Secret Santa…Guilt!

I have Secret Santa guilt! 

Gifts are on my mind a lot. I don’t live to get presents, but I like them as much as anyone else. It’s worse when I give gifts because it’s so hard for me to choose something great and I agonized over trying to give the very best thing. I need to be smart with the $$, but honestly, if I had all the $$ in the world, then I’d agonized over giving too much. Or I’d worry about sending the wrong message by being too lavish. Yup, I’m not a win-win thinker, I’m a no win thinker.

Some people are amazing at choosing just the right thing…

Secret Santa, not necessary for a thoughtful giftMy site is called The Ribbon on Top. That name just screams, there’s a present involved here otherwise, why would we talk about a ribbon on top? Intangible gifts are the ones with the deepest value. I love to give of myself and I try to notice when others put out on my behalf; a compliment, a thoughtful gesture, a hug, etc.; those are precious gifts. No Secret Santa necessary. 

Decorations are coming out, Christmas music is playing at the mall, I’m planning my dinner and the wish lists are being written. It’s getting exciting.

The craziest thing happened at Christmas a while ago, and I can’t get it out of my mind. Small packages started arriving at my house with the names of each one of my kids on them. Inside each package was a $100 Amazon gift card in a pretty tin snowflake box. The married one’s got $200 gift cards.  

Amazon.com $100 Gift Card in a Snowflake Tin (Happy Holidays Card Design) (Affiliate)

You’d think I’d jump for joy!

Instead of jumping for joy, I started to panic. ‘What have I done? When did I order gift cards? Here’s the funniest thought that I had. “Did someone hack my account and buy everyone in my family a gift card?” OK, that doesn’t make any sense? Who would hack your Amazon account and buy you a gift card with your money for Christmas?! 

I actually checked my Amazon account, my bank account, and then I called Amazon. They tracked the orders and said that the cards were sent anonymously and it was all legit! No one else knew these gift cards had arrived because if it was a hoax, I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed.

Let the Happy Dance Begin!

When I finally broke the news to everyone, there was a major happy dance. It was like they’d been given a million dollars. That was a pretty fun day. You know, it gets real good when you take the kiddos to Amazon and let them start shopping and dreaming. Oh the excitement of picking out the gift, the anticipation, and then getting the goodies in the mail. The happy dances went on for days.

So, back to my guilt. You forgot that I started this whole story by saying I have Secret Santa Guilt. How could someone know all of my family, be shockingly generous to us and give each of us $100. That’s $1,400.00 and leave us with we o one to thank for it !!!

      14 times!

Honestly, I am so grateful for a mystery giver. I thought about posting our pics on Facebook with a big thanks, but, I was sure that somehow, some way, I’d inadvertently discover this mysterious, kind, thoughtful generous person or people. But I did not!

So this is my Secret Santa guilt…I wanted to say thank you, personally, to our Santa.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Now I am saying thank you, Mystery Person, from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of my whole family. You gave us fun, a treat, a lesson in generosity and a great memory. God Bless You.

The Value Of A Gift is More Than Stuff

The value of a gift is more than stuff. It’s never about the stuff.

I love my babies, but when they grow up, there’s no better friend for life than your own grownup little dear. Your little one will become a friend who is priceless! Your precious kiddo is the gift; someone you deeply care about, and hopefully they care about you too  😉   

My Friend Birdie (7 children!) – Quote –  ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

When I met Birdie, her children were grown and she had many grandchildren. I only had 5 children, 9 and younger. Life was crazy and I was swamped and in over my head! Nothing was neat and tidy, and guess what, I had 4 more children and they were boys.

It wasn’t always total chaos at our house, but it was crazy. I appreciated Birdie’s advice to love the kiddos, not the perfectly made bed. Now that many of them are grown, most of the beds are made, but the memories of chaos is fun and I’m extremely proud of them.

I’m serious when I say the value of a gift is not the stuff. The value is in the fact that my dear, precious children were thoughtful enough to make the effort to give me the gift.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

Fast forward a few years from when I met Birdie, and those babies have grown up into thoughtful, generous young people. They give me the best gifts.

This year the girls really decided to treat me for my birthday. Of course the guys went along with their idea. They set me up with top of the line stuff. The works, all to make my nails fabulous. All I had to do was to learn how to do my nails.

I had a nail kit before, but I hadn’t mastered the skill. They researched the best equipment to accomplish the goal and sent me the whole deal for my birthday.

My nails aren’t naturally beautiful. I haven’t cared for them either. I used to go to the salon, but it can be expensive, and its time consuming. Obviously I needed some help, and these thoughtful kids came to my rescue.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

The secret is in the ‘magic oven’. Actually it’s called the Gelish Harmony 18G Pro LED Nail Polish Curing Lamp and Fantastic Four Kit. Sure this is an affiliate link, and I’m telling you about it because you’ll love it, too.

It’s amazing and it’s fast. That’s the one thing that stopped me from having great nail success. Going to the salon took too long, and doing it myself took too long. I love having my own little beauty set up and I’m grateful that these babies cared to get me the best equipment for the job.

You know and I know that love is not stuff. But in this case, the stuff, took a lot of effort and coordination between my sweet kids, that the thoughtfulness and the work that they put into me gift, showed the love.

I was pretty pleased with my first try. Don’t judge me, I’m not a professional, but I had such fun. Practice makes perfect and I will definitely get better.

Our house is a real home, with children, teenagers, and grown up kids coming and going. The ‘new marrieds’ came home for a long weekend. We have some sweet times together.

The problem is that people need to eat and nails can’t be a priority when there’s food to prepare. I wanted the girls to try out my new set up, and I didn’t have time to play:( I started on food and set the girls up with my new gadget, right where I could watch. With a little you tube tutorial, they got real good.

It’s funny, the things that bring us all together. There were kids all over the place, everyone running around, supper being made and nails being worked on. Nicole, my sweet daughter in law, did my son’s girlfriend, Tori’s, nails. I loved the fact that we were altogether. It was spontaneous, and natural and sweet. We worked, we visited and we enjoyed each other. The little things, the unplanned events when we’re together, are some of sweetest memories I have.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuffThe beauty and sweetness of babies lasts for such a short time. It’s precious, wonderful and exhausting. If you raise your sweethearts right, you’ll glide past the hard work, into the friendship phase and the rewards are more valuable than you can imagine.

Now when I do my nails, I think of them and I am happy that I was able to do the work and have the honor of raising them.

The value of a gift is not the stuff, but the stuff reminds me of the value of a gift of children. I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I‘m so proud of them and grateful to have so many wonderful children, big and small. Like Birdie said, ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

P.S. These are the colors that we chose that day. I know Tori’s hands are lovely, like a hand model’s hands, but other that that, which color is your favorite?

Gelish U V Gel Nail Polish “Glamour Queen” 01407  This color is mine and its a beautiful and definitely classy, neutral color.

Gelish Gel Polish Harmony U V “Red Roses 01343” This color is on Tori’s beautiful hands and its bright, stunning and glamorous.

Don’t be a Helpless Parent; 3 Steps to Well Behaved Children

 Don’t Be A Helpless Parent! 3 Steps to a well-behaved child; Even when you’re out and about.

I'm a mom of 9. I have 3 Steps to well behaved children. Don't be a helpless parent1. Teach them to obey your voice at home.

Our first baby was already independent by 18 months. I had crazy fears of him running out on a busy street. It was extremely important to me, that he responded to my voice immediately. I wanted him to obey me instantly, because someday, it might save his life. I was determined to not be a helpless parent. It was important to me to work diligently to train him and teach him to listen to my voice and obey, because I loved him and I wanted the best for him. If I taught him to respond to my voice at home, he’d listen to me when we were out and about.

When I  travel, I’ll see a helpless parent desperately trying to discipline their children and then give up. What happened to the olden days when children respected their parents? Little ones are acting up in public, teenagers are mouthing back and their parents look nervous, stressed out and then apathetic.

I'm a Mom of 9, and I have 3 steps to well behaved children. Don't be a helpless parent

We had a great trip to Europe. In London, unfortunately, the tube was on strike, so we had find our way by catching the overcrowded city buses.

This poor, little old lady got on our bus,  and she was obviously struggling to find a place to sit. No one offered her a seat!  Finally she asked a woman if her 9 year old kid, would allow her to have his seat. The mom asked the kid if he’d let the lady sit down, but that child just ignored his mom and looked away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a child looking away, because having his mom talk to him wasn’t important to him! The mother looked slightly embarrassed. She said she was sorry but the he didn’t want to.  Seriously?!! He didn’t want to? ‘Who’s in charge there?’I'm a Mom of 9 and around the world we have helpless parents. I have 3 steps to well behaved children

After a few minutes, she must have felt everyone’s eyes boring into her back as the old lady was almost falling down. She got her courage up and asked her kid again if he’d get up and let the lady sit down. The kid said he was tired! The mother said she was sorry; there was nothing she could do about it, because he was tired. That kid looked fine to me! Finally, for some unknown reason, the kid got up and allowed the lady to have his seat. We all breathed a sigh of relief. That mother was helpless and she had lost the respect of everyone there.

2. Consistently uphold the standards that you expect from them.

They will test you at home, but they’ll really test you in a public. You could have a super compliant little sweetheart, and the minute you’re in a restaurant, they sense that they can get away with some pranks. They think you won’t be able to do anything about it, right? It is your job is to be consistent. Public or not, they must obey you. You know what’s best for them. The most important thing for you to do, is to deal with a problem immediately. It’s for their sake that you’re training them. Don’t let them down!

Little kids everywhere are being unruly in public and they have a helpless parent. We took a chilly tour bus in Paris. Sitting in the front under the canopy with us, was a Mom, Dad and their 3 children, about 10, 8 and 5 years old. 

I'm a Mom of 9 and around the world we have helpless parents. I have 3 steps to well behaved kids

These little darlings were running all over the bus screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean at the top of their lungs, and non-stop. I think the canopy was magnifying all their racket. Truly, I don’t mind other people’s children when they’re acting up. It’s really none of my business; it’s not my problem. Sometimes I chuckle as I watch a helpless parent. Sometimes I feel great sympathy; like ‘been there, felt that’.

It was getting really unpleasant, and David looked at me and said, ‘If they don’t stop screaming and smashing into me, I’m going to say something’. It was like a millisecond after he said it, that and he turned and hollered at them to sit down and be quiet. Normally I would have been absolutely mortified that he yelled at someone else’s kids, but he startled me so much, that I started to giggle. That poor father just rolled his eyes and looked away, like a typical helpless parent. Their mother started nodding and agreeing that they should sit still and that it was a good idea. The children were so surprised that a big stranger yelled at them, they instantly obeyed and became still and very quiet.

We fly all the way across the sea, only to find that parents in Europe had the same problems as parents in America. Children are unruly, disrespectful and they have terribly helpless parents.

(A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone – Billy Graham)

Why are parents so helpless these days? Are they uneducated or untrained? Do they lack the skills to handle their children? Are they afraid of confrontation in public? Don’t they actually care about the way their children behave?

I don’t believe for a minute that any of that is true. Parents really do care. I mean I care, and I know you care, so what’s the problem? Why are 6 and 7 year old children so blatantly disrespectful of their own parents and other adults?

When I had babies, I was untrained, too, but I was determined to do my best to care for them. I felt the weight of responsibility more and more every day. Their little lives are in your hands, and that gets you real serious. Caring for them became more than feeding, changing, hugging and kissing.

I teach my babies to learn important life skills. It is my job to raise them to become successful adults. As much as I love them, they’re not my little pets, and I need to teach them and train them about what’s right, even if they don’t like me for it.

3. Say what you say; Mean what you say. This is my motto.

Mommy’s can talk a lot; too much. Don’t babble on about what your little one is supposed to do and why they should do it and what’s going to happen to them if they do and what’s going to happen if they don’t….yadayada! You know what I mean. I’ve gone on and on myself, only to realize they’d tuned me out 10 minutes ago.

Tell them what you expect them to do, and then, expect them to do it! Let them make the choice to obey. Give them the consequence if they don’t obey, or the reward or praise if they do. Children need secure, clear boundaries and they are looking to us moms and dads to give them that security.

We moms get really tired and burned out. A lot of us moms didn’t have someone who was a great example. Some of us don’t have mentors to guide us in training our children. I can’t brag about any of my successes. I was blessed by the consistent training I received from my own mom. Trust me, she was not a helpless parent. She was a strong mom who was determined to equip us for success in life.  I was also blessed by a mom in law who was a successful mom as well who only gave me encouragement, not excuses.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Sign up for my blog and read my stories. I will give you tips, goals and encouragement.

P.S. I’d love to get your opinions. Are we becoming helpless as parents? Do we know what to do with our babies and how to do it?

I Don’t Tell My Kids – ‘Vote Your Conscience’

‘Vote your conscience’!

I do not teach my kids ‘vote your conscience!’ Do You? I am telling my children to Pray!

I'm a mom of 9 kids and I don't teach my kids to blindly vote your conscience but to pray‘Vote your conscience’ is definitely the thing to say in this crazy election season. We Americans are turning out to be a very passionate group of people, but often to the point of being very rude. Opinions are flying back and forth with wild abandon. Political conversations are getting heated and quickly becoming very uncomfortable.

If you want to get out of the argument with overly passionate people, just say, “Vote your conscience”. 😉 If you’re not really up on the issues, just say, “I’m going to vote my conscience”. If you don’t want to admit who you’re voting for, just say, “I’m going to vote my conscience and you should, too”. It’s a great cop-out line! It’s a great line to use if you want to appear to be taking the high ground on an issue when you don’t know all the facts.

We use the word conscience out of context; especially definition #3. It sounds like I’m slamming the word, but I’m talking about how we use it.

Conscience (Noun)

  1. The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: “to follow the dictates of conscience.” (Can be used as an excuse to do or not do something)
  2. The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual. (Says who? What is your measuring stick?)
  3. An inhibiting sense of what is prudent: “I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.” – (False guilt – haha, I say this all the time)

I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell them to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayWhat dictates or controls your conscience? Is there an angel or a devil on I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell my kids to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayyour shoulder? Which one do you listen to? If you’re like me, you might be tempted to listen to the wrong one. I am definitely influenced and shaped by those around me.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”? (Jim Rohn-Business Insider) If you don’t have a foundation and a strong sense of who you are and what’s right and wrong, your associates will ‘shape your conscience’.

Vote your conscience? Be careful; your conscience will go with your feelings. It is so easy to be talked into other people’s opinions. I watch and listen to ads, news stories, polls and people’s opinions. If I believed everything I heard and saw, I’d be convinced that one candidate was amazing. The next day I’d be convinced that the other candidate was amazing. If my beliefs and opinions are based on what I hear from our media, I would form a strong, definite opinion. I could say with great conviction, that I will vote my conscience and believe that I was absolutely right.

It’s so funny, because while I actually know that the media manipulates me, I’m still swayed when I hear them speak with great conviction. My friends state very strongly, the pros and cons of a certain candidates. I know that they’re quoting their own chosen sources and they are being subconsciously manipulated, too. If you are willing to choose your favorite TV station and absolutely believe what they’re telling you, then you’ll be able to vote your conscience based on the info you’ve been given. News people are very believable.

But what if they’re lying?!

We’ve been having frequent, intelligent conversations with the kids about the candidates and the issues. It’s a scary time in America right now. I think we all know that the media is not unbiased with their news but, it is definitely fascinating. It’s a privilege to be living through such a transitional time in history and I hope our votes will make a positive difference.

We doing our best to follow credible people in the news, on social media and in person, as I’m sure you are, too. It’s impossible to understand and know all the issues. Do your best! Be an example to others by sticking by your principles and not compromising.

I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell my children to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayThe most important thing you can do is to teach your babies to Pray. Help them understand that having Wisdom is what we need to have. The only place to get real wisdom is from God, and He will give us wisdom if we ask. 

Wisdom is not being really smart and being able to win Trivial Pursuit. ‘Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.’ We have people in our country who are whipper snapper smart but they don’t make good and wise choices. (Your conscience cannot come up to the level of Gods knowledge – Joseph Prince)

Explain to your little dears the foundations that your principles are based on. When your principles are based on The Bible, you are Golden. Help your little dears understand how important it is to ask God to help them make the right decision. Teach them to obey God. Tell them to ask Him to speak to their conscience, spirit, mind, soul, heart because then, and only then, will they vote their conscience and their conscience will be right.

We teach our babies every day by words and by example. You do too, even though you may not realize it. Even though we’re not teaching them perfectly every day, they learn from us, whether we’re talking politics or puppies.

I am not telling my kids who to vote for. I want them to freely make their own decision. Having said that, I can’t be quiet about what I’ve learned and which one I think would be the best pick 🙂I love flowers, they're like the ribbon on top. I can help add beauty to Moms by encouraging you and telling you stories of the many things I've learned over the years

Live by principles and this will shape and develop a conscience that you can trust. Be careful what your principles are base on. Teach Godly principles to your children.

Your principles are your code. Do you agree? Tell me what you think. Surely I’ve made you mad, or very happy, because you have someone who agrees with you.

 

 

Successful Double Wedding? You need 5 Things!

Well, we did it. We successfully made it through 2 of our kids getting married at the same time, at the same church, with the same pianist and the same wedding coordinator and the same reception.  We used the same poor lady at the church to organize us all and we certainly gave her a run for her money. None of us had ever been to a double wedding, let alone planned one before. The funny thing was that when we announced the double wedding, no one assumed that we meant that it would be together, together! A lot of people thought we meant a week apart, or on the same weekend a day apart, but not us. We did it all together. I loved it.

T have a Successful Double Wedding, 4 people and 3 families need to show love, kindness and unselfishness with each other. I'm so proud of my kids. What a beautiful double wedding we had

Events overlap in a big family, so when our daughter, Abby, got engaged at Christmas time and said they wanted to get married soon, we had to figure something out quick. Michael and Nicole were already planning their wedding in 4 months. They started talking about different possibilities and came up with the idea of getting married together. I thought this was a crazy idea, but they were excited about it. Everyone wondered how they would get along and not get upset with each other, but that was no problem at all.

The challenge for us was in working out the details and one of the trickiest things was communication. I know, you’re thinking that communication is easy these days and it doesn’t matter where you are: Skype, Hangouts, Face Time, etc. but it’s not always that simple. With Abby in Oregon, Pete in Calgary, Michael and Nicole in Texas and the rest of us in Michigan, there were time zones, jobs and just plain old time constraints! The moment someone would have a great idea and we’d want to talk about it, someone else was sleeping or at work. But it all turned out to be absolutely amazing and truly beautiful. I’m so proud of everyone. It was the event of the season for our family.

You need 5 things to have a successful double wedding and I’m not talking about pretty flowers or big diamond rings. You need:

1. Unselfishness

Without being incredibly unselfish, the stress of it all will bring out the dark side! How do you agree with someone else on how to do your day if you are very selfish?! This is the day every girl dreams of, right? If you don’t get to have your own way with everything you ever dreamed of and wanted, wouldn’t that be unfair? I proud of them for being very unselfish.

2. Generosity

What I mean by that is to have a generosity of heart. An attitude that says, I want to give to the other person so they’ll be happy. It’s a word that means you’re willing to give or give in to another person even though it’s your day. What if you want pink and frills, and the other girl wants black and gold, you can’t resolve this if you’re not generous in your heart towards each other. There was only so much money for the wedding and it had to be shared between them and I watched them work together to make it all beautiful.

3. Flexibility

Ouch, being flexible can be a real toughie. It’s your day, right? So why shouldn’t you have things the way you want, and to have to be flexible, ugh, that means that you don’t get your own way. The ceremony was really tricky to plan out. 2 Brides, 2 Grooms, 3 sets of Mom’s and Dad’s. That was at least 10 people with important, valid thoughts and opinions! Now factor in 2 sets of bridesmaids, 2 sets of groomsmen, and 2 pastors. There was so much give and take and everyone was really sweet. Not only were they flexible with each other, but their bridesmaids and groomsmen put their own needs aside and really served the 2 couples.

4. Kindness

Kindness is the opposite of selfishness. Kindness involves the action of love. The girls planned so much of their double wedding together on the phone, for months before, but when they arrived at my house, 2 1/2 weeks ahead of time, all I saw was 2 girls having so much fun, doing all kinds of wedding, shower and bachelorette things together. I couldn’t have been happier with them. They treated each other with absolute kindness. You Go, Girls! In case you think I’m forgetting the guys.

The Guys were both the coolest;  Calm, not demanding, they tried to please their women; They rocked it!

5. Love

Love does not envy or boast. Love does not insist on its own way. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends. This is what I saw happen at their double wedding. 2 couples who were unselfish and very loving to each other.

Credit goes to Pastor Brady Courtner for setting the tone right away at the beginning of the ceremony. He created an atmosphere that day, so that each couple not only had a double wedding that was so fun and shared with each other, but he made it 100% special and personal for each of them.  

There’s so much of the talk in our culture that its all about –  ‘My day’  When girls are planning their dream wedding, the idea that ‘It’s my day’, goes completely against the 5 qualities that it takes to share a wedding. It is sort of the height of self-centeredness. But even if you’re not sharing your day with another couple, the 5 qualities that are needed to have a successful double wedding, are the same qualities it takes to have a successful single wedding and a successful marriage. There is no ‘my’ about it.

A wedding is a time for 2 families (3 in our case) to come together to celebrate the joining together of a man and a woman in holy matrimony, to bless them, to celebrate them and to give to them with their time, money and love.

Do you agree with me?

Mom Shaming

Have you ever been shamed by another Mom, stranger or not; just when you least expected it?  I read this great article, written by a sweet young mother, named Jessica. I know her indirectly through her family. She wrote this great story about her experience with Mom Shaming and I admire her so much.

There are some things about the Mom biz that I find very easy for me. I bet there are things about being a Mom that come naturally to you as well. Some of the Mom duties, that are easy and obvious to me, were probably taught to me by my own mother. I learned some of the tricks of the trade by watching her in action all of my growing up years. Not everyone has the advantage and blessing of having a good Mom, and not everyone has a Mom still available to them as a resource either. The training you get from your own Mom is like your default setting. The things you’ve learned to do from her are things you don’t even have to think about it.

Mom Shaming, Shame on You! I think mom shaming is becoming a thing, and as a sahm I believe we mom's need to encourage each other.

When I read Jessica’s article, I didn’t automatically put myself in her place, the young mother with the new baby, the one getting shamed. I have 9 children and I’ve been in the Mom biz for many years. I haven’t been ‘shamed’ for a long time. I instantly put myself in the place of the other mother, doing the shaming. I had this horrible feeling that I might have done some shaming in my time. Please forgive me! I didn’t do it on purpose (like the lady in the story), but I have probably sent out a signal or two that clearly gave out the message that another Mom wasn’t up to par in the mothering department. I’ve probably even given some well-meaning advice that didn’t come across as generously as I’d meant it to be. Please forgive me again! When you have a natural ability in one area, and you see someone else struggling in that same area, it seems hard to believe that anyone could screw it up when it so easy.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a certain natural ability, or learned skill, and someone else does, it seems like they have some kind of super power that you could never have. Everyone struggles with a low self-esteem at times, and no one is good at everything all the time. Being a first time Mom can bring out all your insecurities, because you just can’t know all the right moves for every situation that comes along.

This is where you need to make a decision if another Mom makes you feel badly. Do I take the advice from some other condescending Mom or not? If you are silly enough to be comparing yourself to another, seemingly more accomplished Mom, ask yourself the question: Is it important for me and my family to improve in this area, or am I making myself feel badly about something that isn’t important to us? Then, when some well-meaning lady or not so well-meaning lady butts into your business, you can either, a) humbly learn from the experience and thank her, or b) blow her off; have a good day, lady!

Life as a Mom is full of decisions. Even the skill of being decisive is an ability that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. I’m on your side, Moms. I know you’re doing your best. Hang in there. We’re all in this together🙂

Mom Shamed at Costco!

BTW, what I didn’t tell you, about Jessica, is that she is a first time mom of a sweet, pretty little baby girl. She has recently married a widower and  they have a new baby, and she is also the new step mom of 5 other children. I bet you didn’t expect that, did you? She has more on her plate that a lot of mom’s.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top It’s the age old story. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, before you Mom shame them. She’s doing her best and her best is a great job! Proud of you, Girl

 

Top 5 Gifts To Give My Children #5

I started a series called the Top 5 Gifts to Give my Children. I had a very clear idea of the Top 4. I was excited to talk about some of the things that we’ve done with our kids and I realized that in the grand scheme of things, the toys and presents that we’ve given have mostly been forgotten. Teaching good character is an important job and everyone of us are growing and developing and what we’ve instilled into our children will last a forever. While I was writing out the 1st 4 gifts, I wasn’t sure of the 5th one. Then I realized that its big. It’s too important and more valuable than anything else. Oh my goodness, I’m not qualified to give this gift in any way, but I will still share it and you can run with it.

The 1st gift of the top 5 gifts is the gift of giving tlearninghem a sincere compliment or well deserved recognition. The power of your words is profound and to use words as a loving and effective tool will shape their dear little lives.

The 2nd gift to give our children is to teach them, and help them practice, how to interact with Top 5 Gifts #2grownups with confidence and respect. This is so important for their future success, because they have to see the chance, seize the chance and break out of their nervousness and put themselves out there to talk to an adult. When they do it, their confidence builds and it will shape them.

top 5 gifts - #3
The 3rd gift of the top 5 gifts is to teach them to be aware of others around them. This teaches them to look outside of their own little self and look at others, and notice ways to give back.

Top 5 Gifts - Make Your BedThe 4th gift that I try to give my babies is the gift of consistency. They know they can count on Mommy to say what I mean and to mean what I say. This builds a very secure world for them. Children push the limits, from toddler to teenager, and when their boundaries are strong, they relax. If discipline is consistent, it will pay off big time for good in their sweet little lives.

I wasn’t sure how to explain #5 gift at first, and it didn’t become clear in my mind until I posted #4 and I got the most lovely compliments and great feedback from some readers that just boosted my confidence and cheered me up. I love the idea that I can offer an experience or share a story that not only resonates with you, but gives you some tips or ideas that renews your hope to regroup and move on with success.

The last gift to give my children is God. No, of course I don’t mean we’ve given our children God. Haha, Calm down 😉  What I mean is that we have taken time, effort, actual hard work and love to try our best to teach our little dears who God really is. I want to instill in them the desire to seek God, the tools to learn who God is and why they would want to seek Him out. I told you I’m not qualified, nor am I a shining example of someone who’s got it figured out, but I can point the way.

Top 5 Gifts #5

I don’t have the words or the ability to give this gift, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and so can you. If you know in your heart of hearts that Jesus is the one who died for you to save you, and that He is God Almighty and loves you and you’re so grateful, then tell them. Tell your little dears, because they need to hear this wonderful news from the most important people in their lives. Your words are powerful, and they are the most powerful to your little precious sweethearts who have been entrusted to you to raise them to success. If you know Jesus, ask Him to help you to communicate this to the kiddos.

On a day to day basis, practically speaking, I’ve arranged my schedule to make some things a priority. Sunday School, Junior High church activities, high school church youth group retreats and mission trips. To do that, it takes planning, money and sacrifice of my time and energy, but what great resources to back me up with what I’m teaching them. These are the activities that I put priority on to help me teach the children, on a regular basis, what’s important in this life. I want them to learn to hear God’s voice more and more as they grow up.

Did you ever wonder if God has actually spoken to you, maybe in a way that a thought came to you and it wasn’t your normal thought process and it was a revelation? I have.

There’s a verse in the bible in the book of Luke: ..To whom much is given, much is required… I’ve heard this verse taught like a warning or admonition. Meaning, I’ve been given so much in life, that I’m required to deserve it by giving back, being responsible, doing my best…lots and lots of work. It felt like a heavy weight. I’ve been given these gifts in life, so I’m required to live in a way that will make payment for them.

Some days, you guys, having the beautiful gift of children feels like so much work and stress, that I have felt like I couldn’t keep going and it made me think about that verse. I have to do a lot of work, tirelessly and gratefully because I’ve been given the beautiful gift of 9 children. What a lovely blessing that I’m working to deserve, right?

You know that the Bible is God’s living word, testifying to us who God is, and there’s deep and continual meaning to it. So I feel like God said to me, you can think about the verse the other way around, ‘To whom much is required, much is given’. Think about it. You’re required to do a lot of work, caring for your dear little babies, teaching young children and trying to manage teenagers, etc. and guess what? At the end of the day, look at what you’re given                  I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I felt like God was saying to me, “I know some days feel like all work, but because you’re required to work, here you go. And when you take a moment to slow down, look at what I’ve given you. I have given you much.”  

Such blessing.