Archives for January 2009

Fun Friday Photo, January 30, 2009


Five-month-old Jack is in his cool sunglasses getting ready to go for a walk on a strangely warm and sunny winter day.

Send us your fun photos. Click on “Submit Your Funnies” to the right to learn how.

Book Giveaway — Season of Change


Tell us what you think of our new ParentLife blog! Everyone* who posts a comment on our blog will automatically be entered to receive an autographed copy of Rebecca Ingram Powell’s new book Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler With Passion and Purpose (Tate Publishing, 2008). A winner will be drawn randomly on February 28, 2009. So let us hear from you!

*LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Multiple comments do not increase chances of winning.

Can Dads Nurture? You Bet!

I taught sixth grade for one year after graduating from college. One day in our Reading class, we read a short descriptive story about teachers. The text told how teachers were kind, loving, and nurturing — just like having another mom right there at school. One of my students raised her hand and said, “That sure isn’t you, Mr. Summey!”

She was right! I wasn’t that type of teacher but still those words bothered me a little. It certainly wasn’t that I wanted to be a substitute mom to these kids, but the idea that Dads can’t be nurturing seemed just plain wrong!

father_children_playing.jpgSince then I have learned how important dads are. They just are nurturing in different ways than moms. For example, moms may have the tendency to build intimacy through conversation. Dads may literally connect just as much while shooting hoops together, working on the car, or doing chores around the house. One study showed that dads rolling in the floor wrestling with their kids is just as effective at building relationships as a mom’s gentle hug! But that still won’t get you out of trouble if you knock over Mom’s favorite lamp!

The lesson for both moms and dads is not to try and makeover your spouse in your image. There is more than one way to connect with your kids! So do what works best for your personality and that of each of your kids. In fact, finding your child’s love language (what communicates love and appreciation most effectively to your child) is the most important aspect of this process. Each child will be different, but it will be a fun journey to discover how to connect with your kids!

How do you like to spend time with your kids?

Controlling Clutter

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to keep your house cleaner or less cluttered? Maybe we can help!

writer Amber Peacock gave us the following tips for controlling clutter.

Avoiding and dealing with clutter is a challenge for most families. Try these great ideas for controlling clutter.

  • Before birthdays and holidays, make room for new things by getting rid of a few old things.
  • For birthdays and holidays, consider giving more experiences and less stuff. Passes to local children’s museums and parks are terrific gifts. Family friendly concerts, gift certificates to a skating rink, or passes to play miniature golf make memories instead of messes.
  • Instead of waiting for spring cleaning to sort through stuff, make decluttering a regular routine. Designate a box for donations and keep it in a convenient spot (like your child’s closet). Toss in outgrown clothes as you fold laundry instead of stuffing items back into dresser drawers. When the box is full, drop it off at a local charity.

Convenient Charity Drop-off Centers

Amber Peacock has masters’ degrees in Human Development/Family Studies and Education but learned how less can be more on the job as a stay-at-home mom of Seth (11), Melody (9), and Cara (5). She is the pastor’s wife at Broadus Church in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

Leave us a comment and share some ways that your family controls clutter in your house.

Super Bowl® Parenting

I love this time of year! Nothing is better than football in January (except maybe March Madness). You might be thinking, “But the big football game is now in February every year!” That’s true … but also part of the reason why I say that football in January is so great.


Let’s face it. Super Bowl games can be duds. The best games often are in earlier rounds of the playoffs. The Super Bowl gets so much hype and attention. How could it possibly pay off?

Have you noticed that once your kids entered school that parenting becomes a lot more event centered? You have to take them to practice, rehearsals, school, church and all the corresponding games, performances, recitals, plays, parents’ nights, and other important events. Ever beat yourself up for missing some of those big events?

As Dads, we sometimes put too much emphasis on the things we do or a few big things in life — Christmas morning, a birthday party, or a family vacation — when those events may not live up to expectations either. The heart of parenting comes in the day-to-day time you spend with your child — being there, talking, loving, and even drawing boundaries fairly and consistently. This knowledge can take the pressure off trying to perfect those big events and back on how you live today.

Don’t worry about tomorrow! Take some time for your child today.

Let me hear from you: What are some of the things that stand in the way of you doing all that you want to do as a dad?

Fun Friday Photo, January 23, 2009


Eleven-day-old Nicholas has already learned what people do after a Thanksgiving feast – NAP! He just forgot to take off his bib first : )

Thanks to Cecily W. in Clemmons, NC, for this great photo!

Parenthood — The Guessing Game

Being the mother of a 5-month-old is definitely teaching me a lot of things. One of the things I have learned is that parenting can be compared to being involved in a giant guessing game.

question_mark.jpgFrom day one of your child’s life, the guessing begins.

• Why is he crying?
• Is he wet … hungry … sleepy?
• Is my baby getting enough to eat?
• Should I wake him up to eat if he is asleep?
Will I ever sleep again?

Just about the time you start to feel as if you’ve figured the game out, your baby moves to the next phase or shakes up a his routine and the guessing begins all over again.

• Is my baby ready to try solids?
• Is he teething and if so, what can I do to make him feel better?
• How do I get him into a consistent routine?
• Is he reaching the developmental milestones he should be?

Sometimes, guessing can be downright exhausting.

However, we can take away a couple of insights from this parenting guessing game.

1. As a new parent, there is no feeling quite like the satisfaction you feel when you finally figure out how to best meet your child’s needs, even if it is only for a moment. Every correct “guess” works to build your confidence as a parent. And after a while, you are not quite as afraid of guessing wrong.

2. There is great peace in knowing that God is in control. You may feel insecure, but you can rest in the fact that ultimately, God will guide you as you care for your child. All you have to do is seek Him and trust Him.

Do you ever feel like you are playing a guessing game? Or do you have even more insight to share with ParentLife readers? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Events of Interest in February and March

As part of the blog, we want you to know about upcoming events that we think you might like. These pages could be updated so don’t hesitate to check them out more than once. Here’s the first one:

February 5-7, 2009 — Living Proof Live — El Paso, Texas
Join Beth Moore on Feb. 5-6 or 6-7 with Travis Cottrell and the praise team.

February 6-7, 2009 — Going Beyond with Priscilla Shirer —  Marietta, Georgia

February 20-21, 2009 — Going Beyond with Priscilla Shirer — San Jose, California
Join Priscilla Shirer for this inspiring women’s event.

March 14 – LifeWay Kids Workshop: Leaving a Leagacy – Columbia, SC

March 28, 2009 — You & Your Girl with Vicki Courtney
A dynamic mother-daughter event for preteen and teen girls. There are more dates and locations throughout the year.


Getting to Know You

jodi.jpgHi. May name is Jodi, and I am the editor of ParentLife magazine. I have worked on ParentLife for over five years and have loved every minute of it. I initially started out as the copy editor. As copy editor, I was responsible for correcting grammar and spelling, verifying all facts and statistics, and handling various administrative details. After a few years of being copy editor, I became editor. Now, as editor, I am responsible for leading out in the planning of upcoming issues; finding writers to write articles; and reading articles for stucture, content, and grammar. I feel so blessed to be able to work on such a great product that ministers to parents, and I have learned so much along the way.

I have actually been very surprised at how much I love working in the publishing business. In high school and college, English was always one of my least favorite subjects. If you would have told me six or seven years ago that my career would involve using grammar skills on a daily basis, I would have laughed. But through tiny nudges in the right direction, God led me to where I am today. He opened every door and gave me a love for what I do.

Over the past year, working on ParentLife has taken on new meaning. Why you ask? Because I am now a parent myself. My husband, Jason, and I had our first baby in July of 2008. His name is Jack and he has definitely rocked our world. I love being a mommy but need all of the help and encouragement I can get. That is why ParentLife articles have taken on new meaning to me — I often can apply them to my everyday life. I am reading articles with a brand-new mind-set. I hope I am able to evaluate better what topics and products might be helpful to you and what is not. I feel more in touch with your everyday needs.

I hope and pray that each issue of ParentLife helps you in some aspect of your parenting journey. I would love to know what you would like to see more of. Leave me a comment and let me know what topics you would like to read about in ParentLife, what types of products you would like to see, or just general feedback about how we are doing. Tell me about yourself and your family. We love to know who is reading our magazine. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Welcome to the ParentLife Blog!

ParentLife Online is here! We are excited for the opportunity to communicate with you online. ParentLife Online will be updated daily during the week with commentary from the ParentLife staff, content that goes deeper into topics appearing in our print magazine, product reviews, and helpful links to parenting sites and the latest parenting information.

We also want to hear from you! Respond to our posts, send us ideas for articles, and submit your writing and queries to be considered for ParentLife.

Meet the Editor in Chief

william.jpgHi there! I am William Summey, the editor in chief of ParentLife. I have been working on ParentLife for 7 years, initially as editor and now as editor in chief (EIC). As an EIC, I help edit the magazine but function as team leader, helping everyone do their jobs as best they can.

I have been married to my wife, Christy, for 15 years. We have two boys, Jonathan (10) and Christopher (4).

One of my passions is to help encourage parents in their parenting journey. One of the best ways to encourage others is by being open and honest about parenting struggles and challenges. By building community, we are all stronger. I hope that our blog can be a small piece of that community for you!

What are the parenting issues you feel most strongly about? I would love to hear from you!