Thursday, January 13, 2011

Getting crafty

The kids got a lot of crafty things for Christmas like paints, crayons, etc. Reece got a fun wooden fairy wand that she could paint all by herself (with an OCD mom hovering over her).  She absolutely loved doing this!  She asked me "Who got me this for Christmas?".  I said "Aunt Jilly".  She says "Next time I see her I want to give her a hug and kiss and tell her thank you because I love it so much" (Thanks Aunt Jilly!). 

Popcorn and a movie

The kids love watching their new movies in their new chairs

Update on Sparkle Chart system

So...I should have known to try something out before posting it on the blog...yet another lesson learned and I am okay with it.  The sparkle chart was pretty much a flop.  I was skeptical going in feeling like rewarding them for good behaviors only felt like bribing and I wondered if it would truly last.  I really didn't want the kids to expect getting something each time they obeyed.  But I wanted to give it a shot anyway and see what happened.  It didn't take long before Reece could have cared less about a sticker.  While I do still think it's important to praise them a little when they are good, rewards are short lived motivators. 

In the meantime, I had been praying about how to parent.  And as always, God's timing is impecable.  On my way home from the hosptial at 5:30am (see story here ), I heard an interview with the author of the book "The Well-Behaved Child" by John Rosemond.  He seemed to address every issue I was having in parenting.  Later that morning, I ordered the book and read it in less than a week's time.  I highly recommend the book and it is has already left my house and entered the home of different friend's house in a short amount of time.  What were some of my take aways from the book?

When a child misbehaves, it creates a problem.  But who's problem is it really?  Most parents take on the problem themselves and try to solve it, which results in frustration (since we are unable to solve the problem for the child).  We as parents need to put the problem back on the child so that they will want to solve it.  How do we do this?  By enforcing what John calls "The agony principle"...a punishment that they will never forget and never want to happen again.  This causes them to feel the problem and want to solve it so they never have to suffer the consequences again.  His main punishment in the book is confinement to their room for the rest of the day - the room being stripped of it's fun and only left to it's bare essentials.  Now this is going back to basics, right?  Side note:  He's no nonsense and takes us back to the basics of parenting - instead of using all this psychology stuff we have had shoved into our heads over the past few decades.  Not that that stuff totally doesn't make sense, but that we as parents in the 21st century have way too much information, causing us to be confused and unsure of ourselves as parents. 

We are currrently using one of his strategies from his book and it is working well so far (been doing this for a week).  The system is called "Tickets".  Basically, I was to ponder the misbehaviors of my child and narrow in on 1 to 3 of them that were the biggest and most frustrating of "her" problems.  Write them down on a sheet.  Create 3 to 5 tickets and attach them to the sheet.  Each day she starts out with the 5 tickets.  If she does one of the misbehaviors on the list, a ticket is removed.  No constant warnings, yelling, threatning...just say "Okay, you did blank, so I'm taking a ticket" if's, and's, or but's.  When all the tickets are gone for the day (no matter what time it is), she immediatley must be confined to her room for the remainder of the day...only being aloud to leave for bathroom and meals (and if you must run an errand).  The likelihood that the child would be confined to the room at say, 10:00am would be rare and if it did happen, it would only happen once...what a long day for the child and they would not wish that on themselves again.  So basically, there may be some difficult days, but not as many as there currently have on the "yelling" system.  He also says, by focusing in on 1 to 3 of their misbehaviors, you should see the other smaller behaviors diminish as you use the system so don't get too caught up on which ones to put on the list, and don't put them all.

Reece has done very well on the ticket system and has not be confined to her room once.  It has also prevented me from yelling and being frustrated.  If she does a misbehavior on the list, I simply remove a ticket.  John says if they are doing well on the system, you should lower the number of tickets as to put the pressure on a little for the times they do misbehave.  Since Reece has been really good and not losing but one or so ticket a day, I am going to decrease the number of tickets.  We also listed other misbehaviors she has and indicated what punishments would be specific to that misbehavior (like I had indicated on my prior post).  The misbehaviors that equal a loss of a ticket are (currently):  Not listening (not obeying when I ask her to do something or not to do something - the first time), Not asking permission (she takes our stuff a lot without asking), interrupting (when I am talking to daddy or anyone).  Behaviors that do not result in a loss of ticket but another punishment is immediately enforced are: Being destructive (breaking/ripping things), Defiance (saying no to me or being disrespectful), Taking off her clothes (teaching her to do dress up over her clothes and to wear clothes around the house - yes this is a problem for us), and difficulty at bedtime. 

I lamenated her tickets and put velcro on the back of them.  They stick to the misbehavior chart.  I'll keep you posted on how this is going.  If you are interested in the book, let me know and I'll lend it to you!

A new adventure/ministry

What a wild and crazy roller coaster ride God continues to take me on in this life.  I continue to seek his direction and will for my life paying close attention to His promptings.  Never did I think He would take me to this place, but I did ask for clarification on my role by His leading.  What will He think of next for me?

Many of you know that I have been a little obsessed with pregnancy, childbirth, etc for years.  It only grew with my two pregnancies as I watched many (too many) childbirth shows (A Baby Story, Maternity Ward, I didn't know I was pregnant, to name a few).  After trying for a natural birth (with help from a birthing coach), I failed as a result of a small pelvic structure, resulting in a c-section and a tramatic experience to boot.  I struggled for a few months after this and believe I suffered from post partum depression which was never diagnosed.  After these events, my passion grew stronger for what women endure during this time.  I have a friend who is a doula (birthing coach) and she has always encouraged me about the opportunity of becoming a doula.  I really didn't think much about it and figured my passion (or obsessiveness) with this amazing and ONLY God-given gift of child birth would diminish as I drifted farther from child bearing years!  The result of my c-sections and not being able to experience a natural/"normal" way of delivering a baby, only peeked my curiosity more.  Enter my friend...Jamie.  I had shared these feelings with her before she had her 3rd child.  Much to my surprise she offered me an opportunity of a lifetime - to be her support person when baby 3 arrived!  To make a long story short, it didn't work out for me to attend when baby 3 was born.  However, I was there and ready when baby 4 was born just 2 weeks ago....all part of God's plan and His perfect timing.

I felt after this experience that, my thirst would be quenched, but it only made me thirstier.  I have prayed about it and researched it over the past 2 weeks.  During this time of prayer, the Lord put a person on my heart and I wasn't sure why.  I felt like I need to pray for the person so I did.  Later that day, I sent her an email saying that the Lord promted me to pray for her and I wanted her to know as well as check on her.  The fact that I owed her a small sum of money was my feeling that the Lord wanted to just remind me of this.  It had slipped my mind until our email conversation that she was pregnant.  She began telling me how she had just failed her glucose test and was fearful of delivery, epidurals, etc.  I asked her if she put a birth plan together and that really helped me for preparing for my delivery.  I also indicated that I was fascinated with this sort of thing was was thinking of becoming a birth coach.  This is what she wrote back "Are you kidding me? I have been thinking and praying about our "birthing plan" and how it would be nice to have a doula, but was wishing I knew of one personally, etc. etc.  Lindsay- you are an answer to prayer!!"  I about fell out of my chair when I read that.  GOOSEBUMPS! 

So now that's it official, I wanted to announce my new opportunity for ministry.  I am officially on my way to obtaining my certificate: Certified Labor Doula (CLN) through Childbirth International.  It should take about 3 months to complete. 

What is a Doula?

A doula is a trained and experienced labor companion who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth (natural or medicated childbirth).

Additionally, a doula supports a woman’s partner and family so that they in turn know how to best support her during labor.

A Labor Support Doula:

Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.

Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.

Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.

Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout her entire labor.

Provides emotional support, physical comfort and an objective viewpoint.

Provides assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make informed decisions.

Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her health care provider(s).

Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.

Practices confidentiality.

Childbirth International is one of the fastest growing training organizations in the world - currently have students from every continent and 75 countries across the world and every state of the USA. Our philosophy in training Childbirth Educators, Doulas and Counselors is to ensure they have the confidence and skills necessary to carry out their role professionally. This enables them to support parents in making the right decisions for themselves throughout pregnancy, labor and birth - their birth, their way. We strongly believe in the benefits of a natural birth while acknowledging that sometimes interventions are necessary for the well being of both mother and baby. Routine interventions without any medical indications have no place in maternity care.

So what's the ministry?
Well, I'm not totally sure what it will look like but wanting the Lord to lead.  I have a strong desire to assist women in labor/child birth.  I certainly LOVE the idea of helping women that I know go through this experience.  I also have the desire to help women I don't know go through this not just on the birthing side, but on the Lord's side as well - being a disciple for Him.  What a way to minister of God's goodness, creation, mercy, salvation than through a birth of a child - a miracle?  If you have had a baby (and even if you haven't), you can't deny that ONLY God could have come up with something so detailed and miraculous as conception, pregnancy, and birth of a child.  The whole process is just completely mind boggling!  I want to show my clients (if they do not know Jesus), that there is such signifcance between the birth of their new baby and the new birth that we have in Christ Jesus.  So for now, I am going to wait and see where God is going to take with this.

Next steps
One of the requirements for obtaining my certificate is that I have to attend two births and write about the experiences.  I am hoping to experience a water birth in the next month and then also another birth in March (from story above).  I had my first "official" client meeting Tuesday to go over expectations and the birth plan.  When the plan is finished I would like my continued "practice" to pray over the plan and give the plan over to Him, knowing that He will work the plan according to His purpose.

I wanted to pass along Jamie's birth experience/testimony - "Having Lindsay at the hospital with us during delivery was more of a blessing then we knew to expect. At first, when things were going slowly, it was helpful to have her there to encourage me and share in my excitement and anticipation. However, when things started moving more quickly than we were prepared for, Lindsay did a great job keeping us focused. Later, she shared pictures and times of important events from the delivery that we now hold as treasures. As a woman, I enjoyed having Lindsay with me because I knew she'd been through and understood all that a labor and delivery would entail physically, emotionally, and spiritually."

Possible Mission and Name
I would like the name of the ministry to tie in the new life kind of birth with the born again kind of life...New Life is all I am coming up with but I know that is a name of another organization...would love to hear suggestions on all you creative readers out there. A couple of verses that could be part of my mission:

John 16:21-22 "It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice and no one can rob you of that joy"...1 Peter 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mecry he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you,..."

Please pray for me in this new adventure and ministry opportunity!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Christmas "Speech" Tradition 2010

This year as I was thinking and praying about what to write and say to you this year, God revealed this book to me. It’s called “Choosing Gratitude” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It is very fitting for this time of year and I know that God put it in my lap for a reason. As you probably know the world “Holiday” comes from two words – holy day. More than occasions for exchanging gifts or throwing parties, these are regularly scheduled opportunities to reflect upon and proclaim the goodness, the grace, and the keeping mercies of God (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, “Choosing Gratitude”). (*Most of this post is a "book report" if you will...most of it are Nancy's words and simply me just paraphrasing and summarizing the book as a whole...and adding a few of my examples from my own life.  To buy the book go to 

Holidays or holy days like Christmas and Thanksgiving are milestones for making time and making His praise glorious. But how many of us stop to thank Him on these days let alone daily for the things He has done for us? I started wondering why when we get together with friends and family, do we always sit down for a meal? The reason we eat together stems from a tradition dated all the way back to the bible. When people got together to eat it was to celebrate God’s goodness and giving thanks for his blessings, and observing the Lord’s Supper together. Except for now, most of us get together, have a nice time, and forget to thank God…maybe even forget why we got together in the first place. But it shouldn’t take a special occasion for gratitude to spring from deep within.

The scripture calls us to all-day, everyday gratitude:

Morning and evening. David instructed the Levites “to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening (1 Chronicles 23:30)

Three times a day. The story of Daniel in the bible comes before God at morning, noon, and night, setting aside specific times of day to give thanks for His goodness and faithfulness

The middle of the night. “At midnight I rise to praise you” (Psalm 119:62). Moments of wakefulness through the night are calls to be mindful of the Lord, thanking Him again as we settle back to sleep on a soft bed of gratitude.

Continually. “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1)

We should never run out of things to be thankful for. Even when we are going through something that seems horrible…God has placed us there for His purpose and if you believe that, you will see the good out of it and can thank Him for it. If we turn our gratitude for all these blessings away from the One who provides them, we’re left with a handful of colorful thread but no connection between them. But when our eyes are open by the gratitude to HIS boundless examples of grace, we can see clearly enough to press on in this broken world. We can thank a person for a good meal, a good time, or a good effort, knowing that this has not just been a gift to us from that other person but ultimately comes from the living God. So what kinds of things should we be thankful for?

Visible/material things. Charles Spurgeon said, “let us daily praise God for the common mercies – common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless that when deprived of them we are ready to perish”

Example of bath soap. A lady I know recently went to Africa on a mission trip. She said one of the things that they were doing there was to teach the kids basic hand washing and teeth brushing. She said that soap was such a high commodity there, that they had to have a “soap monitor” there watching otherwise people would steal the soap.

Spiritual blessings

• God’s nearness

• God’s holiness and faithfulness

I loved what Nancy says about these two qualities of God. She says sometimes we might wish that God’s flawless example and righteous requirements weren’t’ always so rock-solid and unbending. But because his holiness and faithfulness are solid as a rock and God never changes, we know that He is always the same. It is a gift…the “blessed assurance” that no matter how unreliable those around us may be, no matter how unstable our own footing, or how often or far we may fall, God will always be there…always trustworthy

• God’s mercy

God doesn’t lower His standards to accommodate our disobedience and inabilities. He knows that our best is nowhere near being good enough, but “God being rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4) has reached down to rescue and redeem us through the precious offering of His son, the perfect sacrifice. Isaiah 12:1) says I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me”. With wrath being His justifiable response toward us He has chosen to show mercy instead (Habakkuk 3:2). There is no way we could ever repay Him for such amazing grace. There is only one response that even begins to measure its worth – a thankful heart, expressed in both word and deed.

• God’s calling – the job God has called us to do. As meaningless as some tasks may seem, as weary as we may get we need to be reminded that it is a privilege to be entrusted by the living God with responsibility in His kingdom. You will find that your workload is lightened when you approach it as a high and holy calling…a gift to be received by God. God placed you there.

• Victory over death and the grave

• Deliverance from indwelling sin

• The ultimate triumph of the gospel

• And many others that fall under this spiritual blessing category

Relational Blessings – God sends us blessings by way of others – friends, family, fellow believers

When we stop to think about it, we truly are blessed people. But that doesn’t mean life is easy. Sometimes our problems seem to outnumber or outweigh our blessings. Can we really be thankful at all times even when our eyes our filled with tears? I have really struggled over this question for many years. God has been showing me this past year that if I just trust Him and allow Him to be in control, He will show me what He is doing…when I did this…let go of things and let Him be in charge, it was very freeing…very peaceful…and I could see clearly what He was doing in my life. I can even give you an example of something that happened just the other day...I had a really rough day with the kids. They were very disobedient. I even called out to God…what is it you want from me? What am I doing wrong? What are you trying to show me? Those events actually forced Brock and I to have a serious conversation about our parenting…it brought us together on that topic and helped us come up with a game plan which we really needed. If those events hadn’t happened, we may not have had the conversation. An example in this book was about Scottish preacher George Matherson. He began losing his eyesight in the late adolescence for no apparent reason. By age twenty he was totally blind, as a result of which his fiancĂ©e broke off their engagement. He struggled for many long months with a broken heart, wrestling with unanswered questions. The whole experience drove him nearly to despair and he was tempted to quit ministry altogether. Yet ultimately he came to the place where he could say:

My God, I have never thanked you for my thorn! I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to you by the PATH OF PAIN. Show me my tears have made my rainbow.

Nancy in this books says she gets many letters and emails from people that are going through or have gone through painful things in their lives. “They tell of family histories filled with abuse and neglect, whole childhoods of instability and custody battles, years lost to rebellion, deception, still paying for bad choices with frayed relationships and mountains of regret, and yet looking back on all that it cost them, they are grateful for what God is accomplishing through that. They are able to rebuild on the backs of forgiveness and genuine repentance through Jesus Christ.

Those who say “No” to resentment and “Yes” to gratitude even in the face of excruciating pain, incomprehensible loss, and ongoing adversity, are the ones who really survive. We have lots to be thankful for…no matter what it costs.

The choice before you and me today is: Do we give glory to God for the part of our life that’s going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, and give Him thanks, just because He is God-regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter in our journey? We may not understand why He allowed these circumstance to come into our lives and we may not every understand. But we do know that He is good, and whatever He does is for our good and His glory. So by faith, we give thanks to Him. Your circumstances might not change, but He will change you in the midst of them.

It’s a sacrifice either way. If we go on without gratitude-choosing to be bitter, constantly predicting our fate- we force ourselves to live in already unhappy conditions with the added drag of our glooming disposition. Unwilling to stay mindful of the blessings we enjoy in spite of our difficulties, as well as the strength and sensitivity God grows best in us through hardship and loss, we sacrifice peace. We sacrifice contentment. We sacrifice relationships-and freedom and grace and joy. But what if we could maintain all those things – and even increase them beyond anything we’ve ever experienced before – by making just one sacrifice: the sacrifice of thanksgiving? Regardless of how we fee, anything that makes me need God is a blessing. Be it disappointment. Be it physical suffering. Be it mental or relational anguish. Why make it worse by withdrawing from His grace and fellowship, enduring life on the raw edge without relying on Him for help? Why not see what could happen if you let the pain drive you close to His side? Yes, giving thanks in all things may require a sacrifice.

In Psalm 30:12, David says “I will give thanks to you forever”. Gratitude should be an every-moment, every-hour, every-day lifetime event. So why not start becoming proficient at expressing gratitude – not because we have to, not simply because were commanded to, but as a reflection of truly grateful hearts.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lessons Learned 2010

For the past couple of years I have been contemplating writing a “Christmas letter” to include with our Christmas card. When it comes down to it, I never end up having time to do that. This past year I have been doing a lot of journaling which made it way easier to throw something together for a letter of sorts. I thought I would keep it short and sweet. With these young children, we are teaching them a lot and WE are learning a lot in the process. These are just some of the things we have been teaching and learning this year:

10) (Importance of routine) Going to school and Awana (Reece, age 3.5)

9) Potty training (Brody, age 2)…nough said.

8) (Importance of Exercise ) I (Lindsay) ran my first 5K at Danver’s Days in August (Time: 24.30). The kids are taking a liking to exercise too. I caught Reece doing some funky moves and when I asked her what she was doing she said “I’m working on my upper thighs” (She must have heard this on TV…I, personally, don’t work on my upper thighs)

7) (Picking your battles) When your 30lb child refuses to walk and you are starting to look like a man from carrying him around all the time, what do you do? A) offer your hand and when he refuses to take it and throws a fit in the middle of a cross walk, drag him into the store by the hand anyhow or B) carry him and hope that next year you are still not carrying him?

6) (Teaching differences) Reece: "Where's daddy?" Me: "Hunting" Reece: "Why's he still Easter eggin it? Easter was a long time ago..."

5) (Teaching effeciencies & contentment) When you run out of toilet paper, you are happy you got that good deal on all those Kleenex.

4) (Behavior in public) Upon walking into the store with the kids, I hear Reece say to Brody "Now Bubby...we have to be really good because we are out in pub-lic"

3) (Choosing wisely) We almost always give Reece 2 options. That way she thinks she's picking but it's between 2 things we are okay with. For example “Your option for snack is goldfish OR raisins.” A few times Reece has said “I want some other options”. One night I said "it's bedtime" and she said "what's my other option?”

2) (Teaching obedience) We talk to Reece a lot about what it means to obey and what the bible says about children obeying their mommy and daddy. Reece says "But mommy you have 2 bibles...what does the other one say?"

1) (Importance of prayer) T his summer I began attending a women’s prayer meeting. On the way home, Reece asked me “Mommy, what were you praying about?” Me: “Well, we pray about how to be better mommies…and to have children that obey us”. Reece: (now crying and with fear in her eyes) “Oh-no! Don’t pray for that!”

We will be praying a lot harder this year!! Here’s to praying for better wisdom in parenting and obedient children in 2011!

In Him,

The Bauers

~Brock Lindsay, Reece, & Brody