How to Get Your Family Noticed in Ten Easy Steps

my5babesMy oldest daughter recently asked me, “Why do people always stop and talk to us?”

“Always?”

“Yes, always.”

Now, I could sit here and tell you that she is exaggerating. But, she isn’t. It doesn’t seem to matter where we go, someone stops us. That is just what happens when you have five children. People are shocked horrified angry confused interested. The question is always the same.

Are these all your children?

Yes, they are all mine.

I have to say that we have met the most interesting people because of our large family. I have had people ask if all of my children have the same dad, if we are on public assistance and if we have figured out what causes it. Strangers, y’all, asking these things! {The answers, by the way, are all the same – that would be none of your concern.} Just the other day, a sweet lady walked up and commented on the fact that my infant was not wearing shoes. She disapproved. But, she gave me credit for “at least her skin is clean.” Well, thank you for noticing, ma’am.

Anyway, I got to thinking. Perhaps, you would like to be noticed more often when you are out and about with your children. Lost River Cave 1Maybe, you would like a little of the stranger love. It just isn’t very nice for our family to hog it all. Share and share alike. That’s what my mama always says.

So, today only, I am going to share some of my best kept secrets with you. If you want to attract unwanted attention, unsolicited advice and unnecessary commentary, just follow these simple rules.

  1. Always have at least one child {bonus points for two} forget to wear shoes.
  2. Have random papers, toys or happy meal bags fall out of the car when you open the door.
  3. Teach your child to wait until you are in the middle of checking out to begin yelling, “I have to tee tee. I have to tee tee.”
  4. Allow your child to wear her stocking cap to the store in the middle of June.
  5. Allow your child to wear her flip flops to the store in the middle of January.
  6. Have your child put random groceries items in the wrong person’s buggy and then try to retrieve them without being noticed.
  7. Be sure to always have at least one child with a runny nose and make sure that you do not have any tissues on hand.
  8. Make sure to allow your child to push around one of those little shopping carts so that she can run into the back of strangers and pick up multiple items that you have no intention of buying.
  9. Make a trip to the library and watch as your children occupy every computer. {Doesn’t everyone go to the library to play on the computer?}
  10. Always plan your outings during a time when your baby is hungry, tired or both.

So, there you have it. Never again will you have to endure an outing without interruptions. No more cruising through the aisles unnoticed. No more making it through your shopping without someone questioning whether you are buying any vegetables to go with the doughnuts and potato chips in your buggy. {True story.}

Go on out there and get noticed, my friends! It’s a crazy good time.

{disclaimer: it’s all in good fun, y’all. we love people. we love their stories. we love meeting people that we wouldn’t meet otherwise. it’s all good.}

Mom Talk Monday: Speaking Truth to Your Children

I am a control freak.

There, I said it.

I like my towels folded a certain way. I like three slightly rounded {but not heaping} tablespoons of coffee in my cup {the one with the cupcakes on it} filled with hot water {from a tea pot and not just warmed in the microwave}. I like the kitchen counters to be clear of clutter. I want clothes hung a certain way on the hanger. Right now, I am packing for vacation and I have stacks of outfits for my kids organized by what I want them to wear on which day.

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I guess what I’m saying is that I like things the way I like them {usually because it’s the best way.} Oh, I kid. Sort of.

It’s not just little things like whether the toilet paper roll goes over or under {obviously, it’s over} that I try to control. I obsessively try to control situations and outcomes. I analyze a situation and think through all of the options. In my mind, I follow each possible outcome all the way to its conclusion. If I do A and B, then we are going to end up with C. If I choose X and Y instead, then we will find ourselves with Z. 

Something happened, however, that threw all of my controlling tendencies into a tail spin. I became a mom.

No amount of controlling, on my part, can protect my children from broken hearts, disappointments or mean girls. Nothing I do, today, is going to guarantee that my babies won’t deal with financial struggles or job loss or sick children in the future. There is not a magic formula for raising children that promises that they will never make poor decisions and be forced to suffer the consequences.

And it gets harder the older my children become. I nearly have convulsions every Sunday morning when my oldest child says, “Can I just leave my hair down?” In my mind, Sunday mornings are french braids, frilly dresses and cute sandals. Now, I could insist upon a certain look for her. She is an obedient child. But, I have really been convicted regarding my controlling ways and I am trying to be more of a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. {It ain’t easy, y’all.}

Lost River Cave 1

Just this morning, I was reading in Ezekiel. In chapter 2, God gives Ezekiel his ministry assignment and, spoiler alert, it’s not an easy one.

“I send you to a nation of rebels….who also are impudent and stubborn…and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.'”  – Ezekiel 2:3-4

This, my friends, was going to be a difficult task {much like your role as mom.} These were people who had rebelled against God in the past. They were disobedient and stubborn. {Anyone ever have a rebellious child? A disobedient one? A stubborn one?}

Ezekiel’s task, however, was not to control them. He wasn’t told to demand certain changes or force them to dress a certain way. His job, in this particular situation, was to speak truth to them. “Thus says the Lord God.” One of the greatest things we can do, as moms, is to speak truth to our children throughout every stage.

Let’s be honest, ladies. Motherhood is a difficult assignment, but we make it harder than it needs to be. We try to manipulate and control things that, in the grand scheme of things, won’t even matter.

Whatever season you are in, whatever the current drama of the day happens to be – take a step back. Loosen your grip just a little. Develop a laser focus when it comes to your motherhood mission. Your task is to speak truth to them. And, if you can sneak in a french braid on Sunday morning, that’s just icing on the cake.

You are so loved.

Mom Talk Monday: A Woman in the Word

I’ve been thinking about Satan. {Pleasant topic, right?}

If you take Job 1:7 and 1 Peter 5:8, what you have is one evil being who goes from place to place looking for people to torment. Just this past week, a lady in our small group made the statement, “Satan isn’t omnipresent like God.” I have to tell you, I had never thought of that before.

Satan is not omnipresent. He is only at one place at a time.

Satan is not omniscient. He does not know everything. He does not read minds.

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It’s easy to build him up in our minds until we make him something more. Just the other day, while sitting around the dinner table, my five year old asked, “Mom, do you know everything?” To which I replied, “Yes, honey. Yes, I do.” To her small child way of thinking, her mama knows everything and can do anything.

A couple of Sundays ago, Pastor Jason walked by me and stopped to comment on something I had put on Facebook that week. As he walked away, my ten year old said, “Wow, Mom. You’re like famous.” To which I replied, “Yes, honey. Yes, I am.”

My point is that we do not always have an accurate view of things. We need to know Satan’s tricks and I can tell you one of his best ones. He is observant and he is patient. {Okay, technically, that’s two tricks. Whatevs.}

psalm 16

The two verses mentioned above tell us that he is walking and watching. To and fro. Back and forth. What is he looking for?

He is looking for the right time to strike.

Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. – Luke 4:13

He had every intention of coming back. That is why Paul warns over and over that believers should be on guard and should stand firm. It’s why you have to know what you believe before the struggles come. It’s why you have to decide, on the front end, who you are going to trust when that trial comes. Because Satan is waiting for a good time. He is always planning his next attack. What is he looking for?

He is looking for you to be a little too busy for a quiet time.

He is looking for you to begin sleeping in instead of going to church.

He is looking for your Bible to get a little dusty.

He is looking for you to be a little overwhelmed with your responsibilities.

He is looking for a time when you are not as close to the Lord as you should be or have been. He knows when you’re tired or stressed or feeling guilty. So, he will try to make you feel a little more tired, a little more stressed, and a little more guilty. He likes to exaggerate feelings. Suddenly, a bad day seems to feel like a bad life. A bad mothering moment makes you feel like a bad mom. A fight with your spouse or parent or friend seems like the end of the world. A night or two alone turns into a heavy loneliness.

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As moms, Satan sees those times when you feel overwhelmed. He sees that you yelled at your kid and are feeling a little guilty. He knows that the note your kid’s teacher sent home made you feel like a failure. He sees the way you lost your mind because your child bit into a pack of hot dogs at Walmart and you didn’t know what to do because you weren’t even going to buy hot dogs but you bought them anyway and then you got home and realized you didn’t even have any hot dog buns and could this day be any more awful. {Oh, wait. That was me. Hello, exaggeration, though.}

Please, ladies, stay in the Word. Not out of legalism. Not so you can check it off of a list. Not so you can take a cool picture and post it on Instagram. Stay in the Word because Satan is watching for a time when you’re weak. And a woman in the Word is no weak woman.

Summer Fun – or Something Like It

Summer is just killing me, y’all. sophia2

This is my second summer being a stay-at-home mom and, let’s be honest, last year doesn’t count. I had a newborn and, if I made it through the day without losing a kid or my mind, I considered it a win.

This year has just been different. Oh, it started out great. The older kids have reached this wonderful age where they can get their own pop tarts and, on occasion, fix my morning cup of coffee. Don’t hate. Your kids will get there, too. It’s really the least they could do considering the amount of bodily fluids and such I have had to clean up during their short lifetimes.

girlsBut, now, we are six weeks in and the bloom is officially off of the rose.

We have reached the point where there is whining, complaining and grumblings of boredom. And don’t even get me started on the kids. Some days, my idea of getting dressed is changing from my pajama pants into my yoga pants. I look at the dirty breakfast dishes and think, if I just brush off the crumbs, I could use those same ones for lunch. Someone tell me that you understand. Please?

So, what is a poor mama to do when it’s crazy hot outside, the natives are restless and you just can’t take one more argument over who gets to play with the one Barbie that still has clothing?

  • Anytime can be bath time. My kids love the bathtub. I do not care what time of day it is, if they are getting on each other’s nerves (or mine!), I let them play in the water.
  • The Kitchen is a playground. Since my oldest was a toddler, we have had a pretend kitchen in the playroom. Sometimes, however, I let them use the real thing. They can bring their babies and use the plastic dishes and serve up some great pretend meals.
  • Ice is nice. This one is complicated, but stick with me. Fill a container with ice. Give it to the kids. Let them sit on the porch or patio. Just beware – you may end up with ice down the back of your shirt.Lost River Cave 3
  • No sock left behind. There is a purpose for all of those socks without matches. They make fabulous hand puppets. Some markers and any other random art supplies and this will occupy the kiddos for some time. My rule? They must give each puppet a name and a personality. This occupies them for quite some time.

Maybe, with just a little bit of creativity, we can make it through the rest of summer. Before you know it, we will be up to our necks in school stuff and counting down the days until summer.