Monday, August 27, 2012

The Luve Project: Love is not Rude.

I let my boys run in church (gasp!).

Church runnin' clothes...;)

See, daddy is on staff so there are lots of times that we get there a little early-
before most people have finished breakfast.
We walk into those front doors and the wide space of the foyer beckons them every time.
They take off, just running.  Boys like that...just running.
Eventually though, people start trickling in and before long the empty space has become an obstacle course of legs, dangling purses, babies and even a sweet dog.
This 'obstacle course' could prove to be even more fun than an empty foyer if mama didn't have eyes in the back her head.
We've been trying to teach them these last few weeks that loving others means being considerate and not rude.
Matthew Henry puts it this way;
"It (love) does nothing out of place or time; but behaves with courtesy and good will towards all men - especially older ladies in the church foyer."
O.k. I added that last part.
I've been explaining to them that slowing down as the foyer fills up is not just about obeying mommy but about loving others.
It's about being courteous to little toddlers who are not as steady on their feet.
It's about having good will towards our friends with older knees and backs.
It's about doing the right thing at the right time.
There will be a right time for running...
when everyone leaves for Swiss Chalet and daddy is locking up.  :)
I think they're starting to get it.
I'll let you know how the week goes.
Love is not rude.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Does Not Boast

I make mistakes.  Yes I do.  I heard one coming out of my mouth recently.  It had already escaped before I got a grip on it. 
"Josiah, Samuel finished all of HIS chicken!" 
One of those things I said I would never do. 
You know, when I knew all about parenting, before I had kids.
 I believe that this kind of comparing,even with little things like eating all your chicken or carrots, can motivate boasting.  It very well could have something to do with the big table boasts these days...
"I finished all of MY noodles." "I didn't spill MY milk."
(insert slapping of my forehead here)
I don't think that comparing my boys with each other is a healthy motivator. 
Galatians 6 says it pretty plain;
"4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load."

Teaching my boys to test their own actions and not compare themselves to someone else can help them to be proud of their work in and of itself, without boasting over someone else.
It can teach them that they are responsible to 'carry their own load' whether someone else does or not.
This week, I was reminded again to carefully guard how I talk to my children.
How are my words affecting them?
Am I helping or hindering their grasp of true love?

This is a healthy, non-boasting "I did it!" pose for the camera...:)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't Forget...

Four year-olds can be known to exaggerate.  For example, a new thing our oldest son declares when we don't give in to a 'demand' is; "You ruined my whole day!"  I think maybe he forgot about
the warm, cozy car bed he woke up in,
the cartoons we let him watch in the morning,
the breakfast we made him (and let him eat while watching cartoons),
the wrestling with daddy before work, at lunch time and after work,
the trillions of toys at his disposal,
the lunch we made him,
the milk (with strawberry sauce added..yikes..)
the giggling with mama,
the answering of his gazillion questions,
the sandbox in our backyard,
the walk to the park...
I think he forgot about it all when we said he couldn't have another chocolate cookie.

And as four year-oldish as that sounds...I do the same thing.

I forget about
a mother holding me close,
being carried on my dad's shoulders,
young friends,
Sunday school songs,
still water reflecting the sunset,
soft breezes full of pine,
sun warmed bricks at a college,
cornfields and meadows,
a first love letter from the man who would be my husband,
blinking newborn eyes...

Sometimes I forget about all God's dealings in my life just because I have one bad day.

The Israelites did the same thing.  Psalm 106 reminds us of all God had done to set the Israelites free from slavery then it goes on to say this;

"13 They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:

14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."

Matthew Henry write this in his commentary on Psalm 106; "Those who forget the works of God forget God himself, who makes himself known by His works."

The more I forget about what He has done, the further I seem to be from Him. 
I want to allow thankfulness to bring me even closer to His heart. 
Don't forget what He's done friends. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Luve Project: Love Does Not Boast (even at the dinner table)

The past couple years, dinner time at our house has looked a little like this...

Most of these pictures features Sam Bam.  He likes to 'experience' his food.

It's a 100% fruit popsicle...don't judge people. ;)

"Look mom! My hat!"

This was before our oldest son figured out he didn't like to be messy.

Yep. A quarter of a watermelon right there.

And...there was this time.

Every breakfast pretty much ends up like this.
So, there you have it.  Dinner with three kids can always be a treat.  :)
 Lately I've found that dinner has been sounding a little like this;
"Mom, I didn't spill MY milk."
"Dad, I took MY plate to the dishwasher."
"Mama, I ate all of MY spinach."
"Dad, MY toys are all off the table."
"Mama, I'M being quiet."
Naturally, these good deeds were all the opposite of what brother was doing.
 A little boasting going on around the dinner table. 
This evening we taught the boys, "Love does not boast."  We explained to them that bragging about themselves in order to point out others weaknesses and your own exceeding greatness is not what love is about. 
Hopefully our table boasting will change this week.
I have a feeling our table messes may not change all that much. ;)
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Envy

So, my kids didn't seem to have many incidents of 'envy' this week to work on.  That's probably a good thing. :)  We did work on memorizing; "Love does not envy" (or "love is not enbee" for all you 3 year-olds out there...).  I also found a great verse that may be key in helping our boys guard against resentful envy.  Romans 12:15 says;

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (NKJV)." 

If I can help my children to be happy rather than resentful when others are blessed with good things, then I think they'll be taking big steps towards not being an envious person.  We can make rejoicing with others a habit that will, hopefully (prayerfully), shape their character for the better.  It won't always be an easy lesson to learn.  It won't be easy

when someone else is picked as captain,

or gets the better mark

 or wins the gold.

However, learning to be happy for the other is always a healthier response.
Practically, as a parent, I will attempt to memorize this little nugget of a verse and whisper it in my boy's ears when the opportunity arises.
For example, last Saturday we went to our little cousin's 1st birthday party.  He had a Jake and the Neverland Pirates birthday cake.  That's a big deal.  My boys were wide eyed and completely in love with that cake.

That would have been a great opportunity to quietly whisper..."Wow!  Isn't it great that Channing got that terrific cake?!  He will be so excited to see that!"  Creating opportunities to celebrate with others may be an actual safe guard against building up feelings of resentment when others seem to receive more.  So thankful for the wisdom that God's words so freely provides.  In this parenting business, I need as much as I can get!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Luve Project: Envy and High Tops

I think I remember the first time I fell prey to a fad.  It was elementary school.  A couple girls in my class had new high tops.  Not just any high tops.  They had little chains on them.  Naturally, everyone wanted a pair.  I would stare at them longingly and try to picture them on my own scrawny feet.  Not that I had horrible shoes...I just didn't have high tops..with chains.  
See?  I needed the chains...

Apart from the chains, my memories about the shoe issue are a little vague.  I have a feeling though that little fingers of envy may have crept in to say; "she thinks she's so cool...with her chains." 
This week I'm teaching my boys about envy.  I wrote our little verse poster; "Love does not envy.." and then proceeded to expound 'envy' at the dinner a 4 year old - and a 3 year old.  Interesting. 
I reminded Josiah of when he was mad when Samuel won a birthday prize and he didn't.  It didn't go too well.  Josiah decided he still wasn't over the episode and Samuel remembered that he had left said prize at the party...oops.
We'll try again tomorrow. :) 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Luve Project Update: Kindness

If my three boys were allowed to pick whatever they wanted to drink, at any time, here are the choices they would make;
Big Brother: Milk (with chocolate sauce)
Medium Brother: Apple Juice
Baby Brother: Milk - the strong stuff - 3% all the way baby! 
My nephew Micah's beverage of choice: water.
I remember him being so proud about a dentist check-up because the dentist was impressed with how much water he drank.  More water = less cavities. 
Thankfully, his parents have tons of clean, bacteria-free water to give to Micah.
Not all parents have this privilege. 

This has been our kindness week and part of learning about kind is learning to be kind to the poor.  We let the boys watch this video...

My oldest son's first words were; "Yucky! Look at that yucky water!".  We explained that the scum filled hole was the only water the young girl had to drink. 
"But she can't drink that mom, it's too dirty!" 
We know.  But that's all she has. 
The boys watched intently as 'Fiona' poured her filthy water into a small bucket with a filter.  They were pretty excited to see clean water come out the other end.  We told them that a part of kindness was helping that little girl and others like her get clean water to drink.  We gave them 10 nickels each and they got to choose some to put in our 'water' bank. 

(p.s. we need a new battery in this bank)

They were pretty excited to be shoving those nickels into the bank.  When we get to $55 (naturally mama and daddy are helping too as nickels would take a long time to accumulate), we'll buy a water filter for a family so that they can have clean water for life.  Kindness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Do Not Fret...

I have been known to fret and worry occasionally...maybe more than occasionally.  One of my employers called me; "worst-case scenario Christie."  I've been reading a new book called; "A Better Way to Think" by H. Norman Wright.  I think this should be prerequisite reading for...everyone! 

The basis of the book is to replace your negative thoughts with God's truth and promises.  Anyway, I came across something in the book this morning that was so exciting to me, I couldn't help but share.
The book has a space with questions to answer at the end of each chapter.  One of the questions was; "Look up Psalm 37:1-9.  What are four alternatives to fretting that the psalmist suggests?  What do these mean to you?"

Let me show you the scripture...the answers are all. right. there!

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret —it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 

So, when I start to have worried thoughts I have a few options;
1) I can find scriptures about trusting God, memorize them and meditate on them.
2) I can bring to mind all the things about God that delight me...sunsets, His provision, my family, etc.  Another version says to "feed on His faithfulness" (I love that). 
3) I can commit whatever I may be worrying about to Him.  Here it is God, now what do I do with it? 
4) I can be still and wait for God to show up.  Not try to make things happen myself (remember Sarah and all those servant girls she made miserable? Check out Genesis 16).
 5) Refrain from anger.  Anger at God, anger at anyone!  Anger pretty well only hurts yourself.  Not that it's as easy as pie to let it go.  But, at least, start trying.  Anger in itself is not wrong, it's just a sign that there's an issue to be dealt with.  It's the holding on to it and acting it out that destroys your sense of peace and the peace of those around you. 

What's so amazing is that God really does have all the answers for us in His Word.  We just have to search for them.  Books like this help me with my search.  Hope you have been helped to have a frettless day... :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Luve Project: Kindness

Before I had a grocery cart full of babies to carry around a store -  I enjoyed perusing the greeting card aisle.  I leisurely read the cute and quirky little sayings, opened up the music cards (..."give me a kiss to build a dream on...") and laughed quietly at the funny ones.  One of my favorite lines on a thank-you card was "You may say it's no big deal...but kindness is always a big deal."  Isn't that great? 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says;
" Love is patient, love is kind."

According to, the word "kind" in 1 Corinthians means:

"to show one's self mild, to be kind, use kindness"

Oh boy...can boys be mild?  :)  This should be fun...but I am sure I will be afforded many opportunities to remind my boys (and myself) to be mild. 

In reading up a little on the word "kind" and "kindness" in the Bible, I saw some common occurrences.  Kindness comes up a lot when God talks about how we should treat the poor.

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done."
Proverbs 19:17

Also, the word describes God's dealings with us over and over again.

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

And, in general, how we should be treating everyone around us.

My goals this week to teach the boys that "love is kind" will be to;
1.  Remind them to be 'mild' when addressing their parents, brothers and friends.
2.  Set up a project to help the poor.
3.  Remind them of God's kindnesses to us.
4.  Provide opportunities for them to do acts of  kindness.  

I pray you see at least one instance of God's kindness towards you this week. 

(Here's biggest brother being 'kind' to little brother when they were just babies...he was helping him hide in the cupboard.)

I'll let you know how our little project goes at the end of the week.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Patience

Yeesh!  I think this project may be more about me than the kids.  I am discovering a couple important things about patience.
1.   This mathematical equation;

# of hours of sleep=level of patience. 

Yes, the number of hours I slept was in direct correlation with the level of patience I had (can I get an 'amen'?).

An important thing to remember is that it is not my kid's, husband's, the traffic guy's, cashier's, or God's fault that I was up too late..



or reading

I can't use lack of sleep as a viable excuse for impatience.  I am a big girl and I need to make the hard decision to get a healthy dose of sleep so that I can more effectively model patience for my children.
This also goes for the kidlets.  I know schedule's are a little off-kilter for the summer but it is my responsibility to allow my children opportunity to get enough sleep so that they are more easily able to be patient. 

2.  Patience is hard work!  It is only going to come by sacrifice. 
Sacrificing my urge to YELL at the kids when they're not listening.
Sacrificing time by not rushing them through a story just so I can fold one more load of clothes.
Sacrificing some leisure (leisure?  what's that) ;) to hear another superhero story.
My children will learn patience when I am able to show them patience.

So that's my update.  Let me know if you have any stories about learning patience.  I'll leave you with a little nugget from Proverbs...

"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city (16:32)".

Disclaimer:  I'm not saying that I should never watch t.v., surf the Internet or read a book.  I was talking about when it keeps me up past a decent hour.  Neither am I saying that I can never have free time or tell my children to wait patiently while I have a little break.  Everything in balance friends. :)