What a day!

Sweet Friends,

I am sorry I haven’t had anything new for you to read on this blog for a while. Please go to itakejoy.com and you will see all of my recent writing. I think of myself as more than just a mom–I love being a mom, but issues in my life are just bigger than momdem. I don’t get to write often on my blogs because I am busy on two books that I am excited about and if I am writing on other projects, I forget what I have said on blogs and in letters and in articles and in my books, so I hate to be repetitive and thus I just write my books which I think will have longer reach! Thanks for your patience with me, but do go to my other blog and you will find some recent articles–about love, discipling princesses, giving yourself grace and loving my girls and other stuff. Of course it goes without saying that I love hearing from you outthere in cyber space–helps me to think I should keep writing which I am sometimes ready to quit when I don’t think it is reaching anyone! So all who comment, thanks and for emails–they keep me going. I love and appreciate all of you who feel alone and are being faithful to ideals anyway–you are my hero because that is what I have spent my whole life doing. Now my older kids are having to be alone in their ideals. Keep going! God sees you and your faith matters!




But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

Dear Sweet Moms,

I greet you this December day in the spirit of the kindness and love of our precious Lord. He pours out His abundant love and grace each and every day. He, as a good Father, wants us to be heirs of His glory and blessing. Above all, we have hope in this life—hope that He knows us, guides us, will bring us safely home into His presence where we will see Him face to face and be filled with His joy. We also have freedom from guilty or anger or inadequacy because of His provision, abundantly given through the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday, a terrible tragedy occured at our church here in Colorado. The lives of 3 people were taken at our church, just minutes after we left the parking lot. I wrote an article on it on itakejoy.wordpress.com to let you know a few of the details that touched our lives. One sweet family lost an 18 year old and 16 year old daughter. Their sorrow must be immeasurable. Our precious web staff, Renee Culver, came upon the shooting of the girls as her own family fled the church. She spent all night ministering to the family and giving help in the hospital. Please pray for her and her family to receive peace and comfort for all that they saw and experienced. You can read the rest of the story on itakejoy.wordpress.com. But what I really want you to know, is that God is being exalted in our midst, and His power and love are being displayed in amazing ways. May you find the depth of His reality in your own lives as you ponder the reality of His gift of eternal life, which came to all of us through the wonderful, normal venue of a family devoted to God.

More soon!



Here Comes December!

Dear Sweet Moms,
You have been on my heart so often the past month. I know that the holidays puts an extra load on each of you as you serve your families and try to make your home a place of beauty, fun, filled with spiritual meaning and adding the extra special meals and gifts on top of that—and you have exhausted moms at the end of it! Yet, I know that your sacrifices of love make such a difference in the souls of your children. I am spending so much more time with my older children during this season of life when they are all home again. I see, anew, how much the years of filling their souls with eternal treasures and wisdom and love have been the making of them. Know that you are fulfilling the special design of God’s hand when you become a picture of Him and His love and creativity in your own home.
I had such a wonderful time with the precious moms the two weekends I spent speaking in Texas. They were a blessing to me. Then, we as a family, spent a week in the mountain town of Breckenridge, Co for a time of refreshment, as well as a time of writing for me. I have finished writing 4 new chapters and a new prologue for Seasons of a Mother’s heart—ten years later. Perspective from being older and living through years of God’s lessons for me as a woman and mom has taught me much that I look so forward to sharing with those of you who will be able to come to our conferences this year, or who are able to get the new Seasons of a Mother’s heart. God is so good!
I love Christmas. The story of our heavenly Father condescending to come to the earth, through a normal family, just like yours and mine, is such a beautiful miracle. He chose family to be the venue through which He would grace the world with his presence. I love the fact that Mary and Joseph were young, first time parents, who experienced the pangs of a baby moving inside, the wonder of the timing of when their precious son, the King of all the world would be born. Then, to think that God the father brought Him into the world where the most common, working place shepherds would be invited to the celebration—by having the incredible privilege of hearing an angel choir in the starry night out in the countryside. Already they were acquainted with the myriads of stars that bespoke to them each evening of the transcendence and majesty of God—and then to be sung to by angels in the midst of the glorious beauty—unsurpassed awe must have filled their hearts.
In honor of the shepherds and of our savior’s birth, we celebrate a shepherd’s meal each Christmas eve. Thick slices of homemade herb, onion bread, chunks of cheese, nuts and fruit; along with steamy potato soup, we eat a simple meal by candlelight and read the Bible story out loud of His appearing to these families, and then we sing a few hymns together. It is one of the favorite evenings of the year for all of us and it reminds us that Jesus was a humble friend of the common man—that He can relate to our everyday life—and yet He is still the messiah before whom every knee will bow when He rules the universe from His throne. His life again becomes a model for us in ministry—that we must be humble and cultivate a heart for reaching out to the common man and woman—and bring them the glorious, generous love our savior-king.

The reality of the Christmas seasons for moms and for me, is that daily, we can feel that overwhelming pressure that the season brings—more to do, more activities, more relatives to please, high expectations on us every day. I try to take a deep breath, so to speak, every morning before I get out of bed, and commit my day into the hands of the Lord. Several of my friends are struggling with depression, one sweet mom, is struggling with post partum depression and irrational fears. One friend told me that before the Thanksgiving holidays, she was considering getting anti-depressant medication. But when she went to her mother-in-law’s home for a week, where she was pampered, she said she didn’t have one bad day! So she came home determined to include into her schedule, activities that she enjoyed. I do think it is so important that we do become wise conductors of our own life-symphony. We must care for our physical, emotional, spiritual lives in order to make sure that we are healthy and that our hearts are filled so that we will have resources from which all those who come to us, will have something to draw.
The reason that I wrote my book, The Mom Walk, is that I learned over the years, that it is only in consistently walking with Him, that we have the deep well of His resources to bring energy and wisdom to all the tasks of life. His word is what guides my mind and heart and priorities. I receive perspective for my soul in order to be able to make it, every day, with the power and grace and strength that the Holy Spirit provides. Of course there are many days that I find my resources low and my attitudes skewed and my heart overwhelmed. But it is in the continual coming to Him, where I find daily, the strength and refreshment that I need—for that day—and He is always there. My feelings are not always there, but when I read truth and obey His word, then I have confidence that what I have placed into His hands will be answered in His time and in His way. My feelings sometimes fluctuate, my confidence in Him is sure.
As I was praying for His perspective this season in my quiet time the past couple of days, He brought this to mind:
“For a child will be born to us, a son shall be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders; And his name shall be called:
Wonderful CounselorHe will counsel me in every area. He has the answers and the wisdom for my marriage, the issues that involve my children—their hearts, attitudes, health, future, friends, –He knows our financial needs; He will give direction for our future; grace to handle difficult relationships—He is Wisdom himself. I just need to go to Him and His word and He will instruct me in the way I should go. I must take time to come to Him!
Mighty GodHe is strong and able to rule over any detail of my life. In His timing, he will act on my behalf. There is no enemy stronger than Him; He is powerful to overcome all difficulties, all temptations, all people or authorities. If I come to Him and ask Him to be my “mighty God” and to give His strength to any situation in my life, He is able and will work on my behalf—Jesus Christ is the Mighty God.
Everlasting FatherHe always has a Father’s heart. Even as a father has compassion on his children, so God my father will have compassion on me (Psalm 103: 13-14). Even as a Father would give his child bread and not a stone, so my heavenly Father will give me what is good. I can trust Him to provide for me as I approach Him as my Father—and submit to Him as his beloved child. He, as my Father, is responsible for my life, it is not all on my shoulders. I need to rest against Him as a child rests in His Father’s arms. (Psalm 131:1-3)
Prince of PeaceEven though there is tribulation in the world, I can rest in the fact and in the hope, that all things will come to right some day. Jesus said, “In this world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” He will give me peace if I place all of the issues in my life in His hands. (the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.) I need to choose to leave my life in His hands, to not panic, to rest in His power and ability to take care of me and my children. He is also the peace maker—and when I humble myself and choose to love, He will bring peace. He has also made peace with me, through His sacrifice—he has forgiven me everything and for always. I have peace with God through Jesus.
In short, the name of the blessed messiah tells me that for today, for each day, He is all that I need—He will counsel and give wisdom, be strong and mighty for my cause. love and provide for me as a compassionate Father and bring peace to my heart. May the name of Jesus Christ be praised throughout each day of December as He leads me on this journey as a Mom!

The Power of Words

aerial_view_of_autumn_forest_colors.jpgWords matter! They have the power mysteriously to enter our hearts and minds and lift us beyond the present moment into the presence of God himself. How important it is, then, that we mothers, shepherds of our children’s lives and hearts, choose our words to them carefully. We must deliberately aim our words at their hearts in such a way as to give our children hope, faith, strength and also to point them toward the redeeming love of Christ. We can become the affirming voice of God to our children just as we become a picture of His redeeming reality in their everyday lives. In this way we extend the gift of grace. Our words go deeply into their heart and memory as a reflection of Him.

Sally Clarkson

Excerpt taken from The Ministry of Motherhood; check out our web site at http://www.wholeheart.org to order this book along with many others.

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  • I am finally back from a 10 day trip to California and am enjoying each moment of each day! I love my home, my food and my bed and my family. I know that many people have envied the amount of travel our family has had, but so many times, I am thankful to be home. I so enjoyed being with the delightful, wonderful southern California moms, but home always is a magnet for me. When I returned home, through some interesting circumstances, I returned to all of my children being home and planning on being here indefinitely. It is such a different season living with adults in the house. They still need a lot from Clay and me. We are still helping to inform decisions, jobs, ministries, activities–and I see in a new season how important a mom’s job is in being available and supporting and praying and still pointing to the Lord. Sometimes I am jealous of my older kids–they don’t know it, but they have so much more free time than I do—time to read, time to blog, time to have by themselves and with friends. There are many times I would like to write more or blog more or just rest, but it doesn’t seem to be available at this season of life! I go from one meal to the other, one child’s needs to the other, Clay’s needs and issues, life responsibilities—running this household, and you know the story! When I disappear from blogging for a while, you can just know that I am over my head with meeting the needs of my family, which always comes first!

I don’t think I knew that being an intentional mother would take up all of my time and demand a whole life commitment forever! Giving up my rights and time has been something I have to do over and over again in each season of life. Yet, having the privilege of having my adult children at home, gives me companionship and friendship and kindred spirits with which to share life, so I thank God each day they are here and ask Him how I may point them to Him, and then readjust my expectations of life to my limitations of time, money and energy! I have probably said this before, but I have often, in the past few years, told my kids that it is a good idea to decide to like God’s will for your life, because not liking it will not make it go away!

The whole reason I was going to write this post, was because of my realization that often, as a mom, I have had to realize that just taking a few minutes more to do something makes all the difference in my relationship to my children. Recently a friend visited us from afar. She told me about her 12 year old son who never seemed to be able to get his school work finished unless she was with him, but when she was with him, he whizzed through it. I used to struggle in my heart with the very same issue. Nathan could not seem to do his work on his own very well. I had so much advice about how I would make him dependent and that I needed to just make him do it alone. However, when I prayed about it, I realized that my goal was not to just always teach my children a lesson in character–though character is important–but to help them attain success and maturity as a whole person. Now, I know that he had some learning issues that required my help  but I didn’t know that at the time. I noticed that when I had my arm around his shoulders while sitting  on the couch, he seemed calmer and better able to concentrate when we were doing math or a detailed subject that required focussed attention.
Even more, though, I realize how important personal relationship is in getting a child to love learning and to be inspired in education. I still think that the relationship of the mentor-teacher is more important than the information being transfered. God made us relational–even introverts. Moms need to just decide to give up their time and expectations. I was talking to a mom recently who had her 5 and 7 year olds on a video program for school. I can almost guarantee you that these children will not excel at education, or in relationships or in life. Lectures on television are just not effective for little brains. Children need to be talked to, tickled, explained to, inspired, listened to, touched and encouraged–all the personal things that only a human being can do. Technology will never replace the need for human contact and interaction and will always be a poor substitute.

There is an illusion that because the internet has so much information available, it will create superior intelligence. Statistics show that it just isn’t true. Collegiates who have spent so much more time in technology, have a lower vocabulary, a lower ability to understand abstract thinking processes and are less educated in light of test scores and writing ability than the previous generations. They also lack moral inspiration and spiritual foundations, because no one took the time to personally influence them. (Just read Dickens or Shakespeare and you will know what I mean.)

Computers and can be useful tools to help educate in some areas (drill, language study, basic research easily available, etc.), but will never be able to cultivate deep, thoughtful intelligence anymore than a robot, that can do basic chores in a household will ever be able to replace a mom’s love and influence.

Even now, at 18, Nathan still needs some help, occasionally, on job interviews and resumes online. College applications and longer detailed administration requires all the time and help I can give. But now I am more used to the giving of myself. It is so much better to just take a few minutes more and cultivate a good relationship than to create unnecessary conflict and guilt by trying to make an immature child do something on his own, when he is really not ready or capable.

I have asked myself, “What do I picture God to be? Patient with me when I fail, loving and forgiving, desiring my best and training me to excellence, steadfast, righteous, joyful, not ruffled. I realized that I am the best picture of God that my children will see for many years. If I think God would be patient and gentle with me (Psalms says he is mindful that we are but dust, Romans tells us that nothing can separate us from His love, Psalms tells us that He is our shepherd,  he never leaves us, He plans good for us, and so on. If we want Him to imagine that He is all things great, they will be inclined to love the God we love if they see His love and patience exhibited in our lives. God made and understands little boys and wiggly, distracted girls. He accepts them as He made them, shouldn’t we?

Again, we must also take time to notice and enjoy the beauty of life together. Though our days are absolutely busy from dawn to dusk in our home, almost every afternoon, I take time to walk. The leaves on the mountain are at their peak. The red and golden fern on the mountain are vibrant with color, where trees used to grow before the Haman fires destroyed them some years ago. Usually Sarah goes with me–we have for years been walking friends. What a legacy of friendship and mentoring this has provided. Often, now Joy comes and sometimes I go with her alone. But always, it reminds me, when I am appreciating what the Master Artist has done to display His beauty in the outdoors, I am put in my proper place–I am not at the center of the universe, my life’s needs and issues are not huge or overwhelming to the Lord. He who has seen thousands of years of seasons–with Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Esther, Marco Polo, Columbus, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill and more, has been faithful to all of them. He has seen it all and shed His love and grace and insight and perspective, been patient with them and provided for them.  Where the old issues have passed, new ones have come. So I can, through these moments, put the center of my heart back into perspective, as I release them back into the hands of the Lord of the seasons of life. And as I take that one more bit of time to be sure they have from me what they need in order to have their cups filled and in order to reach their hearts. It just takes a little more time.

Here is just a little thought from my book, The Mom Walk. Have a lovely fall day and enjoy!

Amidst the ebb and flow of our lives as mothers, it is all too easy to get caught up in the serious side of our walk with God. We have so much to teach our children: moral standards, an understanding of God’s character, Bible stories, manners – the list goes on and on. Yes, there is a battle for our children’s souls. Yes, there are habits of godly character we need to form in them. Yes, there is so much work to be done; we have to realize that there is something much more important to the Lord. God wants us to enjoy Him, His creation, and His love. He wants us to lead our children into celebrating life with Him and taking time to notice the beauty He has provided each and every day. He wants us to revel in His goodness and love.”

Blessings to you!


I really do love homeschooling–at least most of it. A couple of friends and I are meeting together every other week for a history coop with our children. They each do a report each week on someone involved during the particular period of history we are studying. We happen to be on the Civil War right now, so the kids have given reports on Gettysburg, Ironsides, Powder Monkeys, Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad, Abolitionists, etc. The core book that we read in our home is Across Five Aprils. This is one of my favorite Civil War books as it gives some of the issues and influences of the war over a period of 5 years, as well as giving issues on both sides of the war, and is a captivating story besides. I love to hear the discussions of the moms and friends as we meet together. I love seeing the kids inspired and stretched and engaged. Many people ask me what I use as my core curriculum. I have done this for so many years, I feel comfortable picking and choosing great literature and history units, alternating them, and reading outloud and discussing without even using any guides. My favorite guides are from Beautiful Feet, a wonderful whole book company in California. We are loosely using their American and World History High School guide for some of the books to read together and some of the discussion questions. (Call 800.889.1978 to receive on of their wonderful catalogues!)
Please tell them you heard about them from us, as we love for our friends there to know that Whole Heart highly recommends their materials. They have great taste in good books and have been an encouragement to me since Sarah was 4 years old!) Home coops can be fun if they are small enough and if you have a good plan. It lets all of us moms who enjoy each other have a chance to fellowship, as well as a time for our children to have fun, but it also provides our kids accountability as they prepare reports that each of them will have to deliver to the whole group–what I call positive peer pressure and accountability!

On a different note, this year marks 10 years since I first wrote Season’s of a Mother’s Heart. We will be coming out with a 10th year anniversary edition, with 4 new chapters and more family pictures. Our mom’s conferences in California, Colorado and Texas will be based on the Season’s book this year, so stay tuned for the book and the conference! The following is a quote I wrote those many years ago, which a friend recently sent to me this week. Funny how I need to keep learning and remembering the same things over and over again, as what I wrote then is still so needful in my life today!
As I have shared and counseled with other homeschooling mothers, contentedness seems to be an illusive ideal. For many it seems there is always something out there, just beyond their grasp, that they cannot have but that they believe will make them more happy and fulfilled if they could somehow get their hands on it. But they can’t, and it leaves them feeling anxious, empty and depleted. They reach, but they cannot grasp, not just for material things, but for expectations of how their lives could or should be.

As I have sought the input of seasoned homeschooling mothers on this issue, their response has been consistent. The only way to make it in this homeschooling life is to reach for God instead of reaching for happiness. Trying harder to be happy or content will not make you happy and content; trying harder to rest in God and depend upon His grace will. It is a spiritual issue, not a practical one. Contentedness will not come from being more organized, sleeping longer, being a better wife, having a better home, using better materials, having more time to yourself, or whatever you think might help. Contentedness is learned in the process of daily accepting life as God gives it to you, and adjusting your expectations to life’s limitations.

If it is God’s will for me to homeschool, then He is not asking me to do more than I am able (I Corinthians 10:13) and He is not withholding from me anything that I truly need (Philippians 4:19; James 2:2-8). If I choose to, I can learn to be content with the life that God has given to me, whether I have a little or a lot to live it with. What keeps me from being content is not what God is or isn’t supplying. The real problem is that I, Sally, will not adjust my expectations to life’s limitations—I want more than I can have, ask for more than I need, strive for more than I can do, and expect more than God has promised.

-Sally Clarkson From Seasons of a Mother’s Heart

Have a great weekend!

A Lazy Sunday afternoon

Hi, my friends. I have just had the pleasure of reading a rousing book with my 18 year old, Nathan, who is a very big (6’3″), little boy. Funny, he has been in his own world of an intensive disicipleship group, classes and work for over a year–very independent from the normal schedule of our inner circle of family. Yet, he came back and said, “Could we read together and just keep going through books all year? With your busy schedule and mine, it may be hard to find, but it is one of the greatest pleasures of my week.” I will fill you in on the lists of books we read together, but it is a treat to have my oldest children beginning to really understand and appreciate the significance of our family ties–to choose to be with Clay and me, to remind us never to stop the traditions and still, they all seem to make it home for the most important ones. Family is the tie that binds all of us to love, morality, fidelity, celebration, stability and the  life of the Lord.

Another thought came to mind, one of our favorite books on tape, that all of our children have loved and listened to again and again, is Cheaper by the Dozen–a great rousing reader and you can usually order it through your library. (There are a couple of times in the book where the father uses the Lord’s name in vain–we knew where it was and could skip it.) –but the book is one of the most endearing, family oriented, children affirming books out there—a story about a family with a dozen children in the early 1900’s–one of the books all the kids agree was one of there very favorites.

Sunday morning fare for breakfast–we make whole wheat pancakes that are irresitibly delicious–grate apples into the batter and some of us sprinkle in pecans or walnuts and occasionally chocolate chips–and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top. (All of us take off Sundays for the day of the week when we quit all diets and enjoy life together!) We have favorite instrumental music we play on Sunday mornings. Fernando Ortega and Chris Rice have our favorite piano, instrumentals that we often play on Sunday mornings as we all creep downstairs from a night of sleep–soothing music playing and sometimes the big, fat autumn candles lit, with a pot of tea or coffee warming in my tea pots, welcome all of us into the morning. I happened on Celtic Fantasies, by Green Hill for our tea time this afternoon. I have many, many cd’s from Green Hill. (Also played Phantom of the opera cd this afternoon by them–a list of show tunes that are beautiful and conducive to civilized talking around the Sunday afternoon tea time.

Happy Sunday!