How To Live Recklessly: Lessons From A 3 Year Old

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some kids. Adults can get on my nerves, with their well thought out opinions, thinking they know what they are talking about. Kids, most of the time, actually do know what they are talking about. Kids are so much better.

Yesterday I spent the day in the Fiesta Texas water park with my youngest and two nephews. For hours, me and this little were BFF’s.

Fearlessly, he ran through water, climbed up rope ladders and swam deeper and deeper. We walked into the pool, that gradually got deeper as you walked into it. With every step, his little heart raced, becoming more and more excited at the adventure that lied ahead. I wised up pretty quickly and rummaged through to find a small enough life vest. He moved his little arms and legs as fast as possible, not knowing that it was me who actually propelled him forward.

He was swimming.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. ”

As we reached the shallower areas, he would just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. I would say, “Blake, put your feet down.”

He realized he could touch the bottom.

He would jump, jump, jump, letting his vest bob him along the shoreline.

Then off he would swim.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

After three hours in this pool we trekked to the wave pool–and for anyone who has been at Fiesta Texas and pushed a stroller from the bucket play area to the wave pool know the trek I’m talking about. Oh, my friend, I’m thankful to not have to use a stroller any more.

The waves encouraged a whole entirely new level of courage in that little person. He bobbed along, jumping, allowing the waves to push him in and out, up and down. The waves would get the best of him, and he found himself under the water. I would say, “Blake, you have to hold my hands.”

His little fingers would grasp tightly around mine, rebuilding his trust in himself, knowing I would not let him go.

The water would come crashing, forcing out giggles and wonder.

One little hand would surrender.

Then the other.

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.”

He would bob along, and closely I stood, as he was determined to master the pool himself. The water would come crashing…and again I would gently remind him, “Blake, You have to hold my hands.”

Come,” he said.

Then he would see “the Guys” splashing and playing several feet away.

“Guys! Guys!” he would yell, quickly letting go of me, his safety, and “swimming” as fast as he could toward the big guys, ignoring the crashing of the waves that threatened to fall upon him.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Oh I want to be like Blake, like the child Jesus wants me to remain.

I want to move my arms and legs as fast as I can, knowing Jesus is guiding me forward, closer to him, closer to fulfilling all he has for me.

I want to run as fast as I can, not even knowing I can put my feet down to walk.

I want to jump out of the boat when I hear the voice of Jesus, letting go of all I know that I know is safe, ignoring the crashing of the waves, recklessly ignoring what my mind would see as treacherous.

Everyday, I want to pursue Him so fiercely that I am completely exhausted from the joy of being in his presence.

Kids are so much better. Live Reckless. -Tiff

The Bikini:A 16yo Girl’s Opinion ( and her mom’s too)

It’s summer time! Eight more days of school, the kids will be home driving me nuts and I’ll be counting down to send them back. With the summer comes the all ridiculous process of

SWIMSUIT SHOPPING!

 

I’m not going to spend my time complaining about not starting my gym routine, ohhh 3 years ago, like I should have. Instead, I’m going to answer the question:

Should I let my daughter wear a Bikini?

Yes, this a big National Fiasco involving Watergate, Oliver North and Monica Lewinsky, along side every conservative mom wanting to do what is best.

I think most every mom wants what is best…

I have a sixteen year old, God-Loving daughter and I have dressed her in bikinis since she was a little. With that said, know that I allow her to pick her own swimsuits and to wear bikinis if she choses.I also normally wear bikinis myself. Before I share me and my daughters thoughts I want to clarify that I believe there is a difference between a teeny-bikini and a two piece. There ARE some bikinis that are no doubt completely inappropriate. However, there are some two pieces that even though they may show more skin, to me, aren’t provocative.

I spent some time with Alyssa and asked HER a few questions about this whole bikini-question.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE WEARING A BIKINI MEANS YOU DON’T RESPECT YOUR BODY?

ALYSSA: Absolutely NOT. I completely respect my body. I am 16 years old, remain pure and treat my body with honor by eating right and exercising. A swimsuit does not determine my self-worth, either way. It’s actually offensive to me that people would think I don’t have self-respect just because I wear a bikini

MY THOUGHTS: I have taught my daughter to respect her body more than during the summer. Teaching her respect is more than encouraging a swimsuit choice once a year. We talk respect all the time and in all situations. We include things from drugs to eating to rest to purity to cursing to dating. I have witnessed several moms who never let their child wear a two-piece and those daughters now live in a way that does not honor their body or themselves. And like my daughter, I have always allowed her to wear two piece swimsuits, and she has total self-respect. Self-respect is a much deeper heart issue that can not be controlled by swimsuit choice.

DO YOU THINK THAT WEARING A BIKINI MAKES GUYS LUST OVER YOU?

ALYSSA: Boys are going to lust no matter what I wear. Why do we have to over-sexualize every single body part? I get that we want to be honoring to ourselves, but since when did my stomach or my back become a sexual organ? A one piece NORMALLY covers up the stomach but still shows a girl’s shoulders and back. And is tight fitting on the body, too. Seriously, I could be wearing anything, and by the way I simply act I can make a boy lust over me. Sometimes it’s about your attitude and how much power you give something. Also, we can’t say girls should cover up and never teach the boys to stop looking at us as objects. We also can’t cover up girls and then allow boys to show their stomachs. If we are going to cover our bodies because of the possibility of lust or sexual attraction, then both guys and girls need to be covered.

MY THOUGHTS: I have never brought any “sexual attention” to my daughter’s swimwear. We have always picked swimsuits because they are cute. There have been plenty of times that she and I have been trying on suits together and we both look at each other, knowing that this one or that one is a little too little. She feels uncomfortable in things that she knows are too provocative. I tend to agree that boys are going to check her out no matter what. That doesn’t give her permission to have no boundaries, it’s just a reality that you will never be able to control other peoples reactions, no matter what the attire.

(CODY, my 14 year old boy chimed in on this one: A swimsuit doesn’t matter. If a girl is pretty, boys are going to look. We are boys, afterall.)

WHAT MAKES YOU CHOOSE A BIKINI OVER A ONE PIECE?

ALYSSA: I just want a swimsuit I feel confident and comfortable in. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a bikini, tankini or a one-piece. If I see a suit that is cute, and it fits me well, I’m okay with it.

MY THOUGHTS: Again, I allow my daughter to choose what swimsuit she wears. I do this because I trust her. I trust her judgement, I trust the way she views herself. I trust her choices in relationships. I trust her relationship with Christ. I also do this because I don’t feel the need to control everything in her life. I have raised her with a Biblical-foundation and I know that if God needs to convict her about something He will, and she will listen. I also know that if I feel something is inappropriate and approach her on it, she will respect me and my thoughts.By no means am I mom who does not care about her or her well-being. I just have never given that much power to a piece of clothing, and because of that, neither has she.

WHAT IF THE MOM FEELS ONE WAY AND THE DAUGHTER ANOTHER?

ALYSSA: A compromise can be made! If the daughter wants to wear a bikini and mom says no, there are so many styles out there now that can give the daughter some voice while earning trust with mom in the “judgement” department. And moms can be happy knowing that her daughter is appropriately covered. High waisted swimsuits are super in style right now, and high neck halter tops tend to cover more in the front than smaller bikini tops. There are options. Make a day of it!

MY THOUGHTS: Mom always trumps! But before you play that card, I encourage every mom to ask themselves what is motivating their decision. I also encourage moms to consider the age of the daughter and the condition of their own heart and their daughters. There is so much to be taken into consideration. I wish I thought it was simple but I don’t, because every child is different. Some daughters can be trusted, while other’s might use it as a mean to gain attention from the opposite sex. (and in that case, a swimsuit choice isn’t going to fix anything). As a mom take the time to build that relationship with your daughter so that though she may not agree with you, she will respect you.

I also have two amazing step-daughters who are 16 & 19…Here are some of their general thoughts on girls wearing bikinis:

KAYLA: If nothing is being done to disrespect your body in that bikini I believe that it’s okay. Society makes us believe that showing too much skin or being too out there is inappropriate. I mean, hey, as a parent you can make your kids do as you please, but making them not wear a bikini because of “respect for their body” is ludicrous. It is society that makes us feel uncomfortable about a lot of things including our daughters showing too much skin– All of out fear of society calling them fast, or the boys double looking. What about a girl being able to be comfortable in her skin, and not care what other people think?

MY THOUGHTS: I think we have a responsibility to teach our daughters their identity in Christ, and to be content with how God has made them. One thing I have always taught my daughters is to never be ashamed of their bodies or how God created them. I spent too many years hating myself and being embarassed because I never felt like I was enough. Being a woman is a beautiful gift and we should never hide in shame or fear over the very essence of our creation. Sometimes our fear of the world dictates our decisions, and that can be detrimental.

KARAH: …things that aren’t such a big deal, can be made into mountains in the wrong hands. I agree that the ideologies of respect should be taught at a younger age, but also I believe in finding a common place of normalcy with our current society.The thing is, clothing isn’t the issue, it’s how a child perceives their dress code that becomes problematic….A proper foundation of knowledge at a young age will help girls understand how they are being looked at and what steps they to take in order to preserve their integrity. Strong teachings in a household along with proper examples will be MORE sufficient than completely limiting a popular style of swimwear.

I think it’s the type of bathing suit that matters. If I was a parent I really wouldn’t want my daughter wearing a tiny bikini, but something that doesn’t make my daughter look like a video-vixen, I’m ok with. At my age, no matter what you wear the opposite sex will be attracted to you. To be technical about what should be worn is too much to worry about. The sense of what is inappropriate has changed from generation to generation. In my opinion swimwear will always be opinionated and continue to change. We should raise children how we want them to become and by setting that tone hopefully they will gain the knowledge of respect we would want them to have for themselves.

MY THOUGHTS: We can exhaust ourselves with what to wear and what not to wear. Overall, it’s important for you as a mom to know why you feel the way you do, respect that your daughter is, after-all, a teenager, and struggles with self-esteem, to fit in and to honor all she has been taught about faith in Christ. Just as this isn’t easy for you, it is probably even harder for her. Lead by example, with love…lots and lots of love!

Navigating teenage years is like being the Captain of the Titanic. You definitely never now when an iceberg will pop up. Slow down, take a turn when necessary, and know that if you lean into Christ, he will take care of you and your daughter.

I want to know your thoughts! But not just whether or not you allow bikinis, but why? And what else do you do to build into and build up your daughter? Let’s learn from each other. Comment and Share!

 

Why I Send My Kids to Public School (Unforgettable Adults)

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family, an Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Recently our school district received anonymous threats from a crazy who claimed he planned to shoot up a random school on a Thursday morning. On Tuesday, with my heart racing, my kids went off to school. The night before, Michael and I laid in bed talking about the terror that scurried through my veins and prayed and prayed and prayed. Some of my homeschool friends used it as an opportunity to sell the “homeschool business”. But we just prayed and so did our kids.

Throughout the last twelve years of school, we have dealt with bullying–by kids AND teachers. We have endured hatefulness from small children, and loneliness when our kids didn't feel as if they belonged. My son has struggled to learn to read, and we have had to do stupid “busy-work” homework on many nights. We've stressed through the STAAR or FCAT or LMNOP or whatever standardized test my kids have been pressured to take that means absolutely nothing at the end of the day.

In all of the struggle, we believe, with our whole hearts, that it is preparing and growing them for the realities of this harsh world. We would much rather them struggle through these experiences while they are under our care.We believe, with our whole hearts, that God can use them NOW. As Christians, if we keep taking our kids out of public school then certainly there will be no God there. They are called to make disciples, they are called to be Salt, they are called to be Light. Not later, but now.

Through every child, we have taught them how to reflect Christ. Public school and all of it's crap wonder has taught them empathy–how do you know that kid who was mean to you today didn't watch his mom get beat up, or go without a meal? They have learned that God is working in every single person's life at every single moment, and they can choose to be a part of that work.

Public school has taught them that sometimes the system isn't perfect, and sometimes it flat out sucks, but we must follow rules and laws, as long as they don't conflict with the Gospel. My kids have been exposed to the ridiculous theory of evolution, and we've had the privilege of challenging our beliefs and digging deeper in the truth of God our Creator.

Sending them to school teaches them perseverance and diversity. It teaches them that not everyone is the same, but everyone needs the same thing–JESUS. They have learned to stand up for themselves and their beliefs, even at the risk of persecution or rejection. It has been a painful and tough road–for them and me.

Public school has been the perfect chance for my kids to learn to lean into Jesus more and less into me. They are learning that Jesus rescues, not mom. Without the wind from me hovering, they've been free to spread their wings just enough to test out this new life in Christ they've been given.

It's not the best situation, but Jesus nor the Apostles were ever in the best situations–actually they were in the worst. But because of God showing His power in those horrible situations, they finished well, and became Unforgettable Adults that changed the world. And that's the goal, my friend, that's the goal!

What are your kids learning from Public School? Comment and share with me how your kids are becoming Unforgettable Adults.

Yes, You HAVE to Wash The Dog | Unforgettable Adults

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family a Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

I’m not the neatest person. I mean I’m pretty neat to be around, but really, I’m a mess. I like my house clean, especially free of the pug hair that is left EVERY. WHERE. IN. MY. HOUSE. Did I mention it’s EVERY. WHERE. ?! But I’m not always the quickest at picking up the kitchen, or putting away my clothes. And let’s not even talk about the mail. I’m far from OCD nor is my home the picturesque-ness that would be considered Pinterest-worthy. My kids are currently using upside down laundry baskets as night tables and tv stands.

But just because we don’t have all the money to decorate our home with the finest things, or I’m not the most tidy mom that exists, we teach our kids to take care of our things. We encourage ownership and we make our kids do chores, without pay.

Each of our children are required to keep their rooms clean. This includes dusting, vacuuming and cleaning their sheets. Our kids also do their own laundry. In addition, everyone puts away their dishes after they eat and cleans their space. The dishes they use must be rinsed before putting them in the sink.

Weekly, Cody has to wash the dog, Alyssa gets the upstairs bathroom and Zac the downstairs. If necessary, I will ask them to do chores on demand. If we can have TV on demand, they can have chores the same. They may be asked to teamwork through the dishes, or vacuum the hall.

It may sound like a lot, but it’s not really. If they keep up during the week, there is not a whole lot of mess to tackle at one and they are free to do as they please with their time. Do I have to remind them? Usually about their Friday chores. But everything else just falls into place.

We don’t pay them an allowance because taking care of what God has given us is an expectation not a paid position. God calls us to be good stewards, and by having them pitch in and help out, we are teaching them to respect the One who gives us all things.

John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. (John 3:27 NLT)

Get this: We don’t even say “Thank you!” And we definitely don’t make a big deal out of it when they actually do what they are suppose to do. Those Huggies Pull Up Commercials KILL me…the one where they talk about “celebrating” your child going to the bathroom. And they have balloons and Mickey Mouse and P Diddy concerts because a child peed on the toilet–a child did what he’s expected to do in our society.

Encouraging our kids to Honor God and family through chores is one of the easiest ways to lay the foundation for who my kids will most definitely be one day–Unforgettable Adults. Chores teach ownership and responsibility. I definitiely want my kids to be responsible when they leave the nest.

Do your kids have chores? And do you pay them for what they do?

Share with me, I’d love to know.

LG|LP Tiff <3

The Pressure of Making Memories (Not Me, Sister)

Memories. Every good mom wants her child to have great memories when they grow older. Every good mom wants her kids to talk and laugh around the Christmas tree in twenty years about the amazing presents they received when they were little. Every good mom wants her children to tear up at the fondness of eating fresh vegetables from the backyard garden that was created and tilled by the hands of the family that one, long, beautiful summer.


This trend in mommy-hood could possibly be fueled by Pinterest.

Or the growing number of Christian stay at home moms.

Or the unresolved issues we have as moms because we had crappy childhoods.

Well, allow me to clarify. I had a little bit of a crappy childhood. But it wasn't all crappy. I have great memories. However I don't remember my mom or my grandmother saying, “Let's do this so we can create memories.” or “We need to make memories today so we should…”

We did things because they were fun or because they were tradition. We went places to discover someplace new, or something new about ourselves. We played in the water hose and picked blackberries off the vine because my grandma did not want all of us kids in her house. We did things because we were just living.

I've put lots of thought into this subject, and by lots I mean- while I was driving picking up kids today and by that- I mean a few hours. I believe I'm a pinch guilty of wanting my kids to have great memories. I don't think I go out of my way to make it happen, but I do, in fact, want my kids to like their childhood. That's why we dye Easter eggs and why I spend too much money, and anxiety on Christmas.

But there is something I want more than my kids someday having great childhood memories.

I want my kids to be unforgettable adults.

I want them to make huge decisions for Christ, and I want them to stand firm and stand up when things are going wrong. I want my kids to be associated with other memorable adults of history: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks and JFK, and Mozart and Elvis and Mark Twain.

and Jesus.

My decisions for my kids will be based on how to make them strong, Christ-following adults who are rooted in an identity that is unshakeable. I'm not saying moms who want memories for their kids don't want those things, too. For me, I'm just afraid that focusing so much on creating memories will breed kids who think life is just full of fun and amazing moments. I mean, what happens when nothing phenomenal is created for them? Or what happens when no one is there to entertain them? Or what happens when they have to start paying bills and life just sucks? Because sometimes, life just sucks.

I wonder sometimes if Jesus' childhood wasn't left out of Scripture because it would just pressure moms even more than we already pressure ourselves. I'm certain Jesus had memorable moments with Mary and Joseph and his siblings, but what was more important was the ministry He was created for. I believe THAT is what matters most for my kids. Preparing them for the ministry they were created for.

Over the next few weeks I will write some posts on what decisions I make so that my kids will become Unforgettable Adults. You might not agree with them all, or maybe something will inspire you. Either way, I hope you will follow along.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? Share with me, I'd love to hear them!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

LG|LP -Tiff