Family Dynamics

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Monday Musings

It’s Monday. And I am feeling a bit Garfield-like about today.

Garfield Monday

Not that anything bad has happened. I am just tired. And getting sick. And blah.

So instead of drowning in “I hate Monday” madness, I thought I would share a few random things that are going through my head today.

  • The laughter of my children is the most amazing sound in the entire world. And I was privileged to hear lots of it this weekend.
  • If you like fun apps, you need to download Relay. My friends and I have been sending funny gif messages back and forth since we discovered it and I may have spent too much time yesterday looking for funny ones to add to my collection for future messages.
  • If you like books about strong women paired with fantasy, you need to read Pennyroyal Academy. I just started it a few days ago and haven’t had a ton of time to read, but I am loving it and can’t wait for Anne to read it, too. Nothing like squelching the idea that princesses have to be of a royal bloodline and are just pretty faces with the fact that princesses are warriors for their kingdoms, just like knights.
  • When the weather turns cold, the depression sure comes on fast for me. I have had to fight to get my workouts in this past week, and I have not done very well with eating right, either. Here’s to a new day of doing what I know helps to keep the depression under control – exercise and eating right!
  • Singing at the top of my voice to some of my favorite music is one of my favorite things to do, ever. Thank you Trisha Yearwood for music that fills my soul!
  • A good cup of tea makes me smile this time of year when the cold is starting to seep into my bones. These are my three favorite varieties: Trader Joe’s Decaf Irish Breakfast Blend, Good Earth Decaf Sweet & Spicy, and Stash Decaf Chai Spice.
  • I have been working on a crochet project just because it is a pattern I have always wanted to try, but I have been looking for a new gift project and this week I was blessed with not only a person on my heart for whom to do a project, but the perfect project placed right into my hands. I found the perfect yarn yesterday and am looking forward to beginning on the project on Thursday. So excited to be able to bless someone!!
  • For the last few years, my family has done various forms of daily Thanksgiving. We have had a wall of Thanksgiving where we added post-it notes every day. We have had posters on each of our doors that we wrote reasons we were thankful for each other. This year, life has been a bit chaotic and I haven’t gotten anything organized to do daily, so I am thinking about other ideas. Right now, I am thinking of making family “Thanksgiving” trees on Thanksgiving day with all of our family that will be together. How are you practicing Thanksgiving with your family this month?

I warned you that this would be a random post! But just putting these things down in print has helped me move past my initial Garfield-esque response to Monday. If you are having a case of the Mondays, perhaps you should make a list, too!!

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MOB-LinkupPrayerBadge

Some of you may remember that the in month of October, I committed specifically to pray for Ty for 21 days using the Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most and the MOB (Mothers of Boys) Society Blog.

Well, I did it. Some days were better than others, but I did it.

The book was a great resource, and in addition to reading the chapters and praying through the provided prayers, I typed up the prayers and taped each day’s onto Ty’s door, so as I walk by, I can read a prayer or two.

But as with anything that you are committing to do, whether that be prayer, exercise, eating right, keeping your house clean, etc., it is in these moments that you will find yourself most challenged.

October was a rough month with my son. Fifth grade is kicking my behind. A new lack of responsibility has popped up, along with a sometimes super-emotional boy that I have never seen before. Disrespect and disobedience has reached a previously unattained level. Focus is a rare occurrence, and the desire for self-indulgence rather than self-sacrifice is rearing its ugly head.

There have been days when I just wanted to bang my head against a brick wall because that is what it feels like I am doing all of the time.

But, what I am realizing through all of this is the fact that when I take up the work of praying for my children in a more concentrated way, there is going to be a battle in the spiritual realm for their hearts. And I plan to win that battle with the Lord’s help. I will not give up. I will not allow these things that are trying to grab hold of my son to get a grip on him. I will continue to pray. I will continue to work with him. I will continue to fight for his heart and soul to be fully overtaken with the Spirit of God and not the spirit of the evil one.

It may not be easy, but it is necessary.

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I know I finished my 31-Days of Parenting posts on Friday, but the evening before that last post went live, our community was touched with tragedy.

As I dropped my kids off at school that morning, with a heavy heart, this song came on my iPod. It is from the upcoming album by Garth Brooks.

Send ‘Em On Down The Road”


He didn’t ask
He didn’t pry
He just held the ice that covered my black eye
And when that girl
She broke my heart
We just threw that baseball back and forth ‘till dark
And when I started playing guitar
And didn’t have a clue
He wanted to protect me
But somehow my father knew, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And send ‘em on down the road

A little kiss
On a skinned up knee
From playing soccer, riding bikes and climbing trees
When bad dreams
Filled their heads
I chased the monsters out from underneath their beds
I guess I always knew those days would end
But the hardest thing I’ve ever learned has been, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And you send ‘em on down the road

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
And even though it’s gonna break your heart, you let ‘em go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
You pull them close
And you pray to God
To send ‘em on down the road
Down the road
Down the road

Our kids will hurt. They will lose family members, friends, and acquaintances. We may even lose our children. Letting go is hard, because what we want to do is hold them tight and never let go. But we have to let go, and let God take care of them.
Our prayers go out to those in our community impacted by the tragedy of Thursday evening.
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Is forever enough

This month has been good. I have enjoyed posting every day about things I have learned about being a parent. It hasn’t been easy, but it has required me to think about my kids, what I am intentional about and what I let slide, and what is most important to me as a parent.

But what I most want is for my children to know how much they are loved. Forever.

So today, I dedicate this song to them, this 31-Days of blogging to them, and I commit again to being the best mom that I can be to these precious lives that God has given to us to raise and love.

Lullaby
Dixie Chicks

They didn’t have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you’re asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do
So tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

As you wander through this troubled world
In search of all things beautiful
You can close your eyes when you’re miles away
And hear my voice like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

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Inspiration

Parenting is hard. It is constant work. You can’t let it slide. You can’t assume it is happening. You have to work to be on your toes and aware of what is happening with your kids.

And we all fall short of that ideal. Often.

Some days we are lucky if we get them out of bed and off to school, never mind making sure homework is done, they have had a healthy breakfast and they remembered to brush their teeth.

But the purpose in me blogging for 31 Days this month isn’t to make it seem like I have it all together when it comes to parenting. It isn’t that I have all the answers. It isn’t that I think I am doing a fabulous job in every possible area. It is really that I want to share my experiences and hopefully inspire someone to take that extra step, put in that extra work, and in the process, that I will also be inspired to be better and do better.

This is how it is in every area of my life that I put out there on my blog.

I talk about depression in hopes that someone else can get the help that they need.

I talk about health and fitness so others can find encouragement to get healthy.

I talk about giving to others, so that someone might be inspired to give of themselves.

I talk about music because of its ability to lift us up and move us forward.

I talk about faith because it is the ultimate inspiration in my life.

I truly want to inspire YOU to be the best YOU, the one created and loved by God.

Put in the work, be inspired by others, and be the best parent you can possibly be to the children that God has given to you.

You can do it. I believe in you.

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Talking to your kids aboutS - E - X

You know you are getting close to the end of things to talk about for your 31-Days of Parenting blog posts when you resort to writing about sex.

But this is another one of those important things that we have to do as parents. We have to teach our children about their bodies. We have to teach them about sex. We have to teach them what it means to honor God with their bodies. We have to teach them these things because if we don’t, someone else will, and we might not like what they learn from someone else.

This is a tough subject to bring up. It is hard to talk about shaving legs, periods, breasts, erections, and wet dreams. it is uncomfortable to talk about how exactly it works for babies to be made and born and then realize that now your children know that their parents have sex.

But, as with everything, when you can talk with your children openly about these things and not let them see your discomfort, then you are making it so they will be comfortable to come talk with you about questions that arise.

So how exactly do you do it? How do you have that talk about the birds and the bees?

Start early. By the time they are going to kindergarten, they can begin understanding the difference between boys and girls.

As they grow older, you add pieces and more detail. This isn’t a one-time conversation. It has to be ongoing.

When something comes up on television or the radio that needs explaining, explain it in age-appropriate terms.

Don’t gloss over things. Don’t pretend that if you don’t talk about it, it won’t matter. It does matter. And I think too often, parents have avoided this topic which has made sex a taboo and “wrong” thing rather than the beautiful thing that God created.

I have used some books in The New Learning About Sex Series (see resources below) as a jumping off point. The books that I have used have been well written and are written for a variety of age-levels. If you need some direction, these books would be a great resource.

Find what works for you. Open the door to honest conversation with your kids. It will open the door for them to have honest conversation with you as well.

____________

Resources

The New Learning About Sex Series

 

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Encourage Independence

When your baby becomes a toddler, you are so excited for what comes next. Crawling. Walking. Talking. Playing independently.

But when they become pre-teens and teenagers, it becomes harder and harder to watch them become independent.

Why is that?

For me, I think some of it is fear. Fear of them getting hurt. Fear of them getting in trouble. Fear of them making wrong choices. Fear of them growing up and leaving me behind. Fear of what life will be like when they have left home. Fear that I haven’t done a good enough job as a mom.

But the problem with giving in to the fears is this: by holding on too tightly, we are actually making it harder for them to succeed as adults. As parents, we must give them the tools to grow up and become independent of us. And then we have to let them try those tools out and see how they work.

I will never forget the first time I let my kids walk to the public library without me. It is five blocks from our house. And we live in a small community. I made Anne text me when she left our house, text me again when they arrived at the library, text again when leaving the library and finally text when they returned home. I was a nervous wreck the entire time. And this was just a little over a year ago. (Overprotective much?)

I have some trouble letting go. I like my kids. I used to get a hard time from some of our friends because we would rarely get a sitter when they were younger. We just like being with our children. That is why we had children, to love on them and be a family.

But I also know that I have to let them grow and learn, which means I have to learn to let go and encourage them to step out independently. I have to be aware of where they are at and when they are ready for the next step toward independence and encourage that.

That means letting them fail sometimes. That means my heart hurts sometimes. That means beaming with pride when they rise to the occasion. That means giving them an “atta boy” or “atta girl” when they show growth in some area where previously I may have wondered if they would ever grow.

That means that I cannot hold them too tightly.

Let go. Encourage. And watch them thrive.

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angels wings

Today’s song is the one that makes me think about my boy, Ty.

When he was a baby, this song was like a lullaby for my little one. As he has grown up and we have dealt with sleep walking and night terrors, it has taken on a new meaning, more of a prayer for him to sleep well and have sweet dreams, protected by God and His angels. I love the pictures that go through my head as I listen to the song, pictures of playing cars with Ty on the floor, and reading Goodnight Moon to him before bed.

I love this boy, and always will.

Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)
Dixie Chicks

Dragon tales and the “water is wide”
Pirates sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams
The rocket racer’s all tuckered out
Superman’s in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
And I love you
Godspeed, little manSweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears “Amen,” wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Godspeed
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

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Take them by the Hand

Ephesians 6:1-4, NIV

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, [parents] do not exasperate your children [by coming down hard on them]; instead, bring them up [take them by the hand and lead them] in the training and instruction of the Lord [the way of the master].

[brackets mine adapted from The Message]

We often focus on the first part of this passage, the part where our kids have a command to obey and honor us, as their parents. But I want us to look at the second part today. The part that says that we, as parents, have a role to play in this, too.

We are not to exasperate our children. We are not to come down hard on them. We are not to irritate intensely and infuriate them. Instead, we are to take them by the hand and lead them. And we aren’t to just lead them anywhere we choose, but we are to lead them in the ways of the Lord. We are to train them in His instruction.

When we are doing this the Lord’s way, then our children are going to honor and obey us. When we give them what they need, they give us what is needed from them. We set the example. We give the training. They don’t automatically know how to obey. They must be taught how. By us.

I love this picture of taking them by the hand. It is not a picture of standing over them with our fingers pointed and our voices raised. It is not us walking ahead and assuming that they are following. It is us, walking together along a path, holding hands, and guiding.

This is the Lord’s way of leading us, and the way we need to be parenting the children that He has given to us.

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Leave a Legacy

Leaving a legacy. Something that we all want to do. But what kind of legacy are we leaving? What are we teaching our children?

Are we teaching them the simple things? Like how to crochet and knit the way our moms and grandmas did?

Are we teaching them to cook healthy meals for their families?

Are we teaching them to be able to clean house, do home repair, simple car repair, and more?

Are we teaching them to love Jesus and to be His disciples?

Are we teaching them to love others as they love themselves?

Legacy
Nichole Nordeman

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such ‘n ‘such, it wouldn’t matter much.
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
In the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Not well traveled, not well read,
Not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead,
“Well Done” good and faithful one.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.

You can purchase this song here.

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