How To Be Happy In Your Circumstances (Part 1)

I know this post may fit better in another category, but our home is where we lay down our guard and our “real self” comes forth. Our home is where our children watch us the closest, so that is why I decided to put this post in the homeschooling section of heaven bound homemaker.

chasing happinessMost people seem to be on one common quest in life: the quest for happiness…so they spend their lives chasing after happiness. The problem with people’s quest for happiness is that most people don’t understand that they are going about it all wrong.

God has much to say about being happy in the Bible. I counted the word “happy” 27 times in the King James Bible. God has used the word, “glad” around 90 times. The word, “Blessed” is used throughout the Bible so many times, I have not counted. Many times, the word, “Blessed” means extremely happy. For example, Blessed (Extremely Happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…but his delight is in the law of the Lord…” (Psalm 1)

As Christians, we can choose to be happy in our circumstances.

Why? “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psalm 126:3)

Do you believe that the Lord has done great things for you? He said it, so it is true. Knowing this fact is the beginning of choosing to be happy!

Think on the great things the Lord has done for you and smile with gladness.

Speaking of glad, the photo at the top right is a recent picture of the original Hoover family. In this photo, taken during the summer of 2012, our children were all married. “Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:25) Yes, I am a blessed mother and I am glad.

court_houseBefore I had children, I worked in a court house.  I could not wait to say “Good Morning” to our aged, cranky bailiff. Why? Without fail, he would always say in his most cranky way, “What’s so good about it?” Then, he would gruffly look me in the eyes and wait for my reply. I knew old Mr. Bailiff’s bark was bigger than his bite.

I think Mr. Bailiff daily anticipated how I would answer his question. I was prepared each morning before Mr. Bailiff arrived to tell him just what was so good about the morning. I felt like Pollyanna playing the “Glad Game.” After I

Pollyanna-The Glad Game
Pollyanna

explained a blessing I saw in that day, a faint smile would come across Mr. Bailiff’s face. I think he secretly liked hearing my positive reply each morning to his negative question.

As I mentioned, there seems to be one common quest in life for people: the search for happiness. Most people think, “I want to be happy!” Then, the chase for happiness is on.  But there is a big problem! It seems the more “happiness” becomes our quest in life, the unhappier we become.

Many times, the quest for happiness leads to depression. Why?

1.  Selfish Happiness can lead to depression, because it is not really happiness at all. It is all about me. “I want to be happy. I want everyone and everything to make me happy.This type of happiness is dependent on the thinking, “I will be happy if…”  Selfish happiness does not lead to true happiness, but can lead to a life of misery and depression. The problem with seeking happiness from people and circumstances is that we cannot control people and we cannot control circumstances. Therefore, happiness escapes us and depression finds us.

By the way, let us never give anyone the job of making us happy.  Have we given our husband the job to make us happy? If so, “lay him off” from that expectation immediately! Have we given our children the job of making us happy? “Lay our children off” from the job of making us happy, right now! Expecting someone to make us happy is like putting poison in the relationship. Expecting someone to make us happy could kill the relationship.

divorceWhen unhappiness appears in a marriage, some couples believe that divorce or another spouse will make them happy. Statistics show that those who were unhappy, but did not divorce were happier in their marriage five years later. Years later, for those who chose divorce, most wished they had not done so. They wished they had worked harder at their marriage relationship. Grass is greener on the other side They wished they had not made the unwise choice to divorce.  The grass may look greener on the other side, but the grass grows very green over the septic tank.

The quest for selfish happiness is a blind guide in one’s life. Know this fact: Even a good husband cannot make us happy all the time. There is a “happy void” in everyone’s life that no person on earth can fill.

2.  Temporary happiness can lead to depression because it is dependent on people and on my circumstances. For example, I am temporarily happy when I get a new outfit. Temporary happiness may be as a result of something good going on in our life. We are temporarily happy when we hold a newborn baby.  The point is, we must remember that temporary happiness flits and

Retail Therapy
Retail Therapy

then flies away.

When feeling down, a lady I know will say that she needs “retail therapy.” I remember trying retail therapy, but it is extremely temporary and comes with a heavy price…that lands right on the credit card.

butterflyTemporary happiness flits and flies away like a butterfly.

 

the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Proverbs 27:20  We can only peek into stop chasing moneythe lives of the rich and famous to see how the quest over the wrong kinds of temporary happiness brings permanent misery. Chasing the illusion of what we think will make us happy will take us to a dead end.

Have you ever had the thought, “I would be happy if______________?” Don’t go there. Whatever the ________ is, it will not make you truly happy.

Have you ever wished your life away chasing happiness? “I will be happy when thinkingI am in high school. I will be happy when I am 21. I will be happy when I am married. I will be happy when I have children. I will be happy when I lose weight. I will be happy when my children get out of the preschool years. I will be happy when….”

We have just wished many years of our life away with the quest for happiness. We have lost out on the happiness of the moment. We can never get those moments back.  We have allowed life to pass us by in our quest for happiness. Instead, purpose to get up every morning with a thankful heart. Thankful people are the happiest people. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the happiness in the moments of your day. Then, be on the “look out” for these happy moments to tell the Lord,  “Thank You!”

~”How to be Happy in Your Circumstances (Part 2)” will be  continued in the next post. The best is yet to come~

Teach Children To Work Hard

When it comes to teaching children to work hard, parents need to model a good work ethic. Another important character quality to model is patience. When parents patiently teach their children how to work hard, their patience will pay off with industrious hard-working sons and daughters. Plus, children will have fond memories of mom and dad being kind to them as they learn work skills. Patiently teaching a child makes him feel valuable. Good memories are not formed with a grouchy teacher.

Teach children to work hardTo teach our children to work hard, they must spend time working with Mom and Dad. We are their examples. We must not expect our children to learn by watching Mom and Dad from a distance. It might be easier getting things done with children out-of-the-way, but let us not fall into this thinking and handicap our children by doing everything for them. Yes, it does take time and effort in child training, but the time and extra effort will pay off.

Parents must consider themselves as mentors to their children. Children should come alongside of mom and dad to be shown how the work skill is done properly. Then, let them try it themselves. We must positively encourage our children in their endeavors.

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he is a hard worker with his hands. I am the type to listen to my body. When I have worked hard and my body says “I’m tired,” I am ready to rest; not my husband! My hubby will keep working until there are no more hours in the day.

Energizer bunny
Energizer Bunny

Remember the energizer bunny?  I admire my husband for being a hard worker. In fact, as I write this post at 10:00 PM, my husband is hammering in new hardwood floors. Our grown children took after their daddy.  Dwayne, our son-in-law, who has built a tree house this week for his children, says that Kristen does not ever stop. I am grateful for our son and daughters being such hard workers, but sometimes I think, “You need to rest a little more.” Bravo for the parents of our sons-in-law and daughter-in-law. They were good examples of hard workers and taught their children to work hard also. It paid off!

We started early teaching our children to work.  Soon after children walk, they can work. Little children can pick up and put things away in the proper place. When our children were two, they loved throwing things in the trash. We had to check the trash periodically to make sure child folding laundrythey did not throw good things in there. When children outgrow the crib, they can learn to make their own bed.  We must not expect perfection in the beginning. They are learning and need encouragement for taking initiative. Let us not go behind them and redo their work. We encouraged our children to keep their rooms neat and clean.

Our children cooking
Kristen, Brandon and Melinda cooking

At an early age, all children were in the kitchen with me helping to cook and set the table. A clue to remembering where the silverware goes in relation to the plate is this: Right has 5 letters and left has four letters. Put five letter silverware to the right and four letter silverware to the left.

Our grown daughters are excellent homemakers and cooks. Our son cooks quite well too. There was a time when I did not clear the dining table nor wash any dishes. Our children gladly did those chores. Well, most of the time, they were cheerful workers.

timerMonday through Friday, I scheduled for each of our children to do chores to a timer every morning, so the home would stay fairly clean and orderly.  Each day, their chores differed so they would have variety and learn all housekeeping skills.

When Dad was home, our son took notice of his work on the cars and home repairs.  Today, our grown married son can tackle just about any job. When he does not know how to master something, he just reads up on it and does it. He believes, “If someone else can do it, so can I.” This is a life changing lesson to teach children about work and accomplishing a goal.

yard workWith yard work, at the proper age and with the proper safety instructions, sons should mow grass and keep up the yard.  We encouraged our children to be entrepreneurs.

 

 

Brandon had a very nice lawn mowing

Working hard!
Brandon, our grown son, working into the night on a home project.

business when he was a teen. He worked and paid for his college education. He now supports his family by working an IT business from home. He has done incredible handyman work on his two houses. He and Jodi flipped one house, doing all the updating themselves to purchase beautiful lakeside rural property.

Melinda ministered to children and earned extra income by teaching piano and art lessons within the home. Kristen finds creative ways to earn a little extra spending money from working within the home also.

My husband and grown children are not perfect, but they are hard workers, and this does make me proud.  Today, let us plan to teach our children to work hard. If we patiently teach them, not only will they be hard workers, good memories of learning work skills will also be passed down.  Let us teach our children that work is good, helpful to others and work is rewarding. Working with one’s hands is God’s way!

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to chores~~~do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12

He’s Not There! Thank God, He’s Here! (Easter)

A mother placed four plastic Easter eggs in front of her young children.  Beforehand, she had filled the eggs with symbols of new life.  She had a child open one; a small flower. Another child opened an egg, and inside was a plastic butterfly. Another child opened the third egg and it was a plastic tiny baby. The children discussed how these were all symbols of new life.

The last egg the mother opened was empty.

Mother asked, “Is this egg a symbol of new life?”

Empty Easter Egg“It’s empty,” replied the children.

“That’s right,” said mother. She continued, “Jesus’ tomb was empty. The greatest symbol of new life is found in the empty tomb!”

The mother proceeded to tell the Gospel Easter story about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to her children.

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 28:1-15

We need to teach our children that Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

One of my favorite movies on the life of Jesus Christ is called “The Jesus Film.” Our son, Brandon was gloriously saved as a child while watching this movie. At the end of the movie, there is a clear presentation of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. God has used this movie to save many. Watching “The Jesus Film” is a meaningful Easter tradition.

When our children saw this movie, they would say, “Here comes the good part!” After viewing Jesus, agonizing on the cross, the good part was “Up from the grave He arose!” The best part is the empty grave. When Mary was the first to visit the grave, she saw the grave was empty. After she realized Jesus had risen from the dead, she ran to tell everyone, “He is not there. Thank God he is here.” I agree with Mary!

Why is the empty grave so important?

  1.  Easter means Christ is LORD- Without the resurrection, we would have no hope. The angel told the women at the grave, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) The message of Easter is that Jesus is alive! Christ is our living Lord. Jesus has the power to resurrect us from “death unto life.” (John 5:24).
  2. Easter means man can choose new life: The first visitors to the tomb were instructed, “go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 28:7) The confused believers needed to know that Jesus’ victory over death was their triumph also. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to bring life to everyone who believes. To know Christ personally means to be resurrected with Him in newness of life.  “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  (Romans 6:4)  On April 6, 1975, I was resurrected from death unto life when I trusted Jesus to save me from my sins. This was the best day of my life!
  3. He is not there! Thank God He is here! I am putting my hand over my heart as I write these words. When you and I trusted Jesus as our personal Saviour, He took up residence within our hearts. Wherever I go, He is with me!  Isn’t that incredible? I get lit up thinking about the Easter Lilymiracle of Jesus Christ living in me. What a loving Father I have! Jesus planned everything He did…came to earth, shed His blood on the cross, rose from the dead…just for you and me. And now His home is my heart.  What love!!!  Can you say with me? If you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!

Happy Resurrection Day! I am so glad He is not there (grave)! Thank God, He is here (in my heart)!

I am Convinced God Gives a Mother Radar (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, “Keeper at home” has a three-part meaning in Titus 2:5. The three Greek meanings are stayer at home, guard, and domestically inclined.

In the 1960’s there was a TV show called, “Lost in Space.”  As a little girl, I watched this rather silly program at times when I came home from school. On the show, there was a robot, which warned the people, who were lost in space, of approaching danger.

Warning! Warning!
Warning! Warning!

When danger approached, the robot would light up orange and say in its robotic voice, “Warning! Warning!” As a mother, I have felt like this robot on many occasions.  The warning light within me would go off with most TV shows and their commercials, many movies, the internet, some games, worldly music and some children’s library books.

Therefore, we were careful about the movies and TV programs our children watched.  We were careful about what our children saw on the computer, the games they played, the music they listened to, and we were careful about what books they read. We were also careful about who our children hung out with and where they went. We knew what was going on with our children. God kept me alert to danger. Sometimes, we can even feel persecuted, or at least ostracized by others, because we are alert to danger they do not perceive.

When our children were growing up, we did not think it wise for them to minister to rebellious peers. My radar warned against ministering to the same age group because of negative peer pressure.  There is a Bible principle I knew to be true: The negative will bring down the positive. Bad company corrupts. Instead, our son and daughters had a ministry with younger children.  The younger children looked up to our children which encouraged our children to be good examples.

Our son and daughters ministered to the younger children at church. Parents, who did not go to church, allowed their children to ride the bus to our church. For Sunday School, our son and daughters team-taught 3rd and 4th

Bible Club in Day Care
14-year-old Melinda teaching a Bible Club in a Day Care

grade children.  They taught Bible clubs for the neighborhood children and for the children in day Cares. They taught character and Biblical principles to younger children in the public schools.

Our son and daughters went on mission trips to teach children the Bible in areas of the US and other countries. I can remember them ministering to little children in some unsafe areas. Because we knew they were in God’s will, there was no safer place. Whatever holds our attention, determines our actions:  spirit of fear or center of God’s will.

Even with gang members watching them teach the Bible, they were safe by being in the center of God’s will.  Once, some gang members helped our children set up their Bible clubs. Later that day, some of those gang members were gloriously saved. As Christians we must exercise caution, but we should not be afraid of seemingly dangerous situations, when we can have the peace of God, knowing we are doing His will.  If we had been led by a spirit of fear, our children would not have experienced God. They experienced God as they saw Him work through them, in the lives of gang members and in the salvation of souls.

Melinda, our youngest daughter, who is now married, still has an impact on the

Teaching and MiInistering to children
Melinda, teaching and ministering to children

lives of children.  She teaches them piano in her home, but also ministers to them encouraging them to walk with the Lord and to make wise choices in life.

Many years ago, our neighbor had a little boy, whom we taught about Jesus. Praise the Lord, the day came when we had the privilege to lead him to faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, I want to tell you about one of the times when I was grateful for my God-given “radar.” One evening, our daughter was babysitting our neighbor’s little boy. That night, I felt my radar signaling “Danger,” and I was stirred in my Spirit.  “Warning, Warning, Warning!”

My husband respected my built-in radar. After I talked with Barry, I walked to the house where our daughter was babysitting. I very casually suggested that both our daughter and the little boy come to our house to play. Once we were all at our house, I felt peace within, and we had a great time playing with the little boy in our home.

Later that night, his mother arrived and told me something that was extremely alarming to me.

She said, “I was so upset at my Dad. He had to leave the party early and come home, because he drank too much.”

I shudder to think about that! If I had not heeded the warning of the Holy Spirit to retrieve our daughter to come to our house to babysit, our daughter would have been confronted with a drunk man. I thanked God for keeping me alert.

I didn’t understand at the time why God had prompted me to go retrieve our daughter and let her babysit in our home instead. I am so thankful the Lord warned me and prompted me to take action. Though I did not understand “why” I was being prompted to take that action, God knew. God is so good. “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man.” Psalm 31:20

All Moms need to tap into the Source and ask the Lord to give wisdom and “eyes to see danger” when it comes to their children.  I am not speaking about paranoia. We should not see evil behind every bush.

the woodsOur children’s playground was the many acres of woods (city woods) directly behind our house. I had a peace about our children playing in the woods and I prayed for their safety. God protected them. Our children had so much fun and many fond memories in those woods building tree houses, carving out trails, riding their 4-wheeler, swinging from a rope across the stream and just pure, innocent kid-enjoyment.

Another mother said she was scared that something would happen to her children in the woods, so she would not allow her children to play there. I believe we should exercise caution, but I don’t believe in living our lives in fear, and stifling our children because of paralyzing fear of what “might happen.”

Instead, we should live our lives in peace, after praying for wisdom and for protection… Just be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting….  “Warning Warning!” He will lead you to the protection of being in the center of His will…then His peace will follow.

“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psalm 36:7

Dear Mother, Have you experienced God-given “Radar?” Please share your experience.

I Am Convinced God Gives A Mother Radar (Part 1)

While flying, have you experienced the rough ride caused by turbulence? Because turbulence can be dangerous, flight attendants insist on passengers keeping their seat-belts on. According to the FAA, three-fourths of all weather-related flight accidents, are caused by colliding winds, hail storms and temperature changes that shake up the cockpit and the cabin.

When flying, in-flight turbulence causes more injuries (sometimes, serious injuries) than anything else. A breakthrough piece of technology could help pilots avoid these pockets of unstable air and make for safer flights.

Southwest Airline For the first time ever, a new 3-D radar system is being installed in planes to make flying safer. The 3-D radar screen flashes bright icons identifying:

1. lightning cells
2. turbulence
3. hail

For many miles away, dangerous weather is detected by the 3-D Alert System, so the plane can avoid these areas for a safer ride. As of August 2012, the new 3-D radar system has been installed on 19 Southwest planes. Wouldn’t you rather fly on one of the 19 planes that has the 3-D radar system? I would.

In our home, I sometimes picture God as the Pilot. I picture my husband as the co-pilot, getting directions from the Lord, to be the servant leader of our family. I am convinced God has given me the job of being the “radar.” I even think God has given me 3-D Radar.

Daily I pray for God to keep our family safe; safe from worldly dangers and also to keep them physically safe. I know kids will be kids getting bumps, bruises and even breaks… I was primarily praying for safety from serious dangers and injuries.

God says for every mother to be a “keeper at home.” (See Titus 2:5) The meaning “keeper at home” is three-fold.  The Greek word, oikouros means:

  1. a guard
  2. a stayer at home
  3. domestically inclined.

One of the Greek meanings is for the mother to guard one’s household. Who in the home is the most vulnerable and needs to be protected the most? Yes, the children.

If God commands a mother to guard her children, what do you think a mother is supposed to protect her children from?  Not only does a mother help her children stay physically safe, but she also guards against worldliness and wickedness.

I am convinced God gives Mother a 3-D Alert radar system when she prays:

1. Alert to physical safety issuesWarning

2. Alert to worldly influences

3. Alert to wickedness that may harm our children.

An example of how God prompted me to be alert to danger in the next post~