Every interaction I’ve had with Renita Archey has left me smiling. She is delightful, and I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. True to her transparent nature, she shares about herself in a warm and real way. Grab a refreshing drink and enjoy this chat with a fun-loving Christian woman.
Renita, please tell us a little about yourself.
Renita: I am a lifelong Tennessean and an only, and slightly spoiled, only child. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home with both sides of my family being faithful members of the Lord’s church. In fact, when I returned to my home congregation to speak at a ladies day they asked everyone who was related to me to stand. My Mom, six aunts and two or three cousins were in the audience.
I graduated from Freed Hardeman and returned to East Tennessee (you can only return to Tennessee from Tennessee if you live here and understand that East, Middle and West Tennessee are each considered their own state) to work in local radio. But then, at a Wednesday night bible study I met a young, handsome man by the name of Jeff Archey. One year later we married. We have enjoyed 27 wonderful years this April.
I work in the CEO office of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Manufacturing plant. I can literally say I have been here since dirt because I was hired before the plant was build and watched the facility come to life during my first three years of employment.
Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! As a speaker, your lessons are always Word-filled and practical. What are some lessons you think we need more of today?
Renita: No matter how old we are, a good reminder of the basics is never out of date. We can draw something new from those words we have studied many times, and I think we are strengthened every time. That is especially true as our nation appears to be making so many of the same mistakes the Israelites made as a nation. Drawing those parallels are very important reminders. It is also necessary to keep reminding ourselves of the basics because, unfortunately, as we look around our congregations, it is sometimes very evident that they are not being put into practice in our everyday lives. We see immodest apparel at worship services or our members posting in social media about ungodly activities in which they are participating.
From the very first time I met you, I’ve been drawn to your sweet spirit. To what can attribute your peaceful demeanor?
Renita: I am not sure if those who live with me on a day to day basis would call me peaceful. This morning I was sitting at the foot of my dad’s hospital bed watching him sleep and I thought of how practical, patient and even tempered he is. I have never seen him lose his temper. He always has practical advice to give, and has handled many difficult situations with wisdom and grace. That life-long example is where I hope I get my spirit. I hope I can be half as effective as my parents have been in the Kingdom.
What a blessing to have that kind of example from your father! He will continue to be in my prayers. Is there something you’d like to share about yourself that others might be surprised to know?
Renita: I am a pretty meat and potatoes type of girl. There is not much surprising about me. Jeff thinks it really cool that I was able to interview a couple of Presidents of the United States of America during my time as a news reporter, and it was neat…but I don’t know…I would rather someone say it surprised them to know I am 53 years old.
Jeff is right! What’s your favorite thing about being a preacher’s wife?
Renita: I think it would have to be the opportunities I am given at work. Most people call themselves “Christians” but because they call me “the preacher’s wife” many times co-workers come to me with Bible questions or with an issue in their life where they need help. I don’t believe I would be able to have as many bible studies over lunch without that “title”. Right now two ladies that I work with are attending my ladies’ class at the Chattanooga School of Preaching and Biblical Studies. It opened the door to an in-depth study on the role of women leaders in the church. Another co-worker approached me when her daughter came home talking about “a young earth”. She had never heard the term before and we studied for several weeks. I also cannot remember the number of times two of us have retreated to the restroom for a session of prayer over a specific issue they were facing. I pray that the small seeds planted each day bear fruit in the years to come.
Renita, I think that’s one of the best answers I’ve ever been given. I love your soul-winning attitude about the “title,” when so many preachers’ wives seem to resent it. Keep up the great work! What’s your go-to company meal?
Renita: Well…I am more likely to take you a mile down the road to a local “meat and three” we frequent than offer to cook for you . It is a quiet place most days where you can easily talk, and then we go back to the house for dessert. If I really need to fix something at home it will be easy like a large pan of lasagna and salad. One of our members once told me it was a sin that I had such a nice kitchen since I didn’t know how to use it.
Ha! Sounds like fun! Would you mind sharing one of your favorite books with us?
Renita: I love to read…there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. I love workbooks and commentaries and lectureship books. But I am guessing I have read Daughters of Eve by Lottie Beth Hobbs a dozen times and Heart Bouquet by Louise Barnett Cox almost that many.
Thank you, Renita. Time spent with you is always refreshing. May God bless you abundantly as you continue to shine for Him!
Brittany Davis is a woman who decided to use her talents in a way that would spiritually uplift other women. As a wife, new mother, editor, speaker, and author, she understands the need for good time management and proper priorities. Anyone can see that Brittany is a beautiful woman with a radiant smile. It doesn’t take long to discover that her beauty is heart-deep. Please enjoy this pleasant conversation with our dear sister in Christ.
Kathy: Tell us a little about yourself, Brittany.
Brittany: My name is Brittany Davis I am the eldest daughter of Eric and Vanessa Owens. I’ve been married to my dear husband for five years and this past August we welcomed our first child, Landon. I am an author, speaker and publisher of the website, www.virtuousmagazine.com.
Kathy: Virtuous Magazine is such a great resource! What led you to start it?
Brittany: I married my beloved in May 2009 and about a month before the wedding we found out that he had medullary thyroid cancer. So in June, right after the honeymoon, we came home and he underwent surgery.
To say I was stressed was an understatement. All went well with his surgery, but my very active and new husband was practically on bed rest for about four months. I needed to channel my jumbled nerves, and painting rooms and scrapbooking weren’t cutting it. So I started Virtuous Magazine.
I’ve always wanted to use my talents for the Lord and I love magazines so it was a natural fit. And running the magazine has led to writing books and speaking.
Kathy: We gave away copies of your book as awards at our teen girls’ camp. Can you give us a brief summary of what “Style Your Soul: Getting Dressed from the Inside Out” is about?
Brittany: Oh wow, that’s awesome! Style Your Soul is a guide book for walking worthy and for presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord. It’s unlike anything because it gets to the heart of the immodesty epidemic that’s plaguing our homes, church and nation, but also shows that modest style is not an oxymoron.
Kathy: As an editor, writer, public speaker, wife, and mother, you stay pretty busy. Do you have any time management tips?
Brittany: I’ve definitely been on a steep, sleep deprived, learning curve with my new baby, but I’ve found that advance preparation is the way to go. I try to do everything the night before from picking up the house to putting the diaper bag together, making lunch and laying out clothes. I don’t always get it all done, but when I do it makes the next day a breeze.
Also, working in batches has been beneficial for me; meaning doing all of one thing at a time whether it’s the laundry or writing articles. Instead of having loads of laundry each day I just do it all in one day, even if it takes the whole day, to get that task checked off the list.
Kathy: Would you mind sharing one of your favorite recipes?
Brittany: Lately I’ve been enjoying pan seared salmon with a side of mixed garden vegetables. I simply put some olive oil in a pan on the stove and sear the wild Alaskan salmon on both sides until it’s flaky and has developed a slightly crunchy coating. I season it with Tony Chachere’s original creole seasoning, cumin and rosemary. The vegetables are frozen so I just cook them on the stove with some olive oil butter.
Kathy: Thank you so much for sharing your time and tips with us, Brittany. May God bless you and your sweet family as you continue to shine for Him!
She’s young, beautiful, warm, and fun-loving. Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy this interview with Alicia Bookout, a sweet preacher’s wife and mother.
Kathy: Hi, Alicia! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Alicia: “Garrett and I met for the first time on January 28, 2006 at a get-together for the freshman at the Bear Valley Institute of Denver. He had just moved from TX. He asked some people about me, but was told I was younger than I actually was, so didn’t pursue. He later learned my real age (whew!) and a year later we fell hard for each other. We just celebrated 6 years of happy marriage!
Right after marriage we were given the excellent opportunity for Garrett to work as the Intern for Bear Valley church of Christ for two years. Our “mentors” (as we like to call them) were some people named Neal and Kathy Pollard. 😉 Since 2010 we have lived in Clovis, NM where Garrett is the pulpit Minister for the 16th and Pile church of Christ.
I’m blessed to get to stay at home with our two wonderful, fun and energetic kids, Emma (4 yrs) and Wesley (2 yrs).”
Kathy: You write for KatharosNOW. What’s that all about?
Alicia: “It is a blog aimed to encourage teenage girls to remain pure and clean (katharos) in this world. My sister-in-law started it a couple of years ago. Several different Christian women and young ladies from around the country write for it. I think it is a great resource for young ladies today.”
Kathy: Sounds wonderful! I know many will enjoy checking out http://katharosnow.com/
You fill many roles. Many young mothers struggle with feeling like they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything. What advice would you give them?
Alicia: “Pray and drink lots of coffee! I still struggle with this problem myself. One thing that has really helped is making daily lists. Especially on days that I feel overwhelmed. I will list at the top things that I absolutely have to get done that day and then add extras. If I get to the extra part of the list, that is great, if not, I really try to not lie in bed and stress about it. So many young moms (myself included) can run themselves ragged trying to make everything perfect. Some days it will just not be that way and that is ok. As long as you are taking care of your biggest jobs God has given you (hubby and children) then you are doing good. I would suggest though to NEVER allow your alone/quiet time with God to go on the “extras” part of your list. That has to be a priority daily or it will lead to more stressed and unaccomplished feelings (learned from experience).”
Kathy: What’s your favorite company meal?
Alicia: “Crockpot Shredded Italian Beef Sandwiches! It’s easy, can feed an army and something I grew up with so it always reminds me of home. I usually prepare Velveeta cheese dip to go along side so that you can smother your sandwich with it if you want. Needless to say, this is not a dish for those counting calories.”
Italian Beef Sandwiches
1 sirloin tip roast, rump roast, etc. (pork works good, too…cheaper!)
1 pkg. dry Italian Dressing (about 1 per 1 1/2 lbs of meat)
one can of Beef Broth
Put in Crockpot on low for 8ish hours (depends on how many pounds of meat you use). Shred and put on rolls!
Kathy: Would you mind sharing another favorite recipe with us?
Alicia: “I have too many favorite recipes so this question was one of the hardest to answer. Chocolate Éclair Cake kept coming to mind though. So easy to make and I could eat the entire pan if I’m not careful.
1 Box Graham Crackers
1 big box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 tub Chocolate Frosting
Make Pudding according to directions and mix the cool whip into the pudding. In a 9×13 dish layer graham crackers and top with pudding mixture. Make 3 layers ending with graham crackers as the top. Heat up your chocolate frosting and pour over the top of the graham crackers. Refrigerate for a couple hours and then gobble up!”
Kathy: As a busy mom of young children, how do you keep the spark alive in your marriage?
Alicia: “As newlyweds we were told a number of times “enjoy the romance before kids come along!”. Garrett and I were determined to not let our romance fizzle out once I got pregnant with our first. It definitely takes more work, but I truly believe that having kids has made us more in love and a stronger couple.
I would suggest DO NOT give up on your quiet time and dates! We love our kids to pieces but need our time together. We do this by making sure our kids have a strict bed time (8 pm in this house) so that we have nightly alone time. If you don’t have a babysitter for a date out on the town, one of our favorite things is in-home dates! After kids are in bed cook together, watch a movie, play a game, just get creative! Home dates can be cheaper, cozier, more fun and romantic than a night out.
Also, make sure even though most of your time is spent caring for the children, that you still let your hubby know that you think of him daily. Take time in your hectic day to flirt with him. Text messages, Facebook and phone calls are great ways for that. Get dressed up just for him occasionally. My sweet husband says my “mom outfits” (sweats, t-shirt with kid food and marker and pony tail) are cute, but I also know he doesn’t complain if I fix myself up. Little things that show him you care are always a good thing.”
Kathy: What is something about you that people might be surprised to know?
Alicia: “I was born in Okinawa, Japan and have lived in 9 different states. I was an “air force brat” growing up and loved the experience of seeing all sorts of new places and people!”
Kathy: When I think of you, I think of someone who’s joyful, warm, and real. I’m sure you deal with your fair share of stress and problems, so what’s your secret to maintaining these admirable traits?
Alicia: “I appreciate you saying that. I can definitely say I have not dealt with stress like I should at times and have to work on it a lot. My new favorite thing to do when I am feeling especially stressed, upset or anxious is to do a word search in scriptures. I use my bible program online (concordance works great too) and look up words like “comfort”, “worry” and “joy”. I will read most of the scriptures that pop up. Some of my favorites I end up reading a couple times throughout the day and even writing them out on sticky notes and putting them on my walls as reminders. It is amazing how much better I feel and how my attitude changes after I do this.”
Kathy: Thank you, Alicia! It’s been a real pleasure ‘chatting’ with you, and I appreciate your beautiful insight and wisdom. May God bless you and your sweet family as you shine for Him!
Our final interview in this series is with my dear friend, JILL JACKSON. She is an easy-to-love Christian woman, and you’ll enjoy reading her practical parenting tips!
Share a little about yourself, please, by way of introduction.
“Jason & I celebrated our 16th anniversary in September. We have 3 daughters (Natalie, 14; Kara, 11; and Allie, 8). Jason preaches at East Main St. church of Christ and works at the Christian Courier. Most of our time is spent homeschooling our girls. I am currently teaching Allie’s Bible class on Sundays and Wednesdays. Sometimes I help with administrative tasks at the Courier, but now that we have several teenagers in our family, we delegate most of those tasks to them.”
We’ve heard about the Christian Courier from Betty and Sandy. What can you tell us about it?
“The Christian Courier is a wonderful avenue for educating the lost and keeping the saved saved. It began as a monthly newsletter, and is now that and much more. We have a website where articles and sermons can be accessed. We hear many wonderful words about individuals searching for the truth who stumbled upon the Courier online– some of which later obeyed the gospel. We are constantly told by preachers, elders, and others within the Lord’s body that the Courier is a useful resource for their daily lives and Bible study. We are proud to be a part of something that provides sound doctrine, encouragement, and beneficial study aids to others.”
The first time I was in your home, you served steak and creme brulee. I’ll never forget that incredible meal! What’s your go-to company meal?
“Southern BBQ, of course! We love to fix ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and baked beans.”
*To try a couple of Jill’s favorite recipes, see the end of this post.
If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be?
“My one piece of parenting advice would be to parent your children with the relationship you want to have with them as adults in mind. Do you want your home to be a place your children look forward to bringing their families to? Then as they grow up, your home needs to be a place of peace, security, and happiness. Do you want to be someone your children can look to for spiritual guidance and wisdom? Then as they grow up, they need to see you studying your Bible, hear you talking about spiritual things with them, hear your prayers for them and others, and see you walking the walk. Certainly loving, spiritual parents rear their children with the number one goal of helping them get to heaven, but our focus on that important task should not cause us to lose sight of the joy of parenting. Good parenting should cultivate a relationship between the parent and child that brings much delight to the lives of both through all stages of life, not just the years the children live in your home.
My one piece of marriage advice is to have a healthy marriage you must have healthy habits. One can’t expect a strong marriage if their marriage is full of selfishness, score keeping, or a spirituality that lacks roots. Healthy marriages are a result of a union that has Christ at the center, that looks to the needs of their spouse, that proactively focuses on turning good intentions into intentional actions.”
What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work?
“I think about the fact that while my hospitality may be encouraging to the visitors in my home, those who benefit the most are really those within my home– my children. By being hospitable to others, I am seizing an opportunity to train them to be hospitable when they are grown. The same could be said about anything we do, from teaching Bible class, preparing food for someone, visiting someone, etc. What I choose to do today shows my children what my priorities in life are and instills those priorities within their hearts. That is what encourages and motivates me aside from the obvious that these are works God expects and delights in.”
1 52 oz can of Van Camp’s pork and Beans
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs mustard
1/4 c molasses
1 c. BBQ sauce
(Optional–chopped up brisket or pork roast)
Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a glass 9×13 baking dish. Cook, uncovered at 325 degrees for 75 min. Let stand 10-15 min before serving.
Peanut butter cake
1/2 c butter
1 c water
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c oil
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter
1/3 c milk
1/2 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c powdered sugar
Combine butter, water, peanut butter, and oil. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour batter into a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min.
Heat butter, milk, and peanut butter until comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Pour hot frosting over cake.
Continuing our interviews of the Jackson women, today we’ll spend time with SANDY JACKSON. She and her beautiful family live in California. As you read her replies, you’ll find her personality is as sunny as the state in which she lives!
Please share a little about yourself.
“Our story began when this Alabama girl shook hands with a tall, handsome, west coast gentleman at the social club mixer in front of Freed Hardeman’s Milan Sitka building 25 years ago. With a bit of persuasion to my dad, Jared and I were married in May 1990.
We have two quick-witted teenage boys (a gene passed down from their Pappaw Wayne and a few other close relatives). I am a full-time wife and mother. We have home-schooled Nicholas and Matthew since the day they entered the world. I work about ten hours each week at the Christian Courier office helping with mail-outs, church bulletins, and organizing recorded audio lessons.
Jared’s job is difficult to define. He works full-time for the Christian Courier, but his work encompasses so much. He manages the technical side of things, but he also writes a monthly Christian paper called “Fortify Your Faith” that emphasizes the practical application of biblical principles in the church and in the family. He has just finished teaching an extended class on the Bible and money that was interesting, and this only scratches the surface of what he does. In spite of his very busy work schedule, he has always been a full-time dad. His family is his most important work.”
How long have you lived in California, and what do you love about it?
“The day I received my college diploma we had the U-haul loaded to head to California, my new home for the next 22 years. Jared and I decided, even though we were married the summer before my senior year at Freed-Hardeman, we would stay in Henderson, Tennessee so I could graduate the following spring. I joke now that the finance degree helps me balance our checkbook each month. All humor aside, I gained more in those four years at Freed-Hardeman than just a degree; blessings I continually reap to this day. My husband’s family took me in as one of their own making being away from my own family a bit easier. It has been a blessing for our children to sit on the same church pew with their cousins and grandparents all of their life.
The weather here is gorgeous. I have only slightly felt one earthquake; something I don’t think as often about as others. California is deemed as “the liberal state….with fruits and nuts.” Yes, it has been hard in many respects raising a family here, but the sound teaching and warm family connections at East Main Street Church of Christ in Stockton have been the calming peace among the immoral hurdles around us. I do wish California wasn’t so far from our other friends and family across the country. A monthly cross-country trip would be nice, but the budget just has not allowed for that.”
We appreciate your efforts with the Christian Courier. Tell us about it, please.
“The Christian Courier started as a monthly journal of biblical studies in May of 1965 by Wayne Jackson, my father-inlaw. Over the years, the Christian Courier gained a reputation as a trusted and balanced source for preachers, teachers, and elders. In 1998, the Christian Courier entered the digital age by expanding to the internet. It really has become more than simply a paper. The Christian Courier now is a full-time mission work reaching more than 274,000 visitors in just the last thirty days and 2.76 million people to date this year alone. Every month people living in over 212 countries come to the Christian Courier seeking information on biblical topics. It has been amazing to see how the resources produced by the Christian Courier are being used. Once when traveling, we stopped to worship on a Wednesday night in Wyoming. In the ladies’ Bible class, the teacher pulled out an article from the Christian Courier during her lesson. People from around the world send in their questions and use the information to deal with difficult situations. It is truly a blessing to be a part of such an important and meaningful mission work like the Christian Courier.”
I know from personal experience that you’re all very hospitable. What’s your go-to company meal?
“I enjoy making chili. You can put it with cornbread, crackers, baked potatoes, corn chips, sour cream, and cheese and feed an army of people. It is comfort food for me. I also love my husband’s smoked ribs and brisket. Making sides for that meal means a good party is getting ready to take place at our house!”
Will you share one or two of your favorite recipes with us, please?
“We love chocolate chip cookies. Since Jared was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years ago, I try not to bake them while he is home, because the smell is tortuous. We make them for potlucks, gifts, and just a small treat while watching a good ballgame. I shape them with a tiny scoop, after all it is less calories to eat 6 tiny cookies than 2 big ones, right? I have tried several recipes, but we have voted the best one is from Alton Brown’s Good Eats show and website. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.htmlYou can freeze the cookie balls and bake only the number you want/need to eat!”
Would you mind sharing something about yourself that others might never have guessed?
“I am a twin. I was born 2 minutes before my brother. My mom and dad did not know twins were in their future until an hour after my mom came out of cesarean surgery. She fed me then a few minutes later, my brother was brought to her for his feeding. She commented to the nurse, ‘There must be a mistake…’ I grew up hanging out in trees and doing boy things since my brother didn’t buy into the doll setup. I think God gave me boys to raise knowing I love anything to do with a ball, and I don’t know how to do hair.”
If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be?
“Jared and I try to walk two to three times each week. We usually go for five to six miles at a time. We have found this time free of interruptions to visit, plan, troubleshoot and hopefully burn a few calories (in his case, lower his blood sugar levels). I truly believe a couple has to spend time together frequently to really enjoy each other. I’ve never bought into the idea, ‘Distance makes the heart grow fonder.’
Parenting advice? I’m still in the training process myself, but I would say cultivating a sense of belonging in the family is vital. Many enemies are attacking the home today and pulling our children away. The family is where God designed love, forgiveness, affection and discipline to be experienced and practiced to cause a child to say, ‘This is where I belong’ – as opposed to looking for these things elsewhere.”
What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work?
“Have people over to our house. We love company! We have a guest room ready at all times…come visit us!”
This week we’ll be interviewing three amazing Christian women. They’re all married to Jackson men! You’ll enjoy reading about them, their families, and their work with The Christian Courier. We’ll begin with BETTY JACKSON.
Betty is married to Wayne Jackson, and they are celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary this month! They have 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 1 great grandson, and another on the way. Wayne is a writer, and Betty proofreads most of what he writes. She enjoys spending her time by keeping the books for their congregation and teaching children’s Bible classes.
How long have you lived in California, and what do you love about it?
“I was born in California. Most of all I love the church family here, for we have been here for over 50 years. California is unique in its landscapes. There are different topographies in each direction. For example, to the west is the beautiful Pacific Ocean, and to the east are the Sierra Nevada Mountains. ”
We appreciate your efforts with the Christian Courier. Please tell us about it.
“The Christian Courier started with Wayne typesetting on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Because of the spacing of words, he had to type each article twice. He burned his own negatives; also, he did the printing. When our children were at home we all helped to address and sort according to the post office requirements. Now, our sons manage all of that. I proofread the paper every month. Their children now help with the mailing, fifty years later!”
“A pot roast meal is probably my go-to meal. Enchiladas are another dish that we like.”
*You can check out Betty’s favorite pie recipe at the end of this post.
Would you mind sharing something about yourself that others might never have guessed?
“I was not reared in a Christian home.”
If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be?
“A marriage ought to glorify God. Applying the golden rule in every aspect of married life will do just that, and create an atmosphere of peace, understanding, and love.
Setting boundaries and showing our offspring love helps train them according to the Scriptures.Teaching children to put the Lord first, and living the same before them will affect their spiritual lives to the Lord’s glory.”
What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work?
“For me, it is the realization that there is little time left to accomplish anything lasting. While some of the little things may not seem important (visits, teaching just a few children in Bible class, notes of encouragement, etc.), they are. Teaching either by example or by word can be everlasting to the beneficiaries of one’s efforts.”
*Here is Betty’s favorite recipe. She said they make it once a year at holiday time. Sounds delicious!
HERSHEY BAR PIE
6 reg. Hershey bars with or without almonds
20 lg. marshmallows
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring (without almonds substitute 1 tsp. vanilla)
1 graham cracker pie crust
Melt the candy bars and marshmallows in the milk in a double boiler Cool. Whip cream and fold into the creamed mixture. Pour into crust and chill for about 8 hours or overnight.
In 2011, I was given an assignment to interview a Christian parent. Having three sons myself, Sister Butt seemed an ideal candidate. Stan and Sheila Butt have brought up three sons in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). She graciously allowed me to share this interview here on my blog. It is encouraging to see a mother who has successfully raised boys to grow into faithful men, active in the Lord’s church. All three of her sons preach the gospel!
*Besides your spouse and the Almighty, who was the most helpful to you as you trained your children spiritually? In what ways?
The body of Christ had the greatest influence on our children. When Stan Jr. was in law school at Emory University, he wrote an article describing the church’s influence on his life. He said the church made him a stronger person. We often had Bible teachers, preachers, and missionaries into our home whom we greatly credit as having influenced the spiritual growth of our children.
*Were there any book or articles you read that were a help?
Next to the Bible, I enjoyed Dr. Dobson’s book “Hide or Seek.” This book describes the importance of building a child’s self-esteem. However, I soon realized that it is more important for a child to have “Christ-esteem.” For a child to say, “I can do anything” is one thing; for a child to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is quite another. That child will have the proper respect for God and will also develop humility and compassion. Many children with high self-esteem will never develop those characteristics.
*Did you have any specific technique or persistent plan that you utilized through all of the children’s training?
We believed consistency was key to effective biblical training. We gave three answers, “yes,” “no,” or “I’ll think about it,” and did not feel we needed to justify every answer. When our sons were young, we held them close. When they grew into teenagers, we gave them more responsibilities and let them have input into the decision making process. In addition, we were consistent with Bible quizzes at bedtime and prayer. The quizzes took place during our nightly devotionals, and helped build their basic Bible knowledge. The prayers were daily and out loud. They knew our hearts and we knew theirs in the presence of God. The practice of this blessing cannot be overemphasized.
*Besides potty training and the Terrible Two’s, what was an unusually hard time for you as a parent? How did you get through it?
We did not experience the Terrible Two’s because our children learned to obey and were not allowed to be “terrible.” We felt that being two years old was no excuse for misbehaving. As a result, we enjoyed every year of our children’s upbringing. I admit, though, that the most difficult stage was when our sons started driving. It was hard not to think of all the bad things that could happen. I had to trust in God, and my children, and pray they would make good choices.
*What is your favorite memory as a parent?
My favorite memories were the days each of our sons decided to put on Christ in baptism. The only thing that compares was watching our oldest son baptize his own daughter into Christ.
*If you could do anything over again in training your children, what would it be?
Stan and I discussed this question together and we feel we can honestly say we have no regrets. We readily admit that we were not perfect parents, but we used Deuteronomy 6 as our child-rearing guide. We spent time with our boys, and made each decision in view of eternity. Our children knew we loved the Lord more than anything else in this world. We can only say that God has made up for our imperfections, and we are eternally grateful to Him for that! To Him be the glory!
*Your children are faithful Christians, and even serving God in mighty ways. What would you tell other parents to do to achieve the same results? What do you consider the greatest factors in their upbringing that led to this?
Instilling love for the Lord in your children is the greatest factor in bringing up faithful children. They should love God above all else, even their parents. Children should recognize that every talent or ability they have is God-given. And parents should pray that their children will use their talents to serve their Lord and fellow man.
*What do you see as the biggest mistakes parents are making today?
I am saddened by children who are not made to obey simple commands like, “Come here.” I am sad when parents call their children ugly names like “little fool.” I am sad when parents are paralyzed by the wild behavior of their children. I am sad when I see parents so busy giving children what they didn’t have, that they don’t give them things they did have (which were much more precious)! I am sad when I see parents taking their children to worship, but neglecting to give any Bible training at home. I am sad when parents care more about their children’s physical appearance than how their heart appears to God. I am sad when parents are more interested in homework from school than in ‘heartwork’ from the Word. And I am so sad when we spend more time at the ball field than on the battlefield for Christ. It makes me so sad to see parents who are much more concerned with what goes into their children’s mouths than what comes out of them. I am afraid that the prince of this world has managed to confuse many parents about what is truly important. The effect of this may only be realized on the day of judgment. I pray that the Lord will open the eyes and hearts of young parents and give them the courage and the backbone to be parents whose children will glorify God!
Amen! She added some extra thoughts on parenting in general:
There is only one way of raising children and that is with prayer, the wisdom of the Word, and the determination to do the very best one can to shoot those arrows in the right direction. That takes intention, practice, and faith in the Word.
Prayer for Today: Thank you for successful mothers like Sheila Butt. May we learn from her wisdom and experience.
I’m encouraged by the righteous acts of the saints (Rev. 19:7,8). I love hearing about Christians who are striving to be Christ-like in their actions and attitude. Periodically I’ll be interviewing someone I admire for their humble service in the kingdom. My hope is that these interviews will be an opportunity to “consider one another to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).
I’m very excited about sharing this first interview! Carla Moore is beautiful and down-to-earth. She is genuine through and through, and I know you will love her insight and sense of humor as much as I do. Pour a cup of coffee, if you like, and think of this as a comfortable chat at the kitchen table. You’ll smile, you’ll be encouraged, you’ll get to know a member of your Christian family, and you might feel as if you’ve gained a new friend.
Thank you, Carla, for agreeing to this interview and for sharing your time with us. First, please tell us a little about yourself–where you’re from, where you live now, what you do, etc.
I’m a Texan, born and raised! I was born in Corsicana, not far from Dallas, and we moved to central Texas when I was 8. I’ve only lived in three different communities: Corsicana, San Marcos and now Dripping Springs (which happens to be where John was born and raised.) Pretty unusual for a preacher’s kid and preacher’s wife! We’ve been blessed to stay in one area while our boys were growing up. Although I think it would be interesting to live in another part of the country someday!
As far as what I “do” – it seems to change daily! I stayed home with the boys while they were growing and did a lot of babysitting and odd jobs (like selling on eBay) to help with expenses during that period of time. For the past 13 years, I have worked one day each week with my brother and his wife, who own a heating and air conditioning business. (No, I don’t service air conditioners, ha! I help with bookkeeping and office work.) In addition, I love working every Tuesday with my daughter-in-law and her mother at their monogramming and gift shop – what a great job, to be able to be with people you love AND fancy machines AND great fabric! I work at my friend’s fun quilt shop here in Dripping Springs when she needs me. I stay pretty busy, but thankfully my employers are flexible with my schedule!
You also blog. What’s it about?
Well, it has evolved from my original plan! John and I each lost about 75 pounds in 2011, and we had quite a few questions from people about how we managed it, and how we stayed motivated. So I started the blog, nomooreofmeplease.wordpress.com, with a post called “Hefty” describing what began my personal weight loss journey. My intent was to hold myself accountable by publicly logging my food intake daily (with the idea that public shame would keep me from eating a funnel cake…ha!) Even though we have maintained our weight loss, the daily log fell by the wayside. I’ve written other posts about weight-loss related topics but more of them have had spiritual applications. Other posts I’ve written just for fun, like the one describing our kitchen/dining floor remodel. It was a huge project (we used garden tools, boiling water, hair dryers, 3 different irons and a blowtorch to get the linoleum off the cement floor- and I’m not kidding!) and we unashamedly took advantage of having all of our kids here to help – so I put lots of pictures of that “makeover” on the blog. And Micah and I had fun one night putting together a silly Pioneer Woman style pictorial step-by-step “how to make a sandwich” post. To answer your question, the blog is about whatever I have the urge to write about – things that move me or inspire me, and that I hope will have the same effect on others.
How did you and John meet, and how long have you been married?
Our paths crossed when we were young, but we didn’t really get to know each other until he came to college at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos (now called Texas State University.) The University congregation there has a Bible Chair program, the McCarty Student Center. At that time my father, Carl Garner, was the director, so I was blessed to take part in most McCarty activities even though I was still in high school. John and I had a lot of discussions sitting on the grass outside McCarty, and he liked my mother’s home-cooked meals….so we became friends. I also thought he was pretty cute, so I asked him to go with me to a “Sadie Hawkins” picnic in the fall of 1984. By the summer of 1985, we knew “this was it”. I graduated early from high school and enrolled at Southwest Texas, and we got married on June 14, 1986. Marrying at 18 (gasp!) may not be the best choice for every girl, but it was just right for me – I have never regretted any part of my life with John!
What do you enjoy most about being married to a minister?
I enjoy going along with John and meeting other Christians when he travels to speak. I’m able to do a little more of it now we only have Micah left at home (sniff) and he’s pretty independent (sniff sniff). I also enjoy the extra opportunities to invite people into our home. I’ve heard a few ministers’ wives complain about “living in a glass house” and their lives being wide open to criticism, but I’ve honestly never experienced that! Of course we have had situations where feelings have been hurt, just because we are human. But I could never attribute that to the fact that John is a minister.
What I love the most about being married to MY minister is that he is truly interested in the soul of every person he meets: no matter their age, their background, their history, their station in life. He completely believes in the mighty power of the word of God, and he does his best to get that word into the heart of the people with whom he comes into contact. He is the most encouraging, unselfish, kind, busy, sincere person I know. Of course he is human, but he learns from his mistakes. He’s my hero. (Thank you for letting me gush about my minister, can you tell that I love him?)
Yes, I can tell that you love him, and isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? And I love how you appreciate the blessings of being a preacher’s wife. Your boys are so handsome! What are their ages? As a mother of three sons myself, I can guess you might have some cute memories treasured in your heart. Care to share one?
Oh, my boys! My favorite subject! I could talk for hours about them!
Jordan is 23, a super-smart, sober minded, hard working, athletic, serious outdoorsman. He will graduate on May 10 with a degree in Wildlife Biology from Texas State University. He and my favorite girl Erin have been married for almost three years, and we have two grandpuppies: Harlie and Nilla.
Jacob is 21. He is outgoing, a natural leader, and a reluctant but excellent speaker! He recently became engaged to his sweetheart, Alyssa (my other favorite girl) and we are so excited to add her to our family. Jacob plays football for Harding and is working towards a business degree. He is headed into the real estate field.
Micah is 15. He is a funny, friendly, tender-hearted, easy-going kid who loves football and understands math, but is completely confused by girls!
Above ALL, we are so blessed to see our sons walking in truth, growing in faith, active in the Lord’s work and forming faithful Christian families of their own. There truly is no greater joy!
Memories…too many to choose one. I will always be glad that we had Micah when Jordan and Jacob were a little older. Jordan was 8 and Jacob was 6 – old enough to be more interested in Lego sets and action figures than a baby brother, but they were both so loving and protective of him. I think they began to understand unconditional love because of how they felt about him. Micah would occasionally get a little irritated with their authoritativeness; one time he didn’t like how his brother was instructing him, and in his little 2 year old voice said “DON’T SAY TO ME!” But they are still Micah’s heroes and role models. Other memories – I’ll never forget Jordan’s face as his bride walked down the aisle toward him, and seeing Jacob standing next to him. Jordan jumping a fence to get to Jacob when he was hurt on a football field. It used to crack me up how 8 year old Micah would boss his big brothers’ football buddies around (and most of the time, they would do whatever he told them to!) Memories can be a blessing or a curse. I’m thankful that God trusted us with such wonderful boys who have made our memories a blessing.
As a foodie, I have to ask, what’s your go-to company meal?
Hmmm, probably Chicken Spaghetti, because you can stretch it and almost everyone likes it, plus I usually have all the ingredients in my kitchen. With a green salad and garlic bread, you’re good to go! Taco soup is another favorite that feeds a lot and is inexpensive and easy.
Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us?
Just one? 🙂 This is my newest favorite, adapted to have a little less fat than one I found on Pinterest.
1 ½ lbs extra lean ground beef (if you don’t mind extra fat, you can substitute or add sausage…the Owens or Jimmy Dean kind.)
Chopped onion, to taste
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 small can tomato paste
28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
4-6 cups chicken stock
8 oz your choice pasta (I like shells)
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper
CHEESY YUMMY: 8 oz cottage cheese (or ricotta) ½ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Brown your meat in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions & cook until they’re softened. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, stir for a minute or two. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate, until the tomato paste turns a rusty color.
Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock (I start with about four cups and add more if it doesn’t look “liquidy” enough…) Stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Cook your pasta separately (if you cook it in the soup, it gets mushy.) A few minutes before serving, add your fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh, you can use dried) and cooked pasta, and season to taste with salt & pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, combine all of the cheesy yummy ingredients. To serve, place a dollop of the cheese mixture in each soup bowl, then ladle the hot soup over the top. If you have extra mozzarella, you can add more to the top.
Next step: INVITE ME OVER!
That sounds so good, and I can’t wait to try it! Carla, what is something about yourself you wish others knew or understood?
I’m shy and I’m terrible about remembering names. When I’m meeting someone new, I’m a little nervous and too busy thinking of what I’m going to say next to remember what their name is. I’m trying to do better!
I have a sense of humor and love to laugh and tease. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone has my same sense of humor…
I do fight a tendency to be sarcastic and cynical. I don’t like having that cynicism in me – I want so badly to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4) and I don’t want to be “irritable or resentful…or rejoice at wrongdoing” (1 Cor. 13) so it is a daily battle with me. Some might say that sarcasm is just part of one’s personality but I think it’s a character flaw. I might not be able to change my personality but I can change my character (and I believe God expects me to.)
Thank you for opening up about that. I think many of us can relate. What are some of your favorite blogs, websites, or books?
I don’t read too many blogs. Not because I don’t like them, but because I like them too much…when reading one, I usually get pulled into reading 30 more and then three hours has gone by and I haven’t even brushed my teeth or changed out of my pajamas. I do love Come Fill Your Cup, and this other blog called Life and Favor (maybe you’ve heard of it?) 🙂 I often go to the Colley’s website to print articles to share in Bible class. I like Facebook, because I love being able to stay connected to faraway friends as well as making NEW friends! To me, Facebook can be tremendously encouraging social media. Yes, sometimes we see more than we want to but we CAN control of the buttons on our keyboard!
Books. I love to read! Historical fiction favorite: the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. I’ve read the series several times and each time is better than the last. Also, Redeeming Love by the same author (Francine Rivers) is excellent. It’s a novelized account of the book of Hosea. I thoroughly enjoyed the book Claudene Connally wrote years ago called “I Walked By His Side” about their years as missionaries in Africa. We’ve used so many of Lottie Beth Hobbs’s books in ladies Bible classes, but I think my favorite was Choosing Life’s Best. And we loved studying through Celine Sparks’ Because I Said So – it was a hoot and very practical!
Thank you. 🙂 What do you do to unwind?
I love to get lost in a book! I know we’ve already chatted about books, though. (One more thing…I especially love to read about things that I would NEVER have the nerve to actually do – like climbing Mt. Everest or underwater cave exploration!)
Never in a million years did I think I’d ever say this, but exercise is a great relaxer! Really! If I have a headache or tension in my shoulders or if I’m just stressed out, I can get on the elliptical or take a good, brisk walk and leave the gym with a clearer head, feeling much better. That doesn’t mean I WANT to go do it – it just means I feel better when I do! 🙂
Music is another great way to unwind. There aren’t many genres of music that I don’t enjoy. Growing up, Mom always had the stereo on, playing her old record albums – so I love Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. I love barbershop, and beautiful instrumentals like Yo-Yo Ma and Yanni (or, as the boys call him, Yawni!) My new favorite is a group called the Piano Guys. And of course I love gospel songs! I can’t imagine life without music – it just does something to my heart.
What do you love most about the Lord’s church?
I love that we are a family. I love having sisters in New Hampshire and Illinois and Alaska and Japan and Singapore and all points in between, some whom I have never actually met face to face, but I still feel a kindred spirit with them. I love that there is a plain, simple pattern for the New Testament church that can be easily found in His word, and followed all over the world. I love that the Lord’s church belongs to Him, and not to a mortal man. I love seeing God’s wisdom in His organization of the church. I love the fellowship and the common bond we share. I love that the Lord’s church gives us a goal and a reason to serve. And I love that there is a place and a purpose for every individual Christian. I love that it is my life.
Amen to that! Please tell us a little about the Searching for Truth video.
In 2004, John and Rudy Cain (World Video Bible School founder) began discussing the need for an inexpensive, effective tool for evangelism. Jesus’ disciples reached the lost by foot or by courier or by boat – and John and Rudy wanted to employ the most effective means possible to reach the lost in our day and age. That was through video. I think their vision was wonderful. Knowing that many people today are reluctant to commit to a one-on-one personal Bible study, SFT begins with a short fifteen minute introduction that hopefully will pique the interest of someone who is truly searching for the truth. It is easy to just hand to someone. Many congregations give them to anyone who would like a copy. We know of car dealerships that have a rack full of them, available to anyone. My mother often leaves them in the lobbies of her doctor’s offices. Erin included them in “thank you” bags for the clerks who helped her on Black Friday. It’s free to view online (www.searchingfortruth.org and on YouTube) and Rudy is always thinking up new ways for people to access it! John recently got a letter from a child who had viewed it. He said “I believe in God. He is my Father and Saver. I love him more than anything and I know you believe in Him too. You really seem like a nice guy on TV.” It made me smile!
That’s wonderful and exciting! Searching for Truth is very effective in sharing the gospel. We keep a stack of them on the visitors’ table at Bear Valley. Would you mind sharing with us what your personal Bible study time is like?
I’m embarrassed to say that I am easily distracted so I have to have quiet (which doesn’t happen regularly around here!) And I can’t sit at my desk at the computer or I’ll find my fingers wandering over to do something else on another tab. My best study time is sitting at the kitchen table with Bible, pen and paper during the middle of the day when no one else is home. Right now I am transferring notes out of my old King James that I love and have used since 1993. It’s a Thompson Chain Reference, filled with so many good helps and maps and notes! Moving my notes to my new ESV has been so interesting and a great study.
You do quite a lot of public speaking. In fact, you’re one of the ladies’ speakers at Focal Point this week. When you were asked to speak for the first time, what made you say yes? Do you still get nervous?
A long time ago Mom told me about one of their elders in Corsicana, Rollin Harris. Mom was trying to pass on teaching the high school girls class, and he told her to go home and read Matthew 25 (parable of the talents). He told her “after you read that, if you still want to quit teaching, you can.” Of course, she couldn’t! She has passed that along to me, even though I don’t feel like my talent lies in public speaking. There are so many others who are much more effective speakers than I. Sometimes I feel like there is some sort of disconnect between my brain and my mouth, and I can’t seem to get across what I am trying to say. I would much rather write than speak. When I am writing, I can back up and delete, and think some more about my words. When speaking, I am afraid that someone will misunderstand me, or that I will unintentionally take something out of context or that someone will not be kind in their assessment of me. But I try to seek only the approval of God and not man, even though I’m human and don’t want people to think badly of me. The benefits: the study and preparation are much more beneficial to me than anyone else. And I get to go places and meet friends. And YES, I’m nervous!
That’s a great story about your mom! I’ve heard you speak, and I can tell you, there’s no “disconnect.” When did you become a Christian?
I was ten years old. I remember knowing what I needed to do and feeling burdened by sin (even at ten, I knew right from wrong!) I understood that Jesus had died for ME and that was humbling to me. I remember telling a “little white lie” and recalling the verse which stated that I was crucifying Him afresh (Heb 6:6). I knew that baptism wasn’t an easy, inconsequential decision, but rather the “answer of a good conscience toward God,” (1 Pet. 3:21). I wanted to be obedient. On the Sunday afternoon after my baptism, I had a soccer game. I remember so vividly running around that soccer field knowing I had a clean slate and feeling lighter than air because I knew I had obeyed God and He had made me “white as snow.” What a great day!
Is there anything else you’d like to say or share with us?
I would like for YOU to answer all of these questions! 🙂
Thank you, Carla, for sharing your wonderful answers with us! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better, and pray that God blesses you as you continue to live for Him.
Carla would love to hear from you. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.