Concerned, Curious, Nosey, or a Snoop?

How much privacy do children deserve? Do you allow your children to close and lock their bedroom door? Do they have privacy to talk on the telephone? If you saw your child's diary opened or unlocked, would you be tempted to read it? If they have a television in their room, do you know what they're watching? Do you read their text messages?

If parents don't know what's going on, how can we correct? How can we guide? I refuse to be ignorant to my child's life and I'm sorry, but the only privacy you're getting in this house is when you use the bathroom. There are no closed bedroom doors here!

I always wonder what conversations Firstborn is having on his cell phone. If the phone is always in his hand, the conversation MUST be pretty important. At eleven and thirteen years old, I think hubby and I have a right to know what is going on in our sons' life - no, we have an obligation to know - a NEED TO KNOW. They can have all the privacy they want when they move out.

Yesterday I checked Firstborn's text messages and I was disappointed. Was I being nosey? I really don't care, but if I had not checked, I would not have known what I know now. I had to recheck the message to make sure I was in the 'sent' files because I didn't want to believe what I read. Excuse me? When did you start using this kind of language? What?! You hang out with someone like this? obviously bumped your head and forgot what kind of parents you have. Needless to say, I nipped a few things and reminded Firstborn of a few more things. He had a small case of amnesia when he bumped his head - he forgot how he was raised. He's okay now and the bump has gone away. If I check his text messages again and find these same things, I may put a new bump on his head.

What about you? How much privacy do you allow in your home? Are you concerned, curious, nosey, or simply a snoop?

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Keeping the PEACE and My PIECE of Mind With My Teen

Last night, I popped my head in Firstborn's room to see what he was doing and look what I saw! He was doing homework! I know there is a God!

Look closely and you'll see Firstborn's cell phone on the floor next to him. He was also texting

The CD player in front of him was blasting with music. Thank God for Gospel Rap

My first thought was to be the Mama I usually am and say, "Firstborn, put the cell phone away. How in the world can you do homework and text at the same time? Get your priorities straight! Who are you texting anyway? Why is the music so loud? How can you concentrate? Why are you sitting on the floor? Sit at the table or at the desk, so you can concentrate and have a decent environment for studying! Look at this nasty room! How can you think straight? It stinks!"

The mama I'm trying to be said this, " "

That's right, I didn't say a word. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up! I allowed Firstborn to be Firstborn and this is what he gave me in return. A big smile (with some foreign object in his mouth) and the peace signal.

Yep, I'm slowly learning to pick my battles and keep the peace with my sweet teen!
This mama will survive!

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Monday Meditation - An On Time Tardiness

Saturday morning I opened my eyes, thanked God for another day, looked at the clock, and begged hubby to tell me I wasn't reading 10:45 AM on the clock. Unfortunately, he assured me the time was correct, so I jumped out of bed.

I have never, ever slept past 10 AM in the morning, not even in my teenage years, but this morning I did. It would have been okay if it had not been a morning I was scheduled to be somewhere at 11:30 AM. It would have been okay if I had not been asked to share with others about the power of a mother's peace of mind in the midst of chaos.

As I scrambled to get myself dressed, I thought how comical God could be at the wrong times. Every weekday morning, He awakens me between four and five in the morning, but not this morning. Nooooo, this morning when I’m scheduled to be at our city’s Peace Fest, I awake at 10:45 AM.

As I hurriedly gathered my things, I prayed and asked God how in the world I was supposed to speak about peace on a morning I was struggling to find my own peace. I began to question why He didn’t wake me on time. Why today, Lord?

Well, I continued driving and praying and received a profound Life Lesson for LaVender, which was…the message you need to share is in your present circumstance. Wow! Lord, you woke me up late on purpose? My tardiness was actually…on time? Wait a minute. Lord, you want me to share my morning mayhem? Talk about being real!

Still driving, I did some breathing exercises to calm me and stayed in prayer. I eventually arrived at the Peace Fest, found my table, and set up – in peace. I was blessed the entire day as I shared the power of peace in the midst of mayhem. Isn't if funny how things always, always work out?

Whatever God has in store for you this day, remember your peace is your power. Even when things don’t appear right, God is in control, He doesn't make mistakes, and the Prince of Peace will assure you – it’s already alright!

I Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace...

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Are You Guilty of Child Neglect?

Is it fair to call a woman stupid because she was not taught healthy mothering skills? Is it fair to assume every mother is taught the same level of responsibility and accountability?

I think not, however, recently I've heard mothers being referred to as stupid, assholes, and even baby killers.

I think it's safe to say that it is only by the grace of God that we were raised by mothers who attempted to do the right thing in nurturing their home, and we learned from them. We may have even improved what we learned and possibly admit to falling short in some aspects of our learned mothering skills.

After doing a little research on my own, it seems lower income and poor families are prime victims of the press when it comes to sharing child neglect stories, however, there are more than a few high society families that not only hide their activities of neglect, but are excused from their actions because of their income.

When will be pay attention to the children of low income families, who research shows, suffer the most from poor quality care. What about the high society siblings being neglected and mistreated, but are hidden from help.

Regardless of society status, it isn't until we hear or read about children being left at home for days at a time, malnutritioned, or thrown in a garbage can after birth that we give childcare any serious attention. Who is really guilty of child neglect here? The fact is, child neglect and abuse is going on around us everyday. These children have no voice, yet we use our voice to call the mother stupid, shake our heads, and go on about our merry way.

Well, Momsweb will be more proactive in this issue. Not only will I continue sharing the need for educating mothers and mothers to be, but I must take the word beyond the Internet. Every woman doesn't have access to a computer to read the latest encouraging post on my blog or the latest edition of Raising Mothers - especially if they are in a rural area. Hmmm...out of sight, out of mind. I don't want to just preach to the choir.

The MotherHOOD must consider the children, but before a child is cared for properly, the caretaker must be taught properly. It's a huge task, but I must do my part.

Momsweb - Nurturing Children From the Root...the Mother.

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Toddlers Turn Into Teenagers

May I reflect on Firstborn's toddler years for a minute? Baby boy was something else and I knew he was set apart from the rest. I didn't just read children's books to him, I read "War and Peace" to him because I knew he was different! He was the chosen one!

Firstborn would wake up, dress himself, clean his room, and brush his teeth without being told. His drawers were organized, his toys were always picked up and he did whatever I asked him to. I even have a picture of him hidden away somewhere of him standing up in a chair washing dishes. Yea, this Mama had it going on! I knew my mothering skills for my first child were all that and a bag of potato chips (baked please).

Low and behold...Firstborn turned 13 and my head turned also - a complete 360 degree turn. Yes, he is still a very sweet child, but the initiative is GONE! Not only does he have to be told to do the things he did on his own as a toddler, but he has to be reminded and then told again. The picture below is of Firstborn sleeping in the car yesterday after I picked him up from school. We pulled in the garage and he mentioned how tired he was (he had football practice also). I told him he would just have to be tired while he washed dishes and the chosen one let out a HUGH SIGH (almost knocked me over), closed his eyes, and went to sleep in the car (in the garage) for at least 30 minutes.

Yea, this Mama's mothering skills have definitely paid off! I got it going on!! LOL!

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Monday Meditation - Driving on Empty

My car stays on E. I've got my reserve tank mileage down to a science and so far, I've never run out of gas. This drives hubby crazy, but unfortunately, not crazy enough for him to make sure my car keeps plenty of gas in it. I hate to stop and pump gas and when I do, the boys pump it if they are with me.

One day recently while driving on empty, I made one trip more than I should have and boy was I praying! "Oh please, Lord. Please take me to the nearest gas station. Please, Jesus have mercy, pleeeease don't let me run out of gas." Of course my Heavenly Father spared me in my dumb decision as He always does, but of course He gave me more than mercy. Yep, a Life Lesson for LaVender.
After I pumped the gas, I was relieved. Whew! Thank you, Jesus! I continued on my way, but guess what? My need for Jesus wasn't as strong. Hmmm...what would make me think I didn't need his grace and mercy as much on a full tank as I did on an almost empty tank? Had I forgotton about the time the car stopped running at a major intersection with gas? Had I forgotten about His daily mercy in keeping me from dangers seen and unseen on the road? Oh Lord, do I really gauge my need for you like I gauge my need for gas?

I applied this gas tank lesson to my life. I need Jesus every minute of the hour, not just when I'm running low on gas, on money, on joy, on food, on patience, on compassion, etc... I need Him every step I make and every breath I take.

When we get comfortable in our life, God will definitely throw an uncomfortable pillow at us to remind us that He is in control. As I close this meditation, an old hymn comes to mind titled I Need Thee Every Hour... I need Thee, O, I need Thee; Ev'ry hour I need thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee!

Psalm 145:18 (NKJV)
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

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Guess What?

Guess what? I'M ALONE!

Hubby and the boys went to the Men's Breakfast at church and I'm all alone (tee-hee).

After eating a delicious, warm bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins (in peace), I went from room to room deciding which one I should clean first - I get so much more done when I'm alone (what is this about?).

Well, I ended up in the living room where the computer is and here I sit. Why waste my free time cleaning when I can go blog hopping? Yeah, buddy! This is a golden moment for me - to blog without disturbance!
Hope your blog door is open because I may drop by! I'm free!

Have a wonderful weekend in Motherhood!

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Don't Give Up

Don't Give Up!

This morning while driving Firstborn to school, there was a man holding a huge red sign that said, Don't Give Up. I was already thinking of the number of homeless people in our area, so when I saw this sign, it brought a sense of comfort to me. The sign didn't change anything except my emotions, but I wondered how many people would drive by that sign that are going through rough times. I wonder if there was a mother out there at her wits end and with her last dollar that would see the sign. Would it help her?

Right now, I sit in my warm home, I'm healthy, happy, I'm behind on a few bills, but I have an income, my husband is healthy and working, our sons are healthy and happy, and if God is willing, tonight we will be reunited as a family to have dinner together and enjoy our warm cozy, happy home.
  • I don't want to be so comfortable that I forget the needs of others.
  • I don't want to be so unattached to the reality of life that I forget some mother doesn't have milk for her baby.
  • I don't want to be so focused on my own life and goals that I forget a mother is facing foreclosure today.
  • I don't want to be so blog happy that all I do is blog about my happy family and forget the many mothers in need - some who many read this post.

Just as the media has influence and power, so does the Internet, and so does blogging. Have you ever thought about how your blog can make a difference by what you share? An encouraging word, spiritual guidance, a special giveaway, or even a good laugh or smile can make a difference.

It's sad, but many bloggers have another life behind their blog. Most bloggers share the happy home side, while less than few share the reality of their life.

News Flash! EVERYONE has an issue - even you. Everyone is going through something, so as we continue to blog from day to day, remember someone may stop by your blog needing something only your blog can offer.

I may not be able to change the world, but I can make a difference in my little corner of the world and so can my little blog. Let's make a difference today and share this post with someone in Blogland.

And remember, whatever you may be going through...Don't Give Up! The only way you lose is if you give up.

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Can You Help?

After yesterday's post on mothers needing to go back to work, I had to share a post I read of one mother being brave enough to share her present financial storm. Please visit Jackie's Magic to read her post, Unemployment Birthday Cake and leave her a comment of encouragement.

Wouldn't it be nice to offer her more than words? Just another reason to be blessed financially - to be able to help someone else.

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SAHMs Need To Go To Work

The economy is failing, your husband is doing the best he can, bills are overdue, and you're at home. it time to get a J.O.B.? I personally think a J.O.B. stands for just over broke, so I definitely don't want another job outside of what I'm already doing.

What about the home business you have? Avon, Amway, Primerica Ins., are just a few businesses I've been involved with and the one I still remain a distributor for is the life-saving, amazing Reliv business (just a small plug).

How about you? Medical Billing, Secret Shopper, Tupperware, Home Daycare... are they bringing in enough money to keep you from drowning in bills and debt? What about blogging? Are you trying to make money from blogging? There are more than a few women making money with their blogs, so why not? All of these opportunities may be helpful, but is it enough? Would you be willing to go back to work?
What about the mothers who homeschool? Hmmm...would I be willing to place my child in school and go to work to be that helpmate for my husband? I actually told my husband that he would have to get three jobs before I leave the house to go to work. I'm already helping him pay bills with my income, so I will encourage and support him from right here in front of this computer with my writing skills. Sound selfish? Oh well, like I said, I'm already helping him, but if we were facing foreclosure I might think about it. I know...I'm a little crazy, but I've got a little old school in me also - The man is the provider - supposed to be.

What about the moms already working? Would you be willing to get a second job to help your household? Single moms - oh my goodness, only God knows what you might be going through being the sole provider for your home.

I've met many mothers faced with this dilemma. What are your thoughts on this? Are you willing to go back to work or get a part-time job?

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Monday Meditation - I've Been Punked!

I awoke Sunday morning feeling good and singing, In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, we have the victory! In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, Satan will have to flee.

I felt so good, I decided to prepare Sunday dinner, which is rare for me. Roasted potatoes sounded good, so I took out a bag of potatoes and looked for the potato peeler, but couldn't find it. I searched every possible place the peeler could be and shouldn't be. My great mood was slowly heading southbound and I felt Miss Flesh surfacing. I have minimum patience when it comes to looking for something - okay, no patience. I began silently accusing the boys and hubby for not placing the peeler where it belonged and before I knew it, my pleasant demeanor turned mean.

Time was passing by and no, I didn't want to use a knife; I wanted my peeler!

Hmmm...I thought of the television show, Punked and wondered if I was being punked. Is this a joke? Where in the world could the peeler be?

I finally realized what was happening and began to calm down. Earlier that morning, I very proudly told hubby how I could easily recognize the enemy's tactics. Ha! I didn't see him coming this time! He came in the form of a potato peeler that I could not find. I allowed the crafty, cunning snake in the grass (no pun intended) to steal my joy and peace. I was quickly humbled. It's crazy how I allowed something so small take up so much time and energy.

The enemy is just that - my enemy. He hates when I am in a place of peace and joy. He is out to kill, steal, and destroy everything - including my peace of mind and the peaceful environment of my home. Well, I showed him. I called on my Prince of Peace, began singing my song again, and my peace was slowly restored. We got dressed for church and I led the family in prayer before we left the house.

When we arrived back home from church, I began peeling my potatoes...with a peace.

In the name of Jesus, we have the victory!

Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

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Teens and Texting - Part II

I am so grateful for the many comments and suggestions I received regarding Tuesday's post on Firstborn's texting overcharges. I value the opinions of mothers who have been there, done that, and are wearing the t-shirt of experience. Thank you! For those who haven't reached the teen years, take notes; your season is coming!

Before I could deal with Firstborn, God had to deal with me and I received two lessons. My first lesson was on mercy. I was reminded of the mercy God showed me through AT&T. The $300 in overcharges were removed from my bill with no questions asked. Am I able to extend this same unwarranted measure of mercy?

My second lesson was a reminder of a scripture I was given a few years ago to help me understand children. I read the scripture in several translations and they basically say the same thing. The Message Bible's translation really captured my attention.

Proverbs 22:15 - Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.

Need I say more? Children WILL do foolish things; this is a promise to parents with a reminder not to compromise our role and authority as parents.

I think Firstborn has been disciplined enough by not having texting for almost a month. I haven't decided on limited or unlimited texting, but I do know one thing - it's not about the decision I make, but about making the decision in love and in the best interest of God's child entrusted in my care. Yes, there is a bigger picture here!

My less than perfect son has many more mistakes to make and he won't be the only one learning from them. There is always a Life Lesson for LaVender in the making. While I raise my sons, God continues to mold, prune, and rearrange me.


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Teens and Texting - Somebody Help Me!

Sigh...where do I begin?

I guess I need to share a little about myself - I am a strict mama. My military experience has carried over into my child rearing, but I do try to remember compassion, however, I need a little help with this one.

I can't seem to grasp the texting concept with teenagers.

Firstborn, 13, wanted nothing more than a cell phone for his 13th birthday. As much as I was against this, hubby and I agreed to bend a little and give him a cellphone. He was given a Tracfone and I even began to convince a few other mothers contemplating cell phones for their teens - Sorry!

Well, the Tracfone newness became stale and he wanted to upgrade. Hubby and I were offered a free phone on our plan, so we bent a little more and awarded him the upgraded phone.

Sigh..."Mama, can I have texting?" Why purposely make my child an outcast? How bad could it be?

Hubby and I agreed to bend some more and Firstborn was awarded 200 text messages a month.

Sigh..."Mama, how much is unlimited texting?" Sigh....

Little did I know this last question was telling me he had gone over his minutes - $300 in overcharges!

Hmmm...Texting and all features have been blocked from Firstborn's cellphone. The cellphone was SUPPOSED to teach him some responsibility, but I think it taught me I was a fool for not remembering a part of Firstborn's brain has not fully developed yet, so why would he remain within his 200 text message limit? Duh...'s been almost a month and Firstborn has been doing fine without his texting, but gently reminds us that he wants it back.

Hubby mentioned getting unlimited texting since Firstborn made A/B honor roll in his first year of public shcool, but I feel like I'm rewarding Firstborn for the overcharges, which the telephone company graciously removed. Thank you AT&T!!!!

I realize this is the way of the teen world and technology, but do I have to be a part of it?

Has Firstborn paid the price long enough? Am I just being mean? Should I stick with the 200 text message limit or go with the unlimited texting and save myself some future grief.

I need the help of you stable minded moms because this strict mama isn't feeling the warm tingles from texting.

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Monday Meditation - Do You Love Me?

Do you love me?

How many times have you asked your children or husband this question? Better yet, do you think they wonder about your love for them? It amazes me when I think about the countless number of children God has and how He loves each one of us as individuals. He knows exactly what we need to feel His love and exactly how to deliver it to make us feel special.

I only have two children in my care and I sometimes forget they require love in different ways. One likes physical touch and the other needs to receive compliments.

Now hubby, as most men do, enjoys physical touch- anyway he can get it. Hubby is a happy man when I speak his language!

I learned to recognize these different forms of love through a class called the Five Love Languages offered through the church we attend. Hubby and I have taken the class and facilitated it several times, and my church is offering it again. I love this class and hope I can convince hubby to take the class again because it reminds us to speak our spouse's love language and to put their needs before our own. Who doesn't need a refresher course in this?

Mothers have so many things requiring our attention, and it's easy to forget that everyone in the house speaks a different love language. I know - something else for a mother to do!

When I consider God's love for me, I can't help wanting to express love to others - beginning in my home.

- Thinking of God's love for me gives me the desire to continually cook, clean, and nurture my family - that's love!

- Thinking of God's love for me gives me the desire to love them when they aren't so lovable- that's love!

- Thinking of God's love for me empowers me to love my family when I feel taken advantage of as a mother - that's love!

- Thinking of God's love for me gives me the strength and energy to wake up another Monday morning and do this all over again...just because - that's love!

As we begin another week, let's remember God's love for us and allow Him to empower us to create an environment of love in our home - His love. Let's also identify and speak the love languages of those in our care.

Have a loving, marvelous Monday in Motherhood!

Psalm 103:8 (NIV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

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Do your children lie to you?

I did a little research on compulsive lying after talking to a mother about her teenager constantly lying to her - about everything. It's one thing to lie out of fear of punishment or to get something you really want, but to lie about everything is habitual and can actually be a disorder.

Little lies, big lies, bad lies, good lies, white lies, necessary lies, occasional lies, boldface lies, etc...

A LIE IS A LIE and lies hurt.

Hubby and I always tell the boys they will get in less trouble if they tell us the truth, but if we find out about a lie they've told, they will really get it. Regardless of what type of foundation you have in your relationship with your children, they will lie to you at least once - they're human. Don't forget, you told a fib or two yourself!

I remember my adolescent years and I definitely told my share of lies. I was a good girl and hardly ever did wrong in my parent's eyes, but I lied to them! Yeah, they caught me a few times, but some lies I got away with - at least I thought I did. Parents just seem to know and mothers have that special gift of intuition that we don't use enough.

It's best to begin instilling the importance of TRUTH in the younger years. No, it's not cute when toddlers lie. That same cute lie turns ugly as the child grows older. Mothers help build character when we teach our children about truthfulness/honesty. If we plant in their heads just how damaging and painful lies can be, it won't be so easy to lie as adults. Don't forget, we're raising someone's husband or wife!

To tell the truth, it's easy to lie, but when you've been taught the importance and benefits of TRUTH, the desire to lie is much less.

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