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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pressing On

February came and went filled with sickness, lambing and the starting up of a business.  I thought we would get back on track in March.  Hmmmmm, it is April 10th, and I find myself continuing to procrastinate.  I know I have fallen off the wagon, again.  It is time to humble myself, seek the Lord's help to get back on track and just start again!  I know I will suffer the consequences of not being consistent, but I also know His mercies are new every morning - great is His faithfulness!   Back to the beginning, start with the beds.  They are not being made.  I refuse to accept the fact it is too hard to maintain consistent expectations and just give up.  We are starting again....today!  Day 2 of our crazy snow/icy weather has reminded me that lack of responsibility and boredom lead to chaos, fighting and bickering!  I have one child that is too creative I hardly see her all day as she is busy creating and pretending and reading, etc.  But one child in particular has regular attacks on other members of the family and I think it is a result from his lack of feeling needed and the sense of responsibility.  We had a slumber party in the living room last night with a power outage we experienced.  So I am sitting here typing and watching my children sleep, no school again today.  We will have a family meeting again as they wake up to allow me to apologize for not being consistent, explain the importance of helping with jobs in the house and keeping their belongings in order and that we will once again begin with making our beds and taking care of some important things before we have breakfast. 

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:12-14

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meal Time

As we approach the last day of January tomorrow, I am remembering my plan to implement more responsibilities and goals for the new month.  While not perfect, most days they are getting their beds made, getting dressed and doing their Bible study before breakfast.  We seem to get a little slack on the weekends, and I have had weak days when I've allowed "one bowl of cereal, then you need to get dressed before you have more."  But I am happy to have gotten through a month of trying to make this a habit. 

We will plan on continuing what we have accomplished so far and I think the next area we are going to tackle is meal time.  We have established a plan for this in the past, but haven't stuck to it real well.  I think we will go back to the plan.  Each child has 2 main jobs for the week (table setter/clearer/meal prep helper/table washer/dish washer).  Three kids, two jobs each.  The 3 year old will get to be a helper to one of the older kids who will need to patiently train him.  We have a chart I made.  I am not good with the paper charts that have to be printed off.  They are great, I just forget to print them off and then they seem to fall down and I have all these papers - it just gets messy, and we quit.  So I have a large piece of cloth that I sewed cut pieces of laminating sheets.  I put the different job labels with pictures in the pockets.  Each kid has a certain colored clothes pin.  So whoever is the dishwasher for the week, will have that clothespin clipped to it.  Then there are little pockets sewn on the bottom to put the corresponding colored popsicle stick in.  The sticks are given out if they have done their job with a good attitude.  Sticks can be taken away for poor attitudes.  Each stick is worth 10 cents.  Once they have 10 sticks they tell me, and I write down on a pad of paper that they have earned a dollar.  This is just kept on paper until they have saved up for something and also appropriate amounts are given to savings and church.   I had troubles with allowance.  First of all getting money for not really doing much was hard for me, second of all I had a hard time always having it ready on pay day.  Now it just stays in the bank until they need to use it.  The plan was to make them save $10 before they were allowed to spend anything.  For some, that seemed like an impossible task.  We might give in and say $5.  That is still up for discussion with my husband.  Anyway, consistent meal time chores are starting Friday!  Back in business boys and girl :-)  This is so much easier said than done.  To break up peaceful play is so hard, but I need to stick to it consistently so they don't balk at me when I do ask them to help out!  Any prayers sent this way to help us become consistent in this would be greatly appreciated!  I am not entirely convinced that they need to be paid for these types of jobs.  I know I always hear kids should just know that this is part of being a family, to work and serve each other in this way.  I also want them to learn how to handle money, and to recognize that to get money requires work.  I don't know if I will ever come up with a perfect solution, but this is what we are currently doing.

Stay tuned, my next writing needs to be about the importance of work.  I've been reading about how so many problems with kids can be a result of them believing they are not needed.  They need to know that they were put on this earth serve and help others and that they are a needed member to the family.  This shouldn't be something we think they will just figure out someday.   Let's start today! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gummy Bears

I don't know if you've ever judged grocery carts, but I'll admit I do from time to time think to myself  "wow, that cart is full of junk!"  Well, I was walking around the store the other day afraid of grocery cart judgers!  As it was our turn to provide the Kindergarten class with snacks for the week, my cart was full of all kinds of fun things!   My grocery budget doesn't typically allow for too many prepackaged snacks, but this is what we were picking out today.  The thing that I really thought would make people wonder about me, is the 4 pound bag of Gummy Bears I had in my cart.  This was not for the Kindergarteners, but for us.  You see, I have found that sometimes it is just easier to get going in the morning when there is just a small little something you love waiting for you.  For me, I can get out of bed in the morning not only excited about the quietness of the morning, but because of warm, yummy coffee!  I decided to reward the kids with a couple of gummy bears when they complete their list of things to do, and then they get another one for saying the verse they are memorizing that week.  It is just a small little something to help reinforce good habits.  So while their teeth might decay, I pray their souls won't!

By the way, I promise not to judge your cart if I bump into you at the grocery store.   I am sure yours will be healthier than mine anyway!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Making Progress

After our first full week of implementing our plan of making beds, getting dressed and doing their Bible Study before they get breakfast I am happy to see that the two oldest have fallen into this pattern.  They have been doing a great job and I am very proud of them.  My daughter decided she does not like alarm clocks, but her brother is nice enough to wake her up after he wakes up.   I do have have a couple of children who are still struggling with this plan.  Well, one I've just decided to eliminate from this plan until he can just learn to go an entire breakfast without crying because of a wrong bowl color, wrong kind of breakfast, wrong chair available, wrong blanket positioning etc.  The other one really needs  to learn to follow along this plan.  I let him eat breakfast this morning before completing his tasks.  We did Bible study together while he ate.  He has some anger issues which are heightened when he is tired or hungry which is usually the combination he wakes up with.  He is also the one who randomly will wake up and make his bed beautifully and perfectly before this was even asked of him and come down as proud as can be.  So I am going to have a heart to heart with him this weekend and get him on board with the plan once again. 

Our other goal for this month was cleaning up after oneself.  This is still a struggle.  They are getting better, but I still often have to remind them.  I am going to work on more consistent consequences for things being left out.  So I hope we can continue to maintain and improve on these things in the coming weeks!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Grace

"8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

I can get into drill sergeant mode when we are trying to instill new habits.  Do my kids know that my love is unconditional?  Do they know I love them even when they leave the cereal bowl out, when clothes are left on the floor, when the bus honks and they still haven't brushed their teeth? The Lord loves me when I've neglected to clean my heart of the sin the keeps me in close fellowship with Him.  I need to pour out this same grace and love to them. " Lord, help me to train them with the same gentle, patient love you use to train me."

Need to work on:  Attitudes!
Improvements:  Daughter has been much more eager to clear her area!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Cereal Bowl

This is my own fault, I understand.  I am the one who has cleaned up the breakfast table after most have headed off to school.  But no more!  This is a new year!  My perfectly capable 9 year old can take a bowl of milk and dump it into a bucket (for whatever lucky animal it gets fed to outside :-) and place it in a dishwasher!  Well, she apparently is having a difficult time remembering to do this.  I told her a couple times this morning.  But there it was.  One bowl, 32 Rice Krispies that didn't get into her mouth and a few puddles of milk begging me to clean it up.  It took all my effort to leave it there.  She must learn to clean up after herself!  When we returned the maid had not been there to clean up after us (she's fired :-).  So, I told her it was her job.  A stinky bowl of milk and crusted on rice Krispies is far worse than if she had done it right away!  Baby steps....hopefully this sank in!  To her credit however, she got up, made her bed, did her Bible study without complaint for the 4th day in a row (not counting Saturday as we woke them early to take a long trip, letting the routine go for the day!)  She also organized one small area of her room today, yeah!  I am thinking I need to take some before and after pictures of that!

The Lord put something on my heart to write beyond cereal bowls, but I am going to have to wait until tomorrow to write that.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Parenting is not for the weak!

Well, this is the day I would have decided it was just too hard to be consistent with what I set out for this month.  For starters, my daughter had trouble falling asleep last night.  This morning I was tempted to let her keep sleeping a bit longer, and forgo her bed making.  But, I also remembered that moms are on duty no matter what kind of night they have had, she might as well learn that now!  My son wanted me to spoon feed him his Bible study answers this morning.  I made him find the answer himself with just a little help.  Then my biggest challenge came when a particular son came down in a horrible mood.  Grouchily declaring his hunger, pushing his Bible away, and breaking his pencil and then to top it all of he hit me after his chair had been taken by his brother!  Prayers were going up!  Thankfully, the Lord put his patience and calm over me.  After this son's discipline, and some more prayers he came back to the table and completed his Bible study (he can't read yet, so I do it with him).  As he got dressed, I prayed out loud for him with the other kids.  I ran up to check the beds, and my heart sank when I saw this same child's bed unmade.  Is is really worth it Lord?  Do I really have to follow through with this petty task?  Why is a made bed important anyway?  These were questions that were going through my head, but I knew I had to follow through.  "Who all made their beds this morning?" " Me", "Me", silence.  "Son, you can take one bite of your muffin then you need to go make it."  I hold my breath..... The Lord had softened him and he willingly went up and made it.  He was a beautiful calm child as he finished getting ready for school.  Thank you Lord!