We Have a Crawler!


Now that our little guy is over nine and a half months old, it seems some of my initial shock is wearing off. Sure, it’s still a big life change to be lugging around a mini-human (and diaper bags), dealing with fussy fits (although, thankfully, those have lessened), and not really getting much alone time with the little misses, but I’m finally able to find more enjoyment in the munchkin with each passing day.

Granted, nothing makes him smile quite like VeggieTales on the tube or seeing his mommy’s big bright eyes, but it does warm the heart to receive an ear-to-ear grin from the fellow just when I enter the room.

As he’s gotten more mobile on his own, we’re seeing just how challenging it can be to have the little crawler on the loose. We really have to keep and eye on him! Honestly, it isn’t quite as bad as I thought it could be, but we still find ourselves sounding ridiculous as we try to convince him to not touch things like shiny, colorful DVD case bindings and or wires coming from laptops and lamps.

*Will makes a b-line for the lamp cord and clasps his fingers around it*
“Nooooooo. Will! Noooooooooooo”
*He turns his head, still holding the cord, and looks at me*
*I shake my head and wave a finger back and forth* “No, Will. Let go of the cord.”
In some instances, he lets go. Other times, I need to pull his hand away.
“Good boy, Will!” and he goes about his crawly business elsewhere.

But that cord is so alluring… it twists, it turns, it’s got a ribbed texture. It’s black. None of my other toys are black, he must think.

Will turns around and crawls toward the cord. He turns and looks at me with this expressionless glance… and then reaches for the cord.

“Nooooooooooooooo. Nooooooo, Will.”

He turns back around and crawls away. How extraordinary if we actually have a listener on our hands! I suppose it’s too early to tell. But it’s neat nonetheless to see him start to respond well to our leadings!

New Book On Men's Vital Need For "Stepping Up"


Dennis Rainey Issues a ‘Call to Courageous Manhood’

NEWS SOURCE: Lovell Fairchild
– New book from award-winning author and FamilyLife co-founder Dennis Rainey
– Innovative “life stages” approach
– Available as e-book, a FamilyLife first
– On sale now

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – June 14, 2011 – In his new book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife co-founder and president, shows men of all ages how they can answer life’s inevitable challenges. Stepping Up is available now from FamilyLife Publishing and, for the first time from FamilyLIfe, in e-book format. Learn more at FamilyLife.com/SteppingUp.

“All men face decisions that require courage,” says Dennis. “One courageous choice leads to another, and today’s bravery builds tomorrow’s integrity.”

More than 10 years in the making, Stepping Up draws on Dennis’ years as an award-winning author and broadcaster; his decades-long involvement with FamilyLife’s vital marriage ministry; biblical insight; and inspiring stories of real-life heroic choices. Every man’s life has five stages, Dennis says, and he outlines how men can face them boldly:

– Boyhood: An age when tomorrow’s men explore and discover, often by watching the men around them.
– Adolescence: A time of testing limits when growing young men need to see manly courage modeled in how men treat women, each other, and themselves.
– Manhood: An age to step up to life, a continuing test of integrity; the courageous man rises to his challenges, choice by choice.
– Mentor: An age of impact and the payoff for living courageously, when men may invest in other men.
– Patriarch: A time for leaving a legacy built of brave choices through a courageous life.

Timely and essential, Stepping Up helps men journey beyond heredity and
upbringing to the lives that God wants for them and society needs from them. The pages echo Dennis’s trademark call to life: “The heredity you were handed is not as important as the legacy you will leave.”

– Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood is available now in hardback and e-book formats.

To learn more:
Visit FamilyLife FamilyLife.com/SteppingUp
Join Dennis on Facebook Facebook.com/RaineyDennis
Follow Dennis on Twitter Twitter.com/DennisRainey

'Rite of Passage': When Does Adulthood Begin?


“If I could live my life as a parent again, I would read this book first.”
Andy Andrews
New York Times bestselling author
The Traveler’s Gift

– Society’s need to revive formal rites of passage
– The national trend for young adults—“adult-olescents”—to grow older without growing up
– A family’s Rite of Passage can be personally tailored to each child

NEWS SOURCE: Lovell/Fairchild Communications

CHICAGO – June 9, 2011 – When does a boy become a man and a girl a woman? First car? First sexual experience? Joining the military? Most Americans can’t say. And into a fuzzy culture rife with “adult-olescents”—20- and 30-somethings stranded in adolescence—comes Rite of Passage: A Father’s Blessing, a book by Jim McBride, a parent’s resource on the why and how-to of a ceremony to help today’s teens be tomorrow’s adults.

“Moms, dads, and certain other adults hold keys to a young person’s future,” McBride says. “That influence is a privilege, and using it well takes thought.” McBride also is executive producer of Sherwood Pictures’ COURAGEOUS, FIREPROOF, FACING THE GIANTS, and FLYWHEEL, and executive pastor of Sherwood Church.

In his book, McBride surveys cultures across the centuries and the globe to ask what societies can both pass on and call for in the next generation. From there, he shows how Christian parents can create rites to hand children longstanding values such as faith, hope, love, purity, and integrity. Sharing the rites he designed for his two sons and two daughters, McBride’s readers learn how to develop their own ceremonies steeped in biblical principles.

The goal, McBride says, is a new generation of young adults unambiguous about their identity and values, their direction, and who can help guide their life paths. “All the resources a parent needs are in their reach,” he says. “It’s time to understand why rites matter, what’s worth passing along, and how to do it.”

Christian leaders salute the Rite of Passage: A Father’s Blessing, calling it “biblical (and) practical,” citing principles that can “help adolescents successfully transition into the kind of Christian adults that glorify the Lord,” and saying Rite of Passage is “a must for every parent and grandparent.”

For a new look at an age-old tradition long overdue in modern culture: Rite of Passage.

About Jim McBride
As executive pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., Jim McBride oversees operations, church staff, finances, and men’s ministry. He is an executive producer of Sherwood Pictures films, including COURAGEOUS, FIREPROOF, FACING THE GIANTS, and FLYWHEEL. Jim worked for Coca-Cola for15 years and served in the U. S. Marine Corps for six years. He and his wife, Sheila, have been married 28 years and have four children, Victoria, Buddy, Tommy, and Sarah.

To learn more:
Rite of Passage MoodyPublishers.com

Our Children's Companions

Over twenty years ago, when my husband and I moved into the home we are in now, my sons were 12 and 9 years of age. There were many young children in this neighborhood at the time, and my boys were eager to make new friends. At first, my husband and I were delighted to see our kids forming new attachments, but then we began noticing the negative behavior of many of our neighbors’ sons and daughters. Eventually, Joe and I had to forbid our boys to associate with the neighborhood kids.

What happened next only confirmed our suspicions. The kids that were not allowed to be friends with my children began attacking our house and property. They did so much damage that we had to get the police and our insurance company involved, and we eventually had to have all new siding put on our entire house. As the years passed, our sons were sometimes attacked verbally, and even physically, by the neighborhood children. And my husband and I did our best to protect them, along with God’s guidance and help.

As I look back, I have to admit that if I had to do it all over again, I would still make the difficult decision to forbid my children to hang out with the neighborhood gang. Even with all of the persecution and grief we endured from those who lived among us, I know in my heart that I did the right thing. The Bible says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV) No matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise, we are affected by those we spend time with. I know that my children would not be the godly, well-adjusted, and successful young men that they are today, if I had not kept a close watch on their companionships.

If you are a parent, the Lord holds you responsible for protecting your children from toxic relationships. Even if your children are adults, you have a responsibility to give them good, sound counsel in this area, and to pray for them to make wise choices. Scripture says, “Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT) Pray this verse for your children regularly, and trust God to work in their lives and hearts as you cooperate with His good plans for them!

Author Darlene Brock Shares About Latest Book "Moms Raising Daughters"

Author Darlene Brock Opens Up to FoxNews.com LIVE About Latest Book

Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters

(Nashville, Tenn) May, 2011–With Mother’s Day just around the corner Darlene Brock, mother of two and new author,  opened up to foxnews.com LIVE about her latest book Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters. The live interview took place May 2 at 2pm EST as a part of Fox’s Live Entertainment Hour. To view it on the web, click here!

Published in association with OakTara, Help Wanted is flavored with honesty, humor, compelling stories and creative solutions. It navigates the various jobs moms must accomplish in the dynamic, yet often challenging mother-daughter relationship to make the maximum difference in their girl’s life.

Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters is available in stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.comwww.amazonkindle.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and other digital download locations.

Darlene and husband Dan R. Brock are legends in the music industry. Co-founders of Forefront Records, home of GRAMMY ® Award winning artist TobyMac, the power couple have recently launched The Grit & Grace Project. A company that is dedicated to helping women reach their full potential, merging two of the primary strengths innate to women, Grit and Grace, calling upon those strengths to find purpose as individuals, wives and mothers.

Darlene Brock is a motivated self-starter who, while raising her two daughters, found time to produce award-winning music videos, manage recording artists, promote concerts throughout the US and serve as the Chief Operating Officer of a record label. Yet, when reviewing her varied accomplishments and successful career, she proclaims her most important and fulfilling job is being a mom.

It's Show Time!


Recently, we ventured into dangerous, uncharted waters in our early parenthood months by experimenting with taking our darling baby boy to places where parents probably shouldn’t take a 7 and a half month old baby (right?).

The first of such events was on May 7th. My wife and I really wanted to see a particular concert, and after seeing Will’s enthusiastic reaction to some of the band-in-question’s music while sitting on my lap as it was playing at my desk, we decided it might be fun to see how the little guy would react at a show. With that, I contacted a friend of ours who is close to the band for some advice on whether or not taking the baby would be wise. We then placed an order for baby ear protection and made plans to take him with us.

Needless to say, a rock concert is a really loud environment for anybody, let alone an infant. What we didn’t expect, when strapping Will into a baby carrier on Amy, was that the music and intense bass would be just enough to lull the little beastie to sleep. Sure enough, Will slept through almost the entire concert. After a pre-show acoustic set and a mediocre opening band, Will woke up sometime around the second act – a lame acoustic pop duo. It wasn’t long before he fell asleep again… and ended up staying asleep long before the main event we all came to see. When he finally awoke again, it was for the encore set and it was fun to watch Will’s wide-eyed amazement. The concert trip ended up being quite a success… as long as you don’t count his wet diaper leaking through the baby carrier and into Amy’s shirt being a downside to the whole experience. ;)

Just a couple days later, we decided to try to take Will to the movies. Granted, I’ve always hated to find babies or little kids in a movie theater (for movies that kids have no business seeing especially… like The Mummy. There was a baby crying through most of the movie when I saw it in 1999… You don’t take your very aware baby to a PG-13 horror film, people!! What are you thinking??). Anyway, we gambled on the fact that Will slept in the carrier at the show, so hopefully he could sleep during a superhero film… like Thor. Thankfully, only about six other people were at the same showing in the audience and Will only fussed slightly at the beginning of the movie. Amy had to stand a few times to sort of sway him to sleep in the carrier, and  she eventually was able to sit down for the rest of the movie. It was a mostly successful test, but something I don’t think we’ll do very often… especially considering others around us at the movies…

Next up for this adventurous trio? Another concert tomorrow… this time in a church. Should be a bit more baby friendly than our first experience… in a club. :)

Reaching the Unreachable

My husband, Joe, has a long-time friend who has been running away from God all of his life. Several years ago, the Lord led me to begin praying for this man and his family on a regular basis. I stood on God’s promise which says: “He will even deliver the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” (Job 22:30 AMP)

Well, my husband’s friend didn’t turn his life over to Christ after I prayed, but his son did. Not only did this son get saved, but he married a Christlike believer who encouraged his devotion to the Lord. They have three children now–grandchildren of my husband’s friend–and God is using these little ones, and their godly parents, to draw this man to Him. Now they can claim God’s promise in Acts 16:31 (NASB), which says: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And I believe with all my heart that it’s only a matter of time before Joe’s friend surrenders his life to the Lord.

If you have people you care about who are unsaved, pray faithfully for them. Even if they look like a hopeless case, rest assured that the Lord has a way of reaching them, perhaps even through their own loved ones. Let this encouraging promise from the Scriptures fill you with a fresh sense of hope today–“The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP)

A World Of Change (AKA A Trip To The Mall)

The past few weeks have certainly been a mix of crazy-busy-ness and “firsts” as a parent. Little Will has grown two teeth, had his first sips of juice from a kiddie mug, and treated his Dad’s lap like a Jumperoo while rockin’ out to music on my office stereo — all in the past week or two.

Yesterday was another first for me. While Amy has taken Will to our local mall around Christmastime a few times, yesterday was the first time in many, many months that I’ve returned to the mall… and the first time as a father. My parents took me out to lunch (I had a pretty sweet free-entree birthday coupon from Bravo!, which was cool) and then we went for a walk around the mall. We plucked Will out of his car seat and strapped him into his stroller. It was unusually chilly and we hadn’t exactly dressed the little dude adequately… so we smothered him in blankets and I lowered the overhang on his stroller in front of his face to brace the wind. It worked (MacGyver would be proud), but we still felt like a bunch of bumbling morons (see photo below). As my mom put it — we were like Laurel & Hardy’s Child Care or something.

As I pushed Will’s stroller around the mall, I noticed a few things. For one, I’m getting old. Secondly… when did all those new stores get put in??? Has it really been that long since I’d visited this multi-retailer establishment? This is the same mall I used to go to for video games or ice cream or Garfield books as a kid or to just walk around with my friends. Now I was pushing a baby carriage and looking at all the other young people and Good Friday shoppers and feeling sorely misplaced.

Then my parents went to the bathroom… and that’s when Will decided he’d had enough of being good. One of my greatest fears is being one of “those parents” with a screaming baby in public (Coincidentally, Will just woke up from a nap and started screaming after I typed that). I found myself kneeling in front of his baby carriage and trying to distract him enough to keep him from losing it. Thankfully, it worked and Mr. Fussy Shorts didn’t go bonkers. After my parents returned and helped distract him, we raided Hallmark, loaded him into the car, and the little beastie fell right to sleep.

…And now for his first Easter!

Don't Act Hastily

If you are facing a decision of some sort right now, I have a word from the Lord for you today. It’s Psalm 106:13 (NKJV), which says: “Whoever believes will not act hastily.” In other words, when our trust is truly in God, the way it’s supposed to be, we will not make a move without seeking His direction, wisdom, and help. We will take the time to pause, to get still in our hearts and minds, and to seek the Lord through focused prayer and Scripture reading. A trusting soul will believe that God really does know best, and that He always wants what is best for us.

Sometimes when we’re facing circumstances that trouble us, we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands, instead of waiting on God and following the leadership of His Spirit. This strategy can actually make matters worse, and can even create a new set of problems that will leave us with feelings of regret in the long run.

The truth is that it can be downright dangerous for us to try to hurry up God’s plans for us, or to try to make something happen that is out of His perfect will or timing. Responding to situations like this only proves that we believe that we know better than God what is best for us.

You can’t even begin to imagine what the Lord has planned for you, if you’ll only refuse to act hastily today. Let this promise from His Word sustain and encourage you: “For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4 AMP)