9 Characteristics of Wise Parenting

Six years ago, we were newly married, starting our journey together as husband and wife.  We weren’t even pregnant yet.  We decided we would go through the book of James together.  My husband memorized it. I prayed it daily for him, myself, us, and our future.  We entered into our marriage with difficult relationships around us.  We needed wisdom for how to navigate these relationships and for how to head into our future together.  James was a perfect book to study through as newlyweds.

Today, our boys are five and four.  And I’m going through the book of James again with a small group of women.  I need these verses and the Lord’s voice to enter in to my parenting and give me great wisdom as to how to parent these two little boys.  With the Lord’s help, not the world’s wisdom, we can parent well.

He has promised to help us.  He has promised to give wisdom to those who ask.  He has also given us His Word.  This is how the Lord defines wisdom from above.  How can we have parenting that is wise – with His wisdom.  The following is from James 3.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is pure.  It is not bought or coerced.  It is done with pure motives.  It is without error.  This is why we need Jesus in our parenting.  We are not perfect.  We will always fail in our parenting. Our boys do not ultimately need us – they need Jesus.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is peaceable.  Where we don’t raise our voices or cut off our children because we are doing something and they are interrupting.  We seek to bring peace (not fairness) to our children’s lives when they are interacting with each other.  I seek to appease and pacify, but I find it truly difficult to bring peace in our home.  That is why our sons need Jesus – He is our Prince of Peace.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is gentle.  Amazingly I find this difficult unless I’m showing affection.  I get irritable because I’m being interrupted.  I am not gentle if they are doing something wrong.  I need a Gentle Shepherd to shepherd my heart so I can in turn shepherd my children’s hearts.

(Parenting) wisdom is open to reason.  This is getting easier for me, by the grace of God.  Open to reason in parenting is (I think) being willing to hear help from others.  These tips and help may come from my husband, my friends, my pediatrician, books I’m reading, etc.  Find those moms and dads who are (generally) ahead of you in the parenting game and seek them to pour into your life as a parent.  Watch them.  Learn from them.  And that is why we need Jesus, He is all-wise and the perfect teacher.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of mercy.  Isn’t God so rich in mercy!  I love it.  I apply this to some discipline.  And hear me out – this does not mean never disciplining your children when they have disobeyed.  This means walking in step with the Savior who showed you great mercy and plead with them to know how to interact with your children at all times.  They may have done something wrong.  And the best way to show them Jesus in that particular moment is by talking to them about Jesus – not giving them a timeout or spanking.  Jesus is lavish in mercy to us!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of good fruits.  Abundantly pouring out in good fruits.  This is an opportunity for you to encourage your kids.  One saying we use in our our is “God is helping you become more…”  We don’t want to tell our kids that they are acting better to focus on their good works.  We want to help them realize that everything good in them is from God.  And to not wait for the big things they do, but be encouraging them in the times you see any kind of good fruit – even a little bud.  And Jesus helps us bear fruit if we abide in Him!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is impartial . See the pure paragraph above.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is sincere.  It is hard to be a mom.  Even those who love being a mom every moment find some moments hard.  But, let us sincerely think about Jesus has called us to.  To shape little hearts and minds.  To point them to Christ.  To grow little boys into men who will one day shape the world around them.  Jesus sincerely came to this world to save us.

(Parenting) wisdom from above will reap a harvest.  We can definitely know that God will bless efforts to shepherd our children and reward us.  It is a promise.  And he is faithful.

One tool I’ve found in helping me pass on wisdom to my children – and hope in the Gospel – is Pass it On by Champ Thornton.  It is a Bible study on Proverbs, with a great introduction to the book, commentary some, focusing on the Gospel (how Jesus fulfills wisdom).  But it is also a journal for you to fill out and pass along your thoughts to your children.  I’ve started doing this for my sons.  It could be used once a week, 30 minutes, and it would take you less than a year for each kid.  What a treasure it would be for your children.

Pass It On was given to me by Litfuse.  All thoughts are my own.

 

Friday Nights In

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One of the things I love most about my relationship with my husband is couch time.  Yup – we just like to sit together and have a drink or a snack, watch some Netflix, read a book, watch a movie, eat tacos.  Whatever we can do from the couch.

When we first got married, and even during the short time we were dating, we would go out.  We wanted to be in public places where we could protect ourselves from being alone.  We had a spots at Washington Duke Country Club, Starbucks, or friends’ homes.  We enjoyed traveling to see family, or hitting the beach on our days off.

But, now, with two kids who have early bedtimes, babysitters hard to find and expensive, we would much rather just stay home.

And the other thing we love is Popcorn. Yup – you heard me.  Popcorn.  We usually make it ourselves with cracked pepper and jerk seasoning.  Or some m&ms and/or sharp cheddar.  It makes for a light dinner or a late night snack.

And when its cozy outside, put a log on the fire, get some apple cider moscow mules, and some Skinny Pop (thanks to my friend Becky for introducing me to it).  Its easy and fresh and just open the bag – its great when there isn’t any energy left after a hard parenting day – or week – or month.  It makes for a glorious and cheap evening.  We don’t even need any babysitters.

How do you enjoy date nights with your spouse – that don’t cost a lot of money?  We are always looking for date nights.

 

Lavish Hospitality 15

We are halfway there.  Thanks so much for reading.  Can’t wait to finish out the month with yall.

Since becoming a mom, I think I’ve cooked less and less. I prefer simple meals or take out or Publix rotisserie chickens.  I’m tried throughout the day.  When my husband is home I want to do other things other than just stand in the kitchen and crank out a week’s worth of food.

I know cooking is healthier and easier on the budget for the family – but goodness, tough to get in the kitchen and do.  Especially when half of my people around the table may not even eat it.

But, part of my responsibility (in our family) is to cook and make sure we have food to eat.  My mister will cook but he is usually at work until dinner time, but he always gets up with the boys and gets them breakfast.  I’m extremely blessed – also, with a nearby Publix or Trader Joes.

So, how do I welcome my misters with food?  I thought I would be a wife and a mom who always had a homecooked meal on the table.  Usually I was that kind of wife, but I’m not that type of mom.  I mean, we eat every night.  But only a few days a week is it a fresh homecooked meal.

Here are my tips:

Little Caesars Pizza.

Publix: bagged salad mixes, chicken tenders or rotisserie from the deli.

Dollar menu items.

Bagged veggies with sweet potatoes

Instant Pot

Crock Pot

A local food delivery or pick up service (we found a local place that has freezer meals on hand you can pick up.  And a friend of mine does this as well).

Cereal.

Eggs, fruit, grits

Trader Joes freezer section.

Hope these items help you offer hospitality to your family by getting food on the table.  What are your quick go-to food helps?

Quote from Karen Ehman A Life That Says Welcome

 

Lavish Hospitality 13

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I don’t think I really knew much of pain until after midway through college.

And then it has been full force since then.

The agonizing words of a friend over my appearance and the fact that I was never going to get married.

The words of a man that questioned so much of my future.

The pain of hearing lies.

The loss of a relationship.

The bitterness of my own sin.  Time and time again.

Sting of another betrayal.

Being met with judgment and not grace.

Loss of so many friendships – all at once.

And then to have to start to build relationships again.  And again.

At 40 it is tough to build relationships with new people.  Mommy friends.  Couple friends.  You know, every one has their own set of friends with not much room for new people.  And remembering the hurt of past relationships doesn’t make you too eager to put yourself out there again.

But, that’s what Lavish Hospitality does.  Jesus was hurt more than we could ever imagine.  I can’t fathom that.  And I’ve not been hurt near as much as some.  But, Christ took that pain – all of it – and died for it – then defeated death so we wouldn’t have to agonize over the pain any more.

We could feel again.  We could love again.  We could have broken relationships restored.  Because of Christ’s lavish hospitality on us.

Quote taken from Ashleigh Slater’s Braving Sorrow Together.

Lavish Hospitality: 2

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“I gradually began to understand more fully that he was not a problem to be addressed, not the sum of his behavioral performance.  His worth to God was not about his ability to fulfill other people’s expectations or act according to accepted norms.  Instead he was a beloved child of the Father with a specific role to play in God’s ongoing story of redemption.”

Sally ClarksonDifferent

 

The Fall is a special time for our family.  We celebrate two birthdays and a wedding anniversary within 3 weeks time.

To say that I thrive in parenting would be far from the truth.  I have to tell myself everyday who I am in God’s sight, how He has equipped me to parent the exact boys I’ve been wonderfully given, and how I’m not like all the other moms out there.

When we compare our momselves to other moms – we are not lavishing hospitality – welcoming, grace – on ourselves or our children.  When we play the comparison game, get caught in its trap, we do such a disservice to our hearts.  And that in turn, doesn’t allow us to love our children well either.

To show lavish hospitality to our children is welcoming them just as they are.  Not only when they are obedient, or loving, or going to bed on time.  But, I’ve found for me, when I’m stressed about not being a good mom (because I’ve listened to other things besides the Word of God), I take out my unworthiness on my kids.

Let’s show lavish hospitality to ourselves and our children by staying out of the comparison trap!

 

 

 

Sunday Funday

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I’ve not done a fun link post like this one in a while.

Thought I would share with you some fun things I’ve found scattered around for your Sunday Funday!

I love to travel.  One of the places I’ve been wanting to return to (since stopping there for such a short time on a cruise) is Vancouver.

Every year until college I went to the Strawberry Festival in FL.  Since then, I’ve been to just a few of the NC State Fairs and maybe one day I’ll get back into going. The cost keeps going up for them (food, entry, parking, rides) and if you take your kids that’s more expensive, or you have to find babysitters (which would be even more expensive).  I really don’t know how my parents afforded us to do so much stuff when we were growing up!  Here is GA’s – and you never know, we may get there.

In the Fall, we celebrate our sons’ birthdays and our anniversary.  Its a crazy time.  If I could do anything with my mister this year for our anniversary I think it would be to go here.

Eating is the best in the Fall.  Warm and inviting tastes and smells.  Who wouldn’t want to make all of these?

What are some fun things you are looking to this Fall?

Dragon Seed – a review:

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I fell in love with Marty Machowski’s writing for kids, youth, and parents when I was working on designing a curriculum for a church in Raleigh 7 years ago.  And I’m still influenced by how he handles the Gospel to others.  Whether its kids or teens or parents, any body can benefit from his writing.

His use of the Gospel and application and getting to the heart of the matter and correct theology – is all important parts of his writing.

And how hard is sin to explain to teens?  When lives are hard, emotions run deep, friendships are off and on, hormones are raging, parenting relationships can be difficult.  In his new book, Dragon Seed, Marty does a really good job using his sanctified imagination to explain sin, how it cuts us to the core, and how spiritual warfare is a real thing.

The Gospel is so crucial to that and the empty tomb wins though.

This would be a great book for parents to read with their pre-teen sons, I think especially sons.  Maybe a good one for Dads and sons to read together or go on a weekend trip to discuss.

Thanks Litfuse for a chance to read this book.  All opinions are my own.

Full: a review

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Food is definitely one of my loves: and definitely a love language of mine.  Comfort food is definitely a food group – and I love to eat anything I can eat with a spoon.  I love to cook and I love good food. And I love what people think of me when I’m thinner and I hate walking around in shame when I’m heavier.  And its a topic that no one will ever mention in the church because gluttony is not near as bad as pornography or lying.  We live in an odd society.  But, sin is sin and sin is dangerous.

And unfortunately, it has been a difficult love to master all of these years.  I do not remember a time when food: and the power of it, has not played a significant role in my life.

Some things that we love we can do without (especially if they are an idol in our lives).  But, we have to eat to survive.  And then if I’m on a diet I think about food too much, how much I’m consuming and of what – then all I do is think about it.

Catch 22 huh?

Well, Asheritah Ciuciu has tackled this issue and has done it in a winsome, gospel-centered way.  It is encouraging to find a book about food and your heart: not about chemicals, calories, and protein shakes and exercise.

She addresses by her own story, truth of the Word, and effective communication the freedom that we can have in Christ when we bring our need for help in this area to Him.

“The trigger isn’t isn’t bad, but it can derail our efforts to find fullness in God by lulling us into old bad habits.  When facing one of these situations, we have the choice to either turn to food or cry out to God to fill us instead.” 

She talks about triggers (stress, baking for others, shopping), and she talks about our need for the Holy Spirit to be our “Dietician” who can help us more than any diet plan can.

If you have ever had a poor relationship with your heart and food, or know of someone who could use this – please just leave a comment and Side Door Communications is giving one away to one of you.  And they sent me my book for reviewing, all opinions are my own.

Hello March Goals

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March is here.  March has some hard memories in it for me, but also some wonderful celebrations.  Here are some of my goals for the month that holds time change and season change.

Creative Goals: I have many book reviews coming up and I’ll be blogging some creative events and photo sessions too. I’ve got an infant photo shoot, and possibly some more creatives shoots to show you soon.  I’m working on a big wedding invitation order right now and I’ll get to set up my “office” (our hutch in our dining room) now that we’ve moved into an apartment.  And I’ll get to create (make order from chaos) from all of our boxes, setting up neat little areas in our home.

Health Goals: Not gain weight.  I’ve done very good at that since last January – and I need to see a downward spiral happen!  For that, I will be drinking more water, eating more whole foods (we moved, so I’m still getting my kitchen organized), and drinking fewer diet drinks.  I’m thankful for getting to try Blue Apron meals next week – that will make cooking dinner easier and give me and the mister special meals at night once the boys are in bed.

Reading: I’m currently diving into three things: Words Worth Noting Lent Study, You Are Free by Rebekah Lyons, and Adorned by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth.

Family: We just moved, so my in-laws are coming soon which is always so good because they are such servants and they get to play with their grandsons.  And that means the mister and I will get free babysitting for a date night, and I want to take time to read to my older son at bedtime when my mister is home at night because I’ve been having to spend more time with my younger and by the time I’m done the older is asleep. And keep going with our taco nights.  I love those.  Even if Sundays are hard, we usually regroup and enjoy couch and taco time.

Spiritual: Journal more.  That is something that is super helpful. Not only for me but also for my sons.  And I’m working through the Lent study.  Wanting, and needing, more time in the Word.  For my heart.  For my marriage.  For my boys.

What are your goals for March?

And yall – how do you say no to good things so you can say yes to best things?  You need things that fill you up and allow you to give.  How do you do both?  This lovely shiny print is one that I won from The Brumby Nest.  You know me and my love of stationery, so head over and check them out.  I won it through a Flourish&Co giveaway on instagram.  Yall should check her out too – full of grace and encouragement!

Little Things on Valentine’s Day

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So many years I was single.  Valentine’s Day wasn’t fun.  Back then nobody was really doing Galentine’s Day.

Then I started enjoying Valentine’s Day by loving on the married women in my life.  Just sharing with them how they had impacted me.

Then I got married.  Valentine’s Day is fun – and never going out is a key to that!  We do low-key – which is so good!

Then, I started doing special things for my girls that I had discipled over the years, married or single.  Just to share with them that I love them and am so thankful for them!

This year, I wanted to do something with our boys.  Just love on women who impacts our lives on a daily basis.  So, this morning, Trader Joe’s had single roses for 1$.  We bought 4.

One went to one of the ladies at Trader Joes who loves on us every Monday and has for almost 3 years.

The second one went to my son’s afternoon bus driver.

The third and fourth went to the girl who has been serving in the kid’s club at the healthy gym I go to in the afternoons.  My boys definitely give her the right to get roses.

When we gave them the roses – all of them were so surprised.  Its just little things yall.  Live in the little things. Love on people.  It took 4$ to make 3 peoples’ days.  I always want to teach my boys to love on others in little and big ways!