showing honor toward the un-honorable

I was talking with a friend the other day who was sharing with me some very painful parts of her early childhood. An only child to an abusive father, a mentally-ill, perfection-driven mother…the loneliness, the shame, the pressure…the results and consequences of living through those circumstances…some of which still linger to this day…

She was expressing the desire to somehow start processing it….maybe she could write a book…or start talking to others….not only for her own healing process, but in order to encourage others. But after she finished sharing this with me, she stopped…pausing and staring blankly down at her feet…and then said, “but I guess it’ll have to wait until both my parents die first.”

_______

I recently spoke with another friend who was sharing her affection for an up and coming Christian author/speaker. She shared some high points about the things that she had been learning and some areas of growth she had been challenged in by that author. But at the end she mentioned that in some ways her respect for this individual has waned as she has continued to watch this speaker/author be so outspoken about the faults in others.  From the stage she emphatically and jokingly makes cutting remarks about those who have hurt her and holds back none of the details in openly mocking people who have done her wrong.

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I spoke with a man who has recently gone through a painful divorce. His ex-wife has taken the liberty to speak incredible poorly of him to his family, children and friends, yet he refuses to do the same. He feels trapped, not wishing to gossip or slander in return, but comes alive at the thought of allowing his pain to help others in their own divorces. But he is afraid of saying too much. He stays quiet. He refrains from helping others because he fears his words will be perceived as gossip.

_______

I wrote my article about hardness of heart and what’s happened in my family and have struggled immensely with similar thoughts. How do I speak of these circumstances, and yet not be disrespectful toward those involved? How do I practically show honor and share of my own journey through these hardships without drawing unnecessary attention to my father or my mother?

These types of questions are proving to be a challenge to work through…but I’m convinced there must be an option other than to stuff it away and remain in isolation, or just resort to blasting all details from the rooftops…

_______

For me personally, more than ever I am ready to move in, through, and on from this struggle.

Although I cannot speak for anyone in my family, I feel as though healing for me from my broken family relationships has and continues to happen more and more each day.

After 2 decades of struggle, the broken shackles of my wrecked family life are finally OFF. It’s weird in some ways, but it almost feels tangible, as if my body, soul and mind now knows to live free. I know now without a doubt that I am to be who God has made me to be no matter the choices of those in my family.

I am free to speak of Jesus and my life, without the fear of others perception of me. I’m ready to speak of the brokenness, most importantly my own, in order that Christ might be made known in the midst of this sorrow. Like the apostle Paul, if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30) not the weakness of others.

In the midst of this, although I now know that I am free, I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to speak poorly of others. The word is clear that we are to show honor…and just as I wrote in my marriage article, showing honor sometimes means toward people that have not been honorable.

How can we share painful parts of our lives and still honor people who have hurt us?

How can we show respect toward people who are not living respectfully?

Is there a way to talk through the trials of life that involve other people but do so in a dignified way?

Or should we all just wait to process, wait to heal, wait to help others until that person dies?

If that person is no longer living does it now make it appropriate to share openly about what he/she has done wrong?

Does that change the “rules”? Or should we all stay quiet and silent until our own graves?

This is just as much “real time” for me as it is for anyone else…but I’ll share what I’ve got so far on these issues….

  1. speak from your perspective: There is freedom to make mention of what has occurred, but make every effort to quickly move past others’ specific actions to focus more on how you are processing things instead. Avoid bad mouthing as it will only cause more damage. Focus instead on you, what you’re learning and how the Lord is leading you.
  2. keep it generic:  For example, sharing generically about the things you have learned  in the midst of your struggle, encouraging others against common struggles and how you are growing in the midst of those struggles
  3. see your heavenly father as the only perfect one: In order to heal and move forward it is crucial to know God is the only one who will never fail. This gives us the freedom to forgive and the release to not hold anyone to a standard they cannot ever meet. When those we love fail, let it be a reminder to look upward.
  4. find ways to be thankful: There is likely something, even if it’s small, to be thankful for in the person who has hurt you or caused you harm. Find those few things and if you must speak of that person take the opportunity to voice those things instead of choosing to slander. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  5. give grace: It’s always easier to give grace when we are aware of how much we also need it. When we forget how much we have sinned it is easier to feel that we can hold someone else in contempt. But we have been forgiven MUCH, which means we can offer grace even when, especially when, it is not deserved.
  6. create something new: Maybe you had a broken home or major “daddy issues”, maybe you struggle to find anything good at all about your childhood or about your circumstances growing up, but instead of growing bitter, use those thoughts to focus your efforts on creating something new. Make your home into the grace filled, God honoring home you’ve always desired. As you continue to let go of the “old”, allow yourself to be creative to pour into the new. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9
  7. serve others: Be intentional to use your words to edify and to encourage others. If you speak of painful circumstances or heartbreaking stories, find ways to encourage those listening and to build up and strengthen those who hear you. I cannot think of anything that is truly gained when we spend our time using words to tear down. Focus on building up and strengthening others instead.
  8. forgive: Forgive those who have hurt you, and after you’ve forgiven, forgive again and again and again. But be sure to define what forgiveness is: Forgiveness does not condone, excuse or permit. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation and it does not mean you continue in a relationship…but it does give your heart freedom and allows the Lord to heal you. Forgiveness allows you to see what good the Lord can do in the midst of sorrow and takes the focus off the pain. Forgiveness comes at a high cost, but gives us hearts that are glad and hearts that are thankful. Revenge is not for us, that is not our burden to carry. “O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.” Jeremiah 20:12

respecting those who are not respectable| meg marie wallace

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top 6 BEST early parenting books

I’m no longer in a season of having tiny infants in our home, but I wanted to pass along this list of my FAVORITE books that have helped shape the mother I am (or at least the one I strive to be). These books are all different and meet different needs, but if you’re heading into a season of starting a family, are expecting a baby now, are in the throws of motherhood (like me) or know someone who is in these early stages these books are great, great resources. I hope they are a blessing to you as they have been to me!

Admittedly it took me a bit to really figure out what kind of mother I desired to be. At first I simply took notes from those who started families before me and with how long it had taken us to become pregnant, over time I had built in my mind the image of the perfect mom I was sure to be…”oh I’ll NEVER do that” or “I’ll for SURE do that!”…”Oh I cannot believe she did THAT!”….and then once I actually became a mom, I quickly realized that motherhood takes far more than a pipe dream and a snap judgment. Motherhood has a way of breaking you, of making you realize that sometimes you have absolutely nothing left. Motherhood is glorious in all of its lovely ways…but it can also crush you at the same time.

These are some of my all time favorite absolutely necessary books for moms and motherhood. These books gave me perspective, hope, and the knowledge that I wasn’t alone. Obviously there are so many books in different categories of life that I can’t wait to recommend as well, but for now, this is just for the mamas!

I’ve put them in the order in which I feel they are needed due to stage of life. If you’ve read (or heard) of any of these please comment below and let me know what you think!

1. Baby Whisperer

This book was written by a woman who served as a nanny for over 1,000 babies. She was diagnosed with cancer and before she died wrote this book. It has radically changed my life. I don’t mean to sound dramatic in the least, but it honestly has. Aside from the Bible I cannot think of any other book that has so shaped me as a mother and woman. If I’m brutally honest it was actually just the prelude that did it!!! Weird right?!

Before having children I had this idea in my head that I was in control, that I could study enough or learn enough or try hard enough to create the family I wanted to have. I looked at other moms and how they were going about doing things and thought I’d be just like some of them and absolutely nothing like a few others.

This book taught me to look at my own home, what I had been give, and to view my children as humans…as in real life people with real life preferences and real life personalities. I wasn’t playing with babydolls anymore and I couldn’t mimic what I saw in others. I had to find my own way and this book gave me that encouragement. The lightbulbs came on early on with this one, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough to new mamas who are just starting a family.

**Note: The chapters on nursing is outdated. Since the author has died they cannot reprint, but there are groups online that comment on her advice concerning breastfeeding. Other than that I’d highly recommend it!

 

2. Baby Sign Language

Whoa, like whoa, holy moly! This book blew my mind. Well, not as much the book but the fact that my 8 month old started communicating with me!

I was given this book as a baby shower gift. As in the kind of gift I didn’t register for but was thankful-on-my-face for when I opened it. Signing for babies…whatever! They’re not that smart…C’mon….

Famous. Last. Words.

I haphazardly started teaching Kate when she was about 5 months old thinking it was all a joke just to get moms to look silly. It sort of became somewhat of a routine for me just for the fun of it but I had never expected much at all. Until one day…

The light bulbs in her wee little (in my mind still just an infant) brain just came on! One day she started signing back. And then by that night it was two signs…and before you know it I literally had to go out and buy a full on ASL pocket dictionary to carry in my diaper bag because she knew more than I did! She would point and ask the name of things…animals, temperatures, objects, feelings…It was beyond fascinating!!!!

Seriously, teach your baby sign language. I promise you will NOT ever ever regret it.

3. Give Them Grace

Honestly I feel like this book should be read and re-read about, oh…every year as a refresher.

I have purposely put this book next because I deeply feel that it should be read while you still have a tiny baby in your arms. The days are soon coming when you are no longer concerned about nipple confusion or getting enough sleep, but you are now trying to figure out what to do with the little devil that was once so cute and cuddly.

This book gives a great foundation on motherhood and parenting in a way that doesn’t just help us to survive our kids but gives us eyes to see beyond the immediate. We are raising individuals who will one day be adults and that end goal must be on our minds when we are still wiping poo off our shirts.

Bad habits are tough to break. If you begin with this style of parenting in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of re-do and un-do later on. Our kids need to see Jesus, not just learn to abide by the rules. And this starts sooooooo young!

 

4. Toilet Training In Less Than A Day

I found this book at a used bookstore on our way to dinner for a date night one evening. It was torn and the edges had been ripped off. It looked well used and considering the title it caught my eye.

Seriously?! Train your kid to use the potty in less than a day?!

Ya whatever. I set it down and started to walk away. I glanced back and happened to notice the price, $.50. Ahhh…what the heck…why not?! Here you go…here’s my two quarters…

Reading this book was one of the best things I’ve ever read. It taught me how to teach my kids one of life’s most important disciplines in a way that they would truly understand. They don’t even know how to pour a cup of water on their own yet, but I can teach them how to control their innards in less than a day?! Um…yes please.

If you want the cliff’s notes instead of buying the book then read my posts about potty training in a day. I’ve done this five times over and I could probably now write my own book…maybe one day….

5. Don’t Make Me Count to Three


There are a few great books concerning the theory of gospel centered parenting…but very, very few on the “okay, shoot me straight, tell me EXACTLY HOW do I do that” kind of books.

This book is just that.

Getting your feet under you with the books I’ve listed earlier is necessary, but this one will give you the wings to fly.

6. Loving The Little Years

This book is one that will totally help with perspective. It is written by a mom who is in the trenches just like the rest of us, who understands how hard it is and who literally wrote this book with a child on her lap and a few at her feet. How in the world, right???

She’ll remind you all over again that although the days sometimes feel like eternity, the years fly by fast. Cherish these days and intentionally find ways to enjoy it. Her message runs through my veins as well and I couldn’t encourage you enough to read this to help with increasing joy.

 

I’m always up for a good read! Although free time is a hot commodity these days I would LOVE suggestions as to what books you’d recommend! Leave a comment below and share the love!

keep it simple mama: our kids only need two things

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

I’ve never been good at gardening. Taking care of plants does not come naturally to me. What I really want is someone who understands the love language of nature to teach me what to do to keep my plants and flowers not just alive, but flourishing.

It is easy to think that motherhood is like caring for a garden and simply making sure our kids have what they need to stay healthy, clean, and fed. We exhaust ourselves meal planning, scheduling, homework helping, carpooling, cleaning and making sure we won’t run out of diapers before our next grocery run. We have lists and to-do’s and need-to’s and sometimes it can feel like just keeping our kids alive is overwhelming enough!

But how can we create a family that doesn’t just survive, but flourish?

Let me break it down as simply as I can.

Our children have two basic needs: milk and honey.

The “milk” refers to the basic needs of a child: food, drink, general hygiene, clothes, rest.
The “honey” refers to the sweetness of life, the treasured things that make life enjoyable, meaningful and special. The honey is the seed of oneness that when planted blooms into something altogether lovely. The honey is what memories are made of and where bonding begins.

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

Just like a garden…oneness, togetherness, bonding and relationship in a family doesn’t just happen, it is cultivated. It takes intention, pursuit, effort and patience.

I want to pass along some ideas for how to not just focus on the “milk” but how to make “honey” and create sweetness in your home.

  1. One On One Time: We have a large family, so this may matter much more to me than to those of you who currently have one child. Regardless of family size, the idea is the same. Spending 5-10 minutes of intentional one-on-one time with just one child can lift the most downcast spirit, restore the most broken relationship, and can soften the most angry heart.
    Ex: take a short walk, sit on a curb in front of your house, take just one to the grocery store with you, pick some flowers together, put the other children to bed and keep one up a little bit later.    
  2. Don’t GOSSIP!: Be careful to hold your tongue on the negative, and be sure to let it loose often with the positive. As parents we must never ever speak poorly about our children. You can crush not only a spirit but kill the relationship with criticism, sarcasm, and ridicule. I know it’s easy to call it “relating,” or label it as “asking for help,” but may we never speak of our children in a damaging or belittling way. Guard your words carefully. Guard how you tell stories to other people. Instead, choose ways to speak well of them, not only outside of the home but inside as well.  Speak in a way that if overheard they would feel a sense of encouragement, pride, trust, love, and affection.
    Ex: If someone else tells a story and asks if you can relate with your own kids, respond in a way that keeps the focus on you, rather than exposing your child.”Yes, I can relate to that, but I know that when my kids behave that way I can really overreact.” or “Kate, that is so kind of you! Thank you for loving your brothers like that.” or “Corban is the BEST sharer! It melts my heart to see how generous he can be with his toys.”
  3. Get Silly!:  Don’t be afraid to put on some music and have a few dance parties. My kids love when I get on the floor and play “puppies” with them. Games like hide and seek or twister that get everyone involved can be so much fun! Letting them see you loosen up will be memories they’ll remember and talk about for a very, very long time! 🙂 Trust me! 🙂
  4. Let Them Help: I love to build, paint, and craft. Bringing my kids into those things that I love does slow it down for me, but it is so worth it. My two year old even knows how to bang real nails with a real hammer into a real piece of wood! He also knows how to empty the dishwasher and switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Letting (notice I didn’t say making) them help is a joy for them. Including them in a task or a project and taking the time to slowly teach creates amazing memories AND a helpful member of the family! 🙂
  5. Storytelling: Make up fairy tales and let them choose their own adventure. Did anyone else read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid? My family LOVED those! Begin with a description of that particular child and give them a pretend setting. And then let them choose their own adventure. When they stop talking, pick up where they left off and take the story to the next part of the plot. Stop when you think they could carry it again…and keep the adventures going!
    Ex: “There once was a little blonde haired girl who had blue eyes, a button nose, and loved unicorns. One day she decided to put on her best fairy princess dress to go out to hunt for a unicorn…”
  6. Speak Softly: Your tone matters and, yes, the volume does too. But when I say “softly” I am not talking about refraining from being firm or requiring obedience. What I do mean is speak to them in ways that you would desire to be spoken to. Speak to your kids in a way that is loving, gentle, and kind. Be mindful that your tone does not give the impression that they are in your way or that you could be doing something more important.
  7. Read To Them Often: Yes, reading books like Curious George or Winnie the Poo are great. Reading any book to your child is a win. But when talking about the “honey” of life, make an effort to pick books that are of good quality, that are written well, that really allow the kids’ minds to run rampant with imagination, that allow them to dive head on into the story as if they know the characters themselves.
    ****I’ll put together a list of recommended books that are age appropriate soon! Reading together as a family creates a oneness through shared experiences and shared characters.
  8. Create Nicknames: I once heard someone say that we only create nicknames for people that we love or people that we hate. And I think it’s true! I have a nickname for each one of my kids and it’s because they are my favorite people on the planet. Coming up with a special name, letting the child know the meaning behind it, and using it often can be such a meaningful thing. I find that when I call their nickname rather than their real name the response is not only quicker, but often times much more open to what I have to say.
  9. Enjoy The Frivolous: Create opportunities to get out the nice tea set or the fine china. Look for ways to spoil and enjoy. Create opportunities for the extraordinary. Ex: Decorating the house in a special way, or get dressed up and going on a family date together, plan a big trip or an unexpected trip to the toy store.
  10. Say Yes Instead Of No: I know, as parents we have to say “no” a lot. But look for opportunities to say “yes” as well. Whether it be an extra snack, or that toy they went crazy for at Target, or a picnic in the living room, or a later bedtime for tonight, surprise them with a “yes” every now and then!
  11. Enjoy The Ordinary: Let’s admit it, most of the time as mothers our days look the exact same. The majority is the mundane. The routine is the normal. Make the “regular” become the “honey” as you enjoy the little things and create fun from the simple.
    Ex: the tickle monster is going to grab their legs before they can get into their car seat, pretend to sit on them when they’re in a chair, accidentally bump into them just to be able to steal a hug…
  12. Give Grace: Yes to the kids, but let’s start with ourselves on this one. Sweet momma, sometimes we need to set aside the “milk” in order to give our kids the “honey.” The laundry can wait another day. Our kids need the “honey,” but…let’s be honest…we do too!!!! ♥

keep it simple: our kids need two things

 

 

birthday scavenger hunt

Our Buddy turned six this past weekend. I can hardly believe it’s been six years since he was born. This boy, this sweet boy, shares a birthday with my late grandfather on my moms side AND my sister, so this has easily become one of my favorite days of the year.

A few hours after he was born, he was taken to the NICU, and I can remember like it was yesterday the tears streaming down my face as I watched his tiny body in the small glass box with wires coming out of every part of him. My family drove over 8 hours from Oklahoma to Albuquerque to come and be with us as we waited for his health to improve.

He came out of that NICU later that same day and I can remember fighting back tears of joy to not only know he was alright, but to be holding him safely in my arms. My sister, as she held him for the first time, sang, “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” and to this day when I hear that song I think of how time seemed to stand still in that moment.

This child, this lively, spirited, full of energy child, with his adorable raspy voice, his extremely expressive facial movements, and his infatuation for costume wearing has us simultaneously on our toes and wrapped around his finger. So, of course, what better way to let him know how much he means to us than to go all out for his special day.

He had no idea what we were planning, only that something big was coming his way. I told him yesterday evening that today, after he had gotten dressed and eaten breakfast, I would give him a letter…what he didn’t know is that the letter would lead to another, and another and that it keep going in a series of clues taking him hunting all over our neighborhood!

The final note came with a gift (some goggles) and told him to pack up his things and to get ready for a day of fun because we would be going to the Great Wolf Lodge for the night! I’m sitting here now in our dark hotel room, with our happily exhausted kids all asleep, editing the fun pics from the morning and I just couldn’t help but share them with you all! It was the perfect day, with water slides, wave pools, pizza for dinner, a dance party, story time, movie night and presents! He kept repeating over and over again how much fun he was having and the smiles on his face were priceless.

These days of motherhood are numbered, and I feel it constantly slipping through my fingers. I long to savor these moments and wish so badly I could bottle them up forever. I love getting to celebrate my kids…because Lord knows, they are worth celebrating!

Here’s the scavenger hunt in it’s entirety. And if you are in any way motivated to do your own for your little one someday please feel free to copy any of mine that you should desire…and be sure to read the tips at the end for more help!

The first letter:

 

Happy 6th Birthday Buddy! I’m so proud of you! Today we’ve got something 
special to do! You’ll have to think hard to figure it out, but I know you
can do it so be sure to not pout. We’ve planned a surprise for our whole
family to do, and we cannot wait to celebrate you! We are taking a trip,
what an adventure it will be!!! There will be so much to do and so much
to see! This day will start with this little scavenger hunt, so put your
thinking cap on and be sure to lead out in front. You’ll figure it out by
reading each clue and then go to the next spot the words lead you to. If
you’re ready to go then go kiss your dad and your mom, grab your brothers
and sister and say “come on!”

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

After the intro letter I gave him his first official clue, but not before him insisting he put on his special ninja turtle thinking cap!

Mom and Dad spend so much time in this place each day. We make nuggets,
and waffles,and smoothies for you to see a smile on your face. Your
first clue is where we all like to cook, I’ve put the letter inside of
a big black book…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

I purposely made the first clue a super simple one so he would really get into it. And it worked! His face lit up and he couldn’t wait to read the next one!

You did it! You found it! You’re first clue is done! I hope you’re
catching on now so lets keep having fun! Your next clue is somewhere
very easy to guess because you spend so much time there whenever you
rest. You probably didn’t know it was there all night long, but your
next clue is where your head rests when I sing nighttime songs…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

 
You’re on a roll now Canon, you got this one too! But now this next
one is tougher so go get on your shoes! You’ll have to search low
and you’ll have to search high and you’ll have to be sure to go run
outside. This next clue is over where you climb and you flip, there’s
stairs, a few slides and tons of wood chips…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt
birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

Yipppeeee! You made it, you’re doing so great! Let’s be sure to
keep going so that we don’t show up late! This next spot is not
open yet so you’ll have to use your arm that is slim. to reach
through through the black gate surrounding the place where we swim…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

Congratulations Canon! You’re so good at this!!!! I can’t wait
till you finish so I can give you a big kiss! Your next clue is
far, so be sure to think through how to get there and what you
will need to do. You’ need a gate pass, a car, and some keys,
and go ask your mom to drive you please. You’ll have to tell her
where you need to be is where boats like to park and where ducks
like to feed…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be
tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues,
they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t
finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get.
This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is
where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by,
where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh wow, big boy! You’re so smart I see! You found it again and have
so impressed me! Go back up the stairs and head back to the car.
You’ll tell your mom she needs to drive you far. You’ll head to the
place you like to jump in, the spot is near where you first learned
to swim. There’s a park that you play at near there with a slide on
top and you’ll have to crawl up high to find the very right spot…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Woo Hooo sweet boy, you’re on a roll! You’ve got madd skills at
hunting and meeting your goal! Jump back in the car and head to
the place where you play and blow bubbles out of your face. There’s
grass and a tree and a table there too, it’s a spot that’s very
familiar to you. Underneath the cover where daddy likes to grill
food is a basket with stuff in it which is where you’ll find your
next clue.

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

Oh my goodness Canon, you’ve done so well! I’m so proud of you and
my heart just swells! This next clue is surely your last one to find,
after that you'll discover the surprise we have in mind. You’ll need
to look in a spot in the house, where we store bikes and scooters and
where we caught a mouse. There will be a green suitcase that has your
name on it, you’ll have to see what’s inside so be sure to unzip…

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

Oh my goodness Canon you’re doing amazing! I thought this might be tough, but instead you’re just blazing! Right through all these clues, they’ve got nothing on you! You’ve made it this far and we aren’t finished yet, so keep going strong and hunt for that next clue to get. This next spot is down some stairs you see, near a gazebo that is where you be. The stairs are white and on a small island close by, where the ducks like to sit and watch the boats go by…

You did it! You’re finished! You’ve completed them all! I love you
so much and this surprise is not small! You’ll need to pack up and
be sure to bring your things! Take your swim suit and goggles and
let’s start to sing! 
We’re going to have sooooo much fun you know, bring your blanket,
your pillow and some toys to throw. Make absolute certain you don’t
forget Rex because we’ll be staying the night at the place we go next! 
This place is somewhere we’ve never been but it’s going to be amazing
and will make you grin! 
Here is a hint for you to see if you can guess, you’re the greatest
little six year old you deserve the best! 
There are slides and water with so much to do and all we want is to
celebrate YOU!!! We are ready to go, let’s hurry and play! We love you
SO much Buddy and Happy Birthday!!!!

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

birthday boy and scavenger hunt | meg marie wallace | how to make a scavenger hunt

 

That shocked look on his face and the super tight hug was just the absolute best! I’ll post more from our time at the Great Wolf Lodge tomorrow, but here’s some tips for writing your own scavenger hunt!

8 tips to writing a scavenger hunt

  1. Locations: Begin with the locations. Make a list and write out the spots you’d like to hide the letters. Try to think of the hunt as a huge circle with it ending at the same location it began in.
  2. Introduction Letter: Write out the introduction letter explaining to your kiddo what is happening.
  3. First Clue: Make your first clue in a separate letter (it’s easier to keep track of that way) and make it a very easy note to help him find his first clue (that way he won’t get discouraged right off the bat.)
  4. Poetic Rhyming: Write the words you would want to communicate first without the rhyming. That way you can get the sentences in the correct order to help guide him to the right spot. Then go back and change up the last words of those sentences to make them rhyme. Sometimes it means changing out the entire sentence to make a way for it to work, but just keep it simple.
  5. Use a Thesaurus: I pulled up a thesaurus on my computer and just typed in words that I thought could work, then rebuilt the sentences based off of the ideas that came up online.
  6. Assign A Helper: Have other kids help if your child doesn’t read really fast. They’ll be so excited that it might become frustrating if they can’t get the info as fast as they want. For us, the birthday boy just picked different helpers for each clue.
  7. Running Shoes: I wish I’d worn some! He was so fast and I should not have been wearing that dress! I wish I had on my workout gear to be able to keep up with him!
  8. Prize: The prize at the end could be a goody bag or their birthday present. You could do this for Easter baskets or Valentines Day presents…or one idea I had was to have a hunt like this on the last day of school with water guns waiting at the end to celebrate summer. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

a biblical approach to spanking in 8 steps

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

 

Whoa…..this is a touchy subject, isn’t it?! I know that as I sit down to write this post that there will be many who disagree with me on whether or not spanking is even appropriate at all. Although there is much to say about that this post in particular isn’t intended to raise a debate, rather, this post is simply to give some direction and guidelines for those who do see it as a God given responsibility in parenting.

Let me begin with this…regardless of the exact method or process, parents are to be responsible and self-controlled in ALL situations regarding spanking at ALL times. There is no room whatsoever, under any circumstances for physical abuse of any kind. The biblical approach I am describing is balanced, reasonable, intentional and controlled.

I’d like to stress that spanking is not the primary focus on getting our children to obey; training is. I’ve written articles in the past to show how repetitive, intentional teaching and training will often prevent the need to discipline…however, this method is for when a child clearly understands an expectation or command and fails to respond appropriately.

I believe with all of my heart that spanking in a way that honors Jesus and obeys the guidelines in Scripture will not only modify attitudes, improve behavior and strengthen the relationship between parent and child, but it will also point our children to the grace they receive from Jesus who has paid the ultimate penalty for all sin.

Seem impossible??? I’m here to help…

Eight Steps

My first word of advice is to not freak out, be surprised, or get overly emotional when you realize your sweet little baby has a will of her own. Don’t panic about having to use action to enforce discipline. I know from experience how much second-guessing a parent can do. The key here is to have a plan that both parents can generally agree on and to see the end from the beginning. Our aim as parents is to raise responsible, God glorifying children that can handle authority (being in it and under it) in a way that is honorable.

1. a clear warning

Training should never be separated from discipline. If adequate training has occurred then the child should first be given a clear warning to remember what has already been taught. A child should never be caught off guard by discipline. It should always be preceded by a clear warning. This gives you as the parent an opportunity to speak clearly to make sure you are giving him the option to deliberately disobey or wisdom to see if your child is simply making a mistake. If you are training correctly, this initial warning will allow you to stay calm and only correct intentional disobedience.

Ex 1: Son, I have asked you to find your shoes, put them on, and stand by the door. You are
playing with your trucks. Do you remember when I taught you how to get ready to leave the
house? Is what you're doing obedient or disobedient?

Ex 2: Sweetheart, you are not speaking with a kind tone. Do you remember how I have taught you to speak to others?

Ex 3: Son, when we walk through a store is it appropriate for you run ahead? Do you remember
how I've taught you to walk beside me?

Take notice that the reminder is for things that the child has clearly already been taught. Once again, training here is crucial. If a child does not know what to do and the expectations are not clear then discipline should not occur.

The enforcement of discipline comes only after a gentle reminder has not been heeded. The consequence of spanking, or using physical correction is only appropriate in cases of clear disobedience.

Know this, my beloved brother: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Jame 1:19

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

2. responsibility taken

It is important for your child to take responsibility for his behavior. Asking, “Why did you do that?” is not a good question. Theologically speaking it’s a no-brainer kind of question — your child is a sinner with a predisposition to disobedience, which he inherited from you and every other generation all the way back to our first parents in the Garden. The Bible is clear as to why we respond with fits and rage, it’s when we want what we want and we do not get it. Helping a child see that what they want is not always what is best is the better route to go.

Here’s a better way to go about it:

"Son, what did Mom ask you to do?" Go get my shoes and put them on and wait by the door.

"Did you choose to obey or disobey?" Disobey.

"What did you choose to do instead?" Play with my trucks.

"Do you understand why mom would ask you to get your shoes and wait by the door?" Yes, we are leaving.

"Does your disobedience affect just you or does it affect everyone in the house?" Everyone.

"Son, sometimes choosing what you want is not what's best. Mom gave you a clear command and instead of obeying you chose to think only of yourself."

 

With this kind of conversation, you are calm, controlled, and not trying to punish. Rather you are trying to help your child see beyond himself. You are trying to teach and to instruct. You are teaching responsibility and how to take ownership of his actions. This prepares him to begin to look beyond himself and helps him toward the end goal of becoming a responsible adult.

Remember to always keep your focus on the child’s behavior, not his identity. Affirmation of how much he is loved and how much you care for him is absolutely necessary. As the parent you can grieve with him over his poor choice in behavior. But at the same time you cannot allow his actions to go unnoticed. It would not be loving to allow your child to think that even though he is greatly loved he is allowed to act according to his own will. You want him to understand that the act was wrong and he needs to take responsibility for it, but that you have already forgiven him, as has Jesus.

What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James 4:1

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

3. avoid embarrassment

Always try to find a private place to discipline your child. Correction with only words can be whispered in their ear. But never embarrass your children in front of their family, friends, or strangers. Don’t pull them harshly out of the target shopping cart, or make a scene getting him out of the booth at a restaurant. Don’t speak in a tone where everyone around can hear you, and don’t do anything else that will make your children feel as though others are watching them. All that accomplishes is shame and embarassment and it will be one of the fastest ways to break connection with your child.

Instead, make every effort to go to a private place. At home, that can be the bedroom or bathroom. In public, it can be the restroom, behind a building, or in the car.  Unnecessary embarrassment can do a lot of damage that you’ll have a hard time undoing later on. Please note: if there is no place for you to discipline publicly then it is better to avoid discipline altogether. Simply make a note to either address it privately at home (which is okay for slightly older children) or remember to reenact the same scene in a training session at home in order to still teach the concept/action again.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

4. communicate grief

I want my children to know that more than being angry, I’m disappointed and heartbroken when they disobey. To see our children harden their hearts against the ones who love them most is a sad thing. To express and communicate our sadness in however simple ways we are able that our children can understand is necessary to let them know we are fighting WITH them not against them. When trust has been violated, our kids need to know that the relationship is wounded. There have been times that tears have rolled down my face when their actions have revealed the sin in their hearts. When kids see the grief of their parents, they’ll understand a slight glimpse of how their sin affects God. They’ll understand that God isn’t waiting with a bat to come at them every time we make a mistake, rather he sees us with eyes of compassion. He grieves over our sin and the consequences it brings. Our role as a loving parent is to be a tangible refection of how Jesus himself would respond when witnessing the destructive nature of disobedience.

Ex 1: "Son, I love you dearly, but I love you too much to let you disobey. You have been given one command in the bible and it comes with a promise. You are to obey your parents that life would go well for you."

Ex 2: "Son, I know that this isn't fun, but I hurt for you and with you. This isn't what God intended for you and this isn't what I want for you either. I want you to learn and to grow and I want you to trust that what I ask of you if for your good...not to harm you. It's my job to teach and train you and when you refuse to learn I have to follow through. I love you too much to let you take a path of destruction."
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:5

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

5. it’s all in the wrist

This is super practical, but also (hopefully) super helpful to relieve some of the doubting and second guessing in what to do with the actual spa king part. The point of spanking is to reenforce the truth you are teaching with a sting to provide a painful deterrent to not repeat the action again. Spanking is never to injure, scare or cause harm.

The “rod of discipline” as the Bible refers, should never be violent. Although there are no specifics on how hard a spanking should be there’s certainly no reason whatsoever to assume that it’s talking about a brutal form of punishment. A parent who is clearly angry, lacks self control, and swings hard without restriction is in sin. That type of spanking is not out of a heart that is obedient to the Lord, rather it lacks love and has no concern for the good of the child. That form of discipline is unbiblical, sinful and wrong.

 Once you have gone to a private place, speak with them first on your lap and then let them know exactly what is going to happen. Then turn them over and hold them close and spank on their buttocks or thigh. With older/larger children have them place their hands on the door or the side of the bed and lean over slightly.

When you spank, use a wooden spoon, a ping pong paddle, a hand, a small strip of leather or some other appropri­ately sized object and flick your wrist. A few flicks of the wrist on the fatty part of the thigh or directly on the soft tissue of the buttocks will not cause damage to their bodies. The desire is for a firm sting to occur, and that’s all that is necessary.

It ought to hurt, which is suuuuuper difficult for us mothers to accept, and it’s okay if it results in a few tears. If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t really discipline because there is nothing to really “mark” the memory of the child. And ultimately it isn’t very loving because it will not be effective.

For young kids I have typically given the number of flicks for the number of years old. My two year old gets 2 flicks, my 8 year old gets 8 flicks.

As children get older into the preteen years, spanking becomes less effective and less necessary. We are moving now into the lost-privilege approach, however we do hold spanking as a last option. Making sure to be diligent and consistent with proper discipline earlier in their lives makes spankings become less and less necessary as they get older.

A man without selfcontrol is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

6. sincere repentance

When kids are small, let them sit on your lap after a spanking and cry for a while. Hold them close, let them know you’re near and that you love them. Then after a few minutes, ask, “Are you ready to make things right now? Are you ready to talk about this with me (or whoever the wrong was against) and with God?”

At this point you will either see a soft, tender heart that is broken in repentance…or you will see anger and a growing disdain. If you see softness then keep going with the next steps. If you see increased hardening, a child attempting to hit at you, or any remaining anger then ask your child, “Are you going to continue to harden your heart to me and God? I am going to have to repeat that process again if you remain angry. Please know I love you and want good for you, but you must soften.” You don’t delay on this and you don’t give warning after warning. If the child remains hardened go right back into the flick process and give another set of spankings (meaning however many flicks per year of age). Then repeat the steps above and ask they child if they are ready to soften. If still angry you’ll repeat in a controlled and loving manner as many times as is necessary for you child to soften. Again, this is not at all an excuse to harden. As a mom who has done this many, many times I can honestly say that the longer my child remains hardened the more broken I become. After a third or fourth round I can feel the lump in my throat growing and before long the tears are streaming down my face. I become so soft (yet still remaining firm in my actions to complete this job) that my words are often only a whisper. “Please son, do not remain hardened. Please soften. This isn’t what’s best for you. Are you ready now?”

When I receive a nod, or a sinking into my body, when there is any sign of the will being broken, at any point I can tell repentance and genuine sorrow has occurred…I hold them close and let them know how much I love them.

Once a calmness is restored I will again revisit the issue and ask them, “How did we get here, what went wrong out there? What was it mommy asked you to do and what could you have done differently?” I want to help them clearly relate the discipline to the behavior.

Then I would ask, “With whom do you need to make things right?” Often they would realize they needed to make things right not just with me and with God, but also to apologize to a brother or sister. Then I’d take the opportunity to coach them in how to approach God, what to say, how to confess their sin, and how to receive forgiveness. I then ask if I can pray for them and over them that they would be quick to learn and that they would remember this time of discipline in the future.

Together we speak with God humbly and honestly as no other experience could allow. I am able to confess to God the times in my life I have responded to Him the same way my child has. I can share a story with my child of a time when I too disobeyed like they did. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean I am perfect. Sharing my own brokenness with my children and pointing us both to Jesus allows them to see that I need grace just as much as they do.

Discipline done rightly with forgiveness and reconciliation is without a doubt one of the sweetest, most tender, most beautiful and most intimate parts of motherhood.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

7. restoration

Knowing that Jesus has already paid the ultimate penalty allows me to freely forgive. Jesus has made him absolutely clean, and I need to see him that way as we move forward. There is no room for any resentment and I make no allowances for there to be any barrier between the two of us.

Using the rod in a way that honors God brings a unity and a bond between parent and child that goes beyond the actions that will keep a child from destruction. Loving them enough to take the time to be compassionate as a parent through discipline has a much deeper purpose than just getting a child to do as we wish.

To be restored to one another means to walk in unity once more. There is a warmness and smiles and tenderness once again. The goal before leaving our “private place” is to have smiles and hugs and joy with both of us knowing reconciliation has taken place.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace

8. act out correct behavior

I cannot say enough about this part and most parents I know skip it completely, but this is key to improving the obedience of your child. This step is absolutely critical, carries so much weight and I cannot stress the importance of it enough. If we are to truly train up our children in they way they should go then it is not just discipline that will get us there. Training, training, training and more training is required. Training is never to be separated from discipline.

After the discipline session is over and you and your child are restored, but the work is not yet complete. Have your child go back to the exact spot they were when the first disobedience occurred. Repeat the same command and the same instruction and give your child the opportunity to do what was right the first time. When your child follows through with the correct behavior celebrate with them emphatically and speak for just a moment about well they did, and how their obedience honors you and honors God.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

 

consistency: 

Parents don’t grow weary in doing good. By disciplining in a way that honors God you may see immediate improvements in your home. Your family may have less chaos, more peace and more joy. Your children will respond immediately to you because they feel loved and cared for. More than likely there will be far less stress and the environment overall will be much more manageable and life giving….and that will be encouraging and most likely spur you on to keep going strong.

But some of you may not see improvement right away and I would encourage you to keep pressing on with the goal to honor the Lord in your role as a parent. Stay diligent in training first, be sure to continue communicating clear expectations, work hard to establish clear boundaries, and remain consistent with clear consequences. I promise the fruit of your labor will not be in vain so don’t ever give up. The seed you plant now will have a harvest, so keep planting good seed into the fertile hearts of your children.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

a biblical approach to spanking | meg marie wallace


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barefoot motherhood

“He thinks only of what he wants and he does not ask himself whether he ought to want it.”
-Bernard Of Clairvaux

 

There is rich beauty in our mundane, normal, ordinarily insignificant lives.

I recently received a call from a friend who had worked ever so diligently toward a huge goal. She entered her name into a competition and then proceeded to sacrifice her time, sleep, money, effort, energy, marriage, and family in hopes of her winning it all. In the end, when her name wasn’t chosen, she was not only depressed, but angry. At one point in our conversation she voiced the true reason for the anger in her loss. Her response was weighty. After a long pause she said…

“I want to be more than just a mom.”

Being ‘just a mom’ simply isn’t enough for her. The role of motherhood is no longer significant enough for her.

Mom + something significant = happy, meaningful life.

And gosh her words were convicting.

Nowadays it would seem that adding all sorts of roles on top of motherhood is the only appropriate lifestyle. I too have become restless with the mundane. I have allowed my thoughts to wander with desire of making an “epic splash in the sea of ordinary.” Just like my friend, I want to stand out too, to make a difference. To matter.

“I desire to be common, mundane, normal, unexceptional, monotonous, routine, average, usual…” said no one ever.

The ordinary, at times, is unsatisfying.

Often I dream of walking in patent heels on red carpets not hanging out un-showered with bare feet in my unswept kitchen.

Thoughts of doing more, of accomplishing more, of BEING more fill my heart and mind. I am distracted. I race with the desire for new ideas, new plans, new hopes and new dreams…

…but desires are like fireworks…

Handled wisely, they fill the night sky with light, color, beauty, and delight. Handled poorly and they can burn an entire home down.

My home. Your home.

The absence of my consideration to these misfired desires is making me ragged. Why am I bored with the routine? Why do I groan at the mundane? Why am I dissatisfied with the ordinary?

Why do I think my “job” is insignificant?

James 4:1-2 says “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

The desires for celebrity, consumption, immediate gratification, and attention have tainted my views of my God-given role in motherhood. 

“I’m made for more,” I mutter under my breath as I sweep up the goldfish crumbs for the 16th time today.

“I shouldn’t be the one to have to clean this mess up,” I say aloud as I pour out the bathwater that has been dumped into the bathroom trash can.

“There’s got to be a better, more meaningful use of my time,” I tell myself as I sit down to fold the 14th load of laundry this week.

Something more eloquent. Something more glamourous. Something more influential. I should be somewhere else, doing something else.

The normal, every day is not enough. And pride is at the root of it.

The focus on something grand “out there” steals the joy
of the ordinary “in here.” 

At times I catch myself daydreaming of my own desires and completely miss the little voices right by my side. Often I am interrupted in the midst of my big, grand daydream of marvelousness by the sound of my name being called to come and wipe my toddler’s rear after he has pooped.

It’s humbling to say the least. But such a great reminder.

I often do not realize how these distracting thoughts of doing something “better” are like a disease that eats away at the joy of my soul.

And that disease doesn’t just affect me. My family suffers for it.

  • My desires are misguided if my idea of greatness involves looking past the eyes of those little ones who look up toward me every day.
  • My desires are off track if my role in motherhood becomes nothing more than a stepping stone toward something better and beyond.
  • I completely miss the mark when those who are most precious to me suffer for the sake of the fulfillment of my “other” desires.

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly” (1 Peter 5:2, emphasis mine). Of course, Peter speaks to pastors here, but I honestly believe the truth is relevant for us mothers as well.

To love, serve, and strive for the sake of our family is a noble and honorable task. It requires a great deal of patience, love, joy, steadfast determination, humbleness, a whole lot of grace, and tunnel vision for what matters most.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

-Mother Teresa

Daily I must choose to redefine and reprioritize what I value most and continue to bend my definition of greatness to the one Jesus not only gives for us, but was the perfect example of:

“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45 ESV)

barefoot motherhood; meg marie wallace

 

 

Terrible "Twos" (Part 2)

I get it.
You’re in the trenches with a toddler and need practical help.
You need to have a goal, a big picture, a plan to be able to grasp, and you need to know exactly what steps to take to get there. I’m hoping you read the first article that gives the birds-eye overview of training and discipline. I’m also hoping that you have read Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd TrippIt is ALWAYS imperative that you know the WHY before the HOW.
With that said…here is the best of what I’ve got for:

How To Handle The Terrible Twos…and Beyond…

  1. Right Away, All The Way, With a Happy Disposition

    You might be wondering when to discipline and when not to. In our home we have used this particular phrase: “You must obey Mom and Dad “RIGHT AWAY, ALL THE WAY, and WITH A HAPPY HEART.” That is how we define complete obedience. All three must be present for the child to have fully complied with a command or instruction.  Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  2. Be Proactive In Training

    In order for your child to obey completely they must first understand what is required of them. It is kindness to show our children what we expect before we discipline them for not doing it.

    These three phrases of obeying right away, all the way and happily are your base line for where you will begin training. You want to create ‘practice exercises’ in the home to teach your child to obey right away, all the way and to do so happily. If the child only does two of the three requirements, then keep practicing until all three are met. When your child does finally do it, praise him and encourage him!

    Start with basics like “come here please,” “stop,” “no,” and then keep going from there. Your child needs to understand what to do when you say a particular command. The same will apply for putting on their shoes, putting toys away, how to share, teach what your child SHOULD do when they are finished eating (most kids just throw food onto the floor). The list is endless. There is so much for our kids to learn and they are like little sponges that can ‘get it’ so quickly!

    ****Remember: Training is the teaching time when your home is peaceful, NOT in the heat of the moment. Training is taking a skill or behavior that you would like your child to learn and teaching that skill with love and encouragement during normal times in the day. Be intentional. Carve out time to do this. Enjoy this part of the process.

    Q: How do you know if your child is old enough to be able to be trained?

    A: I like to tell parents that if their baby can reach their arms out to ask to be held or picked up then your child is old enough to begin training. First training exercises are for babies about 9-10 months old and will be very simple, but very effective.

    Ex: Teaching to not grab glasses off of your face, teaching to stay on a blanket without crawling off, teaching to look at you when their name is called, teaching what “no” means, teaching not to touch a computer, teaching how to put food away on their tray, etc.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  3. Training Issue or Discipline Issue?

    Training: If my child is acting out on something I have NOT yet trained for, I personally always give a “warning” rather than discipline. But immediate training will follow the warning to not repeat that particular behavior.

    Discipline: If the skill HAS already been trained/taught, the next thought in my mind is whether or not my child obeyed the command I gave right away, all the way, with a happy disposition.

    Real Life Example: I ask my child to take their shoes off, put them away, and walk upstairs to put on pajamas (which is a compound command that a young toddler is old enough to handle). He responds by doing what I asked but lets out a huge whine, grunts loudly, and stomps his feet all while doing what I commanded.
    Has my child disobeyed?
    Yes.
    Even though he is doing the action, I do not consider that complete obedience. I would then say to my child, “Son, Stop. Look at my eyes.”
    (child does so but gives me an angry stare)
    “Your actions are disobedient and will not be tolerated. You body is doing what I asked, but your  mouth and your face are not happy. You are showing mom that you are angry in your heart. You have one chance to come back to the exact same place where you started and try that entire command again. You are to obey right away, all the way and happily.”
    Depending on the mood of the child in that moment he will either go back, re-do that command (yes, I literally have him go back and stand in the exact same spot and I speak the original command again) in the right way…or my child will once again go through the motions but with the same angry disposition. If the child chooses to disobey again I will calmly, but firmly, say, “Okay, son, you have made your choice to disobey again. I’m saddened by your choice, but you need to meet me in the bathroom.”
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos
  4. Designate A Place

    Do not embarrass your child and discipline him in front of others. Your goal is never to shame him but to bring him to repentance. If you take these steps with others watching the focus will not be on whatever you say, rather it will be on what others are thinking. I always recommend having a private place to speak with and discipline your child. Jesus taught us, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15

    We have chosen the bathroom as the “go to” spot, but any private place in the house will do. This is especially helpful when you have more than one child and you first have to take care of the one not in trouble. Remember, though, that when times are calm you also must train your child HOW you expect them to walk to the bathroom when you give that command. Slamming a door, stomping their feet, wandering off to another spot in the house, hiding, screaming as they walk…none of those are obedient ways to get to that spot.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  5. ALWAYS Train and Discipline IN LOVE:

    God disciplines those He loves. Your child is not just a project to take on. Love must undergird everything you do. Your child is a person who needs love and needs to see the Gospel lived out through you.

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
    1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    An attitude of love and kindness deals not only with our children’s hearts but ours. Our responses to our children’s actions, including their sin and disobedience, matters in a huge way. The anger, control, and selfishness in our own hearts can so quickly bubble up and we cannot ignore it.

    In Galatians 5:22 we see the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. We need to ask ourselves, are we responding in love? Are we teaching with kindness? Are we training in gentleness? Are we patient? Are we being faithful to keep going even when it’s hard.

    If you have not handled yourself well in responding to your child, apologize to your child and ask for forgiveness. We are imperfect people and we blow it all the time. Yet even in my own wrongdoing I want to teach my kids that I will be predictable in my imperfection. WHEN I wrong them, because I will, I will repent and apologize and ask for their forgiveness. I will point them once more to look to the only perfect example, which is Jesus, not me.

    I don’t care if my child is a 1 year old and only understands 1/3 of what I am saying, or they one day are a grown adult and taller than me…if I have wronged someone, fully apologizing is my first priority.

    Real Life Example:
    My son disobeys by hitting another child. Confession: If I’m honest I don’t think anything gets me mad quite like one of my kids hurting another. The mama bear comes out quick with this one. There’s almost no buffer time for me…I get super mad really fast. Anyway…let’s say one son hurts another son on purpose. I respond by immediately raising my voice, grabbing his arm and yelling at him to go straight to the bathroom. When I meet him in there I yell at him about how foolish what he did was. My son is crying and I am fuming mad. Would this be the best time to discipline or spank my child?
    Uh…No.
    I leave the bathroom for a few minutes to go back and check on the son that was hurt. I take a moment to get myself under control. I pray for peace and think through what it is I’m trying to teach in that moment. Then I go back in and I begin with an apology. “Son, mom spoke to you in a way that was unkind. I love you and I really do want good for you. But I also want good for your brother. For you to hurt him on purpose is not loving, but mom wasn’t loving either. Will you forgive me for speaking so harshly toward you?”
    “Yes.”
    At this point I have a choice. I can follow through with controlled and loving discipline (meaning spankings) resulting with an apology to the child that he hurt. OR I can hold my child closely and we can talk through the sin that is in BOTH of our hearts. The Bible is clear that a soft answer turns away wrath and I have seen this to be SO true over and over again in this kind of setting. There is a sweetness that follows whenever I repent to my children. No parent is perfect and I would be the first to raise my hand in admitting I’m far from it. But I am consistent at letting my kids know that too. When they see me as their mom owning my wrongs, apologizing and seeking forgiveness, I am not only leading by example but I am showing them there is something bigger and beyond us that we both need. I need a Savior too. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” For me to point my children to the only One who is perfect is the weightier lesson in that moment.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos
  6. Think Through Verses That Apply:

    Training is not just for our children to learn how to respond. It is for us, as moms and dads too. Your child’s disobedience teaches you about your own dependence on God. When there is down time and you have the house quiet, even if it is for five minutes a day, learn your Bible and search for verses that you can cling to in the moment. There is a Child Training Bible kit that I highly recommend that I use ALL of the time in our home. It is a bit of work to get it set up but once you have it you can refer to it daily.

    This discipline of thinking through verses that apply to our own hearts first will also give you a great deal of insight into what the issues are going on in your child’s heart. And keep this in mind as you learn and grow: Sometimes it’s more than dependence that my Heavenly Father is after it’s complete desperation for Him. We aren’t learning these things to be able to quote them. We learn to be able to live it out.

    Real Life Example: If a child steals a toy, the deeper issue is that it is not loving, in fact is is rude and selfish to take without asking. Rather than yelling and then quickly swatting, the conversation (beginning with eye contact on your child’s level) could look like this…
    “Sweetheart, does that toy belong to you?”
    “No.”
    “Did you take it without asking?”
    “Yes.”
    “What is it called when someone takes without asking?”
    “Stealing.”
    “That’s correct. And the Bible is clear that stealing is a sin. Were you loving or unloving toward your brother when you stole from him?”
    “Unloving.”
    “That’s right honey, and love is never rude. Love is never selfish. I want you to give the toy back to your brother and patiently wait until he is finished. Then you will ask him if you may play with it. Please go and make things right with your brother.” (Always offer what TO do, rather than just telling your child what not to do.)
    returns toy…”I’m sorry for being selfish and unloving toward you. Will you forgive me?”
    ***Note: If child will not obey the command you gave of returning the toy and saying what you have requested…then the issue becomes a discipline issue.

    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  7. Learn To Talk WITH Your Child, Rather Than AT Your Child.

    You must learn to make eye contact, to slow down, to listen, to speak calmly and to ask good questions. Seek to understand what might be going on in your child’s heart. Learn to evaluate and discern and teach them what it is like to communicate effectively. Learning to discover internal issues will help you know what aspects of the Bible need to apply to that particular situation. Teach your child to express themselves with words rather than resorting to screaming or crying.

    Real Life Example: My child is running throughout the house while another child is napping. It is important to teach my child at a very early age to be aware of his surroundings and to have concern and care for his new baby brother. I begin with saying the child’s name one time. the simple command to “Stop.” My child stops and looks at me. I then say something like, “Honey, your new baby brother is taking a nap. You are running and being very loud. Is that loving toward your brother?”
    “No.”
    “You’re right, it’s not. If your baby brother doesn’t get the rest he needs then he won’t be happy and it’ll be a tough thing for mom too. I need you to think of his needs and be quiet for him.”
    “Okay mom.”
    If my older son continues to be loud and disregards my command then I will move to discipline.

    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  8. Develop a Common Language & Choose The Right Words:

    Giving accurate Biblical words or catch phrases to what actions or sins a child is continuing to engage in will help to develop a Biblical understanding of the truths and principles behind the instruction. Replace worldly terminology with Biblical terms. A few examples to use are:
    Promoting peace
    Disrespect/Respect
    Disobedient/Obedient
    Stirring up trouble
    Returning evil for evil
    Selfishness
    Pride
    Anger
    Self-Control
    Loving one another

    Using Biblical terminology will call the disobedient action what it is. God’s words have power and it is God’s wisdom that will get through to the hearts of your children. Hebrews 4:12 explains, “The Word of God is living and active; sharper than a double edged sword; it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    Real Life Examples:

    -“Were you promoting peace or were you stirring up trouble?”
    -“Was ignoring your bother loving or unloving?”
    -“Are you choosing to repay evil for evil when you hit back?”
    -“You need to be self-controlled. You are not under control when you throw a fit.”

    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  9. Talk Through a Way of Escape and Role Play to Reinforce.

    1 Corinthians 10:13 says that when you are tempted, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” If our Heavenly Father has set such an example for us, shouldn’t we bestow the same kindness toward our own children?

    When we offer only discipline for wrong behavior and fail to train in the correct behavior, we will exasperate our kids because they are unaware of the way out. This provokes our children to anger…not to mention us too, having to deal with the same disobedient behavior repeatedly. This is a HUGE deal, so I hope you’re still paying attention: Parents must teach the correct behavior anytime a child is corrected for wrong behavior.

    Practical: It rarely matters where we are…we have done this at home, in the grocery store, in parking lots, at friend’s houses, at church, in the middle of Disney, and in the aisles of Costco…if I have to correct a behavior, I will have my child act out the correct behavior with complete obedience. If obedience is not complete, then we will continue on with either more attempts to practice or move to discipline.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  10. Disobedience Is Not A Personal Offense

    I KNOW it’s going to feel that way, it often does for me too. Yet when our children do not obey our commands, it is not to be taken personally. Your child’s disobedience does not measure your value any more than his obedience showcases your achievement. We cannot allow ourselves to become angry at what they have chosen to do because their sin is ultimately what is in their own hearts. It right for us to hold them responsible for it but not to become easily angered by it. Ultimately their sin is against a holy God and it is kindness for us to free them from what is stuck inside of their hearts. Again, please read the book from Tedd Tripp Shepherding A Child’s Heart for more of an overview on this…trust me, it’s worth the time.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  11. Discipline. 

    There is no clear plan Biblically for exact steps as to how this part should go. I honestly believe that every couple should talk through in detail what you feel comfortable with. Talking through it ahead of time not only serves as a consistent standard for the child to understand, but it can also be a protection for any parent that might struggle with taking things too far in regards to spankings.

    We have taken the approach that our children will be spanked with a wooden spoon. We have chosen the amount of spankings based on their age, believing that the consequence increases as they grow older.
    For a two year old it is 2 spankings for each offense. For my 7 year old its 7…and so on. The only time when that number increases is if my child’s heart is still angry after the first round. If there is anger, or hitting or grunting or any of the such, then I will calmly, but firmly, spank that same amount again. I will then ask my child, “Are you ready to soften your heart now?” If there is more anger and more grunting, then I will repeat the same round again until the child is clearly softened. Never can we become angry in those settings. In fact it should move us to the opposite. The more hardened my child becomes, the more compassion I have for him. It breaks my heart to see my child continue to fight what is God’s best. I will remain steadfast in my aim to bring him to repentance, but my heart is soft as I gently plead with him to not stay hardened.
    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

  12. ALWAYS RESTORE!!!

    Restoring a child to a joyful disposition is absolutely necessary. One of the main points of training and discipline in the home is to create peace. When a child is left to do whatever he wishes with no regard to anyone but himself it is extremely frustrating, not to mention dangerous. If mom or dad is continually angry and fed up, then there isn’t peace and there certainly isn’t oneness.

    I would strongly argue that training AND restoration are far more important than even the spankings themselves are. A child that does not feel close to his parents will likely continue to act out all the more. I am not a child psychologist and I have no fancy book to quote from, but I can say from quite a bit of experience that a child who feels unloved will act in an unloving way.

    Whenever I end a discipline session I do whatever it takes to make sure my child knows he is loved. I remind him of why I discipline, I remind him of my love for him, I pray with him and confess my own sin with him. Sometimes we sing a song together. By the time we leave that bathroom we are smiling and often times even laughing with one another again.

    one glass slipper | meg wallace | how to handle the terrible twos

    Final Thoughts:

    Discipline and training are never ending opportunities to remind our children of their need for new hearts, not just good behavior. No matter how obedient, or how compliant their actions are it will never be enough. Jesus lived a perfect life in their place for their sin and it is a joy to be the one to continually teach, explain and live out that truth before my kids day in and day out.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

    In case you’re wondering, yes, this process takes a LOT of time and a LOT of work. It’s hard and there are plenty of days I get tired and don’t want to spend another minute in that bathroom. But I promise, the work is worth it. You will reap what you sow. The harvest of a well trained, well loved, loving child who understands their need for a Savior and the gift of grace is a sweetness like no other.

 

Terrible "Twos" (Part 1)

The Beginning…

You’ve endured months of morning sickness, a pregnancy that has left your body forever changed, barely survived a painful, traumatic delivery…you’ve fumbled through breastfeeding, figured out sleep schedules, made the tough call on whether or not to vaccinate, could describe in detail every baby product on the market and figured out how to survive on little to no sleep yet still be a functioning individual during the day…the hard part is over right?!

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

Things were finally getting good…

You’ve been enjoying the recent months of staring into that precious face in disbelief that your body could have made such a thing. You’ve held that sweet little miracle bundle of joy closely, prayed for and sung to her almost every night. You’ve cuddled, you’ve bonded, you’ve laughed and watched him make his first steps! You’ve celebrated his first birthday and are excited about the future of having more children….

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

but…..

Something isn’t working anymore…

That sweet little angel blessing from heaven above has somehow turned into a little fire-breathing, fit-throwing hellion…seemingly overnight…and you’re not quite sure what to do. You’re lil’ “muffin face sweet cake” isn’t so sweet anymore and is often melting down, whining, has somehow learned what the word “no” means, can (and does) scream it at the top of his lungs, and you are at the end of yourself.

You’re beginning to realize that the true work of motherhood has only just begun and the thought of adding more little people into your home leaves you frozen with shock and a great deal of fear. Each day you think in your mind, “If I can only make it until nap time”…and then after nap time is over, “If I can only make it until bed time”…and most days, when the lights finally go out, it’s all you can do to muster up enough strength to crawl in your bed and cry yourself to sleep.

As the tears stream down you wonder…”Is this just MY kid? Where do I even begin? Is there any hope? Who could I ask for help? Does anybody have any wisdom? There’s gotta be a book…but which one? I don’t have time to waste on figuring out which book is good and which one is bad…I’m too tired to even think through what to do…because tomorrow is coming and I’ve got to get some sleep before this all starts up again…”

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

Real Life

In case the thought has crossed your mind as to how exactly I’m reading yours, let me assure you I’m not reading your mind.

I’m sharing my own.

I know this story all so well because I’ve lived it many days over. I’m right there in the middle of my own parenting journey too and in all honesty I should be getting some much needed sleep before my own new day begins again tomorrow…

But sweet mama, let me tell you…there’s hope.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

I can say with all confidence I know what to do with the terrible twos now. Life is like that isn’t it? You get through something difficult and learn a ton, and then you realize if you could go through it again you’d probably do things a bit better.
And that’s just what I did.
Like Ground Hogs Day.
My life just kept repeating.
Toddler after toddler after toddler….
I just kept having kids until I nailed the terrible twos!
Yep, I’ve got this down pat now!
Oh wait.
No.
That’s a TOTAL lie.
I haven’t nailed the terrible twos at all…

But I sure have learned A LOT along the way. And if any part of my life will bring any benefit whatsoever to anybody else’s life then I believe it’s worth the time, and an extra late night or two, to write it down.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

The Bottom Line

I now know who is in control of our household. And here’s a hint, it is NOT my two year old. The methods and systems we use now weren’t put in place overnight and it’s not some magic pixie dust wisdom that was sprinkled on me or my kids when I gave birth. I feel confident in where I am now because of all of the millions of ways I have failed first.

I’ve spent years compiling info, reading books, learning through observation and interviewing moms I respect. And although I think my computer generated blog post title is catchy I can say with all of my years of experience that there is no “complete” guide to motherhood out there anywhere. I feel like I could write an entire book on exactly how to handle a tantrum and exactly how to end a melt down, with maybe even a chapter or two on how to PREVENT them and it still wouldn’t be enough.

It takes grace. And a lot of it.

Not to mention that every single child, mother, family and household is different.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

But, even with all of those missing factors taken into account I believe there are a few things that can at least get this convo going that might bring some benefit to you, your child, and your household.

So, with that said I’ll try to break this down as simply as I can…let start with one of the biggest hot topics in parenting…

To Spank Or Not Spank?

The issue of whether or not to spank is so well articulated in the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. If you are a Christian and are on the fence as to whether or not to spank please read his book.  Or if you are wondering what the difference is between worldly spankings verses biblical heart focused discipline I would highly, highly (did I mention highly?!), highly recommend beginning with this book. Tedd Tripp does a far better job than I ever could at spelling it all out so if you’re not sure whether or not to spank please stop reading my blog right this second and click HERE and have his book sent to you…and then stay up ALL night reading it. 🙂

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

What Godly Discipline is NOT

Godly discipline is not just about a bunch of rules. Those who attempt to simply create standards, or measures, or rules to abide by miss the hearts of their children. To simply use a method of any kind to control your child’s behavior merely affects the outward…and thus begins the biggest lie we can ever teach our children, that acting right means they are good people.

Teaching our children to act right does not mean we are raising them right.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

As a family we have never used a sticker chart or an award system of any kind to merit good behavior. My kids get enough of that at public school. Godly discipline is two sinful parents taking seriously their God given role to faithfully, repeatedly, tirelessly, and unreservedly teach, instruct, and train up our children in the way they should go.

Biblical discipline is not an uncontrolled use of physical punishment for a bad deed, rather it is training in righteousness and instruction of the Lord.

 the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

Your Child Is Born Sinful.

Your child is a sinner. No, you’re not the only parent with a child that throws massive temper tantrums in the middle of a grocery store! And even if your baby is cuter than the Baby Gap Poster Child your child is still a sinner. Not “strong willed”, not “has a personality quirk”, not a “more lively demeanor” than the next child…it’s called sin.  It only takes a couple of toddlers at the park who all want the same toy to show us what is bound up in those little hearts. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
All includes….all. Me and my kids too. You and your kids too.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

What IS Biblical Discipline?

Biblical discipline gets to the heart of the problem. We don’t need to focus as much on the outward actions so much as we do the inward cleansing our children so desperately need. We are told in Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Put simply, what is in the heart determines the behavior. Proverbs 4:23 says, “above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

Discipline is Only Half of the Problem…or even less

God has called us to instruct our children, not simply discipline them. In Ephesians 6:4 we are told to ” Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” I wrote about this in a sort of playful way with the How to Train Your Dragon Part 1 and Part 2, but training is serious business that takes a lot of time, a lot of consistency and a heck of a lot of work.

“Discipline” meaning correction from the rod,  is only half of our job and I find that the second half of “instruction” requires far more effort than the discipline part….so much so that I usually tell parents that my job is 80% training/instruction and 20% discipline/reproof. I am a firm believer that you should never discipline a child for a skill that hasn’t been taught.

 

Instruction and teaching must never ever be separated from discipline.

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

Proverbs 29:15 we learn “the rod and reproof give wisdom but a child who gets his own way bring shame to his mother.” (Was there ever a more perfect verse to describe that moment of a total meltdown right in the middle of Target with every other mom watching?!)

So I know what you might be thinking…This is all big theory and I need something PRACTICAL! Just tell me what to do to fix this right now!

And just hang on a sec…I’m getting there! If you’ve spent any time around this blog at all you’ll know that there’s always a WHY before a HOW TO. And that’s most assuredly on purpose… 🙂

For Post #2 click HERE

the terrible twoses | one glass slipper |mom of five | how to handle the terrible twos part 1

 

31 Tips For Flying With Kids

Traveling with kids may seem like the impossible, but believe me it isn’t. I have been out of the country with a child as young as 2 weeks old and have flown numerous flights with 3, 4, and 5 kids with me. I love to travel and even though we don’t get to as often as I’d like I actually really love getting to travel with my kids too. I’ve definitely learned some things along the way and I’d love to share some ideas with you…

  1. Flying Times: Think through flying times and when it will be most convenient for your kids and the normal schedule they are on. For little babies plan a flight time that is during their nap time so that you can have them sleep the whole flight. For older kids plan a flight time that is during their happiest time of the day…usually mid morning, that way you can put them down for a nap or have down time once you arrive.
  2. Back Of The Plane: Honestly I feel like this depends on the time of day….If flying at night or during your babies nap I would avoid the back of the plane like the plague. It’s super annoying to have people coming to stand in line for the bathroom, not to mention the smell, and the flight attendants tend to chit chat back there as well. BUT, if traveling during the day, not during a nap time, then I would highly recommend the back of the plane. Those seats are usually the very last to fill up and we have had many leftover seats for our rows because everywhere else filled up first. And if the flight attendants love your cute kids they’ll let you walk around in the back and bring your kids extra snacks, stickers, and wings.
  3. Wear Black: I don’t think I have ever flown anywhere with my children and not ended up with baby poo, spit up, food, or someone’s drink spilled on me. Find your cutest all black outfit and rock it.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|30 tips for traveling with KIDS!
  4. Flight Activities: For babies the best advice I have is a few books and little movies, but for slightly older kids think ahead of activities they can do for 30-45 minutes at a time. If you have a 3 hour flight then plan 4-5 of those activities (for the way there and the way back). Come up with activities that involve being creative and things that won’t make a huge mess. One of my favorite options are these crafts called Foil It. There are a ton of variety as far as themes for both boys and girls and even my three year old can do them!
  5. Pack Smart Snacks: Pack your own snacks, but be smart about them. Snack time can also be an “activity” if you’ll think through it. I love snacks that involve dipping or building or scooping. I normally feed my kids healthy meals, but flight time is more of an “anything goes” kind of time. Things like Lunchables or Nutella w/dipping sticks, or celery and peanut butter with mini chocolate chips that they get to put on themselves…any idea to get your child to build their own food and then eat it helps pass the time away. Whatever it takes to get through it! 🙂
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  6. Medicine Kit: Bring your own meds. I have made the mistake many, many times in thinking that if I needed anything I could always just go out and get it…but when your on a plan and kid is suddenly hurting or sick you don’t want to waste time trying to figure out where to get meds fast. I always have Children’s Dramamine for motion sickness, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Cold Meds, cough medicine, Childrens Tums, Neosporin, Bandaids etc….
  7. Don’t Overpack Diapers: I always take only what I need for the flight out and maybe the first day. Packing them is always so bulky and you can easily buy a package once you get where you are going. (The exception is if you’re leaving the country, so ignore this one if that’s the case!) One you arrive at your location buy a package that you’ll use for your time there and enough to get you back home and it’ll save you a ton of space.
  8. Bring Your Stroller: When you go through security it’ll be a pain…everything will take time to dismantle and get through the scanners, but after that you can roll right up to the gate, down to the side of the plane and they’ll load it into the bottom of the plane for you. Always be sure to ask the flight attendants if the flight is full….if it isn’t then they’ll possibly even let you take your car seat and put it into an empty seat for your child. It’s super helpful to be able to have the buckles as well as something familiar to your child to fall asleep in. However, personally I never choose to take the car seat with me. I always prefer more space in the seat than the extra bulk of having/carrying it. Keep in mind though that most rental car companies have car seats available, so if you’re heading somewhere and are renting a car anyway ask about the fee for a carseat rental too. There’s pros and cons for both ways, but it’s good to know there are options.
  9. Getting Through The Security Line: When traveling with a baby I highly recommend using the stroller and taking it all the way to the gate, but if you don’t plan to use or bring such a large item I would recommend an Ergo or Moby wrap to wear while you wait in line. You can scoot your bags along or even have bags on your shoulder while holding your baby comfortably all the way up until the last minute. Put everything into the bins to be scanned and then take your baby out at the last second to walk through the scanners. If traveling with toddlers or older, explain in detail exactly what will happen so that every child knows exactly what to expect. It is hard when they feel clueless about why they have to put their things in bins and then right after that confusion are told to walk alone through a scanner past scary dudes dressed in black with guns. Explain it all in advance while you’re waiting in line. Have them watch others ahead of you. A child refusing to walk through the scanner alone while everyone else is waiting and getting frustrated it is not fun. Trust me. 🙂 Go through the scanner first to show them is not bad and then have each child follow you through to the other side.
  10. Give Kids Their Own Backpacks: If traveling with toddlers or older kids, have them carry their own backpacks with their own stuff. They feel excited to get to be a part. I pack their own toys, a few books, their headphones and some presents (usually small things from Party City or the dollar store) and art projects in their own backpacks and give them each their own snacks to take out whenever they would wish to eat something. I put a small pack of tissues, a travel size wipes, some sanitizer, their favorite blanket or stuffed animal, and a little bit of candy in each of their bags. Here’s a tip for you: If the present you buy has bulky packaging take the item out and wrap it in wrapping paper. Unwrapping their new things is obviously super fun, but it’s also another way to take up a tiny bit more time of them playing with something. The flight attendants come around so often with trash bags so just make a pile and hand it to them to toss.
  11. Changing Diapers: Don’t be shy. Taking care of what your baby needs is more important than you trying to be scared to offend others. Some airplanes have changing tables but if they don’t you can just change your baby right there in your seat. You can ask those who are next to you if they would be okay with it, and most of the time they are, but if not kindly apologize and get done what you need to do. 🙂
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  12. Use the Bathroom Beforehand: With older kids plan ahead and make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time to get through security but also to take each of your kids to the bathroom before boarding. Hopefully that’ll save you the trouble in air, but if not it’ll at least buy you time until you have to brave that near impossible feat. Oh and don’t forget to go yourself! There’s nothing like having to leave all of your children unattended for you to have to use the restroom in the middle of a flight. Many strangers are usually more than willing to take over for a few minutes…but I always hate having to leave my kids at all.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  13. Noise Canceling Headphones: If traveling with a baby that will most likely be sleeping buy noise canceling headphones. Those announcements are unbelievably loud and oh so annoying and will never, ever, ever come at a convenient time so find a way to get rid of it! With older kids headphones in general will help with tuning everything else out and letting them get into their game or movie….which totally helps again with making the time go by faster for them.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  14. Noisemakers: Don’t leave home without them!: We take our noisemakers everywhere. They help to cancel out any noises in the hotel rooms, apartments, or houses where you are staying. Our favorite is this one…it also has the option to run off of a battery which means if your child falls asleep on the plane and you don’t have noise canceling headphones this might help drown out any unwanted sounds. Whenever we have accidentally left ours at home you can bet that is the first thing we pick up once we get there!
  15. Dress Your Kids Cute For the Flight: I hate to say it but if your kids look cute and everyone is ooohing and ahhhhing over how adorable they all look the more likely people are to be supportive should one become upset. I usually have mine all in matching clothes anyway because it’s easier for me (and other people) to spot them should one wander off. But it didn’t take me long to realize that people responded differently to us when they all looked put together and cute, rather than disheveled and out of control. Hey, I’ll take whatever empathy I can get when traveling with five kids! 🙂
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  16. Take Off & Landing: When you have a baby the best thing is to nurse or bottle feed to help with their ears and the pressure. I’ve also used pacifiers too, which also worked well. But if your baby is already asleep then most likely you won’t have a problem. If you have older kids (meaning age 3 or older) I would highly recommend teaching them how to chew gum! I know that may seem young and I’ll probably get some backlash about how they’re too little for gum, but if you really take the time to teach them and make sure they know how to chew it and then spit it out it really can be a lifesaver when flying. Pick up a few flavors your kids will like and then offer it if their ears begin to hurt. It also makes them happy to get to pick out a new flavor, which is really helpful when you’re nearing the end of a long fight.
  17. Get Over The Germs: There’s just no way around it. If you’re a germ-a-phobe then most likely the entire airport and flight will be a near panic attack for you…but pack a travel size of Clorox wipes and a few bottles of sanitizer and you’ll be just fine. It’s all part of traveling.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  18. Buy Multi-Use Cords: If traveling with more than one child a splitter cord comes in super handy. Buy separate ear phones for each kiddo but one connector so that both (or more) can watch the same movie. The one we have is HERE.
  19. Family Line: Some airports have a separate family line for security. If you’re not sure just as a TSA worker. Sometimes they don’t use signs to advertise for it even though they do exist.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  20. Carry-ons: If traveling with a baby pack extra clothes for child and you. Buy a package of plain cheap onesies just in case there is a poo blow out. That way you won’t feel bad at all for just tossing it into the trash. 🙂  With toddlers throw in an extra pair of shorts/pants and a shirt. Other things I like to put in my carryon–extra diapers, snacks, books, blanket for airport floor (when traveling with a baby or a crawler), grocery bag or small trash bags for anything gross, toothbrush, medicine, sippy cups (bring empty if possible to avoid the longer wait and extra checks in security and then fill on the plane), earphones, games, toys, art projects, and my laptop (for movies). Slightly older children (even my 3 year old can) are able to carry their own backpacks. Let them help you pack the bags and let them carry their own stuff.
  21. Think Through Shoes: Try to not put shoes on your baby…even though lil baby shoes are adorable chances are you’ll only end up with one (or less) by the time you arrive wherever you’re going. For toddlers put them in slip ons that can easily be taken off and on for the flight. Most likely kids will be more comfortable without them so plan to just shove their shoes under the seat in front and let them settle in. Think through what shoes you’ll wear too. Most airports do not have kids take off their shoes through security but you will have to. If you’re trying to round up your toddlers you’re not going to want to untie boots or shoes…choose something that is really easy to get on and off that doesn’t require much effort or time.
  22. Don’t Use The Water On The Plane: Apparently the water on the plane has some sort of chemicals in it that will make you sick if you drink it. I don’t actually  know if this is a fact or not, but I was told this long ago and have believed it ever since. Always ask for bottled water to fill bottles or to drink. Don’t wash your kids pacifiers or cups in it either!
  23. Diaper Bag: I usually carry on a large diaper bag and my purse. If you don’t have a huge diaper bag I would highly recommend a backpack instead. Not only can you fit more in it but having the ability to put it on both shoulders will help as you move through the tight spaces on a plane.
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  24. Layovers: I hate layovers. Personally I would rather take a very long flight rather than stop and wait and get on another. I like the one and done feeling. But, I will say that if you know your child will need time to get off of a plane and walk around, take a break and then get on again then make sure you have a long layover. Anything less than 40-45 minutes is not enough. By the time you get off, get your stroller, find a snack it’ll already be time to board again. Plan extra time to wander around, let your kids run in the terminal to get out some energy, explore new airports, use the bathroom, and get some food. Then you’ll be ready for another round.
  25. Boarding: If you have a seat assignment then I would recommend boarding last. The shorter amount of time you have on the plane is the best. Let your little one run or crawl around to get out as much energy as possible before having to sit still for however many hours on the flight. If you don’t have a seat assignment (ex: traveling with Southwest) then I would highly recommend setting a timer the day before to check in for your boarding pass as fast as it becomes available. If you get an early boarding pass then you’ll have first pick on the plane for which seats you want. If you don’t get good boarding passes then just know that people with children will always board after the A class is on….which usually works out really well too. Oh, and if you are taking your stroller and carseat make SURE to stop by the ticket counter to pick up a tag to put on those bigger items. You’ll also want to put the address labels on them too….just in case they get lost.
  26. Extra Blankets: Whether you are traveling with a baby or toddlers (or both) having extra blankets on hand is a must. Sometimes the planes are cold and sometimes your little one will just want to cuddle up and rest. Nothing is worse than being stuck on a plane with kids that are freezing and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  27. Ask For An Extra Seat: This one is a must!!! Always always ask the flight attendants if the plane is full. If not, let them know you are traveling with a child, or many children, and make sure to ask as sweetly as you can if you could be in a row with extra seats. We have had many flight attendants radio to the back of the plane to have them help us find a row or couple of rows that we can spread out in.  They’ll work with us to make sure they stay open for us as the remainder of the people board too. 🙂
  28. Grab The Window Seat: If traveling with your baby or toddler I would highly recommend the window and middle seats. If your kiddo gets upset it’s much easier to turn your back to the evil stares and try as best you can to block it out. Also, kids LOVE looking out the windows to see the ground and the clouds. In my opinion it is far more worth it to have to crawl over someone for a potty break and still get the window seat than to be on an isle the whole time.one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS
  29. Movies: Most movies nowadays have the ability to be uploaded onto your smart phone or computer. Set up a stash, maybe with some new ones they haven’t seen before or stick with some all time favorites, on your devices to use on the flight.
  30. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help:  There have been a number of times when I have traveled without my kids that I have seen a mom or two struggling with their child. Although I would be ecstatic to jump in to help, I never know whether or not to, so I most often just wait to see if they ask. I am confident that if I think that way, most people would too. Sometimes all it takes you being willing to ask and accept help and others will more than likely jump to the opportunity. Look for a potential grandma or someone that you might think has had kids and would understand what you’re going through. Whether it be airport staff, security, flight attendants, or the person sitting next to you…don’t be scared to raise your hand.
  31. Stay Positive: If you dread traveling with your kids, then it’ll be obvious to not only your children, but to everyone else around you. If you have a lightheartedness about it then others will pick up on that as well. Don’t stress the small stuff. Things WILL go wrong and when they do just find the fastest and easiest way to remedy it. Let your kids know what’s coming and what you expect, but be sure to enjoy the process too. One day you’ll be able to laugh at some of the stories and inconveniences that end up happening!
    one glass slipper|meg wallace|flying with KIDS

Easter 2016

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I don’t talk about it too much through the venue of my blog, but in case you didn’t know my husband is a church planter now. We meet every week on the back patio of our friends’ home and it has become one of the best things we have ever done. The community that is forming, the relationships that are being made, and the pace at which we are taking things is all so life giving. For those of you that know us well and know what the past few years have looked like for us I’m sure you are just as joyful as we are that this is a new and fresh season for our family.
I cannot tell you enough how much I love this group of people. I know them each on very different levels, but every week another relationship is deepened and another friendship is formed. Every week I look forward to seeing them.

This week we decorated the patio for Easter! We had some amazing donuts, spent time talking with one another, sang songs together, and Matt preached. We then had an easter egg hunt for the kids and a bounce house too! There was one golden egg that had $5 in it and one silver egg that had $1 in it. I’m not sure who had more fun…the kids hunting or the adults who knew where the special eggs were hidden!

And I cannot tell you enough how proud I am of my husband. To say he loves the Church would be an understatement. He genuinely, wholeheartedly loves people and I am giddy in my heart each week when I see him getting to preach God’s word. We never set out to be church planters. This wasn’t a life goal or a long time dream. But we know without a doubt that this is what we are called to do now. It’s been a rough road to get here and nothing about it has been easy, but I know that the way things played out is because this is exactly where we should be right now. I am moved to tears whenever I think of the people who have been by our side to get us to this point. The support, the love, the care, the concern, the faithfulness….it never gets old talking about the good that has come from such destruction.
There is so  much more I could write but I wanted to also include pics from our family Easter time too…..it’s like two posts in one! We were rushed in the morning before heading to meet with the church so we waited until the afternoon to open the baskets…


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This weekend did us in. Our schedules were just crazy! I can see it all over my face with these Easter pics that I am just spent and so exhausted!!! I felt like the whole week leading up to this nutty weekend was a sprint too! As I write this now I cannot even tell you how many things have been neglected this week.  My to do list cannot even fit on one post it note anymore! Our house is a total wreck…and I’ll let you in on a lil secret….we didn’t just take pics of the kids opening their gifts outside on our back patio because the lighting was great….it’s actually because there’s literally no spot inside our home that’s clean right now where I could put everyone! There’s unfolded laundry in the living room, there’s dishes in the sink, there’s papers and toys all over the dining table. Instead of having an Easter dinner we decided to have oatmeal and toast. Not kidding at all! And because of all of the donuts I ate in the morning I chose to eat cucumber and hummus for my dinner! We were/are so tired! I think these pictures of our lil fam opening all of their buckets and having fun playing are super sweet….but I include all of the rest of that to make sure that I do all I can to communicate that it’s not as perfect as it may seem! 🙂

Now is the time I could write a ton about the significance of Easter and the riches we have in our risen Savior. I could write about the many broken relationships that we have witnessed this past week and how I long for all of the wrongs to be made right, how the significance of Easter has so much more to do with the everyday rather than just one day, about how much I love my family, or all of the details of what happened this past week with soccer and ballet and the time with the Church….but honestly….I’m tired. And it’s the kids’ spring break. And I’d rather be with my family than writing right now! 🙂

This next week we get to take a trip together as a family! And of course I’ll be bringing my camera along! 🙂 I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Happy Easter! Happy Resurrection Sunday! He is Risen!!!!