Saturday, August 17, 2013


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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Be At Peace

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

What To Do When the Kids are Bored

I hope you're having a lovely weekend!  We are having a mellow day at home.  Daddy is home, I am baking up a storm, and my littles have been occupying themselves with lots of pretend play today.
However, those 2 dreaded words finally came up: "I'm Bored!"

With the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 in mind, I think it's important to teach our daughters to self-motivate to creativity and productivity (she certainly seems far from bored, as the passage repeatedly describes the things she does with her hands.) Still, sometimes I feel like my girls think it's my job to come up with all of the ideas to keep them occupied and entertained.  When my husband and I were kids, telling mom you were bored only resulted in getting wrangled into doing chores.  I thought I'd try and take a different route so I started scouring Pinterest for some ideas.

I came across this lovely little "Bored Checklist" over at I Lift Heavy Things, and I think it's great.  The best part is, the girls do too!  We got down to "R" and my Angelface is presently reading "Go, Dog, Go!" to her sisters... ah... that was easy!

There's a plethora of other ideas on Pinterest, including a "Bored Jar," a "'Bored' Game," "Bored Magnets," and "Bored Sticks."  Some of them are really fun and cute ideas, and sure to keep your little darlings busy doing things that are both fun and helpful.

Okay - we're moving on to "E" now... lets see how long this checklist lasts! :D

What do you do when your kids say, "I'm bored!"

<3 Johnna

Friday, July 12, 2013


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Water Your Own Yard

(This was originally posted on my personal blog in January... just wanted to share it with you all here, on Polishing Rubies.)

A long while ago, an acquaintance from high school wrote me a long rant.  All about how much she had envied me and how I was so popular and had all the friends I did.  How hurt she felt by me because she and I never were good friends.

I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I read it.

It made me realize how we only have our own perspective. And that perspective is almost always incomplete.  We jump to conclusions because of our feelings, often with no regard to what might be going on in someone else's world.

I wondered if she forgot that I came into high school, with all of about a dozen people knowing who I was.  I was the new girl, and as I quickly found out, people aren't always nice to the new girl.  During my first week of high school some girl hit me in the back of the head, just because.  I came home crying almost every day of that first week.  I told my mom, "I had no idea kids were so mean!"
I wondered if she knew I had people threaten to beat me up. They told me they didn't like my clothes.  They would terrorize me by threatening me under their breath as they passed me in the hallway.
I wondered if she knew that even though I made the cheer squad, I always felt on the outside because I didn't try out until Sophomore year.  There was always a whole year of memories that I wasn't apart of with the girls in my grade, and so I always felt a little bit on the outside.
I wondered if she knew how invisible I felt to so many people.  And how afraid I was of starting conversations.  I wondered if she knew how frightened I felt every time I got up in front of the student body for cheerleading, choir, or student council.
I wondered if she knew that horrible lies got spread about me.  And how misunderstood and alone I felt through all of it.
I wondered if she knew that the Sr. Class President would sit and pretend to shoot at me while I tried to conduct student council meetings my Sr. year.  And that a whole group of people tried to write me in as "The Biggest B****" for Senior "favorites."
I doubted she knew that the day they announced Senior Favorites and said that I had won "Most Popular," I was sitting under a tree eating lunch all by myself.  I'm sure she didn't have a clue that it didn't mean anything to me.  That I would have much rather gotten "best smile" or "most likely to succeed."
Being popular amounts to the number of people who know your name.  It doesn't reflect anything on your character (or your happiness for that matter.)
It doesn't mean anything.

I tried to write her back as sweetly as I could.  I apologized.  I tried to explain my perspective.  I tried to encourage her to let it go... we were kids.

But it didn't help.  It wasn't enough.  I could have ignored her.  At least then maybe some of her accusation of me would have been founded.  But I truly and honestly wanted to help her see that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.  Still, even ten years later, her expectations of me were beyond my reach.  There was nothing I could do to redeem myself.  She didn't want to see me any other way.  She just wanted to remain angry at me.

But her perspective wasn't a true picture of reality.  In the middle of what seemed like the perfect life to her, she had no clue about MY pain.  She hadn't even considered for a second that I had any.

I love the quote by Theodore Roosevelt, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

What good does it do you to look at someone else and be angry and jealous at them for the relationships they have?  Think about it.  It's just making you a crabby, joy-robbed person, making you less lovely, less enjoyable to be around.  So, you push people away.  But you want what they have.  You think the grass is greener on the other side?  You think if you could just have her husband, or his dad, or her friends, that then you would feel loved?  Then you might be happy?  It's not likely.  The truth is if the grass is all trampled on your side of the fence by your bitterness and anger, if you could get to the greener side, you'd trample it too.

We need to realize that what makes the "grass" green is not how everyone treats us, but how we treat others.  It's not people meeting the expectations we have for them, but it's about us raising the standard for ourself.  It's about reaching out when we don't feel known.  It's about remembering though we feel forgotten.  Its about loving even if we don't feel loved.  And remembering that everyone is fighting their own battles.  Whether you can see it or not, everyone is bruised and scarred and imperfect.

I firmly believe that one of the keys to a happy life is to quit comparing.  Quit wishing you had things different, and make the most of what you do have.  Quit wishing everyone else would be different and YOU be different.  Next time you think your husband doesn't notice all you do, instead of getting hurt over it, why don't you take the time to show appreciation for him?  Next time you wonder when the last time a friend thought about you was, instead of crossing them out of your address book, why don't you drop by with a bouquet of flowers "just because."  Next time you wonder if you pastor even notices if you go to church anymore, instead of leaving the church, why don't you stop and ask him how you can pray for HIM? Water your own yard, and quit trampling on what you do have. You might be surprised at the joy you find.

"Those who bring sunshine in the life of others cannot keep it from themselves." - James M. Barrie

"A man that has friends must show himself friendly..." Proverbs 18:24

<3 Johnna

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lies vs. Truth

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 9 - Overflowing Self-Control

Overflowing Self-Control

My Thoughts:

To me, self-control seems to be the thing that's needed to make all of the other fruit a reality.  Without self-discipline, can we really expect all of the other traits to become a reality - especially those areas we struggle in, in particular?

I never used to think I had s self-control problem, because I'm not "impulsive."  I'm the kind that usually thinks through all of the possible outcomes and consequences.  But when it comes to my emotions, I've realized just how much self-control I've been lacking.  And when self-control is lacking and my emotions start spinning, I find myself dealing with jealousy, depression, anxiety, impatience, anger, selfishness, discouragement, brashness,... and everything that is opposite of the fruit of the Spirit!

It seems the older I get the more I struggle.  Although I think it has more to do with the responsibilities I have and the pressure I put on myself to "do it all."  Sometimes I'm surprised by it.  But always, if I start evaluating things, the root cause is some lack of self-discipline in some area of my life, which is usually accompanied by poor decision-making.

I love, though, that this action-taking fruit is one of the evidences of the Spirit in our life.  Some people buy into the idea that "it's all up to God" (and in that, make provision for the flesh.)  No! God wants to give you the power you need to overcome!  We cannot do it without Him.  BUT... self-control comes at a conscious choice! "  Terri Lynn says, "we must submit ourselves to His bidding and discipline ourselves to time in the Word."¹

This area is like exercising a muscle - the more we use it, the stronger it gets.  I so desire that "overflow of the Father’s grace"² in my life.  I want my children to first experience that grace, coming through their Mama! ♥

Terri Lynn gives these ideas for cultivating a heart of self-control:

- Be faithful in God's Word.
- Memorize scripture.
- Learn to laugh.
- Choose grace - both for your child, and for yourself!

"When we give our children a self-controlled mother, 
we have given them a precious gift."³

On the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page, I shared this photo and asked you Mamas how you were building up your house physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We need to consider this often - take careful inspection of our house and repair any damage done as quickly as possible, whether that is on a physical, emotional or spiritual level.

If you haven't memorized this verse yet, take time to do so.  Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to show you areas that need to be addressed first, and then take those steps of action!

Just for Moms:⁴  

Make a list of ways you can build your home. Include very practical things like repair and maintenance but also other ideas for building relationships and spiritual growth. Develop a plan for putting these ideas into action.
I'm going to be taking whatever extra I can and investing it in flowers for my house.  The way my house looks is completely embarrassing to me.  We live in a rental, so I haven't wanted to make the investment, but I think after a year and a half, it's time to stop waiting for God to move me out of this house and to make it lovely.
I'm also going to be more committed to my time with the girls each day, and not allow myself to get distracted by other things that seem pressing at the moment, but will be there for me faithfully even after my children are gone.
And as for spiritual growth, the girls and I have started to read 3 chapters of the Bible together each day.  I am also doing an in-depth study on

If you have never developed a mission statement or core values for your family, take time to begin praying about how God would have you define your home and family. What is He specifically calling your family to do, your home to be?
I have done this (the values for the family) and bought a canvas to paint it onto, but I never did it.  I'm going to make this one of my projects this summer.  I'd love to see what you come up with as well!
The Lord began our family with the verse Psalm 34:3, "Oh Magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together" so this has a prominent influence in regard our family mission/values.

1 Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 50).  . Kindle Edition. 
2 Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 50).  . Kindle Edition. 
3 Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 51).  . Kindle Edition. 
4 Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 54).  . Kindle Edition. 

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.
<3 Johnna

Monday, June 3, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow - Day 8 - Overflowing Gentleness

Overflowing Gentleness

My Thoughts:

I could relate so well to Terri Lynne's journal entry.  I shared with you a week or two ago about how bedtimes often are a struggle for me.  When we were just getting settled in Oregon, Sunday mornings were hellish.  I had a very emotional 4-year old who was having a hard time adjusting to a new environment and a missing our old church, and a potty-training 2-year old who inevitably messed 2-3 outfits before I could get her to church.  The pastor started threatening to pull my husband out of ministry and leadership if I continued to show up to church late.  I was a mess.  I really just needed a hug.  Unfortunately it turned Sunday mornings before church into the most ungodly hour of our week.  Gentleness, patience, compassion - all went out the window for the sake of appeasing the pastor and getting my toddlers and I to church on time.

Thankfully those days are long gone, and I have since repented and sought forgiveness.  Thankfully Sunday mornings are now full of ministering to our family in a sweet (usually) peaceful environment, before we head off to corporate worship together.  Thankfully I now understand that how I treat my daughters before church has a greater impact on them than what time I get them there.

But, oh how I still need to grow in gentleness!  Especially with three girls!  And especially because I want to teach them to have a gentle and quiet spirit as seen in I Peter 3:4 as a mark of a godly woman - a woman that is valuable to God!  How can I do that if I, myself, am not gentle?

What does scripture have to say about gentleness?...
Philip. 4:5 - It's something that should be evident to all - an obvious, marked character.
I Peter 3:3-4 - It should transcend any physical or surface beauty.  It is truly a mark of inner beauty and something that blesses God's heart.
Col. 3:12 - It is a mark of God's elect, and an active characteristic.

We are called to cultivate this gentleness— this meekness of spirit, grace of soul, strength of character— in our own hearts and lives. And then, as it grows in us, allow gentleness to overflow onto those around us, especially in our homes.¹

I loved the words Terri Lynne used to define gentleness - "meekness of spirit, grace of soul, strength of character."  I cultivate these things in my life by continually considering my attitudes, and lining them up with the truth of God's Word.  By choosing to respond the way Christ responded.  -- And with daughters!! Oh, this gentleness in our responses is SO crucial!

"...gentleness requires the total depletion of self to be refilled with the fulness of Christ."²

It's true.  It's hard!  Too often I hold on to little bits of "me."  My self gets in the way of what God's trying to do.  I don't really want to  be depleted of my self.  That would mean no more excuses!  But oh, what I am missing out on by not partaking of the fulness of Christ!!  I cannot experience the fulness of Christ when I am determined to be full of my self - my pride, my rights, my blame.  Why do I want to hold on to these things!? Someone remind me!  Oh yeah - because letting them go is HARD!


When has gentleness been hard for you? What are some specific struggles you have faced in this area?³
Particularly, right before and after we moved to Oregon.  The whole experience was so trying and I felt completely out of control  I'm not proud of the way I handled my self through the journey.  I tend to get hard and negative when things get the way they were.  I didn't like the person that I was when fear took over.
As I shared before also, I was just this year confronted about my critical spirit toward my brother.  It's hard for me to be gentle toward him sometimes, but I'm working on that.

"We need to sow seeds of gentleness in a thousand little ways 
in order to reap the harvest of overflowing gentleness in our homes."⁴

How do you practice gentleness? In what ways have you seen the seeds of gentleness reap a harvest in your home?⁵
In the way that I speak, and handle my children, being careful not to be harsh, insensitive, or taking my frustrations out on them.  I have seen them harvested as I see the ways my daughters deal with each other in a kinder, more long-suffering and more patient way, particularly my eldest daughter.

Is it hard or easy for you to surrender? Why?⁶
Usually it's hard for me.  I've found it's very often hard to get to the heart of a matter in myself.  I'm not honest with myself the way I should be.  But when I am I can usually see how it is affecting the way I deal with my daughters.  It is then that surrender comes easily.  But I have to get to the heart of the matter.

How will you join me in practicing gentleness?⁷
I will make a conscious effort to listen to what they have to say - making sure they feel heard and validated.  I am also going to take the challenge to consistently speak words of life and encouragement as opposed to criticism or condemnation.

Commit these verses to memory... and don't forget that you are dearly beloved!

Just for Moms:⁸

In what ways is it difficult for you to practice gentleness?       
It's difficult for me to practice gentleness when I am lacking grace for myself.  I realize that I tend to put too much pressure on my daughters at times.

Call the person you have asked to pray with you and share these issues. Ask for her encouragement and prayer as you seek to develop this attribute. 
I'm going to message her tonight.

Determine to stop and count to ten before speaking. Sometimes simply slowing down and pausing can help us to be gentle with our words and responses. Do this for 24 hours and evaluate how it helped you be clothed with gentleness.
Ok... 24 hours of pausing for gentleness, starting now!

Dear Lord, help me, and these precious mamas grow in the area of gentleness.  Help us to first be that example of that gentle and quiet spirit that you regard as a treasure.  Give us grace toward our daughters, and gentleness toward them as we train them up.  Help us to remember that you aren't finished with us yet, and that you are just beginning to shape and mold them.  Let us be a useful tool in your hand as you create these girls to be lovely, godly young women. - Amen.

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
2. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
3. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
4. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
5. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
6. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
7. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
8. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (pp. 47-48).  . Kindle Edition.

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.
<3 Johnna

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 7 - Overflowing Faithfulness

Overflowing Faithfulness

My Thoughts:

I can hardly believe we are already in the final third of studying the Fruit of the Spirit!

Some of the questions Terri Lynne put out there were tough!

How does our faithfulness to God overflow into the lives of our children?¹
There are so many verses (Deut. 4:9, for example, or I love Deut. 29:29) which show us that God's blessings overflow from the parent to the child.  Our faithfulness to God does have a huge impact on the lives of our children.  We need to have an undivided heart!  While our children are a part of our "inner circle" they get to experience the blessings that come from our obedience to the Lord.

How does that faithfulness teach them about the love God has for them?²
Our faithfulness to God should give our children a clear understanding of God's faithfulness to us, as we include them in the relationship we have in Christ and the hope we have in the gospel.  As they come to know Christ and learn the truth from God's word, they should realize God's great love for them.

It is about our "confident expectation" in God -  I want my girls to remember me for my peace during trying times, knowing that it was because I trusted in God's tender mercies, and His grace and love for me.

What are some things you hope for?³
Very often I hope in God's provision, for making a way when I cannot see a way.
I hope in God for the change that He is effecting in me and that He loves me too much to leave me the way that I am.

How have you grown in your conviction of things not seen?⁴
I have grown in this area by doing the right thing, which is not always the easy thing, as well as trusting God instead of toiling to come up with a plan of my own.

"We must never doubt
that this training of our children 
to live in faith— acting on the truth of Scripture— 
is a necessary component of our parenting."⁵

How will you strive to give your child that foundation?⁶
I want to live a life "set apart" - not for preservation... not holding my life dear to myself - but as a life set apart for good works and ready and willing to serve and love, even when it is costly or inconvenient.  I want to model that for my children, and invite them into it as I have opportunity to do so.

Hall of Fame, Part 1
I so appreciated these examples that Terri Lynne drew from.  These women, Sarah and Rahab were far from the perfect idea we sometimes have of the "godly woman."  Sarah doubted.  Rahab wasn't exactly a model citizen, for goodness sake, she was a prostitute!  But GOD used them!!!

How do you see yourself in Sarah’s story? In what ways is God growing your faith during your current season of life?⁷
In the last four years there have been so many examples of me doubting God's faithfulness, and then He  coming through in a big way.  One of my most memorable examples of this was when my husband was without work, we had drained our savings trying to hold onto our house in Arizona, so that it didn't go into foreclosure, and still pay our rent on our duplex in Oregon, along with all of our other bills.  Never mind that it was almost Christmas as well.  But we just didn't have the money for our mortgage anymore.  One day I was just praying and praying.  My husband had gone to try and make a little money chopping wood.  I hopped in my van and went down to the Post Office to get our mail, and as I drove home I remember praying, "God, you already have the answer.  I know you can provide what we need to make our mortgage payment!"  When my husband got home I handed him an envelope from the mail that day - a Christmas card from an old friend of his.  When he opened it, out fell a check for the exact amount of money we needed to pay our mortgage!  God had laid it on his friends heart to send us some money!  His friend had no idea that we needed money to pay for our house. I couldn't believe that the answer I was praying for... the one I knew God had... was literally sitting in the seat next to me as I had prayed that afternoon! We danced and rejoiced at God's goodness!  And guess what?  A week or two later, we were blessed with another $275 to spend on our family for Christmas.  Any and all worry had been completely futile.  And I laughed with joy at God's goodness and faithfulness to us.

During my current season in life, we are not anywhere near the time of "famine" that we were that December.  Still, any little unexpected expense that comes our way is too much for us right now.  We don't have the money for broken teeth, or fixing the dents in other people's cars.  But these things happen.  And God keeps providing.  And I know I just need to keep trusting.  I just need to keep remembering that it all comes from Him anyway, and that I must praise Him through feast or famine.  That though He gives and takes away, I will bless His name.

How do you see yourself in Rahab’s story? How does knowing that your faith is your own encourage you?⁸
I can't honestly say that I relate much with Rahab, except in the excellent point that is made, that our faith is our own!  I had the "perfect" family, raised in the church, parents who served God and loved others... but their lives, their faith, was not automatically passed to me... there came a point that it was my decision, whether or not I would walk in the ways of the world around me, or choose a relationship with Jesus Christ and follow hard after Him.  I had to make a decision to sever myself from my parents, in a sense, and make my relationship with Jesus Christ completely my own.
This is so important to make sure that we emphasize for our children.  They need to know that just because you were raised in a Christian home, doesn't automatically make you a Christian.  As hard as this may seem for us as parents, we need to allow and even encourage our children to ask the tough questions and work out their own salvation.

How often do we allow our faith to be sidetracked by our circumstances or our own desires?⁹
I wish I could say "Never!" or even "Rarely," but it just wouldn't be true.  This is something I definitely need growth in.  I allow waves of life to tumble me all too often.

Memory Verse

I pray that the Lord would help me to set an example of unwavering faith, and that my daughters would be impacted by the confidence I have in Christ and the consistency I have in my faithfulness to the Lord.

Just for Moms:¹⁰

Find as many references to the word “faith” or “faithful” as you can using a concordance or website such as    
I found over 500 references to the word "faith" and over 250 to the word "faithful!"

Make a list of the ways our faith is grown and shown. Pray for the Lord to increase your faithfulness to Him and for your own faith to grow.     
My list:
By my responses...
In my devotions...
By the way I treat my husband...
In the way I handle our home...
In the way I discipline my children...
Through the areas I serve and my commitments to them...
In the way I run our homeschool...
In the way I handle our finances...
...I'm sure I could just list a million or more!!!

If your child does not yet have a faith of his or her own, pray for his or her salvation. Be aware of every opportunity to share your own story of salvation.   
My oldest came into a relationship with Jesus Christ, so i am praying for her growth now, for a hunger for God's Word, and for the fruit of the Spirit in her life.
I continue to pray for the salvation of my two younger daughters, who are not yet at the age of understanding, though my middle little is getting very close to that point.
I need to pray and watch for more opportunities to share my testimony with them.

Make your own “Faith Hall of Fame.” List people who have modeled faithfulness in your life. Take time to pray for each of them and, if possible, write or call to let them know how much their influence has meant to you.
I love this idea and I can't wait to do this.  I think I am actually going to make a wall and put pictures up of these people so I can talk about them with my girls, and let it be a visual thing for them.

Wow!  So much to glean from this chapter!  May the Lord make us Faithful Ones!

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 35).  . Kindle Edition.
2. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 35).  . Kindle Edition.
3. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 36).  . Kindle Edition.
4. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 36).  . Kindle Edition.
5. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 36).  . Kindle Edition.
6. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 36).  . Kindle Edition.
7. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 38).  . Kindle Edition.
8. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 39).  . Kindle Edition.
9. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 40).  . Kindle Edition.
10. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 42).  . Kindle Edition.  

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.
<3 Johnna

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 6

Overflowing Goodness
My Thoughts:
"Be Good!"
What mother hasn't uttered these words to her children?  Teaching our children appropriate behavior and self control is an important part of our role as a parent.  Teaching them right from wrong, even more so.
Really, though, what is the point of all of this hard work we do if were not getting to their hearts - if we're not cultivating goodness in their hearts to match the good appearance?
As Terri Lynne said, it's much easier to focus on outward behaviors than to check motives and desires and learn to cultivate not just good behavior, that attracts admiring smiles from old ladies in the grocery store, but genuine goodness that puts a smile on God's face.
The way I see it, we do a huge disservice to our child's spiritual life if we do not get this, and give this to them, while they are young.  They learn a system of works when we constantly demand an outward appearance of good behavior and reward them for that, when in their hearts they may be resisting or resenting.  They may learn to  be people pleasers, as they constantly try to get parents approval instead of learning to do things in order to bless the heart of God.

"Any and all goodness is divine in nature."

We have to remember that our children, our precious treasured, children, are born in a state of sin and guilt.  Being "good" does not come naturally to them.  And goodness is cultivated through teaching them God's word... reading the Bible to them, even at a young age and discussing it with them.  A great book   on this topic, that I want to share with you, is called, "Together, Growing Appetites for God" by Carrie Ward.

I love Ephesians 2:10 - We are CREATED in Christ Jesus FOR good works!  Good works that God had planned for us... we have PURPOSE in Christ Jesus!  How important is this, to teach our children this truth, and help them learn to live by it!

Terri Lynne touches on two truths to apply in regard to goodness.  First, goodness is active - we have to model it and live it out.  Second, it is ready - we can't just pick and choose when we feel like acting in goodness.

She also asks a tough question: "How can we manifest that overflowing goodness in the lives of our children?"  As I thought on this, I feel that for me its in all the million little things throughout the day, and so much, again, in the way I respond to my daughters.

Not long ago, the Lord really convicted my heart concerning my attitude toward our children at bedtime.  The end of the day just always feel tough for me.  My patience has usually been expended and it takes real mental effort for me to hold it together sometimes.  So often I am looking for that preverbal "finish line" when I switch out the light, and shut the door on 3 little angels, all tucked in their beds.  I almost always let out a big sigh of relief. "Done! - now I can spend some time with my husband or just get some things done without interruption."  So when I would hear that door crack, and little footsteps coming down the hall, the mommy of the angels I had just tucked in, would sometimes turn into a fire breathing dragon.  But one night, when this happened, and my middle little asked for a drink of water, I heard the Lord's voice say, "Will you offer a cup of cold water to this little one in my name?" - Jesus said this was a mark of a disciple.  What was I teaching my children by hollering at them, "You should have done that before lights out!  Get back in bed!"  I was teaching them selfishness.  I was teaching them that I wasn't willing to give up my "me" time.  I wasn't teaching them Christ's sacrificial love.

I want to see my daughters grow up to be Christ-like because they saw that their Mama lived like Christ, and of anyone, that they saw me live that way toward them.

Don't grow weary Mamas!  Remember that you have the Holy Spirit to help you.  Draw up on HIS goodness. <3  Dwell on Christ's goodness to you. Remember that you serve a good and loving God.

Just for Moms:   

In Titus 2: 3-5 the older women are instructed to teach the younger women to “be good” (KJV). We must exhibit these characteristics of goodness in our homes and in front of other women. How can you be intentional about encouraging other women to practice goodness?     

I need to be intentional about encouraging other women, especially my daughters, goodness, by first and foremost, encouraging them with scripture, and teaching them about Jesus and His goodness.  But very importantly, making sure that I am setting an example of it in my life as well.  Making sure that my attitude matches my actions.

There are several examples of women in Scripture who exhibited goodness. Take time to read their stories and note what you learn from them about a heart that pursues goodness.   

Dorcas (Acts 9: 36-43) - Dorcas was known for her good works, acts of charity, which included making clothing for the widows.

The Shunammite Woman (2 Kings 4: 8-37) - The Shunammite Woman displayed hospitality and generosity.

Rebekah (Genesis 24: 15-20) - Rebekah also displayed hospitality and generosity.

Lydia (Acts 16: 11-15) - Lydia displayed faithfulness and hospitality as well.

Oh how I hope I leave a legacy of goodness by my life! 

Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 34).  . Kindle Edition. 

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.
<3 Johnna

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kitchen Tip: Slicing Mangos

So here's a kitchen tip for you, Ruby Mamas, and one you'll want to teach your Ruby Girls (when they are old enough to handle a knife of course):

We are big mango fans. My Snickerdoodle (1 yr.) loves them, so I am constantly cutting them up to give to her. I've gotten pretty good at peeling the skin and judging where to cut the flesh off from the pit. I always end up with a sticky mess though.

This week, my wise Ruby Mother-in-Law taught me a great, less messy way to slice up mangos! And the perfectionist in me loves the uniform slices that result!

- Choose a mango that is somewhat soft to pressure, not hard.
- Find the eye and make a cut about 1/2 inch to an inch over, down the side. Do this on all 4 sides.
- Take a paring knife and make 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices in each section through the flesh, but not piercing the skin.
- Use a large spoon to simply scoop out the slices.

Voila!!! Pretty mango slices, very little juicy mess!

Mangos go great in a fruit salad, with strawberries or blackberries over vanilla ice cream, mixed into plain yogurt with cinnamon and nutmeg, or made into salsa and served over grilled chicken. They also blend easy for baby food!


♥ Johnna

Back to Blogging

The girls and I have been on a semi-vacation this week, to see their Grandparents in Southern Arizona.

And since I'm not so rich and fancy to have a laptop, blogging can get tricky for me away from home.
I did however find a great little app for my iPhone (Yes, I am that rich and fancy!) that I wish I had discovered a week ago! So now I can get back to blogging.
I have spent a lot of time this week praying and considering things to write about, and I've had extra time to pray for the Ruby Mamas over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page. I'm excited for whatever The Lord has in store for this page! May God get the glory!
I hope you have a great weekend. Watch for blog posts coming from an iPhone soon! 😉


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 17, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 5

Overflowing Kindness

My Thoughts:

I was homeschooled from first to eighth grade.  My parents decided my education would best be served in the public school for high school, so at age 14 I entered high school, generally oblivious to the common world around me.  I ended up thriving in school, but let me tell you, that first week was the hardest.  I think I came home crying every day.  One day, a girl hit me in the back of the head because she didn't like blondes.  I was shocked.  I had no idea kids were so mean!
Kindness is hard to come by.  And it's becoming more and more rare.  How can it be common when the world continues to encourage the "watch out for number one" and "survival of the fittest" mentality.  It's a cut-throat world out there.

I hope you took the time to read the story of David and Mephibosheth.  It is a touching story, and a perfect Old Testament example of reaching out to "the least of these."  Mephibosheth, from a once great family of men, had basically been forgotten.  Can you imagine what that must have felt like to have been remembered.  Have you ever been remembered, when you thought everyone had forgotten you? It feels amazing.

I loved the truths that Terri Lynne pulled out of this story.  How often do we only show any degree of kindness toward people who we benefit from and with strings attached!  In general I think we keep our distance from anyone we do not seek to benefit from, when we do show kindnesses they are small and convenient, and very often we do have expectations.  I know I particularly struggle with the expectations part.  I am very often offended when someone is not grateful.

I also liked where she took it in the concept of mellowing out.  My mother recently told me that she felt I had always been harsh toward my brother.  I was shocked.  I had never looked at myself from the perspective she was presenting me with.  I realized it was true.  I was critical, disappointed, and lacking in grace toward him.  Was there an area of harshness that you realized needs some mellowing out?  We are called to be women of gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) - it is a mark of inner beauty.  Being harsh  and austere is quite the opposite of that isn't it?  And it is ugly.  It made me step back and evaluate any areas or ways I am being harsh toward my girls as well.  I wish I could say that I have never been, but I can't.  But the whole point of all of this is that we've got learning and growing to do... we need God's grace to accomplish that gentle and quiet spirit that is so pleasing to God.

My prayer:  Lord, forgive me for this harsh spirit that dwells in me, particularly toward those who fail my expectations.  I so appreciate when people are gracious and kind toward me.  Help me to extend that also in great measure toward others, especially my daughters.  I pray that by Your Spirit you will help me to always be kind, encouraging, forgiving and supportive of my precious girls.  Help me to model that for them, so that they will grow up to be kind and gracious women.

Is kindness calling you?  Do you want to be that wise woman who controls her speech with kindness? I do!!!  I can't say that I've had an intentional mentor or have I intentionally mentored anyone.  It is certainly something I am going to be praying about.

"As we grow in wisdom and understanding of the Lord, kindness is one of the visible evidences. We need to be pursuing this trait. Memorizing this verse can help us remember the significance of growing in kindness, especially in our speech."¹

Just for Moms:  
Make a list of ways you can be kind to your children. Each day for the next week, be intentional about acting in kindness toward them.    
I am really going to work on the way that I speak when I respond to my girls.  I confess that there are times when the way that I say things, my tone, is not kind, it is harsh.  I am also going to make a conscious effort to be less critical.

Pray about how you can be a part of teaching others the fruit of kindness and be obedient to the Lord’s direction. What are some ideas you have? How can you put them into action?    
A certain young girl comes to mind.  I am going to pray about how I can spend more time with her and mentor her.

Check in with the person you asked to pray for you. Share with her your successes and your struggles.
I'm going to message her later today.

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 27).  . Kindle Edition. 

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 4

Overflowing Patience

My Thoughts:

Which of us doesn't need patience?  Have you ever come across one of those moms that just talks to her kids like she's Snow White, in a situation where you would be breathing fire at them?  Or the mom that holds a steady conversation, completely unbothered by her kids who are just being kids nearby, and every few minutes she gives them "the eye" to let them know that she's totally aware of their every movement.  Sometimes I really wish I was that kind of mom.  Nothing has taught me patience more as a mom than my SugarPie, my middle little, who only has one setting... slow.

I really like the Message Bible's paraphrase of patience being, "A willingness to stick with things."  The days when I find my patience is short, when I am not being very long-suffering toward my girls, I sometimes feel like giving up.  Like I'd like to crawl back in bed and start the day over again (that was me yesterday!  Just a few more hours of sleep, please, and I'll be good!) or if someone could just come take these monkeys for me then I could run away - even if the local Starbucks or JoAnns is as far as I get.)

No one said parenting was easy, and in many ways it's really like training ... no one starts out really knowing what they are doing.   We learn.  We exercise our parenting muscles.  We increase our endurance.  We run that race well because we know its a job that worth doing well!  But it's so hard to have patience in it, because, as she said in the book, Is it "Easy? No. Fun? Not always. Rewarding? Sometimes not immediately. Necessary? Absolutely!"¹

I don't know about you, but I don't need just a measure of Patience!! I need OVERFLOWING Patience!!

And just like training physically, short-cuts aren't an option.  We've got to do the hard, sometimes tedious, sometimes even painful work in order to see results.  There are no shortcuts.

The exciting news that we all need to hear is that we have a "trainer!"  We don't have to do this on our own... well in fact, we really can't.  As I rely on the grace and power I have at my access, through Jesus, Overflowing Patience becomes a reality.

Just for Moms:  

Commit yourself for one day to being longsuffering with your children. Choose to stop and listen with your full attention, to lay aside your plans and join in theirs, to speak with grace and not impatience. What challenges do you anticipate facing in this challenge? What steps can you take beforehand to prepare for those challenges?     
Today's my day... And I can tell this will be a good day for it.  I was up late for a second night in a row and I've already been praying for patience this morning!

Write out your experiences from the day you chose to be longsuffering. How did you do? What did you learn? How did the experience change you? How did your children respond?
I'll come back and update later... ;)

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 20).  . Kindle Edition.
2. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 20).  . Kindle Edition.

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 3

Overflowing Peace

So, here it is 3:30 in the afternoon and I am just getting to sitting down to write about today's devotions.  I read it this morning, but school, babies, and keeping the home came in precedence, so I hope you will have grace with me.

My Thoughts: 

Some of these subjects seem like real challenges.  Not that we don't want Love and Joy and Patience, but the getting there can often be painful to the flesh.  But who doesn't want to gladly embrace Peace?  What do you think of when you think of the word "Peace?"  When I lived in Oregon, we rented a charming little house that backed up against the forest with a little stream and some blackberries growing nearby.  Forest animals often made their trek through, and birds were in abundance, singing their happy songs.  We just happened to have two oak trees that were spaced perfectly apart to hang a hammock between them, so for Father's Day my husbands parents bought him a really nice cloth hammock.  It was big and soft and made out of a sturdy fabric.  I loved to lay in that hammock in the summertime, with the warm sunshine beaming down and the puffy clouds floating by.  The tall pine trees would sway and creak in the breeze that would blow the smell of earth and forest into my nostrils.  That is what comes to mind when I think of Peace.

Terri Lynne Underwood says that one of the meanings of the word peace is harmony.  Have you ever had the privelege of listening to a symphony orchestra?  Majestic music coming from musicians playing their own instruments in harmony.  I like this analogy because it's not a picture of cookie-cutter, everyone has to be the same, situation.  No in fact the differences are what brings beauty, as long as they work in accordance with one another.

This brought to mind a piece I read called Secrets of Happy Home Life, by J.R. Miller, that has stuck with me for years.  Please take the time to read it, it is rather short but very impactful.

J.R. Miller writes, "We are all concerned in the making of some one home – our own home. One instrument out of tune in an orchestra mars the music which breaks upon the ears of the listeners. One discordant life in a household mars the perfectness of the music of love in the family. We should make sure that our life is not the one that is out of tune. We do not need to worry about the other lives; if each looks to his own, that will do."

Just as Terri Lynne, says, the key is at our individual relationships with Christ.

Did you take some time to dwell on the six descriptions of the tranquility we find rooted in Christ?  
Peace is... Powerful, Protecting, Promised, Preferable, Practiced, Pursued.  Go back and re-read those verses!
Do you believe this?  Take God's promises and claim them for yourself!!

Seek Peace and Pursue it!  As with everything else, we set the example for our children.  We need to evaluate if we are faithfully pursuing peace with our children, or are there moments of antagonizing them or setting them up for failure in which discord ensues?  How about our outside relationships.  How are we controlling our tongues about the other people in our lives.  Are we protecting our children against the struggles we are having with in-laws, friends, people we serve with in ministry.  Their little ears are listening and learning, and I know for myself, I've got to remember that.  And Ive got to set an example to my kids of humility and forgiveness!  Of a non-judgemental love.  Of a Christ-like love that forgives and then stands with open arms, ready to receive people back into relationship.

Let us commit to be peace-seekers! Striving for every opportunity to live at harmony, first and foremost, with those in our home, our families, and our church families.

Memorize this verse.  Maybe print it out and put it somewhere that will remind you to pray for someone you have conflict with.  Put their name up on a sticky-note with it, and honestly pray for peace between you.  I will be doing this also.

Just for Moms:   

Check in with the friend you asked to pray for you. Share with her what you are learning and any struggles you are facing. Ask her to pray with you and for you as you seek peace in your relationships.   Realize the truth of Hebrews 12: 14. There may be work done in you no one else ever sees, but allow the Lord to do that work.   
I'll be checking in with my friend tonight, and I'm already praying that the Lord can make my heart ready to make steps toward resolution with someone who hurt me deeply, and has asked to meet with me.

Choose one of the descriptions of peace and focus on living it out. What specific steps do you need to take in order to live in peace?
The description I am choosing is "Protecting" ... I sometimes flee resolution because I fear further conflict.  I need to entrust my heart to the Lord in this. 

Take that step of obedience and work toward peace in your relationships. It’s not easy. Ask someone you trust to pray for you as you face this difficult challenge. (Be sure to give her permission to ask you if you have done anything yet. You do not have to give details about who or what, but give permission to ask if you have done what you need to do.)
I'll be doing this with my friend tonight.

Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 18).  . Kindle Edition.

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 2

Overflowing Joy

My Thoughts:

How well could you relate to the scenario given of the 5 PM crazy-time rush when complete chaos strikes?  Do you have a certain time of day when it's time to keep a joyful heart?  Maybe for you it is getting out the door for work and school (or even for church), or maybe your stressful crunch comes at bedtime.  I have to agree that it is often easier to find joy and peace in life's more difficult moments than it is in the day-to-day stresses.

How would Phillippians 4:12-13 look if you were to stick your life in there?  What is the every-day joy that you can grasp hold of?  When it feels like the house is falling apart, you can't find your keys, dinner has been burned, and the kids need straightjackets while you retreat to a padded cell, stopping to find the joy in those moments feels near impossible (at least for me it does.)

But I really liked what she pointed out.  Here's the key... are you ready?

It is CHOICE followed by ACTION.

First of all things, stop and pray!!  Invite the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and creativity in that moment, to bring about joy for the whole household.  Instead of flipping out on the family for being such slobs, get out the sheets and make a fort and just play with your kiddos for a while since it's a mess anyway.  Then when your'e done, play the "everyone pick up 5 things on your way to your room" game.  You can clean up the rest when they go to bed (you know its futile to try when they are running around like little tornadoes.)
If dinner has burned, whip out some PB&J and have a picnic outside for dinner.  Watch the sunset and talk of God's majesty while you enjoy creation.
If the kids are going crazy, let it all go (I KNOW... you CAN do it... you really can), stop and just hug on them, then grab a book and help them get quiet instead of just hollering at them to "SETTLE DOWN!"

It really does start with choice, followed by action.  You may not be in control of the circumstances around you, but you are in control of your response.  And you are teaching your children by your response.  I am ashamed to say that one freak-out too many has effected my fretful daughter.  She has a very negative perspective sometimes.  How important it is for me to follow this wise advice and take hold of the stressful moments to show her that response is a choice.

"The greatest joy-stealer in our lives is being discontent."¹

Put up this verse in the place that your usual "mad moment" takes place, and remind yourself that the secret is contentment.  Rejoice in the Lord!

Just For Moms:

1. What time of day do you find it most difficult to express joy, to live joyfully? What are the practical things you have tried to manage that time? Take a minute and make a list of what makes that time most difficult.     
For me, it's bedtime.  It seems that once the third kiddo came along, all the romance is gone from our evening routine.  We've got a system in place, but its not the dreamy end of the day I'd prefer.  If anyone diverts from the routine it can throw the end of the day off for the rest of us.  When that happens I can feel the joy drain from me.  Guilt often ensues, as I hate ending the day negatively.  No matter what, though we always end with prayer, hugs and kisses.  When Daddy is able to help, sometimes the big girls get a story while I nurse the baby.  I have to remind myself often that this is a season... already the little one is starting to shift into going to bed with the big girls.

My list:
- Dinnertime Dishes
- Littles that need help
- Messes that need to be cleaned up
- One little one that gets super chatty at the end of the day
- A tired husband who isn't always available in the way I would like him to be
- Accomplishing evening grooming for 3 little girls (baths, brushing teeth, clean pajamas, potty, brush hair, drink of water...)

2.  Look over your list and ask God to show you a bit of joy in each item. 
My List from a Joy Perspective:
- We have food to eat, and enjoy family dinnertime almost daily.
- The mere fact that I have the little ones to need me.
- Messes mean that life is lived... my children live in an enviroment when they can create and imagine and enjoy playing.  They have clothes to wear, and shoes for their feet.
- My chatty little one loves to tell me things and wants a relationship.
- My husband is tired because he is hardworking and gives so much of himself to provide for his family.
- We have clean running water to use so we can go to bed clean at the end of the day.

3.  Will you begin counting gifts? Ann Voskamp's webpage, "A Holy Experience" is so lovely.  Sometimes I just turn it on for the peaceful music.  But very often her words bring tears to my eyes.  If you don't already have a "1000 Gifts" list going, grab a journal... write down three things each day... look for them in the little things... a child who takes your hand, a sweet note from a friend, a songbird out your window... and praise and thank God for these sweet little reminders of his love for you.  There is even an app you can download to keep track of them on your iphone.

Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 10).  . Kindle Edition.

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

Monday, May 13, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 1

A group of moms from Polishing Rubies on Facebook are going through the book Parenting From the Overflow by Terri Lynne Underwood.  You're welcome to join us!

Overflowing Love

My Thoughts:

What a needful, yet difficult thing to evaluate ourselves in when it comes to our children! So many times we would go to great lengths for our children.  We would move heaven and earth for them if we could.  We would die for them if we had to.  But I can hardly say for myself that everything I do and say and sacrifice for them is backed by this pure love described here in 1 Corinthians 13.  Did you read it out loud like she asked you to? It was hard for me to hear my self say what love according to God is, in the context of loving my children!  I am truly falling so short!  My love for my daughters does not truly model the love seen here.  Not by a long shot.

Did you take the time to write down the specific ways that you can put this type of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 into practice with your children?  I found it quite the challenge, and again a fresh reminder of how much growing I still have to do.  I wrote out a whole page of ways I can really, practically demonstrate this love toward my children.  It was convicting!

Being my worst critic, I absolutely needed to read these words:

Love yourself with patience and kindness. 
Forgive your own shortcomings. 
Love yourself with humility and grace. 
God’s mercies are new every morning.
Remember this truth: You are created by a holy God 
and you are priceless to Him. 
Your Father loves you! 
So love yourself as His beautiful daughter.¹

I need to ask myself often if my love is firmly rooted in the gratitude of God's love for me.  He is our source.  If I am having a hard time demonstrating God's love for my children, then I need to stop everything and align my heart with gratitude.  Our relationship with God is seen in our love for others.  And for our children, a big part of that foundation is in the way that we demonstrate our love for them.  If my actions aren't displaying love as much, if not more, than what my mouth professes, my children are going to notice!  I don't know about you, but my kids are great about pointing out the inconsistencies in my life.  This is an area that we definitely want them to see as a "constant."

Verse to Memorize:

My Answers to "Just for Moms:"

1. The areas in 1 Corinthians 13 that are the biggest challenges for me are probably being patient and kind, and not being irritable or resentful.  Not insisting on my own way really struck a chord with me as well.  Many times these areas of weakness are all kind-of gnarled and twisted together in an ugly way.

2. The area that I am going to be intentional in is not being irritable.  I find myself snapping at my girls when they've asked me for the third time if they can have applesauce, or when childish irresponsibility interferes with my plans for the day.  In the next day I'm going to intentionally work at responding with gentleness, and to give them my focused attention when they need it.

3. I'm going to ask a friend to be my prayer partner tomorrow, and I'll share these struggles with her.  I'm also going to check in with the other ladies on the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page.

A Side Note: IMHO, The Five Love Languages can be beneficial in determining how best to communicate love to another person;  however, if used with selfish motivation, you may become frustrated at gifts given in another language.  Learning the Five Love Languages is not so much about you, so keep the focus on others.
That said, The 5 Love Languages Website has a tool you can use to determine love languages, and there is a section for children.

Thanks for joining us!  If you didn't have time to read and answer the Just For Moms section for today, just jump in where we're at tomorrow, the chapter called "Overflowing Joy."

<3 Johnna

  1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 3).  . Kindle Edition.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow

On the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page, I asked you moms to tell me some subjects you would like to be encouraged or educated in.

Two of the subjects that were mentioned were learning to set an example to our children of being still before the Lord, and developing the fruit of the Spirit in our little ones (in which example also plays a big part.) 

I thought on and prayed about your comments yesterday, and I am excited to share a devotional that I came across this morning that I think is going touch on both of these topics, as well as give us an opportunity to interact with one another a bit.

The devotional Parenting From the Overflow by Terri Lynne Underwood is FREE right now on Amazon (prices can change at any point, so make sure you check the price before you click)

If you don't have a Kindle, that's okay! I don't either!  I read my Amazon books from Kindle apps off of my iphone or computer.

If you'd like to join with me in reading this devotional and some discussion both here on the Polishing Rubies blog and on the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page, first email me to let me know you are on board, then go download your book and read the Introduction and the chapter "Parenting from the Overflow" over the weekend.  On Monday we will start with "Overflowing Love."

We need to lead our daughters by example, and living our lives with an overflow of the Holy Spirit and godliness is so important, and I know for me, it's an area I need improved in my life.  Too often when my "cup gets tipped" I don't like what comes out of it.  I am constantly praying for help in this area.

So I hope you'll join me!  I'm excited about this!

- Johnna

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Precious Rubies, Unrefined

I am an heiress to quite a treasure; three little rubies.

To the ordinary persons eye, they may look somewhat common, rough around the edges, pretty, even, to some, but probably not seen for the treasure that they potentially are.  They are precious rubies, unrefined.

It is my great privilege and responsibility to be the primary one to shape and refine these little rubies... my beautiful precious daughters.

Psalm 127:3 says, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."

Having once been told that I may not be able to bear children, this verse takes on deep meaning to me.  I am so blessed to now have not one, not two, but three children.  And God has seen fit to give me not one, not two, but three daughters at that!

So to say that I have a passion for raising up women after God's heart is an understatement.  It is my greatest calling, and while I myself am still a "ruby in refinement," I pray that God will give me the grace and wisdom I need to raise three gleaming, Proverbs 31, precious ruby-women in this world.

It is here that I will share my journey with you, the great, often fun, and sometimes challenging calling of raising little girls up to be lovely, godly women.  I by no means am the authority on the subject.  Every day I find myself praying hard for God's help and wisdom, but I hope to encourage other moms of girls as well as I am learning and investing in my own daughters.

Please feel free to follow, share and comment.  Obviously I'm just beginning to build the page, but there will be more to come and I'd love to have you share this journey with me.

"A daughter is the happy memories of the past, 
the joyful moments of the present, 
and the hope and promise of the future."
 ~Author Unknown