Friday, August 29, 2008

Ready, Set, Goal!

Every August, I have the pleasure of attending a personal growth conference called Mastermind Summit. It's geared for real estate professionals and their families (my husband is a realtor). At past Masterminds, I've heard highly successful people like Neil Armstrong, Zig Ziglar, Bill Cosby and Jack Canfield, just to name a few.

A huge part of Mastermind is writing goals for the next year. You actually write down your goals in five areas of life during the conference: spiritual, family, financial, business and personal.

After I had my first baby, I wrote down the goal of being at my pre-pregnancy weight by the next year's Mastermind. And guess what? I reached that goal and have done it again twice since. Why have I been successful in losing my baby weight?

I owe a lot of my success to goal writing. And by goal writing, I mean setting doable, specific goals with a deadline.

Have you written a goal regarding your ideal weight? How much do you want to lose and by when? You will get more of what you measure. If you set a specific goal for yourself, you will be leap years ahead of other moms. I'm a huge fan of goal writing and I hope you will benefit from setting doable goals too! Ready...set...goal!

"Being confident of this, He who has begun a good work in you will compelte it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big bottoms

Kids are all the same when it comes to one thing, they speak the plain ole truth.  Kids will blurt out things that embarrass us, humiliate us; sometimes they say things that crack us up. Some of my most embarrassing moments have been in the hands of my children, rather they've come out of my children's mouths.  For instance, when my youngest was about ten days old, my older son told the young clerk at Target, "My brother eats my mom's nipples."  Talk about an awkward moment.  Well, yesterday my youngest son humiliated me without an audience to hear him.  He patted me on the rear end and said, "You've got a biiiiig bottom!"  Now I don't want to get into Arlene's territory too much but this was quite a downer for me.  I know my son is two.  I know I'm a grown-up.  But boy, that was a smack in the face, er, rear.  I have kept 12 of my baby weight pounds off for 18 months but now I'm working on the last five.  I have two more pounds to go and I will be pleased as punch with myself when they are gone.  The funny thing is my son is right.  I do have a big rear end.  When I lose the last two pounds I will still have a big rear.  If I lose five more and get to my high school weight, I'll still have a big one.  Bottom line?  Yes, the pun  was intended...  I have worked hard to get here and that is good for me and my family.  I am modeling a healthy, active lifestyle for my kids.  And I hope and pray that I'm modeling having a healthy view of my body for my daughter.  I don't have a gorgeous body like all the women in the magazines.  But I can be proud of the work I am doing.  I can be thankful to God for the way he made me instead of wanting to be something I'm not.  And I can be grateful to God that he has given me the desire to take care of myself.  With a family history like mine--full of diabetes and heart problems--I need to be proactive.  I want to be healthy so I can enjoy a lot of years with my kiddos.  So what motivates you to be healthy?  

Here's to living healthy!  Even if some of us still have big bottoms...  I'm glad God didn't make us all the same shape, what a boring world that would be!

Be lifted!

1 Corinthians 4:7
What do you have that God hasn't given you?  And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Work at Home Idea Factory!

I'll never forget how my friend Sondra cried upon leaving her baby boy for the first time. She was a nurse and had opted to take two twelve-hour night shifts on the weekends in order to stay at home with her son during the week. She and her husband were at our house for a Sunday school Christmas party, and Sondra was leaving early from the party to go start her shift at the hospital. She nursed Ty and laid him on my son's bed, sleeping soundly, as she gathered her things and tearfully said good-bye to her husband.

A few months later, Sondra realized that she didn't want to continue working at all. She was missing valuable family time by being away all weekend, and her own internal clock was in a state of dismal dysfunction as she tried to be on night duty all weekend and day duty during the week at home.

This family chose to live modestly on Sondra's husband's income. They put aside their plans to build their dream house, and Sondra came home.

It's hard to make it on one income, no joke. But what if you could work from home? Check out the idea factory below, and see if anything clicks with you!

Home-Based Business Idea Factory

Crafts. Offer a product you can make and sell from home. Expand your business by participating in weekend craft fairs.

Music lessons. Do you have expertise in a musical instrument? Put up an ad in your church, grocery store, and local newspaper for students.

Day care. If you enjoy working with children, many moms have found an ideal solution for staying home with their kids by providing day care for a few other children. Consider after-school care as well for older children in your neighborhood.

Teaching/tutoring. If you have teaching skills and knowledge in a particular subject, consider offering tutoring in the afternoons or even day classes for homeschoolers. Terry Hall, a high school science teacher in Tallahassee, FL, supplemented her family's income by teaching a weekly biology course to the home schooled high schoolers in her area.

Media productions. This can include everything from establishing a photo studio in your home, to filming weddings, to designing websites and newsletters. If this is your forte, your services are in demand!

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. . . (Ecclesiastes


Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Never Too Late to Exercise

Last week, I did a Losing Weight After Baby podcast with one of my favorite people in the world...MY MOM!

My mom has been my cheerleader all of my life. If you were to meet her, you would probably say something like, "Wow, is she that happy all the time?" She is the most joyful person I have ever known.

I guess you could say her primary way to burn calories for most of her life was through laughing. But now things have changed! For the last 4 years, she's been coming with me to spin class, twice a week, faithfully! This is quite a miracle because for the first 55 years of her life, she has not exercised at all!

So you see moms, it's never too late to make exercise a priority. My mom has set aside 2 hours each week for exercise and it's been a huge benefit. She feels healthier and knows her heart is getting stronger. And the older we get, the more important this becomes.

Don't worry about your past. Think of my mom. If she can start exercising after 55 years of doing nothing, you can start too!
"Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things
which are ahead, I press toward the goal..." Phil. 3:13-14

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Who loves ya baby?

I never actually watched Kojak growing up but my older brother did.  He used to quote a line from the show to me ALL the time, "Who loves ya baby?"  For some reason that has stuck with me my whole life.  Now I ask my kids, almost daily, "Who loves you?"  It's not quite as catchy but it has the same meaning!  They recite the list, "Mom, Dad, brother, sister, Grandma, God."  I've asked them that question so many times I couldn't even guess at a number.  Okay, at least 1000 times per kid.  I want them to know who loves them and I want them to say it out loud so I know they know it.  I want them thinking about it A LOT.  

Yesterday, my two year old took this little game to a new level.  He'd been carrying around his bright orange Gideon New Testament all afternoon when I asked him, "Who loves you?"  He showed me his Bible and said, "It says in my Bible, 'God loves Bennett.' "  That little guy made my day, my month, possibly my year.  He's getting it!  What Mommy tells him from the Bible is true and he can have full confidence in it.  He knows who loves him!  Praise God for precious moments like these.  

Ask your child who loves them.  The answers are sometimes hilarious.  But do they know?  Do they know, know, know who loves them?  Ask.

Be lifted!

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I was recently sitting with some friends at an outdoor music venue. In Nashville, these events are plentiful, and the park-like settings are a special draw for parents of young children, offering them the chance to hear great music and enjoy giving their kids the freedom to play at the same time. One little boy, around 12-14 months old, took great interest in my circle of friends, probably because we were talking about how cute he was, and also because he saw that we were eating chips and other snacks that looked good to him! Within a few seconds, this child (who was not a bit shy!) was wandering away from his mom and coming to wave, babble, and smile at us. Every time he toddled over, however, his mom would follow, swoop him up, and take him back to his "area." The third time he came over, I noticed the little shirt he had on. It read: "My Parents are Exhausted." LOL! I got a good laugh out of that, but the truth is, if you are doing it right (parenting, that is!) you will be exhausted!

That little boy's mom was doing it right. Every time her son toddled "out of bounds," she followed and retrieved! She had the same reaction each time. She was consistent, diligently teaching him to stay within the boundaries she had set for him. Was she tired? You bet! But once she got through to him where he was to stay, and once my friends and I understood what she was trying to do (We quit smiling at the little cutie and put the snacks away!), she was able to enjoy the concert with a little one playing contentedly--exactly where she had told him to.

Thinking about this, it occurred to me that God parents me with great consistency. His love never fails. His grace is sufficient. His mercy endures forever. It is His consistency that shapes my behavior. I learn how to act like, function as, and be a Christian according to His consistency.

When it comes to parenting, the character of God reveals that consistency is key!

God’s consistency leads me to trust Him. It opens up His character to me. I know that He will keep His Word, He will do what He says. I don’t have to wonder if He is going to come through for me. I know He will because He is consistent.

God’s consistency gives me security. As His child, I know He won’t let me get away with sin. The wages of sin is death. He disciplines those He loves. I know my place as one of His own because He cares enough to discipline me.

God’s consistency allows me to focus on Him and brings me into a state of contentment. Like my little friend, I’m often distracted by worldly enticements when I should be listening to my Father and living on the portion He has provided for me.

. . .have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Hebrews 5-11, The Message)
God is really good at being consistent! That’s Who He is! As a parent, I find that my consistency with my kids is most threatened when I am more focused on my own needs above their needs. How about you? Are you consistent? Where/when do you struggle most?


Friday, August 15, 2008

Lesson from Spin Class

I go to a spin class once a week at the gym. It takes a miracle to get to the 5:45 class (I call it the 6:00 class and even that's optimistic) so I usually make it to the 8:00 class. I've seen many instructors and I like most of them. Except the one I had yesterday. She was a few minutes late and took a lot of time setting up her microphone and adjusting the levels of her stereo. Like 15 minutes. And she would just yell out things for us to do. "Stand up." "Third position." But she wasn't sweating with us and I didn't feel very motivated. Then to add to all this, she walks up and down our rows of bikes, inspecting our form. She doesn't make any comments. Who knows what she's looking for? She's not even breaking a sweat!

I'm sure if I met her otherwise I would think she was wonderful. But in my mind, she stinks as a spin instructor. Why? She doesn't get down in the trenches with us. She didn't inspire us. She was laid back, distant and tardy.

What, you may be wondering, does this have to do with mothering? You know, our kids want to see us act on the things we say we believe. We can't just show up and say, "Read your Bible." "Pray." "Go to church." "Love your neighbor." Our kids need to watch us doing these things. I've got to be involved with my kids, grabbing each teachable moment I can. I want to experience life with them, not as a distant voice just telling them what to do. But as someone living alongside them, inspiring them to grow strong in their faith.

I was driving home from the gym and I was convicted. Maybe you want to join me in this prayer: Lord, help me to live out your commandments and instruct my children in your ways. Help me to inspire them to live for you. Amen.

Teach me O Lord to follow your decrees, then I will keep them to the end. Psalm

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is that COOKED bread?

My kids started school on Monday, (I'm not joking!) a full month before they would've started at their former school.  Both of my children are relatively sensitive to what others say to them.  My son, in particular, misunderstands a lot of things that are said to  him.  Sometimes he thinks people are trying to be mean when they simply say, "Hello."  I've worked pretty hard to get him to think about what people are saying and evaluate if they are being mean or if they just don't understand what they are saying is hurtful.  There is a difference!  He's starting to get that in his first grade mind.  

As he shared all the details of his first day, he told me of a little boy at lunch who was mean to him.  My gut reaction was to believe him, that this twirp was indeed mean.  As my son was eating his sandwich, the boy asked, "Is that COOKED bread?" with a snotty tone.  I asked my son how he answered him and he said he just kept quiet.  He was sobbing by this point in his storytelling.  I explained that a couple things were probably going on.  1.  The boy didn't know that all sandwich bread is cooked.  2.  He was jealous that you have a cool sandwich container that might look like something leftovers would be in, thus the cooked comment.  My son thought those made lots of sense but insisted that the boy was mean.  

I can't see that scenario has changed a whole lot in my adult life.  Sometimes people don't understand or don't want to understand and they just want to be mean.  We went on to discuss that people's hearts are sad or lonely and they say things out of their mouths as a result.  It's taken me almost 40 years to get that it's not personal.  I feel bad for people who are hurting and have to hurt others to cope.  What can we do in response?  Just like I told my first grader: be nice even when you don't want to be, pray for mean people, ask God to make lunch a pleasant experience next time.  We can do that as adults, too...I'm sure of it.  

If they haven't already, your kids will encounter mean people at school.  What will you say to them?

Romans 12:18
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  

Be lifted!

Monday, August 11, 2008


When Baby Boot Camp was first released (eight years ago next month!), I was in the trenches of promoting it: doing book signings, building my very first website, interviewing on local TV and radio shows, and WHAM! I got my first negative e-mail. And it was a doozy! A lady had written to slam me for something that someone else had said on my website (which she had attributed to me) and then she proceeded to rip me to shreds with her words. Ouch, ouch, ouch! I was in the depths of despair for the next few days, repeating the words of her email in my mind. I knew they weren't true. I knew it was her opinion. I knew that she was even mixed up with what she had to say. I knew she hadn't read my book! But the words she hurled at me brought doubt and confusion to the new calling God had placed on my life.

A few days later, I was at a bookstore where the young manager, Jayson, had purchased 100 copies of my book. (That's unreal, let me tell you. He didn't even have permission from his supervisor to do it. He just did it, put them on an endcap, and sold every single one of them within a few months.) I told him about that email, and he said, "Praise the Lord!"

"What?" I said, completely confused.

"Hey," he explained, "don't you know you have an enemy? The Bible tells us to consider it pure joy when trials come our way. This email means that the enemy considers you a worthy opponent. You're messing with him! So be glad about it!"

That puts a different spin on things, wouldn't you say?

Now consider the life of a new mom.
  • You're tired.
  • You can't think straight.
  • You've got hips and rolls and bulges that you never had before.
  • Your house is a wreck.
This Mom Thing is a lot harder than you expected, huh? What if you took a moment right now to praise God for the chaos your baby has inspired? What if you just stopped and sang a worship song to put things in perspective? The enemy flees when we worship God in spite of our circumstances! You'll send him packing in no time when you stop and thank God for:
  • Being tired (How many women long to rock a baby through a sleepless night?)
  • Having baby on the brain (This is called bonding!)
  • The hips and rolls and bulges (Arlene will help you get those off, but for now, they are battle scars that you earned for sacrificing your figure in order to bring life into this world!)
  • A wrecked house (You have more important things to do than clean your house!)
After listening to Jayson's take on my situation, I began to thank God for that email. I praised Him for allowing me to bring a message of hope and renewal to new moms. I asked Him to help me develop a thick skin when people shared their views with me. I thanked Him for the opposition because that meant I was actually getting somewhere! In the same way, when you stop and remember you have an enemy who longs to sabotage your family from its infancy, be sure you stop and remember you have a Savior who offers you victory! Because of Him, you are undefeated, Mom! Live like the winner you are!

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4, The Message)


Friday, August 8, 2008


My daughter is 20 months old and of course to me, the smartest little girl on the planet! Except when it comes to colors. Everything is blue!
"What color is this?" I ask, holding up a yellow duck.
"Boo," she answers.
"What about this?" I ask, holding a green cup.
Yep. You guessed it. "Boo."
Well, the day will come when she'll learn purple, orange, brown, and maybe even mauve. But for now she's stuck on blue.

You know, as moms, we can get stuck in a rut as well.
"What's for dinner?"
The next day...
"What's for dinner?"
You get the picture. Being busy makes it hard to be creative sometimes. But I want to encourage you to find healthy foods you like and enjoy a variety of meals. Not every meal has to be "boo."
"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God." Psalm 52:8

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Date night with THE KIDS

 I've read dozens and dozens of parenting books but somehow we've never tried one thing, one little thing that is about to change our lives.  My kids have been reading on this Sylvan Learning Center website ( for three years now.  This summer their goal was to read enough books to earn a date night with either Mom or Dad.  My son chose Dad  and my daughter chose Mom.  They each got to go out for about three hours with just one of us.  We are blown away by what that one on one time meant to them.  We've decided to get serious about this and put future dates on the calendar NOW.  It was a great time of bonding without competing for attention.  We have a fairly demanding toddler so this was good for the big kids to be free of that for a while.  I cannot recommend this enough.  If you've never tried this with your kids, give it a  shot.  I know I've read about that and I thought it would be a hassle.  We let the idea go and never pursued it.  I'm now kicking myself for not doing this for the last decade.  We are now going to have random, scheduled date nights with all three of our kids.  We're  getting out the calendars tomorrow night at dinner.  I can't wait to see how God's going to bless our efforts, time, and relationships.  

Be lifted!

1 Corinthians 2:9
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No More Whining (part two!)

Hey Everybody!

I have had a great Monday, spending it with one of my best friends, Ginger Plowman. Ginger was in town today doing a spot on her newest parenting resource, "No More Whining." If you would like to hear Ginger explain the reasons why kids whine and what parents can do about it, just click HERE. This link will take you to NewsChannel5 (Nashville), and you'll see a video box. The name of Ginger's clip is "Strategies to End Children's Whining." Take a look! It's just a couple of minutes, and Ginger maps out her three-step plan for parents. It's really easy and do-able! Like the rest of parenting, the key is consistency!

"For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45


Friday, August 1, 2008

I Just Wanted Jeans!

When was the last time you were frustrated with your post-baby wardrobe?

I remember after having Noelle, I wanted to wear non-maternity jeans so badly, but I didn't have any that fit. I was so frustrated! But instead of marching out to the outlet mall to buy a pair of new jeans, I just waited. Having nothing to wear actually works as a motivation to lose weight!

So here's an easy tip for you if you want to shed some pregnancy pounds: Have a pair of goal jeans handy. Not super skinny jeans. Jeans that are one size smaller than you are right now. Keep them where you can see them. Pick one day of the week when you will try these jeans on. Make it your goal to zip them up one day. Even if it takes several weeks, don't give up!

When I put on my jeans and they actually fit, it was a wonderful feeling. You can accomplish your goals if you put your mind to it. There are even many things you can learn spiritually from meeting a physical goal like losing weight. Traits like perseverance, self-control, patience, and the list goes on.

I'm rooting for you! Keep your goal jeans handy and be sure to come back and leave a comment when they fit!

"Love is patient..." I Cor. 13:4