Manners Matter–Mama Mia Monday

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They do! They really do! Manners Matter! Mama Mia! This is one we should talk about.

Manners are simply basic rules we follow to show respect to one another.

Today I was reading in Proverbs 11 and a couple of verses jumped off the page at me:

“A kindhearted woman gains respect.” Verse 16a

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Verse 22

These verses got my mind going in several directions, in part because I realized how rare it is to find women who exemplify the simple qualities of kindness and discretion anymore. Thankfully I am fortunate to know several, and they continually make a great impact on my life and the lives of those around me.

Sadly, we now applaud exhibitionism, and the foul-mouthed, drunken, immoral woman has become our hero. So, it’s no wonder our sons, daughters, and sometimes our mothers and fathers, are confused as to how to behave.

Manners matter.
Discretion is a virtue.
Self Control is a good thing.
Thank You needs to rejoin our vocabularies.
Kindness gains respect.
Other people are important, too.
Respect is a good thing–not just to receive but to give.

The list could go on and on, and the fact remains that as moms, we need to, I mean, we really need to, slow down and make sure that we are teaching our children to honor God and honor others by the way we treat them and ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned before we had an intern living with us this summer. Precious girl. A girl whose mom and dad and grandparents have most definitely taken the time to teach and model to her the preciousness of God and others. She was, without a doubt, the most thankful person I have been around in a long time! She was always telling us thank you for everything. I mean everything. Candy bar. Bottle of Dr Pepper. A cookie. So we like sugar . . . treat us well, this is a blog about manners!

But she wasn’t just telling us thank you. She was thankful. She had within her a true kindness and spirit of appreciation for even the smallest things in her life. She is, the woman of Proverbs 11:16a
“A kindhearted woman who has gained respect,” and she made an impact on pretty much every life she came into contact with while she was here.

Mama Mia!

Seriously, moms! These are the things I believe you want for your children. Sometimes we may get a little off track and begin to think that what we really want for them is to gain a spot on “Dance Moms” or their own show on the Disney Channel–or at the very least stay near the top of the food chain in middle school.

But in reality, those things don’t matter. The things that do matter are God and others, and how we treat and respond to both–with love, honor and respect–which is why. . .

Manners Matter–Mama Mia! They really do!

A great resource on Kindle for teaching your kids about manners is Manners Made Easy for the Family by June Hines Moore. There are 365 little tidbits of manners that can be shared one day at a time or whatever pace you choose. It’s also available for teens and in a workbook format for homeschoolers.

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Finding Flowers Among the Weeds–Mama Mia Monday

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Today I had the privilege of spending a couple hours in Hannibal, MO, with our summer intern, Rebekah. She’ll be leaving in a few days. VBS and camps are finished, and it was time for a bit of Sabbath rest enjoying God’s goodness along the river.

Near the banks of the Mississippi, we strolled down to a statue of Samuel Clemens which was surrounded by several flower gardens. Despite a summer of both flooding and a bit of drought, the flowers were doing quite nicely. We stumbled across the bed pictured above noticing the small, yet beautiful flowers and commenting on the fact that they were nestled among the weeds.

It struck me that as moms we can be tempted to forget that beautiful things can grow up among the weeds in our lives. What I mean is that, God is more than able to work in spite of our imperfections. Our children can grow–bloom even–despite the imperfect conditions we may present for them.

Mama Mia!

Now, I’m not suggesting that we throw all caution to the wind and not being careful or intentional about the things we do or say or teach our children. I am simply suggesting that we can rest assured that the God of the Universe can and will work in our children while He is working in us.

And that truth, like a walk by the river, is a very restful thing to experience. Flowers among the weeds, who knew?

He who began a good work in you

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The Initiative Initiative–Mama Mia Monday

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artwork courtesy of rethink group and 252basics

Mama Mia!
I had a little breakdown today.
It was short, sweet and to the point.

Well, let me explain. It’s almost VBS week. For those of you in the church, those words say it all. There’s some good, godly pressure goin’ on as last minute details are taken care of and the calls come rolling in from those who were going to help but can’t and those who weren’t going to help and still aren’t! (Just kidding)

Today I was told that someone wasn’t helping because no one had asked them yet. (Can I share the fact that it’s been in our bulletin, FB page, in the local newspaper, on a light up bulletin board, displayed with a banner over the sign up area in the church, and announced from the pulpit along with Tshirt give aways) So anyway, I had a slight Mentos and Diet Coke moment–y’know–exploding for a second or two but then the show’s all over–before settling back into work.

But Mamas, as my friend Tiphani would say, “Here’s the thing.”

As our children grow and we are packing up virtues into their lives, we need to be sure initiative gets into the suitcase.

Seriously, we need to take the initiative to train our children to have initiative. Something I like to call the “initiative initiative.” Now I have to say that I’m more than certain that this person’s parents taught them this virtue, yet somehow it slipped through the cracks this time.
But still I was reminded how important initiative is in our lives.

The curriculum we use at church describes initiative as “seeing what needs to be done and doing it.” Not “seeing what needs to be done and letting it stay undone until someone asks you to do it.” Or “seeing what needs to be done and hoping someone else will do it.” Or. . . well, anyway, you get the picture.

Too often we refuse to step up and help because no one asked us. We expect or assume someone else will do what needs to be done, or maybe it’s that we just don’t care enough to help someone else who is in need. Ouch! That last one hurts me sometimes.

Hey, now! I’m not just talking about helping out at church. It could mean helping out with household chores, putting away a lost buggy in the parking lot at the grocery store, sending a card, carrying the equipment bag at ball practice, visiting someone who is sick or lonely or stepping up at work to help where it’s needed. . . before you are asked.

Seeing what needs to be done, and doing it. That’s initiative, and it’s sorely needed. In showing initiative, we look different than the world. In showing initiative, we show the world what Jesus looked like when he saw what needed to be done and did it–for us.

Mama Mia! Powerful stuff that initiative. So take the “initiative initiative.” Ask God what He needs you to see that needs to be done to help someone else see Him!

Putting Church Before Sports–Mama Mia Monday

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It’s not a rant. It’s not legalism. It’s just something to think about–I promise.

As a children’s pastor, one of the greatest challenges I face is inconsistency in the attendance of our kids and families. Knowing that at best we offer 2-3 hours a week for teaching kids at our church, and knowing that only a slim percentage of families attend all services, it is increasingly difficult to help instill Biblical truth in today’s kids. In increasing measure, the commitment to sports–practices, teams, games, competitions and tournaments is trumping commitment to the church–attendance, Bible learning, service and worship.

Although sports aren’t the only thing that competes for church time, it is a big contender. Here are 5 things you might want to consider before making the choice to choose attendance for sports and hobbies over your child’s attendance at church.

God says:
1) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25-27 Be careful that your habit isn’t games over meeting together with other believers. God understands this temptation and warns us of the danger in it.

God says:
2) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 2 Timothy 4:8 God understands physical training is a good thing, but that it won’t last, but that godliness is a better thing and it will last forever.

God says:
3) Seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, then all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 God never says it is wrong to participate in sports, but He does tell us to make seeking Him the priority of our lives.

God says:
4) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:24-28 God understands our desire to win, but He also understands we are easily tempted to put the wrong value on the wrong trophy.

God says:
5) As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, … I Corinthians 12:20-25 God understands team. But church is a team, too, and when someone is gone from the “game” or from “practice,” it affects the whole team. Everyone is needed.

There’s a lot of pressure for our kids to do it all–to achieve and to succeed. But there’s a lot at risk, and there’s a lot of wisdom in the words, warnings and encouragements God gives us in making the wisest choices for using our time, setting our priorities and helping our children to learn to do the same.

Mama Mia!

Hyper Smash

Bad! Bad, Bad, Bad!–Mama Mia Monday

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Out of the mouths of babes. . .

Yesterday I was teaching HiSKidZ about when the Israelites built and worshipped a golden calf because they became impatient and worried when Moses had not returned down from the mountain yet. In doing some review, I asked the kids something like, “What kind of people were the Israelites?”

Several kids shouted out the answer our lesson alluded to, “Impatient.” Although one of my little boys shouted out repeatedly, “Bad! Bad! They were bad, bad, bad!”

I had to smile, and then explain, that God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, weren’t necessarily, “bad, bad, bad.” But they were misguided, impatient and making some pretty unwise choices. Something they did from time to time. We all agreed that the golden calf was one probably one of their top ten, especially since they already understood the “no other Gods before me” and “no idols” commandments even before they were etched into stone.

We then talked about whether or not we ever put anything in place of God, and of course, we realized that we did. I thought the kids did a good job thinking through some of the things they often put in spot #1. Here were the top 3 we talked about yesterday (in no particular order).

#1 Stuff–HiSKidZ verbalized that wanting stuff, small and large, often took first place. They saw where they often gave into a temptation to keep their money for themselves because they wanted something rather than give it to God. When there is a big offering need like at camp or VBS, they would give, but day to day, it seems like Wal-Mart gets more of their heart than the Lord.

#2 Sports and Hobbies–The kids told me that this is a big struggle for them. Having to choose between sports and hobbies and time with God and church is a pretty big battle. One child admitted there are times when they would rather choose church, but parents encourage them to keep their commitment to the team. Yet, church is also a team, a family, and a body created by God–a team that is better when all players are in attendance, and a team many of them have committed to.

#3) Friends–We also discussed how HiSKidZ could easily be tempted to follow their friends rather than follow God. Whether it be skipping church to stay all night at a friend’s house or giving into temptation to treat others badly, disobey at school or break the rules set by parents. Kids felt like without good constant reminders, their friends could easily become idols in their lives.

Mama Mia! HiSKidZ had their thinking caps on, and they reminded me of a couple of very important principles.

Principle #1) Like the Israelites, they aren’t ready to be without good leadership in their lives. They need a Moses to teach them, lead them and remind them that God needs to be #1 and anything else will be 2nd best—even if it’s shiny and made of gold.

Principle #2) HiSKidZ are looking to you, moms and dads, to be that Moses and to give them that leadership. There are times when they want you to say “no” to the idol and “yes” to God for them, because they aren’t mature enough to do it for themselves yet. They need you to remind them that “when they think they can’t wait, they need to remember what is true.”

Principle #3) They need to know what God’s Word says in order to know how to follow Him. They need you to share the Word with them–and not just the “Do’s and Don’ts” but the hows and whys. They need you growing in the Word, so that they you can help them to grow in the Word.

And what is true is what God says about keeping first things first, that His ways are right even when we may not understand them, that the church is our team, God is our leader, and we can trust Him no matter what.

Mama Mia! That’s good. Good, good, good!

Hyper Smash

Being a Dad–Mama Mia Monday

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I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Pesnell last year when I was out visiting son #2 during his summer internship. In just a few weeks, this son will be traveling back out to begin working with the team at Valley Real Life. Recently, Brad wrote and posted these words on his Facebook page. He says the things my heart knows to be true, and I was thrilled when he gave me permission to use them on my blog today.

So today’s Mama Mia Monday is brought to you by a dad. It would be my prayer that your heart would hear what he has to say.

Brad says,

“Some of my best memories of being a dad have been when I have intentionally invested into my daughter. My wife would always nudge me and try to get me to take my daughter out, but I don’t think I ever really understood until I actually did it. I would always take my daughter with me to do my stuff, but she was talking about me entering her world. My first date with my daughter, Lily, was when she was 4 years old. That day, I took her shopping and found a fancy dress and a pair of shoes. She was completely into princesses at that point, so we knew what we wanted.

Her mother fixed her hair and went with her to get a pedicure and manicure. All day they “girl chatted.” I have no idea how two people can talk for that long, but they never seemed to grow tired. I dressed in a suit that I had bought for a wedding and had arranged for a corsage that matched her dress. I had planned to pick her up at 5pm, so I showed up on time in my washed car and walked into the house and sat on the couch. My wife presented my little girl, and she walked in with the spirit of a queen.

I took her to a very nice local restaurant that had a ballroom. She heard music and danced around by herself and then out the door, down the sidewalk, and to the car while I followed and took pictures. People would stop, smile, and reminisce as she danced by them. She didn’t even notice them.

When we got into the car she began to sing . . . to God. She sang the entire 20 minute trip back to our house. Afterward, we talked all about the night with my wife–told her about the food, the ballroom, the waiter, the silly things that Daddy did at the table, and Lily’s new song.

That night, I opened the doors for her, pulled her chair out for her, complimented her appearance, goofed around with her, and just talked with her. It was the most intentional day of my life. Since then, we have supported a friend who has started an annual Daddy Daughter Dance at our church, because I want fathers everywhere to see the power they have in their family’s life. I don’t think most men are aware of the power they have in their relationships. Most men feel dismissed or disrespected, but I promise that if you decide to pull out all of the stops for one day and make your daughter feel like the most important person in the world you will never regret it.

As I continue to raise my daughter I see gaps, more than I can fill–and it terrifies me. I don’t know how to fix those, but I pray that if I just show her AND tell her what she means to me that God will fill the gaps. Trying to do it all seems to frustrate everyone. None of us are experts, so I wanted to share a few points that made me really think and examine. I hope they make you think too.

Points by Wayne Parker, About.com Guide

1. Respect her mom. While girls like to love their daddies, their mom is really their number one role model. If you make an effort to show their mom respect, whether or not you are still married to her, it will help your daughter love and respect you more. If you demean her mom or make Mom seem smaller in your daughter’s eyes, you are just putting a distance between your girl and you.
2. Know her friends. Particularly in the later elementary years and early secondary years, your daughter’s friends become a really important part of her life. She will tell them things she won’t ever tell you or her mom. So make sure you know who her friends are. Host a few parties or sleepovers at your place so you can get to know them better.
3. Learn to listen. One thing I have learned is that girls need to be listened to much more than they need to hear what you have to say. Try listening without judging and without offering advice. Comment only in an effort to understand better what she is saying and what she is feeling. Reflective Listening is an important skill to develop as a father, and your daughter will appreciate your focused efforts to listen for understanding.
4. Read together. One of the things my daughter would comment on is the time we took when they were little to sit down together on the couch or the recliner and read books together. It not only helps them learn to love reading, but it gives you common ground for later discussions. For example, reading Alice in Wonderland together will help you later when you teach her about making good decisions, setting goals and getting and staying on positive paths.
5. Take her on dates. While I didn’t do it as often as I should have, taking your daughters on dates every other month or so is a great way to stay connected. Take her out to lunch, to a movie, or to the bowling alley. The one-on-one time a date offers, along with being in a more relaxed environment than at home, will be time you cherish and she will remember.
6. Get involved in her interests. If your daughter is into soccer, offer to coach the team or at least go to games and practices with her. If she is taking music lessons, listen to her practice and go to recitals. Complement her on her involvement in her interests, hobbies and diversions. Learn something about her interest so you can talk about it and so you can help her excel.
7. Help with homework. Now I have to admit, being stuck around the kitchen table for two hours doing homework is not my definition of fun, but it has been a great bonding time for me with my kids. And it lets your daughter know that you value education and developing life skills.
8. Be there at the crossroads. At the important moments in your daughter’s life, make sure you are there. Schedule and keep the appointments for the rites of passage like her birthdays, first day of school, first day at junior high, first date, first dance, first prom, and so forth. These are moments she’ll remember all her life, and you will have been a part of them with her.
9. Make and keep promises. The way we build trust with our daughters is by making and keeping promises. If you commit to take her out on a date, let nothing get in the way. If you tell her you are coming to her dance recital, make sure you are there. If you promise to keep a confidence, don’t share it with others. Her seeing you follow through on your commitments will build your relationship, and will let her know that other men in her life are able to be committed and trustworthy.
10. Be a little physical. Sometimes for whatever reason, we are a little stand-offish with our daughters. They do tend to usually be a little more touchy-feely than we are, but you can add an important dimension to your relationship by giving her hugs, goodnight kisses on the cheek and holding her hand. Our girls need to feel our love, not just hear about it.

As we work to build these important relationships, it’s important to remember that our daughters need us to be a great dad and the most important male role model in her life. Helping her have a great relationship with you is good for both of you, and will help her be a better companion, wife and mother later in her life.”

Mama Mia! That dad is (B)rad! Thanks for not just saying these words, but living them out as well.

Brad Pesnell is the children’s pastor at Valley Real Life in Spokane Valley, WA where he lives with the two loves of his life, his wife Jayme and daughter, Lily.

Our Son Married His Cousin–Mama Mia Monday

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Mama Mia! How did it happen? Just this past Saturday, our son, Trevor married his cousin, Ashley. I never saw it coming.

I guess none of us did, actually. Sometimes, I think that’s how it is when God is at work. He brings people into your life. He changes your heart. He moves you in directions you never thought you would go. Love changes everything.

Like Trevor and Ashley.

Ashley was the first born cousin. Trevor was the third. They were pretty close growing up, but we didn’t always live near each other so it was a holiday visiting kind of thing. Plus, she’s a bit older than he is, so normally she and his older brother, Connor, spent more time together. But Connor’s in Russia right now, so I suppose that’s why it didn’t work out for them!

It’s a little unusual, I know, but it’s happened before. It was touching to see how they cared for each other, and to hear Trevor say to her, “Ashley, let’s do what you want, it’s your day; we just need to relax and enjoy it.”

The ceremony was special, God centered and simply beautiful. The bride was gorgeous, and Trevor looked pretty handsome himself in his wedding suit and tie.

He commented later that when he saw her walk down the aisle, he wasn’t quite prepared for the totally different perspective of being up at the front of the church (he’s been a groomsman three times now) waiting for the bride. She and her dad, Tom, met Trevor up at the front with tears in their eyes. She was beautiful. He was proud of her. It was a moment to be frozen in all of time.

It was time for the big question, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

“Her mother and I,” Tom replied.

At which point that handsome groom stepped up and took his bride’s hand. The church was quiet as the ceremony where our son Trevor had the privilege of marrying his cousin, Ashley, to her new husband, Derek, began!

Mama Mia! Who would have thought?! Back when they were just babies none of us could imagine that one day one of these cousins would have the privilege of officiating at the other’s wedding. What’s even more, Trevor can now say without lying, “I married my cousin!”

Congratulations, Ashley and Derek! We love you and wish you years and years and years of life together! Thank you for allowing us all to share in the beauty of your day!

And Congratulations, Trevor, on officiating your first wedding! We are super proud of you and excited that you have the special memory of Ashley and Derek’s wedding.

Mama Mia!

Hyper Smash

The April Fool’s Tight Rope–Mama Mia Monday

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With April Fool’s Day falling on the Monday after Easter this year, most of our area schools are out for Easter break. This makes many of my elementary aged friends very sad, and my school teacher friends very happy! I know pranks and jokes are not always an easy thing to handle, and they can quickly go from fun to problem.

Mama Mia!

So what’s a mom to do? It can be a fine tight rope to walk when we teach our kids the balance between jokes and pranks that are fun and jokes and pranks that are bullying. I believe there is a time for fun. We need to teach our kids to laugh and the important life skill of being laughed at. BUT we do not need to teach our kids how to belittle, mock or demean someone for the sake of a laugh.

Here are a couple of questions your kids can ask themselves before deciding to prank a friend:

1) What is your relationship with that person? No relationship. No pranking.

2) Do you know them well enough to tease or prank them? We often have no idea what is going on in someone’s private life. Our little joke may be a big thing to them.

3) Why have you chosen to prank this person? Often, it is the person we value the least who we choose to play the prank on. Would you play this prank on the most popular kid in school?

4) Is this a person who likes jokes and pranks? Some people just really don’t like this kind of stuff. Knowing that and doing it anyway can simply be unkind.

5) How would you feel if this was done to you? This question is a tricky one since sometimes what wouldn’t bother us, could really hurt someone else.

6) Is the prank innocent in nature? If so, you may be good to go. If not, stay away.

7) Are you going to be willing to clean up any mess you make from the prank? Dumping confetti from the top of a door can be funny, but not if someone else has to come around and clean it all up.

8) What are your motives? Is there any part of you that may want to “get back” at the person for something? Are you doing something to show off to others? If so, don’t do it.

9) Are you being pressured by friends or peers to do something to someone you are not comfortable with? If so, don’t do it.

10) Is it against school rules, home rules or the rules of the American legal system? If so, don’t do it.

Obviously some of these questions apply to kids at different ages and stages. However the underlying messages are ones that say, “Show proper respect to everyone.” I Peter 2:17 and “Love is not rude.” I Corinthians 13:5

Mama Mia! There is no doubt we all need to add a little joy and laughter to our lives. I absolutely believe there is a time for laughter and fun–both of which our kids need to learn. They just don’t need to come at someone else’s expense. Laughing with someone isn’t same as laughing at someone. We want to teach our children to laugh with their friends, not at their friends, and we want to teach them respect the authorities in their lives.

So, if you haven’t gotten your April Fool’s Day game on yet, get on your favorite search engine and see what kind of fun you can come up with, and enjoy the gift of laughter with your family today.

(Just last year, we did a dinner for the widows in our church and served meatloaf cupcakes topped with mashed potato frosting, and had peas and carrots made from starburst–in case you are looking for simple idea!)

Athaliah, Athaliah–Mama Mia Monday

bad moms club soap

Since it’s Easter season, and after being gone from blogging for a week due to some illness, I should probably be bloggity blogging about Easter. BUT! I just can’t get Athaliah out of my mind. I’m sure that happens to you all the time–or maybe not.

You see, I am an Old Testament story lover! Seriously, I love the things God has recorded for us to teach us about who He is and what that means for us, and as I was zipping through 2 Chronicles the other day, I stumbled up on the account of Judah’s King Ahaziah. Within his few short verses are a couple of even shorter verses about his mama.

Ahaziah was twenty two when he became king after his dad died, and he was only king on year. Listen to the words written about his mother:

“His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong.” 2 Chronicles 22:2-3

Way to go, mom. I wish it stopped there, but it doesn’t. Oh, Ms. Athaliah is bad to the bone, and after her son, the king, is killed, she puts herself in charge and proceeds to destroy just about the whole royal family of the house of Judah. This was one strong willed woman, I’m telling you.

However, Athaliah didn’t realize that she had missed someone in her corruption of mass destrustion raid a few years back. Joash had been saved and kept hidden for six years while Ahaziah was busy ruling the land with her reign of terror.

But then, when he reached seven years of age, Joash is brought out and declared king –to Ahaziah’s screams of “Treason! Treason!” She was then taken down by the army commanders and put to death at the Horse Gates of the palace grounds. The end of her story.

Immediately after her death, a covenant was made that the people and the king would be the Lord’s people, and they went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and killed the priest of Baal on the spot.

The oversight of the temple was put back into the hands of the Levites. The doorkeepers were back in their place, keeping out the idol worshipers. The boy king took his place on the throne and the people of the land rejoiced. The city was at peace because Athaliah was gone.

Mama Mia!

Wow! What a legacy! I can’t imagine one mom this bad. Really. So it can be easy to dismiss by saying, “Hey! At least I’m not as bad as Athaliah.”

However, when I think back to the first words mentioned about her, I do have to ask myself, “Have I ever encouraged my kids in doing wrong?”

And I do have to answer, “Yes.”

I know there have been times when I have shown greed rather than generosity, impatience rather than patience. They have seen me hold a grudge rather than forgive and heard me criticize rather than encourage. They’ve watched me put my own needs before others, and witnessed a few, “do as I say not as I do’s” through the years.

But God reminds me it doesn’t have to be that way. No, I don’t have to be a perfect parent who never does anything wrong. But I can make those things right. I can continue to allow God to change me and sanctify me. I can continue to admit when I’m wrong and model repentance, forgiveness, restoration and love.

I can keep commitments. I can continue to place God at the center of all we do. I can laugh, smile, encourage, teach and support them in the ways of the Lord so that when our story is written, our couple of sentences are recorded, they honor the God who made us, saved us, secured us and is returning for us.

SO maybe this post is a little about Easter. Because honestly, the only thing that keeps me from being a mom who “encouraged her kids to do wrong,” is the saving grace of the God/man who came to earth, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb and rose to life giving us power over sin and death–power to live in Him, for Him and through Him until He returns.

Mama Mia!

We’re Expecting Again–Mama Mia Monday

power of a praying parent

We just found out last night. The anticipated due date is still undetermined, and we couldn’t be more excited. Yes, it’s true. We are going to have a daughter . . . in law.

Sometime yesterday, our youngest son asked his lovely girlfriend to be his wife and she said, “Yes!’

Mama Mia!

The boy put some planning, I might even say scheming, into the day. It had all the great elements of a good proposal. There was the element of surprise. (for her, at least) There was the asking of the parents. There was the beautiful setting. There was the ring. There was the celebration. But those are their stories to tell.

Our story begins much earlier.

Our story begins about 22 years earlier, when we found out we were expecting again. It was at that time we began to pray.

We began to pray for the life within me. We began to pray for his/her future. We began to pray for his/her future spouse. Through the years those prayers continued through some smooth and rough navigating of the parental/child waterways, and by the grace of God and the power of prayer, we came through rejoicing, exhilarated and looking forward to the continuing set of adventures waiting ahead for us all.

We prayed some simple prayers for our boys. I think mostly because we didn’t know any better at the time, and I’m continually thankful that God hears the prayers of simple people with sincere hearts. I loved the book, “Power of a Praying Parent,” by Stormie Omartian. For several of us who were raising our children at that time, it became worn and weathered treasure, passed down and repurchased, a guideline to pray about things we may have never considered on our own.

When it came to spouses, life partners, soul mates for our boys, we prayed these simple prayers:
That God would bring them women who:
1) Loved God
2) Loved our sons
3) Would want to serve God together for all of their days.

We had no idea the extent to which our prayers would be answered through the wonderful women God has chosen to bring into the boys’ lives and into the life of our family. We couldn’t imagine the delightfulness of our new daughter-in-law from Russia or our daughter-in-law to be from Kansas.

But we are excited, and we are expecting, again, to see God do big things in their lives, lead them on big adventures as they serve Him, see them through some big storms as they navigate their lives with Him and each other as we continue to hold them up in prayer as they begin their lives together.

Mama Mia! Expecting Again! I hope we never stop expecting God to do great things!!
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