Falling and Failing

Our kids…

Why is it so hard to love and let them fail?  The example God has set before us is so hard to follow.

Why do we feel the need to keep them from scraping their knees, getting hurt, or failing?  Aren’t life’s REAL consequences better teachers than any lectures from us?

And repeat a grade?  By all means, “NO”!

It is so hard when they won’t take the “wisdom” in the advice we have to offer.  It’s about the whole child, right?  Not just the grades…

I tell myself that and also wonder how to make him/her see the importance of grades in getting them closer to his goals.

What do you tell her to make her understand that who she is in Christ is more important than the cheer squad?  And why didn’t someone tell me hormones and teenagers is worse than the zombie apocalypse?

Breathe.  Just breathe.  In and out.  Light, not darkness.

Raising kids is hard,  teenagers harder.  Knowing when to let go?  The toughest thing ever.

It’s enough to make you squeeze blood from your tear ducts.  And that is the honest truth.


Just Breathe.

Loving the Unloveable

me and will

There are days when my husband is traveling and I’m running the house with four kids.  The clouds loom overhead mocking my mood.  Rain drizzles down day after day as I struggle to pull myself up by my bootstraps and put a smile on my face.  Carpooling, football, homework, blogging, social media, consulting.

I get snappy with my children, barking orders, fussing about dirty dishes left in the sink.  The laundry piles up.  I threaten to never wash them again.

Days like these I grip onto Grace with both hands.  He turns my eyes inward as I struggle with wanting to blame my mood on my kiddos.   I wonder how God can look down on my mess and smile when I have a hard time applying grace to the ones who came straight from my own womb.  When my kids attitudes mimic my own I marvel at Grace.

Webster defines Grace as:

  • a :  unmerited (merit: the quality of being good, important, or useful : value or worth) divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
  • b :  a virtue coming from God
  • c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

So if we take a hard look at Grace it is love coming from God that has nothing to do with being good or important or useful.  We can’t earn it.  We don’t get it when we act nice or pick up our clothes or put the dishes in the dishwasher.

Why does accomplishing our “to do” list make us feel so good.  We have accomplished what we set out to accomplish and that makes us feel good.  The day was good.  Those days I don’t struggle with Grace.  It’s the days when the house is a mess and I’m a mess and life feels overwhelming…….

those are the days when I marvel at Grace.

I want to give that same God-given Grace to my children…..when I feel they are being lazy or careless.  When rooms are a mess and beds are unmade.  When I want to shout I need to hug.  Sometimes I need to walk away and let them feel the consequences of their choices and other times I need to bend down beside them and help pick up dirty socks.

Do you struggle with Grace?

Or like Elizabeth can you apply this theory…..”When I receive the rhythms and responsibilities as God-authored, I’m surprised by gratitude, even in the midst of real need.” The needs in my house are so great! How can one mom keep up? But somehow God gives me exactly what I need each day, with lots of reminders to be thankful in the midst of those (often pressing) responsibilities. I’m learning to let the rhythm of each day flow as it’s supposed to-hard for me to do, but it makes life so much sweeter.”

*Elizabeth blogs at Finding Him Bigger

Showing up…

Scooper blogged about showing up today because that is sometimes all we can do!

I found her words comforting:

It’s times like this when my blog can feel like a pet, yet another thing that looks to me to be fed and nurtured. But because I care deeply about this space and its value in my life, I resolve to come back, time and again, even when the well seems too deep to prime. 

 A funny thing happens most every time I click on “new post” and see the blank digital canvas staring back at me. I feel like I’m home. The white space welcomes me to come on in and get comfortable, even if I was reluctant to show up in the first place. Sometimes you just have to show up.

I also stare at my canvas and think, “Do I have anything to say that anyone really wants to hear?”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If others glean any insights from my blog I’m thankful.


I’m two classes into a class called Love and Logic.  It’s changing my life.  The principles are simple.  Love builds relationship.  Logic allows for natural consequences.  It’s teaching me how to build up my kids, enjoy them, and allow natural consequences.  This involves a lot of tongue biting, allowing them to own their problems and their lives!  I’ve discovered I am a recovering helicopter parent; continually hovering. (nice!)


Particularly impacting me this week has been the notion of ignoring my children’s weaknesses and building their strengths.  Ah, I don’t think I’ve been doing this!

Adult life doesn’t work that way.  We concentrate on our strengths and find people around us to help shore up our weaknesses.  We are encouraged to ask ourselves, “What am I good at?”.  We take that one thing and we nurture it.  We sometimes build a business around it.  We make money with it.  We contribute with it….very often on just one strength.


How do I emphasize the good?  Love and Logic says to concentrate on praising the good and brush over the weakness.  So…. Little Johnny brings home his week’s work and your are looking over it, you might say……“A in Math?  Great!  D in Science?  Think that might improve? Ok!”  You do this and, get this part, nothing else is said.  (Gulp!)


So I keep telling myself:

Reinforce the positive.  Ignore the negative.  No one is good at everything.  Most people are good at just a couple things.


If my son makes a bad grade can’t I lovingly reassure him that there will be other tests?  If he habitually doesn’t study do I nag him or reassure him that 5th grade will be there again next year, allowing him to deal with the natural consequences of not studying!  Or could I ask him, “What do you think about that?” or “What do you think you are going to do differently?”  Toddlers walk at all different ages.  But there is this norm for our kids to finish school in 12 years.

  • Might it be more acceptable that some kids finish school in 10 years and some in 14 years?
  • Do we care if Little Johnny walked at 9 months and Little David at 14 months?
  • Can I change my mindset so I am helping my kids develop and celebrate what they are good at by concentrating on those things?

What if we asked “Why did you get this problem right?” instead of “Why did you get that problem wrong?”  Love and Logic says that when you ask the first question and it’s a harder question to answer.  It makes the child think.  So maybe you give him options like…..

  • You either cheated OR
  • You tried hard OR
  • You’re getting better in Math

If he chooses, “I tried hard.” then it’s branded on his subconscious mind.  No matter how many times we say, “You do better when you try hard!” it will not stick the way it does when he says it.  And if we are looking over graded papers several times a week always asking the same question then he’s repeating that week after week.  What does he learn?  If I try hard I do well.


If we were to graph our strengths and weaknesses we’d most likely see something that looked like a mountain range.  Love and Logic is teaching me that when we focus on what we do well the entire mountain range rises, both strengths and weaknesses.  If self-image is the most important variable wouldn’t it make sense that  strengths would naturally rise as would weaknesses because we have the confidence we need to try something we aren’t so good at!


So I’m trying to build my children’s self-images by concentrating on their strengths, not weaknesses.  Praise the good; ignore the bad, while allowing natural consequences.  And I’m doing the same in my own life!  I certainly know things I do well and not so well, but when viewing myself as lovingly created by THE CREATOR the weaknesses are ok!  That’s where HE shores me up!

(Much of this wisdom accredited to Love and Logic and the CD entitled  Winning the Homework Battle by Jim Fay and Foster Cline, M.D.)


Tough Questions. Tough Answers.

Taken from LearningRx  National Edition 2009:

Italics are mine.

Our doctor diagnosed my son as ADHD and prescribed medication to control behavior.  My heart breaks at the thought (as did mine).  Do I really have to drug my child?

Probably not.  In a society where a large percentage of students significantly under-perform, seemingly easy solutions are a temptation.  “Should I medicate my child?” is a question on the mind of parents nationwide and is most often asked by parents of children tagged ADD/ADHD.  There is a growing field of cognitive brain training researchers investigating alternatives to drugs for ADHD.  In almost every case, learning skills testing reveals that these children have “cognitive deficits, specifically in working memory.”  Weak cognitive skills often mean they can’t pay attention long enough for good academic performance.

Researchers have explored methods to train the brain and impact weak learning skills.   In one case, a number of ADHD students underwent 5 weeks of specific stills training and afterwards, 60% no longer fit the label.  These results point to the possibility of overcoming lifelong learning hindrances in an extremely short period of time with the right mental skills training.  Why wouldn’t everyone do it?  The investment in cognitive skills training is “not easy for a time-crunched society and far more laborious than popping a pill.”  Althought maybe not as easy as taking a pill, the benefits of overcoming skill weakness and building advanced learning ability are worth the short-term effort.  Which is exactly what our family is doing and seeing significant results after a 24 week program!

(Response compiled from Gunjan Sinha, an award winning freelance science and medical journalist.  Specific citations are derived from Training the Brain:  Cognitive Therapy as an Alternative to ADHD Drugs, Scientific American. July 2005)


To read more LearningRx reviews and stories from other parents visit: http://www.learningrx-reviews.com/

Day 27 – Things left unsaid- OPENNESS Adoption Story -Part 1

I was reading another blog about things left unsaid and it caused me to think.

You’ve not heard the story of my adoption.

I was a wee 8 weeks old when my parents adopted me.  I remember my mother telling me she didn’t sleep at all the night they got the call.  They were to come pick me up the next day.  Can you imagine an adoption going that way today?  The cost?  Nothing.   I shake my head at the thought.

I grew up with another adopted brother whom I look a lot alike.   Then as the old story goes my mom was pregnant with my little sister about a month after they adopted my brother.

Then there were three.  My parents talked about how special we were and what a blessing adoption was to them.  I almost felt sorry for people who where “just born.”  I was born and then chosen.

My dad traveled quite a bit while I was growing up.  I took dance lessons, knew both of my grandparents on dad’s side and my grandmother and great grandparents on my mom’s side.  I swam on the swim team.  I rode horses later in life until I went to college.  Life was wonderful.  I had a best friend.  We met in 1st grade.  We’d ride bikes and talk about my birthmom, imagining she was a queen of some lovely castle and would one day come and sweep us away of all that ails a 12 or 14 year old girl.

I didn’t look like anyone in my family except my also adopted brother.  Which made other thinks maybe it was my sister who was adopted.  As a grown up I now see so much of my mom and grandmother in her.  How could she have ever been adopted?

We shared a room growing up.  I was a pig and she was neat.  I was mean and she was nice.

We roamed the neighborhood, rode bikes everywhere, played flash light tag and learned UNO on our neighbors back porch.  We made forts by the creek, forts in the woods, we fished in the creek, lit firecrackers in the drain that led from the pond on the other side of the road to the creek.  I remember it being big enough to stand upright inside.  Childhood was good.

I wondered about my birth parents but always in a fantasy sort of way.  I never really wondered why they gave me up.  I knew enough about life as an older teenager to know there was pain in the world.  I wondered if my mom had made a decision out of pain and love…one that was best for me.  But I wondered if coming back into her life would bring back painful memories of a time long ago.  So I let what would be be.  I prayed for her at times.  I wondered if I had any other brothers and sisters but it still was all in a “just wondering” sense.  There was no driving force to find her and ask, “Why?”  There was only a sense of wonderment (is that a word?)

Tune in for more of the story on Friday.

Parenting….not for the weak at heart!

I don’t know how many of you guys that read my blog have ever heard me speak of my oldest son’s birth.  He was born on Christmas Day 9 years ago.  I was admitted into the hospital at midnight Christmas Eve.

Fast forward to today.  Our oldest son has been our hardest son to raise.  He’s very emotional, strong-willed and just down right pig headed (I’m sure he gets it all from his dad – NOT!)  We have days that both my husband and I are ready to throw up our hands, throw in the towel with certainty that we have NO IDEA what we are doing as parents.

Yesterday was one of those days…..a rough one.

So I pray and I pray hard for this son of mine.  I pray that God would chase him down with all that He is and grab a hold of his heart and make it His own.  I pray for a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and to others.  I pray for a child who loves the Lord with all that he is.

And I fall back on the words the Lord spoke to me that night in the hospital when he was born.  I knew God had chosen Christmas Day for a purpose.  I was 11 or so days late and had such a peace that he would come when God wanted him to.  The night after he was born I was awake, trying to figure out the nursing thing, and asking over and over, “Why Christmas Day Lord? I know you chose it for a reason”.  I had praise and worship music playing, it was dark, my first born was in my arms and I felt God’s answer to my question as if He was standing beside my chair……”Because he is my gift to you.  I never want you to forget that He is MY gift.”

I began to cry.  Wow.  For God to speak to me so clearly, choose a night so holy, and orchestrate it all for me to know……


God knew that 9 years later I’d still be relying on those words from Him.  Our first-born has been our most difficult child since day one.  He had colic as a baby and didn’t sleep for almost 3 months.  We prayed, the church prayed, we cried, begged my mom to quit her job and come stay with us and had lots of help.  Friends helped with him for most of the first year of his life.  It was a blessing.

Still today I remember the Lord’s words to me as I struggle with parenting my first born.  When I’m in the aftermath of a hard day of parenting knowing I have no idea what I’m doing I remember the words…

“He is MY gift to you.”

And I’m encouraged to keep fighting the fight and doing battle on behalf of my son because I know there is one out there who wants his heart and hates him with all that he is.  And I know the one I serve is bigger, stronger, mightier, holier and is all about changing me, my husband and our family as we raise one of “His gifts to us”.