the mom who *wishes* for snow days

Hey there.
I’m the mom who wished (and prayed) for 1 (or 2 – even better!) more snow days.
Yes. It’s true.
Christmas break went by way too fast and I wasn’t ready for school to begin.¬†
Then, much to my surprise (and happiness!) an Polar Vortex Arctic Blast or something visited us folks here in Ohio ūüôā Yipee! The kids were able to stay home 2 extra days ūüôā On Wednesday, they went back to school.
Weren’t you ready (over joyed, even?) for them to return to school?
Nope. I was still wishing for one -or 2-¬†more…
Just a few days ago we returned from 2000 miles of travel on the open road marked by dirt, asphalt, rocks flying and gritty gas stations lined along the highway, littered with beer billboards and porn shops. Road trips are never dull, when you’re in a race you didn’t know you were in with impatient cars in the next lane over – oh W O W buddy – you can flash your headlights signaling I’m in-your-way because I’m only going 2 miles over the 75 mph speed limit to let me know you can drive 3miles faster than me. You are profoundly talented! I didn’t realize we were racing.
While all that racing was happening around us, we had a sick boy puking the entire 18 hours from Oklahoma to home. He was puking , I was driving, Adam was sermonizing (putting the finishing touches on his sermon while trying to assist our sick son). We pulled in to our driveway at 4am in good shape, safe and sound. Only to return to our dogs little present she left all over our daughters bedroom floor. Sure. We’ll stay up a few more hours to clean that up, shuffle the kids beds around, get them back to sleep and zzzz…. It was interesting.¬†
So yes. we’ve had plenty of family time, but it still wasn’t enough. It never is. On the open road I was struck (again) with the fact that it is never enough (like wishing time would stand still) never enough. We only have¬†a short time with our kids -as kids- parenting, fully engaged in their young lives overwhelming them with our deepest love and listening ears.
Wednesday they went back to school and I didn’t get my *wish* of 1 -or 2- more snow days. Salem was convinced he would be going in to 2nd grade. . His teacher kept saying “See you next year!” before the Christmas break, so he thought that meant he was moving up to 2nd grade.¬†
Don’t grow up too fast, buddy…
Life goes too fast. There will be others speeding past you, flashing their lights at you, challenging you to go with the faster flow, or get out of the way. 
Slow down. Hold the moments. Keep *wishing* for more snow days.
In Him, Leslie 
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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

i don’t wanna be a mom anymore…

at times, it hits me…

i don’t wanna be a mom anymore.

i’m weary, discouraged and tired of the stress that envelopes the calling of parenting.

hmmm, this might be kinda hard news to break to my 3 kids and husband…

 

so, i’m stuck with being mom.¬†

 

do i really have a choice, anyway?

 

well, yes.

one day i can decide i don’t wanna be a mom anymore and walk out, leaving my kids and husband, to live¬†MY¬†life, right?

yes.

or… i can¬†decide¬†i am going to¬†choose¬†joy¬†in being a mom and¬†keep choosing joy¬†in the midst of the stress, discouragement and disappointment.

YES!

today i am writing this from a place of healing and the reality of how i feel at times.

there are days, sometimes weeks and months when the stress of parenting, along with other stress in life becomes overwhelming.

even menial tasks seem like a mountain to be conquered…

making their meals, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, brushing their teeth, giving them baths and caring for my kids proves difficult.

i begin to think it would be easier to just lay in bed all day…

i long for their 8pm bedtime, and it’s only 5:30pm…

sure, there are those days…

if i am honest, those times suck.. but thankfully they don’t last forever.

thankfully, i can honestly say i am grateful to be a mom and my kids bring me great joy!

 

we are a creation living within a world of choice.

we have a choice what to think about with our minds.

we have a choice what to do with our bodies.

we have a choice how to feel with our hearts.

we have a choice how to believe with our souls.

everyday we have choice, and everyday our kids have a choice.

we can guide our children to make good choices.

we can give consequences for their not so great choices.

we can guide, but can’t control every single one of our kids actions and reactions, anymore than God can control our actions and reactions.

we can choose to nurture our children and teach them in the ways of the Lord.

 

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord… Fathers {and mothers}, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

{Ephesians 6:1-4}

i have complained to the Lord of my anger and shared with Him my woes.

i have cried for relief from the hurt and pain that children can cause their parents. 

i have repented for the hurt i can cause my children.

i have sought the Lord for His wisdom on every aspect of parenting.

i have been honest with the Lord from the depths of my soul. 

 

God can handle our wide range of emotions and the depths of our transparency.

honesty with God brings healing and refuels our hope.  

 

although it is not always easy, i choose…

joy in the midst of parenting stress and life mess.

to remain grounded in God’s Word, hearing His truth for my life and for the lives of our 3 children.

to mourn disappointment and discouragement and loss.

to let go of my anger and frustrations.

to let go of bitterness and resentment.

to be thankful in all circumstances.

to pray over our children and love the heck out of them, even in the face of their disobedience.

for my patience to outweigh their impatience.

thankfully, God patiently loves the heck out of me in my disobedience!

and let’s face it – as parents – we don’t know what the heck we are doing most of the time anyway.

 

i choose God. 

i choose Worship and Praise.

i choose surrender.

i choose His ways not my ways. 

i choose to trust when i don’t understand…

and i choose to never. give. up. hope.


maybe you have felt this way? whether the situation be about your children, your job, your relationships, or anything else, what do you choose? please feel free to share! 


In Him, Leslie