Friday, May 24, 2013
But I'm wondering...do you like these posts every week? I want to make sure I'm giving you-my readers-exactly what you want to read, so please leave a comment and let me know: Keep or Don't Keep.
What Our Children Want us to See by Rachel Macy Stafford at Hands Free Mama. Seriously, I love reading this blog. Her words speak to my heart with every single post. Another great one at this blog: The Important Thing about Yelling. A must read for any moms who struggles with losing her temper.
Picture Story: What I Accomplished Today by Tiffany Hancock at Power of Moms. I LOVE this post. So encouraging when you feel like you've done nothing all day.
A Mom's Survival Guide to Having a Sick Child by Bekki at Chasing Supermom. Some good tips for weary mothers.
Are You A Yes Mom or a No Mom: 6 Tips to Help You Find Out at The MOM Initiative.
How Can God Be Good When All That Awful Stuff Happened? by Mary DeMuth. This is a very thoughtful post on an incredibly hard issue.
The Role You Play by Jon Acuff. A reminder of what's most important.
The Gift of God's Word by Jennie Nelson at Mom Heart Online. This is a great gift idea for a child (something you give them later but start working on now).
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Maybe he didn't come through for you when you thought he should have.
Maybe he allowed something terrible into your life or the life of someone you love.
I don't know what might have led you to question God, but I do know this. Most Christians (and maybe all) have at some point or another had some pretty tough questions for God.
That's one of the reasons I loved reading The Promise Box by Tricia Goyer. Tricia doesn't tiptoe around these hard questions. Instead, she hits them head on.
The Promise Box is the story of a young woman named Lydia who is forced to come home after her mother dies. I say "forced" because for years, she had been running away from God (and her Amish roots), trying to get away from the pain of her past.
Here is one of Lydia's most powerful quotes: "It had been easier to run than to stand up to God. To tell Him she didn't understand. To feel the disappointment that in all His creating and managing and overseeing He'd let her-and her birthmom-slip through the cracks" (105).
He'd let her slip through the cracks.
Lydia, like so many other hurting people, felt abandoned by the God who was supposed to love her. My guess is, many of you have felt (or are feeling) the same way. That's why I'm recommending another book to you.
1. Because of the story. I was drawn in from the beginning.
2. Because of the themes. Adoption is close to my heart, so I loved reading a story in which adoption was so central. I also love stories that address pain and suffering (and the healing God can bring). This book handled these very difficult themes very well.
But most importantly...
3. Because of the message behind the story. The message that "God can turn even our darkest moments into something beautiful" (307).
If you're struggling with God-feeling like he let you slip through the cracks-please pick up a copy of this book.
Or...I'll be giving away a book to one (or more) of my newsletter subscribers in the next week or so. This book will be included in the list to choose from. Subscribe today (on the right hand side of this post) so you can find out all about the giveaway.
(I know I've recommended a lot of books lately. But God has used books-including this one-to help heal my heart. And I know he can do the same for you.)
*I received this book for free, but all opinions are my own.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I love non-fiction, but I typically read it because it's helpful for my life (not necessarily because it pulls me in like a great fiction book).
The Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler by Erin Macpherson was an exception, though. I found myself really wanting to read it, feeling drawn to it the same way fiction books draw me in.
I wanted to share with you five reasons I think you'll love this book as well:
1. Erin is hilarious. I LOVE her writing style and was drawn in immediately. For instance, she includes a toddler dictionary at the very beginning of the book. I literally laughed aloud (my husband thought I was nuts) when she explained what a crayon means to a toddler.
2. Erin shares some awesome and very practical lists throughout the book. Lists like: 10 creative consequences, tips for dealing with tantrums at home and away, tips for dealing with pre-dinner crankiness, date ideas, etc.
3. Erin writes as a woman who understands what it feels like to be a weary mother. She is authentic and genuine. She doesn't write as someone who knows all and will therefore tell all. Instead, I imagine her walking alongside her readers with her arm around them, traveling with them on this difficult road of motherhood.
4. The stories Erin shares are easy to relate to. As I read, I could relate to her in nearly every story she told. It just goes to show you, mothers understand one another. We've all been there. If it's not our kid screaming at the store today...it probably will be next time.
This book has become one of my favorite Christian parenting books, and I encourage you to pick up a copy if you haven't already. It's helpful, but also hilarious. You'll love it.
And...in case you're at a different stage in parenting, there are also these books by Erin:
1. The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby
2. The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year
3. The Christian Mama's Guide to the Grade School Years
After I posted my review on Amazon, Erin caught up with me and offered to give away a copy of the book today to one of you!! Isn't that awesome? So...use the Rafflecopter form below to enter as many times as you with. Thanks so much, Erin.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I received this book for free from Booksneeze, but all opinions expressed above are my own.
*I received this book for free from Booksneeze, but all opinions expressed above are my own.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I love the idea of an easy button, don’t you?
Your one-and-a-half year old won’t eat anything except chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese? That’s okay. Just press the easy button, and he’ll dig into that steamed broccoli.
Your four-year-old refuses to stay in bed at night and you’re about to lose it? Again, no problem. Just push the easy button, and he’ll drift off to sleep in seconds.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Unfortunately, there is no easy button included with your newborn.
My oldest child is four-and-a-half (and yes, the bedtime battle is a common problem in our home), so I’m clearly no parenting expert.
But I have learned a thing or two about handling difficult days. Here are some things that have helped me start over when the day begins badly...
To read my tips, please head on over to the Mothering from Scratch blog where I'm honored to guest post today!
Monday, May 20, 2013
This is a lesson I think I'm finally begin to get through my thick head.
Ever since I became a parent, I wanted someone to give me a formula. Do this and your kids will turn out great.
So I read blogs of people whom I thought were great parents and tried to do exactly as they did.
One woman had really smart kids, so I copied her homeschooling techniques. Another had children who loved to read, so I mimicked her ideas. Yet another's children knew the Bible really well, so I followed in her footsteps exactly.
There is nothing wrong with trying to do better and using the ideas of those around you. But there is something wrong with trying to make your family just like theirs.
Trying to force your unique child into a one-size-fits-one box.
Our children are different.
Some of them love to read. Others could care less about a book. Some of them could sit and color for hours. Others (like my son) would rather just chew on the crayon.
God made our children different. And God made each of us different.
Instead of wishing for something we don't have, I think we would be a lot better parents if we settled into who God made us to be (and who he made our kids to be).
The best parents are not those who adhere to formulas. The best parents are those who know and love their kids as Jesus does. And here's the key: this might look different for you than it does for me. (Click to tweet this.)
For the next few weeks, I'm going to do a new blog series called "What Works for Me." I'll be sharing some of the things that work well for our family (like how we teach our kids about money, how we keep a "somewhat" clean home, how we study the Bible, etc).
I know what some of you are thinking. This all seems contradictory to the post you're reading right now.
And to that, I say, "Yes... And no."
I'm writing this series for moms like me. Moms who want ideas of how to make their homes run smoother, moms who are looking for a "formula." If my idea will help someone else, then I want to share it. What I don't want is this: for someone to think she MUST do exactly as I do. My ideas are simply that. They are ideas that work for my family. These ideas may-or may not-work for your family.
Here is my goal for this blog series: If you've never tried my idea, give it a try and see if it works for your family. Or if you've tried it (and it failed miserably), share what works for you. I'm always looking for new ideas, and I can't wait to hear yours!
Until then, rest in the fact that there is no "right" way to parent. Love on that little child God gave you, and don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
Let's Talk: Have you ever tried to fit your family into another family's shoes? In what way?
I'm participating in the following link-ups this week. Click over and check out these great blogs.
The Mom Initiative
The Better Mom
The Koala Bear Writer
The Modest Mom
Friday, May 17, 2013
Hold On by Deanne Flynn. A good post about how important mothers are.
When Mom Has a Young Man in the Making by Lisa Jacobson at The Better Mom. As a mother to two boys myself, I LOVED this post!
10 Tips for Becoming a Yes Mom by Toni Anderson at The Happy Housewife. If you want to say yes more (but struggle as I do), this is a great read.
Listen with Your Eyes by Laura Crosby at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. So wow, I am this multi-tasking mother. Thanks for a great reminder, Laura.
Slow Down, Mom. Your Princess Won't Wait by Melinda from Mothering From Scratch. This is a beautiful post. I love the last line: "We're wise to enjoy the magic while it lasts." Pure wisdom.
Pinsanity by Glennon at Momastery. This post just made me laugh. You should read it. You'll enjoy it!
10 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me by Allyson Reynolds at Power of Moms.
The TTYL Tradition by Nicole O'Dell at The Better Mom. I really like this idea. Basically, Nicole's kids earn their cell phone privileges by having a daily devotion time, talking to God, and then talking to her. I think this is a great way to teach your kids about how God should be their first and most important priority.
And one more...What Will They Remember?by Sally Clarkson. In this post, Sally shares a letter from her daughter. Reading the letter was inspiring to me. Someday, I hope my kids think similar things about me.
Monday, May 13, 2013
About a year ago, my husband and I decided to write one for our family. Here is ours:
Our family exists to bring glory to God by loving each other, loving those around us, and setting a Christian example.
We also wrote down some Bible verses we want our kids to learn. (There are others, of course, but these are the ones we want to focus on most.) We hung our mission statement, as well as our Bible verses, on the wall in our living room.
What I love about having a family mission statement and family Bible verses is that they keep me on track as a mother. They give me a goal and something to work towards.
They also help me know when I need to let something go.
For instance, not too long ago, my four-year-old and I had a nightly battle over bedtime. He didn't want to stay in his bed. Instead, he had to get up for a drink, to go to the restroom, to give me a hug, etc, etc. There was always something. (And as much as I love another hug, it got to the point it needed to stop. He needed to get some sleep, and I needed a break.)
For a tired and frustrated mother, it was tempting to get angry with him. But...having those Bible verses hanging on my wall reminded me that my main job is to love God and love him.
If you don't have a mission statement or family Bible verses, I highly recommend you take some time to develop them.
In fact, I'd love to hear your ideas. What is your family's mission statement? I welcome you to brainstorm in the comments. Let's see if we can get one developed.
If you're curious, here is what we have hanging on our living room wall. (You are welcome to steal any of our ideas, by the way.)
Bell Family Bible Verses
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
2. Love for God:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . Love your neighbor as yourself . . .” Mark 12:30-31
3. Love for Others:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19b
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Our family exists to bring glory to God by loving each other, loving those around us, and setting a Christian example!