Bringing Up Boys: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Bringing Up Boys - An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Okay, I’ll just come right out with it.

I LOVE raising boys! 

I never would have guessed when I started this motherhood journey that having sons would be so much fun.

Sure, they’re noisy (super-noisy!) and messy and energetic, but boys are awesome too.

And you know something? Now that our oldest “boy” is no longer a boy – but a young man of 21 years – I’m more convinced than ever that it is more than worth it.

The last time he was home for Christmas and he put his strong arms around my shoulder and told me he missed my hugs  . . . . well, there’s nothing quite like it.

Maybe you’re a mom who is in the “thick” of raising a son and could use some encouragement? Some ideas on how to make the most of it? How to reach his heart?

Bringing Up Boys - An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Encouraging and Helpful Articles on Raising Sons

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Man to Become A Gentleman
Boys Are Awesome and The Best Way to Love Them
9 Things I’d Say My Mom Got Right
What’s the Best Way for A Mom to Show Love to Her Son?
21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him
Instilling Vision in Our Sons
12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12
Raising Our Sons to Seek After God
7 Steps to Raising A Courageous Young Son

So now we’ve got one son who is off and well on his way, but then there are these three little guys . . . .  noisy, messy, and energetic!

And awesome. 

Bringing Up Boys - A Helpful and Encouraging Resource for Raising Sons

I love raising boys, don’t you?

In His grace,

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P.S. Here’s another resource if you’ve got girls: Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Daughters

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty

I was practically born in a bikini.

Okay, so I was probably wearing less than that.

But I did grow up hearing my mom tell people that I was only 3 weeks old when I took my first trip to the beach. Living close to the sunny Southern California coast, it’s where I spent most of my childhood—at the beach.

And, if you didn’t already know this, beaches and bikinis . . . well, they just kind of go together.

Like mint-chip and ice-cream.

Or something like that. 

My point is that I didn’t exactly grow up in an Amish community and modesty wasn’t the hot topic for those of us immersed in the beach culture.

Even though I attended church, I honestly don’t remember the topic of modesty being brought up there. Not in Sunday School, in sermons, or at youth group. Maybe I just missed it, but it was rarely, if ever, mentioned in our church setting.

So I feel a little funny telling you this, but it wasn’t until I was all grown up – a wife and a mother – that I realized that modesty wasn’t merely a “nice” subject for “nice” girls, but was actually a biblical one. Like, it’s literally found  in the Bible and that I should probably try to figure out what modesty really means. (I Timothy 2:9-10)

I said I was a mom, but I should add that I’m a mom to four girls. So not only did I need to come to grips with this whole modesty thing, I now had the responsibility of teaching our daughters about it. And it’s not quite as easy as it sounds.

Do I “lay down the law” and decide what the girls can – and can’t – wear? Or do I ignore the topic altogether and hope they figure it out for themselves?

Neither of these approaches set very well with me.

I’ll admit that I wish it was defined a bit more clearly. You know, what modesty is and what it is not. Seems to me that it would have made things a lot more simple.

But then again, the Bible also says we’re to “love one another fervently” and doesn’t explain the “rules” of how we’re to go about that. Yet it doesn’t keep us from seeking what love might look like. How that might play out.

So modesty doesn’t come with a rule-book either. But I’ve decided I’m willing to wrestle with it. And our daughters are right there with me and we’re working it out together.

Does modesty merely involve wearing more clothes? Ditching the bikini? Never wearing jeans? Always wearing skirts? But never short skirts? And . . . how short is “short” anyway?

I’m sorry, but you’re going to be disappointed if you were hoping that I’d answer these questions.

Except maybe the one about the bikini. That got ditched. A while ago.

But I do still love mint-chip ice-cream, just so you know . . . and if you wanted to send me some. 

What I can tell you is what I tell our teenage daughters. What I believe to be the bare essentials about a woman and modesty.

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty

Modesty has far more to do with our hearts, than it does with our clothing. Anyone getting all caught up in the apparel is probably missing the point.

Our beauty should come from within and not be wrapped up in our bodies. True beauty is found in our hearts and will be evident to anyone around us. Baring our bodies doesn’t make us more beautiful. No matter what the world might tell you.

God made women with feminine curves and that’s nothing to apologize for. So we don’t need to hide them, just not accentuate them to a point of distraction.

Save sexy for marriage. It’s the best place for it. In fact, it’s a great place for it.

Sometimes it helps to get a second opinion. Does this work? Too little, or too much? This is what friends – or sisters or mothers – are for.

Modesty doesn’t have to mean frumpy. No need to completely abandon style or taste in the process.

If God had wanted modesty to consist of a bunch of rules, He would have listed them out for us. Just remember the point is not to see how much – or how little – we can get away with.

Our definition of modesty might look a bit different than that of others. Some of our friends wear only dresses and some of our friends wear only jeans. As it happens, around here we wear both.

Sometimes modesty means simply dressing appropriately for the occasion. In other words, don’t wear a ball gown to the beach and don’t wear your bathing suit to the dance.

My job as mom is to teach the principle of modesty, but I didn’t sign up to be the Modesty Police. You belong to Christ and I won’t be dictating your clothing choices.

The Holy Spirit will guide if you ask Him for wisdom in this matter of modesty. Look to Him for direction and you will do well.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. ~ I Peter 3:3-4

So, my dear daughters, I hope you always walk in love and forever in beauty.

Imperishable beauty. 

Because you are truly precious.

In His grace,

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*I always welcome comments and discussion and look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions. A gentle reminder, however, that Club31Women is a community where we strive to speak both grace and truth, so please refrain from insulting, divisive, or judgmental comments.  Thank you ~ Lisa

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home for Good

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home For Good

It all came to light at the kitchen sink.

Starting with a sigh—so natural to me that I never noticed it escaping my lips.

A long, heavy sigh.

I was washing vegetables for the dinner salad. Celery, peppers, and carrots. The typical evening prep.

Feeling behind and burdened by my day.

That’s when my husband walked in the room and asked, “Hey Babe, how was today?” And then, “Why the big sigh?”

He asked and I answered. And it went something like this . . . .

The bickering kids,

the avalanche of housework,

the half-broken appliances (like that dumb dryer!),

the errands that took far longer than they should have,

and

the 3 medical bills that had arrived in the mail.

A long list of complaints, but nothing special. All the usuals.

But right before my eyes, I watched those strong, solid shoulders of the Man I Love . . . drop a little. Hunch over a bit. Heavy with all I’d just dumped on him.

But he’d asked and I’d answered him honestly.

And I believe it’s important to be honest, don’t you?

Except for one thing.

My “honesty” was taking him down. Taking my whole family down really.

I was literally sucking the life out of our home with my complaining. 

I’d developed the very bad habit of grumbling and I’d masked it all under the disguise of “being honest” instead of calling it what it really was.

What I really was.

The Complaining Wife.  

And that’s when I knew that something had to change. I had to stop this negative stream of communication that greeted him most every evening. It was time to trade out my whining discontent and replace it with a thankful spirit. Choose cheerful words rather than negative ones.

I wanted to breathe life back into my home.

Oh, not that it meant I could never be “honest” again because there’s definitely a time and place for that. But I realized that I could save it for another moment. And I was going to make sure that I wasn’t merely “dumping” on him, but truly coming to him for support, help, or a little sympathy. Not complaining for the sake of complaining.

I decided to change my habit. Rather than focusing on all that had gone wrong, I was going to concentrate on all that was good in my day.  Things that were true, lovely, and worthy.

And that goes something like this . . . .

The kids had lots of fun at the park today,

got the pantry cleaned out,

so glad for my washing machine and (partially-working) dryer, 

made it to the grocery store,

and

grateful our girl got medical care when she really needed it. 

Same day – different perspective. Which has made all the difference in the world. 

So this is why I traded my sigh in for a smile and try to speak words of joy instead.

Changed my habit.

Changed my heart.

And how it changed our home for good.

….whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 ~

Maybe you’ve picked up the habit of complaining as well? Try changing this one bad habit and see the good it brings to your husband, yourself, and your home. 

Breathe words of life.

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Daughters

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Up Daughters

You probably know that I have four daughters.

And that I love these girls all to pieces. Each and every one of them.

They are my dearest friends and the ones I go to when I need prayer or encouragement. Or help. Or even advice, now that they’re getting older.

And coffee. I definitely go to them for coffee.

And they come to me for chocolate.

So you can see that we’re very close, these girls and me.

Even though each one is so different with her own unique personality. With her own individual strengths and weaknesses. And me with mine.

And we talk together and laugh and sometimes cry. Then talk some more and hopefully laugh again.

Because . . . well, because we’re girls, I guess.

And we’re growing up together.  These girls and me.

Growing Up Girls

Maybe you’ve got girls too?

If you do, then I’ve gathered some of the words I’ve shared over the last few years about raising daughters and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Plus a few things from their daddy too. Stuff I hope will encourage and help you with your girls too.

Encouraging & Helpful Articles on Raising Daughters

21 Questions Your Daughter Really Needs You to Ask Her

How Does Your Daughter Grow Up To Be Your Very Best Friend?

One Hundred Things I Want to Share Before She’s A Bride

To My Daughter: A Good Man Is Worth Waiting For

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Girl to Become a Lovely Woman

A Dozen Ways to Look After Your Daughter’s Heart

6 Truths Every Daughter Needs to Know

My Dear Daughter: A Word About Love Stories and Happy Endings

And from a Dad’s Heart:

8 Things Every Daughter Needs To Hear from Her Dad

20 Daddy-Daughter Dates

Growing Up Girls

And now I’m going to tell you something that you already know, but I have to say it anyway.

They grow up fast. These girls.

The next thing you know, she’s a woman and not merely a girl. And not only your daughter, but hopefully your friend too.

Drinking coffee and sharing chocolate together.

Talking, laughing, crying, and praying together.

Because that’s what grown-up girls do. ;)

Growing Up Girls - An Encouraging Resource

In His grace,

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P.S. Here’s another resource if you’ve got boys: Bringing Up Boys: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

11 Special Life-Lessons I’ve Learned from Our Special-Needs Girl

11 Special Life-Lessons I've Learned from Our Special-Needs Girl

Some days are simply etched in your mind.

Never to be forgotten. And this was one of those days.

I watched the entire thing with my own eyes, so I know that it really happened.

But still.

I couldn’t quite believe it.

Maybe it doesn’t seem so astonishing. You know, that your 12-year-old would be climbing up the stairs.

One slow step at a time with 16 steps to the top.

I’m sure your 2-year-old long ago accomplished this feat — and with surprising speed at that.

But then again, she probably has the use of both her legs and both her arms.

And our youngest daughter does not.

She does everything with her right arm and not much else. So you see, climbing the staircase was never an option for her.

Oh, not that it ever stopped her daddy from trying. The Man Who Never Gives Up. He worked with her day after day. Crawling alongside her, as he gently pulled her up each step. Showing her how it needed to be done.

But it just wasn’t going anywhere, if you know what I mean? And it was too painful for me to watch. So he eventually let up on these daily stair-climbing exercises—–more for my sake than for hers. I couldn’t bare to watch the struggle knowing that there wasn’t any chance of success.

With only one arm and 16 steps to the top.

It was too much.

So her loving daddy went back to carrying her upstairs to her cozy bed each night. Long after she was too old to be carried like a young child. With her blowing us kisses and calling out a cheery “goodnight” all the way up.

11 Special Life Lessons I've Learned from our Special Needs Girl

A year or so later, as I sat in my favorite spot in the corner of the couch, I heard a strange sound. An unfamiliar thump and a small groan.

Looking up, I watched as that little girl slowly, but ever-so-determinedly, pulled herself up. Giving it everything she had.

With one arm and up one step.

She made her way up 5 steps before the reality of what I was watching fully set in.

Oh, my child!! Crying out with all my heart.

And the rest of the family came running into the room, afraid of what they might find. But there she was . . . pulling herself up one step . . .  and then another.

With only one arm and 16 steps to the top.

The children cheering so loudly by those last few steps that the whole world must have heard the noise. Her big, strong daddy, with proud tears running down his face, shouting even louder than the rest.

13 . . . 14 . . . 15 . . . and then 16!

Her victorious grin when she finally reached that last step forever etched in my mind.

Special Life-Lessons I've Learned from Our Special-Needs Girl

This was the girl who was never supposed to walk, talk, or eat by mouth. We were told she’d never know me or learn to call me mom. She wouldn’t be able to learn much of anything. “The damage is just too extensive,” they informed us after she was born.

They were wrong. And I can’t help but be glad for that.

But you know what else those hospital doctors missed? They forgot to mention how much we would learn from her. And I honestly don’t know how they could have left that part out.

We’ve learned so many important life-lessons from our sweet little special girl.

11 Special Life-Lessons

I’ve Learned from Our Special-Needs Girl

1.    You can accomplish far more than some people might think. If you give it all you’ve got.

2.    Little successes are often actually big successes in disguise.

3.    You should never give up on anyone. No matter how discouraging or difficult it may seem.

4.    Sometimes victory means taking only one step at a time.

5.    Never stop cheering for the ones you love. They need to know that you believe they’re going to make it.

6.   You can sure bring a lot of joy to someone’s life by simply being youSo just be you.

7.    It matters less what you start out with than what you do with what’s been given you. 

8.   You should never underestimate the power of prayer. Because miracles still happen.

9.   Sometimes God answers prayers in the most amazing ways. She knows me and calls me by my name –  mom.

10.  And other times He asks us to wait. We look forward to the day when our little girl is completely healed and will dance in Heaven.

11.   Sometimes God chooses to glorify Himself best through the broken things. It doesn’t always make sense to us, but we know we can trust Him.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4

So I don’t know if God has been calling you to slowly climb up a long flight of steps , but if He has? I hope you’ll give it all you’ve got. That you’ll trust Him to give you the strength you need.  That you’ll keep climbing and that we’ll be cheering for you.

One step at a time and all the way to the top. 

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

7 Verses to Hold On To . . . When You’re Holding On to Your Marriage {& Free Printable}

7 Verses to Hold On to When You're Holding On to Your Marriage

I’m just trying to hold on . . .

And she left it there. But I knew what she meant and my heart went out to her.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of holding on and holding tight.

Remember what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

I was pretty sure I knew what she meant.

She was holding on to her marriage and wasn’t about to give up.

Maybe that’s where you are too. 

Or maybe it’s someone you love who is close to you and struggling to hang in there.

Holding on.

But you are not on your own in this world. God is with you.

Turn to Him and turn to His Word. Hold on to these truths He wrote for you. 

7 Verses to Hold On To . . .

When You’re Holding On to Your Marriage

Wisdom

If you don’t know what to do, or how to handle what’s before you? He promises to give you wisdom, if you ask Him for it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

Comfort

If you’re heart is breaking and you need healing and comfort? Let God’s steadfast love surround you and fill your heart once again. His promise.

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.  ~ Psalm 119:76

Strength

Maybe it seems impossible and you feel like you’re faltering? God will give you the strength to do what He’s called you to do. Let Him work through you and in you.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Help

Do you need some help in this situation? Can’t do it by yourself or on your own? You don’t have to do it alone. He is your mighty God and He will help you.

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

 

7 Verses to Hold On To - Part 1

Peace

If you’re worried and full of anxiety over the matter before you? Come to Him with your requests, remembering to thank Him for even the little things He’s done. He promises to fill you with His peace—the kind that almost doesn’t make sense and yet it’s real.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Courage

If you’re afraid of what’s going to happen or what the future holds? You don’t need to be because that’s only the voice of the Enemy trying to discourage and defeat you. This is a great verse to say right aloud: “For God gave ME a spirit not of fear…!”

….for God gave us {me!} a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Hope

You are never without hope because we serve the God of hope and He is a Redeemer! He is able – more than able – to carry you and your marriage.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

7 Verses to Hold On To - Part 2

FREE PRINTABLES

I hope you find strength and  encouragement in all these verses! They are for you.

Please feel free to print them off and place wherever they will most bless you—in your purse, in your kitchen window, or on your bedroom wall.

You can download and print the verses by clicking the links below:

7 Verses to Hold On to  – Part 1

7 Verses to Hold On to – Part 2

 

Keep holding on to your marriage, my friend.

God is holding on to you.

In His grace,

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*You’re very welcome to share these with friends or family who might need to hear this as well!

**If you’d like prayer- either for yourself, or someone you know and love – you can mention it below in the comments. I’d be glad to lift you up, as well as many other women in this community. And don’t feel like you have to get into the specifics, even a basic “pray for me” works and God knows well what it is that you’re asking. 

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).