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Isn’t this true? (www.stuffofheaven.wordpress.com)

July 31, 2011

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I feel like this quite often! She has such a distorted picture of herself throughout the day. In each square, she sees herself differently (haggardly, fat, and a loser). Her husband calls her and says, “Hi, beautiful. I just called to say I love you!”

The very last square, she sees herself as beautiful because of her husband’s view of her.

Fun Friday Facts (I know it’s still Thursday, but I will be spending time with the boys tomorrow and will not be on Facebook as much!)

July 28, 2011

1. I am gearing up for another year of homeschooling the twins. They will be in 7th grade this year.
2. My husband and I each have our own secret tapes of each other snoring! NEVER TO BE RELEASED!
3. I have a new vacuum that I am ABSOLUTELY giddy about! Weird, huh, especially since I mostly have wood floors!
4. I used to play “Charlie’s Angels” when I was a little girl! I always wanted to be Jaclyn Smith (aka Kelly Garrett)! However, I did not aspire to have a clothing line at Walmart!
5. I have …
1895 days until the twins turn 18 (45,480 HOURS, 2,728,800 MINUTES and 163,728,000 SECONDS)! “Lord, I hope we’ve done our jobs well and you are pleased!”

BOOKS, books, BoOkS!!!

July 28, 2011

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Join me as I read this book and discover the possibility that God intended our marriages to be more than two people falling in love, having 2.5 children and living in a house with a white picket fence. Marriage is one of the crucibles by which God purifies us! Are you ready for Him to turn up the heat? Are you ready for God to make you more like Him?

Let me know if you want to join me in this very important, counter-cultural study of marriage! It’s not a book that will explain in three easy steps how to have a better marriage. It’s a book that shows you how your marriage can help deepen your relationship with God.

Everything about your marriage is filled with the potential for discovering and revealing Christ’s character!

(Gary Thomas~author)

I Take My Role as “Mom” Seriously!

July 21, 2011

Our children absorb everything they see and hear. Remember the song, “Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See”? I know this firsthand as Logan has an incredible memory. Matter of fact, just the other day he was talking about a Spelling Bee. He remembered who in our extended family was there, etc. That’s pretty impressive for a 2 year old! The Spelling Bee Zachary was a part of was only a couple hours long on one day! He remembered! Or take for example when we are watching a movie. As a family, we watched “Secretariat” recently. Logan saddled the pile of laundry sitting in the middle of our living room and acted like he was riding “Big Red.” Each time a racing scene came on, he would do the same thing! He really gets into what is going on around him.

Because children are so impressionable and because God has called us to the privilege and responsibility of raising our children for His glory, we need to discern what is best for our children and for our families. We are the guardians/gatekeepers for what is allowed into our homes and into the minds of our children. We need to be certain that what we do allow benefits them in their journey to adulthood.

Something I’ve struggled with as a mom is the constant pressure to “entertain” my boys! They don’t need to be entertained. Boredom is good for their souls! It is the soil in which creativity can blossom. In our efforts to stave off boredom, we’ve succumbed to the ubiquitous mantra of “MORE!” We are doing quite a disservice to our kids when we feel the need to entertain them and to constantly give them more. We need to get back to the basics of what our role as parents really is! Let them hit the proverbial wall! Let them feel bored! It will pay off later.

Probably every generation has said the following at some point or another. “The times we are in are not like it was when I was a kid.” Children are growing up too fast. They are exposed to too much. I’ve been on a journey to SIMPLIFY–including my parenting and what I allow into my boys’ minds. Too much noise. (Most members of my family LOVE their music, but I really enjoy my quiet! Sometimes I’ll even ask for the radio to be turned off while we are in the truck. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all kinds of music. But every now and then I need stillness and quiet! The radio is most often, if not always tuned to a Christian radio station, but I still need quiet!)

According to Kim John Payne (Simplicity Parenting), taking the following advice to heart will help us on our journey toward simplifying the lives of our children and setting the temperature of our homes.

Limit Media

Even when we think our children are not listening, they are! Haven’t we all had conversations or listened to something we thought the kids weren’t listening to, only to find out later that they actually were tuned in to EVERYTHING we were saying?! Why do you think advertisers target young children? They are capitalizing on that natural tendency to absorb the world around them.

“Hey kids! If you wanna be cool, then you need to the latest and greatest video game!”

“If you want lots of friends and have a really cool time, eat this!”

Recently a friend of mine told me how she discusses with her children certain movies/shows that they may want to watch. She says when her kids ask why they are not allowed to watch a certain movie/tv program, she tells them it’s not that it’s bad but that it’s not necessarily good either. I think the Apostle Paul said something like that in I Corinthians 10:23, “‘All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

I grew up watching a lot of television. I feel like I turned out fine, but is “fine,” what we want for our kids?

I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when it comes to the quality of television and movies, but not only should we be guardians of the quality, we should also be guardians of the quantity of screen time they have. Everything in moderation! That includes good, wholesome programming!

Believe me….I know how tempting it is to plop Logan down in front of the television so I can take care of that mountain of laundry instead of having him use it as a pretend horse! But in the end, I want him to use his own imagination from what occurs in our daily lives. It’s been said that this is the greatest gift we could give our children–the ability to create for themselves the imaginary world that holds endless possibilities! As a homeschooling Mom, two of my objectives in our homeschool journey is to:

1. Instill a love of learning in their hearts that will carry them through life in whatever profession they choose.

2. Teach them how to learn! Teach them how to think for themselves. Someday, hopefully, they will surpass my level of expertise in any given subject. What am I to do then? Hopefully, by then, my boys will have learned how to learn for themselves.

Open-ended Toys

Open-ended toys are toys that are not defined. They can become many things–limited only by the child’s imagination. For example, the myriad of Lego sets my boys have purchased have NOT been open-ended toys. They have been sets dictated by the toy company. There is the Star Wars set, the Indiana Jones set, etc. Those particular sets are put together once and only played with in the context of their marketing. However, because Matthew really enjoys Legos, he has mixed and matched different sets and came up with his own towns and happenings, etc. A toy that is limited in its ability to do different things will only hold their interest so long. But if you give them open-ended toys, they are not restricted in their imaginations. You have allowed space for their creativity and imagination to thrive. I’m not saying that all toys that are not open ended are bad, but they shouldn’t be the majority of the toys. Open ended toys allow kids to create something out of nothing, to problem solve. These are the skills you want your child to develop.

Create Daily Rhythm

I think this one is the most difficult for me, especially since we have a special needs child and I’m not naturally bent this way. But by creating daily rhythms, it breeds security in our kids. The boys feel comfortable and secure, knowing what is going to happen next. We’ve had some major stresses in our lives (job losses, premature births, deaths in the family, etc.). Those kinds of things cannot be helped–they were out of our control. But why not create a daily rhythm, the kind that you can control (meal times, bath times, laundry days, etc.). When I was growing up, my Mom had certain days for certain meals. Although we laughed at the time, Taco Tuesdays and Chili Thursdays were predictable and comforting. It doesn’t always have to be exact, but we should strive for consistency.

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I’ve not completely read the book by Kim John Payne, but the little that I have read, I’ve tried to put into practice! These are just three items that have helped me in my parenting journey. I’m sure many of you have others! Would you mind sharing with us?

Julie

Saturday Serendipities (4.16.11)

April 16, 2011

I’m doing my Saturday Serendipities this morning:

1. I’m not as tired as I thought I would be after being up until midnight playing cards with my family at my parent’s house!

2. I have SUPERFANTABULOUS friends who are coming over today to help me paint the interior of our house.

3. The Lord has given me certain Scriptures with which to extinguish the fiery darts of doubt that Satan uses to put fear in my heart!

4. While looking at his printed name, Andrew can spell each letter in order.

5. My husband bought some Hy-Vee smoked chicken salad and croissants because I sampled some and wanted it for dinner. Yummmmm!

“Welcome to Holland!”

March 27, 2011

by Emily Perl Kingsley (c 1987)

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Saturday Serendipities

March 26, 2011

1. Malt powder
2. Twins at their cousins for a sleepover
3. Shrimp tacos with avocado ranch sauce
4. Afternoon nap
5. Buffalo burgers for lunch (courtesy of Giff)