Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby Play

Development of play in babies, oh. so. important.  Here are a ton of activities for your infants

If you have a baby/toddler, here are some helpful tips and ideas on what he/she should be learning. Thanks to - rejoicing in the present 

Play Development
  1. Building Blocks
  2. Help your child experience different textures with a collection of brushes. 
  3. Play with mirrors.
  4. Blowing bubbles
  5. Play fetch. 
  6. Jiggle and Bounce. 

Infant Play Activities

Baby Sensory
  1.  Play with large dried pasta noodles.
  2. Make a “chewable” sensory bin for your baby using old hair scrunchies.
  3. Make music Look in your recycle bin, look for any cardboard tubes, old formula cans, an empty tin, cover it and allow your children to explore sounds as they bang with a variety of objects.
  4. Help their vocabularies by singing rhymes with your infant.
  5. Stick your tongue out at your newborn, they will start sticking it back at you. 

Baby Games

  1. Infants and babies love to be surprised.  Think of ways you can pleasantly surprise your child – you can come up behind them and give them a kiss, or peek your head out of a door at them.  My infant loves to have us blow raspberries on his belly.
  2. Pick up pom-poms and drop them down a tube. 
  3. Water: splash water in a bowl
  4.  Give your child a box of straws and a colander. Have them thread the straws through the holes of the colander.
  5. Play chase with your baby. 
  6. Help your child learn to identify body parts by touching their eyes, or nose, or toes and saying what they are.  Help your child touch your body “parts” and identify them.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sick and Tired But Not Your Child

Being sick, ESPECIALLY with an energetic little toddler in the house, is NEVER fun. So here are some ideas forf keeping your little one busy without keeping them caged in the crib or their room all day. Baby Center came up with 40 ways and I picked my favorites to share with you. To see the rest go to A lot of these are ideas for older kids! -  Rejoicing in the Present
  1. My son likes to write Grandma a "letter." I open up a blank document on our laptop and set the font to a large size, and he types letters and numbers. – athenalady
  2. My daughter and I set up a tent, which I lie down in. She pulls out a pile of books and we pretend we're camping. – mistofviolets
  3. If you don't mind thinking while you're lying there, try this storytelling game. I pretend that I'm a very old man who can't move and who has an important story to tell – but I can only remember the story by looking at various objects that the kids bring back to me. So I send them all over the house for things like scarves, stuffed animals, and whatnot. If you can spin a story, you'd be surprised how long you can keep them entertained running around the house. – The Dadler
  4. My son and I play online games that teach cause and effect, letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. – athenalady
  5. I love "Read Me the Story." My son is 2 and he'll perch next to me on the couch with one of his favorite books and try to re-tell the story as he pages through it. Sometimes it's the real story, and sometimes he just 
  6. We sit on the couch or in my bed, draw, then play "What did I draw?" – MommyB
  7. My daughter plays "Special Delivery." She picks a random toy or object in the house and wraps it up in scrap paper. (Newspaper or a paper grocery bag works great, too.) Then she "addresses" the package to me. Finally, she knocks on the door of the room I'm in and calls, "Special delivery!" I invite her to come in, accept and open the package, and ooh and aah over it. Then she does it all over again with something else. She can keep this up for more than an hour, and I don't have to move! – eulalia
  8. If I need to sleep, I use a timer so that my boys know exactly how long I'll be out of commission. Usually just a 1-hour power nap will do wonders. – hummingbird41
  9. I can keep my younger daughter entertained for quite a while with this game. I lie on the couch and say "peekaboo," and she runs to the end of the couch, squats down behind the arm so I can't see her, then pops up and does her best to say "I see you!" –Aphera
  10. I set up a fort with the sofa cushions and gate off the area so my son can't wander off. Then I assemble some toys and snacks for him and get everything I need around me, like tissues and the remote, so I won't have to get up. I play some toddler shows on the TV, which he loves. When he gets bored with that, he plays with his toys or has a snack. – lh914
  11. Get your child to pretend that you're a queen (or king) who never gets off her throne and must be waited on hand and foot. Just remember that when you feel better, it'll be payback time! – mistofviolets
  12. I set up my baby in his highchair with a few tiny bowls of yogurt that I've made different colors by adding a few drops of food coloring. I let him smear it on his tray like fingerpaint, and I can sit down and relax while he's playing because I know it's fine if he licks his fingers. – eulalia
  13. I taught my girls the quiet game. The first one to talk above a whisper loses, and whoever wins gets a prize! I get at least 30 minutes of somewhat quiet so I can rest. – MrsSignor
  14. A good one is barbershop or salon. My daughter loves to brush my hair, put lotion on my legs, etc. It will keep her busy for hours! – Heather
  15. The game I like is "I'm the Baby." You lie in bed and your kids pretend that you're a baby they're putting to bed. My girls will stroke my hair, read me stories, sing me lullabies – it's awesome. I drag that one out as long as I possibly can. – Tracie
  16. Sometimes you just can't suck it up. If my husband and I are both really sick, we send our daughter to his mom's house. – JP0408

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Submission: In the Home

We have been studying submission for the last couple weeks, and we finally get to everyone's FAVORITE submission subject.  "Wives, SUBMIT!!!"  Before my husband and I dated, we all hung out.  There were a bunch of guys and, well, me. :-)  I  was "one of the guys."  Anyway, all the boys would tease and say "Woman, submit" and I would punch them.  We were like brothers and sisters and so there was this fun rivalry.  I would respond with "I will never submit!"  It was all in fun but over the years I have had issues because of that sinful attitude of "I will not submit."

Ladies, it is Biblical and it is part of a plan that God designed to give us peace.  I am just learning this all myself and I am probably the worst example in the world of submission.  In fact, if you want lessons on what NOT to do, come live with me for a week. :-(

I would like that attitude to change and, thus, this study.  So why do I feel the need to blog about it?   I am sharing this with you all because of the personal conviction I have had as well as the peace I have seen it bring.

I Peter 3:1-7 says "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
What is asked of wives?
  1. Be in subjection to your husband
    1. Why? To win them to God
  2. Don't be obsessed with the outward
    1. Why? Beause a "meek and quiet spirit" is precious to God
    2. Instead: Be God obsessed

What is asked of husbands?
  1. Dwell with understanding
  2. Give honor to them
  3. Love your wives (Ephesians 5:25)
WHY? ...that your prayers be not hindered. ( If you are doing the wrong thing, you break communication with God.)

Example in the Old Testament
     Sarah was used here as an example. She obeyed Abraham (she complied with his command and direction) and she even called him "lord".  That means she was saying that he was the ruler and master of the house.  This lord is lower case, so she was not calling him her god. T his would be wrong and harmful in their relationship, but she was letting him rule over the house.  In return, she was labeled a "holy woman who trusted in God".  Wouldn't we love that, to be labeled in God's book as someone who trusted in God!
     We notice here, where Sarah got the strength to follow her husband and to let him lead.   It resulted from her trust in God.  She trusted that God was in control and thus she submitted to Him and that led to submission in the home.

What difference would it make in your home?

     When we submit, our husbands feel respected and many of them do what they were intended to do, lead the home.  Is this always easy?  Will your husband always make the right decision?  No, he is human and makes mistakes, but if we pray for him and trust in God, then we can know that we are doing the right thing.  We will not be held responsible for his mistakes, only the ones that we make.  So, what changes could you make?

"Without a word"

In the first verse it says that our husbands can be won "without a word"  What are the words that we have?  Are we preaching, nagging, lecturing, harassing, goading, nagging and answering back?  What is our body language "saying"?: silent treatments, pouting, sulking, scheming, bargaining, coercing, humiliating and much more.  When you act in this way, you trust in yourself to change your husband and not God.  Our life is and can be a message to our husbands from God

But what if...
     So what if your husband is not a Christian or he just isn't living for the Lord?  The Bible says we are to be submissive to the disobedient husband, as well as to the obedient.  In fact when we are obedient, we actually have the opportunity to lead them to God.  You are NOT responsible for your husband, you are only responsible for YOU!  Your husband is God's job.  Trust it to him and leave that to him.  Pray for your husband; it's a hard job, that he has.

So a reminder...what is submission?

     Here are some definitions of rank oneself accept the authority of another...Respect the rank and God-ordained authority of put oneself into an attitude of submission.  It's an attitude and a respect for God's design for the home.  Trust God, that He knows what He is doing and do what you need to do.  How do we do this?  Verse 16 says as "servants of God".

"Submission is a mark of security - not a spineless cringing, based on insecurity and fear.  It is voluntary unselfishness, a willing and cooperative spirit that seeks the highest good for her husband.... He observes her compelling behavior, the silent eloquence of a lovely life - his heart will eventually soften toward spiritual things." - Chuck Swindoll

Gentle, meek, humble - such is precious, not only to her husband but mostly to GOD!  Thanks to Elizabeth George for all the great information  and of course, thanks to our heavenly Father who is "great in counsel and mighty in work" and "nothing is to hard for Him" (Jer. 32) - Rejoicing in the present.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cooking W/ Brandy - Peach Cobbler

It's peach picking season!  The girls and I recently made a peach cobbler using peaches we picked from a local farm.

What you need...

  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour
  3. 2 cups sugar, divided
  4. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 1 cup milk
  7. 4 cups fresh peach slices
  8. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  9. Ground cinnamon 

What you do...

  1. Melt butter in a 13x9 inch pan
  2. Combine, flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir)
  3. Bring remaining sugar, peach slices and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over batter. (Do not stir) 
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon (if you prefer)
  5. Bake at 375 for 40-45 mins or until golden brown
  6. Serve cobbler warm or cold

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Here are great GMO-free alternatives - rejoicing in the present

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Garden Stepping Stones

My husband and mother are gardeners and I heard that these stones were simple to make. My mom's birthday was coming up and so I decided to make her a few for her garden. They were simple to make and they turned out to be very cute!

What you need...
  1. Tin Cake Pan
  2. Cement
  3. Water
  4. Bucket
  5. Stirring Utensil
  6. Pam Cooking Spray
  7. Broken China or Stones
What you do...
  1. Spray the cake pan with Pam or some type of oil
  2. Pour Cement and then water into the bucket
  3. STIR (You want a thick mud mixture)
  4. Keeping adding water and cement until you get it into that thick mud mixture
  5. Then pour that mixture into the cake pan
  6. Shake the cake pan and bump it onto the table to even it out and allow the stones to rest at the bottom
  7. Then place your china or stones into the cement, making whatever pattern you choose
  8. Allow this to set for about 24 hours.
  9. Finally after the 24 hours,  flip the pan over on the ground ...with one big tap it should pop out.

It's not hard but it has many steps. Cute and personalized for any gardener friend or family member. - rejoicing in the present

Ps. The bottom picture is from merrimentdesign. I didn't have pictures of my final work, but when I do get them, I will post.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What I should have written in my baby book

This is a cute. So many of us, including myself have been tracking the weight and height and we forget the cute things. This is from and she writes about "What I Should Have Written in My Baby Book" I know I want these memories in my book...
What I Should Have written in my Baby Book
I have been posting the funny, crazy, heartwarming, and witty things my kids say and do on my Facebook page for a long time as a way for me not to forget them, since I never really got into making them baby books and I don’t scrapbook.  The problem is they get buried along the way with no good way of going back through them, so I thought I’d capture some of the best ones here to better preserve them for myself as well as hopefully share a laugh or a heartwarming moment with you.

Here is what I should have written in my baby book…

Our 4 year old came into the room we were in to tell us he’d be changing clothes in his room and to please not come in.  The kicker?  He was already naked!  –July 11, 2012
Luke, 4: When I grow up, I’m going to be a fireman.
Lilah, 2: When I grow up, I’m going to be a woman.  –June 30, 2012
We ate out for dinner at an Asian restaurant, and then decided to go to Goodberry’s afterwards for some frozen custard.  We finished dinner and Luke said, “My hands are sticky.”  DH asked him if he wanted to go to the bathroom to wash them.  Luke replied, “Nah, ice cream is sticky, too.  I’ll just wait.”  –June 21, 2012
We also had to stop for a construction crew working on the road yesterday, and when it was our turn to go and the worker turned the stop sign around, Luke shouted, “SLOW!!  That sign says slow!”  I’m not sure I’m ready for this.  He will definitely not be a baby anymore once he learns to read.  *sigh*  It all goes by so fast….  –June 15, 2012
Luke just picked up his latest BOB book (a phonics reader) that he’s only read twice — and he never reads these voluntarily!! — and read it as well as I could have read it!  I was floored.  I IM’d his dad to tell him and he said to tell Luke he was very proud.  Luke replied to me with a big smile, “I could read it because you teached me!”
Maybe Luke will be a meteorologist when he grows up.  He has taken to predicting the weather every morning.  Today it’s pretty overcast and so he said, “I think we’re going to have a big, big, bad super storm later today with lots of hail.”  Thank goodness weather men are usually wrong!!

Later that day we did have a bad storm with heavy rain.  Luke woke up from his nap, looked outside, and said, “It is raining hard.  I was right!  But there’s no thunder or lightning, so it’s not dangerous.”  –June 11, 2012
Witnessed at the playground: Luke, who we used to have to BEG to go down slides, heard some girls giggling at the bottom of the slide.  The boy literally ran to the slide, grabbed on in stride, and slung himself down so that he crashed into the giggling girls and then proceeded to initiate a game of chasing them.
Man, they grow up fast!  –June 5, 2012
Luke: You know why I colored the tires black?
Me: Why?
Luke: Because they’re usually black.
Well, there you have it.  –June 5, 2012
Luke is very into monster trucks and has a bunch of them.  Tonight he asked his dad the name of one.  DH replied, “Um, that one is Big Dude.”  Luke looked at the truck for awhile, and said, “No, that can’t be it.  It has an ‘M’ at the end of it.”  DH had to tell him the *real* name of the truck — Big Dummy.  So much for getting away with censoring monster truck names from now on!  –June 3, 2012
Just read a book to Luke and said, “God loves them all.”  Luke says, “God loves them all?”  I said yes, and repeated it again.  He said, “Oooohhhh!  I thought you said, ‘God loves the MALL!’”  –May 30, 2012
The look on Luke’s face last night was absolutely priceless as he guzzled down his customary pre-going-to-sleep glass of water and DH said something to the effect of, “You’re going to wet your bed if you drink all that!”  Luke responded in a shocked tone and with wide-opened eyes, “Water makes you pee?!?!  Oh no!!”  He was genuinely worried and even took an extra trip to the bathroom to ensure he would not wet his bed.  DH and I nearly died laughing.  
Tonight he took the smallest sip imaginable from his nightly water glass.  –April 13, 2012
Luke (4yo) was just fussing at Lilah about her poor table manners at breakfast.  Lilah (2.5yo) responded, “I’m not your problem.  I’m not your kid!” –April 1, 2012
Anybody need any tips for how to redirect a toddler?  Luke was playing with his cars when Lilah came over and tried to play (aka mess up what he was doing).  He immediately went into the other room, got her doll jeep, loaded it up with 3 of her favorite dolls, and said, “Hey, Lilah, don’t you want to push your jeep around?”  She said, “Thanks, Luke!” and went off to push her babies.  Now Luke is back at his table, happily playing with his cars without anyone bothering him.  –January 22, 2012
My super sweet 2 and 3 year olds cleaned the bonus room (aka the play room) which was quite littered with toys and books, while I took a shower this morning.  (I really don’t think it was that long of a shower!! lol)  The first thing I heard when I got out was, “Hurry, Mom!  Come look!”

Somebody please tell me these habits will stick with them into the teen years!! :)  –January 12, 2012

We’re on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner and L&L are collecting all kinds of leaves and rocks.  Luke suddenly blurts out, “I have to potty!”  We’re about as far from home as possible.  I say, “Can you hold it until we get home?”  He looks down at the collected treasures in his hands and says, “No, I have to hold two things already!” –July 7, 2011

Do you have a baby book?  How do you keep track of the memories you don’t want to forget?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Submission: THE Example

We don't hear the word "submission" much anymore and usually when we do, our walls immediately go up. Submission is a Biblical word, a word that is part of a plan that God made for us to bring about peace.

Peace: I'm sure you have heard that word on many occasions. In fact, half speeches in the world include some form of "We want world peace" in them. So the same people that hate the word submission love the word peace. Well for all of you who choke on this word, please know that God designed the two to go together.

I am the first to admit that I STRUGGLE with submission and authority in general. This is the reason that God brought me through this study. It has been so convicting that I HAD to share it with you. Most of my study comes from Elizabeth's George's I Peter Study.

So maybe you too have felt the need to submit, but just don't know how, today we will talk about the greatest example of submission, Jesus Christ. We are in 1 Peter 2:21-25, let's read it...

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

Jesus is our perfect example of suffering. He did NOTHING wrong but yet, he was abused in the worst possible ways.  He went into the situation with a submissive heart. I n Luke 22:42 he says"... Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."  While he was going through the trail, he did not go around it, he went through it.

  1. Commit sin
  2. Have guile in his mouth (no trickery or deceit)
  3. Did not revile in return (was not abuse in his language)
  4. Did not threaten
  1. Committed himself to God
    1. He placed his trust in God that God is in control and that God has a plan and would take care of him.  He sacrificially went through and beat Hell for us.
Personally, when I am angry with an authority, I would like to verbally tear them apart to their face to everyone nearby, threaten them or just hurt them in the same way they have hurt me.  Maybe, I would just give them the silent treatment and just shut them out of my life.  Not give them one more second of my life. J esus, however, did not do these things. He took the grief and He took it silently.

The cross that He took then enabled us to live righteously. ( "by whose stripes ye are healed")  He bore our sins in is own body.  It wasn't his fault, yet He took them silently. Why? bring us to God. That we may know Him, through the blood of Jesus.

How does this apply to my life?
  1. Jesus committed no sin
    1. SO, what sins must I eliminate to be truly submissive?
  2. Jesus spoke no sin
    1. So, How can I control my speech to be submissive?
    2. What must I not say so that what He says can speak through my life?
  3. Jesus did not answer back when He was insulted
    1. What can I do when I am insulted?
    2. Should I answer back?  Should I be silent?  How can I give Him glory?
  4. Jesus did not react when He suffered
    1. How can I respond?
I pray that today, Father, when I am oppressed and afflicted, I will not open my mouth and when I am brought down, slaughtered and torn, I will keep my mouth closed, so that You may be get the honor and glory, AMEN!  (Is. 53:7) - Rejoicing in the present

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Guest Blog: Wild Child

Baby A is a bit of a wild child and sometimes I get so discouraged. Somedays, I feel I am doing EVERYTHING wrong. When a friend posted this blog on facebook, I had to check it out. When I clicked on it, I found that it was Courtney from Women Living Well.

Courtney is one of my favorite bloggers so I knew it would be helpful and it was. If you are a bit discourage with your little one, take this time to read this encouraging article. - Rejoicing in the present.

Parenting a Wild Child

Disney silly face 2

My son was 2 years old when my daughter was born.  Every time I sat down to nurse my newborn baby, he began stomping on books and tearing the room apart.  I was at a loss –how do I nurse this little one all day long, while my son is so out of control.  I started buying parenting books by the dozen. lol!

I tried every method and technique under the sun to reign my little guy in.  My heart was to raise children that would be a blessing to this world…but by the age of 4 it was clear that my little guy was not a blessing to his peers or teachers.  He was aggressive and uncooperative.

In the following years, I would have lots of talks in the hallway at church with other parents, teachers, and even the Director of Children’s Ministry about my son’s behavior. {blush} SO embarrassing.  And I cried…a lot.  And I prayed…a lot.  And I read a ton of books…a lot.  And I taught and trained and disciplined and yelled…a lot.

And then I started blogging.  I could write on loving our children, teaching them to read God’s word or life happenings with them.  But I was not about to act like an expert in this area.  I wrote mostly on reading your Bible and marriage. I felt more secure in those areas.  And when I talked about motherhood – I focused on working on me or loving our children or I used guest posters who seemed to be doing it well.

So I blogged…fearful with how things would turn out with this boy.  I mentioned from time to time that my boy was agressive or a hand full but I wanted to be careful that I did not disrespect him in my writing.  (My son has read today’s post and given me permission to share my struggles with you all today.)

I remained consistent at home. Loving my boy. Disciplining my boy. Praying for my boy.  Bonding with my boy.  Working hard on gentleness as a mother and learning to control my temper.  I lived out what I wrote on my blog.  It was two steps forward one step back.

Years passed – (almost 5 years have passed since I began blogging) and now my little boy is ten!  This year, for the first time, I am seeing real fruit of my labor.  Glimmers of amazing selflessness, love, kindness, generosity, sensitivity, obedience, respect and maturity are revealing themselves.  I marvel – who is this boy that Sunday School teachers praise?  Who is this boy that other moms say their son is so blessed by?  Who is this boy that coaches enjoy?  Where did he come from?  All the things I had hoped my 2 year old would exhibit – my 10 year old is finally getting.
And now I have perspective.  This is what I’ve learned:

First… 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 year old boys are NOT adults –and they are not going to act like adults — how silly of me to have hoped to have birthed an adult! Duh! Why did I hold such high ideals? They crushed both of our spirits.

Second, all those judgemental eyes freaked out this girl with high ideals!  I stamped myself a failure at this “boy mom thing” and let others – {strangers} - define my motherhood…based on our worst moments.  I remember complaining to an older Titus 2 woman in our church about how bad of a mom I was.  She said to me,
“Courtney, are your children well fed, clean, clothed, listened too, loved, hugged and taught about Jesus?  Then you are a good mom.”
What? You mean – I can be a good mom based on what I am doing behind closed doors –not on how my child behaves in public?  That just did not register with this mommy brain.  I felt the only measurement for my mommyhood was how my child behaved.

My husband kept telling me to not worry about what others think.  He was right.
Third, fear will make you do crazy stuff…yell, scream, say harsh words, threaten, –it makes you desperate to get through to your kids. I regret how fear made me act.  It’s ugly and it’s prideful!  Oh have mercy! Fear held me back big time! And God says – Without faith it’s impossible to please him.(Hebrews 11:6)
So this is my conclusion:
Motherhood is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
We will not train our children for life all during the pre-school days.  It’s a minute by minute, hour by hour, daily, yearly process and we must be patient.  We must do the right things at home where no one can see.   Read God’s word to them, love them, kiss them, nourish them and discipline them over and over and over and over.  And in time, the fruit of our labor will begin to show.
With my little wild child — it has taken what feels like an eternity for my “behind closed doors” training to reveal itself “in public”.  But even if it had not revealed itself this year – that does not make me a bad mom. It makes me a NORMAL mom!!!  It makes me a prideful mom because seriously –the desire to look like a “good mom” to others is just my pride –ugly.
Galatians 6:9 says “Do not grow weary in doing good for in due season you will reap a harvest IF you do not give up!”
Dear weary mommy, do not give up. Keep sowing the seeds of righteousness in your children’s lives.  The fruit of your labor is coming!  I can’t tell you when you will see it – but I now know that those talks and tears out in the hallway with Sunday School teachers and those embarrassing moments at the McDonald’s slides…those were a part of the journey.  I had to go through them to help me readjust what I was doing at home behind closed doors.  I had to go through them so I would be driven to my knees in prayer for my boy rather than try to do it all on my own strength.  I had to go through them…so I would understand what other mommies go through.  I had to go through them so I would NOT act like an expert.

And so I’m not – I’m no expert here.  My boy still has a long road ahead as do I (–and please if you know us, don’t hold my boy to too high of a standard, he is still just 10 and maturing. I am not saying we’ve arrived. lol!)

But that fear –that black cloud that hung over my parenting woes. – It has lifted and I give praise to God today that he has heard my prayers and answered my cries.

Are you raising a wild child?  Pray. Read Proverbs. Read the Bible out loud to your children.  Do not lean on your own wisdom.  Ask a Titus 2 woman for help or advice. Read good books and blogs by older women whose children are raised.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cooking W/ Brandy - Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

 I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It is super easy and delicious. - Brandy O
What you need...
  • 1 Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, after melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

What you do...
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix first 5 ingredients & pour into 9 x 12 glass baking dish.
  • Make the filling and Pour this over & across the brownie mix. Take a knife & swirl through mix making a marbled design.Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

UpCycle Old Picture Frames

I had a few old pictures frames laying around.  They had been part of an art project and were very messed up.  I tried to sand them and paint of them but they were too gross.  So I had the idea to recover them with fabric.  It worked well and they turned out perfect for what I needed them for.

What you need:
  1. Picture Frames
  2. Fabric
  3. Hot Glue
  4. Scissors
What you do...
  1. Take the glass and backing out of the frame
  2. Cut your fabric in rows with room to wrap around your frame
  3. Squeeze hot glue on your frame and then wrap the fabric (with the ends in the back)
  4. Replace the glass and backing.
This is not a hard project but it takes patience. It will look good as long as make sure the ends are not sticking out.  You might even want to fold in the edges and glue down.  Try it out and let us know how it goes. - Rejoicing in the present

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest Blog: Cultivating a Heart that Obeys

My little one is still in the 1's but I am always looking for articles that might help me help him. I enjoyed this one. Thanks to Rachel from for this good insight - rejoicing in the present

Cultivating a Heart That Obeys: Strategies for Dealing with a Whiny, Insolent Child


Do you have a little one who is going through this phase of life where every…thing…is…sooooooo…hard–especially following directions from Mom and Dad?  Here’s a fairly regular morning conversation right now around our house:
Mom: “Please go get your shirt on so we can go.”
4-Year-Old: (ignores parental directive)
Mom: (in slightly elevated voice) “Did you hear what I said? I need your help. Please obey mommy the first time.”
4-Year-Old: (emanates low grade whine and then collapses into a ragdoll heap on the floor)
Mom: If you don’t get your clothes on right now, we will have to leave without you.
tantrum4-Year-Old: (looks slightly concerned but still doesn’t move and probably realizes that mom can’t follow through on that threat)
Mom: (parental realization that I can’t actually follow through with original threat and quickly shifting to new tactic) If you don’t go get your shirt on right now, I will pick it for you and you’ll have to wear whatever I pick out.
4-Year-Old: (in short, punctuated, ear-splitting intervals) No!….No!…NOOOOO!
Mom: (picks up 4-year-old and sets on her bed, while she is kicking and flailing) Sit on your bed…
4-Year-Old: NOOOO!!!
Mom: (headache forming; temperature rising; trying to remain calm) I said sit…
4-Year-Old: NOOOO!!!
Mom: (getting louder) When you have calmed down and are ready to get your shirt on…
4-Year-Old: NOOOO!!!
Mom: (almost yelling) …then, you may get down. (exit room)
4-Year-Old: (shouting down the hall) NOOOO!!!
The title of this post would suggest I have some definitive answers for you on the topic of parenting a whiny, insolent child.  The truth is, yes, I’m gaining some wisdom in this terrain through experience with my first child, advice from friends, and reading The Bible and parenting books.  But, my husband and I are in the thick of it right now with our 4-year-old (our second child) and still trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We feel like parenting failures at the end of many days at the moment.  As with most of my parenting posts, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself…so I can keep in mind some important truths when I’m in the weeds.

Here are four reminders during this season of child rearing for those of us dealing with a whiny, insolent child:

1 – Behavior begins in the heart, so we must deal with our child’s heart motivations first.

BibleThe Bible says in Proverbs 4:23,"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." The “heart” is the central part of who you are, governing your will and emotions. So, all behavior comes from and is dictated by the motivations in our heart.

I read a well-intentioned blog post recently by a Christian mom who said she obliterated her child’s whining by filling a jar with a bean each hour she didn’t whine.  Then, when the jar was full, she received a big prize.  The mom did not discuss doing any teaching about why it’s wrong to whine or what God says about learning contentment and obedience, at least in this post.  Although I have no doubt this rewards strategy did work in the short-run, I have to question what has now happened in that child’s heart.  Will this little girl only cooperate when given external, short-term rewards?  Is the parent now stuck in a pattern of having to keep tally of her child’s behavior daily and offering rewards to keep her motivated?  Is the child learning self-control and the value of obedience as it relates to her relationship to God and in response to his promises…or just what it can gain her in the short term?  And, what will this mean for how she relates to anyone in authority over her in the future, including God?
If we are simply trying to modify our child’s behavior without the long-term goal of changing their hearts, we are doing nothing more than cultivating little Pharisees in our home.  Jesus had some very stern warnings for the Pharisees and their “good behavior” in Matthew 23:26-28. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

If we aren’t cultivating the ground of our children’s hearts and praying that God will change them by his Spirit, then we are missing the mark.  We are only washing the outside of the cup but the inside is unclean.  The outside may appear righteous, but the heart is still full of wickedness.

How can we reach a child’s heart instead of just changing behavior? A good place to start is by praying that God would change our child’s heart, like I was reminded of in a powerful way in the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller. In it he says,
It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn’t parent on my own.  It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation.  If I didn’t pray deliberately and reflectively for the members of my family by name every morning, they’d kill one another.  I was incapable of getting inside their hearts…But even more, I couldn’t change my self-confident heart….As I began to pray regularly for the children, he began to work in their hearts…I did my best parenting by prayer.  I began to speak less to the kids and more to God.  It was actually quite relaxing. (p. 59)
Another good place to start to cultivate a heart of obedience is by simply asking these 3 questions when your child has done wrong, as a way to uncover heart motivation and give guidance. I’ll explain a few more practical ideas in point #4, as well.

2 – Learning to obey is critical for children.

It’s paramount that my 4-year-old (and all of my kids) learn to obey Mom and Dad and those in authority right away and with a good attitude. The Bible makes great promises to those who learn to obey God and their parents.

Proverbs 19:20: Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Colossians 3:20: Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

In the incredibly helpful parenting book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids!, the authors, Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, say this about teaching your children to obey:

Strategies for Dealing with Whiny, Insolent ChildGod expects children to learn obedience at home, because hidden within that virtue are the principles that will make them successful as they get older. Teaching children to cooperate with you will also help them learn how to obey God and be responsible as they get older. (p. 9)
We’ve established this family rule below in our house recently and have some verses posted on our refrigerator.

In our good moments (umm, that’s key), we remain calm and use our child’s temper tantrum or defiance as a teaching moment.  We ask her, “What is your first job in our family?”  The answer we have come up with and that she knows the answer to well now is, “To listen to Mom and Dad and do what they say.”  When we take the time to discuss this together in the midst of defiance, she almost always responds the right way.  This has reminded us that often our kids just need to be taught/reminded of their expectations first and then have consequences if they don’t respond.  We also try to be proactive, not just reactive, by reminding the kids about once a week right now about this family rule and God’s promises to us.

So, point #2 in dealing with my whiny, insolent child, is the big picture: She must learn obedience.  I don’t want to just give in or make excuses for my child’s behavior.  I want to have the end goal in mind for her and deal with her wrong behavior consistently, because I know this is what is best for her in the long run.

3 – The manner in which I interact with my child can either bring healing or create distance between us.

My tone of voice and body language can either help diffuse her tantrums or rev them up.  Michelle Anthony says in Spiritual Parenting, “The end goal for us as parents is to conduct God’s discipline in our children’s lives in such a way that they experience healing from their sin.”  That’s what I want to do but have such a hard time remembering in the moment!  God’s Word gives so much wisdom to this end. I often post these verses around my house, to help me fight my temptation to be impatient and get angry quickly.

Psalm 103:8, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Proverbs 14:29, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly
Proverbs 15:1,A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
James 1:19-20, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

In Good and Angry, Turansky and Miller say this about engaging in battle with our kids:
When a child begins mistreating a parent with arguing, meanness, or defiance, that child will feel many emotions, but especially guilt.  People don’t like to feel guilty, and one of the easiest ways to excuse the guilt is to justify it by looking at the sins of others.  When you join the boxing match, your children feel attacked and find it easier to blame you rather than focus on what they did wrong…As parents, we need to stay out of the boxing ring and allow the Holy Spirit to convict our children of sin. (p. 3)
They go on to explain that as parents we need to step out of “the boxing ring” and instead come around to our child’s “side of the ring” as a coach.  When a fight begins, we must stop dealing with the issue at hand and instead discuss the way we’re relating. It means as a parent I need to choose “a different posture, one that offers healing instead of antagonism, and closeness instead of distance” (p. 4).

4 – Set a routine that will teach my child how to accept instructions in life.

We all have routines of how we interact with our children in our home, some good and some bad.  If you’re like me, I can easily get into a bad routine that doesn’t help my children respond the right way to my instructions.  My anger, impatience, and short-sighted behavior-adaptation attempts at dealing with their behavior can make it worse in the end.  Instead, I want to strive for a changed heart not just changed behavior in my child.

In Good and Angry, the authors write:
It’s easy to feel angry because your children aren’t doing what you say. At those moments don’t respond with more harshness. Instead, move into a routine that teaches your kids how to accept instructions in life. This new pattern not only makes family life easier, but each step will train your children to respond to other leaders and eventually to God’s instruction. (p. 41)
Turkansky and Miller make these practical, heart-targeted suggestions for moving into a new and effective pattern of giving instructions and helping your child learn to obey. (I encourage you to read the entire book to address a whole host of behavioral issues you may be dealing with in your children and how to respond rightly.)

get close
Step 1: Get close together.
When you need to give an instruction, start by getting close to your child.  Most of the time this means calling your child to come to you.  At times, though, you may have to go to him.  This takes lots of practice.  But, what this teaches a child is that “dialogue only takes place when relationship has been established through eye contact and proximity….By affirming your relationship in the midst of the instruction, you teach your children an important lesson about the way God relates to us.  Spirituality isn’t just a list of dos and don’t, but it comes within the sphere of relationship.” (p. 45)

Step 2: Consider the timing.
When getting ready to give instructions, we should consider “is it best to address this problem right now or would it be better to talk about it later?” “Pausing for just a moment, or in some cases, waiting a few hours, may prove to be the most productive way to deal with a problem.” (p. 47)

Step 3: Give the instruction.
Make a statement about your goals or objectives before you give the instruction.  “Ben, I’m trying to get us to swim lessons on time. Can you please get your swim trunks out of your drawer and put them on?” This kind of statement gives your child more information, so they can feel like they are part of the team. The older the child, the more of an explanation is helpful.
Once you give the instruction, teach your child to respond to you. We often say to our younger kids, “Say, ‘okay mom’” after giving an instruction. A child’s answer reveals three things: 1) it shows that your child has heard you, 2) it teaches the child to communicate intent to follow through, and 3) you can hear what kind of attitude your child has.

Step 4: Wait.
Once you’ve given the instruction, ask your child to go do it and then report back to you. This gives them accountability to finish the task.

Step 5: The child checks back and you inspect and release him/her.
“After children report back and parents inspect what they’ve accomplished, everyone experiences a sense of completion.” This also gives you a chance to “praise your child for obeying, teach about responsibility, and foster a positive relationship…By getting the work checked, a child then experiences a sense of freedom. You give your children a gift by releasing them to go play or enjoy the rest of the evening.” (p. 55)