honoring them...

Erin Adams had the great idea of doing a blog party, where we write up a post about things we are thankful for, with regards to the way our parents raised us. Things that we hope to pass onto the next generation. After getting married and starting my own family, there is a lot I look back on and think "how can Jason and I strive to do even better." Not in a bragging sort of way, but just knowing that what was good in past generations ought to be better in the next. I know for sure its our 4 parent's desire - to see this generation far exceed theirs. I know its my hope for my children's future as well.
So when I look back over my 30 years {23 of them spent in my parent's home} these are things I give thanks to God for - things I saw/see His hand in and hope to pass on to my kids.

* having God's free gospel shared with me at a very young age. Bible stories being read, questions being answered and being encouraged to seek God's Word and apply it to my life, in every area.
I've very much appreciated the Spiritual consistency in our home; yes was yes and no was no. Convictions stayed the same throughout the years and I knew exactly what to expect ahead of time. Never wondering "I'm not sure - DO we do that now or are we still saying its wrong?" kind of thinking/living. Rules, decisions (convictions) didn't sway based on social acceptance or how the kids felt about it. Maybe I didn't love it all back then ;-) but I very much have appreciated it in my older years.

* our participation with AWANA 5 day clubs and the like -- memorizing Bible verses, with the understanding of having them IN my heart and not just in my brain.

* my Mom's love and sacrifice in taking all of our school years and spending them at home with us; taking all of her time and energy to give us the best education she could. I am so thankful for the time spent with my siblings and for the time spent with my Mom; for the relationships that were built during those years and for the amazing memories I have now. As I begin these years of teaching my own children, I am just starting to see the sacrifice, energy and love she put into it for the 5 of us.

* simple, but frequent family getaways. We didn't have a lot of money growing up. But my parents went out of their way to go on family getaways as often as we could. Whether it was camping, going to the beach/lake, day trips to S.F, Monterey, museums, parks, etc... we went often and had FUN. I don't look back and feel sad that I didn't get to go on fancy, extravagant vacations when I was little... I loved the frequent times of fun with my family, no matter how simple they were.

* my Mom has always been a very giving, selfless person and I am thankful that during my younger years, I saw her give so freely and happily to others. Making meals for those in need, heading over to help with housework, when she heard someone lost a child, a parent, or just had a baby, volunteering at the Rescue Mission {serving the homeless}, working at Shepherd's Gate, Valley Pregnancy Center and more. I love that we were taught that there are many, many people out there who not only have family, but don't even have the basic necessities, like a place to call home, a bed to sleep in at night, or for some, a reason to keep living. I love that she encouraged us to do the same - to always look to the interest of others before serving ourselves. To find ways to be useful and loving and not spending our time just making ourselves happy. And all for the purpose of showing God's love to others.

* they were/are diligent and hard working. Both of my parents have always been very diligent, hard workers. My Mom kept a warm, comfortable, clean and organized home for us, even though we weren't able to have fancy things, brand new furniture, or buy lots of decor. I love that while my Dad was out working hard at whatever job he had, my Mom made her home and family her #1 priority. I think its a huge example for girls to see their moms put their whole heart into keeping the home {even if you're a working Mom - show your girls the delight and joy you take in keeping your home}. I love that my Dad took pride especially in the outside of the home; keeping the yards clean and tidy and my Mom enjoyed keeping the inside of our home clean, presentable and ready to be hospitable and open to anyone who needed a place to stay or just visit.

* My parents were foster parents/ block parents for many years and soon after adopted my younger brother and sister. I cannot tell you what an impact that had on me in my early years. I don't think I realized what an impact it had on me, until I was much older and especially since having my own kids.
To see the selflessness and joy they had in helping and loving those babies/children, was something that left a huge impression on me. At a young age, it was a clear representation to me of how God adopted me as His daughter and brought me into His family.
I've always appreciated that my Mom has always been very honest with me about how she feels about having her tubes tied; that she's regretted it ever since and wishes she hadn't done something so permanent as that. I love that instead of wallowing and looking inward, she and my Dad looked outward and did their part in helping babies/children in need.

* my Mom read to all 5 of us kids for hours, usually every day of the week. I loved those times of book reading and I LOVED the books and series she chose to read to us.  I still remember many of them and often talk about them with Jason - the impact they had on me and the lessons they taught me. I've started reading a book series to Ethan and I get all giddy when I see his excitement in "reading time with Mommy."
I used to brush my sister's hair or color or just lay on the floor with a blanket, listening while she read - loved every minute of it.

* I'm thankful for the way they got us into and excited about even black and white, old movies :) It sounds silly, but I can't tell you how many adults my age that I meet and we start talking about old movies and they say they've never seen a Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers movie *GASP*
We often sat down as a family to watch movies, which I loved. I can already see how our kids get such a kick out of Daddy and Mommy sitting with them on movie night, getting into their movie just as much as we get into our own movies. I could give you a list of my favorites, but that might be boring if you just don't care :) I will say my all time favorite, family series is Five Mile Creek, hands down.

* being brought up to love, honor and appreciate our Grandparents. No matter how fun or un-fun our Grandparents were :) we were brought up to enjoy each of them for who they were and to spend time with them, getting to know them, asking about their past history and to get into their lives; not treating them like gift giving people who are there to just enjoy us.

This was fun! I enjoyed going over a few areas that I find myself thinking about and feeling so thankful for in my adult years. Its exciting to do stuff with my kids and see them get all excited about it and then be able to tell them my memories of doing those things when I was their age.
I love that when the family is in its proper, God given order; when God is the main focus and His will and commands are being sought and obeyed faithfully, things run quite beautifully and are such a treasure to parents and children alike.

To read other posts on this topic, check out the following links: 

7 {comments}:

Melissa Joy said...

I love how you listed so many various things! I was really tempted to do that. Like Krista put it, there is very little from my parents' parenting that I *don't* appreciate & try to implement with my own parenting now! (what an incredible blessing that is!)
Anyway. This was special. Very honoring.

Stef said...

Thanks Melissa. I think I missed the part where we were supposed to write about only ONE thing we're thankful for. I think that would've been too difficult for me. I guess THAT in and of itself is something I ought to be thankful for - having a long list :-)

Erin said...

Thanks Stef! That was a great list to read!
I liked watching movies with your family, too.:) And, occasionally getting in on a Monterey adventure, too!

Krista said...

What a great list! Sometimes I forget that your parents were foster parents... duh! But what an amazing example of love they gave (and are still giving).

Charlotte said...

I love this list! And I too have just in the last few years really seen the sacrifice and love my parents had for me. Great post, Stef!

emilie said...

Hi Stef, I haven't met you but we have some friends in common... I was going to just lurk on your blog for a minute, but I have to chime in that Five Mile Creek absolutely rocks, it was my family's *Favorite* movie/show ever :)

Stef said...

Hi Emilie! The funny thing is, I've met your husband, but it was years ago! I visited his church in SF with the Lutz family one Sunday, when I was at their house.
I haven't seen him or his sister in years, so its great to hear from you! Do you have a website?


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