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Emphasis On Moms ~ July 2011

In This Issue: Home Impressions: Not My Child! Heartstrings: Ladies In Waiting Memory Lane: The Art Wall Mom Minute: Offering Fine Dining

Freedom  is  never  more   than  one  generation  away   from  extinction.  We  didn’t   pass  it  to  our  children  in   the  bloodstream.  It  must   be  fought  for,  protected,  &     handed  on  for  them  to  do   the  same.    ~  Ronald  


To Your Guests Nurture Your Soul: Grace and Bad Eggs Timeout: Control Vs. Influence Treasure Box: Psalm 86:4 All About Relationships: It Happened At WalMart

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Between You and Me ~

Thank you so much for praying for our family last month as we travelled to Guatemala! God kept us safe and we had a GREAT trip. Would you like to see? Here is a video my husband put together with his video & my pictures of our team’s experience…. (And yes, those are my beautiful daughters’ interacting with the Guatemalan children!)

I hope and pray that your family is having a great summer. That you are able to make many memories together, have down-time to relax, and fun time to explore life, too. Enjoy the sunshine!

~ Dionna (


Home Impressions

Not My Child! ~ Susan Lawrence My mom made it clear that she would never be one of those moms who make this statement and not believe facts in front of her that, indeed, one of her children did something unacceptable. Not that she expected the worst from us or that she doubted us. She was simply willing to gather and consider all the facts before deciding her next steps. The truth is…each of us is capable of just about anything. All it takes is one choice followed by another, and we can get ourselves into some twisted messes. We can even make what we think are good choices – but for the wrong reasons – and find ourselves in messes. Early in our marriage, Tim and I were very considerate of each other. We had great intentions of supporting each other and considering each other’s needs before our own. Sounds admirable, right? Somewhere along the line, I began to think and behave as if I could make my husband happy. I stayed home when the girls were young, and I loved it…but I also felt pressure to support and thank Tim through the sacrifices he was making. I wanted to have a clean house and dinner ready when he came home. I wanted him to have time to relax after a long day. I wanted him to feel he was a good provider. I wanted to be a pleasing wife and partner. And little by little, when I couldn’t be, I pretended I could. After many years, my efforts became twisted so that if something wasn’t “just right” for him, I’d pretend it didn’t happen. I’d fix a different dinner, clean a little more or neglect to tell him about an unpaid bill. (continued) 4

Of course, what I found out over time is that I can’t make someone else happy. And in reality, Tim wouldn’t want me to even if I could. He wanted me to be me. By assuming I knew what he wanted and what was best for him, I was actually being selfcentered. Seriously…as if I have that much knowledge and power! I was wearing a nice girl mask that was a twisted, self-made craft project made of good intentions and decorated with selfishness. What masks do you wear? When do you feel most exposed and vulnerable? Ask God to help you take – and keep – your masks off. He’s the best protection you can have. He knows and loves you just the way you are…and isn’t content to leave you there. Everything the Lord does is right. He is loyal to all he has made. The Lord is close to everyone who prays to him, to all who truly pray to him. He gives those who respect him what they want. He listens when they cry, and he saves them. The Lord protects everyone who loves him, but he will destroy the wicked. Psalm 145:1720

Susan is the author of two women’s Bible studies, Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion, and is passionate about pouring into women through writing, speaking, and training. Download study samples and get to know Susan better at


Nurture Your Soul

Grace and Bad eggs – Sarah Markley

I know now that there isn’t any expiration date on grace. Not like eggs in the icebox that I buy getting ready for omelets and pancakes on the weekend. I buy too many and they sit with a USE BY date stamped on the side. I never use all the eggs by their date. But they are still good. Refrigerated eggs can be used for about a month after their expiration. That purple 21JUL09 is just so intimidating, though. I have to resist the urge to toss them out just because it’s the 24th. I fight it remembering I will use them up tomorrow in fresh blueberry pancakes or vegetable omelets.

Grace is the same.


It’s always there. Cartons and cartons filling up and getting in the way of the other food. Ready for me to crack open and sink into whenever I want. And sometimes it seems like it’s too late. That grace, somehow, has gone bad. The story of the woman in the streets at the feet of Jesus always makes me weep. She thought any grace that might have been extended to her had run dry. It was over. There is something about her, nameless, that will always resonate inside me.

She is me. But Jesus stooped down to her, gave her all of Heaven’s grace and told her to live her life in a different way. Because His grace never expires. It’s always good and fresh and gives life. Crack it open. Spread it out. Use it. Grace is abundant and doesn’t grow old.

Sarah Markley is a freelance writer and a stay at home mom. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Chad and her daughters Hope and Naomi. She blogs daily about faith, marriage and mothering at

Originally published at in July 2009.


MEMORY LANE The Art  Wall  ~  By  Dionna  Sanchez  

This is what I see when I go out in my garage every day to get into my car.

A wall full of pictures and artwork from my kiddos. I love it.

When we moved into this house, our garage walls were unfinished. We could have painted them, but my husband started something else instead. The wall of art.


Everyone knows that kids bring home boatloads of drawings, artwork, projects, papers, and crafts home from school. There isn’t always a good place to keep it. I have some bins – one for each child that I keep the favorites in. Some day, I’ll give the precious pieces back to them. But for now – they are our “keepers.” That left the other stuff. Some of it, we still liked but didn’t know what to do with it. So my husband started tacking it up in the garage. After awhile, it looked like this…..

It is so cheerful. So full of love. I’m so glad it’s all there. To greet us as we come and go about our days. To remind us of who we are investing in. And to remind them, that we care what they do.

My kids don’t bring home much artwork anymore. They are getting older …the craft projects and art time – fewer and farther between.

Who would have thought I would miss so much – seeing every new creation that they thought up or crafted?

Oh. But I do.

I’m so thankful all I have to do is look at the wall of our garage to make me smile and remember – who is really important in my life.

~ Dionna Sanchez ( 9

Last month,  I  confessed  to  you  that  patience  is  not  likely  a   virtue  I  could  place  as  a  strength  on  my  resume.   Unfortunately,  that  contradicts  the  fact  that  it’s  a  daily   requirement  in  the  life  of  a  growing  Christian  wife  and   mother.  The  average  list  of  things  we  wait  for  can  seem   endless— …victory  over  the  same  old  point  of  contention  between   you  and  your  spouse •

Ladies In  Waiting By  Angie   Maldonado

…an honoring  tongue  toward  or  from  your  beloved …freedom  from  the  battle  with  the  figure  in  the  mirror

…some payoff  for  all  your  efforts  in  Christian  child-­‐ training. 

And these  are  just  the  “normal”    waits. In  recent  years,  I  have  been  witness  to  some   “abnormal”  demands  on  patience  in  Christian  sisters  that   put  my  list  to  shame.  Young  wives,  just  barely  in  their   twenties,  are  waiting  on  prognoses  and  treatment  options   for  themselves  or  their  husbands,  with  serious  diagnoses.   Women  with  children  battling  special  needs—physical  and   emotional—are  waiting  for  a  breath  of  fresh  air.   Divorce    rages  on,  leaving  women  (and  men)  waiting  for   reprieve  from  their  deep  pain  and  bewilderment.  And  one   wait  just  piles  on  to  the  next.


These things  are  just  hard!  We  wait  for  Divine  intervention   and  sometimes  it  doesn’t  seem  to  come.  Even  when  we   squint  our  eyes  to  see  what’s  on  the  horizon,  things  look   bleak.  So  where  is  God?  What  makes  God  decide  to   seemingly  withhold  intervention?  What  is  He  doing? The  answers  to  those  questions  are  difficult  to  sum  up  in   under  a  thousand  words!  But,  my  Instructor  is  teaching  me   a  few  lessons  I  want  to  share  with  you,  my  fellow  ladies  in   waiting. 10

• It is  in  the  challenge  of  the  waiting  that  the  lessons  come.  We  are  wives  and   moms  in  training.  If  there’s  no  race  to  run,  no  obstacle  course,  we  won’t   grow  any  closer  to  the  likeness  of  the  King. • God  is  faithful  to  all  His  promises  (Psalm  145:13).  But  remember,  when  we’re   squinting  at  that  horizon,  He  sees  far  beyond  it.  His  answers  may  not  come   to  fruition  on  this  earth.  But  He  has  a  perfect  eternity  in  store  for  us. • God  is  God!  “Where  were  you  when  I  laid  the  foundations  of  the  earth?”  God   questioned  Job.  I’d  like  to  avoid  that  line  of  questioning  with  God.  He  knows   what  He’s  doing,  and  we  don’t  have  to. So,  briefly,  what  do  we  do  during  the  dark  hours  of  the  wait? “…so  our  eyes  look  to  the  Lord  our  God,  till  He  shows  us  His  mercy.                Psalm   123:2 We  look  to  God  TILL.    We  don’t  stop  looking  TILL.  The  waiting  may  have  to  be   endured  from  this  life  TILL  the  eternal  one,  but  we  look  to  Him  TILL  we  see  His   answer.  He  is  our  hope  in  the  wait.    

~ Angie  Maldonado  is  a  home  schooling  mom  of  two  girls  (ages  7  and  9)  and  an   Army  wife.  She  desires  to  leave  a  remarkable  spiritual  legacy  to  her  two  girls  and   to  see  them  mature  with  hearts  to  serve  the  Lord.  Angie  has  experienced  the   renovating  power  of  the  Lord  at  work  in  her  marriage,  and  considers  it  a  great   blessing  to  use  what  she  has  learned  to  help  build  other  women  in  their  faith.  Her   first  book,  Let  Your  Light  Shine,  is  now  available  through  a  division  of  Lifeway,,  at  her  website,,  or  through   your  favorite  online  book  retailer.    

He is our hope in the wait.


A Mom Minute

By Dionna Sanchez

Offering Fine Dining To Your Guests How many times do we fret over our meals? When company or visitors stop by, we stress and strain over what to make them. It has to be elaborate. Gourmet. Fancy.

Why the fuss? Is it about filling them up with good food and good company…or is it about us and our image?

I’ve decided (for the most part, because I’m still human and get caught up in vanity and pride) that I’m done cooking “fancy.” I’m going for simple. Casual. Comfortable.

I’d much rather spend less time fussing over food in the kitchen and more time enjoying good conversation and company with my guests. I’m not fond of cooking anyways – so why try to impress?

(continued) 12

I do want to make those who enter my home feel special. Valued. Worth my time. But I don’t want to get sucked into pretense. I’m not about pretending I whip up huge home-cooked meals when our family is simply content with sub sandwiches or tacos on most week-nights.

The only thing I struggle with is feeling a bit….”less than.” I feel a little immature and childish if I serve grilled cheese sandwiches to company. But trust me, I’m trying to get over that – because honestly? Grilled cheese sandwiches are so much more “me” than lobster anyways.

How about you? Do you struggle to cook fine meals for your guests? Or are you comfortable going with something that is more in your budget and low-key? Do you avoid having company all together because you feel inept to serve them?

God often broke bread with others in the Bible. I wonder how they felt

about having the great “I AM” in their presence and simply eating bread instead of a lavish meal? If it’s one thing I’m learning as each year goes by it’s that life is more about WHO we are than WHAT we do. We should certainly make the effort to love on others - as long as our hearts are in the right place. But we should also remember to strive for authenticity. And let’s face it, sometimes pizza that we ordered out is so much more authentic than chicken cacciatore.

~ Dionna Sanchez writes from her home in Idaho. She is passionate about faith and family and serving her God. You can visit Dionna’s blog at or contact her at


Social Graces

Grace Under Pressure

Hospitality comes easily in certain circles. Other times, it is extremely difficult to see or share. How do you extend true hospitality and social grace in situations of stress and pressure? Prayer is the first tool, followed by a willing spirit, and a servant's heart. Jesus is our best example of how to show grace to others in difficult circumstances. Sometimes, when grace is the hardest to give, it is needed the most.

~ Edie Bunch


It Happened At

All About Relationships

WalMart By Victoria B. Jenkins

I’ve never quite been able to reconcile the “me” inside with the version other people see. Sometimes shy, others outgoing, there’s just no telling what impression I might leave. When asked point blank, I finally put a name to the dichotomy—I am a closet extrovert. Oh, I’d love to take you by the hand as we chat and laugh the time away, I’m just too chicken to chance looking like a fool and giving away too much of myself in the process. God is wooing me out of my closet and into the life He’s called me to live—one I’m perfectly content to look a bit foolish living if it makes Him a tiny bit more famous. Having only just discovered the Lord’s movement to break down the barrier I’d been hiding behind, I wasn’t expecting the prompting He placed on my heart. I certainly wasn’t looking for something so profound, but there it was, and it happened at Wal-Mart! In fairness, I practically live at Wal-Mart, so where else was it going to happen? With the madness of back to school shopping, the place was swamped. I made my way toward the checkout lanes with a sigh as I equipped myself to take it all in stride. There ahead, a woman wrapped up her payment and I dashed toward the empty conveyor belt. Stopping to snag my sweetie an orange Fanta from the cooler, I thanked God for giving me some small way to tell my husband he is loved. Once the cashier had finished with the customer ahead of me, she greeted me that same small greeting you’re sure everyone is trained to deliver though so few actually do. I extended the same courtesy she had shown me, and replied. She looked me square in the eye and thanked me for talking to her. The way she said it said so much.


Then it happened. That look-like-a-weirdo moment I’d always wished for and away all at one time—God told me to ask if I could pray for her. Right then. Right there. Ask her, this total stranger just trying to do her job, if I could pray for her. The weirdest part? I didn’t even hesitate! I can’t say enough how not like me this was. Please know that it is God alone that made me woman enough to “man up” to the task! Naturally, the cashier was surprised by my question, but she didn’t skip a beat in answering. After simply saying, “Yes,” she paused for a moment as we stood looking at one another. We both knew there was more to follow, though I don’t think either of us expected what she’d say next. “Yes. My daughter just died two years ago; you can pray for me.” There just aren’t words to fit the emotion in her eyes. All I could do was take her by both hands, look straight into her sweet face and let her know beyond all doubt that I would be praying for her. On my way home, the Lord gave me such a vivid illustration to go along with the lesson He had began teaching me in that checkout lane. As one car after another slowed down in effort to look out for a gnarly, mangy old stray dog weaving his way in and out of traffic, I couldn’t help but wonder why we never slow down that way for the woman at the post office, the guy ahead of us in line at the bookstore, or even the cashier at Wal-Mart. Who knows how many stray people we zip past in our daily lives? God does, that’s exactly why He prompts us to do the seemingly strangest things! It’s a beautiful burden our Heavenly Father has placed on us, to care for one another!

Whether homeschooling, housewifing, or hiding from the laundry heap, Victoria Jenkins is grateful to be a continual work of progress in God's hands. You can join Victoria each Friday as she shares her heart for Biblical Friendship. {}


Treasure Box Give me happiness, O Lord, for my life depends on You. Psalm 86:4 I can search all my life for happiness, but it will always prove to be unstable or elusive, apart from You. True joy—that leads to both happiness and contentment— is a gift from You, Lord. I receive it as I depend on You; as I seek Your will for my life. Because You created me and wired me very specifically and uniquely, You know exactly what the key is to my personal happiness. Why is it so difficult at times to just trust You with my happiness? To believe that You not only know the key to my heart but actually possess it, and You are just waiting to unlock it and then fill it to overflowing? ~ Cheryl Heindel


Control Vs. Influence ~ By Jenn Whitmer


I’ve spent  the  last  couple  weeks  potty-­‐training  our  youngest  and  likely  last   child.  You  have  to  understand,  I  HATE  potty  training.  Seriously,  HATE  it.  It   was  one  of  my  biggest  hang-­‐ups  when  deciding  about  having  a  fourth  child.   We’ve  also  been  putting  our  house  back  up  for  sale—for  the  4th  time  in  5   years.  In  the  midst  of  these  circumstances,  I’ve  asked  to  God  to  teach  me   something  through  the  difficulties.  Ever  faithful,  He  brought  to  mind  the   difference  between  control  and  influence. Ineffective  Illusion Control  is  actual  not  ours.  We  serve  a  great  God  who  is  absolutely  in  control.   He  does  grant  us  authority  over  some  aspects  of  our  lives  and  people.  Self-­‐ control  is  a  fruit  of  the  Spirit  working  in  us,  not  a  character  trait  we  create  in   ourselves.  Control  over  other  people  is  even  less  ours.  We  may  say  we  have   control  over  our  children,  but  really,  we  do  not.  I  can  take  my  toddler  to  the   bathroom,  set  her  on  the  toilet,  but  I  am  absolutely  incapable  of  making  her   pee.  I  can  make  every  effort  to  present  my  house  to  buyers,  but  I  cannot   write  a  contract  for  anyone  to  purchase  it.  Control  is  fruitless  as  well.  If  we   seek  to  discipline  and  raise  our  children  with  the  mentality  that  we  control   them  or  their  circumstances,  the  result  is  always  rebellion  or  unhealthy  co-­‐ dependence.  Neither  is  God’s  or  our  desire  for  our  children.


Loving Influence Sovereign  God  gave  us  Free  Will.  (How  that  all  works  is  one  of  those  amazing   theological  mysteries,  but  that’s  another  column!)  God  doesn’t  use  control  to   change  us;  Romans  says  he  uses  kindness  to  lead  us  to  repentance.  We  do  not   have  control  over  our  children’s  lives,  but  we  have  inestimable  influence.  God   has  given  us  the  privilege  of  designing  some  our  children’s  circumstances,  with   His  wisdom,  to  provide  the  best  learning  environment  possible  to  bring  them   into  a  heart  relationship  with  Him.  We  do  that  by  building  trust  with  our  kids   and  demonstrating  our  own  relationship  with  Him.  Not  by  emotional   manipulation,  but  we  orchestrate  schedules,  routines,  activities,  relationships,   and  prayer  all  to  guide  them  toward  Jesus.  We  cannot  choose  Jesus,  obedience,   or  trust  for  them.  With  my  house,  I  can  clean  it,  polish  it,  stage  it,  price  it,  and   pray,  I  am  leading  the  buyer,  but  not  choosing  for  them.  When  I  talk  to  my  kids   about  the  heart  of  an  issue  and  follow  with  consequences  that  fit  the  sin,  I  am   leading  my  child  to  make  right  choices,  but  I  cannot  choose  for  them. Control  is  a  frustrated  attempted  at  omnipotence.  Even  He  who  is  all-­‐powerful,   uses  influence  to  change  us.  Influence  is  motivated  by  love  and  kindness.   Attempting  to  control  our  children  is  futile  at  best,  sinful  at  worst.  Capture   your  child’s  heart  so  you  can  bring  your  influence  to  bear  in  their  lives.  I’m   happy  to  say  that  through  my  profound  influence,  my  daughter  is  a  rock  star   and  staying  dry  all  the  time.  My  house,  we’ll  see  what  God  does.  I’m  glad  He’s  in   control!          

Jenn Whitmer lives and laughs with her husband, two sons, and 2 daughters in St. Louis, Missouri. Send Email Jennifer at with any thoughts or questions. 19


While air conditioning is a good way to cool down in the hot summer weather, it is not always cost-effective or a realistic option for everyone. A ceiling fan is a great investment to make for your home. By circulating the air from above, you can make the room feel about 7 degrees cooler! Ceiling fans usually cost less than $10 each month to use. Even a standard floor fan can work to help you feel cooler. Another good tip is the use of light colored window shades or drapes. The light color will reflect heat away from the windows. Keep the shades or drapes closed when the sun is shining on them. Try to only use the stove and oven during the cooler parts of the day (morning and night), as the heat emitted from them will only heat your home more. If you do use air conditioning, it is important to not place lamps or TVs near the air-conditioner, as the heat from the appliances will only make the AC work harder. Make sure the AC units are shaded by trees, make sure that the fan part of the air conditioner is not blocked by leaves or branches. Keeping the air conditioning unit in the shade can save a lot of money each month. Another helpful hint is having a lightly colored roof! The heat will reflect off the roof versus heating your home! ~ Amy McCormick


Does Emphasis encourage your heart?? Take a minute to let Dionna know, or support the ministry through prayer or a donation. Visit or email at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The appearance of advertising in Emphasis should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the service, product, business, or program being advertised. Emphasis On Moms takes no responsibility for claims or representations made in any ads. Emphasis On Moms is for your information and entertainment purposes only. In no event shall Dionna Sanchez be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with the use of this information or its publication, including any action for infringement of copyright or defamation. ~~~~~~~~~~ EMPHASIS ON MOMS is here for you as a ministry to encourage your heart. It comes from Dionna's heart and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have a prayer request or would like to find out more how you can ask Jesus into your heart to become a part of your life; email me Dionna at


Encouragement and support for moms