Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Take time for yourself

Hebrews 4:10 (New International Version)

10for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

Everyone needs a hobby of some kind. We all need stress relief. As moms and dads we can lose sight of our individual selves as we put the needs of our children first. But if we don't take some time for ourselves from time-to-time, we will be neglecting ourselves. We also need to show our kids the importance of hobbies and individualism.

Try to find even 15 minutes a week to enjoy your hobby. Seek out 15 minutes each week for stress relief. There are so many health benefits!

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you find time to rest and relax.

Monday, August 30, 2010

E for Effort

Luke 1:17
And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Does your child struggle with doing homework? Doing their chores? Cleaning their room? Set up a system to help them earn points for their efforts and help them improve.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to open your eyes to your child's efforts, however small, and help you encourage them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It’s perfect!

Why do people strive for perfection? Do we need to be in control? Are we trying to measure up to a certain standard? Are we trying to impress?

Do you know a perfectionist? Why are they striving for perfection? What are their motives?

Any thoughts? Any insights?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Make note

Romans 5:5 (New International Version)

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Did your Mom or Dad ever write a note and put it in your lunchbox? What better way to remind your child that you are thinking of them. Why don't you write several notes to your child? Make them all different. Use different colors of pens, markers, pencils, paper, stationary … add doodles and designs. Don't forget to put one in your child's next lunch!

Prayer Suggestion: Consider praying for the school staff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Delicious dish

Peach cobbler in a mug

I came across this recipe earlier this year in my Texas Co-op periodical. The entire article was called "Kitchen Magic for Kids," but this one recipe caught my eye.

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon instant nonfat dry milk
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash salt
1 snack-sized container (4 oz) diced peaches, well drained

Microwave butter in mug [coffee mug, minus the coffee], until melted, about 20 seconds on high. Add sugar, flour, dry milk, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and 2 tablespoons water [ahem, why wasn't that listed in the ingredients?] to mug. Sir with fork until well blended, then add peaches on top of batter. Do not stir. Reduce microwave power to 70 percent. Cook for two minutes, then let stand in microwave one minute. Remove from [microwave] oven, and let cool.

I would also recommend using a cooking spray, and you may want to play around with the cooking time to get the desired fluffiness and done-ness. Since each cobbler is made in an individual mug, this worked out well for both of my girls to participate in at the same time and make their own cobbler. I found small kid-safe bowls in my kitchen in which I measured and doled out the ingredients for them to pour in and stir on their own. No fighting over who gets to add what or who stirs! And it really turns out very good! Though it couldn't hurt to add a little ice cream, now would it?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blank Slate

Psalm 112:4 (New International Version)

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

Remember we have to teach our kids everything they are going to know. So, think of a social skill (empathy, talking on the phone, ordering at a restaurant, manners, etc) your child can and needs to learn and devise a plan to start training and practice.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you other children you can minister to.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Monkey see, monkey do

Psalm 119:66 (New International Version)

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I believe in your commands.

I don't know about you, but I find that if I want to improve myself, discover any bad habits I've overlooked, I only need to look to my kids

Does your child have any bad habits? Do you? If possible, make yourself accountable to each other and gently remind each other when you're caught in the bad habit. Can you think of a positive habit you can replace the bad one with? Your child will be more likely to want to change if you are setting the example.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you be a good/positive/better example to your kids.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (New International Version)

16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

If you couldn't think of a way to encourage/praise your child before, and you didn't make a list, make a list today and tell your child something encouraging (make it specific) TODAY.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you watch for a new way to encourage your child

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Write this down

Proverbs 16:3 (New International Version)

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

School is starting up again. Schedules are changing. Whether you have a child in school or not, look at your calendar. Can you schedule some special time with your child? Maybe a lunch date at school? Maybe a special outing on the weekend? Maybe some time alone at home? Now mark it on your calendar as an appointment you can't miss. Setting aside time with your child (each of your children) not only makes them feel special, but also helps you focus.

Can you make this a regular occurrence? Once a week? Once a month? Every other month?

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you ways to spend special, individual time with your child.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Expectations

Proverbs 13:4 (New International Version)

4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Give your child age appropriate chores. Remember, your child will not perform or complete the chore perfectly the first time. They will need to be trained and need practice—lots of practice (maybe lots and lots and lots … of practice!) The time (and patience) you invest now will pay off in the future and everyone will benefit in the long run.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you find ways to break down even big tasks into little chores your child can learn.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keep reaching for the stars

Proverbs 1:5 (NIV)
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.

I'm sure that I am not the only one who has regrets—things I wish I hadn't done and things I wish I had. Sometimes I wish I had talked more and studied less. Sometimes I wish I had hung out at the mall instead of hiding in my room behind a book. There are things I can't change about the past, but that's not to say I can't improve my present and future.

Instead of focusing on the regrets of the past, think about what you can do now to affect your future. Is there a childhood dream you can revisit? Was it lack of opportunity or resources? Or were you just afraid to fail? Can you give it a try now?

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you be an example of stretching and growing as encouragement to your child.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Got skills?

Psalm 32:8 (New International Version)

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

Not only are there many chores we can start teaching our kids early, there are also many social skills as well. In Hide or Seek, Dr. Dobson says, "I read recently that 80% of the people who get fired from their jobs have not failed to perform as required. In other words, they do not lack technical skill or abilities. Their dismissal occurs because they can't get along with people. They misunderstand the motives of others and respond with belligerence or insubordination."

I have seen many books on the shelves of the library and bookstore that teach manners and etiquette. You can start with basic decisions (make sure you only provide choices that you will be OK with your child choosing) and table manners of eating with utensils and using a napkin as well as how to introduce themselves and ask someone's name. By allowing them to introduce themselves even to adults, you will instill in them a confidence that can be applied when choosing and ordering food in a restaurant and making phone calls. Help them practice "small talk" when you enjoy a meal together.

Confidence and proper social skills will help our kids in school and in the world.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you counsel and instruct your child.

If at first you don’t succeed …

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (New International Version)

5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.

Is there anything you failed at the first time but didn't give up? You tried again (and again, and again, and again …?) and were finally successful? Remember what made you keep trying? Remember the journey and what you learned?

Remember that as you encourage your child and coach them through their life and experiences.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you remember what it felt like to be a child.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Super Slide and Slip

In Family Fun magazine August 2009, there was an activity called Zoom Flume.

"Transform your ordinary backyard slide into a water park wonder by adding a steady trickle of H2O and a soft off-ramp that extends the ride. To make one, use duct tape to attach a garden hose to the top of the slide. Place camping pads (or other cushioning, such as lawn-chair pads) end to end on the ground at the bottom. Stretch an 8'X10' or larger tarp across the pads and place tent stakes in the tarp's grommets to secure. Note: Because water can make slides extremely slippery, parents should provide supervision to keep play safe."

Since we have a slide and it gets a little *ahem* warm here in Texas, we gave this one a try. Instead of camping or seat cushions, I used Kindergarten nap mats—we had two around anyway from naptime and sleepovers—and these already have a vinyl cover. Instead of a tarp, I used our Slip-n-Slide. I attached a sprayer to the hose and instead of a steady trickle, I randomly sprayed my daughters and the slide to make sure everyone and everything got good and wet. They love it and ask for it again and again!

WARNING: Do not leave hose unattended or innocent bystanders may unintentionally (or intentionally) get wet.

Friday, August 6, 2010


In Dobson's Hide or Seek, he argues that one of the best tools we can give our kids to overcome obstacles in this life is to help them find their strengths and capitalize on them. For example, if your child has a strength or talent for music, help them develop that skill. The more confidence they have in their strength (talent or skill), then when someone tries to degrade them, they can remember the confidence they have in their skill. They have the strength to compensate for their weakness.

He goes on to say that the child doesn't have to be particularly gifted. But as parents we need to help them find something they enjoy and we can encourage them to develop that interest. This still gives them a way to compensate.

Unfortunately, this may mean pushing our kids. Any strength, talent, gift must be developed and practiced; and we don't always want to practice. Though my daughters love to dance, sometimes they don't want to have to buckle down and practice a particular choreography. I don't always want to write, but I must if I want to improve (Ok, so the voices in my head typically beg me to write, but we won't go there). But in order for this to work on any level, we have to know our child well enough to recognize their strength(s), encourage them, but not push them so hard that they burn out and resent you. It is a fine-line, but with God's help, we can do it.


1 John 4:19 (New International Version)

19We love because He first loved us.

Have you told your child "I love you" today? Every morning and every night, each member of my family says this to each other (usually accompanied by a hug and kiss). If you cannot be with your child every day, write them a note. Send them an email or a text. Send a video message!

Use your child's name and make eye contact. Give them your undivided attention. Say it sincerely from your heart.

Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your child will know that you love them no matter what.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Like any mom, I love to brag about my girls, but today I am giving a shout out about my husband. He can build and debug a computer. He can play Barbies, puppets, and tea party. He can design and build a bed, a playset, and a shed. He can proofread my writing and improve it, no matter what the topic or type. He can cook the best French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. He knows all about basketball, football, and hockey. He has a degree in psychology and a minor in Biblical studies. He is a leader at work and a spiritual leader at home. (I could go on and on …)

I consider him a well-rounded person. He can adapt and function in a variety of situations. As parents we need to begin early to equip our children to do the same. This isn't about making sure our child can read Charlotte's Web by age 2. This isn't about teaching our 3 year old to recite all the states and capitals or presidents of the United States. This is about exposing them to different things: foods, recreation, book genres, music, etc. It doesn't even have to be an organized event. You can teach them to throw, catch, and kick different kinds of balls in your own backyard. You can attend story times at the library and check out different kinds of books. Try stretching beyond your comfort zone and see what you can learn and how you can grow.

Hide or Seek by Dr. James Dobson

I thought The Five Love Languages for Kids by Gary Chapman was good. I thought How to Really Love Your Child by Dr. Campbell was great. This book is even better.

Dr. Dobson begins by explaining how self-esteem can be eroded. Next he illustrates strategies for parents to help their child overcome low self-esteem. There are also "Question and Answer" sprinkled throughout the book which help emphasize the points he is making. Then there is a section on coping with self-esteem trouble. He also includes a section on preparing for adolescents, but I think I'll come back to that section another time—maybe next year.

My favorite part is where Dobson covers the strategy of compensation. This strategy isn't really addressed in either of the "Love" books I have reviewed because it is not a way to show love, but rather a way to teach a child to rise above. Compensation is … a post for another day!

Even though this book came out in the early 70's, the information is still so relevant today that it is almost frightening. This should be required reading of anyone thinking about having kids AND RE-reading at each stage of a child's development.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I wish I hadn’t done that

Psalm 78:4
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Is there anything from your past that you regret doing? By not telling your kid about any of your mistakes (whether big or small) can create an image in their mind that you are perfect. If they want to grow up and be just like you, they are striving for an impossible standard of perfection. Think about the mistakes you have made, which ones you could tell your kid about, when and how. Think about how you dealt with the mistake. Did something positive come out of it? What did you learn? What can your child learn?

And if you haven't made any mistakes, then you probably don't need to read this blog.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God how you should guide your child: when to help them learn from other's mistakes and avoid their own, and when they have to learn from their own mistakes.