Listening to God is Sometimes Like Drivers Ed Rules

I was terrified to start drivers ed in high school. I’d turned a corner too sharp after driving for 2.5 seconds and put my mom’s giant station wagon into a ditch a couple years before. I wasn’t sure I could do this thing. Driving. That all my friends seemed to love.

Listining to God is sometimes like Drivers Ed Rules

The drivers ed coach was so relaxed and his one rule when we started the actual driving portion of the class {assuming we all knew the textbook rules of the road} was go straight unless I tell you different. I constantly wanted to double check that I was still doing what I was supposed to. Being the only teary eyed newby, I refrained from asking over and over again. I was overly cautious to the point the coach had to tell me I was allowed to speed up a bit during one of my first drives.

I’ve learned my kids are so much like me. Whether out of caution for fear of not doing the right thing or not trusting that I’m paying attention and know when and what is coming.

Mags is in constant need of my reminders to “do the next workbox” for school. Keep working. The plan hasn’t changed. Trust me.
Iz finishes part of a chore and wants to move on to the next thing with while leaving the first ½ done. Complete each step. There’s reason behind my logic. Trust me.
J worries if maybe I’ve forgotten him and wonders if it’s time for a movie yet because surely it is and I just didn’t know. Trust me.
El nags about her cup, even if I’m in the process of filling it, until she’s got it in her hand. Trust me.

As frustrating as it is, I’m glad God doesn’t have the same responses I do toward my children in these situations. REALLY! Finish already. CHICKA!  Don’t be lazy. DUDE! Maybe we don’t need a movie. GIRLFRIEND. I’m Holding The Cup.

God is constant. Unlike us as earthly parents who get distracted and are lethargic at times, God is steadfast in his patience with us as we show our distrust for Him and His all-knowing, grand-planning, goodness, provider-ship. We quite when we think he’s not looking and it gets hard. We cut corners thinking it won’t make a difference. We remind him of His promises hoping He remembers. We beg for Him to take care of us as if He needs our assistance in that.

Often when we're trying to hear God in what He wants us to do during a season of our lives, we forget our drivers ed rules. God gives us simple, generic, across-the-board direction for Christian living. Sometimes we're hoping for specific rather than just driving straight until he tells us to turn again. For a couple years now, I've had to take a page out of the Abraham play book and remind myself that, sometimes, God doesn't speak often. God expects us to go back to the last thing He told us and keep on in that direction until further notice. 

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Our Special Snow Globe

I stepped outside to help Matt with Christmas lights only to be found minutes later by a wailing child.

The Broken Globe

This in and of itself wasn’t an abnormal occurrence but the trail of four other children behind him indicated this wasn’t a boy-called-wolf moment. Through everyone’s yelling, crying, and tattling I heard, “He broke the globe!”

Yep. I know it was coming. The Veggie Tale globe I got back in high school had made it nearly 15 years, seven of which with children around only to be shattered this year by a boy playing santa. After a week of “Don’t shake it violently like that” and “Please be gentle” and “That is GLASS, it will break if you drop it” and “No, it doesn’t need to be taken off that table” reminders, my little man decided toting it in a Christmas throw blanket taking it’s debut as santa's “sake” was TOTALLY alright.

I waited outside for awhile while Matt headed inside to assess the damage and begin the clean up. From the uproar he gave when seeing it, I knew I had made the right chose by not walking in just yet. I could hear the chaos and panic of everyone running around inside to get away from glass or grab towels and clean up tools. I could hear my sweet husband angry for me that this had happened as he lectured J the man about the “accident”.

Although frustrated that I’d managed not to break it myself thus far and now it was gone, I was more upset over the fact that dude was weeping but more over fear of consequences than remorse that he’d destroyed a special globe of his mommy’s.

I went in and sat down. I ask Jamin to come to me and I scooped him in my lap. He shook and tears streamed down his face. I told him I was glad he was okay and that I was less upset about the broken globe and more upset that he didn’t trust me enough to head my warnings about how to play with it. I snuggled him and he quickly stopped crying. I rubbed his back and shook my head in dismay joking that it was time to get new carpet because I wasn’t sure we’d get all the glass out of it. Then J sniffles and as he still clings to my shoulder asks, “Can we watch the grinch?”

~WHAT The Crap?!? You have Got to be kidding me. ~

I took a deep breath and let out a big sigh before I gently put him down and ask him to go to time out.

We finished getting ready for dinner, ate, and tried not to think about it. Next thing I know, J says “Mamma, I’ll just BUY you a new one.” Ugg. I thought this round and round was almost over. I cleared by plate and explained that even IF they still made them, buying a replacement doesn’t fix the problem.

I decided I needed to teach him how to try to “fix” things in a situation like this. Feeling as though I’d failed him. Why was he being so selfish and slow to just express remorse.

Lil man and I dug through the garage in our tub of glass recyclables hoping to find a tall baby food jar. No such luck. We did find a mason jar with a candy cain painted on it that wasn’t gonna come off easily. I ask for Jamin to put on his coat and shoes. I’m not sure if he was prompted by a defensive daddy but he looked up and me and finally said, “I’m sorry I broke your globe mamma.”

pieces to our old and new veggie tale snow globe

We ran round the corner to Fred’s and found a handled mason jar. We made it home with just enough time for him to help clean up the playroom while I finished ripping off the remaining glass from the old snow globe. I showed him my plan and after bath he sat down with me and we “fixed” the sentimentally old Christmas decoration. the way it went together so easily, you would have thought I knew what I was doing or something. LOL

working with my lil man on our special globe working on our special globe1st attempt at fixing out special globe making memories with our special globe

When we were finally finished we decided it was no longer “Mommy’s special snow globe,” now it was “Our Special Snow Globe”. And I like that a lot better! Plus, now it has a handle for easy, [hopefully] child-friendly, shakage.

Jamin and Mamma's Special Snow GlobeMommy's Special Snow Globe VS Our Special Snow Globe

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Fit Chips {nothing to do with fitness}

Do you have lots of littles? Or even just a single little who knows how to throw a fit about Every. Tiny. Minimal. Pointless. Non-life-threatening. Thing? Yeah, me too!
Fit Chip [has nothing to do with fitness] Strategy to minimize Fit-Throwing, tantrums, melt-downs, whatever you want to call them within families with lots of littles and Lots Of Fits

Currently, we have 6 littles under the age of 7 years old. Besides the tattling, fit-throwing is the most common offense in our home. While we are still using our "Rocking Behavior" chart to handle most of those, I decided today that FITS were gonna have to be treated like a sacred thing. Before you tell me that fits can't be limited, I once grounded my daughter from her imaginary friends during nap time. Absurdity in parenthood is my forte.

Do you ever catch yourself ignoring the screaming your child is doing because they've 'called wolf' too many times and it doesn't mean anything anymore? I often "change my name" for the same reason. In my opinion, fits should be reserved for worth-while circumstances. Like death.

You throw a Fit, you pay a Chip.

How to create and follow through with this system:

  • I created cups to hold each child's chips as well as a Fit Chip Collection tub. For about 5 minutes, I was going to use empty baby food jars but then..glass. So we ended up using an old frosting tub and 6 laundry detergent cups. Cut up index cards and packing tape took care of the labeling and I cut a giant hole in the lid for easy deposits.
  • Next came the budgeting and consequence/reward system: I used plastic gold treasure coins we already had. Every one of my homeschool kids got 3 chips and those who attend public school got 2 because they were here way less of the day.
  • For any reason, if a child screams, cries, hollers- as soon as it happens, they go pay me a chip, then we deal with the event {exception is actual blood is involved or assistance is needed for injury}. Our first day actually solved this problem pretty quickly. As soon as they thought about screaming because they didn't get the color plate they wanted they would laugh because they didn't want to give me a chip.
  • If they run out of chips, simply say, "NO! You can't afford to throw another fit. You're out of chips." If they continue, create consequences and follow through. For us, they will drop their clip on the "Rocking Behavior Chart".
  • If they have chips left at the end of the day they get to move their clip up for every chip they have meaning it pulls them out of consequences or pushes them into fun rewards.

Example 1: My children were playing in the backyard when Mags (7) came in screaming. Assuming she was hurt, but not badly because she was walking, I said, "Go pay me a chip." When she responded, "But I'm really hurt." I said, "That's what they're for! I'm sorry you wasted them. I hope you don't get hurt again." She went and paid me a chip and then we discussed how she got kicked in the head on the slide but was really trying to get someone in trouble for the accident.

Example 2: J the man (4) lost all his chips {because he's exhausted and threw fits about Everything} so he ended up falling off the behavior chart, lost his iPad time, movie, AND earned a slightly early bedtime. Although devastated, he's healthier for each of those consequences in my opinion. LOL

Example 3: Iz (5) has a chip remaining which earned her 5 extra minutes of iPad time tomorrow.

Example 4: El {almost 2} has no clue what's going on yet but when she threw a fit because I wouldn't give her the drink she screamed for, I told her "Nope. Pay me a chip. {snicker} Pulled a chip from her cup and said, "That just cost you a chip." She stopped and stared at me confused.

Example 5: M and P (4 and 6) thew fits about having to clean up toys and all the other children shook their heads and said, "Sorry. You have to go pay mamma a chip."

I don't know how long it will last but its fun and kinda working for now. What kinda of shenanigans have you pulled on your kids that get results?!

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Educational Tips for Using Halloween Candy And a Fun Ways to Get Rid of It!

Hello mamma with loot of Halloween candy you desperately need to make disappear! It's not even Thanksgiving/Christmas season yet and we are all gaining poundage by the minute with all this "fun sized" candy laying around. To start with, use the candy for fun "educational" tools. This will get this kids thinking of the candy as more than just for eating as a snack. Then I've got some ideas to help you sneak out that candy or to get the kids excited with you about all the "opportunities" you have to share it in fun ways.

Examples of HARD Halloween Candy that you can get rid of by using in Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Education Uses for Halloween Candy:

  • Math Sorting: by chocolate vs fruity, by type, by size, and then you can break them down into color for things like MnMs and Skittles.
  • Math Graphing: learning about graphing by creating lines of candy next to one another can create bar graphs and you can discuss greatest, least, same, most popular, grossest, weirdest, etc.
  • Science experiments: this can run from anything like "which melts fastest" to "which one dissolved in _____ the fastest". This will be fun but the candy still won't have to be eaten.
  • Language Lessons: alphabetical order according to name of candy, mad libs, compound words, etc.

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10 Ways to Rid The House of Halloween Candy:

  1. Operation Christmas Child Boxes: our number one way to "share" our bounty is by sorting out the hard, non-melty, non-chocolate candies for kids who don't have any candy much less an entire loot
  2. Cookies for Friends and Neighbors: MnM cookies, monster cookies, better than anything cake with candy toppings,
  3. Nursing Homes: make your candy a good excuse to go make some new friends who may need a visit
  4. Stockings: we've totally done this! Put back a little bag of each child's favorite candy and scatter it into their stocking.
  5. Birthday Party Pinata: smacking a pinata is always fun but can be expensive to stuff if you don't already have the candy laying around
  6. Party Favors: if your kids birthday {or a friends kids'} are near Halloween, make up some stuffed goody bags Full of candies.
  7. Neighbor Treats: holiday themed treats like Turkey cookies
  8. Work Candy Bowl: loose the pride and hose all your work friends by placing a bowl of goodies out that they can't resist.
  9. Waitress Tips: add to your generous cash tip for your waitress with a little goody pick-me-up for the night
  10. Bribery: forget the same and call it what it is, keep a few treats as school bribes for good, on-task, fast work.

I am SURE there are lots of other educational uses for the candy stash as well as creative ways to Get. Rid. Of. Candy. Boom! #mommied

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Practical Ways to Care for Orphans

Do you wanna love the orphans around you? Ever wonder how you can help even if you're not at the place to open your for foster care? Do you know a foster family? Wanna know how you can help them?

Helping Kids in Foster Care Doesn't Have to Be Hard - practical tips for non-foster parents in aiding those in the system

We have only been "open" as a foster home for 3 and 1/2 weeks. We have already had 5 different children placed with us in that time. I'm slowly learning things to help this new adventure flow more easily. I'm also learning that, in a lot of ways, there's no way to prepare for most things. No one can give you an exact scenario of what to get ready for or what the best way is to love a child who it hurting. I wanted to share a few things that we have been blessed by either by accident or by amazing friends we are surrounded by.

When a child comes into care, they often have nothing with them. The rush to get them to safety and or within healthy amounts of supervision is more important than grabbing their essentials much less their wardrobe or favorite toy. If they do happen to grab something it comes often comes in a trashbag OR a DHS worker hurries to buy them items and those come in bags from the store. These kids might be terrified, sad, angry, but they will all most likely be a bit confused.

There are some practical items that can help children in care:

BACKPACKS/Duffle Bags

Providing backpacks or duffle bags to care belongings in can help these children feel more stable and dignified from the start.

Toothbrushes/Paste

Offering toothbrushes that can be given to each child can make a child feel as though they were prepared-for and special as well as provide hygiene.

Stuffed Animals/Sleeping Buddies

A stuffed animal or small stuffed character to be used as a comfort item or sleeping buddy can make transition a little less scary.

Personal Water Bottles

A personal water bottle for each child can give each child belonging well beyond the practicality of nourishment.

If you think these simple items are something you could help provide for kids? Locate you local DCFS {Department of Children and Family Services office}, the local CALL {Children of AR Loved for a Lifetime}, or foster families you know personal and I'm sure they would love your support! Thanks for your interest in aiding children who are orphaned, even if for just a while. Thanks for learning more and can't wait to hear if you have stories of being someone's FFSS {Friends and Family Support System}. It really does take a village!

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