Sunday, September 17, 2023

Do you Parent with strict discipline

 If your parenting style is strict and unbending, you could be Authoritarian: Low Love and High Limits.

Authoritarian parents use limits as their primary style, considering limits more important than love and relationships. They use external control to teach right from wrong and act quickly when a discipline problem occurs.

The authoritarian style views love as obedience, requiring strict adherence to structures and rules to show that love. The parenting style is "old school" and operates on the premise of  "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Traits of the Authoritarian Parenting Style:

  • Hold the child to an absolute standard.
  • Values obedience and is not prone to give and take.
  • Emphasis is on strict family rules, often referred to as military-style parenting.
  • They can be restrictive and rigid, demanding absolute obedience, often in a 'do as I say, not as I do' parenting style. Punishment is often harsh and punitive and can perceived as abusive, both physically and emotionally.
  • Exercise a high degree of psychological control over their children, harming their natural growth and maturation.
  • Expect their children to accept their judgments, values, and opinions respectfully. Style - Defined:

Consequently, children are usually quick to react and rarely get their parents to negotiate. These children perform moderately well in school and do not usually display problem behavior, but they have poorer social skills, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression.

Authoritarian parents do love their children. The parents want obedience and value this obedience over understanding the impulsive nature of children. To them, it is more important that the kid be controlled and well-behaved. The fact that the parents care enough to constantly monitor and curtail a child's playful "me" centered nature proves their love. However, in the authoritative pursuit of good behavior, the creative and happy nature of the children is often ignored.

Are you a Permissive Parent

Are you a Permissive Parent: High Love and Low Limits.

Permissive parents use love as their primary style and consider love more important than limits. These parents believe that if they love their child enough, the child will love them so much that things will go smoothly. They also think using attachment and their bond with their child will teach them right from wrong. They spend much time with the child, communicating, negotiating, and reasoning. 

The psychology of a child is primarily ME-centered. Children are not born evil or good, and they are not self-regulating. As they grow, kids learn limits from their parents. Early limitations include bedtimes, eating on a schedule, and playtime. The older the child, the more limits he is capable of. 

Permissive parents believe that love conquers all and sometimes do not consider the inability of the child to understand the benefits of love. Kids are taken care of from birth and perceive this as their right of existence. The parents need to teach that love is not a right but a benefit of acceptable social behavior. 

Permissive moms and dads think their children will return their love with obedience and acceptable behavior. Kids believe that mom and dad love them so much that it will be okay no matter what they do. When children enter school, they are confused and saddened to learn that the world does not love them.

The traits of permissive parenting:

  • Accepting and affirmative, but do not place demands on the child to enforce the child's responsibility for his conduct. 
  • Be tolerant toward the child's wants and impulses, including those of the aggressive ones.
  • Usually, they have trouble saying "no" and setting boundaries and guidelines for their kids. 
  • Tend to be lenient and avoid asserting authority or imposing controls or restrictions. These parents avoid confrontation when possible.
  • Few demands exist for acceptable behavior, like table manners or home responsibilities—very few rules for bedtimes, homework schedules, mealtimes, or TV watching.
  • Allow the children to control their behavior and to make their own decisions. 
  • Discipline is inconsistent, creating problems centering on a child's lack of responsibility, motivation, and self-control. 

Studies have shown that the permissive parenting style has a more negative than positive effect. Children are often impulsive and aggressive and lack independence and personal responsibility. This style often leads to demanding and selfish behavior rather than the child being loving and supportive of others.

Children are often insecure because of the lack of defined boundaries. While the kids have high self-esteem and good social skills, there is often problem behavior and a lack of motivation in school and adult life because the children have not learned to be accountable for their actions. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

How did you meet the Lord?


God is ever-present, looking and longing for those who will come to Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) How did you catch God’s eye? Were there times of trouble and grief, or were you struck by the truth that God exists?

I met the Lord during the Jesus movement in the. late 1970s. My friends were “saved,” and I thought they were stupid. I didn’t not believe in God; I just couldn’t see the need for it in my life. 

I am a poet, and I was working on a poem about the creation of the earth, some hippie notion of Father Moon and Mother Sun. I remembered the Bible talked about giants who walked the land, and, in curiosity, I asked a woman who was a precher’s wife, if I could come and speak with her husband.

I went to their home and spent thdiscussingalking about what the Bible says about the giants and other things. As I left, her husband said if I wanted to know more, I should read the first book of John. 

 A few days passed. As I was cooking dinner one evening, I remembered what he said. I found the Bible my mom gave me when I got married. I looked for the first book of John and opened the Bible to John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.

The power and Spirit of God entered my heart and consumed my mind. It was an unseen bright light shining through me. I knew this was the truth. And that is how, 47 years ago, I met the Lord. I have never regretted one day of this life.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Halloween-Last minute ideas for a backyard bash

Have a backyard bash to celebrate Halloween. Gather your costumed friends to gather for a backyard Halloween party that includes a bonfire, smoking punch, snacks, and games. 

Build the bonfire

If you do not have a firepit, build a bonfire pit a safe distance from the house.
Dig a shallow hole large enough to contain the fire.
Set two medium-sized logs side by side in the middle of the hole.
Place newspapers, hay, or wood pieces in the spot for kindling.
Light a match and carefully place it in the middle of the bonfire to start the kindling.
When the kindling has an intense flame, place another log across the top of the fire.
When the top log catches fire, your bonfire is good to go. Feed the fire regularly throughout the party. Be sure to douse it with water when the party ends.

Halloween Punch

Make your favorite punch and encase it with dry ice to create a spooky atmosphere. For the how-to, watch the video below.

Prepare for ghostly games

The Mummy

Break into teams of three or four. Each team will have a toilet paper roll and choose one person to be the mummy. Each team has five or ten minutes (whichever you decide) to use the entire roll of toilet paper to wrap their mummy. The winners are the team with the fastest time and the most creative mummy. Prizes can be candy, popcorn balls, or a round of applause.

Eat the Donut

Use tree limbs or a clothesline between two trees and hang donuts using string. Donuts should be slightly higher than the average teen. Choose teams of two, and tie them together at the waist. Each team tries to eat the donut without using their hands or arms—the first team to eat the donut wins. If a donut falls to the ground, the team is eliminated. 

Blindfold Drum Finder

Choose one person to be the drummer. The drum can be a pot or hollow log, anything that resonates. 

The game begins when the drummer drums once. Each player is blindfolded, and the drummer chooses a spot away from the bonfire. The blindfolded teens try to find the drummer. The drummer can make a sound every few minutes. The game continues until each teen has found the drummer. The drummer, if found too quickly, may change location. 

How to Use Dry Ice with Halloween Punch (click here)

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Quiet Beauty of Fall Morning

Quiet beauty: 

Silent sun shines softly bright
On the waning green of trees about to winter.
Penetrating the leaves
And outlining each vein.
This whispering sun caresses the grass.
With fine filters through the fence cracks,
It gently covers the house
And slips gracefully through the moss.

A fragile day, this end of summer.
The earthy breeze and tender sun
So carefully preserve the warmth.
A tended hearth.

Portend of the coming quiet beauty
Of another season.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Climate change: what is the cause? What solutions can we apply?

Climate change, global warming: We experience it every day. The increase in severe weather, the droughts, and the melting ice are all symptoms of a worldwide illness. I recently read an article discussing the causes of alarming global warming. This article states, "Human activity has rapidly increased the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution-human activities such as burning fossil fuels, including coal and oil, have increased greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere."

The article did not point out the number of factories and cities constructed during the industrial revolution. Building the factories and towns required the consumption of acres of trees to clear the land and build the needed housing. Transporting goods and people led to the need for roads and railroads. While removing the trees, the use of fossil fuels increased with few remaining air filters (trees) to combat the warming effects of these greenhouse gases.

There is always cause and effect. The cause is the deforestation of the land and increased use of fossil fuels. The effect is global warming or planetary destruction. There is a reasonable, cost-effective method to reduce carbon dioxide using this simple cause and effect model. The technique is how our planet developed the life-sustaining air we need to exist.

Trees are natural air purifiers using a process termed photosynthesis. During this process, leaves pull in carbon dioxide and water and use the sun's energy to convert this into chemical compounds such as sugars that feed the tree. But as a by-product of that chemical reaction, oxygen is produced and released by the tree

Governments spend billions of dollars seeking to control carbon emissions and develop alternative energy sources. Carbon cleaning plants capture and bury the carbon dioxide. But these plants do nothing to release breathable oxygen back to nature.

 Iceland introduced the world's largest carbon cleaning plant, claiming the plant will remove 3,600 metric tons or 7,936,632 pounds per year. About 15 plants are in operation.. It is excellent to clean carbon dioxide from the air; it is better to set up an efficient air filter that removes the carbon dioxide and returns clean air. Achieving this is simple and rewarding. 165,347 mature trees can achieve the same air purification. One tree removes 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and returns breathable oxygen.

The funding from the federal and state governments would be better used to reforest cities, develop incentives for builders to resist the need to raze land before building homes and business sites and remove blighted city areas, replacing these areas with trees.

Reforesting is not a novel idea. China, the top polluter of carbon dioxide, launched a reforestation project in 1999 to combat the damaged landscape of China's industrial growth. China has spent upward of 100 billion dollars, benefiting crops, controlling in part the carbon dioxide emissions, and has raised the forest coverage to about a quarter of China's total land.

In the U.S., combating the degradation and rise in crime in blighted urban neighborhoods could be better served by removing abandoned buildings and replacing these with trees. Many communities have pockets of blight, a breeding ground for drugs, crime, and despair. Replacing these areas with trees would improve living conditions and create an environment of hope and a future. One acre of blight can hold 80-120 trees and remove 3,840 to 5,760 pounds of pollution from the air in one year.

So what can one individual do? Plant trees. Incorporate trees into your landscaping projects. Various trees enhance any yard; some are quick growing, like the Quaking Aspen, Sugar Maple, and Arborvitaes. Whichever type of tree you choose, remember one mature tree can create enough oxygen to support 4 people.  

Friday, September 23, 2022

Life happens as we breathe

Enjoy every day in your life. Smile often, and look for the good. Our life is like a flash of light, burning bright, then gone. 

From breath to breath we are born and die.
First flashing as a star, shining with every promise,
Then settling into orbit, steady into life as breath exhales.
We turn, and what we leave is what we bring
Between the breaths.

Ecclesiastes 3 begins: There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. In this book, Solomon explores the meaning of life. By the end of chapter 12, Solomon understands that the lures and adventures of life alone are  meaningless and shares, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

I wrote this poem to read at my brother's memorial. My brother fell off the dock where he worked and hit his head. It was a sudden passing.

Friday, September 9, 2022

God's Word Became Real

God's Word is alive-it did not dry with the ink. Some Christians believe that the Word cannot be heard or understood based on individual verses, yet God speaks to the heart through a verse or chapter.

I have been perplexed lately about the disturbances I have felt in my heart. I listen to others talk and hear their ideas concerning leading people to the Lord and how they believe they should live. All are good, but something is unsettling to me.

I have been praying and seeking God about this. I did not know if I was missing something, believing falsely, or what was going on. I began to look up the word 'reasoning' because this seems to be happening in the conversations. And, in my Christian walk, I do not count on reasoning but simply believing God.

John 8:47 (KJV) He that is of God heareth God's words: ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God. I read John 8:47, and this helped me a lot. Based on my own experience with Jesus, it was not arguments or justifications, but the overwhelming presence of God and the realization that this was the truth that brought me to salvation.

During the 70s, the "Jesus Movement" began. Many of my friends were saved, and we talked about their experiences. I was not moved and did not feel a great need to 'find Jesus. I was working on a poem about the origins of creation and asked a woman I worked with, a pastor's wife, if I could come and speak with her and her husband about some questions I had about descriptions in the Bible
. We talked for a long time about the giants in the land and some aspects of what the Word said about creation. As I left, the pastor suggested I read the book of John.

Not knowing the Bible but remembering the word "John," I got out the Catholic Bible my mom had given me when I was married. I opened it, found John 1, and began to read. This is what I read, and this is what happened.

In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-14(NKJV)

Agnostic eyes read these words.
My brain translating concepts into thoughts:
Flowing electricity
Through the fortifications of all I knew.
Stunned, I stared at lilac walls,
Laced with the afternoon sun.
I sat, looking at the big book in my hand,
My brain clicking internal binary codes,
Programming inroads
Through disconnected memory files
And suddenly,
Organized sense awoke.
A veil was lifted:

I gasped, "I'm saved."

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Practical ways to recognize and managing stress

Mental stress occurs when you are frustrated, angry, or anxious. Stress can happen in a productive situation, like stressing muscles to gain strength, or stress can negatively impact the body and mind. Some pressure is good, improving motivation and productivity. But what can you do when stress elevates to an unhealthy level? What's stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. 

If it causes you to stress, that is enough. Look for ways to manage the stress that is individual to your circumstances. I am a "hands-on Controller."  I get paid good money to serve as office manager and financial wizard and to ensure profitable operational control. In this role, my stress can be overwhelming. Employees have demands, emails to answer, financial statements to compile and report, bills to be paid, and cash to receive and apply to the customers' accounts. Once I thought about running down the hall and bouncing off the wall, knocking myself silly.

Stress can include too many phone calls and emails, meetings that interfere with deadlines, and the physical stress of sitting or standing for an extended period. However, learning to manage stress is the healthier way to meet the daily challenge. When facing pressure at work, maintain a sense of humor. Realize that mistakes happen.

 One of the simplest methods is to take periodic breaks. Get up, stretch, and move away from your work area for a few minutes. If your work culture does not have formal breaks,  you can still take short breaks to play a game of solitaire or a word game, anything quick requiring concentration that takes your mind off the problem or situation. Or take a break and remain productive by sorting your mail, cleaning off your desk, or catching up on some filing. These tasks are mental breaks.

Practice deep breathing: sit up straight, inhale deeply and exhale to the count of 10. Repeat this four or five times. It increases the oxygen in the blood and will refresh you. When the focus is on breathing, your mind will relax. You may come up with a better idea or change your perceptions.

For continuous stress management, exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, which elevate your mood and help promote a sense of well-being. I like to exercise right after work. Exercising is my way to bridge the day between work and home. Walking enables you to relax, releases the workday, and renews your energy for the next set of tasks at home. You can also take an aerobic or yoga class on your way home from work or simply exercise at a gym with some good music.

Remember to include laughter in your daily routine. Laughing has positive benefits and is proven to reduce stress. Laughter enables you to be less serious about yourself and lifts your spirits. Laughter can result in more creativity and perhaps better problem-solving. I have a dark sense of humor and employ this daily. I have a voodoo doll with my boss's face glued on it and a big hatpin holding it on my bulletin board. If this is not for you, still look for opportunities to laugh. Make some time to enjoy a good comedy show or movie, the sillier, the better.

Make time to read. Concentrating takes your mind off the day and helps you to rest. For the best relief, put the trade journals aside and pick up a mystery or romance.

Managing stress is possible. It is important to move away from the circumstances that promote stress. Socialize regularly with friends. A good dinner with friends, a movie, shopping, playing cards, bowling, or taking a pottery class (or whatever interests you) help maintain a sense of self and accomplishment apart from the workplace. Recognize what your stress inducers are, and use short breaks, laughter, exercise, reading, and time with friends to allow yourself time to recharge.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Parenting Style for Successful Kids

 If you are looking for a way to raise a child who listens and succeeds, try this parenting style. The name sounds gloomy, but it is a tried and true method of child-rearing. It is Authoritative parenting, practicing high love and high limits.

Authoritative parents aim to be both firm and responsive. The goal is to set clear guidelines of behavior in hopes of raising kids who are self-confident, self-motivated, and cooperative.

These parents participate in a give-and-take relationship with their kids. They explain behavior and limits. A bonus: this style works well with both compliant and strong-willed children. This helps kids develop self-reliance, do well in school, and become socially adept.

Steps to Authoritative Parenting:

  • Listen to the child's point of view and expresses your point of view. This creates open communication and supports verbal give-and-take.
  • Make eye contact while talking to the child. This lets the child know they are listening.
  • Promote the child's independence, individuality, and creativity by being sensitive and teaching the child to have a degree of openness in return.
  • Decide and define the age-appropriate behavior expected. Clearly explain the standards and boundaries that are firmly set.
  • Be consistent in discipline: act, do not make empty threats. One or two of these and kids get the idea.
  • Reward good behavior.

 Rewards of Authoritative Parenting:

  • Children grow up experiencing safe boundaries.
  • Kids are encouraged to question in a mutually respectful environment.
  • Kids learn to think for themselves, experiencing personal independence and responsibility. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Dealing with teen's messy room

Keep your sanity during the teen years and learn the best way to deal with a teen’s messy room. Use this simple trick when your teen’s room resembles a junk yard: “Close the door”.

Honestly, mess does not bother teens. Continually nagging only exhausts you and leads to arguments.

Part of teen development is the need to be independent and exert their individuality. To a teenager, their room is their ’space’ and they interpret a parent’s nagging as a parent trying to control them.

You can try some actions in addition to closing the door to your teenager’s room. However, you have to be ready and firm.

  1. Let your teen know the day before you do laundry that his or her clothes need to be in the laundry area. If your teen is not motivated enough to gather dirty clothes, don’t gather them. Having no clean clothes is a great motivator. 
  2. When your teen leaves shoes, coats, backpacks or purses on the floor or in the main living area, simply pick these items up and toss them into your teenager’s room. Then close the door. When your teen cannot find his shoes or her purse in the bedroom, your teen will be motivated to organize.
  3. Refuse to engage in any arguments concerning the whereabouts of a particular item. Simply respond, “It’s in your room”. While you cannot control your teen’s mess, you can push responsibility back onto your teen to take care of their possessions.

If you feel guilty about throwing items in your teen’s room or not gathering laundry, buy a large laundry basket and a 30-gallon trash can. Place the laundry basket and the trash can inside your teen’s room, close to the door. This will give your teen an opportunity to put this or her dirty clothes together for the laundry. The trashcan is a place for the backpack, purse, or loose shoes and coats that are left in the living area. 

Learning to use paste wax on hardwood floors

I live in a 1940s home with original hardwood floors. I decided to use paste wax because the finish was worn and dull. I have tried liquid wax, but it wears off too fast. In my case, it was less month. I read that paste wax lasts several months, and decided to use paste wax on my hardwood floors.

I did some research and read several terrifying articles about how to prepare the floors and apply the paste wax. I did not want to sand or steel wool anything. And I was not going to apply the paste wax by hand. My house is full hardwood. I could not move out all the furniture. Yet none of the research told me how to get the paste wax out of the can and onto the floor.

I had to devise my own methods. I chose a flip mop for wax application. This has a detachable washable cover and is soft enough to hold the wax. I am too small to move the furniture, and had nowhere to put it anyway since I was doing all the floors.

I used my Mighty Mite floor vacuum (which will suck the paint off the walls) and mopped the floors with my usual cleaner. I do own a Cleaning Machine with buffing attachments, so when the floors dried, I was good to go.

First, I took a small handful of the wax and threw it on the floor. I put the flip mop on the glob of wax, centering the flip mop on top of the paste wax. I moved the flip mop from left to right to work the wax into the soft fabric. Then I applied the paste wax, spreading a thin layer on the floor. I did have to use a rag in the smaller places. It took about an hour to apply the wax throughout the house: two bedrooms, hallway, living room and dining room.

I set the timer for 30 minutes after I finished all the floors. I relaxed outside. When the time was up, I put the buffing pads on my Cleaning Machine and began buffing the first room I waxed. If you get the wax on too thick, the buffing pads will fly off the machine. I learned this.

I continued to buff and put the pads back on until the entire house was buffed. I did use the polisher pads a few hours later and again the next day. It takes about two days for the paste wax to cure.  I had to go back to the places where I put the wax on too thick over the next two days. So be careful when spreading the wax.

The next coating will go on with a Swiffer.  I am thinking the sturdy paper will be more porous and apply the paste wax better.

The floors look very good. The entire process took about two and one half hours. It was not terrifying. I didn’t need sanding and mineral spirits. I just needed paste wax, an applicator, and a buffer. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

God disarms me

Have you ever stopped in your tracks, realizing you are full of yourself? Our knowledge, our success, our achievements-these make us feel so proud and in control. Then, in a moment, we stop and realize we are not yielding to God, rather trying to make Him yield to us. Holding fast to the rudder of our destiny, all the while God is whispering “Let go”.

God disarms me.
Within my heart are many ways,
Each tumbles.
And over each is only One
Abiding peace, smooth steps of standing
Held fast and safe.

Revealed, this pride and jealousy and judgment:

The Word healed my blindness
Cut deep the weave of web that held my sin.
It burst forth, force, spilling onto the floor
So I could see.

Shame has gripped me
Realizing how I have filtered the Hand of God
Gripping it to guide, bend it to my will-
God would not, and still
His love remains.

Right now, I cannot lift my eyes to look at His loveliness
So sad, horrified, and shamed by the deceit I promoted.
I have done such damage to His plan
I cannot undo my hard thoughts and hard words
They hang in the past, billowing into my present.
I do know God, His true goodness
I feel I have taken advantage of His mercy
I can only lay, face down in His presence, begging mercy
I know He loves me always
I sorrow because I have misused the Great Love
I pray for strength to stand firm and not do it again.

God knows my heart. He remembers I am dust. I am reminded
That all I know, I want, I see, is but a wanton wisp of fleeting flesh
Fading in the light of eternity.