In Love | Houzz

I made the unfortunate mistake of discovering a new website last week.

It's bad.

Really bad.

It's all I want to do (besides reading, nothing can come between me and my reading).

A week into my new obsession and I've not even discovered a tenth of the wonders that this new website has to hold.

I've also discovered that The Husband and I don't make near as much money as we need to be making because now I want to re-model my current house AND I want to build a new house just so I can try out all the wonderful ideas that this website is giving me.

Like this.

It would be Boys Night every night at our house while Mama & Darcy (my Kindle) enjoyed a bubble bath.

Or this tub.  I'd feel like I lived in a movie if I had this tub.

I would need a room where I could build bunks into the wall like this.  And it'd need a communal table for card or board games and probably sectional seating for TV, movies or video games.  Cause it's where the kids, nephews & neices and all their friends would hang out.  Each bunk would need a little light of its own and a little shelf at the head, of it though, because late night reading is promoted at our house.

I'd have to have lots of land because I'd need the kids would need a spectacular pool out back like this...

And it wouldn't be very useful, but I've wanted a secret garden ever since I read the book.  And it'd have to have something like this in the center of it. 

And I'd need plenty of room for raised-gardens that my imagination tells me I would absolutely have to have.

Oh, and for The Huband, he would get a man-cave complete with this.

Except instead of a wet-bar (not very family friendly), I'd have him a man-kitchen for frying up hot wings and other man-food for the big game.

I could spend (and possibly will) the next year discovering all the wonderful things that has to offer. 

You should, too.

It's wonderful.

And just as addicting as Pinterest.

What Kind of Parent Are You?

One of my Facebook Friends posed a question to her fellow friends today. 

"Just curious. Do the parents of teenagers out there check the contents of their childs cell phone on a periodic basis? I really think it is important that I know what he is using his phone for. Although there are many ways that they can hide text messages and pictures that really surprised me when someone showed me this. Just curious what other parents do."
 A barrage of comments followed from other parents, most affirming that they do indeed 'snoop' (is it snooping if you're doing it for the purpose of protecting your kid?).  Some parents let their kids know, some parents hide it from their kids.

My comment(s) in response to this were:

" I guarantee I'll do this and I'll let him know that everything he does, sends, or receives, I will have access to."

"I'll probably low-jack* his car, too. :P. He's going to hate my nerdy side from about age 11 until he's a parent himself."
*I meant lo-jack, but my iPhone thinks it knows what I'm trying to say better than I, myself, do.

Anyway.  I'm sure there are many sides to this coin.  To snoop or not to snoop?  To be open about it, or to try to catch them in the act?  Parenting itself is one delimma after another, and this particular circumstance presents itself with several.

For me, though, I will snoop.  And not only that, I will be completely up front about it. 

I currently have parental controls on his iPod and his computer account.  I have his passwords, not him (a 7 year old has no need to know his own passwords).  We have parental restrictions on the TV.  We limit what video games he plays and how much and how often he plays them.

When he gets a cell-phone someday, I'll have it on lock down.  His text messages will be duplicated and sent to me (and Jason if he so chooses).  His history and usage will be monitored.  His emails will be logged.  Everything he uses that phone for, I will have the option of viewing and reviewing.  And I might check it religiously or I might not check it except on occasion. 

I think you have to take a look at the kid and weigh out (and possibly re-weigh on a daily/weekly/monthly basis) the right to privacy versus the need for accountability.

But because I will be completely up front about it, I will probably not catch him in some of the behaviors that I'll be trying to guard him against and I'm okay with that because every time he sends or receives a text message he will learn to think, "Should I send this?", "What's the right way to respond to this?", "Are my parents going to think this is acceptable?"

And that's what I want.

My parents raised my sister and I with a trust-based system.  As long as we were doing right and being responsible, we didn't have strict curfews and tight restrictions placed on us.  If they knew where we were, what we were doing and who we were with they were pretty fair with us.  And it worked well for my sister and I. 

I do understand that different things work for different kids, but this is my parenting goal because even as an adult, I measure my decisions and my behaviors against my parents expectations of me.  What would they say?  What would they think?  How would they feel if they knew what I said, did, or where I went?  (Isn't that what we, as Christians, should be doing, too?)

And that's how I want my children raised.  Not because I want them to bow to me their whole life, I don't view it that way.  But because I want them to grow up respecting me. 

Because I want them to grow up holding their decisions to a moral code. 

I want them to think about the choices they make when they make them so that hopefully they won't have to deal with some of the repurcussions that could result from them. 

But also...I want to know when they're doing something potentially dangerous or reckless because then I can help them and teach them and protect them.  Because that's my job as a parent.  I also want to know when they're being rude or hurtful or ugly, because my job as a parent is to correct that behavior, too.  Or if they're being bullied or if they're suffering from depression...I need to know that too.

And another advantage would be that they would (hopefully) learn to think before putting temporary thoughts into permanent words that have the potential to be shared with more than just the recipient.  This was a hard lesson for me in the days of passing notes.  A note in the wrong hands was a hard thing to overcome because your exact words were inarguable at that point.  They're your words in your writing.  But our kids will grow up with text messages and social media messages posted on the Internet for the world to see, read, and respond to.  There's a lot more potential for your words to be used against you in today's world.

I'm sure my kids will be like me, they won't do everything perfect (probably especially where words are involved!).  They'll make mistakes and stupid decisions and they'll have to live with them and learn from them, just like I did.  But hopefully they'll make a few good decisions, too.  Hopefully they'll learn the meaning of accountability and maybe eventually they'll learn to hold themselves accountable too.

So when the day comes, I'll snoop and I'll let them know.  Because it's important to me that they know I'm watching them and I'm watching out for them.  But it's also important to me that they learn to be mindful of themselves, too.

Be Good and Do Good

Every morning when I take Ty to school, we have our own little spiel of conversations.  It usually starts as we leave the subdivision with a question or a comment made on his part.  Most days it somehow evolves into a lesson.  Whether it's a science lesson about lightning or electricity or an ethics lesson on why I think it would be unacceptable to beat Dad to teach him not to accidentally bump my side-mirror on my car when he gets out of his truck inside our over-crowded garage.  (True baffles me the things he suggests sometimes)

This is how the course of our conversation goes for the almost-20 minute drive from our house to the school.  Every day it's a new topic, but the end-routine is always the same.  When we turn into the school drive I tell him to get his stuff ready (which means getting his backpack and lunchbox ready and going ahead and unbuckling so he can get out when the staff opens his door).  Thus begins Mama's standard goodbye.

"I hope you have a good day today, Bub."

"Thanks Mom."  (Sometimes he'll wish me the same.)

"I love you"

"Love you, too."

And as the door opens for him to embark on his day, I always tell him, "Be good and do good".

And the door closes and he's off.

And sometimes I wonder if he hears those words, but I always want them to be the last words he hears from me as he starts his day.

Be good and do good.

It's my wish for the kind of man he'll grow up to be.

I don't want him to just act right and behave inside the confines of polite society.  I want him to actively do right. 

I want his actions to be a reflection of who he is on the inside.  Because he's a compassionate and kind-hearted kid.  He's a do-gooder and a pleaser like his Mama.  But he's an only child, so he can be selfish.  He's a boy, so he can be loud.  And he's his learned enough from his PaPaw that he can be a little onery, too.  ;)

But down at the core of it all, he's good.  And that's not just a Mama's bias.

It is how I want him to stay, too.  So that's why, each day, as he's faced with new decisions, my final reminder to him is always "Be good and do good."

It's my wish for the boy he is and the man he'll grow up to be.

It Changes You

I found something out recently. 

Something I'm glad to know and yet I wish I didn't know at the same time.  You know how it works, I'm sure we've all been in that situation before.

The part that I'm glad to know is that someone who's under no obligation to like me or be kind to me showed me a kindness.  And it was something I would have no reason to ever know about.  It was something that no one would have blamed her for making a decision otherwise, because business is business.  But this person made a business decision based on a personal situation, and even though they have no obligation to like me or be kind to me, she made a decision that showed respect for me and my feelings (even though it was something that she would never know that I would find out about).  And she earned respect from me because of it.

The part that I wish I didn't know is that the aforementioned individual was put in in that position in the first place.  It was something that--had the above individual not been considerate of me and made a business decision based on business alone--I would have not only found out about, but would have had to endure with a quiet grace.  Because that's how I (try to) roll.

So there's this disappointment of the fact that it ever happened in the first place.  And there's this new respect and appreciation for how it was handled.

And no matter how small it seems in writing, it changes you.  On one hand, for the better, and on the other hand, for the worse.  But these things change you nonetheless.

What are you doing today that might change someone else's perspective tomorrow?  And what kind of change will you make in them?

Our actions and decisions long outlive the perceived results.  I hope to always be mindful of that.

Love is Kind

Love is patient.  Love is kind.
It does not envy.  It does not boast.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

When I love someone, I love them.  I love who they are, regardless of what they are on the inside or outside.

When I love someone, I cannot put exclusions, exemptions, amendments or conditions on that love.  I love them

If I love someone today, but tomorrow I find out that they have changed.  I still love them.

If I love someone and I find out that they're a different kind of person than I believed them to be, I still love them whether it was a good kind of different or a bad kind of different. 

Because I'm not loving the shoes on their feet or the color, cut or curl of their hair.  I'm not loving the kind of car that they drive or the fact that they smoke.  I'm not loving who or what they love.  I'm not loving the choices that they make or the consequences that come of them.

I am simply loving them.

I am a Christian. 

I am called to love.

We are all called to love, and--above and beyond--I find that this is what Christians do.  We don't hate.  We don't judge.  We love.

But if you've met with an exception...if you've known a Christian that failed to love you because they didn't like a part of you or who you are...I apologize on behalf of all Christians.  That's not the example that we--as a whole--wish to set.  That is not the example we were called to set.

So if you've found a Christian that didn't love you for you...I will. 

And I know many others that will, too, because they have loved me in spite of me.  They've loved me when I've failed, they've loved me when I sinned, they have loved me when I didn't love me. 

And we will love you, too.

Because you are not the sum of your failures or decisions.  You are not the color of your skin, the number on the scale, or even the reflection you see in the mirror. 
You are you. 

You are unique. 

You are amazing. 

You are deliberately and intentionally created to be you.

And you deserve to be loved.