Psalm 147:1

"Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Motivational Bouquet of Love

We hear over and over again that love is the greatest motivational tool we have for training our children. 

Here are a few ideas that I found in an ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) Newsletter.

Genuine Love - Our actions must show that we really mean it when we say, "I love you." Children can spot a hypocrite a mile away.

Unconditional Love - Tell your children, "There's nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you." Our love doesn't depend on their behavior; it is a choice we have made.

Premium Love - Just like premium fuel, daily walking out our love for the children will "cost" us something. Are we willing to sacrifice for their growth and well-being?

Hopeful Love - If a child knows you love him, it brings him security and hope. We should speak "faith" to our children - showing them we believe they will overcome in this evil world.

Understanding Love - Get to know the children in your sphere of influence and have compassion for them, recognizing their specific needs and challenges. Remember that they are children, so expect them to be immature at times. When they do, show them loving patience.

Consistent Love - Consistency breeds security. "Line upon line, precept upon precept" - daily, consistent love and guidance is what our children need from us.

Unending Love - John 15:12 tells us to, "Love one another, as I have loved you." God's love is eternal; He NEVER gives up on us. Aren't you glad? We need to persevere in prayer and love our children through the rough spots of life, just as Christ loves us.

If we share God's love with our children/students in all these ways, we will see a change in their attitudes and accomplishments. However, the biggest change will be in us. As we turn our hearts toward our children/students, the Lord will soften OUR hearts and help us to be true, walking examples of the love of Christ.

This was written to teachers in Christian schools. Wow. If only we as mother's and father's could do this with our own children. I am so grateful for the many men and women who have given their lives to teach in Christian schools around the globe. It is an unbelievable privilege to be able to teach my own children, but I do not take away from the thousands that are training up other peoples' children in small Christian schools. Without a pastor who had a vision for a Christian school in our churches basement, I would not be the person that I am today.

As a Kids' Ministry Leader, these are bold words for using with someone else's children. 
But isn't that Jesus' heart? Yes! Praying that we can truly love our own children as well as those around us.

"Give and it will be given to you. 
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, 
will be put into your lap; 
for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." 
Luke 6:38 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul....

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. 
- George Matthew Adams
I've been reading this book mostly because I am 
vividly aware that death and life come in the form of words.

It is a fabulous read. 
I would recommend it for all woman seeking to use our words for good and not evil. 

"A word is dead when it is said, some say. 
I say it just begins to live that day."
- Emily Dickinson

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, 
who have been made in God's likeness. 
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. 
My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 
My brothers and sisters, 
can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? 
Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." 
James 3:9-12

God has given us incredible power in our sphere of influence, 
and it begins with the words we speak. 
- Sharon Janynes in The Power of a Woman's Words

A careless word may kindle strife;
A cruel word may wreck a life. 
A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A loving word may heal and bless.
-Author Unknown

That's just a few snippets on the topic of the tongue. 
I decided to pick this particular book up after using an ugly tone of voice with my 
son last week. (See previous post.) :-)

I was actually on the chapter about how much of a blessing that we can be to 
those around us with our words when I checked my email and
was pleasantly surprised to see an email from a former teacher!
The words that she said were such a blessing. 
So refreshing. 
Such a GIFT. 
She said that she still prays for my family by name after 12 years - priceless!
The gift of words to encourage others was right there in front of me. 

Have you encouraged someone today? 
Would you take a challenge with me? 
  1. Say an encouraging word to each close family member every day!
  2. Write an email, card, e-card, fb message, etc to someone that you no longer see                              but still value once per week.
Let's be a blessing with our words!

"The Bible has a lot to say about our mouths, 
our lips, our tongues, for our speech betrays us. 
What is down in the well will come up in the bucket."
- Vance Havner 

Friday, October 21, 2011

I feel like I need to join AA for my tone of voice....

Today was a rough day.
Overall from the outside it was a good day,
but in my heart it was a rough day.
Because I yelled at my son after he spilled puppy formula.
I was not kind.
I was not loving.
I proceeded to tell him how expensive the puppy formula is.
How we didn't have money right now to buy milk for our own family and now the VERY EXPENSIVE puppy formula was gone for the day.
Was it true that we were out of milk? Yes. But we got paid today.
Was I being over dramatic. Absolutely.
It all sounds so vile.
So unmother-like.

Sharon Jaynes in The Power of a Woman's Words says:

People simply need someone who will believe in them and tell them so; 
someone who will fan the flame and not extinguish the fire. 

It is better to build children then to repair adults. 

Tale of Two Households

"I got two A's," the small boy said. 
His voice was filled with glee. 
His father very bluntly asked. 
"Why didn't you get three?"

"Mom, I've got the dishes done,"
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said, 
"Did you sweep the floor?"

"I mowed the grass," the tall boy said, 
"And put the mower away."
His father asked him with a shrug, 
"Did you clean off the clay?"

The children in the house next door
seemed happy and content. 
The same things happened over there, 
But this is how it went. 

"I got two A's," the small boy said. 
His voice was filled with glee. 
His father proudly said, "That's great;
I'm glad you belong to me." 

"Mom, I got the dishes done," 
The girl called from the door. 
Her mother smiled and softly said, 
"Each day I love you more." 

"I've mowed the grass," the tall boy said. 
"And put the mower away." 
His father answered with much joy. 
"You've made my happy day!"

Children deserve just simple praise
For the tasks they're asked to do.
If they're to lead a happy life, 
So much depends on you!

Author Unknown

Paul wrote, "Fathers (and mothers), do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.] Colossians 3:21 Amplified Version

The whole scene lasted only 60 seconds.
The milk got cleaned up.
The puppy got fed.
I asked forgiveness.
He forgave me.
We went on with our day.
From the outside it was a good day.
But what did his little heart hide away?
What message did I send to him in that 60 seconds?
Oh, it makes me want to vomit.
I fail so often.
In such a quick moment I can damage my kids for what may take root and stay for a lifetime.

Lord, I need your help to control my tone of voice when my frustration rises to the surface!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The important things....

 Barbara Bush understood and spoke with an eye to the eternal 
when she told the women at Wellesley College, 
"Cherish your human connections, your relationships with family and friends...
those human connections with spouse, with children, with friends are the most 
important investment you will ever make. 
At the end of your life, you will never regret not passing one more test, winning one more verdict, or 
closing one more deal. 
You will regret time not spent with a husband, 
a child, a friend, or a parent." 
 Discerning what is eternal isn't easy; 
it is often camouflaged in the simple, ordinary things of life. 
The temporal is brassy and demanding and loud. 
It stands up and screams for our attention. 
But we have to train our eyes to see the eternal
in the unlikely events of everyday life. 
-Smart Women Keep It Simple
Annie Chapman
These pictures where taken last spring. 
Yesterday I celebrated another birthday. 
Next month my son will turn 9 years old. 
How does it go by sooooo fast!?

As I begin another year of my life, 
I want to really discover what every day holds. 
What little miracles.
What things I've missed along the way.
What gems are there for the taking but it may take a bit of chiseling to bring them out. 
How can my attitude improve to find the blessings in EVERYTHING?

These are questions that I long to answer this year. 
As I listened to Steve Jobs give a commencement speech back in 2005, 
it was a startling reminder that he had no idea he would only live another 6 years. 
He said that everyday he would ask himself in the mirror, 
"If today were your last day, is this what you'd want to be doing?"
And if he reply back "no" for too many consecutive days 
then he knew that he needed to make a change. 

Well, as a mom, wife, employee, etc. 
a change of the everyday circumstances is not usually accessible.
However, a change in my ATTITUDE and OUTLOOK of the day is totally
able to be changed. 
Praying that I can live this 33rd year of my life with 
a newfound grace to face each day as a