Aug 7

My Top 10 Ways to Connect With Your Children

Hey Blog Friends!  It’s so great to sit with you today for a little bit. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with Italian Sweet Cream flavored creamer in it. Delish! And since it’s soooo hot here in North Carolina, I dropped a few ice cubes in it! Oh the little things in life that bring us pleasure~

Today, I have the pleasure of talking with author, Jeannie Cunnion. She wrote the book Parenting the Wholehearted Child.  Her message is so refreshing in our hurried world of trying to be a perfect parent.  As I was preparing for my chat with her, I remembered something I’d written a few years back about connecting with my children. I wrote this four years ago and even though things have changed in my family, I still agree with the list. I wouldn’t change a thing!

One disclaimer~ This Top 10 List of mine didn’t produce perfect children in my household, in fact, far from it! But it has helped me stay on track and remember what’s important. It’s also helped me communicate to my kids that they are always loved no matter what.  I think if I could add one more to it, it would be about disagreements. Agree to disagree, speak the truth in love, and forgive and move on.

Kids at MK 2014

Dylan (17), Hayden (19), Hayley Grace (13), Blake (21)~ June, 2014

Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children

It ranks among one of my top priorities in life. I know my time with them is borrowed. My own mother told me to make the most of the time I have with my children, because it will be gone before I know it. Wow, isn’t that the truth?  But what exactly does it mean “to make the most of the time” we have with our kids?  I think a lot of it has to do with the ways we choose to connect with them.  There are many ways we can find to bond with our children. Here are my Top Ten.

10.  Ignore your cell phone when you are with them. Let it ring and let the caller leave a message!  Send the message to your child that they are #1 and way more important than anyone who may be calling you.

9.  Show up. Be there for their special days, no matter how little or big the event or the child is.

8.  Game Time. Playing games is a great way to just hang out, be competitive, insert values when they don’t realize it, and just have fun! There are so many fun family games. Just last night, I observed my 9 year old daughter playing “Go Fish” with my husband. It was the tiniest deck of cards you ever did see, but they were laughing and having the best time.

7.  One on one time. Be intentional on having some time just for you and one of your children. For me, this is tough sometimes. I have to make this happen. For example, my daughter and I have a lot of time alone and we do a regular Mommy~Daughter date night, but my sons and I don’t.  (We used to, but since they have gotten older, not so much.) I have to create that time so I try to select an activity that will intrigue them…like going to Starbucks, to a sports store just to look around, to a movie then ice cream, or sitting in the garage to listen to the drums.  The activity isn’t so important as the time is.

6.  Family Devotions. Priceless. If you can get your whole family together for some Family Time Devotions and discussion, do it!!!!  It’s a great time to have the opportunity to bring God’s Word to life and learn to apply to real life. My kids learned how to look up Bible verses because of family devotions.

5.  Car Time/Bedtime. You have a captive audience in the car, don’t let that time slip by.  Talk to them. Pay attention to what they want to listen to on the radio and let them listen to it.  Ask them about their day. And at bedtime, tuck them in.  Again, you have a captive audience. Sometimes this is when your kids will just unload. For some reason mine seem to let their guards down at bedtime. Pray for them and let them hear you.

4.  Family Meals. Whether you are a single mom or the mom of six, try to make time for a meal together. Not only does it encourage conversation, but also table manners.  We used to all have breakfast together. Something we like to incorporate into our Dinner time is reporting the  High-Lows:  Each person reveals their high of the day and their low of the day. Quite telling.

3.  Get interested in what they love even if it’s not what you love. Find out the best way for THEM to communicate. This may not be your #1 way. Follow them on Facebook.  Look at their iTunes music files. Play their video games. Get to know their friends and love them. Text them.

2.  Talk to them about anything! And listen too! From early on, let them know that they can ask anything, talk to you about anything, or approach you with any subject.  NOTHING is off limits. Oh I have stories on this one!

1. Be available. Show your children that they matter by being available to them.

And finally, one I can’t leave off.

*Pray for them. Pray a specific verse for them. Let them know you are doing this. It may be a life verse you have claimed for them or just a prayer you have on your heart that day. This is a way you can connect with them EVEN IF THEY DON’T RESPOND TO THE OTHER 10 SUGGESTIONS.

So, now that you’ve read mine, what do you think?  What would you add to it that has been good for you?  Share with me today in the comment section and you’ll be entered to win Jeannie Cunnion’s book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child! Winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Melissa
Apr 24

The Air I Breathe

keep-calm-and-breathe-deeply-26

I’ve had very mild asthma for most of my adult life. When I say mild, I mean I might have a mild attack once or twice a year…and that’s usually induced by spicy food or a dusty surrounding. I carry an inhaler, but rarely need it.

In the past, when I have one of these attacks (which is really a strong word for what they have been), I always know I’m going to be fine. My airways are thinned out, but I can tell that air is there. Now when I’m around other people, it might scare them a little to hear me gasp for air, but I know I’m fine. I use my inhaler and in a few seconds I’m back to normal.

Until last Friday night…

It was 4:30 am. I abruptly awoke, struggling to breathe, no air available to me at all. I jumped out of bed trying to breathe in as hard as I could. Nothing. No air at all.

I want to pause here and back up a bit. A good friend from England was visiting us last week. Her name is Laura and she’s just the sweetest little Brit you ever did meet! For the majority of the week, Laura resided in my oldest son, Blake’s room, since he was away at college. He came home on Friday for Easter, and we decided to move Laura to Hayley Grace’s room (my 12 yr old daughter) and move Hayley Grace into my and my husband’s room for the remainder of her stay. Yes, these are the issues faced when there is no guest bedroom and every inch of your home is occupied by someone all of the time! But you won’t hear me complain, the more the merrier!

That last paragraph may seem insignificant. It’s not. It was a divine provision by God. The simple act of moving people around in a crowded house could possibly be the act God used to save my life.

Back to my story…no air at all.

Hayley Grace was in my room sleeping and she also woke up. She saw that her mama was struggling, unable to breathe. She yelled for her dad (bless his heart…the heavy sleeper he is, he slept right through it) but she didn’t wait for him to act. I knew my inhaler was in my pocketbook (purse) and I began saying “pocketbook…pocketbook…pocketbook” as well as I could. (try speaking with no air…) Hayley Grace understood and ran to get my pocketbook…and there in the side pocket was my inhaler. My year and half old inhaler because I rarely have to use it. The first inhale did very little. The 2nd began to slowly open my airways up, enough to get some air, enough air, life-giving air.

My hero, my brave beautiful daughter, Hayley Grace. Who knew how God would use her that night? She doesn’t sleep in my room, yet she was there on this night, the very night I needed help. Coincidence? I don’t think so. God’s perfect provision? I know so.

I saw a doctor and received a breathing treatment, a shot in the bum (ouch!), and a lot of medicine to come home with.  Diagnosis: bronchitis headed for pneumonia with aggravated asthma. A week later, I’m still not 100%, but I’m breathing and for that I’m grateful!

I don’t know what would have happened if Hayley Grace hadn’t been there, if Laura hadn’t been visiting and moved to a different bedroom. Possibly, I’d be just fine. Or maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know though, is that HG was there. And God did provide and I’m ok. :)  I’ve never been so thankful for the air I breathe in all my life!

Me and HG ASU 2013

This event doesn’t scare me today. If anything, it’s brought me to my knees in awe and appreciation for the people in my life and especially for God Who never left me unattended. Being home on the couch all week resting has given me plenty of time to reflect and pray. I don’t want to take breathing for granted anymore. I don’t want to miss the miracle and overlook the blessings in the simple act of breathing.

Let’s not wait until there is an emergency to bring us to an awareness of simple blessings, let’s act now.

Take a deep breath right now. Thank God for that air you just took in to your lungs. You are alive and breathing.

Look around you. Thank God for where you are right now. You are alive and breathing.

Don’t take today for granted. Thank God for today. You are alive and breathing.

This song comes to mind as I end this blog post. You might remember it from quite a few years back. Enjoy :)

If you can’t see or hear the video posted here, click here. 

Is there anything in your life that you have been neglecting?  Have you been unaware of any blessings in your life? What can you give thanks for today that maybe you overlooked yesterday?

It is my prayer that this story will move you into an awareness of the simple and often overlooked blessings in your life today.

Thank you God for the air I breathe.  Amen.

Melissa
Apr 23

A Woman Reclaimed and Restored by her Savior

Today as I read my friend, Suzie Eller’s words in today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion, I could hardly believe they were about me.

Hi! Welcome to my blog…well I’m calling it a blog. As you can see, I haven’t blogged in a while. But oh, how I’ve missed writing on my own blog and so I’m so happy to be visiting with you today.

If you have popped over here from Encouragement For Today (the Proverbs 31 Daily Devotions), welcome! And if you are an old friend, who used to frequent my blog, welcome back!

I was a victim of sexual abuse. I use “was” because today I am no longer a victim, but a victor. That road hasn’t been easy, but because of our mighty, wonderful, caring, loving, and healing Lord, I can say that today.

In the devotion today, Suzie Eller talks about God’s forgiveness of sins. Read the key verse she references~

“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”  Titus 2:14  NLT

When I first read this verse, my thought was selfish. This verse is great for when I sin, and I accept God’s freedom in forgiveness, but what about for my abuser…that man who sinned and took me as his captive?  But then…read on.

Suzie writes~

We often give thanks for His sacrifice that removed the debt of our sin. But there is more. Jesus took our sins, but that same act freed us from the effect of others’ sins upon our hearts and lives. ~ Suzie Eller

Not only am I free from my own sins through the power of Jesus Christ, but I can also find freedom from the sins of others who affected me also.

HELLO!!!! Can I hear a praise God and hallelujah about that!!!

My favorite line from today’s devotion by Suzie is this one~

If you were to ask Melissa who she is, would say she doesn’t see herself as a woman marked by a thief, but a woman reclaimed and restored by her Savior. ~ Suzie Eller

And she’s right. It hasn’t been the easiest road, but I’m here to tell about it. There is an unmatched power through Jesus that we cannot find anywhere else. How about you?  I bet you’ve had trials in your life. Maybe some that even affect you still today. Are you marked by a thief who stole from you or are you reclaimed and restored by your Savior?

Today, why don’t we take a step forward towards healing. There is freedom on the other side and we are not meant to live as victims, not with Jesus in our lives we aren’t.

Our Turn For Action:

Pray today’s key verse today. Pray if for yourself and pray it for anyone who has sinned against you. (I know you might not feel like doing that, I get that completely, but just do it ;)  Then give thanks for the sacrifice Jesus made that removes the debt of our sin and frees us from the effect of other’s sins upon us. 

I’m a woman reclaimed and restored by y Savior. How about you?

***Thank you Suzie Eller for sharing my story in your new book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.

If you’d like to receive my blog posts automatically to your email, you can subscribe in the top right corner just below my picture. I plan on writing more and I’d love for you to join the discussion in my blog community! Thanks!

Melissa