Monday, December 17, 2007

Child-like Faith

So often as "moms at home" we think about the great things we are doing for our kids by keeping them at home. Does it ever occur to you the benefit you receive from staying home with your child(ren)? One day I was on my way to choir, which my children attend every Wednesday. It's only about 10 miles away, but there is nothing much but flat, Kansas farmland between here and there. So lots of thoughts can "come through" during this drive! Anyway, it occurred to me that my kids are giving me a HUGE gift by being at home with me. It is something God must know that I need: a child-like faith.
I feel this so strongly, that I believe that the entire reason that we are supposed to keep our children at home is not only to remind us to have faith like a child, but to raise godly children as well. It is a two-way relationship that God intended for us to have as parents. That is why the Bible does not say, "put your children in day care and school all day so that you can get away from them and have some 'me' time."
Parents today are disconnected from their children, which obviously affects their children. But the effect on parents is not so well noted. Every day, I get to see a faith through eyes that are so pure, so innocent, and so believing, that it reminds me, this is the faith that I am supposed to have. They do not question Noah and his ark, they do not wonder if the disciples took Jesus' body away, and they know without a shadow of a doubt that if they pray to ask Jesus into their hearts, He will enter. I cannot imagine not getting this beautiful gift every day. And as natural as their faith comes, it is certainly not natural for me after the world got ahold of me. I'm starting to understand the phrase, "live in the world, but not of the world." It's making a whole lotta sense right now!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Have you been to Webkinz World?

Oh, my, has the Webkinz craze hit our house! My first description of these cute little animals is "Beanie Babies on crack" and I bet the Beanie Baby folks are hating life right now that they didn't think to add the computer component to their little guys. I mean really, are the Webkinz anything new besides the fact that they provide online access to children to play interactively with their Webkinz and even their friends' Webkinz? They are just stuffed animals, just like the Beanie Babies. It is AMAZING what people will think of just to get people to buy more stuff!

If you don't know what Webkinz are, they are stuffed animals that come with a special tag. When you get home, you use the code from your tag to register online, where your Webkinz gets a room, and where you can earn money to buy clothes, furniture, and other goodies. They are virtual goodies, and they are bought with "Kinz Cash." You can invite your friends' Webkinz over to your room, and even meet kids you don't know and play with them online. It is actually a really great learning experience for kids, and while I hate that it initially encourages consumerism, it really teaches them the value of things when they spend or save their Kinz Cash. It is also a way for kids to show their generosity. My son earns money and then sends gifts (virtually) to his friends or sisters. It's so sweet!

Here comes the mom in me.... I didn't just go out and buy my kids stuffed animals. They earned them. We developed a point system, and they got so many points for doing certain things. We were dealing with first time obedience, so every time they did something the first time I asked, they got a point. They also got points for feeding the dog, cleaning up, helping with dinner, and keeping their rooms clean. Once they earned 25 points, they could buy a Webkinz. They each received their first Webkinz "free" as a gift from their dad at the zoo. They also both received one as a gift. The final three were earned. They are not allowed to get more than 5, and they knew this going into it. Which is fine for them, because they got turned on to Build-a-Bear and now they want accessories for their animals! Yikes!

Anyway, if you haven't looked past the craziness of Webkinz, check it out as a learning tool for children. My daughter just turned 5 and is able to work with the website fairly well even though she is just in the beginning stages of reading. The website is http://www.webkinz.com/ and they make GREAT Christmas gifts. You can't buy them at the website, but you can see more about the process. You can buy them locally, on eBay, or Google "Webkinz" and I'm sure you will find some online stores! Here is our Webkinz family:



Friday, December 7, 2007

A New Christmas Tradition

Now that my kids are getting older, I feel like we are able to do more fun projects and really start some family traditions at Christmas time. About a month ago, we ran across a gingerbread house kit where everything is provided and you just build it and decorate it yourself. Last year, we got together with our homeschool group and made little houses out of graham crackers, and that was fun, too. Each child brought a bag of candy, so we had enough variety to decorate the houses. I hope to organize that this year, and if so I will take pictures of those houses to share.

The kids had fun with this one, and it is so cute. With the candies that were provided, it would be difficult to make a bad looking house. It's just so colorful and cheerful. Hopefully it will survive the year and we will be able to use it again, but I've seen the dog eyeing it. We'll see!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Baby Turns 5!



I am still not over the shock that my "baby" turned 5 last month. We celebrated her birthday while we were out of town for Thanksgiving, and my sister gave her a Strawberry Shortcake party. It was a lot of fun! Anna is a bright little girl. We started kindergarten with her a year early, and she started reading when she was 4. She is a wonderful artist and some of her artwork amazes me. I'm so glad I get to stay home with her and enjoy her all day!

Sharing Good News

I've got so many things to share, as I've gotten behind on posting. But this one is very important, and I wanted to share it first.

Friday night my kids and I went to our friends' Christmas program which was in Wichita- an hour away from our home. It was very nice, as it always is, and I remember thinking how exceptionally long the pastor's message was at the end. If you had never heard how to pray and receive Christ, you definitely would remember when he was done! I really wanted to leave, as we still had to drive home. But God said, "Stay."

Tuesday, Thomas read from his phonics Bible the story of Adam and Eve. We discussed the implications of what they had done, what it meant for us today, and I was able to tie it to the things the pastor said Friday night. I did not want to push, so I simply said, "one day when you're ready, you will pray the sinner's prayer and ask Jesus into your heart."

That night, Thomas kept coming out of his bed for one reason or another. Finally, close to midnight, he came to my bedroom in tears. I asked what was wrong, to which he replied, "I'm ready! I'm afraid, Mommy. I want to go to heaven!"

Because Anna was sick and lying next to me asleep in the bed, we went back to his bedroom and sat under his space rocket bunk bed. The string of Christmas tree lights gave the perfect lighting to this very special moment. We talked, and then prayed. Thomas asked Jesus into his heart!

I am so excited about this decision, and want to tell everyone. He has always had such a special little heart, and I know that God is going to use him in a mighty way! If you would like to share your little one's story, please feel free to comment. I love hearing good news!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What are we passing down to our kids?

Because we spend more time with our kids- in many of our cases, FULL time with our children- we must be VERY aware of the negative behaviors we have that they are going to pick up on. We can fool ourselves into believing that we are doing well enough if we don't use curse words, or avoid certain discussions in front of our kids. But that is obvious behavior, and not what I'm talking about. Grab a cup of coffee, and take a seat. It's time to get real.

I know you are perfect. I know you would never do the things I have done. But just for fun, let's propose that we all make mistakes, we all have baggage, and every once and a while, that baggage rears it's ugly head. Have you ever yelled at your kids? Ever thrown anything? Do they see you procrastinating? Do you have a bad habit like smoking? Do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks? Are you depressed? Do you eat junk food all day? Do you see where I'm going?

Everything we say and do affects our children, and not always for the better. I have been a mom for 6 years and 7 months, and I JUST learned what that really means. It means that I have a lot of changing to do, and that I am extremely fortunate to have the very best tools available to me to help me change my negative behaviors.

Before I introduce the tools, I want to share how all of this came to me. First, I recognized that I have many faults that I'm just not happy with. Second, I wondered how to fix them. On some level, I thought, "I am the way I am because God made me that way." But that was a cop out. Third, I prayed about them. Once God saw that I was ready to hear what I needed to hear, He provided a solution. One day I went to the computer and received an email that changed my life.

This email came at the RIGHT time, after I had already recognized my faults, wanted to fix them, and prayed about them. Had any of these things not happened, I don't think I would have been ready for the information that came my way. Isn't it funny how these things happen?

The email was from Mike Brescia, with Think Right Now! International. I had never heard of Mike, nor had I ever searched out self-help or personal development products. I don't know why I never did, because I certainly needed them! His line of products are designed to help you with anything and everything you could possibly struggle with. To learn more about the products, click on the link above.

The reason I wanted to talk about this in my blog is because we are THE biggest influence on our children. Period. As my children get older I see myself in them, the good and the bad. And it's not too late to work on the bad before it gets out of hand. My main priority as they grow and mature is to keep them close and have a good relationship with them so that they can talk to me about absolutely anything. My personality flaws were not going to work toward that end, so it is MY responsibility to fix that. I am also mentioning it here because so far the products I've used have been HIGHLY effective. As busy moms, these tools are absolutely the BEST on the market. You simply play the CD's in the background and go about your day. They are not lecture or how-to audios, they simply improve your thought patterns as they relate to the issue you want to improve. All you do is listen!

I hope and pray that someone comes across this post who is ready to learn this information. Is it you? No matter where you are in your journey, remember that your kids deserve the very best mom or dad that you can possibly be. And never forget that you are passing down to them everything that they witness. Can you say that it's all good?

Tom Woods