Noticing, A Simple Visual of God’s Love, & Contentment

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Noticing

My mind was spinning as I thought of our hectic schedule with sports, activities, and school.

As I prayed, I remembered Jesus’ words: “Give us TODAY our DAILY bread.”

I want to notice

the praying mantis on the rock,

the funny thing my son said I might have overlooked,

the stellar handstand my daughter did when she repeatedly asked, “Watch!”.

This is what happens when we are in this day; this moment; this memory.

We don’t miss it. We slow down. We see it.

I asked the Lord to help me be in today. To just give me what I need today. To help me SEE today. To really see it.

The spinning of a million things loosened, and I could breathe.

I felt time slow down.

None of us are promised tomorrow.

But we do have a choice to live in today.

I want to do that.

I don’t want to miss the cool praying mantis trying to camaflouge himself on the rock, I don’t want to miss my son’s funny saying, my daughter’s handstand, my other daughter’s cool creation, or the little things I love about my husband.

I see so many more things when I open my eyes to today and close them to tomorrow.

Lord, help us not to miss it. Help us see the wonder of today. The wonder of You. Please give us today our daily bread so we can slow down, notice, and really live today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


A Simple Illustration of God’s Love

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I remember being shown this when I was a kid and it has always stuck with me.

In the picture on the left, God’s hand grips us tight. No matter what. Even when we mess up (shown by the other hand coming loose). When we mess up and when we don’t mess up (represented by the picture on the right), God is ALWAYS with us- he never leaves us.

This is a simple way to show our kids (and us) that nothing can get in the way of God’s love for us.

Better said in Romans 8:39: “Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen.


Contentment

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Ecclesiastes 7 spoke so much this morning. Verse 10 reminds me to be content in the now. Jesus, help us do this.

Help us follow your words in verses 8 and 9 too. When our spirits feel provoked, please settle them as we focus on you.

When our minds laser in on every issue, it dismantles us, but Lord, when our minds are steadfast on you, our Rock, it brings us peace.

Please be our peace. Where there is anxiety, replace it with your presence and calmness. Where there is anger and pride, settle it with your peace and humility. Where there is confusion, replace it with a clear focus on You. When we are too serious about everything, replace it with laughter and joy. Where we have preoccupation with ourselves, please replace it with a heart to love you and others. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.


 

 

Consequences, What Matters, & Some of the Best Words to Tell Our Kids…

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When my natural reaction is to ignore my kids’ bad behavior and pretend it’s not happening, these words in Proverbs make me want to step it up with the role of Mama that the Lord has given me.

When I teach in school and also parent our triplets, I am big on believing in each child, being FOR them, and wanting to see them succeed.

But, one thing I have learned is that consequences work far better than constant reminders. Children remember consequences. They empower kids to change their behavior.

I don’t think that means we should constantly be throwing out consequences. I think some reminders are great and offer grace. Lord knows I need reminders.

But, if we get to the point where we want to pull our hair out from the continuous reminders or our kids get to the point where they don’t do something unless they’re reminded, something needs to change.

Maybe we can come up with a reward system if it’s a behavior that needs to be practiced (I’m all about positive reinforcement). See my post about a reward system that worked for my kids helping with their dishes, vacuuming, and washing the table after meals without being reminded: https://linseydriskill.com/2019/10/13/idea-to-motivate-helping-out-fun-beautiful-hearted-parenting-%EF%B8%8F/)

If it’s a sassy or disrespectful attitude that’s happening, giving reminders of what’s acceptable and doing devotionals about the topic at a later time are great tools to use.

But if it keeps happening, consequences give children motivation to change their behavior.

The consequence will be different for each child based on age and personality. But some I think are helpful are spending some time in their room to calm down, time outs for younger children, taking away a toy or other important thing from them for a time period, or cancelling an event they were looking forward to.

My preference would be for positive reinforcement, but consequences have their place. They do take more time and energy on the on-set, but they sure pay off later.

You got this. We got this.

Lord, as we parent, give us wisdom in giving consequences, reminders, and simply in parenting. Help us not be entangled by details, but to look to you to lead us. Remind us as we raise our children that love matters most. In Jesus’ name, amen. ❤️

 


 

fullsizeoutput_85e3When my kids were little, I used to sing to each of them, “I love, (their name), yes I do. I love you because you’re you.” Now that they’re older, that song doesn’t fly too often 😂 so from time to time, I ask them, “Do you know why I love you?” And, I tell them, “I love you because you’re you.”

It reminds me of these words by Christian author and counselor, Sissy Goff: “The very best thing you can offer a child or teenager is simply to enjoy them. Kids who feel enjoyed are more prone to listen, to respond, and to begin to feel there could be something enjoyable about themselves.”

Let’s help our children feel secure in our love so they can better grow in confidence. And, so they simply know that we love them. ❤️


 

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After our triplets were born at 29 weeks and 2.5 pounds, we went through some traumatic times with our son and one of our daughters having life-threatening infections.

They had TONS of antibiotics. We had no other choice. They later went on to have intestinal surgeries.

When they were sick in the NICU, I couldn’t do all I wanted as a mom. I couldn’t hold them when I wanted to, offer “skin-to-skin”, or do so many other things that researchers say are key to development.

Our now eight-year-olds are thriving, and I am so grateful to the Lord. But, it reminded me that I need to check myself. We need to check ourselves.

What are we consuming our minds with in parenting? What are we spending our time obsessing or worrying about?

What am I worrying about?

Some parenting decisions are ones we do need to take time to decide on. And, some of us are passionate about different strategies and opinions. All that is fine.

But, at the end of the day, are we consumed by them? Are we obsessing and worrying about them?

When I’m in that mode, my husband reminds me to relax. To not laser in on such details. In the bigger picture, they just don’t matter.

My mind can get consumed with LITTLE things in the here and now, when the Lord beckons us to the eternal. To his kingdom. To things above.

There is so much more to our time here.

There is so much more to this life than analyzing and overanalyzing.

There’s so much more than being consumed with self.

The Lord wants us to look beyond ourselves.

He wants us to remember what matters: Love. Love. Love.

Lord, may our hearts be drawn to you. May we ache for what aches your heart. May we not obsess about getting little decisions right in raising our kids, but pour ourselves into loving you with all our heart and loving those around us – caring mostly about becoming selfless, letting go, following you, and being more like you. Jesus, make us more like you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Set your hearts on things above.” Colossians 3:3

 

Idea to Motivate Helping Out, Fun, & Beautiful Hearted Parenting ❤️

I was so tired of constantly reminding my kids after meals to fill their water bottles up, clear their dishes, and do their jobs, so I came up with this incentive chart.

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It’s worked wonders.

We’ve been doing it several weeks and just about every single meal, all three of them jump up to put their dishes in the dishwasher, fill their water bottles up, and vacuum, wash or clear the table, and help out with whatever other needs there are without being asked.

This is how it works:

  • After a meal, if they fill their water up and put their dishes in the dish washer, they get to “clip up”- move their clip up once. If they forget to, they have to “clip down”- move their clip down once.
  • If they find a need around mealtime and help out without being asked, whether they set the table, wipe the table afterward, sweep or vacuum, they get to “clip up.”
  • I counted by 2’s on the chart and it goes up to 60. Your numbers can signify anything – whatever would be motivating to your child.
  • For us, the numbers on the chart represent minutes for computer time on the weekend. We don’t usually do electronics during the week, so this is a treat for them. The most they can earn on a weekend is an hour. You can do more or less minutes- whatever works for you.

You need to adjust it based on what works for your family, but after doing this two weeks, my son who used to constantly forgot to clear his plate, has been remembering every meal and going above and beyond to help out.

I used to assign a job for each kid such as setting the table, clearing the table, etc., but I like the idea of teaching them to see a need and jumping into help, so this is what we have been doing. We’ll probably go back to assigning jobs at some point, but this is working great right now.

We won’t do this chart forever, but it’s offered wonderful and positive reinforcement to begin good habits that will hopefully carry on.

As humans, I think we all respond well to a little positive reinforcement, and I’d much rather do something like this than nagging reminders or constant consequences.

Give it a try and share it with another mama.

We’re all in this together: raising these little miracles. Thank you, Lord.


 

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Change up the monotony & normal routine for your kiddos.

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Yesterday before school at 6:45am, I threw some towels on the ground and we had a “campfire breakfast by lantern.” 😂

So simple, but the kids loved it. And, simple clean up – I loved that.

It can change the whole mood of the morning by throwing a twist in it. Share some of your fun ideas below.

Let’s bring some fun, silliness, & spontaneity to parenthood. 😊


 

Being Brave, En-JOY-ing our Children, & Celebrating

 

IMG_5867My daughter was afraid to go to school after being sick for a few days. She had been gagging from all the congestion, and was afraid it would happen there. But when Wednesday rolled around, she was much better so I told her it was time to return to school. Through tears, she let me know that she. did. not. want. to. go. 

I told her that being brave doesn’t mean your not scared. It means moving forward even when you’re afraid, trusting the Lord is with you and has gone ahead of you. 

I shared about how in the book of Judges, Deborah rose up to lead her people, believing the Lord went ahead of her, even though she was probably afraid. And, the Lord delivered them.

Bravery comes from taking that step forward and trusting in the Lord, even in the face of fear.

When she came home from school, she let me know there was only one time she didn’t feel well, but that she got through it. She ended up having a great day and experienced the bravery that was within her when she trusted in the Lord.

Let’s also take that next step, stomp out fear, and let our confidence in the Lord overcome it.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8


IMG_4868En-JOY-ing our Children…

Let’s not get so distracted with To-Do lists that we miss the joy of our children.

The joy that comes with en-joy-ing them.

Even in the busy, let’s spend time “doing life” with them. Having them “help” us with our To-Do lists, “help” us make dinner, “help” us fold laundry, “help” us with some work so they have a peek into what we do.

And, let’s not forget the simple things, like making forts with our kids, crawling inside, jumping on the trampoline, playing “kick the can”, laughing, being silly, just being. Together.
❤️
“Waste some time with your kids. Those are the moments that become the best memories.” -Her View From Home.


 

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We all have a lot going on in our lives and so did God when he created the world, but he still stopped and celebrated.

He noticed the good. In Genesis 1, God would create something and then the Scriptures say five times that, “God saw it was good.”

Do you see it? Do you notice the good going on around you? In your life? In your spouse? In your children? In your friends? In you?

Take a second to notice and celebrate it.

 

Encouraging Gratitude & Not Worrying

My article published by For Every Mom, “How to Encourage Gratitude in Our Children”:

img_1392.jpgIsn’t it easy to feel entitled and frustrated when we don’t get our way? How can we combat that attitude with our children and ourselves?

Through Scripture, stories, and praying.

The other day when I walked into my eight-year-old daughter’s bedroom, she was fuming in frustration because “nothing” was going her way.

Her closest friend in school sat just two desks away, yet she spoke about the kid next to her being rude, another kid being mean, and now, for the life of her, she couldn’t get the rubber band around her ponytail just the way she wanted to. A true emergency. I could see smoke coming from her ears. Almost.

I had noticed a trend.

While I want to hear about the bad and good happening in her life, lately, I noticed one complaint after another, blooming grumpiness and ungratefulness.

I sat on my daughter’s bed, tears swelling her eyes. I told her how frustration and anger don’t help, but just make us miserable – to try to focus on giving thanks instead.

But she desperately said, “I can’t help it! I just get so frustrated and mad. I’m so bad at this.”

In that moment, I saw her hurt. I needed to quit preaching and just connect with her.

My mind wandered to Tedd Tripp’s advice at a parenting conference.

He said that when correcting our kids, to get on their level, and let them know that we’re working on the same things – that we are in this together.

So, I looked into her tear-swollen eyes and told her I struggle with the same thing. My daughter looked up at me. She was listening.

I told her that it’s easy for me to complain and pout when I don’t get my way too, but there’s a verse that helps me with that: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

We had already memorized this verse, so she was familiar with it.

I shared that when my mind jumps to self-pity, I try to thank the Lord for something instead and it changes my mind and heart.

He changes my mind and heart.

I know there is power in telling stories as Jesus did, so I shared a story with my daughter of a woman who also dealt with the issue of giving thanks. Corrie ten Boom.

This is what I told her…

Corrie ten Boom was a woman who loved Jesus. She bravely hid Jews because Hitler was trying to hurt them. And, Corrie was put in a prison camp because of it.

The soldiers took away each person’s belongings, including their Bibles. Miraculously, they never found Corrie’s Bible. Corrie slept on a flea-infested mattress, crammed with several other women, including her sister, Betsie.

Feeling hunger pains and fleas biting them, you would think they complained. But, instead, Betsie told Corrie about a verse that came to her mind.

All those years ago, the same verse we read, they also read: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Corrie asked her sister what on earth they could give thanks for. Betsie said she was thankful that the Lord allowed her to be with her sister in the prison camp when they could have been separated. Then, she thanked God for the fleas. Can you believe that?

Corrie told her sister that she could never give thanks for the fleas. But Betsie told Corrie they had to because it’s God’s will to give thanks in all circumstances.

So, they gave thanks for the fleas.

You know what happened because of those fleas? The soldiers wouldn’t come into the barracks where they stayed. Because of that, Corrie and Betsie were able to have Bible studies and share their hope of Jesus during a tough time.

None of that would have happened if the fleas hadn’t been there.

It’s a choice, I told my daughter. It’s a choice to give thanks always. We talked about replacing frustration and anger with this phrase: Thank you, Lord, for _______. 

And, we talked about how we are in this together.

I drew her close and we prayed together. We gave thanks to the Lord and asked him to help us have grateful hearts.

I wiped my daughter’s wet cheeks, hugged her, and gave her some time to herself. After five minutes, she walked out of her room with a smile and joyful heart.

It’s a process for all of us – to walk the higher road of giving thanks always.

To walk the higher road of raising children who choose gratefulness over entitlement.

To walk the higher road of following Jesus.

But when we choose the higher road, we experience the full life that Jesus came to give us.

Originally published by For Every Mom: How to Encourage Gratitude in our Children 


 

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Article Published with Focus on the Family, a Craft, & a Quick Tip. ❤️

Article published with Focus on the Family:

My guest post article on Focus on the Family’s, DalyFocus: Pressing on Through Rejection


A Craft & Teaching Our Kids About Jesus

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It’s so important to talk about Jesus with our kids when they’re little, but it’s also never too late to start. When we share the truth of Jesus with them as they grow up, their foundation will grow stronger. (See activity below to set this truth in their hearts) 

At 6-years-old, our kiddos starting hearing about different religions in their public school. We don’t need to be afraid of them learning and gaining understanding as long as we are also sharing the truth of Jesus with them in our homes (of course every child is different and can handle different things so you need to figure that out for your own kids). 

If we shelter our kids and never talk about the realities of the world, they might be shocked by the world around them when they get older. 

But our children’s foundation will be stronger if we talk about it and share that, “Other kids might believe differently than us, but our family believes in Jesus and he calls us to be a light for him and to love all people.” We tell our kids over and over, if anything makes you feel uncomfortable or if you don’t understand it, tell us and we can talk about it.

This Bible story in Matthew is a great one that echoes the truth about building your foundation on Jesus:

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the Rock. 

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:24-29)

*Bring this story to life: Create a tiny house with your kids made of whatever you have around your house: shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, etc. Pour water on a foundation/hill of sand without the house on it. See what happens (we made a hill of dirt bc that’s what we had). Talk about what would’ve happened to the house if it were sitting there when the “rain came.”

Then put the house on a big rock and pour water just on the rock foundation. Talk about what happened to it. The house is fine because it was on a strong rock. It didn’t move. 

When we build our life on Jesus and have faith in him, he is our Rock, he doesn’t move, and we can stand strong in him.

*Daniel 3 is another powerful and exciting story that talks about choosing God and following him no matter what. My kids loved it and it really inspired them.*

{For more on faith & parenting, join me at LinseyDriskill.com}


 A Quick Tip:

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It can be easy to want our kids to meet all our expectations without communicating them to our kids.

But, if we take 10 seconds before arriving somewhere to share our expectations, even if it’s the 10th time, it can make a world of difference.

Let’s be FOR our kids, on their team, and give them the best chance at succeeding.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…” 2 Peter 5:2

Lord, thank you for the gift of getting to raise our children. Please give us wisdom as we parent. When we are exhausted and at our wits’ end, give us strength and joy in the simple gift of getting to lead our kids, getting to love them, and getting to be with them. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.


 

 

 

A Call to All Mamas & Encouraging Our Children to go Above & Beyond.

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Let’s keep a running list of how our children go ABOVE AND BEYOND this week. Then, at the end of the week, let’s read it to them and celebrate ways they loved others well to encourage it more.

While it’s disheartening when our children choose selfishness and arguing, isn’t it so refreshing when they choose to go above and beyond with love and kindness?

IMG_5962Yesterday, my son filled up my water bottle for me. It was a small thing, but it was beautiful because I didn’t ask him to. And, this morning, he offered to help his sister make her bed without being asked.

Difficult moments are just natural in parenthood, so when I saw this sweet one, I captured it. My daughter also jumped in to help after seeing him help. His kindness was contagious.

Let’s start with asking our kiddos what they think it means to go above and beyond with loving others and talk about some examples. We can let them know we’ll be on the lookout for those “above and beyond” moments, but that even if we miss some, the Lord doesn’t. He sees it all.

The poor widow is a great story to share on going above and beyond. She gave two small coins – all she had to live on – to the Lord. As Jesus sat across the way watching her, he was so pleased by the love she put into her giving that he actually called his disciples over to him to share the moment with them. (Mark 12:41-44)

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 ❤️