Friday, October 29, 2010


Last week, as part of our Kids of Integrity character training lesson,  we talked about Self Control.

We talked about how we are responsible for our hands and our bodies, and how we need to use control and be responsible for how we use them.

We used the verse, "resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  ....for the first time really talking about temptation, and what that means. We hadnt really talked about Satan alot, I guess, because there were alot of questions in that area. They loved the idea of "resisting" Satan.

We made a lion, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 ..I am really amazed with how all our character qualities have been so tied together. We obey because we love God, we are alert/attentive so we know how to obey, we are are alert and self controlled so that we do what God wants and not what Satan wants.

Here is Ty "resisting" the devil, portrayed as a lion...he suggested a game where we offer scenerios and try to decide if it is from God or if we are being tempted and need to resist Satan. If our answer was to resist, we put our hand over his face. I was impressed :)

It was alittle more difficult to reward self-control because it was something they didnt do, instead of something they did. We put the nickles away this week, but we will use them again next week when we focus on Respect. more thing that we used alot of ..we had "forced self-control" when they were being out of control with their mouth (yelling inappropriately, talking ugly to siblings, etc) or their hands (hitting, hanging on someone, etc.). They would have to lace their fingers together for a time as a "hand time out" or put their pointer finger over their mouth for a "mouth time out". It worked really well, especially in the car.  We will keep using this one.

Good stuff, I cant wait to keep working obeying, being attentive and having self control. I can see real changes in these little men :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tips on, Thursday

Okay, Okay..I am way behind all the way around this week..BUT..I had this great inexpensive tip I wanted to share!

I found these great giant push pins at Walmart, $3 for 8. I am LOVING them as a place to display all of our great art projects, color pages and some such stuff...

We just used two of the pins, tied a strong string of some sort (I had jute, so I used it) and clips ..I have aspirations of painting the clips different colors to represent each kid but hey ..we wont pressure ourselves too much for now, right?

This is a time line we made for school is Ty's time line, which we started in 2001 when Mommy and Daddy got married :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Heart Power Tools

I like a good power drill. I dont mind at all putting furniture together, putting shelves up, hanging pictures and stuff ..but I wouldnt want to do any of that without a power drill.

I admit, though, I do get a little scared of most other power tools. I dont like the saws, or most of the really loud ones. They have so much power, and I dont really know what to do with it. I envision myself doing more harm than good (much harm, in fact :).

But, put into the right hands ..these tools can do amazing things! They dont even compare with their non-powered counterparts, even though they are created and designed for the same purpose.

A screwdriver can screw a screw ...which is what it supposed to do, very well.  You can hang pictures, put shelves together and hang them up too.  But, add some power to that humble tool, and you have just increased both your productivity and your efficacy x100.

Isnt that true of us as well?

We are created for a purpose, and promised to be given "everything you need for a life of godliness through the knowledge of him who called you."  (2 Peter1:3) that you will be kept from being "ineffective and unproductive" vs.8.   

God has equipped us ..."to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."  1Peter 4:10 ..."all these are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one (of us) just has he determines." 1 Cor 12:11

He gives us what we need to accomplish the tasks to which he has called us. He gives you to be a mom, another of you to be a wife or a grandmother. He has called you and equipped you with the tools you need to do what he wants you to do for the benefit of His glory and His plan. He has given us everything we need to accomplish these purposes.

Yet, without the full power of his Spirit ...we are just a screwdriver.   A tool still designed for a purpose, still made to do what we do ...but lacking in what we need to be fully effective and productive.

Yet, the power is there ..."God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline."  2 Tim 1:7

He has not just made us a screwdriver ...but a power drill! His spirit is that super lithium battery pack that just keeps going..and going..and going.

Are you, like me, guilty of doing the job God has called me without using the Spirit to help power it? Are you trying, like me, to sometimes do the job he has given you with an antiquated tool instead one powered by the Spirit who gave you that tool?

I pray for myself, and for you today that you will tap into that Spirit of power! That we can be effective and productive in the things he has called you to today ...but be careful, he may start working in you to create one of those scary power tools that seems too powerful to handle! (wouldnt that be great?!) :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Moms Like Us: Rachel

Well, I have to say that last weeks "Moms Like Us" is a bit late ..I have not excuse than, I totally forgot! :) But, I wanted to make sure you got to share this mom answers asap...because we are so encouraged to hear when we are not alone in this whole being a wife/mom/christian thing ...

{Meet Rachel}

I married my high school sweetheart, Jared eleven years ago. Quarterback meets band nerd, yeah I know kinda funny. We have two amazing children. Jared works long hours and very hard for us, but he is happy to do it. I love his sense of humor the most. He keeps me in stiches daily. He is an amazing husband and I am very blessed to have him.
I kept my job in retail after stepping down as the manager two years ago. I work two days per week for some fun money. I love to coupon and find it like a game to see how much I can save. I am an organizer for a meetup group for preschoolers, and the den leader for my son's cub scout den. I also homeschool our children.
Wyatt is 9 and has the most wonderful sense of humor. He loves to tell jokes and sing, and is fiercely protective of his little sister. Wyatt has had many problems over the years learning somewhat due to a medical condition. This year we have decided to homeschool, and I have not regretted that decision.
Abby is our very spunky 3 year old. She is incredibly athletic. She can already hit a softball across the yard. She loves to dance, and can be seen boogying around the house. She loves her brother and it warms my heart to see how much they really love each other.

We had a hard time getting a pic this week of all of them ..but these pics were taken this week of her little punkins at the Pumpkin Patch! :)

Discipline. Discipline for my children and even discipline for my self. Not to say I don't discipline, but being consistent in it.

I don't know. This is the question is always struggle with. I know that He wants me to raise my children to be godly children, and to be supportive of my DH. Some friends have said that I can be a good and objective listener, but I am not sure that is all that God has planned for me.
I also believe that God can constantly change what role he wants you to play. For instance, maybe this week He needs me to be there for a friend. Hear her out, support her, pray for her, minister to her, and to tell her that God wants her to come back. He fights for her daily. This month he could put me in a position that someone else is watching my responses to a situation. He could be using me to show that someone that we can go through difficult situations without reacting with anger.

The ability to multi-task. Sometimes I look at my schedule and wonder how I do it. I am also live near by both sides of our family. They are such a blessing. I also love that I have such wonderful godly women as friends to lift me up when I need it. Surrounding myself with these people constantly renews me when I am on empty.
{Courtney here ..I can back this one up, she can juggle more stuff than you would believe!:)

DO YOU MAKE YOUR BED EVERYDAY? Not a chance. Really? Do people really do that?


IS YOUR LAUNDRY CAUGHT UP RIGHT NOW? No, but it isn't out of control.

Well what I read when I feel out of control is this Phillipians 4 12-13. It is so encouraging for me. It pulls me right back in and reading it works liking take a big deep breath.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I also really like Psalm 33 20-22. It reminds me to put my trust in him.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

Well not really a yay for me moment,, but certainly a warm and fuzzy one. I told the kids we were taking them out to dinner. ( A rare treat). 
These were there responses:
Wyatt: Is it a kids eat free place? We want to make sure we are using our money wisely, and not being wasteful. (And yes it was-boy am I proud of him)
Abby- You are the bestest mommy and daddy I ever had! I love you! (Not sure if that is the best compliment-since Jared pointed out we are her only mommy and daddy, but I loved it)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping it Real

I am easily motivated, I have decided.

I realized that I get inspired by the smallest things, and that I just assume everyone else is that way! :) If someone posts something on facebook about eating five meals a day to boost their metabolism, I am IN! If a friend talks about a new idea or concept that has helped them be organized or more peaceful ..I want the details, and I am ready to go! I love inspiring books, blogs and sayings on stuff! :)

Learning this of myself the past couple of weeks, I have determined that that is the reason that I love blogging. I love to put out those ideas for things that help me in one way or another, in hopes of inspiring those who may read it to greatness :) ...not greatness like ME, but their own greatness that is just waiting to be encouraged to action.

I know, because I do this, that so often the same people who inspire us also intimidate us or make us feel like they must have it SO much more together than we do. I know I feel this way about some of you girls' whose blogs I read and think "I want do be like that!"  ...of course we do, you are awesome!

I giggle to myself when I get sweet notes and comments that elude to this about myself ...because if you girls could come hang out with me ...well, lets just say you would see me for what I am, just a mom working to make this all work and hopefully doing it in a way that brings glory to God...just like you.

Just to prove it, I took a quick walk around my downstairs ... :)

This is my kitchen ..sink full of dishes, lunch stuff still out on the counter ...

 That is an open cabinet, jar of peanut butter, an uncovered cake from daddy's birthday this past weekend, and I shudder at the idea of who those grates on my stove look ..I hate cleaning my stove:)
 This is a peek inside my laundry room ...where a load that has been clean for about three days sits to be folded. There isnt any dirty laundry in there right now, but only because I havent brought the mountain down from the heavens (aka, upstairs) yet :)

 And, this is a back up view from the computer where I sit right now ..that is my afternoon cup of coffee and some dark chocolate because I am soo tired (baby up every two hours last night, cutting teeth..blech), some stuff left over from school today and a back door that needs cleaned.

So, I say this for my benefit as much as anyones ...remember to let great stuff inspire greatness, not guilt..let us strive for excellence in Christ, not to be like someone who we think is excellent.  Remember that God is the only True Measure, and that everything else is just supplement to our "everything we need."

I am so glad I have you all to encourage me on my way ...your being here is inspiring to ME thank you :)

{I dedicate this post to my friend Molly, who reminds me to keep it real and that there is comfort in all of us being normal and not having it together}


Our second week of the Kids of Integrity lessons we focused on learning about being attentive. This is big issue in our house, and since we learned last week that "if you love me, you will obey my command" (John 14:15) it makes sense that this week we will learn about how we find out what God's commands for us are!

We focused on the verse .."He who belongs to God, listens to what he says." John 8:47

The first day we made these "listening ears" relate the need to listen carefully, just like animals who are hunting do (thus this look of a tiger..or something :).

We talked about Samuel, who listened carefully to both Eli and God when they spoke. That story is ripe for kids lessons of so many kinds :)

Then, we followed the lesson from KOI but added a few little changes of our own, to fit these specific boys.

We learned that listening involved eyes, ears and heart - we talked about how we read God's word with our eyes, as well as watch others who are good examples. We listen with our ears to instructions, carefully so we know what commands to follow. And that one way we listen to God is through our heart.

We really stressed eyes and ears together ...HUGE stress on making eye contact, and we mentioned alot about where your eyes are, there your ears and heart will follow :)  We paid out from the nickel jar for making eye contact, listening and then obeying properly.  The boys got two nickels if they both paid attention with their eyes AND obeyed cheerfully.  This worked pretty well!

We played the "Pay Attention" game ...this is one we have played before, and the boys loved it. We took the timer that beeped, set it for one minute, and then I hid it somewhere in the room. They had to come in the room, and see if they could find it. They had to wait until they could hear the beeping, before they could locate it. We did this over and OVER ..meanwhile, we talked about we can look for something with just our eyes like that for a long time, but it is easier when we "listen" for it as well (aka ..listen to mommy's instructions so you know what to do to obey).

This week, we have moved onto Self Control ...another big one for these boys. I cant wait to tell you about the week! :)

Update: Operation: OBEY

Well, I am celebrating a three week "yay me!" because we are really sticking to the Kids of Integrity character training program!

We started with Obedience, and have moved through Attentiveness and now working on the Self-Control lesson. I cant stress how great this program is, being very thorough and giving some really great ideas of ways to incorporate these godly qualities in our children.

First, I wanted to update on Obedience ...I pretty much showed all our great activities on the previous post, except for this one ...this one is based on the verse "Listen, my son, to your fathers instruction and do not forsake your mothers teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head, and a chain to adorn your neck." Prov 1:8-9

 If you knew Canon, you would know how impressive it was that he kept with this activity for about 45 minutes. He was SO proud of his chain when it was all done :)

We are still working on the lessons we learned about Adam and Eve, Lot's wife, Noah and Jonah ..some of which obeyed, and some who didnt.

One thing we did a bit differently as the week progressed, is that we changed up the Nickel Jar a bit ...

Canon kinna started enjoying moving the nickels from from the "happy" jar to the "sad" jar a little too much :) SOO, we changed it up and poured all the nickels into the sad jar, and started earning nickels for good behavior instead of taking them away for bad behavior...seems like child psychology backs that one up somehow :)

We will keep this tool going, now that we learned how it works better for us :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dont Run with Twinkies

I have mentioned that I am reading a book titled, Crazy Love by Frances Chan. 

I cant tell you how it has started my brain, heart and spirit moving in a passionate way toward God in my life, and the life of my family. It has truly initiated a renewing of my mind that is palpable, and involuntarily mobilizing.

The chapter I am reading/moving through (there are so many thought provoking thoughts I read, ponder, read some more, think, read...) right now is called, When You're in Love. It has had some most interesting thoughts, one of which is about Twinkies. :)

My husband loves Twinkies ..maybe that is one reason this metaphor stuck with me so much ...

pg. 104 - "Imagine going for a run while eating a box of Twinkies. Besides being self-defeating and sideache-inducing, it would also be near impossible. - you would have to stop running in order to eat the Twinkies. 

In the same way, you have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin. When you are pursuing love, running toward Christ, you dont have the opportunity to wonder ..Am I doing right? or Did I serve enough this week?  When you are running toward Christ, you freed up to serve, love and give thanks without guilt, worry or fear. As long as you are running, you are safe."

I know that for me, and I believe that for many of us, guilt is something that adds to the gut level "stress" of our spirits. We are so burdened as Christian woman with a sense of desire to be all, do all, handle all, serve all ...we are overwhelmed with the desires that consume our hearts, and how we are to achieve them all...and guilt when we dont.

For me, the root of this journey to peace via less stress is about letting go of the things that God does not intend us to carry on our shoulders and in our hearts. Guilt, fear, expectations of ourselves that God didnt give us, unfair judgements of who we are or should be ...those are all Twinkies girls!

Ah, to pursue Christ to the point that I dont have time for Twinkies ...yes, that is where my focus needs to be!

What are your Twinkies?  ..mine are guilt, comparisons, self-doubt, pride, lack of focus, impatience.

I need to put those away, so I can pursue this Christ I am learning to love more every day. How about you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moms Like Us: Brandi

I think that so many of our mommy stresses are related to the fact that we sometimes feel alone in our struggles and frustrations! I know that there is much relief for me those times when I am reminded that we are all in this together, and that we all struggle with these same things on a regular basis

So, for our second week of Moms Like Us ...
{Meet Brandi}

I have been greatly blessed to be Ben's wife for eight years and Riley and Wesley's Mommy for two. Did I ever imagine thatGod's blessings would bring me all the way across the U.S., far, far from family and friends....only to give me more amazing friends and family? Nope. 
But here we are, happy as can be! Ben is a teacher, as well as a football coach and after-school mentor. I don't love the long days of football season, but then I remember the wonderful payoff of summertime and lots of extra Ben/Daddy time forus. That, plus the great example he is for so many high school aged students who could use all of the good examples that they can get. 
I get to work PRN in Physical Therapy, which I am so thankful for. I still get to work now and again, but mostly I get to be home with our sweet little muffins. The boys are twenty seven months, and that
should be enough said as to their ever-busy, wonderfully exciting toddler-hood. (Are they even still toddlers? I guess they're almost preschoolers already.)

  ...time management. Nothing new there I know, as all moms have that struggle. But I have an image of the Mommy I want to be in my head, and I find it tricky to be that woman every day. (o.k., sometimes it's tricky to be that woman for hours in a row if I'm being honest.) I really try to remind
myself that chores like keeping the laundry up, or keeping the kitchen clean are important pieces to the whole of a happy home. Spending time with the boys is so important, and I do so much better at it when I've done the other not-as-exciting must-be-dones around the house. I do agree that Mommyhood is about self sacrifice, to an extent. I try to remember that God's reward for serving Him in the role of a
good parent is going to far outweigh the small self sacrifices like missing out on extra hours of scrapbook time for instance. I also think of what my good friend Courtney says in that these times are "a season" in our lives. These precious Mommy days will soon become
Mom days when the boys won't need as much, and I may find myself
missing all of the needing of Mommy. 
***I'll come back to this list during nap time!***
(Courtney here ...I had to leave that in because who cant relate to that?!)
I sometimes feel that God's purpose for me is to truly be the quiet and gentle spirit in my family. If you knew my extended family, and my tendency to not be so quiet or gentle at times, you'd understand when I say that I'm a work in progress. Being the only girl in a family with three brothers, I can see now that I'm more of the sounding board, ear to bend, shoulder to lean on for my siblings. I'm definitely beginning to understand what selfless sacrifices my Mom must have made over the years and now enjoy her as a friend as much as my mother. When I think of Ben and my family, I also think of the role I aspire to lead...quietly and gently. I think about my boys' future and the girls they'll become friends with and especially the one's they'll marry and I pray that the character they'll look for in those girls will be God-centered. I further pray that they'll naturally be drawn to that because of the example they've been given from their Mommy, not inspite of their Mommy. The role of a quiet and gentle spirit in my marriage is again, a work in progress. Perhaps Ben could better answer about my success in that regard when looking for a true picture. I feel that real strength is sometimes being quiet and gentle, although that's not what the world would say. In the meantime, I'm still working on myself.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of "unique resource" is having twins. Now honestly, in the beginning, meaning most of year one, I probaby wouldn't have thought of 2 x everything as resourceful. But the beauty of God's timing is that we live in His unfailing patience, and after having been through a time of higher stress, or difficulty, He's sees us through and causes us to grow. By no means am I saying that I've mastered the art of Mommyhood, but I feel like I'm seeing now how 2 two-year-olds can in fact be a wonderful resource. Do I feel like that every minute? No. Do I feel like that when they are best buddies and learn and play together? Yes. Am I especially feeling that way when they have the same nap times every day? Absolutely.

My "yay" for me moment was Thursday evening when I decided to give the boys and early dinner, pack them up and take them out to watch Ben coach his Gators for their Thursday night game. Packing up the boys can be a chore that sometimes outweighs my good intentions of outings. (Silly perhaps, but true...don't judge me too harshly.) There came a point when I knew we'd be late to the game and I still needed to stop for cash to get into the game, ect. I made up my mind to go however, and we made it, better late than never. The game itself stunk for the Gators, but was a "touchdown" for the Greene team. The boys could not have been more well behaved. I love them, but they're two....I knew it could have gotten hairy. Riley sat on my lap, and Wesley sat on the bench for the entire second half, without a single whine, cry or complaint. They cheered for Daddy and the Gators, they ate snacks and best of all they snuck up and suprised Ben after the game as he didn't know we were coming. Ben said several times that that was the best part of his entire day. "Yay" for Mommy. :)

DO YOU MAKE YOUR BED EVERYDAY ? .. No. Do I wish I was that neat and tidy, yes. I'd say I average around 30 to 40% of the "make my bed each day" goal.

ARE ALL YOUR DISHES DONE RIGHT NOW? ...Yes. I am more of a dish fanactic than a make my bed fanatic. For some reason, (o.k. my Mom is that reason) I just have a need to have a cleaned out sink. If I'm at the sink to rinse, then I'm there to also get the dishes in the dishwasher and get it running. Then empited. My dishwasher is currently running.

HOW ABOUT YOUR LAUNDRY? Yes. I am on top of the laundry curve at the moment. There are times when I'm parting through laundry like Moses through the Red Sea, but today, I'm caught up. Ask me tomorrow, and I'd most likely have a different answer.

 I like John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world."
Not to get into a political debate, but at times things in this present time seem to be overwhelming. I can't help but think back on OT times when nations rejected God and He let those nations fall. Our only guarantee is that because Jesus overcame the world, in every sense, with His Spirit we can have peace and courage.

Another favorite of mine is Jesus' prayer in John 17. In verses 19-21 Jesus says "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."  I've read it over and over and one day it just hit me in a way that highlighted the fact that this recorded prayer was Jesus praying for the apostles, and US....we are the "but for those also who believe in Me through their word" people. (perhaps not a revelation to you, but it just hit me as so personal) Jesus was praying for us, specifically, all of those years ago, just before carrying out God's will of the cross. It's a written account of His personal prayer to His Father and they were talking about us, AND wanting us to share in Their glory. Whoa. It just really stands out for me.

{Thanks for sharing Brandi!}

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a Discerning Heart

 {this posted originally on June 8th, 2008}

One thing to consider when you are being aware of your stress levels, and when you are identifying areas that do cause it; is that there are times when what we feel to be a "not good" feeling, could be from a good place.

Meaning, I think the Spirit can sometimes use that feeling to remind us that we arent where we need to be.

Example, when I spend alot of time on the internet, or on the phone with the girlfriend I start getting that tension, "not quite comfortable" feeling. I notice the kids getting antsy or the things not getting done that need to be.

Another one. On days when you are trying to get stuff done, working on your "stress list", or even doing things for others and the husband or the friend keep interupting. You are getting stuff done but your stress seems hardly less than when you started.

Is that Satan making me feel that way, or the Spirit telling me I need to refocus my energy right now?

My mom used to call that tension a "caution". It was a feeling like things werent quite right, or that she needed to pay closer attention to what was going on. She used it usually in reference to feeling that way about big decisions, but I think that it applies here also.

I think that the Spirit can cause my heart to feel a sense of "not rightness" to make me pay attention to what is going on in the moment, and what I may need to change.

So, in being made aware of our stresses and thus making a plan to change that, we need to also consider the source beyond the activity itself. Not only is the fact that I am on the internet at certain times a day cause stress, and here is the solution; but WHY is that causing me stress?

Is it the Spirit prompting me to focus my attention elsewhere?

Remember, when Jesus first spoke of the Spirit to his disciples before his death, he told them

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26 (NIV)

I love the language of this passage as The Message puts it, "I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace." John 14:25-26

I believe that Satan can use stress a powerful tool, but so can the Spirit.

How can you discern the two apart?

Praying always for a discerning heart is a sure fire way to keep your eyes open. Because, He promises He will always come through on that one.
Then, be aware of your purpose and take your priorities to heart..

You know that if you have a purpose, and as a Christian you do, then you know that there are expectations and a list of priorities that come with the job. If what you are doing, or NOT doing is causing stress then first always question whether that something conflicts with that purpose?

Even good things are not the best if there are better things to be done. Did you get that? Its true.

Ministering to someone in need is good, but not the best if you are taking time or resources away from your family when they need it. .

Remember your purpose, remember to listen to the Spirit ..but first pray that you will be aware..

AND, remember that stress itself is not a SIN, its when we allow it to consume us to the point of it being a power tool for Satan that we are in the wrong.
{Welcome ifellowshippers ..thanks for visiting this Wednesday!}

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tips On Tuesday: Deep Breath

Honestly, I dont have any earth shattering tips today ...

But, I am reminded how helpful just a deep breath can be sometimes.

With the change in curriculum for our little guys, getting used to new materials, some changes in our daddy's work and school schedule and everyone having a variation of a cold in the Steedly house..many deep breaths have been needed to center our minds and focus our anxious hearts the past couple of weeks.

So, dont forget to just breath today...most of the time, it works for me :)

It may be the best tip you get this Tuesday! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Congrats Hazel Nut!

I am so excited to say congrats to Hazel Nut from the The Happy Nut House (LOVE her play on words ..hilarious!) for winning The Velveteen Mommy giveaway! 

Hazel made me laugh when she wrote ..."Now that I am on the spot, I can't think of any good stories to share, lol. I was awfully proud of myself tonight when I didn't say "Shut your mouth and eat your food" which is an oxymoron that makes me giggle every time I say it. Instead I told the kids "Don't open your mouth unless you are putting food into it" It was a simple and proud moment for me"

I am sure Hazel has lots more "nutty" stories to share with her 5 little Nuts running around! 

Thanks for participating all..loved the stories and the comments!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moms Like Us: Kim

I think that so many of our mommy stresses are related to the fact that we sometimes feel alone in our struggles and frustrations! I know that there is much relief for me those times when I am reminded that we are all in this together, and that we all struggle with these same things on a regular basis! 

I would like to begin a weekly feature, called Moms Like Us where we will meet a mom who we can relate to on a deeper level. 

Our first Mom Like Us, is Kim - she agreed to be a guinea pig for our first week! 

{Meet Kim} 

We asked Kim some questions, so that we can get to know her better. Here are her responses ...

I have been married to Greg, a truly amazing man, for a little over seven years, and I have two children, Luke (4), and Anna (2).  A few weeks before we were married, my husband was hired as the youth minister to a church outside of Charleston.  We moved there from Tennessee a couple months after we married, and have lived and served here ever since.

  Prioritizing.  Sometimes it seems that being a mother and homemaker are mutually exclusive tasks.  It seems like I can't clean without neglecting my children, and I can't play with my children without neglecting my house!  For awhile after having kids, I struggled with guilt:  whatever I was doing, I felt guilty that I wasn't doing something else.  If I was doing laundry, I needed to be playing with my kids.  If I was playing with my kids, I'd feel bad for not serving more at church.  If I was serving at church, I was worrying that I was neglecting my marriage.  Looking back, it was kind of ridiculous, and I'm getting better at praying about priorities and then letting God lead me through each day.  Still, it is sometimes hard even now to prioritize my time.

Hmmm.  My purpose on earth is to glorify God and to point others to Him.  At different phases of my life, that has meant different things. Right now, I believe that it means pouring love into my children and raising them to love and obey the Lord; making my home a haven both for my family and for others; and making all of my resources available to God to use as He sees fit.

Well, I can't say that any are unique to me, but He has given me time, money, a decent work ethic, and a moderate amount of talent at writing.  Probably my most unique "resource" is my husband.  As a youth minister, he is gone a lot of nights and weekends, but he takes advantage of whatever flexibility he has in his schedule to serve his family.  The effort he puts into taking care of the household (mowing the grass, being the family "banker," washing dishes, etc), and the attention he lavishes on my children make my job soooo much easier!  Like I said earlier, he is truly an amazing man.

I have had much more energy this week b/c I have been eating healthier.  Baby carrots and hummus were both half off at Bi-Lo this week, so they have become a regular snack.  Feta cheese and apples were also half off, and so I have been eating spinach salads with feta and apples for lunch, instead of my usual soup and sandwich.  I guess this is more a "Yay, Grocery Stores!" than "Yay, Me!" but I've been so happy to eat healthy things that I got for really great prices!

Yep.  I try to, for my own sanity.  Oddly, the days I'm most relaxed and content with my life are the days I might let it go undone.  But on the average day, seeing a nice made-up bed throughout the day just makes me happy.


Nope.  Unless we have a baking day or have guests over for dinner, dishes in this house only get washed once a day, at the end of it.  I clean up after each meal, and rinse everything, but I leave the dishes in the sink.  And wonderful husband washes them after I go to bed!  Seriously, I did not ask him to do this.  He's just that good.  So I go to bed every night with dishes in the sink, and then wake up to a nice, clean kitchen.  It's a great way to start the day.

No, but I'm getting close:).  I am hoping to catch up by the end of the day.  I've actually found that once I get on top of it, it's pretty easy to stay "caught up."  Unfortunately, the only thing EASIER is to get behind again.  Go figure!:)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  Prov. 3:5-6.  I find this verse to be very freeing, b/c it clearly defines my role, as well as God's.  My role is to trust God and to acknowledge Him.  His job is to make my paths straight.  I don't have to understand everything or figure it all out on my own.  I just have to trust and acknowledge God.  That's always a comfort to me.

Thanks Kim, for sharing!

If you want to win a book by another Mom Like Us ..check out The Veleveteen Mommy giveaway!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Mess Free Artists

We are all about making messes in our house! And, Steedly School has given us lots of opportunities to do that in a constructive way...but no less messy :)

One way we have figured out how to take some of the stress away from the mess making, is by making as much stuff disposable as possible (not very green, I know).

For painting, we have found that leftover egg cartons work great. A dozen eggs makes for 2-3 different "pallets" to hold paint in a stable, and no clean up way.

Happy Mess Free Painting ...:)

Quick clean-ups after messy fun works for me!

{be sure to enter to win our giveaway of the week ...The Velveteen Mommy!}

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Velveteen Mommy

I have a personal librarian..or might as well.  My bookish friend shares my love of reading, and we have the passion for similar genres of  Christian fiction. She supplies me with a continuous supply of books, with the benefit of having read them and being able to suggest only the best story lines and thus the best use of my limited reading time..oh, she buys them so I dont have to rack up $$ of debt to the library :)

One little book that she passed on is called the Velveteen Mommy, by Jenn Doucette.

She has a hilarious outlook on the mommish goings-on that come with this crazy season of so many of our lives right now! I have giggled to myself many times since starting to peruse this super easy read. It is SUPER relatable..its like she is in my head :)

One part that I giggled through was when she was describing an experience in the shower room of a swimming pool, with her then 2 and 3 year old. Her confessing she is a "germaphobic" makes this excerpt make me about wet myself :)

...I began vigorously scrubbing our two year old, Katie. Midway through the purification process, I happened to look up at my sanitized son. To my shock and absolute horror, he was crouched on the ground over the shower drain scooping the water in the little circle. It was an echoy room, and i hear myself saying "J.J., now J.J. You need to stop, J.J., that is dirty water. Now honey, icky, icky, icky. While in mid-nag, he look up at me, made eye contact and in slow motion went, "Ssllluuurrrppp!"

  ...My considerations were Tevye-like, reminiscent of the poor indecisive father from Fiddler on the Roof: One on hand, Ipecac will induce vomitting, which I dont want to deal with on this floor; On the other hand, bleach may do more internal damage than any germ or critter could ever do."

...I must admit that i wasnt able to conjure up the will to kiss him anywhere near the lips for a very, very long time. To this day, years later, an occasional unknown virus will crop up and I'll worry and wonder if there could still be any lingering effect from his little sip from the shower.

I want to share this book with a Mom like me out there I want to give one away this week!

To enter to win, you can do one or all of the following entry each!

* Leave a Comment: You can leave a comment telling a funny anecdote from your own mothering experience, or if you have read her book and what you thought!
* Follow MeOn the sidebar, click on "Follow" ...then come and leave a comment to let me know! 
* Be a Fan: On the sidebar, click on the "Facebook" link  ..follow LPLS 's facebook page then leave a comment to let me know!
* Link From Your Blog: a quick shout out will be great!  ..then leave a link as a comment!

Make sure to check back this week to check out others' comments, and  to see if you won! I will draw one week from today!

Dymanic Priorities

I think every book on stress makes a point about the need to prioritize. We need to make a mental, if not actual list of the things that are the most important to us.

Of course, I would agree that knowing what you are aiming for and why is a great thing to do in order to get your head on straight. I think most of us here would say that our priorities in order would be God,  marriage, kids, us, home  ...I think that is right, and good.

But one think I have noted lately is that our priorities are somewhat dynamic, given the day, the resources and several other variables that have yet to be determined today.

While in general these priorities are always present and if a gun was put to our heads they would be placed in that order reality there are times when we have to switch stuff around in order to meet the needs of those around us, those we are responsible for molding long term.

Like, for instance ...when Steedly School is in session, my kids being the focus of my use of resources at the moment, but I feel like I am about to lose my mind with impatience and frustration. Kids are way more important than me, right?

Priorities need to do some rearranging, in order for me to get my own head in the game. I need to go eat, take a break, take a breath, take a shower ...I need to put me first, for the sake of the ultimate priority of my children.

With hubby in nursing school and working full time (can you say SUPER dad!) there have been some stressful moments when there are deadlines and tests to be studied for. Our marriage always comes first, but then again there are times when I have to chose that today is not the best one for a date night, and that the priority is him focusing on the task he has taken on.

I really feel like there are days when priorities have to be evaluated on a minute to minute basis! I feel like I need to reevaluate and redirect regularly throughout the day, in order to use my resources best.

Ultimately, our priorities stay the same ...but the order they are in (aside from God first, but He is kinna always there and present in everything, hopefully) is dynamic and can be based on what we have available to us, and the needs of those around us.

If you are feeling stressed right now it because you need to rearrange your priorities temporarily

Friday, October 1, 2010

Operation: OBEY

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
I am not sure if it is the new baby, the new school year, the new lifestyle (homeschooling) ..but we are in a serious rebellious mode around here. It may, also be...that I have children at all, who are almost 4 and 6 ..yeah, that may be it.
Whatever the reason, I am realizing that I am needing some direction on teaching character to these little men. I know the "rules" consistent, teach them now and dont wait til they are teenagers, discipline them with love and not anger.  I know that all in my head, but we are still falling short. Or, at least we are growing out of what we have been doing in the past.

It is with this mind set that I stumbled on a really great resource for teaching godly character to children, Kids of Integrity is a project of Focus on the Family. It is offered free of charge, but is worth WAY more :)  This program offers prayers for parents and children, scripture references, practical ideas for teaching character, discussion questions, projects, games and much direction in teaching these vital lessons.

Of the 16 character quality lessons they offer, we chose obedience as the one that needs the most immediate attention for these Steedly Boys. 

Using Kids of Integrity as a guide, we started this morning's school session with a new memory verse, a prayer, encouragement to seek the Spirit in help to learn these lessons,  and a fun project to get the ball rolling.

"If you love me, you will obey my command." John 14:15

We painted our footprints to show we are following God where he tells us to go, and then placed hearts on our remind us that if we love Him, then we will obey. They get to color in the hearts when they obey cheerfully (today, cheerfully is the operative word :)  ..Ty at least filled in his hearts "cheerfully" :) ..or, silly ..I will take it :)

Stealing from my mom's method of creative discipline, we made a nickle jar. There are 20 nickels per kid in the jar with the happy face (brought to you by Canon, almost 4). When they are disobedient, or are not cheerful in their obedience, the have to put a nickel in the sad jar. Whatever they have left at the end of the week, is theirs to keep.  I am hoping that since all their nickels are together, they will encourage each other to obey :) ..we will see.

The Kids of Integrity stressed the importance of keeping the concept in front of them at all times. One way I decided to do that was to write the word, "OBEY" on about 10 index cards. I added a smiley face sticker to each one. I placed them all over the house, at their level. 

I put them on the bathroom door, on the tv, the computer screen, their bedroom door, the backdoor and on the DVD player in the car. The smiley face is supposed to remind them that it makes God and mommy happy when they .."obey!" 

I have heard Ty say "obey" when he walked out the door the backyard today...and it DID make me happy :) 

Today is the first day, and I really want to stick with this. I tend to be great coming of the gate, but slack off. I want to do this right, teaching obedience AND just raising this boys. 

I feel grossly inadequate most of the time, but I am trying to tap into the resources God has given me for this overwhelming purpose.

Want to do this with me? It will help me keep motivated and focused can check out the Kids of Integrity website, chose a lesson and get started Monday! 
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