I come from a long line of complainers on one side of the family and a long line of critical hot-heads on the other. I’m not worried about any family reading this because they will either know I am right or complain and criticize no matter how gently I put it. Left to my own devices, my mouth is a going concern. I am a complainer and have been critical of others. I have let expletives escape and I, man, can I gossip.
My mouth has been getting on my nerves. That realization occurs whenever I notice that other people’s mouths are getting on my nerves. I hear their tone or talking smack of others and ask myself, “Self, is that what you’ve been doing? Do you speak in that tone to YOUR kids?” When the answer is yes, I sometimes reel it in or I criticize and complain about the people who aren’t controlling their mouths. You all do it, too, you know it.
God gave us mouths for his purposes and to eat pizza and chocolate. Our mouths should be used to encourage others, share what God has done in our lives, teach, pray and sing. However, God did not make us robots and will not control our mouths for us. A lot of people blame God for all the evil in the world. Do you know how we know? Because they used their mouths to tell us so. If God put a muzzle on every critical complainer, folks wouldn’t have the freedom to be atheists or mean, verbally-abusive husbands or foul-mouthed gang members making a drug deal in a back alley or the church leader persuading his followers to believe a falsehood as gospel. Blame God all you want, it’s our choice to control what comes out of our cakeholes and it ain’t easy.
James 3:3-5 says, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
When I think about how this comparatively small muscle covered in taste buds and used to make goofy faces and lick ice cream can steer what direction the rest of me turns toward, it makes me a little nervous. A lot nervous. This thing we use to sing lullabies to our baby we also use to lie, cuss, and manipulate. I came across a pile of MEMLOCK cards this morning. Memlock is a Bible verse memory system we use with our kids. It uses cards with “trigger pictures” on them to help you remember the verse. Anyhoo, the card on top read as follows, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Here’s the trigger picture:
SO, when I hear my kids’ mouths doing their thang, I tell them to eat a “Let Donut.” Finding these cards on the tongue was a smack upside the head. I’ve been letting my mouth do the thinking for me much of the time. There are several other verses in this pack of cards categorized as “TONGUE.”
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
You don’t have to be a believer for these verses to make sense! There are so many more but suffice it to say that the very BEST way to get control of our mouths is to use it to pray for our mouths. For me, I want what comes out of my mouth to steer me in a direction that blesses others, helps the hurting, encourages, empowers and, to me, most importantly, leads my children closer to Christ each day. I want to be an example worth following and I’m not sure I’ve been that.
How could a Third Day song NOT come to mind? Nothing At All was the first song my husband heard from this awesomesauce band and drew him in. The pictures used in this video certainly depict what I’ve been talking about (click HERE for lyrics):
Then, of course, we can’t forget Thumper:
My admonishment for the week – “What did your FATHER tell you? Eat a LET DONUT!”
What’s not shared is lost,
My last day as a Mother of a PreSchooler was Monday. I haven’t attended a MOPS meeting in several years but, if we still had a group in our area, I could still be attending. I have been the mother of a baby and/or toddlers since 1988. It’s not complicated math; that’s 27 years. Almost 30 years of mothering babies and toddlers. Now that I just put those words in print, I’m flabbergasted! Time flies, they say, when you’re having fun. Time flies faster with each child added to the family. My head is spinning! I cried a few times Tuesday as I saw my baby boy grin from ear to ear each time we referred to his being 5, now. Yesterday, he was playing the GeoSafari and exclaimed, “I’m FIVE, now, and this is so easy for me!” Ha! He’s loving being a big boy.
In the meantime, I was feeling so very sad. Bittersweet was the mood of the day. I’m sentimental. I cherish the memories with my kiddos. It didn’t help at all that I went looking for baby pics to post but most of them were lost when my laptop AND my backup external crashed right about the same time. Most of my Seth baby pics are gone. That’s a tad heart-wrenching to this Katy Kodak. But I did find some, thank you, Facebook….
It was a blessing to babysit my newest grandbaby and her big sister the same day Seth turned 5. I got my baby fix. 🙂
But, alas, it’s a new season and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Unlike most tales of terror about “the baby of the family,” our younger kids are the best behaved ones of the bunch. Seth is one of the most, obedient, sweet-natured, self-controlled youngins I’ve ever met. His big brother, Isaiah, too. They still act like children and throw the occasional fit but they have been well-trained by mom, dad and a team of well-trained siblings. We’ve learned a “few” things having so many like “learn from your mistakes.” It seems like common sense but common sense is sparse these days. We’ve been learning the whole 27 years and we’re still learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, I’m here to tell ya, you don’t. There’s always somebody you can learn from. On the other hand, to those young moms who have 6 month old and a 2 1/2 half-year old and want to share their wisdom with me, shut up. Close your mouth and listen for a change. We all know them. They’ve read the latest books on parenting and are enthusiastic, zealous and, yes, I was one of them at one time, usually wrong. Not about everything but a lot. I realized early on that I didn’t know what I was doing and sought out moms with older kids that I saw as well-trained, happy, well-behaved, etc. and started taking notes. I wouldn’t trust an expert that wrote a book unless you’ve seen how their kids turned out…as young adults. Okay, my two cents….end of rant. Back to the birthday boy and being a mommy of many….
I have some regrets but I will NEVER regret having so many children. As I posted on FB on Seth’s birthday, “People say they can’t imagine having so many kids.We can’t imagine life without Seth.” Is it hard work? Heck yea. Anything worthwhile is hard work and there is nothing more worthwhile than children. And, oh. my. wurd, do we have fun together…
So…my youngest is five…I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. We’re having a Minecraft Birthday Bash Sunday but we celebrate the “official” day with a menu planned by the birthday child and they get out of chores for the day. Seth chose donuts for breakfast, something we don’t eat a lot.
The sugar buzz helped him get through a grueling day of unlimited Minecraft time. We had his Pizza Rolls and other health food while watching a movie then he opened his cards and a gift I picked up at the local children’s consignment shop, Cradle and All. I’d like to take a moment and pat myself of the back for spotting said gift. I looked it up on Amazon. I need you click on that link so you can see how much that piece of plastic costs new! $12.50, baby. Thank you very much.
Yes, it’s another piece of furniture to take up space but Seth loves Batman and he was delighted. He’s still delighted; he told me today how much he “weally likes the Batman toy I got him.” So much fun!
And so begins, yet another, NEW season of life. Every time I turn around, I get hit upside the head with a new season! My babies are growing but there are still babies and toddlers in the house! And the grandbabies are so much fun!
Happy Birthday, little man!
What’s not shared is lost,
Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables. Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play! People who know me know I would have fun with it. I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?
As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again. Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character. Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.” That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts. Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!
It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee. Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!
SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)
What’s not shared is lost,
UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…
Last month, I read Mark Lee’s encouraging blog post about journaling and being self-disciplined so decided I was going to get on the stick with my blog. Unfortunately, right at that time, our family was thrown into a whirlwind of spiritual attach via another family that left me, um, speechless! I didn’t allow myself to blog because I didn’t want to be tempted to, you know, SIN, and since we were in the midst, I felt it would be lying to journal and act as if none of it was going on. And, honestly, I don’t know how I could have written anything without writing about that. Hopefully, the worst is behind us but I still can’t seem to write without addressing it. It’s a part of our story, now, and it certainly isn’t my favorite part. It was a brief (again, I hope) trial, rather bizarre and we learned a lot. Aspects of this part of our life would certainly qualify as dirty laundry so, therefore, I don’t plan on hanging it out there. But…I also am not going to ignore this part of our lives as it has made such an impact on us.
Some of what I have learned from our experience doesn’t necessarily sound positive. For example, I won’t be so trusting of people from here on out. Just because they are a Christian, homeschooling family doesn’t mean they are like-minded, or even stable, for that matter. There are folks who give a pretty convincing performance but God has a way of revealing who a person really is behind the masquerade. I sensed something was awry at the onset of this trial. While some may chastise my distrust of people, God calls it discernment and if we’re walking with Him, His Spirit gives us “nudges” that let us know something isn’t right. I was nudged. A lot. I/He was right. Every hunch I had was right. BUT, I trusted that good, Christian people only have the best intentions. Turns out I was wrong.
I have also learned that real friends who really love you can really be trusted to stand up for you. It was SO tempting to try to set the record straight, to defend our family, to retaliate. We chose to hold our tongues. We knew that “the accuser” was being given reign to attack our family through some folks and that we should not “answer fools according to their folly, or we would be like them.” Proverbs 26:4 It was also just easier to be quiet. The amount of emotional energy that is required for psychodrama is just not worth it! Meanwhile, friends…real friends stood up for us and tried to speak truth on our behalf. Unfortunately, those friends who were willing to stick their necks out were also abused verbally. We were also encouraged by those who told us that our actions in response to the outlash showed integrity, dignity, etc. Here I thought I was just being lazy. Seriously, though, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Proverbs 17:28 We could have rebutted, but as it was, if these folks were truly brothers and sisters in Christ, they would have been following Matthew 18 and coming to us to discuss “their version” of the situation. I struggled for a bit with whether we should follow Matthew 18 and go to them but when my DH pointed out that they were using Facebook (and you thought it was just for social networking) to lambaste our family and would not listen to anyone who tried to discourage their behavior, he deduced that they would not be people to recon with and that we should NOT treat them as siblings in Christ. So we are praying for them and regarding them as deceived people who really do have problems – problems God can use if they will choose to follow Him.
I need not go into detail but I did learn that when we raise our children by teaching them God’s Word, by doing our best to set an example worth following, discuss life issues on a regular basis, and have their hearts, I can trust they will choose to do what’s right. They will make mistakes. They will fall. That’s been a hard lesson to learn, too. As a mom, I want to keep them safe and guide them to do what’s right. But when they grow into young adults, the only direction I can give them is the direction I have earned the right to give. It’s at this point my children look for direction when they think they need it. If I’ve done my job right, they will look to God, come to their father or I, and seek wise counsel. We all screw up, though! I need to remember that, though I think my children are awesome, they aren’t flawless and will make mistakes, will break my heart, will disappoint me and themselves! My goal is to be ready with open arms to accept my children with all the dirt and scrapes, clean them up and patch up any wounds IF they want it OR show them how to do it themselves. I’ve also learned that my children will shine their light brightest through a trial, that they want to do what’s right, will take a bad situation and do their best to turn it around, and will do like I’m doing here, learn from the situation.
As if the lessons weren’t aplenty, I know that I have a husband who will stand up for his family, will confront head-on those who would seek to do us harm, and will speak wisdom into your life whether you want him to or not. (Here’s hoping seeds were planted!)
I can honestly say I have been blessed through this ordeal due to our family coming together to carry each other’s loads, our friends’ wonderful support, and seeing how individual yoots handled themselves. I am so proud of my kids!
What’s not shared is lost,
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19,20