Shepherd My Sheep

Amplified Bible John 21:16 Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”

Being a shepherd is a boring kind of job, looking after sheep day in and day out, alone in the field.
Sometimes it looks a lot like motherhood, isn’t it? ​( and if you’re like me, you may add specifically “homeschool mother” ). ​

We’re mostly alone in the house with our children.

( Well, again, if you’re like me, “alone” means “happiness” because I’m craving my alone time.. that would be really “alone” just with myself, thinking and recharging.. but this one I mean “alone with the crowds” which I don’t prefer.. ) f89f3-pacman2bemoticon
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We’re responsible of those little people who are not always listen to us, cleaning up the house and mess they made, making sure their little body have enough healthy food as well as their souls.
Think about doing those same things for hundred of times, years after years.

Both shepherds and mothers require the same strength and persistence, and other quality characters that only can be manifested by a wholehearted devotion. Self-discipline, unselfishness, responsibility, problem-solving, consistency, patience, and even dying for selves.

No wonder Jesus told Peter until three times, “If you love me (with total commitment and devotion), shepherd my sheep.”

Think about our children as Jesus’ sheep. And yes, they’re His precious little lambs. He loves them to the point He gives them His life. And He didn’t make mistake when He chose us as their shepherds. He asks us seriously because this is the most important both job and ministry you would ever do, “Do you love me ( mention your name here )? Shepherd my sheep.”

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Blessings,

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What I Learned from Dory ( … I Mean Her Parents )

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I love this hilarious, friendly, but forgetful blue fish… who encouraged Marlin all the way across the ocean in search for Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” in her playful impulsive way.  I think she is one of a kind animated character Pixar has ever made.
I can’t believe that finally they make the sequel of our family all time favorite movie “Finding Nemo”, after thirteen years. It’s been one of the movie I’ve been waiting for this 2016!

Now in “Finding Dory” we meet her at her childhood ( look at her, don’t you all think she is an adorable super cute baby fish? ) and we find out that she has been suffering short term memory loss since she was born.

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I can only imagine how broken hearted Charlie and Jenny were when they found out that their baby suffered a short term memory loss, how will she make it in life?
But it looks to me they have what I call “faith” and “unconditional love”.  Notice that they didn’t deny that their beautiful daughter is a special need fish -not child-, and this is the first step toward unconditional love, that is to accept and love our children in whatever their condition.

Charlie and Jenny built seashell trails to help little Dory find her way home, they role played with her how to find friends, what to do if she were lost, repeated the same lesson again and again ( only to find out that Dory forgot it again only after a few seconds ) but they never gave up on her.

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You know if you are parents, how frustrating that must be, when you have tried your best to train your children but it seems like they never get it. Just like Charlie and Jenny, we need faith to see the best potential in our children, when it looks like they are completely hopeless.
 It really touched my heart when they were both in tears, worrying about Dory.  At the end of the movie, we realize it has been many years since Dory had last seen her parents, but the lessons they had taught her has kept her alive and the love they had showed her has helped her to find her way back home. What an amazing reminder to parents that those day-to-day moments will eventually have an impact.

 

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And we know then how Dory got the tune in the back of her mind, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” it was from her mother, who was encouraging her when she was feeling like a failure.

What you repeateadly say to your children, will one day become their inner voice. Now you want your children to have good motivating words that support them from within? Start speak blessings and encouraging words to them!

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Choices Are Not Without Consequences

Yesterday my daughter was cranky, she grumbled the whole day because of her sore throat. I was tired listening to her grumble, telling her that it was all because of her fault, eating too much peanuts and crackers.

Later I realize what if God does the same to me. I often react to pressure with complaining, anger, and frustration, wondering why God let all this happened. What if God said this is all the natural consequences of my poor choices, please don’t say that I didn’t warn you before. It is even a “written reminder”.. Yes, it is. In Scriptures.

I’m anxious of my children’s bad behavior, but that is the consequence of how I choose to do my own agenda instead of spending time with them and nurture their emotional needs.

I’m upset of my messy wardrobe and house, but that is the consequence of my habit of delaying chores. Tell the truth, it would take only half an hour to straighten up my wardrobe, but I check on my facebook for an hour instead.

God is a God of redemption so he can forgive and restore, but I must live with the consequences of poor, unwise and compromising choices if I do not live by the righteous ways of God.

God leaves me responsible to respond to His word, and when I behave foolishly, there will be consequences. The father of the prodigal son did not prevent his son from abandoning reason and leaving him, but he was there to restore his son when his son humbled himself and came home.

So it is with God, He is always willing to welcome us, to restore us, but choices are not without consequences.

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Galatian 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

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10 Ways to Love the One You’re With

“If you’re not satisfied with the child you already have, try to work things out, don’t bring in a younger one.” – Honest Toddler

“Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label.  Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom.” — Anonymous

If you’re like most parents, there are times when you’d like to submit your child to “Extreme Child Makeover.”  (That’s a reality show playing in a living room near you.)  Maybe you wish your shrinking violet would stop clinging to you when you drop her off at school.  Maybe you’re mortified about the way he clobbers the other kids. Maybe her shriek in public makes you cringe. Maybe you just always wanted a girl and you were blessed with two raucous boys.

But as we approach Valentines Day, let’s remind ourselves of one thing we know for certain about child development. Children who feel loved and cherished thrive. 

That doesn’t mean kids who ARE loved – plenty of kids whose parents love them don’t thrive. The kids who thrive are the ones who FEEL loved, accepted and cherished for exactly who they are. 

The hard work for us as parents is accepting who our child is, including the things we wish we could change – and cherishing him or her for being that person, even while guiding behavior. How can you do this?

1. Delight in your child. The most important factor in your child’s development may be your delight in him. Be sure you tell your child daily how lucky you feel that you get to be his parent, and that you could never love anyone else more than you love him.

2. Really notice your child — aloud — so she feels seen: “You’ve been working for a long time on that tower.” “You love being in the water.” “That makes you so mad!”  The point isn’t to evaluate her behavior, but to let her know that you see and accept who she actually is, by acknowledging what she does and how she’s reacting to the world.

3. Use a positive lens. When something about your child’s behavior makes you unhappy, remember that weaknesses are always the flip side of that person’s strengths. If she has trouble controlling her anger when her brother disrespects her, is she a passionate fighter against injustice? Is his dawdling a sign of the imagination that will someday make him a great novelist?

4. See things from his perspective.  Maybe his behavior is irritating to you, but it’s always understandable if you take the time to see his viewpoint. Ok, so he hit the baby. Do whatever you need to in the future to prevent a recurrence, including not leaving them alone. But don’t punish him either, because that will just exacerbate the terror of losing you that drove him to act so aggressively. (You did get a replacement child, after all. He can be forgiven for wondering if he’s lost his place in your heart.) If you can connect deeply with him so that he feels your love is indestructible, his terror will diminish, and his love for the baby will have a chance to bloom.

5. Empathize. Once children are no longer always on our laps or in our presence, it can get more challenging to stay connected. But every time your child expresses anything, that’s an opportunity to connect. Just empathize:

  • “You sound disappointed.”
  • “It sounds like you wish…”
  • “It’s exciting, isn’t it?”

 When you welcome your child’s emotions, you’re giving him the help he needs to learn to manage them: “You’re sad that you can’t stay up with the big kids. It’s ok to cry. It’s hard to have to go to bed when other kids are still up. Let’s read an extra book tonight so we can snuggle longer and help you feel better.”

6. Help your child learn to manage her challenges without negative labeling. How? Describe that you’ve noticed this wonderful thing about her, but sometimes the flip side of this trait can be a challenge to live with — both for her and other people.  Ask her if she has ideas about how to manage it so she gets the benefits but not the drawbacks.  If you or her other parent has the same trait, point that out and talk about learning to manage it.  Make your story positive and hopeful. That will help her to feel less alone and more optimistic about handling what may seem like a daunting challenge. Be sure to make it clear that everyone changes, and that as we grow up, it gets easier to manage ourselves.

7. Remember that most of what upsets parents is developmentally normal. They act like children because they are children. That doesn’t mean they’ll grow up to be criminals. Kids need to know that they don’t make mistakes because they’re bad, but because they’re human, and, in many cases, because they’re children: “I know you didn’t mean to yell at your friend when you got upset.  You’ve been working hard not to lose your temper. I had a hard time managing my temper when I was eight too. It will get easier as you get older.”

8. Own your reactions.  Sometimes we think it’s self-evident that our child should change. But what bothers one parent might not bother another. A high energy kid might might fit right in with some families but exhaust others. And often, it’s our stress that makes us over-react. Try expressing your needs as “I” statements rather than criticism: “I see you feel like jumping around right now.  I’m tired and a little cranky, and the noise is too much for me. Do you want to go outside and play or down in the basement to jump on the old mattress?”

9. Look in the mirror.  Often what drives us crazy about our child is something that we can’t acknowledge about ourselves. If we think our child is obstinate, we might want to look at who he’s pushing up against. It takes two to have a power struggle. If we think she’s a “drama queen,” is that because we had to stuff our own big feelings when our parents told us to stop over-reacting?  If we can stretch ourselves to grow, we often find that our issue with our child melts away.

10. Remember when you were a child, how vulnerable you were, how much you just wanted someone to see and appreciate you? That’s what your child needs. You play a larger than life role in your child’s psyche. For the rest of her life, how she hears what you say to her will be her inner voice.

If you always worry that your child isn’t quite good enough, he’ll always worry, too. But if you can accept him exactly as he is and help him to see himself positively, he’ll be on the road to learning how to manage even the most challenging character traits.

Even more important, he’ll feel cherished for who he is. He’ll have a big heart, able to love deeply and feel loved in return. And that’s a valentine that will last for life.

by Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

From the original article 10 Ways to Love the One You’re With

What Faith Looks Like When You’re a Mom

Shawna from Not the Former Things wrote her insights about faith like this:

“The longer I am a mom, the more I realize that faith, every day, is less about the rules and the requirements, and more about our hearts. It is about living each day, confident that God is with us in the mundane. That He sees us. That He sees our children. That He loves us. That He loves our children.”

True to every word, Shawna!

Sometimes, faith looks nothing like we thought it would. Or like we think it should.  Sometimes, faith looks like this –
Faith is leaving the kids with your husband and actually enjoying your time alone in Target.

I didn’t know before that this is a kind of “skill” most moms have to learn, and I’m still learning it until today… “Enjoying me time and leave the kids with hubby without feeling guilty.”

Faith is the only prayer of the day being the one you whisper in the middle of the night – “Please go back to sleep. Please go back to sleep.”
This picture comes to my mind Facebook angry smileyFacebook angry smileyFacebook angry smiley.. If you ask why, it’s because I have a 9yo son who has been asking me to chat with him about Captain America, Thor or Hulk about ten times today.

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Faith is being willing to share the tough parts, the ugly parts, and the not often discussed parts of motherhood with other women.

I didn’t know before that this is too some challenge for other moms, but yes, it takes a great courage and humility to let others see our weaknesses.

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Faith is taking a nap instead of doing the dishes.
First thought popped up, ” This is silly.” But then I have to admit that yes, it is hard for me.. Most times I don’t have enough faith to take a nap worrying that I can’t finish today’s work.

Faith is finding another pediatrician that will listen, and not dismiss your concerns.

Faith is enrolling your child in preschool so that you can pay the bills.

Faith is pulling your child out of school because it’s just not working.
I did! I did! … and we’re doing just OK! Facebook angry smileyFacebook angry smiley

Faith is reading that bedtime story, one more time.
… and then three more times, and rest assured that I’ll be able to get up again tomorrow morning without panda eyes.

Faith is making hot chocolate on a cold day, for everyone to snuggle up and enjoy.

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Faith is making your child a turkey sandwich, instead of requiring him to eat what you have cooked for the rest of the family.

I’m trying to have faith for this one without ( me ) having the meltdown.

Faith is requiring your child to eat what you have cooked for the rest of your family.

Faith making the decision to give your child medication, knowing other moms will judge.

Faith is making the decision not to give your child medication, knowing other moms will judge.

Faith is taking your Bible into the bathroom, because it’s the only place you can get a few minutes alone.
… If you are a kind of this mom, my heart goes out to you! I know exactly how it is.

Faith is ordering pizza for dinner because you know you can’t cook and deal with a meltdown at the same time.
I did, I did, I did, I did! … Ooopss, did I say “I did” too often? gulp.  Facebook Pacman EmoticonFacebook Pacman Emoticon

Faith is saying, “No” to that weekend away.
Faith is saying, “Yes” to that weekend away.

Why I’m making things complicated? why I can’t just be like my hubby who can decide for a weekend out of town with the whole family in just a minute? when Mr. Spontaneous meets Mrs. Planner, it always happens.

 
Faith is getting up and doing it all over again today, tomorrow, the next day and the next.
… Lord, please grant me a bigger faith, won’t you? Please, please, please…

 
Faith is looking at your sweet child, sound asleep, and whispering, “Thank you, Jesus.”
… AMEN!

 
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

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Now, to all Moms who are in the same trench, or have been in and out another different trenches.. tell us about how faith looks like for you, I’ll be glad to know! Facebook Wink Smiley

Blessings,

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Knowing is Not Enough

It happened a few days ago, when my child had a bruise on his thigh. When he told me, I responded coldly, ” Ok, now does it still hurt? Are you fine? You look fine now, don’t worry, now let’s get back to work you have a few more minutes to finish your lesson.”

That night after prayer when we were tucking them into bed, my husband noticed the bruise, and then with heartfelt attention and caring, he put ointment and massage. Then he prayed again for God to heal my son. I can see that my son’s face changed, he felt he was loved and that his feeling is important.

Oouch..

I hope noone would see my face turned red. It was a slap right on my heart. I’m the one who teach the kids devotion and speak about kindness. I don’t even show kindness to my own child when he’s hurt.

I realize then that it is not how much I know, but how much I can put that knowledge into action. It is “love that strengthen the church”. No matter how much I know, even if I can memorize the whole Bible, even if I can teach it, it will not save me or bless others until I apply it myself. And also all those great parenting advise, I read them all until my head felt dizzy… They don’t make me a better parent for my children if they were only stuck as knowledge in my mind.

Despite of the “knowledge I have” that I’m a task-oriented person, and that explained well why I responded that way my hurted child, but…

I’m confirmed I should be more careful when I am considered as “teacher” to my children, so I will not encourage them ( to whom Christ has died ) to fall into sin when they’re following me.

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Maybe I shouldn’t worry if they don’t listen to what I teach, because it is the life I’m living that they tend to follow.

Dear Lord, please forgive me as I didn’t show love in action. I want to apply the wisdom of your words in my daily life, so then I can be a blessing to others. Please fill my cold heart with your warm love, help me so I can see other people through your loving eyes. In your sweet name, Jesus. Amen.

1 Cor 8:1-3,9-12 “… Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.”

In His grace,

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Building with Care

Build Your Family with Care

“For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Whether we realize it or not, we are currently building something. We are building our marriage, children, family, carreer, ministry, friendship.

Whatever we build, we have to build it with care, make sure we put our best effort on it because one day whatever kind of work we’ve done  will be revealed. But most important is the foundation. No matter how great your building, it is the foundation that will make it stand and last.

Do not compare your building with others. People tend to see only what their eyes can see. Just like we see a building, we only see the outside appearance, but not the foundation. The foundation is always invisible, underground. Then we do not know the quality of a building only by what our eyes see.

As homeschooling moms, make sure we lay Jesus Christ as the rock foundation on our children’s life. Otherwise, whatever we built on it won’t last. Make it our priority to train their characters and find opportunities in ordinary daily life to lead them to Christ.

What we are doing is for God, not for men. Therefore we are not discouraged when there is no praise or acknowledgement from people. Yes, we are builders but also servants. May what we do today bring glory only to His name.

In His grace,

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