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Sharing in Others’ Joy, As Our Kids Change, & When Things Aren’t Perfect🌷

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This is hard, hard, hard to do.
I remember when I longed to be pregnant, but it seemed it would never happen. Meanwhile, my coworker at the desk next to me was pregnant, my good friends were pregnant, and I was invited to countless baby showers (or so it seemed).
I prayed. I cried. I hoped. I struggled.
It’s painful to hope for something that hasn’t come, while others experience it.
But, it’s more painful to cling to bitterness and jealousy.
Reading the Bible and praying fills our souls with a more genuine response to others’ celebrating things we had hoped for.
It doesn’t mean we won’t struggle. We will, but how do we respond when jealousy mounts? Filling our minds with a certain verse to combat jealousy and envy helps.
Luke 1 tells us that Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, had no children because she was barren and well along in years. I wonder how she felt struggling to be pregnant.
Elizabeth finally did become pregnant and said, “The Lord has done this for me.”
I wonder about the woman who heard of Elizabeth’s news, but couldn’t have a baby. I wonder how she dealt with being on the outskirts watching Elizabeth but longing to be a mother. I wonder about the pain and bitterness that probably filled her soul.
Then I read this…
“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they Shared Her Joy.” (Luke 1:57-58)
Isn’t that beautiful?
To share in the joy of others and celebrate them.
I assume some still struggled with the pain of not realizing their own hopes, but they still shared in her joy and celebrated with her.
What an encouragement for our kids as well. Let’s ask them, “How do you feel when someone gets something you hoped for? How would you feel if someone was mad and didn’t celebrate if you got an award or something you wanted? How can you be happy for your friends when they achieve something? How does that show them the love of Jesus?
It’s a mind and heart shift. A daily one.
As we seek Jesus, he will move our hearts from bitterness and envy to caring more about things above, his kingdom, loving others, loving him…. True Life.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” PV 14:30
“And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
“Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

 


 

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My instinct is to fix it all. Can you relate?

When things aren’t right in my kids’ worlds, I often want to jump in and make it right.

But over time I’ve learned that rescuing usually hurts more than it helps.

As Sissy Goff, Christian author and counselor says, “Rescuing communicates that she needs rescuing…She’s going to have a few problems along the way, and you want her to learn to think for herself and trust in her own strength when those problems arise.”

That builds confidence.

It’s good for our kids to experience the reality of life, even though it’s tough sometimes.

We don’t always need to jump in and fix it.

Sometimes they don’t like their teacher.
Sometimes they don’t get the grade they hoped for.
Sometimes they don’t make the team they hoped to make.
Sometimes the whole class gets in trouble when only two acted wrongly.
Sometimes they have to sit next to a kid in school they don’t want to sit next to.
Sometimes friendships have conflicts.

Sometimes life goes great, and sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s a good thing for our kids to learn the reality that everything doesn’t always go their way.

If our kids can learn to navigate these feelings growing up, they will be more prepared for the real world.

If we don’t shelter our kids from problem-solving and realizing they really can do it, worry will lessen and their confidence will grow.

They will be more prepared for the unseen, the challenges, the uncomfortable, the times when life doesn’t go great.

It’s okay for our kids to sit in the place where things don’t line up perfectly. Let’s ask them questions about how it feels and what they can do about it.

We’ll be sparking in them a beautiful courage that will allow them to walk through life with more peace.

Or maybe there’s nothing they need to do and nothing needs to be “fixed” – they just need to vent and maybe be reminded that it will be okay and seasons don’t last forever.

At the core of all this, among their frustrations, problems, and celebrations, let’s share with our children that God is always there and that regardless of what happens in this world,

we can ALWAYS have hope in Jesus.

He is the constant in our lives.

The One who never changes.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Seek After Him, Opening Our Eyes to Today, Sweet Moments, & a Podcast

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When I was 26 years old and single, the Lord put something on my heart: to move to Guatemala and work at a nonprofit through a program. I would only be there for less than a year.

But before I went, I faced all kinds of pressure not to go.

A friend asked me, “Why would you move to Guatemala? Don’t you want to get married?’

People close to me shared newspaper articles with me about the many kidnappings there.

Before going, I had to read forms (and I think sign, if I remember correctly) that said in case of being kidnapped, the program did not do ransoms because that would only encourage them to happen again.

I had to create a will just in case I didn’t make it.

That was tough. But the thing is,

When the Lord puts something on your heart, there is no better place to be than where he has called you.

I had to push the noise aside because I KNEW the Lord was beckoning me there.

So I went.

Fifteen years later, my time in Guatemala continues to transform my mind and heart. The stories of what I experienced during that short time have been passed down to my kids. And, we hope to visit Guatemala with them sometime soon.

I want them to know how other people in the world really live.
I want them to see the reality of a developing country.
I want them to see the beautiful culture.
I want them to experience the kindness, joy, and simplicity of the people there.

What has the Lord put on your heart to do? It doesn’t have to be “big”.

It might be washing dishes with gratefulness because it means you have a family to wash dishes for.
It might be getting up in the middle of the night for your child with an attitude of love instead of bitterness.
It might mean serving together.
It might mean making a meal with your kids for a neighbor who is in need.
It might mean enjoying that time in the car with your children as you drive them from activity to activity, making the most of it.

What might seem small to us, is actually big in the Lord’s eyes.

Because what is big to him is Love.

When we respond and follow through with what he has put on our hearts, in the little and big things, we are obeying him and fulfilling his commandments: to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love others.

Don’t get hindered by the noise in this world.

Seek after him.

Fulfill what he has put on your heart.

There you will find true joy, peace, life, him.

“This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another.” 1 John 3:23


 Opening Our Eyes to Today

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Kids are so good at being in the now – there is so much life and joy in that. These words can help us do that…

“This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Jesus (Matthew 6:27, 34)

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Ecclesiastes 7:10

“Give us Today our daily bread.” Jesus (Matthew 6:11)

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2


Sweet Moments

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One of my favorite things to do with my children is to read a great book with them.

Right now, we’re reading The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe. It’s such a sweet, sweet time to connect.

What are some books you and your children have loved reading together?


Guest on a Podcast

Lastly, I was recently a guest on Jordan Burchette’s podcast where I talked about practical ways to encourage our kids to follow Jesus and his words: to love God and love others. Here it is if you want to take a listen:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-cold-coffee-cotton-stems-podcast/id1455496781?uo=4&fbclid=IwAR39ECpxivrLw9NGx334XbzY8xBTRv-8wCsUQIZTeSQV7M9bQcApm042NJA

Seeds We’re Sewing in Our Kids, Calling It Out, & Involving Our Kids

Good morning! Wasn’t sleeping in with the time change so sweet this morning? (: I hope the content I’ve written below encourages you today. I’m thankful for you

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The other day I was frustrated, feeling defeated as a parent.

Have you ever felt that way?

When we do feel like that, those glimmers of hope that the things we’ve taught our kids are taking root can be so encouraging.

In the car yesterday, I was gifted with one of those moments from my son, Bates.

He said that while some of them played football during recess at school, the other team started making up fake penalties.

My son’s friend told him that they should do the same thing. Bates said, “No, we shouldn’t do that because the Lord tells us not to repay.”

We had memorized that verse in 1 Peter 3 months ago. It had taken root and I had no idea.

I wasn’t on the football field. I didn’t get to see it. If he hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have known.

If you’re feeling discouraged as a parent today, be encouraged that the seeds you’re sewing are taking root far deeper than you might see. ❤️


Call It Out

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When you notice your kids doing something well,

Call It Out…

Bates, thanks for helping me with the dishes – I really felt loved when you did that.

Gracie, that was so cool how you helped make your sister’s bed when she didn’t even ask.

Brooklyn, that was awesome how you invited that kid sitting alone at lunch to join you and your friends. Way to love the Lord and her by doing that.

When we call it out when our kiddos love well, they’ll be more likely to do it again and will also notice first-hand what it means to love the Lord and others.


Involving Our Kids

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It’s easy to get annoyed when our kids ask us a million questions about what we’re working on if we’re in the middle of something.

I love how my friend told me recently that she often involves her kids when they ask questions.

One time when they asked what she was doing, she told them she was designing a client’s house, showed them the pictures, and asked for their thoughts and ideas on certain things. I just love that.

When my kids ask what I’m doing and I say, “Nothing,” they tend to want to peek more, interrupt more, and jump in more.

Oftentimes the questions simply come because they’re curious.

But, if we actually let our kids in on what we’re doing, and take five seconds to explain things, they will often be satisfied and move on.

I can’t always do this, but when I can, I try to.

Whether it’s writing, cooking dinner, helping someone, baking, or something else, when my instinct is to say, “oh, I’m doing nothing”, I try to explain what I’m doing, sometimes ask for their ideas, and if I can, ask them to join in.

They tend to stop nagging, the million questions dissipate, they learn something, and we connect.

It’s a win, win.

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.