Encouragement From the Authors Inspiration

because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
~1 John 2:8

Little Boy Swimming
Little Boy Swimming

So I saw this verse this week*. And it was one of those moments where a scripture sort of stops you in your tracks. Even if you’ve heard it a million times before, something about that bit of scripture on that particular day grabs hold of you and… I thought to myself, the darkness is already passing? How did I miss that? Because sometimes I forget that I am living in victory. That Christ has already handed me a victory, but I need to choose how to live in it. And if the true light is already shining, aren’t I a part of that?

It’s summer. We are covered in sunscreen and bug spray, and running a million miles an hour. We have visited every water source within our vicinity as we have traveled around, trying to have fun and keep cool. We’ve already managed to see most of our family, and I’m pretty sure we have plans to meet with the rest in the next few weeks. I’m on full-throttle-mom-mode (sounds like something I should hash tag?). So how do I take into perspective the idea that “the darkness is passing, and the true light is already shining.” How? Because I’m not big on theological debates. I don’t have the brain power for them, I’m just trying to keep meal planning and budgets under control. I’m all about practical application.

Epic Slip-N-Slide
Epic Slip-N-Slide

Not having all the answers, here is what I thought. Can we stop complaining? Even just a little bit? It’s okay to be genuine and honest with others. It is good to share our struggles and weaknesses (don’t fall off the other side of the horse here!). BUT (and it’s a big but**), can we stop complaining? Can we find something to be thankful for? Can we share what was GOOD about our day, before going to the negative? I know when my husband comes home I tend to share all that  went wrong with my day. (Oops)

I got this idea from a family member. I asked them a question, fully prepared for a negative answer. And guess what they said? “Fantastic!” And they meant it! Instead of focusing on what was or could go wrong, they were focusing on the positive. And I found that was absolutely delightful to be around! And I thought, wouldn’t we all be more enjoyable if we answered more questions with a genuinely happy, “Fantastic!” because we were able to focus on the little things that were going well instead of the little things that were not.

Seriously. Think of how the Church would look if we were that kind of people! Think of how attractive we would be to nonbelievers!

And yes, putting it into practice is a lot easier said than done. But at least we can choose to try. We can choose to grab hold of the victory Christ has handed us, and to start living like true sons and daughters of God.***

Now as a last little bit- the entire time I’ve been typing this, there is a little chirping sound every now and then in the background. Belatedly I am realizing the battery on a fire alarm must be running low. So here is my first practice of NOT complaining (I know, baby steps!!): Isn’t it FANTASTIC that fire alarms tell you when to change their batteries!?

Thank you Jesus for the victory you have given! Please help us to live in the reality of that victory. Help us to be thankful, praiseful, and positive. In Jesus name, Amen!


*Where did I see this verse? Click Here!

Slip-N-Slide Feet
Slip-N-Slide Feet

**ha ha

***Latest favorite song:
Praise Nation by Nate Sabin.****
First little bit says:
We are all heirs to an infinite fortune
With all the privileges of royal blood
Used to be outcasts, rejects, orphans
Now we are the sons and daughter of God

****Want to hear his music? Click Here! (Praise Nation, #8 is my favorite)

Book 2

Book 2

Book 2 The Writers

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
~Ecclesiastes 3:1

SAM_1698This is a favorite summer picture. It’s at a city water park, where the buckets dump water on the kids waiting below. Such a great activity on a hot day! Can you guess which children are mine? Do you see the two cuties under the umbrella…? Yep. I claim those goofy kids!

It’s summer, and I have found that summer is a very busy time of year for most people. I tried to schedule a get together with a new friend this week. We couldn’t find a day that worked. So we looked through our calendars and finally found a time we could get together for coffee. … In July.

Summer is a busy time of year.

That being said, I’ve had some questions about a second book. And the answer is- YES! There is another book. In fact there are several more books. But books take awhile to make.

Here is my proof:

Jan 26 011
Porkie looks like an elephant sat on him…

We start with a story, and then I do these sketches (you can see where my talent does NOT lie). The sketches give us an idea of how the dialogue we wrote works with illustrations. Then we are off to the races. I edit, my mom edits, we edit together… Then my cousin gets our edits, and he starts sketching (and those sketches look infinitely better!). And long story short… eventually we will have a book two for you. But a big THANK YOU to all our friends and family for their continued support. It is fun to be on this journey with so many people cheering us on. When there is any news on when to expect a second book, we will be sure to get information out to everyone. Thanks again!

Jan 26 010
Porkie was really hoping he would get a new book this week, but we told him he’d have to wait awhile…

May God bless you with a summer full of friendship and love. May you have time with those you care for, time for rest, and time to work. In Jesus name, Amen!





From the Authors

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children ~Proverbs 13:22

So we have three beautiful children. As with most siblings, they spend a lot of time together. They even get along most of the time, and play together pretty well (yes, there are two qualifiers in that sentence). And they usually interact with us (their parental units) on a group basis.

IMG_20150605_180608328None of that is bad. But these are three individuals. Three very different individuals. It was made abundantly apparent to my grandparents, who visited us today, that their great-grandchildren are very different from each other. All three of the kids were very loud, but they all interacted in different ways. We had my eldest giving projects/creations he had made that included paper airplanes and drawings he had made. He eventually (having been cooped up indoors for too long) ended up running around and doing his ‘ninja’ moves for everyone’s entertainment. Then there was my daughter, who talked at length with my grandfather about princesses and drew him a heart. Then she played mother hen to her baby brother. Baby Brother, who had just gotten up from naps, decided to play bashful (something that apparently did not even cross the minds of his elder siblings). Then Baby Brother was dressed in a princess dress (thanks to his sister) and finally made his grand debut.*

All this to say, even in an hour, it is apparent that our children are not a group- they are individuals. And getting to know these individuals can be difficult. Either because of their stage of life (for example, a newborn needs more attention, because they can’t do anything on their own), or because of personalities (someone is extra loud/attention seeking and someone else is more likely to fade into their own room for some alone time). Of course I could go on to list plenty of other obstacles for getting quality time with a single child in a full house, but the reason is not what I wanted to talk about today.

I wanted to talk about DATES!! Yes, dates with your children. It is something my husband’s father did with his children. And it left such a big impact on my husband, he started it with our kids. I have to admit to being lukewarm about dates. But we found a way to make it work with our family. And even more importantly (to me), my husband decided to include me in the dates!

A quick outline of what worked for us: On any Saturday morning when we would all be home (nothing big is going on/we aren’t traveling/etc.) one parent takes one child on a date. There are two of us and three of them, so if we switch every other time, and the kids go every third time, it’s all equal. What does a date consist of? Saturday morning breakfast and whatever errands need to be done. I usually take the kids to a coffee shop (because I forget that it’s not always all about me), and the grocery store.*** My husband takes the kids to the breakfasting spot of their choice (he is much more selfless than I am) and then the auto parts store or FleetFarm. And during our time with the kids, we just spend time with them. I don’t have a list of tricks for you, or items to talk about. We just give our time and full attention to one of our children for one morning.

And it is so much fun.

So I had to share with you. Take it or leave it. Tweak it to work with your schedule and your family.****

And in all you do, may the Lord bless your endeavors. May He bless you as you interact with others. May he open your heart to the good work He is doing in others, so that you may be an encouragement to them. And may you be encouraged! In Jesus name, Amen!

*I should add that after my grandparents left, Baby Brother decided to play “Underwear Man” and was running around the house in just his diaper, yelling at the top of his lungs, and destroying anything he could pull down and stomp on.**

**I was just thankful that he waited until they had left before showing his true wild colors.

***The difference between grocery shopping with one child versus three… it’s incredible. Words cannot even begin to describe the *bliss* of grocery shopping with only one child!

****In other words: if it’s stressful, then you’re not doing it right.

Parenting Choices

Parenting Choices

Children From the Authors

Parenting is hard.

turtleI sometimes joke that the hardest part of parenting is having a creature loving son who is always bringing animals of different varieties into our house. Bugs included!* Currently we have two painted turtles taking a little vacation in our fish tank, while we study their behaviors and research what turtles do and eat. The turtles are ok with me (a lot better than bugs!!). Except when you are surprised by one when you are getting into the shower.**

But really, dealing with creepy crawly creatures is easy in comparison to all the decisions a parent makes on a daily basis. Before becoming a parent, I never thought about all the little things I would have to do to help my children to grow (and I’m not talking about height here, but maturity, kindness, health wise, wisdom…).

Recently we had another fun episode.*** In public. Which always amplifies my parenting choices for me, because I feel like I am on display for other parents. And I wish I wasn’t so aware of myself, and more aware of my children. But I’m human, so I won’t beat myself up too badly. The situation was that another child took the things that my son was playing with. So my son decided to take one back. However, the other boy, seeing that my son was taking back one of the things he wanted, chased after my son and ended up falling and crying.

What to do?

Well, I have learned a few things about parenting in the last seven years. First of all, take a deep breath and don’t panic. That’s always a good place to start (and usually a miracle if I can manage it!). Second, ask questions. More and more I am not telling my children what they should be doing, but asking them what they think they should be doing. I’m always surprised at what they already know. So I asked what happened. I asked if my son thought it was okay. I asked what he thought he should do. And he had all the right answers. He even said he should apologize.

Lphone july to oct 2014 114But my heart was hurting too. Because my son has a strong sense of justice. And he knew that the other child had taken things from him. And second, he felt like he had done something wrong. And this beautiful child of mine, takes after me. So I know that if you tell him he did something wrong, he hears in his heart that he is wrong.

So all the parents got to witness our little interaction, and the resulting apology, and then the frustrated tears. What they didn’t get to see was the long conversation afterwards. We talked about how it was an accident, and that accidents are not a big deal, they just happen. Then we moved on to the importance of saying sorry, and why we say sorry. Which then brought us to our talk on justice, and finally led to more conversation on how we cannot control others or demand apologies. The other parents did not see the struggle we had to accept these facts. They only saw that tiny interaction we had at the gym.

All this to say, we need parent cheerleaders. We see so many parents doing a tiny fraction of their parenting in public. But we don’t know what they are going through on a day to day basis. We don’t know what conversations happen after they leave the gym, or the grocery store, or the playground. We don’t know.

What I do know is that encouragement can go a long way. And parents need to hear that they are doing a good job. They need to know that what they are doing is important. And it is! The things we teach our children will be taught to their children. It will help shape the future! And when we share the truth of Jesus with our children we have an eternal impact on their lives.

So hug a parent today. Tell them what strengths you see in them. And help them to realize how important their job really is. Thanks!

God bless you and keep you! I pray that God will show you your strengths, and bring you encouragement tody. In Jesus name, Amen!


*I guarantee you will never meet an adult more afraid of bugs than yours truly.

**In which case a blood curdling scream is perfectly acceptable.

***and by “fun,” I mean not fun. Not even a little bit.