Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Joy of Teaching Children

I have recently been reminded of how "precious" children are in this world. It comes in the most unusual ways too! Normally I would write how my children did the most outstanding, adorable thing to make me reflect on why children are so wonderful - but if I were to do that you would soon question the validity of my past blogs. If you have been following my blog, you will find that I don’t "sugar-coat" the truth when it comes to children. I'm one of "those" people who tell it like it is. I am one to tell you that motherhood is hard - but rewarding. I am one to tell you that children are a challenge - but a true blessing in our lives. 

In truth, life without children wouldn't be life at all. They have the ability to teach you about yourself in ways that you wouldn't otherwise have the chance to learn. For example, in the past couple of weeks we have been struggling across the age span of our children and their challenges. We have had everything from "I can't wait to move out!" to "I hate you!" to "What's for dinner mom?" to "I love you mommy!" Yes, in my family we have all types of "tudes" that can get in the way of seeing the bigger picture. Thank goodness for a sweet hubby that has stepped in and came to bat for the mamma!

My hubby was able to smooth several ruffled feathers and point out to our wonderful offspring that I am not the enemy, but someone they can trust to get them over the difficult times or trials in their young lives. He was able to help them see that I could teach them how to get through the challenges they are going through. I guess he was able to help each child see that mamma has "been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it". All in all, things have worked out ok and we have all become "friends" again - well, almost.

I really am grateful for the past couple weeks of challenges cuz it has taught me that I love to teach children. I love the challenge of helping them see the best in themselves and to reach beyond what they think they are capable of. In short, I love to teach - no matter if it is in a home or school setting.

I have had the distinct privilege to help in my youngest child's kindergarten class. I go in every Friday for about an hour and help these sweet children. It is a joy (not to mention a great ego-boost) to walk into the class and see the faces of the children light up with excitement because they know that I am going to help them learn.

I think I have been missing this part of my life for a while now. As you will remember, I wrote about how I have worked with young children as a child-care provider, Kindergarten teacher and a Pre-School teacher. I don't really know what has me hooked either! I think it's a cross between finding some new exciting teaching tool and the excitement of a child when they are learning and finally "get it".

I have recently been contacted by a lady, Seisha Lock, who works for Upon further investigation, I have found this to be a wonderful teaching website that has many learning opportunities for children from ages 2-11 years of age. It is filled with learning games, stories & songs your child can explore online, as well as offers worksheets you can print to encourage "off-line" learning for your child. 
My daughter really had a fun time creating the "pretty pizzas" in the build a pizza game that teaches math skills!  In the course of my communications with Seisha, she gave me permission to include one of the many worksheets available from their website as a glimpse of what they offer.  (Feel free to print and share this worksheet.  The answer sheet is included as well).
To quote Seisha Lock for
"Make learning fun for your young learner with our matching list worksheet. Give your child more opportunities to sharpen their literacy with reading games, worksheets, and activities at!"

I was blown away when I was contacted by! It made me start to think of all I have done in helping to encourage young children to learn and become the best they can possibly be. It helped me to realize how important a role I play in teaching children they need to keep trying no matter how hard the task seems. To see the excitement in a young child's eyes when they finally master a task is more precious and rewarding then words can state.

I was also approached by my daughter's Kindergarten teacher and asked if I had ever considered being a substitute teacher. Not gonna lie…when you are less than 5 feet tall, your options are kinda limited. But if I were to be a substitute teacher, it would be for Kindergarten. The children are so eager to learn and explore. They are finally doing what their older siblings are doing and this is a very exciting time for each child at this age. Not to mention, I am taller than most Kindergarten children!!

So to answer the teacher's question, YES! I would consider being a substitute teacher for the Kindergarten grade. Maybe next year when my youngest is in all-day school and I am looking for something to fill by day with, I will seriously consider making the difference in other people's young children's lives once again. Until then, I will continue the wonderful challenge of my own children and helping them to see what amazing people they can become!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Are You Willing to Serve?

If you were asked to give service for a long period of time would you?  It is easy to serve someone for a day or a week, but how about a month or a year?  How about 7 years?  I'm afraid I have been in the "this is too hard" or the "I don't have time" category of thinking.  I want to change - right now!  I have discovered in my own self that I am a very selfish type of person that is very reserved when it comes to helping others.  I try to be kind and serve when I can, but if that service has been asked for long term I start to think that service has now become a burden to me.  In this way of thinking I am wrong.  I have been given many examples of how my attitude needs to change and how my service is a blessing to others.

One of the best blessings I received was when I was asked to serve my grandparents.  Several years ago when both my mother's parents were alive, I was asked to make and deliver dinner to them each Thursday night.  I was really "put-out" with this request because I felt that my youngest sister, who was living there, could just take care of it.  After all, that is what she was there to do - take care of the grandparents.  Needless to say, my attitude stunk!

One Thursday night my attitude changed.  I had brought in the usual meal.  Served it on plates to take into my grandparents.  (They always ate meals in their chairs in the living room in front of the TV.)  As usual, my grandmother asked me to re-heat her dinner cuz it wasn't hot enough, so I did.  As I delivered their meals to their trays, my grandfather muted the TV and asked my grandmother to say the blessing on the food.

My hardened heart cracked with that simple blessing on the food.  My grandmother not only asked a blessing on the food, but she humbly expressed her gratitude for me and the sacrifice that I was making to bring them dinner.  She then expressed her love for me to Heavenly Father and asked that He bless my family.  Right then I knew that I would never see bringing dinner to my grandparents as a burden ever again.  It was a gift of love that I would willingly share with them for as long as the Lord allowed me to serve them.

After my grandfather passed on, my grandmother had an extended stay in an assisted living home.  I made it a point to visit with her every Monday afternoon.  I took my young son  with me, and sometimes my oldest daughter would come as well.  We had amazing visits together.  We would even bring her treats at times.  There would be times when we would enter her room and she would be on the phone with someone and she would look at us, smile and then tell whoever was on the other line "I got to go.  My boyfriend is here."  Then she would give my son the biggest hug a great-grandmother could give.

I didn't realize how much my grandmother treasured these visits until I received a "tongue lashing" from her.  You see, I was expecting my third child and had become somewhat ill.  It made it difficult to visit my grandmother for a few weeks in a row.  When I finally felt well enough to resume my visits, I came into the center to find her playing BINGO with the other residents.  Her response was to look over her shoulder at me, give me the "death glare" at say "Well, it's about time!"  I vowed never to miss my weekly visits with her again.

Now that she is no longer with us, these are some of the most treasured memories that I  keep close to my heart.  I feel more blessed than I can ever comprehend because I took the time from my busy day to serve her.  It may not seem like much, but it made the world of difference in her life, and I have realized that it made a difference in my life as well.

I know that when we give service to others we not only bless their lives, but our lives are equally blessed.  When we give willingly of ourselves the Lord will make sure that our needs are met.  If there are hurts in our lives they will be healed.  If we are depressed, we will have greater hope because we will be able to focus on someone to help make a difference in their world.

I watched a video that really touched my heart.  It tells of a group of men who gave of their time and service for over seven years to a woman who was disabled.  Please take the time to watch the video.  Go ahead, I'll wait………(click on picture below to see the video.  Be sure to have tissues ready....)

I challenge each of you, myself included, to get out and find someone to serve today.  It can be in the tiny little things that you do - remember that service doesn’t have to be big.  Just serve with a smile and a willing heart.  Those that you serve may not ever tell you "thank you", but they will always be grateful for how you touched their lives for good.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hold on to the Kite String

Image result for kite photographyThe other day my family spent a wonderful night at the park flying kites.  Nothing fancy, just your run of the mill plastic triangle kites.  The kids had a blast!  They knew the "proper" way to fly the kite was to get it up in the air then lie down on their bellies and watch them soar through the sky.

As I was watching them, I was reminded of a story I once heard, long ago, about a boy who flew a kite with his father.  The story went something like this:
Image result for kite photography"The boy was very young. It was his first experience with kite flying. His father helped him, and after several attempts the kite was in the air. The boy ran and let out more string, and soon the kite was flying high. The little boy was so excited; the kite was beautiful. Eventually there was no more string left to allow the kite to go higher. The boy said to his father, “Daddy, let’s cut the string and let the kite go; I want to see it go higher and higher.”
His father said, “Son, the kite won’t go higher if we cut the string.”
Image result for broken kite“Yes, it will,” responded the little boy. “The string is holding the kite down; I can feel it.” The father handed a pocketknife to his son. The boy cut the string. In a matter of seconds the kite was out of control. It darted here and there and finally landed in a broken heap. That was difficult for the boy to understand. He felt certain the string was holding the kite down."

WOW! What a great story!  Short and simple, yet so profound!  How many times have you thought, or your children thought, that the rules we live by each and every day are "holding us down" and that if we just "cut the string" we will be able to fly?

I know for me that when I have followed the "rules" I have been spared heartache time and time again.  I haven't allowed my body to become addicted to "outside influences" that have the potential to shorten my lifespan.  I have also found that when I have followed the rules I haven't felt trapped or stunted; I have been able to fly to greater potential.  I know that I am not fully there yet, but if I hold on tight to that string, I will fly to higher and higher heights.

We, as mammas, teach our children from the time they are born to the time they flee the home how to be respectable human begins that will eventually contribute good to society.  We sometimes think when that child rebels we did something wrong or that we didn’t do enough.  We most often forget that our beautiful child has a wonderful brain of their own and, like us, they were given the same agency we were given when sent to earth.  The only way to develop that trait is through experiences and choices - both good and bad.

As a mamma you will no doubt hear the familiar phrases: "you just don't understand!"  or "you're just saying that so I can't have any fun!" or "why do we have stupid rules anyway?"  These are all great questions that a "normal" child wanting to develop their independence will at some point in time ask you.  Your job as a great mamma is to be prepared to answer these questions, I hope that you can answer with the same amount of love that a loving Heavenly Father gives us.

When He gave us commandments to follow, He knew we would ask these questions and He also knew that we would "test the limits" of the 'rules'.  He doesn’t come down hard on us for the mistakes we make, He instead pleads with us to recognize what we have done wrong, repent of the wrong choices we do make, and once again look to Him to lead and guide us back home to Him.  Not always an easy task if you ask me!

When you have an over-passionate teen who wants desperately to spread their wings and fly to higher and higher heights, they start to feel as if the 'rules' are holding them back, and they will start to rebel.  This will lead to many a drawn-out fight, or at least heated arguments on why these sorts of behaviors or choices are unacceptable.  You as a mamma will feel that you have "lost" your little child forever and that you have done everything possible in your being to help this child see that you really do love them with all your heart and that you would walk through fire to save them - from anything!  When they rebel, your heart breaks into a thousand tiny little pieces that you fear will never be repaired again.  I'm here to tell you there is HOPE!

A few years back, I was struggling with one on my children and I had had ENOUGH!  I was at my wits end, and I just didn't know what to do anymore.  I was by myself most of the time cuz my hubby's schedule was kinda 'off' so I really didn't have a "daddy figure" in my home all the time.  One night I left the house, just so I could cool off and not say or do anything to my child that I would later regret.  (I have to say, my child was perfectly safe.  I also returned within 10 minutes of leaving.)  I had gone to a friend's home who helped me to calm down and helped me realize that this type of behavior is "normal" for children to exhibit.  She also told me that things would work out in the end.

My poor wounded heart was breaking - but I dried my tears and went home to my child.  I did love that child with all my heart then - and I still do to this very day - even more!  I was determined to seek for the help and guidance from Heavenly Father.  That guidance came a couple weeks later while we were reading our nightly scriptures.  The answer was this:

Jacob 5:47-50

47 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?
48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?
49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard?
50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.
How many times as a parent do we sit and wonder what we could have done more to teach our children to have the courage to make good choices and become who Heavenly Father knows they can be?  We spend our days and nights teaching them right from wrong.  Praying for them to find the right path for themselves, just to have them choose a different path.  This leads us to doubt ourselves as a mamma and ask am I enough?  How many times have we sat down and said "I'm a failure!  I just can't teach them anything!  They just won't listen to me!  I can't do it anymore!"  These are very real questions that I have asked many a time. 

Image result for kite flyingI have also received many answers to these questions.  Mainly through the spirit of our Heavenly Father that whispers, "Spare them a little longer." 

This statement "spare them a little longer" gives me hope every day of my life.  It also reminds me these precious children are not really mine.  They are "on-loan" from Heavenly Father.  They were sent here to grow and develop, just like I did.  I made some pretty stupid mistakes in my long life, and they too are gonna make the same stupid mistakes.  They are their own person, having their own life experience.  You are NOT a failure because of the choices your child chooses to make!

I hold onto hope that one day my children will be the persons I know they can be.  If you are a mamma that is losing a grip on hope for your children, tie a knot at the end of your rope and hold on, have a little more love and patience for your child.  There is a plan for the hardest of children out there.  Heavenly Father is in control of EVERYTHING and He will give you the HOPE you so desperately need.  He loves you just as much as He loves your child.  After all, you are both His. Trust in Heavenly Father and His plan for you and your children.

Image result for kite flyingI leave this thought with you, hold onto hope, always hold tight to the kite string.  This will help you keep grounded in the love Heavenly Father has for you. You will both feel the freedom to fly to higher heights than you could ever imagine.  Of these things, I can promise you!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Angels Among Us

Do you believe in angels?  I sure do!  This past week has been a great eye opener to me that our loving Heavenly Father really does know who I am and He sends "angels" to me when I need them the most.  I'm not talking about "heavenly apparitions", I'm talking about those loving friends and family that just "happen" to show up at the right place at the exact minute you need the love and support.  Those people who are willing to drop everything to help out in time of need.

You see, my father-in-law had flooding in his basement, which he discovered on July 4th.  This may not mean anything to those of you outside the USA, but here in the states it's a HUGE holiday.  Trying to round up help on this day is near impossible. 

He called us and we were able to drop everything and drive over to his home and assess the situation.  When we got there, we discovered the entire basement was flooded with about two inches of water.  It was as if a spring had sprung right through his house.  Luckily, the water was clear water and not sewage muck and yuck.  That was blessing #1.

Blessing #2 came when the neighbor had just returned early from a camping trip and ran over to see how he could help.  #3 came later that night when we were able to contact several people to come help us remove all the carpets from the basement.  Up until this moment, my father-in-law and I had been sucking out the water from the carpets to make them lighter to remove.  This was super hard work cuz we had to basically do the work 2-3 times.  Because we were blessed with strong "man-power", the carpets were quickly removed and our job became less burdensome.

Blessing #4 came the next day.  When we first arrived on the scene, we had discovered that more water had come into the home.  I needed to make an emergency trip home, and when I got into my van to return to my father-in-laws home, my sweet angel sister drove up to my home just as I was pulling out of my driveway.  She then offered to take my children for the remainder of the day.  What can I say?  Angels really do walk the earth!!   

Blessing #5 was when we called the "sewer guy" who came and pumped out several truck loads of clean water.  He then said to us, "ya know, my daddy always told me that you're not gonna get rich off of one guy.  I can sit here a pump your water all day and waste your money, but I don't want to do that.  What you need to do is get a pump down there that can take this water out to the fields.  When the "clean" water is down, then I can come here and do some real good."  WOW!  Who else but an angel from heaven would give us the opportunity to look at the situation in a different light?

That is what happened.  We were able to sit back and regroup.  We then remembered that a dear friend had access to a larger pump.  He was able to come set up the pump where it needed to be and get the water away from the house.  (The horses in the corral are really loving having fresh cold water to drink and play in!)  Because he set the pump up, the basement remained dry.  BOOM!  Blessing #6 just occurred!

Blessing #7 came when the insurance was called and said they will cover all of the repairs after the deductible has been met.  This is a MAJOR blessing, because there is a ton of work that needs to be done.  Not only will they cover the repairs, they set up the appointment with the restoration company to come and do the work!  This will save us from having to do many back-breaking hours of labor ourselves!

Even though this has been a very trying situation, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending the angels when we needed them.  I am reminded of the song "Angels Among Us".  The words go something like:

I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

I sang this song for the rest of the day.  It helped to make my "burden" lighter.  It also was a testimony to my heart that angels do walk the earth today.  They are the smile of a stranger that makes you feel better.  A compliment given to someone who is frazzled to their core that helps them see that not everything is bad.  It is a kind word from a neighbor.  It is in the strong hands and backs from those men and women who are willing to lend a hand no matter the day or hour.  Angels are the comforting touch that makes all your cares and sadness melt away.

I could go on and on.  I know that each and every one of you have your own "angel" story.  My most recent one is this experience.  I will treasure my "angels" and thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to recognize them as His love for me.

I hope you can take just a few minutes out of your busy life to listen to the song from Alabama "Angels Among Us"

Image result for Alabama Band angels among us
Click here to view video
Angels Among Us

I was walkin' home from school
On a cold winter day,
Took a short cut through the woods
And I lost my way.
It was gettin' late, and I was scared and alone.
Then a kind old man took my hand, and led me home.
Mama couldn't see him,
But he was standing there,
And I knew in my heart
He was the answer to my prayer.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

When life held troubled times
And had me down on my knees
There's always been someone
To come along and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger
To lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend
Just to say I understand
Now ain't it kind of funny
At the dark end of the road
Someone light the way with just a single ray of hope.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

They wear so many faces,         
Show up in the strangest places
And grace us with their mercies in our time of need.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.
To guide us with a light of love
Songwriters: Don Goodman / Becky Hobbs 
Angels Among Us lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

I thank all the angels that have been a part of my life and I hope I can be blessed to recognize all the angels that will come into my life in the future.  I also hope that Heavenly Father can use me as an angel in someone else's life.  Now, go out and thank your "angel" today, then be the "angel" for someone else.