Moms & Tots

encouraging mothers of young children

Grace 101 September 1, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 12:30 pm
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“It’ll be good to get back into a routine.” “I’m ready to get back in the swing of things.” I’ve been hearing myself and friends saying these kinds of things lately. The carefree days of sun and fun had become chaotic. I was ready for a change and some schedule. Children of all sizes and ages were in and out of the house all day, leaving messes wherever they went, bickering about….oh….everything. We stayed up way too late and got up way too late (except poor Dad). So, it was time.

Yet, looking at the school year in all its hugeness, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it this year. It seems like we go from “nothing” to “everything” all at once. I was thinking “How are we going to get though another year?”

Do you struggle body and soul in handling a “strong-willed” child, a “messy” child, a “fussy” baby, a schedule of meals (3 of them every single day), kids’ schoolwork and practices, potty training, a house to keep in order? There are days when I say, “Calgon, take me away!”

Being a mom takes patience and strength that I, frankly, do not have!

I’ve been thinking about grace lately. Do I really understand it? I sing about it in so many songs, hear it in many prayers and say it over my meals. But, have I asked for it in the nitty gritty details of life? I often think of grace only in terms of salvation (amazing!) but forget that God desires to give grace to help us live the Christian life. Do I only need it for the big things like surgery or death? Does God know that my son never picks up his clothes? Yes, He cares about us enough to help us give a “soft answer” to that son when we would normally be exasperated.

Have you asked Him for grace today or peace or joy? We don’t deserve it, but because of Christ we can have it.

Will you ask for His grace with me as we begin a new season? I am seeing my perspective change as I ask Him in my feeble, halting, stumbling way.

I can’t be mom without His Word and His grace.

 

Fragile – Handle with Care! April 2, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:00 am
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I have this early childhood memory of going up an outside set of stairs to a little Christmas shop with my Mom and some other ladies. It’s a fuzzy memory. But I remember the smell of Christmas and beautiful Christmas decorations filling the shop. My Mom bought a glass ball ornament that day with the manger scene in it. I remember sitting in front of the Christmas tree staring at that beautiful ornament. I’m sure my Mom took special care when she handled that ball and stored it. She probably wrapped it in paper and gingerly pulled it out each year. Maybe she even wiped off any smudges so it sparkled.

I can’t get the illustration Mardi Collier gave at our Ladies’ Conference out of my head. She was talking about our priorities and how we are really doing a juggling act with all the roles we women play. She encouraged us to evaluate how many balls we can juggle. Some of the balls are made of glass, some billiard, or whiffle. In other words, the glass balls are the most important, to be handled with more care, and cannot be dropped.

I see each of my children as a glass ball. How am I doing keeping those balls “up in the air”? Is someone getting dropped? Am I handling each child that God has put in my home as a precious ornament that God has given me to care for? Do I gently teach and correct or do I jerk them around or ignore them? Have I filled my act with so many balls (some good, some fluff) that I’m not in tune to those first balls?

Some of the ladies that gave testimonies at the conference were not “handled with care” in their moms’ juggling acts. They were shattered by harsh words and rough handling. They felt alone and unloved until God drew them to Him. Praise God that He can put those lives back together in spite of their broken homes! He has made them whole through Jesus Christ!!!

I’ve had to do some evaluating…again! For me, it’s getting to bed earlier so I’m not short with the kids all the time. It is not spending so much time in front of screens. It’s making my relationship with the Lord the #1 glass ball and then the others will fall into a better rhythm.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

 

Kid Stuff March 18, 2011

Filed under: Homemaking — bbcmomsandtots @ 12:52 pm
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In a previous post, we were talking about small steps in getting our kid stuff organized.

We have been amassing toys, books, games, puzzles and dress-up clothes for 13 years now. These things have been great teaching tools for our kids. We have seen many crazy plays, school has been in session in the basement, Lincoln Log homes have been built, and family times around good books have been had. Some special toys we will keep until we have grandkids.

But, we can’t keep it all.

One quick task we do is to tell the kids to each find 10 things they don’t want anymore and bring it to us. That’s 40 things! Round up all the stuffed animals and have them choose their favorites. Donate the rest. We can also give them a choice between several items. It’s nice when they are the ones eliminating.

I have a hard time getting rid of books (even ratty, old ones). Sometimes, I will take a few of them off the shelf and read them over the next couple of days to our youngest and then donate them. Bundle nice ones together by age for the New 2 You sale.

Having a place to put a certain type of toy is huge in helping the clean-up process.
If the toys have to be kept in the living room, find nice-looking baskets or containers to put them in.

Friends have suggested boxing up some toys and bringing them out only during the winter when the kids are inside more.

Keep some of the nicer outgrown baby items in a bin/box for company or babysitting.

One of my goals this year is to play the games/read the books we have more with the kids. It is better to spend the time with them than to spend all our time organizing too much stuff.

 

Begin! January 14, 2011

Filed under: Homemaking — bbcmomsandtots @ 12:57 pm
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I love the feeling of the new year. It is definitely not a clean slate, but it is a time when I feel like downsizing everything, organizing and freshening up every room and closet in the house.

I recently watched an episode of “Hoarders.” Almost every inch of living space in these homes was covered with stuff. Gift bags, clothing, dishes, trinkets, you-name-it, it was there. Dead rats and even a possum’s skeleton were found under one lady’s mountain of junk. It was really sad! These women couldn’t let go easily, and their families were crumbling. It made me want to go home and pitch things. It reminded me how little decisions are so important.

Since we all have kids, we probably all struggle with how to keep order in our homes around the constantly changing sizes of clothes, many toys, and the beautiful artwork our little ones bring home. For our family of 6, it takes a consistent purging. I don’t want my kids to get lost in the clutter!

I get behind at times and feel overwhelmed about it, so I do nothing. I wanted to encourage us to continue or begin to act on our kid clutter. Take one small step today!

I am so thankful for the thrift store, yard sales and clearance racks so I can dress the kids well for less, but I have to be careful that I don’t buy more clothing than we need. I have to remind myself before going in that I will have to wash and store all of the items I buy somewhere in our house. Some days, I do better than others. I’m always a little proud of myself when I walk out without anything.  Some days, I have to resist pulling into the parking lot when I drive by the Salvation Army or avoid that Children’s Place sale. Just because it is a good deal, doesn’t mean it should be bought. 7 nice outfits are better than a closet full of mismatched clothes. All those $2.99 items times 4 can really add up! Love it, love it, love it, or leave it!

I am certainly thankful for the nice clothing that has been handed down to my kids! However, just because someone gives you clothes, doesn’t mean you must keep it all. Take things you will really use, thank them and give back the rest or donate it if they don’t want it back. Sometimes we keep things because we don’t want to hurt feelings. I am trying to be more sensitive to this when I give clothing to people. I want them to have it if they need it, but I don’t want to just off load all my stuff on them. They may not like, need or have room for all my clothing.

I have a couple bins for each kid’s clothing. I label it with their names and “Spring/Summer” or “Fall/Winter.” I also have a big bin labeled “Consign.” When they outgrow something that’s in good condition, I wash it and try to put it in the “consign” bin immediately. If it is out of date or not something I’m willing to spend the time tagging, I stick it in the back of the van for my next trip to the thrift store (or toss it). I have decided it is not worth it to keep much of Jacob’s older brothers’ things for 4 years. I would rather sell it now while it is still in style and fresh.

Our “New 2 You” sale is coming up on May 7. It is a great opportunity to sell your items to your friends and find things you need.

I have lots of room to grow in this area. I’m going to get started! We can blog about toys and projects next time.

Thoughts? Ideas?

 

We Are Rich! November 13, 2010

Filed under: Homemaking — bbcmomsandtots @ 9:03 pm
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I have to say that I love Thanksgiving! I love it because presents aren’t involved. It is just a time to eat yummy food and spend time with family and friends praising God for every”thing” He’s given us. Those “things” are tangible and intangible. Food, clothing, shelter, and the Bible we are so thankful for. Relationships and ideas (salvation, love) are also “things” we praise Him for. It’s such a relaxing time, a still time. And then comes Christmas… (more…)

 

Teach us to Pray October 16, 2010

Filed under: Biblical Womanhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 10:43 am
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Prayer is a daunting topic because I know I need to grow more in this area. I can, however, look back and see growth in my understanding of prayer over my lifetime. I have always looked up to George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Rosalyn Goforth, and others who, I thought, had some special measure of good praying ability.

I have learned that I can pray about anything and everything just like those prayer warriors of times past. They had a connection to God (through His Word and prayer) at all times – a “close walk with God.” Can’t we have that too?

Matthew 6:6-15 and other passages teach us how to pray and not to pray.

It’s comforting to know that the disciples needed to be taught how to pray. If they need it, we need it. If we need it, our children do to. We can help them learn how to pray at an early age. A little acrostic that is helpful is ACTS A=Adoration C=Confession T=Thanksgiving and S=Supplication (asking humbly for something). It’s patterned after the Lord’s Prayer. All of these elements are important. I often focus so much on the asking part.

To help us learn to pray:
1. Find a quiet “prayer closet” and shut the door. (This is a challenge for moms!)
2. Get down on your knees.
3. Pray out loud.
4. Have your Bible open in front of you.
5. Pray words of Scripture.
6. Pray in the name of Jesus. (He is the reason we have access to God.)

To help kids learn to pray:
1. Bring requests to the family. (Print out emails and put on your plate when setting the table, write names of people who need prayer (on the nearest piece of paper) as soon as you think of them and bring to family times.)
2. Have each family member take one category of the above acrostic (or another one) going around the table praying. (Our older children have learned what these big words mean and the younger ones will eventually. Sometimes there are long silences but that’s okay. We are still learning.:)
3. When they are afraid or angry or irresponsible, give them verses that can help and have them pray about it…teach them that without God “they can do nothing!”

🙂

Did you find any promises in the Matthew passage regarding prayer? What are some helps that you have used in teaching your kids?

 

Great Expectations September 23, 2010

Filed under: Marriage — bbcmomsandtots @ 11:41 am
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Did you experience “love at first sight” when you first laid eyes on your husband? Well, Dr. Greg Mazak (our speaker at the 2010 Couples’ Retreat) says, “NO, You didn’t!”

I can remember what my hubby was wearing when I first saw him standing in front of the snack shop at college. He had a dark blue shirt and maroon patterned tie. I even remember he was wearing a ring. I thought he was handsome. There was something different about this date. Back then, we probably did think we were “in love.” It was impossible for us to know what love for that person would mean when we first saw them. Well, 15 years later, we would probably say that we love each other now and liked each other then.

We focused on each others’ good traits in the dating days. We both were believers but did not know all that serving Him together and raising 4 children together would entail. We both had some “great expectations” of each other when we got married. Some of those expectations were that we thought we would always feel like being kind and not defensive. We probably thought we would agree on everything and that our spouse would always do things like we wanted them done.

Dr. Mazak reminded us this past weekend that being “in love” is not even to be an expectation in a believer’s marriage. (“It’s nice, but not necessary.”) He reminded us that love is a choice. Marriage is a covenant before God to be companions for life. 1 Corinthians 13 is filled with actions that we can choose from to love: “does not act unbecomingly” “is kind” “does not take into account a wrong suffered” “does not seek its own” etc.

This last one seems to kind of sum up the whole thing. We are not to seek our own fulfillment in marriage. In other words, “It’s not about me!” It’s about Him. Not him, as in my husband, but Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! I knew Him before I ever met my husband. If I love bringing glory to the One who died for me, then I will choose daily to love my spouse. Have I left my “First Love?”

What Does Love Look Like? is the title of a book on our kids’ shelf. A new girl comes to school and is asked to draw a picture of what love looks like. She is a little shy and unsure of herself. She draws a picture of the cross. Let’s take some time today to pray over 1 Corinthians 13, realizing that Jesus fulfilled this passage completely. The Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit will be the only thing that will change our thinking about love.

Lord, give me a love for my husband like the love You have for me. Help me to die to myself and to be one with my husband in everything so that You will be glorified.