Category Archives: discipline

Resolution Letters

Happy New Year!

I can still say that right? It’s not too late into the New Year that we’re already looking forward to the next holiday, letting the freshness of the new year wear off as we browse through the Valentine’s Day themed chocolates in the seasonal aisle at the grocery…

Well, I hope not.

Because THIS YEAR is going to be great!

THIS YEAR we have the chance to try again!

THIS YEAR we can have accountability to make all those resolutions easier to achieve.

THIS YEAR we’re going to write ourselves a letter.

My friend and neighbor, Jane, gave me this idea while we were having lunch to celebrate her turning 30 (Happy Birthday, Jane!).   This year, I’m going to write down my resolutions.  And my thoughts on what went right and what went wrong with that CRAZY Christmas and holiday season we just survived.  And I’m also going to write down what God is teaching me right now and how He’s working on my heart.

For me, my letter is going to remind me all the ways I want to be accountable.  Having a mentor regularly speaking truth into my life.  Meeting with a friend to pray over our marriages.  Meeting with some ladies to pray over our precious children.  Exercising side-by-side and challenging our diets with another friend and neighbor.  And ALL of these ladies and I will be memorizing God’s word to strengthen these areas and make us more disciplined.  I want to decide on my word/theme for the year.  Should it be Humility? Honesty? or Self-Control?  I want to write in the letter all the reasons why I am needing these themes in my life and in my heart.

I am going to write this all down, in greater detail than the blog world needs, and I’m going to give it to Jane.  And she’s going to give me hers.  And at Thanksgiving, we’ll give them back to each other to read and remember.  And to be encouraged by.  And to be sobered by.  And to use as we prepare for 2016.

What will be in your letter?  Who are you going to choose to exchange it with?

Choosing Thankfulness

My partner’s gone this week.  Work traveler…

BIG FAT SAD FACE

However…when I tend to bathe in cookies, ice cream, late night movie marathons, pity party’s, and other self-indulgences while he’s away…I am choosing thankfulness this week.  Maybe it’s my new obsession with Instagram…or the 100 Happy Days challenge I’m doing ON Instagram…but however it happened, God is gracing me with peace and thankfulness this week.

Husband and I up at 5am Monday morning so he can catch his flight? Peace.  He gets to the airport to find out his flight is cancelled and instead goes to work over an hour early? Peace.  Husband and I up at 5am Tuesday morning so he can catch his rescheduled flight? Peace (though, I was not so much ‘up at 5am’ this particular morning…).  Once again he gets to the airport to find out his flight is cancelled…Peace.  God reveals to me that all of our prayers for ‘safe travels’ and ‘protection’ could have been answered through him missing rush hour traffic two mornings in a row.  Or flying two mornings when there were storms…or who knows how God ‘protects’ us – we don’t even know all of the things that we miss!

Checking out at Target with the kids behind another customer who’s credit card isn’t getting read and it’s taking forever at the same time I should have them home in bed? Peace.  My 4 month old literally crying the entire way home? Peace.  My almost 4 year old telling me she had to go potty as soon as I pulled out of the gas station parking lot (to check on the 4 month old and try to assess why he was still crying…)? Peace.

We’ve still got 2 days to miss him and lots more opportunities for stress and sadness and selfishness…But thank you God for unexpected days home together, plans still working out for Joel’s work needed done in Mexico, kids who sing to the baby when he’s crying, over-tired cuddles, going to sleep right away, Grandma’s who help out, Kids Eat Free night at Chik-Fil-A, and a God who is teaching and molding in every situation

 

Blanket time

A couple years ago, I heard a friend sharing about how her children do ‘blanket time’ when they are little.  This time was for them to learn how to sit still, be content, and play safely while she did school with her older children (she has SEVEN).

I was very intrigued by this and asked several questions about how to appropriately and correctly implement it

Birthday and autumn 020

When Sullivan was born and Mylin was just turning 2, I began implementing blanket time in the mornings while I nursed Sullivan.  I needed Mylin to stay put so I knew she was safe, and this was a great opportunity for her to learn those sitting still qualities that all of us so strongly desire for our toddlers!  She caught on right away and I never had any issues with her obedience.  We’d pick out several books, lay out a blanket at my feet in the nursery, and she’d sit there and read (look at) the books until I said it was time to pick up.  Heavenly.

In preparation for #3, we began implementing blanket time earlier this fall with Sullivan (and again with Mylin).  My friend, Hannah, who taught me how to do blanket time, said that as soon as a child can come to you give you a five when you say ‘High Five!’, they have enough comprehension and obedience to sit still when told.  This happens generally no earlier than 9 months, but almost always by 12 months.  Our little man was regularly sitting still to eat snacks and could follow many other verbal commands, so we knew he was ready!

I found special new toys at a garage sale (score Melissa and Doug hand-me-down’s!) and those became their blanket time toys.  These stay stored up and only come out during designated blanket time.

Birthday and autumn 022 Birthday and autumn 023

This is a wonderful time right now for Joel and I to do some quiet reading

Birthday and autumn 021

And soon (like 8 weeks!!!), this will be the best tool to keep the kids happily occupied while I spend necessary one-on-one time with the baby!

Any other tips on activities for toddlers and preschoolers to stay occupied while mama is occupied with an infant?!

Only the beginning

God is wrecking my life with exposing my pride.  And wow, it is embarrassing to realize and admit that!  While this is only the beginning of this journey, I am already understanding the blessings of working through this deep rooted issue.

Last week God began showing me that many of my responses, conversations, and contributions are rooted out of pride…especially when I feel like I should tell someone what I think they should be doing…

And what does Lilli (my mentor in Mom Life) say about that?! “Pride defends itself”

Then I’m watching the sermon series FREE by Andy Stanley and realizing that I AM but DO NOT HAVE TO BE a slave to sin

Then The Better Mom blog has this post this week………and I see how pride effects every part of me and every relationship around me – and I have SO MUCH CONTROL over that! (By God’s grace!)

And my Beth Moore devotional….which read “We have little defense against the destructive nature of the enemy without the power of God working in our favor.”  And going on to quote from Psalm 4:2: “‘How long will I turn Your glory into shame, O Lord?  How long will I love delusions and seek false gods?’ Expose the delusions and false gods in my life, O Lord, and set me free!”

Which coincides exactly with the prayer Sarah challenged me to pray: “God, please change my mindset and my thinking patterns to reflect YOU and not satan or myself.”

And on Sunday God spoke through sweet Lydia in our small group to challenge us about where our treasure is and where God wants it to be…which spoke to me in that I need to expose my excuses for why it’s ok to have wealth (in many forms) for what it is: an excuse!  God is not silent and His commands are not elusive – they are straight-forward.  It is me, the sinful human that twists and adds to and takes away from them to make it align with my lifestyle (that I struggle to let go of – irony – it’s not really mine in the first place!)

What do you think – is God confirming in my life that I am a slave to pride and need to be a slave to Him and rid myself of this junk in my heart?!

Lastly, God called me to memorize this verse this week: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”  -Phillipians 2:3

I don’t know about the rest of you – but I know this is really tough for me.  To stay at home and have 12-14 hours of working (parenting) a day and continue to show grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, humility, etc to my precious children and my servant husband.  But all to the glory of God!  And if He wills, I’ll get to work on all this again tomorrow 🙂

What’s God been doing in your heart lately?!

 

One week in…

We’ve been doing the Food Challenge for 1 week

Here’s the breakdown:

Thursday February 28th I go to the store to pick up items for a parenting conference we’re hosting and I discover:

bottleFriends. This is both a blessing and a curse

We all know that Salted Caramel desserts and treats were the HIT of everyone’s winter festivities this year…and besides Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark that I took like a drug really really really enjoyed, International Delight’s Salted Caramel Mocha Creamer simply MADE my entire holiday season. I LOVE THIS STUFF!  And up until last Thursday, I thought it was SEASONAL! I haven’t been able to find it in 2013! Until February 28th: THE LAST DAY BEFORE MY FOOD CHALLENGE (which, sadly, DOESN’T include coffee or coffee creamer!)

So……….I totally bought 2 bottles and put them promptly into my freezer and you better believe I will be defrosting them come Easter and thoroughly enjoying way too much SWEETLY CREAMED coffee on April Fool’s Day 🙂

In other foodie news, Joel has been in Mexico for work all week 😦 and has struggled through trying to stick as close to our foods as possible!

A week in, here are the changes that we have made since Day 1:

Original foods:

Chicken, eggs, apples, 100% whole wheat bread, peanut butter, greens, onions, beans, rice, broccoli

With the additions of salt, pepper, and olive oil for cooking and seasoning

During our last supper (4 of us got together to gorge ourselves snack on our favorites until literally midnight on February 28th), we all compared lists and made loose ‘rules’ and gave suggestions and ended up changing some foods

Then, after a week of this I realized I wasn’t eating a few items, so swapped them out w/others I would eat regularly!

So NOW my list is:

Chicken, eggs, apples, 100% whole wheat bread, peanut butter, greens, mozzerella cheese, bananas, tomatoes, berries

And we have broadened seasoning to ALL seasonings (hence dropping onion as food because I can use garlic anytime!), and included milk as a freebie so we are still getting our calcium and Vitamin D that is so important this time of year!

This list is versatile and lovely!

My starvation dramatics cravings went away after 3 days and I’ve gotten into a groove of normal eating patterns again (goodbye days of 3 string cheeses and possible multiple grilled cheese sandwiches chased with too many bananas…)

But I am SO looking forward to not being consumed with what to prepare, how to prepare it, and how to get it not to taste exactly like what I just ate for lunch…once April arrives

Spiritually, God is examining my emotions and my reasons for eating emotionally…

Why do I cover up stillness w/food and over-indulgence?

Why can’t I sit and just be?!

What am I ‘feeding’ w/cookies and desserts and sweets that I should be feeding w/the Word?

God revealed to Jenna this scripture that she passed on to us and we are all encouraging each other to memorize this month:

“So get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you.  Be like obedient children as you put aside the desires you used to pursue when you didn’t know better.  Since the One who called you is holy, be holdy in all you do.  For the Scripture says, ” You are to be holy, for I am holy.”  If you call on the Father who judges everyone without partiality according to their actions, then you should live in reverence and awe while you live out the days of your exile.”

1 Peter 1:13-17 (The Voice)

NIV translation of these verses found HERE

What words are you hiding away in your heart right now?!

Why the challenges?!

Have you entered the AWARENESS RAISING GIVEAWAY?!

It ends on TUESDAY and the winners will be announced WEDNESDAY!

 

It’s March and we’ve begun our FOOD CHALLENGE

Since we posted our ‘unofficial list’ earlier we have changed out RICE for BANANAS

Anyways, that’s not the point of this blog

I want to talk about WHY we are challenging ourselves in different ways, what it is doing for us, and how we hope to be changed for the future

 

Since cookies, ice cream, cookies, rolos, cookie dough, and cookies are not on my list for my food challenge, I am pretty confident I will fail.

(Debbie downer, huh?!)

Actually, I know I will failif I am not putting my faith and trust in God to transform my self-control and discipline…I have no hopes of succeeding!

And I know that if I try to succeed with self-discipline alone, I will fail!  We are coming together, in community, to radically challenge each other with self-control and discipline.  We are holding each other up in daily prayer and contacting each other with regular accountability.  The clothing challenge was a tight-knit group of 5 gals.  This food challenge has grown from 5 gals to 9! (7 ladies and 2 of our husbands).  In April the challenge will be related to marriage and I hope that even more will join in on the vulnerability, sacrifice, discipline, fellowship, and growth!

Along with the Late Night Girls Bible Study where the idea for these challenges grew – I have been reading lots of literature that has been tugging on my heart and convicting my spirit to make radical, lasting changes in how I view my possessions, my wealth, and my capabilities

One of these books is Radical by David Platt

If 7 by Jen Hatmaker rocked my world (the book behind the idea for the challenges), Radical pretty much crumbled it

We listened to this a few times in 2011 and I recently bought the book so I can pour over it’s words and write my thoughts in the margin

This book stirred our hearts towards adoption

This book helped us think differently about our God’s possessions (that we are merely stewards of)

This book turned our hearts towards seeking out more of THE BOOK (The Bible, in case you weren’t quite sure if I was refering again to 7 by Jen Hatmaker again which I’ve mentioned in at least 5% of my blogs)

Big Picture:

This is about the health of my heart and my emotions and my mind
We have the luxury of buying whatever we want…even extremely expensive healthy whole foods that are great for us – but we don’t have to hardly blink about the cost because of our surplus of money!
I want to meditate on the world and what I choose to stay blind to…how they are not just hungry but DIE from hunger
Kids, exactly like mine, all over the world, that will die today because they are hungry…something that can be so easily rectified…
How I can eat less or a smaller variety of diet and avoid gluttony, and over-indulgence, and SELF-indulgence?
And begin to concentrate on self-control, and my body-image in Christ, and being world-focused?
I know as we open our hearts to be more radical – and diligently hide more of The Word away in our hearts, we will continue to be pulled towards God’s plan for our lives and how our sole purpose is to bring Him glory
God, help us rid ourselves of gluttony this month and meditate on eliminating waste of food and get back to nurturing our bodies with a conservative and respectful diligence that keeps us globally-focused on those that will die today from not having the luxury of consuming the scraps that we throw away from our table…
Help us die to ourselves so that YOU can take us over and accomplish your greatness through us!
If you want to be challenged and need some accountability and fellowship – join us in this month’s challenge!  Just a leave a comment and let me know 🙂
If you want some literary ‘food for thought’ pick up Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and be enlightened to transform our God-given desire to crave from food and other worldy distractions, to God and His Word that will benefit and feed us eternally.
And DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

AWARENESS: Guest blog and giveaway!

During this first month (of many) of different challenges and fasting, we have been meditating over some ministries and organizations to bring awareness.

One of my favorite new friends, Sarah (check her out at Flying Kites!), has so kindly offered to guest post on the blog today AND provide a giveaway!  Check the end of this post for entry information.

Prepare your hearts for this, readers.

Sex Trafficking.

Get this:

-Did you know Sex trafficking commonly involves deception, kidnapping, rape, and sexual enslavement of girls (as young as 6!) and women? (Link)

Did you know it’s one of the fastest growing crimes in the world? (Link)

-Did you know nearly 2 million children around the globe are currently forced into sexual exploitation? (Link)

Did you know 300,000 children in the U.S. alone are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation? (Link)

-Do you want to stop reading this?!?!

Yeah, I hear ya. It sure sounds less messy to pour myself a cup of coffee, put my feet up and flip through a magazine.

So, do I brush this great injustice under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist? Do I wallow in guilt because there’s nothing little-ol-me can do about it? Both these responses are unhealthy and go against what the Bible teaches about the oppressed.

So WHAT can be done?

Did you know one of the best things you can do to help end Sex Trafficking is EDUCATE YOURSELF?

Simple, huh?

Little-ol-me started educating herself and you know what happened? My heart started to ache and I started to pray. Prayer changes things.

I’m not an expert on this subject, but I wanted to introduce an amazing, Christ-centered ministry called Tiny Hands International

Tiny Hands is doing unbelievable things in Jesus’ name – focusing much of their efforts on intercepting sex traffickers in Nepal who are trying to smuggle vulnerable girls into India. To date, over 5,000 girls have been rescued!!

Go ahead and check out their website, but here are just a few things I love….

*Want to “spiritually adopt” a girl? Check out “One Girl Prayer Initiative” . A $10 donation will get you a hand-crafted bracelet and a prayer card with the name of a girl who’s been intercepted. I wear my bracelet almost 24/7 and it is a great reminder to pray for Tiny Hands.

*How about a cute purse (plus more!)? Check out the “Freedom Products” where 100% of proceeds go toward Tiny Hands’ Children’s Homes, Anti-Trafficking Efforts & Women Empowerment Ministries.

*Read Sold by Patricia McCormick. Although Tiny Hands doesn’t actually sell this book, I first heard about it through them. Sold is a novel based on true life stories of exploited children in Nepal. It is written from the viewpoint of 13-year-old Lakshimi. It’s explicit, yet tactful and most of all: it educates. I always encourage people to read it and pass it on. Think how many more prayers could be offered on behalf of God’s vulnerable children?

*Watch Meena’s Story. This will take that HUGE number of sex slaves and make it so incredibly REAL. It’s worth the 5 minutes it takes to watch. (video)

*Why not become and advocate for Tiny Hands? (link) It’s basically what I’m doing right now – spreading the word about how to help!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and to Rachel for promoting such Christ-centered ministries!

God Bless you all! Sarah

SO powerful.  Let’s not hide behind our sinful excuses of why we CAN’T do something, and start making advocacy and global-care our priority! (for more information, see Matthew 28:18-20 and all of Acts)

Sarah is graciously donated 2 copies of Sold for a giveaway!

3 ways to enter:
1. Comment on this blog about what you are going to do to be an advocate for women and children stuck in sex trafficking

2. Begin following this blog to stay in our fellowship of challenge and radical living and comment that you have done this

3. Post a link to this blog post on facebook and leave a comment on here that you did it

Sarah and I will come up with an exciting way to choose the winners by TUESDAY and they will be announced on WEDNESDAY MARCH 6TH!