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Book Reviews, Encouragement, Life Is Beautiful

Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (Book Review)

Gentleness is seen as a strong quality. In Proverbs 25:15b, “a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Raising children is tough.

I don’t think it’s ever been easy to be a parent, but I do think that parenting now may be more of a challenge than in any other era.

As parents, we face unique difficulties that our parents and grandparents didn’t have to contend with. The internet didn’t exist in past generations and with its arrival came a whole host of issues we must now monitor, offer guidance for, and protect against. Continue Reading

Book Reviews, Giveaways

The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents: Book Review and Giveaway!


Have you ever heard of a praise challenge? Do you pray for your children?  I’m sure you must. Most days, I start my morning in prayer and my children are always at the top of my prayer list. I lead a group of praying moms during the school year and we gather weekly to pray for a solid hour in thanksgiving, praise, and requests for our children, schools, and staff.  Prayer is so important. Perhaps most important is prayer for our children. They face significant struggles these days. Growing up, I believe, is more challenging than ever and our children face obstacles we never even considered, especially with the dawn of the internet. Continue Reading

Encouragement, Health

How to Help Your Children Cope with Grief

Grief is a challenging, confusing struggle. As adults we wrestle with it, so how much tougher must it be for children? Last week, I wrote about grief over at Defying Shadows. It occurred to me later how differently we face things as adults than children do and that I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what I know about grief and children.  

Children aren’t just “little adults.” In fact, the way they function and process are quite different than how we operate as adults.  When my children lost their father, we were all reeling from the shock and grief. I had lost both my parents by then and was no stranger to grief, but I was very much a stranger to dealing with significant loss as a child. I learned a lot from my children during this process just as I learned a lot about them. That support was absolutely vital to their healing and mine. Continue Reading


Ten Things About the Duggars

When I say “The Duggars” most people know who I’m talking about. The Duggar family has been long-known as “the ones with all the kids.” They do have “19 Kids and Counting”, which is the appropriate title of their reality TV show on TLC. Many people have strong feelings about this larger-than-average family.  They either love them or…they don’t.

I’ll admit when they first came into the public eye (when there were fewer than 19 children), I wasn’t a fan. I couldn’t understand how it was responsible to have that many children. After all, how could parents possibly keep track of each one and give them much-needed undivided attention on a daily basis? I judged them, assuming the older kids all but raised the younger ones. I didn’t dislike them per se, but I didn’t understand their ways so I didn’t make any attempts to investigate and see what they were really about.

Eventually I gave them a chance and started watching their show here and there and no one was more surprised than I to find that this family grew on me. Here are my ten reasons why:

1. I just plain like them.

The Duggars are likable, it’s just that simple. They seem like people who I could be friends with and have some laughs with and learn from.

2.  They have an unshakable faith. 

The Duggars have been raked over the coals time and again for their beliefs and the way they choose to live. But they’re confident in their spirituality and they haven’t let the criticism sway them. They live out their faith.

3.  They’re honest about their mistakes. 

Jim Bob and Michelle have been open about some mistakes they made early on in their life. They’ve copped to some debt and some other circumstances they’d change if they could go back and do so. They are very straight forward that some of their parenting strategies are formed around preventing their children from making similar poor decisions.

4.  They make messes.

There is a big bunch of little ones running around the Duggar house which translates into bigger messes than in most homes. The struggle is real, people. Keeping a house neat and tidy when we have two children is practically an Olympic event some days. Imagine keeping any kind of order with 19 (nineteen!) kids playing, finger painting, making blanket forts.  They don’t pretend that they’ve got it all together at all times. There are messes and they just clean them up and move on to the next one.

5.  They laugh a lot.

Laughter is huge in my life. I’m a firm believer in laughing every chance there is. So when I see this family joking around, especially between Jim Bob and Michelle, it really endears me. The family that laughs together, stays together.

6.  They shop secondhand and are proud of it.

Be still my heart. Celebrities who buy secondhand! I’m a bargain shopper, born and bred, and even if I break the millionaire tax bracket someday, I’ll still be a bargain shopper. Why pay more for something if you don’t have to? The Duggars buy secondhand and even make some of their own clothing and it’s admirable and it’s also smart. They make good use of what God has given them.

7.  They have real talents and interests.

It appears most if not all of the Duggar children have musical ability. They take musical lessons and have vast interests. Many of the boys help with construction and home improvement (as we saw when the family readied an investment home for newlyweds Jill and Derick).

Jill has a love of midwifery and coaching mothers and helping newborns enter the world and the other children have displayed various interests. They are individuals and their uniqueness shows.

8.  They have each other’s backs.

There is real comradery and support amongst the members of the Duggar family. There is genuine love and tenderness and a healthy amount of teasing. But overall, the kids seem very supportive and truly happy for the others’ successes.

9.  They have great hair.

Seriously, this family has been blessed from a follicular standpoint. The girls have long hair and volume for days. It’s beautiful and I’ve noticed them mention more than once how they enjoy doing each other’s hair in different braids and curls.

10. They make it all work.

I’m sure they’re like any other family. They have problems. There are cross words and sibling rivalry that crop up. But they love each other and have developed a system and they make it work. It seems effortless, but I’m sure it’s not. To make sure 19 kids and 2 parents are cared for and have the attention they need is sure to be a challenge but they’re in it together.

They’re a formidable team and their faith is the glue that makes them stick. They’ve really endeared themselves to me over the years and I’ve found myself tearing up at the wedding proposals and cheering for them as Michelle and Jim Bob become grandparents and in-laws to the young people marrying into their family. As they go on mission trips, help others, and keep on keeping on, I’ll keep on tuning in.