Family Bonding Time · Motherhood · Parenting · Uncategorized

Embracing “Un-popular” Parenting Decisions… The Process of Creating “Successful” Adults (Part 1)

While iPhones, TV and video games are great for distracting children in a pinch, increasing evidence shows that too much screen time can potentially cause childhood depression and increase the risk for attention problems later on.

A Great article to check out…  http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/963474/can-screen-time-cause-childhood-depression.

 

As a family we have made decisions that are “unpopular” in our society, amongst friends, and even with our children.  In all honesty, I can’t say with resounding certainty that these decisions are “perfectly right”, but I can say with certainty that they are “perfectly right for our family”.

Over the next couple of week’s I am going to do a series called…

Embracing “Un-Popular” Parental Choices…  The Process of Creating “Successful” Adults

1.)  We don’t allow our children regular internet access.

This is one decision we have received slack from friends, family, teachers, etc…  I’ve heard it all, “you have to embrace the times, technology is the present, the future etc…”.  If my children have a project or a specific reason for needing to be on the internet we allot time for these occasions.  However, you won’t find my children roaming the internet, building their own websites, playing mindless games on the computer.  You will find my children asking for permission to use the computer and us setting a side a time for this use.

Why are we reluctant to allow our children to fully “embrace” technology…
I’ve heard several people say my children won’t develop adequate “technological” knowledge to be successful in their lives and future careers. Our response:  My husband and I neither one had access to computers until we were in college.  My husband is a successful PhD professor at Indiana University.  I am attending graduate school for to be a Mental Health Counselor.  We are happy, we are blessed with the most wonderful children, and “enough” material possessions to allow us to live comfortable lives.  The point I am trying to make is:  My husband and I didn’t grow up with a  computer access, the latest technological advances, and I feel we turned out pretty well. We’re not enormously rich, but we are rich in blessings, and blessed above and beyond our needs on Earth.  Therefore, we do not feel our children’s long-term success lies in time spent on the computer.  We believe our children’s long-term success lies in living in the real-world, playing with their siblings, interacting with friends at church, school, and in the neighborhood, playing outside, learning to relate/interact with others, spending time “talking” to our children, good quality family time, and teaching them respect in a society, where respect is a almost forgotten.

Again, like I said, I can’t say for “certain” that this {un-popular} decision is the  “perfectly right” choice, but I can say with “certainty” that our children are well-rounded kids, respectful in school/church. well-behaved in public (for the most part), involved members of our family unit, and at this point not technologically incompetent.

This is the “choice” that works for us, not necessarily the right choice for all families.

However, I do believe there is something to be said for limiting children’s time with technology, for the sake of developing the most well-rounded and successful adults.  

Too much of anything is…  TOO MUCH!!!

Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them (God’s word) 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.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they shall never depart from it.”

Blessings,

Crystal

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“Purpose Driven Life” Together

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My husband and I have begun reading “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Every night before we fall asleep we read together the daily excerpt, discuss what we read, and then pray together.

I find praying with my husband before bed to be such a gift and so enriching!

You know it doesn’t take long! And the benefits are wonderful! It’s something we can do together! Gives us a few minutes to hear from God! And “most importantly” it sets the mood for us to pray together!

Friends, I am blessed! I am thankful my husband loves God, desires to grow in his faith, and takes time to pray and study God’s word with me!

We are taking time to visit new churches, rest in God, and see where God guides us!

Therefore, we have decided to spend 40 days, asking God to reveal His purpose for our lives!

Psalm 138:8

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

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Why God Calls Us to Seek Him in the “Morning”

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Friends, If there is one thing that I am not, it is a morning person.  I have the hardest time dragging myself out of my cozy, soft, and comfy bed.  For this reason, I have never made a habit out of morning quiet times.   However, this afternoon, God revealed the reason He tells us throughout the Bible, to seek Him first thing in the morning!    I took my daughter to preschool, ran a few errands, chatted with my husband, and “finally” sat down to study.  Funny, my Bible was calling me from across the room on the shelf, but I thought…  “I really need to get started on these assignments!”  I began studying for my graduate level Research & Methods course, only to end up frazzled and upset!  Statistics is HARD!!!   As I became progressively more frazzled and upset, God gently nudged my spirit… Finally, I opened my devotional for today and this is what I read;  John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in me.” God used this scripture to speak to my heart:  “Crystal, if you would seek me “before” you try to conquer the world by yourself, you might be surprised with how much I will help you!  Sweety, Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in your Father, believe also in me! We’ve got your back sweet heart!  Please come to us for encouragement, help, and daily guidance!” You know, I am learning!  Slowly but surely, I am learning!   I think tomorrow, I will wake up early and seek Him. Rather than waiting until I am hyperventilating and a nervous wreck..   I think… I will seek Him “First!”   Blessings,  Crystal 

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What’s The Cause of My Loneliness?

 

 

ImageThis is the sweetest little picture of my friend Marilyn’s little girl — Her name is Sophie…

 

Seriously, Today’s post is about “BEING REAL”!

Everyday there is a part of me that feels lonely.  Admittedly some days are much worse than others, but being lonely is a part of my life.  Honestly, I don’t admit this part of my life to many people, except for my amazing “Christian Counselor”, my husband, and to God! Why, because I have this idea that my loneliness is a sign of weakness.  Westerners are taught to be strong and courageous, to never admit weakness.   Looking around, it seems everyone else has no clue what loneliness feels like:  Seriously, at times I feel like I am the only person in this world, who [ever} feels lonely.  This ongoing feeling of mine makes me feel guilty, as if my feelings of loneliness are some kind of sin, and because I feel lonely, I am not thankful for the gifts God has granted me.  Trust me, {I know} I am truly blessed!  I have the {most amazing} God, husband, four of the sweetest children in the world, and some of the most amazing friends.  What do I have to be lonely about?  Trust me, I beat myself up {all the time} over my feelings loneliness, therefore I don’t need others to beating me up more.  Honestly, this is the very reason I don’t tell many people about my loneliness, because I am not sure I could handle the heartless rebuttals from well intentioned people.

I ask you today?  Are you lonely?  {Honestly} do you have feelings of loneliness residing in your soul?  I admit it…  I feel lonely often. Although the reasons are not vividly clear, I have some ideas as to why we {I} feel lonely:

1. Maybe we’re focusing too much on pleasing people, rather than focusing our efforts on pleasing God.

One thing I am learning in my life is to be a God-pleaser rather than a people-pleaser!  I have always been a people-pleaser:  In my life I have focused so much of my energy on pleasing people, rather than simply pleasing God.  Really, if God is pleased with me, shouldn’t that please others?  Pleasing God will not {always} please others;  Actually I feel pleasing God often displeases many people, because the act of pleasing God is naturally convicting to others.  And people are truly impossible to please;  However, God is truly pleased with our efforts to worship, praise, and serve Him!   Attempting to please people will {always} leave us discontent and lonely!  People are IMPOSSIBLE to please, but God is pleased with our efforts to follow, worship, and love Him!

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

 

2.  Maybe we’re lonely because we intentionally face life alone.

Maybe we are afraid of getting close to people, due to our fear of being rejected, hurt, or simply because maintaining relationships are hard work.  God {never} intended for us to face life alone.  He knew we needed fellowship with other believers.  The very beginning of God’s creation of Adam, he immediately noticed his loneliness…

Genesis 31:6 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

 

4.  Maybe we’re lonely because we’re self-centered.

It’s true, living for ourselves, will leave us feeling empty!  Struggling to give of yourself, your time, money, and resources will leave you feeling {depressed}.  God created us to be hospitable, to show the fruits of the spirit to those in our life.  God intended for us to have giving hearts!  There is some deep-rooted joy found in giving of ourselves, our time, and our money.  We hold so tightly to what is ours- rather than trusting God to provide for us and our needs.  In the end, we end up lonely, bitter, and friendless.

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Proverbs 22:9 “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”

5.   Maybe we are lonely because we keep trying to fill the yearning in our hearts with other things {bigger homes, accolades, education, nice clothes, skinner bodies, etc…}.

The things of the world will {never} fill our deepest yearnings {NEVER}!  I have learned the more I try to fill the yearnings of my soul with things of the world, the more lonely I feel.  Only God can fill the deepest yearnings of our hearts.

John 4:14 “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  [Only God can give us life giving water, the water that truly quenches our thirsty spirits.]

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

[The love of money ; {of worldly things} leaves us discontent with what God has blessed us with.  This one is convicting to me;  I need to focus on being content with the gifts God has givien me.  The love of money; {materialism} continues to leave me wanting more and more stuff; but while credit card debt increases – Contentment decreases!]

 

6. Maybe {we’re} allowing things of the world to separate us from the love of Christ.

Notice I didn’t say Christ separates us from Himself;  We intentionally separate ourselves from Him!  How?  We focus on worldly things, forget to cast our burdens on the Lord, allow ourselves to dwell in anxiety rather than {truly} carrying our cares to the foot of the cross, and we attempt to control our own lives, rather than allowing God to guide our steps.

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Mathew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

7.  Maybe {much} of our loneliness lies in our hormones.

It’s true people!  Hormones are powerful!  Ladies, we need to realize that our hormones, although invisible, are a BIG source of our emotions.  It is vital that we recognize our personal mood swings, as much as possible!  When we recognize our monthly mood swings, we are better equipped to handle the strong waves of emotions that come upon us.

 

8.  Maybe our loneliness stems from a pattern of negative self-thinking.

It’s true!  Within our hearts and minds we talk to ourselves – Some of us talk to ourselves outwardly {which is another issue, for another day}!  Throughout our lives our self-talk has been formed and continues to follow us all the days of our lives.  Our self-talk has been being developed since birth.  The things we heard growing up, the nasty bullying on the playground, television, radio, everything around us affects the way we communicate with ourselves.  However, self-talk can be modified, trained, and encouraging!  It takes effort on our parts to take the necessary steps to positively build our self-talk!  Memorizing God’s word is the {BEST} way to retrain our negative thinking…  Memorizing how God thinks and feels about us, will greatly build our personal self talk.

 

9.  Maybe we are lonely because God put within us a deep-rooted need to {need} Him!

I believe this is the main reason for my continual underline feeling of loneliness…  Although I struggle with the worldly causes of loneliness, I believe that God created us to {need} Him so intimately, that anything other than His complete love, will leave us empty and continually lonely.  He created us to {need} Him!  The answers to my loneliness is to seek God, read the Bible, and sing praise music…  Other efforts {ultimately} leave me feeling more and more lonely!

Psalm 38:9 “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”

Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

 

10.  Finally, I am pretty sure we will all experience some level of Heavenly-Loneliness all the days we have on Earth.

God doesn’t want us to ever be 100% content with our present world.  We are called to desire, to crave, to long for our Heavenly home.  All believers in God will have an underline and continual yearning on Earth for our Eternal home in Heaven with God.  He created us for intimate relationship with Him and ultimately to be with us {forever} in Heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:2 “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.”

Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.”

 

Today, I am searching my heart for the {real} cause of my loneliness…  What about you…  What is the {real} cause of your loneliness?

And just maybe; I need to be {content} with Heavenly-Loneliness!  Allowing this loneliness to draw me closer to God.  God is using this loneliness is to call me to Himself, so I guess I should seek Him, obey Him, and focus on intimately {GETTING-TO-KNOW} my Heavenly Father!

I close with Jeremy Camp’s “There Will Be A Day”…

Friends take some time to pray about the root of your lonely feelings today…  Take some time to pray and {really} get to KNOW the Father!

Blessings, Crystal

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Home Sweet Home

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Several minutes ago as my sweet husband and I began our nightly routine of shutting down the house for the night, he asked me a simple question that helped me ponder about how truly blessed I am. As we headed to bed, I looked into the darkened kitchen and I ask my husband to turn on the nightlight {it’s a Sunflower nightlight, one of my all time favorite things}. He jokingly asked me, “Why, are you scared?” I quickly responded no ~ but then I began to think… “I’m {really} not scared in this house.” I began to recall how there was always an underline fear lurking in every place I’ve lived. Fear has always been a part of me. I remember in the past washing my face and rinsing the soap off super fast ~ because I was always fearful someone would be behind me ready to grab me. I’m not sure where all these fears originated, although I have some pretty good inclinations~ my childhood home never felt safe, scary movies I was allowed to watch as a child, and the fact that I live in a fallen world. As my mind glanced back to all the places I’ve lived – A sudden realization came over me. Fear {the act of always being afraid} is no longer hindering my everyday life, it is no longer forcing me to look behind every door, causing me to get soap in my eyes due to the inability to keep my eyes closed for the duration of my face washing ritual, or causing me to lie awake listening for the sound of burglars lurking in the darkness. I realized, this is a [victorious] moment! The word of God says, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear once threatened my sense of security, but God has replaced that fear with deep rooted feelings of safety and stability. A scripture God brought to my mind is “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Praise The Lord!

Wow! I just realized that this home is the first home where I’ve felt true stability. Most of my life I have moved often and the familiarity of a home never remained for long ~ a few years at the most. But this home ~ is ours! I don’t have to fear another lurking move, the uncertainty of the unfamiliar, and I can just relax, knowing for now we are {home}!

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God’s Love… His Holy Word… Refreshing Fuel for my Weary Soul

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As my mood dipped this afternoon, I allowed negative emotions to possess me no more.

I took my mood to my quiet place.

There I opened my Bible.

The very word of God.

As I read the life giving and mood uplifting words.

My fowl mood dissipated!  

Your faithful servant and prophet Paul speaks of how quickly we flee from your presence.

He states, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all.”

I am learning and relearning this lesson…

Realizing how time spent away from Your presence and from your word…

Creates emptiness, loneliness, bitterness, hate, fear, and “overall” deep rooted discord within my spirit.

Today…  I woke up…  

Drank my two cups of coffee…

Dressed…

And… 

Ran… Ran… Ran…

Upon my afternoon arrival home.

Upon stopping for the 1st time throughout my day.

I looked deep inside my tired… weary spirit…

What I saw…  

What I felt?

A tired, wore out, and empty gas gauage.

Once again my “spiritual” fuel tank running low.

Recalling the times in the past…

I painfully ran out of “spiritual” gasoline…

I sat down in my quiet place and opened the “Good Book”.

His words immediately began to fuel my spirit…

Again Paul speaks God-Breathed words of peace into my spirit.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, Stand Firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…  But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free…”

Freedom in Christ…

Feels so refreshing…  

So comforting…  

So peaceful.

Inhaling God’s love…

Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!

Exhaling God’s love…

Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!

Blessings, 

Crystal 

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Holy Spirit Intercede On My Behalf

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

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Lord, Where are you?  Today you seem so far out of my reach.  I long to reach out and touch your robe, to feel my fingertips brush alongside the Holiness of your presence.  Why can’t I seem to grasp your presence?  Your peace seems foreign to my soul…  this foreign feeling is the epitome of loneliness.  I can’t live another day, another moment, another minute in the wretched mess I have created deep within my spirit.  Why can’t I find you in my worship?  Why can’t I feel you in my quiet place?  Why can’t I find joy in my life?  

Lord, I now realize something within me has rejected you!  My worldly desires have taken over control over my life.  What I want, what I desire, what I “think” will make me happy…  Has created a big.. ugly… painful.. and lonely mess out of my life!  My sinful desire for control has pushed you aside.  I admit Father, I am weak!  I am a complete mess without you leading and guiding my every step! I’ve taken control of my life.  Lord, you gently handed control over to my incapable hands.  It seems I don’t want control over my life, after all! You allowed me to take control, knowing I would make a mess of my heart, my soul, and my peace.  Lord, I don’t want control of this life of mine.  I hand my desire for control to your fully capable hands.  I need you to fill me, comfort me, and fix the mess I’ve made. Your word says, “When we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  Lord fulfill this promise in my embittered soul.  Holy Spirit intercede for me.  My heart groans for more of you!  My heart yearns to be in your holy presence.  I can’t face another day in control of my life.  I admit it…  I am not capable of living a victorious life without Your perfect love.

Please Lord, take the reins of my mess, of my embittered spirit, of the pain so deeply disturbing my spirit!  Take my heart and rein in my worldly bitterness, anger, and gluttonous lifestyle!  Lord, help me to follow you whole heartedly and to seek you above all!  Forgive me Lord for my humanness! 

Lord, Thank you for always being “So Very Real”!  Thank you for always waiting patiently for me to return to your presence!  Thank you for always waiting with arms open wide!  Thank you for the peace I already feel!  Thank you for saving me over and over again!

I Love You So Much Dear Father,

Your child,

Crystal