Remember the old phrase, “You watch your tongue!”? Usually it was said if a child chose to swear or say something unkind. I haven’t heard that for a long time. In fact, many parents these days are not choosing to teach their children to develop self-control. But, that is such an important aspect of life… in business, at home, with friendships, and in many other areas of life.
One of the aspect of self-control is choosing to control our actions and our words. God built in each of us the capability of building other people up. The influences around us (including radio, TV, books, movies), negativity in our world and more gives us the natural inclination to tear others down. It’s easy to slip into a mode of negativity. It takes purpose and effort to be the kind of person who consistently chooses the positive over the negative. That is something that I constantly have to work on. Sometimes, before I know it, words have come out of my mouth that may tear down my husband in some way or another and I have to stop myself… and apologize. But, the sad thing is that once words are said, they can’t be taken back. They can chip away at relationships, whether those relationships be parent/child, sibling, friends, spouses or business.
What kind of person do you want to be? A positive one or a negative one? Someone who builds others up or tears others down? Someone who chooses to be kind or unkind?
James 3:5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
I like the description in this verse. I used to live in California. One time there was a forest fire not far from us. Evidently, it had started because a careless person had thrown a used cigarette out the window. One slightly smouldering cigarette lit the dry grass around it on fire which turned into a blazing forest fire that did massive damage.
That’s the way our words can be. One thoughtless statement can cause a lot of hurt. One bit of gossip, even if not meant unkindly, can end up harming someone’s reputation and causing serious trouble. Thoughtless words to your son or daughter can smoulder in their soul and cause damage that ultimately takes years to overcome.
Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
How true. So how do we make sure that we are the kind of people who build others up? What we put into our minds eventually comes out in our actions and words. So, we need to be careful. My oldest child is my step-son. He’s 8 years younger than me, but introduces me as his “Momma”. He’s autistic and thinks like a 5 year old so I tend to think of him as my “big little boy”. He first came to live with us 8 years ago. TV had been a major part of his life. In fact, soap operas were what he loved best.
He was incredibly manipulative and miserable and unkind… and he really couldn’t do anything for himself. He was used to be waited on hand and foot… and he was used to ruling the roost. If he didn’t get what he wanted when he wanted it, he would throw a fit. Sometimes, he would just decide to have a fit for no apparent reason. I quit my job so that I could work with him full-time.
Over the next couple of years we were constantly investing positive input into him. He lost 80 pounds and I worked with his doctor to get him phased off of all of his medication. Once he started feeling better, his mind was clearer and he started being able to learn. This really is another story for another time, but I had to at least say this much because of the importance of positive input.
As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
I decided, about 6 months into his living with us, that soap operas were no longer allowed in our house. All I saw in the soaps was negativity, back stabbing, mean-spirited attitudes, gladness when someone else was hurting, and all kinds of other miserable attitudes. The interesting thing about that was that in a couple of weeks after cutting the soaps off cold, our son’s attitude started changing. Instead of garbage going in we were uplifting him, encouarging him, praising him for each and every accomplishment. He got lots of hugs. We sang songs together (many of them made up on the spur of the moment) just for fun. There were lots of games and learning became fun. We talked about God and how very much Jesus loved him. We talked about how proud we were of each new thing he learned and did. He was receiving positive things into his mind. He is now our cheerleader, for the most part. He is loving, caring, and thinks about others. He discovered that he could learn and do things on his own and has learned so many things. The change in him is phenomenal.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
This doesn’t just work for autistic people who think like 5 year old children. It works for each and every one of us. What we put into our minds ends up coming out in our actions and words. So, if we want to be the kind of people that others enjoy being around, the kind that lifts others up, the kind that invests in the lives of others to see positive change, then we need to start putting good things into our mind.
Memorize scripture that encourages positive thinking or that talks about how amazing our God is, how much He loves and values us, and what He’s done for us. Read books that are positive and uplifting and encouraging. Listen to messages that are life-changing. My pastor has been teaching through the book of Hebrews. It’s is jam-packed full of incredible truths. I got a CD of each of the messages so that I can listen again. There are lots of inspirational books, movies, magazine articles and so there is really no reason for filling our minds with garbage.
What are you putting into your mind? What are you surrounding yourself with in your life? Take a good inventory of your life and see if changes need to be made. Garbage in, garbage out isn’t just a saying. It really happens. Get rid of the garbage so that you can move forward, grow, and develop to be a positive person. You’ll be surprised at how much your life will change!
This morning I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 2 am and have laid there for almost two hours. I got up, took some medication for a headache and now here I am, sitting at my desk, reading blogs and enjoying the creativity and perspectives of other people. It has been a while since I’ve written. Between the things that must be done and the headaches I’ve been experiencing, I haven’t had much time or motivation to spend at the computer writing. But, I miss it.
Taken for Granted….?
One of the comments I read this morning was, “I gave up the corporate ladder for diapers, and yes, I gave up the prestige of position as defined by our culture to one defined by my God.” This insightful comment came from The Respect Dare, written by Nina Roesner. Another comment in this blog entry (Taken For Granted….?) states, “You can have a beautiful marriage, too. But it won’t happen if you allow yourself to model what you see on secular culture’s tv or in the magazine stand at grocery checkout. Those are lies. We’re also buying Christian-culture lies if we subscribe to the notion that women are to be doormats and second-class citizens in a marriage.”
This life we Christians have available to us as we grow in Christ is a life of fulfillment, partnership with our spouses, joy, peace, relationship and so much more. God wants us to live a vibrant life filled with purpose. He wants us to grow and develop and be all that He created us to be. If we’re not living this kind of fulfilling life, then we’re falling short of the potential God created in us.
So, how do we reach this potential? Well, first and foremost, God created in each and every one of us a need for Him. As vast as His creation truly is (and we’re still learning new things about our cosmos from the most incredible discoveries in outer space to the tiniest subparticles here on earth), He created, loves, and knows each and every one of us. He even knows how many hairs are on our heads. And He wants us to know Him. He gave us revelation about Himself through nature and through His Word.
Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (NASB)
In order to maintain friendships we need to spend time with our friends and get to know them. Correct? How can we have valuable relationships with people if we don’t spend time getting to know them? The same goes for our relationship with God. We need to spend time daily in His Word. The more effort and time we spend getting to know God through His Word and praying, the more we learn about ourselves and our purpose. So, do you spend some time getting to know Him daily? The Bible isn’t a book that is a drudgery to read. It is a book in which God reveals Himself and His plan and purpose for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.’”
Relationships always impact each other in one way or another. Getting to know God inevitably means that we will change. The more we get to know Him, the more we’ll change. And, personally, I do want to continue to grow and change and develop. I want God to use me to have an impact on this world. And “this world” in each and every one of our lives starts at home.
As a parent what kind of impact are you having on your children? What kind of impact do you have on your spouse? Please… be sure that you do not ever underestimate how you affect your family whether negative or positive. (There is no such things as a “neutral impact”.)
Psalm 127:3(a) “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.”
So, as a mother, I want to speak to mothers for a moment. God has defined your role to be one of incredible value. You and your husband are rearing children who will have an impact on this world and on those around them. The time you spend praying for your children, teaching them to know and love God, and raising them to have a positive impact on their world is far more important than any position in the corporate world. Regardless of whether you work full-time, part-time or whether are an at-home-Mom, your family should always be the first priority that you have. The way you raise your children will have an impact on their lives and the future.
Proverbs 31:10-12 “An excellent wife who can find, for her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
As a wife, I want to encourage wives. The roll you have and the impact you can have on the life of your husband is immense. Don’t take it lightly. With a word, you can tear him down or build him up. You can encourage or discourage him. There is so much to write about this and I will do so in another blog. But, I encourage you to work to be the kind of wife that adds to your marriage regardless of whether you think your husband is doing the same or not. As a Christian, part of that “adding to the marriage” is relying on God to change you over time, spending time with Him so that you are refreshed and able to give to your marriage selflessly, and then working on being the best wife that you can possibly be to your husband.
In her blog entry, Nina Roesner so eloquently stated that we cannot emulate what we see on TV or follow the advice about marriage that we may read in magazines. She’s right. Our culture has lowered the standard tremendously and the divorce statistics indicate that the lower standard just isn’t working. God’s Word and His Holy Spirit show us what we need to know in order to have a really vibrant, loving marriage.
Let’s pray for our marriages and our husbands. Let’s work on becoming the wives that seek to live by God’s standard and leave it up to God to work in our husband’s lives so that we can have an amazing, loving, wonderful marriage.
Have a blessed day.
This is a picture of part of last year’s garden which we initially planted in April. The tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini didn’t do very well at the bottom of the garden. However, the new potatoes, green beans and peppers were prolific. It was the third time we had planted a garden. Every year we had been having problems with ground hogs.
Last year, for the first time, the deer discovered the garden. Of all things, three deer (if the tracks are anything to go by) ate our cayenne peppers (leaves, peppers, tender branches) all the way down to the main branches. We couldn’t believe it. I’d never heard of deer eating peppers. In fact, there are pepper sprays for plants that are supposed to keep the deer away. I felt so sorry for those poor deer, thinking they’d have terrible stomach pains.
Well, feeling sorry for them only lasted one day. The next night they came back and ate our banana peppers. Evidently they had stomachs of steel. On the third night they visited again, eating all of our green peppers, leaves and all.
It would seem that the deer did us a favor, though. After that severe “pruning” our pepper plants received, they grew back bigger and more prolific than before. It really surprised us.
Going into the middle of the green bean season, the ground hogs came along and gave our green beans a crew cut… down each of three entire rows. Then they ate a bit out of every single green bean. You’d think that they would be polite enough to eat the entire bean and leave it’s neighbors alone, but no… they had to nibble on each and every single green bean that they could find.
This year we planted the garden a bit late. I should say that my husband planted it. It’s the end of May already and we just finished getting the last of our rows planted. He made our garden plot even bigger and gave us more space in the main garden by digging up my strawberry patch (which wasn’t doing well at all) and planting all of our tomatoes up there. We have 18 tomato bushes in the small plot now. For the first time we have three rows of corn and I’m really looking forward to the time when they’re ready to eat!
Already we have found deer tracks in our garden. If anyone out there knows how to keep deer out of your garden without errecting an 8 foot fence around it (evidently they can easily jump over 6 feet from a standing position), please let me know. Clearly after last year’s experience with our cayenne peppers, pepper sprays seem a little innocuous.
My son is experimenting with a peanut plant that a friend gave us. It grew to about 8″ tall in a container in the house. He and my husband just planted it in the corner of the garden. It will be his job to make sure that it is watered and we’ll see what comes of that. Hopefully the deer and ground hogs will leave it alone for him.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the garden does this year.
Have a blessed week!
Divorce and marriage in Christian families seems to be not much better (statistically) than in non-Christian homes. Why is that? A big part of it is that we live a secular life rather than seeking the Lord in everything and living a truly God-seeking, God-honoring life. God tells us that we are in this world, but not of it. He says we need to be a light to the world. That starts at home.
A God-honoring marriage means putting each other first before ourselves, serving each other like Christ served, loving each other as Christ loves, respecting each other, and seeking God’s help in accomplishing all of this. As humans we can’t do it on our own. We’re all far from perfect. Only as the Holy Spirit works in our lives and changes us can we become more like Christ, truly sacrificial, truly loving… truly a light shining in this world.
My husband and I have had a saying since we were first engaged. “Neither of us is perfect, but we’re perfect for each other.”
Too often we human beings are critical of others, how they do things, what they wear, how they talk, what they think, how they communicate, how they handle finances or child-rearing or any number of other things. Usually in a marriage the little things drive us crazy and the “big” things become Mount Everests in our lives. But, does it have to be that way? Absolutely not.
Here’s one small step that we can take toward a more harmonious, God-honoring marriage.
We’re not perfect and neither are our spouses. Why expect them to be perfect when we can’t be perfect?
I believe that things drive us crazy because we have high expectations of others. We grew up one way and they grew up another. We have one personality/temperament and they have another. We have one set of preferences in how things are done and they have another. In some cases, we even have different levels of maturity. But, of all the illogical things, we expect our spouses to be the same as us, or better yet… perfect.
If you find yourself thinking critical thoughts, take one day at a time. How about making an attempt to start each day with the following determinations.
Neither of us is perfect. I won’t expect my spouse to be perfect today.
I will accept that God is working in my life and in my spouse’s life… and He hasn’t finished yet.
I will not take on the responsibility of being the Holy Spirit in my spouse’s life.
If I’m feeling critical and negative, I’ll take it to the Lord and not my spouse.
This day I choose to communicate in kind ways and work toward giving grace to my spouse the way the Lord consistently gives grace to me.
If we all start our days off with this mindset/determination, we will finally be giving ourselves the freedom to again enjoy our imperfect spouses and they will enjoy us so much more as well.
How did this topic come to mind? Experience… up close and personal. I just had a fight with my husband because he didn’t do something in our business the way I would have done it. Not only is that ridiculous, but it causes unnecessary strife. Thankfully, my wonderful husband, although not perfect, is loving and forgiving toward his imperfect wife.
Take time every day to appreciate your spouse, throw the negative things far from you, and give grace to him/her. It will bless your day as well.
Folks, this is really an excellent post. If you’re stuggling in some area of your Christian life, take time to read this.
OK… I am sitting here at my computer drinking a delicious, home-made mango-kiwi smoothie for lunch. I happened to have fresh kiwi and frozen mango on hand in the house. Yum!
This morning my husband turned the TV on in our room to watch the news. I was still laying in bed trying to wake up when I heard the news anchor say that there is a way that is better than BMI to detemine your health, your risk of diabetes, heart disease and other problems, and whether you’re on-target, overweight or obese. Great! To look at me I wouldn’t categorize myself as obese when I stand up and look in the mirror. My husband doesn’t see me as obese. I am definitely overweight, but obese? Yet, according to the doctor, I am obese. And when I look at pictures of myself… WOW. How did that happen? There. I’ve said it. I’ve been “labeled”.
Now there’s yet another way to confirm that very label. It’s called Waist to Height Ratio. It never occured to me to measure around my waist and then divide that into my inches in height. Gee Whizzakers… as they used to say. My waist, which doesn’t look THAT big is 66% of my height. It’s not supposed to be more than 49% of my height. I have to somehow lose 12″ off my waist.
Go check out your Waist to Height Ratio. See if you need to “take care” (which means you’re too slim), if you’re “OK” (in the target range), if you need to “consider action” (you’re overweight). or if you need to “take action” (you’re obese).
So, since I skip meals because at times I’m so busy I forget to eat or drink, since bread seems to be a staple lately because it’s quick and easy for lunch or breakfast, and since this dieting thing seems to be pretty tough (clearly skipping meals, even if not on purpose, doesn’t help), I’m still at a stand still. Basically, I’m wondering what is going to work for me.
Then it hit me. Maybe my focus shouldn’t be on losing a certain amount of weight each and every week. Maybe I should be focused on doing the things that will slim my waist down. I know… symantics, eh? But, what you put your focus on you’ll work on and this gives me a focus that takes away my sudden obsession with the scale. So, if I work on exercising (toning, stretching, building strength) that will have two results:
- Toning my stomach
- Building muscle strength (which, I understand, increases metabolism)
I’m not likely to “build muscles” like some kind of muscle woman. But, I can build them enough to tone up. And muscle uses more calories to maintain than fatty tissue, or so I’ve read.
To me, though, the moral of this blog entry is to never give up. If you want to lose weight and get healthy, don’t let anything discourage you. Keep looking and trying. Find the thing that will work for you. Keep at it!
Have a blessed day!
Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived...Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation...Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forget to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
Alas… tonight I realized that I had become on of “those” Moms. You know! The ones that…
… stand at every game and cheer - loudly
… don’t think the coaches know what they’re talking about
… coach from the sidelines
… get closer and closer until they’re finally holding the fence
… tell their sons or daughters how to play because the little league coaches evidently aren’t
The game tonight was good, considering it was only the third T-ball game my son (and most of the other players) has ever played. Each of the kids on both teams did a fantastic job. My son got through to home base twice.
The coaches were already throwing pitches to them. If they missed the third pitch, they they’d set up the T and let them try that way. Some of the kids hit the ball hard!
A number of them didn’t know at first whether to run or not after hitting. Every one of the kids on both teams played their hearts out. They were so cute out there in their tiny little uniforms (5 – 7 year old kids), some of them day-dreaming, some of them looking the wrong way/focusing on the wrong thing, and some intent on playing. With each game the kids have learned more and are getting better. It’s a lot of fun to see them play.
We’re only part-way through T-ball season. I’ll have to tone it down, sit back, cheer on every child, and enjoy.
My husband’s computer died so he’s using mine now. I’m not on the computer as much as I was before because of that. But, there has been a hidden blessing in there because our schedules have been rather crazy. My days have been blending together and each morning while I’m waking up I have to ask my husband what day it is and what the plans are for the day. I truly have no clue which day of week it is when I first wake up.
Somehow I managed to get my son signed up for too many activities and they’re conflicting with each other now. One day a week is T-ball practice and one or two nights a week are game nights for T-ball games, but twice a month those same nights are also Cub Scout nights. Then there are tennis lessons and Tae Kwon Do. This past Saturday was the camping trip/field day for homeschoolers in our area AND camping trip/activities for Cub Scouts. Then a cousin passed away and his funeral was also scheduled for Saturday. So, that took care of that choice. Family is more important and we went to the funeral.
Speaking of funerals, in the past two weeks we’ve been to funerals for two friends and a cousin. Yes, three funerals in two weeks… two of them this past Friday and Saturday.
I’m just plain tired.
I am teaching my son to play the piano and didn’t have time to give him his normal lesson this week. But, he has been choosing the next songs in his books and practicing all last week on his own. This morning he’s playing them for himself one last time before playing them for me. Then we’ll get back to the regular schedule. It’s a joy to hear him playing and having the incentive at six years old to do it on his own this week.
My husband made breakfast in bed for me yesterday. It was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented on the plate along with a cup of tea and a bouquet of roses. Then all my guys came and brought me cards. That was a real Mother’s Day treat. I appreciate it so much.
This week is also going to be busy with the recently crazy schedule. But, I’m also looking forward to taking a “Food Preservation” class tomorrow… canning basics, pressure canning, water bath canning, pickles, jams and jellies, freezing, drying, and flavored oils and vinegars.
You all have a blessed week and in the busyness of life remember to pause and breathe and enjoy the blessings in your life.
I have been experiencing a lot of heartburn lately… more so than usual. So, I decided to do a little research to see what tips are out there from valid sources that I can incorporate into my lifestyle. Perhaps if you’re experiencing the same, you can also benefit from these tips. (Because I’m also sharing stories along with these tips, I’m splitting these up into more than one blog entry.)
Problem: Eating Quickly
There are two things from my childhood that always impacted me. First, my father used to always tell me that when he was growing up the farmers in the area would test a man by how quickly he ate. If he was able to quickly eat his meal and get back to work, he was considered productive. If he ate slowly and took his time, he was considered lazy. Of course my Dad didn’t apply that to our lives. He told me this to explain why he always ate so fast. It was something that he learned from early on.
The bigger impact on my life was actually from my experience in boarding school. Yup… away from Mom and Dad. The only times I saw them were at Christmas, Easter and summer break… or when they came to the city to do business (which wasn’t often). I grew up in Africa. (My boarding school experience is probably one of the reasons I feel it’s so important for me to homeschool. I am not criticizing my parents. They love me dearly and I love them. For them, boarding school seemed the only choice at the time. They lived down country and it wasn’t easy to get to the city. There was no internet and mail was so slow that correspondance courses – the home school of the day – were slow and ineffective. So like many other TCKs – Third Culture Kids – I went to boarding school.)
At my boarding school only kids sat at our tables. The “Head Table” was reserved for the adults in charge of the kids. Older kids were assigned to the head and “tail” of each table. They served the younger kids who sat along the sides of the table. We’d have breakfast and then be able to play a little before school started. Then came lunch and again, we could play a little before the afternoon sessions… if we got out of the dining room on time. Finally, there was dinner. If we were quick enough, we could play for a while before having to come in for the night. However, there was one major rule in the dinning room. NO ONE could leave the table before everyone was finished eating. The child at the head of the table had plates stacked in front of him and he would serve the food and send it down the table. The child at the “tail” of the table would gather all of the dishes, take them to a special counter in the dining room when we were all done, bring desserts back for everyone. Once we were finished and the table cleared THEN everyone was allowed to be excused and could go play.
If any child kept the other children from being able to go and play… well, the other children would take care of making sure that didn’t happen again. So, we all pretty much learned to eat very quickly.
On top of that, as a career woman I was often in a rush, eating on the go. The day would start off with my rushing out the door in the morning and eating breakfast in the car on the way to work. More often than not I would eat at my desk while I was working. I was always rushing from one place to another.
Problem: Passing On Bad Habits
My six year old son is now very proud of the fact that he eats quickly. He says, “I learned from Mommy.” Wow… that’s NOT a good thing to pass on to my child. We don’t live in a day and age (to the best of my knowledge) where eating quickly helps people see you as productive and eating slowly shows them you’re lazy. The majority of us don’t live in a boarding school setting where kids quietly rule the roost under the radar of the adults and “punish” those who don’t keep up. But, a huge number of us are always in a rush, going from place to place, eating in the car on the go, etc. My son simply eats fast because he sees his Mommy finishing way before anyone else.
Solution: Slow Down and Relax
Every article that I’m reading about heartburn/GERD symptoms states that eating in a rush is hardly beneficial and, more than likely will be one of the things that causes acid reflux. “Shoving” too much food into your stomach too quickly is basically an assault on your stomach. So, slow down.
I’ll try what “they” say to do… “put your fork down between bites” and “chew slowly”. We have lots of conversation at our family table and I still manage to eat quickly. But, for some of you, focusing on conversing between bites may be a good tip to slow down.
The goal starting this week is to relax while I’m eating and take my time.
Have a blessed week!