Transforming an Old Piece of Furniture into Lovely

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Do you have an old table, wooden chair or cabinet that needs transforming?

 

 

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I found this unique Drexel Heritage piece of furniture, made in the 70’s, on Craigslist and fell in love with the look of it, but didn’t like the faded yellowish color. So I decided to make it into a refreshing  antique mint green  to accent my other decor.

Initially, the yellowish hutch had 40 years of grease and dirt stuck to it making the cleaning job the worst, taking over two hours! Once that was complete I was ready to move on to the fun part! Transforming this tired piece into something beautiful with layers of paint to give it a rich antique look.

Green hutch touched-2I got a recipe off Pinterest for chalk paint, so I didn’t have to sand the piece before painting. It had 3 simple ingredients. Paint, Water and Plaster Paris.

The first layer is black chalk paint, applied to all the detailed curves, crevices and corners. This can be done very quickly because it is going to be completely covered with other colors.

Secondly, I made up the too-bright green chalk paint from a mis-tint I bought at Lowes for $5.00/ gallon.

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Everyone who walks into the room  comments on how bright it was…way too bright! Much more than this photo actually shows. Even though my favorite color is Spring Green, I had to agree, but, I ignored the comments because I knew it needed to be bright because the subsequent layers will mute it.

Once the green dries, begin sanding with either sand paper or steel wool.

Green hutch touched-5Rub harder in some areas sanding down to the original wood. Other areas only sand a little allowing subtle layers to appear. The sanding reveals the original wood, the yellowy tan, black and green. You can sand as much or little as you like!

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Once you get the aged look you was aiming for, make a mixture of 50% black paint (not chalk paint) used earlier and 50% clear glaze. With a brush, apply the paint mixture to the details of the piece, doing small amounts at a time. The clear glaze allows you to work with the paint getting the desired affect before it dries. Initially this is scary and feels like a mistake because it goes on overwhelmingly black! Don’t worry most of the black will soon be gone.
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After drying a couple minutes, take an old t-shirt, towel or cloth (that can be thrown away when you are done) and gently begin wiping off the excess black paint. This leaves a beautiful antiqued gray in the crevices. Once the trim is finished, add the black glaze to the body of the cabinet using long  thin strokes going from the top to bottom. Then wipe it in long downstrokes. Watch that the gray is consistent over the whole piece. There can be light and dark areas as pictured in the image at the top, but as you look at the whole piece, it should appear to be all the same shade.

Green hutch touched-8 If you decide more gray is needed in one small area or an additional layer on the whole piece, allow it to  dry completely before adding another layer of glaze. If you add a second layer when it is wet you will get a blotchy mess–Don’t ask me how I know this!!:(

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If your piece is going to be a high use piece, like a wooden chair or dining room table, you will want to apply a water based varnish or sealer over it.

Then when you have achieved the look you want, Wha-La, you are done! 

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If you have an old piece of furniture you like the size, shape and design of, PAINT IT! Be brave and bring some color into your room and make it into a piece you love and one that you will receive compliments on from family and friends.

Please share your ideas on what colors you want to paint with. Also share your thoughts, questions and ideas with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Three Questions To Ask In The New Year?

I’m not a big New Years Resolution Girl, it only takes me a couple weeks to break them. But I am one to evaluate my past mistakes so I don’t repeat them in the future. After the lights are out, I mentally walk through my day; the interactions I’ve had with my family, friends and even complete strangers. Sometimes I cringe at the remembrance of the critical words that escaped my mouth or flippant actions communicating “my time is more important than their heart or concerns”. I pray and confess these to the Lord and at times also to the people I have hurt and ask for their forgiveness.

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In my nightly walks through Memory Lane, I evaluate the good too. Remembering the spontaneous kind words spoken to a complete stranger and the moments I was able to encourage a family member. I reflect with pleasure on the feelings of helping someone in need. In the quietness, I evaluate how I can do more tomorrow.

These ending points beckon a new day coming and provide perfect opportunity for reflection and deliver fresh perspective for a new start tomorrow. This allows space to make positive changes in our lives and all we touch.

With the beginning of the New Year, I was asked, “Who are the three people who have impacted your life the most in 2014?” Other than my husband who faithfully walks with me through all the ups and downs of each day, I came up with three people, who each have these things in common. 1) They love and trust the Lord. 2) They care about people. 3) They unselfishly choose to do what is right even when it is difficult and uncomfortable.

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The three people this year are:

My Dad, who at 82 gets up very early before the sun rises and starts taking care of others, starting with getting the cat his warm milk. Then he goes outside and prunes his Christmas trees for a few hours. About this time, miles away I am waking up, He continues his routine of taking care of my Mother, his bride of almost 60 years who has dementia and can’t even toast a piece of bread by herself or sweep the floor without help. He has to do it all. He unselfishly cares for her even when little is given in return. Dad, I love you and have deep respect for you and are learning a lot from you.

Then there is Rachelle, who made radical changes leaving a life of selfishness and addiction and becoming a woman completely surrendered to her Savior, Jesus and is being transformed by his Grace and Love. Here is her story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUcmLKvZyMA.

The third is Dee Dee who chose to do one of the hardest things possible for a Mom–give up her son. The deepest desire of her heart was to have custody of her 4 year old son and it consumed her. I listened to her cry out in her deep grief. Then when she decided to surrender her son to the Lord so she could focus on her relationship with the Him, I watched her light up as she began to feel the deep love and approval of the Lord for her choice to obey him. Because of her faithfulness to Him, God recently gave her son back.

Who are the three relationships you want to develop in 2015 that will help you become a better person? and “What adjustments to your life are necessary to have time for them?”

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Making Christmas the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A few days before Thanksgiving I decided I wasn’t going to allow busyness to rob me of the real reason for the season this year. This good intention evaporated the next day as I wrote the date November 25 in my journal. Reality hit me—only one month until Christmas! I immediately went into mania mode! My thinking went something like this (perhaps you can relate!): I’ve done nothing and I have a stream of guests coming and staying over the next few weeks . . . I haven’t decorated . . . put lights up . . . or done any Christmas shopping. There are Christmas parties to plan and go to in addition to our regular schedule. Then there is the extra cost to get gifts for family, friends and neighbors in addition to the mile long Santa gift lists for our children. Exhausted yet?

How can we possibly do all this and stay sane? How do we bring Christ and the heart of Christmas into our families without making Jesus a part of our ‘To Do List’? How do we have enough emotional energy to enjoy the season when we are piling this all onto our already crazy schedules?

I immediately found myself in “Go Mode”. In that moment I got my eyes off Christ and started heading in the very direction I had decided not to go. For so many years after the holidays, I had regrets for allowing busyness to rob me of the deep richness of celebrating Christ(mas). I had to stop myself and refocus. This is a choice for all of us.

I could go on and on, but neither of us has time for that! So I’ll offer a few ideas as well as some of the traditions we began in our family.

It begins in the Morning: By capturing a few moments with Jesus in the morning, our focus for the day can be in the right place. Thank Him for what He has given us. Whether it is our health, children, family, job, a warm house or special friends. Thankfulness puts our heart in a proper place. If we start our days with the Lord, we will be amazed how He calms us in times of stress and keeps us focused on the important rather than the busy.

A friend of mine has decided to bring her family’s focus onto Christ in middle of the always-crazy hustle of getting ready for school in the morning. Kristy has chosen to read the Christmas story of the birth of Christ to her teenage daughter while she was eating breakfast. Besides breeding great conversations, she is feeding her soul with the Word of God and the miracle of our Savior’s birth. What a great way to start her daughter’s day at public school.

Pause in the Day: By taking a few seconds throughout our day to ask ourselves, “Is this making Jesus or Santa the focus of our Christmas?” we can make conscience decisions on what our focus looks like for our family. One uses our time and energy on relationships and the other on possessions and things.

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Don’t Over Spend: Make our gift list based on what we can afford rather than what our family wants. I admit, when my children were young I gave in and indulged them lavishly, giving gifts they didn’t need and sometimes didn’t even want. I spent hard earned money on things my children didn’t ever play with or wear. They began making long Christmas list of things they wanted for themselves when I would rather they make lists of how to serve and give to others.

After a few years I realized if I kept it up I would be raising entitled children. We paired down the amount of gifts we gave and didn’t follow their Santa Lists. We told them in advance we were not going to buy their from their “I Want” list, because those aren’t gifts, they are subtle indulgent demands.

We thoughtfully gave them each gifts. The first year, they were a little disappointed, but the following years, as they took off the ribbons and wrap, they were truly surprised at what was inside and most of the time appreciative. (except when they gave into temptation and snuck in and unwrapped them early, then they had to pretend they were surprised on Christmas morning.)

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Have Flexible Family Traditions: I love our family traditions. They were created to enhance Christmas rather than causing stress and become antiquated. The fond memories of my four small children sleeping under the Christmas tree, falling asleep to the twinkle of the lights with the anticipation of Christmas morning, lives on into adulthood. The addition of my kid’s spouses added a new dimension to the mix and began to remove the nostalgic enjoyment. The living room suddenly seemed to shrink with the stark realization that they are not children anymore. Now I have seven and there just isn’t room for their adult-size bodies under the tree. We tried for several years, but now my married children prefer the comfort of a bed.

Even as children grow into teen years, traditions that a six year old loved so much, may not be as adored. Having conversations with your teens about their favorite family traditions helps create enjoyable memories everyone loves.

We alter our tradition to accommodate change. Illnesses, death in the family, distance and divorce can also necessitate the need to change it up. Creating normalcy is important and so are fresh beginnings and new joys. In these changes, we realize and appreciate the importance of relationships.

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Make it Special: Spend time together building family relationships. Include children in the festivities of decorating and baking. Make them a family event without computers or phones. Just put some Christmas music on in the background and enjoy being together. The memories you build can compensate for the extra mess in the kitchen!

In our home, the day after Thanksgiving was devoted to decorating the house for Christmas. We went all out. The boys hauled the boxes in from the garage and we cranked the sentimental old Carols throughout the house and spent the day transforming our home into a Christmas Wonderland. If I tried to play new songs, I would be chastised for breaking the tradition. We would go into the woods and cut the biggest possible Christmas tree and drag it home and into the house.

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Remember, by eliminating from our ‘To Do List’ whatever is not important to our family, we can create memories and traditions this year that could impact them for a lifetime.

Reach out to others: Teaching our children that it is better to give than receive by helping others in need. One year we got three names of families in our communities that were struggling. On an icy night in December, the whole family drove to Target and purchased blankets, food and toys for each family on our list with money donated by our children from their allowance and we covered the rest. We then delivered these gifts.

During the holidays, there are always ways to serve others in the community without spending money. Serve at shelters (many have ways younger children can safely serve too) or visit an elderly home and wrap gifts for the residents. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor going through a difficult season this year. Offer to rake their leaves, hang their Christmas lights and bring them some of the yummy cookies you’ve baked together!

Teaching the gift of giving pays dividends for life.

We can make the Christmas into the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, by spending time together and focusing on the real Reason for the Season.

What traditions are important to you and brought your family together?

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Easy Christmas Decorating Ideas

We all need ideas and inspiration to make our home Magical and special during the Christmas Season. Here are a few easy ideas you can do at home.

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1. Create Christmas messages to family and friends who visit your home by using Chalkboards. Shatter proof ornaments can be wired or taped to the back for seasonal transformation.

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2. Make a chalkboard out of an old frame by painting the frame the desired colored and in insert a wood or cardboard background painted with black chalk paint. Then create your masterpiece.

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3. This was an unused cabinet door I stained grey and painted the inside panel with chalk paint.

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4. This chalkboard graces the entry to my home at Christmas.

5. Takes some festive candles and non-breakable ornaments and put them on a tray or plate for a beautiful centerpiece.

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6. Use a basket or bowl and add ornaments and some greenery.

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Non-breakable Ornaments can be hung with fishing wire or dental floss for almost invisible suspended in air look. Tie them to a light outside your front door or tack them to the top side of window trim in front of a window.

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Be creative and have fun doing it.

Do you have any easy ideas to share or comments?

10 Practical Ways To Win The Battle With Picky Eaters

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During the Holidays Family gatherings can be both lovely and stressful. We have all been there. Sitting at the beautifully adorned dinner table with the whole family politely awaiting the feast. And then it happens. Our child screams, “Yuck!” or “I hate turkey!” Then follows the awkward silence with the unspoken question lingering in the air, “How is she going to handle this?”

Aunt Susan and Cousin Andy pretend not to be listening, as they quickly look down at their plates and take another bite of mashed potatoes, tuning their critical ears to make sure they hear our response. Our parenting is now on display for all to see.

I can hear the unspoken advice now: Either “Food should not be an issue. Let children eat whatever they want.” or “There are starving children in Africa, and kids should eat everything on their plate.”

Can there be a good middle ground to the extremes?

Eating issues are far bigger than a holiday meal and parenting with an audience. Wanting life long healthy living and thankful hearts for our children should be our source of motivation. We can teach our children to eat healthy foods on holidays and everyday. Here are ten practical ways to train our children to eat well and to be thankful for the provision.

To begin any journey of changing family expectations, call a family meeting to discuss what the new guidelines are and the reasons for them. Discuss the reasons for changing their eating habits. Then, be consistent and practice the guidelines you set. Some of the following can be a part of that conversation.

  1. It is okay to dislike certain foods: We all have things we don’t like. Every year on their birthday, our four children chose 2-3 food items they didn’t have to eat. Each year they had the option to change these foods. This teaches children skills of evaluation. They feel respected and it alleviates potential for resentment toward over-controlling parents. One rule: They were not allowed to choose basic foods we ate daily like lettuce or milk.

  One day my husband Don said, “Blair, I’ll give you a dollar if you eat a bite of squash. He took the challenge and the sequence of photos show what happened.

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  1. They will be removed from the table if they make a scene: Let them know if they have a fit or refuse to eat, they will gently and calmly be taken to another room. With loving and gentle tones, tell them their food is waiting for them for when they are ready to eat. Give them a choice: (1) Come back to the table and eat 3 bites of each item on their plate and enjoy being with the family or (2) stay in the room alone. Give them the opportunity to rejoin the family until mealtime is finished. They won’t be offered their food again until the next meal. The key to this working is our consistency, patience and love as they test the new boundaries.

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  1. Eat the things they don’t like first: After choosing their birthday exclusions, they may still resist healthy foods like vegetables. Put these on their plate first and tell them, “When your green beans have been eaten you may have some peaches (or whatever they like most on the table).”
  1. Make eating fun: My son, Blair didn’t like broccoli, but with his vivid imagination, he turned himself into a Tyrannosaurus Rex and pretended his broccoli were trees. And because that’s what dinosaurs did, he ate the trees. Be creative and plan ahead. Conversations before the meal could include, “Did you know that dinosaurs eat trees. Don’t these broccoli look like trees? Why don’t you pretend you are a dinosaur?”
  1. Give them choices: When they refuse to eat, give them choices. You can make the good choice pleasant and the bad one unpleasant. “You can eat your peas and get a brownie for dessert or refuse to eat them and go without dessert.” If these milder choices don’t work we may have to resort to, “You can eat your peas and get a brownie or if you choose not to eat your peas for dinner, you can eat them for breakfast.”
  1.  Save their dinner for breakfast: When a strong-willed child refuses to eat dinner despite all our efforts, calmly tell them if they don’t eat, we will save their dinner until breakfast and they won’t get anything else until then—and follow through. At  breakfast time, take last night’s unfinished dinner and place it before your hungry child. At some point he/she will eat.
  1.  Give only healthy snacks: I remember big brown eyes staring up at me begging for food as I was preparing dinner. This is the perfect opportunity to give them a snack of vegetables while training their palate to like healthy food. Giving them another choice, you can say, “You may have a carrot (or snap-peas) or you can wait for dinner.”
  1. Give small portions: This allows them to easily succeed at eating everything on their plate and be proud of themselves. They can ask for seconds when their plate is clean.
  1.  Eliminate snacks if they don’t eat well at meals: They are more likely to eat healthy if they are really hungry. Many times the reason children don’t eat their healthy dinner is because they have had a sweet snack shortly before mealtime and aren’t hungry.
  2. Be Consistent: When choosing to train our children to eat healthy, we must be consistent everyday, because they are going to test us.

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Eating doesn’t have to be a long-term embarrassment and fight. When we handle our children with love and gentleness and change our expectations about eating, we can raise children who go to Family gatherings and graciously eat what is placed before them.

I would love to hear your Practical Eating Ideas and how they have work for your family.

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When You Feel Alone or Discouraged & Don’t Have Answers

I remember the day I heard “Your son might die if he doesn’t have open heart surgery.” The doctor said much more, but those are the words that consumed my thoughts as we drove home that rainy November night.

When life brings disappointment, rejection and loss to us, where can we turn? Around every corner there seems to be another difficult challenge that makes us feel alone in the world. What should our response be? Our natural reaction is to self medicate and each of us has our signature way of escape. Some use drugs and alcohol, others use sex or shopping. Others choose busyness or they simply check out with technology—TV, Movies, Games, and Social Media, etc.

At the end of the day, or perhaps the next morning, all of these mind numbing diversions still leave us empty. So what’s the answer? Here’s my story:

I had just received the news that Blair needed to have open heart surgery. Arriving home after his appointment with the Doctor, my 14-year-old son silently went to his room and closed the door. I collapsed onto the sofa in despair and fear, with tears streaming down my face. I looked up and shouted, “And how do you want me to respond to this, Lord?” It wasn’t a question from a soft heart, but a challenge from a wounded one. Immediately, these words filled my mind, “Worship Me and give thanks in all circumstances” to which I replied, “Are you kidding me?!” But those words lingered in the silence until my fearful heart softened.

I forced myself to pray these words even though I only partially believed them: “Thank you Lord for allowing these circumstances in our lives. You are God, worthy of my praise and worship.” As I said those words, my fearful heart gained courage and a peace washed over me. I continued to worship and the more I did, the more contented I became.

When you’re alone or discouraged, try using those precious few  “Mom Moments” in your day, to worship God–even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. Worshiping Him, can truly rejuvenate your spirit, and I’ve found it gives us mom’s the perspective and energy we must have, to be the Mom’s we need to be!

Have you ever found yourself thanking God for something hard in your life?

 

 

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Thankful One Day a Year?

When someone opens a door for you, the appropriate response is to say, “Thank you.”—it’s just common courtesy. Though we often say these ordinary words without any emotion—or real heart-felt meaning.

Why do we say Thank You?

The value of saying those words goes far beyond just making polite remarks to really becoming a thankful person. As you say “Thank you,” it changes you deep inside, giving you a new perspective on your life.

At times, we don’t necessarily feel thankful, but we may not feel unthankful either—like some kind of neutral zone. But as for our hearts: there is no in-between. We are either a thankful person or we are not. We can be thankful for some things and still not be a thankful person at our core. That seemingly neutral place is a place of complacency or apathy—which is a dangerous place to be.

Some of the most thankful and happy people I know live with almost nothing in huts with dirt floors, surviving on very little food, without cell phones, other entertainment, or even electricity. They have so little, yet they are thankful. Thankfulness is an attitude of the heart that goes beyond circumstances or possessions—it is an attitude that we choose despite our current situation, no matter how dire .

 

When I was a little girl, I received a beautifully wrapped box from my favorite aunt. She was my hero, and she was a seamstress who could make anything. I looked at the gift with anticipation and excitement for what might be inside then I ripped it open, only to be disappointed and embarrassed—it was a pair of lacy underwear.  I’m sure she could have seen it on my face—the gift was not what I wanted.

My focus was on me: I was conflicted between guilt for not feeling grateful and my selfish desires for a gift that I wanted and thought I deserved. I had been taught to “be thankful,” so I chose to say the words: “Thank you.”  The feelings followed the action, and after I got over the embarrassment of showing my new underwear to all my cousins—boys and girls—I became thankful.

In later years, I talked to my aunt about the gift. She explained that having grown up during the Depression, she had always wanted a nice pair of underwear, but couldn’t afford it. For her, to purchase me any gift for Christmas was a sacrifice, as her family lived on a small salary. If I had understood true thankfulness, I would have cherished that gift much more , despite the embarrassment it caused.

We have all been there. Maybe it is our current circumstances that we don’t want to be thankful for, or maybe a tough relationship. We rationalize our lack of gratitude, thinking, “How can I be thankful for this?”

We can become thankful, though, by taking our focus off of ourselves and making a concentrated effort to be thankful to God.

Paul wasn’t in the comfort of a castle somewhere, playing video games, when he wrote: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” He was in prison, in terrible and uncertain circumstances.  At a whim, he could have been beaten, starved, bitten by rats, or put to death. He went even further, writing, “For this is God’s will for you.”  It isn’t often we know God’s will so clearly.

Since this is God’s will for us, we need to give up our arguing and complaining and trade it for “giving thanks in all circumstances.” As we choose to model this in our lives, we become thankful people every day of the year, not just one.

Grapes and Marbles: Responding to Difficulty

With the economy the way it is, so many of us have lost our jobs and our homes, and many of us are having marriage problems. You are not able to pay the bills. Maybe you are forced to move, which is like adding salt to an open wound. The whole complicated situation creates tension and fighting in your relationships. Perhaps, you have begun snapping at your spouse, and yelling at your children about the littlest things. Or, you’ve lost motivation and want to pull back from interactions with other people. It seems like there is no way out. And that is just the beginning. It can get worse from there…

As you step back and evaluate the situation, you realize that you don’t have control over your circumstances and you never really did. Yes, there are things that you could have done differently, but your options are limited now.

Who is really in control of your circumstances?

If you are a Christian, the answer you would give is Jesus. But do you believe it? I mean really believe it. Does Jesus affect the way you respond to life? How does this relationship change your response to the circumstances that He is allowing in your life now?

What if there were only two ways to respond to your circumstances? Either as a Grape or a Marble. Think about the different characteristics of both when pressure is applied:

A marble is hard and resists pressure. A marble tries to escape pressure by rolling out from under it. Eventually, a marble is crushed under the pressure. A crushed marble produces nothing but shards that cut and hurt. No new beauty is created from the ruins of a marble, just pieces to be swept up and thrown away. If you respond like a marble to the pressures of life, you are resisting the work that the Lord is trying to do in your life. Marbles are broken, hard, bitter, and angry.

The other option is to be a Grape. A grape is soft and can be quickly squished. It surrenders easily to pressure. When a grape is destroyed by pressure, something new is produced through the process: grape juice. And with time, wine. If you take a grape-attitude to God when life pressures you, your vulnerability is a willingness to trust Him and an attitude of surrender to Him. When you do this, God will give you a peace that is unexplainable. He will refine you into fine wine. He will transform you into someone new and beautiful inside.

In your current situation, are you choosing to be a Grape or a Marble?

Are you living like you trust that God is in control and has a good plan for your life?

Are you an example to your children of how to trust God amidst painful circumstances?

Have you asked Jesus for a heart to trust Him through the circumstances you are in, for your sake as well as your children’s?

I would love to hear your personal stories that may encourage someone else on their journey to trust Jesus when life circumstances are hard.

The Years Fly By

I found a journal entry from a while back that I thought was worth posting:

In just a few days, my youngest son will leave for college. Waves of emotion come uncontrollably and more and more often as the day nears. A memory or an object reminds me of him, and without warning, tears stream down my face. They come quickly, flowing past my face onto my neck. It can happen anywhere—whether I’m alone or in the middle of the grocery store.

The emotions are so intense and deep because I spent 19 years loving and sacrificing for my son who is now grown and ready to go, ready to fly away from the nest that cared for him and was vigilant to protect and prepare him for this day.

I know he’s ready in every way, so my sadness isn’t laden with fear or regret. It’s actually a strange mix of sadness and joy. I can’t explain how both emotions can be there so strongly and distinctly, but they are.

There is sadness because he is going to leave a huge hole in both my husband’s and my heart and life. His presence brings such happiness and joy. Just having him in the house cheers us up and makes us smile.

I have joy because he is ready to leave and accomplish all that the Lord has for him, and I know that he has to “go out” from us for this to happen. He is as prepared as we know how to prepare him. Now he will be completely in the Lord’s hands, flying off to another place and stage of his life with Him. There is a deep joy in my heart knowing that my husband and I will now begin to see the fruit of our parenting.

As you are prepare your children to leave your nest, think about how much time you really have left with them. Before they’re school-age, your children spend most of their time with you and you have a lot of time to love them and shape their character. When they start school, you have much less time to influence them and others give more input into their lives and character than you do. By the time they reach high school, they have made friends, started jobs and developed interests and activities that take them away from home a larger percentage of their day. Your “hours of influence” get smaller and smaller with time.

Though your children may still be young, how many “hours of influence” do you still have to build character and a love for our Lord in your children? How are you using this precious time to prepare your children to leave your nest ready to face a world that encourages them to indulge in themselves rather than serving others.

Cherish the hours you have left with your children, and be intentional in how you spend that time, because they will fly away more quickly than you anticipate.

Just Words?

I have heard young people comment that swear words are offensive only if we assign importance to them. I understand what they are saying: words, after all, are nothing more than combinations of letters strung together to form expressions. Combine that with the relativistic thinking so prevalent in today’s society, and the idea actually makes sense.

But there is another aspect to this topic: what we say is a reflection of our hearts and minds. Jesus said, “The words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you” (Matthew 15:18, NLT).

The words that come out of our mouths reflect what we allow to permeate our minds. If we justify speaking not only swear words, but careless, crude, or hurtful words, we are not submitting to God in this area. We are arguing with Him!

As Christians, we need to surrender to God our “right” to carelessly speak anything that comes to mind. But first, we have to desire close relationship with God more than we value our right to say whatever we want. When we desire to please God and seek a Spirit-filled life, we will be able to choose to honor Him with our speech.

Enjoying the freedom of living a Spirit-controlled life means accepting and embracing the Spirit’s control in all areas, including language. We do this by deliberately filling our minds with wholesome, good things; then He gives us the desire to speak in ways that please Him.

When you consciously allow the Holy Spirit to act as a filter, the words that pour forth from your mouth will serve as evidence of the Spirit’s fruit in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. Isn’t that what you want your children to see?