Politically Active Kids

This morning in the kitchen while bagels were toasting, I asked my kids what I should talk about for my next blog article. Without missing a beat, my 21 year old son, says to me, “Mom, you should tell them why it’s so important to teach your kids to be politically active”
BOOM!!
I certainly was NOT expecting that response at all. He went on to tell me how much he has learned about the process over the past five years as our family has volunteered in different races locally.
I grew up in a home where we were taught NOT to talk politics and religion in the home. I currently LIVE in a home where it’s abnormal if we are NOT talking about politics and religion at some point during the day
In early 2012, my close friend, and mother of ten kids at the time, contacted me and asked me for help. Her husband was running for office and they needed some volunteers. Little did I know what the next few months would look like.
Our family was “baptized by immersion”, into the political process. After meeting with a campaign consultant, all systems were a GO and we began campaigning. Our kids helped to set up a phone bank: taping phone call scripts to the walls and tag teaming between dialers and callers, recruiting more volunteers, providing cold water bottles and lunches for the campaign workers.
My friend and I set up Saturday neighborhood walks with our kids, pushing strollers up and down different blocks getting our exercise. We would partner an older teen with a younger sibling and door knocking with registered voters. They held up signs at polling booths for both early voting days as well as election day, attended fundraisers and local speeches at community events, and delivered signs to people’s yards and businesses, and most importantly, they learned to ask questions from candidates. They learned about the political process and how hard it is for a citizen to run for office.
A couple of years later, our pastor ran for office. He was running for a representative seat in our district. We were ALL IN when it came time to help him. My kids learned how important door knocking is in campaigns and why meeting voters makes a huge difference in voter turnout. They learned what it means to stand alone at a voting location holding voter guides for hours on end, sometimes asking themselves, “why am I here again?”
They learned a valuable lesson, even when it looked like they were surrounded by apathy. They learned that freedom isn’t free. They learned the importance of staying informed, the value of community activism, and giving selflessly of their time for a greater good, and how volunteerism promotes stronger families and communities.
Helping out politically teaches kids to ask the right questions while looking into candidates.
They also learned to treat others with respect even if they disagreed. I’ll never forget standing at the local high school for 12 hours right next to volunteers who were supporting our opponent. My kids witnessed what it looks like to show kindness even if you disagree.
Political activism also teaches them the power of one – One person can make a difference.
Additionally, they learn important job skills.
Helping out with campaigns is a terrific way to fill idle time with productivity. My son in law’s father has a saying, “A tired boy is a good boy”!
Nothing wears out sons faster than block walking in the hot Texas sun all day long.
Finally, Volunteer hours help meet college requirements and also introduce young people to scholarship opportunities.

Sowing Seeds

sowwithvision

You-See-Seeds-but-I-See-the-Trees“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 9:10

What seeds have you been given?

In late December of 2015 I was blessed to cross paths with the Patriot Journalist Network, where I met the founder, Mark Prasek.  As a former coach, I quickly learned that his passion is to add value to others, and whether he realizes it or not,

he is influencing the influencers.

By providing a 24/7 forum online, like-minded people who are burdened for our nation, can come together and make a difference collectively online.  During several chat room discussions with the other members, Mark set an important example.  He encouraged others to use what you have already been given.

Seeds

As I was praying for my family, church, community, and nation, the Lord pricked my…

View original post 276 more words

Excuses

There is nothing like a good coach to teach you to live a life with no excuses! Excellent post!

DataGenesis

People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else.

If a coach is to build a winning team, excuses must be eliminated – PERIOD. It’s the first and foundational step to building personal accountability. Excuses are born of FAILURE. Failure is the opposite of success. If we’re going to move toward success, there can be no excuse for excuses.

Let’s look at the anatomy of excuses.

We’ve established that failure is the incubator of excuses. Failure is undesirable, so we must rationalize – that is, tell ourselves rational lies – it away. Otherwise the failure is attributed to us and our self esteem is diminished. Excuses are more than a method of avoiding the consequences of our choices, they are a defense mechanism to preserve our self esteem.

Excuses form a bridge between the practical and the hypothetical. They obfuscate the observed factual evidence and introduce…

View original post 828 more words

Sowing for LIFE

mom and dad 1962

On April 17th, my parents celebrate 54 years of marriage.  Full of spunk and life, my mom is the ever-ready bunny and never stops MOVING, while my dad is her anchor and enjoys a good book snuggled up with his four-legged best friend, Molly.  Together my parents have weathered decades of joys and heartache; trials and triumphs, leaving a legacy behind for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

That legacy is FAITHFULNESS.

Even when the waters were choppy and the road seemed impassable, my folks weathered every storm and stayed together.  While loving and serving one another unconditionally, these two will make anyone laugh till your side hurts.  Our kids will randomly just start laughing as we recall comedic stories my parents have lived!  (Ask them to tell you about one early morning broken car horn and a convertible!) It will leave you in stitches.

Most importantly, my parents have modeled for me and my kids what it means to stay.

And for that I am forever grateful.

Happy Anniversary Ken and Nancy Bowen.

You are LOVED!!!

 

A Quiver Full…Yes or No?


 

With every baby comes a loaf of bread under its arm … Ancient Proverb

Have you ever wondered if you should even have children?  Do you look at the world and think, “Why would I bring a child into this crazy world?” Or maybe you look at the bank balance and think, “There’s no way we can afford another child!”  You may have one child and you are not sure about a second.  When do you know you are “done”?

I firmly believe that only the Lord and your spouse can guide you in this decision. God showed us early on to trust Him with our future family size.

My journey is not unique, maybe my story will be yours.

quiver-etched-brass-and-leather-bowman-archer-gear

 

I’ve recently been reminiscing on my life as a child and how child-less my upbringing was.  In a few days, we will celebrate the 5th birthday of our eighth (and looks like our last) child.

She was born at home with five other sisters in the home awaiting her arrival.  The brothers were not too far off with friends that day.

When Adaya Mercy arrived in April of 2011, I observed all my girls just watch in complete awe and amazement at what God had given them.

A new sister…

With a three-year-old in the home they were familiarized with all the ins and outs of newborns.

Don’t mess with the umbilical cord, careful with her soft spot, only mommies can give baby a bath, etc.

What struck me like a hole in my heart and literally made my breath stand still those first few days of her life was the realization that I grew up having never – not ever, been around babies or even very young kids.

Looking at all my kids at their ages when she was born….3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, and 18….I had to think back of where I was at all those ages.

I was living a self-focused, self-absorbed, me-centered life.  I had no idea as a child, what it meant to just want to pick up a sleeping baby in order to smell her freshly washed hair and feel her cuddly newborn body up against my chest.

After she arrived, my kids would go out of their way just to find where the baby is and pick her up to feel her gentle breath on their faces.

I knew nothing of that joy as a child.

So I really didn’t miss it.  Not only that, but I realized, that no one I knew had babies. None of my friends had any younger siblings around.

Even our small church seemed to be void of a nursery (or at least I never saw it as a young child).  Growing up in the 70’s was like that, you may have had the same experience.  I never remember even seeing a pregnant woman, let alone any babies growing up. Of course I’m sure they were around, I just never noticed.

It was my sophomore year in college before I had even seen a woman with several small children, before I ever saw someone nurse a baby.  That mom’s name was Laura, and when I met her and her children in 1990, it was the first seed that God planted in my heart for having a family, a big family.  I say all this because now, at 47 I am humbled and awed by God’s decision to bless us with a large family.  This is a script I could have never written in a million years.

Babies were foreign to me.

As a teenager, I was selfish, and up until Jesus became the center of my life, I was headed to a life of careers and Lord only knows what else.  When I gave my heart fully to Jesus, I abandoned every preconceived notion and trusted Him with the rest.

Including my womb.

He really does know what He’s doing.

He really is the Sovereign one, and He really can make the right decisions for us and our body no matter what His answer is concerning having, adopting, or simply mentoring more children. By trusting Jesus with our future, we can live a life of no regrets.  Recently, my husband Joey looked at me reflectively and said, “What if we would have stopped at two kids?  Then there would be empty seats at our table!” If we choose to stop, we can’t even imagine all that we would have missed out on.

I know there is comfort in control.  That it is human nature for people to want to control their environment and by controlling a family size, it makes couples feel a sense of security.  It can be counter-intuitive and it requires more faith to have more children than we might feel comfortable with because it can mean we must surrender control. Trusting God with your family size is a faith walk because you can’t see what’s on the other side.  We can’t predict the outcome.

We must, “sow with a vision of righteousness.” Hosea 10:12

Whether you are a young mom and exhausted because you are chasing around toddlers, or maybe you are in the hospital having just delivered your second child and the doctor asks you if you want to be “done” with having kids, please take some time to prayerfully surrender to God’s leadership and direction in your family’s life, and let God choose your quiver size.

Finally, a wise mentor told me as a young bride that the two most important things you will ever give your child outside of introducing them to Christ Jesus,

is a strong marriage relationship

…and siblings.

Special Thanks to https://www.etsy.com/listing/123613905/discounted-price-archery-quiver-leather?ref=market

Sowing with Many Hats!

hats

My pastor is the one who really helped me the most with the idea of HATS. Dr. Ted Seago is one of my all time heroes because he is not afraid of getting involved in the lives of his people, no matter how messed up we arrive. Today he illustrated in his message the idea that we all wear many hats, and I wanted to repost this article from a few years back.

This is dedicated to him. I love you PT!

Roles and Priorities

When you think of the roles you play, it can often change from day to day, sometimes several times a day. How do we prioritize our days when we wear so many different hats? We are mothers, wives, daughters, friends, employees, citizens, volunteers, aunts, sisters, etc. By focusing more on relationships than on to do lists, we are telling the people around us that they are the most important thing to us because our ACTIONS will show it.

The Weekly Compass
The weekly compass is what Stephen Covey writes about in his book, First Things First. It is a method I have been using for about 7 years now to keep my priorities in order on a weekly basis. A compass gives your life direction and focus. It is different than the clock, which tracks the time and things we do within that time frame. My weekly compass helps me keep in focus the most important assets in life, faith, family, and friendships.

The weekly compass works like this:
Every weekend, usually sometime between late Friday afternoon and Sunday night I schedule a “meeting with me”. My family knows that when they see me pick up my red zipper Daytimer planner, that I’m off to Starbucks for a couple of hours to set my compass for the following week.

Sharpen your saw:
The principle of sharpening the saw comes right out of scripture
“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.” Eccl. 10:10
The idea is that if we are not growing as a person and continually working on areas of our lives to improve, we are not best able to give to others. If our cup is continually empty, then we won’t have anything to give others. In order to sharpen your own saw, pick ONE thing you will do THIS week to improve your life in the areas of
• Physical
• Social / Emotional
• Mental
• Spiritual

After you have identified those areas, then write down seven roles (or HATS) you will wear THIS week. The hats may change from week to week, but it’s recommended that you don’t put on more than seven in one week so you can FOCUS.
My ROLES for this week are:

Wife
Mom
Teacher
Writer
Friend
Daughter
Entrepreneur

The NEXT step is for me to look at each role and ask myself ONE question.

What’s the most important thing I can do in this role this week?

Pick ONE thing. Not three or four, just one. Write it down. This is what Covey calls, your BIG rocks. If you are filling up a jar with large rocks and small rocks and you first put all the small rocks into the jar, you will not fit the large rocks in. Your ONE thing you wrote down is your BIG ROCK. Put those in your jar first, then all the little rocks will fit into place. If you are intentional about adding value into the lives of others, then all the thousands of “to-dos” will fall in to place as needed.

Relationships are the most important things in life, with God and others. Take some time to write out your own weekly compass!

I would love to hear your results.

Sowing while Suffering | Bitter Waters

prayer-1-1170x658

Do you live with chronic pain?  Perhaps you have a child who has strayed from the Lord.  Or maybe you are looking at that mortgage payment that is now at three months past due and there are no clients for your commission-only husband.  When does suffering move from visiting us as a result of our mistakes, to visiting us because it’s God’s gift?

Born with Cerebral Palsy, my precious husband has a saying, often repeated in our home.

“Adversity is my tutor”.

Why is it that we tend to be more in tune to God’s voice when we are facing storms rather than when the sun is shining?

The Israelites were more than happy to follow Moses out of Egypt, their place of bondage and suffering, when the Lord delivered them.  However, after 3 days of travel, with no fresh water or food in sight, the people began to grumble.

Exodus 15:22-26

 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.  So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

I have a friend, one of the godliest women I have ever met, who, like my husband, carries a daily cross of suffering. Her name is Melana (Hunt) Monroe. She is  daughter of Prayer Titan, and author of the classic book, The Mind of Christ, T.W. Hunt.  Her father passed away in 2014 leaving a legacy of prayer and faith behind him.  Currently, God is writing a powerful story of faith and courage through the Monroe family as they face unbelievable challenges. In a nutshell, thanks to technological advances, four of her six adult children have been diagnosed with a gene which causes stomach cancer.  Each one must have their stomachs surgically removed in order to save their lives and drastically increase their odds for living a long healthy life.  Melana, like her father, is a prayer warrior for her children and the spiritual fruit in her life is transformative.  I have had the special honor of sitting under her teaching and watching how these trials have given her unbelievable spiritual vision and focus. Her youngest daughter, Chesney, recently shared a quote by theologian John Calvin in her blog post https://livingstomachless.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/through-pain-comes-joy/

  “You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.”

Melana’s prayer life models for me what sowing while suffering looks like.  As another daughter, Katie, faces an upcoming surgery, Melana lives on her knees, praying through every detail.  God is using the faith legacy of her father, to teach others how to sow with vision, even during times of suffering.

As Moses threw the tree God showed him, into the bitter waters of Marah and the waters became sweet, I pray that the Lord will show me how to reach out in faith for the tree of life, praying and believing…even during times of suffering.

 

Sowing with Vision | Raising Sons

22728_10205543696085197_1158431768196213553_n

Today is a very special day.  Our first born son turns 21.  There is something very significant when one reaches this milestone.  Not only is it a milestone for him, but it’s a milestone for us as well.  Our son Cameron, is one of the eight reasons why this blog was started in the first place.  His life is a testimony to God’s faithfulness when you keep sowing with vision.

You see, he was my strong-willed child.

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/02/01/the-strong-willed-child/ .

And now, at 6’4″ tall, he is a full grown man, who both loves Jesus and family with all his heart.

I can’t help but tear up….

After years of constant movement and more energy than could ever be explained, now he is pouring his life into young kids.  Mentoring and shepherding them weekly, Cameron is more than a piano instructor, he’s also a life coach.  By rewarding his students each week for their bible reading, listening skills, and practice, he understands the value of teaching the whole child ;  the tangibles and the intangibles.   The discipline and habits he has built in are an inspiration to me daily as I listen in to his lessons from my kitchen sink.  I’m constantly challenged by him, without him even knowing, to reach higher.  Now at 21, he has met the 10,000 hour rule in his field of study, piano.   In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He continues to sow in his field of study, while also teaching others.

As a mom, watching the Lord move through him, encourages and inspires me as I pour into the younger kids, and to  keep sowing with vision. Hosea 10:12

I encourage you today…to keep pouring out your life for your family.  You won’t ever regret it.

Happy 21st birthday Cameron True!

You are Loved

 

Knowing That Momma!

Ever wonder why that mom of many who calls you her friend, won’t return your phone calls? Maybe she is the friend who keeps cancelling on you after sending in her RSVP to your child’s birthday party. Does she have your child’s shoes in her home and you just can’t figure out why she won’t return them to you? Or maybe you have already hosted her and her family in your home, but she never reciprocates the offer and you just can’t figure out why. I wrote this article five years ago when I had 7 kids living in my home. As season’s change and children grow, we can easily jump to the wrong conclusion when “that family” skips church, or is inconsistent in friendship. This is from my heart, my world, but it also may be you, or someone you love.

IF YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND

 frazzled mom

Know that…

 I will disappoint you.

I don’t see every text message – sometimes my kids take my phone and read it before I see it and your message never makes it to me

I have 10,000 emails in my inbox. I scan daily for you, to see if you tried to ask me something or pass on a good deal, but if I don’t hit “reply” it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I may have seen it on my phone and haven’t yet figured out how to forward or reply from the Android. I still love you and want you to email.

When your child visits our home, If I hand them a broom, a lawn mower, or a bottle of Windex, and ask them to help us clean, it’s not so I have free help (though that is a perk to being your friend J ). I have kingdom work on the brain as they are cleaning and folding our laundry. I promise they will play way more than they fold clothes.

We have two dogs, and we don’t want any more pets.

At least not now.

If your cat has kittens and your pup has puppies, I’m happy to advertise for you and help you find them a home…just not mine. I still love you.

If you send your kids here to play and they leave shoes, jackets, or an article of clothing: I will have no idea which ones are yours or not and I cannot promise you that we will find it. There is a clothing black hole somewhere in our house. I’m not trying to take your things, I’m just overwhelmed. You are free to take anything out of my house you want to compensate.

 

My home phone is a necessary evil. I would cancel it I could, but I can’t. We never answer it, unless a kid happens to pass by. It is old, I won’t replace it. There are 160 voicemails on the phone starting from 10 months ago and now when you call and try to leave a message it says, “The mailbox is full”. I just can’t get to this, so the best way to reach me is email or texting my cell, or just knocking on my front door. If you left me a message on my home phone, I promise you I never heard it. I am not ignoring you, I still love you.

If you send your kids over to my home, they will get love and be watched carefully, however, I have teens and I can’t guarantee that there won’t be a stupid YouTube video on someone’s computer screen or a TV show with a rating you disapprove of. We do have filters on our computers.

I’m one mom, and have been outnumbered 7 times over. I depend on the Holy Spirit to watch my kids and to convict them of sin when my eyes do not catch something. I will love your kids the same.

Because so many children come in and out of my home, I sometimes forget someone is not my child and I may lecture your child or start into one of my “coaching” sessions at any given moment.

I hate chatty phone conversations, but I love you. If you need me, please call me and tell me why you need me. I am a horrible mind reader and do not know how to “read between the lines”. Just tell me, I will listen, and love you, and pray with you right there over the phone.

Please don’t call me if you are just bored and want to chit-chat. I’m not that kind of friend.

If your family invites my family over for dinner, I understand that the typical Southern courtesy is to reciprocate the offer. I REALLY want to do this. I love the IDEA of having people over. I would like to do it frequently. I’m often planning the meal I want to serve you, thinking of seating arrangements for all your kids. But somehow, my family has a calendar that I don’t always have control over and I can’t have your family over like I want. Be patient with me, I’m thinking about you.

 

If I RSVP to attend your shower, birthday party, or special event, and I do not attend barring family emergencies or unexpected hindrance.

I ask you for grace.

 

Because of the nature of our family dynamics, when you send me the invitation two weeks out, we all fully intend to come. Fatigue and work situations cannot always be forecasted and sometimes we have to back out of an RSVP. I think this is sinful, I know how hard you worked to prepare for us. I’m torn between propriety, and loving my husband and honoring him. I will make it up to you one day, I just don’t know how. Please give me grace. I’m praying for your event if we don’t show up.

I WANT you to invite me to your PARTIES, Mary Kay, Young Living, Discovery Toys, Electricity…ALL of IT! I love supporting home based businesses, the best way I support you is through promotion. I am 98% sure I won’t buy anything, even if I really love it. If you just need a warm body in the room and an enthusiastic promoter, I’m your gal. If you are trying to meet a quota, my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t invite me.

We are a reformed Baptist family, and conservative Republicans. We talk openly about politics and religion in our home. Be forewarned.

I love to talk face to face, if you are busy like me, let’s go a walk together or have coffee or a margarita. I’m not too busy for you.

Please don’t think I’m too busy for friendship. I may be too busy to check voicemail or read all my emails, but that doesn’t mean I’m too busy for friends.   I need you and I love you.

That’s me in a nutshell.

If you still want to be my friend, I’m so BLESSED! I love YOU! Let’s do LUNCH!!!

(This is me, but it may also be you, or someone you know. Take some time today to stop by THAT mom’s home. She’ll be glad you did! )

 

-Erin

RESPECT people who find time for you in their busy schedule, but LOVE people who never look at their schedule when you need them. ~author unknown

An Easter Anthem

This beautiful voice is from my dear sister in Christ, Sara Burt. She’s a pastor’s wife, and truly A Pastor’s Glory. Enjoy this Easter Anthem.

Sara Burt

The mercy and grace bestowed upon us is overwhelming. Tucked deep in the book of Job is a verse revealing the magnitude of God’s mercy in light of our sinfulness.

“I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light” (Job 33:27–28 ESV).

In this passage, Elihu is describing a hypothetical man and his response to God’s great mercy. We relate. We see our testimony in this declaration. Our broken world reeks of sin. Our fleshly natures long to be fed with that which the world offers. We have been tempted and we have fed ourselves. We have taken the gifts of God and perverted them to fulfill our own desires. And yet we are forgiven.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great…

View original post 387 more words