Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Things kids say...

There are special joys that one receives when they are a parent to toddlers. One of those things is hearing your child say a new word. Even better is hearing them say the new word in its proper context:

The other day, our little boy was bugging his sister. So his mommy said, "Do you think that was very kind thing to do to your sister?" He paused and thought for a moment. He then said, "Maybe?" I was looking for a simple "Yes or No". Not a gray area. ;)

Another time, we caught him saying, "Mommy, I did well!". His parents usually say something like, "You did a good job." Someone else has been teaching him proper grammar. Hmmm...

We asked him, "Who taught you that word?" He says, "My teacher, at church."

We do know for sure though that our 2 year old girl is picking up on what her parents are saying, because this is what we heard coming out of her mouth: "Do you understand me?"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Thinking about...

~Thinking about my grandpa in South Lake Tahoe, who was supposed to be celebrating his 80th Birthday, yesterday with friends and family. Instead, my grandparents were at their home choosing which of their possessions to take with them as they were being evacuated due to an out-of-control forest fire burning just a mile away. Before we turned in for the night, the reports were that an estimated 65 homes had been destroyed. We weren't sure what the morning would hold.

As we checked reports the next day, it stated 220 homes had been destroyed and 1,ooo people evacuated. The good news for my grandparents, is that for now, their home is safe. The fire raged into the opposite direction of them. Then the wind speeds and temperatures dropped into the night which helped the firefighters get a handle on the situation. There is still concern for this area. If the fire, crosses the fire line then it could go into a heavily populated residential area and go into the city. This fire is far and above the biggest disaster that has ever come to this community.
*Please pray for this South Lake Tahoe Community...

~Thinking about a sweet family that learned that their daddy and husband "Jay" has a tumor the size of 2 male fists in his chest, going up his neck. Back 2 months ago it was not there when they discovered he had a rare condition, it has grown that fast.

Jay has stage 2 Lymphoma. Jay is still in the hospital as his arm turned purple since the cancer causes blood clots. Monday will be a big day for him. They will put the stint in his chest for his chemo treatment. They are testing his heart to be sure it can stand the chemo as this form is hard on the heart and with his heart condition, they have to make sure he will be OK. They are going to test his pelvic bone to be sure the cancer is not in the bone. They are going to do a body scan to be sure the cancer is not in other parts of his body.

Last, they are not going to do surgery. This cancer is one that will spread when they open him up. So they do not want to open him, however it has doubled in size since Tuesday so chemo should start on this Tuesday 4 times a week for 3 to 6 months.
*Please remember this family in your prayers...

~Thinking about my Dad who had a bicycling accident. Just a couple of scrapes, cuts, and bruises on the body. Luckily, he had his helmet on because it shattered from the impact. Could have been worse.

~Thinking about strained relationships.

~Thinking about change.

~The best thing that I can do now is to do less "thinking" and more praying.

I know that all of you have had times in your life when the circumstances looked scary. But God is with us and will never leave us or forsake us! What a GREAT promise this is! And a real comfort in hard times.

Friday, June 22, 2007


**Warning this post has lots of Potty Talk :)

Our 2 year old girl is doing very well in the area of potty training. She can go "pee & pooh" in the toilet and isn't afraid of it. All good things. The last skill to master was actually going to the potty when the urge came.

This last week, she'd been taking off her diaper, along with all her clothing, anywhere , anyplace, every time she soiled it . I was finding clothes and diapers everywhere. It was getting to the point of just letting her run naked all day (not really). It seemed like she didn't like the feeling of being wet.

We then introduced the Princess "Big Girl" pants that Grandma Hertel recently gave her. She took ownership of these very quickly. Where she wanted to pull them up all by herself. It was also so cute when Mommy would tell Daddy that Emily went potty on the toilet today and that she had "Princess" underwear on. She'd get embarrassed. Girls! My little boy would gladly show off his Superman underwear.

So yesterday, I noticed that her diaper was still dry in the morning. She held it all night! So I rushed her in to the potty.

Then the rest of the day she got to wear "Big Girl" underwear and didn't have an accident all day!

Then this morning, we heard her get up and walk into the bathroom, take off the night diaper, and go potty all by herself!

We gave her plenty of cheers and a few M&M's for her efforts. Then we asked if she wanted her "Big Girl" underwear on? She said, "Yeah!".

Good stuff. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Day at the Zoo

This summer, we purchased an Annual Zoo Pass from
a gift reward through my husband's work. We figure
if we were to go the Zoo just 3-4 times, then it would
have paid for itself. But since it was free, no worries

These large "hoof looking" things below, are actually
large scale Fox Ears. You are supposed to place yourself
in-between the ears and experience how a Fox hears.
The smallest of sounds are magnified. It made for a
cute picture.

Butterfly Exhibit

Outside the Penguin Exhibit

It was weird to see a Moose in the Zoo. When we lived in
Montana, these guys were a common sight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Good Morning Sunshine or Not!


I heard this song, "Everything" by Tim Hughes, played by our worship team on Sunday. After a very difficult week, these lyrics perfectly described how much I needed God. He was and is my everything!

Love Your Children

"Young people are confused. We turn out children out in high-powered cars on the highway of life without road rules, road signs, guardrails, centerlines, and with faulty brakes and wonder why there are so many wrecks. ...Your children need love, appreciation, and guidance - love your children and let them know it."
~Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham 1920-2007

On Sunday, I read in the newspaper that Ruth Bell Graham had passed away this last Thursday. This was surprising to me as I hadn't known of the illness she was struggling with. I was sad to read of her death, but it also brought some reflections on my life. How would people remember me when I go to see my Lord? I know that my desire is to be known as a woman that was. Not a woman that tried to be something.

Ruth Graham’s life was filled with family, friends, and ministry. This photo album, accompanied by one of her favorite hymns, represents only a small portion of the people and places that were close to her.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hanging out with Dad

Daddy's Day

The kids really enjoyed making this Father's Day Gift for their Daddy. They absolutely love to paint and also love surprises. They picked out their favorite colors and what words to put on the shirt.

So precious!

Happy Daddy's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's the little things that matter...

So often it is the little things that we do for people that matter. Showing them we care in the things we do for them. I don't always do the best in this area, but I am trying to do a better job in being more purposeful in show my little family here that I love them in special ways.

Here are some things I did yesterday to encourage my husband:

-The night before, I brought home a Banana Split for him to enjoy.
-Gave him a nice goodbye as he left for work in the morning.
-Made the bed.
-Prayed for him during the day.
-Mowed the lawn for him (especially, as he has been really tired in the evenings).
-Picked up the living room before he came home to provide a "things are in order" feeling.
-Left a tall glass of water on the counter for him to drink when he came in the door (he drives home in his truck that has no air-conditioning on these hot summer days).
-Barbecued Hamburgers - made sure to put on mushrooms and pepper jack cheese.
-Baked Tater Tots (a favorite).
-Cleaned up dishes.
-Gave him the opportunity to take off his boots and take a shower.
-Gave him some down time, without giving him the worries of the day.
-Watered the front lawn.
-Later, sat out on the deck with him and watched the kids play.
-Talked with him about his future plans for a biking trip.
-Told him I loved him.
-Gave him a back rub.

Then today, I asked the kids, "What does Daddy do for you? How does he help you? How does he show you he loves you?"

-Pushes me on the swing
-Catches bugs
-Takes me to church
-Helps me with my owies.
-Helps me with my bike and teaches me to ride it.
-Helps clean the house.
-Takes me to the park.
-Catches me on the slide.
-Scares monsters away
-I love my daddy!

I am thinking about putting the kid's thoughts in his Father's Day card. The little things matter - even our kiddos know the value in this. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More on what to do with stuff

Here is a great article from Tawra's blog, "Living on a Dime". This goes great with the continuation of the Mentoring Moments Series recently shared on this blog.


Laundry Help & To have a Yard Sale or Not?

Question from: Julie
Hi Tawra!

I love your site! I have been helped tremendously with your down-to-earth advice.

I wanted to ask your advice. I have a really hard time keeping up with laundry and I'm so embarrassed by the "mounds" that I have in my laundry room. To be honest, there are a lot of clothes that my family can no longer wear, and I need to get rid of them. I was wondering, after washing them, do you think that I should try to have a yard sale to earn extra money, or should I just bag them up and give the ones that look good to Goodwill? Part of me really thinks that I just need to get rid of all that clutter by giving the clothes away and not hang on to piles for a yard sale. It seems that if I could just get organized, it would actually start freeing up more of our income because I would have a better handle on things. If I have a yard sale, though, it would give us a little more to work with on our budget.

I just thought I would ask for your insight. Thanks so much for your time!

From Tawra:

It depends. If you are having a garage sale with a lot of "big stuff" like furniture, that you need to get rid of too then go ahead and have a sale, but if you are just selling clothes I wouldn't mess with it. You wouldn't get that much to make it worth it. There is a "pain in the buttocks" factor that needs to be taken into consideration. If you are going to make $100 and work 2-4 days getting stuff gathered, priced and set, and then spend 2 days sitting with the sale and 1 day cleaning up, is it worth to work for possibly a week for $100? Not in my book! Now, if I were to make $700 then it would be worth it!

One tip that I use, is I keep a box in the laundry room for clothes that are cleaned and ready for the thrift store or garage sale. Then I have a spot in my garage where I store it all when it get full. Then I either donate it or have a sale. The main thing is GET RID OF IT! CLUTTER CREATES CHAOS! So let it go!!
I hope that helps some.

From Lisa:
If the clothing is in great condition, consider selling it at a Children's Consignment Store. So far this month from cleaning out our closets we have made $130! Receiving money back for clothing is great, but what is even better is the feeling of relief when you "LET GO" of stuff.

Even better, consider blessing a family or neighbor with a gift of clothing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Playground Ramblings

Today, I took the kids for a walk to the neighborhood park. I just really needed to get out of the house to clear my head of all these thoughts banging around in my head. I thought some fresh air would be helpful.

The kids enjoyed the park for the most part.

Although, they came away with some not so good memories and I came away with disappointment.

There seemed to be more children there now that school is out. It was very interesting to observe the other mothers and their children. All the dynamics that happen on a playground:

There were moms like myself that were right there with the children. Playing with them and keeping "an eye" on things.

There just happened to be a mom there, by mere coincidence that I had met last week and now saw her again today. When we first met she shared that she had two children, similar in age to my own children, 4 & 2. She said that she worked full time for the school district during the year and had a nanny watch her children during the day, after the kids came home from pre-school. Then in the evenings when she was "out", her husband would watch the kids. She also said that now that she is off from work she was going to try and give the kids a summer.

As I observed her with her children, I sensed that she was not comfortable with her role as mom. She didn't feel settled. She struggled with relating with her child. Instead of telling the child, "You need to come play over here where I can see you". It was "Do you want a drink of water?, Do you want some food? How are you doing? Are you playing okay? I can't see you over here?, etc. Of course the little boy knew what she was up to. He would just kind of ignore her or say "I wanna play with sand" and then sound annoyed by the constant questions. This momma was trying, but it was so evident that she was "faking it - to make it". It was painful to watch.

Then there were the moms who were lying out the blankets on the lawn with a book and barely lifted their eyes from what they were doing. Maybe they were not worried about the kids since it was a park. Or their children were older now. But I certainly couldn't read a book in this setting, as I hate to have to take my attention away when the story is really getting good.

I also observed the children:

There were quite a few exchanges that were just disconcerting to me. For one thing, what is wrong with teaching children to say hello to another child when they say hello to you? Or telling the children that when they bring toys to the playground that they may have to share with other kids. That it isn't kind to laugh, tease or call other children names. That they should not be rude. That it is good to help younger children and play with them. That it doesn't have to be about who can outbeat the other person.

I also wondered why it is such a "taboo" thing to do, to actually correct another person's child. I am talking about a reasonable correction. Like if they are spitting on someone else or pushing another child down. That you are giving the child a loving correction that has their best interest in mind. Why do us parents have to take offense when someone does correct our child? Do we really think that our child could never do wrong? (I really didn't correct any other person's child today - although they sure needed it.)

I know that not all playground experiences are like this, because I have been with another certain playgroup and things have been different. The kids were having fun. The parents were standing off to the side talking with other moms, but ever so often glancing to locate a child. There were older children helping the other kids on toys that they hadn't yet mastered. There were kids that were letting others go before them. There were even those times when there was a scuffle and the moms came in and helped the kids work it out between them.

Do we teach our kids to be "tough" to withstand the "evils" of this world, or do we teach them to be like "Jesus"?

Monday, June 11, 2007

A weekend to remember...

This weekend, my very good friend from Texas came for a visit.

We first met in Montana and became good friends just before she was getting ready to move. In that brief time we made some great memories. We both had babies, supported eachother in tough times, and even had one of my "most embarrassing moments" (caught on tape) with her. I still remember the day she was moving to Texas, just giving her big hugs with tears running down our faces. Wondering when we would see each other again? Would our friendship last?

Well we did see each other again when I visited a year and a half ago. Yes, our friendship has lasted and grown deeper. One of those that you can laugh with, share everyday stuff with, and occasionally - only when needed - share"a rebuke". Here is what we did this weekend:

*Picked Teresa up at the airport Thursday, at Midnight.
*Next morning, at 8:45 a.m. went to a Homeschool Conference for the weekend.
*Went to a George's Deli for lunch. A place with great ethnic food and personalities.
*Stayed up late each night talking.
*Attended more conference workshops.
*Met up with sweet, Suzy! Who my husband and I, first met when we previously lived in Idaho. It has been a joy to catch up with her again and also meet her adorable 3 children, plus one on the way.
*I learned that I had been spelling Teresa's name wrong - for a long time. Ugghh. What a dork, I am. I kept adding an "h" after the "T". Well now that was a shocker. I am so sorry!
*Went to a beauty salon called "Panache". This was Teresa's first time getting a pedicure. The best parts were soaking our feet in the warm bubbly water, getting a foot massage, and then being able to look at our painted toes for a few weeks more and remind ourself of this special pampering.
*Then we went to the Olive Garden. Last time I went there was with Teresa in when I visited there in Texas. I think this is going to be our tradition. Love their bread sticks! Ohhh... my!
*After dinner, I gave her a tour of the city of Boise. We went up to a place called "Table Rock". There is a lighted cross that sits ontop an outcropping overlooking the city. On the way up, the road was very bumpy and narrow. The view was great.
*We went for a walk in the pouring rain.
*We talked about our marriages, our kids, our hopes for our families, our goals, and much more.
*Decided to give ourselves a name: "The Hot Mommas"
*Took Teresa to the airport at 6 am on Monday morning.

See you next year, my friend!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Mentoring Moment # 4 - The Final

Here is the last of the 4 letters that I will be sharing with you for this series of Mentoring Moments. **Please be sure to scroll down to the beginning, as it would be such a blessing - the first post in this series - so you can have a much better understanding of this entire process**

I was so encouraged to receive this letter from Lori. For sure, I have by no means "arrived" - and have it all together. Just allowing the Lord to lead in my life. The rewards are great. I have also learned through this, to not be ashamed or embarrassed for my struggles, but to give praise for what HE is doing in my life and in others. Thanks for walking through this personal glimpse into the window of my life.

This is the last letter sent from Lori, to me regarding the testimony that I had previously shared with her:

Dear Lisa:

Thank you for sharing, this sweet, sweet testimony! I am soooo proud of you!!! :) And I have definately been where you have been! I too had the piles of stuff for all the catagories, and I have definately taken up offense when my sweet honny just tried to help me. He could see that I was drowning and that it was not fun for the kids and I...but just as you said, when he tried to help me then my pride and ungratefulness showed up and wrong thinking was causing me to take offense! My poor guy! :)

I am sooo proud of you and so grateful that you have a completely caught up, neat, clean laundry room! YEAH!!!! Now it will be such a snap to keep it up! If you can do a load a day or two loads a day and just sort it each day (either in the morning or afternoon when children come home) then everyone sits down and immediately folds it and puts it away! yeah!!!

I'm with you...I know it made a huge difference for me to go through the children's closet and drawers. It takes about 1 hour per child if you go fast. And it does get easier and easier to let it all go! It begins to feel like you're coming out of some kind of shackel or something! :) It is very freeing!

Your honny bringing you a drink is sooo precious! Aren't our husbands so awesome?!

And don't you love the truth, that sets us free? We will NEVER regret doing God's will in our lives! We will never miss not having more stuff...we will never be regretful for having trusted God and do what is right.

I'm soooo proud of you! And, I wondered if I could share your testimony with the group....I would be glad to do so anonymously. I only say this as it is sooo helpful to hear real, live testimony from other women who are learning these lessons and seeing the Lord faithfulness in their marriage and in their lives. I LOVED this testimony. You have been humble, honoring to both God and your husband and you share truth in love. I know it would bless others sooooo much! Again, if you would rather not that is fine...no pressure. But I just know from my own life when I share testimony of what the Lord has shown me or done in my life....it helps it "sink" into my heart and mind, it brings God glory and it helps encourage and motivate others.

I am rejoicing with you, Lisa! Praise be to the Lord for his faithfulness to us and his GREAT love for us!
God bless you!

Mentoring Moment #3 - The Testimony

Dear friends,

**Please read the previous two posts, which explain this letter. It is so worth your time to read the entire story of Mentoring Moments** You will be blessed!

Here is the next letter written back to my mentor, Lori G., in response to a day I had that so very much went with the theme of her previous letter on Organization and Parenting.

Here's the story:

Dear Lori,

I am so glad to be able to send you an email. That is, because our keyboard broke and we had to wait to get a new one. I wanted to send you a thank you for the wonderful letter you sent in response to my question of dealing with clothing.

It truly came "at the right time".

I had a humbling day on Saturday!

You see we have been trying to get the house in order, for ourselves and for some consecutive weekend visits from out of town friends and family.

We have a basement that is divided into a guest room & bonus area, and then the other half is the laundry room/storage area. In the laundry room, I had 2 tables filled with clothing and miscellaneous, that I had intentions to take care of. Things I "thought" were important to keep. Like clothing & toys that kids had grown out of, clothing that was given to me that was not put away or not sorted yet, some I was going to use for a future garage sale, or give away on Freecycle, or give to family, etc.

Well, my husband came up the stairs and calmly said, "I think the laundry room needs to be cleared out. Those things on the table need to be bagged up or gotten rid of". You'd think he had just killed my dog. I had taken such an offense. Incorrect thoughts came into my head like: "He thinks it is all junk, he doesn't want me to do a garage sale, doesn't think I can handle it, we have better things to do, doesn't he know that I am going to get to it at some point"

So I begrudgingly, went downstairs and started to work on it. My husband was right there helping me with it. Taking boxes out, emptying garbage, and putting things away. As I started to go through it. I "let go" of the Garage Sale Idea as I saw that so much of it was not that great of quality or worth as I had originally thought it to be. Even some things from the last garage sale that hadn't sold. We ended up filling my husbands truck bed with "things" to donate.

Throughout this afternoon, my husband took it upon himself to see through all the laundry that had piled up - all the way to the last load. Now, the tables are clear, on top, and underneath. The storage area is cleared out and organized.

So now, when we go to the basement to do laundry, we are not "hit" with ALL THAT HAS TO BE DONE. It is clear, clean, and laundry is more of a joy to do.

Of course these thoughts are in retrospect.

When we had finished, I checked my in-box and read your email on Parenting/Organization. I was so convicted of my bad attitude. My "fleshing out". How much value I placed on "things". That I wasn't trusting God for our future - to provide monetarily and physically. I wasn't being as good of a steward of those things that I had originally thought myself to be. That I was soooo very blessed with a kind, patient and wise husband.

Tears of foolishness trickled down my cheeks as I finished reading your email. Then just a few minutes after that my husband came home with my favorite Sonic Drive-thru drink. I did not deserve it - that is for sure. So I made sure to apologize for my behavior and thanked him for all that he had done that day for us and the special gift it was.

Lori, thank you so much for being used by God in my life.

With a grateful heart,
Lisa H.

I don't miss one thing that we took out of the basement that day! And I am starting to go through the kids drawers and clear everything out - down to the necessities - now that the drawers are filled to the rim with clean clothes. I am embarrassed to share all that I have, but grateful that you completely understand.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mentoring Moments #2: The Answer

Here is the answer I received from my mentor, Linda. **Please read previous post for explanation ** It is a long letter, but I believe it is soo very worth it and you will be blessed for doing so. I know I was!


Hello Lisa,

I would be glad to share with you what the Lord has shown us. We've done it now for the past 15 years and it works so well. We too had been given many bags of clothing and it usually was wonderful clothing....so I know how hard it can be to not want to keep it all. But I was finding that I was actually making it sooo hard for my children to keep up with their clothing faithfully by having sooo much for them. They could not possibly maintain it, organize it, or wear it all. So....when it was difficult for them to open their drawers to put away their clothing, they would just shove the clean clothes on top and guess what...they continued to wear just those few things over and over again. Even if they can get their drawers open fine....children tend to just wear the same few outfits they truly like.

Also, we had a lot of clothing at one time, because I didn't do laundry as often as I should have. So we actually needed many outfits. But years ago when we developed how we do our laundry, we found we no longer needed as many clothes. We began to do a load a day, we would alternate. We would do colors one day, whites the next and then towels. Sheets would be an extra load done on one of the other days with either whites, or colors or towel days.

Each morning we would quickly sort the clean, dry laundry that had been done the night before, and then call everyone to come and fold their laundry. Since we were doing the laundry daily...each person only had only a few items to fold. They would quickly fold it and put it right away. Laundry quickly became a no brainer and sooo easily kept up with at our home! I would highly encourage you to do laundry this way. Even a small family could do laundry if not every day...I would encourage them to do a load every other day. That way you aren't doing all the laundry on one day....and having to do sooo many loads at one time, taking most of the day to complete it.

As time went on and our family grew in number and in size...we had to begin doing 2 loads a day....but we have been doing this for years and have found it to be such a simple easy way to keep up on the laundry and to never get behind on it! :)

When we began to become organized years ago, and we went through the house making sure that everything had a place....so that we could all be accountable for where to put something and so that our children could be accountable for where they put something. We found that they could not keep our home clean and neat and orderly, nor could we...because things did not have a certain place they went. Once we did this...life became so much simpler and our home so much more organized, efficient, and peaceful.

We organized our children's rooms as well. We went through all their toys and organized them into clear plastic buckets. They are rectangle ones we bought from Wal-Mart. About 18 inches long, 12 inches across the front, and about 12 to 18 inches deep depending on what we were putting in them. We liked this size as we could easily line them up on the shelf at the top of the children's closet. We put link n logs in one bucket, tyco blocks in another, army guys in one, cars in another etc. or for girls we would put dolls and doll clothes in one, blocks in another, dishes and food in another etc.

When our children were little we didn't allow them to have all the buckets of toys at one time, as they would often dump them all out or several buckets out and become overwhelmed when playing or putting them away....so we put them on the very top shelf of their closet and they had to ask to get one bucket down at a time. When they cleaned up that bucket they could ask for another one. When we saw them mature and found that they could easily maintain playing and cleaning up one bucket, we allowed them to have 2 buckets...and so on. Eventually all their buckets are down where they can get them when they are old enough to maintain them and not create a huge mess. They were able to have access to them all, once they had proven they could be diligent and responsible.

Back to the clothing. When we organized our children's rooms, we also organized their clothing. We really stopped to think about how much clothing do they really need? We realized that they needed not more than 5 outfits to play in. Then 2 or 3 outfits for going out in. A couple for church. 3 pairs of pj's. underwear and socks. For girls we did the same thing...although it was much harder! :) We limited our girls to 5 outfits for play. 3 outfits that were nice for going out. and 3 to 4 dresses, socks, underwear and tights. We also realized that our children don't need too many pairs of shoes either. For our boys they have a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals. For our girls we have a pair of sneakers, and a pair of sandals and one pair of dress shoes typically. I once went to a family's home to help them organize. The children each had about 20 pairs of shoes. It was very difficult for the children and the parents to maintain all those shoes!

We just realized that this is what worked for our family. Every family is different. We began to realize that our children basically only wear their top favorite 5 outfits anyway. We did laundry so often that they didn't actually need more clothes than this. All their clothes were clean every other day. They loved being able to easily open their drawers and find things. We loved it too! It was so much easier to hold them accountable when they could easily obey us and clean their rooms or put their clothes away...when everything had a place, we found it so much easier and so did they to keep up with it all.

Also, when we were given bags of clothing we would only take out what we needed at the time, or for the very next season...and the rest we would pass on and give away to others. This built our faith soooo much! We found that God always provided for our needs. We didn't have to stress or worry and hold on to things thinking that we would not have that provision when we'd need it....if we didn't hold on and store it all. Every time we gave things away...God always provided what we needed, when we needed it down the road. God is soooo very faithful!

Plus giving the extra away, blessed so many others. We were apart of God's answer to others who had needs. We also didn't have tons of clothing in storage boxes to have to move around or live around or have taking up valuable storage space in our home.

We have found that living this way with clothing, has never hurt us or hindered us. I know that for us, it was lack of faith and selfishness that kept us hanging on to clothing, and wanting more, just because it was cute or we liked it, or we were fearful about not having what we needed when we needed it etc. I know that we started out storing and keeping clothes thinking that we were being good stewards of what the Lord had given us and that storing and holding on to all those clothes or items for a time when we might need it was being wise or prudent. But we found this not to be true in our lives. We found it to be a bit selfish and a lack of faith.

God did alot in our hearts and we see our children blessed because of this type of living! :)

We held on to Matt's clothing for years. Matt is our oldest son. He is 6 1/2 years older than Mitchell. It took us 6 1/2 years to have another son. We had thought we were wisely saving our boys clothes for the next baby boy. By the time Mitchell was able to fit into Matt's clothing that we had lugged around, lived around and had had to manage all those years.... the clothing was either out dated, ruined, or dry rotted etc. It was sooo sad. I remember sitting on the bedroom floor pulling out one item after another and realizing that someone else could have been using these clothes all this time! That we had struggled to hang on to them and live around them in our home. We could have used all that space for those years! We could have allowed someone else to have had the blessing of using all those clothes...realizing that if we got them back, that would be fine, but if we didn't then the Lord would have provided for our need some other way.

Mark and I decided that day to no longer hang on to things, unless we could see a need to use them in the next season or near future. We would instead pass things on and we have ALWAYS found that the Lord has faithfully met and provided for our needs.

As I shared we also needed some heart work done in our lives. Mark and I struggled with being selfish and wanting more than we really needed. If someone gave us clothing we were tempted to hang on to more clothing than we needed...just because they were cute clothes. As the Lord continued to work in our hearts, we were able through his grace to take only what we needed and pass the rest on to others who might need the clothes.

This is something else the Lord had to help us learn through. We had to realize that if we saw something on sale...but we didn't need it....we shouldn't buy it! That was sooo hard!!!! :) But saved us sooo much money and helped our children to learn to be soooo grateful! If they needed something, and there was a sale...great! We saw that as the Lord's blessing and provision for our family. But frankly almost every store now has sales ALL the time! You can always find things on sale....and you can always justify it! So, you have to be wise and careful. I would encourage you not to go unless you need something...then look for that specifically.

We didn't go to the store or the mall unless we needed something specific...this helped us sooo much to not be tempted! I would highly recommend this to you. :) Also, our children were much more grateful because they weren't having stores daily paraded before them. We had friends that would often wonder why their children were so ungrateful or wanted to buy things or designer things or have name brands...it is because they often lived at the mall. Their mom would take them to the mall to get out of the house, or to visit with friends. Our malls in Florida would have wonderful playgrounds in the middle of them...and so moms would go to the mall to shop, eat and let their children play. But we have seen first hand that when these children grow up....they struggle so much with ungratefulness and with selfishness.

We also saw children struggle with selfishness and ungratefulness if their parents shopped garage sales or thrift stores. Sometimes we're sooo tempted....if we garage sale alot or buy things at thrift stores we can be tempted to get things for our children because it's so cheap. We think "this was only $1.00 or .50 or .25 cents" The child isn't affected always by the price...they are affected by the fact that they get something every time they go! The child just knows that he's getting something bought for him every time and this causes him to become ungrateful. The price is often irrelevant to children. They become ungrateful simply by the abundance and the fact that they get something each time.

We were sometimes tempted to purchase things for our family.... more than we needed to because it was cheap or inexpensive or SUCH a great deal!!! :) We love thrift stores, and garage sales....but we limit ourselves and our children. :) And we only go if we need something. :)

We do give allowances and we have had our children use their own money to purchase things they want, but might not necessarily need and this has been helpful for their maturity. But we still want to train them to be wise and to not have too much that they don't need or spend money that they don't need to. Truly just not going shopping unless we needed something specific, was the best plan that worked for our family. :)

I also wanted to share something that I've observed over the years. Our children are young, fleshy and foolish. They need our help and for us to be wise. I know there were times that because we LOVE our children and we LOVE to bless them and do good to them...that we would do too much and find that it was so hard for them.

I remember times when we would do simple things that truly did not cost much money...but that we thought would be special for our children. We would take them to a park (that's free), then we'd get them an ice cream cone (for $1.00 or $2.00). Then we'd go to the $1.00 movie theater to see a movie. The whole day would not have cost us much as a family. Mark and I would see this as a treat for our children and because it didn't cost much, we'd think that we were doing a good thing. That we were being wise in how we chose to spend the money God had blessed us with...being good stewards, while still being able to bless our children and have fun with them. BUT, what we didn't realize is that this often left our children cranky, ungrateful, throwing fits, etc. Why?

Because our children did not have the character to handle all those blessings! We knew it didn't cost much....but they don't truly understand that concept! They just knew that they were getting one blessing after another! The sum total leaving them exhausted, cranky and ungrateful for all those special things that we did.

We had tried to do something special to love on our children...but we didn't realize that we had to be wise and careful. We thought they would be fine if we were doing fun things...but very soon, we began to realize that they would have wrong attitudes, and behaviors. This causes our flesh to take up offense and to take it personally. We think "I did all of this for you and this is how you act?!

We don't understand that our children haven't yet developed the godly character to be able to handle all these blessings the right way! We realized that as parents, we had to be wise and be careful how much we did and how often we did it. We are training our children all the time, whether purposely or not. So, we had to realize that it was up to us to make sure that we were not giving them too much that they weren't yet ready to handle.

We've seen this truth in regards to birthday days and family vacations as well. These occasions often bring with them MANY opportunities for our children to be given an overabundance of blessings all one right after another....and often times our children really act up and have bad attitudes and bad behavior on their birthdays or while we're on vacation and we are often upset and frustrated when all we're trying to do is....BLESS them! Again, what we don't realize is that our children are just not yet mature enough to be able to handle the blessings, and so we'd be so much wiser to limit the blessings or spread them out a bit more.

The reason we don't though sometimes is we feel guilty if each birthday party or birthday is not over the top incredible....we would feel that we had not done enough. Instead we need to be more concerned about our children and wisely know they would still love it and have a great time, even if it was only simple fun and simply done.

Also, on vacations, we'd be wise to make sure our children still rest and get to bed somewhat on time most of the time. If possible let them help and serve those you're visiting with, keeping up with the chores they would normally do at home if possible. We've seen this help our children soooo much to not be completely out of control and us to have to completely retrain them when the vacation is over....plus it actually helps the vacation itself to go soooo much better and be so much more enjoyable!

For instance, we stay in yurts when we camp. The children sweep, wash dishes, clean and straighten up the yurts, and the surrounding camp fire area. They do trash pick up and throw away, help watch their younger siblings etc. We swim, boat, fish, take hikes, go out to dinner, go shopping etc. but keeping up with some essential things like rest, and simple chores that can be done...helps them to stay more grounded and thankful and trained.

When we stay at the cabin, they again do laundry, sweep, help cook, clean up the kitchen, make beds, straighten up the rooms, clean the bathroom, help with siblings etc.

When we stay at hotels, they still clean up and help straighten the room. If we stay with another family, they are expected to help with the chores. They cook or clean up the kitchen, or sweep, vacuum, clean bathrooms, help with the younger children, etc. Because of this....we feel that these things help ground them and keep the blessings that are also apart of vacation from "ruining" their good character and their attitudes and behavior are so much better!

This is why children often act soooo badly while on vacation or when you get home from vacation! They have just had too much abundance! While we do want to bless them and enjoy them...we don't want a vacation to "undo" or unravel all the training and character we've tried so hard to build. So some simple things usually help...like making sure that they have times to still rest and as often as we can get them to bed at night somewhat on time. Also, limit what we do...spreading out the blessings between the days. Also, as much as we can we have our children do some of the chores that they do when home. We try even while on vacation to be wise and careful about how much they're getting, how much we're doing. We try to keep some normalacy if possible to our days. This we've found helps all of us have soooo much more fun and come home and not have to completely retrain our children!

Also, if we're on vacation and a child needs discipline or training we do so, out of love. They might have to get spankings, or sit out, or loose privileges, etc. This too, helps them to get back on the path to obedience and helps the vacation and time you spend together soooo much more enjoyable. Sometimes we're tempted because it's their birthday or because we're on vacation....to not discipline or train when our children need it. We somehow don't want to "ruin" the good time we've planned...and yet, if we don't stop to lovingly take the time to train them...we will all end up not having the good time we could have had because of the bad attitudes and behavior our children will continue to have. It usually gets worse not better. We need to not see this training as spoiling our special plans or day...but instead to see the wisdom and discernment that children are young and foolish. They are little. Their will and their sin don't recognize that a special day is not a time to act up....they do what they do, whether it's a special day or not...so we need to be wise and not seeing training as a bad thing, but as a simple, normal, necessary part of each day..regardless if it's a special holiday, occasion or vacation. :) If we are willing to stop and take a few moments to train and discipline...we will be so very blessed and so will our children. We will all enjoy the special time all the more! :)

Anyway...I am sure this is way more than you wanted to know. I just know that all of this is intertwined together in the abundance category...that starts with something as simple as having too many clothes...and can spiral downward from there! :)

Hope this helps....God bless you!
Look forward to seeing you soon!

Mentoring Moments #1: The question

I hope you enjoy these next few postings. As you will read, I will be sharing about a question I raised with my Mentor, Linda from our Keepers of the Home group and how that later evolved into a humbling experience. I hope that in sharing this personal struggle that it would be an encouragement to you as well.

Here is the question :

Dear Linda:

"I have a question from one of the meetings a few months ago. There was a brief mention of how you and your family have a certain number of clothing for each person. Like some are play clothes, a few are church, etc. Would you mind expanding on that?

We have been blessed with much clothing given to us for our children. I have a hard time limiting what is in the drawers because of this. But I am finding that the piles of laundry get a little too tall - and that simpler may just be better.

Thanks for sharing,