Should You Guide Your Child’s Spiritual Development?

Writing about moms between Palm Sunday and Easter begs the question – should parents influence their children regarding faith matters? Or is this a personal issue we leave for our child to decide on their own?

photo-1-e1397565810756

Children develop in four major categories; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical development includes healthy habits in nutrition, good hygiene, and nurturing environments. Emotionally, children learn to fully experience and contain their emotions, and speak the truth. Functionality encompasses academics and ongoing life skills that prepare your child to be personally responsible and able to care for others. The fourth important area of growth and development is spiritual.

How much guidance does a mom give to her child’s spiritual development?

  • Spirituality has to do with – well – eternity. That makes it important.
  • A child’s spiritual development impacts his character.
  • Children naturally have questions about the meaning of life, and an intrinsic knowledge of what is right and what is wrong.
  • In the same way a child requires guidance in every other aspect of life, he needs guidance about what those in his world believe and why.
  • To leave choices in this vital area strictly up to a child to “make his own decision” is confusing for the child.
  • Gentle instruction about family beliefs gives your child security in the ‘whys’ regarding what those around him do and don’t do.
  • As an adult, your child will make faith his own. The ultimate choice belongs to each individual.
  • A parent who has provided education and guidance in matters of faith equips their child to make an educated and confident choice when the time naturally arrives.
  • A shared faith is one of the characteristics of strong families.
  • An authentic relationship between child and mother encompasses opportunities to talk about everything – including faith, and the ethics and morality that stem from beliefs.
  • Choose wisely those who will spiritually mentor your child.

Faith is the basis for hope and purpose in life. It is protection against prejudice, hatred, superficial materialism, and agnosticism. Faith translates into unique value for each individual, forgiveness, and generosity. Involvement in a faith community provides you and your child with resources to tap and people to ask when questions arise.

Certainly the critics of religion and the church have some valid points. But there is nothing else on the planet we completely jettison from our life merely because it is not perfect. Everything I need to know about the church I learned from Noah’s Ark:

One: Don’t miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you’re six hundred years old, someone may ask you to do something
really big.
Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six: Build your future on high ground.
Seven: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you’re stressed, float for a while.
Ten: Remember, amateurs built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.
Twelve: It may stink on the ark, but it sure beats the alternative.

I’m in Love!

Okay, I admit it.
I am in love. Head over heels, heart-melting, goo-goo talking, giggly, laughing, tell everyone about it including every store clerk and even the wrong number. Completely smitten.
On April 1, in the wee hours of the morning, Micah James was born. My Grammy Award. And I get to be the Fairy Grandmother.
Not only is Micah the most peaceful, smell-good, cuddly-fits-perfectly-in-my-arms baby, his mother is lovely and serene. Micah weighed nearly the same as his mother did when she was born. Now my grown-up baby has a baby. Her older sister cried when she held the newborn.  She’s in love too.
What a wonder Micah is. Like my own children, all he has to do for me to love him is breathe. Just be.
10015638_10202832017935995_2024200587_n

Birthday Gift

Today my baby turns 15.
It is an exquisite wonder to be the proud mama of each of my seven children. Each is categorically unique and yet look enough alike that people will say “You’re a Wells, aren’t you?”
Today we celebrate the unparalleled gift that is my daughter.
Lilyanna, your future and possibilities are as unlimited as the Son!
1619571_10202689777540074_348210609_n

What’s a Panzer?

Writers have a motto – it’s all material. Whatever happens to us, to our friends, in history, anywhere in the world, the universe, or in our imagination is material for our stories. When writing about something as unique as the WW2 Panzer tank, where does a writer go for accurate information?  41Q8VJv5ddL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Author Brad Smith (think The Man from Aldersgate) wrote his newly released Track of the Panzer. His research took him to several museums that featured WW2 artifacts. Here are his notes:

“The Kruse Museum in Auburn, I went there about two years ago when I was researching TOP. Very informative, plus you can touch the vehicles. When I was a teenager, I climbed inside a World War I French tank when no one was looking. It was hot, cramped, and rusty. I think that was when I decided I did not want to go Armor when I joined up.
For me, however, the real standout was the George S. Patton Armor and Cavalry Museum in Fort Knox, Kentucky. They have the only German King Tiger in North America and the only Panther II in existence, plus the Russian T-34, and U.S. Sherman — all of which I used in the book. They even went so far as to cut open one whole side of the King Tiger, replete with uniformed manikins, to expose the interior. Whereas this is never done anymore because it destroys the integrity of the preserved artifact, it was an absolute Godsend for writers like me. And, after all, that iswhat it’s all about in the end, isn’t it? “Get the blowtorch, Ernie; Brad needs to visualize!”

http://www.amazon.com/Track-Panzer-Brad-L-Smith-ebook/dp/B00IO2TI3G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1394207455&sr=1-1&keywords=track+of+the+panzer

 

Not Who I Imagined

I am delighted to feature this blog by fellow author Margot Starbuck (is that a cool last name or what). Margot’s new book Not Who I Imagined releases now!

When You Can’t Trust a God Who’s Like Your Father

Margot Starbuck

The first time someone told me that my relationship with God was probably a lot like my relationship with a father figure—the dad who relinquished me for adoption, the one who drank too much and left when I was six, or the stepdad who also drank too much and left when I was fifteen—I thought they were crazy.

“Of course God’s not like those deadbeats,” I reasoned. “God. Is. Good.”

I was sure of it.

If I’d been forced to give God a face back then, it probably would have looked like the warm affectionate gaze of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s dad, the one played by Michael Landon on the 1970s Little House on the Prairie TV series. Or like my sweet steadfast faithful Grandad. Or maybe my pastor.

Of course I didn’t think God was like any of my earthly fathers.

If only it were that simple.

I discovered that our earliest experience of caregivers teaches us what to expect from an “other.” It’s how we learn whether someone will feed us when we’re hungry. Or comfort us when we cry. It’s how we learn whether or not we’re worth showing up for. Worth sticking around for. Worth loving. Dr. James Loder says that these formative faces actually prefigure how we will come to know God.

For a lot of us—with dads who left, or ones who died, or ones stuck in addiction—that’s bad news.

In my darkest days, when I was clinically depressed and altogether undone, God spoke his truth to my deep places. Four words.

These four words changed everything:

I am for you.

In that moment that I raged against God and demanded to know who in this life had ever come through for me, I suddenly realized that the father of Jesus who’s revealed in the gospels isn’t some absent parent who abandons his own son. He’s not a cosmic child abuser who cavalierly offers his kid. In fact, as those four words penetrated my deep places, I came to lay hold of the fundamental difference between Jesus’ Father and the caregivers I’d known.

The human caregivers I’d known had been for themselves. And I don’t mean that they were any more selfish than I am today. I mean that—bound by addiction, violence, mental illness, human limitation—they weren’t able to be for me the way that I needed them to be. Stuck, they were for themselves.

In the moment I heard those four words—I am for you—I got it.

I understood, at last, the difference between the two.

I’d been to church. I’d attended a Christian college. I’d gone to seminary. But it wasn’t until that moment, of my deepest pain, that I understood—if only in part—the meaning of the Trinity.

God, the Father of Jesus, was not for himself the way my caregivers had been. He wasn’t the kind of father who bailed on his son, who sacrificed his son. Nope. This Father gave his own life out of his love for me.

Does that math make sense?

That’s what the Christian doctrine of the Trinity means. It means that the Father sacrifices his own life out of love for me. Love for you. Love for his son.  He doesn’t throw us under the bus. He doesn’t leave us. He dies for us.

It was the moment I began to believe that I was worth loving.

That—as you might imagine—has changed everything. Marriage. Friendship. Everything.

Are you willing to pull back the mask you’ve given to God—one with glassy distant eyes, or one that’s disappointed, or one that’s angry—and see the Face that is true? Are you willing to reject the lie that God’s face is anything like the fleshy ones you’ve known?  Are you ready to look into a face that delights in you?

Say yes.

Margot Starbuck’s newest book Not Who I Imagined: Surprised by a Loving God gives readers a peek at the face that is true.

Purchase Books:

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Not-Who-Imagined-Surprised-Loving/dp/0801014948

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-who-i-imagined-margot-starbuck/1115394210

Fun book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n18djvjd29A

PRIZES for sharing! (available to YOU and to your audience!) Anything you or your audience shares during March about Not Who I Imagined, on social media, tagging @MargotStarbuck—which includes sharing YOUR post—AUTOMATICALLY enters sharer to win $150 Amazon Certificate. (Two entries if you share link to Amazon!) More here: http://margotstarbuck.com/share-fairy

Photos for downloadhttp://margotstarbuck.com/press

LEAVE A REVIEW! http://www.amazon.com/Not-Who-Imagined-Surprised-Loving/dp/0801014948

Need anything else? OfficeofMargotStarbuck@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Grief Journal for You

Which Way
to
My Happily Ever After?

Grief Journal

By PeggySue Wells

Saying good-bye is a reason for deep grief.
There are many good-byes in life. Some are easier than others. A good-bye can
be a natural part of life. Other partings are intensely painful.
Saying good-bye to a marriage relationship truly is a tearing of flesh and heart.
Giving up the family and heritage you dreamed of building together is a wrenching
heartache.
Perhaps the parting is between you and a beloved child. Someone precious to you
took an early journey home.
Losing a relationship, a job, a location, a dream – each is a significant adjustment.
We grieve the loss.
Grief work and mourning exact a toll emotionally, physically, spiritually, and
financially. It is also a time of growing, resting, learning, and yielding. Like deep muscle
exercise, this is all sorts of good, profound stuff. Grief cannot be avoided or sidestepped.
Sharing the journey helps. This journal is your companion through the process.
Each day for one month, read one statement and journal your thoughts and emotions. Putting one foot in front of the other, you will get through the desert of grief and enter the Promised Land of the next chapter of your life.
Take pen in hand, and begin. One day at a time.
*****

Time doesn’t really heal all wounds.
Time merely teaches us how to live
with this gaping hole in our heart.
How does your heart feel today?
*****

Crisis wears many faces.
Crisis can look like the loss of a loved one,
the loss of a relationship, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a job,
the loss of what is familiar due to relocation, the loss of a dream.
A crisis is a turning point.
Yet while we are in crisis we often feel powerless, hopeless, desperate, paralyzed.
Crisis can destroy us. Or crisis can make us stronger.
It all depends on how we face the face of crisis.
What does the face of your crisis look like?
*****

No one can avoid it, go around it, slide under it,
fly above it, or swim below it.
Grief cannot be walked around, it must be walked through.
One step at a time. One day at a time.
What are you most afraid of when you think of the future?
*****

It seems like you had to say good-bye
before you had the chance to say hello.
What dreams do you miss most?
*****

Life changed overnight.
This was so unexpected.
What was the biggest shock?
*****

Too often, tears are the only water
in the dry desert of grief.
What is the value of your tears?
*****

There are many difficult decisions to make.
What is your toughest choice?
*****

No one can take away the pain
and few understand the depth of your grief.
Though the scars remain, the open wound eventually heals.
How will this scar make you better?
*****

Swimming with the tide is easy.
Swimming against the tide increases your strength.
How are you becoming stronger?
*****

When you feel like you are in the pressure cooker,
it’s time to let off steam in a healthy manner.
Talk to a friend, take a walk, journal your honest thoughts,
scrub something until it shines.
How will you let off steam today?
*****

People often mean well, but say the wrong things.
Listen to their hearts, not their words.
How did someone show you that they care?
*****

Though the situation seems overwhelming right now,
may it soon open the door to opportunity.
Where do you feel overwhelmed?
*****

Someone may be willing to help carry the burden.
Maybe then it won’t seem so heavy.
Who is available to help you?
*****

Hope and encouragement are better than advice.
What does hope look like to you?
*****

Anniversaries of loss and grief are annual reminders of our pain,
and of how far we’ve come on the journey to the other side of grief.
How far have you already come on your journey?
*****

Our own deep grief reminds us not to turn away when we see others in pain.
We can cry with them. We can give a hug.
We can ask, “How are you?” and really mean it.
Who needs to hear from you?
*****

Another who is grieving can be a companion through the journey,
but may not be able to give comfort.
Two drowning people cannot save each other.
Who is strong for you?
*****

Healing cannot be rushed.
It’s harmful to tackle projects we’re not ready for.
There are no deadlines for when we must be over it.
Can you trust the process?
*****

When we are drowning in grief
it’s okay to cry.
*****

Where do you find encouragement?
We fear the waves of grief will overwhelm us.
Choose to ride though the powerful emotions now
so the unfinished process will not haunt the future.
How will this be a stepping-stone in your life?
*****

Being bitter about the loss only increases the pain.
We can be thankful for what we had, for what we still have,
and for what the future holds.
What are you thankful for?
*****

There is a whole world out there just beyond the pain.
There is a whole world out there in spite of the pain.
Go to a movie, try a new restaurant, visit a museum.
What will you do today?
*****

When someone wants to talk
and we don’t feel like it,
we don’t have to.
What do you not feel like doing?
*****

It helps to have a safe someone to talk to
when it’s time to talk.
Who is a safe someone you can talk to?
*****

It is surprising when close friends don’t understand.
It is surprising when support comes
from unexpected sources.
Where does your support come from?
*****

It’s not comforting when someone says,
“At least you had those years together.”
Or “At least you don’t have to worry anymore.”
At least we’ve learned not to tell another, “At least . . .”
We’ve learned to say, “I’m sorry.”
What else have you learned?
*****

Cocooning is tempting.
Some alone time is good.
Balance it with time out and with others.
Say yes to many invitations.
We can’t wait for someone to invite us out.
Invite someone else out for a milkshake or a concert.
What delights your heart?
*****

There is no aspirin for heartache.
Chocolate is medicinal.
So is tea.
What gives you comfort?
*****

A stuffed teddy bear is something to hold onto.
A good book or video is for losing your mind in something other than the pain.
Where does joy invite you?
*****

On the journey of grief
we will meet fellow travelers.
Perhaps we can walk a while together.
Will you walk a while with another?
*****

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or
seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8–9

At the Intersection of Words and Music

Someone wrote about my family!

As you know, I have seven awesome children and while they were all still at home, they performed foot-tapping, smile-inducing, front-porch style fiddle, classical, and classic music as the WELLSpring Fiddlers.

What happens when you submerge a writer in music performances? You get the novel Für Elise by PeggySue Wells that releases in March!!!!

There are many kinds of love. Love for family, love for country, love for duty.

And there is true love.

Watch for Für Elise, published by Elk Lake Publishers this March.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/nstemet/30-things-only-people-who-grew-up-in-musical-famil-jo40

Für Elise Releases in March!

Für Elise by PeggySue Wells, a novel very dear to my heart, releases with Elk Lake Publishers in March!

Next month! Mere days away!

In the novel Für Elise, Parajumper Michael Northington thought he was protecting the patient. He discovered he prevented his friend from receiving life-giving care. Furious at the betrayal, Michael tossed his insignia onto his boss’ desk and left the world behind.

On St. Croix, Michael taught scuba diving to tourists until his former partner and boss coaxed Michael out of retirement to rescue a liberal senator’s daughter. Preparing to leave his island retreat, Michael meets Elise.

Renowned artist and musician, Elise is finding her way after the loss of her doting parents. Struggling to keep her father’s musical legacy alive, the historic atmospheric concert theater in repair, and exploring a natural romance with her childhood sweetheart, Elise is resentful of the mysterious stranger who has taken over the cottage she shared as a studio with her father.

Overseas, things get complicated when Michael and his partner defy orders and bring four orphans out of the bowels of a human butcher shop and discover a weak, maybe coincidental, connection to Michael’s dead friend.

Back on St. Croix, Michael slowly settles his past as a future begins to blossom under the gentle influence of Elise. Then, like a note out of tune in the heart of island culture, the charismatic Senator indicates his interest in Elise with the assurance that should she return his affections, her father’s legacy will be preserved.

Now, though they are worlds apart, Elise finds her thoughts curiously returning to Michael. Especially after he leaves the island once again and she has no idea how long until he will be away. Or if he will return.

At a society function on St. Croix, those who caused the death of Michael’s friend are in one place. Also descending on the party are the international partners who want payment for their losses incurred by Michael’s interference. As deadly Hurricane Hugo unleashes on the island, the lives of enemies and friends, including Elise, depend on Michael’s skills as a PJ.

Check back for news, excerpts, and give-aways to celebrate Für Elise!

 

 

Taylor U. Talks About My Bestseller

Thank you Taylor University for the article about my bestselling co-authored book #The Slave Across the Street!

Alumna Co-writes Book in Top 100

By Rachel Vashon g13Published: Jan 30, 2014

They met for the first time on a three-way conference call with an agent. One had a tragic story, and the other was an experienced writer. Together they would share a story that would grip readers and inspire a desire to make a difference. Within months, The Slave Across the Street would be ready to share with the world.

In May 2013, The Slave Across the Street was ranked #5 for the Wall Street Journal and #85 byUSA Today. It is now slated to be made into a movie this year.

PeggySue Wells fs04, co writer of the popular selling book, recalls initially wondering if human trafficking victim Theresa Flores’ story was possible. Any lingering doubts were quickly erased as she listened to Theresa retell the story of how she was caught up in sex trafficking as a teenager in Detroit.

“She relived the nightmare as part of her own healing and to offer education, help and hope for others,” PeggySue said. “We often prayed together, inviting the Lord to guide us both.”

PeggySue gave Theresa the freedom to be real and assured her on their first meeting that nothing said would “scandalize” her. Through discussions and Theresa’s journals, PeggySue wrote A Slave Across the Street in a way that maintained Theresa’s voice. She adds that she intentionally and carefully chose words that weren’t graphic but allowed readers to follow Theresa’s journey.

“As a writer, I knew it was vital to capture the reader’s interest immediately so the book opens at the pivotal place where Theresa’s life is suddenly no longer her own,” PeggySue said.

Theresa’s story impacted PeggySue as she learned a lot about sex trafficking through the writing of this book.

“As the mother of seven children–one son and six daughters–writing The Slave Across the Street reaffirmed how vital it is to nurture strong family relationships, and how important parents are in nurturing, educating, loving, and protecting the children God placed in our stewardship” PeggySue said.

Today PeggySue and Ampelon Publishing connect people with Theresa through fund-raising events where Ampelon provides discounted copies of the book. Theresa uses these opportunities to speak to others about trafficking. When Theresa is unavailable, PeggySue fills in for her.

“The deeper satisfaction is that The Slave Across the Street has inspired others to get involved in ways that make a difference in our world,” PeggySue said.

Editor’s Note: Theresa Flores will be with PeggySue at the Forgotten Children Worldwide Benefit Dinner and Auction Saturday, February 8 in Bluffton, Ind. Theresa has been asked to share her story to this group, which was co-founded by Matt g81 and Barb (Holtzclaw) g80 Hartsell.

https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffw.taylor.edu%2Fnews%2Falumna-co-writes-book-in-top-100&display=popup

 

 

Exercises While Expecting

Grand news! My Grammy Award arrives in April. Baby Micah will promote me to Grammy status.   21665_706246735513_1353724329_n

Getting into the grandparent club is by invitation only. As my daughter experiences her pregnancy, here are tips from my years as a childbirth educator, labor coach, and having my own seven babies.

1)    Reduce the chance of varicose veins by not crossing your legs, and whenever you can, put your feet up. Circulation has an simple time getting to your feet thanks to gravity. Returning through a pelvis that has the added weight of your growing baby is not so easy.

2)    For pregnant women, walking keeps the baby head-down into the pelvis for the easiest birth position. Support your posture, breathing, and heart by walking regularly. Change it up with swimming and bicycling.

3)    Sit tailor or Indian style to stretch and tone the inner thighs and perineum or kegal muscle. This position encourages blood flow in the lower body and doesn’t even feel like you are exercising.

4)    Find opportunities to squat. In addition to stretching the perineum one-third more than passive sitting, squats tone thigh and pelvic muscles and save mom’s back which is already taxed by baby’s weight.

5)    Eliminate back pain with pelvic rocks. Get on your hands and knees. Without moving your shoulders, arch your lower back like a cat for a count of three. Next, rock your hips so your lower back sags. Repeat 40 times. Pelvic rocks strengthen the tummy and back muscles that carry the weight of the pregnancy. Additionally, pelvic rocks improve circulation, breathing, and will help rotate a posterior baby.

6)    Kegals are the important exercise you can do anywhere and no ones knows you are exercising. The kegal muscle has three openings; the urinary, vaginal, and anal openings. To prepare this muscle that will stretch to allow the baby to pass into the world, squeeze as if stopping the flow of urine and hold for a count of three. Do 200 repetitions each day. When not pregnant, do 50 daily. This prepares the perineum for birth, quick recovery, helps prevent tearing, and supports the uterus and bladder so they remain where they belong.

7)    Invest ten minutes each day practicing complete body relaxation. By learning to relax quickly and completely, you will aid your body to get through labor and dilation of the cervix as smoothly as possible.

Childbirth is the hardest and most rewarding work your body does. These simple exercises tone your birthing muscles for childbirth and quick recovery.