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).

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).

The Grandest Wedding You’re Ever Going to See

The Grandest Wedding You're Ever Going to See

Have you heard of the show “Once Upon A Time”?

It’s all about fairy tales with a modern twist and I love it! Growing up my favorite kind of stories were fairy tale stories. What’s not to love about villains, magic, sword wielding princes, brave, but in distress, princesses, and of course, true love’s kiss?

There are a plethora of stories about the power of true love. It can wake a sleeping princess from an enchanted sleep, or turn a beast into a prince. True love saves and makes whole. It creates a bond so strong that it all but guarantees a happily ever after ending.

But as we grow up we exchange our beloved fairy tales for something more “realistic”. We now flock to the movies to watch down to earth stories and yet, the theme of love and rescue can be found even in our modern stories. Whether they’re comedy or adventure stories we love seeing justice prevail and true love win.

These stories resonate with us because we know there is something terribly wrong. We see it in ourselves and in the world around us. We know that we need to be rescued, that the world is not as it should be, that evil needs to be defeated, and we need a hero–a deliverer.

All this talk about rescue and love reminds me of the story of the Bible.

From Genesis to Revelation we see a story of curses and of sacrifice, of a prince, a kingdom, and a bride, the defeat of evil, and the prevailing of good. We have a story that includes a dragon, supernatural powers, and battles. Driving the whole story is true love.

Best of all, this is our story, and it is much more real than what is reflected in fairy tales.

In our story sin brought the curse of death (Gen 3). A curse that marred our beauty, clothed us in rags, and turned our hearts to stone, leaving us for dead.

But our story is also one of hope. It is the affection and power of Christ our King that awakens us from this sleep of death (Song of Sol. 1:2). It is his gentle, yet powerful touch on our hearts that begins to remove sin’s iron grip (Ezekiel 36:26) so we can once again do right, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8).  This King of ours cleanses us and then dresses us in robes of righteousness and other fine linen (Rev. 19:7,8; Is. 61:10).

And in the end a terrible dragon will be defeated,  there will be a grand wedding in a Kingdom so amazing there aren’t words to describe it.

The Grandest Wedding You're Ever Going to See

Right now we find ourselves in the middle of the story.

We are waiting for our true love to come for us. While we don’t know when that will be, we can be certain that He will come for us and we are called to be ready for His arrival.

We should pour over His love letter to us, the Scripture, and know our Prince as well as possible.

We should beautify ourselves not with outward adornments, but with a beauty that comes from within (1 Peter 3:4). With kindness and purity of heart, with love, faith, joy, patience and contentment.

So read fairy tales to your children, awaken in them the imagination and wonder of far off places where anything can happen. But make sure to remind them of an even greater story, a story of true love shown in a blood sacrifice. Of a kingdom so wildly beautiful and amazing that even the best story tellers can’t do it justice.

Remind them that truth and goodness will win and that all those whose faith is in Christ our Redeemer King will be saved.

He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:10

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).

The Powerful Gift of a Woman With Kind Words

The Powerful Gift of a Woman with Kind Words

I turned 46, and that’s when my boys took me to the Tamarack for the best fish tacos, and Matt bought me the adorable brown felt hat that we are convinced will help me write better because I look so cute and author-ish in it.

And it’s the day my doorbell rang. A friend of 17 years was on the front porch holding a glass jar with one of those cute little chalkboard stickers on it like you see on Pinterest.

On the label it read, 46 Nuggets for Christy.

Hershey’s nuggets that is –each one wrapped in brightly covered scrapbook paper. She’s that kind of special person who thinks long about gifts until she knows just what fits the recipient. (And I always feel sorry for her that I’m the kind of friend who goes shopping 15 minutes before the birthday party and throws the gift into a bag while I’m still parked at Target.)

On each one of those chocolates was wrapped a handwritten note.

She doesn’t know that I sat on the couch, with that jar unopened in my lap, for a long, long time.

It made me uncomfortable and teary.

How could she spend this time on me? I thought.

I’m not worth this kind of gift, I thought.

Finally, my desire for chocolate overcoming my inner turmoil, I unscrewed the lid and gently peeled the paper off of one of the candies.

Jesus loves bloggers, she wrote.

He does? I thought. He does. He does love bloggers. She made me smile, and that is a good birthday gift.

To savor the sweets and the notes, I decided to open only one a day.

I’m glad you’re you, she said the next day.

You’re fun to be around, she said.

Jesus loves girls who don’t like to go outside, she said. (Totally gets me.)

I am shocked at how desperately I need to hear these words. I didn’t even know I was hungry for them. 

She has given me the good news of Jesus through her friendship.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

The Powerful Gift of a Woman with Kind Words

The Powerful Gift of Kind Words

Sometimes we sit with the love of God in front of us, and it feels like that jar of individually wrapped chocolates. We wonder how God could like us, let alone love us. We wonder how he could have time for us or even see who we are. We feel uncomfortable to receive his too-good-to-be-true kindness.

But if this sweet friend’s love is true, I can believe God likes me, too.

So what I’m trying to say is how powerful your words are.

Think of all the encounters you have in a day and how each one can be like a wrapped Hershey’s.

Your toddler wakes up in the morning and crawls into your lap. You smile at her and say, I’m so glad you’re awake. I like being with you.

And in that sacred moment you have preached to her a sermon that she is valuable, and hopefully this will soften her heart to receive the magnificent love of God.

We can speak words that tell our husbands and our children and our friends that we like who they are –right now when they are not perfect, and this is the good news of Jesus in real life.

You can bring this simple gift for your family to savor like chocolates –a little bit every day.

Who in your house needs to hear the words, I like you?

~ Christy Fitzwater

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).

3 Good Reasons I Won’t Let Our Kids Disrespect Me

3 Good Reason I Won't Let Our Children Disrespect Me

To be honest, it surprised me somewhat.

The way the little guy was throwing himself at his mom.

Kinda playing.

Kinda not.

His mom didn’t seem to mind it much and brushed it all off. He was young and cute and it was all harmless now.

And it’s true, her son was adorable.

But smacking at your mom? Not so cute.

Not ever in my book.

I’m not saying that I’d get all worked up over it. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t allow it.

But there are other ways to show disrespect to your mom. More subtle, but equally unacceptable.

Like the young girl who was mocking her mother for having forgotten an item at home. All said with a slight sneer.

She was another cutie, complete with pigtails and bouncy air.

But darlin’, there’s nothing sweet about sassing your mom like that. No ma’am!

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not an uptight mom and I have lots of fun with our kids. We often play and joke around together!

But I do expect our children to show me respect—and they know it.

“Respect” has somehow fallen out of favor in this present generation. With the emphasis on freedom and feeling, there’s just not a lot of teaching on courtesy and respect for parents. Yet honoring your father and your mother is a timeless truth and shouldn’t be based on the current cultural trend.

Our children need to learn how to respect us, for their own sake as well as our own. And here’s why . . . 

3 Good Reasons I Won’t Let Our Children Disrespect Me

1.  The Bible says that our children are to honor their mother (and father). So when I’m teaching them to show respect to me? I’m helping them obey God and enjoy the blessings that come with obedience.

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise)…. (Eph. 6:2)

2.  By respecting me, our children are learning to respect others in the future. Showing respect is such a beautiful and powerful skill that will benefit them – and others – for the rest of their lives. They’re also learning how to respect their bosses at work someday, their future spouses, and their neighbor next door.

3.  Respect does as much for the child, as it does for the parent. Teaching our children to respect me is less about what I need or want, than it is about teaching our kids the security and strength of respecting others. This value for respect was confirmed when our oldest son mentioned it as one of the best things he’d learned at home: 9 Things I’d Say My Mom Got Right. This lesson is one that will help our children far into the future.

3 Good Reasons I Won't Let Our Children Disrespect Me

Some Questions Answered

* What would you consider as “respectful”?

While everyone’s definition might vary a bit, in our home that means no smacking, striking, or swinging of any kind. Also, our kids need to use a tone that is in keeping with my role as their mom, such as no yelling or sassing or snarling.  They’re required to use respectful vocabulary and refrain from insults or inappropriate language of any kind.

* How do you handle disrespect when it happens?

First, I’d correct , such as, “No, that’s not how you talk – or treat – your mom.” Then I’d give instruction as to what needed to happen instead. I’m a big fan of Try It Again which means giving the child a chance to say what they want to say, except this time in a respectful voice or manner. If this doesn’t work, or the problem is ongoing, then I’ll hand out consequences—-which vary depending on the situation and age of the child. But we do consider disrespect as a serious matter and, in our family, Dad will make sure that situation is made right. ;)

*What do you do to encourage your children to show you respect?

Good question!  For one, I try to be someone who merits respect – not perfect or amazing – but simply a person who takes to heart her position as mother. Also, I try to make it a point of not getting “down to their level” if they choose to act or speak disrespectfully. Yelling back at them or being ugly in return doesn’t help them to respect me more, but rather less. Keep your tone civil, and even gracious, as you insist they address you in a respectful manner.

So what do you say? Let’s pass on to this next generation the beauty – and blessing – of showing respect to parents!

*Any further thoughts or questions about children respecting their parents? I love hearing from you! 

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).