My daughter was certain a puppy would bring her joy. Fix her loneliness and boredom. Her therapy dog, we joked. Love in the time of COVID.
Okay, we agreed. We’ll get another dog.
But YOU—we told her—will be in charge of training it.
Of course, yes, I’ll do everything, she said. And for the most part, God bless her, she has. From the moment Bodie the mini Goldendoodle entered our family three weeks ago, my 14-year-old has taken the lead on all potty training, crate training, behavior training, and puppy acclimation tasks required.
She adores this pup. We all do.
Yet sometimes we want to drop-kick him into the neighbor’s yard.
My husband—can’t he see I need some attention?
My kids—why are they acting so entitled? Did I raise them to be this ungrateful??
My job—deadlines, expectations, stress, stress and more stress. WHEN CAN I CATCH MY BREATH??
There’s an old riddle I’ve heard circulated in Christian circles for years. It asks, “Can you serve God without serving people?”
Toss on your philosopher’s cap and you can debate this question ‘til your brain goes numb. But since I kind of like my brain to operate at full capacity, I prefer to take a shortcut through Scripture.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34–35, NLT).
Recently one of my Bible study groups discussed what it means to be committed to one another. How much time should we spend together? What does it look like to speak the truth in love? In today’s pandemic culture, how do we apply the Bible’s admonishment to “not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT)?
I’m a huge advocate for drawing on God’s Word to train our kids. The Bible makes it clear: “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” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Amen! The Bible is our source of wisdom—yes, by all means, let’s apply it to our children’s lives!
In doing so, though, we need to ensure we’re using Scripture not just to convict but also to equip and encourage. Think of it as the difference between a hammer and a paintbrush. One pounds holes in the wall; the other transforms it.
Normally that’s not a remarkable announcement. But these aren’t normal times, are they?
People—I went to Starbucks!!!! You know, that happy place where they toss strawberries in your Pink Drink and tell you to have a nice day. Where cake pops are shaped like unicorns and for some mysterious reason all the fiscally responsible woman of the world gladly slap down five whole dollars for a cup of jolly joy.
Family life has taken on a whole new dimension lately, thanks to a pandemic that’s keeping most of us in close quarters. If you lacked quality family time before, you might be experiencing an uncomfortable abundance of it these past few weeks. So with moms and dads working from home, surrounded by small co-workers who demand peanut butter sandwiches and assistance with virtual math, how in the world is a married couple supposed to find a moment’s rest—together?
I have a new approach to parenting. It’s called shut up and listen.
Last week on the drive to school, my seventh-grader was expressing her frustration with a particular class and what she viewed as an injustice in the way the students were being treated. I heard her concerns—my heart ached for her concerns—but then of course, I did what a “good” mom does in this situation.
We bought a BarxBuddy for our dog. It’s a handheld training device that uses ultrasonic sound to get a dog’s attention and redirect his behavior. We humans can’t hear the noise, but apparently to our dog it sounds like an annoying tuba.
My daughter and I are reading The Book Thief. It’s a sweeping story of lives intertwined during a period of harsh book censorship in Nazi Germany.
Yesterday, glancing at the book sitting on my kitchen counter, I thought of the freedom of speech we enjoy here in modern America. And I thanked God for letting people like me write books and read books and generally explore any kind of literature or films or websites I want to.
For lots of us moms, summer time is cranky time. So I thought we could all benefit from a list of my top 10 tips for becoming a kinder, gentler, sun-shiny mother. You know, the kind who enjoys her kids more than she scolds them. It really is possible! Here’s how.
As a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom, my comfort zone is a 1,500-square foot ranch. The same painted walls, the same piles of dishes, and the same precious faces make up the scenery of my days. My minivan travels to the grocery store, school, church, and occasionally Starbucks for a coffee date. Adventure for me these days is a stroll through the outlet mall.
I’m okay with that. In this season of life, I like to focus inward—on my family, my faith, my casserole recipe book. I don’t suffer from wanderlust because there’s enough to juggle in my six-room home.
My world is small. So sometimes I forget that my God is big—really, really big.
On an hourly basis I probably check my phone a dozen times or more. Email, texts, weather, photos, Facebook, Instagram, Voxer, Lord help me!—these are the weeds that vie for my attention at the same time my children are flipping cartwheels in the grass.
Technology itself is not the devil. I firmly believe Christians have a responsibility to use it for good. But as a work-from-home mom, it’s dangerously easy to let work time leak into family time. And then I start looking at my loved ones as the distraction, rather than the other way around.
Fact is, it’s impossible to bless someone you’re ignoring.