Don't Mom Alone Podcast

Toni Collier’s short childhood ended in third grade when her mother had a stroke and she was practically left alone to care for her. Toni carried many heavy emotional burdens in her childhood and felt deeply that she had to protect herself because the world was not a safe place. 

Fast forward several years and Toni’s strength of will to avoid the emotional trauma she experienced as a child finally ran out. Now a mom and reeling from an emotionally abusive first marriage, Toni sought counseling and therapy for the healing she so desperately needed. 

“I was so blind to how unhealthy my life actually was, and the unveiling, the unwrapping of this emotional onion made me worse. But there was a healed Toni that I had to get to. Not just for me, but for my daughter and my new marriage. The only thing that brought me through was the hope that there is a God who said he could trade my weakness for his power.”

Toni opens up about the “treacherous” process of facing intense emotional trauma, the shame and stigma that surrounds therapy and what it’s like to parent in the midst of facing your own brokenness.

Now as a powerful communicator and host with North Point Ministries, Toni has learned that God can take our broken, painful pasts and use them to minister to others. 

“I hopped on stage at North Point and my entire life changed in weeks. It was the first time in a long time that I had been in a ministry that's celebrated my gifts, wasn't intimidated by them, and also welcomed my brokenness. It is as if I had experienced a new Jesus.”

Direct download: ToniCollierEp267.mp3
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Melissa d’Arabian is a winner of “The Next Food Network Star,” a celebrity chef, author, and mom of four. She’s is an expert on affordable and healthy family home cooking who has inspired people with her shows on Food Network. 

A few years ago, God inspired Melissa to do a deep dive into scripture and prayer to evaluate the meaning of food in her life. What she discovered is our relationship with food reflects our understanding of God and his creation. 

In her new book, Tasting Grace, she invites readers to appreciate food as not only a gift from God but also as a deeper invitation into his love.

“Every meal we have can be an invitation into creativity, community, and patience. The fact that I could sit there and even for a moment and marvel and at least to honor everything that's gone into my food connected me more to God and it made me enjoy the food more.”

We talk about how meals can bring us closer to God and how he created a food system to nourish us and delight our palates. Melissa is passionate about separating food and body image and saying no to the negative perspective often put on food. 

“I want my children when they are young women going out there in the world to have the joy of a great relationship with food. And so if I talk about myself in a way that is unkind, not only are my kids hearing it, but God is hearing it. Speaking in terms of body image and all of that, I think it must make God feel sad when I reject the body he has given me. ”

Direct download: MelissaDarabianEp266.mp3
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Wow! Six years into podcasting and the 265 episodes of this show have been downloaded 8.7 million times across 204 different countries. Today we are celebrating our podcast-iversary with a “best-of” show featuring clips from your favorite episodes. 

We’re also featuring testimonials from listeners who share how the podcast has helped them not mom alone. Like these quotes from moms:

“This podcast has really become my one-stop show for all things parenting. I love how you cover such a wide range of topics and how all of your guests are filled with grace and grounded in God’s word and his truth.”

“It has totally changed my perspective on motherhood. I’ve gone from feeling quite frustrated and alone to knowing that other moms are dealing with the same things. I don’t feel quite so lonely. All the encouragement is really changing my life.”

Thanks so much for listening to the Don’t Mom Alone podcast. I’m thankful it’s made an impact in your lives. When I started this six years ago, I couldn’t imagine where it would take me. As for the future? Well, we’ll just have to see where God takes us!

Special Production Help from Airr:

Ever wanted to share a specific quote or clip from your favorite podcast with a friend, but didn’t know how? This week’s sponsor, Airr, solves that problem by making it simple to share clips from specific episodes. 

I’m going to start featuring listeners “airr quotes” in my Monday email. Make sure you go to https://www.airr.io/dontmomalone to sign up and start listening and quoting. 

Direct download: sixthanniversary.mp3
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Jonathan Almonte’s story shows how sponsoring a child through Compassion International (or other similar programs) can change the course of a child’s life. 

However, it is the compassion of the people in his story who loved him when he fought back and wrote him letters calling out his identity and inherent worth as a child of God that may have made the biggest difference.

“That letter changed my life. I was believing that I was a mistake. I was believing that God was not good for me. This letter helped me to understand that God provided a woman called Jamie thousands of kilometers away in a place called Michigan celebrating Thanksgiving. This woman wrote a letter to say, I am thankful for you. You are special, you're not a mistake.”

As a child of a single mom in the Dominican Republic, Jonathan’s prospects were greatly limited. From a young age, he worked to earn enough money for each day’s food. The cost of getting into a school, a uniform as supplies, was nowhere near his grasp. 

His mother applied for him to join the Compassion program and (after a wait) he was accepted. For the first time in his life, all of his educational, nutritional, medical, and physical needs were taken care of, and Jonathan felt believed in like he never had before. 

“I was selling juice on the streets. I was diving in a garbage area without hope. So this ministry for me meant my life. My life is before and after the ministry of Compassion in partnership with the local church in my community. ”

I hope this episode leads you to text "Heather" to 83393 and sponsor a child like Jonathan. 

Direct download: JonathanAlmonteEp264.mp3
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On the surface, Victoria (Tori) Petersen’s story doesn’t sound full of hope. Her growing up years were filled with abuse, a mom who struggled with drugs, and more than 10 foster homes with no hope of adoption.

But God’s heart for Tori wasn’t death; it was life. Through a series of relationships and her own study, Tori learned about God. She experienced sacrificial love and community in the church and through her foster parents. It changed her whole future.

“The encouragement, the support, and the ability to see that through their words, through God's speaking through these people and acting through these people in love showed me that I did have a future, that God did have a plan for me and that if I trusted in him, that plan would blossom into something.”

After emancipating from the foster care system, Tori’s life has had more ups and downs. But, she is confident in her identity in Christ and learning more every day. Now as a mom and wife, God is redeeming her story and using it to encourage others who are a part of the foster system.

“I think foster parents remembering that they are image-bearers and in those hard times to be able to humble themselves and say,’ I am weak and I'm going to call on God's strength to love this child.’ Also communicating to the child that they're made in God's image. They are loved despite any kind of behavior or any saddening event that they have been through. Identity in Christ is crucial to the relationship between foster youth and foster parents.”

Direct download: ToriPetersenEp263.mp3
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Susie Davis is a mentor of mentors. She’s the author of several books and host of the Dear Daughters podcast. I’m so excited to share our conversation with you as she answers your questions about mentorship, marriage and meeting with God. 

“I think you deserve a mentor. I think it's God's will for your life to have an older woman that you can talk to who has wisdom for you and your specific situation.”

In her book and podcast, Dear Daughters, Susie seeks to bring together younger women and spiritual moms. Each of us has valuable insight for one other, but getting started with mentoring can be a hurdle. Whether you have a mentor, are a mentor or want to start, Susie shares encouragement and insight into establishing and maintaining a healthy mentor relationship. (including what not to say!)

We also talk about marriage and how to love your man without losing your mind about the little things that can drive us crazy. 

“I think marriage is the greatest opportunity for sanctification, which is just becoming more like God. It is the one relationship that is never supposed to end. You're ‘trapped’ in it and you have to work it out with them.”

Talking with Susie is such a gift. She shares a wealth of wisdom from the perspective of someone who has experienced a lot of growth in her own life and marriage over the years. Grab a cup of coffee and listen in as Susie mentors us all!

Direct download: SusieDavisEp262.mp3
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Racial tensions in America are as high within the church as outside of it. My guest Latasha Morrison believes Jesus followers must become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation. That we must, “build a bridge” to bring justice, healing and transformation.

“It starts with awareness and then acknowledging the pain and brokenness. We didn't create it, but it is all of our responsibility to be a part of the solution. And no one gets an ‘out’ here.”

Latasha founded the organization Be the Bridge in 2016 to encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to equip others to do the same. Now she’s written a book of the same name that comes out this week. 

We talk in depth about racial reconciliation, biblical justice and the diversity of God’s kingdom. It’s not an easy conversation, but it’s a necessary one. I pray you will listen with an open mind and heart for all God wants to do to bring unity to the body of Christ. 

“Every culture is an expression of who God is and not one ethnicity can represent the totality of who God is. We serve a diverse God. If you’re thinking that God looks just like you and talks just like you, remember, Jesus didn't speak English. Sometimes we need a reality check on that. Just because something is different doesn't make it wrong.”

Direct download: LaTashaMorrisonEp261.mp3
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As parents, we are keenly aware of the peaks and valleys of our kids’ emotions. Anger, sadness, excitement, and all the other feelings can make us feel like our child is on a roller coaster we’re just trying to slow down. 

It’s true that we all feel highs and lows throughout our day, but we rarely talk about what it feel like when we’re “in the zone” and feeling calm and ready to go. My guest today is sharing about the window of tolerance and how to regulate ourselves and our kids to help stay in that window. 

“If I am dysregulated, I cannot regulate my child. So if I'm in fight or flight and I'm yelling. There's no amount of yelling that brings my child back into the window. And sometimes parents think the yelling is working, but what you're doing isn’t getting your child in the window. They're going into collapse and into a place of fear.”

Charissa Fry is a Licensed Professional Counselor and believer. Her passion is to come alongside those who are hurting and struggling to help them find truth, hope, healing, connection, and growth. She shares some eye-opening information and statistics to get us on the path to helping our kids build resilience and stay in that window of tolerance. 

Charissa shares from a faith-perspective that we as believers are not alone. She reminds us that we can lean on God to regulate our emotions as we love on our kids and go through the hardships of life. 

“God himself through Jesus is the ultimate attachment figure. He is always reaching for us. He never fails to respond to our needs. He always loves us. He's never judging us and never shaming us. So to know that when we need to be co-regulated, that when I am feeling like I'm going to leave the window, I can remember the truth of who God is and I can reach out to him in prayer.”

Direct download: CharissaFryEp260.mp3
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It’s a popular (and sometimes controversial) typology system that can help you understand yourself and others better, but how can we use the Enneagram in light of the gospel to help our marriages thrive? 

Beth McCord of Your Enneagram Coach is here to walk us how to look at our marriages and close relationships through the lens of the Enneagram and the Gospel. 

“With the Enneagram, you can see that we all struggle. We all need Jesus. It's just we need it in different ways. And he makes us more like him in different ways as well. It's called the body of Christ and we reflect Christ differently. We all need to bring our uniqueness to glorify him and bless each other.”

We talk about how using the Enneagram can improve communication and compassion in our marriages and what to do if your spouse has no interest in learning his type. (hint: the answer isn’t to bug him about it) 

Beth shares that no one pairing out of the 45 possible Enneagram matches in marriage is better than any other, but it’s our surrender to Christ that makes all the difference. 

“I can guarantee you there is not a combination that is better or worse. Any two types that are surrendering and depending on the grace of God through Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf will be a blessing to one another.”

Direct download: BethMcCordEp259.mp3
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When a child processes sensory information just a little differently than his or her peers it can mean BIG emotions, meltdowns and a huge struggle for us as parents. 

Often these kids are labeled as “sensitive” or “intense” and they might cause us to avoid playdates and public places because we’re never sure what seemingly small issue will cause the next explosion. 

Lynne Jackson of Connected Families joins me to uncover the mysteries behind our kids with sensory struggles and how we can help them thrive. We talk about Sensory Processing Disorder and the wide range of sensory processing symptoms.  

As a mom who had two kids with sensory processing needs and as a licensed occupational therapist, Lynne encourages us to become a student of our kids and try to understand their point of view.

“Imagine if the volume on all your sounds and the sensations in your body was turned up and you were to trying to fall asleep, that would be really hard. Car rides and meals are often torturous. So then what are the kids doing? They're trying to cope. They're jumping down. They're complaining about the food and squirming in their seats. They're trying to do something so they feel in control.”

We talk about what to do if you suspect a sensory processing problem in one of your kids and where to seek help. I share my story of working through this with one of my boys and why I wish we’d gone to see a therapist sooner.

Direct download: LynneJacksonEp258.mp3
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Author, blogger and podcast host Sarah Mae joins me to share her story of working through the generational bondage of alcoholism and the verbal and emotional abuse she suffered from her mother. 

“I remember yelling out, 'I'm going to kill myself,' and her saying, 'Go ahead, I dare you.' And that was it for me. I just bawled because I felt so unloved and so confused.”

In her new book The Complicated Heart, Sarah takes us into her painful past and all she experienced with her mom. She also shares the hope and victory of how God wooed her heart and changed the direction of her family forever. 

“Dysfunction does not have to be your legacy. It does not have to be your identity. And you do not have to pass it on to your kids. It doesn't matter if you were born into it, married into it or you created it yourself. There is always victory on the table. We just have to be willing to pick it up.”

Throughout our chat, Sarah is candid and encouraging. She shares openly about the abortion she had at 16 and the healing she’s experienced from bravely speaking out against the shame of past sin and accepting God’s grace as all-sufficient. 

Direct download: SarahMaeEp257.mp3
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Access to the internet is everywhere in our modern world. And that means access to pornography and sexual imagery is everywhere too. Rather than bury our heads in the sand or cross our fingers that our kids won’t see porn, we can choose to be proactive and to give them a plan for how to react. 

Kristen Jenson, the best-selling author or Good Picture Bad Pictures, joins me to share some simple ways to talk with our kids about porn and protect their minds. 

“Pornography makes a child more vulnerable to sexual abuse. So if you porn-proof your child by starting these conversations early, you are actually helping your child to be more protected from child sexual abuse. When you start these discussions it's not as hard as you think. And once you do, you've begun this journey with your child to trust you for answers. You tell them, ‘Don't go on Google to ask these questions. Come and talk to me.’”

This may feel like a super heavy topic, but I promise it’s worth taking the proactive approach now vs waiting till you have teenagers. Kristen shares a lot of resources and makes it easy to get started. 

Direct download: KristenJensonEp256.mp3
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My guest today is Ruth Chou Simons. She’s a mom of six boys and an author and entrepreneur. You may know her best from the beautiful watercolor prints and products she creates for her business on Gracelaced.com. 

In her newest book, Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship, Grace shares about how every day is an opportunity to be shaped and formed by what moves our hearts and captures our gaze. 

We dive into what that looks like in Ruth’s life and how choosing to focus on Christ changes everything from our perspective on our parenting and work to how we look to others. 

The most unhappy I get is if I get preoccupied with somebody else's story. And I don't give thanks and I don't jot down reminders of how he's provided for the ultimate story of redemption in my life. And also how he's working that out day by day and writing my story anew.

We talk about how our fast-paced, hustle culture steals the joy and the beauty away from the everyday faithfulness of growing in God. My favorite reminder she shared is, “You don’t have to be blooming to be growing.”

So true. How often do we start something and expect instant gratification and quick wins? We want easy-to-share glossy images of success. But God looks at our hearts. At the slow growing happening under the surface. We are all in process with God until we see him in heaven. 

Let’s celebrate the small wins and focus on turning our eyes toward God and away from the distractions and hollow gratification of social media. As Ruth reminds us, we become what we behold. Those small, unseen decisions really add up to who we are. 

Because at the end of the day, every action we have is really stemming out of our belief in our worship. And so how you think, and how you believe, and what you believe is the most beautiful and worthy of gazing at in your life will actually translate into what you do next. What your little moments every day are accumulating to be for a lifetime.

What we chat about:

  • Focusing on the beauty of what God has created vs comparing our lives to someone else’s on social media
  • At the root of dissatisfaction in our lives is an underlying struggle with identity. Is our identity found in Christ or is it found in everything going our way?
  • Growing our appetite for the things of God by choosing to fill our time with his Word.
  • The struggles women have with wanting to do something perfectly or not at all 
  • Celebrating the process of growing vs seeing immediate fruit in our lives
  • What you believe is the most beautiful and worthy of gazing at in your life will actually translate into what you do next
  • The goal isn’t just to experience God’s provision, but to trust that his presence in our lives is enough
  • “Nearness to God brings likeness to God. The more you see God, the more of God will be seen in you.” - C.H Spurgeon

Direct download: RuthSimonsEp255.mp3
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For a variety of reasons, childhood anxiety rates are soaring, especially among girls. My guest Sissy Goff is here to share some of her insights on how to recognize worry and anxiety in your daughter and empower her to overcome.

We talk about tools we can use to help us understand why our brains are often working against us in times of anxiety and grounding techniques to slow and stop the emotional spiral that often ensues. 

“We always want her to know she's stronger than her worries and that she has a voice to talk back to the worry. A lot of people who work with kids call it the worry monster because that separates it out from her voice. We don't want her to think it's the truth, which is what kids are going to think when they have voices in their heads telling them things.”

This is a short, hope-filled bonus episode that just scratches the surface on all that we can learn about equipping our kids to work through anxiety. For more encouragement, follow Sissy and her team at https://www.raisingboysandgirls.com and watch for her book Raising Worry-Free Girls coming out September 17. 

 

What we chat about:

  • 1 in 4 kids are dealing with anxiety of some kind and girls are twice as likely to feel it
  • Anxiety is hard to recognize in kids. Sometimes it comes out as anger or meltdowns and other times it’s deeply buried
  • People whose personalities lean toward Type A tend to have baseline anxiety at all times. If your child’s personality leans that direction, it’s important to give them tools to deal with it
  • Anxiety is always an overestimation of the problem and an underestimation of ourselves
  • Techniques to help a child with anxiety calm down and redirect blood flow to their prefrontal cortex
  • Integrating our faith as we teach our kids to fight back against fear and worry
Direct download: SissyGoffBonus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Fellow boy moms, this episode is for you! This chat with Monica Swanson another mom of four boys and author of the new book Boy Mom dives into a lot of your questions about how to raise your boys to be godly men. 

We talk about encouraging strong friendships between brothers, teaching boys to be strong AND gentle, and about the importance of giving our sons ways to experience excitement and adventure while getting some of their natural aggression out in safe physical activities.

“I am a big believer that boys were made for adventure that they need to have some excitement in their lives I think is just how God wired them. They're little warriors who need to experience some thrills. A lot of the trouble boys can get into is related to when they're lacking authentic adventure, when they're not facing challenges and overcoming obstacles.”

Monica has two boys out of high school and two still in the nest, so she offers a lot of hope for those of us in the trenches of parenting to keep pressing into relationship with our sons and to make the practicals of faith an anchor in all that we do. 

“God is so big and so powerful and he can move mountains on behalf of your son. He wants your son's heart more than you even know. We get our boys plugged in everywhere we can. We want them to have so many positive spiritual models in their life that there's no denying that God is the best way to go. It about coming alongside them and saying, ‘This is for your best. God is for you. Let's walk this life with him.’”

 

What we chat about:

  • Monica’s four boys and working with very different personalities 
  • Building healthy brother relationships and dealing with kids who hit
  • Boys need to let out their energy with exercise and physical activity
  • Setting healthy boundaries for your kids with manners and learning to laugh with them about it too
  • Teaching boys how to balance strength and kindness by pointing them to the stories of godly men
  • The power of shoulder to shoulder conversations with boys and why to keep pressing into conversation with them
  • Motivating boys to get excited about school and finding hobbies and interests
  • Ideas for how to foster adventure for your boys and learning not to parent from a place of fear
  • Fostering faith in your sons through time in the Word, prayer and modeling
Direct download: MonicaSwansonEp254.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

With the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world, feels like we’re more isolated and ineffective than ever. But what if we worried less about making a big impact.  And focused more on doing the things in front of us with quality and depth?

I’m a big fan of this week's mentor, Shontell Brewer. She’s a wise mom to five kiddos. And she has an excellent sense of humor. More than that, she has discipled her children well to love and serve others around them.

Discipleship can be organic. Keeping your ministry small enough. To be present wherever God has placed you.

In this episode, which originally aired as Episode 140 (Oct 2016), Shontell and I talk about discipleship during dinner conversations. She shares her method of asking really specific questions. And giving her kiddos a challenge for the day to love others in tangible ways (e.g., encouraging a 4 year old to compliment his preschool teacher).

My most favorite thing we talk about is Taco Tuesday. The last Tuesday of the month, the Brewer family serves up meat & tortillas. They invite coaches, teachers, friends, neighbors (any one who interacts regularly with their kids) into their home.

 We love on our community one taco at a time.

I shared the idea with my boys and they wanted to do it the next night (“Taco Tuesday, but on a Monday”). I’ll let you know how that goes. We may go the Pizza Friday route (love our community one slice at a time).

Shontell also inspired me to help open my boys’ spiritual eyes. And to encourage them to fight over who is going to put the other one first.

What we chat about:

  • How women apologize for their carpet
  • Keeping your ministry small
  • Specific questions to ask during dinner time conversations
  • How Shontell helped her daughter minister to her Starbucks’ manager
  • Sending your kids to school with a basic challenge to bless someone
  • Setting the habit of conversation and other family “norms”
  • Learning to not be offended when our kids aren’t performing
  • Parenting small with intimate corrective conversations
  • The BEST idea to invite people into your home monthly–> Taco Tuesdays!

Direct download: ShontellBrewerSofMwk6.mp3
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Being a mom reveals your most broken places.

I often think motherhood would be easy if my boys behaved better. Or maybe if I read one more parenting book. Or if I finally caught the magical contentment unicorn just beyond my grasp.

Of course, none of those options really pan out (especially the unicorn). It’s my own junk. Every day the yuck in my heart rises to the surface. But with the pace of life and needs of my people, it’s hard to stop and examine the “yuck” more closely.

Recently our small group has been attending a recovery program at our church. Through some honest self-examination and community, God’s been showing me where I’ve held wrong beliefs. And how they impact my relationships.

Today’s podcast guest, Lynn Hoffman, helped start our church’s recovery program 15 years ago. And God also led her to write “Steps into God’s Grace”, a bible study based on the 12 steps of recovery.

In this episode, Lynn shares her own struggle with performance, people pleasing and codependency. She gives insight into why recovery isn’t just for addicts. And she encourages us to identify our own emotions so we can teach our children to do the same.

Recovery became a safe place where I could go and be with other people who were willing to be honest. Stop pretending and start talking about the reality of the problems in their life. And lean on God to change and discover new realities in their life.

Direct download: LynnHoffmanSofM5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Ever want to hear from the woman behind rock star kids?

In this episode, Helen Smallbone, mother of 7 grown children including Christian music stars Joel and Luke Smallbone (For King & Country) and Rebecca St. James, shares stories of motherhood and practical advice she’s learned along the way. She and her husband moved their family from Australia to America more than 25 years ago. It was a faith-building journey that changed their family forever.   

“Sometimes when you face life crises what God’s doing is setting a new foundation. In this time, he took everything away from us,” Smallbone said. “We had no money, no resources, no family and no friends.  But in that refining process, he gave everything back to us, but with a new foundation where he was the provider. He showed himself to be faithful for providing all our needs.”

  • Stories of living by faith and God providing for the Smallbone family when they moved from Australia to America
  • Homeschooling a large family and fostering responsibility and work skills in your kids
  • Teaching family values while dealing with bad attitudes and behaviors in your kids
  • Taking a “time out” as a mom to pray for your children and waiting on the Lord for breakthrough for specific ways to resolve behavior problems
  • Focusing on the eternal value of building relationships with our kids versus the temporary focus on everyday tasks
  • Spending time with children who may be acting out because they need more attention
  • How quantity time often becomes quality time with our families
  • Taking a traditional naptime or quiet time after lunch with fill yourself up to finish the day strong as a mom
  • Keeping the communication line open with your children no matter their age.
Direct download: HelenSmallboneSofM4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

As a licensed marriage and family therapist and life coach, Kim Fredrickson counseled and taught others about self-compassion for years. When she received an unexpected terminal diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, a rare side-effect of the treatment she had received for breast cancer, she wrote a book to leave for her children on giving that same compassion to the grandchildren she will never meet.

On June 3rd, 2019, Kim passed on to be in the presence of her Savior. We are grateful for a way to honor her legacy by re-releasing her fantastic mentorship. (This episode originally aired in January 2018).

When people feel ashamed, they blame other people because they feel like if I really look at my shame then I’m going to collapse inside. That’s why self-compassion is desperately important because kids feel shame a lot. They fail at everything at the start.

What we chat about:

  • Kim’s story of receiving a devastating diagnosis after completing treatment for breast cancer
  • How she’s chosen to spend the years she has left with her family
  • The new book she wrote for when her children have kids called “Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children”
  • How it’s a process to develop a compassionate inner voice
  • Applying grace and truth to every situation in our lives
  • Variety of temperaments--some that are harder on themselves than others.
  • The difference between self-compassion and self-pity
  • Encouraging your children to practice self-compassion and reinforcing it by showing ourselves that same
  • Giving our kids the language to identify their failings and separate them from their self- worth
  • Moms have a really hard job. It’s ok to acknowledge that.
  • The importance of taking care of ourselves as moms
  • How to talk to your kids after you’ve been hard on yourself and reframing it with self compassion

Direct download: KimFredricksonSofMWk3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Oh friendship! A gift that can bring incredible joy and cause great pain. If female relationships weren't tricky enough, our wounded selves bump into each other causing even deeper hurts.

But what are we to do? How do we heal, move forward and develop lasting friendships?

Thankfully, my friend, Lisa-Jo Baker came on the show back in April of 2017 to help. With content from her book, "Never Unfriended", on episode 159 we talked about friendship wounds. And Lisa-Jo pointed us to Jesus, the only One who promises to heal and never leave us.

Jesus is never tired of me always needing Him. Instead, He is delighted by how desperately I need His validation and He never, ever withholds it from me. Or from you. - excerpt from "Never Unfriended" by Lisa-Jo

  • What do we fear most in friendship
  • How to include the new girl and ignore the "cool kid" lies
  • How to heal past friendship wounds.
  • Turning to Jesus for meat and potatoes soul filling.
  • Not blaming social media for our heart issues.
  • How do you survive a friendship break-up.
  • The hope of reconciliation and knowing when to let go.
Direct download: LisaJoBakerSofM2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

The first guest in our mentorship series is Nancy Williams**. She is known by her 9 grandchildren & 4 great-grandchildren to label each family gathering as "the best ever". Her phrase perfectly summarizes this podcast.

The show first aired in February of 2014 (Episode 11) and was titled "Best Ever Life". Based on the title, you may be surprised to discover Nancy's motherhood journey includes many trials and heartache. But she views each challenge as an "opportunity" (her word) to see the power of God at work.

This interview is bursting with Truth and wisdom. Here's a brief summary of the topics we cover:

  • How to keep your thoughts and perspective in check when your husband works long hours.
  • Where to turn with your parenting questions.
  • How to respond when the consequences of sin enter your children's lives
  • How to share a simple family tradition of gratitude and love (fabulous idea!)
  • How to deal with mom guilt (a.k.a., the part of the podcast where I get emotional)
  • How to help your children turn to God when you can't meet all their needs.

SUCH good stuff.

I was most encouraged to hear this message from Nancy:

This can be the "best life ever", no matter the circumstances, if it includes eternal salvation for our children and unconditional love in our homes. 

Direct download: NancyWilliamsSofM1.mp3
Category:motherhood -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Kat Armstrong, the guest from one of my most popular episodes is back on the podcast to share the message of her new book, No More Holding Back. The first question we talk about is, “Can a woman learn too much about Jesus?” A light topic, right?

“The greatest commandment says we have to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength — all of it. And it's the priority. It's the priority over anyone's role in our home. We have to be all-in for Jesus. We can't let our fears, our insecurities, our roles, our titles, or anything to do with our spouses impede our progress to learn about Jesus.”

Kat shares powerfully about our role as an image bearer of God, the importance of elevating women’s voices in our communities of faith and living completely into the assignments God gives us.

We also talk about giving what we have to offer even if feels imperfect or broken in the same way that the widow in Mark 12 gave out of her need.

“If you have a broken heart, it counts. I have a broken heart right now about my dad. I still want to love God with it all and I don't have to have it all together or healed yet to apply it to the Great Commission. And if you have a weary soul and you're questioning your faith, you can give that to God and he counts it as worthy. If you have a confused mind. If you're struggling with anxiety, depression, decision making, and things don't make sense in your world, you can give that to God.”

Direct download: KatArmstrongEp253.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

After my recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, I’m so excited to introduce you to Tess Clarke. We process some of what we learned on the trip to visit refugees from Central and South America and hear about the work Tess and her husband are doing with their non-profit, Seek the Peace.

Tess feels called to a ministry of presence in the same way that Jesus enters into our lives. It doesn’t mean that the circumstances are changed, but He takes away our aloneness, our guilt, our shame and our fear by being present with us in those hard circumstances.

“The numbers are staggering and everyone knows that this is an overwhelming issue, which is why I think we can't become jaded and paralyzed, but we have to keep looking at it from a human point of view. When we were in Oaxaca, a lot of it was really about learning why people were fleeing and what their lives looked like and what they were hoping for when they came to the United States. Every person I had an opportunity to talk to said, I want to be safe.”

No matter where you may fall politically on the issues of immigration and the current refugee crisis, I think Tess’ perspective on entering into the broken places and loving the marginalized and lonely around us can bring us together as believers. It has made a big difference in my own parenting when I invite my kids into loving others.

“Something my kids and I talk a lot about is the line in the Lord's prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ And we asked Jesus, show us where heaven is not. Show us where heaven is lacking. Lead us there because we want to join you in that space and we want to do what we can to bring heaven there.”

  • Tess, her family, their non-profit Seek the Peace and her role at We Welcome Refugees
  • The work Tess and her organization have done at the border.
  • Seeking to understand the plight of refugees and the work and role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Family separation of refugees at the border and the humanitarian crises happening in Central and South America that are causing an increase in the number of refugees
  • Stories from refugee centers at the border of South Texas
  • Tess feels called to a ministry of presence in the same way that Jesus enters into our lives.
  • The trip Heather and Tess made to Oaxaca, Mexico to visit refugees there
  • A poem by Warsan Shire about why people leave their homes as refugees
  • The legal ways to enter America are being shut down by the current administration
  • Our experience visiting the unaccompanied minors shelter
  • Femicide, being killed because you are a woman, is a big cause of death in Mexico
  • Partnering with Jesus to love the marginalized and bring Heaven to Earth
  • The call of God to love the oppressed and care for the broken in Isaiah 58
Direct download: TessClarkeFinalEp252.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Just in time for Father’s Day we have a great conversation with Joel Fitzpatrick, a pastor and author, who encourages dads (and moms) to have gospel-focused conversations with their sons.

“There’s power in having conversations with your kids that opens up your relationship. It’s a freedom that gives your kids a safe place to talk to someone. But then it also gives you the ability to speak God's truth into their lives.”

We talk about the barriers that keep us from going deep with our kids and how to fight back against the fear and complacency that can become commonplace. Joel also shares how Jesus is the ultimate picture of biblical masculinity and how to be an emotionally safe parent for your son or daughter.

“We need to be very careful with our emotions when our kids come and they confess their sins to us. When your son comes to you and he's been angry, you need to be careful not to respond in anger, but to respond with love and with kindness and with using your strength to provide a place of safety.”

This is an episode that would be perfect to share with your spouse and the dads in your life. Joel shares a lot of truth for both moms and dads about how we can stay actively engaged with our kids and keep the gospel message at the forefront.

For more on this topic, Joel has a new book out called Between Us Guys. Also, my recent podcast with Vicki Courtney [Ep 239] has some more great information on having deep conversations.

As Joel shares, it comes down to setting aside intentional time to go deep with our kids. What step can you make this summer to have a gospel-centered conversation with your son or daughter?

 

What we chat about:

  • Joel’s background as a construction worker and as a minister
  • What are gospel conversations and how do we have them with our kids
  • How to fight against fear and complacency to continually engage with our kids
  • Biblical masculinity vs worldly masculinity
  • Working with a son who is displaying aggression and violence
  • Keeping our emotions in check when we’re having tough discipline conversations
  • Look at your kids’ lives as a timeline and not a snapshot
  • Learning to process emotions in a healthy way with our kids
  • Being aware of your sons’ emotions and actively engaged with how he is processing them
  • Teaching sons how to think about and interact with women in light of the gospel
Direct download: JoelFitzpatrickEp251.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

As moms, we are like a life support system for our kids. To keep our families healthy, we need to be healthy. A key part of our overall well being is setting healthy boundaries.

But boundaries are hard. They require uncomfortable, direct conversations. We may need to put a limit on really good things or draw a line in the sand with our in-laws or parents.

My guest, Dr. John Townsend literally wrote the book on boundaries and he shares some deep wisdom on how to set healthy boundaries while honoring our family members and others.

You've got to take care of your energy, your heart and your emotions. You've got to take care of yourself and your health. If you don't guard that heart, then the wellsprings of life won't come out from it. Boundaries are basically about how to set healthy, loving limits in our life. So we have something to offer to our children.

Townsend answers your tough questions about set limits with in-laws, making healthy boundaries for the holidays and even models having a tough conversation with a parent about a boundary.

This is an episode packed with great information and Townsend has several books and resources available if you want to go deeper. Let’s make setting healthy boundaries a priority and guard our hearts and our time to bring life to our family!

What we chat about:

  • “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
  • Setting boundaries is guarding our wellspring of life so we can love our kids
  • His book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life
  • Is setting boundaries biblical? YES!
  • The difference between hurting and harming someone when it comes to setting boundaries
  • Honoring vs obeying your parents as an adult
  • What it looks like to have a boundary setting conversation
  • Conveying love in hard conversations and not getting hijacked with emotions or blame
  • Giving three chances when you set new boundaries and how to have consequences when they aren’t respected
  • Turning to spiritual family when biological family isn’t what your kids need
  • Keeping the lines of communication open with grandparents and communicating boundaries in love
  • Looking for mild, moderate and severe reactions to suggestions and boundary setting
  • Suggestions for setting healthy boundaries for the holidays
  • The idea of people fuel and relational nutrients that help us fuel up

Direct download: DrTownsendEp250.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Whether your kids are school age or not, summer typically brings a big shift to our family routine and to our mindset. Joining me today to talk through strategies to thrive this summer are Laura Hernandez and Courtney Cleveland.  

We talk about systems, tips and plans for making the most of the time you have with your kids this summer. Laura even shares an acronym for how to plan with the word ENJOY. That’s right! We can absolutely enjoy the summer and these ladies have some great ideas to get you started.

“It doesn't need to be a family bucket list and it doesn't need to be a hundred goals. It's just a simple focused looking at your summer and saying, what do I want it to feel like? What do I want it to look like for our family? And you will reap the benefits of it.”

If you’re like me and want to figure out a way to involve your kids in household jobs without the whining and complaining or make a plan for using screen time effectively, we cover it all in this chat. We also talk about summer road tips and ways to stop entitlement behavior when it rears its ugly head.

There is so much life in slowing down and spending time with our kids in the summer. Whether you are on summer number 2 or summer number 14 (like me) with your oldest, I pray that you embrace the time you have and ENJOY your summer!

 

Direct download: LauraCourtneyEp249.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Jada Edwards is a Bible teacher and truth speaker. She brings the word with fire and conviction. Her words encourage and gently convict as she points others to God.

But, her story hasn’t always been pretty and her platform hasn’t always been large. She’s wrestled with shame and doubt and feeling unqualified.

“I try be like David when he says, ‘I keep my sin before me.’ Not because of shame, but because of that reminder that every time God uses me, every time someone is encouraged by something that comes out of my mouth, I think, God is good. He can use anybody. There's a fine line between feeling disqualified and just feeling grateful and humble. So I try not to let that send me into a place of immobility.”

I’m personally grateful that Jada is following after God’s call on her life. She has so much passion for teaching and preaching the word. She has a new Bible study series out with Zondervan on women in the Bible called Known by Name that focuses on the same three questions we all still ask today: How does everyone else see me? How do I see myself? How does God see me? Good stuff!

We talk about her journey to motherhood and how inviting others to be influences in our kids’ lives can bring a freedom for the places we are weakest. She has some great suggestions for how to not mom alone and why we don’t have to strive to be a mother that we’re not.

“I think I day-by-day I find my footing a little bit saying, ‘Okay, these are the kids God has given me to shape and I know there's going to be deficits. I know there's going to be gaps, but I'm going to trust the Lord for the gaps and I'm going to do what I can with who I am. I'm not going to try to be anybody else. I'm going to be a failure at trying to be like my mother, it's going to go badly. I can be the best mom that I can be. And then where I'm lacking, I can be honest about that.’”

Direct download: JadaEdwardsEp248.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted in America. It’s the kind of staggering statistic that shocks you into silence. It can make you feel powerless to help.

When Jan Langbein first heard that statistic, it rocked her. She found an avenue to get involved with violence intervention and was eventually hired to run Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in Dallas.

Now, she’s worked to end violence against women and children for more than 20 years. God’s plan for her was bigger than she ever dreamed. On the podcast, she shares from the wealth of what she’s learned about:

  • How to identify abuse in your own life and in others’
  • How to respond to a friend in an abusive relationship
  • What we can all do to work toward ending and preventing violence, especially in faith communities

“It's very hard being friends and family of someone who's being abused, because it's as if they are overcome by smoke. We see the house burning down, but they're tripping around in a house filled with smoke. So you say things like, you know what, when you are ready to talk about this, know that I'm going to be here for you. When you do feel like you ready for some resources, I'll have them for you.”

Warning: There are some very hard things to hear in this episode and some potentially triggering things if you’ve been in an abusive relationship of any kind.

I’m so thankful for Jan’s guidance and clarity on these hard topics. As believers, we’re called to press in to these uncomfortable places and be God’s hands and feet for women and children who are suffering. I pray you will listen with that in mind.

“I think God hates divorce. I know he hates abuse even worse. I think this makes God cry that women are not allowed to live the fullest life. We can serve others, but that doesn't mean at the risk of our own bodies and souls and our children's lives.”

 

What we chat about:

  • How Jan got involved with violence intervention and eventual hired to run Genesis Women's Shelter & Support
  • Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted in this country and 1 in 3 women have experienced abuse
  • The ways abuse affects the children in a marriage/relationship
  • How to respond to a friend who may be in an abusive relationship
  • The services offered at a shelter like Genesis can provide for multiple needs from housing to legal help to counseling
  • Faith communities and other men can be a part of the solution calling out abuse and not sweeping it under the rug
  • Fear is an indication of abuse and verbal and emotional abuse precedes physical abuse
  • Helping a friend go through the stages of change in coming out of abuse
  • Abusers have the power and control in the relationship and the person being abused has the responsibility to serve their abuser
  • What to watch for in our kids for signs of abuse
Direct download: JanLangbeinEp247Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Jeni B is a single mom raising and homeschooling her four children. It was not the life she expected when she married as a young grad student and not the life she worked hard to create as she struggled for 10 years in an abusive marriage.

She shares her story of coming to a very painful place of seeking a divorce and fleeing with her children. We talk about the loss of community and friendships that followed and the guilt and shame that threatened to hold her captive.

“There can be so much shame and there's so much responsibility on the shoulders of the woman that it can feel like her job is to respect and to uphold and to encourage and that love covers a multitude of sins. And I'm sure that that works totally fine in a partnership where you've got two people under the headship of Jesus Christ who are wanting to please and obey him and serve each other. But when only one person is doing that, it just opens the gates wide for rampant abuse in a relationship.”

But her story did end there. Three years later, she is walking with God in a deeper way than she thought possible and finding freedom through healing. In her hardest places, God has been faithful and she shares what she’s learned about his character along the way.

“He didn't love my marriage more than he loved me. He loves me. So a huge part of my own growth and my own awakening is knowing God. It's a day-to-day walk and I feel the Lord shining on me. It is this beautiful experience of having been reduced to pretty much nothing and having all of my dreams destroyed to a place where God is building a city on top of that very same spot and he's using other people in the process of rebuilding.”

I’m thankful for Jeni’s openness in sharing her journey with God and how he is restoring and rebuilding her life. If you or a friend are going through anything similar, check out the online support group Jeni is in for more resources or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org.

Direct download: JeniBEp246.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

I’m so excited to share my dear friend Erin Morgan with you in this episode! We go way back in friendship and in motherhood.

She is the introvert to my extrovert and in this chat we’re diving into how to thrive as an introvert mom. When she and I had younger kids, the constant togetherness of parenting was very draining for her.

“I was just completely overwhelmed, which causes me to withdraw and isolate big time. I just had no energy for other people. I wanted to pursue my friends and my relationships with other people, but there was just no margin for that in my mind.”

We talk about how she learned more about herself as she learned about the gift that introversion can be. As she asked God where she should invest her life, he encouraged her that focusing on motherhood and a few deep friendships was his best for her.

“I had to get with the Lord and be reminded that what I'm doing in this season of life with my children and my family is a true ministry and is where God has me. And I really felt like he was impressing on me this kind of motto for my life, which is that a small and faithful life is pleasing to the Lord.”

I’m so thankful for Erin and her introvert “super powers” of listening and passionate, faithful prayers. She is a thoughtful friend who has a lot of wisdom and encouragement for other introvert moms out there. Extroverts can learn a lot about their introvert friends by hearing what she shares too!

Direct download: ErinMorganFinalEp245.mp3
Category:motherhood -- posted at: 6:19am CST

When Ericka Young and her husband made the choice to get out of debt, they had two small kids and $90,000 to pay off.

In the midst of the expensive, hard season of raising their daughters they worked hard for five years to get debt-free and now Ericka teaches the budgeting principles they used to help others find freedom. She believes that while many of us see a budgeting as restriction it can actually bring a lot of freedom.

“You can be creative if you want, you can call it a spending plan, you can call it a cash flow plan, whatever want to call it is totally fine. But when I say the word budget, everybody has a response, good or bad. And many times it's bad. It is the straight jacket. It's restriction, it's lack of freedom, that kind of thing. But here's the deal. It's what you make of it. Your budget is your own, make it your own.”

We chat about teaching our kids about money and tithing and how we are ultimately stewards of the resources God has given us.

“I love numbers. And so how I get out of my head is to realize that God is my provider. I am not the fixer of all financial issues. God is the provider. He also leads the way. And so when things come up and I have to shift or do a detour or what have you, I still know that he's in control. And so the budget is the guide. It's the plan. But when life happens, I also know that God's got this.”

What we chat about:

  • Her and her husband’s history with debt and money
  • Finances while you are raising young kids
  • Parental peer pressure can cause us to spend money we don’t need to
  • Why having a budget and money goals can help you get a handle on your finances
  • Having shared financial goals with your husband
  • Track your spending for the past three months and see if it aligns with your priorities
  • Plan for out-to-eat meals in your budget and use wisdom on when to eat out
  • Teaching your children about the costs of items and how to spend within limits
  • Being committed to tithing and how to discuss it with our kids
  • Responsibilities, allowances and working with kids on money
  • Why we need cushion in your budget for emergencies. It helps takes stress off an already stressful situation.
  • Your budget can bring freedom from the stress of not knowing where your money is
Direct download: ErickaYoungEp244Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Depending on your personal background with puberty, sex and the often avoided topic of masturbation, having open conversations with your kids on these topics may feel daunting.

You may want to avoid it or get “the talk” over and done with as quickly as possible. Or maybe your kids are really young and you don’t want to think about it right now. My guests Mary Flo Ridley and Megan Michelson walk us through why starting early talking with our kids about body awareness and establishing our family story about sex is so important.

“What we're trying to get rid of is this idea that this is a one-time conversation in parenting. The world that we are raising our kids in has changed so drastically that the way we as parents talk about sex has to change drastically as well. We can have multiple age appropriate conversations and a little-by-little approach where we establish a conversation pattern where we are the loving authority in our child's life on this topic.”

They have great book recommendations and advice on talking with your pediatrician so you know when puberty is imminent for each child. We cover ways to pursue conversations with your kids and how to talk to them calmly without overreacting.

Finally, we dive into the deeper waters of talking to your older children about masturbation, dealing with our emotional baggage when it comes to sex and how to strike the difficult balance of teaching what is normal and beneficial.

We're hearing from a lot of youth ministers and pastors that work with college kids that this is an epidemic of a great addiction. So there needs to be more of a warning of how this is normal, but not beneficial. That why it's such a difficult topic. You can say, yes, honey, this is absolutely normal. You're learning about your body and how it works, but it can become a habit of comfort. And if this is where you go when you're upset or when you're angry, if this is how you comfort yourself, then this is not beneficial to you in your future.”

Direct download: MeganMaryFloEp243.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm CST

To celebrate our 20-year wedding anniversary, Bruce and I are answering your questions! We have a fun time reminiscing on our wedding, the early years of parenting and all the twists and turns our lives have taken since we joined them together.

We talk about parenting styles, balancing our roles and how I learned not to micromanage him when it came to caring for our boys.

As much as we enjoy looking back at our years before kids when we traveled a bunch, the fun concerts we went to, and friends we made, we wouldn’t change what we have now. Bruce makes a great point that if we stay focused on the past, we’ll miss the great things happening now.

Stick around to the end of the episode to find out which one of us said, “I love you” first and my personal philosophy on procrastination. We share our ideas for a perfect weekend (they aren’t the same) and how Bruce plans a typical date night.

Direct download: BruceHeatherEp242.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:11am CST

Though millions tuned in to TLC’s hit show Little People, Big World to watch their wedding, the entirety of Jeremy and Audrey Roloff’s love story is significantly less known. Audrey joins me to talk about her marriage, motherhood, and how she and her husband are on a mission to help married couples thrive.

The Roloffs have founded a ministry called Beating 50 Percent which is focused on reviving covenant marriages. They share resources and ideas for couples to inspire them to make their marriages more than average.

“One thing that has been our lifeline since before becoming parents is our marriage journal. It's essentially our communication tool in our marriage. When life is crazy, we know that every Sunday night we're going to have our time to do our marriage journal. We call it our navigator’s council time. But it's basically just a time for Jeremy and I to connect and communicate about things that have come up in the week that maybe there wasn't never that good time to talk about it.”

We chat about how she’s balancing marriage and motherhood since the birth of her daughter, why it’s important to share interests and activities with your spouse and how to balance strong personalities in marriage.

“It’s important to take humble perspective and ask God, what do our roles in this marriage look like and is this something that you are pleased with and how can we be a better reflection of the gospel through our marriage? I feel like God has really been impressing on my heart since the beginning of the year to let Jeremy be my forerunner and to view that as a helpful, beautiful thing that helps me and allows me to run the race better.”

 

What we chat about:

  • Audrey’s background and how she met her husband Jeremy Roloff
  • Jeremy and his family are featured in the reality TV show, Little People, Big World
  • What it was like for her to have her wedding televised for the show
  • Her life verse from Ephesians 3:20 and mantra “Always More”
  • Beating 50 Percent the marriage ministry she and her husband have
  • Their focus is inspiring couples to invest more than 50% effort into their marriage
  • How she’s balancing marriage and motherhood since the birth of her infant daughter
  • Their Sunday marriage journaling time and how they’ve turned it into a book, The Marriage Journal
  • The principle of sharing interests and activities with your spouse and how that can knit you closer together
  • Submitting in marriage when you have a strong personality or leadership gifting
  • What Audrey loves about being a mom
Direct download: AudreyRoloffEp241.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Direct download: WendySpeakEp240.mp3
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Direct download: VickiCourtneyEp239.mp3
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Direct download: JJHellerEp238Final.mp3
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Direct download: KarieMurrayEp237Final.mp3
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Direct download: ErinMoonEp236Final.mp3
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