Who are you talking to?

“Who are you talking to?” Elijah asked.

That is just one of the crazy conversations I had with my kids while I was trying to record myself.

This weekend I worked really hard to make a video for a post at Ask God Today entitled “Anastacia Maness Speaks Out“. It goes along with this month’s series where you get to meet each of the members of the Ask God Today Ministries’ team.

If you are visiting my site from Ask God Today, welcome to my blog. I hope you find some encouragement while you are here.

As promised here are the Out Takes from that video. You can also view the out takes on my YouTube channel.

Be sure to watch this whole video to see my surprise guest.

Tell me in the comments when you find her. 

 If you haven’t already, please go over to Ask God Today and watch the actual video. In it I share a little about myself, my testimony, and my passion. 

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Let Your Arrows Fly

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My grandmother and parents with their arrows.

 

My brother, Jason, posted a message on our mother’s Facebook wall. It was about the verses in Psalms that talk about children being an heritage of the Lord.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5 KJV

In his message to our mother he told a story of another missionary, 

Hey Mom, I saw this and made me think of you and Dad ….
“I’m reminded of what Jim Elliot wrote to his parents after informing them that he was being called by God to the jungles of Ecuador as a missionary. Like any parents, Jim’s folks wished for him safety and security, a steady income beneath his feet and a roof over his head. But he said to them:

Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said they were a heritage from the Lord, that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the enemy’s hosts!”
Love ya’ll and miss you.

This was my mother’s reply and I thought it was so beautiful it had to be published.

Jason, thanks for sharing this!! I love it!!! I do constantly pray for you as a missionary and Stacie and Sarah as preachers wives. It is true about the comfort parents feel when their children are doing well financially. But money isn’t everything.

I feel much better about the safety and security of my children knowing they are serving the Lord because I know he is better at knowing what is best for you all than I am.

I am thankful that the Lord blessed us with a quiver of 3 wonderful children and that you are all serving him.

France is a long way from here and if Stacie and Scott go to Argentina in the future, it is about the same distance from here. And even though Palestine, TX is not that far from us, it is still too far for me to see everything that is going on in Sarah’s life and help her through everything I would like to.

But these places are not far from the Lord. In fact, He is right there with all of you and can give you a comforting hug when I can’t. I will continue to pray for the arrows we were given to land where He wants them to and comfort me when I get to missing our arrows too much and hopefully allow us to fly over and visit them or them fly our way occasionally.

I love my parents. I consider it an honor to be one of their arrows. 

I pray when my children are ready to leave our home they will fly straight to the target God has for them. I’m sure there will be moments I will be scared for them. There will be times I will have to sit back and watch prayerfully from the sidelines. 

It might be tempting to hold on tight to those arrows in fear that they might break. However if I don’t let go would they be fulfilling the purpose God has designed for them?

Have you ever had to let some arrows fly? If you haven’t had to let those arrows go yet what do you think the hardest part will be? Please share your experiences of letting go in the comments. Those days are coming upon us quickly as our son Joshua will be 17 in June. I would love to hear your experiences and advice.  

 

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Have you gotten our free book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment”? If not click on this picture to sign up for your free copy today.

 

Linking up with Susan B Mead’s #DanceWithJesus link up.

 

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The Love of a Parent (or Elisabeth Threw up in My Hands)

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Elisabeth is trying to figure out why I gave her a rock and a snake.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” – Luke 11:9-13 KJV

I made the mistake of telling my husband that I needed God to strike me with inspiration when I was trying to write this post for Ask God Today’s email series on Love.

It’s not that the Bible is short on topics about love. On the contrary there are a lot of great verses that refer to all kinds of love. My problem was I had to choose only one.

Then inspiration hit me like a rock and I grabbed these props and gave them to Elisabeth at our kitchen table.

“When your children are hungry, what do you give them?”

I then compare our love for our children to God’s love as our Heavenly Father.

Little did I know that Elisabeth wasn’t done giving me illustrations for this post.

Yes, she threw up in my room as I was writing this article and after I cleaned it all up her illness gave me more to write about.

Isn’t that how it goes sometimes?

“How many times has my Heavenly Father cleaned up the messes I’ve made? I may have to live with some of the stench, but as I draw closer to Him, I become healthier.

Elisabeth fell asleep in my arms. As I held her close I thought about how comforting it is to know that God is right there holding me close whenever I’m not well. He knows exactly what medicine we need.”

So that is how inspiration strikes this writing mom sometimes. :) As I say in this post, “I’m not a perfect parent. I make mistakes.”

But I’m just glad that God IS perfect. He knows exactly what I need when I need it.

You can read more about The Love of a Parent by clicking on this link or on the picture above.

Have you experienced God’s love in your life? Will you let Him pick you up? Feel free to share your experiences of parental love in the comments. I love to hear your stories.

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Dear Children: A Letter from a Mom

I am writing this letter to my children. Perhaps your children might benefit too.

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Dear Children,

As your parents, we want you to know that we really do understand.
Your father and I have been in your shoes before. We grew up in different homes and under different circumstances. Those differences in our raising helps us to better know what challenges you face today and in the future.

God expects you to honor and obey us even though we are not perfect. Learn from our mistakes. Be respectful even when… especially when you disagree with us.

Not all children have godly parents. They need good examples to watch how a family should be. You may one day be a mentor that a child will look up to. Set a good example of love and respect. You never know who is watching your life and wanting to be like you.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

– Ephesians 6:1-3 KJV

The Bible says to honor your parents. Give us the respect God intended you to give.

Listen to the wisdom from our years of experience. Listen as we share what God has given us to share.

Be obedient children. If you obey, life will go much better for you. You will be learning from us and will not have to make the same mistakes we have made.

You will one day soon be embarking on your own life and adventures. Soon it will be up to you to make your own decisions. You will not be able to blame your father and I for what choices you will make. It will ultimately be up to you what you do with the rest of your life.

It is hard on us as parents to see you feel bad. When you realize you are weak in an area, we have trouble pointing out what you need to work on. We want you to know right now, we love you and only want you to be the best you can be. You should strive for your highest potential.

It is okay to feel bad about the things you do wrong. We don’t always have to feel good about ourselves. We need to feel guilty at times. How else will we know we need help if we never allow ourselves to feel how terrible our mistakes are?

God can give us the ultimate help and greatest relief from our pain. If we never feel bad, we will never strive to be better. We all need to do better.

This does not mean to drag yourself in the dirt and be depressed. No. I’m saying to realize your weaknesses. Make the necessary improvements. If you do, you will be a stronger and wiser person.

There is a place for humility. It is very easy to be proud of ourselves and of our accomplishments. It is a difficult thing to remain humble. People appreciate a humble spirit.

Be willing to put others before yourself. Be slow to brag on your own accomplishments. Be quick to praise other’s accomplishments. That is what it means to be humble. It is okay to realize you are doing well. No matter how old you are I will always love you to call me to tell me everything that you have done. I am and always will be proud of you.

Treat people the way you would want to be treated, even if they do not treat you the same way in return.

God knows your heart. Pray to him. Tell Him your regrets and fears. He is always there to listen and help.

Always remember that God loves you. He will always be there for you even if your father and I can’t. God is always ready and waiting for you to call on Him. Just as I say that I’m just a phone call away. God is even closer. He is just a prayer away. You don’t have to get your phone out and dial a number for Him. All you have to do is speak and He is right there with you to listen and help.

I have so much more to teach you. I’m very thankful that God gave you to me. I am very proud of you. I love you!

Love,

Mommy

If you could write a letter to your children or grandchildren what would you write? If you have a blog consider writing a letter to your own children. If you do please share the link with us in the comments. I would love to read what you have to say.

This is Day 24 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Only 7 days to go in this series. If you want to see a basic outline of where this series is going check out my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment“.

Tomorrow I will take a break to tell about our Jonathan’s Birthday.  Breaks like that won’t count in the series they will simply be added bonuses sprinkled in. :)

Thanks for following!

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Raising Children In a Messed Up World

As parents, there are a lot of things we may worry about concerning our children. They are a gift from God. They are a precious treasure that God has entrusted into our care.

childrenclass

A typical school day at our home. Our children working on their lessons.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

– Psalms 127:3-5 KJV

We love them, invest our time in them, teach them…

They start growing up and we begin to look around. We start looking at the world from a parent’s eyes. Who will our children marry one day? What kind of homes are our children’s future spouses growing up in right now?

It’s hard to think that my future daughter-in-laws and sons-in-laws are alive right now and I won’t know anything about them for quite a few more years.

Oh… but those years are passing quickly!

I cannot know what my children will face in their future but I can prepare them now as they start to step out into this world of brokenness.

These are the things my husband and I will teach our children now, while we wait.

  1. How to find the answers in the Bible to the different situations they may face.
  2. How to resist temptations that will be thrown at them.
  3. How to pick the right person to marry.
  4. How to be committed to their spouse no matter the storms that may come.
  5. How to set a good example for their families.
  6. How to teach their children.
  7. How to say they are sorry when they make mistakes even to someone younger than themselves.
  8. How to treat someone that thinks differently from them.
  9. How to speak words of praise for other people’s strengths.
  10. How to gently encourage someone to grow through their weakness.

My children have all different personalities. I have the quiet ones and the talkative ones. Some of my children are full of energy and extroverted while others are silent and introverted. I teach them how to get along with one another despite their obvious differences.

One day they will most likely marry someone much different from themselves. Their spouse will most likely have a different background. They will face their own challenges. I cannot predict what those challenges will be because they will be starting their own families.

It is our job as their parents to prepare them in the best way possible. I am praying for my future children-in-laws that God protects them through whatever situation and temptation they may face.

I also pray that God gives me and my husband the wisdom to teach our children these things. It may seem like a terrible thing to bring children up in a cruel world. Then again this world be even worse if God’s children didn’t raise up more jewels to bring beauty in this world of pain and suffering.

Your children are gifts from God for you to love and cherish. Teach them right.

Many times children will marry someone just like their mother or father. Are you modeling the kind of marriage you want your children to have? Do you treat your spouse with the kind of mutual respect you want for their marriages?

What are some lessons you want to teach your children before they grow up? Please tell us about them in the comments.

This is Day 23 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Only 8 more days to go. In my next post I will be addressing children and what they need to do.

This series is based upon my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which you can download for free here.

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Embracing the In-Between

I had to fight back tears yesterday. My husband and I were talking about possibly letting our 15 year old son ride his bike a mile down the road where he works as an apprentice. There are days that it would be nice for him to have his own transportation. There are days when I can’t take him or pick him up. We talked about the possibilities and like any good father my husband also pointed out some of the risks.

Elisabeth has some big boots to fill.

Elisabeth has some big boots to fill.

I cried… just a little. I mean do I have to let my little boy grow up? He wants to start taking driver’s ed. If I’m afraid of his riding his bike down the road will I be able to handle him driving? 

Then I looked over at my baby that has just started walking this past week. I asked my husband, “Why do we even teach them how to walk? Before you know it they want to drive.” And my heart aches.

I  just read a book entitled “In Between” by Jeff Goins. He talks about treasuring the moments of waiting. The moments in-between now and the next big thing. Then I realized…I am there right now.

This is my “In-Between” moment. I’m in-between milestones. In-between stages of my children’s development. 

One child just started walking. One is about to start driving. And I can only stand here and watch as all this happens around me. 

I cannot slow down time.

My husband tells me that all of this independence and growth is a good thing.

I hear what he says. I know he is right… But… It is so hard to let go. 

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I must let go though. No more worrying over the inevitable growth that must happen. Instead I will embrace these moments in my children’s lives.

I am blessed to be able to watch them turn into the fine young men and women God has designed them to be.

How about you? Are you at an In-Between moment in your life?  Please share with us in the comments.

I highly recommend you read In-Between.  Learn more about it at InBetweenBook.com

 

~♥~ Anastacia ~♥~

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15 Years of Parenting

Our firstborn son turned 15 yesterday.  It was a busy but fulfilling day. 

Today, I want to share a few pictures and memories I have from Joshua’s life.

Joshua's first horse.

Joshua’s got his 1st horse on his 1st Birthday.

 

The months my husband and I were expecting our firstborn child was exciting. We waited until the day he was born to find out whether he was a boy or a girl. When we picked out his name we agreed we wanted to give our children Bible names. We chose a family name for his middle name.

We named him “Joshua” from the Bible and “King” after his father’s middle name. If he had been a girl he would have been named Ruth Ann.

I had just learned to crochet and taught my husband. Scott was so excited that he crocheted a baby blanket that started off small (because babies are small) and then got tighter and tighter toward the top. It looked like a bell. We decided it would make a beautiful wall decoration for the baby’s room. 

The day before Joshua was born I walked through the freshly cut woods on my parents’ property.  They had sold the trees to build an addition onto the house my dad had built for us. I was already 2 days overdue. Yet I was climbing over trees and limbs. 

That night my husband had gotten home late from working the night shift. We sat in the kitchen looking up at the clock. We just laughed at my irregular contractions. I had decided I was going to be pregnant forever.

My husband headed on to bed. I went to use the restroom when… My waterbroke!

I hollered for my husband. He was in a far bigger hurry than I was. I had heard that a first time mother could take 8 hours to have her first child. My husband grabbed my things and rushed me to the car.

We arrived at the hospital. My husband joked with the attendants, “Help! My wife swallowed a watermelon!”  

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

While the doctor was getting ready to deliver my baby she was telling the nurse of her dream that night that she delivered a cow with no skin. My only thought was that my baby had better have skin. That was also the start of my groaning to my husband, “Why did Eve eat the forbidden fruit?” Yes, we humans are prone to blame someone for our trials. I blamed Eve during the birth of Joshua’s younger siblings as well. 

After 4 hours of labor Joshua was born. Red faced and angry. We knew his lungs were healthy. 

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He'll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He’ll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Many things have happened in these 15 years. He went from riding a toy horse, to riding a pony, riding horses, and now he is learning to train horses. 

For his 15th birthday we had a full day. I had a doctor’s appointment for Elisabeth. We came back home about the same time Joshua got off work. We fixed lunch, baked a cake, and then I took them all to the Library. Joshua and Ruth got to participate in some games and activities for the teens at the library, while I walked around, and chased the younger siblings. (That is a whole ‘nother blog post. Let’s just say I got a work out.)

We arrived home where their daddy was waiting to take us to the cook out with our neighbors and Joshua’s employers down the road. They have a pond that the kids have been anxiously waiting to swim in all summer.  There were other friends that had come as well making Joshua’s day even more fun. 

At the end of the day, as the mosquitoes were just coming out, we all loaded up into their Gator and Mule and helped feed and take horses out to pasture. 

We all had so much fun. But the time had come to go home.

15 Candles on Joshua's German Chocolate Cake

15 Candles on Joshua’s German Chocolate Cake

Joshua hadn’t opened any presents at this point. I had wrapped his presents in plastic bags and hid them inside a big cereal box. We asked him to clear a spot for his cake. He started moving the box and we told him to make sure it wasn’t trash in the box. I’m not sure at what point he figured out we had hid his presents. He laughed though.

We got him a new Cowboy hat to wear places other than work. His work hat had gotten quite dirty and we started having to request he not where it anywhere besides his work. He was very happy to receive a new hat.

I had been having my good coffee cups disappear. One day they all reappeared in my kitchen sink. He had been taking them in the mornings to work and kept forgetting to bring them back. So his next birthday present was a large mug. He’ll be able to take coffee in it and then fill it with water while he is working. It’s so big he shouldn’t forget it too often. 

The next thing he received was a Action Bible Story book. It is Bible stories done in Comic Book format. We also got him a book on how to write comics. He loves to draw and enjoys writing and drawing comic book characters. So both these books were right up his alley.

We want to encourage our children to use their interests and talents to improve their surroundings and bring honor to God. We got the Action Bible for him so that he can see what a Christian can do with that talent.

In what ways have you encouraged your children to use their talents? Do you have any special traditions were started with your firstborn? Feel free to share with me in the comments.

I am richly blessed to have such a wonderful son.

And to my son…  

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage;

be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:

for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

-Joshua 1:9

I love you, Joshua! I pray your 15th year will be a blessed one.

Love,

~♥~ Mom ~♥~

 

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If I Only Had One Day Left

The latest picture I have of my Papaw holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007.

The last picture I have of my Papaw, Clyde Clark, holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007. Papaw passed away July 11, 2008

I recently read a book that was given to me by a friend and fellow Tribe Writer, Eva P. Scott entitled “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course in Mastering Your Life Right Now” by Robert D. Smith.

It was a very good book. I can’t quite apply all the concepts because I’m in a different time of life than he was in the writing of his book.

For instance he was past his 20,000th day when he wrote the book. I am currently on my 13,324th day. (If you want to figure out which day you are on you can go to his website day calculator: Here)

I’ve got young children that still need to be raised. So I have to keep my situation in mind while reading his book. Not everything will apply to me.

But one of the things he mentioned in his book that really got me to thinking was to imagine everyday as if it were your last. 

If I really imagined that everyday was my last day to live, I’d never wash another dish again. I’d hide all the dirty clothes in a closet. Those things aren’t on the most important list for me. But they are things that have to be done and I cannot neglect them. 

It did get me to thinking though. What legacy do I want to leave to my children, grand-children, great grand children, great great great great great…? Okay, you get the picture.

Will I have a great-great-great…grandchild one day that will be just like me. Will she be going through the same challenges? Will she even know who I was? Do I know anything about my great-great-great…grandparents?

My paternal grandfather, Clyde Clark, wrote his story. He wrote his memories down during the years right before he passed away. I found the document he typed the other day. I could hear his voice in my mind as I read it. I want to turn his story into a book. It will be a book that many generations from now will read.

I’m not stopping there though. I want to write my own book. A book for my children and beyond. I want them to be strengthened long after I am gone. A continuing legacy of building a Rock Solid Family.

That brings me to my current plans. I must say that I feel like I’m always in the planning stage. It is hard to move from planning something to actually making it a reality. Well today is the day… No more procrastinating.

I have finally started my book. And you, my faithful followers, will be the first to read it when I’m done.

The working title right now is “Don’t Give Up: A Rock Solid Manifesto of Commitment.” I say working title because the title may change.

This summer is incredibly busy with family and church commitments. So I’m going to set a tentative launch date for the end of August. That will give me a month between the time all the summer activities end and the homeschool activities begin.

What do you think? Does the subject I plan to write on interest you? Is there anything you would like to see me include in my book? How about a future book? Is there a subject you would like me to write about? Please let me know in the comments.

I’m making my writing goal public as a challenge from a blog post by another tribe writer, Bryan Hutchinson of PositiveWriter.com. He encouraged writers to “write a post about starting on your path to achieving your dream, and then post a link in the comments.” You can read more about the challenge and his great advice here.

 

~♥~  Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~♥~

“Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!”

–Job 19:23-24

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A Poet That Knows It

This was our last week of Co-op classes for this school year. I really enjoyed teaching creative writing this semester. This week I taught the children about Poetry using the talents of my friend, Anne Peterson.

I wrote a review of her recently published book “Real Love: Guaranteed to Last” about a month or two ago. You can read my review here.

Currently Anne is working on a book of poems for children and  was gracious to share them with our class.

Today, I have Hannah, my 8 year old here helping me out by answering some questions about our Creative Writing class. She will give some of her thoughts on Mrs. Patterson’s Poetry. She also wants to share a poem she wrote in our Creative Writing class.

A picture of Hannah and myself trying to both fit in a picture on my phone after karate class.

A picture of Hannah and Mommy. We were laughing because we were having trouble fitting in the image viewer on my phone.

Which poem did you like the best in our Creative Writing class this week?

“I liked the one about the baby at the laundromat. Or the one about the fire where she says, ‘You’re God. I’m not.'”

What did you like about those poems?

“Um… The whole thing.”

What do you like about poetry?

“It’s fun. It’s good practice for writing.

It’s easy. I like doing it.”

So what did you think about our Creative Writing class at Co-op?

“It was fun. I want to take it again.”

I would say that means our class was a success. :-) I am very grateful to all my friends that helped me out by sharing their talents with my students.

Hannah has written a poem and drawn a picture about it.

 

Basketball Acrostic by Hannah

Basketball Acrostic by Hannah

Basketball

Basketball is fun

A lot of friends

Shouting cheers

Kids play together

Everyone likes to watch

The teamwork

Bouncing the ball

Around the gym

Leaping for the net

Look at them play

~~Hannah Maness

A basketball drawing by Hannah.

A basketball drawing by Hannah

Are you a poet? Do you have a favorite poem? Have you ever written a poem? You can tell us about it in the comments.

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When You Need Comfort the Most

The other day I had a blog idea in my mind and I was planning to write about today. I thought since I didn’t know what the Five Minute Friday‘s word would be today I’d write what was going on in my head and only link up if there word happened to go along with it.

Well, guess what… It did.

As soon as I saw today’s word I decided I was going to go ahead and write those thoughts down in Five Minutes today.

So here are my 5 minute thoughts on the word: Comfort

GOJonathan hug

Nobody likes pain. Life is not always comfortable though. It’s during those times that we hurt that we can feel comfort the most. If you fall down and skin your knee that is the time you want your mother’s hug the most. It’s amazing how just a simple thing can make a child feel all better.

It’s the same when we read our Bibles or hear a really gut wrenching sermon. Our lives may be messed up in an area. It hurts to hear we’ve been messing up. But that’s when we can feel our Savior’s love for us all the more. The comfort that He can give a fallen child is far above all the pain we endure having the medicine applied.

After the medicine is applied to our swollen knee all we need is a parent’s hug. After we allow God to apply the medicine of His word on our hearts, that’s when we can feel his arms wrapped around us.

Stop

Have you ever had a time where you felt comforted after you were hurt? Please share with me in the comments below.

If you are following me via email, I recently found out that there wasn’t a simple link to click on to leave comments.  But now there is you can click on the word “comments” and it will take you to the post.  Let me know if there is anything else that could use tweaking in my email updates by just simply replying to any email. Thanks for following my posts!
Five Minute Friday
 

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