Should I make my teenager go to church?

 Should I make my teenager go to church? 

This is a question I’ve been asked before and while I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer it I’ll try my best knowing I could be wrong and could change my views on this as I grow in wisdom and in parenting.

Let me paint the scenario based on conversations I’ve had with people.

You’re trying your best to raise your children in a way that points them to Jesus. Your kids may or may not have realized their need for Jesus and called on him to save them through a relationship with Christ.

Hang with me…..

For years you have attended church with said children in tow. Or perhaps you haven’t been going to church for various reasons but now you’re ready to attend.

But there’s just one problem…..

The kids.

They’re teenagers now and they give you major attitude about going to church. They won’t get out of bed on Sunday mornings. They argue and plead to stay home. It’s an all out struggle and you wonder if it’s worth battling.

So do you force them to go to church or do you pray like crazy they will just one day desire to go?

If I force them to go to church won’t they end up hating church and God? I certainly don’t want to be responsible for that.

These are common questions and very real scenarios.

Let me start by saying a word about the big picture of the situation – only God can put inside of us a desire to respond to him. We can’t force that heart response on anyone. It will always be a work of the Holy Spirit that draws our children (and us) to Him. We don’t have the power to turn anyone’s heart towards Jesus. And we can’t “mess up” God’s plan for us or our kids. This can either be totally terrifying or completely comforting. The more we understand who our God is the more comforting his sovereign control over all things, including our children’s spiritual growth, becomes to us. Of course we all have a free will and a sin nature that brings on natural and spiritual consequences that play into the mix of things. There’s a tension there and something we won’t completely understand until we get to heaven.

Knowing that God is ultimately the drawer of every soul to himself is also the fact that he has sovereignly placed us as our kids’ parents to guide and lead them towards Jesus Christ.

How will we steward that God-given role?

We’ve all heard it said before and it’s true – it’s got to start at home. Modeling faith at home is where it starts. Modeling what walking in the Spirit looks like. When we mess up we confess in humility and apologize. We model what it looks like to go to church not because we have to but because we get to. Allowing our kids to see us engage in Bible reading and prayer will help them see what it looks like to have a daily devotional time. Talking about how we see God at work while having dinner and in the carpool line and over ice cream reveals to our children that a desire for God doesn’t just show up on Sunday mornings. It’s a way of life that weaves itself through everything.

This is where it starts but even in starting here doesn’t guarantee our children/teens will desire to be in relationship with Jesus or want to go to church and participate in spiritual disciplines.

So what then? 

Disclaimer: I’m making an assumption you are attending a healthy church with healthy leadership and there’s no apparent reason for your child being resistant to church other than they “just don’t want to go”.  I would try to find out what they’re most resistant to – maybe you can understand where they’re coming from and offer guidance. Is that even possible with hormonal teenagers? I’m not sure. But try. If you need to root out a deeper issue going on that could be related to your church then make the time to check into that. Maybe your child deals with mental health issues or disabilities that make attending church (or other large group social settings) really hard. I’m not talking about that kind of a situation in this post. I’m talking about the grumpy teenager simply not wanting to go to church because they want to sleep in on a regular basis and declare it’s too boring to go to church anymore.

For me personally, I believe that attending church for Christ-following parents, falls under your household “way of life’s”. Every family has their “way of life’s” or their non-negotiables. In our house we don’t____________________ and in our house we will _______________________. They don’t have to be  written out on a cute chalkboard to realize you already have family values and “way of life’s” in place and at work in your family.

Make going to church one of them.

Even if my kid hates going to church and complains the whole way and looks mad the entire time while being there?

I think we let our kids know that part of living under our roof includes the privilege of attending church – even if they don’t see it that way.

Right now our tween and teenage kids like going to church. Do they have a choice in going? No, they don’t and it’s not because they’re “pastor’s kids.” It’s because as their parents we know how life-giving the local church can be and we don’t want to rob them of this.

Helping them form a habit of being involved in church now will hopefully direct their heart in such a way that they continue this privilege when they leave our home. I can only pray and ask God to do these things inside of them.

Our daughter is in that awkward stage of almost being old enough to go into the youth group but not quite. She’s still in the children’s ministry and she is so ready to be in the youth group she can hardly stand it. We’ve had some good conversations about her being a part of the group that she feels she’s ready to leave right now. We’ve had to work through some attitudes as she doesn’t always want to attend her age group activities. It’s not a reflection on the teachers or the program. It’s just where she is in her heart right now and I’ve seen so many other kids go through this at the 5th-6th grade level.

We let her stay in the adult service this past Sunday instead of going to her age group activity just as a one and done kind of thing. And of course she’s now begging to stay from here on out. But we’re not letting her. We acknowledge and validate that it’s hard being the oldest in a group and understand her wanting to move on but because church isn’t all about her or anyone one person but a community of people, we are telling her to respectfully stay where she’s at. She can still learn with a sweet attitude if she is willing while waiting for what’s around the corner and when given opportunities to step up and lead she can do that. And in the meantime I am praying that the Holy Spirit will help her be content where she is and that she’ll learn some neat things while being there.

But for now we will enforce what we feel is the right and best for her not necessarily having everything wrapped up in a cute box with a neatly tied bow. And we can only trust the outcome with our God who knows our desire for our kids to walk with him and love him.

I know that not everyone will agree with this method. I’m not saying it should be this way for everyone. Some would say as long as she’s getting instruction then let her stay in the service. But we are committed to her being a part of the group because we so believe in the God-designed concept of church community that if we let her bail then we’re teaching her that church is a self-serving buffet. You can pick and choose what you like best and attend. And while we don’t make our kids attend every single outing and event offered we do want them to be at the majority of the activities since they’re a part of the group. It’s easy for me to say this right now because they genuinely love their church and want to be there. I attribute this to the grace of God at work in them and to a church committed to serving and teaching well. But if we ever go through a stage where either of the kids don’t want to go to church just because they’re tired of it they will not have a choice in going as long as they live at home.

This is where finding a church that fits your family and your goals for a church is so important. Once you find a church, knowing that no church will be perfect, then decide to plug in and make attending a non-negotiable. You will be surprised at what God does in your life as well as the life of your kids even if they’re not convinced it’s all that great right now.

Lord – help us as Christian families to never give up on your brilliant plan of the local church community. When it gets hard and we want to check out and when our kids beg us to let them stay home will you help us push through the inconvenience of going. Help us to extend grace to ourselves and others when they need an occasional Sunday at home to regroup. Help us not to judge others when they don’t come but to look for ways to encourage other Christian families to join the community of believers so that we can all work towards a common goal of bringing you glory and taking steps closer to you and each other. We can’t do this without your help. And for any grumpy teenagers stubbornly refusing to attend church we ask you’d soften their hearts and until you do that give their parents wisdom in knowing how to handle their own personal situation. We ask you would give guidance in how to expose that teen to your word and your body of believers. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Finding our Rhythms as a Family

As in most families I’m seeing ours where we’ve established some unplanned but definitely a pattern of rhythms, or traditions you might say.

Our family is not necessarily “musical” like you might think a pastor’s family would be. That’s pretty much my fault all the way around because Randy, the hubs, has a great voice and can follow music well. Me on the other hand? Not so much. My worst nightmare was having to sing a scale for my teaching music teacher in college. She looked at me and said, “Let’s try that again.” We did. And we did it again. And again. Until she felt bad for me and simply checked it off as having completed it. I won’t remind you of the fact that I lip syncing my way through teen choir for four years in a row just so I could see that cute pastor’s kid that I was falling in love with.

So as you can see I bring nada to the music table. But now Sophie and Mitch can sing well and they enjoy music, each having their own style of music they prefer.

Over the last 7 years we have found out that our home has the perfect dance floor in the foyer. It’s wide and has room for tumbling and breakdancing (cue 80’s playlist…and another broken leg)

Some Friday nights we put on play list and go crazy breaking it down in the foyer. Nobody can take the dance out of me when the bass drops. I’m not saying it’s a pretty site or anything but I can’t help but move. What I didn’t realize until recently is that apparently when our front door is open at night with the front porch railing lights on and lights inside the house you can see everything from the street. We were at a recent community event and a lady came up to us and said, “Yeah, I saw your daughter just dancing away the other night as I drove by your house.” For reasons clearly stated we now make sure the front door is closed when spontaneous dance sessions break out in the foyer.

In the last few months our kids have faced some pretty basic but real nonetheless heart breaks: break ups, mean kid comments, making poor choices, etc. And there’s nothing better to lighten the mood after a listening ear and affirmation of the pain than to play some appropriate songs that speak a message. And even though we know sarcasm is not becoming I will admit we use it sometimes in our household. So when Mitchell’s girlfriend broke up with him the night we were decorating the Christmas tree we all had a good rallying together and expressing our sympathy. Just being there ya know. Then all of a sudden we eerily hear from the other room “Hello” by Adele start playing. Because you know it just seemed perfect. Sophie secretly decided it would be an appropriate song for the night. We all started laughing hysterically. Even Mitchell.

Fast forward to a rough day at school this week where some careless comments were slung around and aimed directly at the heart. Adding to the crummy day were injuries and dropping things and spilling stuff. Over dinner said victim shares what went on. Not much advice was shared in that moment just listening and validating, “yeah, that stinks.” Big brother and Dad may or may not have devised a hypothetical torture plan. And then suddenly out of nowhere we hear “Bad Day” start to blare. Randy snuck that one in on us. It was time for comic relief. We all laughed and then it led to more songs. In fact Randy dedicated one song he sang in his head. No words came out of his mouth but he head-sang the entire “Fight Song”. It was an epic, you-just-had-to-be-there, moment that had us cracking up and quite alarmed all at the same time.

We’ve been married for 24 years and my man still won’t dance with me. I try about twice a year to get him to but still he won’t do it. Last night I tried again. He wouldn’t do it so what did Sophie decide to play? Well of course “Shut up and dance” It brought the roof down – on all four of us at the kitchen table.

So yeah, I’m seeing the rhythm of music playing out in our household on tough days and even good days where you just need to “C-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e Good Times….” Come on!

 

On Kissing Santa’s Armpit…

Our teenage son is getting to write an essay every time he gets a not-s0-great report from the Orthodontist ie: not wearing his rubber bands. He’s also getting the opportunity to save his money to start paying for any Ortho visits that don’t produce a good report.

What I love about Mitchell is his easy going disposition even when facing opposition. His humor keeps us going around here. Today I’m sharing with you Mitchell’s response, with his permission, to two of his recent essays on why wearing his rubber bands and brushing his teeth are important.

“Yesterday I went to the orthodontist. They told me to wear my rubber bands more. I need to find a way to remember to wear them more. One good way to remember them would be to tell myself repeatedly in the morning and after I eat to put them in. Another way to remember them would be to put them around my pinky finger after I take them out, so that the blood circulation will be cut out, ad once i realize how numb my fingers are, and how close they are to falling off, I’ll be like wanting to put them back in that instant. I could also write a note on my hand. Or I could write a sticky note and put it on my computer. If I had a phone (which I don’t yet) I could just set a reminding notification that will scare me into wearing them. I would rather kiss santa’s armpit than to get crooked teeth. M m I ain’t doing it.”

Would rather kiss Santa’s armpit? Really? I’m not even sure it’s worth that dude!

And another one he wrote the other day….. (I’m not sure how many essays it will take)

“…I also got a new color of bands. It used to be green, but now I got blue. If I brush more (which I’m doing just fine on right now) I will also get to keep the color of my teeth. They are a vibrant white right now, I do not want them to turn yellow. I would also have to pay for half of my appointments. (good heavens) I would rather wear four rows of these rubber bands than to get yellow spots on my teeth. Nooooooooooooooooo way!!!!!!!! I ain’t doing it.”

I think some of his inspirational quotes are coming from this hilarious chick that we can’t seem to get enough of right now. We laugh so hard at her videos. Oh muh-word I love her so much.

If you have any tricks of the trade on braces, bands and brushing let us know – Mitchell would be so appreciative.

 

Much needed laughter

You know sometimes you just gotta rare back and laugh your head off. And last night we got to do just that as a family. Nothing fancy for dinner but we used our Christmas china and ate in the dining room.

After dinner we tried to play a new to us board game – “Clue”. Whatever! That game was so stinking hard to figure out that we played our own version of it that lasted about 2.5 minutes. Together we  have 11 years of college education and neither of us could figure it out. We decided Uno would be the game of choice so we ditched Clue and grabbed the cards.

Well somewhere along the way we got slap happy crazy and Randy and I started being slightly funny-naughty in front of the kids and poor Mitch and Sophie were in shock. We decided for the good of everyone involved we needed to play the quiet game which brought on a whole new level of silent  insanity.

Still deciding to play Uno during the silent treatment game Randy gets to where he only has one card left and is totally screwed because if she says, “Uno!” he loses the quiet game but if he doesn’t say it he has to draw a card and can’t win at Uno. So the game went on for an eternity with nobody willing to win at the cost of losing the quiet game. For an extremely loud family this was pure torture. And it just wouldn’t end.

Randy finally concluded the game by yelling, “I’m DONE!!”

I thought the perfect way to end the night would be to color a beautifully sketched Christmas design. I had made copies of a Christmas tree made up of 25 Christmas ornament balls.

We’re at that incredibly immature stage with the kids that if you say the word balls in any context you get the side eye and snort-laugh. For some reason I  thought with it being in reference to a Christmas, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” coloring page that this would be an exception. Like there might be a holy reverence that would allow my family to skip over the fact that I just said with all the glee inside of me, “Let’s color some Christmas balls you guys!”

But oh no. Of course not. Everyone busted out laughing and made fun of my choice of words. In addition nobody, I say nobody, would color with me.

Well we certainly enjoyed our family time while it lasted and then we all scattered among the house – Randy watching football, Sophie watching a Hallmark Christmas movie and Mitchell playing a video game and me… coloring my Christmas balls ornaments alone in the dining room.

And I rare back in laughter at the reality of this situation. It’s just us and I love us.

 

Stooping low in study techniques

Studying doesn’t come super easy for two of our four family members so I’m very involved in helping with study aids for heavier subjects that include a lot of information. It’s such a balance in trying to help and give direction but not be a crutch. So I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to study material with one of my kids. I thought I’d share a few of them here and ask what you have found helpful.

The newest method I’ve found is an app that has helped in memorizing minutia detailed facts that all run together after the 120th term ending in ology. It’s called smule (auto rap). I have the free version so you are limited on the songs you choose but it’s seriously so much fun and hilarious. When Mitchell is on memorization overload we resort to the rap app. Disclaimer: some of the songs look like they may be trashy from thumbnail pics so don’t pick those. Duh. But “turkey burgers” is awesome and fun. I have no clue if that song is bad in real life or if it’s even a song in real life. It has a great beat and makes getting down those last facts easier that just don’t seem to cram into either side of the brain hemisphere. You just pick your song and record what you want to say and then it turns it into a rap for you in like 1 second. Totally awesome. We have never forgotten what dehydration synthesis and amino acids are thanks to Smule. It’s not always pretty but the information gets stuck in the brain forever and ever. We still go around rapping one of the biochemistry terms of late.

Flip Quiz – I thankful for the teacher who introduced me to flip quiz a few years ago. It’s a fabulous help with studying lots of information. Some teachers make their own flip quizzes which is way cool but you can create your own flip quiz as well.

Old Fashion Flash Cards – yep, old school index cards with term and definition on opposite sides. Adding illustrations are the best because you just can’t get some visuals out of your head no matter how hard you try. Here’s a few of our sassy ones.

Sophie jumped on the bandwagon and helped with an illustration of what she thought cellular respiration would look like. Oh dear. Um yeah. Not sure exactly about all that.

Yeah, so with exams around the corner you can count on Turkey Burgers at our house – but not in the form of healthy eating.

Do you have any tried and true study methods? Would love to hear them! 

 

 

 

 

 

A great view on SmartPhones and Kids by Craig Gross

 

(I’m on a mass email list from Craig Gross and his ministry and received this email today. I copied and pasted since there is no blog post to the same information. All Craig’s social media contact information is in this post so you can decide to follow him if you want. He’s been helpful in guiding our family in some of our decisions and I think you might find his stuff good and helpful as well.)

Hi Melody,I got this email today.

I get this at least once a month, so thought I would just post it (and note, this is exactly what was written):

“My 11-year old daughter wants a phone and my Ex-wife wants her to get one. Only 26% of kids her age have one and they’re mostly all rich kids in Orange County.

I wanna find ways to protect her from seeing big c**ks as much as possible.

Help me Craig!”

Here is my response to this email and so many others. (It’s also what I have done with my kids, who are 11 and 14 years old):

1. First of all, if you are worried about your kids having an emergency and not having a phone, then head down to Walmart or 7-Eleven and get a pay as you go flip phone. Those will work great if your kids need to call you.

You can’t use the “My kids needs a smartphone” line because of emergencies.Not needed.

2. If you want to get your kids an iPhone or Android, don’t ever give it to your pre-teen or better yet 9-year old out of the box as it comes from the store.

3. Don’t give your kids a device you are unfamiliar with and don’t know how to use yourself.

4. Don’t allow your kids to play an app, watch a movie or binge on a show on Netflix that you are unfamiliar or unaware of.

5. Parents still must be parents and that is a hard one, I know.

Most parents are clueless and cave into the pressure from their kids. Then kids get into trouble on devices because they are acting like kids, but playing with devices designed for adults.

6. A lot of parents have an old iPhone 4 or 5 sitting in their junk drawer and when the times comes will give that one to their kid. That is an okay idea, but you need to keep reading.

iPhones and Androids have parental control settings built into the phone.

Use these before you try and buy an app or search for another option. The best options are now built into the phone.

For iPhones head to Settings -> General -> Restrictions and then enable restrictions with a four digit passcode that you don’t give to your kid. This puts you in charge.

Both my kids have phones and have these restrictions:

– I have turned Safari OFF – I don’t need or want them searching the web or wasting time online with their phone. They can use the computer at home to do that.

– Installing Apps turned OFF – I don’t allow them access to the iTunes store to purchase or get free waste-of-time apps. If they want something, I look at it and if I allow, I will enter the passcode and download.

My rule is they can have productive apps but only 3 games on their phones. I am not going to have my kids playing games on a phone all day. I can’t stand grown ass men and women playing candy crush or words with friends on their devices all day long. WASTE OF TIME!

Whenever I board a plane with my kids, I have them look at the first class section and ask them to find a person in the first class that is on their phone playing games. Never. Successful people today don’t waste time playing these games.

Go to the middle seat in the back of the plane and see that dude who is 35 playing some Game of War game. I don’t want my kids to be that guy/girl. It’s not about the money you make, but the time you waste with your life.

Worse than that, people on their phones all day long can’t talk to people in person.

I don’t need my kids growing up with their heads in a screen and not experiencing the life and people in front of them.

I wrote some more reasons why I don’t let me kids play on their phones when their friends are over here. You can read that HERE.

– Deleting Apps turned OFF – I don’t let me kids delete things on their phones. This applies to text messages, emails, and apps. This is more of a life lesson for kids online.

Snapchat and Instagram stories tell you things delete in 24 hours, but ask Draymond Green if you can still see his penis online? The internet keeps a history, and so does your Ex-boyfriend or future employers.

Everything you do online doesn’t disappear.

Even Hillary Clinton couldn’t delete her emails forever yet kids are growing up thinking things they do will just disappear or be deleted. That kind of thinking is the furthermost thing from the truth.

If my kids send a text message or email to a friend, my kids know that they better be okay with the whole school seeing it because nothing is private.

– No Social Media apps on their phones – This could be old school. That’s okay. I don’t need my kids on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or anything else right now.

Over time I will loosen up there, but how many stories do I hear every day of kids and adults making stupid decisions on social and wasting a ton of time?

If my kids want to get on social, they do it on my phone. I also am aware of who they follow and activities on their accounts. When we are on a trip, I will allow my 14-year old to download and post updates and I have started to allow more access to Instagram with him at the house.

As far as your home goes. There is one device I recommend to anyone with kids still at home. It is called CIRCLE. You can read all about it HERE. It will cost you a one-time fee of $99 and it is amazing!

Last thing, Check out www.xxxchurch.com/parents. You can get a free book I wrote called Touchy Subjects and read more about things you might not know anything about. If you are a pastor and want to host a parents night at your church, we have a free video available for download HERE.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am doing a parents talk at Real Life Church in Santa Clarita at 2 pm on May 21st. If you are close, come on out.

That’s all I’ve got!

Don’t get overwhelmed, it’s all doable, you just have to be willing to jump in.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CIRCLE
Craig Gross
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How we’re handling The Shack and Beauty & The Beast as a family.

Hi friends – this post is to share where we’re coming from on two movies Christians are talking about right now. We might land in different places on one or both of the topics and it’s okay to do that. It’s the beauty of respect within community.

I read the Shack when it first came out but have not seen the movie. I’ve watched a few interviews with the author to better understand where he’s coming from. The story is fiction. My main concern with this book/movie is that some people are watching it and drawing conclusions about God based on this author’s representation. And his representation is heretical. On numerous accounts. One overriding theme is Universalism. Basically that all roads lead to God and that Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God. The author asserts there is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because all people will make it to heaven. The real heresy of the book/movie is modalism in the portrayal of God.

My husband told me in talking about these things, “I’ve always seen the problem with the Shack being a (probably) good guy trying to help God out by taking it upon himself to explain God better to people. The problem is you have to be very careful to line your explanations up with Scripture.”

This is an author who claims to be a Christian (not saying he isn’t) writing a fiction story but supposedly with truths based on scripture and to help people have a better understanding of God. I think as Christians we have to be extremely careful in the things we portray as truth – even in fiction stories. Some argue that people aren’t walking away with a new understanding of God as a result of this movie. I disagree. I think it is shaping people’s thoughts about God.

There’s a huge danger in forming our own thoughts about who God is. We don’t get to do that as God’s creation. He is our Creator and He tells us who he is all through the Bible. It’s right in front of us. I believe we experience our Creator God in different ways and explaining that to others might be difficult at times. But God will never contradict his nature and who he says he is in scripture. Never. And I believe the Shack, although fiction, is taking dangerous steps in helping people form an idea of God that isn’t true. This is what modern day idolatry looks like.

With this said I personally am not opposed to seeing the movie. In fact I thought about taking our teenage son who is becoming more grounded in his Christian worldview to see the movie and discuss afterwards the areas of heresy. It would be good practice in discerning truth from heresy. However I’m not sure the time is right. I think there’s a time to purposefully examine heresy with the intent of being able to recognize and discern truth….and for the purpose of knowing what our world is hearing and swallowing. But it can be a slippery slope (a good ole’ churchy term) to go down that path. It should come at a time when there are solid biblical principles already established and rooted in ones soul and a deep love for Christ. I thank God that our son and daughter are being exposed to excellent Biblical training at home, at school,  in church and youth group. I’m seeing the fruit of this in their life right now. They have a desire to know, love and follow Jesus but they are both still tender in the faith. As for me and Randy – we don’t have a desire to watch the movie. We’re both afraid we might throw up in our popcorn bucket. Sorry for that visual.

So why are we not going to see the Shack but we are going to see Beauty and the Beast – The Disney movie with the first gay character in it? Here’s why. Disney has never claimed to be a Christian company producing Christian movies with Christian themes. They represent the world and the world is not concerned with portraying Biblical truths. We are exposed to worldly, non-biblical truths every single day unless we live under a rock. We put money towards secular establishments every single day. To see a movie with a gay character in it is not condoning or supporting homosexuality. And I don’t think it’s dangerous because having a continual conversation with our kids about a godly lifestyle and a Christian worldview should be happening all the time.

So how are we handling this with our kids? We’re talking about it. Talking about the fact that we’re disappointed that Disney is choosing a gay character in Beauty and the Beast. But also that we can’t expect the world to act like Christians. We have ongoing discussions about homosexuality openly. We believe  scripture teaches clearly against a lifestyle of homosexuality but that God still loves that person and so should we.

So we’ll be heading to Beauty and The Beast this weekend but we won’t be looking down on anyone who is choosing to see The Shack instead. Or staying at home under a rock.

 

 

 

The back story of my Family Dollar car incident

So we got ourselves a brand spankin’ new Family Dollar in town. And the kids and I went the first day they opened and were so excited to drop in. BUT we couldn’t find a parking space so we had to circle around and leave.

Well there was a car in front of us and she was waiting to pull out. So we just waited behind her. With all the time we had I decided to roll down my window, hang my head out and proceed the tell the 5 managers that were all circled up slightly behind our van talking that I was so excited they were opened but they could use more parking.

I was pretty sure they hadn’t thought about this and I was just trying to help out. As if they could just address the issue of adding more parking places so easily. Not sure what I was thinking. So I’m in the middle of sharing my feelings – yes, with perfect strangers – when all of a sudden I hear every single one of them start yelling very loud. They’re shouting and pointing, “Hey, NO, STOP!! STOP!”

I immediately felt bad and it shut me up on the parking advice for sure. Apparently I had crossed a line and offended them by my words.

And then we felt it.

And heard it.

*Crash. Bang. Crunch.

The car in front of us – that I never saw coming because my head was literally hanging out the window and looking back – was unknowingly in reverse and gunned it and rammed into our van.

And then took off and left.

Thankfully all 5 of the people saw everything. In detail. As in wrote down the description of the car and tag number. So when I called the police they got all the important information – down to the side of the car the donut was on.

I really didn’t know what to do at that point.

Do I apologize for talking about the lack of parking?

Or do I thank them for getting all the information to hopefully catch the chic that hit us?

So what did I do?

Well, I just verbally threw up and rehashed the entire story that THEY had just lived through right back to them like a pyscho-nut-job.

They just stared at me.

And this is how we roll in this family.

This is why we’re so messed up.

This. Right here.

 

 

Christmas Happenings 2016

Christmas in pictures and a few words…..

Chess, movies, chilling, special dinner at home, opening stockings were all part of Christmas Eve at home in NC.

Christmas morning we read the account of Jesus’s birth and tried real hard to remember that it’s not about the presents and gifts but about our King Jesus being born into this world to rescue us from ourselves. And we did dig into some presents too.

I opened a cozy blanket from my sweet girl and a pillow from my man-child. The pillow has background meaning because this conversation always goes down at night at his bunkbeds.

Me:  Love you Mitchell.

Mitchell:  Love you more.

Mom: Not possible.

Mitchell: Well it’s happening.

Then we went to church to celebrate with our church family. I loved our service this year. It was actually really neat being ON Christmas this year. And I love how Randy addressed in his message the fact that it was kind of inconvenient because let’s be honest we’ve probably all thought it but not said it out loud. Christmas on Sunday morning means some people just don’t come to church at all because of Christmas traditions but other people move things around and it’s kind of inconvenient. But what a beautiful reminder to use that  tension of inconvenience to remember that God interrupted our world with the devastatingly beautiful plan of sending his son Jesus to save us from our sin. This is Christmas.

And then we drove to GA to celebrate with our families. The first few days at my Mom’s house with my side of the family and then we’ll go to Randy’s parents for the other half of our time with his family.

And so Mitchell got a big ole airsoft gun and Sophie got a wardrobe organizer for her American Girl Doll accessories and some American Girl doll pajama’s.

And then a surprise gift showed up for Sophie from a woman she’s never met before but that Randy and I know very well from our GA church days. And this is what she gave her:

A reborn baby doll. Sophie named her Hope Bella. And she was shocked and thrilled to receive such a nice gift. She looks so real – incredible. I won’t even go into how Randy and Mitchell make fun of the doll because it’s just so wrong on all accounts. But Sophie can hold her own and it doesn’t bother her one bit. And actually I warned the boys before hand because…..well, because I just know them….and told them NOT to make fun of the doll in any way shape or form. Did it do any good? No, it didn’t. But oh well. She’s a girl who knows what she’s likes and it hasn’t bothered her.

For 30 plus years we headed downtown Atlanta to eat dinner at the Varsity and sit on Santa’s lap and ride the Pink Pig on top of the old Macy’s. But we lost that tradition over the years due to different things – like Macy’s closing and the Pink Pig moving to a different location, etc. So now we just go to the Varsity and it’s still a lot of fun.

This year we saw an artist selling his sketches of downtown Atlanta and other key places around the South and we bought some to frame up and put in our den. So fun. The Fox theatre picture, The Varsity and Helen, GA since many of our years were spent in the North GA mountains.

And we wore this little girl slap out!

Today we go dress shopping with Sophie’s Grandmother and then we head over to Randy’s parents for family celebrations there. We are looking forward to it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends!

 

3 Back2School Tools that Make a HUGE Difference

So school is here and you’re either crying, shouting Hallelujah or just chill about the whole deal. I’m somewhere between crying and chilling. During the preschool days I was getting all pentecostal and shouting Whoop-dee-doo all the way to school but now as the kids are getting older I view it differently. I see that the days are going by fast and long for more time with them.

Either way I have learned there are 3 things that help our back to school transition and school year.

A week in advance start bed time and morning routines that resemble your school schedule. Notice I didn’t say exact same unless you just really want to get them up at 5:30am if you don’t have to. Instead of later nights get them in bed just an hour earlier to be preparing for that first week of school. Transitions are HARD in our household. It takes a few weeks to fully get in a groove. Summer and Christmas break are awesome but the transition can be extremely hard. Talking about the upcoming routine and expectations is healthy.

Find a verse in scripture to pray over your kids for the school year. Write it on a notecard with his/her name on it and pray that powerful word of God over your children. Not sure where to start? Pray about it. And maybe check these verses out: Psalm 119:14; Is. 40:29Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 5:4; Col. 1:11 they are great ones to be holding as a banner over your kids as they walk out that door into a crazy world.

Join a Mom’s In Prayer Group and spend one hour a week praying for your children with other Moms. All kinds of groups are out there and they meet at different times and places. My schedule works around my MIP group because it’s one of the best things I can do for my kids and their school. For some reason I can’t link to the Mom’s in Prayer page but you can google it for more information. You can enter your zip code on their site and find a group that already meets in your area. Feel free to message me for more information if you’d like.

What about you? What helps make for a great school year in your home?