BOYS – a summertime series

BOYS – a summertime series

Summer is here for many of us – just around the bend for others. Either way it’s time to get ready for those sweet, sandy, sun-kissed shoulders; sticky popsicle smiles; and long afternoons at the pool. But there’s more to summer than those iconic highlights. There are perfectly temperate days when kids dare complain, “But mama, I’m bored….” and sweltering afternoons when you’re all desperate for a movie on the couch in an air-conditioned house – specifically, a good movie that both entertains and teaches a virtuous lesson! Here in our home, we love movies that inspire boys to be good and masculine and adventurous. (The classic Disney adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson is my personal favorite.) Similarly, we want them to read tons of good books for the same reason. You can find a few of our favorite boy books here – and stay tuned, because I’ll be adding to the list in the summer days ahead.   This will be an on-going summertime series simply titled: BOYS.     Get ready for our favorite recommendations: movies and music, books and board games too. We also love good bbq followed by lemon bars and lemon scones, chased down with a cool glass of lemonade. Since we have lemon trees all over our property, summertime means lots of these citrusy treats. Let me know if you have a favorite recipe I need to try.   I’ll also be sharing our two annual summertime challenges! Each summer I give my children the chance to earn money two different ways. First, a reading challenge, where they earn 25 cents per chapter. Secondly, a seriously strenuous workout regime where they have a list of fun...
Depression and Motherhood – The Mom Club Few Talk About

Depression and Motherhood – The Mom Club Few Talk About

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend, author and board certified clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson. Recently, I asked Dr. Michelle if she’d be willing to write a message for my mom-friends who are currently struggling with depression. Some of you know a bit of my experience with depression, as I shared snippets of my own dark journey in chapter 18 of Triggers. And so it is with an insider’s perspective that I fully endorse Dr. Michelle’s new book, Hope Prevails, and appreciate her ongoing support for moms. I pray you find courage and companionship as you journey through the dark and into the light of healing and hope. For hope truly does prevail!   Depression and Motherhood a guest post by Dr. Michelle Bengtson   “No one understands,” she whispered, as she brushed her hair off her face and accepted my offer of a tissue to dry her tears that gently flowed down her face.   “Oh, I think more people understand than you realize. The problem is that people just don’t feel comfortable talking about it unless they know others understand. But I do understand—I’ve been where you are.” I explained.   “You have? But you always look so joyful, and put together!”   “I am now, for the most part, but I still have to do the work to stay here.” I paused for a moment, taking a sip of my iced-tea, letting that sink in for a moment before continuing. “But I’ve gone through depression a couple of times in my life. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It was very dark. But each...
Interview with a Renaissance Mom – Ruth Simons

Interview with a Renaissance Mom – Ruth Simons

Welcome back to our series: Interview with a Renaissance Mom. Today we’re featuring one of the mom-artists who helped start it all. Back when the book, Life Creative Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom was just a dream, I reached out to artist Ruth Simons and asked for her thoughts on motherhood and creativity. This is what she wrote: “Never has there been a time like this for creative and artistic women to embrace the high calling of motherhood and the unique giftings God has given to each of us. There is indeed a movement– a renaissance — of the creative woman, the creative mom. I’m grateful that Wendy and Kelli have chosen to encourage this generation of women, right now, to embrace their God-given creativity to the glory of God, and to steward it well. This book is right on time.” And so it is with great joy that I introduce you to the art of Renaissance Mom, Ruth Simons.   photo credit: Elizabeth Wells Photography   Please introduce yourself to us by sharing who you are, where you live, and a bit about your kids. I’m Ruth Chou Simons. I’m married to Troy and we live in Albuquerque, NM with our six boys, ranging from age 3 to 14. I am the founder of GraceLaced, a blog I began almost 10 years ago that expanded into an online shoppe featuring my artwork. I share daily from Instagram and am looking forward to the release of my first published book this Fall.       At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. This...
What to do with parenting stress – Triggers Study Guide

What to do with parenting stress – Triggers Study Guide

Perhaps your summer was hectic, running back and forth between their sun-soaked sprinkler play and afternoon bike rides, the umpteenth reapplication of sunscreen and popsicle parties, followed by last minute barbecues and late night movies on the couch! But now there’s school and packing lunches and matching socks, sorting through newsletters and keeping track of class parties, making it to soccer practice on time, keeping the baby from falling asleep in the car, and helping with homework… not to mention fitting dinner into the evening routine. It’s a different sort of stress. But there’s aways stress. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a traditional working mom, a single mom, or a married mom. There’s always stress. As far as my stress levels are concerned, I’ve been under the gun these past few weeks, with a crazy twitchy trigger finger. Why? You may ask. Well, it’s had a lot to do with the launch of the new Triggers Study Guide – which released today! (insert confetti) (insert sweeping confetti up quickly, because sometimes a mess can make me stressed. It’s one of my triggers.) Speaking of my own personal triggers… as Amber Lia and I wrote the triggers study guide we discovered that there’s lots of stress bound up in the writing of a book and sharing it with our people online. What with all of our little people (seven boys between our two families!) continually wanting our attention, adamant that they’re hungry… and out of clean underwear… in need of another glass of water before bed. (insert scream) (insert cool water to the face) In case you didn’t know it… writing Triggers was a great big trigger for me!...
Healing race relations in the everyday ordinary

Healing race relations in the everyday ordinary

I never had to learn to love people of color because they first loved me.  Back in 1990 I went to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA.) Every student that walked those halls wanted to be there. It was a privilege and a commitment. Our days started early, as we all took multiple freeways, commuting in from all over the county. And we stayed late, rehearsing Shakespeare on the lawn. We were actors, instrumentalists and singers, dancers and visual artists. Long and lean black men, with jazz shoes hung over their broad shoulders; Russian and Chinese immigrants carrying violin cases and heavy backpacks; visual artists with their hair dyed blue, portfolios tucked under their arms. We were a hodgepodge of inspired, self-expressing youth. But the overarching theme of our student body was inclusivity.     There were no minority groups among us because there wasn’t a majority of any one race. We were diversified, and therefore unified.  My years at LACHSA shaped the way I view race relations today, more than any other single season or singular event in my life. During my Sophomore year I joined the Student Coalition on campus. Our peer leaders were hippies, mostly the visual artists with a few female dancers who had dreadlocks and didn’t shave their legs or underarms. It was the year we marched downtown to celebrate anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. We carried banners and chanted, “United we stand – Divided we fall.” It was the first time I smelled pot. I wore a tee-shirt that displayed Mandela’s face. It looked like a piece of art by Andy Warhol, decorated in bright Rastafarian...
When will they ever change?

When will they ever change?

A few months ago Amber Lia and I released a book entitled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. To accompany the book’s launch I’ve been speaking at MOPS groups all over Southern California, and what I’ve found is that no matter what Trigger I focus on, we always come back to this main point…   The following is an except from chapter 15 of Triggers, “When will they ever change?”   Why do marriage and motherhood have to be so hard? When we got engaged, our eyes were fixed on happily ever after. Even though we vowed “in sickness and health,” the dream was health and happiness. Though we swore to love one another “for better or for worse,” we naively expected a whole lot more “better” than “worse.” The same is true when we wanted babies. Whether conceiving was as easy as your wedding night, or as difficult as a long barren season followed by a trip across the ocean to an orphanage, the idea was happiness and the completion of a dream. And the dream was good. But many women I know would describe their reality today more like a nightmare with unruly kids who simply won’t change. Long days with three children under the age of five, with nobody taking naps; complaining about what’s been served for dinner; throwing fits at home and having meltdowns in public; and their daddy works long hours and comes home late and tired, with very little left over to contribute emotionally. You do your best to be consistent when it comes to love and discipline, believing whole-heartedly that...