Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

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How We Speak to Our Children

mother child socks smikth


I was so blessed by this post on the Shepherd Press blog. Here’s a small excerpt.

In a family setting, shouting and screaming to prove a point indicates frustration, uncertainty and a lack of confidence. Loud words in such a situation will not be heeded by the heart. Loud words may win outward compliance based upon fear, frustration or resignation, but they will not win the heart.

I was also impressed by this little video clip of Michelle Duggar (of the Discovery show 18 Kids and Counting) with 2 of her little ones.  I’m not particularly a fan of the Duggars…There are plenty of things they do that I don’t agree with…But they clearly love Jesus and I think He’s allowed them to display a sweet godly family to a watching world.  Michelle’s gentle voice has especially challenged me in how I relate to my kids.  (I think the clip was meant to poke fun, but I enjoyed it.)

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How to Feed a Brain


If you don’t read Ann Voskamp’s blog Holy Experience, you should.  I’ve been completely enjoying her post How to Feed a Brain Everyday (Daily Links for Hungry Minds).  Wow!  A wealth of web resources for learning!  I can’t wait to use some of these with my kids.

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How to Cook Steel Cut Oats


There are a zillion good reasons to cook your family steel cut oats for breakfast!  A few:  Steel cut oats are less processed than regular oatmeal.  They are hearty, filling, and delicious.  They are super good for you.  And if you buy them in bulk, they are cheap!  (If you buy them in the little can at the grocery store, they are like gold.)

Here’s how I do it.

1.  The night before, soak 2 c. steel cut oats in 2 quarts water and 2 T. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  This breaks down the phytic acid (an anti-nutrient found in grains and legumes), making the nutrients more easily absorbed and the oats easier to digest.  It also cuts the cooking time by a bit.  This step isn’t essential, so if you forget to soak the oats it’s not the end of the world.  I try to do this though.

2.  In the morning…drain oats into a strainer and rinse very well to get rid of any sour taste from the vinegar or lemon juice.  Put them in a pot with 6 cups water.

If you did not soak the oats, use 8 cups water.

3.  Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until oatmeal is thick and oats are tender.  You’ll want to stir it quite a bit at the end, to prevent sticking.

Let it cool a little.  Serve with raisins, honey, butter, milk, nuts, fruit, or whatever you like with oatmeal.  Yummy!!!

(I also like to add 2 chopped apples at the beginning.  Then when the oatmeal is done, I stir in some cinnamon and honey.  That’s the kids’ favorite!)


Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

child stocking

I love Christmas, and it’s not too early to start thinking about it!   I love to give gifts. I have a lot of people on my gift list. And that can add up.

When my husband was a senior pastor, each year he took a special tree ornament to church and showed it to everyone from the pulpit. He made it out of the credit cards he melted a few years before we got married! The point: it’s not worth going into debt for Christmas. It’s possible to have a great holiday and give awesome gifts without breaking the bank.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts.

1. Buy throughout the year. Don’t let Christmas sneak up on you and end up looking for the perfect gift on Christmas Eve. Then you spend more money than you intended to on an impulse purchase.

2. If you have any craft or creative skills at all, use them to make gifts. Again, start early enough that you aren’t pressed for time when Christmas is almost upon you. This could be anything from clothes sewn by hand, to handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, to stories written for your children, or favorite books read aloud on CD.

3. Shop discount or closeout stores like Marshall’s, Big Lots, or Tuesday Morning. Also check out local individually owned discount stores. You might have to sort through some junk, but you can find great buys at discount stores on everything from name brand clothes to stationery to housewares.

4. Buy in bulk and divide into inexpensive containers. Here’s an idea: Buy 50 lb. of steel cut oatmeal (cheap bought this way, but like gold if you get it in small amounts), package in quart jars tied with ribbon and a recipe for how to cook it.

5. Family and friends who live far away love to receive photos, especially if you have little ones in the house! Use inexpensive frames or pretty little photo albums.

6. Don’t feel like you always have to buy full priced, new off the shelf items. If someone on your list is a biliophile, find a book by their favorite author to add to their collection on Amazon or Ebay. You can often find items new with tags on ebay or at garage sales. Someone else payed full price for them, but you get them–still new–for a song! People frequently sell items in perfect condition that were probably never used. Add to someone’s collection with beautiful but inexpensive antiques from garage or estate sales. You might even find something brand new for free on Freecycle. But shhhhh, it will be your little secret!

7. Give the gift of time. Offer to rake leaves, babysit, or fix a meal for someone on your list. Make a certificate for a special tea time with your daughter or a fishing day with your son.

So you see, it’s possible to give a lot of gifts for not too much money. Use your imagination! You’ll find ways to save at every turn.

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Children and Fear

mother child moon jwsmith

Here’s my weekend post, a day late!

It seems most children go through a fearful stage at some point.  One thing that helps little ones is to understand how much God loves them, that He takes care of them, and He does not want them to be afraid!  Here are a few verses to share with our little ones when they are frightened.  For extra fear-knocking power, help them memorize these verses to say when they are scared.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 (Timothy 1:7)

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

{Especially for nighttime fears}I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can Man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

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Frugal Wisdom


My friend Mrs. Patti (now my brother’s mother-in-law…got that?) is one of those people who can make something beautiful and special on a dime.  She’s a bargain shopper extraordinaire.  She gave me some bargain shopping advice many years ago that stuck with me.  She said, “It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.”

I’ll add another tip.  It’s not a good deal if you don’t like it.  There have been times that I bought something just because it was such a good deal, but either I didn’t need it or didn’t particularly like it.  Consequently, it didn’t get much use and usually ended up in the Goodwill box after awhile.

So–use judgment when bargain shopping!  If you don’t need an item, or if you don’t like it, save that money for something else!

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7 Reasons to Take Your Family to Church


1. They will learn how to worship with others.

God loves each of us individually, and the Christian’s entire life should be an act of worship.  In addition, God loves His church as a whole.  In the Bible, He tells us that we should not stop meeting together like some people do.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)  The early church met in a large group setting (the Temple) and in homes (from house to house). (Acts 5:42) We should follow their example!

2. It’s the family of God.

Whether or not you have a good relationship with your family of origin, God’s church provides wonderful “family” relationships.  It’s a place of love and support.

3. You will become a better parent.

If you allow God to grow you spiritually, you will become a better person and that will enable you to raise your children better.  Let’s face it, even the best of us can use help!

4. You will learn how to teach your children about God.

As you learn about God, you will know better how to teach your children about Him.  Some churches offer teaching and training specifically to help parents in this area.

5. What you teach at home will be reinforced by others.

God intends for parents to be the primary spiritual teachers of their children. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)  However, church provides a place where godly adults reinforce what you teach them at home, whether through informal relationships or organized classes.  Your children see that their parents are not the only ones who have vibrant relationships with Jesus.  The family of God partners with parents in leading children to Christ.

6. They will have godly role models.

I’d rather have real-life godly people for my children to look up to rather than just their peers or celebrities.  Your children will be spiritually inspired both by ordinary Christians who live for Christ, as well as more high-profile Christians such as pastors, teachers, and missionaries.

7. It’s a place to meet friends with similar values.

Growing Christian parents should be raising growing Christian children.  It’s a place for your kids to develop fast friendships with people who are walking the same path and believe the same things.  Throughout life they will always have relationships with people who believe differently, but their close church friends should share the most important thing: a love for Jesus.

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Hi everybody.  Sorry it’s been so quiet around here when I promised I was back!  It’s been an extra-busy season of life lately, and one where I feel a little bit as if I’m in a learning phase, more than a sharing phase.  The rest of the week promises to be full, but I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule next week…Tuesday/Thursday/weekend.  I’m hoping for a few contemplative moments over the next few days to come up with some good topics.  Suggestions?  What would you like to see at Reviving Motherhood?