Can I Get a Yes?

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I have four children. With each pregnancy, I experienced a myriad of emotions both good and bad. I remember all so well that in a typical preggo day I could leap from the top of ecstasy mountain to the bottom of the pit of utter despair at the speed of light. Those who know me well would have zero qualms about classifying me as the poster child for helicopter moms with severe OCD tendencies. Each and every day of my pregnancies were filled with one main concern, the well being of my CHILD. You will notice I did not use the term fetus when referring to my baby in utero. I, like so many of you, understand that life begins at conception.

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“For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15

I have no problem at all bringing to mind the birth of each one of my precious babies. I can so easily recall the sheer joy I felt when they were laid upon my chest for the first time. I can still taste the tears of happiness that rolled down my cheeks when I heard their first cries. I can well remember the pride that filled my love swelled heart when dear ones cooed words of praise over my wee ones. The one emotion that I can not recall no matter how hard I try is REGRET. The reason being is there was not a single regret on the day of their births and twenty-one years later not a single regret exists in my mind and heart.

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Unfortunately, in just the past week, I have read the testament of two mothers who publicly announced to the world that they regretted not aborting their children. You may need to read that last sentence again and let it sink in a little. These mothers wish their grown children were never born and in fact wish they themselves would have taken the initiative to end their lives. Both of these mothers indicated they loved these children but didn’t love the complications that their disabilities had brought into their lives. They would rather not have the child that inconvenienced them in so many ways. Yet both ask that they not be judged. I will readily admit that I have not had to deal with the complications and hardships that come with caring for a child with disabilities. I can not say that I have walked in their shoes. I can not judge, but there is One that both can and will. God’s word is truth and will judge us all in the last day. According to his word, murder is a sin.

“You shall not murder Exodus 20:13

You see, murder is exactly what abortion is. It is the taking of an innocent life at the hand of his or her own mother. We like to wrap up ugly things in pretty packages so that they are easier to look at, but when we look at the center of that package the ugliness remains. ABORTION IS MURDER.

You may say, “I am on board with you, Shanna.” or “you are absolutely right.” Others may say, ” I would never consider aborting my child” or “I have never had an abortion.” You may think, ” I am finished having children so this issue doesn’t affect me in any way.” If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, it does affect you.

1) Do you believe God created man in His own image?

2) Do you believe in the sanctity of life?

3) Do you believe that murder is a sin?

4) Are you breathing air at this very minute?

If you answered yes, This is a very important issue to you. Here are a couple more questions:

1) Are you a Christian?

2) Are you a registered voter in the state of Tennessee?

If you answered yes to these two questions, you can do something EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. You can speak, no SHOUT, for those who do not have a voice. You, my friend, can uphold the sanctity of newborn life by voting YES on amendment 1 on November 4, 2014. Do it for me, for you, for your children, for their children, and for the children who may never see the light of day unless we ACT. We CAN do something! Our hands are not tied. Let’s not allow them to be stained with innocent blood. We may even experience regret over our inaction. If we do not say YES, in essence we are saying No.  The question I now ask you is, “Can I get a YES?”

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

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In Him,

Shanna

My Inner Fish? A Big “Fish Story”

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I have a confession to make. My name is Shanna and I am a “closet” foodie. Both the irony and hilarity of this is not lost on those who know me very well. You see, I am probably one of the finickiest eaters with the absolute blandest palate in the universe. (Just ask a few of them and you will know I am not exaggerating in any way) I guess you might say I live vicariously through others who LOVE all varieties of cuisine. The way I accomplish this “addiction” is by watching LOTS of cooking shows. I enjoy observing Guy, Alton, Giada, and many other food experts cook and talk about all things food related. However, I don’t just stick to the main cooking channels for my fix. From as far back as childhood, I can remember being super excited about the cooking shows on PBS. In this same vein, I still enjoy spending a portion of my Saturday watching these shows on my local public television station.

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Just this past Saturday after being completely immersed in bayou fare and preparing to witness the preparation of some down home vittles, I sat through a few commercials of upcoming programming. Even though I am fully aware of some of the “anti-creation” shows for which PBS is famous such as Nova, I must admit one of the commercials caught me off guard. At first I was completely drawn in by the great camera work and catchy music. It didn’t take long however for the jaw dropping title, “Your Inner Fish”, to grab me by the throat and stifle my breathing. I really didn’t know the appropriate way to react to the absurdity of such an idea. I mean, should I laugh as if it must be a joke, or sob when the reality of what it really meant sunk in?

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What does it mean? Well, at eye level it is yet another jab at creationism. Although, I must admit, this seemed to be taking it to a completely different level. The notion that we “evolved” from the Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” because our hands resemble the make up of its fins is not that different than the comparisons made between us and “Lucy” and many other bogus “scientific” finds. It was the APPROACH that made me pause for thought. The difference wasn’t so much what they said as how they said it. In their own words they presented this falsehood in a way that was “enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm”.

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What does it REALLY mean, then? It means we, Daddy, Mama, Grandma, Grandpa, Elder, Preacher, and teacher, have been handed a declaration of war. We must ask ourselves a serious question.

Psalm 11:3

“If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”

The answer is abundantly clear.

1 Timothy 6:12

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

We CAN NOT turn a blind eye and hope this will go away. Not only must we prepare ourselves for this epic battle, we MUST arm our children as well. Doing so is crucial in order to “lay hold on eternal life”. All battles that are to be won are built upon forethought, planning, and strategy. One of the best tactics used on the battlefield is to “fight fire with fire”. So how do we do this? We follow the lead of our foe. The exception is we have absolute truth.

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1. The word of God is ENLIGHTENING

We must have light in order to successfully navigate our way through darkness.

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”

We wouldn’t dream of sending our children into the darkness of night without first equipping them with adequate lighting. Friends, we must not send our children out into this dark world without thoroughly equipping them with the light of God’s word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”

It is imperative that we impress upon our children the importance of Bible study. This starts in the home through modeled behavior and diligent instruction.

In order to win this war, we must recognize His light, possess His light, and display His light.

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2. We must make the word of God ACCESSIBLE 

We as soldiers of Christ must be spreading the gospel on a daily basis.

Matthew 28:19

 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”

We have been given this treasure and have been charged with sharing it with others.

Matthew 5:16 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

It is imperative that we teach the precepts and doctrine that is able to save men’s souls starting in our homes and spilling forth into the community, the country, and the world.

In order to win this war, we must combat Satan’s lies by heartily and persistently extending to  as many as will hear the life giving, God breathed word recorded in the Holy Bible.

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3. We must teach the word of God with IRRESISTIBLE ENTHUSIASM

Do you remember the early days of your courtship? You absolutely gushed with joy as you spoke about the one you loved to anyone who would listen. Now I am not suggesting using theatrics and unbiblical tactics to draw people in on pure emotion. What I am saying is if we really love something and believe in it, we will shout its praises from the rooftops for everyone to hear. If we love God and His word, we will not keep silent.

Matthew 5:15

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

How can we possibly expect others to be excited about the truth when we ourselves seem indifferent and uninterested?

In order to win this war, we must whole heartedly, unashamedly live and present God’s word with the enthusiasm it demands and deserves.

We all understand that we are the workmanship of our great Creator and almost laugh at the preposterous idea that we are the evolved form of a fish. We may even find a tad bit of comfort in the “safe” confines of our homes, congregations, and small town communities. We can not be lulled into a false sense of security. Sometimes the only wake up call we may need is something as seemingly benign as watching a cooking show on the weekend. Mark Twain once said, “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” I believe Satan couldn’t have said it any better himself. Our motto must be the only good story is the TRUTH. Truth will not only help God’s children win each battle it will allow them to emerge victorious over the entire war.

1 John 5:4

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Shanna

 

Dear Homeschool Mom, You Deserve an A+

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Dear Homeschool Mom,

Has it been “one of those days” AGAIN today? Have you decided to throw in the towel or at least planned a solid escape route to go hide in the bathroom? Have you felt isolated, alone, and completely out of control? Do you feel like every decision you have made from hand picking curriculum to choosing to homeschool in the first place has been a mistake? Do you feel ill equipped, inadequate, and like a complete failure? If you had to give yourself a report card would you be in danger of not being promoted?

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Stop right there! Before you answer any of these questions, let me tell you why I believe, despite all these roadblocks, that you deserve a big A+!

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1. You trust God’s plan for you as a wife and mother

Titus 2:3-5

“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

By choosing to be a homemaker, loving your husband and children, and being a “teacher of good things”, you are fulfilling the role God desires for you to fill. In so doing, His word is not blasphemed but exalted.

Homeschool mom, how can you be failing when you are trying your best to be what the Father would have you to be?

2. You esteem the needs of children higher than your own needs

Let’s face it. Homeschooling is a very SELFLESS act. It requires much denial of self and much giving to others, namely your children.

Philippians 2:3

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Homeschool mom, how can you be failing when you are placing the physical, educational, emotional, and most of all spiritual needs of your family above any selfish desires you may have for yourself?

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3. You know and can meet your children’s needs better than anyone

You carried your children in your womb, nurtured them from day one, and know everything about them. Why at age five should you all of a sudden relinquish your role of molder and care giver to someone who more than likely is a complete stranger? You have rejected this option for your child. You have chosen to continue in that role of nurturer and teacher even if it gets difficult, scary, and downright unenjoyable at times.

Isaiah 49:15

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when you have chosen to remember the needs of your children and show them compassion?

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4. You are a blessing to your family

You completely understand the brevity of your time with your children.

James 4:14

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

It starts from the day you bring them home from the hospital. They grow so fast. They transform right before your very eyes. You have chosen not to miss a minute of that transformation: good, bad, and ugly. Because of this decision you are a blessing to your family. You are going to have the opportunity to help mold these precious gifts into what God would have them be, and in the process instill in them the most important goal in life. No, that goal is not being a genius, a musical prodigy, or getting accepted into Harvard. You are getting your family one step closer to spending eternity together with the Father and His Son. It DOES NOT go unnoticed.

Proverbs 31:28

“Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her”

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when your children call you blessed and your husband praises you?kids2

So there you have it homeschool mom. Even the worst days are working for good toward the most important objective of getting to heaven. You are aiming your quiver full of arrows towards the bulls eye with a prayerful heart and an iron will. Will you always be 100% accurate? No, we all have bad days. You know, the kind that make us want to lay our quiver aside; days we feel like complete failures that couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. We even have days we use that escape route to cry in the bathroom. We are not alone in this journey. We have one that lifts our heads when all we can do is bow them low.

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when you are leaning on the ONE that never fails?

In Him,

Shanna

 

 

Studying God’s Word at Home: Growing Up in God’s Word

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(Disclaimer: I received this curriculum free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Whether you homeschool or not, as parents, the MOST important task with which we are charged is to instill the word of God into our children’s hearts. It is not an option. It is not something we can hand off to someone else. It is a command, and should be treated as such.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

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Many times it can be extremely difficult to find non-denominational Bible study material that is age appropriate or unfilled with doctrinal fallacies. So, when I was given the opportunity to review a new curriculum written and published by members of the Lord’s church, I JUMPED at the chance! To say I was excited would be a huge understatement. Pryor Convictions Media’s Growing Up in God’s Word is a breath of fresh air. It is written by Heather Pryor who has been a Sunday school teacher for over twenty years and a homeschool mom for eighteen. Experience is a great teacher, and it is evident throughout this curriculum that Mrs. Pryor has learned a very effective way to teach the scriptures to children.

I was given the choice of several titles:

Genesis

Exodus

Life of Christ, Part 1

Life of Christ, Part 2

Acts, Part 1

Although they all sounded fabulous, it was an easy choice. My son just put on Christ in baptism a few months ago and became a New Testament Christian. I decided that a study of the early church would be timely, and what better way to study this than to delve into the first part of Acts?

Acts_part_1_coverI was not disappointed when I received the curriculum and saw just how thorough it was. In fact, I knew I had “struck Bible study gold” after reading the introduction page. Heather encourages teachers to be excited about studying God’s word, to not be afraid if you don’t have all the answers, and my favorite advise by far, to NOT “dumb down” the Bible for your children. This was music to my ears, and I immediately knew this was going to be a fantastic study with my son that was well worth our time.

As a homeschool mom of the past thirteen years, I have gone through my fair share of curriculums. What makes or breaks a curriculum in my mind is it’s ease of use. Acts Part 1 is VERY user friendly. It is laid out in way that would be very difficult to misunderstand. There is even a suggested schedule. The beauty of it all is this. It is a suggestion, and this curriculum can be easily adjusted to meet your needs.

If I had to choose my favorite thing about Growing Up in God’s Word, and I have many, it would have to be the fact that it goes straight to the source, the Bible. While this may seem like a huge or difficult task for younger children, Heather takes the “eat an elephant one bite at a time” approach and it really works. After reading several verses, you take to time to make sure the student understands the text, ask questions, and allow the student to expound on what they have read. This method is extremely effective and sets the stage for your child to become a true student of the Word. It actually teaches them HOW to study which in my opinion is something that even many adults struggle with.

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The enrichment work in Growing Up in God’s Word is just the cherry on top.

Putting Down Roots: Memory Work

Farther Afield: Map work

Harvest Fun: Games and Activities

Food For Thought: Puzzles

Fruits of Our Labor: Crafts

All of these just further plant the word of God deeply into your child’s heart and develop stabilizing roots so they shall “not be moved”. My child, and I’m sure yours will, too, especially LOVES the Fruit of Our Labor. It is an excellent way to put that positive connotation on Bible study. We really enjoyed making “tongues of fire” cupcakes.

PicMonkey Collage4I highly recommend to all my homeschooling and non-homeschooling friends to check out Growing up in God’s Word and all the other resources available at Pryor Convictions Media. It a great resource for the church and a great blessing to parents hoping to help their children grow up in God’s Word.

Shanna

 

He Loves Me;This I Know

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Today is Valentine’s Day. A day set aside to proclaim how much we love our significant other. Many go to great lengths and expense to impress their valentine. Others are decidedly more understated in their approach. Nonetheless, few leave this day untouched without some small token for their love.

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When the roses have wilted, the last piece of chocolate has been consumed, and the other gifts are long forgotten, what remains? If you are blessed, as I am, these frivolities can NEVER compare with the expressions of true love your husband bestows upon you every day.

We read in Proverbs 31 that a good wife is worth far above rubies. Do we ever consider what a good husband is worth? Do we take time to let him know we love and appreciate him? Do we thank God for him daily and make supplications on his behalf? That is what I want to do right now.

John Davis Anderson, I love you, and respect you on so many levels. I have witnessed you progress from a bright eyed young man to a wiser, better version of you. I have laughed with you, cried with you, hoped with you, prayed with you, and have truly become one with you. I do not see me as me without you. We are a single unit knit together with our heavenly Father. I could never fully express why I love you, but I want you, and everyone else, to know the few reasons that I am feebly able to verbalize.

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1.I love you because you chose me.

You were able to see redeeming qualities in me while I was still immature and very rough around the edges. You were able to envision the wife and mother that I had the potential of becoming. You looked past my flaws and loved me despite me. Thank you for choosing me and for helping me continue to work on becoming all the things you dreamed I could be.

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2. I love you because you love me.

You have seen me at my best. You have seen me at my worst way too many times, yet you still love me. You have watched me transform from that youthful girl you took as your bride to an aged woman with gray hair and wrinkles. You still love me. You have watched me struggle and be my own worse enemy. You still love me. When I absolutely do not love myself, you STILL love me.

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3. I love you because you love our children.

God  blessed us with four of the loveliest babies that have ever existed. You have patiently sat by and waited while my mothering instinct has been at full tilt. Even though it was a financial sacrifice,you have allowed me to stay at home with them and nuture them in ways I could only dream.You have taught them and molded them. You have loved them more than they will ever know, but I know. I know and it makes me love you more every day.

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4. I love you because you sacrifice yourself for your family.

You give even when you are completely depleted. Your hands bear witness of the lengths and depths that a true man will go to in an effort to support his family. You have done without the finest apparel, home, and car to allow your children to actually grow up together. Never think your sacrifice goes unnoticed. Never think you are not praised by your wife and children. You empty yourself that we might be filled. I love your sacrificial heart.

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5. I love you because you love the LORD.

This is the reason I love you the most. You are the spiritual leader of our home. I never have to fear that God will not be the center of our home or that you won’t put Him first. I appreciate the hours you spend in His word to feed His sheep. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel! You are beautiful to me and I love you.

God knew what He was doing when he created the home. I am so thankful that God blessed me with a wonderful godly husband. I pray that I will never take him for granted. I don’t want to just wait for a special occassion to tell and show my husband why I love him. I want him to know. I want to make sure he knows. He shows me his love each and every day. He loves me; this I know.

Shanna

You Saw What?!? Guarding Their Eyes and Hearts

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I am a product of the 70’s and 80’s. I grew up in a time when “playing” didn’t have a thing in the world to do with any type of electronic device. It was a simpler time when your neighbors were your best friends, imaginations ran rampant, and make believe was a ticket to other worlds. I vividly recall one of the most popular pretend games in the neighborhood and schoolyard was cops and robbers.

Some of my play mates preferred to be robbers. They enjoyed the imaginary “thrill” of stealthily nabbing plundered loot and the chase that ensued. I on the other hand, being the first born in my family with a deeply rooted type A personality, was much more comfortable and suited to be a cop. After all, even at a young age, I had a firm grasp on the notion that things of high personal value MUST be protected at all costs. I had been raised with the ideology that if it is precious, you must keep it “locked up as tight as Fort Knox”. At the time all I knew about Fort Knox was that it is where our nation kept its gold. Later on, I discovered that it was so much more.

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Due to a 1933 executive order signed by FDR designed to alleviate stalled economic growth during the depression, the nation found itself in possession of $12 billion dollars worth of gold and no safe place to house it. As a result, the United States Bullion Depository, better known as Fort Knox, was constructed at a cost of $560,000 (equivalent of $9,420,624 today).

The outer walls of the depository are constructed of granite lined with concrete which is reinforced with approximately 1500 tons of steel. The vault itself has concrete and steel walls that are 21 inches thick, and it is sealed by a door that weighs over 20 tons. There are guard boxes at each of the four corners, sentry boxes at the entrance gate, and a steel fence that encircles its perimeter. The depository is protected with the most modern security devices and is under the protection of the army base at Fort Knox. No visitors are allowed at any time.

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Contrary to popular belief, the depository has been the safe place for much more than gold. It has been home to the original copies of the US Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and one of four original copies of the Magna Carta. It has also held the gold reserves for many European countries as well as crowned jewels belonging to several countries.

Now, I am grown up lady with the majority of my children swiftly entering adulthood, themselves. Yet, one thing has remained unchanged  since my younger years. I still understand, and in all likelihood even more so, the concept of guarding over treasure. However, unlike the treasure protected deeply within the vault at Fort Knox, today I am much more concerned about safeguarding something much more precious. We must guard the hearts of our children.

Proverbs 4:20-27

My son, pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.
 Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;
 for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.
 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to thepaths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

We, like Solomon, are charged with teaching our children how to guard their hearts. It is a job that we as parents must not take lightly. Yes, it is a JOB. It requires forethought, planning, and consistent monitoring. Fort Knox is fortified, guarded, and uses all means available to protect its contents. We must follow this same plan of action when it comes to our children’s precious hearts.

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Our children are bombarded with sinful images on every front. They are especially susceptible due to the technology saturated world in which we live. Boys and girls as young as two years old can use smart phones and tablets as well as (or better than) adults. Because of this ease of use and the contentment it seems to elicit, we might easily be lulled into a sense of complacency. We must remember this.

1 Peter 5:8

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,

seeking someone to devour.”

Unfortunately, many times that “someone” is your child.

What’s a parent to do? Lock up your entire family allowing no contact with the outside world? (I have been tempted to go this route many times!) Even if this sounds tempting, it isn’t feasible or advisable for the Christian. We are told to

Matthew 5:16

….let your light shine before others,

so that they may see your good works

and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

So, what is the alternative? Just like Fort Knox, we can set ourselves up as guards and utilize the latest technological security devices available to us.  Consider the following areas.

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Computer/Tablet/Smart Phone

The most important thing that must be established up front is your absolute authority over the use of the computer, tablet, smart phone, or Ipod.

Only keep these items in common areas of the home. You would be ill advised to allow your child to have private access to internet enabled devices in their bedrooms, alone. Be sure your children know that in order to use these devices, they must follow your rules. Make sure guidelines for use are clearly understood. Also, make sure consequences of misuse are clearly understood and always followed through. Also, assure your children of your ability to go back through the browser history and see ALL of their on-line activity. As added security, many internet filters are available to download. Some are free and others have premiums that range from inexpensive to quite expensive. Open DNS Family Shield is a free web filter. It instantly blocks access to adult websites. When set up on the router in your home, every device in your home is protected. This includes X-box, Playstation, Wii, DS, iPad, iPod, iPhone, etc. Did I mention that it is FREE?

Social Media

Facebook

This is a tough one. The age requirement to sign up for a Facebook account is 13 years of age. You alone know if your teen is mature enough to handle this responsibility. If you decide to grant permission to your teen to access Facebook, I personally believe you must be completely ready to devote a great deal of time to monitoring his/her activity. Here are a few things you can do to make their account a little safer.

-Know your child’s password

-You have ultimate say of who will be accepted as their Facebook friend

-Go to privacy settings

-Limit access on all settings to only friends

Twitter

Again, as with all social media, you are going to have to be in control and constantly monitor your teen’s activity. Just like Facebook, Twitter requires that one be at least 13 years of age to sign up for an account. Really the only safety mechanism on Twitter is setting your account to protect your tweets. You would have to set up rules as to whom your teen will follow. By protecting tweets you will be able to say yes or no to follower requests.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Television/ DVD

The best defense when it comes to television viewing is educating one’s self on programming. One way to do this is by using Focus on the Family’s pluggedin.com. It gives reviews on movies, videos, music, TV, and games. This is an excellent free resource. Also, to catch foul language that might occasionally slip in, you might consider investing in a TV Guardian. It is a foul language filter that you can use on non-live television programming. Another investment you might consider is the Clearplay DVD player. It filters vulgarity, nudity, violence, and more. It has been my experience that commercials are as bad or worse than the actual programming. One trick to avoid this problem is to record your favorite show and fast forward through the ads.

Ultimately, you have to decide what, if any, of these things you will allow your children to indulge. All of these suggestions are just aides to help you accomplish the goal of guarding your children’s eyes and hearts.

I am sure if I ask you what is your most important possession, most assuredly you would say your children. Their hearts are worth much more than the billions of dollars of gold at Fort Knox.Therefore, we must be even more vigilant guarding their hearts than the military that protects the US gold reserves. After all,

Matthew 16:26

“For what will it profit a man

if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Shanna

I am in no way affiliated with any of the above suggested products, nor do I receive any compensation from them.

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5 Things I Gave Up to be a Wife and Mother

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I recently came across an article with a title that immediately captured my attention. It was one of those blog posts that, once published, goes viral immediately. Unfortunately, unlike other current web successes such as open letters to daddies who are kind and understanding to other people’s children on flights, concerned mothers of sons advising teenage girls against immodest pics on social media, and husbands spreading the word that marriage is about more than “me”, this post had a decidedly more acrid tone. It was a scathing diatribe against a woman’s decision to be a wife and mother. The title, “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry”, pretty much sets the hateful tone for this short but sad article. Despite my immediate guttural reaction (and against my better judgement), I continued reading said article. I would liken this decision to passing by a horrible accident that you KNOW will be gruesome but having to look anyway. Believe me; this post was WORSE than a train wreck.

After my mommy senses went into overdrive, steam flooded from every orifice of my body, and I screamed aloud, “Oh no, she didn’t!” (well, maybe those last two are an exaggeration), I calmed down and really reflected on my role as a wife and a mother of four. The more I considered what the author said, the more I realized that she was right about one thing. To be a wife and/or mother, you must give up a number of things. Over the past twenty three and one half years as a wife, and twenty years as a mother, I have given up more than a few.

I have given up

1.Selfishness–  Anyone who has said “I do” understands that marriage requires an immediate forfeiture of self.

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Mark 10:7-8
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

On August 10,1990 the days of doing it my way and meeting only my needs became a bygone memory. The day I became John’s wife, I gave up pleasing myself, and learned to be pleasing to him.

 Anyone who has ventured into parenthood understands that with the arrival of each new bundle of joy comes the realization that even more of self has to be abandoned. As a mother, you have the responsibility of meeting every single need of a new, helpless babe. Let’s face it, midnight feedings, messy diapers, and projectile vomiting DO NOT fall into the category of things I do just for me. The day I became Titus, Elijah, Norah, and Levi’s mama, I gave up focusing on me, and learned to focus on them.

All this sounds traumatic, huh? You might even ask, “Why would you do this?”

Phil 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
And the apostle Paul said in Acts 2:35 ,
“remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
There is definitely a flip side to this coin. By decreasing myself, I am exponentially increasing my joy! My family is much bigger, warmer, lovelier, and happier than singular me.
When I became a wife and mother, I gave up selfishness to become selflessly overjoyed.

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2.Poverty I am almost positive I can hear all of you with families laughing out loud at this one.  After all, according to research the average cost to raise a child to the age of eighteen is between $200,000 and $250,000. Now in my case, multiply that by four. Math has never been my strong suit, but even I know that is a boat load of money! Well, forget the dollar signs, I agree with the John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Money cannot buy me love or happiness.

Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

My quiver is full, and therefore, I am rich! The bank account of my heart is bountifully filled with deposits of smiles, laughter, achieved milestones, pulled heartstrings, and “I love yous”.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up poverty to become richly blessed.

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3. Loneliness-   Admittedly, I fall into the category of loner. I relish my alone time which affords me opportunities to meditate, study, write, read, and pray. However, no one wants to be ALONE. The Creator knew His creation needed companionship.

Genesis 2:18
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  

There is a certain lonely void that can only be filled by the intimate husband/wife relationship. Even yet, a house has a certain amount of loneliness that can only be vanquished by the pitter patter of little feet, or at this point in my life, the stomping of at least a couple pairs of size 12 and 13 feet. Whether my children and I are in the same room or miles apart, I never feel alone. They are always with me.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up loneliness to become connected for life.

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4. Dissatisfaction-  I readily admit that satisfaction can be derived in a multiplicity of ways. However, I know that I could never have reached the level of satisfaction I have attained had I remained as a  single, childless woman. (clearly, my opinion) I can’t help but go to

Ecclesiastes 4:9.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

My husband makes me better. He lifts me up when I fall. And let’s not forget that threefold cord. In my mind, the three strands of that cord are Daddy, Mama, and children. There is a sweet contentment found in being a strand in that cord.

When I became a wife and a mother, I gave up dissatisfaction to become completely satisfied.

5. Emptiness-  Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, apart from our Lord. In the book of Ecclesiastes, he proclaimed that all is vanity. In other words, all is emptiness. However, when all had been said and done, this was his conclusion.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” 

Can I be obedient to God without being a wife and mother? Absolutely. Does having a mate that loves God as much as I do, and having children I want to go to heaven make this task easier? Absolutely. I am filled with the responsibility to ensure my entire family lives in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up emptiness to become filled to overflowing.

Yes, I gave up many things to become a wife and mother. Those things will NEVER compare to what I have gained. I agree with Goerge Bernard Shaw who said, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” When I became a wife and a mother, I became everything I ever wanted to be, and in the process have been blessed to experience a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Shanna

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