Books for Going to Bed (a review)

posted in: Books | 1

Books for going to bed

I love books.  I love print books: old books, new books, cookbooks, coloring books.  I just really love books.  My husband and I are purging our book collection right now as we prepare to move again (and you know, books are heavy). It hurts to purge books.  But, we don’t need to hold on to stuff either.  So, we pick the really good ones.

As our sons get older, I’m hoping they gain a love for books and reading and learning and knowledge.  I’ve just started reading The Lion,the Witch,and the Wardrobe to my older son at night as he is falling asleep.  I love being near him, listening to him breath, see his little smile, read him such a great book, and watch him calmly drift off to dream land.

If you have young ones, especially toddlers, board books are a great way to introduce them to books, and hopefully begin to instill in them a love of books.  NIght Night Farm is a board by by Amy Parker and Tommy Nelson that is all about farm animals.  And, yes, my boys love going to farms, and seeing all the farm animals.  So, this book has definitely been a winner.  Whimsical illustrations and gentle rhymes, your kids will love reading this book as they are being tucked into bed.  The last page, as the story is drawing to a close, you get to remind them of the great farm animals that God has made and that God, the beautiful Creator, also made them too.

You can win this book for yourself and your little one (or to give as a gift).  Just tell me one of your favorite bedtime books – maybe it was one you read growing up, or had read to you, or maybe one you’ve enjoyed reading to your children.  Thank you Tommy Nelson for my copy of the book and the chance to give it away.  All opinions are my own.

The Last 5 Minutes (a book review and giveaway)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 4

Our days are filled with so much.  From the time the alarm goes off (before 6 for me) until I crawl into bed (usually between 10-11 at night), so much happens.

I get my older on the school bus while it is still dark.

I read all my social media, blogs, emails, etc – get everything cleaned out.

I spend time in the Word to fuel my mind and soul for everything that will come my way that day.

I sit with my husband for a little bit before he gets ready for work.

I run and errand and play at the park with my little.

We do lunch with the older gets home from preschool.

I work, play, cook, clean during naptime for the younger while the older gets to hang out with me.

The gym comes later in the day as we sing songs while sitting in ATL traffic, play and workout, and have more fun in ATL traffic on the return trip.

I cook dinner (or buy fast food).

I head upstairs to put the kids to bead.

Right now, our bedtime routine, which is usually me because my mister works retail, is still hard, but getting better.  Everything in parenting is for a season and I see that more and more.  In parenting, things always change – like the weather in Carolina.  We brush teeth, change diapers, and sit down to ask some catechism questions, say our Bible verses, and read a story out of whatever book we are reading.  Some times this process goes better than others, but you never know.

5 Minute NIghttime Bible Stories from Tommy Nelson has been a really good resource for us.  Our boys are 3 and 4.  They don’t have long attention spans at that night, but we expect them to sit still and listen.  These have been a dose of truth with teaching them Bible stories and encouraging them to pray at the end.  We did enjoy the colors and pictures.  The stories were more than one page, so the boys could turn the pages.  But, it wasn’t too long that they lost interest  The authors asked questions to involved the kids in each story (to appeal to different learning styles).

I think it is always a good idea to end the day with learning about Jesus, praying, instilling a restful peaceful truth of the gospel into your children.  Sometimes our nights aren’t so peaceful, but we work toward that with much grace!

This post is sponsored by Tommy Nelson and they are giving you a copy!  Answer the question – what is one tip you could give to other parents on bedtime routines!


Good Good Father (a book review)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2, parenting | 8

Good Good Father

In the back of our car there is a kite.  My mister has had the kite since he went to the OBX in Carolina.  I wonder if he bought that kite thinking he might one day have boys that love to spend time with their daddy and fly kites together.

Chris Tomlin, worship songwriter and dad, has writtten a great book for littles that starts out with a kite.  But, more importantly this story is about many of the ways (God is inexhaustible) that God loves us.  It is beautifully illustrated.  It is so true

One of the best things about my husband is that he is a good Father.  We had such a short courtship before we got married that I rarely got to see him around children.  I knew from his character that he’d be a great Father.  And, now I witness it.  My men love to fly a kite during the week at a local park, always scouting out the new parks to hopefully catch the wind.  He is more patient with those boys than I will ever be – which they desperately need.  He is loving and plays with them on the floor or with toys.  He is so caring toward them.  They resemble him.  He teaches them the truth about Jesus.

These are all good ways in which hopefully the boys will see God the Father in my husband, their earthly dad, so that one day they might come to know God.

This book by Tomlin is available to you.  Tommy Nelson is giving one away to a reader!  Get excited because this will make a great addition to your at-home library, wonderfully teaching your children about God.

One question: what is one activity your children love doing with their dad?

Teaching Your Children the Power of Snail Mail (a review)

posted in: Books, parenting | 0

Those who know me know I love snail mail.  I think I always have, pen pals when I was younger, getting mail from my Mom when I was in college, and now writing letters and surprising people with a note or letter or fun little gift.  It just makes my day to give!

I want to instill gratitude and snail mail love in my boys.  What better way to do that?  Here are some tips:

  1.  Find cute stationery themed for boys or girls.  Blogging for Books sponsored this post by sending me Wee Alphas – a book of cute and original animal post cards.  I love them.  They not only help my boys learn the alphabet, but it will be fun to use to write postcards to people as well.  But, for us, it is going to be room decoration in the next house we live in come January.  (Another good thing about Wee Alphas is that all the postcards are attached in an accordion book and you can rip each out as you go – so you don’t lose them.)
  2. Help them know what to write.  Whether your children know how to write or not, you may need to help them know what to write.  When writing thank you notes, or even letters (especially to grandparents), you may have to coach them.  This is also a great way to teach them gratitude.
  3. Make it a habit.  Maybe write one letter a week, especially older children, write letters to older men or women in your church, have them ask questions that will help them seek after God.  Older men and women in the faith will be a great encouragement to you and your children.  (I digress).  Seriously though, making letter writing a habit might instill this in them when they get older.  And, you can have fun field trips to the post office to meet the postmaster, talk about where mail goes, and look at the cool mail trucks (my younger loves them).

How do you encourage your children to write letters and/or reach out to others who are older than them?

All opinions are my own.

Sounds of Motherhood

I Will Follow Jesus Bible

There are many sounds to motherhood.  If you have been a mom for any length of time, you are quite familiar with them, and you know that they quickly change depending on your child’s age. Here are a few of mine:

  1.  Apple chewing.  Yes, I love to hear my two boys ask for a “big apple”, ask for mommy to “tut it”, and then chomp down on it.  That means that are craving healthy foods and I give them enough sweets to balance it out 🙂
  2. Crying.  We just took our younger son to the eye doctor for the first time.  Come to find out he is extremely near sighted and will need glasses (just like his older brother).  He is really clumsy even though he is a daredevil.  (His eyesight probably has something to do with his clumsiness.)  So, I know that when he falls and cries, than he is actually hurt.  He has busted his gums and caused his two front teeth to be completely gray now (because they are dead with damaged nerves), yesterday he was playing instead of napping and tipped over a wooden chair in his room and almost punctured his eye.  Thankful it was just the corner of his eye, and black eyes heal.  He has scraped the top of his head from spinning circles on the back porch, getting dizzy, and falling over.  He just loves to be crazy, but he knows when he cries mommy or daddy will come running – and usually his older brother will show great compassion on him.
  3. Mommy.  Honestly, some times this gets old because they’ve said it 20 times in a row, whining for something they really don’t need.  Any other mom our there know what I’m talking about?  But today, as I was reading to my boys in the car while we ate lunch (waiting for a showing on our house to be finished), my younger said Mommy.  Yes, he has said it plenty of times, but something just caught my attention this time when he said it.  I’m there Mommy.  I’m the one who loves them most in this world (with their daddy), and will be there for them, and play with them, and tuck them into bed at night.  I pray that through my imperfect love they will come to see the perfect love for their Abba.
  4. Singing.  Both of my boys have grown fond of singing.  The two songs we know perfectly are the ABCs (finally, it was delayed in our home), and Jesus Loves Me.  I’m glad the boys are learning that one in their SS class at our church.  We sing it all the time.  As my younger was awake at 6am this morning he was singing this.  As I was getting ready to head out the door, I saw his little fingers sticking out at the bottom of the door, and heard his little voice singing.

My favorite line of Jesus Loves Me is “for the Bible tells me so.”  Especially as I parent, and make mistakes, and don’t know what to do half the time, or how to balance everything that I need to balance, it is good to know that I have the perfect Word of God.

And Judah and Chelsea Smith just put out a great story book Bible for your kids (think grade school).  It is more storybook (like Jesus Story Book Bible), but it tends to be more concrete and practical, making it somewhat easier for younger kids to grasp and know how to implement.  This is an easy to use Bible, especially helpful to parents in leading Family Worship time in their home.  Remember, as a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your kids about God, and the church’s job is to come along side you and partner together.

If you would like to win this Bible (and believe me, you do), just leave me a comment on one of the verses you are teaching to your children or one of the songs that your children are learning right now.  Thanks Tommy Nelson Mommies for the Bible and the opportunity to pass it along to someone else!

Praying for Your Kids (and giveaway)

posted in: Books, Shepherding Children | 6

I Prayed for You

Let’s be honest for a second, sometimes (in the midst of temper tamptrums and bouts of continued disobedience) it is hard to be really thankful for our children.

But, God has given them to us as a blessing and should be one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given – and they need to be told over and over again how thankful we are for them.

One of the times i usually love the most, is when I get to lay down with my older one and pray over him as he goes to sleep at night.  He has some sensory delays in his development, so he absolutely loves to sleep in the floor.  We’ve made him a soft palette and pile on his stuffed animals and his night night (the blanket he has slept with since he was a few months old).  He always wants either me or his Daddy to lay beside him until he falls asleep.  And as soon as I lay down with him, I pray aloud over him with my hand on his back or his face.  Such a sweet time.  I pray for his little heart to be turned to God because God would be calling him, giving him a new heart.  I pray that he would be obedient and that he would love God.  I also finish each prayer saying how thankful we are for him, bubba, mommy, daddy, and most of all Jesus.

It is so important for our children to hear us praying for them – not just telling them about it.  I learned from my mentor the importance of writing down prayers and journaling for future generations.  I admit that the discipline has been a struggle for me in these early years, but I do it some.  And it is such a treasure for me when I do journal and write out my prayers for them to my great Heavenly Father who listens to our prayers.

Tommy Nelson sent me Jean Fischer’s new book I Prayed For You – and I love it.  A cute board book complete with cute illustrated bears.  Tells of prayers a mama can pray for her cub as he grows up.  And yes, like any good mom I cried as I got to several of the prayers.

This will be a book you can treasure reading to your little one – even until he or she is 5 or 6.  Treasure the time.  Treasure the prayers.  If you want to have a chance to win this book – leave a comment with something you pray for your children.  That’s it!  I will pick the winner on Wednesday.

Billy Graham Devotional for Children

If there was one name that most of the world knew, both Christians and non-Christians, it would be Billy Graham.

Billy Graham, nearer to the end of his earthly life than at the beginning of it, has ministered to millions with the truth of the Gospel.  He has no doubt had such an impact on so many children throughout his ministry.  And now there is a devotional for grade school children that bears his name.

What I like about God’s Good News Bible Storybook is that variety of Bible stories included in it.  There are some that aren’t included in other story books for children.  I wonder how often people get to the battle of Jericho or David and Goliath and don’t know anything in the Bible after that until you get to the birth of Jesus.

In the stories you are given nicely illustrated photos which will especially help keep the attention of younger children, if you are attempting family devotions with a variety of ages of children (aren’t most of us?).  In each, you are given the Bible passage, and I would encourage you to open up a real Bible and read it out of there with your children – and let them read it for themselves.  And in most, you are given a short devotional from BIlly Graham – encouraging devotion to God and the telling of the Gospel.

This would be a great addition to your books for family devotions.  Great for school age children.

If you would like to win a copy from Tommy Nelson (who sent me this book in exchange for this blog post and review, all opinions are my own), then all you have to do is answer the question: how would you like to encourage your kids in evangelism?  Might be with their kids at school, or taking them on mission trips when they get older, or doing neighborhood activities that engage other kids with the gospel.


Teaching Your Child the Discipline and Joy of Reading the Bible

Illustrated Faith 1-2-3
Illustrated Faith 1-2-3


When our children are small, we teach them many important things to do: tie their shoes, brush their teeth, look both ways before crossing the street.  We teach them how to go to the potty, drink from a cup, and use a fork.  We teach them how to do so many things that are crucial for life.

Sometimes we forget to teach them important spiritual disciplines to help them get to know the God who created them.  The most important one we can teach them by both example and instruction is reading the Bible.  And what a better way to teach them how to read – then to read the Bible.

Why do we need to teach our children to read the Bible?

  1. The Bible is God’s voice to us today.  He breathed the Bible into life.  He used common sinners to record what the Spirit breathed.  This was written down and kept for us for all of forever.  This is by far the main way he chooses to communicate with his children today.  It is how they will know what is right and wrong.  It is how they will know what God is like.  Psalm 119 tells us so much about the importance of knowing the Word of God.
  2. The Bible tells them how they were created.  Even from a young age, our children will be bombarded with many deceptions about who they are.  God created them in His Image and it is crucial they understand that.  They were created beautifully and wonderfully: no matter the skin color or chromosome count, or their family status.  Psalm 139 and Genesis 1 tells us that.
  3. The Bible tells them why they were created.  All of creation exists for one reason: to bring glory to God.  God created human beings in his image so we could reflect the grand glory of God to the world.  Isaiah 43 clearly illustrates that truth.
  4. The Bible helps us get to know God.  There is no person we need to know better than God.  And we can know God by reading His Word.  We can know his actions, his character, and his truth.  We can know His plan for salvation.  Psalm 19 and the Gospels illustrate this.

These are just the simple basics of why we need to teach children the Word of God.  We need a book on teaching Spiritual Disciplines to our children – anyone know of one.  I guess I could write it if someone is willing to publish it.  Any takers?

Tommy Nelson just released a 365 Read Me a Bible Story for young school age children and gave me a copy to giveaway.  What a great way to get them in the habit of reading the Bible and learning God’s truth.  It has fun pictures, a Bible passage for each day of the year, and a short recap of that story.  What I would like to see is some follow-up questions that will help parents engage with their children during family discipleship time.

The most important thing to remember is that children are going to learn by your example.  If they see you reading your Bible, living it out, memorizing it, quoting it, then they will hopefully desire to know the Word as well.  We can pray that God would give them a heart like his – that desires to know God intimately through his Word.

If you would like to win a copy of this Bible story book from Tommy Nelson – tell me which of the 4 reasons listed above is the most important to you – and why and maybe how you are teaching your children that.

The Biggest Story is Coming

posted in: Bible, Books, Shepherding Children | 0

The Biggest Story

When I was in college I served with Young Life, a great inter-denominational ministry that worked with middle school and high school students to build relationships with them and show them the glorious gospel.  One of the main truths of Young Life that I still completely believe and affirm and try to practice today is “It is a sin to bore a kid with the gospel.”  Jesus is not boring.  Why should we bore a kid, a teenager, or an adult with the wonderful news of Jesus?

I’ve been hearing about a new book that Crossway was putting out by one of my favorite authors, Kevin DeYoung entitled The Biggest Story.  I opened up my mailbox today and there was a brown package from Crossway and I definitely knew it was going to be a great mail day.  I read three chapters of it sitting in the parking lot of Wendy’s while the boys were eating their junior frostys and I read the rest of it in the gym locker room before working out.  Yes, it was that good.

It was witty.

It was full of adventure – cliffhangers mind you.

It was truth.

It was concise.

It was displaying the gloriousness of the gospel.

The pictures are so well done and fit in well with what is in the secular market right now (journals, etc).

It is not a Bible – but tells the beautiful story of the Bible to school-aged kids in a way that won’t bore them.

This is not a Bible. Its not even a The Message type Bible.  It is a story.  A true story.  It shapes the readers mind around one single figure: Jesus.  Just like in the Jesus Storybook Bible where Jesus is the hero of every story – and the whole Bible points to Him.  Same way here.  Kevin, in his masterful, comical, somewhat sarcastic, pastoral, daddy way – he skillfully weaves the truth of Jesus, the reality of sin, the fallenness of the human race, and the relationship that God will remedy one day – all into a lovely books that you need to get when it comes out the end of this month.

Here is just one example of how you can use this (if you are a parent):

One of my greatest hopes for you (if you have a family) is that you will figure out what family devotions looks like for you.  Right now, for us, we read part of a Bible book for toddlers and pray with our older son before going to bed.  It literally takes 2 minutes.  But, that will change as both of boys get older.  If you have grade-school kids I think this would be a perfect book to read with them and talk about the implications and truth that it shares.  I would also pair it with a Bible story, from the actual Bible.  Crossway has a great children’s Bible that I just did a review on.  I would take the time to read the chapter that you are covering that day in The Biggest Story and pick just one of the stories that it talks about and read that story out of the Bible. Then just ask your kids questions about that.  Pray with them. Turn their hearts to their need of Jesus and the great gospel.

Two disclaimers about this book as I was reading it.

1.  DeYoung says that Adam ate from the only tree.  Well, of course he did.  It caught me off guard that he didn’t say Eve ate it (which she did).  I know he knows that.  My only thought it that either he is stressing male leadership and that Adam sinned or the Adam being the head of the human race side of things.  Either way, no biggie, just wanted to share.

2.  Also, most books you’ll read, especially around Christmas time is that Jesus is the greatest gift.  In The Biggest Story, DeYoung says that the Holy Spirit is best present of all time.  He so strongly talks about the Trinity (yay!) and having read J D Greear’s book Jesus Continued I can see why he would say this.

All together, I would give this book to absolutely anyone.  I can’t wait to read it with my children more and have them understand it.  I want to get another copy of the book just to cut out the pictures and frame them.  I want my home to be filled with more books like this – the books that point to the magnificent gospel!


Building Spiritual Disciplines in your Toddler (part 2)

Just for Me Bible

How many of you have more than 10 Bibles in your home?  That would definitely define our home – we have so many, and many in boxes.  The ones in boxes are probably from our childhood.  They are tucked away to help us remember what the Lord has done in our lives by the help of His word.  That is actually why I encourage note taking, prayer highlighting, etc in your Bible.

One of the ways to teach children, especially starting in the toddler years, even before they can read, to love their Bibles (the very Word of God) is by getting a little Bible made just for them.  The new Tommy Nelson Bible,the Just for Me Bible,  complete with round board book edges and a bridge red handle, is a perfect example.

You can teach your toddler to look in the Bible.  You can teach them to take their Bibles to church.  You can teach them to turn in their Bibles when the pastor instructs the adults to turn in their Bibles.  They may not even be able to read yet and yet they will be learning a valuable discipline of loving the Word of God.

If you would like to win one of these for your toddler: tell me what was your favorite Bible story when you were little.

Thanks Tommy Nelson for the book: all thoughts are my own.

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