photo(52) The last couple years my yard officially got away from me. It was so overwhelming that I would go out in the spring, walk around seeing all that needed to be done, and then come back inside, not knowing how I could tackle such a big project.

Then I decided to ask a dear friend to come give me perspective. She walked around my yard and suggested that I turn one area along the south of the house into a focal point and just start with that. In other words, pick a spot and dig in there rather than looking at the entire project and throwing up my hands.

So I took her advice and recruited my husband to pull out some overgrown and unattractive bushes (no mean feat), and he dug up the hard-as-nails soil for me so we could add some of those good things that you add to soil to make it garden-ready.

After we were ready to roll, Lisa came back over with a carload of starter plants, and she helped me lay them out in the space according to size and color and time of bloom. And did I mention… she also met me at the Continue reading ‘Gardening’

Praise in the Furnace

We all have natural instincts and impulses that kick in when we receive criticism. But after those instincts and impulses get out of the way, if we are trying to receive the criticism in a Christian manner, we thank the person who gave it, tell them that we will think it over and weigh it and pray about it and consider it. And at the end of the day, we might think their criticism was brilliant or we might think it was cuckoo. But my point here is that we are used to the idea that we should take criticism seriously and at least give it some consideration. The Scripture says plenty about receiving criticism. For example, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:5-6).

But what about praise? We have natural instincts and impulses here as well. I’m pretty sure that I receive a compliment without much soul searching. Praise has a Continue reading ‘Praise in the Furnace’

Funner, Part 2 – Loyalty

IMG_7395One of the most important and long term fruits that our family is working towards is loyalty. We want our children to be loyal to Christ, loyal to us, loyal to one another, and loyal to their broader family – the people of God.

Loyalty is not something that will spring out of nowhere when our children are eighteen – it should be growing in them from the very beginning. And this is because loyalty is fundamentally about who you are, where you stand, who are your people, and who is your God.

One of the most obvious ways to build loyalty is to identify your own self with your children without shame. Every weird input from a stranger about your children is a chance for you to show them your loyalty.  There is no need to be rude about it – but there is a great need for you to be completely unashamed and un-moveable. When people say to me, “You have your hands full!” I respond, “Full of good things!” When a stranger says, “Well, you must be busy!” I almost always say “Yes! But who wants to be bored?”  If they say something vague like, “Look at all those children!” I might say something back like, “Aren’t they great? We sure love them!”  The point here is that my children hear over and over that I am happy that they belong to me. Continue reading ‘Funner, Part 2 – Loyalty’

Online Study!

Hi ladies! This fall I will be doing an online webinar study. It will be a topical room by room through the house study, with a focus on purpose and joy.

The fine people at Canon Press have set it up so that you can register as a group, if that appeals, or as an individual. It will be a live webinar,  but the talks will be recorded and each registrant will have 6 months of access to the recordings.

I am looking forward to it, and would love to have you join us! You can register and find out more here.

Funner, Part 1

IMG_8220One of the things that I spend the most time thinking about is mess. Seriously, I know. If you have read much of what I have written you have probably noticed that I can basically not write at all without mentioning laundry or walking on pretzels. I try to suppress it, but it does pop out – probably because it is actually a really big deal in my life. Mess in the home and people in the home have been some of the major headers over the flow chart of my sanctification. Much of my personal walk with the Lord has taken place circuitously around our home, and I am so thankful for that – because also in my home are a bunch of little people that I love. And it is here, in the middle of my sanctification laboratory that they are learning about life and God and joy and peace and family and sacrifice.  Continue reading ‘Funner, Part 1′

Courtship Tales

Same leather jacket as our first date.

Same leather jacket as our first date . . . and I still like hangin on while he drives!

This is a bit random, but I thought I’d do an entirely anecdotal post about courtship. What with all the hullaballoo lately on the interwebs on this particular topic, I thought I’d just share what it was like for me.

Dad (as you may or may not know) wrote Her Hand in Marriage which is a biblical defense for the courtship model, and that book is one of the things which put courtship on the map in the first place. He had been teaching on the subject for several years, and then he put everything all in one place in that book. Josh Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye first came out right around the same time as my dad’s book – I don’t know which one came first. Personally, I think that moment in the late ‘90s was right for this subject because the first wave of kids raised in the Christian education movement were just reaching marriageable age. I was the oldest in my family, and I had gone all the way through a classical school from kindergarten onwards, and of course the Harrises were right at the beginning of the wave of homeschooling.

I’m only speaking for myself here because I’ve never even met Josh Harris, Continue reading ‘Courtship Tales’