Monday, April 22, 2013

A Summer Icon

In my last write-up summarizing the loot from my first official yard sale of the 2013 season, I left you hanging. There was one more item that I wasn't ready to disclose because I hadn't taken pictures yet. It was something I had been ready to scoop up at a yard sale last year until I realized it was already reserved by another shopper. (Hate that.) The one I did snag a few weekends ago (love that) had clearly been loved on a lot. But that's okay. I hope we do too. The kids and I again indulged in this vintage summer icon late this blistery afternoon as the temps plummeted into the 40s. And this time I remembered my camera.

Do these spark memories of summers gone by or what? Oh summer, come quickly.

HONESTLY now, how many pics in till you recognized what it was? :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vintage Garden Bed {Curb Alert!}

Friday afternoon I was driving up my street when I saw some curbside treasure. OOoooh. I wanted it. I took it.

Obviously I was exited by the free stuff but my oldest daughter was more excited about the "free" sign. She has been playing a road-sign Bingo game in the car for a while now, and one of the last things she's been on the lookout for is a "Free" sign. So she was thrilled to finally cover up that space and get another Bingo.

This isn't the first {Curb Alert!} bed frame I've picked up. I've got the twin canopy bed frame, which still needs painting. I've been thinking of using the fabric in this post to make long privacy panels to hang from the canopy. And then there's the antique wood headboard and footboard which may be put to any number of uses.

This "new to me" vintage twin metal bed frame is identical to another one I'd picked up at a yard sale for $5 before I found the other roadside freebies. I'm debating whether or not to paint them both to match and use them in my daughters' shared bedroom, sort of like these:

Otherwise, my metal bed frames will both be great for putting at the opposite end of raised garden beds to support climbers like cucumbers and melons and beans and squash. I love the way these frames look in gardens:

What's your vote - matching bed frames or garden beds?

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 Yard Sale Season Off to Great Start! LOOT...

Two Saturdays ago I officially started 2013 Yard Sale Season. But I just couldn't get moving. It was a lazy morning. At the same time I could hear the yard sales calling me. Finally, just before 10:00, all three of my girls and I finally headed out. I made sure the stroller was out of the leave room leave room. Just in case. And I threw together a cooler bag with some snacks and drinks to hold us over till lunch.

My target sale list for the day was short and scattered. I got a gut feeling about which direction I should head in first - towards a sale that didn't start till 10:00. I figured I'd get first dibs on something. After driving 20 minutes to arrive at my destination, I was deflated to see NOTHING. I double checked my research. Crap! It was scheduled for Sunday, not Saturday. 0 for 1. But my gut feeling wasn't all wrong - it had us heading in the right direction. There was one yard sale and one estate sale on my list another 15 minutes down the highway. Hmmm...what the heck! Why not? It was a beautiful day to be out and about and I had absolutely nothing else on my docket for the day.

At this point my kids were already bored with this first yard sale adventure of the season. My oldest wasn't even feeling very well, so despite what I said about only letting my kids watch DVDs on long road trips, I popped in a borrowed "Spy Kids" DVD and they pepped right up.

So we finally pulled up at destination #2. My oldest two piled out with me while the "baby" stayed sleeping in the van. I barely stepped onto the lawn before I was deflated again. TOTALLY LAME!! I managed to score a game of Boggle for $2 (because the Boggle Jr. I picked up last year certainly isn't cutting it anymore). Oh, and a baggie of fudge and peanut butter blossoms from their bake sale for another $1. But in my mind - considering how long we had driven to get there, we were now 0 for 2. And after sampling the home made goodies nasties, my feelings were double confirmed. And off we went toward the estate sale five minutes away.

And oh-me-my did the estate sale redeemed the day!! With 2/3 of the kids still glued to their movie and 1/3 of the kids still sleeping, what's a mom to do?? Can't take 3 bulls into a china shop. And trust me, this sale ended up being practically that. I took advantage of my van's technology, here's what this mom did. I parked right in front of the little ranch house that was right on the quiet, dead-end, street. I explained to the older two what I was doing. Then I kept their movie playing. I got out and locked the doors behind me. And I went inside - always able to see my van from the windows.

  ~> I think I've given this disclaimer before but I'm feeling compelled to share it again. I would NEVER, EVER, not for ANY kind of potential treasure, leave my kids in the vehicle - even locked - out of my view. EVER! <~

So where was I? Oh yes, I went inside. And oh my!!. My favorite kind of estate sale. Some really old person must have kicked the bucket and left a lifetime of collectibles behind. The company running the sale had things priced to go. So it was like antique shop merchandise at yard sale prices. I hit a little jackpot:

I couldn't pass up another Scrabble game for $1:

I can use the wooden letters and trays for stuff like this again or for these other inspirations like these(pics link to sources):

display ledges

food labels

gift tags

custom crossword art

I've lost track of how many total Scrabble games I've picked up at yard sales. I might be a little obsessed.) But they will not be wasted.

A few months ago I mentioned that we moved and the first room I plan to finish redecorating is my oldest daughters' shared bedroom. In case you missed it - our "new" house is where my husband lived the second half of his childhood. What's now my girls' bedroom used to be their dad's bedroom in high school. Back in the day, my hubby's parents let him pick out his carpet color and he chose black. It's still black.  Replacing this is VERY low on our list of priorities. In other words, its probably never going to happen! So I'm working with it. At this point, I just have a vision. I even have a Pinterest board titled "How to decorate a girls bedroom with a black carpet." :) I know exactly what fabrics I want to use for window treatments and bedding accents (OOOOh! I just discovered these happen to be 50% off right now! Must go use my gift card, pronto!)

I hate myself for giving in to chevron. Swore I wouldn't do it.
I'm still playing around with furniture placement and I have a long list of furniture repainting projects that I need to start cranking out now that the weather is warming up. I'm also still pulling together the artwork I want to hang in there. Here are a few inspirations that pull together the elements of black and vintage that could work in a girls bedroom:

If I wait much longer to realize my vision, my oldest just might stage a revolt. She's already talking typical seven-year old foolishness like wanting to paint all the walls bright pink and she's already got her eye on these sheer panels in bright pink with silver sparkly flowers from WalMart. Yeah...NOT HAPPENING!! (Does that make me a horrible mother?) I think I can still get away with convincing her of my plan. And just in case not, I'm seriously considering just surprising them with a newly decorated room one day....see how that flies.

So - about that collection of artwork for this pending girls bedroom makeover. I found a few goodies that were exactly the type of thing I had been thinking of to pull off a touch of vintage.

Because I'm a sucker for silhouettes, I figured this proper lady would fit into the mix. (She hasn't been  cleaned yet and that's not even close to what I paid for her.) Oh, and dear daughter approved.

It helps that owls are kind of the rage right now, but with the pink blossoms, black oval frame and the $2 price tag, I could NOT leave this behind. And again, dear daughter approved.

Now this next little gem was a total score. As in, this alone redeemed the day.  I've been drooling over the likes of these in antique shops for a few years now. Cheapest I've seen them is $40 and there is no way in heck I'd spend that on something like this. I always say, "Good things come to those who wait." And I proved that true again. $6 for this lovely, lacy, little lady on a black matte in a dark grey frame. Dear daughter agreed - just lovely.

This pair of horse and buggy silhouettes was $5 but I actually only picked them up for the frames. I love how round and chunky they are and the hoops for hanging at the top. They can be painted to better coordinate with the fabric and the art replaced with something else - maybe a creative initial for each girl?

There was one more find that I was psyched to stumble across at this sale. It was something I've been on the lookout for since last year when I found one and wanted it, only to learn that another shopper had already set it aside. (That's the WORST!) This time, it was MINE!

It's vintage.

It's colorful.

It's something to do.

To me, its an icon of summer (though we've already christened it in spring).

Think grass.

Any guesses?

I'll disclose next time. (Only because I forgot to take pictures yet.)

Anyone else hit up their first yard sale of spring? Anyone getting lucky at estate sales?
What'd ya get?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (when you get up)

Finally! My last post in my How to Really Impress Them series based on Deuteronomy 6's command to impress God's Word on the hearts of your children. If you missed any previous posts, here they are in order:
How to Really Impress Them (an intro)
How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)
How to Really Impress Them (along the road)
How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down)
How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down) continued

Today's final topic is How to Really Impress Them (when you get up).  This is what I do to teach my children diligently about God's Word when we first wake up.

Because we home school, I have the opportunity to relax and spend time with my kids in the morning when they get up. No one is pulled out of bed and rushed out the door. They get to sleep until they happen to wake up, hopefully fully rested. If I've gotten up early enough like I want to, them I'm usually still sitting at the kitchen table with my Bible for my own quite time with God when they get up. I love watching them slowly saunter down the stairs in their footy jammies with rats-nest hair. I allow them to plop down on the couch and turn on the TV to finish waking up while I start prepping breakfast. Then, we sit and eat breakfast together every morning, accompanied by reading and talking about the Bible.

We recently finished a book that I used as our daily devotions during breakfast during the past 18 months called Learning About God from A to Z.

My computer won't save it when I crop out the Amazon arrows....grrr.

I stumbled across this at a used book sale for a few bucks and threw it into my pile. I had no idea the value this book would bring to our family. For each letter of the alphabet, the focus is on one character trait of God. A - Almighty, B - Blessing Giver, C - Creator, D - Deliverer....X - Exalted, Y - Yahweh, Z - Zealous. There are a variety of activities and many verses for each. It's a great interactive teaching tool. We took our time and went slowly through the book, really digging in.

My oldest loves to look up and read the verses for our morning devotions. Even the baby sister wants in on the action!

Each letter also had one memory verse so we learned all 26 of these together, making up motions to help us remember them (and making practice more fun).

I HIGHLY recommend Learning About God from A to Z as a family devotional book for ALL ages. My kids have come to know who God says He is, to understand the imagery the Bible uses to describe Him, and what these character traits look in their personal relationship with Him. They learned at least 26 ways to praise God with the scripture verses to back them all up! Little did I know when I tossed that book in my bag a couple years back.

We finished this book shortly before Easter this year and I had another book (I'd also picked up at a used book sale) about the life of Jesus that I had planned to use for morning devotions next. However, due to my state of disorganization in our almost-home, I couldn't (and still can't) find it! I'm SO bummed! So during the couple weeks leading up to Easter we read each gospel's account of the stories between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday and worked on these wreaths along the way.

Since Easter, we've been working through this Brother Offended book from Doorposts. (We call it the Sisters Offended book!) It's a scripture-based, illustrated booklet (with a helpful summary chart) that teaches children what the Bible says about how to handle disagreements with siblings (or anyone for that matter). It includes each person's responsibility to work it out together and come to peace. I make copies of the pages for the kids to color while we talk.

It has been a great way to start our day each morning and I've lost count of how often I've had opportunity to remind them what we've been learning and encourage them to live it out. The timing was right when a friend recently recommended another Christian sibling relationship book called Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: How to Fight the Good Fight at Home. Of course I bought it. I'm not sure if we'll run right into that for morning devotions or wait for another time. I'm still not sure what I'll do when we're done with the Brothers Offended Book. Maybe I'll end up finding that missing Life of Jesus book.

After our reading and discussion, we each take a turn to pray out loud together. In case you missed it, you can read here how I taught my kids to pray and why we no longer do this out loud together before bed.

How do you impress God's Word on your children's hearts when you rise? Do you have any family devotion materials you love to use in the morning? Do you discuss the Bible or pray at all before everyone starts their day? If you have any good habits or traditions for starting your family's day off right, please share!

Before I sign off, there are two important notes I want to leave you with as I wrap up this series.

First - diligently teaching your children God's word is an all-the-time job. While God specifically laid out the times when you sit at home, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up, its obviously not limited to those times. Making that great impression happens in between those specific times as well. Its in the conversations you have with your kids and the behavior you model for them throughout each and every day.

Second - I really have strived to be obedient to God's commands in Deuteronomy 6 and I still feel like I fall so short. I'm honored that God wants to use me to impress His Word on the hearts of my children. But as well as any of us may ever do this, we are actually powerless to change them. I am humbled by 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 that says, "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor." As I impress God's Words onto my kids' hearts and minds, I am simply planting and watering seeds. Only God can use His living, active and powerful Word to change my children's hearts. Only He can give them a new heart and put a new spirit in them. Only He can remove from them their  heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) I can't think of any better reward than seeing the harvest that will result in the lives of my children because I am obedient and God is faithful.

If you've been blessed, convicted, encouraged or challenged in any way by reading this series, please let me know. I've got stats to show me people are looking at them but I'm discouraged at the lack of feedback from my readers. I really want to know what YOU do, what YOUR favorite resources are, what habits YOU'VE developed. I want to learn from and be challenged by YOU!


Thanks for reading and sharing! God bless. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down) continued

Welcome (or welcome back) to my How I Really Impress them series. I've been sharing how I've attempted to live out Deuteronomy 6's command to impress God's Word on the hearts of my children by teaching them diligently. My goal is to encourage and challenge you in this area and to hopefully get some wisdom and advice from you to encourage and challenge me. If you haven't read any of the rest of the series, you can start here.

In my last post, I started sharing How I Really Impress Them (when you lie down) and covered my family's bedtime routine for Bible story reading as well as how I've taught my girls to pray. The last thing I want to share as I continue to discuss the times while they lie down is how I'm establishing their habit of personal quiet time with God.

Even apart from diligently teaching your children the Bible, plain old quiet time in and of itself is a treasure. Everyone needs a little time for peace and quiet by themselves. And in today's hustle and bustle - if YOU don't schedule quiet time into your family's day, its not going to happen. Can I get an amen?

I find that the best time for my oldest two daughters to have quiet time is very late in the afternoon leading up to dinner time. By this time, everyone has spent the day working and playing hard and needs a break from each other. Babies start getting cranky. Kids get droopy, bored or hyper. Mom's patience has about dwindled. (Sound familiar?) The T.V. has often been a reprieve during this "bewitching hour" but its a second rate solution at best. Everyone NEEDS to be alone, to rest, to think. And more importantly than all of that, everyone NEEDS daily quiet time to speak to and hear from God. I now feel convicted if my kids are zoning out consuming media when they haven't consumed and meditated on God's Word.

Do you spend quiet time each day reading and meditating on God's Word, praying, and quietly listening to his Holy Spirit? That same Holy Spirit wants to, can, and will speak to your children, but they need you to diligently teach them how to be quiet and listen.

I probably spent about a week teaching my kids what the Bible says about the importance of stillness and quiet time our relationship with God.  Here are some good scripture references on the topic:
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."
Job 37:14 "O Job: stand still and consider the wondrous works of God."
Isaiah 30:15 "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."
Mark 6:30-32 "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

Also read Genesis 3:8, Genesis 24:63, Psalm 63:6, Habakkuk 2:20, Luke 6:12 and Acts 16:13 for examples of where to find quiet rest with God. Adam spent time with God in the garden in the cool of the day. David spent time with God on his bed at night. Jesus went to the mountainside with his disciples. Sometimes we'll spend our daily quiet time at a picnic table at the park or on a blanket in the yard.

Usually though, when we have quiet time at home, each child retreats to a bed - hence why this is part of the, "when you lie down" post.  Because my oldest two share a room, they take turns in their bed or in my bed or a couch on the porch so they are truly alone.

They are still young so I help them prepare instead of just sending them off to do their thing. I help them get settled and cozy where they are and assist them in gathering up any resources they'll be using. Then, I remind them that this is their special quiet time to talk to and listen to the God that created all things and loves them and listens to them. Finally I say a short prayer for God to bless their time and I give them a kiss good bye (and remind them not to rush because if they come out before 20 minutes is over they will be sent back in!).

My seven year old keeps a pencil, her ESV Grow! Bible (that we gave her this past Christmas), and her Quiet Time Journal on her night stand.

Christmas morning 2012

Her Quiet Time Journal, published by Word of Life Ministries (which holds a special place in my heart for 100 reasons), is created specifically for her age group.

Really, its intended to be used by kids in Word of Life Clubs in churches, but anyone an order one from their website. They have something similar for all ages. In the Journal, there are 365 daily devotions that each reference a verse to read that day. Thanks to her AWANA club (mentioned here) she has memorized all the books of the Bible in order so she has no trouble finding the verses on her own. (Kids can also learn to use a Table of Contents!)  After reading the verse, there is a question or little activity each day to help understand and reinforce the verse(s) she read.

There is also a prayer section of the journal with a place to list things to pray for every day as well as sections specifically for each day of the week. Each day includes categories of people to pray for that day and she can write in their names. For example, she chose to pray for her Pastor and Sunday School teacher on Sundays, her Bible Study teacher on Wednesdays, and her home school co-op friends on Fridays. I made it to the "Everyday" list. :) Here is her prayer list so far for Mondays (the night we've been meeting with a small group from church for study and fellowship).

I chose Word of Life's Quiet Time Journal to help her with her quiet time because I used something similar when I was younger. But my first experience with personal quiet time was not until Junior High. My youth group was a Word of Life Club and being a "club member" meant using a Word of Life daily Quiet Time Diary. I still call it a diary and so my daughter calls her journal a diary too. It helps her reinforce the private nature of her entries for her younger sister's sake. Little does she know I'm posting a picture from her "diary" on the world wide web! Anyhoo....back to my Quiet Time Diary.... Each day, my small spiral-bound book had a few verses from the Bible to read and two open ended questions to answer, along the lines of: 1) What is the author saying?  2) What does this mean for you?

My Quiet Time Diary was supposed to have me reading and applying God's Word each day. But I have vivid memories of often being at my best friend's house a few hours before youth group and the two of us sitting on her bedroom floor cramming to finish the last few days of our Quiet Time Diary together so we could get credit at youth group for doing it. We so missed the point!  (Crap - are any of my then youth group leaders reading this???) :)

I really never did get into a great daily quiet time habit until college. But I want better for my kids. Why should they waste their childhood without this important experience growing in their personal relationship with God? It's our job as parents to help them develop this lifelong habit! Otherwise, when do you suppose your kids will take it upon themselves to establish this habit on their own?  It is a crucial foundation to lay early on. Are you laying it? It's never too late to start.

It doesn't take my seven year old that long to finish her Quiet Time Journal and personal prayer so I encourage her to pick one or two other Christian book to read during quiet time as well.  Some of her favorites to read are The Three WeaversThe True Princess, The Princess and the KissThe Prince's Poison Cup, The Priest with Dirty Clothes, I'll Love You Anyway & Always and Proverbs for Kids from The Book. I could go on and on recommending amazing Christian children's books but these are her to go-to's for her quiet time.

Now, the quiet time experience for my four year old is a little different because she is only beginning to learn to read. For her, its all about Bible and Christian picture books, and prayer. She gets to pick out a handful of books she wants to "read" during quiet time. I make an effort to read these books in our library to her often enough at other times that they are very familiar to her. That way, when she is looking through them on her own during quiet time, she can be prompted by the pictures to remember what has been read to her often. The words and truths can still come to mind even if she can't read the books independently yet. Some of her favorite books to look at during quiet time are the Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: The Trinity (I want to get the rest of that series), The Story of Jonah: An Alice in Bibleland Storybook (I want to get the rest of that series), My Little Golden Book About God, The Angel's Christmas Story, Good Morning God, and God's Great Big Love for Me.

One special book has turned into a regular favorite for this middle child of mine. Shortly before our third daughter was born, my hubby and I took a weekend getaway to Maine.  The girls stayed with my in-laws and we left them a special surprise to open that first night we were away - this recordable book called Bedtime Prayers & Promises.
 Every page has a poem, a scripture verse, and a prayer written with cute little pictures. The book has the ability for you to record your voice for each page. So my hubby and I took turns recording ourselves reading every other page. When our kids "read" it, every time they turn a page, our recording of that page's poem, verse, and prayer automatically plays. So the kids can essentially have this book read to them by us when we are not there. Dayspring publishes other recordable story books such as All Day Long Jesus, I Love You Head to Toe, and God's Christmas Promise too.
I have another idea for my middle girl's quiet time that I haven't yet implemented because I'm still doing a little research. Until she can read the Bible for her self, I'd like her to listen to the Bible on CD during quiet time. My hubby and I own a few sets including The Word of Promise Audio Bible. These dramatic readings of scripture (mixed with background sounds effects) are done by over 120 famous actors. Its a great resource for long commutes! There are also kids audio Bibles that I'm looking into as well. Got any recommendations?
I stumbled across this scene the other day and it gave me the idea to give her a stack of the chunky cardboard baby books for her quiet time. If she can "read" them to her little sissy than she can "read" them to herself. :)
Now, I'll be honest (not that I'm usually deceitful, but you know what I mean) - I don't schedule quiet time for my kids every day. I want to. I think its SO important for them to do every day. I can (and do) model for them how important it is by how I prioritize it in our day. We do it several times a week. Some days are busier than others and it slips through the cracks. Its unacceptable, really. It's more important than any of their school subjects. Its more important than playing outside.  Its more important than other places we need to go and things we need to do. I'm not where I want to be with this yet so I pray that God will help me to prioritize establishing this habit for them (and maintaining this habit for myself).
How about you? How have you taught your kids to spend quiet, still time alone with God? Do you or they have any favorite places for doing this? What Bible story, picture books, or books with Biblical themes do your kids love to look at or read by themselves? Do you have any advice to share on how you make quiet time with God a priority in your children's day? What things have prevented you from doing this and how have you worked to overcome them? Please share!  I would love to learn from you and better impress upon my children the habit and desire of daily quiet time with God and his Word. :)
This brings me to the end of How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down). Next, and finally, in this series is How to Really Impress Them (when you get up).  Stay tuned.
And then I've got a couple weekends of yard sale loot to share after that! (So psyched!!)


Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down)

You are about to read the 4th post in my "How to Really Impress Them" series. Based on Deuteronomy 6, God commands parents to impress his Word upon the hearts of their children, to teach them diligently while they sit at home, when they are along the road, when they lie down, and when they get up.

If you're just jumping in now, I recommend catching up with the first three posts:
1. How to Really Impress Them (an intro)
2. How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)
3. How to Really Impress Them (along the road)

In today's post, I'm sharing how I impress God's Word on the hearts of my children when we lie down. My goal is to encourage and challenge you as a parent to be obedient to God in diligently teaching your children God's commands. I hope you will do the same for me.

First, and probably most obvious, "when we lie down" consists of our pre-bedtime routine. But before I get to that, I must ask - just how giddy do you get when the kids are finally quiet in bed?? :)  Nothing compares to that feeling of closing the last bedroom door, half skipping-half dancing down the stairs and making a bee line to the coffee pot. But the 30-40 minutes prior to that can be some of the most treasured moments of the day.

My goal is to have the girls bathed, pajama'd, tooth-brushed and in their room with dim lights 7:30PM so I can be shutting their door by 8:00. (This is for the 4-5 evenings a week we are not out later.) I usually start shouting out orders to get ready for bed around 7:00 and honestly, its a good night if they can do what should take 10 minutes in less than 30. They still need a lot of prodding to accomplish their simple bedtime routines in a timely manner.  I think I have the world's most distracted seven year old. Tips? Anyone?

On those rare occasions when they are actually ready for bed before 7:30, they each get to pick out any one short book for us to read to them first. When we've finished those or if we've skipped them, we always read a chapter from The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell. I want the Bible freshest in their minds when they fall asleep.

Apparently we started the 10-book series 18 months ago because I wrote this post when we first began reading them. Its the story of how I found these treasures, what I paid for them and why our family really likes them. And it mentions another amazing resource for teaching your children Biblical truths  -  one we used to use for dinner-time devotions before we started reading The Bible Story series.

I'm not going to waste my time writing the same things twice, so I strongly suggest reading that post about The Bible Story books before you continue. (It's not as long as some other recent posts!)

Just pretend that post is inserted here. (Go on and read it!)

Back? Okay, here's where you left off.

It's amazing to compare how much my kids have changed in the 18 months since we started The Bible Story series. My then two-year old, who couldn't pay attention for 20 seconds and would be doing gymnastic moves the entire time, is now four and mostly listens with minimal wiggling. My then five year now seven year old has always been engaged but she now begs for me to keep going. "Don't we have time for just one more chapter mom! Come on! PLLEEEASSEE!" And sometimes I oblige. She asks questions and is so curious about the context of how each story fits into the whole storyline of the Bible.

If you're interested in The Bible Story series, you can find them on Amazon, with full sets ranging from $70 - $250 depending on condition and year of publication. Mine were published in 1953 and so the quote scripture from the King James version of the Bible. My hubby and I sometimes paraphrase if there are too many "thee," "thou" and "...est" words but we also want our kids to be able to understand this older language so sometimes we read it as is. A friend of mine who knew how much we loved the series chose to buy a set published in the 1980s because it uses the New International Version translation for scripture quotations and its more modern language is easier for kids to understand (and parents to read).

There's another Bible story book that was given to our family that we love but have not sat and read through yet - The Gospel Story Bible. The stories in The Gospel Story Bible are fewer and shorter than in The Bible Story series and the illustrations are not as beautiful or detailed, but it does have a major one-up. Every single story ends with at least one paragraph explaining how that story is relevant to the big-picture gospel story of the entire Bible. Every story is connected to Jesus and God's plan of redemption and salvation for mankind. It takes the seemingly separate an disjointed stories and weaves them into the web of God's one big HIStory. Another bonus - at under $26, its easier on the wallet than The Bible Story series. It's a book I've often referred to when I want help tying a Bible story into the big gospel picture.

Do you read the Bible itself or Bible story books with your kids before bed? If so, which do you prefer? Do you have a favorite resource or routine that helps you teach them diligently while they are lying down? One of my dear friends uses that snuggle time before bed to ask her daughter if there is anything she was wondering about or wanted to ask her about. Whatever is on her daughter's mind can be asked, answered and explained about without fear or judgment. Her mom or dad have those bedtime conversations with her in light of what God's Word says about the topic.

So, no bedtime routine is complete without saying prayers, right? For the longest time, my kids would each get a turn to pray out loud with us before bed. It was before bed that I first taught my kids how to pray. Well, eventually this pray-out-loud-together-before-bed routine can I say this....out of control??! There were fights every night about who would get to go first. Or someone would refuse to pray. Or the both of them would take 15 minutes each to thank God for everything they own and everyone they know. When family prayer time consistently ends in kids crying and mom's blood boiling, something needs to change!!  So we finally put a squash to the family pray-aloud before bed. It had to be done! Now, if they want to pray in their mind after I leave, great! I hope they do. I hope they pray like that throughout their day. Instead, we have other scheduled times for personal and out-loud-together prayer during the day. So before bed - its only my hubby and/or I that pray out loud.

I've found that its important to model for my kids how to pray. There is always what we refer to as The Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 ("Our Father, who art in heaven..."), and I will teach them that eventually, but I've used the simple ACTS acronym so far:

Adoration -  teach them to praise God FIRST. It gets their mind focused immediately on God's character and not what they want. I remember when I first started reading scripture to my oldest - we kept a notebook for all the words or names we'd discover in the Bible that describe God. It was like a treasure hunt every time we read the Bible. And every time we found a new one it was a good place to pause and talk about it. What does it mean that God is our high tower? Our Rock? Our Fortress? What does it mean that He is our shepherd and we are His sheep? What does it mean that He is the vine and we are the branches? What does it mean that He is our Father and we are His children? When I'm modeling this in my prayer I try to praise God for His character traits that I've specifically experienced that day.

For the longest time, my oldest daughter refused to pray out loud with us. She used to be SSSOOOOO stubborn! She's God's work in progress.  But she is also SSSOOOOO competitive. So one night - I think she was about three years old - I came up with a game for us to play before I prayed. How many words to describe God could she come up with? I'd say, "God is..." and she'd reply with, "Good!!"  "God is..."  Holy!!"  I'd do that until she couldn't think of anymore and it became a routine for several nights. Then one night I told her that now she was going to say it all - "God is good!  God is holy!" etc. And she'd rattle off one after another, eager to keep learning more and impress her mom. That became routine for a little while.  Then one night I said, "Okay, tonight instead of saying it about God, we're going to say it to God. We're going to tell God what we know He is! Let's go back and forth until one of us can't think of anything else to praise God for. I'll go first. God, you are good!"  And she responded, "God, you are holy!" And so on. Over time I was able to see what started off as a competitive game turn into a love for truly praising God for his amazing attributes. After several years of reading the Bible and learning together, her list of things to praise God for continues to be first and longer than any other aspect of her prayer. Her example has since inspired a love of praising God in her little sister.

Confession -  After lifting God UP, its also important to humble ourselves LOW. Kids need to know and understand the basic gospel message. They are sinners. They fall short of God's glory and holiness. Their sins deserve death - eternal separation from God. They need to know what their sin looks like, that its serious. Not just in actions, but in their heart. They are born with a sinful nature and they choose sinful actions. They have a heart of stone until God's Spirit softens it. When they are very young, they need us to point out the sin in their life, so they can learn to identify it, agree, tell God what they've done, express sorrow, repent, and expect forgiveness.

Once my oldest became comfortable praising God out loud with me, I introduced confession. After we each praised God together out loud, I would first confess some of my sins to God. The ones I could share usually had to do with me being impatient or angry or not asking God for wisdom - specific actions and attitudes she was likely to have witnessed it me. It's important to show your kids that you admit you're a sinner too.  Surprisingly, each night this dear daughter was quick to come up with a list of all the things she'd done wrong that day! For a while, I felt like her priest. I was often amazed at how she'd fess up before bed, not fearful of judgment, just happy to confide in me and bring it before God together. And after her praising, "God you are loving! And merciful! And forgiving!" it was easy for her to confess to Him.

Over the years as she grew older, she started having trouble remembering any of her sins. Or at least not any she wanted to share with me! So of course I'd help her out with the ones I could remember. ;)  And we also talked about how sometimes even I can't remember all my sins in a day. So I taught her how we should ask the Holy Spirit to convict us by helping us remember our sins and to please forgive the sins we do not remember. After a while, her confession prayers consisted only of those two things - rarely a specific sin would she confess out loud with me, and eventually she began asking if she could just confess her sins in silent prayer. I no longer require my seven year old to lay out all her sins out loud before me because, really, only Jesus is her priest - not me or any other person. She knows what to do, so its between her and God now. There are times when she sins against me and I still require an apology towards me, but that's all. So now, when we are praying out loud together, after she finishes praising she announces that she is confessing and takes a few moments of silence to do that in her mind.  My four year old and I still pray and talk about her confession out loud. As long as she'll let me, I want to instill this important daily habit.

Thanksgiving - This is the easiest to teach and the most fun to listen to. I remember the days when the girls would glance around their dim bedroom, thanking God for every toy they could still see. They still thank God for everyone in our family, by name, every day. I had a good internal chuckle the other morning when my four year old thanked God for yard sales and her school work. :) Kids naturally want to thank God for the physical blessings in their life so don't forget to teach and model for them how to thank God for his spiritual blessings as well. It's my appropriately-named middle child who has a heart that already overflows with thankfulness to God for these spiritual gifts. We're all just as guilt of often loving the gifts more than the Blessing-Giver himself, so that's a good conversation to have with your kids when talking about thanking God in their prayers. It's one thing to feel thankful that you have something good. It's another thing to tell the One who gave it to you that you are thankful to Him!

Supplication  - This just means asking - bringing your requests to God. For a lot of people, this is the meat of their prayers. They need or want a lot of things from God. It's what drives so many to Him in prayer and, sadly, that's the only thing He ever hears from them. I want my kids to know this comes LAST. Strangely, this is the area my kids struggle with the most in their prayers. They can never seem to think of anything to ask God for - for themselves or other people! I like to remind them of the amazing fact that they know the most powerful, one and only true God, for whom nothing is impossible, who loves them more than anyone else ever will and who actually listens to them - what would they like his help for? I also like to remind them that they have not because they ask not. (James 4:2) If she can't think of anything else, my oldest will at least ask God to help her be a joyful girl. (Because sometimes she struggles with attitude and she knows it!)

When its my turn to ask God for things when we pray out loud together, I always ask Him to protect my girls, and not just their bodies, but their hearts and minds. I ask God to fill their minds with His truth to protect them from Satan's lies and to guard their hearts with His peace to protect against Satan's fears. I specifically ask God to direct every thought that enters their mind while they fall asleep and are sleeping. I also LOVE to use the Praying the Scriptures for Your Children book (previously mentioned here) while praying with them.

I included prayer in today's post because I started teaching and modeling prayer while they were lying down before bed. However, praying with your kids should happen anywhere and everywhere! I mentioned in a previous post that I often will do this pray out loud together routine in the car if we're heading out in the morning. And in my next post, you'll see its now usually something we do at home in the morning after we wake up.

My dad was the one that prayed for me by my bedside every night. This taught me how to pray, helped me learn about who God is, and resulted in great peace and comfort as I drifted off to sleep. (Just another reason I have the best dad EVER!) How have you taught your kids to pray? When do you find is the best time to pray out loud with your kids? What are the typical components of your bedtime prayers? What areas of prayer have your kids most struggled with and what have you done to help them overcome that? Please share so my readers and I can learn from you!

Now I do have a little more to share about how I teach my children diligently when they lie down. But, as usual, this already a REALLY long post. So I'm splitting this one in two and will continue this topic soon.

In the meantime, I am late in announcing the winner of my first {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}} for the 7-CD set from Seeds Family Worship! Congratulations to Beth who gets to share these scripture songs with her family for FREE! For those of you who did not win, you can purchase your own set via the above link. You would get 14 CDs (7 for you, 7 to "sow") for $70 - that's $5/CD (plus S&H) - a great deal. Thanks to all of you who shared this blog series on Facebook.

On that note, expect How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down) "continued" soon and God Bless!

Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (along the road)

Today's post is the third in a series - How to Really Impress Them.

If you're jumping in now, I HIGHLY recommend reading these pre-requisites first and coming back:
An intro to How to Really Impress Them and How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)

If you've read the first two posts in the series, linked above, then please do continue because included in today's post is my first ever {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}}! Details at the end...

Today I'm sharing how to impress God's Word on the hearts of your children when you're on the road. Deuteronomy 6 actually says "while you walk along the road." So the point is really to teach them diligently about the Bible when you're out and about. If you felt bad about the lack of time you spend sitting at home with your kids, you might make up for some of that with quality time on the road.

If you do a lot of walking with your kids, that's also a great time to talk about God's Word. We recently moved less than a mile up the street from our first apartment as a married couple. One of the things I missed the most when we first moved out of this neighborhood to a house right on a state highway was the sidewalks. I no longer had the convenience of stepping out the door with the stroller and kids for a walk down the street. I do love hopping in the car for destination nature walks and hikes but there's just something about a spur-of-the-moment walk around the neighborhood on a summer evening. Walks are great opportunities to talk about what the Bible has to say about God as the Almighty, Wise, Creator who is still sovereign (in control) over his creation.

I wish I spent more time walking than I do driving (and as the air continues to warm up I'm already evening out that ratio a little bit more) but today I'm focusing on the ways I impress God's Word on the hearts of my children when we're cruising around in the minivan. For me, its mostly about the music.

>>>Pause for a quick insert  - In case you did not read my first two posts, I want to reiterate that my reason for sharing what I do is to humbly challenge and encourage other parents to obey Deuteronomy 6. Really, I hope that you can do the same for me by sharing in comments.

Driving in the car is a great time for us to just relax and listen. Yes, "contemporary Christian music" about God and the themes and truths in the Bible can be good and uplifting. Worship music, based on scripture, that we can sing to God from our hearts while we are driving is even better. But what I've come to love most is simply scripture put to music. God's words only. My kids and I have effortlessly memorized close to 200 verses just by listening to scripture music in the car. We all really enjoy the music. This makes the process of impressing God's Word on their hearts fun and easy!

Here are my TOP FIVE things to listen to in the car to help teach my children diligently according to Deuteronomy 6.

1. Our #1 pop album, that's also best for living-room dance parties, is the band The Rizers. Here are a couple of their YouTube videos if you want to check them out:

This one isn't one of their "official" videos but its one of my favorite songs of theirs:

So far they have two albums out - Meet the Rizers and Rizers Rise Up. They have one song about the band on each album and the rest of the songs are 100% direct from scripture, including references. We like Rizers Rise Up best but they are both great. You can preview all their songs and purchase the MP3s or CDs on Amazon. (Use my affiliate links above.) Or you can stream both albums for free on Spotify.

2. Our second favorite series of music is put out by Seeds Family Worship, an amazing ministry. We've got seven of their albums, each of which is a collection of verses around a certain theme. For example: Encouragement, Faith, Character of God, and Purpose. Seeds' songs are also all 100% scripture, including references. They use a variety of musicians and vocals - none of who's names I recognize. Their sound is generic "contemporary Christian music," which makes them easy to listen to while driving around.

I had to throw up this YouTube video because its Deuteronomy 6:7 - the theme of this post series - but I'm warning you, they sound WAY BETTER not live.  If you don't feel like listening to their intro, skip ahead to the 2:25 time mark to catch the beginning of the song.

This next one is one of my favorites from their Praise-themed album but its not their official video (and not live, so it actually sounds better).

The kids and I really enjoy listening to the Seeds albums while we drive. The best is when they see or hear these verses somewhere else and their faces light up like "Hey! I know that one!"

The coolest thing about Seeds is that they encourage you to do some sowing. Every CD that you purchase from their website automatically comes with a second copy for you to give to someone else! HOW COOL IS THAT? I've long-since passed along my extra copies of the ones that weren't first given to me (thank you Lani - its what best friends are for!). But my family enjoys these so much that I want to keep on sowing. And that is why the collection of all seven of their albums is my first ever {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}} Valued at about $80, it can be yours for FREE! Details at the end of this post. (And if you don't win, don't worry - you can stream all their albums for free on Spotify as well.)

3. The first scripture music we ever started listening to is Sing the Word from A to Z. I heard it playing in my friend Michelle's van several years ago and I told her I had to get that for my kids! There are twenty six verse songs - one for each letter of the alphabet. The music is a little hoaky for adults but the words are put to the music of popular preschool tunes so young kids love it and its easy for anyone to remember. I still recommend this album, even though we've found many we like much more since. It has a soft spot in my heart because its the reason my then-2 year old memorized 26 verses within a month's time. I'll never forget the day I'm pushing the cart through a store and my middle child starts belting out her then favorite song, "All have sinned! All have sinned! AND FALL SHORT!! AND FALL SHORT!!"

4. The last music I'm going to share is something we only just recently started listening to, so we haven't memorized it yet. In each of my two oldest girls' Easter baskets I put two CDs from a series called Questions With Answers.

Volume 1 is God & Creation. Volume 2 is The Fall & Salvation. Volume 3 is Christ & His Work. Volume 4 is The Word of God. Produced by James and Dana Dirksen's ministry Songs for Saplings, these CDs are literally questions and answers - much like the Westminster Shorter Chatechism, put to music. They are based entirely on scripture with references included in the songs. As the Dirksens put it, they "create lively, fun songs that attempt to deliver the deepest of Biblical truth in a format that your children will love to listen to."  It's mostly Dana and sometimes children singing, usually with just acoustic guitar and some percussion. You can preview all their songs by clicking on the links above. Upon first listen I thought all the songs sounded the same but they are growing on me and I now find myself singing them around the house.  The albums won't win a Grammy, or even a Dove award for that matter, but the quality of the message is what counts.

One cool thing about the Songs for Saplings ministry is that they have a goal to make their music available in 10 languages and reach 1 million kids around the world! They also have two other CDs that I have not yet listened to or purchased. Maybe once we've got these last four under our belt we'll try these out: Songs for Saplings ABC includes a verse song for each letter of the alphabet with a few others for holidays and special occasions. Songs for Saplings 123 has 13 scripture songs that include a number in the verse and then a few more songs about the days of creation and God's rest.

5. Last but not least, I'll share one last way I impress them along the road with the things we listen to. We spend about an hour a week in the car listening to my oldest daughter's Sparks CD for her AWANA (Approved Workman Are Never Ashamed) club. AWANA is a Christian kids club ministry (sort of like Scouts, but not really) that my church hosts on Wednesday nights. Kids play games, hear Bible stories, get credit for handbook work and recite Bible verses they've memorized for points and "flair" (can't pass up an Office Space reference) to put on their uniform vests. The Sparks (grades K-2) handbooks come with a CD so they can listen to their entire handbook, which includes Bible biographies, over 30 memory verses, and all the books of the Bible. This CD is INCREDIBLY HELPFUL for memorizing the next section of verses she wants to get credit for saying that week. (By the way, our AWANA club is open to anyone PreK - Grade 6 and kids LOVE it! We are just wrapping up this club year and will start back up again in the fall.)

I mentioned in my intro post that church or private school teachers are not the ones with the God-given responsibility to impress God's Word on the hearts of your children. To leave it up to them is not only foolish, but simply disobedient to God. But that's not to say that these teachers are not a valuable supplement. They are to be in addition to what you do. My children are blessed to be influenced by many other Christian adults that love them and effectively teach them about God's Word.  Sunday morning is Sunday School followed by Children's Church. Wednesday morning is Bible Study Fellowship. Wednesday night is AWANA Club. Supplemental Bible-education opportunities like these can provide a great spring-board for you to have conversations with your kids about what they learned.

It's easy to zone out on the way home from church or school, to accidentally toss their Sunday School papers in the trash and hope they don't notice or ask about them. But why not use your time on the road to strike up conversations about what your children learned from other teachers? Did anything stick? Their little take-home papers and crafts might help to prompt their memory. If they can tell you the Bible story they learned, great. But can they apply principles from that story to their life? Even greater! If they can't, then you should help them understand the personal application of what they were taught. Teach them not only to be hearers of the Word, but doers also.

My girls' eyes bug out in excitement when I respond with "No way!! I learned the same thing!" after Bible Study Fellowship, or holiday services. Even if you didn't learn the same thing as they did, use the ride home from church or study to tell them what you learned. And not just what was taught or preached, but how it changed your heart and how you plan on living it out.

I'm not going to spend much time on this, but we do have a DVD player in our van and we ONLY use it for long road trips. Our favorite video series for playing in the van is the What's in the Bible? series. It's put out by the makers of Veggie Tales. Can I just tell you how much even I have learned not only about what the Bible says but the history of how it came to be, as well as the history of the early church - all from these kids videos? If your kids haven't seen these yet, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them. It's a whole ministry worth you connecting to online as well.

Now I don't want to leave you thinking that I never interact with my kids in the car! I'm not suggesting that they are plugged into media every time you're on the road. There is something to be said for riding in peace and quiet (late afternoon especially) and sometimes we are heavy in conversation. But the time spent driving in the car with your kids is also a GREAT time for everyone to pray together. On days when we do leave the house first thing in the morning (because contrary to some misconceptions, homeschool families are not locked in their homes all day every day), I try to make sure that we start praying as we are driving off. Everyone gets a turn to pray out loud. It's amazing how different the day turns out when we start out fixing our eyes and hearts on Him and all we have to praise and thank Him for, and asking Him for wisdom and guidance right off the bat. Try that for a week and you just might have a treasured new habit!

So to make a LLLOOONNNGGG story short - if you spend a lot of time in the car with your kids, use it to your advantage. You've got a captive audience on the road. Fill their ears with scripture. Talk with them while you're out and about. Teach them diligently while you're cruising in the mini van.

Do you have any favorite "heart-impressing" music that you listen to with your children in the car? How do you harness the opportunity of a captured audience on the road to teach them diligently? I'd love to hear about your favorite "along the road" resources, ideas, or habits.

Now. About that {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}} for the 7 Seeds Family Worship CDs valued at about $80! All you have to do is sign up to receive my blog updates by email. SO EASY! Look in the right hand column of my blog where you see the background flowers. Scroll up until you pass the "Blog Archive" header. Just above it is a box that says "Follow by Email." Enter your email address in that box and hit Submit. You will get a confirmation email immediately that you will need to respond to within the next 24 hours to confirm you're not a spammer. SO EASY!  It'll take you less than a minute. One email address per person please.

BONUS!!! I'll put your name in 2 extra times if you "Like" Hailey's Treasures Blog on Facebook AND "Share" the link to this post from the Hailey's Treasures Facebook page on your Facebook wall. SO EASY! Just "Like" and "Share" for two more chances to win.

The {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}} closes at 10:00pm EST on Thursday, April 11.  I will randomly select a winner from all the entrants and announce the winner within 48 hours after that .

Check back soon for the next edition - How to Impress Them (when you lie down). Now don't close out before you submit your email address, "Like" and "Share!" You could be the winner!

Note: All of the Amazon links to products are my affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I receive a very small commission. This is NOT the reason I share these favorite resources. I would share them for free, but if Amazon wants to reward me for it, then I will take it! So if you do decide you want to purchase any of the resources I've mentioned from Amazon, I appreciate you using my links in my post as your way of thanking me. Thank YOU!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)

If you want to learn how I really impress them with priceless treasure than you've come to the right place!

In my last post I introduced what Deuteronomy 6 has to say about the Christian parent's responsibility to impress God's Word on the hearts of their children - the why, some how, and when to teach them diligently. (It's kind of a pre-requisite in this little series so I recommend skipping back to it if you missed it.) The truth of the Bible - God's revelation of Himself to us in word - is the greatest treasure you could ever impart to your children. Are you giving your kids that gift?

If you truly love God, then you trust Him and want to obey Him. And if you want to obey Him, you want to take responsibility for impressing God's Word on the hearts of your children by teaching them about it diligently.

The four times in Deuteronomy 6:7 that God specifically commands us to do this impressing/teaching are:
1. When you sit at home
2. When you walk along the road
3. When you lie down
4. When you get up

Now I begin my meager attempt talk about how I've tried to teach my children diligently during each of these four specific times. Granted, the spirit of the law is to talk about God's Word with your kids all the time. But that is never going to happen unless you purpose and plan to do it during specific times first.  My goal is to challenge and encourage you, hoping you will do the same for me.

Today, I'll only cover #1. "Talk about them when you sit at home..."

When do you sit at home with your kids? Do you sit at home with your kids? Do you eat meals together? Do you ever sit to just talk or read? If you don't have time to sit with your kids at home, consider letting go of something in your schedule that is less important than this. Cut it out. Seriously. It make take for some bold moves and seemingly great sacrifice. But it reaps GREAT rewards. Spend time sitting. At home. With your kids. Talking about God's Word.

I am blessed with plenty of opportunities to sit with my kids throughout the day, including 3 meals a day. (Okay, I admit - some days this 3 meals a day deal feels more like torture but usually it is all good!) One thing we like to do at the dinner table each night is open up our Family Dinner Box of Questions - Faith Edition by Melissa & Doug. (Thanks for the gift, mom!)

Each card has a question that sparks discussion about our faith. It provides a great lead-in for my hubby and I to talk about our own answers, based on what the Bible says.  For example: "What is a creative way to express the commandment 'love thy neighbor'?" or "What is your favorite song at church and why?" There are even several blank cards where you can write in your own questions. We've already been through the box a couple of times. I think we need a lot more blank cards or a new idea! It's cute hearing my girls' answers now. I'm curious to see how their answers will change over time as they mature. Do you have any dinner-time conversation starters that lead into discussions about God's Word with your family? If so, please do share!

My kids and I also get to sit together a lot while we are doing schoolwork and reading for pleasure.
After reading a book together with your children is a great time to stay sitting and talk about it. Were there any characters who's actions or attitudes were in or out of line with the principles in God's Word? Were there any Biblical truths presented in the story? (You catch the drift, right?) Do you sit and talk with your children about what they are reading and learning and how this compares with God's commands, decrees and laws? Are you impressing on your kids a Biblical world view by which to filter everything else through?

Another reason I find myself sitting with my kids at home is for the purpose of discipline. When a behavior issue arises we can immediately sit down and talk about what's really going on in their heart. Everyone's behavior flows from the condition of their heart so its crucial to address the issues at the heart level. (To learn more I recommend reading Shepherding a Child's Heart and Educating the Whole-Hearted Child.)

Basically, if you're trying to "fix" your kids' behavior without "fixing" their heart then you are simply raising a hypocrite, to put it bluntly. You're saying, "Act this way, even if your attitude doesn't match." But I don't have the power to change my children's hearts - only God does. So I use His powerful, living and active Word, the Bible, to provide direction and correction to my children and the Holy Spirit uses that to change their hearts.  I have a book that has been a priceless resources for when I sit with my children for Biblical discipline:

For Instruction In Righteousness A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training published by Doorposts (which, by the way, has a ton of great Christian parenting resources I use and recommend, including this and this and this and this).


This topical reference/handbook for parents will help you use the Bible every time your children need correction and instruction. Hundreds of Bible verses are organized according to 52 common types of misbehavior or wrong attitudes, along with numerous ideas and suggestions for correction and discipline that "fit the crime," if you will.

I've relied on this resources to bring me right to the verses I need when I need them. I really do believe the Bible is the only tool we need for discipline - this book just helps you navigate the Bible for what's relevant to the behavior and heart issues you are addressing. I keep the book in my bedroom, which is where my child and I usually retreat to for these private conversations.  In our house, the pages for Lying, Pride, Disobedience and Laziness have been used the most. :)

With For Instructions in Righteousness, I can quickly and easily find the Bible verses that let my kids know what God has to say about their behavior, what's really going on in their heart, and what the consequences are for the people who continue doing what they've done. We can sit, read, and talk about them together. Discipline is not punitive. It is instruction, direction, correction and training, with love and grace, using God's Word. And we do it while we sit together at home.

Have you established any daily routines that include sitting at home with your kids and talking about God's Word? Do you have any favorite resources that you use to help you dig into the treasure of the Bible with your children? What have you found to be most effective at really impressing them? What are the biggest challenges you face as you attempt to teach your children diligently while you sit at home?  I hope you'll share!

Stay tuned...up next is How to Really Impress Them (along the road) and it includes an amazing {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}}!
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