Book Review & Giveaway: God Made All of Me

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God Made All of Me

Unfortunately, this world hands us things that we must learn how to interact with, pray about, deal with, handle with truth and the gospel, and prepare our kids to face as they get older.  This is the sad reality in which we live.

Fortunately, Justin Holcomb and his wife, Lindsey, have written an incredible resource for children (toddlers through 8 years old) to instruct, inform, and prepare them for how they live in their bodies.  And how they respond to physical touch.

Child abuse, both physical and sexual and mental, is so rampant these days.  We must know how to prepare our children for what they (prayerfully won’t) might encounter.  The more our children are prepared the more we as parents can hopefully prevent harm to our children.

What I love about God Made All of Me is that is tells children that their bodies are good because God made them and it teaches them the importance of communication with trusted adults.  Inappropriate sexual touch can be totally embarrassing to children – they may not know how to tell their parents.  But, if you keep the communication lines open with your child, and teach them that God did make them in His image and it is wrong for others to touch them in a wrong way – you will be equipping your child!

This book comes out this week – and you (and your church library) need this book.  My Mom has been gracious enough to provide one for you to win.

So, all you have to do is tell me what truth you preach to yourself to keep you from worrying about all the evil that might affect your children as they grow.  Truth to guard against evil!  So important as we train our children up to love Jesus.

Litfuse provided me this book through New Growth Press to review.  All opinions are my own.

My Toddler’s Favorite Word (and Giveaway)

Teaching Children Gratitude

One of the big trends in birthday photos or memory books is to talk about the child’s favorite foods, words, people, toys, books, etc at each time they have a birthday.  I wish I had the chalk-lettering skills to do one for my boys’ birthdays coming up, but I will leave that to the experts.

But, if I were to do a chalkboard letter sign for my younger toddler, his favorite word would be “mine.”  And seriously, we didn’t teach him that word.  Its not like my husband and I go around saying mine mine mine in the house.  But, knowing we as his parents are sinners,I’m sure he did pick it up from us at some point along the way.

Mine is not a word we want said a lot in our home.  I usually answer him back with something like that: “Bubs, nothing is yours.  God gave us all things and all the things that we have are from him.  He gave them to us to use and share.  We need to be kind and share the gifts that we’ve been given.”  I want him to learn a few things from this conversation (that happens at least 10 times a day):

1.  God is the giver of all good gifts.  James chapter 1 says that and many times in the Psalms it says that everything in the world is the Lord’s.  We may have been given a gift from our parents, grandparents, friends, etc but ultimately all good things come from God.

2.  God does want hearts full of gratitude.  God desires our hearts to be overflowing with praise for all that He has done for us. And out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks!  So, if we can train our children to be thankful, then as they get older, maybe a heart of thankfulness with take root in them by the power of the Holy Spirit and their little mouths will bubble forth with praise!

3.  God does want us to be kind.  Kindness is fruit of the Spirit, so that makes it something that God desires in us.  Kindness is not something we naturally gravitate towards.  No, we all naturally gravitate toward taking care of ourselves first.  Kindness is showing special care and grace for someone else.  Even in toddler world, that may mean sharing the last cookie or giving up a special toy because another friend wants to play with it.

There is a new book by Tommy Nelson that helps preschoolers not only learn a crucial life skill of counting, but also, more importantly, how to express their thankfulness.  Count My Blessings 1-2-3 is a perfect little shapes book that is durable and fun and rhyme-y.  My boys have loved this book series.  When we read it together I can help them think of specific cases of each blessing (like friends).

If you would like to win a copy of this book for your toddler, all you have to do is tell me one thing that you are thankful for in being their mommy or daddy.  That shouldn’t be that hard – and it will help continue to grow a spirit of thankfulness in you as their parent.


Bedtime Traditions (and Giveaway)

Really Woolly Nighttime Lullabies

Do you remember what it was like to go to bed when you were younger?  Did you ask for 20 glasses of water or want to read the longest book over and over again?

As my boys get older, I’m (usually) loving bedtime routines.  I usually put the younger one to bed, and then get the older one ready.  He likes to sit and read one or two books in the chair in his room.  He gets really calm with his paci and sits in my lap and I read it quietly (with expression and voices) in his ear.  We pray while holding hands.  Then he hops down and goes to bed.  I know this won’t last forever, but I think it is the sweetest thing and one of my favorite times with him during the day.

One of the books I’ve enjoyed recently with him is Really Woolly Lullabies by Tommy Nelson.  Tommy Nelson sent them to me for a review, but all opinions are my own.  We’ve enjoyed the Scripture on every page, the sentence prayer that helps me pray specific things for my toddlers as I’m putting him to bed.

Nighttime routines are important.  They set a peace for the night that is crucial to my children, and probably yours.  Enjoy this time with them, when you can.  It doesn’t always work perfectly in our home, but it is getting better.

If you would like to win your very own copy of these lullabies, just leave a comment on here or on social media and tell me what your favorite song to sing with your children is.


Hosting Your Neighbors for Christmas (Giveaway)

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God Bless Our Christmas

Happy holidays everyone. I was reminded very much of this today when I went to my annual physical and had a Jewish female doctor.  I didn’t say Merry Christmas, but I did talk about how the Scriptures help me when I’m fearful.


We live in a suberb of Atlanta, in a culdesac of townhomes.  And I approached my neighbor (long time seminary friend) about hosting a holiday party for the ladies and children in our neigbhorhood.  My pastor had challenged us to share Jesus 5 times this holiday season (felt like Doc Reid was going to have us fill out evangelism reports like I was in Intro Evangelism).  And then I got this book from Tommy Nelson Mommies – and thought that it would be a perfect reason to have everyone over.  So, I dished out the invitations and my friend passed them out this weekend.  Be praying, because Saturday morning hopefully we will have non-believers in our home.

Here is what we are doing – and maybe some ideas will give you a creative spark to reach out to your neighbors in the next few weeks.

1.  I am hopefully going to have the opportunity to read God Bless Our Christmas.  This is a new book by Tommy Nelson (a book publisher for children) written by Hannah Hall.  It is a non-threatening, winter-fun-loving book that is illustrated for children and would be a lovely book to have all the kids gather around.  While, I didn’t think it hit on the Gospel hard enough, barely mentioning Jesus – I thought it perfect for our gathering.  Where we want to be inviting to our neighbors, winsome, and have a conversation starter that we can take (winter, snow, gifts, Christmas, trees) to then talk about the Gospel.  I’m so thankful to have conversation starters when sharing the Gospel.  I find it intimidating to walk up to someone and say “Hey, you know Jesus?”

2.  One of the precious and yummy things that book highlights is sprinkles.  Cookies and sprinkles.  So, we are going to have goodies at our holiday party and we are including a cookie decorating station for the kiddos.  This holiday season is already crowded and packed with friends and functions, so I want to keep it easy.  My friend and I are splitting the tasks.  And usually I would use this recipe and roll out the dough and make the buttercream – but I’m buying sugar cookies, and tub frosting – and having sprinkles and icing!  Fun for all the kids – and adults too.

3.  Another activity for the children is Christmas tree decorating.  We put our Christmas tree in our dining room this year.  So much happens around our table so I thought it perfect to include the tree.  So, I’m going to have construction paper, stickers, markers, glitter – you name it – for them to decorate Christmas trees.  Hopefully with the children busy with activities, my friend and I can get to know the moms and have opportunity to talk with them about Jesus.

4.  Presents.  Christmas is about presents – in some sense.  God gave us a present.  We give each other gifts.  And during the Black Friday madness, Lifeway Christian Stores was selling the Jesus Storybook Bible for 5$.  We bought several and will have bows on them.  Be praying that we will get to give all 4 of them away this weekend.

I’m thankful that my friend is doing it with me.  It is scary to share the Gospel.  Shouldn’t be – but it often is.

How are you planning on engaging your neighbors or lost friends this holiday season?  Comment on the blog here or any of the social media sites of mine – and I will draw a winner on Friday (19th) night and you can have your own copy of God Bless Our Christmas!  I love getting children to read and this is one your kids will love for every holiday to come!

Disclaimer: I am a Tommy Nelson Mommy.  That means I get to review, blog, and giveaway new books for kids!  Its exciting – but all opinions are my own!  Thanks Tommy Nelson!

Teaching Children to be Readers

Teaching Children to Read

Being a parent is amazing and hard and always full of new moments.  But, this moment we are in right now is something I’ve waited for. “Mommy” then I get a little pat on my leg and I see my older toddler standing there in front of me with a book in his tiny hands.  Begging for me to read to him.  So, I do. Over and over again.

There is a certain train book from Usborne books (gift from Oma) that he has carried everywhere – coffee shops, hikes, car trips, gym kid’s club – and Daddy has even had to tape it up.  It came with a little train – sometimes we can find it sometimes we can’t.  But, no matter – he has other cars that will work on its tracks – or at least work for him.

Elijah and the Train book

One of the things I want to instill most in my kids (besides a love for God) is a love of reading.  I love to read and I know how books take you to other places, teach you so much more than you could ever learn, and also put a desire in you to see the world around you.  C S Lewis and L. M. Montgomery are two of those authors for me.  I have a feeling the boys will love L. A. Wilder, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Andrew Peterson.  We shall see.  Can’t wait to actually read chapter books with them at night.  But, that is a moment in time later to come.

How can you instill a love of reading in children?

1.  Use the library.  We go to the library some for story time.  My boys are harder to sit still than some others but we still attempt it and its good song and play time too.  The public libraries, especially in bigger cities, are great resources (and free)!

2.  Buy them books.  Buy them at thrift stores, online book clubs, ask for them for presents.

3.  Read to them.  Use some time before bed, or after breakfast to read to them.  It teaches them to pay attention and sit still but also helps stir up an amazing appetite to read.

4.  Be patient with them as they learn to read.  My boys aren’t to that stage yet, but I have to be willing as their Mommy to be patient, let them stumble over words, help them when I need to, and listen to them.

5.  Encourage them to write their own stories.  This time will come too.  I still have the first book I wrote in 4th grade – all about animals.  I can’t wait to show it to our boys.  I hope they will love it and not laugh!

6.  Read different genres.  As a gospel Christian, I do like to read boys about Jesus to them.  But…I love to read them other books about the world God created and things that happen in it and teach them about a Christian worldview – seeing everything through the lens of the Gospel.  That is so important to teach to our children early in their learning adventure.

My friend Leah is an Usborne consultant.  They have delightful and interactive books for children of all reading levels.  Here is a link to an online party I am hosting for her.  I have been pleased with the Train book so far – and so has our toddler.  I’m sure you will find some your children like as well.

What are your favorite books to read to your children?


Glory and Grace: Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 6

Today my little boy turns one.  One.  Seriously?

And I think to myself I’ve had one year to teach him – to love him – to pour into him.  What is he going to remember?

I hope he will remember the love, the kisses, the midnight feedings, the giggles and tickles.

What I hope he will always remember is that fact that his mommy and daddy love Jesus.  We want him to know the truth of the Gospel.  How will we do this?

We will pray that with endurance we will talk about the Gospel and live the gospel out in front of him and his brother every day they are with us.  How can we do that?

Teaching him (as little as he is): the authority of God and His Word – and the love of the Father.

1.  Use a chalkboard in your dining room to learn a Bible verse a week.

2.  Sing songs in the car that speak of God’s love.

3.  Watch shows that teach good things – and then talk to them about how the Gospel intersects with that.

4.  Pray with them every chance you get.

5.  Read Gospel-centered books to them – and teach them about God while reading any book you can.

Kids r Readers 2: Animal Babies

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Animal Babies

One of most popular questions you hear moms ask their children: “What does a doggie say? What does the duck say?” You get the picture. We all grew up singing E-I-E-I-O about a farmer named Old McDonald.
Just because a book shows cute and cuddly animals doesn’t mean you can’t teach your children anything deep while reading the book to them.
Here are two ways to teach your children more about God and His world while reading Animal Babies to them – or even letting them sound out the animal noises when they can!
1. God created everything. Though I have always believed that God created the world, and me, and everything I see – I have only begun to realize that this is one of the most important biblical doctrines to hold on to. Your children and mine will be bombarded with worldviews that minimize or completely demolish the truth that God is Creator.
2. Jesus came to earth as a baby. The doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus, the very Son of God, came in the form of a baby, born to a woman. Jesus is the Reason for the Season of Christmas, but He came to earth as a baby because of sinners like you and me.
Your children are never too young to learn these truths!

Kids r Readers 2: Trouble with Money (Berenstain Bears)

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bears money

I grew up totally loving the Berenstain Bears and all their lovely adventures.  And now that I’m a parent I would love to share these tales with my boys and have them love them too!

Grownups do have money worries – with insurance, mortgages, health coverage, gifts, food, diapers, etc.  But, how do we teach our children about money and possessions and what God has to say about them?

In this children’s book Papa and Mama bear notice that their cubs didn’t make good choices when it came to the money that they had and how they used it.  They spent it on frivolous items at the mall.  Fleeting joys.  They teach about saving for a rainy day – but that isn’t exactly what the Bible teaches us.  The cubs don’t keep the money for themselves, they instead give it to Papa Bear so he won’t have to worry.  Generosity is a loving characteristic.

Here are some teaching points about money when reading this book to your children:

1.  God is more concerned with our eternity than our financial status.  Ecc 5.10

2.  We are not to be OVERLY concerned and worried with the cares of this world.  Matthew 6.24, 31-33, Hebrews 13.5

3.  Our money is not meant to be hoarded, but spent wisely and given generously. Deut 15.10, Deut 16.17, Luke 6.38, 2 Cor 9.6-8

4.  God gets the first of everything.  Prov 3.9-10

5.  The gospel is more than money because you can’t take money with you into eternity. 1 Tim 6-7-10

6. God owns everything. Our lives are about stewardship. 1 Chron 29.14-17

Kids r Readers 2: The Carrot Seed

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carrot seed

We aren’t farmers. I’d love to have an herb garden, but there isn’t enough time in the day. Maybe later!
But, this book is on our sons’ bookshelf. Given to us by a friend, The Carrot Seed is about a little boy who waits patiently, despite much discouragement, for his carrot seed to bloom.
A very simple book but one that can teach many traits to your children:
1. Perseverance. The main character, a child, waits for this carrot seed to sprout. His parents and sibling are not very positive that it will, but he watches every day and never gives up. Our children will need to learn perseverance. We can help our children learn it, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit. Long-suffering. Bearing up under the pressure when the going gets tough.
2. Patience. I have already said this many times to my older son: “Patience is waiting for what you want with a happy heart.” The child in the story has to wait a long time for his carrot to come up. Your children may even think that a week until vacation is a long time, or sitting in timeout is a long time. Carrot growing takes longer. If children learn patience early on (also another Fruit of the Spirit) it will go well with them.
3. Faith. This little boy never gave up on his carrot. He believed that it would sprout. Faith is important for children to have. Not only faith that the sun will come up, his parents will protect him, or that the chair will hold him up when he sits upon it, but more importantly – faith in God. But, what is harder to teach your children is that faith is a gift from God. They can’t muster faith in God. They can’t be saved on their own. Grace and faith both come from God – they are both gifts.  God allows us to grow our faith (and help nurture our children’s faith) by reading the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:8-10
Galatians 5:22-23

Romans 10.17

New Series: Kids r Readers 2

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The Little Squeegy Bug


bug 2
It is no secret that I love books, writing, and reading. Most books I read are biographical or non-fiction, with the occasional classic or fiction.
Being a Mom now of 2 boys (14m and 1m) I want to also instill in them a love for books and all things adventure, reading, characters, etc. Books can open up an entire new world for them (and kids of all ages).
But, also being a believer, I want to instill a love of God’s truth in my boys from an early age. I don’t want them, however, to just read Christian books, but look at Literature through the eyes of the Word. Tony Reinke taught me well with his book Lit!
So, here begins a series of books that I will read to our boys and take a few points of how to turn them back to truth – especially if that truth isn’t apparent.
The first book is The Little Squeegy Bug by Bill Martin, Jr.
Why I chose this book: It was on the table at our local library in the children’s section.
Synopsis: A “squeegy bug” doesn’t know what he is supposed to be and sets out on a journey to find out who he is.
Age: 3-7yo
Truths to teach your children:
1. We are meant to find God’s purpose for our lives. Jeremiah 1:5 is a great purpose verse and is easy for children to learn (especially the first half). And we don’t have to be prophets for us to have a purpose. All of us, created by God, have a purpose – to live for His glory. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”.
2. God created you! Whatever God’s purpose is for you – He created you to do just that. He is sovereign over everything (kids can learn big words) and He is creator. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks Who made you? God did! Genesis 1:26-31 and Psalm 139 are perfect Scriptures to teach that truth!
3. Godly friends help you be who God created you to be. God did not make us to live in isolation. He made us to be in relationship. Not only with Him but also with others. Friends are very important to our story. Proverbs 17:17 is also a good verse for memory work and how to live out the Word.