Sowing with Vision | Raising Sons

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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

 

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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

The Parenting Secret Part Two


 

 

What does it LOOK like to win a child’s heart?

THE OPEN DOOR POLICY

As parents, we’ve always communicated to our kids that we have an open door policy.  It’s not just the standard, “You can tell us anything” policy, it’s more like, when they have an issue that they are processing, or a conflict with a sibling, they need to know that they can come to us and we will help them sort it out, without over-reacting.  Keeping an open door policy means that we are always asking them questions.

How am I doing as a mother or father?  What things do I do that makes you feel the most loved? How would you have handled that particular situation?  What do you think God is teaching our family right now?  Asking questions is a great way to keep those doors of communication wide open, and will keep their tender hearts coming back for more.

RESOLVING CONFLICT

Teaching our kids how to resolve conflict with one another has been one of the most effective ways to winning their hearts.  In a home where ten different personality types live, conflict is unavoidable.  We call our home, the laboratory for life and teach our sons that the way they treat their mother and sisters is the way they will one day treat their wives and daughters. Likewise to our daughters, the way they speak to their father and brothers is the way they will one day speak to their husbands and sons.

That is a sobering thought, but it’s true.

God in His grace has given us His WORD to teach us how to treat people and given us the FAMILY to practice on a daily basis.  Parents have the unique opportunity while their children live under their roof to teach, train, and mentor them in conflict resolution.

 

THE HOT SEAT

There are times when a child sins, and we have found out about it, Joey and I bring them to what we call, “The hot seat”.  The hot seat is where the offender sits, faced by both parents, and the sin is addressed. This is not the norm, we don’t implement the hot seat every time sometime disobeys, but rather, when a child reaches the age of around 12 to 16, and we believe that they need us both in order to “come clean”.  The secret to the success of the hot seat is simple.

  • Maintain a united front
  • Use scripture as your guide
  • Take all the time you need

The goal of the hot seat is confession and repentance.

Sometimes the hot seat lasts for hours, with layers upon layers of deceit and offenses needing to be uprooted.  Sometimes it only takes a few minutes.  The end result has always been, that we win their hearts and build another brick in the wall of their character.

God has given us His word to show us how to love others.  Seek to win your child’s heart and the actions will follow.

 

The Heartbeat

6:00 am.

The alarm and the toddler both wake me up.  I stumble to the coffee maker and reach for my cell phone to listen to the daily audible Bible, while loading a full dishwasher.

The morning was harried and stressful.  It was the first day back to our weekly homeschool program after a long Christmas break.  Each of my kids arise and are dressing for the day.  Still dark outside, the air was piercingly frigid.  We busily hunted for shoes, jackets, and backpacks while we frantically rushed to pack seven lunches.

7:30 am.

We arrive at our destination and start unloading the van.

As the kids make their way to chapel, I visit with other moms. So far, a normal day for us.  My reluctant toddler decides school isn’t for her today, so I’m dealing with clinging hands, trying to coax her into her room.

My class starts in a few hours, and I spend the next hours researching and going over my notes so that I can prepare to teach.

When all of a sudden, my ordinary day instantly turns extraordinary by the presence of the living God…

Through a simple text.

It is now a monumental day…

11 am

My adult daughter, pregnant with her first baby, sends me a text following her very first visit to the midwife.

“I heard the heartbeat”.

The tears began streaming down my face.

My GRANDCHILD’S heart is beating strong!

How can I put this feeling into words?

The realization that your first born child, is carrying your first born grandchild.

Pure Joy inexpressible.

By the grace of God, I’ve carried to term and delivered eight healthy children over the past 21 years.  I remember the posters on the wall of the doctor’s office where I was sitting when my husband and I heard my oldest child, Bethany’s, heartbeat for the very first time.  I remember how we celebrated and wiped away the tears because God had given us the desire of our heart.

I remember that day and I will always remember today.

This extraordinary day.

When a text told me, that new life is here.

The heartbeat means just that….a heart is alive, and beating.

My prayer is that this child’s heart beat, will inspire others to continue to beat.

…That this child will send a message on the value of human life, from their tiny home, my daughter’s womb.

“Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt 19:14

I wrote this story two years ago. In the summer of 2014 Temperance Chloe  was born. She was born on the one year anniversary of the passing of a very significant Pro-Life bill that had passed the Texas Legislature HB2, which my church family and friends were deeply involved with in prayer circles and in Austin the year before.  I believe the Lord will use this beautiful young life to speak to the nation about the sanctity of human life, and the value and worth of every heartbeat.

More good news!!! Today, March 22, 2016

I got another text….

“We have a strong heartbeat!”  Yes, Grandbaby #2 arrives in October!

hb2

Speed of the Leader

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Leadership…

Who comes to mind when you hear this word?

Government Officials? Military Generals?  Naval officers? Company Presidents? Corporate Executives?  Local Pastors or maybe even Little League Coaches?

How about Stay-at-home Moms?

Do you think of a Mom when you think of Leadership?

Do you think of yourself?

Why not?

Moms, you ARE all leaders in your home, and your TRIBE is watching you. Not only do you lead them daily as you help guide them through simple routines, but you are modeling for them how they are eventually to lead themselves. Yesterday I was visiting with a close friend, who has three young kids ages 5, 3, and 2.  She didn’t see herself as a leader, and I told her that YES she was.  She was leading those young hearts every day, and she was setting a Godly example to other moms of how to be a faithful wife, a caring friend, and a steadfast mother.  Then my oldest son shared a quote he had just read by Brene Brown, in her  best selling book, Daring Greatly…

“I believe a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in others.” ~Brene Brown

Isn’t this the epitome of motherhood?

John Maxwell says that, “Everything rises and fall on leadership; the speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.”

Recently, I was fortunate to be in the company of some amazing moms at a staff meeting for our local Classical Education program.

The director encouraged all of us to begin a personal enrichment plan in order to grow personally, academically, and spiritually.  We were each challenged to identify the types of activities which recharge us and work to implement those activities weekly into our schedule.  In order to grow as a leader, we need to develop ourselves in Body, Mind, and Soul. I recommend scheduling time every weekend to lay out what Stephen Covey teaches as the WEEKLY COMPASS, where instead of focusing on your to do list for the week, you first identify four different areas in your personal life that you can work to improve on, one thing at a time, followed by your 7 keys rolls each week.  (More on that soon).

If mom as leader is working to improve herself on a regular basis, be it running on the treadmill, memorizing scripture, reading good books, working on a political campaign, or even taking online classes, then each of these things communicates to her children that we never “arrive” on the journey, we are always continuing to grow.

It’s called personal development.  School doesn’t end at 12th grade, spiritual growth isn’t over at salvation, and health and wellness are a life style, not a passing phase.

I believe that anything worth doing, is worth doing well.

Including motherhood.

What can you do today that will recharge you?  How do you weekly work on adding value to your own body, mind, and soul?  Your children are watching you.

The speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.

The hand that rocks the cradle…

 

 

 

When They Leave

communion prayer

It was a normal Monday.  With the flu in the house, I wasn’t sure which child I would be up with in the early morning hours, but I knew someone would need something for their fever.

Up at 3am.

I had even beat my 20 year old Starbucks-early-morning-barista-daughter up.   She would be leaving the house at 4:30am.  The two year old wasn’t going back to bed.  She was up and didn’t know what she wanted exactly, but she knew it needed to involve momma right next to her.  There was no consoling her other than rocking her and singing softly to her as the Motrin took effect.  As she began to settle down, the kitchen was now calling.  Being up early with the younger kids allowed me a chance to make an early morning breakfast for my college student who was headed out to campus for a full day of summer classes.  As the day unfolded, I knew it was a good time to get into that school room and organize all those school papers and clean out all the backpacks before something started growing in them.  While the house was a flurry, little girls were drawing pictures for their big brother who was off at camp, my 16 year old daughter getting ready to take one of her sisters on that promised trip to the pool.

2pm: I grab a quick nap, my work-from-home hubby is headed to an appointment and we kiss goodbye.

It’s now 2:45 in the afternoon and I need to meet a student I’m tutoring at the library soon.  With the dinner instructions explained to the teen in charge, and the preferred chores requested, I head out to teach.

3:30 at the library, my student has arrived late and I get a text.

Cassidy:  Mom….Abby is being horrible. Will you talk to her?  She has been rude, disobedient, and back talking. She’s told me she hates me over 8 times and counting and she keeps screaming like I’ve been hurting her, when in fact I haven’t touched her.  She’s being SO dramatic!!

Me: Send her to my room and let her lay down. I will call her

Cassidy: I tried to. She won’t listen.

Me: I’m in the library and can’t talk yet. Please call dad. Try another approach with her. Just leave her be. Tell her calmly that her sister is resting and she needs to cooperate.

Cass: I’ve tried EVERYTHING. She won’t listen, when she goes to your room, she wakes up Charis!

Me (to my student), “Will you excuse me a minute?”  I head to the stairwell and proceeded to try and mediate remotely a household that has been recovering from the flu with emotions high.  I knew everyone was on edge and I innocently thought that a two hour trip away from home would be uneventful.  Boy, was I wrong.

The offender had her say, and finally calmed down.

Time to leave the library. I’m now headed to the bank.  So far a normal day.

Then it happened.

My oldest daughter called me.  She’s the one living at home, has just graduated college, soon to be married in one month.  I hadn’t seen her in a couple of days since she had met her fiancé at the airport and spent the day before with him.  She had worked a full shift that morning and was asleep when I left the house.

Beth:  Mom, are you coming home?

Me: Not yet, I have one more student to tutor.

Beth: Mom, he got the job.

Then I knew.

It hadn’t hit me till that moment.

She was leaving.

I knew it would happen, we have been planning a wedding for six months.  But for some reason, today…I wept.  Actually, I couldn’t stop the tears. They were flowing and would not stop.  I wasn’t crying because I needed her to fill some emptiness in me,

…I wept because I will miss her.  I wept just because…

I’m a mom.

Did I hug her enough? Tell her I love her enough?  Did I listen to her when she was excited about a new book she was reading?  Did I really try to make her comfortable in the home?  Were the years she was here a blessing to her, or something else?  Did we pray together enough?  Did I take enough pictures?  Did I tell her enough stories of her childhood?  Did we spend enough time together?

I cry because I am thankful. I weep because God is good.  He allows us to love as He loves…To draw from His well, His height and depth and width and breadth of unending, never failing love.  We love because He first loved us.

It’s true, and now I get it.  God really does just “loan” our children to us for a short season.

Then they leave.

Others have felt this way, my friends all warned me it would come suddenly.

And it did.

She’s my first.  There are seven more to follow.  I am hoping it will get easier.  It is all good.  Things are as they should be.  She’s marrying the right man.  She’s strong, independent, and loves the Lord.  My head knows that everything is good.

I’m just waiting for my heart to get the message.

Suddenly, those early morning Motrin runs, non-stop dishes and laundry, and interrupting text messages don’t seem so bad.

Suddenly, in that moment, I realize that I have one chance to pour into all my children all the time and the love and grace and forgiveness and scripture reading and worship nights and family meetings and coaching and story-telling that I can possibly give them.

I have ONE chance to get it right.

Before it all becomes a memory.

I love you Bethany.  I am so happy for you.  The tears may flow this month, but they are tears of gratitude and love.   You make me want to me a better mom.

To all the mommas out there, holding their babies right now in the middle of the night, one day they will leave, and you will be so glad you loved them deeply like you are doing right now.  One day, you will thank the Lord, for these late nights.   One day, you will look back, smile, and pray over the next generation who will carry the mantle that you have passed on to them.  One day…..