Lead Your Family Like Jesus

I was excited and honored to be a part of the launch team for a new book. It’s called Lead Your Family Like Jesus, written by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer.

At first, I thought, while good, there wasn’t really much ‘new’ or ‘revolutionary’ inside. I have read a ton of parenting books over the past 8 years, always trying to hone my skills and figure this thing out. I kept reading  however, and I am SO glad I did.

Over the past several months, I have been trying to steer us from an authoritarian, “you must obey because I’m your parent” style of parenting to a more grace based, Jesus like, relationships are more important than blind obedience, grace filled family. It is HARD. Hard because it challenges me more, it challenges the way I grew up and the habits I already have in place. But it is also GOOD. Good because I feel like I am doing it more Biblically.

And this book, oh this book, came into my life at just the right time.

It is FULL of takeaway nuggets, real life application, references to the Bible, other parents’ experiences, thought provoking questions, and prayers. It is set up to easily do with a book club or small group. There is so much to think about and apply, I can’t recommend getting the book enough. It’s available on Amazon or CBD, and at your local bookstore. You should also request your library buy it.

Parenting is singularly one of the most difficult challenges you will ever undertake. You often feel unappreciated, like the bad guy, guilty or that you are doing it wrong. This letter is a real encouragement to me, and hopefully to you as well.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for the gift of life. I am grateful that you believed in my potential to be a blessing to you and to the people I will meet during my lifetime. I thank God for placing you in my life.

Whatever happens from this moment forward, one thing will never change. Ia m your child and you are my parents, forever. You will always be the living images of the words “Father” and “Mother” that I carry with me all the days of my life. Whatever you teach me about love and what is important in life will mold my view of the world.

Before things get too hectic,  I want to thank you in advance for the sacrifices you will make on my behalf so that I may grow into the person God intends me to be. Thank you for all the busy days and sleepless nights that you will invest in caring for my  needs.  Thank you for praying for wisdom in how to guide me through all the pain and mistakes I will experience as I grow.  Thank  for standing firm when I test your patience so that I may learn obedience.

Thank you for your encouragement and discipline. Thank you for listening to me even when my arguments don’t make sense and my frustrations spill over. Thank you for letting me fail, when failure is the best teacher and humility is the lesson. Thank you for picking me up and dusting me off when I fall, so I will not be discouraged as I learn.

Thank you for all the times you will comfort me with the hugs and kisses that always make things better. Thank you for cleaning up the messes I make, and then teaching me how to clean them up myself. Thank you for teaching me to value what is important to God. Thank you for teaching me that love includes forgiveness, compassion, apologies, accountability, as well as patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, good temper  unselfishness, grace and sincerity. Thank you for saying no when what I ask is not in my best interest. Thank you for enduring my seasons of rebellion that will come with the growing pains of becoming an adult.

Thank you for making it easier to obey you by keeping the rules simple, the consequences consistent, the standards for success attainable, praising my progress, explaining why, and most of all, modeling the behaviors and attitudes you want me to develop.

My prayer is that God will bless you with the wisdom and the courage to raise me in such a way that I will grow to understand what it means to have faith in the love of God, to believe in His Word, and to obey His commandments.

Love, Your Precious Child

Excerpted from Lead Your Family Like Jesus, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2013 by The Center for Faithwalk Leadership/Lead Like Jesus. Used by permission. To purchase a copy of the book, please visit http://family.christianbook.com

You may also be interested to know there’s a giveaway for an iPad Mini going on! Details over here!

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Monday’s Daybook


Outside my window...foggy, chilly but bound to warm up–birds cheerily chirping

I am thinking...every pregnancy is different

I am thankful...for my super caring midwife

From the learning rooms...plants and green science

In the kitchen…nothing as of yet…(that sounds bad!)

I am wearing...blue long sleeved shirt and purple cupcake pants

I am creating... pins on pinterest (does that count?) Planning on starting some booties and diaper covers; it’s hard to get excited about yellow…Made a jersey knit maternity skirt for myself last week…

I am going…to pick out trim, windows, doorknobs, doors, shower, faucets and more tonight; if I’m up for it…

I am wondering…why I can’t think of anything to put here.

I am reading…Entwined for book club and Charlotte Mason and Simplicity Parenting

I am hoping…this infection I’m fighting goes away soon. very very soon.

I am looking forward to...breaking ground for our addition today!

I am hearing... chiddlers stirring

Around the house... breaking ground for our addition today!

One of my favorite things...making connections with new and old friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: being outdoors and not eating sugar

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

I love my blue eyed boy.
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Mama’s Daybook


Outside my window…cloudy, 50’s; so far, it doesn’t feel like November

I am thinking…those Best Buy deals might be worth the craziness this year!

I am thankful…I get to see my husband every evening

From the learning rooms…making a puppet theater

In the kitchen…I have a menu made! (*insert applause here*) Tonight we’re having BBQ Pork Sandwiches with leftover pork roast

I am wearing…pink knee socks, my favorite long and lean jeans, a long sleeved purple shirt & purple 3/4 length sleeve purple sweater cardi with one big button

I am creating…some knits…

I am going…We went to presentation day today

I am wondering…if I’ll be able to get my hair highlighted this week

I am reading…finished Patriots (a how to survive the end of the world book in the guise of a novel. The writing is extremely detailed but intriguing) and am in the middle of Playful Learning (bought it–that says a lot!) and The Bourne Dominion. (I enjoy the action and trying to figure out what is going on and going to happen, but think this will be my only Bourne book)

I am hoping…we get to make some new friends when we go to “Doughnuts and Chat” at the local retirement center on Saturday.

I am looking forward to…Thanksgiving!

I am hearing…Children giggling, quietly

Around the house…keeping up with the clutter

One of my favorite things…Baby bummies

A few plans for the rest of the week: We will be going to my cousin’s for Thanksgiving. We also are going to the gym (three times hopefully!) and to set up a room at church this week.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

Sir Cutie Patootie
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Outside my window…Sunny, cool–gorgeous October seeing itself out…
I am thinking…store bought milk is gross
I am thankful…for my milk co-op so I only have to go to the farm where we buy milk every couple of months
From the learning rooms...memorizing the countries in Europe. Because she wants to.
In the kitchen…homemade bread…also thankful for a bread machine.
I am wearing… argyle socks, jeans, purple shirt w/ a purple sweater cardi
I am creating…knitted gauntlets
I am going…to get back into the habit of making menus. This fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants thing is driving me batty.
I am wondering…if I’m hearing God right, why isn’t my husband in agreement?
I am readingHow Children Fail **** (four out of five stars)
I am hoping…to resolve some mental confusion
I am looking forward to…Daylight Savings Time being over (and wishing it would never change–just one more way the government is exerting control in our lives IMHO)
I am hearing…Cadrian talking to himself as he plays with his trains.
Around the house…laundry–the usual…
One of my favorite things…Denton backing up into my lap with a book he wants to read together
A few plans for the rest of the week: we went to the milk farm today, Bible study Wednesday, playdate Thursday. Yes, playdates are more for me than the children.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

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More on Amish Values…

There is a lot about the Amish lifestyle that is appealing to me, chiefly among the reasons are the sense of community and self-sufficiency I feel like is inherent to their way of life. When I read the Amish diaries in Country magazine or a newspaper column in my old hometown weekly publication, I always feel a little wistful about how their lives are different from mine. I enjoyed the book Amish Values for Your Family. I received a book to review and one to give to a reader from the publishers, and am excited to send it your way. The book is divided into four sections. Each chapter starts with an Amish proverb which in and of themselves are worth noting and posting round your home. The chapter consists of a little short story of an Amish family, sometimes combined with information of the world we live in, statistics and such. The main anecdote is followed by “Road Map: Getting there from here”, which is made of tangible ideas you can apply right now to make your life look a little different, a little simpler, a little more Amish, if you will. The chapter ends with a a section called “In their own words…” which are amusing peeks into the Amish life.The four sections are:1. Children are Loved but not Adored 2. Great Expectations 3. Daily Bread

4. Letting Go
The section that probably meant the most to me was the first. I found several nuggets I could apply to my daily life, that I should apply to my life. These Amish women and men put me to shame in their application of God’s word to their lives. The chapter aptly named “The Mud Hole” was startling in the reaction of the mom when her covered-with-mud boys interrupted her baby’s nap (again).

One of my goals in life is to be able to react “wordlessly” when my day doesn’t go as planned because of the precious little blessings I ought to be putting first in my day. A quote from the “Road Map” is “it’s quite possible that you are trying too hard to accomplish one thing and altogether missing the more important thing. The good is often the enemy of the best.” The author suggests to dig for the humorous part of the situation.

In another chapter, she suggests having a “to-be” list instead of a to-do list. I plan to implement this as well. Write down the big overarching goals in your family. For example one of mine is “To live close to God, my family and the earth.” Keep this in mind as you approach the minutia that invariably comes up in your day.

There are so many tidbits one could apply to one’s life. I would recommend reading this book bit by bit and let the ideas swim around for a while. If you try to read it all at once, you could end up with an inferiority complex (ahem, like I did). I don’t purchase books very often, but I would buy this one.

If you’d like to see how to apply Amish values to your family, and own a copy of this book too, you can enter my giveaway by leaving a comment. Tell me what you want your family legacy to look like, what you see as truly important, your overarching goals in family raising.
Press release as follows:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. “It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful.” -Mary Ann Kirkby Read the reviews here. To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes: * A brand new KINDLE * A Signed Bill Coleman original * Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away. But, wait there’s more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

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And now for something different…

photo by daisywu1
Purple slides and dances, sways soothingly and silently. It doesn’t draw attention to itself as it billows into the room, but everyone notices just the same.
Purple was born on a grey and cloudy spring day, the wind blowing, its eyes closed, the edge of blue straining to find the sun. Purple grew.
Purple takes me to Italy. We go cliff jumping into azure seas. Purple takes me to the desert. The shadows of the canyon are purple as they beacon relief from the squinting heat. Purple takes me to the willow. I lie on a quilt beneath undulating branches as purple and I watch the smoke puffs high in the blue wisp and sigh.
Purple likes dusk. Purple joins pink and red to stand and wave as long as they can, until their arms are decidedly sore and they’re out of breath with the exertion of good-bye.
Purple wishes for summer ripe tomatoes. It wants to eat them with cottage cheese or perhaps a bit of salt, but certainly wants to bite solidly into the fresh flesh and try to not let the juice run down its chin.
Most people don’t notice the garden gnome hiding behind purple. Purple is a little embarrassed because it likes to have its picture take with gnome wherever it goes.

Clanging, banding trolley cars aren’t purple. Nor are bellowing bulls or bleating butting goats. Cawing fighting blackbirds aren’t purple either but they wish they were.

Purple is a box of marbles, with a piece of chalk on a string for drawing a perfect circle. Purple wants to win all the shooters and loves to look at the swirly plasticine within and wonder how it got there.

Purple is a song of the evening, a lilting tilting reedy song. A song that desires company by the bonfire crackling , in the patio furniture cicada buzz. A song that rises in the summer waxing to rest a sticky day.
Purple is a peacemaker welcome wherever it goes, enjoying the company of princesses-to-be and those who never received their gilded invitation. Purple invites others in and offers more. Purple draws one to its Creator, shows the world Who made it.
Thanks very much to Karen Burke of Rip the Page! for the writing prompt.
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Book Review

I get a lot of offers to review books because, well, I love books. I don’t usually take the publishers up on them because I also don’t have a lot of free time. I only have time to do what I love, or, as the case may be, read what I love. So unless a book looks really intriguing, I generally just say no, thank you.

This is a book you’ll want to say yes to: The Second Messiah by Glenn Meade . It’s an archaeological murder mystery action conspiracy book. Thoroughly entertaining. Even better, it’s got no bad language, or anything else to negate the enticing plot and characters you’ll love to get to know. I’ll let you read the plot synopsis at the link, but know that I give it a hearty two thumbs up.
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Saving Souls and Decorating

Are you familiar with the Salvation Army?

According to Dave and Neta Jackson, authors of Hero Tales, “The slums of East London were a sad place to be at this time (the late 1800’s). It was said that every fifth house was a “gin house” with special steps to help even the tiniest children reach the counter. By five years old, many children were alcoholics. Some even died.
But the street corner preaching of the Salvation Army worked. In fact, so many people came to know Christ and stopped drinking and gambling that business began to slow at the gin shops. The owners, who had been getting rich by selling alcohol to these poor people were not happy and did everything they could to stop the street-corner preachers. But God would not let them stop the work of the Salvation Army.”
I think the mission of the Salvation Army has changed somewhat in the ensuing hundred-odd years, but it’s my understanding it’s still a Christian organization, still helping the poor. That’s God’s work right there.
Another reason why I really like the Salvation Army is you can score superfab deals like these:
Make me feel like I have a grown up bedroom now! We need a headboard and some grown up decorations on the dressers, like I dunno. Candles or statues or something. What do people put on their dressers anyway?
And for the record, we did not get the baby at the Salvation Army. He came with the room. 🙂
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Favorite Quotes of the Moment

But first to dream and then to do,—isn’t that the way to make a dream come true?~~ Meindert DeJong, The Wheel on the School

I found the stork picture here
I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to. ~~Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I liken our marriage to a once great civilization that was sacked by a horde of Viking dwarves. ~~??
Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle~~Ann Voskamp
On every level of life, from housework to the heights of prayer, in all judgement and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.~~Evelyn Underhill
Wherever you are, be all there. ~~Elisabeth Elliot
God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy. ~~Ann Voskamp
I would feel more otimistic about a bright future for man if he spend less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~~E.B. White
People think the FDA is protecting them-it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what people think it’s doing are as different as night and day. ~~Herbert Ley, former FDA commissioner
Books impacting me right now:
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