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Will the “Real” People Please Stand Up…

She saw each new encounter as an opportunity to find a real friend.  Today was no exception…as she walked through her son’s school parking lot and scanned the faces there was nothing familiar to quell her anxiety.

Though friendship was something she sought out no one seemed too receptive.  Wall after wall kept going up with each conversation.

Why is it so hard to find a “real “person these days? Someone willing to engage.

At the close of the day, when volunteering was done she found herself in deep thought.

“What is it about me that people just don’t let me in?”  “Am I that different from them?” “Are they just stand-offish or is it me?” Anxiety suddenly turns into self doubt and self doubt into loneliness.

There are various kinds of people in this world with all different types of needs.  Don’t let others lack of interest, rudeness or just plain apathy drive you to conform to who they are.  The focus should be on the only true friend that will always be there for you.  The one you can always count on.The one who will always be real with you.

Continue to follow your heart as long as your heart is really following Jesus.

leaf heart

I see Christ’s love all around us…even capture it in my pictures.

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.

Proverbs 22:11

Five Minute Friday, Faith Filled Friday

11

Embraced by His love

glasses n bible

The reality that strikes when you’re reading and your vision blurs from tears
because the words were sent to you
meant to comfort you

The reality that takes over in the mist of your recognition of this simple truth
From so many sides
The message is pure

It’s hopeful and gracious
Yet the tears continue to stream

No control at this point
No way to stop the emotion that has filled and overwhelmed you to the core

So you cry
You cry that body shaking, stuffy nose kind of cry that’s essentially necessary for cleansing your soul

You wait and you wonder
When will it stop

Suddenly it just does
For the moment

You’re clear, or just numb but noticeably changed
The reality of knowing God came to hug you today

Embraced by His love…the tears return

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; Iwill help you.

#Time2Refuel

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How to Be a Cool Mom…NOT!

CeliArt © 2015 @Time2Refuel ™

How are we supposed to get things right anyway?  I always dreamed that I’d be the cool mom that my kids would love having me around and tell me everything.  I guess I thought we’d be best buds or something of the sort.  I’ve been realizing a lot about myself lately.  For instance, that I pride myself on being so nice, patient and a great listener however, recent events have proven otherwise.

I found that when my daughter speaks I quickly give an opinion even before considering her state of mind on the issue.  In my head I was just trying to be helpful, but all she heard was predetermined judgment.

Wow! I don’t even recognize myself sometimes, this isn’t who I thought I’d be.  This isn’t who I want to be. I need to work on my listening skills.

Moving on to my son…here’s where my patience comes into play or does it?

Grades aren’t exactly a priority for him, never really have been. However, I have explained on more than one occasion that he needs to try his best.  He always responds with an “I’m sorry and I’ll try harder”.  After the 3rd or 4th time I pretty much lose it.

Patience goes flying right out the proverbial window and I can see him shutting down.  Where’s that together mom that I was supposed to be?  I could sure use her right about now.  Instead I’m left to deal with this half crazed lunatic spouting off how disappointed and frustrated she is.

You know, when my son is acting out or being disrespectful and we sit down to have our devotional, on many occasions the topic has been on point to what he’s been doing or going through.  I always manage to point out to him that perhaps God is trying to tell him something.

But lately it’s me that God is targeting.

From God's lips...

I sat down to my morning devotional in the stillness of my darkened living room to find that God had words, a message, for me.   It spoke of a healthy, loving environment where your kids can feel safe even in failure.

A question was posed about whether or not your child’s mistakes were a doorway to your anger or seen as an opportunity to model God’s love to help them grow and learn something new.

Whoa!  Right there I realized that I had lost perspective, I was broken.

At first I was sad, sad for the mom I wanted to be but am not. Sad that I lost my way.

Then I prayed and was grateful that He showed me not only what I was doing wrong, but guided me to where I needed to be.  That’s not to say that I miraculously changed, but I find myself thinking and praying more before I speak or act.

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me but with God all things are possible, even for the broken.

I trust that He will guide me every step of the way, that I might show my kids the love of God that drives out fear.

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  1 John 4:18

I’d love to hear your thoughts on parenting. How do you keep a handle on it?  Share what works for you…I can use all the help I can get.  

#Time2Refuel

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In God We Trust

It was just like every other morning.  Wake up early to start the day and trudge through all the “stuff”.  Going through the motions just to get to the end of another day.  Bus stops, school work, homework and study for tests in between.  Taxi back and forth, home to school, school to home with sports or church in between.  There never seems to be any down time.  No time to reflect or just be a family.  That’s a wake-up call letting me know that something needs to be done.  Life is not given to us to merely trudge through wasting our few precious moments together complaining about how bad it all is.  I choose to forego the complaining about what’s wrong and make changes even small ones that will help improve the quality of how we live–of how we are a family.

So…I made a clear statement to my kids.  “When we’re tempted to complain about something no matter how big or small let’s not.  Instead let’s think about a positive”.  As the words left my mouth I have to admit that I was doubting if I could even keep myself in check.  That’s easier said than done but when you pinky promise you have to follow through, at very least make an attempt.  The first day was great we helped one another by holding each other accountable to keeping our promise.  The second day wasn’t as easy.  Complaints seemed to trickle in and were quickly excused away.  That’s when I realized that we were focusing too much on our will and not at all on God’s.

New pinky promise…in everything we do, do it to please the Lord not by our strength but rather through what He alone can provide.

 

Psalm 37:5

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will.

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Choices…


Did you know He was there?

Waiting and watching

As you wondered how you’d fare

Time is racing

CeliArt © 2014
He Waits

Dreams you’re chasing

Figuring you’ll always have tomorrow to give in

What if there are no more tomorrows?

What if today is all there is?

What if your dreams have all turned sour?

Making your “now” a bitter thing.

It doesn’t need to be that way

The great thing is that we have free choice…a say

What will you choose?

How will you grow?

While life keeps on racing

As you want to go slow

Things should be simple

Life should be fair

You think in your head

As your heart feels despair

But there’s no time to wallow

No time for shame

Know that our God

Has no time for blame

God is the author of time, truth and space

He forever forgives

As you seek out His grace

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 

Ephesians 2:8

Fair doesn’t live here, but Christ does…

Sheila Walsh

 

#Time2Refuel

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The Word In My Heart

CeliArt

This is a sketch of a picture I took a few years back.
It’s my absolute favorite! I could stare at my kids all day long.

In recent weeks I’ve been listening to a series of parenting CD’s that are quite helpful in pointing out the things so easily overlooked when raising children. My kids are a miraculous gift and sometimes (a lot of times) I’ll feel ill-equipped to be all that they need. I started off listening and nodding. Lots of agreement on my part. Today it was about God’s word and how we need to teach our kids the scriptures that will one day be what they need in order to successfully handle life’s trials. That hit me square in the face. Not because I disagree but rather because I didn’t think of it that way. Raising kids can be scary when you think about the pressure. Questions arise…am I messing up my kids? Do I do too much for them? Will they be responsible adults? When is my helping them a disservice? I drove myself crazy thinking “I better start looking up verses that deal with struggles and start the training program”. I had to stop and remind myself that this will be a process and I just need to…breathe.

What are some ways that you teach your kids scripture? I’d love some input as to how God’s word is incorporated and engraved into the minds and hearts of your little ones.

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.  

Psalm 119:11

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Regardless of our methods for teaching our kids, impressing God’s word is what’s most important in order for them to move through whatever struggles life might bring them…trusting that there will be brighter days.

I pray that your day be filled with blessings and that you face each new encounter armed with God’s truth and love.

#Time2Refuel

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It Really is Better to Give

He was the greatest gift of all.

He was the greatest gift of all.

Christmas time means different things to different people.  Shopping comes to mind.  People fighting over parking spots, not me I choose the hassle free world of online shopping but there is so much more to Christmas.

Of course I want my kids to open gifts and have that giddy feeling on Christmas morning and they will. However this year we’ve decided to change things up a bit. I want to make sure my kids understand that it’s important to show gratitude by sharing your blessings.  With that thought I proposed that they use their own money to buy something from the Samaritans Purse Gift Catalog. This way they would be giving a gift that would not only put a smile on someone’s face but actually improve their life and give them hope. They’ve always put together a Christmas shoe box each year so I wasn’t sure if they’d agree to doing more. At first I didn’t know if they’d be happy about it or complain but I was pleased to find that they actually loved the idea.  I was a proud mama.  So this will be the first year of a new tradition This year they plan on buying some baby chicks and maybe even a goat, they can’t seem to decide.  Either way I’m happy to see  them eagerly decide between them.

I’m sure you have your own Christmas traditions that you have each year.  How about adding a new one? Help give hope to those that have so little.  Share your blessings and Christ’s love for them in the process.

Help Raise a Village

 

Merry Christmas

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  

Isaiah 9:6

2

Must Have Done Something Right…

My baby girl enjoying God's beautiful scenery.

My baby girl enjoying God’s beautiful scenery.

You know…you always wonder if you’re doing right by your kids whether you’re being a good parent or if you’re messing them up.  This week I had such an “I’m so proud of you moment”.  My daughter is just starting high school and is naïve in many different ways but never ceases to surprise me.  Two weeks into school and she already has a boy wanting her phone number.  I felt caught off guard as I sat in the car listening to her recount the conversation between her and this “interested” boy.  My surprise was not so much that there was someone interested but rather how quickly it happened as well as how she handled it.  As any normal girl would be she was very flattered and giddy “so cute” but more than that she was very observant.  She noticed he was reading a book which had God’s name in the title.  She made a mental note of the books name and decided to look it up.  Once she found out that the book was disparaging faith in God she was disappointed.  The next day as he approached her again she made a point of out and out no holds barred asking him “are you a Christian”?  To which he answered…”nope, I’m an atheist”.  She proceeded to inform him that she does not date as of yet but would not date anyone that was not Christian however suggested that they could still be friends.  He seemed to respect that but followed up by asking her to the movies, you know, as friends. Wink, wink. 

I was so proud of how bold she was to be outright and courageous enough to state her truth.  I was beside myself with happiness.  I knew at that moment that she was going to handle herself great.  I thank God everyday for the wonderful relationship we have. I never grow weary of letting my kids know that they can tell me anything…”I will never laugh at you” I constantly repeat and encourage them to be truthful and open.  I feel so privileged to know that both my daughter and son trust and confide in me. Though my son is only 10 he will one day soon have lots more to say about girls.  Not too soon I hope!  They are both such beautiful children and I feel so blessed to see God growing them through the years.  As I type this I can’t help but smile and think that on this journey of being a parent it may not always be easy but the benefits definitely far out way the contrary.  My husband and I must have done something right along the way.

Go hug your kids people!  They are tiny little miracles that bless us each and every day. Guide and encourage them to speak of God’s truth so they may flourish and grow in His likeness.

 

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

10

You Lucky Dog

Yep!  That's my pup.  I get to look at this mug everyday, all day.   I'd call that pretty lucky.

Yep! That’s my pup. I get to look at this mug everyday, all day.
I’d call that pretty lucky.

We don’t always have much to offer.  Our lives are complicated and full of issues that we sometimes wish would just disappear.  But the truth is…difficulties are ever present with no signs of diminishing.   As hard as we may try to forget, our messes seem to follow.

The silver lining is that we don’t have to work it out perfectly. God wants to be close to us.  He alone is the author and creator of our story. He is the one that sees our messes and doesn’t run the other way. He chooses to enter our mess to bless and restore for the opportunity to start a brand new day.  Though broken He still wants us…our bodies, our praise and our prayers.

”My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Psalm 51:17  

 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” 

Ephesians 3: 20-21

Today I want to encourage you to stop focusing on what you’ve done in the past and start trusting God for your future.  He makes your issues His own. God is there when all else fails.  He is always there, ready, waiting for you to come to Him. 

You Lucky Dog!

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Going against the flow…

Fish symbol

Its tough raising kids in this day and age. You try so hard to hold on to their innocence for as long as possible but the world always weasels its way in. It’s inevitable but you need to work that much more diligently in preparing their hearts, souls and minds for those moments when they do have to face the ugliness of this world. They might feel like they don’t fit in because the norm is to “go with the flow” so they find themselves discouraged or maybe even lonely as they go against it. As parents we need to teach them how to view all circumstances through God’s word even if that means going against the flow.  “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

I homeschooled my kids for 8 years and in that time we grew closer with each day that passed.  They learned and experienced so many things having loads of fun along the way.  I mean who wouldn’t love learning about Marine Life at a Homeschool class in The Miami Seaquarium?

We were and are truly blessed. I don’t always feel like I’ve made the right choices when doubt creeps up on me and I find myself asking if I’m a good mom. I am considered by some to be a little “over the top” when it comes to protecting them from outside unnecessary garbage but I stand strong in trusting that God wants so much more for them that I refuse to let the outside noise influence me.

Through the years my kids developed a real love and respect for one another which is not always common amongst brothers and sisters.  At times when my son is hurting due to some sort of mistreatment I well up at the sight of my daughter coming to his aide to console and encourage him.  Those are the moments that I treasure.  The times that my daughter and I have “heart to hearts” and she tells me “Mommy, you’re the best and when I have kids I’m definitely homeschooling them”.  Those are the moments that I realize everything we’ve gone through is so worth it.  We may have ups and downs but what matters are the relationships in between and knowing that my kids are GREAT not because of me but rather because of the Blessings that God has surrounded us with.   Today I can honestly say that I made the right choices for them and I am so very grateful to have such tender hearted kids.

Today I want to encourage you to love on your kids.  Show them that you care.  If that means being overprotective then so be it.  Share God’s word and experience his blessings together. They will only be children for a short time…make it count.

kids on pier 3 crosses 2

My kids at Virginia Key. Keeping Christ at the center of it all.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”3 John 1:4