My friend who runs a non-profit believes that, “Whoever has the heart, has the greatest influence in a person’s life.” This makes a lot of sense too, because when Jesus was walking around here on earth, he majored in building relationships. He spent a lot of time on dusty roads with his disciples. While walking together, he would tell a story, then they would chat about what the story meant, and later, when stuff happened – like a big storm or the death of a friend - he used the experience to reiterate the idea he had taught them through the story. In this way, he grew their relationships while he trained and prepared his disciples for life after he left this earth.Read More
I love You, Eternal One, source of my power.
The Eternal is my rock, my fortress, and my salvation;
He is my True God, the stronghold in which I hide,
my strong shield, the horn that calls forth help, and my tall-walled tower.
I call out to the Eternal, who is worthy to be praised—
that’s how I will be rescued from my enemies. Psalms 18:1-3 (Voice)
I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:9-10 (AMPC)Read More
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever— John 14:16 (AMPC)Read More
And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19-20 (AMPC)
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 (NIV)
As I write this, there are ONLY 15 days, 17 hours, 50 minutes, and 13, no 12, no 11, no…seconds until Christmas!
For some of you moms, the presents are all wrapped and neatly stacked under your perfectly decorated tree while your children eat homemade Christmas cookies with carols playing in the background.
And then, there are the rest of us . . . dashing around like Dancer and Prancer frantically trying to finish the to-do list and praying ordered of gifts arrive before Santa.Read More
Celebration and Sorrow. I’ve had those juxtapose emotions within me at the same time. I’ve celebrated one child while morning the situation of the other - all in the same breath. As a mom, you’ve probably experienced that for your sons and daughters too.
Maybe you have one child who is easy and the other regularly difficult; healthy versus sick; intelligent versus mentally challenged; successful versus going down the wrong path.
Abraham experienced those same two emotions at the same time too.
At Isaac’s big weaning celebration, Ishmael poked fun at Isaac and made Sarah very angry. Sarah demanded that Ishmael and Hagar be sent away. Abraham was heartbroken. (Genesis 21)Read More
Moms and daughters, don your aprons for friendship month! What better way to celebrate friendship than to share an old fashioned loaf of Amish Friendship Bread.
It’s probably been 28 years since I’ve been gifted with the starter for Amish Friendship Bread, but I can still recall the sweet bread loaded with raisins and nuts and topped with cinnamon-sugar yum. (It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.) Amish Friendship Bread is an old-fashioned way to send a little package of happy to your friends, neighbors and shut-ins.
This recipe does come with a warning . . . after a couple of batches you will probably be friendship bread finished. It’s okay to call it quits. Someone else can start a new batch when they are ready to share the love. I remember when I finally threw out my bag of starter 28 years ago I was afraid that I had ended hundreds of years of Amish bread love. I hung my head in the “bakers’ hall of shame.” But, trust me, the tradition and friendship-love-fest will continue on without your little bag of starter.
Go have some mother and daughter fun in the kitchen. Share some friendship bread, smiles and some hugs with others. I promise you it will make someone’s day!Read More
The push and pull of the tide…birds chirping just before sunrise . . . roaring rivers created by the melting snow . . . regular rhythms put in motion by our creative God. He also initiated morning, noon and night, and summer, winter, spring and fall. Another rhythm that God ordained for us parents is to regularly share our hearts and faith with our children.Read More
We are weeks away, and for some just days away, from the end of summer, but fun family gatherings don't have to end just because you've entered a new season. At the start of each school year, our family would pick one new and different activity to gather around on a regular basis.
As your children get older and have their own activities, family gatherings becomes more challenging. However, you will find it worth the effort if you can create the space to make it happen. A few ideas are:Read More
Each family is unique, and playing off your uniqueness as a family builds bonds and creates stories that binds hearts and families for a lifetime. Summer is a great time of the year to create regular rhythms that turn into family traditions.Read More
God created the world with a regular rhythm, and the long days of summer is one of them. Sometimes I’m ready for bed long before the summer sun sets. However, if you are looking for connection points with your daughter or son, bedtime might just be the perfect time.Read More
God created the world with a regular rhythm: The tide of the ocean, the seasons, sunrise and sunset and high noon in-between. In the regular rhythm of life, find ways each day and each week to connect heartstrings with your child time over time over time.
The need to eat creates a great opportunity to invest in your relationship with your children.
I have wondered if God created us humans to eat so that we would pause, enjoy his bounty, and build community and heart connections.
When your children were babies, you are forced join them at each of the feedings – and there are lots of them. I think God did that to bind our hearts as parents to our new babies.
But when they become teenagers, catching them at meal time becomes a bit tougher. Soccer practices, dance rehearsals, taekwondo, play dates, and other scheduling conflicts make family mealtime seem like a thing of the past. Suddenly, we're feeding our pop tarts during the morning commute, sneaking 100-calorie packs for lunch, and grabbing dinner at the drive-thru window.
Research shows that dining together is more important than you might think. You’ve probably heard many of the stats: less likely to be overweight, perform better academically, and have a better relationship with their parents. But my all-time favorite is: “People think you are a better cook—and a better person—if you serve vegetables at dinner.” (Cornell University Food and Brand Lab)
Summer is a great time to gather around meals to invest in your relationships, and have the added bonus of being gaining a little veggie induced respect!
Include your family in coming up with fun ways to gather for summer meals.
Make a list of fun summer treats you can make together.
Share some summer kindness by taking ice cream or a homemade summer treat to a shut-in or a new family in town.
Time…over time…over time…
In the book, Playing for Keeps, Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy have a more visual way to help us parents to be intentional about investing in our children’s lives time over time over time again.
Reggie encourages parents to get a jar and put a marble in the jar for each week they have left with their child until high school graduation. If they are a newborn it would hold approximately 936 marbles. If they are 10 it would hold approximately 416 marbles. So the number of marbles in the jar would match the number of weeks parents have left with each child until graduation.
Then the parents were given a simple assignment.Read More
Absalom is known as one of the “bad boys” of the Bible, but we can tap into his story to use his skills for good.
Absalom was one of King David’s sons. The story of Absalom and King David is long and complex, but in short, the two had become estranged. As time passed, Absalom wanted to have some one-on-one time with his father, and even though Absalom was allowed to move close to King David, he was never invited to spend time with his father. As a result, Absalom decided if he couldn’t have his father’s heart, he would go for something very close to his father’s heart – the heart of the Israelite people.Read More
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa
Moms, this Valentine’s Day we have the opportunity to teach our daughters (and our sons!) how to do a small thing with great love. I believe there is nothing greater that we can teach our children than to be empathic with those who are hurting and to become love in action.Read More
This is my beloved dog, Millie. I lovingly referred to her as my “third furry child.” Sweet Millie is no longer with us. However, if the Disney movie “All Dogs Go to Heaven” is true, Millie is there waiting for me at the pearly gates.
She was, in my opinion, a true beauty. Just look at her!Read More
While Mary and Elizabeth were off singing in the hills, Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, was at home stewing over what to do about his fiancé. Stoning was the legal prescription for this sort of adultery, but clearly Joseph had a choice in what happened to Mary and this must have weighed heavily on his mind.
Isn’t this a great story with the perfect ending? Joseph, a good man who follows God, discovered he had an unfaithful fiancé. He had to be upset about it, and understandably so. I’m sure he was losing sleep over this decision. However, when he finally fell asleep, an angel appeared to him with an explanation and a solution.Read More
Zacharias was a priest and Elizabeth was his wife. He and Elizabeth were both known as people who loved and obeyed God. Other than that, they were just an ordinary couple. Well, ordinary except . . .Read More
Moms, we are teaching our girls the importance of using their heads to say "yes" to obedience. This headband is a symbolic reminder of this truth. These triple-braided headbands are cute to wear and fun to make. It takes some prep time, but it is well worth the labor.Read More