April 2013 - Sarah Mae
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Monthly Archives: April 2013

How Funny Will that Sassy Attitude Be in a Few Years? {5 Ideas to Tame the Sass in Your Babes}

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My Caroline is one sassy little spitfire.

She is also sweet and adorable and giggly and I couldn’t love her more. She is lovely to me.

But that sass. Her hand is just about permanently fixed on her hip, and the girl knows how to throw out some attitude. And honestly, it’s funny. She cracks my husband and I up. It’s cute now, but I’m thinking it’s not going to be so cute in a few years.

And I know this! I know that a sassy (impudent) attitude is not something I want to cultivate in my girl, and yet, I’ve let it slip in, and I’ve encouraged it.

Now please let me put something out there before I talk more about the sass; I love Caroline’s bright and lively, full-spirited personality! I will never try and tame the way God weaved her. She can have a gentle and quiet spirit and still be loud and fun, because “quiet” does not mean quiet at all, it means *tranquil (Tweet that). I want her to have a gentle and peaceful spirit, settled, content in the One who made her, vivacious her.

However, I will work towards taming the sass. I will work towards cultivating humility and kindness and gentleness in her spirit. There are no guarantees that I will be successful, but if the Holy Spirit is in her, the work is really not mine at all do; it is His. I will guide, I will correct, and I will let her see my failures and my dependance on the only One who can mold a person. With these things in mind, here are some suggestions for helping to tame the sass…

Five Ideas to Tame the Sass in Your Little One

Quit Laughing

Seriously, this sounds easy, but it’s hard. It’s hard because you’ve probably formed a habit of laughing at your babes cute sass, and it’s also hard because others probably laugh and encourage the sass (and you can’t control others). Start paying attention to how you respond to the sass, and try instead to discourage it, correcting it immediately.

Correct Immediately (gently and with a smile)

Correction sounds so harsh and un-fun, doesn’t it? And yet, sometimes that’s what we’ve got to do as parents. I remember a mentor once telling me that she tried to have more “yeses” in her children’s world’s than “nos” and I love that philosophy, and I agree with it! We could try and create an environment where we laugh and smile and encourage rather than frown and fix. With “yeses” in mind, when it comes to correcting, one way is to praise when your child acts in humble, kind, generous, respectful ways. “Oh honey, you did SUCH a good job when you spoke kindly to your daddy, I am so proud of you!” {Hugs and squeezes and affirmation.} When the sass rears it’s saucy head, you can gently bend down and say something like, “Words are for kindness and building other’s up. Let’s try and speak in kind ways.” Also, if you catch yourself speaking in a sassy way, ask your children to forgive you; let them know it’s not your ideal. One more thing, be patient with them.

Pay Attention to Your Own Sass (and the Influences Around Your Babes)

I’m pretty sure Caroline gets her sass from me {sigh}. Maybe your babes are picking up the sass from you, or a friend, or a T.V. show. Speaking of T.V., I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most shows for kids and tweens are FULL of sass and outright disrespect for siblings and parents. We mess up a ton in our house, but the one area we are trying to be super diligent about is what is going into our children’s minds when it comes to movies and T.V. If you’re kiddos watch Disney or other seemingly innocent stations or shows, sit down with them for an episode and take note. Not cool. I highly recommend not getting sucked into the popular kid shows of our day, there influence is strong.

Memorize Scripture

Find a scripture that you can memorize with your child. Here is the one we memorized (I sing it, which helps it stick):

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is precious in the sight of the Lord.” 1 Peter 3: 3-4

If you use this verse, talk to your chid about the “hidden person of the heart”. Talk about what “imperishable” and “precious” mean. Teach your children to ask God to create in them the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit in their inner person. Remind them that it is God, through the Holy Spirit who does the work; they cannot “fix” themselves, but they can ask God and they agree with Him.

Pray For and With Your Babe

Ask God to mold your children’s spirits, and ask Him to show you specific ways you can help guide your children; ask Him for wisdom and discernment, and pray that Jesus’ voice would be louder than the enemy’s. Teach your children to pray for these things as well.

Your Turn

How have you dealt with sass in your children?

Love, SM

*From Strong’s Greek: hēsýxios (an adjective derived from hēsyxos, “quiet, stillness”) – properly, quiet (still), i.e. steady (settled) due to a divinely-inspired inner calmness. (Isn’t that lovely?!)

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eBook Picks {Homeschooling, Parenting Resources I’m Using}

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The Armor of God $2.50

It was a gift to find this eBook in the homemaking bundle collection because I have been thinking through how I want to teach my son about the armor of God. Even though he is only six, he is already dealing with the awakenings of the male mind. I have some ideas of what I want to do to instill in him integrity, honor, and a respect towards ladies, and this eBook is a great start!

Because he’s only six, we’re going to skip over the copy work portion of this eBook (it’s more suited towards a first grader and up), but I’ll definitely start on the discussion questions (“What kind of king would you be? How would you rule your kingdom?”), the memory game, the coloring page, and the Design Your Own Sword. We’ll be digging into this study ASAP!

BookCovers

Write Through the Bible $5

I love this workbook! My 7 year old is just about finished with her Spelling book, and instead of moving on to the next book during the summer, I’m going to have her work through this writing guide.

It goes through a cycle of copy work, vocabulary, and dictation. The goal is that when finished (it’s a full school year’s worth of writing), your child will have memorized Philippians 2:1-18 (ESV), and have better handwriting! I’m really looking forward to trying this with my girl!

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Raising Rockstars Kindergarten $10

I mean really, score. Carisa‘s curriculum’s are amazing. AMAZING. She is a gift to the blogosphere for any parent who is looking for great learning resources for their babes. I’ll be doing this one with my son over the summer and the preschool version with my 4 year old.

200x200 Curriculum

ABC’s for Godly Girls & Boys $8 each

The reason I like this Bible Curriculum is because of the flash cards. Take a look…

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I’m going to fire up my laminator and use the girl flash cards with Ella (the 7 year old). To me, the $8 is well worth these colorful scripture cards, even though there is so much more to the curriculum! Each lesson in the eBook includes a character trait (A is for attitude) , a primary Bible verse, a bonus verse, a key Bible character, a lesson, an activity idea, and a craft idea. This could be used for some great one-on-one time with your babes.

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4 Moms of 35 Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions $7.99

I mean HELLO! I LOVE hearing from older, wiser women who have gone before me in raising children. And a Q & A format to boot? Perfect, in my opinion. For each question, each mom gives an answer of what her family has done (so there are different opinions/ideas, not a formalistic approach). Brilliant I tell you. Here are some of the questions:

How do you keep things fair for all your children?

How do you teach your children to do chores?

How do you teach your children about the birds and the bees?

And SO many more! This is a wonderful resource for any mama!

 

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The Rhythm of Rest 2.99

Why did I add this eBook? Because I’M A MOM. And, you know, I tend to not “honor” rest. Also, what does “honoring rest” even mean??

I just love Danielle’s spirit, and this eBook is a lovely offering for the mama (or any woman) who could use some practice in what it means to honor the rhythm of rest. This eBook includes Danielle’s stories, tips, and “Take a Breathe” journaling exercises to help you enter the Rest.

 …

Now tell me, what are some of your favorite eBooks on parenting and/or education?

Love, SM

Affiliate links are in this post. If you purchase anything through my blog, I’ll get a portion of the sale, so thank you!

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Parenting is My Kingdom Work

“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom you may be tucking in bed each night.” -Wes Stafford

Here is what I remember of my normal, every days as a child:

Bologna sandwhiches and Full House.

Having to play cars with my brother.

Picking up sticks.

Washing the bathtub.

Mac & Cheese or Beefaroni dinners.

Eating alone, while watching T.V.

Playing with friends.

Playing alone in my room.

I have no recollection of any intentional time being spent on me as a child. Time that involved teaching me, nurturing my soul, walking alongside me, explaining life in gentle, age-appropriate ways, engaging with my life and my thoughts and my troubles. This isn’t a slam on my parents so much as it is a commentary to how many families “raise” their children, not knowing how to parent intentionally, being tired or overwhelmed, or too busy, or who knows what.

Read the rest over at (in)courage today!

Love, SM

P.S. The winner of the Desperate Gift Pack is Lynne B., the winner of the lovely Grace & Gratitude Collection is Gina, and the winner of Sparkly Green Earrings is Rebekah! Congrats!

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How to Lead a Women’s Small Group Bible Study in Your Home

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I know you’re busy.

Me too.

It’s been years since I facilitated a woman’s small group in my home. When I became pregnant with Caroline, I was tired and sick and didn’t want to have a small group in my home anymore (and I didn’t even want to go to one). I figured I could just pick it back up when I regained sanity and a got Care into a good sleep routine. Alas, things didn’t ever get back to the way they were. I never got over being tired, bedtimes became later at night, and I had no margin for one more thing. I had started to write, and that was my outlet; I felt like I needed it, so it was the only thing I made time for outside of my family. The problem was, I didn’t have any friends, and I thought I was fine. But you know, women need each other, and I had grown used to thinking I didn’t need anyone. I had convinced myself I was a loner.

This past winter I took a baby step and joined a woman’s bible study group at church. It was good, but it was in the church sanctuary and therefore lacked the intimate, inviting setting that {I think} only a home can provide. I love curling up on a chair or a couch with a some hot coffee in my hand and settling in for a good discussion. I miss having a women’s small group in my home.

I think it’s time to begin again.

If you’re thinking about starting a small group in your home, but aren’t sure how or where to begin, here’s a peek at what I’ve done (and plan to do)…

How to Start & Facilitate a Women’s Small Group in Your Home

Choosing to “Facilitate”

Notice that I used the word “facilitate” instead of lead. I say that because leading a study can feel intimidating, but facilitating one is just making a space where a study can happen; it’s being willing to get the ball rolling. As a facilitator my goal is to bring women together with a plan and to help (not dominate) the flow of the study and the evening. I’m making room for discussion to flourish by offering a warm, safe, and comfortable environment for women bring dark to light.

Figure Out What Kind of Study You Want to Facilitate

Do you want to read a book of the Bible, study a book, follow a Bible study guide, or have a topical study (one topic over a period of weeks, or a different topic each week)? It’s important to think through your limitations and count the cost before jumping in; pick something you know you can do with the time you have (this is so important so you can complete the study!).

Studies:

Reading a Book of the Bible: Pick a book and read through it together. Know what chapters you’ll be covering so everyone can read up, and then discuss it. This method is great for reaching out to your neighbors, those interested in learning more about the Bible, or new believers.

Use a Specific Method for Studying the Bible: One of my favorite ways to study the Bible in a group is by using the Inductive Bible study method. It is time consuming, but the insights you gain from the deeper study can be life-altering.

Use a Bible Study Guide: You can find Bible study guides anywhere. Beth Moore has a ton, and there is study for just about anything you could want to delve into. I usually do not like Bible study guides because the questions are obvious and the study can get boring real quick. However, there are some good ones out there (such as Beth Moore studies). Just make sure you leaf through it to make sure it has depth.

Discuss a Topic: You can do this by picking different topics for each week where you come prepared with your own thoughts, research, and scripture on the topic, or you can pick one topic to study the whole time, such as “marriage.” You can do your own research, or find a study guide to help you.

Read a Book: Sometimes it’s nice to just do a book club with other women. Get a hold of one of your favorites or one you’ve never read, and dig in together! If you’re doing a mom’s group, well, you know I recommend Desperate. 😉

Make a List of Women You’d Like to Invite

Think about the women around you that you think you would like to meet with over the course of several weeks. Do you just want some laid back girl-time with your dear friends, where you can talk super openly and have discussions late into the night? Or maybe you’d like to invite some women from your neighborhood or work or children’s school, and get to know them. Who is in your Oikos (those who God has placed around you)?

This time around for me, I’m going to invite some women from my neighborhood to study a book of the Bible together. I’m looking forward to deepening relationships that have begun, and watching to see how God’s Spirit moves during the several weeks we spend with one another.

Prepare for the Group

Depending on what kind of study you choose will dictate how much you need to prepare. You also need to figure out if your study will meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly (this depends again on what kind of study you’re doing and what your limitations are). As a homeschooling mom of three fairly little ones, I’m going to be doing the least amount of prep possible. I will read the chapter of the book we’re studying, write out a few questions or look some up, and that’s it. Do what you can with what you have.

Prepare the Environment

This is the fun part! Even if you don’t like to clean (hello, me), and you aren’t any good at decorating (hello, me again), you can still create a warm and intimate atmosphere where women feel comfortable and loved. It’s the little things, truly! Have a snack, some tea and/or coffee made, and have the living room picked up and comfy pillows around, and a candle or two lit. Let women know they can make themselves at home; let them know they can really settle in (naturally, this will take time).

Set Some Ground Rules

It’s a really good idea to have some ground rules ready to share. Here are the ones I use:

  • This is a safe, grace-filled place. Nothing said here gets shared with anyone else.
  • If you are an extrovert and have lot’s to say (that’s good, God made you that way!), keep in mind the quieter women of the group and give them time and space to share (rule of thumb for me as a facilitator is to count to 30 before answering – you could always pull your talkers aside privately and ask them to try that little trick as well)
  • If you disagree, do it kindly – we’re all on a journey figuring things out, and we’re all in different places with different histories and wounds, so be easy with each other (Life is hard, be kind)
  • Please try and be on time, and if you can’t make it, just call and let me know

What would you add?

Relax and Enjoy Learning/Discussing with Friends

Women like to talk, and if they feel safe, they’ll talk even more. Relax and let the night unfold! Have fun, think deeply (if you’re not sleep deprived with little ones), and enjoy the work that God is doing!

Bible Study Resources:

Studying Scripture Inductively 

How to Study a Book of the Bible

Printable for Doing a Topical Study

8 Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Bible Study Guide

Understanding Follow-Up of the New Believer

Desperate Small Group Guide for Moms

Keep on! -SM

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I’ve Stopped Trying to Tame My Children’s Tongues

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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

Cozied up under my covers with my head nuzzled into my pillow, I began to think, and the thoughts rolled silently on my tongue…

I was swearing, and there was bitterness, and jealousy. Even though these words were whispers to myself, they were there. And I thought instantly, this is the overflow of my heart. I can’t tame my tongue because this is a heart issue…my ugly is coming straight from inside my soul. 

“but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

So instead of praying, “Lord, help me tame my tongue.” I’m praying, “Lord, give me a pure heart.” Because if my heart is cleaned out and I submit to the work of the Holy Spirit, than the overflow will be good words, uplifting words, blessings instead of curses.

As I was pondering my heart, I thought about why it is so important to focus on our children’s hearts instead of trying to tame their tongues. I will often hear something they say, or the way they say something, and it’s filled with an edge. I say, “We are not going to talk like that, it is not okay.” And I’m trying to tame the tongue, but really, I need to pull my child aside and ask, “What’s going on? Can we talk about these words and what is maybe behind them?” It might sound like I’m overdoing it, but I see past the attitude and I see stress, or tension, or built up resentment – in children! Underneath the biting words are feelings of disrespect, being wronged, not being listened to, etc. When I take the time to gently prod the heart, I find the root of the overflow. If I can help my children untangle the roots, then their words will change because their hearts will mend. And we must do this over and over and over again, because sin is always lurking; the flesh is aways ready to try and dominate the spirit.

When left to myself, I follow my sin nature. When my children are left to themselves, they follow their sin natures. When I am not reading God’s Word, when I let myself go, when I don’t discipline myself to think on good and lovely things, I become Hitler. What of my children? What could they become without the sorting out in their hearts? I’ve got to dig in, and Lord you do the digging and sorting and molding.

Lord tame our hearts because we can’t tame our tongues. We need you.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Love, SM

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