Monday, January 30, 2012

We've Moved

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Introduction: A New Everyday Truth

Next week, I go to my first middle school parent meeting. My 10-year-old will be a middle-schooler next year. How did that happen?

The switch from elementary school to middle school is a big one -- for both her and her parents. While I'm proud of the lovely young lady my daughter is becoming, I'm a little wary of the change. My concerns range from, "How will she adapt to all the added responsibility and homework?" to "How will I adjust to giving her a bit more freedom that comes along with those responsibilities?"

Change, even good change, always comes with some bumps and concerns. But change also opens up a world of opportunities. My daughter will have the chance to try a whole bunch of new things and meet some new friends.

And through it all, God will be there leading her (and us) through the transition. Exodus 15:13 says "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed." If we are following Him, God is always there to lead us.

Like my daughter transitioning to middle school, Everyday Truth is growing and going through some changes. As this little blog has grown in the past year and a half, God has shown me some things He'd like for me to do in the future. This blog is hosted on a site called blogger. Unfortunately, blogger's capabilities are limited, so we're moving over to a new site built on a Wordpres platform. That means we have to switch our web address.

If you clicked through from Facebook, you're already there. If you get Everyday Truth in your email inbox, I'm hopeful that everything will transfer over smoothly on Monday morning. But if you wake up and are missing your Everyday Truth, head over to our new site,, and drop me a note telling me you didn't get it.

I'm really excited about our new site. It already allows me to offer you so much more than the current site. At, you'll find the daily blog, but you'll also find some free stuff, organized links to all of our Friday Introductions, a schedule of speaking engagements and some information on how to guest post on this site. You'll also find links to our Facebook page and Twitter along with a nifty little Everyday Truth button that you can use to link up to your own blog. In the next few months, look for a store where you can purchase Everyday Truth resources and an online Bible study.

So, head on over to our new home and take a look around. Leave me a comment on what you think and what you'd like to see Everyday Truth do in the future.

I'm so excited about where God is taking Everyday Truth, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for the future. I'm also thankful for all of you. Everyday Truth wouldn't be what it is today without all of you. As a thank you for reading, I've got a free gift for you today. Head over to and check out the Free Stuff area. You'll find a Valentine's Day download on 10 Ways to Use Valentine's Day to Teach Your Kids About God's Love. You can grab it for free until Feb. 1.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the new Everyday Truth.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

4 Steps to Save the Day -- MacGyver-style

My youngest daughter got sent home from school sick on Tuesday. She stayed home again yesterday, but I had work that needed to be done. So, through the wonders of Netflix, I introduced my daughter to one of my favorite TV shows, MacGyver.

MacGyver was my favorite TV show when I was in junior high and high school. Besides having a cute lead actor, I loved how MacGyver could save the day with a stick of bubble gum and a Swiss army knife. Need to disarm a bomb? All you need is a safety pin. Need to stop a leak of sulfuric acid? Use a chocolate bar. MacGyver was a master at using what he had to save the day. Plus, he only used one name, thus upping his coolness factor.

As I watched this show with my daughter, I was reminded that sometimes life doesn't go as planned. While my kids don't often need to save the world from imminent disaster, they do often need to salvage a day gone wrong. They need to learn how to salvage what they can from a bad experience and move on.

My oldest isn't really happy with school right now. She's had a few issues with her teacher, and some of the girls haven't been very nice lately. She asked me yesterday how many days were left in the school year. A couple of bad days this week have her thinking the entire rest of the year is going to be like this.

We need to teach our kids how to perform a MacGyver-like rescue when things go wrong. It requires redirecting their perspective and using what they have to make the best of a tough situation. You see, God didn't promise us that we wouldn't have trouble in our lives. As a matter of fact, Jesus said "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). But the rest of that verse reminds us of one important fact: "But take heart! I have overcome the world."

When your kids have trouble, help them do their best MacGyver impersonation and follow these steps:
  1. Assess the situation. MacGyver was always looking around to make the best judgment of the reality of the situation. While things may seem dire at first, there's always a way out. That's not just a MacGyver principle, it's God's principle. God didn't leave the Israelites in captivity; He brought them out of Egypt. God didn't leave us separated from Him; He sent Jesus.
  2. Ask for help. MacGyver nearly always had help, whether it was someone he met along the way or back-up that he knew was coming. We have even better help than MacGyver. We have heavenly help. God wants us to ask Him for help, and He promises to answer. Teach your kids to ask God for wisdom in whatever their current situation is.
  3. Figure out what tools you have. In the first episode of MacGyver, someone says his bag isn't big enough to carry all the stuff he's going to need to solve the problem. MacGyver says, "This isn't for what I take with me; it's for what I find along the way." God provides us with all the tools we'll need for any situation. Some we may bring with us, like our faith and our attitude. Others, we may find while dealing with the situation, like wisdom and help from others.
  4. Use those tools to salvage the day. Using what he had, MacGyver always saves the day, usually just seconds before something is going to explode. Our kids need to use their tools to salvage a day gone bad. It might require an attitude change or dealing with the source of a problem, but by asking for help and using the tools they have, they can turn a bad day into a better one.
We're using these steps with my daughter to salvage the rest of her school year. We've assessed the situation and realized she can't get away from her teacher or the mean girls in her class. We've started praying about the situation every night, asking God to change it and to help her get through the day. We've helped her to realize that her key tool in this battle is her attitude. If she goes into the day thinking it's going to be terrible, it probably will be, but if she chooses joy in the morning, then it will probably be a better day. Last, we're helping her to realize that she can choose to walk away from the mean girls and she can choose to offer her teacher respect, even if my daughter doesn't feel she deserves it.

Rough days and weeks can be tough for our kids, but with some help from us and God, they can save the day -- MacGyver-style.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When You Miss the Moment

As I sat with my youngest daughter at the NHL game on Saturday night, I got a text message from my dad. It was an update on my older daughter's soccer game. It said, "Score is 4-3. E scored 2 goals."

I thought he was kidding, not because my daughter isn't a good player, but she plays defense. She rarely makes it across the midfield mark in a game, much less gets close enough to score a goal. She's scored one goal all season. And the one week neither of her parents are there, she scores two goals and apparently has the game of her life.

While we had a great time in St. Louis with our youngest (you can read about it here), I was disappointed to have missed my older daughter's stellar performance. It feels like I missed a special moment. And I hate that.

As parents, sometimes, we miss those moments. Oh, not just the goals being scored or the big events, sometimes we miss the teachable moments. We look back at our day and think, "Wow, I missed a great opportunity." And a lot of times, we beat ourselves up for missing it.

I wish I could have been at my daughter's game. I wish she hadn't picked the one game all season that neither of us were there to have the best game she's ever had. I wish I had gotten to share that moment. But would I have given up the memories we were making with our other daughter to do so? Probably not.

I could sit here and wallow in disappointment that I missed her game. But you know what? There will be other soccer games. I will never be able to go back and capture this particular moment in her soccer life again, but there will be others. There will be tournaments to win and games where she's terrible. She might even have another two-goal game, and I will be there for most of those.

Just like there will be other teachable moments. If I miss one today, then I'll just have to look for one tomorrow. It's easy to beat ourselves up over a lost moment with our kids. Sometimes we think, "If I were a better parent, I would have dealt with that better" or "If only I hadn't been so busy, I could have captured that moment."

We all miss the moment sometimes. And it's OK. Recognize that you missed it, ask God to provide you with another teachable moment, and move on. No parent is perfect. We all screw up. We get mad when we should be calm. We chastise when we should teach. We focus on rules when we should be looking at our kids' hearts.

God knows we screw up, and He loves us anyway. He loves us so much, He's always willing to give us another chance to do better. When we screw up, we need to acknowledge it, ask for forgiveness (from God and our kids), and ask God for help to do a better job next time. When we ask God for forgiveness, He gives it and forgets about it. Psalm 103:12 says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." We're the ones that get stuck in remembering our failures, and it keeps us from moving on to the next moment.

Don't wallow in disappointment or compare yourself to another parent. God chose you to be the parent of your child. He's going to give you all the tools you need to do so. If you miss a teachable moment, He's going to give you another one. It won't be exactly the same as the first one, but you'll get another opportunity.

I won't get another shot to see the fantastic game my daughter played on Saturday. But I will see a lot more soccer games and a lot more goals. You might not get another shot at the teachable moment you let slide by yesterday, but you will see more teachable moments today. If you're not busy dwelling on what you've missed, you'll be ready when they come around.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

5 Things Moms Rarely Hear

I had myself a little pity party yesterday. Not 20 minutes after I put on my mommy hat (which comes after my blogger hat every morning), my husband had "suggested" (his words) that our room could use a little cleaning and my oldest daughter had not so gently reminded me that she needs a haircut.

Looking around my house as I did the piles of laundry, made lunches, combed hair and cleaned up after everyone, I had a classic pity party. It included tears, mumbles of "why don't they see how much I actually do around here?" and some not very charitable thoughts toward the other members of my household. In the midst of my mumbling and grumbling I started making a list of the things moms rarely hear.

1. "Thanks for making sure I have clean clothes." We're more likely to hear, "Why isn't my favorite sweatshirt clean?" or "I'm out of underwear."

2. "That was a great dinner. I especially enjoyed my vegetables." If you have more than one person at the table, you can almost be assured someone isn't going to like something you fixed. We're more likely to hear, "Eww. What is that?" or "Do we have to have this again?"

3. "Thanks for taking me to my practice." We're more likely to hear "Do I have to go to practice?"

4. "Thank you for teaching me responsibility by giving me chores to do." After nagging to get the chores done, we're more likely to hear, "I vacuumed last week. It's her turn."

5. "Thank you for keeping the house clean and picked up." We're more likely to hear, "I can't find my shoe. What did you do with it?"

We've all been there, haven't we? Sitting in a place where it seems everyone else's needs come before our own and no one, and I mean no one, appreciates what we are doing. Our tasks are no longer a labor of love but simply something we have to do instead of doing the things we really want to do. It's on those days when we want to throw up our hands, walk out the door and head for a beach in the Caribbean for a couple of weeks.

My pity party yesterday led me to this realization: Parenting requires sacrifice. It requires us to stay and do the laundry instead of walking out the door. It means we get up every morning, make the lunches, comb the hair, offer sage advice, help with the homework, change the diapers and wipe the snotty noses when we'd rather be doing just about anything else. Sacrifice means we give up late nights, evenings out and much of our own identity to nurture and love these little people who have come into our lives.

Lucky for us, God knows all about sacrifice as a parent. He gave up His Son for us. He did it willingly so that there would no longer be a barrier between us and Him. Hebrews 10:10 says "we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." I'm not suggesting that we sacrifice our children for others, but I am suggesting that when God asks us to sacrifice for our kids, He knows what He's talking about. He's an expert when it comes to sacrifice as a parent.

I'm not going to tell you that this revelation on sacrifice suddenly made my day perfect. I was still a little disgruntled with my family when they came home. But it did offer some perspective. It made me realize that no matter how much I sacrifice for my family (my time, my energy, things I love to do), I can never match the sacrifice my heavenly Father made for me.

While I would love to hear those things on my list, I know that the sacrifices I'm making today will result in God-honoring kids in the future. When my kids are grown, I'll have plenty of meals at my table where no one complains. Someday, I won't be tripping over four pairs of shoes in the living room.

The next time you're making a list in your head of all the things you've sacrificed, remember those sacrifices now will pay dividends later. Even if no one else recognizes the sacrifice, God sees, and He's pleased. And when your kids have children, you'll be amazed at how much they appreciate all that you did.

Do you know a mom that could use some encouragement today? Take a minute to share this list with her to offer her a boost.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Memory Monday: One-on-One Time (Matthew 16:18)

We spent the weekend taking my youngest daughter to her first in-season National Hockey League game. We don't have a hockey team here, so we made the four-hour trek to St. Louis to see the Blues play. Her big Christmas present was three tickets to the game.

That's right, she got three tickets -- one for her, and one each for mom and dad. We left big sister at home with the grandparents. We didn't leave our older daughter at home because we don't like her or because she's a terrible traveler. We left her at home because we wanted this trip to be special, one-on-one time with our youngest. (Just so you know we're not leaving our oldest out, she got soccer tickets that don't include her sister.)

We made the trip with a hockey buddy of my daughter's and his family. And we had a fabulous time. When you have more than one child, it's easy to lump your children together as "the kids." We know that our kids have different personalities and different needs, but when life is moving at 100 miles per hour, we tend to think in terms of "the kids would like that" or "that would be tough to do with the kids." In our brains, we begin to think of them almost exclusively as a group.

That's why it's always good to take some time to hang out with your kids individually. I don't know about your kids, but mine often act differently when their sibling is not around. It's like they have two personalities -- the one that comes out when they're part of group and one that comes out when their alone. It's hard to really understand your child if you never get to spend time with him by himself.

Separating your kids and spending some alone time with each one reminds both you and them that you know they are individuals. It helps us focus on their individual personalities and character, and it reinforces the idea that we can't always treat our kids the same.

Jesus knew this. Check out how He treated His disciples. He didn't treat them all the same. There were times in the Gospels when He would speak to just one of them. One of the most notable examples comes in Matthew 16 when Jesus is talking to Peter. Now, Peter was a lot like my daughter in that he was strong-willed and could be difficult, but in this passage, he showed great insight. Peter answered Jesus' question about who He was by saying "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."(Matthew 16:16). Jesus then gave Peter words that He knew Peter would need a short time later. "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)

Not too many days later, Peter would deny that He even knew Jesus. Jesus took the time to have a one-on-one conversation with Peter, so He would have Jesus' words in his brain when he realized what he'd done.

One-on-one time with our kids is a great time to follow Jesus' example and encourage them. When we get our kids by themselves, we can use that time to pour encouragement and love into them. That encouragement and love may hold them steady through a rocky time ahead.

Spending one-on-one time with each of your kids is also a good way to get them talking. Even though my daughter had a friend along this weekend, each family had its own hotel room. The window in our hotel room had a small ledge that perfectly fit my daughter's behind. She quickly decided her favorite place in the room was sitting in the window. She climbed up there and gave us a detailed description of what was going on outside. It was a glimpse into the things that fascinate her.

Spending time alone with each child also reminds us of all the things we love about each one. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that my youngest daughter can be strong-willed and difficult. This weekend we were reminded that she's also sweet, kind and fun. I needed that reminder to draw on for the days ahead when she will be stubborn, difficult and rude.

Make some time to spend individually with your kids. Remind yourself of all the reasons you love them. It will make your child feel special and the tough days easier.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Introduction: The Purposeful Mom

My kids are in the midst of studying for AWANA quiz, a competition between AWANA clubs that requires the kids to know the key concepts and scriptures they've been studying all year. The great thing about AWANA quiz is that it helps my kids memorize and retain scripture.

But a formal program like AWANA is just one way to get scripture into our kids' lives. We want to be teaching scripture to them at home, in those everyday moments of life. Sometimes, though it's tough to remember a scripture that applies to the topic.

We know that God intends for us to use scripture in teaching our kids because 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us "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." As parents, we want to find ways to remind ourselves to use scripture as we teach our kids.

Jenn, over at The Purposeful Mom, has some great ideas about how to put scripture around your home, so it's not as difficult to remember those verses you want to use with your kids.

Jenn started blogging more than two years ago as a way to share what God was teaching her through His word. The goal of her blog is to "encourage women from a Biblical perspective in the spiritual, practical and financial areas of life. I want us to grow together 'in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ' as we nurture, disciple and love our children and families."

Jenn did an entire series on how to display scripture in your home so it's available to use with your kids. As she saiys, "Sometimes it's hard for me to think of a Bible verse off the top of my head (or at least an entire one with the correct reference). Having scripture displayed in my home makes it easier to encourage my kids with the truths of God's Word in simple conversation. All I have to do is look up at my "Wise Words for Moms" on the fridge or look at our caterpillar of verses down the hall and share it with them!"

When your kids are in the midst of a disagreement, it's not always easy to break out your Bible and find a scripture that applies, but if the scripture is on your wall or on the inside of your cabinet, it's easy to add it to the conversation.

Jenn also deals with other parenting issues on her blog, including some great tips on getting out of debt. If you're looking for some great parenting ideas, head on over to her blog or Facebook page and check it out. Be sure to let Jenn know you heard about her at Everyday Truth.