Advent-ures in Christmas (Dadderday!)

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Hey Dads,

Usually it seems as though the moms take on these kinds of jobs–y’know, things like Christmas crafts and family devotions. But what if this year, that was a little bit different? What if this year you initiated the spiritual side of Christmas? I’m not saying you have to do it all alone. If there is a mom in your family’s picture, I hope she would be willing to work with you on this one, but if not, don’t be afraid to jump in and tackle the December adventure known as advent.

Advent simply means “coming,” as in Jesus is coming! Celebrating advent is a way to help your children, your family, to focus on that real meaning of Christmas we all hope to find.

Advent is more than just calendars with candy and prizes, it’s a way to pass on our heritage as believers and to create a spiritual foundation for your children.

The Jesse Tree is a great way to not only engage your children, but to get engaged with your children and the Christmas story.

The Jesse Tree comes from the book of Isaiah, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots”  (Isaiah 11:1),  and dates back to the middle ages.

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More recently Geraldine McCaugherean has written a delightful book that has interwoven a story that takes you day by day through the symbols of the Jesse tree. Each passage is a quick glimpse into the life of a local carver who is creating a Jesse tree and a local boy who comes to bother visit him each day subtley tricking him into telling the stories. Of course, as the stories unfold, so does the story.

There are gajillions of ways to incorporate the symbols into your own family’s life. One is available here: http://printables.yourway.net/christmas/jesse-tree-ornaments/  free printables that would allow your children to color and create the symbols and gives you a scripture reading plan to coorelate them together.

 

Leading your family spiritually can be a little intimidting sometimes, but c’mon dads, get in on the “Advent-ure” this December with your kids and The Jesse Tree, and make every day in December a Dadderday!

jess tree 3     JT-jessetree  jesse tree 2

 

 

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Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?

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It’s a Mama Mia Monday and I have a great resource to share with you mamas out there.  Our friends, Joey and Carla Link, have written a dandy of a book. I am so excited to see in print the principles they taught Tim and me, and thousands of others, about parenting our children.

Why Can’t I Get My Child to Behave? is practical and personal, filled with the tools, examples, and encouragement to see us through our parenting journeys on both our brightest and darkest days.

Joey and Carla walk us through the importance of real obedience, and how to bring our children to God’s standard. They share with us the tools of structure, routine, discipline and consequences, as well as how to focus on the inward not just the outward aspects of our children’s lives.

Before I tell you all about it, I hope you will soon find the time to pick up a copy of your own and begin to apply the principles the Links are sharing with us. Why Can’t I Get My Child to Behave? is available at Amazon in both paperback and kindle editions, at Barnes and Noble and through their moms’ notes website www.momsnotes.com/orderingresources

 

 

 

Manners Matter–Mama Mia Monday

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They do! They really do! Manners Matter! Mama Mia! This is one we should talk about.

Manners are simply basic rules we follow to show respect to one another.

Today I was reading in Proverbs 11 and a couple of verses jumped off the page at me:

“A kindhearted woman gains respect.” Verse 16a

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Verse 22

These verses got my mind going in several directions, in part because I realized how rare it is to find women who exemplify the simple qualities of kindness and discretion anymore. Thankfully I am fortunate to know several, and they continually make a great impact on my life and the lives of those around me.

Sadly, we now applaud exhibitionism, and the foul-mouthed, drunken, immoral woman has become our hero. So, it’s no wonder our sons, daughters, and sometimes our mothers and fathers, are confused as to how to behave.

Manners matter.
Discretion is a virtue.
Self Control is a good thing.
Thank You needs to rejoin our vocabularies.
Kindness gains respect.
Other people are important, too.
Respect is a good thing–not just to receive but to give.

The list could go on and on, and the fact remains that as moms, we need to, I mean, we really need to, slow down and make sure that we are teaching our children to honor God and honor others by the way we treat them and ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned before we had an intern living with us this summer. Precious girl. A girl whose mom and dad and grandparents have most definitely taken the time to teach and model to her the preciousness of God and others. She was, without a doubt, the most thankful person I have been around in a long time! She was always telling us thank you for everything. I mean everything. Candy bar. Bottle of Dr Pepper. A cookie. So we like sugar . . . treat us well, this is a blog about manners!

But she wasn’t just telling us thank you. She was thankful. She had within her a true kindness and spirit of appreciation for even the smallest things in her life. She is, the woman of Proverbs 11:16a
“A kindhearted woman who has gained respect,” and she made an impact on pretty much every life she came into contact with while she was here.

Mama Mia!

Seriously, moms! These are the things I believe you want for your children. Sometimes we may get a little off track and begin to think that what we really want for them is to gain a spot on “Dance Moms” or their own show on the Disney Channel–or at the very least stay near the top of the food chain in middle school.

But in reality, those things don’t matter. The things that do matter are God and others, and how we treat and respond to both–with love, honor and respect–which is why. . .

Manners Matter–Mama Mia! They really do!

A great resource on Kindle for teaching your kids about manners is Manners Made Easy for the Family by June Hines Moore. There are 365 little tidbits of manners that can be shared one day at a time or whatever pace you choose. It’s also available for teens and in a workbook format for homeschoolers.

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We’re Expecting Again–Mama Mia Monday

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We just found out last night. The anticipated due date is still undetermined, and we couldn’t be more excited. Yes, it’s true. We are going to have a daughter . . . in law.

Sometime yesterday, our youngest son asked his lovely girlfriend to be his wife and she said, “Yes!’

Mama Mia!

The boy put some planning, I might even say scheming, into the day. It had all the great elements of a good proposal. There was the element of surprise. (for her, at least) There was the asking of the parents. There was the beautiful setting. There was the ring. There was the celebration. But those are their stories to tell.

Our story begins much earlier.

Our story begins about 22 years earlier, when we found out we were expecting again. It was at that time we began to pray.

We began to pray for the life within me. We began to pray for his/her future. We began to pray for his/her future spouse. Through the years those prayers continued through some smooth and rough navigating of the parental/child waterways, and by the grace of God and the power of prayer, we came through rejoicing, exhilarated and looking forward to the continuing set of adventures waiting ahead for us all.

We prayed some simple prayers for our boys. I think mostly because we didn’t know any better at the time, and I’m continually thankful that God hears the prayers of simple people with sincere hearts. I loved the book, “Power of a Praying Parent,” by Stormie Omartian. For several of us who were raising our children at that time, it became worn and weathered treasure, passed down and repurchased, a guideline to pray about things we may have never considered on our own.

When it came to spouses, life partners, soul mates for our boys, we prayed these simple prayers:
That God would bring them women who:
1) Loved God
2) Loved our sons
3) Would want to serve God together for all of their days.

We had no idea the extent to which our prayers would be answered through the wonderful women God has chosen to bring into the boys’ lives and into the life of our family. We couldn’t imagine the delightfulness of our new daughter-in-law from Russia or our daughter-in-law to be from Kansas.

But we are excited, and we are expecting, again, to see God do big things in their lives, lead them on big adventures as they serve Him, see them through some big storms as they navigate their lives with Him and each other as we continue to hold them up in prayer as they begin their lives together.

Mama Mia! Expecting Again! I hope we never stop expecting God to do great things!!
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My Valentine for Jesus–Tiny Tot Tuesday

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and although the day is traditionally set aside for couples, it’s not unusual for moms and dads, aunties and uncles or Sunday school teachers to get a little something for their children. I’m happy to recommend the oh-so-sweet book, “My Valentine for Jesus,” by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton as a great pick for the child in your life this year.

Knowlton’s book tells the story of a little boy who has made Valentine’s hearts for all of his family, but he’s saving one back. This one he saves back is his own, saved for Jesus!

The book is small, colorful and a delight for little ones.

Published by Zonderkids, it’s also available as an eBook (in case you don’t have time to get to the store). I got mine yesterday for about $4, and plan to share it with my kindergarten volunteers for their small group this Wednesday night as part of our Valentine festivities!

I hope you have a chance to check it out and maybe share it with your tiny tots this Tuesday. . . .or Thursday.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ever Feel Like You Are Going Around in Circles?


Ever said these words? “My life is just going around in circles.” I sure have, and I hope it continues to. I hope my life is now defined in part, by the things I choose to circle in prayer. The ladies’ small group I lead met tonight and made the decision to begin Mark Batterson’s Circle Maker study. We’ve been looking for our next adventure and decided to preview the first session to get an idea of whether The Circle Maker may be something God would be leading us to do next. The answer???

YES! Absolutely, yes! We are excited to get this show on the road. I mean excited. Like milk chocolate and marshmallow excited. Like hope springs eternal excited. Like “Holy Cow, let’s not wait to get started excited.” Batterson’s book is a great encouragement to pray boldly, take God at His word, start praying promises and waiting and watching to see His will and His way come to pass in His time. And the videos bring to life the heart of what God has been doing from the streets to Jericho to the streets of Washington, D.C. in response to the prayers of His people.

I read The Circle Maker earlier this year, and after watching just one of the videos (I haven’t even started the participants guide yet) I’m excited–yeah, yeah, I know I mentioned that already–because not only is our small group going to do the study, but one of our Adult Bible Fellowships is as well. As we, as a church, as the church, begin circling our homes, our schools, our businesses, our nation, our towns, our churches and our families in prayer and as we continue praying them through, I know God will be at work in ways we could never imagine.

If The Circle Maker is news to you I hope you find a enough excitement in this post to check out Batterson’s book and study for yourself, so that the next time you feel like your life is just going around in circles it will be in intentional, power filled acts of prayer.

Oh! Interested in a little circle praying around your kids? You can check out Batterson’s Praying Circles Around Your Children, a great read for back to school time.