Thursday, August 31, 2006


Well, I'm happy to report that homestudy went extremely well. It was painless, actually! And the more we talked with the social worker, the more excited I became. We will have another daughter, it's just a matter of a little more paperwork and a lot of time waiting. (We're looking at 1 1/2 years still!)

One cool thing is how this adoption process has helped us understand God even better. Every night, we have a time of Bible Study with our kids. We're currently studying the first chapters of Ephesians. These chapters talk about God's plan to adopt us as His own. About Him preparing a heavenly place for us. About our seat in the heavenly places.

Likewise, we have this child in our hearts . . . and she's most likely not even born. We pray for her. We have a name for her. She is a part of our family. It's a message that resonates in our hearts.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Next week I'll be plunging in to the remaining paperwork, and then it's time to start my next book project. Oh, and let's not forget homeschooling. At least I'm not twiddling my thumbs as I wait for our girl! Instead I'm diligently working at what God lays before me . . . trusting Him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guest Blogger...Alyice Edrich

16 Years Of Marriage And Still Counting By Alyice Edrich

I can't believe it. Who would have thought we'd make it this far? My husband and I have been married for 16 years and we're still going strong! To be honest, I never thought we'd make it this far.

While my husband's mom and dad are a great example of what it means to make a commitment and make your marriage work (they'll be celebrating 50 years in November!), my side of the family has a hard time staying married to each other. In fact, I was so afraid we'd be divorced before we hit our one-year anniversary that I kept my maiden name hyphened with my married name for the first 6 months of my marriage. Today, I can honestly say that I don't worry about divorce and haven't for many years. I think hitting the five year anniversary mark and renewing our vows really helped me put things into perspective.

Why has our marriage lasted 14 years? Only God truly knows the true answer, but I've come up with a few good reasons:

1.. We made a commitment to work things out no matter how hard life got (and believe me it had some very rocky and treacherous terrain).

2.. We took out the word "obey" in our wedding vows because we believed we were not each other's property.

3.. We take the time to apologize-even when we don't want to.

4.. We lift each other up to others. 5.. We accept the fact that we both have baggage that we've brought into this marriage and we've agreed to work through that baggage together.

6.. We've learned to listen to one another-even when sometimes it's a boring thing to do.

7.. We learned to joke about ourselves and each other.

8.. We don't intentionally go around hurting each other.

9.. We vent to close friends who can keep our vents in confidence and not hold them against our spouse.

10.. We've learned to let our guard down with each other.

11.. We trust each other and do what we can to keep that trust.

12.. We have faith that the Lord brought us together.

13.. We love each other and remind each other of this, often.

14.. We understand that marriage takes work and commitment and are willing to do our part to make our marriage work until death do us part.

In 16 years of marriage, I've learned that marriages aren't fairy tales made up of bubbly, happy go-lucky days and nights. They are roller coaster rides with lots of ups and downs. But if you really want to keep that "new puppy-love" feeling alive just toss in some one-on-one time, a little romance, and a lot of forgiveness.

Forgive each other for driving each other crazy, for the little wrongs you've done to one another, and for anything else that isn't a "big deal" in the larger scheme of things.

Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer and the editor of an award winning magazine for BUSY parents.

Visit her at or read her about her life at

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is My Life

Today, I don't have time for a long post because in a few hours the social worker will be arriving to start the homestudy concerning about adoption.

For those of you who don't know, my husband and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. And this homestudy is another step closer in bringing her home.

Of course, I have to admit that this homestudy has unnerved me more than I thought it would. The 13-pages of questions was difficult enough, but the idea of a person coming into to study our home and life . . . well, it's hard to put it into words.

So I've thrown myself into the only thing I could tangibly do--my house got a total cleaning. Every closet and drawer has been touched. My office, for the first time in months, actually looks like someplace where books could be written.

I know, you don't have to tell me. Our approval for this adoption will not hinge on whether the clothes in my closet are organized by color and season (although they now are). In fact, as a friend told me last week, "If your life isn't acceptable now, a week won't make the difference." She was right.

Still, what else could I do? John and I have put sixteen years into our life, our kids, our home. We've loved lots and we've attempted to follow Jesus. In the end that is all we can do. In the end that has to be enough. And my hope is that by focusing on our heavenly home, our earthly one will be up to par.

And either way, even the hamsters now have clean cages. And, I think I have a few more minutes to tackle the goldfish bowl . . .

Monday, August 28, 2006

10 Questions for Brenda Nixon

10 Questions for Brenda Nixon

1. Tricia: I've purchased numerous copies of Parenting Power to pass out to other moms, especially the young moms I mentor. Why did you decide to write this book?

Brenda: As a new mom, some days I felt as stupid as a doorknob. I remember wanting to feel confident in the decisions I was making with my children and I craved advice that respected me and didn't make me feel more stupid. Back then, there weren't many parenting resources available. More recently, as a speaker to parent and childcare provider audiences, I realized the demand for solid information and encouragement continues. So I gathered many of the favorite columns I'd written for a parenting magazine and put them together in my book Parenting Power in the Early Years. It is designed as a short, easy read for busy parents and empowers them with education and encouragement.

2. Tricia: You also speak at numerous events. What is the #1 parenting question you're asked most often?

Brenda: Probably the most frequent question is about discipline: tantrums, biting, getting kids to mind, teaching responsibility, etc. Since discipline is ongoing - parents must work at it daily - it seems to be the issue at the front of everyone's mind. Most parents really want to be balanced, neither too lenient nor too strict, and that takes a lot of energy. This is why I now offer a free Daily Discipline Tip service to subscribers. If anyone wants to receive a thought or reminder to help in her daily encounters with kids, she can subscribe at my site

3. Tricia: So many parents are overwhelmed with trying to raise confident kids in an overwhelming world. What bit of advice can you offer?

Brenda: Parenting is a 24/7 job with no pay raises, vacations, nor bonuses, so it easy to feel overwhelmed trying to do a good job. I encourage parents to embrace their sacred and enormous task without trying to do everything else; being in clubs, community events, extra sports, travel, etc. Spend time with the kids while they're at home and under your influence. I often remind parents, "You can have it all, just not all at once." Say "No" to outside obligations right now if you have children living in the home. Relax, enjoy, and parent your kids - that is an honorable career in itself. When your kids see that you truly want to be with them, they will grow up feeling worthy and confident in this overwhelming world.

4. Tricia: You have worked with numerous children, in addition to raising your own, what gives you the most joy when it comes to working with kids?

Brenda: Their innocence and zest for life! I've taught preschool, been a substitute teacher in the public schools, and volunteer in our church nursery. It's refreshing to look into the bright eyes of eager children, to answer their naive questions, and provide comfort and guidance. Kids live in the here and now and their enthusiasm is contagious to me.

5. Tricia: One thing parents (mothers especially) struggle with is comparing themselves to other moms. What advice can you give for this?

Brenda: Oh yes, I've fallen in this trap a time or two. My only piece of advice is to remember, comparison is the root of all unhappiness.

6. Tricia: When did you decide you wanted to write for publications? What encouragement can you offer to mothers who have their own dreams?

Brenda: There's a marriage between speaking and writing. I began, and continue, as a professional speaker. But, not long into my speaking profession, audiences began asking me if I had a book. I soon realized if I wrote articles and books I could leave them with something that extended beyond the platform. Although I wrote Parenting Power in the Early Years to empower early childhood parents, I also write magazine articles for parents of all age kids and contribute to other books. Statistically, more people read magazines than books, so if I want to reach a larger audience I'll write a magazine article. While writing a book is prestigious, it's also extremely costly - in energy, time, money, frustration, and publicity. Whereas a magazine article is written from the comfort of my office, emailed to the editor, and published. I receive payment without the costly energy, time, money, frustration, and publicity investment demanded from book writing.

For moms with their own dreams, don't give up! You may have to put them on simmer for a while, but come back when your children are involved in their own lives and friends. For some that may be during their children's elementary years. I began speaking professionally and then writing when my younger daughter was almost in middle school and my older one was a teenager. I never regret having spent those precious, influential years with them making memories and cementing our relationship. Now that they're older, they understand and respect my passion and profession. In fact, they and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders. Even if you think you're getting old too fast, take heart. You can do what you want in later life! To electrify your dreams, read, Defying Gravity by Prill Boyle.

7. Tricia: You are a dynamic speaker. Most people are fearful of standing before a group of people, yet throughout our lives we find ourselves in need of this skill. What is one piece of advice you can offer (beyond imagining the crowd naked)?

Brenda: Hmm, good question. I don't have a once-size-fits-all answer, but I encourage people to know more than they share. When you stand in front of a group and are thoroughly knowledgeable of your subject, that will translate into authoritative, confident speaking skills. 8. What were your favorite books as a child? I didn't have favorite books. Although my parents had books and encyclopedias for us, I didn't read much and entered my first public library as a teenager. But, I do remember one familiar book, Grimes Brothers Fairy Tales and in school I read, The First Woman Doctor, a biography of Elizabeth Blackwell. That one sits on a shelf in my office today and maybe it was that woman's tenacity that influenced me to pursue an unusual profession.

9. Tricia: What are your new favorite children's books you'd recommend to parents?

Brenda: "Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?" by Nancy White Carlstrom and You are Special, by Max Lucado. For parents to read, I recommend The First Three Years of Life, by Dr. Burton White Kids Who Carry Our Pain, by Drs. Robert Hemfelt and Paul Warren, Different Children Different Needs, by Charles F. Boyd, and anything by pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton.

10. Tricia: Barbies or legos?

Brenda: I'm a Barbie babe.

Brenda Nixon
M.A. Parenting Author, Expert, Speaker
FREE discipline tips for anyone who lives/works with kids at

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pretty in Pink

The other day I just so happened to be flipping through PEOPLE magazine when I was shocked by this headline

OMIGOD--It's Been 20 Years! PRETTY IN PINK

Do you remember that movie? I do. Like it was yesterday. 20 years? Wow, that makes me feel old!

One thing I didn't know was this . . . (quoted from People)

"Duckie Almost Got the Girl. The original ending called for Andie to choose Duckie over rich guy Blane--until test audience booed. 'Girls wanted Andie to go with the cute boy,' says Deutch. The ending had to be reshot and McCarthy, who had already shaved his head for another role, wears a wig in the final scene."

So what does this have to do with parenting? Absolutely nothing . . . but I thought you'd be as intrigued as I was!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Startling Beauty

When I finish a book deadline, I do three things:

1) Make a nice dinner for my family.
2) Clean off my desk.
3) Read a good book.

As soon as I typed "The End" on my novel, "A Valley of Betrayal" I knew what book I wanted to read: Startling Beauty by Heather Gemmen. Or to be more accurate, what book I wanted to finish.

The book has been sitting on my nightstand since April. I read about 1/2 of it then stopped for the sole reason it stirred emotions within me that I haven't felt for many years. The full title of Heather's book is: Startling Beauty: My Journey From Rape to Restoration.

Here is the blurb from the inside cover:

"Turn off the light,"Heather sleepily murmured.

When the room went dark, she opened her eyes. The man standing in her bedroom was not her husband.

Raped in her own home, Heather’s terror went beyond her own safety: Were the kids sleeping soundly in the next bedroom, or did their silence mean something else? Would her husband save her, or would he face the same knife she did?

And Heather’s agony did not end after the rapist left. Against all odds, she became pregnant as a result of the rape. Would she and her husband remain united as they faced the tyranny of the choice before them? Would they endure the strain of anxiety as they waited for HIV test results and answered strange telephone calls?

This gripping true-life story walks readers through Heather’s journey from rape to restoration. Startling Beauty is undeniable proof that God can bring blessings out of the worst situations in our lives.

Heather's story is amazing . . . it truly is. Still, I didn't like the emotions it stirred inside me.

I have never been raped like Heather, although there were times in my high school dating relationships my "no" wasn't heeded as it should have been.

And I did know the face of the man who got me pregnant twice before I turned eighteen--one pregnancy that ended in abortion at age 15 and the other with a son at age 17.

Still, the emotions Heather shared in her story were mine. The fear, confusion, and finally the unexpected love for an unplanned child.

But I did it. As soon as my novel was done, I finished the rest of Heather's book, and I let myself have a good cry. I think that as women with painful pasts, we find it easier to forget and move on, than to allow ourselves the right to mourn.

Yet, sometimes God asks us to stop and examine. To see His hand holding ours even during the dark and painful times of our lives. And sometimes He implores us to use our story to help others see that God CAN provide restoration for broken hearts.

Thank you, Heather for sharing your story. And for putting into words some of the emotions I've held inside me for 20 years.

And for reminding me it's okay to cry.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scripture Memory--Kid Style

This morning, I read a great blog on Home-steeped Hope about teaching Scripture memory to kids. You can read it here.

Anyway, it got me thinking about our family's efforts of memorizing Scripture verses through the years.

I will be starting my 13th year of homeschooling this year, and I can saw without a doubt one of my FAVORITE memories is learning Scripture verses as a famiy. We've tried many systems, and to me it doesn't matter how we get the words to stick, just as long as they do.

Even now, I still study Scripture with my 12-year-old. In fact, he created his own "list" of things that help him.

1. Write it. Nathan writes the verse out.

2. Say it. He says it to himself ten times. (He usually has it memorized by this time.)

3. Share it. He comes to me and shares it. (Then we go over his previous verses too.)

4. Discuss it. I have to come up with three questions to ask him about the meaning of the verse and how it works in life.

5. Hunt for it. I time Nathan as he finds it in the Bible. (Usually under 20 seconds.)

Nathan learned all these study tools through church and home, and now uses them.

Also, my older two kids have devised their own systems. Like me, my daughter (14) has a journal of her favorite Scripture verses. She took it upon herself to read the Bible through and then she comes to John or I to discuss what she's reading or it pops up as we go through daily life. (We've had some VERY interesting discussions as she went through Leviticus and Judges.)

My oldest son, 17, writes his favorite verses and sticks them around his computer monitor on Post-It notes. (Touch the cards and die!) Then Cory works on them throughout the day. He's memorized long passages this way.

Also, he works as a checker at Target part of the day. An older Christian who also works there taught Cory how to keep Scripture memory cards in his pocket and work at memorizing them when it's slow in the store. Cory's been doing this too. As he stands at the end of the checkstand, waiting for customers, I've seen him slip the card out, read it, then slip it inside, the whole time smiling at the old lady taking ten minutes to make it to the checkstand.

In fact, my kids are encouraging me to "get with the system." In addition to my journal, I've taken 3x5 cards (spiral bound) and wrote some of my favorite verses. Then, I read them and study them as I blow dry my hair and get ready in the morning.

Hiding God's word in our hearts, yeah baby!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How Things Work

One of my son's favorite homeschool subjects is science, especially when we spent time last year checking out the "How Things Work" videos from the library. He loved learning how car engines worked, what enables planes to fly, and other interesting facts. To Nathan it was fascinating stuff.

I thought about those videos this morning, as I was reading "The Beloved Disciple" by Beth Moore. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few years (as are 999 others!). And if you haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend it.

Anyway, here is a quote that really spoke to me this morning:

"So how does Christ make a man or a woman? . . . The most immediate way He began building his new followers into the people He wanted them to be was by spending intense time with them and showing them how He worked." p. 24

This one quote spoke to me in two ways.

1) We become the men and women God has called US to be when we spend intense time with God and when we study how He works.

2) But, as a mom, I also thought of my kids. How do they grow into men and women of God? By, at first, modeling me as I spend intense time with them, showing them how God works in and through my life.

Heavy. I know.

Beth Moore goes on:

"As they watched this man named Jesus, this carpenter's son, and they fellowshipped with Him then witnessed His work, what do you think they saw? Consistency? Versatility? Unwavering passion? Or a lamb as often as a lion? The center of all attention? Or a teacher that became a student of all those around Him? We know they saw absolute authenticity, but how do you imagine they saw it portrayed?" p. 25

Beth doesn't provide the answers, but instead encourages readers to think about such matters and try to grasp the flesh-and-blood reality of these encounters. It boggles my mind, really, when I think about Jesus and his disciples sitting around the dinner table with Jesus' family (which happened soon after they were called away from their fishing boats). Or all of them walking the roads, talking about life and God.

And also, since school preparation has been one of my priorities lately, reading Beth's words also makes me consider my priorities as a mom and designer of my children's education. I mean music lessons, sports teams, and academic enrichment courses are great and all, but I need to remember how Christ made men and women of God. He didn't fill their time and minds with numerous "good things," but rather focused on the one most important thing. Himself.

It makes me reconsider how things should work around here . . .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

10 Questions for Mary DeMuth

10 Questions for Mary DeMuth

1. Tricia: Mary, you're a mom, writer, and a missionary in France. How do you balance it all?

Mary: I’m not sure! I now have a life coach who is helping me sort out what to do in terms of scheduling. With writing, I set specific goals (10,000 words a week for fiction, 6-7000 words a week for nonfiction). Outside of that, I coordinate worship, publications, graphics and the website for our church as well as host a home group (I’m getting tired just writing all that). I am trying to keep writing restricted to the time when my children are in school, but it sometimes spills over. One thing I’ve done well this year is establish a Sabbath rest each week on Sunday. I make brunch and dinner the night before. We sleep in, eat brunch, take walks, do art—all sorts of rejuvenating things. This has really helped my crazy-busy heart.

2. Tricia: You call yourself a Pioneer Parent. What does this term mean to you? What type of encouragement do you have for other pioneer parents?

Mary: I’m someone who doesn’t want to duplicate the home I was raised in; therefore, I’m a pioneer parent. I am doing something new. I’ve had no example. There are many pioneer parents out there, many of whom feel lost, alone, discouraged, or overwhelmed. That’s why I wrote Building the Christian Family You Never Had—to let pioneer parents know they are not alone, and that God can take even the most shattered childhood and heal us enough to make us better parents.

3. Tricia: Laughter is good medicine. What is something one of your kid's has done recently that made you laugh?

Mary: We went to Baylor rehab in Dallas (we’re on furlough right now) because a friend of ours had a stroke. She’s doing really well, thank the Lord. But while we were there, we went to a class with her. Across the room was a man with a patch on his eye. Our eight year old Julia said (loudly), “Look, mom, there’s a pirate!”

4. Tricia: What was one of your most embarrassing motherhood moments? (Spill it, sister!)

Mary: This year I misunderstood my daughter Julia’s art teacher. I thought she was responsible for mounting and framing Julia’s piece. My French is okay, but sometimes I miss details like this. So when we went to our village’s art exhibition, I was saddened to see that Julia’s masterpiece wasn’t there because I didn’t frame it. I felt absolutely horrible and stupid.

5. Tricia: One of the biggest struggles busy moms have is keeping the romance alive with their spouses. Do you have any tips for this?

Mary: Go on weekly dates. I can’t stress how important connection with your spouse outside of raising children is. Someday you’ll have to spend A LOT of time with each other when the kids are gone. Make it a practice now!

6. Tricia: Are you an introvert or extravert? How has this affected your parenting?

Mary: Hmmmm. My husband and I argue (kindly) about this. I think I’m an extrovert; he thinks I’m an introvert. I can say that I’ve become more introverted as a writer and as a person trying to adjust to France. How that has affected me is that I’m not as willing to go out there and make lots of French mistakes. And sometimes my kids are embarrassed at their toddler-French-speaking mother.

7. Tricia: Being a mom is hard work. When all the burdens of motherhood come crashing down on you, where do you turn?

Mary: Jesus. My husband. My friends. I pray a lot. I fail a lot. I ask the kids for forgiveness. And then I pray some more.

8. Tricia: Why do you feel it's important for moms to cultivate thankfulness in their lives?

Mary: Because we’re bombarded with negativity all the time. When I’m grateful, it spills over into the atmosphere of my home.

9. Tricia: Dr. Seuss or Sponge Bob?

Mary: Bob Leponge! He’s much more funny in FRENCH!!! The kids giggle when they watch him say stupid things in French. It’s hilarious.

10. Tricia: You call consumerism the religion of the US. What can moms do to make sure God is first in their homes and lives?

Mary: Turn off the TV. Limit media. Talk about advertisements. Educate kids about why advertisers are in business. Help them learn contentment by taking them on mission trips to the third world. Sponsor a child.

Thanks, Tricia!

Thank you, Mary!

Mary's blogs:

Mary's website:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guest Blogger...Alyice Edrich

Stress Relief By Alyice Edrich

You can't live with it and it seems you can't live without it. There are healthy ways to relieve stress or so we're told, but who really understands breathing techniques anyway? And let's be honest, the sounds of the ocean crashing down upon you are eventually going to send you into the bathroom for a nice little retreat. So how do we find time to de-stress in an over-stressed society?

That was my mission this passed week-end as I dealt with a few issues of my own. And one, I might add, that I didn't have much success with until my friend and I spoke on the phone. She listened to my issues, we prayed together, and once realizing that the issue was one that only time could heal, she gradually changed the subject to things we could laugh about.

Sometimes, the simple act of friendship is the best medicine you could ever receive. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed and your usual methods of de-stressing don't work, call up a friend and immediately take a self-prescribed dose of friendship. If your friend is too busy, consider the following fun ways to de-stress:

1.. Turn on Christian music and glorify God's name in song.

2.. Take your kids out of school and have a ditch day. Sometimes, one-on-one with your kids is the best medicine in the world.

3.. Work in your garden. There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the warmth of the sun on your back while you play with God's creations.

4.. Take a mini-vacation. Rent a nice hotel room for the week-end and leave all your cares behind. Sometimes, a simple change in location can add a new perspective on things.

5.. Paint statuary. Creating something from your imagination allows you to use the other half of your brain and give you analytical side a nice, little rest.

6.. Go to the movies and watch a comedy.

7.. Ask your spouse to take "a personal day" and do one of your favorite activities together.

8.. Play a board game.

9.. Work on a hobby you haven't touched in months-if not years.

10.. Take a long bath, get in your pajamas, pour yourself a cup of java, get under the covers, and snuggle up to a good book.

11.. Bake something. Many times just the smell of freshly bakes goodies is enough to put your mind at ease.

The important thing to remember is that if you don't deal with your stress, it will eventually explode and that explosion can cause huge damage to your health, your relationships, and even your livelihood. Whenever stress gets the better of you, take five minutes to rework your day. Not only will your family thank you for it, but so will your heart.

The Dabbling Mum

P.S. May we both meet God in our week and accomplish our goals.

Staying Connected

Recently, my friend, Cara, had a link to an article on her website that talked about how clueless parents were when it come to what their kids are up to. The article said:

"A third of American teenagers have attended parties where parents were at home while alcohol or illegal drugs were used, according to an annual back-to-school survey on teens' attitudes that paints an overall portrait of a generation of parents clueless about their kids' vices."

You can read Cara's post here. Her post has a link to the complete article.

I'd like to think I know my kids pretty well. Maybe that's due to the fact, I'm with them most of the day, every day. (Except for the 17-year-old who works at Target now or likes spending time with his best friend/cousin. Still, I'm able to keep track of him in both cases :-)

My kids are 17b, 14g, and 12b. And John and I have worked hard to stay connnected with our kids.

We make sure our house is the #1 Sleepover spot. Between our three kids, there are friends over probaby 1/2 the nights of the week. (It helps that their friends are kids of our friends, and we know what they're like.) The cost of food, videos, and games is worth it.

We also: 1) spend most of our free time with our kids. In fact, last week my husband was recovering from surgery and had to stay in bed all week. I hung out with him . . . and so did our kids. They lounged on the bed too or brought chairs into the room. We chatted, watched TV together, etc.

2) 99% of all movies we watch WITH our kids and discuss it. (Yes, I've seen ALL the teen flicks. And they've seen movies we watch . . . and if it's unacceptable for them to join us, then we know we shouldn't be watching it either!)

Last night we watched "Walk the Line." It was a little intense for the 12-year-old. Or was it? We were able to see what drugs did to a man's life and talk about it.

Two nights ago John and I took Leslie clothes shopping, out to dinner, and then to watch Step Up. (The dancing was amazing and the story--while predictable--was good too.) It was a great bonding time, and we were able to preview with her a movie she wanted to watch. (And yes, we were the only ones over 25 in the theater!)

3) I provide my kids with A LOT of healthy reading/listening material. We have Christian books from floor to ceiling in three large bookcases in the house. My daughter has read more Christian novels that I have, and her and my husband are always talking about their favorites. (Because he's read more Christian novels than I have too!) I also purchase good magazines like CCM, Brio, Breakaway, etc. I buy them Christian music cds and books on tape. (My youngest son LOVE the Jonathan Park cds and the Narnia cds.)

4) John and I give our kids a healthy example. They see us reading together and praying together in the mornings. I also do devotions with them (the twelve-year-old) or they have their own quiet time with God. In fact, my 14-year-old took it upon herself to read the Bible through. She's in Judges, and she the other night as we shopped, she was talking about what she was reading.

5) Service is a part of our lives. We mentor teen parents and have them over often. We volunteer at church and in the community and our kids are involved too. It's totally the norm for them.

That's not to say we're perfect parents. Far from it! And we don't have pefect kids. Don't I wish. And they do have vices. For sure. But mainly we know about them because we are in their lives. Either that or they've confessed them to us. (Yes, giving them a healthy sense of what's right and wrong is important too. As is loving on them after they fess up.) So while it's not perfect, we are perfectly happy with where we are this stage in the game.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Dabbling Mum

The Dabbling Mum hosted the very first interview for Generation NeXt Parenting! Make sure you check it out here.

Also, if you would like to interview me on your blog, email me at fromdustandashes(at)

Just change (at) to @

I'd love to visit and chat!

Scaling to the Heights . . . Or Not

God asked me to climb a mountain, and I took off with zest. The steps were labored, but the burn felt good. I climbed with a fresh excitement about scaling to the heights.

I met a friend along the trail. She waved me down. “I really, really want to go to the top and bask in the view, but I don’t have time. Could you pleeeeese take this camera and get some shots for me? Oh, I’d really appreciate it.”

“Sure,” I plopped her camera into my pack.

A little farther, my husband was waiting by the trail. “Hon, good thing I caught you. I have these supplies I was supposed to drop off at the peak, can you take them for me? It’s an emergency.”

I smile. “I’d love to.”

My steps are more sluggish with the added weight, but I shrug it off. Getting to the peak’s important. It’s a mission for God.

Not too long later I see a leader in my church.

“Oh, good thing you’re here. I have a meeting on the peak in ten minutes, and I can’t make it. I’ve always trust you. Can you take my place? You can make it if you sprint.”

Weary now from the added load, I really want to decline, but he looks so desperate.

“Okay, just this once.”

“I knew I could count on you,” he says, as he flashes a grin and starts back down the mountain.

After ten minutes of sprinting I crash to the ground. My heart is pounding and my legs are killing me. Why did I think this journey would be fun?

“Lord,” I cry out in desperation. “Why did you ask me to do this? Didn’t you know it would be too much for me?”

It was then I heard His voice echoing through the trees, “Daughter, what I asked you to do was to climb a mountain, and I gave you the strength to do so. It was your choice to add the burdens I asked others to carry . . .”

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey once said, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage--pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically--to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the 'best' is often the ‘good.’ ”

And in God's Word, we read: “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men.” (Acts 5:39)

So, does this relate to you at all today? Have you taken on more than God has asked you to? It's a question I'm pondering myself.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Does anybody else struggle with discipline? I need to write 2000 words a night five days a week to be ready for a conference I'm going to in two months. So what am I doing now that my daughter and I are home from Vacation Bible School. Writing? (Well, yes, at the moment I am). Cleaning? Cuddling my kids? No, as the temporary queen of procrastination I deleted email. Mind you this email has sat in my in-box for months. Doesn't that sound like something that has to be done right this moment?
I often accept duties to the point I become paralyzed about the things that must be done. I'm the first to admit I work very well under pressure, but if I tighten my self-imposed deadline anymore, I won't sleep for a month!
Going back to the definition of discipline in Webster's: a) training that develops self-control, character or orderliness and efficiency b) strict control to enforce obedience. I could use some strict control in my life. The kind of control that says "no" when I'm asked to take on a new duty or service. The kind of control that says "I don't want my family to live on the edge of chaos." The kind of control that admits that even though I know I could do something and do it very well, if I don't do it someone else will step forward. If I could even cut a couple items from my to-do list, from the weight of responsibility, it would free brain power to focus on the things I know I need to. Like writing a book in the next two months. Yikes! Join me in praying for an extra dose of discipline. (And adding a plea for the sun to stand still like it did for Joshua in the Old Testament wouldn't be a bad thing either.)
And maybe when I can exercise control and discipline over my life, it will trickle through to the rest of my family. A gal can hope!

You can read Cara's blog at:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dream Home

What does "Dream Home" mean to Gen Xers? One recent article, discussed that very thing . . . check it out:

Dream homes for every age group
For Gen X'ers, it's all about amenities
Jamila RobinsonSt. Louis Post-Dispatch Aug. 5, 2006 12:00 AM

What makes a dream home? A South Beach villa? Stick-style Victorian? The one Barbie had? Images of fantasy mansions may come to mind, but for 25- to 40-year-olds, the amenities that a house offers can make it a dream home.

A recent study conducted by GFK Roper, a global research organization, found that for post-boomer generations, the ideal home is a reflection of values and aspirations.

For Generation X, the group of people born between 1965 and 1977, and their younger counterparts born after 1978 - often called Generation Y or echo boomers - a dream house isn't always extra acreage or a cul-de-sac. To this group - more than 81 million Americans - a dream house is one that provides comfort, security, style and technology.

Read the rest of the article here.

Did you catch that quote? "Gen X-ers are at childbearing age. That means that Gen-X homes are about the family center. They are looking for things that help them organize and eradicate clutter and chaos."

I love how EVERYONE is talking about the "family center" that Gen Xers value so much! And when I started looking around my home, I have to agree:

Dining room . . . large enough for our family plus a few guest to have dinner TOGETHER every night.

Office . . . that has a custom desk my husband built. It wraps around three walls, so my kids and I can work side-by-side.

Living room . . . large enough to seat a dozen comfortably. Because if each of my kids have a friend over, we're almost up to a dozen!

Porch swing . . . so we can interact with kids while they play outside.

What about you? What does your dream home include? How does this relate your values?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

It Just Makes Me Wonder…

The doors swung open, and I stepped through the red velvet curtain. A gentleman dressed in a red knee length suit jacket greeted me with a smile and handed me a paper. As I walked down the plush red carpet, dark silhouettes assaulted me with bright flashing lights. I stepped into the smoke filled room, momentarily blinded by the flashing bulbs and fog. The smell of buttered popcorn and espresso wafted through the air. When my eyes adjusted to the scene, I almost gasped out loud. I wished the smoke hadn’t cleared so quickly. Dorothy, with Toto (a real live dog) in hand, smiled us. Beside her, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, waved. To the right, a giant mechanical elephant and jungle man greeted us. Further up ahead, CDs, books and t-shirts were available for purchase. I had to blink twice to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I’m really glad I didn’t pinch myself because it wasn’t a dream. It was Sunday morning church.

I’ve mentioned before how after 12 years at our church we felt the prompting to find a new church home. We settled at a hip church for about a year, but after a pastoral turnover felt it just wasn’t the right place for us anymore.On our quest to find a new church home we’ve run the gambit, attending a tradition denominational church, to what I call a “condemning” church where the whole time your repenting from what an evil sinner you are. Then there was the “African” church, the “radical missions” church, the “laid back flip flop wearing pastor” church, the “mega” church, the “conservative” church, etc, etc. While we enjoyed certain aspects of all these churches, they just didn’t seem to be the right fit. Still we haven’t ruled out all of them for the simple reason that we attended most of these churches during a special program.

Case in point. The church we attended on Sunday. Their theme was “At The Movies.” Now, I have nothing against having fun in church, but when it seems to come before everything else, that bugs me. The praise and worship seemed more like a rock concert, and I had trouble worshipping. The service, though entertaining, was obviously seeker friendly. I came for meat and got a milkshake.

Now I know churches like this have their place. In today’s society sometimes you need the bells and whistles just to get people through the door. Still I couldn’t help thinking about Jesus when he overturned the merchant tables in the Temple. He said, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" (John 2:16).

I just couldn’t help thinking that if in an attempt to make church more fun and attractive, maybe we’re trying to sell Christianity. If Jesus walked into some of these churches would he pull up a seat or start overturning tables? It just makes me wonder.Think about it. Jesus wasn’t popular. He wasn’t attractive. He didn’t have a mega church with the latest audio visual equipment. Kids didn’t have jupiter jumps and arcades in their church service. His sermons had no bells or whistles (except miracles :)), but what he had was the truth. Like I said, I like to have fun in church and fun has its place. But when we place that above really connecting with God, it just makes me wonder…

visit Gina's blog

Reprinted with permission

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sign me up!

Homeschool will be starting in just a few weeks. Yikes! As I start planning for our school year, I'm pulling out books and creating lesson plans. But I'm also considering places for my kids to volunteer. Whether you homeschool, or not. Whether your kids are 3 or 16, volunteering helps kids to look beyond themselves and consider others less fortunate.

In the past we've sang at local rest homes at Christmas, helped to remodel our local pregnancy center, and have made cards for veterans thanking them for their service. Every week my kids volunteer in children's church. And during the school year my daughter volunteers by babysitting for our teen mom support groups.

If you're considering in getting your kids involved with volunteering, here are some ideas that work for me.

Fit the activity with the child. Expose you children to various things then ask them, ‘What would you like to do?’”

Work as a team. Parents can reinforce family values, and kids can share their time and talents, and even acquire new skills.

Be prepared. When preparing for a volunteer activity it’s important to know what to expect. Ask: 1) Where do we need to go? 2) When do we need to be there? 3) Who will we report to? 4) What are we expected to bring? and 5) Why is our role important? Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help children approach their tasks with confidence.

Give feedback. Kids love to know when they’ve done a good job. (And we all like to be rewarded for our efforts.) Talk to your child about the experience. Let her know how it makes you feel to see her acting in such a mature and giving nature. It will be just the thing that will make your child want to go back for more!

Finally, if you don't know where to start, here are a few volunteer activities to consider:

1. Dish up food at a soup kitchen.
2. Walk dogs for the animal shelter.
3. Help an elderly neighbor with yard work.
4. Read to residents of an extended care facility.
5. Deliver library books to homebound patrons.
6. Collect canned goods for the food bank.

Also, I'd love to hear about your volunteering efforts!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Read this: Casual Is Working Full Time

Here is an interesting article, on how Gen Xers are changing the workplace. Who would have thought that our desire for balancing family and works even transforms how they dress for work?


Casual Is Working Full Time
Corporate suits take a leave of absence as dress codes become more relaxed. But the trend has created a backlash. `Tie Tuesday,' anyone?

By Molly Selvin
Times Staff Writer
Published August 11, 2006

On those rare occasions when insurance executive Tara Guizot wears a suit to her Century City office, "people invariably ask me if I'm interviewing for a new job," she said.

The trend toward casual dress has gone so far that Matt Smith, a 27-year-old Century City lawyer, is on a quest to establish "Tie Tuesday." He would like to wear a suit to work but knows he'd be ridiculed. Instead, Smith dons a tie every Tuesday and hopes other men in his office will follow. So far a couple have.

"It's just something fun," he said.

You can read the rest of the article here:

So what do you think? As a Gen Xer do you feel it's important to "dress for success?"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Moments Like These...

Sweets sounds from Gracie, my four year old, echo through the darkened room where she and my hubby share a snuggle moment. He’s just finished telling her a princess story he made up.“Come on dad. Sing with me. Tale with old as time. Ah ah ah. True as his cam be (some very mumbled but on tune words)….just a little chance. True why his cam be. Sing with me, dad.”

Reluctant hums come from my husband. Let’s just say my kids didn’t get their musical talent from him. I sit in the dark, wanting to savor the sweetness of the moment. With three older brothers, Gracie sometimes resembles a rough and tumble boy. Right now she’s all ruffles and lace.
“Now it’s my turn to tell a story,” she says. “Once upon a time there was a prince named Joey who picked his nose. He was a piggy, piggy, piggy.” (So much for my little princess.) There was a prince named Timmy who didn’t pick his nose and he was a nice one.”

I ask, “Where did you hear that story?”“Chris told me that.” She continues the story. “Mom is the nice queen and Gigi (mom’s friend) is the bad queen. And the policeman took Joey away in the big bad jungle and there were animals and they eat him.

”I interject, “I don’t like your story it’s not nice.”

“Now Joey doesn’t pick his buggars. Next prince dad comes and prince mom and she’s a nice queen. Prince dad loves me and Timmy.”

“Is that the end?”

“NO! And bliblubleedadada. There’s the end.”

Moments like these were meant for blogging!
Reprinted with permission

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Teen Fiction

My brain has done a major jump this week. I've gone from finishing my 5th historical novel, to "researching" for a girls' teen fiction book idea.

I've been reading some secular teen stuff in my spare time. OH MY!

Here is the opening page for a book called Peaches, by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and it's a best-seller. Hmmmm, I wonder why.

Every spring since she had turned thirteen had started the same way for Murphy McGowen. She started feeling restless at the very same time as the crocuses began busting out of their buds every year. She'd start to want to bust out of her skin too, into a skin that lives, say, in New York, or Paris, or Buenos Aires, anyplace that wasn't Bridgewater, Georgia. Outside the historic downtown district--which was basically unlived in and which barely any tourists came to--the town was mostly a strip of motels, fast-food joints, and traffic lights.

From then on, each spring had started with

A. The restlessness
B. The ache in her chest for the thing she didn't know was missing
C. The guy with the hand up her shirt.

At fifteen, there was also the addition of the other hand, down the pants--usually cords, sometimes army surplus, all three dollars or less at the Village Thrift . . .

Yeah, that is why I don't let my daughter read these books! At fourteen, I keep feeding her Christian fiction. I'd rather have her read Brandilyn Collin's murder stories than this! Yikes!

So what do YOU think about the stuff publishers are printing for our teens??? Even if our kids aren't reading the stuff . . . there are plenty of teens who are!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Dodged a Bullet Tonight

A couple of weeks ago my nine year old son started reading the Bible. His goal was to read from Genesis all the way through. I thought it was a great idea and I was so proud that he would be interested in this on his own. It also coincided with a Bible dramatization tape series we've been listening to.Today as we listened to the story of Abraham and the three strangers my son was already familiar with the story. I was interested in how the tape series was going to handle the Angels at Lot's house where the Sodomites wanted to "lie" with the strangers. They skipped that whole scene and made it age appropriate on the tape series.

Tonight we were supposed to read Little Pilgrims Progess together, but it got too late and my nine year old was disappointed to the point of disobedience, where he came out of his room to whine and complain. I tried to explain things to him and then distracted him and he felt better. He asked if he could read the Bible before bed. I said sure. He then said "I think the tape is ahead of me."

Light bulb goes on in my mind! I don't think he got to the part about Lot and the strangers. So I tell him to bring me his Bible and let me see where he's at. Lo and behold, I read the dreaded passage where the men of the town want to have sex with the strangers.

Near panic came over me. Did I want my son to read this? No. I haven't had the talk with him yet, and I sure didn't want to have to explain homosexual rape! So, I told him the next chapter wasn't appropriate for him to read. He was stunned and said, "Mom, I don't understand. How could the Holy Bible be inappropriate?"

Thus began the discussion of sinful people and that it's in the Bible to show us what not to do and the consequence's of our sin, but he was too young to know these things and I didn't want his mind to be filled with bad things that might scare him. I related it to how I tell him to close his eyes when something inappropriate or violent comes on the TV.

I then suggested he read the New Testament and at his age he should fill his mind and heart with getting to know Jesus better. He mentioned some stories in the Bible like Joseph and Moses and wanted to read those. I started to go through the Old Testament to see what he could read, but then he said, "I should stick to the New Testament so I don't get tempted to read the bad stuff!"Bullet dodged for now! Tonight I'm thanking God for my son's disobedience. It just might have saved his little heart from knowing too much too soon!


Reprinted with permission

Monday, August 07, 2006

Kansas Stories

I don't know why I started thinking about it, but last night my thoughts turned to my great-grandmother, Rachel Coulter. She raised twelve kids during the depression in Kansas. She passed away before I was born, but it got me thinking about what expectations she had for her kids, compared to what I have for mine.

I don't know how many of Rachel's kids graduated from high school, I know my grandpa didn't. Still grandpa was a hardworking man with a big heart. He worked his whole life in a wood mill, married the waitress at the local cafe, and raised three girls. Then, when my mom had a baby out of wedlock, he helped raise me.

For five months in 1998/1999 my grandfather lived with us after he discovered he had cancer. He was 83-years-old, and instead of trying to fight it my grandpa decided he'd had a good life and he was ready any time the Lord would take him.

During that time, I would sit for a few hours every day and talk to my grandpa about growing up in Kansas. Since my kids were just little at the time, I jotted down some of my grandpa's memories so they could remember him.

Here are a few. They are simple, but they also remind me we don't have to give our kids everything society says is important to raise good people. Grandpa Fred had very little, but what he did have, really counted.

When Grandpa was a boy, he had a lot of brothers and sisters. From oldest to youngest there were Floyd, Pearl, Bus, Lettie, Frank, Fred, Gladys, Florence, Roy, Jack, and Dale. They lived in a big farmhouse on the Coulter Farm. It had five bedrooms, and a full basement with a garage for their car. The basement was used as their wash room. They also had their corn grinders down there and an old wood stove.

The Coulters had a big enough table to fit everyone around it. When they sat around the table, there was no arguing, and no hollering . . . or else. Also, you ate what you were given, without a word. The Coulter family often went through 6-7 loaves of bread in one sitting—and this wasn’t just bread you could pick up from the store. Great-Grandma Coulter made it all from scratch!

On the Coulter Farm, their cooking stove was a wood stove. For an “ice box” his family had a cabinet, and inside was ice packed in sawdust. In the winter, Grandpa and his family would go down to the lake and cut ice. If stored properly, this ice would last all summer.

Even though the Coulters had many conveniences, their toilets were outside—they were called outhouses. Since they didn’t want to have to go into the cold at night, they’d keep buckets by their beds to be used when needed.

Grandpa Fred had an Aunt Lena and Uncle Charlie who lived near him. He also had an Aunt Ruth who lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and an Aunt Rose who lived in Colorado.

Every September, Grandpa’s family would cut wood to prepare for the winter. To go get wood, they had a wagon pulled by four horses. The wood they often cut was Red Elm. They had a buzz saw to split it all. Also, in the fall, they’d butcher two pigs at a time and wouldn’t let anything go to waste!

Once as a child, Grandpa had twelve skunks as pets! He and his brothers knew how to cut out the sacs that contained the fowl odor. Grandpa said they were as calm as kittens. One day when a neighbor his mother didn’t like very well came over, Grandpa Fred (he was a young boy at the time) let the skunks into the house. This woman felt something brushing her leg and she assumed it was a cat. When she looked down and saw it was a skunk she nearly jumped out of her skin!

Grandpa Fred got a scolding for that, but he told his mother, “Well, you said you didn’t like her.” (The reason that Fred’s mom didn’t like her was because she always bragged on her children. “My son did this, and my son did that.”) Grandpa Fred said that neighbor never did come visiting again . . . and he was glad!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Mom I Want To Be--Suzie Eller--Guest Blogger

Growing up in my small brick home was a contradiction. There were sweet memories mixed with others that were not so peaceful. Life in the four walls of my house wasn’t always abusive, but perhaps that is what made it so difficult. The physical punishments and emotional chaos were inconstant companions.
As I wrote my new book, The Mom I Want to Be, I dove into my family history. Dysfunction is often generational and that is true in my family history. As I researched (with my courageous mom’s help), I easily drew a connection from my grandmother to my mother to me.

Exploring generational patterns provided insight and compassion for the child that was once my mother. It helped me to understand the “why” behind some of the events that transpired. It allowed me to ask an important question: Was I handing the same set of problems to the next generation?

I discovered three truths that I share in the book. May I share one with you?

1. When dysfunctional patterns are revealed, it is an opportunity for change

One emotional pattern in my family history is abandonment. If it’s fight or flight, they run, baby run. My grandmother physically abandoned her children for days at a time. My own mother threatened suicide (the ultimate act of checking out) when life became too big to handle.

When I first married Richard, we had a fight over something trivial. I opened the door to take a drive (abandon the scene). My husband gently stopped me.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t want to fight.” I went into the bedroom and locked the door.

Soon I heard the scratching of a key. My husband stood there, confused. “Let’s talk.”

I slipped by him. For the next 20 minutes we played a game of human chess. I moved from room to room. My husband followed.

Finally my husband wrapped his arms around me gently. For the next half hour we talked about our disagreement and resolved our conflict. I was 21 years-old and it was vital that I learn how to work through conflict rather than follow family history.

David Seamands, author of HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS, says:
In most of the parks the naturalists can show you a cross section of a great tree they have cut, and they will point out that the rings of the tree reveal the developmental history, year by year. Here’s a ring that represents a year when there was a terrible drought. Here are a couple of rings from years when there was too much rain. . . That’s the way it is with us. Just a few thin layers beneath the protective bark—the concealing, protective mask—are the recorded rings of our lives. There are scars of ancient, painful hurts .

By studying my family tree I learned what NOT to do and that I could change the future for my children by using alternative methods that would make me and my family feel safe and loved.

For more information about Suzie go to:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My First Review of Generation NeXt Parenting!

Generation NeXt Parentingby Tricia Goyer Multnomah Publishers
Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton

Generation NeXt Parenting is a must read for parents who are struggling to find a godly balance in the must-have-it-all world we live in now. These women are caught in the aftermath of the Baby Boomers and aren't quite sure how to handle some issues.

Tricia Goyer takes a candid look at modern-day parenting and addresses such issues like:

-- Depending on God
-- Parenting Advice Overload
-- Shaking Past Habits
-- Minding Thoughts, Taming Tongues
-- Spending Time with Family
-- Making Room for Daddy
-- Raising Content Kids
-- Tackling the Media Monster
-- Plus much more

I found Generation NeXt Parenting an excellent resource book for all aspects of parenting. Goyer included comments throughout the book written by my peers, stating their agreement with comments the author made, or suggestions for improving certain areas of their relationships with their husband or children. The book is well written and held my interest, even though it is a nonfiction book.

In Generation NeXt Parenting Goyer also includes suggestions for applying what you learned to your day-to-day life. As a result, she promises you that you will feel more secure as a parent and a spouse after reading her book.

Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended for pastors, parents, and church libraries.


A friend, and fellow Mom, sent the via email, and I just had to laugh. Hopefully this will bring a smile to your day! (As a mom of two boys, I can relate!)

And you also find out interesting things when you have sons, like:

  • A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep. 2.)

  • If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

  • A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

  • If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room. 5.)

  • You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

  • The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

  • When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

  • Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

  • A six-year-old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

  • Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year-old Boy.

  • Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

  • Super glue is forever.

  • No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

  • Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

  • VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

  • Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

  • Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

  • You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

  • Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

  • The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time.

  • The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

  • It will, however, make cats dizzy.

  • Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

  • 80% of Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

  • 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Operation AWOL Mom: The Experiment

The Premise: What would happen if mom was suddenly Absent WithOut Leaving the home?

What would happen if mom didn't pick up after the kids, cook or maintain the house? What would happen if the kids were given gentle reminders instead of nagging and arguing? Would they rise to the occasion? Would they be responsible or wreck havoc on a some what orderly environment?

The Hostiles: (okay, too much 24!) 11 3/4 year old son, 9 year old son, 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter, and unsuspecting 40 something year old husband.

The Limits: They are responsible for their own meals and clean up. (There's plenty of no prep food or microwaveable food in the home, and yes, I will be there to supervise their efforts, guiding and making meal suggestions. Junk food and candy does not constitute as a meal.)

They're responsible for the dishes. (No clean forks? Wash them yourself.) They're responsible for their own laundry. (They have plenty of clean clothes albeit in laundry baskets.) They're responsible for their toys. (It's going to be hard watching the livingroom transform into a jungle of toys. As we speak they're setting up a carnival downstairs.)

The Rules: These may need to be adjusted as time goes by, but my one big rule is that if the dishes are still in the sink, no playing with friends or electronic goodies.

The Reason: Most moms feel unappreciated and neglected at times, and do way too much for their family, putting up with long durations without hearfelt appreciation. I want to see just how far these kids will go before their internal moral code takes over and they begin to see themselves as part of this family, responsible for the things they do and the messes they make. I want my hardworking husband to see my job is hard as well and that a little more appreciation would go a long way! I need a vacation!

The Challenge: Will the boys rise to the occasion or will I break down and start cleaning like a mad woman. Only time will tell?

The Duration: One week or until I can't stand it anymore!

Day 1: 10 am
The Kitchen: Dishes have piled in the sink from the weekend. (My biggest pet peeve) Several gentle reminder have gotten the boy to unload the dishwasher, but not load it. There are still enough cereal bowls and utensils to last two days.

The Livingroom: The boys have started to set up a carnival. I hope I can stand the mess and not break down and start cleaning.The rest of the house is basically untouched. Stay tuned for the progress of this mission.

Be sure to check out Gina's blog
Reprinted with Permission.

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