living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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A Season of Giving

The holidays are upon us!

I’m sure that you have already been looking around, wondering what to purchase this year.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet and the stores are bursting with Christmas.  My Facebook feed is filled with pictures of friends who have already decorated their homes and with stories of kids telling their mamas what they want for Christmas.  I totally get it.  I LOVE me some Christmas, but I also have to pace myself.

You see, if we zoom past Thanksgiving we miss important lessons on gratefulness….and this seems to be what our commercial “friends” down at the mall want us to think:  “Focus on what you WANT, not on what you HAVE!”  (Let alone being grateful for those things.)

Now before you start to think I’m “The Grinch”, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.

I love the true meaning of the season.

I love the decorations.

I love the songs.

I love the smells.

I love the adorable Christmas plays.

I love almost everything about Christmas.

BUT, I don’t love the “GIMME” side of Christmas.

The Bible says  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35


….and so what I have tried to do in our home and hope to convey to our kids is that Christmas is a season of giving. I often bring up the fact that God gave us the best Present, Jesus,  and this is the basis for our giving.

Some of the ways we “do” Christmas:

  1.   Feeding the hungry
    1. My son figured out that the Salvation Army bell ringers collect money to feed other little boys and girls. We can not go in OR out of the stores without giving them money.
    2. We have also invited friends over that do not have a place to go during the holidays. We try to be ONE BIG family to them.
  2.   Gifting
    1. Neighbors: Every year we make or buy a gift for all of our neighbors. This is just our way of sharing God’s love with them.  Avs loves to go and help me deliver them. This is a highlight of our Christmas
    2. Teachers and Friends:  We also make little gifts and presents for our kids’ teachers as well as close friends.  We LOVE to gift.
    3. Extended Family:  This year “A” and “T” took their own money from their piggy banks and went to the dollar store and bought each of their cousins a gift.  We gave them a few tips, but mostly the gifts were their own ideas.  This was a sacrifice on their part but they LOVED it. Then when we got home, they helped me wrap those gifts.  “A” wrote the names and “T” put a bow on each package.
    4. Close Family:  We take the kids out and let them buy a nicer gift for each other as well as their parents.  We help them with the selections and use some of our money so they can do this. They love being a part of the gifting process.
  3.   Christmas Day
    1. On Christmas Day, we begin the day by reading the Christmas story. Then we let the kids GIVE their gifts.  We make a big deal out of this and they get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Presents are opened up one person at a time.  This helps us all to fully enjoy the gift-giving process and is much more meaningful.  This is all our kids have known and they love it.

My children know the story of baby Jesus and they are starting to realize what a sacrifice He made.  We are trying to teach them that it’s not about being good and getting BUT about sacrifice, gratitude and giving.

It is sooooo much fun to give!!!!   Let’s pass this on to our children.

How much fun would it be this Christmas if your child’s BIGGEST smile came from giving someone else a present RATHER than getting a toy that he will only use for a short time! – Rejoicing in the Present

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My Calling

I started this post months ago but just never could pull together my heart on this issue.

Then, it all finally came together, but in a really different way.

My daughter woke up early Sunday morning vomiting; because I couldn’t sleep and she wanted to be held, I decided, while I held her, to read a book, GLOBAL SOCCER MOM, which I will discuss in another blog. As I read about this soccer mom who was fighting AIDS, the desire to do “something more” stirred in me again.

Ironically before I went to sleep the night before, I had read the article When You Want To Do Great Things for God and He Keeps Calling You to Be a Mom.

So, with both of these thoughts clashing in my brain, I simply let my memories and thoughts take over.

I thought about the sweet chubby little princess in my arms who was battling a fever and just needed her mommy.

…but then I remembered my months in Africa as a single missionary.

I thought of my sweet son who was learning and growing in Kindergarten.

…but then I remembered my desires to be “Run Ma Run,” William Carey or a Katie Davis, (a superhero for the cause of Christ.)

Finally, I thought of Susanna Wesley, the mother of Charles Wesley and John Wesley. …and I let my mind rest.

She taught her children.

She helped provide for them.

She cared for them.

She fought for them.

She was an intentional mom.She was just a mom, …but she was JUST the mother of some amazing men.

You see, God called her to something great. -> It was motherhood.

Moms, I know, I know…it looks like another load of laundry. It looks like another meal. It looks like another child’s book, read for the tenth time.

…but Mommy, it is more…

Proverbs 31 says “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Oh, my dear moms, it is so much more. Motherhood is a HUGE calling. These kiddos are our next generation. You may be raising a John Wesley, a Katie Davis, a Hudson Taylor or a Nancy Leigh DeMoss. You never know.

So, instead of ministering at church and reaching into other people’s lives, T & I sat and cuddled. We watched her favorite songs on YouTube like Jesus Loves Me and we sang. We read a whole basket of books and we worshiped Jesus together.

It was beautiful!

It was and is my highest calling. I love ministry. I enjoy working but my children are God’s assignment to me. If they are not getting the care they need, then I need to step down from my other positions.

Because THIS, my dear friends, is my calling. – Rejoicing in the Present


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Teaching Self-Control

A few days ago I finished writing some curriculum on the Fruit of the Spirit. The last fruit is one of the hardest to teach, especially with children, “self”-control (or better yet, temperance).  Today, I want to share with you a method of teaching our child this particular fruit of the Spirit.

Think about it–if we as parents struggle so much with “self”-control, what are our children picking up and learning from us?

The most basic key to temperance is being Spirit-led. (Galatians 5:22-23)  Thus, teaching our children to follow the Holy Spirit is what needs to be done. However, it is a process and a growth that comes with time.

If my child has not trusted Christ as Savior, it is impossible for him to learn, because he does not have the Spirit living within him.

So what can I do in the meantime?

While writing curriculum on the Fruit of the Spirit recently, I was doing some research, came upon this idea and fell in love with it.  Here is the method.  It is from the Scripture, Matthew 5:29-30.  The Bible says:

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Many times, we are caught laughing at sin. The world attempts to make it funny and people are portrayed as heroes for stepping out and breaking the rules.  However, God does not take sin lightly.

We need to treat sin as God treats it.  So to teach our children not to take sin lightly, we can use this principle from Matthew:

When my child uses a part of his body to sin, he loses the right to use it.

For example:

  • When my child yells at his siblings, he loses the right to speak
  • When he hits a friend with his hand, he loses the right to use his hand. (You can have your child sit on his hand)
  • When he follows his siblings to a place he should not go, he loses his right to walk.
  • When he peeks at something he should not, he has to close his eyes.

 (As a parent you determine the amount of time)

You can take these examples and make them personal with your child.  I pray that, through using this method, children will quickly get the idea and eventually learn to control their own actions.  This is a great tool but not the only thing to teach them.

As I mentioned earlier, the most important thing we can teach them, is to be Spirit-led.

No matter how strong they are, some day, they will have a temptation that is just too much for them to overcome.  Everyone has weaknesses and the devil often knows what they are.  So, at that point, it will only be God that can help lead them in the right direction. This is why teaching them to be able to sense the Holy Spirit and follow His leading is a must!

I hope that you can use both of these tools. From one momma’s heart to another.

Rejoicing,

Joy

Ps. What are some methods, that you use to teach self-control to your children? Please comment below.