5 Responses That Help Our Children

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5 Responses Help Your Children

Last week I wrote an article titled, 5 Responses That Hurt Our Children, and it was birthed out of recognizing my own harsh tones with my children.

It’s one thing to have a bad moment or even a bad day, but when we make a habit out of answering our children out of a place of frustration, anger, or annoyance, it will take it’s toll.

So, now that I’ve recognized I have this issue with my tone, I want to put a plan in place to help combat it. And I am totally talking to myself here so if you get anything out of this, bonus! I like to treat my blog as kind of my own little therapy session.

There is always one thing I think about that I know I need to do more. So we’ll start with that one.

1. Smile.

I don’t not smile because I’m grumpy (usually). I am just in “work” and “busy” mode and honestly don’t think about it. My natural disposition isn’t to always be “happy” so to speak. It’s just that I’m terribly focused and it can come off looking grumpy, or at the very least just unhappy. One thing I really want to work on is smiling at my child before responding to a request. Obviously, not all situations are appropriate for smiles. Such as disciplining. Afterall, I do want my children to understand I am serious but that discipline. But, even after a correction, ending the issue with a smile can do wonders for a child.

2. Deep Breath Before Speaking.

It is common for me to speak before even taking a breath, thus not allowing my thoughts to formulate a wise response. It may even be a good idea to wait a whole minute or two before addressing an issue that can already be tense. Though it won’t be a quickly learned habit, training myself to “think before I speak” would certainly prove to be better than spitting out the first thing that comes to mind. Chances are I will eat my words and need to back pedal the issue.

3. Speak Calmly.

Even when I need to be firm with my child, I can still do that if I speak in a calm manner rather than raising my voice, or sounding annoyed. The goal here isn’t to placate the child, but to honor the child and show respect. Training our children doesn’t mean we disrespect them. They are still people. But respecting a child also doesn’t mean pacifying or giving in, either.

4. Check My Pitch.

OK, this may seem a little nit-picky to some, but there is an obvious difference in my tone (literally) when I change the pitch of my voice. I have somewhat of a deep, raspy voice. In fact, I commonly get asked if I’ve got a cold or am coming down with a cold. “Nope, that’s just me”, I reply. My voice can naturally sound agitated. So, when I ask something of my child or children, I want to pay attention to the pitch of my voice. Rather than using a very low, demanding-sounding voice, I want to use more of an encouraging but firm pitch. Just raise it up an octave to put a more positive spin on it.

5. Repeat Steps 1-4

And often!

I realize some of this may seem trite, but I don’t really think it is. But I cannot work my mouth without purging the ugliness in my heart, too. How do I view my children? Do I see them as blessings or burdens?

I think this is a very important question to ask ourselves and it’s vital to be brutally honest with ourselves.

My verse for 2015 is,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

So, how can we get from wanting to change to actually changing? It begins with what we feed our own hearts and minds. Are we believing lies about ourselves or our children that is coming out in negative (and costly) ways? We simply need to slow down and be mindful of our thoughts and words. They are powerful.

Recommended Resource: A Gentle Answer: a 21-day practical devotional 

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5 Responses That Hurt Our Children

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5 Responses That Are Hurting Your Child

This past month I’ve been reflecting on who I am as a mother. I thought about what makes me tick, the bad habits I’ve developed, and tried to see what I may look like through the eyes of my children.

What I found was some hard and ugly truths I need to face about myself.  One thing God revealed to me was how I address my children when I speak to them; whether it’s to request, correct, direct, or instruct, my tone rarely has a positive air.

We are all susceptible to these behaviors and in the long run, they will hurt our relationship with our children.

5 Responses That Hurt Our Children

1. Confrontational

I realize when I need to handle a situation with a child or several children, I am very confrontational about it. I am not yelling, but my tone isn’t calm. Sometimes, it heats up whatever fire is already blazing rather than diffusing it.

When we approach our children this way, they learn to approach others this way as well.

2. Accusatory

When I need to address an issue of sibling disputes or lying or a chore left undone, I often come across accusatory. I may not outright say it in words, but my tone reflects it. Sometimes I call out a child without having all the facts.

3. Tense

Often, even when I am not exhibiting the other 4 harsh tones, I speak tensely. Not that there is any excuse, but I believe this is from all the built up stress and demands of life coming out. Again, it’s not my children’s fault, so I shouldn’t be taking it out on them. But the fact remains, my tone comes across tense more than it does calm.

It happens whether I am addressing my children’s actions or answering a question.

4. Demanding

When I ask something of my children, sometimes it’s in a very demanding tone. Now obviously there has to be some type of firmness in my tone to help my children understand I mean business, but there is a bit of a technique that goes with that and it’s not how I’ve been doing it.

Instead of saying, “Gabriella load the dishwasher!” in that demanding tone, I could say, “Gabriella, I need you to load the dishwasher, please.” in a calm tone and even smile, which also conveys this is a normal, everyday habit.

5. Annoyed

Yes, I even show annoyance all too often for children who have needs. Why? Because sometimes I am just not tuned in to my motherly duties and when my thoughts are interrupted by, “Mommy can I have some milk”, I answer annoyingly, “Yeeess”.

All of these attitudes have hurt some aspects of my relationship with my children. In addition, it has taught them to use these tones on each other. It’s quite frightening (and embarrassing) to see your children pick up your bad behavior and use it on one another.

The facial expressions I put off are often angry, tense, and annoyed as well. So, when I make a conscious effort to relax my tone, my face also relaxes.

Do you remember when you were a child and your mother would yell at you? Did you ever think she was scary? Yea…that’s not the image I want my children to remember me by.

I am thankful that God saw fit to point these issues out to me so that I can know how to pray and be intentional about how I speak to them – regardless of what the issue is.

How can we counteract this behavior? I wrote 5 Responses That Help Our Children to get you started.

Recommended Resource: A Gentle Answer: a 21-day practical devotional

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FREE Weekly Household Planner

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Keep Your House Clean

With seven children, I absolutely must have some kind of cleaning schedule/planner to help me stay on track. It’s not always the obvious things I miss — it’s the deeper cleaning items that can slip my mind if I don’t take a moment to glance at my household planner for a reminder (or when it becomes visually obviously, which I prefer not to wait for).

The Confident Mom has released the 2015 Weekly Household Planner and it is FREE!  The best, most detailed household planner I have ever come across. Did I mention it’s free?!

This planner is in PDF format and there is one sheet for every week of the year. It comes pre-filled in and also blank so you can fill (type or write) in your own tasks specific to your needs.

What a great way to start off 2015!

You can download yours here.

You can also build onto this planner by adding on the supplement kit.



This is one of the most useful (and pretty) freebies I utilize and I am COMPELLED to share it with you! Snag yours HERE.

Adoption Transition

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Adoption Transition
I know I haven’t offered an update since our girls came home from Ghana. I think partly because there has been nothing really outrageous to report. And quite honestly, it has kind of shocked me.

Adoption Transition

We read through the books of experts and the stories of other adoptive families how hard things are when their children come home. We were prepared, as best we could, to take on those challenges. The first week was just blissful and all the children got along like best friends. In fact, even today, the children fight over playing with Margaret! Gabriella (12) and Margaret (11) are inseparable.

So, after a few weeks of settling in, we were kind of waiting for the fireworks to begin. We waited and waited. And, well, 5 months later we’re kind of still waiting.

There haven’t been any big explosions to speak of. The girls are adjusting beautifully and each month we uncover more of them; they release more of themselves to us…little by little.

Elvis, the director of the orphanage they came from, stayed with us last weekend and he said Margaret never used to talk. He was surprised to see her talking so much!

Elvis With Girls
Margaret is a very bright, very driven young woman. And I do mean woman. When we first met her in 2011, she was 8 years old and a little girl. When we went to pick her up this July 2014, she was growing into a young woman. It’s hard to believe — it’s almost like we brought home a different girl than we originally met, just because of how much her physical appearance had changed!

She has a gift for drawing.

Margaret's Drawing
Christina has an amazing, strong, beautiful singing voice! She loves to sing, but she’s not yet ready to hone those skills in voice lessons. I pray in time she will because she has a LOT of potential.

Christina is a bit more complex. We knew from our first impression of her that her adjustment would be more difficult, but it’s far from impossible. She is a very sensitive girl and a puzzle at times, but we are working through it a day at a time. She can often struggle with motivation — to do anything; whether it’s school work or learning to ride her bike this summer. Sometimes she tends to give up a little to easily, so she needs some extra encouragement.

I remember within the first six weeks, when Christina would struggle with an issue, she would automatically shut down (or as the experts call it, “take flight”). She wouldn’t talk to anyone, despite our prodding. So, I would do the talking. I would tell her that I understand she has gone through a big change, that she must be scared and miss her family back in Ghana. I then would tell her that I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t help if she didn’t tell me what she needed. I would squeeze her in a side hug, kiss her head, tell her I loved her and leave the room.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, she would come out and open up again. But she would never tell me what it was that was bothering her. After a few weeks of doing this routine, she started to talk to me and tell me what was bothering her. It could be anything from having a headache to not wanting to eat something in particular to not wanting to do a chore.

Here’s an example of such a scenario.

A few weeks ago I integrated Margaret into switching days on and off with Gabriella on hand-washing dishes. Which, in a family of 9, is a big job. So one would wash and one would dry. Because of this, I decided it best to give Margaret’s chore of sweeping the dining room to Christina. Ohhhh she didn’t like that at all and I couldn’t quite figure out why. We had suspicions that it could be because the job was seen as “Margaret’s”.

So, we explained the situation to Elvis while he was here and he said in the orphanage, they NEVER switched chores around. Everyone always had the same chore…even if they switched days, it still remained consistent. That change in the routine didn’t sit well with Christina’s security levels. So, the job went back to Margaret.

Two Common Issues in Children With Trauma

Any child, no matter how early they were adopted, has suffered loss and trauma. When a baby is taken from their birth mother, they automatically experience trauma that is associated with loss. There are all kinds of reasons why that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say all adopted children suffer with loss and trauma to some degree.

As a result, common behavioral issues will arise that may not be what they seem, such as lying. We don’t deal with the majority of the issues many families face.


We do continue to deal with some issues such as lying. This was something that went on in the orphanage as well, as told to us from several sources who experienced working with our girls. We are unsure yet why, but knowing it was already a “norm” {strange as it sounds} is a bit comforting.

Bryan Post is an adoptee with a wonderful organization to help adoptive parents. I learned from him that all lying stems from fear, and if you think about it, it certainly makes sense. Why do people lie? They are afraid of something. For a child, it would be punishment. For an adoptive child, it could be fear of being sent back.

These issues are not unusual for children who have trauma in their life and I share these details with you in an effort to help those coming up behind me. Because I know how valuable first-hand experience is and if I can help even one other family in similar circumstances, wonderful.

Food Issues

Many adopted children deal with food issues for a number of reasons. Food hoarding, controlling, overeating, and other behaviors involving food stem from issues of trauma. We have had to deal with some minor food issues, but even after just 5 months, many of those issues have been resolved–at least for the moment.

One of our girls was quite an eater the first 4 months and given the fact that they were rather skinny, I {mostly} let them eat until they were full. After they gained some weight and grew an inch and a half each, their eating habits leveled out. I do believe one of the girls was wanting to be sure her belly stayed full for a while, but even so, since what she was eating was healthy foods with the vitamins and nutrients she needed, I allowed it.

God has taught me (and is teaching me) so much about, not just mothering, but a deeper compassion and understanding. He is teaching me to stop reacting and to think before I speak. Something spoken in the wrong tone or at the wrong time can cause further damage rather than healing. I don’t want to end up going backwards.

Today, I am learning how to care for their hair. I have been scouring the website Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care and plan to buy their book that just released in September. Which is an entirely different post! ;)

The Art of Apology {in marriage}

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The Art of Apology
Conflict at some point in marriage is inevitable. There are bound to be some disagreements, mounting stress, and escalated arguments. So the question isn’t “if” problems will arise. Rather, how will we (as the wife) handle the conflict when it does arise.

Before I get into some of the ways to ease a conflict, let’s evaluate briefly how marriage should be ranked and valued. Most of us know these already but could use a quick reminder.

  • Our relationships with our husband should be first priority under our relationship with God. We should put high value on it, thus making intentional effort to keep it healthy and thriving.
  • As help meets, we should aim to serve and help our husbands in ways they need us the most. Is your husband struggling to get his lunch made for work? This is where we can (and should) step in and help him get it made (preaching to myself here, right, Dear”). ;) Is he in need of support for a project or ambition? A job or career change? Your support is most important over anyone else’s. Sometimes you may not agree, but you can still be supportive and trust his decision.
  • Unity in marriage is so important. Though it’s not always possible, we should attempt [with prayer and His strength] to remain in unity with our husbands. Being in unity doesn’t mean we’re always required to agree with one another. But we can disagree in a peaceful and mature manner.

I wrote a post about giving up your “right” to be right. When we enter into disagreements with our husband, we can often feel we are right and they are in the wrong — for whatever reason. I realize this isn’t a popular method for handling conflict and it may not work for all couples pending personalities. It is a method that does require some discernment and wisdom when put into use.

But he’s the one who’s wrong! Why should I apologize?!

I can speak for myself and say that even if I was factually accurate, my attitude could have been poor or accusatory, and that puts me in the wrong, too.

Offering an apology when you feel you were “right” doesn’t necessarily mean you were completely wrong in the entirety of the problem. But I’m willing to bet there was something in the dispute you could have handled better. Your tone of voice. The words you spoke. Or even just giving the silent treatment.

The point is, the issue isn’t a matter of right or wrong sometimes. It’s a matter of restoring the relationship when it’s been pricked. The more a relationship is pricked without the opportunity to heal, the more damaged it will become. And it could take years, but damage does happen.

There is an art in your apology; a beauty if you will. When we apologize, it helps diffuse the heat. It allows for the conflict to be addressed, if necessary, without either party being hot-headed or defensive.

Jesus Died to Restore Our Relationship with the Father

Think of our relationship with Jesus — He didn’t do a thing wrong, yet He still took on the blame for our sin. Why? Because He wanted the relationship to be restored. (Galatians 4:4-5)

Our marriage is a reflection, in many ways, of our relationship with God. An apology doesn’t necessarily mean you are taking blame (what a radical idea, huh?), but it does mean you recognize you made some mistakes, too.

What if you didn’t make any mistakes and your husband is completely in the wrong? Maybe there is an issue of sin, rather than a dispute? I wouldn’t go so far as to say this doesn’t apply at all, but it definitely would require a more detailed look.

For now, use the art of an apology when you give up your right to be right during issues of minor disputes (that could get ugly).

Have you been in a dispute with your husband when you believed you were in the right, but valued unity over being “right”?

Your Roadmap to Your Best Year Ever

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Roadmap to Your Best Year Ever

OK, I gotta make this really quick…

Michael Hyatt just released his all-new 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever Coaching Program.

Last year alone over 3,000+ people went through the program – and there are some amazing stories of people experiencing incredible transformations in their life.

You can experience the same: Best Year Ever Roadmap

But there is a catch…

It’s only open for the a very short period of time.  After that, he closes it down to focus on supporting the new class of people going through the program.

If you know deep down that you’re capable of more but have felt stuck not knowing how to experience the kind of breakthrough you deserve, then go check this out.


P.S. There is even an extra bonus just on opening day!

P.P.S. The registration for this course is only open for a short period of time so don’t miss out, click the link below:


Giving Up Your Rights to be Right {in marriage}

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Giving Up Your Right to be Right

{Modified from original post Jan. 2011}

My husband and I are in our 15th year of marriage. We have certainly had our shares of ups and downs as well as a couple of serious issues we had to work through. We have both grown over the years on how we handle conflict in our marriage and I can honestly tell you, that our marriage, though not perfect, is blissful.

Almost Never Easy

I realize not everyone has a blissful marriage and sometimes what works for one couple just does not work for another. Given that we each have unique situations and are unique individuals, some things just may not work in everyone’s marriage.  On the flip side, there are some radical ideas out there that can seriously save a marriage when someone has the courage to try them. I don’t mean that in a degrading way. The fact of the matter is, it takes courage to do things that go against what we’re used to or what we know based on others teachings.

I want to share with you one concept I have learned to embrace over the years. I will warn you: it is not easy. It is not popular. It is not comfortable. It requires complete and utter self-denial. It could help save your marriage. Not just from divorce, but from emptiness and building up walls.

Give Up Your Right to be Right

That concept is learning to give up your “right” to be right.

When we are right about something, we believe it is our duty to make sure our husband knows it. Somehow we’ve bought into the idea that when we are right it must be known.

Most of the time, our disputes are based on someone being right and someone being wrong. They can involve issues of sin, a simple misunderstanding, or forgetfulness.  Obviously someone is [usually] right and someone [usually] wrong. Those are the conflicts we’re going to focus on.

Right now, think about how much you value your husband. Think back to when you got married and why. Think about how wonderful it is when you two are in unity and all is happy in your marriage. It’s a great place to be! What price have you paid to keep that unity? What have you sacrificed? What have you implemented to help your marriage get to where it is now? {Assuming, of course, your marriage is doing alright}. Was it worth it?  Do you value your marriage enough to do whatever it takes to keep it healthy and thriving? To remain in unity?  The reason I’m asking all these questions is because if you answer “no”, this idea is going to be pretty useless.

Try It. Practice It.

The next time you have a disagreement with your husband, try giving up your right to be right. Give up being known as the one who has the right answer, the right response, the right attitude. Even if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt you are right. Yes, I am serious.

Very often, when I am in a dispute with my husband, I find that being in unity with him is way more important to me than being right about the argument. I’m talking matters of misunderstandings in this case, not so much sin.  Honestly step back and evaluate: what is more important? Is being right that important? Does it really matter who accidentally left the milk on the counter all night? Or if it’s his fault he doesn’t have clean socks because he didn’t throw them down the chute [or put them with the dirty laundry to be washer]. Think about what you most value. Sometimes we just need to be the one who backs down and let’s something go.

Let go of your “right” to be the one who is right. Choose unity over pride. You don’t necessarily need to say “You were right and I was wrong”. Just let it go and move on.


Apologize?! For what? I didn’t do anything wrong! Aha! We’ll talk about apologizing in another post.


What I am NOT saying:

I am not saying to ignore large issues that need addressing. This is simply talking about the smaller “tiffs” in marriage that could blow up into a whole big mess for nothing.

I am not saying you have to be a door mat. This is a personal decision based upon your particular circumstances. I have found this to work wonders in my marriage, even though it is not easy. My husband does not take advantage of my “backing off” by making it worse. Use discretion. Be sure this type of thing would work in your marriage and not make things worse.

Characteristics of Those Who Succeed

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Characteristics of Those Who Succeed

Can we be honest for a second?

It’s not easy making progress against our big goals is it?

Today more than ever there are a million things competing for our attention and I don’t know about you, but life often feels chaotic.

Whether it’s work conflicting with family time or missed appointments and deadlines and feeling like you never have control over your schedule – life can feel disheartening at times can’t it?

It’s like no matter what you do, you always feel like you struggle to find time and the important things are falling through the cracks.


It might be easier than you think to turn things around.

Especially after you watch this video from Michael Hyatt outlining the 5 characteristics of those who get what they want.

It’s arguably some of the best free content online today.




P.S. This video comes with a free PDF download that will take this content to a whole new level for you.

4 Secrets for Creating a Spectacular Year

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Make Things Happen

Ask yourself this…

If so many people have good intentions around this time of year to truly create change in their life, then why do so many fail months, weeks (even days) after setting their New Year’s Resolutions?

It happens every single year.

When it happens to so many people, it kind of makes you think that it’s more the goal-setting “process” that’s broken – right?

The problem is, very few of us were ever taught a process for truly getting what we want in life.

NYT bestselling author Michael Hyatt wants to change that – starting with this free video called “4 Secrets To A Breakthrough Year“.

How about a fresh perspective on goal setting?  One that will help you move on from past failure. One that will help you look ahead with clarity and confidence.

I don’t know about you but I want 2015 to be different. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Time to change things up and shift your perspective.

Michael shares the four secrets you need to create a solid foundation for success with your goals. Without these, you’ll find it virtually impossible to get what you want this year.

However, with them, you’ll be setup to have your best year ever.



P.S.  If you’ve ever felt like there was something standing between you and the things you want most in life, go watch this video (plus it’s free for a limited period of time!):

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In Which I Admit My Humanity {Moms in the Word}

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The reason I started the Moms in the Word community was to help myself and other moms to get in the Word daily — and that remains it’s goal today.

However, I have been weighing myself down with the weekly blog post that I simply cannot always get to. Having seven children makes life quite unpredictable most days and while blogging is still important to me, I can’t make commitments that I’m unable to follow through on. I don’t want to be worried about an “overdue post” while I’m homeschooling my children because then they don’t have my full attention. And honestly? I’m a little on edge when I’m stressing over things like that.

Moms in the Word Moved

I want the original Moms in the Word community and goals to continue, so I will continue to read the Word and share via Instagram and Twitter instead…it’s faster and more efficient and allows me to remain focused on the most important goal: getting in the Word. 

I have also opened up the Facebook group so those interested in sharing can collaborate in an easier way. I hope you’ll join me there? :)

This isn’t to say I won’t ever post regarding Moms in the Word, but I am not setting up specific days or times for it. I’ll post as I feel lead. :)


Follow me on Instagram. Find #MomsInTheWord on Instagram.