For Moms – Embrace This Season of Life

Embrace this season of life

 

Mother’s Day is this weekend, so I want to celebrate Moms!

Sometimes we can grow weary. The noise and chaos that children bring can make us frazzled. The toys spread through out the house and the dirty clothes pile – it all seems unending… BUT there IS an end.  One day the children will grow up, and they will leave.  This season of life does not last forever.

In our home, the door of the little years has slammed shut in my face.  No more Barney. No more Matchbox cars.  No more Big Wheels or picture books.

I seriously thought the Elmo and Thomas the Train years were never going to come to an end.  But my kids have gone from this:

super man

to this:

first day of school 2013

In a flash.

We are in a new season.

Join me over at ForTheFamily.org where I’m talking about Embracing This Season of Life because mama – you don’t want to miss this!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

5 Gift Ideas For Your Mom or Dad

5 Gift Ideas For Your Mom or Dad 2

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and if you are like me, sometimes I’m stumped as to what to buy for my mother.  So here’s a few ideas if you are in this predicament.

My grandmother passed away last summer and when we were cleaning out her house – a Mother’s Day Gift our family made for her was on her dresser.  I was blessed to be the one who got to take it home.

memory jar 1

It’s a memory jar.

All of the grandkids and great grandkids wrote out our favorite memories on 52 slips of paper so she could open one a week and be blessed.

Memory Jar 4

Memory jar 5

As I unfolded the memories to lay them out for this post – tears flowed.   My son, Alex, listened as I read each one out loud until my voice got shaky and I could no longer read…and that sweet boy teared up with me and comforted me.  Family matters.  Memories matter.  This is the perfect way to preserve them as a Mother’s Day Gift.

Here’s 5 more gift ideas:

1.) Make a collage like this one below using the letters to spell –> M-O-M, D-A-D, G-R-A-N-D-M-A or G-R-A-N-D-P-A.  We simply used poster board to draw and cut out the letters.  Then we made the photos black and white so we didn’t have to have the kids in matching clothes. ;)

Grandpa Collage2 copy

2.) Tickets to an event or show.

3.) A magazine subscription.

4.) Freezer meals.  My sister used to fill my grandmother’s freezer with soup and home cooked meals that she could take out and warm up for dinner. Grandma loved this gift.

5.) Gift Certificates to their favorite store, restaurant, gas station, or beauty salon.

Chime In: Do you have any creative gift ideas for Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day)? Share them in the comment section with us!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go To Church


when your child doesn't want to go to church

Lynn Donovan

Wow my friends, one week passes swiftly. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me to your home here on the web. Thank you Courtney for allowing me to be part of your amazing family. I love you!

www.geodun.com

I remember a time when my daughter said “Mom, I don’t want to go.”

I stood staring at my daughter’s small face glaring back at me with pinched determination, her arms crossed in a defiant stance.  In that moment I felt a panic creep up my neck, followed by a twinge of fear; but mostly a great disappointment overwhelmed me.

My daughter was entering into middle school, and for months I’d excitedly expected that she would join the middle school youth group that met on Wednesday nights at church.  My mention to her that youth group would be held that evening had brought about this unexpected reply.

I gathered myself.

Later that afternoon, after I ‘d had time to think, I talked with Caitie.  I listened to her objections, which were valid.  I insisted, however that she give youth group a try.  After all, she had yet to attend a meeting.  I assured her that it would turn out to be fun.  I asked her to commit to attending for the fall season, from the start of the school year through December, and if she still didn’t want to tattend at the end of the year, I would be completely fine with her decision to quit. She agreed.

December arrived. My daughter’s report? “Mom, I’m done.”

I honored my promise and released her from attending youth group.  This scenario repeated itself with church camp, Sunday morning youth church and a number of other church youth events. Ugh!  How I longed for her to be involved with other teenaged believers, but in our house, it just wasn’t to be.

I will state here, however, that attending church on Sunday morning was never negotiable…

Parenting with love, grace and authority means walking a fine line.  Balancing between our desires and our children’s is at times a challenge, and it increases in difficulty as our kids become teens and young adults. For me, continuing to force my daughter to attend youth group would have birthed in her a resentment to all things of faith.  I know my daughter well, and for most of her life she has been painfully shy.  Her comfort in church on Sunday mornings exists because I’m by her side. Imposing my will on her to make her endure something that she disliked could have developed a hatred in her, leaving a lifelong impact on her adult faith.

I’m humbled to share that my daughter made her choice to enroll this fall at BIOLA University – Bible Institute of  Los Angeles  - a Christian University.

My friends, I wasn’t a perfect parent.  No one is!  But I loved my children, I loved my husband, and I loved my Lord God and His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  And that was what I was supposed to do.  Love will cover all those questions of doubt and guesses about whether or not I had been enough. The love of Christ fills in the empty spaces, and it’s always enough.

I’m convinced that if we have prayed for our children and have lived out our vibrant faith in front of their eyes day in and day out, our example, our love and the love of Christ will resurface in them later in life.

I acknowledge there is real pain when a child chooses a rebellious and prodigal path. But our first step of action in learning to cope is to acknowledge our pain, disappointment and fear and then to immediately take these thoughts and emotions to God in prayer.  Tell God that you are hurt, fearful and heartbroken. Lay your child at the foot of the throne everyday in prayer.

~Excerpt from: Not Alone, Trusting God To Help You Raise Godly Kids In A Spiritually Mismatched Home.

*******************

Precious mother, you are treasured, favored and esteemed in the eyes of God. Your high and noble calling will bring faith to the generations, and your life greatly honors the Lord Jesus Christ.

For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation (Ps. 100:5, NLT).

Thank you for spending time with me. I love you. I really love you.
~Lynn Donovan

Visit me sometime at SpirituallyUnequlMarriage.com & MismatchedAndThriving.com 

 Thank you Lynn for being a guest here all week long. You have been a huge blessing to me and I have enjoyed your Titus 2 words of wisdom and love.   I get many emails asking about the very areas you have addressed this week. I am so grateful for your willingness to tell your story here and give us hope.

Chime In: Have you faced this challenge of a child not wanting to go to church? How did you handle it?

Dear readers – I can’t wait to be back here blogging again next week – until then have a great weekend and…keep walking with the King :) ,
Courtney

Notes From the Sally Clarkson “Mom Heart Conference”

Me & Sally at MomHeart

Me and my dear friend Sally

conference room

Last week I flew to Dallas, Texas to Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Conference.  This is my third year to attend and each year I leave encouraged and inspired.

I was blessed to get to spend the weekend with Angela and Whitney.

GMGs

And lots of other friends:  {pictured below – top row L to R: Kristen Kill, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Kat Lee, Angela Perritt, Whitney Daughtery; bottom row: Deb Chapman (mother of 11 – wowsa!), Me :) }

Group of Friends at MomHeart

As I wait to catch my plane home, I’m reflecting over my notes and want to share some of the key thoughts on motherhood that challenged or blessed me this weekend.

  • Motherhood is from the cradle to the grave.  We are teaching our children how to nurture.  One day they will take care of us the way we have taken care of them.

  • Motherhood is an age old profession.  Learn from those who have gone before us.

  • God is speaking all the time but are we listening?  Ruth had no residence and did not know the end of the story.  She did not know she’d get Boaz in the end and a book in the Bible named after her.  She listened to God one step at a time.  It’s okay if we are unfinished, need prayer or eat on paper plates once in a while.  Ruth is only a finished product because we get to read her story after it is complete.  Look back and see what she did right.  Look back and see what Sally did right.  Emulate it.

  • Build your home on the right foundations: God’s words and truth.  Either you are building on solid rock or on sinking sand.  And if you are building on sand –great will be your fall!

  • Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world. (Romans 12:2) Avoid extremes of other voices –either formalistic, legalistic, law-oriented voices based on works or, at the other extreme, liberal, permissive, freedom-oriented voices without consequences.

  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  Don’t look for validation from the world, but look for the favor of God, and you will live freely and confidently.

  • As you read scripture to your children, do not let it be detached.  Remind them these are the heroes in the Bible…now how will you be a hero in your time? Read rich literature to and with your children alongside scripture.  Mothers are storytellers.  Every image we show our children shapes their story.

  • Remember: Only love can reach and transform hearts.  Guilt does not motivate–it kills.

  • Don’t live in condemnation of your personality.  God lovingly made you as you and nothing can separate you from God’s love.

  • How to love your kids: -Stop, look and listen: stop what you are doing, look them in the eye, and listen to them when they talk. -Touch them, hug them, rub their backs -Play with them -Give them focused one on one time and discipleship

  • Raising teens:  Teens are like toddlers – they are hormonal and tempted by everything in the world.  It is normal for them to to struggle with their ideals.  Have compassion and don’t take their wrongs personally.  A lot of reactive parenting is so we look good.  Use your critical eye to actively understand how God wired your child. Hone in on their good qualities to guide them where they are skilled.  Speak life into them. Begin and end the day well.  Bless them when they wake up in the morning and close the day well.

If you have not read any of Sally’s writings – I highly recommend both her books and blog at ITakeJoy.com.

Now go love on your kiddos and I’ll get back to the book club this Wednesday!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 15 {School Choices}

chapter 15 school choices

Let’s Discuss Chapter 15

If you want to start disunity in the body of Christ…just talk about school choices.  Ugh. I am aware of this, so I tread very carefully into today’s blog post ;)

As chapter 15 says, I’m a product of public schools.  My parents walked alongside me, discipling me and teaching me how to be a light in darkness for 12 years and when I graduated, I was on fire for Jesus.

My parents lived out Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

I believe that school choices are not permanent choices.  I know many moms who homeschooled and then put their kids into a brick and mortar school and many moms who first sent their kids to a brick and mortar school but then pulled them out to homeschool them.  And then there are those like me, who only did public school and there are those, who are homeschool graduates.  All of us are walking with the Lord now…so it is not necessarily the school choice that determines the depth of our walk with God.

We each have our own journey – our own life puzzle and our own set of circumstances that will determine our school choices.  I do not believe in a cookie cutter – one size fits all – approach to education.

 

We are not replicas of each other

In this chapter, I share my education experience as a child, my reasons for homeschooling, the benefits and challenges of homeschooling and a day in our lives.  My conclusion in this chapter is — regardless of which school choice we make, our job as parents is to teach our children to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

I know the drive of the culture is to try to make our kids cool, honor roll students or star athletes.  It’s the prevailing voice of today – but that is not God’s voice.

We must remind our children – you don’t have to be cool.  Be like Christ.

You don’t have to be on the honor roll.  Honor the Lord.

You don’t have to be a star athlete. Worship the one who made the stars.

And if you happen to be on the honor roll or a star athlete –do it to the glory of God!

A reminder to our children

 

My daughter wanted to join me for today’s video – it’s super short and casual – just a little over one minute…

(if you can’t see this video – click here)

Discussion Questions:

1.)  What is the puzzle God has given your family that has determined your school choice for this season?

2.)  Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  Are you diligently teaching your children about the Lord?  What are some practical ways you are carrying this out in the home?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 15″

Walk with the King,

Courtney