Category Archives: Mom’s Corner

Waiting

I imagine each of you has been in a season of waiting at some point in your life. Have you learned and grown through that season, or have you become disillusioned and maybe even bitter? 

Our daughter, Sarah, who is 40 years old just finished a long season of waiting—22 years to be exact. Sarah wanted to get married and have children as soon as she finished high school. Through the years, there were young men who came who were interested in Sarah. But with each one, time proved they weren’t right. 

Then, Kory came along, and Sarah knew quickly that this was the man God had for her. She got married last month to this godly, biblically grounded man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart and is more than Sarah dreamed she would have in a husband. Neither of them have been married, and each feels they were waiting all this time for the other. The wait was long for Sarah (and Kory). Many times it was discouraging when a hoped-for relationship didn’t work out.

In Sarah’s season of waiting, it was hard for Steve and me too. We knew how she longed for marriage. She had a happy, busy life filled with opportunities to serve the Lord, but always there was that desire for marriage. We wanted it for her as well, and we continually prayed alongside her for a godly husband.

The waiting may not be for a spouse. It could be for a child, for healing from an illness, for restoration of a relationship, for a particular job, for finances. There are many ways to be in a season of waiting. 

God gives us encouragement and direction concerning waiting in His Word: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalms 27:14). When we wait, we are not to live in fear that what we are waiting for won’t come to pass. We are to keep our focus on trusting the Lord through it.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass” (Psalms 37:7). We are to have a quiet heart in waiting and do it with patience. 

‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalms 62:5). That word “expectation” actually means “thing that I long for” in the Greek according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Our hope is to stay steadfast on God through seasons of waiting. He is the One Who will give it, if it is to happen.

When waiting, we pray. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” And my top favorite: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

If as we wait, we focus on ourselves and our lack of the thing we are waiting for, then self pity, frustration, and bitterness will likely be the result. Isn’t it possible God wants to withhold something from us for a season or forever because He has a purpose in that? Hasn’t He promised us: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)?

Through the years of waiting, each disappointment was an opportunity to go back to the basics of a relationship with Christ. Who is sovereign and in charge? Can I trust Him? Am I walking in faith or in fear? Are my expectations in God or in the thing I desire?

God withheld a husband from Sarah for a long time. Now her wait is over. Many of you have prayed for a husband for Sarah, and you will rejoice with us over God’s goodness to her. We wanted you to know her joy. 

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Start with a Schedule

With the beginning of a new homeschool year almost upon us, I am once again waving my scheduling flag, trying to get your attention. Scheduling was my key to successfully homeschooling for 30 years while keeping up with my other home responsibilities. I would love to see you achieve that same level of success in your homeschool. What I suggest develops a schedule purposefully designed by you for the needs of your family, considering your priorities, and one that is thoroughly prayed through.  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). When would we need God’s wisdom more than with how to assign and manage our time?

Through the years as the Lord allowed us to share what He taught us about scheduling, other families discovered its benefits. Here is one of those stories:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for writing Managers of Their Homes. I can’t remember how God led me to your program, but I can remember what our life was like.

We had a newborn, a critically ill 20-month-old, a kindergartener, and a 2nd grader. We’d been homeschooling for 2 years and had reached bottom. Little school got done, the house was a mess, and I was desperate. I knew I had found a God-blessed product when you directed me to pray about my family’s goals and priorities.

At the end of that academic year, we still had a small baby, a critically ill child, plus two in school. We also had accomplished vastly more at school and in our home. I wasn’t desperate any more. The difference was Managers of Their Homes and my schedule.

Beyond being a better homeschooling mom, we saw many benefits that are less tangible: kids with confidence because they could do helpful chores, kids who (mostly) looked forward to school time, a mother who didn’t yell, and a husband who became a whole-hearted supporter of homeschooling.

By sharing your wisdom through Managers of Their Homes, you taught me so many things I wish I’d known when I became a wife and mother. 

Thanks,

Pam

There is no way to truly determine the value Pam received from her schedule. There were not only immediate benefits for her and her family, but also ones that will be with her children for the rest of their lives – education, a mom with a quiet heart, industrial children, a husband/wife homeschool team, and an efficient family life. I want those for your family!

God gives us a mandate in 1 Timothy 5:14: “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” When we don’t manage our homes, not only are we discouraged, but we give Satan the opportunity to discredit our Lord and ourselves. As you seek the Lord for the details of a schedule for your family, you are purposeful in your determination to guide your house. 

For those who consistently use a schedule, you know that each year gets easier to put the schedule together. Your experience from the previous years of putting a schedule together and then following it is the reason. Often, you can use the basics from the last schedule such as bedtime, wake up time, chore time, meal time, and school time while only changing up the specifics of school time for the new ages and grades of your children. May I encourage you to get working on this year’s schedule so that you have enough time to fine tune it before it is the first day of school!

If you haven’t tried scheduling for your homeschool days, why not do it now? Perhaps you have used a schedule in the past but for some reason or other let it go. Are you reaping the negative consequences of not being on a schedule? Is this the school year to go back to a schedule? Maybe you simply need to move forward on prepping your schedule for a new school year. 

Managers of Their Homes has helped tens of thousands of moms set up and run a schedule. Perhaps it would do the same for you.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Homeschool Planning

For homeschooling moms, summer provides an opportunity to reflect back over your past school year and prepare for the upcoming one. New school beginnings hold the excitement, hope, and promise of significant accomplishments for each member of your household. Often, though, this promise will not come to fruition unless specific goals and directions are set for the year.

Planning as a Couple

Planning with my husband, Steve, for the next school year was always a highlight of my summer. The two of us blocked out time together where we set goals and planned the course of our school year. I remember a couple of summers where on a Saturday we went to a conference room at Steve’s work. There was a long table to spread materials and computers on, comfortable chairs, and a big whiteboard. Being away where there were no interruptions had obvious advantages. One year, though, we spent Saturday morning at home working on this with nothing else scheduled “to do” and encouraged the children to play in their rooms or outside as much as possible. After those planning times we had a “date” with dinner out. Several years we were able to get away for a night at a bed and breakfast for our school planning time.

Background Information

To prepare for our time, I put together some background information for Steve to review before we met. He took what I gave him, read and reviewed it, and prayed about it before we had our meeting. 

I gave him our plan and goals from the previous summer and a schedule of what we actually did during the school year. I also wrote out areas in which I felt we did not do what we wanted, including difficulties with attitudes, schedules, specific schoolwork, not keeping the children accountable, or them not achieving a goal. I gave him a list of subjects I thought we might want each child to study or work on and the number of hours we do school each day. I wrote out some character concerns that specifically affected schoolwork.

What To Do

When we had our planning sessions, we started with prayer, since Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” First, we went over the previous school year’s plan to see what we achieved, what we deleted, and what did not work. Next, if we written out goals for the past year, we reviewed and evaluated whether we had accomplished them. 

Then we looked at our list of what each child could spend his school time on for the coming year and prioritized it. The big white board in the conference room was great for this. We listed each child’s name on the board and then underneath placed the school subjects for him to pursue with a number beside it for its priority. From there, we worked with the specific amount of time to spend per day or week on a particular subject. We also wrote down ideas on how to make sure the character deficiencies were addressed and followed up on.

Make It Happen

I am grateful that Steve was willing to sit down with me and make important decisions regarding our school direction. Although I usually put together the specifics after this major meeting, I knew where we, as a team, were headed. If I ran into further snags, Steve and I set aside more time to address the new items that come up.

I hope it is possible for each of you who are homeschooling couples to make time to be together and focus on your school planning for the next year during these summer months. Perhaps it will be something you look forward to as I did my planning times with my husband.

The Wake-Up Call

Recently I had a health wake up call – blood glucose numbers approaching pre-diabetic levels. The Lord had been putting concern on my heart about my food choices, but I didn’t want to listen. Instead, I justified what I was doing with thoughts like these: 
I enjoy my treats. 
I deserve a treat. 
They aren’t so bad. 
I eat plenty of healthy food. 
My family loves me with treats and brings them to me. What can I do but eat what they give me?
My weight is okay. I can manage it all well enough.

What Is My God?

In the midst of those excuses was a nagging sense of guilt about the opposite of those excuses – the fact that they weren’t healthy, that I could make better choices if I needed a snack, and that my weight was going up. Along with the guilt were some verses that seemed to always stand out to me as I read Scripture with this one being the top, which talks about the enemies of the cross of Christ: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).

I would wonder if my belly was my god because of how much I loved my treats, but again I could quickly send it away. No, I thought, Christ is my first love, not food. I reminded myself that everyone enjoys treats. That doesn’t make their belly their god. Then I would decide I should prove that by setting the treats aside for a time. Despite my best resolves and asking God to help me let go of the sweets, I was back at it fairly quickly, along with all the excuses.

God’s Chastening?

God answered my prayer, and He did it with chastening. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5 – 6). I received those glucose readings as chastening from the Lord – a gentle chastening from my loving, heavenly Father while I could still do something about it – a nudge to move me to what I wasn’t choosing before.

Now I have been three weeks without sweets and other carbs in order to bring those glucose numbers down. At first, it was hard, very hard. I didn’t have any energy. I thought about the Mother’s Day treats I had been gifted with but hadn’t yet eaten since I askedSteve to put them somewhere I didn’t know. I planned when I would bring them back into my diet and how I would be much more careful eating them. I decided I could not continue eating this way because I felt so badly.  

I am past that, now, however, and I feel much better. Those thoughts about the goodies I am not eating aren’t filling my mind, and I am happy to be where I am.

What’s Being Excused?

I share my story because I wonder what there might be in your life that you excuse before the Lord but know in your heart isn’t pleasing to Him. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Maybe for you, it is food like me. It could be not exercising, wasting time on social media, not going to bed at night to get the sleep you need, or not spending time in the Word. There are unending possibilities. May I encourage you to surrender before the Lord brings chastening to your life? Even though I miss my treats, my heart is happier this way, feeling that sense of joy that comes from obedience. And by the way, my glucose numbers are down where they need to be! I’m committed to keeping them there. 

Expedient and Edifying

A common problem for Christian women is feeling too busy. We express concerns about being pushed, stressed, anxious, and worn out because of all we do. Is it possible we bring some of that on ourselves through the choices we make concerning our time usage? 

Scripture gives us practical guidelines to help us. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Might we evaluate our time usage by seeing whether what we are doing is expedient or edifying? The word “expedient” in the Greek means “be better for, good, profitable” and “edify” means “to build up” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

Computers/Media

Let’s start by looking at an area that is part of our 21st century lives – computers and media. Our mothers might have struggled with spending too much time on the phone, but with media, we moved into a realm where the other person doesn’t even have to be available for us to engage. 

How many hours a day are you giving of your life to your computer or your phone? Have these actually become addictions for you? From Facebook to shopping to YouTube videos, many spend hours on their computers. These are often the same moms who are stressed by how busy they are. Are they wasting time on the computer while ignoring what is truly important in their lives? What about you? What would happen if you were to stay off your computer, phone, and iPad except for necessities? Would your time pressure ease? You might find out if you are actually addicted by trying not to be on your computer or other devices. 

Another gauge might be to compare how much time you spend with the Lord each day in your Bible reading and prayer – there’s no doubt that’s edifying! – versus how much time you spend with media. Ladies with time pressure might spend hours a day on their computers and phones while being unwilling and unable to get out of bed in the morning to meet with their Lord in His Word because they are so tired. 

Beyond time usage, what kind of example do you give to your children when you are on your computer or looking at your phone so much? Is it an edifying or expedient example. Is this media time edifying for you or for your child?

Is your computer/media time good and profitable? Does it build up?

Schedules

Could your time pressure be because you aren’t using the time you have available efficiently? Putting together a schedule and using it is a simple solution to that problem. It really isn’t that hard, and it is amazing how much more you will accomplish when you are on a schedule. 

Making a schedule helps you weed out activities that are not expedient or edifying. Seeing your activities, with their time usage, written down will help you prioritize what you do, while eliminating what isn’t expedient or edifying. What you do has to fit into a 24 hour day.

Here’s what Proverbs tells us: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:60). We observe that ants are busy, working, always doing. Is it possible that we have come to believe that we need “down” time, and we justify watching a movie or TV or getting on our computer as that? Could it be that the quiet, down time the Lord wants us to have is with Him, in His Word? “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalms 46:10).

A Lens of Expedient and Edifying

If you feel too busy and stressed, could I encourage you to evaluate what you are doing through the lens of being expedient and edifying? Then would you drop those activities that don’t fit? 

If you need help with a schedule, I recommend our classic scheduling book that has helped thousands of moms manage their time well (https://titus2.com/products/managers-of-their-homes/).

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Trying to Cool a Hot Topic

Teens and Cell Phones

With the age for kids to get cell phones moving younger, we are alarmed about those ramifications. Families share with us heartbreaking stories about the negative, unexpected consequences of their children’s cell phones. These are particularly in the areas of time wasted on the phone, negative influences by others, and boy/girl relationships before the time is right for them. Once these addictions, texting, and social media relationships are established, pulling them back is at best, difficult, and at worst, impossible. 

From our perspective, as we evaluate these stories, the parents didn’t anticipate the potential problems, prepare for them, and communicate well with their children about them. Things were good in their home – solid relationships and children who were obedient. The phone was given as a practical tool but soon morphed into an engaging allurement that pulled the child’s heart into anything from many wasted hours to other untold evils.

In the past, we were concerned about the influence of TV, movies, and videos games in conservative, Christian homes and shared warnings with you about that. Now an even greater danger is trolling for your children. 

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). Is there any way to avoid your child falling into the evil clutches that can come with cell phones? We aren’t fully sure about that, but we think Proverbs encourages an attempt. Sometimes it seems hopeless, but if we were parents with children at an age to get a cell phone, we would sure try. Here are some thoughts about it.

Need?

Does your child really NEED a phone? We remember the years with our children growing up and how they didn’t get driver’s licenses until they truly needed one. At that point, they were earning income to either buy their own car or pay their share of the insurance and car maintenance. While this wasn’t the norm for teens and driving, it sure protected our children in many ways. Just because everyone else has a phone does not mean it is the right or best choice for your child. 

Plan

Think through the boundaries and parameters for your child having a phone and set them out clearly, even in writing. If you don’t want your child texting or communicating via the phone with friends of the opposite sex, let them know that up front. If there are apps you don’t want them to use, state that, or perhaps simply state what apps they can use. What about how much time can be spent on the phone? 

Research and consider installing protection and accountability on your child’s phone. We like Accountable2you, and our adult children chose to use that while living in our home. However, it is accountability not protection. We tried several protection plans but couldn’t find one that was reliable and didn’t lock our children regularly from the Internet. Our children were young adults at this time and needed the internet for their livelihood. So we moved from protection on the phone to accountability. 

If you want to look at your child’s phone sometimes, agree on the password, and then look at the phone regularly, so they expect it. Even if you are not concerned about anything at the time, if you wait until you are, it will be hard for your child to turn his/her phone over to you for your perusal.

Communication and Relationship

Ultimately what your child does on his/her phone grows out of your solid relationships and hopefully their desire to please the Lord. They will not want to follow your rules and counsel if they don’t respect you and your guidance. That’s part of a heart relationship with your children. 

Communication is key in those relationships. Don’t assume your child knows and understands your concerns and the dangers of the phone. Communicate clearly and often what the phone is for and what your concerns are about it and its dangers. 

Please dear sister, the potential evils are so big with teens and cell phones. Don’t think it will all be fine and then be blindsided when the unthinkable happens. Be proactive if you allow your teen to have cell phones. 

Soul Nutrition

The Word

How would you fare if you were taken hostage or in prison without a Bible? The recent Christian Aid Ministries hostages in Haiti, held for two months, had no Bible. Darlene Deibler Rose, American missionary POW in New Guinea during WW2, had no Bible during the 6 weeks she was being interrogated while imprisoned on death row. To draw comfort and strength from the Word, these all had to rely on Scripture they had memorized. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

What about when you lie awake in the night and can’t sleep? Do you have Scripture in your mind that you recite mentally and think about? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2).

Do you have verses you can immediately pull up when you face a tough situation, are fearful, or want to respond in anger? At those moments, it isn’t always possible to run and get a Bible. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11). 

The Excuses

Perhaps we relegate Scripture memory to our children, while we make excuses concerning it for ourselves. We might say, “I can’t memorize!” I remember hearing Jim Berg address the “I can’t memorize Scripture” excuse in one of his Quieting a Noisy Soul sessions. He said to his audience, “What is your phone number? What about your address? You all can memorize!” Our other excuse goes like this, “I am too busy. I just don’t have time.” We make time, however, for what is a priority in our lives and important to us.

The Plan

There is a simple way to begin memorizing Scripture. Pick a verse to memorize. Write it on a notecard or two (to keep different places) so that you can reference it easily. Take just five minutes a day to work on it. It takes me seven minutes a day to blow dry my hair. That is a good time for me to memorize Scripture.

Read the verse out loud several times. Then close your eyes and try to say it without looking. When you get stuck, look at your card. The next day, try to say your verse without looking at the card first. Usually, I can not do that the second day because I can’t remember the first word. So I check the card, get the first couple of words, and see if I can say any more of the verse. If not, I do what I did the day before. Usually it takes me several days before I can start the verse myself, but it does come. Practice it anytime you can through out the day. Even better use it when applicable in your daily life.

Once you have one verse down, keep reviewing it, and start on another one. It might be the next verse in a chapter or passage or from a completely different place. If it is a continuation verse, work on it like you did the first verse, while reviewing the first verse. When you have the second verse down, say them together when you work on them.

If you need an idea of verses to start your memorizing plan, consider these:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore. 
17 Pray without ceasing. 
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The first two verses are extremely short, and the combination is a joyful, peaceful, and powerful way to walk through each day.

Start Now

Could I encourage you to set excuses aside and start memorizing Scripture? Think of the potential value in your life. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the beginning of a new year. Make it the beginning of a new habit as well. Start with just one verse – one that will be helpful to you on a daily basis. Work on it until you know it and then use, use, use it so that you don’t forget it. Move on from there.

Joy in Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions

With Christmas on the horizon, our thoughts usually shift toward what that season means to us personally and then how to draw our children toward Christ. Perhaps a glimpse into our personal Christ-centered, family Christmas traditions might spur you to pray about what the Lord wants your family to do during these weeks. 

Decorating

Many years ago, we realized when one entered our home at Christmas time, the Christmas tree was the center of attention. However, we had a desire for the decorating in our house to reflect our worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and draw our hearts and our children’s hearts more closely to Him. So we replaced the Christmas tree with a beautiful, fireplace mantel arrangement with lights, a nativity, garland, and the names of God displayed. We also culled out Christmas decorations that were not Christ centered and only purchased new ones that were.

After our salvation, we eliminated Santa Claus. We didn’t want our children believing in Santa Claus only to find out later he was a lie. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9).  Plus we desired to have Christmas be all Christ!

Christmas Caroling

Our family used Christmas caroling as a special way to share Christ. We carol in our neighborhood as a family, growing from Steve, me, and our eight children the first year (plus my dad and mom) to our current thirty (on a good weather caroling night) now that we have married children and grandchildren with us. 

We bake a delicious poppy seed loaf (recipe at the end of the blog post) to take to each home and include a card with note and a salvation Scripture. It is our heart’s desire that all of our neighbors would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Gifts and Lights

Our children love to give gifts. Growing up, they grouped into teams of two or three and invested time, thought, and prayer into each gift. As adults, married with families, they figured out a name drawing system for a gift exchange between siblings, cousins, and aunt/uncles to nieces/nephews. We observed our children’s greatest joy through the years was what they gave rather than what they received.

We made a tradition of an evening near Christmas to take the family out to eat and then to listen to a powerful, dramatic presentation from Back to the Bible called the Twelve Voices of Christmas. As we listened, we drove around looking at Christmas lights. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). 

The Word

During Christmas week, Steve would divert from wherever we were reading in Scripture at that time, to passages from the Old Testament that are prophetic of Jesus’ birth and to the chapters in the New Testament that tell the story of God becoming a man. 

On Christmas Eve, we follow a Christmas program my dad and mom put together for their grandchildren and now their great grandchildren enjoy it. If you are interested in this original, homemade Christmas program, here is a link.

The Celebration

We had our immediate family Christmas on Christmas Eve day. This began when our children were little, and we spent Christmas Day with my parents, who were our next-door-neighbors. Now Christmas Eve day is when everyone one – my mom, adult children, and grandchildren – gather at our house from breakfast until bedtime for a day of fellowship, eating, gift exchange, and time in the Word. 

May I suggest that you and your husband evaluate what is important for your family during the Christmas season and make sure that your time is invested in those priorities? Be sure Christmas is purposefully utilized to draw your children’s hearts to Jesus Christ and serving Him.

CHOOSE TO DE-STRESS

Christmas is the last time of year when you want to be a stressed woman. This Christmas season would you choose to set aside Christmas stress and pick up the joy, peace, and rest of the Savior?

Here are four resources that I recommend to help you with holiday de-stressing or any-time-of-the-year de-stressing:

Managers of Their Homes
Managers of Their Chores
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey

Simple but Strategic Ways to TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF CHRISTMAS

While most of us love the Christmas season, sometimes all the busyness, activities, and things that must be done put us into overload mode. Stress levels rise, and instead of a joyful season of worshipping Christ our Savior, we become crazy women running to and fro, impatient and frustrated. That sure isn’t my picture of a godly, Christian woman, and I don’t want it to characterize my life during the weeks that are so precious in my year. So how can we take the stress out of the Christmas season?

1. REST IN THE LORD

Perhaps the greatest stress reliever is to remember the words of Christ Himself. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, are we truly coming to Him? Are we continuing in our daily time to worship Him through reading His Word and praying? 

2. WRITE IT DOWN

Write down what you want to do during the Christmas season. Often stress overwhelms us when our minds are trying to track, manage, remember, and juggle all that needs to be done. Our memory becomes so full of all the “stuff,” that we can’t handle it. When you write it down, relief descends. It is in a safe place to be retrieved and referred to. 

3. PARE DOWN

The third thing you can do to help relieve holiday stress is to pare down. Once you have that list, determine activities or duties that are no longer a priority. Just because you have always done it, doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it.
What Christmas activities draw your heart to Jesus? Which ones share Him with others? Which ones teach your children to love, that it is better to give than to receive, or to worship Christ? I would rather have a peaceful heart and do half as many Christ-related traditions and activities than to do the full measure of them stressed. 

4. PLAN

Next, you take the pared-down, prioritized list of Christmas activities and write out steps needed to accomplish each one. Perhaps there are supplies to be purchased and gathered. Maybe a date should be put on the calendar to reserve the time. It could be that others are to be invited.

5. DEDICATE TIME

Even with the best-prioritized, planned list of Christmas activities, if you don’t have any time to do them, you feel stressed. How does a busy mom find time for doing more than she currently does in her normal daily life?

Start with just one hour per day in the month of December for Christmas preparations—a specific hour that you know you can consistently be committed to keeping. If you are a homeschool mom, shorten your school day by one hour for the month of December to accommodate. You will be pleasantly surprised with the progress you can make on things like Christmas cards or letters, online gift shopping, gift wrapping, meal planning, and make-ahead baking in just one hour.

With available time, look at your lists and steps, and choose what you will tackle during that time frame.

CHOOSE TO DESTRESS

Christmas is the last time of year when you want to be a stressed woman. This Christmas season would you choose to set aside Christmas stress and pick up the joy, peace, and rest of the Savior?

Here are four resources that I recommend to help you with holiday de-stressing or any-time-of-the-year de-stressing:

Managers of Their Homes
Managers of Their Chores
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey

Posted in: Mom's Corner

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!