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A Little Secret to Raising Kids With Character

Kids become who they are for many reasons, not the least of which, is the grace of God. But just like negative, destructive influences can cripple a child’s growth, purposeful, nurturing ones can cause him to thrive.

There is something I’ve done with my children since they were very young, continuing it as they get older, that I believe has had a profound effect on their character.

It’s simple, really, but it’s done very deliberately. Not constantly, but periodically.

When one of them does something like goes out of his way to help or serve, I give him “the talk.” It goes something like this:

“Brooks, you are becoming a man right before my very eyes!” (I stop what I’m doing and place emphasis on the words.)

“Thank you so much for clearing the table without being asked. That is serving. I love the heart for serving the Lord has given you! Guys, did you see Brooks clear the table without being told? I appreciate you so much, Brooks.”

This talk varies depending on the child and the action. But stopping to deliberately “speak into their lives” about who you hope they are becoming, even at the slightest hints of that becoming, is powerful.

The encouragement is contagious too. I caught Ellia on the cabinet putting away the dishes from the dishwasher. She put every last one away by herself. I had “the talk” with her too, and she beamed. It’s  a small thing with big dividends.

Homemakers That Live in Homes, Not Boxes (Debunking Myths)

We do love stuffing people in boxes, don’t we?  I’m guilty.  And I’ve been stuffed in a box or two myself.

In the 21st century, the homemaker gets put into a box almost always.  She’s either “dumb, incapable and dull”, or, often from Christian circles, she’s “mislead, brainwashed and micro-managed”, or worse, “dominated.”

Where there is talk of “biblical submission” or “Keepers at Home”, there is no way around throwing most main-stream thinkers into a hissy fit (excuse my Southern idiom), while they jump up and down to correct this antiquated notion.

And the funniest thing of all? After all the efforts to convince the masses that we are not in this box they’ve put us in, when once we attempt to live our lives to prove it, we become a “hypocrite.”  ”You say one thing and do another”…”No, actually I’ve been saying what you refuse to hear and I live out those beliefs as well.”

It seems a no-win situation.

So, here are some myths and facts about what I believe is the biblical understanding (given through directives and examples) of a Keeper at Home:

Myth: Being a Keeper at Home means I’m imprisoned within these walls, bound only to my household duties of laundry and dishes, where it would be useless to be educated or continue  furthering my education.

Fact: Being a Keeper at Home does entail many, practical, household duties.  Some can be (and should be) delegated, often at different seasons of life.  Practical duties are good within themselves and homemaking allows opportunities to go way beyond the menial into the magnificent as we look for ways to expand our natural gifts and bents, serving even in the menial tasks, to the glory of God.  But being a homemaker allows me to further my education continually; an important asset to a woman.  It also allows me the free time to do many things I love.  I can grow and thrive in ways I never had the time or energy to do when I worked two full time jobs.

Myth: Believing in the biblical role of marriage means your husband must manage and control all you do.

Fact: That’s a lie.  Our home is my domain.  I am the manager, the guard. Our family is run by the two of us who are jointly one flesh. We have the same goals and visions as it regards our life purpose and how our family plays into that.  But I am responsible for managing my home and if he has to micro-manage it, I’m not doing my job. He trusts me.  He’s there if I need him.  I’m so glad he’s there to solve problems that feel too big or to help me get my bearing straight when I lose focus.  That’s his protective role.  It is not his job to give me permission for every detail of life.  We discuss things together.  If there is something he doesn’t want done a certain way he tells me and I either appeal if I disagree or I fulfill his request because I am on his team.

Myth: A Keeper at Home shouldn’t be involved in business or extra activities–she doesn’t have time.

Fact:  That could be true.  It all depends on seasons of life, family interests and dynamics, specific details of a family’s structure, or a woman’s discipline. I’ve been scolded for blogging, for running an internet business and anything else “extra”.  It’s that box people desperately want us to be in.  Extras must be prioritized.  If our endeavors are hindering our job to manage, guard and keep the affairs of our homes and children, then perhaps the extras are too much. But all women have “extras” that are, in my opinion, very healthy both to her and to her family.  The difference is, my extras may look different than yours.

One woman likes to sew and devotes a certain portion of her time to it.  That’s usually OK because sewing is very “homemakey” thing to do ;-)  But what if she doesn’t sew?  What if she finds her gift in writing?  Or marketing?  Or internet business?  Some women delight in culinary arts and spend time watching cooking shows to enhance their skills.  Some women love to read extensively and spend a set aside time doing that.  Some exercise more than others.  I think creative outlets are essential to the overall spirit of a woman (and thus, her family), as long as they are kept in check and do not displace her mother/wife duties. (I warn here that we should be very careful to keep our extras in check.  It is easy to neglect the menial (which is a necessary part of life) or much worse, to neglect the emotional needs of our husband and children.  ”I need my creative outlet” can never be an excuse to neglect our far greater duties.)

Myth: Some women are called to be a Keeper at Home. But many simply aren’t.

Fact: I disagree. A man is to provide for his family if he has a family. He doesn’t wait to feel “called.” Same goes for a woman who has given birth. She is a mother. She doesn’t need to be called to it.

From Scripture, it is ideal for a woman to be a Keeper at Home, if she has a home and family (Titus 2). We shouldn’t make apologies for encouraging the younger women to be keepers at home. It is precisely what we’re instructed from Scripture to do. It is a full time job and it ‘s cruel to put demands on a woman expecting her to take another full time job in addition to the one she already has. Unfortunately, there are times a woman isn’t able to be a Keeper at Home. This reality doesn’t negate the fact that families need her.

My desire is that “homemaker” or whatever word one prefers, would lose its stigma and would evoke a positive emotion in us. I pray that we all come to recognize the importance of the stability of the family and unanimously agree that it’s a good thing in which to invest a life.

Unique Christmas Gift Idea: Pencil Sketched Portrait

My son, Ashton, is taking a few orders for pencil-sketched portraits, but he can only handle so many, so if you’re interested, let me know quickly. I’m thankful for his gift and encouraged by his stamina.

He just finished this gift for a friend:

And this pet portrait for a customer:

You can see a few of his other pictures HERE, while I update his website.

Portraits for one subject are $35 (plus shipping) for an 8 x 10. You may inquire about custom orders. He will need your order by Tuesday, 10th, to have it shipped in time for Christmas.

If you are interested, simply email him ( your picture and we’ll send you an invoice or settle up payment details.

The Pursuit of Motherhood: New Book, 1/2 Price–4 Days Only!

I’m so excited to announce that another stellar team of authors has collaborated on an ebook project I like to think of as

“The Motherhood Guidebook.”

Whether you are a new mother with lots of questions desiring to be guided and mentored along the way, or a seasons mom who needs a huge dose of encouragement and reminders, you’ll find The Pursuit of Motherhood FULL of help.

Table of Contents & Authors

The Wise Mother , June Fuentes
The Praying Mother, Jasmine Cucuta
Mothering Through the Little Years, Heather Knopp
The Working Mom, Melanie Moore
The Healthy Mom, Mary Clendenin
The Work at Home Mom , Mary Clendenin
Infertility, Part I: Primary and Secondary Infertility, Mary Clendenin
Infertility, Part II: The Empty Womb and Adoption,  Jennifer Allen
The Modest Mom, Caroline Allen
Breastfeeding and Child Attachment, Caroline Allen
The Weary Mom, Part I, Caroline Allen
The Weary Mom, Part II, Richele McFarlin
The Homeschooling Mother  Amy Roberts
Mothering a Child with Special Needs, Sara Elizabeth Dunn
Raising Real Men, Melanie Young
Raising Homemakers, Kelly Crawford
Be Fruitful and Multiply, Jacinda Vandenberg
Biblical Motherhood, Lindsey Stomberg
Leaving a Legacy, Jacqueline Fitzgerald

Regular price: $7.99

4 days only: $3.99

>Buy It Now<

Surprise! Flash Sale–If You Missed the Ultimate Health Bundle, It’s an Encore!

This sale is over.


Did you miss the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle the first time it came around? We’ve heard from so many people who were disappointed they missed out the first time around, that we’re happy to announce the Encore Flash Sale for Black Friday weekend only!

What’s in the Bundle?

Get Educated

We took 86 eBooks (plus 1 eCourse) by popular bloggers on topics like real food & recipes, green living, natural cleaning and beauty, mental and emotional health, fitness, herbal remedies and more.

Get Mentored

Then we added the brand new “Coffee Table Conversations,” a 12-week series of author mentorship through interactive online conference calls and private support groups.

Get Equipped

We finished it off with 9 bonus sponsors offering you $150+ of incredible products and services to help you along your way. This includes bonuses like $25.98 of FREE eco-friendly laundry detergent from Dizolve (because we all need clean clothes). This bonus nearly makes up for the entire cost of the bundle!

How Much Does the Bundle Cost?

Ultimate: Maximum; decisive; conclusive. The best or most extreme of its kind.

We wouldn’t call it the “ultimate” bundle if it wasn’t true.

As our hard-working team pulled together the Ultimate Healthy Living 2013 Bundle Sale, we had 3 basic goals: to put a comprehensive health library at your fingertips, to offer something for everyone, and to provide so much value for an itty-bitty price that it would be irresistible.

In a nutshell? This bundle is brimming with more than 80 ebook and ecourse resources, from authors and bloggers known as authorities in their fields.

For less than $30, you can pick up your own bundle complete with more than $800 of ebooks, $67 of interactive “coffee table conversations” with their authors, and $158 of products and services to help you on your way toward healthier living. That’s over a $1,000 value!

Additionally, 25% of this flash sale’s proceeds go to a few of our favorite non-profit organizationsShelter Box (specifically for Philippines relief aid), Compassion International, Hope for Women, and Love146!

But you don’t want to wait! This bundle is available for only 6 days, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Friday, November 29 to 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2. After this time, this bundle will never be available for purchase again.

Get yours now for just $29.97!


(Psst… did you know that you can add on two extra bundles for the price of one? Just choose the bonus 2-for-1 option during checkout!)

Buy Now

What’s Included in the eBook Library? ($800+ value)

Real Food Cookbooks

Allergy-Friendly/Special Diets

Menu Planning/Meal Prep

Natural Skincare

Natural Health

Healthy Lifestyle



Green Living

Special Health Concerns

Healthy Kids & Babies

Learning About Real/Whole Foods

What are Coffee Table Conversations? ($67 value)

For 12 weeks starting in January 2014, we’ll offer a series of weekly one-hour live conference calls, where you can join in and ask your questions on relevant and timely healthy living topics to a panel of eBook authors. We’ll look at issues like allergy-friendly cooking, fighting fatigue (and finding energy!), eating well on a tight budget, an introduction to alternative health and herbal remedies, and tips and tricks for making real food in less time. You’ll be able to listen to authors converse with each other on any (or all) of the 12 calls that you choose to take part in, and get answers to your questions in real time!

We’ll also provide a private Facebook group, where that week’s “mentors” will pop in as often as they can and chat with you on the topics at hand. Talk about up-close and personal learning!

What are the Healthy Living Bonus Offers? ($150+ value)

  1. Dizolve—A FREE 128 Load Twin-Pack of Dizolve Natural Laundry Detergent. Dizolve laundry detergent strips are an innovative, phosphate-free way to clean your clothes. ($25.98 Value. Standard shipping rates apply. Limited to the first 5,000.)
  2. Bulk Herb Store—An instant download of their instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 1 for only 1 cent. ($14.95 Value. No shipping restrictions.)
  3. Wise Choice Market—A FREE $15 store credit to be used at Wise Choice Market on the Finest Real Food around, including traditionally-made bone broths, organic fermented vegetables, wild salmon, sprouted breads, and many more. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates and restrictions apply.)
  4. Fit2Be Studio—A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio (for new members) where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are TummySafe™and particularly target Diastasis Recti. Current members may apply the coupon code for $20 off a 1-year membership. ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)
  5. Jenuinely Pure—$15 off any $30 order at Jenuinely Pure on the beautifully-crafted natural skincare products. Make the switch to natural skincare with Jenuinely Pure. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  6. Plan To Eat—A FREE 4-Month subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes scheduled when you want them — and they make your grocery list! ($19.80 value. No shipping restrictions. New accounts only. Offer expires Dec.15)
  7. TrilLight HealthFREE $15 store credit to be used toward Trilight Health‘s Fast-Acting, Great Tasting Liquid Herbal Formulas, or anything else in their store. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  8. List Planit—Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Trial Membership to ListPlanIt, where you can organize your life with hundreds of lists that you can create and manage at home or on the go. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)
  9. Cultures for Health—A FREE sourdough or kombucha starter from Cultures For Health PLUS a $5 credit to put toward anything else in store. (up to a $17.95 Value. Both the starter and the $5 credit can be used in the same order! Standard shipping rates apply.)

All bonus offers are available for redemption until December 16th, 2013.

Buy Now

Important stuff you might want to know

  • Read the fine print. The details matter!
  • Check out our Frequently Asked Question page, particularly to learn about file types, how downloading works, transferring to eReader devices, redeeming bonus offers, and all that good stuff.(AFF LINK)
  • Remember, this bundle is available for only 6 days, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Friday, November 29 to 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2. After that, this particular bundle will never be available for purchase again.
  • Affiliate disclaimer: I receive a commission on bundles sold through my affiliate link. Thank you!

An Opportunity to Be the Hands (and Heart) of Jesus

I don’t want this post to be any pressure at all, but simply to offer opportunities for those looking for a practical way to carry out one of the privileges of being part of the Body of Christ. I have been the blessed recipient of Christ’s love through the Body, and I am committed to helping reciprocate that love every chance I get.

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

Help my friend bring Igor home to his forever family.


Meet Igor!  He is a 15 year old orphan from Ukraine, who stole our hearts when we invited him into our home as part of the Christmas New Horizons for Children Hosting Program.  You can read more about him at (click the category orphan hosting).

31 days left, only $7,200 (out of the original goal of $32,350) to go!

Every dollar counts. Click HERE to give.


There is also another adoptive family we know, whose name must remain anonymous, but who needs help. I know there are many, but this one family has touched our lives, and I want to be a blessing to them in their time of need. I will just ask you to trust me, and if you feel led, you can give to this precious family by clicking on the button below. Just a few dollars would be helpful. Every dollar will go directly to them as they minister to these children who have been rescued out of darkness and brought into His marvelous light.

I want you to know, though I don’t get to answer every comment, you all are so loved and appreciated. Thank you for being here.

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