Monday, June 25, 2012

BIG BELIEFS, Little Beliefs.

I believe that...

  1. When you're a mom, mowing the yard is 'Me Time'.
  2. Soup in the crockpot on a rainy day is the ultimate in comfort food.
  3. Marsha Brady was a little trollop.
  4. Spouse is a much better student than I ever was.
  5. A sandwich that someone else made is better than one you make for yourself.
  6. Disney needs to release a movie with a healthy, in tact family.
  7. Running on the beach makes running tolerable.
  8. Flossing makes me feel better.
  9. Folding underwear is a colossal waste of time.
  10. God's grace is nearly incomprehensible.
  11. Sunday afternoon naps are essential for the rest of the week to be successful.
  12. My girls make me look like a better parent than I really am.
  13. Paying $.50 per load of folded laundry is the best money I've ever spent.
  14. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8
  15. Sparkly/ blingy flip-flops is dressing up.
  16. Dropping my spouse off at the airport is one of the hardest things I do.
  17. The Cleavers were a healthy television family. (Dad was the leader, teaching his boys to be men. Didn't let Mrs. Cleaver 'baby' the boys. Also, the teacher was portrayed as helpful and respectable, unlike the shows today, that portray teachers as lacking intelligence. )
  18. Everyone matters to someone.
  19. Musings of the Bleary-Eyed is a blog you should read.
  20. If my smarty, inspired friends keep writing blogs, I'm never going to have time to finish reading my book!
  21. Tropical Storm Debby had my weather app working overtime.
  22. Parents are still the biggest influential persons in their kids' lives. 
  23. Teaching my girls to make homemade cookies was a mistake. (Irresistable! And I can't hurt their feelings!?)
  24. I should to teach them to juice and make smoothies.
  25. We're only here for a little while.
What do you believe?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Straight Talk About The Talk.

Have you had 'The Talk' with your kids? Does the thought of talking to your child about sex turn your stomach in knots?
In the name of Jesus, please allow me to give you a little straight talk about The Talk. 

It has to be done. And, as the 'Rents, you are the ones to do it. I promise, there is no need to worry yourself to the point of hives, nor is there cause to bury your head in the preverbal sand! You can do this! There is, however, cause for you to take seriously the need to talk early and talk often with your kids about sex and the importance of saving all sexual activity until marriage.

Talk to God - Pray. Pray for your child's purity. Pray for what your child is exposed to outside of your presence. Pray for your child to see herself the way God sees her. Pray for your child's future spouse. A really smart momma told me that she always prayed that her children's hearts would be asleep until God had the person to wake it up. Is that precious?!

Talk Early - With the Littles, use correct anatomical terms. Penis and vagina are not dirty words. You need to be comfortable saying these words and so do your children. I explained it to my girls this way: pee-pee/penis or pee-pee/vagina are similar to sofa and couch. They mean the same thing. I gave several examples: chair/recliner, bike/ get the idea. Children are not squeamish about saying a word like 'vagina' until they learn to be. Really, it's not a big deal--head, shoulders, knees, toes, penis. It's all about learning their 2000 'fearfully and wonderfully made' parts!

Talk Often - Talking about sex with your child is not a one-time deal. Use teachable moments. Media gives us plenty! Here's the deal, your kids WILL get a sex education. They can get it from NBC, government school, a Kardashian (Lord forbid it), the cool cousin, church, or YOU. I can not say this to enough Mommas: The first person to talk to your child about sex is the expert--Be the expert! 
I'm not saying oversaturate your kid with inappropriate sexual conversation, I'm just saying don't let the moments pass you by and don't wait for some special dinner. Just be casual. Never let 'em see you sweat. 

Talk Privacy - Anything covered by a swimsuit is private. I'm okay with using the phrase 'private parts' as one of those interchangeable words mentioned above, too. No one, including Mom, Dad or Doctor, should ever look at or touch private parts without the child's permission. I have always appreciated our pediatrician for going overboard in this area. She overtly asks permission in my presence. When discussing privacy, it is also beneficial to encourage your child to save discussions about private parts for alone times with parents. Teach your child that talking about private parts should be, well, private. Do this early. Teach your child to whisper, for the love of Peter. Hey, I'm just trying to save you some embarrassing questions coming ever-so-loudly from the stroller about the time you are checking out of a department store.

Talk Purity - You can't be too pure. Raise the standard, here. Be extreme. Be radical in your fight for your child's purity! We must fight fire with fire! There is a war raging against purity! Remember those yay-hoos putting a bounty on Tim Tebow's virginity!? Aggh! I wrote about this before, read that post here. I just read it. Man, I was fired up! I just realized, too, that I am repeating myself a little. I guess I mean it. :)

Talk Marriage - When discussing saving sexual activity until marriage, be sure to use language like "husband and wife", not just "man and woman". You want to plant those words deep. The world is hitting us all with 'friends with benefits' (I say 'friends with liabilities'). Set the standard for marriage extremely high, and discuss marriage and sex as a wonderful gift from the Lord. God created sex! Yay, God! Sex is for procreation and recreation within the covenant of marriage.
Talk Goals - When I was a traveling relationship educator (read: sex ed teacher), I was shocked at how many students had no clue how to set goals. We need to teach our children to keep their eyes on the prize! We need to use opportunities to teach them about delayed gratification. We can't always get what we want when we want it. Allow your child the satisfaction of saving money for a new game, even if you can and want to buy it for them. Wait for things to go on sale. When you have to wait for something, talk about how great it is to have a fun experience after having to wait for a while.
Once these goals are set, it really will help you in many areas. For instance, your son sets a goal of lettering in high school basketball. Wonderful! In order to do that, grades will need to be just so, practices and conditioning will have to be priority, as well as other team responsibilities. 
This is usually a good time to discuss things that can derail your goals. Like an unintended pregnancy, a DUI, major distraction that causes grades to drop, etc. You get the idea.

Talk Media - This is multifaceted.
Television, movies, music, print ads, internet, etc... they are all a part of that war against purity. I am all for censorship. Do not think that your child doesn't understand the innuendos. This is just ridiculous. You are kidding yourself. (Remember, the title says "Straight Talk".)

This doesn't necessarily mean censor forever.  At an appropriate age, discuss media messages with your child. Have conversations in light of God's Word, sharing a biblical worldview.

Do not put a TV or computer in your kid's bedroom. This is a no-brainer to me.

Media includes communications, such as phones and texting. When I asked high school students for one piece of advice for me to give to parents of younger kids, the Number One response is, "Don't let them get a cell phone!" No joke. High schoolers are seeing the problems of cell phones in their own lives. Just delay it as long as possible. I know it is convenient for your teen/preteen to have a phone, but parenting isn't always convenient. You had practices after school and went to friend's houses without a cell phone, little Junior can, too.
Texting is not required for the phone to work. Don't be afraid to shut it down. Seriously, other parents will applaud your willingness to take a stand, and likely follow suit. Be a trend setter! :)

Oh, I could go on! I've found this subject coming up more and more lately, so a post seemed timely. Please feel free to share your thoughts and share this post!

Bottom line: TALK!

Life Lately.

So, I know I've been a bit MIA lately. I'm sorry. I am sincere in that apology, but I must tell you, Sweet Readers, that it has been for your good. I've been in a bit of a 'state' for the last week or so; I'm pretty sure I would have been a bit of a downer or, worse, faking it.
And I don't do faking it. :)

I feel very much out of sorts--not knowing what to do next. We have been really searching ourselves and asking the Lord, "What now?" Which, incidentally, is the same question being asked of us quite often.  Here's the short answer, "We have no clue."

We know the door to Manila has closed. You can get caught up here.  Obviously, I can't post about details of the business, just know that we knew it was a possibility all along, albeit a slim one. We really believed things were moving in that direction.

Now that we know things aren't moving in that direction, we pick up the pieces and regroup. Slowly. Working on our homeschool plans for the fall--getting the girls registered for a few homeschool classes and whatnot.
I haven't been able to find my "want to" for unpacking boxes, yet.

Anyway, here's a little bit of what we've been up to the last couple of weeks:

Maddy had been really anxious to make some bread. She loves making it and we all love eating it. She knows we can't make bread that often, though! :) 
Meghan participated in a two-day volleyball clinic.
She enjoyed it a great deal and learned a lot.
We have been hitting the beach as often as possible.
We've gotten our paddle boards wet every chance we've had.
It's hard to stay in a depressed state at the beach.
My girls beasting it out on the paddle boards.
Meghan rocked it out at a basketball camp.
She received the "Great Teammate Award" for her age division and her evaluation
showed the highest marks in all areas revealing character traits.
She is pretty grand. 
Game Night with the Loves.
Mel's Diner was re-opened! Milkshakes and Nervous Uno!
I may have even gotten my fitness mojo back by starting a bootcamp class this week, too! (No photo!) It has been tough, but I do love it.

No question about it, the God that guided the steps of Abraham in the Old Testament and Paul in the New, is the same God that guides ours. If these pictures are any indication, He's doing a decent job. :)

The LORD will keep you from all harm-
He will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going,
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:7-8

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beautiful Link Ups.

Skin Deep.
Today, my friend over at A Brew of Blessings posted Skin Deep, a beautifully written piece inspired by a shopping trip with my lovely 11 year-old yesterday.  This blog post was inspired by a conversation with an 11 year old, but it will resonate with anyone with two X chromosomes.

A few months ago, I wrote a post to my girls about their beauty. It deserves a little revisiting. :)

I am so proud of Tara and the godly example she is for my girls.
She is the real deal.
Living the Dream!

One of my favorite families is living the dream right now in Ethiopia. This Party of Five left on Friday to spend upwards of three months in Africa to serve the people of Ethiopia and to finalize their adoption of two precious boys.
They got to meet their boys. Grab a tissue and click on over to Partakers of Grace to read about their meeting.

Praise be to God in advance for making them a Party of Seven!!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Another sweet little friend of mine over at Oh the Places You'll Go! ran a little contest for her readers.

And, Yay Me! I won a book!
Y'all know how much I need more books, right?!

Anyway, Becca is a cutesy 20-something who loves Jesus and her blog is precious. Y'all know how I love the Millennial Generation, well, she IS one!

She is currently living out some life changes courtesy of Jesus and our friends Francis Chan and Jen Hatmaker, among others, I'm sure.  If you have ever taken a good ole fashioned whoopin from Francis Chan or Jen Hatmaker, you know what I mean!  I know I have! Take a click. :)


Happy Monday!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Door. Closed.

"...What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. 
I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and 
have not denied my name." Revelation 3:7


Wrap it all up, and more. That's where we are right now.
Add a dash of bummed. And a heap of Trust in the Lord--add that, too.

After a few months of praying and waiting and waiting and praying, we finally have an answer.

It looks like we will take another trip to Houston and then come home. Period. No Manila.
We don't really know what after that.

Well, that's not really true...
We will follow Jesus to Houston and we will follow Him to Plant City.
We will serve Jesus in Houston and we will serve Him in Plant City.
We will love the people of Houston and we will love the people of Plant City.

Our emotional responses have been all over the place in the last 24 hours.
We are grateful because God is sovereign. We are disappointed because we thought we wanted what God wanted. We are happy to be coming home because it's home! We are relieved because now we know. We are embarrassed because I should have kept my mouth shut. We are sad because of what could have been. We are bummed because it's just a bummer! Mostly, though, we trust in the Lord.

Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., said,
"You can't pray for open doors if you aren't willing to accept closed doors." 

Welp, that's where we are.
We are trusting the Lord. We have no understanding to lean on! :) Yes, we are acknowledging Him and He has the right to change the path at any time. It's His path!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and he will direct your path.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New. Redeemed.

This is what the LORD says,
"Forget the former things;
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now, it springs up; do you not see it?
I am making a way in the wilderness,
And streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

A new thing.
That is what God is doing.

He is doing 'new' all over the place! It seems as if we are sending out folks all the time! We have friends heading out to Papua New Guinea, sweet friends in Miami, some leaving tomorrow for Ethiopia to meet their new sons, and today, we learned that our good friends are going to be a part of a church plant San Fransisco! Gracious! That is not to even mention all those in the local business sect who are pointing the way to Jesus in their hometown, students being a light to the world in their classrooms, and families being faithful in the day to day.

"Now, it springs up; do you not see it?"
Yes, Lord! We see it! We are grateful!

God is doing some wonderful work in the lives of His children, and we have a front row seat! Although, I want in on the action, not be just a spectator! :)

I am so amazed that the Lord even lets me and my stubbornness be a part of it. I am Israel!

This past week, I have been an emotional mess. Packing. I don't even know for sure what we are packing for! What date will we leave for Houston? Where are we going to live when we get there? How long will we stay? What do we take with us? Will we rent our house? Packing. What activities can my girls do here before we leave? How can we serve in Houston while we are there? What activities can we do when we are there? Are we going to Manila? Packing.  Are we just foolish?  Have I been unfaithful? Are we squandering our time and resources? If He sends us, what will we do? What is the best way to help our girls adjust. Lord, please unite our hearts.  Is the Lord closing the door? What will we do then?

Yet, the Lord said,
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you,
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you..." (Isaiah 43:1-2)

I am a mess. Israel was a mess. My mess and theirs has been redeemed.
When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, your mess has been redeemed.

Not only is the Lord redeeming my mess, He will use it. He will work it all together for His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

We are moving forward, mess and all!
Hoping that the Lord will use us wherever we are.
If we do all this, and He keeps us here, then we have to trust that, too.