The Art of Forgiveness

The Art of Forgiveness

Have you struggled with being hurt by someone you trusted?  This is a great way to see how it can be used for your good!  #forgiveness #christianlove

Forgiving can be really hard to do.

But have you ever though of it as art?  Art is enchanting and art is messy and each workmanship is unique. It involves creativity and humanness and mistakes.  You can’t have a quality piece of art without a lot of trial and error and erasing and lessons.

A sculpture starts as a lump of clay.  It gets mashed and twisted and wet and cut and if I were that clay I believe I’d be hoping that part was over soon.  If I were the painter’s canvas I’d be hating the part where I am smeared with wet brushes and then have it all wiped off while the artist stared at me with concern or worse yet….sets me aside for another day.

We all want the ending….the beauty….the admiration….the high praise and worth.  But we don’t really want what it takes to get there.

And what, you may wonder, does any of this have to do with forgiveness?  Just everything!

THE STORY

A girl, Sue, gets hurt by a friend.  Not just “you hurt my feelings” kind of hurt, but deeply betrayed and wounded.  She is cruelly judged and without warning, the friendship is over and the betrayer has cast Sue out like a worthless piece of garbage.  Sue is shocked and devastated.  This is a wound that feels unhealable.  The betrayal shakes her to the core and threatens all of her other relationships.  How can she trust anyone else after this?  And to top it off, the betrayer continues to stab, gossip, lie and attack.  How will poor Sue ever recover?  She is devastated by someone she believed was on her side in life.  She questions her own ability to discern whether someone is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
She fights the urge to hurt back.

She crawls in the corner of her bedroom (i.e. under the covers with chocolate) and licks her wounds.  She cries to herself then cries to God.  He comforts her, but it’s still so incredibly painful.  She doesn’t lose her faith.  She continues to believe what God tells her….that He will be her defender.  That she can trust Him.  But the betrayer doesn’t leave Sue alone.  Every time Sue thinks she is starting to recover another dart of her now-ex-friend comes flying toward her.  Pain all over again.
More crying.  More chocolate.

Slowly, with time, she begins to heal.  Every day she seeks comfort and every day He gives it to her.  God touches her sad, broken heart with His love and grace and one crack at a time He glues her back together.  But she is changed.  She can’t ever be the same old Sue.  She has found a place in herself that only the wounds could have shown her.  She has experienced a depth of love from God that she never needed before.  Her eyes have been opened and she has a new kind of wisdom.
This wisdom is has been gained through suffering.

The betrayer doesn’t stop and the problem stays unresolved.  But Sue is getting stronger and doesn’t fall quite so hard the next time a dart flies.  She sees it coming.  She ducks just in time for it to only graze her.  The wound is smaller.
The healing comes more quickly. 

But then, the hardest part is yet to come.  Forgiving the betrayer.  Wishing good things for this now-ex-friend who claims to be so grateful for God’s grace but stabs people in the back, is going to be the hardest part of the healing.
Sue isn’t sure if she can do it, but she has come this far. 

She must keep going.

Let’s stop here for a minute.  This story could be about any of us.  We have all been deeply wounded at some point.  By a friend, a spouse, a child, a pastor, a parent.  Recovery is slow but we are His clay, we are His canvas.  The splats and messes and manipulating of the materials….the pounding of the chisel, that is painful!  We can’t become a masterpiece without it.  We can’t have genuine wisdom without having suffered, and wounds from a loved one are the worst kind of suffering.  Give me a broken leg over a broken heart any day!

But we can’t stop at enduring the suffering and coming away with wisdom and joy.  We can’t just pick up our chocolate and go home…we would miss the best part!  The part that is so glorious and gorgeous that it is not even imaginable to us while we are being pounded.

God’s magnificent creation!  That piece of art that only the final, finishing touches can accomplish.

The Forgiveness.

Sue, bit by bit and moment by moment, forgives her betrayer.  Somewhere along the way she decided that each time the bitterness wells up or the pain sears through her heart, she will release it.  She will, even though at first she doesn’t want to, pray for the betrayer and for all of those who took the betrayer’s side.  Those who sent their own darts of ignorant judgment and added to the misery.  Those who believed the betrayer out of their own weakness…..she will pray for their peace.
She will ask for God to heal them too. 

As she makes the shift from hurt to healed, she begins to see bits of her own part in the problem, ways she contributed.  She asks Him to forgive her as well.  She sees her imperfections and lays them at His feet.  “Take my weakness Lord, use them for your glory,” she cries.  She continues to work daily to forgive both herself and her perceived-enemies.

It isn’t instant.  Sue falls back sometimes.  Like the artist who doesn’t quite like the angle of the lines, she has to occasionally erase and try again.  But as she slowly matures and changes, she can see the beauty emerging.  She begins to see how the pain of the situation has shaped her.  When the betrayer lashes out with more accusations, Sue quietly slips back and sadly prays again for the now-ex-friend; half of her sadness stems from the betrayers not knowing how hard Sue is working to give love in return for the hate.  If only the betrayer could see Sue’s heart, but she knows that can’t happen.
More growth.  More lessons.

Others begin to notice the difference in Sue.  Someone tells her how they saw the whole thing from afar….they watched the art being created and are inspired by the beauty of what she is becoming.  Another person tells her how blessed they have been by her gentleness with the situation.  It gives her strength.

She continues to allow herself to be shaped, the forgiveness continues to become easier and easier as she lets it go each time….refusing to let the bitterness have her.  Never giving in to the temptation to hurt back.  Every time she releases the hurt she can feel the shift in who she is.  Sue becomes a woman after God’s own heart.  It is slow, years of pain and trial and error.  But she eventually becomes a work of art, chipped away and shaped into something she could not have created on her own 

She is refined into a work of art so grand, so breathtaking, that she is amazed herself. 

Look what God did!!!

THE END

Each with our own betrayal stories, we know that the betrayer might stay the same.  The darts may keep flying.  And certainly there will be more betrayals down the road.  More heartbreak.  But if we allow it to become a work of art, being shaped in God’s hands, then He promises to use it for our good and His glory.

If you are dealing with a betrayer in your life, I want to encourage you to see it as a forming masterpiece in you!  We are each as unique as the snowflakes and I don’t know how you should handle specific situations.  But I do know that even if nothing around you changes and if darts are flying all around your head (believe me…I understand that!) that inside of you there is indescribable beauty being created!  Give it to God and let Him turn you into something that shines with His glory and radiates His love.

Here are a few books that have helped me through my own story of betrayal and hurt:

1. Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts by Ann Graham Lotz
2. Between a  Rock and a Grace Place: Divine Surprises in the Tight Spots of Life by Carol Kent
3. Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
4. Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall
5. Surviving One Bad Year: 7 Spiritual Strategies to Lead You to a New Beginning by Nancie Carmichael

(these are affiliate links)

 

Is My Inadequacy Showing?

Is My Inadequacy Showing?

Have you ever seen the show “Extreme Couponing”?  I watched it last week and by the end I was feeling pretty inadequate.  I don’t use coupons at the grocery store.  And I definitely don’t ever triple anything and get money BACK for buying 25 tubes of toothpaste.

Holy Cow!

It started me thinking of other areas in my life where I tend to get insecure when I see how well someone else is doing.  I look at people’s houses on Pinterest and I’m all, “I’m just glad my place is clean” – “ish”.  And I’ll never have a body like Sofia Vergara.  No matter how much TTapp I do, it’s not in my future to be a bombshell.

I guess I could grab hold of some coupons and start trying to do better with my grocery budget.  I could also try to figure out how to build a spaceship, but they seem equally challenging to me.  I don’t have the gift.

And you know what?  It’s OK.

Now, before you start telling me how EASY couponing is, let me tell you….I have tried.  I am not saying I can’t do it.  I am saying it is not easy for me.  So it would take me a gobton of extra effort and energy and frankly, it is not how I want to spend my time.

Inadequate?  Or evil genius?  Mwahahaha!

We can’t all be good at everything.  Anyway, I’ve got some pretty great stuff going on in my life and I’m willing to bet you do too.  In fact, I KNOW you do because God says that He will use everything in our lives for our good.  There.  Why feel inadequate when I’ve got all that goin’ on?!

romans01

But I don’t think I’ll be watching any more shows about people getting $2000 worth of groceries for 99¢.  I just don’t need to know that someone is out there doing that.  I’ll stick to my new favorite channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, which frankly has made my life complete.  I could literally watch Matlock, Columbo and Diagnosis Murder all day long if I wanted to.

Who’s inadequate NOW, huh?!

Have a great weekend!

 

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

I keep thinking lately about what it means to take responsibility for our actions.

When we blame others for our choices, it not only keeps us from maturing and growing in areas we need to, but it hinders having whole, healthy relationships.

If I try to deceive you, then say I had to do it because of something you did……I am basically letting someone else make my choices.  And it is a choice.  I CHOOSE to lie or not.  No one makes me.  And if I blame you, then you can never really trust me.  Our relationship becomes broken and trust is very difficult to repair.

It is not always easy to be honest with people, but honesty is about who you are, not who the other person is.  Either you are honest….or you’re not.  It has nothing to do with what anyone else does.  I picture myself standing before God when I die and He says, “Why did you tell that lie?”  Will I answer, “I had to God!  She is so hard to talk to!”  No…..that won’t fly with Him….he sees what is in my deepest heart and there will be no point in trying to hide the truth from Him.

honesty01

“Therefore, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12

It’s not just about honesty, there are plenty of ways we can create a problem then blame someone else.  No one makes us gossip, be rude, swear, hate, lash out, lie, or slander.  Your kids don’t make you yell, your husband doesn’t make you nag, the car tailgating you doesn’t give you road rage.

Let’s be real….we all mess up occasionally.  We are human!  I recently found myself gossiping about a friend.  I stopped and repented to the person I was talking to and then called my friend to confess, apologize and ask forgiveness.  Yes, she had done something really difficult for me to handle and I was struggling with how to deal with it.  But when I was asking for advice, my description of her actions went too far.  I could feel myself crossing the line.  Ugh!

When you do something that deep inside you know you shouldn’t, apologize and take responsibility.  I don’t get to blame my friend for being too difficult to talk to directly.  I chose that.  And I now choose to turn from the fear of being wrong and challenge myself to be a person who faces hard things and doesn’t use excuses for bad behavior.

“Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.” Proverbs 10:23

We choose who we will be, not based on how people treat us or what they tell us we are, but on our own decisions based on God’s Word.  God says that if I do foolish things, I am a fool.  Not, unless someone provokes you then it’s OK.

But the good news is that I can always turn that around!  I am not stuck and I don’t have to wait for anyone else to change before I can become wise or truthful or righteous.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” Matthew 12:36

What is so amazing is that God built in natural discipline when we take responsibility instead of blaming others.  The pain of having to fess up and repent will stick with me and I will not likely gossip again any time soon.  But if I never apologized and decided that it was OK because she was too hard to deal with, then I would undoubtedly slip further and further down that slippery slope until no one would be able to trust me and I would never understand why.

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for them.”  Proverbs 26:12

When I let my husband know that my nagging is my own struggle and don’t give him excuses for it, he can trust me not to get offended the next time he feels like he needs to point out that I am being overly critical.  I want him to trust me.  Wherever I am contributing to our problems, I want to change myself no matter what he does.

So, who do you want to be?  Someone who is stuck because of how other people treat you?  Or someone who can have victory in any circumstance?

If you choose truth, in my experience even if you are humble, there will be people who won’t want that kind of relationship.  They will leave.  They can’t take the pressure that comes from being responsible for their own decisions, so they flee.  It’s sad and painful, but in the same way that you are responsible for your choices, they are responsible for theirs.  Don’t let it stop you from saying yes to Christ and no to sin.

A post about taking responsibility for your own actions and not blaming others.  It will encourage you that you aren't a victim!

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

I am going to continue to challenge myself to pay close attention and when I sense that I am crossing a line….stop and take responsibility instead of making excuses.  I have no doubt this will bring up some hard lessons for me.  While I have made it my goal to be honoring to God’s Word, if I am not purposefully listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit I can tend to let little things pass and before I know it they can turn into big issues.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

I will be praying for you also…..we need all the help we can get to walk this road of humanness.  Once we see where we need to make changes, there is grace waiting for us and mercy to see ourselves for who we are…..sinners saved by grace for His works.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10

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Moms Need a Night Off!

Moms Need a Night Off!

This week’s YouTube video is about a subject near and dear to my heart….taking a break!

I have shared this with many groups when I speak and I always get a food of emails afterward asking me questions about how it works.  I go into some of it in the video and in this older post, but I want to answer a few more questions.

 

Q: How do you get your husband to agree?
A: You shouldn’t try to manipulate him, but simply lay out the idea.  The more you can make it easy for him the better it will work.  We don’t want to overwhelm the poor guy.  Have the house cleaned up and the kids in a good mood.  Don’t try to control what happens while you’re gone…this is their time.  When you get home, don’t complain if it’s messy or he did something “wrong”.

Q: But I don’t trust anyone else to take care of my kids.
A: Mom, your kids will be fine for a few hours without you.  In fact….it is GOOD for them and for Dad to spend time together without you.  Ask God to help you let go of trying to control everything.  It’s not healthy!  To quote the most annoying song of 2014, “Let it go!  Let it go!….”

Q: What if I have a nursing baby?
A: Sometimes I would take the baby with me, sometimes I would nurse then leave for a couple of hours, sometimes I would stay home and lock myself in my bedroom.  You can still get a break when you’re nursing.  In fact, I remember several times I used my night off to SLEEP!

Q: My kids won’t leave me alone in my room!
A: You can teach your kids not to bother you when you need a break.  The trick is not to answer them when they call or give in to their manipulation.  Your husband (or whoever is helping) is perfectly capable of taking care of that they need.  You could even practice it for 10 minutes during the day for a week or so to make sure they get the concept.

Q: What kinds of things do you do?
A: Honestly, my favorite thing is to go in my bathroom and have time for personal care.  I scrub my face, straighten the bathroom and bedroom, clip my fingernails, condition my hair, etc.  That is how my bathroom stays clean and I get my grooming time in.  I listen to praise music or podcasts and get my soul taken care of at the same time.

 

All moms need a break and this is a great post with tons of encouragement and ideas!

If you have other questions leave them in the comments and I’ll try to help!

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Some practical, godly tips for women who are struggling with depression, hopelessness and feeling overwhelmed.  #parenting #forwomen #christian

Feeling overwhelmed is something everyone experiences….some of us more than others.

I get hundreds of emails and messages from women who are overwhelmed, struggling with depression and feeling hopeless.  I wish I could have each of you over for an iced tea with Sonic ice and some real fellowship.

I’m here to share some hope with you.  This week’s YouTube video has 3 tips for what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and depressed.  I can’t take away your problems, but I can tell you what works for me when I feel that ugly old hopelessness creeping in.

Before you go…..I want to leave you with even more encouragement from the One who CAN take away your problems….

Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

John 13:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

Psalm 142:3 “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.”

Psalm 61:2 ” From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I am praying for you…even if I don’t know you, God does.

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

Tips and thoughts for ways to handle adult kids still living at home

Right now we have 4 adult kids living at home and 1 more graduated that’s just under the wire of official adulthood.

This is a whole new level of parenting.  People say toddlers and teenagers are hard….we didn’t have big struggles with those ages.  But adults, that is a topic that needs some attention!

Our kids have always had responsibility and had to learn hard lessons.  They pay for their own things and work from home (mostly) and earn their own money.  They help around the house and are generally pleasant.  But there are still some things that we are working to figure out.

1. Where does the authority of the parents end and the “child’s” begin? (I am calling them child for the sake of clarity, but I know they’re not children)
2. How much of their needs should they pay for?  Rent?  Food?  Insurance?
3. Should we let them use our car?  Our wifi?  Our phone plan?
4. How do we handle discipline?  Or do we?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of adult children living at home.  If they were someone else just moving in with us we would have set clear boundaries from the beginning, but since we eased into this for the past 18+ years it’s not so cut and dried.

The good news is that we do all believe in the Bible being the Word of God and even though not all of those things are addressed directly, is it clear how to handle disputes and so we manage to keep the peace.  That is a victory all by itself!  If you are still raising your young children keep that in mind.  Teach them now to love the Lord, do hard things and care for other people.  It will benefit them now and forever more.

I am sympathetic to my kids’ situation.  They are adults living a child’s life.  They need to break out and believe me….we want our little birdies to fly from our nest.  I am not anxious to be the head of an adult living center.

Even though I am still in the midst of this season and I do not have a full view from the rearview mirror, I have learned a few things that might help anyone headed this direction.

1. If it belongs to me I have authority.  My house, my car, my food….I can say how it gets used and if I let you paint the room you are living in your favorite color then I am doing you a favor.  And you should be grateful.  But if it’s yours…..your purse, your clothes, your car then I should leave you alone about it, even if I have a great idea that would help you undoubtedly achieve great future successes.  I close my mouth.
2. They should pay for themselves as much as possible.  We haven’t moved to having our kids pay rent, but that is because they are responsible with their money and they voluntarily hold themselves accountable to us about how they use it (accountable, not obedient).  But we do require them to pay for their phone (they are on our plan) and they buy their own special foods (so if they like a certain cereal or drink they buy their own, but they eat meals with us).  I have thought about charging my son for laundry services.  Free if you do it yourself, $2 per load if you convince a sister to do it for you. ;)
3. Easing into adult responsibilities.  Our two oldest kids are each saving to buy a car and when that happens it will be 100% their responsibility.  For now they use our cars, but there are rules.  They have to ask.  Every time.  They have to tell us where they are going and when they will be home and if that changes they have to let us know.  And they have to pay for insurance and whatever gas they use.
4. Discipline is a harder issue.  For example, if we request they get up and be dressed by 7:00 in the morning and they don’t do it….what should happen?  Basically, we give them adult sized consequences for these things.  A week without the use of our car has been a consequence we used in the past.  That wasn’t fun.  We do give them a lot of privileges that we could take away if necessary.  I mean, eating here is a privilege and so is having your own room.  If you want that privilege then you have to show respect for our needs as a family and joyfully do what we ask unless we discuss it and all agree to something else.

We expect our adult children to take care of more than just themselves.  By age 18 you should carry your own weight and help those around you.  That means they have responsibilities for kitchen, cleaning, car maintenance, helping with siblings, working for Mom or Dad in our business, etc.  Their whole day can’t be just about them.  That is not good for them and it certainly isn’t good for the parents.  We can’t carry our adult kids around and we shouldn’t have to.  Each adult in the home must be making a large contribution to the cost (financial, physical, emotional, etc.) of living in the home.  We expect them to contribute a minimum of 4 hours per day on family needs, but this can include working for us in our businesses.  If they have jobs that allow them to contribute financially then that time requirement would change.

But what happens when they just don’t agree?  They shouldn’t have to agree with us all of the time of course!   And all of our kids disagree with us on various topics.  That’s when the relationship becomes so, so important.  James and I work hard to spend time with our older kids and listen to them.  What’s important to them? How can we support their dreams?  How are their friends doing?  What are they struggling with right now?  How can we help without jumping in and rescuing them?

It is a delicate balance for all of us and one that we can all become more like Christ through the process. 

If you only have young children now or are looking at being in this situation soon, hear me when I tell you….keep the lines of communication open.  Your adult children still need you.  But you have to practice self-control like you never have before.  No more swooping in and saving the day.  No more endless streams of motherly advice.  No more being bossy (come on, it’s not just me).  They need to make mistakes….sometimes big ones…..to learn and be able to fly away.

Be strong mamma……we are growing and learning too even though we’re supposed to be the more mature one.  It sure ain’t easy.

And when all else fails I can remind my adult kids of what it says in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them,  then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones.”

;)

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The Humbler Games

The Humbler Games

It’s Friday and around here that means just one thing…..another YouTube video!

This week’s video is called, “The Humbler Games.”

Y’all will love this one.  We did something different and made a little movie.  It’s so much fun for us because we all worked together to make it (lots of us behind the scenes even though you don’t see us on camera!).   This picture only shows who worked on the day of shooting, but the other kids helped too.

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the discouraged mom!

This is meant to encourage those of you who are tired or discouraged.  There is always hope!  God is ready for you to call on Him when you feel like you can’t take it anymore.  It’s The Humbler Games…..

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the tired, discouraged mom! #parenting #youtube

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The NO TOUCH Rule

The NO TOUCH Rule

This is an easy way to help kids learn to get along better!  -- The Pennington Point

It’s time for some more sibling love.

Sometimes you just want a tip that gives you a physical way to tell when you need to make a correction.  I mean, talking about consistency and love is great but…..not always so easy to grab a hold of.  This one you can’t miss.  Here you go…..

Don’t let your kids touch each other.

It’s that simple.  I don’t mean hugging and being silly, of course!  I’m talking about when they are criticizing or correcting or arguing.  No touching.  Not ever.

You might be thinking I’m just talking about hitting, but it’s a lot more than that.  It’s pulling someone’s hand away or pushing/nudging them or grabbing something away from them.

If a boy wants his sister to stop leaning into his space, he shouldn’t push her away.  He should ask her to move.  Then she should move willingly.  If she won’t move, instead of pushing her he can follow my tattling plan or he can nicely ask you for help with the problem.  But forcibly moving another person is never the solution.

Last week at the dinner table one of my boys, instead of verbally correcting his brother for not leaning over the plate with his food, gently pushed his brother’s hand back over the plate.  He wasn’t mean about it, but it still was not OK.  So I just reminded him that instead of pushing, he could have just mentioned it to his brother and if it became a problem then he could talk with me about it and together we would figure out some ways he could handle that.

The other person should have the opportunity to decide whether or not they are going to move, stop, give up the toy, whatever.  It should not be forced upon them.

If, after reading this, you notice that your kids are doing it, sit them all down and talk about how it’s wrong to force another person to do something.  We all want to be respected and treated with kindness.

Then run through some practice sessions.  Have one of them invade the other’s space then freeze and talk through their options, having them pretend they’re doing each one.  It’s like a game and they can see what it looks like to be respectful and how to properly respond when someone asks you to stop something you are doing.  The recipient definitely needs to practice responding with kindness also!  And Bible verses are great to reinforce this.

Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Go HERE for 10 more verses great for siblings to learn.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out some of my other posts in my Parenting Gallery!

My Brain Hurts

My Brain Hurts

Sooooo…..I have this pool problem.

I know I shouldn’t complain because having a pool is a blessing.  I think I spend as much time in the summer floating around in the water as the kids do splashing and diving for toys.

But it has been a battle.  Lisa vs. Algae.  And for the past 2 years I am the big loser in this war.

brain

We made the decision this year to invest in our own pool testing kit.  This kit tests for a bunch more things than just basic chlorine and PH.  It sounded like a great idea until the kit arrived in the mail and I opened it to discover that I would need to go back to school for a degree in chemistry to understand how to use it.  My mad skills in watching TV and sewing pillows don’t come in handy when you are trying to calculate how much bleach you need per 10,000 gallons of water depending on your PH and TA levels.

This is what I was doing yesterday, “Reference the CYA/Chlorine chart to know what your FC shock level should be.  Adjust the PH to fall between 7.2 and 7.5.  Slam your pool no more than once an hour using the PoolMath calculator and run the pump 24/7 until you pass the OCLT.”

I am not kidding.  And that’s the easy part.

My 15 year old son and I decided to make this “swamp to oasis” a mother-son bonding project, so crying was out of the question.  I started to well up once when the kit told me to decide if I wanted to measure my CC by .2 or .5ppm.  But I pulled myself together and confidently said to him, “This is your time to shine, son….you choose.”  And we forged ahead.

For next summer I am considering hiring a pool man.

Except for the brain exhaustion of doing complicated pool math, I have been enjoying my week at home.  I have done a lot of resting, replying to emails and talking with the kids.  I took a three hour nap on Monday, which you would think would keep me from sleeping that night.  But nope.  I rubbed on some lavender and slept like a baby.

Even though I was planning to go light on the extra projects, I did pick up some paint at Target to try.  Did you know they sell paint there?!  I had no idea!  It’s a bit expensive, but the colors are nice and that guesswork being done for me has value.  Plus they have wallpapers that coordinate with the paint which makes me so happy.  I’m not generally a wallpaper person, but I kind of got in the mood when I was looking at their options.  My bedroom desperately needs painting and this might be just my solution.  I bought a sample container and put some on the wall where I can look at it for a few days to see if I like it.

SO much easier than the pool test kit.

I may send Target a thank you note.

Unless I have to figure out how much paint I need using a complicated online chart.  In which case, I will be having my son do that part.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more pool pictures!

5 Tips for Handling Lying

5 Tips for Handling Lying

Lying can be a hard thing to conquer.  These 5 tips are a great place to start! -- The Pennington Point

My husband and I have always felt that most important thing to focus on in raising our kids is building godly character.  Integrity, strength of courage and trustworthiness are missing in so many people these days.  What is more valuable than teaching our children to be truthful in all things?

All 9 of our children have struggled with lying at one point or another.  It is difficult to break once it has become a habit.  I want to share with you some of the things we do to help them break the habit.

1. Talk with them about honesty

Not a lecture, but a simple talk.  Give them Bible verses about truthfulness and help them understand how important it is to be honest at all cost.  Above all, don’t show frustration.  Let them know that they are loved and you are confident they can work to regain your trust.

When I say talk, I mean really dig deep.  Read some verses about truth and memorize them together.  Discuss what they think about the verses.

2. Listen

Ask them what they think about lying and if they have ideas that will help them stop.  Listen to their heart, it is your key to understanding their struggle.  The clues you get from listening can help you figure out why they feel compelled to lie in the first place.  Sometimes it’s just become a habit, but sometimes it’s a deeper issue.

3. Pray

Ask God to show you ways to help your child stop lying.  Also, let them know that you pray for them and make sure they see you praying.  When you see them struggling, take their hand and pray together.

God has given me the most creative ideas when I ask Him.  Once, I was inspired to have one of the boys write down his lies each day.  He had a little pad of paper and teeny pen that were just for that.  I never looked at it or asked him about it, but it made him aware of how often he was doing it and it really helped him stop.  That idea came to me through prayer.

God is ready with His infinite wisdom to help you with your parenting struggles.

4. Pay close attention

Keep them close and spend extra time with your struggling child.  They need you to help them through and hold them accountable.  Don’t let them be in their room all afternoon without any accountability for what they are doing.  Try to find ways to stay close either by working together or by having some down time (games, reading aloud, watching a DVD together, etc.) together.

If you’re busy and can’t do that, then have them stay close by.  While you check emails, for example, have them do schoolwork in the same room.

5. Discipline

Whatever method of discipline you choose, the key is to be consistent.  It’s important that they get caught anytime they are lying.  If you suspect a lie, don’t spend too much time pressing for the truth.  Trust your instincts and deal with the issue directly.

Occasionally it will happen that you discipline for lying when they were telling the truth.  I tell my kids that when that happens, they should remember that there were times they lied and didn’t get caught.  This is a good opportunity for them to reflect on the real consequences of lying which is that after a few lies, people won’t believe you even if you’re being honest.  I assure them that they can work toward being believed again by telling the truth and earning our trust.

And remember Mom and Dad, this is not a quick fix.  It takes time to break a habit and regain trust.  Keep working together, be patient and above all let your child know they are loved no matter what!

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight”  Proverbs 12:22