Goals for December ~ Going Out With a Bang in 2012!

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This is the last month I have in 2012 to make and meet some goals. I have so much swirling in my head that I want/need to do that if I don’t get it down, I may just explode with being overwhelmed!

I’ve shared my business and blogging goals over on my other blog, if you’re interested in reading those.

Here I share my personal, mothering, and homemaking goals for the next 5 weeks.

Personal

  • Finish reading Everything by Mary DeMuth. This book has gripped my heart but I haven’t made intentional time to dig in and finish it. This book talks about giving Jesus everything and the cost that is really required of us. It is really the heart of the Gospel of Christ. I truly believe it’s where real joy is found.
  • Finish The Mom Walk by Sally Clarkson. This is one of my favorite book by Sally. It’s the heart of motherhood–walking with Christ first and foremost and how that spills over into your mothering.

{If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m an avid reader. ;)}

  • Get back to waking up early. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve done this. I truly miss it! I want to get back to spending time in the Word and prayer. I’m making a new commitment to praying for the upcoming year so I would like to get some things in order here.
  • Do more personal writing in my journal.

Mothering

  • Get back to our morning read aloud time (somehow this has gotten away from us!)
  • Keep computer off during morning hours–I would really like to give my children my full attention during this time, rather than being constantly distracted by happenings on the Internet. {Note to self: the Internet never sleeps. There is always something!}
  • Continue to work on having a gentle tone {free eBook coming soon!}

Homemaking

  • Purge and organize entire house by the new year. This might be the one that keeps me the most busy!
  • Set up my new Plan to Eat account this week so menu planning can take place.

Starting this week, I am going to go through every bookshelf,  cupboard, drawer, and area of my home and just purge and organize. Everything needs to have a place and those things I am not using need to go. Part of having a peaceful home is keeping light on all the “stuff” we have. My goal is to spend 15 minutes per day, every day and just work.

Fifteen minutes per day is not too much to ask and I have a feeling will accomplish way more than I can imagine. I have 36 days. That’s 540 minutes, or 9 hours, of purging and organizing. Oh yes! I can do this! And you can too!

Then, perhaps I’ll ring in the new year with a new habit! :)

I’ll be posting my progress here once a week so you all can hold me accountable. :)

What are your goals for the wrap up of 2012?

If you don’t have any, I encourage you to make a few. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish when you have a little intentional direction. :)

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Where We Are Called to Disciple

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Monday there was quite the tragedy at the house next door to mine. The teenage boy who lived there was found unconscious in his car. By the time I knew anything was going on, the ambulance lights were flashing in my window.

I grabbed my coat and ran outside because one of the neighbor girls was struggling to hold it together and there was noone there to comfort her. I ran up to her and wrapped her in my arms and prayed to God.

The boy has a heart condition and apparently went into heart failure. They took him into the ambulance and we waited. At that point I started feeling an ache in my stomach and I had to lean over to catch some deep breaths. Although we’ve lived next to this family for 4 years, we weren’t that acquainted with them. We were friendly neighbors, waving hi in passing. But that’s the extent of it.

As the ambulance pulled away, we were left with no real answers. But I felt sick thinking the worst.

He doesn’t know Jesus.

I called my husband on the phone to tell him and I think I scared him to thinking something was wrong with one of our own children. As I started to talk, I began hyperventilating — something I’ve never experienced before. I couldn’t catch my breath between words.

Why am I so upset over someone I barely know?

Because he doesn’t know Jesus.

God is breaking my heart and opening my eyes to see just why it’s so important that we disciple those he’s placed around us. It’s no accident that God has placed each of us where He has.

We are to share the gospel with others and then show them how to go out and share the gospel with others. That’s what it means to make disciples. It doesn’t mean to sit within the same group of believers and disciple each other.

It means to “Go!” and disciple the nations–proclaim the gospel to those who don’t know it. The nation is all around us. America is in just as much need for the true Gospel of Christ as any other nation.

Not only do we need to look for those in our scope of reach, but we need to not neglect the ones God has placed in our own home: our children–and perhaps even an unsaved husband. Do not make the mistake of thinking that our complacency (or lack of intentionality) will not have a negative effect on our children or in our own lives.

The word on the boy next door is that he is breathing and with a pulse – PRAISE GOD. But as of yesterday, there were still no answers. Pray for him? His name is Jacob.

The days are evil and we need to make the most of every opportunity. (Eph. 5:15)

Quiet My Soul

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Dear Jesus,

Help me quiet the voice. The one that tells me I’ll never get it right and I’m just not good enough. That voice that says I’ll never live up the expectations I have for myself or of those that everyone else has for me.

Quiet the voice the makes me ball up with fear of ever stepping out. Of ever seeing the unknown or making myself vulnerable.

Help me quiet my soul so I can hear your voice. Quiet my soul so I can feel your grace and fill up that space with love that I just can’t understand.

Quiet my soul of the noise of the world and all its lures. Quiet the noise of the busyness in my life so it doesn’t drown out what’s most important to me.

You.

Day 22 {a Gentle Answer} Shows Control

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It wasn’t until a year or two ago I ever considered the fact that our children can get stressed and react on that stress. When circumstances get stressful, my children can “act out”; at least, that’s how it looks from the outside.

But really, they are coping with their own stress–and they need help learning to cope in healthy ways.

No doubt hearing harsh words from mom can cause stress–especially if it’s a regular, ongoing occurrence. This would in turn cause behavior that is less than ideal and seems to come out of nowhere. There is always a root and rarely will a child act out just to “act out”.

My children are not perfect children, by any means. But I have never known them to maliciously act out just to push my buttons. Sometimes they are tired, or hungry (low blood sugar can cause mood shifts), or insecure if they are out of their normal routine; especially if it’s frequent.

When we are careful about how our words come out, we show our wisdom through controlling our anger. Controlling our anger then reduces our stress and the stress we put on our children. Another word for stress is “burden” or “affliction”.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit–it cannot be accomplished in our own strength. We must call on the Lord to help us — and He will! When I pray, He meets me there and guides me through that day.

Prayer is the key to accomplishing anything God has for us. Do not neglect it.

Sometimes we can grow weary of working toward the same thing for too long (like, 31 days). But the Bible talks consistently about being persistent and not growing weary of doing good.

This is a process!! It will not change over night. If you think about it, these 31 Day series are quite brilliant for habit making and soul changing!

So, what are some practical ways we can show control through our anger?

  • Pray. Pray before the day begins and pray when you’re in the midst of anger. Step out of the room for a few moments to remove yourself from the situation and regroup through prayer.
  • Be slow to speak. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just be quiet.
  • Step outside. Breathe deep the fresh air. Seriously. It’s good for your brain and your lungs. It may help soothe the emotions to help you think clearly again.

Remember how precious your children are. Look past their imperfections into something greater they possess. They are a gift. God made us their mothers to help unleash their potential in order to glorify Him. He wants us to succeed, and He’s willing to help! We need only ask, and step out in faith.

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Day 17 {a Gentle Answer} Encourages Obedience

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I know I missed a day this week — bear with me!! Things are super busy as we prepare for Allume. Also, I had the bright idea of launching my new site right in the middle of it all. :D

We know that harsh words can stir up anger, and gentle words can turn it away. Gentle words have power behind them just as harsh words do. They have the power to encourage obedience in our children. When we treat our children with respect, they are more apt to obey happily.

It’s interesting, because a few years ago I believed that a strong arm and forceful obedience was necessary for children. But the truth is, that can actually push them away or merely create children who obey out of fear. I want more than that for my children. I don’t want them to obey because I threaten them or because they fear punishment (although at times, that may be necessary).

I want my children to obey for the same reason God wants me to obey: out of love.

Am I making it easy or difficult for my children to love me? Am I the kind of person they want to be around, or are they looking for the exit just as soon as they can escape? That’s not the kind of mom I want to be!

I want my words to uplift and speak life so that my children are empowered to obey. Encouragement is an important tool in life to help us get through.

I am not saying we should never speak a firm word to our children. But, there is a difference between firm and harsh.

A firm tone is simply a tone that says you mean business. A harsh tone is nothing less than mean. It’s talking down to our children. That’s obviously not what we want to aim for.

How can we help our children obey today?

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Day 15 {a Gentle Answer} Brings Healing

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*Note: there was no day 13 or 14 due to the weekend.

 

No doubt that the harsh words I have used in the past have caused some damage to heart of my children. I know if someone consistently spoke to me with harsh words, it would effect me.

In turn, my kind words can bring healing to their hearts. The kindest words beginning with, “I’m sorry.” So not only must I refrain from the harsh words and tone, but I must replace those with words of encouragement and life.

We are good at pointing out when our children has done a fault, but rarely do we point out when a child has done something noble. We brush it aside because, well, that’s what is expected of them.

No wonder children give up on trying to please us! By our lack of affirmation, they are still rejected!

My goal this week is to begin to heap on words of encouragement and affirmation to my children. They need it, just like we need it. When we do something that’s “expected” of us, like cleaning the house and cooking dinner, never hearing a word of thanks or affirmation can take it’s toll.

Don’t misunderstand, we shouldn’t be brewing and expecting gratitude–but it sure is a treat when we hear it, right? It’s no different with our children. If they don’t hear they are accepted by us through our kind words, they may just look for it elsewhere.

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Day 12 {a Gentle Answer} Refreshes Others

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Do you ever find yourself frustrated with the constant amount of house work there is to do? Then in turn take it out on the children?

Oooh yes…this is a sore point for me.

House work is my foe. It is never ending and I struggle to find any fulfillment or satisfaction in it because it is inevitable that when you spend two hours cleaning, it’s back to being a mess within 10 minutes. And I do not exaggerate–it’s been proven over and over again that this cycle is the only promising thing about house work.

There is no sense of accomplishment because nothing is ever fully accomplished. The mess keeps coming back!

And how easy is it to put blame on the beautiful blessings who can’t help but live life and make messes?

How do our words effect the home environment as a whole? Do they bring refreshing or are they cutting?

“You better clean that up when you’re done.”

“I cannot believe you trashed the living room after I just cleaned it!”

“Can’t you guys pick up after yourselves?”

Seriously, these are consistent phrases in my home.

What I am doing is setting up an atmosphere of fear because my children are afraid to do anything in the house because I might grumble about it! Am I making my children feel guilty for wanting to play and live life, because I have to clean up after them?

Sally Clarkson says in her new, co-authored book, Desperate:

A happy mom is a real gift to her children. A good attitude about work makes her children feel that she is glad that she is a mom and that she is thankful for her children. She communicates to them that even with a full workload, she is fulfilled and content.

She goes on to say,

The attitude I adopt every day has the potential to affect the whole demeanor of my home.

House work will always be there. It is something I just need to accept and work into my life. Putting blame on the children and causing guilt by my grumbling is not how I want my children to grow up and remember living in this home with me. It’s not worth it!

So, today, I resolve to not complain about the mess.

I do believe there will be a lot less coming out of my mouth!

And when it is time to work together and get things in order, I will do so with a positive tone so that my children do not feel beaten by my words because they have been creating life in their home.

Do you struggle in this area, too?

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Day 11 {a Gentle Answer} Is Humble

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I have the above verse in my Bible highlighted, and written under “bearing with” I have “my kids”. I personalized it because it’s the most challenging place for me, I think. I find it difficult to bear with my children when times of frustrations {in me} arise. Which, again, happen more often then they should probably.

But, this leads back to the beginning of the verse: be completely humble and gentle. How do we make ourselves humble with our children?

Another word for humility is lowliness. It’s thinking of others as more important than yourself. Do we do that? Do we think our children more important than us? Their needs more important than ours? I can say with ashamed confidence that I do not think nor act this way.

Because if that were the case, I wouldn’t be running this series right now.

The fact of it is, our flesh is selfish by nature. This can only be accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit. So, how do we get the Spirit to work in us?

We pray.

We must pray specifically for God to purge out the ugly and replace it with Him–with His Spirit. It will be a constant act of worship and change to pray.

Bearing with our children means to endure with; suffer with.

How can we do this in a practical sense? Share your ideas in the comments.

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Day 10 {a Gentle Answer} Shows Great Understanding

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When our children are in a tough place, do we take the time to understand them or what needs they might have? Sometimes I think our lack of understanding can keep us blinded to what’s really going on. We don’t want to aimlessly spout off words of accusations to our children–especially if we aren’t getting the whole story.

Yesterday I was mopping the kitchen floor and the door that leads downstairs is in the kitchen. My children were told that once I started, they had to stay where they were (either downstairs or in the front part of the house), until I was finished.

My 4-year old, right in the middle of me mopping, knocked on the basement door. I opened the door, and without letting her even speak, told her she could not come through yet. She then started to cry.

A few minutes later, I opened the door and asked her why she was crying. I told her previously she needed to stay put until I was done. She then went on to say that she wanted her {stuffed animal} dog. So, I went and grabbed it for her and she happily went back downstairs.

Had I not assumed her intentions, the episode could have been avoided altogether.

I really think it is important that we take the time to understand our children. This is where heart-work parenting comes in. We shouldn’t just deal with behavior on the surface (mainly by yelling from frustrations).

We think it’s easier to just yell and make ourselves heard. The problem with that is that is the only time we will grab our children’s attention, and it won’t be a positive impact in the long run on their little hearts.

This is not a replacement for discipline–it’s in conjunction with it. There is a way to correct and discipline and there is a way not to. As mothers, we should remain blameless as we administer such training. This doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect, obviously. But our goal is to keep our angry and frustrated emotions removed from the situation.

Do you spout off answers or reprimands without showing understanding? How can you reverse that?

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Day 8 {a Gentle Answer} From the Overflow

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*Note: there was no Day 6 or Day 7 because I took the weekend off.

For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

Is there a deeper issue when it comes to it being a challenge to speak to our children using a gentle tone? I think there must be. Our frustrations and anger don’t just come out of nowhere. What is really causing them?

For me, I think I have unrealistic expectations for my children much of the time. Rather than kind of taking life as it comes, I blow up these high ideals in my head of what I think our family life should look like. When it fails to meet that, I automatically think something must be wrong, and why can’t my children just live up to my standards?

The same reason I can’t live up to God’s standards.

This is a truth I must get right. I need to change my thinking by being transformed by the renewing of my mind.

What do I really believe about my children? Do I see them as always “messing up”? Do I constantly view them by their behavior, or I do love them for who they are – a child of God? a child of mine?!

That will definitely take some breaking down of walls – because I view myself by my behavior. It’s been an ongoing struggle, although it is getting better and I’m learning to receive grace better and in turn balance grace with law in mothering.

I need to read and believe what God says about me — and recognize that He says those things about my children as well. I want to view my children as God does, so I can pour into them, rather than suck life from them with my words.

Sally Clarkson says in her new book, co-authored with Sarah Mae:

“Moms need to understand that this is the reality of life with children in a fallen world. Getting angry and upset for children being selfish and demanding creates stress and havoc in the mind, emotions, and body of a woman. Prepare yourself for the battle and accept the limitations of your husband, children, and home–and of yourself.” -Desperate {coming January 2013}

How powerful is this truth?!

There is action required on our part — we must prepare for battle. Satan is at the door of every opportunity to give life to our children. His goal is to steal it away. And our flesh? Well, that only adds to the problem.

Pray.

Pray against the schemes of the devil and pray the Holy Spirit would speak through you.

Pray that God would reveal any false ideals so they can be crushed.

Are your ideals of your children out of place?

You can read previous posts in this series here.

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