Archive for November, 2009

Empty Nest Thanksgiving

Dave and I have an empty nest and we just had a wonderful Thanksgiving! How does that happen?

We have three children, Meg, Jill & Davis.

Meg (27) is married to Travis and they live in Greenville, South Carolina. Jill (24) is married to Ryan  and they live in Indianapolis, Indiana. Davis (21) is a Junior at Clemson University in South Carolina. Davis came home…THANK GOODNESS… but our daughters spent the holiday with their husbands’ families in states FAR, FAR away.

I thought it would be too painful for words. Without Meg & Jill laughing and helping in the kitchen and visiting around the table….I imagined holidays without them as “the worst”!

But here is what happens…

First, you are so thrilled with the young men they have married that you are happier than you thought you’d be. Just knowing how happy your children are gives you sort of an unselfish peace. And you also adore the families they have married into…so sharing comes easier than you might think! 

Second, you have the most amazing friends who invite you and your husband and son to share the holiday with them. Put together three families who are each missing someone, and what do you get? An unexpected blessing!

And now that we shared so nicely for Thanksgiving, we can look forward to getting EVERYONE home for Christmas! Yipeee!

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After Thanksgiving Jeans

We just finished our last bit of Thanksgiving leftovers…. and I wondered why do they taste even better now than they did on Thursday? Maybe, like fine wine, they age well. For whatever reason, I’m always sorry to see them go. But as they disappear, something else appears. No, not the Christmas Tree…not just yet.

My most comfortable, just-one-size-too-big-jeans!

Hopefully, I don’t have to wear them for long, but like an old friend, they call to me from the back of my closet…and am I ever glad to see them! Not very stylish, but they’ll get me around on my errands until I can walk off some of the stuffing!

I hope your holiday was full of family, and joy, and your favorite foods. We have much to be thankful for…even if some of our football teams didn’t win. God is still good.

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Ridley Pumpkin Cake

Let’s take a holiday break from talking about sex and share a recipe! Even though food is not really the focus of this blog, you may need to know that I LOVE to make cakes. And what a deal, because my husband really loves to EAT cakes. I’m more of a salty person myself…it’s not safe for me to be in the same room with a bag of chips.

Will work for Cheetos.

The #1 requested cake from family and friends is my Pumpkin Cake. Lucky for me, it’s also the easiest cake there is. People love to eat it at Thanksgiving, so I’m sharing it with you in time for Thursday. From our house to yours, we hope each of you have a day full of family and friends…with great thanks to God for all of His blessings!

                                               Ridley Pumpkin Cake


2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 cups sugar, 1¼ cups Wesson oil (I use “Best Blend” Wesson), 1 small can of Libby’s sold pumpkin, 4 large eggs

Combine all of the above, mixing well and pour into tube or bundt pan that has been sprayed with Pam.

Place in oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees.

Bake 55-60 min. (be certain it is fully cooked)

Remove from oven, cover with clean dish towel, and cool overnight (or refrigerate 2 hours)


 1 8 oz. Block of regular Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 stick of margarine (Blue Bonnet) 1 pound powdered sugar 

Allow cream cheese and margarine to soften about 15-20 min. at room temp. and then cream together with the vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar, and mix until smooth. Ice cooled cake.

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By God’s Design

Whether you are explaining birth, reproduction, or conceiption, I have found the easiest way to start the conversation is with these 3 words:”By God’s design…….”. Letting these words lead the way allows you and your child to enter into the WONDER of it all!

“By God’s design, a baby has a special place to grow called the uterus”

“By God’s design,  this is how the baby leaves the uterus (or womb) and is born”

 “By God’s design, there are seeds or eggs deep inside of every living thing”

 “By God’s design, a husband and wife were made to be one”.

Perhaps one of  the perplexing parts of talking to your children about sex is knowing how to even start your first sentence. When Dave and I were searching for a way to begin those conversations, these three words served us well. We found security in the fact that the original idea of sex was not of our own making.

Hollywood didn’t think it up it either.

Every part of sex…the simple and the complex has a Designer, and His design includes purpose, and creativity. When we start with Him and His design, it all becomes much less complicated.

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Are You Ready?

Before you start to talk to your children about sex…you may want to hit the pause button and be sure you are ready for this. Will these conversations bring up some part of your past that is painful? Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need forgiveness? Is there some  heavy baggage that you need to unload before you pass it on to your children?

From now on this needs to be much more about your children and their future and not so much about you and your past. Now may be the perfect time for you to resolve some things and if the past is affecting your perspective, I  would say that it’s essential to step back, and perhaps receive some counseling or guidance so that your message to your children can be a positive one.

Of course, doing this may be easier said than done, but for the sake of your children, an honest examination of your opinions, attitudes, and possible pain may be the first place to visit on this journey.

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Quite a Day!

I feel like a new mother.

My children are 27, 24 and 21. Two are married and one is in college…but last Thursday I gave birth to my workbook/video project! It has been a 10 year gestation process. 

Just like a new mother, I’m pretty proud, a little scared, and wondering where this child will go and who his friends will be. His name is “Simple Truths with Mary Flo Ridley”…and you’ll get to meet him very soon. This blog will contain some of the tips and strategies that you will find in Simple Truths, and look for a “give-away” before Christmas!

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Name That Post

The other night it occured to me that so far my posts have 3 words in the titles. “Keep it Simple”, “Open for Questions”, etc. and I wondered how long I could keep this up???

I must have been REALLY bored.

Because I came up with about 225 ideas for 3-word Post titles. Would you like to hear a few?

“By God’s Design”

“Let Parents Tell” 

“Knit Together Perfectly”   

 “Grocery Store Porn”     

“Shock and Awe”      

“Theology in Bodies”     

“Did You Wait?”    

 “Is it Sex?”    

“Get There First”       

“What’s Your Hurry?”      

“Get Grandma Ready”      

 “That Sounds Funny!”    

 “Raise Your Eyebrows”    

“Dancing With Daddy”     

 “No means NO”      

“Pull the Plug”    

 “Also for Oneness”    

 “You Tube Parenting”      

“Wingy-Wangy Words”

I won’t give you the other 206 titles, but I think we’re going to be meeting here for a while. Let’s see…where should we start?

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Town & Country

OrangeSquareGetting my nails done gives me the pleasure of reading magazines that I would never buy. Yesterday I picked up Town & Country. To my surprise there was an article about how and when to talk to your kids about sex. Of course it got my attention. It was written by a pediatrician, and I was very surprised to find that she advised parents not to talk to younger children unless they ask. I know this was a popular idea for many years, but I think that this approach is leaving a very important topic up to chance. We can do better than that!

We can explain birth, conception, and the design of reproduction in the early years whether they ask or not. If we keep our focus on the basic biology and our values we can introduce the subject of sex without the emotional awkwardness.

When they are young, hearing about seeds and eggs and babies is just a part of all of the other things they are discovering! Let the age appropriate conversations begin.

Town and Country may be very chic, but in this category…so 80’s.

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When Or Who?

ClockAlmost every time I speak to parents, they ask me “When is the best time to tell my children about sex?”. Parents who are conscientious want to get this right. They don’t want to tell their children too early, and they don’t want to be too late. Here is the problem with that question….it doesn’t take into account the fact that children who are the very same age may live in under the influence of different age groups. Let me explain.

I’ll introduce you to two 6-year-olds. Here is William. William is a first-born 6-year-old. He lives in a 6-year-old world, tells 6-year-old jokes, watches 6-year-old tv, and William’s world does not reach beyond the scope of a 6-year-old.

Now I’d like for you to meet Hudson. Hudson is also a 6-year-old, but he is the youngest of  four. Hudson has a 16-year-old brother, and twin 12-year-old sisters. Hudson tells 16-year-old jokes, watches 16-year-old tv, and he doesn’t know who Big Bird is, because his older brother told him that Big Bird is for babies, and Hudson is no baby. Hudson also knows everything that is on his sisters’ Facebook and under his brother’s bed.

Even though William and Hudson are both 6 and are on the same soccer team they are living in different worlds, and they come to first grade with different perspectives and with different information. Our families are the age of our oldest child…and the rest just have to keep up! We are involved in the activities of the oldest child, and our younger children get exposure to things that our first-born wasn’t exposed to. Because of this reality, the big question changes from “When do I tell my children?” to “Do I want to be the one to tell my children?”  If you want to be the one, then telling them will come sooner than you think!

As you follow this blog, I hope you’ll come to understand that this is actually very good news. Giving parents the power of the first impression, and the privilege of these early conversations, is a key to parenting on this important topic.

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Open for Questions

LightblueSquareThis morning the Dallas Morning News online blog for moms carried a nice entry about my parent program, “Sooner than you Think”. Thank you, Amy! Click here to read the post.

I would also like to invite you to send questions to me through this blog.

Questions anyone?

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