Why I’m a Mean Mom…..

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….or, “Why I Won’t Let My 13 Year Old Daughter Have a Cell Phone.”

Really, it’s simple. She doesn’t need one. That’s the main reason, so if you don’t feel like reading my supporting reasons then just stop reading now. I feel the need to add a disclaimer here: this is what we have decided to do at the time for our family. What other parents choose to do with their families is their own biz-ness, and I am not going to say it’s wrong for someone else’s kid to have a cell phone. Well, you know what I mean 😉

Here are the reasons why-(short version)

1. She doesn’t need it. Really this is the main reason.

2. I am not going to pay for her to text her friends, which is the only reason she wants the phone. Facebook is free and you can do the same thing. It took us awhile for us to consent to that as well, but we have access to her account-that was the main condition in order for her to have a page.

3. Having a cell phone is one more way for a kid to tune out their family and retreat into their own little world. Don’t think Satan doesn’t use that one.

4. My job as a parent is not to fulfill every desire my children have, and as much as I love my little darlings, I have to keep them safe as well. Cell phone users are not immune to predators.

My reasons why-(long version) 🙂

First off, she’s just a kid. A homeschooled kid at that, who spends most of her time (much to her chagrin sometimes) with her family. I know where she’s at. She doesn’t need to call me on a cell phone from the other room to let me know she’s ok. When she is with a friend or group of friends, most of them have a phone anyways so no worries there. She can take Jeremy’s cell phone out with her if need be and that is fine.

Secondly, the only reason she wants it is to text her friends. I asked her to come up with 3 good reasons why she needed one and the only one she stated was “In case of an emergency.” As long as she has facebook, and most of her friends have one too, she is able to talk with her friends on there. Why on earth would I pay a monthly fee for her to text her friends when she can do basically the same thing for free online? The money isn’t even an issue, it’s the principal of the thing.

Thirdly, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but she is young. I mean, last time I checked people under the age of 19 are still kids, right? I want her to be a kid for as long as she’s supposed to be a kid. It’s kind of dorky really, like, “Oh man I wish I had a cell phone.” It’s like me saying, “Oh I wish I had a programmable crock pot.” It’s just a crockpot, and while very handy, it is by no means a necessity. Kids pining over cell phones is just…..weird to me. Go be a kid-have a friend over and actually talk face-to-face!!!

My daughter thinks she is a “loser” because she is the only one of her friends who doesn’t have a phone. What a crazy way to think. Why does it have to be like this? Peer pressure over a phone, how messed up is that?! To some people I may be over-thinking this. It is just a phone.

13 years ago I never would have guessed that the peer pressure my daughter would be facing would be about having a cell phone, and I’m thankful it’s just that, because it could be something a lot more harmful and difficult to deal with. But a cell phone, really? Strange times we’re living in, strange times indeed!

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Family.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about family. Those people that you share bloodlines with but not necessarily telephone lines with.

I can remember growing up and seeing my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Lloyd’s family gathered together at holidays and they were so full of joy and love and all I knew was I wanted that someday. A Christian family, 2 boys, 2 girls, and lots of love. Of course the Lord went beyond that, much like he always does, and gave me my own 5 children including a bonus boy!

It sort of jerked me into reality though when my 13 year old daughter remarked to me that parts of her family seem to be “breaking apart.” Bye-bye Norman Rockwell picture perfect family. For one, she sees only a fraction of her cousins. I always wanted my kids to grow up with cousins around, but this is most likely not going to happen. I don’t understand, but it is what it is. There is a quote that says “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Harsh, but unfortunately a lot of truth to that. When you have tried to keep open the lines of communication, and there is no return of the same, you tend to give up.

I don’t mean to sound hard or callous but there is pain involved. The wounds scab over, slowly, with time, and before long there is a hardness about it. Not a godly thing to have, but it’s there nonetheless. Family is important, I do believe this, but sometimes it’s not the most important to every member. How I do not wish this to be the future for my own children and their families…..So……..

……..understanding that my children will one day fly the coop and grow up to have families and lives of their own, I would pray this for them: that they would not forsake the company of each other. To remember the silliness and the laughter of childhood, the bouncing of the trampoline, the pretend of “house,” and “school,” and “office.” The talking late into the night, one room next to another, or on the DS, chatting and drawing funny pictures. The singing; the harmony.

Knowing what adulthood family relationships can bring, sends me to the Father, asking for him to grant unity among them, now and always. Not without ripples, but without tidal waves of emotional pain, heartache, and distance.

My Aunt’s family is still very close, and as I’ve grown up I have seen that it is not without it’s troubles; it’s not perfect by any means. But it’s what love looks like. It’s singing Christmas carols around the living room, calling one another weekly, big holiday gatherings, showing up at the hospital-(there’s always been plenty of that in this family) going to birthday parties, recitals, and marching band contests to support the kids. It’s praying for and with one another.

It’s being there.

4 years.

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What I miss about you, Dad:

The smell of Aqua Velva Aftershave.

Watching Food Network with you-and driving mom crazy with our concoctions and messy kitchen!

When you raised your bushy eyebrows at me, for whatever reason.

Laughing about how every stinkin’ time you ate a BLT sandwich, a tooth broke off of your dentures-true story!

Laughing with you. Period.

Your advice; from how to maintain our vehicles, to taking care of our home-and the fact that you could fix all the problems we had with both!

Hearing you sing old songs from the ’70’s in your baritone voice.

Watching you with my kids.

Teasing you  when I think about that snake you tried to kill in the backyard and it turning out to be a rubber snake! I couldn’t breathe for laughing so hard when mom called and told me that. It’s still funny!

2 words: Consort Hairspray.

Corny jokes.

The way you always treated my husband like he was your own.

Teaching you about the Internet-glad mom isn’t wanting me to do that! Good grief, I’d be bald.

Our garage talks.

Can’t believe it’s been 4 years. Sometimes I think about older people who still have their parents around, and feel sort of slighted. But then I think about the kids who haven’t even grown up yet who have lost their Daddys and realize how blessed I am to have had you for 28 years, even if it didn’t seem long enough.

Until we meet again….I love you Dad.

Christmas Gift-giving Made Simple.

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A few years ago I kept up with the blog of a lady who had 7 children.  She was an inspiration to anyone with a large family and when I found out her family’s gift-giving strategy at Christmas time, I quickly copied and pasted it into a document on my computer! It’s a wonderful idea for keeping gift-giving in the more conservative realm, as opposed to going bonkers with the presents. And it works great for any amount of children in a family, whether you have 1 or 5!

Here’s what her children receive:

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read (or watch!)

LOVE,LOVE,LOVE! This year Jeremy and I have decided that we would try this out. It is a great way to streamline what they get, and keep our sanity intact at the same time.

Maybe this will help someone out or you can pass it along to another family who might need a simple way to streamline their gift-giving this year.

Another thing that a lot of people may not know is that every July, towards the last few days of the month, Target Stores do a massive toy clearance. I found out about it last year and decided to try it out. I was able to get several things for Christmas for over 30% off the original price. Many times if you hit the store just right, you are able to get the items for 70% off. That’s a great way to save money on toys.

Also, be on the lookout in your local newspapers because you can find several useful coupons for toys made by Playskool, Hasbro, and other companies that make action figures, games, and dolls. Couple that with a toy clearance and you have yourself a deal!

Sure hope this helps someone out there. We are excited to see how this gift-giving strategy works. Since we have been trying to simplify things in our family, I can’t imagine this not being a good thing.

Broken Boy.

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So it’s been awhile. I know. Life has been crazy over the past 6 months. Crazy’s probably an understatement.

I have written so many posts but when I go back and read them, they just seem like fluff. They don’t matter, they don’t sound right, they are just not…..something. I try to write what’s on my heart, but many times what’s on my heart is not fit for public viewing-sad to say. But those are the posts that I turn into prayers-the things that I long to shout from the mountain tops, scream until my voice is heard; the angry “what if’s and how comes, and whys?” to the One who need not reply.

I’ll do the best I can here to describe life over the past few months and pray that God would get the glory in this post.

We took in my nephew back in March of this year, and when we got him, he was a broken little boy. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc. The pictures would break your heart ;(

My family has gone through a gamut of emotions. Heartbreak, anger, guilt, pain, sadness, exhaustion, fear;  you get the picture. For whatever reason, it is possible for a mother to not love or take care of her child. I will never understand this if I am being honest with you. It is difficult to accept that a woman can carry a child for 9 months, and not fall head over heels in love with that little person after he or she is born, if not before.

To say that my children have not been affected would be a total lie. More than once one of my kids has come to us upset and crying because of how difficult their cousin can be. To have someone move into your room and break your stuff, annoy you to no end, call you names, etc, is tough. It calls for them to be patient, show grace, compassion, and when you are only 9 or 10 yourself-you really don’t have a whole lot of that to give!

When a child that has been neglected and abused suddenly comes into a home where there is a lot more order, structure, and discipline-it’s kind of like that cartoon character, The Tasmanian Devil, coming to live with you. I cannot tell you how many times in trying to discipline him that I was kicked, hit, spit on, slapped, called names, pushed, etc. Never before had I experienced anything like that and I am glad to say that those episodes are a lot less frequent now. But they are disheartening and discouraging.

It’s been hard, obviously. But God has been so good throughout this whole ordeal. He has challenged me in my own parenting abilities and he has put me to the test. I think of the Refiner’s fire-seriously, it’s been hot! Jeremy has been woken up by me in the wee hours of the morning more than once to pray for my nephew, his mom, the entire situation. And God was always right there, ever listening, never sleeping-always ready to pour out Peace.  Jeremy has been so good with my nephew-who has never really had a father in his life. I am so proud of him-it is the sweetest thing to watch them sit together and Jeremy just take time to talk to him, read him stories at bedtime, and pray with him. What a beautiful, foreign concept to this little boy.

We have no idea what God has in store or what the outcome will be. It’s not looking good that my nephew will ever go back to his mom. For a long time I had some ideas of my own about how to “fix” this situation. Then finally I had to lay it at the Master’s feet and say, “Take it. I can’t do this, I am not able to fix this situation, but I know You can.” What a wonderful peace that has been present ever since I gave up. When we are weak, HE is strong-that’s Truth!

My prayer is that no matter how long my nephew lives with us, that we will be the best examples of God’s love to him. This little broken boy is not a mistake. God has a plan for him-plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him hope and a FUTURE. God takes the messy, the broken, the shattered, the unthinkable, the unwelcome, the unexplainable-and makes them beautiful in His time. God’s the glue that fills in all the cracks.

I am striving to  intentionally seek what God would teach and show me as we plod through this valley together. If we had not taken my nephew in, what would I have missed out on? The opportunity to love another child who needs to know that he is loved, to show Christ to him and all of the people involved in his life (medical professionals, mostly, due to health issues he has), to cherish my own children and make sure they know they are loved and cared for. The blessing of sharing Christ when those around you ask “How on earth are you making it?”

I am holding on tight, with white knuckles, to this verse, and knowing that God has a big plan for not only my nephew, but each and every one of us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Not Guilty.

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There aren’t too many videos I find on youtube that are worthy of a blog post, but I stumbled across one tonight that was utterly beautiful. I must share it. The song is “Not Guilty” by Mandisa. It is a song that I have wanted to sing for awhile and pray I get the chance to sometime.

I’m so thankful to be able to say I’m “not guilty.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH0Jw8d5I6A&feature=related

(Mess)age

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As I was sitting here working with Lizzie on her AWANAs stuff, she asked me to spell the word “message.”  When I spelled it out loud for her, something caught my attention. There is “mess” in the word message. 

So I immediately thought of this: While we wait for a message from the Lord, there can be a lot of mess. Right now in my own life-there is a lot of mess, usually in the form of a few 4-year olds, and there may or may not be a Pull-up diaper involved. Nice. God never promised me this road I am traveling would be an easy one-and I do know that, but sometimes we don’t expect the road to be so muddy and messy.

So right now, here in the muck and the mire, there are lessons to be learned. I already spilled the beans about my pridefulness, but there are other things the Lord has been kindly showing me these past three weeks. The recent events in my family have motivated me to be an even better parent than I was before. My children deserve the best mom-spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically (let’s not go there right now!).

As parents, we know that it takes a lot of patience to discipline children in a loving and effective manner. Boy has my patience been tried lately. I have been driven to tears by a 4 year old who did not want to sit in his car seat. It should not take 15 minutes to buckle a child into their seat-but these are unusual circumstances. Messy circumstances. The Lord is growing my patience daily. Sometimes hourly 🙂

God works in the mess. The situation we are currently dealing with involves a lot of people and will have far-reaching effects. There is no telling how or what God will use to bring glory to himself in this. But I know through a broken vessel, his light will shine brightest. My eyes have been opened and my prayer is now that God will use me in the mess.

After all, there is a “me” in mess too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvSwcMp9vU4