Two great books, worthy of a spot on your bookcase

Time for the Talk by Steve Zollos

This book has been an excellent parenting resource, at least that's what Jake tells me. When to talk with kids about sex and God's intention for it, is something that every parent must face. Time for the Talk is directed toward fathers and their sons. Jake has taken several evenings so far to take the big boys down to the basement to go over the book with them. Sometimes I hear muffled laughs coming up through the ceiling, and I wonder.. what's going on down there?? But, I know full well. I'm thankful that I'm not a single mom having to address this sensitive topic alone. I'm thankful for a husband who is thoroughly engaged in parenting and looks forward to the tasks that lie ahead in parenting. 

Time for the Talk seeks to engage Fathers and Sons in conversation about sex and what God has to say about it. As I've thumbed through the book, I have noticed that it appears to be candid, yet approached with humility and respect to what sex is supposed to be in light of a sinful world and a perfect Savior. 

Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

Age of Opportunity has been an amazing book to read. I seriously thought that we had truly messed up in parenting once our kids started hitting their teen years. I don't pretend to be an expert in the field of parenting teens, as Colby is 15 and Jackie is 13, our time in parenting teens is only beginning. (Insert, Christie, you look like a deer in the headlights, here.) However, with the dawning of the teen years our parenting has taken on a different look altogether. Age of Opportunity has helped me to reexamine how I approach my teenagers. In a household with so many age groups it would be easy for me to approach every issue as though I'm dealing with a 2 year old. After all, that's an age we've been parenting for more than 13 years now. That's the age I feel most confident in giving advice. Age of Opportunity truly gets behind the idea of doing a lot more listening and a lot more asking questions. It has also helped me to see that the different nuances I've noticed in my teens are completely normal. 

This book uses sound doctrine and is a biblical tool to use in approaching our morphing young adults. I've been encouraged to continue engaging their hearts and getting to know them better than I've ever imagined. Though the book doesn't give a step by step detailed guide in addressing every single issue we see as parents of teens, it does give excellent guide points and principals to use in addressing common situations one might see in their teens. 

There was a time that I thought the teen years would gently come through unnoticed, like a cool evening breeze. I had had several older women say, "oh the teen years are so easy when you parent them right as a 2 year old." I naively thought this meant that there would be no conflict, no difficulty, no complaining from anyone! Ha, ha. I think that what these women really meant was there would be "greater ease in navigating the teen years, when you parent with humility and grace the entire life of your child." Of course we have to get to the heart of the matter when our babes are two. This will help us to get to the heart of the matter when our children are teens. Disciplining symptoms only, could ultimately lead to disaster later. As we've grown in our parenting we recognize that sometimes we only dealt with the symptom of a problem without ever addressing the root of the problem. We are thankful that our children are still home and God has been merciful in addressing mine and Jake's heart first and then giving us the wisdom to address the heart of our teen or elementary child; whatever the case may be.

I hope that you might consider these two books. I don't think that you will read them and walk away empty handed. Rather, I think that you will read these and walk away better equipped for the beautiful years of teens at home. I thank God for men like Steve Zollos and  Paul David Tripp. Those who've gone before us are worth taking the time to listen to.  


Just in case I ever wonder.

Once again today I found myself wondering, questioning mine and Jake's sanity in homeschooling and parenting our large brood of lovelies.. What if we mess up? What if our family turns out weird? What if I never see the light of day without some form of spit up on my shoulder? What if all of this, these visions, these dreams, this massive faith we have that we are making the best choices doesn't work out the way we had envisioned? Then I realized that none of this is going to work out the way we had envisioned. None of this massive effort to train our children well is going to work out just as we have planned. As a matter of fact.. I can't control any of it. Each time I put in my great attempt, I fall flat. on. my. hind end. Yes, I have no control. My God sustains it all and ordains it all. I am not a puppet, but I am at the hand of the Lord. What I desire is to please Him. So the fruit of these hands and of my husbands is good. Not because we did it, but because the Lord makes it so. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose! His purpose is to be glorified. Glorified he will be. We will fail in our own great plan, because in our own great plan.. (we are the ones being glorified). That sounds really ugly and it reads even uglier. Yet, when we understand God's great will. His beautiful glory, we will thrive in his plan. Glory be to Him, forever, and for always.


Sporadic Blogging, Sporadic Photographing

Once again my blog sits here. 
Without a post; without a care. 
I ineptly try to get to my laptop only to find it occupied by a child. 
Ahhh, gone are the days where my things are my own. 
Now is the time where my things are theirs. 
I sit and ponder how this came to be and realize that perhaps this is how it's always been. 
Even the dog holds claim to furniture that was once very new and lovely. 
He sees it his duty to break it in. 
Alas, at least my pillow no one takes. 
Speaking of "akes", I've had my share perhaps you'd care to hear? 
Perhaps not. 
That's alright, that's not why you came. 
You didn't drop by to see what a lousy poet I am either. 
So, I'll leave you with some pictures.   
Libby Lee growing up.

Colby Brett with straight teeth and hair!

Littles competing for puffs.

Hazel gets the kiss.

And the hug.

Black birthmarks and black wicker.

Who says dress up and bicycle helmets don't mix?

There's my doll.

Hazel warms my lap.

This is a good spot for the rowdy little man.

Free rides on the skateboard. 

The Indian blood runs strong in him. Too bad he didn't load his gun correctly. 

The most peaceful moments take place on hammocks.

You can only see how dark her lashes are when her eyes are closed.
That's all for now.
Happy Friday and
Happy Weekend!
Until we meet again.


I get to Laugh

One of the wonderful things about having so many children is the opportunity God gives me to laugh. Libby in particular can set me rolling. Sometimes even when I'm driving and she's chatting at me from the backseat I get so tickled by her. It's hard to keep the car from swerving.

For instance, yesterday she was invited on a play date. I think it was her first ever. I should have a record for these kind of things, but alas, I do forget to record all of the happenings here. Back to Lib. Upon picking her up from her friends house. I discovered she had given our life story away to her friends mother. I was amused by all of the details of our life that Libby had divulged to the momma of her friend. I wondered to myself, "Did Libby even play with her friend or did she talk to the momma the whole time." I think that Libby is so used to having so many folks older than her to talk too that she is used to more adult conversation vice peer conversation. Anyway. She disclosed our ages to the mom, even that Jake is '56'. Yeah, he looks great for his age. She revealed that we have date night on Fridays and that the kids eat macaroni and cheese, pizza, and chocolate milk. She told about Hazel's sweet little antics and how she is such a cute baby. She also told about the movies that we watch. Can you guess where this is going? Apparently, "when I'm not around" the kids watch episodes of 'The Planet of the Apes.' These old videos are rated G.. But, Libby put a little spin on a recent video that she supposedly watched. Mind you, I'm driving pretending to be a normal person who lives with normal people.. so Libby tells, "We watch Planet of the Apes, except that the Apes are in charge and they capture the people and they do experiments on the people (here's the kicker) and they take the peoples eyeballs out!" After an awkward moment of silence I had to start laughing, like really laughing hard. As if I'd let the kids watch a movie where peoples eyeballs are coming out. Nope. But Libby in all of her funny little girl mischief had to make that up and add it in. I'm sure her friends mom was thinking what on earth goes on at your house...

Libby still wishes I was her Spanish mother. She has me rattle off words in Spanish. She'll say, "Talk to me in Spanish, mommy." I do my best, but honestly that's not my native tongue.

At home when we are hanging out Libby will play with Silas. Sometimes she gladly plays with him, other times she's had quite enough the boys and wants to be alone. So this week she had had enough I guess and told Silas he wasn't allowed in her room. Poor little man. He was pretty upset and started to slink away dejected. I was about to console him when Libby opened her squeaky bedroom door and declared, "Never mind Silas, we are playing house and we need someone to be the daddy!" Silas was revived and responded, "Okay Bibby!" He bolted up the stairs and played house for a good while with her.

Libby also thinks she knows how to Break Dance. She runs to the middle of the room and does this little spin maneuver and bounces on her little head and flips herself over. Lest you think she came up with this on her own.. I want you to know that Jake put this idea in her head. Somehow we landed on the topic of crazy things that were popular when we were kids. Break dancing came up and Jake and I were trying to show our children some cool moves we used to do. Cool is no longer an adequate word to describe those moves. Try 'old' and 'painful'. Colby couldn't believe his eyes. He said, "So this is the decade my parents came from." Yeah, I think he was pretty disappointed. What's funny is that the kids want to teach Samuel how to Break Dance. There are some learn to break dance videos on you tube they intend to use.

Colby and I were driving the other day and the craziest song I've ever heard came on the radio. We both were laughing. I've located it and I'll link it so that you can enjoy it too.

Funny things. I love funny things. I think it's awesome that God gave us the emotion and feeling of laughter. What a beautiful part of the creation is laughter. Laugh out loud. It feels good. Just be careful to stay in your lane.