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The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Gave Myself


I’ve read a ton of parenting books. Something about having three little ones at home makes a person desperate for advice, help, and encouragement.

Books. Blogs. Podcasts. How-to-make-everybody-sleep manuals. Anything parenting related, I'm interested. 

But knowledge only goes so far. You actually put it into practice. Ask me any parenting question, and I’m bound to have a “smart” answer for you. Just don’t come over to my house and ask me how I do it. You don’t want to do what I do.

However, there are a few things I am genuinely working on. These are things I remind myself of daily when I know I need to step up my parenting game. 

This, my friends, is the best parenting advice I give myself. 

1.       Stop talking. Whatever you are about to say, don’t. Think about the words that are about to come out of your mouth. Do you need to say them? Are they kind? Do you intend to follow through with whatever threat/warning/instruction/command you are about to say? Cause if you don’t *really* mean it, then it’s best not to say it. 

So much confusion and chaos in parenting comes from the fact that we are quick to give commands and slow to make our kids follow through. I’ve heard it referred to as first time obedience (making sure your children obey everything you say the first time), but really I think it’s more of a “stop being a lazy parent” issue. If you are going to give your kids an instruction, be ready to help them obey. If you want kids who take your words seriously, YOU have to BE serious.

2.       Put down your phone. I know you just need to do A, B, and C really quick, but while you are doing those small things, one of your kids is doing LMNOP in the living room and another is shoving XYZ down the toilet. Do you really wanna have to clean that up?

There is definitely a time and place for being on your phone or computer. Whether it’s paying bills or just checking Facebook, those things are a part of our lives and are perfectly acceptable. However, DON’T let those things cause chaos in your home. If you decide that NOW is the best time to get online, at least stop and take care of your kids first. 

Make them stay in the room with you, or start a movie, or strap them in their high chairs, or at least put up a baby gate for goodness sakes! Make sure they are locked up occupied in a safe and controlled environment. Don't just let them run wild while you tune out all the screaming and pretend that you don't even have kids. Just don't. 

3.       Give kids what they want. You know it’s a proven fact that the happiest people in the world get everything they want (not really). Why not just give your kids what they want and make them happy? Of course, I’m not talking about sugar or non-stop television, but do look for ways to give your kids the things they want.

Have a child that won’t stop playing in the toilet? Put a massive bowl of water in the middle of the kitchen floor and let them go to town. Kids won’t stop jumping on the bed? Throw all the pillows on the floor and let them jump off stools instead. Have a little shadow following you around all day? Take the time to let them “help” with whatever you are doing. Two-year-old won’t stop throwing toys? Give her a massive tub full of plastic balls and let her throw them everywhere (maybe even at you!).

So often, I get into a “no” mindset. I’m always saying, “No, you may not do this or that or that other thing.” Sometimes I have to make myself say “yes”. Often that means figuring out what my kids want to do and finding a way they can do it without breaking all the rules and/or hurting themselves. It requires some creativity, but praise the Lord, we have Pinterest. Just imagine how difficult it would have been to raise a child before the internet came along! (not really…)

4.       Be ridiculous. There will come a time when you will find yourself across the room from a young child who has repeatedly done something that drives you crazy. Because you completely ignored Rule #1, you will have said, “Stop doing that,” 7 million times. When you finally snap, you’ll move quickly across the room with the sole intent of teaching your young child a lesson.

You are angry and understandably so, but THIS is the moment when you really need to stop and do something ridiculous. Run at your child making a weird face and howling like a monkey. Scream “bah!” really loudly and attack said child, tickling them until they beg for mercy. Announce you are serving cookies and ice cream for lunch, and join your children in their celebration dance.

There are times when my kids really do deserve consequences for their actions, but I’m just too tired or too angry to be fair. So instead, we curl up and read a book or snuggle on the couch, or tickle each other until we are both laughing so hard the offense has been forgotten and forgiven.

Because sometimes we ALL really need to laugh. Parenting is hard work, and no matter how much you know, somedays you just aren't going to do it "right". That's okay. Your kids don't need a perfect parent. They just need YOU.

FREE Printable Christmas Gift Tags


I've been super busy in Photoshop this past week, and while I was there I whipped up a little something for YOU.

This is a PDF download of four printable gift tags that match the small Christmas scripture cards I have in my Etsy store. Of course, you can just use them as regular ole' gift tags, but I thought they would be super cute attached to a metal ring along with a set of verse cards.

In less than an hour you could have 8 homemade Christmas gifts perfect for Sunday School teachers, friends, or anyone who usually just gets a plate of cookies.

Scripture Card Set- $4
Set of 8 Book Rings- $2
Gift Tags- FREE

That's $6 for 8 gifts. You can't beat it!

Count Your Blessings



Tis the season of Thankfulness. I love this time of year. Leaves are falling and there is a decided chill in the air. After a long summer and a busy fall, we take a moment to stop and thank God for all the good in our lives. It’s a time count our blessings.

Healthy children, financial provision, family and friends, job stability...

That's the usual list I hear when people give thanks. We thank God for the things in our lives that make us happy and comfortable. We thank him for the things we love most.

But just for a moment I want to draw your attention to Matthew 5: 3-10. 
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It's a unique list, unlike anything the world has to offer. The word blessed here literally means happy. Happy is the man who mourns. Happy is the man who is merciful. Happy is the man who is persecuted. By the world's standards it doesn't make sense. The world says blessed are those who pursue their own dreams, who follow their hearts, who have fun and laughter. Blessed are those who have good food, nice houses, and new cars. 

But Jesus says, "Blessed are you when you have Christ." 

Look at the scripture again. Where is the blessing? How is it that we posses the kingdom of heaven, recieve comfort, and inherit the earth? How are filled with righteousness, obtain mercy, and see God? How is it that we are given the power to become the children of God? 

In Christ. 

In these verses, Jesus takes everything we thought we knew about blessings and turns them upside down. The old covenant was all about "do good and be blessed." Obey and God will give you children, health, land, provision, and safety. 

But Jesus changed everything. The new covenant can be summed up in two simple words: In Christ. In Christ you find forgiveness of sin. In Christ you know God the Father. In Christ you will be blessed. In Christ you have hope of eternity.

It's not always an easy road to follow. In talking about our salvation, Peter says, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" {1 Peter 1:6-7}

There are times in our lives when we will feel the heaviness of abundant temptations, but even in those troubled times we are still blessed! Our faith is perfected and strengthened through trials, and it's that faith that brings praise, honor, and glory to Christ. The trials in our lives draw us closer to God and cause us to run to the feet of Christ for more grace.  

So this thanksgiving as you stop to count your blessings, I encourage you to give thanks for everything in your life that draws you to Christ, those things that are joyful and those that are difficult to bear, because everything we have that is of any worth is always found...

In Christ. 


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