Be Teachable, 10 lessons I Have Learned – Part One

Recently I was asked to share some of my testimony with a Mom to Mom group and decided to interweave a few life lessons.  Being invited to share always brings about mixed emotions.  On one hand, I am thrilled to share but yet I am overwhelmed by fear.  Also, almost every time I agree to share, I have the craziest things go down and this time it was literally me.  I was outside talking on the phone and stepped on a huge manhole cover that was not level and forcibly fell on my right leg leaving me with two huge bruises and a cut knee.  I also experienced whiplash and for days I could hardly lift my head as I had tweaked it. The phone survived it all without a scratch.

“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.” — Richard Branson

 

Lesson 1: Always be Teachable

If you are going to speak for a group you need to know what they are about so I googled “Mom to Mom” and read that this organization was a biblically-based parenting program designed around the Titus 2:4 concept of older women teaching and encouraging younger women in the relationships with their husbands and children.

I certainly qualified as older, having been married for over 32 years with three daughters aged 29, 26, and 16.  However, I want you each to remember that you qualify as older to others and that we all have life lessons plus experiences which can inspire, encourage and direct others.  Part of being teachable is realizing we don’t know it all so it’s important to seek ways to surround yourself with people, books, conference, etc.  from whom you can learn. Life is one big lesson after another when you are teachable.

Lesson 2: You Are NOT an Accident

This truth was hard for me to believe as I was given the opposite message for most of my life. My parents were not married when I was conceived. However, I was part of God’s purpose, as there may be accidental parents, but there are no accidental births.  My life was not a surprise to God. He had my life planned long before I was born.  “Long before [God] laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love . . . Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)”

 

Lesson 3: God is faithful

An unplanned pregnancy, being female instead of the wanted male, and a forced marriage, created lots of conflicts, hardship, and bitterness between my parents which inevitably lead to their divorce when I was seven. Life was hard and chaotic!!!  My mom did her best to provide as a single mom living off welfare and working hard.  I had a few learning differences such as ADD and anxiety while growing up thus making my life doubly challenging.  We moved a lot during grade school.  My mom remarried when I was almost 13, I felt that my younger sister and I were seen as the extra baggage as we were not invited to the wedding. Because of the neglect and lack of belonging in my childhood, I grew up feeling unloved and struggled with trust, insecurity, and abandonment issues.   I was an angry young person. In fact, when I began counseling I was told I had only two emotions – anger and neutral. Through God and dedicated work on my part, I was able to learn the gamut of other emotions.

Lesson 4: Hurt people will hurt people (even themselves)

During my college years, I struggled with loving myself and made many poor choices in regards to the guys I dated as several were abusive thereby perpetuating my insecurity and lack of self-worth. Seeking to numb the pain, I drank and experimented with drugs to escape.  I turned my anger inward becoming anorexic, as my weight was something only I could control giving me a false sense of power. Did you know that others will not love you any more than you love yourself? 

Lesson 5:  Your past, need not dictate your future as God is our Redeemer

It was only 20 short years of my life that were used for my good and His purposes.

Joel 2:25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…

Eventually, I met an amazing man who was unlike the previous guys I had dated.  Jon saw many beautiful things in me. His kindness, generosity, and love began to fill my empty emotional cup. He became my husband in 1985 when I was 22 and he was 23.

Just recently I had an aha moment, thanks to Brene Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness, The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand I Alone. Crazy but for most of my pre-adult life I never felt like I truly belonged anywhere which caused great pain and personal suffering in my life. Brene goes on to say that “not belonging in our families is one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit, and our sense of self-worth.” This was true for me.

However, when I married Jon, I found a place of belonging as I had the family I sought as a child.  I saw and experienced unconditional love. I was warmly welcomed into this new family. An added bonus for Jon and I was getting married on his parents 25th wedding anniversary thereby allowing us to experience many shared moments celebrating our anniversaries together.

Entering marriage with an empty emotional cup and little trust or confidence in my role to ever be a good wife and mother produced much fear.  Unknowingly, I had made Jon, my god as I did not know the true God.  Thankfully, God intervened in 1987 when both Jon and I made the most life-changing decision by accepting a relationship with Christ (24) through a home visitation. I now had another place of belonging.

Now Y’All come back soon as I will be posting the remaining lessons real soon 😉  Blessings.

 

The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming is a book that has been in the making for 20+ years.  It is written by Sally Clarkson and her eldest child, Sarah Clarkson, offering a balanced perspective on how to have a life giving home.  I pre-ordered several copies to give as gifts as I knew I would not be disappointed once I received them.  Visiting Sally’s home numerous times has allowed me to experience first hand some of what she shares in the book and gleaned over the years. Below is a collage of photos from the September 2012 Mom Heart Intensive, where Sally fed, encouraged, and breathed life into over 30 women. Sally and Sarah have bona fide credentials to write a book about how to have a life giving home as that is truly what the Clarkson home is.  It is a welcoming respite.

#LifeGIvingHomeBook #Sally Clarkson

Mom Heart Intensive 2012 at Sally’s home.

Nearly 20 years ago, I was blessed to attend a conference where I heard a breakout session by Clay and Sally Clarkson on “Educating the Wholehearted Child.” Their talk and book redirected my path as a mom. They shared how to use real books and real life to make your home a vibrant place of living and learning. I greatly appreciated how they emphasized the importance of having a solid biblical foundation for nurturing your children’s hearts, minds, and souls. Throughout the book, “Educating the Wholehearted Child”, they share snippets titled “IN OUR HOME” offering a glimpse of their family life. As a young mom, I desperately desired to create a home firmly grounded in discipleship and a home of belonging. So I did what any desperate mom would do, I made Sally my mentor. Over the decades, I’ve read her books and attended numerous WHM conferences all because I sought to cultivate a close relationship with my children. Imitating another person whom you admire or treat as a role model is the fastest way to learn anything 😉  Through Sally’s vulnerable sharing via books, conferences, and blogs, she has inspired, equipped, and directed my path as a mother and homemaker.  

I’ve watched the Clarkson children grow into ambitious young adults making this book more credible given the closeness of their family and the implementation of values by the children.  Sally and Sarah share many of their families’ monthly rhythms, traditions, favorite books, recipes, and much more to inspire women how to consider creating their very own life giving homes.  

My daughters are now 27, 25 and 15 and because of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my mentor and dear friend (Sally), my family too has created a place of belonging, growing, and flourishing. Our home is a place of peace – full of life and lots of love. More importantly, our home became a launching pad for our daughters as they went into a hurting world taking God’s light and love. Our home serves as a welcoming respite for my older daughters and husband when they return weary and in need of rest, restoration, and rejuvenation.  Below is one of my favorite quotes from the book as this is how we viewed our role as parents.

#LifeGivingHomeBook #SallyClarkson

#LifeGivingHomeBook #SallyClarkson

Below is another favorite quote from the book that not only spoke to me but was also convicting. It’s my desire to view every arrival at my door as a divine appointment, however, I struggle at times with wanting everything to be perfect. I am challenged by a question Sally asked, “What if there was an army of light bearers spread all over the world at outposts where people could come to feel the touch of God, understand the truth of God, experience the beauty of God, witness the joy of God in the place called Home where the reality of God was celebrated every day?” That is exactly the place I desire our home to be.  It’s my prayer that those who enter my door would feel God’s peace, love and joy by us within the four walls of our home.  This picture of our home serves as a reminder of God’s love towards me.  Do you see the rainbow? It was truly breathtaking. Rainbows are such a beautiful part of creation. After a rainstorm, it’s wonderful to see the big, colorful arc appear in the sky.  

Divine appointments by CDW

#LifeGivingHomeBook #SallyClarkson

I am thrilled that Sally and Sarah have taken time in their busy schedules to write this book as it will truly bless others.  Throughout the book, they end each chapter with the section, “IN OUR HOME”, offering a glimpse into their home and family life for each month of the year. There are so many wonderful ideas and practical suggestions for building a life giving home of your own. Sally shares some of their memories, celebrations and rich traditions. 

I now have a lovely gift to share with the young moms I mentor, to inspire and guide them in creating their own place of belonging that is not lost to the busyness, distraction and brokenness of our culture.

The Vision of home

#LifeGivingHomeBook #SallyClarkson

Here is another collage from the 2015 Mom Heart Intensive hosted at Sally’s life giving home. I am always amazed at how graciously Sally cooks and feeds 30-50  women with simplicity. Tables are beautifully decorated with her china and candles throughout the house. Their home reflects the reality of the living God which is so inviting. Sally is a woman who practices what she teaches which is why I can whole heartily recommend this book.

#LifeGivingHomeBook #SallyClarkson

2015 Mom Heart Intensive. Hosted by the lifegiving Sally Clarkson.

For those living in the Austin, TX  I hope you can join me at my home for Sally’s web party on Tuesday night (2/9/16). Bring a friend and celebrate a sweet time of fellowship and be encouraged by my friend and mentor. I have a few giveaways of my own that are sure to please.  

Gifts, recipes, printable posters, The 24 Family Ways poster, lovely offerings and a grand prize will be given away during the evening of festivities. Register HERE  

Be sure to order your copy.

The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson and Sarah

The Life Giving Home Experience: A 12-Month Guided Journey by Sally Clarkson and Joel.


20 Social Media Guidelines for Tweens and Teens

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20 Social Media Guidelines for Tweens & Teens thewerners.org

Media affects our ATTITUDE and ACTIONS. Music, books, magazines, TV shows, computer games, apps, and movies are all considered media. If as parents we are to bring up our children in the way of the Lord we must be vigilant in helping them navigate social media choices and usage.

1 Corinthians 10:23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you.  You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is beneficial. 

School is swinging into full gear and routines are being reestablished so as a family we sat down with our thirteen year old daughter and together came up with the following guidelines. We also reviewed which social media apps she is currently using, along with her passwords, history, and did a major reset as we love her and desire to help her make wise media choices.

 20 Social Media Guidelines for Our Family

  1. I will allow my parents to set my privacy settings and parental control settings on all my accounts and will not change these settings without permission.
  2. I will provide my parents with my passwords for all social media accounts and not change passwords without their permissions.
  3. I will never give out personal information (passwords, my name, age, our address, or other personal information) online or by text without my parents’ permission knowing that identity theft is real. I will let my parents know if anyone asks for personal information.
  4. I will get permission to join any social media site or to download software, songs, apps, etc. onto my devices by sending an email to both parents asking for permission. FYI Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all require children to be at least 13 years old to join because of the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” which limits companies from collecting personal information about kids under 13. 
  5. I understand that my parents have a right to check my media history on all connected devices.  If I delete any history I will lose media privileges and will let my parents know why I deleted the history.
  6. I will keep the use of connected devices (cell phone, iPad, computer, etc.) in the open and not behind closed doors i.e. bathrooms or my bedroom.
  7. I will charge all media devices outside of my bedroom and not bring them into my room.
  8. I will use connected devices only outside of school time unless discussed beforehand or common sense dictates a need to use.
  9. I will maintain my best effort during the school year and dedicate myself to the extra curricular activities I’m signed up for.
  10. I will keep social media, streaming video, and television use in check. I will follow my parents’ rules regarding time limits for online use.  Remember, the enemy satan came to kill, steal, and destroy. He can defeat us through media distractions by keeping us busy clicking on links, watching funny videos, viewing and liking content.  Ask yourself if how you spend your time is pleasing to God. Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above ALL else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
  11. I will ask for permission before watching sitcoms, movies or videos either online or on the TV even if I must call or text my parents while visiting a friend’s home.
  12. I will not watch TV shows, movies, or play games that are inappropriate. I understand that so long as I live at home my parents have the right to screen all media choices. Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
  13. I will turn my head if any sexual content appears on screen, even kissing. Remember, your eyes take in images that your mind cannot erase so don’t pollute your mind with trash. Garbage in, Garbage out. Song of Solomon 2:7 Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe-and you’re ready.
  14. I will not use the Internet inappropriately to slander, speak negatively, or bully anyone nor will I participate with others doing so.  I will let my parents know if others are unkind or offensive to me. Remember once you post something, you can’t take it back.  Words are powerful and can be used to build up or tear down others so use your words wisely. Exodus 23:2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong.  When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.
  15. I will avoid all chat rooms.
  16. I will alert my parents if I’m sent or come across pornography, anything inappropriate or that makes me feel uncomfortable.
  17. I will ask for permission before sharing photos of family, friends or myself.
  18. I will not listen to any music that has vulgar language or suggestive lyrics. Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
  19. I will not read magazines that focuses on gossip, sex, romance, etc.. Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
  20. I will agree to ask for permission before “friending” strangers on social media sites and I will not meet up with strangers I’ve met on-line

I understand that my parents love me and are seeking to protect me from danger.  I risk the following consequences for violating any of the above guidelines:

  1. ____________________________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________________________

Signature/Date:_______________________________________________

I hope that this post has inspired you to reevaluate your tween/teens social media usage. Please talk to your child(ren) and establish media guidelines together.

Which guideline(s) did you find most helpful?