My lecture again fell on deaf ears. No one brought a recorder. No one studied. No one even took notes. I can't blame them. When I come alongside them to instruct and, yes, even help clean up, and am gentle and kind, their hearing improves dramatically. Truth is, I'm the one who had not been paying attention, acting like a clod. I forgot about the One who comes beside me. It's your kindness, Lord, that leads us to repentance. Help me to be kind instead of a lecturer. Help me identify culprits of mine that cause strife in the life of my family. I cannot manufacture a spirit of peace. Overflow in me as I seek you. Remind me that I have a responsibility to yield to you at all times. Help me to teach and guide and not embark on those pathetic lectures.

This good day, middle daughter put the water pitcher away without refilling it, but I reminded her - not lectured, mind you. "The problem, Mom," she reasoned, "Is I see the pitcher as half full, and you see it as half empty." And I said, "No, the problem is we all get thirsty." So let us all drink from the well that never runs dry.

Things I'm thankful for, Lord: Thank You, Lord, that while I gave the lecture yesterday, daughter cleaned all the Play Mobil off the parlor floor. Days worth of Play Mobil play. Thank You today that the 5-year-old child was drawn to read his Bible much of the day. I heard him mumble aloud, "Oh, Noah was an inventor. He invented the first houseboat." Thank You for all the times my children make me smile. Thank You for a sweet hubby - he talked to the girls and told them be ready Tuesday. He's coming home for lunch and taking all three out on Valentine's Day - even put together gift bags on his own. Thank You, Lord, for speaking to me. This morning I was taking a cruise on the good ship Guilt Trip, lamenting that the boys don't play baseball or ride their bikes enough or participate in gymnastics, year-round swimming, karate, skiing, or mountain climbing like other kids, or whatever I was obsessing over. Anyway, in my quiet time You led me to 1 Timothy 4:8 - "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Exercise is great. We can work on it. But we are doing okay focusing on running a race. Thank You that youngest daughter's infected finger is healing. Thank You for Your Word that speaks, convicts, and encourages but never lectures. And Lord, next time I feel a lecture coming on, lead me to 1 Corinthians 2:4 so that my speech and my preaching will not be with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. My words are not enticing, much less wise; let me demonstrate the power of Your Spirit. Thank You that in the midst of my puny little inconveniences, You have chosen to be there with me.

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Marla is delighted to have accomplished her childhood dream to be a wife and mommy. Originally a product of the Shenandoah Valley, Marla is still a small town girl at heart and cherishes her family and faith. Presently in her 11th year of homeschooling, she is the mother to seven children, four still at home. Pleasures like a good cup of coffee, or the first hydrangea bloom are simple things she appreciates. Admittedly a bit of a homebody, Marla delights in her family (most days!). Marla is a contributing writer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, www.TheHomschoolMagazine.com Copyright 2005 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC