Keeping the Good Moments Good

One of the best things about blogging is getting to know all of you. I learn so much from your comments, our Tuesday Topics, and from those of you who also write blogs. One of my favorite writers (and a friend) is Mary, the writer of Owlhaven. You probably already know her, but if you don’t, you’re going to love her blog.

Here is an excerpt from a favorite post, Keeping the Good Moments Good, that I think you’ll appreciate. She wrote this after navigating a challenging time while doing a  “fun” craft project with her children. I love the way she approached this.

 …I could lecture the kid, and insist that the elf be a smiling one.  Except I lecture enough in a day, and this was supposed to be fun.  Nobody in the room needed me coming down on the kid like a ton of bricks, as tempting as that was.  No, I had to find a way to make my response fun, while still encouraging the child towards a project that reflected cheer.

“Oh!”  I said, jumping to my feet and pulling up the child too.  “I think that you must not have gotten enough hugs today!!  When people don’t get enough hugs, they have a hard time with joy, and of course this project should be joyful.  Come here and let’s hug until you’re strong enough to make a happy craft!”

Be sure to click over to read the entire post and take some time exploring Mary’s site.

I should also mention that Mary just signed a book contract with Thomas Nelson, which is super impressive. I expect the next several months are going to be very busy.

Have a great Thursday.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Kaci
    April 25, 2013

    I love that your whole posts show up in my reader now. Thanks so much! This makes me be able to read them on the go much easier!

  2. Ann
    April 25, 2013

    I don't know. To me, making a frowning elf would have been a safe way for the child to express his/hermood, and saying "of course this project should be joyful" sets up a power struggle that shouldn't have taken place. It's wrong to demand that a child feel a certain way. We can require certain behaviors; we can't mandate joy.

    Mary's post sounds like a refusal to respect her child's mood. She almost literally arm-wrestled the child into smiling. Is a forced smile that valuable? Why on earth should a mother want to "come down like a ton of bricks" because one of her kids didn't want to make a happy craft? Why would seeing a frowning elf bother her later? …One year, our family's Christmas card showed one of the kids turning her back. Everyone who got the card loved it.

    1. Mary (Owlhaven)
      April 25, 2013

      I totally get what you're saying, Ann. Other times I've listened to complaints, allowed dour moods to reign, but I was wishing for more for all my kids that afternoon. Could I have been more tactful, less pushy. Probably. Parenting kids from hard places is a crazy-hard job, isn't it? I constantly doubt my ability to do it well.

      But even as I doubt myself, I remember the twinkle in my daughter's eye as she reluctantly grinned, and the smiles from other kids around the table that day. I think, deep down, she wanted to be happy, but didn't know how to get there. My approach may not have been perfectly therapeutic, but somehow God redeemed it and worked it all for good. (I think He knew how much I was longing for happiness that day.)

      I appreciate feedback from others, because I always want to be growing in wisdom and grace. But I'm eternally grateful that this battle (and its outcome) is the Lord's, and He works everything for good.

  3. Jeannette
    April 25, 2013

    I think it is great Mary was able to elicit a smile from her child.
    My son would have known that is what we were trying to do and refused to smile even more. We've tried the "lightening the situation" approach. He picks up on that and digs his heels in further when he is in one of his "moods". (This is the child that can refuse to smile and giggle when he is being tickled when he is in his "mood".) Sometimes it works, but often not.

  4. Guest
    April 25, 2013

    As trite as the old clique may sound, I do think it applies here…"the same hot water that softens the carrot will harden the egg." Each child/parent is uniquely made by God and I firmly believe that God gives parents that are seeking Him a unique insight into the personality of a child. So, even though Mary's approach may not have had the same result with every child, it did have a positive result with hers and we can praise God for that!

  5. Julie
    April 25, 2013

    Thanks for the link to this blog, because here I found out about Jackson, the orphan in her most recent post. He has stolen my heart, and we are inquiring about adopting him! 🙂


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