Be A Courageous Parent

I took my oldest daughter to see Courageous, the new {Christian} movie about Biblical fatherhood.

I cried the ugly in the middle of the sold-out theater.

My daughter and I shared popcorn, a coke, and much more. We held hands.

She declared it the best movie she’d ever seen.

The next day, my husband took our 9 year old son on the same date, except they communed over Grape Fanta.

I don’t have verification of real-life man tears, but I saw the lump in his throat, hours after the movie ended.

On the drive home, my hubby asked his only son to give him a parenting grade. (Something I don’t think I’m courageous enough to do).

He stepped out to pump gas and when he opened the car door, my son said, “Well, Dad. I have good news. You passed.”

And then my hubby started worrying.

“I’m going to give you a B-”

And then they talked. Really talked. I think it’s too beautiful to share, too private to disclose, but when they returned, we sat down as a family and talked about the one thing my son pointed out– the one thing we could really work on. It was something he felt like all five us struggle with. He was absolutely right.

I was proud of his courage to tell us. Even more proud of my husband to ask.

We sat around the sofa and joined hands and we each asked God out loud to help make us more like Him.

It was one of those moments I will never forget.

Whether or not you watch the movie, I dare you to ask your kids for a grade. It might just begin a beautiful conversation…

If you’re feeling courageous.

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did you see the movie? you must. that part where the dad dances in the field by himself….. I think I even hiccuped-cried.

WFMW: An Awesome Tradition

I’m not a foodie. You know one of those people who’s really amazing in the kitchen. I get the job done and every once in awhile, I wow myself.

So, even though I wouldn’t consider this “my gift” I find that I’m taking a dessert or fixing a meal for someone on a regular basis. And sometimes it’s take-out (don’t judge me). Because we all know free food you don’t have to prepare is good food. Can I get an Amen?

My dear and amazing friend, Meg, shared a most-wonderful African tradition with me. [Her family of four are in the middle of adopting an older sibling group from Ethiopia. Her two kids just happen to be very close friends to my older kids and our hubbies are great friends. We just LOVE them ].

Back to the tradition. It goes something like this: I shared a dish with Meg when she had surgery this summer. She returned my platter filled with fruit for my family.

I was having a bad week a few weeks ago, she sent over a delicious salad. I returned her glass bowl filled with strawberry shortcake.

Tip: Return plates, dishes, bowls to friends and family filled with delicious food! And if you don’t currently have a dish loaned out, then maybe you should whip something up and take it someone sick or in need of cheering up.

It works for me!



Kisses From Katie {Book Giveaway}

UPDATED WITH WINNER: Congrats to comment #136 Karo

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you know that Katie’s life impacted our family before we even knew what our story would be.

More than three years ago, I started reading Kisses From Katie. At first, it was hard to even imagine how this young girl left home and haven for the red dirt of Uganda, alone.

Not only did she go, she stayed.

And then she adopted 14 daughters and fed and healed hundreds more.

She wanted to make a difference. And it made me want to make a difference. Remember when we raised $3200 for her ministry, Amazima, to buy chickens and seeds and hope?

Katie is one of those girls that is called to greatness, but remains the girl-next-door.

 

Her first book, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, is a lot more of the same. It’s profound.

It’s beautiful. 

It still makes me want to be different. These words from Katie sum up her life:  “to be real is to love and be loved until there’s nothing left.”

Her book is remarkable, a true mirror of Katie.

I’m giving a copy away today. Please leave a comment if you’d like to win it.

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

[Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this to review]

Me & My Best Friend

oh, my. I love this man.

And even better: I like him.

We had a date at Starbucks on Friday night. We pushed two big, comfy chairs together and pretended we were the only people in the room. With a notepad and laptop, we wrote down our dreams.

Not so much our goals, but the visions we’re afraid to give voice to- we wrote those down.

My hubby called it a dreamstorming session. I like that. Because if it had been a brainstorming session, my brain would have told me our dreams are too big, impossible.

People like me don’t do this well-envision things that I can’t figure out or control.

But it felt good to say it out loud to each other.

To write them down.

We sense change coming. It’s scary. It’s exciting.

It’s an opportunity to trust the unseen hand that guides us.

There’s a sweet intimacy that comes when you acknowledge your secret dreams to your best friend.

You should try it sometime.

Source: etsy.com via lannerart on Pinterest

 

P.S.  Two teen boys who badly needed haircuts and belts, showed up with guitars and sang loudly about two feet away from us. Everybody has a dream, some squeakier than others.

He Alone Can Rescue {And Some Really Amazing News}

Our maternity home in Nairobi, Kenya, is registered as a Rescue Center.

And there’s not a doubt, our girls, their unborn babies, needed rescuing.

Our first mom and baby

From abortion, abuse, horrors that still leave me angry at our cruel world.

But let me be clear, we are not the rescuers.

We can offer them a safe home, unconditional love, counseling, skills, good medical care and a full belly.

But we cannot give them hope. We cannot give them a future. We cannot wipe away every terror they have known in their short lives. We cannot heal them.

Oh, we try. But it’s not our job.

Only Jesus can do these things.

Several of our girls were accepting all that we offered, except Him. They knew they would have to trust the same One who allowed so much pain. It’s been a very challenging, painful couple of weeks.

But then it happened: every one of our girls have asked Jesus into their lives, to be Lord of the past, the present and the future.

And just like that, the heaviness lifted and Heaven rejoiced.

He alone can rescue.

And He has.

 

Why We Need to Be Creative

I love to make things.

I grew up in an enterprenure’s home, with a dad who can still come up with ten new business ideas on a napkin at dinner and with a mom who folk art painted on Thursday nights, made stain glass on Saturdays and created porcelain dolls in between.

You could say I inherited some of this (except I can’t come up with ONE business that will get my hubby next to me during day time hours and I’m a horrible painter).

Except for that.

But I love to create.

For a long time, my creativity could be found in my DIY projects and home decor. But after returning from Africa, I struggled with continuing to make it about me and not sharing some of it. Does that make sense?

I think that’s why I can’t believe I get to be a part of Mercy House, specifically helping to empower our girls by selling their artistic creations. It all makes sense, this creative outlet helping them help themselves. Plus, I really enjoy this part of it!

Creativity has come full circle for me. Mine has found a purpose and I’m finding my rhythm to allow my creativity free reign back in my home again…

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Why we need to be creative:

  • We serve a creative God. Just look around you. (He also may or may not have a sense of humor)
  • God created us to be creative.
  • We possess a unique, original gift of creativity. We can produce something that no one else can.
  • We honor Him when we produce something creative.
  • He receives glory in our creations.
Challenge: My hubby and I are dream-storming about the future (you know, instead of brainstorming). It takes  a lot of creative juices to think outside the box. Besides just mental creativity, I’m trying to scratch the itch that demands hands-on creativity.
So, with only items in my home and 10 minutes to spare, I made this:
-white platter on my shelf made a great canvas -leftover ribbon and stickers from an old project -flag pieces cut from a sentimental Compassion International flyer -put them together to make a happy sign
What can you come up with?

Pin It

And don’t even tell me in that whiny voice, “I’m not creative.” You know who you are.

YOU WERE CREATED TO BE CREATIVE. It doesn’t have to be crafty to be creative. Go make a unique dinner, organize the garage exceptionally, write something heartfelt.

Glorify Him thru your creativity.

Why are you still here?
Go!

WFMW: Family Phone

Well. I’ve gone and done it.

I’ve did something I said I would NEVER DO. Don’t you just love it when you have to eat your words.

(They taste like chicken).

I have said for years that I would never ever get my kids a cell phone before they were driving.

I just think it’s crazy how young kids are with phones and nice phones at that.

But then I got a sixth grader  and within 12 hours of being in “middle school” it dawned on me that my daughter was going to be in situations where she needed me. And more importantly, where I needed to connect with her (band practices, lessons, etc).

But since we still feel like she’s too young for her own phone and don’t want all the headaches that come with that much freedom, we opted for a family cell phone.

Our family cell phones stays at home and is only used when we drop off our daughter for an extracurricular school or church event. Or if she is a mother’s helper across the street, or I run and get a sweet tea and leave her in charge for 7.5 minutes, etc.

We were able to just add a line to our existing contract for $10 a month, so it was a cheap solution.

It gives her a small amount of freedom she craves and keeps me from worrying.

It works for us!


How to Talk to Your Husband About P*rn

Not a week goes by since writing our He Said She Said Series that I don’t receive an email from a broken wife telling me about her broken husband and their broken marriage. She shares details of how she caught him looking at images on the computer, of how she doesn’t know what to do, how to help him, where to go from here…

Just last week, my hubby and I handed in a lengthy marriage article to Lifeway’s Homelife Magazine on the very same subject (due out in January). We understand the vastness of the problem and just how difficult it is to find freedom.

We certainly aren’t experts. We’ve just been thru the battle and now stand on the other side, pointing to Him. Because God turned our trial into a testimony.

I don’t think 100% of men have a lust or pornography problem. But I promise it’s much higher than you think. I believe if your husband won’t talk to you about it (when you ask), or if he gets angry or defensive, the problem may be at your own front door.

If you have never had the conversation, you must. Don’t assume it will never happen to you (or him). By and large, this is the number one temptation many, many men face, including Christian men.

How to talk to your husband about porn:

  • Ask, don’t accuse. You might say something like, “I understand with the Internet being so accessible, that pornography is an issue for a lot of men. How do you handle the temptation?”
  • Suggest installing filters for all Internet-based technology (phones and computers, etc).
  • See if there’s any interest in reading the book Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (The Every Man Series) (it does say every man, after all)
  • Most importantly pray. This is not easy for anyone to talk about, but so necessary.
  • If you  have tween or teen boys, ask your husband if he would talk to them about this subject.
  • Count the cost: It might cost you something to “go there” or it might relieve you to know that this isn’t a battle for your husband. True intimacy is worth the risk.
  • Prepare your heart because if you ask, “Do you struggle with pornography?” he might say yes.

If He Says Yes

The first thing I want to say to you is you’re not alone. I’m not trying to minimize your pain-because believe me, I know it’s real. I just want you to know that healing is possible, freedom is available and restoration is hopeful.
  • Pray for your husband. He has a very big decision to make if he is to live in freedom
  • Don’t be his accountability partner, but insist he find a Christian one
  • Buy and have him read (to start with) Every Man’s Battle and you need to read For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men
  • Be proactive in your home-cut off cable, throw out magazines and catalogs with women’s clothing, get filters for phone and Internet, etc–your home needs to be a safe place
  • Ready and watch our He Said She Said Series
  • Ask him to stop viewing pornography, come completely clean and seek counsel.

And, please, find someone to talk to about this. Ask a Bible Study teacher, a friend in confidence…One of Satan’s biggest lies is to try and convince you that YOU CAN’T TELL ANYONE. Obviously this isn’t something that is easy for my husband and I to talk about, but there’s power in the word of your testimony and we feel passionate about helping couples expose this dark subject to The Light.

Talking to your spouse about this subject isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

photo source