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

 

Do Teens Need Privacy?

Do Teens Need Privacy?

In the past week I have had three phone calls with desperate moms who need help in handling a teen who keeps crying out about the injustice of having their privacy invaded. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about this with you all too….in case any of you are also dealing with this issue.

The truth about teens demanding their privacy....

The thing about teens needing privacy is…..it’s bunk.  This is a “rule” of life that the teen just made up.  Then society and psychology feeds it by telling them that they deserve it.  I’m sorry, but it simply isn’t true.

Yes, we all need times that we can be alone with our thoughts to figure out problems or rest or help a friend occasionally.  But the idea that we should be able to keep secrets about what we are doing or planning or that kids should be allowed to hide their texts from their parents is pure craziness.

You, the parents, are responsible for your child’s actions and you are providing for and protecting them.  They have no right to privacy from you.  You give them the privacy that YOU think they need, not that they demand.  In fact, the more they demand it the less I will give.  That just tells me that they are hiding something and that’s not OK.

God gave us all a built in private place through our thoughts, dreams and prayers.  Your children have that automatically and they have complete control over how much of that they will share with you.  Parents definitely should not try to push their way into their child’s thoughts.  It’s disrespectful.

BUT they do not automatically get privacy over what’s in their drawers or who they talk to on the phone or where they are going.  That privacy is earned by proving you are trustworthy.

Now let me say here that I have never gone through my children’s drawers or made them show me their texts.  When we have a problem, I may tell them that because I am not trusting them in a certain area it would be best if they show me those things.  If they refuse (which has never happened so I am just thinking here) I would take the phone, contents of the drawer, etc. from them and hold it until they agreed to show it to me and discuss it responsibly and face whatever consequences come with their choices.  I would not just look through it behind their back unless I felt something dangerous was happening.

I work hard to make sure my kids can trust me not to overreact when they tell me they have done something they shouldn’t.  However, I have no problem taking a phone away, putting restrictions on it, holding favorite toys, whatever it takes to teach the lesson.  I love my children too much to let something like an ipod or toy come between them and their godly character.

The very idea that a child (and yes, teens are still children no matter what they think) can demand to have secret phone conversations or hide what is in their purse is simply the result of a world losing touch with righteousness.

Here’s what God has to say on the matter from Luke 12:2-3, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

He also says in Romans 13 that we are not to resist the authorities that God has appointed for us.  It is clear on that subject, but never says anything about 13 year olds having a right to use their phone at midnight.

I know this seems harsh.  I do think that a responsible, respectful teen should be able to have some private areas, as long as he knows that he is subject to being asked to share those places if a problem arises.  The main point is that YOU decide where privacy is allowed and not.  A young person does not yet have the wisdom, no matter how smart they are, to understand when that is necessary.  They also do not carry the weight of the financial, emotional, legal, physical or spiritual responsibility if something serious happens as a result of their actions.  You have every right to know what they are doing.

As long as my children are doing their work, taking care of their things, being respectful and kind….I give them privacy.  Although what’s funny is they don’t really feel the need for it as much if they aren’t trying to hide anything, which leads to me being happy to give it to them….the beautiful circle of trust.

 

5 Thoughts That Really Help When Marriage Gets Difficult

5 Thoughts That Really Help When Marriage Gets Difficult

No marriage is perfect.  This is by a woman with a happy marriage but still willing to admit that it's not always easy! -- The Pennington Point

As tax season rolls along I get lonely.  And sad.  It’s true….9 kids and a home business, but sometimes I feel lonely for my husband and I want him to stop working and give me some attention.

As wives we all have something that makes our marriage a challenge.  If he doesn’t work too much then maybe he doesn’t work enough, or manage the kids like you think he should or even simple things like sloppiness or picky eating can be hard on a wife.

No matter what imperfections your husband has, God gave him to you and wants you to learn and grow through your struggles.  I’m not excusing your husband’s flaws, but this is not about him.  This is about us.

From the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, “But what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?”

For me every tax season is an opportunity to turn to God to meet my need for attention and affection.  AND I learn more and more every year better ways to sacrifice my need for my husband’s.  It ain’t easy, sister.  But the riches that go along with these lessons are immeasurable!

Maybe you’re one of those amazing wives who will say that pleasing her husband is her life’s mission and nothing satisfies her more.  I admire those women so much.  But I am not one of them.  My flesh wants to fulfill its own desires and be petted.  Sad but true.  I like getting my way.

And God knows that! I know because 2 Timothy 3:2-4 is a whole list of selfish struggles and since I can see myself in so many of them, I know God understands!  It is only through God’s grace and mercy that we are able to overcome these issues.  Being in His Word shows me clearly that God is ready to help me through my hard times in everything….even the tiny problem of wishing my husband were more available.

Here are 5 thoughts that help me find peace when marriage gets difficult:

1. We must not seek satisfaction in anything but God. 
Sometimes I wonder if I would have the deep relationship with my Lord if I had an easier life.  My trials bring me closer to Him and allow me to see the eternal joy that He wants to give me.
Psalm 16:11b you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”

2. We are responsible for our actions, not our husband’s.
I don’t have to answer for what my husband does.  But I do have to account for my own actions, so it is important to behave and respond with loving kindness even if he doesn’t deserve it.  I sure wouldn’t want him constantly trying to change me, so why would I do that to him.  And besides, only God can change hearts.
Psalm 26:2 “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.

3. There is peace even in unpeaceful conditions.
It’s so much more about where our focus is than our circumstances.  I notice that when I am doing my morning run if I think about my legs and how tired they are then I constantly want to quit.  But if I think about what is up ahead, even imagining God with His arms open waiting for me, the running is much easier.  I’m still running the same path, no circumstances have changed.  But when my focus changes the task becomes lighter and joyful.  It’s the same with marriage.  What we focus on can make or break our attitude.
Philippians 3: 14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

4. You’re not so perfect either.
It’s true.  I’m no picnic to be married to.  The things that are important to him are not my strong suits.  He likes orderly receipts and spreadsheets and our finances to be all neat and tidy.  This is not something I am good at and it probably looks to him like I don’t care about it.  I need his understanding in these areas and I should be willing to give him the same when he doesn’t seem to appreciate my desire to discuss my ideas about home decorating.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

5. It is your behavior that can win over your husband.
Seeing your grace and humility may be just what your husband needs so that he may seek righteousness for his own life.  Even though this verse refers to unsaved husbands, it cannot be denied that being forgiven has a deep impact on our husbands.  When I forgive him for hurting me or inconveniencing me, it leaves room for the Holy Spirit to touch his heart and do a good work.  That’s not even mentioning the impact your behavior has on your children….the influence you have as a woman is far reaching.
1 Peter 3:1-2 if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

This tax season I have learned to be more patient.  God has given me the husband I needed to sharpen my weak areas and as much as that hurts sometimes, I can feel myself becoming the woman I really want to be.  One who is willing to be selfless and caring even when it isn’t deserved.

Let’s build one another up and encourage each other to look to God for our support and strength.  I’m excited to see what God can do with a group of women who are willing to set their needs aside for the husband and let God fill in the gaps.

Women encouraging women

10 Bible Verses for Brothers & Sisters

10 Bible Verses for Brothers & Sisters

Many moms talk to me about how their kids fight and don’t get along.  People will tell them that’s just the way it is and they should accept it.

No!  My guide through life is not what society tells me is OK, but what God says is OK.  And He says fighting with our brothers and sisters is WRONG.

I put together a list of great Bible verses to learn as a family that will help your kids understand what God says about getting along.  Memorize them, talk about them, have your kids copy them in an artful way and frame them, write them on notes….get them into your heart  and mind any way you can!

10 Bible verses for brothers and sisters! -- The Pennington Point

1. Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and reconcile to them; then come and offer your gift.”

God says we can’t even come to Him unless we try to work out our problems with our siblings.  This is a great example to point out when your kids want something from you but they aren’t getting along.  You could point out that you will listen to them after they go and reconcile with their brother.

2. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Kindness and forgiveness….it’s at the heart of Christianity.  We are the example to the world that we are different.  We teach our children to ask for forgiveness when they hurt or wrong someone else.  But we also teach them that you should forgive another person even of they don’t ask for it.

3. Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

I love this verse.  Teaching our children to love discipline is a challenge, but you can do it.  In the case of siblings, they need to be willing to take correction from their siblings and not get defensive about reproof.  I encourage my children that while they don’t have the authority to be bossy, they do have the responsibility to help each other learn and grow.

4. 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

No one is perfect….this is an important lesson in getting along with others.  Knowing that you are imperfect is key to being understanding when other people mess up.

5. 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”

We do not all have the same talents.  You may not be good at what your brother is good at.  We teach our children to rejoice in each other’s gifts and talents and it makes or a very sweet family life.

6. Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Having your children serve one another is a gift to them for their entire lives.  Helping with chores, moving out of someone’s way, just doing what you can to bless someone else is how we all need to treat each other.

7. Proverbs 31: 8-9 “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”

This verse shows us how to treat those less fortunate.  If your child thinks his sister is “dumb” or a “pain” then instead of belittling her he should work to build her up.

8. Hebrews 13:16 ” Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”

Sharing.  Yep.  It’s important.  I am not good at sharing either if I’m being honest….but I do it and I do it with a whole heart for God and because I choose to love that other person more than I love myself.  I want to please God.  Sometimes that’s all the motivation we have to offer and we must teach our children that in the end that should be enough.

9. Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

It’s just so hard to think of others sometimes, especially when you’re young and immature.  Building these abilities takes time and patience and perseverance.  Don’t be upset when your child acts selfishly, but keep feeding the Word into them over and over.

10. Galatians 5:26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another”

Conceit, provoking, envy.  One, or maybe all, of those will be at the core of sibling problems.  Ask God to show you which of these your child struggles with and help him through it.  Don’t let him get away with acting out and keep on top of him, but let him know that you understand his feelings.  They are something you want to help him conquer.

Learning these verses together and sharing your thoughts about them is the best way to help your kids learn to get along!

 

March is Homeschool Month!

March is Homeschool Month!

I’ll be pausing the sibling series for March and instead I will be talking about homeschooling.  It’s that time of year when we are figuring out what to do for next year PLUS it really is great for siblings to spend school time together.  So it fits.  Kinda.

A month of homeschooling ideas from a mom of 9

I get a ton of questions, literally a ton, I’ve measured, about what curriculum we use. In case you don’t know, we have homeschooled all of our kids forever, they’ve never gone to school.  Three of the kids have graduated and two will be graduating this year.  I had 7 in school for a while there, which was not easy.  But it is possible and I am still alive to tell you about it.  This year I have 6 in school, but after this it’s all downhill.  Only 13 more years to go….whoop!

As for curriculum, I’m not a one size fits all kind of girl.  Some kids respond to a curriculum then the next kid doesn’t do well with it.  So I have used a LOT of different ones over the past 20 years and through March I am going to share some of my favorites.

In keeping with the sibling series, I love to do unit studies!  We can all study the same thing together.  We sit together, have a discussion about the topic and then I give out assignments based on each child’s ability.  It’s such fun to be learning as a family!

I will be sharing some of our favorites, but you can also just search online for free unit studies.  We’ve done plenty of free ones including spiders, Texas, hymns and clouds.  Just Google it….there’s a lot out there.

I can’t wait!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for extra homeschool support!

Sibling Relationships & Consistency

Sibling Relationships & Consistency

One of the difficulties in helping your kids build godly relationships with each is teaching them to be happy for one another.   It takes maturity to set your own wants aside and let someone else get the attention.  This kind of maturity takes time to develop.  I want to encourage you to be patient about it, but still expect growth.

A great tip is to be very, very consistent.  I can’t stress enough how important consistency is in every area of raising kids.  If you teach them, for example, to act joyful when their brother is opening his birthday presents and not get all annoyingly selfish about it.  Then when they flub up…..hold them to it.  Correct the behavior, don’t let them get away with acting like they should get some of the stuff their brother has.   But also be kind and understanding.

Don’t get mad or irritated by it.  Just keep correcting and don’t give in.

You can’t expect them to show loving care for their sibling if half of the time they get the message from you that being jealous and attention grabbing works.  Spend time teaching them how much God loves them and gives them each what they need.

Keep at it…..it is possible for your kids to love each other and rejoice in each other’s blessings!

Here are a couple of articles I recently wrote about raising kids.  Parenting is a tough job and it’s always nice to get some encouragement on the journey!

9 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Your Kids

10 Creative Ways to Show Love to Your Kids

And here’s a great one my daughter Grace wrote about how God uses the struggles in life to grow you!

When Life Gives Your Broken Sharks

Have a great weekend!

This is part of a year long series on sibling relationships.  To start from the beginning go HERE.

Helping Siblings Find Their Love for Each Other

Helping Siblings Find Their Love for Each Other

Since it’s the day of love, I have to talk a little today about helping siblings show love for each other.

Sometimes the heart comes before the actions, but sometimes the actions come first.  In this case, you can act like you love someone even if you don’t always feel it.  Being loving toward someone doesn’t require feeling loving toward them.

Do your kids need encouragement in showing love for one another

When I notice a bitterness growing between a couple of my kids, I will give them some assignments.  I will tell them each to do something kind for the other, in secret.  I give them some ideas if they need it, then they are to only tell me what they did.  Don’t tell anyone else!

It’s a way of helping them think about what their sibling needs and what pleases him.  To think about another person is a skill that we need to practice and this is a good way since it’s done in secret. Telling only you about the kindness gives you a chance to help them see where the gaps are in their acts of kindness.  Is it really helping their sibling?  Can they do more?  Are they thinking of themselves?  Did they successfully bless their sibling?

You should praise their efforts even if it was small, even if you are a bit disappointed in the lack of sacrifice.  Then give them their next assignment.  Maybe they need some guidance.  But the bulk of the idea should be their own. Of course, they don’t know that their sibling is being given the same task.

Some ideas for secret acts of kindness:
1. make their bed
2. clear their place at the table
3. finish a chore for them
4. help with school work
5. share your dessert
6. let them have first choice on something
7. ask their advice
8. give a genuine compliment
9. offer to do something they like
10. let them have the best place to sit These are just a few ideas to get you started.

Encouraging this kind of love between siblings is a great way to build a godly, loving relationship!