All posts by Teri Maxwell

Teri Maxwell is wife to Steve for over 40 years, mom to eight children (three married), and grandma to eight. She loves keeping her home running smoothly and sharing with women in the vein of Titus 2:4&5. Teri homeschooled for thirty years, and she's graduated all her children. In between her other responsibilities, she manages to squeeze in writing time. She is co-author of the popular Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores. In addition, Teri's written three books just for ladies Homeschooling with a Meek & Quiet Spirit, Sweet Journey, and Sweet Relationships. She has been writing monthly encouragement articles for homeschool moms for 25 years. Find more information on Teri Maxwell and her books.

Three Crucial Steps to Fruitfully Start the Homeschool Year

How can excitement, drive, and determination so quickly deteriorate into tears, discouragement, and feeling like a failure on the first day of the homeschool year? Somehow my plans, joy, and ideals dissipated with each grumble, resistance, and dawdling leaving me a disappointed basket case by 3:00 p.m. With experience, the Lord showed me steps to turn those first-day-of-school blues into smile-filled momentum and achievement.

1. Prepare for the Year

Have your plan in place. That includes curricula for each child and their supplies such as notebooks, notebook divider tabs, pencils and pens, paper, folders, calculators, scissors—whatever they will need. Hunting for essentials when school is in session is sure to take precious minutes from study. I have many more details in this area in Managers of Their Schools.

What about your homeschool schedule? Nailed down? Printed? Available? Invest time in schedule crafting to insure productivity in education when school starts. Playing it by ear is certain to meet disaster by the end of the day. If you need any scheduling help, Managers of Their Homes is a reliable, understandable, time-tested, homeschool-mom-endorsed resource.

Do you have a homeschool chore system in place? You simply can’t do all the housework yourself. Even preschoolers can pitch in to help, and older children are actually productive. It is possible that a chore plan will make or break not just your first day of school but your whole year. House work has to be accomplished efficiently and effectively. Managers of Their Chores takes you step by step through making a customized chore system for your family using ChorePacks.

2. Prepare Your Heart

Pray. Sometime before starting school make time to pray long and specifically for school and each child. I would gather all our school books around me, working child by child through them to direct my prayers. 

One of the deadliest enemies of homeschool joy is expectations. Give your expectations to the Lord. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). Then cultivate a heart of gratitude that finds reasons to be thankful rather than disappointed. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

3. Prepare Memories and Your Children

Let the the first day-of-school be memories not academics. We actually called this our pre-first-day of school. We had a special breakfast—that’s very time consuming. I put out school surprises that ended up distracting from our normal flow of morning life. We took photos of each child with their school books. But when memories were our goal, it didn’t matter how long it took or how much it distracted. 

I also met with each child so I could go over his homeschool schedule, look at his books with him, and set up any other school materials that he had. I let him know what the requirements were for each subject and how he would tackle it. That way when we dove into our homeschool schedule the next day, he was prepared to study.

I am smiling as I think about you starting school in the next few weeks. I am praying that these three crucial steps will have you smiling at the end of that pre-first-day of school and your children sharing a happy report when your husband comes home. I would love to know how it goes for you. Just reply to this e-mail.

Trusting in Jesus,

Teri

One Good Habit

Form one, just one, good habit before school starts. If you begin school after Labor Day, you still have 8 habit-forming weeks left. I looked at the twenty most read books on Amazon this week. In the first fifteen, I noticed 2 on habits.

Sometimes a good habit replaces a bad habit. Other times it stands on its own. As Christians, we experience power in positive habit formation that others lack—the power of God. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). 

What if you prayed right now and asked God to show a habit He wanted you to develop in the next 8 weeks? What do you struggle with that would be easier with a habit to help you accomplish it? Perhaps recently, He whispered it to you, but you resisted. What if you committed right now to make that habit a priority through the rest of the summer? What would your life look like going forward if that habit was in place? We are often robbed of joy by something that might not be so hard, with God’s help, to put in place in our lives.

God wired us for habits to make our lives simpler with fewer decisions and less thought. A habit automatically moves us through an action without having to consider whether we do it or not, when we do it, or how we do it. It just happens.

The homeschool mom finds it easier to focus and work on a new habit during the summer than at New Year’s because generally she doesn’t have homeschooling responsibility during June, July, and August.

Habits that come to my mind that most of us would like to have would be:

  • Consistent bedtime and wake up time
  • Time in the Word each day
  • Daily exercise
  • Meal planning
  • Consistent meal times
  • Consistent laundry time
  • Consistent cleaning time
  • Consistent home organization and dejunking

 

Most of you know that my early mothering did not start out well. I was angry, worried, and depressed. Over the years as I began each of those habits (I listed) they had a direct positive impact on my negative emotions.

In order to implement a new habit, make a plan. Write down specific steps toward your habit. For example, “Read my Bible daily” makes a perfect good habit if it isn’t already in place. For that habit, you want to determine:

  • How long to read your Bible.
  • When to read it.
  • Where to read it.
  • What distractions to eliminate.

 

To tap into the spiritual power God gives us for doing what He calls us to do, pray. Pray throughout the day that God will enable you to form the new habit. Pray that you don’t choose the flesh over the new habit. When you fail, repent, asking the Lord’s forgiveness, and go at it again. That’s extremely simple but terribly hard all at the same time.

What habit will you tackle in the next 8 weeks? If you e-mail me and let me know, I will pray for you. Then I will e-mail you in September and ask how you did.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Posted in: Mom's Corner

The No-Regrets Summer

I remember getting to the last week of summer break and wondering, “Where did summer go? What did I accomplish? What happened to those goals I had for all the extra time without school responsibilities?” I looked forward to many available hours over the summer before it started, but when it ended, I regretted not utilizing them to their potential.

When I was purposeful with my summer, I avoided those regrets. That means I prayed and thought about what the Lord wanted me to do with summer hours that weren’t being spent homeschooling. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23). With that leading, I planned my summer.

Part of my scheme involved a schedule. The schedule gave dedicated time not only to the basics of our life but also to the particular areas the Lord directed my summer to be focused on.

During the summer, I taught my children new chores. I gardened with Anna a couple of years. I played outside and inside with my children. I prepared for the new school year. I cleaned and organized. I read books to myself and others to my children.

What hangs over your head during the school year that you simply don’t have time to do? Use summer for it. Put it in your schedule so that it is being accomplished each day. Then when summer is over, you see what you have been able to do.

Through the homeschooling year, I kept a list of cleaning and organizing tasks that I wanted to complete, but for which I couldn’t afford the time. In my summer schedule, I allocated 1/2 to 1 hour a day for those jobs. I prioritized that list and started working on the first project. When my timer went off, I stopped. The next day, I picked up where I left off.

One by one, I crossed projects off my list, and each summer I managed to work through every task on the list. That gave me a huge sense of accomplishment, and all I dedicated for that part was 1/2 or 1 hour a day.

How about a productive summer for your children too? Have you considered discussing summer goals with them? Can you help them learn to be purposeful with their time? What would they like to do with summer hours? Perhaps they will learn a new skill, practice one they already know, gain more knowledge in an area of interest, or be involved in ministry. If you put time into the schedule to work on those goals, your child has a greater likelihood of achieving them.

“Purposeful, quality, directed, productive, excellent, goal-oriented” are words we like to describe summer when it is finished. Frustrating, unproductive, ho-hum, chaotic, wasted, disappointing–we prefer to avoid that kind of summer. You choose whether you float through June, July, and August or plan them. I believe that decision will dictate how you feel at the end of summer.

If you need any help with scheduling or chore planning this summer, I suggest Managers of Their Chores and Managers of Their Homes. Learn conversation skills with your children by reading Making Great Conversationalists and doing the projects. Read Sweet Journey and Sweet Relationships to grow in your walk with the Lord and your relationships with others.

Have a great, productive, no-regrets summer!

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Great Healthy Bread

Regularly Steve and I are asked if we think parents should make their children have personal Bible time. Our simple response is, “Of course. Don’t you make your children eat healthy food?” Our goal is for our children to leave home with an ingrained habit of having daily, personal Bible time by their choice as adults. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

We want to give them time in their schedules each day for it. We also desire to model it for them. We think we should express our joy and excitement over being in the Word, and teach them to grow spiritually through their nourishment from the Word.

When we say parents should require their children to have Bible time, they might reply, “But won’t that cause them not to like Bible reading and choose not to do it when they are adults?” Hopefully not. It hasn’t been the case with our children. Our goal in feeding our children healthy food when they are children is that they will develop a taste for the healthy food and choose it when they are making their own food decisions.

Since we know that healthy food isn’t as enticing to the taste buds as junk food, we will also be educating our children about the benefits of the healthy food versus unhealthy food. Similarly, we will be teaching our children how to have a Bible time where they are learning and growing spiritually and also sharing with them about those benefits. We will be talking to them and warning them of the pull of the flesh and how that will want to rob them of their spiritual nourishment.

In our home, we didn’t have to mandate daily Bible time. Instead we simply incorporated it into our schedule. It was what we did at the specified time. It was a positive part of our days, so much so, that our younger children were eager for the day when they could read on their own and then get up early enough for personal Bible time like Dad and Mom and their big brothers and sisters.

Fast forward, and we are delighted to see our three married children continue their habit of daily, personal Bible time. The benefits in their lives have drawn them to continue it now that they have families of their own. As a bonus, they are teaching their children (our grandchildren) to have personal, daily Bible time. It’s very exciting for us to see the power of the Word go from our lives to our children’s lives to our grandchildren’s lives.

So back to our opening question. Yes, absolutely, we think it is important to teach children to read their Bibles every day—not that it is an item on a checklist to be marked off. That benefits no one. But rather, it is our daily spiritual bread, the nourishment for our souls—helping us know and discern God’s will, filling us with the fruit of the Spirit, giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Who wouldn’t want that?

Listening: The Basis for Conversation

Recently I did standardized testing for my eight-year-old, homeschooled granddaughter. One section of the test was on listening skills. I read Abby a passage, and then she was to answer questions from it without me reading it to her again. She had to recall facts and make deductions from the information. As young as eight years old, the public educational system sees the value in being able to listen.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Here we see that listening comes before speaking and actually has urgency applied to it. Communication isn’t simply being able to talk, but also listening in order to reply based on understanding. Listening often conveys value to the person who is talking, and that is of paramount importance for a Christian.

If we want our children to be excellent communicators, then we will be developing their listening skills. At the most basic level, listening involves being able to repeat what was said. A more advanced listener will understand the exact words, and the heart communication behind those words.

How can we help children learn to listen? First, it is important to have them make eye contact with you or anyone who is talking to them. Many children we interact with don’t make eye contact in a conversation and that often carries into adulthood. Eye contact helps to secure the focus needed for attentive listening, and it conveys to the speaker that he is being heard. Keep bringing your child back to looking at you when you are talking to him.

We parents set the example for our children in listening attentively with eye contact. If we are looking at our phones, computers, books, or anywhere except the child’s eyes when he is talking to us, then we are teaching him that listening can be done half-heartedly. I have regularly heard someone texting or reading e-mail say, “I am listening,” only to have it obvious a few minutes later that the person does not have the communication that was being given. He might have heard words, but he wasn’t able to process or retain them.

To help develop listening skills, we can have the child repeat back to us in their own words what they understood. This step takes time and isn’t necessary in every conversation. It is particularly important, however, in the ones where the child is responsible for the information, such as when he is given a task to do or told not to do something. I remember from raising our children how frequently I felt I was clear in my communication to them only to find out later they either didn’t hear at all or misunderstood. That result occurred because I didn’t take time to have them repeat back to me what I had said.

We can also ask our children questions about what I have shared with them in a conversation. Depending on the questions, we cause them not only to recall what they have heard but also to process it by drawing conclusions. We might even get them to consider heart attitudes that are behind the actual words.

We want our children to grow up with the ability to listen to others. In our normal, everyday life we help them toward that by how we model listening, teaching them to make eye contact when listening, having them repeat what we have said or asking them questions about it. This doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult, but it will help if you make it a focus and priority.

Last month, I shared that our resource, Making Great Conversationalists, would help in preparing your children to be effective communicators. By your response in ordering that book, we see again how needed it is. Please, if you haven’t already, order your copy. Teaching your children good communication and listening skills is vital to their success in life!

Children Who Are Advocates

Recently our city wanted to limit the number of chickens that city residents were allowed to have to 10. Our 8-year-old granddaughter, Abigail, is “chickie mama” at her house, and she keeps chickens for fresh, healthy eggs for her family.

She realized that obeying the new city ordinance, if passed, would be a hardship from two fronts. The first was not having enough chickens for the necessary eggs for a large family and the other from adding new chicks to the flock before they were ready to lay eggs. If they had five hens who needed to be replaced, they would have to get rid of them before the new chicks could lay eggs.

Abby wrote a letter to the city commission stating her concerns, why she had them, and asking the city commission not to limit the number of chickens. Then she and her dad attended the city commission meeting, and Abby presented her cause before them. The vote was close, but the commissioners went with the 15 chicken limit—a compromise they felt.

Are you preparing your children to be able to cognitively and persuasively voice their thoughts and concerns publicly in areas that are important to them? Could your 8-year-old child stand up in front of an official group of adults and give them a presentation? Most adults are fearful of speaking in front of others. Maybe you are one of them. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

On Friday evenings during the school year, Nathan and Melanie have their children give short presentations at their home and sometimes for Grandpa, Grandma, and the aunts and uncles. These presentations are simply telling about something they learned or did during the school week. It is giving them skills and comfort speaking in front of people.

Talking to your family isn’t the same as talking to others, though. We can also help our children be comfortable talking to people who are friends, acquaintances, or even strangers (when they are in the protection of parental supervision). We can do that by giving our children opportunities to talk to people outside the family. Often in those situations we parents do all the talking. It doesn’t mean that the children have to monopolize the conversation, but that they are included for part of it.

Children who become adults who are stellar communicators have great potential to be strong, loving, caring fathers and mothers. Consider the importance clear communication has in families, especially from parents to children and the implications when that communication is absent. Children who have learned to think and then convey those thoughts to others will be business, church, and political leaders.

Are you not only preparing your children spiritually and academically for their future but also helping them be able to be advocates for what the Lord puts on their hearts as parents, as friends, and in whatever walks of life He calls them into? Are you giving your children a passion for things that are important whether it is how many chickens they can have in their backyard or that they can homeschool their children?

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

We have a resource available to help you in this area called Making Great Conversationalists. In that book, we give you practical projects to do with your children to help them learn conversational skills. Maybe you will learn something too.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Three Top Pieces of Advice for Young Moms Starting Homeschooling: Part 3

(To read Parts 1 and 2, please see this link.)

When a young mom who had four children, none of them yet school age, asked me what three things I would suggest to her for successful homeschooling, I was challenged to narrow my ideas down to three. I started by encouraging her to have a daily schedule, and then I suggested she invest in helping her children learn self-discipline. My final piece of advice was to find a structured curriculum that she could use by herself at home and stick to.

The e-mails I am receiving these days from struggling homeschooling moms are from those who are having to be away from home a day or more each week for their homeschooling. Also, in a survey of homeschooling moms who were not keeping up with what they felt were their responsibilities, the ones who were the most dissatisfied with their lives were the ones who were home the least. These moms were finding it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with homeschooling and daily life. They were discouraged and some considered quitting homeschooling because of it.

It is quite amazing how much difference it makes when we lose time from our homeschooling and homemaking needs by being away from home. If you want to be able to keep up and avoid that discouragement, then find a curriculum that allows you to stay home and spend time each day homeschooling. If you can manage to do your school in four days a week, you will use the fifth weekday for other tasks that aren’t easy to fit into homeschooling days.

Our family has liked using Christian textbooks for homeschool even though we have heard many say that textbooks are not a good method of homeschooling. We found them to be easy to use, sound academically, and our children enjoyed them. They allowed our children to become autodidactic – self learners. One of our main goals in home educating was to raise children who would be life-long self learners. We didn’t want children who had to have their hands held to learn, or who had to have something be extremely enticing before they would learn. We have watched moms exhaust themselves trying to make their homeschooling engaging enough for their children to be willing to learn. Sometimes in this process they give up and quit.

The young homeschooling mom wants to equip herself for the long haul, knowing her homeschooling is a huge investment. She doesn’t want to choose a homeschooling method because it appeals to her emotions but because it provides a sound education and is sustainable for the 13 years she will invest for each child she homeschools. When you give so much, do you want to end up being a depressed, angry, frustrated mom? What could be better than a method that results in children who are lifelong learners? Why not make curriculum choices that will facilitate a joyful mom who is faithfully homeschooling her children with patience and contentment?

If you would like to know more about what we specifically used and did, Managers of Their Schools is a resource that details all of that.

Here are links to a few other Mom’s Corners on this topic:
Homeschooling with Textbooks
Homeschool Textbook Curricula
A Voice for Christian Homeschool Textbooks
Curricula Decisions Impact Homeschooling Success

Three Top Pieces of Advice for Young Moms Starting Homeschooling: Part 2

In this series, I am sharing the 3 suggestions I gave a mommy who was preparing for her homeschooling years and requested that information in a casual conversation we had one day. My first encouragement was to use a schedule. Even though her children are not yet school age, a schedule will help her be productive, and she will find the children’s days flow better when there is structure. The schedule is critical for homeschooling. Our newly-revised Managers of Their Homes is the perfect tool to help you in this area of time management.

The second point I made was that she should help her children learn self-discipline. We talked about this in a Mom’s Corner a few months ago. Here is the link to that article.

If a mom will be diligent to teach her young children self-discipline, she will have children whom she can instruct during their homeschooling years, knowing that they will apply themselves to their lessons. This will facilitate their education and free up her time for homeschooling other children or doing other things. She will not have to sit beside them through out their whole school day to hold their hands in order for them to learn or make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. They will quickly become autodidactic—a skill that will prove valuable their whole lives.

Let’s face it. Little children generate a great deal of work, and they take a great deal of time. To invest the time to help children learn self-discipline is just one more thing on a mom’s already full plate. Having observed thousands of families through the years, I can encourage you that it is worth that time investment.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines self-discipline this way: the ability to make yourself do things that should be done. The implications of that are huge—treating people the way they should be treated, obedience to parents as a child, personal health, spiritual disciplines, ability to responsibly complete tasks, backbone of a great business owner, employee, or home manager. There is such a plethora of life that will be facilitated by self-discipline.

Where do you start? I think a great beginning is to give a child boundaries and help him learn to accept, be comfortable, and even enjoy those boundaries. That might be as simple as having a set time when the toys are picked up and put away by the child in order to move on to another activity. Much of our struggles as grown ups stem from our unwillingness to live within boundaries whether it is with our time, our relationships, our health, or our walk with the Lord. In our flesh, we don’t like or want boundaries, but those boundaries are filled with blessings if we will accept them. We bless our children when we can direct them in that truth. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

It is likely that your success in this area will be determined by your own level of self-discipline. Will you work patiently with your children? Will you invest the necessary time first to give them boundaries and then to teach them how to live with and value boundaries? Will you have a smile on your face when you find yourself dealing with the same problems over and over? Your investment today reaps dividends throughout your children’s lives. What is that worth?

Three Top Pieces of Advice for Young Moms Starting Homeschooling, Part 1

Recently I was talking to a mom with three little children, the oldest being 4 years old. She was planning to homeschool and had heard that I homeschooled for 30 years. She sweetly smiled at me and asked what I felt was a very insightful question. She said, “What 3 pieces of advice could you give me that you think would be the most important for my success as a homeschooling mom?”

I was thrilled to talk to this mom. She was thinking about and preparing for her homeschooling days. She gave me boundaries for the information she wanted—boundaries that would help her remember what I said.

For number 1, I started with what is probably the dearest to my heart—a schedule. Structure is what productivity, learning, and stress-free days hang upon. The schedule helps a family accomplish not only their homeschooling but other essential and even non-essential parts of their day.

I have observed schedules transform the family life, personal life, and homeschooling life of weary, discouraged mommies. That thrills me beyond measure. I don’t think it is a matter of personality —schedules for the disciplined person but not for the free spirited person. Schedules let the disciplined mom put her talents to use, and for the free-spirited one, it lets her have time for her free-spirited activities.

Even before you begin homeschooling, you can schedule. Mommies with preschoolers can benefit from a schedule just as much as those who are already involved in homeschooling can. Getting children used to a schedule as preschoolers keeps those days flowing and productive while getting children accustomed to the rhythm that a schedule will bring to homeschool life.

When we were preparing for another Managers of Their Homes (MOTH) reprint, we realized that we had gained a huge amount of scheduling experience since we first wrote and published Managers of Their Homes, and we wanted to impart that to others.

When MOTH came out, it was based upon our own personal scheduling experience and confirmed by those first 24 test families who used MOTH. Now, however, we have worked with countless moms as they have scheduled and seen the power of the schedule in a much broader framework.

We decided to take that valuable experience and put it into a revised version of Managers of Their Homes. So we ruthlessly tore into the text and took out what we didn’t think was as helpful in the book, and put in what we have gained from working with MOTH moms.

We know that the original MOTH is successful in teaching moms to schedule. We have the testimonies from so many who have read and used it to prove that it does. The revised MOTH doesn’t change those basics, but it brings in a fresh power from our real life experiences with a multitude of MOTH scheduling moms. We are excited about that!

If you haven’t yet dived into scheduling, this is the time to get the new, revised Managers of Their Homes. If you have friends who aren’t scheduling, suggest it to them. I really can’t think of a better Christmas or birthday present for you or a friend than this resource that will help bring productivity, peace, and contentment to a family.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Seeing the Other Side

I have recently made a challenge to myself that I am finding a little more difficult to do than I thought it would be. I decided that I will no longer bring up negative things in conversations. I don’t want to tell what didn’t go well, what I don’t like, what someone did that I think they shouldn’t have done, or what’s troubling me. I think you get the drift. Instead I find positive things to talk about.

I believe Paul truly had sound direction for us in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

It starts with what I allow in my mind. If I am thinking about the negatives, that is probably what is going to be in my conversation. On the other hand, positive thoughts should lead to positive words.

Then Paul says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Do my negative words edify anyone in any way? Do they minister grace to the person I am talking to? For me the answer is no.

As I have accepted my personal challenge (I haven’t even told Steve, but now he will know so that gives me added accountability :)), I regularly find some of my conversation being shut down. That means I need to come up with new things to talk about—the positive, the good, the areas of gratitude, what I can praise the Lord for—those are edifying and those bring grace to the hearer.

I find myself doing well for a while until there is something negative I really, really want to tell Steve or another family member. Then I justify talking about it by deciding that they either need to know or would want to know, so I speak it out. As I have done that, though, I have also discovered that it really didn’t matter. It just satisfied my desire to tell it. They didn’t need to know and likely they didn’t want to know.

With November being the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, we tend to think more about being thankful. As I sat down to write this Mom’s Corner, gratitude was my first idea for a topic, but then I realized that my thoughts of thanksgiving right now are rooted in a desire to be free of negative thoughts. When I look for what I can thank the Lord for in a person or in a situation—and that can take a concerted effort—then I avoid dwelling on negative or critical thoughts.

Even though I have failed regularly in my personal challenge of positive rather than negative conversations, I am determined to continue. I believe this is pleasing to the Lord and that it will make me a more pleasing person to be around. What would happen to your thoughts and your conversation if you gave yourself the challenge that I have given myself? What would happen to your relationship with your husband, with your children, with others?

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Posted in: Mom's Corner