COVID-19 Thankful!

Nana’s Lovenotes: A Love note to my Grandgirls,

Hey my sweet girls. How are you all doing? I can picture each of you tucked away from the rest of the world. I miss you! I bet you’re puzzled by the title of this love note, right? Are you thinking, “Nana, what are you up to?”

I’m sorry to trick you with a title that doesn’t seem to make sense, but let me explain. First, am I thankful for this Virus? No, not at all. Am I afraid of this virus, honestly, sometimes a teeny bit, but not much. I know that God is in control, and he has my days numbered. No one and nothing can take me until he says, “Susie, it’s time to enter your forever home.” Years of walking with Him has given me a deep trust in who He is!

When you’ve lived as long as I have, when you’ve walked through the fire with Jesus by your side, you gain perspective. But let me tell you, in my younger years I’d be scared spitless. So, I’m writing you today hoping to lift you (if you are in a fearful place) into a place of trust and peace.

The rest of this article is on my blog dedicated to my grandgirls. You will find it here: https://nanaslovenotes.com/2020/04/04/covid-19-thankful/ See ya there. 🙂

Lilly’s Colorful Spots by Susan Jill Ream (Me)

I did something BRAVE today. This is the first time I’ve recorded a video. It’s of me reading Lilly’s Colorful Spots.

There are so many little things I would change. But it would take all day to get it the way I want it. And even then, knowing me, I’d find something else to change. lol Allow me to introduce Lilly and my imperfect reading of Lilly’s Colorful Spots.

Gather your kids around you and spend a moment listening to me read Lilly’s Colorful Spots. You may want to fast forward to two minutes in. the intro is a bit long for littles.

LILLY’S COLORFUL SPOTS

If you’d like your own copy of Lilly’s Colorful Spots, comment below. I have 30 copies. The book is $7.99 plus postage. God bless you and keep you close to HIS heart.

Be In The Moment

The coronavirus is occupying space in all of our heads. Being in this space reminds me of earlier days when God taught me the importance of being in the moment.

Parents, most of you have your children safely tucked in your home. In Michigan, we are ordered to shelter in place for three weeks. We have never experienced this before. These are unprecedented moments. Moments we have the opportunity to connect as a family.

I remember back to raising my teens. The teen years turned out to be nightmare years with one of my teens. Because I was so focused on my one, I lost significant moments with my other two.

At one of my highest points of anxiety, my friend, counselor, and Pastor’s wife said, “Susie, get yourself in the moment. Look outside your window. Observe the trees in all their glory reaching up to the creator. Stop whatever you are doing, whatever you are thinking and BE in the moment.” I remember staring at my beautiful Maple tree and observing the many hues of gold, red and yellow. I hadn’t enjoyed my favorite tree in a long time. She continued, “Get yourself in the moment with your girls. Listen to them and BE present with them. Experience life with them. Your mind is drifting off to the what ifs. You’re obsessing, trying to fix your son.”

My precious friend called me out! I needed it; I didn’t see it. Her wise counsel turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice I ever received.

As an older woman to many of you, let me urge you to be in the moment with each of your children. Observe their unique perspectives, gifts and enjoy their presence.

When you find your thoughts drifting off into busyness or worry or things you can’t control, reign your run away thoughts back in and be in the moment, Treasure this time, invest yourself in each child God entrusted to you.

Parenting in Love

Parenting is not as simple as I thought it would be.  It’s not like kids come with instructions. To complicate things, each child is unique and has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. How does a parent raise up a child who is confident and humble at the same time? 

This writing does not originate from a perfect parent. Believe me, I learned tons in the process of my own messes during the parenting years. This writing flows from a woman who dealt with a shattered and abused heart formed as a child. This message springs from a little girl who wondered why no one had rescued her. The brutality of her father loomed as it squeezed every ounce of security from her world.

These words also billow from a Mother who begged God for wisdom as she raised her children. My deepest desire was to love them as God loved me. His loved changed my life. His boundless grace healed the brokenness of abandonment.

We as parents are the first example of authority to our children. A child’s father or mother paints a picture of authority the child will carry throughout his/her lifetime. A parent’s challenge is to use their authority to love unconditionally, discipline for the child’s good, impart value, create security, and plant hope in a child’s heart.  

What happens when your child disobeys? Is your focus to meet your child’s needs? Are you embarrassed at his/her behavior thinking more about your reputation than your role in your child’s life? Do you reign in your emotions to exhibit true humility (power under control)? A parent who is self-controlled will gain the respect of her/his child.

We as parents hold the power to diminish, devalue, humiliate, crush, destabilize and throw a child’s entire world into chaos. We have the power to control their outward actions. If that is our main goal, we’ve already lost the battle. Parents, we have a choice; We may exploit or responsibly use our position to shepherd our child’s heart.

Imagine this scenario. You are at a gathering with your friends. Your friend, Becky, is ready to leave. She turns to her six-year-old son and says, “It’s time to go Billy, pick up your toys.” Billy stretches his 4 foot little self to his full heighth and yells, “No! I am not going!” He stomps his foot, “I’m playing!” “Billy, you get off your butt and put those toys away NOW!” Billy yells back, “You’re just stupid!” Becky grabs her little boy’s small arm and growls, “You listen to me young man, you pick up those toys or I will spank you, right here, right now!”

Tell me, do you think Becky is justified? When your child is defiant, how do you respond? Do you have a meltdown and act like an unbridled juvenile? Do you grab your child’s tiny arm, tower over him, while screaming in his little face?

Consider these questions. Do you see how this mother reflects the same behavior as her child? What effect will bullying and humiliation have on her child? Do you think her child will respect her? Do you suppose this rant will bring good results? 

What kinds of behaviors will authoritarian parenting create in a kid?  I can think of a few; lack of respect for authority, resentment, distrust, anger, discouragement, depression, cruelty, revenge, even hatred. How does a child emotionally process downgrading treatment?

Let’s take this same scenario and play it out as a responsible, loving parent. Your six-year-old defies you in public. As his caretaker, your role is to parent him/her. As an adult, you keep your emotions in check and send up a prayer for self-control. You understand that allowing your child to defy you leads to nothing good. As the guardian over your child’s life, you lead your charge away from the eyes of the crowd. 

You have this conversation, “Son, when I told you to pick up your toys, you defied me and called me stupid. This is unacceptable. Defiance always gets a consequence.  As your mom, I cannot allow you to disrespect me.” You take a moment to pray your emotions will not impede a teachable moment. As your child dares to look into your eyes, he reads concern, disappointment but mostly love.  You continue, “What were you thinking when you challenged me?” The child may say, “I was mad,” or “I didn’t like what you said.” You respond, “Did defying me get you what you wanted?” Allow your child to process. “Did refusing to do what I asked help you in any way?” Pause again. “Son, this behavior will have stiff consequences.” You determine what is stiff to that child.” Open your arms as an invitation to hug. He/she will either hug or not. It doesn’t matter, the child knows you love him.

As a wise parent, you take a disturbing moment and use it to help the child think about his behavior and the consequences that come from disobedience and defiance. You contribute to shaping his character.

If you have a tendency to abuse authority, as a parent, please go to God. Ask Him to help you see your child through His eyes. See your child as God’s creation ready to soak up your love, direction, and discipline bathed in love. If you cannot control your actions, if you rage before you think, seek help before it is too late to reverse the damaging results of unbridled anger.  

Christian Parenting FB Page

Hello Friends, I’ve not been posting lately on my heart called passion – parenting. The reason is that I am working hard to develop a Facebook page that will bring a community of parents together. A safe place to interact with mentors and those still in the trenches of doing one of the most important job on earth – raising up a godly generation. .

I am inviting you, parent, mentor, grandparent and caretaker, to my Facebook page where you’ll find an amazing group of friends doing life together.

Here is the announcement I have up on the page:  Parents are you looking for a community of Christian parents to pour into your life? Are you in need of a mentor? You’ve found that community. Welcome to our Christian Parenting Blog on Facebook.

Our gifted Christian Bloggers will post their articles on this page. You will find a wealth of wisdom from bloggers who have learned (mentors) or are learning in the trenches of raising a godly generation.

This is an interactive site. We’ll post questions to start a conversation and give you an opportunity to get to know each other. When we post a blog by one of our contributors, if it touches your heart, or if you have questions, reach out to the author of the article. Have a conversation.

Please share this site with your friends and let’s create a group of God fearing, loving, truth telling, devoted friends. Ready, Set, Let’s Grow.

Learn Your Childs Unique Bent

God hasn’t just sent you to do his work in the lives of your children; He will use the lives of your children to advance his work in you.” – Paul David Tripp

Do you ever say, “I wish I could go back?” I do! There is a steep learning curve in parenting. If you didn’t have great role models, the learning curve is even greater. My writing will expose my journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly events of parenthood. God held the answers and when I sought Him, He showed up and grew me as a Mom.

As I raised my wild, rambunctious first-born son, my quiet and content daughter and my happy-go-lucky baby girl, there were times I felt clueless. I mean, there were no instructions attached. Each child was unique, and I spent countless hours learning who these little people were. As I grew to understand the way God created them, I fell madly in love with each child and had a better understanding of how to raise each one.

Through God’s word I learned He purposefully created each child with his/her own set of strengths and weaknesses. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 – 14. I did not birth cookie cutter kids. Each one is different. “Train up a child in the way he should go; (uniqueness – or according to his bent) even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6

Would you like to know more about raising unique kids? Head on over to The Glorious Table to read an article I wrote and explore this topic further. Parenting Your Unique Children With Grace.

God Bless you, dear parent for seeking to raise kids who shine for Jesus and further his kingdom. I encourage you to spend much time in God’s word, for in those God breathed pages, you will receive counsel and wisdom from your creator, and the lover of your soul.