Seeking God’s Plan for my Boys

Only God knows what kind of men my boys will become. And so I seek Him and ask Him to give me wisdom. Wisdom to know His plans. Eyes to see their uniqueness. And then words to direct their hearts towards His calling.

Today I’m writing over at the MOB Society about casting a Godly vision for your boys (also true for girls…but the site is for mothers of boys afterall…). Click here to read the article.

To go along with the theme of my post I wanted to share a video of my two oldest boys we made last week. The only prompt I gave was: “Do y’all want to help me tell others about HelloMornings? Lots of ladies will see it and maybe want to join me in waking up early. You have one minute to talk about why you like when mommy wakes up early.”

This is the result:


So I speak this vision over my eldest son…”God has gifted you with the ability to craft words. You perform well in front of others…with passion. You have a wonderful sense of truth and share it well. I can’t wait to see how God uses these talents for His glory.”

What gifts do you see in your children? Have you sought God for wisdom in how He could use those gifts for His glory?

Such a high calling to take the raw material God has placed in my hands and shape it for His purposes. 

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The habit I couldn’t establish with willpower alone

Two years ago I signed up for my first Hello Mornings challenge. I started off slowly, waking up only 5 minutes earlier than my boys. Then a few weeks later I moved my wake-up time a little earlier…15 minutes before the boys woke up.  I only lost a few minutes of sleep, but I gained a whole new direction to my day.

Then on Valentines Day 2011, I “celebrated” by going to bed at 7:30 p.m. with a fever, chills and aches. For the next week I was bed-ridden with the flu…awful. (my heart goes out to all the mommas who have been hit by the flu virus this year).

Only a month into the Hello Mornings challenge, the flu bug knocked me off my new routine and I stopped checking in on Twitter.

You know who noticed? My accountability captain, Kat Lee, that’s who. 

katandme

photo credit goes to Kat…since I couldn’t find a pic of us on my computer

Kat, a.k.a. my mom coach**, sent me a sweet direct message checking to see if I was okay and if there was anything she could pray for me. Seriously.

Having the author of “Maximize your Mornings” and creator of www.inspiredtoaction.com contact you personally to see if you needed anything because she noticed you hadn’t been up lately…yeah that will get your bottom back in gear.  

If you’ve ever considered waking up a little before your kids, but haven’t signed up for the challenge because you figured you’d be disciplined enough on your own. Let me tell you, if I had done it on my own I would not have established the habit I have now.

Accountability. Positive peer pressure. Community.

Whatever you want to call it, we need people. We need godly people in our lives to spur us on in this walk. God never intended us to pursue Him alone. He created the world with His Son and the Spirit. From before time began, there was community in the Trinity.

(In case this story scares you from joining HelloMornings…don’t be scared. The challenge is set-up to be self-directed with as much support as you desire. If you stop checking in after two weeks and decide you can’t finish the challenge, no one will force you to continue. But if you desire women to come alongside you and encourage you to keep trying even when you didn’t wake early one morning…than this group is for you.)

God is working all around me. He is not waiting on me to get His work done. I have to decide if I am going to join Him in His work. In order to hear His personal calling on my life, I must meet with Him.

I’d love if you joined me this Winter/Spring in meeting with God. Registration started yesterday and the challenge starts January 28th. May we experience the joy of His presence together! (one of the primary goals I have for us here at God Centered Mom this year!).

**A coach is defined as “a private tutor; one who instructs or trains; instructs players in the fundamentals and directs team strategy.” That’s Kat. You feel like it’s a private tutoring session when you read her posts. She gives you a new strategy to approach motherhood. She encourages moms to stretch themselves to pursue greatness. Because our kids already think we are great, we just need to believe it!  

Kat inspired me to wake up for my children. She encouraged me to spend one-on-one time with my boys. She gave me the idea to have my boys do push-ups when they need some discipline. She introduced to my new favorite meal planning program. Let’s just say she’s pretty much the best mom coach ever!! 

Who do you have in your life to keep you accountable? Have you ever shared a new goal with a friend so she would “hold you” to it? 

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Pst, one more thing…wrote more about my Hello Mornings story over at the MOB Society this week. Talking about how to stay one step ahead of our boys (also applicable to girls). 😉

onestepahead

 

The Weekend I Babysat my Boys

The first time Bruce mentioned going duck hunting with guys from work I said “no way”. I actually used harsher words than that, but “no way” was the generally theme of my response. There are only so many weekends leading up to Christmas and I didn’t want to “waste” a single one.

This particular weekend we were invited to a fun Christmas party on Friday night with the kids and then a real-deal grown-up Christmas party on Saturday night. My desire to go to those parties trumped my desire for my husband to go hunting (btw…hunting does not fit the normal profile husband. He has never actually been duck hunting before…just so you keep the right image of him in your mind. ;)).

But when Quade woke up sick Friday morning, my plans for the weekend changed…completely. There would be no fun parties. If there would be no fun parties maybe Bruce should get a fun weekend away. So I made the offer and he took me up on it. Phone calls were made immediately. I watched him excitedly pack a bag and figure out what he would need for a “duck hunt”.

While he packed I decided that in order to enjoy my next 48 hours with the boys I would need to take on a temporary persona. I would no longer be “mommy”…I would be “the babysitter”. Because babysitters play games. Babysitters don’t have to worry about the way kids turn out. Babysitters have fun & keep kids safe.

When I picked up Price from school I shared the news with the crew. While daddy was gone I would be their babysitter. The boys decided to call me “Megan”, because Megan is my friend who showers them with love…and candy. 😉

As Megan my first move was to get fast food for lunch. After naps we played games. That led to the oldest two boys writing the books “How a Car Works” & “How a Dinosaur Got Born”…which they then illustrated and “published”. writing books

The next meal scheduled was pizza (because a babysitter is not concerned with dietary needs). While eating we watched the “Christmas Carol”.  Day one completed. 

The next day started with more Christmas movies (this time “Santa Clause”). While they giggled at Tim Allen antics, I cooked a big breakfast. Unfortunately it took a little longer than I’d planned. They became a little hungrier and grouchier. By the time I presented them with these fun pancakes, they quickly ate them rather than praised them.

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(But you think they are cool, right? That feeds my “super mommy” ego.)

While Knox napped that morning we had hot chocolate and cookies…at 9 am. Sure did.

But I usually don’t let hot chocolate moments go by without a little Bible lesson. As we picked out mini-marshmallows from our cups, I read the four days we had missed from our Jesse Tree devotions.

One thing I really wanted to do with the boys that Saturday was an idea of first learned about while researching for an article I wrote for the MOB Society blog–> “Better to Give than Receive” (over there today).

Last year, Courtney DeFeo, a mom of two little girls, decided she was fed up with all the expectations and busyness of the holiday season. She didn’t love the message she was sending her daughters about what Christmas was all about. So she decided they would focus on everyone else around them and “light up” a stranger through kindness. She started“Light em up!” (Families Light up the Community with Kindness). 

She has a list of 100 different activities to do with your kids. The boys and I sat down at the table and looked through the list. We picked out the couple we wanted to do. I printed off labels and gathered supplies.

Then I made the crazy decision to take all 4 boys to Toys ‘R Us…on a saturday…before Christmas. Um, yeah. I’m not a huge fan of the attitudes that emerge when surrounded by shelves and shelves of toys. Suddenly they become “I-want-give-it-to-me-now” monsters. Each time they asked for a toy I said, “add it to your list” (a list I prayed they would never remember).

toysrus

After an hour of picking out Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews, birthday gifts for friends and ways to spend their own money, my head hurt from all the consumerism. Standing in line to check out I kept reminding Watts not to run out the automatic doors. As I counted the big boys’ dollar bills and quarters to pay for their toys, Watts started pushing Knox in the cart out those same automatic doors (grabbed him just in time).

With receipt in hand we made our exit from Toyland, Then I remembered the “Light ’em up” ideas we had prepared for. I reached in my diaper bag and pulled out our kit. Suddenly the boys “give me” attitude changed. They were fighting over who got to tape the money to the gumball machine. 

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Then Price said, “I want to give a candy cane to the lady we paid our money to.” He snatched the cane from my hand and ran towards the cashier. I caught this picture afterward. I love not only the smile on her face, but the looks of those waiting in line. You see how kindness grows? How it surprises people? Because “selfishness” is the norm and giving is surprising. 

candycanetocashier

The same boy who was standing in line in the picture, came out to see what we were doing. He asked, “Why are you giving away money?” I told him, “God gave us the greatest gift when He gave us His Son. So at Christmas we thought we would give gifts.” 

When we walked to our car at the far end of an over-crowded parking lot, my boys were beaming. Not from the toys they had purchased but from the joy they just witnessed. They had been bit by the giving bug…and they wanted more. “Mommy, can we give him a candy cane? When can we do that again!” 

“Remember my name isn’t mommy, it’s Megan.” 😉 

“Love as brothers (& sisters)”

Y’all my brain is swimming as I plan & pack to be away from my brood of men for 4 days (at Allume). I literally just placed 11 jars of baby food on a piece of paper. I drew a grid of the days I’ll be gone and the meals for each day. (in writing this I just realized that’s 11 meals I don’t have to cook & I get to sit down at a table to eat…with adults…and have conversation…woot!).

I’m beyond-the-moon excited (which feels good after the past year) for all the lovely Godly women I will be chatting, praying, & worshiping with this weekend. God placed this weekend on His calendar before time began & I have no doubt He will be present. When you think of me will you pray I will be humble & open to His purposes? (gracias!).

By God’s goodness, He had me write a month ago a post for the MOB Society on brothers & facilitating “forever friends”. If this is a topic of interest to you ( if you are a mother of brothers), then click —> here<— to read more.

Just because you only have one boy, doesn’t mean your son can’t have a “brother”. Quade’s best friend has two sisters. He and my son call each other “brothers”. Price’s best friend is about to have his 3rd sister! Remember my hubby had 3 sisters. Give your son a “brother from another mother”!

Is there another boy your son enjoys spending time with? Perhaps you can arrange regular playdates. When they get to be over 5 (maybe even 4yo) you can have “drop off” playdates. Trade off who watches the boys each week. Then both moms benefit because your son has a playmate (other than you) or you get a quiet house for a couple of hours. Win-win.

The tips I share in my “brother” post apply to all sibling relationships, not just brothers. Actually they apply to all relationships. Because God is honored when we love one another with “brotherly love”.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

I am blessed with a large group of wonderful women here in Dallas who love me well (even when I’m not so easy to love). AND I have a large group of women online who demonstrate God-centered love in their words of encouragement and affirmation. I can’t WAIT to hug the necks of some sweet “sisters” this week.

Lord,

May you provide each reader of this post with the opportunity to experience brotherly/sisterly love. Draw a kindred spirit into her life. Break down walls that prevent vulnerability. Give her boldness to take the first step. To invite a sister in Christ to grab coffee. To write a note to encourage a friend. To start a book club or Bible study. May we continue to love one another well for Your Glory.

Amen.

Making Room for the New Girl

It’s back-to-school time. New schedules. New opportunities. New friends.

photo credit: usag.yongsan

It’s not just the kids seeking out new friendships. Mommies may search the sea of unfamiliar faces for a inviting smile. Someone to include her in the inner circle.

But what happens if every mom she meets already has a “full table” of friends? If each mom already has established church friends, playgroup friends, old college friends, then we feel we don’t need anyone else to meet our friendship needs.

If my table is full and your table is full, who is going to make a space and pull up an extra chair for this mom? To continue the analogy…she may have the best chocolately brownies in her  lunch box and wants to share. But we’ll never know all she has to offer because she’s forced to eat alone.

photo credit

Having been homeschooled from 3rd grade to 8th grade, I know the feeling of being left out of the circle. Literally. At junior high youth group all the girls with mile-high bangs & permed hair wearing neon chatted in a circle. With their backs to me, I  tried to “work” my way in. But they were content to enjoy laughter & chatter. They weren’t looking around to invite me. Each girl was looking out for herself & her comfort.

Is it any different now that I’ve exchanged neon Umbros for a neon tank (the 80s are back!)? When I arrive at a back-to-school event I’m in the circle. It may not be the “coolest” circle, but I find my friends and catch up. There is nothing wrong with maintaining good friendships, right? But “she” is over at the snack table trying to look busy. Because the new girl doesn’t have a friend to walk straight up to. She may need me to make the first move.

I challenged you last August to meet 3 new people. How did that go?

If you struggle with making room at your table or your table is legitimately full, here are three tips:

  1. Invite her to an event you are already attending. It feels good to be invited and to know one person. Perhaps at the event/Bible study/play group God will bring the perfect friend who doesn’t have a full table.
  2. Introduce her to another new girl. Just because you do the “reaching out” doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everyone you meet. Become a people connector. Introduce two new people you have met to one another. Have both new moms meet you at a park. Then step back and allow their friendship to grow.
  3. Be honest. Maybe you have overcommitted yourself and you know you can’t be the kind of friend you’d like to be. Say that. Tell her your life is full but you would love to get to know her. I shared this with a new mom to Dallas and she invited us over for dinner. There was no work for me. She wasn’t asking me to add anything to our schedule that we don’t already do (like eating dinner). It was a great time to share the ins & outs of Dallas and help a new family feel “plugged in”.

This is an exercise in humility. Serving others before yourself. You (and I) will be tempted to seek out comfort. Looking for a familiar face. But let’s resist the comfort and embrace “the new girl”.

We may discover a rich, new friendship. We may learn something new. We may give her a reason to smile that day.

I’ve been the new girl. I am the new girl. Thank you to all those who have welcomed me in the past and will in the future!

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”-C.S. Lewis

Today I’m writing over at The MOB Society about my experience with a new friend. An email led to an entire new table of friends (literally every other Monday we sit at a round table). Click here to read more.

How to Cast a Vision for your Challenging Child

Remember my son who has challenged us lately? (read more here)

I shared with a dear friend my fears of what he was going to become. Worried about what he would be like as an adult if he continued with his defiance. Extrapolating his future based on a few flaws.

She encouraged me. Instead of creating a “death sentence” based on the negative, why not cast a vision for what I hope him to become. Speak words of life.

This was a month ago. Since that time I’ve experimented with this concept & it’s been wonderful. I have cast small visions (daily interactions with his brother) and large visions (becoming an Olympic swimmer). Instead of dooming him to a future I project, I’ve opened his world to new possibilities.

I’ve written more on this topic over at the MOB (mothers of boys) Society. Check it out here: Cast a Vision for the Man He Can Become.

These are the steps I’ve found most effective to casting a vision:

1. Keep a positive mindset

Don’t assume the worst of your child (speaking to myself here!). Remember that he is on his way to becoming a godly man. It’s a trajectory. Just because he demonstrates selfishness, rebellion, anger, etc. doesn’t mean God can’t transform his heart over time.  We are all “in process”. Believe it or not, I still sin. 😉

2. Think about what you would like him to become 

Instead of focusing on what you fear he will become, direct your thoughts towards the ideal. For instance, instead of dwelling on the graffiti-writing, hoodlum…picture in your mind the kind, thoughtful gentleman. Pray or seek guidance in Scripture regarding what God may have for his future. The visions I have “cast” for my son are based on truth. I’m not lying when I share how God has gifted him. Just highlighting it for him to see.

3. Keep your voice calm & communicate the vision with optimism 

I struggle with using gentle words. For some a sweet, calm voice naturally oozes out of their mouths. Not me. I have to be intentional. I have to decide to stay calm & be optimistic.

4. Hug & kiss your kiddos often

When I just had one child, maybe even just two, I never had to “plan” to show affection.  Now it’s a different story. Sometimes my desire for peace & calm creates a frustrated tone in my interactions throughout the day. So I have to be intentional to hug & kiss my little ones…particularly the challenging ones.

5. Pray together for the vision

When you pray at night with your children speak the vision over them. For example: “Lord, I lift _____ up to you. Thank you for giving him the gift of generosity. Thank you for how he shares with those around him. May you use his gift to bring You glory.”

What vision can you cast for your child?

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Sharing the Love of Singing Pirates {& Praise}

This past weekend my boys asked if we could watch Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” for our family movie night. Having just come off a rough day with these wild boys, who had tortured a child at a birthday party, I perked up at the thought {redemption}.

I LOVE “The Pirates of Penzance”. The music. The humor. The characters. love. love. love.

When I was little my parents rented the Beta version of the movie and gave it to me as a Christmas present. This past Christmas my husband bought me the newly released DVD version. I was ecstatic to share something I loved with my boys. I was even more excited when they actually liked it!

So for them to ask to watch my absolute favorite movie was such a gift. It made up for all the moments of disobedience that day, the hitting each other, the breaking of things in the house…we sat cuddled up on the couch together and shared one of my loves.

It hit me how rare it is that I share something with them that I love. When we are driving in the car I often put on the music they enjoy. When picking a book to read we chose the one they like. Activities center around their interests.

By only ever following their lead, I am robbing them of many things… To know their mother in a new way. To gain appreciation for things they may not normally be exposed to. To become interesting and unique adults.

Have you ever watched a show like “American Idol” when the interesting, quirky singer talks about her parents? She shares that her greatest early influences were musicians that her father or mother enjoyed. Her parents had shared a love and it had inspired her to become a true artist. One who stood out from the crowd.

Do your kids know what you love? Do they know what you like to do for fun when you aren’t folding laundry and doing dishes? Have you told them why you love those things?

This principle I realized doesn’t just apply to our hobbies and favorite entertainment…we can share our love of the gospel. We can share a favorite verse. We can share a time in our lives when God helped us through something scary. We can tell them when we made a mistake and God loved us through it.

My hope is that one day when my boys are men and people ask them why they are so different they can confidently say that they fell in love with God because their mom shared her love of Him.

What interest {or love} will you share with your children today?

Here is a sweet clip of my son yesterday and his best friend…it warms my heart to hear them praising their Heavenly Father without prompting. Joining together in worship while they color: