Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Lessons I’ve Learned’ Category

Here are some words of wisdom from Charles Spurgeon for you:

“He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows His God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case…When our virtues become more mature,…we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.” -Spurgeon

These words are kind of like a short sermon from Ephesians 4:32

“And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ sake hath forgiven you.”

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As a single mom, I look to save money in every area. I buy items I REALLY want on eBay for a lot less than I would pay in the store. Items like Mary Kay, Hanna Andersson outfits I want for Grace, CD’s, etc.

I also shop clearance racks a lot, I’m always amazed at what I can find on Clearance at Target and Gymboree. I was able to get some of Grace’s school uniform shirts on the clearance rack at GYMBOREE for $3.21! You just can’t beat that.

My other favorite place to save money is at the thrift store. I am always amazed at what I find there. Grace and I call it “treasure hunting” I’ve found her American Girl dolls, Hanna Andersson outfits (that look like new) recently, I found for myself a pair of Born Sandals and a pair of Uggs. Seriously, they were like $7.99 each, and both looked like new. I also found several pairs of capris for myself for this summer (last years are way too big…YEA!!!!) You just never know what you’re going to find at a thrift store. I have way too much fun in them.

Another place I go to save money is a liquidation outlet in our area. This place has food, clothes, toys, household items…..you name it. Most of it is name brand and is very inexpensive. I got myself some Calvin Klein summer tops the other day for $8.99. They are super comfy and I love them, especially for $8.99.

I try to stock up on things we need in the future when they’re on sale now. I have a rubbermaid bins in the garage that have all of Grace’s winter clothes for next winter already and dress and tennis shoes for her in the next 3 sizes she’ll need. All of them are items that I’ve found on clearance dirt cheap or are items that look almost new that I found at thrift stores.

Plus, I love putting clothes in her closet at season change, looking at the tags and saying to myself, I still can’t believe I only paid $3.99 for those shoes!

Read Full Post »

Everyone wants to be a good parent, right?  But how many really think they are?  How many single parents really think they’re doing a good job at parenting?

I’m always looking for ways to be a better mom to Grace.  Twice in the last few weeks I’ve heard “Beth, you’re such a great mom.” from friends of mine.  When I hear that, my brain kinda goes “huh?” Don’t get me wrong,  It’s not that I think I’m a bad parent, but do I think I’m a really good parent?

I always feel guilty that I don’t have as much time to spend with Grace as I’d like to.  I feel guilty because I don’t do as many activities with her as I’d like to.  Here are some of the things we do together:

*Walk the dog.  I really like this one because not only do we get to spend time together, but I get in some much needed exercise.

*Go to lunch together.  This is so much fun.  Grace picks the place and we have a great time just eating lunch together.

*Play games.  She loves activity books and games.  Last week at dinner, I got out some addition flash cards and told her it was a “mystery game” and that we had to use the clues to figure out the answers.  We used a box of colored pencils to help us with the clues.  So if the card said 8+3, she counted out 8 colored pencils and then counted out 3 more and then counted all of them together.  She LOVED this “game”

*Bake together.  Grace is an EXPERT egg cracker.  Whenever we make something, she gets to crack the eggs.  She loves stirring and pouring things in, plus it’s just tons of fun to bake together.

*Watch a movie.  I’m not a big TV person, but once in awhile, Grace and I will get ready for bed and snuggle up to watch a movie before going to sleep.  She loves it when I’m doing nothing else but rubbing her back and paying attention to her.

Good parenting isn’t just the things you do together, but it’s also how you handle situations the require discipline.

I have to tell you that this stage is the best one yet.  I didn’t think I’d make it through the twos.  The threes were rough, but MUCH better than the twos.  The fours are just so much fun.  I’m finding that with each stage, I have less discipline to take care of.  I think it’s because I had to do SO much work during the twos stage, it’s starting to pay off.

I think one of the biggest things were working on right now is her attitude.  Grace can get a bad attitude in a split second.  I told her yesterday that she had to the count of three to change her attitude or she’d have to go to her room…..amazing, the attitude changed.

A few months ago, her room was becoming unbearable.  I was cleaning it at least three times a day.  I know she’s still little, but I told her that she had to start keeping her room clean, so we made a “clean room chart”  that had the days of the week on it and a spot for a sticker by each day.  I told her that if her room was clean at night before she went to bed, she’d get a sticker for the day and then once she had 7 stickers, I’d take her to Kid’s Fun Center.  (It’s a kids dream come true.  Lots of slides, trampolines, ball pits, climbing stuff.  Basically an indoor playland.)   Well guess what?  The girl who couldn’t keep her room clean had it cleaned up every night for 7 nights THE FIRST WEEK we used the chart!!!!  She still keeps it much cleaner than it was before we implemented the chart.  Now instead of cleaning it 3-4 times a day, I only have to do a once a week clean up in there to really straighten everything up.  Other than that, she keeps it clean 🙂

The other thing I’m working on diligently this year is not yelling.  I began to see that yelling is a vicious cycle.  You child pushes you until you yell at them, then they react.  Pretty soon, they only act when you yell at them, and beside that, it’s just not worth it to get all riled up and get your child upset too.  So, I’m trying very hard to be patient, take a deep breath, and make things fun instead of a battle.  The other day, she was really, really pushing me.  I asked her to do something and she was being very sassy.  I asked her again and again, she was sassy.  I looked at her and said in a calm voice “Grace, you are making mommy very angry right now.  I’ve asked you to put your jacket away. You’re not doing it and you’re being sassy about it.  I’m about to yell at you and I don’t want to, so please go put your jacket away.”  She just looked at me and said “oh, ok Mama, I’ll go do it.”  And she did!  It made me very happy that I maintained my calm, and that she didn’t want to make me angry, didn’t want me to yell, so she obeyed.  Those moments are priceless.

Parenting to me is a constant analyzing process.  I’m constantly analyzing her behavior.  What is it that we need to work on?  I don’t expect her to be perfect or to work on it all at one time, but I also know my child isn’t a complete angel.  She has areas that she needs to work on.  I also analyze how to work on her behavior.  What worked or didn’t work in the past?  What can we do differently so that I’m not using the same methods over and over?  Grace loves rewards.  Whether it’s a day at Kid’s Fun Center, a dollar, picking where we get to eat lunch, choosing an inexpensive item when we go to the store, she just loves rewards.

Honestly, I see her behavior improve the most when I take time out of my schedule and we spend time together.  I think that sometimes she gets sassy or acts up because what she really wants is my attention, she wants to spend time together.

I also pray and ask God to show me how to be a better parent.  I ask Him for wisdom, ideas, solutions.  He is the Master when it comes to parenting, who better is there to ask for parenting advice from?

So, if your child pushes you to the limit, or acts up…..don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Being a single parent is tough stuff, but with a little creativity, analyzing, prayer, and patience, you can do it.

Read Full Post »

I wish my voice was as beautiful as Susan Boyle’s.

I wish I knew as much about the Bible as my friend Loren.

I wish I was as beautiful as my friend Carissa.

I wish I was as skinny as my sister in law.

I wish I was 5′ 7″

I wish my hair turned out good everyday.

I wish I could play the piano as good as several of my piano playing friends do.

I wish I could sing tenor like my friend Donna does.

I wish I always had the right words to say like my friend Patty does.

I wish I was as patient with Grace as my friend Star is with her 5 children.

But I am not any of those things, nor can I ever make myself be like anyone else.

I am Beth.  I have the voice that God gave me.  I am as tall as God made me.  I am as thin as I can be at this point in my life.  I don’t always have time to make my hair perfect in the morning.  I look exactly the way God intended me to look.  Things don’t always come out of my mouth the way I intend them to.  I am human, sometimes I yell at my child.  I work as hard as I can to take care of my little family, and sometimes that means I have dark circles under my eyes and my hair is thrown up in a pony tail.  I don’t have as much time to practice on the piano as I’d like to.  I am Beth.  I have to live my life, not Patty’s, Lorens, Carissa’s,  or any other of my friends’ lives. 

I cannot spend time or energy trying to be like someone else.  I can admire the gifts and the talents God gave them, but I can’t beat myself up because my voice isn’t like someone else’s, my hair isn’t like someone else’s, or I’m not as thin as someone else.  I have to be who God made me to be.  I have to use the talents that God gave me……I can work to improve them, but I can’t try to be like someone else.

I’ve found that when I listen to someone sing and think “I wish I could sing like they do.” or I look at someone I know and think “I wish my hair always looked as nice as their’s does.” I start beating myself up………every day that week I look at myself and think I’m having a bad hair day.  Everytime I sing during music practice, I cringe when I hear my voice comes out, I look in the mirror and think about how much more wieght that needs to come off (15 lbs).

Satan has a way of distracting us, making us our own worst enemy.  Giving us thoughts that we’re not good enough to serve God, not thin enough or pretty enough to find someone to marry, that we’re not good parents to our children, and on and on.  He will find ANYTHING he can to distract us and mess with our thoughts.

Paul said it best:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
II Corinthians 10:12

Read Full Post »

I read this the other day……

“90% of your problems can be solved with a good night’s sleep.”

That helps put things into perspective doesn’t it?

Read Full Post »

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Why is forgetting the past so hard to do?  I’m not sure.  Sometimes I think the memories are all gone, that it doesn’t bother me anymore.  Then satan likes to put those little thoughts into our minds…..

“God can’t use you in that way.”

  “You’ll never be good enough.”

 “After what you did?

I’ve had to learn a hard lesson……Don’t dwell on the past.   When you dwell on the past, it’s never really your past life, is it?  When you continually think about something, it becomes your world, your reality.  Satan knows this, and likes nothing better than to throw things up in our faces to discourage us, and to keep us from doing what we should be doing for God.

So many of our heroes in the Bible had a “past” 

Moses killed an Egyptian man, but God used him to lead the Children of Israel.

David committed adultery, yet he was a man after God’s own heart and God used him to write most of the Psalms.

Paul persecuted the church and killed Christians before he was saved.

There are so many other examples in the Bible, but the point I’m trying to make is that, we are all human.  None of us are without sin, but there’s not a sin that God can’t forgive.  When we sin, (no matter how big or how small we think the sin is.) and ask God’s forgiveness, He forgives us of that sin and still uses us for His glory.

Here is a song entitled “Rise Up Again”  (sorry, but I can’t find a video of it or I’d include the link.)

Rise Up Again

Though sin has beset you and taken control,
Though Satan’s great strongholds stand fast in your soul,
What ever your failure, though great be your fall,
God’s mercy and pardon are offered to all.

Rise up again, take back the ground.
Turn from your sin and let grace abound.
Press toward the prize; the victory you”ll will.
Forget things behind you and rise up again.

Let’s seek those who’ve fallen from grace to restore
and show them God’s mercies forever endure.
In spite of our past our Lord uses us still,
and works it for good in the course of His will.

Rise up again, take back the ground.
Turn from your sin and let grace abound.
Press toward the prize; the victory you”ll will.
Forget things behind you and rise up again.

Read Full Post »

Have you ever been there?  Sometimes, there are things that we go through in life that just seem too big for us to handle, we feel like it’s more than we can bear. 

Our humanness kicks in and we almost get this numb feeling.  We don’t know what to do or even what to think, much less what to pray.

I’ve been there a couple of times.

The only thing I can say is “God, I don’t even know what to pray.” 

When this happens, I’ve realized that first of all, It’s OK……  just going to God and telling Him that you don’t know what to pray and then being “still”  is amazing.  At that point He takes over, and guides your prayer. 

Second of all, I’ve realized that this is one of the most important reasons to pray for other people.  Everyone has times in their life when they don’t know what to pray, and you may not even know when that time is for some of the people you know.  We don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives, but when we include other people in our prayers, it’s amazing what God does for them, and for us too.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit puts someone in our thoughts.  Several times, I’ve had people pop into my mind in the middle of the night, or as I’m going about my day.  I’ve learned to make sure to pray for them when that happens, we never know right at that moment what that person is going through, but God does and He has a purpose in putting that person on your mind.

Twice in this last week, I’ve had an ambulance race up behind me with it’s sirens on and lights flashing.  I start praying for the person in need, for the Doctors, the EMT’s, the family.  Maybe right then, they don’t know what to pray, but I can pray for them, even though I don’t know them. 

“What a privilidge to carry everything to God in prayer. “

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »