My Triggers

It was one of those days when the kids just seemed to try my patience at every corner. My niceties were gone. At one point I realized that my short temper had hurt Esther’s feelings. Double mom-fail.

It was a nice day outside, so for a change in scenery, I decided to have us all go on a walk. I apologized to Esther and said I should be less… I couldn’t find the word (because none of them should be said in front of her). So I thought, I’ll have her fill in the blank and see what she thinks.

Esther, what should mommy be less of? “I wish you were more kind.” Punch to the gut. Her simplicity registered so deeply in my heart. I had been trying so hard to be more graceful, more kind and more patient but nothing seemed to change the way I reacted… I needed to change ME.

None of the parenting resources spoke to the anger always simmering beneath the surface. Nothing changed the scowl on my face. Which is strange that it was even there because I really do love every part of being a mom. I didn’t need another resource on how to connect with my kids or change their behavior. I needed one to dig deep down and talk about me and why I react the way I do to daily life. Anyone resonate?

Apparently two women named Amber and Wendy did and wrote a book about it. I began to ask God for resources I needed. A few days later a friend said she found a at a garage sale two time zones away… and she was sending it to me. Praise God.

It’s called Triggers and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s about what triggers our angry reactions (things inside us and things our families do) and how to replace our angry responses with gentle, Biblical responses. This book finally addressed why we react the way we do and how to mature into all God intended for us as parents. So practical. A saving grace really.

It’s in the form of a daily devotion and it is written for moms. I so highly recommend this book. I’m nearly finished with it and I have seen drastic change in my parenting and my relationships with my kids. Even Brian has noticed the change. Once I finish the book I’ll read it over again two more times. I want to get it deep within my spirit.

I’m sure I will still make mistakes and get mad. But never again will I hear my precious girl tell me that she wishes I was more kind.


Pray for them

Father, keep (Name’s) heart pure from bitterness. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor be put away from [Name], along with all malice.” I pray (Name) would instead “be kind to [others], tenderhearted, forgiving [others], as God in Christ forgave [him/her].” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen. – Ephesians 4:31-32

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: Pelican Point

Recently I finished Pelican Point a book authored by Irene Hannon, whose works have won the Rita Award three times and is known for writing over fifty romantic suspense novels. This was the first of her books for me to read and based on the reviews and her credentials my expectations were high.

Unfortunately I was bored through most of this book. The characters had little depth and there was very little shared background on each of them. The story had a good backbone to it but there just wasn’t much to the characters except their thoughts…

Click here to read more about Pelican Point.

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When I Was a Child…

Sometimes, when I feel like there is something missing in the picture, I pull back from commitments and engage more carefully in my life. It has been over a month since I posted and I have spent that time focusing my efforts on my approach to parenting and what was changing in our family.

Our three musketeers are all moving from toddler reasoning to the more complex reasoning of 4 and 5 year olds. This season requires more understanding and it was taking me a moment to figure out what was happening in my kids.

For example: two months ago I found Gabe pouring out water onto his bedroom carpet just to watch it pour. A couple weeks ago I saw him pouring out his cup of water onto the counter. I started in on lecturing him only to later find out that he was cleaning up my mess on the counter from that morning’s biscuits. He watched. He learned. He wanted to do something nice. He got yelled at for it.

To say it has taken me great effort to adjust to this transformation is an understatement. Each new phase the three of them walk through together. Each new phase is new parenting territory. Thus my absence. A woman has to get her bearings you know. It’s been time well spent. I’ll spend the next couple weeks catching you up on what you have missed during this family transition.

Want to know what my biggest lesson is to date? My kids are young and immature. They are children therefore they have childish motives, behaviors and reactions all day long.  I have discovered myself getting sucked in too.

When I was mad I would stomp around the house. Slam doors. Raise my voice when angry or didn’t see instant obedience (my way). Discipline out of anger. All of which is childlike behavior.

I realized I was a major reason for the chaos in our home. My kids will be childish because they are children. They need the stability of an adult to bring peace and reason to their volatile emotions. They need examples of how to handle disappointment and frustration. Anger and sadness.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Adults never push me this far. But when it comes to being a mom, I realized my responses to the stress in our home were childish. It was time to stop being a child. From that point on, I decided I would change my ways. I would be the adult. In Christ, I would dig in my heels and find the strength to be the peace in the storm. I am convinced I am not the only one who struggles with this. So I will continue to be transparent, believing that through my story God will bring about His transformation in others too.


Pray for them

Father, I pray that even now (Name) is “preparing [(his/her) mind] for action, and being sober-minded, [sets his/her] hope fully on the grace that will be brought to [him/her] at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  As an obedient child, I pray (Name) will not be “conformed to the passions of [his/her] former ignorance, but as [you] who called [us] is holy,” I pray (Name) will so “also be holy in all [his/her] conduct.” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.  – 1 Peter 1:13-15

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Roast Them Both

Cooking for my growing family can sometimes be a challenge. My friend however shared an easy tip on how to reduce the time and effort put into it. She said, when you plan to make a chicken, roast two!

I frequently make a whole chicken. We eat it for dinner then I boil the rest and make soup or bone broth from it. It goes so many meals. She recommended I do two at the same time and it really is so much easier.

Same amount of effort. Same amount of time. Twice the results. And for a family our size, it lasts us almost a week instead of a day or two. And I am all about spending as much time as I can outside in the beautiful Spring weather rather than inside cooking laborious meals!

 

Superhero Saturday

It was Superhero Saturday at the mall in town and we packed up the kids to take part in the festivities. Like all festivities, we didn’t tell them until we drove up. (Young kids processing disappointment never really goes well, so we opt for the surprise factor.)

Here’s a handsome man. Armed and ready with the shield his daddy made for him from our Amazon Prime box! Go Brian!

And here he is weighing his chances of stealing this from the big man behind him…

They were all superheros that day. Nothing like getting to meet the guys they’re too young to watch, but old enough to know that they “save the day” from bad guys. Micah decided that Iron Man was busy doing just that, which is why he wasn’t there.

Grace was pretty excited about her mask, but she wasn’t quite sure how to wear it. Ruth however was ready to take on her role as Wonder Woman 2.0.

And of course, what is a superhero day without Marshall?


Pray for them

Maybe God calls us to be superheros in everyday clothes too…

Lord, I lift up (Name) to you and ask “that our God may make [Name] worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [Name], and [Name] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In your name I pray, amen.          – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Homemade Swords

Speaking of Superheros… if you have boys at home you should try this. This is an idea from Amber, one of the writers of the book I referred to called Triggers.

Buy a few $1 pool foam noodles from the store and cut them in half. Wrap each end in Duct tape to create a handle. Decorate with stick on jewels to create buttons or glam. And let your kids go to town on each other. Make yourself one and join them!

Lay some ground rules before the fun starts… like use them outside and never attack someone without a sword.

One-on-One Time

Last week I mentioned we had a rocky start to 2018. I had surgery and was in recovery mode all of January. At which time, the kids went through a destruction phase (which is when we donated about 70% of their remaining toys), a defiant phase, a teething molars phase and finally a potty-training regression phase. I have been asking God for a double portion of grace each and every day. At long last, I feel that we are getting out of the weeds and I am happy to report we are all alive and even healthy. Yay! It may sound dramatic, but lets be honest: being a parent of young children makes surviving each day feel like a personal victory.

For those of you who have entirely forgotten the physical and emotional demands of parenting young children please just give us a hug and a gift card to Starbucks and refrain from encouraging catch phrases. It is too easy to look back and only remember the nostalgic feeling of having little tots sitting on your lap. Which I do have lots of precious moments of. Although more often than not my little tots spring onto my lap like goats and with as much grace manage to head butt me right in the nose. That’s about the time I start pushing them off my lap and checking for blood.

Brian and I have brainstormed our parenting trials and it is our conclusion that more one-on-one time would do us all a world of good. Personally, in the midst of chaos I forget how cute they actually are. So when I am with just one they take my breath away. Suddenly they are beaming smiles and giving hugs the entire time. We used to take them out for dates, but it resulted in too many toys and treats and a “Gimme Gimme” attitude. It was hard on the budget and our schedule. A great idea in theory but not sustainable when trying to cycle through 5 kids.

Somehow I heard of a better strategy and we are implementing it. Here’s what we decided to do: Each kid has their own special night every week. Esther has Mondays, Micah has Wednesdays… so on and so forth. They get to stay up an extra 20 minutes with one parent on their night (next week is the other parent). We play games, we color, we read books. If any of the kids causes problems on someone else’s night they lose their turn. The other parent puts the rest of the kiddos to bed and oddly, this hasn’t affected the usual bedtime at all. We still manage to make it down stairs at the same time we always did. Win. Win. Double win.

Oh – side note. You have to actually tell them this is their “special time with mommy/daddy” otherwise they miss the obvious… because that is what kids do.


Pray for them

Over these last few months, I have been praying that God would give my kids obedient hearts. This is a prayer I highly encourage! The Holy Spirit is just as powerful in the heart of a child as He is in an adult. There is no child-sized Holy Spirit!

Lord, you have instructed us to obey those set in authority over us. I pray that (Name) will “obey [his/her] leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over [his/her soul], as those who will have to give an account.” May (Name), “let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to [him/her].” In your Name I pray, amen. – Hebrews 13:17

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: I Will Not Fear

 For Black History month, I read I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals. This is an autobiography of a woman who was selected at the age of 15 to be one of nine black students to be integrated into Central High School of Little Rock, AR in 1957. This story impacted me in a way that forced me to shift my previously held assumptions. Never have I been so happy to challenge my beliefs and broaden my understanding.

Click here to continue reading the full Book Review: I Will Not Fear.

Getting Crafty at Chick-Fila-A!

Forgive my absence! I have been trying to play catch up. These kiddos of ours have been keeping me hopping. The beginning of this year has been a little bumpy for us (as you already know) and I am only now feeling caught up. Yesterday I even did three loads of laundry (to which Micah looked at and said, “Mom, why haven’t you done that yet?” …yeah), the dishes and mopped my floors! And now I need a B12 vitamin.

Over here in our corner of the world it has been birthday mania! In the last two weeks we have enjoyed 4 separate parties for our friends and family. So yesterday, when I heard that Chick-Fil-A was doing a Dr. Seuss story time with free coffee for parents… I said, yes please!

So here we are… stuffed into a booth with each kid happily recreating their version of Oh! The Places You Will Go!  hot air balloon. Up to now, I have avoided taking all five to recreational things all by my lonesome. It’s too hard to protect them and keep them together. Very similar to herding cats actually. But the girls are walking now, so I thought to myself, “Hey Les, if it implodes just get back in the car and go home.” Always good to have an escape plan…

Which we didn’t need! Aren’t they cute?

Heads up: I have been reading lots of books lately and I will be reviewing them on the next two posts in lieu of recipes.


Pray for them

Oh. My. Goodness. I saved this prayer in my BiblicalPrayers app and for a solid year prayed it over myself.  Raising kids is hard and I daily need the help of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you from personal experience that spiritual growth does not happen over night, but this verse is powerful and I can see God moving.

Lord, I ask that self-control – fruit of the spirit- will grow to maturity in (name). “Let [him/her] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of god.” In your name I pray, amen. – james 1:19-20

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: The Sea Before Us

This is the first time I read Sarah Sundin, and I loved her. The Sea Before Us is the first of her Sunrise at Normandy series.  That fateful day at Normandy changed the tide of the war and Sarah Sundin did a beautiful job of representing those who served on the sea that day. More intriguing to me was Wyatt’s beautiful story of redemption and Dorothy’s story of self-worth… I highly recommend!

To continue reading the full review, please see The Sea Before Us here.

Leslie

Interrupting Matters, Part 2

There are great resources out there for parents who need their kids to stop interrupting them. I personally prefer the free ones! In general, most agree in technique anyway. The website I found to be quick and to the point was from http://www.thenaturalparentmagazine.com. I’ll commence the paraphrase:

Teach them about interruptions

Take the time to teach your kiddos when they should interrupt you. For example, if someone is hurt or if there is someone is at the door that’s a worthy interruption. On the flip side, teach them about the things that can wait.

How to Interrupt

Decide how you want your kids to interrupt you. You know they will, so find something everyone agrees on and make you are all on the same page.

Don’t answer

If your kid interrupts you for the wrong reasons and you scold them for it but answer them anyway just to get them on their way… you have reinforced their behavior. They got what they wanted. May have been accompanied with a clipped response, but totally worth it. So, if it isn’t on your list of acceptable interruptions tell them to wait.

Plan ahead

I love Daniel Tiger because it has good parenting tips! The song goes, “When we do something new, lets talk about what we’ll do.” Such helpful advice. Tell them ahead of time that you are going to work in the office for a bit or you are going to take/make a phone call so they know what to expect.

Verbal Affirmation

If your kids are polite and choose to not interrupt or are patient then make sure you praise them for it! Tell them they did a great job. Kids thrive on positive reinforcement so make sure they feel good for doing what you asked.

– Our Plan –

Brian and I decided to go with the quiet, noninvasive “hand on the arm” technique for interrupting. When our kids need something and we are talking, they quietly put their hand on our arm and rest it there (no pounding!). We acknowledge it with a squeeze and then they wait until we are finished. If it is a longer conversation we will periodically squeeze their hand to let them know we haven’t forgotten them. Or, we try to find a natural break in the conversation to ask them what they need. We have been practicing this, and obviously it’s still a work in progress since Micah hasn’t fully embraced the concept of waiting… but they have been significantly better. I notice most of the improvement at the dinner table. At least we don’t have everyone talking over each other at once. One less headache at the end of the day!


Pray for Them

Pray for your loved ones to honor Christ in their speech and their actions by being respectful to those they spend time with.

Father, I pray (Name) be a (man/woman) who will “respect those who labor among [him/her] and are over [him/her] in the Lord and admonish [him/her], and [will] esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” May (Name) “be at peace among” (his/her) brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Chocolate Chip-Coconut Cookies

Two of my favorite things together… chocolate and coconut! This is a recipe is a variation of the original Toll House. I developed it when I was in college working as a part time cookie baker for a local motel. I would deliver the fresh baked cookies to the rooms of guests who were checking in. FUN! We should all find a way to spend our time doing what we love.

  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Shredded Coconut

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, oil, white and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time along with vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Spoon dough onto baking sheet in 1″ mounds and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for 7-9 minutes. Don’t over bake!

Interrupting Matters, Part 1

On Valentines morning, I videoed the kids opening their cards from their grandparents since we live a ways apart. As I am narrating this sweet video (no pun intended!) Micah started loudly talking over me and just as quickly I went from sweet-narrator to angry-mom-mode snapping, “Micah I am talking! Stop interrupting me!” Nothing like my in-laws getting a close up view of my kind, loving parenting skills on Valentines Day.

Kids interrupt. As early as their first words and on into adulthood they will continue to interrupt unless trained otherwise. At first it is an annoyance to parents. When they grow older it is disrespectful. As adults, it becomes a way to aggressively dominate by overtly dismissing the thoughts and concerns of others as unimportant.

As I have mentioned before, Brian and I believe parenting needs to be intentional with long-sighted goals. We want our children to grow into adults who value others, have healthy listening skills and are able to confidently share their own thoughts and concerns.

I did some research and discussed with Brian how we want to approach this.  In my Friday post I will share my research results as well as what we have personally decided to do.


Pray for them

Valuing others goes beyond words, it is a belief that fuels our actions. Let us pray that the truth of God will take root in the hearts of our loved ones so that they will life a life of value and honor toward others.

Lord, I ask you to continue to shape (Name’s) character into one of honor and justice. As Joseph was “a just man and unwilling to put [Mary] to shame,” I pray (Name) will also be a (man/woman) of justice who sees people through your eyes and who is therefore resolved not to shame anyone, but rather to live a life that honors others. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Matthew 1:19

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Creamy Ranch Pork Chops

  • 1 1/2 lbs Pork Chops
  • 6-8 medium Potatoes
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom
  • 1 package of dry egg noodles
  • 2 packages dry Ranch Dressing
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Sliced green onions (garnish)

Combine soup, ranch mix and milk until smooth. Add in potatoes and raw pork chops. Cook in a dutch oven for 1hr 20 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven.