The Yell Jar

 Before we get to today’s scheduled post, I just feel like I need to take a moment and acknowledge the loss of lives yesterday at the Boston Marathon; some meeting death, others facing a life very much unlike the one they had previous to the race.  Lost limbs, lost love ones, lost hope….all things that require a time of mourning.

  It is my utmost prayer, that on their knees in their agony, they find Jesus.  That they feel His gentle touch as He gathers them in His arms of love.  The world we live in, is a dark, scary, sinful place….but friends, we always have hope in Jesus.  In His promise of eternal life after death, in one day coming back and rescuing the lost, taking His children home to be with Him in Paradise.  Oh, how glorious that day will be…….until then, do not lose heart, for He has overcome the world!

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Now, on to today’s previously scheduled post:


Notice something new in my kitchen?


  Ok, ok, you are right.  That Kraft Cheese Box didn’t used to be there.  A new antique find from a friend, but nope….that’s not it.    It’s higher up on the shelf…..


You found it!

The Yell Jar


  So at our house, we work a lot on FIRST time obedience.  There are seasons of life we all do better about this.  Lately, I have been losing my cool with the kids. 

“I told you to do the DISHWASHER! WHY IS NO ONE OUT HERE DOING IT!?!?!?!?!??!”

  My point could be gotten across just as sweetly, had I walked into the playroom and reminded them to come do it.  This action would be followed up, by giving them all a strike on the Strike Board, because SLOW obedience is the same as NO obedience.

  Dale reads through the board at the end of the day and we talk about the choices that were made, and we discipline accordingly if someone got 3 strikes, or reward accordingly for 3 stars that are a sign of GOOD behavior. 

As you can see, Tylan had slow obedience this morning when I asked him to go get his shoes on and make his bed before school. 


  Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, yelling. 

  Honestly, I get lazy at times, and its easier to holler across the house, or get their attention by yelling my instructions again, LOUDLY this time!

Dale found himself doing the same thing, sooo, he came up with “The Yell Jar”.  Whoever yells, puts a dollar in the jar.

  HOWEVER, we have kids that forget to use inside voices, and they yell sometimes too, so at that point, THEY put a dollar in.  

The only rule is, NO making someone yell by provoking!!!!!  The provoker gets the dollar charge if this occurs.

  So far, so good!  Except if you look closely at that photo, you will notice that $2 of those $3 in there, are from me. 


  What can I say, I am a work in progress!


OH, er, um, I meant…….

Oh children, it’s time to clean up, please!!  🙂


 Someone asked a good question: What happens when the yell jar is full?
Dale says the answer is: Go out for ice cream and celebrate that we don’t holler anymore!!!!!
The Yell Jar


Dear Mom On The iPhone,

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.  It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?  You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.  She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair.  She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing.  She loves it!  Cooing and smiling with every push.  You don’t see her though, do you?  Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. 

Talk to her.  Tell her about the clouds, Mommy.  The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there.  I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy.  They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. 

Because they know…

  You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are.  They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.  

  May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.


Note from Tonya:

This blog post is written for me, too!  It could just as easily say Dear Mommy on the Computer, because I also struggle to find balance between needing a break, and knowing when its time to walk away from the computer to be Mommy again.
I try to limit it to nap time and after the children are in bed. I am just asking for us to be aware of how this media time can overflow into our face to face time with our family and those around us.

I will never forget when this all became clear to for me….

The children were in bed, the house was dark, and I was getting ready for bed, when I noticed a stack of books on the edge of my desk.  Books my 2 little ones had been asking me to read ALL DAY.  A stack of books that was set aside until Mommy could get her work done.  Work turned into research, turned into facebook, turned into answering emails, turned into……NOT READING AT ALL.
I went to bed defeated that night, hot tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow, as I cried out to God to help me do better. To help me put my eyes back on the people that need me the most, my family.

Was my stuff on the computer more important than my children?  Heavens no!  But my actions are always screaming louder than my words ever could.

What did my actions say to my kids that day?

 “My computer is more important than you today.  Go play!  I simply don’t have time for you.”

  Also, may I add, that the point of this post was NOT attachment parenting, or putting your child first and falling all over yourself trying to meet their every whim or need.  That is about as opposite as you can get from what I believe and how I raise my kids.

This is about looking up and around, enjoying life in the moment, not staring at a phone!  With your spouse, with a friend over lunch, a smile to a grocery check out worker…..look UP and leave the phone behind once in a while. It’s liberating.

More here and here:

Re: Dear Mom On The iPhone


Phone Etiquette 101

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Teaching Our Children to Pray

  There are so many jobs that come with parenthood, from teaching our kids their ABC’s, to manner training, shoe tying & more importantly……Spiritual matters of the heart.


  One thing we must do, is teach our children to pray.  And it’s easier than you think!

  I have a very vivid memory as a child of about 5 years old, of something that occurred at my house in Phoenix.  My mom was on the phone, crying and upset.  She had just received sad news about my grandpa.  I recall her hanging up the phone and walking towards me in the living room, wiping her tears.  “Come here Tonya, we need to pray for your Grandpa”.  I can still remember kneeling next to her in the living room, on the floor in front of our brown velvet couch, light streaming in through the blinds making strips on it.  I recall pressing clasped hands to my forehead and peering out at her as she tearfully petitioned our Heavenly Father on her father’s behalf.   I remember feeling better and at peace when we were done.  Whether my mom did it on purpose or not, I learned something that day:  That when we are scared, we can kneel before our Heavenly Father, and find peace.

  Now, I am the mother. It’s MY job to teach my kids to go to prayer, to run to Jesus with joy or sadness.  One of the simplest things we have started is this: 

kmvt_mgn_police_lights  Whenever we hear a siren from our home, or see or hear an ambulance or fire truck zoom by while we are in the car, we take a moment and say a prayer.  We pray for the family that called 911, the fire fighters, medics and police officers to arrive safely and on time, that the Lord would spare the lives of those involved.

  This has become second nature to our children, and now, without me prompting, they bow their heads and pray…sometimes out loud, sometimes inside their heads when we hear sirens.  It is my hope that this simple thing becomes a life long habit for them.

Another habit to promote, is the phrase: “Praise the Lord” or if you are Avery, “Pwaise da Waurd!”  This is heard often throughout the day, from big moments like when we found our lost kitty, to small moments, like someone falling off their bike and not “having blood”, or Tylan finding his favorite race car he’d been looking for allll morning.  This simple praise-prayer helps them to give credit where credit is due, gives God the glory and reminds them to pray without ceasing!

  Another way we can teach our children to pray is by repetition.  We pray over our children a similar prayer every night.  And interestingly enough, after 8 years of praying this over Destiny, she has started to repeat things in her own prayers and in her own words.  And when big sis does stuff like this, the others are sure to follow.  vintage-wedding-cake-toppers

  Destiny 8, Tylan 4 and Avery 3, already have begun to pray for their future spouses, because they are parroting what they hear us pray and have, in their own way, grasped the importance of this.  They know that somewhere, out there in the world, a little girl or boy is being brought up to one day be their best friend, soul mate and help mate, and they are excited to meet them!

  In our bedtime routine, after Bible story and songs, Dale picks a number between 1 and 10.  Each child picks a number and whoever is closest, goes first.  Followed by the other kids, then mom, then Dale closes.

  Here is basically what I pray over them during family prayer time every night:

  God, we come before you tonight and thank you for our blessings.  (we list specific blessings) Thank you for our 4 children here on earth with us, and the 4 in Heaven with you.  We ask, Father, that you would bless each life in this room with health and wholeness and long, full lives on this earth.
We pray that our children would come to know you at an early age; thank you that Destiny, Tylan & Avery have already made you their personal Savior.  We pray Paxton would come to know you at an early age as well.  May our kids have a close and special relationship with you, and may they NEVER stray from the teachings of the Bible, the church, or this home.  We pray against the spirit of rebellion from ever entering this place.  May our children always stay on the straight and narrow path that you have set before them.  May they see, hear and know, only the truth.
I pray that they would show kindness and love to everyone they meet, and be Jesus to all they come in contact with.  I pray that when people see our family, they see your light shining through us.
  Lord, I just pray that our children would save themselves for marriage, that they would hang on to their purity for the treasure it is.  That they would trust in you to pick out their spouse for them.  That those girls and boys that are to marry our kids, wherever they are, would be raised in a Godly home, taught manners, obedience, hard work, and money management.  That they would hide God’s word in their heart that they might not sin against you.  That they would be taught the importance of purity and praying for their future spouses: our kids.  I pray that we would raise our children up in a way that is pleasing to you, that our boys would be men of honor and integrity and our girls would be Proverbs 31 wives.
  I pray that our children would have a covenant with their eyes to not look upon anything impure, that they would not participate in cattiness or gossip, rumors or lies, that they would be friends to everyone.  That coarse or unclean talk would not come from their lips.  That they would recognize the attacks of the enemy at the first sign and flee from temptation.
We pray that you would reveal their God-given gifts and talents at an early age, so we can nurture those and help those to grow to further the Kingdom of God.
We love you Jesus and we thank you for giving your life on the cross so we could have eternal life. 
We pray angels of protection at every door and every window of this home, and we plead the Blood of Jesus over our family as we sleep tonight.
We love you Jesus! In your name we pray, Amen.

Something Dale and I have done since Destiny was born, is pray this nightly devotion book over our children.  This book was given to me by my mother 9 years ago, and as you can tell, it is falling to pieces:


   “While They Were Sleeping” deals with 12 character traits, each topic broken down into several nights worth of 1 page prayers and applicable Bible verses.  These 12 traits are:

Kindness, Humility, Teachability, Forgiveness, Obedience, Discernment, Purity, Responsibility, Courage, Servanthood, Contentment, & Endurance

  From the preface:

A child who loves the Lord and grows to reflect His character….it’s our heart’s desire.  That’s why we work so hard to guide our children biblically by teaching values, building character and carefully setting boundaries.  But one of the most important things we can do for our children may occur in the still of the night – while all is quiet, and they are sound asleep.  That is….to pray for them- faithfully, and fervently petitioning the Father on their behalf-involving ourselves in the work HE is doing in their lives……

God can move, shape and fashion the very hearts of our children through prayer.  “While They Were Sleeping” is a 12 week prayer guide, designed to help you pray systematically and specifically of character traits to be built in your child’s life.  You will learn how to pray aggressively for your children, calling out to God until He fulfills the promises He has already graciously given in His word.”

  I HIGHLY recommend this book!  I think it will give you peace in your hearts as you think of the daunting list of things to pray over your children.  This breaks it down into very manageable nuggets for each night.  Make it part of your nightly routine, you won’t be sorry!


A Parent’s Prayer

Help Me give my children the best… not of trappings or toys,

but of myself, cherishing them on good days and bad, theirs and mine.


Teach Me to accept them for who they are, not for what they do;

to listen to what they say, if only so they will listen to me;

to encourage their goals, not mine;

And please, let me laugh with them and be silly.


Let Me give them a home where respect is the cornerstone,

integrity the foundation, and there is enough happiness to raise the roof.


May I give them the courage to be true to themselves;

the independence to take care of themselves and the faith to believe in a power

much greater than their own.


See That I discipline my children without demeaning them,

demand good manners without forgetting my own

and let them know they have limitless love, no matter what they do.

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Let Me feed them properly, clothe them adequately

and have enough to give them small allowances…

not for the work they do but the pleasure they bring…

and let me be moderate in all these things,

so the joy of getting will help them discover the joy of giving.


See That their responsibilities are real but not burdensome,

that my expectations are high but not overwhelming

and that my thanks and praise are thoughtful and given when they’re due.


Help Me teach them that excellence is work’s real reward,

and not the glory it brings.


But when it comes…. and it will, let me revel in each honor, however small,

without once pretending that it’s mine; my children are glories enough.082

Above all, let me ground these children so well that I can dare to let them go.



And may they be so blessed.

by Marguerite Kelly