Lent: A Call to Repent

Missouri has decided it is spring. Yesterday, we met the cool morning air, with the sun starting to warm the earth and began the work of pulling up dead plants. Our tulips and daffodils burst from the ground a couple weeks ago, and now our lilies and sedum are making their presence known. Unlike the tulips and daffodils who bloom early and then die away, sedum and lilies grow for longer. They are in it for the long haul of summer. They don’t really die off until we head into fall. As a result, we left their dead and dying remains … Read more…

Resources for Teaching Kids About Renewable Energy

If I’m honest, I’m intimidated by the thought of teaching science to my children. I enjoyed aspects of science as a kid. But, I was naturally drawn to subjects like history and literature. As a parent and educator, I whole-heartedly believe that science is a crucial subject to teach. Science teaches kids to ask questions and explore how things work. Our world is growing rapidly in the areas of science and technology. We can’t ignore this subject and adequately prepare our children for the future. I consider myself a nature nerd. Though I don’t know as much as I should about … Read more…

Leaving the Nest: Preparing for College

Winter is quickly closing up shop for spring. That means scores of high school seniors will be making their final decisions about college, applying for scholarships, and preparing to graduate and leave home. This can be an intimidating and stressful period for both seniors and their parents. Every mom and dad hopes they have emotionally, spiritually, and academically prepared their child for this next stage of life. College challenges beliefs, refines or corrupts character, and (hopefully) expands one’s knowledge and world view. How can you make sure your child is ready for this next chapter of life? Encourage Involvement (to … Read more…

Taking Jesus Off the Shelf

A few years ago my grandma gave me an old nativity set. Not a fancy one. Just a cheap ceramic one. She bought a bunch of them one year for all her grandkids. My cousin accidentally ended up with an African American nativity set. The rest of us got “white” ones making Jesus a redhead and Mary blond. Not the most historically accurate, the African American one probably would have been more accurate. But I love it because I love my grandma. I didn’t have much display space this year, so the nativity ended up on our kitchen window sill. Rebekah, … Read more…

Advent as a Family: Waiting, Hope, and Peace

Advent–the time leading up to Christmas when we reflect on Jesus becoming flesh and dwelling among us. But even more so, we anticipate Jesus’ second return. This is what I truly cherish about Advent. We not only get to celebrate Jesus’ willingness to become man–experiencing temptation, filth, hunger, pain, and grief–but we get to look forward to his return where he will make all things right. Advent is not practiced by many people in the churches of Christ, our faith heritage. In fact, some churches of Christ hardly acknowledge Christmas because of the dating inaccuracies. (Of course this varies greatly from church … Read more…

It only takes a spark

A mere spark ignites a great fire. Forest fires ignite from dying campfire ash. Small actions, thoughts, and words hold the power to foster healing, inflict pain, summon joy, and much more. Often a person’s faith and character are not tested by the greatest trials in life, rather the small daily battles. For better or worse–Life happens in the details. Thanksgiving began as a three day festival where the Pilgrims celebrated their autumn harvest, alliance with the Wampanoag, and–after a brutal winter–their survival. This shared celebration later became a national holiday. Our heritage calls us to celebrate, to give thanks, and to remember some … Read more…

Serving Together

Giving back and loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Though sometimes with words like philanthropy and charity it can sound complicated and reserved for those with wealth. Philanthropy may be a big word for your children to get their heads around, but the actions of compassion, empathy, and loving others can be taught and modeled. Children learn by example. So it’s a good idea to show generosity and humanity throughout all you do in and outside of your home. Serving together with your kids can leave a powerful impression on them. The life lesson of giving back is an … Read more…

A Prayer for Students, Parents, and Teachers

Sunsets, camps, sticky games, water balloons, devotionals, campfires, cards, classes, and sleepovers filled our summer days with our amazing teenagers. My husband is a youth minister–so summers for us are a festive and crazy time of year full of travel, camps, and special memories. We know it is for you as well. Fitting in all the summer appointments, camps, and even vacations makes June and July fly by! Though the weather is still warm, summer is drawing us into its final act. School is starting this month all across the country. This week we are joining their parents–and parents across the country … Read more…

I am NOT a parenting expert.

Mistake #1: Impulse buying an Oreo milkshake during Happy Hour from Steak N’ Shake. (It was hot outside and sounded good. I promise we are mostly healthy eaters . . . ) Mistake #2: Buying this milkshake right before grocery shopping at Walmart with my 15-month-old in tow. Bad idea all around . . .  Mistake #3: Letting my screaming 15-month-old have a sip. This sip then turned into several long–DON’T YOU TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME MOM BECAUSE I WILL SCREAM BLOODY MURDER–sips. Who knew she would like an Oreo milkshake so much! 😉 Mistake #4: Giving in and letting her suck down … Read more…

Teaching Your Kids About Quiet Time

This is a topic I want to talk more in depth about over the coming weeks; however, I am on a major time crunch today. First of all, this affiliate resource I am sharing is only available (in this amazing bundle) until the end of TODAY! Yikes! Also, we are in the middle of our move–so this may be one of the quickest posts I ever do. (You’re probably like–“Yay short!”) But I knew I had to share it with you. Putting affordable and quality parenting resources into your hands, especially ones that help build your kids’ faith, is one of … Read more…

Excitement All Around

I think this week can be summed up in one word: Exciting. The right house, for the right price opened up for us a couple months ago, and this week we closed on it. It is our first time buying a home, and it is a landmark moment for our family. Owning a home means we get to live somewhere longer than a year and a half. We have moved five times in five years. We are laying down roots. Maybe it won’t be a forever home, but we are anticipating all the memories that will resound within its walls: … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum: Motherhood

Thank you for those who joined in the Faith in the Home Forum conversation last week! I really appreciate your input. I cannot wait to talk about motherhood and how we can overcome the societal pressures that draw us away from what is really important. Here are a couple responses from Andrea and Jessica last week about intergenerational mentorship, dealing with doubts, and keeping your faith vibrant: “We have been very intentional about making sure our kiddos have several people in the church to connect with in part by having high school kids and college kids babysit but also by … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum

Alright wonderful readers and friends! I have a proposition for you . . .  The Faith in the Home Forum.  Above all else, I believe our calling as parents is to introduce our children to their creator. To nurture and model what authentic faith looks like in daily life. But how do we do this? I want to start a discussion here at The Engaged Home about nurturing faith in the home. Mitch and I love to share what we are doing in our own family, and we have experience working with teens and their families. But we know that you also … Read more…

Is Imitation the Greatest Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. Rebekah wants to do everything I do. She will sling her mini purse over her shoulder and walk around perusing her toys. She’ll pick up her baby doll and feed her with a toy bottle. She will sit and look at books, slowly flipping through them, studying the pictures and words she does not yet know. She will imitate sounds that I make, tongue clicks, and blowing air. When we are playing, she will mimic silly faces back at me. A few weeks ago she … Read more…

What are you afraid of?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with God. And I think that there are two fears that most people, myself included, struggle with overcoming. If we believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful and active, as outlined in the Bible, we are either afraid that 1) If we ask God for something, He won’t show up, or 2) That God will show up and ask us to do something we don’t want to do.  I grew up in a rather conservative church, especially when it came to the Holy Spirit. I did find faith there that I made my … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: The Life Giving Home

When you walk into somebody’s house and feel at home, what is it that makes you feel that way? Is it the physical environment? Probably not, though that can contribute to it. That feeling of home that embraces you like a warm hug is often a combination of things. But most of it is relational in nature. Casting a vision for your marriage, family, and home is crucial. We all need direction and focus. Without it, we wander aimlessly. Meandering about letting our days and precious moments with our families slip away from us. To recapture and engage the hearts of … Read more…

How do I connect with God when I am a busy parent?

Each week I am going to begin taking one to two days to talk about intentionally building faith in the home. This is at the heart of The Engaged Home and at the heart of what I believe is a major purpose of parenting. This is not a new topic to The Engaged Home. However, it is one I want to engage in conversation about more by sharing my insights, my ideas for different ages of kids, my favorite resources, and by opening up the conversation in the comments or through guest posts. I have several things I am excited to share with you, … Read more…

Valentine’s Day: A Family Affair

Valentine’s Day. Do you love it or hate it or celebrate it at all? I know people who are all over the spectrum on their feelings about this famous holiday. Mitch and I always treat it as an excuse to go on a slightly nicer date than usual. Sometimes we will budget to buy ourselves gifts while we are out. One year, while we lived in Phoenix, we trekked up to the Grand Canyon, snow and all. It was Mitch’s first time. We remember just standing at the edge and staring at the vastness in silence. Later, on that road … Read more…

Free Printable Valentines, Stationary, and Scripture Cards

Last week I created a devotional for our youth groups girls about identity and who we are in Christ. (You can download the devotional to encourage yourself or use within your own youth group.) This message was on my heart for weeks. We have so many influences trying to shape us, I think it is important to back up and affirm that we are loved by God, God’s child, beautifully created, made for a purpose, holy through Jesus, valued, forgiven, redeemed, called out of darkness, filled with the Holy Spirit, and ENOUGH.  From those truths, good characteristics and fruits will naturally begin to … Read more…

Are You Kind to Yourself? #WholeMama

I think we often associate kindness with our attitude toward others. But I am learning that kindness begins with myself. If I am beating myself up with guilt over my failures or perceived shortcomings, if I am constantly comparing myself to the edited versions of others, I am creating a heart that is critical. Critical of myself and critical of others. This heart opens itself up to bitterness. Though I may don a kind smile or share a kind word, if I am not learning to treat myself with kindness and grace, the contents of my heart may not be … Read more…

What I’ve Observed on Raising Healthy Children

As a new parent, I sometimes find myself stressing out about whether or not I am giving Rebekah the best start in life possible. Crazy thoughts sometimes bombard me: Oh no! We haven’t started a college fund yet . . . Can I feed her non-organic food?! (Just typing some of my thoughts out loud make me realize how nutty they are!) One of my favorite things to do is to observe others. I know that makes me sound like a creeper . . . but I promise I am not! I like to observe couples and families who are raising healthy children … Read more…

Are You Ready or Not?

Today we celebrate Jesus’ birth in the flesh. Think about that for a second. He was born: blood, placenta, labor pains, and all surrounded by animals. (Probably not on December 25th, but still . . .) He came to earth fully human, fully God. I think sometimes we almost romanticize his birth in a cozy little stable with fluffy sheep. But Jesus was born without luxury, hospitals, or even a familiar family home. He came to encounter what we encounter: hunger, dusty feet, an aching back, fatigue, and much more. More importantly, he came to touch the untouchable and to … Read more…

Do Not Be Deceived

Deception is alive and well. Satan is the master of lies and a deception artist. Truth can be difficult to discern. Intuition can be muddled. Consciences can be dulled. Our world has lost sight of truth. A lack of truth has led to watered-down morality. It has also led to anger, confusion, and darkness. Desperate for truth, many people–like the youth persuaded to join ISIS–buy into extreme, radical lies. Our world is polarized between extreme, hate-fueled philosophies and a post-modern disillusionment.  But, there is nothing new under the sun. Paul addressed self-delusion in Romans. He explained how many people strayed so far … Read more…

Join Me on Monday!

Mark your calendars for this Monday! Tomorrow is the kickoff for the Joyfully Empowered Moms Summit. This is a free opportunity to learn from 21 different women about topics such as stress-management, self-care, creative outlets, business development, and more. The heart of the summit is about living each day with joy. Yes, it is geared towards moms of special needs kids; but the host, Kristine, emphasized that the summit is designed with all moms in mind, and it would even be beneficial for dads. So, if you are feeling a bit frazzled (cough, cough, I know the feeling), if you feel like you are barely surviving … Read more…

DIY Bible Box with Supplies From the Dollar Tree

Rebekah loves Bible class. I started dropping her off when she was only three months old. I honestly didn’t know how she would do, but she adores it! Sweet teachers, Bible songs and rhymes, and objects to grab and play with make it a fun experience for her. (I’m sure she will go through separation anxiety at some point, but for now she loves going to class.) I genuinely believe that babies can learn a lot more than we give them credit for. So, why not start teaching them about the most important thing: The fact that God made them and loves them!  … Read more…

Encouraging Your Child to Have a Healthy Self-Image

Now that I am blessed to be the mother of a 5-month-old baby girl, I am realizing how easy it is to slip into the comparison and labeling game. I am excited to unravel her unique personality. Yet, the sneaky sin of comparison sometimes sneaks into my mind. She doesn’t laugh as often as so-and-so, but she has more motor skills than that kid . . . etc.  These thoughts are unfair to her. They make me over-analytical and anxious. Plus, comparison is always a lose-lose situation. Either she comes out ahead in my mind and it feeds my pride (a sin I struggle with), … Read more…

3 Column Bible Study

If growing up in the churches of Christ taught me one thing, it was how important it is to read and know your Bible. Teachers and preachers impressed on me the importance of context and how we need to look at it through the eyes of the initial readers. When I was a child I loved church. And in middle school I really fell in love with Jesus and decided to get baptized. Reading my Teen Devotional Bible and praying every day came easily. I devoured books like Mere Christianity in high school. Yet, as a busy adult, sometimes reading the Bible and praying … Read more…

Equipping Our Children to Engage a Broken World

equipping our children to navigate life

Some days I wonder about what type of world our children will live in. I think of the challenges we faced growing up and wonder what is in store for them. It doesn’t surprise me that more and more parents are trying to shelter their kids from the world. Yet, I do not think that approach is always beneficial. I believe we need to teach our children to navigate and engage the world around them in a healthy way. Teaching our children truth, so they can filter out lies is essential. How do you teach your children the wisdom they need … Read more…

When Your Child Asks “Why would someone do that?”

The "Why" question

I think one of the most intimidating (but healthy) questions a child can ask is why. Recently, a friend of mine mentioned how her young daughter came home from school, where they had talked about 9/11, and asked “Why would someone do that?” Why? I think we could jump into a discussion about how the terrorists believed false ideas of glory, how America was evil, etc. And historically, that is good to talk about if your children are old enough to understand it. But doesn’t why come down to hatred?  Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Atheist, or Buddhist, isn’t it hatred that causes … Read more…

How to Talk With Your Child About 9/11

Do you remember what you were doing when you heard about the terrorists attacks on 9/11? I do. I saw it on TV as I walked into 7th grade history after band class. Those images are forever imprinted into my mind. However, this is not the case for most children today. They were not alive, and if they were, they were too young to remember. So how do you introduce this historical subject to elementary age children? And should we?  First of all, yes we should talk about it. It is an important part of our national history, it lead … Read more…

“God is Our Source of Joy” Family Devotional

family devotional on joy

“God is Our Source of Joy” Family Devotional As always, alter  according the ages of your children. I try to make the devotionals accessible for all ages, but there may be parts you need to tweak. Also, at the bottom of this post you can find a printable PDF of this devotional! 🙂 Explore the Meaning: What is joy? How would you describe it? Are joy and happiness the same thing? If not, what is the difference? Happiness is circumstantial, meaning that we are happy if good things are happening to us, but unhappy when bad things are happening to … Read more…

5 Ways to Support Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Holly Doherty

1) Don’t praise them just for showing up. I know this statement flies in the face of conventional wisdom, in a world where every kid in the soccer league gets a trophy just for being on a team, and some leagues don’t even keep score lest they hurt a child’s supposedly fragile self-esteem. But life doesn’t give you a trophy just for showing up. Teach your kids to work hard, to take pride in their work, and to do their best. To praise them just for showing up breeds entitlement and an empty, false sense of self-worth. 2) Praise their … Read more…

Book Review and Giveaway: The Magic of Family Meals

http://hollydoherty.com/

Does your family eat on the go a lot? Are you looking for ways to recover the habit of family mealtime? Does your family zone out in front of the TV or retreat to separate bedrooms during mealtime? Are you looking for more quality time as a family? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, The Magic of Family Meals: 115 Conversation Starters to Connect With Your Kids will be a helpful tool for your family. You CAN retake lost ground and reclaim family mealtime! Here at The Engaged Home I am dedicated to intentionally moving toward an engaged home life … Read more…

Family Movie Night: Courageous

Courageous

We didn’t go out to the movies much while dating or when first married (we still don’t, unless it’s at the cheap theater for $3). Young, married, and poor, we were picky about the movies we were willing to spend money to see. Nonetheless, one weekend the itch struck us and we indulged. Popcorn and all! Courageous had been in theaters for a week or so, and we felt good about supporting a Christian movie with our money. However, we did not know much about the movie and as a result we were inadequately prepared. Bring tissues . . . Trust me … Read more…

Family Devotional – The Courageous Christian

Family Devotional on Courage Explore the Meaning: Courage. What do you think of when you hear the word courage? (Firemen running into buildings, policemen, standing up for what you believe in, etc.) Do you think God wants us to be courageous? If so, how? (i.e. standing up for our faith, talking to others about Jesus, living out God’s calling for us rather than being afraid to go where he calls) (For older kids) What is the difference between being courageous and being confident, or even cocky? The dictionary defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person … Read more…

Faithful Love

Do you have little nuggets of wisdom, verses, or songs that you attach to certain ideas? I think we all do. It is part of the way our brains are wired. I know as I studied and thought about faithfulness this month, one of my favorite church songs kept popping into my head: Faithful Love.  I would love to share the lyrics and an audio recording of the song with you today. May it be an encouragement to you as you pursue faithfulness now and always. Faithful Love (Verse 1) Faithful love flowing down from the thorn covered crown, Make me … Read more…

“Are You Faithful?” Family Devotional on Faithfulness

Faithfulness: Reflecting God’s Character I would first like to challenge parents who are preparing to go through this character study with their children. Your children are watching you. The example you set in your marriage should be one that lifts up the character traits of love and faithfulness. I believe that love and faithfulness are deeply intertwined. God created marriage to be a reflection of his image. What is your marriage reflecting to your children? Are you leaving a legacy of faithfulness and love, or strife and infidelity? Explore the Meaning: What does it mean to be faithful? (Being faithful … Read more…

Building Character: Faithfulness

Faithfulness is something we can all relate to on a personal level. All of us have experienced the never-ending faithfulness of God. While we were still sinners, Christ loved and died for us. He is faithful, even when we are not. Many of us have also experienced unfaithfulness. Maybe even in a close friend or spouse. That breech of trust in an established relationship is difficult to overcome. Trust is not built over night, rather over time. Chances are, we know how deeply that unfaithfulness can wound. Yet, when we were at our most unfaithful, Christ still died to make us right with … Read more…

4 Ways to Empower Teens to Protect Their Hearts

Do you remember the old saying “Garbage in, garbage out”? It was a popular churchy phrase I heard a lot as a teenager. It was a catchy way of saying that what we allow into our hearts will overflow into our life in good or bad ways. We are all susceptible to this problem. We don’t outgrow it. It just looks different when we are children, teenagers, young adults, and then adults. Teenagers are bombarded junk and lies. They buy into the lies that they need to have a “thigh gap” to be hot or that the “right” clothes = confidence. As adults we too struggle … Read more…

The National Conference on Youth Ministry (NCYM 2015)

Mitch and I just returned from the National Conference on Youth Ministry (NCYM 2015) in Dallas, TX. We drove the whole way, and, whew, my stiff pregnant body is glad to be off the road! I intended to post more from the conference, but God commanded our full time and attention. The theme this year was “Presence” with a scriptural focus on Exodus 33. That familiar chapter came alive in a whole new way for me this past week. The speakers and teachers brought encouragement, but we also walked away feeling personally convicted and challenged to grow. Mitch jokingly refers to … Read more…

Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health

In 2015, I want sharpen The Engaged Home’s focus. Our core message is that learning and faith begin at home. We will explore ways to strengthen our families as a unit and as healthy individuals. In my opinion, there are three overarching aspects to a healthy family: Mind/Mental Health Spirit/Spiritual Health Body/Physical Health (Some people would also include a fourth: the heart. I believe the heart can fall into any of these three categories depending on how you look at it. The Bible does say that out of our hearts, the mouth speaks. I also know that if our hearts are … Read more…

Engage Life in 2015

“Don’t let your year happen to you–Happen to your year.” –Mitch Clay How will you engage life in 2015? This idea of actively engaging life goes back to the root purpose of The Engaged Home. At The Engaged Home, our purpose is to engage life, specifically our family life. If we live life passively, then we are like a paper boat carried here and there by the tide. Some days it is smooth sailing, but other days we run adrift. When we live passively, life happens to us and all we can do is react. It may seem easier, but it … Read more…

Sharing the Story of Jesus

We used to read the nativity story aloud from the Bible every Christmas as a family. It was a small gesture, but enough to always remind us what the focus of Christmas should be. When I was young, probably 4 or 5, I would “help” my mom decorate the house and the tree by dressing up in towels like I was Mary, swaddling our cat in another towel (you can imagine how that went) to pretend he was baby Jesus. I guess all my dolls were girls? I would sit under the Christmas tree and reenact the nativity story, to … Read more…

Family Devotional on Peace

Intro for parents: Sometimes we are guilty of simplifying the idea of peace to a quiet, nice feeling. The truth is that peace is powerful. Teaching your children the power of peace enables them to face the challenges of life with an anchor and a strength, not born out of the hardness of sorrow and failure, but rooted in a relationship with God, where they are living in the presence of their Lord and Savior. Our children need to not only learn what peace is and how to experience it, they need an example of peace in their lives, both from the … Read more…

The Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem documentary was not on my to-watch list. I heard about different groups watching it at church while we lived in York. But to be honest, I just thought, boring! I didn’t think I needed science to prove anything to me about the star for me to believe it was true. Fast forward two years and we are in Missouri attending church with my in-laws over Christmas. And what video is their Bible class watching? The Star of Bethlehem . . .  Within minutes, my interest was hooked. About halfway through I was tearing up. Both my husband and I were so … Read more…

Ah, the Elusive Character Quality of Peace

What do you think of when you hear the word peace? No war/world peace? Serenity? Yoga? An early morning hike? An undisturbed cup of coffee? We all attach different connotations to the idea of peace. Yet, it is something God tells us we can possess through Him. He calls us to pursue a life of peace, especially in our interactions with others. Confession: I decided last week that peace would be a fitting character quality to focus on in our families during December because the chaos of the holidays can sometimes leave us thread-bare and caught in the snare of materialism. However appropriate … Read more…

Letters to Rebekah

My friend Natasha recently encouraged me to start writing letters to Rebekah (the name we chose for our daughter, due in April) in a journal. I brought the idea up to Mitch, and he latched on to it immediately. This past weekend while we were shopping, a simple but beautifully elegant journal caught my eye for Rebekah’s letters. We plan to fill it with prayers, letters, verses, memories, wisdom, encouragement, and affirmation. Our prayer is that we can affirm her that she is as a beautiful, strong, daughter of the King. We also want to remind her often of our constant love for her. The … Read more…

Teaching Praise and Worship

In Bible Hour at church we have been talking about developing a thankful heart and attitude toward God and others. Thankfulness led us to talking about the importance of praise and worship in our relationship with God. Praise and worship are directly tied to our expression of thankfulness to God. To help us remember this concept, we spent time memorizing Psalms 100:2: The book of Psalms literally means “songs of praise”, which is fitting because it is full of direct praise! Don’t get me wrong, the Psalms are genuine prayers and songs that capture the diversity of human emotion: praise, thankfulness, sorrow, … Read more…

Operation Christmas Child

Last night some of our teenagers participated with us in buying items and packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is ran through Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit Christian relief organization that helps children and families around the world. Since 1993, over 113 million children have received shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and more as a physical example of God’s love. With the Christmas boxes that they receive, Samaritan’s Purse partners with local churches in America and overseas to make sure these children and their families are followed up with through their “Gospel Storybooks” and “The Greatest … Read more…

Thankfulness Family Devotional

Family Devotional I wanted to create a family devotional that you can start the week with together. This month we are focusing on thankfulness. Read the devotional and scriptures aloud as a family. The italicized questions are for you and your children to discuss out loud. “Explore the Meaning” introduces the concept and assesses your children’s prior knowledge. I tried to define words as much as possible, but depending on the age of your children, you may need to back up and explain some vocabulary (great learning opportunity). “Look It Up” offers some scriptures from the Bible to illustrate the concept. “Apply … Read more…

Six Ideas for Nurturing a Generous Child

  The children I have observed are not naturally generous. They don’t want to share their toys. They want to do things their way. But let’s face it, selfishness is a problem people struggle with whether they are two or 52. Raising a generous child is something that you have to do purposefully. Helping your child understand the why of generosity is important. Within the why it is necessary to teach them that we are not generous for the recognition or praise of people, but we are generous because we love God and we want to share God’s generous love with others. That … Read more…

5 Ways to Practice Generosity as a Family

Yesterday we talked about things YOU, as the adult, can do personally. Your kids need to see you model generosity; they will learn through your example. But one of the best ways to instill values into your family is to practice them together. I know a lot of kids who watched their parents do this or that, but they never learned how to do it for themselves. Generosity is a wonderful character trait to practice together because there are so many opportunities and ideas. Today, I brainstormed five ways you can practice generosity as a family: 1. Decorate a jar as a … Read more…

Bible Verses Reflecting on Generosity

Tomorrow, I am going to share some generosity challenges with you; but today, I want to share a little more with you about why we should be generous. First of all, if we are blessed to have an abundance, God tells us in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure … Read more…

Creating Character: An Education for the Whole Family

I was inspired by the Duggar Family (20 Kids and Counting on TLC, or in our case Netflix) to begin a journey focusing on developing godly character. They incorporate character building into their homeschooling curriculum and daily life. At first, I thought practicing good character was only for little kids, something taught in Sunday school. But, I was very wrong. Just because we are “adults” does not mean we have it all together. Building character is a journey you can begin whether you are two or 72. I am a work in progress and I pray God is not done with … Read more…

Compassion Calling

I have learned that when God calls you to do something, it is best to listen. Even though it may seem daunting, the safest place to live is in God’s will. For over a year, it felt like Compassion International was following Mitch and I around. We heard about them at conferences, concerts, and other various events. We were both feeling God’s quiet little tug on our hearts to sponsor a child. But, we put it off. Money was too tight, we reasoned. Maybe later, we told ourselves. We both experienced some guilt, because deep down we knew we could … Read more…

First Day of Autumn: Sharing a Love of Nature With Your Children

It is officially the first day of Autumn, my favorite season! I cherish something about every season: Summer’s recreation, Spring’s awakening, and Winter’s gusty, swirling snow. Yet, Autumn encapsulates so much of what I love: the way the first nip of cold comes sweeping in on the breeze; the coziness of breaking out knitted sweaters; clasping a steaming mug of apple cider as you sit around a fire; hayrides bumping around dry, sometimes shaved-to-a-stubble cornfields; pumpkin patches bursting with orange and red pumpkins and gourds, ripe for the picking; the smell of dry leaves falling; the color scheme of Autumn with … Read more…

God Asks YOU to Pass on Faith to Your Children

  God asks YOU to pass on faith to your children. A lot of pressure, right? But let’s face it, you are influential in your child’s life, even if it feels like they listen to their friends more than you. While it is your responsibility to pass on faith, you are not alone. Church is a beautiful community of people who can help you raise your children to know and love God. That is the purpose of youth and family ministers and Sunday school teachers. I believe most ministers would agree that they love being a part of your child’s faith journey, … Read more…

Is an Emotional Faith Good or Bad?

The answer may not be so simple. I think we can all agree that God wants our hearts. But is there such thing as putting too much focus on emotions? I truly believe that God wants our whole being. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul (Matthew 22:37). God does not want an isolated part of us, like our physical obedience. He wants everything: actions, beliefs, emotions. Do I believe that we need to experience God emotionally? Yes. Anyone who has experienced God knows how incomparable it is to other experiences. … Read more…

Connecting Your Children to God: An Empty Pitcher Will Not Hydrate

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. – Deuteronomy 4:9 This verse always convicts me. Though I do not yet have children, this verse reminds me that if I do not keep my faith “active” through sharing with others what God has done in my life, then those things will fade from my heart. Satan actively attempts to lull us into a passive faith. I … Read more…