Category: family/parenting

Don’t Miss Life Waiting for it to Happen

I needed a reminder this morning, so I thought I’d remind you too–all too often I miss life!

Aren’t we usually waiting for something? The next activity, the next appointment, the next break? And we have this false idea that life is a certain kind of moment or event.

But most of life is composed of ordinary moments. How often do I not only miss those, but even ruin them? If I’m too busy preparing for the next thing, then it’s easy to get interrupted in the now. And interruptions cause frustrations; and frustrations cause words and attitudes that do not reflect the kindness of God.

What if stopping to tie a shoe–for the 6th time, was something I saw, not as an interruption, but an opportunity to stop what I’m doing, smile at my little one, and while I’m tying, speak into his heart: “I hope you know how glad I am that you live here.”

Or a potty training moment was seen as a privilege, sharing a milestone in my child’s life–something not everyone gets to do.

What if all those “interruptions” are not interruptions at all, but God’s divine appointments in the ordinary, to test my heart, to see if my treasure is where it should be?

How many smiles are left “unsmiled“? How many sunsets left unshared? How many hurt feelings left unsoothed? Hugs left unhugged? Questions left unanswered?

I’ve said it before, but Jesus’ last “spectacular” act, was anything but spectacular. But spectacular does not equal important. “Wash each other’s feet.” Do the small things. Willingly. Happily. With a heart of love.

Oh that I would remember that as I pour myself into this Mother Work!

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19

Getting Your Children to Obey

I received this email last week and it is not unlike many I have received, in addition to questions from young mammas in my real life. Perhaps you can relate:


I am frustrated and I don’t know who to talk to. I have two small children, 3 and 5. They are good kids, but lately I stay impatient and seem to lose my temper over silly things. They obey sometimes but usually not until I raise my voice. But they know what their [sic] supposed to do, so that’s why I get frustrated. I want to enjoy my children, but lately I don’t. I feel sad and know this isn’t the way God meant for it to be. Do you have any suggestions?


(Name withheld)”

When the Bible talks about children being a blessing, it doesn’t come without a parent’s responsibility to train them in the way they should go. It takes time, commitment and patience. I am so sad when I see young parents not enjoying their children because they have simply failed to implement some basic child-training that would bring joy to both them and their children, and allow them to have the kind of loving relationship God intended.

In a nutshell, parents are responsible for setting healthy boundaries for their children, establishing consequences for disobedience and being consistent. This is a loving thing and should be a priority for parents who desire to help their children grow into mature, healthy adults.

Unfortunately, there are so many opinions of child-rearing floating around that are unbalanced in one direction or another. The Bible calls for a balanced approach, and this is what we must seek.

Six years ago I wrote Getting Your Children to Obey and recently I revised it and added a new section with Scripture to addresses different character issues. (The book is also now only $3.97, $2 off the original price!)

If you want further reading and study on this important topic, I think you’ll find this book extremely helpful.


Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Moms freak out. I know, I am one. Some days it feels like there are 5,350 important things to do, all at one time. And homeschooling moms can feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders just carrying around the burden of educating their children, besides all the other stuff to do in life.

Sometimes I have to regroup and remind myself of the really important things in life. And there are quite a few. But when it comes to preparing my children for the future, I can simplify my efforts by going back to a few basic things, one of which is teaching diligence.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

In a word, Scripture says that a diligent man will be successful.

Diligence is concentration, thoroughness and persistence. And in a culture where instant, fast and easy prevails, diligence is hard to find, and harder to attain.

But we can be deliberate about diligence in our homes and put our children far ahead.

Encouraging them when they face a difficult task, requring them to redo a careless job and praising them for their perseverance are ways we can help them grow in diligence.

Also, begining early is important. Not only can we expect our young children to be diligent in an age-appropriate task, but they thrive on the realization that they are a meanginful part of the family.

My 3 year old wanted to help me with supper last night and cut up tomatoes. I first told him he would have to wait until he’s older because he’s too young to use the knife. But I remembered a dull point knife with just enough serrated edge to cut a tomato that would be safe for him and told him he could try. He sawed away, announcing to all his big brothers and sisters that he was helping make dinner. A small thing for sure, but I praised him for seeing the job through to the end and for his willingness to help and serve.

Limiting their entertainment has important consequences. First, it forces them to do things with their hands–an opportunity to perservere and to find reward in work and productivity. Also, it helps them develop a stronger and longer attention span. They will read more, imagine more, think more, create more and relate more when their access to entertainment is limited.

Teaching diligence doesn’t just set our children up for success though; it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. If you take the time (and it does take time) to teach your children to be thorough and persistent, it will pay off for you down the road.

Little by little, daily reminders and encouragment and purposeful parenting will grow into big rewards for them and you.


Let’s Plan a Wedding! (In Which Glorious & Gut-Wrenching Both Abide)

Enter the roller coaster of human life. My daughter, my first-born, my best friend and right hand is GETTING MARRIED!

And I’ll just be as honest as I can about this reality because I want to encourage any of you out there.

First, we are thrilled. I mean, beyond excited. Why? Because raising our children to leave home and start their own families is one of our biggest jobs in life. It’s a crowning moment. Our magnum opus. But not just that: raising them to follow the Lord and choose a spouse who follows Him too is even bigger.

“I have no greater joy than to hear (see) my children walk in truth.”

It’s true. Nothing in life makes me happier than to watch one of my children grow up, own their faith, and carry the torch into the next generation. This is it! It is everything we’ve prayed for, hoped for and lived for.

And then there’s the reality of loss. Someone I have spent every day of my life with for 20 years is leaving. The person with whom I sit every morning, and share all my ideas, and coffee. This woman who loves our home and takes care of it like I do. The person who knows me inside and out, who reads my subtle cues and delights to help make life pleasant for me. Who takes all the kids to the barn with a blanket and book just to bless them and me. Who can whip a room into shape before I have time to say “what a mess” because that’s her gift and she rocks it. The woman who inspires me to know Christ deeper by watching her strive to know Him.

I’m not boasting, but this is my daughter. It is nothing I or my husband have done. But in God’s incredible grace to us, Bria has been an exceptional daughter. She isn’t perfect. She has her share of weaknesses, for sure. But she is amazing.

And losing an amazing person is hard.

When most of us were growing up, we started weaning away from our parents at the age of 5. We got on a bus and left home for a large part of the day. We shared our attention and affection with peers. Our priorities began to be disbursed among other activities, people and places. It was a gradual process and by the time we got married, we had already emotionally and physically left home.

Our family has been different and this leaving, in every way, is happening all at once. Even as we rejoice, there is grieving that comes with it. Change always brings some grief. No matter how good the change.

But I know this pushes me to a deeper dependence on God. It is good for my other children as I get a renewed focus on them, brought on largely by the reality that I only have them for a short time and indeed, every moment is precious. What a gift that the Lord teaches us such sweet things on this journey!

So we are in a season of stretching, growing, adjusting and letting go. It is glorious and gut-wrenching all at once. But above all, we are grateful. Grateful for the way the Lord brought Kyle and Bria together, for their commitment to Him and each other, and for grace that will sustain us all.

Kyle is a pre-med student so the road ahead of them will not be without challenges, though I’m eager to see how those very challenges will specifically shape and strengthen their marriage. I am fully confident that as they seek first His kingdom, everything they need will be added unto them. My greatest comfort is releasing my treasured child into the arms of a man I know will treasure her too. (Thank you, Kyle.)

And for those who will walk this road soon, there is no formula. There is only people, wisdom and the need for fervent prayer and grace. And friends! I am praising God for friends and friends who have walked this road, know how it feels, and are willing to hold my hand, walk with me, and love on me through it all. His gifts are innumerable!

I may be more quiet than usual for a long time. There is much to be done and huge adjustments to be made. And I’m up for the challenge. Because just this morning, my Father reminded me,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength….they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40,41

What Hurry Does to My Heart

Dear Mom,

I know there are so many things to do. Important things. Things with deadlines and time restraints. But could we slow down, just a bit, and let me look at this caterpillar crawling by? This world around me is so interesting and I just want to watch it for a while.

I know you have to hurry to your work, your meeting, to my soccer game, and I know it’s bad to be late. But lately it feels like we hurry to everywhere. And I just wonder, at the end of our lives, will we be glad we went to all those places, even when hurrying doesn’t feel nice?

When we hurry you get short with me. Sometimes angry. I don’t understand because I’m going as fast as I can but I’m not as fast as you. And I thought we were supposed to “enjoy the moment” but I don’t think hurrying helps us do that.

What if we could slow down and not hurry so much? What if you had time to stop with me, look at me, and just enjoy the wonder in my face while I watch a butterfly? Have you watched a butterfly lately, mamma?

What if we just said “no” to being more places and said “yes” to being together?

What if we had more time to read and sit together, or snuggle together, or cook together? Because if you weren’t always in a hurry then it would be OK if I messed up.

Hurry sometimes hurts my heart. Can we not hurry so much before I get big and think that hurrying is how you’re supposed to live?

Summer Family Happenings at the Crawfords

I thought I’d drop a personal post for those who like to peek in from time to time, and I like to document things for permanent journaling purposes too. We’re busy in a country life sort of way these days. With normal struggles, ups and downs, joys and difficulties. Here is a small vignette of our summer:

Bria (20) and Kyle continue to get to know each other and we are grateful to watch the Lord working in their lives. I love seeing their zeal for knowing Christ more as their relationship grows. There truly is no greater joy than to see your children walk in truth. Anticipating what the future holds brings its own distinct set of emotions and watching your children grow up is a bitter/sweet journey. What a joy, however, to see how God’s grace has covered her, to watch her grow in strength and beauty, and to get to witness her servant’s spirit lived out here while her zest for life splashes onto all of us. She is a work horse, both tough and delicate, strong and sensitive. She is goal-oriented and purpose-driven, spending much of her time studying, working, gardening, upcycling furniture, playing music and soaking up life. She is such a gift!

Ashton (15) is super busy these days. I love that he gets to work with his Dad some because he is learning so much that will benefit him later in life and also because they are growing closer. He spends much of his free time honing his gift of art and music, and has had a few paid portrait jobs this year. The Lord has grown him and I’m thankful to see him mature in so many ways. He plans to enroll this year in a 2-year program on-line to get his associate degree in graphic design. He’s faithfully saving money and praying about his life work.

Alexa (12) loves to work; man, this girl loves to work! She wanted a window seat, so she built it. She needed a bookshelf, so she built one. She and Bria are the muscle behind our garden too, and I’m inspired watching them. Alexa’s sweet spirit is a blessing to us all, and I am humbled by the gift of her. Quiet and yet remarkably wise and funny.

(Photograph of cat by Avi)

Avalee (10) is in between child and woman and I am trying to savor this short time with her. She is full of life, imagination and laughter. She loves baking and she has a special interest in fashion design and has learned a lot from tutorials on the Internet. She and her 3 older siblings also are committed to their study of music. Lately she has also taken an interest in photography and some of her shots are amazing. I’m eager to see how the Lord leads her and am so thankful for this fourth-born of mine who often leaves me sweet, heart-felt notes.

Brooks (9) is pretty amazing. At 9 years old, he has a purpose-driven passion: all things with an engine. This is him, a week ago, sitting for 2 solid hours watching youtube videos on “how to repair small engines.” Right afterwards, he went to work on a lawn mower that hasn’t been running for 6 months. He checked the spark plugs, took the carburetor apart, cleaned it, found a broken piece, got it ordered to replace, watched anxiously for the part to come in, put the part on, put the carburetor back together and…it ran. He was like a child on Christmas morning. He asked me to order him some business cards for his small engine repair business. ;-)

(Photograph by Avi)

Mallie (8) is like sunshine in our home. She is made of kindness and it oozes.  Her imagination is as big as the moon and she inspires me to see joy in everything. After reading a book about worms at the library, she was fascinated and we watched some videos. Then I thought she needed a worm farm. Our worms came today! We are all pretty excited. I think we’ll try to sell them as bait, as well as harvest vermicompost for our garden. Who knows, maybe we’ll start to sell the worms for others to start worm farms soon. 

Kyla (6) is what I call our “full throttle” child. She keeps us laughing all the time and is both bold and sweet. She gets her words mixed up sometimes and says things like, “Mom! Mallie pulled her shirt up like a zucchini!” (Thinking of the word “bikini.”) I look at her sometimes and can’t wait to see the woman she becomes. But I’m also quite content to cherish the fleeting moments now.

(Photograph by Avi)

Ellia (4) is a joy. What can I say? She is so funny and expressive when she talks. She smiles constantly (except in this picture and when she’s mad at a sister) and loves nothing more than to play with her baby brother. She’s learning to read and is super excited about it. Usually my kids are a little older before they’re interested in reading.

(Photograph by Avi)

Jax (3) is such a fun age right now you would just have to hang out with him to know. I love this boy so! He is all boy, wide open, and delightfully loving.

And there’s Kaid (1)…snuggly, adorable, precious Kaid. We’re soaking him up.

Aaron and I, like any parents, are trying to remember to enjoy all the little things, in the midst of busy lives, and hold on to simplicity, remembering that building relationships which help us point our children to Christ, is our priority in life. We are not without struggles–believe me, even though I only hit happy highlights here. But we have lots to be grateful for and are just walking each day doing our best to hold on to the important stuff.

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