Reviving The Lost Art of Loyalty

Reviving the Lost Art of LoyaltyMatt was tracking his brother and his brother’s friend on an app for the Huckleberry 100. When we could see their bikes were only 15 miles out from the halfway point, we drove downtown to cheer them on at the rest station.

“They’re six miles out,” my husband said.

“Five miles.”

“Should be any minute now,” he said.

But they didn’t come and didn’t come.

We chatted with some friends who had done the family length of the bike race. Still our guys hadn’t come around the corner. We exchanged concerned looks.

Finally they came slowly around the corner.

Immediately we could see the serious look on Luke’s face and the pained look on his friend’s face. Evidently, the friend wasn’t far enough out from a previous hamstring injury to be riding a race. His leg was causing him intense pain, and there was no way he could turn the pedals one more time.

My brother-in-law grabbed a snack and took off, trying to make up time. We loaded his seriously bummed friend and his bike into our vehicle.

“I started hurting at mile 35,” he said. “I kept trying to get Luke to go on ahead, but he wouldn’t leave me.”

We dropped of this injured guy at Luke’s house, and on our way home I said to my husband, “Your mom raised good boys.”

Luke had trained intensely for this 100-mile race for a long time, but his friend mattered more to him than his race time did.

This is what it means to be loyal.

It is ironic that the greatest perseverance Luke showed in the race was in sticking close to his friend.

Teaching Loyalty in Your Family

People give up so easily on each other these days, but we can teach our kids to be the kind of people who value others over their own comfort. We can teach them to make personal sacrifices in order to keep their commitments to people.

One way to begin teaching our kids loyalty is to insist that they keep their promises. If they commit to being somewhere or to helping someone, they have to keep that commitment regardless of the personal cost to themselves. If a more enjoyable activity presents itself, we want our kids to say, “Sorry, I promised this other person I would be there for them.”

In Philippians 2:4 (ESV), Paul tells the followers of Christ:

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I have to admit that loyalty does not come easily to me, but my husband has modeled this trait over the years, to the point that he and our kids are the ones who set the example for me.

I’m learning about loyalty, and I am asking God to develop this character trait in me. I’m practicing, and I can see steady improvement.

We have to start with ourselves and ask, “Am I loyal to the people in my life?” After we’ve evaluated our own perseverance in relationships, maybe then loyalty would be a good topic of discussion around the dinner table.

Let’s be families who are known for our extraordinary loyalty.



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15 Things to Love About Being a Mom of Boys

15 Things to Love About Being a Mom of BoysGot boys?

Yeah, me too.

Four of them.

Our oldest son and then three young boys.

And I can’t believe no one told me how wonderful being a mom of boys could be.

Not that I don’t love my girls—you already know how dear they are to me—but boys? They’re some of the best.

Like the best.

And if you ever spent much time around them….you would certainly understand why.

So I began a list of a few things that I love about having boys.

At first it was going to be “10 Things That I Love,” but then I had such a hard time limiting it to “10” that I upped it to 15.

Maybe 150.

So really, this is only a starter list. Because I’m sure you’ll have a thing or  two to add to what I’ve got here. But this is what I came up with . . . .

15 Things I Love About Being A Mom of Boys
15 Things to Love About Being a Mom of Boys

1.   I love their fiery spirits.

I love how they’re ready to right all wrongs and jump into danger. How they grab their swords and fight to the death. (Okay, not literally, but you know what I mean?)

2.   I love their tender hearts.

Just when you think he’s the toughest, roughest, sort of kid, he surprises you with the softest word or kindest touch. Melts my heart. Every time.

Boys in the Mud

3.   I love how they smell like dirt.

You didn’t think I’d say that did you. Or at least that I’d mean it. But I did. And I do. I love that musty smell they have—a bit like the dog’s toy that got left outside for a couple of days. Like bugs and grass. Earthy. And sometimes just downright muddy. 

15 Things to Love About Boys8

4.   I love their mischievous impulses.

Like when they hide under the blankets of my bed and wait patiently for me to crawl in…and hear me scream! (pretending I didn’t see those wiggly, giggling bumps under the cover?) I love their silly jokes and goofy pranks. Well, at least most of the time. Placing the explosive Snapdragons under the toilet seat was bit much. Grrrr….!

15 Things to Love About Boys3

5.   I love how they wrestle, tussle, and attack.

Keeps me young. And limber and strong. I probably would have given up wrestling years ago…if I didn’t have to fight off a bunch of bandits who can often appear suddenly out of nowhere.

6.   I love their protective instinct.

In spite of all that, these young lads can be quite chivalrous. They can’t bear to see me dragging a heavy load out to the trash. Or to get hurt. Or cry. I try to tell them that “I’m stronger than I look,” but they don’t seem to quite believe me. They want to save me from all harm. And that’s okay with me.

15 Things to Love About Boys10

7.   I love how they can make me laugh.

And, oh, how they can get me going! And once they get started? There’s no stopping them. Sometimes laughing until tears stream down my cheeks. Especially that youngest one (far right). The ham. 

15 Things to Love About Boys7

15 Things to Love About Boys6

8.   I love their constant motion.

Oh my goodness. Never walking. Always running. And do your boys ever sit still?? Because mine certainly don’t. They wriggle and squirm and twitch until I…send them outside. GO PLAY! Whew. 

9.   I love how loud they are.

I never thought I’d say this. But here I am. I’ve actually grown fond of the way they slam the doors, shout to each other in the same room, and sing full volume while washing the dishes. I mean, who needs a quiet house? (Okay, I do. And that’s when I send them back outside!)

15 Things to Love About Boys9

10.   I love how hard they work.

It makes me smile to see them to do their best to keep up with their dad. Whether feeding the animals, tilling the garden, or mowing the lawn—they’ll give it all they’ve got. (Not that they don’t need a little push now and then….)

11.   I love all the funny noises they make.

The grunts. The burps. The motor noises. And, well, those other somewhat indescribable and rather embarrassing noises too…..

15 Things to Love About Boys

12.   I love their sweet snuggles.

Does it get much better than this? Even their older sister (who is away at college) called to say how much she misses snuggling with her brothers. Dusty, sticky, and stained—I’ll take cuddles from the boys any way I can!

13.   I love how they argue over who gets to make my coffee in the morning.

Somehow their dad has convinced them that this is one of the highest honors a man can have. I know. I’m sure I don’t deserve it, but I drink it up all the same. One spoiled mom. 

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 14.   I love how they look up to their dad.

Yes, they know he’s not perfect, but he’s their dad. And he’s a good man. And the boys love and respect him.

They also know that they are deeply loved by him.

15 Things to Love About Boys

15.  I love how they grow into fine young men.

So to be perfectly honest? I don’t know that I was as patient – or as appreciative – when this young man was a squirmy, muddy, running-hard kind of little boy.

But as each year goes by, I can see more and more clearly the calling God has on his life.

I can see how he would need that high level of energy and that kind of drive to do the things that he was made to do.

15 Things to Love About Boys

In some ways so much has changed. He is no longer a boy, but a young man.

He is still my son, but far more of a friend.

And he still has a mischievous grin and doesn’t mind a little dirt.

And he still has a hug for his mom.

So you can probably see why I love being a mom of boys.

It’s the best.

The very best.

Run strong, son. Run strong.

In His grace,
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*Got boys? Share with us something you love about having a son! 

Photo credit: Most of the photos are thanks to the boys’ Auntie Brenda and the last photo is from Captured! Photography.

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3 Reasons Mom “Loses It” With Her Kids {& How She Can Win}

3 Reasons Mom Loses It and How She Can Win

To be perfectly honest, I never knew I had a temper.

Not until I had children.

And that’s when I discovered I had a real ugly side.

Surprisingly explosive.

My kids could say or do things that simply set me off like nothing else ever had.

In an instant, I lost it.


Not pretty.

Not nice.

And not godly parenting.

Now maybe you’re having a hard time picturing this. You can’t imagine that smiling lady in the picture actually coming unglued.

But it’s happened. More than once.

You can even ask my older children and they’ll tell you. (My full confession is here.)

I suppose this side of me hadn’t come out before because I’d never been quite so frustrated. Not quite so tired and worn down either. Not nearly so overwhelmed.

I understood that motherhood was going to be tough at times . . . I just didn’t realize how tough.

And so I lost it.

But when mom “loses it”? Everyone loses.

And I did NOT want that. I didn’t want it for myself and I really didn’t want it for them.

Not everyone struggles with this, but for those of you who do, I’m going to share a few reasons why this happens . . . and what’s more, what you can do about it.

3 Reasons A Mom Loses It with Her Kids {& How to Win}

1.  She has not taken the time to train her children.

You are frustrated because your kids are constantly making a mess. Or they’re not ready on time. Or they haven’t done their chores. Or their schoolwork. Or _______ (fill in the blank). You’ve told your children over and over again what they are supposed to be doing. You’ve nagged and you’ve threatened. Maybe you’ve yelled.

And yet nothing changes.

Winning Strategy

So here’s the problem: there’s a big difference between instructing and training. Both are important, but we moms have a tendency to leave off with the second half of that equation.

Training involves:

  1. Telling  (communicating what is expected)
  2. Practicing  (giving plenty of opportunities to do the right thing)
  3. Consequences  (what happens when it’s not done)

Personally, I’m a big fan of “natural consequences” and apply them wherever I can. (This is probably an entire post in itself, but let me give you a few examples below).

  • You’re not ready on time? Guess you’re not going to get to go to the party then.
  • Your room isn’t clean? Well, you are free to play (or have dessert, or ….) when it’s tidy.
  • You forgot to do your chores? Okay, then I’ll save your dinner for when you’re done.

One of the reasons you “lose it” in these situations is that you feel helpless. Except that you’re not helpless. You’re the mom remember?

Get creative. Remain cheerful, but firm. And pray for wisdom. :)

2.  She forgets to embrace the season she is in.

I know. It can seem like forever. That your child will always wet the bed. Or forget his backpack. Or break down crying at the simplest request.

But it will pass.

I was just Skyping our oldest son (now 21 years old) this morning and we were remembering a time when I “lost it” with the kids when they were younger. I cringed at the memory, even though he was grinning as he recounted the story.

Because looking back, I can see that it had been merely a matter of immaturity, but I had taken it personally. And so I lost my cool. Ugh. I’d do that one over again if I could.

Winning Strategy

Recognize the season you’re in – or maybe more to the point, what season your child is in – and decide you’re going to love it. All of it. The wet sheets, the mess, and the mud. It is only a short time and before you know it, you’re Skyping your adult kid and you’re both laughing at it.

I promise. 

3.  She is taking on more than what God has asked of her.

Surprised? Quite honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons a mom “loses it.” You are doing too much.

Here, let me say it again: You are doing too much.

Okay, so I can already hear your protests. “What do you mean, I’m doing too much? I’m only doing all the things that I HAVE to do!”

But we moms can get confused on what we “have” to do and what we (erroneously) believe we “should” do. And since we’re talking mom-to-mom, I’m going to confess a number of things that I have NOT done—and that my kids have somehow survived just fine. Ready?

  • throw big birthday parties
  • attend the birthday parties of other kids (yes, I’m serious! #don’tjudge)
  • Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Awanas, soccer club, or play dates
  • crafts, games, or Disneyland
  • and lots more…..

And yet for some reason, my kids still consider me a good mom. Crazy, huh? 

So look to God for what you really “have” to do—not to your friends, neighbors, church, or current culture. 

Winning Strategy

Step back and evaluate all that you’re doing and determine those things that are truly essential and those that are optional.

And then I suggest that you ditch the optional.

If juggling so many things brings you to the point of “losing it” with your kids? Then you’re doing too much.

Because your child needs a calm, loving hug from his mom far more than he needs to go to some kid’s birthday party.

I know this because I Skyped that kid this morning. That kid who is now a young adult.

And you want to know something? He doesn’t miss attending that birthday party.

But he said he sure does miss his mom’s hugs.

And if you’re the mom who is beating herself up over how she loses it with her kids? I will tell you something else: kids are resilient and they are forgiving.

And it’s never too late to start a winning strategy.

So start now.

Trust me, it’s a win-win.

In His grace,
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Strong Encouragement for the Single Mom

Strong Encouragement for the Single MomWhen I was a little girl I never dreamed that I’d get married, get divorced and end up raising my boys alone.

It wasn’t my dream and it most certainly was not in my plans.

Truthfully, I was caught off guard. I was not prepared for the journey that I faced. For a long time I felt like I was drowning in my sorrows. My heart ached constantly for myself and my sweet boys.

If you have ever been through the pain of separation or divorce, can you relate?

On the nights where the pain hurts deep into your soul or when you hold your heartbroken children I want to speak a word of encouragement over you: God’s got you!

God sees you! It is tempting to think that God is not there for us when we go through hard times. I remember some dark nights when I would sit in my bathroom and cry wondering where God was and why He wasn’t there to rescue me.

When those moments and lies creep up on you I want you to remember three things:

1. God knows about your pain and struggles
2. He is always right there with you even if he feels absent
3. God will provide for every need that you have

For months during my divorce I felt like I couldn’t pray. I was struggling to stay sane and just get through the day. I didn’t feel like I had the words to cry out to God. I would just sit in my bed and moan or hum.

In those moments when you find it hard to pray please don’t feel discouraged.

During my journey as a single mom I learned a few things that helped me press on each day:

1. God hears your prayers! Even when all you can do is cry out in pain
2. God hears the prayers made on your behalf
3. God hears the pain of your children

Being a single mom is hard and exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

God is there for you and He has a plan for your life despite your pain. It is possible to find joy and purpose in your pain.

Just keep your eyes on the cross!

LaToya EdwardsLaToya is a recovering perfectionist and control freak that loves old movies, good books and strawberry Häagen-Dazs® ice cream. She traded in a law degree to homeschool her children and be home full-time to serve her family. Through trials of divorce, depression, death and more she has learned how to find joy in motherhood and broken circumstances. As a certified life coach it is LaToya’s desire to encourage and equip other women to do the same.

For more encouraging articles on single parenting, be sure and visit LaToya’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.

Beautifully Broken by LaToya Edwards

*Are you ready to live a life that is beautifully broken? Join me on this life changing journey! No matter what your circumstances look like, you can find joy and purpose in your pain. ~ LaToya Edwards

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What Should You Do When Your Kid Faces Hardship?

What If Your Kid Is Facing Hardship

Our senior in high school just got a job working at an historical soda fountain and candy store in downtown Kalispell. They make the best shakes there –the kind where part of the shake comes in a classic fluted glass, with real whipped cream and a cherry on top, and the rest comes in a metal cylinder.

So he had this week where everything happened at once.

School all day and then work from 3:30 to 8:00. A fundraiser for his choir trip. A dance. A huge assignment for AP English. And praise team practice.

I don’t feel good, he said yesterday. (So much for AP English.)

You’re exhausted, I said. Exhaustion makes you not feel well.

I felt so sorry for my baby, and my husband was annoyed at my pity.

Oh, please, he said. He needs this.

Of course, Matt is right. Caleb needs to grow in perseverance and learn to put in some long days that aren’t easy.

These are the days God uses to help us grow in faith, endurance, and maturity. 

But what’s a mom to do?

I’ve been protecting this child since he came out of the womb. I supported his neck and was careful how I laid him down in the cradle. I cut his grapes and hot dogs in half so he wouldn’t choke. I taught him not to chase a ball into the street. I provided Band-Aids and kisses when he fell down.

For so many years it was my job to make sure he was safe.

And now I’m supposed to step back and let the hard days come?

It reminds me of when my daughter started playing soccer. For years we had been telling her to be kind to others and share her toys. Then we found ourselves screaming, Get the ball! Don’t let him have it! 

How do we make such a big change in parenting?

I will say publicly that I do think I’ve sometimes coddled my kids too much from the pain in this life.

TO CODDLE: To treat in an overprotective or indulgent way. OR to cook an egg in water below the boiling point.

That second definition fits my parenting style –don’t let life get too hot for my sweet child. But my husband’s point is that not allowing our kids to experience the heat creates a soft child.

This is true.

So here’s my advice to you, now that I’m all wise after I’ve raised my kids.

There’s a weaning to solid food that we do in the first year of life (which I cried all the way through, by the way.) And there’s a weaning from protection to enduring hardship that we need to do increasingly as our children get older.

We wean our children from our protection by changing our response to hardship.

So instead of saying to my 17-year-old, Oh, my poor little baby–and doing the sad eyes and huggy-kissy thing–I told my son I was sorry these were long days and that I was praying God would give him strength.

On his way out the door to school, as he sighed with fatigue, I hugged him and said, One hour at a time. You just live one hour at a time. 

Well, I still did the cheek kissy thing, I must admit. But I think I did a better job acknowledging the need for perseverance.

Now I’ll end with this quote from my husband that you may borrow for the process of weaning:

Hard isn’t bad. It’s just hard. 


Christy Fitzwater
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The Most Important Ingredient in Family Relationships

The Most Important Ingredient in Family Relationships

When someone asks me, “What do you think is the most important ingredient in the family?

I quickly respond: forgiveness.

It also might be the most difficult.

I can’t count the number of times over the years that I’ve had to go to my husband or my children and say, “Honey, I shouldn’t have said what I did, or I shouldn’t have done what I did and I need to ask you to forgive me. Will you forgive me?”

I can’t remember a single time that I felt like doing this.

I’d much rather tack on, “But if you had or if you hadn’t….”

After all, sometimes I think I’m justified.

But God has commanded me to ask for forgiveness and to grant it. So for the sake of my relationship with Him I go…most likely silently kicking and screaming!

If I waited until I felt like doing this I’d probably never do it. And then bitterness and resentment would begin to creep into our relationship creating a low-grade infection that has the potential to grow into a serious illness.

The asking and granting of forgiveness does not mean that trust is restored. Trust has to be earned and often this takes a long time. It also does not mean you or the other person immediately feel better. Either of you may be wounded.

However, it is the asking of and granting of forgiveness that opens the door to the healing process.

Confessing our sins and asking forgiveness is harder for some than others. My husband John says (generally speaking) it’s easier for women to ask for forgiveness than it is for men and it’s easier for men to grant it than it is for most women.

It helps to realize that what we practice within our families will trickle down into other relationships.

Yesterday I had to ask a girlfriend for forgiveness for something I said that I found out had offended her. I had not meant to offend her but I did. Yes it was humiliating for me to do this but in the long term I want a clean relationship with her and I want to be obedient to God in this area of confessing.

It helps to remember that, God-willing, we are raising future husbands and wives. And they are going to need to know how to forgive if they want healthy marriages. How will they learn how to do this if they don’t see us practicing this in our home?

Sometimes for me it’s the way I said something to my husband. It was cynical, critical or unkind. And I have to say to him,

“Honey I’m sorry I said that the way I did. Will you forgive me?”

Once forgiveness is granted we might talk about how I could have said what I needed to say in a better way. We don’t sweep the issue under the carpet, but instead bring it into the open and ask God to help us resolve the issue.

How about you? We all need God ‘s help in the asking and granting of forgiveness.

If we ask Him for help, He will give it generously.

After all forgiveness is the heart of the gospel.

 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)



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