Book REVIEW: A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

Have you all heard about this book? I was blessed to read it recently, as I received a comment from Mary Ostyn who encourages, shares recipes, and provokes thought over at Owlhaven. What a surprise-- she offered me two copies of her recently-published book... one for me, one free for a reader... wahoo! This means YOU could get this book for FREE!!!

And then I saw the book title:

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
Yes, please!

Once I received the book, I couldn't read it fast enough.

Full of practical, real-life tips and ideas, Mary's book is absolutely a gem. As a mom of ten children (both through birth and adoption), she shares her wisdom in a easy-to-read, easy-to-implement manner. With some mothering books, you may walk away feeling burdened, judged
, overwhelmed, or wondering where to start. But in this "Sane Woman's Guide", the ideas are do-able, her attitude is approachable, and the neatest part is that as I read, not only was it easy for me to identify with her (now that I'm a mom of 4, and expecting our 5th in July), and glean usable ideas... but I could easily see how when I had only one small baby, I would have greatly benefited from the information and ideas she presents. Her ideas are presented as a smorgasbord, so that you can take what works for you and plug it into your life as needed. This is NOT just a book for moms of "freakishly-large" families. ;-)

Read more about it, and see other reviews on Amazon. 



And don't forget to check out other book: Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill.  If you're trying to do well as a family chef on a tight budget, or just looking for newer, less expensive ideas for feeding your family in these rough economic times, that book may be just what you're looking for!



But if you want a chance to win the free book (the book pictured at the top of this post-- The Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family):

***GIVEAWAY/CONTEST COMPLETED***

Thank you, again, Mary, for your generous gift & for sharing your wisdom with us!!!

145 comments:

amanda b in nc said...

The things I've learned about family:

1. God is in control.
2. Do not expect perfection (from yourself or your family!)
3. Placing my family properly on the priorities list!

I could probably write forever, but my list sums it up okay.

Thanks for the giveaway Jess - I discovered last week that I'm pregnant with our fifth! I'll be checking into this book whether I win or not. :)

Stephanie said...

This last year I have felt God call me to seek Him first for the issues we face with our children, instead of running to a respected book or an older parent. He has definitely used people to help us, but He wants me to come and talk to Him about it and seek His help. He showed me that it was laziness and lack of faith that made me run somewhere else for advice first. It's been good to see His help come.

Christy said...

I am learning to trust God for my children's salvation. I am learning that God's desire for my family is NOT the American Dream but godliness and holiness and Christ-like-ness.

I want to learn how to better manage my home and how to delegate appropriate tasks to my children.

Excited to learn about this book. We have 3 children but hope to have another. I can use all the help I can get in managing the ones we already have let alone any more little people!
Thanks for this opportunity, Jess!

GlowinGirl said...

I have learned that multi-tasking is not always my best friend. While it's necessary at times, I also need to really focus on what my kids are saying and LOOK at them. Not just say "uh-huh" while I'm wiping off the kitchen table for the umpteenth time. They deserve my respect and attention as much as I can give it.

Joanna said...

I think 6 is my limit and I'm pretty sure God is okay with that.

I've seen this book on her blog and I'm very interested in reading that and her cooking book, too.

Elizabeth said...

Our first daughter was born at the end of September, and if there's anything birth and motherhood has taught me, it's that plans don't work. Have ideas, have hopes, have dreams, have lots and lots (and lots!) of prayers. But plans are things you look back and laugh at.

Red Gate said...

OOOH, I LOVE giveaways--even moreso when the item pertains personally to our family!

A few things I've learned since having kiddos:
1. God designs perfect families, if we are willing to have faith and let Him.
2. God doesn't give us more than we can handle without His wisdom and guidance.
3. Schedules and small steps are essential for survival with lot of littles around!

Thanks for sharing!
Red Gate Farm

Linda said...

I was really sick for several months, and it really helped our family that the kids could cook, clean, and do laundry.

The day to day training of children to do housework can be hard. Most kids don't like cleaning. But it is such a blessing to the family that the kids have these skills.

And I know my kids liked the fact that they could help when I was sick. Most nights, my husband didn't even have to cook supper when he got home, the kids had it ready.

momfessions said...

Hmmmm....

I guess my biggest Mommy Aha! has been that I will never be able to do this gig perfectly. As much as I long to be the perfect mother, an imperfect person and therefore imperfect mother I am. I can only make it by the daily grace of God. :)

Sarah Harris said...

The things I've learned this year:
*As a new mom and now staying at home, I realize how hard my mom really worked! It's not easy, but it's the best work!
*God has given me all I need for life and godliness (and loving my husband and children).
*My desires for control and perfection do not serve my family.

Glad to know the books is a good read no matter the size of your family!

Addy said...

I am constantly learning and relearning patience.....

kelly summers said...

I have learned/am learning who important it is to have a servants heart. To joyous server...if there's not a joyous heart then you minus well not do it because its of no use to the Lord.

Jess said...

Oh that sounds like a WONDERFUL book!

I think the biggest thing I have learned this year with a one year old is that consistency is key to training. Oh and that it is SO hard. I have to discipline myself to be consistent with her!

Jess said...

No Guilt. No Glory.

While the Lord uses us as his servants in our childrens lives, we are not ultimately responsible for their salvation, their intelligence, their outcome-- He is. It is the Holy Spirit who accomplishes the work, therefore even if we do "everything right" and our child doesn't "turn out" like we would desire, we don't have to carry around the burden of "what didn't I do right..." We can trust the Lord and his sovereignty-- We have No Guilt. And on the flip side- if they "turn out" amazing and far beyond our wildest expectations of them-- HE gets the glory, because it was HIM who did it- not us and our awesome parenting skills.

THATS what I've been thinking about lately :)

I'd love to read the book :)

naomi said...

I am learning that being in the same room with my sons does not count as "spending time" with them if I am busy doing something else.

@lici@ said...

When I discipline my toddler objectively and not in frustration, she responds so much better. It's encouraging to see and continue.

Mrs. David Hankins said...

Jess,

Thanks for bringing this book to our attention! It looks great! I have learned over the years that God's grace is sufficient; He gives us exactly what we need to honor Him in OUR circumstances, moment by moment. Thanks for making these available to us!

Warmly,
Elizabeth

Jessica said...

God's been showing me how I make life harder for myself when I seek to get my agenda (wants, desires, to do list) done over the needs of my family.

Joy and peace truly reign as I set aside my "needs" to meet the needs of my family--besides, isn't that what I wanted in the beginning? :)

"There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work..." Ecc. 3:22

Liz said...

If you have them home 24/7 there will be more mess than if you were without them for 8 hours a day and someone else was doing the majority of their teaching . . . but I'll take the trade-off of having them with me. Its a great privilege.

Merri said...

I am learning to let the little things go, to have perspective to see what really matters, and specifically to not obsess about a clean house and my agenda so I can smile more and have more fun with my kids. I am learning, not there yet!

I so want a larger family (we have 4 now) but some days I am just not sure how I can do anymore. Maybe this book would offer just the right encouragement!

Michelle @ Knitted Together said...

Yeah, love give aways and love, love, love both books! Can't wait to read them.

Laura said...

First time commenting, and I'm excited about this give away!

What I've learned:

It's not about me,
It's first and foremost about God,
and
God always provides.

Meg said...

God can and will redeem the years of the locust in our family....and whatever I can't do right now I will be able to learn, enjoy, and partake in heaven with my family.
We just had number 5 in 7 years :)

Amanda said...

What I've learned in the past year is that I can't make it without the Lord. I had some ppd after my second kiddo, and the Lord brought me through it.

Angel said...

I've learned that self is a really hard habit to break.

Jen :) said...

My husband and I have two children right now, and Lord knows how many more we'll be blessed with. I'm learning that my children are not my own--they truly are on loan from God. I want to raise HIS children the best I can, and I know I could use all the help I can get. ;)

Curt and Sarah said...

I have learned (am learning) that my children latch on to my tone and attitude far faster than they hear my "words of wisdom." I am working on being a better example for them to follow.

Lindsey Williamson said...

I would love to have this book! I just delivered our second baby on friday and so we are figuring out our "new normal" as a family of 4! I am learning so much right now I don't know what to write. I have found my self asking our Father for wisdom more in the last few days that I have in a while - what a great place to be!

Thanks for your blog!

Lindsey

BT and Jessica said...

I have so much to learn... where to start? I'm a stay-at-home ex-pat mommy trying to balance 2 preschoolers, pregnancy sickness, isolation, and language learning. I guess I'd really love to know how other moms balance the needs of each individual child, tasks around the home, homeschooling, etc... and enjoy everyday!

Sanders said...

Neat book! :o)

What I'm working on this year:
Taking time out of the daily chaos to read, play and be silly with my girls!

Jennifer said...

I am learning organization and a schedule are my friends! We just had baby four in December and our oldest turned five in January! It's really busy with little ones around here! Any help or advice I can get is great! This book looks wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennifer

Hollywood617 said...

I'm just a momma to one little one (for now) but I've learned that even with the addition of one, our family has been made more complete. I've learned more of how God loves me, just in loving my son!
Love ya Jess
Emily

Steph B. said...

What fun giveaway.
I LOVE my kids! I love the blessing they are to me. The lessons that I have learned from them. The smiles on their faces, and that twinkle in their eyes!

I love my family

Chelsey said...

What a great giveaway Jess. I am a mom of 6 kiddos so far. The one MAJOR lesson I have learned, especially over the last several months - I can't control it all. I have to let God be in control. For this perfectionist that has been such a hard lesson to learn and one that I am still learning on a daily basis!

Ashley said...

This looks like a great book! My husband and I have a great desire to be parents and have a large family. We are blessed with the opportunity to grow our family through adoption.

However, a book like this would help me greatly, because we will probably be going from a family of 2 (Me and Him), to a family of 4-6! So, I would love this book and the chance to soak in all the information!

-Ashley

Kid Feed Mommy said...

I've been learning over the past year that as I am constantly training and directing my children, I need to do it with a smile and a cheerful, joyful heart. Training goes a lot farther when the parent is cheerful!

Beth Celestin said...

I am learning how to balance being a wife and a mom. It's so easy to get wrapped up in my child and neglect my husband. I'm feeling the repercussions of that mistake and praying God helps me to learn how to balance my roles.

Tanya said...

Oooh, great giveaway!

I've learned this past year that the older I get, the harder pregnancy is on me.....ufda. :)

Emily said...

I am not yet a wife or a mother (but "aspiring" to be!) :) I am trying to learn as much as I can beforehand should God bless me with all of that... So I've read a lot of good books and blogs from Christan women. I've learned so much. Probably the main thing I've been hearing wisdom-wise is the importance of putting your husband first, supporting & encouraging him, trusting him, letting him know you respect him and basically working to make his life easier & more enjoyable.. and to help in his ministry (however that looks). I hope to be married but I know I will struggle with respect, "talking down" and acting selfishly. In a nutshell, I am slowly learning what LOVE is and what it means practically.

Erin said...

Having 5 boys has taught me one huge thing - I am absolutely, utterly incapable of doing anything right without the Lord. Oh, how I need Him! Thankfully, He always provides His grace to get us through the day, abundantly. :-)

What a fun give-away! Thank you!

Jessica said...

That soon I will have to learn how to parent as we are applying for adoption. How am I going to be as a newbie mother?

mrs(dot)catterson1(at)gmail(dot)com

michellenotdawn said...

I'm learning that I need to be all there when I'm with the kids...not just in the room, but WITH them as well.

Sandra said...

I've learned that as soon as I get used to one stage, we've moved on to the next!

Sheila said...

Your relationship with your husband needs to come before your relationship with your kids.

Misty said...

My need for patience and grace toward my children are just a reminder of my total dependence on God and how patient and gracious He is to me. We started homeschooling this year so that adds a joy but more work into my already crazy days =)

Misty in FL

Stephanie said...

The Lord has been teaching our family a lot during these times. I am ever so thankful to be under his grace. We need it every hour. This year our family embarked on homeschooling! It has been an incredible blessing. With three girls and hopes for an increase if the Lord sees fit in the future, the above read sounds quite fitting! =) Thanks for your encouragement along the way.
Stephanie

Nat said...

What makes life as a mom easier? Having scripture on my heart!! Specifically verses that apply to what I am going through. Last night I was refreshed by Titus 3, many reminders to be gentle and to treat all people with grace etc. It has been a while, but I've got my cards out again around the house, trying to memorize these truths and sink them deep in my heart. Natalie- Mom of three, three and under

Shawna said...

The thing I've learned about family is that life is much more smooth and enjoyable when I prepare for the future. I remind myself of the verse, "think of the ant..."

I apply this to very practical things that seem like they wouldn't even matter, but all added up, matter greatly!

If we are going out tomorrow, we lay out the diaper bag packed. Anticipating what needs may arise and being ready for them. Clothes/Outfits are laid out a week at a time. Dinner is planned and partially prepped by noon each day. Simple, easy things that allow me to be proactive instead of reactive. Then there is actually time for other things that the Lord asks each of us to do. And we can do them with out being stressed or letting it be the "straw that breaks the camels back".

Ashley L said...

I've been learning a lot about how to be a good mom vs. how to look like a good mom. I have realized that I often get stressed and grumpy if I try to do all of the "right" things that all of the "good moms" do, but I am actually a much better mom when I focus on loving my kids, meeting their needs, playing with them and enjoying life with them, even if it is simple and not very impressive to those around me. I want to love and nurture my kids and direct them toward God, and that doesn't have to mean doing all of the amazing activities for toddlers, having them ultra-stylishly dressed, etc. Thanks for doing this really fun giveaway!

~Ashley in Russia

Paul and Cristina said...

I've learned that being a SAHM is a continual learning process...everyday I try to do something better or different.

Cristina Gia

Erika said...

I gladly glean all I can from mothers of large families. I have often wanted such a book for my own shelves.

We just had our 7th child last month.
Thanks for offering the chance to win!
Erika

Marianne said...

I've learned so many things this year. My son (we only have one child, but are hoping God will bless us with more) just turned two and this past year has really tested me as a parent. I've learned that the most important thing I can do for my son doesn't involve money - it involves the time I spent on the floor with him - learning, playing, praying.

Tracy Stoutjesdyk said...

I've learned to simplify my life by asking this simple question. Does this item, activity or idea bring us closer or further from obtaining that one thing needful, namely salvation for ourselves and our children. If it doesn't bring us closer to God it is useless and not worth pursuing.

Jeannie said...

I need to learn to lean on God to help me in raising my children.

Jeannie

jhenrichs@ymail.com

Matt and Sarah Pitts said...

I am in the midst of learning practically how to train a toddler to obey. Consistency, and a mix of tenderness and firmness have been important, and also knowing that I am sowing in faith that the Lord will bless the effort and hopefully reap obedience and peace in our home.

Can't wait to hear who wins!!

Sarah Pitts

Anna said...

I've learned that trusting God with my kids is about more than just trusting him for their safety and well being. It's also trusting that He is in control, not just of each little thing that happens, but of their emotional and mental needs as they are happening. (How is that for a run-on sentence?) I used to worry about how certain things would affect them, but I realized that God can foresee all of those things. He won't allow anything into their lives that He hasn't already given them the strength to handle.
I thought I knew this already, but realized that I was worrying instead of trusting.

Ruth said...

I am seeing that the Lord is faithful to teach me year by year and to grow me into the job He has given me with my husband and children. He has taught me, stretched me, and grown me with the arrival of each new life born into our family. I am a very different mommy now with four than I was with one. I am thankful the Lord is not done with me. I trust Him to keep growing me as we await number five in July.

Amy W. said...

Wow, this is a great giveaway!
Over this past year I have learned that God always gives us what we need to thrive in the situation He has placed us in- and in fact, He is the One who carries us through it. This applies to parenting and family in my life because last March, the day before my son turned 5 months old, my husband and I found out that God was giving us another child. We have always trusted God's timing to be best, but I was not exactly thrilled at the fact that we would have two little ones only 12 months apart. I was overwhelmed, I didn't know how I would do it. But now that our second son has arrived (5 days after his older brother turned 1!) everything doesn't seem as overwhelming anymore. It's certainly not easy, but it's not impossible either. Every day God takes me by the hand and gives me what I need for that day. I was overwhelmed at first because I didn't think I could handle two little ones...and at that point I honestly couldn't because that wasn't the situation I was in, God didn't need to give me the strength to handle two little ones because I only had one! Now that I have two I see how He gives us what we need, only at the time we need it and not before. He is so good and I feel so blessed...but this book sounds AWESOME and I would love to read it. I am sure that I would glean much from it.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter!

Amy in OH

thedeinesfamily said...

I've learned that being the mother of a toddler requires a great deal of patience and flexibility. I wonder how I'll handle 2 children, so I can't imagine being a mother to 10!

Kasey

Anonymous said...

During the past few months I have learnt that slowing down our pace of life brings much joy and healing to me and my family.

Maria in Sweden

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I've learned that calls to Poison Control seem to occur in threes.

Jaime said...

That book looks great! We have three, five and under, with our fourth due in June.
One thing I've learned about family in the past year (especially while being pregnant again!) is that child training really does pay off! There are evenings where I'm so tired, and so grateful that my five year old can clear the table and clean her room by herself!

Jaime

Missy @ finding bright spots said...

I've learned that the most important thing in parenting is just to follow the Lord's leadings! Four years ago, he led us to begin homeschooling our preschooler and we thought we could never do that. We've been blessed beyond measure (and we now homeschool a first grader AND a preschooler!) We're currently being led by the Lord to an adoption from the Congo (and possibly even 2 kids - still praying about the details!) Our adoption will bring our total number of kids to 4 or 5 and they'll all be under 8. I have my moments where I'm scared out of my mind and think we surely must be crazy, but I know that where the Lord calls us, He will equip us!

Kim said...

Consistency is a very hard thing to maintain but definately needed in training children and keeping up the home, I am working on this and I would like to become more organized and have more schedules and things so the practical ideas in the book would be of great value. We are currently expecting our 4th daughter in about 5 weeks and our oldest just turned 4 so I need all the help I can get.
Kim, mom of 4 girls in Colorado

Stephanie said...

One thing I'm in the process of learning (oh so imperfectly) is how to set firm, consistent boundaries while still relating to my children with gentleness and honor (as little people created, like me, in God's image).

What I want to learn this year is how to keep my home more orderly on a continuous basis!

Great giveaway!!!

simplecraft AT hotmail DOT com

Angie said...

I am learning that there are certain things each child will probably struggle with throughout their life and that we need to continually address the issue and not ever think we're done. And the same is true for us. I read Family Feasts for $75 a week and loved it.

Jess said...

I have learned that if we want something to happen, we have to be intentional about making it happen.

Heather said...

I have learned that in a moment of "disaster" (like a bathtub full filled with soggy toilet paper) it helps me to calm down and refocus if I snap a picture of it. And then it makes great blog material later!

EllaJac said...

I've learned I can't do it all. I can't do all I think I need to, all I want... in fact, I can't do most of it.

And I"m learning I don't have to, that God can.

The White House said...

I need a copy of that cook book! I just requested my library to purchase "a sane mothers guide to raising a large family" and now it's circulating kitsap county! great, easy read.

Becky D. said...

What I've learned is to be more serene. Try to really turn my worry over to God for the big stuff (That I can't control anyways) and just keep working on the rest (laundry, dishes, etc) A speaker at a recent retreat said just do the next thing when you feel like you have too much to do. It really was good advice.

Allie said...

We're in the process of adopting a baby girl right now, to add to our two homegrown boys. I'm learning so much about God's heart for the orphans, and His love for us, His adopted children.

Jennifer said...

I have learned that family is not defined by the people that you are biologically related to, but about your willingness to open your home to those whom God chooses to bring into your life.

I've also learned that any negative trait your children display is ALWAYS inherited from your spouses side of the family. :)

Linz said...

We had our first baby this year, so I've learned ALOT about family. I've learned to love spending time with her, even in the middle of the night.

Mrs. Pear said...

Going back a year and a half our youngest was born, needed an echogram in the hospital, was determined to be fine, had jaundice, at 7 weeks had viral meningitis, then began hip dysplasia treatment. Just as we thought she was all done she developed a cyst in her mouth last summer and it was removed the week of Thanksgiving. She is now perfectly fine at 17 months except for teething! :-)

During this time her 4 year old sister was busy too. Right before the meningitis thing we took our 4 year old to the pediatric cardiologist and learned that open heart surgery was in her future. A year later, this past october we learned it was in her immediate future. January 11 we took her to the Children's Hospital for the procedure and she did great. She is recovering beautifully.

Through it all, I learned this.

I cannot do it all, and I am not expected to do it all. That is God's job and His alone. I am expected to call on HIm and follow Him, trusting Him to take care of it all.

Jenna said...

I have been a mommy for all of 10 days so I have a lot of learning to do! But so far, my time with my son has already taught me that I worry too much! I need to learn to relax and not sweat the little stuff!

Jamey... said...

What I've learned/am learning this year is that the moments that make me crazy as a mother are the moments where my motherly response really counts.

Valerie said...

I would love to win this book---not for myself, but for my newly married daughter (married in Octobr '09) who is already expecting a baby (YAY!) because she and her dear hubby wanted to trust the Lord as to when He wanted to start their family.

What I have learned about family this past year:
That there is GREAT joy in watching one's older children walk in what you have trained them in...and in seeing the things you have failed in covered by God's grace. I look forward to this next season of life as the mother of a married daughter to be filled with much joy (especially as we await this sweet little one!)

MiMi-to-be in 2010 ;-)

Courtney said...

I'm learning I want to be a better me as a parent and that it's really hard to change. I want to learn how to give my stuff to the Lord, but am still trying to figure out how to get past warm-fuzzy metaphorical suggestions to doing the real deal.

I love parenting books, especially by women who parent well. Thanks for the giveaway.

Courtney from In This Heart

worksformehomemaking said...

What I'm learning:

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

Anonymous said...

I have learn with my 3 little ones that organization is priceless.
We do what we can and for the rest we trust in Him.

Vanellia
alesia57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

JStacie said...

I am learning that I need to just do what I know! Discipline. Just get off the sofa. And speak gently. (I am trying to learn that, actually!)

Marissa said...

I've learned to choose to be intentionally present with my family. To give up with the multitasking or e-mailing while doing other things. To instead really focus in on the moment.

Marissa
marissa.burt@gmail.com

Freida said...

I'm learning that it takes work to make a family godly. It takes deliberate effort to train my children. Even my relationship with my husband takes work. I have to purpose to put him before myself, otherwise I don't want to submit to him or even try to please him.

The comments for this post are great.

Stacy said...

I have learned that I have to let things go and I that the "fly by the seat of my pants" plan doesn't work so well with 5 children. LOL


Stacy

Kristen said...

I love Mary's blog and would love to win this book. I am learning about intentional mothering. As a new homeschooling mom, I am learning about making sure to not focus just on academics but to make sure that character development, spiritual development is a priority for myself and my children. It is hard work, but wonderful.

Kacie said...

I have been wanting to read this book! I don't have a large family but maybe I'll get to someday.

In the last year, I've learned what it means to be a mama! My little boy is 13 months old and is walking happiness. I can't get enough of that guy!

I think that having children means we have to learn how to manage our time better, and that is a good thing for me to work on.

Melissa said...

Something I WANT to learn about family: how to spend quality time every day with each child and still keep up with housework! Haven't figured that one out yet....

Melissa @ Anxious for Nothing

vicky said...

This looks like a great book, thanks for the giveaway. As my first year of momhood has quickly come to an end I am learning so very much about the grace of the Lord in my life and my true identity as a child of His great mercy.

Tracy said...

Wow, what great comments and advice above! I have two kids and a third on the way...and God is teaching me now that children are a blessing from Him. Not just in the little...trite way...but truly, they are a gift. I have really been listening to how people (including myself) talk about kids in light of this.

Anonymous said...

I've learned that people are the most precious thing in the world. My only sibling has been diagnosed with a poor prognostic cancer in the last year, and it has driven me to hope and pray and plan for a larger family ourselves - I can make more people, they're precious, so let's make more people (God willing)! I'm not keen on the prospect of being an only child, and I don't want that for my kids. But my kids belong to God too, he gives and he may take away before I expect him to and before I die. There's not guaranteed safety in numbers, but there is company and mutual responsibility and lots more love!
Caroline E from Sydney

Eric and Jill said...

This year I am striving to do a better job planning meals. I also want to grow in patience with my children.

~Jill

Deborah said...

I'm learning to trust God with my child--I'm pregnant with my first, long-awaited child and have experienced episodes of concerning symptoms. These episodes tend to come each and every time I start thinking that I'm "in the clear" and that my baby is definitely going to be okay. I'm pretty sure God is telling me to hold this baby loosely, always be willing to let God reign supreme, and trust God with this child's life. It's not an easy or fun lesson, but I'm slowly learning it--and hoping that God's plan is to teach me this lesson once and for all early in my child's life!

Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

I am learning that having a cheerful attitude myself is the best child training trick in the book.

I'd love to read this book as we are well on our way to a large family with 3 littles under the age of three.

Joann said...

I am constantly learning that my children see right through me when I am not living up to the standards that I set for us. Not only do they see it, they call me on it and I am so thankful that they do it. I think it's God's way of teaching me to be more reliable to them and more obedient to Him.

www.godcountryfamilylove.blogspot.com

Julian said...

i would like my name out in the drawing please. I am from Idaho, where the author is from, and i have 6 kids. Thanks for the generous giveaway!
christina

Thia said...

I have learned that I need to be flexible. It's doesn't mean I have learned HOW to do it...just that I need to do it.

Anonymous said...

I have learned that I really can't do it all and I have to constantly seek God's wisdom to know what is a priority. This keeps me dependent on Him and not my own strength.

Krystal in VA

Donna said...

I'm learning how the "teen" years are a blessing and don't have to be filled with rebellion.

Tammy said...

I am learning to be more frugal with the resources that the Lord has blessed our family with. Be it hand me down clothing, second hand furnishings, and of course our income. I have always thought I was careful with our finances, but this past year the Lord has shown me where I need to tighten the belt, so to speak. I am constantly trying to remember to be blessed with what I have and not focus on what I want. I would love to have either of Mary's books. Both would be a blessing to me.
Tammy (ttyms@aol.com)

Christy, the Notable Blogger said...

Parenting is the greatest ride ever. Remove all expectations, smile when you feel like crying, turn everything over to God, listen to your husband, don't be afraid to say NO, and don't neglect saying YES.

Kelly said...

I saw this book on your reading list and have added it to my own - so excited to get into it!
I am continuing to learn how much I need to learn about godly motherhood! Number 5 is due anyday now (hopefully waiting until our roads are plowed), and everytime I think I've got this 'thing' cracked, the Lord shows me a new area for sanctification.
I love the comment (from Nancy Wilson, I think) about how overly dogmatic *young* mothers can be about their particular brand of mothering - reminding me how we need the wisdom of mature mothers!Kelly

Denise said...

What a treat! This book is on my wishlist and I already have devoured the $75 Feast book.

#4 is due in April and I am a bit overwhelmed about the logistics once baby gets here.

I have learned this year alot about being resourceful with what God has been so generous to give us. Couponing and creative cooking has really helped me work through a lot of those things. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

I've learned the past year *drum roll* that listening to my Mom and grandmother really does pay off! Silly as it might sound, I've learned so much about time management and spiritual direction for my boys from them, it's been amazing.

Melissa with two boys :)

Julia said...

Something that I'm really learning more and more is about letting God guide me in all my decisions, not listening to other people's ideas dogmatically or following something that works for someone else. God is also teaching me along these lines that he knew everything about my children and still chose me as their mom knowing that through Him I could provide what they need and He can use them to work what He needs to in my own life.

cdziuba said...

Some things I learned and relearned:

God is in charge.

When you have a large family, you owe it to each other to be organized

cdziuba@aol.com

Jennifer said...

I've learned about marriage in the past year as we are wrapping up our second year of marriage! I'm learning more about patience, giving, and about how different we are - and how that is so good! :)

Mrs. Jorgenson said...

Ooh, I don't have a large family yet, but with the first one on the way, we could be headed there! :D

Just this weekend I learned that sometimes you have to show loving hospitality to family...even when they're rude and it's not your house. And you were in your pajamas when they showed up because you had no warning that everybody would need to be served pizza at your in-laws' after the wake and that that would suddenly be your responsibility. So, I guess I need to learn to be gracious with family, even the bothersome ones.

The Lindell Family said...

I would love to win this book! What have I learned about family? Oh, where to begin?! I feel this whole motherhood journey has been all about learning and re-learning!

Lately I've been learning:

-The importance of consistency, especially in discipline.

-A new organizational tool: mom's clipboard. It has my running to-do list, list of meals for the week (with recipes), learning activities, a list of all the new-baby prep...and anything else that I think I need! :)

Julie in Canada, mom to 14 said...

I have learned:
-hard is not wrong
-it is a privilege to partner with God as He grows children into adults
-I can get by on less sleep than I thought possible
-God does the impossible

Julie-Anne said...

Thanks Jess for this giveaway! I have learned that just as Rome wasn't built in a day, so my children's characters won't either. It takes time to see all the fruit of our parenting...sometimes popping up unexpectedly like that stubborn seed that surprised us when it finally sprouted. Keep at it. Don't give up. Perseverance and TIME is key.

Julie-Anne :)

Kelly said...

Something that I have been learning lately is that it is ok to stay home. It has taken a lot of getting used to but I thinks it has helped with being consistent with my kids and has saved us a lot in gas too.

Nichola said...

I think the biggest thing I have learned the past year is how much I have to learn. I have so far to go in my journey through motherhood. I am praying this year to have a heart more tuned to the Lord and more willing to lean on His direction in "everyday" little stuff.

mom23lrnrs said...

I am learning to let my teenagers be responsible for their own schoolwork and QUIT NAGGING (their words, not mine). I have been so hands on with them that letting go is a matter of faith, especially when I let my middle, ADHD son go to a local private school. I love Mary's blog and would love to read her book.


-Julee

Lindsey said...

I was getting caught up in the craziness of trying to be the mom who "did it all" -- making everything from scratch, sewing our clothes,etc but the Lord gently reminded me...that's not what I was made for. Yes, I can enjoy doing special things for my family, but I was beginning to lose my God focus. Once that was in line again, I couldn't believe the mom I became!

susan said...

I learned my family loves having each meal together, and I am glad we can do this now.

Carmen said...

The main thing I've learned with our large family of 7 children (and my mom lives with us) is that we make plans but the Lord has other plans. He never ceases to amaze me. He always provides even if I don't see any other way!

Carmen @ OLD HOUSE KITCHEN

kitchenmaid said...

The past year has allowed me to experience life with adult children living away from home to serve the Lord. What a wonderful opportunity for me and for my children.

Sheri aka kitchenmaid

Catherine said...

This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while - keep meaning to buy it!

So about family this year...I'd say that I've learned that brothers and sisters really can be each other's best friends. Yea!

:)
Catherine

Amy said...

I'm a huge work in progress here, but lately I am learning that the kids just want me to be happy with them ... to show them the unconditional love, to smile when they enter the room, to make sure they know that I think they are great because God made them and they are worthy of that love no matter what.

-Amy

Tami said...

i have learned more about cooking and making larger amounts since my kids have been growing up! (i have 7)
i'd love to win this!!

4given1 said...

I'm learning that the most important thing is to make time for my relationship with my Savior. Then one on one time with each child, even if it's just small things.

Thanks for this give-away. It sounds like a great book.

Tamsen said...

Something I've learned, but still need to work on, is that a happy baby is way more important than a clean house. Sure basic neatness is necessary, but not at the expense of time with my baby girl.
Tam with 2 precious girls.

Serena said...

I've learned that I don't know what the heck I'm doing and AM learning that I don't HAVE to "get" things, I just have to do what He says. It's going to be a long lesson, that.

Nicole said...

I am learning that the only way to mother is with a humble reliance on the Lord and that His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses (and the weaknesses are many). I am trying to learn how to be a gracious mama to six precious little ones ages eight and under.

Lisa said...

I have been mulling over the great quote by J.Hudson Taylor, missionary to China.

"It is possible to move man, through God, by prayer alone".

When I have been wishing my husband would do it another way, when I can't see any results in training my precious kiddos in godliness, when my indecision send me to forums and, ahem, blogs...I have been struck by my forgetfulness and faithlessness to go to my Father FIRST. I need to ask him to 'move' in the issue, and not try myself to shove the issue.

Instead of opening my mouth first...pray first!

Lisa Down Under

Rebecca said...

People are more important then task! Sometimes you need to stop doing the dishes and play with your needy toddler, building that relationship must take priority!

Becky said...

I have 6 kids and I am learning to see God in the small tasks of serving my children. I use to just get through them, trying to see them as a chance to serve God and my children. :-) Large growth opportunity. :-)
Becky in Ohio

Sarah said...

My husband and I have been married for almost two years; we are expecting our first child in June. I am trying to read as much as I can on how to raise children in the way that they should go. I did not grow up in a Christian home and neither did my husband. I feel there is much for me to learn on how to train our children and how to be joyful in all circumstances.

Sarah in Iowa

Tent Revival said...

I am learning that God cares for us in equal measure with our faith. When we trust him a little, or believe that this is the right thing, he meets us there. When we trust him with a lot, he still meets our needs. I grew up in a family where we quite literally depended on God for our daily bread, and now that I have my son, I can't forget that. Sometimes I have fears and doubts, but at the end of the day I know his promises are true, because I have seen it over and over.

-Addie

Svetlana Duray said...

I've been learning to trust the Lord more and more, and lean on him and not on my own understanding. I also learned that all good things come from Him, and in His timing, and would like to learn to be more like Abraaham, "not wavering in unbelief, but growing strong in fairht, giving glory to God" and clinging to God's promises in times of hardship.

Elaine said...

One of my most important things to remind myself off as a parent is that I can't bring any day back and do it over. Wether it's giving birth, up all night feeding, potty training, disciplining or encouraging them. We only get one chance at each and every day.

Elaine in Northern Ireland..

Ryan and Sandra said...

I am learning that the timing of expanding our family (currently just me & my husband) is really up to God. It's not up to me; if it was, I wouldn't be living in South America as a missionary--I'd be busy with a handful of little ones making cookies, attachment parenting, and going to library events and playgroups in the States.

I'm *hopefully* learning to be more content in waiting.

That said, I always love to learn more while I wait, and would love to win this book. (Obviously!)

~Sandi

WendyLou said...

I've learned that sometimes (most of the time!) you just have to sit in the floor and play :) I knew this when my first two were little, but have had to remind myself often now that #3 and #4 need more time. Hopefully with #5 and #6 (soon to be from Ethiopia!), I'll still have the energy to make time!!

Sharon L. said...

I am learning to relax a little more in our homeschooling.

Melissa said...

We have 5 girls ages 9 weeks to 6 years. It is crazy around here! I found this book on amazon awhile ago but had not yet bought it - I would LOVE to read it.

I have learned:
1. It's just not about me - it's about God being glorified
2. We need to seek God's guidance and just obey, even if it flies in the face of cultural norms and extended family preferences
3. God's word is true - children ARE a blessing and he DOES provide.

Melissa in Houston

Debbie said...

I am learning how to be a good steward of what God has given us and how to be a frugal mother. I have also been learning recently how deceitful and wicked the heart is. It is a humbling thing to deal with your own heart issues as the Lord reveals them to you. I have also been learning that God is the one in control of All things.

Anonymous said...

I have learned as a mother and wife, nothing I can do, say or be is more important than praying that i be open to God's will in all of them.

I'd *like* to learn how to more humbly place Him above my own desires, pride, selfish ambitions, and preconceived ideas and plans so that I can be more the mother and wife that He has truly intended me to be!

Thank you, Jess, for being a source of guidance in this!

melissa k in houston, tx

Cyndy said...

I'm learning to trust each person in our family to God's care.

Jen said...

I'm broken, my kids are broken, my husband is broken...and God's grace is enough. I'm learning to rejoice in my weaknesses because God is my strength!

Jen in Dallas, TX

Tami said...

One of the things I keep coming back to is to slow down. Things always fall apart if I try to hurry myself and my children through something. I'm too often reminded to focus on and be in this moment instead of hurrying and wishing for the next moment to come.

Tami
with 4 little ones 5 and younger.

Sara K.B. in NY said...

I've been incredibly aware of God's grace this year as I've watched my 3 year old daughter develop a spiritual vocabulary, a desire to pray for little and big things, and a compassionate heart. She's responded so well to our evening family devotions and Scripture memory and I am so thankful God is using our little nighttime routine in her life, for His glory.

He is also helping me to see how my anger can be damaging to my family and my need for humility, and the importance of disciplining in love, not frustration.

Laura of Wisconsin said...

I have been learning that it's okay to not be perfect, I just need to keep trying. And loving and laughing. =)

Laura

connibrett said...

I've learned that even though our 'adult' world was turned upside down with lay off's ect. that children didn't even notice. What trust they have that we will take care of their basic needs. That was all that we did and we've had one of our best years ever. God is good. . .this I know.

conni in michigan

Jess said...

Thank you ladies, for all the comments, wisdom and advice! As many of you have noted, there are a lot of gems of insight here in these 144 comments.

I'm excited to see who will win. This comment officially closes the contest, and I'll announce tomorrow who will win a copy of Mary's book!

Best wishes~~~
~Jess