Through A Valley

By Dougetta Nuneviller

Joshua, my very active 17-year-old son who loves to play basketball and golf, needed an operation. Early in his teen years and after a growth spurt, we noticed a curve forming in his spine.

After multiple doctor consults, sure enough, surgery was the only option. This was a very scary time for us, knowing how delicate of an operation this would be to straighten his spine. Honestly, it was prayer and the Lord’s direction that helped get us over the mountain of decisions that needed to be made. Continue reading

First Political Debate with Our Daughter

By Shannon Popkin

As they pulled into the middle school parking lot, a woman waved a sign that said, “Vote ‘Yes’!” Our 14-year-old said, “Oh, yeah! Dad, vote yes on that bond proposal today, ok?” Her dad said, “Uh, no … Honey. I’ll be voting no today.”

“What? But Dad, my math teacher says that if you vote yes we all get new iPads at school!” she said with genuine disappointment. Continue reading

Garage Sales and Glory

By Kristie Stoddard

I hate garage sales. I really do. It’s a lot of work, heat, more work, more heat … for little money. However, we have five children, four of whom are old enough and want to do summer activities. So, we’re having a garage sale.

The one good thing about garage sales is after all the work, there’s a lot of down time, just sitting (in the heat), waiting for customers. With five children, homeschooling, and community gardening, there’s not a lot of time for doing nothing, so I’m taking advantage of these two hot days — to read. And what I’m reading is really heavy stuff.

Do you want to know what I’ve just come across? I’ll tell you: the second commandment. I know, preschool stuff, right? Weeelll, not really.

The second commandment tells us, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

This verse forbids the making and worshipping of idols. That seems like common sense. Did you notice the first part of the commandment? We are not to make for ourselves any images to worship. Not make. Make. Do you ever make an image to worship, or just make something to worship? We create little gods for ourselves in our everyday lives. Little gods that take the place and the relationship we are meant to have with the God.

It is so easy to worship things other than Him: our jobs, our children, our hobbies, ourselves … God knows us and our weaknesses. Perhaps it was because this human frailty of ours leads us to worship whatever is before us, to make idols out of anything or everything we see, especially the things we do that we enjoy. Sound familiar?

But God wants us to know Him, worship Him, without the distraction of images, idols. God is abstract, universal, and perhaps the habit of rendering things and people in the concrete somehow inhibits intimacy with the abstract.

So why do we break this law? Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, so how does that let us off the hook with idols? Well, I’m no theologian, this is just my guess, but I think when God became man, as John says, “when the word became flesh and dwelt among us,” He changed His method of communication with us. God is not abstract, in the form of Jesus. He is knowable as a man, and His Holy Spirit resides in those who follow Him, allowing us to know Him as a deity.

No longer is He this esoteric God who is unknowable, but rather a man who lived among us and imparted His Spirit to dwell in us.

This is remarkable!

This God we serve, became man for us, so that we might know Him and that we might not be so easily distracted by graven images, idols that take so many forms. He loves us that much! And so I give Him my glory. This is what I will teach to my children as we get up and lay down, as we walk and as we talk. What a God we serve, let’s give Him all the glory!

So, maybe this changes my perspective on garage sales, a little. Maybe it’s a nice way of stopping and smelling the roses, or the Bible. It certainly gives time to ponder … so, garage sale, anyone?

KRISTIE STODDARD is from a missionary and military family. She has learned well the art of organizing and multi-tasking through her years of homeschooling four children, fostering several, directing two home-educators programs, and being the helpmeet of her church-planting-pastor husband, Adam.


When Wives Become Mothers (What Do Their Men Really Think?)

By Erin Davis

First, no … that is not a maternity shirt. It looked so much more flattering in my closet. (Darn you, squishy tummy!).

Second, yes … I have heard of those things called hairbrushes. We filmed this on Father’s Day which I opted to spend fishing off a lake dock. (I’d like to thank the Academy for the wife of the year nomination).

In real life I am 5’6″-ish. My man is 6’2″-fabulous. But in this video I look like a giant and he looks shrimpy. Needless to say, I realize this isn’t my most video worthy look. And yet, look at that handsome man beside me! And he’s smart too! He has some great insights on a husband’s perspective on what it’s like when your wife becomes a mommy along with some great tips on how we can love our men well during the little years.

So … I am scrapping my vanity, and sending this video out into the blogosphere with my head held high in all of my chartreuse glory, in the hopes that it will benefit another mother out there as she walks the tightrope of being a wife and am mom.

Join the conversation with Jason and I about how parenting impacts and changes our marriages by leaving a comment right here on this post. Unflattering top and post-fishing hair is, of course, always optional.

Now He was Talking About Cliffs

By Shannon Popkin

“Just wad me up like garbage and go throw me off a cliff!” The expression on my middle-schooler’s face matched the tone of his words. He was angry and resentful.

Why? I had just corrected him. Again. Continue reading

This Father’s Day Give Him the Gift of Being Enough

I have a great husband. He loves being a dad and is very involved in our boys’ lives. He changes diapers, participates in discipline and picks up from preschool.

My man and my firstborn

And yet…I can never seem to shake the feeling that I wish he would do more. Continue reading

What is God Asking You to Do?

By Heidi Jo Fulk

I have developed many a theory in my days of motherhood, but one of my favorites is this: “If I did and said everything I do and say in a day just once, I’d be done by 9:45am.”  Now I know I’ve got to have some amens on that one, right?  If you only fixed one meal, changed one diaper, tied one shoe, solved one toy dispute, corrected a disobedience only one time, you would find yourself with scoresof extra time. But that’s just not reality. In fact, that’s not even remotely close to reality! Continue reading

Join the 30-day Mom Makeover

You need a makeover! No, I’m not referencing your mom wardrobe or the face that you haven’t had your roots done since before your oldest started kindergarten. I don’t mind those things one bit. I’m talking about a makeover of your heart!

Sign up to take our 30-day Mom Makeover Challenge and receive a month’s worth of devotions tailor-made to the demands of motherhood delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

When a Life Verse is Tested

By Dree Hogue

(This is the third in a series of posts by Dree Hogue on choosing life verses for your children. If you missed out, check out Monday’s post here and Wednesday’s post here.)

The older I become, the more I realize that the very thing we were created for is the very thing our enemy will try very hard to thwart. John 10:10 reminds us, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” If a life verse is meant to give life, then the enemy will try to steal it! Unfortunately, our children are not immune to this spiritual dichotomy. Continue reading

Using a Life Verse

By Dree Hogue

(Did you miss Monday’s post on Choosing Life Verses for Your Children? Catch up here.)

Monday, I shared with you my journey of choosing a life verse for my children. Once you have one chosen, what do you do with it? I’ll share a few things I have done throughout the years to employ my daughter’s life verses.
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Choosing a Life Verse for your Children

By Dree Hogue

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child at the age of 21, I was beautifully naïve, yet scared to death at the same time! My mother bought me a journal that listed a Bible verse to pray over your child each day of your pregnancy. In short, this revolutionized my perspective of praying for my child. I slowly began to realize there was this soul that God had given me to nurture and guide. He had chosen my husband and me for her. He was going to speak to us about her. What a humbling and sanctifying process that continues to be!

Continue reading

A Gift Card My Tween Didn’t Want to Give

By Shannon Popkin

There’s this store in the mall that I’ve been known to grumble about. It’s dark in there, the music is blaring, and the smell trails behind me when I leave. Plus, it’s selling more than just clothes. When you shop there, you’re bombarded with the not-so-subtle message that buying sexy clothes will get you sexy dates, and sexy dates are really the only thing that matters. Continue reading