Category Archives: Family

Children, siblings, parents, extended family

Through the Eyes of a Lion

Recently I read this book Through the Eyes of a Lion and found great inspiration and encouragement. When my son lived in Montana we visited Fresh Life Church in Kalispell where the author of this book, Levi Lusko serves as a pastor. I’m including my review on my blog today because I believe the themes throughout this book are relevant to anyone who has loved and lost someone. I highly recommend reading this book which was just released little more than one week ago. You can learn more about this book and author here and here.

The following is my review:

Through the Eyes of a LionThrough the Eyes of a Lion is a book by a grieving father about the loss of his precious little one. Lusko paints a picture for us all to grieve honestly and embrace every moment of life and live it to the full. He utilizes the vibrant colors of encouragement, hope, and expectation of how God meets us in our deepest valleys. He adds the gray tones of sorrow, grief, and fear and gleaming touches of courage, honesty, and community to create for us a picture that can been seen through the eyes of a lion.

Lusko poses this question in the beginning of the book, “How do you live out an extraordinary calling while doing ordinary things and living in a world that is all screwed up?” In short, his answer is to see life through the eyes of a lion. Like a skilled optician he blends scripture, hashtags, Bible stories, humor, biographical notes about his upbringing and family, as well as modern cultural references. He puts lenses on life’s greatest sadness and struggle to help readers see the bigger theme of calling and community a little more clearly.

His guidance is that “discerning God’s calling is more a relationship than a route, more journey than destination.” Through the loss of a child, he guides us into truth without sugar coating the grief, darkness, and questions he wrestles with today. If you’ve been on the planet for any amount of time you’ve experienced struggle, hopelessness, fear and loneliness. This book illuminates the darkest corners of our fast-paced lives and timeless truths to guide us into the future with hope and assurance of God’s love and presence.

This book is truly inspiring, motivating, and the author’s voice is warm and sincere. Thank you, Lusko family for sharing your story with the world. You are in my prayers.

Words – A Reminder for Your Weekend

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

I’m a writer and I love words. I’m aware of the power words carry, for good or harm. I have a problem with my words.  More often than I’d like to admit, my words are not good for building others up. Quite the contrary.

20 Dollar Bill Andrew Jackson

When our kids were young, we used to have family night every Friday to instill biblical truths to our growing clan. One of our object lessons went like this: each family member had a travel-sized tube of toothpaste and a paper plate. Dad placed cash in the middle of the kitchen table. Then he said, “We’re gonna see who can get the toothpaste out of the tube completely.”

Squeals and shuffling over the paper plates and moments later everyone had emptied their tubes. Then Dad said, “Okay. Now, whoever gets the whole pile of toothpaste back inside the tube can have the cash.” We tried squeezing the tubes to slurp up the paste, jamming it in with our fingers, resulting in a minty mess!

So it is with our words. Once they are out, there’s no taking them back. I try to be mindful about what hops out of my mouth. Sometimes the words are minty fresh and other times they are stale or unsympathetic. On my own, I can make a mess of things with my words and hurt the people I love.

Dear God, please keep a guard over my lips today. I need Your strength to keep my words pure, encouraging and beneficial to whomever is listening. Amen.

(Excerpt from Dashes of Salt. Contact Kim to purchase a copy. Book also available on Amazon)

Are your kids safe on the Internet?

I sat poolside at the hotel while my husband was in meetings. A mom with two small children soon arrived to swim. The two-year-old wanted to swim alone, which she was incapable of doing. She screamed while her older sister played happily in the pool. When they got out of the water, Mom handed the older girl her cell phone to watch something or play a game while she wrestled the unhappy toddler. After she dried and calmed her toddler, Mom asked the older daughter for her phone so she could call room service and order some food. The five-year-old threw a tantrum that it was her game and her phone! Ah, the innocence of youth…yeah, right!

I’m glad I’m not raising kids in this day and age. Navigating the technological landscape as a parent is challenging at best. It’s an excellent tool, but there’s also the dark underbelly lurking just one click away.

I’ve heard from many moms, some I’m related to, that aren’t sure just how much or how little to trust their kids to use smartphones or computers. Parents are children’s greatest advocates and I want to offer a few suggestions how to keep your kids safe on the Internet.

First, a few questions:

  1. Where do your kids access the Internet?
  2. If they use a computer at home, is it in a family area of the house (kitchen, family room, living room) where the screen is visible to others?
  3. Are there filters installed on all devices used by family members?
  4. Are you familiar with the latest apps kids are using to chat with their friends?
  5. What are your family rules about the kids using the Internet?

Parenting isn’t easy. It never was and it never will be. One of my extended family members recently heard from their grade school aged children that kids at school were sending nude photos of themselves using an app on a smartphone. These were not adults or teens, we’re talking about children under age 11! More than 30% of data transferred on the Internet is pornographic. 50% of males and 31% of females are exposed to porn by age 12. The statistics are astounding and the importance of protecting our kids is vital.

Three things you can do now:

  1. Discuss the above questions with your family.
  2. Come up with some guidelines of what is appropriate and what isn’t. Perhaps use the contract which is linked below as inspiration for your own parent/child contract.
  3. Keep communication open with your kids. You want them to come to you with questions about sexuality, stuff their classmates do or talk about, and you want them to feel safe and loved, no matter what.

If you have further questions, please feel free to email me. I’ve included a few resources for you to check out. I hope you find them helpful.

Helpful resources for parents:

iParent.TV is a website offering the latest reviews on various apps, the Internet, social media and other technological topics. They also will send you free resources to help you manage technology in your home with your kids.

Touchy Subjects, by Craig Gross and David Dean. The authors are both dads to younger kids. I received the book for free in exchange for a review which is posted here. This book is a good resource for parents with children of any age.

The PluggedIn.com website offers guidelines and reviews of movies, television, and music. Rather than reading it yourself, teach your kids how to access it and make decisions based on what they read.

Common Sense Media website has loads of information for parents and educators with ratings and reviews of apps, games, and websites among other things.

National Association of School Psychologists has a free sample contract between parents and kids regarding Internet safety.

Women for Decency offers helpful articles about how to talk with your kids about porn, sex, and related topics on this website.

X3Watch is filtering software for all of your devices and is reasonably priced. Sign up through their website and receive a discount.

Covenant Eyes has a variety of Internet filtering software plans and accountability options.

Holiday Shopping? Download the Favorite Things List FREE!

Christmas

Favorite Things List

Great Help for Gift Buying this Christmas and Throughout the Year

In anticipation of the holiday gift-buying season, I created a Favorite Things List for each of my kids to fill out. You can download it now for FREE!

I will use this favorite things list at Christmas and throughout the year when preparing special meals, shopping for special occasions and buying the right size clothing for them.

Gift-buying has never been my strong suit, so this tool is valuable to me and I hope it is to you, too. In the habit of giving flannel pajama bottoms and fruit-flavored chocolates the last few Christmases, I learned that a couple of my kids don’t like those things. I felt terrible.

So, for Thanksgiving this year I had them fill out their own Favorite Things List. It was time each of my grown kids wrote down their favorite things list so Mom can buy things they actually like. This Christmas will be different, now that I have their completed Favorite Things Lists.

Expecting that I might have a hard time getting them to fill out the form, I offered a treat. In exchange for a complete list of their favorite things, I gave each one their own chocolate Advent calendar. No one said they didn’t like those! Cheers to a new holiday tradition, kids. You may expect your own treat-filled Advent calendar to countdown to Christmas every year from now on.

If you’re a parent tired of guessing what your kids (especially teen and adult kids)  want to eat, what size they wear, or what their favorite candy is, download the FREE Favorite Things List here. It will save you and your kids disappointment, stress and guesswork in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone! Happy Shopping!