Raising Kind Children

I don’t know about you, but I desire to raise kind children. Children who grow up to become kind adults. Adults who are kind to strangers in the street, adults who are kind to their families. I desire to raise kind humans. I know I am not the only one who strives to do this either.

But how? In today’s society, where bullies and evil run rampant, how do we teach our children how to be kind?

Do you know that old saying? “Do as I say not as I do?” yea, that doesn’t work. Anyone with common sense would be able to figure out that children are sponges. They absorb EVERYTHING. Which means they mimic everything. Right now our oldest daughter B will point out anytime she thinks we are saying a bad word. We, most of the time, aren’t even aware that she is listening to us. But she is. If I say that is ridiculous, she responds with ‘Mommy, I am pretty sure ridiculous is a bad word.‘ I know it is not a bad word, and I explain that to her, however, ridiculous does sound like a word that could be hurtful to someone else. That is what she is on the hunt for. She is a sensitive soul, and she doesn’t want anyone to feel hurt.  Her youngest sister is constantly saying thank you, please, and excuse me, without being prompted. She’s two. I know I am doing at least one thing right when it comes to raising her and her sister. They are kind.

Which brings me back to my question, How do you raise kind children? I believe it all comes back to us. The adults in their lives. Ask yourself. Are you a kind person? When you see someone coming behind you, do you hold the door open for them? Or do you let it slam in their face, reassuring yourself that they are perfectly capable of opening their own door. When you see an elderly person or pregnant woman on the bus, who need your seat more than you do, do you get up and let them have it? Is your child there with you? Do they see you being kind to a stranger?

What about those close to you? Your extended family and the people who live inside your home? Their grandparents, Your spouse, their siblings, them? When you are frustrated, do you use kind words to those around you or do you become a snappy crab? Biting everyone’s head off? When your child spills milk on the floor, do you lay into them or do you kindly reassure your child that it’s only milk after all, and it can be cleaned up, just like new?

Now I am not naive enough to think that everyone can control their frustrations 100% of the time. But I do know how you respond to your frustrations will teach your children how to respond to their frustrations. In today’s world, where people are absorbed more into their electronic devices and less tuned in to their families, let’s take the family back. Let’s show our children how to be kind. By first starting with ourselves, be a kind person, your child’s future depends on it.

I will be back tomorrow to share steps you can take to become kinder, if that is something you struggle with, I hope to see you back!

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

Advertisements

Do Routines Really Work?

I have a confession to make. My family has to think I’m a tad bit nutty. No, they would never admit it. I’ve asked them point blank before if they were concerned about my mental state. They have always denied the accusation. Why would they think I was loco, you ask?

Because I put my children to bed at 7 pm. Okay, I see it now. You are internally rolling your eyes. This lady is cray cray you are thinking. Apparently that is now a word. My 14-year-old sister informed me of this fact several weeks ago, then looked at me like I had three heads, because I had no idea.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Why yes, I put my children to bed at 7 pm. Actually the last few weeks we have been sliding our oldest daughter’s bedtime down to 8 pm, since she is almost done with kindergarten. Regardless of the times, I make sure my children go to bed early 98% of the time. Why?

Because children thrive on routine. They also need a certain amount of sleep every night to function. Just like adults, but their tiny bodies need more. That is a different topic for a different day. Since B was a baby I have had her on a routine. Not a schedule. Those are two entirely different things, breeding from the same concept. I have always made sure her meals and her sleeping routine were the same. Sure, there are times that we do not adhere to the routines. Mainly on holidays and vacations, occasionally on family movie night. Those are fun days. They are fun for my kids, they are fun for the other family members involved. Do you know who it is not fun for the very next day? Mommy and Daddy. The following days are days I can only describe as days made up of nightmares. Misery. Agony. Torment. Okay you get my dramatics I’m sure. However, we can manage those days because 98% of the time our girls have a routine.

A few months ago I notices B was struggling a bit on her day-to-day. She has sensory processing issues. We are also adopting another child. With all the changes I could tell her SPD was flaring up and the changes were making her anxious. She fought me on everything. Getting dressed. Doing school. Going anywhere.

I first became frustrated. Then I realized that change is hard on everyone. Why shouldn’t it be just as hard if not harder on a little kid. One whose world can make her anxious anyway? It was my job as her mom to help her cope and make it a little bit easier. Kids are not in control of anything, if you truly think about it. Yes, some parents give their children choices, like the snacks they eat, what activity they take part in, etc. Like we do. However, in the bigger picture, children are at the liberty of the adults in their lives. If you have a child who already feels like they have no control over anything, plus they have no sense of routine in their lives, you will have yourself a recipe for disaster. This disaster typically manifests itself in the form of a tantrum or defiance.

So I decided to add two more sets of routines into B and S’s life. A morning routine and an evening routine. These routines take less than 10 minutes to accomplish but the turnaround I saw in B just that first day made a world of difference. Why? Because she knew what to expect and she realized that these activities, such as getting dressed and doing school were nonnegotiable.

Here are the routines we use.

Morning Routine

  1. Go Potty
  2. Wash Hands
  3. Make Bed
  4. Get dressed
  5. Eat breakfast
  6. Brush teeth
  7. Get ready for school

Evening Routine

  1. Clean up toys
  2. Go potty
  3. Wash Hands
  4. Take a bath
  5. Brush Teeth
  6. Get dressed into pj’s
  7. Read a book
  8. Say prayers
  9. Go to bed

You may be thinking, well these are things they need to do anyway. You’re right. But if they are not done consistently, children may begin to fight doing them at all. So I printed off these lists. Added clothespins with the girls names, that they could move, and the most important part, we go through the list consistently, in the same order, every single day. Even on days we don’t feel like it. Days we are out with family. Even on Holidays.

It has made a world of difference. I have always been a believer in routines. These new daily routines have made me more of a believer. B no longer fights me on the must-dos. Sure she still grumbles every blue moon. But she doesn’t pitch a fit and dig her heels in. Which has made her calmer, and me calmer. Because she knows what to expect. She can wake up and know exactly what is going to happen. I can tell her it’s time to get ready for bed and she knows step by step what will happen next. Children need that sense of knowing and calm. It makes their world make sense and less chaotic.

So if you were to ask me, or most people who are with children on a daily basis, do routines really work? YES. 100 times over YES.

Start one today. You may be surprised at the results.

A Letter to my Strong-Willed Child

My Dearest Strong-willed Child,

When you were in my womb I told people you were going to be my calm child. Your sister, is also strong-willed, so I prayed against all odds that you would be calm. Never pushing your boundaries. Gentle, meek and kind. I prayed and God laughed at me. Instead He gave me another little girl who was 10x more stubborn and bull-headed than her big sister. I’m sure He still laughs at me.

When you were born I knew right away that you were going to be strong-willed. Maybe it was something in your eyes. That sparkle. That mischievous smile, the same one you still have today. It could have been that first night in the hospital with you. You didn’t sleep a wink.

However, I didn’t realize how determined you truly were until you were a year old. Your sister took a toy from you. Like she always did. This time you didn’t cry and run to me. This time you marched right up to her, grabbed your toy out of her hand, like she always did to you, and then you pushed her. We constantly told her, and your cousins, that you were going to grow bigger one day and stand your ground. We told them to watch out, to quit taking things from you just because you were smaller. I didn’t know one day would come so soon. She was so shell-shocked, she forgot to cry. one years old. You were already holding your own. Don’t tell your sister, but I was proud of you for sticking up for yourself, of course I scolded you for pushing. Still, I realized that day, you will not tolerate someone walking all over you, that even at one years old, you would hold your own. I was proud.

A few days later you started climbing on everything you saw. Stools, stairs, chairs. You tried to climb out of your pack n’ play. At two years old you fell out of your crib while trying to climb out. That day we switched to a big girl bed. A year sooner than mommy wanted to. After transitioning to the toddler bed, you strolled to the side of the bed (which was your crib with the side off) and climbed over the side. rolling into your bed, you looked at me, grinned and yelled “I did it!” I realized that day, your determination was something that guided you, nothing gets in your way. You will not allow one fall to keep you down. I was proud.

My dearest strong-willed child I want you to know that even though you test me and push my boundaries, I love your personality exactly the way it is. You may ask me for something after I say no, over and over again, thirty times. You may know I won’t give in, but you still ask. Your will to have what you desire may wear on me a little but I know from life experience, it is this very attribute that will take you far. Your determination will take you were you desire to go, as long as you continue to work for what you want.

You see my strong-willed girl, not everyone has your best interest at heart. Not everyone sees the bright light inside of you. Many people fall to the wayside in life, allowing others to take from them, never asking for anything in return. Their fire burns out. I know that you will not allow that to happen to you. How do I know? I know because I say no to you at least 100 times a day, you still continue to ask me for that something you want 101 times.

That will inside of you will set a fire if you allow it. It will take you to the edges of the earth, igniting your passions and paving a way that is uniquely your own. If you remember anything that I tell you, please remember this.

I may have prayed for a calm child, but I am glad that God has given you, and everything that you are, to me. Your strong-will is not a bad thing. No matter how many people huff and tell you that you are just to darn stubborn, don’t listen to them. Be kind but be true to who you are. Hold on to your convictions, believe in yourself, and love yourself. And always hold on to that strong-will. Because one day, my determined child, you will change the world.

I am proud of you.

25591738_678849618985371_1603219917580151004_n

parenting

Parenting, It’s Not Supposed to be Easy.

Last night my husband and I stayed up to late watching television.

We never stay up late. Our bedtime has routinely become 9 pm or even earlier, especially on nights that we are both completely and utterly exhausted.

Last night though, we stayed up to late. First we watched our show. Then we decided to stay up and watch Captain Phillips. We have seen it before, but thought “what the heck. Our daughters are great sleepers. They are in bed. Tomorrow is Saturday. We can sleep in.” I’m sure God was laughing at me.

Our daughters are typically in bed between 7-8 pm.

Yes, I am that Mom. The one who believes in the supreme importance of a decent bedtime for children. I have seen first hand with my own children that sleep begets sleep. The earlier they go to bed, the longer they sleep in. The later they go to bed, the earlier they wake up. It’s absolute insanity. But it is the truth.

So last night when we hit the sack, I seriously believed I wouldn’t have to wake up again until this next morning. I had been asleep for maybe 30 minutes when a tiny voice woke me up. “Mommy. My legs are cramping.” I ushered our oldest into bed and Daddy went to get the ice pack.

Our 5 year old is almost 4 foot tall. She grows at a rapid pace. Every few months it seems she is in the middle of a growth spurt, with her legs cramping. It typically lasts a day or two.

Daddy inevitably grabbed the wrong ice pack. When I returned with the correct ice pack, my girl and I snuggled for all of ten minutes.

Then the restlessness began.

I liken co-sleeping with my oldest daughter to trying to sleep with a fish caught in a net. So much flopping. flipping. turning. jerking. tumbling.

I honestly don’t know how other families co-sleep. I cannot do it. I do not like anyone touching me while I’m sleeping. The wiggling keeps me awake. After about an hour, I decided I had enough of B squirming, of opening my eyes to see her staring at me, and of my hair getting caught under her as she tossed and turned.

“Baby girl, I think you would really be more comfortable sleeping in your own bed.” I whispered.

“No I like it here.” She whispered back.

“Okay sweetie, Mommy cannot sleep with all your wiggling. I am going to go sleep on the couch.”

After five minutes, I was settled on the couch, about to drift away.

“Mommy.” I heard. “I am going to go back upstairs. you can go back to your bed.” 

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

My husband slept through the whole thing.

It never fails. When I stay up late, those are the nights my children wake up in the middle of the night, needing me. When we have to be out of the house at a certain time, those are the times my children are lackadaisical.

It. Never. Fails.

But thus is Parenting. Right?

Raising children is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Yesterday, my two year old, refused to put on a diaper. She thinks she is ready to be a big girl.

Yet, she will not touch the potty. No matter how much I try to bribe her. So she wants to run around in big girl panties. Without the effort of learning to use the potty or listening to her body. That is why I know she is not ready. But stubborn that girl is. So I let her wear big girl panties.

It lasted all of 10 minutes.

Until she had an accident on our kitchen chair, during lunch. All chaos ensued. With four little girls talking or crying at the same time and me trying to pry my two year old off the chair so I could clean the pee off of her and the chair. That stubborn two year old wanted to keep those sopping wet panties on. She screamed, cried, and kept pulling them up. Of course I said no and I was finally able to pull them off of her. I gave her the option of a diaper or more panties. Thankfully she said diaper.

I really didn’t feel like wiping up more pee. I clean up enough bodily functions during the day with four kids and three animals running around.

Her accident reminded me a great deal of parenting.

Think about it.

Often times during Parenting we want to hold on so tightly to something, that we know we need to let go of, for the betterment of ourselves and our children. I don’t know what that may be for you, but I know that every parent has to make a decision to let go of something. In my daughter’s case it was gross, wet panties.

Last year for my family, it was extra income, so I could stay home with my kids and home school them. Has it been difficult? You better believe it. Living on one income is not a piece of cake. It takes dedication, budgeting and a whole lot of prayers. But we do it.

For other people it may be giving up expectations of your children. It could be giving up sleep so you can spend more time with your kids, spouse or even more time in prayer. For others it may be sacrificing the big house and fancy car for a smaller one so that you can spend more time with your kids and less time at work. Maybe it is expectations of yourself as a parent or spouse. Or expectations of your spouse as a parent and partner.

Whatever it may be, it’s possible to let go. It is possible to parent without the expectations you set on yourself.

Here is the thing about parenting.

It’s messy.

It’s hard.

It’s frustrating.

Parenting is also rewarding.

And fun.

And such a blessing.

Parenting is worth it.

practice sharing.

A Peek Inside Our Homeschool Day with a 14, 5, 3, 2, and 1 year old.

Peek inside our day.

It is 2 o’ clock and I just sat down with my fourth cup of coffee for the day, but who’s counting right? I am squeezing some work in while the young kiddos have quiet time. I am praying my Kindergartener takes a nap, but those have become far and in between. Instead, she is happy to play or read by herself in her room during quiet time.

What is quiet time you may be asking? Maybe it is a foreign concept to you. To me, it is a life-saver. Quiet time is when everyone goes to their perspective places and nap or rest. Except for the 14-year-old, because I’m mean and have her do school work during this time.

This is the time that I can rest, or work on my writing. I can pay bills or do other household chores that I would rather put off, if I’m being honest. Like put away laundry. Who enjoys putting away laundry?? Not me. That could be why there is a basket of my clothes sitting in our bedroom, going on a week and a half. A basket of my girl’s clothes sitting on top of the dryer and a basket of socks sitting upstairs in the hallway. It drives my husband batty. I never claimed to be the most organized person when he met me.

But I digress.

Quiet time is important to me because it is the one time during our busy day that I get a breather. It is also the time that the kids get a break from one another and get to recharge their small bodies. Trust me they need it. I need it. I’m a huge advocate for rest. And early bedtime. I mean, have you ever tried to drive a car when it is running out of gas? It’s nearly impossible. It slows down, flashes a sign at you that says HEY I NEED GAS! Okay, so that’s not what it actually says, unless it’s some new fancy car that I have never heard of but that is the basic gist. I actually ran out of gas once, right on the highway. That was embarrassing. But in my defense the gauge was not working and I thought I actually had gas.

Kids are like cars.

Their energy is their gas. When it is running low, it’s not a pretty sight and honestly it’s not good for them. They get cranky, especially my kids. They become unfocused. The children who have strong emotions may find themselves becoming emotional at every little thing. My children have strong emotions. So quiet time is just as much for them as it is for me. I enjoy peaceful days, don’t we all?

have been told that my house is so peaceful, more times than I can count.

I usually look at the person and say are you crazy? There are five children here most days, and I often feel like I am running around with my head cut off. Have you ever tried homeschooling an eighth grader and a Kindergartener and a Preschooler? With two toddlers running around? It’s not easy. It sure is fun though. It makes my days so interesting and chaotic. This is why I believe peace is something that comes from within. It’s not created by perfect kids who are not rowdy or whiny. Because, trust me, I hear my fair share of whining on a day-to-day basis. Peace is about love and kindness. Calmness. But I digress… AGAIN. That is another post for another day.

What does our home school day look like?

Well to be honest, every day is different. So this is not necessarily what it looks like every single day. However, this is what it looked like TODAY. It is also what it looks like the majority of the time. I home school my sister. Who is in 8th grade. I home school my Kindergartener. I also home school my niece who is in Preschool. She does not come to my house every single day. That is one reason why Our home school day does not always look this way. I also try to do some sort of “Tot schooling” with the two youngest ones, ages 1 and 2. I often end up thinking to myself, who am I kidding, these girls could care less what color blue is or what sound a cow makes. So I usually end up turning on Minnie for them so I can focus on the big girls.

I typically try to wake up between 4:30—5 am. But today I hit snooze so many times and ended up waking up around 5:50. When I get up I will do my devotions and prayer. After that time, I will try to tackle some basic chores. I try to keep these chores the same every morning so that it becomes routine. If I don’t do these for a few days, my household tends to suffer. I will throw in a load of laundry. Unload/Load dishwasher. Sweep the floors in the laundry room, bathroom and kitchen.

After that I sit down and write-up what the Eighth grader needs to do today along with her homework.

She will typically arrive around 7 am. But today she didn’t come until about 7:50 with my nieces. See, even today didn’t start out like a “typical” day. She will grab breakfast when she gets here. Then she will head upstairs to her work area and start on whatever independent work she can do. Since she has a list of what she needs to get done, she does not need to stop and ask me what she needs to do next. This is nice for me because it keeps her undistracted and me focused on working with the younger ones. She will get a break about two hours later, then back upstairs she goes to work on some more of her work. She will typically work for four hours in the morning. Then she will take a break for lunch.

During the morning my girls usually wake up at 7 am and my nieces will get here around 7:45 am, unless their Mom goes to work later in the day. Today they were here at normal time. My girls however, slept until 8. I swear I think they are going through growth spurts. Sleeping in is not in the vocabulary. My Kindergartener has been getting herself dressed and making her bed every morning. I have been rejoicing every morning because it is such a life saver for me. She has processing sensory disorder and getting dressed has been difficult for the past year. However, lately she has come really far, and now that she knows what type of clothes feel comfortable on her, she feels more comfortable picking them out herself.

So the younger girls will eat breakfast together, then we will start on school work.

Today they begged me to play with play-doh first, so I allowed them to play for about an hour and a half with play-doh. I think imaginative play is such an important part of learning. Not to mention the tactile stimulation they are receiving from it. I have never met children other than my own that could play with play-doh as long as these girls do. After playing with the play-doh, we did our morning basket.

Our morning basket consists right now of devotions, a story book that typically has to do with what we are learning that week and our chapter book. Today we just did our devotions and our chapter book. Our chapter book right now is Charlotte’s Web. My five-year old loves it! She is a huge fan of Templeton. I can’t say I am surprised. I don’t know why she likes him so much though. She usually leans towards liking the outspoken characters who are true to themselves.   We all sit on the floor on a blanket, including the baby, and read the books. I am going to be adding more activities to our morning basket next year. Right now, I don’t want to overwhelm them to much or me. I lay blocks out for the babies to play with during reading time. The big girls usually play with them too, but surprisingly they listen so much better when they have something to do with their hands.

After our morning basket, we delved into the Preschool lesson.

working hard

I use My Father’s World for both Preschool and Kindergarten. I LOVE it. It has a Charlotte Mason approach and is not overwhelming for their ages. Today they learned about King Solomon and David. They made crowns to wear. After making their crowns they finished up their “About me” books. Earlier this week they drew faces that were supposed to look like theirs. They counted how many eyes, ears, noses, and mouths they had, and I wrote it for them. Today we traced their hands and feet and counted their toes. The Preschooler is working on the number 5. It is a review for my Kindergartener, but she enjoys doing school with her cousin and I think the review is often good.

Craft about me book

About me books.

After the crafts, they built a temple, like the one from the bible. Then they practiced sharing with one another.

practice sharing.

Practice being kind and sharing.

Practice Sharing

 

After the Preschoolers lesson was over, she looked at a seek and find book while I worked with my Kindergartener. During this time the Eighth grader is still working independently. The 1-year-old is playing with the blocks. My 2-year-old gave up a long time ago and begged me to turn PJ Masks on. I tried to distract her with coloring, which lasted about 10 minutes, then she was done. I will be honest with you. She is my most difficult child to home school with. Very clingy and into EVERYTHING. I know “they” say to give the toddlers plenty of education toys to play with during home school. But she is just not interested. Who are “they” anyway? So I turn the cartoons on for a good amount of time during school. She is happy, I am happy, and the students are not distracted. I say it is a win for everyone involved. Even the cartoon program is getting viewership out of it, so they are winning too.

coloring

2-year-old coloring

coloring

My Kindergartener is working on the letter C this week.

Since today was the last day of her lesson for the week, she worked on her drawing page and cut and paste page. She enjoyed the drawing page because the kid is so creative. She loves to draw. She had to draw four different things that started with the letter C and then write the letter c below. She didn’t receive any help from me and was able to think of the items herself. Sounding words out in her head is pretty easy for her. Sounding them out on a piece of paper, is a different story. Which brings us to her cut and paste page. The cut and paste page today was full sentences to read. This, I would say, is her weakest area right now. It is also the area where she grows the most bored and distracted and where Mommy gets the most impatient. I am working on it and think I keep my impatience in check pretty well.

drawing page

Working on the drawing page.

She sounded out the words and tried to read the sentences. Sentences like A cat can sit. A cat can not add. She did okay. However, this activity took her the longest. It probably took around 25 minutes and I had to help her a great deal. But every kid learns differently and at their own pace. After this activity we quickly did her calendar and 100 days of school chart. Then we called it a day because I saw she was becoming restless. There was another painting activity planned for the day but I just scrapped that and told the girls to go play. It was lunch time by that time anyway. That’s one thing I love about home school. I don’t have to check off just a bunch of to do activities every day. Each child learns differently as I have said. If that means stopping school for the day when they are becoming restless, then okay.

After lunch the girls go down for quiet/nap time and I help the 14-year-old with any questions she has and review her work. She then continues to work until about 3 o’clock and I have about an hour to myself to rest or work on something.

It’s a busy day almost every day. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love seeing my kiddos learning new concepts and ideas. I enjoy watching them think and figure things out.

Today my Kindergartener asked me “Mommy do you enjoy teaching me?” I said “I sure do kiddo.” She replied with “Good, because I love that you are my teacher.”

She sure knows how to make my heart full and day bright.

My Children are a Blessing not a Burden

Today I am starting a four-part series about children being a heritage from the Lord.

When B was just a year old, I had a conversation with a lady that I will always remember. It wasn’t a bad conversation. I didn’t have an epiphany or big revelation. This conversation will  always stick with me because it reaffirmed what I already know about today’s society. What most people think about children and big families. Children are often looked at as a burden. They “eat” up the finances. Cut into your “me time.” Maybe they build up unwanted medical bills or slow you down in the grocery store. Maybe, just being pregnant with them and giving birth to them is a risk to you.

When did society start thinking of children as a burden and not a blessing?

I had just lost our son David. He was born early at 27 weeks. I laid on hospital bed rest with our daughter for a month before she was born at 32 weeks. She spent a month in the NICU, then home to us she came.

477052_106946962842309_582863819_o(1)

 

A year later, I encountered an acquaintance, she didn’t know our story, but I was happy to fill her in. After I was done she looked at me, eyes wide, mouth gaping, and said

“ehhhhh I would just stop there. Don’t try to have anymore, it really isn’t worth it.”

My ears were burning.

I had never even mentioned having more. Instead of gently asking me if we would ever consider having more, she gave me her (unwanted opinion) about what the size of our family should be. I get where she was coming from. My first two pregnancies were hard. I, along with the rest of my family, experienced nerve-wrecking anxiety to say the least and in the end I lost one of our children. Why should I risk it again?

I am not the only one who has experienced unwanted opinions regarding the sizes of our family or desire to grow our family.

We didn’t stop.

We tried again and we have our beautiful S. I also had a very uneventful, boring and smooth pregnancy with her. If I had listened and stopped after B, let my pregnancies scare me, we wouldn’t have her. My life wouldn’t be as full as it is now. S is a blessing from God. B is a blessing from God. David is a blessing from God.

JennaJury(5of59)

My husband and I tried for another one, for quite a while. We have hit bumps along the way, like we usually do, even a possible chemical pregnancy. The heartache is real when you desire to grow your family, but it’s not happening quite like you pictured or as fast as you would like. So now we are growing our family through adoption.

So why do it?

When culture tells us, you have two, that is enough. Why continue growing your family when you have experienced losing one or two or three? Why try to grow your family after subsequent difficult pregnancies? Why try when after two or three you start receiving those side-eyes and comments like “all they are yours?” “Don’t you know what causes that?” The reason is simple. Children are a blessing from God. Psalms 127:3-5 says:

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

The Lord tells us right there that children are a blessing from Him.

They are not burdens. Children are not second class citizens. They are a heritage. A house that is filled with them is surely blessed.

The children in your home right now are a blessing. The children living on the streets, they are blessings too. The children overseas in the orphanages, they are just as much blessings as the children in your home. The child who is about to be aborted. That child was a blessing from God as well. When did we start viewing children as less? Less than us? Less than human? Less than a blessing?

Here’s the thing.

You can have as many children as you want, if you please. Have 2 or have 12. The number doesn’t make the blessing. However, if a family desires to grow their family, in any way, over and over again, who is society to tell them otherwise, when God, the creator of the universe, tells us BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE QUIVER IS FULL OF THEM??

Until next time,

Jenna

Pray Big and Pray Hard

adult-black-and-white-blur-257037

Learning to Pray Big and Pray Hard

Today is December 1st. December is a hard month for my family, I’m not going to lie. December is the month all my precious children were born. It is also this month that my first child and only son, David,  passed away. December 18th, 2011. I have always been a Christian. I have always loved God. I didn’t understand the power of prayer though until I was an adult. When I faced those Decembers I learned how to truly pray.

I learned how to pray hard when I was in the hospital with David. After he was born. After he died. I learned what truly praying hard, praying with all your might, actually meant. I learned how to pray when I no longer wanted to exist. When I didn’t want to get out of bed. When I was begging God to just take me too. So I could be with my son. I learned what truly praying hard through grief, depression and anxiety looked like. I learned how to pray hard when I was in the darkest tunnel life had to offer me. When I saw no way out. Then, after all the praying hard, I saw peace. I saw joy. I saw a future, even though it was without my son, it was still a beautiful future.

I learned how to pray hard.

I learned how to pray big when I was pregnant with my second child. A girl this time. I had the same diagnosis I had with her brother. The same exact gestational week I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia. I prayed big. I learned to pray for a miracle. Praying that some how, some way her precious life would be spared. A month on hospital bed rest. Then my strong-willed fighter was born. She is our Christmas baby. Born on December 24th, just an hour and 21 minutes from being born on Christmas day. She spent a month in the NICU. She was finally able to come home. After all the praying big.

I remember when I was pregnant with B and on hospital bed rest.

I saw a new doctor what seemed like every day. They took their rounds. I don’t remember many of them, but one specific doctor stood out to me. One that I will always remember. The first time I met him, he read my diagnosis, high levels of protein in my urine. However, my blood pressure was normal, I wasn’t swelling. There was no other indication that I had Pre-eclampsia. Except for the existence of protein. After he read the diagnosis, he told the other doctors and me. “So basically, we are just waiting for you to get sick.”

I looked at him as serious as can be and said “I’m not going to get sick.”

I was relying on my faith in God and praying big. I could have easily felt defeated. As though there was no hope for me or my little girl. Praying big required big faith. That is what I was determined to do. The doctor sorta chuckled and said to me “yes you will, there is no question about it. It’s just a matter of when.”

I could have listened to his words. I could have let the fact that he was a doctor with an education and science behind him get to me and discourage me. I didn’t though. You see, God had made me promises. Big promises. Before I was pregnant with David, my first child, a dear Lady I went to church with gave me a note, A word from God she said. She was not sure what the note meant, but she knew God wanted her to give it to me. At the time I didn’t understand it either. I tucked it away in my bible. I didn’t happen to see it again until the first day I was on hospital bed rest. I had grabbed my bible and the note fell out. Here is what it said:

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
‘Behold I will do a new thing now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and the rivers in the desert.”
“Put me in remembrance, let us plead together, declare thou, that mayest be justified”
Isaiah 43:18,19 & 26
“My dearest daughter look to no man, but look unto me. Do not listen to man, but only look to these words I give you and wait on me and again I will do as I said I will. Praise me in the hard things and in the good.”

When I read this note I realized God had given these words to me for right then. The doctors were telling me I was going to get sick. They were telling me the chances of going further in my pregnancy than what I did with David was slim. Some even hinted that she may not make it either. I chose to hang on to God’s promises and pray big. I made the decision to look to God only and not man. He asked me not to listen to man but to look at His promises that He had given me. That is what I chose to do. I knew in order to do that, I had to pray hard and I had to pray big.

When the same doctor came in four weeks later, he read the diagnosis again, and said “well, I can’t believe you are not getting sick, how come you are not getting any sicker?” He meant it as a rhetorical question I am sure. I took the opening anyway and said “I told you I wasn’t going to get sick. It is God. He made me promises and I trust in what he says.” The doctor just looked at me, shook his head, and said maybe. I never saw him again. If he actually believed me, I will never know. I learned how to pray big when I was pregnant with B.

All of that happened in December.

This December my husband and I are praying big and praying hard for a different reason. A new season in our life is quickly approaching.

As my husband and I enter into the next chapter of our lives we decided to create something for ourselves. Something to remind us what God has brought us through and what he has done in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are not new concepts.

You can buy these signs anywhere these days. What makes them special for us is we made them. We built them together. Just like we have built our life together. They are not perfect, but they represent what we have been through and what we have learned together since being married. Since losing David and having our girls. I will post the final photo as soon as both are finished.  They will sit on our mantel, serving as a reminder to us just how faithful God truly is.

Which brings me to this. We will be making and selling these signs, along with several other sayings and scriptures. I will let you know as soon as our shop is up and running. The profits made from these signs will be going to something very important to us. We are not ready to share quite yet what that is, but soon. I just want you all to know how much both my husband and I love each and every one of you. Many of you have been here since the beginning. You have cried with us and rejoiced with us. Our journey would not be the same without all of you in it. Many of you have prayed hard and big right along with us. For that we will always be grateful.

Thank you.

Jenna