Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Trot

How was your Thanksgiving? Hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends!

My family started the day in an unusual way. We entered Father Joe's Turkey Trot...a 5K walk/run to benefit the homeless in San Diego. More than 6000 people came out in the rain! I will admit we cut 2 big corners of the race to shorten the loop. That's what you do when you have 2 kids in a covered stroller in the rain who are saying, "We want out!"

Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun. See from the picture, we were first to cross the finish line. Actually, we took that picture before the race - ha! It's a good thing too because the rain was coming down so hard during the race.

Since all of us are probably eating more than we need to this Thanksgiving weekend, take time for your own turkey trot. Walk around the block with your family. Pop in an exercise DVD today and workout for 30 minutes. Do something extra to combat those extra pumpkin pie calories. And have fun in the process!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures
forever." Psalm 136:1

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Believe me I know there are some tough things to teach our kids.  I think gratitude is one of the toughest things for them to grasp.  We've had a small table tent on our table for the last month that we got at a local restaurant, it explains gratitude in terms children can supposedly understand.  I think it's vital that we have our children say "thank you" and all that.  But the longer I live the more I believe that kids learn gratitude from our attitudes, words, and actions.  Sure, we should keep on keeping on with the, "Honey, say thank you."  But it's so much bigger than that.  God wants us to be thankful in our hearts WAY more than he wants us to just say the words.  He wants us to be so grateful for him and all he's done for us that it actually changes the course of our lives.  He wants us to live for him instead of ourselves.  Now that's gratitude!  Will our kids ever "get" it?  Yes.  It may not be for twenty years but they will get it.  Think about it...when were you genuinely grateful for the blessings God has given you in your life?  It probably wasn't when you were three.  These things take time.  I'm grateful that God has given us time to learn these things and to teach them to our little ones.  Keep on keeping on.   And keep on saying out loud how grateful you are for God's love.  It will rub off.  Just listen to their prayers...I bet you hear some gratitude in one form or another.  Leave the heart stuff to God, he's big enough to soften and change their hearts.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Tell God what you're thankful for.  Tell your kids too.  I suggest you keep a record each year at Thanksgiving of how God's blessed you.  Write it down so you won't forget.  And when times get hard you can look back at God's kindness and faithfulness.  

Be lifted!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Your Greatest Investment

The economy has tanked.
The stock market has dropped.
The American budget has bombed!

But there is one investment that will never cease to reap a reward of ten-, twenty-, and even a hundred-fold: P R A Y E R.

Praying consistently for your children, about everything, is the greatest investment you can make as a parent. Over the years, I've prayed about everything from potty-training to pitching practice, from friendships to fractions, from bloody noses to broken hearts, and I can tell you, honestly, I don't regret a single moment that I've spent in prayer. In God's economy, prayer is an eternal investment that pays off daily, quarterly, yearly--continuously!

What can you do for your kids? Pray for them.

How do you begin? There are lots of ways:
  • Bless them as they play.
  • Whisper over them as they eat snacks.
  • Pray over their clothes when you're folding and ironing.
  • Murmur prayers for their health as you work in the kitchen.
  • Plead for their purity as you bathe them.
  • Sing your prayers as lullabyes at bedtime.

Ask God to remind you to pray. That's one prayer He loves to answer! Ask Him for clarity of thought and for clear focus to keep you tuned in to His desires for your kids' lives, so that you pray with His perfect purpose and plan in mind.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in
my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious
Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know
him better. (Ephesians 1:16-17)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Have Fun Mom!

Okay, I'm biased. This is my little girl and I think her smile could light up 1,000 Christmas trees! This was taken yesterday at SeaWorld where she rode Elmo's Flying Fish for the first time and loved it!

Yes, I am super fortunate to live in San Diego where I can go to SeaWorld often and where the weather permits outdoor activities most of the year. But wherever you live and whatever is nearby to do, I want to encourage you to get out with your baby and husband this weekend.
Take a walk. Visit a new park. Check out the museum you've been thinking about. Look through the event calendar in your area for upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas special activities.

If at all possible, don't stay cooped up in the house - get out there and be active. You're mind, body and spirit will be glad you did!

"Now Mary arose in those days..." Luke 1:39

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Encourage one another

I have some tough kids.  I have two that are volatile in an aggresive, crying, yelling, freaking out kind of way.  I have another one who just cries at the drop of a hat lately.  I feel like all I ever do is correct the behavior of Thing One and Thing Three and console Thing Two.  Kids are emotional little creatures!  Sometimes I find myself getting sucked into the drama.  I want to scream myself and holler, "Just quit yelling and crying everybody!"  I cannot fathom where they got so much emotion...  I have to remind myself quite often that they need my encouragement, not for me to join in their emotion-fest.  It is our jobs as moms to encourage our children, to build them up.  Yes, there is a time for correction  and consolation and everything in between. But at the heart of all we say and do, are we encouraging?  Think of one thing each day this week that you can do and say (yes do both things!!) to each of your children to build them up.  Maybe it's a note in a lunch box.  Maybe it's a special prayer of blessing at bedtime.  Maybe it's a lullaby as you rock your newborn.  Maybe it's a steady hand as your baby works on walking.  Maybe it's just a change of tone from sour to sweet.   Ask God to show you how you can encourage your children.  You might just change the bickering, fighting, screaming, and crying once and for all.  I doubt it could happen overnight, I've lived long enough to know better, but positive words create a positive environment.  And a positive environment will be a fertile place to teach your kids about God's love as well as your own!

1 Thesselonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  

Be lifted!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer

I appreciated the care Sue took in posting on Wednesday about her frustrations. I'm sure many of you could relate to one or more of her concerns and challenges.

Meditating on Scripture and praying are 2 very important things we can do for our spiritual and physical health. With two little kids and lots to do, I have found one resource very helpful to guide my prayers. It's called The Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer by Lisa Whelchel. I highly recommend it! For each day, it has a prayer prompt for:

1. Praise
2. For Yourself
3. For Your Husband
4. For Your Children
5. For Personal Influences
6. Reaching Beyond

She provides Scriptures to pray so you know you're praying about God's will. I've found it helpful to "maximize" my prayer time. Ten minutes with this journal in hand is time well spent with God.

So if you're frustrated with your job or losing weight this week, why don't you take your needs to God in prayer right now? And maybe pick up Lisa Whelchel's book for yourself.

"I will sing of the loving kindness of the Lord forever. To all
generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth." Psalm 89:1

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God's Power

Today is one of those days that I have so much to say that I don't know where to start, where it will go, or where we'll end up together! Let's assume that if you are reading Totally New Moms that you are in a season of change and/ or stress, somehow concerning childbearing or child-rearing. You might also be reading this if you're pregnant for the first, second, third, or umpteenth time. You might have recently miscarried and only some of us can begin to understand the depth of your pain. And others of you are childless and want to be child-full and my heart breaks for you. Others of you still are just reading this today because you ran across it or because I directed you to it personally. I figure if you're reading anything on the Internet these days, you are hopeful that it will be thought provoking and helpful at the very least....there's so much junk out there to read, isn't there?

I realize we're here to read about motherhood but let's just talk about only you for today. What is hard about this season for you, as a woman? Is it unmet expectations? Are you disappointed in your mothering skills? Do you feel unfulfilled at work? Do you long to be back in the workplace? Are you missing your family? Do you feel all alone? Do you feel unattractive? Are you struggling with your weight or your horrible eating habits? Do you feel inadequate? Is your husband not doing his part in the family? Are you in a time of transition? Are you grieving something? Are you questioning things about your faith? Are you struggling emotionally? Are you hurting financially? Do you need a better support system? Are you malnourished from not reading your Bible? Are you longing to feel God's presence but you aren't? Are your kids driving you nuts? Are you driving your kids nuts? Do you have an especially rebellious child? Are you butting heads with your daughter or mother or mother-in-law? I could go on and on. Something in your world probably isn't perfect today.

Do you ever feel just downright weary from it all? I do. In fact, I do today. Life over the last few months has been horribly hard for me. One of my favorite people that I'm closer to than almost anyone died in June, ten days after we moved out of state. I am without a support system in my new town. I have no church home. My husband has a wonderful new job where everyone loves him and wants to do tons of social activities with him. He is gone a lot and works what seems to be a lot of hours. My three year old is a basket case because we don't have neighborhood friends for him yet. I am chomping at the bit to write my next book but we don't have the office furniture put together yet and I can't locate all my great notes that I took in May-July. I had a root canal last week and I've had a cold for about ten days. There. Now you know why today, in particular, I feel overwhelmed and somewhat pitiful. Depression is a place I've been and a sadly familiar place. Somehow it has crept back into my life, little by little, day by day, tear by tear. And I'm ready for it to be gone. So where do I look? My help comes from the maker of heaven and earth!

Someone sent me an e-mail today and asked some wonderful questions. I can't look them up directly from this page so I'll try to paraphrase. Basically she asked, "How do you feel God's power at work in your life and experience change through that?" I know that isn't a good paraphrase but that's the gist of it. I am not a theologian; I'm simply a woman who loves God's word. I am going to be totally honest, I don't feel God's power every day, sometimes not every week, and certainly not in every season of life. I only know what His precious word says.

Jeremiah 29:12-14
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD.

Please read that over and over and over again until it sinks in. I am living proof that if you seek him you will find him. It's not always easy or simple. Sometimes he wants us to work hard to find him. But let me tell you, he's not hiding. God's power is there for us. His presence in our lives is all the power we'll ever need. How about this good stuff:

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure and the fullness of God.

No matter what thing you are going through right now as a mom, wife, sister, teacher, worker, all of it, any of it. God's power is there for you. And in that power is the abundant life he wants for us.

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I don't know about you but I sure don't have to overcome the whole darn world. Talk to him, he would love to give you some more strength for this season. Some compassion, some caring, some peace, some love. Believe me, he wants good things for you!!!

So how do you feel God's spirit working in you and changing you? Wow that's tough to really explain. How do I know? I know because when HE brings power to my life I'm unafraid of things that usually terrify me. I have confidence in him and because of him. He brings fruit out of my life that is against my sinful nature. Things like patience and long-suffering and gentleness. Those are things that I can't do with my own power. Does that make sense? Keep seeking him, you will find him ladies. And when you do, wow, are you going to be an awesome woman, mom, wife, sister, daughter, and everything else on your list!

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work WITHIN US, to him be glory...

Be lifted!

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Now Here's a Contest!

Everyone loves a contest! Contests involve great prizes and who doesn't want to win something? Well guess what? You can start your own contest for losing weight and put a little fun into your diet and exercise plan.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were trying to get my parents to do a contest with us to eat healthier and exercise more in preparation for the glut of yummy treats we'll be enjoying over the holidays. They were not interested.

But this week, my mom came up with a great contest. Basically, the person who earns the most points by Thanksgiving wins $100. How do you earn points?

-10 points each day you exercise for 30 minutes or more
-10 points each day you skip sweets
-10 points each day you don't eat past 6:30 p.m.

Believe it or not, this really works! It's fun to do it as a family. This little contest has stopped me from eating that Halloween candy or it's pushed me to exercise.

So if you want to lose some weight or just get healthier as a family, you can try a contest like this. Modify it to suit your needs and pick a prize that would be motivating. Then let the competitive juices flow!

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize..." Phil. 4:14

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Today is not a good day for me to post. I had a root canal two days ago, I have a sore throat that could make me cry, and a sleepless night that ended in tears. My mind and heart have been heavy concerning one subject: examples. Yes, we are examples to our kids. But let me tell you, there are hundreds of examples that your kids are exposed to during their childhood. Teachers, preachers, vacation Bible school workers, coaches, piano instructors, doctors, dentists, clerks, bank tellers, trash collectors, presidents, the list is endless. No matter how significant or insignificant each of these people seem, they all have an impact on you and your children. The messages that children received directly or indirectly does affect how they see the world and themselves. It helps to form their thinking as well as the development of their values system. In our imperfect world it is imperative that we are great examples for our kids. It is terribly important that we expose them to loving adults outside the family unit as well. Kids need to hear it from us and from others that they are valued and valuable. I believe that will make it all the more believable to them that God in heaven loves them, too.

My son has a shirt that says, "Yep, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so." I want that to be fresh on my son's heart every day. I constantly ask my kids, "Who loves you?" They rattle off the list, "Mom, Dad, Grandma, the dog, brother, sister, God, Jesus, Grandpa..." Remind your kids daily of who loves them. These are powerful examples in your children's lives. Strong human role models are precious. But understanding God's attributes and holiness are crucial to developing faith in children. Don't lose sight of the little things. Jesus and his words are the best examples of all.

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1 John 3:18-19
...let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Are You All There?

We are a generation that has learned to multi-task. From simple tasks, such as folding clothes while gabbing on the phone, to dangerous ones, like texting while driving, most of us are do-ers, and we feel compelled to be busy.

However, when it comes to parenting, children need our undivided attention. They are watching us, and they derive much of how they feel about themselves by gauging how we feel about them through our actions.

This past summer, I saw a first: a dad was sitting on the bleachers with his laptop open while his son played baseball. He wasn't all there, was he? Glued to a screen, he may have physically been present as his son pitched four innings of a great game, but he wasn't THERE.

While it's easy to fault a parent who so obviously had his attention divided, we do it in small ways everyday. Sitting at a computer while nodding obliviously to a child who is chattering away, or chatting on the phone with a friend while sitting down to lunch with your three-year-old--you might be there, but you're not all there.

Give your child all of you today. Look in her eyes when she talks. Enjoy a snack together, with no interruptions. Take a walk and look at the beautiful autumn leaves--leaving your cell phone at home. Be all there for your child today!

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