Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 27: Reading the Word

Day 27 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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There is one area that I am not consistent with my children on and pray that I can be.

Reading God’s Word is a passion that I have recently found.  I find deep peace in reading the Bible.  I am not consistent in reading each day but I am working on that.  I long to read from the Bible each day to my children as well.  I want them to hear God’s word and to want them to read the Bible for themselves as well.

Each one of my children has their own Bible (well my 5 year old will have his own on Christmas).  My 3 year old has a childrens Bible and we have numerous Bible stories.  I feel it is very important for them to have their own Bible so they can read it, make notes in it, and whatever else they choose to do.

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I pray that God can help me teach my children his word and that I can carve out the time to do so.  I don’t really have a good method or plan to reading it myself and I would really like insight on a good reading plan.  I would love to read the Bible in a year but I am much more passionate about reading it daily for myself and reading it daily to my children.  I welcome any ideas or suggestions.

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Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Crystal

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Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Fitting In

Fitting in is so much easier than not fitting in, right?  Peer pressure is hard to handle!  Young kids are not the only one who face peer pressure.  Unfortunately it never goes away, no matter your age.  That is depressing but there is hope.

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My husband and I try to teach our children that they don’t have to fit in to be loved.  That is much harder said than done.  Trust me, I know and that has been an issue I have (I would like to say “had” but I still struggle at times) to deal with each and every day.  I will say that since becoming a Christian it is easier because I know God has plans for me and they don’t always include fitting in with others or with the ways of the world.

As we address this topic with our children we have to remember to keep our heads and hearts in check and in line with the Gospel.  My devotion today was a perfect reminder.  Check it out here!  As my daughter struggles with making decisions that feel right in her heart versus what people will think of her decision this can be a comfort to her as well.  In the end it will not matter what others thought of us!!

Another topic I have talked about lately is Santa.  This kind of goes along with the following others and the fitting in issue if you really think about it.  We don’t want to be different but what about being different when we know it is right to be different?  That is tricky!  I have been battling with myself on this very topic.  I enjoy Santa and have since I was very young.  I see the excitement in my kids around Christmas when Santa is mentioned.  On the other hand there are things about Santa I don’t like.  I don’t think that he should only come if the kids are “good”.  I think too much emphasis is put on that aspect.  What child is going to be “good” all the time just because a big jolly guy will bring presents to them?  As parents are we really going to stop Santa from coming at the first sign of misbehavior?  Why do they only have to behave shortly before Christmas rolls around and not year-round?  This is nuts to me!!

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Our children know the real reason behind Christmas and they will tell you it is not truly about Santa but about Jesus.  We talk about Jesus and his birth and why we celebrate Christmas in our house.  We also talk about Jesus, God, and share the Gospel year-round, not just in December.  I am pleased to hear my children praying and talking about God in their daily lives!!

A great friend of mine knew just what I needed and sent me a wonderful message and included a very well written blog post about another family that had the same Santa struggles as I.  Read about it here! I feel more at ease after talking with family and reading this post.  I think a little tweaking will make me feel more comfortable with this whole Santa thing.

So with all that said, we don’t have to fit in to be loved.  God loves us just as we are and he is pleased with our decision even if our “friends” are upset with our choices.  In the end, God is the one judging us not our peers!

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God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 20: On Fire for God

Day 20 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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I long for my kids to be on fire…on fire for God that is!!!

I pray that my kids have a strong passion for God and for spreading the Gospel message to others! I talked about relationships yesterday and the best, most important relationship is with our Lord!!

Jesus Christ has done more for us than any other friend could ever do.
He died for us!
He died for you.
He died for me.
He died to pay for our sins!
Do you know anyone else as awesome as that??

I didn’t think so!

I want my kids to be excited about that relationship. To have a soul on fire for Jesus. To have a soul on fire for the cause. Not any cause but THE cause.

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In February I was blessed to join our youth group at a Dare 2 Share event and it blew me away!! What an amazing, glorious, eye opening time I had!!!

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To see so many teens excited about their faith was probably one of the most astounding times of my life.

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I want to expose my children to Jesus as much as I can. One way is by attending Awana at our local chapel. I love the message Awana teaches and how they incorporate scripture. When my children walk around the house reciting scripture it makes me so happy!! I knew nothing about God growing up but wish I had so I love that my kids are learning much earlier in their lives!

I will continue to teach my kids about Jesus and what an amazing relationhip they can have with God. I will continue to Start a Fire in their hearts!!

God Bless, Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Why did God not turn the light on???

A few years ago we started talking about God in our house with our children.  We started praying at meal times and individually.  We have not really prayed as a family but occasionally we do.  One thing we just don’t think about or realize is how our children interpret things unless they clue us in which every now and again my children enlighten me.

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If you have been following the 31 day challenge I am doing you read about my five year old son having surgery yesterday.  This little guy is smart and very inquisitive!!  He asks questions a lot and if he doesn’t understand the answer he will let you know and expect a different answer.  I love this about him even though at times it is hard to explain the answers to him.  He is also a big worry wart.  Now this is bothersome to me a little because he will worry about something so much that I fear it is not good for him.  I knew that having surgery was really weighing on his mind so on Sunday night when we were laying together before bed and I asked him if we should say a prayer.  He likes to pray and does it often.  He will even stop what he is doing and go somewhere he can be alone and pray!!  Anyway, as I was praying asking God to give the medical staff steady hands and wisdom to perform the surgery I asked God to comfort Blake so he would not worry and not be scared.  He stops me in the middle of my prayer and says, “That doesn’t work!”  A little shocked I ask, “What doesn’t work?”  He informs me that when he is sleeping and it is dark and he is scared, God doesn’t come turn the light on for him!!!  Wow, I had to hold back from laughing but his kid was dead serious.  This was no joking matter.

Obviously my prayers are much different than that but to a five-year-old that is an important prayer.  So now I have to try and figure out how to explain why God doesn’t come turn the light on and hope this doesn’t make him think God doesn’t answer prayers.

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The good news is that when we got home from our hour and a half drive from the hospital, my son says, “God did help me!  He helped me at the hospital and he made sure we got home safe!”  This made my heart smile!  He had not given up on God because one prayer was not answered the way he thought it should be.  What a smart kid!!  It is funny what we can learn from our children.

Even when we don’t feel like God is answering our prayers we need to keep turning to him in prayer!  As I learned in my Devotion this morning, prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us!!  We need prayer to soften our hearts. We need prayer to grow closer to God.

As I was worried that my son would not pray anymore or that he would question God, I read my devotion this morning titled “Questioning God!”  How appropriate!  God wanted to ease my mind as a parent and he did so through that devotion.  God is good!!

I just wanted to share that little story to encourage you so you can see that God is here for us even when we question him or when we don’t think he answers our prayers.  God is doing some amazing work in my little mans heart.  Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

My son before surgery with mom and dad
My son before surgery with mom and dad
After surgery-not so happy:(
After surgery-not so happy:(

The thing he was looking forward to the most about having surgery was that he might get to ride in a wheelchair so we made sure that happened:)  He was a trooper and I know God was watching over him!!

God Bless,Crystal

Cleaning/Organization, Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 6: Compassion

Day 6 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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If you read yesterday’s post I mentioned that our son was having surgery today. Just to update everyone, it went well and he is in recovery now. Once he is moving around and able to eat something we will head back home!!

Today will be a cuddly day of rest at home. My plan will be just to keep him comfortable and enjoy the precious little guy.

Part of being a parent is to comfort our children and let them know that we love them. We must show compassion as God does with us. We hope our kids will be compassionate towards others but we need to model that for them.

My husband and I will be doing just that in the next days to come. The challenge will be keeping him less active for the next few weeks. He has lifting restrictions and limited rough play. Our son is the roughest, toughest 5 year old boy out there! We will rely on patience and prayer to get through!

Today’s message is to love your little ones they way you want them to love others everyday!!

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 5: Praying Parents

Day 5 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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The power of prayer is AMAZING!!

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I truly believe that when we pray to our heavenly father with a sincere heart God will answer our prayers!  Now before you start telling me that is not true or that God didn’t answer your prayers, let me explain.

I believe that God answers our prayers BUT maybe not the way we want or in the time we expect.  God has plans for us and they are in HIS time not ours.  He also can see the road ahead of us so he knows just what we need or don’t need.  We have to remember to give it to God and TRUST him fully!

I am  currently reading the book The Power of the Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  This is one of my favorites!!!  If you have never read any of the Power of a Praying… books, you are missing out.  This book talks about all the areas that a parent should pray for a child and then each chapter ends with a prayer.  They are very powerful prayers!!

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Not only do I think it is important to pray for our children but it is something I have been doing more of lately.  My prayers have been a little different than normal the past two weeks.

Our 5 year old son is going to have surgery tomorrow.  Now my husband and I have been parents for a little over 15 years and this is the first surgery for any of our children.  This surgery is to remove a cyst in his abdomen.  The procedure should be pretty simple and quick but a momma still worries.  Also to add to the mix our son only has one kidney so there is a little extra worry.  I know that this is in God’s hands and I have given the whole situation over to him.

So we need to remember to pray for our children on a daily basis so God can cover them with his love.  I am not afraid to ask others to pray as well so please pray for my son tomorrow and for the medical staff to have steady hands and the wisdom and knowledge they need to get the job done!  Thank you for the prayers and have a wonderful week!!

God Bless, Crystal

Cleaning/Organization, Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 3: Dinner Time

Day 3 of the 31 Days of Consistency & Children!

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Today is our schools homecoming so everyone is full of school spirit and all decked out in our best blue and white!! Go Cadets!!!!!

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Okay sorry back to consistency and children.

I picked clothes out last night and that felt good.  I am trying to get as much ready the night before as possible so the morning can go smoothly.  So far so good but we are only on day 3.  I better not jump ahead of myself!

I would like to share a routine that we have already established. Yay me!!  This 31 day challenge has gotten me thinking and I realized last night that we do have one routine that we have done consistently for the past 5 years.

Let me tell you a little back story.  About 15 years ago my husband and I bought a VERY small house.  This place was tiny!  We did not have enough room for a table in our kitchen and we not have a dining room.  At that time our oldest daughter was a baby and my husband worked a job that required him to be gone all week.  I would feed my daughter in her high chair and I usually ate in the living when watching TV.  We lived there for 5 years.

We moved to a house that was a little bigger but still not much room. We had a kitchen but no dining room again and the kitchen was small. We had a tiny table but my husband was still gone all week it was just my daughter and I.  Then I became pregnant with our second daughter.  I was very sick though this pregnancy so I just let my daughter eat in the living room which continued even after the birth of our second baby.

I really wanted meal time to be different but bad habits are hard to break.  We lived in that house for 5 years.  So 5 years ago we moved into our current house which is much bigger than our first two homes.

We have a dining room!!!!!!!

We have a big table!!!!!!!!

And yes, you guessed it, we eat meals together at the table!!!!!!

We eat almost all of our meals together as a family.  My husband no longer works a job that requires him to be gone all week, thank goodness.  That would be a nightmare with four little people!

Not only do we eat together but we have also incorporated prayer into our routine.  We hold hands and pray asking Jesus to join us and to bless our food.  The kids will even remind us if we start to eat without praying.  I love this tradition we have started and instilled in our children!  I pray this will be carried with them into their adult lives!

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Even if you don’t realize it you may already have small habits or routines that you are doing with your kids. What routine are you already doing??

Cleaning/Organization, Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 2: Be Prepared

Day 2 of the 31 days with Consistency & Children

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Yesterday I listed my morning routine and today I did not follow it completely!  But you know what?   It is okay because this is new and I tried and I have completed part of it.

One of my issues is getting upset with the kids in the morning because none of my children are morning people.  They don’t like getting up no matter what time they went to bed.  They can be very winy and stubborn and I tend to have a short fuse in the morning because I am not a morning person either and I am tired.

I am happy to announce that we had a good morning!!

The key to not losing my temper is to think all actions through before letting them take control.  Prayer is very helpful.  God wants us to talk to him, which I do often throughout the day.  He not only wants us to pray for others but also for ourselves.  God knows before hand what we are thinking and going to do.  We don’t have to tell him because he already knows BUT in order to build a relationship with him, we must talk to him.  This helps me get through the tough times.  Since mornings can be rough that is when I talk to God a lot.  This morning went well and know it is because I gave it all to God!!

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Back to the consistency with Children.  One thing I am learning is that we need to pick clothes out the night before.  On occasion we do this but not a regular basis.  That is part of the struggle we have in my house each day.  Why not eliminate that issue all together and just plan ahead and be prepared for morning.

So I am going to get their clothes picked out and placed neatly on the table so they can just get dressed.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I know there will be days that I will hear such things as, “I don’t want to wear that today!” or “It is cold today, I am not wearing that!”  I know that will happen but for the most part this should help the mornings go more smoothly.

Does anyone do this already or plan to adopt this idea?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!!

Check back tomorrow to see how my routine is going!

God Bless each and every one of you.

Crystal~

Faith, Other, Parenting

An Adoption Story

As some of you may know I used to work for an agency which helped people become foster and adoptive families. My glorifying job was to license the families and to offer support to them during the initial process and thereafter.  I thoroughly enjoyed this job.  I met many amazing families and friends along the way.  Some of the people I had met I am still friends with today!  One of those families is very dear to my heart and I was so very blessed to be a part of their large family. Once they because licensed foster/adoptive parents a sibling group of four was placed with them and to make a long complicated story short they ended up adopting all four beautiful children and then they were blessed with two more biological (with some assistance) babies in which one beautiful little baby girl is with our good Lord in Heaven.  And to keep making the story “grow” they adopted an adorable little boy.  One amazing couple that was unable to produce a family is now living in a very large house with six beautiful gifts from God.  There are so many others that are in this same situation.  Please take the time to pray for the parents out there are so desperately want a family of their own.  God knows the trials they face and will be there to comfort them!

As you can see adoption holds a special place within me and I will support anyone I can in their journey to adopt .  With that said today I have a guest post from a friend who also supports adoption.  Sunu Philip from Clothed In Scarlet shares a wonderful post below…

ClothedInScarlet.org

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is

this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep

oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27

This is one Bible verse that God keeps bringing back to mind very often.

It’s not one I’m comfortable with, but God keeps drawing my attention to it. We think we’re doing our part as good Christians – we pray, we read the Bible daily, we go to church, we even take the time to teach our kids about God’s love. Oh yes, and we also pay our tithes and contribute to missions work around the globe.

But James is quick to remind us of what true religion is all about: taking care of the widows and the orphans.

God has always stood for the cause of the weak, the hungry, the sick, the disabled – essentially those who are not able to take care of themselves. And while most widows are self-sufficient, or have family to rely on, that’s not the case with orphans. They have practically no one to turn to. Here in India, we hear stories in the news of infants left in the dumpster, or by the roadside. It’s saddening to hear such things, but it’s even worse when we don’t do anything about it.

I believe God calls each of us to support orphans in some way or the other. I wonder what would have happened to the story of Esther if Mordecai hadn’t taken care of her when she was left without parents. Every child on this earth has a God ordained destiny, and God gives us the privilege to be a part of that, sometimes.

While some infants are without parents, there are many more who are considered unwanted, unloved, and a burden. There are a growing number of babies who are put up for adoption because their birth parents are not in a position to care for them. I admit, not all of us are called to adopt. But all of us can be of support, in some small way or the other.

Today I’d like to share with you a cause that is very dear to my heart. My friend Mandy Kelly, is in the process of adopting a baby, and I’m blessed to be able to support her in this.

Would you take a few minutes to check out her donation page, and give as the Lord leads?

http://www.gofundme.com/7k6mls

Her latest update is that they need $1,500 to move on to the next stage of adoption. Every little bit counts. I encourage you to consider making a small donation to bless the Kelly family in their adoption. And as a token of my appreciation, here is a small book of adoption quotes that I created for anyone interested in the Kelly adoption. Do feel free to share it with a family or friend who has adopted, or is in the process of adoption.

You can download The Little Book of Adoption Quotes here http://www.marriagemotherhoodandmissions.com 


Sunu Philip

School teacher turned internet marketing consultant, Sunu Philip is a Certified SEO Specialist. She founded “Clothed in Scarlet to help women discover their unique God-given strengths and turn their talents into profits online. She offers subscribers of Clothed in Scarlet a Free Online Business Startup Kit to help them start their online business from scratch. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Faith

What’s New????

Something is new!

Something is different.

What is going on?  What has changed?

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My Life !!!  My life has changed dramatically since August 10th, 2013!!  Many years ago I was slowly changing many areas in my life.  This was very new and quite scary for me.  I was resisting the feelings and pain from the past.

My story starts back in February of 2007.  I started a new job right after graduating from college with my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW).  I was introduced to my co-workers and I was really drawn to one specific person.  Not only was she very friendly and she really seemed to know a lot about the area she worked in but there was something else that interested me.  As I got to know her more and more I grew more interested in what made her so special.  She loved Jesus and followed him all day every day.  I used to tell her that she scared me because I didn’t know anything about Jesus!!  We still laugh at that today:)

She not only became a great friend but an amazing part of my families life.  My husband also saw something special in her which if you know my husband that is pretty amazing.  My daughters adored her.  There was just something very special about her. As she spent a large amount of time with us we realized that she was an angel sent by God.  (Those are my husbands words!!!)

I believe he sent her to our family for a reason!!

My husband was very interested in learning more about God and the amazing things that God could do in his life.  Our angel, as I will call our friend, was a huge support to him.  He became to know God and was reading the Bible and going to Church and even attended a men’s retreat!!  Now please know that this was huge.  He doesn’t do that kind of thing.  At one point many years ago, my husband told me that he didn’t know if he believed in God.

I really wanted what she had and what my husband was finding but didn’t know how to get it.  I started reading the Bible a little and really wanted to find a Church that was right for me and our family.  We checked out a few but was not really feeling connected to any of them.

Long story short (well shorter anyway)!  Our dear friend met one of our close friends (which was a very interesting journey) but now they have been married for 2 years and have 2 beautiful children.  He is in the military so they were transferred to another state.  This made our family very sad as we knew we would not see them as much as we had.  With that said, I was not strong enough in my faith to continue to support my husband in his new journey and we didn’t have any other friends that were active Christians so my husband didn’t really stick with God like he had been.

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Life moved on and I still felt a longing to be closer to God but didn’t really know how to build my relationship.  I was also beginning to understand some of the issues from my past.  I believe that I was trying to find something and going about it in all the wrong ways possible.  I am realizing that I had been searching for God way back then but didn’t really know what I was looking for.

Last summer, my daughter (13 at the time) and I were trying to find a church we liked so we checked out a Non-Denominational Bible Church just up the road from our house and I instantly fell in love with it.  I felt like I belonged there and that God was reaching out to me!  Also to find out they had a very active youth group.  I told my daughter to go check it out and she was hooked!!  She has rarely missed a night in the last year and she has become a wonderful young woman who follows Jesus and is making huge changes to her life.

Shortly after finding our church I heard of an event that was going to take place right in our little Iowa town.  I was excited about it right away.  I was going to go!  Then life took over and I decided not to go.  Then I came across the flyer again and got excited and felt like I should really go.  Then Satan attached and told me that I didn’t know anyone that was going and I would be afraid to go myself and so on and so on!!  Then for the third time it was put in front of my again.  I saw on Facebook that a friend (whom I didn’t know was a Christian) was also going so I talked to her and she said I could sit with her and her family.

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I was scared but decided at the very last minute to go.  I really felt like God was telling me to go.  So August 10th came and I went to the event.  It was an all day event with a wonderful meal and some amazing stories!!  I met some really awesome people.  That day my life was forever changed!!!

I have NEVER felt God’s presence so strong in my life!  He wanted me to go to that event and meet those amazing people and hear their stories so he could soften my heart!!  It is hard to explain what happened to me that day so the best way I can express it is to say I was saved or born again on August 10th, 2013.  My journey started in 2007 and (because I am slow) I found the right path in 2013!!

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And so my Journey continues each and every day.

Now I read my Bible daily, I pray all the time, I attend Bible study with two of the most amazing women I know and I seek God in all I do.  This is not an easy journey but the best one I have been on.

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There are many areas of my life that I am working to improve and to do according to the Bible!  It will not happen overnight and I realize that but I am working each day to live right!!  I want to raise my children in a Christian home and teach them the things God wants them to know.

God is so amazing and we must listen to him!  Don’t be afraid!  Listen to God.  It is not easy to follow the right path at times but in the end it will be more than worth it!!

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Tell me about your story.  This is the first time I wrote my journey out on paper (or a computer) and it feels really good to share.  I want to hear from you.  Have you found the right path? Have you been saved or born again? Do you hear God speaking to you?  Please share in the comments or send me a personal message!!!  God Bless you each and every day:)

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Crystal