Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Guest Blogger: Debra Henderson

Today's guest blogger is Debra Henderson from at thegownbook.com:

I have always felt that being a present and centered parent is my first job. Whatever it took to be there and not psycho (meds, mother's day out, naps, even a dirty house or a maid) was what was required of me.

As an educated career woman I made the conscious decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Although, I rarely just stayed home, I always knew that keeping a spotless house and/or great meals was not my priority.

I fear that many moms who don't work outside the home feel pressured to make up for the loss of income by overdoing things in the domestic department, to the detriment of the kids.

Volunteering at church or school and making sure all is in order should always take a back seat to communicating worth and values to the little ones under your care. The neglect in nutrition or clothing is far less common and has shorter term effects than neglecting to value and enjoy these precious ones while they are young and desperately need you to value them.

"Value time" is far harder than "quality time" and way more taxing than gifts to give. But is also holds greater rewards for both the parent and the child.

I know that I am a better person because of the inspiration I have received from my children. I also have the priceless knowledge that I have no regrets for the time I have invested in them.

Though, dirty dishes waited till the next day and laundry has piled up to everyone's despair, I would not take back a moment of the value time I have spent to do more chores. I hope all of you spent more "value time" this fall with all who you love.

The first AMAZON review of Generation NeXt Parenting!

A book for parents, by parents... and about time, October 31, 2006

Judy Fedele "Publicity, Believers Chapel MOPS" (Syracuse, New York) - See all my reviews
"Where's the beef?" Right here, in this contemporary compendium filled with helpful advice for Generation X'ers, the generation born from 1961 to 1981. Whether you are an X'er yourself or from another generation, you'll find tons of rock-solid wisdom set in an easy-to-read format. Tricia Goyer peppers the book with questions answered not only by experts in the field, but by parents in the trenches.

The advice offered is practical and down to earth, but based always on Biblical principles. With Goyer's steady encouragement through the book, she helps us realize that we can make the changes that will help to change and fortify us as parents. "Why didn't I think of that?" easily turns to, "I can do that."

Goyer's light-hearted style makes you want to try the tips in the book, and to work out the Digging Deeper Study Guide questions at the end of the book. Many of the references evoke a right old trip down memory lane. You can't help but smile and reminisce. Each chapter in Generation NeXt Parenting also begins with a quote from a popular song of the 70's and 80's.

From the get-go, with the cover picture of a black Trans Am with a Blondie bumper sticker, an `80s RUL' license plate, and a `Baby on Board' displayed, you know you'll be in for a treat. Goyer slips in fun facts and stats mixed with present day concerns, like "How much Nintendo is too much?" Goyer offers faith-based answers to things we all struggle with.

In the chapter Faith, not Fear, Goyer brings it down to this question: "Of course we believe in a victorious life eternal, but what about faith for victorious life in the present?" And, really, isn't that what we all strive for? It's right to keep our eyes forward and focused towards the prize at the end of the race, but it's the race itself that we have to keep in training for on a daily basis.

And Generation NeXt Parenting is a great tool to train with, hand in hand with your Bible. This guide is truly a plethora of practical help. I highly, highly recommend this book.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Things That Make Me Smile

By Tricia Goyer

1. Fuzzy socks.

2. Hot baths.

3. Fresh coffee with cream.

4. A kiss on the cheek from one of my kids.

5. The soundtrack to Grease.

6. The dialogue in Gilmore Girls.

7. When my husband helps me make dinner.

8. When my kids laugh out loud.

9. Watching 13 Going on 30 and soooo understanding that movie.

10. Feeling sore and sweaty after DDR (Dance, dance revolution.)

11. A fun email from a friend ... or sister.

12. My grandma's home cooking.

13. A note from someone telling me they couldn't put one of my books down.

14. Reading my Bible and feeling a sense of peace settle over me.

15. The Sound of Music.

16. When my dog follows me from room to room.

17. Seeing a sparkle in my husband's eyes.

18. Watching my kids doing their homework without my help.

19. A full pantry.

20. Photos from World War II.

21. A freshly styled haircut.

22. Great clearance item . . . 75% off!

23. My husband's heartbeat as I place my cheek against his chest.

24. My bed warmed by on electric blanket.

25. Snuggly sweats.

26. Holding a cuddly baby.

27. Ladybugs.

28. Mashed potatoes.

29. A shiny mopped floor.

30. Photos emailed to me.

31. The scent of cilantro.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Introducing Guest Blogger, Amy Lathrop

Food Smarts for Gen Xers!
A weekly blog on Food for Gen Xers!

Are your children getting what they need nutrionally?
If you are like most moms-in-the-know, which we Xer's pride ourselves on being, you are feeding your kids healthy foods, but are they getting the correct nutrients for their age and sex? Hmmm...let's check it out.

Here is a nutritional guide for boys.
And here is a guide specific to girls.

RealAge.com, has a whole series on how to be a better parent. According to them, our kids form their health habits, the important ones like eating, excersising, self-control, at a very early age. They pick it up from watching their friends, family and the media.

One of the things I have found to be most effective is TALKING to my kids about healthy choices. When they were tiny, I made the choices for them, and as they've grown they have begun to question my choices.

This is especially true of the foods we eat at home. They want to know why they can't have more than one piece of ooey-gooey chocolate cake a day, or why they need to eat their vegetables rather than just having a second helping of pasta instead. They want to know why we don't buy soda pop or have chips in our house. I have tried to explain how our body works and what happens to it when we eat different types of food. Especially when we eat junk food vs. healthy food.

My kids now prefer to eat healthy. (And they aren't shy about telling their friends what is wrong with the food they're eating ... hmm ... wonder where they got that from?)

We recently spent the weekend in Washington with my family, after a day of snacking in Seattle and watching Open Season at the theatre with movie-must popcorn, candy and soda, my daughter remarked, "Mom, I don't think I've eaten anything healthy all day." At 8, she realizes that the sick feeling in her tummy was the result of the eating choices she had made.

They don't always make wise choices in food, but they don't whine and complain when something less than fabulously delicious is placed in front of them. Most of the time they will eat it because they know it's good for them. So, at least that battle has been won, and they understand WHY they eat the foods they do.

Amy Lathrop

Amy finds herself smack in the middle of Generation X. Born in 1973 and a graduate of The Evergreen State College (think greeners, granola and bare feet liberality). She's been married for 12 years to hubby Bryce, and is mommy to two awesome kids, Dakota 9 and Madison 8. She is a woman of many directions--part-time caterer, part-time writer assistant, part-time writer, bible study leader, and official Mom-of-the-Year award winner!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New photos!

Okay, so I got some new publicity photos done. Which do you think I should use for my main website photo?

What about next book cover.

I can't decide!


I have many e-pals: other writers, other moms, WWII vets, and others whom I meet in various ways.

A few months ago I received an email from Norman Goyer. He was searching on the Internet and found my site. Norm wondered if we were related.

It turns out that though we have the same last name, we have no blood relation between us. Yet I know without a doubt that Norm came into my life for a purpose. You see, Norm is in his 80s and he has been flying planes for the majority of those years. Not only that, Norm has been an editor for aviation magazines nearly longer than I've been alive. He's also provided editorial critique for movies, books, and the like. Basically, Norm knows his stuff about flying and piloting, and he is called on often as an expert.

It "just so happened" at the time of Norm's email I was writing a new novel and one of the characters was a Nazi pilot during The Spanish Civil War. For my other books I had numerous veterans to help me out. but since The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936-1939, there were no such veterans to give me help on this project . . .

Until God sent Norm, that is.

Out of the blue.

An email that "just happened" to show up in my inbox.

Norm was able to read through my book-in-progress and provide amazing help. I found out what the motion picture industry has know for a while . . . Norm knows his stuff!

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with parenting. Well, yesterday my e-pal, Norm, sent me something he'd written up for this local paper. I think it's insightful and worth pondering for parents.

This is what Norm had to say . . .

I have spent the last 30 years writing about aviation and aircraft. Sometimes my mind wanders back to my earlier years when I believe that I had an excellent upbringing mostly because it was during the deepest years of the great depression. I often think that many of today’s problems would not exist if everyone had to struggle a bit more just to survive and yet, still raise their family. Norm

Perkins Avenue in Northampton , MA during the depression years was like a landlocked Ellis Island . The short residential street ran from the bottom of Round Hill to the RR tracks along Rte 5.

At the top of the hill were the rich folks, including the Grahams, inventor of the Graham Cracker, the famous Clark School for the Deaf, plus mansions belonging to Smith College professors. At the bottom end of the street were small homes along the railroad tracks where the poor people lived, many of their children in “reform school” for petty crimes, mostly stealing to help feed their families.

My dad was a sheriff at the local House of Correction and my mom took care of me and my brother. Our immediate neighbors included the O’Briens, Irish, the Rozaks, Polish, Papageorges, Greek, Arthurs, English, Goldbergs, Jewish and our family French.

One week in 1936 Hyman Goldberg won the Treasury Balance, a street lottery for $750, a fortune back in those depression days. He bought a new blue Plymouth coupe, cheapest available and an Atwater Kent radio.

The night of the Joe Louis-Max Schmelling Championship heavy weight boxing match Mr. Goldberg put his radio on his porch facing the street. The whole neighborhood sat on the lawn, sidewalks and even in the road. Cheers and shouts in many different languages were heard for blocks around. Louis won!

Discrimination, racism, never heard of them. Perkins Avenue was at peace with the world.

Thanks, Norm! For this. For everything!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Guest Blogger...Judy Fedele

Short Order Cook for Short Fries

Sometimes I feel like I live in my kitchen. Besides the coupon cutting and menu planning while I sit at the table, there’s the endless parade of meals I prepare daily. Then of course there are all the pots, pans and dishes, which must be cleaned multiple times a day (and night).

Lately I’m also in the kitchen a lot because my two year old has found fun new things to explore in there. There’s the ever-exciting pantry with whole shelves of precious snackage to raid. There is my spice rack to unload and reload. And in the past few days, my tiny little powerhouse has learned how to pry open the fridge and freezer by herself. She will stand there before the open door, cold air washing over her, and gloat at her new powers.

This child also has very specific ideas about what she wants to eat and is very vocal about expressing herself. Recently she requested ‘soup’ and ‘salad’ for her meal. Which would have been fine, except that it was 6:18 in the morning. Delia doesn’t get the concept that there are certain foods that correspond to particular meal-times. She just wants what she wants. I tried to sway her, offering her sweet oatmeal, eggs, fruit, etc. But the offered feast went uneaten. Sometimes I think she just likes the concept of ordering food like she’s at a fancy restaurant. “I’ll have one of these and one of those and more of something else as soon as I learn the word for it…”

I don’t really mind the cooking. I get a lot of satisfaction feeding my family and seeing them enjoy the home-cooked meals I’ve lovingly prepared for them. The trouble comes from the simple fact that 90% of my time, I’m cooking for, well… children. Which means that an uncomplicated task like eating becomes an triathalon-style event. What they’ll eat on any given day will vary. ‘Trying New Food’ is met with skepticism and distrust. Jaime (my 8 year old) will not even look at new food these days. She’s turned into a prima donna fussy food queen (think pizza scraped entirely clean of everything till it resembles little more than a triangle of wet bread). Then there’s Delia. Suspicion on her face, my two year old will extend the merest tip of her tongue out to taste offered food as if I’m trying to poison her. I’m sure the two of them would be happy with nuggets and fries every night. Even driving past a McDonald’s, which for the record we visit only infrequently (infrequently being a single word as opposed to in…frequently) even Delia will scream “Ketchup!” as we drive by, followed by, “Thank you! Thank you!” which she thinks will prompt me to stop and buy her fries. Fast food joints are inherently evil. Once they get a taste, it’s like heroin in the bloodstream. Must – have – fries … they say shakily. Never mind the fat content and the inherent unhealthiness of it all.

It’s a no-win situation for parents. I really do make the effort to serve delicious and nutritious meals. Sometimes they eat, sometimes they clamor for more kid-friendly choices. The ‘feeding of the family’ is one of the hardest and most time-consuming challenges we have as moms. How much of the effort is actually ‘consumed’ varies on the day and the year. Stages and ages. Most days I feel like I’m a short order cook for short fries. Short on time with a short fuse on my temper. Wish I could say it’s all a tall tale, but it’s not. And yet, with all the problems, I am grateful because at least we do have the means to feed them. Though my older girl seems to think she is starving and cannot comprehend waiting longer than 10 minutes for food to be ready, I know she’s not too bad off. In time both she and her little sister will understand how lucky they are when it comes to the wealth of food they have access to.

Even if they do want salad for breakfast, or mac and cheese every day for three weeks, I know it’ll all work out eventually. “Train a child in the way she will go…” I trust that when they are grown up, my girls will remember their mom’s good home cooking and try to model the example by making good food choices of their own. I’m also looking forward to the day when they’ll have to cook for their own kids. That’ll serve them right.

Judy Fedele
Publicity Director, Believers’ Chapel MOPS
Cicero, New York

To find out more about Judy's group, go to: http://www.orgsites.com/ny/believerschapelmops/

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Politically Incorrect ... According to mom.

I was flipping through TV channels a while ago and the movie Sixteen Candles was on cable. "Oh," I cried out, remembering how much I loved this movie. Of course, after a few minutes I was shocked. The sex, drinking, language, definitely far worse than I remember. And the movie . . . something I wouldn't dare allow my teens to watch.

Sometimes I forget how much has changed. I'm not talking about the media, but my life. Once I used to grab a beer or two (or . . .) with my friends on the weekends. Now I use every beer commercial to give my kids a moral lesson around why drinking is wrong. I had a boyfriend before my wisdom teeth came in (is that why I made so many bad choices?). Now I've "encouraged" my children not to date until they are emotionally ready to deal with romantic relationships in which they are giving away a piece of their hearts. (Because, I tell them thinking back to Bobby, Derick, and Blake . . . you never get that piece back.)

But what about Little House on the Prairie. Is that Politically Incorrect too, according to mom? I mean pigs get butchered and Laura (gasp!) gets spanked.

Here is an article I read on that. It's an opinion piece talking about this very thing. I has also got me thinking. Am I tooooo good at sanitizing my children's lives?

Monday, October 23, 2006


I've never heard the term before, but it only make sense. JenX is the female member of Jeneration, err, Generation X. And guess what. I think we're pretty savvy. You can read the whole article here.

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- After spending freely in her twenties, JenX, the female member of Generation X now in her 30s, has no illusions about "having it all" and is rolling up her sleeves to build an adulthood grounded in reality.

Since we've been talking about money issues on this blog, I thought this quote was interesting:

"Contrary to the predictions about this generation, the women in our study have a can-do attitude," reports Watson. "They got caught under the wheel of college loans, credit cards and luxury brands, but as they've entered their 30s, they are demonstrating a strong willingness to get things under control, more so than any other age group in our study. She is not the self entitled Slacker everyone assumed she would be."

Oh, and this one:

"JenX's willingness to cut back is most visible in her shopping behaviors. Even though this consumer was raised to want and to expect only luxury brands, she has matured and is now motivated to buy smarter and with greater discernment than any of her predecessors. Sixty-six percent of women in this age group have cut back on spending in the past two years by reducing their spending on premium name brands and shopping at premium stores."

So, for those of us working on our spending, we're not alone!

Personally, some things I've been doing lately:

1. We've been eating at home every week after church, instead of taking the family out to eat. Savings $50/week.

2. I've been printing up two week's worth of menus at a time. I use http://www.savingdinner.com/ the Low Carb version. (I mainly use Low-carb because my family feels they have to have meat at every meal. I usually do rice and steamed veggies and a salad as side dishes.) Savings . . . so far it seems to be about $100 per week since I'm not constantly running to the store, and picking up other junk while I'm there.

3. I've been creative with birthday gifts. I usually buy stuff on clearance and keep in a dresser in my room. Instead of running out to by b-day gifts, I've been putting fun stuff together. I've also found stuff I have around the house. Or--for one friend who is a single guy and loves coming over to visit my husband--I gave him a coupon for his favorite dinner. It's a win-win situation. He loves homemade meals and I have to cook for my family anyway. Savings this month has been about $60 so far.

4. I set up a cleaning chart for my kids instead of hiring someone to come once a week. They do a pretty good job and it's training them on how to take care of a home--yes, this includes windows! Savings $60/week.

5. Finally, I purchased a color printer for my business. I was always having stuff done at the copy story. I figured in the long run I'd save 20 cents per copy if I had my own printer. And with hundred of copies a month, this adds up. Savings . . . well, you have to spend money to make money, but in the long run it will pay off!

What about you?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guest Blogger: Judy Fedele

A Day in the Life of Little
By Judy Fedele

We call her “Little.” Little is our two and a half year old daughter. The nickname indicates her diminutive size but does not describe the incredibly huge amounts of trouble she gets into.

A typical day for Little will include:
  • Trying to climb into the oven (thankfully cold) while my back is turned. (“While my back is turned” can vary from 10 seconds to a minute, but no longer, because as our 8 year old commented, “When she’s playing and we can hear her, it’s fine. When it’s quiet, you better find her fast ‘cause there’s sure to be trouble.”)

  • Stacking my glass spice jars 5 high while perched precariously on a shaky little plastic 4-drawer organizer jammed between the kitchen table and the kitchen counter.

  • Having a party with the sugar bowl, after climbing on the above kitchen counter.

  • Sometimes this includes making her way across the entire length of the counter and the sink to peek into the cupboards above the (thankfully cold) stovetop.

  • Commandeering “read: stealing” tea from my teacup. I haven’t had a cup of tea to myself in months. Little has several tiny plastic play teacups in her arsenal. She will get one and dunk her cup into my ceramic tea cup. She’s a precise child, always turns her cup so the rose pattern faces her and she can grasp the tiny handle on the right. Drinks her thimbleful of tea. Then she dips, and repeats. Dips. Repeats. I don’t believe the expression “tea for two” meant quite this. When Little has drunk her fill all that’s left is backwash and a memory.

  • Then there are the frequent escapes from the house. We had had to install deadbolts on certain doors to prevent our little Houdini from escaping unexpectedly. If the front door isn’t latched tight with the extra lock fastened, she will pop out of the front door like a jack in the box. Whoever is closest will charge out after her and retrieve the wayward child. My favorite of her escape attempts was during a particularly severe rainstorm. There was of course no time to put on a coat (much less shoes) for the chase. Squishy, squinchy, squelchy socks.

  • Little enjoys water play when she can get it (rainstorm or tub, it doesn’t matter.) In between regular baths she likes to scale up the bathroom vanity, toes clinging to the drawer ledge to play with the water in the sink. Splashing happily away on the walls and the floor as well. At least that’s one activity I can hear her at.

  • Pantry raids are a favorite activity, too. If we are watching TV, Little will bring us all sodas. She will conveniently have her tiny teacup at the ready, waiting for us for serve her the coveted beverage. If we do not open the soda, she will raid the pantry again and bring more sodas. We call this the “take the hint” technique. This also applies to any snack food she can reach. Raid. Repeat.

  • Then there’s the whole potty training fiasco. I repressed the whole experience from my first daughter. Now I get to ‘potty’ all over again with the new kid on the block. I know that Little is ready for this stage: she’s quite aware when her diaper is wet (or worse). Sometimes if we’re lucky she will gleefully take it off and carry it to us to show us the contents. She’s happy as a clam to wave bye-bye to the poopy pebbles as they go down the toilet. I can’t say the potty chair is completely ignored, though; she uses it as a stepstool to reach the light switch in the bathroom. On, off, on, off. Repeat endlessly. But to actually use the potty? Not going to happen any time soon. Regardless of the fact that I am ready for her to be ready. Ah, well.

This is a typical day in the life of Little. I thought my older daughter was difficult at that age; I now know she was just a warm up to prepare me for the real deal. I wonder sometimes which of my kids is going to get me first, one from an ulcer, or the other from a heart attack. But for all the craziness in my life, I really am thankful for both of my girls. I’m also really thankful that they’re not twins.

Judy is a mom and a MOPS leader. Check out her group at: http://www.orgsites.com/ny/believerschapelmops/

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Read Chapter One!

Generation NeXt Parenting has hit store shelves!

Read the first Chapter here.

So what's up with Gen Xers?

The Facts

• Gen Xers consist of 41 million Americans born between 1961 and 1981, plus the 3 million more in that age group who have immigrated here.

• Gen Xers are serious about life. We don’t take life as it comes, but give great consideration to critical decisions about our present and future. When it comes to parenting, we want to do it right. We take parenting seriously because we remember the latchkey existence with too much free time and too little parental involvement, and we want to give our kids more.

• Gen Xers are stressed out. We want to do it all…now. And when we do, we find ourselves overwhelmed—work, family, and the techno-stress that 24/7 communication such as cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging has brought about. We’ve bought into following our dreams and finding our purpose. Yet we struggle to balance kids, ministry, work, and service. (We love to volunteer, to give, to help, to make a difference!)

• Gen Xers are self-reliant yet highly spiritual. We’re skeptical, yet eager to apply what we do believe to our everyday lives. We’re realistic, not idealistic. Our faith has to be truly lived-out or we don’t buy into it.

• According to a recent George Barna study, only 28 percent of Gen Xers (ages 20–37) attend church compared to 51 percent of Builders (58+). Yet a Newsweek article recently suggested that “81 percent of Gen X mothers and 78 percent of fathers say they plan eventually to send their young child to Sunday school or some other kind of religious training.”

• Because of the loneliness and alienation of splintered family attachments, “experts” have claimed that the strongest desire of Gen Xers is acceptance and belonging. Unfortunately, as parents, we don’t often find the companionship and acceptance we long for. Sometimes we feel alone, as if we’re the only ones dealing with these parenting struggles.

• Gen Xers believe in giving the best to our kids, we really do. Yet we question if we’re doing it right—or if we can do it at all. If we don’t follow in our parents’ parenting footsteps, is something wrong with us? Is it okay to do it our own way?

Does this sound like you? If you haven't yet . . . read the first Chapter here.

(c) Tricia Goyer, 2006. This material may only be used with the permission of author.

Guest Blogger: Debra Henderson

Jesus told me to wash their feet.

When the kids were little and I wanted to do a little toe nail trimming or get them take a bath, I came up with the idea to declare "Spa Treatment." The kids would jump right in to a nice warm baffy, suds up and let me trim their toe nails, wash and style their hair and do it with great joy and giggles.

They came out feeling special and loved. I came off looking like a great mom.

All it took was a little imagination, a few choice words and some creative use of drug store bought items:

Bubble bath, bath oil, bath fizzer, and "mermaid water."

Fun shampoo, fun soap, body scrub, mask or sea salt for foot spa, and fun lotion.

I finished with a message, a drawing on their backs, and a blessing.

Debra is preparing to publish her first book. It is her testimony in allegory form. It's a story of young girl who becomes a queen in spite of her struggles. And how her daughter, Princess Cossette inspires her to go on a quest.

Debra is a at home mother of three children, and they've all inspired her to be a better parent.

Find out more about Debra Henderson at: www.thegownbook.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Club Sandwich

I read an interesting article today that might apply to a few of you. It's titled "Stradegies for the Sandwich Generation" and you can read it here. It gives tips for how not to get squeezed finacially when caring for kids and parents/grandparents.

I can totally relate. Two years ago my grandma moved in with our family. We LOVE having her around and wouldn't trade it for the world, but it is a challenge. Some days I have to deal with both Medicare and mutliplication tables. And, the truth is, sometimes it's a financial strain too.

Of course, God has provided for every need--giving me the strength to deal with anything that comes my way.

What about you. Do you find yourself "sandwiched"?

How do you cope?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Money Talk

Everyone has a few things they spend a little too much money on. Mine is clothes and books, but not in that order. The worst is when they're on sale. 75% off gets me every time. Or like my husband says, "Men may pay twice as much for something they need, but women pay half as much for something they don't need."

But I'm determined to stick to our budget. When it came to grocery shopping I figured out two weeks of meals and made a list. I stuck to the list and the budget.

Things were harder when I took my grandma shopping. She needed "lunch out" with me, which also is known to include a trip the mall. Since I don't NEED any new clothes, I made a mental note that I needed to stick to my goal of not spending money (not to mention sticking to the budget). Would you believe my favorite store had a HUGE sale? Lots of really cute clothes for great deals.

I'm proud to stay that while grandma found two sweaters, a blazer, and a robe, I walked out empty handed. (Actually, I was carrying grandma's bags, but you know what I mean.)

It was tougher than I thought, and I'll admit I was a little bummed. I would have been FINE if I hadn't entered the store, but I had . . . And there were many things I wanted. Many things still hanging in the store and not in my closet.

The cool thing is what happened next. Out of the blue a friend dropped by with awesome hand-me-down, brand name clothes for my daughter. (She loves them.) Also, I had a friend tell me that she owed me more meat because she overcharged me. (I had purchased some of her homegrown pig.) Then I had an editor tell me he's reusing some of my already written articles for a regional publication and he wants to pay me for reprint rights (with no extra work!). Not bad.

All that to say, I didn't give in to my whim of buying things just because, and God proved He can provide in unexpected ways.

Now THAT is cool!

Guest Blogger: Laura Domino

Parenting with Patience

God loves me so much, and knows me so well. He gave me children so that I could experience a side of Him I would have missed otherwise.

Being a parent gives me many opportunities to see God's great love for me. I see Him in a child's mealtime prayer when she remembers to pray for someone I'd promised prayer for and then forgot. I see Him in one child's encouragement to another, using my words. I see Him in a child's proud smile after an excellent spelling test that we'd worked so hard to prepare for.

Without children in my life, I would've missed out on seeing God as a patient, persevering parent. He encourages me when it's time to discipline my kids because I sometimes see myself in their misadventures. He reminds me of how He teaches me in a gentle, but firm way. My kids need hugs and laughter to turn their moods around. I do too, and I need those parental kisses on the head from my Heavenly Father. Love covers many wrongs - and prevents some too.

This family is imperfect, yet persistantly loving. God has taught us to notice Him in our midst, in our weaknesses, in our triumphs. He is there, revealing more of what we need to see in Him.

To find out more about Laura Domino, check out:

Scenes and Beans writer for Sarah Wray

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Money Issues for Gen Xers

Last week John and I put overselves on a budget. After years of riding the overspending, cutting back, overspending cycle, we're trying to get things under control. As we grow in this area, we try to teach our kids to do the same. It's a challenge, isn't it?

My friend, Michelle, emailed me with this post. It seems I'm not the only one dealing with this issue. Here is what Michelle had to stay:

Last night at our women's Bible study we were discussing values and somehow instilling in our children the beauty of waiting for what they want, a seemingly impossible task in a "gotta have it now" world.

Like most of the ladies, I learned early on how to take care of myself so I tend to be thrifty. Our goal is to teach our kids how to prevent overextending themselves financially so they won't be in debt and slaves to their lenders early on in their independent years. As GenXers a lot of us had to take care of ourselves because we were growing up in the era that first defined/discovered latch key kids.

The majority of the women in my Bible study had grown children already so I was one of the few GenXers in the bunch. What I struggle with is balancing how much to make my kids work for and how much to help them out--in short, finding balance.

In today's society teaching kids to wait for what they want is no easy challenge, especially since while growing up I had to provide for myself in many ways. Because of my experience, I don't want my boys to have to struggle like I did. However, the Lord has blessed me (I'm being serious here/not funny) with the inability to provide my kids with many of the things their peers own. As a result, I've found that they are learning much more from having to work and save (they are 13 and 14) and buy their "wants" themselves than if I just bought things for them.

Sometimes having less is the only way to instill these values, so today I'm thanking the Lord for having less money and possessions, and not more. :)

So what about you? Do you find this to be a challenge? What do you do to find balance?

To find out more about Michelle, go to: http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 12, 2006

For Women Only

For the past month I've been spending my Wednesday nights leading a small group at church. About a dozen of us women are going through the book For Women Only: What You Need To Know About the Inner Lives of Men.

I've discovered two things: 1) Out of the dozen of husbands, each man is amazingly unique. 2) Underneath that exterior, each man is unbelievably the same.

This book has not only helped me understand my husband better--and meet his personal needs. It's helped me understand my two boys. Afterall, they have the same needs for appreciation, affection, etc.

Last week, I was driving my 14-year-old daughter home from work and my book was in the car. She started glancing through it.

"What's this?" she asked.

"It's a book that talks about the inner lives of men and what makes them tick."

One of her eyebrows cocked.

"Go ahead, you can read it if you want."

The next morning, Leslie brought the book to me. "I read it."

"All of it?" I asked.

"Uh-huh, and I saw in the back there's a book For Young Women Only, can I buy? Can you order it online for me?" She pulled out a stack of one dollar bills from her tip money.

"Uh, sure." Five minutes later the book was ordered and I had an email confirmation that it was on its way.

It's since come in, she's read it, and I heard it was the hot topic at youth group. "All the girls want to read it," she said.

I suggested Leslie start her own small group, and her eyes brightened. I'm pretty sure she'll do it and it will be a big hit.

My wise daughter has figured two things out. 1) Men are different. 2) The more women understand these differences, the better prepared they are for marriage and for life.

So what about you? Have you read a good book lately that you've wanted to share about?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Life Coach

Yesterday, I had the opportunity for a free phone session with author and Life Coach Judy Baer. You can check out more about what she does here.

Anyway, a few days ago when I was WHINING about my crazy life, I'd totally forgotten about this appointment. And . . . it almost didn't happen.

You see, I booked this time with Judy over a month ago. Then, I realized that my son's basketball practice would be right in the middle of it. I was planning on canceling the session when Nathan woke up sick. I'm so sorry his tummy ached, but God knew I needed to talk to Judy.

Her questions were simple, and I won't go into all of them. (You need your own session, ha!) But she did get me thinking about what topics I'm most passionate about. And when I thought about my writing it came down to one message:

God places us in a unique time in history for HIS purposes. He will equip us as we seek Him. Then, as a result of following God, we will be blessed and our life with touch the others for God's kingdom.

THAT is what I'm passionate about. THAT is why I wanted to write Generation NeXt Parenting.

And THAT is what I'm going to filter all my writing ideas through--i.e. will this book fulfill by heart-passion????

So far (even though I didn't know it), all my books, including my novels have this thread to some degree.

So what about you. What is your heart-passion???

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I can't begin to tell you what an AMAZING day I had yesterday when I decided to "believe." (If you missed that post just scan down and this will make sense.)

Yesterday, after I read my Bible, I prayed that God would guide my to-do list. I decided to believe that He cared as much as the little things in my life as the big ones.

I started by making some homemade soup, then I looked to the things on my list. I sent a query to an editor about an article simmering in my brain. I emailed a woman I want to write a story about. I checked some things off my list that I needed to do for one of my publishing houses. I researched for my novel. I helped my kids on their homework. I cleaned off my desk, cleaned my bedroom and bathroom, played video games with my kids, made a nice dinner, answered a dozen of my 145 important emails, talked with a friend on the phone . . . it was a great day!

The truth is that in a typical day many of these things get done, but I'm stressed when I do them. They never seemed before to be enough. I've been too busy lately looking at the 130 unanswered emails to rejoice in the few answered. Or I've been too busy noticing the dirty kitchen floor to be thankful for the clean bathroom. But yesterday I chose to BELIEVE that God had certain things for me to do--just enough for one day.

Not only did I have peace during the day, I was jazzed by the results. The editor I queried emailed me back within an hour with a contract. The person I want to interviewed gave me the go ahead. I received a call from my publisher with two upcoming radio interviews. I laughed with my kids.

Today, God had a different theme He wanted to speak to me. See if you can figure it out :-)

"All of God's revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. But once you obey, a flash of light comes immediately . . . If you obey God in the first thing He shows you, then He instantly opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight . . . Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already."--Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 10.

"You are truly my disciples of you keep my obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31 NLT


"Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own." John 7:17 NLT

The same message from two different sources that I "just happened" to be reading today.

Oh Lord, help me to obey in my daily stuff today.

Tricia Goyer

Monday, October 09, 2006

Just Believe

Don't you love it when God sends a message so clearly you CAN'T help but slap your forehead. Duh!

Today, was one of those moments. See if you can find the WORD God kept bringing up in my devotional time today.

I want to ask you a critical question: Is the sceope of your belief in Christ in the past-tense security of salvation, or can you be caught in the active, ongoing lifestyle of believing Christ? In other words, are we simply nouns--believers? Or are we also verbs--believing? . . .

In reality, what we believe is measured by what we live, not by what we say. If your life were a Gospel like John's, who could people "believe" your Jesus to be? Think specifically and concretely. Based on your life, might people believe Jesus to be a Redeemer because He ahs obviously redeemed your life from a pit? Or a Healer because He has healed you from a certain disease? Please keep in mind these kinds of questions are to provoke our deep meditations. They will either help us see progress and reason for rejoicing or help us to see where we want to go.
--Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple, p. 139-140

The greatest need we have is not to do things, but to believe things.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 9

John 6:26-29 NTL

26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

I don't know about you, but it's easy for me to believe God can accomplish BIG things--like making it possible for me to meet a writing deadline or changing the heart of a teen mom I mentor.

It's the little stuff I struggle with (as you can see from my last post). Worries about how much I can accomplish in one day. Concerns about spending enough time, energy, and care on my family. Struggle with what to do first.

But in my heart, God is speaking one word to me today: BELIEVE. Believe that God is all-powerful and always present in the day-to-day stuff too. BELIEVE that He is at work in all things and He is guiding me in these as I BELIEVE that God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Help Me!

I have so much I need to do today. Sound familiar? So today I made a list. #1 was BLOG. Of course, that has taken me longer than I thought! I'm still on #1.

In addition to this blog and It's Real Life, I'm also a guest blogger today over at Girls, God, and the Good Life.

Do you have a system for getting things done? Maybe something that works better than a list?

In my search for tips on getting organized I found this blog by Tasra Dawson. Do you have any more worthy reads? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

O Pioneer!

(Photo of Tricia and Nathan at Glacier National Park on Saturday.)

My friend Mary DeMuth is highlighting me on her parenting blog. One thing she asked was about pioneer parenting, and how I'm raising my kids differently than I was raised. This REALLY has gotten me thinking.

I noticed a HUGE difference just last night. My teen daughter was having a struggle with someone who was spreading rumors. She came to John and I and asked us to pray with her. After that, we also spent about 30 minutes talking to her. Okay, not "we." John did most of the talking about forgiveness, loving others, etc. It was amazing. Then we all prayed together.

So it got me thinking. I can for sure say that I've never had that intimate of a conversation with my dad in all my growing up years. In fact, I'm not even sure if I ever did with either parent. Yet last night John and I praised God that we have children who can come to us for advice and encouragement. How amazing is that?!

Yes, sometimes I do feel like a pioneer parent, hiking my way through life. (And I'm not only talking about times, like Saturday when Nathan and I went hiking in Glacier National Park.) But also daily as I focus on God and strive with my husband to raise these kids in a way that will connect them with Christ, with us as parents, with their family members, and with the family of God.

It's okay to be a pioneer parent when God is leading the trail. Westward Ho!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lamentations of a Father by Ian Frazier

Laws pertaining to the living room
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.
But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When at Table
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.
When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

On Screaming
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations
O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know.

For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

The Atlantic Monthly ; February 1997; Volume 279, No. 2; pages 89-90

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Top 100 words

Well, it's official. Generation NeXt Parenting has hit the store shelves. How exciting! I hope, hope, hope, hope this book will meet a need and touch the hearts of a generation. Won't you pray about this with me?

One cool thing is something I discovered on Amazon.com. Below are the top 100 words from Generation NeXt Parenting. And . . . if you click on each one you can discover just how they are used. How cool is that?!

age always ask believe best better bible book born child children christ christian comes dad day desire does even fact faith family father feel few find first friends gen generation get give go god good great hard heart help home husband ing instead jesus john kids know let life lives lord love means mind mom mother need new now often own parenting parents people pray prayer read realize relationship remember right say see should show something sometimes spirit still take tell things think thoughts three time today truth two values want without word work world writes xers years yet young

Tricia Goyer

Monday, October 02, 2006

Her Best Move

Last month my friend Stacy DeBroff from Mom Central, Inc. contacted me to see if I'd be interested in joining the Parent's Advisory Board for the new movie Her Best Move. Stacy assured me the movie has much to say about girls and sports today. My answer? "Of course!"

My family and I had the opportunity to watch the movie last week. My comments are below.

If you want to learn more about Her Best Move, go to http://www.herbestmove.com/

Growing up is hard enough work, but what if in addition to juggling school, friends and boys (both hot and not) you have to worry about making the National Women's Soccer Team and receiving your father's approval in the process? That's the challenge for fifteen-year-old Sara Davis. My husband, three preteen/teen kids and I gathered around our in-house-theater (aka living room TV) to check out the movie. As an author of parenting books that deal with the numerous struggles of today's families, including getting our kids so involved in extracurricular activities that they don't have a life, I was interested to see how Sara's story would play out. The movie not only kept our interest, it also brought about great family discussion about excelling in our talents vs. trying to please others to the point of sacrificing ourselves and all we hold dear. Overall, I was pleased by the good lessons taught in this movie, and I'm glad our family was giving the opportunity to have a "Sneak Peak"!
--Tricia Goyer, award-winning author of Generation NeXt Parenting and expert mom for ClubMom.com

What do you think? Does it sound like a movie you'd be interested in?

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