How is your summer going?

How is your summer going?

Leah started babysitting her nieces this week part-time, Annabelle and Violet (Heather’s daughters).

Violet & Annabelle

Violet & Annabelle

It’s a little strange with Leah being gone 3 days away from home (she spends the night to avoid using up a lot of gas in her car). But this helps save Heather, a single mom, a lot of money on expensive summer camp while she works full-time, it teaches Leah responsibility with children, and at least it’s some kind of step forward for Leah as far as working!

Recently Heather, Annabelle, Violet, Leah, and Heather’s friend Tiffany went to a Lindsey Stirling concert in Kansas City, MO.

Lindsey is the one who first inspired Leah to learn how to play the violin. Leah then inspired Annabelle to start playing. They said it was amazing! Leah really had fun.

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

You can see Lindsey’s incredible talent, playing my favorite song of hers, Crystallize, here.

I’m so happy that Leah got to see her!

Ray and I are still encouraging Leah to enroll in at least one art class at the local community college in August 2015. I’m trying to motivate her each day to study for the placement test.

She’s an amazing artist. Here’s three of her most recent graphic art pictures.

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Isn’t Leah incredible? She’s completely self-taught.

My prayer is that she will enroll in art classes soon, so that she can learn even more and reach her greatest potential.

What about you? Are you using your gifts for God and doing what you love?

Leave your comments below.

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When your child doesn’t know

Leah (right) with her sister Heather (left) and me (middle) at my Cinderella women's conference on September 20

Leah (right) with her sister Heather (left) and me (middle) at my Cinderella women’s conference on September 20

Our daughter Leah has always homeschooled and in 2012, she graduated from our homeschool, Shekinah Christian Academy. Since then, Leah has not enrolled in college classes nor does she have a job. When Ray and I, her sisters, her grandparents, and friends ask her what she wants to do, she always gives the same response: “I don’t know.”

I have always been like a racehorse, rarin’ to go out of the starting gate to RUN. I know what I want in life and I make snap decisions, relying on hearing God’s still, small voice and paying attention to my gut instincts.

My husband Ray is much more slow in decision-making and in action, like a turtle. One time I bought a ceramic turtle as a gift for Ray, telling him that it was a symbol of his and God’s pace. He laughed.

ceramic turtle I bought as a gift for Ray

a ceramic turtle I bought as a gift for Ray

While I don’t want Leah to move out yet (I don’t believe she is ready), I DO want her to take some kind of step of action and set goals for her future. She can’t live forever with Ray and me.

One day she will need to be a self-supporting adult. 

For me to have a child who seems to have no sense of direction and to make decisions even more slowly than God or Ray drives me UP THE WALL! 

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

What do you do when your (almost grown) child doesn’t know what to do after graduation?

 Dr. James Lehman, MSW, writes in his article Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late To Set Up A Living Arrangement?

“Independence is a decision you can make as a family. If a young adult child is doing well, living at home and meeting the family’s expectations, then there’s no problem. But someday he will want to be independent. The way you get there is to sit down and have the child set some goals. Where do you plan to live? When do you plan to move out? How much does the child need to pay for rent or room and board while living at home? Measure progress toward the goal by the objectives...The greatest gift you can give your child is knowing how to be independent and take responsibility.”

Leah's iPhone

Leah’s iPhone

Leah is constantly on her iPhone and on Facebook. The Huffington Post writes that Leah’s Generation Y are handicapped for their preference for living online, and are losing touch with what it’s really like to do things people have always done: make friends, date, and even work

I’ve been encouraging Leah to set goals and write down her dreams. She still says, “I don’t know.” Do you have a child or children like this? What do you do? Please share your comments below.

fork in road

fork in road

Here’s what Leah IS doing these days:

  • Continuing to take violin lessons using the Suzuki method. She’s doing really well, learning classical music, hymns, Irish jigs, and more. I like to tease her by dancing in the hallway when she plays the Irish jigs. (She just rolls her eyes!) The songs she’s working on playing now are becoming much harder. I love listening to her play…beautiful!
  • Attending small group (a house church) each Sunday, where she hangs out with her teen/young adult friends. We go to small group each week for Bible study, worship, prayer, fellowship, and sometimes potluck dinners. Two of the boys in this group (one graduated, one is still in high school) already have jobs, working with their dad in his window-cleaning business. One of the teen girls homeschools, but enrolled in a dual-credit college writing class this August. I’ve tried to use these young adults/teens’ choices as an incentive for Leah to take action, but nothing doing. Two of my friends gave me a word that they believe Leah is like a late-blooming flower. These flowers bloom much later in the year, but when they do, they seem to shoot up overnight. One article reads that when late bloomers finally get it, they are the driving forces in the world. I believe Leah will be, too. She’s highly intelligent, is an amazing artist, is doing wonderful playing the violin, is funny, creative, and spiritually gifted. God has a great plan for her life…but I still get frustrated when she says, “I don’t know!”
  • Helping me a lot as my personal assistant with creating videos and at my live events, such as The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes women’s conference I just hosted and spoke at in Overland Park, KS, on September 20. I couldn’t have done it without Leah’s and others’ help!
  • Doing chores. I am not a maid. I am a speaker, author, and coach, working primarily on my laptop at home when I’m not speaking at a women’s conference or event. I can’t do everything, and sometimes need Leah’s or Ray’s help with cleaning and organizing the house. Recently Ray advised me to make a schedule for Leah to help me with certain chores. Livestrong.com advises parents to have rules such as doing chores to ensure young adults don’t become lazy or take advantage of their parents’ generosity. Once Leah is moved out, she will have to do this on her own.
  • Reading. Ray has challenged all of our daughters to read the Les Miserables book, which (in paperback) has 1,488 pages. Heather and Eden did not finish it. Leah is still working on it. She also reads science fiction and other fiction books.
  • Watching Star Trek and other sci-fi movies with Ray. When Leah moves out, poor Ray won’t have a movie buddy…at least not with his sci-fi movies, because I don’t like them at all! I do invite Ray to watch movies with me sometimes, which he usually says are “okay” and are “Beth movies.” (chic flics, dramas, etc.) 
  • Walking the track. We have a track by the hospital in town, which is almost brand new and has a smooth surface, that Leah and I sometimes walk. We both need to be more disciplined about this, especially before Missouri snow and ice hit.
  • Texas trip. Leah took another trip to Texas with Ray this summer to pick up her sister Eden, who was moving back to Missouri after 6 months’ time with her mom Karla and a friend in Texas. These long road trips with Ray are good dad-daughter time and they’ve made special memories. 
  • Babysitting. Leah has helped out her sister Heather this summer with babysitting her daughters (our precious grandchildren Annabelle and Violet) on special occasions, when Heather had to work and they weren’t at summer camp. Annabelle admired Leah’s violin playing so much that she decided she wanted to learn. She’s doing great, too!
  • Working on her tablet art. Several years ago, Ray bought Leah a graphic art tablet. She is a completely self-taught artist and is incredible. At the beginning of this year, she set a goal to draw something on her tablet or by hand every day. She continues to improve.
  • Learning to cook. This is something I need to be more diligent about with her. Sometimes it seems easier and faster to do things myself, but Leah needs to know how to cook for when she does move out on her own or marries one day. Cooking is one of my LEAST liked activities (it’s akin to water torture, in my opinion), but I am trying to get better about it. We are going to attend one of our daughter Heather’s Wild Tree parties next week, to learn how to cook healthier meals using organic products that don’t have all the chemicals, preservatives, additives, food coloring, GMO’s, and other unhealthy things in them.

God continues to work patience in me as Leah takes time to decide what it is she wants for her life. Ray has told me not to push her, but to instead encourage and motivate her.

I am so thankful she doesn’t give Ray and me heartaching problems many parents face such as sexual promiscuity, alcohol or drug use, curfew violations, and other serious rebellion. She keeps her room clean most of the time, does her own laundry, enjoys spending time with us as a family, and attends small group (our church) with her friends weekly. 

I pray each day for God to speak to her about His plan and purpose for her life, and that He will give her the courage to step out in faith for the next step of her life. 

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel


leah-hairtrim

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When your graduate doesn’t know the next step

 

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

Leah with acoustic, German-made violin

Yesterday our granddaughter Violet asked our youngest daughter Leah if she has homework.

Leah said no (never one to expound on things!), and I explained that she had graduated and doesn’t have homework any more.

Violet said, “You’re lucky!”

She then asked if Leah was going to college and Leah said she didn’t know yet. 

Leah has been saying, “I don’t know,” since she graduated in 2013.

I am  like a racehorse rarin’ to go, running out of the starting gate. I’m very much a fast action taker (married to Ray who is like a turtle). I have big dreams and definite goals. So for me to have a child who seems, for lack of a better word, aimless, drives me up the wall!

What are parents to do when their child doesn’t know the next step after graduation?

Ray doesn’t think we should push Leah hard about making a decision about college, vocational school, or even working a part-time or full-time job! Leah is intelligent, spiritually gifted, and as our youngest and only child at home now, I don’t think he’s in any hurry to have her move out of our house any time soon (neither am I!). 

IMG_1168[1]

Leah at The Nutcracker Ballet
with our friends

But I want her to take some kind of step and make a decision to do something!

Here’s some tips for you that I’m using on myself:

  • Pray. This is the best thing you can do. For control freaks like me, you really have to just surrender the situation to God. I can’t physically make Leah enroll in online college classes or fill out job applications. I can’t force her to make some kind of decision for her life, barring kicking her out of the house, which I won’t do. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:18 NLV, “You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Pray for the things that are needed. You must watch and keep on praying. Remember to pray for all Christians.” God hears your prayers as a parent. He loves and knows your child more than you do. He will lead and guide her/him. He has a good plan for your child’s life. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Encourage. Let’s face it, criticism, nagging, and threatening don’t work very well with teens or young adults (or anyone!). Encourage your graduate about her/his spiritual gifts, talents, skills, and strengths. Call them to attention. Let your not-in-a-hurry-to-decide graduate know that you believe in her/him. Say, “You have so much to offer the world. You’re such a great artist.” (singer, musician, writer, or whatever he or she is good at). That she (or he) can do anything and nothing is impossible with God. Share about interesting looking college or community classes or job opportunities.
  • Motivate. Leah takes Suzuki method violin lessons from her wonderful instructor, Emily. She was inspired to learn how to play the violin by Lindsey Sterling playing Crystallize. Lindsey is just flat out anointed by God playing this song. For Christmas, we bought Leah a beautiful, acoustic violin (expensive!) that was made in Germany. She practices playing her violin every day and is self-motivated to go to her lessons each week. You may need to use whatever is important to your graduate to light a fire under him/her. If she wants to go to violin or piano lessons, she can get a part-time job to help pay for them. If she/he wants to use the car, she/he can work to put gas in the tank or help pay for the car insurance. If she/he wants to eat….just kidding. Find something that matters to your graduate to motivate her/him to work or to pursue further education or training. What really matters to her/him the most? What’s important? 

    Leah with her violin instructor Emily

    Leah with her violin instructor Emily

  • Educate. Leah was always homeschooled, and is now graduated, but I see no reason for the learning to stop. No matter if your child was homeschooled, went to public school or private school, and how long it’s been since graduation, you can still cultivate a learning atmosphere in your home. Buy your graduate her or his favorite fiction books and other books they can read to continue learning. Go to art museums. Travel new places. Do fun things together that are also educational. I always have a stack of books in our front entry room that I’m reading, I regularly attend webinars, telecalls, and other trainings, and I enjoy traveling to learn new things, try new foods, and meet new people. I believe that learning should be life-long; every day affords an opportunity to learn and expand your mind. Encourage your graduate to continue learning new things every day. 
  • Influence. Hang around successful people who can impress and influence your graduate, and perhaps even speak into her/his life. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who is your graduate friends with? Who does she/he hang around? What does he/she read, what music does he/she listen to, what YouTube videos does he/she watch, where is he/she surfing online, what are his/her hobbies, interests, and activities? I study successful women entrepreneurs (speakers, writers, coaches, women with online businesses) because that is my career now, and I desire to be extremely successful. Your big dreams and achievements and others’ can impact and inspire your graduate. At the very least, your career may show your graduate that is what she/he does NOT want to do! (Leah, being very shy, has no desire whatsoever to be a women’s conference speaker like me…and she dislikes writing as well, so we’ve ruled that out for her life!) I encourage her to hone her skills on the violin and in art on her graphic art tablet (she’s an amazing artist). For Christmas, we bought her a mandolin, which she is now teaching herself to play. She also plays around on the guitar. Music is Leah’s “language.” I encourage her to listen to good musicians and study great artists, as these are the areas she may pursue later as her career/ministry.

Applying these tips may help your graduate to take at least one small step. Leah finally applied for a couple of jobs and had her first job interview. She was really nervous about this, and she didn’t get the job, but she did it. It was a major milestone for her since she is so shy. One step leads to another.

Heather, me & Leah, 2014

Heather, me & Leah
2014

You can read 10 Powerful and Inspiring Graduate Speeches at Personal Excellence (Be Your Best Self, Live Your Best Life) by clicking here. I liked what Bono said in his 2004 graduate speech:

“For four years you’ve been buying, trading, and selling everything you’ve got in this marketplace of ideas. The intellectual hustle. Your pockets are full, even if your parents’ are empty, and — and now you’ve got to figure out what to spend it on. … So my question I suppose is: What’s the big idea? What’s your big idea? What are you willing to spend your moral capital, your intellectual capital, your cash, your sweat equity in pursuing outside […]?” – Bono

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