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Are you a yelling mom? Here is some encouragement on how to overcome being a yeller.

Nobody would have pegged me for a yeller.

I wouldn’t have guessed it either. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don’t remember ever having shouted before – except perhaps at a college football game or catching a friend’s attention across the parking lot.

Other than that, I’d say I’m a fairly soft-spoken person.

But something seemed to have happened once I had small children. Yeah, it’s like something snapped!

I became a yeller.

A yeller? Me??

At first, I blamed it on all kinds of things. Hormones. Stress. Sleep-deprivation.

But after a while, I had to face up to the facts. No matter what the cause, I’d turned into a yelling mom.

And I hated it and wanted to change.

I cried out to God to miraculously overcome this awful struggle, secretly hoping for some kind of instantaneous healing. But it turned out to be more of a journey – by His grace, in His strength, and with a lot of determined effort on my part.

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Do you want to dump the comparison trap? I do. For good.

I’ve struggled with the comparison trap for years. Every accomplishment or lack thereof was made bittersweet by the grip of comparison.

In high school, I compared myself to others based on grades, clothing, the points I scored in a basketball game or the friends I had.

How Comparison Robs Us

In adulthood, I compared myself based on the state of my home, the goals I accomplished (or didn’t), or the way my kids behaved. If I forgot a birthday, I was a bad friend. If my house was messy, I was a bad housekeeper. And if I didn’t live up to someone else’s expectation, I was a bad person. You can see how exhausting and crazy-town this was, can’t you?

At some point, I acknowledged comparison for what it is: immature, unhealthy, and unloving toward others.

Comparison taunts you with doublespeak:

“You can do better./You’ll never reach that.”

“You should have that./You’ll never have that.”

It puffs you up only to let you down and denies (at least in heart) happiness to another person.

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How do the little irritations add up day after day, robbing you of your joy? 

I felt the irritation rising in me, again. Another interruption during our read-aloud time and another fit from the two-year-old had me breathing out, “Jesus, I need your help,” again.

In these years of raising small children, it’s easy for me to live with a low-level irritated spirit. What I mean is, it’s easy to let all the little irritations of life affect my spirit, and I end up just plain irritated. With several children, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish anything, even venturing to the bathroom, without interruption. And it can just be irritating!

But irritation isn’t the state the Lord wants me or you to live in. What’s greater is His desire to use all of life’s irritating circumstances to conform us to the image of His Son.

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy

James 1:2-4 says,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

If you’re like me, you’ve read these verses before, maybe even numerous times.

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Years ago I did something out of the norm for me.

One of the women who lived in my area that I had met through my blog was hosting a homemaking and hospitality class. She was asking on Facebook if there were any women interested in a class on making homemade bread.

The out of the norm thing for me was signing up for the class. I just don’t do things like that…put myself out there, that is. However, I had been praying for God to bring godly women into my life who I could be friends with and that would encourage me as a wife and mother. Seeing this Facebook opportunity online felt like God was reaching out to me personally and saying, “Here you go. This is your chance to make some good friends and be encouraged by the right kind of people.”

I’m not saying God actually said that to me – He didn’t. But I do believe that He handed me this particular invitation and strongly encouraged me to take hold of it!

Nourishing Our Homes

This class has turned into a beautiful ministry that I’ve been attending for years now and I’ve kind of dubbed it a Titus 2 Ministry.

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Is it really possible to build a strong, lifetime marriage? What does that look like?

I walked into the room and immediately sensed I was interrupting a very intimate moment.

Matt’s parents were sitting across from each other at their old kitchen table and softly whispering to one another.

I could tell my mother-in-law was having one of her “good’ moments — which were increasingly rare in those days — and recognized Dad as the man she had married. He wasn’t that “kind stranger” that he’d become since she began her journey through Alzheimer’s.

For a few brief minutes, he was once again the Love of her life.

So I watched these two dear people quietly holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. These two who had walked through so much during their over 60 years of marriage together.

Still so much in love.

And I could hear her softly telling him, “When God calls me home (and she knew it wouldn’t be long now), I want to tie a rope between you and me…so that when I go…you’ll come too.

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Fifteen months after my daughter was delivered directly to heaven, I was finally pregnant again. Fifteen months can feel like fifteen years when healing and hurt and hope are surging stiff through your veins. But we were finally here. Two pink lines on a stick. Glory.

And fear.

When Fear Grips

It’s surprising how badly you can want something and yet how scared you can feel when it finally arrives. The questions came fast. What if it happens again? Should we even tell anyone? Maybe we should just wait a few months and see if this sticks?

I was recently reading the story of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings. This was the woman who graciously and consistently hosted the prophet Elisha, even making a cozy room in her home for him to stay in during his travels.

In return for her kindness, Elisha tells the woman, who has no son and whose husband is quite old, the good news that she will have a son next year. Her response here is so real and gritty,

“No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.”
2 Kings 4:16 NLT

This woman who had been so gracious and generous, so kind and considerate, could not bear the hope of this news.

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Do you offer the boys in your life a great variety of adventurous reads to expand their imagination?

Don’t try this at home, but I have it on good authority that it’s possible to drive a riding lawn mower and read simultaneously. I never actually saw him do it, but apparently, my brother was known to enjoy a good book while cutting grass at a local church. (My parents put a stop to this escapade when it was discovered. But it does seem like a good use of time, provided nothing is damaged in the process.)

In our growing up years, my brothers were just as voracious readers as my sister and I. And while they also enjoyed their fair share of LEGO® and outdoor adventures, a great book was a magnet for them. Sometimes that meant deciding whether to mow the lawn or read a book, other times it meant trying to combine two activities.

The books in this list are entertaining, full of adventure, and likely to capture the attention of the young fellows in your life. And if your son’s sister happens to enjoy reading, then I’d recommend she check these titles out, too.

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The kitchen table in our house seems so…ordinary.

We bought it a few years ago, used, from a couple in the next town over. A few dents could be seen in the light pine wood if the light hit it just right, and the color on the 8 wicker chairs that accompanied it had drastically faded, but none of that bothered us. We just needed something to fill the space in our dining area, yet somehow, this ordinary table has filled up so much more of our hearts.

We brought the table into the home we had been renting at the time, situating it under a low hanging, out-dated, light fixture. It would not have been my first pick for a table, but it fit our budget, and it fit the space in our dining area that had been empty for weeks.

An Extraordinary Purpose

After a few days went by of having our new-to-us kitchen table, I was getting frustrated by the way I had been using it. Aaron, me and our 2-year-old son, Eliott, would eat our meals packed closely at one end of the table, while the other two-thirds was used as a catch-all space for papers, toys, and more.

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The other day I was sharing with my own life coach how my current project has turned into a mountain. I was overwhelmed. I felt stuck.

“It will never be done by my deadline. I had to add over 20 additional time-consuming tasks to my list. Now I have to push my whole schedule back. I am forced to do so many other things I hadn’t planned.”

And on and on.

She noticed the drama in the way I was talking and brought it to my attention.

I continued to tell her, “But, those are just facts. It’s true. I can’t move on until I have those additional tasks done. I’ll never finish by my deadline. I have no choice. Those are just the facts.

She said they were not the facts.

I have a choice.

Nobody is forcing me.

I don’t have to do the 20 additional tasks if I choose not to.

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Can I really be an excellent wife? What happens when it’s too hard?

I recently addressed the question, “Why Should I Be an Excellent Wife?” and the short of it is this: because we should want to honor God by honoring our husbands. Yet sometimes that can seem like such an overwhelming concept.

We often carry the misconception of what it means to be excellent; such as being an excellent wife means being a perfect wife.

We can also believe being excellent will look the same for every couple when this is not always true.

It’s important to understand why being an excellent wife isn’t just some biblical fad. It truly is foundational for a strong marriage.

Each husband will hold to desires, preferences, and needs which will vary from other husbands, and as a wife, it’s up to us to know these and how that affects our marriage.

So when the idea of being an excellent wife seems too hard, start here…
Be Kind.

At first, this may seem to be a simple task, but to really nail down being kind, you must be kind when things don’t go your way; when things aren’t done the way you prefer; when your husband has a stressful day at work and comes home less than happy.

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