Titus 2: 3b-4 "...they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children." A blog to help others navigate the waters of marriage and parenting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I have been working this last year as the Director of Women at the Global Training Center here on the campus of Mission E4. It is a new season for me. Most of my eight children have finished with their homeschool journey. I only have my youngest still at home, and she will be entering 9th grade this fall. I am entering a new season of life and it is a little scary. But you know what? Scary can be good sometimes. Scary, sends me to my knees seeking God. Scary makes me more dependent on my Savior to comfort me. Scary heightens my senses to what is going on around me.

I have discovered that my identity has been too long in being a homeschooling mother of eight instead of in being a daughter of the King. It's not that I ever forgot that I was a child of God, it's just that is not how I saw myself first. It's so easy in this world to identify ourselves by what we do or what we have accomplished instead of who we belong to. Don't get me wrong. it's not a bad thing, it just shouldn't be our priority, our focus, our goal. Because you know what? Those things have a tendency to change. But you know what doesn't change?...GOD. He is constant. And so as I enter this "new season", I am making that subtle shift to being identified as a child of the King and letting that lead. I have learned so much as I attempt to mentor the women here on campus and  by seeking His kingdom first He has truly added all things unto me. Scary, yes, but oh so rewarding.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wow, it has been a long time since I have been on here.  Want to know why? Can you keep a secret? I actually forgot the address.  A real senior moment there and I don't mean High school senior either. Then with the move, a high school and college graduation and a sons wedding  well, blogging took a back seat. Like way in the back of the 15 passenger van kind of back seat. But now that we are finished building our new dwelling and settling into our roles in ministry here, I find I have time to write.

John and I recently spoke at a marriage and parenting conference put on by the ministry and the women  who attended asked if I had a blog. Well, I do but like I said I couldn't remember what I'd called it. So you know what I did? I googled myself. Pretty good for a 53 year old lady, right?

Anyway, after the conference and a little encouragement from my daughters, I have decided to start writing again. Not only here, but I have decided to try and write a book too. I came to the conclusion that the years are passing rather quickly, ( they didn't feel like they were going that fast when I had several in diapers and teaching 6 grades at once) so I should redeem the time and record some of the  " good things" I have learned  along the way from the older women in my life. So that is what my book is about.

Now that I am the older woman, I want to be able to write a book that aides in the teaching and training of younger women in the ways Paul outlines in Titus 2. It will probably take me awhile, but hey, it's a start.  Until next time...press on.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I think traditions are important. Why? Because they identify us as part of a group. We all have a need to belong, to be cherished for who we are and to remain a part of something bigger than ourselves. That is what healthy traditions do for our family. Christmas season is loaded with traditions that unite our family.

I recently overheard my children discussing the things that make Christmas special to them. We celebrate Christ birth with some special traditions that identify us as a family unit. They take comfort in these simple acts. I think they will be more important than ever this year as we face the season unemployed and uncertain of the future as a family.

One of the things we do every year that they look forward to is getting a new ornament. Each year I give each of my children an ornament with the idea that they will have a unique set of ornaments when they leave our home. I usually buy them at after Christmas sales so I have had them for an entire year before I give them out. Sometimes I make them. Three years ago we boxed up Kelleigh's ornaments and now they decorate her family's tree. Each year the ornaments evoke a different memory as it is unwrapped and hung on the tree. Like the Redskins keepsake ornaments that they got for their first Christmas in Dallas territory. Can't have them forgetting their roots or their team loyalty.

Christmas 2009

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prisoner of Unmet Expectations

When John and I were first married we went to a seminar that talked about the dangers of having expectations of your spouse.  The advice that followed was to not have any expectations at all. I tried laying down my expectations. You know what I eventually discovered?  We all have expectations. Even Christ has expectations of every believer. "If you love me you will obey me", sound familiar? The difference is He clearly spells them out for us. So my advice is not to do away with your expectations but to let them be known. 

We have been conditioned to think that telling our spouse what we expect some how diminishes the romance of it all, but I say unmet expectations diminish it more. We don't have any trouble letting our children know our expectations, yet we want our spouses to intuitively know what they are. Not very realistic is it. If it is a choice between no expectations at all or simply letting my husband know what I want, I choose the latter every time. How many times have you wished the clothes would be put away or the dishwasher loaded when you got home only to find the task undone. A physical reaction then occurs in your body that actually keeps you from communicating effectively with your spouse the next time you talk, and a fight can even result. All because you had expectations your husband knew nothing about.

I am not talking about demands here, I am talking about how you wish something would workout and the part they play in that. Let me give you an example. This last weekend John and I had an opportunity to go to Oklahoma. A couple we had been counseling was getting married and John was performing the ceremony. We decided to make the trip our 26th wedding anniversary celebration also. John wisely asked on our journey what my expectations for the weekend were. I told him how much I was looking forward to sleeping in, and how I wanted to not spend any money on eating out but to use the gift cards we had received instead. He talked about how he expected to take care of the license issue at the courthouse, finish our last counseling session on "Sheet Music" with the couple and possibly knock out some of his reading and writing assignments for his Counseling class. How sad would it have been if John had not asked what I expected and I had not known of the demands on his time. He would have been held hostage to expectations he didn't even know existed and our weekend would have been a disappointment instead of the wonderfully relaxing time it was. And guess what? He still had the opportunity to go above and beyond my expectations, which he did, creating an even more memorable time. But he could have never attempted that if he didn't know what my expectations were to begin with. I have found that letting your expectations be known is very freeing. If your expectations are unrealistic that can be dealt with upfront. Your spouse is then set up to win and not held prisoner to unknown expectations.

Discuss your expectations with your spouse and listen to theirs. If you would really like to see something done, let them know, in a sweet manner, how much it would mean to you. Once you get in the habit of asking upfront what they expect, you'll experience true freedom and pleasure in trying to meet their desires.  Our relationships should always reflect a healthy give/take balance. Try making your expectations known and making it a priority to meet your spouses. It beats having unmet expectations or keeping your husband locked in a prison of your own making.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Being the older woman

This past weekend I went to a Ladies Retreat that our church had planned. The theme was "Resting in Christ". What woman doesn't need to be reminded of that right? Besides learning what it meant to really rest in our Savior, we had the chance to play and talk together. I had the chance to come along some younger women and be the "older woman" helping them to figure out how to love their husbands and their children.

It was a little strange at times, yet oddly rewarding, to hear them refer to things I had said in the past or have them ask what I would do in a similar situation. But when one mother remarked something along the lines of wishing she could see my children misbehave because she doubted I'd ever had to discipline my children in public.   I realized that somehow she got the impression that I had never had to deal with some of the things she was dealing with. I knew then it was time to dredge up one of my "horror stories" of parenting.

I guess we all need to know we aren't alone in our struggles. Sure I would have preferred to have been thought of as the perfect parent with obedient children, but the truth is we are all sinners living in a fallen world. My children have driven me to my knees on more than one occasion or caused me to lift my hands in prayer right in the middle of their bickering and arguing. (Try it, it shuts them up because they don't know what to think and gets everyone's focus back on the Spirit within instead of the flesh without.) They have caused me to search the scripture to be able to combat the sin in our lives and to meditate on the law day and night. As parents we ask God for wisdom to train them up in the way we should go and seek forgiveness when we fall short. 

The good news is that if we are diligent and consistent when they are younger, it gets easier and more rewarding as they get older. Someone might even find it hard to believe that your kids ever misbehaved.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Respect vs Love

My husband and I do premarital counseling and beyond a doubt my favorite session ( besides the one on "sheet music') is the one where we talk about love and respect. I think it is because I like the reminder. It certainly doesn't come naturally for me to give my husband unconditional respect anymore than I suppose it comes naturally for him to love me unconditionally. And I think apart from the grace of God, I wouldn't be able to accomplish this feat.  I mean lots of times I don't even recognize that my attitude or words could be construed as disrespectful. That was especially true when we were first married.

I did a brave thing 15 years ago and asked my husband to let me know when he thought my words or actions were disrespectful. I also enlisted the help of my sisters. We had a code word that we would say that let each other know when we thought we were bordering on disrespect to our husbands in a public setting. I have also asked my girls to let me know when they think I am being disrespectful. That wasn't easy, and I had to fight the urge to defend myself or my actions. However, I knew that if I truly wanted to see progress I should be able to take feedback. Mistakes are only opportunities to learn if you let them motivate you to change.

In an attempt to understand the mind of men on this subject, I have read various books and attended some seminars. I even conducted my own impromptu poll. I asked random men, ages 18-21, if they had to choose between being loved and being respected which would they choose. Of course they all said they would like both, but if they had to make a choice they unanimously chose respect. Truthfully, I was a little surprised, but I shouldn't have been. After all, why would God command us to do something that wasn't that important. It really is something we need to give our time and attention to ladies.

In the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich, he talks about the crazy cycle that couples can get on when she feels unloved and retaliates with disrespect. He feels disrespected and withholds his love and so the cycle goes. It is interesting that we can choose to stop this cycle but more likely than not we won't because we want what we think is rightfully ours ( love or respect) and feel this is the way to get it. Sounds crazy huh? But I bet the next time you are in that crazy cycle you will try to justify your wrong response instead of getting off. The key to getting off the crazy cycle  is to recognize that our spouse is not the enemy and to remember who and what we battle. Mainly our flesh though sometimes Satan can be at fault. 

I wish I could say that I have perfected this area of my life,  but it isn't about perfection it is about progress.  I continue to read books and listen to wise counsel because my desire is to please God and He has asked me to respect my husband. That is the bottom line. Fortunately, I have a husband who is worthy of my respect and the more I have unconditionally respected him the more he has endeavored to deserve my respect. It is one of the many paradoxes of our faith.

If you are looking for some good books to read I would recommend For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl, Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson and the above mentioned Love and Respect.

Remember, it isn't about perfection it is about progress. Sow some unconditional respect into your husbands life and let me know what you reap.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Family Altar

I know it sounds very "christianese" to talk about having a family worship time. Most of us just nod our heads in assent when asked if we are having family worship, too afraid to admit we don't see how it works or even why it might be necessary. After all, don't we sit in church for hours on Sunday morning and maybe even Wednesday evenings listening to the word of God? Aren't our children hearing all the Bible stories during Sunday school hours? We don't want to bore them do we? And besides that, who has an extra hour in their day to read from the Bible aloud while our children wiggle around or complain. Honestly, we are all  too tired, and it can be too much of a struggle to get your children to listen quietly without the television being involved. Well, I am here to tell you it can be done, and it should be done.

First of all it is commanded in Scripture. It is the father's role to teach the scriptures to their children and to wash their wives with the reading of the word. Check out Deut. 6 and Eph 5:26. That settles the why, now for the how. Let me tell you a little secret, it doesn't have to be dry or boring, and your kids don't have to sit still the entire time either.

Our family worship times have looked different depending on the different seasons of our family's life. When the kids were little we would let them sit on the floor or at the table with coloring books and crayons while Dad read from the Bible and asked age appropriate questions. We gave lots of praise for the kind of behavior we wanted and not too much attention to the negative. We wanted this to be something they wanted to participate in not something they were forced to endure. As they grew we centered family worship around dessert time. I would serve dessert and John would read. There were many times when we shared reading responsibilities. Our first graders especially liked when they could be trusted with the reading of the word.we have read through the entire Bible together as a family. We have read through many books besides the Bible during our family worship too. Once we had more adult children (I know that is an oxymoron but I can't think of a better term). John found it encouraging to read John Piper aloud together and discuss it, also C.S. Lewis and Randy Alcorn to name a few. By that time our children were feasting on the word daily for themselves and our family worship time became more about refining their worldview. My point is this. Family worship time is about your family doing things that strengthen them in the word. It can look however you want it to and be whenever you want it to be.

My caution is this, wives your role in this is one of support not domination. We can so easily squelch a man's desire to lead his family with one negative word or nagging. How sad for us that we emasculate our husbands in order to see things done right or done our way.  I learned this lesson the hard way when I was a young wife. It is amazing how one critical word can keep our husbands from even attempting to lead. Your children will learn just as much from watching you respect your husband (or disrespect as the case may be) than they will from what they hear read to them, especially when they are young. Give your husband the freedom to lead and sit back and enjoy the process. It doesn't have to be perfect or the way someone else is doing it, it should be done though.

Sow worship time into your family's life and reap a closeness that will stay with your family through the ages.