Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Reading--snapshots

Walt Disney by Neal Gabler

 Snapshot thought:  DO NOT get into debt.  Debt changed SO much of the beginnings of the Disney studio. So much work had to be done to pay the bills, rather than for enjoyment or love of what they did.  Walt even seemed to hit a real low point in his life because of the debt load and requirements and changes that the banks imposed.  Debt STINKS.
(I picked up this book in Disneyland last year. It is HUGE.  STILL working through it a year later!)

Good To Great by Jim Collins

Snapshot thought: Fascinating work done by Jim and his team with directly comparing similar companies that either succeeded or died.  So far it has stressed how important it is to have the RIGHT PEOPLE on the job rather than the BIG HUGE life changing ideas... and how important it is for those people to feel free to question, argue, and even fight for what they think.  Which is funny, because that's kinda the same mentality that I'm seeing in the Disney biography too.  Thinking about how this can also apply in our home.  I don't always have to have the answers and lecture about them. I can ask questions and LISTEN to other ideas too.
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood

Snapshot Thought:  This is a read-aloud I'm going through with my youngest son for school and we are both really enjoying it.  Short chapters make it a good even if you are pressed for time.  (Plus, the bad guy is fun to do a "voice" for... and I can work on my terrible English accent.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Entitlement Project --Week 1 recap

Week 1

SUNDAY NIGHT:  We introduced the plan.  Some attitude and push back.  Then the rest of the evening was the boys talking and playing by the fire in the fireplace.
MONDAY:  After school two boys kind of just hung around me, not really sure what to do.  One eventually went to build a lego project, another went to see if the neighbor needed his lawn mowed.  The third  is currently laying flat on the floor, on his stomach, under my chair, moaning.  He's not done with school and miserable because it's sunny outside.... Lord, have mercy.

MONDAY NIGHT:  HELP! I feel like I can't breathe!!  They won't leave me alone!  Being an introvert and homeschooler, I really did (for the most part--when there wasn't fighting--which was hardly ever) enjoy the time that they would be occupied with video games. It gave me breathing room in our tiny house.  No more breathing room.
TUESDAY: Today will be a trial.  On Tuesdays we go to help my aunt by giving her a day out from caring for her aging dad (my Poppa).  Before, we'd just bring our school work, the boys would work there, and then they got unlimited time on Gramma and Bobba's iPads and laptops playing stupid online games and watching you tube videos.  Not today.  I've already told them that's the case... and one is, right now, crying huge sobbing alligator tears with LOTS of drama because now he feels that he's being FORCED to go (I agreed, he is) and that there is NOTHING IN THE WORLD TO DO other than video games.  NOTHING.  IN. THE. WORLD.  Sob, sob, sniff, cough. SOB.  The other two have already packed nerf guns.  I have a headache... this day definitely calls for a Starbucks on the way. Oi.

TUESDAY EVENING:  After talking to the crying son about there maybe being other possibilities to spend time, he brought along a board game and a nerf gun.  While it was a SUFFOCATING time for me, with all three boys in my face, it was a blessing when they did sneak outside for a bit and came back sweaty (exercise BONUS points!) and I enjoyed watching them finish a board game AND play Legos in the living room by Poppa.  Their faces were OFF the screens and instead being creative and talking to Poppa a bit too.  The suffocation I felt was totally worth it, seeing them interact more.
WEDNESDAY:  Today is my birthday, and I'm planning on some time outside in the SUN reading, then Mr. Measure and I will go out for a birthday dinner and bless the boys with a short time on video games.  (Remember, part of the deal with losing video games for the month included the boys getting to play when we are on a date.  Free video game babysitting!)
THURSDAY: The boys did good last night on video games, but it came right back to me why we stopped.  When we came home from dinner, they wanted to keep playing and put up a bit of resistance, but shut them off when I gave them the stink eye. 

Today is co-op, so we went there, and came home later than normal and it's been a struggle to get work done.  They claim that it is because there is no motivation to get it done (before they had to be done with school by 4:30 to play video games).  But now, since there is no option of playing, they ALL are dragging school out FOR.EV.ER.  Since we tied allowance into finishing school and having me check it over before 7pm, they'll all lose a dollar if it's not done.  I figure eventually they'll get sick of dragging things out eventually... right? 

Right now the oldest two are out pulling weeds because they were both messing around and it ended up in a brawl with head butting and body slams. Their mission is now to go out and pull 20 weeds BY THE ROOT and show me them... had to add to knock the dirt off the roots.

FRIDAY:  Friday is Pizza and movie night, so we did that as usual, nothing too traumatic or different.
SATURDAY:  Because it was my birthday this past week, part of my gift from Mr. Measure was for him to take the boys on a hike in Portland.  So they went off and did that for the morning, and then came home later in the afternoon.  We had a few (okay, a LOT) of moments of them just being IN MY FACE and on TOP of me.  At one point I told them to please, PLEASE give me breathing room. Seriously, all three were hovering like vultures over me while I was trying to read a book.  They drift a lot too.  Drift to whatever room I'm in and pepper me with questions.  I could be correcting their school and they'll clot around me and tell me about something or ask me about everything... I'll gradually move elsewhere and they'll come and clot on me there.  

Seriously, this whole video game detox is wearing on ME.  I need breathing room and QUIET and that's exactly what I got when they were plugged in. Lord, give me strength!

SUNDAY:  Church, then yard work.  The boys helped SO much more today than usual.  There were still a lot of ON TOP OF ME moments, but our oldest is out being a Parkour punk with his friends, and the other two walked to the Dollar Tree and are now outside with Mr. Measure tossing the ball around.  That is HUGE.
So, overall week recap:

BAD: I have no breathing room, I feel like I'm all tight and stressed out when they are in my face ALL. THE. TIME.  But I knew to expect that.  So I've just got to deal.

GOOD:  They were all MUCH more active.  They played more board and card games this week then in the last few years combined.  They went hiking with their dad, tossed the ball around, walked to the store, and were creative.  There were a few moments of them whining, but weeds and chores ended that pretty quick.

Overall, it's been eye opening for all of us.

Just three more weeks to go, and then we re-evaluate.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Your son has seen porn... now what?!

So even though you've locked everything down as best you can, you have just found out your son has seen porn, or is currently viewing it, or has even made a habit/addiction of it.


(a little bit of initial panic is acceptable and probably unavoidable right now in all the raw ugliness)

 Know that nothing has happened that God doesn't know about.  God is still on His throne.  He still loves you.  He will walk with you through this.  He still loves your son.  He is still in control.


It's okay to cry.  It's okay to grieve.  There has been a lot of innocence lost.  Our world is a dark place. It's hard.  It hurts.  You've lost trust, you've been deeply hurt.  It's ugly. You've been praying that this wouldn't happen.  And honestly, this whole thing SUCKS.
You may even say it's totally CRAPPY.

But now, after you've found out, and are working through all the crappy sucky ugly stuff above, now we get down to YOU.  

3.  You need to control YOU.

The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.  
-James 1:20 NASB

Your anger at your son will not achieve the righteous life God wants you to live out before your son.  Yes, he has been deceptive. Yes he has lied.  Yes, he is sinning.  Yes, he is immature and believing the lies from Satan. And YES, this is impacting not only him, but your ENTIRE. STINKIN. FAMILY!  It is selfish, immature, lustful, and flat out, in-your-face WRONG.  
But even with all that, you need to be in control of yourself.  

You need to calm down enough to be in control. 

If you can't speak in a whisper or at least a normal tone of voice, you are NOT in control.  
If you can't look at him without crying, or feeling all tight inside, you are not in control.  


Deep breaths.

Waiting an hour, a day, or even a few days will be okay.  
Wait and pray for wisdom and peace and self-control.
Talk to God. Talk to your husband. Talk to your best friend that knows all your ugliness.  Talk to a pastor, elder, someone in your church you trust, BEFORE talking to him.

4.  Get Perspective


I can't stress that enough.


There are consequences for him, and they should be painful.
This is not just a "boys will be boys" thing.
This is SIN.
This is your son, out of fellowship with the God who loves and created him.
This is your son, believing the lie and having Satan teach him about sex--incorrectly-- rather than learning about it the way God intended (from you and His word to us).  

But this is also your son, who God is being gracious with, to bring his sin to light.  God is GRACIOUSLY allowing you to see this, and now you can speak truth and life to him, and engage in the battle for his mind, his purity, his integrity, his SOUL.

God is GRACIOUS.  Thank Him.  You can now deal head on with this, and battle with God on your side, and truth in your arsenal (which we're going to fully load soon).

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Talk to your husband.
If he is unwilling to talk about it, talk to others.
Find transparent relationships you can work on this with.
If there is no one in your life right now to walk through this with, get wisdom from God's word, and books.

It's out there, seek it out. 
Perspective changes so much.

God IS for you.  
God IS for your son.
He loves him.
He has a plan for him.
He grieves for him too.
He has a plan for you.

And honestly, when you finally reach the throne room of God, and you are on your face before Him, He's not going to ask you how your son did with porn, He's going to ask you, how you parented Him through that.  

You are accountable for how you parent, not how your son responded.

That's a frightening thought for me.
I'm covered by His grace, but I'm also responsible for how I live this life.


So if you have freaked out (like I did when we first had this ugliness punch us in the gut) and if you've said things that you probably shouldn't have said in that way --yes, they were true, and yes, you probably meant 80% of it--but your delivery was all wrong... this road starts with apologizing.

Apologizing for your sinful anger.
And then explaining why you are hurt.
Why you are angry.
But that it was wrong to lash out at him.

Be in control
Confront the lie
Speak the truth

...because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  James 1:20 NIV


So, if you are a wiser woman than me (which you probably are--easy goal to achieve, believe me.) and haven't confronted your son yet, or if he is still lying about it, what's the next best step if you have to confront this yourself? 

(If your husband can't, or is unwilling to deal with this, it's something YOU are going to have to do.  I'm coming at this whole post from that angle.  But if your husband IS willing, and is going to do it, Praise God! DO NOT take that away from him.  This is a HUGE moment that God can use to bring them closer together!  Talk and help, but let your husband do what he is willing to do.  It's an awesome thing!  But if not, here's what you can do.)

(however you stumbled upon it, remove the ability to access it)
Make sure your son knows you love him unconditionally.

You can go about this either the scenic route --if you think this hasn't gone on too long--which might look something like taking him along when you run errands and talking.  Getting him a soda and talking.  Doing yard work beside him and talking. Telling him about your struggles, etc. Keep communication open.  But if that isn't your style, or doesn't work...

You can always go the direct, non-stop, no layover, bullet train route and open the conversation up with a direct statement.
i.e. "I know you've seen porn"
"I found some ugly stuff on the computer we need to talk about."
if he denies it, maybe you could say something like 
"I feel like maybe you're not being totally truthful here..."
"I think you need to tell me more..." or
 "I've been praying that God will show me sin that needs to be dealt with, and the Bible says to be sure your sin will find you out, and guess what?..."
(I may or may not have used that one before.)

Talking to him about porn, even if he hasn't opened the conversation, YOU open it.  Ya, hard. Ugly. but do it.

Pray God will convict his heart.
Wait on the Lord.


I'm desperately hoping I'm not the only one here when I say this, but after I knew that my sweet, precious baby who had SO much promise, potential, and joy (now morphed into a stinky, mostly angsty teen) saw porn, my view of him changed.

For days after I realized the truth, I would look at his face (that still reminds me SO much of when he was a baby), and see his sin.  I'd look into those eyes and be hit hard with what those eyes had seen.  My heart would break all over again.  I'd think of those images seared on his mind in a way I will probably never understand, and the knife would turn.  My shoulders would droop, heaviness would loom over me. I'd feel sick, and hurt, and crushed.

But, God was gracious
(Isn't that a beautiful statement?  God was GRACIOUS)
 and hit me along the side of the head with a 2x4.  
(Truth, sister. It came hard and fast and BAM!)
 and He impressed on me, in the middle of one of those soul-crushing moments

He doesn't see my sin on me.
He doesn't turn His face from me, when I'm wallowing down here, still wrapped up in all my sin.
He doesn't hang it over my head.
He doesn't make sure I hurt as much as He hurt when I continue to sin.

He sees me as a sinner in need of grace.
He sees me as a daughter He loves.
He sees me as righteous in His sight.
I am precious,
and forgiven.

And I am to extend that same vision to my son.

Now as in all things, there are still consequences for my sin.
I still have to pay the price when I choose to walk my own path, instead of God's.
But there is love, forgiveness, and hope.
Always HOPE.
Praise Him!


Thank God for bringing this sin to light.
Thank him that His grace is enough to pull you all through this.
Thank him that he sustains and renews you every morning... and tomorrow is a new day, you just have to survive today (Starbucks, anyone?)

Redouble your efforts.  Where do you need to be wiser?
What have your learned from how/where/when this all happened?
Where can you focus effort now, and prepare for the next battle?

This is going to take time.

This is going to come back.

You are going to be in a battle for a long while.

(Sorry.  Just being honest and real here, though it hurts to say.  
This is a long battle.  Budget for Starbucks.)

Reflect on what you need to do to get the energy for the battle.
(Coffee, lunches with friends, and remembering who the ultimate winner of this whole crazy ride is.  Spend time with the Winner.  Talk with the Winner.  Read the things He's written for you.)

7. Talk, talk, and talk.

I'm sure 99% of what I say goes right through their heads.
Mom's voice = tuning out.

I'll know I'm reaching them a LITTLE, when they can almost mock what I'm saying.  i.e. "Ya, ya, mom, I know... it's all fantasy. It's a lie from the pit of hell... you say it all the time."  <--that right there means maybe he is beginning to hear me.  That's what I'm going for.

And the only way to get there, is to talk about it ALL. THE. TIME.

I love this version of the passage in Deuteronomy, talking about the importance of imparting God's word to your children:

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

The Voice 
Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your foreheadwhere you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on thecity gate.

This is the same passion that I want to impart to my boys regarding the pitfalls of porn.  But it's not just a once and done thing.
This is a daily, hourly, minute by minute thing that needs to be talked about over and over and over.  

And not lectured. 
Please, not lectured.
But an open dialogue.

7.  Pray

Obviously this list is by no means in the proper order.  I wrote it this way to deal with the immediate all-up-in-your-grill ugliness, and work our way down to the most important thing you can do, after you have calmed down.

We can do everything in our power.  We can lock everything down, we can be on them like slime on a slug, we can know where they are every. single. second. and not let them forget it.  But, by nature, we are all inventors of evil. And there is a way around anything.  So until the Lord gets a hold of his heart and changes it from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, just keep praying, talking, and praying.

Ezekiel 36:26

The Voice 
26 I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh.

God is in the business of changing hearts.
Your job is to be faithful to that which He has called you.

In the next post, we'll talk about WHAT to talk about and start filling up your arsenal for the battle.

It's gonna be awesome.

In the meantime.
He's got this!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

LIFE --A Review of Year 40

TODAY marks my 41st birthday.

And the first day of a new year of my life.
Day 1 of 365 days to be 41 years old.
Day 1 to reflect on the last 365 days and think ahead to the next 365.

How did last year go?

-Paid cash for a family vacation to Disneyland and were so blessed to have friends join us there!

-Lowered our mortgage debt by a bit (still working on this).

-Officially started a family business and kicked it off at the Portland Mini Maker's Faire with a huge success!

-Almost finished our first year of homeschooling with My Father's World, which has been a blessing!

-Completed my second Warrior Dash run and 2nd 5k (both with WORSE times than the previous year, but I'm glad I did them.)

-Celebrated the 17th year of being married to my best friend.

-Joined a few blogger book review programs and have been incredibly BLESSED with new books that are free (which totally fits into the non-existent book budget)!  And because of that, have read through more books in the last year than I have in a LONG time!

-Finished reading through the Old Testament for the first time in my life!!

-Finished writing out the book of Proverbs for my first son.

-Watched each of my boys turn another year older, and struggled together WITH them against sin and temptation and entitlement, instead of AGAINST them, as in previous years.

-Started as a member and co-leader in The Bold Year Challenge and gained some awesome and inspiring new friends, and am being continually pushed WAAAAYYY out of my comfort zone by doing the live Google hangouts (do you know how DISTRACTING and AWFUL it is to watch yourself on video?).

Overall it was a GREAT, challenging, and STRETCHING year.
So now it's on to year 41 of my life, and I'll start by REFLECTING on what I wish I had done better in year 40.  Below are the items I've listed so far... and while it seemed kind of discouraging to write them down, I really believe in the importance of slowing down to reflect on successes and especially failures to push on to do better this year.  I am giving myself grace, because I understand that life is about improving, not arriving at a certain destination.


-I wish I would have kept drawing in my sketchbook each day.

-I wish I had been more careful with the daily/weekly challenge of spending and saving money. (It's the little things that KILL me.)

-I wish I had eaten healthier.

-I wish I had studied at least one subject of something that interests me in depth.

-I wish I would have deliberately learned (as opposed to learning the hard way) a new skill for our business. (coding, Photoshop, etc)

-I wish I had done more slowing down and reflecting.

-I wish I had prayed more.

-I wish I had kept reviewing scripture I had previously memorized so it wasn't so easily forgotten.

-I wish I would have had made sure to schedule in some time to be quiet, alone, and away... for refreshment and renewed strength.

-I wish I had spent more time getting to know Jesus better.

-I wish I had continued to keep a nature journal with my youngest son.

-I wish I would have spent less time on the computer and more time working on my current "I wish" list items.

-I wish I had less debt on the mortgage and more in savings.

-I wish I had spent more one on one time with my boys.
With all those "I Wishes" written out, I can now clearly see my biggest areas of struggle are Time Management and Money Management, which all equal up to the biggest area of struggle: Self Control.  Oi.

BUT, with a new year, comes new hope!  

Also, all this review has helped me come up with a new theme for year 41 of my life: Reflect.

Nothing has changed how I use my day more than reflecting on what I wish I would have done differently the day before.  Since this is a new practice for me, I'm hoping to make it a habit this year!

So here's to year 41!  
I'm hoping it's the best one yet!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Entitlement Project--Week 1

I just finished an amazing book by Kay Wyma called 

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

And if you know me, I'm a jump in with BOTH FEET immediately, and think about the logistics of it later kind of person.  But, I had seen a lot of entitlement issues in our home for years and was at a loss for real hands on kind of things I could do about it other than the usual lectures about kids starving and other people with NOTHING... and blah blah blah.

SO I bought Kay's book on Amazon, got it on a Friday afternoon and finished it by Sunday night.  Mr. Measure and I discussed alnog the way and we all sat down and had a family discussion about the 

Video Game Problem.

If you have more than one child, and only one video game system... and they have sharing issues, honesty issues, timer issues... well, it gets ugly. There's a whole lot of bringing complaints to me, and how unfair all of this is, and "Can I just finish this mission? I'm playing LIVE!"  


It gives me a headache just typing that!

Plus, if everyone has a turn, and brothers are watching or playing with, it can add up to HOURS AND HOURS a day, even though each has just one and a half hours a day, it grows to be about 19 hours by the end of the day.  If you add in hassle time, it's about 27 hours a day.




 project 1, month 1.


There is SO. MUCH. entitlement in the video games around here. Everyone thinks it's a right.  Their whole world revolves around when they can play, what they can play, who they can play with (and who made them mad and can totally NOT play with them, EVER!), and lots of time micro managing for brothers, and just UGLY UGLY UGLY.

So that's where we started.

We sat down as a family.  Told them what we were seeing in them and dealing with and what we were going to do about it.

There was attitude.


Maybe a few almost tears on edges of eyes.

But not as bad as I thought it would be.


But, we'll see how this week/month progresses.  
I don't think they know there's a world outside that they can interact with during the daylight and after homeschool hours.

It'll be interesting to see what they choose to do.

So far no one has told me they're bored... but I'm really good at handing out the chores when they do that.  It's funny to see them hang around me, just kind of looking around, but not saying "the words".

We'll see...
Anyone brave enough to join me?

P.S.  We did tell the son who paid for a subscription to xBox live that we will reimburse him for this lost month.

AND, we did tell them that if we saw good attitudes and kindness and creativity during this time, we will be carefully re-introducing it on a very limited basis next month.  Probably.

Oh, and we MIGHT let them play ONLY if Mr. Measure and I are out on a date, because, in all honesty, when they are old enough and big enough to cause serious damage and dismemberment to others in the home that tick them off.. it's a pretty good babysitter.  (They're pretty sure we need to go out tonight.)

Book Review -- 101 Conversation Starters for Families

A while back we got this book to review from the publisher and it has been so much fun to occasionally pull out at dinner time. 

The boys couldn't wait to start using it, and it has been fun.

Too often our dinners are rushed, or full of boy humor (ugh), and this has made for a nice change.  There are some really great questions in here, some deeper than others, some light hearted...and a few cheesy ones that the teens just roll their eyes at.

But overall, for the price of this little book, it has been definitely been worth it.

There seems to be a whole series of these books with different themes.  Any of these would make a great gift for family or friends!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review --If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis

I was recently sent If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by the publisher to review.

I know very little about C.S. Lewis, having only read his most famous book (The Lion, the witch, and the Wardrobe), so I was excited about the format of this book.  It is laid out as having eight lunches with C.S. Lewis, and since having lunch or coffee with friends is one of my most favorite things to do, it sounded right up my alley!

It took a bit of getting used to the writer's style in this book...and I was about halfway through before I realized it was more of a topical biography about Lewis, rather than having lunch with a friend and picking his brain.  Once I got that down, it read a bit smoother.

Because I knew next to nothing about Lewis, it was an interesting book, but I felt that a lot of the questions the author raised weren't really clearly answered, but maybe they were, it was just hard to tell.  For information about Lewis, it was great, but not quite as good as a biography would probably have been.

Overall I think I'd give this a 3 star review.  It was good, but not quite a story, not quite a biography, not quite a Q&A time.  It is a quick read, and was interesting, but for the current price point of $14, I think I would probably pass, or at least get it on the kindle for $10.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I'm definitely not sorry I read this, as it did whet my appetite to read the Chronicles of Narnia and possibly another full biography of Lewis, but I would have been disappointed to pay full price for it.