The Bead System: Helping your Child Develop Character and Self-Control Without Loosing Your Cool   3 comments

“I’ve told you three times to put your toys away.”  “Don’t hit your sister, you know better.”  “What do you say to Mrs. Loperty for giving you those gifts?”

Training children without loosing your cool is a challenging task!

Talking works sometimes,   yelling works less,  nagging annoys, spanking works if done correctly and in love and negative reinforcement is draining. After reading many books on the subject and speaking with lots of moms, I’ve developed a system that works and would like to pass along to you.  I call it the “The Bead System”.  I used beads (like the ones you get at the craft store).  You could use pennies, little balls or anything small that can fit in a jar.   I made little cinch bags for each one to hang on there jean belt loops.  I would reward them quickly when I caught them doing good things.  I placed the beads in their hands and they placed them in their cinch bags.  I also was quick to ask for beads when they broke a rule.  They had to get the beads themselves out of their bags.  I would not take them.  The beads turned into a money system.  Each bead was quite valuable to the kids, because it meant purchasing power.  Here is a sample of a page that I hung on the refrigerator door. IMG   The wonderful thing about this system is that the parent is no longer the bad guy. The rules for commendation and punishment are there for all to see. If the child forgets about the list and sasses the parent, the parent calmly says, “Well, you are sassing me, so you owe me 5 beads.”  The parent will wait while the child reaches in his/her container to get the allotted beads in order to pay for that behavior.  The child is free to negatively behave the way they want, but it will cost them.  They are also free to behave well, and be rewarded. This system will work for any age child.  Just adjust the behavior/rewards/spending.

My oldest son (who was 10 at the time) earned 300 beads.  One of the spending options was Cosi (Center of Science and Industry) which was 180 miles away.  He earned it, so I took him.

The key is follow through.  This system will not work if the parent is not consistent.  It does take sacrifice and discipline to catch your kids and reward them when they do good things, both in public and at home.  Be ready.   We want our kids to succeed, right?  That is why the rewards are weighted heavier than the punishments.  We want them to experience the enjoyment of positive reinforcement of earning and spending, not just the negative reinforcement of taking away things they like.

As a young parents, my husband and I stuck to this system until the kids were 10 or 11.  We switched them to an allowance.

I pray that this system will work for you as well as it did for us.  I am so proud of all three of my kids.  I have two teenage boys now and one 11 year old girl and they are wonderful. (Don’t get me wrong….they have their moments, like any child would).   The key is to BE CONSISTENT and CATCH THEM DOING GOOD THINGS and reward them right away.

What tips have you found to be helpful with raising children?

For Wives: 8 Ways To Respect Your Husband   4 comments

Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

One Friday, my friend Perla and I went walking on the bike trail.  She is a newly wed, and I have been married for 21 years.  As we walked and talked, she shared about how she deeply respected her husband.

I was inspired.

I came home and told my husband my plan.

“I have not intentionally been respectful to you, ever.  I have been kind and nice, but not overtly respectful to you.  From here on, I will be  intentionally respectful.”

He kissed me on the cheek and walked way.

Since that day, we both have changed and our marriage has been strengthened.

The following is a list of ways to respect your husband and strengthen your marriage:

1.  Do not correct him in front of the kids.  When your husband is disciplining the kids, and you feel it is too harsh, ask to speak with him outside the presence of your children.  “Will you reconsider the boys punishment?  One month seems a bit harsh.”

2. Don’t nag.  If your husband keeps a perpetual pile of dirty laundry on the floor that drives you up the wall, don’t nag.  Put in a request, kindly.  I respect him enough to allow him to keep a pile of laundry there.  Besides, if your man doesn’t smoke, doesn’t go to bars, hangs out with good guys, then having a pile of laundry on the floor is not the worst thing that could happen.

3.  Don’t try to change him.  You will never be able to change your husband.  But the Holy Spirit can.  If you see character flaws in your husband, rest assured, you have character flaws as well.  “”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  Matthew 7:3  Ask God to change YOU first.  You’ll be surprised how well that works out for both you and your husband.  

4.  Husbands respond to sweetness.  Being harsh with your husband will not get you what you want.   Husbands will respond when we, as wives are kind and gentle.  Don’t be fake, be authentic.   Sweetness will bring the change you desire.  Harshness will only bring rebellion.

5.  Don’t be pushy.  If your husband does not want to do something, respect his feelings.  Give him some grace and don’t push him.  Love is patient.

6. Stand by your man through thick and thin.  When he messes up and when he gets it right, be his cheerleader.  You’re not perfect, don’t expect him to be either.  Don’t criticize, encourage.

7.  Don’t wait for things to build up.   This will begin World War III.  Wives unload issue after issue like shooting rounds at them.  Talk about the things that concern you calmly and rationally as they come up.  Try to keep your emotions out of the conversation as best as you can and don’t point the finger.   In the past, I have waited until 5 or 6 tiny issues built up before discussing it with my husband.  Nope, doesn’t work.

8. Don’t cheat on him.  (This one is a no-brainer).  Don’t have an emotional or physical affair.  Be faithful.  You said “I do, until death do us part.”  Vows matter.  Be committed to the marriage.  Keep your promise.   Love does not dishonor others.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Corinthians 13:1-7

Thank you to the Holy Spirit, working through Perla, to help me be a better wife to my husband.   Perla, you are a great friend and you inspire me.

I pray that God would help you, dear reader, to be the wife, mother and servant that he wants you to be.  May your marriage be revitalized as you grow closer to one another in love.

photo compliments: archcapeinn.com

Posted June 13, 2014 by optimisticgladness in Marriage

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Chris’s Story “A Journey Towards Healing” (Story 27 of 31)   3 comments

1″Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.  2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.  3 My soul is in deep anguish.  

How long, Lord, how long?

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.  Among the dead no one proclaims your name.  Who praises you from the grave?  I am worn out from my groaning.  All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.   My eyes grow weak with sorrow;  they fail because of all my foes.  Away from me, all you who do evil,  for the Lord has heard my weeping.  The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;  the Lord accepts my prayer.  10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;  they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame. Psalms 6:1-10

Let me back up about five years. It was a wonderful time in my life. I was a substitute teacher, was in a wonderful twenty-three year marriage, and had two great children.  My oldest child, Brittney, was getting ready to graduate high school.  We were in the midst of party planning and celebrating.  But life as we knew it was about to change.  

Brittney would be heading off to college in Tennessee (six hours away).  My husband and I were excited for her future and things were great. Again, I didn’t know how much change was coming.   Jeremiah 29:11 says; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.

About two weeks after graduation, I became very ill.  The day started and went as any ordinary day for me: a jog around the park, straightening the house, and meeting a friend for an afternoon walk in the park.  By evening, I had a headache.  Over my life I’ve been a ‘migraine person’ but this one was different.  It was so intense, my bones hurt.  My nerves were flaring with excruciating pain.  By the next day I could hardly talk.   The next days, weeks, months, and even years were spent with doctors appointments, tests, x-rays, more tests, medicine—anything and everything possible.   I saw family doctors, neurologists, TMJ specialists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and even tried acupuncture.  Some things were helpful; others not so much. No one had answers.

I felt hopeless and very afraid. Medical bills began stacking up.  My daughter headed off to college without her mother’s help, and Chandler, my son, was lost in the chaos.  I began to feel depressed, to say the least.  After experiencing this trial for nine months, I began to feel fear, discouragement, and hopelessness.  Recurring thoughts would invade my mind. “I am never going to get better.” “My life is over.” “I am all alone.”

If it weren’t for my husband literally becoming the hands and feet of Jesus I most certainly would have ended my life.  Everyday he would pray scripture over me, pray for me, and care for me.  I thanked God everyday for him.  Over time I experienced small and gradual improvements.  Physical healing started to take place and I realized that it was up to me to keep my mental and emotional state going in a positive direction too.  Negative thoughts would always seem to raise their ugly head.  The battle for health was not just physical.  I had to fix my mind on what God’s Word said about me.  God did not want me to end my life and give up.  He would use my pain for His glory and to help others. Romans 8:28 says; “And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Did I believe this?  This trial really tested my faith. I realized that I needed to totally trust God at His Word.  Here is what I did:

I collected and assembled every healing scripture God would reveal.

Every time I doubted….

I read His truth.

Every time I felt couldn’t go on…..

I read His truth.

Every time fear came….

I read His truth.

These are a few of the passages I found most helpful:  Isaiah 40:31, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:7-9, Psalms 46:1, James 1:2-3.

Through prayer, scripture reading, patience, and more prayer: God has been healing my body and my mind.  This has been a long journey—but He has been faithful.  I have seen how Christ has handled every aspect.  Finances,  medical bills, along with the growth of our children through this—Christ never fails.

I am content that He is still writing my story and I am healthy enough to testify to what He has done.  He is using me to help other women going through similar pain. God is good!

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I have a theory.  I may be wrong and please tell me if I am.  I believe that when God made us, He made each system reliant on the others.  The integumentary system needs the cardiovascular system and the nervous system to function.  The musculoskeletal system needs the nervous system, cardiovascular system and the renal system.  One system can not function without the other.   We are a spiritual being in a physical body that has a mind with emotions, needs and wants.  If we are sick physically, it will overlap into our social network, we will be weak emotionally, we may even be weak financially.  Most certainly, we will be weak spiritually.

Somehow, by ways unknown to me, God’s word is alive……His words live…..they have power……they have the power to heal.   Like the paralytic man in the Bible, unable to crawl to Jesus to ask for healing, his friends came, took off the roof of a house and lowered the paralytic man to Christ.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.  Luke 5:18-25

The man was too poor physically to help himself to Jesus, but he had some great friends that put in the effort that the paralytic did not have.  Chris’s husband was like that friend.  He put in the effort to take off the roof and lower Chris to Jesus, where she could find healing spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially and mentally.

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I met Chris about one year ago.  She is our pastor’s wife who has a heart for the Lord and for hurting women.   She lives in Ohio and has 2 adult children.  I’ve heard it said, “Your greatest pain is your mission field. ”  Chris is living proof of this.  Her greatest pain IS her mission field and it is inspiring to see her in action.

How about you?  Is your past pain or trial part of your current mission?

Thank you Chris for sharing your story!

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An Encouraging Thought For Godly People who are Suffering and on Disability   2 comments

I would like to speak to the person who is suffering right now and encourage you. I received an illustration about suffering and self-worth that I would like to share with you.

Many people who are on disability and are suffering feel like they have nothing to offer, they feel good-for-nothing, have decreased self esteem and dignity. They can not go to work because they are in pain, have a disability are are suffering quite badly. Single Godly mom’s who are on disability trying to raise Godly children.

Here is the illustration:

You have a full time job right now. That job is to be a student. You go to school 7 days per week and study, listening to pod casts, lectures, preachers, reading books on growing in God and healing. Your occupation is that of a student. A student does not get paid, in fact, most students start out poor and on their own. A student’s job is to learn, learn, learn. They take copious notes and pay attention. That is your job right now. In the school of suffering, sitting at the desk of knowledge, 7 days per week, sometimes 18 hours per day. Here you learn patience, develop trust and faithfulness in God, increase your perseverance with a heart of gratitude and learn how to find joy a midst your circumstances.  You will find your relationship with God dives to a much deeper level than ever before.  The peace of God’s presence comforts you while you are in this dark place.  In this school, things are being taken away as well: your hard heart, your critical spirit, pride and reliance on self.

Photo Compliments of testtakingtips.net

Day in and day out you study. You choose to turn off the daytime talk shows and computer games and focus on growing emotionally, spiritually, mentally and socially. This school has helped you understand that you are not just poor financially, but poor emotionally, physically (with pain), socially with lack of quality friendships and broke spiritually.  As you work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12) and wrestle with these tough topics, you will gain knowledge, grow closer to God and end up with so much more than when you started!   But….you need to wrestle, to work for it, read the books, find good friends that will lift you up and encourage you, listen to sermons on issues with which you struggle.

Since I am such a visual person, sometimes when I feel unloved I will envision myself on God’s altar, giving myself up as a living sacrifice, for His glory.  I picture myself as the precious alabaster offering being broken for God, because there are good things in me.  I want to pour out myself for Him, hoping and praying that He will fill me back up.  Recently, as I was picturing myself on the altar, dead to myself, I saw Jesus near my head.  He stroked my hair and kissed me on the forehead.  That was all I needed to go on!  I know that He loves me deeply and somehow, it gave me energy and a renewed hope.  He loves you too.  Visualizing helps to deal with pain, loss and gives us hope.

So, hang on my friend!  With Jesus in your boat, the storm won’t last forever and the boat won’t sink.  Wrestle, study, invest your time with Godly people, listen, be a good student.  You will graduate from the school of suffering with high honors.  Remember, after suffering comes glory.   After the wilderness comes the promised land.  You will get through this.

For more help on this subject, read Walking with God through pain and suffering  by Timothy Keller….fantastic book!

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An Illustration on Suffering   4 comments

Have you ever felt like God was stripping things away from you, one thing at a time?  First a job, then your health, then your marriage, friendships, car wrecks, things breaking at home in successive order and finally loneliness?

I’ve been there.  I want to encourage that woman (or man) who’s there now.

Here’s an illustration:

Your house stands among other homes in a neighborhood.  One day, a construction truck shows up in your driveway.  A man gets out of the truck and places a sign on the door that describes a  Judge’s decision to renovate your home.   You open the door and read the note.  Thoughts roll though your mind.  “How can this be?  This is MY home?!  Who is paying for this?  I like my house, I don’t want anything changed.  What will the neighbors think?  I don’t want everyone to see all my stuff!”  The man and his truck drive off.

photo compliments of ohiosbestrealestate.com

One week later, the construction truck is back in your driveway.  Three men get out of the vehicle.  The first takes the bolts off the front door.  The second rips out the carpet in all the rooms and the third man begins to rip off the wall paper.

A flood of emotions overcome you.  You are REALLY mad.  You are incredibly sad.  You are embarrassed.  You hide in your home, so that no one can see you.  You feel awkward. Your home, that once matched all the other homes in your neighborhood now looks horrible.  It is different.  It’s a mess.  Stuff is everywhere.  People who walk in the neighborhood can see how you do life. There is little privacy.   What was once a symbol of pride, strength, peace and security is now disaster, disarray, painful, and horribly embarrassing.

The men return 2 weeks later and rip out all the windows and put boards in their place.  Then they turn the power off and begin to rip out all the electrical work.

It just keeps getting worse!  You think to yourself.  Who would do this to someone?  Why are my friends not here?  Do I have any real friends?  I feel like I don’t belong here anymore. You continue living life in a  tattered, broken home.  You feel like you can’t look people in the eyes when you go to work or are in the community.  You feel just plain awkward!   Your dignity is gone.  You now know  poverty in every sense of the word.

You don’t see the men and their construction vehicle for many months until one summer day they pull into the driveway again.  You have shed so many tears and you are tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of trying to hold it together. Tired of living paycheck to paycheck.  Tired of attempting to keep up appearances.  Tired of being tired.

The men get out of the vehicle and begin reconstruction. They re-wire, re-plumb, put all new light fixtures in, lay new hardwood floors, reconstruct windows, doors and lay brand new carpet. They paint all the rooms and even put a new library in your home.  After that, they move to the exterior of the home.  They pull off the siding and put new stone and brick  in it’s place. Who is paying for this? This is so beautiful! I love it!

When the builders are completed with the reconstruction, they knock on your door. You open the brand new oak door, smiling from ear to ear and wrap your arms around the man and say, “‘Thank you so much! This is just want I wanted! Do I owe you anything?’   The man standing on your porch says, ‘It’s paid in full.  Don’t worry about it.  The men get in the construction truck and leave.  You reflect on your former shame.  Now, you like where you live. You are happy here. The former emotions of sadness and anger are a distant memory. Somehow, all that suffering, strangely seems worth it.  You know you are loved and are filled with immense gratitude. You have a brand new home!

Here is the meaning:

You are the home.  The three men represent the Holy Spirit.  The judge is God.  Jesus paid for all the renovations with His life.  God sees our bad habits, our character flaws and our bad attitudes.  You have a need to be purged from these weak areas to make you more mature, set apart for Him.  So, He begins to take away things in your life…..the carpet of criticism and replaces it with the wood floors of compassion.   He takes the old door of judgement and replaces it with a beautiful new door of love.  He strips the aged wall paper of pride and replaces it with the vibrant paint of patience.   When God is stripping you of material things, you are very self conscious and feel exposed. This allows you to see your blind spots that you would have not otherwise have noticed.

It is a process.  The stripping away, the awkwardness, the sense of doom, the self-reflection, the isolation.  Faith grows during adversity.  Dependency on God is necessary to walk though this suffering.  When God sees the impurities gone, He begins to rebuild you.  Eventually, your new home, your new character shines for Him, so much so that you stick out in your “neighborhood”.  You really like who you’ve become…..and it all seems worth it.  You have a good attitude about God, yourself, others and creation.  Our suffering is our gold.  If you trust in Him, this demolition will only make you better.

Everything is needful that He sends, nothing is needful that He withholds. – John Newton

 

The Thorns and Thistles in Life: A New Perspective   9 comments

I had an ah-ha moment that I would like to share with you. Seriously read these questions and take time to answer them and you may have an ah-ha moment too!

Gen3: 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

When Adam and Eve sinned, God cured the ground so that thorns and thistles would grow. Thorns and thistles would be anything in your life that would cause you physical, emotional, mental, social or spiritual grief and discomfort.

1. What are the thorn and thistles in your life? (I have 2 thorns in my life right now. )

God also allowed flowers and food to grow among the thorns and thistles.
Flowers and food are the things in your life that make life good. Flowers and food are things that feed you spiritually, socially, physically, mentally or emotionally.

2. What are the flowers and food in your life? (I listed more than 10 items such as: my children, a God who protects and provides for me, a husband that loves me and takes care of me, a great job that challenges my mind and body, a church that feeds me spiritually and multiple services opportunities that feed me socially and mentally).

If your list is anything like mine, your flowers and food far exceed your thorns and thistles. (I had 2 thorns and more than 10 flowers).

20 years ago, I had around 3 thorns and still more than 10 flowers/food). Compared to today, one thorn is the same and the second is gone and third thorn have changed.

Your thorns will change depending on what season of your life you are in. Your flowers and fruit will always exceed your thorns and thistles. That is grace.

What if…………the thorns and thistles in our lives are present to toughen us up, to protect us from dangerous predators that would want to hurt us?

What if………..one of our enemies was ourselves, our wild tendencies and selfish nature?

What if………..the thorns are really a gift from God?

What if………the thistles are God’s loving, maturing grace to help us develop a rich character filled with patience, goodness, deep seated joy and kindness?

What if……….the thorns help us to appreciate the goodness around us?

What if………the flowers and food, the good things in our lives that bring us joy, are God’s demonstration of His care and devotion to us?

What if……….the thorns, thistles, flowers and food are all for our good? That God does not delight in our suffering, but to protect us and to meet our every need.

The thorns you have today will change in the future. The good things in life always outweigh what we think is bad.

Are we able to thank God for the thorns and thistles in our lives and see them as God’s best for us?

A Story About Procrastination   2 comments

I’ve heard a story that I may very well remember for the rest of my life.    I’d like to share it with you.

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Satan was speaking with 3 demons about the best way to deter people from knowing with God.

Satan (to the first demon): How do you plan on keeping people from knowing God?

1st demon:   I will convince them that there is no God.

Satan: You will win only a few souls.  Most humans believe that there is a God who lives in heaven.

Satan (to 2nd demon): What is your plan on furthering the kingdom of darkness?

2nd demon:  I will convince them that there is no heaven and no hell.

Satan: You will win more souls than the first, but it is not the best way to keep people from God.

Satan (to 3rd demon): What is your plan?

3rd demon: I will convince the people that there is no hurry.  No hurry to know God today, tomorrow, or this year.  To wait until next year, and the next and the next.

Satan: You will win many souls for the kingdom of darkness!  If the people keep putting it off and putting it off, they will eventually die having never known God.  Well done.

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Gulp.   Sobering.  Procrastination.  A bad habit.

What’s keeping you from a closer walk with God today?

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb

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