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Emphasis On Moms ~ May 2011

In This Issue: Home Impressions: The Troll of Emotions Heartstrings: Great Is Thy

  Ability  may  get  you  to   the  top,  but  it  takes   character  to  keep  you   there.    ~  John  Wooden

Faithfulness Memory Lane: Sweet Summers Mom Minute: I’m Only One Person Applause! (Lady of the Month): Becki Sparre Nurture Your Soul: Love Lives In the Chasm Timeout: Patience In An Instant World Treasure Box: I Chronicles 22:11-12 All About Relationships: Confession Is Thanksgiving

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Home Impressions

THE TROLL OF EMOTIONS ~ Susan Lawrence I was around five years old and on vacation in Florida when I heard my parents talking about a toll bridge. Except I didn’t hear “toll bridge.” I heard “troll bridge” – and I was scared. Being scared quickly escalated to petrified when my sisters – on either side of me in the backseat – began sharing troll stories. I was scared enough just thinking of the trolls in Three Billy Goats Gruff, and those were drawings. When my sisters started describing the menacing, vengeful trolls of their twisted imaginations, I couldn’t take it any longer. We had to cross the toll bridge, but I didn’t have to look. I crouched on the floorboard and tried to slide as far under the seat as possible. The trolls didn’t get me, and my now apparent fear got my mom’s attention. She reprimanded my sisters, but it didn’t do much good. They’d seen the fear in my eyes, and they were going to carry this as far as they could. Each night in the hotel, two of us would share a bed, Mom and Dad would get a bed, and the other girl slept on a rollaway bed. I loved the rollaway bed, so I looked forward to my nights. As we approached the hotel later in the toll bridge day, whichever sister had the rollaway assignment for the night asked if I wanted to trade nights. Of course, I did! At least something was going right in my day.

I should have known. My sister didn’t offer to exchange nights out of the goodness of her heart. It was a conspiracy to torment me. You see, the rollaway would be placed in the open space by the balcony overlooking the ocean. A beautiful view – until my sisters started sharing stories of how the trolls trudged out of the ocean every evening looking for little girls to eat and how trolls ate the first girl they saw, which would obviously be the one closest to the ocean. I think they also told me something twisted like the only way the troll wouldn’t get me is if I was really still and didn’t say anything about being scared. A slick way to get me not to tell Mom and Dad I was terrified!



I remember what that room looked like in the light and in the dark, what the crashing waves sounded like, and what my sisters’ occasional muffled giggles sounded like. I didn’t know if I would survive the night, but of course, I did. I don’t know if Mom or Dad put a stop to the torment or not, but I don’t remember any more nights of terror. The next day wasn’t as scary in the daylight, and I enjoyed beach time. A half dozen years later, I opened a gift from my sisters. It was an ugly troll. Very funny. Of course, I laugh at myself now, but my fear was real when I was five years old. I wanted to hide or escape. I had trouble sleeping. My imagination wildly soared. My fear was real. The reason for my fear was not.

Fear is complex. We rarely experience fear by itself. We mix it up with a variety of other emotions: anxiety, worry, uncertainty, apprehension. We toss in a little of this and a little of that with no recipe until the dish we feast on is a casserole of jumbled and often indiscernible ingredients. We’re not sure what we’re eating. We’re not sure how we created it. We doubt anyone else could replicate it. We place it in the center of the table as our main dish of the day. Fear Casserole. Ask yourself: • • • •

How is my past experience with fear affecting today? How is fear affecting my future? Is fear drawing me to or separating me from God?

The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life. So why should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Susan’s new Bible study, Pure Emotion, digs into how to discern between godly and ungodly fear and other emotions, such as anger, guilt, anxiety and more. Order it today at


Nurture Your Soul

Love In The Chasm – Sarah Markley

I just have to give it up that no one is going to love my kid as much as I do. Not any teacher. Not a sister. Not even a grandmother or an aunt. It’s just that way. I tell my oldest that I love her. And she asks, maybe testing, How much? To the moon and back at least, Mama? Yes, to the moon and back. How about to Pluto and back? That’s far. How about to heaven and back, she asks. (but she doesn’t know that heaven is closer than she knows). And then I say to her, You won’t understand how much I love you until you have a little girl yourself. And then you will see just what I mean when I tell you that I love you. Pluto, the moon, heaven…all of it is too close. God gives a special heart to mothers and fathers. One that looks past dirty diapers, flu symptoms in the middle of the night and possible H1N1 infection. This heart doesn’t care about three-year-old morning breath or fingernails so dirty they should be clipped instead of scrubbed. A parent’s love doesn’t worry about sweaty soccer shin guards or tantrums in the preschool classroom. They kiss the dirt in skinned knees and the picks up pieces of shattered hearts. Love covers these. And makes up for them. Love lives in the chasm between selfishness and selflessness.


When kids are loved like this, they are free to run and make mistakes and ask hard questions. They can cry and hurt and open little hearts to be healed. My girls know that they are loved, they know that they are prized and they know that even if everyone else in life is against them, I will stand up for them. In this kind of love, there is a freedom. This protect-at-all-cost love is the same that God has for us. We test Him all the time, How much do you love me? What if I do this? Will you still love me? And He says, Yes. He looks past our grimy fingernails and our intentional sins. His love covers our gossip and our hurtful words and the lies we tell. He doesn’t take it personally when we forget to thank Him or don’t give our lunch to the hungry. His love for us is like no other. No husband or earthly mother can love us the same as He does. His is fierce and strong and does not waver. He never thinks twice about the cost of loving us, the people that damage one another and so often forget that we need someone to bridge our gaps. Between our selfishness and selflessness. Between bitterness and forgiveness. Between anger and mercy. His perfect love lives in the chasm for us. How has God’s love “lived in the chasm” for you lately?

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 October 2009.



Sweet Summers  ~  By  Zhanna  Mikhno Can  you  guess  what  I  loved  most  about  summers  as  a  child? Splashing  in  the  pool? Grilled  hot  dogs? Refreshing  popsicles? Staying  up  late  and  sleeping  in? Although  all  of  those  things  were  the  staple  of  a  warm  and  sunny  season  void  of  school,  none  of  them   were  the  highlight. Since  my  parents  were  huge  proponents  of  supporting  family  owned  farms,  they  made  it  a  yearly   tradition  to  go  and  pick  their  own  produce.   Not  to  mention,  taking  the  entire  family  was  a  priority.   Whatever  was  in  season,  all  seven  of  us  would  pile  up  in  our  big  Ford  van,  leave  the  city  behind  and   scour  the  crops.     Sweet  dark  cherries.   Juicy  tomatoes.   Bright,  tart  raspberries.  


Indulging in  these  fresh  fruits  and  veggies  was  definitely  perfection   However,  picking  them  was  even  better. I  loved  the  sense  of  serenity  and  the  fragrant  breeze. I  loved  the  sound  beneath  my  feet  while  walking  through  the  aisles  of  orchards  or  bushes. Most  of  all,  I  loved  conversing  with  my  mom  and  dad. Important  talks.  Free  of  all  distractions.   I  wanted  to  know  what  grapes  needed  to  make  them  grow  or  whether  there  would  be  lots  of   blueberries  in  heaven. In  my  eyes,  my  parents  had  all  the  answers. As  they  taught,  I  learned,  soaking  up  every  word,  every  smile,  and  every  glance  in  my  direction. Little  did  they  know  that  these  simple  yearly  outings  amongst  the  peaceful  farms  would  not  only   leave  a  lasting  imprint  upon  my  heart  but  also  play  an  important  role  in  making  me  who  I  am  today. These  are  one  of  the  sweetest  memories  I  have  of  my  childhood. And  I  want  to  recreate  them  for  my  two  little  girls. Even  though  it  is  already  summer  in  our  neck  of  the  woods,  for  others  it’s  around  the  corner  which   means  now  would  be  a  great  time  to  do  a  little  research  on  some  local  farms. Make  a  list  of  places  that  allow  you  to  pick  your  own  produce,  pack  a  small  cooler  with  sandwiches   and  chilled  drinks,  grab  the  kids  and  head  on  out. As  you  slowly  fill  your  buckets,  start  a  conversation  that  stirs  fascination  and  inspiration.    


Answer their  questions.  Make  them  laugh.  Chase  them  through  the  orchards.  Hold  them  tight  and   enjoy  a  picnic  in  the  shade. Create  a  memory  that  will  have  their  love  tank  overflowing.   

~ Zhanna Mikhno is a stay at home mom to 2 little girls and a wife to her best friend. Aside from having the most important job in the world, she holds a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing and wants her words to give God all the glory.

Our "Heartstrings"  author  -­‐  Angie  Maldonado  -­‐  has  her  first  Bible  Study  out!     Exploring  the  mindsets,  habits,  and  strongholds  that  dim  our  lights  for   Christ,  author  Angie  Maldonado  uncovers  how  you  can  move  beyond  dim   and  Let  Your  Light  Shine  to  a  watching  world  around  you.  With  the  use  of   Biblical  study,  exhortation,  and  personal  application,  Let  Your  Light  Shine   will  guide  you  to  true  change  and  into  the  Christian  woman  God   intended.


All that  I  needed,  Thy  hand  hath   provided.  Great  is  Thy  faithfulness,   Lord,  unto  me.  I’d  sang  those  words   a  hundred  times  before,  but  this   time  something  hit  me  afresh.  All   that  I  needed—He’s  the  determiner   of  that  too.  What  I  mean  is,  I’ve   often  contemplated  and  prayed  for   the  Lord’s  provision,  but  I’d  not   often  thought  about  that  fact  that   He  not  only  provides,  but  also   determines  my  needs  in  order  to   make  the  provision  for  them.   Seems  simple,  but  there’s  a  little   complexity  to  it.  See,  if  I  determine   my  needs,  then  I’m  easily  led  on  a   path  of  doubt  in  His  provision.  If   He  decides  what  I  need,  then  I  can   rest  secure  He  will  provide  for   them. Let’s  play  this  out  in  our  marriages.   If  I  conclude  that  I  need  more   financial  freedom  in  the  family   budget  and  it’s  not  forthcoming,  I   may  be  tempted  to  doubt  the   Lord’s  provision,  creating  potential   strife  in  my  marriage  relationship   and  certainly  in  my  spiritual  walk.   Instead,  I  could  contentedly   resolve  to  the  fact  that  God  knows   best  what  I  need  in  the  area  of  our   finances  and  He  has  and  is   providing  accordingly. If  I  ascertain  that  I  need  my   husband  to  be  more  involved  with   me  in  ministry,  but  the  Lord  is   calling  my  husband  in  other   directions,  perhaps  it’s  not  God’s   provision  that  I  should  doubt,  but   instead  my  own  assessment  of  my   needs.   Of  course,  I  don’t  mean  for  this  to   be  an  indissoluble  rule  whenever   things  aren’t  working  out  perfectly.  

What I’m  suggesting  is  that   we  consider  our  own   willingness  to  relinquish   control,  even  over  the   determining  of  our  needs,   not  just  the  provision  for   them.  Matthew  6:8  tells  us   our  Heavenly  Father  knows   what  we  need  before  we   ask  Him. This  can  get  tougher  the   older  we  get,  ironically.   Once  we’ve  got  a  few   anniversaries  under  our   belts,  we  think  we  have  an   accurate  picture  of  our   needs  in  the  marriage.   While  I’m  sure  we  gain   some  wisdom  through  the   years,  we  must  still  be   humble  enough  to  realize   that  God  knows  better  what   we  need  than  we  do.  So   when  your  husband  isn’t   cooperating  with  the  family   schedule  or  the  parenting   interventions  you’ve  settled   on  as  needs,  be  open  to   asking  the  Lord  if  in  fact   they  are  needs  He  has   decided  upon  for  your   family.  If  they  are,  then  He   will  provide.  I  can  honestly   say,  over  the  years,  I’ve   decided  I  needed  things   that  God  did  not  think  I   needed—disappointing!   Remember  the  first  step  in   asking  for  His  provision  is   to  ask  first  what  God  thinks   you  need.  He  may  have  a   lesson  in  store  for  you  that   you  hadn’t  expected.

Great is  Thy   faithfulness By  Angie  Maldonado


~ 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.  


A Mom Minute

By Dionna Sanchez

I’m Only One Person Sometimes when I’m really overwhelmed at home, I tell my family, “I’m only one person!” Those words can be used in so many situations in life. When the school wants me to come up with a costume for a special party, and I need to prepare for that Bible Study meeting, while getting my daughter some much needed personal items at the store, and coming up with something for dinner, while giving my husband some needed one-onone time, and not forgetting to submit that article that has a deadline, but never neglecting friends and family who I’m long overdue in speaking to, and diligently giving myself over to some quiet time with God, and…… ….and more. There is always more. There is always something someone needs from me. Usually, I’m very happy to give it. But then I discover, at times, that the “someone” is always happy to take it. And I’m left feeling empty – needing refueling. Refilling. There are people in your life right now, who freely and lovingly give to you. They don’t do it for recognition. They do it out of joy. Love. Servitude. However, they do it, they still have families. Commitments. Responsiblities. Dreams.

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It is so easy for us to take from those who are willing to give to us. It’s a blessing to have people like that in our lives. Yet, we tend to forget their needs. Their wishes. Their time. Their strength. No one has endless strength. No one has an endless supply of joy. No one gets enough rest every day. And no one – at times - doesn’t feel taken for granted. I don’t know who God has placed in your life that has given to you. Maybe it’s your hairdresser, your Pastor’s wife, your babysitter, or that person online who always leaves an encouraging word on your blog. I’m not talking about the obvious person. But the not-so-obvious person. The parent who is faithfully helping you out in class. The friend’s mom who endlessly takes your child to and from social events without complaint. The mentor at church who always stops to hug you. Whoever it is, whenever it is – they are God’s gift to you. Pray for them. Appreciate them. Give back to them once in awhile. For if they grow discouraged enough, they might think about quitting. They might give up on encouraging. And that would be a tragedy. They are only one person. One person we need.

~ 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

Online Etiquette These days, we can all say we know a published fact, most of us are one. Twitter, FaceBook, blogs...all of these social media websites provide open forums for thoughts and opinions. It is wise to remember that we are accountable for our words, both spoken and written. Always be

responsible and mindful of what you post for others to read. ~ Edie Bunch


All About Relationships

Confession Is Thanksgiving ~ By Victoria B. Jenkins

Ever have one of those days {or 12 of 'em} where you seem to hold back tears at every turn? No hormones to blame. No circumstance to overcome. No rhyme or reason, just an overwhelming well waiting to overflow when given the chance.

Admitting that life gets ugly...especially on the inside. Can this be the greatest gift we fallible beings can offer? Oh God can offer eternity, hope, salvation, and so much more by means of His use of us, but I can't think of anything we can give that matches the value of empathy.

How much do you need to hear today that someone else failed in the same way you have? It isn't that we don't want to be the only one struggling, it isn't that we need to know other people suffer, it is so much more. We need to know that someone understands. We need the opportunity to lift up a sister in heartache to show us Savoring God's faithfulness and the way out of our own. We need nudging each other to never the compassion and the practice of forget never forget Him. healing with our hearts and Stripping away the "all is well" feeling with our heads and disguise we wear, whether we slip holding hands with human beings. it on with intent or innocence, and We need. declaring--confessing--that nothing is perfect. I suppose that's a rhetorical question, since Scripture teaches that our pain is not unique to us. Not one to live by the whole "misery loves company" bit, I prefer to think that sorrow is best shared among sisters.

Ever hate everything and nothing all at once? Been so frustrated that you want to run away and then find yourself in a puddle at the realization that there is nowhere for you to run? Nowhere you'd even want to go? Food, tasteless. Movies, unentertaining. Books, a task you'd rather not take on. We're not alone. You know, we're never alone. Not only do we share common struggles faced by man since the Creation, we also have an unwavering God who stands beside us all the while. He's waiting around to be gracious to us. Wow. You can join Victoria each Friday as she shares her heart for Biblical Friendships at


Treasure Box “Now, my son, may the LORD be with you and give you success as you follow His instructions in building the Temple of the LORD your God. And may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the law of the LORD your God as you rule over Israel.” 1 Chronicles 22:11-12 These words were spoken by King David to his son, Solomon. They are a great encouragement to me as a mom, because they give me hope for the prayers that I pray for my own children. King Solomon has always been credited with having great wisdom. We are told that when God asked Solomon what he wanted from Him, Solomon’s request was for wisdom and knowledge so he could rule his people properly. But where did Solomon first get the wisdom, to ask for wisdom? Perhaps the answer is in this blessing that David first spoke over his son; and in answer to David’s request, God gave Solomon enough wisdom to ask for further wisdom and knowledge. ~ Cheryl Heindel 15

Patience In An Instant World ~ By Jenn Whitmer


Maybe I’m  the  only  one,  but  do  you  ever  experience  these  delay  tactics  from  your   children?  The  purposefully  slow  feet,  the  reading  just  one  more  page,  taking  a  side  trip   before  completing  the  task,  finishing  the  level  on  the  game,  finishing  the  text…all   examples  of  delayed  obedience.  If  I  am  short  on  patience,  these  are  the  behaviors  that   push  me  right  on  over  that  edge  of  sanity!  I  want  my  children  to  obey  the  first  time,   right  away,  without  argument.  Dream  big,  right! Delayed  Obedience  is  Disobedience I’m  sure  my  four  children  tire  of  hearing  this  phrase,  but  it  is  a  reminder  I  have  to  say   often  in  our  house.  Decide  what  consequence  this  deserves  in  your  house,  and   consistently  apply  it.  For  our  family,  that  is  often  the  same  consequence  as  if  they  did   not  obey  at  all  or  a  doubling  of  activity.  For  example,  if  I’ve  asked  my  child  to  load  the   dishwasher  and  whining  and  inactivity  ensues,  not  only  does  he  have  to  load  the   dishwasher,  but  also  collect  the  trash.  The  point  you  are  trying  to  communicate  to  your   child  is  that  when  you  obey  the  first  time,  it  goes  better  for  you!  


Asking to  Wait There  are  times  when  your  child  is  truly  in  the  middle  of  something  and  your  instruction   can  actually  wait.  Teach  your  child  to  ask  politely,  “May  I  do  this/finish  this  or  would  you   like  me  to  do  that  now?”  When  the  question  comes  with  a  kind  voice  and  a  willingness  for   either  answer,  I  find  that  I’m  often  keen  to  allow  them  to  finish  what  they  are  doing.  Praise   them  for  asking  well  and  even  give  a  little  reward.  Something  like,  “Thank  you  for  asking   so  well.  I  do  need  you  to  do  this  now,  but  you  may  have  10  extra  minutes  of  computer  time   after  you  complete  this.”  But  when  the  whining  or  “I  AM  doing  it”  (when  they  are  clearly   not)  come  out,  then  that’s  a  delay  that  requires  a  consequence.   Immediate  but  not  Instant I  find  it  so  easy  to  expect  an  instant  response  from  my  children,  which  is  helpful  to  no  one.   The  faster  our  world  moves,  the  faster  pace  we  come  to  expect  from  people’s  responses.   The  truth  is,  human  brains  don’t  really  move  that  much  faster  than  they  did  with  Adam   and  Eve.  We  must  allow  time  for  our  children  to  hear,  comprehend,  and  decide.  When   giving  a  direction,  first,  make  sure  you  have  their  attention.  Calling  out  a  direction  from   the  other  room  doesn’t  usually  work.  Look  at  your  child  and  have  them  look  at  you.  After   you  give  the  direction,  wait.  I  often  count  in  my  head  to  5  (not  out  loud!).  That  gives  my   children  an  opportunity  to  understand  and  respond.  I’ve  found  that  slowing  down  just  a   little,  rather  that  shouting  out  an  order  and  walking  away  expecting  instant  compliance,   we  have  a  greater  success  rate  with  first-­‐time  obedience. We  are  training  our  children  to  obey  us,  society’s  laws,  but  ultimately  God.  He  is  gentle   and  gracious  with  us.  We  need  to  emulate  his  gracious  discipline  of  us.  He  does  ask  us  to   obey  without  delay,  but  He  waits  for  us  to  understand  what  He’s  asking,  even  if  not  always   why  He’s  asking.  Correct  delay,  but  be  patient  when  they  seek  to  understand.      

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.    


Applause! (Lady of the Month)

Name: Becki Sparre

Number of children and ages: 4 children: 38, 35, 31, 28

City and State (or country): Molalla, OR

Favorite low-fat snack? carrots or celery

What is your favorite song to belt out in the car? A praise/worship song that comes to mind or an old hymn. Who is a role model for you --- and why? An older godly woman (or man) who accepts her age and circumstances with grace and confidence in the Lord. Because I want to age with godliness, grace and confidence. Have you discovered something new about yourself lately? Something you like or can do? Not sure on this one, maybe I'm dense when it comes to discovery about myself. :) I've never thought of myself as much of a writer, however, I am about to help a younger woman with a "help" book. Maybe this project will help me discover something new about myself and prove to be something I enjoy. ??? :) How do you deal with negative thoughts? Most often I turn to a psalm, a worship song or a previously memorized scripture that is uplifting. Are you more like Mary or Martha in the Bible? How is this a blessing or a curse for you? I am closer to being a Martha which, in my opinion, has been more of a blessing than a curse. I enjoy being hospitable and serving others. Are you "up-to-date" with current trends? (twitter, facebook, texting, etc) I mainly text with my children and do have a facebook account though I don't comment as much as read "friends" updates. As a parent, what is one thing you think you've done right? Encouraged my children to seek God first and follow Him -- they have faltered at times, but each one is committed to the Lord. 18


Most of us don’t think about the effects that cleaners can have on children. Usually we concentrate on the task at hand (cleaning) and getting it done. However, it is important to realize that some cleaners can be harmful to children! For one, it is important to avoid aerosol cleaners. The fine mist given off by aerosol cans is absorbed easily into the lungs, especially little lungs. Choose pump spray cleaners instead. Another deceptive trait of cleaners is scent. It’s a wonderful feeling to walk into a room and breathe in a refreshing odor. However, the added fragrance emits even more potentially hazardous chemicals. Usually the fragrance is more toxic than the cleaner! Purchase unscented cleaners in order to reduce dangerous chemicals in your home. Lastly, try your hand at making your own cleaners. There are quite a few cleaning recipes, which you can make with products you have at home. These home made cleaners can offer cleaning power without the harsh chemicals. They are much safer and less expensive. One example is using a mixture of baking soda and dishwashing detergent to clean your bathtub. Believe it or not, this remedy requires no pre-mixing. Just shake some baking soda on the bathtub and add some dishwashing detergent, then clean as usual. The best part is, your homemade cleaner is safe for everyone.

~ Amy McCormick 19

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May 2011  

Encouragement, support, hope, for christian moms and women.