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Surprising Benefits to Being Totally Desperate

totally desperate

We were totally desperate. My husband got his paycheck and we hoped that this week there would be money in his boss’s account to be able to cash it.

We had just started raising support for our plans to move to Brasil as missionaries.  In fact, our first presentation at our first church was that next Sunday, one hour away. 

By that Sunday the only money we had was for gas for our vehicle to travel the hour, and gas for my husband to work during the week.  

We had run completely out of milk.  We simply explained to our kids that we didn’t have any milk and that they would just have to wait a few days until we had money to buy some.  Oh…and we ate the last of our bread for breakfast too. Continue reading “Surprising Benefits to Being Totally Desperate”

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Pain: Dealing With Grief

 

 

Dealing with grief is a painful experience. I don’t like to see my kids experience it.  Their pain translates into my heart and stabs as I walk painful paths along side of them.

As a mom, instinct says to jump in and reduce their pain at all costs.  At times it just isn’t possible. In fact, at times I am part of the cause of their pain. 

At other times, the Lord has inaudibly, yet clearly, pressed me out of His way as He works growth into my child’s heart through their pain.

My husband and I and our two youngest are dealing with grief;  a season of grieving.  We  lived in Brasil as missionaries for 10 years.  Our two youngest were 3 and 5 when we went.  

We are nearing the 1 year mark of returning to the states for medical reasons.

Now our 2 youngest are teens who were nearly as much a part of Brasil and its culture as those who are born here.  The threads of Brasil are woven into their hearts.  Brasil will forever be the answer they give when asked, “Where did you grow up?”

But we left Brasil, the place we had come to know as home; where we loved our ministry, church, friends,  the culture, the people, and even our dogs.

Continue reading “Pain: Dealing With Grief”

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Do This When You Don’t Like Your Own Child

 when you don't like your own child

Ok, so this article is one that may be somewhat controversial, but stick with me through the end.  If you have differing views on raising your child, I completely respect that and hope you can do the same with my point of view.  

What I’m about to write I wrote about a little more in detail.  You can read it here; Plug In to Your Child, Ages 4-9: Connect to Your Child’s Heart and Motivate Great Behavior.

 Our parenting journey began with elation.  Birth is such an amazing experience.  And then there’s those early days where you replace dates with friends for just sitting on the couch to stare and giggle at your new little child as he makes squinty faces, stretches and makes goaty noises, and then farts like an adult.

 This is the only thing I had really prepared for.  I honestly hadn’t given much thought to how we would train our son as he grew.

 The fact is, I didn’t train him at all.  Well, I should qualify that….. I didn’t intentionally train him.  I had trained him in plenty of ways that in retrospect I hadn’t intended to; like mommy is only serious when she speaks loudly, gets a mean look on her face, and begins to count to 3.

 So, when he was a  4, 5, 6 year old child and angry as all get out, threw fits on the floor, freaked out and ripped posters off of his walls after I disciplined him…..I remember thinking, “I love my son, but I don’t like him!”

 I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. My husband and I got along great, not so much with my son and I.

And the thing is, it was all me.  I needed to understand some things about raising my child in order for that to change.

Most likely, if this hits close to home, you’re not much different than me; You love your child, but there are times that you don’t like your him or her.

I’ll often see a child acting out in the supermarket with exasperated frustrated parents trying to control them.  I don’t judge because I have been there.  Just remembering brings up the helpless feelings that I felt in public situations when behavior went south.

 In two weeks this all changed.  Literally two weeks.  Don’t despair mama! It can for you too.

 BUT, it requires work. Hard consistent work.  This may be one thing that you haven’t felt like doing consistently up to this point.  Your relationship with your child is at risk if you don’t decide to put in all the hard work that it takes.

 The first thing is that I recognized was that I had made parenting mostly about me.  I grew frustrated at my son when he didn’t listen to me and it irritated me.  I grew angry at him for not obeying because I wanted the convenience of not having to work hard to make him obey. I didn’t like him at times because he was disrespectful and I was his mom and deserved respect.

Do you see the common theme I and me??

I had a friend who was frustrated with her 2 year old son.  She and her husband loved being around people, playing games, and visiting.  But her son ran them ragged.  He required total supervision, and they would argue over whose turn it was to watch him because they each would rather be playing games or visiting.

She expressed to me how utterly exhausted she was and asked advice.  I asked some probing questions to gauge how willing she honestly was to receive some fairly tough advice. After a few questions, I knew that she was more interested in emotional support than advice for change when she admitted that she was lazy and just couldn’t be consistent.

Mamas, raising our children is not all about us.  We HAVE to be willing to do the hard work it requires in order to reap the benefits of toddlers that know how to listen and obey and can be trusted not to throw a fit at the supermarket, children who are happy and likable and eager to please, tweens who are emotionally stable and helpful, and teens who are loyal, friendly, and caring people.

After I recognized this, I had to figure out how I was going to change me.  You can read about that in these two articles here. Part 1 and Part 2.

Secondly, after I changed myself, I had to work on retraining my son.

This started out as a conversation between my husband, our son, and I. We asked his forgiveness for not being the parents that God wanted us to be.  We asked him if he wanted to get rid of the anger and conflict in our home and have less discipline.  What kid wouldn’t??  Of course he forgave us and said yes.

(In my opinion, the methods used for disciple are not the most important focus, so much as your consistency with whatever method of discipline that you use. Obviously the method you use has to be pleasing the the Lord, within the law, applied in a calm reasonable manner, and for the sole benefit of correcting the child to effect change in behavior—not to blow off steam because your kid ticked you off.)

At first he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into.  But as the week went on, I could not believe the transformation some simple adjustments to our parenting would make.

We began to address heart issues, not only behavior issues.

Before the new us and our new parenting style, bad attitudes were acceptable as long as his complied.  NOW, bad attitudes were no longer acceptable….no part of a bad attitude….at all.

We taught him that God had placed us as his parents and that when he had a bad attitude about when we told him no, or when he didn’t want to obey, this meant that he thought he should be his own boss and knew what was best for himself.  It was a rebellious attitude.

We called him on it every.single.time, and believe me, it took a lot of work in the first few days.

 I can’t even explain to you how stressful it was.  Our parenting habits were totally changing and we were acting in ways we never had before.  I had previously been relieved just to get him to comply even if it was after a long drawn out battle of wills.  Now I disciplined even his eye rolls. We had explained to him how we expected him to act when he was disciplined.  If he reacted angrily or rebellious to discipline, there would be further consequences.

But along with the increased discipline was a bunch of training.  This training was to teach him how we wanted him to act.

While we were setting clear limits and expectations for him we watched this angry young boy transform into a secure loving submissive little guy who was beginning to thrive under new leadership that helped him know how to we wanted him to act.  

He had been confused before with our mixed messages and inconsistencies.  Poor guy was just frustrated and angry with us because he wanted to please us, but he just didn’t know what we wanted.

After he had to be disciplined, he would come and sit with either my husband or I, whoever it was that did the disciplining and cuddle with us.  He was so secure now.  We hadn’t even realized how our inconsistency in what we expected from him had caused him to be so insecure.

This hard work that I’m talking about took us about 2 weeks.  Then it was something we had to maintain.  It wasn’t this intense his entire childhood.  But if we wouldn’t have maintained it, then it would have been to our son’s detriment.

With the Lord’s help we succeeded in connecting stronger with our son and saving our relationship with him before we had caused permanent damage to it.

There is so much more that I could say.  In fact I have said more on this very subject in my book Plug In to Your Child, Ages 4-9: Connect to Your Child’s Heart and Motivate Great Behavior by Mendi Everett 

Get your copy and be encouraged.  You can connect to your child’s heart and learn to like him as well as love him.

 

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Be Proud of Your Kids

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There have been many times I have been super frustrated with my kids…. like pull-your-hair-out-crazy-woman frustrated.  🙂  (Generally, if I’m frustrated with my kids the feeling is pretty mutual!) 

And then at some time a little later someone compliments me about them.

 That compliment makes me stop and evaluate how I’m looking at things.  

It’s easy for me to focus on an area of needed maturity in their lives and miss their other very positive traits.

Over time, I have learned to focus on and to do better at demonstrating my appreciation for these positive traits, while quietly and gently helping them mature in needed areas. Continue reading “Be Proud of Your Kids”

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When Missing Brasil Calls for Cooking!

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Brazilian Bolinho de Batata (Potato Cakes)

This post contains affiliate links please see my disclosure page

A few days ago, my daughters and I were really missing Brasil.  (Yes, it’s spelled with an S).  We decided it would be a day that we would make some of our favorites and speak in Portuguese together.  As we thought about cooking a favorite recipe, we knew we definitely needed to make Bolinho de Batata or Potato Cakes.

It was more than a time of just cooking and eating Brazilian food that we miss and speaking a language we love.  It was a part of our grieving process; a time for us to bond with one another through our common hurts.

We just plain miss our life there sometimes.  Yes, we know that God brought us back to the states, and we are ok with that, but there are times that we get overwhelmed by the fact that we are no longer there.

When we do something together that helps us remember the 10 years we spent there it helps us all savor the life we lived in Brasil, as well as seems to help us settle into the life we live here in the states just a bit easier.

We are missing our friends there a little more, but at the same time learning to more fully appreciate our friends here.  It’s a mixed up life we live…..but we do it together.  🙂

So….we had fun cooking little potato cakes, speaking in Portuguese around people who had no idea what we were saying, and smiling at great memories.

Along with missing Brasil, we missed the ingredients that we could get to make a variety of fillings.  Right now, as we live in the US and operating in the US$ instead of the Brazilian R$, we’ve had some pretty big adjustments financially.

Groceries are the area where we tend to cut since it’s the easiest to adjust.  The electric company frowns upon not paying them each month…..go figure.  🙂

I stumbled upon a way to help us navigate this transition back to the states and be able to save on groceries.  It’s called Grocery University, developed by Crystal Paine from MoneySavingMom.com.  Stop by and check it out!

Ok, now to the recipe that is yummy delicious!

Making the potato cakes is a messy deal, but oh so worth it!  Here’s how.

The Ingredients you’ll need to make them are:

For the Dough

5 medium potatoes pealed and cubed
1/4 cup of flour (plus a lot more nearby)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

For the Filling

8 oz ground beef
salt to taste
pepper to taste
onion powder to taste
garlic powder to taste
1./2 Knorr beef boullion cube
Grated cheese of choice

 

You’ll Also Need:

Oil for frying

 

potato cakes

Instructions

First you boil the potatoes in water until they are soft.  Don’t let them sit in the water after they are cooked.  Drain the potatoes and then put into a bowl to mash by hand. (Don’t use a food processor or they will become too runny).

While the potatoes are boiling make the ground beef filling.  Brown the ground beef, adding the spices and the bouillon cube to the meat while you’re cooking it. Allow to cool when browned.

Get a pan and add the oil into it to begin heating the oil.  If you don’t fry often, please be careful!

When the potatoes are completely mashed, add the 1/4 cup flour, the salt, egg yolk to the potatoes.  Mix by hand until the dough is thick, similar to soft bread dough, but stickier.  This dough is sticky, but it shouldn’t stick to your hands when they are floured. If it is sticky, add more flour and continue mixing and adding flour until you reach the necessary consistency.   

Once the consistency is reached, spoon about 1/8 of a cup onto the palm of your floured hand and flatten into a round pancake.  Continue adding flour to the top of the pancake to allow you to work with the dough.  Keep your hands well floured.  When it is about 1/4 inch flat, add a small spoonful of the ground beef mixture and a pinch of grated cheese to the middle of the pancake that is in your palm then begin folding the edges closed and shaping it into a football shape.  You will get the feel for how much filling you should add the more little cakes that you make.

Once they are closed and shaped well, add them carefully to the hot oil and fry until golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon and put onto a plate with a paper towel.  Allow to cool and then enjoy with ketchup or dipping sauce of your preference.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out Grocery University!

For more

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Training vs Discipline-The Parenting Dilema

 

parenting

When I thought about raising children in the beginning of my parenting journey, I thought I knew what to do when a child misbehaved.

I had learned from my parents, watched other parents discipline their children, and felt confident of what I would do or not do, depending on the example I was given.   What I hadn’t factored in was….. maybe there was more to parenting than what I had observed.


As our first son began to need his behavior corrected, I only focused on discipline. It was only a little bit later that I learned there is actually something that comes before discipline…. Training.

Let me explain. Continue reading “Training vs Discipline-The Parenting Dilema”

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How to Teach Your Children to Get Along

 

Summertime is arriving, and with it comes fun activities in the warm weather, late relaxing evenings around a backyard campfire……. And then all the in between times. It’s those in between times where boredom pops its head up and my kids begin to bicker and squabble more than normal; they don’t get along. I don’t view conflict as a negative thing. Kids need to learn healthy ways of resolving conflict, but bickering and squabbling is not what I consider healthy. Continue reading “How to Teach Your Children to Get Along”

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Monday Night Huddle–What Works For Our Family

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We started something that we still like to do with our family.  It’s one of those things that stuck because we realized we were on to something good. We started meeting together weekly as a family, thus began our “Monday Night Huddle.”  

Funny thing is we didn’t even always have it on Mondays.  But the main point is that we found it important to meet with our kids regularly so they can have an opportunity to talk about things, anything. It is important for us too.  We come prepared and with a mind ready to listen.

It’s a time where they know they can come and say anything, even hard things.  Not that they can’t at any other time, but this just gives that specific time where they can bring anything to the table.  Here are some things that we do at our Monday Night Huddle. We don’t do all of these all of the time because we like variety: Continue reading “Monday Night Huddle–What Works For Our Family”

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How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat

 Family Purity Retreat

He ran in from playing outside and shouted, “Mommy? How did Daddy get his seed in you?”  Oh boy! That’s a doozie of a question!  I’m sure my eyebrows shot straight up.  

In fact, I’m pretty sure I immediately picked up the phone and called a friend for help.  

Up to this point we had  been able to answer questions that fit with his age, but my son wanted to know more and since he was our first, I had absolutely NO experience in talking with kids about this topic. We were pregnant with son #2 and our first had a need to try and make some sense of it. Continue reading “How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat”

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Laugh!! It’s Good for the Family!

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Laugh

One thing our family has is a sense of humor.

We love to laugh.  We appreciate a good comedy film, we laugh at funny videos, we lovingly tease one another to provoke a smile, and, yes, we laugh at bodily noises.

My husband’s father was well known for his humor.  He passed down that humor to my husband, and he, to our kids.  I like humor too, but have learned more from my husband than have come by it naturally.

A few weeks ago the kids and I were in our pool when my husband decided to join us. He is a self-proclaimed cold water wimp.  This particular afternoon he was the last one in the pool. As we watched him gingerly test the water to ease in, his foot slipped and he went flailing and tumbling into the pool.  It was hilarious!! Oh my word!! I chuckle just at the memory now!   Continue reading “Laugh!! It’s Good for the Family!”