Friday, March 30, 2007

Why God made Moms

BRILLIANT answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions.

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

2. Mostly to clean the house.

3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring

3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He Just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.

2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you Your mother & not some other mom?

1. We're related

2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.

2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name.

2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?

3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.

2. She got too old to do anything else with him.

3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.

2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.

3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.

2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.

3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.

4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd die it, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.

2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me

3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Staying Close Even Though You’re Far Away
This is reprinted from a published article from 2001 copyright

It had been my mother’s dream for me to attend a Christian college. Yet she didn't realize her answered prayer would put 1500 miles between her and her grandchildren.

Like so many college graduates, my husband and I chose to make our home in a state other than where we grew up. For years we have struggled with moving closer to our roots, but always return to the reasons why we stay. It is a great place to raise children, the cost of living is very affordable, and we are involved in our church and community.

Having grown up in the same house as my grandmother, I know the importance of extended family. Although my children may never have that same experience, their grandparents don’t have to be strangers. Since we chose to live so far away, I feel it is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our kids close to their grandparents.

Here are several ways we try to strengthen the ties that bind us together:

One of the best things we did was purchase a videophone for each of the grandparents. We chose the phone version (although there is also a camera for the computer) so it would be portable and able to travel to extended family gatherings. So far we have enjoyed Christmas, Thanksgiving and ordinary days with our relatives. Now the grandparents never miss the kids opening their birthday gifts or Christmas presents. They’re right there watching… it’s the next best thing to being there in person.

The next best thing to the videophone is sending videotapes or CDs. Once or twice a year I record a videotape of all the special and everyday events of the kids. The grandparents really appreciate watching the kids grow up and having a keepsake of their most precious moments.

Photographs are very important, especially when the kids are young and changing every couple of months. I used to send my family loose pictures. Then one holiday I gave each grandparent a scrapbook photo album with pictures of the kids. I chose a hinged album so I could send pages to them instead of pictures. Now when I send pictures all they have to do is put the finished pages in the albums. Needless to say the grandparents are very appreciative of this.

If you’re like me when we visit family I take several rolls of pictures. But how many pictures of the same pose do you really need in your albums? With the extra pictures we make family placemats. Just attach photos to a piece of paper and laminate it. You can have dad’s family on one side and mom’s on another. Writing the names of each family member also helps them remember who everyone is.

During the school year, my house becomes cluttered with school papers. I send several school papers and copies of their progress reports to their grandparents. At the end of the fall semester we make calendars for everyone with the papers and artwork I couldn’t bring myself to throw away.

We always send homemade cards and gifts for every holiday. We’ve even surprised grandma with an unexpected birthday fax to office.

We love to sit and look through pictures of the trips to the grandparents’ home. It helps the boys remember the fun times they had and not be so shy the next time we visit.

Let’s not forget all the cyber ways to keep in touch with families. There’s email, blogging, online videos and photo albums that allow access to whoever you invite to your site. It’s easier today to keep in touch than it was twelve years ago when I had my first child.

At least once a year we visit both grandparents try to come and visit us.Since my mom likes to travel, we’ve been meeting her in different states. It’s a fun surprise when we visit a place like Florida and grandma is there.

No matter how long we’ve been apart, when our children get together with their grandparents we all feel as if we had just had Sunday dinner together. It might take some effort, but with help from grandma and grandpa it is possible to stay close even when you’re far away.

Gina Conroy is founder of Writer...Interrupted and a homeschooling mom to four. She writes about her experiences trying to balance it all at Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted.

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Come on in...Welcome to my home!

I was checking out today and they wanted to know what made your home interesting.

This is what I sent ....I am in the "sandwich" generation.

I am a homeschooling mother of three teens ages 17, 14, 12. Also, two years ago my grandma was having a hard time living alone. We added on to our home and invited her to move in with us ... no strings attached, no cost to her!

So now, I'm the care-giver for my husband, three teens, and my 77-year-old grandma. Oh, we also have two dogs, three birds, two hamsters and one fish. (Just to add a little fur and fluff.)

Oh, did I mention that I'm also a published novelist/author? Since 2003 I've had 9 books published with three more to be released this year from publishers such as Random House and Harper Collins.

So, my home is also my office. Books, books, books everywhere you look.

Grandma, kids, homeschooling, writing ... yet it's also a place of peace and warmth. Welcome to my HOME!

(I didn't mention my teen moms, finding four sisters, and/or WWII vets ... I thought they'd think I was making it up!)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Training Lessons…

I’m in the middle of training for the Indianapolis mini-marathon. No, not a full marathon. A mini one – just 13.1 miles. But plenty far I think.

During law school I had a couple friends who ran marathons, and then and there I decided I should do the same thing. Law school had pushed my brain as far as it would go. A marathon would push my body as far as it could go. This from the girl who HATES to sweat.

Then life happened. I got pregnant. Last semester of law school while working full time with a baby. We moved. I got pregnant. Even less time and inclination to run. Then we got a treadmill. Then I put off running because I wanted to get pregnant. Then after a year, my husband and I got tickets to run the mini together. Then I got pregnant. Then I miscarried. And then I started running. And running. And running. Nights like tonight, I’m not even sure what I’m running from or to. I’m just running.

Now my husband’s got a pinching pain in his lower back and hasn’t been able to train in two weeks. I may be running this on my own. And I don’t want to. Why? I’m afraid I won’t finish. It’s easier to stop now than to keep running without accountability.

Isn’t that like our lives?

We spend so much time running from or to we don’t even know what. And then when we get close to the destination we stop. Paralyzed that something will go wrong.

So much of my life right now is outside my control. I’m writing which is a very capricious business. I’m homeschooling. And I’m training for this crazy mini-marathon. And this control-freak can’t control anything other than my response.

So I chose to do what the Psalmist said: I delight to do YOUR will, Oh God. And I’ll put one foot in front of the other, day after day, step after step, mile after mile. Knowing that God has it all in control, and that’s enough for today.

Cara C. Putman

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

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Dream List...

Did you get your Focus on the Family Magazine in the mail today?

I did, and I was very excited. My article Parents in a Digital World is in there.

I remember in 1994 attending my first writer's conference and thinking ... "Some day I'd love to be published in Focus on the Family." It was a big dream. Today, I saw it come true!

And the article talks about Internet dangers. Boy, I sure wish I knew about when I wrote it. I would have recommended it! (You can check out my profile at:

I'm very excited because I've been able to write more articles for them for future issues, too. But it makes me think ... what is something YOU'D like to see an article about?

Or, if you're a writer, what publication is on your "dream list"?

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Something Worth Remembering...

For years, I had a memory problem.

As a young mom my problem was self-induced.

You see, I was doing well in life. I was married to a great guy, was involved in a good church, had surrounded myself with faithful friends, and was even fulfilling my dream of seeing my words in print. It seemed only natural to want to forget my teen years. To pretend they never happened. To blank out that time period when . . . (I was trying to forget, remember?)

Though I didn't speak of those days past, I really didn't forget. How could I when I had a son as a reminder of my teenage pregnancy? He was something beautiful that came out of pretty tough times.

But there was Someone else who didn't forget. God was there during the dark times. He was there when I dropped out of regular high school so I didn't have to see my old boyfriend with his new girlfriend. He was there when I felt my life was over, when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep all day. He was also there when, at six-month's pregnant, I wrapped my arms around my expanding stomach and asked Jesus to "please fix my screwed up life."

Of course, there were others who found out about my pregnancy despite my silence. Like my pastor for example. As my birthday neared one year I could see his mind calculating . . . If Tricia's turning 25 and Cory is 8. Well, that would make her 17?!

Once my pastor knew I felt he and God were in the business of encouraging me to stop faking my memory problem. The two teamed up, you see-Pastor Dan and God-and both prodded me to help those facing the same struggles I once did. The result was Hope Pregnancy Center ( I was one of the three founders of this amazing ministry. After that I started working with teen moms through a program called Teen MOPS (

But God wasn't finished with me yet, and He gave me the idea for a parenting book for young moms facing the same struggles I once went through. And Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Moms was born.You can find more info about the book on my website (

The goal of the book is to provide encouragement to young moms and remind them, "You can do it. You matter!" While you're on my website, also be sure to check out the photos of my husband and kids. Pretty amazing, aren't they?

Finally, I'd like to leave you with one last thought. It's something I read from my daily Bible Reading this morning.

Psalms 78:4 says, "We will not hide these truths . . . but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did."

You see, when it comes to our changed hearts, God is more into remembering than forgetting. He wants us to remember how He helped us. He wants us to tell of the power and the miracles He did in our lives. And guess what? You're part of that next generation I'm shouting it out to! God transformed my life from a beaten-down, teary-eyed teen to someone who can write cool books for Him. That's something worth remembering!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

God's choices or booby-trap proof...

I recently wrote this for a teen publication...but, I think it has principles of success and failure that applies to everyone regardless of age.

Not too long ago, I helped a family member purchase a money order to mail to her daughter who lives out-of-state. It seems this person's boyfriend kicked her out, and she'd been staying in a hotel. Unfortunately, she ran out of money, and her boss from the local diner had already fronted all he could. This person needed money quick, and she didn't know where else to turn.

Around the same time a friend of mine related the story of being startled awake by her son. It was 3:30 a.m. when the phone rang. Her son had been partying and needed a ride home. Though my friend had to work the next morning, she jumped out of bed and hurried to her son's aid.

Does this sound unusual? Maybe not. People find themselves in binds like this all the time.Well, what if I told you that these people in trouble were 50 and 55-years-old? That's right. They experienced adolescence in the 1960s, yet here they were not straying far from their old ways.

Many times teens get a bad rap for being irresponsible. Teens drive too fast. Party too hard. And don't make wise choices about their future.Well, as far as I'm concerned, wise-decision making has more to do with a right heart-attitude than with age. I've seen teens make very wise choices . . . ones that their older acquaintances should try to copy!

Proverbs 1:15 and 18 says, "Don't go along with [sinners], my child! Stay far away from their paths . . . they set an ambush for themselves; they booby-trap their own lives! Such is the fate of all who are greedy for gain. It ends up robbing them of life" (NLT emphasis mine).

For the past few weeks, I've been wearing a white wristband similar to Lance Armstrong's Livestrong. It says these words: "Choose Life." On the surface the meaning is pro-life, of course. But to me this bracelet also reminds me to choose life in all the decisions I make.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him" (NIV).

Choosing life means choosing God's way. It's choosing to seek Him instead of the world's answers. It's choosing hope, peace, abundance, and faith. It means serving God and loving people, instead attempting to find happiness through live-in boyfriends and all-night-parties. It means not booby-trapping your own lives by making bad choices over and over again.

Each of us will mess up. I know I have too many times to count! But being "grown-up" means realizing those mistakes and deciding to take a better way. As Psalms 119:30 says, "I have chosen the way of truth" (NIV). Truth as Jesus gives it-not as Hollywood tries to display.

So the next time someone tries to give teens a bad rap, be sure to tell them differently. Let them know that you're choosing life. You're choosing not to bobby-trap your future. Choosing blessings instead of cursings.

After all, your choices are good choices when you choose God's choices for your days.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Guilty as Charged
First posted Dec. 2006

"I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home."~ Terry Maxwell ~Author of: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit

Ouch! Does this quote ever hurt?

When my kids are out of control and I'm the reason why!

It's an all too familiar scene. Me checking email while the kids are supposed to be doing their school work. I look up in between typing. "Joey(9), have you started your school work?" Chris is still sawing logs in bed, and Timmy (6) is playing nicely with Grace (4) because I haven't set out his school work yet.

I'm distracted and not in control of my kids. When I call Timmy to do his work, he ignores me.

Chris (12) finally slumps down the steps, disrupting the semi-quiet house with his just out of bed attitude. (Not a good one, mind you.)

I pull myself away from the computer and try to gain control of the morning, but we've been off schedule for some time now.

I could blame it on the fact that the Chris' play has caused us to stay up late many times a week, for several weeks. So in an attempt to catch up on sleep, we all catch a few extra winks in the morning.

I could blame it on the holidays and the cold weather that makes me want to spend the day in my pajamas surfing the net. Or I could blame it on the fact that my kids are just rebellious. But bottom line is they are following my lead. When I don't have a plan for the day, the day seems to spiral out of control.

Kind of like this... No one is listening to me and if they are, they're not obeying. I raise my voice a little louder, not wanting to deal with their disobedience, hoping that they'll just listen and do what they're told. Fat chance. They continue to ignore me until I finally get frustrated enough and blow my top. I run through the house like a lunatic, trying to get everyone back on task. My nine year old starts to yell and whine back at me, my 12 year old throws insults at my nine year old and my six year old cries because I raised my voice at him. When I gain composure and try to apologize, he won't listen to me and stomps off to find a quiet place to cool down.

I feel the weight of my sin and try to make everything right again. I find those I've offended and apologize. We talk about disobedience, distractions, the enemy and his fiery darts and then about consequences.

This scenario happened the other night. We all repented, and we all understood (and received) the consequences of our sin. But was it enough to change our behavior? Enough to change my behavior?

The reality is I've grown weary in doing good. It's no fun parenting all the time! So I think over the last several weeks, I've slowly allowed myself to get out of focus. I've welcomed the distractions because I've wanted to distance myself from my never ending parenting and homeschooling responsibilities. And I had to pay a price for it!

My children's behavior is a result of the atmosphere I've created. I didn't wake up one morning and consciously say, “I'm going to let my home go.” It just happened. Slowly.

But the story doesn't have to end here. If I am to blame for the negative behavior in my home, I have the power to turn it around.

How? By following God's leading...

A gentle answer turns away wrath.

Train up a child in the way he should go...

Do everything without arguing and complaining.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Beloved, let us love one another.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal...Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

I think those are good places to start!

Gina Conroy is founder of Writer...Interrupted and a homeschooling mom to four. She writes about her experiences trying to balance it all at Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Dreaming Big Things with God

Over the last few years, my husband and I have found ourselves going to the movies less and watching much less TV than we used to. We try to carefully screen what our kids are exposed to and check that it lines up with our values. Some days it is easier than others. I’ve been encouraged to see more films release that have values I can get excited about.

Last week my mom and I went to see Amazing Grace, just such a film.

It has me inspired and ready to run to the library to track down biographies on William Wilberforce and William Pitt. I left the theater thinking, "God, can You use me like that?"

William Wilberforce was challenged by his friend William Pitt (the youngest Prime Minister ever in Great Britain when he was elected in 1783 at the age of 24 – anyone else feeling like you haven’t done much with your life!?!?!) to tackle the slave trade. By the way, Wilberforce was 20 when he was elected to Parliament!

But you know what? William Wilberforce’s dream of ending the slave trade took YEARS to see to fruition. And those weren't years sat waiting passively. His health was wrecked. His reputation was questioned. He and his team gathered all kinds of evidence about the evils of the slave trade. And after fifteen years of fighting he was ready to give up. I don't know about you, but after that kind of energy investment and personal cost, I might be tempted to give up, too.

But got sent people to encourage him. And others with fresh ideas on how to proceed. They went from expecting 100% change at one time to willingness to chip away at the evil. Then they were ready to play the game.

Are there dreams that have lain dormant in your heart for years? The ones that you’re not even sure if you can see under the layers of dust and life issues piled on top of them? I know that God’s been whispering in my heart that it’s time to blow on those dreams and ask Him if now is the time. Maybe He’s saying the same thing to you.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, go. But only go if you're willing to be inspired and challenged. We don't have to make a choice between loving God and changing the world. When He plants a dream in our heart...we can do both!

Now on to see The Ultimate Gift. Sounds like a great date for my birthday this weekend.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Generation Y

Here is an article from USA Today, by Sharon Jayson. Generation Y is the next generation after us (Generation X)! I'd love point-by-point stats on these topics for Xer's to see how we compare. My intitial thought is that Xers and Yers are very different. Any thoughts?

The views of young people today on politics, social attitudes and life goals are far different from their baby boomer parents', a national survey of 18- to 25-year-olds suggests.
More than two-thirds (67%) believe immigrants strengthen American society; a quarter favor increasing legal immigration.

Just 47% of those ages 41 to 60 say immigrants strengthen society; among those 26 and older, 16% say immigration should increase.

While young people are split over gay marriage (47% in favor, 46% opposed), those over 25 are not: 64% oppose same-sex marriage; 30% favor it.

"This is a more tolerant generation than its predecessors," says Scott Keeter of Pew Research Center, which surveyed 579 young adults and 922 adults 26 and older.

The findings that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%) contrast with a 1967 study of college freshmen in which 85.8% said it was essential to develop "a meaningful philosophy of life," while 41.9% thought it essential to be "very well off financially."

The Pew survey asked more than 75 questions on issues from world events to politics to tattoos and binge drinking. Keeter says the study, in which 130 people were called on cellphones because they don't have a landline, is among the most extensive of this age group.

Keeter doesn't expect views on social issues to become more conservative with time. "One can imagine the complexion of these issues changing pretty significantly when this generation is in positions of power and authority," he says.

Among other findings:

•32% attend church at least once a week; 20% have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic.

•48% identify more with Democrats; 35% with Republicans.

•36% have a tattoo and 30% a body piercing in a place other than an ear lobe; 25% have dyed their hair a non-traditional color.

Overall, these young adults are content with their lives and optimistic about the future: 84% say their life is excellent or good; 14% say fair or poor.

The poll was part of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions' Generation Next project. The margin of error for ages 18-25 is plus or minus 5 percentage points; for the overall poll, plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Christian parents are the worst...:)

One thing that I love about writing is I get to interview VERY smart people.
A few weeks ago I talked with Dr. Jerry Pipes (author/speaker, etc.) and he
gave me (err ... for the article) great advice.

He said that Christian parents are the worst at coming down hard on their
kids, and not giving them enough praise. We point out our demands and make
sure they stick to it, but we forget to point out what they do right. I'm
bad about this. All day long it's, "Did you do you homework page? Did you
clean your room? Did you vacuum? etc." So I'm TRYING to give more praise.

Does it work?

Right after Dr. Pipes told me that, I hung up the phone from my interview
and I called my daughter, "Leslie, thank you so much for doing such a great
job cleaning the kitchen last night." (Instead of yelling, "Leslie you still
haven't cleaned up from breakfast yet!")

She had a friend over, and 30 minutes later when the friend left, I heard
her cleaning the kitchen ... without being reminded. Then, a little while
later she came upstairs and said, "Mom, I cleaned the kitchen AND I noticed
the living room was a little messy so I picked it up, too."


So, I'm been trying to ignore some of the stuff I nitpick about and praise
their good attitudes, obedience, etc. They're not bad kids AT ALL, but
they've been so much better. I mean they are cheerful when they give me
responses. "Sure, mom."

Anyway, I thought I'd just share that. I'm not sure if it would help you at
all, but it sure helped me!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Living with an eternal perspective...

How do we live today, here on this tangible and finite earth, yet really live in light of eternity. It's something I struggle with, and I daresay, it's something we all struggle with from time-to-time. Having children can make it that much harder, but sometimes, it can make it easier too!

Look at some the techniques used by the parents I surveyed for Generation NeXt Parenting!

Tiffany: Keeping a book of blessings so I can look back over my previous tough times and how God was faithful to us then and remember how he will be faithful again.

Michelle R: Whenever I look at the big picture. I think about eternal things in my weekly Bible study and through reading great fiction and the scriptures. I realize that my life is short and what seems like a big deal to me in respect to eternity is really insignificant.

Lisa: fellowship with other Christian women.

Shannon: I think what really gives me an "eternal perspective" is my love for my children, and my protectiveness of them. I try to protect them, but in the end God loves them even more than I do and He is the only one who can truly protect them.

Michelle H: Psalm 127:3 is a great reminder to me. Because I work at home as a day care provider, my entire world can be consumed by children and housework. It helps to remind myself that the children in my life are gifts.


Michelle D: I realize that I should be keeping my eyes on Jesus all along. Psalm 139 is really important to me, because it reminds me that God is ALWAYS with me - right beside me - and that He's in charge. I'm so glad that God is God and I am not.

Rene: Lots of prayer. I pray all the time about parenting, and throughout the day, God gives me a lot of reminders about life, truth, reality. So much of what I experience as a parent happens inside my head, without much fact, which then leads to a lot of fear. God continues to work with me to keep me focused on what is right in front of me and how to deal with that. I also remember that it is through suffering and uncomfortable circumstances that we grow, which is helping me let go a little of the kids and let them experience life as it really is, not the Barney version.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cures with household items.

I don't know who to give credit to for this, someone sent it to me, so I'm sharing it with you! I know for a fact that some of these work, and I'll be trying a few more...

Eliminate ear mites. All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear...Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Kills fleas instantly...Dawn dishwashing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor ...Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.
Did You Know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately-- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers."

Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try c hewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. ! They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly-- even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes ... Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus. Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection... To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer ... If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover. Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure ...cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters... To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine. A powerful antiseptic.

Vinegar to heal bruises ... Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief... It's not for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.

So do you have any other home remedies you'd like to share?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Anger Management for Six Year Olds

I remember the first time Timmy threw his first fit.

He was two or three and we were outside jumping in the fall leaves. I don't remember what sparked it, probably that he didn't want to come inside, but my little "Angel boy" morphed into a demon.

Blazing hateful eyes, clenched fists, spitting ugly words from his mouth. I really didn't know what to do. He was my third born, but none of the others ever had a tantrum like this. Plus, he was my mild mannered, easy going kid.

We made it through the incident with tears on both our parts and managed to escape in one piece, but the first glimpse of my little Jekyl and Hyde scared me.

As he got older I began to realize what set him off. Embarrassment, when he perceived I was correcting him when he was wrong or disciplining him for something he didn't do.

Take this morning for instance. He was all excited that I asked him to butter toast. So I set him up next to the toaster and after a few minutes I checked on him. He had one glob of butter spread into a small area of each toast.
I said something like "Oh, that's not how you do it. You need to get the butter all over the bread." Then I took his hand and was guiding him. I guess I squeezed his hand too hard because Mr. Hyde came out.

His sweet smiled turned upside down and his angry eyebrows took control. I don't remember what he said, but he was in meltdown mode. Saying things like "I hate you", "I'm going to butter the toast my way," and "I wish you weren't in the family."

I wouldn't let him hold the knife when he was angry, and I could see him fighting for control.

Finally after threatening to break the toaster, he grabbed the knife to start buttering the toast. I very calmly picked him up and was surprised he didn't put up a fight. I carried him to his room and said "I love you." He, in his angered state said, "I hate you."

I managed to get him in his room with a slight struggle and waited for the sound of destruction. A couple of small bangs and that was it.

Later when he was back to the loveable Dr. Jekyll, I asked him if he hated me. He smiled, and said, “No, I love you.”

That’s what I call a happy ending!

Gina Conroy

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Christian Character...

Last week I mentioned that my daughter's team won the STATE championship in basketball.

We were very, very excited. In fact, I can't wait until basketball season starts in November next year!

Also, that night there was another special award given--the Christian Character Award. Each team nominated two players, and my son Cory was one of the nominees for the Crusaders...and he won! We were very excited! The award is given to those who show Christian Character on and off the court. It's voted on by his teammates.

It was a fun night because right before the award ceremony we went out to dinner. We later found out that all the parents of Cory's teammates were frantically trying to find us. We got there just in time . . . and I just thought all the smiles when we walked in were because we looked nice :-) (Yes, everyone knew but us!)

You know, when kids are small, it's enough that they said "thank you," and go potty on the toilet. It's good to know that kids change and grow and DO transform into the wonderful young men and women of God that we've always hoped for.Yes, I was smiling big that night. But I'm also smiling every day as I see what amazing kids they are turning out to be.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Seeing God's presence....

As part of my research of Generation NeXt Parenting, I sent out surveys on various topics on child-rearing and family life. One of the questions I asked was how do you help your children see God's presence in day to day life?

And here's what the respondents had to say...

Tiffany: I always try to speak of things in light of God. If there is a need [whether it is healing or toilet paper] I encourage the kids that God cares about them all and when we ask him for things and obey his instructions he always provides. When we don't now an answer and don't know how to find it we ask God for wisdom. I have verses taped up all over my house so no matter where you go there is the word of God and every night they fall asleep listening to worship music on a CD.

Lisa: Since my daughter is only 15 months right now just talking to her, showing her things God makes when we go on walks.

Shannon: I try to appreciate the little things in life and give God the credit and praise. I try to have an active, "any moment" type of prayer life and let my children see and join in this.

Michelle H: I try to relate scripture and Biblical principles in everything we become involved in (relationships, schoolwork, issues with classmates, decisions we need to make....) I try to relay to my kids that there is a purpose in all they do and that God has a plan for each of them. I remind them daily how loved they are by God and how much He wants to bless them. When we pray, I confess and repent. We pray for others when they are in need. We read scripture and discuss how it applies to us. We enjoy hiking to enjoy the beauty in nature that is not only for us to enjoy but is so much a description of God himself. Now that I have God in my life, it seems so empty without him. It seems so pointless to live it without him, so we try to include Him in everything from music, to TV, discipline, and even in our mistakes.

Michelle D: We pray. In front of my child. All the time. I'm not talking about before meals, or as a family devotion time. I'm really talking about when we get in the car, before we go to the store. Or when we can't find a missing toy. We try to help her understand the truth of Psalm 139 - that we are always in the presence of God and we can go to Him at any time, and with any concern, no matter how small.

Rene: We talk a lot to the kids about God. But what we're realizing is that they learn more from seeing God work in our lives than us talking to them about how God is going to work in their lives. When writing novels, they always teach you "show don't tell" and we're seeing this is a good motto in life, too. The kids are watching how God is working in our lives, and that is more powerful than words alone.

Julie: We try to find teachable moments...Some days they are frequent and other days they are scarce. We try and use music, movies, scripture verses for Sunday school and Awana and any learning opportunity possible.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Teen Moms...

As our kids grow, one of my most important things we can do is to teach them to live for others and not themselves. Kids are self-centered by nature (all of us are), and it’s important for us to teach them to help those in need.

Of course, there are many places you can serve. One of the places I’ve chosen to volunteer is through a group called Teen MOPS. Teen MOPS is part of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Teen MOPS is a support group for young moms.

While I think Teen MOPS is amazing, each of us should choose to volunteer in a place where your passion meets another person’s needs. I thought I’d share with you just how teen moms became my passion.

As many people who know me know, I found out I was pregnant my senior year in high school. My boyfriend was someone I dated off and on since my sophomore year. It was a horribly dysfunctional relationship. He’d cheat on me. Or I’d cheat on him. Then we’d get back together. It was almost as if I felt all my worth was based on his approval of me. My parents didn’t like him. My friends didn’t like him, but I kept going back.

When I found out I was pregnant, he was already dating another girl. I told him in the McDonald’s parking lot as she sat in the car waiting—so romantic!

After that, I dropped out of school. I didn’t want to go back pregnant. I lived in a very rural town in Northern California. Our whole high school had 200 students—there was no hiding, so instead of going back, I finished my credits in an alternative program with other kids that were having trouble in school.

I was extremely depressed. On most days I’d sleep until noon and never want to leave the house. It was my mom and grandma’s friends from church that drew me out. They invited me to their functions and threw a baby shower for me. The loved me when no one else did. That’s why I realize the importance caring women can make during unplanned pregnancy. And that’s why I mentor teen moms today, because I remember the love and concern of those older women and it made all the difference.

I had my son Cory on June 21, 1989, I was 17-years-old. He was a beautiful baby and my boyfriend had moved out of town. My mom was my birth coach.

The SAME DAY my son was born, I went home from the hospital. That night, someone from church stopped by. It was the pastor’s son and he just wanted to let me know he’d be around if I needed anything. We started dating and got married when Cory was nine-months-old. I attended college for a few semesters but raising kids and trying to balance school work was too hard. I had two more babies . . . I had my third baby when I was 22!

As a stay-at-home mom I couldn’t sit idle. I crafted teddy bears for a while and sold them to gift shops. Then, I started writing. I attended my first writer’s conference when I was 22-years-old and pregnant with my third baby. The classes taught how to write for publication, and I went home and tried it. It worked because I sold my first article that year. I’ve been actively seeking publication since 1994. I wrote articles first, then in 1999 I started working on book projects. I have no degree, no credentials. I basically went to workshops and got books that taught me how to write. I just finished my 8th book, and I have contracts for three more (with more in the works!).

In 1999, I also started working in our town with people who faced unplanned pregnancies. At 27-years-old, I helped to start a pregnancy care center. And the next year started the support groups for teen moms. I’ve been working with these moms since 2001. Kayleigh was one of the first girls I worked with. She had just given birth to MaCayla—who will be five in November. Kayleigh attends the meetings EVERY TIME the door is open. I can’t even estimate the number of girls we’ve helped over the years.

Once I started working with the teen moms, I noticed there were no books written specifically for them, helping them to meet THEIR needs—so I wrote one. That’s how Life Interrupted was born. Other Teen MOPS groups around the country now use this book, which is a great feeling!

So, that in a nutshell is my story. Again, I help teen moms today because of the women who reached out to me. Teen girls are emotional as it is. Add pregnancy to that and whoa. I understand how much of difference having caring people in your corner can make, and I love people one of the people that do that for these girls.

All of us should serve in an area we’re passionate about, and I found mine. If you would like more information about Teen MOPS, go to:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Dreaming Big

Do you dream? No, not at night – at least not only then. But dream about what your life could be? About ways God could use you, your kids, your family?

Sometimes we run so fast through life that we forget how to stop and just be. To step back from everything we are doing and ask God how much more He wants us to do and be. Just because He wanted me to do something today doesn’t mean that’s what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life. But if we don’t stop and dream, we’ll be stuck in a rut. It might be a good rut, but if it’s not God’s best, it’s not what I want.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines dream as many things including a strongly desired goal or purpose or something that fully satisfies a wish.

I like that. A strongly desired goal or purpose. Sometimes we become afraid to dream because we’re afraid it won’t come true. Or we’ll miss God. Or we’ll run right past Him in pursuit of something that might not be from Him or in His timing.

However, the Scripture is clear that where there is no vision the people perish. Proverbs 29:18. If I don’t have a vision for how my day will go, it usually goes nowhere. If I don’t have a vision for how I will discipline my children when the need arises, I often regret the way it happens. If my husband and I don’t have a vision for our finances, we can easily spend out of control. But where we have a vision and a plan, we accomplish things we didn’t know were possible.
The same principle carries over to other areas of our lives. Psalm 37:4 says that God will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him. You know why? I think it’s because the closer we get to Him and His heart, the more we will long for the things in our lives that He wants in our lives.

And He plants dreams in our hearts. You know what I’m talking about. That idea or thing in your heart that you’re scared to tell anybody about because it is so precious and personal to you that you can’t stand the thought of somebody telling you that you’re crazy. But it won’t die. Even when God says not now, He blows just enough breath on the dream that the embers don’t burn out.

One of my long held dreams was to be a writer. I have loved books for as long as I can remember. And since I was about 13 I have wanted to write. For years, God would say, “Not yet.” But I’d read books and books on the craft of writing, and I’d hold on to the dream. After all He never said, No – just not yet.

Last week I learned my publisher was going to send me two more contracts. That makes three contracts in six months. Only God could accomplish something like that. And now He’s whispering that it’s time for my dream to grow.

What’s He been whispering in your heart? Whether it’s a dream for your family, for your marriage, for you personally, I encourage you to pull it out this week. Blow the dust off it, and ask God about it. Then wait for His words and direction to whisper in your heart.
Let’s believe God for those dreams that feel like miracles!

Monday, March 05, 2007

God is like...

Television commercials...

A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God.

Here are some of the results:

God is like.. BAYER ASPIRIN
He works miracles.

God is like... a FORD
He's got a better idea

God is like... COKE
He's the real thing.

(This is great) God is like... HALLMARK CARDS
He cares enough to send His very best.

God is like... TIDE
He gets the stains out that others leave behind.

He brings good things to life

God is like... SEARS
He has everything.

God is like... ALKA-SELTZER
Try him, you'll like Him

God is like... SCOTCH TAPE
You can't see Him, but you know He's there.

God is like... DELTA
He's ready when you are

God is like... ALLSTATE
You're in good hands with Him

God is like... VO-5 Hair Spray
He holds through all kinds of weather.

God is like... DIAL SOAP
Aren't you glad you have Him? Don't you wish everybody did?

God is like.... the U.S. POST OFFICE
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Celebrating Diligence

Last week my daughter's basketball team won the MCAA's (Montana Christian Athletic Assocation) state tournament! They have an amazing coach, and they were undefeated all season.

Some of the games were VERY close, including the championship game--enough to make me lose my voice from cheering. You can see the photos at:

Of course, while winning a championship is great, what it really comes down to is what's in the heart. Here's a little story-behind-the-win.

We stood in the middle of the grocery store aisle, staring at the cubes of cheese, and my 14-year-old daughter was in tears."Mom, I can't do this. I don't like anything on this list." The state basketball tournament was soon approaching, and her coach had placed the team on a strict, low-carb food plan. Though my daughter is thin, the food on the list definitely was NOT her favorite items. (No chips and salsa, no French bread, no cookies, none of her other starchy favorites.) And although it was a little thing, the thought of having to stick to the list for a week stressed her out--and this wasn't the first time she was in tears over it.To me, the food plan wasn't a crisis. If this was the worst my daughter had to live through, then we all should rejoice. Yet, as a mom I had to consider two things: 1) This DID matter to my daughter. 2) It also mattered to the coach. It was my job to let my daughter understand I did care about her concerns. Yet, I also had to teach her the importance of respect . . . even when she doesn't agree with those in authority. (And believe me, she did not agree with having to cut out the junk food!)

In the end we did three things:
1) We communicated. John and I talked to Leslie about healthy eating. We talked about authority placed over us. We talked about good foods to try. We talked, talked, talked.

2) We work together to make a plan. Since we were out-of-town for three days we chose restaurants that had pleanty of healthy food choices. We chose buffets with salad bars. We also shopped at the grocery store for items we could keep in our hotel room.

3) We celebrated success. When the game was won and the strict food-plan was history, we celebrated with dessert. We told our daughter how proud we were of her following through, and we offered her a choice of sweet treats. Even in the Bible, people are offered rewards for diligence. Sometimes, with our own kids, it's easy to forget that.

Oh yes, and while we didn't always follow the food plan with Leslie ... we had fun celebrating together! We celebrated the victory and we celebrated the diligence behind it!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Your parents are eating your ice-cream...

Happy 1st of March to you! Spring is on the way...

This is very funny! It's a video I found on the Joyful Mother Blog! Enjoy!

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