Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Count the Cost...The price of children!

A friend sent me this and I thought it a good reminder...

This is something absolutely Positive for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown Of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down.

It translates Into:
* $8,896.66 a year
* $741.38 a month
* $171.08 a week.
* That's a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be "rich." Actually, It is just the opposite. What do you get for your $160,140?
* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to:
* finger-paint
* carve pumpkins
* play hide-and-seek
* catch lightning bugs
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh
* watch Saturday morning cartoons
* go to Disney movies
* wish on stars.
You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under Refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get To be a hero just for:
* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof
* taking the training wheels off a bike
* removing a splinter
* filling a wading pool
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the:
* first step
* first word
* first bra
* first date,
* first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your Family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your Obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren.

You get an education in: Psychology, Nursing, Criminal justice, Communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, You rank right up there under God.
*You have all the power to heal a Boo-boo
*Scare away the monsters under the bed
*Patch a broken heart
*Police a slumber party
*Ground them forever
*And love them without limits.

So, Love without counting the cost! That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!
Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Too Thin? How do we teach our girls to be healthy?

Last week I saw an article on that dealt with failed attempts to rid the London fashion show of ultra-thin models.

Then this weekend I watched a room makeover show with my daughter. Now I know that not every six-year-old loves to watch these shows, but this particular episode was all about organizing an eleven-year-old girl’s room. What caught my eye, though, was the closet door covered with the women this little girl admired. It was literally covered with all kinds of actresses and supermodels.

That sight strengthened my vow not to subscribe to magazines that are filled with those images and role models. But it also got me to thinking about how hard it will be to keep my little girl from thinking the only “normal” way to look is pencil thin.

What’s a mom to do?

I’m not an expert, but here are a couple things I am trying to do now – at an early age – to give my little girl a healthy self-image.

1) I encourage her every time I see her make a good choice on clothes combinations. I love to watch her explore. One day she’ll match the color of the flowers on her jeans with the shirt she wears. Another day it’s an all black ensemble. Maybe not my first choice, but at least it matches.

2) I make sure she only has modest clothes to choose from. At six, she’s not able to tell that something isn’t stylish enough for her, and I can steer her away from the midriff baring styles. But it also means that I have chosen (totally my preference) not to let her wear bikinis now, because I don’t want to suddenly change the rules on her later.

3) I strive to reinforce that she is much more than the outside. We focus on her intellect, the gifts and talents God has given her, and the fact God and a lot of people around her love her simply because she exists. That love won’t change based on how she looks.

4) Finally, I try to set a good example for her. I watch what I wear. Is it consistent with what I want her to wear? (BTW she has great taste when picking out my clothes, too). Am I eating the right foods and giving her good choices? Am I demonstrating in the way I live that exercise is important? Are we taking those family walks when it’s not snowing outside.

So what do you do in your family to combat the world’s messages to your kids about how they look? I can’t wait to read your comments.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Family Fun

"Children are fashioned according to the example of their parents"
- Claudianus

I haven't had time to write personal notes on my blogs lately. With holidays, three book projects (sent to my editors on time, praise God!), and kids' basketball games ... well, I have had no free minutes.

Yet, amazingly, as crazy as it seems, our home has had peace. Why? Because no matter how crazy my deadlines get, we take time for fun. For our family, basketball is fun.
Our kids play only one sport a year, and this is it. Cory and Leslie are both on varisty teams made up of homeschoolers. Since we live in rural Montana, basketball games means TRAVEL.
In fact this last weekend the kids played a total of five games in two different locations . . . for a total of twelve hours of travel!
We make fun family weekends of it, talking and laughing in the car, eating out, and staying in a hotel. Not to mention our BIG MOUTHS as we cheer our kids on.
John and I have discovered that the more we have fun, the more fun our kids have too. And if we're enjoying life, our kids have great attitudes. (Which is something to say for teenagers.)
As my grandma reminds me, "These are the best years of your lives." And I have to agree with her. And, I also hope, that even as my kids get older they will realize that no one should be too busy to enjoy life. To smile, laugh, and enjoy the people that matter most. No one.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Signs...Part II

More signs that make you go hmm...

and my favorite...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Signs...Part 1

Yes! These are real!

Tune in tomorrow...there will be more!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Raising Kids Today...

There is so much media attention about the difficulties of raising children. (Just type in 'raising children' in Google and see what you get) How to do it, what not to do, what causes the problems we're seeing, whose fault it is, and so on. There are challenges unique to our generation when it comes to raising kids.
While researching and writing Generation NeXt Parenting, I collected comments and surveys from parents on a wide variety of topics related to parenting. We deal with worries that our parents' never had to consider, such as:

> media’s effect on young children

> how much Nintendo is too much

> how to fulfill our life’s calling while also raising kids

And those are just some of the minor issues—let’s not forget the more serious downward spiral of morality in America. If you’re like me, sometimes you may wonder just what type of world you’ve birthed your child into.

But it helps to remember that none of these changes in society are a surprise to God. He’s not surprised by Hollywood or Supreme Court decisions. He doesn’t shrug His shoulders in bewilderment over MTV or the ACLU. In fact, God not only knew what the world would look like in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s; He knew our place in it.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit
the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact
places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far
from each one of us. (Acts 17:26–27)

After all, being a generation
of parents in a high-speed and
morally confused world doesn’t allow for anything less.

Here are some comments from GenX parents about the difficulties of raising children in today's society:

Tiffany, Born 1976, 4 children: I really think one of the toughest things for me is everyone wants to try to convince me I am my child's best friend rather than a parent who is supposed to guide them in right and wrong. These days anything except being a total pushover to your children is viewed as almost abuse. But when your kids turn out like brats because they always get their way then you are a bad parent. Let's have expectations for our kids and consequences when they don't do what is expected.

Tanya: The easy access to sex and drugs. These things used to not be spoken of and were a big deal to get a hold of. Now everyone talks about it. Allthe kids in school are one time or another offered it. Maybe I was in the right crowd but I was never offered drugs until I was in high school and now it seems like kids are doing it in Junior High. The style ofclothing that is "in" now if also VERY uncomforting to me. Girls are practically wearing lingerie and to me asking for the sexual comments they get. Which is not want the parents want. I think a lot of parents now a days seem to give their children way more freedom then when I was growing up. Teens out until midnight and not even 16?
Rene, Born 1972, 2 children: For me, it's teaching the kids to be morally sound and genuinely nice in a world that is in moral decay and mean as ever. There are very few role models for kids outside their families.

Michelle, Born 1971, 4 children: The biggest challenge in raising children in today's society is media-not only does media challenge and oppose most of my moral values and beliefs, but because of media, the entire process of the brain is distorted from its original intent. Media interferes with learning and thought processes. It inhibits a child's ability to learn to entertain themselves, to problem solve, and to challenge oneself. It sends a message that entertainment is necessary, that boredom is taboo and that idleness is a way of life. Media is the biggest cause of today’s problems, not just with making immorality move from tolerated to accepted and then to expected, but also because it can lead to behavioral issues and hyperactivity.

Children are learning from media that backtalk is acceptable (and funny). They are learning that violence is fun. They are learning that sex is cool. But more important than what they are learning is what they aren't learning. They aren't learning self control, self discipline, or the reasoning skills it takes to make good decisions in life. The mind is not being challenged and as a result, kids are being labeled ADHD and put on medications. And children learn a NEED for constant entertainment and it has to get bigger and better than before or it will just plain boring. (You would think I am totally anti-TV, but I actually fall into the same trap as other parents, resorting to tv for a little "break" when I need the kids to quiet for a few minutes. I see the problem but have of yet to do much about it)

Another big challenge in parenting in today's society is busyness. We live in an ultra modern world. We have fast food, fast church, fast cooking (thank God for microwaves), and fast cars. We have cell phones, frozen precooked foods, and Wal-Mart on every corner. You would think that life would be easier. But there seems to be a catch 22. In order to have all of these conveniences to keep up with a normal "standards of living" we must work our butts off to be able to keep up with the bills. And in order to work our butts off, we need to have all the conveniences just to get it all done. Women, who used to only work in the home (and work hard, I might add) are now responsible for half of the family income. They are getting involved in church, school pta, etc...They have too much to do, and no time to do it. And men are working just as hard. They are putting in more and more hours to gain the edge. They are tired, overcommitted, and still struggling to make ends meet each month. Busy seems to be the best way to describe this culture.

So what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with these parents? What are some of the issues you deal with in your home?

Side note: What's all the flap about Generation X? Well, those of us born between 1960's & 1980's are currently raising the bulk of the children today. In order to understand the children being raised, it's crucial to know a few things about whose doing the raising.

The authors of Mind the Gap! offer the following information:
GI: Born 1900s to 1920s
Silent: Born 1920s to 1940s
Boomer: Born 1940s to 1960s
Xer: Born 1960s to 1980s
Millennial (also known as Generation Y): Born 1980s to 2000s

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I'm sure most have you have seen this before, but if you haven't...

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?"

I replied, "I had a drug problem when I was young."

I was drug to church on Sunday morning, I was drug to church for wedding's and funeral's.

I was drug to family reunion's and community social's no matter the weather. I was drug by my ear's when I was disrespectful to adult's.

I was drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parent's, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the Preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word. I was drug out to pull weed's in Mom's garden and flower bed's and cocklebur's out of Dad's field's.

I was drug to the home's of family, friend's, and neighbor's to help some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drug's are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.

Bless the Mother's who drug us !!

So what are your thoughts?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Guest Bloger...Judy Fedele

Observations on the Holidays

On Holiday Parties:
Under the right conditions during a holiday party, a chocolate fountain can rotate loose from its moorings and spin wildly, spraying chocolate for yards in a circular pattern. Chocolate is a viscous substance and does not wipe up easily. Chocolate sprayed on the wall, however, is easily accessible for dogs, or small children, to lick. For dogs, chocolate acts like a happy drug in their systems.

A chocolate fountain, finding itself in good humor from the previous catastrophe, will gladly repeat the offense a second time during the party, this time waiting just until the hostess comes to the table to get some food before it breaks loose and sprays all over the place. When this happens, it is perfectly acceptable to just walk away from the mess, change into a clean shirt, and sit down with an adult beverage to enjoy the rest of the party. The dog will help with the cleanup, anyway.

On Christmas Cookies: No matter how much time and effort you put into creating home-made morsels of love, the kids will prefer the store-bought versions of cookies they are used to. They will even ignore the lovely goodies sitting right on the kitchen table and actually scale several shelves up into the pantry to reach the shiny commercialized packages.

Christmas cookies left on the counter will also be ignored by one’s husband, who prefers salty snacks anyway. The choice is then whether the cookies will go to waste, or to waist. Vigorously perusing the ads for sales on elliptical machines, treadmills and exercise bikes in the newspaper while eating cookies will increase your heart rate but will not reduce caloric intake.

On In-Laws: No matter how much time and effort you spend cleaning your house and slaving over a hot stove, the in-grates (or is it out-laws?) will consume every morsel you prepare, not lift a finger to help clean up, and demand the very dessert they brought with them as a gift. Plus they will completely ignore you throughout the evening, never say thank you for the meal or your efforts, and when they leave they will comment that their own cooking is better. Not to mention that they never bothered to call to confirm they were coming over until your husband finally contacted them the day of the dinner, and when they did come, they brought extra uninvited guests with them. (True story.)

On Christmas Gifts: Toy manufacturers do not actually want children playing with their toys. What with all the twist-ties, plastic restraints, and industrial-strength tape in toy packaging, parents need a degree in engineering to remove said toy from said package. Hours later, when the toys are finally freed and assembled, the children will prefer to play with the twist-ties and boxes.

Neatness does not count with gifts for kids. Children don’t pause thoughtfully on Christmas morning to admire how carefully the packages are wrapped. It’s what’s under the wrap that matters. Providing that the parents can get the toys out of the packages for their children after all that neat wrapping paper has been ripped to shreds.

Stockings: it is unnecessary to wrap every little item that goes into the stockings. Not only is it frustrating and time-consuming, it just delays the whole process. Also: even if it’s been a family tradition for generations, putting a fruit in the toe of a Christmas stocking will only prompt an annoyed roll of the eyes. But it’s worth it just to see the irritated look on the children’s faces when they pull out an apple as their final stocking gift.

Giving a ‘bean box’ (a large container filled with dried beans, scoops, funnels and measuring cups) to a two year old with no history of throwing things, virtually guarantees that the two year old will suddenly discover a deeply repressed need to fling handfuls of dried beans all over the carpet, at the dog, her sibling, her parents, and into the heater vents.

And finally, whoever it was that came up with the saying, “It is better to give than to receive” never had days worth of picking up and cleaning to do after the whole gift-giving fiasco was over.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Free Copies...

I just wanted to let you all know that I am still offering a free copy of Generation NeXt Parenting to groups (bible study, book club, parenting class) or individuals (reviewers, book buyers, program directors) who will help spread the word.

My publisher provided copies for me to do this--seed books if you will, and I'd love to see them get into the hands of those who could use them.
Also, I'd love to hear any creative ideas that any of you have for spreading the word!

...and here's a bit of generation X trivia:
“This was the generation, after all, for which the term ‘latch-key kid’ was coined. The end result was that Gen X put off marriage and having children in record numbers. Gen X helped push the average age of first marriage over 27 for men and 25 for women. In 1970, the median age at first marriage was 22.5 years for men, and 20.6 years for women. So far, the divorce rate for Gen X stands at an unusually low 8 percent, but if history is a guide, most would agree it’s too early in the marriage cycle of the group to get a proper read on its potential outcome.”
[1] David Athens, Gen X hits big 4-0, at

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Material Girls?

I don’t know about you, but in the post Christmas glut of gifts I always feel a bit…over-indulgent. Now I love getting gifts. Love the surprise. And love when someone gets me a gift that is so … me.

But in a society where a recreational activity is shopping, how do we teach our kids not to be constant consumers?

I ran across this interesting article on yahoo. A group of friends in San Francisco decided to take 2006 off from purchasing new items. They called it a shopping sabbatical. I called it crazy until I read the article. Then I thought how inspiring.

Is it possible to say I won’t buy anything new in 2007? Or that I will make meaningful gifts for people? Or that I will make something other than shopping my recreation of choice?

Now I’m a bargain shopper (got the kids next year’s winter coats for $15 instead of $50 yesterday, and enjoyed every minute of that hunt). And my six year old has already picked up on the fact you start with the sale racks first. But the more I think about this, the more I think there’s something to it.
I think Paul called it being content in all things. Or, to Caraphrase, being content with what you have.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

10 Things I wish I’d know About Parenting by Jeanette Hanscome

10 Things I wish I’d know About Parenting

1) Legos break vacuum belts.

2) Never say “crap” around your 4-year-old (Here’s how I learned this valuable lesson. Four-year-old Nathan drove a Hot Wheel car under the couch so I had to move it. Suddenly Nathan found all kinds of cool treasure that had found their way under the couch over the last I won’t say how many months. Of course he started collecting them. Without thinking I said, “Nate, could you please not pick up every bit of crap that you see.” Immediately I wanted a delete key for my mouth. As I started moving the couch back Nathan dove behind it and yelled, “Wait, I see some more crap!” Grrr!!! Bad Mom Award).

3) I will probably say at least half of the things on my “Things I will Never Say to My Child” list.

4) It’s hard to discipline when your kids have big brown puppy eyes.

5) A kiss and/or hug from your child can erase a bad day.

6) My kids won’t always like me. In fact, it’s probably a bad sign if they do..

7) Toddlers can (and will) crawl through the dog door.

8) Don’t store snacks in the lower cupboards.

9) Cooking with your preschooler is messy but fun.

10) Where the Wild Things Are is one of the best children’s books ever written and a blast to read out loud.

Jeanette Hanscome is the mother of two boys, aged 16 and 4 ½. She is the author of the teen devotional Want More? Joy and two books in Focus on the Family’s Brio Girls fiction series. She is a regular contributor to Encounter—the Magazine, Walk Thru the Bible’s Tapestry, the Girls, God and the Good Life blog, and has written for many other publications. When she isn’t writing Jeanette enjoys teaching writing workshops, reading, and singing at Sierra Bible Church

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday Wisdom...

Sometimes, parenting, just like life is just a matter of perspective . . .

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sigh ... Thursday night at 11:31 p.m. ... I just finished the next book in the Gen X series. Generation NeXt Marriage!

Boy, was that a challenging book to write. The parenting topics in Generation NeXt Parenting were ones that you can talk about with any parent you meet at McDonalds.

The topics in the marriage book are a little more intimate. They are topics you talk about with a small group or a good friend ... if you dare. Generation NeXt Marriage will hit store shelves this fall. Until then, if you're itching gather with friends, Generation NeXt Marriage is a great book to start with ... there are even discussion questions in back.

Speaking of Parenting ... the photo is of my newest "child" ... our puppy Jake! Boy, is he a handful!

Any puppy training advice appreciated!

Friday, January 12, 2007

10 Things I Wish I Had Known by Katie Schnee

10 Things I Wish I Had Known...About Parenting

1. Never give in to fits.

2. Candy is not a meal.

3. Use plastic sheets for a while.

4. Wrestle and play alot on the floor.

5. Pray with and for kids all the time.

6. They can sleep in their own beds just fine.

7. Nurse as long as you can.

8. Skip sippy cups all together.

9. More veggies and fruits as a youngster so they like them.

10. Take them to BSF starting at age 2.

and a bonus: Nq TV!

Katie's enormous faith is an inspiration to all who know her! She is a pretty cool mom of 2 and a fearless wife of an avid outdoorsman, (and I do mean avid). She mentors teen girls at the local crisis pregnancy center and is preparing to become a post-abortion counselor! She is busy, but never too busy for a friend. She and her family live in the snowy north of Montana. We love you Katie!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

10 Things I've Learned...As A Parent by Cara Putnam

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned as a Parent

1) Love really does multiply. No matter how many children you have, there’s always enough love to go around. It’s not a zero sum game.

2) Boys and girls are wired differently from birth.

3) Pets add a richness to children’s lives that is worth the food, vet bills, never-ending walks.

4) Children really do grow too fast. Hang on for the ride and enjoy every moment – even the hard ones – because before too long, you’ll wish you could have them back again.

5) Kids value time much more than things. Listen to what they really want and you’ll usually find it’s time with you.

6) Kids need time to be children. In our high pressure society, we have to fight to keep from over-scheduling their lives.

7) There is no right or wrong way to space kids. Let God lead, and you’ll have the right family for you.

8) Spoiling kids is great – but only when you don’t have to take them home with you.

9) Spending the time and energy training your children leads to delightful, enjoyable children.

10) My life is infinitely richer because I have children in my life.

Cara C. PutmanCanteen Dreams -- coming October 2007 (Heartsong Presents)
The Law, Life & Books:
Original Writer for Jake Tremaine at Scenes & Beans:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

And the winner is...

Congratulations to have been selected to receive a copy of Karen Hossink's book.

Thanks so much to all who participated!

Monday, January 08, 2007


“If it’s not one thing …it's my mother” by Judy Fedele

It’s my mother. The phone rings not 10 seconds after I’ve hung up from her previous call. Gotta love that redial button. I check the caller id (as if I really need to) and wonder whether I can get away with not answering it - vacuuming? diaper change? I sigh, grab the phone and brace for the latest senior moment, otherwise know as the Call-Back-Kvetch.

For those of you who haven’t grown up in a Jewish household, a kvetch is like a nag, which is quite similar to an annoying reminder, only more so. And without prelude, the voice begins, “I forgot to tell you ... maybe you shouldn’t go out. Just in case you were thinking about going out. It’s supposed to snow.” (What, snow during the winter? Thanks for the heads-up, Mom. Glad I have you to bring me up to speed. God knows that these things would never occur to me on my own.)

There’s nothing quite like a nagging Jewish mother (sigh). Her wisdom, subtle as an icicle down the back, trickles out over the phone line. She feels it is her special duty to call and remind me of the obvious. Apparently the expression, “You’ll always be my baby” has overwritten the fact that I, too, have reached adult status. Never mind that I am a mother myself. It matters not at all to her. She has taken it upon herself to continue the mothering process, whether or not I need it. Apparently she still needs it.

I do have to say that she was really a great mom while I was growing up - always there for me, always supportive, always self-sacrificing for the family. Always nagging, too, but always available! My mother set an example (and still does to this day) of the kind of mother I want to be (but without quite so much nagging). And I know that I should strive for the same kind of support for my own family, as well as for my friends. To be open and willing to take the time to listen, counsel, encourage, whatever.

People will always have needs. How do we choose to help them? Do we wave them away or beckon them inside? Are we on hand when our friends are hurt and down? Do we bring meals over if they’re hungry? Boil it down and that is the very essence of mothering: How Can I Serve You Today? Practical help for real needs. If that idea sounds good but you can’t think of how to get started in your own circle of friends and family… no problem. I’ll have my mom give you a call.

Friday, January 05, 2007

10 Things I Wish I Had Known by Virelle Kidder

10 Things I Wish I Had Known

1. Never stop being your husband's girlfriend.(This one made me realize what I looked like when the kids were growing up still mattered a lot.)

2. There are many solutions to a problem, but anything next to love is only second best. (This one made me learn to love my mother again.)

3. Listening is better than talking. (especially with teens)

4. Mary Hunt's plan on handling money, "10-10-80" really works.

5. God understands. I don't need everyone else to.

6. Be generous and don't worry about the cost.

7. Have more fun every day.

8. Plan ahead even if you don't like to.

9. Celebrate every day as a gift.

10.Things can be replaced. People cannot.

11. One more? Cultivate a thankful, prayerful heart.

Virelle Kidder
conference speaker and author of
Donkeys Still Talk

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Calling All Mommies...It's A Giveaway!

Meet Karen Hossink, the author of Confessions of an Irritable Mother...she is offering a free book to someone who is Frustrated! Overwhelmed! At the end of your rope! She knows how you're feeling because she's been there (haven't we all!), so read on and leave a comment. We'll randomly select a winner and send you the book--FREE!

Do you wish there was help for surviving motherhood?

There is.

Who is this Irritable Mother anyway?
For one, she’s me, Karen Hossink! I’ll describe her and you can see if she might be you, too.

This Irritable Mother couldn’t wait to have kids. She loves her children dearly and thanks God for them often. However, when her babies turned into toddlers and started talking back and leaving messes around, this Irritable Mother became a little less excited about being a mother. When her children started fighting with each other and followed her around the house complaining and making demands, she began despairing of motherhood. It came to a head one day when their pursuit of her seemed relentless and she found herself sitting behind a closed door, crying out to God, actually questioning His wisdom in giving her children. She wanted to be a good mom, meeting all their needs as best as she could, but it seemed to her the only thing she could do was be a failure. She felt like she was letting her kids and God down.

That’s the picture of where I was. Have you been there, too? Are you there right now?
God put a desire in me to become a holy woman, to become more like Jesus. I knew such a change would need to be reflected in my mothering. I didn’t want to yell at my kids so much. I didn’t want to blow up at them. I wanted to be tender and patient, loving and kind.

The story of my journey and the hope for your journey is what I share in my book “Confessions of an Irritable Mother.”

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Guest Bloger...Judy Fedele

“Chasing the Sunset”

Through a break in the clouds I caught a brief glimpse of sunlight while heading out to get some last-minute groceries. I was pushing myself to do this one final errand for the day, exhausted and only half aware as the streets slid by. The sky was drearily overcast, the kind of unbroken gray cloud cover typical this time of year. But driving west the gray haze suddenly broke open to reveal a beautiful sight. The clouds were fantastically lit from behind with the sun blazing radiantly through them.

I was mesmerized, staring ahead at the unexpected vision, waiting for the traffic light to turn so I could. In my mind-numbed condition, even my thoughts were reduced to monosyllabic grunting. “Nice sky” grappled with “Need food”. A notion, fleeting as a sunbeam in Syracuse, surfaced. “What if?” it asked. “What if? I didn’t turn left, didn’t go to the store, but instead kept on going straight and chased after that beautiful sunset?” How far could I travel before the sun was swallowed up by the night? My car could never move fast enough to keep it always before me. Wishful thinking. But I realized that it was based on a deeper longing within me. The endless gray skies I drove under seemed to mirror the dull grayness I felt inside myself.

When we run on empty we tend to grasp at anything to keep us going - even wishful thinking. A simple sunset moved me so much, but I know that its beauty pointed to something greater, to Someone greater. In the beauty of nature God often allows us glimpses of Himself to draw our sight upward and onto Him.

I found a phrase in an old magazine that really hit home: “Living careless and prayerless.” You can’t expect to drive on the spiritual scenic route if you neglect
to read and pray daily. I wanted to chase after that sunset, that intangible thing, because I hadn’t taken care to find my meaning in the Lord. But I know that if I
put my whole heart and mind into seeking Him, then my attitude should surely follow. As I truly follow after the Son.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

10 Things I Wish I Had Known by Michelle Hortenberry

10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Parenting

1. Don't spend hundreds of dollars on the cutest new toys. All they want to play with is the box.

2. Don't spend hundreds of dollars on the cutest new clothes. All they are going to do is puke on it, poop in it, or roll around in the mud while wearing it. Instead spend your money on the best laundry detergent money can buy.

3. Toddlers and litter boxes are not a good combination. It is NOT a giant tootsie roll!

4. Children don't need to go to all of the expensive places of entertainment. They can have fun anywhere, as long as they get to go with you.

5. Your mother really did have eyes on the back of her head.

6. Money really doesn't grow on trees. I have to work an entire day to buy my family one fattening meal at McDonalds.

7. Safety scissors can cut hair.

8. Always keep a spare key outside. Toddlers seem to know how to lock a door to keep you out but can't seem to figure out how to unlock it to let you back in.

9. If you don't teach your toddler to unlock the door, you will worry about him not getting out in a fire. If you do teach him to unlock the door, you will worry about him leaving while you are in the shower (which he will at least once).

10. Though you may wish to forget some things about their childhood, you always remember their voice when the look at you with big, innocent eyes and say "I wuv you mommy".

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