Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

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All my life I’ve had stains on my teeth. These stains were the point of many cruel comments both when I was a teenager and as an adult. Even though many people were curious or trying to be kind by suggesting ways to fix my teeth, it still hurt. I’ve had doctors examine my teeth like I was an animal up for auction. Sadly I’m not exaggerating. I’ve learn to be self-conscious of the stains.

I’ve always assumed the stains were the first and only thing people saw. I was careful to not show my teeth in pictures. I dreaded meeting new people. Every job interview had the normal nervousness but also had the an extra nervousness. I worried that people judged me when they saw my teeth. I assumed people thought I was uneducated. I was certain people judged me my by teeth.

I’d been thinking about stain removal for several years. I’d looked into so many options. I finally found one that would help the stains and maintain the tooth structure which was very important to me. I struggled emotionally with this decision. I wondered what I would be telling my kids if I did the procedure. Would it seem like I was being vain? And, two months ago, I had the procedure done. I was so excited with my results. I was certain everyone I knew would notice.

Now, two months out, no one’s commented. I’ll admit,  I was disappointed. This had been such a big decision for me. I spent years and many hours debating the pros and cons to stain removal. I realized tonight there was two possible reasons for this 1) I have really polite friends or 2) people really didn’t care as much as I cared about the stains. Don’t get me wrong, I do have wonderful and polite friends. However, I honestly believe, I cared about my stains more than anyone else.

I believe I was more self-conscious about my stains then anyone cared about it. Getting my stains removed was the right thing for me. I’m more confident and feel better about my smile with the stains gone. I wish someone told me or I realized before for my own emotional security  I was more obsessed about it than others. I don’t think knowing would’ve changed my mind about getting the treatment, but it would have helped me emotionally all those years.

I’m telling you, whatever your self-conscious about, people are not noticing nearly as often as you think. There may be people who notice and comment. But honestly, no one cares as much as you do. May that give you peace and may it help you to worry a little less about your imperfections. Please know you don’t have to fix the problem, you just need to accept that simple truth. It is hard, but its true. Embrace the insecurity and your self-consciousness. But remember, to not use the world as your definition of beauty or self-worth. Place your self-worth in the One who  placed the stars in the sky.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

 

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Last night our school had a fundraiser at a local restaurant. I took my daughter and we met one of her friends and her mom. The place was busy and noisy. The girls were giggly, loud, and squirmy. The service was slow as expected due to a great turn out for the fundraiser. Despite having to reel the girls in a few times, we all had a good time. Then it came time to leave. My daughter knows we don’t go running out of a store and towards the parking lot. I’ve reinforced her the need to stay close to me. However, last night all the excitement had gotten to her and I was a little worn out and tired from the day. She and her friend took off running out of the door and toward the parking lot. I yelled gently at my daughter and she kept running. So, I yelled firmly using her whole name. I rushed to her because she was running to far for my comfort zone. I immediately scolded her for her behavior.

Her punishment was to get into the car while I and her friend’s mom finished our conversation. We were trying to plan a time that we could get together next with the girls. After I finished the conversation and helped my daughter find her missing doll, I reconfirmed to her that I loved her very much but her behavior was inappropriate. I told her that her actions were not safe and even if we were having fun we had to be safe and listen.

And then the tears came. Huge crocodile tears were pouring down her cheeks. She was upset and sad that she’d disappointed me. She was embarrassed she’d gotten in trouble in front of her friend. She felt very, very bad for be disobedient (her words). And then my heart broke. Even this morning she said to me she was so sorry for last night.I reassured her we all make mistakes and that I loved her so much.

She is my sensitive one. She is the one who likes to push the limits a bit. I knew she was sensitive but I still scolded her harshly. I felt horrible. I wanted the lesson to be taught, but was I too hard? Had I let the situation with her behavior go to far all night that I was at my frustration point? How can I keep that from happening again. I felt like the worst mom ever.

I’m certain I’m not the only one that’s been there. Said something to their child either a little to harsh, handled things poorly or reacted without thinking. We all make mistakes. Despite wanting to tear myself up over this, I will not. I will take it as a learning lesson. I will have a better in plan in place before we do our next friend’s outing.

In fact, I already know what I will do before next time. 1) I will tell her ahead of time of the expected behavior 2) I will tell her she will hold my hand when leaving the store/restaurant/etc as we normally do.

I know I’ll stumble as I continue down this parenting path. New things and situations will come up. I will make more mistakes but I will learn from them. I find ways to move forward and to do things better the next time.

How have handled a parenting mistake or when you’ve over reacted? I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 

 


I’ve been reading a lot recently. Although, mostly I’ve been reading novels. Today I want to take a moment to review a slightly different book.

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The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers

The Bible, an ancient text that many study and use as a guide for their life. It’s a book that can be intimidating as it includes everything from history to prophecy. The reviewed book’s goal is to “cut to the chase” of the Bible’s books. It addresses the questions: What does it say? and Why does it matter?

I personally own a self-study Bible. I find the extra information in the self-study Bible to be quite helpful and provide depth to the Bible. This book, I’ve found adds to my self-study Bible. It provides more to the point information in a conversational tone. I found reading this book felt like a really good conversation. It breaks down each chapter and gives a quick overview. The authors write an easily understood style that both those well-versed in the Bible and those new to the Bible can understand and appreciate.

One downfall for this book is that if one has a self-study Bible or has done significant Bible study this book may not provide additional information. However, I would guess, if someone has significant knowledge of the Bible, they would probably purchase more scholarly written books.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible, specifically the importance and lessons chapter by chapter. I would especially recommend the book to new Christians or those who have had not completed other in-depth studies.

I give this book a 4 out 5 bookends.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


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A while back I shared I was training for a half-marathon. I’ve since then completed two half-marathons all in the month of May. It has been quite a journey. I’ve learned a lot. And I’m contemplating doing a third half-marathon. I know, I may be certifiable but at least if I sign-up for a third, it won’t be until this fall.

It’s been one crazy ride, this goal of completing the half-marathons. And as with everything there were some high’s and lows. I learned a lot with the first one and even more with the second one. I want to take a few minutes to share with you what I learned.

1) It takes time to train Ok so this may seem obvious but to be completely honest, I didn’t realize exactly how much time I would spend training. Initially I was jogging on a treadmill at the gym three times a week. However, once I hit 6 miles it seemed very tedious to run on the treadmill and the weather was warming up. Unfortunately once I got out of the gym I didn’t want to go back. I found my distance decreased because of the weather. I always managed to get my long jogs in, but I skipped several shorter jogs. I spent every Sunday jogging in the afternoon for up to 2.5 hours. When you begin your journey remember it will take you to several hours a week of training.

2) The outfit matters: I knew shoes were important, but your clothes are also important. I took a long time searching for a pair of running capris. I had some strict criteria, I didn’t want them to be see-through. WOW! That was very difficult to find a pair that I felt comfortable wearing. After I found a pair, I bought two as they were super comfy and fit well. For a top, I just used a razor back exercise shirt but you do want to consider your shirt. I found some rubbed funny once I’d put in several miles. When picking out an outfit, pay attention to comfort. Also, wear the clothes for training jogs this way you can see if it rubs anywhere.

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3) Make sure you can eat Nutrition is very important both while training and pre-race. I highly recommend maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet while training. During training I would eat a large lunch and then jog 1-2 hours later. The first half-marathon I’d planned on eating before the race. I didn’t factor in two things, one during training I was eating a pretty heavy meal prior to my longer jogs. Two, I didn’t plan on having difficulty eating so early in the morning. Race day I was up and attempted to eat at 4 AM. My stomach couldn’t tolerate food. I ran out of energy very quickly into the race. In preparation for the second one, I woke-up several days and practiced eating my planned breakfast. This made race day much easier.

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4) Fuel as you go I learned early on that I needed to fuel on the run. I tried a few different fueling options. GU seems to be one of the most used ones. Both races offered it at some of the water stations. They also offered a sports drink at some of the stations. I tried the GU and carried it with me, but overall I found the texture problematic. It did work, about 15 minutes after eating it, I did notice a slight boost in my energy. I also used Jelly Beans and I had the same boost. During my second half I found Gatorade chews. The texture of these were more favorable than the GU. I didn’t feel the kick of energy like I did from the GU but I didn’t feel tired either. The most important thing about fueling is to do it before you need it. The first half, I waited until I felt the tired set-in. That is too late! The second, I started sooner and felt stronger for longer.

5) Plan to rest following This really took me by surprise. I was expecting some soreness but I wasn’t expect the recommendation and much needed minimum of one week of resting. Even after that week, my hip was painful with exercise. I found jogging a mile difficult. Slowly I was able to jog further distances and by the time my second half arrived I was able to do 10 miles without a whole lot of trouble. Unfortunately, I needed to walk over the last mile. If I had another week or two, I would have been better prepared. I recommend spacing out your races further than 3 weeks for adequate recovering time.

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I know I’ve learned so much more than those 5 items. However, I believe those are the most applicable to others. Personally, I also learned that I truly can do more than I think I’m capable. For those well-trained and athletic, the achievement of a half-marathon might not seem that great. But for me, it was an amazing accomplishment.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything James 1:4

 


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My oldest is in kindergarten. I believe I’ve said it before, Kindergarten has been a BIG adjustment for all of us. One of these adjustments has been my daughter’s need for independence and decision-making. At first, as I write this, I think of course a parent would embrace this. However, her attempts at independence has been less than desirable.

The pull for independence continues throughout childhood. It starts with those first few precious steps, continues into toddlerhood and goes on to adulthood. Often times lack of maturity has children pulling for independence in challenging ways. For example, I’ll listen to you but will choose when I will follow through with your request. This causes some extra chaos and reminders from mom as the little one wants desperately to be in control of her decisions.

The example above is what we’re dealing with right now. She knows what she’s suppose to do, she just isn’t ready to do it. This has manifested itself with extreme slowness getting ready to go to school or at school picking up her toys only after playing for a few more minutes.

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Independence will be very important life skill for her to learn and master. She must learn to think independently to not be pressured into unsafe situations. She must learn to assert her independence appropriately in her future career. It is my job to help develop her growth. My responses to her independence will either help or hinder that growth.

I say, embrace this independent streak and don’t be in too big of a hurry to squash it in hopes of a compliant child. Don’t get me wrong, discipline should follow when she’s being defiant. However, be kind. Give your child choices when she can have them. Let her make some decisions for herself. Be upfront. In our case, getting out the door and to school on time is not negotiable. So, I put consequences in place for her not listening and getting dressed on time. However, I don’t really care what shoes she wears. So, she can pick out her shoes every morning. And if she gets ready timely, she has an extra reward of watching some television before we leave. I expect her to listen to her teacher at school and come home with a good daily report. I do let her have some time in the evening where she decides what she will do.

Embrace the independence, set realistic expectations, and appropriate discipline and your house will be a happier one!

Do you have a child going through an independent growth? Please share your stories! I’d love to hear how you handle them.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old and he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ASV


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This has been a topic in our house over the last few weeks. I’ve been thinking a lot about blessings from God, what they mean. It seems, in general, Christians have gotten a bit confused about what constitutes a blessing. Are they the little things in life? Are my children and loving husband my blessings? After all, I’m a good Christian woman. I work hard to teach my children about God’s grace. I pray daily. So shouldn’t I be blessed? Don’t I deserve to have blessings?

Well, I do feel very lucky to have God in my life. He has provided for me a loving family and has loaned me two fantastic children to help guide to him. My husband and I have jobs and we have a house. I see His Glory daily. But, am I blessed? Absolutely. I am saved. God gave his only son for me, for my salvation. He has said that I am so important he knows all the hairs on my head. He’s given me many gifts. All those things listed above are his gifts to me.

So, if those are gifts, what are my blessings? Using Mathew 5:4-12 as my guide, I’ve thought and re-thought about this. Blessings are not quite the same as his gifts. Blessings are not what the world would think as blessings. They are not financial security or a job promotion. They are not gliding through life without any pain or sorrow. This scripture defines blessings:

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be consoled. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who endure persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they have slandered you, and persecuted you, and spoken all kinds of evil against you, falsely, for my sake: be glad and exult, for your reward in heaven is plentiful.

Blessing according to scripture are ways God brings us closer to him. They are hardships. They are lessons we’re taught. They’re life experiences which leave us vulnerable and encourages a stronger relationship with God. These little life struggles are gifts from God. Unfortunately, they are also often overlooked by the recipients. We forget to thank God for these blessings.

True blessings in my life:

1) My challenging childhood and relationship with my father and siblings

2) My son and his health issues

3) My ability to be an advocate for my mother and all the stress that involves

My gifts from God (in no particular order and not all-inclusive):

1) My wonderful children and caring husband

2) My essential needs are met

3) Both my husband and I have maintained jobs despite a less than optimal job market

4) My wonderfully supportive extended family

5) My salvation

I am forever thankful for the gifts he provides me. He helps ensure my needs are met. He provides with me wisdom and guides my day. I will be forever grateful to him. I will not expect anything more than my salvation. I am unworthy but he continues to bless me and provide me with gifts.

What blessings have you been provided? What gifts?


I’ve gotten quite the back-up of books this last month! I’ve been very lucky in a purchase, an unexpected free book and my usual books from the publishers. So, I’ve got to get some reading done! The book I’m reviewing today is one I’ve taken my time reading. I’ve read it slow for several reason. One, I’ve been really busy with family things and two, it’s so very full of wisdom.

These are the Days of Elijah by R.T. Kendall

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Have you ever sat down with someone older and full of wisdom? Do you have the Pastor who can make a sermon or lesson flow like a conversation over an afternoon coffee? That is how this book is written. The book walks you through the life of Elijah integrating life’s experiences with Biblical knowledge. Prior to reading this book, I was not as familiar with Elijah’s story. There were many details I either didn’t remember or didn’t connect to Elijah himself. My overall knowledge of Elijah grew tremendously while reading this book. The book also provides a better understanding of God. Elijah’s life demonstrates God’s character. The book provides insight into God’s time and how he prepares us to do great things. It reinforces the need for preparation and explains how God prepares us.

I recommend this book to anyone desiring to get to know God better. Whether you’re a new Christian or have been one for a long time, this book will provide insight to Elijah and (more importantly) God. This book would also be good for someone who is interested in Christianity but 100% certain.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 book ends.

I received this book for free from Chosen Books for review. I was not required to give a positive review.

 

I linked this post up at the following sites: http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com/2013/05/cozy-reading-spot_30.html and http://www.gracedsimplicity.com/2013/05/hearts-and-home-93.html