Monday, January 30, 2012

My Glass Is Half-Full by Carla Foote, mom of two

I have to confess that I’ve been a little whiney lately. Not something I’m proud of. Maybe it started last month when I had the refrigerator repairman out a second time so we could have water and ice cubes dispense from the fridge rather than just a drippy puddle on the wood floors from somewhere under the fridge. Or maybe it was the fact that last weekend when I pushed the button to start the clothes dryer, nothing happened.  Or that I went to the ATM for some cash over the weekend, and my card didn’t work!

As I listened to myself, I heard way too much whining over these small inconveniences and decided to shift my thinking to the positive:

I have a refrigerator, a freezer, a water and ice dispenser, and my water is clean enough to drink. My house has reliable electric power, so I can run my appliances. I have milk, eggs, apples and ice cream and all sorts of food. I am grateful.
"My attitude is something
that I can choose."

I have a washer and a dryer. I don’t have to wash my clothes in a river and drape them over bushes to let them dry. And I have lots and lots of clothes. Not to mention a husband who dismantled the dryer, put some W-D 40 on the dryer engine and fixed it. I am grateful.

I have enough money for groceries, gas and so much more. I am grateful.

My attitude is something that I can choose. Some days I make better choices than other days. But more and more, I want to choose gratefulness. 

Dear God, thank you for giving me all that you have. Grant me your perspective, that I might maintain an attitude of gratefulness regardless of my circumstances. Amen. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ugly Duckling by Rachel Oliver, expectant mother

I may only be 12 weeks pregnant, but mommy fears have already crept into my brain. How bad is labor and delivery? What if I can’t breastfeed? Will I be a bad mom if I put my child in daycare? What if there’s something wrong with my baby? I dismiss most with a simple, I’ll deal with that if it happens and focus on trusting God that I am the mother he created for this baby. But one very superficial fear keeps popping up.

What if I have a homely child?
I know it’s silly, but let me set the stage. My brother and his wife have two gorgeous kiddos with an expectedly-gorgeous third on the way. People actually comment on how beautiful they are when they’re out in public. That’s a lot to live up to.
"Charm is deceptive,
and beauty is fleeting."

My husband and I are attractive enough people and, most likely, our child will be a beautifully-average child who will capture my heart immediately … and yet I fret. Fret is a good word for it, because to say I worry puts too much emphasis on it. I sometimes worry that I won’t be as good of a mom as I could or should be. I might worry that my child will make bad choices. But I fret that I will have an unattractive child.

And then I am reminded in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.” My mom told me that while I was in her womb she would pray that God would grant me a gentle spirit. I think that’s probably a better use of my time – praying for a child whose spirit is beautifully loving. 

Dear God, thank you for the blessing of children. Please fill my child with your beautiful goodness. Give him eyes to see those who are hurting and in need and a heart that moves him to help.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grace for the Good Girl—letting go of the try-hard life by Emily P. Freeman

I had a friend recommend this book and although I haven’t finished reading it yet I have found it to be very enlightening.  The following is the summary from the back cover of the book:

You’re strong. You’re responsible. You’re good. But as day fades to dusk, you begin to feel the familiar fog of anxiety, the weight and pressure of holding it together and of longing left unmet. Good girls sometimes feel that the Christian life means doing hard work with a sweet disposition. We tend to focus only on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods.

But what would happen if we let grace pour out boundless acceptance into our worn-out hearts and undo us? If we dared to talk about the ways we hide, our longing to be known, and the fear in the knowing?

In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites you to release your tight hold on that familiar, try-hard life and lean your weight heavy into the love of Jesus. With an open hand, a whimsical style, and a heart bent brave toward adventure, Emily encourages you to move from your own impossible expectations toward the God who has graciously, miraculously, and lovingly found you.

I also wanted to include a few passages that stood out to me.

This innate desire to be good indeed protected me from a lot of heartache and baggage. It protected me from teenage pregnancy and bad grades and jail.  But it did not bring me any greater understanding of God.  It did not protect me from my own impossible expectations.

I subconsciously categorized people into classes of either right or rebellious rather than seeing them as people in desperate need of God.

Anything we do to get life and identity outside of Christ is an idol, even service to Christ. He doesn’t want my service, He wants me.

There is a powerful video that will give you a better idea of who the book it written for and what it is about.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Daily Juggling Act By Sarah Jio, mother of three

As an author of soon-to-be four novels and mom to three boys, my life is pretty full. Full of chores, tasks, activities, and “To Do” lists. People often ask me how I manage to write books while tending to my very active kids, and as I glance around my office and see the Legos scattered beneath my desk and a sippy cup next to my keyboard, I'm reminded of what a juggling act my life is. I'm devoted to being the best mom and the best writer I can be, but there are certainly days the two don’t mix.
"My attitude is that this
is my season to be a mom."

Just last week, my three-year-old threw one tantrum after the next, my five-year-old spilled a container of yogurt all over the rug (it was an epic spill), and my baby excelled in his role as Mr. Fussypants Extraordinaire (teething). Needless to say, I didn't write a single word that day. Before I had kids, I used to write in big stretches of time. I'd have all-day writing marathons on Saturdays, and log eight, or even ten, glorious hours at my desk. Nowadays, I'm lucky to get a full hour of uninterrupted writing time.

But I’m learning that’s okay. My attitude is that this is my season to be a mom. I doubt I’ll ever look back and say, "I wish I'd written that book faster." But I bet I will wish I'd taken them to the park more when they asked to go. I try to keep this all in mind when I feel discouraged or frustrated, and it always helps. True, my life does require a lot of juggling, but it’s mine, and I cherish it.

Dear God, thank you for creating me for all my important jobs. Grant me the strength and wisdom to do each with grace. Amen.

Sarah Jio is the author of four novels, including The Violets of March, and The Bungalow. To learn more about her and her novels, visit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 pack of ranch dressing mix (or 1 tsp garlic salt)
1 can of drained mandarin oranges
slivered almonds
bow tie pasta
8-9 chicken strips (boiled)

Mix together first two ingredients.  Then, mix with all other ingredients.  Serve cold.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Like Father, Like Mother by Jacy Bowers, mom of 2

My son earned the lead role for his second grade musical around the same time I agreed to a speaking engagement. Talking comes naturally to both of us, so I was surprised to realize we were both feeling anxious about our upcoming events.

Throughout our preparation, I had no problem encouraging my son. I confidently told him I believed in him, that acting was one of his gifts, and that I knew he was going to be great. But as I worked on my talk, I couldn’t help feeling insecure and scared. I could build up my son, but couldn’t believe the same about myself.
"I believe in my son,
just as God believes in me."

Then it hit me: I believe in my son, just as God believes in me. In the midst of my fear and insecurity, my Father was trying to encourage me. God believed my gifts made me well-suited for this speaking role. Why couldn’t I believe that too?

Thanks to our practice together, my son ended up having a lot of fun with his performance. And thanks to the lesson I learned from encouraging my son, I was ready to do the same with my speaking engagement.
Dear God, thank you for giving me children that I can love and support the same way that you do for me. As I lift up my children, remind me that you lift up me. Amen. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Toy Review: Mamaroo

My son, Graham, just turned three months old today.  For the past few weeks he has been smiling and learning to focus on people and things around him.  It is the best thing in the world to see him smile.    

But during those times when I need to have a minute to get some things done around the house, Graham gets to enjoy the mamaroo.  It is like a futuristic swing.  We love it.  It has five unique motions including Car Ride, Kangaroo, Tree Swing, Rock-A-Bye, Ocean Wave with five different speeds.  Our favorite is the car ride on the fastest speed.  It includes a removable toy mobile with three plush toy balls decorated in the style of classical artists (Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat).  We love the five built-in nature sounds, plus a hookup for any mp3 player.


The mamaroo is great for putting Graham to sleep and for times when he is awake and just wants to look around.  It is a bit pricey, but has been great to have.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My New Year’s Resolution By Heidi Rogers, mom of two

I am what most people would classify as a perfectionist. Type A. A goody-goody. You know, good grades, hard worker, natural-born leader…all that jazz. When it comes to life, I’ve done things “right.” I set my goals and I accomplish them.

But when it comes to mothering, all that flies out the window. I want to be patient during tantrums in the middle of aisle 12 and during colic at 3 a.m., but I find myself feeling guilty for snapping at the whining and crying over the crying. I forget to change diapers. I give up easily in the battle over vegetables. I want to scream when sleep and naps don’t take place. And sometimes I do scream.
"Striving for perfection
and mothering
just don’t mix."

I have never been more humbled than I am as a mother. Striving for perfection and mothering just don’t mix. As appealing as it seems to have it all together and react calmly to every hiccup I encounter, I’ve found I learn more from mistakes and seeking forgiveness. My New Year’s resolution for 2012? No more resolving. Instead, I choose to sit in the place God has placed me, and let Him shape me into the mom I could never be on my own.

Dear God, thank you for not expecting me to be the perfect mother. Show me how to step back from striving and let you transform me instead. Amen.