Tweens

Just a little disclaimer.  This is a blog about girls and probably just for girls…though I think maybe a few guys out there need more education on their wives/daughters/sisters and their emotions and the cycle of crazy that they go through month after month.  You’ve been warned.

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Do you know what a tween is?  Maybe I am the only one who needed to be educated, but I recently learned that a tween is a child between the ages of 8 and 12.  Makes sense.  It just so happened that I was observing some unusual behavior from Ruby.  It wasn’t horrible behavior…just more tears than normal.  She was often heard saying, “You are just so annoying, Mack. Why do you have to be so annoying??”  She has also recently mastered huffing and rolling her eyes.

This hasn’t been regular behavior for Ruby.  She is usually laid back and had been good at pushing Mack away from her or throwing him on the floor and being done with him.  The tears were really what got my attention.

I found myself sounding a lot like my mom and telling her that we didn’t have time for the tears.  My mom wasn’t much for putting up with moods.  And I am not throwing her under the bus.  Dear goodness, she had three daughters only a couple of years apart each.  On top of three daughters, she had a moody husband.  And I am not throwing him under the bus either.  Bless his heart…he had three younger sisters AND then three daughters and a wife that was, shall we say, a little spoiled.  SOOOOO, even though I understand that there is a place for “Get over yourself” or “Pull your emotions together, girly,” I truly wanted to know what was going on.  Through a few conversations with her and then with some friends who have girls a little older than mine, I downloaded a couple of books on the subject of tweens and got to reading.

I think the Lord wanted to remind me of how very real roller coaster emotions and changing bodies  are because I very shortly after this began experiencing some of my own “out of body” experiences. It started with feeling bloated.  Then there was constipation. Then, feeling like I just needed to nap for about two weeks straight. Then, there were the two separate episodes with rude airport employees that brought me to tears.  I was crying and also thinking a million thoughts in my head….”What is wrong with me??”  “Why am I crying over their rudeness? Who cares?!”  I went to church on Sunday and the whole time I was there I was thinking that I should just be at home under my covers.  I felt so awful about myself and just about everything.  It was terrible.  And then I started (TMI?  sorry.  I warned you.). I had to ask my very dear friend to help me out, and of course,  she was prepared.  She’s gonna do well with her three daughters.  I walked to the  restroom feeling like an awkward 12 year old.  And then I started laughing.  I mean, I was soooo going through some crazy stuff that I am sure Ruby is about to go through over the next four years or so.  I know she is only 8, so don’t hear me saying that I think she is about to start anything close to all the puberty changes; however, I want to talk about this stuff!  I see no physical changes yet, but the emotional stuff is already beginning.  I want her to be as prepared as possible.  And I have the crazy emotions on a fairly regular basis.  I get “the headache” that tells me it is time, but this past month was particularly difficult.  Way more difficult than normal….some things needed my attention.

I went on amazon.com and found a FABULOUS book entitled JUMPING OFF THE HORMONAL SWING by Lorraine Pintus.  It was truly enlightening.

I know I am a 35 year old woman, and you’d think after 23 years (276 months) of the whole cycle business, I would know all about it.  Maybe even be a scholar on how the female body works.  I have had three kids, surely I know more than the average gal.  NOPE.  I knew the overall general way it all works, but the emotional and physical and spiritual part of it?  Wow.  I have a lot to learn.  The book helped a ton.  I highly recommend it for any woman I know!  The best part was how to realize it is OK to be tired and even very normal to need naps certain times of the month.  And she encourages you to learn how to keep your mouth shut.  When crazy emotions want to take over, it is easy to let my mouth take off and give my family a piece of my mind.  I tend to make ridiculous new rules, and I exaggerate how awful things are….”This room is so messy that I don’t know how you even breathe in here.”  Senseless stuff comes out of my mouth, so instead of spewing, I should remove myself from the room and away from all people.  It’s better for my kids to think I am strange for spending an hour (or six) in my closet than for them to wish they could live with Aunt Cacy year round.

I am actually thankful for these recent rough days.  They were used as a reminder that my efforts to teach my girls on this subject won’t be wasted.  They are going to go through a lot of changes, and I want to be understanding and informative without encouraging sinful behavior.  I want to try and give them a big picture of how this usually goes down and some practical ways to cope.  I have plenty of personal examples of what NOT to do.  Now maybe I can try out some of Lorraine’s practical tips from her book and spend more time in prayer so I can offer some personal examples of how to manage emotions and rely on God.

OOOH, the best part of the book was when she talked about how some times God gives you this major “A-HA” moment that is filled with His Spirit and an overwhelming sense of peace in your mind, body, and soul.  Those are good.  Relish those times.

Then, there are times when He helps you by providing a “drip-drip-drip” of His Spirit that gets you through the day moment by moment.  There is peace, but it comes step by step more than overwhelming you and carrying you through the day.

Good stuff.

I’m also reminded through all of this that nothing is as bad as I think it is.  It will pass….whatever “it” is.  We were just riding through our neighborhood, and I said to the kids, ” I hope you are paying attention to these beautiful trees.  They won’t be like this forever!”  It is true.  The leaves will fall off and be bare instead of filled with the amazing colored leaves that we can see today.  Same for tough times, crazy emotions, difficult days….it won’t be like this forever.  Even the great days.  Better enjoy them when you get them!  They don’t last forever either.  Things change.  I’m thankful for the seasons.  They are another reminder of Creator God.  He is in control and gives order to our world….and our bodies!  I’m so thankful for that!

Baptism

Ruby and Molly got baptized on October 14th!  Each one had their own salvation experience.  Molly was here at home last October when Josh was reading about being born again from God’s Word.  Ruby and Mack had fallen asleep, and I was just about to ask Josh if he could wrap it up so we could head to bed since most of us weren’t listening.  THEN, I looked at Molly who was sitting right next to Josh and looking at him, following his every word.  She asked a couple of questions and then we went to bed.  A few  minutes after putting the kids to bed and getting into our room, Molly called out for me.  I went in, and she wanted to whisper something to me.  “I wanna be saved.”  Sweetness!  She came into our bedroom where Josh talked some more with her, and she prayed right there that Jesus would forgive her of her sins and save her.

Ruby was at Vacation Bible School this past July.  She listened to a staff member’s testimony, and she felt convicted of not asking Jesus to save her.  She told me that she knew all the right answers, but she had never asked him to forgive  her and save her.

So after many months of some good conversation, they each wanted to be baptized.

Thanks to DeDe for snapping these pictures!

These are the four girls who were baptized. 9 year old, 8 year old, 7 year old and a 6 year old!
These are the four girls who were baptized. 9 year old, 8 year old, 7 year old and a 6 year old!
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Ruby and Molly opened up a cross necklace from Josh and me the morning of their baptism.

photo copy 5 photo copy 6We are so happy for the girls!  I remember the day I was saved, and I remember being baptized with my sister, Marcy.  I pray that they will walk with the Lord all the days of their lives.  I pray that Josh and I will be loving parents that show them what it means to follow Christ.

It’s a good day

Today has been a good day, a day when I love home schooling the kids.  Yesterday I didn’t love it, so I thought I would record my thoughts on this “good” home schooling day.

I enjoyed a calm morning in a quiet house before the kids were awake.

I loved being able to tell them to make their beds, brush their teeth and get dressed AND to go fix their breakfast while I took a shower and got ready for the day.

It was nice to sit at the breakfast table with our devotion and Bible and talk about God’s Law and what we can do when we disobey.  “If You, O Lord, marked iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with your there is forgiveness of sins.” Psalm 130

I smiled as I sat on the carpet reading to Mack and glancing at his chubby feet, crossed as they poked out from his jeans….and how sweet it was that he patted my hand with love while I read to him.

The girls laughed together as they did school work under the desk!  They thought they were really getting away with something by creating a comfy “fort” of sorts under there.

When we read about how Egyptians believed that they needed things like food and money in their tombs/pyramids, you should have seen the looks on their faces.  We had a great conversation about what we believe about life after death…we won’t need pizza or money in Heaven!

We read a story about a missionary to South Mexico named Ruby!

I was thankful that I could take a break from school to catch up with a friend on the phone who has had a rough few days.

I am grateful for getting to teach my kids about helping verbs and action verbs.  I know, weird…but I love grammar and anything about language.

I was greatly encouraged to hear Mack read.  He made my day with how he answered some math questions, too.  Some days he answers wrong ON PURPOSE and laughs.  Today, he answered right!  What a wonderful thing.

And lunch was another opportunity to be thankful for all this time with my kids…each little face around our table, talking and planning what their afternoon will look like.

I must also mention that chicken and carrots and potatoes are in the crock pot getting good and ready for dinner time, when we will welcome Josh home and again enjoy some time around the table together.

Today is a good day, a productive day, a day when I know God has set my perspective straight.  On my own and in my natural self, I quickly see the negative, the down-side, the challenges.  Today, He has lifted my head above the junk so that I can see clearly.

And I am thankful for this very good day.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night,” Psalm 92:1-2