Do You Need to Flip, A Cake or an Attitude?! (Plus a Recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes!)

pancakes honey banana.jpg

Synonyms for flip: Switch, change, turn.

 

Perfecting pancakes can be quite an art form. In my earlier years of practice, I burnt many cakes that my taste buds had high hopes for. A lot of it has to do with a sudden flip...the quick turn of the wrist which sends the buttery cake flying onto the other side.

 

Why do we flip pancakes? If they remain on one side for too long, they will burn. Each side finishes its process, and when that time is up, you must react quickly and carefully.

My mind has been swirling, thinking about how our attitudes need the same kind of quick attention when we tend to our children. Just as we have high hopes for our pancakes, we set the bar high and hope to be incredible super-moms. But how do we react when we fall short?

Much like making pancakes, we want every move we make as mothers to be perfect and flawless. But when one side becomes a little too toasty, or a day is filled with uncontrollable circumstances, we sometimes just stay on the side of anxiety, sizzling and burning, rather than making the difficult, but necessary, decision to flip and start over.

 

Heart Healthy Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 tsp vinegar (I love apple cider vinegar, but white wine will do as well!)

1 cup milk

2 tsp sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour (I grind my grains and store them in the freezer for freshness--brown rice, millet, spelt, corn and oats have been ground together with wheat to give a multi- whole grain bread/cake. Sometimes no one even knows!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp melted butter butter for greasing the griddle

1 egg

*Combine your vinegar and milk, and let them curdle while you mix together the other ingredients. *Grab a big bowl and whisk to combine the whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. *In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, egg and the curdled milk, until it looks smooth. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir the two together until just barely mixed. You want any visible, loose flour to be completely stirred in, but if you still see lots of lumps, that means you're doing it right. If you stir out all the lumps, the pancakes will be pretty tough. *Preheat your skillet or griddle to 375 degrees F and grease it with butter. Add small scoops of pancake batter. Cook for a few minutes, until you start to see little bubbles forming on the surrounding edges. *Flip the pancakes with your spatula and cook for a few minutes on the other side, until you peek underneath and see that the bottom is golden brown.

Enjoy this delicious pancake recipe, and make the decision this morning as you flip your perfect pancakes to also flip your attitude into one that will glorify God and honor your children.

For more wonderful recipes and thoughts on gathering around your table, see The Lifegiving Table, here!

Storyformed Podcast, Episode #22: Learning To Love Poetry (A Conversation With Sally Clarkson)

young-mom-reading-bedtime-story-to-son_573x300.jpg

In this episode Holly Packiam speaks with Sally Clarkson about encouraging our kids to love poetry. The ability to participate in God's presence through the reading and listening of beautiful poetry is a gift of being created in His image.

Topics include:

  • Practical ways to capture our childrens' interest in poetry
  • The value of putting great works of poetry before our childrens’ eyes
  • The importance of presenting a feast of poetry to our children
  • Books to inspire a love of poetry

To listen to this episode of the Storyformed podcast, click HERE.

Because We Know His Love, We Can Serve From Rest

momdaughterkitchen.jpg

For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.

Hebrews 4:10

This has been quite a busy season! One of my favorite, most quiet of fairly-recent days  was the one when pretty much, other than going to church, all I did was lie on the couch and watch a mystery, nap, enjoy a sweet treat for tea time with Clay, and then watch part of the Superbowl! I was in need of idleness, a nap, just time to fall apart a little bit, as it has been a l o n g season of work and I have miles to go before I sleep in the next days ahead. But I am pretty convinced that women will indeed burn out unless they make time for a break--whatever that means--along the way.

It is truly an illusion to think that any woman can do it all! I have found in my own life, that if I am attending to the needs of my children, Clay, home, close friends and family, I really have to economize and prioritize my time, as my life pretty much demands every moment of me! I do sense more and more each day how important my role as a mother and godly woman is, and I do get such joy out of it--as I daily see the results of my many years of striving toward the goal of being a woman after God's own heart and serving those around me for His glory.

Now don't get me wrong. This does not mean that I always feel loving towards these strange people who inhabit my home! But because of my love for the Lord, which is more dear to me each year, I keep putting one step in front of the other and see, with the eyes of my heart and mind, the power of my work to fill souls with great thoughts and causes and love for God's kingdom. Mostly, though, I see more clearly how much I am a living picture of God's reality every day, by exhibiting the fruit of the spirit, by giving cups of cold, refreshing water, by serving and giving of myself and my wisdom and teaching and by always taking the initiative to speak life and joy and wisdom on a regular basis.

We once had a friend who was very pious. Her attempts to be spiritual and to pray and to "work" for God obviously came from a heart that was striving to figure out how to really know God and serve Him sincerely. Yet, the result of all her denying of self, speaking piously, and working, working, working, left most of the people in her life feeling guilty and far off from her.

Since it is obvious she had not experienced the grace and peace of God, she could only give out of a soul of performance, which always brings about death to relationships. She often only spoke in religious phrases, and with each passing month seemed more cold and drained of life--just the result she wouldn't want. Her children almost always felt guilty and as though they had failed to meet their mama's expectations. It is no wonder that there was some rebellion in their lives that broke her heart. She tried so hard but ended up turning them away in the long run. 

We need grace to fill our lives every single day.

In contrast, when I am in the presence of someone who really walks with God, there is such an evidence of life and joy and goodness and well-being and grace and faith. When one is washed with the unconditional love and grace and mercy of God, the result is peace and thankfulness of heart, and also a good dose of humility. Grace and peace is a pathway, not a moment. We move little by little more and more towards our goal. 

Of course the few that I can see really exhibit the life of the Lord aren't above discouragement or humanity, but there is a palpable sense of a way of walking with God and having made a decision to please Him and to trust Him through the ups and downs of life. There is a security I feel in being with them, because I know their sails have been set toward the King and His Kingdom and I can trust in their integrity to continue journeying in the right direction with Him at the helm. I feel a rest in my relationship with such people because I know I am safe in the hands of mature, seasoned lovers of God who will love me and accept me and point me to Him gently as we walk this road of life in fellowship.

Are you resting in what you know of the love of God, today?

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all!

And to celebrate, let's announce two winners ... remember when we asked you to share and comment on a post a bit ago, to win a ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP to Life With Sally? Well ...

SHAWNA SINGLER and TAYLOR IRBY--you won! Congratulations! Please email admin@wholeheart.org with your contact information as soon as possible so we can get you all set up.

Taking Risks: OYL & Becoming the Mom You Were Created To Be & Podcast

You are never too old to set another goal

or to dream a new dream.

C.S. Lewis

(Go Here to find more about Life With Sally Membership. 

Plopping down into the worn, red velveteen recliner, I sighed all the way from my toes. Nine o'clock found me exhausted, weary to the bone and discouraged.

"Clay, this motherhood committment is harder than I ever imagined. I feel like there is relentless housework, I miss having a little of my own independent life, I often feel alone and as though I don't know what I am supposed to be doing or that I am doing it wrong. And I just wish I could have a break or someone to encourage me to tell me that it mattered."

"I love the kids more than anything, and want to be a godly mama for them. I also feel such a need for a break and some encouragement for my personal life, my vision and how to move forward with confidence."

At the time, my children were 6 months, 71/2, 10 and 12 1/2. I can still remember that night when Clay and I began to dream and talk about shaping a ministry to mamas so that they could find the same kind of encouragement I needed. 

This was a moment of faith for us. Pondering what was on the heart of God for inspiring moms to fulfill their sacred role. Planning together, where to host a conference for moms, who would speak, what would be the messages, how much would it cost, how would we advertise.

This week in Own Your Life, I am talking about owning your life by living by faith. It starts with a heart for God, a mind bathing in the waters of scripture and wisdom, and a willingness to work hard and step out into faith to use your life for bringing him glory. 

And so this was the beginning of our own story of faith those many years ago. Since then,  I've been encouraging moms for over 25 years through my books, blogs, podcasts, webcasts, and events.

  • Over 20 books on Christian motherhood since 1998
  • Blogging and social media continuously since 2007
  • More than 2 million podcast downloads since 2016
  • More than 60 hotel mom conferences over  21 years
  • Dozens of webinars, webcasts, and video events

So now, Clay and I, in our mid 60's, are making new goals and dreaming new dreams. How might we develop a ministry, in this time of internet, that could become a community of moms all over the world receiving training, inspiration, instruction, and community using all that we have built over the last 25 years.

So today, I am happy to invite you to look at the result of our newest faith venture: A monthly membership course called Life with Sally! (Clay and my friends came up with this simple name so you could remember it.)

I've loved connecting with women through all of those ways in our past, but Life with Sally is different than anything I've done before.

It is the help and hope I wish I'd had for my own journey of motherhood.

You have so many choices on the internet. How you invest your time online as a Christian mom can be a constant challenge. Does it make you a better mom, or compete with your mom time? Probably a little of both,

As an older mother now with four grown children, who are living vibrant lives and who love the Lord, I see more clearly than ever that my role as a mom was indeed if great importance and has eternal value. So,I'm investing my time here, to give back to moms, like you, the wisdom and truth I've learned in my mom walk with God.

My heart's desire is to be an online source of encouragement, to help you be the mom you want to be.

Life with Sally can help you be the loving and faithful mom you want to be.

When you join me here on Life with Sally, you'll have anytime access to a deep well of exclusive and uplifting content, curated by 15 people, all who have messages of inspiration, educational and interesting videos on musicians, authors, the best children's books, artists, Biblical instruction, ideas of making your home lifegiving through recipes, organizational videos, ministry training, leadership talks, downloadable posters to print out to share with your family, bible studies, podcasts, a forum, legacy talks from years of my ministry and so much more. I am absolutely amazed at how beautiful the site is.

We have full time staff whose job it is to work every day on the graphics, the web design, the audio files, the pay wall, the forum as well as a team of 15 who invest in this site every month. .I promise you—your bucket will never come up empty when you dip into any of our four areas of lifegiving content:

  • Inspiration—Bible study with Sally, talks on books, music, and art
  • Legacy—Curated messages from Sally's 20+ years of speaking ministry
  • Resources—Series by Sally on selected books, lifegiving home tips, and more
  • Connections—LifeLines Forum, LifeWords Journal, exclusive webcasts

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

The very brief window of childhood will close so much sooner than you expect. Life does go by so quickly. 

I hope you'll let me and my team come along side you to  be a seasoned voice of lifegiving help and hope to be that mom that you see in your heart.

Today, we are launching our second chapter of Life with Sally with twice as many contributors and twice as much material as the first iteration.  We hope you will take time to look at the site and join our membership so you don't miss out on a single month. 

A Giveaway to 8 winners. 

We are giving away 8 monthly memberships (2 months per winner or we will extend the membership for the annual members who win by two months.) If you are already a member and you win, just let us know and we will extend your yearly membership by two months. 

If you share about our new membership this week on your places of social media, let us know what you did below in the comments and we will give away a month free to 8 more people so that you can enjoy all that is there to date. 

You can download and share one of these posters for extra entries credit. 

LWS Promo 3 (2).jpg
LWS Promo 5 (1).jpg

 

For two more days, the yearly membership will be at the reduced promo price of $129 a year, less than $12.50 a month--the cost of a few coffees. The regular yearly membership price of $150 will begin at midnight of February 14. 

Go HERE to see the Preview Site: LifewithSally.com

Hope you will be able to join us!

It is so exciting to imagine what God might do through this new venture. Will you join me in asking Him to touch lives of women all over the world? So honored to be a part of such a great team of women and to be connected to this wonderful community. I wish you a wonderful week. 

Your paid subscription to LifewithSally.com supports our staff and operations that enable us to continue  and expand the work of Whole Heart Ministries. Thank you!

Resist The Roaring Lion! & A Video!

lionroar.jpg

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I Peter 5:8

Late winter is a time when so many people I know are tempted to be discouraged, and feel like giving up--on something!  I think that it is true that what goes up, must come down. Adrenaline is up, energy and ideals are up in early December, and then in January when it is cold, bills from Christmas come in, the celebrations are over, so often, people feel the weight of an emotional and spiritual low. One of my best friends told me yesterday that she can't read sweet stories about other children who are doing well, because it makes her so sad for her own who are struggling now. I understand so well.

Some years ago, after having a great time with our children over the holidays, Satan came out unexpectedly and whapped us with full force. It was out of the blue and it caused some havoc and lots of deep, abiding sadness in our family. I should have been ready for this blow because, every year as went into the conference season to encourage women to stay true to their commitments, to hold fast their faith, to work hard to keep going, a strike was sure to come.

This attack caused one of the saddest days I have known in many years. It was a strike against one of my children, which especially breaks my heart. Yet, we must remember there is an enemy who hates for us to keep faithful to our ideals for our families and for the Lord. Satan, Peter tells us, is our adversary. He prowls through the earth--like he did when he asked God if he could seek to destroy Job. Like he did when Jesus said to Peter, "Satan desires to sift you like wheat." Peter, who was so personally experienced at this, because of Satan tempting him to deny Christ at the crucifixion, warns us to be on the alert. He is seeking, Peter tells us, to devour us!

We are, after all, in a battle that rages in this world--a battle for the hearts and souls giving allegiance to the one true God.

We are getting slowly used to stepping beyond our difficulties and seeing who is really at war with us. Clay and I had a talk in the wee hours of the night, and began to praise our wonderful Lord. We had to go through the very dark corridor of dealing with the stress and the issues, the sadness and broken heart of our child and us, and then by obedience went to the pathways of faith, not by feelings, but by depending on His truth.  We praised Him for His promised power in the midst of our devastation and the ability to use all things in our lives to make us more into the image of Christ. We asked for His strength and for His grace and power. We walked, by faith, into our next day, confident that He would be our defender and our Father and care for all the details. But we did have to first go to this place of meeting with Him and giving the situation to Him.

I have learned to ask myself questions in the midst of my own dark times, and also to ask these questions of other women.

Who would like for you to remain bitter? Discouraged?

Who would like for you to give up on your ideals--to say, "I can't do this anymore"?

Who wants you to be angry at your spouse? To be resentful of your children? Your family? Your in-laws?

Who wants you to worry and fret and stew and hold on to pet fears?

Who is trying to separate you from your friends?

Who is tempting you to think that God does not hear prayer, that He doesn't really care about you? To doubt God's goodness?

I think that it is at this very moment--when the darkness comes in--that faith is of most value and pleases God the most and absolutely frustrates Satan. Satan doesn't think we will believe and be strong. God is already waiting to lead and provide and help. But we have this honorable moment, when we can say, "I love you. I believe you. I will choose to trust you."

David reminds us in the Psalm 139: 7,

"Where can I go from thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol (hell),  behold, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there your hand will lead me and your right hand will take hold of me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to you and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to you."

And so, we who are the children of the light, can be comforted by Him, who sees all, is over all, is with us through it all, and He will use it for our good and for His glory. May He give you encouragement today!

Connecting With Our Children's Heart Through Story

superkid.jpg

By Jaime Showmaker

It was a typical Wednesday morning. We were driving to our homeschool co-op and we were discussing The Princess in the Goblin, the book we had been reading aloud over the past few days. We had come to a particularly adventurous part in the tale, and my boys were eagerly trading “well I would have…” stories, trying to best one another in courage and imagination. As I often do, I made a comment about how I knew they were all going to be heroes someday, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of adventures God had planned for them in the story they were living. As my two younger boys continued to laugh and describe increasingly gruesome encounters with hypothetical goblins, I noticed my oldest son looking thoughtfully out the window. I drove on, thinking his quiet was due to sleepiness in the early morning hour. But after a moment, he spoke up.

“Mommy...I think God might have made me a hobbit.”

I caught my breath because, in an instant, I realized exactly what he was trying to tell me. But I was struck, not just with his actual confession, but with the manner in which he chose to share his heart with me. He chose to reveal himself to me through the character in a story.

I’m always grateful for the time that I get to spend reading with my children, but in that moment, my heart was completely flooded with gratitude as I contemplated the way in which a story had just given me a glimpse of my son’s secret heart.

Click HERE to read more on Storyformed,com, 

 

Gentleness & Love Wins the Day & Triggers of Anger & a Podcast

derek-thomson-528266.jpg

“A gentle answer turns away wrath. But harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1

 A few years ago, I was standing in the hallway of the hotel where we were hosting our mom’s conference, I noticed a sweet mama who looked as though she was at the end of her rope. Holding a several months old baby, who was arching his little back and crying as though his heart would break, she looked beside herself.

Offering to hold her little one so she could get some rest. Sure enough he would begin to quiet and then something, probably a little girgly tummy would cause him to begin to wail once again. I held him up, check to cheek, his to mine, with my mouth aimed toward his little ear.

Softly I began to talk to him and then I would sing the song so often sung to my children, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” very softly, very gently. He would quiet down. Then another cry would begin, and I would talk to him very softly, “You are not alone, you are so very precious, you are a darling boy,” lyrically, in a singing voice, holding his soft cheek smack against my cheek so he could feel mine. Each time my voice started, each time I sang words to his heart. his little eyes got big and he would quiet.

Suddenly, he fell fast asleep.

Whether my children were young and tiny or old, and if they were in a snit, if I wrapped my demeanor, by my will, in softness and gentleness and answered their anger in a gentle voice, non-accusing eyes, they were more likely than not to listen to me and to respond.

“I understand you are feeling frustrated or angry, but I want to listen to you and understand what you are saying so that I can help you.”

Angry words answered with loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart, and soothes the frustrated feelings.. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.

There is no absolute solution or formula to calming an angry quarrel. Yet, wisdom from proverbs has often saved the moment for my family.

A hormonal teen, an exhausted toddler, a school-aged child, or a husband who is angry—all of these, long to be treated with focused attention, an understanding heart and a loving response.

As we all know, it is natural to react in like—anger to anger. However, it is from the Spirit of Him who is love that leads us to react in love. And yet, as the Spirit lives through us, we will see His power and fruit drawing others to Him in us, when we choose to remember bits of truth he has left for us to follow. A gentle answer, turns away anger.

Gentleness grows stronger with practice. It comes with humility. It grows as wisdom and takes root in the heart that values the ones she loves. May God grant us to become gentle in our love, that others may see Him through us.

Today, I am speaking with my friend, Amber Lia. She and her friend, Wendy Speak, have written a wonderful book called Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. You will love this podcast and love this book. 

Be sure to join our membership, Cultivating Life, at the promotional price of $129 for the year. The new course website and membership will launch on Monday and will be $150 from then on. I am so excited for new areas, more catagories, more videos, podcasts, printables and more. Hope you will become a part of our wonderful community. Go Here to find out more. Lots of new information on Monday, Feb. 12. 

 

Cultivating Vision: Setting Our Hearts on Fire OYL ch 4 & a podcast

images.jpg

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire!"

William Butler Yeats

Imagine a world where all those around you were afire inside with the life and love of God. 

Vision indicates the way or effectiveness of our ability to see. I have always loved the quotation above because when we truly educate a person, it is not about giving her the right facts, knowing the ways to fill in the blanks, or guess correctly at a multiple choice life. Education, especially when it comes to life vision and spiritual focus, is about passing on a way of seeing life and igniting the heart with a sense of destiny; of seeing our lives as strategic in God's story of the world.

When we are blind, we cannot see what is evident around us. Often, sincere, committed believers in Christ are blind to His overall design for their lives. They love him but feel that they live in the dark. They live by moral works, by trying to earn God's favor by being good, by doing the right things and teaching the right things. But God has so much more in mind for us.

When the Holy Spirit is alive within us, our hearts burn for the things that are on the heart of God. Every relationship has meaning, every day is purposeful, every moment awake with the life of God.

Today, so many youth are leaving the faith of their youth and adults often live in a sort of cloud of discouragement as they confront the world and its messages. Why does this happen, when so many good families have taken the time to share God's truth and love their children faithfully?

As I ponder this dilemma, I think there are two main reasons. One is that religion cannot just be indoctrination of thought or knowing all the right answers. A fact does not captivate one's imagination or give one a dream or excitement or reason to live. 

And the second, is that since we were born for community--aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandfathers, neighbors and friends--close by and living in common purpose and belonging, people need to encounter the reality of Christ through real lives in real community. All of us, young adults especially, were built for relationship--love, affirmation, encouragement, belonging.

When we are down, we feel the comfort of Jesus through the embrace a loved one gives, through the flowers we receive from a friend, through the companionship of one willing to walk by our side through our difficulties and joys. 

Basically, our children need to encounter the real Jesus, not as a concept but as the real God, the Artist that colored the sunsets, who thought up the stars and galaxies we see in the night sky, ordered the universe through atoms, designed each snowflake to be unique, as well as each fingerprint. They need to understand that He made them, He is with them, He is here to guide, to give life meaning--that He is the author or our dreams for purpose and meaning. 

They can experience the reality of Christ as they live with us and see Him in us and in community. When we love as He loved: living fully alive with hope, purpose, holiness, and creativity, engaging in our days as those who most understand how to celebrate life, then they both encounter him personally and sense His presence in the midst of those who surround them.

And so we must build these two components as a visual and actual reality in our lives as much as possible--even if we personally have to build our own community with friends or those in our lives.  As we reflect on the life of Jesus, we learn ...

It must be a real, contagious message about the reality of God, the love that flows from His heart to ours, the ways His life intersects with our own that captures the heart and mind and imagination.

Basically, we must not just know stories about Jesus. They must encounter Jesus. And adults must encounter Jesus personally, in order to be filled with His values, His love, His purposes, His wisdom, His presence. 

Dusty, rutted Roman roads were filled with clatter of wagons of market goods for sale, donkeys carrying burdens of farm vegetables, caged fowl squawking and horses mounted by menacing Roman soldiers, milling around in the noisy marketplace of Jerusalem. And yet, it was here, in this oppressed, unknown, seemingly insignificant hamlet that a worldwide revolution would begin that would rock the world forever.

An obscure teacher, rabbi over common fishermen, tax collectors and mere women, would spark a fire in the hearts of those hungry souls that would turn the world upside down.

Those caught in the fray of mundane life longed for something more, to be a part of a life that held meaning besides grasping day to day for enough to eat, a way to pay bills.

And so, the secret, underground movement was ripe for the times in which it was birthed.

"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

Always, Jesus' message was about casting a vision that would capture the hearts and imaginations of men and women, stirring their hearts and their fellowship around what gave them meaning together.

Always, always the message of Christ was missional--

Go! Influence! Give! Help! Bring light! Redeem!

Become a part of a movement of the Spirit of God blowing through the lives of people all over the world. Take over the darkness with your light--become redeemers!

Still, today, amidst the mundane, hearts long to be ignited with the passion, purpose and influence that will continue to transform this world of darkness into a place of light and hope--and all of us have a part to play. Leave a fragrance of Jesus after you, through your words, your encouragement, your sacrifice, the music you sing through the days of life.

These were the transforming messages, challenges, vision statements the disciples received from Christ.

Through my own days of motherhood with four little ones in my charge, I would snuggle up on the couch, wide-eyed children squishing around me, telling them, "Jesus has a special mission for each of you-Sarah, Joel, Nathan, Joy--to accomplish in the world. You will meet people that will need you to be the hands, the words, the message of God's love. I can't wait to see how He uses you in your world!"

And they would wiggle, touch toes or push a little for more room, but each one heard their name associated with God's love and their story to tell, and they would shake their little heads in affirmation when I would ask, "Isn't it exciting to see how normal fisherman did miracles and helped people--just like you will do!"

And so, you as an adult must hear and believe, Jesus has a mission for you to accomplish in your world with the people right where you are. He wants to live His hope through you, His compassion and sympathy through your life to your neighbor, your help to an exhausted mama just trying to stay alive, your compassion to the one who longs to hear forgiveness and love. But you can't live purposefully unless you are ignited in your own heart by the fire of His love, His passion to redeem those who so desperately need Him.

Jesus's words were sending ones, purpose-driven and fitting for warriors:

""Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." John 17:15

"I do not ask that you take them (my disciples) out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." John 17: 15

"Go therefore, (as you are going) and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9: 36-37

Will we pray for Him to send our children, us, into the harvest field? Are we willing to go anywhere? Do anything? Are we arming our children with values for living for eternity and not just living for the temporal, this world, the material, that is corrupting as we live each day? 

Do we understand that this is what we live for, to bring His kingdom to bear in our world? And that someday, we will answer to Him for all the ways we could have enacted His reality in and through our lives?

All children and all adults were made for a life of meaning and purpose. We were created to be message makers, healers, redeemers, givers, helpers. There is a kingdom of darkness but we are people of the light and the light will overcome all that is evil, dark, meaningless and harsh. We are people of the kingdom, and we are bringing that kingdom to bear every day in every act, every expression of our faith, every moment of our worship--because we have been adopted by the king!

If we find ourselves caught in mundane, boring, life-draining darkness, perhaps we have not been living in light of the kingdom purposes for which we are designed. You are not a mere human being caught in the despair of life---you are royalty, a child of the king, called to a purpose of bringing light to dark places, bringing love to the lonely and bitter of heart, of bringing forgiveness to those who feel condemned. You are announcers of a life beyond, where Christ, our loving God, will rule forever and ever.

Often, people ask me, "How did your children stay strong in their faith in very worldly and  challenging places? (New York City, Hollywood, Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, Boston) Of course, I must tell you, the basis of their strength is God and I was on my knees every day, praying, teaching about Him and cultivating to the best of my ability a life of faith.

But truly, I think the secret was that their hearts were captivated by a vision--"Jesus has a work for you to do in this world! You are very unique and special, because you have a story to live--just like Daniel, David, Moses, Joshua, Esther, Ruth, Mary, Hannah, and Abigail were all heroes in their generation, so you were made by God to be a hero in your generation.Only you can live a story worth telling, but I am so very honored to be your mom and to coach you and train you for the great story I know you will live. I am so proud of you! I love you so much!"

"How will God use you, Sarah, to shape messages? Joel, to craft music for His glory, Nathan, to write movie scripts that will show greater stories, Joy to become a teacher and discipler of young women---I know that you will be bearers of light and God will use you in your lifetime as a part of the kingdom rule He is bringing on the earth."

When you capture the fire of your own significance in the kingdom of God, when you know that as a mother, you have the ability to shape generations to become powerful leaders for the cause of Christ, then that vision will fuel the energy of your life to serve Him every day, whispering the secrets of the kingdom of God. Your fire will be passed on to those who will carry on the torch of faith.

But first you must kindle the fire in your own heart so that you will pass on the fire to your children. And it is best seen in community--the family that laughs, lives, shares, invests lives and hearts around the same purpose and celebration of life, grow from mutual community and vision.

You will never be perfect and your house will never stay totally clean and there will always be more dishes, fusses, messes--but if today, you are igniting the vision, filling the heart, passing on purpose, then today, a work is being accomplished that will be your lasting glory---that you were a builder of the kingdom of God in your lifetime and you armed warriors for His cause to take over the world for His glory with His messages.

We are not called to send our children into their lives just to be moral, good people. We are to be senders of leaders who have "caught" the kingdom messages that will transform the world!

Your unnoticed, obscure home today has a capacity to be a place of revolution and redemption when the Rabbi, Jesus, takes His proper place and whispers the secrets of the kingdom through you, His ambassador, all the moments of your day.

The vibrant life of your little community will capture a vision and they will become, in the footsteps of those so long ago, the ones who are light bearers in their world who will tell the story of their King.

Storyformed Podcast - Season 2, Episode #21: Helping Kids Develop Habits of Reading

Father-reading-to-child.jpg

In this episode, Holly Packiam and her husband, Glenn Packiam, talk about how we can help our kids develop habits of reading. You may remember that in Episode #11, Holly and Jaime discussed their quest as Christians to become lifelong learners and carriers of wisdom. Today, they're focusing this message on our kids. 

Glenn Packiam is Associate Senior Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Lead Pastor of New Life Downtown, which is one of the congregations of New Life. He is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Discover the Mystery of Faith (David C. Cook, 2013. Glenn was also one of the founding leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band and has had the honor of writing and co-writing several well-loved worship songs, like “Your Name” and “My Savior Lives". Glenn holds a BA in Theological/Historical Studies, a Masters in Management, and, after doing two years of graduate work at Fuller Theological Seminary, is now completing a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry at Durham University in the UK (part-time and long-distance, of course). 

Topics include:

  • Why Psalm 1 addresses desires and habits
  • How we can create rhythms-- patterns of practices-- in our lives
  • How to incorporate reading into naptime and/or bedtime routines for all ages
  • Practical ideas for making reading accessible
  • Ideas for reading the Bible as a Story together
  • How the Holy Spirit doesn't often override our habits but helps us form new ones

To listen to this episode on the Storyformed podcast, ClICK HERE

Building a Legacy of a Lifetime

2016-01-30 10.38.21.jpg

My life is all about legacy.

Every day of your life, you have the potential of leaving a godly model to follow, a kingdom message to believe, an integrity that is holy and a purpose that is eternal. God has allowed you the opportunity to touch eternity with your life by giving these gifts to those children he has entrusted into your hands. Live into your legacy and you will change your world forever. 

Sally Clarkson

When i became a believer, I was immediately challenged to ponder how I might bring the light of Christ to my world in my lifetime. I was instructed about investing in people by serving them, showing them the love of God by my words and actions, and inspiring them with the messages of Jesus. Discipleship is what it was called. And so for years, I reached out to others to do just what I had been taught--to pass on a vision and passion to fulfill the eternal purposes for which we had been created.

And then I had children...

Light dawned in my heart that my children would be the most important disciples I would ever have. I understood that I would answer to God for building a legacy of faith into their lives. I knew I would be responsible for reaching their hearts with the love of God; teaching His truths and moral excellence, giving them the ability to think profoundly, encouraging them to become educated in order to use their skills and calling for God, and to pass on the purposes of God which alone would fulfill their longings and desires to live meaningful lives.

The experience of building my children into godly adults met deep needs in my heart to connect to what really mattered. Then Clay and I decided to host conferences to pass on this knowledge to other moms who longed to have meaning in their motherhood and to understand how to fulfill their profoundly important role as mentors of their children--to pass on a godly heritage.

Then came 16 books, over 60 national mom's conferences for thousands of women, 11 years of thousands of blog posts, hundreds of speaking engagements all over the world and a podcast plus webcasts that reached over 2 million women in downloads.

And with all of this, our own ministry legacy kept growing. How could we combine all that we learned by raising our own children, now adults, into an even more effective ministry? 

Our membership site, Life with Sally, has become the new arena where we see the Holy Spirit taking us beyond all that we have been able to build before to create and cultivate a movement of mothers who will, together, bring righteousness and truth to reach all over the world through the legacy of their children.

Today, I am so very excited to be able to share some new news about our site. Ten of us have been working hard to make it more beautiful, better organized, and to provide even more areas of inspiration for you to enjoy. Hundreds of women have already been enjoying the rich material we have provided in the first few months. We will be adding new video content, parenting training, educational input and instruction, a forum where women can meet and share, some videos from Clay and me as we travel to historical places in England while we live and minister there, a new arts and visual arts expert, a quoteables and notables section, and so much more. 

 We will be launching a new phase of Life with Sally on February 12th.

On the updated site you will find beautifully curated video and audio of me teaching on all of the areas I am passionate about along with outlines and printables to help you practically put the truths and ideas into practice.  You will find audio and video from our inspirers discussing music, art, and literature. There will be book lists, helpful resources, recipes, traditions,  and more! This material will only be available to those who have joined our membership. I will also be hosting live webcasts through membership where we can connect, and I can share more with you.

--Click the arrows to see slides of the newly designed Life With Sally landing page--

And coming soon is also a MEMBER FORUM where you can connect with other moms, ask questions, discuss the teaching sessions, and more!

 

--Click the arrows to see slides of the newly designed Life With Sally membership home page--

 

Many of you have asked about upcoming conferences, and my hope is that my Life with Sally membership site will be like an ongoing conference for you each month where you can be encouraged and inspired with Biblical truth, practical helps, and make connections within our community! Many of you helped us lay the foundation in the past six months, and now we're building a bigger website to be a bigger ministry in this new season of our lives. I know we all dislike price increases, and our bigger building will need a small increase so we can keep it growing, but we'll try to make the transition easy.

The price of an annual subscription will increase to $149.00/year on February 12, but you can join Life with Sally for the next 10 days at a special promotional rate of $129.00/year. If you're already an annual subscriber, you don't need to do anything. Your subscription will continue at your current rate, and won't change as long as you renew annually. If you'd like to become an annual subscriber, for just the next 10 days you can join at the promotional rate of $129.00/year (as of Monday, February 12 that rate will increase to $149.00/year). Your promotional rate will remain the same as long as you renew annually. Our new monthly rate (as of today, February 1) is now $15.00/month. If you are currently a monthly subscriber, upgrade in the next 10 days to an annual account to save $50.00/year off the new monthly rate. If you remain on the monthly plan, your rate will increase to $15.00 on the first renewal after February 12. This $129.00/year promotional rate will not be offered again. Act now, and tell your friends.

Which leads me to another special offer. If you share about Life with Sally on your social media, and comment on this post that you shared to let us know, you will be eligible to win a free ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION! We'll be giving away two (2) one-year annual subscriptions. Just share a comment below about how you shared about Life with Sally.

We so appreciate you, the friends who help us keep this ministry going to reach women all over the world. Your lives are what inspire us to keep going forward in this new adventure of ministry. Thanks so very much for the encouraging comments and notes on all the places we share our messages. Your words have meant so very much. God bless all of you with His grace and love.