I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Click on the article title to read the entire article.

Woman's Roles
The Sacrifice of Obedience
I’ve sent a lot of time in the past several weeks talking about roles of husbands and wives. Why?
Because we have forgotten them.
Instead of the church reflecting what God has intended, it reflects the world’s priorities—with “nice” people.
Why do I say this?
Women provide for their families.
Women have forsaken their children. 

Why Boys Fight? And Is that Good?
Ever ask why boys stopped learning in schools?
Schools in the 1800’s were exclusively taught by men.
And boys exceeded in academics.
What changed?
Women started to teach.
Boys lost their male mentors.
Women changed the way they taught to adjust to how girls would respond, it wasn’t intentional, just natural—at first.

Is Your Family Different?
What I see of families now, they are running around, just like the world, but they've tacked on church things too.
Instead of having "family time", or even dinner time, parent's time is spent chauffeuring their children to all the school and church activities.
There is no time for peaceful meditations, or listening to God. or instructing your children.
We are told, "It's just a busy time." But that time extends into the next year and just gets busier.
The world's rat race has become ours.
How do you change it?

Gender Differences Backed by Science
Here’s the article that got me started on this series about men. 
Whether you’re a mom with sons, or a wife with a husband, or a daughter with a father, I’d like to remind my readers of the strengths of men and what we lose when we force them to be feminine.

Man VS Woman: Making Men Act Like Women
Ever realize that guys won’t see each other for ten years then when they first glance at each other, they do that “man-nod” that takes them up to the present?
What is that? A telepathic message that lets them know everything that happened?
Whereas girls must start where they last saw each other and bring them up to the present using words, of all things.
Joey tells me of this man nod—they lift their head up when they pass a man they know, they lower their head in greeting to one they do not know. What is that?
Difference between the sexes

Man VS Woman: Is It Equality We Seek?
Men are different from women. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have needed to make male and female.
Yet we obscure the boundaries between genders for the cause of equality.
God created us: male and female.
Man was given work. Woman was made to help him.

Woman was the only being created that was “suitable for man,” Genesis 2:20-25.
If women were created equal with man, one of us wouldn’t be needed.
We weren’t made to be like man. We were created to help man, in a way he couldn’t help himself.
We are different. (very different.)
We have different roles to fulfill.

How Do You See Sin?
We see the countless abortions done. 
It as the sin of murder.
And so it is.
But what other deeper sin is it?

Like hatred. We all do it at some time.
Yet God says,
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  I John 3:15.
Are we, as Christians, guilty of killing babies too?
How does God see it?

Marriage Is a Covenant before God
My son asked my husband to speak at his wedding. This is his transcripts:
Marriage is a unique relationship established by God, symbolic of the union between Christ and his Church, those who have accepted His gift.
Marriage is NOTan institution that man dreamed up.
If marriage was man-made, then man could ignore it when he grew tired of it.

Are You Precious?
Reading through I Peter, Peter gives practical ways to demonstrate your love for God. He also shows the importance of respecting the authority placed in our lives, including government, church leaders, servants, co-workers, and now in chapter three, he focuses on us women and how we should treat our husbands. 
In verse 3b of chapter 3, “But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

What's a Mother-In-Law To Do?
As my boys marry, I am blessed with daughters by law. 
For those without sons, it’s like handing the baton to someone else and praying they will love and take care of your son like you did.
Yet you want to continue to hold the baton.

Happily Ever After
Sometimes saying less is more. These sayings nail some feelings, truths, and challenges. Others make you wonder if wives actually do this....

What Kind of a Crown Are You?
My husband reminds me frequently that I am his crown.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

Often we quote those verses in Proverbs 31 about the virtuous woman being “like merchant ships; bring her food from afar…considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

We justify working outside the home, and providing for our family.
But her achievements were done at home. She spun extra material so she had extra to sell.
She bought that field so she could provide a meal for her husband.
What was her purpose?

Do You Like Your Husband?
My husband tells me every day he loves me. But he also tells me that he likes me. There’s a difference.
We, as women, get to nitpicking. Know where that word comes from?
Nitpicking is “the act of removing nits (the eggs of lice, generally head lice) from the host’s hair.”
The image of some monkey digging through another monkey’s head comes to mind. It doesn’t make me want to emulate their actions.
But as women, we do this to our husbands.  Nitpicking is “looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, especially in order to criticize unnecessarily. Or fussy fault-finding.”
We do it without thinking. Our husbands do something, again, that bothers us. Then we start to list all the things they do that are annoying. Soon all we can remember is how inconsiderate, insensitive and unloving they are.
After we’ve attacked everything they are and do, how can we love them, let alone like them?

Is Your Husband a Pushover?
When you married him, did you think he’d be easy to control and change?

We’ve been talking about the three types of leaders that replicate the Godhead Trinity: the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son. The Father is supreme and the man with this leadership style is commanding and demanding. The Spirit is visionary, driven by a single focus that allows discovery, invention and accomplishment. The third style of leadership replicates the Son.

Again, no man will exemplify only one type, but will be a blend of the three, but one will dominate.

Also, because I write to women and for women, I write about being the helpmeet for your husband’s style, not fixing your husband’s weaknesses so he will love you (although by being his help meet, he will love you better).

This was gleamed from Debi Pearl’s book Created To Be His Helpmeet.

The Son is not given to extremes. This man is content with the wife of his youth. He doesn’t expect her to perform miracles.

Often he’s taken for granted, because he is steady.

Did You Marry a Crazy Man?
This week we look at the man who is like the Holy Spirit. He is the mover, shaker, changer, and dreamer. He’s like the men who conquered the Wild West, not the farmers who settled it. He instigates change, like the street preachers, or the political activists. He thrives on confrontation, communicating with words, music, art, or actions. He enjoys discussing ideas, plans and dreams. He seeks out what is wrong to correct it. He can be very tunnel-vision, only seeing one issue to the exclusion of everything else. He’s a trailblazer, getting things done. He doesn’t know how to comfort.
How do you help a man like that?

Is Your Husband Crushing You?
There are three types of men. They represent the triune Godhead: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Recognize your man isn’t the perfect image of the Godhead, only a representative of Him. If you can identify what type of leader your man is, you will know how to better meet his needs. (Most are not just one type, but a mixture. Look for the dominate style for your direction.)

The Father is in charge. No one doubts it. He has supreme authority.

Are You Dependent?
Are you co-dependent? Of course not. You won’t be enabling another to do wrong!
We think of dependent people as not very strong, and, well, dependent. Weak, lacking strength, a parasite—sapping strength from someone else.
Don’t we raise our daughters to be independent. We don’t want them to be dependent on any man, in case they fail. We need something to fall back on, if things don’t work out. In case, he leaves you.
We raise our children to be independent as soon as they’re babies. Make them sleep in their own beds while they cry themselves to sleep. Don’t want them dependent upon you—as if they would stay in your bed until they were adults!
We honor and elevate independence as some goal to achieve. Isn’t that good?

Male vs Female:Is It Equality We Seek? 
Men are different from women. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have needed to make male and female.
Yet we obscure the boundaries between genders for the cause of equality.
God created us: male and female.
Man was given work. Woman was made to help him.

Woman was the only being created that was “suitable for man,” Genesis 2:20-25.
If women were created equal with man, one of us wouldn’t be needed.
We weren’t made to be like man. We were created to help man, in a way he couldn’t help himself.
We are different. (very different.)
We aren’t equal.
We have different roles to fulfill.

Are You a Nag?
Do you find yourself repeating requests over and over? Do you wonder if anyone is listening?

Google defines nag: annoy or irritate (a person) with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging.
"she constantly nags her daughter about getting married"
synonyms: harass, badger, give someone a hard time, hound, harry, criticize, carp, find fault with, keep on at, grumble at, go on at; henpeck; informal hassle, get on someone's case, ride.

Whatever you want to call it, you don’t want to be that. But how do you keep from it?

Do You Have a Picky Eater?
Is your mealtime a tug-of-war over what your child will eat?
Do you run a restaurant, offering a selection of choices at every meal?
Are you trying to please everyone at dinner?

Dinner should be a time for family to come together and share their day.

With toddlers, I know the sharing becomes more a reminder of rules to follow and how to eat, but it does get better with age, a little. 

A Way to a Man's Heart Is through His Stomach 
My husband’s office runs like clockwork. Patients, Drug Reps and others who come have commented on how well the office is run. There is a peace and calmness about it. Why? No one is bickering about who should do what. Everyone knows what they are suppose to do, and they do it. He tells the ladies their job is to make his job easier. They prepare the way for him to cut out the cancer and calm the patient. He is able to give that special attention to each patient, because the ladies have prepared them for his job.

Shouldn’t our homes be run like that too?
Recently, a friend was sharing about her son’s wife. The wife had quit her job because it was “too stressful.” Now she stayed at home. Our friend was commenting that the wife didn’t even send a bottle of water for her husband’s lunch. Her son would call her (the mom) and ask if she could bring him lunch and she worked full-time. She said something is wrong.

Are You Challenged by Your Man's Challenges? 
Men need challenges. They need to climb the highest mountain, explore unknown territory, conquer the unconquerable.
But what’s a wife to do with these challenges? She likes the security of what is known, what is safe, what is comfortable.
Should the husband drag her along as he hunts, fishes, and explores, when she hates getting her fingernails dirty?

My husband took our younger boys to a four-day rifle course. He asked me to go.  I try to keep living things growing and happy. I have no desire to make noise, shoot, or be challenged for four days. I told him it would be good for bonding time with the younger boys. He came back with bruises. Now, why would I want to do that?

What do you do with your husband’s challenges?

Happily Ever After sayings from pinterest

Are You Appreciated?
Do you feel the only time you're noticed is when dinner’s late or when someone needs laundry?
Know what makes my day? It’s the simple “thank you” from one of my sons when I gave him his folded laundry. Only one son ever said it regularly, but those simple words, made it worth it.

My husband tries to minimize the work that I do. I appreciate that too.

But it’s those words. (Remember my love language is words. Maybe you feel appreciated by gifts, time, acts of service, or touch)
Like when we finish eating dinner---that took most the day to prepare and only fifteen minutes to eat. The boys say, “Thanks for supper, Mom." I do notice when they don’t say it. I wonder if they liked it, or if they're sick, or…

But even with that, sometimes I feel like I could drop off a cliff. Would anyone notice? Except of course, for their dirty socks and maybe missing dinner.

Do You Feel Loved?
Perhaps your husband is telling you every day that he loves you, but he never helps you with the baby. Do you wonder at the truth of his words?
It may be that your husband is trying to talk to you in his love language, but you don’t feel it, because you speak a different language.
Let me explain.

Valentine's Day: A Day for Love?
I preface this article with a disclaimer. I recognize that Valentine’s Day is probably originated as a pagan holiday of false love, but it is a good reminder to treat your man with respect. I need a nudge periodically to remind myself not to take him for granted, to appreciate what he does and who he is. I use the day to help me to focus.

How do you measure your husband’s love?
By what he gives on Valentine’s Day?
My husband has told me that Valentine’s Day puts impossible expectations on the man. How can he fulfill any dream of a woman? Can he even imagine what she’s thinking?

Valentine's Day: Help Your Husband Out
Last week we talked about the demands the world puts upon the man to perform on Valentine’s Day, expectations they can’t hope to meet (See Valentine's Day: A Day To Love?). I spoke of telling your husband what you expect, not hoping and assuming he will know your unspoken requests. I gave the analogy men are like light switches, one look and they’re ready, whereas women are like irons, takes a while to get warmed up.

What if you don’t know what you want or how to help your husband prepare you? After all, when he asks what you want for dinner, you don’t know that either. Here’s some help.

Biblical Manhood
What Is Man?

As authors, we sometimes do a character sketch to solidify the character we want to portray. After writing the article “Superwoman: Is She Believable?" I realized that I did not have a clear picture in my own mind of what is a man.  

When I google searched it, the first article gave this description: “A man carries cash. A man looks out for those around him---woman, friend, stranger. A man can cook eggs. A man can always find something good to watch on television. A man makes things---a rock wall, a table, the tuition money. Or he rebuilds---engines, watches, fortunes. He passes along expertise, one man to the next. Know-how survives him.”1

Of course, the article continues and elaborates on this description. But it was nothing more than illustrating what he does—rather than a definition of who he is.   Is that all? He can make eggs and has cash? 

Where Are the Men?
In a previous article, I defined what a man is. There has been a definite shift in the way society views man, his virtues, his strengths.

In a not too distant past, a gentleman respected a lady enough to…. always open her doors, help her put on a coat, stand at attention when she entered or exited the room, offer a seat to her and help her be seated, and carry her packages.1

Today, if a man did these things, the woman might hit him. Have manners changed that much?

In the process of allowing women their freedom to “be all that they can be”, men have been hit, spit on, and screamed at for trying to continue old fashioned etiquette. “I can get the door myself.” “I can cuss as well as any man.” “I can carry my own packages, thank you very much.” This shift in society not only effects etiquette, but the entire society’s framework.

Society leaves men wondering who they are and what they should do. If they hold the door open for women, they are accused of being a sexist, but if they do not, they are cursed for ungentlemanly conduct. What should a man do?

What Should a Man Do?
In this series, I have discussed the roles of man in the article “What is Man?" and also in the article “SuperWoman: Is She Believable?”  He is king, warrior, teacher and friend. He protects. He provides.

His roles help determine who he is. I asked “Where are the Men?” because of society’s treatment of men. Society treats men as overgrown children, cowards, perverts and the enemy. Men have relinquished their roles.

Last week I hesitated to leave the article in despair over the state of society. I wish for this week to provide concrete answers to what should a man do? Let me preface this article with a qualifier: I am not a man. I cannot think, act or feel like a man. Nor is it my intention to instruct men. I present these Biblical principles and allow the men to apply them in their God-given roles.

What is a Christian to do with society changing God-given roles and genders?

Biblical Womanhood
What Is Your Choice?

We’ve discussed What is Man? in his roles of king, warrior, teacher and friend.1

We’ve shown how society seeks to destroy manhood in Where are the Men?.

We’ve presented principles to stand against society and show God’s way as truth in What Should a Man Do?.

This week’s article asks, what should a woman do? How can she change society to accept her man as God intended? In order to answer that question, she must operate in her God-given role. As both man and woman obey God, they become a testimony to what God intended for every couple. This shows society a better way.  In this article, woman’s role as helpmeet to her husband as king will be presented.

Letting Him Protect
This week’s article asks: What should a woman do? How can she change society to accept her man as God intended? In order to answer that question, she must operate in her God-given role. As both man and woman obey God, they become a testimony to what God intended for every couple. This shows society a better way.  In this article, woman’s role as help-meet to her husband's roles of warrior and teacher will be presented.

Do you know the protection of standing behind your man? He is there to protect you.

He is king. He is a warrior. He confronts evil, stands his ground, holds his own.

How do we submit to his role as warrior?

Are You a Friend?
This article concludes this series about how women can help their man be a testimony to society of what God instituted. She has helped him with his kingdom, she allows him to protect, she learns from him. Now we see man as our friend.

 What is your husband’s passion? What drives him to preform? Do you encourage him to reach his challenges? I can give forty reasons why his idea won’t work, instead of telling him one reason he should try. I must strive to be my husband’s cheerleader.

Who Controls the Money?
Money…what do you value?
Money only shows the problem in a relationship, it‘s not the problem.
Who takes care of your finances?
Before we married, we decided who would pay the bills…because the person who controls the money, controls how it is spent…we decided that my husband would lead in all things.

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving: How To Make Your Husband Love You.
Just before my husband cut off a cancer, his patient asked him, “Is your wife happy?”
My husband has removed close to a million cancers, but for this patient it was his first time. Myhusband assured him his wife was happy, and so is he.
“Because if Momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy.”

The Power of a Smile: How To Make Your Husband Love You
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Men, even your husband, are highly attracted to smiles.
Notice in a crowded room, who gets the attention? The woman who smiles.
Husbands overlook a lot of ugly, if the heart is merry.

How much control do you hold in your hand?
The feminists really have it all wrong when they encourage women to work outside the home, act like a man, compete for man-things, and get noticed by the world.
Because a woman at home wields more control than any woman fighting the men in the workforce.

In the work force, men act like men. If they don’t like you, they tell you. And they move on.

When women entered the work force, all of the sudden laws were made about being nice at work, to avoid ‘feeling’ threatened. Men were still treating each other the same way they have always treated each other, but women had barged into the men’s world. While working with the big dogs, women are treated like a big dog. They wonder why they come away beat up.

Superwoman: Is She Believable?
I have seen a surge of fiction lately that elevates the abilities of women to superwomen. Authors, Christian or not, put women into roles in the army, police force, fire department--performing feats comparable to men. I would like to contest that idea with four reasons. 


Created for Him
I find it interesting that God, in His wisdom, clearly told us wives a command twice.
Once in Ephesians and the second time in Colossians. Know what that command was?
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
It tells me that it’s probably harder to obey---thus the need to remind us twice.
It’s so important, that He didn’t want us to misunderstand it.

Do you know the curse of Eve? That she would want what her husband has…His power, his position. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)


Do You Help Your Husband?
Are you his conscience, correcting what he should be doing?
Are you his judge telling him what he’s doing wrong?
Did you marry him, only to change him?
God doesn’t need our help to act as Holy Spirit, convicting him of all his sin.
Nor are we God, Who will judge all wrong.
We are commanded to be his help-meet.
What does a help meet do?

Made To Conquer
Ever watch men play, or work, or do anything?
They are aggressive, invasive, combative, warring, forceful, vigorous, energetic, enterprising, initiators, instigators, movers, attackers, assailants, chargers…

God created man with a job. He was commanded to “subdue the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

My husband has tried to explain to me that men (or boys) will compete over anything…how far they can spit, how accurate they can guess…
I used that to my advantage when they were little. “Who’s the strongest?”
The boys have since learned my tactics and now just ask, “Mom, what would you like me to do?”
But they still must prove that they did it. And I must be careful to give them credit for what they have done.
Men were made to subdue the earth.

Women Working
How Much Does It Cost for Moms To Work?

[Ever been told by God to do something but don’t want to do it. Unfortunately, that happens to me, too often. Writing this article was one of those. Then I waited several weeks before publishing it, again because I didn’t want to do it…I wanted to soften the message, to change the intent, to trash the entire article…but God kept prompting me to publish. The Bible’s message is true, is best, is what we need, right now. So I have finally obeyed. I pray that you won’t have to struggle so much to obey Him.]

The family is the foundation of a society. When the family is destroyed, the society will soon follow.
In Titus 2:5, God tells women to be “workers at home…so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
Some have justified and changed that command all different ways but God says, "women be keepers at home." I don't know what it means to "dishonor God's Word," but it doesn't sound good. I will work at home to avoid that.

How Much Does It Cost for Moms To Stay at Home?

I will not tell you staying home is easy. IT IS HARD. I remember many days calling my husband when the kids were crabby and I was too. I would ask, “Why do I stay at home?” He would say, “Because you love us.” I would reply. “That’s not good enough, why else?”

Margaret Thatcher, She Changed the World, But What about her Family?
Lately we've been discussing what it costs for women to work in and out of the home. 
I don't have easy answers, or even any answers.
People often praise Deborah as an ancient example of super woman. She did it all.
How could Deborah, judge of Israel, still be submissive to her husband, and obedient in her role as helpmeet? 
Are there exceptions to the principles set by God?

My husband reminded me of Margaret Thatcher.

Memories of a Hero Mom
(For those grammar critics: I know now that it should be heroine!)
In my recent decluttering, I found these writing assignments from third and fourth grade. 
They remind me of the importance of a mom who gives security and models love.
Hope you enjoy them too!

They Galled Her Gammy
But I called her, "Mom."
I first met her before marrying Joey.
Our wedding pictures were the only pictures I’ve ever seen Gammy sad. I’ve since learned, it’s never easy to give away a son. But she did.
By doing so, she gained a daughter.

Who's Responsible for the Children? 
Where we lived, we had pond. 
When we moved there, the boys were 4, 2 and one coming.
My husband built a zip-line over it so the boys could fly  and drop into the pond.
Every summer we swam in that pond—every day. Those 100’ days were meant to swim. I watched from the edge. Taught them how to swim from the side. Only allowed them in the deep part when they mastered swimming.
Before the toddler mastered walking, I'd be grabbing their arm and raising them out from their sputtering fall. I'd hold them close, only until they felt confident to try it again. We'd both be drenched and dripping, but they knew I would be close and watching.
But the boys knew they weren’t allowed close to the pond unless I was watching. 

The Battle for Our Children
Many parents have assumed their children are learning what they learned in school.
After staying home with their children and listening to what is taught, parents are concerned. With good reason.
California has pushed for years to have sex education taught to kindergarteners.
Now with a better agenda, "which gender are you?", they have better options.

Dear Master of Hands
Found this while decluttering. Thought you might be helped by the reminder.
May I treasure 
   The interruptions
      Of my tasks
   To tie a shoe,
   To read a book,
   To hold a hand.

Close to Home and Heart
Sayings from my painters board.

Reflections from a Mom

Ever notice how much of being a mom is out of your control?
Take conception.
The world will tell you to “’plan your family”—as if children were a nuisance that must be scheduled into your life,
“That you shouldn’t have too many children”—what’s too many, especially when God tells us children are a blessing from Him?
There are couples trying to have children and couples trying not to have children—all of it out of their control, but not God’s.

Just the Mother-In-Law
With the weddings of four of our boys, I have entered another uncertain stage—that of mother-in-law. As most their weddings were held far away, it helped me not to micromanage their planning. All I had to do was get there and wear the right color of dress. I somehow didn’t manage even that well. 

A Mom Who Knew Her Job
​Found this story. Don't know how true it is, but it may encourage you today to do what you must do.

Letting Go of My Fourth Son
A "Speech" prepared to give at Jonas and Jane's wedding:
You would think giving your sons away would get easier, after all I’ve already done this three times. But when I tried to capture what hole Jonas would make when he leaves us, I could not even imagine.
Even his birth showed evidence of the mark he would make.
We came home early from Monterey when my water broke. Five days later Jonas arrived sunny side up. Life would never be the same.

Making a House a Home
Yesterday I walked through our house for the last time.
Its empty walls spoke nothing of the family that once lived here.
Nor did the hollow-sounding steps that echoed through each room.
Every noise resonated loudly as I opened each door to check every closet and cupboard for any forgotten item.

How Do I Pray?
I don’t know how to pray.
God has given what we’ve asked for.

Fires in California
The sun rises and sets red.
Ash settles over everything, giving a false feeling of snow, even as it remains in the 90’s.
A smoke haze fills the air, resembling thick fog.
That wood-burning smell permeates even clothes.

Picking up Acorns
Ask me, “Why?” I’m picking up acorns.
I love the fall. Because we don’t live where maples or beech display such beautiful fall colors, I have enjoyed the acorns falling.

This year the acorns are a bit on the skinny side—forecasting a slim year for rain. Last year they couldn’t have been bigger. Their little coats bursting their seams, hardly holding their nutrients for that seed to grow.
Even with their slimness this year, their hats barely cover the tops of nut. Were they never meant to stay on? 
They just hold them onto the tree until it was time for them to go.
Is that what mothers are for?
To hold their little packets of seeds onto the tree until it is time for them go?

Changed by God
Some of my readers have adopted drug babies and are struggling with certain issues.
So, I write again.

In the early years, before I realized the severity of the drug damage, I disciplined my youngest like all the others. In fact, I rode him harder.
He seemed to have no conscience that would remind him of what was right.
Research showed that drugs, especially prior to birth, inhibit the development in their brains for the center for consequences.
No amount of “help” would develop it now.

Last Times
Do you ever think that the moment you are in will last forever?
Those times when that baby just will NOT go to sleep.
That wailing of the sleepy child who just needs to submit and obey.
Those dirty diapers, endless laundry and why must they eat again!
You feel like these times will never end.
But they do.

What Have We Done Wrong?
Do you grow tired of that pile of dishes that never goes away? Or that basket of laundry that grows when you fold them?
Isaiah said, “I have toiled in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely the justice due to me is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” Isaiah 49:4.

Are You a Failure?
Some days there is an “x” that I cannot solve in my son’s math. And sometimes I can’t even find the “y”. We stare at those triangles in silence and wonder what rule could help us solve this.
Though I can find the x most days, I haven’t been able to teach my boys how to find the x on their own. That’s what a teacher is supposed to do, not find it for them —every single day.
It seems such a little thing. Why should I care? But it is every single day.

What To Do Now?
Early in our marriage, my husband and I found we either had money or time. If we had time, we didn’t have the money to do anything.
Perhaps these things will help you do something while you wait to return to your jobs.
Or maybe you may find, that your jobs weren’t that important as what you find at home.
Anyway, this article should help you do something.

Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
(I almost changed this article to reflect what our world is experiencing now, but I didn't, because life does continue.
And those things that must be done, still need to be done. And being a mom still requires routine, even if it is hectic.)
Laundry. Making dinner. Messes. Spills.
Routine. Sameness. Doing something over and over and over again.

Are Your Children Safe from Bullying?
Bullying, annoying, tormenting, pestering, plaguing, molesting, worrying, badgering, harrying, harassing, heckling, persecuting, irking, bullyragging, vexing, disquieting, grating, besetting, bothering, teasing, nettling, tantalizing, or ruffling—whatever you want to call it....What’s a parent to do?

Are Your Children Safe from Sexual Abuse and Child-Napping
How do I can safe-guard my children from sexual abuse?

Most child-abuse or napping cases are done by people the family knows. Many alleged cases are done by one parent restricting another divorced parent or relative. (Not true abuse cases.)
How do you guard against abuse?

Are Your Children Safe?
We have heard much in the news about creating “safe places” for our children.
How is a parent suppose to keep their children safe?
What is safe?

Marjorie Rutherford: A Testimony to God's Faithfulness
To watch Marjorie Rutherford as she persistently maneuvers the ramp at church with a smile, you can’t help but think of Job 23:11, My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
What brought her to faithfully seeking God’s people every week without fail, even though difficult?
Here’s her story.

Marjorie Conrad: A Testimony to God's Trustworthiness
When Marjorie Conrad was asked, “What one thing, in all your years, did you learn about God?”
She said without hesitation, “To Trust Him. To really believe He has me in His Hands.”
Even her favorite verses replays that theme of trust.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
It’s not her strength; it’s God’s. Even when she feels inadequate.But, it's hard to let go of worry.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

When she shared her life’s story, that theme of trust is woven through all the happenings of her life to bring her not only into her Savior’s hands but into His heart.

Starting School Again.
Another school year has come and with it the growing list of inadequacies that always comes with it.
Satan does a good job at reminding me of my failures and dumping them at my feet where I must trudge through them before I even start the day.

Dependence or Independence? 
Your Babies Cries
Children are born with a sin nature. But that doesn’t mean their cries are selfish.
That’s their language to tell something is wrong. “I’m wet. I’m hungry. I want to be held.”
These are needs, not selfish wants.
Security and trust are nurtured in the baby when his cries are met. He knows you are there. He stops crying.
Allowing him to cry himself to sleep teaches him not to trust. Moms have been told, “Let them cry. They’ll go to sleep. It’s good for them.” While the mom listened, her heart broke.

Breast Milk Made Especially for Your Child
Much research has confirmed that God designed mother's milk especially for your baby. Consider these studies...

What Is Essential for Babies?
I recently went to a baby shower. Lot’s have changed since I’ve had children!
I remember our birth of our first born…the pain has gone away, but the words of my midwife linger. “Babies don’t need anything. He just needs you.”

My Space, My Time, My Needs
In the midst of raising babies and young children is there such a thing as your time? You feel every time you turn around someone is demanding something from you. By the time your husband comes home from work, you feel like a limp, soggy rag that should have been washed three weeks ago.

After you maneuver through dinner (when do you really eat a sit-down meal when a baby wants to nurse or a toddler finishes in five minutes and you haven’t even begun to eat?) You throw any leftovers in containers for tomorrow’s lunches, and soak the pans to greet you in the morning.

Then it’s time to get them to bed. Deep Sigh.

When do you get “alone” time? You can’t even go to the bathroom by yourself, lest your toddler yell through the door in a petrified voice wondering if you’ve disappeared. (Only in your wishes)

What's a Mom?
I dedicate this page to my mom, who showed me how to be a mom.
I don't know how you ever did it!

A Mother's Influence
Feel like you’re spinning in a circle going nowhere? Does what you do make a difference?

Consider this woman.
She was the 25th child of 25.
She had 19 children.
Nine of her children died as infants.
Four of those infants were twins.
One was accidentally smothered by a maid.
She buried 11 of her children.
Her husband left her and the children for over a year over a minor dispute.
Her husband went to jail twice due to poor finances.
He spent all his life and the family’s finances on his book that was never remembered.
Their house burnt down twice.
One son nearly died and was rescued from second story window.
Her children were placed in different homes for two years while the house was rebuilt.

Yet, this woman resolved to speak with every one of her children alone.

A Mother of Boys
I have written before about man’s need for respect but this week I would like to discuss how to respect your boys as you raise them. 

I have noticed certain ‘stages’ in a boys’ development that cause a ‘breaking away’ from mothers. For lack of a better word, I will call these stages ‘independence.’ James Dobson, in his book Bringing Up Boys, tells of sons breaking their mother’s heart a little at a time so she will let him go when he needs to leave. This process has some distinct age markers.

Prepare for the Lord: Thoughts for Moms from Exodus 19
If you were to meet God on a mountain top, what would you do to prepare yourself? 

(v 10-11) God told Moses to prepare the people--yet they were staying at the bottom of the hill. They were to consecrate themselves for two days--washing themselves and their garments. They were told to be ready on the third day.

How do you make yourself ready to meet with God? How do you hear the voice of the Lord?






Child Training
Help Is Here
Many of you know we adopted our niece’s son. He was a drug baby.
That effected how he thinks.
I never could classify him as ADHD. He was never hyper. But ADHD, without the H, ADD would fit his processing. We hesitated to diagnosis or “LABEL” him, but it was helpful for understanding him and his processing better. 
He is not unique. As some of you have written to me...

The Minimalist Mom: Simple Steps to Rescue Your Child from Digital Overload
I've mentioned her before for decluttering. Here is a podcast on what is happening to your child's brain while on social media and video games.
Although a long podcast, it is a call for parents to wake up to the damage their child experiences as they use their phones and computers.

Boundaries for a Better Life
God has given His laws to help man live together peacefully. 
But knowing how man doesn’t choose the best, God placed in those laws what to do when peace isn’t possible.
Those are the boundaries.
Catering to the Child
I recently served the meal for children in VBS.
A boy heartedly ate his piece of pizza and wanted another. 
I looked at him, not willing to tell him his first piece was also probably cold.
I told him, “That‘s what we have. If you don’t want to eat it, put it on your plate.”
“Yes,” I repeated what I had said, more firmly.
Does God live inside of time? No.
Does God think yesterday, today, and tomorrow? No. When He says I’m perfected by His Son, He sees me as I will be, not as what I am. That’s a good thing. 
Do you ask for patience?

How Do You Love Your Children?
Titus 2:2-5 says “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

I recently re-evaluated whether I should continue writing to young mothers. I don’t want God’s Word to be dishonored. What struck me in those verses was the phrase, "teach young women to love their children."

How do you love your children?
Joey wondered about that. “I thought moms automatically loved their children.”
I laughed. "Are you kidding?" Every day one of my children give me a good reason why I find it hard to love them.

Raising the Impossible Child
Do you have one of those children who...
Can’t seem to hear you, except when you are whispering to your husband about things they shouldn’t know?
Latch on to anyone as if you don’t give them your undivided attention at home?
Create unrest wherever they go?
Live to push your buttons?
What’s a parent to do?

Premises for Child Training
Do you not know where to begin with training and disciplining your child? Here are some premises that will put a firm foundation to your training process.

Teen Trials
We’ve been discussing discipline for toddlers and preteens. This week we’ve entered the teenage years. Ready or not … mostly not ready, but here’s what I’ve learned…

There are no pat answers, no magic formula, no step by step process that makes great kids.

Each child is an individual with their own talents, abilities and WILL.

I feel a failure often and more than any other stage and for that reason, I hesitate to even tell you what works, because maybe it was a fluke for that child, because it didn’t work for the next… But I have learned these things.

Preteen Trouble
We’ve been talking about discipline a couple of weeks ago. We’ve talked about how you must start young, strive for obedience, not give up, and most of all seek God.

Now you have a pre-teen. You realize that you didn’t strive as much as you should have for obedience. You now have a sassy, challenging boy who is taller than you and you can’t spank (without hurting yourself). What do you do?

A Place To Call Your Own: Instilling Ownership in Your Child
Growing up in a houseful of girls, (I had five sisters) my mom instilled a sense of ownership, boundaries, responsibility. I couldn’t just “borrow” my sister’s clothes. I had to ask her. No house back then was built to allow everyone a room to herself. We had to share. But Mom knew the importance of “this is mine,” even with drinking glasses. Sometime later, when she saw my boys sharing a glass a water, she questioned herself, “Was I right to instill such ownership?” Us girls would never “share” germs like that. (Maybe that was their father’s Mexican heritage vs my German or maybe that was my mom’s nursing education, I don’t know.)

Mom found a way that we all could have our alone time. 

The Why, When and How of Child Training
Much of the suffering that happens in the world is due to people who never learned as children to conform to the will of their parents.

If I could give you a nice little formula that magically works every time for discipline, I would. I’m sorry, I can’t. It’s like explaining God and His purposes. You can’t put God in a box, nor can you put your child in a box. (He is, after all, made in the image of God.)

So how does an understanding of suffering help you discipline your child?

Freedom To Choose
Do you feel like that sometimes?

Is it any wonder, when you spend your day thinking for more people than yourself?
My husband and I give our boys choices. When they were small, they could choose oatmeal or granola for breakfast. But as they matured, they were given more freedom.
As their ability to make wise (or not) choices grew, so did my prayer life. By the time they became teenagers and young adults entering life, the decisions they made were life-changing, could destroy or add to their life in huge ways.
I could be one of those controlling mothers who made their decisions for them. But did I want to think for them for the rest of their lives? Didn’t I have trouble thinking clearly for what I needed to do?

But nor do I like feeling helpless.

Then I thought of God. 

Eight Don'ts of Discipline

Ten Do's of Discipline

To Have a Hamster To Hold:
A Case Study on Discipline

Just the Facts, Ma'am
I have a son who tells on himself. He cries about someone hitting him. When I weed through the reasons, he’ll finally say, “Because I hit him with a stick.” (I have given permission to hit back in defense; it’s a matter of self-preservation.) “If you hit them with a stick, they’ll hit back.” (They tell him to stop several times first. I hear them.)

After weeding for the facts, I tell him, “If you do this, you’ll get this. That's cause and effect."

The glazed look in his eyes tells me that we will have this talk again.

Time Out or Restoration
I’ve been reading through the laws given to Moses for the Israelites. God is very clear when a law is broken, what the punishment should be: Do not steal; pay back seven times. Do not murder; stone him. If you don’t honor the Sabbath…the land will get its rest and so will you.

As I read, I noticed the Israelites had no jails. Why? The punishment rectified the situation. The victim was restored (except in the case of murder). I can’t tell you that I understand all of the punishments…That part where a woman is raped and she is then given to the man as his wife doesn’t sit well with me…But I saw restoration, not separation. The criminal was restored to citizenship (unless he was stoned, of course, he couldn’t do that).

Training for Truth
How do you train for truth?
Set the example.
 If truth isn’t important to you, it won’t be to your children.
I can give you 100 excuses why I do not obey, but the fact is, I still did not obey. I show that I do not value obedience, I value excuses. That’s what my children will learn and remember.

Look What I Can Do?
Do you have a five-year old?
Those are the days when all he can say is, “Watch me, Mom!”, “Look at what I can do!”
As our boys got older and outgrew that ‘watch me’ stage, I had to work to appreciate the next son who had just entered that stage. My husband Joey reminded me that each boy needed that attention. He was just as excited with the last one as he was with the first. Me, I’d seen it before and had too much to do.
To move from one stage to another required security. I especially noticed this with toddlers. They got clingy, crabby, and unbearable before they learned something new. I would think, “Why do I have to hold you all day?”, then they’d burst forth with independence that brought another skill tried and mastered.

Where's the Box?
Ever wonder why you can solve problems in the shower after struggling with them all day?

Your brain works in cycles. A morning person solves problems, tackles questions and makes decisions first thing in the morning. For night prowlers, later in the day is their peak time for efficiency.

But when creative work is necessary, success increases when the brain isn’t working efficiently. When tired, the brain doesn’t filter out distractions nor focus on one task and remembering connections is difficult. This allows for ‘thinking outside the box’. Other options are considered. That ‘ta-da’ moment arrives.

Is there a correlation between artistic people and their ability not to focus on ‘real world’ issues? Perhaps that ‘thinking outside the box’ has taken over their entire brain?

I seek to understand my children so that I can either help them focus, or make sure that I have enough sleep so that at least one of us can focus on ‘real world’ issues.

Finding Your Child's Gifts
Each person is unique. Each person has a gift like no other. As parents we want to maximize these gifts so our children can reach their potential. So how do you find your children’s talents and gifts?

Developing Your Child's Gifts
Each person is unique. Each person has a gift like no other.

Last week, I presented ways to help find your child’s gifts. As we saw, exposure to various things helps find your child's gifts, but then those gifts must be developed and strengthened. How do you do that?

Help Is Here
Many of you know we adopted our niece’s son. He was a drug baby.
That effected how he thinks.
I never could classify him as ADHD. He was never hyper. But ADHD, without the H, ADD would fit his processing. We hesitated to diagnosis or “LABEL” him, but it was helpful for understanding him and his processing better. 
He is not unique. As some of you have written to me...

Holiday Helps
Recipes and helps to help you enjoy the holidays.

Feeling Disorganized?
How’s your garage looking?
Someone recently asked me what projects I’ve been doing.
“Not much.” 
She didn’t believe me.
Just working on junk.

Maybe you need encouraged to work on your junk.

Cutting Costs with DIY Cleaners
Want to save money on things you use everyday?
Look at pinterest for more details and explanations or variations of these recipes.
(I know, some of those Pinterest suggestions are not realistic, I've tried these. They do help.)
These recipes are great for those with allergies, baby sensitivities, and those who desire to save A LOT (who doesn’t?).

Helps—An App Worth Having

Ramblings from a Gardener
I can’t tell you how many failures I’ve had trying to garden.
If you asked about planting something, I could tell you why you should not even try.
I’ve tried potatoes in a raised bed with straw. 
The dogs laid on them and crushed them.

Comments about Gardening

One Pot Miracles
I am not a fan of having useless gadgets in the kitchen to clutter my counters or cupboards, but I was intrigued with the One Pot.
When I bought one and finally used it, (I had to work up my courage), I was sold.
Though I do not yet grasp all the features of what it can do, those that I have used, I’m impressed.

Settling In
If you’ve followed our journey from California to Oklahoma, you’ll remember how we decluttered A LOT before we moved. 
But one thing we did not anticipate was no land at all. So when I unpacked boxes filled with chicken waterers, animal traps and horse needs, I had to readjust again that we lived in town.

More Recipes for Breads to Give

Reading Chair Worth Using

Looking for a good reading chair? or sewing chair? or nursing chair?
One that’s cheap, durable, child-friendly 
and comfortable.
Look no further.

What Moving Has Taught Me—Part Two
When you think you have packed everything possible under the sun—you haven’t. Believe me.
Look again. There will always be something more.
Even if you have no room. Especially if you have no room.

What Moving Has Taught Me—Part One
since we haven’t actually moved in, just moved out.
Preparing to move is like preparing for that test you didn’t know about. You can’t do enough. And even if you could, it isn’t enough.
When you only deep clean every 25 years, you find a lot of dirt.
Did you know that the crud on your oven’s window is INSIDE, between two layers of glass? Who would have thought! 
When you dismantle the oven door to clean the crud, it's worth it.
The oven door window is meant to see what is inside the oven.

Elderberries to the Rescue
Feel a cold coming on? Have a sore throat? 
We have elderberry trees where we live. I tried this syrup for the first time this year.
It does help.
How to make it:

The Dreaded Family Picture
A picture is what you take when you accidentally mash your hands on the shutter release while your camera sits idle on the living room table. It’s when you bump the camera while it hangs from your shoulder and snap that oddly angled picture of your feet. It’s the photos you took of your friend just because they asked you to. It’s also generally what most of us are shooting the first time we pick up our cameras – myself included.

But if you really want to advance your photography, you’ve got to stop pressing that shutter release just because you can. Instead, take the time to create a vision. Stop taking pictures. Start creating images.”  Matt Dutile, New York City photographer.

People think our family picture must be a breeze to take. It’s not.

Let's Talk about Laundry
With eight boys, I've done a lot of laundry. That is one thing that I didn't  make them do, unless they were going away to school. The boys are good about grabbing the laundry buckets and carrying them for me, when I'm carting them back and forth.
What works for me...

Camping with Children
Keep It Simple.
Often looking through outdoorsy magazines, I’m tempted to purchase so many gadgets I'd need a U-haul to bring everything, and a separate barn to store it. We camp once a year (maybe), and must store it the rest of the year.

Keep in mind: food—first, sleep—second and everything else must be minimized.
Camping List
Camping Recipes

Traveling with Children by Airplane

Traveling with Children by Car

Saving Time with School
Tips to survive that “School Hectic Time.”

Shopping to Save Money
I shop once a month. Why?

Tips for Clutter Management

Why De-clutter?
This is not how you should declutter---this is more why you should de-clutter.

Twelve Steps to Take the Hectic out of the Holidays

Tips for the Holidays

Tips To Save Time in Making Meals

Tips To Make Food Stretch