The {Gift} of Time…

The sound of the clock ticking.

The sight of the clock moving. 
The swirl of thoughts worrying.
…about Time.
If time is your enemy, it will hurt like a bad break up.
Time moves on without asking.
Time gives no regard to your emotions, thoughts, opinions.
Time goes where it’s headed next, with or without, you.
Time functions outside of any ones control. 
You can follow time, but if time is your enemy, it will break your heart over and over again.
Time can be the enemy of our souls. 
Or…
Time can be a {gift} to be treasured, invested, and spent wisely.

Every person is given the gift of 24 hours a day… 
We can choose to {enjoy}, or loathe, the hours we are given.
Winter has settled upon Ohio… 
Snow has fallen ~ slowing everyone down, causing school delays, late to work statuses, and road closures.
In the middle of our winter snow and our holiday hustle and bustle, we have been forced to reckon with life slowing down and time speeding onward... moving ahead, time never looks back. 
Time lost is a reality, stranding some in a pattern of regret and pining. 
Time lost will never be regained. 
Use your {gift of time} beautifully, wisely, wholeheartedly
In winters past, I have struggled with the snow. 
Stranded in my own home, snow days meant I’d lost my freedom. 
I am grateful now to love the snow… to see its beauty, its wonder, its possibilities… 
I know how to use the snow shovel and get myself out of our long steep icy driveway…
I know how to appreciate the time at home, content with simply being at home...
This winter, we have enjoyed time together making memories going sledding.
This takes effort. 
Putting everything else pressing aside, for those precious moments with our kids… 
In the time we spend sledding, nothing else matters, only wholeheartedly enjoying our family time. 
We look not at our watches, phones or to do lists… 
As soon as the snow flakes begin to fall ~ 
We anticipate… the adventure of sledding… the hills, the thrills, the hikes up and down, our boots trekking thru the snow, the laughter, the fun.
We fly… down a simple hill… full of belly laughs, snow flakes in our faces, spins, twists, turns and twirls on a simple $10 sled. 
We breathe… inhaling the cold winter air… the space, the moments, the memories created. 
Time is to be stewarded and used wisely ~ housework, job work, school work beckon… but they will never end. 
Effort is necessary for anything we spend our gift of time on… 
This time spent enjoying each other is irreplaceable, the value is priceless, and worth every. single. minute. 
Time has to be received as the {gift} it is meant to be, or it will be taken for granted. 
***
How are you using your gift of time? 

Thank you for reading, sharing and following 🙂 In Him, Leslie 

Halloween

Boo. 

It’s that time of year for costumes, candy corn and creepers to come out of the closet.  

Orange lights are blazing and fake spiders are spinning webs all over my neighborhood while kids everywhere are gearing up for the night of their lives, dressing up and skipping from door to door asking their stranger neighbors for candy which will eventually lead to the demise of their teeth.
aaaand…It’s that time of year for some of us to debate about whether or not we will allow our kids to trick-or-treat gather and hoard loads of candy they receive from the stranger neighbors.

In years past our family has celebrated 10-31 as just another day where we hibernate making our home into a cave from the hours of 6-8pm. We close all the doors, turn off all our lights, lay on the floor and tell our kids not to make a peep. So no one will know we are home.

Low and behold, we would still get knocks on our front door. Our neighbors weren’t fooled. The darkness and silence didn’t stop them from knocking on the door. Still, we ignored them.

We have also avoided the neighborhood trick-or-treat dilemma by truly leaving the house and attending a harvest party or trunk-or-treat at our church.

This year our family is doing something different. We are hosting a party in our garage and decorating with a carnival atmosphere. We are dressing up, passing out candy and popcorn. We hope to engage with our neighbors beyond the ring of the doorbell, opening the creaky door, hearing trick-or-treat and flashing them a smile while throwing candy in their bag. We hope to see our neighbors hidden under costumes, masks and makeup. We hope to invite our neighbors into our lives and begin to know them beyond the facade of fun.

Hmmm… but our family doesn’t even like Halloween. Our kids don’t even care about costumes (well, sometimes they dress up), or candy (well, sometimes they eat it), or creepers (well, never). We don’t even consider 10-31 a holiday. It’ll be just another manic Thursday… oooh wee oh.  (You’ll get that reference later)

So. You might love Halloween, you might hate Halloween, or you might fall somewhere in between. I don’t care. 
What I do care about is considering the craze of Halloween. 
This year, consider…

Consider the candy. 
Can we pass out healthy candy? Well, no. It doesn’t exist. But don’t freak out about what your passing out. And consider what your kids are receiving. Our kids know their candy limits. We usually throw most of it away by Thanksgiving. What a waste. Consider the waste and limit the intake.

Consider the costumes.
Seriously, consider the costumes. Their cost. Their effort. Their energy. Most people have already planned or purchased their costumes by now… but if not, consider recycling something you already have. Consider a costume swap. Consider what you allow your kids to dress up as. Are they appropriate costumes? Okay, I’d better stop there or I’ll be labeled as (gasp) judgmental (if I haven’t already).

Consider your convictions.
10-31 is just another day for some. They give it no more thought past buying the costumes and the candy. For others, it is greatly debated whether or not they will be involved a little, a lot, or at all. At what level are you celebrating Halloween? Consider what it means to celebrate this day. You can google the meaning behind the roots of this particular day and the celebrations of its origins. Consider your convictions. Don’t do something or buy candy and dress your kids up, just because everyone else is doing it. Maybe you need a night to shut off the lights, and lay silent on your living room floor.  Maybe you love spending your money on costumes and candy.  Maybe your family is being called to take a greater part in your community beggars night.

Consider the craze.
There is a craze in anticipation of 10-31, with sales close to the shopping craze of Christmas. Nothing is worth stressing over. Especially this day of the week we call Thursday. So Consider… 
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colosisans 3:17 

In Him, Leslie

What are your plans on 10-31?

 

Strict Parents

yes.

we are those parents.
the ones who won’t allow their children to watch certain movies. even some cartoon movies
the ones who won’t allow their children to play by themselves in the front yard. (sorry. don’t even trust the ice cream truck).
the ones who won’t allow them to have dessert until after they eat their vegetables. every. single. day. (thankfully they actually like vegetables…and dessert).
the ones who won’t allow them to go into public restrooms by themselves. no way.
the ones who won’t allow their bedroom doors to be closed. especially when friends are over.
the ones who won’t allow them to have their own cell phone. or computer. or television.
the ones who won’t allow them to have an intagram, facebook or any other social media account. until they are (at least) 30 years old. 
the ones who won’t allow their children to have sleep overs. (with the exception of very rare occasions)
we are those parents. 
the hyper parents. 
the over-protective parents.
the controlling parents.
the boundary setting parents.
the strict parents. 
yes. we are. 

most of the time, we feel like our family is out of this world, like we don’t belong here. [and we don’t]. 
we don’t live under a rock. or wear amish clothing. 
call us old fashion.
call us weird and different.
we are living opposite of mainstream culture. and glad to be.
when i was in the 5th grade, my parents allowed me to have a sleep over [after i begged them]. a small group of my girlfriends came over and the fun began. later, we went into my room and closed the door. unbeknownst to me, a few of the girls had invited over a few boys (one of them was my neighbor) to my house. my bedroom was at the front of our house with two slender windows. the next thing i know, they are in my front yard, tapping on my window, sneaking into my bedroom, thru the window. it happened so fast, i didn’t know what to do. i was internally panicked. i felt uncomfortable, but didn’t have the guts to kick them out. 
thankfully, my mom did. 
she knew. she came to my door and knocked, “Leslie, I’ve made some popcorn. Come and help me with it.” 
whew. she came to my rescue. 
she came in the way of grace, compassion and care. 
she knew.
she knew i was uncomfortable with the boys being there. 
she knew it was not my idea. 
she trusted me enough to know it would never happen again.
she took me out of my room so i would not be embarrassed when she confronted me about the boys being there. 
she then cleared them out and made them go home. 
she bore the weight of the whining and complaining from the girls whom (i thought) were my friends.
freedom was not my being allowed to have a sleep over with boys sneaking in my room and us girls being able to do whatever we wanted. 
in one bold move, my mom showed me what rescue and true freedom look like. 

so yes. 
we are the parents who won’t allow our children to have or attend sleep overs. (with very rare exceptions).
we gladly rock the label of strict parents. 
we know our kids. we communicate constantly. we answer their endless ‘why’ questions… to help them understand the fullness of our decisions. we are protecting our family and our home. kids need boundaries. our kids are not being denied freedom. they are freely living under grace-filled guidelines. deep levels of trust, honor and respect are being built between us.  
even as adults, we need a rescuer. we need a protector. we need JESUS. and we need to be parents who will protect and set boundaries. no one else will be that for our children. in HIM, rescue, boundaries and protection will bring true freedom. a freedom that comes from death and brings forth a life we can truly, freely live.   
In Him, Leslie
*It’s your ball – What are your thoughts on strict parenting? Please share… 

Dear Mom of {out of control} Children,

Dear Mom of {out of control) Children,

I see you…
I see your whole life.
I see you are a hot mess.
I see your clenched fists and heavy shoulders.
I see you shrug those heavy shoulders and nearly give up.
I see you holding back salty tears.
I see the dam holding in your pain, cracked, ready to break open.
I see the weariness you walk in.
I see your anger rising.
I see your weaknesses on display…
I see your temper flaring…
I see you losing your patience… again. 
I see your hope diminishing.
Things will never. get. better. 
Regret fills your mind.

I hear you… 
yelling
screaming
gritting your teeth
disciplining thru a tense jaw
I hear your heavy hearted sigh.

Questions loom… 
‘What should I do differently?’
‘How many times should I yell, spank, ground, them, take things away, put them in time out?’
‘Why am I such a terrible mom?’

I hear you crying out…
to Me.

I know you… 
I know you can’t control your {out of control} children.
You can discipline.
You can rebuke.
You can admonish.
You can extend love, care, grace and mercy.
but you can’t control. 


They can be influenced, persuaded, modeled, inspired and prayed for…



but they can not be controlled.


I know your children…
They are 10, 8 and 6 year old little individuals.
They have their own personalities, quirks, ideas and opinions already fully embedded in their small frames and young minds.
We are all born with a rebellious nature. 
Your children can’t be controlled anymore than Cain could before he killed his brother Abel.
Can you imaging the motherly sorrow of Eve?
Before Joseph’s brothers threw him in the well.
Can you imagine Jacob’s grief, as he believed his beloved son was dead?
Before Miriam sent her baby brother Moses down the river in a basket.
Can you imagine the anguish Moses’ mother endured, hiding her son for three months, and then letting him go down the river?

Trust Me…
Trust My plan for your children.
Trust their design is no mistake.
They were never meant to be robots.
They are fully human and born into rebellion.
Their defiance is designed to put your reliance back on Me. 
Trust in Me for your parenting…
Trust in Me for your children…
I designed them the way they are.

Concern yourself only with what I think of you… 
And don’t worry what outsiders think, say or do in response to your {out of control} children.
They don’t know you like I do.
They don’t know you’ve only been walking with Me for a short while.
They don’t know your past.
They don’t know your life situation.
They don’t know your daily circumstances.
They don’t know what it means to ‘walk in your shoes’.
They don’t know how hard you’ve been trying… and now you are tired, worn out, ready to give up…
They don’t know that at the end of the day, you put your hands up, give up… and surrender all your worries, cares and concerns back on Me.

Keep your focus on Me… 
Keep your eyes fixed on Me.
Keep your ears tuned to My voice.
Keep your head high and look up.
Keep your hands out to surrender control.

Trust Me to be your parenting guide.
I will lead you and your children.

Love, Your heavenly Father ~ God

weeping may endure, but joy comes in the mourning.

A familiar visitor came to my house…
I was faced with feelings I didn’t want to have.
The desire to turn numb, to stop caring, to give up…
Silently those feelings crept into my heart.
Discouraged, depressed, disgusted…
Everything turned ugly. 
Anger and irritation toward Adam and the children took the helm of my attitude.
Words exchanged between Adam and I, clanged in my ears…
My children’s inquisitive nature became an annoyance…
Their crafts on the table infuriated me.

Their messy faces from playing in the dirt outside overwhelmed me. 
Their petty fights sounded like a world war. 

My mind raced with angry thoughts and questions…
<>

I was overwhelmed, overtaken, overcome by the ugliness I perceived as reality.
Depression had come to my door, let itself in, and settled down for a visit. In my kitchen.
NO!
I had to tell it to “Get the hell out!”
I recognized the familiar symptoms of pain and despair early on.
As those feelings clung onto me with their last effort, I took a moment to call out the depression for what it was, and began healing.

I went on a walk, and waves of weeping came.
A while later, I went downstairs to lift weights and I wept more. while I was trying to lift weights.
I was on my face.
I could not stop weeping… and I did not want to.
The Holy Spirit began to overwhelm, overtake and overcome me.
As the depression tried clinging to my spirit with one last effort, the weeping washed it away.
As the tears ran down my face, I could see more clearly.
I began to see Truth.

It could have been much worse.
I have been there before.
When despair and anger take up a chair at my kitchen table and stay a while longer. 
When the feelings become my reality for longer than a few moments.
When the whole day is spent crying and frustrated.
When the floor of my car is covered in kleenex at my feet, and I blow my nose so much, my nose ring falls out. 
Those times are hard. They are really tough.
And I’ve been there.
But I don’t have to stay there. And neither do you.

One thing I have asked of the Lord is to see. 
To see things like He does.
To see people like He does.
Including myself.
He loves me so much.
He loves this world so much.
He is breaking my heart for the people He loves. the things He loves.
When my eyes are focused on seeing Him, He will move me to weep for the people He weeps for, and for the things He weeps for, even more than myself.
He will move me to pray for the people and for the things He loves.
He will restore my Joy.
And I will not be silent.
I will be honest about the weeping, and sing praise thru the depression, as my Joy returns.
And I will say, “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Have you struggled with depression?
I’ve been there.
I’ve seen my joy returned.
And I know He can restore your joy too.
Praying for your journey… feel free to share.

In Him, Leslie

Psalm 30:5b “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning…” 
Psalm 30:11-12 “…You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”