Loving Our Children as Christ Loves Us

“Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.” ~Tim Keller

How do we raise strong, confident children, preparing them with the tools and values to achieve God’s will in their own lives? Simply by loving them as Christ loves us. To accept, love and reassure our children for exactly who they are – not for who we wish them to be – is at the essence of healthy of parenting. Forgiveness, grace and abundant love.

Concepts from Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel:

Sometimes our love is incomplete because…
Our children feel they have to COMPETE for it.
Or they feel they have to EARN it.

Making love secure…
We can ACCEPT our children for who they are.
Provide them with AFFILIATION with a loving and honoring family (without an idealistic view of what that must look like).
Give them regular, generous amounts of AFFECTION (from both parents/all family members – pretty much until they’re 120 yrs-old!).

It’s not always easy to accept the quirks and rebellions of our children, but a biblical view of right and wrong tempered with graceful lessons in repentance and freedom from guilt will allow our children the power to confront the challenges of a sinful human nature. It’s all too easy to be tempted to punish harshly for innocent annoyances (especially when overdrawn and underslept) but it’s vital to the success of our children’s personal/spiritual growth that we allow them to be the silly, sometimes obnoxious individuals they were made to be…and one day, all that crazy energy will be alloted to the very purpose they were sent here to serve. So, as you attempt to prepare a healthy meal to the beat of wooden spoons on metal pots and pans – paper airplanes whizzing past your head in a near miss to the hot burner and boiling water – just remember that your little musician and your future pilot will thank you for loving them as Christ has loved you.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

Margarita Snow Cones #PiratesCoveOhYa

Check out this deal! *best snow cones in town!*

“Ahoy Matey! Come and join us at Pirates Cove with this awesome half-priced admission offer! With this  deal you will get a full day of fun in the sun, including; a leisure  pool with a large play structure, a 25-meter, 6-lane pool, a 35-foot  slide tower with three slides, a lazy river, concessions, and more.”

Save  50% Off Admission with the ColoradoKids.com Coupon

Dirty Dash for FREE & Compete Against Team Fine sWine!!!

What is team Fine sWine?…what is The Dirty Dash?…and how do I score a freebie, right!? Well, lemme fill ya in!

Team Fine sWine  {legit team name gratis creative member/co-captain Melissa}
Fine sWine is the uber-talented, fabulous foursome we have assimilated for the upcoming Dirty Dash in Colorado Springs, CO on August 11th. Yep, I gathered three of my most athletic friends (ok, so none of us have *actually* competed in a mud OR obstacle race, two members are new to the whole idea of running – without vice trailing close behind – and one is only agreeing to this because rumor has it there might be a beer [rootbeer option] chug along the course…ya, be intimidated!). After carefully selecting my team, I passed along the specific training advice I received from the event coordinators: Get up, walk around and do some stuff. Sit back down. We so have this in the bag!

The Dirty Dash
Um, just about the most epic, cool race to roll through the Rockies this summer…and it’s family friendly too!!! This 3.5 mile competition includes walls, pipes, nets, slip ‘n slides – YES, I said slip ‘n slides!!! – and all kinds of other dirty, muddy challenges to help you prove to yourself *and those around you* that age (and the nearing mid-life spare tire) is not going to deter you from being a champion at your sport!

The FREEBIE
All this and a chance to win TWO FREE RACE REGISTRATIONS!?!? Life doesn’t get much better than this. K, so just LIKE WineGlasSlipper’s NicestMomBlog on FB (clear the dust from the button) or FOLLOW me on Twitter (love Twitter btw) for your chance to be selected as the lucky winner AND to compete first hand against the killa Fine sWine. (Just know: we are training as you read! Be afraid.)

Fine Print: Winner will be chosen on or by July 1, 2012. Registration details, race information and official rules (excluding freebie – prefectures WineGlasSlipper – complements Dirty Dash staff) available at TheDirtyDash.com. Winner will receive notification and registration code via email/direct message. Not responsible for injuries inured prior to, during or following the dash – including but not limited to: emotional distraught over failure to win a free registration, failed attempt at proper training procedure, lack of creativity in team name formulation or rightful intimidation by the daunting competition (aka: Fine sWine).

A Glimpse of Mortality and Reflections upon Motherhood

Profound, precious moments along the journey of life possess the power to leave impressions upon the human heart. It seems to me that these impacting variances to the general trend often occur unexpectedly, with impeccable timing and often host an unusual twist to what might otherwise have been an ordinary event. In awe, I appreciate the unforeseen greatness and provision of insight as I wonder along in my personal journey…enlightened…embraced…in motherhood.

It is no surprise to me that my plight in life, as deemed prominent in my paternal line, includes a mushy, gushy – sometimes overly sentimental – side…often to my dismay.  My grandmother has it, my aunt suffers and while it would be profusely denied, my brother has some tendencies as well. The worst case, however, belongs to my father, and after years of witnessing his “allergies” (as he has termed it) I have concluded that he is quite allergic to the script inside birthday cards and the finale of sentimental movies. Bearing all that in mind, I stuffed a few tissues into my pockets as we headed out to visit my great-grandma in her new placement at the care center.

After making our way through a series of locks, knobs, buttons, ID badges and security, I received an endearing, heartfelt compliment. It came from a middle-aged man wearing a tuxedo t-shirt playing a lone game of checkers in a quiet corner of the entryway. His curious stare and innocently gaping grin left me with no doubt that he was a patient in the center. Eyes wide and with carefree excitability, he paused from his game to verbalize the very thought that had come to his mind. He admired my hair, saying that it was “sunshiny” …and that he liked it. He repeated it twice more before I left, each time with genuine sincerity, but that was not the moment that would leave a forever print upon my heart.

The breath taking, tear welling, utterly impacting moment occurred suddenly as my children and I passed through a gathering room in the home. Several gracefully aged patients sat about in wheel chairs as visitors came and went. Placed between a resident staring intently at the bird-filled vivarium and a slouched gentleman snoring rhythmically in his chair, was a delicately fragile woman adorned in softly loosened skin. Her dainty pink gown tented her frail frame and her eyes gazed blankly off into the distance…in her arms, with the gentle, loving heart of a long-time mother, she clung to an oversized baby doll.

My eyes gravitated quickly to the dark beige twills of the berber carpet but the image remained. I took a couple of slow, deep breaths. Pangs of emotion crept into my stomach and up to my throat. We rounded the corner, and as I thought I had handled my surge of emotion with a bit of diplomacy, one of my children whispered the inevitable, heart-wrenching question, “Mommy, why was that old lady holding a doll?”

It was the answer to such a question that evoked the physically emotional response. The aching in my stomach had made its way to my heart, making it difficult to communicate my answer. I reached into my pocket to retrieve a tissue, and in the strongest, most composed whisper I could voice, I explained to my four-year-old, “She was probably a mommy for lots of years.” The understanding was apparent with the uncharacteristically silent response from both of my children.

We continued through the halls toward our intended destination to great-grandma’s room. With each passing door, my injured heartstrings were further tugged. Being that this was a small Colorado town and one of the few retirement homes in the community, the names on the doors were all too familiar. As I contemplated a quick dash to the bathroom for an emergency weeping, I had a realization. This generation had spent an entire lifetime together. They had made their journey, each along an individual path but intertwined with all the others and now preparing to depart. It was a beautiful thing.

Great-grandma was as spunky as ever, still healing from injuries incurred while attempting things best left to those in their early nineties, but enough of a hopeful spirit to recover from and move on to her next strong-willed attempt at independence. She was a roommate to the grandmother of a childhood friend of mine. That little fact was surprisingly comforting to me.

I left that day wondering about the life grandma had lived, her years as a young mother, a widow and her amazing faith that had impacted generations, providing me personally with encouragement through the years – particularly in my own experiences as a mother.

Images of motherhood continued to dance through my mind as I made my trip back to the city…those of an imagined, perfectly intended devise…as well as ones witnessed that day in the unrelinquishing frailty of humanity. The thoughts were not haunting, heart rendering, yes…but certainly not without hope. In that brief moment on that single day, I saw something – the most important thing. It was remembered by that mother’s heart, embedded deeply enough to surpass the need for conscious recollection in a failing human mind – an emotion harnessing a power untouchable even to mortality. I saw a physical expression, a window into the dearness of a human soul – a sight to forever live in my own heart. I witnessed pure, true, insurmountable love for another human being. That kind of love – a mother’s love – triumphs and continues to live on…long after the journey of life is complete.

 

 

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Triathlete Training for Moms

There is something amazingly invigorating about a 750 meter swim, 20K bike ride and 5K run, competing alongside some 600 participants…and the achievement of being able to claim the title of “triathlete” (even at a sprint distance!).

It wasn’t the sport that held the draw for me; nor the physical benefits – though rather advantageous after having two wonderful kiddos! Personally, I was intrigued with the conquest…and comforted by the distraction.

Life trials are inevitable and while I would mostly prefer to avoid them at all costs, I do recognize and accept the fact that they will, eventually, lead to improved character, buffing me into a better person so long as I persevere the course – knowing when to press forward and when to coast along to catch my breath – recognizing along the way the truth that I am not the one ultimately in control of it all.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

Fear…it’s an interesting emotion. An inhibiting feeling that, in the absence of, may result in amazing achievements far surpassing human understanding and probability. Disposing of this useless, yet persistent, annoyance is – what I believe to be – the first step in conquering the end goal.

I suppose this is the reason I chose to take my life’s frustrations onto the track, bike, and – since the swim is mandatory for this particular race – into the pool (or the lake on race day, ugh). In the summer of 2010, along with my astoundingly supportive little sis, I (WE!) earned the title of “triathlete.” Thankfully, the triumph was accomplished simply by crossing that finish line, regardless of speed or grace – which is good because we finished our first tri on our MoUNtaIn BiKeS!

I can’t make claim that I excel in any of the three events, that I have superior equipment or more than adequate training – I am, after all, a mom with a bit more to do (and spend time/money on) than my hobbies. Which is exactly how I came to discover that moms can be triathletes too. Not only can we be great athletes ~ we have been in training since day one and didn’t even know it! Yep, all that lugging of the bucket seat, chasing after that toddler and piggy back riding when little legs get too tired to walk on their own has sparked an inner athlete that need but only to be directed and perfected for the sport.

It’s as simple as that: keep doing what you’re doing and have fun with it! Practicing the specific skills is an important element too, but can often be accomplished with kids in tow. Of course, some kid swapping is helpful – especially for sanity, but absolutely take the opportunity to instill the love of physical activity and the great outdoors with your children.

The Swim:

While admittedly lacking, my training in this area is often accomplished as my children splash around – under the direct supervision of a lifeguard on duty – in the children’s pool at our recreation center. When they were younger, they required one-on-one attention, which made swimming more complicated – I would either use the gym nursery or swap workouts with a friend. Even a day at the pool teaching kiddos simple skills and having fun helped me gain confidence in the water, so never pass up the opportunity to jump in!

The Bike:

Biking with little ones is surprisingly convenient – and enjoyable – once you are prepared with the right equipment. Over the years, I have used various bike attachments for my kids. I have found inexpensive equipment at yard sales or used sporting equipment stores, which is nice because they do grow out of these rather quickly. My favorite gear so far has been our bike trailer – not only because I can still squeeze both kids into it at ages 8 and 5 (but now they fight…and it’s a tight fit, ha) but because it converts into a jogger as well. I love the dual purpose.

We have made it a morning tradition to either walk or bike to school – works for us because the school is just around the corner, but it assures a little fresh air and reminder for the importance of activity in our day.

The Run:

Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise…but that was not always the case. It hurts. Honest but true…however, the pain does subside with training, and when it does, the sport is quick, affordable and majestically beautiful in our lovely state. I think it’s one of the best health-conscious family activities Colorado has to offer – well, maybe second to skiing, wink.

Using a jogger or convertible trailer during training will make your 5K feel like a walk in the park! A smart mom gave me the tip of keeping restlessness at bay by offering up a favorite snack while you’re out on the trail…because you might find yourself too winded to use the reliable parenting tactic of lecturing, yelling and the like.

The Tri:

Putting all three activities into a single event is trying indeed, but most certainly not beyond that of carrying a child for nine months, giving birth (ok, so I admittedly had cesarean sections…but hey, that wasn’t easy stuff either!) and absolutely not a challenge beyond that of being a mother – on the clock every hour, every moment of every day. When it begins to feel like too much, add hydration, quick caloric energy and undeniable confidence and determination…you will soon find yourself crossing that finish line…and on to the next quest!

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. ~Larry Bird

 

 

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