Two Tiaras and a Sword

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

This week I am thankful for...

*Relaxed summer evenings on the porch swing with my man.

*The fact that a Barbie blow-up pool makes me the "Greatest Mommy in the World"

*Kittens playing on the front porch.

*Kids playing basketball in the driveway.

*Ice cream and fudge with friends.

*Saturday mornings.

*Hot pizza with stringy melted cheese.

*Awesome times with our church teens.

*Helpers for our Spaghetti dinner.

*Blueberries. Yum!

*A new outfit.

*Kids that enjoy one another's company (most of the time).

*Friends and family who encourage me.

*The new online Bible Study I'm doing.

*God's grace, and mercy.

*Helping hands to do household chores.

Take a second to think of some things you are thankful for. Then give thanks to the Lord for ALL of His blessings! Have a happy, Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Raise a Societal Menace: Part 3

And here are the final three.  Hopefully you've been reminded of something you already knew, and have just been a little slack on lately.  Or maybe you have learned something new.  But my prayer is that through this little series, you have been inspired to dig in and be a parent that raises godly children that stand out in a crowd because of their character and strength.

7. Proclaim, in front of them, that they are right, by always taking their side against the authority figures in their lives, even if your child is wrong. They should never be told they are wrong, or corrected for wrong doing, because that is terrible for their self esteem. This way they learn that they can do ANYTHING, and you will be there to help them out of the consequences of their actions.

*Or, you could teach them that there will come a day, when you won't be able to help, and your child will have to face the consequences of their behavior. How much better for them to learn by facing small consequences for small wrongs, than by facing a judge to find out the consequences for their big wrongs. You could also take this opportunity to teach them that EVERYONE is wrong sometimes. And when we are wrong, we show strength of character by admitting we were wrong, and facing the consequences. This settles the matter and allows your child to move on without guilt. Maybe your child was right, and the authority figure was wrong (because EVERYONE is wrong sometimes), you help your child know that you understand that what happened may not have been fair, but they can still learn and grow and become stronger through the experience. This will not be the only time they are ever wronged in their lifetime. Do not allow this to make them bitter, but use it as a great opportunity to teach true forgiveness.

8. Make everything as easy as possible for them. Do not let anyone challenge them, or push them to try to achieve higher goals. They might not be able reach those goals, and this too would damage their self esteem. Why make them work for and earn self esteem, when it can be handed to them on a silver platter?

*Or, you can teach them that "even a child is known by his doings". And people, no matter what they say, know if your child is worthy of the praise given them or not. Others see and know just how hard our children work, or don't work.  And if we allow our children to be challenged and pushed, yes, there are times they will fail.  Dealing with failure is an important part of life.  But they will also succeed at times and learn that they can actually achieve far more than maybe they even dreamed.   As a parent, it is your responsibility to recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of your child. Then help them capitalize on their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. If you don't help them work on their weaknesses in the security of your home, know that their peers will point out their weakness, and they won't be nearly as kind as you would be. So much better for your child to learn from your loving caring prospective. 

9. Let them have their fill of whatever they want to watch on television, or at the movies. Let the play whatever video games they want to play, for as long as they want. Let them listen to any radio station they choose, especially through headphones, so you don't know what they are listening to. Let them read any book or magazine they can get their hands on no matter the content, because after all, reading is good for them isn't it? But don't push them to read their Bibles or pray, because it is important that they choose to make religion their own. Not just accept it because you told them to.

*Or, realize that Satan capitalizes on every chance he gets to worm into the minds and hearts of our children through their eye and ear gates: what they see and hear. What may seem like an innocent modern day movie of an old classic fairy tale, could actually be Satan's way of introducing your teen to the occult and witchcraft. Those games your child is playing where he shoots people, and then comes to the dinner table and eats dinner with the family, may be Satan's way of desensitizing him to violence. The songs your child listens to, fill their head with Satan's agendas like, sex, violence, murder, vengeance, anger, and hatred. The books your daughter is reading, may be Satan's way of teaching her she is nothing if she doesn't date, and give herself away to the most popular high school jock. She may be getting way more information from those innocent books than you ever imagined. So you could be an active parent. Watch what they watch. Play what they play. Listen to what they listen to. Read what they read. Discuss these things with them in the light of Phil. 4:8.  Teach your children to be discerning. If you don't teach them discernment,it is like sending them into battle each day totally unarmed. Would you allow your children to join the army if they were told they would be given no defensive weapons? No, that would be crazy. Yet we daily send our children into a much more dangerous spiritual battle with absolutely no way of defending themselves. If it doesn't please the Lord, maybe they should not watch, listen to, play, or read it. Replace these things with media that is pleasing to the Lord. This is possible, but it takes time and effort. Use media as a way to teach your kids right and wrong. Hit the pause button, and ask your kids questions. Make them actively think about what they are watching, hearing, playing, not just sit passively and allow themselves to be indoctrinated by the enemy. I LOVE it when one of mine says, "I don't think we should watch this..." They are thinking for themselves about how what they are watching is affecting them!!! They are listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their heart!! They are acting on those promptings from the Holy Spirit!! They are getting it!! This is huge!! This thrills my heart!! But most importantly, DO encourage them to read the Bible and pray daily. Far from pushing this on them, it is what will draw them to Him, and make "religion" change from just a "religion" into a "relationship." How can you not have a relationship with someone that you talk to daily? How you can learn more and more about the God who love us unconditionally, and not be drawn to Him, and into the circle of that unconditional, everlasting love?
That they have their own personal relationship with the Lord, above and beyond just salvation is our goal. We want them to be saved, absolutely, but we do not want it to stop there. We want them to daily seek Him on their own. We want them to actively pursue, and deeply value their relationship with the God who created the universe, yet loves each one of us beyond our comprehension.

So, just a different way to discuss a heavy subject. Let's face it, being a parent is hard. And often what "feels" right to do is often wrong for our child. Bathe each day in prayer. Step back and pray for guidance in the middle of circumstances. Read Bible verses, and Biblically based books on parenting. Pick the brains of older wiser parents (if they have godly children) who have been there, done that, and can give you Biblically sound advice. Strive daily to raise godly kids, and God will be with you each step of the way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Raise a Societal Menace: Part 2

And's three more...

4. Anything that they have to work for is taboo. They are delicate creatures, and should not be forced to think or work harder than they want to. To make them do something they do not want to do is just plain cruel!

*Or you can teach them that life is full of hard work, and those that are not afraid to tackle it, will end up ahead in the game. The younger they are when they learn to do hard work, the better. You could also teach them that every job you've ever had included aspects that you did not want to do. But when it's your job, you can't just refuse to do it, "because you don't want to.". So, the sooner they learn this lesson as well, the easier it will be for them to take orders from authority figures in their life.

5. Allow them to make excuses, and talk back constantly. After all, what they have to it complaining, whining, or much more important than any advice, instruction, or constructive criticism another person may have to share with them. It is very important that their voice is heard!

*Or, you could teach them to respectfully state their case - no whining, complaining, yelling making excuses or talking back- then to respectfully accept the authority figure's decision on the matter. Whether they like it, or agree with it or not. Because they will not always agree with every decision made by their superiors, but they need to know how to deal with their emotions when they don't agree. Complaining, whining, yelling, making excuses, and talking back are not welcome in the work force today. Your child is just a toddler you say? What better time to start their training. By the time they are teenagers, they will stand out like shining stars against the background of all of their whiny, complaining peers.

6. Do not require that they always do their best. As long as they do something. Anything. It is better than doing nothing. So if they do half of the chore, or do it halfheartedly, at least they did that much. Making them do their best requires too much on their part, and yours for that matter.

*Or, you could require nothing less than their best in everything they do. Teaching them that the job they do, and the way they do it, reflects not only on them, but on the God they serve. Teach them that how they work, will be a part of their reputation. Teach them that everything they do should be done as if they were doing it not for a person, but for the Lord.

The last three coming soon...

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Raise a Societal Menace: Part 1

**Originally this was one blog...but when I finished it, I realized it was way too long.  I have a tendency to write long blogs.  So, I am breaking it into three.  Marc and I are far from perfect parents, but we do try our best to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The following are things we have seen and learned in dealing with our own children, and in watching and learning from other parents trying to raise godly kids as well. So, with that said, here are nine steps to raising a societal menace, and of course, a few tips on how not to :-).  Done in a tongue in cheek manner, because of course, none of us WANT to actually raise a child that is a menace to society.

1. Cater to their every whim...after all, they exist, therefore they deserve! By giving them everything they ever want, you teach them that there is no such thing as denial. They will come to expect the same treatment from other family members, friends, teachers, waiters, waitresses, sales clerks, future bosses, and anyone else providing them with any kind of service.

*Of course, you could choose to teach them that there are times when they can't, or for their own good shouldn't get their own way. Because after all, you are the parent that sees the broader picture. You as the parent might realize that after they have eaten so many sweets, another helping would not be good for them. So you teach them by telling them no. Or maybe it is something that they want to watch on television, that would be damaging to their spiritual life. So you as the parent, who has a more mature spiritual discernment, tell them that they can't watch it. They may not understand, but they don't have to. You have a God given authority to protect them.

2. Allow them to manipulate you, even when they are very young. This manipulation can come in various shapes and throwing tantrums until you give in, sulking or pouting, begging, sighing, crossing arms, rolling eyes, yelling, slamming doors, and in extreme cases even physical assault. Yes, allow them to manipulate you, and they quickly realize they are in control, and will use these forms of manipulation any time you dare to try to tell them, "No." They will also go on to try to manipulate all other authority figures in their lives.

*Or, you could make it extremely clear to the child that their manipulation techniques will not work, and will have the opposite effect. For example, the child wants a toy in the store. You tell the child no, for whatever reason. The child begins to try to manipulate you. You tell the child quietly and calmly, that you have already said no, and if they continue to (fill in with child's actions) then they will not only not get anything this trip to the store, but they won't get anything for the next two trips to the store either. Then put your money where your mouth is. It will only take a couple of times, for your child to know that you mean business. They will learn that you don't make deals. So the manipulation will end. At least for a while. They will lapse and try you from time to time. But each time, stick to your answer, and they will realize it's not worth it to try to manipulate you.  

3. Be a buffer between them and anything that might make them uncomfortable. They must not feel pain emotional, or physical, but if they do, be sure to let them know just how unfair the source of their pain is, and how they have been wronged.

*Or, you could teach them that life is not always fair, but God is always good. And that the trial they may be facing, is God working in their life to make them a stronger, better person. They might not make the best grades, so they become a little more responsible, and study a little (or a lot) harder. They may not be the most athletic, so they work hard after hours to hone their skills, and during the game they learn to contribute in other ways, like being a good sport, or encouraging their teammates. Maybe they can't be the star of the show, but they can learn to do the behind the scenes things that make the show possible.

So...there's the first three...Three more to come soon...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I want to be more I think I will take a few minutes each Thursday and reflect over the past week and some of the things I am thankful for:

*Beaches, and the chance to get to enjoy them every once in a while

*My niece and nephews, and the fact that even though they live far away and there is a significant age difference, they are still some of my children's best friends.

*Safety for family members and friends as they traveled this week

*Days in the summer where we have nothing that we HAVE to do

*Our church teens, and how we see them growing in their walk with the Lord

*My heavenly Father

*Earthly fathers that love the Lord, and impact our lives in such significant ways

*The reminder that often times the little "aggravations" in life, are avenues that lead us to the storehouse of God's greatest blessings

*No cavities for the two that had dentists appointments this week

*The book resale shop that has a HUGE Christian section


*the chance to help my daughter and a friend in need, all at the same time

Of course, that just scratches the surface of the MANY things I have to be thankful for this week...but these are just a few of prominent ones. Hope you too are encouraged to be thankful as well! Love you all, and hope you have a Thankful Thursday!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Daddy Day!!!!

I asked the kids to describe Marc in honor of Father's Day. Here is what they said...

My daddy is great and good. My favorite thing about Daddy is that he wrestles with me. I like to go to Wal-mart, and to the park with him. I love it when he makes me chocolate milk. I love to call him Handsome Guy, because he makes me chocolate milk when I call him that. He is hilarious. - The littlest princess, age 5

My daddy is loving, kind, gentle, funny, and outgoing. My favorite thing about him is that he takes us places like the movies and stuff. I like to go on vacations with him. He is a great daddy. - The oldest princess, age 13 (the reason for the title of this post...when she was little, I tried to get her to say "Happy Father's Day" to Marc, and she would say, Happy Daddy Day" every time)

My dad is loving, caring, tenderhearted, and helpful. I love to spend time with him. My favorite thing about Dad is his Christian attitude. I like to play the guitar with him. I love my dad. - the young prince, age 12

I would have to say that he is a wonderful father. He goes above and beyond more often than not. He is a great godly example to our children. He has no problem playing and acting silly with them. He is a really fun dad. But above all, he teaches our children to put God first, and to have a daily relationship with Him. We are so blessed as a family to have Marc as a husband, and father.

Happy Father's Day honey!!! We love you most!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Daddy's Dash

In honor of Father's Day, and my precious Daddy.

I heard a poem once entitled "The Dash", that really made me think. I copied a little part of it here. It is about a woman's life, but it can be applied to a man as well. I remember going to the graveside, and thinking about this poem, and the life of the wonderful man we were burying that day. Many people would pass that way after us, and maybe read his name, and dates, but as the poem states, it was the time in between, represented by the dash, that mattered the, if I may...some of the things that my Daddy's dash represented.

The baby of his family, who was really babied by his mother.

A young man who loved sports...esp. Basketball and track.

A young man who was a little mischievous. He had a pet flying squirrel. He would tie a string around his tail, and the other around a button on his shirt. Then he would put the squirrel in his shirt pocket, and go to school. He said that the squirrel would come out and sit on his shoulder during class.

A patriot. He served the country he loved, in the U.S. Air Force. He was quick to remember those who had served on Veteran's Day, and those who lost their lives for freedom on Memorial day. He had a favorite joke he liked to tell, when people found out that he had served in the Air Force. He would say, "Yes, I was a pilot." People would sound impressed, and then he would say, "They would tell me to go and pile this over there, and I would.". Then he would grin his wry grin, and wait for them to get it. He refused to fly after he got out of the Air Force, and never got into another airplane again. He was stationed overseas in France, when he got a telegram telling him that his own father had passed away. He did not get to attend the funeral.

A man who worked hard, and loved his family harder.

A faithful, patient, loving husband.

A Christian who loved God and his church. He helped teach Sunday School classes, and was on the board of trustees.  I remember him working hard to memorize whole chapters of the Bible, and keeping notebooks full of sermon notes.

A big kid, who had a huge heart, and a dry sense of humor.

A tenderhearted man. Although I only saw him cry on a couple of occasions. One being when my grandmother (his mother) passed away.

A man who loved music...he loved Southern Gospel and Bluegrass Gospel the most. He loved to play his harmonica. I loved to hear him play it. He bought my piano, and encouraged me through several years of lessons. I still remember sitting in his lap as a little girl with my ear leaning against his chest while he sang, "Church In the Wildwood". I also remember him bouncing me on his knee while he quoted a little poem he made up just for us.

A fantastic Daddy. He supported me, quietly, and with strength, in everything I was involved in. From dance recitals to parades, to football half time shows. He sent me to lessons for all of the above, and paid for many church, twirling, and band camps.

A wise man, of few words.  But when he spoke, people listened.

A fantastic Grandaddy (until it came time to change diapers).  He loved his grandchildren with all of his being.  He was always worried about their safety.  He was creative and playful with them.

A man who rarely got angry, but when he did, it was for a really good reason.

A humble man. A man of quiet, gentle strength. A man with integrity. A man who did right because it was right.  A man who kept his word.  A man who deserves so much more credit than a dash between two dates.  A man that I miss every day, and know because of his personal relationship with our Lord, that I will see again in heaven.

Robert Raymond Maddox
April 8, 1934 - Oct. 3, 2000

              The Dash

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
 © 1996 All Rights Reserved, Linda Ellis

I still do.

Sixteen years ago, I woke up excited and nervous.  It was the day!  The day every little girl dreams of.  The day that I was going to say those words..."I DO!".  I don't remember a whole lot about that morning...but I do remember being at the church, and sitting in the room where I was getting ready.  For some reason I was totally alone...looking in the mirror, and having a heart to heart with myself about whether or not I was doing the right thing.  Last minute cold feet maybe.  Knowing that the next step I took would be turning back.  Because I knew...this was not just a trial run.  This was for the rest of my life.

The fact that my mother acted more like she was attending my funeral than my wedding did NOT help.  We have laughed and said over the years that I could have married Superman, and she would not have been happy.  She just had a REALLY hard time letting me go.  In fact we watched the wedding video last year...and I was depressed after watching it.  So, we decided not to watch it again for, oh, probably another 15 years!

The good news is that in time, my mother came around, and loved him.  And the best news is that marriage to him has been greater than I could have even imagined.

He has been the BEST husband I could EVER ask for.  Perfect?  No.  But neither am I.  And I love him imperfections and all.  Just like he loves me.

He has been there for me through the deaths of both of my parents.  He has been there (going above and beyond during the bed rest months with our little prince) through the births of our three children.  He has been there through moves, and years of hearing my teaching stories.  He has been my hero on countless occasions.  Running to the rescue, when many men would not.  He helps me with the kids, and around the house.  He is my rock.  He is the spiritual leader in our family.  He leads in a loving way, not with an iron fist.  He is wise.  He is strong.  He is loving.  He is funny.  He is my best friend.  He is the man of my dreams!  He is MY prince.

I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I had given in to my "cold feet" moment on that day.  I just know that it would be far from as good as it has been the past sixteen years.

I am glad that God gave me the man that is perfect for ME.  I am glad that we started out right (see The Story of Us post), and have continued to follow God's will for our marriage, and our lives.  Again, it hasn't been perfect.  There have been tough times and trials.  But we held hands and faced them together.  And when we have disagreed, we agree to meet in the middle.

Sixteen years ago, when I said, "I DO!", our verse as a couple was Psalms 34:3 "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together."  My prayer is that we have done just that.  My prayer is that we will continue to do just that for MANY more years to come. 

After sixteen years, I still DO...Love and cherish the man of my dreams, and still DO want to spend the rest of my life glorifying the Lord with him.  I still do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Overflowing Heart

Okay, please indulge with me in a "proud mommy moment".

We were giving testimonies during the church service tonight. One man gave a testimony about my young prince, and his giving with a cheerful heart during the offering. He really does have a heart for the Lord and he often does give of his own money with a joyful spirit...tonight it was just noticed by someone else :-).

Then another man stood and told how my prince is always respectful and looks him in the eye when they speak. This too, thrilled my heart. We do our best to teach them...but we never can be sure when the rubber actually meets the road...I was excited to know that he is respectful even when I'm not watching.

Then yet another lady stood up and told about how when she was going through her Chemo treatments, my young prince would come to her and tell her that he was praying for her :-).

I was definitely a proud mommy!!! And it thrilled my heart for others to affirm my child in public like that. He is such a sensitive guy, and I feel like I've had to fuss at him quite a bit lately for different things. God knew that he needed some public praise. I have to say that I have been blessed beyond measure to have three great children. Tonight is my young prince's night, and I am PROUD to be his mommy.

Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.