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Category Archives: Parenting

Words

What are the last words you spoke to the last person with whom you spoke?

To be fair, I’ll share mine: “I love you, too.”

But if you’d heard my words yesterday, they would’ve sounded less beautiful. More… ungrateful. Untrusting. Unkind.

Words have the ability to encourage or the ability to destroy. When you add emotions, exhaustion, and ego to the mix, communication can be a minefield. The paradox? We frequently mete our harshest words to the individuals we love the most.

Why is that? Don’t you hate it? I do. I want to be a better listener. A better problem-solver. I want to end a conversation with someone knowing that I’ve affirmed him. In times of disagreement, my desire is that when the conversation is over, the problem has truly been resolved instead of postponed. I want to stop falling into the same speech traps that constantly leave me disappointed and defensive.

The gift of speech is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given, but I’m so inept at utilizing the spoken word. That’s why the Proverbs wield power. These wise sayings help me to love God and my neighbor.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Sometimes the best use of the tongue is to keep it sealed behind our lips. Silence is a powerful form of communication. The best Communicator who ever lived, Jesus Christ, chose to remain silent even when He was unjustly accused and on the way to His crucifixion. I would’ve been screaming. But He was silent. He knew He was right. Therefore, He had nothing else to say. His final action of love was all that was necessary.

It’s tough to control our words. We should think before we speak, and if we do have to say difficult words, they must be spoken in love. One of the scriptures most difficult to apply is this: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Father, give me wisdom. Use my speech to glorify You and encourage others. Make my words agents of Your healing.

 

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Are you frustrated yet?

3753584003_95eef4f7ce_oYou’re 18 days into the new year, and you still haven’t lost those ten pounds, finished that novel, or gotten your kids in line. Your plan to get the house clean seems to have disappeared beneath a fresh layer of dust, and you’ve apparently misplaced the organization chart you spent hours crafting. Your decision to work out daily was waylaid by a nasty cold, and your resolution to make it to church every Sunday wasn’t quite enough to drag you out of bed on time.

You started the year with such hope lo, those many months…er, days ago. And now, all is lost.

Or maybe you’re like me and quit making resolutions years ago. If we don’t aim for anything, it’s impossible to miss.

Impossible to hit, too.

I jumped on the word-of-the-year bandwagon awhile back, so every year around the first, I pray about what word God would have me focus on for the next 365 days. Guess which one he gave me this year?

Perseverance.

I wasn’t happy when the word came to me, because it means that those things I want might not come so easily. The ten pounds won’t just slip off like pants two sizes too big. The words of the novel won’t glide effortlessly from my fingers onto the screen. The teenagers won’t suddenly behave like mature adults.

So I’ve decided to look at my word from a different angle. Perhaps my word is not about the goals at all. Perhaps it’s about trusting God with everything and slogging forward—“straining toward what is ahead” as Paul so aptly put it (Philippians 3:13).

Would God ask me to persevere in a lost cause? Would he expect me to keep fighting a losing battle? I think not. I think he wants me to fight for what I want and trust him with the results, so that when I do achieve what I’ve worked for, I’ll have truly accomplished something. And I’ll know he was with me all along.

There are still 347 days left in this year to persevere. Imagine what God can do with a servant unwilling to give up.

Bring it on, 2017. I’m ready.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Check out my latest releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal, at my website. Or read more about them below:

Kindle CoverConvenient Lies

What happens when a woman marries her greatest enemy?

When investigative journalist Reagan McAdams discovers her new husband Julien is part of a powerful international crime family, she flees Paris with their newborn, returning to her childhood home in Nutfield, New Hampshire. She plans to gather her inheritance, collect her beloved grandmother, and disappear forever. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her son from his criminal father. 

But when Reagan arrives home, her heart breaks at the news of her grandmother’s death. Finding her missing inheritance—hidden somewhere on the property—is as impossible as a second chance with her former boyfriend, Brady. Reagan’s feelings for Brady are stronger than ever, but when Julien harms innocent people to smoke her out, Reagan must make a choice.  

What—and who—will she have to sacrifice to save her son?

Only Mine

A Package Deal

Jo didn’t know she wanted children until she learned that cancer had likely ruined her chances to have them. Dared by her friends to try online dating, Jo meets a man who would be perfect—if not for his obvious desire for a family and her too recent cancer scare. 

Carter can’t believe his luck when his first match through the online dating site is the pretty woman from the UPS store. He figures he’ll tell Jo about his five-year-old daughter if things get serious—which he doesn’t figure they will. He’s been burned by enough women not to get his hopes up. 

As Jo and Carter start to fall for each other, they realize the secrets they’ve hidden could tear apart the tenuous bond they’ve created. They both come with baggage. 

Can either of them accept a package deal?

 

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Playing the Comparison Game

 

compare-643305_1280I recently watched a sermon series by Andy Stanley called The Comparison Trap. In it, he talks about how we humans look to the right and to the left to find out if we’re okay. It’s how we decide if we’re doing well or failing, if we’re good enough or not quite making the grade.

I don’t consider myself somebody who falls into this trap often, but listening to him, I realized how I subtly compare myself and my family to others. I compare how we look, how much money we have, the size of our house, what kinds of cars we drive, where the kids go to school, what we do for work… The list is as long as the unique things that define us.

But by comparing my family to others, I’m discounting God’s hand in our lives. I’m judging God’s plan for me based on what He has done for others. And in doing so, I’m throwing myself into an unwinnable game. For every person I compare well to, there are two or three (thousand?) others who are far exceeding me.

But God’s way is better. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6:45 NLT).

So what’s the solution? Not that I’ve arrived—not even close—but I find I need to keep my focus on God and what His plans are for me. If I focus on my work and pay attention to accomplishing all God has given me to do, then I have little time or reason to compare myself to others.

Maybe my books don’t sell as many copies as another author’s books, but as long as I write what God wants me to write, I’m a success in His eyes. My children have their own dreams, and their plans don’t include top-level colleges. But God looks at the heart, not the resume. Maybe somebody else’s husband has more worldly success than mine does, but my husband loves the kids, he loves me, he loves God, and I suspect God is pleased with him. So who cares what somebody else’s husband is doing?

We’re walking the path God laid out for us. We’re doing our best and striving to obey Him. Success comes through obedience, and since God’s plan for us is different than his plan for everyone else, the comparison game is one nobody can win.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website, follow her on Facebook, or keep up with her releases by joining her newsletter list.

 

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Celebrating Failure

 

unknownWhen this blog posts, I’ll be on vacation. But will it be a vacation I’ve earned?

Last January I set a goal to write two full-length books and a novella by December 31. I failed. I completed one novel and one novella, but the other novel is only half finished.

Some goals I did accomplish, and there are many that I’m quite proud of. I published two books and edited a lot of great manuscripts for other writers.

(Check out my new releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal.)

On the personal side, I was able to spend time with friends, pray with people, make meals, attend funerals, and try to support my loved ones. Most importantly, I was available for my teenagers, who went through some unexpected and sometimes serious issues this year.

As I reflect on my 2016 goals, I realize that last January first, I had no idea what the months ahead would hold for me and those I love. I’d made my goals blindly. Don’t we always?

So rather than look back in disappointment over my perceived failures, I’ve decided to give myself grace for what I didn’t do and focus on what I did.

I’ll set more goals this year. With God’s help, I’ll achieve them. But more important to me than reaching work and personal goals is my desire to be obedient to God and to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend I can be. If I can keep those priorities straight, I trust God will work out the rest.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at RobinPatchen.com.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Parenting, Robin Patchen, Writing

 

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Unwanted Gifts

flexible_flyers_in_snowI’m sure you can remember some of your favorite Christmas presents ever. One year our parents bought my sister, brother, and me those old-fashioned sleds with the metal runners on the bottom. A few days before, the skies had dropped frozen rain on top a foot of snow, so that the little hill in front of our house was as solid as the pond across the street. The sleds flew like rockets down that icy incline. It was one of the most fun and memorable Christmases of my childhood.

Other Christmas gifts haven’t seemed so wonderful.

Last year, my 18-year-old son wasn’t home for Christmas. Instead, Nick was in a rehab facility six hundred miles away. While his being there was a gift straight from God, it sure felt terrible at the time.

Some gifts are like that. They come wrapped in hardship and layered in pain, and they carry the scents of disappointment and shame. But when you get through all the coverings, the treasures beneath are priceless.

This Christmas, Nick is home, healthy, and sober. He’s already had a number of opportunities to share his testimony of God’s grace in his life, and he’ll have plenty more as he heads off to Youth with a Mission next month. We will miss him terribly during the months he’s gone on his mission trip, but even that will be a gift, knowing that God is using him to bring light to dark places.

Some gifts don’t look like gifts right away. And sometimes, those are the best gifts of all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

 
 

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Thanks to God–and You

Have you ever felt hopeless? Had that feeling that all is truly lost? In fiction, we call it the “black moment.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few black moments in my life. The worst came a little over a year ago and had to do with my eldest son, who’d made some life-altering and potentially deadly choices. All I could do was watch and pray.

But there was one other thing I did. I told a lot of my friends and family about our struggles. Not because they were fun to share—trust me, they weren’t. I told them because the Lord encourages us to be honest with each other and to and pray for one another. When we pray, He moves. (James 5:14-16, I Timothy 2:1) And our family desperately needed God to move.

My friends here at Quid Pro Quills prayed. Other friends prayed. Extended family prayed. Even some strangers prayed. And guess what? Through all those prayers, the Lord reached and saved our son.

Now, he’s home and safe. He’s a new person in Christ. He believes in the power of prayer as much as the rest of us, because he’s experienced the results of it. He’s so convinced of the Truth and so in love with his Savior, he’s headed to Youth with a Mission this January, where he’ll spend three months in Discipleship Training School before heading somewhere in the world (we don’t know where yet) on a mission to tell the lost about the freedom he’s found in Jesus Christ.

Our black moment was turned into victory, and it’s all because of the folks who prayed and this amazing, beautiful, powerful God we serve.

Tweet this: The prayers of good friends turned our darkest moment into victory.

For those of you who prayed, thank you for interceding for my family. For all of you, if ever you need prayer for yourself or someone you love, please ask me. I would be honored to lift you up the way we have been lifted, to be a part of your miracle the way so many of you have been a part of ours.

If you’d like more information or if you’d considering partnering with Nick on his mission trip through prayers or financial support, click here.

If you’d like more information about this amazing organization, Youth With a Mission, check out this video.

 

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website.

 

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Almost…Not Yet

There was a photo of a dog on the Animal Control website that was going to be euthanized yesterday. My adult son, who lives two hours away, filled out the paperwork to adopt him online. All I had to do was pick up the dog and take it to the vet for an exam. Simple, right?

After I’d met the dog–cute as a button, mind you–I heard him growl at the person who tried to put a leash around his neck. I was instantly wary, but was asked to be patient with the dog since we didn’t know why he was fearful about being leashed. An assistant helped me get the dog into my vehicle, and off to the vet we went.

When we arrived at the vet, we found things wrong with the dog, but they were things that could be treated. What I wasn’t prepared for was the dog’s behavior at the vet, and it was clear that I had to return the dog to Animal Control. I did so, and it hurt.

What hurt more was telling my son. He was crushed. He’d developed an attachment to the dog just by looking at its photo. I told him we’d help him get another dog, but he kindly declined. I could hear the grief in his voice.

Then there was a moment.

Although he said he didn’t want to consider another pet, I texted him a link to a dog I found at a shelter near him, a dog that he could visit for himself. It turns out his girlfriend texted him the the link to the same dog…within seconds of my text. My son’s reply?

image

Who knows if this will be my son’s new dog? But wouldn’t it be nice if things always worked out like this, if there were always an alternative to heartbreak?

It’s difficult, but sometimes we must be patient to receive God’s best. That’s the real problem. We want answers immediately, but God is in no rush, especially if waiting draws us closer to Him.

Have you ever jumped into something and wished you’d waited?

What about when you’ve had to wait to receive something? Was it all you’d hoped for? I’d love to hear about it.

~ Jericha Kingston

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Jericha Kingston, Parenting, Pets

 

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