BAM Family

BAM Family

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why I can't raise my children to be Christians

"But why, mommy?" My five year old cried, his head on my shoulder. "Why did Jesus die on the cross?"
"Well, honey, he died so that we can have a relationships with God." I smoothed the hair back from his forehead, thinking back to the crucifixion scene we let our twins stay up to watch on The Bible mini-series.
I had been hesitant. Are they ready for this? I wondered. Maybe. Maybe this is going to be the moment!
I took a deep breath and moved forward.
"We are all sinners; this means we do bad things and our sin keeps us from God. But Jesus took the punishment for our sin when he died on the cross." 

I paused, looking into my son's tear filled eyes, amazed at the tenderness of his heart in this moment. "Do you want to thank Jesus for dying for your sins? Do you want to tell him that you want a relationship with God?" 
My son shook his head. "No."

*************************

In the past few weeks,  a blog post has been floating around the internet and has been reposted on my Facebook wall several times over. The article, How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home, resonated with many of my friends, and with me as well. The message of the blog post was this: 
"If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God's will, then we are raising moral pagans."
While this post did resonate with me, it left me unsettled as well. Because I do teach my kids to be moral. I teach them that when you hurt someone, you say you are sorry. When you take something that's not yours, that's called stealing; you take it back, you apologize, and you don't do it again. I have said, "The Bible says we don't steal. We should not lie. That is unloving. This is not the way God wants us to live."

I say these things and I know I am teaching them to be…well, according to the wording of the linked blog post, "moral pagans." 

Because this is all I can do. 

I cannot teach my children to be Christians. 

I wish I could. I wish I could make them be followers of Christ simply by teaching them the ways of Christ, by making them "pray the prayer," by teaching them to be moral. 

I wish I could say, "In our family, WE believe THIS!" 

I probably have said this. But it is not 100% true. My husband and I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We humbly accept Christ's righteousness in place of our sin. We choose to walk in His ways. 

But I shared the story at the beginning of this post to demonstrate the difficult truth that I can teach my children about Jesus, all about his atoning sacrifice on the cross, his miraculous resurrection, his forgiveness, his life and teaching, and the amazing new vision of life that he gives those who say, "Yes, Lord! I trust in you."  

I can teach them all of this. And I do teach them these things and will continue to do so. 

But I cannot raise my children to be Christians. A child does not become a Christian because he matriculated through a "Christian" home, because he has listened to his mother reading the Bible, because he heard his father pray, because he was in Sunday school every week, because he memorized scripture, because he prayed a prayer at Bible School, or because Mommy and Daddy are Christians. 

I can teach and demonstrate all these things but none of them will make my child a Christian. 

Because to be a Christian, my child must choose Christ for himself. 

My children are sinners. Without a transformed heart, every scriptural mandate I teach them is a moral code, a law. 

But it is my hope and deepest prayer that Galatians 3:23-25 will be manifested in their lives: 

But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 

So, all I can do is teach my children to be "moral pagans." My efforts fall far short of their salvation. 

But where my efforts stop, God's grace begins. Christ died for my children the same as he died for me. I can only trust that his Spirit is at work in their lives, as he is in mine, and pray that when Jesus whispers to their souls, Come follow me! at the right time, they will say YES. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to (accidentally) exercise everyday

I hate to exercise.

I know some women love it. It's like an escape to them…from their kids, house, stress, life. I admire these women; they inspire and baffle me.

Personally if I want to escape, it's in a good book or netflix series curled under a squishy afghan with a glass of milk and a slice of chocolate cake.

That, my friends, is my definition of "escape."

But, back to by hatred of exercise.

The only thing stronger than my hatred of exercise is my guilt of NOT exercising. Because I know I'm supposed to. I want to be healthy. I want to be a good example for my kids. I want to be a "hot mom" (wait...did I just say that?)

But I am also a really busy person. I have three kids. I have a house to take care of. I have meals to prepare. I have a mountain range of laundry to cross every week. Oh, and I also work 30+ hours a week from home as an online professor and freelance editor.

I have 6-8 exercise DVDs that I attempt to do every 9.5 months. Usually by the time I get half way through, one of my children is crying or pooping somewhere inappropriate.

So, what's a busy mom to do? I decided that instead of trying to squeeze exercise in, I should take a backwards approach. I decided to look back at my day or week and see where I have accidentally exercised.

The Accidental Exercise Plan is simple. All you need is some creativity and a good memory (though once you add more than two children to your life, the later is hard to come by. Hang in there, mama!)

The only equipment required for the Accidental Exercise Plan is a house and children.

And the exercises are simple--you are probably doing them all every day! You just need to recognize them so you can give yourself a pat on the back at the end of every day for exercising.

Tell me more, you say? Well, let's begin! I've broken the Accidental Exercise Program down into Legs, Arms, Abs, and Cardio.

Legs:

The Basement Laundry Room
Do you have a basement laundry room? Lucky you! Don't curse the cold concrete floors, the swinging lightbulb, and the spiders that freak the living daylights out of you! Thank your lucky stars that you get to "do stairs" every day!

Yes, every time you run up, run down, lug up, lug down, you are exercising, my dear. So do your laundry with PRIDE! Your thighs are thanking you.

The Two Year Old
Do you have a two year old? Then you also have a personal trainer! The two year old will help you run every day. To take advantage of your two year old's expertise, take him to a grocery store, Target, or any department store. Turn around for 1.2 seconds then turn back around. Your child will be 100 yards away and will be urging you to begin your Accidental Exercising for the day. Run, mama, run!
Is your child super speedy? Lucky you!
Arms:

Dinnertime Bicep Burn
It's 6:00 at your house. That means dinner time prep. It also means Accidental Exercising! Don't distract your clinging, crying baby with toys, wooden spoons, pot lids, goldfish, and a kitten! Hold that baby on your hip while you stir that pot!

Do you feel that burn? Ahh…your biceps are thanking you.

BONUS Workout: Have twins. Then you can do this:
Yes, these are my workout clothes. 
Abs:

Midnight Maneuver
This Accidental Exercise technique takes some skill but most moms are already completing this move with dexterity.
First, pass out from exhaustion in your bed while your baby is curled up beside you.
Next, wake up. Realize that it is only 8:45pm and you are an adult who promised herself that she would have an grown-up conversation with her husband that night.
Next, hoist your baby over your stomach, cradling her body with your arms. Do not wake your baby!
Carefully sit up without using your arms or elbows to help you. Flail your legs if necessary--no one is watching.
Place your baby carefully in bed.
Pat yourself on the back for getting your baby to sleep AND doing a crazy-hard sit-up.
Repeat as necessary throughout the night.

The Squishy Belly Laugh
Did you know that laughing burns 1.3 calories per minute? To take advantage of the Squishy Belly Laugh Accidental Exercise, pull up your shirt so your belly is exposed. Let your baby squish all that postpartum goodness while you blow raspberries. Your baby will laugh. You will too...WHILE YOU BURN CALORIES!! WIN WIN!

Cardio:

They say the point of cardio is to elevate the heart rate to strengthen the heart muscles. Here are a few ways to integrate an elevated heart rate into your Accidental Exercise regimen.

The Crash
Go about your day as normal. Hum. Sing. Be happy and joyful and unassuming. CRASH!!! In the moments after The Crash (usually from your child's bedroom), your heartbeat will elevate. If you hear the "bad cry," RUN (bonus exercise!!!) to your child's room. Your heart rate will continue to elevate until the crash and the "bad cry" are resolved.

"Cardio" accomplished.

The Daredevil
Is your child a daredevil? Lucky you! You get to experience Accidental Exercise cardio more than most!  To take advantage of your daredevil, look for ways to be scared out of our pants: jungle gyms, parking lots, bunk beds, knives in your dishwasher, etc.

Caution: a side effect of The Daredevil is gray hair.

Of course, you could always accidentally exercise by doing this too...
I call it "The Lift and Kiss"

So fellow mamas, if you are like me, let go of your guilt. Let the dust collect on those Jillian Michael's DVDs. Plan some quality "escape" time in your day, because you know what? 

You already (accidentally) exercised today. 

Do you Accidentally Exercise??? Share your tips below!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meng Menu


Sunday: KFC (aka...mommy is exhausted) 
Monday: Hamburgers, baked fries, carrots and broccoli
Tuesday: Chicken and rice soup, homemade bread
Wednesday: London broil, smashed potatoes with cheese and green onions, green beans
Thursday: Chicken fajita casserole
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Egg rolls (from freezer section), fried rice, crab rangoon

I was under budget this week at $144! 

I am excited to make the crab rangoon this week! I have had several recipes for crab rangoon pinned to my Snacks Pintrest board for a long time now and I finally bought all the ingredients to try it out! They can also be baked so maybe I'll have to try out both fried and baked. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bacon, Pumpkins and three loud boys: Our Romanic Evening

When I was a teenager and even a young married wife, I craved romance. I wanted spontaneous flowers, surprise dates to romanic locations, diamond rings and necklaces (all thoughtfully picked out to suit my taste and style), and grand gestures of devotion.

I was constantly disappointed, mostly because the rosy image of romance in my head didn't match with the every day-ness of my life as a wife and mother of three. 

I gradually loosened my clenched fingers from my "romantic ideal," and not just because my husband thinks, "Flowers are stupid. They just die. Why would I spend money on something that is going to die?!"

My romantic ideal was simply not reality. I finally learned to accept it. 

And then slowly, quietly, the reality of my everyday life became romantic. Not every day, not even every week (we don't have a "date night"), but when I began to redefine romance as intentional thoughtfulness that tells the beloved, "I'm thinking of you." 

Our Tuesday evening was going to be special because Aaron was going to carve Halloween pumpkins with our twins. They were ecstatic! 

As they gathered knives, bowls, and super-cool Angry Bird templates from the printer, I decided to start  dinner, a thrown together "breakfast for dinner" concoction. 
Aaron tuned in to his current favorite Pandora station on his laptop. 
Bacon sizzled and popped in the skillet. 
My older boys "Ewww'ed!" and "Nasty'ed!" as they pulled out the pumpkin guts. 
My baby babbled and banged a tube of lotion on his high chair tray. 
And then my husband said, "Hey, I want you to listen to this song."

It was difficult. The microwave was whirring and dinging. The "GROSS!" enthusiasm was getting more enthusiastic. But I listened as I flipped the bacon, wiping popped grease from the back of my hands. 

In the middle of all that distraction, I managed to catch the last verse of this Lee Brice song: 

She knows what a mess I'd be if I didn't have her here
But to be sure, I whispered in her ear
"You know I get sick deep-sea fishin'
And you make the best fried chicken
I got a hopeless golf game
I love the sound of your name
I might miss that old green 'Nova
But I love watchin' you do yoga
I'd take a gold band on my hand
Over being a single man
Cause honestly I don't know what I'd do
If I'd never met a woman like you."

Full Song Lyrics

I caught my husband's eye as the song played and he smiled at me, a sharpie in his hand as he drew faces on our children's pumpkins. 

I stared at this man, the father of my children, my partner and friend, while the aroma of bacon joined the earthy pumpkin smell filling our small kitchen.

Tears pricked my eyes. 

Pulp and seed were all over my floor. My baby was calling, "Ma-ma-ma-ma!" and wanting to be held. My twins started to fuss about "being done with picking out the seeds."
But I wanted to capture this moment, take a mental snapshot and store it in my memory under the caption, "Perfect Evening." 

Because it was. It was perfect, spontaneous, thoughtful. 

It was pure romance.

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