31 days of training my kids: favorite books

Today, I picked four of my favorite parenting books to share with you. Nothing fancy, just a few thoughts and an amazon link.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I read this before Hope was born, but I really need to read it again as I am now in that stage of life. It is one of the best books on this topic. (not just my opinion)

imageLoving the Little Years. Short, humorous, encouraging and convicting… it’s by a mom of little’s for moms with little’s. Highly recommend!

imageDon’t Make Me Count To Three. A friend recently lent this to me; I had never heard of it. It’s excellent! At first, I wasn’t too crazy about the writing style, but was definitely won over by the Biblical truths and practical helps. I just finished this last week, and it’s a must add to my collection.

imageFeminine Appeal. This is one of my favorite books for women. It does have chapters specific to motherhood, but also describes how the godly characteristics outlined in Titus 2 will adorn the gospel when practiced in a Christian woman’s life. We all want to be good moms, but underneath we first have to be in a right relationship with our Creator. I found this book to be helpful to all of my life, not just in parenting. Though I certainly remember many of the things it said about that!

imageHope you enjoy! What are your favorite Mommy books?


I keep forgetting to tell you that my sister is doing the 31 days challenge! Check out her super fun series, On-the-go Pianist!

31 days of training my kids: even when you’re not

imageAfter a lovely and profitable weekend away, and after a long, good Monday… this is about all I have to say.

I’ve really been thinking for the past two days how you’re always training your kids… even when you’re not. They pick up your attitudes and actions; they learn in what situations we will and won’t discipline them… they’re always learning.

Especially impressive to me has been the thought that they are impacted even by the things I do when they’re not around. How I choose to spend my free time, how I think about people who come and go in my life, how I devote myself to Christ… these are all things that directly impact who I am when I’m around my girls. I can’t even perceive the influence, but I know it’s there.

Perhaps this is not very clear since it’s late and I’m writing off-the-cuff.

If my girls learn more from my example, than from what I actually teach them, I want to make sure there is equal effort going into training them and into being a consistent person, even when they’re not there.

May my desires become less and may passion for Christ become more.

31 days of training my kids: lyrics i love


What can some lyrics to a song you love possibly have to do with training your kids?

You might be surprised.

I find that so often my day is won or lost within the first hour of being awake. (Though there are definitely days when this doesn’t happen and you have to find a way to redeem them. Maybe more ideas on that later.)

Back to directing your day attitude early on. Though most of us mothers of little ones would love to spend a long amount of time in the morning reading or praying, it is often not possible. I have found that one of the best ways to direct your thoughts towards eternal things in the morning is to rehearse Scripture that has been put to memory or lyrics to songs you love.

Sometimes when I’ve been searching through my memory for a good song, I find ones that are robust with theological truth are hard to find. I don’t need a song with just one good line here or there, I want truth after truth to prepare my heart for the day.

Here is one I’m learning right now. I don’t have it all the way memorized yet, but hopefully soon!

I love the “big picture” perspective.

Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts 
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are 
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown 
The cross has saved us so we pray 
Your kingdom come 

Let Your kingdom come 
Let Your will be done 
So that everyone might know Your Name 
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth 
Till Your sovereign work on earth is done 
Let Your kingdom come 

Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak 
Perform Your wondrous deeds through those who are weak 
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test 
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel 
Till our dying breath

Let Your Kingdom Come , Bob Kauflin

31 days of training my kids: favorite blogs

I have a confession to make: I don’t really like mom blogs.

Reason 1: At the end of the day, I want to think, read and look at something that has almost no connection to what I’ve been doing all day.

Reason 2: I find that even most Christian mom blogs have tendencies toward secular thinking, man-centered theology, or an imbalanced view of grace.

With that said, today I want to share with you the two blogs that are an immense help to me as a mom – and wife, and believer.


Girl talk

This blog is by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters. I call this my “get up off the couch and do something blog.” It is encouraging and convicting. Their content goes way past the surface we’re so often content to stay at and digs to the deeper theological basis of womanhood. Many times at the end of the day after perusing other non-mom blogs, I come to this one and am so helped. So much that I usually find myself getting up off the couch to do dishes. Now that’s a blog I can use! (by the way, I don’t think they’ve ever mentioned getting up to do dishes, but rehearsing biblical truth has a way of spurring you on to that next step of obedience – which in my case is normally doing the dishes.)

They have a great sense of history, using examples, quotes and excerpts from godly men and women from the past.

The site also has the fun 52 home collection which features pictures of everyday home events in a way that make a mom smile.

Also on the site is a great list of resources, books and audio, many of which I’ve listened to.

I really hope you know about this blog already, but if you don’t please check it out! Even if you’re unfamiliar with the family, it will be a huge blessing and help.

On to,



This blog is quite often hilarious. Again, a mother and daughters team, they are all gifted and humorous writers.

But they don’t cut a mom slack, and that’s what I love about them. They will probably describe exactly what’s happening in your day and point you to the biblical truth that will help you tomorrow.

I find that they are excellent at addressing the day-to-day issues of being a mom as well as the cultural issues that are specific to our society and even our generation of Christians.

Always there is the firm foundation of bringing glory to God, whether by thought, word or action.

If you have not read at this site before, please go! You’ll love it! I highly recommend it.


Well, those are my favorites! What are yours?

31 days of training my kids: walking with Mommy

We didn’t really have any trouble with this concept until our fourth little girl came along.

But apparently what is textbook for one -or three- is rocket science for another.

Our Mckayla has a fierce independent streak (rivaled only by her mother’s = /) and training her has proved to be a whole new ballgame. (but that’s a whole other post)

The point of this one is short: we have been working with Mckayla off and on about holding Mommy’s hand while we walk around.

Today we went to Target and purposely bypassed the carts so she could have a chance to practice walking around and holding my hand. For once we weren’t in a ridiculous hurry. (which by the way, can be a great enemy to training my kids)

And good news… she did really great! By now, I know her well enough to know that this means absolutely nothing for tomorrow. But for today, I’m thankful for a small step of victory and an opportunity to help her taken.

I realize it has only been three or four days, but writing this stuff is really helping me to pay better attention at working on things with the girls (and me). I pray that we’ll finish these 31 days better than we started. It’s so easy to do great at the beginning.

And just for fun to “keep it real” this is what Mckayla wore two days ago as her mother did not have any clean pants for her. We did change to go out, but it was only to a non-sleepwear, non-matching flowered skirt. Oh yeah!

I should also mention that she was ecstatic to be wearing "ginny" mouse!
I should also mention that she was ecstatic to be wearing “ginny” mouse!

31 days of training my kids: “Come. Come cow!”

Pictures 1 166I began training my sweet little Hopey quite literally in a cow pasture. We lived in a small trailer in the middle of wide open fields, mostly inhabited by cows.

As soon as Hope was able to walk, I took her outside, stood her up about five feet away from me and called her to “Come.”

At first she just looked at me funny. Have you ever tried explaining a simple concept to an eighteen month old? She eventually understood, and being the sweet, compliant child she is, came every time.

But still we would go outside almost every day and practice. And practice and practice.

This was my first little girl and I didn’t want anything to happen to her. I wanted to know that she would come right to Mommy when I called. Eventually, I would stand much farther away; let her play by herself for awhile and then call when she wasn’t really paying attention; and put her on the other side of the van and call when she couldn’t see me.

It might sound a little ridiculous, but at the time it was really no trouble. She thought it was just a game.

I will say that practicing like this has been harder for me with the more children we’ve had. However, looking back, I really wish that I had done as much with the others as I did with Hope. There was still training, but I know there wasn’t as much.

(By the way, we practiced this same thing with the girls tonight after dinner. That and self-control was about the extent of today, but at least we did something!) = )

Back to Hopey, I’ll never forget when we were outside one day getting ready to get in the car; she looked right across the street at our cow companions and called, “Come. Come, cow.”

There’s nothing like seeing yourself mimicked by a toddler.

31 days of training my kids: definitions, goals, plans

imageWhoo!  It’s 8:17 and I’m hoping the girls sleep until 8:30 which gives me thirteen minutes to do this.

Already this challenge has been a help to me because I’m up and ready!

No time for formalities!

Definitions (which will be shorter than I had thought)

Training is foreseeing circumstances or events that a small child will encounter and preparing them to handle those. This might be how to act when left with a sitter or going to bed when told. For me at the earliest stages it has meant teaching them to come when I call, stay with me out in public, and hold my hand while walking around.

It can also mean teaching through problems that have already happened. How many times do we wake up and watch our child “break new ground” in some unsightly fashion or another and think, “Okay, I guess we’re going to have to work on that.”


My goals for this month have less to do with my kids and more with me.

Am I taking the opportunities I’m given or missing them because something else is on my mind?

When I do see that undesirable behavior out in public, I know I probably wasn’t working as much at home as I could have been.

My main and super general goal is to spend time every day in training of some kind. And to really watch and think about what I see going on in my children’s hearts and behavior.


The plan right now is to get the girls up, work on Awana verses and eating quickly at breakfast, and try something new with homeschool which I’ll let you know later if it works. = )

See ya round!

31 days of training my kids: intro

Why is it so hard to do simple, important things… every day?

I’ve taken on a challenge to blog about one topic for thirty-one days. While I would love to research and write about diy projects, design, poetry, etc… I have a major responsibility in my life right now, and it’s only going to last for a few short years.

imageI have four girls, five and under, and our life can get a little crazy.

Training your children isn’t about turning out perfect little angels, it’s about survival. And joy. Every minute I give to training my girls yields hours of fun, laughter, exploration and growth.

So why do I find it so hard to do consistently?

Contrasting the above-mentioned fun and laughter are the bad attitudes, impatience and frustration that come from mom checking out for a few days.

Training (especially for the purposes of this series) is not equivalent to discipline. But rather, it is the creative and pre-emptive guidance of a parent. “Here, let me show you what I expect, and let’s think of fun ways to practice.”

I want to write about training my kids because that’s one of the most important things I need to be doing every day. And it’s also the hardest… to just do.

I plan to write about things I have done in the past, and things I need to do right now. There will be “favorite” days where I will share resources that I love, and in-the-moment struggles as I evaluate, “What did I actually do today?”

I dearly love my kids and love being a mom. I don’t want to waste these years by wishing them away, and I also don’t want to look back and say, “Well, at least we had fun.” There’s got to be a balance.

Here’s my effort to journal the training that goes on in our house for one month. Want to follow along?

imageCheck back every day in October to keep up with the fun!

Coming tomorrow: 31 days of training my kids: definitions, goals, plans

A great big thanks to the Nester for all the fun and inspiration.

If you’re new here, thank you so much for coming! I’d love for you to look around; start at the About page and you can find favorite posts from there. If you like what you see like the blog on facebook and follow by email so you won’t miss a thing! 

What the fly on the wall heard


My collection of the random, ridiculous, and silly things said around here. I know it’s been awhile, but these are some doozies!


Gracie has had a recurring line lately that has been cracking us up.

When Paul has the chance, he will tell them a story before bed. Awhile ago he started with the “Samuel story” so it’s now progressed into Saul and David. If you’ve read the account, there are some moments of… well, battle-ish type scenarios. Gracie apparently gets it pretty well.

Paul will be wrapped up in the story, telling it with great excitement while the girls listen spellbound -except for Mckayla, who hasn’t quite yet mastered the art of being spellbound- when a graphic detail will come along…

“… and the prophet Samuel chopped King Agag in pieces!”

And Gracie will interject, “Oh, that’s not good!”

It’s all I can do to not completely lose it on the spot.

What makes it so funny is that she keeps doing it! Even though there’s days or even weeks between opportunities. I can’t remember all of them, but you can imagine when she heard,

“… and they came in the next morning, and the god Dagon was on his face on the ground with his arms broken off!”

“Oh, that’s not good!”

“… and that stone landed right in Goliath’s forehead and he fell down dead!”

“Oh, that’s not good!”

Apparently, she has some reference for who’s side we’re on, because when Paul said, “And the army of Israel chased the Philistines and defeated them…”

She said, “Oh, that’s good!”

We can’t get enough; it is so hilarious! And she never is scared about it, just totally wrapped up in the story and without even thinking,

“Oh, that’s not good!”


On a semi-regular basis, Sophia finds a way to aggravate the normally patient and sweet Hope. Hope will come running to me for help, to which I normally reply, “Did you talk to Sophia about this?”

“No,” she’ll know what I’m about to say…

“Then don’t come talk to me about it.”

So one afternoon this week, Hope came in the kitchen:

“Mommy, Sophia keeps kicking me, and she won’t stop when I tell her to!”

Hope has a very soft and pleading way of saying “No.”

Sophia had been just following her around gently tapping her legs just to annoy her.

“Okay, Hope; this is what you do: Next time Sophia is bothering you, you just look at her and say, ‘Knock it off!’ Now you may not be mean, but you can be very firm and serious. Just say, ‘Sophia, knock it off!’ And Sophia,” I turned my attention to her, “if Hope tells you to knock it off, you stop right away.”

The girls left the kitchen. I wondered whether it would actually work or not.

Sure enough, in an hour or so, Hope came running to me, “Mommy,” she started in an exasperated voice, “I was laying on the floor and Sophia was running around and around me in circles; and I told her, “Kick if off!”


Gracie has a turtle that she carries around and often refers to as if it’s her kid. It would take pages and pages to write all the silly things that she has said about her turtle. It’s her general out when she’s in trouble or been corrected, “Yeah, my turtle does that, too.”

One day at lunch, Sophia had asked me if when they grew up and had kids if their kids would call them, “Mommy.” So sweet. Of course, I replied that, “Yes,” they would.

Gracie piped up, “My turtle calls me ‘Mister Letter!'”

That child’s brain operates in a completely original way.


On the nights that Paul is home, I supervise/give the girls their baths and showers, get them all ready for bed, then send them out to tell Daddy, “I’m ready for bed!” Once they’re all ready, I make a final appearance in the living room to make sure that they have indeed let him know that everyone is ready for bed, because by that time I am quite ready for those lights to go out and that door to close.

Several weeks ago, I came around the corner to the living room and saw Paul motion to me to be quiet and watch.

Sophia was sitting in a rocking chair and had all the girls sitting around her down on the floor.

I plopped down on the couch and quickly surmised that she was “teaching” a class.

“Now everybody,” she began in a very silly want to be grown-up/British voice. “This is our principal, Mr. Funsday.” She pointed to Paul. “And look who just joined us, his wife, Mrs. Funsday!” She pointed to me and then added, “Let’s all give her a rominal plause.”

All the girls began to clap wildly.

She went on to teach the silliest three minute class I have ever seen. It was definitely worth staying up a little later. = )


If you haven’t seen these posts before, check out more of the hilarity here, here, and here. Or just click on the Category “WTFOTWH.”

Prayer, pools, and sunshine


Last week after a few days of Sophia begging me to take them the pool, I promised that we would go on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday night I had the inclination to check the weather. Sophia was so excited and I didn’t want her to be destroyed if something like rain ruined the plans. Well, the mean ol’ weather channel divulged the news that there were to be thunderstorms and rain ALL DAY! Boo-hoo!

I told Sophia that we probably couldn’t go to the pool in the morning and that we would try to go again the next day.

I did think about praying with her that God would help it not to rain, but 1, though I want my kids to know how deeply God loves them, I do not want them to think of him as existing for the sole purpose of meeting their demands; 2 , I didn’t want to have to explain God’s transcendent will if she prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it did; and 3, this was all extremely close to lights out at bedtime and I really just wanted them to go to bed. Great mom, I know.

Sure enough, we woke up early to rain.

I stayed in bed after Paul left and debated whether I wanted it to stop or not. Again, Captain Unselfishness.

The rain stopped just as the girls woke up. I had decided that if it stopped raining we would go.

Sophia bounded out of bed, checked out the window, and danced down the hall, “Mommy, I prayed last night that God would help it to not rain, and it’s not raining!”

Wow. I was very humbled.

First, that my little girl would think to pray on her own. Next, that God would hear and answer her prayer.

The girls joy and anticipation was catchy so we all ate breakfast and cleaned up in a hurry. We marched down the stairs and the big girls came up with a little cheer that the little girls even joined.

“We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap. “We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap.

Even though it was not raining, I still didn’t expect it to be that great of a day. It was very cloudy and the water would probably be cold as it had been cloudy and raining for days.

I was in for one more surprise.

When we got to the pool, the whole area was bathed with warm, wonderful sunshine. This blessing was more than I could take; now it was my turn to be excited, “Girls, God is so amazing! He didn’t just make it stop raining; He gave us sunshine!”

We had the most amazing time at the pool. Measured by such milestones as Gracie jumping in with me holding her hands; Mckayla asking for me to let go of her in the water so she could float just with her jacket, and Sophia swimming the length of the pool.

It was so humbling to sit there and talk about how we don’t deserve anything from God, yet how he blesses us in ways that are so personal.

Thank you, Lord, for answering Sophia’s prayer, for our pool, and for the sunshine that tells us every day of your glory.