Archive for the 'Building Blocks' Category

a mission of love

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Candy. Chocolate. Hearts. Flowers. Gifts.
What’s not to like?

Yet actually, I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.
The overly romanticized event where we feel entitled to be swooned, showered with candy, dinners, gifts, kisses, love letters, etc…

I know, I know, but don’t give up on me just yet.
I do love LOVE.
And I’m pretty jazzed about celebrating it THIS February.

Rather than focusing on what someone else should do for me, I’m going to focus on what someone, (cough) the God of the universe, has already done. For every single one of us.

Sending His only son to die on a cross. To forgive us for all of our junk. Crazy love, indeed!

It’s nothing I could have ever dreamed up. Nothing I would have ever thought to ask for. And yet everything I need.

That’s the kind of thing I can celebrate.
And that’s just the kind I’m gonna.

How about diving into February with love as our mission?

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

I know we’ve heard it many times before. But do we know it? Our kids?
To know it is the first step to living it more fully, and to show the beautiful, sweet love that He first showed us.

We can do it! I’ve got some great resources and cutesy stuff for us to use. Cutesy, that’s right, I said it!

We’ll take it one day at a time, starting February 1st.
Here’s the plan, and first cutesy reference (click on it, to see the details)…

It lists the day and the words to memorize for each day. I’m going to print it and put it on my fridge as my daily reference.

I like a little movement with my memorization and I think the kids do too. So, I recommend learning the sign language along with the words. (Click here for an online signing resource.)

You’ll be amazed how easy it is. And, you’ll see how much you can use the signs later when asking the kids to be loving…or my favorite…to be patient!

As we go along each day, I’ll update our facebook page with the word and sign for the day. A good reminder and encouragement, I hope.

For another bit of motivation, check out this Love art below. It exudes joy! It is now in a small frame in my home and makes me smile every time I see it.

(Thank you, Kelly, for your blogpost and talent!)

And in case that wasn’t enough cutesy stuff for you, below are two other free love printables that are great.

Greatest of these is love
Love is..Valentine-style

Can’t wait to share in this new Valentine tradition with you…nibbling on the sweetness of what God’s love is.
And then to begin to live more like it each day going forward.

Pretty sure that’s sweeter than any box of chocolates or candy hearts.
Hope you’ll join us!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! – Sundee McDonald

Crafting for the Creator

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I’m a crafty person. I like to create things from scratch, piecing together jewels I re-purpose from around my house or that I find discounted at craft stores. In my pre-kids life, I used those skills designing info pieces for my employer.

However, I’m not a preschool crafty person. Doing a craft with my pre-schoolers takes an extra dose of grace and potentially extra caffeine. Finding the idea is my first chore, then implementing it?! The mess, the spills, the 100 questions about why we aren’t doing it a different way. And besides, I work so diligently at keeping a tidy home, why would I intentionally make more work for myself? Not to mention the different capability levels between my 1.5 year old and 3.5 year old. Just thinking about it raises my blood pressure.

Insert Building Blocks.

I love this ministry for several reasons and one of them is the Activity Packets. This past Friday at the “Big Picture of Sibling Harmony” they passed out a Thanksgiving Activity Packet (get it here). Home Run! There before me was a complete packet equipping me to teach my kids about Christ during Thanksgiving. Included were activities to help me teach them to thank God for who He is, who He’s created us to be, and for what He has done. Amazing.

I mean, I want to have intentional lessons with my kids. I desire to teach them of God’s Truths and raise them in the Right Way so they don’t depart from it when they grow old. But sometimes I’m at a loss on how to do that. Thankfully, other people within this church and ministry share their talents and bless those of us lacking in this “crafty” department.

First step completed; acquired the idea. Second step, finding making the time to do it. I literally scheduled on my calendar which day and what time “Thankful Wreath” would take place. That day came and went without me following through. It just wasn’t the right day so I re-scheduled for the next. Tuesday arrived and I told my 3.5 year old “today, we’re going to do a ‘special activity’ after rest time.” I needed some accountability and I knew Parker wouldn’t forget.

The only preparation I did was reading through the packet beforehand and making sure I had all the materials. I decided to do the Thankful Wreath activity. Didn’t want to bite off too much in one sitting. So after the kids woke up, we went straight to the kitchen table to begin our “special activity.”

Insert first mistake.

Next time I will feed them a snack before we start our activity. I made the mistake of starting the craft on hungry tummies. Mid-craft their bellies took over and we had a mid-craft meltdown. So in the midst of the mess and attending to two different capabilities, I was also popping popcorn and making drinks, only to have them spill the drinks and popcorn all over our craft. Sigh. Not going make it on Martha Stewart’s show anytime soon.

We marched onward. I used construction paper and traced their little paws. As I cut them out, I talked to them about the different names of God; something I hadn’t done before. I told them that God is All Knowing, Gentle, and Faithful. That He is our Rock, Redeemer, Bread and Living Water. My oldest asked questions, “what does that mean Mommy?” and the best I could I answered in a way he could understand. At one point I told Parker that God is our Protector. To which he replies, “God is our Protector? Just like I’m suppose to love and protect my baby sister?” “That’s right buddy, God protects us just like you help Mommy protect Callie in the parking lot when she tries to run away from me.”

I laid their hand prints in front of them to decorate (a slight detour from the craft). Although my 1.5 year old colored more of the table (and herself) than the paper, she loved it. My oldest spent all his time coloring one hand print instead of all nine. I kept suggesting he color the other ones too, to which he tells me, “shh mommy, I’m busy.” HA! “From the mouths of babes,” as our own Millye Hale would say. Even in this tiny craft, I’m trying to impart my own perfectionism tendencies instead of letting God lead my kids. Thank you, my love, for that precious reminder. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning what God has to teach us in the moment.

So as they colored, I wrote His different names on each hand print. Again, talking about what they mean and how God is who He says He is (as well as reminding Callie to not eat the markers and color on the paper not the table!). Then I cut the centers out of the paper plates and wrote “God You are… and we thank You that You are who You say You are.” I colored some along with them and then I glued the hand prints on the paper plate as each child finished “decorating” theirs.

The end result? It was messy. It took all my attention. It didn’t go as I expected. But it was 100% worth the effort. Our “Thankful Wreaths” are now displayed in our kitchen and serve as a great reminder not just to my kids, but to me as well.
They remind me that God is all I need. He is my Comfort. My Shield. My Strength. My Bread. My Rock. Not a clean house. Not a nap. Not an updated kitchen. Not more “me time.” Not more coffee. Although I wrestle with thinking I “need” these things; I’m acutely aware that He has shown me it’s not these things I need… just Him. See also Patrick Ryan Clark’s song, “You”.

The day after we made them, Parker says during his prayer, “God thank you for who you say you are.” Wow. He got it. Callie points to them and says, “Marrrrkeeer.” “That’s right baby, we used markers to tell God we are thankful for Who He is.”

That was the whole point. To create an opportunity to teach my kids about His love and it worked. So what I had to sweep my floors for the 10th time that day and scrub Callie extra hard that night in the bath tub? My kids learned one more thing about God. And that, my friends, makes this non-preschool-crafting mama want to do it again. – by Alison Treadaway

remain

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I’d like to think I’m cool.

I mean, being cool these days often just takes effort on the outside of your body. And, I think I can dress myself somewhat hip.

But, that’s just dressing up…putting on.

Last event, Desi Brown talked about cool – not looking it, but keeping it.

So, how am I doing at keeping my cool?
I’m hot.
But, um, not in the good way.

This kind of cool starts on the inside.
Somedays, it bubbles up from within and boils over and out, unable to be contained.

Not proud moments, my friends.
Yet, at times, we all have these kinds of ‘hot flashes’.

Can you really blame us when day after day we’re amidst whining, screaming, no sleeping, diaper blowouts, spit up, laundry, dishes, hitting, biting, bickering, fighting, and general mayhem at our houses?

It’s not supposed to be easy.
To think it should be is one of the biggest parenting lies, Desi mentions. Oh how before we had kids we’d look at other people and think ‘our’ kids will never behave like that! Hah!

One of Desi’s favorite things about motherhood is how it has wrecked her pride and her self-sufficiency, and drawn her closer to God in a way she never expected. Children do that. These blessings of a life, God uses to expose the sin in our lives and help us realize how much we need Him.

That might seem ugly, but it’s ugly pretty.

Before kids, so much of my day used to be about me (or so I thought), and now so very little is. So.very.little.

I think this is the source of much of the frustration I feel. I can’t control my situation anymore. I can’t make them obey. I can’t have a 5 minute phone conversation anymore. I can’t do one thing without something else being destroyed. Lots of I’s in there.

Ahh, the bubbles are starting to form…

It’s a tough transition, this one into parenthood.

But, what if…What if our primary job actually hasn’t changed?

I’ve been so caught up in all of the daily, moment by moment, mommy duties, that I forgot that raising my kids isn’t my main job.
Being a faithful follower and messenger of God is.

Otherwise, all this hard work and ‘sacrifice’ is for nothing.
Nothing!

I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

It doesn’t say I should be able to do it on my own.
Rather, it says I can’t.

It is not our kind of perfection that God wants. It’s our obedience.
Day after day, mundane and all…to remain in Him.

This is where transformation occurs. This is where He can chisel away the things we cling to too tightly and teach us to cling to Him more.
He can help us see people like He does, soften our hardened hearts, and channel our frustration toward righteousness.

How do we remain in Him?

The first step isn’t going to be catchy or clever or unique. Sorry.
It’s simply this…being in His word daily.
Every day. Even when you don’t feel like it. Remember, obedience over perfection.

And even when you don’t feel like it, you will marvel at what God shows you. Your heart will be grateful for God’s insane love and the blessings He reveals day after day.

So, rather than trying to keep your cool, keep with Him instead.

Maybe the fruit bowl or fridge drawer is a good spot for the verse this week. Whenever you break off a banana or a grape from it’s bunch, remember that apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Turn thoughts toward Him. See a big pile of cheerios spilled on the floor not as another big mess to clean up, but as a boy remaining in the things he loves, eating up the good stuff and delighting in every bite. Besides, don’t Cheerios look like little life preservers? A great reminder of the Great Rescuer.

The conquering of keeping our cool doesn’t come in any of our own efforts, but in sitting amidst our Great Rescuer and delighting in Him. Dive in and dig in. How’s this for tomorrow sound? – Sundee McDonald

Catch Desi’s talk on the Big Picture of Keeping Your Cool here.

Practice

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Party foul!
After Kay’s talk last week, I realized that I committed a big one recently.

As I walked in the door to this party, I told the hostess, “Thank you so much for doing this. I am so grateful for you and your gift of hospitality.”

Sounds relatively innocent, doesn’t it?

I was honestly thankful that she opened her home to us and hosted a gathering of us kindergarten parents. But, I also slipped something else in there. Did you notice?

A cop out.

With my love language as quality time, I love to get together with people to eat, talk, and/or just be. Especially at someone’s house.
Oh how that fills my tank and fuels my soul.

But, to host. To be the one that has people over to my house, siphons me dry. It is always stressful to me to have people over, even when they are my closest friends.

Food, while I enjoy making it, still feels like an accomplishment every night for my own family. But, to then set it all out in pretty dishes, warm at the same time, well, that takes some kind of special powers that I don’t have!

Enough plates and glasses and silverware and coffee mugs? And spots for people to sit?

Then, there’s the cleaning. Ugh, the cleaning! The bathrooms (boys!). The toys. The clutter. The kitchen. The never-ending piles of laundry.

You get the idea. Then, you begin noticing 50 more things now glaring at you that you just haven’t gotten to yet.

Even if I tackled most of that, how then, would I keep the kids from messing it all up again?
Ahhhhh!

And what about during the party? There’s the scurrying around to make sure everyone has everything they need. Where is the quality time and intentional conversations in that?

It’s like some kind of crazy math algorithm that I can never figure out.
So clearly, I don’t have the gift of hospitality, right?

Kay says hospitality isn’t a gift. Now, she wasn’t intending this to be a biblical debate. Her point was that it doesn’t matter, because it can be learned and we are called to it…

Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:13

Practice!
It doesn’t imply we should be naturally good at it at all.

And if I read it closely, it also isn’t focused on me, my food, and my house. No.

It is about serving someone else, someone that God loves and is in need.

Kay also reminded that people just want to be invited and included.
They get more filled up on a big, warm, heaping helping of love than whatever you’re slaving over in the kitchen.

See, we have twisted this hospitality thing at times into a big production about us. About looking good on the outside.

Rather, it is to be an outpouring of our heart. Extending an offering to someone else in love, because of God’s great love and grace already extended to us.

So when I stress and complain and scurry and worry, I’m making it about me.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

It actually has so little to do with us, except that we be two things: available and obedient.

Kay challenged that hospitality isn’t something that happens only under our roof either. Rather, it is a way of life. And, once it becomes that, I’d argue it is a most beautiful heirloom being passed down from one generation to the next.

So, for this week, I have a challenge for us.
1. Learn Romans 12:13: “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Write the verse and set it out on your dinner table or put in your pantry, fridge or silverware drawer. Your car is another great spot. I might sneak it in a few places as reminders.

2. Pray for God to give you a heart for His people and to reveal those that you can reach out to. With this new public school kindergarten thing, my heart lately has been for the school, the teachers, and the parents.

3. Practice! Even if the idea of opening your home, your cooking, your time to someone else feels uncomfy, find a friend who’s great at it and pick their brain. I’m sure they’d love to pass down their legacy to you. And then, put yourself out there. Start small, that’s fine. Invite neighbors over for coffee or something.

For those of you experts, stretch your circles and include those that no one seems to want to talk to, or someone that could really use a friend. When we serve the least of these, we are serving our Father in Heaven!

Keep practicing! While it may not make perfect, it will become a beautiful heirloom you are passing down to your children…

not to be served, but to serve.

- by Sundee McDonald

A harvest

Monday, September 5th, 2011

What a turnout for this past Friday’s event on discipline!
A record setting harvest!

School is in session and perhaps now is the season when we ripened crops are gathered. Oh how I pray we are ripening!

If you’ve gotten a little stale over the summer, fear not, we are back and hope to help. We have a great fall line-up and some yummy bits both for those that gathered with us and those that could not.

For one, after each event, we will post a tasty morsel on the topic along with a related verse memory challenge. Let’s get some of that living water pouring into our over-sunned selves, eh?

Friday’s tasty morsel?
Having a plan.

Ok, I know it sounds obvious, but stick with me here.

For us married folks, yes, we need to be on the same page with our spouse on spanking, timeouts, and consequences for what and when.
But, this plan isn’t just a one time discussion on what ‘method’ is right for your family.

I know! It sure would be easier if that was it.
But rather, it is a bit more painful. Hmmm, a lot more painful.

No discipline seems pleasant, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

I know this is an oldie, but it IS a goodie. None better on the subject if you ask me, because of the truth oozing from it.

This verse isn’t talking about what method to use. But, that is what we tend to spend lots of our time and energy talking about.

It also isn’t, I believe, just talking about the pain caused the one receiving the discipline.

Oh no. I’d like to argue it is far more work, toil, and effort for the one doing the disciplining.

But, there is hope, an expectant hope, that is well worth all of our effort. It’s not just a little bite of something good. No.
It is a harvest of righteousness.

We are not just after behavior on the outside, but the heart behind it on the inside. That is what God is after too. He talks over and over about going through the motions. Those might impress some, but they are far, far from the real goal. That heart. A heart to love, to obey, to respect, to serve, to follow Him. Because He IS the Righteous One.

Quick to the how…
Setting expectations. That is key.

Yes, setting expectations is really making a plan. This plan isn’t always a big giant spreadsheet of scenarios and consequences.
It is a daily, often moment by moment plan. That’s more my style. ; )

It is taking a few extra minutes to discuss your expectations before doing something.
Like, before you head into the grocery store, “We are headed into the grocery store. I expect you to sit on your bottom in the seat the entire time. Do you want to bring that toy with you to play with?”

Think ahead what you will do if they don’t obey…Will you take them to the restroom for a consequence, or wait until you get home? Take a toy away? Get the critical things you need first and then have the option to leave the rest if needed?

Be prepared. A plan brings peace. And, expectations make it easier for us to follow through. When we follow through, we communicate that we are moms and dads of our word. Oh how I want to be a mommy of my word.

Impulsive is what the panel on Friday advised us to guard against.

Calm is critical, and calm has a much better chance with a plan. Impulsiveness often robs from consistency, and it turns calm into anxiety and frustration. And if our hearts aren’t right, how effective will we be in training theirs?

Better to delay coming up with a consequence than make up one on the fly when I’m anxious and irritated. It’s often more exaggerated or something harder to follow through. Oh how I need more of a plan.

There is a huge benefit of having a plan in every day life things, like getting dressed, eating meals, changing diapers, getting in the car, running errands, painting, cleaning up, readying for bed.

The more you set expectations and consequences for these, the more they become routine. They become built in!

Unfortunately, the behavior and heart to obey aren’t as automatic. Stink.
So when the need for the consequence comes (and it will over and over and over!), recite the promises of Hebrews 12:11.

Write it on your wooden spoon or ‘rod’, put it on/near your naughty spot or timeout space. You can even put it where ‘opportunities’ occur more often, like the changing table for us (ick!).

So, that’s your verse challenge this week. Even if you know it already, a great time to practice is right in the moment.

This recovering Debbie Downer might focus too much on the ‘painful’ part of this verse, but don’t do it! It’s just a reminder than it won’t be all fun and games and I’d dare to say it is setting our expectations!

Most of all, it is an encouragement not to give up, and a great reminder of Who is calling us to this job, Who is ultimately in charge, and the wonderful result that comes with steadfastness…a harvest.
A harvest of righteousness. – by Sundee McDonald

Building Blocks Resources

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Easter
Easter Packet – 2011

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Packet – 2011
Thanksgiving Packet – 2010

Christmas
Christmas Packet – 2010

Mentor Mom Corner: Jealousy

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

My 3 year old is really jealous of my attention these days, especially when my husband gets it. He says things like, “I don’t like it when you hang out with Daddy.” Is this just a phase?

Gina Joyce, wife to Frank and mother of two girls, writes…I think it is totally normal for a 3 year old! We definitely got that with our first, with Kate wanting Daddy’s total attention.

We like to look at it this way in our house: Frank (daddy) steps in and says to Kate or Emma, “Daddy married Mommy. After God, Mommy comes first for Daddy and Daddy comes first for Mommy…Kate and Emma are next.”

Sounds harsh but our two girls are leaders looking for countries to rule AND we want them to know that we are not looking for a KID CEO in our house!

If needed, Frank has said in the past that God is the ruler of the universe, Daddy is the CEO, Mommy is the COO and Kate (when she was 3) would always say, “and I am the baby boss!”

Hope that makes sense. I believe it is important for the kids to understand their role in the family, a respect issue. It works for us…so far!

Gina Joyce
469.644.0864
gmjoyce@sbcglobal.net

Holly Barnett
214.691.7498
dhbarnett@sbcglobal.net

Jill Moore
214.912.9412
moore.four@sbcglobal.net

Millye Hale
214.707.1435
wblainehale@flash.net

Mentor Mom Corner: Expectations, Part 2

Monday, April 18th, 2011

We thought it would be a great introduction to our Mentor Mom Corner to hear from two more of our incredible mentor moms on the very same topic.

Should I expect my 2 1/2 year old to obey the first time,
every time?

Jill Moore, wife to Doug and mother of two, writes…

As parents, it is certainly our desire to bring our children to the point of first time obedience, each time we give them an instruction. This is also God’s desire for our kids and for us as well, since we are His children.

First, you can ask yourself…”have I been consistent in training in this area, and do I deliver consequences consistently for less than first time obedience?” The more you have trained your child at any age, the more you can expect.

Remember, this is a process of molding and shaping the heart. Hebrews 12:11 says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who are trained by it.” So, just like we struggle to learn to obey God in all areas, our children will struggle to obey us.

What we CAN focus on is the harvest of righteousness we are helping to produce in them, rather than how often they “get it right”. Each time they stumble in obedience is a time for planting seeds of truth….the more seeds, the richer the harvest!
So….my answer would be to pray, to train, and to lead your child by example in first time obedience rather than focusing too heavily on what to expect at a certain age.

~~~

Holly Barnett, wife to Dave and mother of two, writes…

In a perfect world, yes, but let’s be realistic.
I’m not saying don’t have that as your goal, but the reality is, that is a very tough thing to accomplish. Some days, you are exhausted and just flat don’t have the energy to enforce obeying all the way with a smile. Or, you might have more than one child and that 2/12 year old knows you can’t discipline while you are nursing a baby, changing diapers, cooking dinner, etc.

That being said, obedience is crucial to effective parenting and it is MUCH easier to train first time obedience in a little one than it is when they are older. This is a battle you must win or your child will not be a blessing to you or to others! Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

How do you do this? By being consistent and explaining what you expect (example: when we get to the grocery store, you will be sitting in the basket and you may not beg me for candy at the checkout.) When they get older, you can explain the reason why. Remember to be age appropriate, you don’t need to explain to your 18 month old why we need to wear a coat in winter, shoes to the store or why they can’t run out in the street. However, you can explain to a 2 ½ year old why we use our inside voice in the library (so as to not disrupt others from their reading.) Ephesians 6:4 reads, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Now to consequences, 2 things: First, even families who love the Lord will parent differently as to what they require from their children and how they discipline them. Every family is different. If you have a husband, let him lead in this area and decide with him what your standards will be and how you will discipline.

Second, every child is different. Some kids just need a stern voice or gentle reminder and others need the rod often! Know your child. Also, know it is okay for you to correct each child in the manner that produces your desired result in him or her. In other words, not one size fits all!

Remember, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Holly Barnett
214.691.7498
dhbarnett@sbcglobal.net

Jill Moore
214.912.9412
moore.four@sbcglobal.net

Millye Hale
214.707.1435
wblainehale@flash.net

Mentor Mom Corner: Expectations

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Should I expect my 2 1/2 year old to obey the first time, every time?

Millye Hale, Building Blocks mentor mom and incredible mother of three, gives her insight…

I thought this was a great question and I read the question should I “expect”. In reading it this way, I absolutely think you should “expect” your 2 1/2 year old to obey the first time, every time. Now will they? Chances are, no. But, you should “expect” it.

During this life stage are many opportunities to train! We should don t-shirts when our kids turn 16 months….Trainer and trainee!

A two year old is not trained yet, but to extend leniency because they are two sends a clear message and allows a pattern of disobedience to take root. This is our opportunity to train our children toward righteousness (Hebrews 12 :11)! How exciting!

If I asked 10 mothers of 2 1/2 year old children who has the brightest child, chances are 10 hands would go up. At this age- they can say their ABC’s, count to 20, some are even starting to read, and you’re gonna tell me they don’t know right from wrong? These little people are bright and I assure you if you wait until they communicate that they understand obedience and disobedience, you’re way too late. James Dobson says if you start discipline 10 minutes after your child is born you’re 10 minutes too late.

So what does God’s word say about the art of discipline, well in Ephesians 6:4 he talks about discipline and instruction, and in Proverbs 29:15 he calls for the rod and reproof. In training our children, these two (discipline and instruction) must go hand in hand. I can assure you James Dobson is not suggestioning we spank our newborns, but I think discipline begins with a plan. Having a plan in place from the beginning is key, and even more important is to communicate it to them.

What are your expectations for your children’s behavior?
Begin communicating these expectations to your child right from the beginning. Certainly, when our children are really young I believe the reproof and instruction are key and should start right from birth. I feel as parents we set a standard of expectations for our children and this standard must be communicated from the beginning and often. My thought was always to set the standard high as I feel like our children will ultimately rise to the standard we set. In relation to this standard, I always encourage my children to be hurdlers and not to go through life doing the limbo or just enough to get by.

We must understand our role as parents and that is to train our children. All effective discipline must be initiated from a heart geared towards training and not out of anger. They arrive here with sinful hearts and it is our job to retrain those hearts. Always remember, it is not the severity of the punishment that changes behavior, but the certainty. The certainty comes from clear instructions and expectations communicated to your child prior to an offense taking place, and the conviction of consistancy to deliver consequences when the offense occurs!

Don’t look at disobedience as a burden to deal with, but view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to train, while we plant and cultivate God’s word in these tender little hearts that will ultimately take root and shape and mold their character as they grow!

———
Titus 2 tells older women to encourage younger women to love their husbands and their children. If you are looking for an older woman to answer any questions or just offer encouragement to your situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our mentor moms.

Holly Barnett
214.691.7498
dhbarnett@sbcglobal.net

Jill Moore
214.912.9412
moore.four@sbcglobal.net

Millye Hale
214.707.1435
wblainehale@flash.net

a joyful noise

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

There’s a point nearly every day around my house when melt downs occur.

People have name for this time of day.
We have a method.

Over all the fussing and whining I’ll say, “You know what it’s time for?”
Reece will reply, “Music!

For us, there’s nothing like music and an impromptu dance party to take our waahs and woes and turn them into aww yeahs.
From gnashing of teeth to dancing little feet.

Stevie Wonder knows…

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands

And even my 1 year old gets it, he settles down almost instantly and begins swaying.
It’s like a reset button for our hearts…all of us.

One might argue that music teleports us somewhere nice. But, if I think about it more, it actually relieves me from something that wasn’t nice, and lands me more in the present than I likely was before. Because so often in these fussy moments, someone is not getting their way/whining/hitting/not sharing/pouting/complaining/arguing, all while I was trying to accomplish something.

I think that’s one of the hardest things to let go of, as a parent and a stay-at-home mom – accomplishments. My sense of accomplishment now has to come from another day of continuing to root and ground in truth with the kids, and in spending time with my maker.
That’s nothing to scratch off a to-do list. That’s nothing I can look at and say, “Ahhh, I DID that today!”

But, a little music and a dance party can swoon me back to God’s truth, that this is much more valuable than any to-do.

I figure there’s a reason that the bible contains an entire book of songs. And it happens to be the longest book too (150 chapters), containing the longest chapter (Psalm 119 – 176 verses).

Music is powerful.
And music for God, even more so.

Plus, if we’re going to be making noise anyway, I’d much rather it be joyful. Wouldn’t you?

This latest memory verse is about just that…

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.

Psalm 100:1-2

You can put this verse anywhere where joyful sounds are made. The shower perhaps? ; )

Reece has an old cd player in his room with copies of cds we own, so he can play music when he likes. It always puts a smile on my face, when I hear him singing. We’ll put one copy of the verse there.

Your car radio/cd player is another great place.
Put it on your toy piano (or the real thing), music box, drum, maracas, microphone, or on any other instruments you have.

When the house or the car gets a little crazy with noises that are not pleasing to anyone’s ear, stop an ask, “Is this a joyful noise?”
Practice your verse, then turn on some music, get an instrument or two, and have a dance party!

There may be times when you just can’t muster up something joyful. In those moments, maybe mom’s advice is best, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’d like to think that’s the start of Psalm 46:10.

Because when there is whining and crying and fussing and gnashing of teeth around my house, I figure I’ve got a choice to make.
And as I see it, there’s two good choices:

Come before him with joyful songs.
OR
Be still.

because you see, either one ends with “Know that the LORD is God.”
And either one is still a beautiful song.

So, whether it’s loud or quiet, sing it for Him. He can take all our woes on himself, and turn them into glorious music.

Now, that’s music to this disco momma’s ears.
So this week, why not try “…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20 by Sundee McDonald

~~~

A bonus track -
What I know is that I can learn music lyrics without even trying.
And, I can learn words set to music way faster than trying memorize anything on my own. So, man, does it make sense to combine two of my passions in music and learning God’s word!

I wanted to share with you some of our favorite verses set to music. And I hope you’ll share yours right back.
Seeds Family Worship cds have become some of our very favorites. I find myself singing them all the time. Even when my boys aren’t in the car, I leave it on. Why just this morning, I woke up at 5:30 (thinking it was 6:30) singing 2 Corinthians 5:17 as a way to motivate myself for day 25 of quiet time.
Deliberate Kids – great, hip, high energy music we love to get our groove on
Starting Blocks memory verses – simple and beautiful, and right along with the Playbook
Hide Em in Your Heart – timeless
Cedarmont Kids – just sweet stuff