Staying Focus: Avoiding the Pitfalls

 

Teaching My Son to Be Thankful When He’s Sad

The day before Thanksgiving, my husband had to work late.  He was set to get off early, but plans change fast for a Police Officer… he never knows what he’ll face, but he always does it bravely, and his faith and courage is like a light to us.

But my son was waiting for him to come home… he expected that his daddy would get off early so that the fun could begin.  Whenever daddy is home, he and our oldest son have the greatest time playing, wrestling, and just plain being silly-heads!

But the time came, and went, and after eating another dinner by ourselves, another bath and bedtime routine by ourselves, another tucking in and praying blessing over my son, while I was praying the blessing over him, he started to cry.  He told me through his tears how much he missed his daddy, and this has become something that happens more often than I want to admit.  My son LOVES his dad… like REALLY loves his dad, and he MISSES him at night to point of going to bed crying!

Being married to my Officer, I have to be prepared to be flexible, because he often has little control over what will dictate when he works or how late he’ll have to stay.  I don’t give him a hard time because I understand the greater purpose and reason behind him staying later than normal.  He’s usually helping someone in dire need, or catching a thief, or tracking down a stolen car, or intervening in a child sexual abuse situation and waiting for CPS to come.  His staying late means he’s being someone else’s hero, but that’s extremely hard for a 5 year old boy who just misses his daddy to understand.

Usually I comfort him and tell him to be strong and that his dad will come home and pray his blessing over him as he sleeps, I promise him he’ll see his dad in the morning.  But this time I had an idea… it was the night before Thanksgiving, and we were focusing on being thankful for everything in our life, so I decided I could help him use this opportunity to thank God for the gifts he DOES have, even wen daddy isn’t there.

He bowed his little head, and we started to pray, him repeating every word I said, together, we spoke thankfulness into his heartbreaking situation:

“Thank you God, that I have a wonderful dad.

Thank you that he loves me so much!

Thank you that he works so hard for us.

Thank you that he helps people who are in need, and deals rightly with evil people in our city.

Thank you that he prays a blessing over me each night as I sleep.

Thank you that he’s off for Thanksgiving this year, and that we’ll have him all day tomorrow all to ourselves!

Amen!”

 

A strange thing happened when we started praying, as he repeated back each sentence in his own prayer with me, I noticed that his tears stopped!  His voice tone changed.  He went from being legitimately heartbroken over missing his dad, to being filled with true, unabashed thankfulness for having such an amazing, wonderful dad!

It was a light bulb moment for me as well.  Oh how our world changes when we move from complaining about our circumstances to being thankful and joyful despite them!

And for you dear reader, I’m not sure what you’re going through right now, what trials you may be facing… but I do know this, praying that prayer with my son was a miracle.  The way it changed his entire outlook, and helped him to not go to bed with tears yet again, was such a blessing to this mommy.

I challenge you, sweet reader, to try to thank God in your tough times, to try to remember the things He’s blessed you with and take back the joy that Satan has stolen from you.

Much love and blessings!

Christmas Joy & Excitement!

IMG_0235

This past weekend, our family does the usual tradition of getting all the Christmas decorations out on the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday lol… my son thought that sounded scary, and I guess from what it’s turned into, it is!

Getting the Christmas decorations out, putting up lights, the nativity scene for the kids, getting out my Grandma’s old glass Christmas decorations she passed down to me – telling my son stories about the family he’ll meet in heaven as were admiring their trinkets… it all makes me so happy!!!

IMG_0297

Throw in the Christmas music playing joyfully in the background, and you have a beautiful scene!

IMG_0296

Even though this holiday season has been emotionally difficult, I’m still trying to make it as joyful as possible for our little family.

IMG_0298

My dad is still not completely there mentally, and my brother and I have been receiving some things he no longer wants or uses. 😦   I’ve gotten his camera 😦 and his field microscope, my brother’s gotten the family rifle, and even though he’s excited and loves guns as much as I do, as we sat talking on Thanksgiving in his room (that he no longer really lives in, my baby brother has grown up!!!!) we both felt the sadness of what this meant.

IMG_0223

IMG_0222

So we’re still mourning the loss in a way… and trying to be thankful that he is still here, and that we can still enjoy him.  Over Thanksgiving, we had the best times playing games together, talking, and laughing till we cried!

The morning of Thanksgiving, my older son (5) and I made a cherry pie together 🙂 I really suck at baking… but I keep trying and adventuring into this realm of the domestic goddess, and at least this pie turned out great!

IMG_0212

And it was even more fun that my son had especially requested we made this kind of pie this year (he was obsessed with cherry pie for months!), and so making it together with him, letting him help me do the dough and create the lattice work, was SO fun and SO worth it, even if the pie had turned out terrible.  So hooray for that!

IMG_0207

It looked beautiful, and tasted amazing!!!  So proud of him!

IMG_0219

 

Creamy Poblano Soup & Taco Soup

Creamy Poblano Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love a good, hearty, hot soup in when the weather gets cooler, or for those freezing Winter nights of which we have very few here in Texas.  This soup was just amazing!  I modified a recipe from Epicurious, adding in about a pound of ground beef seasoned with garlic, cumin, and pepper spices, substituting heavy whipping cream for a large can of Cream of Mushroom soup, and adding in a cup of our favorite salsa to add a little more kick, and omitting the butter altogether (it doesn’t need it!).

The roasted poblano peppers really make this soup sooo delish!  It’s hard to stop eating it!

***

Taco Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This recipe I came up with on the fly, based very loosely on the traditional Chicken tortilla soup – but instead, using beef seasoned with taco seasoning (garlic & cumin), adding black beans (canned or already cooked, otherwise they get crunchy – ask me how I know!), a cup of salsa, two-three cups of frozen veggies from our fridge, cooked for a few hours in a slow cooker, creates the most wonderful, scrumptious, complex-texture of soup with Mexican flavor.  We ate it with cheese, guacamole, and chips to garnish!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My picky-eater actually really enjoyed it!  Success!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So. Amazing.

Whirlwind Halloween

This Halloween came up way too fast for us!  Last year, I was able to take our son out every weekend to do something different in October either celebrating Oktoberfest or Halloween parties; I was 7 months pregnant, and it was hard, but I knew it was probably the last time for awhile that we’d be able to do so much.  I was right!  This year we did the bare minimum as far as parties and events go, and still had a hard time keeping up with the baby!

fall2015 116

Ninja Turtle karate moves on the way to his indoor trick treating fun.  I love the versatility of Halloween, how easy it is to do different costumes, especially if you save them from year to year.

I did cat makeup on the Eve of Halloween for our son’s party with his friends.

fall2015 111

fall2015 118

It was so much fun, seeing all the little kids in their costumes is always my favorite part of Halloween.  I love seeing them having so much fun.

fall2015 128 fall2015 130

We gave out candy and stayed for some of the games and fun while the kids chased each other around laughing and screaming.  We left and dropped the kids off with their grandparents.  It’s extremely rare for my husband to have the chance to have a weekend off around Halloween – so we took advantage of it to spend some time together alone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then it came to the big day!  Halloween night was finally here!  The boys wore their ninja turtle costumes and I changed into a Greek goddess costume my son picked from my closet for me.

fall2015 144

And of course, golden sandals 😉

fall2015 137

It was the perfect, gloomy start to a spook-filled night.

fall2015 138

The baby loved it – brave little one.  ❤

fall2015 139

fall2015 140

They got lots of candy last night, and an eye-full of adventure to last another year.

fall2015 142 fall2015 143

And then we were home. 🙂

Staying Focus: Don’t Let Anyone Look Down On You Because You Are Young

Most, if not all, of my spiritual growth posts are self-reflective (meaning for myself mostly to contemplate).  This is not one of those posts.  Although it fits right in line with what God’s been showing me lately as far as Staying Focus, I have no doubt that someone else out there needs to hear these words.

 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”  (NLT)

*

I recently was told last week by an older, female friend and mentor whom I’ve known for years now, that there’s something about me that can sometimes convict a person.  Something about me… the way I act, what I do or say (or write here on the blog), that sets them off, and they usually react badly to it because conviction hurts.  Seeing me (or having my life or actions displayed in front of them) hurts.  This older friend with much more life experience than me (in her 40’s) told me that there’s nothing I can do about this.  If I’m living an obviously good life, trying my best in everything because it gives me joy, being a great mom to my kids, treating my husband wonderful and enjoying an above average marriage with him for 8 years, losing the baby weight within 2 weeks because I exercise and take care of my body, and writing articles that are appreciated by many people online on how to be a good wife to your husband, then there’s nothing I can do to help the certain set of people who will look at these things in real life or online, and feel conviction that makes them uncomfortable or even upset in how they are choosing to live their own lives differently.  All these things are positive choices I make in my life everyday, but the unfortunate thing is that they can bring to light other people’s bad choices they are making, taking away their justification for those things and making them feel convicted.

To be bothered at all by any of this, is traveling down one of those roads that leads off of your purpose.  When you start to take that exit, going down that road, you’re taking your eyes off of what God wants you to stay focused on – His Will for your life, His purpose.

If you are young and reading this blog on marriage, spiritual growth, and anti-feminism, you are more than likely doing many things right in your life, and have been for quite some time, and yet you still may get looked down upon because you are young.

If you are a generation Y’er… I am 100% sure you understand what this feels like.  We are termed “The Generation Everyone Loves to Hate.”

It used to be very strange and even emotionally upsetting to me, to find that things I learned and implemented in my marriage at the age of 20, when we literally first got married, were things that people in their 40’s didn’t even understand.  The emotionally upsetting part was being looked down upon by those people who are older, and yet have problems in their marriage that we’ve never had because we were wiser and avoided those pitfalls.  To be at a further stage in maturity and marital growth than couples who had been married as long as we’d been alive, was disturbing and emotionally upsetting.  But to be looked down upon by those people, or discounted, was frustrating or even infuriating.

I once even had an older woman come right out and tell me that even though what I was saying was exactly correct advice for her marriage, that because she was offended at my ability to understand or know it, that she was rejecting it.  Someone that was my age (22) at the time, shouldn’t have been able to advise her correctly on her issues when she was in her 40’s, and when I did, it made her extremely angry.  And to think, she had actually come to me asking for my advice!

Things like this used to bother me.  It hurt to have my wisdom or knowledge almost be “despised” because of my youth.  Like because I was so young, that my knowledge didn’t matter or even count for anything.

Why did it bother me so much back then?  Because I allowed it to.  The feelings of being discounted because of my youth, because we looked like babies (well, we still do…), got the best of me, and I strayed off course into a pity party of complaining to God about feeling so misjudged or misunderstood.

It’s not your job to make everyone understand or “get” you.

You may be young, but living life trying to do the best and right thing, and be ahead of many of your peers, but there will always be people who will try to define you, and completely get you wrong.

This was a lesson that took me a long time to learn.  Being someone who loved people, and wanted to have unity and peace, I constantly sought for understanding, even when someone was resistant to it like a duck is to water.  Sometimes, understanding or peace never came, only God can soften hearts that have been hardened.  The Bible talks about prophets shaking off the dust from their feet when they were rejected in certain towns.  Likewise, you must shake off the dust from your feet when you have tried to achieve understanding or unity with someone who is resistant to it.  The prophets were prescribed this practice of shaking off the dust from the place of rejection because it literally represented shaking off the emotional entanglements of that frustration so that they could then refocus on their next journey, their next town that God would send them to.

Shaking off the “dust” or frustration of being rejected or misunderstood is critical to being able to Stay Focus.

*

I don’t know why, but I’ve always had the desire in my heart to seek out wisdom.  When I was only a little girl, I would pray for God to give me wisdom, and by the time I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I was regularly the one my friends would come to for advice, especially on relationships.  God gave me a spirit that is teachable, a spirit that wants to learn.  It is also a tenderhearted spirit, that has often been too naive in trusting others or believing they have good intentions because they call themselves Christian.

Even though God’s blessed me in this area of my life, I have felt the sting of having been judged and looked down upon by people twice my age, who didn’t have as great a marriage as I have had, who, to be honest, didn’t even understand many things about marriage or healthy maturity that I actually understood at that time.  So when Paul wrote to Timothy, not to allow anyone to look down upon him just because he was young, I get it.  It’s part of Timothy’s journey to stay focus and not be distracted by the pain of being judged by ignorant, older Christians who want to define or limit Timothy, his ability, and his life.  There will always be people who will want to define you and your life, even though they will get it wrong.  Trying to explain yourself or explain the plans God has for you to people who are defining you wrong, is futile.  They should not be defining you, period.  God is the one who is marking out your path, He is the One who helps you stay on course.  Dialoging with people who want to define you wrongly, or put limits around what God is doing in your life or will do in the future, is straying off course, and is taking attention away from what you should be focusing on concerning your purpose.

Why did Paul feel he needed to write this passage to Timothy?

Because people who are older have a tendency to look down on people who are younger.  They want to feel as though they know or understand more, and if they see that a younger person knows or understands more than them, they may not have the humility to admit it.

It comes natural for the older Christians to prejudge the younger ones, to think they don’t know as much as they know about marriage or life.  To have misconceptions about them and their life experience.  To think that they can’t know or understand what they actually do know or understand.  It can be simple ignorance in not understanding (or even knowing) the young person they’re communicating with, or it can be a very nasty sin and situation of looking down on others in pride and ambition.  Whether it’s done out of ignorance or out of pride, it can be dangerous to the younger people as it usually hurts them to some degree.

They may feel like their opinion, even if it is wise, doesn’t matter.  Or that their own personal life experience, even though they have overcome great challenges and learned secrets of success in a variety of trials, is completely disregarded because of their age.

Let me tell you, young person who may be reading this:  Your opinion does matter.  Your experience matters.  Your wisdom that God has given you by grace, matters – it matters greatly!  You need to share it.  If He’s put these words in your heart and given you all this knowledge in your head… you have a responsibility to share it.

Because You Are Young, You Are God’s Weapon

God uses the simple and the young, to shame the complicated and old.  He uses what looks to be foolish, to shame what should be the wise.  You… are His chosen weapon.  You… in all your youth and lack of age or life experience, have the ability, the God-gifted ability, to shame someone twice your age with the beauty of the knowledge and wisdom that He has blessed you with.

Don’t hold it back.

Stay Focus.

And don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.

Protect Your Rest – Protect Your Family

Last week, one of the leaders in our Bible study sat at my table, she listened as we went over our homework and talked about the ideas or thoughts we had regarding it.  When it came time for her to speak at our table, she let us in on something she thought we should really know:

She said she wished she had spent more time playing on the floor with her kids, had had dinner more often at the table, rather than spend so much time driving around town getting to their activities.  She said she was always in the car, the kids ate their fast food dinners in it as they drove to the next big thing.  And now, as she’s looking back and her kids are much older, she wishes she had lived this part of her life differently.

She wishes she had spent more time actually present with her children, rather than merely with them.

Regret.

I had this sense of despair listening to her story… none of us want to have regret like that, especially in how we raised our children!  But how can we keep from having the busyness of life suck out our time together as a family, appreciating each other?

Rest.

Rest is the antithesis of Busyness.  We need to protect our rest.  We need to have boundaries against how much we are pulled away from our family.  We need to guard our serenity inside our homes.  We need to stop getting our kids so insanely involved in every activity under the sun so that they’re exhausted – just exhausted – both physically as well as mentally drained.

We need to let go of any guilt we feel about our kids not being involved in everything, and embrace just one or two activities that won’t take over and steal the joy we have when we are able to rest with our children.

Peace is the opposite of Anxiety.

How many moms and dads need some more peace?  If you’re buying into this lie that we need to be as busy as possible, eat dinner in our cars most nights, spend every waking hour chasing something that we’re not even seeing an end to, then let’s come together and think seriously if this is what we want to be doing with our time.  We only have our kids for a certain amount of time, and from what everyone tells me, it goes by way too fast!

Living our lives running everywhere, never stopping for a break, never really getting to ENJOY our kids or life together, feels like living the life of a slave.  A slave to a life we think we need to have or achieve.

But God came so that we could have life, and live it abundantly!  Living abundantly doesn’t mean fast food dinners and regretting that we didn’t see our kids more – really SEE them.

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  We are not slaves of this world, or at least, we don’t have to live as though we are.  We have freedom in Christ.

There’s freedom when you protect your rest – freedom to breathe, freedom to sit down as a family around your dinner table and enjoy for food for once!

Before we had kids, in fact, when we were pregnant with our first, my husband and I promised to each other that we would not over-involve our kids, and that we would always try to have dinner around the table with them.

Even with my son going to his sport’s practice 3 nights a week (excessive for us), we still have 3 hours together to play, relax, do homework, relax some more, and then eat dinner at the table before heading out to practice.  In that order.  Protecting your family’s rest will look different for each family, though.  A major factor of why we aren’t stressed even though we’re going out 3 nights a week to a field to practice, is because I’m able to be a SAHM and our children don’t have to wait for me to get off work. We can make sure our family has enough rest by altering our life or the activities we let them be involved in to ensure it.

You can’t give something you don’t have.  If you aren’t guarding your own peace and rest, how will you teach your children to?

I have those 3 extra hours that allows for my son to play, relax, do his homework in an unrushed manner, relax some more on the couch, then eat his dinner.  A working mother does not have that luxury, so a program that involves 3 nights of practice a week might not be what her family needs.  Protecting your rest will look different depending on how over-extended or busy you may already be.

But let’s not live our life with regret.  Our leader was a working mom, and she still admitted that there were times when she should have played more with her kids on the floor, or eaten with them at the table – so don’t use your career as an excuse for not spending enough time being really present with them.

Let’s show our kids how much we value them, and guard our family’s peace, protect our family’s rest.

Women Are Scary!

I was wondering through a bookstore a couple of weeks ago, looking for a new book to celebrate my birthday, when I found it… it was out of place, sitting there on the shelf with it’s front cover exposed, and it caught my attention right away with it’s hilarious and ironic title,

Women Are Scary

I laughed out loud, “You BET!”  Picked it up and leafed through it to see if it would be any good.  Two little cake pops on the cover with female heads looked like they were fighting; one had bitten off part of the other’s head!

This book… is the one!  

It’s been a funny read, cataloging the author’s awkward journey to understanding female friendships, especially other mom friendships.  She’s socially a little awkward (who isn’t?), she’s got her own weirdness, and she’s had a lot of disappointment and heartache in trying to have women friends over the course of her life.  Her journey is an interesting one to read, I laughed, I underlined in the book, and I even cried when it came to the stories of betrayal or loss of friendships the women in the book had gone through.

I understand, I’ve been there, too.  I’m lucky to have found my niche so to speak with getting to love women and mommy friends who are in our weekly life, but I haven’t always had this, quite the opposite at times!  I’ve been the enthusiastic, extroverted, crazy girlfriend, and I’ve been the socially awkward, weird one out because I couldn’t find anything to connect to someone with.  I’m sure all of us have had experiences like that – where you just click with some people, become immediate friends, or where the friendship never even gets off the ground because you’re too different.

In high school and college, I was a social butterfly.  I had friends that were gothics, friends that lived in mansions (we lived in a rich area), friends that lived in trailer parks, male friends that played video games and listened to Marilyn Manson, and a close female friend that was the Co-Captain of the Cheerleading squad.  I was always just a little bit weird though, and even I thought it was odd that I could connect with so many different kinds of people… like a sign of my weirdness.

With mom friends, anything goes now!  I have never had so much fun connecting to women of all sorts!  We all have our pasts of what we were in college, and it really doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is how willing you are to open up, be yourself, and be extroverted at least in the moment it takes to find someone new to talk to that could end up being a great friend!

Here is an excerpt from the book that I thought was especially cute.  For all you mommies out there looking for a sweet, easy read or for ideas on how to expand your inner circle:

“So for you, who are your people?  If you’re looking for moms with whom you can go running, let’s get you out on trails chatting up girls about their jogging strollers.  Do you love baking brownies?  Let’s find you a friend who loves eating brownies.  Do you struggle with confidence?  You need a friend who excels at encouragement.

Finding friends also means learning how to be a good friend, so we’re also working on our own stuff too.  As we seek to encourage and support the moms around us, we become exactly the kind of friend we want to have.

Where are you going to find your people?  The library for story time, a “mommy and me” class, the preschool pickup line, a young moms’ group at a church, or the sidelines at a soccer game.  Moms are everywhere, and most of us are a little bit lonely and starved for adult conversation. If you work outside of the home, you may spend time with other adults professionally, but yu stil need other moms to talk to.  Stay-at-home moms just need people to talk to, period.

My favorite relationships are the ones that start out bonding over our kids but transition to talking about books we’re reading, our thoughts on different issues, or just straight up laughter about something absurd.  I love coming together with other women over coffee to solve the world’s problems while a few feet away, our children learn how to share.  My girlfriends make me a better mom, a better friend, better wife, just… better.

I’d met Martha through another friend and really liked her. She was pregnant with her fourth child and looked like a supermodel.  No, seriously.  Picture the hottest pregnant chick you’ve ever seen.  She was always draped in something fabulous, and her third trimester looked better than my six months postpartum.

One day I was crying about my dog, and I needed a friend.  I should mention that at this point Martha was a cat person.  But something made me call her and invite myself over.  She is gracious and kind and makes hospitality look effortless, so I rang her doorbell.

I quickly learned that even though she had four kids, Martha was a voracious reader who had delightful opinions about everything and was going to change the world.  As I got to know her, the phrase, “just a mom” catapulted out of my head never to return.

I drove back to her house again and again, and she helped me decorate my messy new place.  We talked of books and writing and faith and events and ideas.  She showed me that as a mom I can still take interest in other things besides my kids.  Isn’t that a relief.

We have different friends for different aspects of our personalities.  I have my sci-fi-loving friends for movie watcing.  These are my “get my references” friends.  And I have the friends I call when I’m cracking down the center and need someone to pray for my brain.

So figure our who your people are, then start trolling (for moms).”

(Quoted excerpt from Women Are Scary by Melanie Dale)

Think Pink Boys!!!!!

My son has started Kindergarten this year, it is our first experience with having a child in the school system in America, and it has definitely been an interesting journey.  Although we’ve opted for a different kind of school than normal, one by several of our friends’ admissions, is more “boy-orientated,” as opposed to structured to favor more feminine behavior, my husband has been particularly upset by the still prevalent, undeniably female emasculation of boys.

To put more bluntly, our American schools seem like they’re doing everything they can to get our boys to become less masculine.  We are faced with the task of parenting boys (we have 2 now) who at every turn it seems, are being constantly told that they need to be less male.  To embrace the feminine.  That there’s nothing wrong with them misunderstanding their gender.  That they can in fact, undergo surgery to become a woman, and will be lauded as a hero.

So let me explain… we picked a school based on it’s prestige of focusing on science and technology.  Our friends who have or have had their boys in this school are extremely happy with it.  The school provides smaller classes and teachers that are more able to bend the “rules” to “allow” for the typical boy behavior (and documented scientific need) to move around in order to be able to actually learn what they need to. When the boys get older, they have the option of entering exciting things like Robotics Club, Lego Club, and even are able to experiment at such a young age at learning how to build real amazing rockets!  This school is great, and yes, my husband wanted more than anything for me to do all I could (turn in all the papers on time, fill out the online applications, etc) last year to be able to get him into it.

It started with my husband and I seeing that our son would receive a color to represent his behavior in school each day.  This is the color chart below… take a look and try to tell me that our schools (even schools geared towards boys!) aren’t trying undeniably to feminize our boys:

  • PINK = Outstanding
  • PURPLE = Great Choices
  • BLUE = Good Choices
  • GREEN = Ready to Learn
  • YELLOW = Warning
  • ORANGE = Consequence
  • RED = Parent Contact

The first day, and for the first month or so, our son hovered on Blue or Green, with one Yellow in the entire month.  Every day it became a discussion of him telling me that he really really wanted to get Pink… that he wanted to receive their treat at the end of the year for getting into their Pink & Purple Club Party.  He stressed about it, and each day when he saw he had Blue or Green, he was disappointed in himself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for rating behavior to some degree, schools need to give kids feedback on where they’re at.  At my elementary school, you know in the 90’s (holla!), we had a simple traffic light model that was used in class.  Red, Yellow, and Green, with Green being the best behavior.  My husband and I were angry and frustrated that the top two colors were Pink & Purple.  He wanted to know who came up with that “idiotic idea,” and even the teacher doesn’t exactly know.  It might seem silly to be upset or frustrated at such a small thing, but for our son, this is a major objective (and frustration) in his little life right now.  The goal of getting into that ever flippant Pink zone of outstanding behavior, and the lure, as well as the terror that is not being invited to the Teacher’s Pink & Purple Party.

We were walking in a mall recently, looking around at the shops and spotted a girl’s clothing boutique.  Guess what the name was?  I’ll give you two guesses…

Pink. &. Purple.

No kidding?

You don’ t say?

Well my my… I guess girls really DO hands down almost always love and prefer those two specific colors. But what about boys?  Do you ever see a boys’ clothing store named “Pink & Purple?

Unless there’s some strange attempt at a popular homosexual clothing line that I’ve somehow missed up until now, I believe no such thing exists.

It’s been documented before, many times, that the schools at least here in America are desiring boys to be more feminine in behavior… and not just because girls are easier to manage for the teachers, but as you can clearly see with this color chart even, the feminine behavior is now deemed The Ideal.

The problem with teaching boys that their behavior, their innate, God-given masculine behavior, is undesirable, is that it creates a horrible dilemma inside our boys that wants to reject everything they deem masculine now and in their future.  

If the feminine is held up as the golden standard of perfection, then the masculine is automatically falling short.

This self-rejection (or even self-hatred) of their masculinity lasts far beyond their elementary education, and the damaging effects to our society as we produce more and more effeminate men, paired with our girls being pushed to be more aggressive, controlling, pushy, bossy, spoiled, and sexually promiscuous, we end up having an extremely tumultuous society.

I’ve written before about the “crisis” boys are facing in our culture and especially the school system, our church did a sermon on it that you can find here.

Oh… and my son finally got that elusive Pink.  We were happy that he had such great behavior, but again, what on earth is this teaching him?

Perspective – Reaping & Sowing

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective … in general, having the right attitude toward life and people, a sense of the long-term as well as being present in the now.  Perspective that births forth the much needed character development and perseverance able to get us through various life seasons.  I’m talking about seasons of all kinds, seasons of growth, seasons of waiting, pain, blessings, loss, and renewal.

Things like infertility, miscarriage, job loss, mental illness, your kids having a hard time in school or enduring sickness, relocations, new jobs, new churches – anything that we may all face in one way or another, or help friends who are in that season.  Do we keep a godly perspective on these things?  Are we prepared to face them when life throws them our way?

Its been on my mind lately, how important it is that we are sowing in the different seasons of our lives, and not sitting stagnantly by in times of hardship, or when our cup is overflowing.  Even in the most difficult times, we need to be actively sowing into our families things that we will eagerly await to reap when the time comes.  It matters so much, what we choose to sow.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.

For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream,

And will not fear when the heat comes;

But its leaves will be green,

And it will not be anxious in a year of drought

Nor cease to yield fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

What do you want to sow?

In our family, I want to actively sow goodness, faithfulness, hard work, optimism, perseverance, joy, patience, kindness, peace, teamwork, and affectionate love.  I’m always being watched by my children, in a very real way, this knowledge that I’m being watched and looked up to by them in order for them to learn these valuable life lessons through example (my example), keeps me accountable.  I’d better do right by them, they deserve no less!

Its a constant feeling of excitement that God is growing me, maturing me, into someone better than before – better than last year, better than the year before that.  Constantly evolving, having a clear picture of the kind of woman I want to be.  Its not an anxious pressure that I feel breathing down my neck or anything, but more of an appreciative anticipation towards maturity.

You reap what you sow.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors, “

Hosea 10:12-13

I love the analogy of reaping and sowing, of planting seeds in soil, even the soil itself matters.  Is it fertile soil?  Is it receptive, rocky, or too acidic?  The soil represents our hearts, and what we sow matters just as much as the purity that is already present in our hearts in order to receive it.  Sowing, in a broader sense, is more than merely planting seeds, its taking the time to tend and nurture those seeds and seedlings.  Its taking care to nourish the soil, making sure it has the right nutrients that it needs in order to be receptive, as well as the seedlings under our care.

Its important as Christians that we are sowing responsibly – spending our time, money, and resources on what is benefiting our personal (spiritual) growth.  Are we going where we’re supposed to go?  Are we engaging in activities that are helping us to become better women of God (or men of God)?  Or are we doing things that are counter to what we desire to be sown?  Are we falling by the wayside and letting our life just pass us by?  What am I personally sowing into my life, and as a result, the life of my children?

There are different seasons of time when you can focusing more on sowing, or reaping … or both….  we’ve entered into a very busy life season, with my son going to an exciting but difficult school, being involved in a sports team way more intense than your average YMCA, raising a new baby, managing home and social life, doing something (hello, anything) with my shop, and planning on getting pregnant again next year.

The school and sports are what are really life changing… this school is difficult, and will take a lot of time, but hopefully will be worth it for him if he enjoys it.  The sports team is also a big change, as they’re going to have practices 3 nights a week.  These people are hardcore and intense, the Y just wasn’t cutting it for him anymore because it was too easy, created a non-competitive environment where even the worst kids got trophies, or only provided unknowledgeable coaching.  We’re waiting to see if the busy schedule will work out well, trying to keep a balance and peace sown into our life is a high priority.

Lots of changes… a very busy life season!  Yet even with all the new change, or the constant spending of our time and energy into these activities, I still need to be aware of what I’m sowing into our life, no matter the season.

As far as school, my son loving it, and having a blast just being there… I told him that i missed him that first day (and again after the first week) and he just said, “Well, Mom, I haven’t thought of you at all!”

YES!!!!!  GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

I would so much rather he be so involved, so focused and happy there that he forget me and not worry about him missing me.  Even days later though, I still miss him.  I miss his loudness… his happiness… his crazy energy.  Our classroom/game room just is not the same without our oldest in it.  And I really really miss him.

But I am so elated that he doesn’t miss me… not even a little bit!  😀

I’ve spent these past two years pouring time and effort into teaching him in the mornings just to prepare him for going to “big school.”  I’m so proud of him, but I’m proud at what he’s accomplished in the past two years as well.  I’ve spent two years sowing discipline, love of learning, practice of writing, math, reading, a little science and geography/culture, and music, and now he’s more than ready to take on Kinder.  And he’s taking it on with a happy attitude!

He had his first homework yesterday, and he finished his daily homework for Monday within about 1 minute.  I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been really – it was very easy compared to the level he’s attained with me at home.  He was already doing first grade activities when he was 4 years old.  He was elated that it was so easy, so he went on to complete his packet for the rest of the week’s homework in one sitting!  I’ve created a scholastic monster!

His heart has been prepared, I tried very hard to make sure I made learning pleasant and fun, setting him up for success back then – the small successes – and in hindsight, it was really setting himself up for future success by learning to love school and become a high-achiever.  He enjoys doing homework (hopefully that can last through his teens lol 😛 ).  He seems to be reaping what we’ve been sowing in his heart and mind, and it touches my heart, making me want to double down my efforts and apply this lesson in other ares of our lives.

I want to sow kindness, so that he will learn to be kind.

I want to sow discipline, so that he can learn the immeasurable importance of having discipline in his life.

I want to sow joy in his heart, so that he can carry it into his future and weather the storms that will come.

And so much more.