Thursday, August 29, 2013

Celebrating Sister

My, what a year it has been!
Look at you now, baby girl!
I love you, Sister!

Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli

"Growing great kids doesn't happen by accident.
 It only happens when we're intentional, honest, patient, and unwavering."

This is the point that Kate Battistelli, mom to Christian music artist Francesca Battistelli, drives home in her book "Growing Great Kids." I was skeptical of another parenting book, but this one is truly different. I felt challenged and brought to tears several times beginning in the first chapter.

Being a mom of 3, I often wonder if I am doing enough. I have always prayed for my children, but this book has challenged me to pray differently, more specifically for each child.  Ms. Battistelli writes about how she prayed specific prayers over her daughter, kept a journal of the prayers, and when God answered them, she wrote in the date. I have been personally challenged to start praying over every aspect of my children's lives and to journal those requests. I believe that seeing those prayers answered will be a huge faith booster!

Ms. Battistelli really challenges parents to "Train up" their children. She encourages us to pray with our children to help find their God given purpose in life and cultivate it. I finished the book feeling encouraged that God loved my children more than I do, that He has a individual plan for each one, and that He wanted to help me guide them. He wants what is best in their lives, and that He wants me to seek His face when raising them.

Each chapter ended with questions that made me really think through the truths of the chapter. She ended with a prayer asking God for help in the areas covered. I found myself truly crying out these prayers instead of just reading them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

You can purchase your copy on Amazon ,, or Barnes & Noble.

A Note From the Author:
"I want to share with you that I'm not a childrearing expert. But I am an expert in raising my child just as you're an expert in raising yours.
No one knows your child better than you do and no one will love them, pray for them and fight for their future like you will. I’m passionate about helping you believe God has a Big Purpose, a God-sized plan for your precious family. 
I have no interest in greatness but I have a great interest in helping you raise great kids and encouraging you to partner with God to uncover their unique destiny. Our children are entrusted to us for such a short season and our job is to nurture, guide, train and help them become all God has called them to be!"
You can learn more about Kate on her website.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Children's Museum

We have been looking for some new ideas for field trips and family activities. We decided to give the children's museum a try. We were both a little skeptical that there would be enough to keep our kiddos busy as young as they are. We were pleasantly surprised. There were so many things that the kids were able to play for 2 hours. In fact, they would have played longer, but Dad and I were worn out! Here are just a few of the activities that we enjoyed.

They have a creation station. Every month they have a craft of the month as a focus, but the children are not limited to that craft. They can make just about anything that they would like. When we were there the focus was sewing. The boys chose to sew penguin puppets. They loved it.

Their focus room was sound. The kids had a blast making music!

Everyone's favorite part was the tape tube and slide! It is actually made out of packing tape!
It took 25 people an entire week to make this amazing creation. 
There is a net between you and the ground, but I have to tell
you, as someone who isn't fond of heights, it is a tad on the scary side!
I think the boys went through it at least 2 dozen times! 
Sister loved it as well! The height didn't seem to bother her in the least.

We had a great time. I love that the kids were learning as well as having fun!

Homeschool Check-In

It's been a while since I have written a homeschool post. I thought it might be time to check in and give an update on how things are progressing.

We have learned a very valuable lesson....
After a long weekend of family time, the house tends to get messy. I found that the house was simply too distracting to me. I was having a hard time focusing on my children because I was too focused on the mess. I had this brilliant idea, clean on Mondays. I have found that it is the perfect time to teach life skills that they need. We spend the day getting things back into order. It has allowed us to focus on our other studies throughout the rest of the week.

The boys are loving learning.
 I am taking 2 weeks to complete one week of our curriculum because of all the fun stuff listed. It works out great. The boys are getting their memory verses truly memorized and are able to recite all 3 that we have learned. They are getting to hear the Bible stories multiple times and the lessons are proving very valuable during times of reprimand.

(please ignore the chair on the table, Sister is in a climbing phase)

Mr Popper is my worksheet kid. I am not a fan of the traditional worksheet. (hence the reason that I homeschool) I prefer the hands on approach of learning while living. However, God has blessed me with a child that is stretching me a little. This past week I printed off a packet of worksheets on writing numbers. I only printed 1-10, thinking that that would suffice. I mean 2 per day seemed like a realistic number for him. On Tuesday, after he finished all 10 pages in one setting, I realized that I might have to order actual book curriculum for this boy of mine!

Brother Bear is actually taking me by surprise. He already knows most of his shapes and colors through his Leap Pad games. I am finding out that he is NOT a worksheet kid. He loves to paint or do anything messy, and he loves video games (the Leap Pad). I have made several busy bags for him. He will do the activity once, may be twice, and then he is bored. I am going to have fun with this one too. I am thinking or other learning sights might come in handy with his schooling.

Of course, while the boys are learning, Sister wants to be right in the middle of it. I have been using manipulative toys and magnet boards are a good way to keep her busy in her highchair.

It is shaping up to be an exciting year.

Becoming His Help Meet Week 4

This week I am covering the word submission. The idea sounded simple enough, and then I began to study and dig a little lot deeper.

I started where I always do, looking up the word submit in the good ole Merriam-Webster.
                                    Submit-to yield to governance or authority, to yield oneself to the authority                                         or will of another.
This sounds simple enough to me. However, I went deeper. I wanted to get to the root of this word in the scripture from Ephesians 5:22 where wives are told to submit to their husbands as the church does to the Lord. 
I did a few parallels and found that most every translation is worded the same. They just seem to use submit and be subject interchangeably.  
Next, I decided to dive-in head first. I found the original Greek. (deep breath)

 I am new to studying scripture this way.
 I am embarrassed to tell you that I have never dug this deep until this study.
 I am learning a whole new way to look at things.
 I am also learning that prayer and being lead by the Spirit is incredibly important when conducting studies of this magnitude. 
That being said, please stay with me. 
If you do see anything in my writing that you feel is error,
 please do not hesitate to contact me.
 I am humble enough to know that I am a baby in this area. 

Okay, now on with my findings...
       In Ephesians 5:22 the Greek word for subject or submit is hupotasso: hupo-under tasso-arrange in an orderly manner. This a military term used to explain troops under their commander. In Greek the verse reads slightly different than our translations. The literal translation is:     
The wives to their husbands as to the Lord. 
as the church is subject to Christ, 
so also the wives to their husbands in everything.

The word as is the Greek adverb hos- in the same manner as.
I found all my information here!

There are several commentators on this site and they all explained things basically the same way. I will try to give a brief summary:
The word submission is used throughout the Bible to all Christians. It is a command. However, it is also a voluntary act. We have to make that choice to follow God's command in this. We are told to submit or place ourselves under our husbands not as a belittling command, but as an act of putting things in order. (even though we are 'one' Gen 2:24) Jesus submitted to His Father, though they were one in the same. The Bible also says in verse 21 of Ephesians 5 for Christians to submit themselves one to another. 

Basically, submission should be a more common term used and practiced by Christians, both men and women. It is an act of humbling ourselves. Romans 12:3 puts it this way:

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

As I have gone back through this study, I have learned a few things that I had missed in my previous studies. I think that is the awesome part of God's Word, you never stop learning about any one subject.

I pray that you are being encouraged by this study the same way that I am. I am going to continue to make Tuesday Tidbits all about marriage and the challenge that we have to be better wives to our husbands. 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Heartfelt Prayers

Prayer has always been a very important part of my life. My parents taught me from a very young age to talk to God. They have always encouraged talking to Him just like a friend. However, as my children are getting to the age of awareness and understanding, I have shied away from teaching this to them. I'm not even sure why. May be it was laziness. All I know is that it was much easier to teach them the 'God is great, God is good' and 'Now I lay me' kind of prayers. Not that there is anything wrong with those. I just want my children to truly know God as their personal friend! I do not believe that can happen until they learn to make their prayers personal.
That said, I was blog hopping a few weeks ago at one of the link ups. I came across a blog post on children praying. I would love to direct you to it, but truthfully, I didn't think much of it at the time. It was an encouraging story of her children and their prayers. It wasn't until later that the Lord started working on me in this area.
 I have been challenged recently to pray differently for my children (a future post). One day, during my prayer time, I was asking God to let my children know Him in a real and personal way. In that moment He spoke to me about teaching them to pray. I began to get convicted every time that we sat down to a meal and they rushed through their routine of prayer. That's what it had become to them. Not a special moment where they were able to thank God for the food and for family. It was a memorized jingle to them. That is when I knew that I needed to change my parenting.
Daddy T and I talked to the kiddos about really talking to God and how special it was. We told them to talk to Him just like they would us. I can not even begin to tell you how much their sweet, honest prayers have blessed me the last week. The honesty, the heart felt words, the innocence...
I am amazed at how much I have learned about my prayer life from my children. I long for the same purity and honesty that they have in their prayers. Mr Popper thanks God for all the people that are close to him. He asks that his daddy come home safely. He has started praying that God would give his mommy a minivan that was cheap enough for her to buy so that she can get the kids in easier. (tear) Why had I never thought to pray that?
I talk about how nice a van would be. I dream about how much easier it would be if we had a van, but never have I prayed for a van. Did I think that my Father was too busy for that request? or that I was being selfish? He already knows my heart and here I was hiding my true 'desires' and requests. I was busy covering it with all the religious wording and....just that, my words!

My Father desires my heart not my words. 

So, tonight as I say my nightly prayers, I think I'll talk with Him about that request. I know that the van isn't a necessity, but I also know that God likes to bless His children. He also likes it when we are honest with Him and take Him our hearts.