Inexpensive Decorating
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

Turning a house into a home can seem like an overwhelming and expensive task. Hi I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

I remember being newly married and moving into our first house. It wasn’t a complicated move because we had very little furniture but I soon got discouraged trying to make our small space feel cozy.

I’ve never had the financial means to just walk into a furniture store and say I’ll take that entire room full of furniture and all the accessories too. But you know what… I’m glad I can’t do that.

It’s forced me to collect pieces over time and appreciate a more eclectic look. A great starting place is to pick a piece of fabric, a rug, or even a floral arrangement to serve as your color palette.

Invest in this piece to keep your colors consistent. Then have fun with things you get a good deal on that coordinate with your main piece and make you feel cozy.

For more, click on “Today’s Show” at Proverbs31.org.

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Made To Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst

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Connecting In The Car
Radio Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

The other day a friend asked me why I drive my kids to school instead of having them ride the bus. Hi, I’m Renee Swope with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

My boys go to a school that doesn’t have bus service, so it's not an option, but even if it was, I’d still drive them in the morning. Ever since they were little, I’ve noticed that talking and praying with my kids in the car is a great way to connect. It gives me the chance to encourage them before their day starts with all the stress and strain of school and peer pressure.

I know we can’t all drive our kids to school. But we can all look for ways to connect with them. The car’s a great place to do it because there are fewer distractions and we’re all together in the same place. Whether we’re on the way to school, the grocery story, or wherever, it's a great time to talk, and listen!

How do you connect with your kids? Let me know by clicking on Renee’s blog when you visit Proverbs 31 Ministries at Proverbs31.org.

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Finding Contentment
Radio Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

Doesn’t it seem like the more we buy for our kids, the less thankful they are? Hi, I'm Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Psychologists say that a constant supply of gifts can create a sense of entitlement in children, causing them to focus on what's coming next, rather than on what they already own.

The Bible calls this discontentment - never being satisfied, no matter how much we have. So, how do we help our kids learn to be content?

First, we can help them enjoy what they already have by reading books with them; playing board games and talking walks with them while they rollerblade or skateboard in the neighborhood. We can also find ways as a family to help others who are less fortunate.

And finally, we can make it a regular habit to talk as a family about what we're thankful for, not just at Thanksgiving. As we focus on what we have instead of everything we don't, contentment can be a permanent part of our homes. For more ideas on finding contentment, visit Proverbs 31 Ministries at proverbs31.org.

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Emotional Stability In Our Kids
Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

Whether they realize it or not, our children are looking to us for their emotional security. Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

If we blur the rules based on a child’s emotional responses we are like shifting sand – unstable and ineffective.

I know this. But in the midst of everyday life it’s so hard. Kids can wear down our resolve to stick with what we know is right.

So, I have to remind myself that it’s good for the parent to be the parent. I’m not supposed to be my kids’ buddy or entertainment director… I’m supposed to be an authority in their lives. Also, I have to give myself a break when I need it. I’m much more likely to give in to them when I’m worn out. Putting these things in place helps give my kids emotional security and me emotional sanity! For more of the mom encouragement we all need, click on Lysa’s blog when you visit Proverbs31.org

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Am I Messing Up My Kids?, by Lysa Terkeurst

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Let's Dangle Our Feet Today
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

Have you ever been listening to a song when the words jump out, and say "listen to me right now?!" Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. That happened to me yesterday. I was in the middle of listening to a song about rest. I’m not opposed to rest. But life can be busy, you know?

Hello deadlines. Hello school work. Hello empty fridge and dirty laundry.

So I’m singing this song about rest by Anita Renfroe and this phrase comes along: "dangling my feet off the edge of nowhere.” I don’t think I do that. Rest for me is scheduled and on purpose. Letting whimsy into my world isn’t something I’m good at.

But the words about dangling my feet grabbed me. So, I've decided to CHOOSE to walk without pretense or hurry today. I will try to slow down. I will try to live in the moment. Just for today. For more proverbs31.org.

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A Favorite Gift
Radio Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

My mom was about to retire and I wanted to honor her in a really special way! Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

I decided to plan a surprise party and create a book of memories for my mom, spanning 65 years of her life. Before the party, I asked family members and friends to send me a written memory along with a favorite photo. After she recovered from the big surprise I gave the album to my mom and I’ll never forget the look on her face or the tears in her eyes. She felt so loved!

That album is one of her most treasured possessions now, because it captures the many facets of her life as a mom, sister, grandma, and friend!

Ya know, making a memory album is a great way to show someone how valuable their life is and how much you love them! It takes extra time but it’s always a great gift.

Have you got any favorite gift ideas? To share them, click on Renee’s blog at Proverbs 31.org.

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Just Jump
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

“I’ll catch you. Just jump!” Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have to smile when I remember the game my husband played with our girls when they were little. They would stand on the end of our very tall bed and when Art gave the nod, they would jump to him confident that he would catch them every time.

But they didn’t start out confident. Their first time jumping was nothing but a leap of faith. Art would assure them repeatedly, “I’ll catch you. Just jump sweetheart. I’ll be here.” Eventually, they took the leap. And Daddy was there to catch them every time.

I think that’s the way it is with taking spiritual leaps of faith as well. What’s God been calling you to the edge of lately? Have you heard Him assure you that He’ll be right there? When we make the jump, there’s no sweeter place to be than in the middle of our Heavenly Father’s strong embrace. For more visit Proverbs31.org.

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Simple Holiday Parties
Radio Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

Every year I say I want to host a holiday party but I usually don’t because it’s too much work!

Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

This year, I’m going to sop talking about it and actually do it! But I don’t want to stress out about having a few friends over. So, I got a few ideas from some people who really know how to throw a party without all the stress. In the book Homespun Memories for the Heart I found over 200 ideas for creating unforgettable moments and simple holiday settings. Some of my favorite ideas were to

● Decorate with cozy things you already have in your home.
● Play soft music in the background to set the mood.
● Light candles for a soft, warm glow
● And Keep the menu simple.

Whether it’s the holidays or another time of year, I think these ideas will help me make any get-together special…but NOT stressful. For more ideas on planning a Christmas gathering that’s successful but simple, visit Proverbs 31 Ministries at proverbs31.org.

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Christmas Attitude
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

How will my Christmas attitude be this year? Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Many things used to make me have a bad Christmas attitude but not this year. “It is what it is.” That’s my new motto for the season.

For me to pretend that shopping, decorating, and digging through the attic makes me happy, happy, happy, would be fake, fake, fake. I’ll be honest I don’t like all the extra things Christmas adds to my to do list but I love what the season can be.

The main thing is I love Jesus and I love my family and it’s okay if everything doesn’t get done perfectly. It is what it is and that has helped me turn my Christmas Ugggh into a Christmas Ahhhhh! And I have two words for my shopping list this year - gift certificates. For more encouragement, visit Proverbs31.org.

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Embrace The Process
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I’m setting all of us up to fail! Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

My children were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I’ve got 5 amazing kids. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them well, there aren’t any guarantees.

We can raise terrific kids. And we can also raise kids that chase the wrong things their whole lives.

So, what’s a parent to do? Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves.

God will use every step of this process for our good, but it won’t always make us feel or look good. However, it’s our only opportunity to reach into the generations to come and make a difference.

Find out more when you visit Proverbs 31 Ministries on-line and click on Lysa’s blog at proverbs31.org.

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Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst

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Laundry Again?
Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

It’s time to do the laundry again! And as soon as I wash, dry, and put away - our clothes hamper will be full…again. Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

The thing about laundry is it’s never-ending! I've actually considered taking a sabbatical from doing the laundry. But I know it would just accumulate into a huge, mountain of smelly clothes.
You know, God has that constant washing thing going on too, except He's cleaning our hearts instead of our clothes. I bet He’d love it if we didn’t get our hearts dirty with things like lying, hatred and selfishness, But He knows we do and He’s always willing to clean us up!

I’m so glad God never gets overwhelmed when our heart hampers get full again! In fact, we can dump ten loads at His feet right now and He’ll wash it right away! And, He's a pro with the delicate cycle. If we can mess it up, He can clean it up ... we just have to ask.

For more encouragement, visit Proverbs 31.org.

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Reality Discipline With Younger Children
Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

Reality discipline for younger kids- is it possible? Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries. While it has been a while since my kids were preschool age... I do remember holding on for dear life sometimes, exclaiming --- this too shall pass!

My reality discipline ideas during that phase seemed to be centered around privileges.

When my kids played with their toys correctly, and put them away when asked, they showed they were responsible enough to have a few extra minutes added to their bedtime. But if they were defiant, this showed me they needed extra which meant fewer privileges.

Whatever the consequence, I made sure it was tied to the action. Also, I tried to make sure that I thought of safe and reasonable consequences before my kids pushed my buttons. Otherwise, emotions pushed over the edge will often cause us to throw out threats that we won’t carry through.

For more, visit Proverbs 31.org.

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P31 Magazine

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Nobody's Perfect
Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Renee Swope

Someone criticized me this week and it really hurt my feelings! Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries. It also made me start doubting myself.When someone criticizes me as a mom, I doubt myself as a mom. When someone criticizes me as a friend, I doubt my ability to be a good friend. Ten people can say something nice but what I remember is that one person’s criticism.

I called my friend LeAnn for encouragement and with great wisdom she told me: "Renee, you’ll never be perfect. And if you ever get to where you are, you’ll be all alone!”

After we hung up, I prayed and asked God for His perspective, too. He reminded me that Jesus, the only perfect Person to walk this earth, was constantly criticized but He never doubted His calling. He depended only on His Father’s approval. Remembering this helped remove the sting of criticism and gave me hope. For more encouragement visit Proverbs31.org.

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Reality Discipline
Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

I must admit, yesterday I was getting very annoyed with one of my teenage daughters. Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She was fiddling with our laptop computer in what appeared to be a very careless way. I kept saying, ‘please don’t tilt the screen back so far’. Patiently I said it again, and then again. Then I said it one more time with sharpness in my voice. I’m guessing you know the kind.

Thankfully my husband quickly stepped in when he saw my frustration beginning to mount. He rephrased what I had been trying to say. “It’s going to be a costly mistake for you if you break that computer sweetheart.” And that’s all it took. No more rough treatment of the laptop.

Reality discipline is a great way to keep emotional yuck from spewing when our kids need correction. We can let the consequences scream, so we don’t have to. For more encouragement visit Lysa’s blog at Proverbs 31.org.

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A Little Help From A Friend
Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Jill Tracey

Sometimes a friend makes all the difference! Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Jill just ran her first 5-K and the first thing she said when it was over was, “WOW, I’m SLOW!” But, that was OK with her. She was just happy to finish the race. She never thought she’d run anything close to 3 miles!

Jill says there’s no way she would’ve made it without her husband and best friend, Jeremy, who ran right next to her the whole race. Every time she wanted to give up, Jeremy was right there reminding her that she COULD make it to the end. Then, at the last minute, he dropped back so Jill wouldn't be the last one to cross the finish line, he was! What a guy, huh?

Do you have a friend or loved who’ll run the races of life with you? Someone who’ll keep you going when everything in you SCREAMS that you can't?! Proverbs 31 Ministries would like to be that kind of friend. Find out more at Proverbs31.org.

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Connect with Renee on her Blog and Facebook

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The Family Tool Kit
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writers: Lysa TerKeurst with Amanda Waldroop

Here’s a great idea for a bumper sticker: “Choose Well, Live Well!” Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries. My friend Michelle has made it her motherhood goal to not just celebrate her kid’s achievements, but to celebrate their good choices. She believes a child’s choices reflect their character.

When Michelle’s daughter learned to ride her bike, her dinner that evening was served on the Family Honor Plate; a plate that only goes to those who show good character. Her daughter knew that she was getting the honor plate not because she learned to ride her bike, but because she had an amazing attitude and didn’t give up. Even if even if she hadn’t learned to ride her bike, her choice to persevere would’ve prompted this reward. Michelle believes it’s not only her job, but her privilege to instill character in her children by rewarding choices, not performance. To learn more about strengthening your family relationships, log on to proverbs31.org.


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The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child (CD and Character Chart) by Renee Swope

Be Your Child’s Greatest Cheerleader, Free devotion by Van Walton

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The Next Dr. Phil
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

I might be living with the next Dr. Phil. Hi I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have two sons that truly never argue. Now, before you paint unrealistic pictures of perfection for my household, know that I have other kids that more than make up for their brothers’ lack of disagreements. But Mark and Jackson don’t struggle with this. So, the other day I asked my son Jackson about how he and Mark get along so well.

His reply was quite simple. He said, “Mom, if Mark does something that gets on my nerves I just tell him that I don’t like him doing that. And then he says okay and stops doing it.”

Wow. That’s good advice. We seem to make all this relationship stuff so complicated. So, maybe I need to interject a little less complication- a little more gentle honesty- and some very basic listening skills. Thanks son.

For more relationship encouragement log on to Proverbs31.org.

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Me First!, free devotion by Karen Ehman

Dwelling by Marybeth Lagerborg

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

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Your Dreams
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

I’m an ordinary woman. Dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and carpools greet me every day. Hi I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Most days I wake up with peace in my heart because, despite the realities of daily life, I’ve found the purpose for which God created me. I’m living out the dreams He tucked in my heart.

God created me to be a wife, a mother, and a friend. He also created me to speak His truth and invite others to live a life that makes a difference for Jesus.

What’s your dream?

Maybe the day to start following the dreams God put in your heart is today. But, things may not change dramatically. The path to a fulfilled dream is filled with ordinary days brimming with ordinary chores… surrendered to an extraordinary God.

Oh, and if your dream has anything to do with speaking, writing, or leadership in women’s ministry, find some encouragement at Proverbs 31.org.

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Pursuing Jesus Above All, free devotion by Micca Campbell

Leading Women to the Heart of God by Lysa TerKeurst

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Fear- LESS
Radio Hostess: Lysa TerKeurst
Contributing Writer: Lysa TerKeurst

Having 5 kids I know the fear moms face on a daily basis that something might happen to one of their children. Hi I’m Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I know fear’s paralyzing affects; how it makes you want to tuck your kids under your wing and never let them leave your side. But I also know this isn’t how God wants us to handle our fears. It wouldn’t be healthy for my kids to never spread their wings and fly.

So, I read God’s truth found in the Bible. And, I use the words about His protection as I pray. I verbalize my trust in God. And I make the choice to rest in the assurance of His promises.

The minute fear starts to creep in and haunt my heart, I repeat this cycle. Does it mean that nothing bad will ever happen to my children? No. Does it mean that my heart can finally find peace past the fear that could consume me? Absolutely!

For more encouragement log on to Proverbs31.org.

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Fear-Less, Thank-Full by Lysa TerKeurst

Fear or Faith, free devotion by Melanie Chitwood

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

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Leading So Kids Will Follow
Radio Hostess: Renee Swope
Contributing Writer: Michelle Weber

I get so excited when I actually see God working! Hi, I’m Renee Swope for Proverbs 31 Ministries. The other night my friend, Michelle, saw God work in her family.

As everyone sat down to dinner, the whining started. “I need a new notebook;” “When can I re-do my room?”

Rather than lecturing on needs vs. wants, Michelle started talking about the great day she’d had. It was nothing out of the ordinary but she simply talked about how thankful she was for each normal thing. Then she asked her daughters what they were thankful for.

There was a long pause at first, but after a little thought, they got on a roll: “I’m thankful Mom jumped on the trampoline with us,” “I’m thankful Bella didn’t get out of the yard again,” and, “I’m thankful Emily didn’t get hurt at practice.” Now they were getting somewhere!

You know, our children usually reject lessons they hear in our lectures so like my friend, Michelle, let’s lead the way and bring them along with us.

For more parenting encouragement, visit proverbs31.org.

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Visit Renee’s Blog

Linger Just A Moment Longer, free devotion by Lysa TerKeurst

Connect with Renee on Facebook

Five-Star Families: Moving Yours from Good to Great by Carol Kuykendall

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