Do you know what you are going to say when it’s time for “The Talk”?

Last week, I shared with you about a video course for moms to discuss with their daughters all about sex. Even though I’ve talked with my daughters about the basics, I still need some help.

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I thought I was prepared for to talk with my girls about the ‘birds and bees’. I’ve got my little books. We’ve talked some about the facts and that seems pretty easy. But there’s so much more than just the facts……so I realize I need some help.

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And that makes me wonder if you do too?

I feel so strongly that this conversation with my daughters is so important. I’ve got this one shot to get it right. What I’m realizing is the growing up talks cannot be just “one and done” kinda thing.

That’s why I think “The Whole Story” is so great because its not only about information about the facts, but it also gives you the resources to have ongoing conversations. The course helps you develop your relationship with your girls so that the discussion keeps going once the course is finished.

In the 8-12 yr old version, you’ll cover topics like:

  • Her period, including why it happens, how to handle it, and how to make it most comfortable.
  • Other body changes she will be experiencing, including breast development, hair growth, and body odor.
  • What sex is and how babies are made.
  • How to handle boys and peer pressure in the preteen years.
  • How to take care of your body to manage all of these changes.

In the 13-15 yr old version, you’ll cover things like:

  • How to troubleshoot issues with your period that aren’t often talked about.
  • Navigating relationships with guys in the teenage years.
  • Discussions about how to handle social issues like when friends make mistakes, bullying, and online peer pressure.
  • Candid conversation about the highly sexualized world we live in and how to honor God in the midst of that.
  • Learning the skill of styling yourself to send a message–a message that honors God and shows respect for yourself and others

Each version is $39 which includes 1 year access to the videos plus lots of printables, resources, and activities. Both for $69

You can get the VIP package for $99 with lifetime access and participation in a Facebook group.

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But I’ve got a GREAT deal for you! I’ve been given permission to share a $30 off coupon with you for purchasing the VIP package. That’s $69 for both versions of the course with lifetime access! This is a great deal when you have more than one girl in different ages or your want to revisit the videos and resources as your girls grow older. Like I said, you will want to have many conversations as your girls grow up.

Use coupon code: WholeStoryWOW……but hurry….the coupon is only good through Oct 9th!!

I feel this course is so important that I agreed to be an affiliate partner.  So every course you purchase through this special link, I will receive a portion of the fee.

Check out The Whole Story here.
Got any questions? Shoot me an email…

Thanks for letting me share this opportunity with you!
~Amy

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When it’s time for “The Talk”

Can we talk Mom to Mom??

I know… I don’t talk much about parenting or child rearing or things of that nature on this blog. I usually just stick to your personal journey as a Christ follower, the Body of Christ, etc……..but in this instance, it’s important.

My heart hurts and there’s a sick feeling in my gut at the extreme sexulization of our culture. There are SO many things to protect our children from in this day and age. It’s so different from when I was growing up just like so many of you…….. It was a BIG deal when a girl got pregnant in high school. Although music and movies had a good deal of implied innuendos and some explicit material, it wasn’t in commercials or plastered on billboards. If you wanted to find some questionable material, you had to put forth some effort to get go out and get it.

Now, the risk of viewing pornography exists on EVERY computer. Teens and children are sexually active at younger and younger ages. There’s sexting and easy access to all manner of movies, music and shows. Kids are exposed to so much more now than ever!!

We know, back in the day, it was tough for parents to talk with their kids about sex, puberty, and all that goes with it! But now, it’s even tougher!!! AND kids are learning things at younger ages, so the pressure is even bigger to get the knowledge to your children before they hear it from someone else!

Add another big factor…….raise your hand if you are comfortable and, in fact, excited about telling your kids about sex?? Anyone? Yep. I thought so……me too…….ugh!

If you are anything like me, the extent of my parental talks was one short talk on STDs when I was 12 and an even shorter (and rather uncomfortable) talk the day before I got married 8-}

So here we are with a hyper-sexulized culture and best-of-intention moms trying their best to give their kids the right information and the best of God’s design for sex so they can grow up to be the fulfilled adults God created them to be!

What’s a mom gonna do?

I have found a wonderful tool to help!

I follow and read several blogs. When I share links, articles, and materials, I ONLY share the information that I believe is the BEST! I have found such an excellent resource for you to share and grow with your daughters about sensitive and tough topic.

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Christian Blogger and Marriage writer, Sheila Wray Gregoire from ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com, has created a fantastic new video course with her daughters called “The Whole Story”! Take a look:

What is The Whole Story

The Whole Story: Not-So-Scary Talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up 

  • An online, video-based course for moms and daughters about sex, puberty, and growing up.
  • Comes in two age groups: One for daughters 10-12, and one for daughters 13-15.
  • The videos are led by “young adult” mentors who feel like “funny big sisters”. (They’re 20 & 22 and have their own ministries!)
  • Then checklists, discussion questions and mother-daughter activity ideas help moms and girls solidify the information and continue the conversation.
  • All taught from a Biblical and Christian worldview
  • The course is $39 per version, or $69 for both. That gives you one year of access
  • The VIP version contains both courses, with lifetime access, and a whole bunch of extra goodies for $99.

I’ve been reading Sheila’s blog for several years now and have gained a lot of insight and guidance to help me be a better wife. Now, I’m so excited that she (along with her daughters) have created a quality course to help me just in the nick of time! My daughters are 12 ,10, and 10, so we are in the prime time window for these talks.

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The course is designed so that you watch the videos together and then have opportunities to continue the discussion about the topic. It’s not meant to be a replacement of a parent, but rather, it’s a resource to help you to successfully build your relationship with your daugther!

The course includes everything you need- online videos, printables, and activities to do together.

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In fact, I am so excited about this course, I’ve been given the opportunity to be an affiliate partner with Sheila and her daughters which means every course you purchase through my special link I get a portion of the proceeds.

In addition to that….Sheila is allowing me to share with you a special coupon: WholeStoryWOW that you can apply to the VIP package. You can get $30 off the $99 VIP package which includes lifetime access to both courses plus all the printables and extra goodies. For less than the price of dinner and a movie for your family, you’ve got access to the resources that can help shape your daughter’s future.

Yeah, that may be kind of heavy but, it’s pretty much true.

I really want to raise my daughters to develop a healthy, Godly view of sex, to know their value as a woman, and have a marriage that exemplifies the mystery of Christ and His Church. I’ve got one chance to do my job as a parent. I’ve got one short season to impact the rest of their lives in such an important way. That’s why I’m so excited that “The Whole Story” is available to help me in this journey with my daughters! And, I know you do too!

Check out this video to find out more information or click on my link here for more information.

If this course isn’t for you in this season of life, that’s totally ok! But, I bet you know someone who is. Would you share this with them?? That would be so awesome!

Just to keep everything out on the table, remember, I’m sharing this with you as an affiliate partner for the course. For every purchase using this link, I will receive a small commission. But make sure you use the coupon code: WholeStoryWOW for $30 off the VIP package! Hurry, the coupon offer will expire by October 9th!

I pray this course will help our girls grow into the women God designed them to be!

~Amy

I Pray I Never Forget the LONGING…

I can’t believe that I’ve been parenting for 12 years!!!

My oldest daughter is turning 12 this week. How can this be? It seems like just a short time ago when we brought her home from the hospital. But, the days turn into weeks and the weeks into years. It’s a season where the days are long and the years are short.

I never really understood what that meant until I was up to my elbows in diapers and sippy cups. I remember the days when my unspoken goal was to make it until my husband got home so there would be someone else here to help wrangle my herd.

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Even though my kiddos are now pretty independent, they still call out “Mama” one right after another. Literally, it’s like those birds in “Finding Nemo”…..mama…mama…mama…mama. Or, we can get in the van to go somewhere, and they all ask 15 questions one right after another, rapid-fire style. Homework can be pretty stressful too because they will ask for help all at the same time to which I respond (with gritted teeth), “I can only help ONE person at a time.” Stuff like this can really get to me and wear me down. You get it, right?

I never dreamed that all of this mothering would ever get on my nerves so much!

Before I had children, I couldn’t wait for the day that I could be a mother. For so many years, I felt so empty. Yes, I loved my husband and family, my job, my life. Yet, that desire to have children seemed so out of reach and often impossible.

The longing was so present and heavy.

It was this longing that drove me to my knees in prayer, study, and pursuit of God. I dug in deep. As the longing grew more intense, it drove me to the heart of God. First, perplexed in questions and demanding my way. But then, faith  strengthened through understanding my identity and His Ability. Finally, maturity refined as my resolve surrendered to His Will. It was after this surrender, “Lord, whatever you have planned for me is best.” was when my longing desire to be a mother was fulfilled!

It was the longing that kept me questioning and pursuing. It was the longing that kept me praying. It was the longing that kept me running after God until I wanted Him more than I wanted a child. If I hadn’t know the longing, I wouldn’t have discovered the amazing faithfulness of God and the perfect timing of answered prayer!

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How could I ever take for granted the 4 precious gifts given me after such a refining journey? Yet, I find myself there quite often.

Mother’s Day always brings me back to my longing. I reflect on the days before I was a Mother and think about the women who are missing the unborn children they’ve never held or the women who are experiencing their own longing. I may get distracted by the day to day grind, but the feeling of that longing is never too far away.

I pray I never forget the longing.

If you are going through a longing of your own….don’t give up. The journey may not be easy, but God will be faithful to bring you through the longing.

If you have experienced a longing of your own…don’t ever forget the purpose that longing fulfilled in you.

~Amy

God’s Economy

I love what Finnick Odair said in the Hunger Games, ” I haven’t dealt in anything as common as money in years.”

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God doesn’t either.

I think of this quote when I think about the many ways God works in our lives.  Sure, God blesses us with money, jobs, material stuff….things we need and even things we want. I’m so thankful!!

But, God’s real currency? I believe God’s real currency is encouragement. God deals in building people up. God makes deposits and pays dividends in encouragement.

There have been so many times that I’ve wondered “Am I doing any good at this?”, “Is this making a difference?”, “Is this helping anybody?”

And sure enough at just the right time, I’d receive a note in the mail or an email or a text saying exactly what I needed to hear. I admit it feels good to be noticed or praised. I’ve had to work at not ‘needing’ it.

This kind of encouragement, though, doesn’t stroke the ego. Those notes and emails are affirmations to my questions. They are heavenly deposits into my soul. God pours into my heart love, hope, joy worth more than dollars and cents. These deposits are eternal. They keep me going.

 

Yes, it’s worth the time. Yes, this is making a difference. Yes, I can keep going.

On the flip side….giving out encouragement to others is also a joy.

I love being used in God’s economy to bless, love, and encourage others. Making deposits into the lives of family, friends, co-workers brings me as much joy as when I receive it from others.

What I have found is encouraging others cost me little in terms of time, energy, and expenses. All it really takes is to be intentional and to take notice.IMG_8930

“That color looks great on you!”

“How’s your grandma?” (remembering when she told me about her grandma last week)

“You are doing a great job!”

One of my favorite ways to encourage others is to leave cute, little notes of Scripture or quotes for folks to find. I LOVE the free downloads and other products by MaryDeanDraws. Her cards and color sheets are easy to print, color (if needed), and cut. Ready to go! I’ve used them with co-workers, ministry events and even with my kids and husband.

What can you do to be used in God’s economy?

It doesn’t take any special talent to write a note or give a hug. Sharing how something impacted you is such a small thing but can make a BIG difference to the one who gave of herself. Saying an encouraging word to the pastor’s wife, the nursery worker, the co-worker, the family member is so simple. To you, it may seem like dropping pennies…not a big deal. But to that person, it could feel like winning the Lottery!!!

One last thought……when the thought comes to mind to encourage someone, DON’T WAIT. Don’t put if off! Do it right then! If the opportunity passes, you might not get another chance. Trust me, I’ve let it pass and then felt awful when I missed my chance.

God’s intangibles are priceless. God’s economy is powerful and effective. God’s encouragement is worth more than silver and gold.

I’d love to hear how God’s economy has worked in your life. How are you being used to encourage others?

~Amy

 

 

 

When you need some power to face Monday morning…..

If you are like me, the journey to Easter was a blessed and rich one. Contemplation and reflection during Lent, Holy Week with the honor and suffering of our Messiah, Passover, Good Friday, and finally (whew!) Resurrection Sunday!!

It’s Monday night, and I’m exhausted…. again. If I’m not careful, the glory of the weekend can quickly fade to complaints and grumbles and ‘here we go again’ into the work week.

But, Jesus didn’t raise from the dead so that we could go back to work on Monday morning living the same, ol’ unchanged life.  The fact is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us.

The Resurrection isn’t just for Easter Sunday. It’s for every day!!

Did you get that?

When I stop and really meditate on this truth, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I have to say it slowly and let the words sink in…….

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead….lives in us!

That means His Resurrection gives us the power to face Monday morning…again.

That means His Resurrection gives us the power to love the unlovable around us.

His Resurrection gives us the power to share the fruit that is evidence of His Presence in our lives- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

His Resurrection gives us the power to bring Christ into the situation in which we’ve been called.

How are you living out the power of the Resurrection and bringing Christ to the people around you?

For different people that might mean different things. Some of you might be very evangelical by sharing how someone can become a Christian. For some of you, that might mean praying for those that work beside you. For some of you that might mean just a simple hug with some encouragement or serving your family.

It’s going to look a little bit different for each of us, but the goal is still the same…

How can I bring Christ to the world today?

Sure, we are going to get tired. We aren’t going to feel like coming off that mountain high of sunrise service and face the world again. But let that same Spirit give you strength to face each day in the power of His Resurrection!!

~Amy

When Your Daughter is Grasping….

Grasping – reaching for something, trying to obtain it; but desperate, not in control. (my definition)

See, I have this girl.  She’s my mini-me. She looks like me. She’s built like me. Many people say she’s just like me. I say she’s just like my sister, but that’s another story for another day.

From the very beginning, as a triplet, this girl moved more in my womb than the other two babies. I was already getting to know her as the active one. Even from the hospital nursery she was grasping.  She was grasping for air when the doctor saw her turning blue.

I should have known then: she was a fighter……read more at Prayers for Girls

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New things for the New Year

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you had a great Advent and Christmas season! We sure did!

With a new year comes a restarting, a refreshing, getting priorities back on track. It also comes with learning and trying new things and making plans for the year. I’ve got a lot of exciting things to share with you!

I’ve been learning some techy, internet-ish skills that I’m gonna start sharing with you on the blog and in the WoW newsletter. If you haven’t joined the WoW newsletter yet, then go to the Free Resources page to sign up! That’s where you can get printables, tips sheets and other goodies that I’ve been learning how to make…eeek!

Between now and January 16, every person who signs up to receive the newsletter will be entered for a drawing for a mini-calendar! And, if you share the contest on Facebook here, your name will be entered each additional time you share it.

Now, for announcing the annual WoW event!!!!

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Check out the Facebook event page and please say you are ‘Going’. That’s where you’ll get the most up to date info and details! Share…Share…Share!!!!

I’m so excited for the many opportunities and events that come with this brand new 2017!! I have lots of the things on my heart, and oh, how I’m looking forward to sharing them with you! I can’t wait to see you there and being apart of a new year together!!

~Amy

 

My Kryptonite

We all have one. No matter how strong or invincible you may think you are, you have one too.

Like Superman with a chunk of Kryptonite hanging around his neck, we all have at least one weakness that will bring us down.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours………

My Kryptonite is not enough sleep.

Oh sure, there’s lots of things that can get me down…work load, loud kids, unexpected expenses. Those things can weigh me down.

But not getting enough sleep can turn a busy day into a stressful day. It can turn a small bump in the road into an surmountable hill.

When I don’t get enough sleep, I get easily frustrated, am much more irritable, can loose my temper quicker….well, you get the picture. I can remember when the triplets were little, on the days I didn’t get enough sleep, the everyday routines were much harder to tackle. I didn’t think I would be able to survive those baby days. I’m telling you that being exhausted would cause me to question my abilities as a woman and mother and whether was God was anywhere close by.  My precious children would seem like little monsters out to get me.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

Then, a good nap or night’s sleep later, I would think….”Oh, I can handle it. This is going to be ok. I love my life”.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

I know my experience isn’t very different from any other mother with young children. Lack of sleep goes with the territory. But this was my kryptonite….the one thing that could shade all the other areas of my life.

So what do I do to keep the chain of Kruptonite from dragging me down?

First, I began to recognize that lack of sleep would trigger these awful behaviors in me. Once I recognized the link,  it would help me in the moment of stress. “Ok, Amy, you are tired. Step back and take a deep breath.”

Then, I could (try to) plan better. Taking naps were not a guilty pleasure, but rather a strategic plan to get me through the day. Sleeping late on Saturdays is now a gift to be good to myself rather than laziness.

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Photo credit Nancy Rutledge

Finally, having Kryptonite invade my waking hours on a daily and/or weekly basis, I’ve come to accept the fact, I’m going to not get enough sleep. I’m a mom, I work a full time job, I enjoy watching movies on the weekends. I, sometimes, choose to accept the consequence of Kryptonite in order to get some quiet at night after the kids go to bed or to have some much needed girl-time with friends. But, I’m aware of what it can do to me. Even though  I may be aware of the Kryptoninte around my neck, that does not give me permission to be grumpy or snarky. I can better guard my attitude, my words, and my emotions. I can recognize that it’s my issue and not a bad life or tedious children or forsaken by God!

My Kryptonite is lack of sleep. But what is yours?

Low blood sugar? chronic pain or illness? depression? Yours may be a condition that you may not ever get rid of. But recognizing how it can affect you can help you prevent, manage, and deal with it as best as possible.

I’m going to bed now and get rid of my Kryptonite for a while!

~Amy

Silver and Gold

**One of the biggest blessings I receive from WoW gatherings like this weekend’s ReNew Retreat is meeting and getting to know precious sister’s in Christ! But not just me…watching all of you make friends and making new connections is such a joy to watch!! You are my Silver and Gold**

 

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  A circle’s round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

Life is not about the stuff you accumulate or how much money you make. It’s not about your achievements or the letters behind your name.  It’s not about what you drive or your net worth.

Life is about Silver and Gold. It’s about friends, old and new. Those precious relationships mined out of life’s ins and outs. The people we meet that make our lives richer.

I’ve been keenly aware of the silver and gold in my own life this summer: A day at the pool,  sending that selfie from a dressing room ‘does this dress work?’, catching up on the phone, stopping by the office for a quick hug, planning a meet-up on Facebook, attending a difficult life changing event, inviting some over for a party, staying over for dinner, sharing revelations, and studying Truth. All of it precious. All of them Silver and Gold.

We can’t make it without friends. We need that wide circle of friends to cheer for us and have fun. We need that tight circle of confidants to tell us, “Girl, you’d better put that down!” We need that one kindred spirit to whisper those secrets of the heart. We need to nourish these relationships because we draw so much nourishment from them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

I love it that I get sharpened by my Silver and Gold. Keeps me humble. Gets me loved. Lets me grow. Makes me More than I am.

Who are your Silver and Gold? Don’t let them tarnish. Polish them as often as possible. In turn, they will polish you, sharpen you. And, you will never be left empty.

~Amy

Being Made in His Image (or..I’m turning into my mother!)

It was bound to happen.

All my life, people told me how I favored my mother…blue eyes, round cheeks, smile. However, as I’ve become older, I notice how I am acting like my mother! It started with my husband saying, “you sound just like your mother when you said that!”…or….”you squinted your eyes just like your mother.”

I mean, I’ve heard plenty of times how women would say they looked in the mirror and saw their mother. That was no big surprise. But, in the last couple of years, I notice all kinds of little habits that are just like her! How I hold my hands, making a gesture, asking a question…..or even how I LOVE my favorite fountain drink on ice in a styrofoam cup complete with lid and a straw! I actually get giddy! (except I love Diet Mountain Dew and momma loves Diet Coke)

The good news is I don’t mind! I kinda laugh to myself when I do something that is just like her. What I find so interesting is that I never set out to try to do any of these things like her. I’ve never sat across the dinner table observing her subtle moves and gestures. I’ve never calculated and taken mental notes to consciously mimic her. Sure, part of it could be genetics. Maybe. But most of it is just from being around her for 40 years.

I’ve been formed in her image from being in her presence so much!

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Now, she’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a carbon copy of her. There’s a lot I don’t do like her (I rarely iron…sorry mom…I just don’t!). So many little parts of her have formed into me from simply being around her that I subtly pick them up!

It’s the same with our relationship with God.

Hopefully, I am being made into His image from being in His presence. When I spend time with Him in prayer, study, meditation, and worship, I began to pick up his characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control and goodness. I began to love people like He does and want to reach out to minister to them.

If I tried to exert effort to act like Jesus, I would most likely fail because I am trying to be something that is not in my nature. But….if I am in His presence so much that His nature subtly changes me, then I find myself looking and loving and acting more like Him. Simply being around Him is going to affect the way I behave.

I think being like Jesus has rubbed off from my mom too!me&mom

So, next time you us zooming down the road, we’ll likely have our fountain drinks in hand!

How about you? How are you turning into your mother? How are you being made into His image??

~Amy