How Should We Prepare Our Children for War?

by Sally Matheny 

How Should We Prepare Our Children for War?
Regardless of where we stand on the issue of the military draft, it is the law that our sons, and possibly soon, even our daughters, register with the Selective Service when they turn eighteen years old.

Very few want, or expect, a military draft to occur. But what if…

What if the time comes when we are informed our children will definitely serve in the military? Some of us would have years to prepare, some would have only days.

My son is a few years shy of becoming a teenager. One day he will have to register with the Selective Service. It’s something I prefer not to think about. And yet, if I knew for a fact he would be called up in a few years, how would I prepare him for war?


Christ’s Resurrection: Deny It or Apply It

by Sally Matheny

The Resurrection- Deny it or apply it
(photo by Pixabay)
Plastic eggs or real ones? Hollow chocolate or solid? Stuffed animals or real ones?

These are the decisions people make around this time of year.  They can even choose a combination.  I’m pretty sure you cannot go wrong with chocolate—ever.  Okay, maybe in quantity consumed, but as far as the choice of thickness, then no.  Furthermore, combining hollow, solid, and even crispy chocolates are okay. 

Not everything has to be an either/or selection.

However, some things in life demand a solid stance on one side or another.

Easter is drawing near. It’s more than a celebration of spring and new life. It’s a time to commemorate Christ’s resurrection. Will we deny it or apply it?

One of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, provides us with a testimony of Easter reminders to help us decide.

Easter reminds Christians to have faith—even in the midst of chaos.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Peter, a disciple of Jesus, loved Him. He swore his allegiance to Him. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the garden, Peter drew his sword. Heart beating wildly in his chest, he tested his courage by swinging his sword toward the high priest’s servant.

Jesus rebuked him and ordered him to put away his sword. Confusion silently crept in Peter as he watched Jesus relinquish to the guards.

Following Jesus at a distance, Peter’s mind must have been whirling. 
Why doesn’t Jesus change the situation as He has done before? He’s quieted a raging storm, supplied for many out of practically nothing, and even brought the dead back to life. Why does He not take charge of this chaos?

Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. Everything seemed out of control. If his Lord was bound and beaten, Peter must’ve been wondering what could possibly happen next. What would become of him? Had Jesus lost His power? The enemy ensnared Peter in a tsunami of fear.


The Winner of the Children's Book: I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!
The winner was randomly selected from all of the blog's email subscribers. And the winner is:


Woo Hoo! Congratulations "Crazy Mama." I'll notify you via your email address but I don't know your real name. "Crazy Mama" applies to many of us--I know it does to me! So, I'll need you to private message me and let me know your  real name.

Also, tell me where you'd like to have the book delivered and I'll send it out next week. You're going to love this book.

A big thanks to ALL of the rest of you who subscribe to the blog. I hope you continue to find encouragement and community here. 

And thank you for sharing that encouragement with others through your social media. You are a blessing to others and definitely to me.

If you didn't win, hang in there. We have a giveaway at least once a month.

Have a joyful day,



I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug: Book Review & Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

(I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug)
In honor of International Children’s Book Day (April 2), I’m giving away a wonderful, hardcover book, I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug by Caroline B. Cooney.

Cooney has already authored ninety books and sold over fifteen million copies but this is her first picture book. I hope it isn’t her last, because I absolutely love this book.

Zonderkidz released the book in December 2016. The target audience for I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug is ages 4-8 but younger children will enjoy it also. Even the older children will grin if you pair your hugs with a few of these catchy phrases.

        I’m going to give you a horse hug.
        A grab the mane,
        Race through rain,
        Yes oh yes, of course! hug.

        I’m going to give you a bear hug.
        A gasp for air,
        All you dare,
        Anything that’s fair hug.

Eight, imaginative animal hugs unfold for a little boy whose mother is preparing him for bed. The rhyming is superb as the little boy plays, bathes, and snuggles before finally being tucked into bed with a

        Way beyond compare hug.

The illustrations in the book are exquisitely done by Tim Warnes. He’s illustrated many children’s books, including I’ll Love You to the Moon and Back, Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits, and Jesus Loves Me!

As a side note, I thought it exceptional that he shared his faith on a secular publishing site, Simon & Schuster. When asked about illustrating one of their books he said,

“My Christian faith is central to my life, so I jumped at the challenge to illustrate Jesus Loves Me! –what a great way to use the gift God gave me!”

Don’t you love it when people share about their Christian faith in public? 
Perhaps that’s a little extra nugget you can share with your child as you hold him close and read I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

I have a hardcover copy of this delightful book to give away to one of you. Everyone whose name is on my email list will be entered into the drawing.

If you’re not on it, and you’d like to receive encouragement for Christian living and news about my latest giveaways, then simply fill in your email address in the “Follow by Email” box provided on your right. 

Usually, you’ll only receive a blog update once a week, never more than two. In other words, I won’t flood your email box with stuff from me, or anyone else. I never share email addresses.

So, if your name is on my email list, you’ll be entered into the drawing! I’ll announce the winner on Saturday, April 8 and I’ll ship it (at my expense) the following week.

Now, who needs a bear hug? J

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Prepare Your Daughter Now for Her Wedding Day

by Sally Matheny

Remind your daughter she truly is the daughter of a King.
Photo by Pixaby.
Is there a little princess twirling through your home? Perhaps she has difficulty choosing a "wedding dress" from the half-dozen glittering dresses in her closet. 

Her days are filled with delightful giggles bubbling out as she waves from the top of the sofa . . . I mean, her horse-drawn, glass carriage. 

And you breathe in these moments. 
Then reality hits. Unless you have a fairy godmother, you wonder if you'll be able to make that future fairy tale wedding come true. Whether she's two or twelve,  now is the time to begin preparing your daughter for her wedding.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $30,000 according to valuepenguin.com. Manhattan, New York weddings skyrocket over $88,000 and Mississippi marriages glide around $13,000. 

Weddings in my home state of North Carolina typically average $28,000, but not so for my family.


About the Children’s Picture Book on Abortion & an Apology to the Author

by Sally Matheny

There's a children’s picture book, Sister Apple, Sister Pig, causing a great disturbance among conservative Christians. 

The theme of the book is abortion. Thankfully, this book is only available online and isn’t readily available in your child’s library.

I read the free e-book. Then I read reviews and interviews. I can see why the response was so intense.

What makes people angry about the whole thing is:

The author, Mary Walling Blackburn, presents the topic of abortion in the form of a children’s picture book. 

While she says it is meant for adults, not children, it is still formatted as a children’s book and the main character is three years old. It’s dedicated to “Little Friends.” By all publishing standards, it looks like a children’s book. Abortion is not an appropriate topic for a young child.

Interviews found online with the Ms. Blackburn reveal many unsettling and bizarre opinions. She likes to express them with a scholarly vocabulary. But Christians find her words profane and offensive.

Ms. Blackburn is an assistant art professor at a Methodist university.
Perhaps that’s where the worst sting lies. She works for an educational organization that supposedly claims to be a denomination of the Christian faith.

I don’t know what Ms. Blackburn’s relationship with Christ is.

All I know is if you disagree with the Bible, then you disagree with God. If you promote things that conflict with his Holy Word, then you’re encouraging people to turn away from God and face an eternity separated from his love and saving grace. And where Jesus is concerned, you’re either for Him, or against Him. It’s that simple.

The intention of this post is not to blast insults at Ms. Blackburn as some folks have done.

Neither do I intend to praise her. To avoid any confusion, I want to be clear—I do not agree with her stance on life. Neither do I support her work.

However, what I’d like to do is offer a sincere apology to Ms. Blackburn. Please allow me to explain.


Is Your Teen Stressing Out? Assure Them They Have What It Takes

by Sally Matheny

Is Your Teen Stressing Out?

Is your teen feeling overwhelmed with school, relationships, or work? 

Transitioning into young adulthood can be stressful. How can parents assure their teens they have what it takes?

Moreover, how can parents help, but not too much? 

In an article on USA Today’s website, "Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well" , psychologist, Michael Bradley commented on the level of parental help:

"Some parents set out on a mission to get rid of stress in their kids, but the fact is, some degree of stress is very therapeutic and an appropriate amount of stress is what helps us become strong. The hard part is what's appropriate. We do know the more we try to mitigate all stress in our children's life the less resilient that child becomes and they feel hopeless about their own future." 

Numerous articles, such as this one, point to the symptoms, and the reasons, for the anxieties teens face. Helpful suggestions are offered on how to curtail the stress, such as cutting back on activities and minimizing negative factors.
However, I suggest Christian parents counsel their teens to add more to their lives. That’s right—more. Allow me to explain. 
The following suggestion is presupposing your teen already has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t, this is a great time to explain our need for Christ. However, this post is addressing teens who already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Teens become anxious about the uncertainties of life, especially when it concerns their future. Whether that’s the prom this spring, or making education choices for a career ten years from now. Quite often we hear young people express, “I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life!”

Parents can encourage their teens by looking at 2 Peter 1:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; 
and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to 
self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, 
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive 
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

Ask your teens what they think God means by faith, goodness, and knowledge. How can we increase these? Will something have to decrease in order for this to happen?
What does self-control, perseverance, and godliness look like in their day-to-day lives? In what ways can they strengthen these qualities? Discuss how that affects others around them.
Talk about examples of brotherly kindness and love we show at home, at work, and at school. Which area do they find it most difficult to show love? Why? Brainstorm for ways to help show more kindness and love to people.
Based on scripture, what do they know about God’s love? Encourage them to make a list and post it as a reminder of the magnitude of His powerful love.
At some point in this conversation, a slight eye roll or a heavy sigh may take place. It’s okay. Just tell your teens the same thing Peter told his “children.”

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them…I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live…and I will make every effort to see that…you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV)

Teens Need Parents Refreshing Their Minds and Hearts
No matter what teens may say, it means a great deal to them when parents show they care.
There's not a one-size-fits-all answer for reducing stress. Occasionally, teens may need a little parental guidance in time management and decision-making. Ultimately, they need godly, loving parents refreshing their minds and hearts.
Assure them if they increase in God’s ways, there is no need to stress out. Everything is going to be okay, because they have what it takes.
Does your teen have what it takes?
Do you?

[i] Jayson, Sharon. “Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well.”USAToday.com. Web. 2014/02/11


Winners of Paige Snedeker's Books and Art Magnet

by Sally Matheny

"Summer in the Artic" by Paige Snedeker
Woo Hoo! I've drawn three out of the fifteen names in the hat and here are our winners:

SOFIA AND HER MORNINGSTAR book : Lexi of Indiana

CAMO'S JOURNEY book : Shannon W. of N.C.

"Summer in the Artic" Magnet: "Minivan Ministries" of America

Congratulations! I'll need each of you to privately contact me with your mailing addresses and I'll get your prizes in the mail!

You can use the contact page or private message me on my facebook page.

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway and to all those who helped share Paige Snedeker's stories of hope.