Monday, August 30, 2010

Nutrition and Exercise!

In this fast paced, fast food life style it is hard at times to ensure that you and your family get the most nutritional foods and the exercise that you need. I'm going to share with you some of the tricks I use and maybe they'll help you too.

We really try to avoid eating out at all but when we do we try to make the best choices. For example, if we go to McDonald's or Wendy's we buy regular size hamburgers NOT cheeseburgers with NO mayo. That cuts a ton, maybe up to 400 calories off the order. No Big Macs for us. Then if we let the kids get fries, they either share one large one or I buy just a small order each (depends on which is cheaper, coupons etc...) A normal serving size for an adult is a Happy Meal/Kid's size but we have super sized everything including ourselves. At KFC they now have grilled chicken so that is what we get instead of fried and we get corn as a side. Corn is better than fries! Some places have a healthy menu and we order off of it. If we get PIZZA which I love I ask them to go light on the pepperoni. Jon and I usually get a separate pizza with chicken and veggies on it. We all go with thin crusts at the pizza places that have them. That usually cuts down several points in fats. If we go to a nicer place then we still try and eat as healthy as possible!

At home, we only keep healthier snacks. We like Ruffles chips and dip so we buy the lower fat Ruffles and the low fat dip. Or we go with salsa (fat free & chocked full of veggies) & chips. We buy microwavable popcorn but it's the SMART BALANCE kind and low fat. I don't keep any sweets in the house, on occasion we might buy a cake or something but not very often. We do have fruit and fruit snacks always available. I will make brownies BUT when I do, I use Eggbeaters (egg whites) Smart Balance Oil, Smart Balance margarine and I spray with a non stick spray. So they are as low fat as possible but still taste good. I make cakes & muffins that way.

I also puree' vegetables into food. For example: if I make meatloaf, then I use the leanest ground meat (with no antibiotics) as possible and I puree' a 1/2 cup of carrots into it. No one knows the difference and they end up with some extra veggies! I use the book Deceptively Delious by Jerry Sinfiels's wife. It's great! I also add flax meal to casseroles alot. There is alot of things I puree into dishes thanks to that book. Also I drain meat after it's cooked...that gets a few more calories/fat out!

And we NEVER eat anything or buy anything that we know has trans fat!!!!!!!!!
I try to always have fresh salad in the house, ready to eat. Midget carrots too and ranch dressing...at least they are getting veggies in them!

I try not to buy much processed food and the less preservatives the better. We have quit eating lunch meat, bacon, hotdogs etc....because of the NITRIDES. It is usually the last ingredient in cured meats and it will kill you!!! There are links with lunch meats/hot dogs / bacon and cancer. There is UNcured hotdogs and bacon out there, you just have to look for them and then check the fat content. Publix carries two brands of uncured hotdogs and one has like 18 grams of fat!!! Also Boar's head deli products carry some lunch meats with no nitrates.

All our pastas are either wheat or vegetable pasta (one brand has a tri colored pasta that will give you a serving of vegetables in each 4 oz. I stick with those. Even Kraft's famous mac & cheese now offer whole wheat boxes! My kids can't tell the difference! It's so much better for them. And bread is whole wheat...soemtimes I'll let the kids get the white wheat but it's really not that good for you. Our grocery store carries whole wheat fresh breads and that's what we use to make garlic bread with. It's so good!

When I buy frozen foods like fish sticks, I get the lowest fat possible. It's no good to eat fish if you're eating a serving with 22 grams of fat!!!! I buy low fat ice cream....

We rarely fry anything in our house. I bet in 20 years I've fried less than 20 times! We bake everything but every so often...I'll bread and fry okra or green tomatoes...but I do it the smartest way possible. I use egg whites and fat free milk as the "wet" ingredient and I picked the "healthiest" seasoning/coating and I fry in Smart Balanc oil. I drain the stuff really good to get as much grease as possible out. If I stir fry something, I use olive oil which is a good oil.

Also be very careful with your salad dressings!! A salad is no good if you put on 30 grams of salad dressing! We use Kraft's low fat dressings. They have no preservatives and are really tasty. We also use fat free mayo~the only difference is it's made with egg whites and no the whole egg. I make my own tarter sauce with fat free mayo so when I'm eating fish, I'm not eating a ton of fat!

Eating HIGH fat will kill you dead! We eat as low fat as possible- fat free milk (again Smart Balance that comes from cows who don't get antibiotics) FAT will clog your arteries, it causes heart attacks, strokes, and cancer!

We try and watch portion size with my husband, me and our teenage son. We don't just keep eating and eating or we try not to:) Also if I buy a treat, like a bag of chips and dip, that's it, when it's gone it's gone...I don't keep a ton of that in the house. It's just too easy to keep eating and eating!


So as you can see I use alot of tricks in my cooking and buying food. My kids already read labels and without me telling them will, put something back on the shelve and say "oh it had trans fat or the sat. food was 13 grams" They know we wouldn't buy it! I'm trying to install good healthy eating habits in them. My husband's side of the family has lots of heart disease so we are trying to avoid them following in relatives footsteps. My side of the family, for the most part, were pretty healthy as far as food went. But they all had their own gardens and ate lost of vegetables even if they were fried at times. But they got alot of exercise, they didnt' have a sedentary lifestyle at all.



EXERCISE! Well I try and walk 10,000 steps a day. Usually I get about 5,000 done at the track and then the rest throughout the day. If I don't go to the track then I make myself do 40 minutes on my exercise bike at level 3 which is pretty hard. I don't love exercising but I know I must to stay as healthy as possible. I love it when I'm done! Boy when I get up and get my walk in by 7 pm, I'm wide awake and ready to face the day ~ those endorphins are kicking in!!!!!


My husband is quite the walker/runner and he goes for about an hour most days. It's hard for me to get the boys to exercise at home. They do good at school (their school is VERY sports oriented which we LOVE) but at home, they want to watch tv, play video games...so we do things as a family to get them off their butts! Whether it's going to the State Park or any park, the beach or even getting them to walk around at the mall...they tend to do better away form home. Now when it gets cooler and they can be out without getting so hot (we do live in Florida) then they will play in the yard or on the trampoline. It's challenging but I don't want my kids having health problems as young people!!!

So we try everything we can to be as healthy as possible. It's challenging and Lord knows I'm not some tiny little person BUT just think how big and unhealthy I'd be if I didn't use this self control in food and exercise

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My struggles as a Pentcostal

I'm struggling this morning with the whole healing issue (what's new?) We have a wonderful man in our church who is dying of cancer. He is a godly man, faithful to his wife, family and church. He is loyal one of the kind of church members that all pastors pray to have! Everyone has prayed for him. He has prayed...there is no sin in his life, surely with all the people who have prayed for him, someone has has to have faith! So he is not healed....WHY????

I can rest in the fact that we are in God's hands but what I struggle with is the things I have been taught all my life and the "stories" I have heard. I do not believe that we as individuals in the church world are so far from God that He doesn't hear our cry. I've heard things like "Well God heals overseas cause they are more desperate, they don't' have medical care etc" BUT let me tell you it don't matter where you are in the world geographically if the doctors have done all they can, then you are desperate!!!!!!

I don't doubt that the God of this universe, the Creator of it all can heal or do whatever He wants to do! I just don't' know that He chooses to do so! I read the bible, I have a bible degree and I've studied it in the Greek & Hebrew. I have not in the past studied alot on healing because it wasn't something I was dealing with personally. But as a mom with children with medical issues as well as being a pastor's wife, there is alot I see now that I had not seen as a younger person. So I've started reading different books, studying different approaches to healing within the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and I still have not come to any conclusion.

GOD is GOD regardless of my doctrinal ideas or yours either!!!!! But I must know the doctrine and understand it and have peace about what I teach and share with others. I will not pass along false or distorted doctrine!!! I will not make things up so someone can have a fairy tale to hold onto! We need to know exactly what the bible NOT man says....I'm so afraid that over the years, we as a church have exaggerated stories and maybe even believed man's stories rather than what God says through his word. It is not always easy to understand scripture and it has to be taken in context...

Anyhow today I'm struggling with this issue more than usual.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

REVIVAL in Mobile Al- Bay of the Holy Spirit

So we went to the "new" revival in Mobile Al at John Kilpatrick's church (think Brownsville)...

I went with an open mind & heart despite I am the most conservative Pentecostal/charismatic Assembly of God Pastor's wife out there:) I truly believe in testing the spirit! If it's God then it will stand up under my testing! I worry about people who just believe everything that comes down the pike. I also worry about people who are so cautious that they won't be moved by anything! I think there is a balance in there...moderation.....that's where I want to be. I'll go and check out something, I can always leave if it's weird!

So we drove up and went last Thursday & Friday. On the way out of our driveway, I really decided I did not want to go! It was a long drive with 3 kids and you know how expensive it is to be on the road. So we're driving down our road, and I'm already a bit irritated cause you know how it is to leave the house, everyone forgets something.....So I inwardly started fussing at myself & God...thinking 500 miles is a LONG way to go to a service!!! We had watched a couple of clips and our hearts had been stirred plus they were saying miracles were actually happening....(more about that later) So my mindset is we take Sam all over the country to the best doctors we can find, so what's is wrong with taking him to a revival service where there is prayer for the sick? Anyway I was going back and to in my mind about the whole thing. We get about an hour from home and we stop for gas and breakfast, and I open Jon's wallet and he has lots of cash!! Here i was so worried about $$$, I'd forgotten we had cash left over from the trip the previous week to Miami for Sam! I was really trying to figure out our budget for the trip and it was totally stressing me out...So I felt like God was saying to me that everything was ok, just relax, so I did!

That night at the service, I definitely felt the presence of God but I'm easily distracted & distrustful. I'm not distrustful of God but I do not like to be manipulated in any way whatsoever! Evidently that was the first night in the Mobile Civic Center and there was "spiritual warfare" going on. I really had to push through some things to say the least. After the worship, which was good, the evangelist called for people with vision problems to come forward. We took Sam & Shad forward. Sam is a bit like me. He really does not like people nor trust them when he meets them. So they were trying to pray for Sam, who was busy pushing hands away as hard as he could. I couldn't help but laugh! If Sam gets healed, it will have to be a God thing. He really can't stand the traditional "laying on of the hands"!!!!! To be honest, they gave up on him, which did kinda tick me off! I feel like if you are saying there is healing going on, then push on through whatever you have to to see it happen!

Shad on the other hand LOVES attention! So he was very responsive to the guy and was grinning from ear to ear. The evangelist did spend some time praying for Shad and asked us a few questions about his eyes, in a nice way. Neither boy "got healed" but I felt I was obedient in taking them. I felt God had wanted me to take them and I did. I trust God for them. Although of course I'd love to see my boys both healed and whole on this earth, I know that life is short and eternity is long and that they will be healed for all eternity. I can trust God in that. I still do not know if God heals on this earth, but I trust Him whether He chooses to or not!


I'm just being honest here, not trying to be disrespectful or anything like that...

When we returned to our seat with the boys, I felt like we had "failed" in the eyes of some around us. No one said anything to us, that is just how I felt. No one else got a healing either but we were sitting in the pastor's section and there were some real "excitable' folks around us....

The sermon was good, really right on, nothing weird or off at all. There was an altar call- a general one and Jon & Steve responded. Jon was touched ( but ya'll know he's a bit open) Steve on the other hand is more like me and he felt someone tried to push him over....he didn't go down ....just like his mom!

So although there was some things that made me uncomfortable, I know God's presence and I did feel it.

The next day we had fun, Jon took the boys to a Civil War site and I met an old high school friend for lunch. We had such a good time talking that I was running behind getting across town to meet them for the service. And to be honest, I really didn't want to go. I was too conflicted from the night before and the only reason I went was we were so far from home, felt like I might as well go since I'd put that much effort in to going....


I sat and held Sam through the worship which was good. Then there was a testimony time when people were allowed to share what God had done for them. There were several reports of healing but to be honest, they weren't that convincing. It bothered me that people came forward with stories of healing but not medical documentation or even their pastor who could attest to the story. For example if Sam was healed there, obviously the leadership doesn't know us. However all they'd have to do to confirm the story is to call our local leadership and ask them about Sam. Same way in a local church if someone got healed, everyone would know their background and could tell a difference. Well I think in situations like that, you shouldn't just have everyone up telling their stories without documentation or at least their pastor's confirming the story. In this day and age someone could get up and say all kinds of stuff and be a "spy" from some network show out to make fun... Anyhow there were several stories shared, I don't know what was real and what was emotionalism...I've seen it happen to good people who wanted to be healed so badly that they'd "confess" they were healed because they felt something emotionally. They didn't mean anything bad by it, they were just stirred up...unfortunately I've seen those very same people go through doubt about God even, when the evangelist had left town....They weren't healed anymore and couldn't understand it....Anyhow I wasn't comfortable with the testimony time. I want to see & know that things are TRUE before it's shouted to the roof tops!

The sermon was really good that night and something very curious happened about halfway through the sermon. My left shoulder/arm started shaking! I handed Sam over to Steve thinking maybe it was from holding him for so long. Then I really began to shake. I tried and tried to fight it but it was uncontrollable. At the conclusion of the sermon, a general altar call was given. Of course Jon went down. Well I was fighting the whole shaking thing and I didn't want anyone to notice me so I went down, off to the side out of the way. By that time, I was shaking all over. There was no big emotions going on in me at all! If anything I was shocked and trying my best to get the whole thing under control!!!!!!! I could barely stand at that point. In my heart, I began asking God what was going on...I still don't' have an answer really...but God started bringing to my remembrance the past, years ago, when I was so concerned about other people and their souls and I saw just how far I was from that love...I began weeping & repenting and asking God to light a fire in my heart, help me get past MY LIFE and all the responsibilities and think of others again like I did before.

At some point, the evangelist called for everyone in full time ministry to come forward, I really tried but there were so many people and I was shaking so hard, I just couldn't get up to the front. I just gave up and stood where I was and God continued ministering to my heart. It wasn't to give me goosebumps or a good story but it really was to get my attention and redirect my heart.

So you ask why did God do that or maybe it was just my emotions....I can tell you it wasn't my emotions. I was there but barely to be honest with you! It was NOT at all that I was so into the service and had some expectation of some supernatural occurrence...not at all....So why would God do that??? Actually I feel although things were not "perfect", when man is involved (which is always) then nothing is going to be perfect....the presence of God was there. Whether He was there because of the hearts of the people or whether the leadership was really pressing in to God or a combo of all of that...I do not know but I know the presence of God and it was there!!!!

The oddest thing was after we'd gone back to the hotel and gone to bed, I woke up twice and was shaking!!!! Both times I was dreaming about the revival. I was shaking so much my teeth was chattering...I wasn't cold...But I was so tired, I just fell back asleep. I really think that happened to further prove to me, it wasn't my emotions.

So what do I think? I think it is a true move of God that needs to be carefully pastored and accountable. Will it be a revival lasting years...? I don't know, I don't really think so but I do believe it is a time of refreshing for the body of Christ. I know so many people say the church world has so much "refreshing" and services, conferences etc...but they don't have many real moves of God. When you are a pastor or in full time ministry you need a touch of God, the fire of God to burn out the dross in your life from time to time! I have to admit, I love to be in a service where no one looks at their watches and where there is time to let God work on us. Over the years I've been blessed in being in services like that from the time I was a child on and they made an impression on me. I love that my kids were there. Sure we discussed somethings but it was good for them. I even love when it's 11pm and the two little boys are asleep on the pews. There is just something about being in that kind of atmosphere that is something the kids will never forget.

I think we'll go back, actually we may go back next month if everything works out so we can be up in that area. Will I shake again? I have no idea nor do I anticipate it but I want to be in an attitude of openness to God. I'm hungry for God to move in my life. I feel I've spent so many years dealing with stuff in my life and so many years in rebellion that I want to see God move again. I spent the early part of my 30's in rebellion to God and then some years of recovery...then came Sam and all the additional responsibilities in my life...now I have 3 kids and a very busy life. I'm not the same person I was back in the early 90's when I had all kinds of time to be in revival services...but I want to be open to how God is choosing to move in this time while always keeping the focus on God.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update

Steve had a great trip in Detroit! He loved doing the outreach and can't wait to go to the one next year! He came back charged up! I've noticed him reading his bible and praying more and having a better attitude overall. He wasn't overwhelmed by the youth services or the music. didn't get some big emotional touch but just the fact he participated in something bigger than himself drew him closer to God. We are so glad he went!

We got back from Miami yesterday after driving in Tropical Depression #5! Sam's cornea looks good but his eye pressure/glaucoma is up and that is very serious! We are concerned about the situation

School starts Monday and the kids are excited. Steve will be starting high school and Shad will be starting 1st grade. Sam also will be starting 1st grade on homebound and he will love seeing his teachers again!

There is a revival breaking out in Mobile AL. It's with Pastor Kilpatrick who was the pastor of Brownsville A/G in the 90's during that great revival. We are planning to go up at the end of next week for a couple of days although the kids will have to miss a couple of days of school. I think it will be an amazing thing for them to experience and of course we will have Sam prayed for. There are some healings taking place and I trust Pastor Kilpatrick enough to know that this stuff is for real and not just exaggerations...I want to see for myself!

Our church is having a special meeting this Sunday with Jermiah and Charity Hubbard. Charity is the one who sang during the Brownsville Revial "Mercy Seat" I think our church will be greatly encouraged.

Friday, August 6, 2010

caringbridges....

Sam has a caringbridges page the address is www.caringbridges.org/visit/samclanton and I enjoy having it to update on Sam exclusively. Over the years, doctor visits, hospital stays, we've met other's with CB pages that I follow and those friends often put other friend's websites on their pages. So I read quite a few of them. Most of the children I read about have life threatening illnesses, mostly cancer although there are some children like Sam who have more stable (for the most part) situations. So many times while reading these CB pages, I have wept for the parents and the children. It's so hard to read of a child relapsing with cancer or dying. My oldest son came in one day when I was reading and crying and he asked me "Mom WHY do you do this to yourself?" Especially me, I won't even watch Bambi! Every movie I watch has to be slap stick comedy! I don't like to be sad. I figure life is sad enough why add to it!

But these are real children with real families and in an odd way, I feel like I honor what they are going through and their lives by reading their website. I know I pray for them and their families alot, even if I've never met them.

And some of the parents have all kind of odd ideas spiritually. One family is Buddhist/New Age and one goes to a Medium....it's different and sad. You can just sense their feeling of hopelessness. I pray for the parents souls. Some of the hardest to read are the ones of the children who have passed away and their parents continue posting, sharing their pain. Those posts break my heart and I pray for God to touch them and lift their burden, if possible.

I had been following a little girl, Hannah Grace. Her dad is a young minister with our denomination and a student at one of our colleges as well as I believe he is on staff at a church. Reading her site, has been an amazing experience. Her father & mother have showed so much faith & trust in God that it has inspired me to trust God more in my life. HG recently passed away and I cried again for her, for her family but I was encouraged by their faith at the same time. Her father announced her passing by saying "No angel wings here, Hannah Grace is safe in Jesus' arms" I loved how he wrote that as many in the cancer/childhood disease world will write when a child dies that the child has now earned their "angel wings". Honestly that had always bothered me, although of course I understand what they mean by the statement. (but we as redeemed humans will one day judge the angels ...we have a song the angels can not sing...) But he wrote with such faith and trust although his heart was breaking about looking forward to the day when they would worship around the throne together. No bitterness, no reproach of God...just trust!

I encourage you to read this little girl's site, go back to the beginning and read their story of faith www.caringbridges.org/visit/hannahgraceharrison You will be encouraged to trust God with your life!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Time Blues

Summer times blues.....the end of summer time blues....

With Steve gone to Detroit, my husband at work and its so hot, I'm basically stuck at home with the little boys! AAAAAGGGHHHHH! This is gonna be a boring week! I feel for them too! Then next week we have to be in Miami for Sam's procedure but that is NO vacation! Then the next week school starts! Where did the summer go????It seems like we were just getting out of school and leaving for the mountains!

Although I do LOVE the schedule of school. It seems like when we have to be on schedule everything runs so much better. Steve will be in high school 9th grade this year! Shad will be in 1st! And Sam will also be in 1st through the homebound program. Steve is planning on playing basketball again this year so we have that to look forward too. Steve & Shad both will have tough teachers this year. The good thing about the kids going to a private school, there are some things you know in advance. I particularly excited about Steve's teacher. He is a little bit afraid hahaha. He says she is alot like me! But she will be what gets him really motivated! Our goal is for Steve to do dual enrollment in college while he is in 11th & 12th grade. I believe with his new teacher we'll be able to do that! And with Shad's new teacher, I believe he will advance quickly. In their school, they work at their own pace, and if a kid is gifted, then they can work through the work quicker. I believe Shad will do that. He finished kindergarten work a full month before school was out and they let him do a little 1st grade work but I think this year, they'll just let him fly:)

Well next week Jon is taking the whole week off, we go to Miami Tues& Wed-as long as Sam has no complications (unlike the last 2 times) we'll be home Wed night! So maybe we'll have some time at the beach next week! That would be nice! I'd like to stay over somewhere but probably won't be able to afford that with the Miami trip & school supplies/uniforms to buy:( But at least we can go for the day!

So I should try to clean the house or do something productive today. I HATE feeling like a SLUG! It goes against my grain but it is so hard to get anything done without Steve or Jon being home or at least Sam's teachers being here....when the teachers are here, I at least have him occupied. With no one but me, he wants to occupy all my time:) Not that I really mind especially when he snuggles in, and puts that little arm around my back so he can get as close as possible.....but I do like getting stuff done too.

So I have the end of summer time blues!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Train up a child.....




Well our oldest son is on his first missions trip! He went with another church to Detroit Mich for the Assemblies of God annual Fine Arts/AIM trip. Steve is not in the fine arts completion but he is doing the AIMS trip which is an inner city mission trip! He left at 4 AM Sat morning and they arrived in Detroit about 3 pm on Sunday.

Already it's been a learning experience for him as he raised ALL his money to go by himself! He sold discount cards, tickets for Outback, spent 6 Saturdays at Publix supermarket, holding a bucket for donations, he worked the Daytona Speedway's gates the weekend of July 4th and a few other things! He actually raised $107 over his goal and was able to give the credit to a good friend who was lacking a little bit. Even his spending money came from people who saw how hard he was working:) The only thing we had to spend $$$ on was a few new pairs of shorts, that he needed anyhow:) We were so proud of how hard he worked! I think it was a big accomplishment to him to raise his own support. We could tell that it made him feel very independent!

So he's off to do all kinds of projects with another 1,000 kids from the Assembly of God nationwide! He is going to do projects in the inner city, work with Convey of Hope giving out food to needy families and do some door to door outreaches. He'll be out from 9-4 pm and then they will have a youth service nightly. I realize all the effort that these teens put forth may not cause a massive revival in Detroit BUT it may cause the individual teen to have a life changing experience! I did a bunch of short term mission trips while in college and I'm sure the trips did not do a whole lot to further the cause of Christ in the places I went:) But I learned a lot, learned how to work with others, be submissive to authority, be flexible and be bold!!! So in the long run it does help the kingdom...and you never know some soul may be touched by these teens coming to help them.

It was a little hard for us to let him go, he's only 14 and for him to go out of state without us...and REAL out of state, was a bit unnerving (esp for me) but we know it's good for Steve.

We have a small church wih a small youth group so we have always allowed him to do things with another church that we are good friends with the pastor and youth pastor. We started letting him go to youth camp 3 summers ago....although the first year I took him and had a long talk with the camp director about lightening, pool rules...ect...he was gracious to me. I look back now a bit embarrassed but that was my baby:)

We've allowed him to do things that would allow him to grow spiritually. It's not about going on trips for the heck of them but there has been a purpose. With a child, you see what they want and then guide them to it. He loves youth camp, youth convention, PK retreat...each time he did something new, I had to hold my breath but so glad he stepped up and did the stuff (and glad we let him)

I grew up really restricted. My family didn't want me involved in anything or to go anywheres even if it was with the church. They worried too much....well I worry too and we don't send him off just to do whatever unsupervised...but we send him off, in capable hands, so he doesn't even think about the fact he has other's supervising him.

You have to give your child room to grow and mature WHILE still watching over them, it's a balancing act. You don't want to be like my family, where I was allowed to do nothing nor do you want your child to run wild and go everywhere with no purpose either.

As we were following the bus down I-4 to our turn off Saturday morning, Jon & I both were a bit emotional but Jon said some really profound things...The scripture "train up a child" literally means to cause to them to go with their own unique personality, bent, interests, in a godly way....We try to do that with all our children. We will never try to "call them into ministry" I've seen that done too many times and honestly I really don't want them in ministry IF that is not their calling because it is NOT an easy life!!! We want to direct our boys in a godly manner towards their personalities & interests, without trying to impose our wishes on them. Of course, we have high standards and expectations of them but I think it's good for kids to have goals set. You just have to get them to think the goals came from their minds:)

So I encourage you let your children grow, help them to get ready to leave the nest with good habits in place and help them grow spiritually without being weird. And I mean YOU as the parent...don't get weird or have too many rules. Rules are good but always have a reason for a rule and be able to explain it. Honestly we've never had more than a mummer about any rules we've had on the boys. usually when I've explained it to them, they've understood.

We have rules in place in our home about what the kids, watch on tv/movies, what kind of video games they play, and music that they listen to. We send them to a christian school, to youth camp, have them in church every week and in other christian activities. I'm careful with what friends my boys hang around and whose homes they are in....I always say they may get in trouble and go away from God but they'll have to go through us FIRST!!! WE WILL NOT MAKE IT EASY ON THEM!!!!!

But on the other hand, we don't raise them like I was raised with silly rules that had no basis in reality...Like you couldn't go to a movie theater, but you could rent that movie and play it on a VCR....or you couldn't go bowling...a friend of mine was not allowed to go skating...: how odd! We try to make rules that deal with the heart more!

We teach the boys "don't put any unclean thing in front of your face" (that's from the bible) I'd much rather my kids go to the theater and watch the latest G-rated movie, than stay home and rent an R rated movie...(honestly when i was a teen, I wasn't allowed to go to movies YET our youth pastor rented "Against All Odds-rated R. I recently bought it and watched about 5 minutes BEFORE I THREW IT IN THE DUMPSTER!!!! I had forgotten the language/sex scenes...but was that too stupid? almost like what made a movie bad was where it was shown not what was in it!!!!!) We explain WHY we want them to be careful about what they see/hear and how we want them to please God in their choices as they get older!

some people don't take their kids to church much, don't watch out for what the kids watch on tv or play on video games, give up on policing their Ipods, let them hang out with kids who don't care anything about God...and then they wonder WHY their kids are out of control!!!! Then they ask for prayer for their kids...come on...GUIDE your children, guide by example...While these kids live in our house, they'll be in church whether they like it or not...it's not up to them!! But it's never been an issue, and I really don't think it ever will be.

I'm not a perfect mom by any means. I yell too much and I don't have much patience, (except with Sam) But I'm determined to train up my kids spiritually. I admit to my kids when I blow it, although I also explain to them THEIR part in it:) I don't apologize to them for them getting in trouble, nor do they escape punishment even if I yell at them too much! (I'm thinking of a recent episode when my favorite casserole dish that my deceased mother in law gave me - got broke...I YELLED big time and 2 boys had a whole day of no tv, music, computer, games...etc....! I did later in the day explain WHY I'd gotten so mad and apologized for how I spoke to them but it didn't lessen their punishment by one minute!!!!!) Sometimes parents in my generation forget WHO is supposed to be in charge in the home!!! And it's not the kids! We respect our children BUT we don't let them run the home either. I've seen homes like that and no one is really happy including the kid. Actually that day the boys ended up apologizing to me, playing a regular board game together & it turned out to be a nice day. They need boundaries...but maybe not a mama screaming at them!!! So it's a learning expirence for all of us. It is good for a child to know that his parent will admit where they've blown it.

I love my boys and want to see them grow, spread their wings...and soar in life...and we want to be there to encourage them every step of the way!