Northview’s Carmel campus hosted Family Experience (FX) on March 30, 2014. FX is a program for parents or caregivers to attend with their children. At each FX, the upcoming month’s curriculum for Northview Kids is introduced.
Monthly FX events will be held at each of Northview’s three campuses. The next FX at Carmel is Sunday, April 27, 6 – 7:30 p.m. The next FX at Fishers is Wednesday, April 30, 6 – 7:30 p.m. and Greater Lafayette’s next FX will be Friday, May 2, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
BY HEATHER GOBLE-SORRELLS
Let me start by making a few admissions. I’m not patient with my kids. I don’t respond to stressful parenting situations with gentleness. I lose my cool, blow my top. Ultimately, my head splits open and I grow another head that’s a cross between medusa and an alien that breathes fire. That’s truly an honest depiction of the ‘me’ I feel in testing moments. It’s an uncomfortable feeling deep down in my gut when I lose control and allow anger to take over.
I have to remember that my kids are just that, kids. While it’s hard to remember being in a child’s shoes,I know I once was the kid too. I’m sure I wanted understanding, patience and love when I was messing up and making mistakes. In fact, I did have all of that from my own mother, but yet I’m mothering in such a drastically different way than I was mothered.
My mother emulated most of the fruit of the spirit for me growing up: love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. The only things missing were peace and self-control. My mother worried constantly about a whole host of things, mostly having to do with me getting sick and dying. Seriously, no joke, my mother was obsessive compulsive about that and I was not a sick kid. Also, my mother was a shopaholic. Thankfully over the years, my mother has improved on both peace and self-control in her own life.
I would like to think that, similar to my mother; I also emulate many of the fruit but am lacking gentleness and patience. I can go 2-3 days being a gentle and patient mother, especially when the kiddos are rather well-behaved and nothing earth-shattering happens. Then one kid brings home a ‘D’ because of something simple like not reading the directions and the other just will not obey.
One such week, I prayed that God would have something on obedience for the kids during Sunday School. God answered my prayer during the series we recently finished, The 9, where one week was on gentleness. I remember hearing the following that week: ‘water – like anger out of control- can cause great damage, but under control can cause great results.’
I do not want to damage my children by my utter lack of gentleness and patience; I want to be an example of Christ to them like my mother was for me. I know that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23] and me, like my children, are imperfect children of God in need of both gentleness and patience.
My most important job as a mother is to raise my kids to be Christ-followers, not for them to get straight-A’s, remember to pick up after themselves or to obey every time they are asked.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [James 1:19-20].
The Tuesday Spiritual Column is entirely the opinion of this week’s writer and does not necessarily reflect the view of Northview Church as a whole.
BY DAWN KILLEBREW
When I was asked to write this article, I hedged a bit. Discuss how to stay sane while raising kids? I have to admit, I’m not sure I’m equipped to comment on that with any authority. I am raising a bunch of kids, so I have that going for me. My husband, Stan, who serves as Next Steps Pastor for Northview Church’s Carmel campus, and I have five kids (ages 13, 13, 12, 11, and 9), but it might be debatable as to whether I am fully sane. For example, my sweet daughter recently texted me (for the millionth time) and asked where I was. My text back to her simply read, “I am dead.” I’m not sure that is evidence of a completely sane mom. Additionally, I recently helped my son with his math homework, and the next day he brought home the graded paper with a big fat “F” at the top. Since he is only in fourth grade, and I hold a bachelor’s degree for which I had to pass many math classes, I am going to go out on a limb and say that my brain has lost a bit of its functionality over the years. Maybe it’s the kids. Maybe it’s old age sneaking up behind me. Whatever it is, allow me to be the first to admit: I am not fully sane.
I will never claim I know exactly what I am doing over here at Casa de la Killebrew. However, I can say that, as of this moment, I have weathered the storms of parenting without being committed to any sort of psychiatric center. And through those storms, I have found it essential to become intentional in taking steps to maintain some shred of sanity. So I’m going to share with you some of the things that keep me sane. I hope there is something in here that can bring a bit of sanity to you in the midst of the struggle of parenting. And if you are a parent, I know that you know the struggle. (And if you are one of my siblings, no jokes about my sanity in the comments section. Skeletons are meant to stay in closets.)
So here it goes. From my house to yours, here are nine tips for staying sane while raising kids.
1. Have a safe outlet.
I recently got to spend a few days with my best friend. It had been too long since we had been together, and we talked for 23 hours straight. The only lull in conversation was when we stopped talking—at 2:00 a.m.—so we could sleep and gain enough energy to resume talking the next morning. You need that. You need somewhere you can spew your feelings, even if they are messy. During our time together, my friend actually said to me, “I’m so glad you can say that out loud to me.” Then she paused for a minute and added, “You know you should only say that out loud to me, right?” That’s the kind of outlet I am talking about: someone to whom you can spew things in messed up words and who knows you well enough that he or she hears your heart rather than your mouth. My mouth messes up what I am trying to say when I am spewing emotion, but my friend hears the message of my heart.
If you don’t have that, you can. There is a quote I really like that says, “If you want a good friend, then be a good friend.” I know that sounds like a poster that would have hung in your guidance counselor’s office in the 90s, but I really believe it. If you don’t have that friend already, then start by being that friend. Before you know it, you will have that friend. Reach out. Someone else is out there waiting for you to answer that call in his or her life too.
2. Take time for yourself.
This one is especially important for parents with young kids. If you are alone in a room of moms for any amount of time, you will eventually hear someone joke about how the only quiet time we get is when we are in the bathroom…and even then it’s only until the kids realize we are in the bathroom. When my kids were young, it was so bad that I started leaving the door slightly open when I went to the bathroom to throw them off. When they came to look for me, they would see the door open and assume I was not in there, buying me at least another 60 seconds of peace before one of them busted in with an emergency of epic proportions. You know, something like their brother said the “F word”: FART!
Because you no longer have alone time, you truly have to be intentional about getting time for yourself. If you can take a day off or a weekend off or truly get away, then do it. And don’t just quickly say you can’t. Really think about how you can get some time away. Can you swap with a friend? Can you send your kids to sleep over at grandmas? Think about it, and see if you can come up with something.
For some of us, it really is not possible to get away. In that case, I am going to offer up a suggestion that worked for me. When my kids were younger, I would split them up (no more than two in a group) and send them to different areas of the house. I would help them figure out something to do that would keep conflict to a minimum. Then I would set a timer and tell them to stay in the area I gave them until the timer rang. I used to tell my kids they were not supposed to come get me unless the house was on fire. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but my kids know me, so they knew that. (It’s good for them to work things out on their own rather than coming to you for every little thing.) Then I went somewhere within yelling distance and did something I wanted…or did nothing at all. Please notice I said “within yelling distance.” That means you are far enough away that you can’t hear the kids talking (so you can enjoy your time), but you can hear them yelling (so no one dies). And by the way, if I hear that you institute this suggestion but use your free time to fold laundry or wash dishes, I’m going to hunt you down and ring your neck. (Maybe it’s not appropriate to make threats on a church blog, but I just can’t help myself. I am a passionate person.) Alone time doing chores does not count!
3. Spend “special time” with each of your kids.
Spend time with each of your kids one-on-one. Just like we need to get away from our kids, we also need to spend concentrated time with each of them. Sometimes the thing that charges us up is seeing our kids, communicating with our kids and listening to our kids. When our kids were younger, we use to call this “special time.” The way I see it, special time can fall into one of two categories: impromptu special time or planned special time. I can plan to take my kid who loves horses to ride a horse, and that is great, but I can also take him to run an errand at the spur of the moment. As long as I am being intentional about the time we are together and am concentrating on that child, it is special time. If I am rushing around with my grocery list, pulling the child behind me and paying no attention to him or her, then I can’t count that as special time.
When you are deciding what to do with each child, remember who each child is and what he or she needs from you. I have a kid who loves to cook, so he is the one who I take with me most often if I need to grab some groceries. If you have a talker who needs a solid 30 minutes to tell you about his or her day, don’t take that child to the library for story time. If you have a child who has a hard time with conversation, take him or her somewhere that sparks a conversation about something he or she loves. Sometimes when my big kids can’t sleep, I take them to grab a taco, and we chat about life while they are tired. This works like a charm with one of them; he talks most openly when he’s tired and a bit loopy. If you have more than one or two kids, then you will likely want to keep track of who you have spent time with so that you are keeping it even. They don’t need to see that you are keeping track, so put it where they can’t see it (but do keep track).
4. Get by with a little help from your kids!
Children can do chores shortly after they can walk. Now, maybe they are not really helping at that point, but they are learning to help, and before long it truly will be helpful. Some ideas of early chores for young children are letting them push a shortened mop around on the floor and having them take dirty clothes to the laundry room, wipe off the table, put their dishes in the sink or set the table. As your kids get older, their chores can expand and can be very helpful to you and to them. After all, you are not making all the mess, so you should not have to clean up all the mess. Plus, you are raising kids to leave your home and be independent people. In order to do that, they need training. Sometimes I find myself frustrated with the teaching part of chores. We all know that in the beginning it’s much easier to do it ourselves. However, we have to keep teaching our kids and letting them fail a bit because if we don’t, it won’t be helpful for us or them. I am thankful for the training my parents did with me. By the time my brother and I left for college, we both knew how to change the oil, replace headlights, change a tire, do the dishes, sort our laundry and mow the grass (though the ability to cook still somehow escapes me).
5. Treat yourself.
I have to be totally transparent and tell you that when I was the mom of five kids under age 5, there were times when I truly thought I could not do it for one more day. Parenting five little ones was very hard for me. Now, I am going to ask you to be like my best friend and interpret my heart here. I loved having five kids under age 5. Those were some of the best years of my life, but they were hard. At times, I wanted to crawl out of my skin and go anywhere but where I was and do anything but what I was doing. There was one day that was particularly bad for me. I don’t remember all the issues of the day, but I do remember coming downstairs and finding my toddler on top of the refrigerator with an empty box of cheerios in his hand, a smile on his face and cheerios everywhere. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I called one of my friends and melted down. She had a suggestion then that saved a piece of my mind. She asked me to commit to give myself a little treat every day for one month. It sounded ridiculous to me, but I value her wisdom greatly, and I told her I would try it.
Now, we were not talking about buying myself a new pair of shoes every day (though I do love retail therapy in a slightly unhealthy way). That month brought about life change for me. For that month, I found small things to treat myself with every day. I love pears, so one day I bought myself a really nice pear at the grocery store for my treat, and for the next day’s treat, I ate it. One day I bought myself a new colorful gel pen. One day I wrote a short poem during the kids’ afternoon nap time. One day I picked up a shampoo sample at the salon and washed my hair in a shampoo that I would have never bought for myself. One day I let the lady at the makeup counter spray some perfume on me. One day I went on a walk. One day I painted my own nails. It really was not about the small thing I bought or did; it was about the fact that I was doing something intentional for myself. For me, it was a reminder that I was important. We focus so much time and energy on our kids that it’s easy to forget we are important too. These daily reminders were genuinely life saving for me, and though I do not do them anywhere close to daily now, I am still intentional to do little things like this often.
6. Remember that you are not superwoman (or superman).
This one is short and sweet. You do not need to say “yes” to everything. You don’t need to volunteer in your kid’s classroom, chaperone every field trip, drive carpool for your friends, make cookies for the bake sale, etc. These are all good things, and you should do some of them. However, you have to know your limits and be OK with saying “no.” Repeat after me, “No.” Wasn’t that easy? If you are a parent of a toddler, you know that word all too well. Your toddler has trained you well on that word, now go make him proud and show him you know how to use it.
7. Say “yes” to something.
I know I just said we have to say “no” a lot, but please remember to say “yes” to at least one thing that makes you feel alive. One of my favorite quotes is by Harold Whitman, and it says, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” You are good at many things other than parenting, so be sure you are still using the talents God gave you. You are not a one-trick pony. You can parent and still devote some time to doing things that God knit you together in your mother’s womb to do. Please hear me on this: keep doing those things. It’s not a fun life when we stop doing the things that make us feel alive.
8. Pray more than you worry.
Something every parent does is worry. I think it’s part of the job. I know I have made worrying a full-time job and my favorite pastime during some periods in my life. I’m not sure it’s realistic to stop worrying. After all, sometimes our children climb on top of refrigerators when they are way too young! But I do think if you are worrying more than you are praying, it’s a good bet that your praying/worrying ratio is out of balance. I’m not sure how anyone stays sane through parenting without lots of communication with God, and yet I forget it too often. Call on Him to lighten your load. He wants to bear your burden.
There is just no feeling in the world like laughter. Look it up; it’s good for you in so many ways. Here are some ways we intentionally bring laughter into the Killebrew home:
- We have a book in which we write funny things. If someone says something that makes us laugh out loud and he or she makes it into the book, then that person earns a prize.
- We play pranks on each other. This has to be trained into the kids, or the pranks can be poorly thought out and end up hurting someone. In our house, the kids know that if they run a prank by me, not only will I help them think through it, but I will help them execute it as well.
- We dance. Now, maybe you dance better than I do, but when I dance, there is always laughter!
I wish I had more in the tank for you…more ways to be sure this parenting thing doesn’t make you crazy. I’d like to round it off at an even 10 tips, but as you can see (below), I am not really much of an expert on how to stay sane!
BY HEATHER GOBLE-SORRELLS
Read how one Northview couple finds strength to deal with their son’s rare blood disorder. Discover how others have helped and how you can help too.
Kane is a vibrant, energetic, super-hero-loving four-year-old. He is commonly found playing with action figures, wearing a mask of some sort and playing with his two older brothers, ages five and six. Sure, he might be a little on the small side due to slow growth, but apart from that, you wouldn’t look at him and know he’s fighting a rare and potentially debilitating disease.
Likewise, in befriending Kane’s parents, Liz and Dave Lamberson, you would never know they are struggling as a result of Kane’s medical condition since they always have smiles on their faces and are always willing to help others. When discussing Kane’s condition, Liz is stoic, brave and optimistic. “We pull our strength from God and have grown closer to Him because of Kane,” says Liz.
Kane was diagnosed with congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type 1 (CDA) at age 18 months. CDA is an extremely rare disease inherited at birth; there are less than 300 cases worldwide. CDA causes the body to absorb too much iron which can build up and damage the body’s tissues and organs. Since 2011, Kane has been undergoing blood transfusions every six weeks. A possible long-term cure is a bone marrow transplant. “But the risks outweigh trying it,” says Liz.
Most adults don’t like needles or having their blood drawn and Kane is no different. Liz has to wrap herself all around him so he is still enough for the nurses to do their job. “I pray before, during and after,” says Liz. Kane’s transfusions take most of the day to complete, but at the end of them he’s ready to play.
Kane needs less than a bag of blood each time but without this life-saving blood, Kane’s organs would slowly shut down. “He’s alive because of other people,” says Liz. Neither Liz nor Dave are compatible blood matches.
Because blood is so valuable to Kane, the Lambersons are hosting a blood drive. Stop by the Indiana Blood Donation Centers in Fishers or Carmel on April 26 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. to draw up your sleeve and give blood. While the blood at the drives does not go directly to Kane, every little bit helps him and others in need of blood. Kane receives type O+, so you are truly in demand if you have that blood type.
There is also a fundraiser, click here, to help offset some of the Lamberson’s out of pocket costs for Kane’s treatment. Most of the people who have donated so far—the Lamberson’s do not know personally. Liz says the generosity they’ve seen through the fundraiser “is touching and brought tears to [her] eyes”.
To follow Kane’s journey, check out Liz’s blog by clicking here.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
BY DRAKE D’AMBRA
Even though Northview Church’s Hilltop Sports men’s flag football league is in the midst of its offseason, the league’s impact is still being felt around Northview.
“Hilltop Sports leagues are wonderful opportunities to have good, clean, competitive fun with other believers,” says flag football participant Jason Williams. “Hilltop football specifically is a great way to introduce guys to other men at Northview.”
The flag football league provides a way for men to bond and create friendships, but is also an integral part in bringing guests to Northview and connecting them to the church.
“Hilltop Sports has provided an incredible opportunity for the men of our church to invite their unchurched friends to a fun, competitive and uplifting environment,” says Family Ministry Pastor Kurt Brodbeck. “We then get to use that as an easy way to invite others to church.”
While the Hilltop Sports football league is flag football, the men on the field enjoy contact and the competitive nature of the game. The physical play does not depreciate the sport because Christ is the most important element of the league.
“There is nothing wrong with [contact and competition] if put into the proper framework,” says Hilltop Sports Director Mel Arnold. “Giving the men parameters to work within and keeping a focus on Christ and His teachings has allowed our league to be set apart from other adult flag football leagues.”
The competitive spirit of the flag football league is on full display in the trenches. Full contact is allowed between offensive and defensive linemen; however, when the play ends, contact between both teams halts.
“It’s good practice when tempers do flare and everyone is able to show their sportsmanship to resolve differences quickly and move on with the game,” says Williams.
One of Arnold’s favorite moments in games is when a lineman falls to the ground as the result of a clean block from the opposing lineman. “Then the opposing player reaches out his hand to help the opponent up only to be met with a smack on the backside and the comment, ‘Nice block; let’s do it again.’”
“With the strong team camaraderie and the ties binding men together, lives have been changed on the football field,” says Arnold.
Last November, Brodbeck and other flag football players Scott Frei, Steve Gill, Schawn Walthall and Jason Williams qualified for the Hilltop Flag Football’s first Hall of Fame ballot. When the dust settled and the votes came in, all five became Hall-of-Famers.
In order to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, each candidate must have displayed a competitive and Christ-like spirit on the field, been a team and spiritual leader on and off the field, and hung up their cleats for at least two years.
“It’s not about football, it’s about the guys being together,” says Brodbeck. “So to have guys you have spent a lot of memories with on a football field vote you into the Hall of Fame, it is actually a special honor for those of us who have shared that experience.”
Although flag football is just a game, it’s a microcosm of life for the men who take the field.
“We remind the men Jesus gave us 100 percent. The least we can do is give Him 100 percent in everything we do – at work, at home or at play,” says Arnold. “To be a true follower of Christ, we must give Him our best all the time.”
BY HEATHER GOBLE-SORRELLS
Northview Church attendee Scott Gentry received $20 in his envelope during the Northview pay-it-forward weekend, when $83,000 was dispensed among Weekend Service attendees. The money was given with Lead Pastor Steve Poe’s challenge for each person to prayerfully consider how he or she would spend the money to glorify God.
Gentry says he and his wife prayed for about a month before making their decision on how to use the money. “It honestly was the first time in my life I can really say I felt God speak directly to me – and what an incredible feeling that was.”
Gentry volunteers in Northview’s 11 a.m. second grade Northview Kids classroom. Every weekend the students learn Bible stories and memorize verses. Gentry and the other volunteers noticed some of the students were unfamiliar with the names of books in the Bible and because of this, couldn’t find verses or stories. “So, the idea was born. Our way to impact the lives of the kids in our 11 o’clock second grade classroom was to buy each of them a Bible to use to go one step further in our teaching—to teach Bible basics,” Gentry says.
With the help of his wife, parents (who also attend Northview), and Northview Kids Elementary Coordinator Bryan Baker, Gentry turned his pay-it-forward money into a life-changing opportunity for the second-graders. Collectively, they donated $200 and purchased 50 Bibles, one for each of the second grade students in his class.
“You should have seen the faces of the kids when they found out they were getting their own Bible. The class started to cheer. It is amazing when you look at how something so simple can make such a lasting impression,” Gentry says.
As part of the class, they are teaching the students how to look up verses and mark the Bible so verses are easier to find later. Gentry is hopeful this yearning for more understanding will continue at home for these kids and not stop after they leave Northview on Sunday afternoon.
Gentry understands his time is limited with these children; he wants to make a difference in their lives as much as possible. “As volunteers/teachers, we know we only have our class once a week for a little over an hour; we feel if we can show them each week how to use their Bible, they will look to learn outside of class, and when that happens, the true impact of the Holy Spirit will really show itself.”
Ultimately, Gentry truly believes this was God’s plan. By giving the kids Bibles, Gentry says, “Our hope is this is just the beginning of a new generation of believers. The volunteers in our classroom always say, ‘if we can lead even one child to Christ, then we have been successful.’”