this helped my children stop complaining.

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It’s the sigh I hate most.

I don’t know why it always grabs me the wrong way, making my tongue want to leap out of my mouth like a snake–

When they complain.

It’s the fastest ticket to this mommas nerves. I don’t know why. Sometimes I think it’s because I have a go-getter attitude, “get it all done yesterday” =) Or perhaps because I’m an adult and I see a need and meet it.

However, as sure as the sun is rising this morning my little heart whispers to me, yet again:

“It’s your flesh”

Ah, yes. That sneaky ‘ol thing again– trying to ruin the sweet fellowship between me and my kiddos.

Sometimes it’s a quick trip to the table for sentences. Right now, it’s the complaining jar.

As soon as that sigh or words of complaint come from those sweet lips of theirs– my tongue doesn’t have to whip out like a snake, I have a plan.

A solution.

I think as a parent, most of my frustrations, doubts, and sleepless nights come from having no plan– no solution. So then, I am left to worry and parent out of fear, rather than love. Fear of what consequences they will face as a result of their choices. Such as, complaining when someone askes for their help.

Now, I know your children don’t struggle with this, they do twirls and sing hymns while they gladly help with everything you ask.  And my kids do that too– when we’re on our way to get ice-cream ;)

For when we are at home and I’ve asked maybe one too many things– when they give me the sigh, (my littles mostly) I simply reply:

“Oh, you just complained, I’m sorry– you have to go to the complaining jar.”

And then this little momma has to follow through with the consequences =(

 

But when they choose Grace–oh happy day!

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One day, it will all be just a memory.

Breathe deep today, mommas. Remember, they’re all here now.

And they’re watching you. =)

Holding my tongue daily,

Kati

Have you heard how to trick your kids into love? Oh yes! It works too!


 

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Could my bad mom moment help you?

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We all have that child.

Well, at least I tell myself we all do. Maybe it’s only me.

In this home of half a dozen children- the “that child” always changes.

But lately? It has been the same one.

over

and over

and over

again.

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Last night, all of my kiddos were tucked into bed.

Sneaking one little guy a banana I thought, maybe I should give his brother one too.

“No, he doesn’t deserve a banana.”  I thought.

He yelled at me.

He hit his sister.

He did that thing he does- again.

Then I heard it.

“I’m watching the way you treat him.”

It came all over me like a flood. You know, the way God does? Just says six little words that rock your world?

Yeah. That God of ours. He did that.

Again.

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Compassion, Kindness, and Love.

Within five minutes, all of my littles had a banana; all giggling under their covers at the idea of a late night, sweet snack.

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So, I wrote it down. Right there in the hallway– where we write prayers.

He’s watching.  And He notices when it’s hard. He hears when you pray again out of frustration. He is planting little seeds in my little man’s heart each.time.i.choose.to.love.

no matter what.

Sometimes, I don’t deserve the Fathers love. But He gives it still.

May we be a person with the mind of Christ. To love even when we’ve been wronged. Even when they’ve done it again. Even when it seems like they’ll never change. May we sneak a little bit of sweetness into their hearts so they know we love them still.

Because He’s watching the way we love them. And the thought of seeing my Father look upon me with a smile of satisfaction?

Well, that’s beautiful.

Learning Daily,

Kati

A winning way to reward kids this summer (and always)

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Everyone likes to be noticed.

Especially kids.

Especially when they do something right.

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Each day, the kids do checklists. Checklists keep this momma sane.

When they finish their checklist- they get tickets. Finish first? You get the most tickets. Finish last? You get the last, lonely ticket.

If I catch them loving – I notice.

“Judah, that was very kind… go get a ticket.”

If I see they picked something up in the yard or off the floor– just to be a help.

I notice.

You get the picture.

We never, ever take tickets away.

We draw a winner each Sunday afternoon.

There is a grand prize winner box and then the five remaining children have numbers drawn and get to choose from the runner up prize box.

The grand prize winner throws all of that weeks tickets away and we start new on Monday.

It’s fantastic.

You know what? (you’re fantastic too!)

Loves,

Kati

PS: A special thanks to all of you who have contacted me about my dad and his fight for life as mentioned in this post. Strangers and friends alike, you have blessed my life by your sweet words and prayers. He is still fighting.

Making sweet love on a bad day

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“Finding myself, this morning struggling with the beginning of my day, I was reminded of a story from a few years back. From a time when my littlest one was usually naked, and my oldest one was still learning multiplication and I did the usual thing  I do when I’m struggling. 

Lost it. In one way or another.

If you are finding yourself like me this morning, or any time at all, really… struggling to get yourself together – perhaps my broken life can lend a little hope to yours, and help your day shine bright.”

February 2011~

Today was a bad day. I was a very cranky momma.

Oh, it’s hard to pin point the exact reason. I started the day out “by the book,” up early, before the kids. Time in the word, time with my man, I made a sweet little homemade breakfast, read to the kids. It should have just worked out right; right?

Wrong.

And looking back, I can’t quite figure out what finally made me snap. Oh, it could have had something to do with the three hours it took one of my children to be ready for her day and start school; just too many rabbit trails to find herself on. Or, it could have something to do with the extensive handwriting lesson one of my other children had to do because her brother almost suffered a concussion when he hit his head on the coffee table during a fun pushing game.

Or it could be the 100th phone call I knew I had to make to AT&T because they can’t seem to bill us correctly and they like to make me sit on hold for 20 plus minutes each time. Maybe it was because I am crazy and allowed my children to get three kittens for Christmas?

Perhaps, the wonderful cold snow isn’t so wonderful anymore; or maybe it’s because we just moved to the town I grew up in and I’m secretly afraid someone will knock at our door and see that it is absolute chaos, and I’ll have to use the line… “Hey, at least we’re learning.”

But then again, It might just have been one. of. those. days. But, perhaps I could just chalk it all up to a girl thing and blame it on my psycho thyroid and the fact that I have yet to find a doctor down here to get it under control.

Whatever the reason may be, I lost my temper, yelled at the kids. Felt the sweet momma in me run dry and went into my room and cried.

So then, I dried my eyes, gave myself a little pep talk, realized that I’m a total worthless parent without God and continued on with my day, teaching Judah the letter X, helping Jordan read the word, frog; again, talked to Alli about how Italy is shaped like a boot, and put Emmyn on her sweet “big girl time blanket” to play with blocks.

At lunch, we talked about Making Sweet Love.

As the children ate, I put before them, four little cups.

One overflowing, three empty.

We talked about the marshmallows, how yummy and sweet they are. They resembled our sweet love. The love we have to share with others. I asked the kids, how can “Mommy share this love with each of you?” They said things like,

“snuggle us”

“kiss us”

“read to us”

“take us places”

with each thing they said, I gave them some of my “love.”

Eventually, their little cups were full of love and mine was empty.

I said, “Oh, no… look! Where is mommy’s love?” (Of course, Judah reaches into the bag of marshmallows, grabs a big handful and says, “Right here, mommy!” But the girls understood. “You’ve given it all out to us.”

Then I told them about how a mothers love is like Jesus, it never runs out. But unlike Jesus, mommas get tired and need some love.

I perked up, “SO! Who has some love for momma?”

“I do!”

“I do!”

“Here is a kiss”

“Here is a thank you”

… the list went on and on, they were racing to see who could fill it up quickest. All of a sudden we all had plenty of love, to equally share. And we were all happy.


And Jesus Said, 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15: 12-13

Oh, The day carried on like normal, we got on a good track, the house was a complete disaster, we learned, played, laughed, got in more trouble, made really delicious chicken and noodles, and after we were all finished,  sat and rested a while during tea time.

We sipped on coffee, nibbled on egg whites, and enjoyed a glimpse of summer with delicious juicy oranges while we listened to a story, my very favorite story of all.

I haven’t read it since March. Unable to handle the truth of it all, afraid I would come unglued. Each time I read it, silly I know; but I feel like it was written just for me.

And I was right, my eyes filled with tears, my mind filled with thoughts and it was almost more than I could handle.

I. read.very.slowly.

Breathed.very.deeply.

Max Lucado writes:

“He deserves lots of dots,” the wooden people would agree with one another. “He’s not a good wooden person.” After a while Punchinello believed them. “I’m not a good Wemmick”, He would say.

Judah asked, “Momma, those real tears?”

I paused, “Yes, Judah they are real tears.”

I continued the book. Reading about Eli, the Maker.

Eli explains, “The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.


“I’m not sure I understand”, Punchinello says.

I understood today.

I asked the kids, like I always do, “Do you ever feel like you have a lot of grey dots?” I continued, “Mommy does.”

I said, “Like when momma yelled today…” “You see,” I said; “When momma does that kind of stuff, I spend the whole day feeling terrible,  like I am not a good mom, like I’ve let God down in the job he has trusted me with.”

I continued, “But, that isn’t the truth is it? That isn’t trusting God’s love, is it?”

Oh mommas, it is a hard day sometimes. Always wondering if we’ve made the right choice, always regretting something we’ve done or said. Battling things from the past, hiding emotions we are having and putting on smiles for our little ones. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always happen. And when our little cups run dry of marshmallows and we cover ourselves with gray dots… all we can do is fall back into the arms of our Maker and let him stand us back up straight ready to right the good fight for one more round.

Eli smiled. “You will understand, but it will take some time you’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.” 

-Max Lucado

Alli whispers to me afterward, “Mom… thanks.”

And she gives me a wink.

A trick to help siblings get along this summer.

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“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”

The Buddha


 

I have six kids.

Two are boys.

And they are all boy.

They fight.

Sometimes for fun, sometimes not so much.

One more thing? They’re dirty.

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Well, most of the time.

This, however. THIS is for certain.

When those boys of mine decide it’s “fun” to poke fun, fight, or be just.down.right.mean; there’s this thing we do.

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Words.

I sit my little boys down and have them write 10 things they love about each other.

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Then, they read the list to each other.

“I like his smile. I like the way he laughs. I like how he plays basketball. I like how he dresses…”

“I like his skin color. I like his missing tooth.”

The silly list goes on and on.

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And it does– what sweet words always seem to do.

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Words make everything better.

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From one momma of boys to another,

Kati

 

 

Slow down, your kids are watching. A 13 year old’s view of a busy mom.

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A few months back, I was drowning.

There I was. A wife to one, mom to six. Between homeschooling, work, several different kid activities a husband in full time school–I felt the world closing in around me.

I never knew she was watching.

At the peak of my despair (can we call it that?) I felt the lord gently telling me [well, actually more like, scream at me] “Let it all go, live simple, love big and sit more.”

So, I did it. We stopped swim-team, stopped packing the days full of activities, I made a better shopping schedule — to keep from spending all week in the car running back and forth to the store; and we even sold the puppy.

I started sitting more. I started saying no. I looked at my phone less. I stepped away from social media. I stopped trying to be everyone’s savior.

A few weeks after this change had become the new “me”, my Alli, just a teenager read me a poem she just so happened to have laid on her heard during the night.


Slow Down, Your Kids Are Watching

Why is life so busy?
People to see, places to go,
Someone to call, to text.
Gotta update my Facebook status,
I should Tweet  that.
Why are my kids always
Asking for food?!
Homework, bills,
Deposits, withdrawals,
My boss is mad again.
She just had a baby,
What should I cook for her?
I need to get them a wedding gift and
Wish them a happy honeymoon!
Happy Birthday to you,
Here’s a card.
Sorry about my handwriting,
I was in a hurry.
My husband and his job,
He’s never home anymore.
Prom, seriously?
Time to mow again,
Should probably water my garden
it’s close to dying.
My glasses broke,
She needs braces?!?!
Summer’s almost over,
School starts soon… school supplies.
New shoes! Guess it’s time.
I need groceries!
Soccer, football, basketball practice.
Doctor’s appointments on Monday.
Please feed your fish.
When does church end again?
The crock pot beans should be done soon
I have an email to send before three.
Library visit, okay!
Almost out of gas.
Sick? Wash your hands!
Go take a shower now.
Did you brush you teeth?
Are you ok?
Get well soon!
Remember the old days when life wasn’t as crazy as this?

~Alli Gibson

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Wow. Only God knew she saw my good intentions as just another stressed out momma.

A good little reminder maybe? A reminder to live simple, love big and sit more. We only have this life, and they are watching.

From one busy momma to another,

Kati

The reality of mothers day.

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Walking from my bedroom into the kitchen I find this:

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Curious to what the surprise may be–I grabbed the bell.

I walked the hallway ringing the bell.

Smiling big.

From the closed bedroom door peeks my oldest daughter.

“Don’t come yet- mom. Triston peed his bed and he’s in the shower.”

This.

This is Mother’s Day reality folks.

Happy day!

:-) Kati

Fellowship with daughters: the very best thing I do with my girls.

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Remember when you were young and passed notes to your best girlfriends?

I do that with my girls. =)

Those girls of mine, all crazy four of them– they need love. They all need loved in different ways too, and that can be tricky.

I have one who speaks the least but feels the most. She loves words like me. We talk about everything from Jesus to dresses. Another of mine, she’s one for attention– she always wants to know when we’re going somewhere again. Then there’s this one who is new to the whole mom thing and she’s just happy to write. Then Emmyn, my littlest, little? Well, she makes pretty drawings. =)

In order to keep up with all of their girly goodness, we have momma journals. Each one have a decorated journal that is between just she and I. When they feel they need to talk, they pass the journal my way.

Sometimes, it’s on the stand next to my bed– other times, it’s lying on my desk. I’ve even found it next to the kitchen sink.

A cutie-pie picture from when my little Jordi pie started her journal a few years back?

It’s a place where we can be total cheese heads, encourage each other, love each other with our words, and it’s all right there, in the book– a book we can keep forever.

{ ok, ok, and it helps with handwriting practice ; ) }

Simple & silly love, today and always~

Kati 

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that. 

sometimes dreams just don’t come true.

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I wrote this story a few years back after a trip to town with my littles. Today, while a repair man was here at the house– he overheard the lesson I was teaching the kids during homeschooling. Each day, I give the kids a “quote to ponder”;  the quote to ponder today was:

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius

The repair man, in the other room, calls out “Amen to that! I’m in the middle of that lesson right now.”

His remark reminded me of this story- May it be an encouragement to you today as you chase those great big dreams of yours.

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We’ve always liked to pack up and head somewhere “special” to learn little things– create a memory.

In Missouri, it was books and cookies at the library coffee shop {yes, it was a.m.a.z.i.n.g} sometimes, it was books and donuts early in the morning at the local donut shop. Then of course, there’s always the park.

I think school at the park is Chapter One in The “Typical Homeschool Trends” handbook; along with baby carriers and long skirts, ha!  (That book doesn’t really exist)  :)

Typical or not, it’s what we do.  Sometimes it’s history, sometimes is devotion, sometimes it’s just a silly book that makes us all laugh loud and heads turn. This week, it was The Tale of Three Trees.

It starts with loading cups into bags and books into hands. Yes, always take your own cup, refills are around 59cents compared to $1.40 for a drink in their plain ‘ol not special at all  their cup.  We’re mug people around here, everyone has their favorite.

Then we head out. No big deal right?

Today, I walked into our towns little grocery store with no kiddos, a rare thing indeed (ooh, maybe Daniel is my secret servant this week?) I was all alone, in my own little world, price comparing and trying to get the best deal on chicken.

Greeting the clerk a friendly, “Hi how are you today”, then moving my stare past her onto my items,  watching those sought after good deals move across the scanner, wondering if the clerk would see the $2 off instant coupon on my smart chicken… the check out girl, a senior in high school, says to me–

“I saw you the other day, are those your kids?”

Totally confused, I ask “You saw me? Where?”

“At the store, reading to your kids.”

“Oh, yeah” I reply,  “Those are my kids. Wait, Unless they were bad then they aren’t mine” I said, with a silly smile.

She continues, “Yeah, I heard you reading to them.” 

Sliding my chicken across the scanner, removing my coupon, she goes on to tell me how she heard me asking the kids what their dreams were for when they were grown and she listened as Judah told me he wanted to be an NBA Player. Continuing to listen, she heard me bring it back to the book, where the three trees had big dreams but God used them to fulfill those dreams in His way, not looking exactly the way they had planned.

She says, “I heard you ask him,

What if God has a different plan for you?”

Then she heard his reply,

“Oh, he would never do that to me, it’s my dream and he’s given me the skills to do it.” 

Telling me my total and reaching her hand out for the money, her eyes tear up and she turns her elbow towards me to see her scar.

“That was my dream too and it seemed so reachable, until I fell and broke my arm just this year before my senior year of high school. I can’t play like I use to and now no schools will choose me.”

She smiles real big, tears still welling and says,

“I don’t know why it wasn’t His plan but I know somehow, it’s all going to be used to give Him glory–  I know he has a plan.”
 

Slipping into my van, chicken loaded carefully in the trunk, I see the book there on my dash. I walk back in and say, “I still had the book, why don’t you read it.” 

She smiles that real big Jesus smile and says–

“Oh wow, thanks!”  

For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Oh, NBA seems like a big unreachable dream, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve had dreams both big and small that never happened. Hopes, dreams, goals, and wonders that at this time in my life, God just didn’t answer.

No matter the size of your dream- it’s yours. And if it doesn’t happen– it hurts.

My prayer for us is this: May we find grace and give glory in each season, my friend. May we live today with the crazy peace and comfort that only our great big God can give.

May you find comfort today in knowing- God’s really big and He’s got this.


May Mercy, Peace, and love be yours in abundance. Jude 1:2

Dreaming Big, 

Kati

 

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> a creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise.