Duggars, Proposals & Our Crazy Culture

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

All right … I am going to admit it. I am thoroughly enjoying watching the Duggar daughters and their courtships.

It is purity in its highest form … an innocent love that is astonishingly magnetic … and perhaps a glimpse at what God meant the dating years to look like.

Now … I know that some of the Duggar standards might seem extreme to some. Who other than the Duggars only give side hugs until the wedding day? Did your first kiss take place at the altar? Do you know anyone who restricted the holding of hands until after the engagement?

But in this world of the Kardashians, the disturbing sexual antics of Miley Cyrus and the fascination with “Sister Wives”, I’ll take the virtue of the Duggars any day.

How wonderful that a family has determined to live with conviction and principle in a world where anything … literally anything … goes! And … even more wonderful … they are living in this lovely and immaculate manner in the spotlight of the convoluted media!

“Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” – I Peter 3: 3& 4

We live in a world where sex is glorified and where commitment is mocked. Our culture promotes the cheap thrill of sexual innuendo and scoffs at brides who actually deserve to wear white on their wedding day. But the world’s way has never been God’s way. I have a strong suspicion that the marriages of the Duggar girls will go the distance and defy statistics.

Did you know that only 5% of marriages make it to their Golden Anniversary? What has happened to “until death do us part”? Perhaps it got lost in a world of wife-swapping, bachelorettes and internet hook-ups.

The truth is this … our culture does not have the answer. We do. We have the answer and it is found in the principles and promises of the Bible.

“How can a young person keep their way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word.”  – Psalm 119:9

Those Duggar daughters have discovered the way to live a beautiful life and to build a healthy marriage. They honor their parents and their future husbands by holding fast to purity.

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

One of the obvious aspects of “19 Kids and Counting” that I especially treasure is the way that these young women respect their parents in word and in deed. 20-somethings often consider parental input as archaic and unnecessary. Young people generally feel that they know more than their antique parents and don’t need parental advisement, guidance and wisdom. I know I often felt that way when I was a young woman during the dating years. And … I couldn’t have been more wrong!

How I wish during those dating years that I had the perspective of Michelle Duggar! 

How I wish that I had allowed my parents to be involved in my dating choices!

“Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long upon the earth and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” – Deuteronomy 5:16

Thank you, Jim-Bob and Michelle, for training your children in a Godly and wise way. Thank you for building a life upon principle and not upon the trends of the culture.

Thank you, Duggar daughters, for honoring your parents and the Lord. Thank you for being willing to live with conviction and for choosing purity.

My prayer is that parents and young adults will simply reconsider the way that we “do” dating. I don’t believe that dating should be like trying to find a new car when you go to one dealership and drive 2 or 3 options … then go to another dealership and drive some others. I don’t believe that dating should be a “game” or be done “just for fun”.

People’s feelings are important … a physical relationship should be reserved for marriage … flirting with the opposite sex is not the Godly way to find a spouse. After asking Jesus into one’s heart, who a person marries is the single most important decision of one’s life. 

If you are single, pray and ask God to bring a Godly man or woman into your life. 

And then, wait well. 

If you are a parent of a teen-ager or young adult, pray with them and gently give wisdom and guidance during this tenuous season of life. Stay lovingly connected with encouragement.

If you are the parent of younger children, begin to talk to them now, before they begin to date, about the principles and convictions that your family will embrace during the dating years.

God’s ways really are higher than our ways. God was the Author of romance and planned for a man and a woman to enjoy companionship, a physical relationship and the shared commitment to Godliness. It has been my experience that God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.

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21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 4

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Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 4

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 4

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

There is something miraculously healing about smiling ... and laughter ... and giggling ... and a contented chuckle or two.  Not only does a merry heart have the capacity to heal you but it is also contagious.  The joy that you express often is “caught” in the very best sense by others.

This word “joyful” in the ancient Hebrew is actually translated as “expressing joy, or rejoicing”.  You must express the joy for it to heal you!  You must rejoice out loud in the presence of others for the miracle to begin!

When a person deals with a lengthy and dark depression, often it becomes impossible to smile, or grin or giggle infectiously.  Allow me to challenge you today to smile even if you don’t feel like it.  Break out in a grin not because you feel like it but in spite of how you feel.

When I was a melancholy teen-ager, my father used to kindly say to me, “Smile, Carol!  Your face won’t break!  Neither will your heart!”

That was good advice to a morose adolescent and it is GREAT advice to all of us today who deal with emotional grayness.  Find something to smile about and find someone to smile at - you will find that it is the beginning of your own healing.

Now, please ... do not discount this advice.  Do not be so wrapped up in your own emotional pain,  that you begin to justify yourself by saying, “This won’t work for me.”  It will work ... it may take some practice ... but eventually it will work.  You can try to argue with the Bible and minimize its power  - men and women from every generation have tried to make the exact same argument.  It didn’t work for them and it won’t work for you!

So ... take some advice from an old pro and put on a happy face!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL-
  1. You know the routine by now but don’t underestimate its importance!  Add to your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” list by adding 3 more things for which you are incredibly grateful!  #beatdepression!  
  2. Every time you make eye contact with someone today - smile.  Look up some humorous stories or jokes on the internet and share them with the people with whom you work or at the family dinner table.  Send out an e-mail to some of your closest friends with a cute story or a joke in it.  Recall a happy childhood memory and share it with a friend or a family member.  Today, your assignment is to “be happy out loud!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that I will express joy regardless of my circumstances.  I will not allow the pain of my past or my disappointment with today dictate my level of joy.  I will rejoice in the Lord today because He has made this day for me!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Dear Jesus, I do love you very much and I believe that Your Word is true.  Father God, I pray today that You would restore to me the joy of Your salvation.  I pray that I would be an encouragement to everyone that I meet.  Give me divine appointments with people who need to see a cheerful countenance or a friendly face.  I am Yours and I pray that You would use me today and every day!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

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21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 3

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Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 3

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 3

 Listen to this uplifting song while you are enjoying the blog post!

"Be not grieved or depressed for the joy of the Lord is your strength."  - Nehemiah 8:10

So many things, products and disciplines in life boast that they have the power to strengthen you.  Truly, truly, there is only one commodity that will strengthen you in your innermost being and that is the joy of the Lord.

The joy of the Lord strengthens you and empowers you to be the person that God thought of when He first thought of you.  Joy is not a weak, insipid, rapidly changing emotion but it is at its best when life is at its worst.

If you plod through life without the strength that only His joy can deliver, it will turn you into a weak, whining and ineffective Christian.

We really do have an enemy, his name is Satan, and he has a strategic life plan for you just like God does.  Satan’s plan is to steal your joy and to weaken your resolve.  Satan’s plan is to infect you with disappointment and vaccinate you with discouragement.  How does he do that, you may ask?  Well ... I am so glad that you asked because I do have an answer for you!

The devil is not after your health and he could care less about your marriage or your finances.   Your children don’t mean a thing to the devil but what the devil is after is your joy and the way that he tries to steal your joy is by going after your health, your marriage, your finances and your children.

The devil knows that he cannot deny you of your salvation or of the forgiveness that Jesus has given to you.  So, what he tries to steal is the most valuable commodity that he is able to get his greedy little hands on.  Satan is relentless and he will do everything that he can to lie to you and eventually deceive you out of your joy.

Today, let me challenge you to stand toe to toe ... nose to nose with the accuser of the brethren and declare in his ugly little face, “Satan ... you can not!!  You will not!!  You will never be able to take my joy from me!”

When you choose to defy the enemy with the joy that Jesus died to give you, you will become a powerful force in the world today.  God can use joyful Christians who are bold enough to hang onto their joy no matter what is going on in their circumstances.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

Today, there are 2 assignments in the “Practical Application” segment of “21 Days to Beat Depression!”

  1. Write someone a thank you note who has been a blessing and an encouragement to you.  Tell them how much you appreciate them and the role that they have played in your life.  Write it and mail it today!  Don’t wait until tomorrow!
  2. List three more things for which you are grateful in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” list!  Don’t forget to share your morsels of gratitude on Twitter or on Facebook with #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that Satan will no longer steal my joy!  I will be a strong and powerful Christian because God’s presence has given to me the gift of joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Dear Jesus, I love You so much and I am so thankful for Your joy.  Thank You that it is Your joy that strengthens me and propels me into all that You have for me this year.  Father, even on the days when I do not humanly “feel” joy, I know that I have it because you promised it to me.  I stand on Your promises not on my feelings.  In the powerful Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen."

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21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 2

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 2

 
 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 2

“These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full.” - John 15:11

I am not a doctor, but I have a prescription for you!

If you are battling depression or sadness, every day turn on praise and worship music.  You might want to lift your hands in worship or just quietly sit and bask in the peace that flows from His presence.  For the very brave of heart, let me encourage you to join with David and even dance before the Lord!  Simply take about 5-10 minutes every day and spend it listening to and participating in the hymns and songs of men and women of faith.

Some sicknesses of the soul, require more than one healing medication, and so in addition to spending time daily in worship, try this:  open your Bible and read a passage of Scripture.  If you are in the throes of sadness, just start at the beginning of the Book of Psalms and read 3-5 verses in a sitting.  Let the Words of the Psalmist roll over your soul and demonstrate their healing power in your life.

Let me talk to you about the Bible for a minute and help you to understand the power that the Word of God has in helping you deal with your emotional pain.

Did you realize that making a simple decision to read the Bible every day is one of the most strategic choices toward joy that you will ever make?  The Bible is infinitely more powerful than any other human answer for emotional ailments.

The Bible is not a flat book but it is a dynamic source of heaven’s power.  So many people tell me that they don’t understand the Bible ... and I tell them that’s o.k.!  Just keep reading it!  We don’t always read the Word of God for information but we always read it for transformation!  I guarantee that what your mind is not able to understand, your spirit will absorb!

Because you really do have an enemy ... and he really does understand the power that a Christian extracts from reading the Bible ... the devil will do anything and everything that he is capable of doing to convince you not to read the Word of God!

Discipline is never easy but always requires great focus and intent.  Don’t make excuses of why you couldn’t read the Bible yesterday or are not able to read the Bible today ... just do it!

My prayer for you today is that you will declare with the prophet, Jeremiah, “Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart!”

The third healing balm for a depressed soul is to spend a few minutes in prayer, praying for someone else.  Keep a prayer journal and write down other people’s needs and requests.  When you give to someone else by praying for them, the blessings and the strength will come rebounding back upon your life.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

Guess what?!  You get to do it again!  List three more things for which you are grateful!  Don’t forget to share them through Twitter or on Facebook followed by the words, “#beatdepression!”

  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that when I read the Bible that it heals all of the broken places in me.  I declare that as I read the powerful Word of God that depression will flee in Jesus’ Name and that joy will come into my life!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

"Lord Jesus, I love You so much.  I thank You, today, for the Bible.  Thank You that the Bible does a miracle in me each time I read it.  Thank You for the abundant life that is strategically laid out for me in the Bible.  Thank You that Your Words always bring joy to my life.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

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21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 1

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 1

 
 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 1

 

"You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” - Psalm 16:11

TODAY'S FREEBIE - 21 Daily Bible Verses Booklet

Have you ever wondered why you have not been able to tap into the miraculous, fulfilling and ultimate joy that the Bible talks about?  For many of us, life has become a torturous prison and we find ourselves paralyzed by unfulfilled dreams, discouraging circumstances and difficult people.  Each day, rather than being abundant or a delightful gift, becomes an unending dirge of retching emotions with only a black horizon in sight.

I have been there.  I know where you are.  I also know what it takes to be set free from the pain and prison of depression.  For the next 21 days, you will be introduced to a new lifestyle ... a new way of thinking ... a challenge to embrace life with resilience and gusto.  I know that you can do it because I did it.  The question is this ... will you do it?!

Often our frustration stems from the fact that we look for joy in all the wrong places.  If you believe that an impressive college education, a spotless home or 5 well-behaved children are your password into the Kingdom of Joy ... you have it all wrong.  If you somehow think that losing 27.5 pounds or marrying the person of your dreams or being the owner of a passport filled with impressive stamps from exotic and far-away places will give you a money-back guarantee to perfect and perpetual joy ... then once again my friend ... you have it all wrong.

Joy is found in one place and one place only ... “In His presence is fullness of joy!”

If you desire a joy so pervasive that it will trump every other circumstance in life then you must spend time in the presence of the Lord.  If you are desperate for a joy that will literally defy all of your life’s depressing situations then you must choose to marinate in His presence.

How do you do that?  Well, it’s really not that difficult.  You can choose whether or not to make it a priority to spend time reading your Bible every day ... you might turn on a worship CD and even sing along with it!  If you are very bold and extremely desperate ... you will choose to lift your hands in the air as an act of surrender while you worship.  Another exciting option is to spend time alone in prayer every day.  Just you and Jesus.  Simply close the door to your bedroom and kneel beside your bed as you have a heart to heart conversation with the one who knows you the best and loves you the most.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

For people who have a difficult time understanding what joy actually is, I always tell them, “Just be thankful!  Thankfulness and joy are not so very far apart!”

Today, begin to record a list of the things for which you are grateful.  Entitle this list, “Thanksgiving in January and February!”  Today, write down three things for which you are thankful.  I dare you to make your list public through Twitter or on Facebook accompanied by “#beat depression!”

  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that when I spend time in God’s presence that I am given the extraordinary gift of Joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Lord Jesus, I do love You so much. I ask today that I would have an awareness of Your presence and of Who You are.  I ask that Your joy would fill the dark, empty places in me.  I pray that my discouragement, disappointment and frustration with life would be washed away as I spend more time in Your presence.  Thank You, Father God, for the gift of joy.   Amen."

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Sweet Addiction

When I was living during the very darkest days of my life, I developed an addiction.

I was in the throes of depression due to years of infertility and repeated miscarriages. I sent 5 babies to heaven when they had grown to between 12 and 20 weeks in utero. It was a time of non-stop grief, dashed hopes and raging emotions.

The addiction that I developed was not to over the counter drugs … it was not to alcohol … it was not to shopping or chocolate or binge-eating.

The addiction that I developed was to the Word of God. During those days, when the black hole of depression was calling my name, the Bible also was in hot pursuit of my soul. Before my circumstances ever changed, the healing power found only in the Word of God healed my profound and relentless depression.

What the Bible did for me … it can do for you.

How the Bible healed me … it can heal you.

The power in the Bible isn’t only for me … it is also for you.

And so, today, 26 years removed from those days of ragged hormones and infertility, I want to share with you five ways that the Bible can change your life. 

I know … because it changed mine.

  1. First of all, the Bible will help you stay focused on what is good. It reminds you that our God is well able to take every situation and circumstance in our lives and use it for our highest good and for His greatest glory.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

2.  Secondly, the Bible will help you deal with temptations and your sin issues. I can tell you this … all of us are tempted to give in to sin. There is not a man or a woman alive who does not face temptation on a daily basis. When the Bible is your guidebook through life, you are able to develop a strength that will enable you to overcome. 

“How does a young man (woman) keep his (or her) way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word.” – Psalm 119:9

3.  The third way that the Bible can change you is to help you love the difficult people in your life!! If you are in constant frustration due to the irregular people in your life, know that God is not surprised by their presence. He may have strategically placed them in your life because He wants them to see Jesus in you!

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” – I Corinthians 13: 4 & 5

If you are wondering why you were born and what your purpose in life is, let me assure you that the Bible will definitely help you find your purpose in life! If you have found yourself wallowing in various choices, in lack of direction and in a purposelessness existence, ask God to give you His direction from the Word!

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

5.  And finally, the fifth reason why you should be addicted to the Word of God is because it will help you focus on the important issues of life. As human beings, we often magnify the wrong things and minimize the important stuff. And so, when we are committed to the wisdom in the Word of God, our priorities are changed and we are able to focus on the eternal things of life this side of heaven.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:3 & 4

And so today … for these 5 reasons and for thousands of other reasons … read your Bible. Develop and addiction to the Word of God. I can guarantee you that you will become the person you were made to be when you delight in His Word!

Listen as Carol shares her story of overcoming depression and becoming addicted to her Bible...


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The Good Stuff

It’s the little things that make life grand, isn’t it?!

A glass of iced tea on the back deck …

The sweet giggle of a delicious child …

a kind text message from a friend who lives far away …

The smell of fresh-cut grass …

A good book and a cup of coffee …

Dinner at a friend’s house …

So often, in my life, I have made the mistake of living for the big moments … for the red-letter days of promotions, bonuses and celebrations. When, in reality, those giant occasions are not what life is made of at all.

Life, at its finest, is built upon heartfelt smiles …

Long walks on a country road …

An unexpected phone call from a loved one …

If graduations, publishing contracts, and standing ovations were the building blocks of a rich and meaningful life … my life would be tenuous and without much foundational support. 

But because the real stuff of life is as close and as dear as the morning song of the bird out my kitchen window … the companionship of my daughter on my daily run …and the treasure of reading a well-loved devotional book ... I find my life to be a rich repository of all that is good and substantive.

The glory of applause is momentary … the accolades of achievement are fleeting … the once in a lifetime events are rare … but it is the simple pleasures that give life sparkle and joy.

If high-power business meetings and hall of fame moments are what you have built a life upon … perhaps you need a new architectural plan. If you live for the adrenaline rush that only championship games and trips to Hawaii bring … perhaps your adrenaline is bought at too high a price.

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

Paul reminds all of us … in every generation … to learn the contentment that is found not in achieving but in belonging. Contentment is a learned behavior and not a knee-jerk reaction to life. Contentment requires choosing … listening … processing … and submitting oneself to the miracle of an ordinary day.

“ … For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” – Philippians 4:11

When I look back at the substance of living that created a healthy childhood for my children, I realize that it was popsicles on a hot summer day … laughing at a shared family joke … and praying every night before bed that brought security and happiness into our home.

Oh … we cheered like fanatics at the championship ball games … I cried at 5 high school graduations … and we celebrated every birthday like royalty … but those moments did not define the life we had been given.

What made life worthwhile at 8120 Stillbreeze Drive was reading a book together in the evenings … and catching fireflies in the backyard … and singing around the piano. Those simple yet valuable choices gave us a strong foundation of life at its finest and its richest.

Perhaps living inside a regular day in which nothing of earth-moving significance happens is at the heart of all that is truly meaningful and extraordinary.

The glory of life is found quite simply in the ordinary moments. The treasure of a life well lived is acquired not in getting but in giving. The substance of all that is good and rich and meaningful is found in a thousand minute gifts that are easily overlooked if one is not careful.

Rather than looking for gold at the end of the rainbow … enjoy the rainbow.

Rather than aching for your baby’s first step … enjoy his or her little arms around your neck for one more day.

Rather than emphasizing the importance of performance-based living … be content with the company of those you love the most and know the best.

Do you want to know what I am doing right now? I am on a plane traveling to a distant city to appear on a television show in order to promote my new book. Big stuff. A grandeous moment for sure …

But sitting in front of me on this flight there is a 2 year old named Cameron with brown eyes who wants to play peek-a-boo with me … and so if you will excuse me … peek-a-boo and giggles await.

The truly important stuff of life …

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Moms' Night Out

Moms. Kids. Babies. Choices. Needs. Culture. Time. Priorities. Preferences. Finances.  Expectations. Heart issues. 

There is a new movie, “Moms Night Out” playing in theaters. This movie was made for moms … it’s about moms … it honors moms.

The critics are bashing this movie; their platform of disgust is not the acting, the scripting, the camera angles, or the lighting. The media and critics are vehement in their comments concerning this movie simply because the main character is a stay at home mom.

Some of the comments that you can read in reviews of the movie are these:

“Depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous”     

 “Unabashedly anti-feminist comedy”     

“Ugly sexism”     

“Peddles archaic notions of gender roles”   

 “Insulting”

“Allison's lack of a profession consigns the character into Eisenhower-esque irrelevance.”

I was a stay at home mom for all of the 31 years that I was raising children. I am not a dangerous woman, nor am I insulted by the notion that some moms still choose to stay at home during the baby years, the toddler years and beyond. These critics do not speak for me.

I know that times are changing … I know that life is expensive and that women are capable and that we all have dreams to fulfill. I know that single moms must work … they must. I know that we live in a society where most families are only scraping by even with 2 incomes. I know all of those things.

But I also know the heart of a child. I know that to a child “love” is spelled “t-i-m-e.” I have always believed that saying “quality” time fills the needs of a child was a deceptive defensive mechanism. After raising 5 children, I have found that quantity of time is perhaps the most valuable investment I have made in my children’s lives.

I am smart … I am a college graduate … I write books … I have dreams … but I also realized that the window of opportunity for influence that I had with each one of my miraculous children was small. Way too small.  And so I was one of the women in my generation who chose to say “no” to prestigious jobs, better cash flow and societal importance. I chose to stay at home and I do not have one ounce of regret.

I knew that the years would fly by. I knew that what I, the mom, was gloriously able to give to my children no day care could give … no fabulous babysitter was able to impart … and no caring neighbor could offer.

I was their only mom.

I wore the same dress every Christmas and Easter for 11 years. We were a one car family until our oldest child was 13 years old. My furniture was hand-me-downs, we shopped at yard sales, and cable TV was an impossibility.

But I was there. And that should not be considered dangerous or disgusting for any woman at any time in history.

Listen, we all have choices. And if you have chosen to work or have found yourself in a position where you must work during your children’s formative years, then trim other things out of your schedule. You might not get to go to the gym 7 days a week, or enjoy a leisurely lunch out with friends, or go to the mall by yourself. If you are working by choice or by necessity, spend every extra minute that you are able to spend with these delicious little lives that you have been given.

I am now an empty nest mom and I don’t regret one minute of one hour of one day that I spent in their company. As a matter of fact, if you ask any mom in my season of life what their one regret is, they would say that they wish they had spent more time with their children … not less.

We live in a society that does not value children. We value prestige, platform, success, travel, sports, entertainment, and money … but not children. Our culture says that it is a waste for a woman to give productive years of her life to raising the next generation. Our culture has it wrong.

The producers of “Moms Night Out” have it right.

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She Is...A Cartographer

Do you know what a cartographer is?!  It is a person who makes maps … in other words … a mom is excellent and experienced at setting boundaries for her children.

If you don’t set boundaries for your children, no one else will!  It’s as simple as that!  Setting boundaries may initially seem difficult, but in the long haul of mothering, it will make your life so much easier, indeed!

You must set boundaries about the way your children dress and they way that they talk; you must set boundaries concerning who they are allowed to hang out with, what they watch on TV, what sites they are allowed to visit on the computer and what kind of music they listen to.

You must not only be an excellent cartographer – but you must be a vigilant cartographer!  It is the job that never ends!!

You must set boundaries not only with your words but also with your life.  Do not use words or phrases that are off limits for your children.  Do not watch movies or listen to music that is out of bounds for your children.

As a vigilant and excellent cartographer, you must also watch for enemy forces that may be attacking certain boundaries that you have set for your family.  As the one in charge of those boundaries, you must be quick to usher in peace to those areas of their lives.

“I think that you are struggling with your sister.  What can I do to help your relationship with her?  You know, the bottom line is, you must be kind all the time.”

“I have heard you speak disrespectfully about that teacher.  I know that biology is not your favorite subject but we still must respect those in authority so let’s figure out a way that you can bless this teacher.”

Heart boundaries are just as important as boundaries that impact daily choices concerning how your children are allowed to speak, dress, be entertained and who their friends are.  You must be watching attentively for weeds that are growing in their young hearts and then remove them before they have a chance to take root and grow out of control.

Someday your children will set their own boundaries for their own lives.  If you have trained them well, their personal boundaries will not be very different from the ones that you have set.

She is … an expert cartographer!

Have you ever wondered what kids think about their Moms?  Watch this cute clip of "Kids Say the Darndest Things! - Mom Edition"!

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She Is...The Head of Homeland Security

You, as a mother, are called and empowered by the King of all Kings to protect your home front from evil and sinister enemies.  There is a war going on for the peace of your home and for the destinies of your children and you have been chosen to keep the enemy out of your domain.

God has given to every mother the resources of His supernatural intelligence to discern what is going on in the heavenlies over your home and over the lives of your children.  You must identify the enemy as the liar who comes into your family and endeavors to steal all that you hold dear and virtuous.  As mothers, we must be willing to fight with adversity not to flirt with it.

Your children, your husband and your home should legitimately expect that the home in which they live gets safer every day because of your powerful influence.  You are the Director of Homeland Security and you are MOM!

Be a quick and definitive responder to the approach of the enemy’s influence.  Do not tolerate anything less than godliness and wisdom in your home.  Make every decision in your home not based upon popularity or emotion but based upon the principles in the Word of God.

The Director of Homeland Security must also protect the citizens of the nation against bioterrorism.  Bioterrorism is not an outward threat but an inward disease-causing agent.  You must be continuously wakeful as you are on the watch for dangerous heart attitudes, paralyzing emotions and crippling habits.  When a child becomes negative or critical it is like venom in a family’s home and will do quick and serious damage if you do not decisively respond.

As the Director of Homeland Security, you are privy to information that others may not have.  Be on the offensive with your children and investigate the video games they enjoy, the music groups they listen to, the programs they regularly watch and the lifestyles of their sports heroes.  Ask God to give you discernment concerning each child and concerning the battles that rage around their individual hearts.

You won’t always have this particular job in the lives of your children but someday you will stand on the porch and watch them take up the wisdom and armor of God as they go into the battlefield of our culture.  But, for today, it is your job and your domain.  Be relentless!

She is … the wise and intuitive Head of Homeland Security!

TEAM MOM!!  Whether you're a homeschool mom, public school mom, mom of teens or newborns, nursing mom or bottlefeeding mom;  we're all in this together!!  Let's link arms and help each other on this mothering journey!  Here are a few ideas to bless the moms in your world today -

1.  Stay at Home Mom - Bless a Working Mom!

  • Make her a home cooked meal for the family...or a fresh baked pie!  Give her something that would bless her as she comes home after a long day at work!

2.  Working Mom - Bless a Stay at Home Mom!

  • Bless her with a gift card for take-out from the family's favorite restaurant....or a pedicure at a nearby salon!

3.  Bless a Special Needs Mom!

  • Caring for a special needs child is a gift, isn't it?  Send her a handwritten note or card, letting her know what a gift she is to her children.  Send her flowers or a small gift to let her know that you see her and that what she is doing has value!

4.  Bless a Single Mom!

  • Offer to watch her children so that she can run errands...grab a coffee...or just re-charge!  Or, maybe you could send her a gift card to a family friendly restaurant like Chuck E Cheese or Dave & Busters...a place where the kids can have fun and she can relax a bit.

5.  Bless a Caretaker who isn't necessarliy Mom...but is walking in the Mom shoes!

  • Send her flowers and an encouraging note....send her a great book filled with hope and encouragement....ask how you could pray for her and the situation

These are just a few ideas to get your creative blessing juices flowing!  Now go ahead...go out this weekend and BLESS A MOM!  We're in it together...let's go TEAM MOM!!

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To Moms, Aunts, Sisters, & Teachers Everywhere

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to women everywhere … to moms whose tempers are short and whose blood pressure is high.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who have never given birth to a bloody little mass of humanity but who have loved unconditionally and passionately little lives who came from other women’s bodies.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose nests are empty and whose hearts are filled with regrets.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who are in the thick of it … diapers, pacifiers, piles of laundry, unpaid bills and sticky kitchen floors.

Happy Mother’s Day to aunts who would rather be with their nieces and nephews than with anyone else on the face of the planet.

Happy Mother’s Day to grandmothers who live for little arms around their necks and for giggles, sleep-overs and Eskimo kisses.

Happy Mother’s Day to teachers who triumphantly love and believe in 25 new students every year.

Happy Mother’s Day to single moms who never get a break from science projects, baseball practice, bicycle tires that need patching and hearts that need mending.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose arms and hearts have ached to hold a baby but whose prayers and deepest desires remain unanswered and unfulfilled.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who send their children to another woman’s house every other Saturday.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose children have slipped into eternity and into the arms of the always good, infinitely loving Heavenly Father.

The lives of the next generation are nurtured by women who are known as mothers, teachers, aunts, grandmothers, stepmoms, adoptive moms, single moms and even big sisters.

I have learned that the title attached to the woman who is doing the mothering has very little to do with the love that the child deserves or with the love that this extraordinary woman has the capacity to bestow.

I am a woman with 5 incredible children on earth and 5 children in heaven.

I am a woman with 3 too-good-to-be true daughters-in-love.

I am a woman with 5 brilliant, extraordinary grandchildren and one on the way.

I am a woman who loves children so much that it makes my heart ache and sing at the same time.

Is there anything as precious as smelling the breath of a baby so fresh from heaven?

Is there anything more exciting than watching a toddler take his or her first exciting steps into a world of new found independence?

Is there anything more bittersweet than sending your firstborn to kindergarten? Or to summer camp? Or to college?

Is there anything more challenging and frustrating than guiding a child through the tumultuous middle school years?

Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching your child suffer his or her first heartbreak?

Is there anything more fulfilling than tucking a weary child into bed at night and hearing him or her say, “I love you, mama”?

Is there anything more anything than being a mom?!!

My advice to those of you who have found yourself in the kaleidoscope world of mothering is three-fold –

1 – Pray as if your life depended on it. It does.

2 – Love in spite of and not because of. 

Love with your whole heart holding nothing back. 

 Love with your words and with your actions. 

Love until the tears roll down your cheeks and your heart aches with joy. 

 Love your children when they deserve it and when they don’t. 

Love the little ones under your care because more than they need Disneyworld, new tennis shoes or a roof over their heads … they need you and your love.

3 – Never stop believing, cheering and encouraging.

Never stop believing in their potential and in the men and women that they will become some day. 

Keep believing when all others have given up. 

Keep cheering when all others have thrown in the towel. 

Keep encouraging when discouragement surrounds their hearts like an impenetrable shield. 

Your encouragement and non-negotiable belief will penetrate the fears and lies that have become their reality. 

Your nurturing, wisdom, love and prayers will create future adults who will believe that there is no such thing as an impossible dream simply because you were their mom … or their aunt … or stepmom … or grandmother … or teacher … or sister.

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere … today is your day and I applaud you … salute you … and celebrate you!

“That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children. That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” – Psalm 78:6-8

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She Is...A Warrior!

A mom is a warrior who fights for her children on her knees.  From the day that your child was conceived until the day that you, the mother, go to heaven, no one holds the power in prayer that you have been given.

Destinies are developed on your knees … battles are won on your knees … wise strategy is given on your knees … strongholds are ripped apart on your knees … unhealthy relationships are ended on your knees … heaven moves and hell shakes when a mother fights for her children on her knees.

Are you spending time in prayer every day for the children that you have been given?  All other activities should cease or diminish in the light of the power that is yours as a solitary woman on your knees.  I believe that the power that has been given to a mother in prayer is greater than the power of the atomic bomb, the cure for cancer or world peace.

When you hold your newborn baby in your arms, pray that he or she would accept Jesus into their heart at an early age.  Pray that the fruits of the Spirit will grow in abundance in this young life.  Pray that this little life will grow into a great man or woman of God and that he or she will walk in their destiny every day of their life.  Thank God that nestled inside this life is the strategy to change the world at this moment in history!

When your children are small, start every day with prayer.  Pray as they are brushing their teeth that they would be obedient and that the Lord would protect them that day.  Pray at every meal and teach them to be grateful not only to God but also for the hands that prepared and provided the food.

Pray with your children if they have an altercation with a sibling, if they are facing a difficult test at school or if they are suffering from rejection or a broken heart.  Prayer is not only powerful but it is also a healing agent as well.

Pray with your children every night at bedtime whether they are newborn babies or just days away from college.  Make this a family tradition that is treasured and anticipated.  When you pray for them at bedtime, go over the events of the day and pray about their concerns.  This is the prayer that I prayed over my children every night that they were under my care and my roof,

"Jesus, thank You for Matthew.  Give him happy dreams and happy sleep.  Keep him safe and healthy and strong so that he will grow into a man of God who will serve and love You all the days of his life.  And always let him know how much his mom and dad love him.  Amen.”

Then, when the lights are out and your family is peacefully asleep, your prayer assignment has just begun!

If your children are grown, always remember that our adult children can run from our words but never escape the power of our prayers.  So, our strategy as our children grow up and leave the family home, is to talk less and pray more!  Quit talking and start praying!

As a mother, your most powerful and victorious position is on your knees!  Pray to be a better mom … a stronger mom … a kinder mom … a more patient mom … a more creative mom.  Pray for God to fill the empty places in you so that you can be the mom that God has called you to be for the children that He has given to you.

A mom … is a prayer warrior like no other!

Click here to download a higher quality version of the Calendar of Bible Verses for Mom.

Printable Calendar of Bible verses for Mom!

Printable Calendar of Bible verses for Mom!

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She Is...A Wardrobe Stylist!

You are in charge of what heart habits and attitudes your children choose to wear every day.  You must make sure that your children are dressed not only for success but also for service.  You must make sure that every emotion that decorates your child’s life is an accessory to life that is lovely and not distracting.

Loving difficult people never goes out of style so make sure that your children are well-equipped to love the fractious, ornery people that may come across their pathway today.  Your child will be the most beautiful version of him or herself not when they are dressed in designer clothes but when they are dressed in humility and in unconditional love.

Choosing to wear the attractive attribute of kindness and gentleness is a piece of spiritual and emotional clothing that is gender exclusive!  It comes in both pink and blue!

Making sure that your children are adorned with patience and self-control may take some extra effort on your part … but it will be worth it in the long haul of life!  You might need to iron out the wrinkles of selfishness and frustration but the difference that it will make will be nothing short of stunning.

When your children leave your home for school, to visit the home of a friend or to attend extracurricular activities, their lives become a fashion show of what you have allowed them to wear inside the home.  What they are wearing on the inside of their heart is often more impactful than what they are wearing on the outside of their body.

Every time one of my children walked out the front door, my parting words were, “Use wisdom!”  I wanted to make sure that “wisdom” was the most visible aspect of their emotional wardrobe. 

Pay attention to the details of their emotional and spiritual wardrobe!  Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference.  We must not allow our children to falsely believe that rolling their eyes, sighing loudly or muttering under their breath is a stylish way to dress.  Respect and a thankful heart attitude are actually at the height of fashion sense in every generation!

She is … a savvy wardrobe stylist!


We've got a FREE MOVIE TICKET give-away today!  Every Mom could use a "Mom's Night Out"!  Share this post and leave a comment either here or on our facebook page telling us why you could use a Mom's night out!  We'll choose 2 random winners, who will receive 2 free tickets to the "Mom's Night Out" movie!  Winners will be announced tomorrow morning on our facebook page!


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She Is...A Travel Agent!

A mom is a travel agent because she spends the greatest part of her life preparing her children for their journey into adulthood.  A mother must do research and then educate her children for the world that waits outside the family home.  She then must send them on their way to foreign fields and experiences.

Travel agents always warn their clients about potential and deadly diseases that they may face in the foreign climates.  We must warn our children that unforgiveness may cripple, that bitterness will paralyze, that profanity will cause halitosis and that disrespect will stunt one’s growth.

Travel agents also prepare their assigned travelers for the social customs that will be encountered in the culture to which they are traveling.  Mothers must train miniature pilgrims to look adults in the eye, to always smile at children and to be on time for all appointments in life.  We must remind our excursionists the importance of spending money wisely, of listening respectfully to people when they speak and of being faithful in all commitments.  We must teach the voyagers that they must leave a place better than they found it and to do all things with excellence.

A travel agent helps the young explorer plan the trip but then waves good-bye.  As a travel agent, be prepared to say “good-bye” to your children someday.  You won’t be going to college with your children or living in their homes after they are married.  So prepare them for a life of not only survival but also for success!

As I was preparing one of my sons for his first year in college, my heart was broken and oh!  How I wanted him to be 6 years old again!  As I sat in my chair the night before he left, I heard the rhythm of his feet bounce out his own personal beat on the stairs of our home.  I was weeping with a pile of tissues in my lap when God spoke to my tender heart. He told me to read the words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 33, verse 6, “The Lord will be the stability of your times …” 

I knew in that sweet moment of waving good-bye that my children were not my stability but it was the Lord who would never change. I was able to send this son out into his destiny knowing that he would go with the Lord in all of his travels.

She is … a well-prepared travel agent!

These are examples of the prayers that I prayed over my children during their time at home and away from home.  Feel free to insert your children's names as you pray these prayers over your children.

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She Is...A Coach!

Get out that whistle, mama, and start designing winning plays on the whiteboard of your heart because you have a game to win!  The day that you became a mother is the day that you were given the heavenly responsibility of coaching your child for victory in every game in life.

The presence of a great coach must dominate all of the practice sessions before the big game.  If you want your child to walk in victory and to be a champion, then you must be present and be the loudest voice at daily practices.  The players don’t come up with winning plays … the coach does.

Rehearse with your pre-schoolers what is going to happen when you drop them off at the church nursery, “Mama and Daddy are going to go into the adult service and you are going to play with some of your friends in the classroom.  You are going to learn about Jesus and sing songs and make a craft and even have a snack!  Mama and Daddy always come for you … always.”  And then, like a good coach always does, act out the play and make sure that your child is playing his or her position well.

When your children are school-age and need some extra reinforcement about how to behave with siblings or with friends, “O.K. … let’s practice.  Let’s pretend that Nathan won’t share with you and you have your feelings hurt.  How should you act?”  And then, act it out.  Put them through the drills so that when they are in the game of life, they remember what their position is on the playing field.

When your children are entering the tee-age years, rehearse scenarios with them that might involve profanity, drugs, alcohol or how to act with the opposite sex.  Teams that win games have the most thorough and demanding practices. 

Your coaching philosophy is vital if you long for your children to stay the course and have champion-like attitudes.  You are their coach not their friend.  You are their teacher not their teammate.  There must be swift and serious discipline for not staying with the game plan set by Coach Mom.

She is … a winning coach!

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She Is...A Cheerleader!

A mom is a cheerleader.  As a mother, you must believe in your children wholeheartedly and verbally.  You have to cheer for the ones under your care whether they are winning or losing in all situations in life.  You must applaud loudly when everyone else has given up and gone home.

A mother should be the one person who only says kind words to a child and about a child.  Don’t ever say things like,

“You drive me crazy!”

“I love you but I don’t like you very much!”

“I wish that I had never had you!”

Children constantly need instruction but even words of correction should be birthed in kindness and wisdom.  Words of training that inspire change in a child’s life should never be spoken out of ugly emotion or anger.  The words that you speak over your child’s life should come from a positive point of view and serve to point them in a positive and healthy direction in life.

Even when your child is in a situation in life where they seem to be losing, you should still be the one standing on your feet and cheering vibrantly.

One of the most delightful jobs of a mother is to help each one of their children discover their gifts, talents and abilities.  If you have a child who loves to draw, put their pictures proudly on your refrigerator and send these amazing masterpieces to grandparents and cousins.  If you have a child who loves trains, take this child on a train ride and buy books about trains.  If you have a child who loves music, acquaint this one to different composers and various styles of music.

Expose your children to events and opportunities that will cultivate their gifts.

When your child has a game, a concert or a recital, you should be there regardless of what else is going on in your life.  There is no corporate meeting, business trip or personal interest that should eclipse the value of what your child is involved in.  No one can take your place because you are the head cheerleader!

Look for something good in your child every single day that you are given the delight of nurturing them.  Do not lay your head on your pillow at night if you have not said, “I love you!” at least one time to the little lives that are looking to you for encouragement and unconditional love.

She is … an enthusiastic cheerleader!

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She Is...A Mailman

Every important piece of information that your child receives should come from you.  Keep an open atmosphere in your home so that your children are able to ask you anything at all.  In our home, we made it very clear that there was no such thing as a “stupid” question.  Every question that came from the heart and mouth of one of our children was valuable and therefore worthy of our wisest and most insightful answer.

Don’t judge your children for the questions that they ask you but answer them kindly and let them know that if you currently don’t know the correct answer that you will do some research and find out the answer.  Build an atmosphere in your home where there is a constant flow of information between the generations.  Include grandparents, neighbors, missionaries, teachers and others into the family conversation who can contribute to your children’s worldview.

A mom is a mailperson and every significant piece of knowledge and data should be delivered from your mouth and from your heart into the repository of your child’s life.  Your children should learn from you how to budget their money … what sex is all about … why you don’t watch certain programs  … and why we are kind to all types of people.

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow keeps the mail person from doing his or her job and so it is with you and the children who share your address.  Don’t allow adolescence, the teachable 2’s, lack of income, the absence of an education or being a single mom prevent you from being open with your kids.  As mothers, we must turn every situation that we encounter into a teaching opportunity.

“What do you think about how that girl is dressed on TV?”

“Is Thomas the Train being kind?  Who has been kind to you?”

“Do you think that is necessary to use profanity?  Why do people use profanity?  Let’s see if the Bible says anything about swearing or cursing.”

Every piece of information that you deliver to your child’s heart and mind should come special delivery from you!

She is … a dependable mailperson!  

We asked three moms their advice on - raising teenagers, becoming a stepmom, and raising children as a single parent...watch these short clips for some wonderful insight!

Thank you Alane Gorman!

Thank you N'Jeri Mottley!

Thank you Jessica Stewart!

Thank you to our model mail-woman, Donna F.!

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She Is...A Comedienne

Thank you Debbie for "clowning around" with us!

Thank you Debbie for "clowning around" with us!

A mom is a comedienne because she is the primary source of happiness in a child’s life.  The resounding call of your days is to stir up joyful moments and then to splash liberally in those experiences with your children.  Teach children of every age that it really is more fun to serve the Lord rather than to be in bondage to the lies of the culture!

Celebrate every day that you have with your children as a rare and precious gift that is worth more than corporate promotions, stocks and bonuses and career prestige. 

Sing silly and sweet songs with your children because you can never have too much music in your home!

Tell jokes to your children … why not treat them to “The Joke of the Day!” at the dinner table every evening?!  Teach your children that life is more abundant when there is something to be happy and laugh about!

You know … school is hard and kids are mean … life isn’t always fair … but moms can always deliver the rich gift of genuine joy!

Make cookies with your children on an ordinary afternoon … play with play dough and don’t get frustrated because they have made a mess … let your children use glitter often!

Play dress-up with your children and travel to far-away and make believe places together.  Make green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day and serve hamburgers for breakfast and pancakes for supper on April Fool’s Day.

Teach your children to celebrate … to laugh … and to sing!  Make sure that they believe that their home is the best place in the entire world simply because you are the mom at their house.

One of my goals as a mother was to ensure that my home was the happiest home on the street.  I definitely wasn’t the coolest mom … or the youngest mom … or the skinniest mom … or the richest mom … but my home was a place of unreserved joy, laughter and music!

I can tell you right now … I don’t wish that I had spanked more … but I do wish that we had laughed more!

She is … a joy-filled comedienne!

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

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

A few of our readers sent in their funny "Caught in the Act" moments!  Take a look at these pictures...and remember that life is too short to take it too seriously!

2 year old Logan decided to finger paint the bathroom with toothpaste!

2 year old Logan decided to finger paint the bathroom with toothpaste!

2 year old Johnny and his sister had just come from a festival where they saw children having their faces painted.  Johnny's sister decided to join in on the fun...and "painted" her brother's face with permanent marker.

2 year old Johnny and his sister had just come from a festival where they saw children having their faces painted.  Johnny's sister decided to join in on the fun...and "painted" her brother's face with permanent marker.

Brynn "enjoying" her first trip to see the Easter bunny...

Brynn "enjoying" her first trip to see the Easter bunny...

3 year old Jaiden decided to take matters into her own hands when it came to a new hairstyle.

3 year old Jaiden decided to take matters into her own hands when it came to a new hairstyle.


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She Is...A Chauffeur

Thank you Donna, Joy, Adriel, Aleesia, and Gena for being our models.  :)

Thank you Donna, Joy, Adriel, Aleesia, and Gena for being our models.  :)

In case you haven’t noticed it yet … if you still have children under the age of 16 living at your address … one of your most irritating and yet vitally necessary job descriptions is that you are a chauffeur!  Now truthfully, I am not referring to the endless days of taking kids and their friends to soccer practice, youth group, the orthodontist and piano lessons.

Perhaps you will be grateful to know that I don’t have a clue how many French fries are under the back seat of your car, how many thousands of miles are on your soccer mom van or that last week you used $5 worth of nickels to put gas in the family vehicle.

But … a mom is a chauffeur!

You must make sure that the children under your watchful care reach their destinations in life.  Every important destination that a child arrives at is simply because he or she had a mom who took the job of chauffeuring seriously.

From sleeping all night … to giving up their pacifiers … to learning how to write their names … to making their beds … to personal hygiene … to graduation day … you are the mom and you lead them in the right direction in order to reach these important goals in life.

You must not merely point them in the right direction but by the example of your life you must take them there.

You cannot merely tell your children how to succeed, how to tie their shoes, how to serve God or how to be kind.  Telling is not enough when it comes to mothering.  You must model it by your daily life choices.

Your child will be no kinder than you are … they will not be happier than you are … and they certainly won’t read the Bible if you don’t.

You must be an example of moral excellence, of choosing wisdom, of speaking gently and of daily discipline.

Children really do learn what they live and as you chauffeur them through life, it is your input and impact that will take them through low valleys and to mountain top vistas … across bumpy, dirt roads and away from dead ends.  But the fact that you are in the driver’s seat will assure their safety and eventual arrival at a healthy place in life.

You are a chauffeur … make sure that you are taking your child in the right direction.  In order to do that, you must make sure that YOU, the mom, are going in the right direction.  Be mindful of only following the trustworthy directions found in the GPS of God’s Word and not the confusing and contradicting cultural roadmap that will lend only to dead ends in life.

She is … a diligent chauffeur!

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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Legacy of Generosity

One of the greatest legacies that a person can leave to his or her family is the endowment of generosity. Some people might mistakenly believe that it costs too much to be generous but what is actual truth is that no one can afford to be selfish. When I choose to be greedy and am continuously hoarding what I have been given, the price that is exacted from my life and from the lives of those around me, is too expensive to pay.

I come from a long line of givers and it is the most valuable birthright that I possess. The giving and the lavish generosity that has flourished in both strains of my family heritage are legendary and world changing. My mother still supports a missionary family that my late father’s family started to support in the early days of the 20th Century.  We have supported this family of missionary pilots for 4 generations. How I love this legacy and call!

However, the story that stirs all of us is the story of my maternal grandfather, Nelson Boyce. His was a heart so filled with the desire to show charity and human kindness that his name is still uttered with awe among the Seneca Nation in Western New York.  Nelson Boyce started a family business with his father and brother when the 20th Century was still in its infancy. They sold biscuits, crackers, and bread out of three wagons in New York, Rhode Island, and in parts of southern Canada. One of the most successful products they made was a cookie that consisted of two chocolate wafers with vanilla cream in the center. They dubbed their small family business, “The National Biscuit Company”.

Nelson lost his first wife in childbirth and had raised his two sons alone. When his sons were nearly grown, Nelson met a beautiful young woman, twenty years his junior, who was an orphan raised by the nuns on Prince Edward Island. They married after a whirlwind courtship and began their family in the mid-1920s in western New York. Because of the success of Nelson’s business, his young wife and daughter enjoyed a life of comfort and luxury among the upper crust of Buffalo, NY.  He employed a fulltime maid as well as a nanny to help his young wife make the adjustment to married life. Mary, Nelson’s wife, was known for her fashion flair and was always dressed in the latest style. She had her hair bobbed, wore cashmere coats with mink collars and celebrated life with genuine zest and gusto.

However, the Boyce family, which was respected for their business acumen and astute economic sense, saw the Depression looming on the economic forefront of America and rather than lose their business, they sold it while they could still make money from the sale.

Nelson, with his part of the profits of the sale of the biscuit company, bought a general store and a simple family home in a small town in western New York. The Depression hit this small town with devastating effects and the little general store struggled to stay afloat in the worst economic days America had ever experienced.

By the mid 1930s, Nelson had three young children, Marianne, Joan and Donald, to support as well as his wife. This family who had been accustomed to designer clothes and maids now wore patched clothing and lived like most other families did during these days of economic woe, with never enough to eat. But Nelson made sure that his family knew the joy of faith, giving to others, and togetherness. He was determined that what he was unable to offer in material goods he could more than make up for with his undivided attention and unconditional love.

Nelson continued to tithe to the Alabama United Methodist Church and made sure that the pastor’s family always had food on their table. He invited dirty, vagabond people to celebrate the holidays with his family who had no means of celebration or even daily existence. Human kindness and daring generosity were as much a part of Nelson’s personhood as were his balding head, his large nose and his contagious laughter.

The days of the Great Depression dragged on and on for nearly a decade and Nelson was desperately trying to make ends meet while keeping the doors of his country store open. Then there were the fierce days of winter to deal with as well. How would he keep his family warm with no money to buy coal?

Nelson poured over the accounting books of his struggling store in his dark, cold office and asked God to make a way where there seemed to be no way. He kept his Bible open on the desk and often read the Word of God to fight off the fear of poverty, of starvation, and the cold.

Nelson’s general store was right on the edge of an Indian reservation and one day when Nelson was in his office praying over the books, a family of Indians walked into the store and asked to see Mr. Boyce. The humble father of the family told Nelson his children were starving to death and wondered if they could buy food on credit.

Not hesitating a minute, Nelson loaded up their ancient truck with groceries and had them sign their name with an “X” because neither the mother or father knew how to read or write. He assured them they could pay him when they had the money.

The next day, two more families came from the reservation and by the end of the week, Nelson had given groceries to nearly a dozen Indian families. The conversation was always the same, “Sign your name with an ‘X.’ You can pay when you have the money.”

Although this made no sense in the natural, the economy of God has never made sense in the kingdoms of this world. In the middle of a devastating depression, when other businesses were closing and declaring bankruptcy, the Alabama General Store began to show a profit on their books. The store became famous for its fresh produce and excellent meat selection. People began coming from a radius of over fifty miles to shop at this obscure, family-owned market. They traveled from Lockport, Rochester, Buffalo and Southern Ontario to buy the grade A meat and outstanding fruits and vegetables that were only found in the tiny town of Alabama, NY.

Nelson continued to give the groceries to the Indian population that they needed to survive, always asking them to sign their names with an “X.” He kept a special account book just for those who lived on the reservation and as the Depression marched on, the pages were filled with thousands of dollars of indebtedness.

When World War II broke out, the Indians no longer came to the Alabama General Store as often because times had changed and they were now able to make a living. Many of their sons, the little boys whom Nelson had fed, now fought and died in service to their country. At the end of World War II, Nelson was diagnosed with diabetes and he knew his work on Earth was nearly done. One evening, he had his wife, Mary, call the Indian chief to their small home. Nelson held the ledger book in his wrinkled hands that detailed the accounts of the thousands and thousands of dollars owed to him by the Indian nation. 

Nelson asked the Indian chief to follow him to their backyard where Nelson’s son, Don, had prepared a roaring fire. Nelson, his wife Mary, their three children, and the Indian chief watched the ledger book and the thousands of dollars of indebtedness disappear and burn into oblivion. Nelson had his miracle. It began the first day he gave what he could not afford to give. The miracle of abundant life is what God always provides for givers.

The world says that earning exorbitant salaries, the accumulation of material goods and then hoarding everything that one possesses are the benchmarks of a truly successful life. The Bible says that God provides for givers. There is a special place in the heart of God for people who are bold enough to give with genuine joy and who show cheerful generosity in times of scarcity. My heart’s prayer is that I will be bold enough to pass down what has been given to me. I pray that the legacy that I will endow to my 5 children and to all of the McLeod’s yet to come is simply that God takes care of givers. 

There is no richer legacy than that of generosity.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”- Winston Churchill

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