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Creatively Connecting with God in Our Homes

An Author Interview with Karen Whiting, Secrets of Success for Women
by Lisa M. Hendey | Source:
An Author Interview with Karen Whiting,

Each week, I am astounded by the volume of requests I receive from parents and teachers looking for project ideas related to the Sunday gospels. Far from simply searching for a simple coloring page, this dedicated moms and mentors are looking for ideas that will help their children tangibly interact with the scriptures, making them more than just words on a page.

Author Karen Whiting has spent years providing teachers and families creatively connect with God. Through her puppet ministry and the various books she has penned, this mother of five has channeled her creativity into helping families build faith connections. Her books include the
Gods Girls series, Family Devotional Builder, and her latest project Secrets of Success for Women (CLW Communications/AMG).

Karen Whiting took time recently to share with me some great thoughts and ideas for creatively connecting with God in our homes.

Q: Karen Whiting, author and mother, please begin by telling us about yourself and your family.

A: I am a mother of five and have been married for 30 years. I am also a new grandmother. My husband and I have directed a puppet ministry of teen puppeteers for the past 12 years. However, we are moving to Maryland this summer due to Jim's company relocation.

Q: Your writing focuses on an effort to creatively connect families to God. How did you come to focus on writing to emphasize spirituality?

A: My heart as a mother focused on connecting our children to God. As they grew up and made good life choices I wanted to share what I did with others.

Q: Your wonderful "Gods Girls" series includes devotional aids, but also journaling prompts and craft ideas. How does tapping into a young girl's creativity enhance her prayer life and relationship with the Lord?

A: Our first glimpse of God is seeing his creativity in Genesis as He created the world. As we develop creativity we discover talents He gave us. We also realize in making little things how much greater is God's immense power to create a universe of great diversity.

Q: Your new "Secrets of Success" series for women looks wonderful! Please share with our readers your goal for these guides? Why is a resource like this essential for busy wives and mothers?

A: My goal is to help women simplify lifestyles to free time for God's purpose in their lives. In a time pressured world I wanted to offer something compact and easy to use, yet uplifting. Every two pages is a different topic within the subject. The one on time covers procrastination, goal setting, evaluating time choices, following God's pattern of wise use of time in creation, time for joy, and so much more. The home book is really to bring the presence of Christ into the home. Topics include spiritual nurturing of children at various ages, conflict resolution, prayer, ways to involve a traveling or absent Dad, God in the hard times, and making the home a haven.

Q: "Family Devotional Builder" is chock full of wonderful activities and ideas for families! How can parents looking to share special devotional times with their children make this a priority in their hectic day to day lives? Is it too late to begin an emphasis on devotions with children if they are already in late elementary or even high school? What suggestions would you offer for parents?

A: This book is like an album of what we did as a family! As our five children never sat still at the same time and had different interests it is an active oriented book with lots of varied devotional activities.

It is never too late to build faith connections for children. Always communicate. Keep talking, with love, even when you don't think your children are listening. Use words to affirm your children and to praise them. Be real and admit mistakes you make, too.

This book's activities only take 15-30 minutes in an evening, with three evenings suggested per week. It is set up to be easy for busy parents. One of the ways to make our children a priority is to stop going after material possessions. We must put relationships first. Ads make us believe we deserve breaks, and things, yet Jesus showed us that He came to serve and not be served. Let's start serving our families.

The target age for the activities is elementary but many of them work well for teens.

A few ideas to help parents:

Ask your teens to help you choose activities to do together.
Start reading the Bible together.
Hold a family meeting to talk about making better time choices.
Eat meals together, or at least dessert.
Set a goal of being together at least once a week. Schedule it in as a
sacred appointment.
Record everyone's favorite TV shows and only watch the recordings,
forwarding past commercials. Ads fuel the desire for material things.
Skipping ads cuts many minutes out of TV watching, giving you more
together time.

Q: Mothers are often the spiritual leaders in their homes, encouraging family prayer time and emphasizing participation in church activities. What words of encouragement do you have for mothers who may feel overwhelmed by this responsibility?

A: Remember first that you are never alone, but you are partnered with God. Pray for His guidance and help. Tap into your church community and encourage family programs. Team up with another mom who is overwhelmed, for the combined talent and effort will make it easier.

Q: Karen, thanks so much for sharing your ideas and suggestions! Are there any closing thoughts you'd like to share?

A: Express love to your children and spouse. That is the first way we model Christ. We found that the more effort we put into parenting in the earlier years the more it paid off later, so persevere! To chat more, check out my website bulletin boards, at www.secretsofsuccessforwomen.com

For more information on Karen Whitings books, visit www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/external-search?search-type=ss&tag=catholicmomcom&keyword=Karen%20Whiting&index=books

Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including www.catholicmom.com and www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader. Visit her at www.lisahendey.com for more information.

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