March 3, 2015

A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son (New Book & Giveaway)

You know my heart for prayer, and I know your hearts for prayer, so I could not wait to share this book with you!

Last year, I received an e-mail from a friend inviting me to contribute to Rob and Joanna’s new book, “A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son.” I couldn’t say yes fast enough because prayer, and more specifically, praying God’s Word, completely transformed my mother’s heart and changed our home.

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A few months ago, I shared with you Rob’s first book, “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter.” And I am even more excited to share today’s book because now you have a matched set…whether you have a son or daughter, a grandson or grandaughter, or a niece or nephew, you have access to beautiful, powerful prayers to pray.

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So many times we want to pray for our children, but we just don’t know how to pray or what to pray. This book teaches us how to pray for every area of their lives. And they fill the pages not only with prayer but also with stories (like the one I share about praying for my son, Bo) that help bring those prayers alive so you can see them at work in a real family.

I invited Joanna to stop by and share a message from her heart so that you could get to know her. So below, find a message from her heart to yours. At the end of her message, I invite you to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of their book, “A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son.”

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Joanna, thank you for stopping by today.

Grab a Plate!

 A huge part of my life as a mom revolves around preparing food for the seven of us in my family. I create the shopping lists, shop the aisles of the grocery store, drive home and put it all away, and then create meals to put on the table from day to day. I try to keep each of the kid’s cravings in mind as I shop—chocolate milk, Honeycrisp apples, frozen fruit bars—because in some mysterious way, food says “love” to each of them.

We celebrate life together over food, too. Thanksgiving turkey and pie, Superbowl pizza and wings, birthday cake and ice cream–it’s impossible to separate our family’s connection with each other from the meals that we share.

This past summer we were thrilled to adopt our little boy. If we have ever had a reason to celebrate, it’s him! What’s tough, though, is that he has sensory processing issues with his mouth and food allergies as well. As much as we’ve embraced him into the heart of our family, he’s still on the outside looking in when it comes to sharing in our meals together. So many foods bring anxiety, tears, gagging, vomiting, itchy skin, or dangerous allergic reactions. The food=love equation isn’t working out so well for us!

As his mom I can become frustrated. His daily diet is better suited to a toddler than a big kid. His menu isn’t growing at the same pace as the rest of him. Even with therapy and persistence, progress is slow. He’s constantly hungry because hearty, filling foods are the hardest to swallow. I worry about the nutrients he’s missing out on, whether he’ll fit in at school, or if he’ll get sick. I worry that it will stay this way forever.

Watching him struggle reminds me, though, that I have areas where I’m slow to progress. Parts of my life and character that seem stuck in immaturity. Does a new social opportunity send me running back to the safety of familiar friends? Does humbling myself to admit my part in a marriage conflict make me choke? Do I hoard what’s on my “plate”, because fears about finances keep me from sharing what I have? Is the Bible so complex or confusing that I stick with simple, feel-good devotionals instead of in-depth study?

Just like I am eager to nourish my son and help him grow, God is eager to feed me—his daughter—and grow me into a woman of faith, wisdom, and love. The “food” he provides is the truth of his Word.

“…you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

What are you hungry for today? A sense of purpose? A closer, more intimate marriage? A breakthrough with your stubborn teenager? A deeper knowledge of your gifts and talents and where to use them? Relief from the pain of injury or disease? Peace despite the wounds of abuse in your past? Freedom from addiction to food, social media, shopping, or a destructive relationship? God holds out his Word, with all of his power to transform, heal, and satisfy every longing in our hearts. He invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

The big question is this: What is keeping us from feasting at God’s table? Let’s pray today for an eager appetite for his Word. A new palate that savors the deeper truths of Christ. The courage to pick up our forks and knives and dig into the meat God has for us.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Joanna, it has been a blessing to hear from your heart today. Thank you!

Friends, we would love to give away a copy of her new book, A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son,” so please leave a comment today sharing  what keeps you from “feasting at God’s table,” from spending a few minutes in quiet time with Him. And then share one step you can take toward changing that (getting up a few minutes earlier, taking the first five minutes of lunch hour to open God’s Word, bringing you Bible to carpool line, etc.). We will choose one name to win a copy of her book.

** Joanna Teigen and her husband, Rob, are the co-authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates, A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter, and A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son. She enjoys homeschooling, marriage mentoring, and life and laughter with their five children. She makes her home in West Michigan.

Blessings,

February 24, 2015

Giveaway with my friend Courtney DeFeo

Today I am so excited to introduce you to Courtney DeFeo. Courtney and I became friends through our dear friend Bobbie Wolgemuth. Bobbie poured her love and wisdom into our mother’s hearts over the years and completely transformed our hearts and homes. And Courtney’s new book, In This House, We Will Giggle,  is an outpouring of all that God has done in her mama’s heart. God gifted Courtney with amazing creativity, and she truly makes being a mom and spending time together as a family a JOY and DELIGHT! And she makes teaching our kids about God and living out God’s call to serve FUN!

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So enjoy this great post from Courtney. Be sure to read through to the end so you can enter our Giveaway. We will give away one signed copy of her book!

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Wearing Our Love

I’ve got a challenge for all us – moms, dads and kids. I want you to find a red marker or pen and get ready to give yourself a tiny red (temporary) tattoo in the shape of a heart. First, read this challenge. At the end, decide where you to create your reminder of love.

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Have you ever thought about how very important you are? YOU are God’s plan for this earth. It’s almost like his heart exploded with love and each of us gets a tiny piece of it.

Then, we get to love in a way that others experience God. We get a chance to walk the halls of school and our neighborhoods holding that heart so delicately, yet boldly.

I have two little girls that are like most little girls. They are walking the halls of school and having good days and bad days. Some days they are included and some days they are left out. Some days they feel beautiful and some days they feel just plain awful. They are made by a creator that loves them deeply. They are wonderful, caring, sweet and made for such greatness.

I love to remind them that they are God’s secret weapon. They walk into school with a choice. To be defeated or to impact others for God. They are representing God with every word and action. With one kind word or gesture, they can literally change someone’s day or school year.

Sometimes, they forget God is with them because they cannot see him. But he is there. He is near. He is often nudging them to do the next right thing.

This week, I am challenging my girls and each of you to find a place to draw his heart. You were created in His image and you get the chance to show others how He loves.

Maybe put it on your hand so you’ll remember to reach out to a lonely friend.

Maybe put it on your foot so you’ll remember to let an enemy go first in kickball.

Maybe put it behind your ear so you’ll remember to listen before you speak.

Maybe put it on your arm so you’ll remember to hug your sibling.

You matter to the creator of the universe, and I am so thankful you were made. The way you love will fill up your own heart – more than anything else in this world you can achieve or buy.

God loves you so very much. He’s right there with you every day. Represent him well!

-Courtney

Thank you, Courtney, for this GREAT challenge. To enter to win a signed copy of her book, leave a comment telling us where YOU will put your heart tattoo! Check back here Friday, February 27th, AT THE END OF THE COMMENTS SECTION, to see if you have won.

Courtney DeFeo is the creator of “ABC Scripture Cards” and “Light ‘Em Up and Conversation Cups”. She is the author of In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life. She believes our kids can light up the world. Her house is a wreck, and she hates to cook. She adores her hot, patient husband and her two spunky daughters. Connect with Courtney at courtneydefeo.com.

In This House, We Will Giggle offers parents a practical approach to instilling virtues in their children through laughter, rather than lecture. Designed to cover an entire year, each of the 12 chapters highlights one key virtue in developing a child’s character, along with insights to help infuse the virtue into everyday life. In This House, We Will Giggle teaches children to experience the goodness of God, the joy of following Jesus and the difference children can make in the lives of others.

Blessings,

January 19, 2015

New Proverbs 31 Online Study: “Keep It Shut” {w/Giveaway}

Have you ever wounded someone you love with your words?

Have the words of others provoked retaliatory words in you?

My answer to both is a resounding YES! That’s why I’m so excited to share a new book by my Proverbs 31 sister and friend, Karen Ehman. Keep It Shut. It’s clever cover drew my attention, but it’s the words that fill the pages that have spoken to my heart.

And the really great news! It’s our next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. We begin January 26th and run through March 6th. We would love for you to join us. To learn more and sign up, click here.

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I feel as if Karen’s message was written just for me, and I bet I’m not alone. In fact, the verse she opens her post with is one my husband and I have committed to live by through our nearly 28 years of marriage. How I wish I had her book when I walked down the aisle in May 1987. I would have saved myself many moments of grief and regret.

Below please find a message from Karen that gives you a glimpse into her heart and the powerful message of her book:

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26–27

I wrestled with several plastic grocery bags as my purse swung wildly from my shoulder. I was trying desperately to free up a hand to open the back door that leads from our garage into the kitchen. Tired from a long day of errands and appointments, I just wanted to get into the house, put the groceries away, and then collapse on the couch.

As I fumbled with my keys and stepped up onto the landing that leads into the kitchen, I nearly tripped and broke my neck. I also broke out into a horrible rant as I saw the reason for my near trip and fall.

“Kenna! Mitchell! Spencer! You kids get out here right now and take care of these shoes and boots. I am sick and tired of how you all just toss your shoes here with absolutely no regard for what I’ve told you. You know your shoes go on the rug. I don’t want to ever see this junk lying here again. You hear me? You are all so lazy! Now I said get out here … right now!”

My kids heard me all right. So did half the neighborhood.

I have a major pet peeve about the shoes, sports cleats, boots, and flip-flops that collect in our garage. First, I’d prefer that each family member have only a pair or two there. (That day there were about nineteen, and only four were from my husband and me. The other fifteen or so were from our three darlings. Yes. Crunch the numbers. That’s five pairs each!)

I also prefer that shoes be lined up neatly in a row on the lovely industrial rug that is strategically placed just to the right of the landing for my clan’s convenience. I’ve even timed out how much longer it takes to actually place said pairs of shoes neatly on the rug instead of kicking them off haphazardly. Just three seconds!

But my kids couldn’t seem to get with the program and so? It made me angry. This wasn’t the only time a domestic dispute broke out. There were other shouting bouts as well. Sometimes they were over issues of outright disobedience when I had specifically instructed a particular child to clean up a mess they had made. Other times it was over an accident: spilled grape juice on the light-colored carpet, too much laundry soap in the new front-loading washing machine, a screen door left open and now there were mosquitoes in the house. Many normal mishaps of childhood.

Although on the one hand it felt good to vent my anger, on the other hand it made me gulp in guilt for barking so angrily at my sweet children. Later, after the shoes were straightened and some even put away, I felt God tap me on the heart, prompting me to apologize to my kids. I fought it for a while, arguing that the kids were the ones who should be apologizing to me.

It was then that I felt God clearly say, “Mind your own sin, sweetheart.”

Ouch. Yes, my kids’ disregard of instructions wasn’t right. Children should obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). But when they don’t? Well, I couldn’t recall a single verse that then grants parents the right to holler and scream, giving all of the neighbors who were trying to eat their spaghetti supper both dinner and a show.

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I apologized to my kids that night before they went to bed. I asked them to forgive me for my angry mama mouth. Then together we strategized about how we could remedy the whole footwear fiasco in the garage. I realized that part of the reason I was always badgering my clan to get with the program was that there was no good program for them to get with in the first place. The industrial rug just wasn’t cutting it. So we cut the rug. With a trip to the department store and some nice wire shelves, we found a solution to the footwear conglomeration.

We compromised. I didn’t get my entire desired neat-as-a-pin plan, but the modified version still worked better than the industrial rug. As a result, I no longer badger my poor kids about their shoes. My vocal cords aren’t so sore, and the neighbors can now enjoy their dinner in peace.

And I learned that day a very valuable lesson…

Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

And now for the “Keep It Shut” Giveaway! If you’ve ever said, typed, or texted words that were permanently painful because you were temporarily ticked off, leave a comment and share your experience and why you would like Karen’s book to help you “keep it shut” next time. We’ll choose one comment to win a copy of Keep It Shut. Check back at the end of the comments THIS FRIDAY for the name of the winner.

Blessings,