Thursday, July 30, 2015

For the Men

Cherishing a wife, and letting her know she is cherished, requires constant expressions of love and devotion.
Bob Lepine

He was young, this man-child with his mother-cut wavy hair and beautiful hands.

The one whose eyes collided with mine in choir before I was dating age.

The one God blessed with music in his soul, and a love of people in his heart.

The same one who articulates clearly, loves the detail, and uses more words each day than the average woman.

The young one who waited for me to grow up, writing daily letters for three years.

The one who promised to cherish me when he was too young to know what he was promising.

It is this word “cherish” that has been playing in my mind.

This word that means to hold someone dear, to protect and care for someone lovingly.

This man knows well what it means – and lives it daily:

The goblet of tea delivered in the morning.

The breakfast cooked every morning so I can begin my writing.

The ice packs, heating pads, and prayers for pain relief.

The indulgence of my book habit and all things leather.

The written letters instead of store-bought cards that just don’t say the right thing.

You see cherishing comes in all sizes and packages.

It could be buying your wife a Corvette just because her younger self loved them.

Or it could be taking your wife of sixty years to her favorite mall even though she could only walk to a couple stores.

It could be buying your wife a grandchild-adorned phone case without her saying she wanted one – just because you know it would be treasured.

It’s taking time to hold hands, leaving a note by the coffee maker, and cleaning house while your wife is working.

Cherishing is what makes a ho-hum marriage into one shining with joy – even if outward circumstances weigh you down.

It’s the going beyond when it’s the last thing you want to do; searching for the perfect gift, being romantic, getting up when you want to rest, searching for legal treats for your diabetic wife and picking up dinner when she had a harried day.

It’s a vow made in front of God. It’s thalpo – a continual cherishing. It’s watching and listening; the chiseling off of selfishness. It’s the gift of quiet time, a Starbucks evening for Bible Study, a bouquet of flowers cut from the garden, or a ladies retreat. 

The “I love yous” are important. Providing for her needs is necessary. Mowing the lawn and washing the car needful. But cherishing -- that’s the stuff that covers your wife like a warm blanket and makes her heart smile.

Embrace the word, decide what it looks like in your marriage, and ask God to give you a desire to cherish the woman He gave you. I think you’ll be surprised with joy!

What does cherish look like to you?
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Holy Ground

In His presence I know there is joy beyond all measure, 
And at His feet sweet peace of mind can still be found. 
For when we have a need He is still the answer, 
Reach out and claim it for we are standing on holy ground.

We are standing on holy ground,
For I know that there are angels all around. 
Let us praise Jesus now,
For we are standing in His presence on holy ground,
Bill Gaither 

I stand in the office, shoeless and hesitant, hearing the voice of Moses' God. "This is your burning bush. The words you type will lead my people from their Egypt -- from their despondency, discouragement, disappointment and disillusion."

I look away from the keys, this instrument of writing that God made holy ground. Lately the words are stuck, thousands of words emptied into the trash, half-worked-out ideas filling discarded notebooks. I've been in the backside of the desert studying.

"My people are suffering," God said. "Babies are killed, children are abused, and teens are mixed up in satanic endeavors. Marriages are crumbling and euthanasia is shadowing seniors. I want to bring them out of their oppression into the land of encouragement -- a place where the promises of my Word flow freely, the Joy of the Lord strengthens, and the anticipation of Heaven will shine."

My "Who am I" barely leaves my mouth until I am assured, "I will be with you." Yet, I am not done protesting. "Who will I say you are? It is with the "I am that I am" -- the reminder that God has been and always will be -- that I embrace the task. With His "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

And so I sit, feeling the yoke of God's appointment; knowing that His yoke is easy -- that it is light. Knowing that God will move these fingers once again. I'm trembling with anticipation, and want nothing more than to sit with you under the sheltering tree, to speak grace, enfolding my words in a blanket of the Holy Spirit's comfort, urging you to rest in the SONshine of God's peace. 

Let's join hands and dance shoeless around the Sheltering Tree -- claiming our holy ground!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Good Girls Bully Too

By their indifference to abuse, bullying, and harassment, parents, teachers, and employers send additional, subtle messages often written between the lines: You must also endure whatever comes with the package. It happens. Life is tough. Kids will be kids.
Frank Peretti

This is the post I never wanted to write. Each time I think of it, I'm shamed from my head to my toes, my heart aches and fills with acid shamefulness.

It was grade school. I've never thought of myself as a mean child. My mother was the epitome of kindness. I should have been. The incident resides in the forefront of my mind in vivid detail. One of my classmates brought pickled pigs feet in her lunch. To a fourth or fifth grade me, that was funny. Who eats those (obviously many do since most grocery stores carry them)? Even though the setting was a private Christian school, and our class was small, the chorus of teasing began in unison and went far beyond acceptable.

I wonder how she felt. Did she tell her parents or did she keep her pain so far hidden it has remained through the decades and wounds her every time it surfaces? If anyone would have asked my mother if I was a bully, I'm sure she would have said no. But that day? I was. 

Incidents such as these comprise why I think it's so important to have conversations with your children about bullying. Conversation can reveal if your child is bullying or if they are being bullied.

  • Does your child know what bullying is?

A bully's behavior hurts, humiliates, or harms another person physically or emotionally.
  • Make time each day (the supper table or riding in the car) where everyone shares one good thing and one hard thing that occurred in their day. 

  • Share national and local news about treating others with respect and kindness or neglecting to do so. Great conversation starter. 

  • Discuss how to get help when your child witnesses a bullying incident. 
Make sure your child knows it's acceptable to get help or tell a person in authority. Read Isaiah 1:17: Go to bat for the defenseless.

  • Establish an open social media rule. Check to make sure your child is using cyberspace relationships with respect and that others are respecting them.

  • Watch for symptoms that alert you that your child is being bullied. 

Anxiety, depression, sudden desire to stay home from school, falling grades
  • Explain how gossip can also be a form of bullying 

Gossip is true, partially true, or not true at all. Yet, it's still wrong if it's negative and unkind. It's usually personal and shocking.
  • Don't permit your children to call names, ridicule, taunt, intimidate, violate or tease excessively or physically hurt each other.

  • Memorize this verse together: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

  • Use Biblical examples of bullying.
  1. Goliath laughed and poked fun at David. 
  2. Joseph's brothers bullied him because of their jealousy. 
  3. Jesus was bullied by the religious leaders. 

Many define bullying as ongoing instead of 
a one-time action. I believe any unkind action, however often, is a form of bullying. It is our responsibility to educate our children on a daily basis. Before you say, "not my child" remember, the good girl can bully -- and carry the shame for life.

Free Printable/Choose Your Bully Topic: Child's Journal Sheet

Friday, July 24, 2015

Children Journaling: Free Printable to Journal about Bullying

Let your child/student choose their topic. Download here: In My Journal: Bullying

Page 2
Did you journal as a child?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Your Child a Bully?

Sheltering Through Kindness (Fill A Bucket)

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. ~Mother Teresa

November 9-13 is World Kindness Week. One of character traits I was most passionate about teaching my girls was kindness. When I see young children acting in an unkind manner it makes me sad --unkind children grow up to be unkind adults.

With school beginning soon, this would be a good time to discuss bullying with your children. According to a study by the National Center for Educational Statistics (2015), one out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year.

The best way to teach kindness is to model it. With small children it's also good to find ways to reward their kind behaviour. I recently came across this delightful book by Carold McCloud. Fill a Bucket: A daily dose to happiness for a young child. The bucket filling is a metaphor for kind behavior--both given and received. Be prepared to hear "The Bucket Song" over and over! 

Why not purchase one for a friend's child? Many times purchasing extras like books are last in line for parents raising a family. When I give a child a gift it frequently involves a book.

Fill a Bucket is for ages 4-8, although I feel a younger child would enjoy it, too. The author has written another title, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? for older children. These book are $9.99, (paperback $8.99) which seemed a bit high to me. But I can rationalize my way all around book purchases. So think of it as a learning tool, or that it's fostering a love of books. I'm gifting mine to my grandchildren, and that's the best rationalization there is!

Gift the book with a small bucket--(Target Hot Spot sometimes carries these). 

Print and cut out the hearts and stars from the printable below. On a tag write these instructions: When you are kind to someone, write their name on a star--because you're a star. When someone is kind to you, write their name on a heart-- kindness makes your heart smile. I added a name/Scripture verse tag, too.

A book all parents and teachers should read is Frank Peretti's "The Wounded Spirit." It will help you to be more aware of the symptoms of the bullying and unkind actions of school age children. I heard Peretti speak on this topic and what he endured at school was only tolerable because of loving parents and the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. Not all children have this strong support system.  

Willy Davis said, "If you step on people in this life, you're going to come back as a cockroach." While that's not how we would train our children to be kind, we need to to not only teach them, Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but how that looks in 2015. Let's train the next generation to be kind. Being proactive now will prevent wounded spirits later.  

Download here: Kindness Bucket Stars and Hearts

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Free Printables to Teach Scripture to Your Children

One day I was wondering if all of my teaching efforts were paying off. Did they really understand? Was I doing it right?When my son came up to me after one of our Bible studies and proclaimed, "God is so fun!" I knew I was on the right track.  Lynne Thompson. 

These were created to go along with the post, "Of Promises and Storms.


(Click to download and print)

7 Ways to Teach Scriptures to Children  
(Click to download and print)

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Soli Deo Gloria