Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I've been married to John, my high school sweetheart, for 37 years. He is a second career pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Glasford Illinois. We have eight children, six of whom are married, and nine grandchildren. We're so proud of our kids and grandkids!!! I've mostly been an at-home mom, but I've also worked as a legal secretary, for a small town weekly newspaper as a reporter and columnist, and volunteered at church, at our children's schools, and with Hearts at Home. Now, with our kids grown, I work as a free-lancer.
Why do you love being a mom?
I love being a mom because it feels like partnering with God in very creative work. I love making love practical -- making a home for people I care about. I love being surrounded by family and friends.
What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?
The most challenging thing is to set aside other things I might want to do in order to meet the needs of my family. Sometimes those sacrifices are really hard. And sometimes it's hard to discern when something is really a “need of my family” and when it's an excuse for me not to try something new.
What advice do you have for moms in the preschool years?
Have fun, and focus on building a sound foundation for your children's lives. Honor your husband – your kids need to see from your attitude and behavior that he is a man worth loving and honoring – and treat your kids with courtesy. Don't take on so much outside your home and family that you don't have the time and energy to instill good habits in your kids, to read or play silly games together, to learn to know and enjoy each other, or to help your kids learn to know and love God. And cultivate your sense of humor!
As a mom, watching your children become moms – what kind of parenting challenges do you see (maybe some you didn’t have to deal with as a mom) and what advice do you have for them?
There are so many good things for kids/families to do – choosing what to say “yes” to and what to turn down is very difficult, I think. We tend to think the more we do for our kids, the more stuff we give them or the more activities and lessons we arrange, the better parents we are. That's not necessarily true. Allowing time for kids to play on their own, or even just have nothing to do is important for them.
It's also important to remember that the thing our kids want most is us – our time and attention, our interest, our help in learning how to grow up, in figuring out what the world is about, learning how to master necessary skills and how to do fun stuff like roller skate or bake cookies . . .
I also think our culture can be poisonous for kids (and adults) so protecting them from the worst of it, and training them to discern “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious . . . any excellence, anything worthy of praise” - that's a real priority in my opinion.
What is your favorite lunchtime meal?
A grilled cheese sandwich, a crisp apple, a peanut butter cookie and a glass of milk – at least that's one favorite lunch . . . I like to eat!
Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.
Lean hard on God, and don't be overwhelmed by the big picture – just do the next necessary thing, then the next necessary thing, then the next necesary thing faithfully and you'll get through. And don't forget that "a cheerful heart does good, like medicine" -- so "sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord." Creating a cheerful mood in your home helps everyone!
What book (if any) are you reading right now?
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson. Peterson talks about why keeping house well matters. She is affirming and encouraging to women who want to make a warm and loving home for their family, writing about how to accomplish this in practical ways.
Do you have any parting advice for young moms?
Don't exchange this time in your family's life for things with less lasting value. Focus on what's right in front of you in all its repetitive, boring, glorious daily-ness. Let it create in you the ability to endure what is routine or difficult. What you are doing – making a home for your family, providing shelter and love for your husband, your children, your friends and extended family – is of great value and importance.
Thanks Holly for sharing!