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!

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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


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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Looking backwards, forwards

This has been a very special year for many reasons. (Like school children, my working year is counted from September to May) I’m so grateful to all of the groups that invited me to speak in…Houston, Charlotte NC, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, and Augusta GA. Each stop brought special friends and memories. Hard to believe, but 37 times this year it was my privilege to present a message to parents, and each time it was a blessing to me!

A very special thank you to Just Say YES who does an amazing job of booking, shipping, and supporting in every way! A big shout out to  LINDA ROSSI !! She has been my right arm for several years, and I can never thank her enough. If you have ever had the joy of working with her, you know what I’m taking about.

An exciting new addition this year, thanks to the Council for Life and Sue Bailey was Breaking The Cycle. A redesign of my message for teen moms who want to raise their children with a different image of sex than what they grew up with. I’m so grateful to Brenda Teele who partners with me in this effort.

Looking ahead,  there are two opportunities this summer that I’m particularly excited about.  Focus on the Family has invited me for an interview on their radio program and the taping will be at the end of June. I will keep you posted about when it will be broadcast. And in August, I’ll be speaking at the MOPS International Convention. These milestones would not have happened without the prayer and support of many friends, and I know that! What a journey this has been.

And one more piece of BIG NEWS…my new book is coming out this summer!! I want to save an entire blog post for that…so stay tuned!

Looking back over this year, I am grateful and astounded by the opportunities that God has granted me to share with parents and make new friends…and looking ahead I am blown away, with breathless thanks for what He is bringing!!

Thank you for your part!

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A friendly list

Following an event last week,  I met a man and his wife who have 3 daughters. The oldest is entering middle school next fall, and the dad was lamenting, “I know that the ‘boyfriend thing’ is on the horizon…some of her friends are already there. What is a good way to start a conversation about this? I’d like to know what she’s thinking, and I’d also like to have a little input.”

My advice was for him to ask his daughter to make a list

Leave off the word BOY, and just ask her to make a list of what a GREAT FRIEND looks like. More than likely she will have things on her list like honest, loyal, funny, kind, considerate, a good listener, encouraging, someone I can laugh with, unselfish, trustworthy, caring…. Now you can admire her for her high standards, and let her know that these are also the perfect things to look for in a future boyfriend.

Somewhere along the way, you may want to point out to her that the word HOT doesn’t appear on her list. You can let her know that although mutual attraction IS an important part (our culture tells us it’s the ONLY part), it’s not nearly as important as everything else on her list. This person should first of all be a good friend.

This is obviously only the start of conversations about boy-girl relationships. But like so many things in our lives, it helps to have a starting point….and for me, it’s usually a list!

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Beauty and Boundaries

Going to the zoo this spring? I’ll bet your children enjoy seeing the monkeys, zebras, and exotic birds. When you get to the tigers’ den there’s an excitement about being close to something that would be dangerous to you outside of the zoo. If that tiger were loose in your neighborhood, you would run inside and lock the doors, yet within the safety of secure boundaries they are beautiful animals to watch.  Tigers are as powerfully fierce as they are beautiful, and we respect the threat that they can pose as well as appreciate the beauty and mystery that is so compelling.

There are other examples in nature of things that are both fearful and wonderful…the ocean, fire, and sex. Powerful, compelling, mysterious, and when enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s purposes, beautiful. We are drawn to these things, but we must be aware of their potential danger.

If you find a teachable moment at the zoo, or  the beach, or in front of a fire pit this spring…take advantage of it! Some things that are powerful and beautiful need to be approached carefully. Just because something is beautiful, doesn’t mean you run to it with total abandon. Enjoying the beauty while respecting the boundaries for something that is both fearful and wonderful is a good life lesson.

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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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What about Adoption?

Almost every time I speak, I am asked how to explain conception and birth to adopted children. There are particular issues that come up both for the parents (explaining birth when you haven’t experienced it can be emotional), and for the children as they grow up understanding their story of origin.

It has been my honor to be associated with Tapestry…a wonderful group that addresses all of the adoption and foster family issues in such an encouraging way.

The 2011 Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Conference will be held on Saturday, October 29, from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm in Irving, Texas. You can visit and take a look at the various sessions and speakers that are lined up. I’ll be one of the break-out speakers, and I’d love to meet you there!

Even though nearly 1,000 people have signed up, there is still room for more, and the folks at Tapestry want to make sure that every adoptive and foster family who wants to is able to come, so here is some really good news…the conference is FREE!! It is important to register, however, so please get to that website today!

You also might want to check out the 10 great reasons that people should join us for the 2011 Tapestry Conference. You can see the list at

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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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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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