Author Archive

At the scent of water

Sally - weed florida

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Disclaimer: Though I have nearly 23 years of experience raising plants and children, I am neither an expert on child rearing, nor a botanist. It is my job to plant, water and nurture but ultimately I put my trust in God because only He gives increase!

1 Corinthians 3:77 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

With as many plants as I’ve tried to grow over the years – experiencing great success and frustrating disappointment – I cannot help but ponder the similarities between my efforts with my plants and my efforts with my children. more »

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I know just what’s wrong with your baby

Sally - modern art

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Last fall I was blessed with the opportunity to teach (and learn!) at a ladies’ retreat in Pennsylvania. One of my favorite times was spending a few hours with the whole group of women—divided up into younger woman and older women. A lovely friend and I were on the borderline of the suggested age between young and old (we are both mid-forties), so we opted to sit with the younger group before the entire group spoke together (not without a bit of teasing!). I learned so much about my role as an older woman by listening to these young women: hearing what was helpful, hearing what was hurtful, hearing what was needed, hearing what they desired most. One thing I know, just having been a young woman once doesn’t mean that I understand all the feelings other women face, we are all individuals and we can’t always know what others need unless we communicate openly. I can guess, I can teach, but unless I am asked or observe a clear need, I don’t always know what others need. No matter the situation, careful speech is critical. This should be a given.  If you haven’t ever done a detailed study on the power of words, please consider reading through this blog post: Sweet to the soul and healthy to the bones.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

I know just what’s wrong with your baby was a comment spoken to a young mom, struggling to overcome some issues with her newborn. This young mom shared this in tears while trying to articulate why hearing it was so discouraging to her and how it could have been handled differently. She understood that the motive was to help, but also acknowledged that the comment wasn’t helpful. While that idea sparked my blog post, many things I’ve seen and heard since have prompted me to finally take the plunge. Present blog included, there is no shortage of advice on just about any topic you want to study. For every opinion and conclusion drawn on one blog, one might find another vehemently disagreeing and promoting an entirely different perspective. No matter how successful you deem your parenting, someone disagrees with you and sees you as a supreme failure. On the other hand, no matter how badly you may be parenting, you will find validation aplenty! Everyone has an opinion and is free to share it. Everyone else is free to rake them across the coals for holding it and sharing it. more »

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Owning our actions as women of God

Sally - Adversity for Action Blog

If you’ve heard me teach or read my blog regularly, you may be familiar with my love of disclaimers. They are so handy, aren’t they? I always hope they’ll avoid someone taking one thing I’m teaching and failing to understand the greater context. I have that overwhelming desire to be understood and an absolute abhorrence of being misunderstood! I know that women tend to be overwhelmed by different topics and I don’t want my thoughts to leave anyone overwhelmed or unequipped or feeling inadequate. I want us to be empowered to be women of ACTION and even more!

What do unbelievers think of us – how are we representing the God we profess to serve? What do our actions say about us in the 21st century? There was a time when godly women made quite an impact on those around them! Consider what Libanius, a pagan writer in the fourth century, had to say about the women of God in his time, “What women those Christians have!”

Before we consider ACTION, keep in mind that I am not advocating ACTION without REST!! No matter your situation, rest can improve physical health, emotional well-being and most certainly – your attitude! Rest is absolutely critical. If you are interested in my thoughts on rest, go read my blog post entitled: Seeking Rejuvenation, Energy, Serenity and Tranquility.

  • You owe it to everyone you love (including yourself) to find pockets of tranquility in your busy world. ~ Author unknown

With that caveat, let’s look at ACTION. more »

A tribute to an older woman: remembering Sara

Sally - Julia Picture 2Twelve years ago, a rather free-spirited-homeschooling-hippie-preacher’s-wife moved into a totally new culture. She met a true southern woman—perhaps this description illustrates it: Flip flops meet ladies’ suits. In spite of their different lifestyles they found an affinity. They were both outspoken. They both loved to talk. They both loved their friends and families. They both loved Christ. This was more than enough!

As I remember my precious friend,  I realize that so much of what I loved about her was related to her actions and how they impacted me and those I love. As I interact with those around me, I hope I can always remember the things I learned from Sara’s example. She was dignified, but she was real and open. She was a southern lady, but she never made me feel out of place with my not-so-southern ways. She loved her family and her friends and she loved us. She encouraged us and supported us and built us up with her words and deeds. more »

Refresh my heart

Sally - Be Still Sad Heart

1 Corinthians 16:17–18 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese Proverb

Encourage. Edify. Inspire. Refresh. Support. Uplift. Most human beings, whether they acknowledge it or not, are affected by various forms of encouragement. Several scientific studies have been done over the past few years that show how encouragement actually affects brain chemistry. For those who don’t give much weight to scientific studies (unless they happen to prove a personal conviction), in the very least, it’s generally agreed that discouragement is discouraging! Only a select few (and I’ve never met any) are absolutely unaffected by encouragement or discouragement.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I have tried to encourage others and I have sought encouragement. I have been a babe in Christ craving encouragement and I have been a Christian of decades craving encouragement. I have been edified in my attempts to encourage and my attempts to seek encouragement and I have been rejected at my attempts to do both. I have repeatedly seen both the strong and the weak craving encouragement. One thing I know: encouragement is desperately needed by humans of all ages and stages! more »

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The family that kicks together

Sally - H and J kickThere are a lot of things that families can do together:  activities that stem from a common faith,  recreational activities, character building activities (With a homeschooling family together 24/7,  every day working together as a family is character building ;))! I’ve written about many aspects of our lives on my blog — mostly things that stem from my convictions about faith and family. Interestingly enough, two things that most of us are interested in have only been touched on here: nutrition and exercise!  If you follow us on social networking sites, you may have already had your fill of our thoughts on these two things. I’ll sum up the first one simply: eat real food! Seriously, we’ve changed some of our thoughts on nutrition over the years, often based on science and nutrition studies (and if you know that two of our girls are vegetarians, you know that we don’t all agree!). One thing we know for certain is this: if God made it, we are generally fans of eating it! That means that fruits and vegetables are definitely good picks! As for exercise: it’s a given — do it!

Various types of exercise have been studied in great depth and one thing is certain: the benefits of regular physical activity are vast! Those who exercise regularly experience energy boosts, mood balancing, disease prevention, weight control, and fun! Exercising regularly is absolutely, beyond a doubt, considered to be one key to good health (the others keys are healthy eating and a healthy outlook)! more »

What should I have asked for?

Sally - The Fisherman and his Wife

There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment. ~Sivananada

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. ~Socrates

I have always loved fables, folklore and fairy tales! As a child, I repeatedly read Brothers’ Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. When our older children were small, I spent countless hours reading beautifully illustrated versions of fables, folklore and fairy tales. In a tiny library in Wisconsin, some dear soul stocked the library full of them – a true treasure! I never tire of the countless lessons and examples found within the pages of good stories! One of the best things about these tales is that you can find them in all cultures in various forms. These stories are a wonderful supplement to studies in culture and geography! Still, the very best thing is how often we can learn profound lessons from simple tales. In that same library in Wisconsin, I came across a Russian version of a tale I loved as a child – The Fisherman and his Wife. Having been a wife and mother for almost a decade at the time (it was in the late 90’s), the story had an entirely different meaning for me. From that point on, I would remind myself often not to be a fishwife: always looking for more.

Husband,” said the woman, “didn’t you catch anything today?”

“No,” said the man. “I caught a flounder, but he told me that he was an enchanted prince, so I let him swim away.”

“Didn’t you ask for anything first?” said the woman.

“No,” said the man. “What should I have asked for?” more »

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Everyone else is already taken

Sally - Edward


Surely every single social media participant has been inundated over the past few years by comments about the mommy wars. I can’t count how many different mommy war blog posts I’ve seen recommended over the past few months—no offense to mommy war bloggers—I basically see the same things stated repeatedly. Stop comparing. Be yourself. Live and let live. Honor and love one another. Rejoice in your talents. These are things we really ought to know anyway, frankly. Might I suggest that moms step out of the spotlight and consider the kiddie wars? Sometimes we really dislike behavior when it is directed at us, yet completely ignore it when it is directed at others!

The kiddie wars don’t seem to evoke nearly as much frustration on the interwebs. Yet, from the instant most children are born, the comparisons begin. In most cases from one minute after birth, children are scored on how well they tolerated the birthing process. Next, four minutes later, they are scored on how well they are handling life outside the womb. These APGAR scores begin a series of comparisons and tests that our children will face for their entire lives. In some cases, mothers submit to prenatal screening and diagnostic tests, and the scoring begins in the womb! more »

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While I’m waiting on my ‘mansion’— I’d love to have a hedge

I feel blessed to enjoy this time on earth, so I can honestly be patient while I live and love and wait for my ‘mansion’ (by this I do not mean the plantation kind, mind you, but the eternal dwelling with my Lord)!

Still, while I’m waiting, what I really want is that hedge that Satan accused God of putting around Job! You know what I mean? I want that protection, that constant security—I want to be untouchable!

Job 1:1010 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. more »

A mother’s love

Sally - Whitlock Family pmThe story of my motherhood didn’t actually begin 22 years ago when I was pregnant with our oldest son. It began in 1969, when I was placed in my mother’s arms. Looking back over the many years I’ve been a mother, I find that I’ve written a lot about the blessings of motherhood – especially when it comes to the six children that call me mom. I thank God every day for my husband and our six children – God blessed us with them and gave us a goal: to raise godly offspring for Him. For the past 22 years, this has been my hope and the deepest desire of my heart. I have learned lessons from our children—done what I did best and stepped outside of my comfort zone when I didn’t know what to do.

I have failed, tried again, and succeeded. I have used a voice dripping with poison and my most tender voice. I have wept in anger and compassion. I have prayed and I have rejoiced. Over and over again, I have understood the blessing of my own mother and been driven to honor her (and the God who blessed me with her) in my journey as a mother!

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to help my mother after her surgery. It was such a small thing when I remembered all the times she took care of me. Not many have a mother such as mine—a true servant with a willing heart always eager to put others before herself! As I cared for her, many of the things she did for me swam to the surface of my mind. Ironically, she even set herself up to recover in the bedroom I lived in for the first many years of our time in Florida (when I was about ten). As I tucked her into bed at night, helping my dad get her ready, I thought about her tucking me in every night and listening to my prayers in that very room. I remembered her rubbing my aching legs when I had growing pains. I remembered all the times she comforted me after nightmares. I remembered how she tried to help me overcome my deepest fears by facing them and understanding that I had the power to change even the scariest of dreams. I remembered her many acts of love. more »

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