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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!

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

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Big sister still checking her out…so sweet!

The whole family was there to welcome Grace!

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Now we  move to June.

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

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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!

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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

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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 http://www.maryflo.org

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:

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

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

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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 www.pointofview.net and listen at any time.

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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 www.maryflo.org

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On the radio!

 

 

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week I will be interviewed by Dennis Rainey on his radio program, Family Life Today. It was a great pleasure to meet him last spring when we recorded this interview, and he was very gracious to me in my first national radio experience. If you live in the Dallas area, it will be on KCBI at noon, or you can go to www.familylife.com and listen at your convenience!

Hope you’ll tune in…

 

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For 25 Years…

In 1986 I gave my first workshop and it was titled, “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Character”.  At that time, I thought it would be a one-time-only training workshop for the Dallas Junior League. After researching, thinking, writing, interviewing and praying for six months, my interest in this subject grew as I was a young mother, and was wondering how I would attempt to talk to my own children.

My original plan was to say nothing at all and hope for the best.

It had worked well for my parents…

Now, 25 years later, I consider this work to be one of the greatest surprises and joys in my life. This year I have had the privilege of speaking 37 times to various groups from Houston to Fargo and to meet young parents of the next generation who are teaching their own children what they want them to know about sex. Hopefully they will be encouraged and equipped to share with their children that this mysterious union is a blessing designed by God for marriage. But truthfully, I leave parents with the choice to deliver whatever message THEY think is the most important.

Twenty five years ago my daughters were 4 and 1, and Davis was but a twinkle in his daddy’s eye (do people say that anymore?). I know that as Dave and I attempted to communicate with our own children we often failed miserably, and missed opportunities because it took time for us to gain the confidence that this was the right path. May you, dear reader, take confidence that this is a good strategy for parenting. I believe even the most flawed attempt at talking to your children about sex is far better than leaving such an important part of parenting to a slick movie at school.

These are your children, and they want and need to hear your voice to give context to this subject.

My goal is simply for parents to get started…I hope you have started.

I am forever grateful to every parent who has come at sometime during these 25 years. We have had some wonderful conversations haven’t we? I have learned so much from you and you have blessed me and this work with your presence. May I slice you a piece of cake?

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