Friday, January 7, 2011

Daily habit 2: Make a place for God before retiring

"I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I found out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob." Psalm 132: 4 & 5

Many years ago I found myself reciting a certain verse over and over to myself: "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I found out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob" (Psalm 132 4: & 5). I taught it to the children and then made it into a song that my girls and I enjoyed singing for some time (and I still do today!):

I will not (I will not) close my eyes (close my eyes);

I will not (I will not) slumber (slumber).

Til I've made a place ('til I've made a place)...

For the God of Jacob (for the God of Jacob)

'Til I've made a place ('til I've made a place)

For my Lord (for my Lord).

Til I've made a place ('til I've made a place)...

For the God of Jacob (for the God of Jacob)

'Til I've made a place ('til I've made a place)

For my Lord.

Jacob was just a toddler at that time, and he, of course, thought we were singing about him--and often asked for the "Jakie song." However, for me, it became a nightly prayer/song. No matter what my day held; no matter how busy and hectic it was; no matter how I felt about this or that--I was telling the Lord that I would not go to sleep until I had cleared my mind and heart for Him. I have had different Bible and devotional reading habits through the years, including reading to and with the kids most days, but regardless of my reading routines, this song/verse calms me and reminds me to stop what I am doing and make room for the most important thing—the Lord living within me.

How can you make room for the Lord everyday? Some may feel that they are creating a place for God if they study the Bible before bed. Others might feel that they are clearing a path for him through family prayer or praying with your spouse. Regardless of what you do, do not close your eyes; do not slumber...until you've made a place for the Lord.

***Parts of this article were written in 2008 under the title “Eight Daily Habits for ’08” and published in Training for Triumph’s homeschooling newsletter (as opposed to the “Eleven Daily Habits of ‘11” in this blog).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daily habit 1: Rise with the Lord

When people used to tell me this, I, of course (being the big thinker that I am), envisioned an hour in the early morning hours, in a prayer closet uninterrupted, worshipping, praying, and reading the Word. Because that could never happen in my life (and I can give you eight good reasons why it never did!), I never truly felt like I was ever "rising with the Lord."

Then, I happened upon some verses that I could really sink my teeth into--meeting God in the night watches (perfect for us insomniacs!); God giving me a song in the night; etc. I might not be up at the crack of dawn, but I was often up throughout the night--those night watches and songs in the night were perfect for me!

Now that I am, well, maturing, I can't stay up quite as late as I used to, but I still pray at night that God will give me a song in the night and that I will wake up with that song. And when I consistently do this, I do wake up with a song in my heart, a song that God gave me in the night. Many days, before I even open my eyes, my mind will start reciting words to a song: "Lord, you are more precious than silver"; "Be thou my vision"; "Cast me not away from your presence, Oh, Lord"; and much more. I am rising with the Lord! He is giving me a song in the night, and I am waking up with His song on my lips.

What does rising with the Lord mean to you? It could mean waking up and reading the Bible or a devotional before you do anything else. It might mean a prayer time before you start your day. However God leads you to rise with Him, make it a daily habit! Do not make it so elaborate (an hour in the Word and an hour in prayer!) that you cannot continue it your entire life, but do make it meaningful enough to have an effect on your day (which should be the result of any encounter with God).

***Parts of this article were written in 2008 under the title “Eight Daily Habits for ’08” and published in Training for Triumph’s homeschooling newsletter (as opposed to the “Eleven Daily Habits of ‘11” in this blog).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eleven Daily Habits for '11

“New habits make new horizons. Silently and imperceptibly you are forming habits which will ultimately determine the degree of you happiness and success." Unknown

                      “Eleven Daily Habits for ‘11”***
                                   Donna Reish

It’s a new year and with it comes new opportunities to do the things we want to do—and not do the things we don’t want to do, as Paul puts it. How many of us make resolutions over and over again only to fizzle out by March (or earlier)? How many of us have awesome plans in January to do more for God, train our children’s hearts more, and generally be more successful during the new year?

I used to make long, elaborate resolutions—complete with subpoints and sub-subpoints on how to achieve them! Even with all of that detail and thought, I still found myself floundering. Now I don’t make grandiose plans to be and to do every January. Instead, in January, and anytime I want to make a change, I take baby steps. Little, daily steps towards the goals I might have.

For example, instead of revamping the entire schedule, sure that next week I will start my day an hour earlier, exercise with the kids, put food in the crock pot every morning, read aloud for two hours before lunch, etc. etc., I do one of two things: (1) Start with the beginning of the day and change that according to what I think will make things run more smoothly—just one small change; or (2) Start with the most important change I want to make, and just do that item. Not long lists of dozens of improvements. Just one change; baby steps towards success. One change that I can implement today. One change only—until I have that one under control. Then, I’ve been successful already, so I know I can do another. Success breeds more success. Positive changes breed more positive changes.

Of course, I didn't come up with this idea on my own. (I am an "idea lifter"---lifting ideas from other people and using them for myself!) The idea of “one change at a time” actually originated with our mentors, Terry and Esa Everroad, over twenty-five years ago. (Boy, when I say things like "twenty years ago" and "twenty-five years ago," I feel reaaallllly old!) Terry told Ray to meet with me once a week and just listen. Ask me what was wrong, what I wanted changed, what I needed from him. Then, together, choose one thing--just one--that we would work on improving. When that was better, choose another, then another, then another. He told Ray to do this until one week he would ask me, and I would have nothing to say. Then, he told Ray, he could consider his own needs. Good selflessness advice for husbands, huh? (Well, for wives, too.)

And the same idea can be duplicated in any area of our lives that we really want to change--eating more healthfully, reading and growing spiritually, building stronger relationships. One change at a time. Baby steps. Then another, then another. Not life remodeling all at once. Just one goal at a time.

This approach is actually how we have developed every habit in our family that is good! (It’s also how bad habits are developed—we don’t realize it, but they come a little at a time too!) We didn’t just wake up one day and have our kids read a book a week, “speak to our kids’ hearts” more days than not, read about heroes of the faith with them week in and week out, have daily chores that keep our household running, have husband-wife meetings, eat evening meals together complete with deep discussions, etc. We did each one, one at a time, until we were successful with the one thing, then we added another.

To start out this new year, I want to give you “Eleven Daily Habits for 2011”--eleven things that I have found make my day run more smoothly, create the environment I want in my home, allow me to be involved in our publishing company and family ministry (two extremely fulfilling things for me), and cause me to have success in my homeschool. These are eleven things that I know help me and maybe they will help you, too. Now, there are one or two items that I have “fallen off the wagon on”—that I need to work on re-implenting myself (one at a time, of course)…but I won’t tell you which ones those are. J

I have found that it is the little things that make the difference. Spring cleaning is incredible...for a few days afterwards. However, making sure that the floors are swept, bathrooms are wiped down, and laundry is done every day is what makes me really sing. The big things will always be there--waiting to be done and waiting to be implemented, but the small things are what make each day better. The daily ins and outs. The habits that make us truly successful.

So…without further ado, I give you my Eleven Daily Habits* for success in ’11, not necessarily in any certain order. You can choose one (or come up with a different one) that will make tomorrow a better day for you and your family—and implement it, one baby step at a time, to reach your goals in your family.

“Sneak Preview” of the Eleven Daily Habits for ‘11

1. Rise with the Lord

2. Make a place for the Lord in your heart before retiring

3. Teach your kids God’s Word and the character of Christ

4. Tie heart strings

5. Get completely ready for day

6. Read aloud to your kids

7. Do most important chores first each day

8. Hug and kiss

9. Read for yourself each day

10. Exercise a little

11. Do a little bit of a big project

Stay tuned for the next eleven days as I elaborate on why these habits are important to me.

***Parts of this article were written in 2008 under the title “Eight Daily Habits for ’08” and published in Training for Triumph’s homeschooling newsletter.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It All Starts With Me—Introducing “Eleven Daily Habits for 2011”

Yesterday I talked about when it really hit me that my children’s character begins with my character—and that I cannot expect anything from my children that I do not have in my own life. And my heartfelt poem in which I express that realization.

Along those lines, I want to share a series of posts about daily disciplines. I found out that in order for my children to develop good daily habits, I must first develop them. (Shock, shock!) In 2008, I wrote an article entitled, “Eight Daily Habits for 2008. Now I want to revisit that with “Eleven Daily Habits for 2011”—eleven things that I try to do most days to have good days in my home, personally, in my work, and with my family. And yes, as I develop discipline and self control to carry out the “dailies” that I know I need to do, my children follow my lead and instruction to carry out theirs much better as well.

So, starting tomorrow, I will share with you those “Eleven Daily Habits” that I implement to build character in my life—because my kids’ good character begins with my good character.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Character Training Seminar Near Bluffton, Indiana--REGISTER SOON!

We are excited about our upcoming Character Training From the Heart seminars! We have not published an RSVP date--and as long as we have the minimum number of registrants, people can even register the week of it or "walk in." However, in order to secure the facility and sound help, etc. we need to have our minimum number registered this weekend.

SO....if you are planning to come, please contact us at (260-597-7415) soon! We would love to have you!

Note: You may also register by postal mail by sending us your name, address, phone number, and email address, along with $10 per person registration fee to

Training for Triumph
6456 E US 224
Craigville, IN 46731

JANUARY— Murray Missionary Church, 1117 N. Washington Street, Murray (near Bluffton)—Friday, Jan 21st and Saturday, Jan 22nd

Note: We will be holding one near Fort Wayne next month as well: FEBRUARY— Oak Grove Church of God in Columbia City, Indiana (near Fort Wayne)—Friday, Feb 18th and Saturday, Feb 19th (with a snow postponement date of the 25th and 26th)

                                           Seminar Schedule

Both of these will be general Christian parenting seminars (not specific to homeschoolers only) focusing on character training from toddlerhood through about age twelve. Sessions go in chronological order, age-wise, by character quality (with 45 min sessions and 10 min breaks between), so parents may choose the ones that pertain to them if they are unable to attend all of the seminar.

*Friday night and half day Saturday—7:00-10:00 on Friday and 9:00-12:00 on Saturday

                                        FRIDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE

7:00-8:00 –OVERVIEW: The Why’s and How’s of Character Training: The Importance of Character Training, Modeling, Developing Good Family Habits, and More

8:00-9:00--The Early Qualities in Toddlers and Preschoolers: Contentment, Obedience, Cheerfulness, and Submission

9:00-10:00--Laying the Foundation for All Qualities for All Ages: Focus on Obedience and Submission; Child Discipline; Three Aspects of Parenting—The 3 P’s of Parening: Proactive, Positive, and Punishing

                         SATURDAY MORNING SCHEDULE

9:00-10:00—Helping Our Children Add Virtue to Their Lives: Link Between Foundational Qualities and “Higher Level” Qualities; Helping Children Gain Their Own Moral/Character Compass; The Next Qualities

10:00-11:00—From Obedience to Initiative: Responsibility, Helpfulness, Kindness, Respect, and Honesty

11:00-12:00 Growing in Character: Initiative, Deference, Resourcefulness, Diligence, Promptness, Empathy, and More

Contact us for registration information for either seminar at 260-597-7415 or

If you cannot make one of these two seminars, but would like to host one in your area, check out the details at Character Training From the Heart! Lastly, subscribe to receive our parenting blog in 2011(Positive Parenting 365) —we will be doing months of character training teaching in the new year!

Good Character in My Children Begins With Good Character in Me: Intro and Poem

Welcome to another year of Positive Parenting! We are switching gears to have a character training focus for the first part (or half!) of this year. We have found so many things that truly have helped us to help our children develop godly character—as well as many things that hindered good character in our kids---that we want to shout it from the mountaintops! Smile…

However, just like anything good that we want in our kids’ lives, we must first obtain it ourselves. I had seven children fourteen and under when this hit me like a ton of bricks! The poem below elaborates on this point. I pray that you will read it and take it to heart as you endeavor to raise your children to “put on the mind of Christ” and have the character of Christ in the coming year.

“I Looked Into the Eyes of My Children”

I looked into the eyes of my children, surprised by what I did see,

For I thought I’d see the face of Jesus, staring back at me.

But then when I observed their hearts, what I saw was a big surprise.

For instead, I saw me—their mother—reflected in their eyes.

All that I wish I wasn’t, all that I’d like to change,

Was reflected right there in their eyes, in many different ways.

All the things I wanted them to change, all the things I disliked the most,

Were merely reflections of me—things I should have already known.

I cried to the Lord, “Forgive me, for pressuring them, you see,

To be things that I am not willing—or even able—to be.”

When I heard an older one say, in a very selfish tone, “

I’ll give you my best toy, if you’ll only leave me alone.”

I saw manipulation take place and knew where it was learned,

For I, too, can be the very same way, the conniving way I spurned.

When I saw one of them want the best, I thought, “What a selfish child,”

Then saw myself being selfish in just a very short while.

When I heard one of them talk angrily,

I couldn’t believe my ears,

Until a few minutes later, my own angry voice did I hear.

I saw one of them putting frivolities before the things of the Lord,

And then saw me with my magazines, instead of God’s holy Word.

Day after day, God showed me, my children learn what they live,

And before I can help them to change, I must be willing to give—

Yes, give up the things that hold me from being what God wants me to be—

And willing to be an example—of Jesus—for my children to see.

Now when I see poor character reflected in my children’s eyes,

I look into the mirror, for it’s no longer such a surprise.

Instead of asking them to change, I ask God to work in me,

Day by day, changes in them take place—and Christ I am able to see.

Copyright 1998 Donna Reish