Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Almost an In Law - How To Be a Good One!

In the midst of our wedding excitement with all the plans, the details, the joy, the anticipation, it is almost easy to forget that the wedding is actually just the beginning!   It is the beginning of two lives being united, families being enlarged and intertwined, a new home, new routine and a new life for the children and the parents.

Our family of all boys is thrilled to be adding a girl to it!!  Which means...I will be a mother in law!  The very word tends to usually bring reactions from people.  We've all heard horror stories about 'the mother in law".  
Unfortunately, many mothers-in-law have earned the reputation, read these two examples!!!

Consider the story of a bride who wanted to please her new husband. He often mentioned how much he loved his mother’s chocolate chip cookies, so his wife asked her mother-in-law to share the recipe. Instead of recognizing the request as a sincere compliment, the mother-in-law coldly responded, “That’s my recipe, and I bake those cookies for my son. Why would I give the recipe to you? Of course you can’t have it.”

Another young wife opened the door one morning to discover her mother-in-law standing there armed with a mop and a bucket filled with cleaning supplies. “I’m glad you’re home. I've come to show you the proper way to clean a bathroom.”

Thankfully, the family I married into welcomed me and made me a special part of their lives.  The mother in law God blessed me with is the best!!  I want to carry that tradition on!!   I began praying early for my sons future brides. I prayed for their parents and asked God to give them wisdom as they raised the young women who would someday become part of our family.  God has truly answered our prayers!

I searched for advice from those who had good, loving relationships with their daughters-in-law. Here’s a few tips I found that will help me and others who have that desire for a great mother in law relationship.:

  • Make an effort to help your daughter-in-law feel welcome in your family. She is not an outsider; don’t treat her like one. Include her in conversations, activities and family photographs.

  • Don’t force your son to choose between the two of you and don’t put him in the role of playing peacemaker. Realize that you and your daughter-in-law are not competitors; you are allies. Your son has enough love for both of you.

  • Notice your daughter-in-law’s good qualities and then sincerely compliment her. Is she thoughtful and kind? Is she an exceptional housekeeper or a good money manager? Is she an accomplished cook or a talented decorator? She will appreciate knowing you recognize her virtues and talents.

  • Think before you act or speak. Remember what it was like to be a young bride.

  • Pray for your daughter-in-law every day. Tell her you are praying for her, and ask if she has any special requests. Better yet, pray together if the opportunity arises. Perhaps your daughter-in-law is not who you would have picked for your son; pray that God will help you to love her.

  • Remember her birthday and celebrate her achievements.

  • Don’t speak negatively about your daughter-in-law to others. Be her biggest cheerleader.

  • Does your daughter-in-law make your son happy? Then send her a card or letter expressing how much you appreciate her love for your son.

  • Don’t give advice unless it is requested. You’ll be surprised how well the young couple will manage without your help. They know where you are if they do want advice.

  • Don’t interfere in their lives, and don’t take sides.

  • Be available, but don’t be constantly underfoot. Give them space to live their own lives and build their own traditions.

  • Take your daughter-in-law to lunch or go shopping together. Spend an evening experimenting with new recipes. Find a mutual hobby or volunteer together. Make an effort to bond with the “daughter-in-love” God has placed in your life.

 I hope my daughter-in-law never consider me a nightmare. I genuinely want to be a good mother-in-law to the one God has placed in my life. But, this is a new journey for our family and I'm believing these tips and a heart centered on loving as the Lord loves us will bring about a beautiful relationship that will flourish and grow for many years.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Mom Contract

This week my life as a mom is a bit stressful.  We will hit a few monumental moments all in one week.

Saturday will be the first wedding in the family as my oldest son will be getting married.  I've spent lots of time and posting on that, so I'll share the other big thing...this week our youngest son will turn 13...another teenager in the house!! Since there is a bit of a space between the youngest and his two older brothers, he's watched them for years as teenagers and can not wait to be one!  

Things are a lot different with a teenager this time around for us.  Facebook, cell phones, email accounts are a brand new world for teenager today.  For a Christian family we should recognize the benefits of these, but also be aware of the dangers that they may hold.  A 13 year old given unlimited access to so many freedoms at one time can be overwhelming.  So...some guidelines need to be in place.

A recent article read shared some fantastic guidelines for a teen's first phone.  It was called "The Mom Contract" and I loved it!! 

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad". Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school night., every weekend night at 9:00 pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.. No porn or anything inappropriate.

10. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

11. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear -- including a bad reputation.

12. Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

13. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO -- fear of missing out.

14. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

15. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

16. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

17. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and; I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

There is more than moral dangers with all this technology, there is the danger of missing out on real life, making face to face relationships and connections and the danger of manners slipping....may we as parents find that balance of keeping them up in the world of technology while keeping their feet and hearts grounded in love!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Life...

Summer break has arrived.  It's funny that as a home school family, although there isn't any more 'schoolwork', we find many others ways to fill the day.

Yard work needs to be done, summer camps are coming up, Vacation Bible School, then planning for next school year, summer gets busy.  A mom's mind is rarely still and her actions are the same, always going....but in the absence of routine, I find ways to occupy my time that may not be the best use of my time.  

The idea of living intentional is one that attracts me greatly. To live with purpose, passion and focused on doing and being the best for those around me.  But then...Facebook calls, or a book to read, Pinterest beckons to show me ideas....and my focus changes, time gets lost and sometimes the important things in life get left behind.  These things are not 'bad' things, but sometimes need a little adjusting in my life.

A Holy Experience shares often about the joy of living fully in each moment, being truly attentive to what matters at that moment, losing distractions, finding joy.  She gives reminders that:

  • God is strong enough to exult in monotony — and one needs God’s strength to exercise consistency.
  • To consistently step back, breathe deep, focus — and know Life is dessert — too brief to hurry. Too delectable to be distracted through. You don’t wolf it down.
  • Life isn't an emergency. Life isn't 20 open screens and one flickering attention span. Life is a gift. Crazy grace.
  • And this, this is the only way to slow time:
But for those who need a visual reminder every now and again, she shares a beautiful printable.  Here is a link to a printable reminder of a few things to do before you click online!  I'm planning to make this a habit!

Summer life is a slower pace, but can be a time of intentional grace, gratitude and touching lives!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's Your Choice - Fear or Faith

Soccer has become the sport of choice for our youngest son.  This summer we joined with a team, have been practicing weekly and recently had our first tournament.  Our team age varies from ages 11 to 14, but just a few days before the tournament, one of our players turned 15.  That is the age the tournament staff worked with and matched us up with some older teams.  Most of our players had never played this type of soccer and had trained, practiced and were now ready to compete.  As they faced their opponents, the other team had players much older...and bigger!  The parents on the sidelines gulped with fear, but the players went out on the field and did their best!  They played right alongside the other team, side by side with their eye on the ball, seemingly taking little notice of the difference in size.  They lost in points, but won a spot in my heart for their diligence and the strength they showed in the face of adversity.  

This is a fantastic photo shot taken by one of our team moms. Our #7 (which is my son) side by side the #7 on the other team!

As Christians oftentimes we face situations in life that are bigger than we are, things that challenge us to exert all of our strength and energy.  We go head to head with them, but can lose heart and can feel defeated. But, we are not 'thrown on the field' on our own.  God is with us and is on our side.  He is bigger than our situation and able to work it out for our good.  Facing hard times on our own can bring fear, trusting God takes faith.  Fear can grip us and distort our vision, cause doubt and weaken us.  Faith brings God to the center and reminds us of His power.  The object of our focus often determines our outcome - focusing on the problem allows fear to move in, but focusing on God brings faith that overcomes because God is bigger and greater than anything!  

On the playing field of life, we have a choice - fear or faith.  May we be encouraged to choose faith and trust God.  He is the winning side and only through Him, we are overcomers!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

21 Day Fix - Getting Wedding Ready!!

There is nothing like a deadline to get you moving!!  Although by nature, I'm a laid back, peaceful type, every now and then a good challenge helps give inspiration, motivation and helps make progress towards a goal.

Later this month our family has a wedding!  My oldest son is getting married and we are thrilled!! We are excited to see the prayers of many years answered by God bringing into our family the perfect girl who is a perfect match for him!  We are filled with joy as they join their hearts and lives together, make a new home and life together. Now, of course, weddings are all about the happy couple, but moms want to look their best too!!!

In fact, the mothers on both sides (bride and groom) are filling these last few weeks with some healthy eating and exercise!!   My plan is the 21 Day Fix.  One of my fitness/healthy living weaknesses is diet.  I LOVE sweets.  This plan gives a fabulous guide for portions sizes and food categories. 

 It also comes with 6 quick but intense 30 minute workouts.   

  • Upper Fix.- Targeted resistance training helps shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.
  • Lower Fix. - Firm and tone your entire lower body while you blast fat and burn calories.
  • Total Body Cardio Fix. - Keep your heart rate up and your metabolism revved high long after the workout is over.
  • Cardio Fix. - Get your heart pumping and your body moving as you melt away the pounds.
  • Pilates Fix. - Strengthen your core, elongate your muscles, and firm your hips and thighs.
  • Yoga Fix. - Improve your balance, flexibility, and strength as you help relax your muscles.

21-day portion-control system

These seven color-coded containers deliver exactly the right portions every time, so you never eat too much, and you’re never hungry. Fill them up with as much food as you want—if it fits, you can eat it!

21 Day Fix™ Workout Program

The concept of the plan is short, intense, varied workouts with a measured calorie plan to be followed for three weeks. 

So for three weeks, this is the plan for the road to healthy!  Keep watching, there will be lots of updates!