Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Summer to Remember

The final bell rang. The kids screamed for joy. Mom sat in the carpool line wondering, "What in the world are we going to do all summer?!"

Well, now that summer is halfway over, maybe you've found yourself resentful and angry because your children constantly "interrupt" your schedule. If that's how you're feeling, you're normal.

But, wait. We wanted these kids, right? Are they really interruptions or blessings in disguise? How can we move from simply surviving the rest of summer to making it a summer to remember?

Here are a few ideas to get you out of the summer survival rut:
Realize they won't be this way forever. Preschoolers won't always have tiny hands. Call your elementary-aged kid on the phone and listen to the smallness of their voice.Tween girls giggle. Tween boys have a fascination with being gross. Even though teens have lots of their own ideas and don't like yours, make your home the safe, fun house.My parents' secret was a ping-pong table. Enjoy them, because they'll be gone before you know it.

Say "no" with a smile. It makes you and your child feel better. They know you have some regret at having to say no. You are on their team.

Play music. Anger and music don't usually dance. Movie soundtracks, praise songs, music from my teen years or even classical stations. I rarely find myself upset with my kids when we have music playing in the background.

Go outside. Sometimes taking a walk or bike ride with the kids can do wonders to change everyone's perspective.

Work together. Life isn't all about fun. Use this summer to teach your kids how to sort, wash and fold laundry, put sheets on a beds, dust, mow, organize a closet, etc.

Things aren't always as they seem. Remember that the way you are seeing things at this moment is probably not how it will look in a couple of hours. Frustrations can build and dissolve quickly when you have kids.

Offer them 30 minutes of your time. After they have helped pick up around the house let them pick what the two of you will do together and watch their eyes light up! For older kids, offer them the day off after helping for an hour.

Ask your kids what they think is fun. You might be surprised to find that their idea of fun often doesn't cost any money. My sister was amazed to find that her 7-year-old son's idea of "fun" was playing tag in the front yard with dad, mom and his little sister.

Slow down. Successful parenting doesn't mean you have your children involved in every possible extra-curricular activity. Successful parenting means you are there for them. If you've been running all year, it takes "practice" to enjoy staying home. Don't give up. Turn off the computer, TV, cell phone, etc. etc. and read or play games (no matter what their age.)

Pray. When you are at your wit's end, ask God to help you remember what to do with your kids. On our own, it's hard to enjoy the moments because "life happens." But God has a way of giving us perspective that will slow us down and help us see our families the way He sees them-with love and compassion.

The next time you blow your top or realize you're just surviving your kids instead of enjoying their clumsy feet, silliness, or their constant desire to talk on the phone, stop and think, "one day I'll miss this!" The funny thing is, tomorrow we'll be longing for today. If we choose to think like that long enough, the kids won't be the only ones sad to hear the school bell ring this fall.


We would love to hear how things are going with you and your family. Feel free to Email us today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


You'd think I would have blogged everyday of our great vacation, but I've been on vacation. Here are the highlights:
Day 1
Flew to CA. Went to In-N-Out, Susie's Deals, Disneyland. Drove to Ventura at 9...felt like 11. Our kids were exhausted. But, we made it. Got in bed. Davis threw up in the middle of the night. We prayed....Lord please let it be because he was tired...not a stomach virus.
Day 2
God answered our prayer. It must have been something he ate. We drove the short distance to Santa Barbara. Shopped, ate lunch at an open air Jeannine's, had ice cream, rented a surrey and pedaled around the beach. Stopped to watch the skateboarders at the skateboard park. "It's only been an hour on the surrey? No wonder they give you the 2nd hour free. They know you'll be worn-out." We returned the surrey, with 1/2 an hour left. Went to the beach. The kids were like magnets. God's playground is the best. Ate at Moby Dicks...not our favorite, but it was located at the end of the pier. We saw dolphins from there.
Day 3
Drove to Beverly Hills. Pat has done a great job organizing all of this. He flew us for free, and we've stayed for free most of the nights. This particular night was the best. We stayed at the Beverly Hilton. It doesn't look great from the outside, but it is beautiful on the inside. Our room made the kids ooh and ahh. We window shopped on Rodeo Drive, then took pictures along this gorgeous park-like walkway on the way back. Brittlea and Crislynn have been working on a music video the whole time, so they have had lots of really cool places to "shoot" their video. The family swam at the pool. I read a book and sipped iced tea...all the while looking for movie stars. We didn't see any.
That night we went to In-n-Out at UCLA, then walked around the fun shops. We had ice cream at Diddy Riese...the most amazing deal ever. They make an ice cream sandwich with your choice of cookie and your choice of ice cream - all for the low price of $1.50!! So fun...

Pat and I left the kids in the hotel room for a few minutes while we went to sit at the pool. I was overwhelmed by the hollowness of it all as we sat there and listened to Michael Jackson's songs playing in the background. No wonder actors and people who live here get distracted by everything that really doesn't matter. There is much to distract them. I was being drawn in, too, wishing we had more money, wishing for a better hairstyle, new clothes, a skinnier body and I know better! I had read Colossians 2:8 before we left home, but it meant so much more to me when I read it again while in Beverly Hills: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

How easy it is for that to happen. I'm grateful that God knows right where we are.

I'll write more about the trip tomorrow. We leave on Wednesday. I think this is the longest vacation I've ever taken. It's been fun, but it will be good to get home. I'm just dreading the Texas heat! Still, there's no place like home.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Glimpses of Hope

Who could have told me that being a mom would be so challenging? It can be stressful, heart-wrenching, joyful and overwhelming all at the same time!
My oldest (14 yrs) left for Basketball camp in Oklahoma on Sunday . . . I hate to say it but I was excited he was going. I needed a break!! Teenagers are way harder that I expected! Do you know the feeling?
He called me today (the first time I've talked to him . . . except for a text) and asked if I could bring his Bible when we come to pick him up tomorrow. He said, "I want to give it to this guy I met at camp." Wow, was I excited. Just when I begin feeling a little unsure of his direction . . . God will provide me with a glimpse of hope.
"Lord, I praise You for working in the lives of my children. I pray that you get a hold of their heart. and when they stray from what is right may they get caught by conviction or a loving person."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Facing Fear

When was the last time you were bucked off a horse? For me, it was probably about 28 years ago. Oh, the fear that the experience instilled in me . . . to this day. Well, we re-experienced this yesterday. While taking riding lessons at a friends ranch, Avery, my 8 year old was bucked off "Lil Bill" after he was spooked. When I looked up I saw her falling to the ground, landing on her side. I ran to her and held her close. Tears were running down her dirt dusted cheeks and her heart was beating fiercely. "I don't want to get back on, Mommy! Please, no, I don't want to get back on." I held her, firmly telling her that she had to. I told her I would walk beside her. Her instructor said he would ride beside her as well. She reluctantly agreed and climbed back on the back of "fear." We walked around the arena and she did it!!! She faced her fear!
As I thought about the whole experience God reminded me that getting back on a horse after being bucked off was kind of like facing fears in life; trying something again after failing miserably. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," a wise elderly woman used to tell me at age 4 when I was unable to accomplish a feat the first time. Right now, my fear is not about learning to ride a horse, but about parenting challenges. I am afraid and overwhelmed by them because I feel so inadequate. I feel like a failure. Sometimes, I'd just rather not try again. "What if I fail.? Will I be ruining their lives?" I fear it will be all my fault, if I don't do the right thing, set the appropriate boundaries.
God so faithfully reminded me to walk in His truth knowing He is walking right beside me. He will hold the reins. It's okay to fear, as long as I don't allow the fear to to paralyze me, keeping us from ever getting back on the horse again. What are you afraid of? Give it to God! Go for it . . . don't worry about getting bucked off . . . your job is to just get back on! Leave the rest to Him.
Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; and uphold you with my righteous right hand."