Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interview with a Mom - Jill Savage

It is time for another giveaway! This week's mom interview is with Hearts at Home founder, Jill Savage. So, I will be giving away one copy of her newest book, My Hearts at Home! To enter the drawing, leave a comment about a tradition your family practices or the family you grew up in practices. If you live out of town or out of state, no worries, I don't mind using the US postal service. I will be drawing a winner on Saturday, October 6. Thank you for participating and enjoy the interview. (As a side note, if you don't win the book, I would encourage you find a copy. It is full of practical ideas on how to be an intential mom and make your home a haven for your family - a very good read.)

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My husband Mark and I have been married 24 years, however we’re self-described as being married “24 years…14 of them happily.” The first ten years of our marriage were very difficult and at one time we weren’t sure we’d make it. But God tugged at both of our hearts and through counseling and hard work we got back on track. Mark and I have 5 kids: Anne is 22 and is married to Matt McClane. They live in Zion, IL. Evan is 20 and in college. He no longer lives at home but is about 5 miles away living in a house with three other guys. Erica is 16 and a junior in high school. Kolya is 13 and in 7th grade. He’s the newest addition to our family because we adopted him from Russia at the age of 9. Austin is 11 and in the 6th grade.

Tell us about your latest book "My Hearts at Home" and what inspired you to write it?

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to seek some professional counseling to sort out different challenges in my life. Both Mark and I feel this is a very healthy thing to do. When you meet with a counselor, one of the first things he/she says is, “So tell me about the home you grew up in.” Counselors do this because they understand the home and family you grow up in sets the foundation for the rest of your life! As I’ve come to understand this, I’ve realized that at some point my children will be adults who are building their lives upon the foundation my husband and I are laying for them now. If the emotional, spiritual, and relational stability of their life is resting on this foundation, we need to be intentional about how we build that foundation. That’s when I began to think about all the different roles that home plays in our life: Home As A Safe House, Home As A Trauma Unit, Home As A Rest Area, and Home As A Church. Then you add in other roles like Home As a Playground, A Pep Rally, A School, a Hospitality House, and more! Wow! Home plays so many roles in our family’s life. This is why we need to be intentional about what happens at home and having a plan to make home all that it can be. My Heart’s At Home is designed to cast a vision for moms to understand all the roles that home plays in her family’s life. It is also designed to give practical strategies to make home all it can be.

Why do you love being a mom?

I love watching a young life blossom before my very eyes. I love seeing God shape this little person into a young adult with unique talents and gifts and a special personality that is all theirs.

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?

I’m a type A, task driven personality. I like to see things get accomplished. Mothering, especially in the early years, doesn’t often see much measurable accomplishment. However, when I changed my short term goals to one big long term goal of seeing my child grow into a loving, respectful adult, I began to see what I did each day as a step toward that goal. I really explored this perspective in my book “Professionalizing Motherhood” which is still in print.

What advice do you have for moms in the preschool years?

Enjoy these years because they will fly by faster than you think! You can’t go back and do it again.

What book (if any) are you reading right now?

A fiction novel called “All I Ever Need” by Harry Kraus, MD.

How do you keep your husband first in the midst of mothering?

Mark and I have a date day every Friday. His work week is Sunday thru Thursday so we use Friday for just the two of us. We work to intentionally make our family marriage-centered rather than child-centered. This gives our kids stability because they know that when mom and dad are ok, their world is ok!

What is your favorite lunchtime meal?

Believe it or not…peanut butter and jelly. J My kids are at school, I’m home alone during the day and I fix myself a peanut butter sandwich!

Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.

Elise Arndt, author of A Mother’s Touch, shared about boiling an onion to buy you time to figure out what is for dinner. She talked about how the aroma of something cooking tells your family that all is well, I’m cared for, and mom has dinner cooking. And it buys you time to figure out what to add to that onion for dinner!

If you had an entire day all to yourself, how would you spend it?


Do you have any parting advice for young moms?

Don’t underestimate your role as a wife and mother. It is far more important than you probably realize. Tap into the resources that Hearts at Home offers ( to keep you encouraged and equipped along the journey!

Thanks Jill for sharing your thoughts with us!


Mindy said...

Great interview! I love listening to what Jill has to say, she really speaks to my heart. :)

My family is big on traditions. There is so much stability in knowing what to expect at certain times of the year and to be able to anticipate those times. One tradition that I love is that every year on we celebrate our Christmas on Christmas Eve. My mom makes the same meals every year. We sit at the table with dim lights and candles burning on the table and in the living room. The same decorations around the house and on the tree. After supper we go into the living room where my dad has a fire going in the fireplace and it's so hot that you have to wear a tank top and shorts so you aren't sweating. :) My dad reads the Christmas story and talks for a little bit and then we open our presents. We all sit in the same spots in the living room every year and as someone gets married or has a baby their family joins them in their spot. I look forward to it every year! Although now that I am married I have to miss it every other year, but we do everything the same to celebrate we just do it on a different day. This is the first year that I will be able to share our actual Christmas Eve celebration with my son and I am very much looking forward to it!

Sandra said...

My families tradition (gutwein side) has a tradition during the christmas season. Thus it isn't always on the same night, but its starts by helping mom in preparing food for the evening meal, or setting the dinning room table with fancy linens, china, candles, and much more. Us kids would make little name tags as to who sits where, we would all take about an hour or more getting ourselves ready(we are girls:)) and of course my brother would be done in a minute...but we would dress up, do our hair fancy, and then all join at the dinning room table for our soup(brocolli cheddar...but now its changed to Onion soup as my dad no longer eats cheese):( We follow it by a huge meal of meat, potatoes and veggie. Have a glass of wine with it now that we are older and can have it:)) and then have ice cream for dessert. Then us girls had to clean the kitchen before opening gifts(we always clean so fast that night:)) and dad would set the camera up on tripod for pictures. We would then have to sit in the living room and wait for mom and dad to bring down our stockings from upstairs. We sat oldest to youngest on the floor and would take turns opening one stocking stuffer at a time. Then we would pass out the gifts and open one at a time. (no rushing thru it!!!). Now that our family has gotten bigger and older:)...we no longer sit on the floor to open our stocking stuffers but our kids sure do(oldest to youngest even). And we still do everything else the same. And we still take our time:) Oh how I LOVE traditions!!!!

Jami said...

I am reading this very book and am SO LOVING IT!!! I am gleaning a ton of great ideas and feel so inspired!

One of my favorite traditions was sleeping with dad by the lighted Christmas tree in our sleeping bags every Christmas eve! We haven't started that here yet but maybe this year!! :)

Amber said...

One of the traditions I grew up with was that every year, at the beginning of december, my mom would have each of my sisters and me sit down and come up with a list of ten things we were going to do as our "christmas gifts to Christ." Even if we were too little to go shovel someone's driveway or something "bigger" like that, we could draw a picture/card for an older lady at church, help mom clean . . .little things like that. Honestly when I was in high school it seemed such a pain, but looking back it was a neat gesture on my mom's part of being purposeful that we realize who we are celebrating throughout the holiday and creating a habit of serving others in our lives. I'm thankful she was persistent with it.

Anonymous said...

Megan, I love this post! Such good ideas. I may have to print this off to start some more traditions.

We have a Christmas tradition too. We have a box that has our "gifts to Jesus" in it. We each write down what we want to do better for the Lord in the coming year or we thank Him for this year and how He has provided. Then we decorate the house for His birthday and make a cake for Him and sing "Happy Birthday." Our kids love it! It reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

As for growing up, my parents prayed together almost every morning. They still do. I was touched whenever I would walk by their room and here them lifting up a request for me.

Kristy said...

I just love traditions! My family had so many growing up- decorating the tree while listening to old Christmas records (Christmas with the Lennon Sisters and Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper), opening stockings before church on Christmas morning. .... the list could go on and on. Now with our "own" family we've just started adding some in as Cade gets more aware.

One tradition we've done recently is to have a special Christmas breakfast. We attend so many family gatherings that sometimes our own Christmas gets a little rushed so I make a nice breakfast and we do our gifts (very limited since they get so many from family) with the boys, read the Christmas story, and just enjoy time together.

As far as non-Christmas traditions go, we started praying with our boys at night while they're in their cribs from the time we brought Cade home. These days we're a little more tired but we still pray over both boys every night even though they have no idea what it means. I can't wait until they're old enough to understand the significance of prayer a little more.

Thanks for the interview, Jill & Megan!

Marla H. said...

I love traditions too!!!! A Christmas tradition that Andy and I have is reading "The Advent Book" by Jack and Kathy Stockman. It's such a neat book. On Dec. 1 you read and open door one, and every night after, you re-read all of the doors you have already read and then the one coresponding to the date of Dec. it is that night until Christmas Day. I met the Author and artist and got to see his original artwork for the book in person. It's beautiful!!! You can get the book at:

As for non-Christmas traditions I shared that this August on my blog:
We let each family member on his or her b-day take a bite of their birthday cake after singing happy birthday (yes, even Daddy and Mommy get to do this).

Katie said...

What a great blogg. Growing up we always put the tree up on the first Saturday in December. Dad always had Christmas Music playing in the background. Then we would read the Christmas story, put out cookies and milk for Sanata and off to bed. In the morning we had to get ealry to open gifts then to church as a family. Still to this day, I have woken up in the same house for 29 years on Christmas morning.

Non-Christmas- We pray will James everynight, I start the prayer and James repeats, if I forget to pray for one person or thing, he will let me know and we start all over again. It is a great thing for him.