Friday, August 23, 2013

God Promises a Lot of Things to His Kimberly Colvin Snuggs

God promises a lot of things to His children written in His book to us. In Jeremiah 29:11, He promises not to harm us and to give us a hope and a future. In Exodus 14:14, He promises to fight for us if we are still. Isaiah 40:31 says if we have hope in the Lord He will renew our strength and we can run and not grow weary. And one of my favorite promises of them all is in Philippians 4 when God promises to provide peace that transcends all understanding if we will not worry or be anxious. I haven’t found the promise yet that life would be easy. In fact God says “you will have trouble in this world” but yet another promise is that He has overcome the world.

My family has been on quite a journey the last 18months. I have never held so tightly to God’s promises for me. My now five year old daughter, Avery, was diagnosed with leukemia in February of last year. Just after her 4th birthday and after a perfect well doctor’s visit, she developed sudden bruising. We immediately got her checked out and heard the words no parent ever deserves or expects to hear....”she has cancer.”

Our hearts were crushed and our world at that moment was turned upside down. She has been through more in the last 18 months than most of us can say in a lifetime. She has been poked and prodded over one hundred times, has lost her hair twice, and experienced the horrible side effects from chemotherapy that everyone hears about. And through it all, God is using the strength, bravery, and faith of my five year old daughter to teach this momma some pretty special things.

I think back to last summer and a day that Avery had to go to clinic to get chemotherapy. This particular chemo is given in the form of two shots. Avery had received this drug several times before and with each administration it became more difficult for Avery to be willing and cooperative for the shots to be given. The three nurses that it would take to hold her down came in and that is when Avery lost it. As the nurses are preparing her legs, Avery is screaming, “No, mommy. No, mommy. I don’t want to. Please mommy no. It’s going to hurt. I don’t want to do it.” My heart actually aches. She isn’t telling them no but is telling me no. She wants me to make them stop.

 I am her mom and the one that is supposed to be able to take all this away from her. But I can’t take this away, so all I do is squeeze her hands close to her chest. I have my mouth near her ear and as her tears mix with my tears on our cheeks, I whisper close to her, “I know baby. I know you don’t want to. I know it’s going to hurt. I just need you to be still for just a while. It will be over in just a minute. I love you baby girl. Mommy loves you so much.” It feels like an eternity, but it lasts less than a minute, and after the Band Aids are in place she clings to me again. I pick her up, and she rests her head on my chest. Her sobs finally begin to die down. I tell her over and over how proud I am. “You are so brave, Avery. You did so well. I am so proud of you.” She rests in my arms clinging to my hand, and she never lets go as she drifts off to sleep.

What an amazing picture it painted for me of my heavenly father. I remember day one of this journey pleading to my Father, “No, God, no. I don’t want to do this. Please God no. I don’t want to do it; this hurts too much. I can’t do this.” But God whispers in my ear and cries with me, “I know my child. I know you don’t want to. I know it’s going to hurt. I just need you to be still for just a little while. It will be over before you know it. I love you my daughter. Your Father loves you so much!!!” And all I can do is cling to Him. I’m not mad or angry at God for choosing Avery to have to go through this. I just have to hold His hand and trust He knows what is best for my girl. And I pray one day I hear the words from my Heavenly Father…”You did good my daughter, I am so proud of you.” God promises His children so much, but commands much of us as well. I will continue to trust and to be still and let God fight for me. It’s the only way I can survive this journey. “I will cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 and I will “Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Navigating in the Blended Family by Becky Norton Farmer

Navigating in the Blended Family: Blessings and Challenges

So, an update from my last blog entry, Michael and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary on June 9th with a family trip to Tennessee with all 4 kids and my parents.  When we joined our family, I had two girls ages 12 and 14 and Michael had one girl 15 and one boy 12. Now WE have a glorious family of 4, ages 12-15! What a blessing! I wish that I could say that it was always that way. 

When we decided to get married, our pastor counseled us and said, “You guys are fine, and I am not worried about your relationship. Your biggest challenge will be with the children." There was not a truer statement ever made.  Imagine placing 4 kids ages 12-15 together in a home, who only knew each other as acquaintances and say, OK, now you are a family!  Well, that is exactly what happened. I cried more tears each night over the family dynamic in our home than I have cried over anything in my life. The three girls hated each other, and our son, bless his heart, just endured the situation.  Differences in parenting styles, different temperaments, little hearts that were trying to adjust to mom and dad getting remarried, all combined for a not so pretty picture. My precious husband, whose parents divorced when he was just 7, would tell me, “Be patient. Give it time, and God will work it out”. Well, for those of you who know me, patience is not my strong suit! My father, who also experienced divorced parents, also gave me the same advice, “Baby, it just takes time. They will all get along one day."  I would call these “family meetings” where we would sit around and share our feelings. Talk about AWKWARD!!! AWKWEIRD is more like it. Getting teenagers to talk at all is a challenge, but to speak nicely about a situation is even harder. The meetings would end up in everyone saying how much they disliked one another and the situation and someone crying, usually ME! So I cried out to God daily to please mold my family into one that at least liked each other and could live together peacefully. I began to wonder if  we would ever be normal again. 

But our God is so amazingly merciful and graceful that He mends the broken hearts and restores and heals relationships! Our kids now laugh and play together, do each other’s hair, call and text one another when they are apart and even want to spend the night with each other when they are at the other parent’s house for the weekend. I cannot praise God enough for the miracle that has occurred in the lives of our children.  Little by little, week by week, just as my husband and my daddy told me would happen, they all began to get to know each other and even like each other. Our family is finally a family and only God can get glory for that. It is nothing that I or Michael did, only our Heavenly Father.  They still have their spats and disputes, but just as normal brothers and sisters do, not as enemies who cannot stand to breathe the same air! 

I have had the privilege to not only mother two of the most beautiful, talented, smart, funny and precious girls in the world, but now I get to be mother to another beautiful, amazing, kind and funny girl and also to mother a son, who is generous, considerate, kind and wonderful! My cup runneth over! God has blessed me with a second chance at love to the most amazing man a woman could ever hope to marry and to be the mother to the coolest 4 kids on the planet. So if you are struggling in your blended family world, the only advice I can give is to pray fervently and be patient. In God’s time and with your love and prayer, He will make  a family into one that honors  Him and reflects His love and mercy. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

While I Am Becky Farmer

While I am waiting…..

“Lord how am I gonna make it?” What am I to do?  These are questions that you might be asking yourself if you are newly “single again”.
Regardless of how you got here, you’re here. The last thing you need now is to make huge mistakes out of a desire to feel needed and wanted again. So, what is a girl to do? How can I honor God with my time and talents and still be a good mom? When is it ok to “date” again? REALLY??? 

To answer all these questions is not an easy one unless you have walked with God thru this journey. The most important thing a newly single again mom must remember is that God promises never to leave us or forsake us, especially now. In the midst of all my heartache, I cried out to God to protect my girls and heal my broken heart. Until that happens, the heart healing, you cannot even contemplate dating again. The mere thought made me sick to my stomach that I could even become close to a man again. So, what did I do with all my time? Being a single working mom made that decision pretty easy, I worked and took care of my girls. The rest of the time I spent serving my Lord, thru my church. I taught 8th grade girls Sunday School, led a Financial Peace group and began a Single Parenting class. This not only served God but allowed me time to seek God and His direction for my life, and for the life of my girls.
God is so awesome and when He is ready for you to move forward to love again, He will make it very clear. It was like I had blinders removed from my eyes and heart when he had healed me and made me realize that I could be loved and that I was ready to date. I mentioned in my previous blog the “top 10 list” that I developed in counseling.  I was very serious about that list and had decided if a potential date didn’t meet those requirements, then I was fine with being single forever. It is ok to be single, it is not a death sentence. I learned more about myself and my God in those 3 years of being single than I had in all my previous years of life. I also got to see a side of God’s church and my church family that amazed me. I would wake up on Saturday mornings to hear lawn mowers outside mowing my grass! Yes, men from my church who had given of their time to minister to me. What an awesome outpouring of love. I would also receive money from strangers and friends who knew what a struggle being a single mom was and gave to me generously from a loving heart.  

When I began to pray for this man who would meet all of my top 10 requirements, I also prayed very specifically that IF I were to marry again, that God would bring him to me quickly and make it clear, very clear, who this man would be. I did not want to be one of those ladies who dated many men in search of their prince charming. I have two young girl children at home  that would not be sending them a good message. So, my prayers were very specific, VERY specific. And my God, supplied all my needs according to His riches in glory!!! My Michael is a wonderful man, not perfect, but perfect for me and God designed him to my specifications because my prayer was very specific. 

I have seen women separate from their husbands and begin the downward spiral, looking for love and acceptance from any man who will look their way. It is easy to be tempted to go this path, but God’s way is a much better choice. Allow yourself time to mend, take care of yourself and your children, TIME does heal all wounds and crying out to our Heavenly Father for guidance will allow you to make wise, godly decisions while you are in the midst of the storm.  Knowing who you are in Christ and that you are worthy of His best, will allow you to take your time and wait upon the Lord to reveal His perfect plan for your life.
Pray, seek and serve! That was my motto during those 3 years before God brought Michael and I together. I hope you choose the same, my God will not let you down.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dating My Son by Kristy Mullins

When I was in middle school, it started. My daddy started dating me. He had a truck that had a bench seat in the front, and I’d ride right beside him to wherever we were going. Often times it was out to eat, and occasionally, he’d buy me something like clothes or jewelry. He always opened the door and gave me his undivided attention. He loved on me, not just then but whenever possible. I didn’t need some hairy-legged boy to tell me how great I was because my daddy already did. I didn’t need some hormonally charged boy to flatter me because my daddy already spoke truth into me and my life about my value and my looks.

Brunch at Cracker Barrel

So based on what I learned from my daddy, I began dating my son. We’ve been doing this since he was around five years old. Each year I add a little something more to the dates. Last year, I began giving him the keys to the truck to hold onto and gave him the money when it was time to pay. He walked with such confidence up to the counter to pay for our meal. He opened all the doors, and when he forgot, I stood outside until he came back and got me with a sheepish grin on his face apologizing. Pearce’s favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel, so that is where we go on most of our dining dates. We practice our best manners for an eight year old. Then when we leave, he has the keys to the truck. He unlocks the door, waits for me to get in, closes the door and gets into the truck before returning the keys. Last year during a date to Cracker Barrel, I was sitting in the truck while Pearce was getting in, and I happened to look into the vehicle ahead of me. The noses of our vehicles were facing each other, and the passenger (a lady) was watching everything unfold. She was grinning and laughing and giving me a thumb up. I just nodded in her direction.

Today, Pearce and I had another date, and I posted a little something about it on Facebook on my personal page. There were quite a few hits, so I thought I’d tell a little bit more about our dates.

Showing Off His Skill at the Arcade
First of all there is a disclaimer. This is my first rodeo raising a boy. There is no dress rehearsal in this life. I wasn’t raised with boys, but I figured if my daddy’s dating me worked, why wouldn’t it work for me and my son. You see, my son and I butt heads frequently because he is my strong-willed child. He is the answer to my mother’s prayers. He wants his way, and he knows his way will work. The problem is he has to learn to submit and obey along with respecting authority including educators and parents. So, I stand my ground. It’s important to me that Pearce sees me more than just his disciplinarian. He needs to see me as his momma who loves him, wants the best for him. He needs to see me laugh and have a good time and to relax and be goofy. This momma thing is all a really big balancing act in the long run.

I also keep in mind that I’m training a future leader: a future leader in school, a future leader in the community, but most importantly, a future, godly leader in his home. So how do I prepare him for that undertaking? How do I train my son to be the godly man God wants him to be? What do I do now? I believe that God will bless my efforts and that His Word will not return void. In the end, Pearce will have to make the decision as to whether or not he believes what I’m teaching and whether or not he’s going to incorporate it in his life. My job for now is to equip him, so when he hears the voice behind him saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Pearce will know that’s from God.

Bass Pro
So what am I doing to prepare and train my son? First of all, he knows how to wash, dry, fold and put away his clothes. He knows how to put away and load dirty dishes. He also knows how to cook several meals. These are real life skills he needs to know in order to survive.

What else am I working on right now with my son? We are using language to convey feelings and emotions, and identifying the emotions because we can have more than happy and angry feelings. This lesson has been going on for some time, and I have reason to believe it will continue for years to come.

As for our dates, currently, we have a conversation about what we want to do and where we want to go. Most of the time it’s to a dinner and a movie. Today, I added praying before our date to the schedule. We pray at meals, but I told him how important it was to pray on dates. He said he didn’t know how to pray for our date, and I reminded him that we pray every morning on our way to school and that is how he should pray. He’s at an age that he’s counting money, and it’s important that he has the confidence to go up and order those movie tickets or to pay for our meal. Probably next year, we will work on the budgeting aspect of our dates, but for now, we are funding the dates making sure he handles the money. I think it’ll be different when I give him the money ahead of time, and he has to plan the date within those perimeters. During our time at the restaurant, he isn’t allowed to play on my cell phone. He has to have a conversation with me or play a game with me. He has to be engaged with his date. The last stop on our date was to see my Mammaw (his great grandmother).
Pearce and his great grandmother Mammaw Groves
After leaving, I told him it’s important to be able to visit with people of all ages. He needs to feel comfortable talking to his date’s family, and he has to feel comfortable bringing his date home to talk with us as well. Oh how I pray that some of this sticks.

I will continue to date my son for as long as he will allow it. I still go on dates with my daddy, but the purpose has changed. Now it’s just to spend time with one another. He’s already poured so much into me and equipped me to be the wife and mother I am today. (BTW, he was my disciplinarian, and we have a loving relationship today, so there is hope!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Once a Parent Always a Parent by Kellie Perego

 Once a Parent Always a Parent

The journey of life is always unpredictable and uncertain. Certainly in the area of parenting. During our earlier years we dream of meeting that right person, getting married, and raising a family. AS the years pass and our dreams come true, we find ourselves in a place in our lives where we wonder, where did all the years go? Wow, that went by fast!

That has been true for me. I did meet the perfect spouse for me. WE’VE been married for 23 years and we have two great children, Parker and Karlee. In my journey of life, we chose for me to stay home with my children and not to work outside the home. In doing so, it allowed me to be more involved in our children’s upbringing and education on a deeper level than most parents.

Parenting is something that is trial and error at the most.  Parenting skills ARE DETERMINED BY THE BELIEFS, VALUES, MANNERS AND EDUCATION THAT WAS RECEIVED ALONG THE WAY. Parenting must be executed on an individual basis. Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made by our creator so that no two ARE just alike. Each CHILD has their own personality traits, likes and dislikes, talents and skills, and certain things that MOTIVATE them to succeed or not succeed. To parent a child, we must know the child and adjust accordingly. Know what makes them tick, so to speak, or understand their thinking, their heart, whether it is sensitive to the world around them or if it is indifferent.

A parent must be an advocate for their child. No one else in the world is going love them more except for Jesus. The world wants to shred them a part, destroy them, do away with them before they are even born. We must stand in the gap for them through prayer, be a godly example, be consist in our own lives and not be hypocritical, be open and honest especially when we make a mistake and I think the most important thing is to keep your word when you say you are going to do something, follow through. Children are not dumb, they know when you are real or not. They mimic your every move. One day, we will be held accountable before God on how we parented our children that he blessed us with.

At this point in my journey of this life, my children will both be attending college in the fall, and I am left with an ‘empty house’. Sometimes, all the hype is about the kids needing to adjust to college life, being away from home, and taking on more adult responsibilities. But I think the adjustment is for the moms who have spent 18 years of their lives preparing them to go out into the world.  We, AS MOMS have carried them, delivered them, nursed their every hurt and pain, poured into their lives everything we possibly can and one day they are UP and gone. No more nurturing, no more endless chores or cooking. Just you and your spouse again.

  It is going to be an adjustment FOR ME, but at the same time, I am excited about what lies ahead. Opportunities for me to fulfill my life long dreams and passions of serving on the mission field. Opportunities to pour into other children’s lives nurturing love and encouragement that otherwise they might not have because of the death of their parents. Whether they are 10,000 miles across the WORLD or right down the street in your neighborhood or even your own grandchildren, there will always be a need for parenting in some child’s life. God never intends for us to stop parenting just because our kids are grown or we think we are too old. He wouldn’t have given us all those years of training if he didn’t want us to use our knowledge of parenting for his glory to encourage others. Besides, just because your children are growing up, doesn’t mean that you won’t continue parenting them, you are just learning a new level of parenting on your journey of parenthood.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wisdom by Taran Holland

            “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without           criticizing, and it will be given to him.                     James 1:5


            About a year ago I was selling books for my office on campus, and I had the privilege of talking to a very sweet couple. They had graduated from New Orleans Seminary in 1958 and 1960. Currently they were serving as the pastor couple for a church in Virginia. We talked about their experience on campus, how much the campus had changed then about our families. They had raised sons, two or three I can’t remember exactly, which was a common factor for myself as I was raising two little men at that time. (Currently we are adding number three to the mix…Come on September!) As I was expressing my need for patience with my sons, the wife gave me the best advice I have received in parenting. “Stop praying for patience, pray for the wisdom to raise them the way the Lord wants them to be raised.”

            WOW! Where had that been in the past three years I had been a mother? Pray for wisdom, because if I am wise I will know how to react to my children during those circumstances when I want to scream. So I began praying for the wisdom to raise my sons and seeking God’s Word on wisdom.

            I am often taken by the wisdom we see in Solomon and all because he asked for it. Here is God’s reply to Solomon’s request:


            “I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like             you before and never will be again.” (1 Kings 3:12)


So, we are given proof that by asking God to give us good things, things that will help not only us but also the people around us, He will “give …generously”! That is very encouraging to a mother who feels like she only get’s it right 1/3 of the time. If we continue reading about Solomon we see many examples of how he exercised the wisdom God gave him. But for me, I’m not being approached by any women fighting over a child (a toy between brothers, maybe). So I’m left with some questions: What does wisdom look like? When I pray for God to give me wisdom, what exactly am I seeking Him for? Do I just want the right answer for that moment, or do I want something that is going to stick around long after this moment has passed?

            We find in James 3:13-17 a great description of what wisdom is and what wisdom is not. Here is what James has to say about it:


            “Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good    conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder   and ever kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace loving, gentle,             compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.”


This passage really stands out to me when I think about how I mother my children. If I am to be a wise mother I should conduct myself with “wisdom’s gentleness”. The Greek word used here is prautes [prah OO tays] it is translated to gentleness. This specific type of gentleness only comes from within and manifests itself outwardly. Secondly, I should have no bitter envy or selfish ambition in my heart. That one seems pretty easy until the next verse points out that these characteristics exist when there is disorder…uh oh, lots of disorder in my house! Finally, we are given a descriptive definition of wisdom from above: pure, peace loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. When I look at this list it looks similar to the characteristics that we would give to God, our heavenly father. He is full of mercy, gentleness and peace when He is teaching and guiding His children. So, this is what my parenting should look like to. Gosh that seems like a tall order! Then I remember that God has already proven His willingness to give wisdom that I ask for.  

            The Lord has proven Himself faithful to answering my prayers for wisdom. This does not mean that I am an ever wise mother, who never has a melt down or whose children always listen. But I am encouraged by the promise that God is trustworthy to do as His Word says He will. He will give me the wisdom that I seek to parent my children. Lets also begin praying that I use the wisdom He gives me!

Friday, August 9, 2013

I Need Oxygen...My Baby's First Day of School by Deborah Bryant

Each time we travel by plane, we hear this message:  “If cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks.  If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you until the tube is fully extended.  Place the mask over your nose and mouth; slip the elastic strap over your head.  Breathe and know that oxygen is flowing.  Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

There was an unexpected change in cabin pressure.  My heart began to race.  My hands felt numb.  I felt dizzy and weak.  I need that oxygen mask!  It was my baby’s first week of Kindergarten and the first day she got out of the car in carline to walk by herself down that long sidewalk, then down the long hall to her classroom.  There was a lump in my throat.  As she stepped out of the car, I told her I loved her, a stranger closed the car door, I drove away, and tears flowed down my cheeks. 

Elizabeth Stone wrote, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”.  That day, my heart walked out of the car, down that long sidewalk, down the long hall into Mrs. White’s Kindergarten class and I was not there to hover, provide and protect it. I felt as if I were hyperventilating.

Since then, other changes in cabin pressure have come about.  I needed oxygen when I was dealing with my child’s health issues, when she first rode a bus without me to a field trip, when she was mistreated by another student, and when she changed schools.  I imagine I will need oxygen in the future as well.  I will need oxygen when she transitions to middle school, hits puberty, enters high school, starts driving, rides in cars with peer drivers, begins dating, goes to college, moves from home, gets married, gives birth and many other times. 

While navigating expected milestones and unexpected turbulence, changes in cabin pressure occur. Where do I find oxygen?  I find my oxygen in my Heavenly Father.  I ask Him for help and he answers.  Sometimes he answers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers with a “wait” and sometimes he answers with “I’ve got something better”, but he always answers.  He is faithful and constant.  He is my very present help, strength, and comforter - oxygen.  I’m lost without Him.  When I get worried, busy, tired, distracted, or sleep-deprived and forget, cabin pressure changes are a gift to remind me.  One of the most beautiful expressions of this is in the song, “Breathe” by Michael W. Smith:  “This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me. This is my daily bread, Your very word spoken to me.  I’m desperate for you, and I’m lost without you.”   Note to self:  When experiencing anxiety from the joys and challenges in this wonderful journey of motherhood, strap on your oxygen mask and breathe.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Day of School by Amy Abraham

Your Child’s First Day of Preschool

It's the first day of real school for your child, and who's more upset about or your child? I have a few helpful hints to hopefully make things a lot smoother for the both of you! Start with asking God to guide and watch over both you and your child. The first day of school can make a parent an emotional wreck. I have learned over my years of teaching it's harder for a parent to drop off a child than the child separating from the parent.

Prepare the night before

If you have things in order at your house the night before it will make your morning a lot less rushed, and it will give you more time with your child the next morning. Try to make time to sit at the breakfast table with him and encourage him about his day.  Another importing thing is to make sure he gets plenty of rest. When a child comes to school after a late night and being rushed the next morning, they usually have a crummy day. Be consistent. Don't go to bed early for one week then start going to bed later and later each night. Children react well to a schedule that is consistent! Feed them breakfast every morning and take a minute to sit and eat at the table with them. This would be a good time for you to talk about the great day he is going to have.

Encourage your child

Talk about all the positives that will happen at school. There will be toys. You will make lots of friends; your teacher is very nice, I'm very excited about all the neat stories you will be hearing. The more you encourage your child the more he will be excited about going to school each day. Remember he will be attending the school you chose for him, and it's a safe, loving place.  If you are worried about him feel free to call the school and check up on him. Parents call the school all the time to get a report about how their day is going.

Separation anxiety

When you get to school let your child walk to the classroom like a big boy. Let him know how proud you are of him for being so big. If he starts crying when you get to the room and wants to hang on to you, encourage him to play with a friend or with toys. The more you wait around the more he will get upset because he sees its upsetting you. I know it sounds crazy, but I see it all the time. Most of the time the separation anxiety is more with the parents than the child. If you have a child that is just hanging onto you and crying ask the teacher to help you and kiss them goodbye. Don't sneak out either, he will catch onto what you do when you drop him off and will want to cling to you even more. Don't be afraid to ask the teacher for help if you or the child are having separation issues. If you are encouraging to him, he will probably sit down with a friend, kiss you goodbye, and not think about you anymore until you come to pick him up.  Don't be late picking him up. If you tell him you will be there at a certain time, keep your word.  After naptime when parents are picking up their children, other children start wondering where is my mommy. 

Pick up time

When you get to school to pick up your child the first thing you should do is ask them about their day. Ask them questions about what they learned and who they played with. Encourage them by letting them know how excited you are to hear all about their exciting day. Remember to talk to the teacher in front of the child and praise her for loving on him. A teacher becomes very attached to her students, and when you praise the teacher in front of the child, it shows you trust her. Tell your child, "I like your teacher; isn't she nice?".  The more encouraging you are about school, the more he will be excited to attend. End the night with reading a story and encouraging him that he will be reading one day soon.  Say a prayer praising God for all his Glory and thanking him for watching over your child at school.

I am a preschool teacher and a mother of two beautiful children. My daughter is in 5th grade and my son is in Preschool. I hope this information is helpful to you. I pray you have a blessed school year. Remember it's always ok to ask your teacher anything no matter what it is. She isn't just there for your child, she is also there to support you!!!

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart for it.  Proverbs  22:6


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Heart of a Young Momma by Kalyn Saliba

I remember as a child, my Mom playing scripture memory/biblical facts songs for my sister and I.  I can to this day recall almost anything put to music.  In fourth grade, my Sunday School teachers helped us learn the books of the Bible, which I can still recite, and flip to the correct book in an instant.  During my teenage years the thirst for God’s word became more evident in my life.  I began listening to Christian music and memorizing verses and passages.   

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 Now, as a parent of two little boys (6 and 2), I’m daily praying to live out the above verse during mealtime, playtime, bedtime, at home, in the car, in stores, and with friends.  My boys love songs!  My youngest can learn a tune in a heartbeat.  Something we started listening to with my oldest is Seeds Family Worship.  We all love contemporary Christian and worship songs.  It is music to my ears to hear them request (several times throughout the day) their favorite songs and music videos that honor The Lord.  I just this week figured out how to make a playlist on You Tube.  I found Books of the Bible, fruits of the Spirit, & Ten Commandments music videos.  I also added videos from Amber Sky Records, and Hillsong Kids.  These are great, free resources to enforce Godly wisdom, in a fun way.  There’s nothing better than seeing your children dance and sing to these songs.  And of course I join them too!

 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  Psalm 150:6

We want our boys to learn at this young age the difference between head knowledge of God and a heart relationship with our Savior.  Our oldest began memorizing one verse per week this past school year, and monthly verses and virtues through church.  We always discuss the meaning of the verse.  Some he understands more than others and that’s okay.  We’re just helping to build a foundation and plant seeds.  Each verse from school now lines his bathroom mirror. 

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Joshua 1:8-9

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:11
We daily try to have a devotional time with our boys, but sometimes this doesn’t happen.  The book we have now contains questions and an application game or recipe.  If we don’t get to do this, I used to feel like I failed them that day.  I know now, just like in my own walk with the Lord, God is not waiting for me to mess up.  He knows my heart.   My life is to worship Him with everything I say, do, hear, and see.  So each minute of the day presents itself with an opportunity to live out loud: conversations, tone of voice, helping a neighbor, praying for those in accident we see while driving, demonstrating forgiveness, gazing in awe of God’s creation, lessons in obedience, thankfulness, provision and patience (a big one for us right now) and the list goes on. 

Some days are overwhelming and it is a struggle as a mom to apply the Fruits of the Spirit.  Sibling bickering, whining, deliberate disobedience, and disrespect can wear me down and out.  I am usually reminded in the day, how precious my children are.  I may find a rock in the dryer, a shoe in a kitchen cabinet, a toy car in my bathroom cup (just happened last night), hear giggling while they play together, and surprise “I love you Mama.”  I can not help but smile, and become humbled once again as God tells me “children are a gift from The Lord.”  True blessings!



Friday, August 2, 2013

Two Sides of Every Friendship -- This is Tammy's Side by Tammy Bennett

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Tammy. In order to fully understand this post, you'll need to read the prior one. You are going to see Tammy's honesty and candor about what it cost her when she was outside God's will, but I am so happy that God didn't leave her stubborn self out there on her own. He pursued her. He restored her, and He restored our relationship. Mine and Tammy's prayer is that this will encourage you to trust God to work it out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). His timing is definitely not ours. It took 15 years for full restoration, but He did it, and now we are giving Him the glory. Here's Tammy's side of the story...

"You don’t know what you got until it’s gone…." That’s my story.   So many times you take things for granted:  health, happiness, financial security, career, people, FRIENDS… then GOD.  That’s what happened to me.  When you decide that you can live your life YOUR way and not God’s way, then you are out of God’s will.  It took many years for God to reel me back to His way.  Failed marriages (yes, plural), lost career, death of my Mother (my rock and faithful supporter)… heartbreak beyond belief to finally look up to God and realize what HE wanted me to see all along… that I NEEDED HIM!  That I could not do it all by myself.  This superficial Christian life was not what God intended for me.  HE desires a personal relationship with me and I nearly lost everything due to my hard-headedness before I realized it.  I will be forever sorry that my selfish decisions hurt others in the process.  To hear how heartbroken my best friend was, that I caused her pain hurts so much.  Why didn’t I just stay in the will of God?!  How much heartbreak would I have spared all of us?  Let me encourage anyone who may have strayed away from the will and plan of God, it’s not too late for the love of Christ to restore and then HE shows off and replenishes far beyond your wildest dreams.  He has given me a wonderful Christian husband, and we are growing together… It is a process you know!  He has given me a new career that is far beyond what my small mind would have dreamed of, and my best friend…. She’s still the same friend, goofy, loving. We finish each other’s sentences, and it’s like the lost time never happened.  God even blessed me with an ADHD child!   God has a sense of humor!   I chose this verse because when we have a best friend for many years, we can sometimes get complacent, take them for granted.  Try to go a week without talking to them… go a month… go 15 years!  When you get them back, you don’t ever want to lose them again!  Money is not the fortune here… Kristy IS!

Job 42:10-13

New International Version (NIV)

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.