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The Daddy Factor

There has been a noticeable change in my audiences over the last 10 years. Instead of a room full of young mommies who want to know how to answer their children’s early questions about sex, I look out on a very healthy mix of moms and dads. This is so encouraging to me!

Dads who show up to a workshop about how to shape their child’s sexual character are also probably going to SHOW UP in other ways…

in conversations that are uncomfortable

in setting boundaries for children they love and want to protect

in helping their children navigate the rough waters of the tween and teen years

in affirming a child’s beautiful mind and character

in leading by sacrificial example

The deep security a child knows as a result of an engaged father is immeasurable. No parent is perfect of course, but I had the blessing of a wonderful Dad, and am married to one, and see these fine men who are raising my grandchildren and grandchildren-to-be, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

The blessing of a faithful father is so important, that God made sure everyone could have one in Him, so that even when our earthly fathers don’t show up….He does.

Happy Father’s Day!


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Back to Basics… Vocabulary

This summer we are taking some time to review the basics of the Simple Truths strategy for talking to our children about sex. In Simple Truths, we focus on beginning the conversations, and preparing our families for future conversations that may be more challenging. But when our children are young and very curious, it’s the perfect time to build a foundation.

Our first step, as we have just seen in the last post, is to establish your MESSAGE. This will be the foundational image that you believe is the MOST important thing you want your children to learn about sex. See the emphasis on YOU?! This is personal to your family, and needs to reflect your values and beliefs, so only YOU can write your message.

Once you have your message (and please go back to step #1 if you do not) the next step is to consider your VOCABULARY. Parents are constantly telling their children…


Which WORDS are you using to identify their “privates”? Are you using general words like “bottom” or are you using “wingy-wangy-words” that are somewhat silly and baby sounding? Or are you using anatomically correct vocabulary? Why do we make the choices we do about this?

For some of us, we just can’t seem to say penis and vagina in front of our children. I know this was true of me. I was much more comfortable at bath time saying, “Don’t forget to wash your privates”, instead of correctly identifying them. I had to work my way into this. I finally made a compromise I could be comfortable with. I did name their parts, but went back and forth between using them specifically, and using the general term of “privates”.

For many of you, it’s not an issue at all, and you have called these parts by name from the beginning. Good for you! I would encourage all parents to evaluate your vocabulary in light of what will be valuable as you move into more in-depth conversations later on.

Another way that you might need to examine the vocabulary you use is this:  Are your words respectful? Some words like boobies or bootie are not necessarily offensive, but are they your best choice? Just something to think about. The words we use to identify something will eventually lead to the way we think about it. Are we building a foundation of respect or of casual disregard? Words matter.

When a baby is born, we are always curious…did they have a girl or a boy? With a young child, you can explain that the parents will know right away when they see the baby! How will they know? Not by looking at their eyes or hands or anything else, but God made them a boy or a girl and either gave them a penis or a vagina.

Keeping these words from our children may keep us from being embarrassed when they use them in front of our friends, or very loudly in the grocery store, but it may also eventually keep us from some important conversations that you will not want to miss.

And here is something else to keep in mind…I have been told by pediatricians that children who can properly identify their sexual parts are better able to communicate with their parents should there ever be an issue with abuse. A little girl was trying to tell her parents for weeks that a neighbor was “playing with her tutu”…the parents thought the little boy had been trying on her ballet costume. They didn’t realize that the child had named her vagina her “tutu” because she had not been given a correct name for this. This tragic situation could have been resolved or perhaps even prevented by some simple conversations and proper vocabulary. 

Do a vocabulary check this summer…are my words the ones that will be helpful in future conversations? Are they respectful? It’s so much easier to make these adjustments while your children are young.


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A Slower Walk

I just got back from a walk, and it was glorious! This spring Dallas has enjoyed plenty of rain and cooler temperatures, and the mosquitos aren’t out yet…so it’s a perfect time for exercising in the fresh air! If you are fortunate enough to have a small child along, try not to think so much about how many steps you log on your fit bit, but rather how many details you can find in the things that are blooming around you.

Feel the soft petals of the flowers and carefully look at the sprouting buds, and talk about seeds. In fact, maybe pick up a pack or two at the grocery story, and try growing some herbs or flowers at home so that they can catch on to the excitement! This time of year just begs for conversations about new life!

Fairy gardens are fun, and lend themselves not only to conversations about how things grow, but also feeds your child’s imagination! Here is a picture of my neighbor’s fairy garden…very nice, don’t you think?

fairy garden

Plus a few glances of spring from my walk


It’s earth day today…and I’m so grateful for the beauty that God has given us in spring!!

Now I DO KNOW that this is a weed


…but it’s my grandaughters’ favorite flower in Flo Flo’s yard!

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Ridley Family Update!

March 15 was one of the HAPPIEST days in the Ridley Family! Our son Davis married Chelsea O’Teter, and if weddings are any indication, they will live blissfully ever after. Here are a few pictures from the day…and the flower girls are our 3 grand daughters! So much fun…


Isn’t Chelsea a BEAUTIFUL bride??

Of course the Groom is pretty handsome, too!


But together, they are amazing!!


After a richly worshipful ceremony, we all danced the night away. We could not be happier for this precious couple!

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Blogging Booster Shot

Confession…I’m not a good blogger. I think maybe you knew that.

Maybe I’m not a blogger at all, but I’ve come to a conference this weekend to find out how to either do this blogging thing right, or….well, you know…not at all.

My hope is to be inspired and better equipped, and from the looks of it, Declare should do the trick. Just checked into the Marriott at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. Not far from home, and yet I’m thinking I might be in another world…the bloggers’ world. Let’s see if I belong here or not!

If you follow me, I’d love to have any comments about what you are looking for as I’m giving all of this a lot of thought. So grateful for each pair of eyes that look to this blog for encouragement and ideas! 

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Like my facelift?

Oh not me, silly….my website! You’ll have to check out and take a look around. My “web-lift” was performed by Michelle Covington, and I’m so grateful for her creative work to make it look years younger. It takes a skilled surgeon to understand the back side of web pages. You’re invited to visit as often as you like…and invite your friends!

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Catching Up 2.0

Now that I’ve introduced you to my grandbabies, I feel just slightly compelled to bring you totally up-to-date. So here is a quick snap shot of life with the Ridley Family since November…
Ridley’s second Birthday!


She wanted a birthday cake that looked just like Curious George’s cake…so Flo Flo tried her best…

Ridley's birthday cake

Grace Patten Hooper was baptised the next day, and what a blessing for our family!!!

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A few weeks later, we were all in Dallas for Thanksgiving…

Loved taking some walks

on a walk

Ridley liked licking the spoon…

licking the spoon

and Grace and Hannah had some fun cousin time!

Grace & Hannah

We also loved bringing all the girls to Southwest Airlines.

Flo Flo and Pops with girls at SWA

Hannah JUST turned 5 months last week…

Hannah at 5 months

And she is coming to Dallas tomorrow for a visit.

We are having so much fun!!! Even our crib friends are excited!

crib friends

Thank you for letting me share the joy of these past few months with you.

As our family grows and changes, God brings new blessings…and right now our cup is overflowing. It gives me a new appreciation for young moms and dads and the joys and challenges that you face. May God bless you and your precious ones.



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Let’s Catch Up!

Happy New Year, and welcome to my New Year’s Resolution…to blog more often. You’ll have to hold me accountable to blog at least once a month. I fell off the blogging cliff last year, and I’m trying to climb back up.

My excuse for not writing is a bundle of blessings named Jill Ridley Hooper, Grace Patten Hooper, and Hannah Florence Hudson. These grand-daughter-sweetie-pies have captured my heart and my time and I’m so grateful!

So let me give you the run down of 2012 with the Ridley family.

We’ll start with May 1, 2012….Grace Patten Hooper is born in Greenville, S.C. Second daughter of our first daughter, Meg and her husband, Travis. Notice Ridley’s eyes…not too sure about this!


The above picture doesn’t do Grace justice does it? Let me try again:


Big sister still checking her out…so sweet!

The whole family was there to welcome Grace!


Now we  move to June.

An amazing trip of a lifetime to Israel with Dave and Davis.

Dave's Camera 410

We  went with  a group from our church, with our pastor, Pete Deison, as our leader, and it was such a blessing! To be in Jerusalem and on the sea of Galilee, and the Mount of Olives…just  life changing!

Israel 093

Davis and I waded into the Sea of Galilee near the spot where Peter jumped in to meet the Lord for breakfast.

Mid summer was busy getting ready to publish my new book. Ann Higginbottom helped me every step along the way…including finding our artists to illustrate it…her darling nieces and nephews and their friends! This isn’t a new grand child…but almost! Here she is: God’s Very Good Design


This newest book takes the same steps that I encourage parents to take in Simple Truths, and it gives them the scriptures to support those steps. It’s a book for parent’s of young children, and I’m very excited about it! In Dallas? You can buy it at Logos bookstore, at the bookstore at Park Cities Presbyterian, and at St. Michael’s Women’s Exchange…or on line a

That brings us to the end of July….and Davis moved back to Dallas from North Carolina, and started working for Chick Fil A. So grateful to have one of our kiddos living in Dallas!!! Stop by the Hillcrest Store and look for the cute guy who is one of the managers!!

Davis at CFA

August 24, 2013…what an exciting day! We got the call from Ryan about midnight, grabbed our bags, and  caught a plane to Charlotte. As soon as we landed, we got this text:

Text from Ryan

I still get goose bumps reading this!! And when we arrived…there they were!

Jill and Hannah 08-24-12

We entered into the soft light of the delivery room…and we rejoiced!

Hannah 08-24-12

OH…I forgot to tell you, my grandmother name is Flo Flo, and Dave is Pops! So Flo Flo and Pops are popping with Joy! Three grandchildren..and all beautiful Carolina girls.

The fall months are a bit of a blur, with trips back and forth to the Carolinas. But two wonderful technologies keep out-of-town grandparents in the loop…Instagram and Face Time! Such fun, and so grateful that the girls keep me up to date.

I really shouldn’t over-do my first blog after such a long absence…so I’ll save the rest of our catch up time for tomorrow. I’m sure you’re exctied to see the rest of the family pictures (hmmmm)…but I’ll leave you with a happy family pic at Grace’s baptism in November. It was suppose to be my Christmas card, but they are still on my desk, so I’m going to call them Valentines!







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Pre-Holiday ideas

This morning I would like to welcome Michelle Covington to be my first guest blogger! She has some terrific ideas that I want her to share with you as you think about preparing your family for the holidays. It may seem a bit early…but it is coming soon, and I think your family will benefit from them!! Welcome, Michelle!!




That Fall Frame of Mind

Written by guest blogger Michelle Covington


It’s that time of year. The kids are in school, the weather is getting cooler, and if you’re somewhere other than Texas, the leaves are probably changing color. For most of us, the months of October through January pass by in a blur of constant activity. We have so much to do and prepare for with the increase of school activities and slew of holiday preparations on top of already busy schedules.


Christmas, that blessed and stressed season, is already creeping up on us. Walmart’s holiday section has made sure we’ve been aware of it for at least the past month. So, how do you plan to avoid stress during this fall season?


Not sure? Here are a few tips:

1)      Purchase Christmas presents early and online. This will take enormous stress off of the season and prevent those frantic last minute gift-scapades. Simple Truths materials happen to make GREAT Christmas presents for parents of young kids. Now, buy 10 or more Simple Truths discussion guides for $10.99 each, or 5 or more Simple Truths complete packages for $49.99 each.

2)      Let the kids help with those fall and Christmas decorations. Who doesn’t love a hand-print turkey mural or a popcorn garland? Plus, it will keep them busy and give them a sense of pride and inclusion in the season. You may even find some teachable moments.

3)      Take occasional self-assessment breaks. No matter how many things you have to do, take a moment for yourself, drink a pumpkin spice latte and make sure you’re not over-stressing.

4)      Exercise. It may seem counter-intuitive, but exercise is a great stress-reliever. It’s also the first thing we tend to scrap when we get busy, but you’ll be much happier and healthier taking as little as 10 to 15 minutes to get those endorphins pumping.

5)      Don’t be afraid to delegate. No matter how much you may want to do everything yourself, handing over the reins on certain things can be a mental-health necessity. No one expects you to be superwoman and most of the time friends and family are more than happy to help out.

6)      Prioritize. Focus on what is important. When you find yourself getting too busy, take a minute to decide if it’s really necessary to hand-stitch Christmas outfits for your children. Chances are, there’s something on your to do list that can wait until later, or be scrapped altogether.

7)      Don’t be a perfectionist. This can be a tough one for some of us. But remember, enjoying your friends and family during this time is much more important than having every piece of tinsel perfectly placed. People will appreciate the quality time you spend with them much more than they will appreciate your immaculate, perfectly decorated house. Remember, it’s not a contest.

8)      Keep gifts for your kids simple. Think about what you gave your kids for Christmas last year. Can you remember what all of those gifts were? Can they remember? Do they still use them? Consider only giving your child one gift from each person in the family or selecting a theme such as 4 gifts – something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.

9)      Know when to say no. Don’t feel like you have to attend every event, party, and activity you and your kids are invited to. Everyone understands that the holidays are busy, and the most important thing is enjoying your time with family and friends. Frantically running from one thing to the next can interfere with your enjoyment factor.

10)   Plan ahead. Lots of stress can be avoided by planning out a holiday schedule. Designate gift shopping days, decorating days, baking days… If something is important, put it on the schedule. If it’s not important enough to schedule in advance, it’s probably not important enough to worry about.

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Point of View

I’m looking forward to being a guest on the radio program Point of View on Monday October 10 from 2:00-4:00. Kerby Anderson is the host, and people seem to call in with very interesting questions…you could be one of them!

If you are in Dallas, please listen on 91.2 FM or you can go to the website and listen at any time.

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