The Life-Giving Parent

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One thing that I’ve appreciated more (now that I am older – 41 – and have young kids) is older women.  Titus 2 instructs the older women to instruct, mentor, disciple, love on, help the younger women.

And in parenting, I think it is crucial.  Yes, we can learn from those younger than us, and even in the same boat as us, but it is so helpful to have older women in your life to pour into you and teach you.

I have a few moms of adult children that I learn from and listen to and hang on their words of encouragement.  I also have a few moms who are actually younger than me but have kids who are older than mine.  I want to know how they survived these little years!

Yes, women my age can have lots of wisdom.  And I want to listen to them and share with them and have community and friendship with them.

But I want older women to pour into my life and my home and my parenting.  That is one of the reasons I love Sally Clarkson.  She is in her 60s, all of her children are grown, and they still have a great relationship and love and serve Jesus.  God has blessed their parenting.  It is evident, not perfect, but evident.

The Life-Giving Parent, written with her husband, Clay, is so rich with biblical principle (taken mostly from the Proverbs), practical tips in living out these principles, and anecdotal stories of their parenting.  In some parenting books you just get the truths.  But, what I love in each of these chapters is humble lessons learned from years of practice and trusting in God’s Word.

Definitely a book I want to read time and time again – and continue marking it up.  I may not know Sally personally, but her books have mentored me over the years.

All thoughts are my own.  I was given this book by Tyndale Publishers and was asked for my honest opinion. #ad

Buried Secrets

posted in: Books | 0

 

(This book was given to me by Gilead Publishing.  All opinions are my own.)

Something magical happens when you read a good Amish Christian fiction book (hint: a good one is harder to find than you think).  You pick it up and are transported to another world. One that sometimes you wish you could be in.

Barbara Cameron’s works are really sweet and good . I’ve enjoyed the Harvest of Hope series (this first book review is here) this is the second one in the series.  It can be stand alone, but it fits nicely in the second position too.

As I read this book, I thought of how much I could get done in my home and yard and with my boys if I didn’t have a cell phone, social media, or a TV.  If I didn’t reun out of the house all the time to run errands.  If I cooked most of my food at home.  At how many desserts I could eat (every day) and not gain weight if I was working as much physical labor around the house.

I didn’t like the fact the husband had died in this book (not a plot ruiner).  I don’t like the idea of either me or my husband dying and not seeing our boys grow up.  I’m a Highly Emotional Person when it comes to reading since I’ve had kids.  Not always fun.

Even though this book is predictable, she writes it in such a way as to keep you engaged and looking forward to the next series.

 

I Prayed For You

posted in: Books, parenting | 2

(This book review is sponsored by Tommy Nelson Mommies.  I was given this book and all opinions are my own.  Thanks Tommy Nelson!)

Praying for our children… it is one of the biggest privileges of a parent’s life…and the one I do the least.  There are days I’m so overwhelmed by the task of parenting my two boys, wondering how they will come to know the Savior, wondering how they will learn not to strive with their brother.

I can vividly remember mornings or nights, standing at my bathroom sink, tired…and thinking how I need to pray more because I can’t do this parenting thing on my own.

Then I let the cares of every day life – in the moment life – distract me from praying as fervently for them as I would like.

This cute bedtime story book  goes through many of the milestones in the years.  Giving us as moms ways to pray for our kids.  You can tie these into prayers from Scripture (and not just from a book) for your kids.  You can keep a journal of these prayers.

One way this book fell short was it ended with a parent’s prayer.  Where you could take it: Jesus is our Great High Priest.  He interceded for you even when I fail to pray for you as I should.  He is the one who prays for you every night and every day.  That is His job!

I have a I Prayed For You book to giveaway!  Would you like it? If so, just leave me a comment and tell me one prayer you like praying for your little one.

Book Review: The Spill

posted in: Books | 0

Do your kids love books?  Dogs? and Food?

Then this would be a great fun book to add to your summer reading list!

The Spill by Jaqueline Leigh is a fun story about being patient, listening to your mama, using manners, and sitting and enjoying the fun of a glass of milk!

I read it to my boys and they loved sneezing and looking at the milk and the dog.  And I loved it as a mother because there were such good manners: like please and thank you!

This would be good for an early reader with lovely illustrations, but also for a read-aloud – and you know how big I am about reading aloud to your kids!  Even in the summer.

This book comes out in June!  Be sure to get it!

5 Tips to Thrive at Lego Land Florida

posted in: parenting | 2

Spring Break was such a fun time for us as a family.  Sun, blue skies, ice cream, and tacos.  And our first trip to a theme park altogether as a family of four!

I grew up in Central Florida going to Cypress Gardens, dreaming of being a Cypress Garden Girl, wondering if I would ever learn to water ski (and I can barely do it now), and enjoying all the gardens that were beautiful.  I thought Cypress Gardens would always be there.  And in a way, it still is.

The grounds at Lego Land Florida are on the shores of the same lake that Cypress Gardens was and you can still watch the ski shows.  You can walk through the grounds of lego central and see spots of beautiful flowers and shady trees.

But, the focus of the park is now little plastic building blocks and themed superhero movies and a really fun water park.

My family was graciously given a two day park pass including the water park for the main event of our 7 day Florida vacation.  Since it was our first time going I asked around for some good tips.  And now, having gone, I thought I would share our 6 top tips for all you parents out there who want to have a fabulous day with your family at Lego Land!

  1.  Bathroom Status.  I would probably advise not to go if your kids are still in diapers, or even potty training.  Even though the restrooms are equipped with changing tables and there are plenty of clean bathrooms throughout the park, it just wouldn’t be as fun.  And, make sure your kids go to the potty before leaving for the park.  My husband had to take one of ours to the potty in the parking line (and all the other patrons who saw were laughing and joking with him…they got it).  And he took the other one to the Lego Hotel before we went through security.  Having kids who are well potty-trained just makes the day easier.

  1. Pay for the Preferred Parking.  Your kids will thank you at the end of the day. Florida in the spring and summer is just warm.  We had perfect weather with not a cloud in sight.  So, our car was rather warm.  But, the second day we chose the preferred parking.  We got to park closer and under the shade of solar panels.  We got into a perfectly cool car at the end of the day.  Our campers were much happier, and so were we.

  1. Budget for food, snacks, and drink.  We chose not to carry anything with us while we were there except our phones and a key and our debit cards.  Our hands were free to ride rides and hold little hands.  We were so glad we did this.  Yes, we could have brought in snacks and water in a small cooler – but then you either have to pay for a locker or carry it or push it in a stroller.  And we could have left it in the car in a cooler, but who wants to go all the way back out to the car when you are in the middle of having so much fun.  So, when you are doing your budget, plan for a 15$ reusable souvenir cup and food.  Your day will be much easier.  My favorite ice cream was the caramel vanilla swirl cone near the Pirate Playground.  Definitely the best food I ate there.
  2. The water park is worth it.  Our kids loved it.  The park provides flotation devices for those who don’t know how to swim, but our two little not-yet-swimming boys thrived well at the park slides for like 90 minutes.  They would have stayed there all day.  We joined them some and we also kicked back in shaded beach chairs.  We loved watching their excited faces!
  3. Don’t buy a fast pass.  I wouldn’t have thought of this one until I was a parent, and experienced some things, so hear me out.  One of the things we constantly try to teach our children is that we should put the needs and interests of others ahead of our own.  And I think the fast pass does exactly the opposite.  When you’ve been standing in line for 45 minutes and you are about to get on, and a family comes and delays your ride because they have a fast pass, your kids (and you) and certainly disappointed.  But, it also teaches them that the person holding the fast pass is better than everyone else.  It teaches them that you can buy first and you don’t have to practice patience.  It also seems to be a status symbol.  Like often times it is those with more money who have a fast pass.  We decided that we wouldn’t buy a fast pass for our family because we want to teach them more important things than just getting to the front of the line.

What are your survival tips for theme parks?

March Read Alouds

posted in: Books | 1

So, I know I’m a little late with March’s list, but we had good reason.

We didn’t read as much together as family because a lot of our month was spent preparing for our renters to come enjoy their stay at our house for The Masters.  Spring cleaning is definitely a new Olympic sport in Augusta.  And we were also getting ready to go on vacation to Florida (more on that in later posts).

I didn’t want you to miss these reads, so here they are.  April’s will be more on time, I hope!

How to Dress a Dragon.  Oh my goodness, my younger loved this.  Yes, I think primarily because he heard mommy say the word underwear several times.  But, I’m raising boys, can any mama relate?

Be Brave Little Penguin was a fun little book, perfect for our boys who were getting ready to go get in some water on vacation.  We are putting them in swim lessons this summer and we will spend so much time at the pool!

I Want My Hat Back.  I read this so much to my younger that he loved flipping through it and “reading” it to himself.  Loved hearing this!

Dragons Love Tacos.  My boys could live on tacos like I do.  Ok, really just chips and guacamole and queso. But they will be the first to tell you they don’t love salsa because it is tomatoes and its spicy.  So, this was a fun book for them to read.

These were just their favorites.  What did you read to your kids recently?

You can see my previous months books for January and February.

The Prayer Bible

posted in: Bible, Books | 1

Raise your hand if you have more than 10 Bibles in your house?  We do…and we’ve even purged so many!  What do you do with Bibles you don’t need/want anymore?

(This post is sponsored by Tommy Nelson. All thoughts are my own.)

Well, I have a new Bible to give to yall today.  Its called The Prayer Bible and Tommy Nelson put it out this Spring.  I think it is a good one for you to share with your school age son or daughter.  The cover is neutral so it can be for either a boy or a girl.  I know that is a secondary topic, but Bible covers are important! 🙂

It is a thicker Bible, but its hardback, so it would be durable.  I think it would be more for one your child could use as they learn to do their quiet time.  Maybe you could teach your child to have their quiet time in their room, and then discuss their thoughts and readings with them.  This Bible offers many devotionals and Q/A about prayer.  I’ve not read every single article, but they ones I read were really good and great for a school-age mind.  Especially as they are starting out in their faith (hopefully) and learning how to pray.

A good tool in this Bible is the Prayer Article Index in the front.  If your child is struggling with something in particular, they can read one of these articles.  I wish the articles were listed by topic and not by title, but they would always be good to read.  There is a verse topic index in the back. That’d be great if you are trying to teach your child what the Bible says about a variety of topics: like happiness, wisdom, and obedience.  You really want to get to a point with teaching your child to understand the Scriptures that you aren’t just pulling out a verse, but i know you don’t always have time for an expositional sermon when talking with your kids.

Come along side your kids when they are learning to read the Bible and to pray.  Its going to be a great adventure for your faith, their faith, and y’all’s relationship.

If you want this Bible, Tommy Nelson has one for you, just leave a comment on the blog to be entered.

Chasing Traffic

posted in: creatives | 1

Why do you do what you do?

I mean, I’m sitting here on the couch, loading photos for my church, writing this blog post, my little is not napping, so I guess I’ll just wait until I hear something crash.  He needs to learn to play in his room quietly right?

Anyway…why do I do what I do?

I cook…because I love to see other people eat my food and enjoy it.  And I like playing with the flavors.  That’s why I usually don’t cook for myself.  Because who likes to cook for one?

I letter and watercolor…to meditate on Scripture and to do art at an affordable price so others can enjoy it in their home or to give as a gift.  And to help them meditate on Scripture too.  To fill their home.

I blog…because I like to talk about what I want to talk about, yes, of course.  But, I also like to encourage other women.  I started blogging back before blogging was really a thing, and especially before making money blogging was really a thing.  I wanted to share devotional thoughts and recipes and travels.  My blog has definitely had different focuses over the years, but it really was and is about encouraging other women in their walk with Jesus.

I do photography….because I love it. I love to look at photos after I take them.  I love to capture smiles and special moments.  I like to do it affordably for others who may not have an unlimited budget to spend for fancy photography.  People without a large budget should still be able to have nice photographs right?

I was listening to Taylor’s podcast Boss Girl Creative this weekend while I was out doing Masters Prep errands (its basically when all of Augusta does spring cleaning at once so that you can rent out your house, get tax free money, and get outta town for the winning of the Green Jacket).  And, if you haven’t had my friend’s Green Jacket salad, stop, go make it, and come back!

Anyway, back to the podcast, Taylor was talking about private label rights and how purchasing what other’s create is a thing…but why?  Why not just create it yourself?  Or hire someone to create something specifically for you or your business.

I really don’t blog to make money…even though it is great when I do.  I blog to talk and encourage and share.  It doesn’t have to perfect or top the SEO charts.  That’s why I do what I do.  SEO isn’t the most important thing to me, though if I got more traffic that’d be nice.  But I don’t want to do things on the blog just to chase traffic.  I’ve always wanted my blog to be me.  So, I’m careful about who I let guest blog and what sponsors or ad posts I write.

It is always an important thing to remember in life: why you do what you do.  And stick to it.  Doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to change over time…but always be true to yourself…don’t go chasing traffic.

 

Growing Kids with Character

posted in: Books, parenting | 0

Ad.  Book from Litfuse Publicity Group for honest review.

Most people right now are thrilled with personality tests. It started out with simple ones, and has moved to complex ones.  My favorite is the Enneagram.  I’m a three with a 4 wing.  What are you?

Hettie Brittz, in her book Growing Kids with Character, delves into parenting and shepherding your children based on their personality types.  This is a simple way of talking about her book.

I didn’t think it would be that.  But, it is what it is. I checked out her personality types and didn’t really see my boys on the grid, so honestly, I didn’t read the rest.  But, I read the first two chapters and loved her thoughts about God being a present gardener who attends to his children.  And how we can attend to our children, especially in their formative years.

Maybe you know someone who would benefit from reading this book.  I think every parenting book is a good place to start, to read, to be encouraged from.  Even if it is just one sentence!

A Very Happy Easter Prayer

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Ad.

Easter is right around the corner . We’ll be starting out vacation the day of Easter, so we’ll be doing things a bit different this year.  But…the reason is still the same for our celebration!

Jesus is Alive!

And a book to celebrate that is A Very Happy Easter Prayer.  It is a cute board book for toddlers from Bonnie Jenson and Tommy Nelson Mommies.

And while I like it and its cute illustrations that might be a good practice for me and watercolor…  And it talks about the incarnation.  And the resurrection.  It doesn’t talk about the death of Jesus at all.  And isn’t that the reason that we had an empty tomb in the first place.

We don’t need to shy away from the death of Christ. Our boys know “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.  Jesus is alive!”  Of course they don’t fully understand it, but they still know it.

I hope you guys, in whatever books you read during this spring season, can share with your kids the truth about Jesus’ death and the empty tomb!