Archive | August 2014

Solidarity

In light of recent global events I felt it only right to dedicate a blog post in memory of the hundreds that have had their lives taken from them because of their faith in Jesus.

Symbol

sol•i•dar•i•ty

säləˈde(ə)ritē/

noun

“Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.”

We are in the midst of a genocide. It may be halfway across the world but it is happening none the less. The slaughtering of Christian people as well as other religious minorities in the Middle East is mind boggling. ISIS is systematically beheading, crucifying, torturing, and murdering our fellow believers and yet, facebook culture continues on mostly unaffected.

Back when all of that drama with Chick-Fil-A was going on, my news feed practically EXPLODED for DAYS with angry Christians making their stand and yet for some reason I have scarcely heard a peep about our fellow believers in Iraq. Why is it that we are more concerned with political/non eternal issues than with matters of life and death? Is it because they don’t affect us? Is it because we would rather Instagram what we had for breakfast? Is it because it hurts us too much to acknowledge that this is happening??? Well that is just plain selfish and a total disconnect. Christians WAKE UP! We, and I am talking to myself here too, need to stop sticking our head in the sand and rise up as one—unified. We need to lift our voices to God first and then out to others. Let’s show some solidarity.

Here are some things we can do.

  • Use our facebook as a platform to raise awareness. Share news pieces, blog posts, videos etc. I’m not saying that we should stop posting personal things but we should also be posting about our fellow believers. American individuality is not modeled in the Bible. Romans 12 tells us that we are a part of a body. If someone is in need, we are to contribute. We are also commanded to mourn with our fellow believers when tragedy strikes. Verse 15 of Romans 12 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
  • Sign (and share) petitions to get our government to send aid to the Kurds (our allies that are fighting the ISIS) and to offer more aid to the people that are stranded and starving on the mountain of Sinjar. We might feel like our voice has no power but that is a false assumption. James 3:4-5 says, “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” Here is one petition you can go sign right now.
  • As a sign of solidarity—to show you stand with the persecuted, change your profile picture to the picture above. It is the Arabic letter “N” and is the first letter in the word Nazarene. This is the word that ISIS is using to refer to Christians and the symbol they are marking their homes and properties with.
  • Finally, but most importantly get on your knees and pray and beseech others to join you. Our God is powerful and he hears the prayers of his children. James 5:16 says, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” You might be thinking “I’m not righteous” but because of the shed blood of Jesus we have been made righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Knowing these truths, get on your knees, and come before him boldly! Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

This is ongoing and to ignore it would be yet another atrocity. One day we will stand before our Lord Jesus and we will have to give an account for our actions. Let’s take a stand here and be faithful to our King

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Window Markers and The Illusion of Cleanliness!

window markers illusion

If you ever walk into our house and my living room is super tidy, dusted, and perfect looking that is a BIG red flag! Whatever you do DON’T look around the corner into the kitchen. Best to sit on our couch and bask in the illusion of cleanliness. Generally, if my living room looks like a picture from a Martha Stewert magazine it means the rest of the house does not–in particular–the kitchen does not. Yes it is true. I HATE cleaning the kitchen. So much so, that I resort to my scheming 10 your old self, trying to figure out how I can get out of it or put it off one more day.

Generally speaking, cleaning the living room assuages most of my guilt and has proven to be my favorite means of sticking my head in the sand. That would be why a few days ago, instead of giving the Kitchen the TLC it desperately needed, I cleaned my living room…again… thus resulting in the before-mentioned perfect red flag aura. Sadly, or maybe thankfully, my scheme backfired. You see, the aura did not last long because as I sat basking in my little piece of house heaven, a teeny tiny baby fly started buzzing around my ear…and then another…and then another! Okay!!! Time to grow up in a hurry! Be gone 10 year old Grace! Upon discovering the small family of flies that came from my woefully neglected kitchen I put the kids in their high chairs and cleaned like my life depended on it (I might have an irrational fear of flies. Might.).

After the kids lost interest in snacking I pulled out my most recent investment… Window Markers!! They are the perfect new addition to my bag o tricks. I simply scooted Adam’s high chair up to the kitchen window and let him have at it while I cleaned at my hurried pace. They entertained Adam for upwards of 30 minutes and Owen was happy to watch while he banged on his drum set.

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BEHOLD! I give you my beautiful AND clean kitchen!

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The Bond of Brothers

Blog picture
I am a “Boy Mom.” My kids like to eat dirt, climb on EVERYTHING, play with bugs, color on walls, and wrestle. Adam, my two year old and Owen my 9 month old are my precious gifts from the Lord.

Wasn’t kidding about the eating dirt thing…

Adam eating dirt

I love these little guys and pray for and with them every day. I pray they will one day be an active part of God’s kingdom, I pray for their soul, for their health and YES even for their future wives! (I am currently praying that they will keep sleeping so I can finish this post!)

baby marriage

One thing in particular that I talk to God about is their relationship with each other. The bond between siblings can be a strong and powerful thing. It is my hope and prayer that God will create and solidify that bond and that he will use me in the process.

Have you ever noticed how if left alone things tend to fall apart and decompose? For example: Bailey, my husband is very tall. Six foot six to be exact. Because of his height he often uses the top of the refrigerator like a third counter top.  I am over a foot shorter so I cannot even see the top of the fridge which is why when he left a banana up there I did not become aware of it until FIFTY THOUSAND fruit flies told me about it. It had become a rotten mess.

rotten banana

I am of the opinion that just like a decomposing piece of fruit, our relationships will also fall apart if we do not put in regular effort, time, and work. Because of this, I try (key word folks) to be very intentional towards Bailey and our boys.

As their Mama I feel it is my God given responsibility to pursue a relationship with them and to help them pursue a relationship with each other. It is important to keep perspective. I am not raising boys. I am raising future men of God.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

That being said, I wanted to share some practical and intentional ways I foster that brotherly bond…

 

Use Your Words

James 3:3-5 says

“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

My sphere of influence may not be wide but it is deep. My words have a great impact on my children and on my husband. My spoken word, “boasts of great things” and figuratively speaking can set a forest ablaze! Knowing this, I regularly (try to) speak good, encouraging, life giving words over and to my boys.

Practical Examples:

  • There is great power in suggestion. I tell my boys that they are going to be best friends. I tell Adam that Owen loves him. I tell Owen that Adam loves him. When I notice Owen watching Adam I say “Look Owie is watching you! He loves his big brother!”
  • Before Owen could crawl I would use my words to encourage physical contact. I told Adam to give Owen a hug or a kiss. Now, because I suggested he do this so often, he does it on his own and regularly shows affection towards Owen and vice versa.

holding hands
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Create Opportunities for them to Interact.

Adam and Owen as well as many other young kids tend to “Parallel Play” rather than interact directly with those around them. Parallel Play is where they play, maybe with the same thing or in the same room but not actually with each other. Crawlers and Toddlers especially tend to do this. While there is nothing wrong with Parallel Play and it is natural at their age, I think that it is beneficial to also create opportunities for siblings to interact more closely with one another. In that way, the fun memory will include their sibling instead of simply the toy or whatever their focus was on. Shared experiences are a necessary component to any relationship so even if your children are too young to have actual memories of these experiences the connection will still ultimately be beneficial. Interaction breeds interaction. Also if you take pictures and videos of their adventures together it will be good for them to see those down the road.

Practical examples to encourage interaction:

  • If you have a laundry basket or wagon, try piling both kids in and pulling them around. Before Owen could crawl I sat Adam in our wagon, put Owen in his lap and showed Adam how to put his arms around him to support him.  I held onto one of Owen’s hands (just to make sure he didn’t topple out if Adam let go) and pulled them around the house. We still do this and both boys think it’s a blast.1911913_993072699137_1469915548_n wagon ride
  • I also read to them at the same time. We snuggle on the couch and usually end up reading a big ‘ole pile of books. Both boys enjoy this.  Adam likes to turn the pages and Owen likes to hit them.
  • Speaking of books, a daily Bible study is a great way to teach them spiritual truths/Bible stories while at the same time fostering interaction with one another. Every morning after breakfast we sing a few Bible songs and then read out of our baby Bible book. While singing the songs I will sometimes tickle the boys, tap them on the head with the Bible (they LOVE this), get them clapping along with me etc.

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  • Before Owen could sit or crawl on his own, I would put him in my lap or hold him in a sitting position on the floor and put a toy between him and Adam (also sitting down). As they would play together with the toy I would sing silly songs or tickle them. Sometimes Adam would take the toy for himself. He still does this quite often (do two year olds ever learn??)! When this happens I go straight into a round of the “Sharing Game.
  • The Sharing game is simple enough and unfortunately for you–your kids will want to play it OVER and OVER! Here’s how it works. I’ll give Owen a toy saying “Owen’s turn!” and then slowly count to three (usually in a comical voice). Then I take the toy and give it to Adam, again, counting to three. We go back and forth this way for quite a while. Usually after a couple of rounds Adam will count along and also hand the toy back to Owen at the end of his turn. This has been a fun interaction between the two with the added bonus that Adam has gotten
    somewhat better at sharing with other kids.
  • Taking baths is a necessary part of life and requires close supervision so it is a perfect opportunity to create some memories! You can play the sharing game, sing silly songs, blow bubbles, play pretend, let your older child help you bathe the younger, etc.

bath time twins

  • I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need a break! In that case, if the boys are not due for a nap, I put on a movie. Currently Adam is OBSESSED with the goofy movie! Rather than let them watch it from wherever they are sitting/standing I often grab their Micky Mouse Couch and set them up together. They definitely seem to enjoy the snuggle time and I DEFINITELY enjoy the Mommy time. 😛

watching goofy watching mickey

 

Well there you have it! Some ideas on how to help young siblings create a bond that will prayerfully last a lifetime! What are some ways you help foster that bond between brothers or between siblings? I would love to hear your input! Hope this post has been helpful and I hope to see you around the Becoming Mom blog.