A little goes a long way.

Many years ago, when I was a teenager, my mom and I were heading to shop at Walmart in my home town in Illinois. On the corner, before turning into the parking lot, there was a man standing there holding a sign that read, “Hungry, will work for food.” It was dark and cold and snowing like crazy. As my mom and I shopped, I thought about that man and asked my mom if it would be OK to pick up some food items to give to him. She agreed that would be a good idea and so we shopped the snack isle and picked up several things for the man outside. This was before Walmart was “Super” and all they had was peanut butter crackers, nuts, juice and stuff like that. We filled two sacks with snacks and drinks and before we left the parking lot that night, I hopped out of the car to hand the man the two bags. Much to my surprise, the man did not want the food! He said to me, “I don’t eat that kind of junk.” WHAT?!? I just stood there for a second, which seemed like eternity. I didn’t know what to do. Do I take the bags and get back into the car or do I leave them and run? I honestly can’t even remember what I did with those bags now. But what I do remember is how he treated my gift to him and that has kept me from ever dipping into my pocket to give to another beggar again. All these years later, I have been bitter toward beggars. I try not to be hateful and I DO feel very bad for them, but I often find myself thinking negative things toward them… I know, it’s not fair of me.

I have noticed lately around here that I can almost NEVER go to a gas station without getting approached by someone needing gas, money or food. I have turned several away, even if I do occasionally have the cash in my wallet. Sometimes I even ignore them all together without ever acknowledging they are trying to talk to me. A few weeks ago something miraculous happened to me. This time I acted no different… a man started coming for me as I was waiting for my gas to finish pumping. When I noticed him approaching me, I quickly hopped into the drivers seat of my van and mouthed, “I’m sorry.” He was a man about my age and it did scare me a little being by myself with the boys. I continued to watch him as he approached the next vehicle where a lady and, what looked like, her teenage son were pumping gas. What happened next would change my life forever… I sat there thinking I was going to see her reject him as well and was starting to feel bad for the guy when suddenly she pulls some money out of her pocket, counts out 5 bills (i don’t know how much it was) and gives it to the man. I was astonished! What did she do? Doesn’t she know that he will probably go buy beer with that? Or worse, drugs? But then, I couldn’t get it out of my head… how thankful he was, and how simple of an act it seemed but what an impact it made. Then I started to think about what Jesus would have us do and what it says in the bible.

For the next few weeks that incident played over and over in my mind. It wasn’t until yesterday, while getting gas with my oldest son, that I was approached again. This time it was an older, black lady. She was dressed decent but you could tell something was wrong upstairs. She was mumbling and talking to herself. She didn’t seem drunk or high, just off. Before she approached the van, I watched her for a minute as she approached others. One guy totally ignoring her, another telling her no, a lady in a car driving off really fast before she could get to her window. I knew we were next. As she walked up to Steven’s passenger side window, I said “Roll your window down, son.” He said, “No, mom. Just go.”  As I grabbed my wallet I said, “No, roll it down.” Before the lady could say I word, I handed Steven 3 dollar bills to give to her and she accepted it. She just stood there looking at the money and then looking at me and then looking at the money again. I was sitting there with the biggest smile my face could handle. She said as clear as day, “Thank you, ma’am.” And I said, “May God bless you. Have a wonderful day.” MAN!!!! That felt WONDERFUL!!! My heart was SO full! That was the most amazing experience I had had in a while. Every negative thought I had toward people begging was gone! I didn’t care what she did with the money… the “whole” $3.00. It didn’t matter. It was the principle, the point of it all, the Jesus in ME!!!!

Now, don’t get me wrong. We must use good judgement. I recommend asking the Lord to show you when to give and when not to. I also don’t think it’s wise to put yourself in crazy situations in order to hand someone a few bucks. But I do, now, believe that when the moment arises where you can love another human, you have some cash in your wallet and you feel God’s peace to give… by all means, DO SO!

 Let’s take a look at what God has to say about giving…

 Deuteronomy 15:10   Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

 Deuteronomy 16:17   Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the

LORD your God which He has given you.

Proverbs 21:26   …the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Proverbs 22:9   He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

Proverbs 28:27    He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Luke 6:30   Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.

Luke 6:38   Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

James 2:15-16   If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

God is faithful to His word and keeps His promises. Not only am I blessed with an amazing JOY by giving to the poor but He says He will bless me monetarily as well. AWESOME! I finally get what it’s all about, and it’s not just about my church or my friends or my family. It’s about ALL of His children. Even the beggars. Thank you, Lord.

Have a great day today, friends. Bless someone today. 🙂

Kim

Also, visit me at:

Our Grease Monkeys

Braving the Bogeyman!

  

Bed time. It can be quite a challenge with little ones. We’ve got one in our bed, one that sleep walks and one that thinks he’s old enough to stay up late on school nights, despite what we say. But every night, I get excited when it’s “that time”. The bathed and clean little boys with freshly brushed teeth, all snug in their beds, makes a mom’s heart happy. And I know soon there will be silence across the whole house. The peace, the quiet…and then you hear the tiny voice chirping, “I’m scared!”

 Over the years I’ve checked for monsters under the bed, dinosaurs in the closet, aliens outside the window and Ninjas behind every corner. Even my best detective skills have never turned up anything more than a couple dust bunnies or a missing sock. But that doesn’t always convince my boys.

 Fears aren’t limited to nighttime, though—many kids are afraid of everything from swimming pools (what if there’s a shark?!?) to thunderstorms (what if the lightening gets me?!?) to spiders (can you blame him?). Some fears may be more legitimate than others, but all are very real to your child, whether they’re two or twelve.

 If there’s a fierce imaginary dragon (or giant, or superhero villain) plaguing your house, don’t worry. Here are some strategies we’ve learned to help our kids brave even the biggest bogeyman.

  Validate the feelings, but not the creepies. Childhood fears are very normal, and it’s important to be respectful of your child’s feelings. Going overboard, though, by checking in every drawer for monsters or calling the swimming pool to ask if any sharks have been sighted, will only backfire by spinning the qualm out of proportion. Avoid playing into the anxiety by briefly empathizing, then telling her you have confidence she can overcome it. Then, help her do so with the next tip.

 Conquer the fear. Whether your child has had a frightful experience with a neighbor’s dog or can’t stomach escalators, he can conquer it with a little guidance from you. First, in a calm moment, ask him for his ideas. Say, “I’ve noticed that dogs make you nervous—can you think of some things that would help you get used to them?” Maybe he’s okay with dogs in kennels or on leashes, or maybe little dogs aren’t as scary. Start with your child’s suggestions, and gradually work your way up until he’s confronting his fear—and getting over it. Recognize that especially if he’s had a bad experience in the past, this could take some time, but his new found confidence will pay off.  

 Say “boo” to ghost stories. While you or your older kids might enjoy spooky stories and shows, they might be keeping your four-year-old up at night. (or 8 and 12, like mine.) And while children may think they can handle creepy characters, sometimes their vivid imaginations get the better of them when the lights are off. Know what your kids are reading and watching—even cartoons can have scary parts that are best avoided until the children are older and better able to differentiate fact from fiction. Set appropriate limits, and when you feel like your child can handle a bit more, take it slowly and talk about what’s real and what’s not.

 http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/

 Pray with your kiddos. Teaching our kids to give their fears to the Lord helps them now and teaches them to form that same habit in the future. Explain that God is in control. That it says in the Bible that He will never leave you or forsake you. That even now, when it is dark and scary, He is right here, protecting you.

 A few years ago, my then 6 year old, Benjamin, came to me one morning and said, “I had a really bad dream last night.” I said, “Oh no, buddy. Why didn’t you come and wake me up?” And he said, “Because I prayed Jesus would take my scaredness away, and He did!” I wanted to start jumping up and down with joy!!! There is NOTHING like the moment you see your child rely on God alone and get what he prayed for! Hallelujah!

 

 Happy parenting and have a very blessed weekend, friends!!!

Kim

Also, visit me at:

Our Grease Monkeys

Connecting through God.

 

Before I ever dated my husband or even gave dating him a thought, I knew he loved the Lord. In growing closer to him as friends, I began to see his heart and him mine. While engaged, we prayed together, did devotionals together and went to church together. In my mind, it would always be that way. But as most of you know, that can easily get away from you. Although, I was still spending time alone with God, (and so was he) we could never find the time or would make the time to seek God together. My hubby was gone all of the time with work and tired when he got home. Then Cooper came along and there was a baby in the home on top of the other 3 boys and all of their stuff. Homework and baseball, Steven’s football games and then wrestling meets, driving Steven back and forth to go to school at St. Thomas in Houston each day (1.5 hr round trip in rush hour traffic), yard work, laundry that seemed endless, dinner and dishes and on and on… by the time the two of us had time to sit down, it seemed the only time we spent together was zoned out on the TV. Sound familiar?

 

One thing that stood out the most, though, is when we didn’t put God first in OUR relationship with each other, trouble would come our way. We would argue more, not be intimate as much or not at all, our finances were burdened, we weren’t on the same page with parenting the kids… it was just more chaos.

If you and your hubby find yourselves not as connected with each other and maybe aren’t spending time in the Lord, here’s some things I know work for us and I want to share them with you:

 

 

1. Pray together.

Pray about your marriage, pray about your children, pray about your finances, pray about any decisions you make together. One thing I love about my husband is that he never makes the decision to buy something on a whim. He insists we go home and “sleep” on it. Well often times we go home (especially if it’s a big purchase) and pray on it. Even if it’s in the bathroom after we brush our teeth, getting ready for bed. He stops me or I stop him, “Hey, let’s do this now while we have a minute.”

 

2. Read the Bible/Do Devotions together.

There are TONS of books, workbooks, devotionals out there to work on and read with your spouse. It was hard for us to even decide where to start. Ask your pastor or a friend who may have a book to lend or can recommend a good devotional. You can even find things to read and print from the internet. Make sure your information is coming from a good source but I have found wonderful pieces of marriage/devotional material from the internet.

 

3. Go to church together.

Not just going to church together, but agreeing on a church together. It is so important to both be pleased with the place God will have you worship and serve. You are a team and God will be able to use you even more if you both agree on the church you attend.

 

4. Serve in a ministry together.

Find a ministry at your church that you can do together. It doesn’t have to be the nursery… there are literally 100’s of things you can do to serve and minister in your church. Serving together = growing together.

 

5. Pray for each other.

I know we already talked about praying together, but what about praying for each other separately? Your husband needs your prayers all day long, and it is our jobs as wives to keep him in prayer during the day. I’m not talking about being on your knees 24/7, but lifting him up in prayer as you think about him or talk to him during the day. Stormie Omartian’s “Power of a Praying Wife” is a great place to start! (to grab this book CLICK HERE!)

  

6. Put each other first.

What better way to put Christ first in your marriage then by following his example of being selfless? Sometimes it’s hard to put our husbands first because we want what we want. But if we love him, then we will want to do the right thing, we will want to think of him before ourselves. If we make it a practice to put our husbands first before ourselves each day, I believe that we will have a better marriage because of it. It also sets a great tone for the marriage and before you know it, your hubby will be following suit.

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

 

Praying today that you are blessed in your relationship!!

 Have a wonderful day!!!

Kim

 Also, visit me at:

Our Grease Monkeys

 

 

1-2-3… Not as magical as they claim.

123magicWhen I was a first time Mom and very young, I tried my best to be the best mom I could be. But let’s face it, a lot about being a parent is trial and error. I was having a VERY hard time controlling my very active and rebellious 3 year old at the time (Steven) and was offered to attend a class called “1, 2, 3 Magic”. Being the teachable mom that I was (and willing to do anything at this point), I agreed to go. I learned a lot in that class. I took a lot of notes and felt great when I left. I think the thing that helped me the most was seeing LOTS of other moms and dads in there going through the same thing I was. All in all, the class information was good and helped me with my follow-through of consequence once I got to 3 but I realized over the years that the “1, 2, 3” was giving my child time to ignore me. I would give an instruction or direction and suddenly I couldn’t say ANYTHING without reverting back to the “1, 2, 3”. Over the years, I have changed it up a bit… now I count down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” when I want my kids to hurry to do something or come to me, which has helped their feet move faster… mostly for fun. But my old tactic, “1, 2, 3 Magic”, has since retired. And here’s why… 

 The problem with 1-2-3 is, it really doesn’t work long-term—instead, it teaches kids to do the opposite of what we want them to learn. Think about it: counting to three teaches kids that they really don’t have to listen the first time.  They learn that they’ll have several more opportunities before they have to respond. Here’s what’s going through their minds:

  • “Okay, I’m good here for a while. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
  • “This is a drag. I know she’s going to start counting soon, but I know I don’t have to do anything quite yet. I’ve got time.”
  • “Oh brother – she’s up to 2 ½. I guess I’m going to have to get moving right before she gets to 3.”

The fact of the matter is, by counting 1-2-3, you’re actually giving them up to 5 or 6 chances to ignore you before they have to respond.  You probably asked them once or twice before you started counting.  Add a “two and a half” and a “two and three-quarters” and you’re up to 6-7 chances before your children respond. You’ve effectively taught them to ignore you, and it’s a tough habit for them to break.

Parents often turn to counting because they mistakenly assume that kids need the “1-2-3” to re-group or refocus their attention.   However, as you consider the effectiveness of “1-2-3,” consider the following:

Will a teacher ask multiple times before a student agrees to do what is asked?  Can an employee wait until the supervisor asks several times before turning in the assignment?  Not if he wants to keep his job. Your child won’t get that many chances with adults outside the home, so it’s detrimental to give him so many chances inside the home.

And what about your response?

During the slow, drawn-out counting process, is your blood pressure going up? What will you do if your child doesn’t respond when you get to 3? Repeat yourself again, this time with an “I’m serious now!” qualifier?

What To Do Instead

When you’d like to request something of your child—whether to pick up his toys or stop splashing in the bath—get down on his level (physically), make eye contact and state the desired behavior in your calm but firm voice, including the consequence if he ignores your request. The calm voice is important to avoid escalating a power struggle.

For example, say, “Jason, please put your toys away now or I will put them away and you will lose the privilege of playing with those toys for the rest of the day/week.” (Adjust the time frame depending on the age of your child.) That gives Jason one chance. If he chooses to comply, then everyone’s happy. If not, calmly and without words, pick up the toys and put them in the closet for the day/week.

As you follow through, your child is likely to pitch quite a fit. As long as no one is in danger, let him. There’s no need to lecture or get angry; just go about your business.

His tantrum will pass and he will learn a valuable lesson that when you say something, you mean it. Remember, parenting is about teaching and training.

If the tantrum causes you to reverse your decision, Jason wins and the scenario will be repeated again tomorrow.  Your child may “test” you a few times, but will quickly learn that when you say something, you mean it!

Soon, your child will be listening better, and better prepared for the future as well.

(www.positiveparentingsolutions.com)

 I few things that work for me:      Making-eye-contact

 Always make eye contact!

 Also, I have learned to use these three questions when approaching one of my boys when I find they aren’t doing what they are told…. (very calmly and with that “look” in my eye)

1. what are you doing? (wait for a response… and “I don’t know” isn’t an answer.)

2. what are you supposed to be doing?

3. when do you plan to start doing that?

 This amazingly seems to work almost without fail. (Another tip from our wonderful counselor) Sometimes I have to give a warning and then REALLY stick to the consequence when one doesn’t obey but this usually nips the behavior in the bud before it gets that far with, my 8 and 12 year old.

And one more tip, I had to learn this one the hard way… if you think your child or children are not doing what they should, GO TO THEM. I had such a hard time with this. I would be downstairs (cooking, keeping an eye on the baby, telephone ringing) yelling upstairs “boys, I hear you messing around up there…. 1…. 2….. 2 1/2…….. BOYS!” I decided to change things up and stop all the yelling one day. I started just walking up the stairs, or going into the other room, or walking out into the back yard and seeing for myself and confronting the situation right then and there when something was going on. Ah Ha! Things began to change between the boys and I… they realized they couldn’t get away with as much. 🙂

I pray this encourages some really great parents (and grandparents) today and you can learn a little from my experiences!

If you ever need prayer or have questions, please contact me. I would love, love, love to help in any way possible! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today!

Kim

Also, visit me at:

Our Grease Monkeys

Time-outs, not just for Toddlers.

 Being a Mom of 4 boys, I have given my share of “time outs“. My boys range from 2 1/2 to 20 and what I have realized over the years is, you are NEVER too big for a time out! Most of the time we think about “time outs” as a consequence for a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. But, what if you were a parent or teenager and every time a conversation got heated, or off track or even our of control, we called a “time-out”? Like a football or baseball game time-out. Whoever is involved, honors the others call for a time-out, and takes a break for a few minutes or even a few hours and  comes back later in the game with a new outlook.

 

 This is an awesome strategy we have learned from our friend and counselor, Jacquie. She reminds us that even as married adults, this works very well in conflicting situations or discussions.

God says in Ephesians 4:26 (and I love the New Living Translation),

26 “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Taking a simple “Hey, let’s take a break and come back to this later” will not hurt you, it will only help. And it will make your conversation be much more productive. This has worked wonders with our teenager who is now 20. We still often (more times than I’d like admit) use this strategy with him to help both my husband and me not go “crazy” on him. 🙂 He respects us more and we don’t say anything we will regret later.

Of course, our two-year old still gets the traditional, “nose to the wall” time-out, from time to time. And honestly, even our 8-year-old occasionally receives this consequence when necessary. But for the rest of us in the family, we freely give ourselves a good time-out when needed and it always does us good. 

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a blessed weekend!

Kim

Also, visit me at:

Our Grease Monkeys

About Kim

As you can see… I am blessed beyond my biggest dreams! I am the ONLY girl in the house (besides our sweet dog, Princess) and my boys are my WHOLE world!

There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do for this group of wonderful young men! And my every day revolves around them…

You can call me Taxi Mom (mini van and all), Team Mom, Room Mom, Chef (or so I like to think), Housekeeper, Shopper, Tutor, Bookkeeper, Nursery Room Keeper (former Children‘s Pastor), Prayer Warrior, Doctor Mom, and Organization Coach.

My oldest, Steven is a Freshman in college at Univerisity of Houston. He will be 20 very soon and I don’t even want to go there…. LOL!

Dawson is 12 and in his 1st year of Jr High. He is very musically inclined, plays the French Horn and LOVES playing baseball (Go Braves!!!).

Benjamin is 8. He is witty and funny and ALWAYS on the move! Always. He loves collecting rocks, trinkets, jewels and coins. The dryer and I find them daily. Cooper is 2 1/2… my last baby… (sigh) He is FULL of energy and words. He talks better than most 5 year olds and can hold a conversation with the best of them.

As you can tell, I’m VERY proud of all my boys.

My husband, Doug, aka Booker, is my EVERYTHING! He is my rock, my prayer partner and my best friend.

No one ever said it would be easy but we are committed to NEVER give up… and that’s what I love about him most.

He is right here beside me, sharing life and fighting through the tough times with me. It goes without saying… there are a whole lot of AWESOME times too!!!

Wouldn’t want to share it with any body else!

 

About Kim

As you can see… I am blessed beyond my biggest dreams! I am the ONLY girl in the house (besides our sweet dog, Princess) and my boys are my WHOLE world!

There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do for this group of wonderful young men! And my every day revolves around them…

You can call me Taxi Mom (mini van and all), Team Mom, Room Mom, Chef (or so I like to think), Housekeeper, Shopper, Tutor, Bookkeeper, Nursery Room Keeper (former Children‘s Pastor), Prayer Warrior, Doctor Mom, and Organization Coach.

My oldest, Steven is a Freshman in college at Univerisity of Houston. He will be 20 very soon and I don’t even want to go there…. LOL!

Dawson is 12 and in his 1st year of Jr High. He is very musically inclined, plays the French Horn and LOVES playing baseball (Go Braves!!!).

Benjamin is 8. He is witty and funny and ALWAYS on the move! Always. He loves collecting rocks, trinkets, jewels and coins. The dryer and I find them daily. Cooper is 2 1/2… my last baby… (sigh) He is FULL of energy and words. He talks better than most 5 year olds and can hold a conversation with the best of them.

As you can tell, I’m VERY proud of all my boys.

My husband, Doug, aka Booker, is my EVERYTHING! He is my rock, my prayer partner and my best friend.

No one ever said it would be easy but we are committed to NEVER give up… and that’s what I love about him most.

He is right here beside me, sharing life and fighting through the tough times with me. It goes without saying… there are a whole lot of AWESOME times too!!!

Wouldn’t want to share it with any body else!