Tag Archive | Parenting

Book Review: That’s My Son

That’s My Son

by, Rick Johnson

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At the time of reading this book Joshua was 5, Joseph was 2 and Benjamin was a newborn. I have 3 boys (as of now) to help raise to become good Godly men and I feel as though I haven’t a clue how to do this! I bought a couple of books that looked like they might be helpful to start pointing me in some direction alongside prayer for God to show me what to do and say to my boys as I raise them.

I wasn’t too impressed with this book overall. I always have a little pet peeve when a book seems to be filled more with quotations from other authors than good information from the author who is actually writing the book. A majority of things I underlined came from other people’s books (so maybe that’s where I should go next in my readings?). There were a few subjects I disagreed with and found this book to be a lot more opinion based rather than Scripture based and Jesus exampled. This is really only the first book I have read to a mom about raising boys so I have a lot more learning to go in this area. My biggest take away is to remember whether raising a son or daughter or discipling an unrelated high school student or mentoring a fellow mom or goal in all of this is to help others become more like Jesus. What kind of a person was Jesus? What behaviors did he model? What example did He set for us? There is loads of wisdom right here from Jesus that can apply to raising a male or a female as we are both image bearers and are both called to model after Jesus’ behavior.

“… the energy, competitiveness, and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world. No one denies that boys’ aggressive tendencies must be checked and channeled in constructive ways. Boys need discipline, respect, and moral guidance. Boys need love and tolerant understanding.” p. 40 as quoted in the book The War Against Boys by, Hoff Summers

“… our goal is to raise a boy to be a man who is responsible for himself and others around him – a man who nurtures, provides for, protects, and leads his family courageously and accepts responsibility for his own actions.” p. 47

“Mothers, because of their nurturing tendencies, are often overprotective of their children. After all, it’s a mother’s job to civilize a boy. Without a man’s influence in this area, boys can end up failing to learn the valuable link between taking risks and attaining success in life. Getting hurt physically, failing, persevering, and succeeding (despite overwhelming odds) are key factors in a male’s growth towards manhood.” p. 49

“… as parents, [we] have been entrusted by God to protect our children’s innocence. I’m convinced that parents need to possess a godly jealousy that ruthlessly protects our children from evil.” p. 80 as quoted in Moments Together for Couples by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

“By running too quickly to rescue their sons when things get tough, some moms are teaching their boys that the way out of hard times is to find someone (a woman) to get them off the hook rather than to be accountable to the one in authority and step up to the plate.” p. 105

“When we do not provide our adolescent boys with elders to become friends with, when we do not help guide them in their choice of friends, when we allow overreliance on the media to distract them from the bonding process, and when we push them (or allow them to gravitate) toward female bonding before they are emotionally ready (e.g., letting them date before they are sixteen or so), we make their emotional disadvantage into nearly an assurance of lifelong emotional immaturity.” p. 158 as quoted in A Fine Young Man by, Michale Gurian

 

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How Many Unread Books Are On Your Bookshelf?

So I looked through my book shelf as well as my Kindle “shelf” to calculate how many books I have collected and not read over the last 15 or so years. I am now more than ever determined to try to just read them instead of purchasing any more books! I have 60 books on my shelf! 60! And 68 Kindle books! That’s 128 books I have thought “hmmm, this will be good to read” and purchased and just left on my shelf. To my defense there are a few given to me for free and some that are too good of a deal at the thrift store to pass up and most of the Kindle ones were free downloads but still… 128 books. Okay and that’s actually not all of them… that’s just the Christian non-fiction books. I am not even going to bother calculating how many fiction books I have on my shelf and Kindle. So let’s just say I can average 1 book per month (which is a challenge for me in this stage of my life) it would take me 10 1/2 years to read all of these books! 10 1/2 years… so should I rename this page Reading List 2018-2028 ?!?! Amelia will be a Senior in high school and this baby who will be born next week will be 10 years old. So anyways, I’m not sure how I’m going to battle this plan and/or if I really am but I have something to evaluate and that is my hoarding of books and not reading them and I will see where this journey takes me. The list below are books I am already in the middle of reading and I am going to add to the list as the year progresses instead of trying to pick out books for the year in advance. I also know that I will have to be okay with not finishing a book if it’s leading me in a direction that is not where God wants me to go. There are not a lot like that but I will be praying for sensitivity to the Spirit in leading me to which book to read.

Fiction:

Parenting:

Marriage:

Christian Growth:

  • The Other Side of Infamy – James Downing (Kindle check-out through library. I met this incredible man who is one of the original founders of the Navigators as well as the last living Pearl Harbor survivor… he is 104 years old. I couldn’t not read his book after meeting him!)
  • Growing Deep – Chuck Swindoll (I found I was only halfway done with this and remember it being a good book so I will finish this one first.)
  • The Possibilities of Prayer – E.M.Bounds (Another one I was only halfway done with; I have this on paperback as well as Kindle which is always good for reading while feeding a newborn late at night… one handed and lit up.)

Bible Study:

  • Immersed – Katie Orr (This is a friend of a friend who wrote this study. Another I only finished half of but really liked it. Once the baby is a little older and I will have my hands free to write bible study notes I will finish this one. They do not make any more copies of this particular study but her other Focused15 studies are worth looking into.)

It is also worth noting that I found 7 Bible studies on my shelf I have not completed. Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Precepts. All are great studies and I remember with each of them I found them at a thrift store and/or church garage sale for free or a small price and those are diamonds in the rough for me. But as with the books, now I need to get down to doing them!

Podcasts:

And if everything above is not too much already what about podcasts? Podcasts are great to listen to when doing housework and driving on roadtrips or back/forth to work or up to Denver as well as exercising at the gym. I have about 5 I subscribe to and will load up my iPod before a road trip and recently loaded up also in anticipation of late night baby feedings when I need something to stimulate my mind but maybe want my eyes closed at the same time :  ) Here’s my list:

  • James MacDonald
    • Prayer Series (15 podcasts)
    • Holy Spirit Series (14 podcasts)
  • Chip Ingram
    • The Real God Series (16 podcasts)
    • Jesus Unfiltered Series (41 podcasts)

The Bible:

I am adding this at the end although it really should be at the beginning. I also know that the meat of my learning does not necessarily come from the latest book I read but rather from the Word of God itself. I do not want to overlook this as I have in the past and notice a significant difference when I’m just reading books but not the Bible. I love working through different plans from Blue Letter Bible. I read through the bible chronologically (in 3 years instead of 1 year!) and really enjoyed that chronological aspect. Now I’m reading the OT and NT together which I also like going back and forth.

Now I’ve also got Dr. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible commentary books and also subscribe to his podcasts and have referenced them on occasion but have always wanted to commit to being on “The Bible Bus” at some point in my life which is a 5 year commitment.

 

Preparing for Baby and Multiple Siblings

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Nesting… I remember nesting with some of my first kiddos. It was fun to set up nursery areas, bassinets, setting out blankets, diapers, etc. and picturing the baby occupying all these places. Well, now we’re down to logistics. How in the world are we going to add a sixth baby to the family?!?! How are the other 5 going to be taken care of during the initial post-partum period? I’ve got some things nailed down now with it being the sixth but at the same time it doesn’t matter if it’s #2 or #6 it’s still a change to the family and an addition and all the other kiddos are at different stages and need different things. My primary focus in this last month of pregnancy as I “nest” and prepare for baby to come is how to help the other 5 kids become as independent as possible once baby comes : ) Meal planning, homeschool help, chore charts, etc. I must say these are some challenges I do enjoy battling as I learn from others and research ideas (thank you Pinterest!) on how to manage these areas. This post-partum period will also be different as my mom is not able to come for a couple of weeks to help out. This is a bummer as she usually cooks and cleans on top of entertaining the kiddos and she’s done it now enough they’ve all got a good feel for what it’s like when she comes. We will have my mother-in-law come stay with the kiddos while I stay in the hospital then it’ll be dada duty for 1 week, then sister-in-law duty for 5 days, then our favorite babysitter who moved away : ( duty for another 5 days then we’re on our own!!! So I’ve been planning and organizing to make it easier for them to manage the household while I’m resting and for my sanity when everyone leaves.

My first area to battle: MEAL PLANNING

I have been learning all about this new concept of meal prep and non-sandwich lunchbox ideas. I saw the idea awhile back with my favorite large family homeschool mom’s blog adopting the lunchbox idea and stating how much of a lifesaver it is to prepare lunches in advance so there is not as big of an interruption in their homeschool day. I had not adopted the idea but am planning to implement it now : ) So the gist is I purchased these “bento boxes” from Amazon and researched on Pinterest all of the pins about kids lunch box ideas and created my own list from their ideas as well as what we already like to eat. My list is broken up by: main dish, dairy, fruit, veggie, filler. Instead of matching them all up I just listed them out and then I will print it out and put it on my fridge for reference. I plan to start this next week with spending one night and setting up the boxes in the fridge so the next day or two we can just pull out the lunch box for lunch and it’s all set up and prepared. I will pick from the categories based on what I have on hand. If they’re a hot main dish then we can just scoop them out to reheat or reheat in the container if there’s not anything else in the small sections that need to stay cold. We’ve already started this week and so far it’s been going great!

IMG_5402Breakfast has been a slightly new thing and all I’m doing to prepare is moving cereal containers and bowls to a lower shelf and making sure my freezer is stocked with our normal stock of banana bread, zucchini muffins and baked oatmeal muffins among a few other breakfast recipes. I have added breakfast items to the lunch list I will print out and post on the fridge for our helpers to know what we have available for the kids to eat.

IMG_5403The other portion of meal planning has been breakfast and dinners. The dinners I’ve got down pat with a list of freezer meals I’ve used in the past as well as easy to cook dinners. I did want to mention in my research I learned not to take frozen chicken, unthaw it, cook it and refreeze it for your meals. If you’re going to use chicken to make in your freezer meals it should be fresh chicken.

  • Easy to cook dinners:
    • Spaghetti
    • Fish Stick Tacos
    • Shredded Chicken Quesadillas
  • Baked Chicken Taquitos
  • Broiled Chicken (I cut some up to add to my salads for a meal and kept some as breasts to eat on their own or add to something later on)
  • Crockpot Dump Recipes (I’ve never done these before but keep seeing them on my Pinterest feed and thought they looked perfect to try for welcoming this new baby):
  • Prepared Casseroles (this is my normal method for freezer cooking – when I make a loved casserole dish I double it and throw one in the freezer for a couple months down the road):
    • Tuscan Chicken Pasta (I used this website for help planning)
    • Macaroni and Cheese (my hubby likes the Noodles & Co. dish with BBQ sauce and shredded chicken so I plan on him just adding that to his portion of this casserole)
    • Baked Ziti
    • Baked Spaghetti
    • Mexican Cornbread Casserole
    • Enchiladas
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My to-do list for freezer cooking. This includes some breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

My second area to battle: CHORE CHARTS

We have used the same chore charts for awhile now but I do tend to get a little lazy with the monitoring required and we end up backing off for awhile and then after I get a little overwhelmed with some things around the house I want to pick it up again. I also had started reading Managers of Their Chores and haven’t finished it yet but was wanting to implement some of their ideas. I found at this point I’m just going to stick with what we’ve got since it does work well when we’re on top of it and hope for the best. I don’t want to ask for too much change right before the baby comes. Our chore charts are a simple Word graph that has the day of the week on the left side and the chore on the top. We print it out each week and tape it to the fridge and the kiddos add stickers to each chore they complete for that day. I also use it as a reminder for some things that don’t get done if we don’t have school that day (i.e. practice Awana verses, read for 20 mins., etc.). At the end of the week we add up all the stickers and the kiddos get a penny per sticker for chore chart money. I have also added some 25 cent chores, some are required and some are extra help if they’re trying to save up for something. Some of these examples are empty dishwasher, empty shoe box, sweep, etc. I assigned the older kiddos a day to set the table and clean up from breakfast or lunch. I am hoping this will help when other people are here for the baby and I can just quickly remind the kids or they can remind them to do their morning chores or it’s their day to clean up from meals, etc. Our biggest challenge is going back to the charts and putting the stickers on so they can get their money at the end of the week. I started telling them when they’ve completed a chore to immediately go put their sticker on and by the end of the night they should finish their bedtime routine with going downstairs and putting their remaining stickers on and if this does not get done they won’t get the credit for that day. We’ll see how it goes!

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An example of one of our chore charts in the works…

My third area to battle: HOMESCHOOL

Now I can find an excuse every month it seems as to why we’re falling behind in homeschool. Which, what is falling behind really? Are the kids learning and growing in their knowledge appropriate to their age stages? Is it my to-do list I’ve created which usually is too lengthy for all the kids anyways that is not getting completed daily and that’s the dictator of falling behind? Either way since we just are coming off of a break for Christmas I am not wanting them to sit out for the next 3-6 weeks or however long it may be and not do school entirely. BUT, it would be challenging to ask my husband, MIL, SIL and nanny for the first 3 weeks to pick up where we left off and continue on our curriculum. So… I am trying to create a basic list much like some of the summer homeschool lists I’ve seen out there for the kids to work through each day with some assistance from whoever is around. Amelia, Josh and Lydia can easily have someone help them accomplish 1-2 pages from their math workbooks each day. In fact we have some Comprehensive Curriculum books laying around from last summer that never got completed and I have been working on tearing out the incompleted pages and moving them to a 3 prong notebook and flagging the different sections for each kiddo to do 1-2 pages of each day. That covers math, phonics, critical thinking and handwriting. Then someone (even myself for that matter) can sit and read with Amelia and Josh each day for 20 mins. to get some reading practice in. I always try to complicate things but have been praying for God to show me how to simplify and still get things accomplished.

That about sums it up! Those 3 areas have been my main focus of nesting as we prepare these next 3 weeks for the baby to come. I am so excited to meet this little one and I have high hopes that instead of just taking some weeks off and letting the kids run around the house wild with no direction that with this planning and preparation we can maintain a fairly new normal life and all be happy! We’ll see how it goes!

Book Review: To Train Up a Child

Book Review: To Train Up a Child

by, Michael & Debi Pearl

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This is a challenging book to review. I love the verse about training up a child in the way he should go so I naturally picked up this book based on my enjoyment of that verse and come to find out this book is very controversial and I definitely see why.

The Pearls write from a very truth without grace based style of writing. Very black and white and in some ways a little harsh and unforgiving. If you can put this reality aside and continue reading to find the nuggets of truth from God’s Word then you will read this book just find but for some it may be challenging to continue reading if you feel offended by the way they address some issues.

In my years of reading books God has used the Spirit to lead me when to just say no and set down a book (this was hard as once I started a book I always wanted to finish) but there is wisdom in saying this will do me mentally more harm than good and there are a million other books on my list so I should just move on. This may be one of those books for you. For me, I was able to move past their delivery and glean some nuggets from God’s truth and I did not feel the Spirit leading me to put this book down and have not had mental battles from the things I read like I have experienced in the past with other books.

So, take that for what it’s worth and here are some of the nuggets I gleaned from the book:

“If you raise your voice when giving a command to your child, he will learn to associate your tone and sound level with your intention. If you have trained him to respond to a bellow, don’t blame him if he ignores your first thirteen ‘suggestions’ while waiting for your fevered pitch to reach the point where he interprets it to be a real command.” p. 4

“Discipline is a part of training but is insufficient in itself to effect proper behavior. Training is the conditioning of the child’s mind before the crisis arises.” p. 4

“When God wanted to ‘train’ his first two children not to touch, He did not place the forbidden object out of their reach. Instead, He placed the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’  in the ‘midst of the garden (Gen 3:3).’ Since it was in the middle of the garden, they would be exposed to its temptation more often. God’s purpose was not to save the tree but rather, to train the couple.” p.5

“No amount of training is going to override the certainty of sin developing, but the training parents give can lessen the child’s addiction to the flesh and make it easier for repentance to follow sinful indulgence.” p. 19

“The strongest cord of discipline is not found in the whip; rather, it is the weaving together of the strings of mutual love, respect, honor, loyalty, admiration, and caring … If you will cultivate fellowship with your child, you will have such cooperation and compliance that you will forget where you last left the rod.” p. 32

“If they should have a weakness which needs instruction, wait until the pressure and condemnation is off before giving them a study that involves their weakness. If there are guilt feelings present, the lesson will only bring further condemnation and isolation that the rode cannot absolve. When the instruction about God is separate from your discipline, they are free to make an association without feeling watched and graded… Allow the Spirit of God to apply truths to your child’s consciousness.” p. 93

May God richly bless your time reading.

Book Review: The Mission of Motherhood

Book Review: The Mission of Motherhood

by Sally Clarkson

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I really enjoyed this book. I love reading these books where the author talks about some of the specific things they have done in raising their children for Christ. It is so great to read some personal examples and then to hear from the kiddos and how they were affected by it. This book reminds me of The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot in that regard.

I also really liked how much this book focused on your heart as a mom. Several times she emphasized that even if your circumstances mean the mom has to do some work outside of the home, it does not mean her HEART is not at home. This was so encouraging for me because of our recent change in circumstances now that I had to go back to work full time. I really struggled with transitioning back to work even though I didn’t go back because I wanted to but out of necessity, I still felt like I was abandoning my heart which desires so much to just be home full time. I was encouraged to hear about other women in the same situations and to know that my presence at work does not change my heart status.

“… the fundamental mission of motherhood now is the same as it always was: to nurture, protect, and instruct children, to create a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and his purposes, and to send them out into the world prepared to live both fully and meaningfully.” p. 3

“For thousands of years… Motherhood was seen as a noble and important calling. Women considered themselves blessed to bear many children, and it was considered normal and good for home and family to be the central focus of a woman’s life… Somehow, over the course of the last century, traditional motherhood had become a lifestyle option – and to many, a lesser option – rather than a divine calling.” p.9-10

“As important as my role is, and as important as my children are, they are not to be the center of my life, and my central calling is not to motherhood… My calling as a mother is the same as any other Christian’s: to fulfill God’s will for our lives and to glorify him.” p.14-15

“The mission of motherhood is strategic in providing the next generation with whole-hearted, emotionally healthy, and spiritually alive adults… It is a divine calling that will indeed affect eternity.” p.16

“When God’s commands are obeyed, people flourish because they are living in harmony with the way they were designed.” p.29

“Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults – any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed.” p.43

“… a divided mind that comes from a lack of wholehearted commitment to the home, as well as the simple time pressure that comes from supporting a dual career of home and family, tends to rob mother and children alike of the freedom they need to grow and thrive.” p.47

“Each of us is different, each of us finds herself at a different point on this path of motherhood, and our individual decisions will reflect the difference in our circumstances. But once we commit to embrace the vision of motherhood, God always provides the creative guidance we need to keep moving toward our goal.” p.51

“All that God requires from any of us is a desire to serve him and a trust that he can make up the difference for the things we lack… He will use our willingness and or efforts, then fill in the gaps of our inadequacies, to prepare their hearts for what he has in mind.” p.84

“… unless we take the initiative to gently and lovingly confront our children’s sin and selfishness, they will not learn to be mature adults… The wise mother takes the time to correct her children over and over again so they can experience the peace and freedom of knowing how to govern their lives in such a way as to be mature, wise, and at peace with God.” 91

“Children do not accidentally become mature adults of strong character, great faith, gracious relational skills, effective leadership qualities, and sharp intellects. God’s design includes the presence of a hands-on gardener, a mother, to tend and cultivate their hearts, souls, minds, and relationships… a child whose growth is unsupervised or left to chance will likely grow wild and undisciplined or stunted and unfruitful.” p.142

Book Review: The Power of a Praying Wife & Family Prayer Journal

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I must first start by admitting this has been a 2 year read : ) Not because of the content or at all because it was boring or anything like that. I just simply did not keep it a priority but kept it on the list to finish “someday” : ) This book is amazing! It is just amazing how much God has blessed Stormie with an ability to pray intensively and according to Scriptures. The book is laid out with 30 different topics to pray for over your husband. Each topic is about 3 pages long where she gives a brief intro of the importance of praying for this area and usually a real life example of either herself or someone she knows who saw a significant impact in their husband’s lives because of praying for that particular area. She then finishes up with a prayer and some “power tools” at the end which are 4 or 5 scriptures to pray over for that area. The whole book is saturated with scriptures… it is amazing! It really opened my eyes to “praying without ceasing” and praying for everything. I never thought about needing to pray for over half of these things and even if I thought about it I wouldn’t have known how to or where to turn in Scripture to pray over it. This is such a helpful book. I am also finishing The Power of a Praying Parent at this same time. The book 2 years ago inspired me to make our family prayer journal. In it I basically have pulled from this book all of the topics and summed up what she said in a prayer and added in my favorite verses relating to that area. Over the past 2 years I have added personal prayer requests for our marriage and family. Last year I added 2 new sections… one for “generational sins” that I was noticing were being passed down to our children and began seeing the importance of praying for a breaking of those since in our generation and the generation from us. I also added a “praise” section : ) I love my prayer journal and am so thankful for God using this book to have sparked that in me. I use a reusable sticky tab as my “bookmark” and will pray for one section and move the bookmark to the next section for the next time I pray out of the journal. I cannot wait to see some real fruits in the years to come from this.

We can take a stand against any negative influences in our marriage relationship and know that God has given us authority in His name to back it up. p. 15

Praying for your husband will be an act of unselfish, unconditional love and sacrifice on your part. p.21

Before your prayers are answered there will be blessings from God that will come to you simply because you are praying. That’s because you will have spent time in the presence of God, where all lasting transformation begins. p.22

It’s impossible to truly give yourself in prayer for your husband without first examining your own heart. p. 26

Dying to yourself is always painful… But this kind of pain leads to life. p. 28

When we pray we enter into the presence of God and He fills us with His Spirit of love. When you pray for your husband, the love of God will grow in your heart for him. p. 29

The safeguard you have with prayer is that you have to go through God to do it. This means you can’t get away with a bad attitude, wrong thinking, or incorrect motives. When you pray, God reveals anything in your personality that is resistant to His order of things. p. 33

I’m not going to give any more quotes from the rest of the book those were just the introduction and beginning section of the importance of praying for your husband’s wife : ) Yup… that’s you : ) That’s the first chapter and she goes into great detail of the great importance of getting your heart right and honest before God before going on this journey:

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Psalm 66:18

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The inside of the prayer journal with an encouraging verse. At the top are our kiddos names and birthdates… in case I forget haha! Just kidding : )

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The first section of prayers for our children with the prayer requests and scripture that accompanies.

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Prayers for myself, Adam and our marriage

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Book Review: Family Worship in the Bible, in History & in Your Home

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This was a great little book. I think it was one that was recommended from the Family Driven Faith book by Voddie Baucham. This is a tinsy little book which is a nice change to the longer books I’ve been reading lately. It is a great starting point for some further conviction and ideas on what family worship looks like. This is still not something we have implemented personally but we are getting there. We do a little routine every night of reading right now Leading Your Little Ones to God and singing the song and praying the prayer they have at the end of each section and the kiddos love this. It is so cute to hear Joshie say “Jesus… read… book” and bring it to us and he’s getting down the words to “Alive, Alive, Alive forevermore… my Jesus is alive, alive forevermore… sing hallelujah”. This has been a bedtime song we’ve sung since all the kiddos were born and he’s so cute singing it… “lulah seeen lulah” : ) Makes my heart flutter! Also, prior to reading this devotional with the kiddos we finished Big Truths for Little Kids which has the catechism questions before each chapter. We worked on that for 6 months before finishing the book and it is amazing how many of the catechism questions Amelia remembers and will apply every day. We really only memorized about 15 of them and after we finish this book we will re-read that one as I really liked each section of that book. However I do want to implement some time of worship time with the kiddos and me playing the piano or something just because that seems really neat : )

Bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is not accomplished unintentionally and incidentally. Yes, it should and will happen throughout the day at unplanned, serendipitous occasions, but it should also happen purposefully. p. 19

“And now I appeal to Reason, Conscience, and Experience whether this employment [of family worship] be not more suitable to the principles, ends and hopes of a Christian, than idleness, or vain talk, or cards, or dice, or dancing, or ale-house haunting, or worldly business or discourse?” Richard Baxter (1615-1691). p. 27

“I regard the neglect of family worship as springing from lukewarmness and worldliness in religion.” J.W. Alexander (1804-1859). p.31

Read, pray, sing

Catechize, memorize scripture, read other books

Brevity, regularity, flexibility

Book Review: Hints on Child Training

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This was such a neat book. It was originally written in 1890 by Henry Clay Trumbull who is Elisabeth Elliot’s Great-Grandfather. It reads as though Mr. Trumbull is your own grandfather sitting down on the sofa with you on Sunday afternoons over coffee and sharing his parental advice to you : ) It is by no means a structured method/formula or anything like that on how to parent. And in fact there are not many scripture references that are cited. BUT Mr. Trumbull’s wisdom is clearly from the Lord. He speaks about his advice from a Godly and biblical perspective and often will speak through the bible just as you and I would casually speak about the things of the Lord that are true and biblical without needing to cite the specific reference of where it is in the Bible. Mr. Trumbull has a wealth of wisdom and it is a blessing to me in this 21st century to learn the wisdom of old when the family unit was so much more valued than it is today. I am so thankful to God that this book has remained in print and perfectly applicable today. Not a one of our great-grandparents from the late 1800’s is alive today so what a neat opportunity to glean some wisdom from someone of that generation.

It is a parent’s privilege, and it is a parent’s duty, to make his children, by God’s blessing, to be and to do what they should be and do, rather than what they would like to be and do. p.19

An accurate diagnosis is an essential pre-requisite to wise and efficient treatment. The diagnosis secured, the matter of treatment is a comparaticely easy matter. p.31

  • What are the special faults of my child?
  • Where is he weakest?
  • In what direction is his greatest strength liable to lead him astray, and when is it most likely to fail him?
  • Which of his faults is most prominent?
  • Which of them is of chief importance for immediate correction? p.33

We should guard sacredly their privileges of personal choice; and while using every proper means to induce them to choose aright, we should never, never, never force their choice, even into the direction of our intelligent preference for them. The final responsibility of a choice and its consequences rests with the child, and not with the parents. p.41

Nothing that is worth doing in this world is an easy matter; and whatever is really worth doing is worth all that its doing costs – and more. p.117

Courtesy is the external manifestation of a right spirit toward others p.165 (I love this thought. This truth. In a book by Elisabeth Elliot I read that was just incredible “The Shaping of a Christian Family” she carries on this wisdom from her great-grandfather when she says:  A simple gesture like passing the butter plate to someone else before helping oneself is the outward expression, small and unobtrusive but deeply telling, of the sacrificial principle, “My life for yours.” When there are only a few muffins left, the one who passes up the second helping lives out the words “in humility consider others better than yourselves.” p.171)

When a child thinks of others, his thoughts go away from himself, and self-forgetfulness is a result, rather than a cause, of his action. p.169

True courtesy involves a readiness to apologize for any and every failure, whether intentional or unintentional, to do or say just that which ought to have been done or said. p.172

However great may be the need of a child’s punishing, a parent ought never to administer punishment to a child while angry. p.205

In order to sympathize with another, you must be able to put yourself in his place, mentally and emotionally; to occupy, for the time being, his point of view, and to see that which he sees, and as he sees it, as he looks out thence. p.251

And it is by the dolls and other playthings of childhood that some of the truest instincts of manhood and of womanhood are developed and cultivated in the progress of all right child-training. p.279

Book Review: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit

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I picked up this little book and found it packed with such good advice and information. I would say this book extends far beyond just homeschooling to motherhood in general and even just life in general. Teri Maxwell who is the founder of  a blog ministry called Titus2 with her husband Steve has many many many years of homeschooling and motherhood wisdom. She shares in this book her journey from when she first started out homeschooling and found herself annoyed and impatient and frustrated with the little bumps in her children’s academic progress and efforts. She talks about being thrilled to start homeschooling and filled with all sorts of peaceful dreams with her kiddos and they were all smashed on the first day. I’ve already experienced this myself : ) All it took for her was a lot of prayer and perspective changes and now she has lots of wisdom to share on how to maintain a meek and quiet spirit as a homeschooling mother (and wife) throughout each and every day no matter what the challenges are. Here are some tidbits of wisdom from the book:

She starts with the definition of “meek” = mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated p.17 and “quiet” = peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, and contented p.18

She talks about “meek and quiet spirit robbers” which are “fear, disorganization and anger” p.24

“If I make the choice to take my thoughts captive, busyness becomes a vehicle to greater resting in the Lord.” p.45

“We will be much better off if we pray through these days, rather than allow our emotions to rule our behavior.” p.55

In regards to disciplining our children consistently: “Anger creeps into these situations when I am more concerned about my inconveniences and difficulties than I am about my child’s long-term character growth.” p.72 This really hit home for me because I find lately now that I have 2 children of disciplining age that my exhaustion with discipline on certain days is pretty high and sometimes I just want to finish my task at hand instead of stopping for the third time to address the discipline issue and I do quickly find myself struggling with anger and annoyance/impatience towards my children. Often I then will snap at them if without my discipline they aren’t stopping the issue on their own and I end up having to stop my task. I have thought about this a lot lately and have found when I do stop my task and keep an eternal perspective there is a lot of joy and growth that occurs between me and the children instead of the anger and impatience that would’ve occurred.

She talks a lot about how “anger is a choice” and refers to examples of how we would never snap at our families when we are in public (i.e. at church) the same way we would at home

“When we have the realistic expectation that our days will be very busy and that there will be much hard work, then we will be more likely to maintain a meek and quiet spirit. If we think we’ll have our evenings and weekends free, then we will be frustrated and angry when we can’t fit our homeschooling, plus our other homemaking tasks, into just the weekdays.” p.92 I tend to sit here for a long time. I am always towards the end of the day looking so forward to my evenings to myself or with Adam and if Amelia is dilly dallying too long and keeps coming out of her room or Joshie is having a hard time getting to sleep or something came up that evening and now the house is still a mess when it should be “my” rest time amongst a clean house then I get so incredibly irritable. I have been so convicted by this and just Teri’s thoughts on living our lives as mothers sacrificially for the eternal perspective of our families:

“Are we willing to give of ourselves, in selfless investment, in the eternal futures of our children?” p.89

“It is imperative that we keep the truth of God’s Word in our minds and hearts so we don’t become resentful toward our workload.” p.90

I think it is important to have our personal rest time especially as homeschooling mothers since it is a 24/7 responsibility. We never have a “lunch break” or a “15 min. break” and our tasks don’t stay somewhere else at 5 PM to be accomplished the next morning. We need time to ourselves to rejuvenate and that first time should be time with the Lord even before our “me time”. I try very hard to schedule and teach Amelia to honor my time with the Lord by staying in her room quietly until 7 in the morning because I know of it’s importance… BUT not every day is perfect. Some days she’s more obedient than others and some days our schedule/routine is off and this is where God has been teaching me to depend on Him throughout the day and in the moment when things don’t go as I planned/hoped for. He is always faithful and will always provide… as long as I ask Him.

Overall this is a very short but very thought provoking and encouraging and convicting little book. I definitely think every mother whether homeschooling or not should read this to help keep our perspectives in proper alignment!

Book Review: Family Driven Faith

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I picked up this book after a recommendation from a friend for a starting place and a motivator on what it looks like to lead our children in pursuing the Lord and family worship. I am a little torn by this book. I finished it wanting a little more but also know of some places where I may be able to go to find more because of his recommended reading. I think this book is just dipping your feet in the water and maybe I felt like my feet were already dipped and I’m ready to take the plunge.

Either way he sets up the book with a lot of statistics and realities facing the family today and the lack of pursuit on the parents part as far as raising our children according to the biblical standards set before us. Some of the statistics he lists are astonishing. I got some tones from his writing that he was so called “tooting his horn” a little and he came across a little judgmental and harsh at times in some of his vocabulary towards parents who are not raising their children to walk with God. It always makes me a little sad when I hear pastors or writers “mock” fellow believers out there who are struggling in some area. Maybe they just don’t know any better? Maybe they do know better and are being openly disobedient? Either way I always cringe when I hear the mockery tone towards them and wonder to myself if they are being turned away from this instead of convicted. Sometimes it’s best just to preach the word as it is and let the Spirit do the convicting instead of trying to force conviction through making people feel bad. Anyways… I’ll get off my soap box : )

Here are some passages from the book that I thought were really good:

“Obedience is a spiritual issue. Thus teaching my children to obey is not optional; it is a biblical mandate” p.111

“We want them to obey, period. Learning not to repeat ourselves, not to yell, not to call the offending child by all three of his or her names. but to speak in clear, level tones and follow through with consequences for every act of disobedience has completely transformed our home” p.113

“God has designed your family – not the youth group, not the children’s ministry, not the Christian school, but your family – as the principal discipling agent in your children’s lives.” p.120

He referenced an author named Arthur Pink and I really liked this lengthy passage from Pink:

“it is not enough that we pray as private individuals in our closets; we are required to honor God in our families as well. At least twice each day, in the morning and in the evening the whole household should be gathered together to bow before the Lord parents and children, master and servant to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek his help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it. The head of the house is the one to lead the devotions, but if he be absent, or seriously ill, or an unbeliever, then the wife would take his place. Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted, If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer.” p.138

And again from Pink:

“Family worship will prevent much sin. It awes the soul, conveys a sense of God’s majesty and authority, sets solemn truths before the mind, brings down benefits from God on the home.” p.145

“Our family traditions do not guarantee that our children and grandchildren will follow in our footsteps, but they do lean in that direction… Children who grow up in homes that had daily family worship will see it as the norm.” p.146

He finishes off the book with a few chapters on his conviction of a “family integrated church”. This is a church where there is no segregated age groups (i.e. no nursery, youth group, children’s church, Sunday school classes that are age separated, etc.). You go as your entire family of all ages and sit together in the congregation as the whole family. He has a very strong conviction on this and especially towards the youth group and his belief that having a youth group enables parents to continue to sit back while the youth pastor does the job of discipling and evangelizing their children so they don’t have to.

This is the first time I’ve heard of a family integrated church. I can see a lot of good points to having the whole family together but am not sold on his conviction. He states multiple times that this type of church is a radical departure from the norm and not popular by any means. I just do not have a conviction at this time on it being right or wrong and I don’t think this is one of those areas that needs to bring any division between people who are sold on this type of church and those who are not. I respect his conviction and his passion to share his conviction and educate others who like me have never even heard of this type of church.

Overall as I said earlier this is a good book to wet your feet in the concept and conviction of leading your children to walk with the Lord and begin family worship. I don’t think this will be on the top of my list for recommended reading but I am looking forward to reading some of the books I found on his recommended reading list and hope to get a little deeper into this journey through those books.