• Heartprints

    Shoe Box Christians

    Am I rushing things to ask you to think about Thanksgiving in September? Maybe. But, please hear me out. What characterizes the Christian life more than that of giving thanks? We do a lot of activities ahead of time during advent and lent to prepare for Christmas and Easter. What do we do ahead to prepare for Thanksgiving Day? What is a Thanksgiving Day without giving of thanks? It can easily be forgotten in the midst of the food and fun. Be intentional this year, Take advantage of the next nine weeks to prepare. If you are home schooling, teaching Sunday School, or just plain parenting this will be an activity…

  • Engage

    Lies We Tell Our Children

    I feel very reluctant to write about any parenting issue, because I was and am such an incredibly flawed parent. Nevertheless, I have learned things over the years that I am trying to put into practice during what remains of my parenting years. I’d like to share some of those things with you in the hope that you may find a glimmer of something practical that you could incorporate into your parenting. It goes without saying that building into our kids spiritually is one of the biggest jobs we have as parents and perhaps one area where we may feel unsure. I’m not going to address that important area directly,…

  • Engage

    The Guilt Game

    My friend worked on the apples while I peeled and chopped bananas for the fruit salad. I admired Lauri’s ability to organize this missions breakfast for a large church: recruiting lots of people to bring food, providing some of the food herself, hosting me in her home, caring for three children, and all the while struggling with chronic pain and physical limitations. As I contemplated all she did, I began to feel inadequate. I could never do something like this,” I lamented in my head. “I must be hopelessly disorganized. My friend seems to do this effortlessly, in spite of all the other demands on her life and energy. How…

  • Engage

    “Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee” Zone

    Wow, today was a big news day for free speech. College campuses are up in arms as students demand they be guaranteed “safe zones” where they can be protected from hearing ideas that they don’t like but openly criticize anyone with ideas that don’t match their own. Let’s see, last time I looked, if you are only fed one set of ideas day and night, isn’t that brainwashing? Isn’t that what cults do to capture the minds of their initiates? When did we stop teaching our children to embrace the process of evaluating and thinking through ideas to their logical conclusion? I don’t necessarily like listening to someone with ideas…

  • Engage

    Only Strong and Courageous

    I cried when I hugged my daughter goodbye on the parking lot across the street from the dorm where she now lives.   I didn’t care.    I knew that moment would unleash the emotions I had bottled up all summer long.    So I released it right there.    Up to this point, I had watched my student take charge of her college checklist. I helped her unpack and I watched her settle into her new “home.”   Honestly, it all felt so wrong but I knew in my heart God wanted this. So when I hugged her one last time, God said, “Let her go.” And I did…

  • Engage

    When the “Sweet Spot” of Parenting Ends: 6 Tips for Surviving Your Kids’ Milestones

    For a couple of years I've enjoyed the so-called "sweet spot" of parenting:  each child between the age of 14 and 5, still at home  they are all mostly self-sufficient (no more diapers!) and helpful around the house their unique personalities are emerging and developing they like to talk to me! they get my jokes and even the youngest now (5) can instigate his own the oldest was old, and responsible, enough to babysit so mom and dad could go out on occasional dates (!!) Did I mention they were all still at home? Because that is about to change. Sometimes change thrills me, and sometimes I want to punch it in…

  • Engage

    Manners Matter

    For the past four days, I've walked the streets of Washington, D.C., with a group of eighty-nine 8th graders and twenty other chaperones. We averaged 9 miles—walking—daily, from monument to museum to house of government and back again. Beautiful June weather also meant we encountered other tourists, which added to the crowds and waiting time. Most 13- and 14-year-olds I know aren't the most observant, patient, and thoughtful people. But that's what chaperones are for, right? To guide their behavior, to watch out for them in unfamiliar territory, to help them see the significance of their surroundings. To warn them not to hog the sidewalk so people can pass by in…

  • Engage

    Summer, Songs, and Study

    It's only two years old, but Jen Hatmaker's blogpost "Worst End of School Year Mom Ever" is destined to become a classic, reposted annually by moms wading through papers, forms, homework, projects, and reports that still require their attention and signatures. Of my four children, only the 3rd grader continues to present her folder to me faithfully every Thursday to sign the three. separate. blanks. that require my name. For the love… I confess to being right there with Jen, begging for the school year to end so I can fall victoriously on the couch, arms raised in victory. "My job here is done!" Only, as moms everywhere know, even after…

  • The Path to Sticky Faith
    Engage

    The Path to Sticky Faith

    I love being a mentor mom for a “Moms Together” group at a local church. I learn so much from these young women who are at the place I was 30 years ago when our children were small. Our current discussion topic is “Sticky Faith” from the book of the same name by Dr. Kara Powell. The book focuses on what we as parents can intentionally do to help our children have real faith that sticks throughout their teenage years and beyond the time when they live in our homes — what the author calls, “Sticky Faith.” Of course, that generated lots of discussion at our table, especially the statistic Dr. Powell…