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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Strong-Willed Kids - Reprint from Biblical Parenting

I feel like the authors of this article were writing directly to me, in regards to my eldest son...

Children who make decisions with intensity tend to be labeled “strong-willed.” At the end of the day, their parents feel as if they’ve been engaged in hand-to-hand combat—and that the child often wins at the parent’s expense! Most parents consider a strong will a negative personality trait because it often creates resistance and frustration in family life. Yet, in reality, it’s the strong-willed kids who are often better equipped to succeed, be creative, and face adversity.

Children with strong wills have the potential to become the next generation of leaders. They have their own ideas and plans. They know what they want. They’re persistent, confident, passionate, and determined to succeed at whatever they choose to do.

Leaders have an agenda, look for ways to incorporate others into their plans, and have a high need for control in life. Balanced with graciousness, leaders become a treasure because they make things happen, create organization out of chaos, and motivate people to action.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to raise a leader. These kids tend to have their own ways of doing things and like to tell other people (including their parents) what to do. A strong will keeps a child moving in a certain direction in spite of obstacles. Often these children need bigger barriers or tighter limits to teach them that those boundaries are firm.

Don’t be discouraged by the effort it takes to teach a strong-willed child which limits not to push. The strong-willed child accomplishes things in life, because the roadblocks that might hold others back are no match for this kid’s determination. Your job is to help him know the difference between obstacles to overcome and limits to live within.

A strong will can be an asset… as long as the heart is in the right place.

Have you developed some tools to teach boundaries to a strong-willed child in your family while still enjoying the child's determination? Click here to tell us about it.

This parenting tip is from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When God Wants an Important Thing Done in this World

“When God wants an important thing done in this world or a wrong righted, He goes about it in a very singular way. He doesn’t release thunderbolts or stir up earthquakes. God simply has a tiny baby born, perhaps of a very humble home, perhaps of a very humble mother. And God puts the idea or purpose into the mother’s heart. And she puts it in the baby’s mind, and then – God waits. The great events of this world are not battles and elections and earthquakes and thunderbolts. The great events are babies, for each child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged with humanity, but is still expecting goodwill to become incarnate in each human life.”
Edmond McDonald

This quote is a great reminder to me when I'm in the middle of struggles with the personalities and passions of my children.  God designed them just the way they are!

Yes, they have sin natures, and it's my job to humbly point them towards God's ways as I shape their character. 

But sometimes I get frustrated just because they're different than me, and they get in my way.  Whether they're being too messy, or their collection of lego planes has overtaken an entire room, or they play the drums at the volume of thunder.  God has plans for those unique personalities and passions, and I need to let them experiment and grow.  And I can't wait to see how God uses these kiddos in our family.  It will be fun to watch!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Unplugging to Rest

These reflections on the importance of Sabbath rest are from my brother-in-law.  I thought you might also appreciate them:

Dear Church Family,

I am currently on our family summer vacation at the beach, and I am wondering why I sometimes struggle to really enjoy vacation and unplug. Working without stopping has become our hallmark as Americans. We are among the most “productive” workers in the world. We don’t leave our post. We just work.

For others, the constant drive is social networking. We stay connected at all hours. I think that sometimes it is fear that fuels our “connectedness.” Maybe we think we’re more valuable as people and workers because we don’t unplug. Everyone can count on us to be there. If we weren’t there, everything would most certainly fall apart, or so we think. I believe our “productivity” costs us a lot in terms of our health, our lives, our families and our worship. From my viewpoint, we are a people who desperately need periods of time to unplug.

Genesis tells us that God rested on the seventh day. God didn’t need rest—we need rest. He provided an example for us. For many of us, taking time off takes faith. We need to trust that the company will go on without us. We will remain valued. People’s needs will be met. Others will answer the call. At the core, it is faith that God is sufficient and can take care of all of my needs.

When I stop and unplug, I find myself enjoying God and my family more. I am more thankful for the little things that He provides, things that I have been too busy to notice. God knows that we need to slow down and experience life. God gave us five senses to enjoy Him and what He has created for us. When I stop long enough to take it all in, I have a deeper gratitude for all of those things. I thank God and worship Him.

Hunter Murray

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Child Training Resources

If you're struggling with first-time obedience, respect, and happy hearts in your home, I have a book that might encourage you.  Michael & Debi Pearl's book, To Train Up a Child, is a classic when it comes to child training. 

If you're looking for an easy way to get smiley children, this is the wrong book for you.  But if you want to truly mold the hearts of your children, and you're willing to put in the required time and attention to train them, this will be a book you will reread time and time again.

They also have a good collection of free articles on their website, on topics such as:

•Bed Wetting
•Challenging Authority
•Emotional Control
•Self Control
•Sibling Rivalry / Fighting

I'd love to hear about your favorite parenting resources too, so please share!


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sibling Conflict: A Great Opportunity (repost from Biblical Parenting)

"When the bickering gets too bad I just go in my room and shut the door!" one mom said in exasperation. The fact is that many parents believe the solution to arguing and bickering is to allow children to "fight it out."

That's one solution parents commonly use when their children start fighting. Other parents separate the children and try to keep them apart in order to maintain peace. They imitate a referee at a boxing match, breaking up the conflict and sending the fighters to their opposite corners. Unfortunately, continually separating children doesn't solve the problem. In fact, the children often come back again to fight some more.

We believe both of these solutions are inadequate because they lack the depth needed to bring about lasting change. When parents only separate the offenders or walk away, they miss valuable opportunities to help their children grow.

Conflict with brothers and sisters is a child's first class in relationship school. Your home is the classroom, you are the teacher, and honor is the curriculum. Each conflict situation becomes an opportunity for teaching children how to get along.

When two children are fighting, call one out of the room and talk about how to deal with the conflict. Teach children how to confront, ignore, negotiate, compromise, talk about problems, and be peacemakers. Then send the child back into the situation to try again. If necessary, call the second child out and give helpful suggestions before trying again. Whatever you do, don't try to discipline them together. Kids have an amazing way of deflecting discipline when they are together.

Be listening to your children's interaction and continue to coach them in relationships. You may call the same child out of an activity five or ten times in an hour to continue to point out the change that needs to take place. Help children know what right actions are appropriate, and as long as they are willing to try to do the right thing, send them back into the situation to try again.

Use sibling conflict to teach about healthy relationships. It takes a lot of work but you’ll be preparing your children to deal with the difficult relationships they’ll encounter for the rest of their lives.

This parenting tip comes from the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Find more great tips like this at


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Success on the Grill! Jared's Rib Rub

My brother-in-law shared a great rub recipe with us a few years ago.  Now we mix it in batches to keep on hand for ribs and chicken.  The recipe makes enough for 6 racks of ribs.

Jared’s Rub
1/2c brown sugar
1/2c white sugar
.5 c paprika
2.5T pepper
2.5T salt
1.5T chili powder
2T garlic powder
1.5T onion powder
Mix together. Rub over the meat. Grill. Add BBQ sauce at the end of grilling.