Making Changes Gently

IMG_9576-copy“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ~Galatians 1:10

In the spring, I started  most of the plants we wanted to grow in our garden from seed. It was quite a chore to keep them watered, and for the lack of a watering can, I found myself using just about anything to get the job done.

At first I tried to use a large glass of water to nourish the newly forming shoots, but as I aimed it at the individual cups, the water came out too fast and splashed everywhere. So, I grabbed a small pitcher that was sitting on a nearby shelf and used it instead. I was amazed at the difference the contoured spout made. Depending on how I tipped it, it would produce a dribble or a gentle stream of water compared to the deluge of the glass with the larger rim.

That’s when the Lord spoke clearly to my heart about the difference between a gentle, steady stream of encouragement and the destructive floodgates of condemnation.

Have you ever exclaimed to your family, “I’m making changes now!” Have you ever, out of frustration, come across as a  bit of a tyrant?

I have.

Sometimes we moms can pour change to our families like a flash flood, suddenly and with little warning! Usually after reading an inspiring book or blog post that offers good advice (i.e. the prescribed number of steps to reach success) our hearts become conflicted between our personal reality and the ideal family life we hope to achieve. A critical voice rushes in to say: My kids aren’t where they need to be. They can’t do anything right! When is my husband going to act like the other spiritual leaders I read about? I feel like a failure compared to. etc. . . .

We become overwhelmed by all the changes we think our family members need to make (or we want to make for them), and a suffocating feeling rises up in our chests, and we panic! o we go on a campaign of sweeping change. Like an AAA member cleansing the house of every last bottle of alcohol or a dieter tossing every last bit of junk food in the garbage, we try to rid our kids of bad habits or sinful attitudes, and our husband of all of his shortcomings in one fell swoop, only to embitter their hearts in the process.

But comparison only produces fed-up mamas, exasperated children, and clueless husbands!

I have known many wives and mothers, who because of the spirit of comparison have heaped an impossible load of expectations on their families only to find that they have instead planted seeds of discouragement and bitterness.

In my younger years of mothering, I was one of them.

When I reflect on some of the reasons I failed to introduce change gently, fear seems to be a big factor: fear of the future, fear of failure, and fear that my children might make the same mistakes I made when I was their age. But fear is a poor impetus for the spirit-led change that brings life and liberty!

The word of God tells us that comparison is not only foolish but futile. Not every model of family life we see presented out there in the big beautiful blogosphere is meant to be our model–at all. Not every path explored is the path we are to personally follow. It takes a discerning spirit to sift through all the advice, the bulleted points, and the endless stream of helpful suggestions.

The motivation behind making changes for our families deserves a period of evaluation–weighing decisions against the word of God, seeking to be in agreement with our husbands, and praying and asking, “Lord, is this the direction you want our family to go?”

Psalm 25:12 says, “Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

The Hebrew word for instruct (yarah) is such a beautiful word. It’s like the flow of water or a gentle rain. But it’s also purposeful like an archer taking aim at a target. The word Choose denotes taking a keen look at your options based upon thorough examination and not an arbitrary whim. In choosing, we are to thoroughly examine the way in which we should go.

Isaiah 30:20-21 say, “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”

The Holy Spirit speaks comfortingly to us on a daily basis, instructing us in the way we should go. We are to lead our children in the same way. I pray that God will council us mamas and give us wisdom in the secret place of our hearts, and that we will contemplate making changes, not on a whim or suddenly for shock value to whip our families into shape, but in encouraging, gentle ways that will be refreshing and nourishing to their souls–like a steady stream of gentle rain from the hand of God.

Blessings,
Jill

The Girlhood Finishing School: Graceful Girlhood-Issue One

graceful Girlhood thumbnailIn today’s culture, the development of godly character, good manners, and solid family relationships are not usually at the forefront of a girl’s education as in centuries past. Although we hope our daughters will safely navigate the journey from girlhood to womanhood with their faith intact and a heart for family and home, the truth is, except for the Word of God, the focus of academics in their formative years far outweighs any kind of relational, character-based instruction.

Of course, we mothers are the greatest book our daughters will ever read. Our faith in God, how we love our husband and children, and how we handle life’s difficulties are the most valuable lessons they will learn while under our care. As the old adage says, “Morals are caught, not taught!” The example we set day in and day out, cannot be underestimated. But the truth is, some of us were raised without the kind of spiritual and practical life skills we long to impart, so we often find ourselves learning alongside our daughters.

For this very reason, I have collected quite a number of books over the years on the subjects of godly character, manners, homemaking, and the training of daughters. These books have ministered to my daughters’ hearts and encouraged them in their Christian walk, while instructing me how to gently guide them along the path of life.

Although we have produced The Girlhood Home Companion Magazine for over a decade and featured many nuggets of wisdom from my library in this precious publication, I have had a desire to share more of my collection than magazine production allows, and in a format that can be accessed topically. That’s how the idea for The Girlhood Finishing School came into being.

One of the most delightful ways to share the content of The Girlhood Finishing School with your daughter(s) is to snuggle together on the couch or around your kitchen table with a cup of tea. This bi-monthly publication is designed to be read together at a leisurely pace, one or two times a week, so the content of each category can be discussed, ideas pondered, and changes implemented into your daily routine as you are led.

You can create a Girlhood Finishing School binder for the eBook version, using dividers to categorize the topics such as grace-filled living, godly character, manners, homemaking, health and beauty, penmanship, copywork, etc., and encouraging articles for mothers who are raising daughters.  Print out articles from each category and reference them at any time. The Girlhood Finishing School is also available in a print version.

It is often said that we are what we read, so it is our hope that The Girlhood Finishing School will be an encouragement for both you and yougraceful girlhood  store 2 daughter (s). May the heart-felt words and life-lessons you encounter in these pages from authors, past and present, be a resource you turn to over and over again for growing your daughter’s character and her faith. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)

Issue One Includes:

The Immortal Mark

The Nurtured Heart

It Shall Not Seem Hard to Thee

Making Others Happy

The Sin of Omission-Poem

The Cheer of the Unattained

Memories of Girlhood

The Home Lights

Systems in Work

How Emily Made Mistakes (for younger girls)

Agreeable and Beautiful Manners (for older girls)

Kind Words Only

Greeting the New Day

Recipes for Beauty

Copywork/Penmanship

For Mothers–Understanding the Dreamy Girl & Making Changes Gently

To order visit our store here!

To be notified of publication releases, sign up on the front page of our webste here to receive our newsletter.

Geared for girls: ages 8-16, mothers and grandmothers.

Blessings,
Jill

Become Inspired to Write at Publish 2013 (Giveaway!)

IMG_4424 copyYears ago, my younger sister Joan gave me an envelope of notes and a copy of the speech my mother gave at a local Historical Society in the 1980’s.

I sat spellbound as I read the contents, seeing for the first time my mother’s ability to paint a picture of her childhood in descriptive words and phrases. She filled 15 typewritten pages with the narrative of her girlhood days in the 1930’s, and those of the by-gone era of her parents and grandparents. It was a story she carried in her heart, and one I never recall hearing as a child.

I know my mother didn’t consider herself a writer, yet I found a scrap of paper in the envelope with these words “Legacy of June or June’s Legacy.” Mom realized she had a story to tell future generations, and I’m sure she thought that one day she would get around to completing it, but after a debilitating illness, she went home to be with the Lord in 1987 at the young age of 64.

Those precious pages are all I know of her history, and that is one of the reasons I wrote: Every Day is a Gift—Journal the Ordinary Moments of Your Extraordinary Life, because our personal stories should be shared with our families now and preserved for future generations!

That’s why I would like to invite you to Publish 2013: an online interactive conference for inspiring and equipping both children and adults to write and get their stories in print.

See how your life experiences, passions, and creative gifts can become a springboard for becoming a published author or artist.

Publish 2013 features 19 different speakers who will share their expertise in both self and traditional publishing!

If you have ever thought of writing a book or starting a home business, this conference is for you. Or if you just want to learn how to creatively journal life’s everyday moments or inspire a budding writer in your family, you will definitely want to attend.

Learn from a seasoned group of writers, editors, artists, photographers, and self-publishers who have a lot to say about the publishing process! Over 20 hours of live, interactive workshops.

To view the schedule and reserve your ticket click here!

We hope you will be able to attend Publish 2013. We look forward to meeting you and answering your publishing and home business questions!

Leave a comment below about a book you would love to write or one that you have really appreciated to win a free ticket to the conference and a download of Every Day is a Gift~Journal the Ordinary Moments of Your Extraordinary Life! A winner will be announced Thursday, 12:00 p.m. I’m really excited to see what the Lord has put on your heart!

Blessings,
Jill

 

Join Us For Three Complimentary Publish 2013 Online Preview Workshops!

publish1 copyDear Friends,

As many of you know, my family has been in the self publishing business for over 15 years, and my children have grown up and flourished as writers and artists around the printed page.

Over the years, we have developed different areas of expertise, helping others solve their printing dilemmas or realize their publishing dreams. As a result, it has been on our hearts for quite some time to host an online conference where writers and artists can share their firsthand knowledge and experiences about book and magazine publishing.

I would like to invite you to a free preview session for Publish 2013. This online conference is for inspiring and equipping both children and adults to discover how writing works in the real world. See how your life experiences, passions, and creativity can become a springboard for becoming a published author or artist!

Come learn from our talented and diverse lineup of writers, photographers, and entrepreneurs as they share the stories of how they got started in publishing and what they have learned along the way.

This conference will greatly benefit anyone who is thinking about publishing a book, establishing a viable home business, or just wants to learn more about fostering a creative home environment. From words to websites, blogging to books, and everything in-between, Publish 2013 a tremendous resource you won’t want to miss.

Register here to attend the complimentary preview workshops!

 

 

35% Off Summer Sale!

Summer reading sale copy“A good book is the most appropriate gift that friendship can make.
It never changes; it never grows unfashionable or old…
but always its clean clear pages are ready to amuse, interest and instruct.”
~The Golden Treasury of Home Thoughts 1878

Dear Moms,

Do you remember those lazy days of summer, devouring book after book when you were a girl? I do. I used to sit on a lawn chair in the back yard of my childhood home and fritter away the hours reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. And when I was in my teens, I was captivated by the glossy pages of Seventeen Magazine. Even though I enjoyed those publications at the time, in truth, they didn’t profit my heart at all. I wasn’t a Christian and I didn’t know that what I needed most in my life was a relationship with the Living God.

That’s why I hope your daughter will be able to experience The Girlhood Home Companion in her formative years. This beautiful publication ministers to the heart and soul of the Christian girl and encourages her to grow in her relationship with the Lord while lovingly serving her family. Our contributors share the lessons they have learned about life from a Christian perspective through interesting articles, editorials, and projects centering on all aspects of godly character for a girl’s heart and home.

If you’re looking for a profitable way to take advantage of the slower pace of summer, let me encourage you to spend some leisurely time in your daughter’s company enjoying The Girlhood Home Companion or our newly revised book on jounaling entitled: Every Day is a Gift. These publications are a labor of love and the fruit that comes from reading nourishing products like these will be evident as you see faith springing up in fresh new ways!

If you are new to our publications, I cannot emphasize how important it is to have quality reading material for you and your daughter to share and discuss together. Our thinking and actions are formed early by the kind of words and images we dwell on, and that’s why these publications, which so beautifully incorporate the word of God into all aspects of life will influence your daughter’s heart and yours in such a lovely and winsome way.

Take advantage of our 35% Off Summer Sale on all Remembrance Press Products now and through July 31st!

Use code: summersale

Blessings,
Jill Novak

The Gift of Family Writing: Every Day is a Gift by Jill Novak

New Every day is a gift-Fi copy2 copyPurchase  Every Day is a Gift here!

“All my children have a lot of words. They talk constantly. I just have never really known how to turn that into writing, yet after reading your book, it all seemed so simple.” ~Melissa Parsons

Every Day is a Gift is the culmination of eight years of discovery—the journey of how our family began writing together and the joy we’ve experienced along the way. It’s bursting with examples to help you and your family capture your life stories as they happen; and it’s packed with practical tools and ideas that will inspire your children (even the most reluctant ones) to value their personal experiences and write about them creatively. If you feel that writing isn’t your strong point, you’ll gain confidence from this method, and so will your children.

Every Day is a Gift will teach you how to:

  • Enable children of all ages – preschool through high school – to capture their life stories as they happen
  • Equip ALL your children, regardless of their learning styles, to become confident writers
  • Encourage even the most reluctant writers to utilize their oral storytelling skills as the basis for their writing
  • Inspire children who hate to write
  • Develop the practical techniques that “real” authors use as they write from what they know
  • Strengthen family relationships through the written word
  • Communicate vision and a hope in Christ to each of your children
  • Express gratitude for loved ones through tribute writing
  • Preserve your spiritual legacy for future generations

If you’re looking for a way to make writing a
natural part of your everyday life, you’ll love this book…
and your children will too!

Filled with examples of journal entries, essays and writing styles – Every Day is a Gift
is for writers of all ages, by writers of all ages. ~ Jill Novak

For Children

Did you know you can teach your children how to write and preserve family memories at the same time? The Gift of Family Writing transcends age barriers – it works beautifully for little children who can’t read, but have a lot to say, and it works for older children who hate to write or those who are gifted storytellers, but can’t get their thoughts on the page due to developing spelling or handwriting skills. It transcends learning styles, and establishes a strong foundation for writing from what you know, utilizing many techniques that “real” writers use.

For Parents

The Gift of Family Writing isn’t just for children, it’s for parents, too! You’ll be inspired to put your pen to paper as you read about the different ways you can write to and with your children. Family journaling, memoir, personal essay, letter writing, and spiritual testimonies, and tributes are just a few of the genres that you will explore in The Gift of Family Writing. You’ll be motivated to make writing a priority when you see how the written word can strengthen family relationships and preserve a spiritual legacy for generations to come.

A Learning Lifestyle for the Whole Family

The Gift of Family Writing isn’t an activity, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of seeing and thinking, a way of appreciating the little things in life, a way of savoring everyday moments and valuing the individuality of family members. Written by Jill Novak and published by Remembrance Press, The Gift of Family Writing will show you how to connect your family’s hearts on paper and nurture family relationships.

 Testimonials

“Jill Novak has written a truly helpful resource that will bless all families. What a gem… visually appealing, inspiring, and practical.” – Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience.

“Fantastic… an inspiration and a comfort.” – Rebecca Ponce

“Has motivated my children like nothing ever has before. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!” – Leslie K.

“Exactly what I’ve been looking for.” – Susan Nelson

“Now I’ll be able to clearly trace the hand of the Lord in our lives, and I’m so excited about that.” – Colleen L.

“You blessed me abundantly… may the Lord bless you in return.” – Shannon

“Deep in my heart I was wanting a way to preserve [our family] memories, but never had a clear idea of how to do it. Now, I do!” – Sheri Graham.

“I have been deeply encouraged to cherish the special, everyday moments. How valuable it is to see life through that perspective and capture it on paper. I started doing that recently, then your book arrived and the message brought it all to life and spurred me on.” – Barbara S.

What’s so refreshing about Remembrance Press is that it reminds families how to take an ordinary day, and write about it so simply and beautifully, that it turns a plain day into a cherished memory; giving your family a written record of the blessings from the Lord. Remembrance Press shows how important communication is, through our writing and actions, to demonstrate the love of God, and how it starts with our families first. – Gena Suarez, Publisher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Every Day is a Gift Giveaway!

New Every day is a gift-Fi copy2 copy

To learn more about our newly revised book: The Gift of Family Writing: Everyday is a Gift-Journal the Ordinary Moments of Your Extraordinary Life, click here.

Leave a comment below about your Mother’s Day celebration or a life lesson that the Lord has been teaching you.

Did your children make any special food for you on Mother’s Day? If so what was it? Did they do anything special for you? Or did you go anywhere? What do you like to do on Mother’s Day? Is there anything that the Lord impressed upon your mind this Mother’s Day?  Is your mother still alive? How did you honor her?

Answer any or all questions, and have fun!

The winner will be drawn May 22, 2013.

Blessings,
Jill

 

And the winner is: Kelley Wallace!

random

Kelley Wallace says:

We started having picnics on Mother’s Day when our children were really little. We would head over to the campus of the college where my husband teaches. The campus is always deserted around that time, and it’s only a few minutes from our house. We’d enjoy a stroll around the campus and then settle in for our picnic while the kids played.

Now they’re bigger–six and nine–so we go a little further afield. We go to a local state park, have our picnic, and then go for a two-mile hike. Still quiet and relaxing.

I’d love to win this giveaway. I do a little personal writing from time to time. I’d love to do more. I could really use some tips and ideas!

May Sale:Pre-Order and Save!

rosemaryThe words “There’s Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance” can be found on the back cover of one of my journals. This familiar Shakespearian quote caught my eye one day when I was trying to think of a name for our publishing company. Remembrance Press seemed fitting because of the strong theme of remembrance that is woven throughout our products.

The Gift of Family Writing, Forget-Me-not faith, and Writing Letters to Your Children are all products that were born out of remembering the faithfulness of God to our family and preserving those stories for generations to come. And as it says in Malachi 3:16, a book of remembrance was written in His name.

I didn’t originally intend to write a book about journaling, but through a deep desire to teach all of my children (ages 2-15 at the time) to write, I discovered simple and natural ways to help them record their life stories as they happen, and in the process, they became confident and creative writers. The best part is that these techniques and journaling styles work beautifully with children of all ages (toddlers to teens) and parents, too!

Never underestimate the influence you play in equipping the next generation to remember and to write from their personal experience. When mothers embrace journaling, children just naturally follow. A special bond is formed as you begin to hear your child’s heart through the words of their experience. You will love this writing approach!

We would like to bless you with a May special on all our family writing products. This is a pre-publication special as we are re-printing The Gift of Family Writing with a new cover and the expanded title: Every Day is a Gift—Journal the Ordinary Moments of Your Extraordinary Life.

We are offering The Gift of Family Writing and audio workshop on CD for the whole family for just $17.75, 25% off of the regular price of $24.95. Just use the code: “maysale” to receive your discount. Or order The Gift of Family Writing bundle including Forget-Me-Not Faith and Letters to My Children, companion workshops especially for mothers.

Also, my son Eric and his fiancée, Hannah, have created two new books centered around their growing up years in the kitchen. Bread and Jam, first in a series are beautiful “cooking from scratch” recipe books are filled with memories of learning to cook by their mamas sides.

Filled with beautifully crafted prose and photography, each book offers tried-and true methods for cooking traditional favorites as well as gluten-free recipes. Order these two books and receive the audio workshop: Make Your Own Heritage Recipe Notebook by Jill Novak for free.

 

 

Spring Sale!

I remember my mother sharing the story of her girlhood and how on rainy days she used to climb up to the attic of the summer cottage her parents owned. There she would lay on her tummy and read bound volumes of comics. I’m sure she enjoyed herself, but how much more would she have loved to read a publication like The Girlhood Home Companion?

As I look over pages of The Girlhood Home Companion, I am in awe of the beauty I find there – beauty for the heart, mind, and soul. The Girlhood Home Companion is an encouragement for today’s Christian girls, and a profitable tool in the hands of the mothers and grandmothers who are raising them. If you have never read The Girlhood Home Companion, you’re in for a treat, and so is your daughter! Our back issue Treasury Albums are now 25% off (use the code: “springsale” when you place your order) or purchase the current single issues advertised below.

Listen to the April Tea Cozy – Our Compliments
I am very happy to share the April Tea Cozy conversation I had a few years ago with Lisa Steigerwalt. Lisa is the Girlhood Home Companion’s resident tea and etiquette editor and in this talk, she shares the benefits of establishing a weekly teatime ritual in our homes. You will find the link at the end of the article on Teatime Hospitality. Put on the kettle, settle back, and listen to this inspiring conversation. You can purchase the Tea Cozy club in single issues or a 12-month bundle.

Bulk Orders
If you want to order any of our products for your church or homeschool group, or as birthday favors or tea party gifts, please contact us at (859) 881-1960, and we will be glad to give you the bulk discount rate information.

Blessings,
Jill

 

Mini-Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe

scone

“You make the best scones!” my son’s fiancée said. I gave her a big hug!

I do love to make scones. but it does take a certain knack. Mostly I’ve learned through trial and error, so I hope to pass my scone making expertise on to you as I share it with my “daughter-in-love” to be.

When making scones there are two important things to remember:  First, don’t overwork the dough. You want to knead it just enough to combine the ingredients. The less the dough is fussed with, the higher the scones will rise, so just knead the ingredients together until they form a rough ball of dough. Second, remember to roll the dough out nice and thick about one and a fourth to one and a half inches. The thicker the dough, the higher the scone. And that’s really all there is to it. The mastery of these two steps will make nice tender scones with ample room for your favorite jam or jelly.

Mini-Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2/3 cup firm butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat (silicone) baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, 6 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, semi-sweet morsels, and Kosher salt together with a wire whisk.

3. Next, cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. First beat the eggs with a fork, then stir in the cream and vanilla and mix with a wire whisk.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together with a big enamel or wooden spoon. Then, using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball. The liquid measurements are pretty accurate, but if the ingredients won’t hold together, add a half teaspoon of cream at a time until they do. Lightly knead the dough until it holds together. Do not overwork.

6.  If you’re making wedges, divide your dough into fourths. Place 2 fourths on one cookie sheet, and 2 fourths on another. Pat or roll the dough out into 1 1/2 inch thick rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges with a knife that has been dipped in flour. Do not separate the wedges. If you prefer individual rounds, roll your dough out and cut with a biscuit cutter or a small to medium drinking glass.

7. When placing the scones on a cookie sheet make sure you don’t crowd them. Give them plenty of room to “breathe” while they’re baking. Brush the tops with heavy cream or half and half. Sprinkle with large crystal sugar.

8. Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove to serving platter. Serve warm.

The photos below were for cream scones, but I wanted to show you the consistency of the dough.

scone tutorial