The adventures of PAC time

My husband and I from the beginning of our marriage and blended family becoming one have made it a point to be sure the children were able to have some one on one time with each of us.  There was no rhyme or reason to how we did this we would just kind of on a whim one of us would take one of the kids out for a meal or movie or something special that provided our undivided attention.  While this was good we felt like we could be doing better, more focused and intentional on making this special parent and child time a priority.

So we came up with PAC time, Parent Child Time.  At first I tried using ‘Power Hour’ but this was not well received and the name was changed right away.  Apparently the boys and girls club has power hour for getting homework done.  

‘They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.’ Psalm 37:26

This is a set schedule we have, my PAC time is Tuesday evening after dinner and Matt’s is Thursday evening after dinner.  We have an ongoing rotation with the kids so they each have some intentional one on one time.  We rotate the kids through in a way that if one child is with me for their PAC time the next time it’s their turn it will be with Matt.  

‘Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.’ Psalm 127:3

We do various things during our PAC times.  However they typically involve some form of sweet for dessert 🙂
-milkshakes and Yahtzee at cookout

-sweet drink and playing cards at Starbucks

-peeps from dollar tree and putting together a puzzle

-sneaking off to new port news to indulge in warm Krispy Kreme donuts

-sweet frog and Walmart

-milkshake in the car while watching the light show outside Franktronics 

– dessert at cookout and working on bible study for community group 

These are a few of the fun times we have had and look forward to many more.

We have made this parent child time a priority. I think this is important for the kids to feel like we value our time with them and sacrificing this time each week with them is a reflection of this priority. Now there has been an occasional event scheduled on one of PAC time evenings so in that case we adjust and do the PAC time another night that same week. PAC time is not taken away as a punishment, it is a constant and not conditional.


The kids were a little skeptical of this whole PAC time idea at first.  I think they waited for it to fall off as a temporary phase.  But we are holding strong and have stuck with this for nearly 6 months now with every intention to keep this up.  The kids have really come to look forward to this time.  They save some important questions and topics to bring up and discuss during this time.  They get excited and very much look forward to this time.  It essentially breaks down to each of the kids getting PAC time twice a month.  Even Richard who is five has really gotten excited about this, last week the first thing he said Thursday morning was” “yes PAC time tonight with Matt!.”  


Now this I not always an easy task to accomplish each week.  After a long day of getting everyone out of the door by 7am, a full workday, time at the gym or free clinic hours, dinner prep, baths and clean up it is next to impossible to muster up the extra energy to sneak out of the house with a child at 8pm and being deliberate and focused on them.  But we do it, we with the Lord’s strength pull ourselves together and make this very purposeful and meaningful time with our children a priority.  There have been evenings when it is next to impossible and painful to go back out in the cold, but in the end we are always very thankful we did.  

‘Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’ 1John 3:18

While we know that they truly enjoy this time now my prayer is that one day when they look back and reflect on their childhood they truly appreciate this.   That this will be one of the things they remember well.  That the time, energy and love we are pouring into these precious hours will have lasting impact on their tender hearts growing spirits.  

‘Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of he Lord.’ Psalm 34:11

As we continue with our adventures of PAC time there are some minor ways we can expand on this purposeful time we are dedicating to our children.  We can infuse more prayer and devotional time reflecting on and studying God’s word while we are enjoying our sweets and our time together.  We do incorporate this on a smaller level but as I reflect on this time well spent I can see there is great potentional to expand on this and making and even more eternally lasting impression on our children’s minds hearts and souls through this time when we have their undivided focus and attention.  We have successfully established this intentional time with our children we will continue with this and utilize this valuable time to teach God’s word, law and love through our PAC time.  

Go Away!!! And don’t come back!!!

One of our five year old’s favorite bedtime stories is an interesting book titled ‘ Go Away Big Green Monster’.  I have read this book to him dozens of times and he still loves it every time.  Essentially the first half of the book is the author describing every detail of this big green monster, add one detail per page with a matching illustration.  For example it reads ‘ Big green monster has two big yellow eyes’ and you see two big yellow eyes staring back at you.  Then after several pages you have this complete picture of this big green monster.  And then…  You turn the page to read ‘YOU DON’T SCARE ME!’  Then page by page each scary monster feature is told to ‘Go Away’.

  ‘ Go Away Two Big Yellow Eyes.’


The book ends with the bold command, ‘Go AWAY big green monster and don’t come back until I say so!’.  I can see why this is appealing to our son, it allows him visualizes the power and confidence to tell a scary monster to go away.  He feels empowered by hearing this.  During our most recent read through this book, probably the 318th time reading it I had visualized this big green monster a little differently.  What if I faced my monsters with this simple and confident approach.  

                            We have victory and power in Christ to tell satan to go away!

           
 

          “I will never be as good as she is.”

When we feel tempted with envy —->Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬

                   “I am worthless and will never be good enough.”

When we are attacked with self doubt—-> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”   Romans‬ ‭12:21‬ ‭



                “I have failed my kids and family and am a terrible mother.”

When we are assaulted with feelings of failure—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9





              “This is too much, I cannot handle this and am not strong enough.”

When circumstances of the moment seem overwhelming and impossible—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

‬ ‭”But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”  ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭






1- Armor up!!!  Stay engaged in His word and His truth.  His truth teaches us how He loves us unconditionally, not because of who we are or what we do but because of who He is.

      “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians‬ ‭6:11-17‬ ‭

2- Tell satan to “GO AWAY!” We are victorious through Christ.   we WILL conquer satan and his evil lies and constant attacks in our lives, Christ is our protector and through Him we will rise up victorious!

     “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5

3- Choose positive thoughts.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. ”  Philippians 4:8

4- Fall to your knees in prayer, most important battles are won with the weapon of prayer.

      “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for mercy.”  Psalm 86:6

      ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

—>It’s complicated <—

Being a parent is basically hard, challenging and just out right impossible at times.  Being tasked with the responsibility of being a mom is quite possibly the most difficult task I will be given in this life.  Children unfortunately don’t come with step by step instruction manuals.  There’s parenting advice galore out there especially these days with all of our social media, good advice and bad advice everywhere you turn and filtering this advice that comes at you from all directions.

 

As I sit back and look at how much goes into being a parent and just how much responsibility lays in our role it is quite overwhelming.  Then top off all the basic parenting tasks and add on the extra element of being part of a blended family or single parent role to the mix and you have taken complicated to a whole new level!  Co-parenting is difficult and intense with a cooperative parent that has the same belief and values.  Unfortunately more times than not the co-parent will not being any of those things and makes being a parent 10 times more complicated and challenging.


 

I feel like my husband and I are constantly scrambling and searching for this fine line to walk—-> raising them in this world and teaching them how to not be part of this world.   As much as I long to put my kids in a bubble and protect and shelter them from everything, it is just not possible to shelter them completely and protect them from all the evil and ungodly influences of this world.  And even if it were possible that would place them at a huge disadvantage to be sheltered in that way.  So you need to allow them to be in the world at the same time keeping them from becoming part of the world at the same time you are leading them to know Christ.

 

I was deep in thought pondering this daily dilemma earlier while running away taking out my frustrations on the treadmill at the gym.  This happened to be a family gym day and we had our crew of kids with is at the gym today.  Today is one of those days it was a struggle to get some of them to come to the gym. A little bit of whining about not wanting to go, questioned on why do they have to be dragged to the gym to exercise.  I find this battle quite frustrating and feel like it’s a losing battle most of the time. We have our good days when they come to the gym willingly and put forth good effort and leave the gym smiling after enjoying their workout asking when we are coming back.  But then we have the bad days when it’s struggle, and it is on those bad days that I am so tempted to give up and tell them fine just to stay home while my husband I get in a good uninterrupted work out without distraction.  But giving up is not the answer.

We certainly cannot force them to want to exercise and most definitely cannot force them to enjoy it.    This really leaves us with one option; what we can do is continue to bring them and set the example, lead them and teach them by showing them how it’s done.  We can simply show them that we enjoy exercising and being healthy and let them see the positive results from this. Then praying that the example you set takes hold and one day they can recognize the importance of exercise and maintaining the health of their body.

We can face our children’s salvation in the same manner.  The best we can do is be a good witness, to set the example for them, show them how to live a life for Christ, pray for them to be saved and LET GO, get out of the way and allow God to handle the rest.  Put down on paper it sounds so stinking simple…

Not so simple though, not for me anyway.  I struggle each and everyday and fail in many ways in my witness to our children.  I get so frustrated when I fail, I have really good intentions but am human and frequently fall short.  One of my biggest downfalls is not being joyful in all circumstances, letting my emotions and circumstances of the moment control my words, actions, facial expressions and moods.  I am working at this, slowly giving it over completely to the Lord and I am His work in progress, some days I do better, but each day a step in the right direction.


 

“Come follow me” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people”  At once they left their nets and followed him. —Matthew 4:19-20


  
I don’t want our kids to make the same mistakes I made.  I don’t want them to know God in their mind but not truly know Him in their heart, I don’t want them to be consumed by this fallen world and slipping into the darkness before living in the Lord’s light.  So with each day I will continue working on allowing God to strengthen and mold me into the mother and wife He created me to be and let my witness and example be what our children need to come to know Jesus. And I will fight for them on my knees in PRAYER…..


 

Heavenly Father above, please guide me and give me strength and courage at a mother and a stepmother.  I pray my witness will be true and bold.  I pray that our children will be able to look to me and see You, that I will let Your love shine in all areas of our life, I pray for a joyful heart even on the trying days when I want to be short tempered and rude, please soften my heart and strengthen my spirit to let go and let You take over.  Lord You know my heart and the areas that I truly need to surrender and allow You to take over, please God take all of me and let me be the woman, mother and wife You intended me to be, I pray to have the courage to chose Your way over everything else in this fallen world.  God thank You for the honor, privilege and responsibility of being a mother, our children are truly a blessing directly from You, let me never take this for granted and always treasure being a parent even during the difficult moments, let me praise You and bring You Glory.

In Jesus Name- AMEN


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus   1Thessalonians 5:16-18 

popping my B-U-B-B-L-E ——>guilt…confession…truth…

A conversation frequently starts between me and my husband with him asking me “have you heard…?” Which is normally silly and redundant because we both know that there is is 99.9% chance that I have not yet heard whatever it is he is getting ready to ask me about.  For the most part I am clueless to local and national news, politics, and world happenings.  I have placed myself into a safe but very blind bubble.

We live in what is considered a ‘rural area’ and I work in a very rural community.  I listen to the Christian station on satellite radio in the car, this station has no news or commercials.   We do not have cable in our home to watch the news or any local stations.  Basically if someone does not tell me about something in person or it is not on my Facebook newsfeed I don’t hear about it.  For the most part when things do pop up on my Facebook newsfeed that I want to ignore it is quite easy to just scroll by it without paying much attention.

I like my bubble, it is nice and safe in it and I feel protected.  If I don’t have to read about it or hear about it then it is not happening.  I rather prefer not having my heart broken daily over the disturbing news stories our fallen society provides day after day.  It is my way of shielding my eyes, ears, mind and heart from the evil and sadness that unfold day after day.

Well despite my struggle, even with kicking and fighting my bubble has been popped, a few weeks ago it was stuck with a tiny hole that grows each day. I am now seeing the error in my ways…sitting idly by and ignoring all the evil and sin surrounding us and consuming our society makes me just as guilty as participating.

If I sit by and ignore all the bad, wrong and unjust, immoral events and circumstances am I not as guilty as the ones participating and causing?  Burying my head in the sand while our society and world celebrate and glorify sin makes me just as responsible!!!  I am SO GUILTY!
The truth is I cannot handle the feelings that reality and the news invoke in me.

I have been so selfish and ignorant keeping up the protective walls of my bubble.

 

I guess the pin that started poking holes in my bubble is all of the planned parent and abortion news.  This stirs something inside of me, emotions that I can not even begin to describe they are so strong and powerful and quite honestly these emotions terrify me.  This has always been such a difficult and sensitive topic for me to listen to and talk about, I feel so passionately for the lives of our unborn children that it is a challenging topic for me.  I have read quite a few articles and news stories about this but I have not been able to bring myself to watch the videos.  I am absolutely petrified to watch them, I know without a doubt that they will break my heart and bring up such traumatic emotions that I honestly do not know if I can handle it.  Deep down I know I need to be able to get to the point of being able to watch them, I need to embrace these emotions, learn how to control and direct them and use them take action.  I have no idea what, but something I know there has got to be something I can do.  Until God opens that door for me I need to draw near to Him.  I need to be crying out to Him and asking His strength, courage and guidance.

At the very least, I can pray.  This is doing something, I can start to do something by opening my heart, eyes, ears and mind and taking it all to my Heavenly Father.  I need to start taking responsibility in making myself aware of what is going on.  Open my eyes and ears and work on being more informed and knowledgeable.

 

“Then when the time is right He will open a door for me to be able to do something, until then I will pray.”

 

Over the next several weeks I will work at slowly removing the shield of my bubble.  Little by little taking it down and exploring everything that is going on in my state, nation and world.  When I read and listen to these news stories I will open my heart and pray for each situation that I can.  I will lay it all at the feet of Jesus and let Him lead me.  Jesus is the only one with the power to save us all, so I will turn to Him.

“Lord, I come before You with so much in my heart tonight.  Father please forgive me for being so selfish and ignorant that I have ignored and neglected the suffering of Your children all around me.  God I ask you to work in my heart and soften me and make me more self-less and compassionate to all those around me.  Help me to move past my bubble and take on what is happening in our sad and sinful world.  I pray for strength and courage as I open my eyes and become more aware of the fallen state of our world right now.  Please guide me and lead me to be the follower of Christ You have made me to be.  Father I am weak and You are strong, please strengthen me.  I pray the the passion and emotion I feel when I learn more about the news and politics driving our fallen society doesn’t cripple me but move me to take action to help.  I pray to be a better example of Your love and sacrifice.  I pray to be a light in our world of dark and to shine the light of Your Love to all those around me.  Father let me rise up and face this challenge.  I pray I can bring You glory in all I do.  Thank You for blessing me and my family so abundantly.  Thank You for Your love and mercy, thank You for sending Your son to die for our sins, Thank You Father for Your Grace.  In Jesus name Amen.”

 

 

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-17‬ ‭NIV‬

 

Don’t worry….. Pray to God

Our Wednesday evenings at church I spend in the 3-5 year old room during Teamkid. This week had a great message for the kids and so simple and has really stuck with me….

“DON’T WORRY….PRAY TO GOD.” The children’s simplified translation of Philippians 4:6. What a great message for all of us.

When you are afraid- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are mad- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are upset- Don’t worry, pray to God!
WHen you are happy- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are lonely- Don’t worry, pray to God!

If we could just follow this simple command how much simpler could things be for us? To let go and trust God, He is in control, everything is according to His plan and His purpose. I know and have experienced that He knows what is best, I have learned time and time again His way is SO MUCH better than my way, so why do I spend so much time worrying about things I have no control over??? When I simply just need to follow the advice we gave our little ones this week…Don’t Worry, Pray to God.

This topic was approached from another direction in my ladies group on Tuesday evening, the chapters we study focused on fear and anxiety and goes down the road of identifying worry as a sin, which is a hard fact to ponder and realize. It is so easy to worry and let this worry, turn to fear and lead to us sinning. When we worry we are questioning God, we are not trusting Him when we do this. If we had complete trust and solid faith that He will always provide and be there for us then we wouldn’t need to even consider worrying. But we cannot do this, we are sinners and human and we need God in every area of our lives, hearts and souls. It is not possible to not worry, we are not built this way but we do need to work on obeying God’s commands to us, if we are working everyday to keep in constant communication with God, constant prayer, through every situation, always stay focused on Him and let Him be the center of everything then it will come more naturally to follow the advice and let go of worry and pray to God first and always.

Message for this week is heard loud and clear—-“DON’T WORRY—PRAY TO GOD!!!”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Lord thank You for this great reminder this week, I pray for strength, guidance and wisdom to take and apply this to my life. Your words are so clear to me this morning please help me keep this sweet and simple reminder in all areas of my life. Help me to be humble before You. Daily I am faced with challenges, please help to always come to You first, I pray to live out these words and to not worry and always come to You in prayer and supplication. Let the great truth in Your words and Promises continue speaking to me and guiding me. Thank You for all You have blessed me with in this life, thank You for having Your plan be so much better than my own. In Jesus Name- Amen”

 

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