Shhh. It’s a surprise! I wanted to show you what the granddaughters and I are making for their little sisters for Christmas, but you’ve got to promise you’ll keep it a secret!
Back when Kelley and Kasey were little, I bought a big piece of pink felt and some iron-on applique poodles to make them poodle skirts, (you know, the kind that were popular in the ’50s) just for dress up fun. My kids LOVED to dress up.
Well, I never got around to it!
So, this year I’m teaching the older grandkid girls to sew and make these skirts for their little sisters (who love to dress up too!)
Maybe you would also like to know how! It’s really pretty easy:
If you’re like me, you can think of a million things you’d like to have time to do. Worthwhile things, too. I’d like to learn to play a musical instrument, be more involved in politics, be more active in my church, and read a lot of good books. (Some of which have been on my shelf for years). Many times, I’ve thought how I could improve myself if I only had time. But God reminds me that He is improving me through the very common responsibilities that I think are keeping me from my chosen pursuits.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what challenges, responsibilities and opportunities to bring into our lives as He builds a life curriculum for each of us. It is when we kick against the pricks and are constantly looking for something else more fulfilling that we miss fulfillment. I used to think that I was wasting my potential by not being in a full-time ministerial position. These days, I’m coming to see that there’s no more important ministry than the stewardship of little lives. We moms and dads hold the keys to future generations. We mustn’t get bogged down in the daily grind and forget to smell the roses, on one hand, and revel in the prospect of future achievement on the other.
There will be different seasons in the lives of our children, we’ve found. There was a time when we were living in our little yellow house in Concord and had two, then three, then four little boys. I was young and eager, wanting to get into full-time ministry work and leaving no stone unturned looking for God’s big opportunity for me. I was eager to get into the Lord’s work and out of painting. My wife stuck close to her home and children while my eyes were on the ends of the earth.
In the early days of our parenthood, it sometimes seemed that life would go on forever as it was going then. We’d never have any money, we’d never have a child who was old enough to babysit, we’d never have air conditioning. I was so tense as a young man that I made life harder for myself and those around me.
I’ve heard Marilyn say that when she had three children, life was tougher than it was with eight because when she had only three, there were no big helpers. Two were in diapers, and Rickey was a bundle of energy. Now, of course, we have some good help trained and that is a blessing, but the extra needs of the family are felt, too. It takes a tremendous expenditure of time, finances and effort to do what we do.
But by now we know that it won’t always be this way. There may be tougher times with a sick child or persecution such as when we were in court over home education. And there will almost certainly be easier times, too, when more of our children are mature teens and ready to carry their own weight and somebody else’s, too. All we know for sure is that everything that comes to pass, passes.
When we talk about building loving relationships in our family- it’s not just the relationship between siblings that need nurturing. The relationship between parent and child is so important, as well as easily damaged. It takes careful attention to cultivate it so it will grow.
When we experience problems within the family, our natural tendency is to shove it under the rug, so to speak, and hope it’s just a stage someone is going through and it will go away. Instead, we need to train ourselves to run toward our problems, not away from them.
The way society tends to do things is everyone participates in activities with kids his own age and although a family lives together in the same house, their social spheres are totally separate from one another. I remember this as a child. My sister, who was eight years older than I was, lived in our house, but our paths often never crossed.
One day I asked each of my children why they were glad they were homeschooled. I love what my son Matt said. “I got to really know my family, instead of just meeting up with them in the evening.”
One thing that promotes close relationships within families is to teach your children to appreciate each other’s differences.
In a family, there should be a spirit of cooperation fostered rather than a spirit of competition. God has uniquely shaped each individual within your family as a special part of his creation. We’re not all supposed to be alike or do things at the same time or the same way.
Point out each other’s strengths and tell your children how God created each one of them to fulfill purposes that only they can accomplish. God took precise care in all the specific details of personality, talents, desires, that uniquely make up who each of your children is, and God makes no mistakes. Even in homeschooling, you will find one child learns certain subjects more easily and struggles with something else. This is normal.
Everyone desires a home that is filled with healthy, loving relationships. Indeed, one of the biggest advantages I’ve seen from homeschooling my family has been the lasting relationships that have been built over the years. My kids are each other’s best friends. But getting to this point is easier said than done, right?
What can we, as parents, do to nurture good and loving relationships in our homes? Well, that’s what this series is about. So, let’s start at the beginning.
You may wonder what some of these first points have to do with building loving relationships within your family, but notice I titled this section “Laying a Strong Foundation” That’s because there is some groundwork to be laid- foundational principles and concepts that will help grow godly relationships. A good verse to remember is Psalm 127: 1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:”
Time to get out and work in the yard and garden and just to be in the warm sunshine after the long winter.
I was trying to evaluate what I need to work on outside when I encountered a valuable object lesson. I have a yellow lab named Mosby.
I couldn’t ask for a better dog. He would NEVER hurt one of my many grand kids (unless he whacked them with his giant tail by mistake). He’s a great dog- protects the family, absolutely loves , quiet in temperament, obedient (usually), but there’s just one thing I don’t suppose I’ll ever break him of…..
Do you grow weary of hearing your kids complain or argue with you or their brothers and sisters? How can you control their outbursts of anger? Did you know that God’s Word has a LOT to say about those issues and so many more? In fact, the heart of every problem you encounter with your kids is addressed in the Word, and He gives us the wisdom for knowing how to deal with it.
Consider Ephesians 4:
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind….. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
We learn here 3 commands :
We are to lay aside or PUT OFF the old self. Romans 6 tells us that our old life has been buried with Christ and we are now dead to sin. However, we must present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” \
We are to be RENEWED IN OUR MINDS – We renew our minds by memorizing and meditating on Scripture, by learning what God’s Word says and acting upon it daily. Joshua 1:8 tells us “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”We are promised success if we meditate on God’s Word.
We are to PUT ON our new self. Colossians 3 tells us “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” We are to actively strive to cultivate these qualities in our life. The Holy Spirit is there to guide and help us.
“ Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Words can be so damaging or so uplifting. Words can tear down or build up. Words can discourage or encourage. We are doing our kids a huge favor if we teach them Biblical guidelines for choosing wise words; AND it will eliminate LOTS of problems in our homes, too.
Scripture has so much to say about our words. One Scripture we used in our home as a good guide for choosing your words was Ephesians 4: 29 ” Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification [according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.