Happy Birthday Son – Here’s some Porn!

If you are a parent and you are not proactively protecting your child from what they have access to on their phones, iPods, iPads and computers then chances are your kids have been or are being exposed to soft or hard core porn.

It’s not necessarily because kids are looking for it although kids are curious. Today instead of having to look through a dictionary for dirty words they can google them and see lots of pictures along with the definition. I think many times exposure to porn starts as an accidental occurrences of pop up porn and then curiosity follows.

I’ve talked with many Christian parents and grandparents in the last year whose kids have been exposed to extremely graphic hard core porn – videos on youtube. Pictures on google. They were devastated to find such explicit material and to know their kids had been exposed to that.

This stuff is in the palms of our children and it’s only one click away. And while training our children to have a heart that loves and follows God is what will ultimately keep ourselves and our kids away from this junk we hardly have time to get through the training process without them being exposed to it so early.

That’s why I believe it’s imperative to have safeguards in place. There are a lot of ways to do that. We have found http://iparent.tv to be extremely helpful. They offer filters and guidelines for parents. In just a few minutes you can find out how Snapchat, Badoo, Instagram and other popular social media sites work. I bought the app for my phone because I want to know what’s out there and what kids are into these days. I’m not a social media expert but these people are and they know parents don’t have a lot of time to go research this stuff out so they have done it for us! It’s awesome. So worth the time in snooping around their site.

Don’t have the money to purchase a filter? No problem. There are good ole fashion, free ways like simply saying, “No” to your 4th grader who is begging for an iPhone with Youtube on it. Or maybe you feel your child is old enough for a phone but you don’t want access to the internet – simple, don’t install it. You have the power to take off those apps. Surely there will be push back on your kids end but it’s time to step up and be the parent in this area.

I hear over and over an attitude from parents that they have no choice in the matter when it comes to their kids devices. They feel powerless. Like it’s a domain that can’t be touched because it’s so personal and because they don’t understand how some of the apps work.

Two things to remember here:

1) Get educated. Use sites like the one I’m recommending (no kickbacks for me on this – I just believe in it) Go to a phone store of the Apple store and have a conversation to find out the questions you have about your child’s phone.

2) Remember this: Your child doesn’t have a right to privacy. I know that’s what you hear them say. But until your child turns 18 and doesn’t live under your roof they have NO right to privacy. Feel no guilt over this. It’s the way it should be. Yes, even if they are a teen and paying their own cell phone bill they have no privacy.

I believe with age should come more freedom and so while accountability is still in place – whether it’s a filter or a tracking app or you checking their phone – you can still grant more freedom and space with age so they can learn to navigate through mistakes and actually have the chance to exercise discipline in the area of guarding their eyes.

I feel very passionate about this stuff because I’ve talked to way too many people with kids my age and younger who have been exposed to such graphic sites. There are such deep consequences to this stuff and I don’t want to see a culture hindered from God’s work because of an addiction that led to failed relationships all because of a little 4×5 wide open device parents handed over with such excitement.

May God give us wisdom in training our kids in a culture that is rushing them into sexual perversion and immorality. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Let’s hang on to that and know that our God is more powerful than the images satan is trying to throw in our faces.

 

http://iparent.tv/happy-birthday-son-heres-some-porn/

 

 

 

 

http://lifeisabowlofwedgies.com/2015/01/27/2136/

When naughty lyrics provide teachable moments

Sophie and I were absolutely thrilled about our free tickets to the Figure Skating Competition Finale Night. A lady in our church asked if we wanted them on Sunday morning.

IMG_1228

Neither one of us had ever been to a Figuring Skating performance of any kind so we were both super excited. Randy was preaching Sunday night and Mitchell was at Youth Group so it was just me and Sophie driving to the “big downtown” all by ourselves. I was all proud of myself for making it to the coliseum at night and finding free parking…. granted it was in a scary, dark alley. It’s okay, I practiced my karate moves in case I needed to use them. I also have a back up safety tactic that’s incredibly weird but who knows how many times it’s saved my life. Okay, so I sometimes pull out my cell phone and have an out loud conversation to my “pretend policeman husband”. It goes like this, (*in really loud voice) “Really?!!!! So did you have to use your stun gun or your real gun on the criminal? Oh dear I hope he’ll be okay. Well I see your POLICE CAR now so so I’ll just get off the phone and talk to you in person since you’re right over there with all your weapons ready to protect anyone in danger.” This way if there are any creepers in the dark alley they’ll be scared off. I couldn’t use that tactic though because Sophie would’ve ratted me out. She’d be all, “Mom! Who are you talking to? Dad’s at church. I don’t see a police car anywhere in sight!!!! We’re the only people around right now.” I didn’t use that plan. And you know we were just fine as we sprinted to the coliseum hand in hand.

IMG_1246 IMG_1233

Sophie hooted and hollered (yes, from the South we are.) for each awesome move the skaters made. She followed the program closely to know who was skating next. Oh we clapped and yelled and delighted in each spectacular move these skaters made. At one point Sophie turned to me and said, “Mom, that skater is so in the moment.” The people in front of us laughed at her running commentary.

I have to admit that a few songs made me cringe and I hoped Sophie wasn’t paying much attention to the words. The words about taking your coat and dress off but leaving your hat on while skater girl is flinging off her coat and throwing herself on her skating partner in a seductive way. I’m still hopeful Sophie might be looking at the people around her by some odd chance. But no. She whipped that head of hers around and her eyes got as big as saucers and she said to me, “I am not clapping for her.” I know it’s not funny but ya’ll I could hardly keep myself from laughing. A few other lines caught her attention and she did the bug eyed thing and withheld her clappage.

Part of me was glad she noticed and picked up on some of these things and was offended. But then part of me was trying to figure out how to help her process it in such a way that she doesn’t come out being judgmental and feeling above that. She’s eight. So things are pretty black and white at her age. We’re laying ground work for modesty and purity even at this age. So when she sees or hears something that flies in the face of what we are training in it stands out like a sore thumb. But we want to see through grace filled eyes – not condemning eyes. A heart that is sensitive to impurity and a desire to be holy out of a love for the One who gave his life for us. Still learning and growing in these things.

It was a fabulous night filled with adventure, fun and even teachable moments.

Oh, and did I mention we had chocolate dip’n dots? Yep.

 

 

What spiritual training looks like for our family right now

 

Journey Bible Reading Plan 2015 - NO TREE

We are participating in a 40 day Bible Reading Plan with our church which started on Monday. We are reading in Proverbs and one other section of the Bible 5 days a week for 40 days. The kids are working through it as well with less verses than the adults. We have a Facebook page where we post the daily reading and then comment on what God showed us in our reading. I love how a first grader in our church family got a jump start on Sunday afternoon and set the example for us all with an eager heart; one that couldn’t wait until Day 1. Oh how precious!

IMAG2026

Mitchell and Sophie are getting used to the habit of getting up 15 minutes early to participate in daily devotions. Yes, this is new for us. Don’t go bashing the preacher’s family now. Seriously ya’ll I had a lady say to me recently, “I just figured your family sat around and read the Bible together for hours.” And she was so serious.

After cracking up to my-super-spirtual-self I said, “Well of course we do. In Greek and Hebrew”. And then we laughed together and I fessed up that the scene was not as she had conjured up in her head. She probably wouldn’t have said that if she heard our 13 year old say for the 100th time at the Sunday lunch table, “What’s that guys name that walked on water and fell?” I think Randy about fell out of his chair. Really? You couldn’t remember Paul’s name? Come on man! (ha ha)

In all seriousness we work hard at spiritual training in our home. We read God’s word and we pray together. We pray about ways we can serve others as a family and we memorize God’s word on occasions together. There are different ways we all read and study the Bible but sitting down together as a family of four in the mornings to read the Bible before school is not part of that routine. And so we are making sacrifices necessary to make this happen every morning before school. We’re only 3 days into this and it’s been awesome. To pray, read and talk about what God’s word is saying before we all walk out the door has been really neat.

But here’s the thing……

I don’t want to be a kill joy or anything but I know me and I know us. The awesomeness wares off in about 7 days and reality sets in. It gets harder to get up earlier. Attitudes fly over wet towels on the floor and not being ready on time. Running out of lunch materials and spilled cereal…..all leads to a failed effort in carving out time in the word.

And this is where I believe accountability makes the difference. Knowing there’s more people working towards the same goal. Even sharing their thoughts about their reading encourages me, us, to press on. To do the hard thing after the 7th and 8th day.

So I’m praying that we will press on with this new habit of training ourselves spiritually before school starts. That it won’t be a matter of checking off the box but it will be something we look forward to as a family. To hear from God individually and together. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter when we spend time in God’s word but that we spend time with him and in his word. But for us we are choosing to make this part of our morning routine for 40 days. And I truly believe God will change us and move in us as a result. And not only us but our church family. That excites me.

Linking with Holley, Jennifer and Kristin today.

 

My biggest blond moment -ever!

It was strange….these symptoms I was having the entire week of Christmas. I’d go to bed exhausted from working like a ninja-elf during the day and collapsing into bed after taking my nightly vitamins and acid reflux medicine. And then like clock work I’d wake up suddenly and all wide awakey at 1am ready to conquer the world. The first night I figured I’d fall back asleep but it didn’t happen. I tossed and turned until 5am. The next four nights the same thing happened but I could tell I wasn’t going to back to sleep. So I went downstairs and folded laundry, read books, prayed and wrapped presents. I wasn’t the slightest bit tired. It was just an overwhelming wide awake feeling of wanting to accomplish and get things done with a great ability to focus like I’ve never ever in my life experienced in the middle of the night.

This kept happening and I would go back to sleep around 6am and then get up at 8:00am feeling like Santa’s sleigh ran me over head first.

It was rather embarrassing to tell my 7o something (she’d kill me if I said it out loud) year old mother who was up visiting to excuse me while I went to take a nap during the day. The week of Christmas with family visiting is just not the time you want to start insomnia for the first time ever.

Just when I was about to conclude I was going full blown cray-cray it became crystal clear what was going on.

When I went to refill the weekly medicine containers I realized I had been taking our son’s ADD medicine every night before bed instead of my acid reflux medicine that looks almost identical. As soon as I realized it I yelled, “OH MY WORD!!!!” Sophie came running in and my Mom said, “What in the world?”

I explained what I had been doing all week long. After I overcame the sick feeling of needing the reach down my throat to remove all the wrong medicine I’d been taking I was able to laugh hysterically about it.   I can’t even describe the sense of relief I had. Thankfully I had not made the switch on both ends. Our son had not been taking my acid reflux medicine and he had been taking his ADD medicine during the day. Somehow I just put his medicine in both his and my medicine container. I think that’s the biggest blond moment of 2014 – possibly my entire life! I mean that’s just all around bad.

But it It gets worse.

Because I took a week’s worth of our son’s ADD medicine he ran out a week early. And then the pharmacy started asking questions when I asked for it to be refilled early. I was all like, “Uhhh yeah, well, I know it’s a little early but could we just still get it please?” Pharmacy boy is all, “Well, why are you out so early?” And I’m like trying to figure out what to say. Because confusing medicine for one day is understandable. But 5 whole days in a row? Really? Who does that? If I tell him what I did I’m either going to come across as an insane crazy lady or a street dealer. So what did I do? What any normal mature grown up would do. I hung up on the Doctor of Pharmacy pants. I was on hold and I panicked and I hung up. I am an adult and I hung up on another adult. Who does this?

So in my mind I quickly decided plan B would have to involve going the ole natural route for 5 days. My green tea, granola consuming friends would be oh so proud. Nothing red – not even red clothing. No sugar – including candy canes. No gluten, No caffeine, No nothing. Just nothing for 5 days because I was not going to rat myself out. But then I realized we’d never be able to pull that crazy off. We didn’t go natural. We went with left overs of a lower dose I had on hand. That I got off the street. Just Kidding. Another joke that’s not very funny. And it all worked out.

As far as getting back to a normal sleep schedule – 5 days of insomnia took about 10 days to get back into my normal rhythm of sleeping all night long. But I have never been so thankful for my full 8 hours of sleep. Not only that, I have a better understanding and sympathy for people who have insomnia.  I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

I gave some serious thought to the power of the medicine that our son is taking. It truly has an impact on the brain and mind – for sure it does! This can be a controversial subject and each parent has to decide what is best for their child who is struggling with the very real diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. We feel the best thing for our son is to medicate right now. It helps him tremendously. For others the natural route works and that’s awesome. Judging each other through the difficult waters of ADD is not what we need. But more like an understanding of each other.

So yeah, if I survived my biggest blond moment of the last 39 years (I like pretending I’m only 39) then I can do anything.

 

 

When apologies are hard but sweet

IMG_1192

Oh yes she did.

Sigh.

The problem when you’re a pastor’s kid is that sometimes you hear too much. Like the Sunday night a few weeks ago when her Pastor Daddy was talking about Father Christmas and St. Nicholas. The story has it that St. Nicholas cared for the needy and gave gifts to children. He later died but the tradition was picked up in many countries and instead of being called Father Christmas we call him Santa Claus today. This was  just a side note in a discussion on Christmas traditions. No Santa bashing or anything like that. So what is the one thing Sophie hears while she’s playing in the sound booth that night?

Santa’s dead.

We talked about it and there were some follow up conversations. We have always told our kids that other families choose to believe in Santa and that’s fine. We don’t want to ruin that for them and so we are not going to talk about Santa not being real to anyone else.

So when Sophie’s teacher mentioned that she recently shared her beliefs about Santa with a few of her friends I was a little surprised.

The car ride home from school was filled with tears and frustration. She hadn’t handled things well and she knew it. She was the one who initiated the conversation about Santa. There were insincere threats thrown out to not be her friend if she didn’t say that she believed Santa was real. She refused to say Santa was real. That’s also when she decided it was best to inform her friends that not only was he not real but that he was in fact dead. I have a feeling emphasis was added at the time it came out of her mouth.

We talked about how she could have handled things differently and we prayed for wisdom to know what to do next. Then she wrote two apology notes. Not for not believing in Santa. But for how she used her words that day.

Apology notes in hand and heart pounding hard this morning she walked out the door and said, “Mom, I hope they’ll still be my friend.”

I had no doubt they would be. They’re sweet girls and they’re all good friends. But I looked her in the eyes and said, “Honey, you have done what you need to do to make things right with God and your friends. And now you have to leave it in God’s hands. You aren’t responsible for how they will respond. Only how you respond. Now go and be a good friend today and choose your words wisely.”

I have to admit when I showed Randy the note he all but busted a rib laughing. I gave him no context of what had happened that day. Just handed him the note. We both had a good laugh together but then had to pull it together so he could go and talk to Sophie as well. Oh my goodness. The joys of parenting, right?!

** Update: Sophie came home and was more than pleased to announce that her friends accepted her apology and gave her a hug.  I couldn’t have been more happy for her.

And we both were reminded today that a sincere apology goes a long way and forgiveness sure is sweet when we choose to accept it.

Linking up with Jennifer, Holley and Kristen today at the following sites.

   152 Insights to My Soul

 

 

Adoption – “a little bit sad and a lot a bit glad”

I love my husband for writing this post because he’d rather have his nose hairs plucked than sit down and write anything longer than a text message. But in this post he shares openly what we are experiencing in our household right now in terms of adoption issues. I started the post but knew my heart was too raw and vulnerable to write without his input. I am thankful he took over for me. 

In our house adoption is awesome. We love adoption. Our family is designed by God through adoption. We celebrate adoption. It’s not something we talk about all the time, but we don’t run from the topic in any way. We are parents who have adopted. Our children have been adopted. They know about it because we started telling them their adoption story from the time we were rocking them to sleep before they could walk or talk. But adoption can be, in our son’s word……complicated.

Adoption is beautiful. Moses was adopted. Eli was adopted. Jesus was adopted. Hey, Steve Jobs was adopted. And if you are a Christian, Ephesians chapter one tells us you are adopted too! But as beautiful as it is, it is also a complex issue with complex emotions. Let’s face it, it is wonderful but it is not natural. Mixed in the beauty of being chosen and intentional love there is the experience of loss.

In our home we have been talking about how adoption is “a little bit sad and a lot a bit glad.” The challenge for us as parents is that while we love and delight in the adoption of our children and we have a genuine love and sense of “family” in our family we don’t want to deny the pain of loss that our children do and will feel. While they have gained what we like to think as awesome parents they still have undeniably lost a connection with their birth parents. That loss is deep and primal. There is a temptation to feel a bit rejected when they grieve their loss (“but aren’t we enough parents to make you not sad about that?”) but that is not fair to them. On top of that, to not give them the freedom to grieve their loss robs them of the dignity of processing the whole complexity of the issue. See, I told you it was complicated.

We have been talking about these issues with our son. Our daughter has not quite matured to the point of tackling these issues, but our son is being confronted with them through different avenues. One avenue is from a direction that we should have seen coming but we were blindsided by it nonetheless: school curriculum. Of course they would talk about genetics and inherited traits in life science, we just didn’t anticipate it. So our son is faced with the task of listing the characteristic he inherited from his birth parents. His conclusion is that he doesn’t have any, but that’s not right. We have to talk through how he does have them, we just don’t know what they are. That is a loss for him. Then there is the kids in his class asking him “what did you do to make your parents not want you?” That cuts really deep. The follow up questions of “did your mom do drugs, that would explain a lot” followed by conspiratorial laughter of how funny the inside joke is piles a lot of weight on his shoulders. And then there is the natural internal questions that comes to his mind in his quiet moments of “I wonder what she looks like?”, “I wonder what her voice sounds like?, “I wonder if she would like me?”.

These are heavy and painful questions, but we are so glad to be talking about them now rather than when he is 23 and on his own. It’s hard but I think it’s healthy.

Everybody has their “stuff”. This is just our “stuff.” To not do the hard work of working through your stuff is a recipe for disfunction and eventual destruction. The crazy part is that, like all parents, we have never gone through this before. We feel so out of our depth but that is where the guidance of the Holy Spirit is so necessary and so hope filling. We don’t have the wisdom to know how to deal with this but God gives wisdom to all who ask for it (“please, please, please God…more wisdom!).

I love adoption. My home is crafted by God through it. I couldn’t imagine not having the exact children we have which wouldn’t happen outside of adoption. My children are exactly where God wants them to be. But one of the most interesting things is how the complexities of adoption cause each one of us in our family to lean into God to make sense of things. Well, what else would you want?

Linking today with: Jen andLaura

My “word” could be dangerous if I’m not careful

Ya know, I really thought my “word for the year” was going to have to be “Daggum” for a while because I could not come up with just one word. I’m noticing I’m not the only one who is having a hard time narrowing it down to just one word and I find a little comfort in that.

But after sitting down and praying and looking over the last few sermons that our amazingly smokin’ hot pastor preached I settled in on a word today.

 “Strategic” 

Making the best use of my time. Having long term and short term goals and a means to reach them. Not just flying by the seat of my britches which is sort of fun sometimes but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t accomplish quite as much.

My Bible’s commentary note on Ephesians 5:15 -17 says, “The foolish person has no strategy for life and misses opportunities to live for God in an evil environment.”

I also love this verse in Colossians 4:5-6. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

This verse is another reminder of making the most of the opportunities before us each day. And also emphasizes the importance of wisdom in acting towards unbelievers. ie: Don’t be a Christian jerk.

My desire for 2015 is to lead a Spirit-led life. One in which I have prayerful strategies in place for my own personal goals and also to point others to Jesus. I feel Him moving in my heart and impressing on me some strategic plans in growing my faith and bringing others along with me.

The dangers for me in this word is that I have the potential to be strategic in my own effort without seeking God’s face in the matter. You know, just whipping out a notebook and writing down a million ideas. Talking about those ideas with the appropriate powers to be and then lining up all the details to make it happen. But that’s not the kind of strategy I’m going for. I desire Spirit-led Strategy. I want to submit to the Spirt of God and when He trumps the strategy and plans I thought were the right ones, in humility, I want to lean into His ways and plans for me. To listen and hear from Him but to also have a strategy and plan for life as the Scripture tells me to do.

Do you have a word for the year? If so, what is it? I would love to pray that word over you for 2015 and would love for you to pray that God will help me be Spirit-led Strategic this year.

 

Celebration of Influence

images

I love taking time to think through who has influenced me over the past year. While things and circumstances influence us many times I’m finding that it is usually people God puts in my path that have the most influence outside of His word and His Spirit. Here’s just a few of the people (outside of my family) I’m thankful for that have had an influence on me this past year.

My friend who got saved in January 2014 – she has helped me grow by asking a million questions about faith, God and her Bible. Oh my word it was the most refreshing year of discipleship I’ve ever had in my life. Her faith has inspired me and grown my own faith. I love how that happens – it does not matter how long the Spirit of God has been working in your life it just matters that He is working in your life. Because His power at work has influence on other people. I don’t care if it’s been one day of walking with Him. I’m not saying go grab a pulpit and start slinging sweat or anything but I am saying never ever underestimate the power of the Spirit of God working inside you and how it impacts others.

Our Associate Pastor’s Wife – she is an older-than-me woman in my life who has prayed for me, encouraged me and held me accountable in certain areas of my life. She has extended such grace to me and has come along side me to serve and encourage others as well. She and her husband have been one of the greatest gifts to me and Randy in 2014. We thank God for their influence on us and others.

Beth Moore – she and I …..we be besties. Just Kidding. She has no clue who I am but she makes me feel like we’ve had coffee every morning for the last year. I’ve really been influenced this year by her study in I and II Thessalonians. I learned some amazing things through her teaching of Thess. And as I look back on things that influenced me in 2014 I really have to say she did even though she’s never laid eyes on me. I know she has prayed for me and all the other recipients of her studies. I feel that strong connection that only prayer and the Spirit can bring. So thanks Beth! I’ll be texting you later today to see when we can grab that next cup of coffee. Ha!

Have you taken the time to look back on who God has used in your life this past year? I’d encourage you to do so. And then let them know. A step beyond that would be to sit down and think of the people you have influenced the past year. Some you won’t even realize you’ve influenced but hopefully there will be some people you have intentionally tried to influence. If not, consider making 2015 a year in which you intentionally influence somebody for the Kingdom. A neighbor? A coworker? Start with prayer and just see how God will bring people into your path for His glory.

Make 2015 a year of intentionality and influence!

 

 

 

 

10 things I believe going into 2015

images

  • I believe prayer is powerful and a tool God uses on a daily basis
  • I believe there is One true God and that He is worth following
  • I believe that honesty in all things goes a very long way
  • I believe that God is all the way good and all the time good
  • It is what I believe to be true of God that enables me to go through the hard things in life without becoming overwhelmed with fear and discouragement
  • I believe that laughter is good for the soul and God given
  • I believe that the community of believers (church life both in and out of church) is a critical part of individual spiritual growth
  • I believe God has plans for His children and that we do not have the power to thwart his plans.
  • I believe there are natural and supernatural consequences to sin
  • I believe that anything is possible with God

I enter 2015 asking God to keep these things deep in my heart and not just in my head. Because it’s one thing to write what you know in your head but it’s another thing to walk it out. I don’t know what 2015 holds for my family. Could I be like our two dear friends who lost spouses suddenly and unexpectedly? Will God’s plans in 2015 for me and my family involve major sickness or grief? Could it involve loss? All I know is that what I believe to be true of God impacts everything I approach and everything that comes my way unexpectedly.

So what are you choosing to believe in 2015? Would love to hear a few things from your heart as well. Oh go ahead and post a comment.