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Flip Shots – How YouTube is an Answer to a “Mom Prayer”

Flip Shots – How YouTube is an Answer to a “Mom Prayer”

It has long been a prayer of mine that God would make me aware my children’s gifts and talents. And that He would help me to be a dream cheerleader not a dream squasher. I used to watch my friend, Cinnamon, (yes that’s her real name) and think, “She’s got this mom thing figured out. I want to be like that.”

When my boys were just toddlers, I watched her let her 15-year-old daughter play in a band. She invited that band to practice (drums and all) in her house. And she supported them when they sought out coffee houses and other small venues at which to play. She knew her daughter’s gifts, and she encouraged her to use them. Today that grown up daughter is one of my favorite guitar playing vocalists on the planet.  (If you follow this link she might become one of your favorites too 🙂 – My Redeemer Lives)

You may watch my Owen’s two minute Flip Shots video above, and think, ‘Oh that’s cute or funny or whatever.’ But let me tell you what I see.

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Milk Cartons, Tears and a Change in Seasons

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(In my September post at Inspire a Fire, I reflect on the change of seasons in life and reminisce about the day I sent my baby to school.)

Homemade cheesebread with marinara sauce.

“Oh no, what if Lewis can’t open his milk carton?”

Those were the first five words on the back-to-school lunch menu and that was the thought that ran through my head sending a fresh waterfall of tears down my face. Yes, I read the school lunch menu and cried. And cried. And cried.

That was several years ago, but I remember it like it was several blinks ago.

Lewis was (and still is) my baby. The one I had to myself for four years while his brothers were in school. The one who sang wonderful made-up songs, daily made me laugh out loud and liked to wear the same way too small orange shirt. Every. Single. Day.

The one who wasn’t supposed to grow up.

What if he can’t open his milk carton? What if he gets lost? What if he gets hurt and wants his mommy? What if he gets tired and needs a nap? There was no end to the (often irrational) thoughts that filled my head as I sent my little man off to begin his own life adventures.

But I know deep down the reason I kept crying was not because Lewis might not be able to handle school. It was because I might not be able handle life without Lewis…

Head on over to Inspire a Fire to read the rest of the story – Milk Cartons, Tears and A Change in Seasons

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Boy Mom Monday – Proverbs 23:22 – Parent and Friend

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Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

I had a friend years ago whose relationship with her mother was strained. They talked regularly. And though they honestly loved each other, it was not uncommon for their conversations to end in utter frustration. You see, they loved each other, but they didn’t really like each other.

One expected too much, the other couldn’t let go of the past.

I have lost touch with that friend and don’t know where her relationship with her mother stands today, but I do know that I don’t want that kind of relationship with my kids.

Right now I am my boys’s mom first and their friend second. We can enjoy some benefits of friendship, but my primary role is to guide them into adulthood. Sometimes that will tick them off because my decisions are not what they would choose. And sometimes it will tick them off because the decisions I make are wrong. I’m not infallible, and of the millions of decisions I will make throughout their childhood years, I will surely make some stupid ones.

My hope for my boys is that they will see my mistakes with forgiving eyes, and that when they test their childhood in my home on a scale they will see it was heavily weighed down by love. And that that love will lead to a mama/son friendship.

Prayer

Lord, I know I will screw up in the parenting years. I will make mistakes that will hurt my boys. I don’t want to, but I know I will. I pray that as they cross from childhood to adulthood they will dwell on my love for them, and be able to forgive or overlook the offenses. I pray also that as they pass from childhood to adulthood our parent-child relationship will develop into a true friendship. Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 22:6 – Direction

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Proverbs 22:6 Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not part from it.

Whew! That verse puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us if we read it to mean that if we raise our kids right, they will become followers of Christ. Putting the full responsibility of our children’s faith on our own shoulders will surely lead to feelings of failure when one of them strays.

I love the following explanation of Proverbs 22:6 from Captivating by John and Stasi Elderidge.

This verse is not a promise about faith. It is not speaking of training a child to follow Christ or promising that if you do, the grown child will continue to follow him. Sorry. The proverb is about raising a child to know who he is and to guide him in becoming ever more himself. In the way he should go. Not in the way you would like him to go in order to validate you as a mother and a woman. It speaks of teaching a child to live from his heart, attuned to it, awake to it, aware of it, and when that child is grown he will continue to live a life from the heart. It is about seeing who a person really is and calling him out to be that person.

Though it is important for us to direct our sons toward Christ, it is ultimately their own choice to follow or turn away.

But if while we raise them in the faith, we also focus on their gifts, talents and passions, we can guide them toward the life God intended them to have on this earth. We can help our kids become aware of who God made them to be. We can find those little seeds of talent and be our kids’ biggest cheerleaders and advocates.

And maybe it will be in the development of their God-given gifts that they will see the Savior most clearly.

Prayer

Lord, Help me to be aware of the gifts, talents and passions you have built into my boys. Give me the wisdom to best encourage them in the way they should go. Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 21:9 – Marriage

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Proverbs 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

When my husband’s little sister asked him to read scripture at her wedding, she gave him free reign to choose whatever passage he wanted and opened the door for his crazy shenanigans.

Corey stood solemnly in front of the wedding guests and read Proverbs 21:19. “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

After the laughter subsided, he flipped to the New Testament and read a much more appropriate wedding passage.

It’s easy to laugh at verses like Proverbs 21:9, but there is an important truth in that short sentence. So often couples get caught up in the wedding planning and the fantasy of happily ever after, and they fail to look at the hard parts of their relationship before they are married. But those hard parts of a dating relationship don’t magically disappear when the “I dos” are spoken.

Though our culture tells us otherwise, marriage is not something to be taken lightly. The fairytale doesn’t exist, but the vow is real and serious. And spending an entire lifetime with someone whom you are not compatible is a tough pill to swallow.

My hope for my boys is that they will not be drawn into a relationship with the wrong person or for the wrong reasons. Before they promise “til death do us part,” I pray they will work through areas of disagreement and understand the gravity of a wedding vow.

A lifetime marriage commitment is a beautiful thing, but many lives are broken when marriage promises are taken too lightly.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will give my boys the wisdom to choose well as they grow and begin to begin to date. I pray they will listen to what you desire for them above and beyond their emotions and physical attraction. Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 19:2 – ZEAL

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Proverbs 19:2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

Zeal is a good thing. To be enthusiastic and passionate about a goal is a great first step. But if zeal is all we have, we won’t get far.

After I watched Florence Griffith Joyner break world track records in Seoul in 1988, my 12-year-old self was going to follow in her footsteps. I would be a runner, and I would run in the Olympics (forget that those Olympics sprinters are not white girls.)

So I went out of for track in seventh grade. I did zero conditioning beforehand, and realized that running fast is hard. I didn’t run track in 8th grade. But something in me still wanted to run, so I joined the team again in 9th grade and ran throughout high school. And I loved it.

But I learned that I had to add some hard work and knowledge to that zeal I had back in junior high. I ran all year long, not just in season. I worked out before school in the weight room and I got together with my relay teammates to work on hand-offs outside of practice.

I wasn’t the fastest girl on my team, but my zeal + knowledge + effort did earn me a place at the state track meet a couple times. I look back on my track experiences as my best high school memories, and though I’m no speed demon, I still enjoy a good run.

My hope for my boys is that they too will learn to match their zeal with knowledge and effort so they can accomplish the desires of their hearts.

Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for giving us each zeal for different things. I pray that those passions that are in my boys’ hearts will lead them to desire to learn and grow and reach their goals and that they will not become lazy and give up because something is too hard physically or mentally. Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 18:4 Deep Waters

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Proverbs 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

 

“He’s 14, and he’s taken to grunting.”

Yep, those words came out of my husband’s mouth on a recent double-date, and they are oh so accurate.

It is amazing how much can be said in a grunt. There’s the “yes” grunt, the “no” grunt, the “I’m so tired” grunt, the “I don’t care” grunt. I could go on, but you moms out there with teen boys probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

Grunting is not my preferred form of communication, and I often push my child to use real words with multiple syllables and clear annunciation. But sometimes I just accept the language of the grunt.

As my teen boys grow into men though, I want to see that grunting turn into deep waters. Bible commentator Matthew Henry describes deeps waters this way:

The well-spring of wisdom is as deep waters. An intelligent knowing man has in him a good treasure of useful things, which furnishes him with something to say upon all occasions that is pertinent and profitable. This is as deep waters, which make no noise, but never run dry.

Deep waters which make no noise, but never run dry. I pray that as my boys grow in their knowledge of God, they will also grow in their ability to present that knowledge to others in a way that makes the hearer feel loved and cared for even when they disagree.

I’ll give in to the grunting now and then during these growing years, but I’m praying for the deep waters to come.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray that you will develop in my boys not only a desire to know your truth, but to be able to present it in a loving way. That people will say of them, “those are some wise and kind men who are not afraid to speak truth in love.”  Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 17 – Forgiveness

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Proverbs 17:9 He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Without forgiveness friendships become superficial. They become catty. They can even fall completely apart.

When I began dating Corey, I kind of dropped the ball on a friendship with a close friend. Where I used to eat with Rachel at our kitchen table, I now would head over to Corey’s apartment or go out to eat with him. My study dates with Rach became my study dates with Corey. And all the movie nights Rach and I used to have? Well, now I was having them with Corey.

Rachel could have gotten angry with me. She could have started talking behind my back to others. She could have given up on our friendship. But instead she confronted me.

After that confrontation, I could have gotten defensive. I could have gotten angry. I could have walked out on our friendship. But I knew she was right, and I knew I had to ask her forgiveness because I didn’t want to lose one of my dearest friends.

Asking for forgiveness is tough. I’m not a big fan of admitting I am wrong. But I did ask for Rachel’s forgiveness, and she readily gave it.

That was years ago, and Rachel and I only see each other once or twice year now, but we can always pick right up where we left off. And this year our friendship has taken on a whole new depth because of breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy about four years ago, and she has been invaluable to me as I’ve been on that road this year.

I hate to think of what I’d be missing out on if I had let my selfishness ruin our friendship, or if she had chosen not to forgive.

As my boys grow into young adults and their friendships deepen alongside their voices, I hope they leave room for forgiveness. I hope they will value their friends enough to work out their differences and understand that covering an offense does indeed promote love, but excluding forgiveness can ruin friendships.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray that you will help my boys to understand the value of forgiving their friends when they have been wronged. That they will both offer forgiveness to others and ask forgiveness when it is needed. Amen.

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Protecting Our Kids In a Porn Saturated World

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“No parent can protect their child from seeing pornography. Any mother right now will probably say, ‘Oh no, I pray over my child’, or “I home school and so therefore I can protect my child.’ When I hear this, I look that mother right in the eye and say, ‘You will lose your child. You, cannot protect your, child, from, seeing, pornography! They will see it. What you must do is, as a responsible mother and father, is prepare your child for the first time they will see it, and it will probably be before eight years of age in Christian homes. In fact, in many Christian homes, it’s probably four to six years old when they first come across pornography. – Josh McDowell (theologian and author or co-author of 145 books)

A few weeks ago, our church shared a Josh McDowell video that rocked my world. It’s almost an hour long, but it is eye-opening, and so worth 60 minutes of your time.

Here are a few stats from McDowell. (Most come from a landmark study called The Porn Phenomenon. Results were released in January of this year.)

  • Nearly half of young people actively seek out porn weekly or more often.
  • Twice as many young adults first viewed pornography before puberty than did the previous generation.
  • 66% percent of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit message and 41% have sent one.
  • Only 1 in 20 young adults and 1 in 10 teens say their friends think viewing porn is a bad thing.
  • Nearly half of young adults say they come across porn once per week even if they aren’t seeking it out.
  • 71% of adults and 85% of teens who have view pornography say they do it using online videos
  • 2 out of 5 church-going men view porn several times per week
  • There are 26,000,000 pornographic web sites and 2,000,000,000 pages just one click away.

(Wait. Stop. Did you catch that last statistic? 2,000,000,000 pages. That’s billions people.)

We live in a culture and a time in history when it is impossible to keep our children from being exposed to porn. One of my children clicked on and watched an inappropriate video at eight years old, and we are a pretty darn careful, loving and God-fearing family.

I’ve written about web protections in the past, but because of the Josh Mcdowell video I mentioned above, I have increased motivation to be diligent in this arena and I am compelled to share some web protection info again.

Keep in mind that none of these are foolproof. There are ways around pretty much everything. But they are one component in the pursuit to protect our kids.

openDNS

This is router based protection. This recognizes every wi-fi ready device that comes into your home (not just the ones you own). You get to choose what you want to block access to. You can customize this to your preferences or use their generic options of low, medium and high.  (We set this up in our home last week. It has taken a bit of tweaking, but it’s easy for the admin to tweak.)

Netnanny

Family Protection Pass – $59.99/year For use on up to 5 devices. Features: Internet Filter, Pornography Block, Time Management, Social Media Monitoring, Child Protection Software, Profanity Masking, Alerts and Reporting, Personal Accountability, Remote Management. According to their website, this allows parents to “monitor their child’s friends, pictures, and posts on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.” (We have this set up on our kids devices. Again, we’ve done some tweaking since first installing this, but overall we’ve been happy with the software.)

K9 Web Protection

Internet Filter Features : Blocks websites in 70+ categories, safe search on search engines, set time restrictions/block internet at certain times, override specific webpages with passwords, reporting *Available for most devices. (When Corey googled K9 Web Protection, the first page on the list was a one explaining how to get around these protections when they are on your device, so we decided against this one.)

iOS

If you are an Apple user, you can set up content filtering through the iOS 7 “restrictions” setting. On your device, Go to settings > General > Restrictions.

Android

Play store content filtering – Go to select options > Select settings > enable content filtering applications protection

Covenant Eyes

Family Account – $13.99/month (I believe this is for up to 5 people.) Features: This one is unique in that it has accountability options that can be used in addition to parental controls or on their own. Parents can receive accountability reports on their children, and filtering with age-based content ratings can be added (for free) to specific users or all users. (A friend of mine has used this and said the one downside they have found is that is slows down the devices it is on.)

Social Networking

Know what social media apps your kids are using. Friend them. Follow them. Be involved in their online life. A lot kids use social apps innocently, but a lot of apps are being used for some pretty awful stuff. And porn is so pervasive and intriguing and addictive, even our good kids (because I know you and I both have good kids) can be pulled into it. (Here’s a post from last year with links to articles on social media apps.)

Talk in real life. Using real words. Verbally.

This is kind of hard. Who enjoys having open conversations with their kids about porn and sex? But we need to create an atmosphere where they can come to us openly and not be shamed when they make a mistake or are struggling. And from the statistics I’ve read, the majority of youth (especially males, but also a growing number of females) will struggle to some extent. We can’t afford not to communicate about this stuff.

I certainly wouldn’t let my teenage boy go walking around an adult entertainment store (and I know you wouldn’t either), but these kids essentially have access to all the same stuff (and more) on that little device they carry around in their pocket every day. It is worth our time, effort and money to help our kids navigate the online world wisely.

*I know there are other safeguards out there. If you know of something great, please email me or share it in the comments. (Corey and I are interesting in any program that filters youtube. If you have any helpful info I’d love to hear it.)

**Thank you to Josh Kraling for some of this info.

 

 

 

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 16:25 The Right Path

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Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.

Our family enjoys backpacking together. Following a trail in the woods away from regular life gives us quality uninterrupted family time, great exercise and an appreciation for all the modern conveniences we enjoy in our day-to-day. You know, like beds and toilets. 🙂

But it is important to stay on the trail. Veering off can lead to injury and/or getting lost.

A couple years ago, one of our boys decided to walk along the rocks in a river. Not a big deal. He wasn’t at risk of getting lost, and what boy doesn’t love climbing on rocks and playing in the water? What he didn’t take into account however, was that rocks are slippery when they’re wet. He took a tumble right into the river.

This did not lead him to death as our Proverbs verse says today, but it did lead to drenched clothes. Clothes we had to hang from sticks over a campfire to dry.

Our kids don’t always think clearly through the path they are going to take and find out too late that the rocks are wet. As they mature, my hope for my boys is that they will learn to discern God’s “right path” from the path that seems right to them. And that in doing so they can avoid consequences far worse than wet clothes.

Dear Lord, I pray that my kids will not be deceived by their own sometimes skewed perspective of the right path, and that they will seek you and follow your path, even when the wrong one is enticing. Amen.

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