Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Sons

I have 3 daughters and 1 son. It’s hard to raise girls in today’s twisted culture, but it’s equally challenging to raise boys. Consequently, Billy and I are on a quest to find out what it takes to raise a strong and godly man of character. Here are a few resources that I’ve found helpful (not all Christian, but all insightful).

The Bible book of Proverbs. Many chapters of Proverbs are written to young people, specifically giving counsel to young men. If every Christian boy knows Proverbs backward and forward by the time he’s a teenager, I believe that he’ll have an amazing foundation in godly character. If you’re looking for a good Bible to read with your son, The Life Application Study Bible in the New Living Translation is an excellent choice.

Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. It’s been awhile since I read this and it’s time for a refresher. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent manual for raising sons. Dr. Dobson candidly points out the strikes our boys have against them, while at the same time giving parents tools to raise godly sons. I can’t find my copy at the moment, so that’s all I’ll say for now.

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. This is a secular book, and I can’t advocate its every word 100%, but Dr. Sax has great common sense. I found it a fascinating read. Dr. Sax contends that five major things are contributing to the epidemic of unmotivated boys in our culture. They are: video games, which disengage boys from the real world; modern teaching methods, which unintentionally turn a lot of boys against learning and school; the overuse of ADHD medications; endocrine disruptors in our environment which may lower boys’ testosterone levels; and the devaluation of masculinity in our society, which has caused many boys to not have a solid understanding of manhood. Although apparently not a Christian, Dr. Sax is a gender traditionalist in many ways, and this strongly flavors his book. I appreciated that although his theories and findings go against the societal flow, he manages to present his case fairly and in a well-researched manner, without coming across as an alarmist Chicken Little. Use discernment as you read, but I think you’ll find this book very insightful.


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The Dangerous Book for Boys. I’m not a boy, but I love this book! (A mini aside: The Daring Book for Girls, a companion book but by different authors, was a great disappointment.) It’s like an old-fashioned manual for all kinds of adventures, like building a tree house, making a bow and arrow, great paper airplanes, knot tying, how to play soccer, and even how to treat girls. I’ll let this video speak for itself:


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Question of the Week: Laundry

Laundry is on my mind since our 17-year-old washer and dryer both broke last week. Till the past few months, laundry has been my biggest homemaking challenge. I think I finally have a system that works. So, the question:

What’s your favorite laundry tip?

Here’s mine. It actually came from Melissa, our preschool director at First Baptist Church, and I’ve used it successfully ever since.

Each child has a basket on a shelf above the washer. When the clothes come out of the machine, they are immediately sorted into each child’s basket. When the baskets are full, the kids get to put their clothes away (theoretically–we just as often use out of the basket, but at least they are sorted).

This is my old system:

Now that I have four, I’ve had to modify it a bit.


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Make Your Own Play Doh

The kids and I have enjoyed making our own play doh lately. It only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes, and it keeps them busy for hours. They add food coloring and glitter so they can each personalize their own little bit. Here’s a good recipe. It takes boiling water but doesn’t actually require cooking.

The first time I made it, it was perfect. The other day it was raining and it came out a bit sticky (I guess from the humidity in the air), so I added flour a tablespoon at a time till it felt right.

1 c. flour
1 c. boiling water
2 tbsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 tbsp. oil

Mix and knead together.


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Devotions for Kids

In the comments to this post, Kelly mentioned incorporating Bible stories into read-aloud time, and asked about kids’ devotionals.

Honestly, I’m not familiar with any great devotionals for preschoolers. Mine really love their Bible story books. Anybody else know of a good preschool devotional?

Elizabeth–who’s 7–has really enjoyed Jesus Wants All of Me, which is a kids’ version of the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Another good one is John MacArthur’s A Faith to Grow On, which is excellent Biblical theology for kids.

We’ve also found high-quality videos to be of value. We especially enjoy the Nest Bible stories, which are true to scripture and respect the integrity of the text while still using a little artistic license. (I was not nearly as impressed with their 10 Commandments series, but that’s another story.) Our whole family loves what we call “The Happy Jesus Movies” which are word for word from the book of Matthew. It gives you such a wonderful idea of what Jesus must have really been like–strong, loving, and with a genuine sense of humor. These are the best Jesus movies I’ve ever seen.

Finally, I don’t think the importance of simply reading our children scripture can be underestimated. Some of my most vivid childhood memories center around the family meal table where Daddy read the Bible to us. Each evening after supper he unceremoniously took his Bible from the buffet and read the Proverbs chapter that corresponded with that day of the month. No preaching, discussion, or moralizing, just a simple and straightforward reading of God’s Word. Those verses are still stuck in my mind. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…”


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Preparing for Birth, Part 5

Include your husband

Keep him in the loop. If he’s not able or willing to attend appointments with you, make sure you tell him what the doctor said. Discuss options with him. You’ll do a lot better if you have his presence and support, and he’ll be much better able to help and support you if he knows what’s going on. Remember, he never has and never will be pregnant or give birth, so all he has to go on is what you tell him! One thing that was especially helpful to Billy was understanding the stages of labor. You know, “OK, this must be transition!”

Know what you want and stick to your guns

While I try to be an easy, undemanding patient, there are some things I’m not going to budge on, barring actual danger to me or the baby. (I’m not stupid—I do want my baby to be safe.) These non-negotiables will vary from person to person, so just know ahead of time what they are so you’re prepared to stick up for yourself. Again, remember that the doctor works for you.

Keep the goal in mind

Remember that pregnancy and birth aren’t ends in themselves…They are the means of bringing forth a tiny new life, an eternal soul made in the image of God. Even if all doesn’t go according to your plans and dreams, the end result is a precious baby. You are partnering with God in a holy experience!


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Preparing for Birth, Part 4

Keep a good attitude

To be honest, I hate being pregnant. It’s not fun, it’s uncomfortable, I feel fat and unattractive, and I’ve had some pretty low times during pregnancy as well. But when I’m pregnant, I can choose not to focus on the bad, and instead remember that this isn’t about me and my feelings, it isn’t about being pregnant in and of itself, it’s about the creation of a priceless new life.

Don’t listen to horror stories

Ignore people who want to tell you how terrible their births were. Don’t troll the internet reading bad birth stories. Don’t watch Baby Story. (Sorry if you love it. I just can’t imagine that it would be helpful…But that’s me.) Birth is a natural, wonderful experience which can go well most of the time. Listening to scary stories will only open the door for fear. If you must, kindly but firmly say, “I’d rather not hear horror stories,” and change the subject.

Pray for birth and baby

Strangely enough, I realized midway through my pregnancy with Sarah that although I was spending a lot of time worrying, I had spent very little time praying over my baby, my pregnancy, and my birth. I had to remedy that quickly. It sounds silly that I didn’t think to do that, I know. But somehow I did…I believe prayer is essential for the optimal experience.


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Peanut Butter Granola

Billy and Kelly both suggested that I post this granola recipe. It’s a nice alternative to regular cereal, and better for you too. It also makes a yummy snack!

1 large carton old fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats, it’s about 10 or 11 cups)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups honey
1 jar (2 cups) Smucker’s old fashioned peanut butter
Peanuts–I just put in however many I want. I get the big container at Sam’s.

Stir and stir and stir till all the dry ingredients are moist. You don’t want any powdery stuff in the bottom of the bowl. Put in a couple oiled cookie sheets and toast at 325 for about 30 minutes, or till lightly browned. Let cool, break into chunks.

We usually keep it plain, but I like to negate any healthful benefits by adding chocolate chips after it’s toasted. Raisins are good too–and good for you. It’s kinda expensive to make, but it makes a lot and it’s very filling so it lasts a long time. Enjoy!