Category Archives: Home

Making Your Home A Haven

Wisdom is:  Making your home the place where God’s love and grace abounds.  12659800_s

It’s back again: Women Living Well’s Annual Making your Home A Haven for October.  This is my favorite annual thing that Courtney does and my kids love it too.
Please check out her site for all the details and join the challenge.

http://womenlivingwell.org/2013/09/making-your-home-a-haven-fall-challenge-is-back-with-an-ipad-mini-giveaway/#comment-87695

“By wisdom a house is built, & through understanding it is established.”
Proverbs 24:3

Week One starts Oct 7.  Light a candle in your home daily and when your eye catches the flickering flames, let it remind you to pray for peace to abound in your home. Read the rest of this entry

Touch ME

  Do you remember this picture?

This is a picture from an article called “The Rescue Hug”.
The article details the first week of a set of twins.
Apparently, each were in their respective incubators,
and one was not expected to live.
A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules
and placed the babies in one incubator.

When they were placed together, the healthier of the twins
reached out an arm over the sister in an endearing embrace.
The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.
(Verified by Snopes as true).

Both of these babies survived, and the story is a touching example of how important human touch is, and how God designed us to need it for survival, for life.

How comfortable are you with touch? American culture is typically very “hands off” and touch starved.  I would like to encourage you to examine your own comfort level with touch and being touched as a means of communication with those around you.  Touch doesn’t have to be sexual, and it is a very important communication tool.

A touch can convey:  I am thinking about you.   I noticed you.  I want to show I care.  You are important.  I empathize with your situation.  I want you to feel better.  I am happy to see you.  I am happy to be with you.  I sense your suffering.  I want to comfort you.  I see you.

Touch can have healing power:  comfort, decreased anxiety,  decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased pain, decreased tension, decreased restlessness, decrease in stress hormones, improved circulation, relaxation, increase in chemicals and hormones that promote a good immune system and promote emotional and mental well being.

Challenge: Reach out and connect with the people in your life via touch….a gentle hand on a shoulder, a gentle press of another’s hand in yours, a hug, a massage.  Let your kids lay on you, snuggle with you, give them hugs and affectionate touches.  Give your husband hugs and kisses, massages, and snuggles.    Connect even with strangers as opportunity presents itself with gentle touches that bestow friendliness, caring.

Touch and be touched.

A Touching Prayer for you:  May you become more and more comfortable with the life giving connection of touch….as God meant for it to be shared with others as an important expression of His love and concern.  May you give and receive many touches in your lifetime.

For More Information on the Importance of Touch:
5 Benefits of the Human Touch:  http://www.modernmom.com/article/5-benefits-of-the-human-touch
The Healing Power of Touch:   http://www.odemagazine.com/blogs/readers_blog/13878/the_healing_power_of_touch
The Healing Power of Touch Reduces Anxiety and Tension:   http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_n6_v9/ai_11489808/
The Healing Power of Touch: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/womens_health/83603
The Power of the Human Touch-How Important is the Touch?:   http://veronicaallen.hubpages.com/hub/The-Power-Of-The-Human-Touch
 The Power of Touch: http://scrubsmag.com/the-power-of-touch/

Information Overload

I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up.   Erma Bombeck

I get saturated”, my husband said, as we began to discuss why we had a blow-up argument earlier that morning.  ” I can only take so much information, and my emotions can only take so much and then I just feel overwhelmed”.

Do you ever experience someone displaying an unexpectedly emotional, defensive, or even angry outburst to cause a sudden end to a conversation?

Do you ever feel as if you had a conversation with your spouse, or one of the kids, etc.  and they interacted back enough to fool you into thinking they were processing as well as retaining the information…and then later you realize they have no recollection of the conversation, and you might as well have carried on the conversation with the wall?

Maybe the culprit is information overload.  In our current technological world, we are inundated with enormous pieces of information in a day….from TV, radio, emails, text messages, advertisements, browsing as well as working on our computers. Information overload is a problem with growing exposure and also an area of new and promising research.  It is a proven fact that our brains can only hold so much, and then they have to let some information go to make room for new information.  The brain can become overwhelmed with trying to decide what to hold on to and what to ignore.  Too much info has a negative impact on our ability to think, reason, and cope.

In our daily interactions with our spouses, this can certainly impact how well they can attend to our expressed needs.  As Christian wives, I think it is an important skill to recognize when our husbands are showing signs of saturation.  If we keep pressuring them to continue a discussion, for example, when their inner sponge is full, there is going to be overflow…and not typically of a positive nature.

Some suggestions for the household.
1) When discussing issues with our spouse, learn to control any emotional compulsion to have closure to an issue in that moment….trust God and learn to LET IT GO!.. It can always be revisited at a later, more appropriate time.
2) If there is important information that needs to be conveyed, figure out what each person best attends to for retaining that information (ie repeating it back to you, having it in written form, having a “check-in” time during the day when you touch base with each other)
3) Ask for some time when you can have undivided attention of the person you are needing to inform…make sure you have eye contact.  Keep the conversation as brief as you can to ensure they do not become too overwhelmed with the information and begin to tune out.
4) Work and re-work the scenarios that go wrong to figure out what can be done differently next time to improve the communication.

Prayer for your communication:  May you become more adept at recognizing information overload interfering with the relationships around you.  May God grant you the patience and wisdom to know how to keep it from causing discord in your home.
  Have you noticed signs of information overload in your home or workplace?  What techniques have worked for you? Do you notice how information overload affects you negatively too?

Other Resources:
 Watching the Human Brain Process Information:  http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitem.aspx?id=102399 
Death By Information Overload:  http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?qid=3899
Information Overload and the Art of Communication:  http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/information-overload-the-art-of-communication/
10 Ways to Overcome Information Overload :  http://www.teamhealth.com/wellness/mentalhealthmatters/overcomeoverload.pdf
Are You Disconnected From Your Spouse?:  http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/are-you-disconnected-from-your-spouse-11603424.html
10 Ways to Recover and Reconnect With Your Spouse:  http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/10-ways-to-recover-and-reconnect-with-your-spouse-1315531.html
Marathon Arguing:   http://www.marriagemissions.com/marathon-arguing/

 

This Little Light of Mine

I’ve been so excited about the Making Your Home a Haven challenge that is being offered on WomenLivingWell.org.  The first step in the challenge was to light a candle everyday in a central focal area of the home, and then to pray for peace whenever your eye caught the light of the candle.  Monday was the first day, and sadly, my candle never got lit….too much chaos with everyone in my household off in different directions.  There never really was a time for us as a family that first night and I felt like I had failed… I decided to not despair, however, and make the most of Day 2 when all would be home with no pressing obligations.
I finished my day of work and got off at a decent time.  I drove to daycare with excitement about a good night at home.  I walked to the playground and looked around for my 7 year old.  Neither I nor the daycare person could find her at first.  We kept calling, and slowly a dirt covered object rose as if from the dead out of the sand at the back of the playground.  My daughter had let other children bury her up to the neck in sand.  She also had a note from school about misbehavior (after many warnings the note said).  ugh! I thought…this can’t be a good night, and where has this behavior come from when she has been doing so good. My car was filled with sand.  My bathroom floor was filled with sand…but I kept it together.  I thought, a quick shower and all will be ok, but NO…in the shower my child proceeded to misbehave.  When I asked her what’s wrong, and why are you acting this way, she said “Because I want to do what I want to do!”   She is at least brutally honest..no sugar coating or rationalizing for her. Her father came in and was informed about the days misconduct and when he began to talk to her she argued with him (very brave I might add!) and her sassy mouth went in to overdrive.  Uh oh! I thought….there goes my haven.  Of course my child was given consequences for her behaviors, and as soon as her father left, she said “I hate having parents who are not nice.  You are not nice parents.”  I have never heard such words from my child before.  All of these behaviors were so bizarre, even for her.
But I kept my focus.  I went and lit my candle, and I prayed.  As the flame flickered, I saw life glowing and my hope was renewed.  You know my heart, Lord, I said.  I give what’s left of this night to you.
I called my 7 year old to the kitchen to sit and start her homework while I prepared supper.  I helped her with her homework and tried to make it fun.  Immediately she calmed down and a peace settled over the remainder of the night.  She focused and minded.  Her father returned about an hour before her bedtime and commended her for changing her behaviors.  My teenager volunteered to make some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.. “and by the way mom, I like the candle”, she said.  As I sat with my 7 year old and we finished our cookies, I asked her what she had learned today…and very sweetly, she said..”to mind, and to think about what I’m doing, and to do the right thing.”  And she gave me a hug.  I thanked God for answered prayer, and the peaceful end to what started out so chaotic.
And I leaned over and blew out my candle with peace in my heart.
( Image above:  Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos)



HOME: A Safe Harbor

Women Living Well is starting a Fall Challenge called Making Your Home A Haven… I am excited about this.  Who wouldn’t want their home to be a haven? Definition of Haven: A harbor or anchorage, a port A place sought for rest, refuge, shelter, protection. I though about my home as a port, a harbor for the ships ( my family ) to sail to and from in their daily journeys.  How wonderful it would be if they looked forward to coming home because it felt safe, comforting, nourishing, and they knew it would be a place where their souls could find renewal. Look!
Here comes my teenager home from a long, frustrating day at school.  She is the first to arrive home, and she feels like life has taken pot shots at her all day.  She had a pop quiz in one of her classes that she didn’t feel prepared for.  One of her teachers was upset because someone poured glue on the floor of his classroom and he punished the whole class since no one would confess to the crime.  She also had to sit 3 to a seat on the crowded, sweat permeated, hot bus ride home.  She is glad no one is home so she can have some time to herself to just unwind from her stressful day…as she rests, time slips away….

Next to arrive is my husband.  He hasn’t had any unpleasant occurrences during his work day, but he has been very busy and he is weary from the circumstances of his work day.  He is also hurting from an old injury in his ankle, and the pain causes him to limp from the garage into the door.  He just wants a cool glass of tea and to prop up his feet a few minutes before he tackles some grass cutting.  He walks in the door and gets upset because his daughter, the teenager noted above has forgotten to pay attention to the time and has not made tea which is one of her daily duties.  Of course, without even thinking about how her day may have gone, he immediately bombards her with demands and criticisms because he is denied his cool drink of tea.   A negative tone in the household is set…


Now I am coming home after working a long day at the hospital.  I too am weary from dealing with patients, their families, meetings, and from doing hours of documentation.  I am looking forward to just being home, but I don’t know the tension that awaits me in those who have already arrived.  Thinking about the myriad of things that I need to do when I get home….supper, check the mail, check emails, help my youngest with homework, etc….I am likely to walk through the door in get er done mode….which won’t help.

But before I get home, I have to pick up one more weary vessel…  My youngest is at daycare….a noisy, busy place and her energy is overflowing….She has had an adventurous day and she wants to tell me all about it.  She is non-stop chatter and excitement all the way home.  She wants to know if she can watch TV, ride her bike, will I play a game with her, will I read a story, etc.  She also has homework to do ….and, oh yeah, mom, I forgot to tell you I got in trouble at school for talking in class, and I have a note about it you need to sign…Whew!  5 minutes home starts to feel like an hour.

This is a glimpse into a typical day in the oceans that my family sails.  How much each vessel needs a safe place to dock…How much each vessel needs the understanding of the others, and a conscious effort to make the home a haven. I am excited to try the Women Living Well Challenge…and I encourage you to do the same.  A Christian home SHOULD BE A HAVEN….but only with Christ is this possible, our ultimate haven and refuge from the storms.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  Psalm 61:3-5
Images above courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>
 

It’s Just Routine.

Are routines and especially bedtime routines important for our children?  Some may think I go a bit overboard in the routines I have established for my 7 year old who is very hyper and prone to mood swings.   I on the other hand, am reassured that the routines are important, and not just because research supports this, but because my child has her own way of letting me know.  These are some of the signs:

1.  She will often begin to put herself to bed at or near her bedtime without being told, because she is tired and wants to go to bed.

2.  If she goes to bed later than usual, she is much more difficult to deal with in the morning and will often comment, “I’m tired.  I didn’t get enough sleep”.

3.  Sometimes when she is moody and having difficulty controlling her behavior, she recognizes that it’s because she is tired or there has been some other change of routine she is not used to, and she will say so.  She will say, I should have…..regarding something in her routine.

4.  She no longer has to take medications for her behaviors, and behavior issues at school are becoming rare.

5. When I am tired, and want to ditch the usual bedtime routine that she and I have done every night for the past few years, (I hope she will just go to bed without it, but NO)….she always remembers and she says “Mommie, aren’t you going to sing the song”.   That lets me know that these routines are a comfort and joy to her, and I gladly comply with her request.

Here is our unique bedtime ritual which is a song I made up for her when she was much younger.

I’m tired…so tired!
I just wanna go to bed,
Lay my head on my pillow.
Cuz I’m tired!
But first I’ll shake my cares,
Say my prayers…
(child inserts prayer here)
Love you Jesus!!!
I’m so tired!
It’s time to warm my toes
Underneath all my covers,
Tuck me tight
(tucks/hugs/kisses)
Get the light.
(Lights off)
Now, shh…shh…good night.

This is such a simple and quick routine (depending on how long a prayer she wants to say), but oh so special between us.  Sometimes it’s the little things that we are consistent about that make the most impact in our children’s daily lives.

Prayer for Your children: May they know the love and comfort of a parent who teaches them the importance of routines and consistency.  May acknowledgement of God and simple prayer time be included in what they learn to treasure as part of daily family life.                                                                         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Above: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

My Words On Your House

Today as I was blog hopping, I found this post from  Tommy Mommy Lindsay Ferrier http://www.tommynelson.com/2011/08/he-is-always-with-us/comment-page-1/#comment-4243.  The post is about sharing God with your children in all the everyday events so they learn he is with us 24/7.  This was a great post.  It made me think of the following verses which I looked up :
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11

Verse 20 made me think about how my mom kept so many Bible verses posted up on the walls of our home.  Thanks mom for doing that!  It does make a difference when scripture is something familiar to you….when you don’t have a Bible readily available, those scriptures are on your heart and go with you everywhere.  When people visit your home, they also see those scriptures and it makes a statement : This home values God’s word.  I have some scriptures framed in my study room, but I think I am going to find some more creative ways to post some scriptures up in my home.   Ideas include: pillows with scripture on them, wall decals (there are tons of these available and they are very elegant), and maybe even some Christian framed art.  I also want to find other creative ways to teach my children scriptures in the everyday happenings.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Prayer:  May your home reflect God’s words not only in written form, but in lived out everyday life. 

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