Every novelist dreams of his/her book being made into a movie. When my first novel, From Dust and Ashes
, came out I let my imagination wander, and I tried to pick the perfect actors/actresses play the parts of my characters. My choices?
(Band of Brothers)
(Can you tell my favorite movie is The Saint
? I've seen it a couple dozen times!)
If you haven't read From Dust and Ashes
the basic premise is that a small group of US soldiers liberate a concentration camp in Austria. Helene is a Nazi wife who has been living with horrors of the camp right outside the window. As soon as her husband flees the Americans, she ventures into the gates to help care for camp prisoners. The best part is it's based on a TRUE STORY I heard while researching in Austria. Check it out here
. Don't you think Elisabeth would do GREAT in that part?
Of course, in my mind, I always think of people like Elizabeth Shue as actors who don't have to deal with the same struggles as other Gen X moms. But that's not the case. She's a mom just like us. In fact, she just gave birth to her third baby! (Congratulations Elisabeth!)
If you want to know more, check out the latest news from Elisabeth here on ClubMom.com
Honesty, she's a mom just like us!
According to BabyCenter.com, these are the Top 10 Baby Names of 2005
Amazingly, my kids' name: Cory, Leslie, and Nathan don't make the top 25 names in their decade, but I do have a funny name story.
I had my son, Cory, when I was seventeen. When I was eighteen, I met and married a wonderful man named John Goyer. When Cory was five, John adopted Cory, making him Cory Goyer.
The weird thing is, John already had a nephew named Corey. It is his brother's oldest son. So there are two Cor(e)y Goyers who are first cousins and born two years apart! And . . . as of the last six months, they live in the same town--one works at Wal-Mart and the other at Target. It sure makes it easy to get their attention at family get togethers, or if you need help with the carts at any box store!
(A-MAZE-ING. On the left, Cory--no "e"--at the maze.)
Oh, one more thing. Until the DAY Cory was born, I'd planned on naming him Cory Aaron. I changed my mind as I filled out the birth certificate. It became Cory Joseph. Good thing too. John's other nephew, Corey's brother is Aaron!
I'm sure glad that God not only knows every one of our names, He also has some pretty awesome names for Himself, which you can check out here
These are GREAT to discuss with your kids and study for yourself.
Here are a few to get you started:
EL: God "mighty, strong, prominent"
EL SHADDAI: God Almighty or "God All Sufficient."
JEHOVAH-SHALOM: "The Lord Our Peace"
JEHOVAH-SABAOTH: "The Lord of Hosts"
Now, doesn't that give you hope and strength for today. It is THAT God who we serve, and who loves us completely! Amazing!
Guest Blogger: Christy Fitzwater
I'd like to take a minute to introduce my friend, Christy. She is a friend, neighbor, and her daughter is my daughter's best friend. I'm blessed!
When I was pregnant I worried a lot. I worried about birth defects. Worried about safe labor and delivery. Worried about having a healthy baby. It was amazing how much was out of my control. I began the practice of trusting God even before my baby took a first breath outside the womb.
Now that baby will enter the youth group this summer, and I'm worried again. Will she be tempted to have sex in a few years? Will she seek God as a teenager? Will she watch movies she shouldn't? Will she fall prey to the evils on the internet? Will she try meth? And again I realize so much of that will be out of my control. I am once again learning to trust God even before my girl takes her first step into the youth department.
When I left the hospital with my baby girl, we went straight to Arby's. (I had thrown up all nine months and couldn't wait to eat a meal and keep it down!) While we waited in the drive through, a man backed out of a parking space and right into the passenger door where my new baby rested in her car seat. It was a gentle bump and no injury occurred, but I was once again reminded how much of this child's life was out of my control.
There's a lot to being a good parent, including modeling, discipline, quality time... But in the end it still comes down to trusting a God who is good to take care of my kid.
I pray a lot.
Are you overcommitted, overloaded, overwhelmed?
(Leslie age 10)
The day had spun away faster than the last squares of toilet paper on the end of a roll. The clock announced my children’s bedtime, and I couldn’t be happier. I scanned my endless To-Do list wondering if I could squeeze in just a few more tasks that night.
“Mom, can I do one more thing?” Leslie, my 10-year-old daughter, asked.
“Make it quick,” I sighed. A few minutes later, Leslie gave me a hand-drawn grid. The days of the week were written in perfect, fifth-grade cursive.
“This is my schedule, and I’m stressed out. I have no free time.”
It was my daughter’s voice, but did I hear her right? My schedule? Stressed out? Did these words come from a child’s mouth?
Leslie ran her fingers over the squares. “Look, I have basketball two days a week and piano lessons on Tuesdays, not counting daily practice, then….” As she continued, I realized her brothers’ schedules weren’t much better. No wonder our lives were hectic. Meshing my kids’ daily activities with my own was like trying to shove another dirty pan into an already full dishwasher: No matter how things were rearranged, they weren’t going to fit! My daughter and I discussed what we could cut.
“Let’s wait on swimming lessons,” I said. “And cut art class altogether. That will free up Tuesdays and Fridays for just hanging out.”
I noted relief on Leslie’s face as she erased those items from her schedule.
“Thanks, Mom.” She said as she scurried off to bed. “I feel better already.”
Can you relate? Are you overcommitted, overloaded, overwhelmed? If so, you can read the rest of this article here.
(Oh, and be sure to comment!!!)
One of the great things about writing about parenting articles, is I can look at my life, see what areas I'd like advice on, and then research it and interview experts to get answers . . . and get paid for it! Not to mention I get to offer great advice to my friends. Is that a sweet deal or what?
1984 Olympics . . . Did you tune in?
What do you think of when you hear these names: Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner?
Gymnastics, of course!
I would have to say out of all the summer Olympic games, 1984 stands out in my mind. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching in awe as the gymnists flipped and twirled and took home the gold.
Why would I bring this up? Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner Have a Boy
"He already has definition in his deltoids and his biceps," Conner, 48, tells the Associated Press.
Wow. I'm impressed. Not by the baby's biceps, but the fact that cutie Bart Conner is 48. But don't worry, Nadia is only 44. They of course, are a little older than most Gen X Parents, but hey . . . we'll welcome them with open arms, won't we? After all, they showed us what Olympic-sized hope and dreams are all about!
Guest Blogger: Allison Wilson
by Allison Wilson
Before I was married I thought two kids would be perfect. Nicely rounded out in the family. One boy, one girl. Just right. Then my first child was born.
My kiddo is exceptional in just about everything he does. HIGHLY exceptional. He was playing computer games by 18 months, taught himself to read by 3 1/2 and talked like a little adult from about 2. My mother used to exclaim after speaking to him on the phone that she forgot sometimes just how young he was. He never went through the baby babble stage. All I ever got was real talk which couldn’t be tuned out (smile). Never a moments rest until nap or bed at which time I would collapse on the nearest flat surface in exhaustion.
I’ve asked God why I can’t just have NORMAL. Normal would be good, right? But His answer is always the same. “I gave this precious child of mine to YOU to love and cuddle. To shape and guide. To teach and instruct in Who I Am. Why would I make normal when I can make exceptional?”
So, as a mom, I live each day thanking God for exceptional. He doesn’t make junk. He also doesn’t make second best. No matter what stage they are in, they are precious. Love them. Hug them. Kiss them. And teach them who made them exceptionally perfect just for you to love.
You can find about more about Allison at: www.hearthitting.blogspot.com
This year when we were in Epcot center, we came across this "garden" in which Disney works with NASA to create "the garden of tomorrow." One thing that really impressed me were these especially designed forms that the gardners used for their pumpkins. By growing the vegetable in this manner, it forms into a specific desired shape.
How, too, are we the gardeners of our kids' hearts. From the time they are born, we plant, tend, prune, and nurture . . . yet do we take time to really consider our children's "shape"?
S . . . the Spiritual. Their knowledge of Jesus and God's Word, with applies to every area of their lives.
H . . . the Habitual. Their habits, which they will live with for a lifetime.
A . . . the Acceptable. Their interaction with others, which involves care, consideration, and love.
P . . . the Practical. Their interaction with the world around them, which they can either learn to face with confidence or hide from with fear. (Preferably the former.)
E . . . the Eternal. Their salvation, which will determine eternity.
Like me, you tend some of these areas with excellence, yet others have grown weedy with neligence. What should you do?
The first part of change is seeking God's wisdom and strength. The second part of is making steps to improve your shape. The third is to take those steps in faith, remembering they can only be achieved by starting over on Step One.
This is a simple "form" to follow, but one that effects every part of my tending. How about you? What shape is your garden in? And what are you going to do about it?
I'm looking to do a blog tour for my upcoming novel, Arms of Deliverance
, due to be released in July.
Please let me know if you're interested in helping out.
What you'll get for participating:
--Free book for blogger (you).
--Free book for giveaway.
--Link to Chapter 1 (Which you can post in part or whole on your blog.)
--Answers to your Interview questions. (If so desired.)
--A pre-written article about the novel. "The Story Behind the Novel.
"If you'd like an idea what the book is about, here is the description:The fourth and final novel in this exhilarating series capturing the tales of men and women swept into World War II. Two friends, Mary and Lee, land similar reporting jobs at the New York Tribune on the eve of the war's outbreak and soon they become competitors. Mary's coverage of a bombing raid over Germany leads to a plane wreck and an adventurous escape attempt from across enemy lines. And when Lee hears of Mary's plight, she bravely heads to war-torn Europe in an effort to help rescue her friend. Will there be enough time for diplomacy or will war get the best of everyone?
If you're interested, email me at fromdustandashesathotmail.com (Just change at to @)
Where Dreams Come True . . .
Recently, my family and I took a much-longed-for trip to Walt Disney World. We'd talked about it, dreamed about it, planned it for years. And finally we took the plunge--mainly because at ages 16, 13, and 11 . . . it would soon be too late.
When my kids were toddlers, I remember old women stopping me in the stores to tell me to "enjoy this time, it goes quickly." I thought I'd paid attention--I really did. I strove to live for the moment.
But they still grew! The years passed, and it came to the time when we either lived-out our dream or gave up on it.
How about you? When you were younger and imagined your parenting years, what did you dream of? What did you want to do with your kids? What type of mom did you picture yourself?
Okay, now . . . what are you doing with those dreams? Years pass, kids grow, yet it's not too late. Where is your "Walt Disney World"? Now, what will it take to get there?
Guest Blogger--Meeting Your Need for Spiritual and Personal Growth
Meeting Your Need for Spiritual and Personal Growth
By Mary ByersGrowing with God
It’s through our relationship with God that we’re able to achieve [heavenly] intimacy—and it’s because of him that we have what we need (even when we don’t feel like it) to meet our obligations as wives and mothers. It’s a win/win situation. Time spent with God not only blesses us, it blesses those in our lives. That’s all the justification we need to set aside time for our own spiritual growth even in the midst of chaos and busyness.
It’s comforting to know that, despite our human failings, God places himself in each one of us when we believe in him, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And I love how Jesus refers to the Spirit in John 16:7. He calls the Spirit “Counselor.” (Other words for this are “comforter,” “intercessor,” and “advocate.”) How reassuring to know that we have our very own comforter and counselor, especially since that’s what we are to our children. Not only can we draw on God to get what we need, but we can rely on him to give us what our children need. How do we know the Spirit dwells in us? All we have to do is ask.
In Luke 11:13, Jesus notes, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
It’s not enough to ask that God dwell in you, however. Coexisting with God is one thing, but tapping into his power is quite another. It’s amazing what God will do when you allow: He will enable you to see a silver lining where none existed before, empower you with just enough energy to get through the day when you feel you can’t take one step more, allow you to withhold
your anger when you feel like you’re going to explode, and help you to laugh when you feel like crying. Perhaps most importantly, God makes it possible to hear and see and feel his guidance when you’re lost and need direction.Tapping into God’s Power
Our earthly relationships benefit when we spend time with others. The same is true for our relationship with God. The more time we spend in his presence, the better we’ll know him.And the better we know him, the easier it is to communicate with him and to feel his presence in our lives.
Before we go any further together, there’s a myth about spiritual growth that needs to be dispelled. You do not have to wait until you have a chunk of time in order to benefit from time spent with God. I routinely take seconds to commune with him and benefit by feeling his presence in those moments, just as surely as I do when I have the luxury of an hour with him.“I don’t have the time” is a lame excuse for not seeking God.
Whenever you hear yourself speak those words, whether in your head or out loud, stop and redirect your thoughts. You may not have the time to sit down and do a full-fledged Bible study, but you always have the time to be in connection with God. Even a simple question like “Hi, how are you today?” leads to relationship, and that’s what life with God is all about: being connected.
Thankfully, making a connection is easy. There’s no telephone tag or voicemail. You won’t hear, “I’m sorry, God is out of the office this week.” You don’t have to make an appointment, and you don’t have to wait for God to get back with you. He’s on call and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And he doesn’t take holidays or weekends off.
Mary Byers is a professional speaker and freelance writer. She’s a frequent media guest on women’s topics and is a former advertising director and senior level association manager. She lives with her husband and their two youngest children in Illinois. http://www.themotherload.net
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I Need A Hero
Every boy wants to be a hero. Someone who will save the day. I'm blessed to have two heroes-in-training in my home . . . my two sons.
I love raising boys, but it's also a challenge. As a mom I want to "tame" them. Wrestling worries me. Dirt is an enemy. And I don't understand, or enjoy, video games. Yet I'm also learning that what matters to them, matters to me. And when I let them know that . . . well, score one for Mom.
Today, my family and I visited a MAZE to celebrate a birthday. We paired up, and my oldest son and I set out to conquer and to win. And we did!
It was a simple thing . . . running my toosh off to make sure we were the fastest and best. But it's a memory we'll both have together. One I did boy-style.
Tricia and Cory 1989.
Seventeen years ago today I gave birth to a baby boy. Since my former boyfriend was out of the picture, my mom was my labor coach. I had Cory at 3:39 a.m. and was home by noon. (Hey, I was 17, what can I say.)
Cory was a gift to me. It was during my pregnancy that I dedicated my life to God. Becoming a mom to this beautiful little boy made me think about what I wanted for my future--our future.
But Cory wasn't the only gift God gave me that day.
The day Cory was born, I was nursing my new baby when I got a call. My mom answered it. It was my grandma telling me that John Goyer was coming over to visit and to bring a gift for Cory. Not John Goyer, Sr. my pastor, but John Goyer Jr. his handsome 22-year-old son.
John knew me from church. He also knew the baby's dad was out of the picture and wanted to cheer me up. (It worked.) He brought a bright, yellow teddy bear and a card which read, "If you ever need anything let me know." I've been taking advantage of that statement ever since!
We started dating two weeks later and were married when Cory was nine months old. Isn't that like God . . . to give me a son and a husband on the same day?! He's so cool!
So today my heart is especially full of appreciation at these two gifts from God.
Cory, John and Nathan at the "Holy Land" Theme Park, March 2006.
Raising Affectionate Kids
Okay, I had a recent post on www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com
and I've had a few queries about my "secret" to having a 17-year-old son who not only loves his mom, but loves giving her hugs and pecks on the cheek too. I never really thought of our lifestyle as anything out of the ordinary, but here are some decisions I've made that have helped our kids turn out to be loving, kind, affectionate teens.
When I had three toddlers at home I met some people from church who had eight kids that they homeschooled. I would have thought this was nuts except for the fact they were really cool kids--even the teenagers. They loved hanging out as a family. The kids loved being with their parents. They were each other's best friends . . . and I wanted some of that.
So the truth is, it wasn't academics that turned our attention to homeschooling, it was "relationship." And as the years pass, the more I realize how important this is to family. In the garden of Eden, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve . . . the devil offered them knowledge. They went for the knowledge and lost the relationship--what a horrible trade!
(Of course, I have to add that my kids are very smart. In fact they routinely score 2-3 years above grade level on all their school subjects. So we've got the best of both worlds!)
All this to say, homeschooling FOR US has led to amazing relationships with our kids. Relationships mean affection. So, in our home, homeschooling has fostered affectionate kids.
2. Love is a verb.
Of course, homeschooling alone can not guarantee these results. In our home LOVE is a verb. We love each other through action--talking to each other with respect, helping each other, laughing, playing, praying together, reading together etc. We also hug, which I feel all starts because of the relationship John and I have.
Years ago I read a marriage book that talked about sending your spouse off with a twenty-second kiss and welcoming him home with the same. I've put this into practice, and my 17-year-old has picked up on it. He kisses my cheek every morning when he first sees me and does the same before he goes to bed. He also hugs me throughout the day. For example, if I'm in the kitchen he'll walk up and give me a hug, just because.
3. We talk about Relationships.
Since I mentor teen moms, I've seen A LOT of unhealthy relationships, so from the beginning I've talked about healthy relationships with my kids. I've also made them
read TONS of Christian dating books, especially the ones that encourage them NOT to date until they are prepared to make a life-long commitment.
One day, when Cory was reading one of these books he told me. "You know what I read? I read that how a boy treats his mom is how he'll treat his wife." I'm serious when I say that the hugs increased
after that, and so did his attitude about helping out without being asked. ("Hey mom, would you like some help with that?") It's as if Cory decided to get practiced up at showing care and concern.
Okay, those are the three major things that come to mind. But I hope they help! Hey, maybe someday I should interview my kids and get their thoughts on the subject!
(P.S. To check out my original post, go to: www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com)
Just Call Me "Trouble"
When I was sixteen, this guy named John approached his mom--who happened to be the pastor's wife at the church I occassionally attended.
"Who is that Tricia? I'd like to get to know her better," John asked his mom.
"Stay away from her, she's TROUBLE," his mom answered.
I love telling this story, because John is now my husband. And yes, that pastor's wife, is my mother-in-law. If she only had a clue at the time!
At age sixteen I WAS trouble.
At age seventeen I got pregnant and had a son, Cory.
At age eighteen I gave my heart to the Lord and my life totally changed. So much, in fact, that John's mom worked with my mom to match us up.
I'm a testimony that God can transform lives. And because of it, my life isn't the only one affected. John's life has been touched by a godly wife. Cory's life is different because he had a god-loving mom who raised him. The lives of my other two kids, my family, in-laws, church friends, readers . . . are all different because I chose to submit my life to God.
I love teasing my mother-in-law about calling me trouble. But I love it even more that my own teens/preteens have chosen to live lives dedicated to God. My transformation is one thing God used to bring my kids to Him.
This is a photo of Cory with his friends at a recent Young Life camp. He's the tall, dark and handsome one on the left.
Oh, yes, and now that I'm at the place my mother-in-law was seventeen years ago, I'm praying for a godly wife for my son . . . in a few years, of course, but applications are being accepted!
Retro . . . another world for OLD
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese
. . . Can you finish the rest?
Do you remember the Rainbow Brite cereal commercial
If you can remember these commericals (or want to) check out this website that shares "retro" commericals, TV shows, movies, etc. from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Retro . . . I like that. It's a fancy name for OLD!
Remember the Unseen
This January, my husband and I took a roadtrip to Banff, Can
ada which is about five hours from our home. We left one evening after John got off work and drove there in the dark.
It was our first trip to Banff, and it was snowy and icy. We were one of the only cars on the road . . . and on the road our eyes stayed.
You better believe our surprise when we drove the road home two days later and discovered the Canadian Rockies had been just beyond the car window the whole time! Because of the dark, the snow, the ice, we'd missed out.
How similiar is our journey on the road of life. Sometimes it's dark. Sometimes snowy. Sometimes icy . . . yet, even though we aren't aware of it, God's beauty and majesty is still there. Sometimes we get glimpses of the beauty, but other times we simply have to trust in what we know is there.Remember the Unseen Love. Remember.
Guest Blogger: Brenda Nixon
Today's guest blogger is Brenda Nixon, M.A. Brenda is a Parenting Author, Expert, Speaker. She offers free discipline tips for anyone who lives/works with kids at www.brendanixon.com
Also, if YOU have a parenting question, you can email it to Brenda at: email@example.com
Brenda will provide her advice, email it to me, and the answers will be posted on this blog!Attachment Issues 101
In a perfect world, every child would be wanted, valued, and nurtured to her fullest potential by devoted birth parents. However, the opposite is our stinging reality. Many babies are born into apathetic, unstable, or abusive homes, and some experience multiple moves within the foster care system. Soon these wee ones believe their needs are not valid and nobody can be trusted to soothe and care for them. Their young brains cannot develop neural connections for self-calming and attachment. “The world is unsafe,” is seared into their unconscious, and they develop a survival attitude. An unhealthy protective shell grows around their tender heart to protect it from the pain of disappointed dependency on others.
Inability to attach to a caregiver affects a child’s thinking, mood, personal relations, and impulse control. She becomes the provider of her own care, and sees anyone wanting to remove her protective barrier, even adoptive parents, as a threat.
My life, like yours, is touched by generous adults who open their homes to children. A former acquaintance adopted three delightful girls, two of whom had tremendous behavior difficulties due to their early institutionalized years.
Through this parent, I’ve learned of a new diagnosis, attachment disorder (AD) or reactive attachment disorder (RAD). I learned about the symptoms, controversial treatments, support groups, and myriad feelings of the parents.
“People think I’m a liar,” she told me. “My daughter is a compliant angel at school or in public, but a manipulative devil at home.”
Another couple I know adopted a silky, black-haired Asian toddler who’d been in an institution. When given a toy, she wouldn’t “palm” or take hold of it. With a closed fist, she patted the toy with the back of her hand. This was obvious evidence of her neglected care.
Because attachment issues can go unrecognized, parents may receive confusing, often conflicting, professional feedback. Even the experts disagree on how to diagnosis or treat it. Some typical behaviors of kids with attachment issues include:
· Oppositional and defiant behaviors
· Extreme control problems
· Cruelty to animals
· Obvious lying
· Poor peer relationships
· False allegations of abuse
· Preoccupation with fire (or fire-setting), blood, gore, and violence.
I’m not an adoptive parent, so why am blogging on this? It’s my mission to empower all parents through education and encouragement, so I try to alert adoptive ones to this possibility. I want to wrap my arms around Tricia and other parents and say, “Here’s a heads-up. It’s better to be prepared for a situation and not have it, than to have the situation and not be prepared!”
I admire Tricia and others. To give a discarded child a secure home where she’ll be loved and have a comfortably predictable life is, to me, one of the greatest gifts to another human and, consequently, our society.
Here’s my advice to parents who have a child with attachment issues; repeat, “This is my child with a problem behavior,” rather than, “This is my problem child.” Just as God always loves us, but not our behavior, parents can love their child and not the childishness. Also, along with seeking professional help, I encourage parents to find a support group to educate and affirm them in parenting their special, high-maintenance, often charming, child.
For those who want to become educated, go to a power point presentation on attachment at http://members.tripod.com/~radclass
or see http://www.radkid.org/
This picture was taken behind my house tonight at sunset. Yes, I'm blessed to live in Montana, but unfortunately even scenes like these can become commonplace.
Yet it's easy to do. Life gets busy, and soon things that awe us are the norm.
Motherhood is another one of those things. When our children were born we rejoiced over their little toes and fingers. Now we gripe about the fingerprints left all over the house.
We clapped and cheered as our children spoke their first words, but now we become annoyed by the neverending chatter.
Tonight this sunset challenged me to appreciate what's most beautiful in my life. I hope it does the same for you.
I've been thinking about married life lately, and I've come to realize that it all comes down to "I Do."
Sixteen years ago I stood in front of a gathering of family and friends and I said, "I Do" to John. But to keep our marriage strong, the "I Dos" continue . . .
I Do choose to love.
I Do choose to be faithful.
I Do choose to meet my spouse's needs.
I Do choose to respect.
I Do choose to take time for fun . . . despite the to-do list. (Note the picture taken tonight of John and I riding on a trail near our house.)
The I Dos continue every day. And I Do benefit--my family benefits too--when I take strides to keep my marriage strong.
Guest Blogger: Parenting is Heart Work
Todays guest bloggers are Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN from the National Center for Biblical Parenting.Parenting is Heart Work
By Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN
"This young man looks just like a king," Samuel thought as he gazed at Jesse’s oldest son, strong and handsome. “Surely people will want to follow him,” but God corrected Samuel by saying, "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart."
This same truth must revolutionize the strategies and approaches that we, as parents, use with our kids. God is interested in hearts because that's where real and lasting change takes place. In fact, when we direct our energies toward our child's heart, amazing things happen.
Unfortunately, many parents settle for simply changing their child's behavior. After all, behavior is what irritates and embarrasses us as parents. We can see behavior and most of the time we can even control it. But God is interested in the heart.
The Bible uses the term "heart" over 750 times. It's the place where we wrestle with things, develop commitments and determination, feel emotions and it's where temptations and desires develop.
Children talk to themselves in their hearts. At least that's what Esau did when he was tricked by his brother. The Bible says that Esau said in his heart, "I’m going to kill my brother Jacob." Some children brood, get angry with themselves or others and meditate on perceived injustice. All children have inner dialogues based on how they see the world and what they believe. They strategize and console themselves in their hearts.
What a child believes in his heart, dictates how he will respond to life. This becomes an important fact for us as parents as we look for ways to maximize the impact we have with our kids. We need to develop eyes that see opportunities to soften a child’s heart and make it teachable. Teaching a child’s mind is not enough—we need to “penetrate the thoughts and intentions of the heart” if we want to truly impact our children for the future.
A heart-based approach to parenting is powerful, but it means that we look past behavior to the deeper issues going on inside. It's not easy. Parenting is hard work because parenting is heart work.The book Parenting is Heart Work is authored by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, co-founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. It's a biblical study of the heart identifying several practical tools you can use in your parenting. The book is published by Cook Communication. You may also visit www.biblicalparenting.org to sign up for free email parenting tips that provide short heart-based parenting reminders a couple of times a week.
Coming soon: Happy FATHER'S Day . . .
A few days ago I was reading People Magazine
and one of the articles was on a hunky doctor from California who donated sperm that resulted in a dozen children. Now, personally, I don't have a problem with this means of creating a child. In fact, I have a friend who had a child in this manner, and he is being raised by a wonderful mom and dad.
But I do have to say that as Father Day nears, we need to saluate FATHERS. The dudes that are there day in, and day out, giving all for their kids. And Gen X dads should get the greatest applause.
According to a recent article: Father’s Day More than Sperm Donator Day
"Fathers in traditional families are more involved than several decades ago. According to some studies, members of Generation X and Y are more likely to be family-focused. For example, Generation X fathers spent more time with children compared to Baby Boomer fathers."
This is very true for my husband. John is a totally involved dad. In addition to being the "fun one" in our home, he reads to the kids at night before bed (no matter that they are 16, 14, and 12!), helps with homework, and best of all loves their mom lots.
I'm still not sure what I'm going to do for John for Father's Day, but it has to be good. After all, he deserves it.
(Any fun, creative ideas are welcome!)
Guest Blogger--Sharon Hinck
Today's guest blogger is Sharon Hinck. You can find out more about Sharon here:website
Sharon has been married to Ted for 27 years... and yes, they were high school sweethearts. Her oldest son, Joel, is married (Sharon says it's still weird to think of herself as a "mother-in-law" to his dear Jennelle). Kaeti is almost 21 and a journalism/theology major. This summer she's doing an internship in Chicago. Josh is 15, into drama and music. Jenni is 13 and loves to write, sing, play piano and flute.Tricia: Sharon, where did you get the idea for your newly released novel?
Friends and I often talk about the pressures we feel as wives and moms - and even when we recognized that much of the pressure was self-imposed, we weren't always able to break free. By writing a novel about a mom feeling driven to do "Something Big for God" I could look for a new perspective on what it means to make a difference in the world.Tricia: How do you balance your role as writer and mom? What has surprised you most about balancing both?
I don't do balance very well. I've been known to jot notes for a scene I'm working on during a long piano recital (NOT when my kids are playing...or their friends...) or during a soccer game (what? Jenni blocked a kick? Where?) I'm grateful for the grace my family gives me that allows me to write during the crevices of time I can find. What has surprised me is realizing that time alone doesn't necessarily make it easier to write. Family support, encouragement, and chatter fill my well and help me keep at it.Tricia: What are your tips for moms who want to follow a dream beyond toilets and play groups?
Ask God to give you the gift of a few glimpses into how you already are making a difference in your life. I think we'll all be AMAZED when we get to heaven to discover ways we blessed others and never knew it. Don't despise giving that "cup of cold water" to a child...it's a service to God.
But also, stay in touch with your gifts and passions. When I was little, I dreamed of being a secret agent. That doesn't seem like a passion God could use, but my love for adventure stories HAS been used by God in my writing life. Take a moment to jot down your "secret life." What are the things you dreamed of doing when you were in second grade, sixth grade, high school? What are some hobbies you loved but gave up when life became more practical? I give a talk on "Finding Ministry in the Midst of Motherhood." We CAN find ways to have a ministry around our passions, even while busy with nursing and potty-training, and field trips. We just have to find new shapes for it.Tricia: Also, we live in a time when people have numerous choices for entertainment. Why do you think Christian fiction continues to sell and draw readers?
The spiritual journey is a core experience in every human, and Christian fiction doesn't ignore that aspect of the human condition. In fact, it allows the spiritual journey of the characters to be an vital part of the story. Christian fiction can produce that wonderful sense of recognition, the comfort in finding "someone else has been here," and can inspire us for the battles in our own daily life.Tricia: Finally, how has God worked in your life as you work on your writing?
With great humor. He keeps showing me ways that I NEED the lessons of The Secret Life of Becky Miller
. I write from my weakness and failures. I'd rather write from my strengths - but God keeps challenging me to be honest in creating characters that make mistakes that I make.Thank you, Sharon!
Dare to Dream—Part 5
How Dreamers Have Changed Our World: Something to Inspire You to Dream!
The following people have shown us that social status, race, and lack of time are not excuses for ignoring our dreams.Josephine Cochrane – The Socialite Who Traded High Tea for a Hammer
“If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself.”
With that determined proclamation, Josephine Cochrane, wife of an Illinois politician in the 1880s, set out to invent a major kitchen appliance—though not because Mrs. Cochrane was fed up with the humdrum chore of dirty dishes . . . she was fed up with dishwashing servants breaking her expensive china. Every party ended with more shattered dishes, which took months to replace by mail. A machine seemed like the ideal solution.
In a woodshed adjoining her home, Josephine Cochrane measured her dinnerware, then fashioned individual wire compartments for plates, saucers, and cups. The compartments fastened around the circumference of a wheel that rested in a large copper boiler. As a motor turned the wheel, hot soapy water squirted up from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dinnerware. The design was crude but effective, and it so impressed her circle of friends that they dubbed the invention the “Cochrane Dishwasher,” and placed orders for machines for their kitchens. They too viewed the device as a solution to the vexing problem of irresponsible help.
Word spread. Soon Josphine Cochrane was receiving orders from Illinois hotels and restaurants, where the volume of dishwashing—and breakage—was a continual and costly problem. Realizing she had hit a timely invention, Mrs. Cochrane patented her design in December 1886; her washer went on to win the highest award at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for, as the citation read, “the best mechanical construction, durability, and adaptation to its line of work.”
(Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati, 1987, pg. 103)Benjamin Banneker – The Boy Who Wasn’t Allowed in Most Schools Saved the Nations Capitol
Benjamin Banneker was a freeborn African-American born in 1731. Brilliant with numbers and learning, Benjamin was sent to a Quaker school to study—one of the few schools Blacks could attend. At 24, Benjamin built a clock constructed of wood that not only told time, but also chimed on the hour. It is believed to be the first one made in the United States.
Following the Revolutionary War, Benjamin was appointed as one of the men to serve as a surveyor and mathematician to plan the nation’s capitol. Following a dispute with government officials, the chief architect ran off with the plans for the new city’s layout. Benjamin’s brilliant mind saved the day. He had memorized the complete set of plans and was able to duplicate them--and the new city of Washington, DC, was built.
Benjamin’s last dream was realized when his first almanac was published in 1792. It was the first scientific book to be published by a Black man, and it is said, one of Benjamin’s biggest fans was Thomas Jefferson.Harriet Beecher Stowe – The Mother Who Made the Time to Follow Her Heart
For Harriet Beecher Stowe, having a writing career was not easy. In January 1836 she married Calvin E. Stowe, a professor, and supplemented their meager income by writing stories and sketches through periodicals. Through most of her married years, Harriet combined the roles of wife and mother to seven children, with that of a writer. She managed a complex family life, juggling household duties and community relationships. Harriet was also known to throw herself into periods of total creative reverie during which her "disorderliness" was sometimes the despair of her husband.
Harriet’s baby son, Charles, died in 1849 and despite the heartaches and challenges of life—or perhaps because she knew deep pain first hand—Harriet wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was published in book form in 1852.
Years later, Harriet was greeted by Abraham Lincoln with the words, “So you’re the little woman who made the book that made this Great War.” The president’s words were hardly an exaggeration. Uncle Tom’s cabin did much to rally popular support for Lincoln’s cause. With sales of 300,000 in the first year, the book’s influence was equaled by few other novels in history.
I just love this quote:
“Each of us listens to a different drummer or, more precisely, a different drumbeat, because each of us is designed to pursue a unique calling. God had specific things in mind for you and only you, and He will put His dreams in your heart to move you toward those specific things.”
(Bill & Kathy Peel, Discover Your Destiny, pg. 114)So what about you? What are your dreams?
(Nathan, scooter boy and Bible verse memory king)
Yesterday my son Nathan was so excited that his electric scooter was up and running that he forgot he was still wearing his pajamas as he zoomed around the neighborhood. Ooops.
It had been eight months since Nathan had to chance to ride the scooter, but the problem wasn't a big one. His wonderful dad had moved the plug when cleaning the garage last fall and forgot to tell Nathan were to plug in. It was that simple.
This made me start thinking about what other "simple yet critical" information we forget to pass on to our kids. Like how to study the Bible, how to pray, or how to share the good news of Jesus with others.
Since I homeschool, I've been blessed to have "extra time" to focus on these things. I remember fondly the many, many hours we spent memorizing Scripture verses, reading the Bible together, and doing in-depth study. And it's been amazing to see how the kids "build" on these skills.
Nathan practices his handwriting by writing out Bible verses. He also memorizes them as he writes them out. (Something he decided to do himself.) Leslie has a journal of her favorite verses and has numerous devotional books she reads. And Cory has taken it upon himself to memorize Scripture at work during the slow times when he's waiting for customers in his line. He keeps Scripture cards in his pocket for this purpose!
Of course, sometimes it's hard to plug our kids in, when we feel so indept ourselves. I found this information, on-line and I thought I'd pass it on:Dare to Be a Daniel is a dynamic new tool specifically designed to train Christian tweens (ages 9–14) to reach their unsaved friends with the Gospel. When participants complete the course, they will receive dog tags and an official ID card identifying them as a Certified Junior Evangelist with BGEA.
Your child’s education is important to you. You invest hours every day making sure that he or she is prepared to face the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to equip your child to be a “Daniel” when placed in the lions’ den.
THE MATERIALS ARE FREE!
Just call 1-888-802-D2BD (1-888-802-3223)
or visit daretobeadaniel.com to start your child
on the road to winning souls for Jesus Christ!
I signed my youngest two kids up, and I hope you take advantage of it too!
Since we are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China, I LOVE adoption stories. Here's one I think you'll enjoy!Interracial twins
bring a new dimension to the American family
Same age, same parents--born continents apart
By Nara Schoenberg
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 7, 2006
Jenna and Sam Goering are in the same grade in school, play with the same younger brother and sisters, and live in the same spacious farmhouse-style home in Bourbonnais.
Seven years ago, they entered their parents' lives on the same day.
And yet, Jenna and Sam aren't twins.
He was born in the U.S., the biological son of computer consultants Jody and Addison Goering. She was abandoned six months earlier in rural China, and first introduced to the Goerings through a string of urgent phone calls that started coming from their adoption agency just an hour after Sam's birth.
Together, Jenna, who is Asian, and Sam, who is white, are part of a phenomenon that would have been almost inconceivable a generation ago: the emergence of interracial adoptive "twins."
Born less than 9 months apart, such "virtual twins," as same-age siblings are sometimes called, are often the result of an unexpected pregnancy to a woman with fertility problems and an adoption that was already in the works when the woman got pregnant.
You can read the rest of the story here.
Is that a God thing, or what?!
Fourteen Years Ago . . .
Today is my daughter Leslie's fourteen birthday!
Leslie is the one in the white t-shirt, and the second cutie is her best friend, Jayme. (You can even see me peeking into the photo too.)
Of course, moms have to get all sentimental when birthdays roll around. Thinking back to that day in the hospital (ouch). First teeth, first steps, first drama episode. (Leslie could barely walk when she'd dramatically lean against the closest wall and sob when she didn't get her way.)
Then there are the years in between, and since I homeschooled there are many, many memories--reading Bible Stories on the couch, teaching counting with Cheerios, and teaching her to sound out simple words. (And since Leslie ALWAYS tried to keep up with her older brother who was four years older, she could read simple words before she turned four!)
There were also the times when she curled her nose up at what I fixed for dinner and rushed to the piano to practice when she was supposed to be loading the dishwasher--oh wait, that was yesterday.
Overall, parenting a daughter has been harder than I ever imagined. There are the "easy" things to deal with. Like me she loves to read, loves connecting with people, and breezes through her homework. She's also overly opinionated and wants to take control of every situation--oh wait, that's like me too!
But most of all, my daughter has a beautiful heart and spirit. She loves God, studies His Word, and strives to live a life that pleases Him.
I couldn't ask for anything greater, but I also can't take all the credit. Her daddy and her Father have a lot to do with it. I'm just thrilled to have such a wonderful team. And I'm looking forward to what God has in store for this young lady.
Happy Birthday, Leslie!
Modesty: a passing virtue?? by Cara Putman
Hi! I’d like to introduce today’s guest blogger, Cara Putman—Gen X mom, writer, and attorney! Welcome Cara.
Modesty: a passing virtue??
Have you gone clothes shopping for your daughter recently? It’s a horrifying prospect. My daughter is only five and a half, but it is already a challenge to find clothes for her that are modest. Yet I believe it is worth the effort to hunt them out (you see, sewing is so not an option for me. I look at a sewing machine and it breaks just anticipating the pain I will put it through.).
I’m not the only one who’s noticed. An 11 year old girl wrote a letter to Nordstrom’s complaining about the lack of modest clothing. See this article
. Another great post on Crosswalk.com is Finding Miss Modesty
I’m fortunate, since my daughter is still so young. I can simply tell her we don’t wear bikinis (but I have to honor that, too, so my message is consistent with my actions). But why does it really matter? In Ephesians 5:3, Paul exhorts that "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." Not even a hint. That’s a strict standard, but one that is vital to strive for.
But how can we be practical about modesty? Especially when you look at what’s available on the racks. Here’s one practical tip. Visit the website for Pure Freedom, an organization that focuses on purity in teens. There you’ll find a fashion guide
packed with helpful tips on how to determine if clothes are modest or not. Print off the poster and talk through its contents with your pre-teen or teen. It will give you great tests to use before you begin back-to-school shopping.
Guest Blogger--Wes Sharpe
As summer break approaches, it's the perfect time to start preparing for NEXT school year. (As we all know, waiting until August 15th is not enough time!)
Today's guest blogger is Wes Sharpe. Wes is the author of Top Tips to Help Your Child Succeed in School
. Check out Wes's book here
. I think you'll like it!How to Help Your Daughter Succeed at School
Wesley Sharpe, Ed.D.
Elizabeth’s personality sparkled and snapped. A curious, confident and independent fifth grade child, she was a straight “A” student with a passion for math and science. Her career goal was to become a pediatrician. Junior high school was a different story. Her grades dipped until she was barely hanging on. In the ninth grade she announced a new career goal to her mom. “I’m going to be an interior decorator,” she said. “I stink at math, it’s too hard and I’m just not good enough.”
Something is wrong with this picture. As a school psychologist I know that boys and girls start on an equal footing. The difference between their average I.Q. scores is insignificant. In fact, some experts believe girls are more mature and ready to learn. Still, by the time they graduate from high school their excitement has ebbed.
What happens to the bright-eyed exuberance of girls between the primary grades and high school graduation? A three-year study of gender bias in 100 classrooms gives some clues. The following is a summary of the study’s findings described in Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls
, the 1993 book by professors Myra Sadker, Ed.D., and David Sadker, Ed.D.
* Boys called out eight times as often as girls. Often the rule to “raise your hand” was ignored by teachers. If a boy yelled out, he usually was praised for his contribution.
* Girls who called out were reminded of the rule to raise their hands.
* Teachers valued boys’ comments more than girls’ comments. Teachers responded to girls with a simple nod or “OK,” while they praised, corrected, helped and criticized boys.
* Boys were encouraged to solve problems on their own, but teachers helped girls who were stuck on a problem.Ways to Success
Can you improve your daughter’s achievement and build her confidence and self-esteem? Here are some ideas for overcoming gender bias.
1. Focus on a good education
. Different expectations for girls and boys show up early in a child’s school career. Visit your daughter’s classroom and observe the interaction between the teacher and students. If possible, make a video recording of the classroom activities. Note the seating arrangements and count the times the teacher calls on students and the number of times the teacher acknowledges the boys and girls. Be positive and non confrontational when you suggest changes.
2. Encourage curiosity.
Promote backyard pursuits that involve building with tools or studying insects—pastimes often encouraged for boys. Does she like computers? Sign her up for a computer camp. Include her friends because a girl isn’t likely to go by herself.
3. Encourage her abilities and recognize her accomplishments
. Help your daughter develop qualities like independence, courage, creativity, honesty, achievement and intelligence. Lynn Drake, an engineer with more than 10 years of experience, says that female engineers have families that place a high value on education, especially math and science. Their families refuse to believe that girls are less capable than boys.
4. Assure her that intelligence and good grades are an asset
. Preteen and teenage girls often are swayed by the opinions of other kids. Many girls believe that popularity requires being pretty or cute, wearing the right clothes and having a bubbly personality.
Lovingly formed in God’s image, girls are neither doormats nor dummies. Fairness at school is not an effort to make boys and girls the same, but a way to help girls recognize and measure their potential. By overcoming gender bias, girls may pursue an array of opportunities including staying home to raise a family. Until that happens everybody loses.
Well, what do you think of Wes's article? Can you relate? Have you seen this with your girls? Have you experienced it yourself?
Great tips, Wes!
What's Old is New Again . . .
Today, in Wal-mart, I felt as if I was taken back in time. Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Rainbow Bright. Is this 2006 or 1985?
Now Hasboro has announced the Transfomers "Classic" line
. Remember OPTIMUS PRIME, Bumblebee, Astrotrain and Megatron? If so, you can also look forward to the new Transformers movie
, also featuring the Classic Characters.
Okay, I have to admit, I'm actually digging the "nostaglia" thing they're doing for the benefit of Gen Xers. My checkbook is proof. I recently purchased (for myself) "Classic" Superman, Charlie's Angels, and Trans AM t-shirts. (I couldn't resist . . . they were on clearance!)
I'm going to wear the Trans AM one to my book signings of Generation NeXt Parenting.
I guess this means Solomon was right again. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecc. 1:9
Someone once said, “True creativeness is finding new possibilities in old situations.” Remembering this can help us on our parenting journey.
1. Get real.
Think about a situation in your family that's quickly 'getting old.' Is it the household chores that never your kids always "forget" to do? Is it a bad habit? Or maybe a personal struggle? (For you or for them.)
2. Get creative.
What's a "new way" of thinking of this situation? More importantly, pray and ask God to help you come up with a "new way" of dealing
with this situation.
3. Get accountability.
The best way to make transformation stick is to journal about it. I've been doing this lately and it really works. I take time to be honest with God about these things I want to change in my life and my kids' lives. I also write my prayers of confession and supplication to God. And you know what, it works!
Try it, and let me know how it works for you!
Dare to Dream—Part 4
GRANTING OURSELVES FREEDOM – How Can the Impossible Become Possible?
Once we have given ourselves permission to dream the next step is granting ourselves freedom to follow through in fulfilling those desires.
Find time to spend with God. Ask Him to show you how to make the most of your potential.
Research the area you want to pursue. For example if you desire to develop your talent in art, discover what’s available at your local community college, or call art supply shops for information about classes.
Expect to make adjustments to your schedule. Focusing on God’s calling for your life will not be easy. Make a list of your daily responsibilities and decide which are important and which ones are simply time consumers. Also, decide which duties follow the path God has called you to. Sometimes even good things are not the right things. You may teach Sunday School and run the food ministry, but perhaps that leaves you unable to follow a deeper desire which is to work with the elderly.
Enjoy the process of striving toward your dream. Oswald Chambers says, “We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. . . . What we call the process, God calls the end." [i]
Delight in each step you take toward your dream. Just as your to-do list is never complete, you will never “arrive.”
Develop relationships with others who share the same talents and goals. Be available for encouragement and prayer.
Openly communicate your dreams to your family, and ask them to do the same. Brainstorm ways to help each other reach toward God’s best.
Make daily appointments with God to insure you are on the right track. Many of us have the tendency to take our dreams and run toward a direction God never intended. Spend time in Bible study and prayer to make sure you are fulfilling God’s purposes. It is in His presence that your dreams combine with His to find that “. . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) NIV. After all, completing God’s plan should be our greatest goal and the best reason to dare to dream.[i]
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July
Parenting Anxiety by Sharon Hinck
by Sharon Hinck
My grandma used to talk to be about how difficult parenting was in her day. She had a point. She lived in Latvia during World War II and endured both a Communist and then a Nazi occupation, an escape across the Baltic, and five years in a displaced person’s camp. Parenting was all about survival.
True, my friends and I who are young parents today in the U.S. don’t have bombs exploding nearby or tanks rolling across our farms. We don’t have to worry about how far we can stretch our cabbage soup for the day. But we face some insidious battlegrounds of our own. We are invaded by daily doses of Parent Anxiety.
In our over-achieving, more-more-more culture, I feel swept into directions I don’t want to go. Even friends who share my values are rushing their children from baseball games to basketball leagues to play practices and music lessons. Tutoring, allergy shots, orthodontics. Parenting has become a specialized skill that is more about keeping up than providing love and discipline.
I’ve watched my friends struggle with intense mommy-guilt, because no matter how fast they run up the down escalator, it’s never enough.
I decided to write a mom-lit to explore the theme of how moms today torture themselves with grandiose notions of what it means to be a woman, a mom, a person.
In my novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller
, Becky tries to be a Supermom. Faster than a speeding mini-van. Able to leap piles of laundry in a single bound. Daydreaming of saving the world. Through surprising events, Becky learns that her life DOES matter. She DOES make a difference—just not in the way she expected.
My grandma believed that by helping her son survive the war, and teaching him about her faith in God, she was a successful parent. She didn’t worry about what she hadn’t been able to provide.
Granny always told me that worry is a rocking chair. It’s goes and back and forth but never gets anywhere. Maybe as we parent today we need less worry about how we’re doing. Maybe Parent Anxiety even distracts us from giving our children what they need most: faith and love.
Sharon is a wife and mom of four children who generously provide her with fodder for her stories. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller
(Bethany 2006) just released, and she has three more books coming out with Bethany House in the next two years. Visit her website, www.sharonhinck.com
, for more info.