Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blessed Assurance...

Jesus is mine!  Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
I grew up going to churches where we sang out of a hymnbook, and many times we sang every verse.  From an early age, I had favorite hymns that I could sing every word of.  Today, many times a passage of Scripture is read (esp from Psalms) and I will sing the rest of it in my head!  :)  I am very thankful for my background in traditional church music.
I also love the more modern worship style...many times using lots of instruments.  In fact, our family goes part of the time to the more traditional service at church and sometimes we go to the more contemporary service.  I love both.  I love how some of the more contemporary songs tend to focus on our feelings to God, how we can express our love to Him.  And it's language like how I talk to God!
But I also love how the more traditional hymns focus on TRUTHS of God, many times using Scripture as the lyrics.  And I want my children to have that background RICH in hymns too.
I remember growing up we'd play Name that Tune a lot in the car where my Dad would whistle a hymn and we would chime in with him when we knew what it was.  We sang a lot as a family in the car. 
Our family does this too, but I've noticed that I tend to play more modern praise music for my kiddos.  My daughter LOVES songs like Mighty To Save, Firm Foundation, and Believe.  But how often do I play traditional hymns for her?  This week I've tried singing some to her...she has loved this and has picked up on them quickly.
So...I'm not a chooser of sides here, and honestly, I don't think it really matters what style you prefer, as long as you are worshipping God the best way you can to bring honor to Him.  BUT...I am going to try to introduce my children to some more hymns because I think they are such a strong foundation to have.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tyranny of the Urgent

I read this article yesterday that really made me think...I actually was referred to it by another blog I read.  Feel free to read it too!  You have to come up with a sign in, but all they ask for is email and password and first name I believe.  It's the Navigators organization website.  Here's the link:
Whether you read it or not, here are some thoughts I had after reading it...
How much do I let the urgent crowd out the important?  "We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task seldom must be done today or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study, a visit with that nonChristian friend, careful study of an important book: these projects can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action—endless demands pressure every hour and day."
I see this happening a lot with me, and my schedule is not nearly as packed as it once was!  The article talks about different ways to fix this problem, focusing on Jesus' example.  Jesus died at a young age, yet was still able to say "I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do."  Why was this?  Because Jesus didn't let the urgent crowd out the important.  He went to God to ask what His work was.  How often do I "forget" or "don't have time to" start my day by asking God to direct my path for the day?  That He would show me what His work was for the day? 
Another thing that I have GOT to decide is that daily time in my Bible must move from important to urgent.  I have been better about this, but there are days when I decide I'm too busy for Bible Study.  If I'm too busy for Bible Study, then I am too busy. And there are days when I have probably overcommited myself.  But most of the time, the real problem isn't that I'm too busy.  It's that my priorities are mixed up.
Daily time in the Word has got to become my priority and I'm determined to make it that way !  Not three days a week, not enough to prepare for Sunday School or Bible Study, but daily Bible Study for the purpose of personal growth. 
How do you keep yourself accountable? 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Teaching and Parenting

One of the wonderful things about being a private lessons teacher is that you get to know your students really well.  Most of my students study with me for quite a few years.  This particular student has been studying with me for six years.  She is very dear to me, not just because she is fun to teach (she's an EXCELLENT flutist) but more because of her sweet heart. 
Those that teach know that sometimes your students' accomplishments are even sweeter than your own.  I have experienced that several times with this student, and always she is so humble.  She has worked hard from the beginning.  I don't have to worry about her not practicing...with lots of students, I have to get pretty tough with practicing "lectures".  :)  Not her.  For Christmas she gave me a card that said "I pray every day for you and your family.  I thank God for you."  What a blessing she is to me!  What a breath of fresh air when sometimes students do not show thankfulness and do not want to work. 
Today her father came from Korea so that tomorrow he can hear her play her Division One solo at contest.  He also came last year when she performed...her mom lives here with the children because of better opportunities, while her father continues to work in Korea.  It is such an honor for me to watch him watch her perform.  I will be there proudly as her teacher, but I don't think my pride can keep compare to his. 
Teaching is many times like parenting... no matter what you teach you are always hoping to shape character and teach "other" lessons while you are teaching your subject matter.  All my students have taught ME something, but this particular, I think she has taught me much more than I could ever hope to teach her.  (But don't tell her that, because I'd like to keep her as a student!  :) )

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Go Baby Go!

My little guy took his first unassisted step today!  His seemed oblivious to my cheering and squealing...content to just sit back down as if to say, "What's all the fuss about?  Crawling is WAY better."  I had forgotten all the new worries that come with know when you walk, inevitably you fall down. 
My little girl is determined to take her training wheels off this Spring when she rides her bike.  I know she will learn and be just fine, but I also know it will probably take some falls to get there.  I took some spills on my bike as a kid and I remember the pain of a busted toe or a skinned knee.  But it's ten times worse to watch your kids go through that pain.
And I know it's just beginning...we'll have many falls.  The falls of friendships, the falls of not making the team...the list goes on and on. 
It's hard to turn your kids loose sometimes and let them have these falls!  Even though that's life, I don't know how my parents did it and I don't know how I will do it.  (And trust me, we are blessed with both sets of parents that still are there for us to lean on and have caught us MANY times when we fall...even as adults.)  I think the only way to do it, is to turn them over to the Lord.
Don't get me wrong...I plan to hold tightly while I can and while it's appropriate.  But when it's time to take these steps to more independence, I'm so thankful I have a Heavenly Father who holds my kiddos in the palm of His hand.  As much as I love them, as much as they are my whole world, I am grateful that He loves them more. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Praying this for myself and my children today!  My four year old learned this verse yesterday and has been practicing saying it, although I haven't put all the words into it yet.  (Left out compassion and humility at first.)  Today we'll put all those words in and see how we do!
More important than her memorizing it, we've been talking about what this means and what it looks like.  I've tried to put it in daily scenarios for her, especially because lately some things she has told me she has said to friends at school don't show that she is clothed in kindness and patience!  I guess progress is that when she came out yesterday she told me that she wore her clothes of kindness except for 2 times.  :)  Any thoughts/ideas on this?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What a beautiful choice

Do you remember that bumper sticker/commercial?
Life:  What a beautiful choice.
I like it.  I think I'd life it better if we could change it to...
Life:  What a beautiful GIFT.
You see, I don't believe that life should be a mother's choice.  But the fact is, in our country it is, at least while that baby is in the womb.  BUT that is another post.  I want to focus tonight on life outside the womb.
Because the fact IS a gift.  A gift from God.  And a gift a mother (and a father) can give to their child.  A gift a mother and father SHOULD give a child.
My small group read Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss this year.  It helped me examine WHY I believe what I believe about many issues.  And it reminded me of this truth....
Women have this amazing gift from God to be life bearers...and what a gift it is!  We also have a gift to be life nurturers.  Choosing life doesn't stop when you choose to give birth to your baby.  We choose and nurture life every day!  We give the gift of life to our children every day when we:
*Cook dinner for our family
*Do another load of laundry. 
*Change another diaper.  :)
*Comfort a sick or sad child.
*Go to the grocery store...again!
*Play legos, dollhouse, cars, read books, and listen to our kids tell about their days.
*Pray for our family.
I would say anytime we make the choice to put our kids' and husbands' needs above our own, we are giving that gift of life.  It's not easy!  But it is good for me to be reminded of this, especially when I get bogged down, because of this matters.  What we are doing makes a difference, even when it feels like it's just everyday, mundane stuff.  It may go unnoticed, there may not be any thank yous...but I believe that God's plan for me is to be that life nurturer.  What a beautiful gift.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Not So Royal

My daughter has one of those Wall expressions on her wall that says, 'Princess" in big letters.  Those who know me might be very surprised to hear that if they don't know what the rest of her wall says.  I have this thing with the word Princess.  I cringe when I hear it.  You know what I mean?  I feel like all the kids at school that I ever saw wear a shirt that said Princess or that I ever heard called a Princess tended to act the part.  And I don't mean in a good way.  You know the attitude I'm talking about?  The look at me, I'm the best, and I need all the attention attitude?  The kind of attitude that I want to steer my child as far away from as possible. 
Anyway...I actually love the wall expression (or whatever those things are called!) on my 4 year old's wall because the whole thing reads:  Princess, Daughter of a Heavenly King. 
You see, that's the only way that I want my dear daughter to think of herself as a princess.  Because while she is highly adored by her daddy and I (and many other loving family members!), the truth is:  She is NOT a princess.  She is a little girl who struggles with the same things other 4 year old girls struggle with.  Including and maybe I'd even say ESPECIALLY that princess attitude.  Why is it that some girls have this struggle and others don't?  You moms that have a little girl who tends to be this way know what I mean.  And I have to admit...before I was a mom, I saw it in other kids and thought...What IS that parent doing wrong?  Haha.  And I'd venture to say several people have probably wondered the same thing about me from time to time (or maybe more than that!).  I'm not sure if it's because she innately leans toward craving attention and needing to be in charge (she is strong willed at it's finest) or if it's that she was first born/first grandchild/first niece...first baby in the family for awhile.  Whatever it is, it is a struggle.  And the truth is, it really doesn't matter WHY it's a struggle, it just matters how we are going to help her overcome this struggle. 
There are some choices that parents that have a child with "The Princess Complex" face:  Should they just ignore it, trusting it will work itself out over time?  I think that is very dangerous.  If I did this with mine, she would escalate and escalate UNTIL she had my attention, whatever it took.  I don't think this is the answer.  Should we punish it out of them?  Again, I think this is dangerous AND doesn't work.  If I punished her every single time she showed any trace of this attitude, truthfully she'd be in time out a major portion of the day. Now don't get me wrong...there are many consequences she receives as a result of this attitude.  But I don't think punishing alone gets the message across.  Because the real issue is...a heart issue. 
So what do we do with this?  My husband and I basically have this approach:
-Pray about this issue...take it to God and ask Him to work in her heart on this.
-Pray WITH her...asking God to fill her up with His love and that she would remember her job is to show His love to others.
-Praise her when we see grace shown to others and her knowledge of what is right trumping what she would LIKE to do. 
-Give consequences for inappropriate choices and behavior.  After the consequence, talk about why that behavior happened...what her heart was telling her at that time.
-Talk about til we are blue in the face ways we can show God's love to others, how God has shown us mercy and grace and that we need to do the same for others, and model it! 
A verse I try to use with her is:
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 is hard for her to understand some times but we talk about...if your heart is telling you something that isn't true or isn't right or isn't lovely, then we need to replace it with something that IS true and right and lovely.
These are a few of the approaches we have used.  Some days they work and other days, not so much!  Anybody else raising a princess or prince that might need to be reminded they aren't really royal at times?  :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Using Scripture with my 4 year old

I've tried to be pretty intentional about turning to Scripture throughout the day with my 4 year old.  So at this parenting seminar (that's a more accurate word, it was only 3.5 hrs long) we went to this weekend, one question asked was how much Scripture do you use on a daily basis with your child (Focusing on times outside of a family Bible study and more just throughout the day).  Well for a moment, I felt pretty good.  I felt like hey, I've been really working on this and I'm doing well!  Then all of the sudden, I really started thinking about when I've been opening up the Bible with my child and what verses I've been using. And when it came down to it, most of the times I'm using them are when she's in trouble!  I've been known to open up to Ephesians 6 and quote "Honor your father and mother" and "Children, obey your parents" more than once!  I've talked to her about loving her neighbor as herself and forgiving as our Heavenly Father forgives us.  And while these I felt were appropriate times to remind her of those words, I really could only think of a handful of times I've out of the blue turned to Scripture just to remind her of how much God loves her. 
A few weeks ago, I did do this and it sparked one of the best conversations I have ever had with her.  I talked to her about how God knows how many hairs are on her head, and she said, "Well that's easy.  1!"  After I showed her what ONE hair really looked like, she was much more impressed!  It brought up such good conversation about how God knows us more than anyone and loves us even though He even knows when we have selfish and mean thoughts. 
I want to do this more, to have more conversations that remind her of God's goodness and love to balance out the times I need to tell her about obeying God's Word (especially when she has already disobeyed). 
So what about you?  I'm excited to see that I have some readers, so I'd love to hear what you do?  How do you use Scripture on a daily basis in your home?

First Post

The idea for this blog came with a Facebook post from my Dad.  Well, actually I've thought about this for awhile now, but needed a good title.  I think this title accurately describes what I hope to document.   How I am trying to daily, INTENTIONALLY to raise my children to be not OF this world.  To raise them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength.  How do we live out Deuteronomy 6:  5-9?
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
My husband and I went to a parenting conference this weekend that also sparked some of my thinking on this.  So much encouragement was given.  So many good ideas were shared.  We loved it.  But in the end every family has to find what works for them.  How will we talk about the love of the Lord when we sit at home, walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up? 
I do not write this with answers.  I do not write this even with what works for us.  I write this as this is me trying...and I just want to document what trying looks like.  Some days I fail miserably.  But the desire of my heart, the one thing I want more than anything else, is for my children to know and love the Lord.