Monday, November 23, 2009

God is my night light

I was reading some Bible story to my four-year old last week. I can't remember for the life of me what the story was. His comment to me about the story is what I remember. We were talking about being afraid, alone, or in the dark, things like that. I reassured him that God was always with him, even when Mom and Dad weren't. He couldn't grasp how God could be with him in his room at night. Then he had an aha! moment. He said, "I get it. God's my night light!" I wish there was something funny or clever or more to the story but that's it. But I have thought about that non-stop since he said it. Isn't that true? God is our night light! He isn't like our night light, he IS our night light. When we are scared, he is our light. When we are unsure, he is our light. When we are living in this insanely sinful world, he is our light. When we need guidance, he is our light. When we can't see, he is our light. Oh to see God like a preschooler.

Psalm 139:11-12
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Be lifted!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grieving the "old" you

In the last week I've had several moms talk to me about a common concern among women: losing their identity when they became moms. It can be rather traumatizing to be pregnant one day and have a baby the next. When you leave the hospital you arrive home with another person! From the get go your needs are put on the back burner. Since you have better coping skills than your infant your needs can wait. Unless we are careful we put those needs on hold indefinitely. Somewhere in the early years it's easy to lose ourselves in all that we must do for our babies. That loss can bring about periods of grief.

After my first child was born I did most of the things I loved but I did quit running. Why? I have no idea. She is now ten and I'm finally running again. I'm in training for my first half marathon. My kids aren't suffering because I'm running. If anything I've noticed that they are excited to see their mommy so happy about doing something she loves. They are rooting for me, they know the date of my race, what town it's in, and how far the race is, etc. For me, doing the thing I love best is actually making me a better mom.

When my kids were tiny babies I don't think I would've had the energy to run like I am now. But I do regret quitting altogether. There are numerous benefits to exercising post partum. It's good for our bodies and minds. I regret that I was sedentary for a few years. The science alludes me but I do know that exercising helps you have more energy and sleep better, it also improves your overall feeling of well being.

What do you miss about the "old" you? What did you used to spend time doing that now you've let go? What hobby do you miss? If you have a little baby, this season will quickly pass. I strongly suggest you keep up your hobbies or interests. Sure, you'll need to spend less time and energy on your favorite activities for now but keeping involved in them will do wonders for you. It's inevitable that you will spend some time grieving the "old" you...your body, your lifestyle, your activities, your interests, your pastimes. But don't let go of all of it, please don't. It's what makes you YOU. Yes, you are a mom now. But you are still you, too.

Be lifted!

Joel 2:25
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Treasured possession

Do you remember the very first time you held your baby? To be honest, the first time I held my first child it kinda freaked me out! I'd been in labor a LONG time and I was ready to sleep for an even longer time. So when they cleaned her up and put her in my arms I had no idea what I was supposed to do. It's as if I finally understood the whole pregnancy thing but I never understood that I would hold a real person. Isn't that weird? But it's true. But I remember holding her and treasuring her. I was in awe of her face immediately. I longed to hear her peeps and squeaks. When she would jerk around with her arms and legs I giggled. I would rub her hair over and over. I counted and measured her fingers. I enjoyed changing her diapers so I could rub her sweet belly. There was nothing I didn't enjoy about her. Sure, the crying was annoying and the sleepless nights made me a crazy person. But the baby, she was precious. I treasured her.

Somehow over the course of ten years some of that has dissipated. That breaks my heart! But to be honest, stubbornness and disobedience have taken a toll. Talking back and fussing have made it hard for me to continue being in awe of my kiddos. It's hard for me as an imperfect mother to not let their problems affect how I feel about them. Yes, I love them always always. But some days I don't like them as much as I would like to. I have made a concerted effort lately to look at all of my children and try to remember what it was like to treasure everything about them. I've come to the sad realization that I will never be able to look at them exactly like I did when they were hours old. But the best part of that is that I can actually look at them with deeper affection because I've known them and loved them for so long. I have more things to love about them than just their fingers, toes, and squeaks. With life experience I've grown to admire certain qualities, adore their quirks, and treasure the gifts and talents God has blessed them with. I grin at their humor, smile at their creativity, and sigh at their competitive natures. God has blessed me with time with them which has led to a much deeper gratitude for them. Yes, I wish I could rock them all and just watch them sleep. But time marches on.

If you still have a baby, don't let go of them! People will tell you to put them in their cribs. I'm telling you, I don't still rock my older kids and wish I could! That time flies by. Hold on tight. And as they age you will learn how to hold them in brand new ways.

And to top it off, God treasures them even more than you do! Let that sink in...

Be lifted!

Deuteronomy 7:6b
The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

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Friday, March 13, 2009


Transitions are a natural part of life...especially as a new mom! My 4 year old will be entering kindergarten this year, my "baby" is two and talkative, and I'm expecting a new baby again in the fall! Nowadays, I'm easily irritated and pooped out every 2 hours or so. Do you remember those days in your pregnancy? If so, please tell me about them so I don't feel so lame. :)
I'm taking on some new projects (speaking at women's retreat, teaching Losing Weight After Baby classes) and as a result, I'm going to take a hiatus from blogging with Totally New Moms. I'll miss checking in with you on Fridays. I hope the blog has been a blessing to you. I will continue to blog regularly on my Losing Weight After Baby blog, so please feel free to come over for a visit whenever you like!
May the God of all comfort and strength bless you in EVERY SEASON of your life as a mom!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Eccl. 3:1

With love,

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've just gotten home from my trip to speak at a church near Nashville, TN.  I'm frankly so tired that I could cry and I've not yet eaten dinner.  I'm so sorry but I can't write today.  I'll write something special next week!  Please forgive me.

As the spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

2 Corinthians 3:18b

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Friday, March 6, 2009

One Super Mom I Met

Pictured here is Chelle Stafford from this month's issue of Women's Health Magazine. She was featured as a weight loss success story.

Weight before: 178
Weight after: 123

I was so excited for her because Chelle and I went to high school together! Through the magazine, we reconnected and I interviewed this mother of 3 about her amazing weight loss journey. She was such an inspirational guest on my Losing Weight After Baby podcast. Hope you'll be able to listen. The show is titled "How One Mom Lost 50 Pounds."
After several children and miscarriages, Chelle found herself over eating, depressed and hitting the drive thru up to 3 times a day. Her turning point came preparing for a New Years Eve party and crying in the dressing room because none of the clothes fit. That's when she decided to get a personal trainer. When she first started with the trainer, she would have to psych herself up into going to the gym, and then she'd be sitting in the parking lot, not wanting to get out of the car. It took her 2 years to take that baby weight off, but she did it! As you listen to the interview, you'll be able to relate to her struggles and victories. It doesn't matter where you start, but how you finish! Finish strong moms, you can do it!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Praying for your children

Here are 31 biblical virtues or characteristics you can pray for your kids.  You could print this out and place it by your calendar.  This is a simple way to pray in a specific way each day of the month for your child (and for yourself).  If your child is older, these would be great memory verses, too!

Pray for... Bible reference

1.  Salvation Romans 10:9--If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

2.  Growth Luke 2:52--Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.

Hebrews 6:1--Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.

3.  Faith Hebrews 11:6--Without faith it is impossible to please God.
4.  Purity I Timothy 5:22--...keep yourself pure.

5.  Honesty 1 Corinthians 13:6--Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

6.  Gratitude 1 Thessalonians 5:18--Give thanks in all circumstances...
7.  Humility 1 Peter 5:5--...clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

8.  Trusting God Proverbs 3:5--Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  

9.  Obedience Numbers 15:40--Remember to obey all my commands.

10. Self-control Titus 2:11-12--For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
11.  Self-esteem Ephesians 2:10--For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance to do.

12.  Encouragement 1 Thessalonians 5:11--Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

13.  Confidence Proverbs 3:26--The LORD will be your confidence.

14.  Kindness 1 Thessalonians 5:15--Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

15.  Gentleness Philippians 4:5--Let your gentleness be evident to all...

16.  Identity Galatians 3:29--If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

17.  Perseverance Philippians 3:13-14--Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

18.  Prayer 1 Thessalonians 5:17--Pray continually.

19.  Compassion Zechariah 7:9--Show mercy and compassion to one another.

20.  Generosity 2 Corinthians 9:7--God loves a cheerful giver.

21.  Peace-loving 1 Corinthans 7:15--God has called us to live in peace.

22.  Respect 1 Peter 2:17--Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

23.  Hope Hebrews 6:19--We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

24.  Joy 1 Thessalonians 5:16--Be joyful always.

25.  Boldness 2 Timothy 1:7--For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

26.  Service 1 Peter 4:10--Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others...

27.  Love Hebrews 10:24--Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

28.  Holiness 1 Peter 1:16--Be holy because I am holy.

29.  Witnessing Proverbs 11:30--The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

30.  Good example 1 Timothy 4:12--Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.

31.   Readiness Colossians 4:5--Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone.

I challenge you to pray over these things in the upcoming month.  Be lifted!  And lift your children up in prayer.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Need to Shed Some Valentine's Pounds?

Holidays are so much fun but can be problematic for the waistline! First there's Christmas to recover from. Then there are Valentine's Day chocolates. I received a box of Pireuline cookies (they're like long wafers filled with vanilla creme) from a friend. Unfortunately, my friend didn't know how much I liked those and how I could basically polish off a whole bag in one day. There are 2 (big) bags that come in a box. I prayed for self control after the fact, and I should've prayed before!
If you're trying to shed a few pounds, here are a few tips that have worked for me:

1. Before having a snack when you're hungry, drink a glass of water.

2. Cut up a few veggies (celery, red pepper, baby carrots, etc) so when you get a snack attack, those are very convenient to reach for.

3. Brush your teeth at 7:00 pm when you're home and don't eat after that.

For daily motivation and accountability, get my course TODAY, Losing Weight After Baby: 31 Days to a New You and begin your breakthrough month on March 1st!
"Behold I will do a new thing..." Isaiah 43:18

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How high is your frustration level?

Before kids...
I never had a temper.
I had a long  fuse. 
I was extra patient.
I was kind to everyone.
I wasn't easily rattled.
I was organized and clean.
I was efficient.
I never got frustrated.

Okay, I'm full of it.  But seriously, since giving birth, some of this stuff has gone out the window. With each child I seem to go further downhill.  I DO have a temper.  I now have a short fuse.  I lack patience.  I'm not kind to my children sometimes.  Between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. I'm rattled, boy am I rattled.  I'm organized for the most part but only clean here and there.  I'm still efficient.  I'm generally frustrated.  I have many faults and many buttons that can be pushed.  How did giving birth generate all this in me?  Yeah, I agree, I'm sure it was there all along... 

I have to keep these things in check.  How do I do that?  I exercise, I read, I try to get some quiet time away, I read my Bible, I call a friend, I watch a dumb show, I pray.  Most days are good but some days are hard.  And the hard days seem to last for an eternity.  I think we have a happy home for the most part.  My kids fight and they fight hard.  But we all love hard too.  It's hard to have a home full of emotional and intense people!  We all have to keep our faults and frustrations in check.  

So how high is your frustration level?  Is mothering hard today?  Is this season of childhood wearing you out?  What refreshes you?  Seek it out!  Does it help you to talk it out?  Call a friend.  Does it  help you to go run six miles?  Then go run seven!  Ask God to give you all that you need to face today.  He will help you get through today.   

Be lifted!

...when I was silent and anguish increased.
Psalm 39:2

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Friday, February 20, 2009


I love this picture from the San Diego Zoo. The trainer and pony were walking by and on cue, the trainer clicked her clicker, and the pony smiled wide!

Somedays, we may feel like we misplaced our clicker. No matter what we do, we don't feel like smiling. I like what brilliant talk show host Dennis Prager says about the subject of mood.

"Act happy no matter what your mood and you will feel happier. Act loving
and you will feel more loving. With regard to virtually anything in life
that is good for us, if we wait until we are in the mood to do it, we will wait
too long."

So regardless of how you feel today, smile! My daughter has been coughing for the last week and saying "Mommy hold me" and "TISSUE!" But I'm smiling...

"The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalm 18:28

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What are you doing right?

As a mom I beat myself up constantly about all the things I'm doing wrong. I daily judge my mothering skills based on how perfect and wonderful my kids are. Unfortunately since I'm imperfect and so are my kids, this system doesn't work very well. I repeatedly feel like a failure. My strong-willed child makes me angry and frustrated. My overly emotional child causes me to think, "Grow up!" when that is not something I want to rush. My youngest is needy as ever and wears me out physically at times. There are little things about motherhood that shorten my fuse. I feel impatient and irritable more often than I'd like. I want to be one of those moms who loves every phase of childhood, each and every quirk and behavior. But that's just not been my experience. A fair amount of motherhood has been trial and error and negative reflection. I tend to look at the behaviors of my kids and blame myself for everything that's wrong. For example, I have one child who tends to lie. Nine times out of ten this child will lie. I have beat myself up for years and prayed about this sin in her life a hundred times. I just keep telling her the truth...that God expects her to tell and love the truth. I could write a book about all the things I feel like I'm no good at as a mother. When my children were tiny I would get frustrated because they didn't enjoy my lullabies or smile when I rocked them. I have spent years trying to figure out how they tick. I have often wondered if I needed a degree in child psychology to get through this life with children.

Today I want to pause on purpose to reflect on what I'm doing right. I guess it's how I'm wired but I tend to be hard on myself and only look at what I might be messing up. But what about the good things? I challenge you to do the same. What are you doing right? Make a list, write it down. What are you proud of as a mother? How are you pleasing God with how you're raising your children? How do you use your words to bless others? Are you a blessing to your family? Are you building others up? Are you an encouragement to your spouse and kids? Do you read your Bible for your kids? Do you spend time playing with them? Do you let them break the eggs when you bake cookies? Are you teaching them responsibilities around the house? Are you teaching them to value friendship and love? Are you serving others? Do you bring laughter and joy to your home? Are you taking the time to play silly games? Do you listen to your kids hurts, really listen? Are you praying with your kids? Are you praying for your kids and spouse? Is your faith something you talk about? Are you teaching your kids about God's love and his word? Surely you are doing at least one of these things or something like them.

Reflect right now on what you're doing right. God will bless you for trying to please him. Don't worry about the details and the day to day mess ups. God knows your heart. Keep him your priority and love your family with all your heart. He will cover up your mess ups and fill your home with love, just ask him! Focus on the positive this week, please. I'm going to!

Be lifted!

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Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

What do you want on Valentine's Day? Flowers or chocolate?

Well, I like both! My sweet husband bought me these red roses. Believe it or not, he bought them wholesale and then arranged them himself! I know, I'm lucky! He did awesome!

In terms of chocolate, I tend to eat too many pieces at once. Last weekend, we received a package about 24 truffles from some visiting friends. I could down them all in a few days if left unattended! So I decided to wrap about half of them and give them away to my children's teachers at church. That saved me a trip to the store to buy something, plus extra unneeded calories for me! My article "Chocolate, Friend or Foe" will give you some other ideas of what to do with all that chocolate if you're trying to lose weight.

I hope you'll enjoy the added festivities of Valentine's Day, yet remember it's not the flowers or chocolates that take center stage. It's the love of God! Jesus loves you and your family so much. You are the apple of His eye!

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Importance of Support

I've spoken at some MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups this school year and I've noticed something: they are all there because they want and need support. This season of life is demanding and exhausting and downright overwhelming. I've seen hundreds of moms at these meetings and they are desperate to connect with other moms. They are looking for a listening ear. They need a hug from a friend. They want a break from nursing and changing diapers. They want to laugh. They are looking for a word from God.

If you have babies or preschoolers, it is vital that you connect with other moms on a regular basis. At the very least it gives you perspective on things. Life doesn't seem so hard when you share it's details with a friend. When we experience life together it is much richer! I find it encouraging simply to be around others who are experiencing what I am; it makes my life seem more normal, too. Do you need that? I do!

When it comes to motherhood I often think I have it so hard, as if no one else has ever had strong willed kids! I met a lady about four years ago who has a strong-willed child. This mom is about ten years older than me so I listened to everything she had to say because she'd been there already. She knew how to pray for me and my situation and she wasn't critical. It's been such a blessing to have a more seasoned mother give me some much needed affirmation and support.

I challenge you to find moms who are in the same exact boat as you. If you have a newborn, find a mom with a newborn. Share your difficulties and fears. If you have twins or triplets, connect with a multiples group in your area. I encourage you to find a mom who is further down the road of parenthood than you, too. You will be amazed and what she has to offer you. God created us to be in relationship with others. But they won't always knock on your door. Go and find those friends. Mom, you need support!

Be lifted!

Proverbs 11:25
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Peppy Pizza Please!

If you've got kids chances are you're having a hard time getting them to eat their vegetables. Unless you're like my 4 year old cousin who eats all the carrots, broccoli and cauliflower FIRST in her lunch bag!

My kids on the other hand, eat one teeny bit of carrot and think they have done something heroic. But they have gotten a little better about their veggies and there's a DVD that has helped. Although we don't watch a lot of TV, we can heartily recommend any Boz the Bear videos. They are God honoring and provide a great role model for kids.

Case in point: the DVD titled "Thank You God for Bananas, Bubbles and Busy Bodies." In this DVD about healthy living, Boz the Bear goes grocery shopping in the produce section and makes a "peppy pizza" which is topped with veggies.

Since watching that, we have named a pizza topped with spinach "peppy pizza" and both my kids eat it up and even request it. We buy ours at Trader Joe's, it's a flat pizza covered in spinach. Phew, finally a veggie that's eaten with joy!

"For the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit. The fig tree and the vine yield their strength." Joel 2:22

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009


As a brand new mom, or as a seasoned mother, it is vital that we exercise.  I could go on all day about the health benefits of exercise.  But I want to focus on one thing only: your mental health. 

Ever have days when you could scream?  Do you ever feel like you change 25 diapers, do six loads of laundry, and can't remember the last time you used the bathroom?  Some days motherhood is overwhelming.  In the beginning, the physical demands are enormous.  We feed, bathe, clean, change, rock, nurse, feed,'s downright exhausting.  I get tired just thinking about it.  Throw in the lack of sleep and added's tough.  I hear people say all the time, "I'm just too tired to exercise."  I promise you that if you exercise you will have MORE energy.  I promise.  You can't control much in the early years of motherhood.  Taking care of babies is never-ending.  But you can take steps to control your health, your mental health.  Exercising gives you a break, it clears your head.  It feels good to move.  Find something you love to do and find someone to exercise with.  Walk, skate, do yoga, run, jump rope, swim.  Find something.  If you have a parter or a group to exercise with, you will be more likely to keep it up.  You will feel better mentally and emotionally.  This surely makes for a better mommy!

I challenge you to start exercising to improve your mental health!

Be lifted!

Philippians 4:13
I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Pack It Up!

We are headed out for a few hours today including lunchtime, so it's time to pack it up!

We're too frugal to buy fast food or go to a restaurant (that's probably the main reason) and of course, it's much healthier to skip the drive thru. So whenever I know the kids and I will be out over lunch, we brown bag it.

So what's in that typical lunch bag?

          1. Turkey sandwiches

          2. Apple slices

          3. Strawberry fruit bar

          4. Bag of popcorn

          5. String cheese

          6. Water (not boxed juice)

          I know, it's not too exotic or exciting, but it's healthier than eating out and since I have the food with me, I don't have to have any "my children are so hungry they are about to explode" episodes when I'm out! And you're not gaining weight in the process since here you are trying the lose that baby weight in the first place.

          Popping microwave popcorn is the best because that's a treat for my kids. We can split the bag between the 3 of us, plus popcorn isn't very caloric and is a pretty good snack item. Oh yes, and it's cheap!

          So next time you're out during lunchtime, take a few minutes and pack it up!

          What are some of your favorite lunch time items to pack? Help us get out of our ruts and suggest some more easy take-and-go items!

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          Wednesday, January 28, 2009

          Enjoying their games

          Our children are small for a very short time.  Do you ever find yourself dismissing them because you have things you need to get done?  Just today my daughter asked me to play with her Littlest Pet Shops.  I am not good at playing make believe with dogs, cats, and ferrets but I did it anyway.  How often does my daughter ask me to play these days?  Now that I have a ten-year-old child I'm clinging to her childhood games.  I'm trying to enjoy (not endure) some activities that she likes.  I want to spend time with her.  I want her to feel valued and loved.  The teen years are coming fast and I want us to have a solid relationship before those stormy years appear.  

          My six-year-old and three-year-old enjoy completely different games.  One is into playing with Star Wars characters and playing Candyland.  The other is into shooting basketball and racing cars.  I find myself wanting to play these things just so I can be a part of their fun.  I don't want to be the mom who only talks to my kids about chores and discipline.  I want them to have wonderful childhood memories of a mom who put down the dirty dishes and played with them. When they move out of our house, I will have all the time in the world to do the dishes.  And I'll cry my eyes out.

          Enjoy your children.  Spend time with them.  Your to-do list can most likely wait.  

          Proverbs 31:28
          Her children arise and call her blessed...

          I want that to happen in my life!  I want my kids to call me blessed.  I'm still waiting for that day but if it ever happens, it will be a grand day!  I want God to be pleased with my parenting.  Spending time with them, enjoying the time He's given me with them is a gift I can give my children.  It's one big way I can add value to their precious lives. 

          Be lifted!

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          Friday, January 23, 2009

          Slow Down!

          I was rattling off a list and my husband said, "You are talking so fast!"

          Can you relate? I had to laugh and ask him, "I am?"

          Sometimes, I just need to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

          -Slow down and enjoy emailing a friend.

          -Slow down and read a chapter of the Bible without hurrying.

          -Slow down at the dinner table (this is great for losing weight too. Eat slower. You'll enjoy the tastes of the food without mindlessly stuffing yourself)

          -Slow down when driving (yup, I got a ticket and am headed to traffic school next month!)

          Savoring life probably doesn't look like someone running around from one thing to the next. Now I'm not advocating sitting around, moving slowly like a slug on a log. No mom could excel in this way! I'm talking about leaving some margins in your day to sit and listen to your kids, stretch for one minute if you're tired, pray without rushing, etc.
          You might be moving at mach speed on the outside doing laundry and starting dinner but internally, you're at peace. You're not flustered or rushing.

          What's a way you could slow down today? Is this doable as a mom?

          "So he who waits on his master will be honored." Prov. 27:18

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          Wednesday, January 21, 2009

          Prayers of babes

          My three-year-old is into praying.  He is grateful to God for things I don't think of.  My ten-year-old tends to get irritated when the little one prays too long.  She can have the attitude that God doesn't care about "goofy" things like toys and other things a little boy might pray about.  I am a firm believer that God is grinning when my little guy prays.  Nothing is too long or tedious for God...not when it comes to gratitude!  Here's an example of what I'm describing:

          "Thank you God for my bed.  Thank you God for my Star Wars plate.  Thank you for sister, for brother, for Mom, and Dad.  Thank you for Grandma Mary.  Thank you for Grandpa Ike.  Thank you for the grandma that gives us cookies.  Thank you for my Star Wars book.  Thank you for Lego Batman.  Thank you for our new characters on Lego Batman.  Thank you for fruit snacks.  Thank you for my pillow.  Thank you for our basketballs.  Bless our bodies.  Amen."

          This is fairly typical these days.  Some days are funnier some days are more serious.  Most prayers are actually longer.  Recently he added a new one:

          "Thank you God for God.  And thank you for the other God.  I can't think of his name, but the other God..."

          I had to prompt him but he was talking about JESUS!  How sweet!  How often do we thank God for himself?  How often do we distinguish between Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit when we are saying thanks?  I don't typically thank God for these things.  I am learning to thank God for everything, fruit snacks included!  And my ten-year-old is learning that God is pleased when we say "thank you."  It's not just about saying the prayers, it's about our grateful hearts and attitudes.  

          I encourage you to write down the prayers that come out the mouths of your babes.  Years from now you can be blessed all over again.

          Be lifted!

          Matthew 19:14

          Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

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          Friday, January 16, 2009

          Subtract Sugar, Add Veggies

          This past Sunday at church, our Sunday school class did a table topic. We were all asked, "What's one thing you'd like to add in your life in 2009 and what's one thing you'd like to subtract?"

          My husband's answer works well for all of us moms. He said, "It's very simple. I want to subtract sugar and add vegetables." Actually he made a joke and flipped it around at first. The dream diet would be to add more sugar and subtract vegetables but that diet doesn't exist!

          He's noticed that when he eats sugar, he loves it for the moment, but then his mood tanks. Have you been there?

          So my sweet husband has resolved to be healthier in 2009. And I have to be honest. I'm glad he's made the resolution to skip sugar for a few weeks because it's helping me reign in my desire for chocolate! He's fasting from treats like cookies, desserts, ice cream, etc but he'll still have some syrup with his pancakes, jam on his bread, etc. So you don't have to be completely radical, but just by saying no to desserts, you can eliminate a lot of junk food from your diet.

          Do you need to subtract some sugar and add some veggies into your life? I've been serving my kids more veggies in the New Year (more = 3 bits of broccoli so know we're taking baby steps) and I'm thrilled to report they are doing it! The rule is if they don't eat the few bites of vegetables, they won't get more of whatever they do like in the meal (usually bread or pasta).

          Subtract sugar, add veggies!

          "The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish." Prov 10:3

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          Tuesday, January 13, 2009

          Turn on the Lights

          I ran across a video yesterday that my friend Tara had posted. Wade Bowen wrote this song after his  wife struggled with postpartum depression.  He performed this song at a Postpartum Support International event in November.  

          (I can't figure out how to just paste it here!!  It's Wade Bowen, Turn on the Lights in case this address doesn't work quite right...sorry I'm a computer idiot.)

          If you are struggling with postpartum depression now or have in the past you will relate well to this.  Even if you struggle with regular clinical depression not related to giving birth you will understand these sentiments.  When we are in the middle of the darkness and fog of depression it is excruciating to ask for help.  If you are hurting there are so many safe places to ask for help, to share your hurts.  If it's not your spouse maybe it's your mom.  Perhaps it's a girlfriend or a neighbor or a doctor or a pastor.  It doesn't matter who you reach out to, please just do it.  You can e-mail me any time!  I would love it if you would call me, too.  But most of all, MOST OF ALL, reach out to your Healer.  God is always with you.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  Even darkness is light to him.  He loves you and wants you to be well and whole so you can enjoy your baby and every moment of motherhood.  

          Psalm 139:11-12

          If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

          Be lifted!

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          Friday, January 9, 2009

          Keep Moving!

          This week, I took my 2 and 4 year old for their routine yearly doctors examination. Even though we had watched the Berenstein Bears go to the doctor, my kids still didn't like getting their shots - and that's definitely an understatement!

          One thing my doctor reminded me of was the importance of daily hard exercise - she suggested one hour per day.

          So right after the appointment, we headed for the playground and ran around together too. Phew, I felt better for doing what the doctor ordered and realized I need to take my kids out more!

          I noticed one family whose children were riding bikes but they were sitting in the minivan. What a shame I thought! They could have been exercising right along side of their kids and making a better memory together.

          I know many moms stress out about fitting exercise into their schedule. How about making exercise a habit for you and your growing kids? When they run, you run too! You'll stay healthier as you keep moving with your energetic kids!
          "Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength." Psalm 8:2
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          Wednesday, January 7, 2009

          Life is Fragile

          My heart is heavy today as I write.  I sent a Christmas card to an old friend and received a letter back from her husband a few days ago.  He wrote to tell me that my friend  died from cancer on December 15.  The Christmas letter I sent to encourage her?  Well she got it nine days too late.  I can't imagine how many times her dear husband had to open a card addressed to them or to her.  Ugh!  Anyway, the finality of her life on earth was so weird.  She has been sick for about five years so she's been ready for this.  It still came as a total shock to me.  I ache for her husband and two children.  Their daughter and my daughter went to preschool together; I have such fond memories of those simple, playful days.  She fought accepting Christ until the very end.  One of my dear friends says that she did accept Christ and was even baptized!  I don't know all the details of that situation but I pray she's in heaven, resting in Him.

          All this makes me think, why wait?  Why wait to start living life to the fullest?  Life is fragile.  Our time here is short.  Our time with our children is short.  Look at your baby.  I doubt he/ she is much of a baby any more.  I can barely remember my kids as babies and it wasn't that long ago!  My middle child loved to rock.  I would just stare at him for hours while he napped, clinging to that time.  Now it's over and he's at school all day!  Our time here on earth is so short, so precious.  It will end and it will happen quicker than we can imagine.  

          Maybe you need to pray about accepting Christ's gift.  Maybe you need to pray with your kids about them accepting Christ's gift.  Eternal life is coming one way or another.  It almost tortures me thinking about how much time we DON'T have here; why wait?  Why postpone making the most important decision of our lives?  Why postpone fully living for Him?  Why postpone teaching our kids the truth about God and His word?  

          Today I challenge you to stop postponing.  Wherever you are in your walk with Him, wherever you are in training yourself  and your children...I challenge you to take it to the next level in 2009.  Life is fragile.  This may very well be your last year.  What will you choose to do with it?

          Be challenged!
          Be lifted!

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          John 10:10
          I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

          Friday, January 2, 2009

          Reflections at New Years

          Happy New Year moms! It's the beginning of a new year, fresh with hope and anticipation. I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs this week, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. He encouraged us to list 10 significant things God had done in 2008. To keep that list handy, to use it to remember God's goodness. I think this is a great habit.

          I love talking with my husband about our highlights of 2008. A vacation with my parents and the kids in Maui. Releasing my audio course, Losing Weight After Baby: 31 Days to a New You. Watching our kids grow in God's grace (ages 4 and 2). Traveling to Yosemite National Park with my husband's parents. Speaking to MOPS groups.

          The highlights involve low-lights too. A miscarriage in the fall. Marriage trouble for friends. But in those challenges, God's power to save is magnified.

          Have you made a list of highlights for 2008? Take a few minutes to do so and you'll be armed with a spirit of thanksgiving and praise in the New Year!
          "You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word." Psalm 119:65

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