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Conversations

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I absolutely LOVE getting together with my friends! Having them over to my house during the week, inviting their children over for playdates, and hosting a meal together makes my heart SO happy!

When I get together with my mom friends, it is so great to catch up! Sometimes it is weeks, monthly or what feels like years worth of chit-chat, and life updating that takes place.

This year, though, something has changed in my family dynamic when it comes to conversations. That change is I am immensely more aware of the ears in my house. In particular my 4 year old daughters ears. She has become such a beautiful, smart, observant, and inquisitive young girl. I am so proud of her and her desire to know and be known. I started the year old developing what I will call my CODE LANGUAGE. You know this language, the language of spelling words out, “Babe, what do you think about us getting some I-C-E    C-R-E-A-M?” Or “Let’s do B-E-D   E-A-R-L-Y tonight!” The other wonderful element of this CODE LANGUAGE, I like to refer to as “beating around the bush.” Example: ” You know that one thing that we got that one time at Fred Meyers, that makes noise and drives you crazy, I happened to remove that thing from our dwelling and put it in the container that gets picked up on Wednesday, ;).”

This CODE LANGUAGE is used to hide things from ears that shouldn’t hear them, but convictively, what I have noticed in myself is when I am in conversation and talking about things that are more deep then ice cream, toys and bedtime, I am using this CODE LANGUAGE to gossip, tear down, and judge people or events.

My prayer for myself is that I would heed the words of Colossians 4:6 (NIV) that says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Or (MSG) says it this way, “Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”

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Dear Lord, I ask the the Holy Spirit would continue to convict me in my conversations. I pray that as I am being refined and being created into your image that my conversations would be gracious and attractive. For the sake of my integrity, building others up, being a light to those listening and importantly the ears of my children, I want them to have the example of building others up, be gracious with my words and having attractive and pleasing conversations. Thank you Lord for the work you have begun in me and may it continue.

Join me as I pray for wisdom of my words.

 

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Prayer – Children Would Turn to Prayer

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We try to be a family of prayer. When we go to bed we try to have a prayer with each kid.  During each meal we try to have a family prayer of thankfulness. If a member of the family is in need, sick, or has a big life change we try to take time to pray within the day for them.

PRAYER is so IMPORTANT but sometimes we can become such a rut when it comes to prayer. Example: “Dear Lord thank you for our food amen.” Don’t get me wrong I think that is a great prayer IF it comes from the heart and is meaningful not just something we repeating every meal. But the point is I want prayer to be something from the HEART.

My children are all young and part of training and teaching is showing how to pray, but it has been important to me that my children SAY the words, and are given the opportunity to lead the prayers during family prayer time, (even if that means still having support from their parents).

My prayer for my kids prayer life is that they would have the desire to turn to God in prayer in all aspects of their lives.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.”

So when we are showing our kids about prayer, I truly TRY (notice I say try cause I am learning right along with them about prayer and strengthening my prayer life too),  to make the “reason” for prayer to show all aspects of life: thankfulness, need, joy, future, present, forgiveness, pain, sadness, deceleration of praise, declaring who God is and more!

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Dear Lord, I pray for my children that they would desire to turn to You often in prayer, and for all reasons, never ceasing to pray! Lord, I pray that I would be an example to my children on how to always be praying, and having a heart of prayer! Thank you Lord for the blessing of prayer! 

Join me as I pray for my children and myself that we would turn to prayer OFTEN!

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Invisalign

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Well I did it! I took a leap and decided to get Invisalign. Have you heard of it before? It is these “invisible” retainers that help slowly move your teeth into their right places. In my case the treatment of wearing the retainers should go about 6 months in which I change retainers every 2 weeks.

I never had braces grown up. I did however need to get a few baby teeth (in the back) pulled to allow an adult tooth to come down and it still apparently needed more room so I wore a metal retainer for a short period of time so the retainer would spread the other adult teeth apart to allow the infamous tooth to come down. Then when it finally made its glorious appearing it turns out it wasn’t as glorious as it was appearing, because it was BACKWARDS. Yes, I have a backwards tooth, however since it arrive to the scene when I was about 8 it has been slowly turning ever since. And fingers crossed it will finally show its true face eventually.

My dentist is the one who after hearing my concerns of my teeth moving in a adulthood suggested I give Invisalign a try. I am super excited about the potential of these bad boys, even though it as only been a week. (See picture below)

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Seth Monson is my dentist at Main Street Dental  in Gresham, Oregon. This amazing dentist has blown me out of the water about my views on going to the dentist. I mean lets face it, the dentist can get a pretty bad rap. Attending a place where they poke and scrap and prod at your teeth has a uphill battle to start with. But don’t be alarmed when I tell you this, Dr. Seth somehow someway makes these necessary procedures (dare I say it) FUN! His personally can win over anyone, his compassion  for the patients feelings is one like no other, and the atmosphere that has been created at Main Street Dental feels like home. When I had to get fitted to wear my retainers, there was Lauren Dangle, All Sons and Daughters, Rent Collective and more playing, the building itself was this older home in Gresham transformed into a Dentist office, it has this cute fireplace waiting area with darling toys for kids, and as you are in the patient rooms you look out to a beautiful landscaped yard, they have truly done a great job making something like going to the dentist into a safe, comfortable, and desirable place to be.

One thing I am learning now as a mom in regards to the dentist is that my different kids all have different reactions to the dentist (go figure haha). My oldest (who is 4) has been “going” to the dentist since the age of 2 and just this last visit had the full cleaning. My dentist office does a great thing call “Chair Rides” which is a service they provide to the kids when they are first learning about the dentist. During a “Chair Ride” the kids get to sit on the patient chair, they are shown and can touch, feel, and play with the different tools the dental assistants use (obviously not the shape ones), they are given tooth brushes, a special gift from the dentist when they meet him, and tons of fun attention from the staff. My oldest had 3 chair rides before she was able to do the full cleaning. During the prior chair ride to this last time, she was able to half of the cleaning. My 2nd child (who is about to turn 3) has had 3 chair rides and this last one he finally sat on the chair. The staff is so patient with him which is great because I see a lot more chair rides in his future. My 3rd child (who is one and a half now) had his first chair ride this past visit and sat on the chair, played with the equipment and had a ball. Oh kids, it is an adventure getting to know each one!

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Husbands to Lead the Home

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My husband has been working on leading our family spiritually since we have been married. And there has always been this HUGE speed bump that keeps popping up when he leads. This speed bump make it hard for him to have the confidence and ability to lead. It can frustrate him, take over and steal his position. This speed bump can be SUPER overly sensitive and has a REALLY hard time with understanding.

This speed bump is: ME! Yes you might have guessed it! I find myself desiring this Spiritual Leader BUT not allowing the space for him husband to lead.

For those of that don’t know me, I am a leader. I was that kid that people said when I was “guiding my brother around,” that “she is just working on her leadership skills.”

( If I may recommend a friend Courageous Mom and her blog on how daughters can help their brothers become leaders. This was an inspiring blog to me! Especially given my history and have a daughter and sons. )

I believe BOTH WOMEN and MEN, GIRL and BOYS can be and should WORK on their leadership skills! Yet, what I am observing in my family life, both in my relationship with my husband and my kids relationships with each other IS since females can tend to be emotional, sensitive, and yet determined and inspired we can “take over” or jump in to being the leader. While, males who are logical, thinkers, and dreamers tend to “let” females lead. I have seen this happen in the form of respect at times, see my husbands wants to respect me so he lets me lead because his way of communication is respect. (Men give respect because they want to receive respect). But females being driven with emotions want love and get confused “why their husband is not leading, if they LOVED their family or their wife they would step up and lead.” Confusing right? And this spinning cycle continues until I decided to change my leadership style when it comes to the spiritual leading of the home.

If we look to God’s word it says that in 1 Peter 3:7:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

This verse has caused me to ponder a lot, first because I don’t like being referred to as “weaker,” so I went to do some reading about this and I ran across a blog that helped me realize that my skills and qualities are special and different then those of a man, but still valued and important! And a mans qualities are equally important and needed, and have been selected by our All Knowing Father to be the leader of the home. (Lots more to discover, read, and pray about). But because of their position and role within the family units I need to be doing several things:

  1. PRAYING for my husband
  2. PRAYING I will learn to co-lead UNDER my husband
  3. START finding ways to encourage, respect and practice submission

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Let us start with PRAYER:

Lord, I pray my husband will lead at home. I pray he would lead with gentleness and understand. I also pray that I WILL learn how to let him lead! I pray I would encourage him to lead and reduce the amount of speed bumps I create. Thank you Lord for creating roles within the family, I know you have a plan for our lives and I look forward to seeing the blessings that come from honoring your Word!

I would like to leave this quote for all the wives out there, as a way to encourage us to continue to lead but in a new light:

TRUE LEADERS

DON’T CREATE FOLLOWERS

THEY CREATE 

MORE LEADERS

 

Join me in helping our husband lead as their partners and Join me in creating leaders in our kids!

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Prayer to NOT Complain

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My family has been under the weather for a few weeks now, each of us taking a turn to be sick.  While my kids were not feeling well I had so much grace for them and their needs but still wanted to uphold most of the standards of communication. For example, I didn’t want them to whine to me but, use their words to communicate their needs. My gentle reminders to them saying, “I am here for you, I want to help you, please let me know using your words what you need.”

HOWEVER, when I became under the weather that patiences, grace and level-headed nature went right out the window!

I found myself complaining and arguing, becoming frustrated over silly things that should have been approached with grace from me!

I know there are seasons of stress, sickness, busyness with life, and other events that create us (moms or dads) to lose our patience. Can I just say though, I was SOOOOO convicted by behavior towards my kids, I had all these expectations of how I wanted them to act but yet I was not being example I was requiring or hoping them to be.

Philippians 2:14 (NLV)

14 Be glad you can do the things you should be doing. Do all things without arguing and talking about how you wish you did not have to do them.

What a beautiful reminder! God first helps us to create a heart of thankfulness for opportunity to be able to do the things we do! I mean I am SOOOOO grateful to be a mom, wife, friend, and sister! Then He reminds us that these blessings in the form of opportunities and gifts should be approach ALWAYS without arguing and complaining. Is this easy: NO! Is it good for our heart, mind and strength: YES! God, is always looking out for us. He is our GOOD, GOOD FATHER, and just as we train our children to not complain or argue with us, God is encouraging US HIS CHILDREN to do the same.

I tell myself at times during the day when things are hard, “MAN! I WISH GOD WOULD JUST TELL ME HOW TO PARENT THESE KIDS! WHERE IS THE DO AND DON’T LIST! WHY DON’T THESE KIDS COME WITH INSTRUCTIONS?!” And then I return to His word and I am like: DUH! He has given us the Bible to help us become refined and more like Him, and how to guide our children in the Wisdom, Peace, and Hope of His WORD!

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Lord, would you help me be a mom who does not complain or argue. Would you continue to give me these refining moments and grace to do ALL things for your glory without an unhappy heart. Lord, may I be the example to my children of the truth you have given us in Your Word! Thank you Lord! 

Join me as I pray for myself that within these moments that I know WILL arise that the Holy Spirit would speak to my soul and guide me to patience and grace.

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Prayer Kids – Stand up for others

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In parenting there are times I have realized that training a skill or character trait needs to start WAY earlier then I could even imagine. Today I want to touch on the issue of defending those unjustly treated. This is not a trait I thought I would need to be training on until my kids were older, but God opened my eyes to the beginning stages of sinful nature of excluding others.

A smile is its sword.

The examples I give are traits I see at a very young age, please hear me when I say that there is GREATER injustices going on, but I would like to touch on the eye opening experiences I am seeing now with my kids who the oldest is 4.

In our family we have 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. We also have a large age difference in ability to play between our two older and two younger children. This has given a lot of opportunities for the children to desire to exclude one or more of their siblings. There are times in life when age separation is needed for safety (small pieces), destroying projects a child is working on while (youngers are trying to play with olders) and or for privacy issues with girls and boys (bathing, changing etc). BUT what I have been seeing is in order to encourage inclusion the main verbiage I am saying is, “What can we do to include others by thinking of them, getting on their level, finding ways to involve.”

We have tried our best to create spaces where there are families space in which we all play together; compared to if you would like to play with this toy that has small pieces we will have to find a special place, or if you need some alone time we have your room available, or this is a toy that we would love to play with during the younger kids nap time etc. Making the family/sibling time together just that: a time together.

Other areas we have ran into is when we have play dates, friends over, mommy groups and other time when we are with others, is creating a standard in which we ALL play together. Please note that mentioned above there are times in which there are reasons not to ALL play together but as much as I can I want to create an atmosphere of INCLUDING.

This topic has so many facets and is an area in which will have to be adjusted with age and maturity, however here are a few more standards we try to follow:

  • If we want to start a new game or activity we need to ask everyone there if they would like to participate as well.
  • We can never call someone a name or thing before getting their approval and if they can not speak for themselves we must ask their parent. (This may seem out of the box, but I can see this being a way to call people names, separate, or tease, especially when they are too young to understand or stand up for themselves.)
  • We do not run from others, even if we think it is a game, UNLESS they have said it is ok, and if they can not speak for themselves we must not run from them since they are unaware of why we are running.
  • We are never allow to play in a room where the door is closed and there is not adult. (This rule is for many reasons but also ties into bullying, pressures, and having the support to stand up for those who are treated unjustly.
  • WE ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS invite our siblings to play with us even if we have a friend over (again there are times and places where this is not safe but as a general rule we are all friends with everyone and our siblings are our BEST friends and if they had a friend over they would ask us to join as well.

 

There is a lot to still be discovered for myself in regard to helping my children stand up for those treated unjustly, as well as cultivating a spirit of inclusion, I pray God will work on my heart and continue to reveal more and more about His love and how I can translate that to my kids in developing their character.

1 Peter 2:19 says, “This shows you have received loving-favor when you are even punished for doing what is right because of your trust in God.”

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Love Your Word

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My sweetie pie Madeline (age 4) is learning to read. She is reading some great literature, let give you some examples, passages that include riveting sentences like:

The ram sat on the sand.

We ran in the shack.

The ant is mad at the man.

So yes I am joking we are in the beginning stage and I am proud of every sentence she reads! Even if the stories make me shake my head. What a joy it is to witness your child learn to read. However, I am even more excited for the day when my children learn to read from the Bible. The written word of God is something that will transform their lives but I know will take a lot of dedication to become a habit. Therefore, I want to commit to praying for my children, who don’t even read yet to form a passion for the written word.

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I have been convicted recently about praying for things that I hope will happen in my children’s future. See I don’t want to get to the age where I would love to see my kids diving into the Word and look back at the years of prayers and preparation I missed out on by not actively and intentionally praying.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

The Word of God is more then just words on a page it is: LIFE! It is the hope, security and foundation of our faith, it reveals who Jesus is: Our Savior.

Dear Lord, I earnestly pray you would work on the heart of my children, even now, that they would grow the desire and love for Your written Word. I pray that as I teach and train my kiddos, that I would also grow in my desire to be in the Word. I pray that I would find myself referring to my reading. I pray for growth and wisdom from being in your Word. And I pray that my life would reflect your Word. Thank you Lord for the gift of the Bible!

Join me as I work at praying for my children that they would LOVE the Word of God!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2018

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! I love new years!!! Probably because I love the idea of planning, dreaming, and discovering what this NEW YEAR will bring!

Welcome 2018!

This year Darren and I tried something new 🙂 we wrote out each month in 2018, and discussed some different key elements we wanted to include in each month. Some of elements included:

  • Birthday Celebrations, Holidays, Anniversaries
  • Focus Book for read aloud with the kids
  • Focus Game (since our kids are younger we wanted to pick a game a month to focus on teaching how to play as a family for our family game nights. Being that our oldest is 4 these games include examples like: Uno, Go Fish, Candyland etc.)
  • Special month activities (pumpkin patch, camping, hiking, baking cookies, planting a garden etc.)
  • Focus Family Bible themes to be taught in the month and during family bible time
  • School Themes for the kids which correlate to activities as well
  • Date night IN – Darren and I want to plan a date night after the kids go to bed at home twice a month ideas include (baking together, playing games, campfire, picnic in the living room, painting etc.)
  • Date night OUT – We have gotten into a rut of just going to dinner but we really want to see what other date night ideas we can do together (dance lessons, second hand shopping, shooting range, archery, bowling, etc.)
  • Boy Activity – we want to find opportunities for Dad to have time to a “boy bond”
  • Girl Activity – we want to find opportunities  for Mom to have a “girl bond”
  • Special Events – church events, family events, trips etc
  • Special Kid dates ( see this blog for examples)

Are you overwhelmed? I was a first too but then I just got EXCITED!!! And honestly there are some blank spots that will be filled in as the year progresses 🙂

If this interest you keep you eyes open for more blogs to come on the break down template of each month and some ideas to inspire you 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!!! 2018 is going to be GREAT!!!!

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Character

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I am a passionate parent, I enjoy the role, however I feel terrified as a parent about the responsibility that has been given to me as I look at the little faces I am raising.

Thank goodness there is a God who loves my children even more then I do, which is completely hard to even imagine but at the same time so reassuring!

I ran across a convicting, sobering and encouraging quote, “The battle for your children’s character will be won on your watch.” WOW, that is an intense statement and yet I can see truth in it.

As I think back to experiences already as a mom there has been so many training opportunities and conversation already, from learning about including everyone to finding opportunity to help those in need, to showing respectful leadership and more (and my oldest just turned 4!) I will say it again WOW! This role of parent has some amazing and yet terrifying opportunities.

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The battle is worth it, the battle for character grown and development is at hand. It is time to put our armor on, pray for wisdom and listen to the Holy Spirit as he guides us.

A healthy dose of fear can create attentiveness and show the realness of our role at hand.

Dear Lord, prepare us for how to battle for the character of our children, allow Your wisdom to guide and direct our parenting. The opportunities and conversations are always there, Lord please give me the words to speech and the eyes to see those opportunities all around me to help develop my children’s characters. 

We are born sinful in nature and in need of refining. So it should be no surprise that our children need refining and guidance as they navigate this world and develop their character.

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Thriving Body and Soul

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My husband has been on a health journey this last year, finding opportunities to develop habits to exercise, eat healthy and spiritual growth. Boy oh Boy this is a battle I myself need to consistently start over and over again as well. This is a life long process of recreating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle not just physically but also spiritually too. SO because it is something we need to consistently be maintaining there is TONS of opportunity for praying for my husbands health.

What I have learned lately is when my husband is thriving in his health and soul that can translate into our families health and souls. Therefore I want to take every opportunity to pray, support and encourage this thriving lifestyle.

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Dear Lord, I pray you would guide my husband in his good health journey and that he would be encourage in both physical and spiritual growth. I pray that you would help me support his journey for health and soul growth. Thank you for the leadership that my husband has, I pray that as he grows that would translate to our families growth more and more. 

Join me in praying for HEALTH and SOUL growth in our families starting with our husbands.

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