Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

My 9-year-old Professor January 9, 2011

Filed under: Professor — Kris @ 2:26 pm
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Nine years ago today I became a mommy for the first time.  I told Professor that this morning.  His response?  “And yeah, if I hadn’t been born, you wouldn’t be a mom to this large crazy family either.”  He’s right.  That’s why he’s Professor.  This kid knows stuff about stuff that I frankly don’t know (and sometimes don’t care to know) and he often says things that are spot on awesome observations about life.  He says them in a kid way, but is so often just right.

Professor is a sweet, loving, homebody kid.  He likes routine and organization, but somehow, the organizational methods he uses in his room escape my understanding.  Like most of us, he doesn’t like change and he really wants life to be predictable, understandable and stable.  He LOVES all things nature and has a sensitive spirit for plants and animals.  Professor keeps saying that “when I grow up, I’m going to have a house with (insert various animals here) and all my property with be a wildlife preserve with NO hunting or killing.  I’ll use live traps if I need them.”

Professor is also blessed to have 4 loving parents.  Four because his dad and I are divorced.  It happened when he was so young that he will never remember us being together.  We both began dating our respective spouses when he was very little, too, so all he knows is 2 sets of “mommy and daddy” that love him immeasurably.  Not all children from divorced parents have that.  He also has a bazillion grandparents that spoil him, so that’s not too bad either! 

Professor is my first-born, my beloved child, my kindred heart.  Out of all my children, he looks the most like me.  He taught me what it means to be a good mom.  He taught me what sacrifice means.  He taught me that loving someone while my whole heart is hard and every time he is gone from me, there is a piece of me that is gone. 

As Professor is now a “tween,” I wonder what the next few years will hold.  I want to keep his little boy sweetness forever, yet I already see that teenage angst coming.  I want the lovely innocence of him climbing into my lap to cuddle during a movie, yet I already see that desire to do it totally on his own without anyone’s help at all.  I want to keep my baby, but really I want him to grow up to be the man God is calling him to be.  Days like today – Professor’s birthday – I wonder what he will be like, what he will do, how he will turn out to be.  I wonder which of his childhood dreams will come true.

So Happy Birthday Professor!  May God grant the desires of your heart.  I love you the purplest!

 

A Baby Story November 27, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 7:59 am
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On Tuesday, my last baby was delivered.  I say last, because, unless God does a miracle, this will be the last baby I grow inside of me.  Baby boy (still working on a nickname) was welcomed into the world by me, Racer, Blue, Professor, Girlie, Gorilla, my parents, Racer’s mother and grandmother.  He is already well-loved and Girlie and Gorilla are totally smitten with him!

Tuesday morning, Racer and I got to the hospital at 6am.  I was taken back for some pre-op paperwork and prep.  I was asked and signed multiple times that a tubal is “permanent and  irreversible.”  I had to state my medicine allergies and the type of surgery I was having I think with each paper I signed and person I spoke to.  I was gowned, given and iv and had to drink some awful, salty, nasty cup of something.  Pretty sure it was an antacid of some sort, but it was GROSS!

Racer then came in and soon the anesthesiologist and OB came in to speak with us.  I learned I’d be getting a spinal instead of an epidural.  Not sure what the exact difference is, but the process for me is the same.  I wasn’t that impressed with the bedside manner of the doctor, but I just figured that’s his personality.  It happens.  My OB came in then.  And, for someone I chose over the internet, mid-pregnancy, I’m impressed.  I really like her and connect with her style of medicine.

Then, it was time to head up to the delivery/operating room.  My first delivery ended in an emergency c-section and because of the facilities available for my second pregnancy, I have opted for repeat c-sections.  This would be my 4th.  Because it was my 4th and was being done at 38 weeks and 6 days (one day before AMA recommends), my OB had another doctor from her practice assist.  Before all that, though, had to come the spinal.

Let me explain this part by saying that I dread the epidural/spinal part more than any other aspect of the c-section.  Even with my first, I dreaded the epidural.  So going in, I have some anxiety about this procedure.  Then I was asked to lay on my side instead of sit up like I was used to.  Y’all know me and change…  Then, the doctor couldn’t get the spinal.  He tried.  And tried again.  I curved as much as I could.  Then I sat up and he tried that way.  I was getting more and more anxious and scared and nervous.  I took a minute between tries to calm down.  My blood pressure was going up and up and up…  He tried again.  The nurses were great.  I was curling into one as much as I could.  I think I left marks on her arm from gripping it so tight.  Then, the doctor stepped away.  He called in his partner to do it.  The second anesthesiologist came in.  They had to re-sterilize the field.  He got it on the first try.  Got some meds and my blood pressure went back to normal.  I had some nauseous feelings, but they went away.  Soon I was lying down, Racer was with me and we would soon meet our baby!

Once they got started, things moved quickly.  I could hear the OB’s talking and then heard that we had a baby.  Racer looked over the curtain and it was a boy!  Soon he began to cry and they got him wrapped up and brought around so I could see him.  I gave him a kiss, snuggled for a minute and then baby and Racer went off to get tested, washed and ready for the world.

My doctors quickly finished with me and got me into recovery.  At some point, they transferred me to another bed, but I don’t remember that.  All I remember is asking when I could see, hold and nurse my baby.  Soon is what they kept saying.  I guess I kept bugging, but “soon” they brought baby boy back and we snuggled and tried nursing.  He latched on right away!  Racer came back and joined us.  It was time to go to our room and meet the rest of the family.

On the way to my room, I was my typical self trying to help.  The nurse had to tell me twice to keep my hands in the bed; I was only trying to move the curtain out-of-the-way and hold the door open!  When we got into the room, our family was all there.  I got to announce the name to everyone.  Until then, they only knew we had a boy.  The younger kids couldn’t wait to hold him.  Blue was upset seeing me all connected and in bed and hurt.  Baby boy was held by all and then everyone went home and left me, baby and Racer alone for some quiet, a nap and some bonding time.

Later in the afternoon we got another family visit.  I was tired, but I already missed my other kids.  Although I appreciated the time of rest in the hospital, I missed my other kids.  I missed being at home.  I was glad for the visits, but I am also glad that we had plenty of help in the form of loving grandparents who could take care of them at home.  Racer stayed with baby and I in the hospital most of the time.  We had great nursing care.  The food was pretty good too.  The kids found it funny that I could only have liquids until I “passed gas.”  It’s funny to hear kids pray that their mommy would fart!  They really wanted me to have “real food.”

I was up and walking (minimally) on Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning brought a shower and more walking around.  It felt so good to get out of bed!  Slowly I was up and around.  I got to wear my regular clothes and more and more tubes were being disconnected.  I did spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, but I also got to watch the Macy’s Day parade uninterrupted!  Racer and Blue brought be a plate of yummy food and also brought some yummy Thanksgiving fare for the nursing staff that was working.  They were so appreciative!  Baby boy was doing well, even though he lost some weight.  We continued to learn how to breastfeed, which is always fun at first.  Sometimes it went without a hitch and sometimes, we tried and tried again.

Friday morning brought time to come home.  Paper signed, staples removed, instructions given.  Being a “seasoned” mom, the nurses were more relaxed in our discharge instructions.  And, we were the last of a slew of discharges.  When we arrived, baby boy made #13 in the nursery.  When we left, there were no more.  Thirteen has always been a lucky number for me.

So now we are home.  We just spent our first night together as a big family in our own home.  Baby’s cries carry further at night that I thought they would and we woke a few people up.  Plus, we are at the breastfeeding stage where baby is having trouble latching at first.  That’ll go away, but it does make for a little impatient crying in the middle of the night.  But, it is now morning of a new day and I’m looking forward to what our new routines will be.

I am still pretty sore, but glad to have grandma’s around to help for another week.  Racer is really great in the middle of the night so that I don’t have to get in and out of bed a bunch of times.  And even this morning, I had coffee and toast brought to me!  I could get used to this, but I don’t really want to.  I kind of like being the caretaker.  I don’t mind the “vacation” though.

So, for now, that is our baby story.  Soon, I’ll have a cute nickname and you’ll be inundated with lovely baby boy stories!  But until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed all the lovely and not so lovely details of his birth.  Thanks for “listening!”

 

Prayer for my Baby November 23, 2010

Heavenly Father-

Today is the day, you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!  Today is the day, you have chosen for my baby to join the world!  And even though we will meet this baby for the first time, you already know the number of hairs on his head today and 57 years from now.  You know if this baby is a girl or boy.  You know how well she will sleep at night.  You know the grade he’ll get in middle school science.  You know what her first job will be.  You know who he will marry.  You know the number of days she will have.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this child’s journey.

So today, father, as I become a mother again, guide all that is done to bring this baby safely into this world.  Keep the doctors and staff alert, guide their hands as they cut, deliver and repair.  Give them a supernatural energy, wisdom and kindness.  Calm any nerves or concerns they may have – about this delivery or about things in their own lives.  While they are with me and baby, help them focus solely on the task at hand.

Protect my baby and I from any complications that may be possible.  Keep away any sense of infection or sickness that could come.  Keep us safe and comfortable.

And father, prepare my other children for the changes that this baby will bring to our family.  Give grandparents words of comfort, excitement and wisdom to help ease this transition.  Help them find joy, peace and love for this new sibling.

Thank you for all you have done for the family you have created for me.  Thank you for what you will do today.  Thank you for all you continue to do.  I don’t always understand it, but I know that you have personally knit together a beautiful, mixed up, perfect family for me to care for.  In all that I do for them, guide me to be the wife and mother You need me to be.  And in the end, remind me that YOU did it – not me.  YOU are the I AM.  I am the I am not. 

I love you Jesus.  Amen.

 

My 2010 Top Ten November 17, 2010

If you remember this post, during the month of November, I am sharing one thing each day that I am thankful for (via Facebook).  Today, you are lucky.  Instead of sharing just one thing, I am sharing ten things I am thankful for.  Well, not things exactly, but people instead.  Please know that these people are not in any particular order (so don’t get excited or hurt for your order on the list).  Also, I am obviously thankful for Jesus Christ, but am choosing to exclude him from this list.  I am focusing on people who are alive and kickin’ and have had a great impact on my life during 2010 in particular (whether they know it or not).  So, here it goes…

Racer – Even though I’ve been hormonal and emotional for most of the last year (well, really 5 1/2 years?), I know that I could not do what I do without you.  We have grown together.

Blue – I have learned soooo much about being a better mother.  It’s been hard, but worth it.

Big K – A best friend that I didn’t expect to have.  Your listening ears, understanding mom perspective and your prayers have been my saving grace many a days.

Brother P – I have learned and grown because of your mentorship.  Truly a faith father to me.

Penny – An immediate connection that helped me feel welcomed and at home.  Something I definitely needed at that moment.

Coach and Mrs. Coach – Your strength, integrity and wisdom I admire and want to have more of.  Faith during fire that refines.

Prairie Mom – My unexpected friend.

AP – Surprise decisions, understanding and “freedom” for my family.  I am forever grateful for the gift I continue to have because of you.

RoRo – Never afraid to clean my coffee cups… or listen… or laugh.

Nursery Gals – I couldn’t have done what I did without trusting in those that take care of my kids.  My kids were loved like your family.

There are so many others in my life that I am thankful for – especially over this last year, Teacher C (both of you), the “Old Men of the Church,” the Landlord, CR Team, Mom and Dad, Racer’s Mom.  All of you are important.

When I think about the lessons I have learned and the ways that I have grown this year, some people stick out as having helped me get there.  You may or may not realize it, but you have impacted me.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.  Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.  (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, NIV)

 

November Thankfulness November 3, 2010

November is a time when so many people really think about being thankful.  Thankful for what they have, thankful for family, thankful for friends, thankful for health.  I’ve heard of families who put up a “thankful tree” each year where everyday, the family members decorate a leaf with what they are thankful for and by the time the end of the month rolls around, there is a beautiful, full tree to reflect upon.  What a beautiful idea!

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.  Being thankful is really a state of being though isn’t it?  It’s a constant state of being in praise for who God is and what he is doing.  It can be, however, hard to live in thankfulness when life seems to be crumbling around you.

For almost 3 years, I was a single mom.  During that time, I learned to be grateful for the ability to pay bills.  I paid off my car, refinanced to own my own home, paid off a debt to my parents and continued to keep on the utilities, take care of my child and have some fun too!  Childcare was provided by Professor’s grandmother, so I always knew that he was well taken care of (and it was free!).  I was – and still am – thankful for the love of  my parents and close friends who got me through that time.  I learned during that time, how grateful to be able – especially as a woman – to have a job that provided for me well, how moving toward tithing builds trust, and that I should never dread paying bills because I CAN pay them.

During this season of my life, when uncertainty is in the air, I am constantly in awe of God’s provision for my family.  I am thankful for kindness of others, prayer warriors, church family and so many, many things.  I am thankful for family that loves and supports.  I’m thankful for healthy kids.  I’m thankful for Racer’s work and me being able to stay home.  I’m thankful for a marriage that, while not perfect, is become so much more than I thought. 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  1 Chronicles 16:34

Above all, I’m thankful for a God that love me, teaches me, is patient with me and saves me – even though I deserve none of it.  Gratitude is not something that comes easy though.  So many times, I have lamented like many “Why me God?”  My response now is “How am I to grow from this God?”  Life’s uncertainties and struggles, teach us, shape us, refine us into a pure silver so that we can reflect the Light of Christ.  Being thankful for ALL that comes into our lives is a part of that process.  Gratitude must be learned.

I’ve heard of people, who each day this month, are posting on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or other media means, one thing each day that they are thankful for.  Will you join me in this endeavor?  Together, no matter what our circumstances, let us learn to be more thankful.

Start here.

Start today.

What are you thankful for?

 

Gorilla School October 20, 2010

Filed under: Schooling — Kris @ 6:49 am
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I was going to blog about our “school at home” shenanigans with Girlie and all about the letter F from last week.  I even took pictures.  Went to upload them and they have disappeared…  Lost in the deep dark recessed of my hard drive somewhere…  Anyway, instead, I thought I’d share about Gorilla’s adventures in “school.”

I don’t really “plan” anything for Gorilla to do.  I have some extra sheets that I print out so he can participate with us.  Some of the easier stuff that Girlie can do easily, coloring pages, matching pages – I have them on hand for when Gorilla wants to participate with us.  He likes to use markers and finds great joy in taking off and replacing the caps on them!  Learning fine motor skills at its best.  I “teach” him colors and letters as he is interested and he loves the letters “A” and “E.”  I’ve noticed his vocabulary expanding, but I’m sure that’s more from natural development than anything extra we’re doing in school. 

What Gorilla REALLY likes to do – other than use markers – is sticker.  He calls them “ticky.”  I peel the stickers off and he puts them on the page exactly where HE wants to put them.  And watch out if the sticker gets folded over and stuck on itself!  That sticker is no good and Gorilla will NOT use it!  Weird. 

Anyway, as Girlie and I were working on tracing/writing the letter Ff, Gorilla and I traced some straight lines and then he got to use markers and sticker his page.  I didn’t pay much attention to the stickering.  I’d just pull off a few stickers onto my fingers and hold them out for him while working with Girlie.  After we were all done with school time for the day and I was cleaning up, this is what I saw:

You may not see anything significant at first, but look closer…  At the beginning and end of each tracing line, there was a circle/star to mark the start/end of the tracing.  Gorilla put a sticker on each circle/star (with the exception of one).  Also, he placed each sticker (with the exception of one) on a line.  I didn’t “instruct” that.  I didn’t “teach” that.  Gorilla did that on his own. 

Maybe I’m just a proud mom and there is nothing at all significant about this particular accomplishment.  I think, however, for 22 months old, that’s pretty darn AMAZING!!!  (And yes, I’m bragging on my child.)

So, I decided to give Gorilla his own blog post to show off his amazing, gifted, uber-advanced skills!  I’d love to hear about a wonderful moment when you were surprised by a skill your child had too!

 

Indispensable October 4, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 6:34 am
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I’m wondering if I’ve made myself indispensable.  I know.  It sounds weird.  It’s just the best word I can think of when I try to describe what I mean.  Let me explain…

You see, as a wife, mom – heck, even as an employee when I was working – I always want to seem “irreplaceable.”  I want to bring something unique that only I can do.  I want to fulfill my purpose in that role.  But within my family and within ministry (my “field of work”), isn’t part of my responsibility to equip people?  Shouldn’t I be training my children to be able to think, decide and act on their own without my “help” each time?  Shouldn’t I have things organized so that my husband can function without asking me where, what, when, where, why and how?  Shouldn’t I be training others so that they can step in easily and easily continue the work to be done?

I realized, after I knew that I would be leaving my last ministry job, that I had been doing too much myself.  I had allowed others to rely on me too much instead of giving them the tools the needed.  I would just do what needed to be done.  Then, when the time came to list all the tasks that I did, the hats that I wore, the things to be done – WOW!  I shouldn’t have been doing all that.  I failed in my responsibility to equip the people to do the work of the saints.  Yes, good ministry went on without me.  From the questions I got before – and after – I left, it’s obvious to me that I did too much and didn’t ask for enough help so that others could also know.  I didn’t bring others along side of me.

And now, I’m learning that lesson at home.  I wonder if I’ve been doing too much for my family.  I soooooo want them all to succeed.  I want my family to be valued, responsible, contributing members of society.  I want them to be purposeful and contributing members to God’s Kingdom.  So, I make sure they have their stuff for school.  I make sure they have clothes washed for work.  I remind them when chores are not done.  I wake them up.  I tell them when it’s time for bed.  I cook almost every meal so they can have food ready to eat.  I do the shopping.  I plan the gifts.  I organize the…  You get the picture.  I do it all.  Yes, I realize that as the wife and mother in this family, that much of that is my role.  But where does it stop helping and start hindering my family?

Yesterday, spaghetti was on the menu for dinner.  I was just not up to cooking.  I had started the water for the noodles and just couldn’t do any more.  They needed to finish.  I was asked 3 times how to cook spaghetti.  Noodles in a box.  Sauce in a jar.  Ground beef optional.  Three times!!  I’ve done something wrong here.  When a simple dinner cannot be fixed without my assistance, I’ve not done my job in equipping my family to function on their own. 

And now I’m wondering about what other areas of living have I made myself indispensable?  Am I taking on too much responsibility and not allowing my children to be responsible for themselves?  Am I being too much of a helper to my husband?  I realize that many of the tasks I question are age appropriate, but am I starting to train them up in the way they should go?  Am I teaching them well?

Or am I expecting too much?

Maybe I like to be indispensable.  I like to feel needed.  I like to be depended on.  I like to feel like it can’t be done without me.  I like to feel important.  And then my pride starts creeping in, making me thing that I’m something I’m not. 

Am I a good wife and mom?  Yes.  I do believe that.  Do I really want to be indispensable in my family?  No.  I want to be irreplaceable, but I also want to equip my family to be able to function together, without my constant directions.  Does that mean that I have to let go of many of my expectations?  Absolutely.  I have to allow them the opportunity to fail too.  I have to allow them the opportunity to mess up, try again and learn from their own mistakes.  I can’t teach those lessons to them.  I don’t want my heart to hurt when I watch them learn that way, but I also know that I have learned my most powerful lessons through my own failures in life.  Like now.  Heart hurts, lessons learned.  Time to make a change and move in a new direction.

 

Dear Birth Mother, September 27, 2010

Dear Birth Mother,

Our daughter recently celebrated a birthday.  As we celebrated, I wonder if you remember her and think about the day she was born?  Do you remember holding her as a newborn, smelling her head, counting her fingers and toes?  As  I think about our daughter now, I so wonder what that moment must’ve been like.  I wonder what her infant cry sounded like.  I wonder if she liked to nuzzle in the crook of your arm or the space between your chin and your neck.  What did she feel like in your arms?

As I feel my own child growing inside of me, I wonder if our daughter was a kicker too.  Did she like to hang off  your rib cage?  Did she spread out wide so you could feel her everywhere, or did she like to ball up and just PRESS into one area?  What sounds did our daughter like to hear as she grew inside of you?

As I watch my smaller children play and grow, and I think about the stories our daughter tells of growing up as a smaller child, I wonder what your memories are of those same moments.  Did you smile when you saw her laughing and jumping in the surf?  Did you curse the sand that ended up throughout the house after a day at the beach?  What memory still makes you smile?  Which one makes you cry?  And now, do you wonder where she is?

Our daughter is safe, loved and part of a beautiful family.  A family that God knitted together just for her.  She has siblings again.  She’s learning a new definition of family.  She’s learning a new definition of mom, too.  Sometimes, as we struggle to define this relationship, I’ll be honest, I get mad.  I get mad that I didn’t get to help define it from the beginning.  I get mad that it even has to be redefined.  I get mad that there is this other image of mom that I compete with.  And then I have to remember, if it wasn’t for you, our daughter would never be a part of my life.  So as much as I get mad, I try to be grateful for the life you gave and the experiences you shared with each other.  Good and bad, those experiences have shaped who our daughter is today.

Our daughter is really great.  I don’t take much credit for that because so much of who she is doesn’t even come from me.  It comes from you, from early family, from foster parents, friends and people in her life today.  But mostly who she is comes from an amazing something that God placed on her while she was still growing inside of you.  From the moment our daughter was created, well really, long before that, God knew who she is and who she will be.  God has protected our daughter from the time in your womb through today.  What’s great is that she sees it and knows it too.  As we look back at her life, we both see so many times that circumstances might have been different, but God intervened and protected her from those life circumstances.

I don’t know where you are today or what you are doing.  I don’t know where your choices have taken you.  I do know that I love your daughter.  She may have been placed in your womb, but I know she was placed in my heart long ago.  I love her like I gave birth to her.  I hope you can understand that.  I want to think that I love her more than you do, but I know that there is a special love of a mom and her child.  Even though our daughter is no longer in your life, I hope that thoughts of her somehow bring a smile to your face and a hope that our daughter walks a better path in life.

Our daughter is loved.  Our daughter is strong.  Our daughter is full of dreams and visions for the future.  She is full of hope of better things yet to come.  Our daughter is beautiful – and you had a part in that.  For that I thank you.  I forgive you.  And maybe someday, we’ll be able to share special memories of her.  But for now, know that our daughter is so much more than I ever could have asked for.

 

New Goals for Fall September 20, 2010

A lot is changing in my life right now.  We’ve moved to a whole new place, we have a new baby coming, I’m currently a stay-at-home mom again, and God is knitting our family together in ways  that I’m watching in awe and disbelief and wonder.  And, it’s beginning to look a lot like Fall out!  I LOVE fall – it’s probably my most favorite of all the seasons.  The temperatures are PERFECT, it brings back great memories of marching band, the windows in the house can be open, the leaves turn beautiful colors, bonfires are perfect… and it means that winter is coming (that means Christmas and snow!).  Fall always seems so crisp and fresh to me.

So, in honor of Fall and all the changes happening around me, I decided to make some new goals for myself.  Some goals are longer term, some shorter, but none the less, they are still goals that I have right now in my life.  And, I thought I’d share them with you.

#1 – Get the baby room set up and determine what, if anything, I will need.  We have most everything saved from Girlie and Gorilla.  This baby will be a “surprise,” and thankfully we have neutral, pink and blue waiting in the wings.  Because of the move, all the baby equipment is taken apart.  So, it needs to be put together, placed in its place and I get to start washing and organizing (one of my favorite things to do)!  I can’t wait to see all the little clothes hanging out on the line.  And I think, most of what we’ll need for the baby is consumables – diapers, wipes, washes, lotions, etc.  I am toying with the idea of cloth diapering some though…

#2 – Get into a better household management schedule so that I’m using what we have – money, time, other resources – the best I can.  I’ve tried FlyLady before and dabble on and off with her “system.  I just don’t stick with it well.  I grocery/meal plan fairly well, but I can always do better.  I just need a better routine of keeping up with household maintenance, cleaning and organizing so I don’t go on “binges” and drive everyone CRAZY!

#3 – Start thinking about Christmas, how we can better budget for it and what we can do for others (creative crafty things that are low-cost) to help share the reason that our family celebrates.  Work with Racer to plan ways for our family to keep Jesus Christ at the forefront of Christmas.

#4 – Bake from scratch more. It’s healthier and cheaper.  Frugal Girl has inspired me in this endeavor.  I just need to incorporate baking into the family routine more.

#5 – Keep a daily date with God.  This one should actually be first.  I REALLY want to figure out how to read the Bible/do a Bible study/spend time in Prayer daily.  And I don’t mean doing it in a dash.  I mean time that I can actually spend LISTENING to God.  Racer’s mom is really great at doing this.  The woman gets up at an hour of the morning that I don’t even recognize and spends time with God.  She’s done it forever.  She does it on vacation.  She does it when she’s visiting our crazy family and helping unpack/watch little kids/cook/etc.  So I can’t use my busy family as an excuse.  This dedication is one thing that I admire about her.  I have plenty of books, studies, devotions to use.  I have many that are half done.  I do great for a week or two and then…  I lose focus, interest, “time.”  Somethings gotta give.

#6 – Be more encouraging and less critical.  I tend to “encourage” by pointing out what people are doing or did wrong and then tell them that they can do better.  Not really encouraging.  I want to be the biggest cheerleader there is for my husband and children.  I want/need to be a better positive encourager.

So those are my goals for right now.  Some are big, some are not.  Some I’ll reach and complete.  Some will take a lifetime to reach.  Help me with them will you?  Pray that God gives me what I need to accomplish them.  Ask me how I’m doing with them.  Hold me accountable – as Christians, we’re supposed to do that for each other.

And tell me, what goals have you set for yourself?  I’d like to help you along in your journey too.

 

Teach Them to Your Children September 13, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last night and today I’ve been thinking about how we pass our faith onto our children.  I was a part of a message board discussion started by a professed “non-believer.”  The question posed was aimed at Atheists/Agnostics and asked how to answer God questions that arise from children.  I weighed in on the discussion, not because I was trying to “save” anyone, but because I think the concept of how to pass along beliefs to children is fairly universal.  And how we explain differing beliefs to curious children – without being disrespectful or full of belief-bashing – can be fairly similar in approach. 

My thoughts about answering questions about differing faiths is this:  at a younger age, when general questions such as “Why do/don’t some people believe in God,” it is simply okay to answer with a general response like “Well, some people believe one way and other people believe in other ways.  I believe that…”  When the inevitable “why” comes, I think that’s the time to share an experience that is personal that has helped you form your beliefs. 

As children get older and ask more specific questions, we as parents must be ready to help find the answers they are looking for.  Whether that answer lies in faith, scripture, science, or nature, we must be able to help them see more specific reasons behind different beliefs.  It may feel uncomfortable.  We may need help.  We may need support from like-faith friends and family.  But I think it’s important to allow the questions to be answered.  If we as parents don’t help them find the answers, someone else may.  Someone else who is not respectful of the belief system from which I as the parent come.  For me, I would rather my children learn about faith from me and those adults that I trust to answer their questions in a way that is respectful, fair, truthful and as much as possible, in accordance with what I believe. 

So as I’ve continued to ponder this question of how to pass beliefs onto my children, I thought of this scripture –  “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).  The passage talks about how the children did not experience the God-moments that the parents did.  The children were not first-hand witnesses to the miracles, thus it is the parents responsibility to tell those stories and share those truths.  I’ve always thought that sharing our stories is vital to our faith.  But how do we do that with our children exactly?

Regardless of what we believe, we share our beliefs with those around us through the way we live.  Particularly for those who live life with us, who we are when no one is looking is vital.  For me, as a Christian, if I say that I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – and the commands that go with those beliefs – I should be living that out in all fabrics of my life.  Being a Christian is not just a “church building” thing.  It doesn’t start and end when I walk in the church doors.  The same can be said for those of other belief systems – Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Mormons, etc.  We can claim to be whatever we want to claim, but if we don’t live it out, are we really what we claim to be?

So how do I pass my faith along to my children?  I specifically teach it to them through reading Bible stories/scripture together and discussing it.  I teach it to them by incorporating Sunday School and mid-week ministry activities into our family schedule – trusting capable fellow believers to help me in the responsibility of discipling my children.  I talk about my faith with my children when we are playing, working and living life.  I don’t box God into Sunday’s, the church building or meal time prayers only.  As opportunity shows itself, I talk about how what I belive about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is infused into my daily life – our daily life as a family.  And as we go to sleep, I pray with my children – thanking God for the day, confessing wrongs and verbalizing any needs for that night or the next day.  As I go to sleep, I simply breath and meditate and know that my Creator knows my heart, my joys, my struggles and my needs.  It is like a conversation that continues throughout the day and through my dreams. 

For me, my faith lies in a Creator greater than myself.  For others, their faith may lie in their own inner-strength and the laws of science.  Either way, how we go about teaching our children that faith is very much the same.  We live it, we teach it, we infuse what we believe into the way we function and conduct ourselves.  Our children are going to learn much more from who we are than what we say we are anyway.

So tell me, how do you leave a legacy of faith to your children?

 

 
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