Tag Archive | family

What the Pandemic Could Teach Us

This post is part of the 5-Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. No heavy editing allowed. Today’s prompt is “important.”

As we enter our third year of the global pandemic, there are some important things that I have learned:

(not necessarily in order of importance)

I’m turning into more of an introvert than I’ve been before, though I still like being with people.

Some issues should stay opinions rather than become canon.

I treasure my family (I always knew that, but it’s good to have it reinforced)

Just because the government says something doesn’t make it true.

Just because a doctor posts something on the internet doesn’t make it true.

Opinions are not something you should lose relationships over. And you should keep an open mind.

Not all science or “studies” are equal.

Going out and being around others shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Respect for others should be job 1.

It’s not worth losing friendships over. (I already said that, I notice, so I must think it’s pretty important.)

These were all just random thoughts that flowed to my mind as I typed. And in the remaining minute I have, I want to say that I have watched two really good friends have some pretty significant differences of opinion in the last two years, and they have probably lost a little in their relationship. But they still love each other and treat each other respectfully. And they both love Jesus with all their heart. And they love their family.

They just don’t always see eye to eye and that needs to be OK.

“Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody”

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “another.”

I don’t think Sam Cooke, the writer of “Another Saturday Night,” had our current situation in mind when he wrote the song. If you’re not familiar with it, the lyrics go on, “I got some money ’cause I just got paid. How I wish I had someone to talk to. I’m in an awful way.”

My husband’s 76-year-old mother with COPD lives with us, so we have been strict about anyone coming in the house who doesn’t already live here. We make an exception for my sister-in-law who has taken on the task of buying her groceries. That means that my sons and my grandson have not been here in at least 3 weeks.

RenderedImage

My mother in law feels badly that we’re making these sacrifices of having long-distance relationships during this time because of her, but that’s just what you do with a loved one. You do what’s necessary. You exercise caution. You spend another Saturday night (or Thursday, or Monday. Really, any night will do) watching a movie or doing a puzzle or playing a game. You turn to virtual venues like FaceTime or Zoom or Facebook Messenger or Google Meets to do what you need to get done.

Zayne and I have tried virtual story time with Nana, but he’s not much to sit in one place for very long. He just looks at the phone, looks at his dad and says, “I ready go Nana’s house.”

Breaks my heart.

But it’s not forever. Even though he’s used to spending 5 days a week here since he was 5 weeks old, he won’t forget we exist. I hope.

IMG_2861

Hang in there, bud. We’ll be back together again soon.

Who are you missing in your time of sheltering in place?

 

FMF button

 

 

Family of Five

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a 1-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what we come up with. Today’s prompt is “Five.”

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my family of 5.

IMG_6427My husband, David, and I got married in 1991. That was the start of it all.

Five-plus years later, we added Justin David to the mix. He’s now 22 and a college graduated, restaurant-serving father of my grandson, Zayne. He’s a great dad, learning the ins and outs of a committed relationship, making his way in the world with a bit of advice from his old parents along the way.J&A

A little more than 2 years later, Nathan Allan made his appearance. This 20-year-old college student has spent much of the summer as a counselor at a camp in Alaska. He’s a lover of the Nathanoutdoors, but not so much in Florida. This opportunity has been so great for him.

Three and a half years and 2 miscarriages later, our daughter, Morgan Claire, came along. She will be 17 in about 7 weeks. She’s currently making biscuits and chocolate gravy (it’s a thing, trust me) in the kitchen. I’m blessed to have her home most of the time doing high school virtually. And she just got her first job!IMG_1422

After having dealt with infertility for several years, we are beyond blessed to have our 3 kids, and now a grandson in the mix. Our family of 5 will keep growing, I’m sure, but the core will remain. So much of what I write about, so much of what I’ve learned, is because of my family. Today, on the 12th anniversary of my mom’s death, it seems apropos. I wish she was here to see it all play out with my family of five and my sisters’ and brother’s families as well.

So there you have it. My little family.

FMF button

 

Help! I Have A Teenager!

Today’s post is a part of my 10-Minute Tuesday series. I write for 10 minutes, give or take, without any heavy editing, on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is “teenagers.”

People tend to think that parenting teenagers is pretty scary. It can be, if you’re not prepared for what you might encounter.

5-02-03

For me, preparation for parenting teens started when they were born.

I mean, it makes sense, doesn’t it? If you are a constant source of rules and punishment and harshness when they are little, the rebellion they are going to feel when they are beginning to spread their wings and figure out what they are capable of will be greater. But if you are there to build a relationship with them, give them solid boundaries and are a safe place for them to process, then the likelihood of constant turmoil in your household will be diminished.

OK, stop right there. I’m going to make a big statement right now.

There are no guarantees. Your kids’ decisions are their decisions. All the best parenting you think you’re doing may not be enough to keep them from making stupid and life-altering choices.

Just like us, our kids are endowed by their Creator with free will. So don’t think that if your child starts down a path of destruction that the fault is yours. If you have been doing the best you can and leaving the results to God, then you have a clear conscience. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes.

Maybe I let me baby cry in his crib too long when I was wanting him to take a nap. Maybe that’s why he chose to walk away from a path of faith.

IMG_0735

Maybe the time I yelled at my daughter for not doing something I had asked her to do made her try to find friends who would tell her what she wanted to hear, but ultimately led her into a destructive lifestyle.

We can second guess ourselves all day long, but in the end, we do our best to love our kids and bring them up to love and serve the Lord, but they ultimately have to decide how they want to live.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that prayer is absolutely essential. And so is community. If my kids make bad choices, I can’t carry the burden of their behavior. To be able to share what’s going on in vulnerability and safety with close friends is life giving instead of life draining. I only have one teenager left in my house. In three and a half years, she’ll be 20. It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride, but God has been faithful as always.

FledgeI recommend a few books for those of you in the throes of raising teens.

  1. Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind, by Brenda Yoder. This book was definitely life giving to me as Yoder said, “We are not called to raise godly children, we are called to be godly parents.”
  2. Parenting Today’s Adolescent: Helping Your Child Avoid the Traps of the Preteen and Teen Yearsby Dennis and Barbara Rainey. It’s been many years since I read this book (it was written in 2002), but from what I remember about it, the principles were solid, #1 being have a close relationship with God yourself. Seems to echo the “be a godly parent” quote from above.
  3. Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teensby Paul David Tripp. Again, it’s been many years since I read this book written in 2001, and I can’t find my copy (I probably loaned it out to some parent of teens), but I remember most that Tripp talked about not being afraid. Of using every opportunity you have with your kids to build relationship. I do hesitate a bit on recommending something with a subtitle like “a biblical guide,” but I don’t remember this book being a “do this and get that” type of thing.

For me, the bottom line is that we are trusting God to keep writing our kids’ stories—and our stories as well. Our goal should be heart change, not behavior change, and only God can change hearts.

KARydOFSQ16SLEYgzMBnHw

 

 

Strong Willed Or Resolute?

This post is a part of my 10-Minute Tuesday series. I take a one-word prompt that a friend has supplied and write for 10 minutes without any heavy editing and see what comes out of my head. Today’s word is “strong-willed.”

IMG_3124

When people hear the term “strong willed,” they probably jump to the idea of a strong-willed child. Oh, you know how hard they can be! They are stubborn, obstinate, tantrum throwers when they don’t get their way. There has to be special books written about how to parent them.

Nobody has ever seen a book called Parenting the Compliant Child. We think that would be easy.

But what if we started looking at being strong willed in its positive form? What if instead of being obstinate, these people were considered resolute?

I think about Jesus who resolutely set His face toward the cross. I would say His will was very strong.

Trouble is, I know with kids who are considered strong willed, their will is usually against whatever it is their parents want them to do. I didn’t have a strong-willed child, so I don’t have any parenting advice, but I wonder if a mindset change could make a difference.

Can a 3-year-old be reasoned with?

“You sure seem to have your mind made up about what you want to have for lunch. It’s too bad we’re not having that today. I wonder what we can do about that?”

IMG_4458

Makes me chuckle to imagine it.

I know the struggle is real, you parents of strong-willed children out there. So I would just like to offer hope. It won’t come immediately, in fact, it may take them into their 20s to figure it out, but your resolute child could be one who has great perseverance. Once they’ve made up their mind, they go after that thing with gusto.

Think about Jesus. When he was 12 he was left behind in Jerusalem because he was sitting in the temple teaching the men there. Teaching! At 12 years old. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

He knew what He needed to do, and He did it. Now, granted, He was the perfect Son of God, but what lessons can be learned from His life about being resolute?

Huge differences with our kids, I know that. But I think it’s not just a sin nature that is at play. Guiding a child to submitting their will to that of their parents is an arduous process. Parents have no easy task figuring out how to mold their child without crushing them.

IMG_8537

I don’t envy them the task.

But a compliant child also needs to be molded. They need to know that they have a mind of their own and that God has a plan for them. Every whim of someone else doesn’t need to be followed. It’s not a bad thing to question directives in the right manner and at the right time.

Does that make sense? We don’t want our compliant children to become doormats that others use to get what they want. And I think as parents we need to be careful to make sure our kids have a voice. Can compliance become apathy? Can these children become people pleasers?

I’m not a psychologist, so these are just rambling thoughts. But I do wonder.

I’d love to hear what you think.