Thursday, October 30, 2008

Keep Laughing!

When I hear people laughing, my heart melts.  Sometimes we even watch cars going by and people walking by and see how many of them have a smile on their face (sadly, not usually too many).  Give your children the gift of laughter:  so start smiling and laughing as much as you can. Have a hearty laugh over every amusing situation. Laugh even at yourself and smile at the simplest pleasures in your life.

With laughter, your days will become lighter, more joyous and more bearable even on those crazy hay-wired days. A smiling face also looks much more appealing and inviting too.  

Give away your smiles freely and in abundance. Spread your laughter around as it's contagious.

A big plus is that you train your children to see the humorous side of life and to be full of joy.

I'll never forget walking into surgery with my mom, and we saw something protruding from the bottom of her pants.  We bent down and started to pull at it, and it kept coming, and coming, and coming... turned out it was a pair of pantyhose that got stuck to the inside of her pant leg!  We laughed together so hard on our way to surgery, that I know it made my whole pre-surgical attitude one that helped me float through the surgery!  I'm so glad my mother has always had such a good sense of humor!  I love her laugh!

I live by this credo: Have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough.  -- Red Skelton

A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength.” (Prov 17:22 GWORD)

Challenge:  Enjoy the humorous side of a situation!  Bring laughter, LOTS OF IT, into your home!  Let your children love to hear you laugh often!

Training Your Child's Will

How is this to be done?  The decisions of the will depend upon the impulses and motives which prompt it to action.  These impulses and motives again depend upon the objects presented to the mind, and the degree of attention they are given.  In our fallen nature, the soul is stimulated far more by the visible and the temporal, than by the unseen and the real.  The soul is deceived by what appears pleasing or beautiful.  The influence of what is present outweighs that of the future, even though it may be of infinitely grater worth. 

It is the work of the parent to present to the child the best reasons for taking certain actions and help him to refuse evil and choose good.  The parent must present to the child the beauty of virtue, the nobility and happiness of self-denial, the pleasure that duty brings, and the fear and the favor of God.  The parent creates positive emotions within the child which cause him to gladly will to choose the good.

The parent acts as a conscience for the child, calling him to be true to his higher instincts and convictions.  The parent leads him to the true pleasure with which duty rewards even the young.  The training of the child aims especially at teaching him to refuse evil and choose good when there is no parent nearby to help.  The conscience of every person is a guardian and helper of inestimable value in choosing the path of right.  Wise training can do much to establish the authority of this inner rule.  Proper training will lead the child to look upon his conscience; not as a spy, but as his truest friend and best companion.

The authority of the parent and of conscience should be linked together, so that even in the parent's absence, the weight of his influence may be felt.  The success of all true education involves helping the pupil to teach himself.  Therefore, the aim and success of moral training must be to form in the child the habit of ruling himself and always listening to the inward monitor.  Cultivate in the child the mental skills of reflection and quiet meditation, so that he may always wait to listen for the gentle inner whisper that tells him to refuse evil and choose good.  

Conscience, however, can only tell to do the right but it cannot always teach what the right is.  The mind may be wrong in its views of good and evil, and faithfulness to conscience may even lead the child to choose evil and refuse good.  Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  Psalms 119.105

One of the most precious influences of a godly education is the consent of the heart to take God's Word as the standard of good and evil, and the desire to let it decide in every choice.  The authority of the parent, of conscience, of God's Word is a threefold cord that cannot be broken.  This cord binds the child to the throne and the will of God where he knows to refuse evil and choose good.

When the parent realizes the meaning of the words good and evil, he will see how in every step of life there are two motives struggling to be master.  Choosing between evil and good is a lifelong task which is carried out every day.  The parent will recognize the great responsibility entrusted to him of awakening, guiding and strengthening the young will of his child.  The parent will feel that if he can do this one thing well, he has done his highest work.  To know to refuse evil and choose good will be to choose Christ and holiness and eternal life.

Parents, God's highest gift to man was the freedom to CHOOSE the will of his God.  Your highest work is to take charge of that will in your child and to be God's minister in helping your child choose His service.  Realize your own incompetency to influence your child's will in which the powers of light and darkness are wrestling for supremacy.   Depend upon the leading of the Holy Spirit for the renewal of your child.  May it be your reward and his joy to see his will given up to choose good, to choose God.

Challenge:  Lord God, teach me to form and train the will of my child to refuse evil and choose good.  Make me very gentle and patient with a sense of my own willfulness.  Make me faithful to fulfill my duties as a parent, trusting in you because You are my help and my Father.  Amen.

Taken from Raising Your Children For Christ, Andrew Murray

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Exercising the Will

He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.  Isaiah 7.15

Of all the wonderful powers with which God has endowed man, his will - the power of determining what he does, and so what he is - is the most wonderful.  This is the deepest trait of the divine image.  Just as God was of Himself and not of another, He gave man to a very large extent the power of deciding and making himself.  The mind of man, the soul with all its emotions, man's moral and religious nature - all these have been given for man to make decisions and fashion his own being and destiny for eternity.

The parent has been entrusted with the solemn task of teaching the child how to use his will in the right way.  This delicate instrument is put into the hands of the parents to keep, to direct, and to strengthen.  The parent must train the child to exercise his will for the glory of the God who gave it.  To those who seek wisdom from God to fulfill their task, success is possible and promised.

To combine the greatest degree of personal liberty with perfect obedience is a very delicate problem.  God's Word has more than once taught that obedience is the child's first virtue.  He is to obey, not because he understands or approves, but because the parent commands.  In this he is to become the master of his own will by voluntarily submitting it to a higher authority.  Obedience from this principle will secure a double blessing for the child.  While guiding the will to form right habits, it strengthens the control the child has over his will.  When this has been attained, a sure foundation has been laid for the exercise of the child's free will choosing what appears to him to be best. 

In the first stage of childhood, before the child knows to refuse evil and choose good, simple obedience is law.  It is this that the parent must regard as his highest and most blessed work.  As the child matures, it is still a parent's influence that must train the young will to exercise the power on which everything in his later life depends.  The child must now be trained himself to refuse evil and choose good.

From Raising Your Children for Christ, Andrew Murray, The Child's Will and Conscience

My prayer from the time my children were young was that they would want to obey and not just obey.  I love this lesson on teaching a child to exercise the child's free will.  I believe your child, as Andrew Murray tells us, must learn that they have control over their will and have the power to refuse evil and choose good.

Challenge:  If your child is younger, just be sure they learn to obey you instantly, whether or not they want to.  As your child matures, train them to choose the right way and reject the wrong way.   One good way of doing this is to have them learn the "flick the switch" blog.  Bring them to a light switch and show them the power of the light switch, and then explain how God's power is within them to get rid of darkness by choosing light or the right things.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I love the etymology of the word "compassion:"  com = with + passion = strength.  Whenever my children were sick, I'd set up a little "sick table" for them with everything they needed.  I would tape a bag or bring a trash can near them for their Kleenix.  I'd then take the day off with them and watch old movies, or just keep checking on them if they were too sick to stay up.

When my children got hurt, I hurt with them and let them know I felt their pain with them.   I also encouraged each of my other children to do something for the person who was hurt or not up to par.  I really wanted to teach my children to feel another person's pain with them.

I believe compassion is STRENGTH.  If someone feels pain, is hurt, or overwhelmed, RELATE to them and FEEL their pain.  Your children will feel the strength of you walking through every situation with them.  Teach your children to feel others' pains too...  that way they can not only receive compassion but give it too!

Challenge:  Find ways to feel others' pain with them.  Pray for them.  Do what you can for them as a family.  Encourage your children to live with compassion!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Mail...

My Mom always sent our children "happy mail" and got them into a good habit of sending it to others.  "Happy mail" is mail that just makes someone happy.

We did a little different twist on it when my children were younger and had shoeboxes as "mailboxes" in front of each person's room.  We would put "happy mail" in each other's shoeboxes.  

Between trying to brighten someone's day by putting "happy mail" in their shoebox, or by sending "happy mail" to others, my children got used to making people happy via mail.

When my children were younger, we thought of letters to write to others just to tell them we were grateful for who they were or something they'd done.  Once we even wrote to the police department to thank them for protecting us!    After they received it, they contacted our family and a special scout car came over and showed the kids the car and gave them special buttons. They had never received such a thank you before!  

Challenge:  Start young by having your child(ren) dictate letters to others and maybe drawing something on them.  Continue the habit of sending "happy mail" to people to brighten their day.  Send thank you cards regularly to people who are special to you.  Let your children see how they can be a blessing via mail!

Joy is in the Journey!

So many times when you're hustling and bustling to get somewhere you may forget that JOY is in the JOURNEY!  I LOVED time in the car -- your child(ren) were buckled in and en route you could sing special songs together, talk and ask questions, play road games, or just get to know each other better.

We tried to stay off cell phones and really talk on our way back and forth (which was quite a bit considering how far school was from us and all the activities we were involved in!).  If you are at a loss for topic starters here are some tips:

*Keep a jar with topics and grab a few for the car.
*Talk about spiritual things they have been wondering or asking about.
*Talk about seasonal things.
*Talk about issues they have gone through lately and give your insight, even with a parable or story from your own life.
*Talk about issues you know some of their friends or family have been going through and how to correctly assess and minister through them.
*Talk about their dreams.
*Talk about their "favorite" anythings...  ask them "favorite" questions... (and don't forget to ask "why")
*Talk about things that have been on your heart.
*Talk about ways they can encourage and help others (and make a plan to do so).
*Talk about hobbies they want to develop.
*Explain passages from Scripture that are sometimes difficult to understand or that often are taken out of context.

Challenge:  Have fun on the journey!  Be creative and make car rides times everyone looks forward to!  Turn the radio down, phone(s) off, and make memories!  Before you even can blink, they'll all be driving off in their own cars and WHOOOOOOOOSH it's over!  Utilize every minute!  JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spontaneous Fun with Our Children Too!

Today in the Marriage Vitamins blog,  I wrote about spontaneity for couples.  Spontaneous fun is great with our children too.  Think of some fun things to do to make life a little more exciting and fun...  Here are a few of my favorites:

*While driving on fall days, I would literally PULL OVER and STOP the car and watch the leaves playing "tag,"  the birds in a "meeting" along the telephone wires, or look at beautiful fall trees (sometimes we'd get out and throw leaves into the air).
*One day after school I made everyone close their eyes and brought them to Dodge Park over the bridge, and then had them open their eyes to an incredible fall sight!  We threw leaves up in the air there too!
*Let the popcorn pop WITHOUT the lid on and watch the popcorn go everywhere!  (This is fun, but it can POP a little hot oil so be careful!)
*On the way to school on rare occasions, I would let them go in late and we would go and get breakfast at Denny's.
*Before school we'd go and get a canolli.
*On snowy days we'd just pack up and go sledding.
*We'd pack up a lunch and go to the park or someone's pool.
*When homeschooling, we'd go do school outside instead of inside.

Challenge:  Think of some spontaneous fun things to do with your children regularly!  Help them keep the surprise and joy in everyday life!  

Friday, October 24, 2008

Giving solutions before the problems

Based on my previous post, a wise mother foresees problems that could come as a result of the strengths and weaknesses of each child's personality.  

I saw and developed leadership potential in my children by reading them leadership books starting at an early age.  I foresaw problems that could come as a result of perfectionist tendencies, and read and shared information from books on how to overcome the negative aspects of a perfectionist, developing instead a "pursuit of excellence."  I foresaw the problems in tendencies to be shy and withdrawn, and helped my children develop confidence in the Lord and interest in others, and equipped them with training on how to interact and communicate with others successfully.  

A few of the other things I helped my children with, without being an exhaustive list, are:

*Helped them to see and learn from others' mistakes and "judge" whether choices were wise without judging the person or condemning them.
*Helped them to realize the negative impact of anger, and how to deal with it effectively.
*Helped them to be patient and understanding with others' viewpoints without them threatening what they know to be true.
*Helped them learn why they believe what they believe so they would not be easily swayed with vacillating public opinion.
*Taught them how to break projects into little pieces so they would not be easily frustrated.
*Taught them time management skills.
*Taught them compassion on people in need or that had experienced trauma, and how to communicate with them.

Challenge:  What problems could your child be headed for with their gifts and talents?  Teach and train your children about how to best develop and use their gifts.   Teach and train your children to develop gifts and talents that are not natural to them.  Teach them to understand others' strengths and weaknesses.  Pray and ask the Lord to show you where your child may need your help, and give your children lessons way above their age but brought to their level of understanding.  You will be AMAZED at how much your children can understand at a young age if you bring it to their learning level, and how they can utilize the information!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your child's weakness can also be their strength!

In a little different light than the Marriage Vitamins blog today, your child's weakness can also be their strength when you train them how to "turn it around." 

For example, Jesse's strong will, which resisted having to do things he didn't feel strongly to do, once guided and directed, became his strong leadership ability.

Hannah's obsession for perfection, which made her frustrated when younger, enabled her to discipline her studies and get into U of M dental school early.

Bethany's artistic side, which was often a hindrance to a strict homeschool schedule when she was younger, became her artistic ability to do hair, and her insight into understanding others.

Christa's determination, which resulted in temper tantrums when younger, when turned around enabled her to swim against the tide of compromise and consistently hold true to her values on her own.

Daniel's intensity, which made him go through major periods of stress and misdirected intensity when younger, turned around enabled him to intensely study the Word of God and impact people around him.

This is a basic overview, but I can tell you time and time again of my children's weaknesses that when directed became their strengths!  It is EXCITING!

Challenge:  When you see the weaknesses in your children, train, direct, encourage and guide them to turn the weakness into a strength by using it correctly.  Look and observe and pray to ask the Lord to help you see what strength is underlying their weaknesses, and seek creative ways to develop those weaknesses into strength.  And in the process, don't wound your child's spirit or discourage them, rather help them to live up to their potential in Christ, and see them with their full potential as part of who they ARE!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Faith comes by hearing!

Romans 10:17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told],...

Faith, trust, belief, comes by hearing what is told...  This is a primary truth when raising children.  

Our words have creative power in them.  If people are repeatedly told they will "never succeed," their belief system becomes built around those statements.  If you see the potential in your child, and you repeatedly let them know it, and build on it, they will grow up knowing that with God all things are possible in their lives.  The faith that is built on what is heard can be belief and faith for a NEGATIVE result or belief and faith for a POSITIVE result...

“Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”  (Col 4:6 MESSAGE)

I made it a point never to expect perfection with my children, but to be delighted with their efforts, with their learning from their mistakes, and with them striving to live up to the potential God gave them.  I would be disappointed if they lived or made choices below the standards God equipped them to live, but the words they heard me speak about them and to them were words they could hear and believe for success in their futures.

“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”  (Eph 4:29 AMP)

Challenge:  What words do your children hear you speak about them and to them?  Is the faith, trust and belief in the things they hear you say faith for a POSITIVE future or a NEGATIVE one?   Make a mature choice and ask the Lord to help you to totally eliminate any negative, demeaning, or degrading words to your children.  Let your words constantly and consistently minister and be good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of your children, a blessing, giving grace!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Everything we stumbled on doing that was worth repeating became a "tradition" for our family. We thrive on traditions... Some have been going on for years and years, and some are newer and not huge "events" but little things that connect us. Here are a few of them:

Apple orchard every fall with two of MY siblings and their families and my parents, along with side trip to see migrating geese and finishing at Coney Island downtown.
Making gingerbread houses after breakfast at my parents.
Cookie exchange at my sister's house.
Making caramel apples every fall.
Candy corn out in fall.
Apple and pumpkin pies in the fall!
Buffalo wild wings with guys' friends and my husband late at night.
Peanut butter popcorn and orange juliuses when friends are over.
Spedini and strawberry shortcake in the summers.
Special birthday dinners -- whatever the birthday person wants.
October 31 getting a caramel apple at Rocky Mountain Chocolate at Somerset (this USED to be
an incredible harvest party at Uncle Tony's with a bonfire and activities, and pie throwing
at Gary!)
Family picnic.
Circus every year.
Game and Movie nights.
Up north trip every year (this USED to be camping every year).
CRAZY renditions of many different "happy birthday" songs.
Favorite place for lemon ice!
"Family secret" hot chocolate recipe!

Cherish, embellish, and guard traditions with your children! Make special days from nothing! Have special "family" recipes that are special to your children! Special games you love; special meals. Keep adding new traditions, and keep the old. Make some of your traditions events throughout the year that will connect your family for years and years, and be worthy of them taking off work and making extra effort to get to!

Challenge: List some of the traditions and special things you want to start with your family. Make things special and exciting: things they will fondly want to repeat over and over. Make some special recipes your family secret recipes - ones that bond your family. Sing special songs together. Celebrate your family's uniqueness and let it bind each of you together!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I loved to teach my children about "blindspots" -- by showing them the "blindspot" in my Suburban, I could explain to them about the areas we all have that we don't even realize we need to improve on.  

With their sports games, I always taught them that the perspective of the umpire or referee actually becomes part of the game.  So whether the ball is "in" or "out," if the ump or ref sees it as one or the other, it is the way it is called and thus part of the game.

If three people all stand equal distance apart and hold a huge globe, if each person explains what they see, each part is different.  Each person can stand and explain over and over what they see, and although everyone is holding the same globe, from each perspective it is different.

When one of my children really couldn't understand one of their "blind spots" in communicating that I could clearly see, I had them go around to each of their siblings and ask them to give them one good way they communicated, and two suggestions on how they thought the person could improve in communicating.  It not only taught my children the use of constructive criticism, but it taught them to consider others' perspectives on how they acted. 

I taught them that we are three people:  (1) the person we think we are; (2) the person others think we are; and (3) the person God really knows we are!  It is VERY IMPORTANT to know others' perspectives, and especially to learn God's perspective, despite who we want to think we are!  

We would regularly go over things that each child could improve on when we took them out for coffee or breakfast alone.  It was like a little "review" that you would get at work once a year detailing what was going great, and what needed a little work.  

Challenge:  Teach your children about "blindspots!"  Teach them to respect others' perspectives and value others' input into their lives.  Teach them to give and receive constructive criticism without defending themselves!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please be patient, God isn't finished with us yet!

So many times in raising 5 children all born within 5-1/2 years of each other, things were more chaotic than I wanted them to be.  But I was smart enough to know that if I waited until I "had it together" I would NEVER be able to do anything.  I knew that I had to integrate things into my life as it was to be sure I was living the balance I wanted to live.  

That balance taught my children more than I ever could have if I had not achieved it.
That balance enabled me to keep my perspective and keep an outreach even when things were chaotic.
That balance kept our priorities in focus.
That balance enabled me to get beyond our family to be sure at each stage we were focusing on and blessing others.

A few ideas of things we did as a family, together with some frustrations that I overlooked to do it!

Visited people in the nursing home (while my children had to learn that the adjoining bathrooms were not great places to play tag, that they could not bounce on beds, and that they had to be quiet if we were praying with someone!)

Had regular prayer meetings at our home (while my dog was drinking up everyone's leftover coffee and tea, and while the upstairs sounded like it was going to fall through the roof sometimes).

Had missionaries and church people over for dinner (at times bouncing a few very unhappy babies/toddlers the entire time!)

Participated in home fellowship groups (while training our children how to get along with others at the same time!)

Sang and distributed cookies at a senior residents' home monthly (while teaching my children the "art" of conversation by giving them a topic to discuss with the residents each month).

Brought meals to people recovering from an illness or when someone died (while teaching my children what to say in each situation and how to help).  *I have to say that some of these times I had a hard time cooking my own dinner, and I truly stepped out to live "beyond my own means" intentionally.  Once I brought a tuna casserole as the dinner, and FORGOT to put the tuna in it!  Another time, we loaded up the car with the food, and had suitcases in the trunk to go up north right afterwards, and the back door was open and the suitcases went all over the street!

Taught Sunday School (forcing us to be on time AND often holding our children during it!)

Helped people with their children when they were in a bind (by watching them, which taught my children compassion!)

Volunteered at Gilda's Club (which taught my children about cancer, and about showing love to people who looked different because of serious illnesses).

Had many dinner parties for new people at church (which taught my children that it was important for them to stay in the background when adults were having "adult time").  Once, I was stuck somewhere with one child, and I had to call on my girls when they were about 9, 11 and 13, to make the chicken for the dinner, and they made the chicken for TWELVE COUPLES!

Challenge:  What things have you wanted to do yet don't feel "together enough" to do?  Step out beyond your own means intentionally and do something to be a part of your church and your community.  Do these things with your children, no matter how frustrating it can be!  It will not only enable you to be a blessing beyond your own doors at each part of your life, but it will teach your children VOLUMES.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].”  (Gen 12:2 AMP)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Family Table Talk

My children loved when we would take turns and go around the table and everyone would say one nice thing about each person.  We would either start with the youngest or the oldest, and each person would go around and say something they loved about that person.  No one could say the same thing, either!   They each had to think of something special.

After each person heard the nice things that their brothers and sisters said about them, I think they took it to heart and it encouraged them to live up to all the acclaim and more!  It also made for great conversation around the table, as well as teaching the children to look for good things in each other!

Challenge:  Teach your children to appreciate each other!  Find a way for them to verbalize it to each other -- at the dinner table is  a great place!  Build each other up by appreciating each other!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just a little bit bad?

This is short but is something that always stayed with me when MY mom used to tell it to me, and has stuck with my children since she told it to THEM...

When asked if they thought something (a movie, joke, book, friend, etc.) was "bad," if the kids said "just a little bit bad," my mom would always say, "oh, well how about if you eat just a LITTLE BIT of POOP!!!"  A trite graphic, I'd say, but it really got the point across and hit home enough not to forget it!

Challenge:  Through this or another example, teach your children when they are young that a "little bit" bad is not good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hearing from God...

Even when our children were younger, we would teach them to pray about things, and wait to really hear from the Lord about their decisions.

This helped as they became a little older and wanted to defend their music or other things.  We truly wanted them to hear from the Lord and know in their hearts and really feel led of the Lord to either go ahead with or abandon their choices.

I believe that praying for our children to hear from the Lord directly and allowing them to have limited areas where they could really pray about things and make their own decisions helped them to know how to seek the Lord on issues relating to their lives.  

Of course, we have many "house rules" that they have to follow, but there are always areas that they need to hear directly from God about and choices that they can make.

Challenge:  Look for things that your child can pray about and decide (when the choices are both within the "house rules").  You will be amazed at the way children hear from the Lord and just know in their spirit what the Lord would have them do!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Jesus doesn't like it, I don't like it!

When my nephew Georgie was little, he received a game for his birthday called "Ghostbusters."  The front of it had spirits of ghosts all over it, and looked pretty frightening, mixed in with some humorous-looking ghost-hunters.  

I was horrified, and asked him if he thought Jesus liked that game.  He said "if Jesus doesn't like it, then I don't like it!" emphatically.  I told him we should pray and ask God to reveal to him if Jesus liked the game, and we did.  He threw the new game out.

I believe I am called to “Have nothing to do with the useless works that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are.” (Eph 5:11 GWORD)

“How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness,”  (Is 5:20 GWORD)

“‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God.” (Acts 26:17-18 MESSAGE)

Recently, after seeing a few pictures with my children with people dressed up in occultic costumes (I need to call it as it is -- these are not cute demons, devils, witches, etc.; they are occultic), I realized I need to restate the whys about why my family never participated in anything about Halloween.  I am now fighting for my children's children, and increasingly even Church youth groups are joining a world of Christians who are being duped into joining the world in making Halloween (Satan's holiday) an even bigger celebration than Christmas (the celebration of Christ) (see news article here: WTOP news article)

I usually don't reveal this fact, but I was involved in the occult as a young girl, and I have to tell you, there is absolutely nothing about the occult that is CUTE.  I realize many people innocently have fallen into "celebrating" Halloween, but I need to give you some information to consider.  

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”
(Eph 6:12 MESSAGE)

“Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”” (John 8:12 MESSAGE)

What we are really looking at here is Satanism's influence today.  There really is a Satanic Bible, and Halloween is stated and celebrated that night, with spells being cast and demons being called down -- real live demons -- there is a spiritual battle going on for our souls, we know...

"… the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween (or All Hallow's Eve)." The Satanic Bible by Anton Levey page 96, section on Religious Holidays.

But Scripture says:
“And you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next.” (1Cor 10:21 MESSAGE)

Some facts from people that are/were associated with the occult and not what we choose to believe....  :

While many deem Halloween as harmless fun and fantasy, Halloween subtlety disarms our discernment of witches and the occult (and especially wipes out and confuses our children's discernment).  Halloween’s magic potion of "fun and frolic" transforms witches, demons, devils and evil incarnate into "cute and fine folks." However, over 1.2 million practicing and proud witches live in America. Witchcraft currently is the fastest growing religion in America.  At some time, nearly every little girl becomes a witch on Halloween.  Witch RavenWolf delights when a vulnerable little girl dresses as a witch on Halloween:

"Today, just about every little girl in our society, at one time or another, has chosen to costume herself as a Witch. . . If you choose a Witch’s costume this Halloween . . . Hold your head up and wear your Witch’s garb proudly in their honor." (Witch RavenWolf, Silver. Halloween: Customs, Recipes & Spells, p. 64)

Occult historian Jean Markale discloses Halloween bids more than childish dress-up. It is a pagan "initiatory journey" guided by someone [Satan] "hidden in the shadows," and none "return from Halloween innocent":

"The passage into the world of Halloween is truly an initiatory journey. One does not return from it an innocent. But making the journey alone does not mean there was no guide, no initiator, someone who prompted the quest and who, sometimes hidden in the shadows, watches over the comings and goings of the neophyte through this labyrinth that is the Other World."  (Markale, Jean. The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween, p. 127)

Dr. David Enoch, former senior consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the University of Liverpool, states:

Halloween practices open the door to the occult and can introduce forces into people’s lives that they do not understand and often cannot combat. . . (Parker, Russ. Battling the Occult, p. 35)

As stated in John 8.12 above, Jesus provides plenty of light to live in.  Celebrate the harvest!  Celebrate fall!  Celebrate caramel apples and pumpkins!  Even celebrate CANDY and load your children up with it!  Celebrate life and even celebrate how cute your children look all dressed up by letting them dress up on their birthdays with a theme party or at Thanksgiving as Indians and good things!

Challenge:  I am going to ask all well-meaning Christians to do what I asked Georgie to do YEARS ago... to go into a quiet place with just you and the Lord, and to close your eyes, and ask, really ask, Him to reveal to you what He wants you to do with the Satanic high holiday of Halloween.   If you would earnestly seek the Lord, please look at these links with what I know is factual and important information:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They're WORTH IT!

When my children had an issue with each other or even with someone else, and they were hurt by something someone did or neglected to do, I was always careful to tell them that the other person was WORTH dealing with because of all the good they added to their life.

It is important to "feed" unity in relationships with others.  Relationships are fragile and can be easily broken.  People make mistakes, and we need to teach our children how to successfully deal with frustrations in relationships without breaking the relationship.

What are all the good things that the person has added to your life?  Is the little difference or problem area worth losing all the wonderful things that the person means to you?  

Challenge:  Make sure you teach your children to overlook faults in someone and protect their relationships!

Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions”  (Prov 10:11-12 AMP)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who is your child's hero?

"A hero cannot be a hero," said Nathaniel Hawthorne, "unless in an heroic world."

Maybe that helps explain why we no longer have heroes in this country—at least no larger-than-life national heroes worthy of the name. Arguably we live in singularly unheroic times.

Thomas Carlyle, the 19th-century Scottish historian, said: "Society is founded on hero worship." Historically, that may once have been true. It may even be true of other societies today. It certainly isn't true of America. We are a society of celebrity worshipers. We are infatuated by celebrities. We try to look and be like them. We mistake them for heroes. To most of us, who you are and know is much more important than what you do or stand for.

It particularly saddens me when "heroes" become sloppy, lazy, obnoxious people like "Hancock," or crooks like "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." Hollywood has not only taken away morality and character from our heroes, but they've actually substituted villains for heroes, and have our children rooting for and hoping the villains win!

Youth advocates, parents, teachers and health professionals are increasingly in agreement regarding the importance of mentors and role models in positive youth development. A recent issue of Healthy Kids, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, devoted an entire article to the importance of Heroes in child development. Author Ellen Klavan writes "role models can give kids the confidence they need to fly high."

What is needed in the individuals we seek to emulate is a nobleness of character. So, unless we wish to aspire to villainy, nobility is required. This is important for at least three reasons. First, heroes embody the characteristics we value most. Without them how would we know what courage, sacrifice, or honor look like? Second, heroes imbue us with a purpose. They provide an example to follow. Third, heroes embolden us to persevere. They challenge us to strive to improve our character and adopt some of their own.

We are less than we could be as individuals and as a people. Ultimately that's what heroes do for us: They make us mere mortals want to be better. As Emerson observed: "Great men exist that there may be greater men." May Parker in Spiderman said: "Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero."

I tried to tell my children about "heroes" early on. I would tell them that their Papa and Nana are my "heroes" and why. I would tell them that who I admired and respected and why they were "heroes." I would read Bible stories and talk about real heroes that made a difference and show that we can too!

Make sure you bring people around that can be strong role models for your children; people they can admire. Admire people for their character and self-sacrificing ways. Demonstrate what is important to you by who you admire: make sure your heroes are heroes because their integrity is what we value, because they show us what courage, sacrifice and honor look like, and because they imbue us with a purpose and give us examples to follow.

Challenge: Begin to pay attention to and develop who your child looks up to as a hero and why. Begin to show your child real "heroes" -- in regular stories every day -- firefighters, people who risk their lives to help others, etc. Constantly demonstrate to your children who YOUR heroes are and why and teach them to look for character to emulate in the people you admire!

Some material taken from Why We Need Heros, by Gregory D. Foster, a professor at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C


Another thing I wanted to teach my children early in life and have them carry with them as they got older is the phrase, "It is ENOUGH!" In so many lives, it is NEVER ENOUGH. We have all been around people who just purchased something new, and they're already looking to buy another thing. It's as if their needs are a fire and a constant consumption needs to be existing at all times. We have all seen people who seem to "lose" perspective -- they are never skinny enough, never have enough clothes, their husband is never good enough, they never look good enough... it is never enough!!!  And it is annoying to be around people that always need more more more!!!

When I gave my children something, I literally taught them to say, "It is enough!") and explained -- let that be enough for you that we did _____.  Be grateful for what we have.  By teaching your children to be thankful and grateful for what they have, and teaching them to say "it is enough," hopefully they will learn to be CONTENT.  

Contentment, the Bible says, is GREAT GAIN!!!  So few people are really content.  I am so happy that I learned contentment a long time ago, and was content with nothing.  The LORD is my confidence, and my joy.  I have learned to be content in who I am, and in who I'm not.  And contentment, without striving, struggling and contending for more and more and more, is truly great GAIN!!!

“The leech has two daughters, crying, Give, give! There are three things that are never satisfied, yes, four that do not say, It is enough: Sheol (the place of the dead), the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water, and the fire that says not, It is enough.” (Prov 30:15-16 AMP)

Challenge:  Teach your children to say, "It is enough!"  Train your children to be content.  Start with yourself, and be content with little or with much -- in ALL things!  Be satisfied, grateful and content, and let your confidence be only in the Lord Himself!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Children do what you INspect not always what you EXpect!

When training children, always keep in mind that you need to inspect their work.   Make sure you are training your children not just instructing them.  Teach them the "behind the scenes" story too.  For example, teach them the value of hard work, the differences in results of being a hard worker vs. lazy or not enjoying work.  

Teach them the joy after a job well done -- a great big lemonade slush after they mow the lawn; a special type of hot chocolate (whipped up with marshmellows in the blender - yum!) after shoveling snow!  

When they're younger you can really "ham it up" in exclaiming:  "now look at how WONDERFUL everything looks... don't you feel so good knowing everything is nice and organized and you did a great job?!"  

My quest in raising my children since they were younger was that I wanted them to WANT to obey me not just obey me.  I didn't want rote obedience, rather I wanted them to know WHY I laid down the rules I did, and how they were for their own benefit and value for their future.  I felt this would transition nicely to their understanding the Lord in the same way.

Challenge:  Get to the "behind the scenes" training and the whys and benefits of your rules.  "Just because I said so" should be a rarity; rather, let your children know the reason you have your rules and how it will make their lives better.  Then even at a young age let them know that God makes certain rules for our good and His glory too... we can trust Him that all His rules are for our benefit.  Interesting case in point, the word "wicked" literally means "harmful in effect or influence."  Why something is called "wicked" is because it will hurt us!  

Friday, October 10, 2008

"No Thank You!" Helping

When my children were younger I instituted a "no thank you" helping when there was something for dinner they just didn't like.  They had to take a little tiny bit and try to eat even a little of it.  I knew there would be times when they would be somewhere else and would have to eat things they weren't crazy about, and I thought this would help.

Later, several of our children told me that they were glad I had taught them about the "no thank you" helping when they had to eat something they didn't like somewhere!  Christa certainly utilized this training in Hong Kong!

Challenge:  Try to have a little no thank you helping when your child doesn't like something for dinner.  They may thank you someday!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where is your focus?

I always tried to convey what was important to me by the way I encouraged my children as they were growing up.  It was more important that I encouraged, cheered on, and complimented them for being kind to each other, generous, thoughtful, faithful, courteous, gentle with their siblings, etc. than to always be feeding them "you are sooo pretty," "I love your shoes (dress, purse, whatever)" etc.

Catch your child(ren) doing something nice for someone and pull them aside and tell them how proud you are of them and what a blessing they are.  When they do something for someone, take time to talk to them and reinforce how wonderful it feels to do something for someone:  "Don't you feel so WONDERFUL that you were able to encourage someone like that?  I'm so PROUD of you!  That was so UNSELFISH!"  Let them hear you tell others about their successes as well.

Also, I made it a point never to discuss my children's failings with other people.   I think it is important to be loyal to your children and it really isn't other people's business what they're going through.  Then your children know everyone thinks the best of them and they don't have to be embarrassed over a temporary lapse -- even when they are very young.

Challenge:  Focus on giving character compliments, and compliments on behavior rather than looks.  Pour energy into your child(ren) by taking time to elaborate on their unselfish successes, and why it was so appreciated.  Make a commitment not to discuss negatives about your children with any one, but be lavish in sharing things you are proud of them for in demonstrating integrity and good character.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tools for life...

I liked to picture each one of my children having an empty tool box at the end of their bed, and every day I would be filling their toolboxes with tools they could use to live by.  

The way YOU handle YOUR relationships, primarily and most importantly YOUR MARRIAGE, is equipping your children! YOU are raising the next generation of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers! Are you going to be proud of your contribution? Is the marriage you are demonstrating to them and empowering them with one that contributes to a revived success in marriage, or will it contribute to the decay and erosion of marriage?

Philip. 4:9 (MsgB)
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

What tools ARE YOU giving your children?   In the blog about marriage relationships, starting tomorrow I will be listing some of the most important "tools" you can live out and then pass on to your children!  Mark the marriage blog and tune in to find out the tools!

We are BUILDERS! The Bible says in Proverbs 14:1 that “Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her (VERY OWN!!! [added]) hands...”

A master builder knows a few things we can apply towards building our marriages:

1. The finished product will only be as good as the materials you use.
2. A trained eye will equip the builder to know which areas need to be focused on.

A good builder knows – is SURE – that there WILL BE PROBLEMS, but that is NOT a threat to his skills but a CHALLENGE.  

Challenge:  Are YOU being wise and BUILDING or are you destroying the good in your home with your own hands?!  What materials are you using to build?  Where do you need to focus today?  Are you challenged and able to handle the problems?  What tools are you putting into your child's toolbox?  Are you showing them how to handle disappointments, differences, frustrations, imperfections, and trials correctly?  Be more aware that you are spiritual leaders who are going to give account for leading your children and do it in a way that makes it easier for them to respect and obey you as a mature leader!

“Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either]”  (Heb 13:17-18 AMP)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Try to say "Yes" when you can!

Sometimes it seemed I was always saying "no" to my children.  "No" to this, and "no" to that.  Coming from an ultra-positive mother and wanting to be more positive, I began to incorporate more "yes" answers.

"Can we have some candy?" (before dinner on Friday)
"YES, when we go to the birthday party this Sunday!"

"Can we buy this or that?"
"YES - when you save enough money!"

I also began taking stock of some of the other "negative" words I was saying and dropped them from my vocabulary.  

"You're going to get hurt!"  (YIKES -- any one saying that NEEDS to drop it - you are actually speaking life into those words!)

"Be careful!" (This literally means "be full of cares!")

We can't afford this.  (Usually you can afford whatever you want to or take out a loan; what is better TEACHING words are - "this is not a priority for us to purchase".)

"This is going to take all day..." More positively, "Hmmm, this is going to be a little while -- let's do something FUN TOGETHER while we wait!"

Challenge:  Watch your "negative" words and turn them into "positives" whenever you can!  Post any successes!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cherished Birthday Letters

We built on and established a family tradition of writing birthday letters.  On my children's birthdays, I write them a letter each year going over all I've seen in their lives and how privileged I am to be their mom, detailing their strengths, and our hopes for them.  

I in turn have become the recipient of some of the most AMAZING birthday letters known to man/woman.  This year I was overwhelmed with amazing birthday letters.  I am just going to let you peek inside some of them:

*You are one of my best friends, and I cherish our friendship.
*Watching you live your life is inspiring...  I want to grow up and live my life like you...
*I love being around you and you always encourage me to be a better woman of God...
*You make and drive me to get closer to God and that is the best thing you can do for a friend.  Your example you set is so high and I want to be just like you...
*I couldn't ask or think of anything more perfect or more special than the bond and friendship    we share!
*I hope to be half the person you are.  Your sunshine shines through in the darkness,... your  strength is unstoppable and your love for your family and Christ is contagious.  
*You have taught me to push towards my future and told me that no matter what I do I will  succeed and you would be by my side the whole way.  Without you I could not be the person I  am today and with you I feel I can conquer the world.
*Honestly you are a true example of a Christian, living every moment, second, hour, year, and  lifetime, walking, talking and being Christ-like.  That's my mom and it's one of a kind.  You  raised me and sent me out.  Now it's up to me to carry on your name and you made and make  my decisions so easy to discern right from wrong.  
*Your love is an example I look to...  I see you could never do this on your own power and see  how your commitment to being close with God, seeking Him early and making Him #1 in all  areas is the way you have been so successful...  I love you so much, and every year I write my  note to you I walk away more in awe of the difference your life has made in soooo many  people, and how much you have given up for God and your family.  Thank you Mom for being  faithful...

I am honored, humbled, inspired and encouraged to keep pressing on.  I refuse to do anything to fall short of all God made me to be when I read these letters!

Challenge:  Write a birthday letter to your child and inspire and encourage him/her to be the best they can be!  Keep pouring into their lives!  Whatever you have to give up is worth it -- lead the way so that as they follow you they follow Christ, because with Him ALL things ARE possible.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and allow Him to direct not only your path but the paths of your children!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Celebrations and Traditions...

We have a LOT of family traditions that we remember together.  We find things to celebrate all the time.  We believe in celebrating each other as often as we can find a reason to, and then if we can't find a reason to, we make UP a reason!  

We celebrate each and every "Hallmark" holiday, and use every available opportunity to show others just how special they are to us.

Remember special occasions with a simple note or gift.  It is a habit that pays off with knowing how appreciated you are in the lives of those you love!

Challenge:   Start doing special things that can be "traditions" in your family!   Find some special things to celebrate together!  Never run the risk of taking each other for granted!  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Family Night!

We always had a special "family night" where we did something special together.  Sometimes we went places, or played games, or stayed home and made the night special.  We'd have a special dinner or treat, and then just hang around as a family.  These extended to family "day" when everyone got older, and we made Sunday our special family day.  We would bike together, roller blade, go canoeing, or do something special.  Even if someone wasn't thrilled, they had to participate.  

Challenge:  Make a special family night and stick with it!  Make it a regular habit when your children are younger, and when they're older they will value it and it will be a very special time together!

Friday, October 3, 2008

For whatever reason...

I love obeying God.  He gives me so many incentives to obey Him.  I tried to always offer my children as many incentives to obey me as God offers me to obey Him!

I want to obey God first and foremost because I love Him and trust that He wants the best for me.  Also, I want to please God.  To top it off, He rewards me according to my righteousness in His eyesight (Psalm 18).   He also promises that what I sow I will reap.  He even tells me when I give, it comes back "in good measure, pressed down and shaken together!"  He said anything I put my hand to do will prosper, and in Deuteronomy 28 and 29 there are many many blessings for obedience and many curses for disobedience.

At an early age, I taught my children Deuteronomy 28 and 29 and told them that there would be many many blessings for obedience, and that since God said that the way of a transgressor was hard, I would not ever try to make their lives easier if they were going against God's Word.  Although love is to be unconditional, God's blessings are usually "if" "then" statements and are very conditional!

A lot of times I would go overboard in how happy I was when they obeyed, but even if they didn't seem to care whether they pleased me or not, I told them they could obey me because they loved themselves and that the good would return back to them by promise in the Word! Through this process I tried to teach them that the reason I was pleased with their obedience was because most of the time their obedience resulted in blessings for their lives!

Challenge:  Teach your children the blessings of obedience, and the curses of disobedience from Deuteronomy 28 and 29.    Try to model God's incredible parenting by not rewarding transgressions and rewarding obedience.    Read your Bible and take note of how God deals with His children and emulate that in your homes!  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Little Smartie!

I wanted my children to love to read, so I read to them quite often.  Since I had so many little children at the same time, it was important to try to settle them down so we could hear the story!  We didn't have a lot of candy around, but at story book time, I would take 5 smartie rolls, and line them up in a row.  The first pile was Jesse's, then Hannah's, then Bethany's, then Christa's, and finally Danny's.  If someone was NOT paying attention, I took a smartie from their pile.  At the end of the chapter, who ever lost the FEWEST smarties got them all!

I also used smarties sometimes for after naps, putting a roll of smarties for each child, and if they went right to sleep they got their smarties when they woke up.

We made a big deal about it, and so they thought it was a big deal.  I would be VERY SAD with them if they couldn't have their smartie roll, and had them look for the time they could earn it!

Challenge:  Find a little suitable and visible "smartie-type" reward to encourage attentiveness or cooperation.   Keep it small and teach them that although there are "built-in rewards" for paying attention at the story time or taking a nap, the smartie-type reward is just a little more encouragement to cooperate!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Special Times to Talk

Starting when my children were younger, my husband would take each of our children to a short breakfast or lunch once a month to connect with them, and I would take each of our children to a short breakfast or lunch once a month to connect with them (separately).  It became special times that each of our kids looked forward to.  We'd help them make goals, talk to them about what was going on in their lives, and just have a great hour together alone.  

I also made sure I had special times to talk with my kids regularly.  Whether I would take them out for a shake, a yogurt, or just tuck each of them in to bed at night and talk while I scratched their backs, I made sure we made the most of our opportunities to talk to each other.

Since we started these things while they were very young, it became very natural for us to talk about deep things with each other as they grew older.  They knew they could trust us with the secrets, their dreams, their shortcomings, and things they struggled with.  Make sure the "talking time" is a set activity with the purpose of talking...

Challenge:  Start making a special time to talk with your child independently of other siblings. Just announce that you're going to go out for a milkshake and just talk, or to go to breakfast so you can talk, and find out about the things that are important in your child's life and talk through them.  Make a big deal about the "talking" part.  Keep it going, and watch the conversations get more and more meaningful as time goes by!