Motherhood: Beautiful by Design: Mission OM 2 & podcast

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“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

Colossians 2:8

Family was the first community that God designed where a child could find comfort, security, acceptance, love, purpose and the modeling of what it looked like to live devoted to Christ.  The  family was even the foundational place in which the Son of God was welcomed in which to grow from childhood to adulthood. God did not automatically create Jesus as an adult, but for His own purposes, placed Jesus into the hands of Mary, his mother and Joseph his earthly father.   When God chose to bring Jesus into the world, as a full reflection of his glory and being, he chose to bring him into a simple family with a mother and father and, eventually, siblings. It was within the context of this home that Jesus was trained and instructed and loved and nurtured, both protected and prepared for his ministry ahead.

Throughout his life, Jesus upheld and affirmed the original design of marriage and family and stressed the needs and concerns of children. In Luke 2:51- 52, for instance, we read that Jesus willingly submitted himself to the authority of his parents and that he prospered in this role of a son to parents. Even from the cross, Jesus expressed his respect for family, requesting specifically that his disciple John take care of his mother, Mary

Jesus also demonstrated a consistent concern and affection for children and considered them important to the work of God's kingdom. Again and again the Gospels show him spending time with children, talking to them or blessing them or drawing them onto his lap. He even told people directly that they needed to become like little children in order to enter into his kingdom.

Clearly, nothing in God's mind had changed between the time of the Old Testament and the New in regard to the design of the family and the centrality of children in his plan to bless and redeem the earth. I think we can assume as well that the Lord's view of children and what they mean in a family and a society is the same today.

Join me today as we reflect on God's design and purpose for family, and reflect on how even research and science undergird, with vast research, the importance of a mother's role, with the family as foundation. 

 

In what ways have you been influenced by cultural expectations that conflict with God's design? What impact has this had on your family?

God of Our Fathers- A Tribute for Father's Day

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This weekend it’s Father’s Day in the States and, in honor of the day, I thought I would share with you an essay I penned a few years ago--a tribute to my husband’s grandfather. Happy Father’s Day to all of our Storyformed Dads!

Southeastern Missouri.  That’s where we took our boys, all packed up, bright and early last weekend to bury my husband’s grandfather.  He had been the last of our grandparents still living--the first “Harry” of three.

Years ago he made his living as a farmer, tilling the soil that had been in his family for generations. Local school children knew him as the “Indian Man” for his love of sharing the Native American artifacts that he found in the dirt...the dirt he worked by the sweat of his brow...the dirt where my sons’ grandfather had learned to be a man and where my husband had played as a boy...the dirt that made him a living, but also made him a life.

He was a creator of puzzles and (I suspect) the originator of those engineering genes that are so dominant in my husband and my firstborn. I’m not yet sure if my youngest got his genes, but he did get his name--“Harry”--changed slightly and put in the middle, but it was still given to honor him. His joy was contagious; he always had a laughing face and smiling eyes–or (rather) eye. He lost one as a young man in an accident. Personally I could never tell which one was real.  Everything about the man seemed alive to me.

As we gathered at the church with family and friends, we shared memories of Grandpa Harry, shoring each other up with faint smiles, hugs, and condolences. The pastor spoke of his long life and the legacy that he left, and we shed tears of loss and longing. We looked through photographs and played with puzzles and had a hard time believing that the man who began by counting down the days to his 80th birthday had died three days before he turned 92.

The next day, as the boys dug in the wet, black dirt of the farm, full of decaying corn and sweat and memories, I grieved that they would never remember their great-grandfather, the farmer.  As we walked the field, passed down for generations from father to son, I lamented the fact that my husband’s sons–our children–would never know this land. Growing up three generations and half a country away, the family “homeland” could never be their home. I thought of the generations of farmers who had walked the ground beneath me, each season planting in faith and believing in what they could not yet see. I wished that my boys could reap from the land what their fathers had sown so faithfully. But we already knew the farm was to be sold. There would be no more sons to inherit it.

I looked past the shed and the grain elevator, up into the grey sky and wondered what Grandpa Harry thought as he sat beneath that sky, at night under the stars, unencumbered by city lights–vast and glorious and seemingly infinite? With nothing for miles around, how many stars could he see?  Maybe as many as another Patriarch saw, thousands of years ago?

“[God] took [Abram] outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars, if indeed you can count them.’ Then He said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:5

As I kicked an old corn cob on the ground, I remembered the story.  Although Abraham and his descendants were given a Land, God’s promise to him was much bigger than that.  God intended for Abraham to leave a much greater inheritance than a physical place. He was to be the spiritual father of a number too great to count.  His legacy was not land, but faith. And one of the stars that Abraham saw that night--one of his spiritual descendents--was Grandpa Harry.

I smiled at the boys pulling at the tall grass and wildflowers and watched my youngest fist dirt with his chubby hands.  I recalled how we had given him his great-grandfather’s name because of his profound influence on my husband’s spiritual life.  Like Abraham, Grandpa Harry’s legacy was faith. His life was lived, not for the farm, but for the Creator of the farm.  More than the “Indian Man” or the “Puzzle Man,” he was known to all who knew and loved him as a follower of Jesus Christ.  He overflowed with an infectious joy because he was full of the joy of the Lord, a Lord he lived for and encouraged my husband to follow.  I watched as my husband held the hand of our eldest and walked out of the old grey shed, and I caught my breath with a realization:

My husband–he was a living, breathing inheritance.

I bent down for the last time and ran my fingers through the dirt.  What Grandpa Harry had left my children was infinitely more valuable than any acreage could ever be.  He lived a life devoted to a Savior and preached a Gospel that changed the life of my husband…and now my husband was pouring that same truth into the hearts of our children…a spiritual legacy.

“And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Hebrews 11:12

As we drove away, I thanked God for Grandpa Harry and I prayed that, because of his faithfulness–and my husband’s–that my children would be faithful followers of Jesus Christ too…and their grandchildren after that.  And I added (daringly), that through the lives of my husband and children, Grandpa Harry’s spiritual descendants would be so numerous that, like Abraham’s, they could not easily be counted.

That, indeed, would be the old farmer’s greatest harvest.

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Storyformed is here to celebrate the soul-forming power of imagination, good books, and beauty in the life of a child. To find out more, click HERE.

What Value Does God Place on Children & A new Podcast Series

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I believe every child has a profound need: to be loved, cherished, and cared for by a mother who loves them.  And it's not just a need, but an important part of God's design for shaping human beings to become healthy, strong, resilient. 

For thousands of years the view of motherhood described in the Bible was generally respected in cultures around the world. Motherhood was seen as a noble and important calling. Women considered themselves blessed to bear many children, and it was considered normal and good for home and family to be the central focus of a woman's life. 

By the time I became a mother, however, the American culture had dramatically redefined the role and value of motherhood, and the biblical model of motherhood no longer drove the imagination of culture. Somehow, over the course of the last century, traditional motherhood had become a lifestyle option--and for many, a lesser option--rather than a divine calling.

One confidant told me, 'The most important thing you can do with your life is invest it in your children. Their lives are more important than building a career!' And what she said certainly seemed to ring true in my spirit."

But other advisors assured me that I could handle the challenge of balancing children with career--after all, most of the mothers I knew were doing just that. One woman, an older missionary, even advised, "Don't let your children control your life! You've got lots of gifts and messages and a ministry to share with the women of the world! It would be a waste of your time and experience to focus too much on your children and lose your ministry! Don't have more children. It will take up too much time.”

I found that I was confused by the differing voices, the multiple opinions of what the role would mean for me. But it was in studying scripture and seeking God that I found peace and freedom to become the mother I needed to be for my own family. 

~from  The Mission of Motherhood, Chapter One

This summer, I will be hosting a podcast series on some of the issues that confront mothers today, while using my book, The Mission of Motherhood, as a basis of some of the discussion.

At almost 65, and through many seasons of life,

I see now even more than ever that the relationship between a mother and child often determine the emotional health, mental strength, confidence, faith and vision of the child when he or she becomes an adult. 

I have no desire to argue philosophy, I just want to encourage. At this point, I am not going to change my opinion but just want to share wisdom I have picked up along the way. Get your own copy and join me in this series.

I will be discussing: Postpartum depression, voices in culture, to work or not to work, and many more issues. My desire is to get to the heart of God, to see how He imagined our role as He created women with such beauty, finesse, intelligence--just what a community of people would need to flourish. I hope you enjoy this series.

Most of all, though, as we begin, we must consider that as believers, we have committed to serving God with our hearts, souls, minds, treasures, times. So as we see the eternal value He places on babies and children, we must also regard children with the same high regard as He would direct us to do. 

I may surprise you with some of the answers I will give. Again, in motherhood as in other areas of life, we all want the black and white answers, the formula, "Just tell me what to do." But we need to be careful of just repeating what others have said about any issue and learn to seek God, scripture and try by faith to reflect truth within the wide boundaries He allows for us to exercise wisdom, skill and faith according to our own stories. I hope you will join me. 

These are the two books I will be using this summer in my podcasts. The first 6 weeks, Mission and the second 5 weeks, Ministry. Get your own copy or give one to a friend and build your own community of friends who are cultivating the same values. Hope they encourage.

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How to be Joyful When Life Overwhelms & A Podcast

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"The joy-filled life is not found by diminishing my God-given responsibilities as a woman, wife, and mother, nor can I find joy merely by refusing to face the hard realities of life in a fallen world. There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept ~ the tension between ideals and realities. True joy is found by living somewhere between the ideal life and daily realities. That is where Jesus meets me, where His Holy Spirit empowers, and where I learn how to live the Christian life with supernatural joy. To celebrate life is simply a choice."

-Seasons of a Mother's Heart

I returned home from England this summer in anticipation of my children coming home. Home is our sanctuary, the place we all gather in and find peace, friendship, comfort, a place to belong. I get so very excited to have them with me because of course, they are my favorites. I can hardly wait.

When my adult children come back home to visit me, the excitement and anticipation ignites me to tidy the house, set out lovely flowers, light candles, and leave them chocolates and goodies all around, prepare their favorite meals. I do this so that they can feel welcome, experience my love for them, and feel the peace and joy that comes with home.

However, can you imagine how I would feel if I went to all of that effort to make things beautiful and love them extravagantly, only to watch them walk in, sit on their phones and computers all day, have bad attitudes, and tell me that they're just "too busy" or "too stressed" to enjoy it or to spend time with me? If in total self-absorption, they were not aware of the place that had been prepared for them, they would not feel the blessing of the love and grace that was given.

How must our loving God feel when we don't choose to celebrate this life He has given us to subdue? We see His fingerprints through the people we love, the children we have dancing through our homes. The sunrise and stars above, the seasons of flowers, snow, fall color. God is available, prepares for us each day, wants to shower us with His love, grace, compassion, wisdom, but often we are too busy or self-centered to notice Him and to "be" with Him.

Often times, our own expectations of how we thought life would be, get in the way of us being able to grab onto the joy and abundant life that God has for each of us. Finding peace and joy does not mean giving up on our ideals, but in seeking the balance, the ebb and flow, that is life. 

Joy won't always feel as second nature as taking a breath, but with every breath, how can you choose joy? 

It is a conscious, daily effort that can transform your life if you allow it to. Joy is a choice to see Him in the midst of daily moments, to call upon His spirit's presence and strength at each turn, each curve in the road. Joy comes from being assured we are not alone in the dark places and that He is light and will shine His light in each place.

Take a moment today to have a quiet time and bible study, reading over these verses and meditating on them, as well as the questions below.

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." -Proverbs 17:22

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." -Romans 15:13

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." -James 1:2

Ask yourself: -Is there a high expectation for a situation or relationship in your life that has been robbing you of joy? How can you better find the tension between the ideals and realities of that circumstance?-How can you allow the Holy Spirit to enter into the imperfect circumstances of your life, allowing you to find supernatural joy?-In what ways can you find gratitude, seek beauty, and find joy in the celebration of life today?

Today, I am speaking about this topic on my podcast. I am reading a small portion of my book, Dancing With My Father,  which I wrote when I was trying to figure out how to be joyful in a disappointing world. I hope you will enjoy it and be encouraged by it. 

5 Books to Celebrate Diversity

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“Mom, am I white? Am I black? What color am I?” These are questions my youngest recently asked me. It’s easy to give simple answers, but what is she really asking? I wonder if she wants to know how to place herself in her community or if our color even matters. We are a bi-racial family living in a predominantly white community. My husband is ethnically Singhalese/Tamil from Malaysia, and I have roots in Northern and Western Europe.

If my kids hear nothing else surrounding this issue, I want them to know that our difference-- whether evident by color or not-- is good because God created us with different ethnicities. Diversity is His design and His delight. God isn’t color-blind. In fact, John’s vision in the Book of Revelation of people from every tribe and tongue praising God shows us that one day our resurrected bodies will continue to reflect that diversity in a way that glorifies God.

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” -- Revelation 7:9

We’ve been reading books to our kids since they were small, but I recognize that they have mostly been those written from the perspective or experience of a white person. Those written in modern times are usually quite relatable to them, but I ponder what it communicates to my kids when they rarely read a book with a protagonist of color. I desire for my kids to see diversity not ignored but celebrated! I’ve been on a hunt to find good books with characters from diverse backgrounds. Some of these stories are set in other countries, but many feature the lives of Americans of non-European ethnicity. Join me in reading some of these delightful stories to your kids!

 

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Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo

This sweet and uplifting story highlights the journey of Chinese immigrants who move to America and make their home in the Midwest. A Chinese-American girl finds her favorite food growing in Illinois - soybeans -  through her Auntie Yang. They start an annual soybean picnic that eventually becomes a yearly community event. I love how this book highlights a cross-cultural, intergenerational family and the story is written and illustrated by two sisters who are Chinese immigrants. You gain a sense of warmth and connection within their family as they seek to stay connected to their Chinese culture. As a bonus, you’ll also learn about soybeans and have the opportunity to see pictures of the real family in the back of the book.

 

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The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

A beautiful story featuring the closeness of a African-American grandma and granddaughter who worked together to complete a quilt made from the family’s scraps of old clothing. Each piece helps the family remember their stories and history and how they came together to create a beautiful work of art. It’s heartwarming to watch how Tanya, the granddaughter, recognizes that it’s difficult for her grandma to sew and cut, and steps in to help the project come to completion. I sensed the warmth of the family primarily through the lovely illustrations. It’s also a Coretta Scott King winner.

 

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Come On, Rain by Karen Hesse

The School Library Journal said, “Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse recreates the body and soul-renewing experience of a summer downpour after a sweltering city heat wave. Lyrically written and lovingly illustrated." I couldn’t agree more! This well-written, poetic story-- filled with metaphors, similies, and alliteration--  is about a young girl waiting for rain in an urban area. Rain finally comes and the young girl, Tess, and her friends celebrate by going outside to play in their swimsuits.

 

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Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner

This heartwarming story is about the life of an African-American man who felt it was part of his calling to clean up the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Reading like a contemporary folk tale, Cornelius Washington illustrates resilience and determination as he does a seemingly insignificant job. Not only does get the job done, but he seems bent on dancing through it and lifting the spirits of those around him. You could have a myriad of discussion with your kids after reading this book. We could ask questions like: What does it look like to steward our time well? What could it look like to rise up in a time of catastrophe?

 

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God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family by Trillia Newbell

"This is God's very good idea: lots of different people enjoying loving him and loving each other." We are all different, and God intended it this way. Newbell writes a story about the value of each person regardless of race, interests, or speech. “God carried on creating people. All of them were made in his image. And all of them were different too. Some were men, and some were women. Some liked reading, and some liked riding bikes. Some had darker skin, and some had lighter skin. Some had curly hair, and some had straight hair."  Newbell not only depicts diversity in the body of Christ, but she also shows how all people fall prey to sin in this broken world. We all need Jesus to redeem us, and we await the day when He will make all things new.

What are your favorite culturally diverse books? Tell us in the comments below!!

To find more book recommendations and resources, click HERE to visit storyformed.com.

You Could Be a Hero, Too

  Westminster Abbey, London

Westminster Abbey, London

“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Mark 8:34-35

 

Rousing tales of heroes saving damsels in distress, romantic tales of valor and sacrifice, or heart-warming stories of family, home, children, history—I just love a good story. All of my life, I have been able to lose myself in captivating tales.

Scripture is full of dramatic stories of bravery (David and Goliath), romance, (Ruth and Boaz), courage (Moses stepping into the Red Sea with a couple of million children, animals, adults screaming behind him, being chased by the strongest army ever known), and so many more. And of course, each of us is living a story.

Maybe yours doesn't feel exciting at this moment, or strategic in light of history. But most people who are considered heroes of the faith were normal people amidst normal life circumstances, who trusted God even when the others surrounding them were naysayers and could not see Him.

The story told about you in the future depends on the story you are living today.

In other words, the situation you find yourself in today, whether it requires excellence in morality, courageous endurance, faithful belief, or overcoming love, is the basis of your integrity or lack of integrity tomorrow. You cannot leave a story of faithfulness in the minds and hearts of your children, grandchildren, and others—tales of faithfulness and courage and moral character and discipline and sacrifice making a difference in your own family history—unless you actually live your story with faith, moral excellence, self-discipline, and sacrificial love today.

All of  us love to hear great stories, and your children long to see you as their hero. How might the way you want to be remembered affect the way you live this day?

In our new book, The Lifegiving Parent, we talk about inspiring your children and filling their minds with the imagination of becoming someone living a great story for God's kingdom. You will be further inspired by the chapters we wrote about this in our book. This is a great gift to give to your husband or friend and to read together so you can shape your values toward the same end. Be blessed!

Covering Imperfections In Ourselves and our Children

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For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10

Each one is a miracle, a work of art, an expression of the artist God. If I really look at the beauty beyond the irritating moments, I will be in awe of what sweetness God has shared with me. It is simple to see all the flaws in my children, my husband, and myself. And it would be easy for me to take the blame for their failures, since I am their mother, and responsible for training them!

Yet, I am practicing several commitments to help me see each person for who they are inside. And to bring a fresh wind of grace to each moment. 

1. Assume the best about people in your life and choose to love them according to their needs.

My little one is not plotting to make my life miserable by being needy. My little one expresses his needs through crying and whining. It is a grace for me to be patient and seek to bring comfort and grace. Same with my teen. Their motivation in life is not to frustrate me. They are frustrated with life and I am their coach who gets to encourage them through the frustration. My husband is not necessarily mad at me but he is frustrated with the bills, the long hours of work, the things that keep falling apart. 

2. I am asking God to help me see people from his perspective.

I told  my extroverted children that they should not feel bad about being loud and bigger than life--God made them (and me!) that way and he actually liked them as they were as He made them that way. His design was good and  our personalities have a unique purpose. Look at always talking Peter, who Jesus called his "rock." What about David who danced before God with all his might and pleased God through it. Or the "too quiet" child who is timid. Perhaps this gentleness will serve to open the hearts of those needing a gentle, quiet spirit. Look for the good attributes of everyone you meet and affirm them for those great qualities.

3. Treat others the way I want to be treated. 

I have lots of moody times. When I am too busy, I become a drill sergeant. When I am depressed, I have darkness and cry. When I am in a hurry, I am impatient. Yet, I sort of want every one in the world to make me an exception, to just understand why I am grumpy and to give me a pass. I want perfect understanding for my hormones and gentle love  and affection with me wins the day. Maybe that is what my others want when they keep exposing their imperfect moods, too. 

I am not talking about not training and not helping your children to learn not to be whiners or complainers. We need to slowly train that out of them. But I am talking about how to understand, how to approach them as I am witnessing these things. I ask, "Is my little one too exhausted to be able to handle life in a mature way? Then I will be patient, cuddle them and put them to bed. Is my teen feeling rejected by his peers? Then he doesn't need more criticism, he needs a friend. Is my husband discouraged by something at work? Maybe he needs a cold drink, a time on the front porch to ease his bad day. 

However, rather than focusing on the bad, it’s more beneficial to focus on faith and the potential someday to be realized after years of praying and seeing God work through the moments I choose to be patient, kind and sympathetic; faith that God can take my honest offering of steadfastness, love and hope and make it into a beautiful legacy.

He will make up for my deficits and I will fill in the cracks for the deficits of those in my life. But in order to be the love, words and caress of Jesus to those in my life, I must relinquish my own needs, for the moment. This relinquishing happens one minute at a time--one detail of my life at a time.But this sort of love will change the course of my family's lives forever.

FATHER'S DAY IS COMING! THE LIFEGIVING PARENT WOULD MAKE A PERFECT GIFT TO GIVE TO YOUR HUSBAND TO INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE HIM IN HIS ROLE AS A FATHER. YOU CAN GO THROUGH THE CHAPTERS TOGETHER. 

What Women Want & Need & A Podcast

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"I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

When God looks at us, his children, us who are fearfully and wonderfully made, He cherishes us as we are, His very own beloved children. If we could picture Him holding us thus, and looking tenderly at us, how differently we would feel in life. We would not worry what others thought. We would understand our great worth. We would treat others with more grace and acceptance for what we had received in our hearts.

From Genesis to Revelation, He is there creating beauty for us, providing for us, teaching us, dying for us, preparing a new home for us--ever the lover, ever the compassionate Father. He does not see us as failures, but as His children in the process of growing, on a journey toward maturity. 

I have been meeting with my national team of directors this weekend. We are passionate about coming alongside you to encourage you on this long marathon of motherhood. We know that you are strategic as mothers because you are helping to shape the hearts, minds, and souls of the next generation of adults. Your hard work will last for eternity. 

My team has developed the most beautiful, comprehensive and inspiring membership for our community. We dreamed about providing content each month that would feel like a mini-conference to inspire women. We envisioned articles about biblical leadership and helping women grown in their faith, Lifegiving Home traditions and articles, stories for children about musicians and artists, the best lists of storybooks moms could use with their own children, Bible study, legacy talks from me given over the past two decades of ministry, recipes, downloadable posters for table talk, group ministry ideas, and so much more. I just can't believe how beautiful it is. This is a small sample of what our over 1000 members received June 1, and a sample of what they receive each month. 

 Our June content. 

Our June content. 

With 15 contributors and a staff of techies who support this site, we were able to make it as affordable as about 3 coffees a month. Join us and women from every continent to be inspired, supported, and encouraged in your own journey as a woman and mother. We have you in mind every month as we prepare new content for you. Read more about it HERE

Summer is a great time to refresh your heart and mind and we have special articles planned for this summer to give you some soul restoration. 

You'll find all this and more only on Life with Sally

  • Bible Study with Sally—Reflections and devotional thoughts from Sally's personal studies of books and topics of Scripture.
     

  • Legacy Talks by Sally—Encouragement in six areas of life curated from two decades of Sally's ministry and messages.
     

  • Topic Series with Sally—Special series by Sally drawn from her books and other resources for living as a lifegiving mother.

 

  • Book Talk—Discussions about great children's books and family reading with Holly Packiam, Sally, and Sarah Clarkson.
     

  • Arts Talk—Discussions about music and the visual arts with violinist Terri Moon, Kristen Kill, Joy Clarkson, and others.
     

  • Lifegiving—Thoughts from Sally about building a lifegiving home, creating a lifegiving table, and being a lifegiving family.
     

  • Private Forum—A forum only for Life with Sally members to ask questions, discuss topics, and find community.
     

  • Much More—Lifegiving home and table tips, topics, and recipes; special offers and downloads; insider news and information. 

Join me today on my podcast as my leaders share with me their own struggles and difficulties as moms as well as their own vision for what women need. 

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This Summer, Go on a Hero Hunt! & A Podcast!

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“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.” I Samuel 17:45

When Nathan was a young child, he was captivated by stories about heroes. He spent hours in his own costumes, doing battle with swords and shields against imaginary villains.

One night we were acting out the story of David and Goliath. Nathan wanted to be David, because he knew David was the hero. Clay, of course, was Goliath. He ad-libbed some taunts with his deep Goliath voice: “I defy you, men of Israel. Send out a man. Come and fight me!” And then, looking at Nathan, he bellowed, “Why, you’re just a boy. Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Are you a coward?” To which Nathan straightened his back, raised his sword, and shouted boldly back in his four-year-old voice, “Yes, I am!” He wasn’t sure what a coward was, but if he was the hero, he would be one with all his heart. We couldn’t contain our laughter, but we quickly recovered and went on to make sure the young hero David could slay Goliath.

I look back on that night more than twenty years later and see more than just a fun family story. Even then, Nathan was putting hero stories into his heart. He would go on to inhabit other heroes in his childhood such as World War II hero Audie Murphy, Colonel William B. Travis of the Alamo, and his favorite hero, Superman. He told me once, “I think Superman is like Jesus because he came to earth to save people who needed help. That’s what I want to do with my life.” All those hero stories were cultivating in him a heart of faith.

Do your children have any specific heroes they identify with? Do you? If not, consider going on a hero-hunt—maybe together!

Storyformed Podcast Episode #29 - Using Stories to Enhance Summer Experiences

Do you want to travel more with your kids, but realize this may not be a likely reality in your near future? Or maybe you are traveling soon and want to enhance your experience through reading books about the place or culture. Today on the podcast, Holly Packiam and Jaime Showmaker share about their summer plans and give book recommendations to aid you in transporting you and your kids to other countries, the beach, woodlands and many other places and locations. 

Topics include:

  • The value in taking advantage of more space in summer to read
  • Ways to travel to nearby or faraway places through books
  • How to create summer booklists with your kids
  • Book recommendations 

To listen to the podcast and to view shownotes, click HERE.