Am I Being A Faithful Mother?

What does being a faithful mother mean?

What does being a faithful mother mean?

What comes to mind when you think of the word faithful? Usually when I think of that word, it is in terms of marriage, such as being a faithful spouse, or in terms of church, such as faithfully attending church or serving in ministry. I have to admit I have never considered faithfulness as relating to me as a mother. And if I ever did, I certainly would have thought I was being a faithful mother. After all, I am with my children almost every hour of every day. What could be more faithful than that?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, faithful means ” having or showing true and constant support or loyalty.” By that definition, am I still as faithful of a mother as I thought I have been? Yes, I am here to physically support my children at all times, but what about spiritually? Am I truly, constantly, and loyally supporting my children’s spiritual needs?

My children need to see the heart of Jesus in me. They need to see that no matter what they do, I will never stop loving them and never consider them a burden. Although I think my children know that, am I constantly, faithfully, showing them?

Today at lunch my 2-year-old spilled her noodles all over herself and the floor for the umpteenth time this month. I immediately felt myself getting frustrated at yet another mess I had to clean up. I started to say something to her out of exasperation when the Lord put this verse on my heart:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” -1 John 1:9

Can you imagine if every time I made a mistake, my Heavenly Father reacted with frustration? Can you imagine the Lord talking down to me for yet another one of my messes that He had to clean up? I wouldn’t want to confide in a Father like that. I wouldn’t feel loved by a Father like that. I would find it hard to trust a Father like that.

Fortunately, my Heavenly Father is not like that. He loves me even when I am a mess. He is faithful to forgive me of my sins, no matter how many times I foolishly repeat them. And I love Him with all my heart and soul because of it.

That is the kind of love I want to show my children. The kind of love I want to live out in my home. Faithfully loving my family. Faithfully forgiving my family. Showing the heart of Jesus to them no matter how many times they spill the noodles, or the water, or whatever mess it is that they are getting themselves into. Right now my children are young, so the messes they make are easy to clean up. I want to show them now that I will faithfully be there for them, so that when they are older and have messes in their lives that aren’t taken care of by a few paper towels, they will trust me enough to come to me and let me help them. I want them to trust my faithfulness.

linked up to Darling Downs Diaries,  My Freshly Brewed Life,  Becoming A Godly Wife and  Christian Mommy Blogger



What I Learned From My Drama Queen


I am the mother to a little girl who is 4 going on 5. Or maybe she is really going on 15 and I just missed the last 10 years somehow, because that is how it feels most days. Like I have a miniature teenager running around in my house. I love this little girl with all my heart but she sure can try my patience at times.

She is so dramatic. The slightest injury or insult quickly escalates into nuclear meltdown proportions.

It’s either 0 or 60 for her, there is no in between. She is constantly running on full-steam.

She is a little fashion diva, changing her outfits multiple times a day and having to have her hair a certain way. Plus she loves mommy’s make-up and “smell goods.”

Bossy would be an understatement. As would “control-freak.” Although I wouldn’t dare call her either one of those!

It probably doesn’t help that she is one of my middle children. Still, I think this is more her personality than her birth order, even though there may be some truth to the birth order line of thinking. She is so easy to love, so sweet and kind most of the time. Except when she’s not.

The other day I took her to swim lessons and while I was sitting there watching her I couldn’t help but notice the look of pure joy on her face as she was kicking her little feet in the water. She was trying so hard to please her instructor and was so happy to just be there, in the pool, at that moment. And then I realized that she has that look often. I just haven’t been seeing her. Truly seeing her. In that second I fell head over heels back in love with my little girl.

My dramatic girl that lives 100% in the present, enjoying every little detail of life to the fullest.

My girl, constantly on the go because she wants to experience all that life has to offer.

My fashion diva who always wants to make a statement, because after all, this moment is here and is of the utmost importance.

My bossy girl who takes life by the horns and holds nothing back.

I sat there on the sidelines of the pool that day, looking at my daughter like I had just met her. Why hadn’t I seen her in this light before? Why had I let the cares of this world stop me from loving my children just the way God made them, with all their little quirks and eccentricities? If I could live life the way my 4 year old lives life, I would be such a better person. Living in the moment instead of the past or the future. Savoring each experience instead of floating through life trying to check things off my list or stay on schedule. Being truly present with the people around me. This is what I learned that day from my sweet little girl. I hope and pray I never forget it. I also pray that she never loses that joy. That excitement for life.

After all, obedience can be learned. Self-control can be learned. But finding joy in life’s little moments. That’s harder. That is a gift. One I hope she carries with her forever and never lets go of. I’m so thankful God blessed our family with this joyful, dramatic, always on the go little girl.

linked up at Teaching What Is Good

But They’ll Miss All The Fun!


As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, I came across a friend’s post regarding her desire to homeschool her children. Since I am a homeschool mom, it right away piqued my interest so I began to look through all the comments. What I read has had me thinking ever since. I was prepared to see some people in support of her choice and others opposed, and was even prepared for what the opposition had to say. What I wasn’t prepared for was how the same objections I’ve heard so many times before would make me think long and hard about what was at the root of these arguments.

If you homeschool your children or if you’ve ever even brought up the idea of homeschooling to your friends and family, chances are you’ve heard all the reasons why you shouldn’t. Your kids won’t be socialized. They won’t be able to get into a good college. And my new favorite thanks to the Facebook post I mentioned: But they’ll miss out on all the fun!

Last I checked, school is intended as a place for children to LEARN. We as a people have come to the conclusion that our children must have x amount of knowledge in math, language, science, and history in order to be good, functioning members of society, and so school is where we send our children for the majority of their formative years in order to acquire that knowledge. School was never intended as a place for children to have fun. In fact, having fun in class is often seen as disruptive. Yet somehow, somewhere parents have bought into the delusion that school should be a place for fun.

Amusement parks are for having fun. Parks are for having fun. Lakes, rivers, and oceans are for having fun. There are so, so many outlets for children to have fun. Why should school be one of them? Now, I’m not saying that school can never be enjoyable. Learning is fun, especially learning done under a really good teacher or on a subject the student enjoys. Friendship is fun also, and I will concede that most childhood friendships are created in a school environment. But what about church groups, sports teams, play dates, homeschool co-ops? These are all valid, and probably preferable avenues for children to make friends, since they all share some common interest besides being cooped up in a classroom together for 8 hours each day.

But let’s get back to the point here. Why are parents today so overly concerned with whether or not their children are having enough fun? Maybe it’s because we know, on some sub-conscious level, that children shouldn’t be strapped into a desk for most of their daytime hours, for 13+ years of their lives, filling their heads with information that will be forgotten after the next test or never used as an adult anyway. Maybe it’s because somewhere, deep down, we know that test after test isn’t the way to train children to lead productive, adult lives. Or maybe there is some other reason that is nagging at us, but we just keep pushing it down and blaming it on our children’s lack of entertainment.

Let me tell you, children today are NOT at risk of running out of entertainment opportunities anytime soon. We live in a world where any movie or game is right at our fingertips. There are countless sports teams to join and parks to play at and vacations to take. We live in a society consumed with the idea that we must be having fun at all times or something is wrong. Guess what? Life, adult life, isn’t always fun. There are responsibilities that must be taken care of on a daily basis. Things like paying bills and showing up for work everyday and keeping the house clean that definitely ARE NOT FUN! Still, they must get done. I truly believe we are doing our children a disservice when we base our choices for their lives on whether or not something will be enough fun for them.

I think this idea that has crept in that everything must have an aspect of fun to it has lead to the downfall of society. It used to be shameful for a grown man to still be living at home with his parents. It used to be shameful to say you dropped out of college because you were partying too much. It used to be shameful to have a marriage fall apart. It used to be shameful to not have a stable home for your children because they have to spend half their time at one house and half at another. Yet this is the world we live in today. We live in a world where both parents work full-time outside the home, then go out and party on the weekends to “blow off steam” while another babysitter or extended family member watches their kids. We are so obsessed with having fun we are shirking our responsibilities and making excuses for a me-first attitude.

Parents, I implore you. Think of your children’s future. Think of what is truly in their best interest and what will shape them into responsible adults. Don’t base your decisions on what will be the most fun for your kids, but rather on what will produce the best outcome. For many that will be sending your children to a public school, and if that is what is best for your family, I say go for it. But be sure of what you are basing your decision on. Remember, every choice we make as parents shape our children’s futures, either for the better or for the worse. Don’t make those decisions lightly. Trust me, no matter what you choose, there will be plenty of opportunities for fun!

linked up at Christian Mommy Blogger

How I Created A Picky Eater


Having 4 kids, with one on the way, I can tell you about plenty of eating experiences I’ve had with my children and their often picky palettes. Most children will go through a phase of pickiness, and there are some foods that certain kids just don’t like. Really, I can’t blame them for the most part. I mean, I don’t like everything. Do you? God created each of us as individuals with certain likes and dislikes that are uniquely ours, and that includes food. But this post isn’t for those normal food preferences we all have. This post is about how I created a monster (ahem…toddler) that wouldn’t eat more than a handful of things for almost 2 years straight! I hope this can prevent someone else from unknowingly following in my footsteps.

My son, my second-born child, is the king of all picky eaters. And I now know it is my fault. I can look back and see where I went wrong. When he first started eating solid food, he would willingly try anything. Beans, meatballs, veggie lasagna…you name it. But then I fell into the Gerber trap. Right there in the aisle next to the baby food were these super cute little microwaveable baby meals. Gerber Graduates. Tiny little baby bite size ravioli’s with cheeses, meats, and veggies. The perfect consistency for a teething infant and toddler to gum down. And so convenient. Ready in just a few seconds with no messy clean up. I thought I had hit the baby feeding jackpot!

And right next to those were the snack containers with dime-sized rice snacks, perfect for baby to pick up with his new found finger dexterity. Not only was I feeding my child something that made him happy, I was improving his hand-eye coordination at the same time. Not to mention how convenient those were to throw in the diaper bag while we were heading out the door to one of big sister’s sporting events. I don’t even remember what they are called, we just called them “num-num’s.”

What I didn’t realize then, though, was that I was setting us up for future food failure. The problem with those nuggets of convenience? Their texture, taste, and smell are completely different from the real food that we full grown humans eat. My son didn’t want to graduate from his graduates!

As my little eater got bigger and got a mouth full of teeth, I started trying to give him the same food that the rest of the family was eating. Only he wasn’t having it. Now, had I persisted then I might have been able to nip his pickiness in the bud, but alas, I fell back on what was easy. It was easier for me to make him a separate meal from the rest of us, rather than fight with him and coerce him to eat at every meal. So I resorted to always having macaroni and cheese, pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or cereal ready for him at mealtimes. Because that was all he would eat. My little king sure had turned into a royal pain!

This went on for a couple years until finally, when he was about 4, my husband and I had had enough. For months dinner time was a battle field as we did everything we could think of to make him eat what was served. Most evenings ended with my little man and I both in tears. He would rather go to bed hungry every night than eat whatever was on his plate, unless it was one of the aforementioned “safe” foods. I was worried about his nutrition and worried about what kind of impression this would leave on him for the rest of his life. We had to change our strategy.

And we did. I started making the foods he liked, but first he would have to eat at least one bite of what everyone else was eating. It was a struggle at first, and sometimes an hour would pass before he would calm down and take the bite. Usually after he was done he would concede that it didn’t taste that bad. Still, he would only take the one bite. Eventually we worked up to a few more bites, until all he got for dinner was what everyone else had. It might only be 5-10 bites, but at least he was eating with the family. I still made him whatever he wanted to eat for breakfast and lunch.

He is now 6, and the category of foods he likes has grown by leaps and bounds. It is still a struggle to get him to try something new, and he is almost always the last one done eating. He likes to dawdle and thinks that if he waits long enough, we won’t make him finish. So now what I do is put a bite on his fork, and he has to eat it by time I count to 5. This is a hassle, especially since I also have a 4 and a 2 year old that I have to make sure are eating, but it’s such an improvement. Just tonight he said how much he likes carrots-which was a major melt-down food just a few months ago. The persistence has paid off!

For certain foods that I know he didn’t like, such as carrots, I would only put one small bite on his plate. After doing that with steak, green beans, and now carrots, he actually likes all those foods. It just took quite some time. And now I can actually get him to eat food out of his comfort zone at other meals, not just dinner.

I definitely learned my lesson. My other children were NEVER fed Gerber Graduates, and only very rarely fed baby food out of the jar. They learned to eat on the same foods the rest of us were eating, for the most part. And for the most part, I don’t have any pickiness issues with them. At least nothing even close to the picky habits I instilled in my son. I don’t ever want a repeat of that! I’ve learned that once you start making different meals for different people, it is a hard habit to break. Better to just serve the family meal to even the littlest eaters right from the start. Just make sure you mash or blend it up first.

Do you have any picky eaters in your family? What are some mealtime tricks you use in your home?

Keeping Kids Happy on Road Trips


Our old minivan packed to the brim!

Our old minivan packed to the brim!

Remember the days when you could just jump in the car for a road trip without worrying about how stressful it would be for everyone? Back when being on the road was the fun part, not just a way to get to your destination? Well, if you’re like my family with a handful of children, those days may seem long gone. Now it takes a week just to prepare and pack everything, and lots of anxiety for mom about who is going to have a melt-down because they’ve been in the car for too long, or which children will need to be separated so they don’t kill each other in the back seat. It doesn’t have to be that way though! With a little planning, road trips can be fun for the whole family and a great bonding experience.

Every year we take a trip to my mother-in-laws house, which is about 16 hours away if we drive pretty much straight through. Here are some tips my family has learned over the years to keep everyone happy and entertained so you’re not subjected to the dreaded “Are we there yet?” every 15 minutes.

  1.  Leave at bedtime – This is usually about 7 or 8 in the evening for us. We get the kids bathed and dressed in their pajamas like normal, and then load them up in the car. Usually my husband drives the whole way, but if he had to work or is tired, I will start off driving for a few hours so he can take a nap and be rested to drive the rest of the way. If he got a nap earlier in the day though, he just starts off driving and I will take over if he needs a rest. Make sure everyone uses the bathroom so there are no accidents and you don’t have to stop in 30 minutes. Leaving at bedtime makes the trip fly by for the kids because they are asleep for almost half of it! And it is also nice bonding time for mom and dad. If you have a nursing baby, you will have to stop more often but leaving at bedtime will still get you going for a good stretch before having to pull over.
  2.  Limit beverages – Especially soda and juice, because otherwise it seems like every 5 minutes someone else has to go potty. If someone gets thirsty, give them a small sip of water. You should also limit salty or sweet snacks, as those will just increase thirst. Fresh fruit is always a good idea to have on hand to curb the road trip munchies.
  3.  Schedule meals - Plan to stop for a little while during meal times. Let the kids run around and let off some steam, and give everyone enough time to do their business in the bathroom. This is also a good time for mom and dad to stretch their legs and get some coffee if needed. We have found that drive-thru’s on long trips aren’t a great idea because everybody has to stay cramped up in the car, and you’re going to have to stop shortly after eating for potty breaks anyway, so might as well kill two birds with one stone.
  4.  Bring activity packs – I always get each child their own folder with a coloring book, a blank notepad, and some activity sheets. And they each get their own pouch with crayons, pencils, erasers, etc. When they each have their own, there’s no fights about who gets the purple crayon first or who gets to color what page in the book. Makes for a much happier mommy! I’ve also printed out road-trip bingo-like sheets where they cross out certain things they see, such as police cars, helicopters, and other sights common to the road.
  5.  Bring entertainment - One of my kids favorite things on road trips is watching movies. We have a portable DVD player that we pack along with a few special movies. Make sure they aren’t movies that they watch all the time or they will get bored quickly. Forgotten favorites or brad new movies are your best bets. I also like to load up my Kindle Fire with lots of great educational games and books before we leave, so they can learn while we’re driving.
  6.  Play games together - One of our favorite things to do while on the road is play “categories.” To do this, one player starts by naming a category, such as “Fruits.” Then everyone takes turns naming a fruit. When someone can’t name one in a given time frame (usually 10 seconds) or if they repeat something that has already been said, they get a point and the next person gets to name a category. The object is to have as few points as possible by the end of the game. I like to trick my family and choose things like “make-up brands” when it’s my turn. Doesn’t work as well now that I have a teenage daughter though, haha. If you’re playing with very young kids, categories that work well are animals and colors. Another game that the younger ones really like is “I Spy.”

Last but certainly not least, remember to have fun! Part of the trip is the journey, not just the destination. Remember, these are memory making times that your kids will enjoy talking about for years to come. Make them special!

post linked up at Family Fun Fridays