The Power of an Apology

“Son, shut up!”

The words flew like a knife out of my mouth, cutting my 14 year old son before I could sheath them. He had pushed the issue one too many times. I had firmly told him he couldn’t do something, but rather than accept my answer he chose to be creative in his approach and ask from a different angle, hoping I wouldn’t notice. Hoping I’d change my mind.

But I caught on. I said no again and warned him to stop pushing and accept my answer. Obviously he wasn’t finished because a few minutes later, he asked me one more time. And I lost it.

I’d never told him to shut up before. He stood, stunned at my words, then tucked his tail like a whipped puppy and left the room.

I could tell my words stung as they cut. He looked wounded. He’d never seen me come at him like that before. It wasn’t just the words, but the fire behind them as well.

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To My Homeschooling Friends: The Magic Sauce

This May marks 9 years of homeschooling for me. Nine years! After that much time, I really thought I would have more figured out than I do. I think what I’ve figured out the most are my weaknesses and knowing better how to navigate around them. One problem with homeschooling is you don’t teach the same grade each year. Our job morphs as our children grow. So just about the time you figure one thing out, they’re moving on to the next!

One morning over Christmas break, I was journaling some of my struggles and questions, and I felt the Spirit encourage me: You can do this, but it’s not going to look like someone else.

Isn’t that a great word?

It challenged me to look around and see if I’m trying to implement how someone else is schooling their kids instead of looking to the Lord and asking Him to guide us. Isn’t it crazy how we can admire how one mom “does school” and we try and do it just like she does?

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Protect the White Space

“Our limitation is God’s opportunity.”

~ Denver Hall, Same Kind of Different as Me

It’s Sunday morning. Everyone’s up and bustling around pouring milk into cereal bowls, digging in the dryer to find matching socks and the tee-shirt without holes or stains on it.

But for Adam and I, it’s not working. We are running late, can’t find anything to wear, and frankly don’t have a good attitude about the day. We keep going through the motions though, hoping our want to will get the message and catch up. When I’m still in my pajamas with 15 minutes before time to leave, we decide to call it.

Kids, we’re not going to make it to church today.”

Of course, this was the one week they were ready early, so our statement met with disappointed faces. The week had been too full and Adam and I couldn’t go. Any. More.

Have you ever been there?

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1 Essential Quality of a Strong-Willed Parent

The ultimate paradox of childhood is that boys and girls want to be led by their parents but insist that their mothers and fathers earn the right to lead them.

~Dr. James Dobson

Right about the time my first baby was born, Dr. James Dobson released his updated version of The Strong-Willed Child.  The title intrigued me because I’d overheard my mother reference me as a strong-willed child once or twice and figured there was a high probability of passing that gene on to my son. By the time my newborn was two weeks old, it was obvious I needed Dr. Dobson’s book! Forget the child part, I had a strong-willed infant!

As I’ve been a mom to that firstborn for going on 15 years, I’ve realized raising a strong-willed child takes being a strong-willed mom. Actually, raising kids in general no matter their temperament takes strong-willed parenting.

One essential quality of a strong-willed parent is setting and upholding firm boundaries.

In other words, doing what you said you would do.

Kids push. And push and push and push. You draw a line, and a strong-willed child wants to cross it one way or another.

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When Will This Get Easier?

I woke up this morning to the words It’s not supposed to be easy running through my head. It made me think of the P90X guy saying in the arm circle warm up…“We’re going to be here awhile. It’s going to burn. It’s supposed to.

Life this side of Heaven: We’re here for an appointed time. It’s going to burn. It’s supposed to.

I know this, but somehow the creep happens. The comfort creep. I grow weary of fighting the same battles over and over again, so I start hunting for the cruise control button to make life easier.

But I forget ease and comfort are not the goal here. Life takes tenacity, endurance, perseverance. All those words you hear in cross country training and insinuate it’s going to be hard!

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Why Can’t I?

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew…

My eyes are bigger than my stomach…

Basically, sometimes I think I can do things, I can’t.

Like in my head I think I can do a round-off back handspring in my front yard. I’ve watched my daughter do it countless times. It looks easy!

But have you tried a cartwheel lately?

Something happened around 27 years of age that biochemically defies turning upside down without torrential side effects.

I remember one time, I was really excited about something and I did a frontwards flip onto my bed like a little kid. Afterwards I just laid there, flat on my back, watching the room pass by in front of me.

But I have these moments in life too…not over cartwheels and front flips anymore for I respect those boundaries… where I think I can do things I can’t.

Now, it’s over schedules and activities I think I can jam into my week and stay sane. Problem is they have the same result as the front flip on my bed – leave me dazed and confused as to what just happened!

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Because He Loves Me

“Oh Momma….come heerree,” my little man called from the back door in his sing-song voice. “I’ve got something to show yoouu.”

Sometimes these requests cause me to hold my breath, afraid there will be a finger dangling from its base or some disaster to clean up. But something in his voice this time sounded promising. So I stopped whatever I was doing and followed him to the back porch. You can imagine my surprise when I saw this:

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A freshly blown off porch (blower provided by Daddy with a rent fee of $2), wiped down picnic table with a beautiful camellia blossom planted in a vase. All just for me! Just because he loves me!

I engulfed my little boy in my arms and said thank you with all the reciprocal love I could find. Then I sat down across from him on the bench seat and discussed the finer things in life according to a seven year old while soaking in the serene scene he created for us.

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Good Morning!

This morning my sleepy 13 year old stumbled into my room. Since he was the first one up, he nestled quietly into the coveted spot right beside me on the bed. With his head against a pillow propped up on my leg we discussed quite deeply the thoughts of a young hunter/trapper boy. Most of the language I didn’t understand but I tracked along as well as I could with my barely awake brain.

He talked about guns and what the calibers meant, how many bullets go in each barrel and so forth. And I just listened. We talked battle scars and injuries and how it would be good for his future wife to have some nursing background.

I marveled at how easily we embraced and how fluidly the conversation ebbed along. I wasn’t distracted by my phone pinging the day’s notifications and I wasn’t in the middle of teaching my other two math or English. It was just me and him enjoying some sweet conversation.

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A Gift for Jessica

On the spur of the moment last Saturday, we declared a Family Date Night to Tyler. Caleb needed some new shirts, because when you grow 4.5 inches in a year, nothing old fits! Since I had some Kohls cash in my wallet, I figured that was just the place to shop.

We’re also down to 4 hens in the chicken pen, and so buying some new chicks has been on my ever-growing list as well.

As I’m planning the route in my head, all-of-a-sudden I remember the movie God’s Not Dead 2 just came out in theaters! We saw the first one as a family and the kids loved it, so I thought that would make a fun surprise if we could fit it in. I kept it a secret in case we couldn’t.

We all start loading up in the truck when Mackenzie comes outside, flicking her hair back and swinging her purse over her shoulder. She says, “Mom, we’re going to meet someone named Jessica today and when we do, I’m going to give her this flower.”

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When My Child’s Behavior Spills All Over the Street

One thing my new schedule and the beautiful weather allows me the freedom to do is take a walk down the back-roads behind my house. I have a favorite journey down a winding trail, canopied over with tall, waving pine trees.

When I trekked along this morning, I noticed the road had been repaved. Before when I walked, water from an underground spring flowed all over the road, in some places pooling up into quite a puddle. Since I’m not a six year old boy, the puddles aren’t my favorite thing to stomp through.

They repaved the road, making the center significantly higher than the sides, which created a perfect, natural rut for the springing water to flow along. This left the middle of the road dry enough to walk down without raising up my pant legs.

I don’t know why my brain thinks like this, but this whole scenario reminded me of my strong willed child. The child that has tested every ounce of my will since the day he was born. The child who’s passion and behavior often spills all over the road – or the store, house, wherever he is.

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