Saturday, December 20, 2008

What Comes In Must Go Out

In our house, when our kids get a toy, they have to donate a toy of the same size or several toys with the same volume as the new one. We have a very small house and very limited storage space. We also have a virtually unusable attic and basement (our house was built in 1850). So, we have "just enough" space for the toys at hand, and new ones just don't fit unless something is taken away.

My boys are old enough to understand this concept and we use it to teach them how to stay organized and keep their space neat. While my husband has many, many traits I want my boys to emulate, his lack of organizational skills is not one of them! I'm always praying for my kids future spouses, and I know that a tidy husband will bless a wife. (Don't read this wrong; my husband blesses me in many other ways besides tidiness)

The Season Of Excess Spending is upon us. It is imperative to our family during this time of year to make sure our kids understand that while getting new toys is fun, giving is more fun. And, to make sure they remember that the ultimate Gift is Jesus and His holy sacrifice to save us.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Toys! Toys! Toys!

It's Christmas time!!! Those of us with kids are bound to think they have so many toys...where are we going to put all the new ones???? Well, here is food for thought: Where do we put all the old ones? I spent the last two days reorganizing my kids' toys. I put them all in bins according to their kind. Then I decided which ones we will keep in their closets. The rest will be stored in the crawl space for a couple of months. Every couple of months after that we will rotate their toys! Not only do we have more space for their new toys to come, but the kids will learn to enjoy their old toys all over again after not seeing them for a couple of months! An extra bonus: Not having so many toys all at once promotes structured play for the kiddos!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Pit

My 3 older boys have been bickering alot lately. This morning I read the story of Joseph and his brothers to them. Joseph's brothers hated him and threw him into a pit and then sold him as a slave. I explained to my 3 older sons that when they bicker with one another, they are throwing each other into a pit. My boys now have a new task! If they throw their brother into a pit, they MUST figure out how to get him out of that pit. The only acceptable way to get their brother out of the pit is to serve him! My boys, although still bickering, are now more aware of their bickering and are also serving each other!!! :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Me, too!

Funny, I was logging on here to do a post about the same thing as Joanna!

I'll be the second to admit it...I LOVE to shop at Christmas time! Hey, why not buy two sets of 500 thread count sheets since they're on sale?

My husband recently moved to a new office. He's about 5 minutes from home, comes home for lunch, is home every night by 5:30 (he was working a 70 hour week before). What we were sacrificing before in family time, however, we are now sacrificing in money. After he took the position, we had a serious discussion about our finances. We vowed to not buy any extras, and to stick very closely to a very tight budget.

This Christmas, I'm even more aware of the vast abundance that we have been given. For me, pulling the purse strings tighter has opened my eyes to see an almost nauseating excess where before, I saw a false sense of need.

Our yearly tradition of letting the kids run through the toy store to make a wish list sort of made my stomach turn this time. I'm ready to cut the strings and turn the tables on the "I Want It Monster".

At our house, each year in December, we always focus very heavily on Jesus birth and why Christmas exists. Our weekly devotional time with the Advent wreath is sweet and the kids are slowly maturing and able to grasp more and more of the story.

On the flip side, though, we also seem to subconsciously focus very heavily on that ever present question: "What do you want for Christmas?" Heck, can you blame us? Who doesn't love the look on your child's face when he or she opens The-Thing-They've-Always-Wanted? It's very hard to convince ourselves that giving material possessions does not equal love. In fact, I believe that the less we give, the more we love!

My goal is to have the kids asking, "What can we give for Christmas?" instead of "What can we get?" Maybe we need to re-think our dialogue...we should be making lists of who we're giving to instead of lists of what we want.

I want to raise unselfish, generous, thankful, content children. I don't want them to always have everything they want. I want them to learn to be satisfied with the love of the Heavenly Father, to let Him fill the hole in their hearts, not to search endlessly for the "material fix" that so many people think will make them happy.

I think, maybe, just maybe, I'm ready for a *gasp* GIFT-FREE CHRISTMAS!!! But I don't think the rest of my family is (yet!). . .

Fight It!

So I'm the first to admit...

I LOVE to shop. I love Shopping Day, AKA Black Friday. I love the Christmas Bustle at the mall.

But one thing I have been learning lately is that the spirit of constant thanksgiving keeps me drawn close to the Lord.

Which is one reason I love Thanksgiving...
It is an entire day that people all across the country set aside to give thanks.
To stop and let our souls rest and think about all the many blessings our loving Father has given us. We don't deserve any of them, but He loves us so much and delights in blessing us, and this is the day we all stop to say thank you.
To express appreciation.
To revel in our contentment with the life He's provided.

And then the newspaper comes.
And out falls about 200 pages of stuff.
Stuff we "need."
Stuff that is "too good of a deal to pass up."
Stuff that, now that we've seen it, our lives will not be complete without.
Stuff that will throw us into debt. Will cloud our good judgment and make us believe that we should feel privileged to be "approved" for the payment plans, for the 0% interest, because look how much better our lives will be with all this new Stuff!

And all of a sudden, the day of giving thanks back to the Giver, becomes the day of discontent.
The fullness we feel in our hearts seeps slowly out, and in its place becomes a giant void.

I can't help but it a ploy of the enemy? This year, I am determined not to let it take over. My heart will be steadfastly focused on my Provider, and truly thankful for what He's given me. I will make the choice to be content.
To say thank you.
To tell my loving Father that He's a Good Dad, and that if He never gave me another thing, that everything He's already given me is more than enough.


OK, ladies,
What books have shaped you as a woman, a wife, a mother? I'm putting together a recommended reading list, and need recommendations! :)

The Importance of Our Job as Mothers

"Children are a public trust - Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing-up and instruction of the children - in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more that anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman. It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it."

-Charlotte Mason, "Home Education, Vol. 1" p. 1

It is often difficult, especially for those of us who stay at home with our kids, to feel purposeful, needed, useful as a mother. I'm not sure why this is, because it seems that even two generations ago it was not the case. But I have already established here in the past that I will make no impact larger than the one I make on my own children, my own family. So what if my training in music (or your training in...fill in the blank) is intended not to fill my own heart, or change the world as a whole, but ultimately to make an eternal impact on my own children and our home life? What if I create an atmosphere in my home where my children learn to live lives of worship? How much more impact will children who live lives of worship make, more than the person for whom I can facilitate a few minutes of encounter with God during a worship service (not to discount that, but obviously the impact will be less). What if this applies to all of our trades that we learned B.C. (before children)? Education, music, healthcare, business - whatever we did can be passed as a strength to our children through our willingness to give them those gifts...

Just something I'm thinking about...

Family Principles from Scripture

A repost from my blog, to get us started:

I'm really loving this kind of thing right now. I remember one time asking God why, if raising children is so important, He didn't tell us more about how to do it. I have to laugh at myself about that now, as I am discovering the vast amounts He has to say on the subject!

Go for it!

Hey you guys that I have added to the author list - go ahead and start posting stuff when you think of it. And send me what you'd like to have as your bio under "Contributors." :)

Friday, November 28, 2008


OK, so I suppose since I dragged you all here, I should probably explain myself and talk a little about what I want to do. First of all, I DO NOT love the name of this site, but finding something that is not taken is, well, difficult. It can be changed, and I figured we'd just start somewhere. Somebody come up with something creative, please!?

Chalk it up to my entrepreneur brain (I have to keep it occupied SOMEHOW), but I think this could be a really great resource, not to mention fun to read and write. The more women who will contribute, the cooler it will be. We don't all have to agree with everything that is said (I'm not going to even try to "approve" everything that is written - that would defeat the purpose), but if we can respect and learn from each other, I call it a success. Here are the criteria I feel are important:

-Point readers back to God as our Source

-Be positive about our kids and husbands - this is not a gossip session, and I will need to remove posts that get into husband bashing or tear down our children in any way. There are lots of Scriptures about this, but I'm preaching to the choir and I don't think I need to go into them. I'm just saying it so it's been said. :) I know some of us have kids or even marriages with certain difficulties, and it would probably be really helpful to other moms for us to write about those difficulties, but we have to be so careful...if your child as a 10 year old was to read your post, how would it affect them? Would your post build up your husband and marriage? We have to be building our homes, not tearing them down. That is what keeps some of my thoughts off my blog. There is nothing secret, especially on the internet!

-I need the help of anyone who contributes to help mediate comments. I'm a little concerned about that part. I do not want a bunch of arguments happening here, but I would like people to be able to interact. Maybe we turn the comments off? Thoughts?

-Let's be real, but... We can have questions, everything does not have to have a happy ending, we can't make life "unmessy," because it's not. But in spite of and during the mess, God is still God. It's entirely possible that non-Christians will read this - I want them to know the hope that we have. Sometimes I think we push our faith to the side in fear of being super-spiritual or offending people. But I think we need to demonstrate that there is a difference between being moms who have God with us, and being moms if we didn't. Can you imagine doing this job without being able to pray and surrender your kids to God when they're sick, to pray for their safety, to pray for strength, to be built up with truth from the Word? I can't. And I want to communicate that difference, even to lead moms to Jesus if we can.

Over time we may learn some things and need to set some more guidelines, but I'd rather stick with the heart of a message rather than the letter of the law, if you know what I mean.

Also, like I said in a comment on my blog, I really really really want moms of all ages and life stages to write here. Lisa Bevere's book Nuture talks about relationships between what she calls the "daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers." Each one of those relationships is worthwhile to the others, and part of the discouragement among mothers, I believe, is related to how little we tend to connect with our peers and moms younger and older (especially much older) than us. Please don't think we don't need your perspective because you're too (young, old, whatever).

I swiped Shelly's Meeup link off her page and stuck it on here as advertising. Lots of us have our own home-based businesses, and I would love to put links to them here, especially businesses that are directed toward moms. In the future when we have HUNDREDS of readers (I can dream, can't I?), maybe we could sell advertising and upgrade to typepad, our own domain, or even pay our writers per entry...I dunno...just brainstorming.

We can also do some weekly blog events - menu planning? Links? (Like, send me the links you find that moms might be interested in and I can compile them and post them all at one time on Fridays?) seems like every time I'm with moms somebody ends up telling birth stories - maybe we feature one a week? Would somebody like to take charge of a verse for the week we can all memorize? We could do a companion site with recipes/crafts/projects and post those too. Somebody could be the marriage "contributor," someone else the health "contributor," or you could write on a different subject each time. There's probably a whole host of things I haven't even thought of, these are just things I'm interested in and write about on my blog from time to time.

What makes you unique as a mom? What is in your background that makes you see the world differently? Do you have special training or expertise you can write a post about? Did God recently teach you something about being a mom? Do you have a question you've never been able to answer? Please share with us!!

Email me with questions or suggestions... sarakay [at] Gmail [dot] com.