Mom Monday Week 52 – The Best Mom in the World

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My son slipped into my bedroom at 6am one morning. I was sleepy, so I decided not to move. There was plenty of room for him to just get under the covers next to me. We did not have to speak. I did not have to welcome him as I usually do, by raising the cover and saying something sweet. I knew he knew he was welcome. I just could not speak or move – I was sleepy.

He slipped under the covers without a word. Just when I thought I was off the hook and we would go back to sleep, he said, “Mommy, please turn around to face me.” I obliged without saying a word. Then he said, “You are the best mom in the world.” Now that’s something to wake up to, isn’t it?

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It was not the first time he said that to me. He says it to me a lot in different settings and at different hours of the day. Continue reading »

Here he was, in the wee hours of the morning, looking for maternal presence, wanting to go back to sleep next to the heartbeat he heard for the first nine months of his life. Expressing his love, too. Happy with me in general, but, probably, happy with me also because he asked me to do something and I did it (turn around to face him).

It’s such a temptation to give in to our children’s requests so that they will love us and declare us champion parents. No parenting book out there will give you the perfect knowledge of when to give in and when to refuse your children’s requests. I’m afraid you only have your own maternal instinct to go by. If you are a believer, you know there’s the Holy Spirit, too, guiding if you are listening.

So ignore the critics and the unsolicited advice givers and do your mommy thing. Give in when you know it’s right, set boundaries other times. Only you know what is best for your child. And only you can be “the best mom in the world” to your child.


Mom Monday Week 46 – Thanksgiving Holiday

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That’s it, folks! No more school for the next seven days. I am declaring a Thanksgiving Holiday this week. I need to catch up on housework, writing deadlines and editing my new book, 101 Tips for Kindergarten at Home. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get it out, but it’s a great lesson. Our plans get interrupted by life. And we all know that life is what happens while you are busy making other plans…

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I spoke with another homeschooling mom who shared the same dilemma: how do you get it all done? If you focus on housework, school work will lag behind. If you keep all the school assignments up to date, your house starts looking like a tornado just went through and the laundry piles turn into small hills.

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Which reminds me of a humorous incident online a few years ago, when I was contemplating homeschooling. I joined a few Yahoo support groups for different types of homeschoolers and asked the question, “Is it really efficient? Can you really get school work done in the morning? If so, why do I hear that a lot of homeschooling moms give up because of dust bunnies?”

I got some clever answers which were avoiding the real issue, i.e. that homeschoolers are super-busy and school is rarely finished in the morning. I suppose nobody had the courage to say, “Hang on to your hat! You will be super-busy!”

The wittiest answer I received was, “You will not get done in the morning because you and your kids will have so much fun, you will not want to stop.” I appreciate framing the issue that way. How much fun am I having vs. Let’s get school out of the way so we can have fun. I really do. I learned a lot from that exchange.

And, may I just say, from talking to friends who put their children in public or private school, they are busy too. So busy, they have to tell their children to choose only one extra-curricular activity. If you are contemplating homeschooling or getting discouraged by it, remember that the grass is NOT greener on the other side. Life is crazy busy no matter how you school your children.

If you are looking for French Thanksgiving vocabulary, – and who isn’t? – I wrote about it here. If you want a Thanksgiving unit study lesson plan for elementary kids, click here.

With that, let me say Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have lots of fun with family and friends, eat yummy food and count your blessings, for they are many.


Mom Monday Week 40 – Eight-Car Wreck

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In my neck of the woods, we have a dangerous road called Chapman Highway. It is the best alternative to avoid heavy tourist traffic on Highway 66, which is coming into the county from I-40. However, because of its twists, turns, and blind spots, Chapman Highway is best not traveled.

The other day, we traveled to Knoxville for my son’s group violin lesson. Once a month, all his teacher’s students get together for group practice, musical games and theory. It’s fun and educational at the same time. Parents and younger siblings sit in quietly, like flies on chairs, not walls.

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For some reason, I decided to take Chapman Highway instead of the regular route through the interstate. Good thing I was running a bit late. We missed an eight-car wreck by about 15 minutes. We crossed paths with an ambulance and three tow trucks, each carrying a smashed up car – the last three removed from the scene.  Continue reading »

The one car that looked like an accordion had a Florida tag. Maybe a tourist? Maybe a Floridian who just moved here, still in the process of changing his tags? Later, we found out at least one person was flown to a nearby hospital by helicopter – his injuries were that severe.

The worst part was driving through the actual spot. We could clearly see where a person had been ejected from the car. Though the highways had been swept up, dried up blood showed the shape of a person in fetal position. I cannot imagine he survived. There were large blood stains all over the four-lane highway.

Such an awakening in case I became numb to how precious life is. Every time I take the kids somewhere, we have a prayer in the car before leaving the driveway. It can become a routine. Terrible wrecks remind me every day is a privilege. “Teach us to number our days…” Psalm 90:12


Mommy Pick-Me-Ups Review

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For the past few months I have been reading the mommy devotionals from Mommy Pick-Me-Ups by Edna Ellison and Linda Gilden. The subtitle of the book is “Refreshing Stories to Lighten Your Load” and it aptly describes the format of the book.

Also known as the guru of Christian mentoring, trainer, international speaker and author Edna Ellison has written many other books that you may find interesting – look for them wherever Christian books are sold. Linda Gilden is a prolific writer, speaker, editor, writing coach, and Certified Personality Trainer. She has penned the popular Love Notes series.

Unlike a traditional devotional, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups offers 77 stories organized as follows:  Continue reading »

  • The story itself, which introduces you to day-to-day situations any mom would encounter
  • A Bible verse that correlates with the story
  • A Pick-Me-Up, which further explains the Bible verse you just read and it shows how the Bible principle in that text is relevant to the story
  • Creative Parenting, which proposes tips or activities for handling yourself and your children should you go through something similar

I find it very easy to read and I have already experienced God through these devotionals. You know how parenting in general and mothering in particular can demand much energy. How can anyone keep it all together – unless they have a Source of renewable energy? How can you even remember how to act according to biblical principles – unless you  take the time to remember when the house is quiet?

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It is only through God’s presence in your life that you can be guided to do the right thing as a mom. And that presence does not just happen. One must cultivate it. Quiet time with God is how that happens. And this little devotional book can be your tool for several months to accomplish just that.

I would like to share just two of the devotionals that God used recently to help me.

The other day I was deciding whether to stay home with the kids and catch up on different projects (phone calls, blogging, homeschooling, helping a family member move countries – you know, the usual stuff…) or go to the Heritage Center in Townsend for an archaeological program designed for kids. I had the energy, but I knew the kids were tired because we had spent six hours in Knoxville’s Safety City the day before.

As I read the devotional, I came across this passage which encouraged us to find ways for cousins to spend time together as they grow up, so that they understand they are family. I took it as God whispering to me to stay home and take care of my projects, including helping relatives move closer (i.e., to the United States). My children have only this one cousin and his parents are trying to move countries.

Later that day, I made my phone calls and, wonder of wonders, I got a hold of an immigration attorney who has been very hard to catch before. I also talked with a possible employer for my brother-in-law and he said, “I just got back into the office. I have been out of town until yesterday…” Perfect timing.

Another devotional that spoke to my heart was “Duck!” We all face the temptation to pride – especially when success comes our way. I like this fresh take on the old, old story of inflated self-esteem which meets with the thorn of humiliating circumstances.

But the most important passage for me was this sentence: “When you help others rather than challenging them, you are more likely to be in God’s will for your life.”

I do have a tendency to challenge my kids to obey instead of helping them get there. So this really spoke to me, calling me higher in my mothering skills.

I have been blessed by reading this devotional and I think that you will, too.

I received a free copy of the product above in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. The Amazon links above are affiliate links. All opinions I have expressed here are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


Grace Fox Books – A Review

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This spring, I started three paperback books written by Grace Fox, a Christian author, speaker, coach and global worker: Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones, 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids, and 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms. I started reading each one because I use them on different occasions – two with my children, one on my own.

I don’t want to wait to finish them all before I share these great resources with you. In no particular order…  Continue reading »

 

1. Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones has an inviting subtitle – “Creating Happy Bedtime Memories.” Who does not want to create happy bedtime memories with their children? This little book will give you conversation starters so you can get to know your children better. In this day and age when everybody seems to be glued to a screen of some sort, the art of conversation is almost lost.

Even conversation-savvy parents may be tired by bedtime though. Everybody needs a little help engaging their little ones. This book will help you along those lines.

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Open-ended questions like “If you could write a book, what would it be about?” or “What’s your favorite game?” will help you start a conversation with your child. In my experience, all it takes is one question. They take it from there. More often than not, I end up laughing my head off at the things they say. They, on the other hand, enjoy making mommy laugh. Just as important, they love being listened to.

I have made a habit of keeping a journal nearby as we work through this book, because they say the cutest things. It would be a pity to lose them in the recesses of my memory.

Your children will always remember the time you spent with them and the questions you asked them. Asking questions about somebody else’s life equals caring.

If you have children ages three through eight, this book is a must-have.

I will end with my favorite page: “Here are five reasons why I love you. Whom do you love? Can you think of five reasons why?”

 

2. 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids shares Scriptures, stories and prayers you can read together with your children. It is a devotional with a twist: its format resembles a treasure hunt. First, you have to Read the Clue – a Bible passage that sets the tone. Then, Discover the Treasure, i.e. the story which illustrates and shares the main theme. Share the Wealth, the next part, contains a prayer and an activity or discussion question. Finally, Hide a Jewel is a memory verse which you are invited to hide in your heart and memorize in your mind, illustrating the day’s lesson.

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Geared toward families with children ages eight through twelve, this devotional only takes a few minutes a day. It offers you a chance to bring your children to Jesus as you pray and open the Scriptures together. It does not have 365 pages. Each devotional is about three pages long. The whole books is 230 pages long. So you have almost three months worth of devotions. I highly recommend it.

 

3. 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms is the devotional du jour for this homeschooling mom and blogger. I read two or three passages per day because that’s just me, I need a lot of Scripture before I feel ready for the day ahead. But one devotional chapter, between three and five pages, is plenty to give a mom food for thought. The whole book is 248 pages long.

I don’t know about you, but I actually like the idea of a devotional that does not go from January through December. A year feels like a long time to spend with just one book.

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Grace Fox’s book is perfect that way, because it will feed your for almost three months and then you are ready to move on. I am sure some mornings you may want to read more from the Bible around the passages suggested, too. You never know how the Holy Spirit will use her words to impress you.

Each devotional has four parts: Upward Gaze (a prayer which quotes Scripture and then the main story), Inward Glimpse (another prayer and several questions which help you focus and apply the story to your life), Outward Glance (a prayer for somebody else, and you can fill in the blanks with whatever name you have on your heart that day), and One More Peek (beautiful poetry which reinforces the lesson).

I like the content of the book and the presentation, especially the fonts chosen. Again, a book I highly recommend.

 

I received a free copy of each product above in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. The Amazon links above are affiliate links. All opinions I have expressed here are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.