pass on what you heard from me--the whole congregation saying Amen!-to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. 3. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. 4. A soldier on duty doesn't get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. 5. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. 6. It's the diligent farmer who gets the produce. 7. Think it over. God will make it all plain. (The Message)

  • The best professional athletes rarely have a "win at any cost" attitude. You're more likely to hear them talk about how much they love their sport and how much personal satisfaction and enjoyment they get from it. 
  • Honesty and integrity should be the two hallmarks of any athlete. Good sportsmanship means playing honestly and fairly at all times, and never indulging in any type of cheating. Taking performance-enhancing drugs, using illegal equipment, and committing “dirty fouls” are all ways in which one can abuse the enjoyment and spirit of a particular sport. Only losers resort to these methods. (taken from an article in The Catholic Exchange by Kevin J. Wright)

Next Lesson: Integrity
Just joining us?  Start with Lesson 1

Saturday, May 21, 2011

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Fairness

Memory verse:
Leviticus 19:15a  Be fair, no matter who is on trial. (CEV)

1a. Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator.
1b. Just to all parties; equitable: a compromise that is fair to both factions.
2. Consistent with rules, logic, or ethics: a fair tactic.
What does it mean to be fair?

  • It means to have the same rules for everyone.  If Billy can’t take an extra turn because he landed on green, then neither can the rest of the players.  If landing on 100 gives Adam 100 points, then every player that lands on 100 gets 100 points.  If Steve cannot jump his own playing piece, then no one else can either.
  • Sometimes we want to favor, or be extra nice to, our friends.  That’s ok, but not when it means that we leave other players out.  Being fair means that everyone plays by the same rules.  When the game is fair, and everyone is playing fair, then you can know for sure that whoever wins, really won the game.
Just joining us?  Start with Lesson 1

Friday, May 20, 2011

Free Homeschool tickets for the 2011 State Fair of Texas

Free Homeschool tickets for the 2011 State Fair of Texas are good any Thursday during the run of the Fair.

The program is for Kindergarten thru 12th grade beginning with 5 year olds - no Pre-K. We do not have a ticket program for children younger than 5.

The program is for families living within a 100 mile radius of the Fairground. Each family must submit individually to avoid duplicate requests. We do not accept requests from homeschool groups or associations.

Please submit your request on school letter-head, if you have it. If not, any paper/stationery if fine, just make sure to include your name and address.

Include the ages and grade levels of each student. Requests without this information will be re-turned unfilled.
We can send one teacher ticket and one principal ticket per family. If you would like a teacher and principal ticket, please include your request in the body of your letter.

Include a daytime phone number where we can reach you in case you have left out any information.

Include a business size stamped envelope. Please DO NOT ADDRESS the envelope in any way as we will print address labels. The envelope must be business size because of the length of the tickets.

All requests must be POSTMARKED AND COMPLETE by the deadline date of Friday, May 27, 2011. Incomplete requests and requests arriving after this date will be returned.

Mail your request to:

State Fair of Texas
ATTN: Lisa Boubel
PO BOX 150009
Dallas, TX 75315

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 5

I'm excited to be participating in the 31 Days to Clean Challenge over at Joyful Mothering.  You can get a copy of the e-book on Amazon
(just click on the picture on the left!)  I'm WAY behind, but I'm not stressing about it!

Today talked about priorities.  I thought I'd take a look back at the priorities I identified nearly a year ago and see how they've changed.  She also suggests rating them on a scale of 1 (needs work) - 5 (doing good) to track your progress.

1. Spiritual Life
   a. Daily walk (no change) -3
   b. Church attendance (no change) -4

2. Family Life  
   a. Husband - date nights, evening time -3
             b. Family Meal time (was "a") -3
   c. Home-keeping -3
 3. Homeschool/Education
   a. Maintain an educational atmosphere (no change) -4
   b. Be consistent with chosen curriculum (moved to an unschooling/minimalist approach)
   c. Karate classes (no change) -4
   d. Piano lessons for Jordan (at home) (no change) -2

4. Church
   a. Volunteering (Worship team, etc) (no change) -3
   b. Activities (no change) -5

5. Community
   a. Business events
   b. Karate Demos/events
   c. Cultural Arts Council
   d. CampSol volunteer-ism -3

I really like the way that she wrote a mission statement and action plan for each one.  I would love to do that!

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Sportsmanship & Winning

We've all seen this around:

"Second place is the first loser" - that's just not very nice!  Yet is is EVERYWHERE!  How do we need to behave as Christians when we win?

Devotional Text:
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (tough times)
sports•man•ship  (spôrts m n-sh p , sp rts -) - n.
1. The fact or practice of participating in sports or a sport.
2. Conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports,
especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing.
Winning is everything – or is it?

  • Remember that in every game, there are winners & losers
  • How many winners are there?  Usually one person, or one team.  
  • That means that when you win, there are quite a few people who didn't win.  They will probably feel bad that they lost, they might even try to accuse you of cheating, or being unfair.

You should encourage lesser players

  • “A friend loves at all times” - even when he wins the game!  
  • How do you like to be treated when you have lost?  Then treat other players that way when you win.

Next Lesson: Fairness
Just joining us?  Start with Lesson 1

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 2

Click here to see Lesson 1: It’s just a game … does Christian Character matter?

Lesson 2: Sportsmanship and Losing
Devotional Text:
Proverbs 18:17-19
Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.  Casting lots can end arguments and settle disputes between powerful opponents.  It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars. (NLT)
New Word:
sports•man•ship  (spôrts m n-sh p , sp rts -) - n.
1. The fact or practice of participating in sports or a sport.
2. Conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports,
especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing.
It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game…

  • Have you ever heard anyone say that?  It seems a little funny, doesn't it?  I mean, why play, if not to win?  Nobody wants to lose, do they?  Yet in every game there are winners and losers, that’s why HOW you play the game is more important than who wins and loses.
  • Remember that we learned last week that we are to honor Christ in everything that we do?  We can honor Christ, even when we lose, by losing graciously.  That means that you don’t call the other person names, or accuse them of cheating, just to make your loss seem better.

Respect for your Opponent – without them, there would be no game!

  • If you accuse people of cheating (when they are playing fairly), then you will hurt their feelings.
  • If you get angry when someone else wins, you steal his or her joy in the victory.
  • Remember last week’s devotion “You are better off to obey God and suffer for doing right than to suffer for doing wrong”?  It would be better to accept the loss and “suffer” knowing that you could have played better, than to wrongly accuse your friends!  After all, listen again to today’s verse – it is very hard to make up with a friend that you have offended, even harder than capturing a heavily guarded city!  It’s much better to lose graciously than to say or do something that would offend your friends.  Just think, no one likes to play with a “sore loser” - one day you might have no one left to play with!  Sure, you could win every game, but that wouldn't really be fun, would it?

Next Lesson: Sportsmanship & Winning

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

LRH: Good Sportsmanship Lesson Plan - Lesson 1

Several years ago I taught a class on good sportsmanship at the For His Glory homeschool co-op.  This lesson plan could be used for a Sunday School class, small group, homeschool or just about any group of kids!

Lesson 1: It’s just a game … does Christian Character matter?

Devotional Text:
1 Peter 3:15  Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. … Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ. You are better off to obey God and suffer for doing right than to suffer for doing wrong. (CEV)

Memory Verse::
1 Peter 3:15 Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.

Abiding by the Rules – Why is it important?

  • We are to honor Christ in everything that we do.  Following the rules is one way to honor God
  • The 10 Commandments tell us that God thinks that rules are important – and rules are good!  How else would we know how to play the games?
Teamwork & Following Directions
  • Many games require teamwork – working together.  It is important to be able to talk to your teammates, and more important, to be able to listen to them!
  • Just like rules are important, following the directions is important too!  Many times there is someone who is older, or who has played a game more often, who can help you to understand the rules.  It is important to listen to them and follow their directions.  I am going to be this person for our class time.  It is important that you listen to me and follow my directions, so that everyone can have fun and learn how to play lots of new games!
I printed several copies of the "Dot Game", like this one from Mom's Minivan (a great resource for road-trips!)  Review the rules, ask if the kids have any questions and have fun!

Next lesson: Sportsmanship and Losing

If you have a Kindle you can get the game for free here:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ups and Down's (Syndrome that is!)

I can't believe that Aaron is nearly 5 months old already!  My how time flies when you can't tell night from day and are running on too little sleep are having fun!

I just thought I'd update you on Aaron's progress.  It's fantastic!  Our pediatrician even said if she had not seen the test results herself, she would not believe he has Down's Syndrome.  He is hitting every major "typical infant" milestone.  He's sleeping through the night, rolling over, reaching for toys, vocalizing...  So much more than I ever expected!  Thank you for your prayers, and thanks be to God!

Here are some of my favorite pics:
"My 2 year old brother wakes me up.  A Lot!"

"Is it time to eat yet?  Pretty Please!?!"

"Mommy's so silly!"


"Yo!  What up?  I got bathed!"

"My favorite spot, right next to mommy's heart!"
If you have an infant 0-12 months, link up over at the Baby Blessings Blog Hop!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I've been schooled

I love that the Holy Spirit teaches us.

I've been working hard to get a concept through to my children: It's about the heart and the motive.  For instance, if you want to kiss your little brother (or your big brother!) and they don't want to be kissed - what is a kiss?  It's an expression of love.  Is it loving to hold them down and yell "I'm just trying to kiss you!"  Nope!

If you want to hold the door for a lady and she wants to do it herself - what is holding the door?  Being a gentleman, showing kindness.  Is it kind to stand there with your back against the door and refuse to let her open it herself?  Uh, no!

The most recent conversation came after one didn't say "thank you" to the other for getting them something.  I asked the offended child "Did you do it for the 'thank you'?"  The reply was "no".  I went on to explain that when you serve someone you should do it because you love them and want to show God's love to them.  If you're doing it for the 'thank you', you're doing it for the wrong reason.

Fast forward to Wednesday night.  I was sick, my ears hurt, I got about 4 hours of sleep before the pitter patter of little feet and hungry call of a newborn greeted me.  I fixed breakfast, woke the older kids, nursed the baby and directed chores.  I resisted the urge to crawl back in bed.  I fixed lunch, washed dishes, washed laundry, vacuumed the living room, broke up a fight, took a medical collections call and took the toddler to Sonic.  I worked up the courage to check on my sleeping baby, since it had been over 2 hours.  Dad came home early (and unexpectedly) because the weather was bad (and he had a migraine).  He entered to delighted squeals of "Daddy's home!", went to the bedroom, changed clothes and came to the dining room to find me working on a custom jewelry order.

He looked into the kitchen and said "Is the kitchen table here to block someone or did someone sweep?"  Huh?  That's what you noticed?  The table out of place, not the clean floor?  Not the piles of folded laundry?  Not the clean counters?  Not the clean floor in the living room?  Not your wife subsidizing the family income, while she's sick?

I forgot my own lesson.  I picked a fight on the way to church, lamenting my day and how he didn't notice anything that we had done!  His response?  "I didn't feel good either, but I still had to go to work too."   My thought?  "But you get PAID!"  I didn't say anymore, we had arrived for our small group, where we discussed the importance of the Holy Spirit, being filled to overflowing so that we could share the gospel and serve others.

I felt a little teaching, but still was discontent.  I was moved even more the next day when I read the following:
'If you're not happy with who you are then chances are you want to be like someone else. The problem is God created you to be you.' - Mark Brown
and then:
I don't know the key to success --- but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. Bill Cosby
and then:
Want to blow the cloud cover off your gray day? Accept God’s direction. -Max Lucado
and finally:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9 NIV
I need to accept that it is God's will and plan for me to be right where I am, right now.  Snotty noses, puke fountains, sibling rivalry, pre-teen angst, rolling eyeballs, dirty diapers, mountains of laundry, dirty dishes... this IS my natural habitat for this season.  I can't believe that after all this time I still need to be taught (again and again and again) that IT'S THE HEART!  It's the how and why of what I do, whether anyone ever notices or not.  Even when I feel invisible.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

LRH: Encouragement for the minimalist approach

I'm so glad that I was shown this post by "That Mom"!

If you've been following our homeschool journey, then you know that I've wavered between curriculum and unschooling.  You probably don't know (because I haven't blogged it!) that we've also strongly considered sending the big kids back to traditional school.  A charter school, but still formal education.

I don't want to send them back to school, it contradicts all that I've come to believe about how children learn!  I do have a (long) way to go towards gaining some semblance of control over my home.  I've been working on this through the 31 Days to Clean Challenge.

Here is my favorite part of That Mom's post (emphasis mine):
4. What is the goal of a real education? One of the common concerns often expressed to us over the years about homeschooling is whether or not we could possibly teach our children everything. My answer is always “no” followed by the correct observation that there is no teacher or institution or family who could possibly teach everything. And it shouldn’t even be a goal!  The vast amount of information, especially technological information, that is generated increases exponentially each year.  Rather than worrying about knowing it all, our goal as homeschoolers ought to be to raise and become, ourselves, lifelong learners.  This is accomplished first by providing an environment rich in life experiences and then giving our children an introduction to ideas and concepts outside of those experiences.  By teaching and training in research skills and not uploading them with information and allowing them plenty of space to study things they are curious about (delight centered learning), we have given them the tools to be successful no matter where the Lord leads them.

I'm thankful for this encouragement and affirmation that we are still on the right path!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 4

I'm excited to be participating in the 31 Days to Clean Challenge over at Joyful Mothering.  You can get a copy of the e-book on Amazon
(just click on the picture on the left!)  I'm running a little behind, but I'm not stressing about it!

The Mary challenge today was a breeze for me!  My home feels MORE thank lived in.  It definitely is no challenge to me to have others over, let their kids run and play, and entertain.  This is my "sweet spot".  My only challenge in this area is I tend to over-think things.

I spent many years as an event planner, so I like to make things special.  For example: We have a group of ladies that get together once a month to play BUNCO.  We take turns hosting and each person sets a food theme and others bring dishes to share.  I can't just say "Mexican food".  I've set the theme as "Beach Blanket BUNCO"

It's a theme party, 1965 attire and beehive hair optional (but encouraged!).  The fare?  Beach Picnic Food.  I think this is fun, great fun!  The thought has occurred to me though, there are others who are not thrilled with theme parties.  They might not get joy out of figuring out something "Beach Picnic-Worthy".  I am sure there are some (many?) who won't find it amusing to dress the part.

So, in my effort to provide hospitality, have I caused grumbling?

The Martha challenge - I got off the hook again!  We're still in the kitchen, where my microwave and oven was throughly cleaned by the maids last week!  And, the microwave had a tough up yesterday when I boiled over while trying to make cream of wheat cereal for the first time.  I ruined it.  Twice.  I'll stick to oatmeal!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Free Homeschool Resources! HURRY!

Homeschool Buyers Co-op
#1 Way to Save

Click the link above to sign up for the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, then click here to get your free 500 points! They've put all the rewards in the Smartpoints Reward Vendor Hall to half price, so 500 points will get you a free resource!

I think I'll try The Quarter Mile Math "an award-winning math practice game software from Barnum Software that has won kudos by numerous homeschooling organizations and is used in all 1,100 Sylvan Learning Centers. Students race against their own previous best five races to give them a challenging but unintimidating way learn their math facts.

Parenting Philosophies - (get a cup of coffee - it’s a long one!)

Another one from the archives... October of 2009.  I can tell a definite difference in my reflections on my upbringing now!  I wish that I had been a little less sarcastic in this writing, as I'm sure that it was misread as caustic!  I wish I had included many of my favorite memories of childhood, like impromptu rubber-band fights with my parents, midnight trips to What-A-Burger and downtown to pay bills, family vacations and "country church" (When we'd just go for a drive and pull over somewhere to read the Bible together!)  Ah, well I know that I am a work in progress, here's a little proof!

A friend posted a blog about her parenting ideas and I thought it might be interesting to do the same.  We are all so different, yet all of us love and care for our children.

A pivotal moment in my own parenting career was a word of wisdom from a dear friend.  I was expressing my concern that I wasn't doing something "right" and telling her of my search for information.  She told me "You care.  That makes you a good parent.  Bad parents DON'T care."  That forever changed my outlook and gave me a much needed dose of confidence!

My background:  I was raised in a very strict Christian home.  We weren't allowed to watch unrestricted TV (we had to use a highlighter on the TV guide to mark the program we were interested in and get it approved, only 1 hour per day and if there was a 2 hour movie on, my brother and I had to go in together to watch the whole thing!), we didn't have cable until I was about 12 and we only had one TV.

We were home schooled to protect us from the evils of peer pressure, drugs and alcohol and of course pre-marital sex.  Also, this prevented us from being "indoctrinated into the left-wing agenda of socialism and one-world government", evolution, and the "re-writing of history to eliminate our Christian heritage".

No toilet-papering or practical jokes of any kind were allowed.

We attended church regularly, although not excessively.  We listened to Christian radio (mostly talk radio - I hated that!) and I was banned from listening to Amy Grant after she "crossed over into the mainstream media".  (Bummer, I really liked her - anyone want to go with me to the concert in Ft. Worth on Nov. 14th?)

We were told that pre-marital sex is a sin and that you'd probably get pregnant anyway, so you shouldn't "do it".

Fast forward to college:  I thought everyone was like me, boy was I in for a surprise!  My first roommate's best friend was a vegan (didn't even know what that was) who wore all black and had her tongue pierced!  I thought she was a Satanist for sure!  I lasted one semester at a Public" university and transferred to (insert angelic music here) Southwestern Assemblies of God University.  There, I was certain, everyone would be more like me.  Another big surprise!  Apparently even Christian families are different! Many of my friends weren't virgins!  Some thought that drinking was ok!  Some were opposed to Homeschooling all together!  Many watched terrible TV shows, like 90210 and Friends!  Oh, the scandal, oh the horror, oh the reality!  (I hope that you are reading this with the touch of previously forbidden sarcasm with which it was written!)

I married William, who was raised in a Christian home, but much more liberal.  They had TV's in every room, including the kitchen and bathroom (seriously).  He watched anything he wanted, including horror movies when he was only 9 or 10 (and he wasn't a Satanist – my world was changing by the minute!)  He smoked at 14, and cursed so much the visiting airmen in his parent's military home were embarrassed (not that's something!) 

Opposites attract?  You think?  LOL

So, parenting was a major discussion issue in our relationship.  We each had things that we were committed to about our upbringing, as well as things that we hated and promised to "never do to our children".  We decided early on that our style would be a blend of our upbringings, choosing the best from each.  We think of our style as "conscientious parenting". 

We learn all we can, we have goals in place of what we want our children to learn and be, always being aware of what God-given talents and dreams they each have.  So, we have to be "students of our children".  We look at each situation as an opportunity to learn something new about our children, listen to them and then guide them in the way that we feel is most appropriate.  The very early years were spent in a "traditional" way of parenting, instruction and correction (lather, rinse, repeat – ad nauseum!  It takes a lot of dedication and patience to "instill" character in children who are born with a natural selfishness (aka "sin nature")) We have high expectations ("children will live up to what you expect of them, so aim high!") and try to correct with Grace, after all, God parents us with Grace – he doesn't smite us every time we make a mistake!

We believe that no matter what discipline method you choose, the most important thing is consistency.  If you say "if you stand on the table one more time, I'm gonna…" then you had better! 

We also believe that children learn much more from what they see, not what your say.  If they see you return the extra when you are given too much change, or go back into the store to pay for something that was under the car seat and forgotten, then they will learn to be honest.  If they see you going out of your way to help someone, then they will learn to value kindness.  If they see you choosing to do right, they will be more inclined to choose right for themselves.  The biggest turn-off for me is hypocrisy.  I saw people who were very "religious" and not very kind.  I saw people who were all about rules and the way things should be, but not about the people. 

When I became an adult and had a true relationship and experience with God, I realized that He is much more interested in me and the motive of my heart than whether I say and do the "right" things.  That's a principle that we try to work with in our children.  We try to see past the action and into the motive.  For example, we are teaching our son to be kind and "gentlemanly".  Naturally a part of this is learning to hold the door for others, especially women and girls.  Jordan hit an age where she didn't want Calvin holding the door for her, she wanted to do it herself! This was a perfect opportunity to remind Calvin that the point of holding the door is to show kindness.  If someone wants to open it for themselves, it is kind to let them do it.  (And to teach Jordan that accepting an act of kindness is a gift that you can give to others!)

We really do believe that sex has it's proper place inside of marriage. We have seen the devastation in other's lives that has been wrought by the wide abandonment of this principle.  We have had our own share of troubles by indiscretions prior to marriage that stole a part of the Glory that God intended to be shared by a husband and wife.  If you stop for a moment and think of how wonderful it would be if the whole world shared this conviction… There would be no molestation, rape or incest. There would be little or no STDs.  There would be greatly reduced "unwanted" pregnancies.  There would be no adultery, which would certainly reduce the amount of divorce and marital strife.  There would be no pornography, no "kiddie-porn", no sexual exploitation of women, children and even men.  Not to mention the emotional benefits of having a fully trusting relationship, never wondering if you were "as good" as someone else, wondering whether your spouse was thinking of someone else while you were together.  No pressure for teens to lose their virginity, no unwed mothers, no shotgun weddings, no stigma for virginity…  Wow, back to reality I guess. 

So, if all of that is possible, why wouldn't I want the very best for my kids?  Why wouldn't I strongly encourage them to keep sex in it's intended place?  This brings me to another point that is troublesome: Sheltering.  It's a dirty word, as in "They really shelter their kids."  But the reality is that sheltering isn't bad, it's our job as parents.  What is inexcusable is sheltering without providing information and training, equipping children to make wise choices for themselves.  I was told that sex was for marriage.  That's all.  There was no guidance of what to do with my raging hormones or the thrilling feeling of holding hands, hugging and kissing.  I read every book in the Christian bookstore where I worked, desperately seeking an answer to the question "How far is too far?"  I found nothing, only empty phrases like "ask Jesus how far" or "pray about it."  Those are true, but not practical instruction for a frantic teen!  How I wish I had had a resource like those from Dannah Gresh ( who takes girls through a series of questions about what they want to save for marriage, what they want to save for engagement, what they want to save for a serious boyfriend…  It gets girls involved in the thought process, a crucial element to "owning" your decision to wait, not just trying really hard to wait because it's the right thing to do.

My oldest kids are 7 and 9, we've already had "the talk" with them. Actually that's not true, it's not a single talk, it's a series of dialogues and captured moments that we take to show them what God says, tell them what we believe, tell them what others believe and discuss the differences with them.  We are setting the expectation that they will follow God's plan and wait until marriage, however we are also giving them the truth (in age appropriate pieces) about sex and the realities and consequences of those decisions.

We believe in being honest with our kids.  For us, this means no Santa Clause, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.  They still get Christmas presents, Easter baskets and (outrageous amounts of) tooth  money.  We also believe that every family gets to make their own choice on those matters, and the family that "does" Santa is not evil, wrong or warping their children, just different.  We have told our kids that they shouldn't "ruin it" for someone else, because that would be mean, not to mention undermining another parent's wishes!  Being honest with them also means no empty promises, no empty threats, admitting when we are wrong and asking them for forgiveness.  There is nothing more humbling than apologizing for losing your temper and asking your child (or spouse) for forgiveness.  It also models appropriate behavior for them. It meant that when they asked "what if this baby dies too?" I didn't say "Oh, that won't happen sweetie."  I had to face the question head on. Tough stuff, this parenting business!

In closing (long overdue – I wonder if anyone actually read this far? LOL) I observed several different parenting styles when I was growing up.  My parents were very strict, so were most of my friend's parents.  I had one aunt and uncle who were "permissive", they never really disciplined, just yelled when things got out of hand.  Another aunt and uncle "talked them to death", never spanked or did much time out, just reasoned with their kids (which my mom said would never work – she was appalled!).  The bottom line, we all turned out fine.  Not one axe murderer among us.  No convicted felons, no abusers, no alcoholics… What really makes the difference is involved, caring parents. 

Our final philosophy?  "We are not raising children, we are raising adults."  What do we desire for those adults to be, do, have?  It is our job to be intentional about our parenting, always striving to do our best.  We will make mistakes, we will learn, we will change.

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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