Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Telling Fear to Move Over

This is a post specifically to women. I am tired of fear. I see it in myself and I see it in the hollow-eyes of strangers. Fear is something that strangles women and leaves us grasping for breath in the everyday.

Fear that we will fail.

Fear that someone won't like us. Or that people are all pretending they like us and then use our names in front of the phrase, "Bless her heart."

Fear that we won't measure up.

Fear that our kids will grow up to resent us. Or maybe worse...resemble us.

Fear that one day people will see through our facade of self-sufficiency.

There are hundreds that could be listed here. These fears lurk like a stray cat in our minds as we restlessly try to sleep at night. They crawl into our conversations about how our kids are doing in school. They leap into our laps as we dream of pursuing a new hobby. They claw at us as we look at other moms who have it all together on their crafty little blogs.

All of these create a chaos in our minds that keep us inactive. We are trying so hard to pacify each of these fears that dreams and callings cannot be heard over all of it. I have talked to dozens of women who feel called to do something and yet find every reason under the sun to talk themselves out of it.

I want to exhort to you that if God is calling you to something today, do it.
Don't look at your watch and wonder if you have time. God will take care of those minutes.

Don't think of what your parents will say. God will be a gracious Father to you in times of uncertainty.

Don't assume that just because you studied something in college that it means you are actually called to use that degree directly.

Don't think that just because you are single that God wouldn't call you to live overseas.

Don't reason that God owes it to us to do things that make rational sense.

Decisions made in fear will be wrapped in either guilt or self-sufficiency. Jesus frees us from this bondage. Remember good 'ol 2 Tim. 1:7? God gives us a spirit of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL. I find it interesting that none of those things can be done while living under fear. At least they won't be done well.

If the Lord is calling us to do something radical today, then we need to trust that He will meet us at the other side of it all. He is that big. He is that able. So go and do it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birthdays and a New Year

In my mind I'm organized, contemplative and I sing like Sara Groves. In reality, I do none of these well. That is why this post will contain 3 celebrations, a few of them rather tardy in nature. 

We celebrated Selah's birthday in Thailand with my parents and my sister's family. She has become an amazing girl that leaves her Dad and I proud to call her our daughter. She is thoughtful, giving, responsible and compassionate. I love seeing the fruit of the Spirit growing and bringing life to those around her. She turned 10 this year and from this point forward we will work backwards. Next year is 9. This makes me feel much better about the whole thing. 

This little dude just turned 8. Dad is out of town, so we laid low and ate pizza while watching old school "Parent Trap." He is passionate, analytical, caring, creative and convicted. Watching this little guy think through things in Scripture and come to conclusions that glorify the Lord is both humbling and encouraging. 

It's Chinese New Year around these parts. It's fun to see every one decorating their houses and eating dumplings all day long. We won't be here for the festivities and what that means is no 2 a.m. firework wake up calls. Bummer for us. But this is the year of the dragon. It is my year (each birth year is represented by an animal and it rotates every 12 years), so I'm thinking good things will happen. Or maybe just that I will be able to buy a little stuffed dragon at the store all year round. Either way Happy New Year! 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Traveling in a Caffeine Stupor

We are heading out this morning. And in order to define the word "we," I mean my 5 ewoks and me.  At 5:30 a.m. we will pile our arms with luggage, bags, and 55 ounces of coffee. The Lord desires to sanctify me as we travel through 4 airports and two countries without my husband. So if you don't hear from me for a little bit, it's because I am balled in the fetal position, wearing coolots, and sucking my thumb in a hotel somewhere.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's in the Storm?

In Matthew 8, we see a roll call of miracles that Jesus performs. One after another, Jesus reaches into the physical life and turns the tables. He removes the leprous reputation of a man, strengthens the legs of a servant, cools the fever of a mother. The list goes on and on and if you read it in succession, it plays out almost as a task list for the day. A simple day in the life of Jesus.

And then I get to Jesus calming the storm. Cue thunderous rainstorm, rickety fishing boat and 12 panicky disciples.  Out of their desperation, they spoke out what was churning in their hearts: fear. 
As Jesus slept peacefully in the bow, the storm was enveloping both the waters and the hearts of His followers. We see them screaming at Jesus, "Save us, we are perishing!"

He wakes up and peers into their souls, "Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?" I imagine him speaking softly, with His words resounding loudly among the waves, "Be still." 

I got to thinking about Jesus' rebuke to the disciples. And then I was brought back to so many other instances of Jesus commending people when they say, "Save me! Lord, show me mercy!" Why was this situation different? Why did Jesus not commend their desire for the Lord's rescuing? It was at this point that my heart was both convicted and sorrowful as I realized that the disciples asked out of fear and not repentance. There was no faith present for the Lord to commend. Only 12 men wrapped up in fear for their lives. 

Where is my desperation rooted, fear or repentance? When I call out to the Lord, what am I truly wanting from the Lord? Is it just a removal of my present circumstance or a changing of my heart?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Final Manuscript Victory Dinner

When I submitted my final manuscript last week, the kids and I decided to celebrate. This is what I made for dinner. For those of you who are both from the southern part of the US and have also resided overseas, you will join with me in saying that there was a halo surrounding that Dr. Pepper. I savored every sip. I told the kids to respect my drinking with a few minutes of silence. It was a holy moment. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Blogging: "Feeding Kids Bigger Portions"

I guest-blogged "Feeding Kids Bigger Portions," over at my friend Joy in the Blink. We are talking about removing Beyonce from your kids repertoire of truth and replacing it with Truths that never fade. She and I have been having a few years worth of conversations about what Christian parenting looks like in the trenches.

Have a little look see.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A Few of our Favorite Apps

The app world is just flat out overwhelming. This list I wrote could easily be ten times as long, but I wanted to share some of the apps we have enjoyed of late. We only do educational games in our house. I told my kids that they were born into the wrong family if they wanted to play shoot 'em up games. Sorry kids.

These first three are websites that give a more extensive list of apps for kids.




Here are some of our favorites:

Solar Walk 

This app is a scale model of the Solar System where you get to manipulate space-time, learn details about 39 celestial objects, and watch 7 different videos. This was great to have while we studied Astronomy last year. The kids can line all the planets and compare rotation, size, surface, color, and texture. 

Story Chimes

Several choices  of fairy tales that you can read or have read to you. The narration is fun and upbeat. Some of them have memory games or short activities for the kids to do at the end. These are great for the little ones to listen to while I'm working on a more one-on-one intense subject with and older one. 

Math Bingo/Sight Word Bingo

I hate flash cards. They make me want to poke my eye with a Q-tip. So, the kids do these bingo games to work on math facts. All 4 operations can be used. The sight word one works the same way, but with words. At the end, they calculate your time and you get bingo bugs according to how fast you completed the bingo board. Once you've earned enough bingo bugs, you can play a game where you slingshot them around the screen to earn coins. My kids enjoy this one a lot.


Toonstastic gives your kids a chance to both narrate and animate a story. The app will walk kids through the process of storytelling (setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution), pick their own theme music for each scene, and watch their story come to life. Sometimes I'll take one of the stories the kids has written and ask them to go animate it. Or, instead of writing the journal entry down, go animate it instead. Keeps things fresh. 

Ultimate Dinopedia

This one is great is your kids are into dinosaurs. There are fact cards, pictures, and 3D videos that bring these creatures to life. It's put out by National Geographic and the visuals are exceptional. There are tons of dinosaurs to pick from and I feel like it gives a good overview of how they lived.

Word Magic

This is a phonics and spelling app for early readers. On one level, they will have a picture and a word, but one letter is missing. The child is supposed to touch the letter that is missing in each word. As a parent, you can set the word length, level, capital or small letters, and several phonetic options. 

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

This is geared  more towards preschoolers. There are matching games, memory games, shapes, colors, groupings, and lots of other beginning level skills. This is also a great starter to get the younger ones comfortable with a computer. I know it seems crazy, but just think about 18 years from now. Computers are going to dominate every sphere of life. We've got to surrender to that and get our kids prepared.

McPea Preschool 

This is fairly similar to Monkey Preschool. There are numbers included in this one though.

iWrite Words

Your kids will write their letters (both capital and lowercase), numbers, and short words with their fingers. They are learning the stroke order and basic hand eye coordination. There is also a small music portion where the kids can tap on a piano and it plays the alphabet song.

ABC Phonics is similar to iWrite Words

Cute Math

This has several levels of basic math operations. I would say preschool to kindergarten age. There are a few counting levels where they count balloons or penguins. There are also a few where you work on addition and subtraction of birds. 

 As our kids get older, there are some fantastic ones for anatomy that I can't wait to dive into. If you homeschool and can afford an ipad, I would highly recommend one. We have used it even more than I anticipated. The apps available for schooling are incredible.

Hope these help you navigate the ocean of apps available now. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

Parents, Grow Some Kahunas!

I just got home from running in the rain and listening to rap music. I am feeling both empowered and opinionated. As I ran, the music started talking about all the trappings that temptation throws at us. I began to think about parenting and protecting our children from the nets that ensnare their hearts.

As a Christian parent, our aim is NOT to make our kids the most popular, the best athlete, or the most talented piano player in the state. Should they do these things for the glory of God? Yes. Should these things require you to sacrifice your family and your God? No. Never.

When I worked with youth, I would get parents calling me in tears because their kids had found some guy on the internet and they were exchanging inappropriate emails. Or a parent who couldn't get their kids to make eye contact at the dinner table because their eyes were locked to their cell phone. I would look at these parents in the eye and say, "Then take the computer out of their room. They can write reports for school in the kitchen on the computer. Take the tv out of their room. If you want a relationship with your kids, you've got to take away other distractions. Kids don't need a tv in their room. Take their cell phone away after 5 p.m. If their friends want to talk about physics on the phone, then they can do it in the living room with their physics book in front of them and you in the kitchen doing dishes so you can hear the conversation."

And you know what? I would get parents arguing with me that their children need privacy, their own lives, to be able to make grown up decisions. There will be plenty of time for them to do that after they leave your house and start paying their own bills.

Here's another thing: chances are, your kid isn't going to be the next Nolan Ryan. Sports have become the American God. Parents get frustrated when, at 15, their kids want nothing to do with God or the church. Well here's the deal, the parents have taught the kid that church is second priority to baseball games, soccer tournaments and cheerleading competitions. You teach your kids how to prioritize by looking at where we as parents decide to spend our time as a family. You've only got 18 years to set these types of life habits for your kids.

Parents, we need to GROW SOME KAHUNAS and take the wheel from our children in their upbringing. They will be steering the ship after they leave the house. For now, they don't need their doors closed, they don't need video games in their room, they don't need to go to "the party of the year." They need to be loved, guided, taught, steered and disciplined.

Some of our parenting heros once wisely told us,"Parent now, be friends later." Don't fall for what the world tells you is a priority for you kids. Look to the Bible and figure out what God deems most valuable. Some of those things being, loving justice, showing mercy, serving orphans, and praying continually. Those things are radically different than what the world is shouting at us as parents. But I will submit to you that these are the things that will last both here on earth and in the scope of eternity.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

What to do if You Wake up Feeling Fragile

You know that one time that you woke up and pretended to not hear your child asking for breakfast in the other room?

Or maybe that one time that you woke up and your stomach felt like it had been hit by a two by four because you are anxious about your day?

Then there's the rest of us who wake up feeling this way on a consistent basis. Here is a great article reminding us of God's promises. While He doesn't promise to do our laundry for us, He promises us more than we could ever imagine.

What to do if You Wake up Feeling Fragile

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Working...Keep Away

I was thinking of making this sign into a t-shirt for my friends with nursing babies. The logo would be on the back of the shirt while they feed their little one. 

What do you think?
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