Sweet Obedience

Baking comfort cookies, brownies, and cakes is something I truly enjoy doing, but this weekend I walked away from my baking business. For a while, a generous business owner gave me the use of his commercial kitchen to run my dessert shop, but when the business workload overloaded me, I closed it and baked out of my home. I seemed to receive more business from home than I did in the shop, so I knew God was blessing me. So what’s the problem you ask? Well, Florida State Laws don’t permit baking and selling out of the home without strict commercial specifications being met. I would have to add on to my home to fully meet these standards.

I struggled with this and prayed often in regards to what God wanted me to do. Since new customers kept contacting me, I knew without a doubt, that God’s answer was to stay in business and that everything was okay. After all, so many other bakers and caterers were conducting business out of their home, so why couldn't I? I figured if God wanted to crumble my cookies, He could at anytime. Right? Well, not exactly. Although God had the power to close my business, I now realize after many months of waiting on God’s answer, He was waiting on me – to walk in obedience.

It’s so easy to validate wrong doing. It’s so easy to find comfort in sin. It's so easy to blend in with the crowd, but My Heavenly Father expects more from me; I am called to be an example. Isn't this what we tell our children? Sigh...such a heavy load, but the load of guilt is heavier.

It’s not easy sharing this decision with faithful customers and I’ll miss the profit, but it sure is a great feeling to allow firstborn and secondborn to watch their mother make a decision to do the right thing - in spite of what others are doing and saying. Living in obedience will never compare to teaching obedience. Uh...can I effectively teach it without living it?

After deciding to make a clean cut from the baking business, I have a sigh of sweet obedience and relief. If God wants me to have a baking business, He'll have to open new doors without my help. I enjoy sharing my dessert gifts more than selling them anyway!

This Life Lesson for LaVender is a new beginning of a closer, sweeter walk in obedience for my entire family and it begins with me. Obedience invites peace - perfect peace.

Have a Marvelous Monday in Motherhood and let's strive to live in obedience!

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Do You Do This?

I checked around on a few other blogs and noticed I'm not alone in this, so don't say you've never done it. Yes you have!

Hubby does a great job keeping me grounded and he brought this to my attention. When making reference to OUR sons in conversation, emails, or blog posts, I almost always refer to them as MY sons. Why do I feel so comfortable leaving my husband out of his part in making OUR children? Hmm...I thought long and hard about this and came to a few conclusions.

  • It's understood that MY means OUR - is it?
  • Everyone knows hubby helped make OUR sons - do they really?
  • Since I'm speaking of myself, I'm referring to my part of OUR boys - yeah, right!
  • It's grammatically correct - is it?
  • It's easier to say MY children rather than my husband's and my children - definitely!
  • It doesn't matter - yes, it does.

I actually apologized to hubby. I also mentioned to him that maybe I should title the blog, Mom's and Pop's Peacebites to make it easier on me (lol). Anyway, it is definitely something I'll think about while I homeschool my secondborn today - oops...OUR secondborn!

Have you noticed doing this and what's your reason for doing it?

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Monday Meditation - He Left Me

After eight years of home educating firstborn, this morning he left me to begin a new life in public high school.

I’ve learned a lot about my relationship with my son while we completed public school registration and prepared for his first day, but my greatest lesson was being shocked back into the fact that firstborn is not mine to keep – he was given to me on a love-based loan plan.

Isn’t it amazing how God gives a mother such a deep, protective love for her children, yet reminds us they belong to Him? I believe our deep motherly love is in fact, God’s love within us to properly nurture and raise His children.

The emotions I felt when God gave me directions to send firstborn to school felt as if someone had snatched my son away from me. Well, whether now or later, some way or another, he will eventually leave me.

God gives a mother a few years on Earth to mold, groom, and love the children in her care. Only God knows the number of years we have with them, so each day is precious and should be valued.

A dear friend's only son was called home by God in his teens and she recently shared how much she loved being his mother. I use to feel guilty for thinking my children were special, but she also shared that our children are special just because they are ours - given to us by God!

If God decides to call my children home today, it's His right and His choice. I have peace knowing I've embraced the gift of mothering for thirteen years. I've had good days and bad days, but the good days definitely outweigh the bad.

School is back in session, but I’m having my own life lesson on the value of the time I have with my children and how I spend my time with them. Tomorrow is not promised - the next minute isn't promised, so this school year, without firstborn, is a reminder for me to enjoy every moment with my children and thank God for another day to love them!

Yes, he left me, but he has my love with him.

Titus 2:4 (NIV)
Then they train the younger woman to love their husbands and children.

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I Lost Control

Would you admit to losing control with your children from time to time? Thank God Momsweb strives to be a non-condemning home for mothers because a mother recently shared that she lost control with her child. The child used a few choice words, topped with ugly attitude and disrespect. She said if anyone saw her they would have called the police.

Before you get on your high horse, you too, if honest, can admit to losing control with your children at least once - whether physcially or verbally. Our journey is rewarding, but raising children is not easy. Every mother is tested and tried by her children. Whether it's a baby that won't stop crying, a toddler approaching the terrific twos, or a tricky teenager, the child knows which buttons are our 'drive me crazy' buttons and knows exactly when to push them.

Whether you choose to say you lose control, lose your temper, go off, have a fit, or yell and scream, it all boils down to the fact that mothers are human. Unfortunately, our loving, nurturing role does not excuse us from the emotions of anger, frustration, irritation, or agitation. Once we accept this and realize we aren't alone (if mothers are honest), dealing with it becomes easier.

One incident usually isn't the cause of us losing control. Several things have already happened or we might be dealing with something having nothing to do with the child at all. It sure helps to take control of our situation before we lose control of ourselves.

Watch for the signs - know your limit! Walk away if you have to or bite your tongue, sing, pray, walk in a closet and scream, count to ten, do five jumping jacks, whatever it takes!

Of course I shared with this mother how I too, have lost control - more than once. Being the founder of an organization for mothers only means I'm tested more! I have little patience when it comes to my children being disrespectful - in actions or words. If they want to act ugly, they better do it in their room - out of our sight. This Mama is loving, but this Mama doesn't play. I remind them of just how out of control I can be!

Have a wonderful weekend in Motherhood and take control before you lose control.

Breakfast Or No Breakfast?

Since school has started for many and about to start for others, many mothers are exhaling and ready for a break from the summertime scene. We all want our children to do well in school and hope they will put as much effort into their education as they did their summertime fun.

They say (whoever they is) breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I wondered how many children begin their school day with breakfast and how many don't. My children are half crazy without breakfast, so to help keep their focus and my sanity, I have always given them a hot breakfast to begin their homeschooling days.

Now that firstborn will be attending public school, and after reading this article at Mom's Fighting Fat, I will definitely ensure firstborn has a healthy breakfast to begin his day. Thank God I tried to instill good eating habits in him as a toddler because now he'll be making his own food choices. Will he choose pizza or a salad? Will he choose water or a soda? I sure can't control his decisions, but I have peace in knowing I did my part. If he comes home with a face full of pimples, I'll know he has been drinking zit juice - that's his name for soda, not mine!

I encourage the mothers of babies and toddlers to begin creating healthy habits for your children because as they grow older, it's more difficult to train taste buds. Juice, cookies, and candy definitely comfort our children, but you'll have to pay for it later - in more ways than one. Everything in moderation!

How about you? What does your child have for breakfast to begin the day?

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Broken Pieces

Whitney Houston was a classy lady with elegance, but then life happened to her. Not only was she in an unhealthy relationship, but drugs became a part of her life. This was unfortunate, but after recently listening to her latest song, I Look To You, one can only acknowledge God’s hand on her life.

This particular song gives honor to where her strength comes from and although she doesn't say the name of Jesus or God, who else can she be referring to as 'you' in her song? Who else has put her broken pieces back together again?

No man, parent, friend, or inner strength can take something broken and make it more beautiful than it was before. No thing or no one can do for me what my God does for me - not my God!

I stopped looking at Whitney’s life and looked at my own broken situations and relationships. I also, have been broken - more than once. My bad choices brought me to my knees and made me look up. Over and over again, my broken seasons show God's power in my life and have only strengthened and prepared me for the next broken season. All my broken pieces have made a beautiful life.

Mothers not only endure their own brokenness, but must also endure the broken seasons of their children, grandchildren, and even husbands. We have no choice, but to look up for strength, power, and energy to endure. I choose to look to my Heavenly Father for my strength.

Listen to the words of this song from a once broken, yet classy lady and have a marvelous Monday in Motherhood.

Psalm 121:2 (NKJV)
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

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Hubby Headlines

Hubby asked me not to use him as my topic of discussion, but I continually tell him he is a hot topic and an important aspect of MOMSWEB. Surely, I can’t share being a mother and leave my role as a wife out – Miss Wife is part of the package and hubby reluctantly agreed.

Not all women experience bliss in marriage and many struggle and have to fight for their marriage; I am included in this group. I recently read a blog where a wife said her husband got on her nerves almost daily. I chucked at her statement because hubby will often ask me if I like him and my answer will be, “No, not today, but I love you.” Hubby and I are a complex mix...oil and water...sweet and sour...hot and cold.

Not long ago, I shared how I would be putting more happy in my happily married and I must admit after fifteen years of marriage, I'm happier today than I've ever been. What's changed? I would have to say it's being completely honest, open, and bold with hubby about my feelings in our marriage. Letting my needs be known instead of hoping hubby will one day get it has definitely opened new doors of communication. Also, trying to out-serve my husband has put me back at the top of his priority chain. Hmmm...what goes around comes around. Oooouch! I finally decided not to settle for an average, surviving marriage, but I desired to experience a unique thriving marriage - a marriage designed by God.

Hubby use to bring me a purple rose-like flower every Friday before we got married. It's been a loooong time since I've seen that beautiful flower and I thought we would end up singing the lyrics to You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore performed by Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand, but recently, instead of coming home for lunch, hubby came home with not one, but three flowers for me - just because. Looks like someone else is feeling more happy in their happily married life also. The only way to lose in marriage is to quit.

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Monday Meditation - Family First

“Pressures, demands, expectations, and tasks push in from all sides and assault our schedules. Do this! Be there! Finish that! Call them! It seems as though everyone wants something from us – family, friends, employer, school, church, and clubs. Soon there is little left to give, as we run out of energy and time.”

The above passage was what I read Saturday morning in the book of Haggai. I chuckled as I read it because any mother could have written it, but Haggai was actually a man reminding God’s people to keep their focus and remember their priorities. I get excited when the Word of God comes to life because sometimes the Bible can seem boring and unclear, which is why I enjoy my Study Bible to help me apply the thous and shalts to my present day life. Of course there was a Life Lesson for LaVender - especially after basking and bragging about my day of relaxation on Friday.

Sometimes when I am pulled in all directions, I find myself rushing through life meeting only the necessary and forgetting what's important. My problem is not how much I have to do, but remembering what my true calling is as a mother. My ultimate role is to nurture and care for the family God placed in my care - everything else is secondary.

I often get irritated when I’m pulled away from my fun job of MOMSWEB, or when I’m baking a dessert gift for someone, or just enjoying some much needed alone time. Although I am called to do those things also, my priority is my family – it’s my first ministry.

This very short, yet challenging book of Haggai was brought to my remembrance this morning as hubby reminded me of his ‘to-do’ list for me. Bills to pay and errands to run is not what I want to do, but taking care of the needs of our household should be my priority. I sure can’t share MOMSWEB with mothers if I’m not striving to live it myself.

Another week is upon us, filled with to-dos and get dones, but I invite you to join me in keeping our focus on God and remembering our priority – family.

Proverbs 31:27 (NKJV)

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

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A Day Off

Can you say RELAX?

Well, not only can I say it, but I did it - today.

It's been a busy week of football practices and meetings, and the week ended with two sick boys. One has a sinus infection plus ear infection and the other has flu-like symptoms. Needless to say, this nurse maid is TIRED!

My day of relaxation allowed me to focus on my husband being out in the world working hard for his money to support our family. I often take him for granted, but today was NOT one of those ungrateful days. Thank you, hubby!

I also thought about my exhausting working days in the Navy and how grateful I am to be retired. Thank you, Lord!

Relaxation definitely renews the mind and refuels the body for endless mom/wife duties and responsibilities. I will enjoy this guilt-free day of relaxation because tomorrow is another day.

Whether it be for an entire day, an hour, or a 15 minute power nap - relaxation is necessary to continue doing what mothers do---everything!

Add this to your to-do list - RELAX

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That Was Wrong!

I am often criticized by mothers who disagree with my mothering techniques, and I'm okay with this - really I am. One of the reasons the statement, "Don't judge me, learn from me" is placed at the head of the posts is to inform readers that I'm well aware that I'm not Queen Mother with all the correct answers. I make mistakes daily and I am learning the art of mothering with each passing day.

If you read the previous post, you know my husband placed a challenging task on my son and I'm proud to say second-born completed his task by the deadline! Yipppeee! He was rewarded and I exhaled. It may not have been the right thing for hubby to do, but he did and I supported his decision.

I received an email basically saying our decision was wrong. I appreciated the mother's honesty with me, after all, I live on keeping it real and being transparent. We are all entitled to our opinions, but there isn't a perfect mother on the planet - not on planet Earth!

As the founder of MOMSWEB, I try hard not to place judgement on mothers and I really try not to tell mothers how to raise their children. Yes, suggestions are offered through my own experiences, but that's it - they are my experiences and what works for my children may not work for yours. Your child may respond to the mother's look of conviction whereas another mother may have to pop her child to get his/her attention. One mother may not believe in spanking whereas another mother believes in the belt without hesitation. Your child may not need curfews, but another child may need more guidance regarding when to come home. Some mothers give their teenagers freedom on the Internet while others are close by monitoring.

It would be great if our common goal was the well-being of all children, but I wonder if our goal is to out-mother each other or to win a non-existing Best Mother Award. Our mothering decisions should be based on what is best for our children and our home - not on what another mother thinks, says, or does.

This is the part of mothering I love - our differences.

- Our differences push us to learn to love and accept one another regardless of the decisions we make.

- Our differences show us there are other ways of doing things besides our way.

- Our differences show us how much we compete and compare.

Whether we share publicly or privately in our head, we're human and we have the unfortunate ability to compare - and judge.

Please continue to send emails and share your comments; I love them all! This is what MOMSWEB is all about - offering a non-condemning environment for all mothers while sharing the reality of Motherhood!

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Monday Meditation - Push Me

Last night, second-born was sad when his father told him to finish reading a book and have a written book report finished on Tuesday by the time he came home from work. Reading isn’t one of second-born’s favorite things to do and he hasn’t even put a dent in this book. His father was stern with him, encouraged him, and sent him on his way. It was difficult for me to listen to such a demanding task put on second-born and although I know it will be challenging for him, I know he is quite capable of completing this task.

My gloomy eleven-year old began reading the book last night and his attitude slowly improved. I guess he realized tears wouldn’t read the book for him and his lack of desire would just make it more difficult for him to finish. Today he’ll be faced with obstacles to deter him, but I’ll push him to pursue his goal. I’ll have to check his progress throughout the day, but this is a great lesson in determination and he is learning a sense of responsibility by being held accountable.

Second-born doesn’t know I received a Life Lesson for LaVender in the midst of his distressing deadline. I too, am being held accountable for my actions and performance as a wife and mother. I must be determined to complete various tasks I just don’t want to do. I must devote my energies to worthy pursuit and not allow complacency and outside distractions to steal my focus.

Isn’t this what life is all about? We mumble and complain when placed in unpleasant situations, but these unwanted circumstances actually help strengthen us and improve our faulty character. On our job, in our home, our marriage, and relationships with our children (regardless of age), we are pushed to new levels. These tough times show us what we’re made of. Ouch!

Mothers have such wonderful opportunities to mold young minds and teach children character. Thanks to hubby, today I will be teaching determination and perseverance. The most important thing I’ll be teaching is recognizing the power within us and realizing God pushes us to be all we were created to be.

Philipians 4:13 (KJV)
I can do all things through Christ which strenghtheneth me.

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