The Chicken or the Egg?


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chicken counting eggsSummer is the perfect time to lay around sippin’ iced tea and thinking profound thoughts such as, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

I know that in some areas of the world like the Pacific Northwest, most of us go a little crazy with the appearance of the sun and we do a lot of socializing. Getting together with friends and family is so much fun but be sure to carve out a little time to listen to the quiet and mull over a few things.

It’s good for the soul.

I’m here to give you some food for thought! Ever wonder if it is more valuable to hang onto good old-fashioned books instead of downloading them onto your Kindle? Research reveals some surprising benefits to keeping a little bit of book clutter around!
Little Red Hen Kids need to move and play outside in the summer. Don’t buy the lie that your children will miss out if you don’t take an extended out-of-town vacation. Nope. With a little ingenuity and a change of pace and schedule, summer can be a lot of fun right in your own backyard. I love the following ideas because most of them will work if you rent instead of own! Have fun!

Are you pro-life and discouraged about the state of our world? Be encouraged by the work of a fledgling ministry called And Then There Were None. Its goal is to see abortion workers leave the industry…and it’s working! I’ve had some personal contact with the organization and seen first-hand that they financially support men and women who want to quit their jobs but need financial help. It happened it our area and Planned Parenthood lost an employee!

Need an awesome book to read this summer? The founder of And Then There Were None is Abby Johnson. Her story Unplanned will give you a good idea of the choices that lead a woman to get deeply involved in the pro-abortion/pro-death industry. Reading it may bolster your resolve to continue to fight for the unborn in your community!

Blessings to you!

I saw Jesus Today


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baby feetI’ve published this before and I’m doing it again because I continue to see Jesus…in those who work at pregnancy centers, those who weep and pray for the hurting, those who serve in the church and those who serve the “least of these” hidden away in the home.

I saw Jesus today in the face of a healthy baby. Her tawny brown skin was smooth and creamy, her little chubby legs kicked with vigor.

Her mama had been addicted to drugs. She’d made bad mistakes; bad enough to have other children taken away, bad enough to lose just about everything…bad enough.

I held that baby and looked into the eyes of her mama; clear and sad and full of deep regret.

I heard the Holy Spirit today. I heard Him speak through our eldest daughter, Lorna.
I heard Him in the truthful replies to the questions asked of her by this searching, hurting woman. I heard Him speak as Lorna crooned words to her miracle baby, “Do you know God loves you? Do you know that?”

Strong words, words of truth and love.

I heard a miracle of God today. I hugged a woman scarred by the deep loss of abortion and listened to her story of a life filled with pain and regret. After years of emptiness and sorrow, she has found forgiveness…and she laughs.

Our days are filled with the mundane; the chicken to fry, the car to vacuum, the phone call to answer. The seen overwhelms the unseen and we struggle to intercede in prayer on behalf of the vulnerable and hurting among us until…God opens our eyes to the miraculous.

It is the supernatural work of God for a drug-addicted mother to turn from her drugs in order to save the life of her child.

It is the grace of God that moves a young woman to minister to those who have shipwrecked their lives; to speak hope and truth to them.

It is the power of God when a pain-filled woman finds deep peace and abiding joy in Christ.

God is a miracle-working God and He works through the prayers of His people.images  prayer

He still reaches out to the woman at the well.

He still hears the cries of the unborn.

He still embraces the abandoned.

His grace is still perfected in our very weakness.

He hears our prayers.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Dear Jill, Do You Recommend any Resources for Parenting Teen Boys?


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I never planned on having a “ministry” to mothers of sons but…I kinda do. You see, I’m still in the thick of the teen years with several sons and I’ve learned a lot from raising our first-born son. Meanwhile, exhausted and discouraged mothers keep seeking me out so I thought I’d pass on some of what I recently shared with one mom of several teen and preteen sons (and chime in with your best resources and advice for parents of teen boys!).

Dear Chloe (not her real name),

Well, here goes. I really don’t have too many resources to recommend to you except any book or blog that encourages you to develop wisdom. Parenting is, in some ways, easier when your children are younger (ie., ” I will tell you to do this and you need to obey and if you don’t there will be consequences”).
Parents of younger children must protect them because they are little…right? 083

The mistake I see with most Christian parents is that they prolong the protective stage of parenting. Do you want an angry, rebellious son? Then, label everything he does as “rebellious” and tell him he needs to remain “under” your authority and constantly hammer those points home to him!

It’s true, he IS under your authority until he leaves home and is able to provide for himself but he doesn’t need reminding! He’s got this testosterone thing going on and he wants to live real life. He wants to climb mountains and discover new countries and take CHARGE! But there’s this mother standing in his way and telling him to do stuff like wash the dishes! He reacts to that.

Mothers feel a sense of loss during the teen years because they can’t “nurture” their son in the same way as they did when their boy was little! They can’t kiss the tears away or help him into bed or nurture him in ways that make her feel like a “good” mother. Many mothers make the mistake of prolonging that way of mothering by doing their son’s laundry or driving him places when he is perfectly able to walk. This is not a good idea.

Women may also run into conflict with their husbands who are less protective of their son than she is but parenting teen boys can be an area where a dad can finally be recognized as a strong, awesome parent.085

My husband understands our boys because he was one once! He helps me by  telling me to “lay off” my sons when I am nagging them too much and (oh, how I need this!!) he also protects me from that exhausting rudeness that many teen boys have toward their mothers.

My best advice to you?

Make them work!! Are they gifted kids who spend hours writing new software programs or amazing debaters or…? Well, woopy doo! I grew up around Harvard and Yale Ph.D’s who were some of the laziest people I know. Education does not develop character like work does. Actually, scripture warns us that “knowledge puffeth up” so make sure to balance education with hard work.

Parents can watch for opportunities to keep our sons working hard and falling into bed every night exhausted. There is an arrogance that all young men get and a good sweaty day’s work of hard labor takes that out of them. Yes, they can get a good education and work hard at the same time. And, yes, it IS good for them to have a job that isn’t prestigious or exciting. (Read The Millionaire Next Door).090We want to raise manly young men who work without complaining and take the initiative if the job needs doing. Make sure your boys are the first to fold up the chairs at church, to open the door for the elderly, to jump up and help. And make sure you’re not being too easy on them.

To sum it all up (and you can certainly take it or leave it), you may be feeling a sense of loss as a mom. Just because you have to be more matter-of-fact with your boys does not mean you’re not parenting them well. I see moms  who say they have such a “close” relationship with their teen son when, really, they spend too much time talking with their son about “feelings” and they end up feminizing them.

Let your husband step in and stand between you and your boys. Ask for his protection when you can’t handle them! They are becoming men and they are like bulls in a china shop. Sometimes, teen boys think they’re being “manly” and are just being rude. Appeal to your husband!

Wear them out! Hard work reveals lots of character flaws. Teach them to work without whining or complaining. Teach them to take initiative. Praise them when they exhibit these manly qualities.

Finally, pray without ceasing! God has a good plan for your family. It takes great faith to raise all children but, especially, boys! That’s because the world greatly needs godly men! Oh, how the world needs godly men!099
Christian parents need a vision for raising those boys because it is hard work. Don’t give up. Resist the enemy. Trust in a gracious God. We can say with Paul, “Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ would dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


Four Gifts to Give Your Children This Summer


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1. The gift of dirt.  Every child enjoys watching sand sliding through their fingers. Let them dig down into layers of dirt and clay and feel the difference between fine sand and rough grit. While they are busily engaged in uglifying a corner of your small suburban yard with an old spoon or heaving shovel-fulls of heavy dirt behind your country barn, they are digging into their imaginations. They are wondering if they really could dig to China or if their dolls will enjoy their sand cake when it comes out of the oven.DSCF1884

Their moms (that’s us) peer out the kitchen window and sigh at one more mess. It’s easy for us to miss the magic. We forget that children don’t develop in a neat and tidy way so…give them dirt!

2. The gift of a good book.  Fire their imaginations with words that are rich and colorful and deep. Even young children can think robust thoughts. Especially young children! So engage those minds! Honey for a Child’s Heart will inspire you to change your family as you share great books with them. It’s full of book lists and wonderful ideas.  P1020471abby on books

3. The gift of water. It’s wonderful if you can spend a day at the beach, chase the waves and contemplate the vastness of the universe but if you can’t? Turn on a hose, give your child a bucket of water and watch their delight! Water is a gift from God and many a child has spent hours building a moat or a tiny lake and floating leaves on a cupful of water. Let them!

4. The gift of alone time. Yes, if your children are young, be there! But you can be nearby without constantly  interjecting in their world. Yes, they need to know that a strong adult presence is nearby but they also need to be left alone. Give them the gift of unscheduled time. Let them be king of their mountain! DSCF0622


Donna Otto’s Mottos…What are Yours?


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women_talking over ironing board

I’ve always wanted to be a wise woman. God’s word tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and that’s foundational to learning to be wise. Over the years,  I’ve learned to listen for wisdom from other women. I observe their lives and listen to their words and learn a lot. Wisdom can be gleaned from surprising sources!

I was introduced to Donna Otto through the Revive Our Hearts ministry. She’s a down-to-earth woman who shares wisdom with others so I’d thought I’d pass on some of her advice to you. Donna calls these little tidbits of advice her “mottos.” Do you agree with these? What mottos do you live by? Share them in the comment section! We’d love to hear from you!

It all starts with the Big Yes. Wherever you are, be “all” there.

Finish Strong. Remember: the common begin. The uncommon finish.

Live by conviction, not circumstances.

Preparation is the key to organization.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

You married a sinner. So did he.

There’s always time for what God asks us to do.

Do the next thing.

Finish today today. Light the Light— don’t curse the darkness.

Choose your love. Then love your choice. 

Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.

It’s hard to teach what you don’t live. Hospitality starts with your eyes, hands, and heart.

It’s not what you do that makes you tired. It’s what you don’t do.

He’s not the enemy!

Do your best and leave the rest.

What you say matters. How you say it matters more.

Get it as good as you can get it and forget it. 

Your mansion is your ministry.

Don’t run from . . . run to. 

Servanthood begins at home.

Don’t carry a Bible if you haven’t swept under the bed.

No serious conversation after 10:30 p.m.

You are who you hang out with.

First and fast.

Your home is holy ground. And you are holy ground.

Enter marriage and close all your exits.




The Inscribed Collection (My Review)


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inscribed collectionThe Inscribed Collection is a series of four books, written by different authors on different topics. They are intended to be used as Bible studies although they would be enjoyable books to just read.

I’ve never agreed to review four books at the same time and I found the thought of it a bit overwhelming until the books arrived in the mail. These are quality books, printed on nice paper with that special, rough-edge page edge that gift books sometimes have. They are paperbacks but the kind of paperbacks that I would give as a nice gift.  That extra special “feel” to these books made it easier to dive into reviewing them.

Leaving Ordinary by Donna Gaines

I found this book disappointing because of the way the author constantly came back to her own personal experience as she learned to pray in a deeper way.  I felt that it was very experiential and might be disheartening to struggling believers who did not feel “successful” in their prayer life. In my opinion, a successful prayer life is one that continues in spite of flucuating feelings! Nevertheless, this book might be helpful as a study to many women.

“The deepest longing of the human heart is to know and be known by God. God longs for an intimate relationship with us as well. But how do we develop that kind of relationship with a holy God? It is one thing to long for such a relationship, but quite another to experience intimacy with Him. In Leaving Ordinary, Donna Gaines shares from her personal experience how prayer can become the channel that links the believer’s heart to the heart of God.”

Living “So That” by Wendy Blight

“Living “So That” is a fresh approach to understanding God’s Word, focusing on many of the powerful “so that” verses in Scripture, including Jesus Came So That. . .; God Spoke So That. . .; Pray So That. . .; Trials Come So That etc. Through her approachable style, personal examples, and biblical teaching, Wendy equips readers to take what they study in the Word of God and live it out in order to impact the world around them.”

Wendy does have a very fresh and appealing writing style. She is down-to-earth and very real. I found this book to be the most helpful of the series.

Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel

Most people have prayed for something or someone in earnest, seeking God’s will, only to be left confused by God’s response. Sometimes we ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” In Amazed and Confused, Heather Zempel tackles this question head-on by exploring the book of Habakkuk.

“When the prophet Habakkuk prayed that God would bring change to the backsliding nation of Israel, this issue came to the forefront. Habakkuk begged God for revival and that He would turn the hearts of faithless people back to Him.

God’s answer to Habakkuk was, “Take a look at the nations and watch what happens! You will be shocked and amazed” (1:5, The Voice). The vision God gave Habakkuk was one of warfare and exile. How do you respond when God answers your prayers in a way that seems out of line with his character and promises?”

This book tackled an important topic and did it well.

Dive Deeper by Jenifer Jernigan

“Equip yourself to fall deeply in love with God’s Word through this unique, interactive Bible study. Delving into the book of Ephesians, Dive Deeper is a tool for women—those who might be satisfied and content with their Bible study and for those who find themselves fearful or numb—to dive deeper into the living and active Word of God.”

The author uses the acrostic DIVE to help the reader study the bible as they;  define, investigate, visualize and embrace. I found that approach to be helpful.

This collection of books is, indeed, a practical, helpful resource for women who want to grow in their knowledge and application of God’s word. Helpful study aides are included in each book as well.

I received these books from BookLook for review purposes only.

When Good Friday Collided With My Life


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I don’t remember if I first believed on a Friday. It could have been a Monday or a Saturday but that day was a good day, a miraculous day for me.

It was the day that despair (disguised as cool-hippie-girl) met her Savior and was cleansed, redeemed and set free.

I’ve never forgotten that day. On that day, I stuffed a year’s supply of birth control pills into my college dorm dumpster because I wanted God to know that I was turning His way and leaving mine behind.

His way was hard because it was so very different.

Sometimes I walked in no joy and just plain old obedience.

I was determined to follow Christ because that peace He gave me when I confessed my sins and found His forgiveness?

There’s nothing like it. Nothing in the whole world.

It’s worth having.

And that’s why the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday. Because this day commemorates the day when our sins were nailed to the cross and He overcame death on our behalf.

It’s not just Good Friday. It’s the best Friday...ever.

On this day Christians everywhere remember the suffering and death on the cross of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

It was on the cross that Jesus, the lamb of God, took away the sins of the world.

The biblical account of Jesus’ death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.

We have accounts of the deification of men in pagan mythology. But I do not remember any account of a god becoming a man, to help man. Whoever heard of Jupiter or Mars or Minerva coming down and attempting to bear the burdens of men? The gods were willing enough to receive the gifts of men, but Christianity is unique in the fact that our God became a man with human infirmity and emptied Himself of the glory of heaven, in order that He might take upon Himself the sins, diseases and weakness of our humanity.~ A.C. Dixon

Jesus, I love you.

Telling the Truth About Motherhood


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images mother looking at child

“If you drop out of the workforce to raise your children, you’ll never recover the skills and expertise you lost in your career.” Such ridiculousness.

As an older mother with children who are, mostly, teens and adults, I’m here to testify that you shouldn’t believe the lies.

My world is very different from when my children were little lap sitters. Now, I teach classes, serve on the Board of a pro-life organization and encourage women through retreats and workshops. The discipline and expertise that makes me very marketable and in-demand did not spring out of nowhere. No, indeed. I developed it as the desperate mom of a large family!

Those people who say that women who drop out of the workplace to raise a family are losing valuable time in their careers? They don’t have a clue. It’s true that women with highly technical degrees who quit their career to raise a family may lose out on specific knowledge and skills in that area but, they will recover them faster because of the wisdom and self-discipline they learned as a mom.

Here’s what I mean:

How to get to the bottom of a lie. Mothers develop wisdom and discernment with people. This is invaluable in any area of life.

Self-motivation when there is no recognition for it.  You just can’t put a price-tag on self-discipline.

How to think outside the box to solve problems.  There are no “one size fits all” solutions for motherhood so moms learn how to problem-solve creatively and to think critically.

mother lifting child

My skills in every area of life have grown exponentially over the years primarily because I am not paid. Any motivation has had to come from within…and that’s hard. The only reward I have gotten over the years has been the occasional, “You have a beautiful family” or “You’ve raised some great kids.” But, in-between those times? No paycheck, no quarterly review, no gold watch!images silhouette of children swinging

That’s what makes motherhood the absolute best training ground for any career. Mothers learn self-discipline like no one else! It just doesn’t look like self-discipline because moms have so many uncontrollable “variables” in their lives (such as constantly changing children). A mother can grow in discipline and apply all sorts of organizational techniques to her home and it can still look disorganized. This is when that oh-so-important self-motivation and discipline develops in the life of a mother so she doesn’t quit.

I have known women whose view of the home was so warped that they sat around doing nothing and crying into their vodka-laced coffee about how boring their life was but…the rest of us? We have our good days and bad days, we fight exhaustion and struggle to get out of bed but we keep striving because, by golly, we are building a family.


Motherhood is an opportunity to learn and grow along with our children. Indeed, to survive and thrive in motherhood, most moms I know are constantly researching the developmental stages of childhood along with a myriad of other fascinating subjects. I breast-fed all eight of our children and always had a book nearby to read during that time. That’s a lot of continuing education!

Life is short. Embrace this season of motherhood knowing that rich blessings will come from it.