Archive for Parenting

A Christmas Story

Merry Christmas, and bless you loyal follower!

Walking around the house today, I had time to look at the various manger scenes we have collected through the years.

My children had their favorites, but when I was a little girl, we only had one nativity.

Placing the Christ Child and Mary and Joseph, and all of the animals and kings and shepherds in the manger was a special Christmas tradition. I wondered about the star, the angels, but especially about Mary and Joseph. Your children may be doing some wondering as well, so let’s think about what some of those questions might be and how you might answer them.

Children are so practical, that it may not be the spiritually rich questions that they are wondering about. At least not at first. With new words to consider like frankincense, and swaddling, and sore afraid, and…

“Mommy, what does virgin mean?”  Your daughter asks as she is arranging the nativity on the coffee table.

You, however, are focused on untangling the tree lights and can’t really hear her over the high volume of Elf in the background.

“VIRGIN MARY” she asks again, but in equal volume….”What does VIRGIN mean?”

“OH!” looking up, “MARY! Yes, she is called the Virgin Mary because she wasn’t married yet.”

After a pause, you start again.

“She had never been close to a man, like a wife and husband are.”

You wonder if it’s easier to untangle the lights or the words you are tossing out.

“Huh??”Her 6-year-old eyes are squinting.

You put down the tree lights, find the remote to turn down the volume, and cross your legs to sit on the floor next to her at the coffee table.

As you pick up the Virgin Mary, you tell her sweetly, “Mary was a young lady engaged to Joseph….that means that they were intending to get married, but were not yet married, so they did not live together or sleep together. She had kept herself pure for her husband, which meant that she had not shared her body with any man.  The Bible tells us all of this. God chose her to give birth to His son, Jesus. God sent an angel to tell Mary all about it, and at first Mary was a little scared, but more than anything she was honored to be Jesus’ mother, because she loved God.”

Now you pick up Joseph.

Actually you accidentally pick up a shepherd, but your daughter corrects you and hands you Joseph.

“Joseph loved Mary, but when he found out that Mary was pregnant with the baby Jesus, he could not understand how that could have happened. God had never done anything like this before, and Joseph was thinking that perhaps Mary had become pregnant by being with some other man. An angel from God came to Joseph and reassured him that indeed God had placed his Only Son in Mary’s womb and that they were to name the baby Jesus because He would save His people from their sins.”

“From that time on, Joseph took very good care of both Mary and the Christ Child that she was carrying. He was probably the first to see Jesus when He was born! He and Mary knew from the beginning that Jesus was fully God and fully man, and they were amazed!”

By this time she is reaching for the remote because this is now her favorite part of Elf.

But you look on in wonder…. again. And someday, she will, too!


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Father-Son Feast

In my programs, I have joked about my husband Dave taking our then-12-year-old son Davis out for hunting trips and having some rather intense ….Father-Son-Pre-Teen-Talks!!!

I wondered if that had somehow traumatized either Dave or Davis??

Well, yesterday was the opening of dove season here in Texas, and it looks likes they handled it pretty well.

We will be having a delicious feast tomorrow night at a gathering of Davis’ friends and their parents with grilled dove,  chile cheese grits, salad, and I’m suppose to bring dessert…. any suggestions?

Many thanks to Neil Harris for treating all of the fathers and sons to a great hunt at their farm in Sanger, Texas.

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Under the influence?

Are you curious about who or what has the power to influence your children? Is it the back of the cereal box? the latest video game? The newest ap?

According to research, that answer depends on the age of your child. From ages 0-7 parents have the strongest influence, from 7-11 teachers and coaches, and from 11-16 their peers. This makes sense because as their world widens, they are met with forces outside of the home that have new and different ideas that sometimes reinforce what was taught at home and sometimes challenge them.

But what about subjects that are never taught at home?

Topics that are left OUT at home are left UP to others. Where there is a void of influence at home, it will be taken up by the culture at large.

I encourage parents to think about a sponge being in the mind of their children. It’s up to parents to either fill that sponge with the ideas about their sexuality that the parents want them to have, or else their children will absorb whatever they may pick up on the playground, or the next click on the computer. I don’t say this to frighten parents, but to open them up to the great opportunity that is before them. Before the hormones kick in, before the culture has it’s turn, you can have the power of the first impression.You have the chance to fill the sponge…drop by drop!

If you need some encouraging resources, please go to

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More Foundation Thoughts

For a few weeks I’ve been walking by the new house being built in our neighborhood, and I see a lot of progress! I also see a lot of things that remind me of parenting.

The men who originally laid the foundation are now pulling off the wooden forms…that means the foundation is set, and can stand on its own. Notice discarded wooden forms.

Deep inside of these concrete foundations are two things: strong iron rods, and many small stones.

Apparently the ingredients for a firm foundation are

#1 seemingly small things

#2 clearly strong things

#3 holding on until it’s time to let go.

When we look back, we see that indeed it was a mountain of seemingly incidental conversations, events,  and actions, and a few iron rods of certainties, held up by the form of ever-present parents, friends, and the church.

And in time the cement is set.

We hope and pray and instruct and guide, and mess up, and try again. We have plans, but they usually get changed…

Thankfully the unchanging love of God never lets go. When we need to pull away,  the Lord will hold them up. And when they build their lives upon His firm foundation, the house will stand.

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Healthy, Junk, or Poison?

What did your kids eat today?  Some whole grain goodness wrapped up in a Cheerio? How much do we love it when they ask for a second helping of brocoli?  If our children are picky eaters and will only eat mac and cheese it stresses us out a bit. We want them to get all the nutrients of a balanced diet.

It’s OK if they have the occasional junk food…the chips, soft drinks, pizza, sugar cereal. Everyone enjoys those treats. But all in all, as parents we oversee the menu for the week and do our best to insure that what we offer is as healthy as possible.  At least we try.

Now let’s think about what their brains are taking in over the airwaves each week. How much of what they consume is healthy tv? How much is junk?

One thing we would never let our children put in their mouths is poison! We lock it up, and panic at the thought that they might accidentally ingest a toxin that could really harm them. There may not be a skull and crossbones on some of the tv shows, movies, or video games that are out there, but maybe there should be. When you consider what devastation can come from a steady diet of the programming that Hollywood is cooking up.

The problem is that they flavor it with  a cup of humor, two tablespoons of great acting, and a dash of pizzaz. We hardly know we’re swallowing anything objectionable.

I know, I know.  I may sound like a downer…but should small children watch Glee? Modern Family? even old re-runs of Friends? What are they learning? Is it contrary to your values? Then consider taking it OFF the menu. It may be a sacrifice for you. It’s certainly your decision, but be sure you ARE deciding. Some of the attitudes our children will pick up about sex haven’t come directly from you, but indirectly through the tv and movies that are consumed under your care.

What one person considers healthy, fine, or fun, another thinks is awful. We all have different taste buds when it comes to what we watch. I’m not judging, just encouraging you to consider what’s best for those growing minds and hearts!

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That DEEP voice

The voice of Dad.

The chief.

Mom may get more opportunities to talk to the kids (because of time and circumstances), but your children need to hear Dad’s voice, too! 

BE THERE for them on this topic, and you will never regret it. Statistics are on your side, showing the positive effect of an involved dad who speaks up about sex. Blessings are also on your side.

But even if your children grow up to make decisions you wish they hadn’t made…you will have the credibility to talk to them as they mature if you initiated conversations when they were young or if you answered their questions with sincerity.

Once a man told me that he was deeply saddened to hear about his 16-year-old son having sex with his girlfriend. I asked how he found out, and the dad said,  “Actually, my son told me, after I asked some very direct questions about his relationship with his girlfriend.” he went on to say, “We were able to talk through how he crossed the line, and how he needed to get back on track…I think he trusted me with this information because we had been in conversations for so many years.”

Difficult, but beautiful.

There is research from Dr. Kevin Leman that an involved dad can make all the difference, particularly in the life of his daughters. The daughter who knows her dad has high expectations, and a deep involvement in her intellectual, social and spiritual growth is a daughter who will have the confidence to manage the difficult years.

Talking to your kids about sex is not a guarantee that they will do exactly what you hope they do. But it IS a guarantee that you will have a relationship with them on this subject.

I’m not saying it’s an easy subject.

But you can handle it, big guy!

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I Heart MOPS


I’d like to give a shout-out today to a group I have long admired.


Mothers of Preschoolers.  What I love about them is that they recognize the true importance of this season of parenting.

They are all about planting the seeds of strong marriages and rearing children who love the Lord.

 If you have a preschooler you are my hero. At this age, your children may not be able to tie their shoes, or reach the light switch, or get themselves buckled into their car seats. These are high maintenance years for moms filled with exhaustion, but balanced by joy and the most tender moments imaginable. Your children will love you with abandon while wearing you out! MOPS gives support and encouragement for both sides of this equation.

MOPS began in 1973 when  a group of mothers got together for the purpose of supporting mothers of preschoolers. They organized a time together with mentors, speakers, and sharing. Through the years, they have grown into an international organization that is standing ready to welcome you as if you were the only mother with a preschooler!

For over 25 years I have had the great privilege of speaking to MOPS groups all over the country. You could say I cut my teeth by speaking to MOPS groups, because they fed me the questions that mothers get quite often at this age….”Mommy, how does that baby get out of you?”…etc.

I have found that mothers of preschoolers and I agree that these impressionable years are not to be missed. Raising up a child in the way they should go starts right from the start. Learning respect for bodies from their parents, as well as a pure wonder at God’s creation, is a great start on the road to shaping their character. 

If you are finding yourself either wanting to give or receive this kind of support…let me commend a local MOPS group to you. You can find them on-line at

I am a fan of MOPS because of the dignity and purpose that is bestowed on these young mothers – THE HEROES OF THE HOME, the ones who tenderly care for the young.

God bless them every one!

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