They are three simple words “I love you” but they have such a powerful impact in a child’s life. As mums I assume most of us say “I love you” to our little ones multiple times a day. I know I say it sometimes without even thinking to my girls because I do love them but it was not until recently that I really grasped the importance of these words in my girl’s lives.
This realisation came while I was listening to someone talk on God’s love for us and it hit me at that moment that God loves me. Of course I knew this as I have been a Christian for nearly fifteen years but sometimes I just think of God as loving all people and forget that God loves me, personally. He knows everything about me, my every thought (some of which I would be ashamed for even my closest people to know), all my selfishness, all my laziness and of course the occasional good thing I do too. Even knowing all these things He still loves me! Most people who know me now find it hard to believe it but I did a lot of things I am not proud of when I was younger. For me the fact that God knows my deepest darkest secrets and he loves me the same is amazingly overwhelming.
Being loved unconditionally is a rare thing in today’s world. Even many marriages rely on the condition that I will love you as long as I am “in love” with you or as long as you treat me as I think I should be treated. It seems that the parent/child relationship is the one relationship in our world where people really demonstrate unconditional love.Although too often we hear stories about children from homes where they are never told they are loved or are constantly told they are stupid or useless. It is no wonder that often these children grow up with emotional difficulties and low self esteem
Recently, I heard Emily repeat back to us “I love you...even when you are naughty” . In our family we want to demonstrate the unconditional love we have received from God to our children. We want them to know there is nothing they can do or will ever do that will cause us to stop loving them. Hopefully as they grow older they will be able to have an understanding of God’s unconditional love for them (from our very flawed example) and they will love others in this way .
Being loved unconditionally is the most freeing thing in the world. When you are loved without condition we are free to be ourselves without fear of rejection because of something we do, say or think. We also want our children to know that even if they choose not to follow what we have taught them from the Bible they will still be loved unconditionally by us and by God. We also want them to know that even when it seems that people are judging them by the way they look, or by the things they say, or their life circumstances that they are always loved by us and by God.
It is my hope and prayer that my children will not look to their physical attractiveness, their intelligence or their achievements to find their self worth, but that they will know that whoever they are and whatever they do they are loved.
How can you work on loving those in your life unconditionally in a world where love is almost always conditional?
As some of you will already know I purchased The Organised Housewife’s Christmas Planner a few weeks ago and was asked by a reader to do a review of the planner. This review was not requested by The Organised Housewife’s blog and I am not getting anything out of this review I just like to share good products/ideas when I find them.
I purchased the planner for a few reasons, one was that it was on sale (always appealing), the next was that we are having Christmas at my place this year and I also just wanted to be much more organised with presents and budgets than I have in previous years.
The Christmas Planner is a downloadable file which you print off yourself and which you can reprint each year to make Christmas planning easier. I was very excited and went out and bought a lovely green folder to place it in.
The sections contained in the planner include: Planning (Calenders, checklist, to do list), Budget, Gifts (Family gift list, friends gift list, stocking stuffers etc), Christmas Cards, Meal Plan, Traditions, and Travel.
As mentioned before the Budget section was important to me so it was the first section I filled out. It has four columns with Name, Budget, Actual and Difference. I found this helpful as too often at Christmas I spend more on gifts than I plan to. Now I can have a record of where this is happening and by how much I am overspending. It also has sections for budgeting Cards, Decorations, Food and Events however I am yet to fill these sections out.
The next most important section to me was the Gifts section. I found this section a little confusing as it has three sections each with “Name” written above and for each name it has gift ideas with budget, actual and a tick box for purchased. I am not sure whether it is supposed to be Family name ( i.e Smith Family) or for each family member (eg Emily). I have still found it very useful but I am not sure I am using it correctly and it also seems to be a double up with the budget pages.
It has a great page for keeping track of online purchases made and a place to list ideas for stocking stuffers, advent calendar gifts and a shopping list with what items you are going to buy from which shop. As we are often asked for gift ideas for the kids and for us from relatives, I would have liked to see a “wish list” page for the family members.
My favourite section is the Meal Plan which begins with a place to record your favourite Christmas recipes and where they are located. Mine are in many cookbooks and Magazines so this will help me greatly in planning the meal. Then it has each course and other important additions (snacks, drinks, bread etc), what they are and who is bringing them. The section also includes a baking and cooking plan and a grocery list.
I don’t generally send cards but I have decided to send a few so have made use of the Cards Section which will help me know who I have sent them to and received them from.
Finally there is a Travel section which is pretty basic and not all that useful for those who have to pack for children but is great to remind us mums to actually pack stuff for ourselves.
Would I recommend it? Yes! I have already been using it well with the gifts/budget sections and the meal planner part will be great. It is also something that you can use year after year so you get your money’s worth. I generally have a scrap of paper lying around the house with ideas for gifts and documents on the computer for meal plans for Christmas so this keeps it all in the one place and won’t get lost. It is only $14.95 and it emailed to you as soon as payment goes through. I paid with PayPal so it was pretty quick.
I have been too disorganised with my blogging to link up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday in the past but here is my first attempt.
Most Mums think their kids are the most beautiful creatures in the world. In my eyes she is gorgeous, but little Claire pulls some of the most unattractive faces, and combined with that natural mullet I think to myself....only a mother could love it ;)
With the weather warming up my children have decided that less is more in the clothing department. Recently, I have found them stripping off whenever they get the chance which is very cute (although sometimes a little embarrassing).
Ever since Emily (2 and 3/4 years ), our eldest could run we would allow her to run around the house naked either before or after bathtime. She loves it, and we cry out "Run Nudie, Run!" while chasing her around the house tapping her on her bare little bottom. Of course as winter comes we forget all about the Nudie run and rug up ASAP.
Recently Emily has introduced Claire (17 months) to the Nudie Run. Each afternoon at bathtime Emily decides it's time to be a Rudie Nudie (or a Nudie Nudie) as she calls it and calls to Claire "Tare, you want to be a Nudie Nudie too?" to which Claire responds with a "Yeh!" and they both strip off and run around the house giggling and being chased by us.
In a world where nakedness is expected to be hidden and modesty is required of us from an early age it is really lovely to see two little people being able to enjoy the freedom of being naked and not feeling ashamed. It reminds me of what I read in the Bible recently about Adam and Eve being naked and not ashamed when they were first created, before sin tainted the world and their views of themselves. I can't even imagine what that feeling would be like anymore but I love that my little people are able to experience it and to enjoy their bodies.
I found a great book recently which I instantly knew my girls would love. It is called "Rudie Nudie" by Emma Quay. It is about two little kids (who in the pictures look a lot like my kids..even though one is a boy) who are enjoying being Rudie Nudies after a bath. I couldn't resist buying it and it has already become a favourite at our place. The pictures and the words are simple and it is just as the description on the back of the book says " A delightful celebration of those nude moments between bath and bed time"
This is not a review at all I just thought I would share about this cute book I found.
With Christmas coming up (and most importantly for me, my birthday next week) I know we are all thinking about what lovely gifts we might be receiving from our loved ones. Ok..... maybe that is just me and the rest of you are better at giving than receiving. Whatever the case, there are often things that we would really like or really need to get for Christmas or birthdays but there is the dilemma of whether to tell people exactly what you want or should you just drop some hints.
Telling someone exactly what you want means you get exactly what you want, however the person feels like they have not put any thought into your present and you feel like you didn't get a surprise. On the other hand if you drop some hints, you may get what you want and it kind of feels like a surprise but there is a very real danger that your hints will go unnoticed and you could be disappointed.
This is the situation which occurred in our household a couple of years ago. I had previously told my hubby that I really wanted to see Wicked the musical and that it would be a great present *hint, hint*. However the problem was I hinted in March and my birthday is in November. By the time my Birthday was drawing nearer when hubby asked what I might like for my Birthday I said "You should remember..I told you already". I think I wanted him to feel like he was thinking about it and planning it and that it would be a lovely surprise. When the morning of my Birthday arrived I was presented with a smallish box. "Maybe the tickets are inside?" I thought to myself. However as I unwrapped the present there was a digital camera. I couldn't hide my disappointment "Wasn't this what we were buying for each other for Christmas" I asked, which of course told my husband that he had failed in knowing my hints. So now we were both disappointed and I looked unbelievably ungrateful for such a lovely gift.
Now I am really showing you my shallowness! I hope you don't stop reading my blog after this post...:) In hind sight the camera is a fantastic gift. It has been a wonderful and longer lasting present as it almost daily provides a record of our growing family. This story is now just a silly joke between my husband and I about the uselessness of me dropping hints to him (and my lack of hint dropping skill). These days if I want something....I just ask. I still do like a surprise and we will often buy each other a small "surprise" present where we can show that we have put thought and love into choosing it.
So that is why I don't drop hints anymore. If I really want or need something I just tell people. It is so much easier. Of course, the best things to ask for would be unselfish things such as Compassion's Gifts of Compassion where someone can buy you a gift that someone else benefits from in needy countries.