You have to pay to play in our house

We are “techies.” Our family loves games on the computer and Wii. Our daughters have Nintendo DS systems and our son loves his handheld PSP. Recently I noticed a disturbing trend in our household. The more video games we played, the more we slacked off on our chores, our tempers were shorter with each other and basic courtesy and respect were on a serious decline.

I started a solid rule in our home: No more than one hour a day for computer and video games.

It was a good start in the right direction. Unfortunately, it is very easy to lose track of time when you’re playing your favorite video game. I’m so thankful the Lord blessed me with a better way to handle our video game situation!

Introducing our “Pay to Play” method!

Our children pay to play their favorite games

I grabbed a few of our old poker chips and designated colors: Blue for Rowena, Red for Daniel and White for Vivian. Each child is given four chips at the start of each day. Each chip is worth 15 minutes of game time. This counts for games on the computer, Wii or their handheld systems.

One firm rule is set: No game time until chores and school work are completely done.

The chips also come with some rules of their own. If the kids are spending their chips and we find a chore or a school assignment isn’t finished, they lose a chip (or two). But there is a perk as well, if we see them doing something above and beyond their chores – like unloading the dishwasher without being asked – and they don’t try to bribe chips out of us, then we will reward them with a chip (or two).

Miss Rowena was outside, raking the yard the other day. We didn’t ask her to do it, she just started doing it. You can be sure we gave her two chips for that!

Since we’ve implimented this new “Pay to Play” system in our house, attitudes are improving and our days are a lot more productive.

UPDATE:

When we started this blog in 2010, we had three children.

Since that time we have had THREE MORE CHILDREN. We would love for you to visit us at www.coersfamily.com to see how we’ve grown.

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My change of heart

Almost ten years ago, I was a struggling single mother with three very young children. I didn’t spend very much time with my children because I was focused on working as a journalist, graphic layout designer and copy editor for a newspaper. My children spent the majority of their time at the babysitter’s house. They would spend the night with her often. I missed out on so much. With my eyes on the wrong goal, I stumbled and fell. I fell frequently. It was a mess. Thankfully, God did not give up on me. He led me down a broken road to my husband, Scott. Settled into a comfortable marriage I felt that for once I was safe – I was loved – and I was special. During this time of healing I was able to change my focus.  About two years into our marriage, during worship service at church, I cried out to God to change me. I begged Him to use me, show me where to go, show me how to conduct my life. I wept as I cried out for His guidance.And I felt His peace wash over me. I should have known that peace was sent to help me through the changes ahead of me.

God set out that very moment to radically change me. A few weeks after I cried out for His guidance, I became very sick with pneumonia. So sick, in fact, that my husband was forced to take me to the hospital. I was admitted for almost a week. Initially, as the doctors were working on the correct diagnosis, they were concerned about a large mass in my lungs.

Apparently the infection was so condensed, the doctors initially thought it could be a tumor. My heart stopped when they told me this.

I immediately quit smoking.

I smoked a pack a day for six years. I’ve tried every different way to quit, without success. But the day I cried out for my Father to change me into the woman He wants me to be – He set the process in motion. He knew what it would take to free me from my costly addiction.

And still He continued to work on me. Shortly after I recovered, an opportunity to serve in my church’s children’s ministry presented itself. As I considered working in this ministry a warm peace, much like the one I experienced during that special moment of worship – washed over me and I knew that this was a step in the right direction.

Over the next few weeks, He continued to work on me. He opened my eyes to healthy changes in my lifestyle, our budget, our household. My Father has redirected my interest in raising my children in a simple, loving and Godly manner.

And then my God laid it upon my heart to take a leap of pure faith and homeschool my children.

The idea at first was frightening! I was not this person. I was busy at my job, I had my own interests. Sure, I love my children, I attended church, I loved my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ – but I was nowhere near where He wanted me to be.

I was NOT the type of mom to get up early, make sure everyone had a nice breakfast. I didn’t pull myself out of bed to spend a little time in prayer. I rarely cracked open my Bible unless I was at church. I wasn’t a bad Christian – but I was inactive, lukewarm. I had not surrendered my life completely to His will.

As I look back today, I’m amazed at just how far God has brought me in such a very short time. He’s used circumstances to teach me. He’s led my heart to a new realization of just how wonderful my life could be when I decide to truly serve Him. I can see now that serving in the church children’s ministry will help me as I homeschool my children. The organizational skills I’ve used at work will benefit me as I struggle to keep us on task at home. The new things I’m learning everyday will help me to become the woman I need to be –  the woman He wants me to be.

I still have a long way to go. I’m not a saint, by any stretch of the imagination. And I’m still a little unsure of myself in this new role. I don’t know if I can be “that type” of a woman. Can I be a true help mate for my husband? Can I be the way God wants me to be?

Not on my own.

But I’m not alone. I’m being led every step of the way. And I’m so very thankful that God has invested such an interest in a wayward servant.

Along with changing my attitude towards raising my children, God has placed a new desire in my heart to have more children. When I gave birth to my third child, I made the terrible decision to have my tubes tied. I broke my body. My heart is broken. God, in His goodness and mercy, has led me to The Lord’s Heritage Ministry – a ministry that helps raise money to fund tubal ligation and vasectomy reversal surgeries.  I have hope now. This chance to be physically restored is precious to me. God has recently been working with me regarding my misconceptions about submission to my husband and my misconceptions about why God created women. I used to be so concerned with my career, so concerned with “being somebody,” and I didn’t want to be “just” a housewife. It has been a struggle for me to overcome the lies that I grew up with as a child of the feminist generation.
Today I am very, very happy to be a stay-at-home mother, I’m proud to be homeschooling my children and diligently serving my church. There are still times when I struggle with that prideful nature when I bump into an old friend and they ask me, “Where do you work?” Their faces change when I say, “I’m at home with my kids.” It’s like they think I’ve given up – when really I’ve chosen a fantastic calling!
God has revealed much to me about my character and the wrong ideas I’ve had in my heart. And it’s just in time, too! God’s timing is perfect. My daughters are getting older now and they’re talking about what they want to be when they grow up. I would have encouraged them down the wrong paths in the past. But today I’m able to tell them that God has created them as women for a very special purpose. Yes, a job – a career – for an unmarried woman is important. And it’s important for them to ask God to show them their paths. But the Bible tells us as women what our purpose is and why He made us. We are helpmeets, rubies for our husbands, gaurdians of our homes! This is so wonderful to me now. It blesses my heart to tell my daughters that God loves them and wants them to be happy.
God has helped me to see His perfect planning when He created women for that purpose. I was blessed about two months ago to receive a book from my mother-in-law, “Womanly Dominion,” by Mark Chanksi. This book really helped me to realize that I was pleasing God, my Father, when I chose to serve my family and my husband with my whole heart.
Thank God for working to reveal these things in my life! I have such amazing peace. I experience so much more joy in my life. It is my prayer that I can help other women realize that they can have this same joy and peace everyday!

UPDATE:

When we started this blog in 2010, we had three children.

Since that time we have had THREE MORE CHILDREN. We would love for you to visit us at www.coersfamily.com to see how we’ve grown.

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Scriptures to help with sibling bickering

For the past month it seems our three children have fallen into a very bad habit of griping, nit-picking and generally speaking to each other in very rude ways. It has become an almost daily occurance for one, two or all three of them to be in serious trouble for the way they have chosen to speak to their brother or sister. Last night was the last straw. I had told all three of the children to work together as a team to wash and put away the dinner dishes. I told them I did not want to hear any arguing.

Unfortunately, five minutes into the task, my son was heard grumbling under his breath rather rudely to his older sister who was trying to explain to him that he had not fully washed a dish and it needed to go back into the dish water.

After sending him to his room, along with grounding him from his PSP privilages for a week, I turned to a Google search to help find some scriptures that could better illustrate how wrong it is to constantly tear each other down with words spoken in anger. I know this is a common problem for many families, so I thought it would be helpful to share the ones we’ve decided to use in our home:

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret it leads only to the evil (Ps. 37:8)

A wise man fears for the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hot headed and reckless. A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated (Pr 14:16-17)

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control (Pr. 29:11)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Pr. 15:1)

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (Pr. 21:23)

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out (Pr. 17:14)

It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel (Pr. 20:3)

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful (2 Tim. 2:23-24)

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 (Eph. 4:31)

Do everything without complaining or arguing (Ph. 2:14)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise “that it may go well with your and that you may enjoy long life on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:11)

My son and I discussed these verses and we talked about what it means to be pleasing to God and how important it is to be very careful with the way we speak to each other. It is a hard lesson to learn – not just for a child, but for anyone. Today during our lessons we talked as a family about these scriptures and we assigned Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” as our memory verse for the week. My children have a weekly verse to memorize by Friday or they will not be able to play on the computer or the Wii on Saturday. In addition to his grounding, my son will have to choose three of the above listed verses to memorize as well.

Of course, after laying out the punishment and the tears from my son, I myself cried. Parenting is not for the faint-hearted, and as a “weaker vessel” I do tend to leak quite often around the eyes. But I am praying these verses will take seed in my children’s hearts (and my own) and help us to cultivate a more pleasant way of speaking to each other.

UPDATE:

When we started this blog in 2010, we had three children.

Since that time we have had THREE MORE CHILDREN. We would love for you to visit us at www.coersfamily.com to see how we’ve grown.

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