Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teaching Character Traits to Children in a Positive Way

How does a parent teach a child to tell the truth before the child lies?  How does a parent teach a child how to be kind before he takes away his siblings toy?  These are character traits we want our children to learn, but how do you teach it to them in a positive way?  I read a book that gave a list of character traits with the meaning and scripture that goes along with it.  After reading this book, I got an idea.  I went to the local school supply shop and bought a tree with no leaves.  I laminated it and put it on our wall in the kitchen.  Then I bought cut out leafs.  On the front of the leaf I wrote the character trait and on the back I wrote the meaning and the verse.  I also laminated these.  When my kids did that trait during the day, they were able to put the leaf on the tree. 
At the beginning of the day we would go over a couple of the character traits, tell what they mean, and then the bible verse.  We would add a new traits every few days. 

It really worked. My 5 year would take initiative and then ask to put that leaf on the tree.  When my kids were honest with me before they got caught or in trouble, I would let them put up the honestly leaf. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ax - A funny story

Our two oldest were playing one day and this was the conversation that took place.

"Get the ax and chop down the witch."
"I can't do that.  Axes are for bears and special occasions!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Truth about "What Goes Around Comes Around."

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9

The saying what goes around comes around is true. Let me first say all sin is sin!! When we do what is displeasing to God we reap the consequences and some consequences are worse than others.

I am reading a book called "David" by Charles Swindoll. He says, "If there is anything we have been duped into believing in our era of erroneous teachings on grace, it is the thinking that if we will simply confess our sins and claim God's forgiveness, than all the consequences of what we have done will be quickly washed away."

You know people say that all the time "What goes around comes around." But we say it to people who have done us wrong, because we want them to go through what they put us through. When something happens to us, do we ever think... now I wonder if I have ever hurt someone that way or did that to someone?? Am I reaping what I have sown??

Am I making sense here?!!

I think of my oldest son, when I read about consequences. He will do something wrong and say I am sorry, but he still has to take a punishment. He needs to understand, even at a young age, that what he does has consequences. If he is kind and good, he gets rewarded, but if he is ugly or bad he gets in trouble. If I never punished him for his behavior, what's to keep him from doing it again. He understands, even now, that if he does something wrong after being told not to do it, he gets punished.

It works!! There are things he used to do and now he doesn't do them. Even at the age of two, he would  tell you "that's a no no." Beth Moore once said that God is into A's. He is not content with C's. So until you understand that some things are "no no's" you will keep getting punished/consequences. Charles Swindoll says that we can accept this physically. Like a broken arm, because we jumped out of a tree. But it is hard for us to accept consequences spiritually.

We think as adults that if we did something wrong and ask for forgives, everything is now better. But that is not always the case.

In the book "David," Charles says "Grace means that God, in forgiving you, does not kill you. Grace means that God in forgiving you, gives you the strength to endure the consequences. Grace frees us so that we can obey our Lord. It does not mean sin's consequences are automatically removed.

The sooner we learn this the better off we will be. We need to get in our heads that our actions good and bad reap consequences. Sometimes when we have something bad happen to us, it could be a result of something we did.

So the truth...NOT EVERYTHING IS POOR, PITIFUL ME!! We need to wake up and realize that we cause a lot of our own problems! And like Charles Swindoll says, once you have been forgiven by God's grace, He will then give you the strength to endure. Remember not to give up in doing what is right, even when it is hard. God into A's not C's.

For God's Glory

Imagine being blind and your father a Potter. Society says that you are blind because of your sin or because of the sin of your parents. Your mother bitter. Your brother that is much older than you, loves you very much and looks after you. Your brother dies saving your life. Everyone, including your own parents, wonder why he died and not you. Because your blind you have had a couple of accidents in your house with your father's pottery. Your told your no good to anyone and cast out to live in the shed behind the house. Not allowed to get food from neighbors or your family. You are told by your mother to go beg for money and then give it to her. But you hope and you dream and you believe. Everyday you listen to scholars teach and talk about God and the bible. You believe that one day Messiah will come.
Now imagine that you are sitting there and you hear voices talking. One of the men is called "Teacher or Rabbi." Someone ask the "Teacher/Rabbi" why was he born blind. You know they are talking about you. The person asks if it was your sin or the sin of your parents. And the Teacher/Rabbi answered, "It is not this man's sin or his parents' sin that made him blind. This man was born blind so that God's power could be shown in him." Then this man reaches down and spits on the ground making mud, and applies to you eyes, and tells you to "Go wash in the pool of Siloam." Well you do what he says and afterward you can see. This Rabbi just gave you sight and told you it was for God's glory. You find out that this is the Messiah, God's son who healed.

You were born blind for Jesus to heal you. You were born blind for God's glory. WOW!

Now, we know a very wonderful couple who have a very special little girl. All children are special, but this one is even more special; if you know what I mean. And God looks down from Heaven and says,
I created you
and knit you together in your mother's womb.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

But you know He just doesn't say that about this special little girl, He says that to all of us. Just like this blind man and just like this little girl, He created you. You are wonderfully made, whether you have special needs or if you don't. God says that He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. No matter how many fingers or toes you have, God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created YOU!!

Do you know why He created you?

For His glory! You were not an accident. God knows the number of hairs on your head and He loves you. Healing comes in many ways. For some God gives physical healing, like the blind man and for others it is a healing of the heart. Sometimes the healing of a heart is way more important than physical healing. Our suffering is not in vain. Maybe we are healed on earth or maybe we have to wait until heaven, but no matter what, our lives are for the glory of God.

I heard it said and I believe it.... That God will use whomever and whatever He chooses to bring someone closer to Him. Let God's glory be shown in you no matter what you circumstances

Following God's Plan for our Family Size

We were done. No more. 2 was enough for us, a boy and a girl. Our 3 bedroom house has plenty of room. We had always wanted 4 children, but I had two difficult deliveries (all because of 2 drugs, pitocin and an epidural). Both pregnancies I was sick and during my first one, I developed RLS which has never gone away. So the thought of getting pregnant again was just not an option as far as we were concerned.

Did we consult God? NO!!!

Several years ago I was reading a book by Francine Rivers called “Atonement Child.” I will need to tell you about the book, for you to understand what happened in our lives. The book is about a young girl in college who is engaged to a future preacher. The young girl gets raped and then ends up pregnant from it. Everyone in her life tells her to get an abortion, even Christians who say abortion is wrong. They tell her that it can’t be God’s will for her to have that thing (baby). Her boyfriend leaves her. She has no one to turn to except God. The only friend she has is a guy who listens to her. He is the only one telling her to keep the baby. Ok, so now the end of the book. Because she decides to keep the baby, her parents marriage gets restored (it was in bad shape), an abortion doctor decides to change his career and deliver babies instead of aborting them, and she finds her true love in this guy friend.

While I am reading this book, God spoke to me.
He asked, “Do you believe in abortion?”
I said, “No God, you know I don’t.”
God: Even in a rape situation.
Me: I used to, but now I don’t. I believe you create life.
God: I know this is a fiction story, but do you believe I created life in her
to bring about good in other peoples lives.
Me: Yes.
God: Do you believe I am sovereign?
Me: Yes.
God: Do you believe I know what’s best for people?
Me: Yes
God: Do you believe I know what’s best for you?
Me: Yes God, but I don’t understand.
God: You don’t believe in abortion. You believe that I am the giver of life.
You believe I am sovereign and know what’s best for you.
Then why are you preventing life?

Wow what could I say. That night I went to sleep and dreamed of Heaven. Of course there were people there that I knew and blessing I saw that I had received while on earth. But then over in the corner there were people there that I didn’t know and blessing I had not received while on earth that I should have. I asked God why don’t I know these people and why didn’t I receive these blessings on earth. He said, “Because you chose to prevent life without consulting me. This is what you would have had if My will were done and you had had another child.”

Apparently, God had been dealing with my husband on the matter, because when I approached him about what had happened and about another baby. He was ok. Not what I expected. We believe that God calls both people in a marriage. So I knew that this was all God.
We decided to stop preventing life and let God decide. 5 months later I was pregnant.

Now let me tell you that I am not one of these people who want 12 kids or 10 kids or a truck load. So I prayed to God and this is what He asked me,
“Do you believe I answer prayers?” I answered, “Yes.” Then He said, “I answered Abraham’s prayer for a child. I answered Hannah’s prayer for a child. I answered Leah and Rachel’s prayers for children. I also made Sarah barren and I closed up Rachel’s womb. If I can open or close a womb and I answer prayers, don’t you think I would answer yours not to have any more children?”

I thank God for revealing this to me, because I couldn't imagine life without our third child.  He is a joy and pleasure to be around. 

Homeschooling - A Calling or a Choice

No not me!!  That was my answer when it came to homeschooling.  I wanted to be the mother who prepaired cute snacks for the kids to enjoy after a long day of school while I sat by listening to all the adventures of their day.

 I wanted to be Martha Stewart.  The mom with the perfectly clean house, creative fruits and vegetables my kids would love to eat, and of course have the title "Cool Mom."  Well, this was my idea of life with children, but God had a different plan.  He started working on my heart  the summer before our oldest son started 3K.

That year, our oldest had attended Mommy's Day Out 3 days a week.  I noticed after the year was over, that he had picked up some bad habits and forgot some of the things I had taught him.
For instance: I taught him to say "Yes and no ma'am, yes and no sir."  However, his teacher did not reinforce this during school hours.  She acceped Yep and Nope from her students.  Rather than maintaining our plan for him, our son began using what his teacher allowed in school.  This was the first of many eye opening events that took place.

During this same time period, I ran across a book called The Socialization Trap.
The Socialization Trap

 I love to read and consider books a great resource.  This book is written by a Christian conservative father of 14 children.  They made the decision to homeschool, when homeschool was a new thing.  They are pioneers of homeschooling.  This book helped me realized that the reasons I wanted to send our kids to school were the same reasons I disliked school when I was young.  What I learned from other kids my age (socialization) was bad habits, bad language, disrespect for my parents, sexual content, and the "Me" or "I" syndrome.  I learned the way of others rather than the way of my parents.  What more can a parent expect, however, when they leave the largest waking hours of their childs day in the care of someone that may or may not hold the same values.  This book helped me reevaluate what our goals should be for our children and how to achieve those goals.  Homeschooling was the way for us to achieve what we wanted for our family.  This was God's calling on my life.

Let me take a minute to state that God calls people in different ways to do different things.  We are all not alike nor does God want us to be.  So it is ok if God has called you to send your children to school.  This was just my experience and the way God was able to use it to show me His will for my life and the life of our children. 
 If this book interest you or you would like more info, I have provided the link to this family's website.  They are a great resource to our family.  The father and mother write books and also sell products that have worked for them.  They have 14 children, 7 of which have graduated already.