Lighthouse, Compass, Ship’s Wheel


I normally only post one to two times a week.  However, today was … a hard day.  It reminded me of  raising my girls through their hard days and how it was sometimes difficult.

Everyone deals with pain some way, some how.   For me, this is one of those days, when you hurt so bad inside it has to get out.   As an adult I deal with my pain in several ways:

Write – writing about it on my blog
Cook – yes it’s 98 degrees, but it’s raining and I made homemade chili – good old soul food/comfort food for lunch
Shop – OK it was only WalMart for some essentials (not like when my mom would go buy a hat or a new pair of shoes)

One or all of those usually helps (I did all three).  I will tell you that I did my devotionals first.  Of course it helped and led to my writing.  However, when I am hurting I have to get busy.  I am not a saint and reading scripture does not fix things immediately but, it often helps me to think through what I have read while I am busy.  Truthfully, if reading the Scriptures fixed everything immediately, I believe  God would be finished with me here and I would already be in Heaven.   As a human I have to deal with the world and all that happens.  Devotionals are needed, but we all know it does not always ‘fix’ things.  We have to apply the Word to the pain.

Maybe I do not deal with my pain on my own;  maybe God uses others to help me deal.  Or maybe it is just that when I am busy getting things done it helps heal the pain.  I am sure some psychologist would say I am not dealing with what is hurting me.  However, I was raised by a mom that taught, “don’t sit, soak and sour’.  That is one of our Southern-ism sayings for, “toughen up, life’s hard”.

While I agree to a point that moving on is the best thing to do, it is also very important to talk your child through the pain.  Children do not know how to deal with pain on their own.  They watch you and you teach them through your actions.  What are they being taught?  You are setting patterns for them as an adult.  You need to teach them how to deal with pain in their life,  it is not automatic and you do not want them growing up blaming God for bad things in their life.

He steers us through rough waters

So what hurt today and why am I writing?  Well, my cat has been ill and this morning he died.  It was raining and my husband and I stood in the rain to bury him in the garden next to the Oleander bush.  We cried.  I am sure there are those that would say, “wow, over a cat?”.  Well no, it was much more.  It was just another domino in a long, long line of dominoes that include my husband loosing his job in a triple buy out 3 years ago and still not finding work, my mom dying, my daughter having a building collapsed on her in a tornado, my lupus battles, wedding, graduation, other family member deaths … too much of a recital? Sorry.  Just so you get the point, I am not a wimp, but sometimes there is that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Now satan* attacks you during these times and he is not a respecter of age; he will attack your child early on as they go through tragedies in their life.  You never know what will be the last straw.  It may be something simple after many hard battles.  Yes, the death of a pet is tragic.  I can remember everything from a butterfly funeral to a tropical fish funeral.  I also remember my youngest losing her friend to cancer at nine.  I remember their pain and helping them deal with my brother’s plane crash.  I remember helping them through disappointments like not making the squad, missed opportunities, and first crushes.  Pain comes in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes the little pains hurt more than the big ones.  You have to watch your child and not write them off with, “they’ll get over it”.  Ignoring it will just put it off until later and build a life time of  ‘not dealing’ and baggage they carry into their adult life.

So how do you talk to them?  I love the symbolism of the nautical life.   Explaining to your child how God cares and directs during troubled times is often easier by use of symbolism.  For small children, a visual aide helps; a lighthouse that they can turn on in a dark room, a compass to use as you walk and talk, or a toy boat they can steer in the water.  Of course for older children you can just discuss what they are going through and how God can guide them using scriptures.  Basically, all three of my symbols above point the same way, to Him.

  • The lighthouse – my favorite – He is our lighthouse, a light unto my feet.
  • The ship’s wheel – Steering and guiding us through trouble waters.
  • The compass – He directs our path through the narrow road

    He guides and directs our paths

  1. John 8:12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  2. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
  3. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
  4. Psalms 139:3 “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.”
  5. Isaiah 48:17  This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Of course small children will not understand how trials and tribulations build character, patience and virtue.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

You need to continually reinforce that you are there for them as He is always there for them.  Above all, watch during hard times for open doors from the Lord to use that time to point towards Him.

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Consequences


Actions = Reactions

I am amazed at the lack of ability for people to see that their actions affect anyone other than themselves.  Consider the angry driver that speeds out of sight as the two cars they swerved through head for ditches; the over-eating, over-drinking or over-smoking family member that says it only hurts them; or the teenage who swears it is their life to mess up and none of your business. As you are reading those scenarios you can easily find the consequences.  Yet, everyday we act without seeing the long-range effect on those actions.   The ‘lecture’ on consequences is one of my most discussed with students.

Children often need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, good ones and bad ones.  It is important to give them examples of both so they know it is good actions that everyone benefits the most from.  In teaching this concept you can take a  bucket of water, a tub, pool or lake and hand them something  to toss in the water.  Ask them to toss it in so that the water cannot be disturbed.  Impossible.  No matter what they do, they will not be able to pass the object through the water without disturbing the surface.  The bigger the action, the bigger the reaction, or consequence.  Choices, we make them everyday and our actions always have reactions or consequences.   What defines our actions?

  1. What we read, hear, see = our thoughts
  2. What we think = attitude
  3. Our attitude = character
  4. Our character = actions

If someone’s actions are negative they cause negative reactions which means we must change what they read, hear and see.  It is important to show the flip side of the coin by praising positive actions that equaled positive reactions.  For example, studying, doing homework, etc. = better grades.  Or, showing respect and consideration = receiving respect and consideration, which results in more privileges and responsibility.

Unfortunately, we are in a world ruled by sin.  Sin is a huge pebble thrown in the pond and its ripples are the consequences that are far-reaching, even into the next generations.  In 1 Samuel 3 the Bible tells of Eli’s penalty for not stopping his sons’ actions.  Eli paid the price of ‘in-action’ over his sons ‘actions’.

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

Eli’s sin was allowing desecration of the house of the Lord.  He knew about what his sons were doing and did nothing.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  I know parents who have thrown in the towel over their minor children and said, “what can I do?”.  EVERYTHING you can, is what God expects.  God holds mothers and fathers responsible for how their children act, what they read, hear and see.  The problem is, parents allow things to slip by until the children are so out of control it will take a war to win.  Some say they pick their battles, but that usually means they finally exit the war.  Raising children is spiritual warfare and the other side is not sitting idle.

Inaction IS an action.  I recently heard two boys discussing hitting back over a senseless killing.  I could have kept walking the class room and ignored them.  Trust me, it is easier.  However,  1) I knew they saw I heard them, and 2) that ‘feeling’ you get inside when you know you are supposed to speak and want to choose not to was choking me to get out.   So I went back and looked at the young man and asked, ‘What will that do’?  He said, “It will get even, I can’t just do nothing”.  I looked at him and said, “You cannot throw a rock in the water and not expect a splash.”  Blunt statements that seem senseless usually get their attention.  I then asked him, “What if they get even and ‘hit’ you back?”  He said, “We all gotta die sometime.”  Death is not a feared consequence any more.  We have desensitized a whole generation.  I asked him if he thought someone would get even for him, he thought they would.  I then asked him, “What if it’s your grandmother, or your mother, or baby sister they hit next and how will those left behind feel then?”  I had his attention.  First, death is not the end of anything, even if you do not believe in afterlife.  Second, there are those left behind after a shooting, suicide, death or self-inflicted cancer.  Even if you die, someone is forced to live with your action’s consequences.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:16-20 ,

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Your actions define what kind of tree you are.   What will your actions cause today?

Nobody’s Business


No Body's Business

What Are You Telling Your World?

Once a week we try to go to the beach to enjoy peace and quiet and unwind a little.  We choose a beach that is ‘smoke free’, has a life-guard (keeps the noise down of wild partying) and one that has great fishing and shelling.  Yesterday when we arrived there were less than 1/2 dozen people on the beach.  We settled in about 10 feet from shoreline for the view.  The birds were singing, waves lapping and a nice gentle breeze had the trees whispering.  That lasted maybe an hour before a woman settled in between us and the shore.  I never have understood why when there is a whole couple of football fields of beach to choose from, people set right down on top of you.  She not only was blocking the view, but she proceeded to light up (smoke free beach) which meant we had to ask her to put it out.  The signs are everywhere, however, we are the bad guys?   Then her friends showed up to give her some beers.  They did not stay long so she was left with her beer and nothing to do with her hands but use the cell phone.  She  pulled out her cell phone and began to talk and drink her beer.  The more she drank the louder she became.  The beach had added a few more families by this time but, she did not mind her conversations or language around these small children.  Her business became everyone’s as we had no choice but to listen to all her personal calls to her friends.  I do not understand why people forget that when they are in public talking on their phone, others are listening, even if they do not want to.  Her first call began with her congratulating her friend on being added to the list of  ‘his exes’.   Evidently children were involved because she continued to tell her to explain to them they were a ‘dysfunctional family’.   The details she exposed us all to were unbelievable.  She continued down her list of friends to call and went over a myriad of soap opera scenarios.  This woman was probably in her late 50’s or early 60’s.  You would think she would know better than to ‘air the dirty linen’ as our generation was supposedly taught.  I am sure I will be accused of stereotyping, but you can just see this woman in her living room with her beers, cigarettes and tabloids while watching her soaps.  All of these reference materials make her highly qualified to be handing out advice it seems.

There is a time and place to discuss situations and none of those involve strangers.  Talk shows and yellow journalism have done away with any sense of discretion.  They have coined phrases to use as crutches like “dysfunctional” and “ex”.  The generation being raised in the shadows of all these public disclosures are being so conditioned and desensitized to sinful lives that they are not going to know sin when it slaps them.  God says we are to guard our speech and our minds.  (Colossians 3:2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”) As parents we need to teach our children as we raise them about guarding their minds and their speech so that when they are grown it will be automatic.   We have become a world of gossiping and everyone believes they have the right to know each others business as well as share theirs.   The Bible says in Matthew 12:35-37, 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What ‘business’ are you sharing?

Look at me! Look at Me!


Dressing Up In Mom's Hat

LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT ME!

The whole world seems to be screaming for attention.  Children learn this concept early on in life.  Unfortunately, too many of today’s children are in competition with their parents and/or their parents living vicariously through them.  You do not have to look far to see examples.

1) Teen mother at the mall with small infant in her arms.

The infant is in a diaper and diaper shirt.  The mother’s arm has inadvertently pushed the shirt up exposing the child’s back.  From the waist up is what I presume (and HOPE) is a temporary henna tattoo.  The mother, herself highly decorated in tattoos, is screaming for everyone to look at her … to the point of decorating her small infant and using him to draw attention to herself.

2)  Young mother at the mall pushing a little boy who is too small to walk in stroller.

The baby has a Mohawk.  I am not talking a combed with mousse Mohawk. I am describing a SHAVED head Mohawk.   Would you take a razor to your infant’s head?  She is using her small son to scream, “look at me, look at me”.

3)  Three different expectant women at the beach in bikinis.

Now you know they KNOW they are being controversial.  But, they do not care about the discomfort of the families with small children and young boys or even the men on the beach that are totally uncomfortable with their ‘look at me’ attitude.  I heard several men use terms, the politest being ‘disgusting’, ’embarrassing’ and ‘gross’.    How sad these women put their own ‘rights’ ahead of others and scream for attention by ‘putting it out there’.

The same is said of course of the thongs, bikini Speedos on men and overweight women shoved into two pieces.  Each of these people are screaming LOOK AT ME!  It’s a ME generation.  They scream about protecting their environment and keeping it ‘green’.  They will be the first to cry foul over endangered species, yet when it comes to their fellow-man it’s LOOK AT ME.  Hollywood fuels this fire and the eager masses pick up on the latest trends.  They never look at the consequences of these celebrated lives.  They simple want the attention, to be famous; that illusive ’15 minutes of fame’.

A true claim to ‘fame’ is coming.  When the selfless in Christ arise to meet the Lord.  Teach your children that in all things their lives should give testimony to God and not to themselves.  They will sometimes be in the limelight because of what God is doing in them.  They need to know to show humility no matter if they are famous or obscure.  They should not seek to be in the limelight as their goal.  God says in 1 Peter 5:5b “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Why Modesty?


Modesty and decorum have gone out the window.

800px-BathingMachineDontBeAfraid.jpgModesty is not only not valued, it is simply not thought of or taught.  Living in FL in the hot months is a veritable onslaught to the eyes.  For some reason women do not care anymore what they wear or how they are viewed by others.  I guess we can thank Hollywood and supposedly the ‘rich and famous’ for the general attitudes.

*I counted no less than three pregnant women in bikinis.  First of all, why do they think they have the right to put their ‘comfortable with their bodies’ attitude on display at a public venue and force families with small children and boys and men of all ages to ‘deal with it’?  Every parent has the right to decide what TV and movies their children see, what books they read, yet these women think they have the right to force the same parents to deal with information about motherhood because they want to make a statement.  This is wrong on so many levels. Secondly, when did the beauty and sacredness of becoming a mother become a public side-show?  I will not deal with photo shops in the mall that place expectant mothers revealing photos on display.  I am appalled at Godly women even having them made.  That is a special time in their lives, so why have they reduced it to worldly standards and display.  I know of women who work with young girls and try to convince them to maintain modesty yet, they display photos of their pregnant stomach.  What a mixed message they are sending.  Think about how God feels about such displays; He who valued Mary’s womanhood so much that He chose her as the mother of Jesus, and cautioned Joseph about protecting her reputation by not putting her away.

*Bikinis – My girls and I always have covered ourselves in tankini’s that meet in the middle and/or one piece swimsuits. From an early age I taught them their modesty was a gift and that I gift wrapped them at birth with no peeking under the papers until their wedding night.  Were they dressed dowdy? No, they wore one piece swimsuits, no crop tops, plunging necklines or booty shorts.  They did not wear words blazed on their backside inviting people’s attention to that part of their body.  Were they fashionable?  Yes.  It is possible to be in the world and not of the world.  In fact it is your responsibility to raise them that way according to scripture.  John 17 tells us we are to be IN the world not OF the world.

* There is a running joke in FL about 2 piece swimsuits should not be larger than a size 2.  Unfortunately, women of all sizes, 30#’s, 50#’s, and sometimes even 100#’s over weight, are cramming themselves in a bikini for public display.  It is sickening that we are glorifying unhealthy bodies.  Fat is NOT beautiful, it is unhealthy.  I am overweight and I fight it daily.  I do not accept it and put myself on display.  It is not a joke, it is not funny and it certainly is not pretty.  I am amazed that on the flip side, guys are wearing more clothes than ever.  Their swim-trunks are usually below their knees with big baggy shirts.  Their shorts are big, baggy and dragging in the rear.   They look very much like a toddler’s full diaper.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995) I Timothy 2:9
“I want women to show their beauty by dressing in appropriate clothes that are modest and respectable. Their beauty will be shown by what they do, not by their hair styles or the gold jewelry, pearls, or expensive clothes they wear”

Your Child, Your Treasure


One of my all time favorite pastimes is shelling.  You meet all kinds of people combing the beach.  Most are looking for the obvious, the big shell sitting at the surf’s edge.  But, shells are like children … you have to look for the not so obvious in them and dig a little deeper to reveal the true treasures. There are some areas on the beach that wash in ‘coffee dregs’, bits and pieces of grasses that are broken up and resemble coffee grinds.  Amongst this ‘dirt’ I find my favorite treasure, the Angulated Wentletrap.  My husband had several of the ones I have collected added to a chain.

shell-info0.gifTiny and bright white, they go unnoticed by the casual beach comber.  Yet God detailed them perfectly with their spiral and twisting form.  When people see them on my necklace they find them beautiful like pearls.  Yet most people ignore their beauty as they walk on them at the beach.

angelwings.jpg A similar find is the Angel Wings which are bivalve mollusc similar to a clam.  Occasionally washed ashore, they are usually found while digging and can be as much as 3 feet deep in mud and clay.  They are very fragile, yet with correct handling are a true treasure.

Children are many times like these shoreline treasures.  Small and lost in the dirt of the world, unnoticed by so many walking around them; you must pick them up and clean them, care for them, and treasure them.  Some are mired deep in ‘mud’ and need careful handling and care.  All produce treasures to behold.  Time, patience and love for what you are doing produce the most valued of all treasures.  Go slowly, take the time.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  (This is a proverb – not a promise – they still have free will – you are responsible for training them and giving them the tools to make good choices.)

Parenting: What kind will you do?

Parenting: What kind will you do?


It all started in INFANCY (think about it): (Excerpt from my book)Before you start looking at Godly parenting, you must grasp the concept that everything on earth is a microscopic model of our relationship with God.  Everything on earth needs to be as it is in Heaven.  By that I mean, He is our Heavenly parent and you are to be a parent to your child as He is to you in as much as it is humanly possible.  Know that He is there to help and guide you all the way and do not forget this concept.  You are the bride and your husband the groom, just as the church is the bride and Christ is the groom.  GRASP these concepts.  This will help you put things into their proper perspective and help you see the big picture through the smaller picture and vice versa.  This is the true and perfect will of God as outlined in scripture.  Matthew 6:10.  However, we live in a world plagued by sin and I realize that everyone reading this book may not have a Christian marriage or even be married.  The concepts for Godly parenting remain the same even if our choices on earth have brought about different consequences.  Your goal is to fix what you can and parent as Godly as you can.  Transfer your Christian life into raising your child.  Just as you were once a newborn Christian and needed food and guidance to grow spiritually, implement the same principles into the raising of a Godly child.
Like newborn Christians infants are a sponge.  They learn daily even when you do not notice the change.  Early on you must decide your ultimate goals of raising your child and so you decide at infancy what kind of parent you are.  Do you want to raise a Godly child?  How Godly?  Are you willing for them to be set apart a peculiar people unto God? Or are you more worried about how your child will be accepted?  Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?   Being a parent is overwhelming.  You have been placed as a steward over a gift from God.  We read in the Gospels that we are entrusted as stewards over talents given us. Matthew 25 Talents are any gifts from God and include our Children.  What will you do with your ‘talent’?  The temptations are strong to make them the most attractive, popular, talented … you get the picture.  None of these are bad things unless they are your priority.  Of course you want them dressed and looking cute.  You want them liked and you want them to succeed in school and extracurricular activities.  But, wait, how is that affected at infancy?  When you hold that precious infant in your arms you need to begin daily praying for them as well as yourself as you raise them.  You pray for their future, their eventual mate and how God is preparing that loved one for them.  Do you think this is too early?  Well I assure you satan is not going to wait on developing that sinful nature in your precious bundle.  Never forget you are in a spiritual warfare no matter how precious and angelic that child is asleep in your arms.  So make your decision now on what kind of parenting you want to do and then take action.  Ephesians 6:4
Parenting can be broken into several types:
(1) Controlling
(2) Indulging
(3) Self-centered
(4) Involved
These are described in the first chapter of my book, Mom2Mom.