Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Favorite Books for Women to Grow in their Faith

What books have inspired you to be a Christian woman, a wife, a mother, a great employee, a friend, a homemaker, a discipler, a studier of the Bible, a prayer warrior, a servant... ?

My church is starting a woman's discipleship program , so I'm looking for books and articles to share that are based on Scripture, provide practical ideas for women to grow in their faith, and stimulate conversation for small groups of women.

Will you take a moment to think about the books that have helped you to grow in your faith? What are the books that you think every Christian woman should read?


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

10 Ideas for a Free Photo Collage

Photo collages are so fun to make - especially when they are free! Walgreens is offering a free 8×10 Collage today only (thanks for the tip Faithful Provisions).

Here are some ways you might use your free collage:
  1. capture special family memories
  2. a vacation collage
  3. a year of memories for your child
  4. pictures of people that love your children
  5. a sports collage from your child's last sport season
  6. a thank you gift for Grandma or Grandpa
  7. a birthday gift for a friend with friendship pictures
  8. anniversary pictures to celebrate the growth of your marriage
  9. an extended family portrait collage
  10. quiet time collage with pictures and scriptures that remind you to spend time with God

How might you use your free collage?

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Discipline - Ideas from MckMama

We're continuing to struggle with discipline this week, so I was grateful when my mother-in-law sent me this great blog post about discipline. The author, MckMama, has four children ages 4 and under, so she's had quite a bit of experience in the arena of discipline. Here are the topics she covers during her article - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Make expectations clear.
Give choices so your child has some reasonable measure of control over their life.
Act quickly.
Act calmly.
Get on their eye level.
Model for your children how to verbalize their emotions.
Be consistent.
Know and use your child's currency.

I'll pray for you this week, as I pray for my family, in regards to growing families that love Christ and reflect his character. It's a tough journey, but well worth the sacrifice. Best of all, we know that we are not acting out of our strength alone - we are soldiers of the High King, and he fills us with energy, wisdom and strength every step of the way.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've been struggling with children's attitudes in my house this week. I think it's the ripple effect of heading back to school. My mom has been very supportive in listening, and quietly offering tidbits of parenting wisdom. She just sent me this article from Barbara and Dennis Rainey of Family Life Today. Perhaps it will encourage you, like it encouraged me!

Question: Our 4-year-old child has started saying, “Who cares?” when we ask him to do something. We’ll say, “Mom and I want you to go up and clean your room.” He’ll say, “Who cares?” How should we react?

Dennis: Barbara and I built our own philosophy of spanking from Proverbs 6:16-19. It says, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him ... ” I wrote in my Bible these seven characteristics that God doesn’t like. The first is the one you’re asking about here, and that is “haughty eyes.”

Barbara: We call it sassiness, or disrespectful speaking. That’s when your children look at you and give you that “look.”

Dennis: Sassiness or disrespectful speaking needs to be dealt with swiftly because the child is basically saying, “I’m in charge and you’re not.” That is the underlying tone of his response.

I would take the child in my lap, hug him, love him, and say, “You’re a terrific young person and we want you to know that when you say this, you are being disrespectful. We want you to know that the basis of all human relationships is respect. You want me to be respectful to you, don’t you? Then you’ve got to be respectful of Mommy and me. Here’s what’s going to happen the next time you say that.” State clearly what the result of disobedience will be. I might give him freedom to slip one time, but after that it would be dealt with as promised.

Barbara: I think it is important to warn our children because it is clear in the Scripture that God warned His children. He told them what would happen if they disobeyed. Our kids need to know what the limits are and what will happen to them if they disobey. I don’t think discipline needs to come out of the blue, especially if it’s for a new phrase the child has picked up or a new trick that he may not realize is disrespectful.

Question: How do you deal with a whiny child?

Dennis: Of all the things we faced as parents, nothing wore us down any more than that. First, you need to remember that children will behave in a childish manner. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that, “... when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” Expect it, but don’t accept it.

Second, you need to remember that you are the mature one. You need to remain above the emotional battle–still in charge, but walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and asking God to empower you to be patient.

Barbara: You can't train a child to be perfectly compliant. At the same time, if your child continues this behavior he will develop an attitude and perspective about life which says, “I don't like what you're doing for me. I'm not satisfied, and I want something else.”

You need to give your child the freedom to express frustration or dissatisfaction, but train him how to do this properly–and at the proper time. Perhaps he needs to come to you privately instead of whining in front of everyone.

Dennis: Many of us grew up in a time when children were to be “seen and not heard.” The problem now is that too many parents have swung to the other extreme and allowed children to be expressive to the point of disrespect. There needs to be a balance. Don’t give in to the whining just to make it stop. You need to discipline him by tying that behavior to the loss of something he desires.

Barbara: Another thing we did was point our kids to Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling ... ” They didn't like that verse! But I wanted them to know that this is something God expects of them, to have a grateful heart rather than a complaining spirit. I think by sharing with our children God's perspective on that attitude, they became sensitized to it, and as they grew older they learned to control it. It’s one thing to have a whiny first-grader and quite another to have a whiny 25-year-old.

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Helping Children Enjoy Reading

Maile Carpenter has posted some really good articles on pre-reading and reading at Here are some of her posts that I enjoyed tonight:

Fun activities for pre-readers
Fun activities for advanced readers (grades 2 to 3)
The visual learner (grades 1 to 3)
Fun activities for intermediate readers (grades 1 to 2)

Susan Ragsdale and I also wrote a handbook called Reading for Life that outlines 64 great picture books for preschool children, including a summary of each book and prompts that help caregivers use the books to explore Developmental Assets, such as Positive Identity, Empowerment, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning... If you would like a free copy of the book, just email me at mommysecretsblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Deere Tractors - Free Field Trip!

Today's errands took us to the local John Deere Tractor store to get a bolt for the lawn mower. It could have been a boring errand, but we made it into a field trip.

They have all kinds of tractors inside and outside the store, and they don't mind you riding on them. Well, not driving them, but sitting on them.

So we sat on all the tractors inside, then we got a free bag of popcorn from their popcorn stand, then we sat on the outside tractors while eating popcorn. It was 30-40 minutes of free fun that the kids loved!

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

When A Loved One Dreams About Marriage - Questions to Ponder

Because most readers of this blog are married women with children, I almost didn't post this great article that I ready by John Piper tonight - Questions to Ask When Preparing for Marriage.

Then I started thinking about all the single people in my life that I would love to share this with, and realized that you could probably share this with people that are hungry to know God's will in their relationships.

I further realized that our teenage sons and daughters need to be pondering questions such as these, as they start to consider steady dating relationships and marriage. As we talk with our children, they need to know that finding a spouse is about so much more than just physical chemistry. They need to know that it's about finding a life partner, a soulmate, a best friend, and a harbor in this life.

While you might not show a young teenager this list of questions yet, the questions might help you find ways to talk with your child about choosing a quality mate to marry for a lifetime.


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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Teaching Financial Responsibility - Tips from the FDIC

Do you struggle with how to teach your kids about the value of money and how to manage money wisely? I just read a one-page article, written by the FDIC, with lots of practical ideas on Click here to Ages and Stages of Money Management.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas from the article:

Ages 3 to 7 - Play games sorting, identifying or counting coins. .

Ages 8 to 12 - Consider rewarding your child for good savings habits by supplementing his or her own deposits or investments.

Ages 13 to 17 - Your child can begin making money outside of the home, either after school or in the summer... The emphasis should be on learning about the working world and responsibility, not making thousands of dollars a year in outside income.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Quiet Here, But Talking There

I've been a little bit quieter on this blog, because I've been writing a lot at my other blog. At The Asset Edge, I write about positive child/youth development strategies that inspire teachers, parents, youth pastors and youth workers to nurture young people. Based on research in the Developmental Assets (40 building blocks that all kids need to succeed), we empower youth and adults to live authentic lives of character, service and leadership.

I've also been investing more time in writing books. Susan Ragsdale and I are about to publish our 3rd book (Building Character from the Start), and we're writing a 4th book to come out next year. I am enjoying the writing so much - God wired me to be a nerd!

I've been quiet for the last 10 days, because I was on a wonderful vacation with my extended family on a lake in east TN. We've been b-u-s-y skiing, tubing, floating, kayaking, hiking, eating, making ice cream, playing cards, coloring, blowing bubbles, and hanging out with my parents, my 3 siblings, and all of our children. Such great memories! You can see some of the pictures on facebook.

I'll keep writing here once or twice each week, but if you want more meaty articles, you can check out my other blog. Or you can follow me on twitter (TheAssetEdge) and the updates will tell you when I post an article on either blog. Technology is crazy, isn't it?