2006 at 5:25 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
It’s strawberry season here in Maryland, and the other day I went with some friends and took my sons strawberry picking at a local farm. Besides my boys stepping on a couple strawberry bushes (thankfully we weren’t sent home by the farm attendants!) and picking a few over-ripe berries, we actually had a peaceful time. I was too tired to go to the store on the way home, but if I’d had the energy, I would have stopped off and purchased ingredients for an annual family favorite: marshmallow cream. You simply mix ½ jar of marshmallow fluff with one eight-ounce tub of softened cream cheese and you’ve got a very tasty dip for strawberries. If you’re not too tired to stop by the store, you’ve got to try it!
2006 at 2:47 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Obviously we’re not requiring Chad to literally go out and kill a bear or a lion. Although, one of our readers, who is a Firearm Education and Hunter Safety Instructor for the state of MD, did email us in jest last week to invite CJ and Chad to be in her next class. She said then they could enter the lottery for a bear permit this fall.
Now, that’s a scary thought! Thankfully, the plan for any father-son hunting expeditions in our family is to stick with squirrel as the game of choice.
So, what bears or lions are we encouraging Chad to kill? In his article, “Show Yourself a Man,” Randy Stinson explains this phrase to mean: “Do something that is a challenge.” What a useful mandate for helping teenage sons cultivate masculinity! CJ and I have begun to use it with Chad. When we discern there is an obstacle Chad wants to dodge, but should tackle, we encourage him: “Son, it’s a bear you need to kill!” This “bear” or “lion” could be an area where he is not gifted or his personality is not inclined, and because of selfishness, fear, or pride, he prefers to avoid. We want to show Chad the underlying sin that hinders him, and then challenge him to attack it. See, we not only desire to help Chad grow stronger where he is already strong, but to also grow strong where he is weak.
And though there will never be any actual bear heads or lion skins mounted on the walls of our home, it is our prayer that the showcase of Chad’s teenage years will display many challenges that he conquered to the glory of God.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
2006 at 5:49 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Last Friday many of my friends boarded buses and planes headed for Louisville, Kentucky to attend the New Attitude Conference. I have to confess to feeling a little bit sad as this was the first New Attitude that I have missed. But thanks to the blog world I have been able to get a small taste of the conference right here in my living room. Check out both Carolyn McCulley’s blog and the New Attitude blog to get the low down on the messages and events which made up this conference.
2006 at 10:35 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
I enjoy cleaning and putting things in order. (I know, there’s something wrong with me!) Chad, on the other hand, strongly dislikes these tasks. (Did I mention that my son is 13?) Now given our differing preferences, I would much rather be the one to clean up after Chad and maintain the order of his bedroom and bathroom. Chad would prefer that too. But all I have to do is think about Chad’s future wife and future employers—what his messy habits would mean for them (and what they would think of me!)—and I make him clean his room.
Actually, it’s not only Chad’s future relationships that motivate me to insist that Chad “keep his domain in order.” As Randy Stinson put it in his “Show Yourself a Man” article, “a life that is characterized by disorder is evidence of passivity.” Chad’s domain “should bear the mark of [his] masculinity as [he] subdues it and keeps it in order.”
Because I want Chad to honor his future wife and serve his future employers; because I want Chad to resist passivity and cultivate masculinity:
- I have Chad clean his room and bathroom at the start of each day.
- I make Chad hang up his towel on the rack, return clean clothing back to drawers or hangers and put dirty clothing into the hamper. (I recently discovered that everything—dirty and clean—was being put into the hamper, thus the need for specificity.)
- I require Chad to stop whatever he is doing to put something back in its proper place, if he got it out, but neglected to put it back.
- I enforce the “no trash rule”—if something is consumed out of a disposable wrapper or container, the wrapper or container must be put into the trashcan!
Lest my rules seem petty to a certain young man, I Corinthians 14:33 backs me up: For God is not a God of disorder. (NIV) Above all, I want Chad to honor God by reflecting His character. Thus, I will persevere in challenging my son to keep his domain in order.
2006 at 11:57 am | by Nicole Whitacre
This American holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Since then, it’s become more about afternoon barbecues, hardware store sales, and weekends at the beach than remembering those who have died in the defense of our country. To my own shame, I’ve given more thought to weeding my yard today than the sacrifices of so many. They laid down their lives to ensure that I have a yard where my little son can run and play without fear of harm.
My father-in-law recently returned from a business trip to France. Last night at dinner he related the details of an afternoon visit to Normandy. There, on that strip of American-owned land in France, are buried ten thousand soldiers who died in the Allied invasion. Many graves, he said, were simply marked “Remains Unknown.”
“Think of all the mothers,” my mother-in-law mused.
Think. Think of all the mothers. And fathers. And brothers and sisters. And spouses. And children.
Let us think. And let us thank.
To all of you who have lost a loved one who died protecting peace for us all, we want you to know that we are thinking of you today. And, although it is woefully inadequate for your loss, we want to say—
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
2006 at 7:47 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
Thanks to Zoanna in Abingdon, MD for this Friday laugh.
Have a delightful weekend everyone!
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
“Scale or Scoreboard”
Yesterday my husband put a new battery into our digital bathroom scale. At bedtime, our four-year-old son, Joel, stepped on it, and with excitement announced, “It says, ‘free nine’.”
“Thirty-nine? Wow!” I said, putting toothpaste on his toothbrush.
He then looked eagerly at me. Not yet being able to prounce his “st” blend, it comes out “‘t.”
“You ‘tep on it Mommy. See how many points you get!”
2006 at 4:37 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood Prayer
I have two names. Most people know me as “Janelle,” but to a very special group of people I am “Mrs. B.” You see, my husband is the Children’s Ministry pastor at our church and somewhere along the way he became affectionately known to all the kiddos as “Mr. B.” It naturally followed suit that I be dubbed “Mrs. B.” I have to say that this name took some getting used to. For a girl who would like to think of herself as still somewhere around the age of 17, the title “Mrs. B” was a bit of a wake up call. But this name is totally worth the front row seat I get into the world of Children’s Ministry. There are many lessons to be learned there. One recent lesson stands out.
On the first Sunday of every month, Mike teaches the 2nd through 5th grade class, and I usually slip in and watch. One of my favorite parts of the morning is listening to the children pray. Have you ever heard a child pray? They pray with faith. There is no doubt in their little minds that the Lord hears and He will answer. Our church has recently been raising money for a new playground and the kids have been praying about this. Their prayers are simple and sincere, “Lord, please give us the money for the playground so that we can play on it after school tomorrow.” They aren’t contemplating all of the potential obstacles. They simply ask Jesus to meet their present need and expect Him to answer.
I want to pray like this. Recently, I found myself approaching the throne of grace with a heart full of unbelief. I was struggling to believe that the Lord was working in the midst of a difficult situation facing me. Does He really hear me? Will things ever change? I wasn’t voicing these questions, but my heart betrayed me. I could not hide the pride that was—and still is—present in my heart.
Mrs. B needs to spend a lot more time in children’s ministry. I want to learn, just like the kids, to approach God fully expecting Him to provide for my every need.
2006 at 12:49 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Chad is starting to figure out what his married sisters learned a long time ago about their parents and finances: Dad is generous and Mom is____________.
I asked my 3 daughters to complete that phrase and their answers were: strategic, economical and responsible. Phew! At least it wasn’t stingy, miserly and tightfisted.
Point being, my husband and I approach finances very differently. Our children know it, and even work it to their advantage at times. My girls tell me now that whenever they wanted to borrow money growing up they would always go ask their father. That’s because, when they would go to pay it back, their dad would always say: “No need to pay it back, my love. I only wish I could have given you more.” I on the other hand, would not only keep track of what they owed, I would issue reminders of when it needed to be paid back. I was attempting to teach them to be responsible with their finances.
Though we laugh about the discrepancy between our approach to finances, we hope it will actually benefit our children. (Thankfully, our girls tell us it has!). For we want our children to learn to be both responsible and generous with their finances, since that is the standard Scripture seems to put forth as God-honoring.
So that’s why, today, when I give Chad his weekly allowance, I will remind him that 10% is for tithe, 10% is for special giving, 50% is for savings, and the remaining 30% can be spent with our oversight. And that’s why I have no doubt that if Chad wants to borrow money anytime soon, he will be asking his dad.
The righteous is generous and gives. Ps. 37:21
Whoever gathers [wealth] little by little will increase it. Pr. 13:11b
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Pr. 3:9-10
2006 at 3:13 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
When I remind my son that he is thirteen now and that part and parcel with growing into manhood means more work and less play, he doesn’t jump for joy. So before I presented Chad with a plan to increase his workload, I had him reread the letter he received from Joshua Harris for his thirteenth birthday. Here’s an excerpt that Josh kindly gave me permission to post:
My encouragement to you on this important birthday is to work hard. That doesn’t sound very inspiring does it? But I mean it. The teenage years are years packed with potential—potential to grow in wisdom, to develop practical skills and abilities, to deepen your relationship with God, to study and learn. These years are the launching pad of your life. And they’re also the years that are most easily wasted. The world will tell you that these are the years to coast, to have a good time, to take it easy, to live off the faith of your parents. Don’t buy that lie. Press ahead. Push yourself. Train yourself for godliness. Even now prepare yourself to be a godly man, a godly husband and godly father. As my younger brothers, Alex and Brett like to say, use these years to “Do Hard Things.”
Now what teenage boy wouldn’t be inspired after reading that?! Well, Chad still wasn’t ecstatic about his growing responsibilities, however he was a lot more motivated than before.
So for all you moms out there who need to inform your son (or daughter) about extra chores, let Joshua Harris help you out!
2006 at 6:20 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Recently, I had a conversation with a woman whose mother-in-law is suffering from Alzheimer’s. As the disease attacks her mind, the cumulative knowledge and memories of a lifetime are gradually being erased. I can’t even begin to fathom the hardship this must be—both for the individual afflicted with Alzheimer’s and her family and friends. Although, I am sure there are many of you reading this post who are intimately acquainted with its severe consequences.
This woman told me how her mother-in-law, a wonderful Christian woman, was struggling because she was having a difficult time remembering God. “She feels like she’s lost the Lord and can’t remember how to find Him.,” my friend explained. But, she went on: “We remind her that even though she can’t remember the Lord, He doesn’t forget her. He’ll never leave her.”
He will never leave. He will never forget.
What unspeakable comfort for this woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. What comfort for us today!
My salvation is not dependent upon the strength of my feeble, sin-infected, and disease-vulnerable mind. My perseverance to the end isn’t contingent upon my ability or my faithfulness to remember God. It rests entirely secure in the unfailing memory of my Heavenly Father. If I have been bought with the blood of Christ, then I can rest in the knowledge that God would no sooner forget me, than forget His own Son.
I don’t know what my future holds. My mind might give way before my body. But I know that He will never leave. He will never forget.
“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Isaiah 46:4
“I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
2006 at 11:29 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Encouraging Chad to learn from his father is number one on my “Show Yourself a Man” plan. And for good reason. What better way is there for Chad to cultivate masculine characteristics than to be taught and trained by the most important man in his life: his father? And who better to highlight his father’s innumerable godly and manly qualities and to challenge Chad to emulate his father, than me?
That being the case, here are three strategies I’ve developed to provoke Chad to learn from CJ:
1. Point out to Chad the many strong and admirable qualities of his father.
I have started a running list of these qualities in order to be more constant and deliberate in drawing Chad’s attention to them. (This little exercise is helping me to see how many of my husband’s strengths I simply take for granted. Why am I surprised when Chad does the same?!)
2. Prompt Chad to ask lots of questions of his father.
I’ve also started a running list of questions to have Chad ask his father at dinnertime. (e.g. “What’s one challenge you faced today, and how did God help you? or “What is one manly quality you learned from your dad?”)
3. Remind Chad to aggressively pursue the counsel and correction of his father.
I’ve given Chad the following assignment: “Read chapter 10 (“Inviting and Pursuing Correction”) in your dad’s book (Humility, True Greatness), and come up with a plan to more aggressively pursue the counsel and correction of your father. You and I will discuss and tweak your plan and then I will hold you accountable for carrying it out.”
Proverbs 13:1 says: “A wise son hears his father’s instruction,” so I want to do all I can to encourage Chad to be wise!
2006 at 4:21 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Click on over to Crosswalk.com today. They are featuring a chapter written by my mom from Girl Talk on a mother’s discipline. I have included a little paragraph here to give you a sneak peak…
“Bringing our daughters up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is hard work. God never said it would be otherwise. But He has promised to provide help and assistance to all who call on His name. This promise gives us the faith and courage to discipline our daughters with the end in view. They may not thank us for it right now. They may not thank us for a long time. But one day they will.”
Don’t automatically dismiss this article if you are not a mommy. The truths found here will serve you as you encourage other moms, as well as prepare you if the Lord has motherhood in your future.
2006 at 10:19 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ 1 Kings 2:1-4
“Show yourself a man.” As mother of a teenage son, I sure do love that statement!
In fact, I’m using that little phrase as the title of my plan to support my husband in his discipleship of Chad during his teen years. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have compiled a list of 7 ways to help Chad cultivate masculine characteristics. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. And some may think it unnecessary. True. You certainly don’t need a list such as this to be an effective mother. I find, however, that setting down specific goals simply provides clarity, helps me to be more intentional, and gives me a criterion whereby I can evaluate progress for both Chad and myself. So here is my “Show Yourself a Man Plan” for Chad:
Daily encourage Chad to:
1. Learn, learn, learn from his dad
2. Develop a strong work ethic
3. Be a good steward of his money
4. Keep his domain in order
5. Kill a bear or a lion
6. Show honor to women
7. Lead wherever appropriate
If you read Randy Stinson’s article highlighted in Monday’s post, then you will see that I have borrowed several of his ideas and came up with a few of my own. They may not all make sense, especially number five. Chad immediately asked, “What? You’re expecting me to go out and kill a bear or a lion?” I’ll explain them in more detail over the next few days.
2006 at 3:27 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
While CJ and Chad went away for their annual father-son trip two weeks ago, I was able to take a personal retreat—something I attempt to do every six months or so at the prodding of my husband. During these retreats I always set aside time to create a plan for each of our children. I think about their strengths and weaknesses, their unique temptations, and consider ways I can more effectively encourage and challenge them to grow. Since Chad is my only child still at home, he got my full attention on this retreat. (Although he wasn’t so sure if he wanted that or not!)
To help me think and strategize, I read an article by Randy Stinson (Executive Director of CBMW) entitled “Show Yourself a Man.” Chad is thirteen now, so the topic of biblical masculinity is becoming more and more important in our household. Of course, CJ is the primary one who leads and disciples Chad in all things related to growing manhood. However, as his helper, I want to make sure I am doing all I can to serve my husband in this significant task.
After reading Randy’s article I was inspired with ideas of how I can daily encourage Chad to cultivate masculine characteristics. I came up with 7. I will list them for you in tomorrow’s post. But in the meantime, if you are the mother of a son, may I encourage you to read Randy’s article for yourself? I think you will be inspired too.
2006 at 11:41 am | by Nicole Whitacre
If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a couple months, you’ve probably wondered why it’s taken us so long to read the books listed on our sidebar.
No, we’re not really slow readers. We’re just really busy moms. Which means that when I have to choose between reading Make Way for Ducklings to Jack or updating our reading list on the sidebar, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard win the day.
But I’ve finally coaxed Mom, Kristin, and Janelle into giving me an updated reading list. We’ll try to keep more current in the future. The operative word here, being “try.”
Kristin is just beginning our Uncle Gary and Aunt Betsy’s new book, Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace. Do you want more of the grace of God in your marriage? Then what are you waiting for? Buy this book!
Janelle is reading one of her favorite authors, Jerry Bridges. In, The Gospel for Real Life, “Mr. Bridges explains the gospel in simple and comprehensive terms,” she tells me. “He takes complex truth and makes it accessible to the average reader. Perfect for me. My love for and understanding of the gospel is growing through the reading of each page.”
Mom is currently rereading the best-selling organizing book, Getting Things Done by David Allen and The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. And she continues to extract relevant truth from Paul David Tripp’s Lost in the Middle.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I am currently on my tenth reading of Make Way for Ducklings. I can almost name them all as quickly and accurately as Mom: “Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack Oack, Pack and Quack!”
Seriously, I’m thoroughly enjoying The Message of Salvation by Philip Ryken. It is an in-depth examination of the themes of salvation, but like Bridges, he is easy to understand. Today’s take away quote: “Although there is nothing a sinner can do to get right with God, God makes sinners right with himself through his own perfect sacrifice.”
Oh, and we’ve added two long-overdue links to our sidebar now: Together for the Gospel and the five15 blog.